What We Ate Wednesday: I Heart Santa Barbara (Plus A Giveaway! – CLOSED)

March 4th, 2014 - filed under: The Food » Food Styles

This time of year, the pink Jasmine is blooming all over my yard and all over the city, and so I bring sprigs inside every few days, sprinkled around the house so we can live jasmine-scented lives . . .

The other night I went reading back through the archives here on this blog, which is something I like to do from time to time. Life changes so much and quickly. I’m grateful to have many years of mine recorded here, just a click or two away at any given time. It’s one of my favorite things about having a blog, actually.

And man o man, my life has changed a lot over the years! These days are overflowing, bursting at the seams, rushing and stretching and never quite managing to fit it all in. But it’s good. So good.

This is what it looks like, on a typical Wednesday:


We wake up. I put on a kettle to boil for tea, and fix Waits a bowl of chia pudding – almost always chia pudding these days. That up there is the chia, beginning its soak.


While the kettle heats and the chia gels, I fix the kid his lunch. A large “share snack” for all his classmates to partake in, plus one or two grounding foods just for him. On this day I packed a homemade trail mix for the kiddos to share, and for him a small bowl of leftover pasta and a small bowl of kidney beans + olive oil + nutritional yeast.


The chia, post soak.


Waits eats his breakfast – chia pudding and a glass of oat milk – while Jeremy reads to him. He’s super into The Magic School Bus series right now, which I love because they’re all about science! His favorites are the ones where they go inside the human body. Ask him where food goes when you eat it, he’ll tell you the entire progression, teeth to poop. And oh boy, don’t even get him started on the white blood cells!


While they do that I’m continuing my kitchen work: making my lunch, and Jeremy’s too. And drinking black tea, oh yes. Lots and lots of black tea.


Left: my lunch, an enormous simple salad with shredded romaine, lentils, quinoa, grated carrot, and red onion. With my famous homemade tahini dressing on the side. The giant (that’s a 30 ouncer) mason jar is full of iced nettle infusion tea, which I’ll have with lunch.

Jeremy’s lunch is leftovers from the night before: lentils, quinoa, and steamed broccoli, topped with my godfather’s homemade purple sauerkraut. Accompanied by the same amazing tahini sauce on the side.


And finally, my morning kitchen mission ends with a big blenderfull of green smoothie, which we share. Getting us back on green smoothies is one of the best things I’ve done for our diet recently! It’s funny how the smoothie cycle ebbs and flows.

These days our smoothie recipe is pretty standard: 2+ cups plant milk, a few handfuls spinach, kale, collards, or some combo of these, 2 large scoops protein powder, 1 ripe banana, about a cup of some other frozen fruit, a tablet of zinc, a capsule of K2, and a capsule of probiotics. Sometimes I’ll add a scoop of peanut putter . . . because peanut butter.

(If you want to read about why I supplement the way I do, see here)

Once the smoothie is portioned and poured, my kitchen work is done. I’m chasing Waits around, wrestling as we get dressed, trying to make a game out of getting ready. Scrambling. And finally, somehow, we’re out the door – draped in book bags and lunch bags and tea-to-go and a kiddo in my arms, kissing Jeremy goodbye and heading out to school, the both of us.


I drop Waits off at preschool, and then head out to UCSB for my first class. Parasites!

After class, I haul my books, computer, and food over to the UCEN, where there’s comfy seating and blessed wifi. That’s where I’ll park for the next few hours, working on my computer and at some point in there, eating lunch.


This is a Wednesday, and on Wednesday’s we have a small Farmer’s Market that comes to campus. So before my 1 o’clock class, I make my way to the far end of UCSB, to bask in the sun and the pretty winter produce:


On this particular day, I splurged and grabbed some locally-made nut butter and some artisan local jelly, both of which were adorably packaged and completely delicious.

I have classes all afternoon, but managed to fit an iced black tea in there:


My last class ends around 3:30, and I’m off to pick Waits up from school. On the way I snack – today it was one of the Taste Of Nature bars that the company had sent me for review:

photo 1 (5)

This is a newish Canadian company that makes all-organic, vegan, gluten-free whole foods snack bars (and as an aside, their website is gorgeous. Like, seriously gorgeous!). What really caught my attention with the Taste Of Nature bars is that they’re made exclusively from fruit, nuts, seeds, and natural sweeteners. That’s it. They’re a lot like Lara Bars, but unlike Lara Bars, they’re completely organic! Which is ace in my book. They’re also made in Canada and the company uses green manufacturing, packing, and shipping practices. Basically they’re all-around awesome and they get two big thumbs up from me.

Which is why, at the end of this post, I’ll be giving away 3 boxes of them! So keep reading . . .


On Wednesdays I pick up Waits just before dusk. And on this Wednesday, we met with some friends down by the beach, for a sunset cruise – the boys both tooling around on their little vehicles, the mamas walking and talking a few paces behind them. It was a gorgeous evening, rolling and strolling past the harbor, the breakwater, the pier, and finally down to the skate park.


We hung out a bit by the skate park, watching in awe as the big kids flipped and flew through the air. Some day, kiddo. Some day.


At sundown the temperature plummeted, and it was time to head home. Earlier that day Jeremy had mentioned he was craving a TLT, so that’s exactly what I made for dinner. Baked “bacon”-style tofu, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches with plenty of Vegenaise, plus a side of baked sweet potato with nutritional yeast and coconut oil.



Waits had a vegan cheese and olive pizza on whole wheat crust, with a side of kidney beans and carrot sticks, but I totally forgot to take a picture of that. Whoops!


After bath time and getting-ready-for-bed time, all it took was a single book and a single song and he was asleep, allowing me to work until Jeremy got home around 10:00. Late nights are for my man, chatting about our days while he eats – this time on his much-desired TLT and baked sweet potato.

It was a long day. Another crazy day in Cali, in this crazy crazy life. But undoubtedly, a very good day.

♥ ♥ ♥


Giveaway time! Alright friends, Taste Of Nature is generously offering a 6-bar variety pack full of wholesome, organic, vegan and gluten-free snack bars to THREE lucky blog readers. Yay!

And here’s the deal. I think “like-gating” / “fan-gating” is weird and insincere and it squicks me out and I’m just not down for it. So I’m not going to make you do it.

That said, the truth is that social media stats are pretty important these days, in blogging as well as in business. So no, I’m not going to require you to “like” me all over the Internet just to enter this giveaway. But, if you do like my blog and enjoy the work I do here – and this goes for any blog really – then liking my Facebook page, or following me on Instagram or on Twitter is a great, easy way to help me out. Those numbers actually really do count.

And the same goes for Taste Of Nature. No, I won’t manipulate you into following them as a way to get more entries in this contest. But if you’d like to support an awesome organic vegan gluten-free company, a great way would be to like them on Facebook, or follow them on Instagram or on Twitter.

But you don’t have to! No coercion. Fair?

Now, if you want to enter, what you DO have to do is just to leave a comment here, on this post. And let’s see, how about . . . tell me your favorite nut!

Okay, go. Good luck y’all!

Edited to add: giveaway will end Thursday 6 March at midnight PST, and winners will be announced Monday!

  • Emily

    All of your food just looks ridiculously delicious. Always inspiring me to eat better. You are always giving me ideas. That salad for lunch looks heavenly. Right now I’d say my favorite nut is almonds. I love them on oatmeal, for snacking, to make almond milk, for almond butter…yeah I really like that nut.

  • JulieTobin

    ooh those bars look good. And your TLT looks like what I wanna eat right now, yum! Current favorite nut is probably cashew – fave homemade nut butter is cashew/pecan, so yummy on apples.

  • Miet

    My favourite nut is the hazelnut. I used to love nutella…yes, hazelnuts and chocolate…. But I love cashews for their versatility in cooking (though they seem so expensive!), and walnuts for their omega-3′s.

  • Emily

    Love reading the Wednesday posts :) My favorite nut is definitely cashew- love making creamy sauces and cheese with them! <3

  • Sonja

    your what I eat Wednesday-posts are one of my favorites and they never fail to inspire. Thanks so much!

  • Maddy

    I can’t pick just one favorite nut, but the top contenders are almonds, pistachios, and cashews!

  • Kim

    Hmmm. Toss up between cashews and almonds. But I typically buy more almonds.

  • kris

    Today my favourite (not) nut is the humble peanut. Because I’m currently living as a volunteer, on a small island off the Canadian west coast, peanuts are affordable, accessible, have enough fat and protein for that boost and are delicious…. to quote you “because peanut butter”. ‘Nuff said.
    p.s. thank you for supporting a great Canadian company! :)

  • Christa

    Almond! But sadly I was told I have an intolerance to them, so now it’s cashews!

  • Shannon Mathers

    I’ve been eating those Nature bars for years (I’m Canadian) and they never get boring. I love them!

  • Sarah Sylvester

    MMM…nuts.. I would have to go with pistachio.

  • Cathi

    Dear almonds, I love you and your versatility to become ‘butter’ and ‘milk’ or to be delicious all on your own! Love your blog Sayward!

  • B

    Gorgeous Post!! As for the nuts – walnuts!! Earthy, versatile, hugely nutritious, fun to shell and they look like little brains. What’s not to love? :)

  • Truc

    FAVORITE NUT THAT IS LIKE ASKING ME TO PICK MY FAVORITE CHILD. Except I don’t have children. And I do eat nuts. Um.

    Hmmmm……I think I have to go with pecan, because any baked good with pecans in it will draw me like moths to a moth-friendly light bulb. Also because I remember from an experiment in 9th grade that pecans are 90% fat, and who doesn’t like fat.

  • ljhook

    ANY nuts except peanuts (which aren’t actually nuts anyway!) They are ALL yummy!
    By the way, do you have a recipe for the “bacon” tofu you made??

  • Susanne Hartmann

    Pine Nuts are my favorite – if sweet in cookies or savory in salads, sauces and pesto!
    Thanks for all the inspiring ideas and recipes :)

  • Jenny

    Hmm, that’s a hard one. Raw almonds or pistachios to snack on and cashews to cook with (cashew cream sauce). Depends what I’m in the mood for. I love your blog posts by the way!

  • nicole

    i love pistachios and hazelnuts! but i (like you) love science too. and for my little science lovers in training i found an AWESOME cd by “they migh be giants” called ‘here comes science’, not sure if it has hit your radar yet. anyway, they have awesome sciencey songs like ‘my brother the ape’, ‘photosynthesis’ and ‘the bloodmobile’. the last song came to mind when you mentioned how waits loves those white blood cells!! i got the cd when my kiddos where 1 and 2 and now, at 6 and 7, they still love listening to it!!

  • Christy

    My cat is pretty nutty, does that count? My current edible nut favorite is almond, i’m making almond everything these days. Just made almond “tuna” salad yesterday.

  • Katie

    I’m addicted to macadamia nuts from this farm: http://www.exvalhalla.net/ Amazing.

  • Kelly

    Almonds and Cashews baked with lots of fun toppings!!

  • KLo

    I’ll have to go with favorite nut of the moment, which is soaked and dehydrated walnuts. It’s been a walnut renaissance for me. So good on salads with avocado. And thanks for the lack of coercion. I don’t enter many giveaways on blogs I follow for that reason. And that seems ungrateful since there is free loot to be had, but I do appreciate it (and follow you on Facebook).

  • Colleen B.

    currently crushing on almonds! they have become my mid afternoon every day pick me up!

  • ashley o.

    I love brazil nuts.

  • Stephanie DiFilippo

    If i really have to pick just one, I’d say hazelnut, with pecans and pistachio’s a close second and third. But in a way, it’s just impossible to live without cashews and cashew cream, so I’m not sure how they aren’t first…

  • Brandee H

    I love and have missed these posts! My favourite nuts are cashews. And Pistachios always remind me of my mom so when I am missing her I have a handful. .

  • Sarah

    love me some almonds

  • Deirdre

    I totally <3'd a glimpse into your day and SB! All that lovely sun and sweet smiles :) I regretfully raise my hand guilty as charged for nabbing all the cashews out of the mixed nuts bag.

  • Tammy

    I love love love cashews!!!

  • Abby Rozen

    Cashews. Yay Taste of Nature – they sell them by the bulk at Costco in Canada – have you had the coconut ones? My favorite!

  • Karen Barnes

    I LOVE pistachios!!! Would love to try these bars…

  • Nicole Selah Destrampe

    Brazil nuts are far and away my favorite!

  • Jenn

    We’ll I’ll be honest here, my favorite nut is… ME :)

  • Erin

    My kiddo’s totally into lara bars these days, i’d love to give something new a try!

  • http://kellisvegankitchen.com/ Kelli Roberts

    I think choosing a favorite nut must be like choosing a favorite child :) Peanuts? Almonds? Macs? Nope, just can’t do it…. What very full, busy days you have. Non-stop, full of good things!

  • Grace

    I would have to say my favorite nuts are pistachios.

  • Jolana Bouchouia

    I love walnuts, put them on my oatmeal every morning.

  • Katherina

    Almonds. Definitely. I’ve long been a fan of the homemade almond milk, the almond oil on my body, and slivered almonds in a salad. That said, I’ve never jumped on the almond butter train – until yesterday. My friend made some zoom balls with a cup of almond butter, a T of honey and some wonderfully nourishing adaptogenic herbs, and I was in heaven. Tasted like a truffle!!! All hail the almighty almond!

  • MollyG

    All the nuts are my favorite!! Cashews, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, etc! These bars would make for an excellent post-run treat! Thanks for doing the giveaway!!

  • raechel

    Sayward, thanks for taking the time to write this post! Less than a year out of grad school, I know the insane amount of work you have to go through in order to get those degrees, and I cannot imagine doing it with a kiddo! I was always so humbled by the moms in my cohort. Bravo, lady!

    As far as nuts go, almonds will always be a favorite, but there’s something wonderful about the versatility of a cashew! :)

    And finally, I’ve commented before that I went through a similar end-of-a-long-term-relationship-moving-to-a-new-place-major-life-changes-reflective-period, and reading along with your chronicles of the hard times was incredibly powerful and important to me…. However, strangely enough, I can also relate to falling wild crazy in love unexpectedly and quickly after all that transforming, and I am so appreciative to see you writing about your new love so unabashedly. I have felt a lot of judgement from people who think it’s “too soon,” but I’m grateful to see you embrace your happiness! Life is too short not to! xoox

  • shannon

    Almonds Almonds Almonds!

  • http://heartofgaveggies.blogspot.com/ JonathanAlisha

    As a G.R.I.T.S. (Girl raised in the south) I should say my favorite nut is pecan but I really love hazelnuts especially hazelnut milk. I just wish we had it available in this area, but we travel to stock up at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Thanks for offering this giveaway! I’m always up for trying new things especially since they are not always available in this area. Also, I really enjoy your post.

  • Maria


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

    My favorite nut is the filbert! Toasted and then ground into a flour is my favorite way to use filberts, or ground up raw for a tart crust, or combined in any number of ways with bittersweet chocolate, or homemade filbert milk, or just eaten by the handful.

    If I’m making nut butter or using nuts for decoration or making my version of a ‘shamrock shake’, I have to go with Nina’s favorite nut, the pistachio.

  • jill

    we’re using cashews a lot lately…I’m addicted to slathering a faux-sour cream and garlic sauce on my kale!

  • ikkinlala

    I like most nuts. I think my favourite is walnuts, but only if they’re really fresh (I buy them mail-order). If I’m shopping at a supermarket, almonds are more reliably good.

  • Ashley

    depends on my mood, but at the moment, pistachios or walnuts. !

  • http://practicalecologist.blogspot.com/ Rachel

    My favorite nut (other than my sister, who is a total nut) is the lovely pistachio! Oh how savory and buttery you are!

  • Caitlin Browder

    SO HARD TO CHOOSE A FAVORITE NUT. Depends on what it’s being used for! For straight up snacking, I have to go with cashews or almonds. But I love them all! Peanuts are definitely my least favorite, but that’s likely because my significant other is deathly allergic, so it’s easier just to avoid them in general.

  • Tammy Digmann-Smith

    I would definitely have to say cashews, just because they are so versatile and I use them in so many recipes, particularly “cheezy” recipes.