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Wednesday and Thursday happenings

I’m having one of those days where all the little things that usually wouldn’t be annoying are adding up and driving me crazy.  My fuse is too short and my patience is shot and I’m having to practice every technique imaginable to not blow up at my kids for things they share only 50% of the blame.  And now I’m here at the computer because typing it all out is a therapy of sorts.  Also, Kyle’s out of town* so I have nothing else to do at night.

*He’s back now and no more major trip are in his future until 2018!  Heyoooo!!

Well here’s a breakfast you’ve never seen before?!  JK!   In the interest of saving time, here’s the next day’s breakfast too.

Thicker on Thursday because I woke up hungrier than normal.  No dessert at night will do that to you…

I worked out in the garage both days because it was 40 degrees and I wasn’t having it.  I can’t be coerced into running or biking or doing ANYTHING outside when the temps are that low.  The garage is perfect in the winter months because it’s cold but not freezing and so I can wear shorts and a tank top and still get sweaty by the end of an intense T25 session.  Boom.  I did a cd from book three (the last one) of Jillian’s Body Revolution on Wednesday and that was TOUGH.  Shockingly, the speed 2.0 workout from T25 on Thursday felt (dare I say it?) easy-ish.  It was all fast paced cardio movies with no down time AT ALL, but was low impact and – praise be – had no plank moves.  Jillian’s workout STARTED with plank jack push ups.  Like that’s how we are beginning this sh!t???  I wanted to tap out after 3 minutes!  Oof.  But really, I love it.

You may notice she’s not in her leotard.  That was a major source of contention at first, but because I decided to go to open gym at the last minute, she was already dressed in her regular clothes and I wasn’t in the mood for outfit change drama.  Once she got there she forgot all about it.

That was Wednesday.  On Thursday we went to creative playtime and yet again her outfit choice was unaffected by the weather. I was freezing and she was sitting on the concrete feeding her baby doll.

P was at preschool both mornings, naturally.

Here’s Wednesday’s lunch – mixed greens, roasted pecans, avo, and tessamae’s balsamic vinaeigrette. I forgot I had this dressing and was very relieved to find it because I had just run out of home-made vinaigrette and this is basically made with the exact things I’d use if I were making it.  If only they made dressing without garlic.  Still perfect in a pinch.

It was looking a little bare so I ended up adding smoked salmon too.

And then I had a bunch of chips.

Thursday’s lunch was another salad that I have been into a lot lately… Nugget’s Thai dressing is the bomb you guys.  It’s worth building an entire meal around.  This post is seemingly an ode to ready made salad dressings, ha!

The salad had cabbage, kale, broccoli slaw, and Thai dressing, plus avo and cashews.  I didn’t use the Thai cashews this time because it was a little too spicy last time. I had a bunch of carrots too.

I’m averaging 1/2 pound of carrots a day and that’s practicing major restraint.  I probably eat more when I buy the huge 5 lb bags at Costco, but because I haven’t made it to Costco recently I’ve had to buy the individual 1 lb bags at TJs.  As a result, I know EXACTLY how many carrots I eat a day, for better or worse.  I’d go through a whole bag if I didn’t watch myself.

Here’s their lunch.  Do you guys care about their food?  Sometimes (usually when I’ve made it in advance) I think to take pics, but most of the time I forget.   This was an AB + J sando on sourdough with persimmons and carrots.

Look at them!  Sitting next to each other like the buddies they are, chatting and eating their snack.  It was crazy warm so as soon as they finished eating we scooted/biked to the park…where we ran into friends!  So fun.

A couple of hours later, we went to soccer.  Talk about a looooong afternoon.  Good thing I had a gobble meal waiting for me back at home.

I made the curried cauli couscous during nap time, so all I had to do when I got home was sear the scallops.  Except not.

As I was making this couscous I realized I was the only one who was going to like it. It has zucchini and dill, so that is a no go for Kyle.  And actually, neither P nor V likes dill.  So, shoot.  I bought four servings worth.

I made two servings’ worth and saved the other two servings for some other time.  When Kyle goes out of town next??  Ugh.  Fail.

While I was searing scallops, I was sorting out the carbs for the rest of the family’s meals.  I had leftover spaghetti for the littles, and rice for Kyle, and mixed parts of the meal for each to cater to their taste buds.

In the end, I was the only one who had the gobble meal “as is”, THEREBY TOTALLY DEFEATING THE PUROSE of a ready to go ten minute meal.

Benz and chez!

Ok, so I have to explain this snack.  One of my sister’s favorite snacks / meals growing up was beans and cheese.  That’s it.  Just a bowl of refried beans and cheddar cheese.  She made it a lot, and somehow the name morphed from “beans and cheese” to “benz and chez” (as if you were saying it with an accent).  And now I’ve introduced it to my first born.  So proud.  We sent a video to Auntie Laura 🙂

Anyway, he liked it so much, he asked for seconds AND thirds.  He has never eaten anything faster, except maybe bacon.  And it’s so healthy!  All it was was refried beans and nooch!  Both kids GO NUTS for nooch.  It’s like this treat that they beg for as if I’m not going to give it to them, but of course I always give them however much they want, so I have no idea why they beg.

Sometimes I give them this beans + nooch combo using white beans, which I call “magic beans”.  They like that a lot too.

I wasn’t feeling up for what we had planned for dinner so I looked in the fridge and figured out something different.  I had “riced” cauliflower leftover from Friendsgiving, that was on it’s last legs, and recently inspired by the previous night’s cauli couscous, I decided to make fried “rice” as a side dish.  In order to make it a hit with the family, I fried it in sesame oil, garlic infused olive oil, and olive oil, and then added tamari, fish sauce, rice vinegar, minced ginger and sriracha. And to bulk up the veg even more, I added shredded carrots and celery.  Side dish – check!

To go with it, I hit up Nugget on the way home from soccer (her soccer is Wednesdays and his soccer is Thursdays) to grab some salmon.  Kyle told me the night before that he wanted to grill and mentioned salmon, so I knew that would be a win.  I just had to let him know that he was cooking so he could be home in time!

UH.  WUT.  DID.  I.  DO.

So it cost $50.  Thank goodness the rest of the meal was cheap because as soon as the butcher handed it to me I started having a complete internal freak out.

The good news is that it was DELICIOUS and also we have leftovers.  Probably a whole other meals’ worth if it’s not the feature.  So that made me feel better.

It really was heavenly though.

Dessert plate number one of two and a half.  The rum balls are some kind of magical holiday crack.  I had two more before pumping the breaks.  For someone who’s not a cookie person, I’m definitely finding the Christmas season to be quite a time of indulging.  Am I turning into one of those people who let’s it all go for the month?

All the cookies

I forgot to post this back on Saturday, but when I was making the “candy bars” for my cookie exchange I used up the last of the raw cashews to make creamer.  I was already in prep mode and the cashews were out…so why not.

And now my coffee has been a little extra special this week.

Also, apparently I’m just spending $9 on a loaf of bread now, and that’s the situation.

I will say, it lasts me a really really long time – almost a month (!!) – so I guess that makes the price easier to swallow.  Money pun, anyone?!  I used to eat two slices for breakfast, but I kept feeling super stuffed after, and in true Elise fashion, it took me WAY TOO LONG to realize I was eating more than I needed to and that…wait for it….I didn’t have to eat as much (imagine that!).  This should be obvious (and might be to some intuitive eaters), but I’m such a creature of habit that making the same thing over and over is just what I do because of the routine, regardless of my hunger level.  Anyway, because the Nourish bread is SO nutrient dense, one slice goes a long way.  And then when I add nut butter on top, it’s for sure enough to hold me over.

Full disclosure, I usually slice off a tiny sliver that I pop in my mouth as I make the other “real” slice for breakfast.  It’s nice that the loaf comes unsliced, because then I have the ability to make the slice however thick I want it.

See my sneaky slice half eaten in the back?

I added Himalayan flake salt for kicks.  Are you a heel piece person?  It’s totally my favorite piece, but I know there are lots of people who are the opposite.  I’m married to one of them.  Actually, he wasn’t always anti-ends, but because he knows I like them, he is happy to leave them for me.  In college, I lived with girls who would THROW AWAY the end pieces.  WTF.  That was bananas to me.

On to lunch!  I jazzed up my favorite salad from TJs with avo.

See the devil on the left and the angel on the right up there??

Kyle brought home a bunch of kettle chips that were leftover from a work thing a few days ago.  He’s the best.  There’s a new flavor, Korean BBQ, that I haven’t tried yet, but am veryyyyy curious about.  My love for kettle runs deep.

You like how I plated it as if that would limit me to the portion shown?  HAHAHA.  Oh self, you are so funny.  I don’t even know how many servings I went back for but eventually the plate was a pointless vessel.  I wasn’t too too crazy though.  I didn’t want to ruin my appetite for dinner, which I do 90% of the time when I have these chips for lunch, and I only barely avoided this time.

Is there anything more Monday than a double header dentist appointment with your kids?

She was soooo nervous.  He’s an old pro, but this was her second attempt.  She’ll get there.  Like one tooth at a time, haha.

While I “made” dinner, they “made” Christmas cards.

The sticker pads from the dollar bin at Target are worth sooo much more.  Priceless, you might say, for the amount of time they occupy the kids thereby affording me MAMA TIME!!!  JK, I was in the kitchen cooking.

Kyle is out of town, so it was very tempting to make nothing and eat whatever fridge scrapings were on hand, but I always promise him I won’t do that, so I kinda went halfway.

I made them spaghetti with avocado and chicken.  The Italian staple.  We had leftover chicken and too many ripe avocados, so why not?  They loved it.

And for my own meal, I made a version of the same salad I’ve been eating on repeat ever since Fall arrived and I rekindled my relationship with butternut squash.

This one had greens and herbs, champagne vinaigrette, squash, sheep pecorino romano, and candied walnuts.

The candied walnuts weren’t home-made because the bulk bins at Nugget were 50% off this weekend (they have weekly “secret specials” that I get via email and most of the time they aren’t of interest but every once in a while it’s something awesome).  Like dark chocolate covered walnuts for $5 per pound!  Boom!  And candied walnuts for the same price!  Yes please!  That was one of the other things I went for over the weekend, in addition to the Nourish bread.

Here’s where the night took a turn.

How is a human supposed to practice ANY restraint in these conditions.  This is, like, a third of my haul.

And this was my first of I DON’T WANT TO SAY HOW MANY PLATES SO STOP ASKING.

And on that note, I logged online to sign up for stroller strides the next morning.

Tennis and tubbing

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner.  Still learning about all this dosing business.

Individual cheese seems like such a novelty, but it’s way easier to make sure he’s getting the correct grams of protein if it’s measured out ahead of time.

These have 5 g which is more than he needs, but you can go over as much as you want in maintenance.  So 5 gram it is!  And he loves it.  Unlike the 1/2 cup of milk that he slowwwwwwly sucks down, this is gone quite quickly.  V likes this form of dosing too, because it means she gets cheese.

I’m still giving him milk for most of his doses because I want the cheese and yogurt ones to be a treat, but I like that he’s excited about this.  He is so good about OIT even though I know he doesn’t love it, so it seems only fair to make it as enjoyable as possible.

After trying the first bite, he looked at me with a grin and said “it tastes like daiya cheese!”  Probably the only person ever to say that in earnest, but he has no reference for types of cheese and their flavors so it’s probably pretty accurate for him.  Major points for Daiya!

After they had their pancakes and cheese, I made my own breakfast.  This is the last slice of Nourish bread, which I sliced especially thick, but I hit up Nugget later that afternoon for a few things, including another loaf.

Both kids went to childcare at church but Kyle stayed with V the whole time, so I’m not sure if you can call that a success or not.  She didn’t cry or anything, and probably would have been fine for him to leave, but apparently the ratio of adults to kids was a little off so Kyle just stayed to volunteer.

Kid lunch: eggs, almonds, apples and tomatoes.

Kyle lunch: pasta with home-made carrot top pesto.

Elise lunch: kale, cashes, avocado, and Nugget market’s Thai salad dressing

I used half plain roasted cashews and half TJs Thai Lime & Chili cashews.

This was my first time having these and they were spicy!  Combined with the dressing (also spicy!) it was a LOT for my wimpy palate.  But I still liked it.  🙂

Feet poking out the bottom rails. 😛

I had a bottle of Trilogy for an afternoon pick me up.

Kyle and I went and played tennis and then played tee ball and soccer with the kids.  And then we came home and went in the hot tub (!!!) while the kids played in the yard.  First time we have ever done that!  They were a little curious at first, but then just went about their business making up random games and whatever.

I gave P and Kyle hair cuts and then showered to warm up before settling in for some pre-dinner football.  She was jealous and wanted a hair cut too, so I snipped nothingness off the front.  She was content with that.

For dinner we had this spicy butternut + kale chopped salad.

I’ve made it before (see here!).  I loved it then and I loved it again.  And Kyle did too (as did the kids)!

I roasted butternut squash earlier that day.  One tray had Mexican spices, per the recipe, and the other half was plain, since I figured the squash would yield some leftovers that I could throw in salads throughout the week.

The only other prep is toasting pepitas.  I had already made the dressing (which is not much more than a lime and EVOO) and massaged it with the kale.

Time to pile things on…I used cotija instead of feta because we already had some on hand (leftover from a while ago – so excited to finally use it up).

I didn’t give much cheese to the kids, but P didn’t like his anyway.

Chips much?

I didn’t have dessert which was SOOOO hard because I had a plate of 100 cookies staring at me and man did they look good.  But I knew I needed a night off sweets.  It’s an addiction you guys!  And I fully plan on going big over the holidays.  I just have to keep myself honest so it doesn’t become a habit to crave a plate piled high with chocolate every night at 8 pm on the dot.  Like it used to be.

Cookie fest

I forgot to share the good news!  The Instant Pot support people have gotten back to me and are sending me a new base.  Like I suspected, mine is broken beyond repair because it can’t correctly detect pressure (kinda important for a pressure cooker).

So I’ll have a replacement part in a week or so…and until then, it’s back to slow cooking.  I think I’ll survive. 🙂

I didn’t even know Kyle took this pic until I uploaded my pics!! So sneaky!

I had been reallllly looking forward to Saturday (all week in fact!!) because I had a moms night out cookie exchange planned with my stroller strides group.  You guys.  I’m just so thankful for this new group of people.  I can’t believe I resisted joining for so long.  I never thought it would be such a source of happiness for me, but here it is, a few months later, and I’m still going on and on about it.

Before I started going, I already knew a ton of people in the group because of how much it overlaps with our church, P’s school, and MOPS.  And I didn’t really think I needed more motivation to work out…so why pay money to exercise?  But the truth is, it has expanded my friend group even more AND deepened my relationships with those friends I already knew before.  And now I have a whole circle of like-minded fitness-focused people who totally get me.

Ok, so that said, the pressure was really on for me to make a bomb @$$ cookie for the party.  I have a reputation to maintain!!  (JK, nobody cares about HHH)  But still, I’m a perfectionist.  You know that right?  Ha.  Ha.  Hi, I’m Elise, I have anxiety about things not going 100% the way I want them to and I carry the entire weight of that responsibility on my shoulders. Now you are my therapist, apparently.  I digress…

COOKIES!

GP has never done me wrong, so I consulted her It’s All Good cookbook and picked out the “candy bars” recipe.  It’s hard to know what others will like, but I know what I like, and I also knew I’d likely be the only one to bring an allergy friendly option.  So for my sake alone, I wanted a gluten and dairy free treat.

It was really quick to make in the food processor and scooped out SO easily leaving nothing behind.

I did all of this while the kids were at farmer’s market with Kyle.  Alone time!  I was soaking it up because Kyle’s leaving again Monday so I won’t hear my own thoughts for a few days.

I ate breakfast too, naturally.

After this was gone, I polished off every last little bit that remained in the AB jar with the spoon.  Mmmm.  Don’t worry, I already have another jar waiting in the wings.

Ok, so back to the cookies.

I let the bottom part of the bar set in the fridge and then made the top chocolate layer.

Oooooh baby.

Spread it on top.

Add some Cyprus flake salt.

Put it back in the fridge to set.

Lick the bowl clean.

Carry on with the day  🙂

Time to make a grocery list!

Lunch salad had: kale, cabbage, shaved brussels, home-made balsamic vinaigrette, avocado, and smoked salmon.

Baby carrots sold separately.

For dinner I fried some chicken “breaded” in almond meal and salt.

Served with a super simple salad (slivered almonds, currants, home-made champagne vinaigrette) and herb bread for everyone but me since I was about to go out and eat ALL THE COOKIES.

Before I left I sliced them into squares and arranged them all nicely on my holiday platter.

Ta da!

Good job Gwyneth!  This recipe was SOLID.  Definitely a hit at the party, although everyone was so inundated with the sheer amount of cookies, it was impossible to try every one there.  Seriously there were SO MANY COOKIES. I was in heaven.  I ate a bunch, with dairy and gluten, I’m sure, but saved up my fodmaps all day for this event so it was actually pretty fine.  And I made sure to drink a bunch of water too.

That said, I was for sure still riding a sugar high at 11:30 when I got home.  And this was after hours of board games!  Am I that sensitive to food nowadays??  Like the alcohol of last weekend, this sugar hit me harder than I would have thought given my nightly sweet tooth sessions.  I’m not going to overthink it because I actually felt fine the next day, but these foodie hangovers are making me feel old.  🙁

Fri-yay

Who’s excited for the weekend!!!  This chica!

After considering my options the night before, I decided to hit up stroller strides in the morning, then once the kid craft wrapped up, jet over to Spanish library time.  The first part of that went great!  I got a stellar workout in, when I really wanted to phone it in.  So yay.  Always good to have others motivating you to push yourself.  But then the kids wanted to play at the park for a couple of hours with their friends.  Fine by me!  So I just hung out with my mama friends.

They did the craft too, which involved a sensory bottle filled with all the holiday decorations you could imagine (don’t think he could fit any more in if he tried!), but the games they were all playing together were the best part.  I’m really glad they have hit it off so well with so many of the kids in ss because it makes us all look forward to it, thereby making the morning a win win.  Workout hangout – check check!  I’m a much better mom afterwards.

I got this again!

But it needed a few extras added – like avo and roasted pecans.

YUM.   If you feel like eating Fall, this bowl hits the spot.  Good job TJs.  Some of the new salad palettes are really awesome looking.  Have you guys tried any others that I need to give a shot?

I love when she a$$es out like this.

After lunch I started working on dinner, per usual.  We didn’t have any pm plans but since we didn’t make it to library I had a feeling they’d want to go.  Sure enough, once we read some books and changed back into real clothes, that was where we spent the rest of the evening.

I made the creamy almond dressing from this recipe for dinner, but made a slightly different salad to go with it.  I used fresh squeezed oranges instead of OJ because it’s citrus season and this bag of oranges was cheap and gorgeous.  In my mind, I thought maybe I’d eat them after dinner instead of a chocolate dessert some night, but that has yet to happen…  😉

The recipe is for broccoli salad, but to make it a meal I added quinoa.  I also used greens (kale, cabbage, shaved brussels) and cauliflower in addition to broccoli.  I steamed the broccoli and cauli first, and then tossed everything in the dressing.

Three’s also toasted slivered almonds and golden raisins in there.

And green onions on Kyle’s portion.

It doesn’t look like much but it’s really a yummy recipe.  I should have made more because we polished off every last bite and the kids still wanted more.  Oops!  Quinoa doesn’t seem to hold me over very long these days.  I’m not sure what’s different, if anything, but I was pretty hungry later that night.

I ate all of these chocolate nut butter cups but was STILL hungry (do I sound like Eric Carle’s caterpillar?) so I had two chocolate macaroon whoopie pies filled with peanut butter.  That was over kill.

But delicious.  Tis the season??  NOOOOOOO.  Turn it around Elise.