I think the mommy world can feel a little bit judge-y and competitive at times. This is somewhat supported by social networking sites like Facebook and Pinterest. Both provide a steady stream of mostly perfect or desirable images, cheerful status updates, and recent holidays and purchases. This can leave us wondering things like "Why don't I have the time/energy to spray paint pumpkins for Halloween?" or "Am I a horrible mother because I haven't signed my child(ren) up for a second language course/piano lessons/toddler expressive dance?" or "Why haven't I made a decortative box to store my nail polish in?" or "How come I'm not out for a super fun girls night?". To combat this self-doubt/anxiety I try to keep clear the things I like and the things I don't.
The things that bring joy to my life and allow me to feel fufilled are:
-spending time with friends and family
-recipe reading, cooking, blogging
-talking, laughing and hearing people's stories (and telling my own)
-working outside the home a few times a week
-reading; specifically fiction and Macleans magazine
-clean, clutter-free kitchen counters
The things that I don't enjoy and seem to drain my energy or patience are:
-decorating my house for any holiday other than Christmas
-crafting with very few exceptions
-gardening and yard care
-working out at the gym
-being super outdoorsy
The things that I am hoping to one day enjoy:
- having a chaise lounger in our master bedroom
This helps to remind me that I have things in my life that I love and that I am good at. There are things outside the realm of motherhood on my list. Being a mother isn't my only role or the only place I find fufillment. Once I admitted to my list of don't enjoy I was off the hook. No need to feel inadequate in those areas because I tried and they are not my thing. I also have some stuff to look forward to on the last list. Makes it real easy to keep my priorities straight.
Of course I still love Pinterest. I just like to point myself in the right direction, which is how I found the recipe for Cheesy Quinoa Bites.
2 cups cooked quinoa (about 2/3 of a cup dry quinoa to 1 1/3 cups water)
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded carrot
2 stalks green onion, diced (I didn't have any so I added 1/2 cup of shredded spinach instead)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together quinoa, carrot, egg, green onion, garlic, cilantro, cheese and flour.
3. Distribute mixture into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Adapted from here.
This was popular with the whole family. Two and a half year old and seven month old devoured them. I got close to 24 bites. Great as leftovers and easy to double and freeze.
I hope you can take more joy in the things you love and drop the things you don't and feel good about it. I want to make it real clear it is not Martha Stewart Living over here....like you ever thought it was.
There is a looming crisis in my life. I am pretty sure my favorite mascara is about to be discontinued. Supplies have been dwindling all over town. Some of you are probably rolling your eyes and making lists of real crises in your head. For me, right now, this is kind of a big deal. I love mascara. The more I can load on the better. I am all about lots of coats, lots. I am sure one day I will look like Tammy Faye Baker. Because I only have boys some poor soul will have to break that news to me. The perfect red lip....no thanks. Dark, luscious lashes...yes please.
I am a drug store brand person. As mush as I love mascara I refuse to pay over $10 a tube. After much deliberation in the make up section I think I may have found a suitable replacement. It took me longer to decide on a mascara than it did for me to know I wanted to buy our house...no joke. So I think I am good. For the record I have switched from Maybelline Define-A-Lash to L'Oreal Voluminous.
Now that that is out in the world let's move onto food. We are getting into full on fall weather now. So as you know, to me, that means soup. I had an assortment of tomatoes around that needed to be used. Before this I had never made tomato soup. I was sure it must be 100% better than the canned stuff.
6 medium tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 chopped onion
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups low sodium chicken broth (or veggie stock)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 cup milk (I used 3.25% milk)
Heat the oven to 400°. Cut tomatoes in half and remove core. Place cut side down on a glass baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. I used a brush to coat all the halves. Roast the tomatoes until they are shriveled with brown spots, about 35 to 45 minutes.
In a large pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, the broth, the thyme, and the roasted tomatoes, including any liquid on the baking sheet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes.
Using an immersion blender or blender, puree the soup until it's smooth. Return it to the pot and stir in the milk. Without letting the soup boil, warm it over medium heat, stirring often, until steaming. Add salt and pepper, if necessary. Adapted from here.
Roasting the tomatoes requires extra time, but is well worth it. It's a great way to use up less than perfect tomatoes because roasting intensifies the flavor. You can easily pull the skin off after they are roasted. I choose not to because I wanted all the extra flavour. There were no bits of skin after I puréed it.
We all loved it. Even my husband who isn't really a tomato person (so weird?). The original recipe suggests serving it with grilled cheese croutons. Sounded fun but I am not down with soggy bread. So we had cheese toast and a salad instead. I also sprinkled a little cheese on top.
Also a great way to get your lycopene. A powerful antioxidant found in very high concentrations in cooked tomatoes. So eat up and enjoy!
I have been cooking and baking like crazy. I usually do a lot of my writing when both boys are having their afternoon naps. Lately they have decided not to have much over lap, so less time to write.
Baby sleep is a funny thing, in that it isn't funny at all. I have never had those babies that slept through the night as soon as I brought them home from the hospital. Hudson started sleeping through the night at around seven months. Sawyer is approaching seven months (2 days away...what!?) and appears to be getting worse. We went through a nice stretch where he was only up only once in the night, lately 3-4 times...yawn. I keep checking for teeth...nothing new.
I was staying with my aunt when Hudson was quite young and waking frequently in the night. She said she liked the night feeds, enjoyed them no less. This is a woman that had five children, I was sure her brain was fried. But it is a funny thing the second time around. Day time feeds are surrounded in chaos: noise from oldest yelling, oldest climbing on me like a jungle gym, oldest waiting until mid-feed to declare he was to go pee...right now. I don't get a lot of time to gaze into Sawyer's eyes or marvel at his downy blond hair. At night it is just me and him. It is quiet, he is still and cuddly. We rock in the glider and he gets showered in kisses before I lay him back down. Am I tired most days? Yes. Could I do with this interaction once instead of three or four times a night? Yes. Is this going to be over soon? Probably. Will I miss it? For sure. Add me to the fried brain mom list.
I was going to make Salsa Stuffed Mini Meat-loaves for dinner the other night and was looking for a side. I decided to try a Southwest Quinoa Salad.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or veggie stock to keep it vegetarian)
1 diced bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup corn (fresh, frozen or canned)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 large tomato, diced (I used cherry tomatoes)
fresh lime juice from three limes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup light feta cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
A splash of your favorite hot sauce
Loved everything about this salad. Lime, tomato and cilantro, always a winning combo. I couldn't wait to eat the left overs the next day, tasted even better. This really could be a meal in its self, and can be served as an entree salad. It was a good compliment to the mini meat loaves. I could steal the 1/2 cup of black beans I needed and use the rest in the salad. Don't like cilantro, try parsley or basil. Increase the heat with a diced jalapeno or more hot sauce.
I would love to post with more regularity, I miss my once a week writing slot. Sometimes when the boys are napping at the same time I need a nap too. That way I can handle the frequent night wakings and even take some joy in them.
Tiffany McFadden, RD