Making the Most Out of Mealtime

As a new mom, there never seems to be enough time in the day. Time stands still when you’re trying to put the baby to sleep. 10 minutes feels like 10 hours. Then there are some days where I wake up, and the next thing I know it’s 5:00!

So basic things that I need to do like, I don’t know, cleaning the house, making dinner and well showering, become an afterthought. That’s why I’m always looking for ways to save time and make life easier. Which brings me to my latest venture-one pot wonders i.e. red beans and rice.

You may be thinking ๐Ÿ’ญ hmmmm…a blog post about red beans? Don’t knock an oldie but goodie. I totally understand why it’s a recipe that’s passed down from generation to generation. It’s easy, it’s filling and it’s a perfect leftover meal.  And when you’re short on time, but still need to make dinner, this has become my favorite (and my husband’s favorite) weekly meal.

The hardest part I’ve found about being a new first time mom is trying to meet your own unrealistic expectations. I had so many pre-conceived notions about motherhood and none of them turned out to be true. This has forced me to prioritize my routine and just do what I can when I can. You don’t have to clean the whole house everyday and make a 4 course dinner all while trying to run after your crawling baby. Make a meal that gives you leftovers, clean one room of the house when the baby naps and well, you still have to run after the crawling baby, but at least you’ll be prepared for it.

Red Beans and Rice a la Nola Fit Chick

  •  1 lb bag of Camellia red beans (or any brand you want)
  • Creole seasoning (found in the produce section and consists of onions, bell peppers, garlic, celery, green onions and parsley-makes life easier)
  • 3 packs of turkey and/or chicken sausage (depending on how much meat you like in your beans)
  • spices (use whatever you like, I use Tony Chachere’s and Mrs. Dash. I try not to use any extra salt)
  • instant rice (don’t judge, we’re saving time here)

So the cooking process is basically an all day affair, so be prepared for that.  First, I soak the beans over night and the next day I rinse them until the water runs clear. Then I fill the pot with water and start it to boil on medium heat. Keep and eye on this because you do not want to burn your beans or you will have to start all over which defeats the whole purpose!

Next, I blend maybe a cup to a cup and a half of the creole seasoning in my food processor. Then I add it to the pot with the beans and let the seasoning incorporate in with the beans as they boil. After the beans cook down a little, I add more water and keep cooking them. I fill up the pot maybe 2 times before I add the meat.

In a skillet, I add more creole seasoning and enough water to fill the bottom of the pan. I use water instead of oil or butter so that I don’t have to drain it before putting it in the pot with the beans. I let the seasoning and water cook down a little before adding all my chopped up sausage. Then I season my meat with whatever spices I want and when it’s done, I add it to my beans. I use turkey sausage and chicken sausage but most people flavor their beans with ham and pork sausage. The good thing is you can use whatever you want, but I usually opt for the healthier option since I don’t eat pork. Completely up to you. 

Now all you have to do is keep cooking it until it gets to the thickness that you like. Red beans cook pretty fast so you don’t have to keep adding water if it looks like it might be done. Taste your beans often and make sure it’s got the flavor you want and the consistency you want.


And then, voila! Add rice if you want. I use the boil in a bag instant rice and you just follow the box directions on that. It’s pretty much idiot proof. You now have a meal for the next few days. So when your husband comes home and asks what’s for dinner, you don’t have to punch him in the face. Tell him dinner is done and leave you alone. He knows how to use a microwave, right?!

What kinds of meals do you make? I’m always up for a new recipe!

For all the Mamas…

In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to write about the newfound respect I have for all moms. I always appreciated them, don’t get me wrong, because in my opinion I have the best mom in the world. She raised my sister and I by herself after our father passed away, and now that I have my own family, I have no idea how she did it. Being a mom is harder than anything I’ve ever done. Including graduating from college. Because up until now, that was the hardest thing I’ve done in my adult life. It’s also the best and most fun thing I’ve ever done. My son brings so much joy and happiness into my life, it’s hard to express. 


I think most people take for granted the role a mother has in someone’s life. Taking care of someone other than yourself for the rest of their existence (because let’s face it, it’s not just 18 years. I still depend on my mom) is hard, hard work. But I understand why people say it’s the most rewarding. It just took me finding out firsthand to understand completely.  I just hope I can be there for my children like my mom is there for my sister and I. To tell it like it is whether we want to hear it or not. To be our biggest fan whether we believe it or not. And to love us no matter what. 


So this Mother’s Day I encourage everyone to not only tell the mother figure in their lives how much they mean to them but try and show them everyday. Because a good mom is a terrible thing to waste. 

Happy Mother’s Day!! โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’œ

Pinterest Win: Lactation Cookies

Not everything on Pinterest is easy. In fact, 90% of the things I’ve tried end up being much more difficult than just buying it or hiring someone else to do it. But what’s the fun in that, right?

As my baby is eating more and more regular foods, my milk production has dropped a little. My plan was to nurse for at least a year, so I was looking for some ways to increase my milk production. This led me to lactation cookies. I found some that I planned on buying online already made but  a friend of mine suggested I check out her Pinterest board for breastfeeding. She had recipes for all kinds of things, so I picked one and gave it a go. Surprisingly it wasn’t as bad as I thought. 

 Here’s what you do ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿฝ

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. flaxseed meal
4 tbsp. water

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla {I like to use a little more for that extra flavor.}

2 cups all purpose flour 

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. *Brewerโ€™s Yeast {This was hard for me to find. I ended up going to a vitamin store like The Vitamin Shoppe to get it.}

3 cups quick oats

1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375ยบF. 
Mix together the flaxseed and water and let sit for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, cream together the butter and sugars.

Add eggs one at a time and mix well.

Add flaxseed mix and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, combine together flour, baking soda, salt, Brewerโ€™s Yeast, and oats.

Add to the butter mixture 1/2 cup at a time.

Once the dough is mixed together well, add chocolate chips.

Bake for 9-11 minutes. (I did it for 10 minutes.)

– recipe from Lifestyle Hunting


This recipe made so many cookies. Well worth it to make instead of buy. Pinterest=win!!

Not only did the cookies taste good, but it worked. 


Check it out! โ˜๐ŸฝThe milk was a-flowing! 

So for all you breastfeeding moms who are looking for things to try to increase milk supply, I highly recommend this recipe. I also used Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk tea (tea and cookies, what could be better!)

I’m always open to hear what you did to help with milk production. 

But first, coffee

I’ve found a new summer drink…and it’s perfect for anyone who loves iced coffee and somewhat healthy drinks! 

A couple of days ago, my husband brought home Cool Brew decaf coffee for me and Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea for himself. I’m nursing still so I try to limit how much caffeine I’m taking in to either just decaf or one 8 ounce cup of regular a day. Well, that day I decided to mix the two and see how it tasted. It’s heaven! And it’s got 9 grams of protein. It’s not perfect though. There is a bit of sugar but it’s still a better option than that Starbucks you would have normally picked up. 

Yum!

Try it iced or hot, you won’t be disappointed! 

The Ever Changing Post-Partum Body

In an earlier post I talked about some of the things I was doing to workout post baby. Now that’s it’s 8 months later, some of those things have fallen by the waste side. I always feel like something else is in the way.  I blamed the holidays, Mardi Gras, the rainy weather. Not to mention when you live in Louisiana and there’s crawfish season and festivals approaching, procrastination is inevitable. 

However all is not lost. I’m making some progress…this is me at 6 weeks, 11 weeks and 6 months post partum ( I can’t look ๐Ÿ‘€):

This is me today. Compared to the other pics on the right.

I haven’t done a traditional workout in about 6 weeks but I am very active around the house and in my garden. I’m trying not to be discouraged! And for those that are breastfeeding, it really does help shed some pounds. It’s not as drastic as a cleanse or anything, but every week I drop another pound or so. However, I feel like I’m stuck in a rut, so I need to step my game up. Everything I do now is such a hassle though. Jumping in the car and going to the gym requires a week of planning…pumping, packing a bag for the baby if I’m dropping him off at my mom’s or making sure there’s enough milk and/or baby food. Whew. It’s enough to make me give up on leaving the house. So I’m coming up with some things to do at home along with some fun outings with the baby. 

Play date in City Park once a month with another mom friend

 

The main thing is finding my motivation and not giving up. As a “pre-pregnancy” fitness professional, how can I help others if I’ve given up and won’t help myself? Every time I put on leggings (because I refuse to buy jeans since I can’t fit the ones I used to wear), I think “ugh, it would be nice to switch it up”. And every time I put on my maternity jeans (yes, I can still wear them and it pains me to look at them now considering I’m NOT pregnant), I think “ugh I shouldn’t be wearing these”. So that’s my motivation. I’m taking each day as a new start. Summer is coming and it’s too hot in Louisiana for leggings. I’m not giving up on using my treadmill everyday either. It’s a goal that I haven’t stuck with because it seems so daunting. Our workout room has become baby storage center and it’s not very conducive for exercise motivation. The treadmill still works though and it’s been staring at me and giving me the evil eye. So I’m setting a small goal for just 30 minutes everyday where I can adapt as I go along. 

Being with my baby these past months has been amazing and I wouldn’t trade a second of it, but now it’s time to get back to my old body. If I can’t do anything about the giant breastfeeding boobs, I can lose the 5 month pregnant looking stomach, right? It’s not entirely unrealistic. You just have to be patient and take your time. It took 9 months to get there and you can’t lose it overnight. 

What are some things that have helped you lose the baby weight? I’m always open to hearing new things. 

Stay healthy!

Garden Therapy

Whether you’re a new mom or not, everyone needs an outlet for stress and relaxation. While I was pregnant and not working as many hours as I was used to, I decided to start a garden. It was rocky at first considering the fact I didn’t have much experience and I started it while it was still cold, but I have to say it’s getting better with practice. And with the help of my mom, Mrs. Green Thumb. 

Bell peppers ๐ŸŒถTomatoes ๐Ÿ… and Cucumbers ๐Ÿฅ’


I never gave much thought to why people enjoyed gardening and planting flowers. I’ve always loved getting flowers for any occasion but planting things was never on my radar. Growing up and starting a family has made me want to be a healthier person and in turn provide a healthier lifestyle for my new family. Growing my own vegetables and having to tend to plants and flowers is fun and exciting but it’s also good exercise. Not to mention it’s something to do with your children and other family. 

I’ve found gardening can make any space more homey and welcoming. It’s aesthetically pleasing and good for the soul as well. It’s a bit time consuming and you need to be diligent just like anything you care for on a long term basis but the outcome is so rewarding. 

My flower box ๐ŸŒบ

Going out and starting a garden isn’t going to solve all your problems or instantly make things better but it’s helped keep me active and it’s become enjoyable. I tried something new and it led me to a new hobby and also to finding out new things about myself. 

My flower box #2 ๐ŸŒธ


Be well!

XOXO 

Best Baby Products You MUST Have On Hand

I have a few friends who are pregnant and have been asking what kinds of things I use and don’t use. That got me thinking…so I decided to put together a few of my favorite  must haves

  • Mommys Bliss products: Before I even had my baby someone gave me a bottle of Mommys Bliss gripe water and said she swore by it when her baby was fussy. I have to say I love it but I used it mostly for my very hiccup-y baby. I’ve also discovered their constipation ease because yea I have one of those babies now. Their products are all natural, safe and effective. Can’t beat it. 
  • Dreft: This has been around forever and is probably one of the more well known baby detergents but the stain remover spray by Dreft is amazing! It gets out anything from food to poop!
  • Boppy: Another baby essential. I rarely used it for its purpose which is to put the baby on while nursing or feeding. I do use it more now as a kind of pillow for myself to prop up on while I lay down so that I can nurse baby to sleep. Believe me, it’s got many purposes and worth it to have. Boppy is the brand name but there are millions of them out there with the same shape. Get whichever one you want. 
  • Bouncer seat: The uses for this are endless but I used it mostly from 3month and up. Some say their newborns loved it and used it to sleep in but my baby would only sleep in my arms <sigh>. Now I use it to feed him and put him in when I need my arms free. He’s getting too big for it now that he’s 7months which leads me to what he likes now….
  • Jumper: The jumperoo. We have 2 and he didn’t like either one until recently. Now that he’s more aware of his body and trying to crawl and walk he loves it. It’s perfect for when I need to do things around the house because I don’t have to worry about him falling out and it keeps him pretty entertained. His favorite is the Baby Einstein Neighborhood Friends Activity Jumper (shown below).
  • Burp cloths: I used these mostly when he was a newborn but now I use them when I feed him baby food and when I nurse. All purpose! The ones I have are from Target (shown below). Target has great baby items and brands. 
  • Swaddle blankets/baby blankets: These Aden and Anais swaddle blankets are perfect for the summer babies in the south. They’re lightweight and get softer the more you wash. Baby blankets are essentials. Throw one in your diaper bag because you never know where you and your baby might end up. 
  • Pacifier: Not every baby will take a pacifier but to those lucky mamas that do, it’s a necessity for naps and bedtime. Of course they tend to like only certain ones and that can be a pain but all I can say is trial and error. Your baby will let you know what he/she likes. Mine likes Mam (shown below) which you can find anywhere. I got these at Walmart. 
  • Teething ring: My baby started teething at 3 months so we had to get something to relieve the itch and drool. Not all babies like them so again try different ones and see what he/she likes. I got this one at Walmart
  • Diaper bag/backpack: Of course this is an essential because who knew such small creatures need so much stuff. My fave is from Timi and Leslie (shown below). I knew I wanted something that was functional but stylish as well. I also like the backpack version of diaper bags for when you’re walking more with the stroller or if you’re carrying/wearing the baby. This is next on my list to buy. 
  • Stroller: We received a Britax car seat as a gift so I looked for the compatible stroller to go with it. I love it. It’s perfect because my baby falls asleep 99.9% every time we get in the car so it’s easy to take the car seat and connect it right to the stroller with minimal disturbance. Believe me, if you’re not getting enough sleep making sure the baby stays asleep is key. 
  • Sling/carrier: Unfortunately I have yet to find the perfect carrier. I received 2 as a gift: The Baby K’Tan which is so complicated in my opinion and the baby was in it a handful of times. Exhibit A ๐Ÿ‘‡๐ŸฝAnd the Infantino baby carrier ๐Ÿ‘‡๐ŸฝWhich I use more often now that he’s bigger. Neither one I could swear by but having one is definitely an essential and definitely on my list to find the perfect one. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear from you! And if I forgot something that is a must have for you, let me hear them! I’m always open to learning new things from other moms out there. 

Stay healthy and be well!!

XOXO