Dinner Last Night: Spring Veggie Ramen

Tried out a new recipe this week and was pleasantly surprised by its flavor and ease to follow.  Gwyneth Palrow's Spring Veggie Ramen made for a satisfying weekend dinner to mix up our usual repertoire.  I guess I always assumed that ramen broth was a terribly complex beast, and required bone broth, hours of simmering, and unusual ingredients not available at my local Safeway.  

Turns out, this broth was primarily water, ginger, and ponzu (soy sauce with a citrus twist, and it was available at Safeway).  Easy enough.  While I didn't have bok choy, I added frozen peas for a pop of green, in addition to the called for mushrooms, green onions, and 6-minute eggs.  Oh, and I used packaged ramen noodles (flavor packets discarded).  My kids were pretty excited to have a dinner of hard boiled eggs and curly noodle soup.  I call that a win!

image/jennykayne

2017 Goals

Well, now that we're knee deep into February, figured I might as well get around to etching my goals for the year in stone.  This is one of my favorite annual traditions, writing these down, and perhaps even more fun, looking back on past goals and reflections.  I find they are a reliable glimpse into a year, what happened, a memory of the landscape and climate of my life at the time, whether punctuated by a full-time job, a new baby, or occasionally both...

For 2017, I'm trying to switch it up and focus on a few new things.  So here goes..

+ throw kindness around like confetti
I recently discovered a postcard in my card box which read "throw kindness around like confetti" in beautiful gold letters.  I remember thinking to myself, now that's a good motto.  Though I typically aim to be friendly and polite, I don't typically set that intention for the day.  Be kind.  Exhibit grace. Exude kindness.  Whether it's taking the time to say 'thank you' or 'that was meaningful to me' to a friend or family member, to smiling at strangers, to looking for opportunities to bring kindness into someone else's day - I'm committing to doing a better job at depositing more kindness back into the world.

+ try new things
It's easy to fall into a familiar rut, especially when exhaustion sets in at the end of a long day.  I'm no different than the majority, it's very easy and convenient to collapse into the couch, remote in hand and defer to netflix.  However, this year, I'd like to try a few new things.  First, I want to attend a symphony and/or opera.  These are two experiences I've never tried, but have often wondered about and mused that I might enjoy.

+ build an exercise habit 
Now that my children have been sleeping through the night for a while now, it's really high time I resume an exercise routine.  I often set my alarm with fierce intention, willing my future self to jump out of bed upon its blaring and take to the pavement.  Yet, the reality of this is it is frequently upstaged by the snooze button.  Sleep is JUST. SO. GOOD.  I recently heard this quote which really resonated with me, "thoughts lead on to purposes, purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny," by Tyron Edwards.  This is so true, and I want to apply it to many areas of my life, including exercise.  Making the commitment to better oneself can really make a world of difference.

+ give back
Not exactly sure how give back will materialize this year, but I want to feel like I'm contributing to the community.  I always felt I was fulfilling this as a teacher, helping to mold and enrich young minds, and I'm sure I'm doing this with my kids, but I want to try and extend that a step further.  Whether it be posting phone numbers for representatives for friends and family to see, call, and advocate for political issues, or volunteering more locally in my city and surrounding community, or donating money to causes I find worthy, I want to give back more in 2017.

+ bake something every week
We've thankfully gotten the hang of meal planning for the week, which has led to a fuller (and emptier) fridge, a healthier diet, and significantly less waste.  Now that I've mastered pie crust, I'm trying to resume my plan to make homemade bread a no-brainer part of my repertoire.  R and I enjoy baking together and would like this to become a weekly habit instead of a random Tuesday kind of thing.  Whether this is a simple quiche, white bread, or a fancier something like scones or a pie, I'm hopeful that this goal will stick.  A few recipes I've pinned that are eagerly awaiting creation and consumption include chocolate babka, braided cardamom bread, blood orange coffee cake...I could go on.

+ put away my phone
Recharge without the aid of a power adapter. Enough said.

Past goals for 20162015201420132012201120102009, 2008

image/maryruffle

Dinner Last Night: Greek Sheet Pan Chicken

In my archive of recipes, I usually funnel them into two categories; 
a). can be made in the kitchen with kids and chaos underfoot to be a successful meal 
b). needs another adult to assist/supervise/distract kids in order to be a successful meal 

Greek sheet pan chicken is my new favorite easy dinner that undoubtedly fits in column A.  And when I say easy, I mean EASY.  As in chop a few veggies, toss in a bowl with chicken breast, lemons, salt, and spices.  Spread on a baking sheet.  Bake.  Top with feta.  And it tastes like you put in hours of effort. Boom.  Plus, my kids ate it all up too, so double points for that!

Friday Fun

Ay, yai, yai...I'm finding that at the present moment, I can't even wrap my head around the news.  I've temporarily abandoned facebook, and just resorted the fb groups app instead.  Trying to avoid the hullabaloo for the time being and instead channel my efforts and time into doing good rather than feeding the media frenzy. Trying to remain positive, upbeat, and continue onward and upward, giving back in small ways (like donating here and here).  Repeating a new mantra: find your purpose, find your place, there is so much we can do to help and love each other!

+ how in one school district, washing machines improved school attendance


+ ever seen elephants in knit jumpers? love this!

+ this teacher is amazing, hope my kids one day have a thoughtful educator like him

+ a pay it forward kind of concept - syrian supper clubs

+ working on my hygge rituals, what are yours?

+ has me dreaming about a little jaunt to Germany

+ a creative way to introduce yoga to kids

+ heard this garlic herb sauce is a game changer, taste-testing this weekend

+ could you take the plunge and never use shampoo again?

image/maryruffle

What Are You Reading?

I'm in need of a good book recommendation...or two...or three.  Really throw them all my way, I'll bookmark 'em in goodreads and call it a day.

In the last few months, I've read Commonwealth, The Other Typist, and my new favorite genre (young adult) which were all fantastic and thought provoking, It Ain't So Awful Falafel (dorky name, but quite good), Winger, and Exit, Pursued by a Bear.  Is it just me or are the YA choices way better now than they were when I was in middle/high school?

So...what are you reading?  Please, do tell!

January Favorites

Phew, the month of January flew by!  I still have yet to post my 2017 goals/resolutions...eek.  Better get on that!  In the mean time, here is a roundup of a few of my favorite things from the month.

+ Young House Love's coloring book (thought I wasn't an adult coloring book kind of fan, and just realized I'm not into nature scenes).  Coloring a cozy living room or elegant dining room is much more my scene.  Also loving these pens for coloring.

+ watching The Crown on Netflix - slow to start but after an episode or two it really picks up

+ another Netflix rec - St. Vincent.  This movie didn't seem appealing to me upon first glance, but my husband insisted, and I ended up really enjoying it.

+ the meditation app Headspace, trying to focus more on mindfulness, deep relaxing breathing, and essentially zoning in on the good and blocking out all the bad (especially in today's current world).  Enjoying this app and its guidance.

+ finding myself getting into a bunch of YA novels, enjoying the quick pace which lends itself to a faster read.  Polished off Winger in about 5 days (which was recommended to me by my friend and former librarian colleague)

+ this blue shade of Essie nail polish to cheer on the Seahawks during the playoffs

+ playing this pancake game with my 3-year old, so much enthusiasm!

Any January favorites for you?

image/bbb

Dinner Last Night: Crockpot Harissa Chicken with Chickpeas and Jeweled Rice

Another win for Half Baked Harvest. This crockpot harissa chicken delicious, albeit much spicier than I anticipated, as I'm new to using the ingredient harissa in my cooking.  That said, given the spice, it ended up being a mom and dad-only dinner and the kids ate leftovers, not that they complained at all.  Served over saffron coconut rice, with a pinch of cilantro and chopped pistachios , this made for one tasty meal.  Bookmarking for a future date night until our kids palates can handle the heat.