We're linking up again with Muffin Tin Mom and sharing what we had for lunch today. Click on one of the links above to see other families' muffin tin meals. If you're wondering why we eat out of muffin tins - well, they're perfect little compartments for kid size meals, it's easy clean-up, and it's about making lunch a little more fun for them.
We decided to have a "dip day." Here is Tornado's tin - what he used as his dippers (keeping in mind he is 9 so his 3 year old and 5 year old siblings had slightly smaller versions): red bell pepper strips, apple slices, celery and carrot sticks, toast strips, Tofurky sausages, cherry tomatoes, tater tots, broccoli, cauliflower, and multi-grain chips. (The other two had the same things except Dash didn't have tomatoes, and neither of them had bell peppers or celery.) They didn't quite finish everything so I just stuck their tins in the fridge for an afternoon snack.
And here are the dips. They were talking nonstop about what was what. "Now what is this one again?" Tornado suggested I should have labeled everything. He's always good for ideas.
Starting at the top left corner: ketchup, cashew butter dip, Cheezy Hemp Nacho Sauce, vegan ranch. Next row: walnut pate', vanilla yogurt with fruit spread drizzled on top (this was a favorite), peanut sauce (Tornado said it was too spicy; Daddy said it was delicious.), and guacamole.
Recipes:CASHEW BUTTER DIP- I just mixed cashew butter, applesauce, and agave nectar. I thought it was yummy. Tornado agreed, but for some reason, Dash and Sissy didn't want to try it. I'm just going to but the rest on a sandwich for them later.
CHEEZY HEMP NACHO SAUCE - Visit Kristen's Raw for the recipe. We make this a lot, and we love it!
WALNUT PATE' -HERE IS THE RECIPE I used. It's basically just blending walnuts with one teaspoon each of lemon juice, olive oil, and tamari plus spices. I'm going to start making this all of the time. The kids liked it, and I did, too!
It makes spiral strands, ribbons, or slices out of firm fruits or vegetables. (I have not tried using fruits yet.)
You can get one for less than $20, and it doesn't take up a lot of space in your cabinet. My kids like eating their veggies in strips like this. Look how long the spirals can be. I couldn't even fit it all in the picture.
raw spiralized zucchini "noodles" with spaghetti sauce and olives
Here's a dish we made with raw spiralized carrots - just added beans, quinoa, kale, and a little dressing. Dash is the one who likes to help me with it.
You have to sort of push down as you are turning, which he is able to do really well.
raw spiralized yellow squash
lightly tossed in olive oil and Himalayan Salt with hemp seeds sprinkled on top
This week's Muffin Tin theme was Seeds, Plants, & Flowers. I'll start with the dirt dessert made from Dr. Oetker's chocolate pudding and ground up chocolate chips. Before they ate, the kids ceremoniously planted pumpkin seeds into the "dirt." And the napkin flower isn't too impressive, but I tried! Quinoa salad with grated carrots plus SPROUTED lentils (Can you see the little sprouts?). Little celery seedlings are also sprouting up.
More lentil/quinoa salad with avocado grass covering (but no avocado on Dash's). Strawberry, apple, and cucumber flowers. Dash also picked his cucumber flowers and "replanted" them in Tornado's garden.
Added 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes AND 1 1/2 TBS. brown sugar
Stirred in between 1/4-1/2 cup melted Earth Balance (margarine)...just poured it in until it seemed moistened just enough
Pressed the mixture into muffin cup and baked at 350 for about 8 minutes (or until just starting to brown and get crispy).
This was my favorite part - they were SO tasty, and I loved the way they came out of the pan all formed. (These that I took out of the pan I let sit for a bit because if you take them out too soon they will fall apart.) I'm going to make them again sometime - fill them with pudding or fruit, etc.
mini fruit kebobs because...well, fruit just seems spring-y...on a "nest' of almonds and walnuts
In food processor, finely grind 1/2 cup plain cashews and 1/2 cup walnuts. I also added 2 TBS. ground flax seed. I added 3/4 cup dates, about 1 TBS cocoa powder, and a little squirt of agave nectar.
(This mixture does not have to be cooked; we usually just eat it raw at this point...Dash made me leave him some raw to eat. It actually tastes better that way, but I wanted the sticks to stand up so I baked them.)
I put them in the oven at about 250 until they were juststarting to feel baked then let them sit on the pan until they were firm before I tried to remove them.
We stayed at Hotel Felix, which is where we stayed during our last Chicago trip. It is an eco-friendly boutique hotel. We like it a lot.
One of the reasons we like it so much: Whole Foods is about a block away.
I kind of wish I lived in those condos/apartments on the right.
We also like Hotel Felix because it's in walking distance to one of our favorite restaurants, Karyn's Cooked. We got the fried zucchini/cauliflower/broccoli basket. For the record, I rarely ever eat fried foods, mostly only on trips like this.
For our main course, we ordered the stuffed eggplant (with garlic bread) and a pizza. Clearly, this is too much food for us. I do this everytime, though, on my first night in a big city. If I lived here, I would be used to it and not feel like I was trying to make up for months of neglect. We didn't quite finish everything, but it was too tough to pass on Karyn's pies, which we got to go.
We walked back to the room and ordered New Moon to watch. In bed with our pie. Really, it was the life.
The next day we met our friends, Sarah and Chris, at Delicious Cafe. This was a new, random place we wanted to try. I liked it and would definitely go there again. I ordered a grilled cashew cheese sandwich with un-bacon. I only picked at the chips that seemed like an afterthought. I would have preferred different chips or fruit or something else on the side instead.
But more important than that, it was great to spend time with Sarah and Chris. Sarah is one of my oldest friends (when I say oldest, I mean longest-enduring). She was one of my first friends when I moved to a new school in the 3rd grade. We wrote tons of letters to each other throughout college, and she was in my wedding. She's one of my favorite people in the entire world, and luckily, she married someone I like a lot, too!
Cary and I shopped that afternoon in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area. Some of my favorite stores in this area are Mojo Spa, Una Mae's, Buffalo Exchange, and my new favorite place is Rudy's Roundup. I wanted to buy almost everything in that store.
We also got a snack at Veggie Bite, another major draw to the area. Personally, I think Cary's choice spelled m-e-a-l, rather than snack, but she can get away with it. The chili cheese fries are always our favorite thing on the menu. My tofu stix were okay. I would have preferred mustard over the soupy, ranchy-type dressing that came along with them.
I like going to Veggie Bite because it is vegan, fast-food - a novelty. However, there's something a little strange about this place; I can't quite put my finger on it. I'll borrow a few quotes from yelp:
"Ambiance...standoffish." "It is depressingly empty...noble effort...could thrive if they moved into a smaller space, offered green smoothies, etc." "Place needs focus." I've gotten some really good chocolate milkshakes, though. (I ask for them extra thick.) Later that night, we got to try out another new restaurant,Karyn's on Green (another in the Karyn's repertoire of wonderful dining). It was upscale and modern.
We took this picture to show Andy that Cary was indeed catching the Duke game, which happened to be on at the bar behind us.
Cary chose the beets as an appetizer. I don't think I would ever choose beets personally, but these were tasty. We felt like we needed to pick something light and healthy, after the day we had. My oldest son would devour these. I finally gave in and ordered a caesar salad, which is what I always want to order at restaurants. I just love them. But I eat them at home all of the time so it seems silly to order them, too. This one tasted different (but great!), though, and included different things like dehydrated olives and herb croutons. I was also a fan of how it was served on a long plate.
Cary ordered some type of avocado-sprout pita. I was a big fan of the fry placement.
On the way back to our car, we got completely lost. We walked two blocks this way, three blocks this way, back to where we started to get our bearings - we tried street after street in every direction. I think Cary was starting to get a little panicked. I wasn't too worried, but it was clear I had no idea what we were going to do if we couldn't find our car. (Call a cab and have him drive us around until we found it?) And it was getting late, and it was rather desolate. I was starting to become convinced my car had been stolen because it made no sense that we couldn't find it. Fortunately, Cary had her iPhone out, leading the way, which helped a little. This is the picture of us finally finding the car.
The next day, we ate breakfast at Whole Foods and made a quick swing over to the Ikea in Schaumburg. It was my first Ikea trip, and I was enthralled. I didn't buy much (a little toy for the boys and a cool "junior chair" for Sis), but my mental wish list was adding up.
My audiobooks purchased off iTunes helped me with my late 6 hour drive home from St. Louis.