LOVING LATELY & A MOMENT VOLUME 23
Just a few days into the month and are still (sort of) amused by family pajamas. I'll take it!
This is actually the first year we've done this quirky tradition as a family. When my girls were little (too little to protest), I always got them matching holiday jammies and while they wore them all month long, no one loved them quite as much as I did.
This year, inspired by my daughter's friend who chose the pattern (really, more like challenged us with it), we went all in. And I have to say, I DO NOT REGRET THIS CHOICE! Not only are these inexpensive pjs super soft, but the girls are actually thrilled by the idea that even their dad wears his. I just love how our traditions continue to grow with the family.
This one actually began long before it was 'cute' and Anna's eyes tell you everything you need to know. It's the only time EVER all year she'd ever dress like her sisters.
Question: do you think Redstone is sad I didn't get him any?! Also...is it possible that I have worn these so much this week that the only photographs I have of myself are in them? Read on to see...
This podcast. This time of year really is the MOST. Please listen if you need some space to manage everything like I do. Another top five of the year for me.
Winter is here. I am feeling so peaceful and ready for this season. If you are someone who feels anxiety and depression at the first snowflake, here is a beautiful read showing how there is grace in letting go, stepping back and giving yourself time to repair in the dark.
Still in my TV watching mode, and here are a couple things that currently have my attention on Netflix: I am one episode deep into season two of Firefly Lane and season one (it may be the only one) of From Scratch (thanks to a subscriber who suggested this to me). Both are cute, nothing amazing. But totally watchable UNLIKE Falling for Christmas - omg. Just don't even try.
So many cookies have been made these past several weeks! I'll share recipes to the best ones I've made below! The more I make them the less I want them which is comical to me.
I am living in two pairs of Vuori pants that are neither joggers nor leggings. I know, did you even know such athleisure wear existed? These and these both look super polished (great for my girls on dress up days) but still feel like pajamas - an essential for us all.
Family games! It's crazy, because no, I am not being sarcastic. But there is something about the stripped down simplicity of scrabble that just keeps us bonded as a team...something we've lost a little in the past few years. I highly recommend running a little experiment in your household (we started by committing just 15 min a day), and see what happens...
Today at Trader Joe's I ran into someone I hadn't seen in a really long time. This person had a question for me: Was the reason I decided to gain weight because I got obsessed with being lean? (YIKES, hi, good to see you too.)
And after shaking off my surprise with an unsure 'something like that' response, I really pondered her question and realized the truth is, I was most obsessed with it when I wasn’t there.
It was the decades of my life before I lost 35+ pounds in my late 30s that I was in the most self-destructive mindset. It had built for decades and lead me to create an identity which did not align with my values. Only I had NO IDEA what my values actually were because I was so conditioned to believe that smaller = better, and that was the happily ever after (for me anyway; oddly enough this belief did not transfer to anyone else in the world. I was accepting of everyone except myself, as I think so many of us are).
At the time, what made me actually decide to let go of the desire to maintain that physique (which oddly, didn't even seem hard) had nothing to do with wanting to heal. And everything to do with feeling like shit when I was in it (gut disruption, fatigue, anxiety, moodiness to name a few; I was horrible to be around). It was an acutely stressful situation and I had to triage my life to get out of it. I had hit a physical rock bottom and was basically left with no choice if I wanted to feel better and BE better. But the mountain I had to climb was about SO MUCH MORE than changing the physical part of my body. In fact in hindsight, that was probably the least important work I did.
As I began to reset with deep thoughtwork, I had a remarkable realization; Not only were those 4 years when I was arguably the most interesting to other people no where near my happily ever after, but I'd actually had it all wrong my whole life.
It's fascinating to me that being very muscular and lean is what made me most fascinating to people. Because for me, I was never lonelier. Or more bored of myself. There was so much dissonance and negativity when I sat alone that I couldn't even do it for more than a minute without needing to DO SOMETHING, for fear that I'd crawl right out of my skin. I was so lost.
As I reflect on that time, I wonder:
If being in that dark space all the time, then needing to REWIRE my brain and my body to climb back out was worth it to get to where I am today...
Here is what surfaced:
Without the experience and consequential fallout my body endured, I never would’ve let go of my quest to be lean or my damaging self-talk. I would have kept that body on a pedestal, constantly feeling unworthy, probably until the day I died had I not felt what it was like to be IN it. So no, I regret nothing. The entire experience is what ultimately saved me from the prison of yearning to be there.
Even though I created an identity around that physique, that physique was not me. It was a moment in my lifetime. It represented me in the physical state for a short time, but it was never who I was. And in a real way, the very thing that felt so shameful and messy, actually saved me.
It's like something I thought was a tomb, turned out to be a womb.
I have never loved who I am more than I do today. I hope in sharing these vulnerable moments, some can relate or even find a takeaway, without having to go to the same depths I did.
If you're someone who is 'doing the work' but still struggling with body acceptance (full transparency, I probably always will to some degree), here's a wonderfully supportive podcast episode for you.
WHAT'S NEW IN THE KITCHEN
Just the most perfect combination of flavors coming together in about 30 minutes on a weeknight...that's it!
I realize I continue to operate like like Taco Bell where I recycle the same basic ingredients in different combinations. But these days I am only sharing easy recipes I REALLY love - nothing in the name of 'content' - which means I'm writing up what I love the MOST rather than what I think someone else or algorithm will love most.
Turkey, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchilada Skillet
If you're OVER turkey, I get it, go ahead and make this with any meat you like; beef, bison, venison, pork, chicken. It'll work with a pound of any protein you like!
I do love how the sweet and smoky flavors of the beans, potatoes and seasonings build together so I wouldn't recommend substituting those.
1lb lean ground turkey (I had 99%, use any ground meat you like)
~ 1/2 tsp each: salt, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder to season ground turkey
2 cups 1/2-inch-diced, peeled sweet potato (from a 1-1.5 lb sweet potato)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 - 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 - 6'' corn tortillas, cut into thick strips
1 - 12 ounce bottle of Trader Joe's enchilada sauce (use any brand you like +/- a few oz is ok)
1 cup reduced-fat Mexican cheese (or whatever you prefer), divided in half
optional toppings for serving: cilantro, greek yogurt, sour cream, avocado slices
Cook ground turkey in a nonstick skillet. Season with salt, chili powder, garlic powder and onion powder. Set aside.
Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees. Chop your sweet potato, coat with nonstick olive oil spray and season with salt and pepper to taste. Air fry 15 minutes, shaking/turning the potatoes once. You can also do this in the oven; it will probably take closer to 25 minutes. You want them to be fork tender, but not turning into a mash.
Over medium-low heat, combine in a large skillet the turkey, sweet potatoes, chili powder, cumin, black beans, corn tortilla pieces, and jar of enchilada sauce. (You could also include any other add-ins at this time: cilantro, fire roasted green chiles, corn). Cook for a few minutes. Stir to combine and sprinkle on 1/2 cup of cheese. Stir again and simmer for a few more minutes.
Sprinkle an additional 1/2 cup of cheese over the top of the enchilada mixture, remove from heat and cover with a lid to melt for 5 minutes. You could also place an oven safe skillet under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until cheese melts and tortilla edges become golden brown.
Remove from heat and serve immediately. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, greek yogurt or guacamole. Enjoy!
5 servings/ 275 g each
Carbs: 42 | Fat: 7 | Protein: 36 | Fiber: 9
Leftovers are excellent over greens with some ranch dressing! Like an amped up taco salad. Leftovers will be good in the refrigerator for a week.
THOUGHTS IN PICTURES
Shared by one of my daughters' teachers on Monday and I applaud her for leaning into the crazy.
This month want to show some extra gratitude to our mail carriers and delivery drivers who work tirelessly year round - especially for us. We stocked a tray full of lip balm, Emergen-C, hand sanitizer, hand lotion, gum, candy, mints, starbucks espresso & cream, water and granola bars for the taking at our front door. (Honorable mention goes to my husband for breaking down boxes week after week and never once complaining about it.)
I spent a lot of time testing cookies for the party on Friday. These easy, gluten free lace cookies taste amazing but I don't have the patience to make evenly sized sandwiches so they were out.
I have a friend who is recovering from an injury. I double batched everything I made Tuesday so I could hand off some full meals to her. (The enchilada skillet I made for myself became a soup for her because when you need to heal, what is better?! I've shared the best bread many times, here again.)
Instagram - overhead shot of the finished casserole. I'm making this 1-2 times a week right now!
And reality - getting it out of the slow cooker. In truth this has never happened before. I was recording an IG story as I was trying to get it out and not paying close enough attention to technique. The 'trick' is to just get a large spatula under it as well as you can and slide out the long way!
Super simple meals for me all this week (again). I came up with a delicious baked chicken dish that I'll eventually share since the whole family loved it.
These cookies were the CLEAR winner for the cookie party! They are so good plain; I frosted them, then realized I could have halved the batch of frosting. They really don't need anything! I also made a few other minor tweaks and I'll definitely be playing with them again.
My mom decorated our gym tree! It's so cute.
I had an appointment to get a crown fixed and in the waiting room this screen was a commercial break from a movie, and I was immediately put at ease (hard for me to do at the dentist office). Watching a dog slowly fall asleep under a Christmas tree...just my definition of perfect.
Which is why he does school drop off with us every morning.
If you are near a TJ's and can get your hands on this mix, I highly recommend grabbing a few and using as gifts! Five starts from everyone who tried it.
Anna snagged the first tip off, officially marking the start of Saturday morning (and afternoon. And Sunday. And sometimes Friday) basketball for the next 3 months.
As the days are rapidly shortening, I am approaching Stage 5 Cocoon status. I saw this recently at a coffee shop, and it resonated:
Things I'm no longer interested in:
Driving at night
Leaving my house at night
Driving in Winter
Leaving the house in winter
Leaving the house
So I guess if we aren't taking a walk together, going out for coffee or at a school or sports sanctioned activity...I'll see you in March ;)
Or how about next Sunday? Same time, same place. Thanks for reading.
P.S. If you're really aware of details, you may notice that Volume 22 is no longer with us. Rather than duplicating then revamping to create this week's blog like I normally do, I accidentally just wrote right over it. Oops! Ahhh well! G E T I N T O U C H Communicate & Connect email@example.com @katiecrokus
S U B S C R I B E
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