Fit 'N' Well Mommy

Being a mommy doesn't always mean sacrifice

What I Ate Wednesday September 19, 2012

Happy Hump Day! Since I always forget to do this, I thought I would link up with Jenn today and What I ate Wednesday “Fall into Good Habits.”

 

This morning was a little hectic, to say the least. Since we were heading to my parent’s house to spend the night, I got up very early to attend the 7:00 a.m. class at our box this morning. Before I left, I ate a small snack of half of a banana and a couple teaspoons of peanut butter to get me through the workout. Boy, did I need it! The skill was 3 sets of 10 handstand push-ups and 20 bridge ups. For the WOD, we did 3 rounds with a 20 minute time cap of 20 “two for one” wall balls (squatting twice), 3 rope climbs and 50 double unders. The wall balls were hard for me (as they always are!), but I managed to finish in 18 minutes and 33 seconds, not too bad, but not great.

As soon as I got home, my husband had breakfast waiting for me and Keenan was already up, changed and just finishing his breakfast…I just love my husband! He made me half of an egg sandwich with some cheese and avocado, along with some strawberries and a latte to go (sorry, I was in such a rush, that I forgot to take a picture!). I scarfed down my breakfast, took a quick shower, loaded up the car and headed to swim class.

Before I talk more about today’s eats, below is the recipe for our dinner last night. I prepped everything, but my husband put it all together, since he didn’t go to the gym with us. He isn’t much on measuring, so he says the recipe is as close as he can remember. He did an excellent job; it was delicious!! We will definitely be making this again!

Dinner last night!

Grilled Baby Bok Choy Salad: (servers 3)

 Ingredients:

– Three boneless, skinless chicken thighs

– 6-7 heads of baby bok choy, halved lengthwise

– 2 cups sliced mushrooms *we used baby portobello

– 1 red bell pepper, large dice

– 1 medium onion (white, yellow, or red), medium dice

– 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

– Fresh ground pepper, to taste

– 5 T good-quality soy sauce or tamari

– 4 T oyster sauce

– 1 t fish sauce

– Garlic powder, to taste

– Chinese 5-Spice, to taste

– Toasted sesame oil

– Rice or white wine vinegar, to taste

 Directions:

1.  Marinate chicken: Place chicken in food-safe bag or bowl, and glop on 3 T soy, 2 T oyster, and 1 t fish sauces. Grind in some pepper, sprinkle in some garlic powder, and trickle in enough cold water to allow the chicken to marinate. (Add more water if you’re going to let it site for a while, or leave the soy sauce concentrated if you’re going to be cooking the chicken very soon.)

2. Prepare bok choy: Halve the baby bok choy lengthwise, only removing outer leaves that are damaged. Don’t bother trimming the base, as you’ll be cutting that off after they’re grilled. Drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper.

3. (If you’re grilling over fire, start your grill, now, and get ready for medium-high heat.) Heat a large skillet or everyday pan over medium-high heat, and add about 2 T oil. Sauté onion, bell pepper, ground pepper, garlic powder, and 5-spice for a few minutes, then add garlic. Sauté for another minute, and then add mushrooms. Add some more garlic powder and 5-spice, if you want it to be pungent (we do!). Stir a little, and then cover the pan. Some brown bits should start developing on the bottom of the pan, and removing the lid and stirring a few times should help keep that going. If you time the “sitting and stirring” correctly, the mushrooms should start releasing water just before anything starts burning, so all of that nice brown flavoring should come right off the bottom of the pan. At that point, keep the lid off the pan and cook until most of the moisture has simmered away. (If you’re using a gas grill, you need to start it, now, and get ready for medium-high heat.) Add 2 T soy sauce, 2T oyster sauce, and cook until the sauces have thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

4. Remove chicken from marinade, oil it, and place on grill. Watch it while you cook the bok choy, and flip when needed. Once it’s almost done, remove from the grill, wrap in foil, and let the chicken rest. It will continue cooking, and be super-juicy.

5. Place as much of the bok choy on the grill as you possibly can, cut side down, without cramming things. Cover grill. Depending on the size of the bok choy heads, you want to check things after 3 minutes, or so. The very tips of the leaves should get a little black, but everything else should be fine, with some grill lines developing on the stem of the leaves. If that’s happened, flip the bok choy, and leave it for about 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on it. Remove bok choy when it’s done, and let rest, uncovered. Finish cooking the rest of the bok choy, if you couldn’t do it all at once.

6.  Pour veggies and sauce from pan into a large mixing bowl. Chop chicken and toss in bowl. Rough-chop bok choy, leaving thick base of stem (but trimming as much of the leaves as possible, to reduce waste), and toss into bowl. Grind in some pepper. Sprinkle about ½ t of toasted sesame oil over salad. Sprinkle about 2 T of vinegar over salad, and mix well. Taste, and adjust seasonings (it’ll probably need more vinegar for a sharp bite, unless you like a deeper flavor).

7.  Divide amongst 3 plates or shallow bowls.

*Note: For more texture and added flavor, I would sprinkle roasted walnuts or almonds on top!

After Keenan’s swim class, we headed to my parent’s house and made it just in time for lunch. Keenan was SO excited to see Nonna, Avo and Maddie, that he kept repeating (over and over) in the car, “Going to Nonna and Avo’s house!” My mom had some Aram Sandwiches (flat bread wrapped in a pinwheel with turkey, lettuce, tomato and cheese) from Costco, so I had two of those with a small piece of a leftover pork chop (that my parents had for dinner last night), broccoli, baby carrots and some slices of a peach. Keenan loves the Aram Sandwiches, so he had one with some broccoli dipped in hummus, a few pieces of cheese, slices of a peach and a glass of milk. Again, I completely forgot to snap a picture, sorry!

After the kids wake up from their naps, we are going on a little bike ride and to pick peaches! I’ll be sure to take a few pictures!

I’m not sure what my mom has planned for dinner tonight, but I’m sure it includes some pasta with meat, veggies and a salad! Have a great afternoon!

Question: What are some of your favorite dishes that your mom and/or dad make or that you had while growing-up? My favorite dishes that my mom makes are her chicken scallopini, raviolis and risotto!

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Salad and Silliness August 16, 2012

As promised, here is a picture and the recipe for the salad that we had for dinner last night. It was good, but I had to tweak it a little to add more flavor. I found that if you follow the recipe exactly, it is a little bland.

Basil Peach Salad (aka Peach Salad with Basil Oil) adapted from Women’s Health Magazine:

Ingredients: (serves 4)

3 ripe peaches, sliced into thin wedges

3 cups arugula

4 oz. fresh mozzarella cut into 1 -inch cubes

2 Tbsp chopped roasted walnuts

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 cup fresh basil

1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, toss the peaches, arugula, mozzarella and nuts.

2. Put oil, vinegar, basil and salt in a blender or food processor and combine until smooth.

3. Drizzle dressing on salad and toss. Divide salad amongst 4 serving plates.

Since the salad was our entire dinner (not as a side) and I only had one bag of arugula, I added a head of romaine lettuce. I also halved the amount of cheese, since the salad was only for the two of us (not 4 people as the recipe states) and added 3 oz. of chopped chicken (for each of us) for additional protein. For the dressing, I added 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar and pepper for more flavor. Also, I was too lazy to get our food processor or blender out, so I finely chopped the basil and just added it with the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to my salad dressing maker/emulsifier. Even though the dressing was not pureed, it came out just fine.  My husband really liked the salad, so I think we will be making this again! I guess it was hearty enough for him, Lol!

Show me the ice cream cones!

Today has been all about the silly’s and being goofy! Keenan has been in a giggly mood all day, which has been a lot of fun! This morning, after our “usual” breakfast (and my latte), we played with his ice cream cones. Keenan was laughing every time an ice cream scoop fell off! He also kept telling me to take bites from the “high parts,” what we tell him when he eats a real ice cream cone! After we played for a bit, we headed to my favorite store, Nordstrom, to return a few things.

Once we got home, we had lunch. Since we got home a little late, I made Keenan his favorite sandwich again (peanut butter and honey) with applesauce and a glass of milk. Since we had some leftover mozzarella cheese from last night’s dinner, I made a caprese salad for myself, using the rest of our grape tomatoes and fresh basil from our yard, along with some baby carrots, of course. It was delicious! While Keenan and I were eating our lunch, he wanted to try one of my carrots. Since he only has 10 teeth (2 top molars), it is hard for him to chew really hard things like carrots, so we have to cook them. I gave him a small carrot and he did a pretty good job of crunching it with his front teeth. Though, he had a hard time chewing the rest, thus keeping the pieces of carrots in his mouth for FOREVER! As I was getting him ready for his nap, i.e. changing his diaper and sitting him on the potty, I asked him to swallow the rest of the carrots and if not, give them to me, so he wouldn’t choke on them while he slept. As he spit the carrots out and into my hand, a few pieces of carrots fell on my arm and onto the changing table which made Keenan laugh hysterically! Keenan kept laughing and saying, “What’s that? A piece of carrot!” It was so funny, we were both laughing so hard, that we had tears in our eyes! I haven’t had a good belly laugh like that in a long time! It reminded me of a scene from an “I Love Lucy” episode, my favorite TV show!

Yumm…a Caprese Salad! It brings back memories of Italy.

Caprese Salad: (serves 1)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup basil (chiffonade)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes (cut in half)

3 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese (cut into 1-inch cubes)

1 tsp olive oil

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Place basil, tomatoes and mozzarella into a small bowl.

2. Toss salad with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, until well mixed. Enjoy!

This afternoon, we are heading to CrossFit for our third workout, after getting back from Alaska. My quads are STILL so sore from Tuesday’s WOD of 150 wallballs! Today is supposed to be a long workout, so it should be good! On the menu for tonight is Kale sauteed with mushrooms, red onion, sun dried tomatoes, italian sausage and feta cheese! What are you having for dinner tonight? Do you have any other ideas for cooking with kale?

 

Back to reality August 15, 2012

Keenan this morning: he wanted to take all of his critters in the car!

We are back to our regular routine today… having our “usual” breakfast with Fage 0% Greek yogurt (Mountain High Original whole-fat for Keenan), strawberries, flax seed, chia seeds and Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal and of course, a latte for my husband and me. After a fairly quick breakfast, we headed to Keenan’s swim class at the Y. We actually arrived early for a change (a first for us!). We are usually right on time or a couple of minutes of late, so it was nice to not have to rush. After swim class, we ran a couple of errands before going home for a little play time and lunch.

Keenan and I played a little piano together (I play and he taps, or sometimes bangs the keys!) and then we made all of his favorite critters (aka Baba, Lambie, Elmo and Polar Bear) lunch from his little kitchen. He was adamant on feeding them before we ate our lunch; it was too cute!

Feeding lunch to all of his critters!

For lunch, I made Keenan his favorite, a peanut butter and honey sandwich with some nectarine pieces on the side and a glass of milk. I ate some baby carrots, a nectarine and a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato and avocado on a sandwich thin spread with some new tzatziki sauce that we got at a different Costco. Our regular Costco discontinued the one we usually buy, so we found a different brand at a Costco near my parent’s house. I love Costco, but I get so frustrated when they discontinue an item that you always purchase. What are your favorite items at Costco?

Anyhow, today is all about getting “back to reality.” Last night I made a to-do list with all of the things I need to get done before the end of the month, including a few for Keenan’s birthday. His birthday is next Monday, but we are having his party at my parent’s house the following weekend. It seems aside from Keenan’s birthday, every weekend is booked until the end of September! It is crazy how busy things are going to be for the next month. I guess that is typical after getting back from vacation. I don’t think we have ever come back from a vacation and not had any commitments or things to do…life is just busy in our household!

Though, I’m looking forward to all of the things we have planned for the next month: Keenan’s birthday, our good friend’s birthday, my cousin’s wedding and getting my CrossFit Level 1 Certification, it will be nice when we have a free weekend again! The hustle and bustle of life makes me continue to think of the simplicity in Alaska, and prioritizing what really is important. Instead of racing through life, constantly thinking/worrying of what I have to do next or how I am going to get things done, I am making a vow to slow down, not get stressed out or overwhelmed when I have a lot on my plate. I am committing myself to focus more in the present, cherishing each and every moment and most importantly, appreciate the little things (i.e. kisses and cuddles from Keenan, laughing/playing with him and enjoying time with my husband). Lastly, I am pledging to truly differentiate between our needs vs. wants.  Life is too short and too precious to get caught in the rat race and forget what is really meaningful. How do you stay balanced and sane when life gets busy?

This afternoon, after Keenan wakes-up from his nap, we are heading to his friend’s birthday party and then to CrossFit for another grueling (but awesome!) workout. Yesterday, we found our 1-Rep-Max deadlift, which I PR’d (Personal Record) at 230 lbs and then had to do 150 wall balls in 8 minutes! It was rough, but I was able to complete 107 wall balls (not bad for my first day back)!

On the menu for tonight is a Basil Peach Salad made with arugula, fresh mozzarella cheese and walnuts, that I found in this month’s edition of Women’s Health Magazine. It looks so good; I can’t wait to try it! I’ll take a picture of it and post the recipe tomorrow!

 

All packed and ready to go! July 30, 2012

Playing in the wading pool at Land Park today.

Well, we are all packed and ready to go! We leave bright and early tomorrow morning. I hope Keenan will sleep on the plane, so my husband and I can get some rest, but I think that is wishful thinking! We loaded my nook with several “Shaun the sheep” and “Elmo’s World” episodes, along with a few of his favorite toys, stickers, coloring book and crayons to keep him busy. What kinds of things do you bring to keep your child entertained on a long plane ride?

Today was a busy, but fun day! We made banana nut oatmeal pancakes for breakfast (along with lattes, of course!) and soon after, we started packing. Since we were meeting my parents at Land Park (and then to dinner at Tower Cafe afterward) after Keenan’s nap, I wanted to get everything packed before we left. Needless to say, we had every intention, but it didn’t happen! So, at 11:00 p.m. tonight, we finally finished! Everything is ready to go, except for our toiletries. I am exhausted, but I hope I can sleep tonight. It seems that every time we leave for a trip, I have a hard time falling asleep because I’m excited and/or anxious. Do any of you have a hard time going to sleep the night before leaving for a trip?

A great start to the day, banana oatmeal pancakes with peach slices on the side!

Once we got home from dinner (I highly recommend the Tower Cafe if you live in Sacramento. It is causal, but has a very eclectic (but delicious) menu, including wonderful desserts!), we put Keenan to bed and finished packing. It’s funny how much little room my husband and I have in our suitcases, since Keenan’s stuff overtakes everything (diapers, wipes, pac n’ play, ergo carrier, etc). After several “rearranges,” we finally made it work with only 2 bags (finally deciding to check-in the pac ‘n play) and 1 carry-on, without either bag being over the weight limit.

Swinging with Nonna and Avo at Land Park.

Back to dinner: my husband and I shared/split our meals. I got the “African Veggie Burger,” a patty made with peas, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, sesame and sunflower seeds, topped with a peanut sauce, lettuce, onion and pickles on a whole wheat bun (sorry, I completely forgot to take a picture of it, yet, again!). It was sure yummy! I also had a small side salad, instead of fries. My husband ordered the regular burger, so we cut our burgers in half and shared them (we each got to enjoy half of the other person’s burger). Since my husband got fries with his burger, I had to steal a few! They are so good! Every once an while, I get a craving for thick steak fries!

Since we are heading to a very remote place in Alaska (Lake Clark, where my in-laws have a lodge) for the next two weeks, I won’t be able to do much posting (if at all), since there is no cell phone reception or internet. I will be sure to take lots of pictures and post a full recap once we get back. Have a good week! Night!

 

Random…Elmo, Strollers and Solids July 27, 2012

Diane Sawyer was on Sesame Street.

I just love lazy mornings! Keenan woke up late (9:00 a.m.) again, so it was nice to sleep-in a bit! Since my husband is off today, we were able to have some family time this morning: eating breakfast together and watching a couple of Elmo’s World and Sesame Street episodes. Keenan rarely watches TV (he hasn’t really shown an interest and we are just too busy with other things!), so this morning was a treat! Ever since Keenan met Elmo at Sea World last week, he has been infatuated with him! He has wanted to watch Elmo on TV, sleep with his Elmo doll and wear his shoes! As you can see from the pictures, Keenan was mesmerized!

I had to take a picture of this: Keenan watching Sesame Street (Feist was singing her song, “1234″) while wearing Daddy’s shoes…too cute!

I did it again, I forgot to take a picture of breakfast this morning, which was my “usual,” with half of a banana (sliced) mixed in it. So, I snapped a quick picture after I finished, sorry! I’m still working on the whole picture thing!

Sorry, this was after I finished my “usual” breakfast. At least, you can still see some of my latte that I was drinking!

For lunch, I had my “typical:” turkey sandwich on an Oroweat sandwich thin with lettuce, tomato and Costco’s yogurt jalapeno dip! In addition, I had a few baby carrots and a nectarine  that I shared with Keenan. He ate leftover chicken, eggplant and carrots from last night’s dinner. Speaking of nectarines, do you like your stone fruit firm or soft? My husband and I always butt heads over stone fruit. I like my fruit to be firm (which he says is “rock hard”), while he likes his fruit to be soft (squishy and over ripe, in my opinion) and juicy. Fortunately, Keenan likes firm fruit, so that is what I buy!

On another note, I have received a couple of questions in regards to jogging strollers and introducing solids. Yes, I know these two things are totally unrelated and random, but I thought I would address them here.

Jogging Strollers:

We have the BOB revolution and we absolutely LOVE it! It is our only stroller, so we bought the car seat adapter to use when Keenan was an infant. It was a perfect stroller for us, because it is so versatile. In addition to jogging with it (as soon as I was cleared to exercise again at 6 weeks postpartum), we took it everywhere: shopping, going to the beach, walking, some hiking and traveling. It rides very smooth and it is so easy and effortless to push. You can walk over any terrain and the stroller still rides smooth. The catalyst for choosing the BOB was when my niece was born. My brother and sister-in-law had a Graco stroller, where the car seat locked right in, and when we took a family vacation in Spain and France, it was horrible on the cobble stone streets. It was so bumpy and rough, we had to carry the stroller! After that trip, my husband and I knew we wanted to get a stroller that had pneumatic tires and rode smooth, once we had children. When I found out I was pregnant, we did a lot of research and stumbled upon the BOB. We tried it out at REI and loved it! We have taken it with us on four trips and each time, it was very easy to travel with. It even rolls over soft sand! We folded it down, took the front wheel off, strapped the wheel, and put the whole thing in a large plastic bag (that we got from our airline, or you can buy a big package of extra large clear garbage bags at Costco) and gate-checked it. So far, the stroller has been fine and it has been our savior to have in the airport. Needless to say, I highly recommend the BOB, if you are in the market for a stroller. (I can take pictures of my husband breaking down the stroller for travel, and describe the process in another post, if anyone is interested.)

At the beach in San Diego!

Introducing Solids:

When my friend asked me what food I introduced to Keenan first, it brought back a lot of memories that I thought I would share. It seemed that everywhere you read or even who you talked with, the universal “first solid food” recommendation was rice cereal. Luckily, my sister-in-law told me that rice cereal constipates your baby (she experienced it with my niece), so she recommended starting with oatmeal or barley and to not even introduce rice cereal. I listened to her and started Keenan on oatmeal, making it myself by using whole oats, grinding them in a blender or food processor and cooking them with my frozen breast milk. I made big batches, poured the oatmeal into silicone ice cube trays and froze them. When it was time to feed Keenan his oatmeal, I would pop out a cube or two (depending on how much he was eating), place them in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 1 minute, until thawed. Of course, I would have to wait until it cooled before giving it to him. For added flavor and nutritional benefits, I added ground flax seed and cinnamon. Keenan loved it, in fact he ate oatmeal every morning for his breakfast until he was 15 months old! We started him on solids when he was 7 1/2 months old, rather late, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Our pediatrician follows the World Health Organization recommendations, which at the time, stated if your baby is exclusively breastfed, then solids don’t need to be introduced until 7 months. Since we visited my brother, sister-in-law and niece (for her 3rd birthday) in Montreal when Keenan was turning 7 months old, we waited until we got home from our trip to give him solids. Up until then, he really never showed any interest in our food, so it was perfect timing. When he ate oatmeal for the first time, he devoured it, so he was completely ready! When did you introduce solids to your children? Do you have any helpful tips for those who are just starting to introduce solid foods to their babies?

This afternoon, we are off to CrossFit for our second-to-last workout before we leave for Alaska (we are going to do one more WOD tomorrow morning, after I help out with the morning class) and then it’s dinner. On the menu for tonight is my Grilled Corn Salad (which we made for 4th of July) with chicken! It should be good!!

 

 
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