meals, feb 1-7

I am really excited that I’m feeling better. Last week, I tried a new yoga studio for a hip hop yoga class. I’m hoping to attend yoga 2-4x per week at the studio.  I kept that in mind when planning meals this week; I don’t want anything that’s going to bog me down or make me feel queasy the next day.

Breakfasts: To keep things simple, we will go the sprouted bagel route with cream cheese, jalapeños, and tomatoes Saturday. My husband and the kids are going to try homemade bagels from SkinnyTaste on Sunday — I’m hoping we can make egg sandwiches but if not, we will just have them on the side.

For the work & school week, I made pumpkin-walnut muffins this morning with spiced pumpkin seeds; otherwise, I’m going to make the egg sandwiches with Ezekiel bread. We will also have sprouted bagels, oatmeal, or eggs to choose from.

Lunches: I’m meeting my brother for lunch after yoga on Saturday. My husband and kids will probably have some leftovers or go out for a special treat. We will do leftovers on Sunday.

During the week, we are going to keep it simple with some roasted turkey breast wraps — I grabbed some sprouted grain wraps for these that I’m excited to try. I’m going to try a turkey recipe from True Roots for this. The kids are still taking kid things for lunch: Trader Joe’s orange chicken and their dumplings are big hits at our house and the kids can help make them!

Dinners: I am heading to yoga a few nights during the week and on Monday afternoons before class, so it’s important to plan for leftovers and easy meals!

Friday: We had A LOT of leftover chicken and vegetables last week, so we are going to have the shrimp quesadillas tomorrow.

Saturday: Unstuffed cabbage in the crockpot with mashed potatoes.

Super Bowl Sunday: We are going to do our dips lineup: buffalo chicken, spinach-artichoke, bean dip, and a pizza dip. We will also have a vegetable tray.

Monday: Leftovers & dips. Easy, peasy!

Tuesday: I’m taking a 7:30 hot yoga class, so I need to eat my dinner by 3:30. I am planning baked penne pasta with sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and vegetables (sautéed spinach, peppers, and zucchini). This is nice because I can eat before I leave and can keep the oven on the WARM setting for my husband and the kids to enjoy after work/school.

Wednesday: Crockpot chicken tacos with Spanish rice, toppings bar, and beets on the side!

Thursday: Date night, date night! Tuna noodles and peas for the kids and a night out as adults for the two of us! We’ve been on a big pho kick with the cold weather lately, so we are going to try to mix things up next week with someplace different.

 

yoga & boston

When I lived in Boston, I was probably the healthiest I’d been since living in DC. I used to walk everywhere I could, I was training for my first half-marathon and I was going to yoga at a studio called Sweat & Soul regularly. My favorite yoga class there was hip hop yoga — what’s not to love: A heated room, hip hop music, and a vinyasa flow. It was a great workout and I was going twice a week.

I have tried several yoga studios in my area since moving to the suburbs but none of them compare, so I get bored and agitated during my practice. I’ve managed to do a good bit of at-home practice but it’s just not the same; and my husband, surprisingly, is not impressed by my jacking up the heat to recreate a studio feel.

My husband was traveling for work a few weeks ago and I spent a lot of time thinking about how to get back to that level of health and happiness. I scoured the Internet, but was unable to find any hip hop yoga classes on Boston’s north shore. I looked in my immediate area and maybe 15 miles in every direction. The only hit was ONE yoga studio in Boston’s Copley area.

I checked out the yoga studio online and took them up on their free first week offer. I attended Friday night’s restorative class and yesterday’s hip hop. I loved both but if I’m being honest here, I found far more benefits than just the yoga classes.

The studio is in a bustling area of the city, so after class both days, I walked to a restaurant and grabbed dinner/lunch to go. I got to walk around the city for a little before heading back on the MBTA and going home. I realized as I walked that being in the city gives me another type of energy. I truly love walking around — it brings me a great joy! Another thing I realized was how much these classes can lessen my mental load.

Currently, I am the go-to for all questions in the household, but if I’m gone (and off the grid, as I am during yoga and was before/after largely), nobody can ask me any questions. As a result, I had 3-4 hours on Friday and Saturday where I just got to be, me. It really helped me feel energized and after discussing, my husband and I agree that this should be a big part of my weekly routine. So, I am hoping to get there Friday & Saturday and then Monday afternoon before class and Tuesday evening.

Now, I have to keep this in mind as I meal plan. With hot yoga, you shouldn’t eat within four hours of class, so I will miss a few dinners a week that I’ll need to figure out. I think want to make sure I’m budgeting to grab something at Dig Inn, Sweetgreen, Cava, or other counter service places that offer loads of veggies.

I was pleasantly surprised at how great it felt to have that much time to myself and how the simple act of walking and grabbing a bowl of beets, brussels sprouts, and apples could make feel so great. I am looking forward to more weeks like this and more walking around once spring/summer are upon us. (It’s tough to be too excited about logging miles walking during a New England winter.)

What kind of exercise or activity makes you feel joyful?

theming.

I love the idea of having a blog that focuses on one single theme; in some ways, I suppose this blog does: misadventures in mumming kind of covers it all in one way or another. The truth is that I have a lot to say and I plan to write about these topics because I’m mostly just writing this blog for myself — cheers to anyone else who enjoys it!

I find enjoyment in meal planning and trying new recipes. I’d love for this to evolve into a food blog but anyone who’s ever asked me for a recipe has been sorely disappointed. I love to cook and feel confident in the kitchen. Once, my mother in law asked me for a recipe and I emailed her a list of ingredients, to which she responded: “This is not a recipe.” She expected brands of jarred tomatoes and amounts that were measured in tablespoons and cups, not my description of a lot or a little. I tried to put the details of a recipe that I make often in here but I didn’t really enjoy that. I’m happy to share any recipes that I use on this blog but set your expectations low.

Exercise to me is a not only a stress relief but it’s something that makes me intrinsically happy. I’ve trained for half marathons and have pushed myself further than I thought I ever could. I like challenging myself with exercise. Last year, I started to lift weights — this is an activity that I’d put off for years, fearing it was boring. Turns out, it’s not and it’s really great to feel like a badass by increasing weight/reps as my strength would increase. I set personal goals for each activity that I do and am so very much looking forward to being healthy enough to exercise regularly again. I use MapMyRun to set goals for myself and track my fitness progress. This has been a site I’ve used for easily the last 10 years.

Shopping is one of my favorite activities — in store or online, I don’t care. I love shoes and handbags and clothing and, and, and. I could never be a shopping blogger, though, because most of my purchases are from Whole Foods, Carters, and Children’s Place…

I like big books and I cannot lie — and short books and magazines too! I’m trying to make reading off device more of a priority. I have a degree in English, so it’s safe to assume that I read a fair bit (though never as much as I’d like). I’m going to try to share my thoughts on books I’m reading; some months, I manage to read more than other months. February-May are largely consumed by books my classes are reading.

My struggles and strengths around being a part-time SAHM. I love staying home with 3 — being his mom is truly my favorite thing in life; however, that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle. While parenting doesn’t necessarily cause me much stress, the loss of a significant income is often difficult for me to wrap my mind around. I plan to touch on this. I also plan to address my feelings on fitting in with working moms and stay at home moms (FYI, when you barely work, you surprisingly fit into neither of these groups).

Lastly, I plan to touch on our day-to-day — activities I do with 3, family vacations, special events.

I’m hoping these all wrap up the misadventures of mumming but allow me some structure and purpose to writing more regularly.

meal planning, jan 25-31

My night class starts this week, so I wanted to make things that would be simple but still healthy.

Breakfasts: I am planning to try a new yoga class at a studio in Boston Saturday and my husband has a race Sunday morning, so I plan to just grab some sprouted grain bagels, cream cheese, jalapeños, and tomatoes for this weekend’s breakfasts.

During the week, KC’s cinnamon smoothies or eggs. I know this is simple and predictable. Classes start this week, so I wanted to make sure that I’m not overwhelming myself with too much prep.

Lunches: We have been going hard-core with the bowls; this week, we are roasting sweet potatoes, chicken thighs, and Brussels sprouts in a little maple, olive oil, salt, and pepper for lunches; we will probably do lime rice, black beans, lettuce, tomato & guac for the second half of the week.

Dinners: Now that it’s really cold in NE, we like to make a combination of foods that are hearty and light. The hearty for this week will come from a great roasted chicken recipe from True Roots and the lighter fare from Chrissy Teigan’s Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (a family favorite).

  1. Delivery or takeout. It’s been a long week.
  2. KC’s oven-roasted chicken with carrots, parsnips & roasted potatoes (shocker!). True Roots has really been a great staple for us when it comes to recipes.
  3. CT’s spaghetti cacio e pepe — this recipe is a real crowd pleaser in our house. Seriously, the last time we made it, our toddler had THREE servings! (It was fine, the rest of us didn’t need to eat that night…)
  4. Leftovers KC’s chicken– this will allow me to pack dinner to have after yoga and before class!
  5. Shrimp quesadillas — Siete makes a great grain-free tortilla and we fill these bad boys with mole and peppers!
  6. More quesadillas — probably chicken and pepper quesadillas. The Siete tortillas are great but they get stale quickly, so we need to plan meals to use them back-to-back.
  7. Date night

january reads

I really enjoy reading and typically opt for heavier reads during my breaks from work; this winter break, however, was riddled with illness and I just didn’t have it in me to do much critical thinking, nor did I have the capacity to read anything intense. I picked up Educated at the library but returned without opening it; I’m going to table that read for a later date.

As the semester is quickly approaching, I thought it nice to recap the three books I finished in the first two weeks of 2019. I am not great at doing recaps, largely because I forget nearly everything I do in the day-to-day, but there were topics that truly gave me pause while reading and I’d like to circle back to those areas when I have time to write about them.

The first two books both touched on the balancing act that is being a working woman and being a mom. I love staying home with my son; it’s truly the greatest experience and I’m fortunate that we can afford for me to do this. I do struggle, however, with the lack of paycheck I bring home — I mean, I was 30 when I got married, so I’d been taking care of myself prior to that — working, budgeting, buying all of the clothes – shoes – and purses. This is something I struggle with regularly and I gained insights from each of the first two books. As I mentioned, I do plan to circle back to this at a later time, but wanted to let any parents struggling to feel balanced in the area of work/momming, these books may offer some insights!

Image result for balancing in heels

Balancing in Heels — Kristin Cavallari
This book took about 12 minutes to read. The writing is not high-level but the tone is genuine and the content really drove home for me the importance of balancing work/outside the home responsibilities with my love of being a parent. I also really enjoyed the smoothie recipes listed!

 

Image result for instant mom nia vardalos

Instant Mom — Nia Vardalos
As someone who’s been through infertility, IVF, and adoption through foster care, this book really resonated with me. I felt so many connections to Nia’s experiences. Of course, my personal side offers way too much to share in a book recap, but there were two quotes that hit deeply: “I feel powerless. The doctors explain it’s the drugs. I’ll bet it’s the glaring fact that this is not working” (36) / “You can’t push grief down and pretend it’s not there” (57). These two quotes really nailed how I felt during the lowest point of my life and it was empowering to read such rawness from someone else’s experience and know that we both (and many other women) overcome such difficulties.

 

Image result for whiskey in a teacup

Whiskey in a Teacup — Reese Witherspoon

I read this in a day — sweet and quick. Her grandmother seemed like a real spit-fire and I appreciated the care used when sharing family stories and I loved the chapter on dogs.

fun?

Earlier in the week, I had a friend text me: “What do you do for fun?”

What a loaded question this was for me. I had to think about it for a minute — what do I do for fun?

Then I realized the answer: Nothing.

She sent a link of hobbies that she found, because she also feels like she does nothing for fun. I browsed it but I have no interest in bird watching, art, jewelry making, etc. Some of the suggestions I’ve tried, like puzzles and those adult coloring books — all they did was cause my anxiety to spike. Not only am I doing nothing for fun, but I also have no idea what I’d even enjoy doing for fun.

Sure, this was a loaded question for me today, but if you’d asked me over the summer, I’d have plenty of answers: Go to the beach, read at the beach, walk to/at the beach (you get the picture)… and of course, date nights at the beach! Other fun activities that get me out and about in the summer include trips to the zoo, kayaking, exploring with my husband, and basically anything else outdoors if you’ve not gathered.

This isn’t summer, though, and I really need to up the ante with my fun factor. I do a lot of things that bring me enjoyment. For example, I love to cook but it’s also a household responsibility that I wouldn’t consider ‘fun’ necessarily. Further, I enjoy playing with 3; he’s an amazing child and I love watching him grow and learn. We have a lot of fun together but I wouldn’t consider parenting something I do for fun.

Travel is the only fun activity that I can think of enjoying year round; however, it’s tough to travel much when you have three kids and your husband doesn’t have nearly the same schedule. I plan trips when on breaks and had hoped to actually travel over the weekend but the pneumonia and after effects foiled my plans there. I’ll have to look forward to a spring trip (maybe to DC to visit friends) and our summer travel (Disney, PA to visit family & friends, possibly ME and/or NH).

Before my friend asked this question, I’d been thinking of ways to be happier and the things I used to do that brought me great joy: heated hip hop yoga, running an occasional race, happy hour, brunch, long walks with Brutus, shopping on Newbury Street. These are just a few things that do make me happy and that may be classified as ‘fun’, so I think it’s best that I start prioritizing these activities and up my fun!

What do you do for fun?

meal planning, january 18-24

Finally, feeling better and getting back into the normal routines of our day! My husband is training for the Boston Marathon and so we are trying to really make sure he has enough healthy foods to eat to stay full, keep him energized. Still, we are striving to stick to the 80-20 balance that is our goal, so we are using real ingredients and enjoying an occasional splurge!

Breakfasts:
WEEKEND: As I’ve mentioned, we LOVE to make big breakfasts/brunches.
Breakfast: vanilla-cinnamon quinoa cakes with cinnamon apples sautéed in coconut butter and turkey bacon; plus, another weekend with chorizo-potato hash and poached eggs.

I get a bonus day for MLK with all three kiddos, so I may take them to breakfast while my husband has to work. There’s a new breakfast place nearby that we haven’t tried; they serve Mickey pancakes, which is right up a certain three year old’s alley!

WEEKDAY: 3 and I LOVED the green smoothies last week – my goodness, who knew an avocado, frozen banana, handful of spinach, almond milk, and peppermint extract could taste similar to a mint milkshake?! We will be repeating this smoothie and also plan to try chocolate smoothies with super-greens or cinnamon smoothies plus something easy, like breakfast cookies.

Lunches: I just can’t ever seem to get too excited about lunch. I just ordered a bowl-based cookbook, so hopefully that gives some ideas.
WEEKEND: We have some containers in the freezer — they all look like homemade sauce, so I’m thinking we will defrost these and have that with pasta.

WEEKDAY: Rice bowls with peppers & sausage; the kids requested soup and ravioli plus their regularly scheduled fruits and vegetables.

Dinners: I’m trying something different this week — just noting the meals we will make and we can figure out what we want day-to-day.

  1. Friday: Vegetarian chili with plain Greek yogurt, tortilla chips, and cheese.
  2. Saturday: Bebe Meatballs, rice, and beets — this recipe is from my MIL. It’s weird but it works and the kids love it. The sauce for the meatballs has cranberries and sweet chili sauce. (Tip: My husband uses almond flour in place of breadcrumbs for our meatballs.)
  3. Sunday: Football food: goat cheese-stuffed jalapeños and green bean fries with yogurt dill dip from our TrueRoots cookbook, deviled eggs (a family favorite), chili-cheese fries & hotdogs, and a vegetable tray.
  4. Monday: Crockpot bbq chicken with Chrissy Teigan’s pineapple slaw with roasted sweet potatoes.
  5. Tuesday: Stuffed pepper pasta casserole.
  6. Wednesday: Buffalo chicken melts from Skinny Taste and more beets — because I am not into any ‘low fat’ or ‘low sugar’ foods, we will make a few subs to this — we will use Ezekiel bread for our melts.
  7. Date night / leftovers, provided there are any. I have some gyoza in the freezer to make if not!

DESSERT — We are going to give Skinny Cowboy Cookies a whirl (The Food Charlatan) to top off our game-day treats. I’ve tried several of her recipes in the past and have enjoyed them, so hopefully this will be a good one too! We will make a few modifications: quinoa flour for whole wheat flour and Enjoy Life chocolate chips.

We are trying A LOT of new recipes this week! I am really excited to get cookin’ — the quinoa cakes, the melts, the pineapple slaw, and the cookies are all new to us!

What are you cooking this week?