Take Care + Menu

My mama texts me every morning. She usually asks the same question, especially since I have an infant now and because my children are overall not the best sleepers. She always inquires about my quality of sleep and how the kids slept. I will usually run down the list of wake-ups and time frames, just complaining about my lack of sleep. After my little pity party, she will always tell me to take care of myself, that my well-being is important too, and that she wishes I would get more sleep.

Take care of yourself. The idea of that right now seems so foreign, I am sure that is how most moms feel. Moms are usually the most needed and the lowest on the totem pole. It’s not that moms are undervalued, unloved, unappreciated, etc. moms are just needed the most by everyone in the house. I have always had this idea that if I am needed, then I am loved…I am very loved around here. It might sound a little ridiculous, but it makes sense to me. Even though sometimes, after a day full of extra neediness, I wish the kids would cry for daddy and not mama. I kid you not, it is not acceptable for daddy to pour the milk into the cereal, that is a mama job. Mama has to do it all in the eyes of my children and a crying fit will often take place if mama isn’t the one doing it. It can be a bit ridiculous. Even though it gets very taxing, I know that as soon as my children prefer daddy over mama, it will sting a little bit.

I have only made it to the gym three times since Thomas was born. Once a week for the past three weeks. I could workout at home, but honestly, I am just not motivated. I told myself three days in a row I was going to do a certain bodyweight workout while Thomas napped. It never happened. If I am home, I am cleaning or cooking, not working out. I must leave the house to let myself workout. If I workout then the dishes, clothes, etc. are going to be neglected because of the time frame I am working with right now. The other tasks that I am neglecting while I am at the gym, get pushed to the side to be completed after I pick up the kids from school. Right now there is no ideal situation in which everything gets done without something or someone getting pushed to the side.

When I was pregnant with Scarlett, a co-worker told me that my gym-going days were over. I sacrificed sleep and made their prediction a myth. I am so eager to get a routine down for Thomas and me in which everything goes smoothly and the days don’t feel so stressful. I have yet to fully get back into meal prepping and it causes more stress during the week. From laundry, cooking, cleaning, picking up toys a million times a day, etc. it all seems to be never-ending, rushed, and extra stressful now. I am at the point where I want to sit and just be lazy with Thomas like I was with Scarlett and Anderson, but at the same time, I am itching to get back to what our routine was. I feel as though this stems from being home for so long during the pandemic. Things were starting to get back to normal and now I am back home and figuring out a new normal. It has not been a seamless transition, but I can’t expect things to just go back to what they were.

I am a particular person. I like things a certain way for sure, but in this season of life, I am going to have to really prioritize everything. I have thought about making a schedule for laundry, vacuuming, etc. on certain days, but that does not seem realistic. When the laundry basket is full I can’t wait two or three days to empty it. If the floors are dirty on Tuesday, I can’t wait until Friday to clean them. Honestly, I don’t think there is a magic formula to getting it all done. I don’t think I can limit myself to a schedule that dictates when I get things done as I do with meal prepping. Life requires more flexibility than that.

I am in a season where a major change has occurred in my life but nothing has changed for anyone else. It is a ‘get in where you fit in’ kind of feeling and we are still navigating where we fit in. I am still trying to figure out the right balance between not letting myself go entirely, keeping the children happy, husband happy, and house intact. The important thing is to not give in to the temptation to give up, every day is a chance to get it right and figure it out.

Thomas and I made it to vote, got a workout in, and took a shower all before lunch, and I got lunch plated without any crying or frustration. I felt amazing. I almost fell asleep on the couch after lunch, which would have made me extra late picking up the kids or sleeping through that all together, but I felt like a new woman just having my morning go so well. The dishes didn’t get done until later that afternoon, but they still got done. The floors needed cleaning and they got cleaned, just later than what I wanted. It will all be there waiting on me to cross off my list. Those clothes won’t fold themselves, but they also aren’t going anywhere. No matter how quickly I get it off my list, it will be back on the list again within a matter of days. My anxiety might go through the roof seeing the piles of clothes and random toys lying around, but it is all about prioritizing.

My mental and physical health is more important than a pile of clothes and is better served doing something for myself. Folding clothes and washing dishes does not fall into that category and does not make me a better person for my family and me. Take care of yourself, but do not neglect your “duties” everyone will benefit from it. Burning the candle at both ends will eventually leave you with nothing to give those around you nor will you have anything left for yourself. Motherhood can be brutal and draining if you let it. If you pour your entire self into it without leaving anything just for you, it will not be as rewarding. My time was at 5 a.m. and I will find that time again, it might just take me longer than what I like, but I will not stop trying.


M E N U

Simplest Basil Zucchini Parmesan Pasta

Greek Chicken Traybake

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Casserole

Spaghetti

White Chicken Chili


Simplest Basil Zucchini Parmesan Pasta

I put up a whole bunch of squash and zucchini when companies were selling it by the bushel before this summer. I love having vegetables like this on hand to make easy meals. I have one bag left now. Granted frozen vegetables are only good for pasta or soups, but who doesn’t love a good pasta?

This pasta was everything I expected and so much more the first time I made it. 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 is there is no cream used. The sauce comes from the mashed zucchini, butter, and cheese. Healthy-ish.

I will either add shrimp or chicken to this meal. To track everything accurately I will leave the sauce, noodles, and meat separate until ready to plate. I weigh out one serving of the cooked pasta, then add in the chicken that I need (usually not much since the pasta I use has a good bit of protein), and then weigh out a serving of the sauce.

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

Ingredients: 
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 tablespoon
1 cup grated parmesan or manchego cheese
* 3/4 cup 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

Greek Chicken Traybake

This is probably one of my favorite dishes to make. It is super easy to throw it all in one dish and just cook until the chicken is done. I love finding new recipes for chicken that have a ton of vegetables. I was pretty skeptical because I don’t cook much with artichoke hearts and have never been a fan of them on my pizza. Sometimes it just takes one ingredient to ruin a whole dish.

This dish was SUPER healthy and full of flavor. I stopped people to recommend it to them that are watching their calories. I don’t usually do that. I added rice to my meal because I do need the extra calories, but without the rice, it was the perfect “cut meal”. Make sure you try this one, it would be great for a large crowd and sure to please everyone!

To get the most accurate macros, you can cook the rice separately and take out the pieces of chicken to add to servings as needed. In doing this, it allows you to get the amount of protein and carbs that your macros dictate.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Ingredients 
1 red bell pepper cut into 2 inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper cut into 2 inch pieces
*10-12 ounces total bell peppers
1 red onion cut into eighths
2 cups cherry tomatoes
*around 50 total tomatoes 
165 grams artichoke hearts
1 lemon
2 large chicken breasts, cut in half or 4 chicken thighs
*chicken breasts (3-4 for 4 servings)
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
*omit 
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
2/3 cup black olives
*15 grams per serving
1/4 cup chopped feta (omit for Paleo/Whole30) 
*12-14 grams per serving nonfat feat crumbles

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Casserole

The first 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 was 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 have made this several times since and have even made it for a few friends. It is a great comfort dish without all the guilt.

This is 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

Ingredients: 
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)
*omit 
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

Spaghetti

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 on 425 degrees until I can stick a skewer 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 
1 can Tomato Paste (about 1 cup)
3 cloves Garlic
1 Yellow Bell Pepper (diced)
1 Onion (diced)
8 ounces Mushrooms (diced) 
2-4 pounds 80/20 cooked and drained (depending on amount of people serving, I use 3.5 pounds typically and always have leftovers for the kids)
8 ounces Whole Milk (optional)
4 ounces Red Wine (optional)
Italian Herbs 
2-3 spaghetti squash or noodles of your choice

White Chicken Chili

I have two different chili recipes that I use for white chicken chili. One has very few ingredients and the other just gives you more options as far as flavor goes. You can’t really go wrong with either one.

There is a local restaurant in town that makes white chicken chili that he adores, so I tried my best to find a recipe that could hold its own. If I tweak the recipe that contains very few ingredients, then it is a hit. If you leave out the sour cream and refrain from grabbing the crackers, this is a super healthy meal and a great option for these cold days.

*Changes I make to meet my macros

Ingredients:
6 C. Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
*4-6 depending on broth
3-4 C. Cooked & Chopped/Shredded Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (1 1/2 lb.)
2 (15 Oz.) Cans White Beans, Drained & Rinsed
2 C. Salsa Verde
2 Tsp. Cumin
Salt & Pepper to Taste 
*add in: onion, cilantro, jalapeno 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.