HAPPY NEW YEAR…
Last week was kind of rotten around here with colds, grumpiness, and disorganization. But somehow we were able to get things in working order this weekend. Everyone is healthy, the house is tidy, and we had a wonderful tiny birthday celebration for Gigi. I even got to read in bed for a good hour yesterday afternoon! So, I’m having a “first day of the New Year” do-over. As far as I’m concerned today is the start of my new year…
It’s a New Year and I couldn’t be happier. This year was amazing and challenging. The ups and downs this year felt more extreme than usual… we welcomed Lulu to our family and what a joy she is! We had so many wonderful experiences with our friends and family. This year was also a very difficult one. My best friend, who I’m blessed to have as my next door neighbor, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August. I didn’t talk about it at all here because it wasn’t my experience to talk about. I’m mentioning it now because I learned from it that we should be doing self-breast exams even if you’re breastfeeding and even if you’re in your early 30’s. That’s maybe my most important resolution for the New Year. I learned more than just that from her, I was so impressed with her sense of humor, her positivity, her strength, her perspective. I hope to take some of her traits with me into this year.
Aside from doing monthly self-breast exams, my main goals for this coming year are to focus on simplicity and self-care. Together Kyle and I are reassessing everything, holding up household items and asking one another, “Do we still use this enough to justify keeping it around?”, as well as taking a broader look at our belongings and lifestyle, “Could we work as a one car family?” We’ve also been talking a lot about what we need as individuals in order to feel less depleted and drained. For both of us that means we need exercise, time to work on our creative projects, a clean house, and a healthy diet. Sometimes meeting these simple needs can seem really challenging but we are trying not to overthink it. As we continue to simplify our work lives, our home environment, and our schedules things will all fall into place.
An urgent focus for me is to get my foot to heal. My foot has been injured since Lulu was born. After hobbling and limping around for the past 7 months, I finally got a complete diagnosis; stress fractures, sprained ligaments, and tendonitis! It sounds intense, and it kind of is, but it’s nothing degenerative and nothing that requires surgery so I actually feel relieved. Doctor’s orders were to rest (which is difficult given that I’m alone with two busy babes all day) and to boost my body’s ability to heal by increasing my calcium and protein intake (which I can totally do)! I think the lesson hidden in the injury is a reminder that if I don’t take care of myself, and even learn to put my needs first sometimes, or I won’t be able to be at my best for anyone else. That is a challenge for me, but something that I (obviously) need to work on this year.
So with a fridge full of farm fresh eggs, vegetables, chicken, yogurt, etc. a pantry loaded with quinoa and whole wheat flour, and a new calcium supplement and order of prenatal vitamins on the way, a clean house, and a growing mountain of things heading to the Goodwill center, I feel ready to take on the New Year.
One of my go to, easy, protein packed meals is to make a big batch of Chicken Salad early in the week. That way, even on my busiest, most frazzled days, I have something on hand that nourishes me. I often stuff it into pitas, make sandwiches with it, or put a large scoop of it on top of salad greens… and I’ve been known to simply eat it straight from the bowl when the day seems pinched into teeny tiny moments to take care of myself.
SIMPLE CHICKEN SALAD
3 bone in, skin on chicken breasts
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise or Veganaise
6 green onions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons dijon mustard
3-4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
palmful fresh marjoram, tarragon, or thyme, minced
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Place the chicken breast on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and black pepper. Roast until the interior temperature reaches 170˚. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.
Meanwhile, prep all your other ingredients. Once the chicken has cooled, remove and discard the skin, and cut the breast meat from the bone. Roughly dice the meat, and mix it in a bowl along with the mayonnaise, green onions, dijon mustard, celery, and fresh herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pile the chicken salad into pitas or onto your favorite sandwich bread, or scoop it on top of some crisp romaine for a great salad.
SIMPLE CHICKEN SALAD