Save Time with Salmon

I have two young boys and a husband who travels A LOT! When he’s not around to help me with dinner I know I need something that’s easy and allows me to be sure my 3 year old doesn’t give my 9 month old a concussion.  I also want whole and healthy foods. It’s been a challenge and I’ve found that my meat intake has increased because it’s so easy to cook. As an environmentalist and health freak raised as mostly a vegetarian the lots of meat worries me a little. Therefore, I’ve decided it’s worthwhile adding healthy, low-mercury fish to the menu every week. Sockeye salmon is my absolute fav!

There are so many great and quick salmon recipes on the web and roasting or steaming a vegetable for the side is a simple task. Tonight I made a pesto crusted salmon that I found on Delish D’Lites. I cheated with store bought pesto which made prep time about 5 minutes. I also steamed some broccoli (came chopped  into bight size pieces from Costco)  and added a little pesto for flavor. My picky 3 year old ate everything off his plate. I was amazed!

If you’re looking for affordable ways to get sustainable salmon into your diet Costco often has sockeye salmon for half the price of most places. The only problem is you have to get a large tray. However, I bring home the large tray, slice up the salmon and stick a couple pieces in the freezer for later. Saves time to not have to go back to the store too.  Please let me know if you have any quick salmon recipes you’d like to share.

 

Finicky Feaster and Super Hero Spaghetti Squash

cropped-img_3429.jpgI am on a mission to find healthy meals that give me time to play with my boys before dinner and at the same time get healthy calories into my finicky feaster (that never feasts… just like the title). My oldest child is the pickiest eater I’ve ever met. He literally gags on tomatoes. He’s skinny and at almost 4 years he can wear the same shorts as my 9-month old (although,they would look a little daisy dukeish). I’m always worried he’s not eating enough healthy  food and I’m constantly pondering on creative ways to sneak veggies in. I really have to entice him because playing is way better than eating.

On the other hand, my 9-month old LOVES food! He get’s HANGRY every time I start prepping dinner. Unless, I keep throwing scraps down to him (that sounds kind of bad) he won’t leave me alone and let me concentrate on making food.  So cooking, once so pleasurable with a glass of wine in hand, is now chaos and requires taking shots of whiskey (just kidding).

My plan is to share one healthy, easy prepared, kid approved meal each week. This first one is spaghetti squash with ground turkey and pasta sauce. I followed the advice for roasting the squash from Chocolate Covered Katie.  It’s the best spaghetti squash I’ve ever made and the first time I was able to trick my oldest into thinking it was real spaghetti. I of course bought a jar of pasta sauce for ease. I always make sure there’s no added sugar because you’d be surprised how many bottled pasta sauces add sugar. Following is the ingredients:

1 jar pre-made pasta sauce

1 lb ground turkey

1 small spaghetti squash (or a large one so you’ll have leftovers, which make good baby food) 

salt, pepper, olive oil

Now the recipe:

  1. Roast the squash 
  2. Play super hero with you kids for about 40 minutes
  3. Take the squash out of the oven. While it cools, throw the turkey onto a large, medium hot pan coated with a thin layer of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Let it brown, mixing it once in a while.
  4. Once cooked through, dump the pasta sauce over the turkey and mix together. Then stir occasionally until thoroughly heated.
  5. Scoop spaghetti squash into the pan with turkey and pasta sauce.

Dinner was devoured by my youngest and at least eaten by my oldest. He thought there was too much tomato sauce and didn’t like his “spaghetti” as much as usual. Nonetheless, he ate more of a vegetable tonight than I’ve ever seen him eat before.   I kind of tricked him. And as for my husband and I, we loved dinner! It was tasty!

Plan a Date

It’s Valentine’s Day and I hope you and your partner are making each other feel special. Having kids can make romance disappear if you let it. I think too many couples forget about their relationship in the midst of their child rearing. It takes willpower and planning to make sure one maintains their relationship.  Sometimes it can also take some deep breathing and adjustment to thinking. If you feel romance has fizzled take today’s holiday as a reminder to relight the fire.

Break out a calendar and schedule 2 dates a month. If money is an issue get creative with your date. Night hikes or low-key restaurants can be more fun than the cliche dinner date at a nice restaurant. My husband and I have been know to bring grocery store sushi and a bottle of wine to a parking lot with a nice view. We’ll just sit their talking and relaxing together (I’m not risky enough to get frisky). It’s nice to get away from responsibilities together.  Remember that your relationship and fun time is worth investing in.

Buy each other gifts too. My husband and I went years without buying each other gifts because our big home purchases were said to be each other’s gifts. Like when we got a new refrigerator that was enough gift for both of us for an entire year… at least. But then we both realized we missed surprising and being surprised so we’ve agreed to spend small amounts on each other ($15) for all gifting occasion.  We don’t get each other junk either. It’s amazing how many low cost items there are that we both feel like we’d enjoy. I’m pretty sure he got me The Little Book of Hyge, which I’ve been really wanting. I got him wireless headphones (I spent a little more than I was supposed to).

If you don’t like being around your partner, it’s probably because you’ve let negative thoughts fester. Read some relationship books and get over it. It’s worth finding what you used to have (as long as it was good), and let your partner be who they are along with all their imperfections.

I hope your Valentine’s Day is chock full of romance. If it’s not, set your intentions now to get some romance back into your life.

 

 

Living with Intention

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in everyday life and keep doing the same thing over and over while saying, “I need to start___(fill in the blank)___”.  Then life will just slip away and it’ll happen fast because life is short! The other option is you can learn to live life with intention and meet your dreams. If you have a hard time doing it for yourself then do it for your family. Show your kids how to live with intention!

First, purchase a planner. The Passion Planner is a great one because it includes goal setting and other things that help you work your way into living your life with intention. Set aside at least 30 minutes one day a week for scheduling. On Friday or Saturday nights I put my kids to bed and then spend 30 minutes planning out my next week.

Start with the things you have to do at certain times like work, doctor appointments, or nap times.  Then, look at the times you have left and schedule other things in such as exercise, steps to reaching goals, political actions, errands to run, things you’ve been putting off, meditation, family time, and so on. Make sure you always include a little bit of relaxation time for yourself so you don’t burn out. Fill in every moment of your awake time with things to do.  Don’t leave any time slot blank!

keep a running list of things that you’d like to do in order to add it to your schedule when you’re able to. The list will also take anxiety away because you don’t have to worry about forgetting to do things. The list will be long, so categorize things.

Lastly, be patient with yourself and don’t stress. Don’t give yourself excuses for not getting things done in your schedule, but know that it’ll take time to fine tune your scheduling and sometimes other things will come up. Also, don’t get stressed out while you’re trying to stick with the schedule. As long as you’re trying your hardest to stick with your schedule it’ll start working for you.You will get rid of those awful, indecisive, mood killing, waste of time moments. You will find everyday feeling richer and more meaningful. And, if your kids are like mine they’ll appreciate the schedule too. Kids love routine and thrive with consistency.

I’m grateful to my sister-in-law (once again!) and friend Kristy for inspiring me and teaching me how to use the Passion Planner. If you need any help with living your life with intention I can hook you up with Kristy for life coaching or Or myself with health coaching. 

 

 

 

The Bright Side of Vanity

Vanity is not all bad. I had this realization tonight, as I was slathering on cream, that it’s vanity that keeps me taking care of myself. I admittedly don’t want to age. I want to look 27 forever (even though I’m close to a full decade beyond that).

It’s harder to stay young forever with kids (although in some ways they do keep us young).  And it’s really hard to take care of oneself with kids. However, it is so important for our kids that we take care of ourselves. We need to be a good role models and be around with the energy that they’ll  need from us. Also, don’t forget a happy mama makes happy kids.

Here are some ideas for speedy self-care to keep you young looking:

– don’t worry about blow drying  your hair. Do an Internet search for good quick hairstyles done without heat. Here’s a good link. https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLFqi3seU0FIdDO4BlFzPzkeRKmqUedzro¶ms=OAFIAVgB&v=F70rOdDf4II&mode=NORMAL

– slather on the lotion. It feels refreshing and self pampering while it’s good for your skin.

– drink tons of water. Especially if you’re breast-feeding. It will keep you feeling your best, is good for your body, and ensures you have plenty of milk for your little one.

-Cut sugar and other inflammatory foods out of your diet. I highly recommend whole 30. It’s like a reset button when you’re involved  with nasty food habits. Your mind will feel free and your body will feel lighter with good food habits. I’ll be starting my whole 30 experience on September 21 if you care to join. whole30.com

– learn quick meditations. You could even involve your kids when you get the hang of it. Learning to relax will take years off of you and make you a much happier/ on-top-of-it parent. Headspace is a great app. headspace.com.

– exercise! No excuses! You dread it sometimes and it’s even worse when your three-year-old wants to jump on you while you’re doing sit-ups, but carve out time, even if you lose a little bit of sleep time to get some form of exercise in. See if you can involve your kids to make it easier. They make good bench weights.  More on that later…

– Finally, Sleep! Hahaha… I laugh as I type this. I know it’s the hardest thing to do when you’ve got young kids, but it’s worth being mindful about. I’ll  suggest ideas from time to time on this blog.

Don’t  feel guilty for giving yourself  a little bit of time to take care of yourself.  Ask others, like your partner, to take over for an hour so  you can do something for you.

Creativity: The Best “Me Time”!

I’m feeling inspired! First of all, I have an amazing sister-in-law who has more energy than most and is in a time of major transition that could turn some upside down. She, however, is being turned right side up and is blooming like a Dahlia and is encouraging other’s to bloom as greatly. Second, I’m in the middle of reading an impactful book, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m so grateful for that woman’s insight. Creativity is important and if it’s not being engaged in with confidence it’s something easily forgotten. Big Magic has inspired my sense of power, liveliness, and joy and given me a great, quick way to get “me time”.  I’ve been reminded to live with intention and create with joy.  This means instead of sitting on the couch and being a passive watcher of a screen I’m choosing to create before I go to bed. I suppose the best word to describe this is “passion”!

I highly recommend that all you moms  and dads resolve to start creating during your few moments of down time.  There are so many ways to create. If you aren’t sure how to get there then read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book or search for a video, movie or song you think will inspire you. Think of the things that you really enjoy; cooking, drawing, writing, poetry, photography, temporary nature art, dance…the list goes on. Devote time, even if it’s a few minutes. And follow Elizabeth Gilbert’s advise and accept the fear of creating but don’t let it in on any decision making. 

Don’t let the creativity stop there.  Bring it into your time with your kids.  Encourage them to create! Create together! I recommend you start with a few good tunes and a dance party. Have fun!
 

On a plane

I’m on a plane surrounded by strangers. Besides being exhausted from my normal life and the fact it’s past my bedtime, I’m embracing my alone time. It’s hard leaving my still-nursing 5 month-old and many moments prior to leaving I thought about toting him along with me. In the end I’ve decided the best thing was to leave him with his dad. 

I haven’t yet gotten excited, but I know when I wake up at my friends house tomorrow morning ( after uninterrupted sleep) I’ll be happy about my decision. I’m sure I’ll miss my little boys something fiercely and I’ll worry a little about my husband being able to parent alone. Nonetheless, I’ll be having unthwarted fun…responsible for only myself. 
After two full days of me-time/ girl-time I’ll be back on the plane eager to hold my boys and reguvinated.  I’ll be a happier, healthier mom ready to keep up with the little stinkers. The boys will benefit. My husband will be exhausted, but he’ll have the bonding experience that comes with being the sole caretaker of 2 little ones. In the end it’s best for my whole family.