Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Spooky (Cheesy) GIVEAWAY!


Halloween is just around the corner, and in addition to thinking about Mason's costume,


We're going tiger this year since it's one of the animal sounds he almost always gets the first time!

I've also started planning what we want to hand out to trick-or-treaters this year.

For the past few years, I have had the absolute pleasure of partnering with my besties, Cabot Cheese, for Halloween. In lieu of sweet treats, I offer trick-or-treaters individually wrapped cheese snacks (snacking minis) and they're always a big hit with the kids and the adults!


They're so cute - AND they pack the perfect protein punch so you don't get a sugar crash!

This year, I've been given another awesome opportunity to share those snacking minis with you! One lucky winner will receive their own box of FREE cheese to share (or not!) AND a one-year subscription to ChopChop Magazine!


Cabot Cheese is partnering with ChopChopKids, an innovative non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and teach kids to cook real food with their families. They believe that cooking and eating together as a family is a vital step in resolving the obesity and hunger epidemics. ChopChop Magazine, is a fun cooking magazine for families. 

As a new-ish Mom, I LOVE ChopChop Magazine! Even as a toddler, it's already a struggle to get Mason to eat a balanced healthy meal. If he had it his way, he'd eat fruit and hummus all day every day. Parrish and I have already started getting him in the kitchen to "help" and I'm definitely looking forward to the days when he can stir and whisk on his own. 

This is a QUICK GIVEAWAY, so enter today! The winner will be chosen Monday, October 24th at 8am EST!

To enter: 

1. Leave me a comment with your favorite Halloween costume from years past. 

Want more entries?

2. Tweet it! Blog it! Share on Instagram! Tell a friend! And then comment back here with how you shared this awesome giveaway!

Giveaway Sponsored by Cabot Cheese and ChopChopKids. 

Good luck!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Super Easy Oven Risotto

Since Mason was born, I think it's been pretty obvious that I've been in a food rut. 

I'm not really sure what to attribute this slump to, but I'm sure it has something to do with my life completely changing (for the better) the day that little babe was born. 

It's like I've honestly forgotten how to cook. Meals with more than a few steps just seem too hard. Also hard: even thinking of ideas for meals. Ugh. Hard. 

I need all the inspiration I can get. So in addition to Pinterest, I've started looking at blogs for meal ideas, including my own! It's hard to believe that I've been writing Gluten Hates Me for 8 years, and over that time, I've had some pretty yummy meals!

Including this:



Oven Chicken Risotto

A recipe from my bestie sister, I first blogged about this dish in January of 2012!

It's super easy to prepare and it reheats well - two of my favorite qualities in a recipe. But the best part of this recipe:


the pockets of cheese!!! I used Cabot's Seriously Sharp for this particular dish and it was oh so good!

You can customize the filling of this dish to meet your personal tastebuds. In 2013, I used caramelized onions and white beans with smoked gouda as my filling. My sister adds basil to her rendition, and I've even used sautéed mushrooms in the past instead of chicken. 

No matter what you choose, the base of the risotto will turn out perfectly every time, so feel free to experiment. It makes a big dish too, so you could serve 4 for dinner or have leftovers for lunch!


Gotta love leftovers!

I really can't recommend this recipe enough - try it, I know you'll love it!

Oven Chicken Risotto

You’ll need:

2 tbsp. butter

2 1/2 cups chicken broth (be sure it’s gluten free! I like the Pacific brand)

1 cup Arborio rice

1/2 small yellow onion, diced

8 oz. cheese, cubed (I used Cabot Seriously Sharp but mozzarella is great too!)

1 container cherry tomatoes, halved

1 bag spinach, roughly cut into smaller bite size bits

1 cup diced, cooked chicken (I use a rotisserie chicken – aka lazy man’s chicken)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large (and deep) brownie pan or roasting pan, add the butter and pop into the oven to melt. Once melted, add in the onion and give it a good stir.

Then add in the broth and rice. Stir to combine and then cover your pan with aluminum foil.

Bake for 35 minutes. While this bakes, prep the rest of your ingredients.

After the 35 minutes, remove the pan from the oven carefully, and remove the foil. Fluff the rice with a fork. The liquid should be sucked up and the rice cooked. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, stirring well to combine.

Pop back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes, to wilt your spinach and melt the mozzarella.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Gluten Free Doughnuts + Weekend Fun

Is it just me or do super fun weekends make Monday just a little bit harder?

I was smart and went to bed really early last night (like 8:15 early) so that I could make it to 5:30 bootcamp this morning. I have found that if I start the week out well rested, then it's easier to maintain my fitness (meaning get up well before the sun and workout) for the rest of the week.

Now, if only I could get back on track with meal prepping on Sunday! But that is a post for another day.

Back to the weekend - we had such a great one!

Saturday started out slowly. Parrish was working out of town, so it was a Mommy + Mason day. I cleaned up around the house while Mason entertained himself....


with popsicles and trucks...in Mommy's tank top! :) He has been so funny lately grabbing my clothing and wanting to wear it. He wore it as a dress for most of the morning. 

And those popsicles are SO EASY to make! I bought a popsicle mold at a local shop and have been filling it with pureed strawberries and blueberries all summer. That's it! Just pureed fruit - no sugar or added ingredients. He loves them and I love how easy they are to make.

Once the fun of trucks wore off, I decided to head to The Museum of Life & Science in our town, which is basically heaven for Mason.



I find full days of single parenting way easier if we have an activity that takes us out of the house. We explored for a bit, played in the water, and finished the trip riding the train. Then it was back in the car for snacks and the drive home.


I tried a new-to-me snack: Justin's Peanut Butter with Banana Chips. It was super yummy and definitely hit the spot, but at $1.99 price point (at Target), I think they will have to remain a special treat for very busy days.

After naptime, we headed back outside to play with the neighbors and you guessed it....


more trucks! Just in the last two weeks, Mason has really started playing with trucks. He affectionately refers to all vehicles as "go-gos" and can't seem to get enough. Luckily some of his neighborhood friends have quite a collection in their backyard and let him play with them whenever he wants.

Whereas Saturday started slowly, Sunday started with an adventure!

Since Parrish and I were both home, and I found a random $20 bill in a pair of old jeans, I devised a plan that would entail a new play place for Mason AND gluten free doughnuts for me!

First stop - doughnuts of course!


Fresh Levant in Raleigh has the most amazing gluten free doughnuts on Sundays! It's 30 minutes from our house, so we don't go often - they're a real treat!


Soft and doughy - they are worth every. single. calorie!

Fresh Levant is in this cute little area, that actually has something for the entire family. Doughnuts for me, a coffee shop with killer (full of gluten) biscuits for Parrish, and a big grassy area WITH a fountain for Mason!


Since we're keeping Mason gluten free for a while, I was excited to share my doughnut with him. He took one bite and that was it. Not interested! Apparently doughnuts have nothing on dirty fountain water.

After the pit stop for doughnuts, we headed in to downtown Raleigh to visit the Marbles Kids Museum. We had never been and I have to say - if you have kids in the Triangle area, it is a MUST visit! Mason had so much fun and literally wore himself out, which is not an easy thing to do!

Then it was back home for lunch and naps. I tackled our grocery shopping for the week while Mason slept and by the time I was back home, it was time for more fun. We headed to the park for the afternoon, but cut the trip short because it was just too dang hot!

I for one cannot wait until Autumn, playing outside will be so much more enjoyable for everyone.

And that was it! Such a fun weekend with our favorite little guy, which does make Monday morning and childcare drop off tough (just for me, Mason loves playing with his friends) but it's also nice to be back in to the routine.

Now - off to work!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Summer + Snacks + Tacos

For the first time since college, I feel like I'm actually enjoying summer!

My new work/home life balance is allowing me to take it a bit easier than I'm used to and I have to admit - I LOOOOVE it! I was worried that I would miss my old job, but funnily enough I haven't even had a moment of longing to return. It's nice to know that I made the right decision, not only for me, but for my family too!

So far the summer has been FULL of fun. We've traveled a bit, played outside a ton, and eaten lots of yummy gluten free food.

In fact, yesterday I ate quite possibly the BEST taco I've ever had!


It's Restaurant Week in Raleigh, so a friend and I went to lunch at Virgil's Original Taqueria. That delicious taco above was INCREDIBLE. Pulled pork carnitas that was tender and crispy. I seriously can't wait to eat there again.

Plus the meal started with....


tasty guacamole, salsa, and homemade corn chips - so I knew it was going to be good!

The staff was super knowledgable on gluten free dining options, including cross contamination in shared fryers. The chips have their own designated fryer! The service was fast and the food was super tasty - I highly recommend trying it out. If you go for lunch, get there early!

Not quite as tasty as tacos, but I have been enjoying a few delicious snacks lately. Since I started going to Burn Bootcamp 5-6 days a week, I've had to really pay attention to what I eat....meaning, I have to be sure to eat enough!


My current favorite snack: apples with Cabot cheddar and Justin's peanut butter

And as it turns out, I'm not the only Ravelli that enjoys snack time ;)


One of the best parts of going to the pool - the snacks!

And yes, Mason is now 1 1/2 years old and sitting in a chair all by himself like a big kid - ugh. It's awesome and devastating...all at the same time!

What about you? What's your current favorite snack?



Monday, May 23, 2016

A Transition for Gluten Hates Me



Becoming a parent has taught me a lot. I'm definitely always learning, but there is one lesson that continues to hit me like a ton of bricks, which is the simple fact that time moves too quickly. 

2016 has been a year of change - good change - but still, the Ravelli family has had quite a bit of transition. The biggest of which was a job change for me. After 8 years with One World Market, 4 of which were directing the organization, I left my position on April 1st. There were a lot of motivations for leaving, some of which still feel raw. It's tough to admit when you're failing, and for me, it had started to feel like I was falling short at work and at home. 

Managing a non-profit and being a Mom to Mason (and a wife to Parrish....and a daughter and a sister and a good friend) just didn't work out for me. I ended each day feeling unbelievably pulled in a million directions, which is a part of why this space here - my blog - was left to sit. Everything in my life had a priority level, and it became all too easy to put myself last. 

So I gave ample notice to my job and started to journey down a new path that I knew would give me less responsibility at work and more flexibility in my schedule, two things that I desperately wanted. 

Then life hit fast forward. Everything started to fall in to place, and I found new rhythms and patterns and schedules (three things that help me thrive) but I still struggled to make it back here. I thought about posting a goodbye and ending the blog completely - I mean my last post was in February!! But each time I started writing an exit, it didn't feel right, because the truth is - I write blog posts to you guys everyday in my head. I reflect on my day and think about funny things. I continue to take pictures of my food. I don't write a lot of recipes anymore, but I hope I find that inspiration again soon. 

I just don't feel finished having this outlet for reflection. I'm not ready to close this book, but I do think we should start a new chapter. 

For a seriously candid view of my day: Snapchat - @glutenhatesme

For longer reflections, new products, restaurants, and workouts: Instagram- @glutenhatesme

For meal plans and recipes: Facebook

And when I have the time, I'll continue to post here. Be sure to leave me your handles here in the comments; I would love to follow you back!


Post-run Meal at the new Happy + Hale on 9th Street in Durham. So yummy



Thursday, February 11, 2016

Easy Homemade Buttercream Frosting - Take Two

Let's talk Buttercream Frosting.


I knew I wanted to make Mason's 1st Birthday Cake the moment we started planning the party. I LOVE Buttercream Frosting (it's my most viewed post EVER on the blog!!) but I couldn't decide if I should keep it simple or add in blueberries. Blueberries are Mason's favorite fruit and I thought it would be fun to change it up a little.

But as life typically goes these days, I ran out of time and ended up having to settle for just a simple Buttercream Frosting. Which isn't really "settling" because even at its simplest form, it's HEAVEN.


After I whipped up the Buttercream, I added a thick layer of frosting in between the two rounds of yellow cake. (I used the King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix - SO GOOD!!!) And then frosted the top and sides.


Don't forget the sprinkles!


I loved the way his cake turned out - which is a good thing, seeing as how I ate most of it!

We made a rookie mistake and fed Mason lunch just before his cake, so his belly was super full. He took a few bites from us but that was it. No smashing, which was a little disappointing but whatever - it's his birthday!

Plus I didn't mind helping out with that cake. It was so good!

I highly recommend making your own Buttercream the next time you need frosting. It's so EASY to make and tastes ten times better than pre-made.

EASY Homemade Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened – not melted
  • 3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED  
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk
Sifting your powder sugar is very important! Without the sifting your frosting could be clumpy.

Instructions

-Start by beating the butter in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed until the butter has broken down and begins to look whipped.

-Stop the mixer and add in your sifted powdered sugar. Cover your mixer and bowl with a towel and turn your mixer on the lowest speed for 30 seconds to a minute. (This keeps the powdered sugar from poofing up in your face and all over your counter!)

-Increase the speed to medium and add the vanilla, salt, and 2 tbsp. of the milk. Beat for 3 minutes on medium.

You’re done! Need thicker icing? Add more powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time. Need a thinner icing? Add more milk a tablespoon at a time. You could also add in food coloring at this point if you wanted a more festive frosting!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mason Modesto Turns One


Happy 1st Birthday Mason Modesto Ravelli!

And in the blink of an eye - a year has passed. 

It always seems so cliche to hear parents talk about how quickly time passes. I've heard "the days are long but the years are short" no less than a dozen times this past week and my mama heart aches with that truth. 

In some ways it feels like just yesterday that I was holding a teeny tiny baby in my arms for 18 hours of the day. Now I have a very busy baby toddler on my hands. And while he still wants me to hold him, 27 squirmy pounds feels a little different than 10 pounds of baby love. 

But what a fun year it has been!

Quite literally the BEST year of my life, filled with so many highs and so many lows (sleep deprivation is real y'all) but most of all - SO MUCH LOVE. 

It takes a village to raise a child and that's because the parents need the support! I am so amazed by how truly incredible our support system is. From hand-me-down clothes and toys to phone calls to discuss how to actually throw a kid's birthday party to sending pictures of diaper rash - Parrish and I are so blessed with good family and friends. 

Which in turn means Mason is blessed, and there is nothing better than LOVE from your friends and family. That's the only gift you need when you're turning ONE. 

Well that....


and a cool car to get around town.

So what does one look like for Mason Modesto? I thought we could look at it in numbers, since this post has been so numeral focused.

12 - the number of books we read in the afternoon. Mason LOVES books. He received a few new books for his birthday, and I'm excited to change it up!

11 - the pounds of strawberries this kid eats in a week! I can't wait until the season starts this spring. Local strawberries are going to blow his mind.

10 - the seconds that pass by until he smiles again. Mason is a smiley, happy, funny baby. His humor is my favorite.

9 - the number of meatballs he eats in a day.

8 - the number of toy balls that he currently plays with. In food and play, balls are the best.

7 - days a week that this kid is walking! Mason took his first steps shortly before Christmas and he hasn't stopped since.

6 - the number of kitchen gadgets he is currently playing with! Salad spinner, sifter, whisk, measuring cup, spatula, and mixing bowl.

5 - the number of days he spends at Semilitas, the in-home childcare place that we just LOVE. Mason gets some FUN baby time and is always happy to be dropped off.

4 - the amount of toys currently being rotated in the bath to play with. Bath time is so much fun - it's everyones favorite part of the bedtime routine.

3 - the number of pacis in his crib. Once Mason started sleeping through the night, we decided to just toss some extra pacis in there for good measure. This has worked SO WELL and now if his paci falls out, he just feels around until he finds another one. #geniusbaby

2 - toys in his hands that he will hit together. This little trick started a few weeks ago and it never gets old. He gets one item in each hand and then enthusiastically beats them together. So proud.

1 - episode of Peppa Pig while he gets his diaper changed. Seriously - God Bless Peppa Pig, that is the only way Mason is laying flat on his back for any amount of time when he would rather be playing!



Happy Birthday Little Buddy! Your first year has been an absolute BLAST - we can't wait to see what year two will bring!


And I'll be back on the blog tomorrow to talk about THIS CAKE that I made. BEST gluten free cake ever and that homemade buttercream frosting!!!!!!!!! So good and SO easy - you'll never buy premade frosting again.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Gluten Free Snow Day Essentials



If you live on the eastern seaboard, then chances are, you just might be waking up to an unexpected snow day today!

Here in NC, we woke up to a state of emergency and a forecast predicting ice, snow, and freezing rain - at 6:30 am I can see the snow already starting to fall! And yes, we live in the South, so even a dusting causes SNOW PANIC and SNOWMAGEDDON and of course, a SNOW DAY for me!

In my younger days I would have made sure my pantry was stocked with wine and pizza, but I thought it would be fun to let you guys in on my #winterstormjonas shopping list.

- Immaculate Baking Company Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (so good!!!)

- Taza Chocolate (perfect for making hot chocolate)

- Ingredients for Skinnytaste Cheeseburger Casserole  (yes, I'm already making this a second time. So good!)

- Cabot Cheese Extra Sharp Cheddar (nothing like a warm gooey grilled cheese after playing in the snow)

- Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Mountain White Bread (see above grilled cheese comment!)

- Toilet Paper (not the most fun item but necessary)

- Ace Space Blood Orange Apple Cider (just tried this for the first time at my local beer store, The Glass Jug. So good! Perfect for brunch!)

What about you? Are you waking up to snow this morning?
What are your Snow Day Essentials?



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

So Many Yummy Recipes, Too Little Time

You know what my meal planning needed?

A BIG CHANGE UP!

Here we are mid-way through the week and not only have we stayed on track (meaning we haven't ordered tacos every single night) but I have really enjoyed my time in the kitchen!

I'll admit it - I was nervous about trying so many new recipes in one week. But I made sure they were easy enough, and I planned a safety meal that could be moved around to another night if I found myself in a bind. 

Which was actually very smart because I totally forgot to put the ingredients in the crock pot for Buffalo Chicken this morning! So now we'll be having that tomorrow night and we were able to enjoy our safety meal, homemade pizza and salad, tonight. (Yes. Instead of ordering tacos!)

And just in case you were wondering...

each meal has been DELICIOUS!

Starting out on Sunday, we enjoyed Cheeseburger Casserole from Skinnytaste.





Even Mason loved it. 



And the leftovers were just as good! (Yes. Diced Pickles on top - just do it!)

Then on Monday we gobbled up a super creamy, super cheesy Pepper Jack Cheese Potato Chowder from Iowa Girl Eats. 



It was SUPER COLD in Durham on Monday, so that chowder really hit the spot.
 
Plus any soup recipe that starts out with crisping bacon in the pot is bound to be good.



Tuesday was another hit from Iowa Girl Eats: Chicken Fajitas



This meal was originally supposed to be Buffalo Chicken, but after the spicy Pepper Jack Potato Chowder, we opted to save that (and our heartburn) for another night. 

And then tonight was our safety meal: homemade pizza and salad. 

No picture there - we ate too fast! 

Mason is going through a HUGE mental leap right now, which has been fun....




and challenging.

Sometimes even "helping" can get rascally! We decided to do a family meal tonight since the pizza and salad were so easy to throw together but between feeding myself, feeding Mason, and fending off the dogs, I didn't have a free hand to snap a pic!

I hope your week is going smoothly - we're readying ourselves for potential winter weather this weekend. I'm not worried though, we're fully stocked with wine and gluten free chocolate chip cookies...you know - just the essentials.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Gluten Free Meals for the Week - Week 3

Happy Sunday!

After a little over a week, I am happy to report that my cold (and Mason's!) is finally losing steam! Praise the Lord - Hallelujah, I am actually starting to feel like myself again.




And don't you know that my little rascal slept in this morning, giving me plenty of time to plan our menu for the week!



I don't know if it's a good idea or a really terrible idea, but I've decided to totally change things up this week and prepare 4 new-to-me dishes. I typically like to try one new recipe a week, but I've been feeling bored and uninspired with all my old recipes. Time to shake things up.

Luckily most of the recipes are simple, and some of the prep can be done ahead of time, so hopefully I'm not setting myself up to fail. I did end up taking one recipe out (Pork Chops) to help save on the grocery bill and ensure that we use all of our leftovers.

Meal Plan for the Week of January 17th:

Sunday: Cheeseburger Casserole from Skinnytaste
Monday: Cheesy Pepper Jack Potato Chowder from Iowa Girl Eats
Tuesday: Crockpot Buffalo Chicken from Skinnytaste
Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese with leftovers from Tuesday
Thursday: Chicken Fajitas from Iowa Girl Eats
Friday: Homemade Pizza with Salad

Skinnytaste and Iowa Girl Eats are two of my favorite blogs for recipes. I've never tried a recipe from either of these talented women that didn't turn out great!

Plus, it's going to be really really cold in Durham this week, and these warm, comfort meals sound incredible!

What about you ? What's on the menu this week?

Monday, January 11, 2016

11 Days in and well.....

First, thank you guys so much for your sweet comments and emails after my last post. It was so nice to know that I'm not alone in trying to find that balance between baby time and me time, and you guys had some great ideas and advice.

Unfortunately it's only the 11th and I already feel like my New Year is getting derailed!

Last week went so well! I made it to the gym 2 days in a row and made an awesome meal plan...which we actually stuck to.

Monday: Asian Turkey Meatballs
Tuesday: Chicken Tacos
Wednesday: Spaghetti Squash Enchilada Boats
Thursday: Homemade Pizza and Salads
Friday: Omelets

I planned easier meals on nights that I knew Parrish would be working late and I would be taking care of Mason's bedtime routine on my own. Not having time (or energy) on nights when I'm on my own is what typically leads to us eating out.

Well...that and salsa verde cravings. The struggle is real!

Back to the meal plan - it was a great week. I even tried a new recipe: Skinnytaste Spaghetti Squash Enchilada Bowls. They were SO GOOD.


We added leftover chicken from the night before to give the dish a punch of protein - I can't wait to make these again. Parrish was pleasantly surprised and ended up eating two!

But then on Friday Mason came down with a cold, which he graciously shared with me. After working all weekend, and Mason not sleeping...and me not sleeping well, I woke up this morning feeling just AWFUL. So no meal plan this week (yet) and we're eating pizza tonight.

Ugh. ALTHOUGH it is a special occasion. Who else is watching The National Championship tonight? GO TIGERS!


I feel like sickness is something that has often derailed me in the past - not this time! I may not be able to get a meal plan together this week or exercise, but I am drinking tons of water and watching my portion sizes. Some is better than none right?!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016 - The Blog is Back

Happy New Year friends!

I feel like I keep reading this over and over, but I have to say it too - I can't believe it's January!

I think it's safe to say that 2015 FLEW by at record speed. As it turns out, every parent was right, life really does move quickly when you have a baby!

And with Mason, we've had our hands especially full.


Literally y'all! Baby Mason is 26 pounds of squishy baby love, and he is constantly on the go. Crawling, cruising, pulling up - this baby is never in one place for very long.

Our holiday season was a good one - fast but fun. It was hard balancing work life and home life, but luckily I work with a great staff and an awesome team of volunteers who make that work bit easier.

And while the home life was good too, it hasn't been easy. I'm still struggling to figure out who I am in this new world of being Mason's Mom. Breastfeeding really limits my freedom - time wise and diet wise. I have to be available for nursing or pumping so often, and I have to be sure I eat enough in a day to have a good supply. Taking care of myself seems to be the last item on the list...every day. Plus Parrish and I have gotten in to a terrible routine of pizza or tacos for supper for the last 2 weeks!

Which, while delicious, doesn't help my energy level.

So in lieu of "resolutions" for the New Year, I am recommitting myself to healthy habits that I made in past years. I'm starting slow and aiming for a 50/50 balance, meaning if I can just make it to the gym 2-3 days out of the 7 then I will call that a success. Same goes for cooking at home, if I can make a healthy meal 2-3 days out of the 7 then I'm on track.

My hope is that by adding in goals that I've accomplished in the past but on a smaller scale, then I will be able to figure out how to make it all work for 7 days a week later on in the year. Plus, as we get closer and closer to the year mark, breastfeeding is become a teeny tiny bit less of a commitment. Mason's desire is waining and hopefully he'll wean soon.

And luckily I'm not starting from zero, I have maintained one of my healthy habits.

Healthy Habits I’ve Maintained:
- Sweet Tea Ban
Not easy for a Southern gal, but worth it for me! There are so many empty sugary calories in sweet tea and the more I drink unsweet tea with tons of lemon, the more I crave it!

But I still have quite a few that I want to add back in.

Healthy Habits to Bring Back

- Water by the Gallon

I used to drink a gallon of water a day because I exercised so much; I needed the hydration. But now that I'm chasing Mason around all day it has been harder to remember those 8 cups. PLUS Mason is constantly trying to drink out of my cup when I have one on hand, but these are all just excuses. I need more water!
iphonedump may2014 238 

Plus I have a steady rotation of 24 oz. cups with straws that make drinking water super easy. Yes, I am often a lazy human being – it has to be easy!
 -Portion Control
Honestly, this hasn’t necessarily been by choice - I struggle to meet the calorie quota for breastfeeding. BUT emotional eating is becoming an issue again. I have definitely battled with emotional eating in the past, and I can feel it creeping in again. Breastfeeding is not an excuse to eat an entire bar of chocolate.
 -Healthier Salad Dressings and Condiments
I LOVE condiments! Seriously. LOVE. Ditching Ranch Dressing a few years ago was really hard but it made a HUGE difference in my overall health and ability to lose and maintain a healthy weight.
Umm…do you remember when I realized that I was eating 520 calories in Ranch dressing alone?!? Just for one meal?!?
Sadly, exhaustion has made me lazy, and back on the bottled dressing. While I’m definitely not back to where I was before (slamming a bottle a week) I’m not happy with where I am.
I love the Organic Ranch Seasoning from Spice Hunter, but I will use Hidden Valley in a pinch. It’s loaded with MSG but sometimes I pick my battles.

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I also didn’t buy anymore Ranch dressing this past week at the grocery store. There’s a lot to be said for making it less accessible. Laziness always wins out for me.
-Spaghetti Squash Swap
Eating less gluten free pasta is definitely a good thing for me personally: physically and financially. And I do genuinely love the taste of Spaghetti Squash. (Plus it is so darn good for you!) I fell out of the habit for tons of reasons: seasonality, exhaustion, time constraints, laziness…. But I do want to bring it back in to the meal rotation.
Two of my favorite Spaghetti Squash recipes:
Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
- Getting Regular Exercise

Definitely a tough one. Figuring out WHEN is the biggest issue right now. Even though I'm awake at 5am, I aim to get to work between 7:30 and 8am. Breastfeeding keeps me at the house until 7 am most mornings. I've thought about trying to make it to the gym at night, but this doesn't seem feasible. Hopefully, as Mason begins weaning, I'll have more time in the morning. AND fingers crossed that adding this back in slowly, just 2-3 days a week, will work - I miss those enorphins!
New Year 2014 iphone dump 382

-Meal Planning

This is seriously a necessity. The pizza and taco cycle MUST END.

I'm hoping that you guys can help me stay motivated....or even better, maybe you have some advice on how to figure out the balance as a newish Mom!

And what about you? Did you make a resolution for the New Year?