Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Family meals 6: guest blogger Melissa

I am sooooo excited about the participation of some of my dear friends in this family meals series. I have learned a lot and been very inspired by reading about the meals others make. I hope the same is true for you, readers.

Next up: Melissa. Long-time blog readers know she and I have a grand history. She was present at Charlotte's birth and I had the privilege of being there when Melissa had her daughter, Jasmine, last summer. I love this lady. Here she is...

Hello, my name is Melissa. I'm Kelly's best friend so as a guest on this blog I feel kind of famous and important by default. Other things that make me feel important include but are not limited to: being a believer in Christ, being a labor doula, being a wife, being a mom to the cutest baby on earth, and being responsible for the meals in our home.

My husband works as a Physician Assistant in an Emergency Room, so his schedule is always a little bit different. There are many evenings, weekends, and holidays that he is not home. His work schedule effects our family life quite a bit, for better or worse. Thankfully we do know what it is in plenty of time to plan ahead and fit in the other things that matter to us.

Over the last several years I have done quite a bit of experimenting with my diet, more often than not dragging my patient and supportive husband along with me. My motivation for this experimentation is usually related to weight loss, but after having very serious issues with low supply when attempting to breastfeed my daughter, I am becoming more and more interested in learning about how the food we eat directly effects all of the important functions of our bodies. The book, It Starts With Food has really influenced me in making some pretty drastic changes in the way I feed my family. 

As encouraged in the book, in September, Joel and I decided to commit to our first Whole30. For 30 days we strictly ate nothing but: meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats. It was very challenging, but very worth it. Long story short, we like how that way of eating makes us look, feel, and function, and think that it is worth the effort and discipline. For us it is unrealistic to eat by these strict guidelines 365, but for the most part we have really been striving to stick to a Paleo diet ever since then. It does require a lot of food prep and a lot of cooking, but I feel like I am getting into the swing of it. I use a lot of recipes and ideas that I have found on Pinterest, but often just pull together simple meals of meat and veggies. Here is an example of a fairly normal week.

Monday: Joel was at work and I was thankful to find some leftover mulligatawny soup in the fridge. I won't mention how long it had been sitting in there.

Tuesday: Joel was working again. Evenings tend to be a demanding time for the baby, and so I am often completely consumed with managing her needs up until I  tuck the little angel into bed. I was very hungry by the time I was able to focus on making something for myself and so I wanted it to be quick. This time that meant an chicken/apple sausage with salad greens dressed in pomegranate vinegar, and half an avocado.

Wednesday:Joel was working AGAIN (are we seeing a pattern here?)! I didn't have to wait until so late to eat this time because earlier during the day I had made some chicken salad for him to pack in his lunchbox. I made my own paleo ranch mayo from scratch, and so I decided to let myself take a little shortcut and buy canned chicken from Trader Joe's. That was my first time trying canned chicken and it wasn't amazing by itself, but the mayo I made was flavorful and exciting enough to make this a winning meal. 

Thursday: Together at last :). When Joel is home to help take care of the babe and/or help with food prep, I am usually willing to attempt more complicated meals. I decided to try a a few new things. I had pinned this recipe for Kenyan Braised Collard Greens and Beef a while ago, and surprisingly most of these ingredients are things that I regularly have on hand. I also took my first stab and frying a plantain. I just sliced it, sprinkled it with cinnamon, and pan fried it in a little bit of coconut oil. YUM. Joel liked those so much he said we should have fried plantains every night... not.gonna.happen.

Friday: Soup. Inspired by whatever I could find in the pantry and fridge. On this particular night that included: chicken breast, potato, carrots, collard greens, a box of mushroom broth, and a splash of coconut milk. It turned out pretty delicious, in my humble option. And didn't require an extra trip to the grocery store.

Disclaimer: I have way too much fun watching Food Network, and am such a nerd attempting to plate my food in an attractive way. I do not claim to be a photographer though! 

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