July 2018: Megan

After several months away to relax, stress, travel, GET ENGAGED, take an MBA course, stress some more, self-care a bit, etc. etc., I’M BACK!! We’re kicking off being back on the blog with July’s guest contributor: Megan.

Megan is hands down one of the best humans out there. She’s brilliant, hilarious, an amazing friend, and an even more incredible new MOMMY. Check out her motherhood journey below.

Being a parent is the most beautiful, emotional, and rewarding job on this planet. Being the middle of five children growing up, I always babysat my little brothers with ease. However, being a mother is quite the contrary.

Pregnancy was by far the most exhausting and exhilarating thing that my body has ever done. Once I got over that my size four jeans wouldn’t fit past my knee, I fully embraced it. Maternity jeans with the elastic waistband? Check. Soft and smooth skin? Check. Hair and nails growing like weeds due to my prenatal vitamins? Check and Check. I looked forward to every kick and every punch my baby boy would make in my stomach. I walked around my subdivision daily with my Weimaraner, and ate foods that were semi nutritious (besides my intense red meat cravings that made me end up at the Iowa Tap Room for Rubens and not beers.) I even tried to do light weights and walk on the treadmill for over an hour at my local Planet Fitness. I was, however, not expecting the post pregnancy feels.

Once I delivered my 9 lb. 5 oz. beautiful boy naturally, no one told me how to recover from such a procedure. I only saw Facebook and Instagram posts of babies after being delivered and recall saying in my head, “If she can do it, so can I!”

When the doctor was done stitching me up with +30 stitches, I came back to a recovery room full of hemorrhoids and sciatic pain. I have never felt so much discomfort in my entire life. Mind you, I JUST delivered my baby. I could barely walk, sit up, or move around when I was released from the hospital a few days later. Thoughts raced through my head: “How am I going to cook dinner? How will I get groceries? How can I have a balanced diet while providing enough milk for my baby, all while not moving?

Turns out, a lot can happen when you ask for help. For example, my husband just completed a Costco trip right before I was discharged from the hospital and bought a LOT of pre-made meals (enchiladas, stuffed peppers, rice), as well as frozen vegetables and meats. When I felt a bit light headed, Aussie Bites, cereal, and peanut butter rolled oats saved my life. They were easy to make, and I could eat them with one hand while breastfeeding with the other. Quick, semi-healthy foods were my lifeline in those first few weeks of being a new mom. Now that I have a somewhat pattern with our little guy, I try to include as many vegetables as possible into my diet. I can put him down to peel carrots, potatoes, onions, etc. I do not have any more food aversions, but am trying to cut back on my meat. Having a little one truly is a lifestyle change, and I am embracing all of it, every single day.

Megan Passman

It’s refreshing to know that not all new mommies are as it appears on Instagram. It’s important to realize that those photos or videos that we see on social media are snapshots in time and that those people are REAL and are experiencing REAL life just as we are. Those insta-mommies are just like us behind the scenes.

Thanks for sharing your mommy-hood journey with us, Megan! We’ll check back in with her soon to see how her self-care routines change as baby Carter grows up.

What have your experiences with new mommy-hood been like? Similar to Megan’s? Different? Let us know by commenting below!

Easy Kale Chips

Woah, you guys. It.has.been.a.WHILE. Apologies for going M.I.A. for a bit there – life got in the way. Selfish how it does that sometimes, huh?

If you’ve been following my story, you know that I went through a pretty drastic dietary change about 8 [wow, there goes life being all sassy and moving too quickly again!] months ago. I was informed that I had Celiac disease and that I basically had to eliminate all things that brought me joy. That’s dramatic, but you get it. Thank goodness that it’s 2018 and food manufacturers have learned to put disclaimers on their products that call out if an item is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, etc. Even so, preparing well-rounded meals was still pretty difficult and I had to teach myself to enjoy all the green “nasties” as I used to call them. And seriously, if you don’t believe me, ask my friends – they know I RARELY ate greens. I was even gifted this book.  Fast forward to today and I can proudly say that I LIKE KALE. GASP!

I have been dying to share with you the easiest kale chip recipe that I’ve ever seen. Okay, being honest here – I can’t see how it could be hard in the first place – and if I can do it, you can do it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Kale (duh) Not the baby kind – Get the good “adult” stuff.
  • Oil – I used olive oil
  • Garlic salt because YUM
  • Parchment paper – Optional, but I like using it because I’m lazy and hate cleaning dishes
  • Pepper

Now, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees. Low and slow is the method to go with.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Rinse and make sure to really pat the kale dry. This is key and helps them get nice and crispy.
  4. Remove the stems and tear into slightly smaller pieces.
  5. Place kale pieces onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil. Be light-handed here. Too much olive oil won’t allow the chips to actually become chips.
  7. Season with garlic salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Toss!
  9. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and flip the chips. Return to oven for 10 more minutes. Patience!
  10. Best enjoyed right away.

Disclaimer: These don’t really work out the next day. I packed some in a plastic baggie for lunch the next day and they just didn’t hold the crispiness. They were still really yummy and flavor-packed, but lacked the chip-ness. I suggest just making as much as you’d like to consume that day. 

Enjoy!

Bon appétit! 

Completely unrelated from kale, but want to know something cool? I was featured on Metro Detroit’s own She’s Blossoming blog as a featured writer! Self-care is hard enough already, but when you add in a swamped schedule, it gets even harder. I share some easy tricks to set aside time to treat yo’ self. Head on over, give it a read, and let me know what you think!