A blog about nutrition, food, recipes, lifestyle, parenting, and fun! Here you'll find a healthy mix of real-life meals made from whole ingredients balanced with the pleasures of life, including buttercream frosting and good wine.
In my quest to make dinner in advance, choose something pool-friend, and focus on seasonal tomatoes and herbs, this lentil salad was born.
I used to eat lentils all the time about 10 years ago, and I have no idea why they fell off my meal plan list. Maybe I got a little tired of them? They are such a superfood, easy to cook, and cheap! Remind me to make more in about a month : )
I had a tomato recently that was so very delicious, that I knew they had to be involved. I bought these, but any minute now our garden tomatoes will be ready for all the dinners!
Lentils don’t need to be soaked and cook in 15-20 minutes. Then everything else just gets tossed together. The herbs are from my garden – I used basil, dill, parsley, and thyme. I tossed in some candied chopped walnuts as well!
I try to buy feta cheese in block form and crumble it myself because I think it has a much nicer texture. The same with goat and blue cheese – precrumbled never has as much flavor or texture. Although the convenience factor is a plus, it’s really easy to crumble some yourself. Arugula adds a “salad” component and will stand up to a few days in the fridge. (Chopped kale would also work well!)
I’m still loving this dressing, which went great on the salad combined with lemon zest and lemon juice. You can use any balsamic-ish dressing you like, or just olive oil and vinegar.
Toss ‘er up and serve warm or chilled. I liked it slightly re-heated for lunch the next day.
One of my goals through my partnership with Blue Apron is to showcase the many ways you can use the subscription to your advantage, whether that’s a date night in, entertaining at home, hosting a girls cook night, or efficiently getting dinner on the table for your family. Just like I would if I planned out three of my own recipes and did my own shopping on the weekend, I find that doing some prep work and batch cooking of the Blue Apron recipes all at once saves me so much time when I’m ready to put the final dishes together. This strategy gives me the most flexibility when hunger calls. Or when I’m in the mood for a picnic dinner!
The first 50 readers to sign up with from this link will get $50 off their first two weeks Blue Apron.
The three recipes that came in this week’s box were as follows. We love the three-recipe Family Plan because it always makes enough for some leftovers for lunch or dinner the next night but of course if you need less food you can choose less recipes and/or the Two Person Plan. I purposefully chose recipes that I thought would be easy to cook together.
Sweet & Spicy Chicken Lettuce Cups with Mushrooms, Peppers, and Jasmine Rice
Orange Soy Barramundi & Fried Rice with Snow Peas & Bok Choy
And here was our meal plan:
Monday: Make calzones with Thomas. Eat two, save two. While calzones bake, prep and cook everything for lettuce cups. Make double batch of rice and save half for barramundi.
Tuesday: Lettuce cups picnic dinner.
Wednesday: Cook barramundi and veggies.
Most of the cooking was done on Monday, when I had a clear schedule and Mazen was with his dad. This was one hard working pan!! Bonus: I only cleaned it once! My rice cooker was also hard at work on two of the three recipes, which both called for rice, and I was able to get all prep work complete and only wash my cutting board once. Efficiency FTW! (Note any raw meat was handled in a separate area.)
The calzones were incredible!!! One of our favorite Blue Apron recipes to date. (I recall us loving another calzone recipe from last winter).
The lettuce cups were such a great food to pack for a picnic, and we made everything extra special with the addition of fruit and cheese and calzones for the kids.
Rose for the drinking adults and raspberry lemonade (aka pretend rose!) for the pregnant mama : )
Meals enjoyed with fresh air taste so much better.
Thanks to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post. The first 50 readers to sign up with from this link will get $50 off their first two weeks Blue Apron!
Happy Monday! We had a sunny summer weekend packed full of fun! Compare this to the dreariest February weekends, and this explains why summer rocks.
On Friday night T and I went to Orzo and were pleasantly surprised that it turned out to be restaurant week. We shared some mussels and grilled mozza-pesto toast to start. Followed by a delicious caesar salad.
I was craving pasta, so I had the spicy sausage pasta with lemon ricotta on top. It was amazing, and I brought half home for Sunday night’s dinner! T’s salmon was epic as well.
We shared a chocolate pot de creme for dessert, and Thomas had to roll me outta there.
Once home we watched the finale of the Handmaid’s Tale – OMG. Those of you who haven’t started it yet, I promise it’s worth a Hulu subscription to watch. It’s been one of my favorite series ever. I can’t say I was happy with the ending (that’s not what I would have done!) but I sort of understand why June did what she did. Can’t say more without spoilers!
Thomas impulse bought some easy bake cinnamon buns for weekend breakfast, and we had those with eggs and pear in the morning. Pretty tasty!
Later on we took Mazen to the driving range so the boys could hit balls. (I hit a few of them, but it’s pretty hard for a lefty to swing right handed!!)
The littlest boy and I sat in the shade and watched
Afterwards we went to Bellair Market for lunch. Sammies all around. Plus chips!
Our next stop was Target for a bunch of household items. We got Mazen a back-to-school Mindcraft backpack…
And a tennis racquet! He’s been learning to play at camp this week and seems to really like it.
We also brought up a desk from downstairs to his room. He’s been begging for a desk for a few weeks now and likes to sit there and “work.” (Hope doing homework is this easy!)
He’s also been begging me for a babysitter. With our coparenting schedules, we don’t have too much of a need for sitters, but every now and then Matt and I are both booked and we have one. Mazen LOVES college girls and was thrilled when I told him he’d get to have a frozen spinach pizza and a babysitter’s attention on a Saturday night
Thomas and I went out to Veritas Vineyard for their monthly summer event, Starry Nights.
We met two groups of friends there – a handful of Thomas’s buddies and another group gathering to give our friend Claire a farewell night out before she moves to San Francisco (sniff).
John assembled this beautiful cheese board from JM Stock provisions.
It was a little sad that I couldn’t indulge in a few glasses of wine – but all in good time!
Veritas offered Thomas and me two complimentary tickets to the “Moons” buffet for dinner that night. While you’re allowed to bring picnics to the event, it was so convenient to know a special reserved table and 3-course dinner were waiting for us!
Here were the courses. They have a more formal seated and served dinner as a third option, which would be awesome if you had a group of 6-8 all participating together.
We loved the hazelnut relish (pesto?!) that was great on the salmon and rice and the gazpacho!
And I especially loved the dessert – perfect blend of summer fresh and sweet ending.
We enjoyed conversation, live music (a Beatles cover band!) and fireflies while all the stars came out.
On Sunday we went to Kardinal Hall to watch the World Cup final. Good thing we got there 45 minutes early because the place was PACKED! Mazen was with us for the first hour until he got itchy and went to the pool with Matt.
We enjoyed a nice brunch (and some of us enjoyed giant mugs of beer!) It was a great action-packed game. (That fruit plate was so delish!)
We spent the rest of Sunday at the gym, napping, and prepping the house for the week ahead.
Happy weekend everyone! I’m celebrating with some overnight oats Topped with raspberries and banana. I’ve actually been into classic yogurt lately instead of Greek. I’m liking it’s smoother texture and how it coats fruit better. It’s been a fun change to the breakfast bowl routine.
You might have seen on Insta that I tried out the Roots app! Instead of waiting in line and paying for parking in the garage, you order your bowls on the app and then swing in with flashers on and pick up your bowl, which is labeled with your order number. I had a little trouble with a road closure and going the wrong way on a one way street to get out, but that temporary problem was worth getting this uber delicious lunch!! I’ve been on a serious take-out lunch kick (can I blame pregnancy on this?) and while it’s not great for my dining out budget, it’s been great for my nutrition because I’ve been eating so many superfood-packed meals and salads! Baby needs those superfoods. (LOVE their BBQ tofu too!)
Speaking of baby, I bought a hospital PJ set! When I had Mazen I ordered a special PJ set to wear in the hospital with a matching robe. I still wear that set, but I wanted a new one for baby B. I found this one by Everly Grey at Nordstrom that came with a nursing tank, stretchy pants, a robe, and a matching baby gown!!
It comes in a handful of different colors, and yes, the baby gown was totally what sold me.
I finished Little Fires Everywhere! It was one of those books that I always looked forward to sitting down to read, but I can’t say that I totally loved the ending. There were lots of motherhood themes though, so I did find it a timely read.
PSA: Kindle Paperwhites are the lowest price they’ve ever been in advance of Amazon Prime Day.
Next up on my reading list I’m going for a little nonfiction and ordered the Moms On Call book. I want to see what the hype is about. I’m already 60% of the way through and was able to skim a ton of the topics, but I’m most curious about their eat-sleep schedules. I always fed Mazen on demand, but I do think that I often fed him when he wasn’t necessarily hungry (hello 100th percentile for weight at 3 months!) so I’m wondering if at least trying a schedule might be useful this time. I know the book is quite controversial, but I also don’t think they are ever advocating letting a hungry baby go hungry because of a clock. I’ll try to let you know what I think when I’m finished.
I had dinner Wednesday night with my friend Tricia at Common House, a private social club with a nice restaurant inside that opened here in town maybe a year ago? I love the idea of the social club, but I don’t think the monthly costs make sense in our budget, especially since we have a kid(s). I hadn’t been for a meal before and it was fun to step inside!
We shared a fresh salad and the above grilled ricotta and beet toasts. And for my entree I had this amazing pork verde with swiss chard and grits. I could only fit half and had the leftovers for dinner last night! It was very good. We shared a chocolate torte for dessert at the end. Yum!
I promise we still cook! We made this repeat Blue Apron meal on Monday night. It’s Thomas’s favorite BA meal to date, and I think we’ve made it 3-4 times now. The goat cheese coated zucchini was actually another Blue Apron side dish recipe that we re-made as well. We do get a lot of ideas from the service.
Did you see that Gina started a Fitnessista Podcast?! I have added it to my rotation, and I really enjoyed the episode on postpartum fitness. I did not know I needed to wait so long to get back into my plyo classes though! But I also think I’m forgetting how tired I will be
I had a doctors appointment yesterday that went well and was uneventful. I’m measuring and gaining on track, and he said the baby sounded happy in there He’s growing fast! I have the delicious glucose test to look forward to in the next week or so! Oh joy.
Most of the time you’ll find me working at my dining room table, wearing workout clothes with a messy ponytail. I prefer to work at home because I have access to a fridge and a clean bathroom, reliable wifi, my laundry room, outfit changes, and unlimited sparkling waters. Whenever I think it might be fun to go to a coffeeshop, all of these reasons keep me home. However, I had a few meetings that sent me downtown wearing a dress, and I enjoyed my outings so much! I think I just need to force myself to leave the house a bit – especially while I can! (October, I’m looking at you…)
Since I have one cup of coffee first thing in the AM, I have been sticking to caffeine-free lattes while out. The milk serves as a bit of a snack too.
On days when I’m planning a latte, I have a lighter breakfast, like toast with peanut butter and fruit.
This sweet boy had kindergarten orientation camp recently and is SO excited for school! He got to play in a classroom, meet other kids, check out the playground, and ride a school bus! I know a lot of mothers cry on the first day of kindergarten, but he is so ready that I’m just 100% excited for him. (Plus this is his 5th year of school – day one of twice-a-week preschool at age two was a lot harder on me!)
The little businessmen and businesswomen in our neighborhood are growing up way too fast. They are into having “Sells” aka lemonade stands aka “Mom can we sell something from inside our house?” We’ve sold rice krispies (the most successful one), herbs from the garden, lemonade, and chocolates. It makes for a fun afternoon project!
Confession: I’ve been eating way too many lunches out lately. When we don’t have any leftovers, it’s been tempting for me to meet a friend or pick something up on my way home from the gym. It is not good for my budget, but it is good for my baby because I’m packing in the veggies with big salads!
This one was from Chopt, which is relatively new to Cville. My salad was the Smoky Santa Cruz (minus scallions) and it was so delicious. I loved the drizzle of Goddess dressing on top.
And another day recently I picked up Mezeh. OMG that caramelized eggplant is simply incredible. I have to figure out a copycat recipe! I think they use balsamic and roast it, but it’s hard to tell. I need to investigate!
We are getting a Cava here soon. I think that’s another great healthy quick lunch spot, yes? I’m going to be in trouble!
Thomas loves “basic dinners” as we call them: protein, starch, veg. This one was overly simple until I covered everything with a great semi-homemade sauce. I combined in the blender a big handful of herbs from our garden with a few tbsp of the spicy harrisa sauce I had leftover from Mezeh. Plus lime juice, greek yogurt, and a little olive oil. Boy was this good!!
Leftovers for lunch the next day. I had that sauce on everything!! Gotta make it again soon.
My brain thinks in terms of pregnancy weeks, but I realized recently that I have crossed the six month mark! I’m 25 weeks this week (so close to 26!) I haven’t done much to prepare for baby’s arrival since my Nesting post. It’s time to get on that I suppose! Luckily we don’t need to do too much to get ready for a newborn. The nursery needs a lot of updates, but there is no rush on those since he’ll be in our room for a while. But I’d still like to have the nursery ready for downstairs diaper changes and storage of toys and things sooner rather than later.
Flashing back to 22 weeks
I keep a running list of things to mention in these check in posts, and when I sit down to write them I often find myself going to Baby KERF to see what I wrote last time. Nearly every time I laugh out loud at how similar my comments are.
In my Halfway post I wrote: “I’m turning ‘pregnant on the sides,’ meaning I can feel my uterus on the sides and I’m feeling more three dimensional instead of one flat plane.”
And in my 23 Weeks post with Mazen I wrote: “I’ve noticed on walks and things that I’m starting to get sides to my bump and it’s hard – abs at work! Some days the top layer is more jiggle-prone, but other times it’s firm and hard. It’s like my abs are in 3D now!”
I really have no recollection of what my symptoms were around now with Mazen, but I laughed again when my notes for week 23 said “nosebleeds and back pain persist” and in my post with Mazen I wrote: “I’m still having a handful of symptoms: nosebleeds and lower back pain being the worst two.”
My SI joint is actually WAY better (thank you chiropractor). In fact, I haven’t even thought about it at all in the past two weeks. I’m actually thinking that it was my high impact workouts that was bothering it more than anything. Instead, I had aching glutes for a week or two. I would wake up feeling like my glutes lifted 100 pounds all night they were just soooo tired. But I think I figured out what the cause of that was: the pillow between my legs! When I used a super thin pillow at the beach my aches when away. My thicker pillow at home must have been keeping my legs too far apart to totally relax. I’ve also tried sleeping on my stomach on the Snoogle since we last spoke, and that was fun for a bit, but I’m finding that this week just having the minimum pillow and otherwise halfway sleeping on my stomach (with a leg propped to the side to allow room for baby) is working best in the moment.
I’ve also noticed (as I did around this time with Mazen) that my boobs are getting ready and have some colostrum already! This was quite shocking. The body is so smart.
Other than those minor symptoms, I’m feeling really good. Perhaps the best I’ve felt through this pregnancy so far. Appetite is good, energy is good, sleeping is decent. I’m feeling very thankful so far. (knock on wood.)
I’ve been able to keep up with my workouts. Each week I do some combination of the following:
1-2 strength classes (modifying with low impact on anything related to jump back planks or twisting but doing jumps if they are square hip style. I’m trying to keep my arm weights on the heavy side because my arms are not pregnant!)
1-2 cycle classes (my best way to get a hard workout with low impact)
1 run (which sometimes is just a walk and sometimes a short run/walk. My HR was up to 170 on my most recent run so I took some walking breaks to bring it back down.)
1 prenatal yoga class combined with some light cardio (which sometimes I miss due to it being at night)
1-2 rest days (because growing a baby is a workout in itself!)
I felt a pickup of movements at 20 and 22 weeks. Around 22 weeks I started feeling the kicks in the front for the first time. So far they are still like popcorn or fireworks and aren’t the breath-taking rolls that happen later on. I’m loving them so much! Thomas has felt a few, and they have gotten stronger and stronger of the past 2 weeks. I feel him move roughly once an hour or so. It’s so funny how used to it I am now.
24 weeks with Mazen
24 weeks at the beach! I might be slightly rounder this time? Or it could just be the way I’m standing.
I walked into Mazen’s room the other night and Thomas commented: “I think you grew three weeks’ worth overnight.” So much of how I look depends on my posture, and at night after dinner I tend to relax it all out. I can still suck it all pretty far back in though, so some days I feel much less pregnant than others. I think I definitely had a growth spurt while I was at the beach. I was talking to a friend at the pool and saying “I still don’t feel like I look pregnant” and she said “You definitely do!” and when I caught an accidental glimpse in a mirror later she was totally right – I looked huge! Also: when I see photos of me pre-pregnancy, I can’t believe how slim I looked. I think I’m just getting so used to my bump that I don’t really notice it as much! (Hilariously, I saw that I wrote the same thing in my 24 week post with Mazen!)
I’ve gained about 14 pounds since our wedding, and I’m using that as my starting point rather than my first doctors appointment because that’s the weight I’d eventually like to get back to. (I’ve gained 10-12ish from my first prenatal appt.)
I have also started to think about the actual birth more, and I’ll save all of those thoughts for another post.
We are all starting to talk to the baby more, as it’s all feeling more real and we want him to know our voices! He’s already a little fourth person in our house. Mazen will tell you we have 5 family members here: himself, me, T, the baby, and Gus.
I think I love coming home from vacation as much as I love going on one. (Except maybe in the winter when you leave balmy breezes to come home to freezing temps. That is hard to come home to.) But seriously, being away from home makes me appreciate it so much! I just love the feeling of getting organized when I return.
When we got home from the beach on Saturday evening the weather in Cville felt like the perfect crisp fall day. I actually got a teeny bit excited for autumn to arrive! We had two days of low humidity and ideal temps, and it made me go crazy to get the house in order. (I tend to get excited for fall cleaning/back to school more than spring cleaning!)
Saturday night we were craving fresh salads, and I made this version of a chopped salad with romaine, fresh corn, hard-boiled egg, peppers, goat cheese, walnuts, and homemade croutons via toasted focaccia bread.
Mazen spent Sunday with Matt, and I unpacked and cleaned the house from top to bottom all morning. I found a magic eraser and tackled some walls that were filthy, and even touched up some trim! #nesting
Sunday afternoon I went with some friends to sit under the brightest blue skies at Jefferson Vineyards. I felt like we had escaped to Sonoma for the day. Despite not being able to enjoy all.the.rosé, I still had a lovely time. Rosé soon enough!
Sunday night Thomas smoked BBQ chicken. I made a watermelon feta salad with basil from our garden, and we grilled corn to complete the meal.
Here’s my Sunday morning fruit yogurt bowl topped with almond butter. I am loving all the summer fruits so much and craving yogurt bowls every day.
Remember the days of beach boot camps and 5 mile runs at 7am? Yeah, those are over. After having Mazen I find it so hard to escape away for workouts. I mean, I could have gotten up at 6am to run, but this pregnant lady needs her sleep more than a workout. I got in a beach walk most days while I was there while my mom or Thomas watched Mazen, and that was good enough for me. I figure I’m getting half a workout just being pregnant So I pretty much took the week off of exercise, except for walking. However, that had me craving it upon my return. On Sunday we took Gus for a 2.5 mile run. It felt pretty good to be running, but I had to stop and walk a few times to catch my breath. I am clearly out of running shape, and my body appeared to be working very hard to keep up the pace! And yesterday I went to the gym and got in a great strength workout.
25 weeks and feeling large!! How much longer do you think I can wear this jacket?
And finally, some peachy overnight oats to begin a healthy week back at home. I am craving all the healthy things today!
Here’s our final few memories from BHI 2018. We had such a great trip with near-perfect weather and some great times by the shore. The zinc-covered cousins had a great time playing alligators in the water and boating on the (very mild) waves of Bald Head’s south beach. It’s an ideal place to take kids because the surf is so calm. It was like a lake at times!
I promise he had way more fun floating in this orange slice than he lets off!
On Thursday night my parents babysat the kiddos while the four of us had a nice date night on the harbor.
During the hour-long wait for our table, I had a (virgin) jalapeno margarita.
And we had a lovely dinner on the upper deck of MoJo’s.
Hushpuppies with cinnamon butter and a panzanella and shrimp salad for me!
Goodnight kisses for the sleeping kids <3
Breakfasts have been simple bowls of fruit, yogurt, and/or cereal.
And for lunch I had this havarti dill + avocado + red pepper + pickle sandwich two days in a row!
I think baby B went through a big growth spurt this week (or maybe I was just fueling him well with chips and ice cream!) because I feel so much more pregnant than when I arrived.
We spent our final day on the beach all day under blue skies and sunshine. (Well, under the Beach Bubs!) I got in a nice hour-long walk in the morning.
And we ate our final meal – blackened mahi with rice, guac, peppers, and sour cream and salsa.
Beach weeks are my favorite kind of vacation, and we soaked up every minute.