Meal + workout plan for the week of 2/21

Because why start a week on Sunday or Monday… when you can start it on Tuesday? I’m including my workout plan along with this week’s meal plan to make up for my lateness.  Or whatever.

meal plan for the week of 2/21

Temps are supposed to reach 50 degrees in the city today and 70 this weekend.  It’s February, mind you (but don’t worry, guys, global warming is totally a sham…).  I’ve got the back door open, and a nice, big, summery salad on the table.  Is it me, or is it easier to eat well (and like, be a better human in general) when the weather’s nice?

Meal plan for the week of 2/20… or 2/21

Breakfasts:

  • Savory overnight oats (here are a few ideas from The Kitchn) – I’m thinking pesto and shaved parmesan with black pepper
  • Cottage cheese + fruit
  • Cheerios or crispy brown rice cereal + milk (because I am nearly 35, going on 4) 

Lunches:

  • Salads, wraps, leftovers

Dinners:

  • Gnocchi with homemade sauce (tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil + spinach)
  • Beans + rice with veggies; quesadillas (corn tortillas)
  • Baked sweet potatoes with black beans + salsa
  • Flatbreads + salad
  • Slow cooker vegan lentil chili from The Kitchn
  • Grilled cheese + tomato soup

You can find more meal ideas (and basically see what I am craving at 3 AM while feeding baby Nick…) on this Pinterest board.

As for workouts, I decided to try something new last week (or maybe it was the week before?) after my plans had been derailed by a broken washing machine, a carsick toddler, two snowstorms and a visit from the washing machine repair person.  I think I may have only made it to Mama Beasts class twice (pssst: new session starts on 2/27, Boston area moms…) in the span of two weeks.  It was 2.5 times if you count making it half way there before the aforementioned bout of carsickness… A for effort, C- for basically everything else.  The sidewalks were too icy for a run/stroll, and I was feeling both cooped up and cranky, so I knew I needed a backup plan for days and weeks like this.

I’d heard great things about Daily Burn (referral link) and decided to sign up for their free 30 day trial after seeing their Instagram ad for the 8 millionth time.  I was completely hooked after my first workout.  The programming is great (they recommend a program for you, but you can jump around and try various workouts with different trainers) and totally do-able in a small condo with small children crawling, running, and jumping across your mat.  I’m following the Cardio Sculpt program which is a great mix of cardio, strength and flexibility/mobility.  

I went full-on nerd and printed out a blank calendar to schedule in my workouts for the next month or so, and think Daily Burn will be a great compliment to both Mama Beast classes and my running plans (I registered for a few upcoming races and listed them on the Fitness On Tap tab).  I’ve also pinned a bunch of free, at home workouts as further backup — feel free to check those out.

Workouts for the week of 2/20

  • Monday: Mama Beasts + Cardio Sculpt
  • Tuesday: Rest 
  • Wednesday: Mama Beasts + Kickin’ It (totally channel my inner Billy Blanks for this one)
  • Thursday: BHT
  • Friday: Mama Beasts +/or Cardio Sculpt
  • Saturday: Run 3 miles + Supreme Stretch
  • Sunday: Kickin’ It

What feels better than having a plan (and maybe a sheet of gold stickers) at the ready? A 70 degree day in February?

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your favorite at home workouts? Or summery meals appropriate for eating in winter?

 

My happy Valentines.

Pretend these two aren’t sitting in the middle of our glass coffee table (strictly off limits).  Precious moments first, safety second.

my happy valentines

I look at my husband and our two happy Valentines and I could just gush about how I love them so.  On and on.  And on some more.  

Instead I’ll leave you with a line of Hafīz:

“And Love says, ‘I will, I will take care of you,’ to everything that is near.”

…And a wish for lots of love + care today.

Also On Tap for Today:

How are you spending Valentine’s Day?

Treat yourself well.

Though I’m not always the best practitioner, I’ll be the first to remind you to treat yourself.  And not just to a manicure or an episode of Hunted (the UK version is really fun) while the kids nap.  I really want you to treat yourself well.  

treat yourself well

For me, this feels more important than ever as I seem to have taken up several new part-time jobs (worrying, calling my senators’ offices, writing letters and trying to stay both informed and stable) in addition to keeping the rest of our lives afloat.

Treating yourself well may look differently from one person to the next, but it shouldn’t be complicated, time consuming or costly.  Here are a few ways to treat yourself well… and fairly easily, at that (regardless of how many days we’ve been snowed in or the current state of the Union).

STAY HYDRATED + TAKE A BATH

treat yourself well hydrate bath

True Life: I am still guzzling from the giant (28 oz.) water bottle they gave me in the delivery room before Nick was born.  Semi related: Crushed ice is the best ice.  I’m sure you’ve heard plenty regarding the benefits of staying hydrated and drinking enough water.  If you’re looking for an easy way to up your intake, stick a straw in your glass.  According to Runner’s World, you’re likely to drink more water through a straw than simply by sipping.  

Baths take more effort, but the benefits of a good soak are significant.  I love using one of these inexpensive fizzing epsom bath bombs from Whole Foods (find them in the Whole Body section) and then treating my skin to Organic Bath’s Nourish night balm (completely obsessed).

TRADE SCREEN TIME FOR CREATIVE TIME

treat yourself well creativity

Hunted and the Super Bowl (oh, and bits of the Grammys last night) aside, I haven’t been watching much TV at all lately.  While I’m left in the dark about plenty of things (namely the weather), the lack of television news seems to be keeping my blood pressure in check.  It also gives me more time to paint, more time to read, and more time to learn (of particular interest at the moment: reading an illustrated atlas with Grace each day, catching up on Get Messy tutorials for watercolor and all kinds of other lovely things, reading about how to streamline meal prep + hoping to figure out how to explain the sun and moon to three-year-olds).

I’ve also been limiting my small screen time, tucking away my phone for hours at a time when the kids and I are home during the day.  It’s admittedly much more challenging for me to drop the phone than the TV, but hey.  Working on it.

SIMPLIFY YOUR MEALS + SAVE YOURSELF AN HOUR

treat yourself well food

When you eat well, you feel well.  Simple as that… but not so simply accomplished, I realize.  I’ve gotten back in the habit of prepping my meals and snacks ahead of time, and ensuring I have plenty of nutritious, whole options on hand (and fewer, you know, Cheez-Its options on hand).

I also take advantage of grocery delivery services like Instacart (they deliver to Southie from our local Whole Foods Market in the South End) every now and then.  It saves me an hour (or however long it takes to wrangle two toddlers, get to the store, get home, find parking, and get the babes + groceries upstairs) and also keeps me on plan and on budget, eliminating the risk of impulse purchases.  

RETHINK YOUR HEALTH PRODUCTS + CONNECT WITH OTHERS 

treat yourself well LOLA

These days (thankfully!) there are plenty of options when it comes to safe and clean beauty products.  I’ve been making a conscious effort to make the best choices I can when it comes to make up and bath products (shoutout to my wonderful cousin who is a Beauty Counter consultant <3), but hadn’t really considered what was in my feminine care products until someone from LOLA recently reached out and shared a complimentary sample.

Yes, I’m talking tampons.  Did you know there are no FDA requirements when it comes to disclosing what your tampons, pads and liners are made of? And there have been precisely zero studies conducted on the long-term effects of using artificial fibers in tampons.  And yes, I get that buying different feminine care products might seem like a bizarre way to treat yourself well.  But I hope you know I wouldn’t mention this if I didn’t think it was worth your consideration.

You can learn more about LOLA products (and use the code OnTap for 60% off your purchases through 2/14) and their impressive charitable work on their website.  LOLA allows you to easily customize your products (tampons, liners, pads), assortment and delivery frequency.  New customers get 2 boxes for the price of 1, or 3 boxes for the price of 2 (discount is applied automatically).  Perhaps you’ll consider donating your free box to a local women’s shelter?  Menstrual care products are often the most requested but least donated items at shelters.

And that brings me to this: Caring for and connecting with others can be such a powerful way to treat ourselves well.  Reaching out (especially when I’d prefer to draw inward) always leaves me feeling more hopeful, less isolated and more prepared to tackle what lies ahead.  

Go on and treat yourself (well).  And maybe buy yourself some flowers, too.  Oh, and happy almost Valentine’s Day!

Disclosure: I received complimentary product from LOLA, but all opinions are my own.  This post contains referral links.  As always, I truly appreciate your support.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • If I had an extra hour and an extra 100 balloons, I‘d be making this right now from Oh Happy Day!
  • Running out of indoor activities…
  • Crafting the ultimate Gaga/Beyonce/Adele playlist (hoping there are enough songs to make it 4 years long)

When was the last time you treated yourself?

Meal plan for the week of 2/6

I’m typing this up while half-watching the game, and currently craving pistachios + Skittles.  Neither factor into this week’s meal plan… but advertising, man.  It’ll get you.

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK OF 2/6

meal plan for the week of 1/16

Breakfast:

  • Cottage cheese + fruit 
  • Erewhon crispy rice cereal with skim milk
  • Baked oatmeal (I liked this recipe for baked oatmeal cups from The Kitchn)
  • Fresh juice or smoothie (Current favorite combination: Cranberries, pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, kale, orange + kale with a splash of almond milk)

Lunch:

  • Salads, wraps + leftovers

Dinners:

  • Spinach pie
  • 3 bean soup with salad (working on a recipe for this soup… will share if it turns out non-poison decent)
  • Spicy chickpea taco salad
  • Greek lentil salad (going to try this recipe from Delish Knowledge— looks so good) with pita bread
  • Sweet potato, black bean + spinach quesadillas (an old staple)
  • Caprese quinoa bake (…or vegetarian sushi)

Can you bake Skittles?  And chopped pistachios over arugula… a very good idea, right?

Also On Tap for Today:

What was your favorite food-centric ad during the game?

 

Big Game breakfast: sweet potato + black bean hash

The “big game” is almost upon us (it’s up for debate, but most people are not allowed to use the official term in media… this peasant, yours truly, almost always plays it safe).  When it comes to football, I am basically Zoolander in a coal miner’s bar, whispering “Who’s winning the match?”  It would also not be unlike me to self-diagnose with the black lung… pop.

I used to watch the game specifically for the commercials, but then State Farm gave my soul the black lung with that series of ads about preventable accidents, delivered by the ghosts of dead children.  Or whatever that was.  All I know is, I had a newborn in my arms and didn’t breath for at least three whole minutes.

Sometimes I watch for the halftime show.  I wish Left Shark was the star every year.  But I have high hopes for Gaga.

This year, though, I am fairly invested in the actual game. The Patriots are my hometown team (as in, they play in my hometown) and the Falcon’s Matt Ryan played quarterback at BC (and went to school too, obvi)… while I was playing quarterback of breaking the microfiche machine in the art library on the other side of campus.

Now that you have all that wind up (including a Zoolander reference and a bit about a depressing insurance commercial), let’s talk about the most important part of football Sunday.  The food.  

You likely have your drinks, dips, snacks and sweets lined up.  But have you considered breakfast?  I’ve got an easy + delicious way to kick off (get it… like… sports…) the day.

Big Game breakfast: sweet potato + black bean hash with green apples

Serves 2, gluten-free + vegan

big game breakfast sweet potato black bean hash

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, cubed + roasted
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed + drained 
  • 1 organic green apple, cored and diced (leave peel on)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • optional: cilantro greens, shredded cabbage, or arugula

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add diced onion and saute until soft
  2. Stir in peppers and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes before adding black beans, sweet potatoes, salt + pepper
  3. Remove from heat and stir in diced green apple
  4. Adjust seasoning if needed and top with greens, if you wish (my recipes aim to be polite…)

If you find yourself with leftovers, I have a feeling this hash would be a real winner on a plate of nachos.  Now that would be a touchdown.  Stop me.  Please.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your football-watching menu?

Grace is 3

Grace is 3… and what an incredible three years it has been.

Grace is 3

I could not be more grateful to be her mother. She is kind, sensitive, and endlessly curious. She is full of spirit and compassion.

She loves trucks, farms, creatures, stickers, rocks, art projects, gymnastics, grocery shopping and adventures. She speaks up for others (often suggesting that Clark needs some “peace and quiet from our noisy fun”). She is observant and remembers everything.  She captures the smallest details and delights in things I might completely miss if it weren’t for her wonderful declarations about birds nests and police cars and seagulls.  

Grace is 3

Without fail on our morning drives to school, she tells me she will “be a good friend, a good listener… and not take a nap.” She recently told me she couldn’t eat beans because she “is a human bean!”

She favors rules, routines and order. She loves her brother and wishes he wouldn’t do “tricky, dangerous things” like climbing on the table.  

Grace is 3

Grace wears a size XXS leotard, but her heart is so big it fills the whole house.

She is the best motivation for speaking kindly, clearly and honestly. She is the best motivation for seeing good + God in all things, and in all people. She is the best motivation for doing what I can, when I can to make this world worthy of her, her brother and all children.

Happy Birthday, Grace! I love you beyond measure.

Also On Tap for Today:

Who motivates you most? And how?

Get Messy Art Journal membership giveaway

If you find yourself looking for a new creative outlet and a supportive community (not to mention, a really healthy alternative to cable news) lately, you know I’ll be the first to encourage you to pick up a pen, paintbrush, pair of scissors or box of crayons.  

dont quit before the miracle

Materials used: Magazine scraps, matte medium, sharp/dangerous scissors, Jane Davenport canvas art journal.

As a member of the 2017 Creative Team, I am thrilled to be hosting a Get Messy Art Journal giveaway for a full year membership ($195 value).  I am so grateful for this community and encourage anyone (really, anyone) to check it out.  You don’t need to have an art background nor a closet full of supplies, just the desire to create.  To make.  To explore.  To play.  

An annual membership to this community includes:

  • Immediate access to the current season and entire archives of Get Messy
  • Four new art journal prompts every Monday during the season (delivered by email) to encourage and guide you in your art making
  • Link ups to share your art, build community and gain encouragement
  • Ten targeted tutorials per season
  • Inspiration to create from Guest Artists, Member Spotlights, Contributors, and the Creative Team
  • Access to the Messy Forums to share and receive wisdom + ask questions
  • Opportunities to build friendships and connect with art accountability partners 
  • Access to our private Facebook community 
  • First access to new classes

Each season lasts two months and has a dedicated theme (past seasons have included Dreams, Love, Music + Gifts).  You can do as much or as little as you like, but I personally attribute so much creative growth to this program.  

You can learn more here:

There are monthly ($20) and season ($35) memberships available as well.  If you have specific questions about the program, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.  I also recommend scrolling through the #getmessyartjournal feed on Instagram to see what members are making.

GET MESSY ART JOURNAL GIVEAWAY

To enter the giveaway for a year-long Get Messy Art Journal membership, please leave a comment below.  This giveaway is open to all (there are Get Messy members all over the world) and closes at 6PM EST on January 31st. One winner will be randomly selected and notified after the giveaway closes.

This post contains affiliate links.

Also On Tap for Today:

What creative goal(s) would you like to accomplish this year? (And how can I help you get there?!)

 

Meal plan for the week of 1/16

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. day here in the US and I’m grateful to be spending the holiday with family, easing into what will likely be a challenging week (what, with the Inauguration and all).  I was reading through old posts inspired by Dr. King (including this one about my visit to Memphis, the Civil Rights Museum + the Lorraine Motel) this morning and couldn’t help feel both lifted and distressed.  

Dr. King’s words (and the example he set through his actions) about service to one another, unselfish leadership, peaceful vigilance, and creative resistance have (for better or worse) such application today.  Whether or not you have the day off, I hope you have a few minutes for quiet contemplation about the days ahead, and the person you can be for others.  Oh, and I highly recommend blasting James Taylor’s Shed a Little Light and Patty Griffin’s Up to the Mountain.  Grace and I spent a solid half hour dancing in the kitchen, singing along.

Is it weird to go from that to talking about this week’s meal plan?  Probably.  Sorry.  I’m having trouble coming up with a graceful segue.   Here’s a salad.

meal plan for the week of 1/16

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK of 1/16

I’m on such an arugula kick lately.  We stopped by the Orleans Winter Farmers’ Market Saturday morning and picked up several bunches.  I love that peppery flavor. 

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Re-reading Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail
  • Heading back to the city
  • Getting in a quick MB workout courtesy of my challenge partner 😉

What are you looking forward to whipping up this week?

Currently | January 2017

 

CURRENTLY | JANUARY 2017

currently january 2017

I don’t want to jinx it, but I think I’ve finally recovered from President Obama’s Farewell Address… which was Tuesday night (i.e. nearly 48 hours ago).  

Baby Nick woke up bawling just seconds after the President said “Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, girl of the South Side…”  I was bawling at that point too, cradling my sweet child, grateful that both our children were born at a time when such an incredibly smart, respectful, kind and caring family lived in our nation’s White House.  I am doing my best during these remaining days of Barack Obama’s presidency to watch every video of the President + kids, the President + dogs, and the President + VP (especially today’s Medal of Freedom presentation) as humanly possible… rather than give into the sadness and anger simmering below the surface (real talk).

Also, it was snowing and single digits this weekend… but it’s 55 degrees in Boston today.  The world is ending.

On that uplifting note…

CURRENTLY EATING

currently eating

  • Variations of the Sprouted Kitchen lentil soup I raved about a couple weeks ago
  • Simple snacks to share with Baby Nick… because these days, he has major food FOMO and needs to sample any/everything on my plate.  Blackberries and cottage cheese have been a big hit this week.
  • All the winter citrus, all the winter citrus, all the winter citrus… put your stems up. (Or whatever.) I especially love satsumas, and not just because you can buy them with the leaves and stems still attached.

CURRENTLY DRINKING

currently drinking

  • Water (obvi)
  • Not a single Diet Coke today (not so obvi)
  • Fiveway Veggie Broth (definitely unexpected) – I received a complimentary sample right before the holidays and am totally hooked on this incredibly flavorful broth, which you can straight up drink from the bottle.  I like warming it up on the stove and drinking from my beloved “BC Grandpa” mug, it’s both delcious and fortifying.  Non-vegetarians will likely dig their bone broths.  Fiveway products can be found locally in Massachusetts + New Hampshire.

CURRENTLY MAKING

currently making

  • More gouache chairs
  • Plans for Grace’s “unicorns doing gymnastics” birthday party 
  • Finishing my tutorial for the upcoming Get Messy Art Journal season (***stay tuned for a membership giveaway coming soon!)

CURRENTLY WEARING

currently wearing

  • Bean boots (the ones without laces, because I’m lazy stylish) + Bean boots socks (so cozy) + a smug smile for having ordered them early enough in the year to beat the inevitable selling out (at last check, there were still sizes 9 + 10 available)
  • My new FitBit (a Christmas present from Nick), the Charge 2 special edition (lavender + rose gold, so pretty) — I really liked the Charge HR, but there are so many design/functional improvements in this version.  I especially like the 2 minute guided breathing program.  People like me need tiny wrist computers to remind them to breathe.  

CURRENTLY WATCHING

currently watching

  • The babes enjoy winter… it’s just the best.  Nick, Grace, Baby Nick, Clark and I had so much fun being snowed in down the Cape last weekend.  I love watching the kids and Clark explore in the yard. I’m so grateful that we have an escape from the city (and that we have the city to return to, as well).

 

CURRENTLY LOVING

currently loving

We’re only two weeks into the year… but things are good.  And so are you.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Playing “You have a skunk in your clothes! Get the shovel!” with Grace (I don’t really know how to play, I just follow her lead and yell those two sentences over and over)
  • Busting some behind closed doors clutter with Apartment Therapy
  • Looking for a new book to read

What’ve you been up to this month?

Meal plan for the week of 1/8

After a relaxing, snowed-in weekend at the Cape, we are back in the city + I’m pretending to be ready to take on the week.  

meal plan week of 1/8

Salad is from, um, my fridge… wooden pineapple is from Homegoods.

The laundry’s done, the gas tank is full, workouts are scheduled + I even blocked out some time for painting this week.  I apparently only imagined I did the dishes and I have lost all motivation to unpack… but hey.  Can’t win ’em all.

I found last week’s meal plan was really helpful in my efforts to not eat Cheez-It-type-things for dinner.  It motivated me to try a few new recipes and revisit some old favorites. So here I am, avoiding the dishes and cooking up this week’s meal plan.

MEAL PLAN FOR THE WEEK of 1/8

  • Salads and veggie wraps for lunch
  • Lemon potato chowder from The Kitchn (I’ll vegetarian-ify it with vegetable broth, obvi) 
  • Quinoa caprese salad (or quinoa caprese bake… TBD)
  • Spinach, sweet potato and black bean quesadillas on Ezekial tortillas
  • Some sort of lentil soup (can’t stop, won’t stop with the piping hot lentil soups… until, like, at least April)
  • Make-ahead snacks + breakfasts: chai protein bites, garlic + dill kale chips, baked oatmeal 

I know some people prefer to plan meals for specific days (and maybe one day I will be that organized slash maybe one day my children will keep a reliable routine lasting longer than three days), but for now a more flexible approach seems to work well.  

I like being able to look at a fairly limited list (as opposed to searching through an entire cookbook, or the entire internet, or my entire memory of anything I’ve ever made or eaten), assessing what I have time and energy for, and making whichever option makes the most sense. This generally indecisive lady is all about limited (yet delicious) choices.

Plus… taking the guesswork out of what to make each night leaves me with just enough extra time to, you know, come up with an excuse to not do the dishes.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • 5 ways to keep your fridge clean + organized from The Kitchn
  • Celebrating a belated Christmas with my family, now that we’ve all survived the stomach bug that tried to take down the entire city of Boston
  • Ice skating in my driveway (but not on purpose)

What are your favorite sources for new recipes or meal planning tips?