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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Smoothie Pops

Yesterday, Miss Rae informed me that she no longer eats Parmesan cheese. And so I found myself with her pasta in a colander, rinsing off the Parmesan cheese so she’d eat it. For the record, my child wants pasta with no sauce, no butter, no cheese, not even a pinch of salt. Plain, in every sense of the word, pasta.


Do you remember these days? These days when my children would willingly eat blackberries? Yeah, they don’t eat them anymore.

I know because I bought a clamshell (gone are my days of Portland blackberries) and my children turned up their adorable noses at these delicacies.

I’ll show them. I froze the discarded blackberries and added them to a berry cherry smoothie of frozen strawberries, raspberries, and cherries. A little yogurt for protein and some orange juice to make it all go.

And then I froze it in these groovy Popsicle cups.

And then we went to the pool. 

And they were none the wiser.

Take that, J Man.



Thursday Thoughts, XXXI

1. We ran out of milk the other day and the coffee addiction is real in my life (someday I’ll tell you about my plans for cutting back) so I found the only other “dairy-esque” item in the house:


Whipped cream. Fake whipped cream. I’m not proud, but man, that was good.

2. I feel like I could learn a thing or two from my daughter when it comes to intuitive eating.

This is a bake sale cookie that she liked only well enough to take a few nibbles from and lick off the frosting. Then she moved on to more interesting things like her Hello Kitty coloring book. If someone gives me a cookie, I eat the cookie. The whole thing. Whether I like it or not. Maybe I just need more Hello Kitty coloring books in my life.

3. Remember Hello Fresh? I cancelled my subscription, but then I got my mom hooked.

One of her latest meals was udon noodle soup and it was good.  I even liked the seaweed. My parents are on vacation and my mom gave me her box for this week. I’m not mad about it.

4.  On that same note, my brother is with them on vacation and he has beautiful flowers in his garden and I stole many of them.

Aren’t they gorgeous?

5. Miss Rae graduated from preschool last night. And when I say graduated, please understand that she also graduated last year.

 And when I say graduated, please understand that she’ll graduate again next year.

  My contribution to the after party (of course there was an after party!) was cupcakes from a box that I decorated with Dollar Tree magic wands. It doesn’t get much classier than that.

That’s just how we roll… 

French Press Cold Brew Coffee

I didn’t want to run today.

Because it was a holiday, I slept in (in my world, “sleeping in”=7 am) and by the time I actually got around to it, it was 2 pm.

I didn’t want to run today.

At 12:30, I ate an Iceburg garden burger with everything and 1/3 of an Oreo shake. And 7 fries. Not for lack of trying- 7 is all that were left in the pile I was sharing with Rae.

And who wants to run after all of that? But we have plans with friends tonight and it was a 2 pm run or nothing. (Some days, nothing is a completely acceptable answer, but after Oreo milkshake and the promise of birthday cake tonight, a run seemed like a good idea.)

Oops. I guess my phone is dying.

Anyway, I told myself that I only had to go 2 miles and then I could stop. 

At mile 1, I had a side ache. 

At mile 2, I was doing ok so I kept going. 

At mile 2.3, I regretted my decision to keep going.

At mile 2.5, I was too hot.

At mile 2.7, I started making deals with myself. Make it home, and you can have iced coffee.


Have you tried your hand at cold brew coffee? I used this recipe for French Press Cold Brew Coffee and it was super easy.

I mean, you have to plan ahead. And you need a French press, but those are like $10 at Target, so you’re set.


All you do is mix coarse coffee grounds with water and let sit 12-24 hours. Then press the grounds down, pour and chill.

I added some almond milk because that’s what I do. It was creamy and delightful. Matty B questioned what I was drinking.

H: “It’s iced coffee, but you wouldn’t like it.”

MB: “Because it tastes like coffee?”

H: “Yep.”

Also,  check out this How addicted to coffee are you? quiz.

I got “professional coffee drinker” which I think is an exaggeration. The quiz has you choosing your favorite owl! How can this be legit?


Caramelized nuts

I’m a hypocrite.

We had a mini movie-night tonight and the plate above is our movie snacks. 
The Cat in the Hat + cucumbers and apples seems like a lovely way to calm down before bed.

And then the kiddos did just that- went to bed.

And I was by myself (Matty B is on a class trip.) 


Alone with Mr. Tillamook himself and I remembered these awesome caramelized nuts I made last weekend.


I used dibs and dabs of nuts that I had in the pantry: walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds and peanuts.


Mix your nuts with a simple syrup of water, sugar and honey. Then bake for 10 minutes or until they smell amazing.

   Fast forward to tonight with quality ice cream, delicious caramelized nuts and this chocolate.

What do you have? The ultimate peanut buster parfait.

And it was good.

Sidenote: I don’t need an excuse to enjoy ice cream, but I will say that at my last dental checkup I had zero cavities and at the kid’s last checkups, they each had 1+.

Therefore, ice cream for me. Apples and cucumbers for them.

Do as I say, not as I do.

What I Ate Wednesday

Breakfast: rolled oats, banana, raspberries and almonds
Eaten while listening to J Man and Miss Rae sing this really obnoxious Cat in the Hat song over and over and over…

Lunch: yummy stir-fry from the cafe with tofu, pea pods, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini and bell pepper

Eaten while trolling Facebook to make sure people weren’t saying bad things about the university. This is, unfortunately, a daily task.

Dinner: delicious pizza from Olive with morels, bleu cheese, garlic and arugula- I had 3 amazing pieces.


Eaten while simultaneously coloring with the kids and eavesdropping on the table of college girls next to us. Was I this lame at 19?

Dessert #1: two licks of J Man’s mint chocolate chip cone 

Eaten while quietly explaining to Miss Rae that just because some boys like to have long hair, that doesn’t make them girls after she loudly inquired of the customer next to us.

Dessert #2: this chocolate chip cookie from Starbucks. My absolute weakness.


Eaten because I was crazy stressed to discover that Miss Rae’s preschool graduation and J Man’s violin recital are same day, same time. Also when, coincidentally enough, Matty B’s 8th grade graduation is. 

Thank goodness for family.

Thank goodness for friends.

And while we’re at it, thank goodness for chocolate chip cookies.



It’s a perfect storm, really. My parenting, that is.

1. I was in elementary classrooms for 10 years and I saw how hard it is to be a kid.

2. Now I work in higher education and I see how hard it is to be a young adult.

3. And according to my small ones, it’s very hard being 4 and 6. J Man informed me today that he’s moving to grandma and papa’s ASAP because my rules are just unacceptable. For reference, the rule under scrutiny is that anything left on the kitchen floor by bedtime will be picked up by mom and confiscated. That’s it. That’s the rule that’s invoking wailing and gnashing of teeth.

So, it’s hard being a kid. I get it. But FYI, parenting isn’t always a walk in the park.

I worry that they don’t have friends. I worry that they have the wrong friends. I worry that they have too many friends.

I worry that they spend too much time inside. I worry that it’s dangerous outside. 

I worry if they cough or sneeze or randomly have a white tongue. (Sidenote: it’s a good thing Matty B is part of this parenting duo. Otherwise, I’d basically be camped out in the pediatrician’s parking lot.)

Lately, I have a new worry. Technology  is infiltrating our lives. And now my kids have learned about the selfie.

This is one of 1047. And I read too much online, so I see all kinds of things about how narcissistic our children are these days and that probably leads to suicide and I’m freaking out!

But then I read this article and it talks about self confidence and relationship building and I breathed a sigh of relief.

And then we went to Klicker’s for ice cream.

And we took a selfie. 

P.S. I’m going to try and chill out.


Matty B won’t eat mushrooms.

If you’ve been reading Versatile Vegan for any amount of time, you aren’t surprised by this statement. He actually refers to them as the “devil’s food.” Something about anything that grows off of dead things must be from the devil. I don’t really think that the person who binges on soda stream concentrate (high fructose corn syrup anyone?) has any room to talk about the devil, but whatever.

We were up at the cabin a few weeks ago and Matty B disappeared for 20 minutes. When he returned, he came bearing these beauties. Morel mushrooms!

Have you seen morels in the wild? They look like pine cones, but once you see what they look like, they just pop out at you.

And they were everywhere! Also, baseball mitts are good for many uses. So we went on a mushroom hunt and had probably two pounds (is that right, Matty B?) when I saw this most glorious sight.


Look at this puppy! He’s huge! I literally carried him around for 30 minutes because I loved him so much. Also, I was absolutely unwilling to share with anyone who “accidentally” got the giant mixed up in his bag/baseball mitt.

Before you eat wild morels, you’re supposed to soak them in salt water. Aunt Terrie says over night. Google says 2 hours. I was confused, so I soaked mine for 4 hours and called it good.

Then I sautĂ©ed them in butter with garlic, salt and pepper. Will you judge me if I tell you I ate 1.5 lbs of mushrooms by myself? 

They’re so good. I mean, so. Good. If you haven’t had a morel before, the best adjective I can think of to describe the flavor is meaty. Keep in mind, however, that I haven’t had meat since October 5, 2011 when I had a chicken burrito from the taco truck with my friend Glenda, so I might not be the best judge of meaty.

Other than straight out of the frying pan with a fork, my favorite way to eat these mushrooms was over scrambled eggs. Decadent.

If mushrooms truly come from the devil, then call me a sinner.