Find Your Balance

 

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post that was not food related. Yes, I do other things besides cook and eat. The coffee that I drank 3 hours ago is finally kicking in (does anyone else experience delayed caffiene reactions?), and Elle is sitting quietly ‘reading’ her library books, so I figured I would write this while I have the chance.

There is nothing that I love more than being a mom. It really is the most rewarding experience and I feel so special to have a little girl who loves me so much. Elle really is my everything. I love when I hear call, “Mamaaa!”, just because she can.

However, there is a whole range of emotions that come with the territory of being a mom. As if there weren’t enough emotions already involved in simply being a female. Last night took a toll on me, especially. I am truly blessed that Shaun and I have a schedule worked out where I can go to all my classes in the morning while he watches Elle, and then when I come home, he goes to work and Elle is mine for the rest of the day. I am open to the idea of day care, but I just was not emotionally ready to send my little girl off on her own everyday.

That means I have a little shadow with me 24/7. People reading this who haven’t had children yet: CHERISH EVERY NAP YOU GET! I mean it. Once you have kids, you will never take sleep for granted! Thinking of reading a book? I hope you like reading Peek-a-boo Farm. Need a bathroom break? Better be prepared to bring a buddy (who might enjoy unrolling all the toilet paper).

Last night, after playing outside all day with Elle, trying to get a 15 page paper on unethical usage of GMOs wrapped up, cooking dinner, doing laundry, and cleaning cat pee out of my boots, I was ready for Elle to go to sleep so I could, too. I thought she would be worn out from all the fresh air she got from being outside and sleep like a log. Boy, was I wrong. She was up all. night. long. I’d hear the dreaded cry come from the baby monitor, go downstairs, rock her back to sleep, and then as soon as I placed her in bed, she’d pop up and say “Maaaaaaaaama!” and was wide awake again. This cycle went on all night and by the time 5am rolled around, I found myself with silent tears rolling down my face.

I was feeling a multitude of emotions, and I didn’t know which one was making me cry. I was tired. I was angry that I was tired because I knew I’d have to be up and ready for school in a few hours. I was frustrated that Elle would not sleep. I felt stressed out from school and trying to meet deadlines. I felt inbalanced because I wanted to be a good mom, and still be able to spend time studying, writing, and just having a moment where I didn’t have to think about about being responisble for any of that. That’s when I looked down at sweet sleeping angel in my arms and I cried even more. I was so angry at myself for feeling this way. I took a few deep breaths and had a moment of clarity. Being a mom is the most important. It will always come first. As the Beatles would say, let it be (I’m sure they weren’t talking about toddlers who don’t sleep at night, but that’s how I’m interpreting it.). I realized I just needed to focus on being the best mom that I can and everything will just fall into place. Time is precious, and I would much rather spend more of it having fun with my daughter than stressing about getting trivial things done. These moments are moments I’ll never have again. So I slowed down. And you know what? Things fell into place.

I decided to spend today completely focused on Elle. We went on a long walk. Went out for lunch. Ordered some Timbits. Did a bit of grocery shopping. Went to the library (found some books about the potty!). And after all that fun, Elle fell asleep while we were at the library and I was able to finish my research paper, while she napped! Everything fell into place. It is extremely rewarding to here my little girl giggle and laugh and have a smile on her face all day. I couldn’t have asked for a happier day. I hope that this is a reminder to everyone how important it is to find balance in your life. It really is vital to your sanity!

Well, Elle is calling me again, so I’d better go.

Keep calm, and carry on,

-Rianna

Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad

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Hi everyone! I hope that you’ve all had a fun-filled weekend. Today I am sharing with you a recipe that I decided to try during the week. Since we had one day of 50 degree weather (Hey, this is warm when a few days ago we were hit with more snow!), I was thinking of making something light and spring-y. The recipe? Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad, adapted from the recipe that Curtis Stone shared in Redbook.  I loved it and so did Elle! Well, she liked the chicken and the carrots, but wasn’t such a fan of the cabbage (she is just getting her molars now, so she still has trouble with grinding foods that are hard to chew). Here’s what you’ll need to get started cooking:

Dressing:

¼  cup soy sauce

3 Tbsp finely chopped (and peeled) fresh ginger

3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil

2 Tbsp hoisin sauce

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1-2 tsp sriracha (I used 2…i like the kick it gives!)

1 tsp sea salt

¼ cup white vinegar

Salad

2 cooked chicken breasts, marinated in Hoisin sauce, and cut into bite-sized chunks

1 lb napa cabbage (I only used half of my cabbage), cut into thin slices

1 large carrot, shredded

3 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced

½ cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 tsp black sesame seeds

STEP 1.

Get that chicken cooked! I used 2 chicken breasts with the bone in. Once marinated, I popped it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Once it had cooled, I cut it into (bite-able) pieces. You could also grill your chicken, or try cutting it into pieces before you cook it and then pan fry it.

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Step 2.

As your chicken is cooking, you can work on the next steps. It is also a good time to put your toddler in her highchair for snack time while she helps you measure ingredients. Now is the time to mix together all the ingredients for the dressing, and set aside.
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Step 3.

Chop up that cabbage! Slice those scallions! Shred that carrot!
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Step 4.

Toast your almonds. I dry toasted mine on a small frying pan on medium heat. They were very thin sliced almonds and only took about 4 minute to get nice and toasted. We ended up having to make more than 1/2 a cup because Elle and I ended up incorporating  them into snack time!
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Step 5.

Mix together all the salad ingredients, including the chicken, into a large bowl. (Those cabbages are quite compact and seem to really expand when chopped up!) Drizzle your sauce over the salad and mix together until all ingredients are coated. Grab a fork and dig in!
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Hope you all enjoy! I know I did…I may have had it for lunch 3 days in a row.  You might even be lucky enough to have some little hands help clean the dishes when you’re done!
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Nutritional Information:

(I divided this into six servings, so that turned out to be about 1-1/4 cups per serving)

205 calories
10g carbohydrates
15g fat
10g protein

I’d love to know if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions!
-Rianna

My little snow leopard

Even though our Windsor weather can’t make up its mind, Elle and I decided to enjoy as much sunshine as we could on our snowy walk. Though disappointed she couldn’t eat the snow, Elle had so much fun that she didn’t want to come inside even though her little nose was starting to look like Rudolf’s. (It was sunny, but not warm.) Happy trails everyone 🙂

Getting to Know Me

Welcome to

Eat. Drink. Be Merie.

Hi! I’m so happy that you’ve decide to get to know me and read about my life (I promise it won’t be boring). I’m Rianna Merie! Let me share a few things about myself with you:

Being a mom is like being on a non-stop adventure. I am constantly learning new things. For instance, just 5 minutes ago, as I was writing this post, my 17-month old daughter, Elle, was ‘helping Mama work’ and ended up pressing some combination on the keyboard that switched the laptop screen upside down. (I briefly considered just doing all my work for the day upside down.) Thus, my first lesson of the day: how to use my keyboard controls. Thanks, Elle!

Many people I talk to are curious about what it is like being a mom and a full time student, so this simply a little preview into my life. In October, 2012, I landed the best job in the world: I became a mommy! Being a first time mom can be a bit overwhelming at times, but I am so grateful for my wonderful support system, including my amazing boyfriend, Shaun.  In the past two years, I have really come to understand the value of family. I am lucky enough to have my family, as well of Shaun’s to call my own.

I am currently attending the University of Windsor for my degree in Environmental Studies (reduce, reuse, recycle, folks!). Is it challenging, balancing studying for midterms and potty training? Yes. Are there nights where I spend more time with textbooks, than my pillows? Yes. (I am very thankful for coffee, under eye concealer, and nap time!) Do I love my crazy little monkey named Elle? More than anything. Can it all be done? You bet! And guess what? There is still time for other things I love like, eating chips and dip, baking cookies, cinematic adventures, spelunking, crafting, watching Pretty Little Liars (yes, I know, it’s a guilty pleasure), trying out new recipes, spending more time than I should designing my dream home on Pinterest, trying to make my cat love me, doing yoga, having random dance parties, and, of course, the occasional night out with my handsome man!

Want to hear more? Come join me on this (delicious? exciting? Nutella-filled?) journey that I like to call my life, by reading this blog!