by Liz | Chaos Hacks, Health & Home
Morning, noon and night, I think about food. Preparing food, buying food, packing food for lunches, toting food along for errands or road trips in case someone gets hungry, choosing healthy food, wondering whether or not to buy organic (at twice the price) food…it never ends.
I think of myself as a decent enough cook and my family doesn’t seem to disagree. We strive to eat healthy and keep a decent mix of fruit and vegetables in our diet. Sugar is under constant surveillance to keep it at a minimum or at the very least, opt for natural rather than processed sugars. No one in our household is on any sort of diet, we strive for healthy every day and keep a decent amount of exercise in our daily lives. Yet, all I think about is food. It’s exhausting!
So we’re embarking on a new strategy. I feel that we’ve learned a lot in the past year or so about portions, balancing our nutrition and cooking in general. I’ve enjoyed cooking so much more, especially when I have a plan of attack when it comes to meal-planning. One of the things we loved about Blue Apron was the convenience of having some order within our chaotic schedules. Not to mention recipes we’d never have tried on our own. My one main challenge is the planning, left to my own devices I end up rotating the same meals over and over. That’s no fun for anyone.
In an effort to cut back on spending (especially with the Holidays coming up, eek!) we’re trying something new. Essentially, it’s simply a meal-planning service that gives you recipes for every meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) and a shopping list for each. You can choose to follow it or not, whatever your preference but it at least gives you a framework to work within. My one main gripe is that the shopping lists are not consolidated. If I want to shop for the week, I have to combine quantities on my own. This is no big deal for pantry staples, but for fresh ingredients it’s a bit of pain. One main plus, is if you aren’t particularly thrilled about a menu choice you can swap it for 3-4 alternatives or just choose to eat leftovers. I typically pack my own lunch for work so that’s a big bonus for me. Leftovers are also a huge bonus over Blue Apron, hopefully they will help reduce the morning chaos that usually ensues as I try to get everyone out the door.
This is week one, so I’ll be sure to report back!
by Liz | Chaos Hacks, Health & Home, The Backyard
It’s amazing how you look back at life before one child and think, “What did I do with my day?!” Well, the feeling grows exponentially with the second!
With our first, we were both working full time and our evening routine consisted of rushing in the door, throwing together kid good, getting said kid washed and into bed, scarfing down something vaguely food related and collapsing into bed. The second time around I was determined to avoid this. I’m an organized person. Really, I am. Sudden changes to routine send me into a tailspin. Ask my husband how many times I check with him to be sure he’s picking up the kids! Changes to the routine equals bouts of anxiety quickly escalating into panic. Seriously, don’t mess.
Over the past three months of maternity leave I felt like I gained a lot of traction in organizing our lives. It was complete chaos most of the time but the last few weeks we had full cupboards, healthy meals (albeit from a relatively limited menu) and clean clothes the vast majority of the time. I remembered why I enjoy cooking so much and took pride in our new house , actually having time to keep up with most (ok, some) chores. Facing the end of leave, I was living in abject fear. Let’s just say I have a hard time giving up control. There, I said it.
I couldn’t fathom spending one minute away from my not-so-tiny babe and my precocious two-year-old, let alone commuting for the first time in two years. Anxiety induced paranoia? Check. Floods of tears? Check. Begging to stay home even though I knew I’d be miserable and it would be fiscally impossible? Check. Week two and I’m totally better. I didn’t actually burst into tears upon leaving my kids in the hands of my mother, who lives roughly three minutes from work and feeds me lunch (when I stop in to check on the kids) while also delivering said kids to my doorstep at least once during the day. Yep, SO much better. You get the picture.
Anyway, one way we have introduced some sense of sanity (because clearly I have none) is through a nifty service we saw online and decided to give a whirl. Blue Apron is a game changer. Not only do they deliver delicious and easy recipes to your door, they’re healthy too! What’s better than fresh ingredients and fun recipes that encourage you to try new things?
Also, they’ve recently upgraded their menus so now you can more accurately select the types of foods you enjoy and opt out of foods you don’t eat. Can it get any easier?
Ok, so it might be slightly more expensive than your average home cooked meal but I believe you make up for that in lack of waste. I mean, how often do you need a head of red cabbage or an entire jicama? Most of the ingredients are readily found in most grocery stores so if we like a recipe we just buy the basic ingredients and recreate it on our own.
So now, three nights a week we have meals planned. We wing the rest but have rediscovered our love of cooking. New ingredients, new recipes…and it’s relatively brainless time we can spend together when we are burnt out at the end of a long day. We just have some fun and eat a great meal, together. Hard to pass that up!
A few of our favorites:
Kumquat lime glaze over chicken with a side of freekah with Brussel sprouts, mint and almonds.
Shortrib burger on a pretzel bun with sweet potato chips.
Turkey with lemon caper sauce over mashed potato and roasted broccoli.