Weekly Meals

For as much as I love to cook, I have never been great at meal planning. Or meal prepping.

Occasionally, I’ll spend 10 minutes chopping a bunch of vegetables to snack on throughout the week, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. And if I’m being honest, it really doesn’t happen all that often.

Given this new season of life that my little family is about to enter into, I figure it’s time to change my fly-by-the-seat of my pants ways and start holding myself accountable to the groceries sitting in my fridge and not let them go to waste. Food waste, man – it’s the worst, isn’t it?

I also realize that my days of having all the time in the world to prep and cook dinner are limited. Lately I’ve been experimenting with quick-cooking dinners that involve prepping fewer ingredients and dirtying fewer dishes. I’ve been at it for a few weeks, and I honestly don’t think the variety of our meals nor satiety they provide have suffered.

That being said, here’s last week’s dinners. Most of these dinners are fairly healthy (at least from the nutrient standpoint, if not totally low-cal. I AM pregnant after all), and can be prepped, cooked and on your plate in 30 minutes or less. I hope these give you some ideas for your own week!

Monday

BBQ chicken drumsticks with prepared slaw salad

No real recipe needed – I seasoned some drumsticks and we threw them on the grill, basting every few minutes with bbq sauce. Served with Tahini, Pepita & Apricot Slaw kit from Trader Joe’s.

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Tuesday

Beef and broccoli with (cauliflower) rice

I thinly sliced a semi-thawed ButcherBox sirloin steak against the grain, then let it defrost the rest of the way in the fridge (<– this is a great way to get super thin slices of meat that stay tender when cooked). I then sauteed it loosely using Just a Taste’s Easy Beef and Broccoli recipe. Served over a mix of regular white rice and cauliflower rice.

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Wednesday

Baked salmon with roasted potatoes and sauteed zucchini

I topped some wild salmon filets with salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder and baked at 375 until flaky. I quartered some Trader Joe’s teeny tiny potatoes, tossed them with a little olive oil and TJ’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning and roasted for ~30 min at 425. Last, I sauteed some half moons of zucchini in the same spices as the salmon until tender.

And I totally flaked on taking a picture of it, so here’s an artistic rendering of my plate:

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Thursday

Pesto chicken with cauliflower gnocchi and zucchini

We threw some pesto chicken (packaged, again from Trader Joe’s) on the grill, and I sauteed up a package of TJ’s frozen cauliflower gnocchi with some zucchini, garlic and a sprinkle of parmesan.

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Friday

Homemade pizza with beer dough crust – we’re going strong with the pizza Friday tradition.

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Saturday

Kung Pao Chicken with rice

We went to the movies on Saturday afternoon and came home full of popcorn, but knew we needed something with a little protein. I cooked up a frozen TJ’s entree (Kung Pao Chicken), added broccoli and served it over rice. We ate a lot of sodium this day, but what can ya do.

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Sunday

Biscuit “empanadas” with sauteed broccoli

Both Donnie and I bought biscuit dough over the course of the last week (this is what happens when you spend enough time with your spouse…you pass food cravings by telepathy), so I sauteed up some ground turkey with peppers, onions, and taco spices and then stuffed that inside split biscuits with a little cheese, empanada/turnover style. Baked those until golden, and served with some sauteed broccoli on the side.

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And that’s a full week of dinners! Usually we order in or go out at least one night per week, so don’t think we cook 7 nights every week. Although, sometimes cooking is faster than takeout (Saturday’s dinner, for example), for what that’s worth.

What’s on your plate this week?

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First Trimester Recap

Since I’m already well into my second trimester now, I figured I should document the first 13 or so weeks before the pregnancy brain completely erases it from my mind.

I’ll preface this by saying that I think I’ve had a relatively easy go of things during this pregnancy, for which I feel very fortunate, but there were several weeks in the first trimester that felt very exhausting.

As I mentioned in my last post, we found out that I’m pregnant on May 3 which put me at 4 weeks pregnant. I felt great at that point, and did for another two weeks or so. To the point of thinking, “this is totes kewl, I got this!”.

LOL, you guys. Once the hormones really started kicking in around week 6, it was not totes kewl. My main symptoms were nausea in the morning and crazy fatigue. Like, put my head down on my desk at 2pm because I can’t fathom staying awake any longer.

My doctor didn’t see me for my first prenatal visit until I was 9 weeks, so for a while I was relying on Dr. Google and pregnancy apps for insights. I’m sure every first-time pregnant lady finds herself in this situation, but I have to say I was surprised that I wouldn’t see the doc for such a long time! Huh, now I know.

Here’s a rundown of the rest of the first trimester:

The belly: Given that I am a short, short lady I have always anticipated that I will have a giant pregnant belly. Maybe some weird part of me is looking forward to looking like Violet Beauregard post-forbidden gum eating, but I asked Donnie to start taking pictures of me from the very beginning in hopes that I’d spy a baby bump.

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Turns out, a baby the size of an apple seed does not in fact cause you to look noticeably pregnant. HUH.

For reference, here’s a photo at the start of week 11:

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And here’s one from week 14:

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It’s not dramatic, but I can see a difference between these. I’m not crazy, right?

Morning sickness: I wouldn’t say I got away scot-free on this one, but as I mentioned I didn’t have a horrible time of it. I would feel the nausea descend on me after breakfast and it generally subsided by lunch. Considering so many women say “morning” sickness is a misnomer and should be called “all-day” sickness, I’ll count my lucky stars on this one.

And luckily, no food aversions! I love eating, that would have been so sad.

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Other symptoms: Fatigue, as I mentioned, and also headaches. Ohhh, the headaches. Headaches that were like,

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For the record, this symptom is still going strong in the 2nd trimester, but around week 8 that I had a wicked headache for a solid four days. It was brutal.

Cravings: Even though my morning sickness was pretty mild, I did develop a few strong food cravings very early on. The first was bagels. There’s something about bagels, right? To be fair, I have always loved bagels and it’s possible I’m using pregnancy as an excuse, but…I’m not about to stop. Probably not until this kid is in college. The second craving is fruit. I’m not usually a huge fruit eater, but I’m definitely eating more than usual now. Favorites include apples, mango, and nectarines.

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Apps: In part because of the long wait between the positive pregnancy test and first prenatal appointment, I have downloaded so many pregnancy apps. It’s out of control. It’s a good thing I pay for extra memory on my phone, otherwise I’d have to start deleting other (probably more critical) apps. At the moment, the Glow Nurture and Bump apps are my favorite.

I will say, however, that if you are prone to anxiety beware of the community forums on some of these apps. It’s worse than WebMD-ing your symptoms.

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And now…today marks 19 weeks! We have our midway ultrasound this Friday, which I’m looking forward to. I’ll check in again soon with a belly update!

New Things

Well, it has been a few years since I checked in. Literally.

It’s been so long, in fact, that I wasn’t sure whether this blog was still floating around the internet. Until, of course, I got a payment reminder for my domain – ha!

I’ve been feeling the tug to start writing again lately. The last few years have been exciting, crazy, and, well, BIG. Maybe it’s all the change that’s inspiring me, or maybe it’s the idea of having my own little space again in the midst of lots of flux. But I’m back!

Let’s get caught up.

2016

This was the year that sparked all.of.the change. In August, Donnie and I left for a vacation in San Francisco. While I was completely unsuspecting and simply excited about exploring a new city together, Donnie had other plans and proposed during a hike among the redwoods in Muir Woods.

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One of the best memories of my life. In fact, I forgot until a few days ago that I was sick with some kind of stomach bug almost the entire trip – good memories really do eclipse the unpleasant!

We started looking for venues and dates a few weeks later, and settled on a gorgeous location in downtown Nashville (just south of Broadway). We had been visiting Nashville at least once a year since we met and planned to move there eventually, so the location was perfect for us.

2017

This was a big year. BIG. First, our wedding date was set for late September so the planning really kicked into high gear.

Second, I had been casually looking for a job in Nashville for about a year but had put my search on the back burner once wedding planning started. I figured that was maybe too much life change at one time. Plus, I had a job that I liked in Chicago, so no rush.

I was still signed up for LinkedIn alerts and had set my search criteria for jobs located in Nashville, and one day in June I got a notification for a position that felt like a good fit. I asked Donnie if I was a crazy person for thinking about applying, but we both decided that I might as well go for it – if it didn’t feel right and I was offered a job, I could always turn it down (famous last words).

Fast forward to early August, 2 phone interviews, 1 flight to Nashville for a full day of in-person interviews, and a few weeks of waiting and continued wedding planning and…I got the job.

WHAT. I know, it’s insane. So here’s how that timeline panned out:

Early August: Accept job offer
September 24: WEDDING DAY! (in Nashville)
September 26: Head back to Chicago, go back to work
Early October: 2 week honeymoon in Europe
Mid October: Arrive home in Chicago and almost immediately move to Nashville
6 days later: Start new job

LOL, am I right?

But you know what? We are so happy and the madness of packing, traveling, etc was totally worth it. Nashville is awesome. The people and vibe here are just great, my work stress is less as a whole, and the change of pace is exactly what we were hoping for. We’ve had a few hiccups of course (seriously, you should see our kitchen. It’s hilariously TINY), but I’m just really grateful.

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2018

Fast forward to this year, feeling more settled and into a routine.

And then we found out some news that promises to rock us right off the ol’ merry-go-round…

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Pregnant!

We found out in early May, and I’m due in January. That makes me 17 weeks as of today.

Seeing as we’re still new to town I hadn’t yet found a doctor, so after the positive test I did a quick (read: frantic) search for an OB/Gyn who is accepting new patients, and luckily got in with a practice that seems great. I’ve had two prenatal appointments and so far so good. God is great.

I’m hoping to share some updates on pregnancy here as I go, since I’ve read many other bloggers’ pregnancy journals and found them so helpful. I’m also obviously going to be a full-time working mom (out of the home), and I hope to share my experience with that – the good and the challenges.

Stay tuned, more to come!