Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A conversation

Patrick: mom, you're awesome and I wuv you so much
Me: Patrick you're awesome.  You just made my day!
Patrick: yeah, I probably did.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Baked Chicken Fajitas

Oh My, we had the best dinner tonight.  And what a happy accident that I chose tonight, of all nights, to resume my nascent blogging career. As I was preparing this meal I kept thinking "Taryn can make this gluten free by using corn tortillas!" "Mom can make this vegan by omitting the chicken and cheese!" "Kevin will love this!"  There were many exclamation points in my thought bubbles and it was all because of the smell coming from my oven.
So, here is what you will do:

Mix up your marinade in a ziploc bag, then toss in chicken, sliced red and green peppers and a vidalia onion.  I implore you, go for the vidalia onion, it added such a surprising sweetness.  Throw that in the fridge until you're ready to cook.  I did this part in the morning while I was making breakfast and in the midst of the messy-kitchen phase of the day.  Ha!  All day long is the messy kitchen phase of my day, but morning does seem to be extra messy with at least the potential for a clean afternoon. About a half hour before dinner, preheat the over to 400° then line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spread the chicken and veggie mixture.

Be sure to have your dinosaur and chicken at the ready for some quick quality control measures before proceeding.  Then, once given the all clear, place in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes.  I went with a happy 22 minutes and it worked great, of course the smell coming from the oven at about the 15 minute mark had me pretty impatient, but my sense of food safety kicked in and we waited. 

Check out the steam coming from this sucker.  It was just like the fajitas you get in a Mexican restaurant, except we're home, we're in our pajamas and it's so much cheaper.  (Side note: why are fajitas so expensive, anyway?!)

Make sure quality control is checking out the edibility of the cheese and cilantro.

Place in whole wheat tortillas (corn, if you prefer), top with shredded cheese, lettuce, cilantro and salsa and please, ENJOY.  This one is a keeper and will definitely be making its way into our regular rotation.


Marinade - 
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Fajitas - 
2 chicken breasts, sliced
1 red, 1 green pepper, sliced
1 large vidalia onion, sliced

Shredded cheese
Anything else that strikes your fancy

Recipe heavily inspired by Baked Bree

Friday, July 12, 2013

The end of vacation

It is a universal experience that vacations end too soon.  Ours, this summer, is no exception.  We saw loads of family, ate and drank too much and didn't sleep nearly enough.  We will need a full vacation to recover from this one.  I found myself sending up a prayer to the universe many times this week; A prayer of thanksgiving for my little family, for all the love that we have, for how fortunate we are to experience vacation in any capacity and most especially that Patrick is of the age that he may remember some of this time.  For now, I am really looking forward to getting home so that I can dig through the 800+ pictures I took this week! Here's just one from this morning. It has been overcast and gloomy the last few days but we made dang sure Patrick got to take his homemade kite out for a spin (a fly?) at least once before we had to leave the beach.

xoxo, Maura

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Easing Into Health: a 30 day Fuhrman inspired challenge

My mom just celebrated her one year anniversary of eating a nutritarian diet.  It is a huge accomplishment and one I just don't think I'm ready for yet.  As this past year progressed every time I saw her I'd ask "how is it going? how are you feeling?" and I was (not so secretly) hoping she would have something to complain about.  I just didn't want this really intense lifestyle change to be working as well as the good Dr. Fuhrman claims it does because it seems so. frickin. intense. First of all, you may have noticed I referred to this diet as a lifestyle change, and it sure is.   I like to call it "vegan on crack", but I'm not sure my sarcasm reads on the internet.  :)  My mother was making ridiculous claims like increased and sustained energy! Better skin and hair! Less pain from arthritis and a chronic neck injury!  Lots! Of! Good! Things!  But no cheese.  Let me back up...the idea behind this way of eating is that our bodies are suffering from a severe lack of micronutrients, those found in the healthiest of healthy foods.  Think leafy greens, beans, other vegetables, fruits and seeds.  We find ourselves time and again staring into the abyss of the pantry, thinking "I'm starving" and Dr. Fuhrman claims that this is a "toxic" hunger because we are so deficient in the micronutrients that we need to thrive.  We are hungry for nutrient dense foods.  We could eat all of the potato chips, pizza and cupcakes that our little (not so little?) stomachs can handle, and still we'd feel a fundamental hunger for the most important nutrients.
Recently I was treated to this article from Dr. Furhman's website via my (well meaning) mother about the ten best and worst foods for health.  It got me thinking that while still pretty restrictive, it sounded manageable.  I've very easily talked myself out of going "full Fuhrman" quite a few times because I'm nursing and I don't want to do anything to interfere with my milk supply.  It's an excuse, plain and simple, but one I'm comfortable making.

Without further adieu the ten BEST foods are:

  • Green Leafy Vegetables (e.g. kale, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, lettuce)
  • Non Leafy Cruciferous Vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage)
  • Berries
  • Beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Seeds (e.g. flax, chia, hemp, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin)
  • Nuts (e.g. walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, almonds, cashews)
  • Tomatoes
  • Pomegranates

And, sad face, the ten WORST foods are:

  • Full-fat Dairy (e.g. cheese, ice cream, butter, whole milk)
  • Trans Fat Containing Foods (e.g. stick margarine, shortening, fast foods, commercial baked goods)
  • Doughnuts
  • Sausage, Hot Dogs, and Luncheon Meats
  • Smoked Meat, Barbecued Meat and Conventionally-Raised Red Meat
  • Fried Foods including Potato Chips and French Fries
  • Highly-salted Foods
  • Soda
  • Refined White Sugar
  • Refined White Flour
Starting next week I plan on making this commitment to myself and I'm going to follow this list of ten best and worst foods for a full 30-days.  I' to mister! (name that Jim Carrey movie)  I hope I lose weight.  I hope I feel more energetic.  Frankly, it'll be pretty hard for me to feel less energetic.  I hope I don't miss cheese as much as I think I will.  I'm kind of weeping into my cheese plate at the moment, if you'll excuse me...

xoxo, Maura

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Vacationing with two littles is certainly not the relaxing, energizing vacations of my past, but it is so nice to have a change of scenery.  This year we have rented a house on the north fork of Long Island.  Since our families are all on Long Island we are expecting visitors all week long.  My mom and step-father are first up and they are currently entertaining the kids while I work on the computer.  Thanks, mom!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Getting through the day

I am a stay-at-home-mom.  I chose this.  I choose this.  But some days, man, I would choose anything else.  Raising kids is relentless.  They are little bundles of need-want-need-tantrum-need wrapped up in diapers and snot and they certainly don't care if you're busy, tired or, well, let's just say indisposed.  More often than not the clock strikes noon or 1 and I scream (to myself or aloud, it doesn't faze my two) "It's only 1 o'clock??!! Is my house in a parallel universe where time warps happen regularly??  Wait.  If a time warp happens regularly is it just normal time?  Huh..."  This actually reminds me of something my uncle was telling me a few months ago when he visited. He was talking about a study done on nursing home patients and how time does seem to slow down when you're bored because your attention is brought to the passage of time and nothing else.  This study suggested that activities would greatly enhance the lives of the people living in nursing homes, which makes perfect sense.  This correlates neatly to my day-to-day life.  When the afternoon slump hits and I start dreaming about my bed, I try to do something for myself that doesn't involve the kids.  These days I've been making a cup of herbal tea my midday mental break.  I like the routine of picking out the tea, the perfect tea cup, heating the water, and watching the tea steep.  Soon enough there comes a "Mooooom, I need you" from the toyroom and it's back to reality.  But the tea has helped.

Who needs sleep? (Well, you're never gonna get it)*

It's a fact.  My husband and I do not make good sleepers.  Or, I guess I should say, we don't raise good sleepers, since we had nothing to do with the making of Patrick.  Last night the baby was just. not. having. it.  We're trying to get her to sleep in her crib, but after almost 9 months of co-sleeping with me and no will to let her "cry it out" on my part, it's a challenge.  We all need more sleep, but at the moment I'm trying to remind myself that this time is so fleeting and there's no way I'll be this tired forever, right?  (Right????)
So last night after nursing for an hour she had had just enough rest to really turn her off of the idea of sleep.  Instead of fight it, we moved into the little room next to her bedroom that I've been using as an office and I let her crawl around and get into my old scrapbooking things.  She made a mess and had a great time.  I got a couple of cute shots of her.  Win, win.

I hope that years from now, when I look back on these pictures, the exhaustion that is beating me down today will be just a sliver of the memory of this night when I was her favorite person in the world and she just wanted to spend more time with me.  Awake.  

*Barenaked Ladies FTW

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Green" Drink for beginners

I love the idea of the hugely popular green drink.  What a fabulous way to get a few servings of vegetables and fruits in, and easily!  In practice, though, it's a bit more work than pouring cereal and milk into a bowl.  We started "green drinking" a few years ago and we're pretty regular about it, though some weeks we're better than others.  And that's fine. I do find that on days when we start off with a green drink it's so much easier to make better choices as the day progresses.  Of course, it's also easy for me to say "sure, let's swing by Starbucks for a treat because I drank a big glass of spinach this morning!".  (This scene may have played out this morning.)  Our green drink is certainly not the pure, heavy-on-the-veggies drink that the nutritarian crowd espouses (hi, mom!), but this is a big step away from the Standard American Diet and that is the right direction for my young family.

Our basic recipe goes into the blender like this:

2 cups of water
2 bananas
Fill the blender base to the top with organic spinach and baby kale (this is a lot, but the taste really does disappear into the fruit)
1 small bag of organic blueberries
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Blend on high for longer than you might think.  We blend for a good 90 seconds.  Serve immediately and enjoy.  The best part is that you can easily add in a handful of baby carrots, some frozen broccoli, different fruits or all of the above and the powerful flavor of the bananas really keeps it from tasting like you're drinking a salad.  I love salad, I just don't want to drink it.
  *the drink pictured above is hardly green because we were out of bananas and I added more blueberries than usual.  I swear, it's always feast or famine in this house when it comes to bananas.  Naturally, I purchased three bunches when we went to the commissary earlier.  I predict a mad dash to use up a few overripe bananas early next week.  It's a viscous cycle.

xoxo, Maura

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Doing my best

I'm working hard these days.  I'm working on doing my best.  Not THE best, simply my best.  In my previous life (you know, before this morning) I would become paralyzed with certainty that whatever endeavor I was contemplating would be hard work and I would not be perfect.  Since I would (obviously) be imperfect at whatever I was considering at the time my choice was always very clear: Retreat!  Close up shop!  Don't dare put yourself in a position where you might be not good enough!!! It turns out I am perfect at something: talking down to myself. This is all to say that I could easily talk myself out of starting this blog.  I have talked myself out of starting a blog countless times before.  In fact I'm getting clammy palms just thinking about hitting publish.  But here it is, and, spoiler's not perfect.  It's not perfect but it's here and that's a start. 

I want this to be  place where I can share my life, my journey to fixing up our house, my cooking, photography, attempts to lose weight (again!), and of course, my perfectly amazing children.  I want this blog to be  beautiful and joyful and a reminder to myself that even if I'm overwhelmed, exhausted and generally unhappy with everything I am so dang blessed.  I have so much to be thankful for.

Please join me.  I'm so happy you're here.

xoxo Maura

Monday, June 24, 2013

A brief introduction

Well, hello there.  I can't believe I have a free minute in the middle of the day to write something down, but thanks to a trip to the zoo and a now-napping three year old, I do!  Even more surprising is that I am not taking this free minute to read Lainey and catch up on whatever Brad Pitt was up to this weekend.  While Patrick is napping and Annabelle is banging around at my feet I thought I would open this blog up with a gentle sigh.  A picture of my kiddos, enjoying each other.  It's a rare sight, folks, but it warms my heart and makes the rest of the day(s) worthwhile.  As Glennon would say: Kairos!