We Eat/She Eats and Monday Motivation

Today marks the beginning of another school year, and though I’m excited to get back into the classroom, I feel much less so about leaving A.  She has great daycare, but my schedule this year is a little tighter than last and lands us at home around 4:30 every day, instead of 3:30.  A celebrated last night by waking up about five times — thank God Jason is the one who does the back and forth to the crib, or I’d be an even more tired Mama.  Along with the return to school comes the return to pumping and scalding my milk because of the extra lipase that makes it really disgusting for poor A if it’s frozen (tastes just like soapy water).  I’m hoping to post about that soon, but it’s such a process that the thought of taking photos of it has been overwhelming in the past.

In terms of exercise, I maintained last week, dropping about a half pound, despite not tracking food via WW and just enjoying my last week of freedom with an evening beer after the little one went to bed most nights.  I did complete T25 Beta, but ended the week with so much hip pain and lower back achiness that I’m taking a week off to focus on yoga and core building.  I’m not sure my post partum body was ready for Beta yet (even though it seemed really fun!), and I’m considering another round of T25 Alpha before I move on.  A lot of reading I’ve done suggests a week off between Alpha and Beta to protect knees and hips from the jumping, but I’m still weighing my options once I get through seven days of twice daily 20 minute yoga work.

Goals for the Week:

  1. Survive the 4 a.m. Alarm Clock – One Day Down, Four to Go!
  2. Live healthily by packing my own lunches, drinking my new Klean Kanteen of water (40 ozs) at work every day, and getting in those 40 minutes of yoga.
  3. Limit caffeine – one cup of coffee a day at school – that teacher’s room pot is sometimes such a siren song…
  4. Make dinner every night – no takeout!  We did takeout pizza last week, and I felt so gross afterwards… then we did pizza on the grill at home and it was So. Much. Better – no grease, healthy toppings, happier tummy!

We Eat/She Eats:

Monday:
We Eat: Eating Well’s Picnic Chicken, Wild Rice, Green Beans
She Eats: Bits of Chicken, Water Melon, Wild Rice (chopped if large), Green Bean Bits, Yogurt with Pear Sauce

Tuesday:
We Eat: Roasted Pork Loin, Homemade, Sugar-Free Apple Sauce, Roasted Potatoes & Steamed Carrots
She Eats: Bits of Pork Loin, Apple Sauce, Potato, Steamed Carrots

Wednesday:
We Eat: Chicken Cesar Salads with Garden Veggies
She Eats: Grilled Chicken, Cucumber Bits, Watermelon, Avocado, Parmesan Cheese

Thursday:
We Eat: Cheese Burgers (Grass Fed) on Sandwich Flats, Roasted Fries, Salad
She Eats: Sautéed Ground Beef (Grass Fed 90/10), Potato (baked), Cucumber Bits, Cottage Cheese or bits of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar

Friday:
We Eat: Chop Suey (Jason will make with Grass Fed Ground Beef, Homemade Tomato Sauce, Homemade Salsa and Elbow Mac), Green Beans,
She Eats: Leftover Chicken (from salads), Pasta, Green Beans, Avocado

Amelia also turns ten months this morning (5:17 a.m.) – where has the time gone?

Happy Ten Months Old, Sweet Amelia!

Happy Ten Months Old, Sweet Amelia!

 

Preserving the Harvest: Peas

One of the biggest factors that allows us to forgo takeaway so often during the very busy school year is the amount of produce we are able to put up during the late summer months.  While having a baby has definitely altered the shape of our days (and the amount of spare time I have), we are still going strong, preserving vegetables for the upcoming winter months.  I’ve posted previously about preserving green beans and zucchini and summer squash, but one of Jason’s favorite vegetables is peas.

Materials:

Quart Freezer Bags

Fresh-picked peas (you want these shucked immediately after picking or the pods get gummy and hard to manage)

Large pot for blanching (with large metal sieve, if possible)

Colander

Bowl or clean sink full of ice water

Cookie Sheets

Clean, absorbent dish towels

Before starting, make sure you have enough space for two cookie sheets in your freezer, as you need to flash freeze peas BEFORE placing them into bags.

  1. Pick your peas on a day when you have enough time to process them start to finish.  Pick the pods, shuck the peas, and get started preserving.  If you must, I’ve found that shucked peas are okay in the fridge, covered, for 24 hours before processing.

    Fresh Peas from the Garden!

    Fresh Peas from the Garden!

  2. Bring your water to a rolling boil.  Meanwhile, prepare your blanching sieve and pans (cover with a fresh dishtowel).

    Prepared materials.

    Prepared materials.

  3. Blanch peas (this is where I use the metal sieve) for 2 – 3 minutes, until the color changes to a rich green.
    Fresh Peas

    Unblanched Peas

    Blanched Peas

    Blanched Peas

  4. Place blanched peas in an ice water bath to cool.  I usually just lower them into ice water in a pot while still in the sieve, so I don’t have to strain ice out of them before drying.  Leave in ice water until peas are cool (3 – 5 minutes).
  5. Transfer peas from the water bath to dry dishtowels, then roll peas on dishtowels into logs to hurry along this process.

    Peas, rolled into a dishtowel to remove water.

    Peas, rolled into a dishtowel to remove water.

  6. When dry, spread the peas on a clean, dry dishtowel on a cookie sheet.Toweled Peas
  7. Place in freezer until frozen solid (6 – 12 hours).

    Frozen Peas

  8. Loosen peas and transfer into freezer bags.

    Loosened peas.

    Loosened peas.

  9. Remove air from bag and place in freezer.

    Peas, ready for the freezer!

    Peas, ready for the freezer!

These peas can be used in cooking all winter long, steamed or placed in the microwave and served plain.

Enjoy!  I know we will!

We Eat/She Eats and Monday Motivation

I’m feeling a little low as I write this, having just waved goodbye to my mother and younger brother.  We had the best weekend, and even though we got a little off track on the healthy eating (my mom is an awesome cook!),  I still managed to lose another pound last week and finish the full T25 Week Four lineup.

Hanging with the family before they headed south.

Hanging with the family before they headed south.

So here we are… the Monday two weeks before I go back to work.  A is down for a great morning nap, I just finished the day’s workout, and I’m starting to try to imagine a world in which she and I get home from work at dinner time and have to shuffle ourselves into a routine of snuggling, nursing, and still getting a meal on the table.  Over the next few days, I’m hoping to post about some of our favorite make ahead meals.  Living in a rural area, the takeaway options are nearly non-existent or incredibly unhealthy, so we combat that by making and freezing meals ahead of time to try to help balance evenings when I have to work later than normal.  So here’s our lineup for this week:

We Eat/ She Eats Week Five:

* = Produce from Our Garden

Monday:
We Eat: Chicken Cesar Salad: Grilled Chicken, Salad Greens, Organic Lettuce, Cucumbers*, Tomatoes*, Red Onion*, Zucchini*, Organic Croutons and Parmesan Cheese
She Eats: Chicken Bits, Cucumber*, Banana, Parmesan Cheese, Cabot Greek Yogurt, Avocado

Tuesday: Plan Ahead & Freeze for Back to School
We Eat:  Meatballs in Homemade Tomato Sauce with Pasta, Green Beans*, Side Salads*
She Eats: Bits of Meatball (working on an Amelia-friendly recipe), Pasta Pieces, Green Beans*, Watermelon, Parmesan Cheese

Wednesday:
We Eat: Indian Chicken made with Seeds of Change Masala Sauce, Peas*, and Organic Chicken Thighs, Brown Rice, Cucumbers* in Greek Yogurt with Mint* and Garlic*
She Eats: Chicken Bits, Cucumbers* in Greek Yogurt with Pear Sauce, Brown Rice, Pieces of Peas* (chopped up)

Thursday:
We Eat: Hamburgers on Sandwich Flats with Sweet Potato Fries and Cucumber* Spears
She Eats: Ground Beef Bits, Bits of Bread, Sweet Potato, Cucumber* Chunks

Friday:
We Eat: Tomato*, Bacon & Pepperoni Pizza on the Grill (homemade crust)
She Eats: Cheese, Chopped up Soft Pizza Crust, Avocado, Lean Protein (Probably Organic Chicken Breast)

Goals:

  1. Continue to drink more water … I’m really struggling to get to that 10th glass every day.
  2. Live in the moment – summer is fading fast!
  3. Start getting up at 4 a.m. and working out to prepare for the return to work.  Sigh.
  4. Try to get to the blueberry fields.

Hope you’re enjoying a lovely summer Monday!