Different + Menu

Well, here we are, another week closer to having Thomas join our family. We took our last family pictures as a family of four this week and set up my c-section appointment. The last to-do this week is getting a haircut sans kids, plus a pre-op appointment and one last doctor visit and more lesson plans and figuring out what other important things I have forgotten to buy for Thomas. You know, the usual last-minute push.

At first, I would not have minded if Thomas came before it was time to take maternity pictures. I am so glad we made it to the pictures though, they are so sweet and I can’t wait to get them on the wall. (Thank you, Haley Cox.) I have just honestly been ready for him to come along for what feels like a month now. Even though I’m not really ‘ducks all in a row’ ready, I have just been over all the craziness and I feel like once he comes I can finally just take a break and breathe. Trust me, I’m aware that three won’t exactly be easier than two, but it’ll be easier than all the stressing before number three gets here. I am a little anxious about our morning routine and getting two kids ready for school (at different times) without waking Thomas and keeping him on a schedule.

Haley Cox Photography

This pregnancy has been different than my other two, which no pregnancy or child is ever the same really. Scarlett was by far the most painful and complicated one. I had lots of random pains and nerve damage with her but managed to PR pretty much every lift in the gym. Granted I had a c-section with her 3-4 weeks early because she was measuring small (wish I would have not, but that’s a whole different story).

Anderson was easier than Scarlett, but Thomas at the beginning was easier but as it has progressed the end of my pregnancy was easier with Anderson than Thomas. I had an issue with placenta previa, but it resolved itself. I had to stop working out for two weeks with him and thought my world was ending. I ended up having an emergency c-section with him in the end. My placenta had calcified for whatever reason and his heart rate dropped too low during the delivery. Getting a needle in your back between contractions for an emergency c-section is something I will never forget. I was so exhausted by the end of it, that I fell asleep while they were sewing me up.

This one is sure to be different as well. My aches and pains have been different than the other two, but COVID adds a whole new layer to this situation. I am not even sure what the policy is at the hospital on visitors and such. I don’t like that my children can’t come and visit. I don’t like that they won’t get to meet their little brother on the day that he is born. I have no nursey to bring him home to ( I know other people have it worse). Our bedroom shall be the nursery. If we don’t find a house we love soon, Anderson and Scarlett with having to start sharing a room. Nothing feels ideal right now, everything feels like it has a catch or gotcha.

I feel like he can come at any minute and I would rather it be that way than taking him before he is ready to come. I am scheduled to have a c-section on the 21st but am more than ready if he chooses to come before that (kinda). With everything this year has brought, it would feel only fitting that my water break mid-sentence at work and make for the most memorable event of 4th grade for my students and myself. I catch myself constantly stopping to see if him moving is a contraction or just him moving. He pushes on me so hard it can be really painful sometimes. One of my male students asked me on Friday if being pregnant hurt because I kept stopping when I was walking around the room and holding my stomach. Yep, it hurts, ha.

There is beauty in all the chaos and pain (and stress). Nothing seems ideal right now, but it all comes out alright. In the end, it all works out for the best if I remain patient and true to myself. It has been difficult to take things one day and one task at a time when there are a million tasks to cross off my list and my days are limited. Everything feels like it is the most important priority with no time to get it all done, but somehow I keep getting one more day to get things done. Somehow, I manage to get more time to get my ducks in a row, and with each day I feel a little more at ease.

This time in life coupled with pregnancy has really taught me how to just trust the process, have patience, and be faithful to my convictions. Patience and persistence have served me well during this time. Not everything is just going to happen and fall into place. I have to have faith and believe that even though things might feel like a struggle, it all comes out in the wash.


Pork Loin + Roasted Vegetables

Hamburgers +  Sweet Potato Fries

Brisket Tacos

Crock Pot Venison Steak +  Yogurt Mashed Potatoes

BLT Chopped Salad + Corn, Avocado, Feta

Pork Loin + Roasted Vegetables

We need to make room in the freezer with a baby coming (milk) and deer season starting this week. I used one loin to stuff two weeks ago and it was great, but honestly, the center that we cut out of the loin and roasted alone was so great, I am going to roast this loin whole instead of stuffing it. The RecTeq Grill really has not disappointed with anything we have thrown on it so far. Looking at buying the Bullseye once it’s back in stock.

I really enjoy the stuffed loin because it is low in calories when compared to other stuffed pork loins, but I am looking to be lazy this meal prep weekend.

I linked a recipe for roasted vegetables, but it is really a whole meal. I am going to use some of the vegetables, but won’t be making the sauce or using the meat and extras. Make sure to check the changes I am going to make to keep this low calorie. The pork loin is great, but it is always high in calories, so I like to try and keep it balanced without skipping a side dish completely.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 (2.0-pound) center-cut boneless pork loin roast, butterflied
VooDoo Seasoning 
Honey Bacon BBQ Seasoning 

Roasted Vegetables:
8 large carrots, peeled and chopped
*10 ounces baby carrots
3 golden potatoes, chopped
*6-8 ounces sweet potato
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
*2 heads of cauliflower
olive oil and salt
*spray oil

Green Tahini
*omit Tahini
1/2 cup olive oil (mild tasting)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup tahini
a big bunch of cilantro and/or parsley
1 clove garlic
squeeze of half a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon salt (more to taste – I like 3/4 teaspoon)

Hamburgers + Sweet Potato Fries

B E S T burger I have ever had is from Liam’s in Thomasville and it is back on their menu. I am still trying to perfect our burger to match theirs. They are well known for their cheese, so it was not just your basic cheeseburger by any stretch of the imagination. Usually, we don’t eat cheeseburgers and try to keep it super healthy, but every now and then we do. I would be happy just to recreate their method of cooking the burger and onions.

Hamburgers will never go out of style and can be healthy if you don’t smother them in cheese, bacon, and mayonnaise. When I track my hamburger I weigh out my meat after it has cooked. This is controversial in the world of tracking food, but I think that it makes sense. The fat is going to cook out of the meat, so I don’t actually end up eating all of the fat that was originally in the raw meat.

I am going to add some sweet potato fries with the hamburgers for the kids. I will eat them as a snack later on, but not with this meal. You can always mix a packet of ranch seasoning with non-fat Greek yogurt to dip the sweet potato fries in for a healthy snack.

Hamburgers have your fats, protein, and carbs (if you eat a bun). The only thing I do is eat a second hamburger patty without a bun to get in more protein. Macro-wise there is no reason to add a side dish. I know everyone loves fries with their hamburger but you are doing some major calorie intake if you do that.

I will add cheese to this burger and saute’ the onions before putting them on the patty. If you add cheese, don’t use just any basic cheese if you are going to have cheese, you might as well get the good stuff.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

80/20 meat 
Brioche buns 
Heirloom tomatoes 
Yellow mustard 
Cheese (optional- good cheese, not basic Kraft singles)

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
*spray olive oil 
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
fine sea salt, to taste

Brisket Tacos

I thought that leftover brisket was best served in an omelet but after making these tacos I no longer think that. The first time we had these tacos, had some leftover brisket from The Fourth of July and decided to throw some into tacos. I had some leftover Verde from that week and random toppings. Honestly, they ended up being some top quality tacos. I wasn’t expecting to like them as much as I did.

We kept the tacos super simple, but they ended up being so delicious. To make the Verde roast the tomatillos, garlic, green onion, and jalapeno in the oven until the tomatillos are tender and soft, 20-25 minutes on 425 degrees. Throw the roasted tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno, and green onions into the blender with the juice of one lime and cilantro.

beef brisket, smoked to temperature

1 raw red onion, diced
7-10 grams fiesta blend cheese per taco
fresh cilantro, chopped 
fresh jalapeño, diced 
squeeze of lime per taco
low carb/high fiber tortilla 

Tomatillo Sauce:
6 small tomatillos, husked 
*verde if you can’t find tomatillos 
1 jalapeño 
4 green onions 
juice of 1 lime 
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped 

Crock-Pot Venison Steak +  Yogurt Mashed Potatoes

We have a lot of cubed deer steak in the freezer and I am looking for another way to cook it other than just using it in sandwiches and tacos. I love the deer stew that I make but prefer to eat that when it is cooler outside. Given that we live in South Georgia, it probably won’t really cool off for another month or two.

I am going to try and cook the cubed deer steak in the crock-pot with some Lipton Onion Soup Mix and serve with yogurt mashed potatoes and make some gravy. The last time I made the steak sandwiches the meat was a little tough, so I am hoping this is going to be a winner in the crock-pot and become a new comfort meal I can throw together quickly.

One night we decided to make some mashed potatoes to go along with our steak. Friday and Saturday night is usually not planned but we still try to keep pretty healthy. I saw that I had some non-fat Greek yogurt in the fridge and threw it in there. Josh thought it was sour cream and I just let him think that until he tasted it. Once he gave the approval, I let him in on my secret. Since then that is how I have made our potatoes, even for guests and they have never been able to tell the difference. My super picky, traditional eating Step-Dad even loves them. Make sure to use caution when adding in the yogurt, the more you use the sweeter the potatoes will taste.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Yogurt Mashed Potatoes: 
900-1000 grams red potatoes
65-75 grams non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon butter
6-8 ounces fat free milk
salt, pepper, minced garlic, fresh diced rosemary

BLT Chopped Salad + Corn, Avocado, Feta

I made this salad into a BLT bowl and added chicken for extra protein. I have made this with shrimp and steak before and absolutely loved it. I am going to stick with the chicken this time and add avocado. If I use steak, I tend to skip the avocado so I am not overloaded on the calories and fat.

If you are looking to keep this low calorie, I would keep this a salad and add in shrimp for more protein.

*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

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