Friday, July 31, 2015

A Month of Dinners: Menu Plan for August

Make your month a little easier by planning all your meals at once.

I'm still floored by the amount of support I received after announcing my decision to temporarily suspend my weekly menu plans. The truth of it was, I just needed a break.

Planning our meals for the week was really helpful because it eliminated the need to have a nightly conversation that started off with "So... what do you for dinner?". It was the writing up of a weekly blog post to share our menu plans that became a huge PITA, especially now that we have an infant in the house.

I kept asking myself the same question:

How could I continue planning our meals AND have time to share the menu plans on the blog?

To find the answer, I took a cue from my motherhood playbook. Adjusting to being a new parent has forced me to look at things differently, and, above all, it's taught me a whole new lesson in efficiency. It made perfect sense to see if I could find a way to cut out some steps in the menu planning process.

After some thought, I realized that it seemed wiser (and more efficient!) to budget time for organizing our meals once a month rather than doing it once a week. Now that I've seen the light, I'm excited to share some benefits of monthly menu plans, general guidelines for creating menu plans, and our menu plan for August.

There's a lot to go over, so let's get started!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Golden Gazpacho with Avocado

With the use of a blender, this simple soup comes together in minutes and is perfect for a light summer lunch or dinner!

When I was a kid, I was the picky eater in the family. (I was also the sloooooow eater... But that's a story for another blog post.) Back then, being a picky eater meant digging in my stubborn Taurean heels and refusing to eat certain foods.

Over the years, however, my pickiness has evolved. I'll eat almost anything as long as certain foods are prepared in specific ways under specific circumstances. Case in point? Tomatoes.

I love fresh tomatoes sliced on sandwiches and diced on tacos, but I won't eat them sliced on top of a pizza or diced in a chunky tomato sauce. Here, it's not only a texture thing, but it's also a temperature thing.

Not impressed? I'll go on.

I'll skip the glass of tomato juice or the Bloody Mary at brunch, but I'll eat gazpacho by the bucketful. You'd think since I like the chilled soup, I could stomach the chilled beverages.


Part of me wonders whether these preferences have something to do with the fact that two of those things are served in a glass while the third is served in a bowl...

Based on this, I suppose you can still describe me as a picky eater. I think I'm more like Meg Ryan's character in When Harry Met Sally -- "I just want it the way I want it."

Friday, July 24, 2015

Feed Me Friday: July 24

While it's important to feed our bodies, it's also important to feed our minds. Today I'm sharing some of the things I've read that have recently caught my attention.

It's been a little while since I've written anything here, and part of that has to do with my decision to temporarily suspend my weekly menu plans. But, really, I haven't been writing lately because I've been way too tired to try and put together a coherent sentence, let alone a series of coherent sentences.

Stephen was out of town for work for nearly a week and only just got home late last night, so I've been caring for the baby (who has been fighting nursing and bedtime) and the dog (who has been acting super jealous of the baby) by myself. There were nights when I had barely enough energy to clean up the kitchen after making dinner, so I decided not to put too much pressure on myself to write.

One thing that helped keep me sane throughout all of this was reading. In between feedings, diaper changes, tummy time, and walks with the dog, I caught up on some of my favorite blogs, worked my way through a ridiculous stack of unread magazines, and picked up my Kindle for the first time in months.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How I Survived the Fourth Trimester

The Fourth Trimester - clinging to your sanity while helping your baby make the transition from womb to world. Welcome to Parenthood!

Whether they have children or not, everyone has their opinion(s) when it comes to parenting. As new parents, it's easy to feel as if you're doing something wrong when your baby is seemingly the only one who doesn't nurse well or doesn't sleep well or doesn't develop certain skills as quickly as other babies. You think you must be fighting your way through parenthood while on a completely different planet as other new parents, but honestly, we're all thinking the same thing:

This shit is hard.

You're tempted to play the comparison game, but one of the things that saved me during my first three months of motherhood was learning how to let things go. Once I learned to stop trying to keep up with other moms and to trust my own instincts to do what felt right for our baby and our family, things got easier.

Of course, not everything came naturally, and it took some time to discover what worked best. With that said, I thought it would be helpful to highlight some of the things -- aside from copious amount of coffee -- that have helped me survive the so-called fourth trimester.

As every baby is different and every situation is different, this isn't meant to be a list of new-mom (or new-parent) "essentials". I'm simply sharing what has worked for me so far. If you're having a tough time getting through the first few months of having a baby at home (or if you know someone who is), then maybe you'll find something in this blog post that you haven't tried yet.