What We Ate Wednesday: Family Fun

November 20th, 2013 - filed under: The Food » Food Styles


A boy and his dog. These days, he can only fall asleep at night if Harley’s on the bed to “protect” him. ♥

I think Sunday is my favorite day of all. Sunday is my all-day Waits day, and Sunday night is movie night at my beau’s house, and so Sunday is always filled with my very favorite people and all sorts of marvelous things. And this particular Sunday was packed particularly full, and I’m so glad I captured it all.

♥ ♥ ♥

It starts with black tea. Always.


So my long-time readers know that I’m a die-hard stevia fan, BUT, that I only like one brand, and all the others taste awful to me. You know, that tinny bitter awful stevia aftertaste. So when Pyure Organic Stevia recently contacted me offering samples, this is exactly what I said to them:

Thanks for contacting me. I would love to try out your stevia, but I feel the need to let you know something before you send it. I have only ever liked one brand of Stevia, and I use it religiously. So yes, I am a stevia user, BUT, I dislike most brands I’ve tried. With that in mind, if you’d still like to send me a sample, I would love to give it a shot. Here is my policy on free products/samples:

“If you would like to donate to my endeavors or send me your product to review, well I think you are simply super. I would be more than happy to accept your gift. However, I do not accept payment for product plugging. I may or may not review any product I receive, and my review will always reflect my honest assessment of a product’s value.”

They decided to send it anyway, and I’m so glad they did, because this is my new favorite stevia! It’s even more mellow than my old stand-by, and I love that it’s organic. So yes, great stuff, and consider me converted!

So Damian drops Waits off early on Sundays, and after some initial cuddle and play time, the kiddo informed me that he was “a little bit hungry.” This became a theme throughout the day . . .

Anyways, green smoothie!


This one had banana, raspberries, curly kale, almond milk, zinc and K2 (wondering why? read here), and a bit of protein powder. He had most and I drank the remains.


After some mid-morning art on the floor, I thought it best that we get out of the house before cabin fever set in. It’s not cold here yet, but I know it’s coming. And since Waits goes to what is essentially an outdoor school (the first half of the day is always outdoors, pretty much no matter the weather, but also keep in mind that this is southern California), I wanted to stock up on children’s winter gear.

I proposed that we walk over to our favorite secondhand children’s store, which isn’t so far away. But Waits surprised me by asking for a ride in the Ergo. Hmm. Okay!


We tromped over to our little neighborhood resale boutique only to find that it was closed until noon on Sundays. Boo! It was 10:30 and Waits had been so looking forward to seeing the toys, that I just decided to head up the road to another children’s store. This one was mostly new stuff, though they do keep a small rack of used clothing. So we hit up that store and then for good measure, we trekked up even farther and hit another one as well. We don’t really buy firsthand toys, but I like to watch him and see what he’s drawn to, so I know what to keep an eye out for in the thrift shops.

By the time we left that last one it was creeping up on 11:30, and with nary but some smoothie remains in my tummy, I was HUNGRY! And I was feeling so relaxed and having such a great day with Waits, that I decided to do something bold.


I remember so vividly reading this post on my friend Joanna’s blog a few years ago. Waits was just coming up on 18 months old, and spirited as the day is long, and it was truly difficult for me to imagine having an experience like that with him. I mean, we don’t even attempt restaurants, ’cause it’s just not worth the stress and chaos (Damian and I used to try, but invariably one of us would end up eating alone while the other played out front with Waits).

But for some reason this past Sunday, I decided that we would go on a mommy-baby date. And so we Ergoed it over to my favorite Mexican restaurant, and I asked Waits what he wanted and he chose a bean and cheese burrito, please replace cheese with corn, and I chose a roasted veggie salad, please replace steak with black beans, and we sat and had a whole meal just eating and chatting and enjoying the company. Our meal was peaceful and calm and I enjoyed it so much I could barely stand it, because in my mind all I could think is “OH DEAR! My baby’s all grown up!” And it was just like Joanna said, that strange combination of relief and grief. *sigh*

On the way home we swung by that first and favorite secondhand store, and picked up an awesome snow suit, a thermal shirt, and a few flannels. Success!


Waits ate almost his entire burrito at lunch, but as soon as we got home he proclaimed himself “just a little bit hungry,” and asked for a blueberry-flavored coconut yogurt and a glass of oat milk.

I had another mug of black tea, with stevia and unsweetened almond milk.


After a bit of quiet time, we headed out into the yard. We had important work to do! The flowerbed needed prepping in order to over-winter:


And we had a bunch of starts to transplant:


Winter greens in wine boxes, to take up to the preschool.

A snack:


By then it was getting late, and I was itching to get to the store to pick up a few things for dinner. But Waits really wanted to go for a trike ride, and Harley definitely wanted a walk. So the two of them convinced me . . .


My pack.

After a lovely evening stroll around the block, I packed us up into the car and we popped over to Whole Foods to grab a few things. As soon as we got there Waits informed me of his status: “just a little hungry”. Luckily that was easy to remedy, since we were in a grocery store and all.


He had this chia squeeze pouch and then immediately gobbled down a blueberry Larabar. See? Growing! Back home I munched on this mini bag of lentil chips from our vegan cuts snack box.

From there we were off to my man’s pad. Sunday night is his “early” night and he gets home around 7:15, so on Sunday night Waits and I cook dinner at his house, and then once he gets home we all hang out and watch a movie. It’s become a little ritual and such a wonderful way to end the weekend.

We usually do homemade pizza, but this week he had requested a baked pasta dish. And I was happy to oblige!


Prepping my very favorite gluten-free tempeh – Tofurky’s organic 5-grain cake. And do you know this trick? If you use your cheese grater to grate the tempeh, it comes out in much the same texture as ground meat!

Just brown it with onions and spices int he skillet:


Add marinara:


And layer:


And layer:


Tempeh ragù, brown rice noodles, vegan mozzarella, fresh spinach, black olives, repeat.

My honey was home and in comfy clothes by 7:30. Movie night!


Pasta bake with a super awesome side salad of mixed greens from my CSA, shredded carrot, crimini mushrooms, black olives, red bell peppers, and green onions in a vegan bleu cheese. Yup yup.

We put a food-catcher blankie under Waits, haha. But you parents get it, right?!

And because he is 3 1/2, and maybe because our lunch date was just too easy, Waits tasted this dish and insisted it wasn’t for him. A pasta fail??! That’s a first ’round these parts, but I may have been pushing it with the tempeh.

Good ol’ kidney beans never let me down. With olive oil and nooch, and he was a happy camper.


We watched Ice Age. It was pretty much perfect.


I heart Sundays!

  • jenn

    Are you not drinking coffee anymore Seyward? Just curious and then perhaps why.

  • http://windycityvegan.wordpress.com/ Monika {windycityvegan}

    What an awesome day! And it sounds like your mister has a pad close by . . . no more commuting to/from L.A.? :-D I’m finally ready to jump on the stevia bandwagon, because Ni’s been begging me to make Meyer lemonade. I saw some Pyure at the co-op a few days ago, and now your review – a happy coincidence! I remember when Ni hit the magic stage of restaurant-appropriate behavior, and now we go out for a Girls’ Lunch almost every weekend, at our favorite Mexican joint down the road. Right now she orders sides from the a la carte menu and builds her own burritos. (I’m guessing Waits replaced his cheese, not his beans, with corn? Ni does the same thing.) And I’m definitely trying the grated tempeh trick next time I make something meaty – right now I’ve just been using steel cut oats to sub the texture of ground beef in a meal. We’ve been eating a lot of tempeh steak lately, but it’s good to change things up so thanks for the tip!

  • http://luminousvegans.com/ luminousvegans

    Beautiful pictures! Looks like a wonderful day filled with good food and family. That pasta bake looks like my kinda meal…delicious and easy!

  • Sierra Mcpeak

    What a wonderful Sunday! I’m so glad you shared your Tempeh trick. I’m recently discovering that I’m gluten intolerant, so most of the meat analogues that I used to use are not an option anymore. Oh, and, this is weird, but – I’ve been in Seattle for almost 10 years, but I’m originally from Fresno. Every time I see pics of your yard and see the soil I get homesick. It’s so different than the soil up here. I swear, I see your pics and I can suddenly smell and feel the soil:)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    The tempeh trick is awesome, I’m g-f too and miss the meat analogues (well, just field roast really) but there are lots of things you can do to replace them. French lentils cooked al dente also make a good ground meat sub!

    Haha, that’s funny about the soil. I thin kI know what you mean though. Glad to bring you a little slice of home! =D

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I am mostly not! I have trouble controlling my coffee intake, and once I get started I end up ramping up so that I’m drinking a LOT, and then it starts really affecting my energy. Mostly, when I drink coffee in the morning I crash hard in the afternoon. Tea doesn’t do that, so I’m mostly sticking to tea these days.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Hehe, yes, no more love commute. You caught that huh? ;-)

    Definitely give stevia a try! NuNaturals and Pyure are the two I’d recommend, all the others I’ve tried have been awful. And I’m soo excited about this new prospect of mommy-son dates with Waits. SO excited! I know I have to mourn each passing stage because it’s precious and it will be gone for good, but seriously so far in my experience of parenting, it just *keeps getting better*. I’m so excited for the next few years with Waits, as he continues to grow and develop himself. You must have so much fun with Ni at her age now!

  • michellelfelt

    That sounds like such a fun Sunday. Tempeh is not in my rotation on a regular basis and I will definitely be trying the grating trick. Also, I’d be just as happy with Wait’s dinner…beans and nooch, yum.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks! It was a great day, ad yes – I’m all for super easy warm sloppy comforting delicious dinners, ha!

  • Emily

    Your What We Ate Wednesday posts are some of my absolute favorites! You always give me such great ideas. Often the lunches you pack for Waits I use as ideas to pack lunches for myself at work! And that pasta dish looks so good. I’ve only had tempeh out because I don’t know that much about what to do with it but this gives me a great idea!

  • Katia

    I love all the thing Waits eats! I am going crazy with my 2 year old that won’t eat a thing besides yogurt, banana and bread :( and only ocassionally a veggie or two. I wanted to attempt your larabar recipe and was wondering if it would work with a vitamix as I don’t have a food processor. LOVE your posts, always make me feel so good and positive! Much love from Spain :)

  • Sonja

    this is so lovely! Sounds like a perfect day and Waits seems to be such a great little person <3 Inspiring as always

  • Kelly H.

    Your little man is darling! Growing up so fast…with such long hair. I love these “what I ate” posts as well. Happy to read your joy… :)

  • http://coconutandberries.com/ coconutandberries

    Love these posts Sayward! Waits is so darn cute with his “just a little hungry” moments and even more so in that checked shirt with his ponty tail :)
    That baked pasta looks super scrummy.

  • http://windycityvegan.wordpress.com/ Monika {windycityvegan}

    Ni and I have *too much* fun, if that’s even possible. Things have definitely gotten better as she’s matured!!

  • Lindsey

    What a lovely day! I want to make that pasta dish! Couple questions, 1) do you cook the brown rice noodles first? 2) How long do you bake it and at what temp? Thanks!!

  • veronika

    nice account of the shopping trip! awesome finds indeed!

    on this note, i realized that it’s been a while since you’ve added to your “fashion” section. i found myself perusing the shoe selection at my local thrift store the other day, and realized that maybe i don’t really want the leather boots i was checking out. i wish i was living somewhere where i could wear my havaianas all year, but the seattle weather simply doesn’t permit that sort of behavior, and i hate wearing rubber boots [wait, is that one of the reasons you moved out of the PNW? :) ]

    anyways, would love to hear your opinion, current picks/choices, and of course, thoughts in general. cheers.

  • Jacqueline Ryan Boissonneau

    i love that recipe–simple & delicious sounding–can’t wait to try it!

  • Melanie

    My kids say that all day! “I’m just a bit hungry.” All the time. Love those food-catching blankets :) Also, I totally understand you relief mixed with grief at your lunch date. I feel that way often.

  • natiann123

    I love this. I can only hope I can so easily get my kids (and husband!) to eat this way when the time for children comes. I already eat this way, but I know the kiddos are another story. SO inspirational!