Stuff Your Face: Poppy + Rose

If I had two daughters I’d totally want to name one Poppy since I already have a Rose.  Floral themed offspring names, SO cute!  This may be one of the reasons we ventured to downtown to check out Poppy + Rose (not really).  The other, more important reason was the fried chicken (really).

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Poppy + Rose is aptly named since it is located in the middle of Los Angeles’ flower district, right next to the Flower Mart.  On Saturdays there’s a small farmer’s market out front which makes parking a little difficult.  The meters in the neighborhood are a whopping $4 per hour and 2 hour max.  The restaurant website says they validate structure parking, but I was not into trying to find where that particular lot was. We ended up parking on a nearby rooftop lot for $5 (beware: many lots advertise a $5 rate but add conditions like ‘not on Saturdays or for special events’).

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flowers everywhere

What we ordered:

Two Egg Breakfast Plate $9.50

Buttermilk Fried Chicken + Waffle $13

Plain Bagel + Cream Cheese $4

Two Coffees $5

Fresh Squeezed OJ $3.50

For about $40 we had a great meal.  Well, two of us did.  One of us just snacked on puffs and tried escaping her high chair the whole time.

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Couldn’t resist a close up of the super crispy batter.  How can you go wrong with fried chicken first thing in the morning? Added bonus: they make their own hot sauce that is delicious on these fried birds.

While the food wasn’t out of this world, and the location is a bit tricky for us Valley kids to get to, it was a nice place to spend a Saturday morning with our little family.  This place is no fuss, you order when you walk in and there’s plenty of seating + high chairs.  The service is great (we got a few refills on coffee without even having to ask), and the crowd is not pretentious hipster so you can definitely take your loud little ones without feeling like you’re intruding.

Because lord knows, the only moment of peace we got during breakfast was this photograph of flowers being still:

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Poppy + Rose
765 Wall St
Los Angeles, CA90014

(213) 995-7799

 

 

Parenting Fail: When Mealtimes Become Sensory Play and Mommy Loses It

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Parents of toddlers/older babies know what I’m talking about.  You sit down to a healthy balanced meal that you poured lots of thought and energy into making.  It smells delicious, it looks beautiful.  You go to give your child a taste and the dreaded locked mouth makes an appearance.  You decide maybe your toddler wants to feed herself, so you spoon some pieces onto the table for her.  She picks it up slowly.  She inches it toward her mouth.  You have hope that she will love your food.  But it never makes it into her mouth, for she’s already thrown it onto the floor.  I can normally roll with this, but after a full day week of this at EVERY mealtime, I’m all out of patience.

I cannot just let my child subsist on crumbs here an there.  NO! I can’t let her wither away into skin and bones! Doesn’t she know that she needs food to grow and develop? The answer is no. No, she does not know.  So when she smashed her food all over her tray and made it rain salmon and peas all around her, I lost it.  And then I felt awful.  “NO WE DO NOT THROW OUR FOOD ALL OVER THE FLOOR!!!” I said it so loudly that I startled her.  It was the second time in two days that I did this.  Nothing I had been doing was working and I was at my wits end.  I’m sure you’re judging me right now, so I want to share with you all the things I tried before I lost it.

Things I’ve tried:

  1. Redirecting the food throwing. “R, will you put that pea in the bowl?  Good job!” This works if she’s merely throwing food, and not smashing it as well.
  2. Simultaneous feeding.  “Can you feed that to mommy? I’ll feed you this at the same time.” This used to work, but no longer.
  3. Giving her utensils to attempt to feed herself.  This does not work.  She becomes wrapped up in moving the food around the table with her fork/spoon that she never eats a bite.
  4. Giving her her favorite foods every time.  This works temporarily, until her favorite foods lose their luster.
  5. Taking the tray away when she starts throwing food. This just makes her mad
  6. Taking the food from her tray the moment she starts smashing it around and ending mealtime.  This makes her happy, but then stresses me out because she hasn’t eaten a DAMN thing.
  7. Raising my voice.  “STOP SMASHING FOOD!!!” This does NOT work, and only makes me cry tears of regret afterward.

This challenge has brought up an issue I think will be huge for us in the near future–discipline.  What does caring discipline look like? What does it look like at each age?  I fear that my teaching background has caused me to expect way too much from my 15 month old and need to take it down a notch.  My hope is that I haven’t somehow damaged her with inconsistency and loony behavior on my end.  Here’s to keeping calm and carrying on!

 

Coffee Klatch: Bonavita Coffee Maker

After 12 Valentine’s Days together, the usual jewelry and flowers kind of gets predictable.  So this year we opted for a mutual gift that we could both enjoy for years to come–a new coffee maker.  IMG_5288.JPG

You read that right.  We got each other a Bonavita coffee maker.  This is perfect for us since we are a) always tired and b) LOVE a good brew.  There was nothing wrong with our old one, we just wanted a bit of an upgrade.  It was definitely a treat yo’self type of purchase.  In my opinion, there’s no better way to give gifts.  Gifts are all about what you want, not what you need.

Because S is such a logical man, he created a taste test for us the first time we used it.  He brewed the exact same coffee in our old and new machine and poured them for me to decide which one I preferred.  Let me just say, that I could hardly tell the difference and when pushed to make a choice, I chose the old coffee maker.  (fail)  Obviously I’m not as sophisticated of a coffee drinker as I think I am.

While I love the new machine, there are a couple drawbacks that I’ll share with you if you’re considering a Bonavita for yourself. 1) the lid to the pot is really hard to assemble.  2) it’s difficult to get the last ounce or two out of the pot as it catches on the curve of the pot and doesn’t pour out easily.  Other than those two things, it looks great and pours a delicious cup of joe.

Next on our coffee crazed shopping list: an automatic burr grinder.

 

Finger Foods: Tuna Cheddar Bites

I never thought I’d have a go-to repertoire of finger food recipes, but I do.  These recipes aren’t for cocktail parties either, though I could use a cocktail while I serve them to my toddler.  Nope, ever since the Little decided she didn’t want to be spoon fed and started using utensils like drumsticks, I’ve resorted to finding as many healthy finger food recipes as I can.

Here’s one that is hit or miss for R, but I keep making them because I LOVE them! It’s a recipe I found at Simple Bites, and it’s SO yummy! These Tuna Cheddar Bites are simple to make and use some pantry essentials so you probably don’t have to go to the store to get ingredients. Here’s the last remaining Bite after mommy devoured the rest.

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Here’s the Recipe from Simple Bites:
Ingredients
1 170g can of tuna, drained
1/3 cup sour cream
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup minced sweet onion
2 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Instructions
Preheat oven to 325F and lightly grease a 12-cup mini muffin tin.
Put the drained tuna into a bowl and use a wooden spoon to break it apart into very small flakes. Mix in the sour cream, tomato paste, sweet onion and parsley.
In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and the salt. Add them to the tuna mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Add the cheese and mix.
Divide the mixture between the mini muffin cups; I used a 1 1/2 Tablespoon ice cream scoop. Bake tuna cheddar bites for 15-17 minutes or until they are set.
Remove bites from oven and let stand in the tins for 5 minutes. Use a sharp knife or offset spatula to loosen around the edges of the bites and remove them from the tin. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
Notes
These bites reheat beautifully, which means you can double up on a batch and freeze half for quick lunch fixes. To reheat: bake from frozen at 350F for 12-15 minutes.

*I swapped Italian parsley for cilantro, and added greek yogurt instead of the sour cream.  And guess what? It was delicious.

Some days R can eat a few of these, and some days she’ll just take a nibble.  Toddlers are fickle about foods, so try these out and see what yours thinks.  If they don’t like it, you’ve got a delicious protein packed treat for yourself.

Coffee Klatch: Paramount Coffee Project

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We LOVE coffee.  The obsession started before our year in Seattle, but intensified while we were there for sure.  Now, whenever we hear of a good coffee spot in town we have to try it.  We actually revolve our weekend mornings around making it to one of these spots since most of them are a good car ride from home base.

To be honest, most of these are hipster coffee spots in Mid City or the Eastside, and they make it incredibly hard for you to bring your baby/toddler.  They don’t offer high chairs or changing tables, and they more often than not have super cramped and minimalist spaces that make it really uncomfortable for any squirmy kid you happen to bring.  But, seriously hipsters, that is NOT going to stop us.  No, not us, the coffee obsessed and sleep deprived parents of a toddler.  We shall bring our own booster chair and we shall change diapers in the trunk of our car–priorities, right?

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One of these Saturday mornings brought us to Paramount Coffee Project.  This place was everything a hipster coffee spot required: cool servers, cramped indoor space, cute outdoor patio, mason jar serving ware, retro furniture, and slow service.  We started by ordering our caffeine.  For me a filtered coffee and for him a flat white with an extra shot. *Notice the mason jar to hold my extra coffee.

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Luckily for us it wasn’t just bench seating and there was a chair for us to attach a booster.  Now, among the 20 something singles sipping their coffee and working on their laptops there would be a 1 year old flinging porridge onto the floor.

For breakfast we ordered 1. Banana Porridge 2. Frijoles y Queso and 3. Bubble and Squeak Hash with an egg.  All three were delicious.  Most hipster coffee spots do coffee well and food okay.  I’ll say that this coffee spot had good coffee and a killer breakfast! Obviously we ordered the porridge for R, but she wanted to eat our egg whites instead, so we feasted on her left overs.  Of all three dishes I’d say that the porridge was the star.  Shocking, I know, but the winter spices added to it were perfect.

So let’s say you have a baby and you just don’t feel like being that annoying family that doesn’t realize their time for places like this has passed.  Fear not, you can still enjoy PCP coffee and treats at the to go window.

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This place was definitely worth the trip over the hill.  Now it’s your turn.  Go get some coffee!

Paramount Coffee Project

456 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

 

Getting Fit the Lazy Way

 

IMG_4794Sweatpants are for lounging around the house and sneakers are for making you look sporty, not running outdoors.  Am I right? Is there such a thing as getting fit AND being lazy?  The hubs and I are attempting to prove that there is.  We’ve both put on, and kept on, a significant amount of weight since R came along (about 10-15 lbs each).

It’s been a long journey of just getting to this point for myself.  After gaining 45 lbs with the pregnancy, the first 30 lbs required a lot of exercise and careful eating (can anyone say Whole 30?).  I was super motivated to do it, but then I got to these last 15 lbs.  My motivation dwindled because I didn’t feel as huge, I just felt a little bigger.  I could hide my pooch with loose clothing, and I bought bigger jeans with REAL buttons.  This was just the new me–until I started seeing the number on the scale start to rise again.

We were so used to being exhausted from new parenthood, that as soon as baby went to bed at 7pm, we would get into our jammies, whip out the snacks and start bingeing on our favorite shows until 11pm.  That’s 4 hours of being couch potatoes. Nightly! After 6 months of this we started to feel kind of gross.

Here’s where the problem lies, we are both so lazy that neither of us wants to go to the gym or go on a real diet.  We made a plan that works for us, and we are committing to it for 30 days.  I’ll let you know next month if our Lazy Plan works.  I’ve detailed the rules below in case you’re interested in joining this little experiment.

Get Fit the Lazy Way

  • cut the lattes (drink plain coffee instead)
  • cut the snacks at night (no replacement for this one)
  • half your dinner and lunch portions (at this point it means eating a normal sized meal since we were overeating)
  • do this 30 day workout challenge by Melissa Bender (it’s free and doesn’t require any equipment)
  • weigh yourself once a week to motivate yourself

We are one week in and I’ve already lost 4 lbs.  I am pretty sure my weight fluctuates by 4 lbs on the daily, but I’m gonna take it! 3 more weeks to go!

Healthy Eats: Paleo Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

The other day my mom gave me about 3 dozen peaches and nectarines. I told her it was too many for just the two of us, but she insisted that I take them all. She had buckets full in her kitchen, so I think she wanted to unload them on me. I took to eating one peach a night, and soon realized that I would never make it through the lot. So I scoured Pinterest for an easy peasy cobbler recipe and found this one on Paleo Fitness Mama’s website. It stood out to me because it was simple, required few ingredients, and no added sugar.  The part that took me the longest was cutting all the peaches.  For a non-baker, this recipe was awesome to follow for its simplicity.  Sad news is: it turns out that about 5 peaches is all it took to make this cobbler (I still have a good amount of peaches left.) 

Peaches, Blueberries, and Honey for the filling

Peaches, Blueberries, and Honey for the filling

Here’s her recipe:

Ingredients
For the filling:
  • 5 cups peaches (sliced)
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 – 4 tbsp honey 
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder (not required, but will help thicken the juices)
For the topping:
  • 1½ cups of almond flour
  • ¼ cup of melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of cinnamon is desired
 
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients for the filling and gently toss (hands work great)
  3. Lightly grease pan with butter or coconut oil.
  4. Pour into an 8 in. by 8 in. baking pan.
  5. In a small bowl mix together all the ingredients for the topping and then spread evenly over the top of the filling mixture.
  6. Bake until the topping is slightly golden (about 40 minutes)
voila!

voila!

I left out the arrowroot powder and it came out fine.  The only thing I will say about this recipe is that the peaches didn’t soften enough in the oven.  Next time I’ll use over ripened peaches.  The crumble part of the cobbler seems to be the tastiest bit (of course), I might increase the amount of topping I make next time.  And there will probably be a next time.  If you have an easy and tasty peach recipe, send it my way.  I’ve got quite a few to go through yet.