An Ideal Day

A friend of mine has this really cool campaign going on – Share your ideal day and possibly have it granted. Since he mentioned this campaign to my husband and I, we both have been lost in thought. What would an ideal day look like?

Not THE ideal day – for me that’s just impossible to imagine and even if I could, why would I only wish/want for ONE ideal day? So, here is what I would call AN ideal day.

The day is preceded by a sleep filled night. A glorious night of uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep. I wake before Lucy and can actually wash my face, brush my teeth, pee, and make a chai tea before I start to hear her singing to herself in her crib. Ryan is already gone, he left early for a trail run. He is in training for a race and has to get some miles in.

When I open Lucy’s bedroom door she greets me with a big smile and happy bounces.

We get dressed and start the day with some eggs and bacon and a little bit of fruit. I have also prepared a small picnic the night before for our afternoon out. We have some cut up fresh veggies, mixed nuts, and some flank steak that we will eat in the park later.

After breakfast we decide to head to the library. We go out to the car which starts without fail and doesn’t have 3 inches of standing water in the backseat floorboards. At the Library we pick out a few books that we don’t own just yet, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Where The Wild Things Are, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, and The Velveteen Rabbit.

After the library we head to the farmers market and pick up some free range beef, eggs, and fresh seasonal fruit and veggies for the week. I made sure to pack a cooler in the car with some ice to place these items in since we are off to the park to have a picnic with Ryan, Logan and Tyler. Lucy naps on the way to the park.

We meet up with Ryan at a little spot in the Metro Parks. Logan and Tyler arrive shortly after us. We lay out a blanket and eat lunch. We take turns telling each other how our week went. Tyler is doing really well in beauty school, Logan is perfecting his craft as a chef, and Ryan was visited by The Wizard on his run who told him that this time with the family is what counts – not all the other bullshit!

After lunch Logan and Tyler run around the open field with Lucy. Lucy’s giggle is contagious and all three kids are one big pile of giggling bodies on the ground. I can’t imagine a more perfect moment!

All the fresh air has made Lucy tired, it’s time for her long nap. We load the car up, hug and kiss Logan and Tyler goodbye (they are adults you know and have very busy lives) and we head back to the house. Lucy falls asleep within minutes and does not wake, even when I put the car in park (she knows the difference between stopped at a light and the car being put in park). I am able to lay her down to sleep a little while longer which gives me time to open a bottle of wine for dinner and start the prep work.

Ryan gets cleaned up from his run and finishes just in time to get Lucy up from her nap. I can hear him over the baby monitor asking her what she dreamed about. He says something about mermaids and dragons and Lucy just laughs. Ryan and Lucy come down stairs and Lucy’s dinner is waiting for her. She has half a burger cut up with a little bit of yellow mustard (her new favorite) and asparagus. Ryan feeds her dinner and after she is done she spends the next hour toddling around the house with Ryan not far behind. As I put the finishing touches on the two chickens I just got done molesting. Well I stuffed it with lemons and fresh sage and rubbed the outside down with grass-fed butter and garlic. I have all the fixings prepped for a veggie surprise side dish so that will take no time at all.

The chicken is in the oven and the veggies are simmering on the stove (it’s a veggie surprise – this recipe will be posted sometime in the next week) and it’s time for Lucy’s bath.

This is one of Ryan’s favorite things to do with her. While he is having a foam shark eat her toes in the tub I lay out her jammies, a fresh diaper, her lotion and the books from the library. Once she is clean, dried, rubbed down with lotion, and clothed we have her pick a book. She picks The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the three of us sit on the floor for story time. Lucy in Ryan’s lap snuggling her ‘lovey’, today it’s blue bear, she has had him since the day she was born. Ryan and I take turns reading each page. When the last page is turned Ryan kisses Lucy goodnight and I give Lucy the chance to nurse before she falls asleep.

The chicken is just about done when I come down stairs. Ryan has poured us each a glass of wine, lit some candles, and set the table. We sit down to a quiet, slowly eaten dinner, just the two of us. We don’t talk about work and we don’t talk about money. We talk about our dreams and goals – the sky is the limit we shoot nothing down. We even start throwing around baby names for the next kid (no I am not pregnant).

We clean the kitchen together making sure to make grab and go lunch portions of the leftovers. We take the bottle of wine upstairs, poke our heads in Lucy’s room to watch her sleep for just a few minutes, and then tuck ourselves into our bed and get to work on making another baby – again Lucy sleeps through the night and leaves us plenty of uninterrupted time together. (What parent of a baby wouldn’t include that in an ideal day?!)

Let me do it for you….

I have heard from several folks that eating paleo is something they want to try but with their work schedules and their kids activities it’s just to hard to find the time to cook healthy. And what happens when we run out of time? We end up at the drive thru or eating something that came out of a box.

I CAN HELP!!! Let me cook for you! Seriously! I am more than willing to lend a helping hand for weekday cooking (for those in the NEOH area – for now). If this is something you are interested in trying please send me a message. I would love to get together and discuss your needs and what I can do to help. I can do the cooking and prep work here in my kitchen and deliver the meals with heating/cooking instructions to you. Here are some of the things I can help with:

* ready made breakfast – just grab, heat, and eat (egg muffins, frittata’s, egg bake)

* prepared protein for lunches (chicken breast, pork chops, burgers, flank steak) – again grab, heat, and eat

* prepared veggies – cleaned and ready to use (salad fixings, or veggies for dinners durning the week)

* prepared side dishes that can be made in advance and heated at dinner time (sweet potato/apple compote, veggie surprise, steamed mixed veggies, roasted brussel sprouts, roasted asparagus, etc…)

* marinated meats to be made later in the week – simple cooking instructions to be given all the prep is done for you

If mornings are the hard part I can do just breakfast for your family. If there are only a few days a week where dinner is just one more thing that has to get done, I can do a few nights a week.

If you just don’t want to cook or you feel intimidated by the whole cooking process – I CAN HELP! Let me help you. I can come to you and show you how to cook some yummy meals for you and your family. Send me a message and we will talk.

I have not listed specific pricing because there are just so many variations – we can discuss pricing when we discuss your individual needs. 

If you have a friend that you know could benefit from a service like this please send them my way!

NEW RECIPES POSTED TODAY!

I made a new chicken recipe for Lucy this week and she loved it. There isn’t much she doesn’t like actually. I posted the recipe for Rosemary and Lemon Chicken on the recipe page. Take a look and give it a try. I also made Lucy some sautéed  mushrooms and red bell pepper. She gobbled that right up – the mushroom texture was different at first but after a few bites she was hooked. I posted this recipe as well. I forgot pictures again. So sorry! I will get better at that, I promise.

Eat Real – Jen

Lucy wishing her Aunt Anika and Cousin Ozzie a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Spice of Life

I have to admit, adding spice to Lucy’s food is one thing I was unsure of. I have added some cinnamon to her apples and sweet potato but everything else I have left pretty bland – until now.

Last week I tried just a little bit of thyme on Lucy’s chicken to test the waters. I have heard that their little taste buds are more sensitive and that bland food may be best. I got to thinking, she has already been exposed to spice via my breast milk so why am I feeding her bland finger food? Her reaction to the thyme chicken was, spitting the first bite out and then proceed to play with the bite between her fingers. She did eat it with no issue after a few more bites.

I have done some research and have found that bland food may not be best for baby. Introducing them to new flavors at a young age is a great way to get them used to new foods as they continue to grow. I highly suggest that you follow the “4 day rule” when introducing spices.  Just incase there is a reaction to something, you will be able to pinpoint what was different in their diet.

Here are some combos’s to try to get you started:

* Sweet Potato w/ cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom

* Carrots w/ cinnamon, garlic, or basil

* Chicken & Turkey w/ Lemon, pepper, basil, garlic, sage, rosemary, or thyme

* Beef w/ pepper, garlic, or basil

Mix and match the seasonings, get creative. Your baby will thank you for it!

If you have made a dish that your baby/kid LOVES we would love to hear about it and I”ll be happy to post it on the recipe page. I love trying yummy dishes that  other paleo families are making!

Eat Real – Jen

Lucy with her Grandma. A home photo shoot for birthday party invites.

Nursing and The First 4-6 Weeks

This isn’t a post on why you should breastfeed your baby over formula feeding. It’s a personal choice and I respect that. This post is about my journey and how having a good support system can make it the most easy, rewarding, and natural way to feed your baby.

When I was pregnant I was never worried or scared of ‘having’ my baby. I was most worried about being able to feed my baby. Some new Mom’s I have talked to (keep in mind they have been about 10 years younger than me) were worried about the pain, stretch marks, and their ass getting to big. They had not even considered how they would feed their baby. To them, there was no decision to be made. Bottle and formula was the way to go.

SIDE NOTE – Stretch marks and your ass fat can be controlled to a degree. Stretch marks are the result of the rapid stretching of the skin. I have a few around my belly button and my belly got HUGE! I was all belly but it grew gradually. I didn’t take eating for two as an invite to consume any and everything I wanted. Ass fat – well I can’t comment on that one, I didn’t have much of an ass before Lucy and she took what little ass I had with her when she was born. I would say that it just comes back to self-control ladies. Maintaining a healthy weight gain throughout your pregnancy directly effects your baby and can help with labor. Now the pain on the other hand, that can be scary. The unknown is scary and I had no idea what to expect. It hurt, it hurt ALOT! BUT – by focusing on my breathing, moaning, and coaching I was able to have a natural delivery and attempt nursing right away. 

My sister-in-law is a doula and helped me and Ryan through the labor and delivery and she was a great breastfeeding resource (She had 5 kids under her belt). She helped me and Lucy a lot in those first few days/weeks. I found that my lactation nurse in the hospital was a brut of a woman who man-handled my chest and my baby like she was stuffing a Thanksgiving turkey. Very unhelpful. If you run into this situation ask for other resources, there are plenty out there. Don’t give up because your 1st experience wasn’t what you had hoped for.

I can recall one night when Lucy was having a hard time latching on. She preferred one side over the other and I REALLY needed her to nurse on the right side. She just couldn’t get it. I finally decided to pump and Ryan fed her with a syringe for that feeding, she did not like it and cried the whole time. It was one of the hardest nights we had. I was crying because I was so tired and wanted to desperately comfort and feed my baby. I started to second guess my choice in nursing my baby.

Morning came and Lucy was fussy and she was spitting up large amounts of breast milk shortly after I nursed her. Thinking it was reflux we made sure she stayed up right for at least 35-40 minutes after nursing but that didn’t solve the issue (We solved this problem with correcting my diet). She was still having issues latching on the right side and I called my trusted sister-in-law over to help. I was in tears again thinking that my worst fear of not being able to feed my baby was coming true. We tried different positions on the boppy and eventually tried laying down on the bed with Lucy snuggled close to my side. It worked! With more practice she learned how to latch on the right side with no issue.

I knew going into this that it would take 4-6 weeks for Lucy and I to learn how to nurse. While nursing is the most natural way to feed your baby it is still something you and your baby need to learn to do. When I shared my fears with Ryan before Lucy was born he asked what he could do. I told him I just need his support, encouragement, patience, and understanding. For those new Daddies out there, your support, patience, and encouragement is the best thing you can give Mommy and Baby.

Lucy is 10 months old now and doesn’t nurse all that much any more.  She nurses before her naps, when we are home, and before bed. Since she is on the move all the time this is my special time with her. She’s quiet and laying in my arms. I know these moments are numbered so I look forward to them each day!

I know some of you are saying to yourself, well she’s a stay at home mom, she has time for that. I know several working moms who pump and bottle feed their baby breast milk. Breastfeeding takes a commitment for sure. Breastfed babies typically take longer to get to the point where they sleep through the night since they digest the breast milk so easily and quickly. However – I don’t have to go fix a bottle at 2 in the morning. So, your sleepless nights are prolonged, you have to watch your alcohol, dairy, eggs, and gassy food intake. Still, with all that, the choice was easy for me – I wanted the best for my baby and I knew we wanted to raise her as a paleo baby. The formulas out there are loaded with soy and or cows milk. Neither of which is considered paleo, and with recent studies to back this statement – good for your baby.

There is so much more to say on this topic but my goal is to keep these posts short/er. So in summary:

* Stay the course

* Remember it gets easier

* Collect resources (people, books, blogs, websites)

* Watch your diet (what you eat can and will effect your babies tummy)

* In the long run, a year commitment on your part, is nothing and goes by so quickly

* Breastfeeding has been linked to reducing your risk for breast cancer

Thank you for letting me share my journey on such a controversial and sensitive topic.

Eat Real – Jen

 

This will save you minutes on dinner prep!

Who has time to steam veggies? Steaming veggies requires the right equipment and takes at least 10-15 minutes, correct? FALSE. Here is a quick and easy way to get steamed veggies without waiting for the water to boil.

What you need:

* Microwave

* Microwave safe dish

* Two wet and rung out paper towels

* Desired veggies (for this example I will use broccoli)

Place one of the wet paper towels in the bottom of the microwave safe dish – there should be enough paper towel to hang over the edge, if you need more than one sheet to accomplish this, use more. Cut the broccoli florets from the stalk and place in the dish. Place the other paper towel over the broccoli and fold the extra paper towel from the bottom over the top to create a nice cover. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes (depending on how much you are cooking and how crunchy you like it).

This is how I prepare broccoli for Lucy and it comes out soft enough for her to eat and she loves it! I promise your veggies will come out perfect each time and it only takes a few minutes. No excuses, now you can have fresh steamed veggies at every meal!

MILESTONE UPDATE – Lucy is walking. Well getting the hang of it anyway. She’s 10 months old as of yesterday and she takes between 5-7 steps in a row before her head gets to far in front of her. She walks laps around her room and the living room furniture. When we are at the gym she wants to show off her new skills but finds it difficult to walk on the thick mats because of the tread. I think it’s good practice for her to learn to pick up her feet.

Notice Lucy could care less – I think she was trying to flirt with one of the boys…

Today was a strength day and my husband got a good picture of me finding my one rep max for the back squat. I was going for 115# but failed. I am happy with 110#. I am just now getting back into CrossFit on a regular basis and am pleased/surprised with how quickly my strength is coming back! My back squat form still needs a bit of work but my overhead and front squat have never looked so good! It’s almost like having a baby made more flexible in my squat. Thanks Lucy!

As always – Eat Real – Jen

Parties, Parties, and More Parties

Bath time is always a good time.

Lucy is finally asleep after a hefty dinner of burger meat, fruit salad, and a handful of gluten free banana puffs. I have had this post floating in my head since yesterday so now is the perfect time to share.

I don’t associate Labor Day with the end of summer. I see it as the kick off to party season. After Labor Day we have Halloween, Thanksgiving, followed by the December holidays, and New Years. Throw in the fall clam bakes and the fall/winter weddings and I feel like I am just eating my way through the end of the year.

My sister talked to me about a concern she had about attending gatherings where there are few paleo options to eat other than the meat. She didn’t want to offend the host/hostess by not eating what is offered in an attempt to “stay on the wagon”. Combine this conversation with our families fish fry this weekend and it got me thinking… What do you do when you know you will be tempted with chips, baked goods, slathers, slaws, casseroles and the likes?

Bring a paleo dish to share! You may not have been asked to bring anything but I was taught that you NEVER show up to a party empty handed. Flowers for the lady of the house, a bottle of wine, a dish, a dessert…something to add to the party.

For our families fish fry I made cookie bars, coleslaw, cheesy potatoes, and kale chips. The first three things are hardly paleo but most of the guests don’t follow this paleo life style, and to be honest, for the day I didn’t either. Well if we are being honest I fell off the wagon face first into a bag of Doritos and a plate of cookies, however my Monday morning WOD proved to be punishment for my lapse in judgement. Thanks to “Blake”, I’m am paying for it today with very sore muscles. Anyway – my point, I  made kale chips. A paleo snack that was set out amongst the chips. I heard someone ask “Who made the leaves?” I mentioned that they were kale chips and asked what they thought of them. All the people that were willing to give them a try really liked them. They were shocked at how tasty they were and wanted to know how to make them. I was really happy to share this little treat with them and proud of the people who were willing to give them a try.

Going to parties is hard for me when I am trying to keep away from the processed foods and I can imagine that it’s even harder for our kids who will want to know why the other kids get to eat ‘that’ food. We CANNOT expect our hosts to provide meal/snack options for us, that’s just rude. We can however, strap on our big girl/boy pants and show some self-control along with being courteous and bring a dish to share. Here are some ideas:

*Kale chips

* Hummus with fresh cut veggies

* Fruit salad

* Bacon dipped in dark chocolate (what a great little treat/dessert option)

* Sweet potato apple compote (can be a side dish or yummy dessert option in place of pie)

Try these options at your next party or bring one of these to a party you have been invited to. I bet they will help distract you from all the other food that is offered and will most definitely offer an opportunity for conversation around the paleo life-style.

Now that I feel like complete crap from my junk food binge these last two days, I am going to down a crap ton of water, do some stretches, foam rolling, and get ready for tomorrows WOD.

Eat Real – Jen

Clean Plate Club!!!

Eggs and Bacon

Who has time to make bacon and eggs in the morning? The kids have to get on the bus, you have to be out the door by a certain time to avoid the traffic and all you have time for is to pour the kids some cereal and yourself a cup of coffee. News Flash, you have started your day off poorly. Here is a quick recipe that will change how you start your day.

Make ahead egg bake: preheat oven to 350
18 eggs
3 splashes of whole milk/ or coconut milk
Cracked fresh black pepper
1 lb of good bacon cut into cubes
Grape tomatoes cut in quarters

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Set aside on paper towels to drain excess grease. (Reserve grease from skillet for future meals)

Beat the eggs and milk together. Make sure all the yolks are broken and the egg whites are evenly beaten.

Pour egg mixture into a buttered baking dish. I use a 12×10. This will puff up as it bakes. Sprinkle the bacon cubes and tomatoes over top and bake for 30 mins or until cooked through.

Let cool and cut into single serving pieces. Now all you have to do in the morning is plop a serving on a microwave safe plate, heat for 1 minute and enjoy a healthy breakfast that will get you going and keep you going until snack time or lunch. Once you make this a few times you will get the hang of it and can add other things such as spinach, sausage, ham, peppers…whatever you like in your eggs.

I will make Lucy egg yolks with coconut milk from time to time. When I do I make sure to put the egg whites in the adult egg bake. Lucy typically enjoys her egg yolks with some fruit. Her recipe is easy.

3 Egg yolks
1 splash of coconut milk
A little bit of good bacon grease for the pan.

Melt bacon grease over medium heat. Pour egg yolk mixture into skillet and cook as you would scrambled eggs. Make sure they are cooked all the way but not crispy. They will cook up fast so don’t walk away.

If you make this Sunday afternoon with the kids you will be set for the week. This is one less thing you have to do during an already hectic time of the day. ENJOY!

Eat Real – Jen