Grace + Menu

Before I had Thomas, I ran into a mom in the car pick-up line one afternoon picking up Scarlett. She was telling me that she was finishing up her maternity leave and heading back to work soon, but the new jeans she just bought don’t quite fit yet. She said she didn’t know what she was going to do. I wasn’t about to go all ‘macros-matter’ on her or tell her to work out. My advice to her was to give herself some grace.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in how quickly you drop your baby weight or any weight gain. I am currently on the scale several times a day and feel stuck at the same weight this past week. As I told her it took 9 months to put it on, you can’t expect to be right back in the game after 3 months, but that is hard advice to take. I am nursing and trying to focus on eating to keep my supply up, but when I pass by a mirror, it is hard to not have the urge to run straight to the gym. I am learning to give myself some grace and turn my attention to the goal of nursing, not my physical appearance.

If you look to Facebook for advice it will tell you a different story. Apparently, Facebook knows that I have had a c-section recently because my ads are flooded with programs promoting exercise as soon as two weeks post-partum and even as soon as the day after surgery! I pray that other women know better. I hope others that get the same ads, don’t give away their money out of desperation to get that pre-baby body back or an even better version. Your body needs so much more time than that to heal. This is coming from someone that was exercising 6 days a week and diligently tracking macros, rest is key right now. If you start too soon then you could really do some damage. I am not a doctor but I feel like I should at least let my organs go back to their designated location before I start crunching my abs.

There is no grace period between being in the hospital and the routine of home life when you have a school-aged child and one in daycare. No grace. You just have to jump back into life as it was before with added responsibilities and pray you don’t sink in the process…at least that is my experience thus far. It feels like I have been attempting this mom-of-three life for a month now and it has only been two and a half weeks. In no way should I be pressuring myself to be right back to my pre-baby weight. Nor, should I be overrun with ads reminding me that my body has some extra weight to shed. Thanks, Facebook, duly noted.

Grace is something we deserve to give ourselves when we are adjusting to something new. We (I) put so much pressure on ourselves to handle it all on our own and bounce right back into life without missing a beat. There is always this looming expectation to handle changes without regression and constant changes are something everyone can relate to this year. There comes a point where you have to be okay with things not being okay. Mind you, that is different than giving up, I do not promote just giving up (failing is different than giving up), but giving yourself grace on the timeline to reach your goals or changing up how to reach your goal is a much healthier way to deal with difficult changes/challenges.

P.S. – happy 6 years to us!

We have literally been together since the day we met. I told you the night we met that I would marry the next man I dated and since then we have been together. I have loved every single day of life with you. We have packed a whole lot into six years, but I would not have it any other way. I love the family we have made and where life is taking us. I thank God that we didn’t meet when we had several opportunities in our first year of college and met at just the right point in each others’ lives. I am beyond grateful that the plans I had made for myself did not pan out, because life with you is so much better than anything I had planned for myself. I love you.

New Food Review

Teriyaki Vegetable Stir Fry I loved this dish. It is probably the lowest calorie meal I have made in a long time. Part of that is due to it being made with water and not oil or broth. The other is credited to zero pasta. This pasta has a funky smell if you don’t rise it well, but for 20 calories and 5 grams of carbs per serving, I can handle rinsing the noodles extra well for a few minutes. I used a ton of vegetables, so the meat gets lost in all the vegetables. I can see shrimp or steak being great in this dish over chicken.


Autumn Glow Salad with Lemon Dressing

 Ginger Roasted Pumpkin + Quinoa Salad

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Casserole

Sweet Potato Fry Steak Salad + Blue Cheese Butter

Rotisserie Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

Autumn Glow Salad with Lemon Dressing 

I am pulling out all of the fun fall recipes. Pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potatoes…all the good yummy carbs.

I love a good salad, that is more than just lettuce and the boring typical toppings. My kind of salad has a homemade dressing, toppings that you would not think to use, and typically don’t have lettuce. This salad has all of those things and more!

Make sure you want the carbohydrates because this is packed FULL of them. Between the quinoa, apples, and sweet potatoes you can easily lose track and eat way more carbohydrates than you think. Just because they are “healthy carbs”, does not mean you need to go overboard with them. Make sure you track what you are eating and of course eat a good deal of chicken with this so you aren’t leaving the table still hungry. If you do leave the table wanting more, go split a container of Halo Top. 

Ingredients For the Salad
1 cup freekeh or other grain (quinoa, bulgur, etc.)
*quinoa 1/2 cup prepared per salad
1 head cauliflower
2 sweet potatoes
*3-4 depending on size
1 tablespoon olive oil
*spray olive oil 
1 large apple
*1-2 apples split between 4 salads

For the Lemon Dressing
1 bunch parsley (about 1 cup), minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
⅔ cup olive oil
juice of one lemon (more to taste)
1 teaspoon agave (optional)
*1 ounce honey 
½ teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
*Add-in cooked sliced chicken breast or serve as a side dish

Ginger Roasted Pumpkin + Quinoa Salad

I have not made this salad for a very long time. Usually, I make it with sweet potatoes or butternut squash if pumpkin is not in season. It is so, so, so good. Don’t question the roasted pumpkin, just make it! I know most people don’t roast pumpkin. They buy the canned pumpkin and throw it into a cheesecake. I can appreciate pumpkin cooked that way too, but this is one of my all-time favorite salads for the cooler months of the year.

In the past, I have been made this into a bowl, by just adding in chicken or pork loin chops. I am going to be eating it as a side this time.

I use a sugar-free syrup and honestly, you can’t tell the difference especially since it is in the dish and not the main ingredient. The last time I made this with butternut squash per serving (without chicken) it was 4 servings for 264 calories, 4.9 grams of protein, 35.7 grams of carbohydrates, and 7 grams of fat. This time I won’t use any olive oil, so it should lower the calories a little bit.

The amount of quinoa you use can be (should) be based on how many carbs you need for that day. Likewise, the amount of servings you make for this salad depends on how many carbohydrates you can afford to eat that day. 1 cup of quinoa prepared is about 40 grams of carbs. I would not use an entire cup of quinoa for this. If you want to ditch it altogether, I would recommend using arugula instead.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Back Strap or lean cut of steak 
Preffered Seasoning 

1kg piece pumpkin
*1 medium cooking pumpkin
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
*1 inch piece
2 green or red chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
*Lemon juice
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
*1 tablespoon sugar-free syrup
a handful of finely chopped coriander (cilantro) roots and stems, optional
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (185g) quinoa
*1/2 cup prepared per salad 
1 1/2 cups (375ml) water 
The juice of two limes (or large lemon)
a good handful each of fresh mint and coriander (cilantro) leaves
toasted pumpkin (pepita) seeds
*omit seeds

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 jasmin 
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
*light coconut milk or non fat milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Sweet Potato Fry Steak Salad + Blue Cheese Butter

I have a lot of favorites, but honestly, THIS is on the very tip-top of my list for salad favorites. It is the most amazing flavor and you can go as light or heavy on the sweet potatoes as you want. I go easy on the butter and make sure to pick a lean cut of steak so I can have more potatoes. If you like a high-fat meal, go crazy with the butter and steak, but keep the potatoes to a minimum.

Josh loves to challenge my macro cooking abilities and boy did I deliver. I made several changes and left a few things off, intentionally and unintentionally. I skipped the avocado because I did not want it to be too much on the fat side. I had plenty of fat leftover at the end of the night for a snack, so it was a good choice. I used reduced-fat blue cheese and sirloin steak to keep the fat at bay as well. The recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of butter, but I used 1.5 tablespoons for 4 servings and it was plenty for us.

To track this I weighed out the steak amount first and then put on the butter-cheese mixture. The size of the steak does not matter as long as you input it separately into your macro count, but the serving size of the butter-cheese mix needs to be the same for every salad.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

3 small-medium sweet potatoes, cut into matchsticks
*2-3 ounces cooked potato per serving
4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
*spray olive oil 
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1 (8-10 ounce) ribeye steak or 1 1/2 pound flank steak
*sirloin steak
6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
*10-12 per serving 
1 avocado, sliced
*0.5-0.8 ounces per serving 
4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
*1-2 tablespoons 
3-4 ounces gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled
*40-50 grams reduced fat blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
*1 lemon juiced 
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoon honey
*0.5 ounce 
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
*1 tablespoon 
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Rotisserie Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

This simple dish packs a big punch. I don’t use the rotisserie chicken because it is hard to accurately track in my app and it has more fat than I need. I have boiled my chicken breasts and cooked them in the oven, both turn out fine. The best way to go is on the stovetop covered. Juiciest chicken breast and you can still season them well. The chicken will even crisp a little bit, so good.

If you are going to track this meal, a few key things to know:

The kale will bunch up and is difficult to separate into equal servings. I recommend that you scoop it out without all the liquid and portion it equally into your bowls. When you add it to your app, make sure you put in how much it would have been in its raw state, not the cooked state.

Second, it is easier to top your dish off with the desired amount of meat, rather than mixing it all together.

Third, weigh the noodles out the same way you did the kale, but don’t just eyeball it. Weigh out equal amounts. Try to leave the sauce in the pot as the last thing you portion out. I am going to use pasta zero to cut down on the calories. Rice noodles taste amazing, but I don’t want all the calories that come along with them.

You don’t have to make a recipe in your app to include the kale and chicken because those can be added in on their own. The noodles and sauce are what can be in your recipe. Even though in your app the noodles and sauce are in the recipe together, making sure you weigh out equal servings of everything individually, will give you a more accurate count.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

1 tablespoon olive oil
*spray pan with oil 
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger (about a 1-inch piece of ginger)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
6 cups (48 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
*4-6 depending on how soup(y) you want it
1 (13- to 14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
*Low Fat Coconut Milk 
6 cups thinly sliced lacinato or Tuscan kale leaves (from 1 large bunch)
Kosher salt
1 (8-ounce) package vermicelli rice noodles
*pasta zero
1 (2-pound) plain rotisserie chicken, meat shredded (about 4 1/2 cups)
*Chicken Breast 
Chopped fresh cilantro, thinly sliced red onion, and lime wedges, for serving 

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