All posts by Elizabeth

Mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

Sunday seems like the most popular day to meal prep, but I seem to get my best work done on Tuesdays or Wednesdays or Thursdays… or days that aren’t Sunday.  Mid-week meal prep suits our current schedule, as Sunday nights are often reserved for commutes back to the city from the Cape, frantic searches for missing lunch boxes, and dining on popcorn and apple sauce (for me… don’t worry, the kids are always well fed) while I stare into a nearly empty fridge.  

I got all of this (fairly simple, hardly impressive) prep done during baby Nick’s hour and a half nap on Wednesday, with the exception of the muffins, which Grace and I made together this afternoon.

And with that… here’s what I prepped this week, along with a few (non-popcorn) menu ideas.

MID-WEEK MEAL PREP + MENU IDEAS

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

In the pot: My 900th batch of Sprouted Kitchen’s everyday lentil soup.  I’m pretty sure it’s called everyday lentil soup because you’ll want to eat it every day (eternal thanks to my friend Laura for sharing the recipe).  If you’re in the market for some lemon pepper, I use Frontier Co-Op (found it at WFM) and love it.  (You know, as much as one could love lemon pepper… or whatever.)  Other things I love: this cast iron dutch oven.

For breakfasts and snacks, I made a few jars of Lee Holmes’ Energizing Chai Chia Breakfast Pudding from the Naturally, Danny Seo website (scroll down on this link for the recipe).  I skipped the stevia and used almonds and walnuts (no cashews in the house… that’s going to be the title of my next jam).  Semi-related: this magazine is so beautifully designed.

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

These are my usual (meal prep) suspects: chopped vegetables, cooked quinoa + a salad (cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, bell pepper, Crave Brothers perline mozzarella, fresh basil).  I stocked up on these glass, 4 cup Pyrex containers at Target in February, but I believe they’re still available online.

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

While the soup was simmering and I was chopping vegetables, I threw a few sweet potatoes in the oven (pierce with a fork, bake at 400 degrees F for 45-ish minutes). I like to reheat these and top with lentils and/or black beans, salsa and some shredded pepper jack for a quick and satisfying lunch or dinner.  The kids love them mashed up a bit with a pinch of cinnamon.

mid-week meal prep + menu ideas

And last, but not least, best my mini chef and I made a batch of mini flourless banana and chocolate chip muffins (and a half batch with blueberries instead of chocolate).  I goofed around with the recipe a bit and forgot to take notes, but I have a feeling we’ll be making these again very soon.  Like… maybe tomorrow.  In the meantime, I’ve heard good things about these recipes from Clean Food Crush and Averie Cooks (both are gluten free).

Oh… and popcorn.

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite make-ahead meal?

Gloomy ‘tudes + sunny dispositions.

Has it rained every Tuesday this year?  It seems like it.  

gloomy tudes + sunny dispositions

I’m one of those people that pretends to be even keeled, but the weather, man… it gets to me.  I wonder if this is fully science (a need for vitamin D, or whatev) or something we learn as we age.

I spent a good chunk of the day checking Dark Sky (likely my most used app #nerdalert), trying to do math (do I have enough time to get the baby out and into the running stroller, actually go running, factoring in route + speed/lack thereof, and make it back for preschool pickup before the next downpour?)… and mentally complaining.  None of this was especially helpful.

We got home from school and made it 1/29th up the length of our driveway (such is the pace of life these days) when the skies opened.  It was one of those rainstorms that’s over in seconds, but leaves you (and all the art projects you’re holding) soaked.  You might be able to guess my immediate reaction (and if not: it was to silently swear), but you’ve already seen how Grace and Nick reacted.  

With pure joy.  

The weather can ruin your mood.  It can ruin your day.  It can foul up your plans.  And it can foul up your I-look-chic-but-in-that-I-didn’t-try-kind-of-way outfit.

But it can also give you a puddle to jump in.  It can entice worms from where ever they usually are (who knows), so you can closely inspect them.  It can bring forth that inimitable spring rain on blacktop smell that makes me glad to live in the city.  It sustains plants (and all the things that plants sustain… like people).  And it can make my two babes laugh and squeal with utter delight.

But it’s not just the weather.

How many things weigh us down as adults, but with a simple shift in attitude, could be appreciated with the wonder and joy they might deserve?

Perhaps we can unlearn our gloomy grown-up attitudes.  Or at the very least, get some cool raincoats and enjoy the storm a bit.

Also On Tap for Today:

Are you walking around with a gloomy ‘tude or a sunny disposition today?

April 2017 | Currently

This is what life feels like at the moment, as I realize May is less than a week away:

  • Press 1 if you’d like time to slow down.  
  • Press 2 if you’d like to time to speed up to the part of the day when both kids are asleep and you can hear yourself think.
  • Press 3 if you have no idea what you want.

Now imagine me pressing 1-2-3 over and over again on the imaginary keypad of an imaginary phone.  Basically, that’s April in a nutshell.

april 2017 currently

APRIL 2017 | CURRENTLY

Currently enjoying

currently april 2017

  • What I’m calling a gentle return to consistent running (as gentle as things can get while pushing the beast that is a double running stroller).  No pressure, just getting out there.  Granted, I am registered for a few upcoming races, but in the interim, I’m enjoying getting back in the groove.
  • A turn for the better, weather-wise.  We spent this past Sunday visiting the baby animals (including two lambs that were only 3 days old!), checking out the plants, and enjoying a picnic lunch at Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon (about 30 minutes from the city).  It’s remarkable what good weather and fresh air can do.  Like, it practically makes me a nice, normal person.

Currently watching

currently april 2017

  • Nick and Clark follow each other around, looking for adventure.  And snacks.
  • This Heineken ad, which seems like a masterful foil to Pepsi’s faux protest nonsense.
  • The last few episodes of The West Wing.  I must have inadvertently and magically saved them for times like these.  Imagine if CJ was Press Secretary in real life?

Currently reading

currently april 2017

Currently listening to

  • An old Ben Folds playlist. Nick and I danced to The Luckiest as our first dance at our wedding, and I think I played it thirty-seven times this week.  Grace asked me to turn it off all thirty-seven times.  Whatever, kid. Also on the playlist: Still Fighting It, Fred Jones – Pt. 2, and Philosophy… that intro always makes me wish I could jam on the piano. 
  • A whole slew of podcasts.  Current favorites: Pod Save America, With Friends Like These, Body Kindness, From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl, Call Your Girlfriend, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Up First, and Book Club Appetizer.  I’m also looking forward to DeRay Mckesson’s new podcast, which launches next week.  I’ve all but sworn off TV news (I can’t quit political rantings on Twitter, however… old habits), and find that a lot of these podcasts fill the void nicely.  Without driving me insane.  

Currently feeling

currently april 2017

  • Grateful for moments of solitude here and there, not to mention a loving + supportive family.  I found this piece of “almost sea glass” (in cobalt glass, no less) while taking a solo beach walk at the Cape towards the beginning of the month.  It wasn’t sharp enough to worry about someone’s safety, so I’m certain the right thing to do would have been to throw it back into the surf so it could become actual sea glass… but I kept it.  In a lot of ways, I’m feeling like the human version of somewhere between almost sea glass and actual sea glass.  As I shared in an earlier post, this month has felt like a real time of transition.  Having quiet time to reflect has been really good.  Life is amazing and strange and weird and wonderful.  Also, if I write a memoir, please talk me out of titling it “Almost Sea Glass: The Elizabeth Story.”  And more importantly, talk anyone and everyone out of publishing it.
  • Excited for the next few weeks.  Full schedules, full hearts, can’t lose.  Or whatever they used to say on that football show. (JK…Friday Night Lights was the best.)

OK.  Time to turn into sea glass.  Or maybe, like, put on real pants.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • All about Comic Sans (aka the font that burns my eyes) from The Guardian
  • Painting “magic beans” with Grace (in reality: they are seeds we found on the sidewalk and maybe this isn’t the safest idea… but regardless, we are painting them with sparkly neon paint)
  • The Benefits of Solitude from The Walrus

What has been the highlight of your April?

 

 

Mid-week meal + workout plan

Better late than never?  Holidays (Easter) followed by other holidays (Marathon Monday a.k.a. Patriots Day) make for a delightful disruption to our routine, but a disruption nevertheless.  

We celebrated a really happy Easter at the Cape with our family and returned to the city Monday night with a little bit of chocolate… and a lot of delicious leftovers.   I like when my meals both plan and (sort of) make themselves.

meal workout plan for week of 4/18

Meal plan for the week of 4/17

  • Leftover roasted sweet potato salad (vegan): this is great in a quesadilla with some cheese and black beans
  • Salad + leftover wild rice with peas and pistachios
  • Baked stuffed sweet potatoes + salad
  • Taco night or burrito bowls
  • Spinach + artichoke quinoa bake

Workout plan for the week of 4/17

  • Sunday: Easter tabata + Run (done)
  • Monday: MB home workout (done)
  • Tuesday: MB home workout + Daily Burn barre (done)
  • Wednesday: MB class + this stretching routine (done)
  • Thursday: MB self-assessment + lots of stretching/foam rolling
  • Friday: MB class + Run
  • Saturday: Run

This is the final week of the Mama Beasts spring challenge (hence all the MB business above).  It’s been so fun to work with our team and to push myself a bit harder than usual.  A new session of classes starts on Monday — you can find all the details here!  I’m also so glad I re-started the Couch 2 5k program (using the app).  I’ve been able to switch things up for most runs, completing some solo and some with the double stroller (i.e. 50 lbs. of children + 37 lbs. of stroller) and on varied terrain (track, Harborwalk in Southie, hills on the Cape).  It’s really nice to be back in the running-ish groove.

For those who have asked, I have the Baby Jogger Summit X3 Double (the 2016 model, which is what I have, is currently on sale on Amazon) and really like it.  I had a single BOB before Nick was born and liked that too, but find the Summit to be a bit more solid and comfortable for the kids.

Alright, time to dive into those leftovers.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your menu this week?

Hopeful waiting.

It’s the day before Easter and I’m sitting at our kitchen table at the Cape.  The house is quiet in a way that it is almost never quiet.  

hopeful waiting

Nick and Grace went to run errands, picking up bird seed and putting air in our running stroller tires.  Baby Nick is napping.  And Clark is perched on a side table (definitely not allowed, but I’m not in a rule enforcing mood), keeping watch over the neighborhood.

As soon as Nick was asleep, I started checking items off my list.  We have family coming down for the holiday and I am buzzing with excitement.  I set out our dishes and started thinking about what would go where.  I rearranged items in the fridge and pretended like I had functioning spacial relations skills (I don’t).  I contemplated ironing the tablecloths, but

  1.  LOL, NO. 
  2. I don’t think we have an iron at this house

I was four or five items in on the list when something grabbed my attention– a bird chirping in the yard or a neighbor out walking (our weekend life on the Cape is so different from our regular life in the city).

I decided to scrap the list (for now) and just listen.  

There are so many pieces (big and small) of the Easter story to meditate and pray on that I think I could start and never be done (and for sure, my list would remain unfinished).  But it’s the hopeful waiting that I’m feeling especially aware of today– the way that faith can carry us forward because we know there is good to be found (and celebrated), the way it can help us transform times of worry, anxiety, stress or restlessness.

I have such a tendency to fill the time, as if doing, doing, doing would speed us along to the next thing.  (Though most often, it feels as if life is speeding ahead and I’m hanging on to the tailgate… and not in a cool, like, stunt-person-on-a-skateboard way.)  When was the last time you really sat still?  It seems like a luxury, I know.  But is it?

I sat in that place of hopeful waiting for some time (I lost track… mostly because I had also lost my phone, which also serves as my clock… and like 900 other things).

The baby will be waking up soon, and Grace and Nick will be bounding in the door shortly.  Clark may or may not fall off the side table in excitement.  My sister, brother-in-law and nephew will be arriving soon too, and the house will be filled with happy noise.  It will be even more full tomorrow.

Eventually I’ll get around to labeling which food goes on which platter (I’m not ready to show my entire deck of neurotic cards just yet).  I’ll head out to the store, finish stuffing the eggs for tomorrow’s hunt, and go for a run.  We will help Grace dye her eggs (they’ve finally cooled down) and watch her attempt to play fetch with Clark as Nick trails behind them.

I might feel the day getting ahead of (or away from) me, but there is still so much to look forward to… so I will come back to that place of hopeful waiting.  And the place of no ironing, too.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy Passover, Easter + Springtime.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on your mind today?

 

The next season

The older I get, the more I notice the way life really does follow its own seasons. Some seasons are for celebrating.  Some seasons are for learning. Some seasons are for waiting.  Some seasons are for grieving.  Some seasons are for growing.  And some seasons are for sitting on the beach sipping fruity beverages.

Fruity beverages is sort of a ridiculous, but semi-on target way to transition to this: I stopped nursing baby (toddler) Nick 9 days ago.  Oh, but this isn’t a post about boobs… so don’t panic (or sorry to disappoint). Considering I nursed Grace until a month before Nick was born, I’ve essentially been breastfeeding since the end of January 2014.  This feels like the end of a huge part of our lives, mostly because it is.  It has been wonderful, challenging, weird, exhausting, and amazing.  I am grateful I was able to have this experience with both kids.  

And now I am ready for the next season of our lives.

the next seasonObsessed with these shoes by Toms… and these shells by Mother Nature

I took a long walk by myself along the beach this past weekend and found myself thinking about what I hope for this next season to bring.  I bought a $1.99 notebook (the cover’s a really ug shade of yellow, but it’s all they had) on the way back to the house and started making a list.  

THE NEXT SEASON

In this next season, I want to invest more fully in my own health and wellbeing.  I want to sleep more (which isn’t saying much, since I am basically always awake).  I want to take more walks on the beach. I want to relish in alone time, without feeling guilty (real talk: it’s a careful balance).  I want to be better attuned to my own common sense and good judgement and rely less on scary headlines and unhelpful advice.  I want to spend as much time playing outside as possible.  I want to enjoy those little flashes of independence both kids share every now and then (it’s like watching them becoming themselves over and over).  I want to revisit some of the things that used to bring me joy, but that I stopped making time to do.  I want this next season to be for connecting and reconnecting and resting and recharging.  

And I want to find the perfect pair of cool mom jeans.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your current season looking like?

 

Meal + workout plan for the week of 4/3

I just went on an aggressive Pinterest spree in anticipation of hosting Easter at the Cape in two weeks.  Nick and I are really excited to have our families down here for lots of good food, egg hunting and (hopefully) lovely spring weather.  

Ya hear that, Mother Nature?  Just kidding.  Do you thing, girl.  Sorry for the hole we burned in your atmosphere with our hairspray.

meal and workout plan 4/3

While I was at it, I started a new Pinterest board for some of my favorite meal prep + planning resources.  If you’re interested, you can check those boards out here:

My main nutrition goal for the week is to increase my water intake.  We are in the process of having a whole house water filter installed and in the meantime, we’ve been living the Brita pitcher life.  And not surprisingly, I keep forgetting to refill it.  Tonight I’m brewing a bunch of spearmint iced tea and filling a few water bottles for tomorrow.  The glamour and interestingness of my life abounds.

On to the meals + workouts for the week.

Meals for the week of 4/3

…And probably a night of takeout or leftovers.  Breakfasts will be some combination of English muffins, yogurt, fruit, smoothies, oats and/or the children’s table scraps (again… let’s be honest).  Lunch is usually a big salad and/or leftovers.  

Speaking of: Leftovers is such a sad word.  We need a better word that is like, Hey... I am so incredibly in charge of my life that I  didn’t just make one meal… I made two meals… AT THE SAME TIME!  Or whatever.

Workouts for the week of 4/3

I did some recon and there is a brand new track a mile or so from our place at the Cape.  I dug up some of my track workouts from my marathon training years of olde (honestly, that feels like a lifetime ago) and am hoping I can survive fit in one this coming weekend.  

But first, another glass of water.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s on the menu for you this week?

Currently | March 2017

I love March.  And not just because it starts with my birthday (though it does).  It always feels like an important transition month.  Usually that transition is winter to spring, but hey… there’s always April for that.

CURRENTLY | MARCH 2017

currently march 2017

CURRENTLY EATING

  • …by myself.  I went out on a solo date of sorts this month.  I went to the Boston Flower + Garden Show, and then for a walk through the Seaport, grabbing lunch at the newly opened (and extra Instagram-able) byChloe.  Their chia pudding had me revisiting a bunch of old vegan recipes I’d sort of forgotten about.
  • …with my husband.  We’ve gotten into a really good routine of eating together once he gets home from work (a nice change from my previous habit of 5 PM dinners with the babes).  
  • …lots of really good salads (including an A+ version I’ll share on Friday).

currently march 2017

CURRENTLY MAKING

  • …garden plans for the Cape.  
  • …things with my new sewing machine (a birthday gift from Nick).  So far, I made matching tote bags for Grace and one of her stuffed animals (the smaller of the two totes was supposed to be a dress for the bear, but I accidentally sewed the arm holes closed… so…), 3 zippered pouches, and several hair bows.
  • …a few new paintings and art journal spreads.
  • …brunch.  And any excuse to use (and eat) edible flowers.  

currently march 2017

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO

  • …Grace’s amazing stories, imaginings and jokes.
  • S-Town, the new podcast from Serial Productions + This American Life.  The whole series was released this week, and I’m already on Chapter 3.  Completely hooked.
  • …the crashing waves.  Whenever possible.

currently march 2017

CURRENTLY WATCHING

  • …Homeland + Superstore, still.  
  • Sing with the kids.
  • Clark roll around on one of our sofa cushions.  He’s a weird dude.  But he’s our weird dude.
  • …the baby monitor.  (Why do my children hate sleeping?)

currently march 2017

CURRENTLY READING

Also On Tap for Today:

Let’s hear your March highlights.

2017 Limited Edition Whole Foods Beauty Bag

Hi, beauties.  

One of my favorite Whole Foods Market promotions, their limited edition Beauty Bag, comes out Friday, 3/24.  My friends at Whole Foods Market North Shore sent me a bag to preview this week, and I’ve got to say… this is a good one.  

whole foods beauty bag

Whole Foods Market partnered with Piece & Co. on this organic cotton bag, handcrafted by artisans in India.  It is literally brimming with some of the best natural, clean beauty products on the market (all meet WFM’s rigorous body care quality standards).  The bag retails for $18, but is valued at over $90.  

Here’s what you’ll find inside:

  • Andalou Natural Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk | 1.7 oz
  • Weleda Soothing Facial Lotion | .23 oz (yessssssssss)
  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive | .26 oz (excited to try this)
  • Dr. Hauschka Facial Toner | 1 oz
  • Acure Pore Clarifying Red Clay Facial Mask | 1.7 oz (wearing this as I type…)
  • evanhealy Wild Carrot Nourishing Eye Balm | .5 oz (comes in a very cool tube)
  • Trilogy CoQ10 Booster Oil | .17 oz
  • Whole Foods Market Dry Skin Hand Cream Peony, Mint & Blackberry | 1 oz (one of my favorites — it smells like summer)
  • Mineral Fusion Volumizing Mascara Jet | .57 oz (another favorite)
  • DERMA E Hydrating Night Cream | .5 oz
  • Pacifica Devocean Lipstick Tenderness | .07 oz 

You can find all the Beauty Bag product details here.

whole foods beauty bag

Along with the Beauty Bag release, Whole Foods is hosting a huge sale in their Whole Body department.  All facial care, cosmetics, cosmetic brushes, nail color are 25% off through 3/28.  

whole foods beauty bag

Spotted at Legacy Place today while the kids and I dropped in for yogurt, smoothies, and our fourth pint of raspberries this week…

These beauty bags would make great Easter (who wouldn’t like a basket full of beauty?) or Mother’s Day gifts, and they’re one of my favorite ways to discover new clean and natural beauty products each year.  Quantities are limited, so I recommend stopping in to your local Whole Foods Market soon.  

…You can stock up on those insanely good garlic + lemon olives while you’re there.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are your favorite clean beauty products?

A little word of encouragement.

Just a little word of encouragement.  And a really cute tide marker.

word of encouragement

Saquatucket Harbor, Harwich

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

–Harriet Beecher Stowe

Where ever you are… Hang in there.

Also On Tap for Today:

Got your own little word of encouragement to share?