A Whole Week of (Almost) Effortless Dinners

It has kind of been the lasting joke in our marriage that I haven’t really liked to cook. That was until Joe and I realized that we had been going out to eat way too much and were just plain sick of unhealthy/processed foods. Now that I have a good routine down with Levi, I have made it a point to start cooking (for REAL this time!). It’s been a month and I am actually developing a love for cooking – who would have thought!? Since we live with my in-laws, I usually cook for the whole family, which is fun because I get the opportunity to serve them. It’s also a nice perk that they call me “Master Chef”, now. 😉

Because I don’t have hours upon hours to prepare dinners (and who really does?), I have come up with six go-to meals that are healthy and take less than 45 minutes to create. They are so simple yet very tasty, so try them out!

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients: bell peppers, feta cheese, any rice, garlic, onion, tomatoes, olive oil, basil, salt & pepper

Instructions: half bell peppers and bake in oven for 45 minutes at 450°F. Cook rice (I use a rice cooker & it takes about 30 minutes). While peppers are baking, sauté finely chopped garlic and diced onion for about 3 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, basil, salt, & pepper to taste and stir in for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add rice and feta cheese. Once bell peppers are browning, remove from over. You can either stuff the peppers and put them back in the oven for 5 more minutes, or eat as is (I haven’t really noticed a difference either way!).

“Taco Tuesday”

“Taco Tuesday”

Ingredients: uncooked corn tortillas, lime, cabbage, fresh salsa (I buy mine from Costco, or you can make your own), corn, black beans, onion, cheese (I love feta), avocado, tomatoes, bell peppers & your choice of meat (optional)

Instructions: cook tortillas for 40 seconds total. Cook corn, beans and meat on stove while finely chopping the remainder of your ingredients. Chop bell peppers and eat raw or fry in olive/coconut oil, whichever you prefer. It’s as simple as that! I like to mix it up every time but this is our basic taco.

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Ingredients: rotisserie chicken, celery, carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes, onion, chicken stock (optional, depending on how flavorful you like your soup), spices (such as garlic, basil, paprika, chives, and bay leaves)

Instructions: we usually pick at the rotisserie chicken on Sunday and make soup with the leftovers on Monday. Boil the whole chicken (including bones) and then let cool. Remove bones from soup. (Note: bone broth is very healthy because it contains much needed gelatin!!) Add chopped ingredients and spices and let boil.

Paninis

Paninis

Ingredients: bread, avocado, lunch meat, sprouts, lettuce or spinach, cheese, tomato, and condiments

Instructions: place cheese and meat (optional) on bread and cook (if you don’t have a Panini maker, you can also do this on a pan or griddle). Add cold ingredients such as vegetables and condiments once sandwich is removed from heat.

Breakfast Night

Breakfast Night

Ingredients: eggs, sweet/russet potatoes, pancake mix (I use a gluten free one with coconut flour from Sprouts & it’s really good!) raw honey for spread, and your choice of fresh fruit

Instructions: I don’t know why but breakfast food is appealing to me at all hours of the day… email me if you have any questions on this one. 😉 I like to make my pancakes with bananas or blueberries, but you can really get creative here (i.e. granola, coconut flakes, chia seeds).

Pasta Creations

Pasta Creations

Ingredients: pasta (I use quinoa pasta for added protein), pesto or tomato sauce (I buy both from Costco), and your choice of vegetables (I typically use onions, bell peppers, garlic, spinach and broccoli)

Instructions: sauté vegetables on the pan in olive/coconut oil while pasta cooks. I like to add my pasta to a large bowl of spinach to make it more of a “salad”. Add sauce and voila! You can also add your choice of meat (chicken, shrimp, ground beef, etc.).

Happy eating!! ❤ Aubrey

Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew As a New Parent

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IMG_1411Many things come naturally as a new parent, but there are also so many things that must be learned! This list was created based on personal experience & is for all of my friends who are becoming parents (now that Levi is six months old and I’m  totally qualified to pass on my wisdom). 😉

  1. Baby poop will leave its mark! Let’s just say that my new baby wrap was stained after our first wear…
  2. Prop Baby up at night if he spits up often. Levi would wake up crying at night because of what I think was acid reflux, and this solution worked wonders! It also prevented him from choking on his spit up.
  3. Beware of certain foods while breastfeeding! If your baby is extra gassy (and upset because of it), don’t overdo the gaseous foods such as broccoli, beans, and eggs.
  4. Always have a spare onesie. On one occasion, Levi had a blowout while I was at the gym (he was in the daycare center) and the caretakers were less than thrilled.
  5. Buy bigger diapers for nighttime wear. When Levi started sleeping through the night, I didn’t like to wake him up for a diaper change. Instead, I got bigger diapers for more absorbency!
  6. Go out to eat while Baby is young. Newborns tend to sleep right through a meal at a noisy restaurant! Now that Levi is older (and teething), it’s more challenging to take him out to eat.
  7. Take it easy. I was so eager to exercise that I began only one month prior to giving birth; my uterus started bleeding again since it wasn’t healed yet. Even if you feel like you can conquer the world, make sure to ease into exercising or even household chores and grocery shopping.
  8. Consistency is key. If Baby gets tired at 8 pm every night, try to be in a place where he can sleep! This takes some sacrifice, but it is so much better to have a quiet night with a happy baby than wasting a fun outing on a cranky baby.
  9. Make eating a priority. The 1st month was a total blur with the lack of sleep and all. I was so tired most days that I didn’t eat breakfast until 3:00 pm. This continued until my chiropractor advised me otherwise and I really worked hard to make a nice and healthy breakfast every morning. I became much more energized and productive!
  10. Babies are the greatest blessing. This tidbit is what keeps you sane!

I wish you all the best on your exciting new journey! Xoxo Aubrey

Are you a parent? Share your wisdom below! 

Mother, Mom, Mama, Mommy: The Woman of Many Titles

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It has been the greatest Mother’s Day yet! And technically my first as an “actual” mother. Joe gave me a back scratch, took Levi to Priesthood with him, made me breakfast in bed, and let me sleep in (my personal favorite!). I really milked it this year. 😉

Motherhood is nothing like I thought it would be. I never knew…

  • how much patience I would develop
  • that it was possible for me to function on anything short of ten hours of sleep
  • that a baby’s smile could literally evaporate all feelings of frustration in a heartbeat
  • how strong the women in my life are 

Well, now I know – or more accurately, now I am beginning to know!

All in all, everyone can be a “mother” because it’s about loving and understanding others. Every person is so valuable to God’s plan, and today is another day to remember that. I would like to thank all of those who have been “mothers” to me: my Young Women leaders, school teachers, babysitters, and especially my own mother. She is my best friend and #1 fan. All of these women have helped me more fully understand the purpose of motherhood. ❤

I hope you all had a terrific Mother’s Day! Xoxo Aubrey

Lessons from Levi

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Babies, babies, babies! People get so confused when we are out in public haha.

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Blessing day 🙂

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We are thinking about sending in his resume to become a sumo wrestler…

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Life never ceases to fascinate me. I mean, any time I am in need of learning a lesson, God immediately places someone or something in my way to satisfy that need! Levi is, of course, one of those people.

I still remember feeling “different” after he was born (I know it has only been 4 months & I talk about this like it was ages ago but it almost feels that way). I had a new sense of responsibility and selflessness. I have never really had to take care of anyone but myself – marriage doesn’t count because Joe will survive if I don’t feed him or change his clothes. 😉 Suddenly I had this helpless baby in my arms & I was the one he looked to! It’s an amazing feeling, motherhood. I haven’t mastered these two traits 100% and heaven knows I have a long way to go, but at least I recognize that I’m going! Now for the mushy stuff…

Mommy Favorites:

  • Realizing that I don’t own my son. He is really God’s child & I’m not here to mold him into the person I want him to be; rather, I’m here to teach him that he is a child of God and that he adds value to the world in his own, unique way. This understanding helps me to relax & just enjoy this experience!
  • Levi is developing quite the personality! He is really smiley (a trait he gets from Joe) & periodically pauses while nursing to stare at me with his big blue eyes & huge grin. Heart = melted. ♥
  • Feeling like I am the funniest person alive because Levi always laughs with (and at) me!

This transition of course takes some adjusting on my part but I am loving it all the same. Life is always rewarding when you feel you have eternal purpose & worth. 🙂

Until next time ❤ Aubrey

Lately: Motherhood

It is crazy to see how much Levi has grown!

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His expressions! ^^

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These guys always keep me laughing 😀

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I love watching my bro love on Levi!

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The boys ❤

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We go for lots of walks. Levi definitely doesn’t like being indoors all day, & neither do I!

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DSCN0302 Now this is happiness ❤

Motherhood is definitely not what I thought it would be. It’s BETTER!!! My day typically consists of:

  • Eating three meals – this is a major feat!!!
  • Exercising for 30 minutes – I go to my trainer two days a week & work out in Levi’s room every other day while he sleeps in my bed 🙂
  • Schoolwork – I have a really nice program through ASU that is all online! I usually complete my homework while Joe plays with Levi after school/work.
  • Reading/Journaling – This is my time to be free!! Two of my favorite hobbies.
  • LEVI!!! – I saved the best for last. 🙂 Levi is a little over 2 months old & loves to play. We take walks, dance to music, & just laugh at each other. He is great.

So there you have it! My life may seem fairly uneventful – and it is – yet I have never had such joy & purpose. Levi has taught me so much about responsibility & patience. For example, he is very happy at times, & very sad at others; some days I spend hours just hugging him so that he can rest peacefully.

I’m continuously reminded that life isn’t about the “to do” list. It’s about adding value to the world by being yourself & exercising your talents!! This has been a great lesson to me lately.

Thanks for stopping by! ❤  Aubrey

We Are Parents First

My brother-in-law showed me this commercial the other day and I couldn’t help but smile. I love the message! Here’s why:

  • Everyone has their own idea of what parents should/shouldn’t do. In my opinion, there is no one way to parent! I strongly believe that each child is born into a family with the particular parents they need for progression in this life. Think of it as the perfect symbiotic relationship. Hence, a parental “style” or practice is just a reflection of who the child is.
  • Every parent is simply doing what they think is best for the child, no matter how limited his/her knowledge may be
  • The details of parenthood may seem immensely important, but in the end, we’re all just loving our kids the only way we know how ♥

I hope you enjoy the clip as much as I do & have a fantastic day! I’ll be posting what I have learned as a parent thus far when I’m not so “busy” snuggling with my guy. 😉

Blurry photo...but look at this ham! <3 <3

Blurry photo…but look at this ham!

❤ Aubrey