labor day weekend / vegetable soup that’s actually good

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This past Labor Day weekend was long and really comfortable. I spent a couple of days with my college girlfriends at the beach. We ate and drank and laid on the sand. There was a baby in our midst and two more on the way. I could almost feel the change in the air: new life, (literally) new people, jobs and careers and locations were all ending and starting between the 10 of us. Even our conversations felt different, we talked about politics and being pregnant and giving birth and buying houses, all kinds of heavy, adult themes that weren’t even considered almost a decade ago when we first met, when our conversations were filled with boys, food, clothes, occasionally school, and whatever else undergrads talk about. I forget, it was so long ago.

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After college when we all got married and transitioned into careers and churches and awkward, quarter life crises that some of us (or maybe just me) are still going through, we met new people and had new relationships that felt awkward and strained at best. Being back with the people who really know me, friends who need no explanation, who were at and in my wedding, and saw me really grow up, felt like a breath of fresh air. Which it literally was, since we were at the beach. Despite all of our personal changes, it was incredibly refreshing to be with people whose friendship with me hasn’t changed.

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what we eat this week / if all goes according to plan

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monday’s dinner in bad light

Short, and to the point. Here is what our food life looks like this week, for people who might need some menu inspiration:

Monday: Kale, Quinoa and Chicken Bowls (sautéed kale and garlic, tossed with olive oil, shredded grilled chicken and cooked quinoa, top with hot sauce and parmesan cheese)
Tuesday: Tuna salad + green salads
Wednesday: Cheap and Fancy Mac and Cheese
Thursday: Balsamic glazed chicken and roasted carrots
Friday: Roasted Garlic and Coconut Soup with Focaccia bread (Does anybody know about that coconut soup at Surin of Thailand? This is my attempt to re-create. I’ll let you know how it goes!)
For interested parties, we spent less that $90.00 on food for this week, so file this under budget! Also, M, T, Th meals are gluten free, T&Th are also dairy free. Leave out the cheese and so is Monday.)

How to prep for this (I usually prep on Sundays):

Grill your chicken. I grill mine in olive oil with salt and pepper.
Cook your quinoa. Quinoa cooks just like rice. I use 2 cups of water, 1 cup of quinoa, splash of olive oil and salt.
Make your mayonnaise and then assemble your tuna salad: I add a few spoonful’s of mayo, a little mustard, some pickle relish, and a grated boiled egg
Make sure your salad greens are washed and sorted.
Make your salad dressing. I find a basic combo of olive oil, vinegars and mustard to be a good start. But honestly, we buy lots of this.
Chop the broccoli and carrots for use later this week

The rest I’ll do the day we eat it, but that’s a really good head start if you’re looking to save some time. I work until 5 every day but Friday, so it’s nice to have a few things done so I don’t spend allllll my free time in the kitchen. Cause, you know, gotta live life!

focaccia bread! recipe coming soon!

focaccia bread! recipe coming soon!

mango chicken curry

A lot has changed since I originally published this over 2 years ago. While I appreciate the perspective that this gave me, I do not feel comfortable promoting Whole30 or diet culture. I’m leaving this post because its part of my journey and shows how far I’ve come, which is why I’m not taking the post down. If you would like to discuss more of these thoughts with me, feel free to reach out! Also, this is a really yummy curry recipe, regardless of its origins.

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Recipe at the bottom!

Food: we all need it. It’s one of the needs that all humans have in common. It can bring people together in fellowship, be the centerpiece of a holiday gathering, and sustain the soul and body. Depending on what you eat, it can nourish and heal your body, or slowly poison it. I love food! (hello captain obvious) I love the smells, textures, and tastes. I love the preparation and the fascinating way that what you eat can change you, for the better or worse. Our appetites can be complicated and full of emotion, so it’s an area to tread carefully in. I believe in a balanced diet, but I know that means different things for different people. For me, it means we eat lots of fresh produce, meats, dairy and protein, as well as grains and legumes. I also think that balance does not mean restriction or deprivation, but moderation. I understand that some people feel differently about this, and that’s great! This is me. Because I believe in balance and moderation, I’m super hesitant to jump on paleo/whole30/newest diet bandwagons. Everybody’s body and life and schedules are different, and people need different things. But ultimately, I think everyone needs an eating lifestyle that includes as many fruits and vegetables and happy meats, dairy and proteins as possible, and (this is super important to me) it needs to be enjoyed and savored. Since when does this kind of eating need to labeled and branded? Food for thought. (puns. ugh sorry)

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it’s greek to me curried chicken nachos / weeknight favorite

its greek to me nachos

its greek to me nachos

We eat a lot at our house. Which I’m sure most people will say about themselves, who have been blessed with access to bountiful funds and modern grocery stores. But for two people who have passed the adolescent growth spurt years, the amount of food consumed on our property is intense. My husband (bless him) has to consume around 3,200 calories a day just to maintain his weight and energy levels. (that’s a lot of calories: generally 3,000 calories = 1 pound of weight on the average person)  Feeding him is like a sport. You cook enough for 4 average, reasonably hungry adults, possibly 6 that have restraint. You serve yourself a moderate amount. Then Aaron bats cleanup and the meal that would feed most couples for two, possibly three really skinny days, becomes one. It’s a constant source of amazement for those unaccustomed to his food-vacuum ways.

Which means I cook a lot. Because I’m morally offended (dramatic, I know, chill out already) by fillling the vast calorie expanse with calorically dense/nutritionally void processed and fast food, it means a lot of home cooking. Maybe 4-5 nights of meals where some type of heated food assembly is involved, with 1 night of cobbled together leftovers and 1 night for takeout. And we usually eat the same thing, over and over again. In the fall/winter months, it’s lots of soups and stews with grilled chicken and roasted root vegetables. In the summer, lots of salads, summer veggies and summer fruits like blueberries and peaches and cherries and whatever cheap protein or grain fillers are around.

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