Tag Archives: busy mommy

Mommy and Me Recipe: Fall Veggie Crisp

Since returning to work full-time, I’ve learned one thing for sure: Anything I can do on the weekend to help myself out during the week makes me my own best friend when workdays kick my butt. So, Sunday has become the day to cook!

Today, I made this yumminess with some of the last garden tomatoes, to be delivered to my father-in-law…

…and these belated birthday cupcakes for my very understanding husband…

(although I do admit to using this, enhanced with some applesauce and dried cranberries:)

Also in the lineup: the filling for our favorite Quesadilla Casserole, so the huz can just layer it with tortillas in a casserole dish tomorrow night and bake. What a team we make! :D

But my favorite creation of the day was a new Mommy and Me Recipe

So many fall veggies, so little time…what to do? For some reason, fall makes me crave a crisp, crumb topping on everything, and apple crisps are so last week. So, why not a veggie crisp? 

My handy dandy food processor made quick work of 1 butternut squash, 1 large sweet potato, 3 parsnips, 5 carrots and 1/2 large sweet onion. (Nice, even slices make for nice, even baking!)

I set aside some of each veggie to be baked for little man, and added just a little water. (Hold the onions and broth, please! At least for now…) 

I poured one can of  low-sodium veggie broth into the dish until it was about 1/2″ below the level of the vegetables. 

The “cross your fingers and hope it’s good” topping consisted of: 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats, a Tbsp of amaranth (just because :) ), a light handful of chopped, fresh parsley, rosemary and thyme, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Both dishes were baked at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, covered (or until the broth bubbled up through the crumbs and veggies were soft.)

I just love filling the house with the scents of fall, and this recipe did just that. It was easy, yet satisfying and comforting, and made use of lots of different veggies. It also made lots of beautiful puree, although the orange was INTENSE, so I added a bit of applesauce to take it down a notch. (Just sounded good to me, and baby boy seemed to agree!)

Which brings me to my Bonus Tip of the Day: When baby flings a big spoonful of pure orangetasticness onto your white carpet, try a little bit of Lulu’s in the Fluff!

Good as new! ;) Let the workweek begin!

___________________________________

How do you balance home and work life? Do you do anything on your days off to help yourself out on busier days?

Does the onset of fall make you crave anything specific? 

6 Comments

Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Adjusting to Motherhood: My Biggest Challenge

I’ve always been a classic Type A personality–a chronic overachiever, and frankly, a bit of a control freak. That’s not to say I did everything perfectly, but I always strove to, and I based my own personal self-worth on my achievements and ability to do everything, all at once.

To me, unless I got an A+ while standing on my head, it just wasn’t good enough.

All through school and into college, if there was a chance to take on more responsibility, I jumped.  If I could fit in a few extra credits in, I would (especially online courses, which gave me the flexibility to pack my schedule with even more things, which fed my need to stay busy.) I loved being active and involved (expect for a brief rebellious phase in high school…) and by the time I became an adult, I was a pro at cramming more into a day than anyone I knew. It became my very definition. I was the girl who did a lot. A champion multitasker, and I rarely missed a beat.

I’ll save you all the details, but I’m sure you get the jist of it. If I wrote a paper, it had to be honors-worthy. If I baked cookies, I wanted them to be magazine-worthy. Nobody expected it of me, expect for me, and I was my own worst critic.

Becoming a mommy rocked my world in many ways, but perhaps the hardest adjustment has been realizing that I just can’t do it all, all the time, and I sure can’t do it all perfectly.  And no one cares. (which makes me realize that no one but me ever really did…)

My goals upon finding out I was bound for mommyhood? Here goes: Exercise and eat right and keep weight gain below 25 pounds, have an entirely natural labor, breastfeed exclusively, choose organic, non-toxic baby items whenever possible, grow much of our own food, feed my family organic food from scratch, make all of our own homemade, organic baby food, phase out plastic, use cloth diapers, begin freelancing on maternity leave, keep a clean, organized, non-toxic home, spend adequate time with my husband, and look good while doing it all. A half marathon was in the more distant future plans, too…

Can you see where I’m going with this?

OF COURSE I didn’t do it all. I accomplished a good bit of it, but there are things every day that I don’t get done. The sad part is that those things are the ones I think about when I lay my head down at night. I don’t congratulate myself on a job well done. Instead, I criticize myself for those jobs not finished, and even those not finished to my own crazy standards. Some days, absolutely nothing gets done. (In a fight, New Baby will kick To-Do List’s butt every. single. time.)

My son is now 10 ½ months old, and I’m just starting to realize that I’m not failing at this whole mommy game. Accomplishment and achievement mean different things to me than they once did, and though it’s taking a lot of getting used to, I’m adjusting. I try not to compare myself to other mommies, because we all have different priorities, and we all accomplish what we can each day. I know that my choice to do things my way, the natural way (like cooking dinner from scratch or washing diapers) might slow me down in the Mom Olympics, if there were such a thing, but there isn’t. Really, there isn’t.

I live a more thoughtful, examined life now, and I’m very conscious of the example I’m setting. I want it to be positive, so telling myself that I’m not good enough because I can’t keep up just isn’t OK anymore.  I need to teach my son that your worth is about who you are and what you do, not how much you do. He really is the only person I have to answer to, and he’s one happy little boy, so I must be doing something right. Making sure his needs are met is my new top priority, and although making time for exploring the plants in the garden and reading bedtime stories isn’t immediately productive in the same way a full schedule of tasks, goals and challenges can be, the challenges this new life brings are pretty darned fulfilling and I wouldn’t trade it for all the applause or A+’s in the world.

So, while the house may be in a bit of disarray, I have several stalled writing projects, and I may or may not have a piece of food in my hair, I do have the occasional small moment of victory. I managed to change a 3am diaper the other night without disturbing my nursing boy one bit. He didn’t even unlatch.

Now that’s multitasking.

____________________________________________

This post contains a link for which the author has been compensated.

4 Comments

Filed under Parenting & Family

Jam

No, not this kind of jam…

I’m talking about this kind of jam. 

Traffic. Ugh.

Today’s post was supposed to be a celebration of my 100th blog post, but I’m not in much of a partying mood. I left work at 4:30 today and drove into dead stop traffic. 

This is me at 5pm…

…and me at almost 7 pm.

Yes, it took me hours to get home. See…the lady next to me was reading a book.

In times like this, I usually try really, really hard to just relax and feel lucky that I am not the one actually in the accident. I try to think about those people, and how much they would probably like to switch places and just be stuck for a little while. I try to think about how happy I am that my son is at home, safe and happy.

But today was different. I was up 4 times with my little man last night due to teeth #9 and 10 (I think) trying to make their appearance, and I was up for the day at 4 am. When I left work at 4:30pm, all I wanted was that little boy in my arms. 

So I found myself sitting there,  thinking about all the things I had to get done at home, feeling really hungry and tired, needing to pump in a big way and having to pee, all while the creepy guy in the next car tried to get my attention. Um, ew!

When I realized I was on a bridge with about 30 big rigs, I got really freaked out. Those things are NOT supposed to hold all that weight, are they? Then, I looked down and saw this, and realized it was almost bedtime. That’s when I started to cry.

You see, I’ve not been dealing well lately with prioritizing, and I’m really struggling with career goals, family responsibilities and balancing my wants and needs with those of others. I believe wholeheartedly in the concept of attachment parenting (I view it almost like a primal need), and that doesn’t jive well with a Type A, ‘overachiever’ kind of personality and a full time corporate level job with a 65 mile commute, with freelance work on the side.

This is not how it was supposed to be. This is not how I EVER wanted it to be. But how do you complain about your job when your husband is in danger of losing his? Darned housing market… :mad:

I’m torn, to say the least, and I’m tired. It’s wearing on me.

I finally rolled in around 7:30 after stopping to quickly grab a quite questionable-looking rotisserie chicken (I had considered a run to Wendy’s, but decided that this day was NOT getting the best of me!) I crawled into the house, briefcase in one hand and sad chicken in the other, only to be greeted with a beaming little semi-toothy smile.

The chicken sat and waited while I read to my little love, nursed him, rocked him, and tucked him safely into bed. The minutes may have been few, but I squeezed in all I could. I would have breathed that boy in if I could have. Once he’d had his fill, Daddy and I had ours: finally, the chicken and some odds and ends (avocado, tomato, etc.) from the kitchen. Not a half bad sammy considering the circumstances.

I considered neglecting my post for the day, but then I remembered that blogging is for me. I deserve it, and I love it. Why do I love it? Because at the end of a bad day, you just might come home to find goodies at your doorstep…

Oh, and because you guys rock! That’s why!

____________________________________

What’s your remedy for a bad day?

How do you find balance, or should I ask do you find balance?

Happier post next time. I promise.

11 Comments

Filed under The Everyday

My Favorite Way To Do Deep Dish

I was born in Jersey, and raised on Long Island, with an Italian mom. So, yeah. I like pizza.

But as much as I like a good New York-style foldable slice, covered in thick cheese and loads of garlic and mushrooms, I like this kind even more…

The bakery I used to work in might have deemed this a focaccia, but in my world this is deep dish garden pizza heaven.

This is what we eat during the time of year when the garden is giving us more than we can handle. The ingredients vary a little each time we make it, depending on what is ripe and ready at any given moment. It also boasts the added bonus of being really easy and quick to make, which comes in super handy these days. The convenience of take-out and fast food is SO tempting, so I’m glad I have this favorite to turn to, because most of the other easy options are just plain crap.

On this particular day, the yellow pear tomatoes were abundant, the Brandywines were just reaching perfection, and the basil was beginning to get out of control. We also had some garden garlic that had dried to perfection out in the sun.

So, I picked up some store-bought pizza crust dough (gasp!) and an all-natural rotisserie chicken (the key on weeknights is “easy.”) Even though I have cut way, way back on dairy, a pizza’s gotta have cheese, so I also grabbed exactly 4 little fresh mozzarella balls (the ones that are about the size of a cherry tomato) which was more than adequate.

Rotisserie chickens usually yield enough lean, white meat for 2 pizzas (more if you’re a good picker, which I’m not), which is pretty cost-effective considering the time and energy savings of not having to cook it at home. So I cut what I needed from the chicken and tossed it with the yellow pear tomatoes, halved, and the Brandywine, cut into bite-sized chunks. I drizzled them all with olive oil and a good shake of oregano, sea salt and pepper.

This is the part where my deep dish baking stone from Pampered Chef gets to shine. That thing makes such a nice, perfectly baked pizza (and phenomenal cinnamon rolls!) and it just might be one of my favorite kitchen items.

After pushing the garlic through a press, I rubbed it on the crust, and piled my chicken and veggies on top. Then, I baked it according to the package instructions (the ones on the crust package.) About 5 minutes before it finished, I cut up the mozzarella balls with kitchen scissors, then rolled and sliced the basil, chiffonade-style, and scattered both about the top of the pizza. I like to add them at the very end because they are way too delicate to endure the entire baking time.

A few minutes later, the house was filled with the fragrance of fresh tomato, basil and garlic. Pure heaven.

What I love about this recipe is that it’s not a recipe. It’s just a simple, budget-friendly way to use what we have, enjoy what’s fresh, and give my family a meal that’s easy without sacrificing quality or taste. And when our boy is old enough, he can not only help us eat it, but he can help make it, too, with the vegetables he helped us grow. You just don’t get that sense of satisfaction out of a box. 

___________________________________

Any suggestions on how I can healthy up this crust? I need an easy option, but haven’t found a good store-bought whole wheat yet.

What would you top this pizza with in your kitchen?

10 Comments

Filed under Recipes & Food

Mama Soul Food: Honey Ginger Overnight Oat Pancakes with Sauteed Cinnamon Peaches

Yesterday, I had a banana for lunch. Not a good idea. 

While a banana might be a perfectly healthy choice for a snack, it’s not exactly a well-balanced lunch, and I spent  most of the day feeling sluggish and tired, and frankly, uninspired. Can you really trace all that back to a meager lunch? I say yes.

It’s never a good idea for a nursing mom to neglect her diet for the sake of getting other “more important” things done. I usually do pretty well at making sure my bases are covered in the nutrition game, but I occasionally slip up and let myself slip down the priority list.

Note to self: The first step in taking good care of your child is taking good care of his mother!

So last night I decided that today’s breakfast would be a good one, and by “good” I don’t necessarily mean perfectly healthy, but good for my mama soul as well. A breakfast that requires me to take a few minutes to mindfully prepare my food and eat it on an actual plate. A rare thing lately…

Not that I don’t love my trusty overnight oats, but I just felt like something a little different. And, lunch usually gets lost in the mix on days off spent working at home, so a hearty and substantial breakfast is important.

My thoughts swirled around the good-sized nub of fresh ginger I’d been meaning to use up, so I decided to incorporate the oats I love (they are supposed to be a lactogenic food, after all…) and create a recipe based on the many overnight oats pancake recipes I’ve seen, along with the fresh ingredients I happened to have on hand.

What did I come up with?

 Honey Ginger Overnight Oat Pancakes with Sauteed Cinnamon Peaches!

Pancakes:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned hand-rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk (I used vanilla)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-2 T honey (to taste)
  • 1 T oil (your choice: vegetable, canola, coconut, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly ground ginger (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Combine oats and almond milk in a small bowl. Stir until combined and cover. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to cook, remove from refrigerator and add egg, honey and oil. (If using coconut oil, mixture should be at room temperature or oil will clump into a solid.) Stir to combine. Add remaining ingredients and mix together. If batter is too thick, thin slightly with more almond milk.

Lightly oil a non-stick pan or griddle. Spoon batter onto griddle and spread to desired shape if too thick to spread on its own. When tops form bubbles and edges look dry, turn pancakes and cook until golden. Top with Sauteed Cinnamon Peaches (see below.)

Yield: 5 medium-sized pancakes (These are dense and hearty pancakes; 2 was more than enough for me. 5 is enough to freeze or share!)

Tip: If baby is demanding attention, wiggle butt often during the cooking process and make up a  highly repetitive song about eggs, honey and oil until pancakes are the perfect shade of golden brown. It worked for me! :lol:

Sauteed Cinnamon Peaches

  • 1 fresh peach
  • cinnamon, to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp) 
  • 1 T butter
  • drizzle honey

Peel peach and dice into small pieces (to ensure a good bit of peach in each bite!) Melt butter in saucepan over low heat; add peaches and cinnamon and saute until soft, fragrant and beginning to caramelize. Remove from heat, drizzle with honey, and stir. Pour over pancakes and serve.

Tip: This topping recipe made enough for one, maybe 1 1/2 servings (I like a lot of peaches!) I would recommend one peach per person, adjusting other ingredients to taste as needed.

These pancakes were a lovely start to a morning that started out rainy, but has since turned sunny and bright. 

Hey...what’s that? I think I’m feeling inspired! :D

10 Comments

Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food