lunch salads

I have been making salads this week for lunch; they’re great because they’re quick and loaded with nutrients. A lot of my dinner salads include fries but for lunches, I just want something easy.

My husband grabbed me some pre-cooked bacon at the store because I wanted to make ‘wedge’ salads. They were out of iceberg, so I used bibb lettuce. I cut up a handful of grape tomatoes and topped it all with a chopped boiled egg and Tahini Siracha dressing.

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For my totals, I had:

.5 head bibb lettuce
9 grape tomatoes
1 boiled egg
2T dressing
5 slices bacon

Nutrition:
234 calories / 16g protein / 8g net carbs

Now, to be clear, I am not watching my carb intake. I had this with a pear and followed it up with Simple Mills crackers and pepper jelly.

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meals, april 19-25

I am really excited to prepare meals for Easter weekend. I love planning holiday meals and enjoy our family traditions.

Friday, grilled brats, German potato salad, and beets.

We are doing a family day on Saturday — getting three kiddos dressed up and taking them to experience their first high tea! For dinner, we are going to make a corned beef brisket with cabbage and mashed potatoes.

We are hosting a brunch on Easter Sunday: Our brunch will be simple — Easter Pie (a dozen eggs, ham or sausage, basket cheese [or ricotta if there’s none at the store], and almond milk), I’d thought about making zucchini bread but I think I’m going to just grab a couple things at the store, and a friend coming is bringing a fruit bowl. It should be a nice, relaxing meal. For dinner, we are going to make Cobb salads with bacon, boiled eggs, and tomatoes — just keeping it simple.

Now that the marathon is over, we need to get back to how we were eating. April has been busy and we are both feeling sluggish — too many grains, too much dairy, and way too much sugar. I’m glad things are bracing to slow down some, so we can get back to feeling better.

Monday, KC’s roasted chicken from True Roots with roasted carrots and potatoes.

Tuesday, Chicken salads with the leftover chicken.

Wednesday, Kraut, Applegate Farms hot dogs, and mashed potatoes.

Thursday is DATE NIGHT, hoorah!

For breakfasts this week, we will get back to eggs and smoothies. Lunches will be simple with deli meat or tuna salad ‘sandwiches’ with tomatoes/cucumber.

 

 

meal planning & groceries

I continue to wrack my brain over how to save any money with groceries. As it stands, we spend about $250-$300/week. Granted, that feeds five people all meals and snacks, with the exception of date night or the occasional carry out Sunday. We don’t eat out much as a family; in fact, my husband and I were just recently trying to recall the last time the five of us all went to breakfast together. (It’s been over a year.) I also try to buy high quality foods — I am big on grass fed and free range meats/eggs, hormone free dairy, and organic produce for at least the dirty dozen. I make fruit snacks and breakfast for the kids most days though we do the quick (store bought) cereal/granola bars as well.

Ultimately, it would be nice to grab a few things at Whole Foods and then a few things at our local Stop & Shop, with a quick trip to Trader Joe’s for the rest but that’s just not feasible. TJ’s is 35 minutes north of us and I just can’t imagine driving up there weekly or even monthly to grab a handful of items. I order most of our non-perishables through Thrive Market online and notice that there is a definite savings on some of our favorites (Siete grain free tortilla chips, Simple Mills crackers, chickpea pasta, tuna, salad dressings, nuts (if there’s not TJ’s trip on the horizon), and their dark chocolates to name a few).

In addition to the cost of food is the inconvenience of going to the store. Last Friday, my husband took three kids to Whole Foods where he spent about 90 minutes of all of their lives. I know I could have been in/out in under 45 but it was either yoga or WF, and obviously there’s no competition there. On the weekends 13/11 are with their mom, it’s easiest for me to head out on my own because there are fewer distractions and things to tend to, but otherwise, there are no real solutions we’ve been able to come up with.

I have proposed that I try to go back to planning for two weeks out or at least buy enough meat for two weeks at WF. I can get decent produce at S&S delivered through Peapod, which will eliminate any impulse buys and will give me my time back. (Note, I do not prefer this as I really like to pick out my own produce BUT I recognize that we have to sacrifice something to get that time back.)

We will see how this plan works through April and hopefully, we will start to feel a little less weight on our shoulders.

 

march reflections, april goals

I have had a busy March: 10 turned 11, 12 turned 13, and I tried to stay calm and motivated by attending yoga and logging a few running miles (plus weight training) a week. I am happy to report that I met mostly met my goals for March! Every Sunday, I note in my planner my goals for the week — typically, I try to do 3-5 yoga classes, drink at least 64oz of water a day, log 3 miles a week and 1-2 weight training days, take my toddler on at least one excursion a week, and do my meal planning and grocery shopping.

A few things I learned this month — My goal for April is to split the mileage from 1mile/workout to 1.5 miles/workout and run twice a week with weights both days. IF I am only doing yoga 3x in that week, I’d like to add an additional weight training and 1.5mile workout to the mix. I have goals set on MapMyRun to log 3 miles weekly and to work out for at least 3 hours weekly; sometimes the ‘GOAL’ tab is inaccurate but I pulled up my ‘monthly progress’ and am proud to report that I met both goals each week for the month of March. I also hit a 9:00 minute mile; I was so close to just breaking in at 8:59, so I’m hoping in April, I’ll be able to.

I’ve also learned that 3-4 yoga classes a week are completely doable; 5 classes is where I apparently need to draw the line and the thought of attending that extra class does nothing but cause me stress. As a result, for April, I will have a goal to attend 3-4 classes a week — typically, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. This seems to work out best for me and gets me a variety of classes — Fridays and Sundays, I take Vinyasa & Deep Relaxation classes. I really like these because I feel it’s the best of both worlds. I build heat and then end in a few restorative poses. Saturdays, I typically take a heated hip hop yoga class; if for some reason, I can’t get there, they offer a V&DR class at night that I’ve enjoyed. Tuesday is a Yin & Restorative class and I always feel so buoyant afterwards; honestly, I feel like I could float away. This class is perhaps the most challenging I take because I find it difficult to not fidget during pose holds. I’m really happy that I tried it, though, because I find it really beneficial.

A funny thing about yoga, too — I am noticing that I’m really a part of a valued community at my studio. I’ve started to form bonds with people I see regularly; I feel comfortable going into the back room for a bolster if I want to warm up with one before a class where they’re not used; I’ll grab an extra block or blankets if I feel like it’ll help my practice. This may not seem like much but in the past, I’d have dwelled on wanting something only to deal with a convergence of my anxiety making me not want to get it and feeling regret for not getting it. This is a pleasant, welcome improvement for me and I’m ever grateful.

Yoga has also helped keep me grounded when other things in my life that are beyond my control are going on. I have kept with my practice (and my running/lifting), which on little sleep feels daunting most days, but I know that this is ultimately helping me maintain calm and order throughout my day for my own family. I am allowing myself to prioritize my needs and that greater enables me to support the needs of my family.

I have been staying largely on top of nutrition, but will try to reign things in a bit better for April. I want to be mindful of how I eat with the marathon coming up — my husband is running Boston and we have guests coming to town, so it’s easy to fall into the takeout/unhealthy eating trap. I also have been lax lately with eating grains, despite noticeable inflammation. We had cupcakes for 11’s birthday, doughnuts for 13’s, plus a date night that included a shrimp quesadilla (SO GOOD) and another in Boston’s North End with homemade pasta. I definitely notice a difference in how my body feels, so I’m going to try to approach April with more deliberate decisions around nutrition.

My last goal for April is getting out of the house more with my toddler. We love to go to playgrounds nearby, plus he loves riding his balance bike. We’ve been blowing bubbles the last few days and it’s just nice to be outside as the air warms. We also really like to go to the zoo; we were taking trips there until the wet winter weather hit. I love that I get to stay home with 3 because we can get out on weekdays with smaller crowds to do these types of activities.

self care sunday

I have a little routine that I do on Sundays.

I start my mornings with a 90-minute heated vinyasa and restorative class. Afterwards, I like to grab something to eat and enjoy a few minutes at home alone before everyone returns from church. Typically, I like to get my planner out. If it’s the beginning of the month, I’ll write in all of the happenings; then, I fill in my plan for the week. I like to set my goals (chores, exercise/health, plans, etc) and have them all there to review as the week goes on. This helps me stay accountable and also helps keep my anxiety in check.

In addition to planning out my week, I like to look at my birthday list. I made it a goal to send birthday cards to close friends and family, so I like to see who I need to fill out a card for. I also like to do a little health & beauty self-care.

My husband got me two face masks for Christmas. One is a charcoal kit with a magnet — it’s wonderful and always leaves me skin looking and feeling great; the other is a peel mask and I use it in tandem with face wash. I like to do the charcoal mask on Sundays when I can because it takes a while to set and it’s really nice to end the weekend/start the week feeling good. (If I miss the weekend mask, I’ll use the peel mask on date night for perfect-looking skin.)

Tonight, in addition to my charcoal mask, I used a sugar scrub and a rich lotion; I also gave myself a mani-pedi. I like to have my nails painted but rarely make time to get them done and even less frequently do I make the time to do them myself. (Surprisingly, wet nails plus three kids and a dog isn’t a winning combination.)

It’s been a good day to calm down and reset — I’m glad I prioritized self care today and still had time to make a big batch of pasta salad, egg sandwiches for the kids’ breakfasts, and school lunches. I am looking forward to hitting the week with a run/weights tomorrow and a calm presence.