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Archive for the ‘weekly menu’ Category

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Do you see that caption there in the bottom right corner…What to Eat This Week: A 7 Day Menu??? That’s my article!!!…On the front cover of January’s issue of Pregnancy and Newborn!
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You may remember back in July when I wrote an online piece for the magazine…well, the menu captured enough interest that they extended the invitation to me for a print piece!
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I’m over the moon with how it turned out…it spans 4 pages! They even used some of my photos (see the table runner under the ravioli…that’s mine!).
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I love how they incorporated my information on vitamins…the sidebars really catch the eye and provide insight into why I chose the foods I included in the 7 day menu of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.
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They gave me a lot of room to creatively produce a seasonal menu that I am proud of. I was even able to include some uncomplicated recipes.
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For all my readers with child, and for those of you who are just interested, you can read the whole menu here. I hope you, and all the magazine’s readers, find it to be helpful. It makes me smile (and blush, a bit) to think that there are women out there that I might be helping!
Thank you again, Pregnancy and Newborn. And, for any other magazines that might be searching for nutrition writers (oh, I SO wish they were reading my blog!)…Ask me! Choose me! I would love to write more articles this year.
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All You Need is Love

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Ever have ONE OF THOSE DAYS? You know what I’m talking about, right? When every single person you encounter seems to look at you the wrong way? You cant seem to pull it all together? The nurse nearly knocks you off the chair when she violently stabs your arm with a flu shot? Your self-imposed to-do list is growing and, well, time is not.

Well, it seems I’ve had one of those weeks. SIX of those weeks, actually. For the past six weeks, David and I have spent our week days darting in and out of each other’s lives. I come home from work, we recap Jack’s day, and then we say goodbye as he leaves for night float. For six weeks, we have seen each other for approximately thirty minutes a day. And, then the weekend comes and we have high hopes that we can make up for all the lost time by somehow forgetting that David has been up all night and, in fact, really needs too sleep…instead it goes by way too fast and we all feel a little more dazed and weary by Sunday evening as David is heading out the door again.

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I got in my car the other evening after work, and heard on my favorite radio station, KEXP, All You Need is Love by the Beatles and, it hit me! Love was the answer. It was all I needed, but how can I possibly find it in the thirty minutes of fast-paced fury we have together each day? Im so thankful that this rotation is coming to an end, that my husband will be back in our bed at night, sitting around our table for dinner. Perhaps I can get a grip on all of this self-wallowing I’ve been up to!

I’m taking this week to meet other writing deadlines (I was asked to contribute to The Runcible Spoon’s holiday magazine!) and to get some holiday-related tasks done around here. I will be back with a full menu next week (hopefully) and, for those of you waiting, the lentil burgers are likely to make their appearance!

xxo.

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*our little runner sporting mama’s running shoes. Wonder when he will be hitting the streets with us?!

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Last weekend, the three of us went out for ice cream. This may seem like a very routine affair living in a city with a 23 month old where artisanal ice cream stores are easily found. But, this ice cream outing was anything other than routine….we went out for ice cream and it was ALREADY DARK! I could count on one hand the number of times we have left our house after the sun stopped glowing since moving to Seattle and, for Jack to be with us after sundown, well that is just unheard of!

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It was Saturday night…our only night with David at home during this month of night float rotation…and I got the urge for a yummy frozen treat, a sweet pre-dinner appetizer for David and I and a desert for Jack. After we paused to give the idea a second thought, we grabbed our shoes and bounded out the door headed to Molly Moon’s. On our drive over to the Wallingford neighborhood, I knew this outing was significant, marking the first of many evening outings that we will share together. And, it was a bit bittersweet…Jack is growing up. He’s becoming a little boy who can make choices and decisions for himself.

We gathered in a line that spilled out of the door and onto the sidewalk and discussed our flavor choices. We made a lot of friends in line chatting over our sweet boy’s outfit of yellow rain boots, a Florida gator shirt, and cut-off denim and our obvious love of SEC football (David was wearing one of his Auburn tees).

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We ordered our selections and then snuggled into a table licking and taking spoonfuls of each other’s…Jack chose the tomato basil sorbet (yes, he really did choose this and he liked it! So did we.), I had a sugar cone filled huckleberry chunk and Theo chocolate, David had strawberry balsamic and stone mint. The flavors were indulgent. Jack tasted his first ice cream cone and he thought it was wonderful. The taste of the sweet cream alone would have been enough to make most people’s night, but instead of the ice cream, my favorite part of the evening was the walk to and from the car that we shared hand in hand. Just the three of us with smiles plastered on our faces taking up the whole width of the sidewalk, happy just being.

See, I am all too aware that little people don’t stay little forever. I know that Jack will one day think going out for ice cream on a Saturday night with his parents is absolutely not fun. And, I know, if we are lucky, that this day will come in several years but also be fleeting (those preteen and teenage years can be such a challenge). So, I am holding on dearly to the memories we are making along the way…the simple ice cream outings where nothing is more important to the three of us at that moment than each other.

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*happy October! We are all decked out for the season at our house! How about you?

Weekly menu:
Tuesday: Vegetable Ratatouille

Wednesday: Pumpkin Muffins

Thursday: Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup

Friday: Homemade Rustic Pizzas

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Can you believe it’s the last week of September…where exactly did this month go??? Oh my, oh my… The weather in Seattle has us all confused as I think it’s having a hard time deciding whether it’s time to welcome fall. We’ve had days of sunshine and mid-70 degree weather, yet it’s currently windy, gray, and drizzly with temperatures hovering in the high-60s. I quite like this gray day…it feels cozy and is very suitable for writing. Yet, it makes me wish my fireplace was already filled with pillar candles of all sizes so our living room would have a warm glow in the evenings. Jack decided that Nonna was responsible for picking out our candles, but when their visit with us was cut short, we couldn’t find the time to fit that task in. Hopefully, I will get around to it soon.

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About the menu this week… the soup is exceptionally good and the muffins are easy and make a wholesome, yummy breakfast even on the super hectic weekday mornings when I’m required to have breakfast plated and on the table before waking Jack up at 6:50. (Whew!…even that sentence made me a frantic!)
After making these muffins, I’ve decided to try to schedule some dedicated baking time into my week. Nothing beats a homemade baked good…I think they just have a way of making you feel loved and cared for. Baking has never been part of my kitchen habit, yet, I’m hoping that will change. So, the plan is for you to see baked bits of goodness appear on the weekly menus more often than not from here on.

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*photos were taken at the first Starbucks located in Pike Place Market (note the old “scandalous” mermaid logo). We took my parents here when they visited. I found it appropriate to offer Jack his first taste of Starbucks while at the original store. The only time of year that I love Starbucks is from September through New Years…I find their holiday drinks decadent and comforting, particularly the gingerbread latte. Here, we are drinking a decaf iced soy pumpkin spice latte…mmmmm!

This week’s menu:
Tuesday: Black bean soft tacos

Wednesday: Tomato Florentine soup with tortellini and kale

Thursday: Banana muffins

Friday: Jet City Pizza review

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Hey there, Fall. How did you get here so soon?

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It’s difficult for my mind to process the fact that it’s already mid-September, that we will officially greet Fall this week. While so, so, so much has happened this summer (the BIG cross-country move, settling in, starting residency, finding and then starting a new job, meeting new friends, getting Jack started at his first school…!), it doesn’t feel like people should be packing up their flip-flops and picking out a new pair of boots for the cold days ahead. Yet, promises of apple picking, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, football, trick-or-treating, big pots of homemade soup, and cozy nights tucked under blankets make me excited for my favorite season. We are thrilled with the anticipation of what Fall means in the Northwest…what seasonal things are little family of three will do and love to make them our own Autumn traditions. And, I’m also feeling ready to brave the rain and endless clouds we have heard so much about!

So, I will leave you with this week’s menu, a sort of dance between summer and fall foods (I guess my kitchen is not quite ready to bid farewell to summer), while I go search for a new raincoat, discover new soup recipes, and make a warm lunch of grilled apple and cheese sandwiches for me and my boy. xxo.

Weekly menu:
Tuesday: slow cooked lentils

Wednesday: yogurt sesame dressed tortellini

Thursday: poached egg open-faced BLT sandwiches

Friday: pasta with spinach pesto and clams

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Hello, lovelies. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Mine was spent missing my hubs, keeping cool in a Seattle heat wave of 80 degree high temps, and planning for some very exciting visitors that arrive this week…my parents!

So, I have something I want to share with you all…I have a new writing gig! It’s for an online magazine called Miss A that is established in about 20 US cities (maybe your city is featured…?) and promotes unique local events, particularly events that are connected to a charity. The magazine just launched in Seattle so I am among it’s original core writers. It’s a fun project that keeps me in-the-know of many Seattle happenings. Please click here to check out my section and read the articles I have written so far…I will be writing nearly every week, so keep checking back. I will also try to alert you when I have written something that I feel should be shared here.

I hope that all of you have a fun week ahead. And, perhaps this week’s menu will help add some unique flavors to your little corner of the world:

Tuesday: slow cooked vegetable ratatouille

Wednesday: blueberry oatmeal whole grain buttermilk pancakes!

Thursday: pea pesto pasta

Friday: peachy plum confetti cocktail

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the balancing act of life lately…what components must come together to make your family happy, your house peaceful, and everyone in your home feeling well-balanced and fulfilled. It’s tricky. It’s tricky for everyone…working parents, stay at home parents, single people, single parents, married couples without children. And, it’s especially tricky when you have to find the right flow when one of the players in your act does not have a schedule that is set nor flexible.
One of my favorite bloggers, Joanna Goddard of cup of Jo did a balancing work/life/motherhood series that is a must-read. It really made me think about how we all struggle to find this perfect balance to make our life, and the people in it, as happy as we possibly can while also giving of our whole selves to make our work meaningful and successful. As I enter back into the working world today, thankfully into a job I’m psyched about and that only requires me to be there part time, I thought it would be a good exercise to do my own little post, using some of Joanna’s questions, about how I attempt to balance the pieces of my life to make it all flow.

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Intro:
My work life has evolved from a full-time to a stay-at-home to a part-time working mama over the last year and a half. I went back to my full-time job as a clinical dietitian in Atlanta when Jack was 3 months old (heartbreaking) and toyed around with my schedule cutting hours, then some days to try to make my presence at work meaningful, but my time with Jack even more so. During this time, Jack spent a month at home with David and then 15 months at an in-home daycare with 3 other children. Our transition from Atlanta to Seattle allowed me to spend nearly three months at “home” with Jack…this came at a wonderful time of growth and readjustment for him. We knew that I would make a jump to part-time the first chance I could and our move to Seattle has, fortunately, allowed for that! Now, at 21 months old, Jack goes 3-4 days a week to a wonderful little preschool in our neighborhood.

1. What’s your work schedule?
My schedule will always be changing since I will work as an outpatient dietitian counseling patients or teaching classes 2-3 varying days per week. I’m trying to take another day each week for writing, hoping appointments and errands don’t get in the way! I will also write on the weekends or very occasional nights after Jack goes to bed, if David goes to bed early or is working.
No matter what, I’m going to spend one day each week focused on Jack. I’m looking forward to finding a class that we can join and rainy day activities to explore!

2. How do you handle childcare?
Because of my varying schedule, it worked best for us to have Jack enrolled four days a week at preschool. On the days I see patients, he, unfortunately, will be there the full 10 hours, but on the days I take for writing, he will typically attend for about 6 hours. Knowing he doesn’t go every day makes the long days bearable. On patient Fridays, Jack will hang out with a babysitter for a few hours, because our preschool closes earlier on that day.

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3. What would you love to change down the road (or would change right now) if you had a magic wand?
I think the biggest problem with our current set-up is that David is a completely unreliable player on the team. I’m looking forward to the day when we have at least a pretty good idea of when he will be at the hospital and when he will be home each day. Its difficult to work and do all of the childcare alone.

4. What’s your favorite part of your work?
I am so excited to be taking on a new direction in my career by working in an outpatient clinic setting rather than in a hospital. I love to interact with patients and teach and my new job will allow me to do a lot of both! Also, I’m so thrilled to be doing some freelance writing and am really hoping I get more opportunities for this, especially since my schedule was tailored to give myself time for this passion.

5. What’s your favorite part of your home life?
I love the days when David is home in the evenings and we can play in the backyard, go for walks, cook dinner, have dance parties, read, and snuggle before Jack goes to bed. Then, we get to have some adult time where we can watch a movie, just have a drink and talk, or make a longer dinner together. It doesn’t happen often, so when it does, it’s such a treasure!

6. How does your husband contribute to managing the juggle/house/childcare?
We’ve made it an unspoken rule to get up with Jack together when we are both home (except when David has worked overnight). We take turns playing with him and making breakfast/coffee. If David’s home in the evenings, one of us gives Jack a bath and the other reads Jack stories and puts him to bed. When our schedules allow, we basically have a set of tasks and the counterpart to that task. I think being open to talking about expectations helps make a happier home life, so I talk about this subject quite often!

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7. How do you and your husband fit your marriage into the balance?
Gosh…it’s so easy to neglect you marriage once you have a child! There are so many other things that suddenly become ultra important and can easily take all of your energy and time if you let them. I think it’s really critical to foster the connection you have with your spouse. We were not good about doing this in Atlanta, but we are now trying to plan for date nights on a semi-regular basis. We feel that its worth the babysitting fees to have time with each other and out with friends. And, if David is home at night, we often try to focus on each other after Jack goes to bed with no Internet distractions…it often feels like a stay-at-home date night, which is so wonderful.

8. Do you have time for yourself?
I am terrible at this! David and I don’t get much time together, so its often hard to justify going out to do something on my own or with friends. I am VERY protective of my few quiet hours during the day when I am not working and Jack is napping…But this is a time I use to return phone calls, write for the blog, write articles, cook, do some Internet research…not really time for me. Also, I make a true effort to create exercise time 3-4 days each week…jogging strollers are wonderful as is having a daycare that’s close and allows for walking/running to and fro! I’m going to really try to create some time for me in my week and time to go out with girlfriends. Girlfriends are so important and should be a top priority, especially at a time when I am making new ones in a new city!

9. What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life?
Every day I find myself thinking, “If not mama, then who?” Mamas really are extraordinary in their ability to do so much in so many different roles, but we also put so much on ourselves! I think it’s extremely important to be authentic to ourselves, to ask for help, to not be afraid to say when we feel overwhelmed, and to simply do our best. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to other moms falsely thinking that they have it all. It’s helpful to look to each other for help and inspiration, but what matters most is how we balance all our different pieces into real living with our family and friends. Be true to your own role!

10. Have you talked to other women about how to juggle everything? Do you think people talk openly about it?
I am not so sure people are open and honest about it and that is hard. My impression is that every mama stresses over making their own right choice that it is easier to put down another woman’s choices rather than learn from them. I always hear stay-at-home moms say that they don’t want someone else to ‘raise’ her child. And, some working moms feel superior because they have a career and income. The decisions we make have so much to do with our personal life experiences that it’s hard to have a one-size-fits-all approach. And, admittedly, I’m still learning how to live and balance it all and doing the best I can along the way.

11. Do you think the juggle is harder for women than for men?
I do think the juggle is harder for women than for men. It seems that the day Jack was born I was injected with a healthy dose of guilt — about not doing enough for him, not doing enough for myself, not calling my parents/sister/friends enough, not letting David know how special he is to me, not working hard enough. Because David’s career dictates his schedule, it has been left to me to create a childcare/work balance. I know David would certainly help if he could and I know he misses us when he’s gone, but I think when men leave and go to work, their minds clear to focus on their career in the forefront with their families in the background. As a mama, I don’t find it possible to do that. I live and breathe guilt daily!

So, thanks for reading…I would love to know your own story, if you want to share.

And, this week’s menu:

Tuesday: instead of a meal made in the slow cooker, let’s make quinoa with roasted vegetables and celebrate summer’s bounty of mint with mojito in hand!

Wednesday: greens and chickpeas

Thursday: summer panzanella salad

Friday: pizza made at home…on the grill!

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