Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup

We all know that when it comes to accomplishing certain tasks, if you throw a few children in the mix things can tend to get…tricky.

For example, walking out the door. What should be a simple thing which requires little to no brain activity can turn into one of the biggest trials of November. One lost shoe, 15 minutes late, someone has a dirty diaper, you just noticed you aren’t wearing a bra…and then FUDGE! Where are your keys?

Every parent says FUDGE when they want to swear but can’t. Unless your me, then you say shit. Then your baby says shit. That your 6 your old says, “Mom! The baby said shit!”

FUDGE.

Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup via The Diva Dish

Let me talk about this morning for example. We’ve all been so lucky to get that extra hour of sleep this weekend, unless you have children. Because now they wake up at 5:45 instead of 6:45, and you went to bed at 10:45…(technically 11:45, but you figured you would get that extra hour in the morning.) Think.Again.

We just happened to have an extra hour this morning before we had to leave for school! An extra hour never happens, and then your mind starts to wonder about all of the marvelous things you could accomplish if you had time like this EVERY DAY!

You could shower, curl your hair, wear matching clothes, find your kids shoes in time…

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I decided to do a yoga video. I’m trying to embrace Yoga as of lately because of stress. I’m hoping it will calm me, as well as get me toned in all the areas that seem to have just given up.

So I popped in a TWENTY minute yoga video. To some, this seems so insignificant, but to a busy mom, twenty minutes is basically like asking for Milo Ventimiglia from ‘This Is Us’ to show up at your door unannounced with chocolate. (P.S. why do I want to say his last name all the time?)

5 minutes in, things got dark. The baby was SCREAMING. I have no idea, but I’m pretty sure it was for no reason at all. She climbed all over me yelling in my ear as I tried my best to twist side to side and feel that deep stretch. In between screams I could hear, “Ahhhh. Just breath…”

And then, just like that, with FOUR minutes to spare I hear a cry up stairs, “MMOOOOM! COME WIPE ME!” For real.

“Honey, I can’t! I’m “exercising!” Give me 4 minutes!”

“But it’s DIARRHEA!!”

Baby screaming. Lady breathing. Kid yelling.

FUDGE.

Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup

This is why I make soup. Why, you ask? Because soup is something I love, something that comes together SO quickly. I can make a big pot with whatever vegetables I want and can store it in the fridge for a few days of lunch. Then I can store the other half in the freezer for my lunches next week.

Because sometimes as a mom, you don’t have time to think about yourself. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a meal ready for you in the fridge when you need it. So, hence this soup. It’s warm, comforting, and has vegetables in it! Just make sure everyone is wiped and the baby is napping before you sit down to eat…because we all know what happens when moms try to sit down…

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Pumpkin Butternut Chicken Noodle Soup
 
Ingredients
  • 2 TB. olive oil
  • ½ large sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1½ c. chopped carrots
  • 3 c. diced butternut squash
  • ½ c. milk of choice
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 12 cups water
  • 6 boullion cubes
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 7-14 oz pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of pumpkin pie spice
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil.
  2. Add onions and garlic. Cook until translucent.
  3. Add carrots and butternut. Continue to toss and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add in milk, pumpkin puree, water, and boullion cubes.
  5. Stir and come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Next add in pasta and chicken, along with spices. Cook until pasta is slightly undercooked/al dente. (The pasta will continue to retain water as it sits.)
  6. Serve hot and enjoy!
  7. (The pasta I used was rather large and took about a lot of the soup, that's why I say 7 oz-14 oz, depending on pasta size and shape.)

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The pasta I used was this CUTE pasta I purchased from Trader Joes! Those little pumpkins were the perfect match for this soup. But If you do use this pasta, be careful because it get’s rather large. I think next time I might only use 3/4 of the bag. To find the pasta, you can purchase it here: (affiliate link)

 

So tell me busy moms/dads/persons, what do you do to find time for YOU? I specifically struggling when it comes to exercise, so let me know when and how you fit it in! Have a great week!!

Guacamole Black Bean Burritos

I always said I wouldn’t be the mom who didn’t do A B C or D, but after I started having kids I soon realized not only was I doing A-D, I was going all the way to Z. Good analogy right?

Guacamole Black Bean Burritos via The Diva Dish

One thing I always told myself was that I wasn’t going to over schedule my kids. Heck no would I ever be the mom driving away from practice and thinking, “Frack, what are we having for dinner! No food at home, dangit…Drive through?”

Also, never thought I would say frack.

But alas. I’m that mom.

Guacamole Black Bean Burritos via The Diva Dish

I talk a lot about being prepared, making smart choices, and all that good stuff. But there are days…daySSSSS where it seems like this that and the other were taking up my time (and brain) and I just couldn’t get it together.

Being a healthy lifestyle blogger, I feel like I should be an example of how to live a perfect healthy life. But you guys, there is no such thing as perfect. And perfect is boring…I love when life is so chaotic I forget to put a bra on. For reals. Love it. #nursingboobsarenotpretty

So let me share this with you…

Guacamole Black Bean Burritos via The Diva Dish

I have tried my best not to over schedule, and I feel like for the most part we are good, but my kids enjoy going to dance and having soccer games with all their besties! It’s fun to meet at the park with all my mom friends and talk about how crazy life is. Don’t forget homework, family time, play dates, and church stuff. Life is busy, and when those kids start school it gets even busier.

And eventually you will find your self at 6 o’clock driving home from soccer practice wondering what on earth will you have for dinner…

Guacamole Black Bean Burritos via The Diva Dish

Some days I am prepared, crock pot meal is ready to go and I’m mom of the year. But a lot of days I’m not on top of it, and dinner needs to be fast. Obviously I won’t judge if you pour a bowl of cereal, because cereal saves lives..

But in case you decide to either plan ahead for this or happen to have it all on hand, then this is a good, fast, and if needed on-the-go dinner!

Phew…That was a lot and it’s only 10 a.m….

Guacamole Black Bean Burritos via The Diva Dish

You know what else saves lives besides cereal? TV…

Haha! Really guys, mom of the year over here!

Guacamole Black Bean Burritos via The Diva Dish

5.0 from 1 reviews
Guacamole Black Bean Burritos
 
These are the perfect for on-the go lunch/dinner if you are sitting curbside while watching your kids participate in any extra-curricular activity that happens to fall around meal times! They are even delicious heated up the next day, frozen for a quick grab, or packed in a lunch box!
Ingredients
  • 8-10 spelt tortillas*
  • 3 avocados
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt/pepper
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ c. chopped cilantro
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • salt/pepper
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • 1½ c. cooked quinoa, can be flavored with a little salt and pepper
  • 1 c. cheese of choice. Cojita would be delicious!
  • *I like using spelt tortillas because they are white instead of brown, which can often turn picky kids
  • and husbands off 😉
  • **I also love adding taco sauce/hot sauce to mine!
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, add your avocados, lime juice, a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste, cumin, garlic, and cilantro. Mash together until creamy. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl add your black beans, and season with a little salt and pepper to taste, plus cumin. Set aside.
  3. Assemble the burritos by adding a little quinoa, black beans, cheese, and guacamole. Fold the burrito, and repeat until done.
  4. Heat a large pan on the stove, and coat with a non stick spray. Add the burritos, and cook about 2-3 minutes on each side, medium heat, until golden brown and warmed through.
  5. Serve immediately, or wrap up in foil for an on the go dinner!

This recipe is similar to THIS Avocado Taquitos I posted a while back!

Guacamole Black Bean Burritos via The Diva Dish

Guacamole Black Bean Burritos via The Diva Dish

So share the details my friends, what are you go-to fast dinners?! I need them, want them, can’t live without them.

Reality vs. Expectation

The other day I was walking with one of my mom friends and we were discussing some of the ‘crazy-ness’ that goes on in our every day life. Whether it be motherhood, wifehood, cleaning the house-hood…We talked about it all.

After the conversation I had this constant thought in the back of my mind that I couldn’t shake. I feel like I’ve always known this thought to be true. But convincing myself of it’s reality some days can be hard.

Just like me, this friend has a messy house. Just like me, this friend has crazy kids. Just like me, this friend has struggles and trials. Just like me, this friend eats ice cream. Just like me, this friend doesn’t have 6 pack abs.

Why do we have this ‘expectation’ that others have it/are doing it better?

Why do we believe what we see? Why do we believe what we read? And honestly, why have we become SO focused on things that are of little importance.

On a daily basis we SEE not only how the Jones’ next door are living, but we also see how the Smith’s in Idaho are living, as well as the Millers in California too. It’s no longer keeping up with the dang Jones’ next door, but now we’ve got to keep up with the neighboring states as well?! FU-REAK!

Trust me. We think ‘so-and so’s’ house is always clean. And that person never has to worry about money. Or her kids are dressed so cute, and so is she! Love the dress, hate her right? And I bet that mom is a fun mom, all my kids ever do is watch movies and play iPad. Oh look! Another romantic getaway for her and her husband! And COME ON, do those kids really like asparagus and eggplants?! Like seriously?

You guys. It’s not really that real.

It’s a filter of reality. It’s a filter of pretty things. And trust me, our eyes are just drawn to pretty, shiny, clean things! (Like clean kitchens! OMG! So hot.)

Part of living a healthy lifestyle, in my eyes at least, is not being drawn to the shiny, grass is greener on the other side aspect. It’s all about finding happiness in today, finding gratitude in what we have now, and realizing that although someone might look like they have it all, they don’t. No one does, and that my friends is ok. What fun is having a perfect life anyways?

I mean, isn’t it more fun to spend 45 minutes a night just trying to get 3 kids to bed?! Now that’s an adventure!

I won’t lie though. I love pictures of white kitchens and cute outfits. I’m a sucker for a dessert covered in sprinkles, kale salads, and running workouts. I find joy in these things, but we have to remember one thing…

It’s okay to find joy in these things, but it’s not the main source of joy. These things bring instant gratification but not everlasting happiness. Except I’m pretty sure dessert brings everlasting happiness…

Now, here is where it’s going to get real…Here is a peak as to what filters I could have used just this week:

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I recently finished decorating the babies room and it’s SUPER cute. I wanted to take a picture of the crib against the ‘THIS IS MY FAVORITE COLOR TURQUOISE” wall, and put it on instagram. The picture would have been cute, but I was having a hard time positioning it to where you couldn’t see my dirty laundry…Literally.

Bam, brick to face. Nothing wrong with pretty pictures of beautiful rooms, trust me. But what might look like a pretty clean room, is really hiding a week (or more) of laundry just begging to be taken care of. (I know you guys, laundry is of the devil. We’ve had this conversation before I feel like…)

But still. That wall color though…

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This one is pretty hard for me to post, being a ‘healthy eater’ and all. I was seriously about to post a picture of my lunch on instagram, but I had to move the Burger King Kids meals bags and milkshakes out of the way. Um…HYPOCRITE much?! “So you feed your kids shiz, and you eat healthy?!”

Yes.

In that moment, yes. I make 3 meals a day for my family (expect my husband is only 2), and I rarely take them to fast food. BUT, we’ve done it. Do I hate it? Totally. But my kids love it, and it’s a treat to them. This particular day, my oldest had started her 2nd week of Kindergarten and needed a little pick me up/treat. We had construction guys in our kitchen and I didn’t want to go down and make 3 lunches, so I told them I would get them hamburgers and milkshakes. It was a fun outing for them! I had some of their milkshake and came home and made myself this lunch.

Of course you would have never have known the back story had I just ‘shoved’ the BK bags to the side…

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I think I’ll end on this because well…

Love you friends!!

 

Boxtera Snack Giveaway

Ever since moving to Las Vegas, I’ve had this ‘Ba-Humbug’ attitude about what there is to do here that’s ‘family friendly fun’. Coming from San Diego where we had beaches and zoo’s and amusement parks…Hold on, I’m crying.

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I’ve tried to have a better attitude about Las Vegas, even though I’m convinced all these rocks and dry dirt backyards is what Hell might look like…It’s not all that bad. There are some places that have grass.

Recently we’ve discovered the Springs Preserve Museum, and the girls love it. It’s a partly out doors dessert gardens, park, and discovery area! I have to admit I’ve fallen in love with it because there is a ton of walking, and I get a great workout in while the kids have a blast! Sadly, when summer hits and it’s 125 degrees we will have to say goodbye! So for now we are getting a lot out of the museum as possible!

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Usually I’ll pack a picnic lunch for us, but this time we were lucky enough to have our Boxtera Snacks with us! Remember last month when we had a giveaway from them? Guess what, It’s happening again!

The snacks worked great because I didn’t have to lug a cooler around to keep them from going bad, and there was something for each of our taste buds! Some had protein, some were salty, one was sweet! It was perfect!

After a few hours of running around exploring, out family was definitely hungry!  And more importantly everything is natural and healthy! Win Win! Except for the fighting over the Fruit Filled Bars…Someone didn’t win there.

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Would one of you like another chance to win a Box of Boxtera Snacks?!

Here is how you Enter:

 

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After my tired little babies filled their bellies, they went perfectly down for a nice loooong…

30 minute nap.

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Thank you Boxtera for sending me a sample of their snack box. I was not paid to write this post, all opinions are my own.

Dessert Bullet Giveaway

I’ve always been a Magic Bullet fan from the beginning. In fact I’ve had mine for almost SIX years now, and I just recently used it yesterday! It was the first machine that I ever made  a green smoothie from (and this green muffin!)

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Well a few months back I was contacted by my wonderful friends over at Dessert Bullet, (same company as the Magic Bullet!), and they asked if I’d be interested in trying out their product! I obviously went all fan girl crazy and said yes, and couldn’t wait to try out the machine!

The Dessert Bullet is a machine that can make fresh & healthy sweet treats! For example, if you love Banana Ice Cream (Frozen Banana blended up), then you will LOVE this machine!

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Since then, I’ve been contributing 4 recipes per month for the Dessert Bullet Blog, and I have to tell you…I’m having such a fun time playing and creating recipes that satisfy my sweet taste buds! My girls love when mommy is playing the kitchen with her ‘ice cream toy’, they go crazy!

I‘ve made chocolate covered popsicles, fruit fizzy drinks, coladas, almond milk slushies, cheese cake ice cream with strawberry sauce, lime pie ice cream, and a purple velvet ice cream!

(And this coming month I’ve got even more fun recipes including cake & cookies! All Healthy, Light, and Natural!)

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Okay, are you ready for this!

My friends at Dessert Bullet and I will be giving away TWO Dessert Bullet Machines to my lovely readers and friends here at The Diva Dish!

I’d love for you guys to win one, so here is how you enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Good Luck!

Virtual Family Christmas Card to all of You!

One thing I look forward to every year is receiving Christmas Card mail. I love to see the growth of families and loved ones who are spread all over…

Family Pictures from The Diva Dish

I wish I could send each of you a Christmas Card, and share with all of you how thankful I am for such wonderful readers! Then I’d wish you a Merry Christmas and attach the card along with a box of milk and homemade (healthy) cookies!

Wouldn’t that be lovely :).

Family pictures from The Diva DishFamily Pictures from The Diva Dish

Family Pictures from The Diva Dish

But since I don’t have all of your addresses, (That’d be creepster), I figured I could virtually share with you our Christmas Cards!

I’ve narrowed it down to two from Minted.com’s Christmas Card section, that way you could help me decide which Christmas Card you love the most. Honestly though, I had a hard time making decisions! The site is full of different options & styles! And…There are way too many cute ones

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I would love to see your virtual Christmas Cards, and get to ‘meet’ all those lovely faces! If you can, post them on my Facebook page or even Twitter!!

P.S.

Please tell me my babies will stay little forever…

 

 

Stove Top Potato & Kale Dish

Ok…I know potatoes aren’t necessarily the type of food that makes you excited and eager to make ASAP…But i’m on a mission in my household, and in a few weeks I’ll disclose all the details of what I’ve been working on.

But to get you somewhat excited, you should know that it’s all about healthy grocery shopping each week on a LOW budget. It’s about stretching food, using the ingredients you have on hand, and not over spending each week at the grocery store!

Normally during the week I visit the grocery store 2-3 times. Eeeeeee!! Partly because my girls eat a flat of berries a day, and partly because I’m a food blogger. Sadly, I buy A LOT of food to go along with my long lists of ideas that I have planned for this 3rd child of mine (the blog), but I usually don’t get to most of them.

HENCE I buy more than I need which equals…I spend more.

It’s really a simple fix, but I’ve never been a simple person. Ever. Ask my husband. And my parents. I’m fantastic.

Near the end of the week I start to notice that the few things I have left in my kitchen are no where near what I want to eat, so at that point I head to the grocery store and buy what we would rather have…

But I’m changing.

So what happens when I open my fridge and see some rotting potatoes, a handful of kale, and a lemon?  As my good friend Tim Gunn once said…”Make it work.”

So I saved the lemon for the baby, and made a potato dish that was flavorful, comforting, and surprisingly didn’t taste anything like ‘the end of the week.’

*I love this dish because it contains a great variety of vegetables, which is always a plus! Feel free to jazz these up as a breakfast side dish, or top them like you would a baked potato!*

Stove Top Potato & Kale Dish
 
Ingredients
  • 3 TB. coconut oil
  • 2 TB. chopped garlic
  • ½ sweet onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 4-5 golden potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
  • opt: a little veggie broth to add while the potatoes are cooking, about ¼ cup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • preferred seasonings (We like a sprinkle of paprika, garlic, hot sauce, and cumin)
Instructions
  1. Heat your coconut oil in a pan on low/medium heat.
  2. Cook your onions and garlic until onions become translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Next add in your carrots and bell pepper. Toss and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add in your potatoes, toss, and cover the pan with foil. Add a little broth if you want the potatoes softer more than crispy. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once the potatoes are cooked to your liking, add your seasonings to taste.
  6. Fold in the kale, cook for a minutes to warm kale.
  7. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

These would be perfect with tons of toppings as if you were loading a baked potato, such as:

Eggs, cheese, greek yogurt, salsa, beans, hot sauce, etc…

But out of the above toppings, only one thing was in my fridge…Salsa. 🙂

 

Sweet Pea

Never in my life would I imagine feeling the overwhelming love that I feel now.

I’ve been blessed in such a tremendous way to be the mother to now TWO precious Daughters of God.

After waiting for what seemed like forever, 40 weeks and 5 days to be exact, the day finally arrived where Sweet Pea came into this world.

After thinking the day would never come, we decided to take a weekend trip up to my parents house and relax. And of coarse when one finally let’s go and realizes it’s probably not going to happen when wanted….It happens.

So at 6:50 A.M. when my water broke we knew that our plans were going out the window and we were going to have this baby…Even if it wasn’t in the place we had originally planned.

It was a fairly difficult labor, but luckily it only lasted 10 hours with about 15 minutes of pushing. (Boo was 20 hours of labor and 1 1/2 hours pushing…)

After a few hours of my labor not progressing, they decided to put my on pitocin to see if that would get things moving along. After a few doses of pitocin, we soon realized my body, and Sweet Pea, wanted nothing to do with the medicine. My blood pressure was dropping all the time, and my heart rate was fluctuating uncontrollably. Nothing about me was stabilizing. Then Sweet Pea’s heart rate started to drop, so we decided it was best to turn off the medicine to see what happened.

Within minutes my body kicked in, everything stabilized, and I began to progress perfectly.

Only thing was now the epidural wasn’t working.

I applaud any mom willing to do the birth the natural way. As for me, I would prefer no pain whatsoever.

But my body had a different plan for me, and rejected practically every form of medicine. So with each contraction becoming closer together, I would try and breath my way through it…Only instead I would cry through each one. I’ll never forget that pain…

And if I do remind me before I think of having more kids…

Then the time came to push, which went rather quick. When she came out the umbilical cord was wrapped around her and her neck several times and she was blue. They took her away quickly, and for a few minutes I was freaking out. But soon enough she was in my arms, nice and pink! 🙂

I’ll never forget seeing Boo ‘s face when she came into see Sweet Pea. Having our little family together felt so complete and wonderful. I truly am the luckiest wife and mama out there!

Over the past few days our little family’s life has changed dramatically. We all have lost sleep and are going stir crazy, but never before in my life have I felt this happy. The spirit in our home is so strong and happy I truly feel blessed.

Boo is adjusting as expected. She loves her baby sister so much, but I can tell it’s difficult for her. We’ve been told to leave her alone and go away, followed by a door slam, for the past couple of days. I know it will get better, and I look forward to the day when I can hear them laughing together.

For now I am perfectly fine watching Boo give Sweet Pea multiples love hugs and kisses!

Dear Sweet Pea,

I am so glad to finally be holding you in my arms! You are precious in every way, and I can tell you will have a very sweet and loving personality. Thanks for making our family complete and bringing lots of love into our little family.

I Love You! xoxo-

Mommy

Thank You for all your sweet comments, tweets, etc. on Sweet Pea! I have the greatest and most supporting readers!

( Also a special thanks to certain readers out there who helped me pick the name Sweet Pea for our little gals blog name!)

Be back soon with some food!! 🙂

60 Second Chocolate Chip Muffin

Let’s talk about Energy…

Have you seen mine?

Pretty sure it ran off to an exclusive resort in Tahiti somewhere, and is gettin’ rubbed with suntan oil by the one and only Christian Bale…

Holy Batman! Dang you Energy…

I’m sure it probably hates me and never wants to come back after that Minnie Mouse party…Especially after little miss received a bicycle and has decided it’s much more fun to ride when mom pushes instead of peddling.

Dear Energy, i’m so sorry but I need you back. I can’t go to bed at 8:30 anymore, don’t you see that Bachelor Pad is on till at least 10?!

Mind you I still have a toddler, messy house, new baby to prepare for, and I’m as big as a walrus?!

And this walrus is hungry!

No more PB&J’s, smoothies, and cereal. Me want real food!

Let’s not forget it’s been too long since I wore makeup…And I’m pretty sure I wear the same sweat pants every other (each?) day…My husband is starting to worry.

Listen my little Energy, I promise I’ll give you something to come back for. Granted it may not be dressed in a muscular leather suit, but I promise it includes chocolate!

And it won’t require much work from you at all. Just 60 seconds and it’s done, ready to enjoy!

At least tell me you will think about it?

60 Second Chocolate Chip Muffin

Ingredients:

1 tsp. melted and cooled coconut oil

2 TB mashed ripe banana (Or applesauce)

1 TB beaten egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 TB. whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

dash of salt

2-3 TB. chocolate chips (Or sub blueberries for a breakfast muffin!)

Directions:

1. In a small/medium ramekin add oil. Then add in banana, egg, and vanilla and stir together until combined. Next add in the dry ingredients:

2. Mix together until combined, then stir in chocolate chips:

3. Microwave for 60 seconds.

4. Top with banana ice cream (frozen banana blended), peanut butter, milk, more choclolate chips, etc.

(Variations: Sub protein powder for flour. Add 1 TB of oats, instead of 1 TB of flour. Mix in different spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Throw in fruit for a fruit muffin. Add a little orange juice and zest for a tropical muffin. Top with nuts, coconut, chia seeds, etc…)

How simple was that?

That could be breakfast, afternoon snack, before bedtime pick me up!

I promise it’s all yours as long as you allow me to watch at least one episode of trash TV a night…

Deal?

Oh…And would you mind letting your friend Batman know that my shoulders seem a little tense?

Thanks Energy! You’re a real pal!

Are You Too Giving of Leftovers?!?

On Sunday as I was sitting in church with Boo, trying my best to keep her somewhat content and distract her from breaking into one of her favorite songs at the top of her lungs, (and lord knows Justin Bieber isn’t church song material…) A woman giving a talk on the stand, began to read a story that her friend had written some time back.

It impacted me so much, that I thought I would share it with my readers:

“I realized something when I opened my fridge this afternoon.

I am not much of a cook. 

When I do bother, I typically make things that require little or no technical effort.

We eat a lot of fresh stuff that requires no actual cooking.

Salads, veggie trays, fruit plates, etc.

And I usually, purposely, make huge amounts so that we can share

or even just eat it for several days in a row ourselves.

So today’s revelation came as a bit of a surprise.

As I rummaged the shelves for something to throw together, it hit me…

Profoundly.

As it turns out,

I do not like Leftovers.

In fact, I think I might even hate them.

Aside from being a pain to store,

nothing ever tastes quite as good as when it is freshly prepared.

It’s always a little too soggy.

A little wilted or a tad brown around the edges.

A bit crusty on top.

Or just a little thicker than it should be.

You know how they are.

Leftovers…

Not quite the same, but good enough, we say.

And so much easier!

Convenient.

I serve them to my family all the time!

In fact, sadly, maybe more often than not.

And I don’t mean just for dinner, either!

Which brings me to my point…

How often in life am I giving those that matter most, my Leftovers?

These boys, who are my heart and soul,

often get whatever is ‘”Left-over” of me

whenever I think I am done with the rest of my commitments.

They get the little blob of energy that’s left of me, after running around all day.

A cold slab of minimal effort, because I just want to be done already.

The crumbs that are left of my patience.

And if they are really lucky,

I might even top it off with the tiny little dollup of fun that I might actually have left.

But more often than they deserve,

they get the frantic, task-oriented Drill-Sargent Mom who is running short on time.

Or the exhausted, Do-It-Yourself Mom who is ready to collapse.

Even, occasionally, the grumpy, short-tempered, ornery Mom who is at my wits’ end.

They get a signature on their homework slip for reading a story to me

while I made a mental grocery shopping list.

They get a “Woo-hoo” from me in the kitchen, amid the dinner preparations

when they play perfectly through their piano piece, all the way over in the Music Room.

They get a smile and an “Mmm, hmmm” when they show me their latest cool Wii maneuver,

Or tell me about the awesome play they ran in the football game at recess that day.

Neither of which, if quizzed, I could describe 30 seconds later.

They get a half-hearted high-five when they tell me their chores are done.

A two minute back tickle at bedtime, so I can rush to a set of photos that need editing.

Or a quick kiss goodnight as I run out the door for a Ladies’ Night Out.

How often am I half-listening?

Looking past them?

Talking at them?

Or even in the same room, but far, far away in my thoughts?

All Leftovers…

I am serving them Leftovers.

Spending the majority of myself elsewhere

and then giving the little bit that’s left, to them, as if it is enough.

I’m there, always, but am I really there?

I’m going through motherhood’s motions, making mental lists.

Always the lists.

Planning ahead to the next thing.

The To Do’s that can never be all the way done.

You know them…

The cyclical (sick-li-cul) routines that fill our days.

As I think now I realize that this is the time.

The time for me, as well, to be done with lesser things.

The time to focus on what is most important.

Most lasting. Most eternal.

More than ever before.

Not the good things.

Or even the better things.

But the best things.

The very best things.

As you approach the center of a bullseye,

the margin for possible error becomes more and more narrow.

The degree of accuracy necessary becomes more and more pointed.

We are approaching that bullseye.

At an ever-increasing rate.

I, for one, am consciously re-committing to be done with lesser things.

To stop serving the Leftovers of myself to my family.

But instead to be fresh, ready and more present in the present.

Ready for them with a Feast.”

I’m unsure who wrote this, or where it came from, but I am truly grateful for it.

Thank you.

Here’s to saying goodbye to Leftovers and serving others with a Feast.