Tag Archives: Cooking

Time in the Kitchen

I’ve had a lot of people ask if I’ve been able to find the time to still cook since Ben was born. The easy answer is yes! It’s not always easy and I opt for different types of meals now than I did before Ben was born, but I still cook dinner every night that we’re home.

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Before I went back to work I found a new menu planning template to work and I LOVE how it’s formatted. Most templates have you plan out every day’s breakfast, lunch and snacks, but that’s just not my style – I’d rather have a week of ideas for breakfast and lunch, but plan out the dinners for each night of the week with a little more intention.

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This new menu has been working really well. I usually have themes for my dinners – I’m trying to do a Mexican dinner, an Asian night and sometimes a pizza night each week. Mexican offers great versatility with lunches the next day or use in leftovers/making something new later on in the week. Asian is our favorite and we love making homemade pizzas. I’ve also been pulling out my slow cooker more and more – it’s too handy not to!

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Over the weekend while Alex and Ben were out at their “guys day” with two other dads and their babies {4 babies to 3 dads!} I spent quite a bit of time putting together some freezer meals – I made a bunch of breakfast sandwiches and waffles to be able to pull out and pop in the oven on a busy morning.

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Here are some of my recent {and all-time!} favorites/go-to dinners:

This Week’s Happenings

Not a whole lot is going on right now – well, not enough to warrant its own blog post, anyway. In any case, I’ve compiled what’s been happening lately over in our neck of the woods.

Saturdays at the dog park

Saturdays at the dog park

Today Jackson turned 10 months! He weighs about 70 pounds. He definitely has some growing to do still – I noticed today that his head needs to catch up with the rest of his body. As a 10 month old his favorite things include: digging in the backyard, going for walks… lots of walks, playing with other dogs, terrorizing Henry, chasing Henry around the house, and generally doing what we don’t want him to do. In all fairness, Jackson really is a good dog. He’s adorably sweet and he has certainly found his place in our house – usually on top of our feet wherever we’re standing.

Jackson has grown to love playing fetch.

Jackson has grown to love playing fetch.

We began Monday, Wednesday, Friday runs with Jackson this week. Lately we have been realizing that we just can’t tire our little big pup out enough. We are hoping that running will do the trick. Monday marked our first official “family run” and we ran about 3 miles. We had run with Jackson in the past but it was more of a run-walk, whereas this was a solid 3-mile run. Much to our surprise, Jackson did awesome! This makes me so excited for summer.

Alex's new running shoes :)

Alex’s new running shoes :)

Our big trip to Europe is quickly approaching and we are FAR from ready to go! We booked our hotels in Spain and Switzerland last week but still need to get England and Amsterdam locked down, as well as our flight back to the US. Another thing that is on our to do list is figure out what we’re doing with Jackson. I am in the process of “interviewing” dog sitters for Jackson. I am certain we’ll find a good family who will be able to watch him while we’re gone, but it isn’t easy to find a home for him to stay at for nearly 30 days. Henry has a fabulous cat sitter already, so he’s taken care of.

This is what Jackson looks like after a 3-mile run.

This is what Jackson looks like after a 3-mile run.

As a preparation for part of our Europe trip Alex and I decided we’d like to learn to speak a bit of Italian. We will be in parts of Italy where tourists aren’t common and we’ll be attending an Italian wedding so we thought it would be nice to have a few words in our back pocket. We have been using a website called Duo Lingo for a few months and have started to build a small vocabulary but we’re realizing that we really need to step it up in order to be able to have very basic conversations and communicate a little bit in Italian in just a few short months. We are planning on hiring an Italian tutor with the hopes that she will be able to bring us up to speed. I think we’ll start with one session a week and then when we get closer we might increase to two. We’ll see!

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Alex got new glasses!

Alex got new glasses!

Our weekend was pretty low-key. Alex and I got the rare opportunity of having a lunch date on Friday! It was awesome – I met him at his office and we walked up the street to Homegrown, an AMAZING sandwich shop, to grab a bite to eat.

Lunch date at Homegrown in South Lake Union
Lunch date at Homegrown in South Lake Union

Friday night Alex went out with some friends and I stayed in with a spasming abdomen. Saturday we met Ali, Tyler and baby Vivian {and Glory, their dog} at the dog park and had brunch with them afterwards. We did some errands and came home to get a few things done around the house before going out for dinner at Naam Thai and a glass of wine at Bottlehouse. We had originally planned on skiing on Sunday but Alex just wasn’t feeling well enough so we stayed home.

We just adore this girl! How is she 13 months already!?

We just adore this girl! How is she 13 months old already!?

The weather was really nice on Sunday so we took Jackson for a long walk through the Washington Park Arboretum. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and getting stuff done around the house.

Hanging out at the arboretum on Sunday.

Hanging out at the arboretum on Sunday.

We’ve got some good stuff on the menu this week. The lasagna we had for dinner on Sunday was so so good and I can’t wait for pork carnitas tonight. They have been cooking in my crock pot all day and I can’t even pick up the pork without it falling apart. The rest of the week has mushroom ravioli, gnocchi with sausage and peppers and mushroom risotto… lots of mushrooms and pasta this week!

Weekend Fun in the Sun!

It was another weekend that flew by and ended up being busier than I expected it to be. The weather on Saturday couldn’t have been more perfect if I wanted it to be. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky for much of the day and it was a glorious 77 degrees and perfectly sunny.

Gorgeous day for a run on the lake!

Gorgeous day for a run on the lake!

While Alex was on a 60 mile bike ride I went for a 5.3 mile run down by Lake Washington. By the end of the weekend I got convinced by my friend Mary to join her and do a half marathon at the end of the summer! We are tentatively planning on running our 13.1 miles on August 24th.

Alex and his pup

Alex and his pup

Alex got back from his bike ride early afternoon and I had mentioned that Jackson seemed to be very hot that day, so Alex went and bought Jackson his very own pool. Jack dipped his feet and his belly in the pool but still needs to get used to the idea of swimming. I think Jackson is going to need a bigger pool soon!

Alex filling up the pool for Henry and Jackson.

Alex filling up the pool for Henry and Jackson.

Jackson preferred sun bathing.

Jackson preferred sun bathing.

Once Jackson petered out, Alex and I walked up to our favorite spot, Bottlehouse, to help them celebrate their 3rd birthday. We sat on the patio and back in their garden spot and soaked up a LOT of sun and drank our fair share of vino as we enjoyed the afternoon together.

We love Bottlehouse!

We love Bottlehouse!

Loving the sunny patio.

Loving the sunny patio.

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The sunset on Saturday night was stunning! We are so lucky to have a beautiful view of Madison Valley and our amazing Pacific Northwest sunsets out our back windows.

Amazing sunset from our backyard.

Amazing sunset from our backyard.

Apparently all of our activities on Saturday tuckered our little furball out, because come Sunday, he slept in until 6:30 and then went back to sleep until 10:00! That allowed us to Skype with Alex’s parents and Alina and Alberto, not to mention enjoy some time to ourselves and have a nice breakfast.

Jackson got a new toy from John!

Jackson got a new toy from John!

We did eventually wake Jackson up to take him on his first big adventure. We drove down to Seward Park to do some urban hiking. I love Seward Park and it is so fantastic that it’s so close to our house {4.9 miles to be exact}. We did a very short hike in the middle of the park to expose Jackson to the idea of the wilderness.

Jackson in the woods!

Jackson in the woods!

He did great!

He did great!

Jackson did so well on our little hike. We had him on his 30 foot leash so that he could sort of wander around and explore his surroundings. It was surprising to Alex and me that he stayed so close to us even though he could be 30 feet away.

Running around in an open field.

Running around in an open field.

We closed out our weekend by spending some time with Ryan and Mary, I baked a pig cake for work, and we picked up our first CSA box. Overall, it was an awesome weekend and I can’t wait to eat some of these yummy veggies for dinner tonight.

Our first CSA box arrived.

Our first CSA box arrived.

What’s Next?

This has been a week of significant loss. We lost our puppy, my grandmother, and now, basically my job (my hours were significantly reduced, which means I am in the market for a new job). I am determined to move on from the difficult week and turn things around for the better. My roller coaster ride is on its way back up and I am focusing on the positive things I have going on in my life, along with the positive opportunities I can create for myself and others.

Now that I will have a lot more time in my days, I’d like to fill that time with productive and thoughtful tasks and activities. I’m sure I will spend a lot of time looking for a new job, but also doing things I enjoy most: writing, reading new books on my Kindle, cooking, planning our upcoming trip to Hawaii (!!!!!), pinning new recipes on Pinterest, working on projects around the house, going to the gym in the middle of the day, along with mentally preparing for our next puppy, and just enjoying time to myself while I’ve got the chance. I also plan to volunteer more and see what good deeds I can come up with.

My first good deed was calling Aspen’s doggie daycare and asking them to donate Aspen’s remaining pre-paid sessions to Aspen’s best doggie friends who she loved to play with. We gave away Aspen’s open bags of kibble to her puppy friend, Emma, and we will give the extra canned food to a local pet food drive.

We’ll see what’s next on the list!