Me Time + Menu

Time Well Spent

I don’t think I knew what I was bargaining for when I chose my word for the year, ‘accept’. I picked this word to help me remember to accept certain situations that I find myself in. There are just some things that you just cannot change. I cannot change the things that I have done or had done to me in the past and dwelling on the pain of those situations brings more pain. I cannot change the actions of others. Instead, I wanted to make a conscious effort to accept and forgive those situations/people, any new unfortunate situations that came my way and move on from them.

Being unhappy or mad takes so much energy and I am feeling that strain now. I feel like lately I am constantly reminded of the word that I have chosen. Having little control over what is going on in my life, I think of my word daily. Before when I was wearing my necklace, it was a physical reminder, now I don’t need to touch my necklace to think of it. Now, I think of my word when things don’t seem to be going just right…which seems to be very often every day. I try and tell myself that if I have patience and can get through whatever is going wrong, it will pay off. I will be rewarded later for being able to push through these tough times if I can do so without losing my mind.

There have been so many changes happening in my life, in everyone’s lives lately. What I have going on does not even begin to compare to the struggles of many, but struggles are relative. What is difficult for me might be a cake-walk for others. Mentally we all deal with our struggles differently. For some, this virus has shut them down emotionally and physically. Some are thriving though. Some people are having more alone time than ever to evaluate their life, easily crossing those to-dos off their list that they otherwise would have continued to neglect, finding new healthy ways to occupy their time, etc.

Staying home all day, every day with two very antsy children does not allow for much personal growth, not without neglecting their needs in some way. For some their spouse is home as well or their children are older and more independent or they are not having to work from home (maybe these are all just excuses for me not to stop and focus on me) so personal growth comes easier.

Planning math lessons with said two antsy children, trying to navigate online teaching, no outlet to deal with frustrations or way to escape them briefly, emotional eating, eating out of boredom, eating because there are double-chocolate chip pancakes leftover on the island (ugh), pregnancy hormones…just to name a few are plaguing me daily. Add to that, this or that vital appliance breaking. Handymen coming in the house, that may or may not be sick. There a lot of things to stress about that cannot be changed and no way to cope with those changes because you are stuck in your house for the most part and going crazy.

Pregnancy is one of my biggest changes right now outside of this virus. Our third child is due the day before our first born’s birthday (curious to see how that goes in the future). Being pregnant feels like the uncertainty that this virus carries. There is no way to know how things will turn out until it is over. The first 4 months feel like an eternity of waiting to feel this growing child inside of me. As a mom or mother to be, that first kick is such a breath of fresh air. I know for me, I feel so much better and am less worried about whether or not my child is thriving inside of me.

Then there is the weight gain. With Anderson, I did not gain a single pound until I was 20 weeks. I only gained right at 20 pounds with him, 25 pounds with Scarlett, and started showing with her around 17 weeks. I am 18 weeks now, 100% been showing for at least a month now, and have already gained 8 pounds. On the bright side, currently, I am sitting at the same weight as I was before I got pregnant with Anderson. On one hand, I am gaining weight more quickly with the third child, but on the other hand, I am starting out much healthier than with other pregnancies. With the rapid weight gain, this time around I feel like my body is less capable than with my other two pregnancies. In my other two pregnancies, I PR’d most of my lifts and was very active. Maybe it is just me being lazy.

3rd pregnancy, 14-ish weeks and showing out, but I love this picture.

I already feel like I am in my 6th month of pregnancy with the weight I have gained. Couple that with this shelter in place, not actively up and teaching all day, and all the readily available snacks I keep consuming…I am feeling more fat than pregnant. Working out alone doesn’t help much either. I am still getting up super early so I can focus on working out and not be distracted with the location of my children in our unsafe yard. A little selfish of me, but I need that alone time and like to focus on what I am doing.

For some working out with their kids is fun and offers them rest time between sets. For me, I don’t like to stop unless I have to and I take my workouts a little more seriously than others might. My mama-brain just can’t focus on what I am doing when I am worried about what my children are doing. Working out with them is fun and I want them to see their mama doing those kinds of things, but it has it’s time and place for me.

Life is stressful enough without the stress of a pandemic and I am seeing that we all truly need our own space and outlet. So many people place their needs and desires on the back-burner for the happiness of their loved ones and the same is not done in return. I always thought that if I was needed by others then I was important to them. If I am needed then I am loved. Now, I just want to be “not-needed” for 5 minutes, 5 solid minutes. We went down to Thomasville to grab some supper to-go Friday night. I got a nice little ‘mocktail’ to go with it so I could pretend like I am on vacation having a fancy drink…the kids drank it. Pretty much sums up my life.

I now understand the obligatory date-nights, girls’ nights-out, mani/pedi time, that extra glass of wine or two, etc. Without those stress-relievers, in place, people can end up in a negative space that can lead to unintentional negative consequences (depression, weight-gain, cheating emotionally or physically, self-harm, self-doubt, etc.).

Before I stood in judgment of those that seemed to spend too much time away from home. I wondered why they desired to be gone so often, but judging is wrong and until you have had to walk in their shoes, you really don’t understand. I feel like we are all getting a taste of what it is like to be without that alone time. Even those like me, that felt like they never had time for themselves before, are really getting a dose of reality.

Oddly enough, cleaning up the yard that I have despised for so long has become my outlet. It gives me something productive to do so I don’t feel so lazy, it allows me to bond with my kids, gets both them outside doing something planned, and gives me a sense of pride. It is not your typical outlet for stress, it can add to my stress at times, but it is still a way for me to focus on something that I want to do. An outlet doesn’t have to involve leaving your house or spending money, as long as it is a time for you to put all those worries and fears aside and focus on something important to you.

New Food Review:

Crispy Chicken Tinga Taquitos + Lime Avocado Crema This was so delicious. Enchilada Tuesday might become a new thing & these will be what I make every time. Do yourself a favor and make these! You won’t be sorry. For goodness sake, don’t skip putting the tortillas in the oven.

Originally I had 28 grams of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I subtracted the weight of the peppers because I’m not going to eat those. I added them to the sauce for flavor. I only want to calculate what I’m actually going to eat. Instead of using ground chicken or pork, I used chicken breast to not add to the fat content.

To lower the macros a bit you can use one tortilla and eat the extra meat in a bowl. I did this for Josh and split his portion of cheese and avocado sauce between the tortilla and bowl. PS- wait to add the enchilada sauce to the chicken until you have your meat portioned out. This makes the macros more accurate. Lots of extra little steps, but it allows me to be as accurate as possible. Most food labels round-up on the calories, so I need to make sure my method is flawless to not add more errors to the calculations.

Orzo + Zucchini and Tomato Sometimes a dish is so simple that you think there’s no way it’s going to be good. This is one of those dishes…I was completely surprised at how great it was, being so simple. Lemon juice, LOTS of tomatoes, zucchini, orzo, Parmesan, basil, salt, and pepper. Nothing fancy but so good and fresh! I added chicken breast but this would be a great side dish or meal if you’re vegetarian. I’d swap the orzo for #carbanada if you leave off the meat to get in some protein.


Chicken Stir Fry 

Simplest Basil Zucchini Parmesan Pasta

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Casserole

BLT Chopped Salad + Corn, Avocado, Feta

Steak Fajita Bowl

Chicken Stir Fry

There is no link since he made the recipe up using vegetables we had on hand at the time. I am leaving out a few ingredients and making some slight changes.

Cut up the vegetables and season well with salt, pepper, 1/4th cup soy sauce, and 1/4th cup teriyaki marinade. Cut the chicken into 1 inch chunks while the vegetables cook down. After 5-8 minutes or once the vegetables have started to soften, add the chicken to the pan to cook down with the veggies. Lastly, he added 1 cup of cooked jasmine rice to the pan to heat up in the pan and soak up some of the flavor. I am skipping this step, because tracking the macros with the rice added makes it more difficult than I would like. If you aren’t worried about tracking your food, then add the rice to the pan. I will pour the extra sauce onto my rice in equal amounts.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

3 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Heads of broccoli 
3 Zucchini sliced 
1 Onion 
Soy Sauce 1/4th cup 
Teriyaki Marinade 1/4th cup 
Jasmine Rice- 1 cup cooked

Simplest Basil Zucchini Parmesan Pasta

This pasta was everything I expected and so much more. I had planned to add chicken to the dish the first time I made it, but left it as a side and ate a steak with it instead. If you are a vegetarian then PLEASE give this a try! And if you aren’t vegetarian, try it too! I was a little skeptical of this dish with so few ingredients, but it was delicious and more flavorful than I was expecting! The great thing about this pasta dish is there is no cream used. The cream comes from the mashed zucchini, butter, and cheese. Healthy-ish.

I am going to add chicken to the dish this time. Due to the lack of chicken breast in stores, if I can’t find enough chicken breast I will use shrimp instead.

I discovered carba-nada pasta a while back and I can’t tell you just how happy I am to find a substitute for pasta that isn’t a vegetable. It has 15 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.5 grams of fat per servings. It really is so good! I don’t mind spaghetti squash with my spaghetti, because it is chunky and loaded with other vegetables. For just a regular pasta dish, I don’t want mushy noodles. I want some consistency with my noodles. Carba-nada was the answer to this solution.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 pound pasta, use your favorite cut
*carba-nada pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*omit oil
3-4 medium zucchini and or yellow summer squash, chopped
*6-7 depending on size
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
kosher salt and black pepper 
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated parmesan or manchego cheese
* 3/4 reduced fat Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
lemon juice, for serving (optional)
*meat of choice on the side or mixed in with the pasta

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Casserole

The last time I made this, it was solely for my husband. I am NOT a casserole girl. I don’t like the idea of all the mayonnaise and cream of whatever people typically use in casseroles. This recipe has neither, so I am excited to give it a try. He is a true lover of casseroles with all mayonnaise and cream of whatever though. I put my own spin on this and it turned out to be so great and healthy! I was so surprised, I am probably looking forward to this meal the most.

This was not easy to track because it is all mixed together. There is no way that each piece cut will have the same amount of chicken or cheese. It will be precise on the macros but the slices themselves won’t be 100%.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
*spray olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
*10-20 ounces baby carrots sliced
1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons salted butter
*1 tablespoon
1 1/2 cups basmati or jasmine rice
*1 cup jasmine rice
1/2 cup dry orzo pasta (use gluten free, if needed)
2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for topping
3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
*2 cups
3 cups broccoli florets, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup whole milk or canned coconut milk
*non fat milk 
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
*100-180 grams depending on how cheesey you want it to be

BLT Chopped Salad + Corn, Avocado, Feta

This is one of my go-to bowls or salads. I debated making this two weeks in a row but decided against it. I made this into a BLT bowl and added chicken for extra protein.

I planned poorly before and ended up using leftover shrimp and steak the next day for lunch and that was the best choice I ever made! This BLT bowl WILL be made again and with shrimp.

This recipe is very simple, with no dressing. I was very unsure of how this would taste with a little seasoning and chicken. Honestly, I was pretty surprised at how great it was. Whether you choose to use chicken, steak, or shrimp it will be great.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

2 cups butter lettuce, chopped
*lettuce or rice for a bowl option
2 cups fresh arugula, chopped
*1/2 cup cooked rice per bowl 
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
*10 tomatoes per salad
4 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and crumbled
*0.5 - 0.8 ounces cooked bacon per salad 
1 cup sweet corn
*pan seared sweet corn 60 grams per salad  
1 avocado, chopped
*0.7 ounces per salad 
4 ounces feta, crumbled
*non-fat feta 
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
*omit oil 
1 lime, juiced
1/4 tablespoons salt
1/4 tablespoons pepper 
*cooked chicken breast

Steak Fajita Bowl

I have made this recipe before and I mainly like it for the marinade…but I plan to change that up a little bit too. Nothing ever really stays the same when I cook it. I am not going to use it as intended for skewers, but am going to make it into a steak, veggie, and rice bowl.

I plan to let the steak sit in the marinade overnight and let Josh cook it on his new toy #rectecgrill. I will sear the vegetables with olive oil spray, salt, and pepper. I don’t want the vegetables to get super soft since they will be reheated to eat later, so I will give them a good char with the cast-iron pan as if they were grilled or throw them in the oven to broil.

You can add pretty much any vegetables you have on hand or can manage to find at the grocery store right now. I have a lot of zucchini right now, so that will not be an issue. If you can get your hands on some bell peppers and an onion throw that it there too. For toppings you can use pineapple, avocado, black beans…whatever suits your fancy.

Make sure you check to see the changes I am making to the marinade and to the amounts used of other ingredients!

*Changes I make to meet my macros

about 8 metal skewers (or wooden skewers, soaked in water for 10 minutes)
*1/2 cup prepared rice per bowl 
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
*omit oil 
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
*1 ounce
*smoked paprika, cayene, lemon zest, lime zest, salt, pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
about 1.5 pounds boneless top sirloin steak center cut, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 red onion, diced into bite-sized pieces
*2 green bell peppers, 1 red bell pepper 
1 large zucchini, diced into bite-sized pieces
*1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash
about 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, diced into bite-sized pieces
*1/2 cup per bowl  
salt and pepper, for seasoning to taste, if desired
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, cilantro, or basil for garnishing; optional
*jasmine rice

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