To Cook or Not To Cook: The Mom's Dilemma

Most, if not all, of my posts are food and service related but I think it’s time for a moment of transparency and rambling. Before I’m a personal chef for various clients who live all over the DC area, I’m a personal chef to an exuberant 3 year old boy, an amazing 1 year old baby girl who just started walking a little over a month ago, and one awesome husband. While I do generally take requests, most of what we eat is simply thrown together by me based on simplicity, likes, and dislikes. Some nights it’s roasted chicken or salmon, some sort of vegetable, and possibly a starch. Other nights it’s some sort of leftovers for the grownups and chicken nuggets, quesadillas, or pb&js for the littles with some sort of roasted vegetable thrown on the side for color, tater tots, and some fruit. Who am I kidding, every once in a blue moon it’s UberEats or DoorDash. Shoot, sometimes it’s a ‘breakfast for dinner’ night.

Some days I feel like cooking. Other days I honestly wish I had meals in my freezer that I could just thaw out and warm up but then it hits me: “hey YOU are that person! Get going!” Cooking for my family is a joy and yet sometimes cooking at home is a dilemma for me. It’s more of the act of doing it, and less of the art of doing it. I’m so quick to plan out menus for others and can think up at least 1 or 2 options for the littles and hubs to eat but when it comes to ME eating dinner after a day of work and coming home to be mom, I’m content with a couple hunks of buttered french bread and a bunch of grapes. The questions are always there: “am I cooking tonight?”, “what exactly am I making tonight?”, more importantly “DO I have to cook tonight??”. If I don’t cook what are they eating, and if I do cook what in the world am I eating? Am I going to want to eat it when I’m done or do I just want to go somewhere with a glass of wine, Netflix an episode or two of Arrested Development, and fall asleep?

Here’s an example: earlier this week I roasted some chicken legs, made garlic parmesan chicken meatballs with marinara, steamed green beans, roasted broccoli, and jasmine rice. There was enough food there to last all week (which it has, thank God! Hellooo, leftovers!). The crazy thing is aside from the vegetables I don’t want to eat any of it. I look at it and go “ahhh. Ok, dinner time!”, then I grab a bottle of water and go sit somewhere happily just because I’m sitting. My family is by far my biggest achievement but being a mom is rough on the brain sometimes. Sometimes, as much as I love it, I (pause for dramatic effect) don’t want to cook at home. There I said it. Sometimes I too want a personal chef. Go figure!

Can any moms out there relate? Send me your rants of not wanting to cook or the epic achievements of you cooking for your family (every day that we as moms get it right either just a bit or a whole lot is an epic achievement in my book) - I’d love to hear both!

Local Summer Produce? Yes, Please!!

Summer is officially here now which means the end of a school year, vacations, beach trips, and more time doing things or doing nothing (depending on your mood). Summertime also means summer produce! When you purchase fruits and vegetables during their season, you're actually getting them at the peak of their deliciousness.

So what's in season during the summer? Just about every berry, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, watermelons, corn, basil, summer squash, rhubarb, tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini, to name a few. You can take each of these and use them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks, you name it! What's better is that you don't even have to visit your grocery store for it. You can also buy and eat locally.

By eating locally, not only do you help support the nearby farms who are dedicated to their brand of crops, you also have a selection of the freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables available.  Living here in the D.C. metro area, we have access to so many farmers markets and local farms. I think so far my favorite farmers market is the one held at the National Harbor. Yes, I'm a bit biased since I actually live in that area and it's not that far from me (not that I won't travel for some good food!), but the Harbor recently partnered with Community Foodworks, who manages a lot of farmers markets in the region. The vendors are so diverse and the selection of what's available can sometimes cover my grocery list sans household items and dairy.

Farm-wise, I have yet to visit one in the past year or so. Time is snatched away when you have 2 littles under 4. I'd like to visit a farm soon though. There's nothing better than being able to pick your own food and see firsthand where it comes from.

Food quality and nutrition are so important and often times, when we get busy we tend to lean towards the easier route although it's not always the best one. Eating local provides you with both great quality and nutrition because as you know, fresh is best. If you already eat locally, good on ya! If you don't but you're interested in doing so, please try! If you feel like you'd like to, but don't have the time, there's always the option of joining a CSA (you'll get the produce shipped to you! Gotta love that! Hello, convenience!). You could also try a custom meal service, courtesy of Foodtellect PCS, and have fresh local produce used in your meals without even having to lift a finger. Either way, let's eat some great food this summer!

Stay cool & eat well!

 

Creating A Healthy Meal Routine

It's the beginning of a new year: the time when resolutions have started and we all can agree that a lot of these resolutions involve eating healthier, being more active, and just overall stepping our game up to be the best versions of ourselves and revamping our lifestyles. Life can get busy with work, family responsibilities, and the like so often times while we might really want to do better, there's not always a lot of time to do so. Why not start small and move forward from there! After all, every little bit counts and definitely helps:

1. Instead of going cold turkey and quitting a long list of foods with a hardcore diet, you could simply decrease the consumption of things that aren't so good for you like sweets, sodas, and other items that have empty calories. The way you eat should be reasonable yet healthy and fit YOU.

2. Try setting a routine for yourself. Sometimes we skip breakfast and fill up at lunch or snack here and there during the entire day until eating dinner late in the evening. Setting aside time to eat throughout the day prior to dinner ensures that you won't lunge at the first thing you see (chances are it won't be healthy) after basically being hungry for most of the day.

3. Prep those meals! Breakfast and lunch can always be made the night before and makes life a little easier because you can simply pack it and go in the morning. If you already have access to healthy meals and snacks to eat during the day then you'll be knocking out two goals: saving money on food at work and eating better. Having meals done the night before helps keep you on the routine that you set for yourself.

Once you make up your mind to start eating healthy, all it takes is a little bit of planning and effort. You'll find it gets easier and once you settle into the routine you won't even think of it as a diet because, you know what? It will just be your lifestyle. You'll be another step closer to being your best happy and healthy self!

Starting Anew with Your Health (for good!)

It's happening. December is here, which means that 2017 is winding down to a close and 2018 is patiently (or impatiently, it depends on how fast the days and weeks go by over the next few weeks) waiting to bust through the door. With every new year comes resolutions of quitting this and starting that but unfortunately those goals don't always pan out. Life happens and sometimes what we start fades out.

My family and I are making promises to each other to eat a bit healthier and work harder to stay on track now before the new year comes. I'm a firm believer of everything in moderation but we'd all stand to benefit from less sweets/salt and more whole foods, fruits, lean protein, and vegetables am I right? 

There are so many ways to diet but I like to think that if you eat healthier on purpose, it eventually becomes a part of your lifestyle and it's not really a diet. It's just what you do and your body and your life are both the better for it. Let's all start anew together and keep it going!

Do you know where to start with this goal? Do you need someone to help get you on the right track towards better health? I can provide menu planning and recipes solely if you'd rather shop and cook for yourself, or I can handle it all from soup to nuts from menu planning to cooking. Feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email to schedule a consultation and let's chat about getting healthier!

Fall/Winter Party Menus

Fall is here and winter is coming (fist-pump for all of my GOT fans out there!) so that means holiday party planning is currently underway for a lot of folks. Here are a few seasonal party menus that will be available from now until the end of December for parties of 4 to 50 guests:

#1:

Bacon-wrapped Pears

Cider Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Apples & Sweet Potatoes

Cinnamon Roll Apple Crisp with Vanilla Gelato

#2 (An All Apps Party):

Rosemary Roasted Nuts

Kale Salad with Red Cabbage, Candied Walnuts, Apples, & Maple Vinaigrette

Chicken & Apple Meatballs with Bourbon Sauce

Roasted Garlic & Bacon Spinach Dip with Pita Chips

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

#3 (Vegetarian):

Marinated Beet & Walnut Salad with Bleu Cheese

Potato Leek Soup

Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto

Honeyed Fig Crostatas

Curious about pricing and booking one of these menus? Give me a call! If none of these menu options suit you but you're still interested in having Foodtellect PCS cater your holiday party, I can work with you to customize your own menu from soup to nuts!

 

Coming Soon to A Kitchen Near You!

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My maternity/work hiatus is coming to an end on September 19th!

I've already started scheduling upcoming services, so if you have an interest in ongoing meal plans or dinner party catering (September is almost here so it's not too early to start planning holiday parties!), please give me a call or shoot me an email.