Vegan Family Meals

There are a lot of preconceived notions about being vegan, especially when there are children involved…

Where do you get protein? 

Isn’t she going to be deficient in calcium?

You just eat salad, right?

It’s just not for me, I need meat.

Blah, blah blah. I have not had a single bite of animal products in almost six years now and B’s two year anniversary is this summer. Evie has been vegan since conception all the way down to the prenatals I am taking. We are all thriving and love the way we eat!

We spend no more than $100 on food a week and that’s including our mostly organic produce and coffees out. We are privileged in the fact that we can afford and have access to beautiful organic foods BUT do not think that organic is necessary to be a happy, healthy vegan. We had a decent phase of life where we bought the cheapest, easiest foods every simply because that’s all we could afford. Without getting into ethics, environment or health, everybody could do with feeding their family a plant based meal every now and then.

Here are a few recipes we frequently cook up, or have modified slightly to appeal to our taste buds more:

Spanish Veggie Paella– We add cauliflower or broccoli and top with a little bit of nutritional yeast.

White Bean Soup– Not only is this meal ridiculously cheap, it’s actually filling and doesn’t require an hour over the stove in the evening.

Buddha bowls- I don’t have a recipe for this one. All we do is bake sweet or yukon potatoes or make quinoa as a base, roast broccoli, carrots, brussel sprouts or sautee greens, roast chickpeas and drizzle tahini and lemon. It’s REALLY easy and we eat these bowls at least once a week.

Black Bean Brownies– Don’t knock ’em till ya try them! We use a gluten free baking flour for me. These brownies are sure to make me feel a little bit better about eating a whole pan of something.

So there you go! Most of these recipes are used bi-weekly in our house and are super easy to adjust to whatever you have on hand or for picky eaters. If you would like any information about eating plants and why we’ve chosen this for our family, be sure to get in contact! It’s not as hard as everyone thinks.

 

Happy Eating!

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Evelyn’s Birth Story.

This has taken me a long time to write. I think I was slightly traumatized from Evelyn’s birth and there is a lot of shame that comes with that. Now, I have come to terms with the experience and would gladly do it over and over just to have my babe at my side.

 

I had a plan of having an all natural labor and birth. We had midwives, I used the oils, listening to hypnobirthing videos, and made a music playlist. A few days prior to going into labor, the midwife discussed how to encourage labor-after all, I was past my due date and was rather uncomfortable. However, I was okay with letting the baby take her time. I decided a nice, long walk would be beneficial, so I put boots on (a snow storm had just passed), strapped on Yaktrax and headed out with the dog. I didn’t move very fast, but must have walked at least three miles. I remember after this, I sent B a message saying, “You might not get to go to the gym tonight. Sorry.” (Really, Moira? Apologizing for going into labor?)

I tried to rest and take it easy because contractions were starting to get fairly steady. At 2 o’clock they were ten minutes apart. I drank raspberry leaf tea, took a nap and paced a lot. Around dinner time I felt a rush and sprinted to the bathroom. Streaks of red and a LOT of liquid  came out, so we thought it best to call and make sure all was okay. Silly us assumed labor was right around the corner, so we called B’s parents, who promptly came to pick up the dog so we could meet the midwife. We were both very giddy and I told B to drive the bumpy way to the birth center to keep things moving. After being checked, my water was still intact and we were sent back home. I think I cried the whole way. Sick after two days of contractions, I felt I had well earned meeting my baby now. No dishes were piled, the carpets were freshly cleaned… I was over waiting.

Right as we got home, the contractions became significantly more painful. I suggested to B that he go to bed early (around 8 pm) because this baby was definitely coming soon. I rocked on a birthing ball for a while, tried to sleep as well, and drank more tea. I became very out of breath and shaky, so I hopped in a warm shower. I don’t think it’s ever been that difficult to wash my body before, but I did it. I felt the stream of water hit my back and my belly, trying to relieve some of the pain. I squatted (yes, in the shower) and felt her move lower and lower. I stayed there for at least an hour… My sense of time was blurry. This was a big turning point for me where I think labor really began. NOTE: contractions were then around 5-7 minutes at about midnight. After showering, I was physically unable to get back into bed and had the instinct to rock and lean a lot. I diffused oils and let B sleep a bit longer, but I got to a point where I couldn’t speak and felt really unsafe being alone. He woke up, made a coffee and called the midwife again at about 3 AM. I couldn’t finish a sentence without tearing up a little bit so at 4, we made our way to the car. In a very puffy speech, I told B to avoid bumps at all costs and to “drive the speed limit, damn it.”

I was still handling the pain fairly well and was able to get inside the building between contractions without wincing too much. At arrival time, I was seven centimeters dilated and had a very very tender cervix. I labored leaning against a person for a while but found myself finding relief in the tub for a few hours. I got VERY uncomfortable and couldn’t stay leaned against the tub side so I moved to the bathroom for a good while. It’s a very optimal position, sitting on the toilet, and that’s where I was most comfortable. However, something just didn’t feel right and I was trying really hard to communicate that. Upon checking, my cervix was only dilating on one side and was stuck around her head on the other. So half of it was at a ten and ready to let the baby out, but the other part was still at a seven. I was probably eight hours into labor at this point and felt very defeated. We made the decision to try to let it resolve itself and continued for several hours, but very little changed. I cried for an epidural, for someone to rip the baby out, and told them that it felt very very wrong.

So, while squatting on the toilet, the midwife pushed my cervix back over her head and I immediately felt the urge to push. I reached down and felt her head, and started sobbing… “Hi, my baby!” After about fifteen minutes of pushing, at 3:48 pm on February 1st, Evelyn Avery came into the world screaming with eyes wide open. Friends… The love I felt in that moment was overwhelming. Coated in vernix with wild and sticky hair, no one has ever looked so beautiful to me.

Looking back, I can think of a few things I would have done differently:

For one, I would have so benefited from CONFIDENCE. Our bodies are designed to grow and birth babies with little assistance. Of course, there are exceptions and some people really do need help. But had I really instilled confidence in myself throughout my pregnancy instead of sort of being hesitant and scared of labor, I would have handled my bumps better.

Second, some pictures and mantras posted around the room would also have been a nice distraction for the beginning of labor. I felt so silly wanting them hung around me that I ended up not having anything and I regret that 100%.

I am so grateful to have been able to grow my baby and bring her into the world. We are so lucky to have you, Evie girl.

Currently No. 2

Listening to: The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett (don’t ask why, I have no answers). Wild + Free Podcast. All things Ed Sheeran.

Wearing: This category is a little different this time around. I’ve pretty much been living in leggings and a t-shirt or tunic and Birkenstocks. That’s it. So this is more of a ‘lusting over’ list.

 

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Winnie James Layla Sandal in Blue
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Pepper Place Design Curator Jumpsuit
Kihari Black Yoga Pants - The Elephant Pants - 1
Elephant Yoga Pants
Piper and Scoot Embroidered Tunic

Loving: Design planning for the house (t-minus 1.5 months until we move!). Early mornings. Sunday farmer’s market.

Eating/drinking: For June, I gave up buying coffee out- which is HUGE for me- and junky processed foods like chips and cereal. The point of it is to become more conscious of what I’m putting in my body and to spend less on lattes, which really adds up considering I get alternative milk.

Quinoa Salad. Homemade mac and cheese. Salt and pepper popcorn. Iced coffee with coconut milk. Still celery and sunbutter.

 

A Mother’s Battle Cry.

I am one to hide and suffer in silence when I struggle. I will sit in the car for fifteen minutes after arriving to the doctor’s office because I’m nervous to go inside. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember but it’s gotten much harder to stay quiet after having a kid. They are going to continue needing to eat every few hours, need clean nappies and constant stimulation regardless of whether you’re feeling A+ or not. Shoot, sometimes dontcha just wish they’d even let you get to a B- before they start screaming again?

I don’t complain in real life. Instead, I remind myself patience and love CONSTANTLY. For example, Evie had probably one of the most explosive days last week. It was wet and smelly and she was very upset about being dirty. You could probably hear me two houses over yelling “patience and love, patience and love, PATIENCE AND LOVE” while I scrubbed the carseat. This is how I stay level headed. This is how I cope.

Why can I have so much patience and endless amounts of love for the children but so very little for myself? 

This is my battle cry, I suppose. This is me admitting that this shit is HARD. Budgeting, breastfeeding, showering, socializing, it is all kicking me in the rear. The older I get, the more I realize the surrender is the turning point. As soon as you admit and release your burdens, the universe will rush to your side.

so……

Help?

 

Currently No. 1

I somehow stumbled upon a ‘current’ post, where the person laid out what they were into, whether it was food or clothing or other blogs. I. Was. Fascinated. Why was such a simple thing so interesting to read?! Maybe it has to do with my infinite love for lists, but nevertheless I want to make it a thing around here. I think including pictures of what’s happening is the best way to go for us to really turn into a good summary.

Listening to: Titus Haug’s album ‘There Is Time’. Up and Vanished podcast. This Is Us playlist on Spotify.

Wearing: Ergobaby (constantly). We have the original carrier and Evelyn is just about big enough to use it without the Infant Insert. Nike Dri Fit hat. Luca+Grae tunic. Target t-shirts (they were on sale).

Loving: Taking pictures of Evie. Hiking during naptime. We’re working our way through a trail book and having so much fun doing so. My new SUV. Family time every Sunday.

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Looking forward to: My first Mother’s Day. A local bubble park party. Starting Evie in swim lessons so so soon. Going back to school.

Eating and drinking: Homemade curry, loaded with vegetables. We’ve been loving this super simple recipe. Coffee Mate coconut creamer in sweet cream. Celery and sunbutter.

 

 

Setting Goals and (Trying To) Complete Them.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of person and what kind of mother I want to be. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I had a baby recently, or because I’m sitting at home more than I’m comfortable with. It’s so important for people as parents to divide their goals and remember that they are NOT just parents. It’s also important for parents to remember that their goals can include their kids and you can find personal growth with them. All of my aspirations as of late have been so small like showering more than twice a week and remembering to take my contacts out at night. However, I think I am at a point where I’m falling comfortably into the cycle of momming (is that an acceptable verb?) and being, well, me and I’m ready to start feeling accomplished again.

  • Get back into running. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, like getting up in the morning and going on a run. Even if the pace is choppy and you stop maybe one too many times. I used to be able to go and go and go and I miss that. I’m pretty sure the last time I moved my body faster than a quick walk to the kitchen for caffeine was before Evie so this one could take a lot of patience and time.
  • Make it a point to get everyone and the dog outside every day. We have become hermits. The cold had never stopped us before but this year we really did not make it outside as much as I normally like. I’m actually pretty sure last year around this time we were taking day hikes several times a month, and not short ones. Given, now we have one more human and one more dog to get out the door but still! When there’s a will.
  • For goodness sakes, make some mom friends. This is such a hard thing to do and I had no idea until recently. MOM’S CAN BE SUCH SNOTS TOWARDS YOUNGER PARENTS. It’s also made me realize how antisocial and off putting I can be and that has got to change. I, more importantly, want Evelyn to grow up surrounded by friends and that’s something that has to begin while she is still little.
  • Clean space, clean mind. This is something that I’ve known is effective for such a long time but kind of threw it out the window when life got busy. If I don’t come out in the morning to an empty sink, I’ll think about it all day. If I get in the car and there are a ton of coffee cups and mismatched socks on the floor, I’m probably going to feel clouded when I drive. There’s a 100% chance that’s just a weird thing thing that affects my family, but we all seem to function better in a clean space.
  • Buy fewer, buy with purpose. I am a culprit of buying multiple cheap things instead of just a few good quality items. I feel like with kids it can be okay to buy the big pack of cheap leggings because honestly, they will be pooped on and covered in dirt and you may end up throwing them away. We cloth diaper and I just don’t have time to wash her clothes and diapers four times a week to keep her wardrobe small. However for me, something like a capsule wardrobe or just a smaller wardrobe would be very beneficial.

 

So, there ya go. This is more of a note-to-self type of thing because these aren’t time stamped goals. It could take me several months or even a year to feel like I’m ready to move on to new tasks and that’s okay.

An Honest Post About Motherhood Right Now.

Life is unexpected. B and I were so young when we found out a little sprout was growing in my belly. Both of us were working full-time and living in two separate houses. We were still learning bits and pieces about each other; in fact, we’re still learning. Sometimes it feels like we entered parenthood too soon, like a phase of our lives ended too early. I haven’t finished school yet, he works more than ever, and we never went on that big road trip we talked about. We argue about the silliest things and pick at each other when really we both need to lift each other up. It’s tough to find a minute to have a conversation away from the subjects of dirty diapers and who is going to walk the dog that day.

I often get frustrated with the lack of help I get taking care of Evie during the day and forget to remember that she isn’t going to be this little forever. It can be irritating when she wants nothing but for mommy to hold her so she can sleep, and trust me. I feel so guilty for feeling that way. Sometimes I don’t want to be touched. Sometimes I just want to be alone. I miss more than anything being able to go on a run for an hour or two and process everything going on in my life. But none of that is going to be the same, even if it did go back to the way it was before baby girl.  I am a different person, I am morphing into a new human being, and I have to remember to look at life (and myself) gently.

I appreciate this phase of life for teaching me patience and appreciation. 

Evelyn is the greatest joy in our lives. Nothing makes me love life more than seeing her smile. Sure, it’s tough when she just doesn’t want to  nap and the dishes are piled so high. She will not remember that, though. She WILL remember how warm it was to be worn against my chest and rocked for hours at a time. And when she’s older, she may need to be held in that familiar way again. Her emotions are so delicate and she’s still so little… Crying for a long time sure hurts her heart. And I want to remember all of the little things. One day, we won’t share all hours of the day together.

Be love and comfort, mama, the kids need it now more than ever.