Oatmeal Schmotmeal

I’m the only one in my house who will even look at oatmeal. The other 4 members of my family are either disgusted by it’s texture or just not big into carbs for breakfast. I, However, was sick of my usual smoothies or granola bar on the run, so I made a recipe not even my egg-eaters could resist. It’s a perfect make-ahead dish for a busy morning as well.

Raspberry, Coconut, Almond Oatmeal Bake

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cup steel cut oats (I always use Bob’s Red Mills)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Also, make sure that your top rack is about 6″ from the broiler
  2. In a medium bowl combine almond milk, water, 1/4 cup brown sugar, egg, melted butter, and salt. Whisk until smooth.
  3. In a greased 5″ x 8″ baking dish, begin by layering raspberries, followed by oats, shredded coconut, and almonds. Next, pour above mixture over the layers, being careful to evenly distribute everything.
  4. Place the baking dish in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until bubbling around the edges.
  5. While oatmeal is cooking, combine cinnamon, nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in a small bowl. Make sure the banana is sliced as well.
  6. Remove the bake from the oven and heat the broiler onto high. Arrange the banana slices on top of the oatmeal and then sprinkle evenly with the sugar-spice mixture. Put the dish back in the oven and broil until lightly brown and bubbling. Once cooking is complete, let it cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

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*Note:  If you’re going to eat it the next morning, simply cook as instructed and let the bake fully cool before covering tightly and refrigerating until the next day. You can reheat it in either the oven or microwave (just watch for burning the sugar if heating in the oven.) Another option is to use a 1/2 cup less water and let the bake sit overnight. The next morning, simply uncover, bring to room temperature, and cook as directed.

**Another Note: You [obviously] don’t have to use the fruits within this recipe, you can use whatever you prefer. I sometimes like to make a blueberry version with walnuts. You can omit the egg if you are dairy-free too.

 

xo Robin

Snow Day Soup

Anyone else been stuck inside with their kid(s) all week? I have and to be honest, it’s driving me a little crazy. We have done everything from arts & crafts and  baking to sleigh riding and  playing LOL Surprise Dolls (which BTW- I loathe whoever created these tiny toys). So, today I decided to make soup. I didn’t have much on hand since the snow halted my usual Tuesday shopping trip, so I made my favorite tried and true, Greek Lemon Chicken Soup. Below is the recipe. It was the perfect comfort food, pairing nicely with a piece of bread & a glass of crisp white wine (go for my favs: an Australian Sauvignon Blanc or a nice Italian Pinot Grigio).

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 cups low sodium, organic chicken broth
  • Zest and juice from 3 organic lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta (uncooked)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 5 oz raw spinach (aka: one store bought container)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the chicken breasts in a medium saucepan and cover with a couple inches of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and let the chicken simmer for 20 minutes, periodically skimming the fat from the top of the bubbling pot as needed. When cooked through, drain water, place chicken on a cutting board, & once cooled, shred and set aside.
  2. Next, pour the 8 cups of chicken broth into a large pot. Cover and heat on high until boiling.
  3. Pour in the orzo and let cook, stirring regularly for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Then, while stirring with a wooden spoon, slowly pour in the beaten eggs. Continue to stir until eggs are fully incorporated and you see them cooked & formed into white “threads”.
  5. Remove pot from heat, add in shredded chicken, spinach, lemon juice & zest, and some salt and pepper to your liking.
  6. Put pot back on the burner and heat until boiling. Then remove and serve with a bit of feta cheese on top and a piece of garlic bread on the side. Enjoy!!

*Note: the lemony taste is strong in this soup, but one which pairs so nicely with the chicken & spinach. You can even add a little fresh oregano to make it a bit more “Mediterranean”.  

 

XO Robin

 

Mommies are Humans Too

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“Mom I need you”

“Mommy I’m hungry”

“Mom can you help me with my shoes?”

Mommy, MOMMY, MOMMMMMYYYYYY

I hear that about 30 trillion times a day. If you’re a fellow mom, I bet you do too.

Now let’s switch gears. When talking to others, instead of introducing myself as “Robin”, I tend to say, “Hi, I’m _______’s mom”.

AND 9 times out of 10, whether I’m with my children or not, they become the sole focus of my conversation.

With that said, I believe it’s safe to assume that my children take up 99.9999% of my time both physically and mentally. But, is .000009% enough energy to allocate to myself? Probably not.

Make that Definitely not.

And…..that’s where we as moms need to make a change. No, we shouldn’t slack off as parents, or spend less time or energy on our children. We love them more than anything and want to make these years memorable. But in all honesty, we can’t forget who we are as people. Our roles are not singular.

This brings me to the main point of my post. When do we as moms (or dads!!!) stop remembering who we are, what we enjoy, what our hopes and dreams are……and put all of that aside to be known only as “so and so’s mom/dad”?

This topic is a difficult one and a sensitive one, but nonetheless, important. It’s something I have been truly struggling with over the last year.

HOWEVER, you and I alike, do not need to wallow or give in and think, “well, being a mom is the only important job in my life”, because IT’S NOT. So, I challenge you (as I challenge myself) to start by making a list of all your hopes and dreams. Sounds corny, I know. But it really isn’t. These dreams, or goals, could be as small as making time to eat breakfast in the morning or as large as a big career change. Then, after making this list, get together with a friend, family member, colleague, professional, or anyone else you feel comfortable with, and map out how you can get started working towards these goals. It doesn’t matter if you only make one ounce of progress, as long as it’s forward progression, it will help you. Good luck friend, I know we can do it!

xo Robin

PS- I’d love to hear from some of you as to what your ideas

and dreams are & what your plans look like. I’ll be sure to post mine too!

 

Is it Really Possible to do a “Digital Detox”?

A “digital detox” is an idea I’ve been reading a lot about lately. And although it sounds good in theory, I’m not 100% sure if I have the willpower to go through with it. Or perhaps I simply am lazy and haven’t tried. Seems to honestly be a little bit of both.

The other day I received an article in my email detailing all the positive ways a digital detox can help you. I agree it should help us socialize better, spend more time “in the moment” with families and friends, and of course it will allow us to gain back all that wasted time scrolling on your phone to do more productive things…..even if “productive” for you means reading a tangible book or simply taking a hot shower.

Personally, I’ve definitely noticed a difference in our culture as we as a society have dove head first into the digital age. I find it mind-boggling how my middle daughter needs to be practically pushed outside to play on a warm sunny day because she’d rather watch YouTube on her tablet. Once I get my children outside, they’ll play for hours, which in my mind is what childhood is all about. As long as they’re in a supervised, safe environment, I let them explore, I let them get dirty, and most of all I let them laugh and be themselves.

More and more I see my children (and my peer’s children) all wanting to spend more time glued to an electronic device rather than playing with each other. To me this isn’t real childhood. It’s a shell of one. Something to pass the time and not gain any true knowledge or sense of perspective in the world. My biggest fear is that one day these kids will wake up and they’ll be 18 years old, and not sure how to act on their first interview. They (hopefully) won’t be able to text their college admissions board or first boss…..and I want them to know how to properly interact. Or what if god forbid our worst fears come true and there’s a zombie apocalypse? (Yeah I watched too much of the Walking Dead lol). I know I wouldn’t last 5 minutes out there …….but I certainly believe our future generation wouldn’t last 30 seconds. Without Amazon to overnight them a taser or someone tweeting on how to build a fire…..they’d never make it.

In real talk though, I’ve gotta admit all the ways in which we are so connected to each other should bring more gratitude and positivity. Instead, I find that it breeds anxiety, jealousy, and unrealistic expectations. I mean how many times have you seen something on Pinterest, whether it be a party decor, recipe, or craft, and tried so hard to recreate it, only to fail miserably? I know I have. Or what about seeing constant stories on Instagram of someone you went to high school with going out to chic expensive restaurants wearing their Louboutins every night, while you’re busting your ass at a 9-5 job just to make ends meet and put food on your kid’s table? This is not what social media does to everyone, but I have seen some of these scenarios first hand. Also, I don’t want you reading this to think I hate technology. {I mean, I write a blog, so clearly I don’t lol}. All I’m getting across is I truly feel that we need to take a step back from the hold all these digital devices have on us.

I miss Sunday afternoon family dinners where people would talk, laugh, and tell stories about things new & old. I miss seeing kids playing outside until dark when they had to be yelled at to come inside. I miss making a tangible card or meal when someone is tired or sick or has a tragedy, rather than taking the easy way out and sending an email or amazon gift card (although that is at times totally appropriate). Overall, I miss the meaningful interactions us as humans used to have with each other.

Everything in moderation is the key.  Technology should be there when we need it to support us. Not to destroy us. Friends, families, co-workers, neighbors, etc…. we all need faith, love, and kindness to survive. Not to mention pressing the “reset” button once in a while. That’s in my mind what a digital detox is really about. Resetting ourselves to be mindful, social beings. Perhaps we can start by reducing our screen time by just a little bit each day.

Baby steps.

Stay tuned to see if I can follow through with my own digital detox

xo Robin