Happy Soup

A recipe for a bad ass Sunday night.

 

What you’ll need: – 20 celsius weather(at least), an over tired mum, two cranky children, a carrot peeler and a wicked playlist, I recommend ’90s & ‘00s pop classics.

 

Now you’re ready to get down to business.

 

Turn on the music, something that makes you dance and sing along.

 

Have your assistant, (I would recommend the older of the children) peel some carrots. It really doesn’t matter how many, as long as Mariah Carey hits all the high notes in “Heart Breaker” and the baby isn’t trying to climb the stairs again. Actually this would be a good time to write a note to self to get the baby

gate from the neighbour.

 

Now, while your lovely assistant, carefully peels the carrots, you get all the other ingredients ready. Slice, dice, mince, and skip the songs that don’t move your body and soul. This is an incredibly important part, as slow songs (unless it’s BoyzIIMen) can slow down the groove and leave you in danger of forgetting the task at hand.

 

The music will energize your body, the children will make you laugh, the garlic and onion will start to cook and smell like your own mothers cooking from when you were a child.

 

This is it, this is your life, and it is amazing.

 

Time to dump in the rest of your ingredients. Your child will love this, they get to help and throwing stuff in a big pot is totally in line with their skill set. Enjoy the radiant smile that comes from helping mom and accomplishing a task that is usually reserved for grownups. Add the broth, or safely have a child do so, slowly pouring for a satisfying sizzle sound, or just dumping and fishing out the packaging after.

 

Make sure you use the silliest actions when singing along to “Bye bye bye”. This will ensure imitation by your children and make them want to get up and dance with you, if they weren’t already.

 

Now you wait, the soup should take 30-60 minutes to cook, but you just keep on dancing. Your kids are so happy to see you happy, since it isn’t always like this. Life gets hard, cooking becomes a chore, the kids get in the way. But you can decide to do something different. Involve them, teach them, show them your silly side. Show them your dance moves, the ones from before you were their mom and started only doing the “bounce and clap”.

 

Once you’ve had your dinner, soup for you and cucumbers and grilled cheese for them again, cause this is real life, and my 3 year old does not eat soup. Get your kids ready for bed, with ease and play, instead of urgency and negotiation. Laugh when they get toothpaste in their hair, if for no other reason than that by now there’s a little soreness in your abs from the dancing and laughing of the evening! It may take a few extra minutes, but once they’re asleep, it’s you time. Portion your soup, to eat later and remind yourself that you can cook, that your kids helped, and that yep, you’ve still got it. Smiling and laughing is so contagious, I imagine the good vibes will last all night and into the morning.

 

Your house smells amazing and you’re tired in the best way, all thanks to the happy soup.

 

 

Actual Soup Recipe

 

Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic Soup

 

1 head of cauliflower

1 head of garlic

6 cups of vegetable broth

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

½ onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

 

Preheat oven to 400 F

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Cut garlic bulb in half and drizzle with olive oil, bake for 10 mins. Break up cauliflower with your hands or a knife. Remove from oven. Add cauliflower, spread evenly over the sheet. Return to oven.

Cook for 20-25 mins until cauliflower browns.

Cool and squeeze out the roasted garlic, discard the skin.

 

In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add carrot celery and onion S&P, sautee approx. 5 min until carrots begin to soften. Add cauliflower and garlic, mix, and then add your broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 30 mins. Cool, Puree, reheat and serve.

 

 

 

take me out coach!

 

 

Today is the first soccer free Saturday.

 

Every Saturday morning for 16 weeks.

 

I was the coach.

 

For my son’s Under 4 years rec league.

 

Needless to say, it was a shitshow.

 

I never planned on being the coach…

 

But we joined late and we could have the spot on the team except it was the coach’s son’s spot and they were both quitting so they needed a coach. So I volunteered.

I have a habit of doing this. Volunteering for things. I have two kids, but with my husband working out of town I find I have a lot of extra time that would otherwise be family time. I get bored, lonely, so I jump at opportunities to connect with other people.

 

I haven’t played soccer since I was in highschool. I’ve certainly never coached soccer before. But what the heck, its just little kids!

 

So on a Tuesday in November, I volunteered to coach soccer for my son’s team and on Saturday we had our first game.

 

Now I use the term “game” loosely. It’s a 45 minute session, the kids are expected to practice for 20 minutes and then play against another team for rest of the time. As it was (very briefly) explained to me : “they are just little kids, the point is to teach them a few basic skills, but over all a love of the game and the desire to return again next time. It should be all fun. ”

 

Well I know how to have fun.

 

So I got there nice and early, had childcare arranged for my youngest, and got my son and I ready while I waited for my predecessor to show up and hand over the equipment. I saw a man standing around with soccer stuff so I walked over and said hello and asked if he was who I was looking for. He gave me a funny look and said no. Understandable, I am a stranger and he wasn’t the person I was after.

 

So the other coach finally shows up and hands over the goods, well some of them he thinks the rest of it is at home or something but I “probably won’t need it”. He gives me a quick rundown and leaves.

 

All good, I’m ready for this. My kid is so excited. Other than a bit of nerves, so am I.

 

 

So we head in to the indoor fields and start kicking balls around. Some kids from our team show up, I introduce myself, they look a little confused but seem okay with it.

 

I try getting the kids to do a few drills, except uhm they’re 3 and 4 years old so they aren’t listening to the strange mom who is gesturing at them while also trying to peel her own child off her leg.

 

I managed to do a little fun stuff, get them into it somewhat, at least I managed to work up a sweat. And it was time for our game. We were playing against the guy I’d mistaken for the coach earlier. He looked even more wary the kids on my team. But I kept smiling and cheered my team on.

 

My kids didn’t want to play. Like at all. They were all over the place! His team was so organized, they listened, they had skills, my team was playing hide and seek in the mesh nets.

 

I looked to the other coach in hope of camaraderie, maybe a shoulder shrug or an eye roll. You know what I got? As I stood there, sweating, embarrassed, clearly overwhelmed, with my new team of little kids, who just wanted to play and have fun…

 

“Well the other team clearly doesn’t know how to play soccer, so let’s do something different.”

 

He said this, in front of both of our teams. To my face. WTF. I tried not to take it personally, so I kept my cool and I asked him for a suggestion. His response:

 

“Do you know how to play soccer? Do you think you could run and keep the ball away from the kids ?”

 

OMG. That was it. I was so insulted, embarrassed, PISSED OFF. UGH. It makes me mad just writing it. But this wasn’t about me, it was about the kids. So I sucked it up and played a game of keep away with the teams until our 45 minutes was up and then I thanked my team enormously, gave hi-5s and hip hip hoorays and promised a little more organization next week! I was going to make this fun for my team, they paid their money for a season of soccer fun and I going to deliver!

 

I spent the next seven days dreading the next soccer game. Doubting myself and my ability to coach. Had I made a mistake? Was I going to let the team down? No. I wasn’t. I volunteered because I thought I could do it, and one stranger’s opinion on my first day was not going to get me down.

 

I kept reminding myself, I chose this. I accepted the challenge. I wanted to try something new. So the fact that it’s challenging and unfamiliar are WHY I’m here. I looked up some drills for kids, asked my mom’s advice(she has been a preschool teacher for 25 years, raised four kids, and generally knowledgeable on all things children), and asked a couple other moms whose kids were in soccer what kinds of things their kids were doing. It was a major mindset moment for me. When I thought I sucked, I hated being the coach, when I thought I was awesome, I couldn’t wait for the next game. I could choose.

team meeting
team meeting

Each week it got a little easier. The kids got to know me and so did the parents. I asked the other coaches for advice, and while they weren’t really willing to give up the goods, we were in close quarters so I just watched them and copied. It hurt my ego to admit I didn’t know what I was doing, but it was that or have a crappy season for my team.

 

I kept reminding myself, as long as the kids are involved, excited, and playing some semblance of soccer, I am doing my job. We only ever had 3 or 4 kids at a time show up to play, so we weren’t really building on skills, just keeping them interested was enough of a challenge.

 

It was fun. In a weird way. I mean my son clung to me for most of it, and I had to rally the pre-schoolers every few minutes to get them focused. But it was fun. I love kids, and I love playing and being active.

 

But I didn’t love being the coach. And I porobably won’t do it again. For a lot of reasons. And definitely not because of the one coach who treated me poorly. He continued to treat me like that for the rest of the season. We played eachother’s teams 4 more times and he tried to get out of every one of them. I must have rubbed him the wrong way that first day, too.

 

It was actually because of him that I tried so hard. When he doubted me, I was offended because I knew he was wrong. I believed in my own ability, and his doubt fueled my fire to make the most of the experience.

 

My reasons for not coaching again are more about my family, it was a huge struggle to find someone to watch my youngest at 8 am every Saturday, plus I was waking my kids up on the weekend to go to a “fun” activity. I still had to go to practice when my kids were sick. With my husband being away so much, I just didn’t have the support for my family that I would need to coach again.

 

The whole season there was a voice in the back of my mind saying I could quit any time. That I wasn’t being paid. (in fact I hadn’t filled out any paperwork, Im not even sure we were registered.) But if I had quit, there wouldn’t have been a team. And that wasn’t fair to my son or any of the other kids. And I had said yes. It was an uninformed decision. I might not have made it if I had known what it would be like, but I did it. I stuck it out. Even though it SUCKED a lot of the time. I was part of my son’s first experience with team sports. I got to see what it’s like to be the coach, which will be invaluable insight as I continue to have my children in organized sports.

 

I am not cut out to be a soccer coach. I don’t really want to be a soccer coach. I do not love it the way the other coaches do. But I tried. I tried hard, I did a pretty good job, I didn’t quit. I’ve now done something new, faced a challenge and learned a HUGE lesson in leaving my ego at the door.

 

I won’t coach again, or maybe I will. But I will never forget the lessons I learned, about how to coach runts to play soccer, about how to treat other people, and about my own ability as a person to overcome adversity.

 

I am celebrating my first soccer-free Saturday since November, and I can’t stop thinking about soccer. Funny how life works. I am probably going to take my kids outside to play soccer. Maybe I learned more than I even realize.

celebrating with a little bailey's coffee
celebrating with a little bailey’s coffee

Happy no Soccer day Mamas! Get outside and play anyway!

stay at home mom seeks friend with wine

 

I really like having friends. I really LOVE mom’s night out. I love witty text conversations about the profitability of renting out children to the circus.

 

I like having likeminded women in my life, who I can talk to about serious stuff, like work/family balance, the stuff no ones warns you about before you get married and have kids. Having a couple of girls you can sit down about laugh about the hard stuff with, makes them seem not so freakin hard sometimes.

 

But I am not good at making friends.

 

Making friends is hard.

 

Especially when you’re a 28 year old stay at home mom whose husband works away and your kids go to bed by 7 pm.

 

“Yas! We should totally get together, anytime! Anytime between 9:30 and 10:30 am or 4:30 and 5:30 pm. And you have to come to our house, since G has that cold, I’d hate for him to spread it around at your house. And we live in a small town outside the city. Oh yeah there’s a snowstorm coming in tonight. So Drive safe!”

 

I wish I was joking. This is just a sample of a real life conversation I have with other moms any time I meet someone I’d like to be friends with.

 

And that’s after I’ve forced them to talk to me by making inappropriate comments about how much wine I drink, and not remembering the last time I fed the baby. I tend to get loud when I’m nervous or uncomfortable, or if I want people to pay attention to me, or if I’m drinking, or not drinking… okay maybe I’m just loud.

 

Now I’m really lucky, REALLY lucky. I happen to consider my family, my sisters, brother, mom & dad to be my friends. Best friends actually. They like me, just for me, which is so cool. I shine when I’m with them. I talk to my siblings and parents more than any other people (husband and kids excluded of course). They know me so well, and they think I’m funny, and they set me up to be funny, because they like when I’m funny, and I like when I’m funny, which makes me fun to be around.

my aunt, my sis, my mom & me, these are my BFFs
my aunt, my sis, my mom & me, these are my BFFs

The hardest thing for me about making new friends, is that I’m so busy trying to show them who I am, that I don’t get to know them. So once I’m done with the Jilly show, I don’t know anything about them to go on. It is SO rude. It is so inconsiderate. It is SO selfish. And the truth is, I want to get to know them too, but I’m honestly desperate for that closeness of friendship that, for lack of a better term , “give it all up on the first date”.

 

I moved right before I got pregnant with my first child, and we have moved anywhere from 4-10 times since then, depending on your definition of move. But we have lived in 4 different cities in the last 5 years. So on top of being a stay at home mom, I’m also always the new guy in town. This has not made it any easier, because once I make a new friend, I often have to leave them behind after a few months. Those “miss you guys! Hope everything’s good” texts, while well intentioned, get pretty old.

 

So this year my son started pre school, and I was determined to make friends with a couple of the other moms, if only just to greet each other as friends at pick up and drop off.

 

I was pretty aware of my tendency to put on a show around new people, so I tried really hard to tone it down. I walked in, said hi, walked out.

 

And obviously, didn’t make any friends that way.

 

Because NOT being myself, wasn’t going to make me any friends either.

 

So I started showing a little personality, starting a conversation with another mom, making a little joke, and most importantly, ASKING ABOUT HER. And then…. LISTENING. And I learned that when you listen, you remember stuff, and then you can talk to them again, the next time, about that stuff.

 

YOU GUYS. I know this may be basic to most humans who have ever interacted with other humans, but this is totally new to me. And I feel like I discovered a new planet. One where people are nice and chat and say friendly things. Its so freakin cool!!!

 

I have a few play dates lined up even. I am so proud of myself. Sounds lame, but this has been a 5 year journey for me. And I am proud.

from the days when my kid was my only friend, we look happy enough ;)
from the days when my kid was my only friend, we look happy enough 😉

Now, I should mention, I did make one good friend already at the school. She is my son’s teacher, equally loud and inappropriate as I am. We must have seen something special in each other. When you know, you know.

 

I want to be clear, I don’t think you will make true friends by not being yourself. I am not going to find a life long friend by pretending I’m not loud and obnoxious. But I’m never going to make any friends if I don’t get to know them too. I am learning to pause, listen, find out about other people and their lives, their experiences. Its elementary. Literally, kids learn how to make friends in elementary school. Either I missed that class or I forgot. But I’m getting it now, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to grow as a person.

 

I want my kids to see the real me, and by getting to know other people, I get to show them who I am. The silly, light hearted, witty, happy girl that was, and is part of the serious mom who has to do all the important first. I’m all those things and more.

 

Having to make new friends at 28, or whatever age you are, is among the list of many things that no one warns you about when you have kids. So let me be the warning, and the lesson, if you want to make some great new friends that you can share your wins and losses with, since that’s what parenting feels like most of the time! Be yourself, and leave room for others to be themselves too.

I ate everything in my house

I am pretty sure, as women, as mothers, we can all relate to that time of the month when we are extra tired, extra irritable and extra hungry.

 

It is so easy, during these times, to become consumed by our cravings, whether they are for baked goods, wine, candy or whatever floats hormonal boat.

 

For me, last month, it was those little red candies, the Swedish Berry. I was up later than I should have been one night, watching television, and I was overcome with a craving for one(handful) of those little red berries.

 

What I should have done :

 

Drink a glass of water, go to bed.

 

What I did :

 

Scour the pantry for candies.

 

I don’t buy candy so I didn’t have any.

 

But I do buy chocolate, so I tried that.

 

Chocolate covered cookies, mint chocolate, chocolate raisins, didn’t do the trick.

 

So I tried chips, I keep some in the house because I really like them and am totally capable of only eating a couple and moving on.

 

Also didn’t work.

 

I pulled a piece of frozen mango out and tried that. It kind of worked, but wasn’t quite right.

 

At this point it was WAY past my bedtime so I finally gave up and went to bed.

 

But I couldn’t sleep. I had just eaten chocolate and chips. I tossed and turned for what felt like hours before I actually got to sleep.

 

I woke up feeling LIKE SHIT. Not enough sleep, too much junk food the night before, it may as well have been a hangover.

 

But you know what, I repeated this pattern for two more nights.

 

By the third day I was so cranky and so exhausted I had no patience for my kids and was being rude to my husband.

 

On that third day, we had some neighbours over for a play date, and I told my friend all about my pantry escapades. She sympathized, which made me feel a little better. Even just saying it out loud helped. Like the candies and the junk food had been weighing on my mind.

 

Later that day, she showed up at my door with Swedish Berries.

 

First of all, I am so lucky to have a friend that actually listens to me. We spend so much time on our phones and with our kids distracting us that we rarely feel like we are heard. My friend really heard my story. Even if it was a ridiculous hunt for goodies.

 

That afternoon, I had a couple of my candies, they were everything I had dreamed of, and I closedup the pack so I would have them the next time those feelings hit.

 

The moral of the story is;

 

Eat the candy.

 

If it might make you feel better, just satisfy your craving, with a SMALL amount of whatever it is, and move on. Flex your will power muscles by having some and not all. It’s a practice and will take time to get good at it.

 

Living your life not having the candy, or the cheesecake or whatever it is you want so badly, is not living at all as far as I’m concerned.

 

Just do it, practice and learn how to have a little, and you never have to go without.

gummy bears the other night, just enough to fill my cravings account
gummy bears the other night, just enough to fill my cravings account

Oh and have awesome f’ing friends.

Wtf is mindset? And do I have one?

Mindset is a concept that most people are unfamiliar with.

 

Mindset says that we can choose our thoughts. That we control our mind, not our mind controlling us.

 

This is a huge concept to grasp.

 

It is also a very powerful one, if you use it to your advantage.

 

The first time mindset came into play for me, as a mother, was when I was recovering from Post Partum Depression.

 

I struggled out of a very dark place after having my first child. It wasn’t until I saw a counselor and she recommended medication, that I recognized what I was feeling was not simply bad moods, a reaction to the difficulties of being a first time mom.

 

While an anti-depressant might have been helpful for me, and is definitely helping people all over the world, it was not right for me.

I know myself, and I did not want to give over my power to a prescription, I wanted to be in control, I needed to find another way.

 

As soon as the counselor suggested it, I realized I had an illness, and I needed to do something about it. She asked me, when do you feel better, what makes you happy? And the response came right out “Yoga, exercise, being outside”.

 

Ping! It was a light bulb moment.

 

I held all the cards to my own happiness.

 

Now what was I going to do about it.

 

I started a few habits that day, that have stuck with me ever since, three years now.

 

The first is to move every day. Some kind of exercise, activity to get me out of my head.

 

The second is to journal, writing down my thoughts and feelings, even the dark ones, helped immensely.

 

The third and most important, which stems from the journaling, was taking ownership of my thoughts.

 

I had to hear what I was thinking, hear the way I was talking to myself, and then decide I was the one choosing those thoughts. This was effing hard.

 

It was, and still is a practice. I would hear the words “failure, bad, fat, lazy, etc etc” and I would say to myself “No, that’s not me. I am a great mom. I work really hard. I try my best”, and so on and so forth.

 

I had to decide that it was me saying those things about myself. Not a fact, not a judgement from my family members, but my own mind, trying to break me.

 

I chose a more powerful mantra. “I am strong, I am a great mother, I am a hard worker”.

 

This flip is the hardest thing to do. But it is so worth it. You have to get out of your own head. You have to change your self talk.

 

When I heard that little voice, actually when I hear it, cause it’s still there, just quieter now, I know what to say. I have changed my mantra, I no longer accept being a victim of my own mind. I am in charge, and I want to live free, be happy, smile and laugh, and laugh at myself.

 

You don’t have to be suffering from depression to learn something from my experience. You don’t have to be a mom. You just have to be human.

 

To accept that you’re in control, to own it, to know that you create your own mindset, is the most powerful feeling. Confidence will grow from deciding that it’s you who creates confidence.

 

If you are feeling down, about anything, your job, your marriage, your kids, your body, your lack of desire to clean the bathrooms, just remember, you are choosing to feel badly about it. Own the negativity, then throw it away.

 

Choose a different mindset.

 

Think about your self talk, what do you say to yourself over and over again, day in day out? Is it something negative? What do you tell yourself when your kids have a meltdown, or your jeans don’t fit, or your partner doesn’t do exactly what you wanted them to do but didn’t actually tell them to do it just assumed they would?

 

You probably don’t even know you’re doing it.

 

Listen to your self talk, this is your mantra. Change it. Choose positivity, choose ownership. Your whole outlook will change, mine did.

 

I still use these tools because every day I face a new challenge, and every day I need a reminder to be the person I want to be, not the one I am afraid of being.

 

I am strong, even if I didn’t exercise today.

 

I am an awesome mom, even if my kids ate ice cream for dinner.

 

I am a great friend, even if I didn’t answer the text.

 

I didn’t do the dishes because I didn’t want to, not because I’m a failure. I just didn’t want to.

 

I’m in control, and so are you.

George and I when he was about 1. This summer was the beginning of my mindset journey
George and I when he was about 1. This summer was the beginning of my mindset journey

Peanut Butter Effing Cookies

It’s no secret I love sweets and treats. Or is it? I’m not trying to hide it…

 

I love to bake and enjoy cookies, muffins, breads, whatever! I know having to cook and bake is a nightmare to some people, that they will only spend as long as they have to in the kitchen, and I kinda get it, it can feel like work. But I would spend all my time cooking and baking, especially if there was enough ingredients that I could make a few mistakes.

I love new recipes, but I have a hard time sticking to them.

I don’t like being told what to do. It’s the teenager girl in me. If you tell me what to do, I will find a way to do the opposite, make it work, and rub it in your face. Not a great quality, but I’m working on it.

When it comes to a new recipe, I will likely try it the right way the first time. Unless I don’t have all the ingredients, which happens more often than not.

This recipe is one of my favourites, and I actually adapted it from the girls at Tone It Up, I like their “healthy” versions of a lot of dessert, but they often use ingredients I don’t keep on hand, so I’ve had to change it a little, make it work for me. You can find their original recipe here.

Every time I’ve made these, I have changed them little, I just can’t help myself, but here’s the best, easiest version of them, with ingredients you likely have in your fridge & pantry already.

 

3/4 cup natural crunchy peanut butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup oats

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Combine ingredients and bake at 350 for 10 mins.

Makes about 15 small cookies.

I dare you not to try the dough
I dare you not to try the dough

 

You can use smooth PB if you like, and you can use semi sweet or milk chocolate, but like I said this is the BEST version. If you’re gluten free you can also leave out the oats and cook for 12 minutes. Like I said, I’ve tried everything.

 

 

Make these !! For yourself, or your husband, or your kids, who ever. Just try them. They’re delish and so easy.

 

Time for a quickie?

No I’m not flirting with you, although I would, you’re a total babe.

 

I’m talking about a quickie workout.

Us moms are always on the go, and trying to find a few minutes to workout our bodies is super hard. I know it, I have been slacking the last few weeks. Between working and writing, and non stop sick babies, I feel like I haven’t had a moment to myself!

 

I always say you don’t need a lot of time, you just need a plan, and to stick to it. So this week I decided I need to plan for only workout for 10-15 minutes. If I have more time, SUPER, but chances are I’m squeezing them in.

 

I cut my already short workouts even shorter. I decided I would make my already simple workouts even simpler.

 

10 Body Weight Squats

10 Bent over Rows

10 Reverse Lunges (10 each leg)

10 Shoulder Press

AMRAP (this means As Many Rounds as Possible)

So set your timer for 8, 10 or 12 minutes and just go. Get lost in the movement and just sweat.

Write it down in big block letters and stick it on the wall in front of you so you don’t even have to think.

I’ll be doing this 2-3 times this week, and getting the rest of my movement from am and pm yoga sessions and walks with my kiddos.

 

It doesn’t take hours and fancy equipment, just a plan, and to follow the plan.

 

Even this post is a quickie, no time for messing around here ladies, get in and get out.

 

I know when you skip your warm up

 

WARM UP. PLEASE.

 

I get it, you’re busy, you don’t have a ton of time for your workout and I have promised you a less than 30 minute sweat session.

 

I’ve been there, I have two kids, I work at home, there never feels like there are enough minutes in a day and when you add in a workout you just want to get in and get out before disaster strikes(cheerio explosion, milk mess, etc).

 

But please, pretty please, for yourself, for the benefit of your workout and your body,

 

WARM UP.

 

I used to be a warm up skipper, because I thought what’s the point, I’ll get warm by the time I get started anyway, or I thought I didn’t have time for all that extra stuff.

 

Well truth is, my workouts became less effective. My muscles weren’t active and ready when I started into my workouts, so I was barely working them. Not to mention my range of motion was so limited that my form SUCKED and I was finding myself with pinches and pains days after my workout.

 

But why? What does a warm up do that my workout doesn’t?

 

The purpose of your warmup is 3 things

 

1)Increase your heart rate (<get you into fat burning zone, duh!)

 

2)Increase range of motion (get the body into a neutral position for optimum form)

 

3)Activate the muscles you are going to use in your workout (literally wake them from their computer chair induced slumber)

 

So you see, your body really needs the warm up. You can’t expect your body to go from zero to muscle building in no time, it just doesn’t work that way and you will be wasting your workout time, even potentially injuring yourself.

 

A warm up can be super quick, 2-4 minutes of movements that will get your muscles ready to move, lift, even run. I will often jump on my yoga mat for a few sun salutations, especially for the benefit of getting my breath aligned with my movements. But I know we all don’t do yoga, so here is a really simple (and quick) warm up that you can tack on the front end of really any workout.

 

Arm circles – 10 forward, 10 back

Good mornings – 10 reps (dead lift with no weight)

Body weight Squats – 15 reps

Reverse Lunges – 10 each legs

Down dog Stretch 20 sec hold

Cobra Stretch 20 second hold

 

Focus on your breath and your form just like you will in your actual workout.

 

It’s that simple, you will feel your heart rate increase and your muscles warm up in under 4 minute, and you are ready to dive right into your workout now.

 

It all comes down to treating your body with lots of love and respect, which means getting it warm and ready, and giving your muscles the best opportunity for an effective workout. Your body will thank you, you will both see and feel the results of these extra couples minutes.

 

I know you don’t have time to waste, because neither do I. Make sure you warm up before your next workout and those minutes will never be wasted again.

 

Meatloaf gets a makeover

I wanted to share a really simple fun recipe with you guys that I make for my family pretty regularly. It’s a shake up of the classic meatloaf that all our moms made us eat and we love to hate. This recipe is actually really tasty, plus its full of nutrients, stuff you actually want to put in your body! I make it in muffin tins for a few reasons, but mostly because it cuts the cook time down by more than half.

 

Try it out, and tell me what you think:

 

1lb ground turkey or chicken

1 egg

¼ cup of breadcrumbs or 1 slice of bread

2 cups finely chopped kale

¼ cup milk

½ small onion finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

¼ cup ketchup

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 cup mushrooms, sautéed (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 400°F

 

Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray

 

Soak bread/breadcrumbs in milk for about 10 mins, then mix all ingredients in a large bowl – preferably with your hands for best results

 

Scoop mix into muffin tins, makes enough for exactly 12 muffins.

 

Bake about 30 mins (turkey should always be cooked to 165 °F)

 

Voila! You have created a delicious and healthy meal that both you and your kids will love.

 

The muffin shape makes them more appealing, or so I have found with my kids. They are easy to store, reheat and enjoy the next day for lunch. I usually roast a tray of broccoli and cauliflower (add a little olive oil, s&p, 350°F for 15 mins) while the meatloaf cools down and we are good to go for dinner!

 

I love making a meal that is also leftovers for lunches the next day, it takes so much pressure off and it makes the most of my time in the kitchen. Who doesn’t love an easy delicious recipe? Oh and healthy too!

Asparagus Soup!

So I love to eat soup, as I may have mentioned before. It is so easy to make, or at least it is the way I do it! I’m not a chef, I’m not an amazing cook, I just love eating delicious food, and am willing to put in a little elbow grease to make that happen.

 

Now when I say a little elbow grease I mean a little. Chopping a few veggies, stirring for 2-3 minutes, that’s the kind of work I’m willing to do for a delicious weeknight meal.

 

Lately I have been trying to not only eat mindfully, but also shop mindfully. When I buy my groceries I have a tendency to buy stuff I want to eat, but probably won’t actually eat. (Avocados are the perfect example. I really like avocados. But they are way too damn much work for me. Plus I feel like they have too much control. I’m not into a food telling me when it’s ready to be eaten. I’m the boss in my own kitchen!!)

 

That being said, I have been working really hard to make a list for grocery shopping, with food that is not just good for me but also that me and my children are really going to eat. It’s been a really interesting experience, I find my fridge is a lot emptier, but I’m being more creative with what I eat. So having less food on hand actually has me eating a larger variety of dishes.

 

I still sometimes I end up with things that need to be eaten immediately, for one reason or another. This week it was asparagus. I bought it a few days ago with the intention of trying out a pasta recipe I had found. Truth be told, I’m not crazy about pasta and so it wasn’t a brilliant plan. But I am not one to waste food, so when I saw it in the fridge I knew I had to use it tout de suite.

 

I went through my mental checklist of soup necessities and ticked all the boxes – broth, onion, garlic, carrot, celery – I had what I needed to make asparagus soup! It is quick and delicious. I actually wished I had had more because it only made 3 or 4 servings and I would have liked to freeze some to eat later. Either way I will be enjoying it for the next couple days.

 

Here is what I put in tonight’s soup. I have made it so many times, I really can wing it, but this is the standard ingredients I have on hand all the time.

IMG_0666

1/2 a small onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 celery stalk

1 carrot

3-4 cups veg broth

1 bundle asparagus

 

In a soup pot, sautee the garlic on medium low for a minute or two until you can really smell it, then add the onion, carrot, celery, increase the heat to medium and stir occasionally until the carrots soften a little, approx. 3 mins. Add the asparagus and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25 mins. Puree and serve.

 

So simple, so delicious. The gorgeous green colour reminds me of fresh farmers market veggies and helps me to forget that it’s the middle of winter!

 

Getting creative in the kitchen doesn’t mean you need fancy ingredients or special skills, its just a matter of thinking outside the box, combining flavours you love and being okay with screwing it up sometimes. Goodness knows I have screwed up my fair share of experiments.

 

But I always learn something, whether it’s to pay more attention or that I like more garlic than other people do.

 

I am always learning. Learning how to eat, shop, cook, it’s always a challenge, especially as my kids grow and change, and as my own tastes develop. But it can fun if you let it, too. Don’t be intimidated by healthy eating, just dive in and try, screw up, learn something.

 

It’s all good, as long as the journey is enjoyable it really doesn’t matter where you end up.