What Robin Eats

"A Strong Body Equals a Healthy Mind."


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Gluten Free and Lactose Free Eggplant Lasagna, in collaboration with Lucini.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how crazy am I for wearing a cream sweater during the entire cooking process of my gluten free and lactose free eggplant lasagna made with Lucini’s Organic Rustic Tomato Basil? Joel was eyeing me like a hawk the entire time because he was so stressed that I would get some on my sweater. Why didn’t I switch sweaters? I was cozy and it’s new so I HAD TO WEAR IT. Keep reading to see how it ended and for this epic lasagna recipe!

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I’m a big tomato basil fan. That’s why I drooled all over my phone when Lucini reached out to collaborate with their organic rustic tomato basil sauce. I knew exactly what I was going to make too, my gluten free and lactose free eggplant lasagna! This lasagna was one of the first recipes I ever uploaded to whatrobineats.com but this time I’m making it lactose free because that’s my life now.

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Lucini is prepped in small batches using 100% natural ingredients. They work with small regional farmers, celebrated chefs, health and wellness experts to continue to provide customers with an unmatched selection of ingredients, gourmet recipes, quality, assurance, and convenience. This is all a win-win in my book when it comes to choosing a company to collaborate with and feed to my family. In addition to organic sauces, Lucini Italia also offers premium extra virgin olive oil. You can learn more behind the bottle here. 

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Eggplant Lasagna:

  • 1 pound grass fed ground beef (can leave out for a vegetarian version or add a meat substitute)
  • 1 + 1/2 cups  Lucini’s Organic Rustic Tomato Basil
  • Handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise into about 6-8 large slices
  • 1/2 cup almond ricotta cheese (can use regular ricotta cheese if you’re not sensitive to dairy)
  • 1/2 cup lactose free cottage cheese (can sub for more ricotta cheese if you’d like but I like this combo best)
  • 1 pasture raised egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegan parmesan cheese (can use regular)
  • 1/2 cup almond mozzarella cheese shreds (can use regular)

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Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Cook the grass fed ground beef on a skillet. Break up the beef and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the beef is no longer pink.
  • Next add the Lucini’s Organic Rustic Tomato Basil, basil, and dried oregano. Stir until well combined then turn heat to a simmer.
  • Place sliced eggplant on large baking sheet lightly coated with EVOO. Sprinkle with sea salt and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes to help dry out the eggplant. After eggplant is done cooking, remove the skin. You can also peel the eggplant before slicing if you’d prefer. Set aside.
  • In a medium size bowl, mix together the almond ricotta cheese, cottage cheese (or more ricotta), vegan parmesan, and egg until well combined. Remove the beef meat sauce from the heat and add 1/2 cup of meat sauce to the ricotta mixture.
  • To assemble lasagna: spread 1/2 of the beef meat sauce into the bottom of a 8×8 inch baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray or EVOO. Place half of eggplant slices evenly over meat sauce, spread on 1/2 of the ricotta mixture, then sprinkle some almond mozzarella on top. Repeat layers again until all ingredients are used. Cover with foil and bake for 40 min. Remove foil and broil for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly on top. Makes about six servings!

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The Lucini Organic Rustic Tomato Basil sauce really stepped my eggplant lasagna recipe up ten notches. I’m making it again tonight because I need this for the rest of the week! Click here to find Lucini Italia near you! Oh, and I prepped, cooked, shot images, and ate this lasagna without a spec of tomato basil red sauce on my cream sweater. WINNING!


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The most cozy ramen for the most cozy season. In collaboration with Mike’s Mighty Good Ramen Soup.

Noodles weren’t on the menu for a long time. Why? Because I was afraid that they would throw off any “balance” that I had in my life. I had worked so hard to maintain a lifestyle that seemed healthy and I was nervous that eating a bowl of noodles would send everything I had worked so hard for out the window. Those years are long gone and I am happy to say that noodles are on the menu in our home weekly.

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Not just any noodles, but Mike’s Mighty Good ramen noodles. Their noodles are made from scratch daily with fresh flour, water, and salt and they are steamed, not fried. The goodness doesn’t stop there! The broth in Mike’s Mighty Good ramen soup is outta this world and insanely delicious. Made with ingredients you can actually pronounce and they make nine different broth flavors. The flavors range from vegetarian and to spicy beef for the meat lovers. We love their vegetarian kimchi ramen soup! We top it with shrimp, poached egg, and fresh basil but it totally taste great on its own if you are in a rush. The ramen soup takes eight minutes to make from start to finish in the microwave. The greatest mom hack for a quick and warming meal that won’t leave you feeling weighted down.

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Click here to find Mike’s Mighty Good ramen soup near you (Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Jimbo’s to name a few). Don’t forget to use “whatrobineats” for a discount when shopping online!

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Gluten Free Stuffed Acorn Squash, in collaboration with Canyon Bakehouse.

Oh the holidays! Everyone gathers around a table full of delicious food to create memories that will last a lifetime. But what if you’re gluten free, or just would rather eat gluten free like me to make your stomach happy, and you’re afraid there won’t be a single gluten free item on the table for you to enjoy? I have been there and it is so stressful! Instead of worrying I like to offer to bring a side dish that is usually gluten focused, like stuffing, and make it gluten free without lacking in taste.

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This way I can enjoy something that I love and not suffer the consequence of an upset stomach before dessert is served. No one will even notice that the stuffing is gluten free when it’s made with Canyon Bakehouse ancient grain gluten free bread. Their bread is the BEST gluten free bread that I’ve ever tasted. I have been in the search for a solid gluten free bread for a long time and nothing beats Canyon Bakehouse gluten free bread. Don’t even get me started on their bagels. YUM.

Gluten Free Stuffed Acorn Squash (serves 4-5):

  • 2 medium size acorn squash or winter squash variety of your choice 

Directions:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Wash, halve, and remove seeds from your acorn squash. Lightly oil cut surface of squash with extra virgin olive oil, and place cut-side-down on a baking sheet covered in parchment (or a reusable baking mat. I got mine from Amazon!). Bake until squash is tender when pricked with the tip of a knife.. 
  • Flip par-baked squash cut-side-up on the baking sheet. Fill with gluten free stuffing (stuffing directions below) and return filled squash to oven to bake until stuffing is browned, about 15 minutes.

Stuffing ingredients:

  • 1/2 loaf Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free ancient grain bread cut into 3/4” cubes and left to dry out overnight (or lightly toast in the oven for 10 minutes). 
  • 2 Italian chicken sausages, cooked and diced
  • 1 green pear, diced 
  • 1⁄4 white onion, diced 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, minced
  • 1 tbsp non-dairy butter
  • 1⁄3 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1⁄4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add extra virgin olive oil, onions, cooked chicken sausage, garlic, and diced pear, and cook together until the onion and pear are soft and golden. Add the sage, and season to finish. Set aside. 
  • In a large bowl, combine the dried out, or toasted, bread cubes and broth. Stir until bread cubes are slightly hydrated, but not soggy. Add the cooked vegetable and sausage mixture and pumpkin seeds and mix until fully combined. 

3. Stuff into the squash and bake in a lightly greased casserole dish for 15 minutes.

Attending a holiday meal? Click here to find out more ways on how to enjoy yourself without “lack of gluten free food” fear!


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Sugar Cookie Cauli-Oat Bake

Here’s to making my mini pumpkin plates work all year long because they are too cute to pack away! SUGAR COOKIE CAULI-OAT BAKE. Someone messaged me saying they were terrified to try any of my cauli-oat bakes but they are obsessed with all things sugar cookie so they had to have this recipe. That’s the kind of determination and bravery I want to have in all areas of life. Terrified but willing to try it at least once.

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I preach this each time I share a cauli-oat bake recipe but you CANNOT taste the cauliflower. The raio of oats to riced cauliflower is the perfect blend of the two together without feeling like you’re eating a head of cauliflower with some peanut butter drizzled on top. If you’re going to try one of my cauli-oat bakes, this is definitely the one to try!

Sugar Cookie Cauli-Oat Bake:

  • 1 + 1/2 cup GF oats
  • 1 cup riced cauliflower (I use frozen)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 4 Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Tea Bags (soak for 15 minutes in the warmed milk)
  • 2 cups warm nut milk
  • 2-4 tbsp coconut sugar (I used only 2 but if you’d like a little more sugar to your cookie add 4)
  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg white (can sub flax egg)
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Toppings:

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Warm the milk on the stove top or in the microwave for 1:30 minutes. Let tea bags steep for 15 minus before removing.
  • Whisk wet ingredients together, including the banana, and then mix in dry. Let mixture soak for 20 minutes!
  • Pour into an 8×8 baking dish sprayed within nonstick cooking spray and top with pecan pieces. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the center is cooked. 
  • Let cool slightly before slicing. Top with goodies and enjoy!

 I paired my oat bake with my peppermint mocha and it was PERFECT. 

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Cobram Estate Olive Harvest 2019, aka Poppy’s First Flight!

Poppy took her first flight two weeks ago and I will admit, I WAS SO NERVOUS. One, I was nervous to fly just in general. Two, I had no idea how Poppy would act 37,000 feet in the air. Poppy is a superstar because she was so good! I couldn’t believe it. Or maybe I can because she truly is a gem here on the ground so why wouldn’t she be up in the air? I’m thankful the flight went well because we had a full day of Cobram Estate Olive Oil adventuring to do!

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A few things that kept Poppy busy during the flight: tearing apart the inflight magazines, her books, and FOOD. Food was very important because the flight was at 9:15am and she usually has nursed and eaten breakfast by this point. I decided to stop nursing her in the morning this day actually! (Now I only nurse her at night). We were on a time crunch and needed to get out of the house. I was worried that she would be sad but actually she was perfectly fine eating her cereal snack on the way to the airport instead… I’M OK, kinda. I am so proud of her and she’s a lot happier (and less cranky because she wants food instantly after nursing) getting a snack in the morning rather than nursing. During takeoff I had her drink water from her cup with a straw and on the way down she sucked on a puree pack. You can puree your own food but then you’d have to keep it cold. I bought some that are shelf stable until opened. There are so many amazing organic brands out there giving you plenty of options. I brought a handful on the trip to give her when food wasn’t as available. Also, this little narwal snack cup was a huge hit with her. I brought a large ziplock baggie of Kamut Puff Cereal and would refill her snack cup throughout the entire trip. So nice for her to have on the plane, in her carseat, and in the olive groves!

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Now onto the good stuff, the Cobram Estate olive oil tasting room! We landed in beautiful Sacramento and went straight to business. While my mom was on Poppy duty (thanks mom!) I was able to see the olives fresh off the truck from the olive groves go straight into the process of becoming Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oil. Now this is art! The way Cobram Estate cares for their olive oil is unreal. Their process runs 24/7 during the olive harvest to ensure that their olive oil is as fresh as it can be. They have machines that ensure only the freshest olives make it into their oil! Tree to table with a quick pit stop at their olive mill. 

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I could tell right away that their olive oil team means business. These people LOVE olive oil and care about the entire process. Some are even certified olive oil sommeliers! We got to watch their machines sort the olives, extract into fresh olive oil that we tasted right from the spout. How about that for a fresh taste test?

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After learning about their olive oil process (and wearing my new favorite look) we got to learn about the differences in olive oils and the polyphenol levels. (Polyphenols decrease heart disease risk factors by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing blood clotting and improving the health of artery linings.) This is super important: the less processing the better. “Extra virgin” olive oil, which is cold-pressed only once, has the highest polyphenol levels. Two presses (“virgin” olive oil), reduces polyphenol content further, and oil with three extractions contains only about half the value of “virgin” olive oil. Highly refined or “light” olive oils, which use heat or chemicals in the refining process, have significantly lower polyphenol levels. Cobram Estate ONLY bottles extra virgin olive oil. Think of extra virgin olive oil as fresh olive juice. The quicker you use the oil the better the oil is for you. Cobram Estate recommends using their oil within four weeks after opening to ensure the best taste and benefits. I used some the other day in a paleo olive oil chocolate chip cookie recipe. Extra virgin olive oil and dark chocolate, DOUBLE THE YUM. 

From the tasting room we went to their olive fields and I felt like I was in a fairy tale. There were rolling hills beyond the eye could see of olives waiting to become Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oil. We got to ride the harvester, a large machine that picks the olives, and eat the most wonderful dinner featuring all the ways to use Cobram Estate EVOO right in the middle of all the action. We ended the evening with an olive oil carrot cake with an olive oil frosting. Never too much olive oil if you ask me!

Day two we were in Napa and had the morning to ourselves. We did a little exploring and found the best park across from our hotel. This was such a special trip to have my mom and Poppy with me! We’ve never spent this much time together just the three of us. I know my mom and I will cherish this trip forever. We’ll have to show Poppy all the photos and videos so she can remember too!

 

After lunch I made my way to the Rutherford House for the big cook off! We were paired with local chefs to create a special dish using Cobram Estates EVOO. We were surrounded by wilderness and rows of grape vines that truly set the tone for an epic evening. I was paired with Jodie and her brother Sam and we made the BEST citrus olive oil cake topped with charred pear. Cobram Estate EVOO is perfect for every recipe, their extra virgin olive oil is great for roasting, drizzling, grilling, baking, frying, dipping, sauté-ing, making salad dressings, and dessert! There really is no wrong way to use their olive oil. 


Since sharing is caring, I’ve teamed up with Cobram Estate to give one of you and two friends the chance to win a bottle of their First Harvest 100% California extra virgin olive oil ($50 value!) for all your cooking needs. Click here to enter and head to cobramestate.com to find their olive oil near you!

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Peachy Raspberry Prosecco Punch, in collaboration with Riondo Prosecco 21+

What’s a party during nap time without peachy raspberry Riondo prosecco (ad21+) punch and toast topped to perfection?

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Have I ever mentioned that I love our patio set up here in San Diego? We had a patio in LA but it was shared with our neighbor and it never felt very cozy. Now that we have our own private one we’re out on the patio all the time! Today I took our patio time up a notch with this peachy raspberry Riondo prosecco punch and cute fall inspired toast. What could scream more “me” than this combo?

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Peachy Raspberry Prosecco Punch:

  • 1/3 cup organic peach puree (heat 1/2 cup frozen peaches on the stove top with 2 tbsp coconut sugar and 1/4 cup water. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peaches are completely mushy. Blend or pure with an immersion blender. You may have extra puree)
  • Handful of organic raspberries (frozen is best)
  • 1 bottle Riondo rosecco

Directions: Add your peach puree and Riondo prosecco to a giant mason jar or pitcher. Stir gently until combined. Pour desired amount over ice and top with a few frozen raspberries. Serve with my fall inspired toast!

Fall Toasts:

  • 2 slices toasted sourdough bread
  • 1/4 cup probiotic or vegan cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Fresh organic berries
  • 1/2 organic peach, slices

Directions: Combine cream cheese, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, maple syrup, and nutmeg together to make a pumpkin cream cheese. Lather on top and top with fruit. Slice into strips or serve whole!


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How much do you spend grocery shopping?

Grocery shopping is a sport. The first challenge is parking your car and remembering to grab your reusable bags, the second challenge is navigating the store and trying to stick to your list, the third challenge is deciding which checkout line to go to, and the fourth is loading the groceries into your car and then putting them away once you get home. Whew, I’m exhausted just typing it!

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So how much does all of this work cost for a household? It’s different for everyone but after my poll last week it seems that the average household for two adults and one child is between $120-$160. I didn’t find out if they bought organic or not (a post coming on that later this month!) but this is the cost to feed most each week. For my family, we spend between $120-$140 a week. We eat all our meals at home unless it’s a special occasion or feel the need to get out. The cost in groceries has gone up since Poppy started eating more solids (I nurse her only twice a day) and I’ve been buying a few more things organic, before Poppy I never bought organic. No food goes to waste in our home (leftover queen!) so spending this much each week works for us and our budget. We never spend beyond our means and we could manage to spend less if we ever needed to save more. Quick note on saving: we both work really hard to be able to save money each month. I know this isn’t easy but it’s so helpful to get to a point where you can start saving money for the future. You never know what could come up! We were able to pay for our wedding and have a baby because of the way we save. Neither of us come from money so saving has changed our quality of life. I grew up on food stamps and that helped me learn the value of saving once I was out on my own at 18 years old.

There are ways to eat a well balanced diet with whatever budget you have. We’ve found that Trader Joe’s gives us the best bang for our buck. Yes, Famer’s Markets are amazing and who doesn’t love Erewhon?! But if this isn’t doable for your family that is perfectly ok! It’s not realistic in our home to shop all organic or go to Whole Foods for everything we need. Groceries are groceries and we all feed ourselves in a way that works best for our family.

Thoughts on grocery shopping? Where do you shop? I know my mother-in-law is the coupon queen.