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Well….

Well, blog, quite a bit has changed since my last post.

The big news is that I’m 27 (almost 28) weeks pregnant with a baby boy. Oddly enough, my best friend from college is due a month before me and so is a Tallahassee friend. So, I’m not sure what’s been in the water, but apparently this is the time to be pregnant.

Gray and I are over the moon and starting to put together the nursery (he’s working on a dresser as we speak).

And let’s just say if nesting is a real thing that it has kicked in over the past two weeks. I’ve been pinning tons of recipes, cleaning like crazy (save for a break when we weren’t sure what Irma was going to do to Tallahassee) and organizing. I’ve never been so interested in articles on organizing.

My sister jokingly said “Who are you?” when she found that I had already gotten birthday presents for her and my grandfather (and cards — 50 cents at the dollar store) and had pretty much figured out Christmas gifts. (Hey, the baby is due at Christmas. I have to get this done now, folks.)

But anyway, the cooking.

I felt like I had been in a major rut on cooking for months, which was not helped by the first trimester when I thought that fruit and pasta

The other day I noticed that Publix had a 3 for $5 deal on pillsbury grands and I had an extra $1 off. I started searching for recipes. My mom sent me a pizza-like one that I will eventually try, but for now, I am going to make chicken pot pie.

Does anyone out there have a favorite chicken pot pie recipe? I think I’m doing some sort of combo of one from Hello Fresh and a more casserole type one I saw on Pinterest. But if you know of a good one, hit me up before 5 p.m. eastern time.

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Why It’s Hard to Keep a Food Blog

When I started this blog, I was in a new city, single, friendless, etc. It was a really tough year. I was not adjusting well to living in Florida at all.

I missed my friends from grad school, Pittsburgh, my mom and dad and sister. And you could not persuade me that there was much good about Tallahassee. The first Thanksgiving I went home, I started to cry on the early morning trip back to the airport.

Somewhere in those first few months, I decided to start this food blog. It may have had something to do with me finding Bon Appetit unapproachable as a reader. (I don’t necessarily feel that way now.)

Anyway, I jumped into it and kept it up pretty regularly. And naturally — though completely unrelated to my food blogging — I started to like Tallahassee, made lots of good friends and eventually met my husband.

As the years continued, my posting  got fewer and farther in between. I was too busy actually enjoying my life. I have no idea how people with full time jobs and lives post daily. I’m in awe of it, though I’m also not sure that I would want to be worried about constantly taking a photo or writing the perfect post.

But, as my friend Andrea reminded me recently, you can always come back to the site whenever you feel like it because it has already been created.  It’s not starting from scratch.

I would like to promise that I’m going to post once a week, but I don’t know if I actually will. I want to post whenever it feels natural and not forced.

But for now, I will leave you with a photo of these lovely roasted veggies I made last night as part of my #SundayMealPrep. It had broccoli, carrots, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, red peppers, cauliflower and baby bells. I tossed them in olive oil, sprinkled them with kosher salt and roasted them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

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30 Days of Meals: Jambalaya

After the best intentions of blogging meals every day, I totally failed at it last week. I was out at work events and grabbing things at home. Though, Gray made a delicious pasta and mushroom dish one night and we also had leftover stuffed peppers.

I tried to rebound this weekend.

We had friends over for dinner Saturday that resulted in a delicious jambalaya (recipe courtesy of Southern Living). Our friends also brought a Greek custard pie for dessert. So good. Also not shown: Pinot Grigio.

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Sunday meant salmon for dinner. Not shown: Salad and unsweet peach tea.

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30 Days of Meals: Ribs on the Grill

Day 2 of my self-imposed challenge started off pretty much the same way as the first.

Two slices of peanut butter toast on Ezekial bread (Plus a multivitamin)

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This was followed by a 90-minute walk with my friend Lynn and lunch as Jason’s Deli. I had the California club (minus the mayo and cheese, which cut the calories almost in half) and a side of fruit and ice tea.

For dinner, my husband charred some delicious ribs on the grill. He made a rib with brown sugar, ground mustard, cayenne pepper and salt. There may have been a few other things in there, but he says he was making it up as he went along.

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I added some veggies.

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Not pictured: An obscene amount of peach tea that I consumed while finishing the book Fates & Furies, which is awesome.

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Blogging can equal healthy habits

Blogging regularly about cooking had one big benefit. It had me cooking regularly and healthily.

Let me tell you what happened when I stopped blogging several times per week. The scale started to show some different numbers than I’d gotten used to seeing.

Blogging — of lack thereof — wasn’t the only thing behind this weight gain, which has happened over two years. I switched to a more sedentary job that had me mostly in an office instead of walking to and from the state capitol building every day. I also fell off the wagon of regular exercise and began eating lunch out almost every day. Those lunches generally fell into the category of sandwich and chips or french fries. Not good.

So, where does that leave us? Well, 20 lbs heavier for one.

I listed to a three-minute TED talk the other day about doing something every day for 30 days. Though I find some TED talks to be overblown, I liked the simplicity of this one. How hard is it to do something for 30 days?

So, my goal is to blog every day for 30 days about my meals, which I’ll also be tracking on MyFitnessPal. And hopefully, this will get me back on a healthier track.

 

Recipes

Dollars & Cents of Batch Cooking

My house is filled with frozen meals right now.

No, not Lean Cuisine or Publix frozen pizza. But, all sorts of delicious homemade dinners.

My mom, who just left on her return trip to Pittsburgh about 90 minutes ago, spent hours with me yesterday cooking all of those meals. I had been a little frustrated lately trying to make sure Gray and I ate decent meals (i.e. not pasta or items from the frozen food section) with busy schedules. Unfortunately, many nights we were coming home tired and not really wanting to make food. So, it would be frozen pizza or pasta or food that one of us picked up on the way home from some fast casual spot.

In terms of our waistlines and pocketbooks, this way of living wasn’t really working.

My mom gently reminded me that we could cook a lot of stuff and freeze it, which is what she has done for years. So, we went to the neighborhood Publix to stock up on ingredients and set to work.

We made:

This is my freezer right now:

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So, here’s the financial breakdown of this trip. I spent about $111 at the store — it was probably closer to $100 if we take out the bug spray and crackers I got for my mom to have on her drive home.  If you take just the broccoli cheese soup, tacos, sausage dish and sloppy joes, that makes about 20-24 servings, depending on how big your serving size is.  That means, we were looking at anywhere from $4.69 to $5.55 per meal (using the $111 figure). But, that figure doesn’t even include 40 sausage balls and 27 energy bites.

It’s a pretty good deal. And though I wouldn’t refer to any of these meals as super healthy, it’s always healthier to eat at home than in a restaurant.

Also, because I’ve never posted it before, here’s my mom’s recipe for sloppy joes.

Ingredients: 1 pound ground beef, 1 large onion diced, 1 green pepper diced, 1 cup celery diced, 1 cup ketchup, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp vinegar, 1 tsp salt

Directions: Brown meat and drain; add onion, pepper and celery. Cook for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing well. Simmer for at least 30 minutes and serve.