Hello all! I've been a little sparse with my content lately - I guess you could say blogging has slipped a little further down my daily to-do list. Our little girls are growing up so fast, and I can honestly say this is the most fun I have even had with them. Josie is flourishing as a toddler, her independence is astounding and her vocabulary is hilarious. And Maddie is my busy little bee, crawling everywhere and always on the move. She follows her sister from room to room, and lights up when she hears her voice!
Lately when I have the choice between playing with them and doing just about anything else - I've been choosing them. And I have no regrets about that. They're growing up so fast, and now more than ever I have been reflecting on the unbelievably important role I play as their mother.
What a blessing it is to be mother to these amazing little people! It's such an overwhelming feeling knowing the decisions I make and traditions I set in place will stay with them far beyond their years living under our roof. I am raising little women who will take what I teach them and build with it their own set of values. I'm so far from perfect, but I do the best job I can of teaching them how to maintain a healthy body and mind - and the most important part of that is practicing it myself.
I've spoken extensively on this blog about my love for yoga, and the importance of fitness in my life. But one area that I have experienced so much personal growth in has been nutrition.
It all comes from the strong women in my life whom I have as examples. I grew up in a family where dinner was always on the table at 6pm sharp. It didn't matter that my mother had been working all day, or that my father was often out of town, dinner was a constant. I often found our nightly dinner to be such an annoyance in high school - why couldn't I stay out at my friends houses late? Or how come we never just picked up McDonalds like other cool parents seemed to do? I had no idea it would take me late into my 20's to realize the sacrifice and dedication that went into preparing healthy dinners every night for our family. Every night we sat around the table, talked about our days, about school and we thanked God for our meal. Even in those teenage years when the disconnect between parent and child can feel miles long, my parents knew about my life, my friends, and I always felt close with them.
Earlier this year I traveled to San Diego to visit a close friend of mine, and fellow mother of a little girl. Matthew was in Vegas for a conference and her family hosted us for the week, We had a blast! At this point Maddie was still pretty small, and I had made a new years resolution to work my hardest on making dinner at least 3x a week for our family, but I wasn't doing very well keeping it. I've never had much confidence cooking, and while I wanted to make healthy meals, I've never had a taste for most vegetables and therefore dreaded meal planning. While staying with Rachel's family I was absolutely inspired by what I saw. Rachel shares many of my ideals on children and food, we both stay away from all refined sugar and processed foods, but it was their dinners that inspired me the most. She is a busy mama, with a small child and a household to manage, yet every night she was making fabulous, flavorful and healthy meals filled with vegetables. It was important to her that their family ate together every night, and therefore she always made the effort to create healthy and delicious meals for everyone to share.
I came home from that trip with a newfound confidence. If it's important to me, I CAN learn to cook for my family, I CAN make dinner every night, and I WILL prioritize my time to include the things that really matter. And ever since then, I'm so proud to say that I have. We have dinner every night at 6:30pm, no cell phones, no take out, just our family and laughter.
I have never been one who loves vegetables. In fact, even recently I would have been that person ordering no onions on everything - now I use onions in almost every meal! I have found that the easiest way to incorporate vegetables into your diet is to learn how to season and cook with them. I still am not a fan of most raw veggies, but I have found that sautéing, roasting or steaming can completely transform the texture and flavor profile of foods I once disliked.
This has been a long journey, and it's as much about feeding my family healthy and nutritious meals as it is about creating the tradition of spending time together as a family every night. These days my girls love being around their mom, and I hope that lasts forever, but I know it may not. The teenage years come all too fast, and I'm sure I have years ahead of me when my girls head home, close their doors and tune us out. As long as we always have a welcoming dinner table that we can all gather around to eat, chat and laugh, I know we are doing something right :)
So on that note - I wanted to share my 4 favorite cookbooks which I use for nearly every meal. Finding cookbooks I loved made the process of learning to cook fun and enjoyable. I recommend all of these for beginner cooks (especially skinnytaste), their recipes are easy, and relatively quick to prepare! I hope you enjoyed this post. I believe so strongly in nutrition, especially for growing little children, and I am so grateful to share my journey as a woman and mother with all of you!
I have made COUNTLESS recipes from this cookbook, it's always my go-to. Favorites among our family include the enchiladas, breaded and baked chicken parmesan and the super easy and delicious tortilla soup!
The cookbook that got me to actually like kale salads! This is full of wonderful light recipes using simple but quality ingredients to deliver supreme flavor. Favorites include the quinoa tabbouleh and miso marinated cod.
This is one of my absolute favorties! It's filled with so many wonderful recipes which are a hit in my family. I highly recommend the southwestern casserole and the summer vegetable soup. This cookbook uses fresh ingredients and a large variety of spices to create truly memrable recpies!
This book is less on the healthy side but certainly fun! Chrissy Teigen cracks me up so much on twitter, and this book is hilarious. The recipes are delicious and awesome to make for dinner parties to impress guests! I love the chicken lettuce wraps and the amazing brunch options. I've had so much fun cooking through all of the different sections.
I document most of my nightly meals on snapchat @touchofcurl - follow along!