Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Fast, Lower-carb, Weekend Bagels

Ahhhh spring break... this time of year tells me we made it... the school year from here on out is winding down. Any hope I had of keeping my seniors focused is about gone after this as they are in "college mode" and senioritis has definitely set in. This year I was not looking forward to spring break as much as usual... it's the first time since Charlie was born that I don't have her for the break and with Easter being the same week I am going 11 nights, 12 days, without her. This is the longest we have ever spent apart and I am counting down the days until I see her again, trying to keep busy and looking forward to asking if I can talk to her. This part of divorce never gets easier, especially since I am not at work so sitting at home with one child and not the other is heartbreaking. I look back at pictures of her when I miss her and that helps a little. I also try to get ahead in life so that when she does come home, and it's after work/school we are not as busy and can spend quality time together. 
Every time Charlie is gone for the weekend or a break, I have her draw me a picture on our bay window with window crayons- It makes me miss her a little less and has become one of our things so she knows I am thinking about her when she's gone

As with any household when two people work, fitting in things like laundry, cleaning, cooking, shopping, working out, family time, etc. all have to be done in the few hours at night and on the weekends. Matt has always been excellent at helping with household things, but it's still a lot to get done and when I am not working I try to pick up more things so when he gets home we can relax sooner in the night. During school breaks I try to capitalize on my time- it's like a game- at 5am I know I have at least one hour before the kids wake up... how much can I accomplish? Go! Even when the house is awake, if I am not at work I know that my house-tasks are slower, but at least I can keep the laundry moving and go shopping at less busy times which takes some pressure off. Some of the things I do during break include prepping more meals to keep in the freezer- stews, chilis, chicken and steak marinades, lasagna, etc., making baby food that is also freezer-friendly, deep cleaning one room a day, organizing and sorting piles that have accumulated, and whatnot. 

Mila helps with meal prep 
(don't worry- Matt was right there and only stepped back for the picture, I know babies in bumbos on elevated surfaces are a no-no... )

This break is no different- I am staying busy so I don't miss my Charlie and doing things that will make life easier when she gets homes- I did my big Costco trip and stocked the freezer with meat and meals, made enough baby food to last weeks, made all the dr./vet. appointments so those don't need to be done for a while and organized most of the house. Feels good. :) 

Charlie likes Cinnamon Sugar

One of the things we like to do as a family on the weekends we have Charlie is make a big breakfast. A favorite on the list lately have been bagels! I have made (and posted) about New York style bagels, but those take over an hour. These are done with five or less ingredients, and bonus, they have 1/2 the amount of carbs and fat and double the protein! There is no need to let them rise, no boiling, and no yeast involved. Are they as delicious? Matt thinks so, I am still on the fence, but they are no doubt a really awesome and fast substitute. 

Weekend Bagels

(Makes 4 Bagels)
Cal- 140
Fat- 0.5g
Carbs- 24g
Protein- 10g 

- 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour* (you could also use all all-purpose or all whole-wheat)
- 1/2 Cup All-purpose Flour
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Cup Non-fat Greek Yogurt (the thicker the better)
- Water/Egg wash and Toppings (I love Trader Joe's Everything Bagel seasoning or Cinnamon Raisin!)

Preheat oven to 450 Degrees

1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. They may look crumbly. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead 20-30 times until it comes together (add more flour if it is too wet, more yogurt if it is too dry.) 
2. Split the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a 3/4" "snake" bringing the ends together to form a bagel shape. 
3. Place each bagel on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with water or egg wash. Top the bagel with whatever you want. Bake for 15ish minutes until golden on top. Let them rest 5 minutes when they come out of the oven. 
(*this recipe was adapted from*)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

There's No Shame in my Quitting Breastfeeding Game

I know in writing this the backlash that might come just by reading the title. I know that some people are completely against formula and will disagree with me for my honesty, but someone has to say it... IT IS OK TO NOT BREASTFEED- or honestly to stop whenever you want. A fed and loved baby is most important whether it is formula or breastmilk. I completely understand that science behind "breast is best" and we were designed to nurse our children, but the thought that it is the only and correct option is not alright. Take away the women who struggle to produce enough, the couples who adopt, etc. there is still a group of women who could nurse and choose not to. I am one of them and I feel to shame in saying it.

After my frozen milk supply is gone, it is ok that my child will be on formula. What is not okay is judging other women for their choice to not nurse for whatever amount, or lack of amount of time. Formula feeding my baby is not going to limit her potential to be a successful and healthy human. I do not feel I need to further explain my decision to stop or why I "can't just do it for 12 months" and will ignore any evil eyes I get for pulling a bottle of formula from my diaper bag. It's my body and my baby and my decision.
Before Mila was born I made the decision to try and breastfeed again despite how poorly it went with Charlie 5 years prior. My goal was that if it went well I would continue until she was 6 months old- 3 months when I was at home, and 3 months when I returned to work. Why 6 months? Mainly because babies start eating more solid foods by then, making breast milk slightly less necessary, and because if we want to try for another baby possibly before she is one, I need a break. I need a break from being pregnant and nursing where my body is mine.
To understand my decision, here's some background- with Charlie I hardly made it 6 weeks nursing- I hated it. I openly still hate it. One of the most natural things for a woman was not and is not natural to me- I don't like the feeling or the act of nursing. All of the breastfeeding selfies honestly made me not even want to do it at all this time around because I was grossed out. So why try again? Because I know it is best for baby, it's free, I wanted to give my new baby the best start possible, especially being born in flu season, and mainly because I am stubborn. I am sure all of you have noticed a huge push to "normalize breastfeeding" and make sure everyone and their mom knows that it is best for baby and that you are going to breastfeed wherever you want and whenever you want and take pictures of it and display that on social media. I feel like I was pressured into breastfeeding the first time as members of my extended family criticized, in front of me, those that quit or didn't nurse. This pressure leads to guilt that you are failing or not as good of a mom if it is not going well, you're not producing enough, etc. and therefore have to supplement or choose to stop. The moment I switched to formula with Charlie was the moment she stopped crying every night for hours. In my head I had to continue to breastfeed, but in reality I was starving my child. She was most likely crying because she was hungry and as a new mom I had no idea what I was doing and didn't know that sometimes they cluster feed at night, and what hunger cues are. I have several women in my mom-group that have acknowledged the same- they had no idea they were not providing enough for their crying child and chalked it up to colic. Stopping nursing with her was one of the best things I did for our relationship and my mental and physical well-being. I feel that we should definitely support those that want to breastfeed, but I also think there is no shame in those that don't and they also need support, not shaming.
With Mila, nursing is going well. I am a damn cow, but I am still choosing to stop at 6 months and am counting down the days. I am so stubborn there have been so many times I wanted to quit but refuse because I said I would make it 6 months. Going well or not I still hate it and work has perpetuated that. As a teacher I can't leave my class and pump when I want, so I pump (hands-free) while I am driving, eat alone at my desk while I pump, and sit in my car and pump in the car pool pick-up line. Don't even get me started on maternity leave as a teacher (and several other occupations) being so short women go back to work so quickly and are put in a situation like I am where continuing to nurse/pump is harder. I am starting to resent Matt for not being able to help and Mila for needing so much milk that I feel constant stress to produce enough and make sure I have time to pump and privacy.

It is starting to hurt my relationship with both of them and that's why it is officially time to be done. I may be criticized for being selfish for quitting, I may be called a wimp because even though I was tough enough to labor without drugs, I am not tough enough to continue nursing... but I think I am strong- strong enough to not give in to pressure and to realize what is best for my baby and me. I really hope that other women feel like they can do the same.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Instant Pot Recipes! (Steel Cut Oats, Meatloaf and Mashed Poatoes, Hoisin Chicken, Chicken Fried Rice)

My mom-game was strong last weekend when we headed to a CrossFit competition to support Matt, my sister, and some friends. Mila rocked her new headphones and Charlie was a good cheerer! I love my little girls... and I love that they are growing up seeing how strong women can be, mentally and physically, and not falling into the stereotype that girls should be weak in any way, shouldn't lift, or shouldn't have defined muscles.

The balance of the ever-changing world of a mom/teacher/athlete/wife/homeowner is still a work in progress- sometimes the balance tilts too far one way throwing off everything else. I am no expert in any of this, and some days/weeks are harder/easier than others- we all have different family dynamics, responsibilities, and goals. Mimicking what works for someone else will only get you so far. That being said, I thought I would share about the one new device that has made my life easier since heading back to work... the INSTANT POT! 
Matt and I received an Instant Pot as a Christmas gift this year, along with a cookbook... although Pinterest is full of great ideas, I am someone who really prefers a hard copy versus looking on a screen. I know they were a hot item this year, so I will give you my take on what they are and if they are "worth it" as far as buying one...

What is it?

Essentially a pressure cooker and slow cooker all in one. "Instant Pot" is a brand like "CrockPot" is to slow cookers.

What do you cook in it?

Everything from frozen chicken, to rice, to hardboiled eggs, to full meals of meatloaf/mashed potatoes in it at he same time.

Should I get one?

That depends on your lifestyle and how you cook. You can make anything you would make in a slow cooker in under an hour which is great if you are not great at planning ahead. 
- Super busy but want to eat healthy? yes! Frozen chicken breasts are done in under 30 min and I have pulled some of my freezer slow cooker meals out, put the huge chunk in the Instant Pot without thawing, and it was done in 60 min. The forethought that goes into thawing and baking is taken away. Some days just get so busy, you get home and think, 'what's for dinner?' If that sounds like you, then yes! I love that I can get home, throw stuff in it, set it to run, clean bottles, catch up with Charlie, get a quick workout in, or whatever without having to stand in front of the stove and in under an hour... poof! Dinner is done!
-If you use your slow cooker a lot but suck at planning- yes! You can cook any slow cooker meal in it using the 30 min MANUAL setting and the meat is just as tender as if you were there all day.

- If you like to chop/prep/stir/bake/plan and get dinner ready for your family the night you're going to eat it and that's part of what works for your family- no. This would sit wasting away in your cupboard as you saute, grill, bake or stand over the stove preparing your family's meals. 

I heard they explode...

Only if you do not follow the directions and use it properly and are a moron. If they really exploded all the time you would hear about it more than the one article floating around facebook scaring people.
The steam release is intense, but if you shouldn't have your kids near the stove when it's hot and the same here... either do the natural release where you will have no steam, or tell the kids to stand back for 30 seconds like you would with anything dangerous and release it.

Learning Curve?

Yes, definitely.
First of all recipes don't give you the total time... if it says 30 min that does not included the 10-15 min it will take to pressure and the 10-15 min it will take to release pressure when done if you are doing a natural release, so plan accordingly.
If you have an 8-quart pot things will take longer... most recipes are designed for a 6-quart.
You MUST use at least 1 Cup of liquid
If your chicken, or whatever else, is not done, only add 3-4 min and try again... minutes go a long way in this thing!

I have been so busy I didn't even take pictures of these... oops... but here are some of my current Favorite Recipes...

Steel Cut Oats

These I have struggled to perfect on the stove, they are good, but always a little chewy and take care when making them... in the Instant Pot they are perfect and ready for my toppings!
The main difference between steel cut oats and regular or quick cooking oats is the process in which they are cut and the texture when finished cooking... nutritional value is almost the same- they have slightly more calcium and protein :) They are also lower glycemic index because they take longer to digest and about twice the amount of fiber.

- 1 1/2 Cups Steel Cut Oats
- 4 1/2 Cups Water
- Pinch of Salt

Toppings or add-ins... vanilla, dried fruit, apples, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, etc.

SPRAY YOUR INSTANT POT WITH COOKING SPRAY! Then add the water and oats and pinch of salt. WIPE THE EDGE OF YOUR POT to remove errant spray so it seas properly.

Turn your pressure cooker on to "Manual" or "Porridge"... make sure the pin is in the "sealing" position ....and cook on HIGH for 11 minutes (up to 13 minutes if you want creamier oats)

Allow the pot to naturally release (aka don't do anything when it is done except hit "cancel") for 10 minutes. Release any of the remaining pressure and you're done! Add your tops or store in the fridge for up to 5-7 days.

Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes.... in the same pot!

A family favorite at our house! I bought mini disposable bread pans at the store that fit perfectly, but you could easily use aluminum foil and make your own! I recommend two mini pans because one large one seems to need more time cooking.

Meatloaf Ingredients...

Feel free to use your own family recipe!
- 1.5-2lbs Lean Ground Beef
- 1 Egg
- 1 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/4 Cup Ketchup
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- Salt and Pepper


- 2lbs Yukon Gold, skin on and cut into 2" chunks
- Butter (a few tablespoons)
- Milk
- Garlic Powder
- 1 Cup Broth/Water

1. Mix the meatloaf ingredients together and press the meat into 2 mini bread pans.
2. Place the potatoes in the bottom of the pot with 1 cup of broth/water. 
3. Place the metal insert/rack that came with your pot on top. Put the meat loaf pans on the rack and squish them if necessary to make them fit. 
4. Make sure the pin is in the "sealing" position. Cook on Manual, HIGH, pressure for 25 minutes. 
When finished, do a "quick release" of the pressure. Remove the pans and add the butter/milk/garlic salt and mash in the pot with a masher until the desired creaminess is reached. No need to drain the potatoes! 

Chicken Fried Rice

- 2 Chicken Breasts, cut into 1" or smaller pieces
- 1 Tbsp Oil
- 8oz Frozen, Mixed Vegetables- carrots, peas, green beans, corn (1/2 typical bag)
- 2 Cups Rice (not instant!)
- 2 1/2 Cups Broth/Water
- 2 Eggs
- Soy Sauce

1. Turn your Instant Pot on to the "SAUTE" function at high heat. Add the oil and chicken and cook until the chicken is browned but not all the way cooked. Press "CANCEL"
2. Add the water/broth, veggies, and rice. Secure the lid, turn the pin to "Sealing" and cook on MANUAL/high pressure for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, press "CANCEL" and let it naturally release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, finish releasing the pressure and open the lid carefully. Fluff the rice with a few dashes of soy sauce, if it is sticky it will loosen as you stir it. 
3. At this point you can either cook the eggs (scrambled) separately in a pan and stir them in, or push the rice to the side and add a bit of oil, turn the pot on SAUTE (medium) and cook them, but I found that mind stuck to the bottom of the pan this way. 

Hoisin Chicken

I make my own hoisin sauce... see recipe here... but you can find this in any Asian section of the grocery store. 
This is quick and so easy to get done when I first get home from work. Served with rice and green beans or broccoli it is fast and perfect. 

- 2/3 Cup Hoisin Sauce
- 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce/Water
- 2-3 Chicken Breasts (about 2lbs)

Add everything to the Instant Pot and set the pin to "SEALING" cook on MANUAL/High Pressure for 12 minutes. Use the instant release. Shred inside the pot or take the chicken out to shred it. I use the sauce as is, but you could make a slurry of arrowroot powder/cornstarch and water, turn on SAUTE and thicken it. :) 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Lessons from a 5-year old

I have always said I get the best of both worlds being a teacher. I am essentially a stay-at-home mom in the summer, and a working mom during the school year. Is one harder or better? Definitely not. They are both challenging in their own rights and whatever choice women make is best for them and their family and not to the judged as it is not your life. Do I prefer one over the other? Definitely. I can say from staying at home much of the last year that it is not for me. I really like working and I feel that I am a better mother when I am. I think that time out of the house and organization of time it takes to balance the mom/work/fitness/wife chaos is more my style and makes me feel like "me." Spending this past summer home with Charlie I tried to really be present and appreciate my time with her- it was already different than expected because I was still pregnant. I had expected to have a baby in April and then roll into summer with Charlie. After our loss, that plan changed, and so did my expectation of summer- I didn't want to be busy like we were the summer before running from camps to sports, etc. I just wanted to enjoy my last summer with her as my only child. It is amazing the innocence, observatory nature, and honesty that children have and I will be so sad when that is ruined by life.

As school started, we got back into the hustle and bustle of life and three weeks after I went to work we brought a new bundle of joy home. So here I am again, a stay-at-home mom to an infant and a kindergartner. As I sit up at night feeding Mila I have some time to reflect. Looking back on my time with Charlie this summer, I realized I learned so much from my independent, smart, 5-year-old. Things I wanted to take into my future as a mother of two now, especially after I will be coming home stressed from work and exhausted from having an infant in the near future.

Right now I have to drive 30 minutes+ each way, twice a day, to take Charlie to school because I am home on maternity leave and I school-of-choice her to the district where I work. If we leave even a few minutes late we are stuck in horrendous traffic. I have an one month old baby screaming at me, usually, and there we are, stop-and-go all the way to school sometimes taking over an hour one way.
I think one of the most frustrating things I have experienced as a parent is trying to get out the door in the morning. Between getting Charlie out of bed at 5:45am to breakfast, getting dressed, hair done, and putting shoes on, while also getting a baby nursed and into the car, when I am exhausted from no sleep at night is a lot. My oldest child, like many others, has absolutely no hustle, literally none. I feel like we are always running late to get to work/school and being late is a pet peeve. I end up raising my voice and losing my temper trying to motivate her to get moving and once we are finally in the car I feel bad about how we left the house.

My ah-ha moment started when we were heading to school. On this particular day we were stuck in awful traffic, we were actually going to be late to school, and she made the comment I make so many times, 'I wish we lived in Rochester,' which is where her school is. I turned around and snapped at her that I wish we did too but we can't move right now, blah blah blah and the look on her face broke my heart. Her eyes got big as she was startled at the volume and tone of my voice and I could see the tears welling up in her eyes. That's when it hit me, I am blaming a child for us running late when I won't see her all day, and she likes being with me on the drive and innocently wants be a part of a conversation. I apologized and told her I loved her and she of course forgave me, but that was the moment I realized our joyous summer was taking a bad turn and I need to take a step back and appreciate my little girl and what she is innocently teaching me...

My behavior is reflected in her, whether that is good or bad. I love when she mimics me working out and that part of what I am teaching her by example is how to lead a healthy life and be a physically and mentally strong woman. However, I don't appreciate when she gets a tone with me. But where did that come from? Me. She honestly sounds exactly like me. The tone she has when I don't understand something right away is the same tone I have when I am sick of repeating or explaining myself. I shouldn't talk to her in a disrespectful way or raise my voice, regardless of if I am the parent. I have made a conscious effort to communicate with her the way I do with Matt, my husband. I don't use a tone or raise my voice with him when I am frustrated, annoyed, stressed, mad, etc. so I really shouldn't with her. It doesn't accomplish anything and creates a situation where I am correcting a behavior that I created.

I need to slow down and take a breath. Case-in-point, our walks with Annie (the dog) and Mila. Our walks together are more like stop-and-go traffic because we look at everything and play at every park in the neighborhood I need to take a deep breath and relax. It's ok that we don't "just walk" on our walk. She is enjoying spending time with me and exploring things about nature and playing. It won't be long before she doesn't want to walk with me and tell me about her day. When we are trying to rush out the door in the morning- slow down. It's ok, we are almost never actually late and it's really not a big deal in the grand scheme of life. That's not how I want to start my day or how I want her heading off to school- stressed.

I need to remember children are innocent and it is my job not to ruin that, there is plenty of time to be a grown up. This is particularly apparent with Charlie's father. She did not ask to be in the situation where I am not with her dad and she now changes houses all alone at age five. Although she doesn't know any different, it still takes a lot of maturity, adaptability and confidence on her part. As much as I want to say, "I don't care if that is allowed at his house it's not allowed here..." sometimes when she does something I don't like, I need to remember she is the navigating two homes with two different rules and two very different families and it is not something I should get upset with, or put on her. I can correct the behavior without criticizing the other household. She is allowed to love her dad even if I cannot stand him. She needs to feel loved and not yanked in two different directions trying to please people.

Do what you love and who cares what people think. Children are amazing at this. They dance and sing and wear what they want, they're happy and they like it. I can't tell you how many times Charlie has come downstairs all dressed up in something I would never pick out and I ask, "is that really what you are wearing today?" and she very happily says yes. Why at some point do we stop doing this? Why do we suddenly stop doing what we like because we are afraid of the judgement of others? I am guessing because middle school girls are mean :) But seriously, I need to remember it's okay to be confident in doing what makes me happy- like my Charlie dancing to Lady Gaga in her finest dress in the living room.

The more she grows the more I appreciate what a wonderful, smart, funny, loving child she is. Thank you for teaching me what's important in life my Charlie-girl.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Thanksgiving time is over and we are quickly moving into the winter holidays. Yay! I love this time of year! One thing I don't love? Food waste. Hate it. So after thanksgiving I had partial cans of pumpkin puree leftover and I know that they are not expensive, but its the principle... what to do with partial pumpkin? I made Against All Grain's pumpkin spice latte and then decided to make some granola with the remaining little bit... turns out it is so delicious and I couldn't stop snacking on it! I ate it plain, ate it with yogurt, milk... pretty much every time I walked into the kitchen. Bonus! It makes your house smell good :) 

Pumpkin Pie Granola

- 1/3 Cup Pumpkin Puree
- 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- ¼ Cup Maple Syrup
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 3 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
- ¼ Cup Ground Flaxseed
- 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
- ½ Cup Pecan Halves or Pieces
- ¼ Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
- Pinch of Salt

Preheat Oven to 300 Degrees
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, pie spice, syrup and vanilla. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until everything is coated.
2. Spread the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using another small piece of parchment, push down on the granola making a flat and even layer - the more together it is now the better the granola “chunks” will turn out.
3. Bake for 40 minutes. Do not stir or flip or do anything during this time aside from rotating the pan if necessary. Let the granola cool completely (about 30 min) before breaking it apart into large pieces, or whatever size you want. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Homemade Holiday Coffee Creamers

It is common on social media to be inundated with people who post pictures of their children- like 5 pictures of them doing the same thing every day- and for others to unfollow said people. It's honestly too much. We get it, you love your child more than anything ever, going to work everyday is the worst thing ever, and your child is the first one ever to ever do anything and we need 1343432 pictures of it. (I'm being sarcastic and dramatic with that statement, kind of) Maybe it's just me, but it used to bother me that I didn't feel that way, almost a guilt that I didn't mind, and almost looked forward to, going back to work or needing time away from my children. Over time I have come to realize that a) social media provides a false sense of reality and b) motherhood looks different for different people. I have not shied away from the fact that being a mother does not complete or consume my life. Don't get me wrong, I love my children more than I can explain so it is complicated, but when they were born my world didn't stop with all-consuming love that made me change who I am. My friends, family, husband, job and working out are also part of my balance that completes me.
My entire pregnancy I was grateful she was doing well and healthy, but it is the beginning of becoming more selfless because your body is not yours- you can't do or eat or drink like you used to because there is another life to think about. Therefore by the end, I was looking forward to feeling like "me" again. When I had Mila I was excited to finally have my body back and enjoy a glass of wine and workout like I want. I was wrong in my thinking. Since I am nursing I can't be away from her for more than an hour because sometimes she eats that frequently- so she is always with me- no alone time. I am up all night, exhausted and limited on time when I workout, and have to be careful what I eat and drink still. That glass of wine I wanted so desperately when I was pregnant? Yes, I can have it now, but the cruel thing is that you're not supposed to have a lot and a glass, or two, of wine makes being up in the night more miserable. Well played life. Is formula an option? Absolutely. I think, despite the immense pressure on women to breastfeed, fed is best. But I told myself that if it went well this time I would stick with it. Nursing, the supposed most natural thing, is so not natural for me. It is going so much better this time versus Charlie, but I am not going to lie, I hate it. You will never see me post a picture of myself breastfeeding (which, by the way, will probably horrify said pictured children in the future) and those pictures almost made me not want to nurse- ask my sister, she feels the same. But I am going on week 8 and am currently pumping and nursing to build up a frozen supply when I go back to work- so exhausting! Not only am I hungry all the time, but I feel like it consumes my life.

Since I am sleep deprived and hungry, I am dying for two things- caffeine and sugar. I don't have a sweet tooth and I have no idea what is happening, but suddenly somebody who never used to eat a cookie, and drank her coffee black, is ordering the most sugary drink on the Starbucks menu daily and baking five dozen cookies a week. Not good. I figure the caffeine thing is not going to stop as long as I am not sleeping at night and the spending money at Starbucks can be alleviated slightly if I can make this fun drinks at home. So I give you some of the creamers I have made. Use as little or as much as you want! If you put them in the blender with coffee you get a lovely foam :) 

Mocha Mint Creamer

(makes about 2 Cups)

- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1 tsp Mint Extract (or oil)
- 1 tsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla
- 1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk (or half and half)

In a small sauce pan, or in the microwave, heat the sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cocoa powder and stir while it is still warm to avoid clumps. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Keep in a sealed container or, like me, in a small mason jar. Shake before using.

Salted Carmel Creamer

- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla
- 1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk (or half and half)

In a small sauce pan, or in the microwave, heat the sugar, salt and water until the sugar is dissolved. Add the vanilla and milk. Keep in a sealed container or, like me, in a small mason jar. Shake before using.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Wake-Me-Up! Protein Shake

Good Morning! 
It is crazy how much you forget about babies! I am still adjusting to getting up every 1-2 hours in the night to nurse, then I get up before 6am to drop off Charlie at school in the morning, pump so I have milk for when I stop nursing, and attempt to make it to the gym or workout at home, all while keeping a newborn happy. Phew! It has been discovered that my typical egg and potatoes will not be happening for me right now, therefore I am looking for alternative options that combine my coffee need with my need for food and my lack of time. So here it is! My "wake-me-up" protein shake combining protein, carbs, and coffee... perfect to make, store in the fridge, and drink on the go so I can do everything that needs to be done for my two girls and me in the gym all before 9am.  

It is made with a few ingredients to help my milk supply because I am nursing and pumping extra for later- brewer's yeast and ground flax seed- but neither will hurt if you aren't nursing, obviously :) and both are great for someone working out! I know there is a warning against drinking too much caffeine while nursing, but I also need to function so oh well. I have been making this as my afternoon "pick me up" but it is also great made the night before and is ready to grab in the morning. 

Wake-Me-Up Protein Shake 

- 3/4 Cup Room-temp or Cold Coffee (preferably strong)
- 1/4 Cup Milk 
- 1 Scoop Protein Powder (I use a Whey Chocolate)
- 1/2 Very Ripe Banana (frozen preferably)
- 1/4 Cup Rolled Oats
- 1 Tbsp Peanut or Nut Butter
- 1 tsp De-bittered Brewer's Yeast*
- 1 tsp Ground Flaxseed*
- 1 tsp Chia Seeds*

*Optional* but nutritious! 

Put everything in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy right away or keep in the fridge until morning! 
Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 449
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14 g21 %
Saturated Fat 3 g15 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 5 mg2 %
Sodium 308 mg13 %
Potassium 461 mg13 %
Total Carbohydrate 42 g14 %
Dietary Fiber 8 g32 %
Sugars 13 g
Protein 42 g84 %
Vitamin A3 %
Vitamin C10 %
Calcium22 %
Iron14 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.