When I came home from the hospital, one of the first things I did was start a load of laundry. I did all the laundry before I left, made sure every little thing was put away before leaving to eliminate a giant load to be dealt with as soon as I got home. I knew I would be coming home to a pile after being in the hospital for a few days, plus the dirty that I would be bringing home as well. I am not a laundry only on Sundays kind of person, I just chip away at it as I go. Let’s be honest it just never ends anyway. Maybe the hospital should offer to wash your clothes before you leave…kidding, but it’s an idea.
I wanted to get a few things done before Anderson and Scarlett got home to meet their brother for the first time. This pattern has continued ever since. Get as much done as possible before the kids get home, which always bleeds over into the time after they get home. Laundry, vacuum, dishes, cook, pick up all the random things, etc. there just isn’t enough time in the day when you throw in nursing, pumping, and enjoying Thomas. When you feel like every ball in the air is a glass ball, it is hard to prioritize things and not to mention is super stressful.
I want to be the mom and wife that can get it all done. I want to be the wife that can keep it all together and manage it without help, but honestly, that just isn’t realistic or healthy. All of the balls in the air can’t be glass. Time with my children can’t be equal to getting laundry checked off my list. I have to be able to let one drop and know that it is made of rubber and will bounce back.
Anderson has asked me to cuddle with him after he wakes up several times since Thomas has been born. He never really asked me to stop and cuddle with him before in the mornings. When I lay down at night with him, I am usually nursing or at least holding Thomas. There is no alone time or one on one time anymore. No one gets just mama time, heck I don’t even get just mama time. What kills me the most is “just a minute” comes out of my mouth more than I would like for it to. Even though I say time with my children is the most important, I am constantly saying, ‘in just a minute’ every time they ask me to come and look at this, go do this, play with them here or there, etc.
“Just a minute, bud.”
“Hold on Scarlett.”
“Let me finish nursing and pumping/folding these clothes/cooking this/putting this away, then I will be right there.”
There is so much guilt behind those words because I am treating them like rubber balls. I am putting the chores ahead of spending time with them. These things won’t get done on their own, but they also aren’t going anywhere. One day he is going to get tired of hearing me say, hold on, and will quit asking altogether. One day I am going to be caught up on all my chores and go to play with them and they won’t want me to.
My feelings of guilt are more attached to Anderson because he is the oldest and will be the first to not “need” me. A work friend recently told me to let the house go, and while I can’t entirely do that, I know that I need to make a more conscious effort to drop my rubber balls and keep the glass ones in the air. The rubber balls will bounce back, I will get to them eventually, but those glass ones won’t always need me.
Life is short. Time is fleeting.
New Food Review:
Herbed Ricotta Stuffed Chicken in Cider Pan Sauce + Mashed Cauliflower This meal was great, but I overdid it on the garlic and it ended up being super spicy. The ricotta mixture had a lot of garlic and the mash had a lot of garlic, and it was just too much when combined. I used a different recipe for the mashed cauliflower to keep the calories down, because the skin-on chicken breast add a lot of extra calories, and it worked out great. Next time I make this I am going to take it extra easy on the garlic. I skipped the wine, because ‘mom-brain’ I honestly forgot and didn’t miss it at all.
Healthy Taco Dish Unlike the other dish, I didn’t flop on this one. It was amazing and did not break the bank on calories. I kept the chicken and rice separate in order to keep a hold on my macros. I didn’t go crazy with the cheese and add in the extra-topping cheese separate to hit my fat goal.
M – E – N – U
Butternut Squash Soup + Pork Loin Chops
30 Minute Chicken Fajitas with Roasted Pineapple Salsa Verde
Butternut Squash Soup + Pork Loin Chops
If you have never made butternut squash soup, just trust me. It is so good. A lot of people forget about butternut squash and opt to just roast vegetables. This soup is roasted with a few added goodies and then blended with chicken broth to make a delicious soup. Overall, this is not heavy on the calories around 200 calories with 27 grams of carbs. What you add in as your protein is where you might get hit hard with the calories. Pork loin chops are not friendly to the calorie bank, you will get hit hard, but it is so delicious and tastes better than just a side of chicken breast.
This soup is such a great fall/winter dish. It really can be the main dish, but just doesn’t meet our protein needs. It says to use goat cheese and that is a great addition, but it doesn’t need it. There is enough fat in this dish with the bacon for us. I like to add the broth while I blend it to adjust the thickness. I like this soup to be thick, not thin/soupy.
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut in 1-inch chunks *45-55 ounces 1 onion, diced 1 red bell pepper, chopped 4 slices bacon, diced *2 ounces 2 tablespoons olive oil *omit, spray pan with oilve oil 2 cloves garlic, minced Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste FOR THE SOUP 4 slices bacon, diced *0.5-1 ounces cooked bacon per serving 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or more, to taste *2 cups 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese *10-15 grams non-fat goat cheese per serving 2 tablespoons chopped chives
The spaghetti sauce I use is adapted from a bolognese lasagna sauce. It is a thicker sauce, with lots of meat and vegetables.
To make the sauce, dice the onion and bell pepper, and saute’ with the minced garlic until soft. Add the mushrooms to the pan (mushrooms are not in the lasagna). Once the mushrooms have cooked down, drain any excess water. Add the vegetables to a large pot, along with the canned tomatoes. Once the meat has cooked thoroughly, drain and add to the tomatoes and vegetables.
Stir in the milk and wine, if you are going to put those in. Let the spaghetti simmer on low. Add the tomato paste to thicken the sauce if needed. The amount of tomato paste you add depends on how thick you want your sauce to be. I use to add the whole milk and wine but have recently opted out of putting it in, to simply cut down on the calories. Save the wine and just drink it. It is delicious with or without the wine and milk.
I like to add dried oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, parsley, and any other Italian herbs I have on hand. I don’t use noodles anymore with my spaghetti. If you still want noodles, Carba-nada is a great low-carbohydrate noodle option!
Once I tried spaghetti squash I never went back. It really is not that difficult to make. I cut my squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, spray with olive oil and bake in the oven at 425 degrees until I can stick a fork all the way through the squash to the outside (not through the outside). I allow the squash to cool and then use a fork to scrape noddle-like strands out of the squash. 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash is 42 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.5 grams of fat.
Ingredients: 4 cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes *1500-1700 grams 1 can Tomato Paste (about 1 cup) *140 grams 3 cloves Garlic 1 Yellow Bell Pepper (diced) *4-5 ounces 1 Onion (diced) 8 ounces Mushrooms (diced) *400-500 grams 2-4 pounds 80/20 cooked and drained *20-30 ounces cooked and drained 8 ounces Whole Milk (optional) *omit for low calorie 4 ounces Red Wine (optional) *omit for low calorie Italian Herbs 2-3 spaghetti squash or noodles of your choice
Farfalle Mushroom Pasta
This is probably one of Josh’s favorite dishes. Pasta + mushrooms = his jam. He LOVES mushrooms, me not so much, but in this dish they are great. It is just a texture thing for me. They don’t really have a taste on their own, but with the right seasonings and in just the right dish, I can scarf them down.
This dish can be high on the number of carbohydrates, it is pasta after all. I am going to use carba-nada to cut back on the carbs a little and up the protein. Carba-nada has 170 calories per serving, 15 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.5 grams of fat.
The last time I cooked this with regular farfalle pasta and whole milk the macros per serving (there were 10) were 349 calories, 11.6 grams of protein, 39.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 5.1 grams of fat.
When I am making a dish like this I keep my chicken and pasta separate and make a recipe just for the sauce. You can make your servings larger or smaller depending on your macro needs. This is without any meat would be great, especially if you are using the carba-nada.
*Changes I make to meet my macros.
Ingredients: 16 ounces uncooked whole wheat farfalle pasta *can substitute with carba-nada or pasta zero 2 tablespoons butter *1 tablespoon 2 tablespoons oil *Omit 24 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini and shiitake) *680 grams 1/4 cup minced garlic or shallots, or a combination of both a splash of white wine (about 1/3 cup) *2.4 ounces 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream *1 cup non fat milk 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth (as needed) *1-2 cups Vegetable broth depending on how soupy you want the sauce 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese *60 grams reduced fat parmesan cheese 2 cups spinach, chopped 6 ounces goat cheese *4 ounces non fat goat cheese *add in cooked chicken breast
30 Minute Chicken Fajitas with Roasted Pineapple Salsa Verde
This recipe is pretty identical to the 20-minute shrimp tacos I have made, which were delicious. If you haven’t made them yet and you have some shrimp on your hands, run and go make them now! Seriously, one of my favorite salsas yet. The shrimp version had more ingredients in the salsa, but I like that this recipe is a bit more simple and I make it every few weeks.
The only thing to really track in the salsa is the pineapple and tomatillos. The tomatillos are awesome roasted with the other ingredients. If you can’t find tomatillos, you can use a jar of premade Verde. Add the Verde, garlic, jalapeno, and spices to a mixer pulse together until blended well. The basic jar of Verde isn’t as flavorful, so I make sure to add in all the roasted goodies if I can’t get my hands on any tomatillos.
These fajitas always turn into rice bowls for me instead of tacos. I love salsa so much and the macros are so great that I can have a lot of it. If you are going low carbohydrate, then skip the rice and just eat in the tortilla or alone. Some fresh cilantro, lime, and maybe avocado to top it off and you are set!
I interchange pork and chicken breast in this recipe often. If I have a pork butt I am definitely going to use that over the chicken breast. If the store is low on chicken when I go, I will go down to our local BBQ place and grab some naked (sauce-less) pulled pork.
*Changes I make to fit my macros
Ingredients: 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips *chicken breast or pulled pork 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil *Spray with oil 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder 2 teaspoons smoked paprika 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder kosher salt and black pepper 2 bell peppers, sliced 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced 6-8 small flour tortillas, warmed *High fiber/Low carb tortilla or rice crumbled cotija or shredded cheddar cheese mashed avocado and limes *Omit cheese OR avocado ROASTED PINEAPPLE SALSA VERDE: 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 1-2 cup diced pineapple *1/4 -1/3rd cup per serving
Teriyaki Vegetable Stir Fry
This is a new recipe and I am pretty excited to give it a try. It is a very simple stir fry, but with lots of good vegetables that you don’t always think about adding in. Most of the time a stir fry has onion, bell pepper, and onion. I love the addition of asparagus and broccoli.
It won’t exactly be fun to track, because to get the most accurate count I will need to keep all of the vegetables separate. If you are just starting out on your tracking journey making one recipe and weighing out portions is a better option and less stressful/intimidating. Counting macros takes some practice and tracking a whole meal is definitely more advanced than just making the basic meat and vegetable meal to track (boring).
*Changes I make to meet my macros
Ingredients: 2 cups fresh broccoli florets *1 bundle 1 red bell pepper 1 yellow summer squash (or zucchini) *2-3 medium squash 4 oz. asparagus (woody stems removed) *1 bundle 4 oz. mushrooms (about 1 1/2 cups) *200-300 grams 3-4 green onions 8 oz. tempeh (optional) *omit Optional garnish: sesame seeds, cashews, peanuts, green onions *green onions FOR THE TERIYAKI SAUCE: 1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce, coconut aminos) *low sodium soy sauce 2 1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar (or 3 Tbsp. maple syrup) 1/3 cup vegetable broth or water 2 tsp. rice vinegar 1-2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp. ginger, freshly grated (I peel my ginger) 1 Tbsp. cornstarch (or arrowroot or other thickener*) *optional