Lunch today was leftovers of this beautiful dish.  And yes, I've been looking forward to lunch ever since I woke up :)

Today's lunch had quinoa instead of jasmine rice, though.  

So seriously, last night's dinner was fan-freaking-tastic!  And (bonus!), one of the reasons I put it on the menu was to use up a large quantity of broccoli slaw that would have otherwise gone uneaten and probably would have gotten soggy and yucky in the fridge.
I had leftover broccoli slaw from the super yummy buffalo chicken rolls I made a previous weekend (sorry, no pictures!).  The recipe for this dish didn't really call for broccoli slaw; it actually uses a bunch of veggies chopped up as matchsticks.  But, I had the slaw and needed to use it!  The recipe also called for oyster sauce and mushrooms, neither of which I had and neither of which I wanted to buy.

So, I adapted the original recipe and it still came out damn tasty!  Imagine if I had followed everything to order.  
The kiddos got deconstructed steak rolls, but I'm sad to say that they weren't a huge hit :(  It's too bad, because I was pretty proud of how colorful and healthy their plates looked.  Unfortunately, they mostly just played with the edamame.  Taylor ate his rice and I think he ate one of the green peppers. He may have put the red pepper in his mouth.  That's about it.  Oh well.  Try and try again!

I have to say, this was an extremely delicious meal.  The veggie filling was so good, I could eat it straight out of the pan (and may have actually done just that last night).  
I definitely adapted this from the original recipe to make it slightly cheaper for myself and also a bit quicker to make.  Making it a little easier was done out of necessity, since the little ones were getting restless.

If I could do it over again, I would make this on a Saturday when we had a little more time to "do it right."  I would give it more time to freeze to make it easier to slice, and I would definitely build in more time to marinate the steak in the soy sauce.  I would probably also buy the oyster sauce to make the sauce according to the original recipe.  But seriously, we will definitely be making this dish again!  Bob loved the fact that he could eat it with his fingers like a sushi roll.  I ended up using a fork and knife to eat it like a respectable person :)

Here's a quick version of how we made last night's delicious meal:

Ingredients:
  • flank steak (1 lb. or so)
  • broccoli slaw
  • red pepper
  • green pepper
  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • squeeze garlic
  • squeeze ginger
  • salt and peppa
  • edamame (to serve on the side)
  • boil in the bag jasmine rice (to serve on the side)

Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • medium squeeze of garlic
  • Original recipe called for 1 tbsp. oyster sauce, but I just used a drizzle of fish sauce ('cause that's what I had), and I added a couple shakes of soy sauce to make it look brown.  'Cause that's how I roll.

  1. Freeze flank steak for 15-30 minutes to make it easier to slice.  Slice into 1/8 inch strips, against the grain. Pound them thin so they'll cook up fast.
  2. Meanwhile, make sure all of your veg is chopped matchstick style (slaw is already like that)
  3. Saute veg in with some olive oil and add about 1 tbsp. soy sauce (I just shook it over the pan a few times).  Add about 1 tsp. of sesame oil (drizzled over the pan).  Add a big squeeze of garlic and a big squeeze of ginger.  Add a few shakes of salt and peppa.
  4. In the original recipe, you're supposed to marinate your sliced steak in some soy sauce and pepper.  If we had time, I would totally do that, because I bet it makes it even more awesome.
  5. Once you've got your filling done, you take you steak slices and lay them out.  Put a little filling on each end and roll it up.  Stick a toothpick through to hold it all in place.
  6. Heat your saute pan with about 1 tbsp. veggie oil.  
  7. Add about 5 rolls and sear on both sides for about 1-2 minutes.  Add about half your sauce and put the lid on the pan and let them cook for 3-5 minutes.
  8. Repeat for remaining rolls.
  9. Servie with edamame and rice.

Original Recipe

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
 
Absolutely love this little guy's signature!
 
Lunch! Leftover chicken meatballs turned into wraps, with tomatoes and jalapeño cilantro dressing. Really delicious!

Today I participated in the democratic process by voting (early) since I'll be in Denver on Election Day.

Also, we've gone to Lowes and Krogers. Trying to prepare for possible bad weather as best we can.
 
Ugh!  I had a couple paragraphs of very deep thoughts, and I just accidentally deleted them!

The gist of it was that I was having some very deep thinking regarding the joy I feel right now for life in general and how, for me, it is very connected to health and fitness.  I feel amazing, and I also have this strong desire to share this feeling with others.  I don't want to change careers at all; I just wish that everyone could feel this amazing feeling that I feel.

I've become increasingly interested in health and fitness, diet and exercise, and right now I feel the best that I ever have in my life (this was written better the first time!).  Most days, I feel like I have boundless energy.  My spirits are usually very positive, my digestive system seems to be in a really good place, and in general I just feel, physically and emotionally, the best I have felt in a long time.
And then I started thinking about what this transformation started occurring for me; it's so connected with the birth of my second son.  The birth of Stephen truly brought about a rebirth for me.  I am a different person now.  What an amazing gift that was bestowed upon me!

And it hit me: this is why I've never stopped thinking about the possibility of having another child one day.  It's not that this has never occurred to me before -- I remember having a conversation along these lines with Bob when Stephen was about 6 months old.  But, I think I had sort of forgotten that this was such a powerfully motivating feeling for me.
That event was earth-shattering, life-changing for me.

It's like I've been on the most amazing drug ever since Stephen was born.

Who wouldn't want to go through that experience again?  Who wouldn't want another "hit," so to speak?

I guess the question boils down to, is it enough for me?  Do I need to go through that experience again to continue feeling the effects of this amazing drug that has never worn off?

I'm not sure that I do.  I tend to think that I can channel that energy into being the best possible mother to those two boys.

It's important to remember that there have been, and continue to be, a lot of ups and downs with this whole thing, too.  Motherhood hasn't always been rainbows and endless cups of fro yo.

But I've fallen in love with Taylor, and it was love at first sight with Stephen.  I cannot deny that there is still love in my heart to give.  Now it is just a matter of understanding and figuring out what to do with that love.
 

Quick update: I have not succeeded in doing the house cleaning 15 minutes a day thing.  Not succeeded in the least!  I never even started!  Oh well.  I suppose there's always next week, although, who am I kidding -- it's not going to happen :)

In other news, though, eating well and as healthy as possible has been going along swimmingly.

The majority of my lunches have been packed from home and the dinners have primarily been very healthy.  The image to the left is some of the best hits: lunch that was leftover chicken kabobs (with pineapple, green pepper, and cherry tomatoes); southwest ground chicken stuffed red peppers, healthy chicken nuggets (with zucchini tots), and chicken parm meatloaf muffins (that was ah-maz-ing!!).  These dinners have been so good, and the kids have been eating them up!


Last week, I made the Philly Stuffed Peppers, and Taylor actually asked for more green peppers!  Who are you, and what have you done with my four year old?!  It would be safe to assume we'll be eating a lot more green peppers at our house.  

And he ate two (two!) of the chicken parm meatloaf muffins.  In fact, we didn't have any leftovers of the meatloaf muffins; they were that good.  The plus side of the meatloaf muffins is that they cook up fast (in 20 minutes), which is much better than waiting around for an entire loaf to bake.  We served them with raw carrots, since Taylor loves raw carrots, so there was very little clean-up.

It really has occurred to me that (mostly) clean eating can be so much faster, easier, and (sometimes) cheaper than I ever thought it could be.  I think part of it is that you kind of have to commit to figuring out an easy way to make these healthy meals.  There's "easy," and then there's EASY.  And you've got to figure out what "easy" means to you.

For me, I am lucky in that I am just experimenting with different foods and I don't have a vital need to follow any kind of strict diet or restrict too much of anything.  I don't really know what "clean" eating is.  I just know that right now I am trying my best to eat less processed foods, which necessarily puts me in the way of eating more veggies and fruits.  I'm trying to choose lean meats and also looks for more natural and/or low-fat, low-sugar type options.

And I'm doing all of this with a very specific priority of not buying a bunch of expensive, gourmet ingredients or supplements or anything crazy.  Plus, I need to have meals that can get on the table between the time we get home and 6:15, which doesn't always leave very much time.  So raw carrots?  Hell yeah!  They are easy, healthy, and don't really dirty any dishes (unless you serve them in a bowl, which is still super easy to clean).  Bag of microwave broccoli?  Hell yeah!  Cook it a little under, so it's still a little crunchy and can add it to any dish or reheat for leftovers all week.  Shredding the zucchini for the zucchini tots?  I'll use a food processor next time.  But still, the family loved those things!  Taylor ate more than one, and IT HAD ZUCCHINI IN IT!  I am a happy mom and will give myself carpel tunnel shredding veggies if it means my kid will eat zucchini or beg me to make sweet potato fritters.  Hell to the yeah.  Philly stuffed peppers?  Meat, cheese, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers, and the kids ate everything on their plates (I left out the onions and 'shrooms for the little guys, but they got applesauce).  Me = one happy mom.  And those things cook up in no time.

So, I think it really comes down to finding what works for YOU.  For me, that means really going back to the "roots" of some ways to prepare healthy meals.  Sticking with food that's in as "natural" a state as possible usually ends up in less prep and less clean up for me.  So I shall continue to explore these options for healthy eating.  I have to say, Pinterest has really helped me in this area.  All of the above meals were Pinterest finds.


 
This image may just look like a muffin tin with baked eggs in it, but to me it's so much more.  During the bustle of the weekend, it can sometimes be hard to make the time to make my egg muffins, but I can pretty much tell if I'm going to have a good week or a bad week based on this one simple thing.  For me, these egg muffins represent consistency, security, and the sense that I have a plan in place.

I was behind schedule last week, but I pulled it through and on Tues or Wed, I got these bad boys made, and I made a bunch, so I didn't have to do any prep (for the muffins) yesterday.
What I did do this weekend was get my life together.  I have a sweet husband who, on Saturday, took both of my little mischief makers to the grocery store and then took Taylor to a birthday party while Stephen napped.  This meant that I had hours (hours!!) home to myself.  My first inclination was to take a bubble bath, eat bon bons, paint my toenails and generally luxuriate.  Just kidding!  Actually, I started right away in tackling some tasks that I have been itching to do for some time.  Just some minor things like, oh, putting away the toilet paper that had been sitting in a package in our foyer for two weeks.  Also on Saturday, I vacuumed upstairs and down, put clean sheets on the master bed, cleaned the boys' bath and the main floor bath, swiffered all of the hard woods, including the stairs, cleaned the light fixture above the kitchen table, dusted the downstairs, and ran my laundry through the wash.  There's probably other stuff that I've already forgotten.

On Sunday, cleaned the master bath, folded a bunch of towels, put away my laundry, and I don't know what else!  Oh, and I tried this thing I saw on Pinterest that includes putting Rainex on my shower to keep it from collecting water and possibly preventing mildew-y soap scumminess.  We'll see if that works!

In addition to usual housework, I also made my lunch for the next day, packed up my work clothes into my gym bag, and laid out my gym clothes and shoes to be ready for the morning workout.

And, I breathed a sigh of relief.  It feels really good to have all of this done, even though I know the house is already gathering dust and grime and waiting for next week.

So, with me feeling like the house is pretty darn clean right now, I am going to try this whole thing where you do the 15 minutes a day to clean house (also saw on Pinterest!).  I'll link to her schedule if I can find it.

That's all for now -- gotta run!