Archive | 9:13 PM

Healthy Recipes

7 Jan

Every time I show up at work with a healthy dish I get inquiries for the recipes; some of these inquiries are so basic such as cooking beans that it worries me as to the future of Food.

Food as in the comida your mother made you growing up whether it was tortillas, bread, or naan on the side.  More and more households rely heavily on eating out every night and also purchase their lunch at work!  The bottom line is that no one will care as much as you should about what is going down your throat and into your body- or your child or partner’s body. 

We all have grueling schedules that keep us away from doing a lot of the things we wish we had time for but I feel that cooking your own food and exercising are two fundamental necessities that you should never give up.

My mother used to drive me crazy growing up when I would wake up at 3:45 A.M. to the sound of pots and pans banging in the kitchen.  She would set her buzzer (I can still hear the EEEEH EEEEEH in my ear) and start cooking while my father was in the shower.  She already had her veggies chopped the night before so it was mostly mixing and cooking the ingredients together. 

I used to hate her for being so good.  Why couldn’t she steal some extra minutes of sleep for herself instead of making sure my father would have dinner waiting when he came home? Now I admire her and thank her for teaching me the valuable lesson in stretching a day to work to your advantage.

Anyway sleeping is for the dead as my father used to say. 

Now I wake up at 4:30 in the morning when I was lazy the night before and didn’t prepare lunch alongside dinner.  I drag my body, heavy with sleep, to the bathroom to splash some cold water on my face.  I go to the kitchen and open the fridge, make a visual inventory of what I have and decide what to make. Here’s a few tips to making it easier.

Always make a pot of beans (or other type of filler/side dish that you eat every day) on the weekend to last you through most of the week.  I usually soak pinto or black beans (depending on my mood) overnight to get them nice and tender.  If I am running low on beans mid-week I do this on the night that I notice an imminent bean shortage. 🙂 The next morning the first thing I do is rinse the beans again until the water is clear and fill it with the appropriate amount of water and place them on mid-low heat by 5 a.m.

I get my running clothes on and go downstairs to run 20 minutes on the treadmill.  That’s all- 20 minutes every day.  You probably stare at the wall longer than that.

I head back upstairs and check on my beans and turn down the heat to low.  I prep my veggies and half an hour later I have breakfast and lunch ready.

I wake up the kiddos at 6 a.m. and they fold their blankets and change into the clothes I have laid out for them.  Bella makes our bed and Iza puts their things (blankets/toys) away.  Once they have their chores done they sit at the counter and eat the breakfast that I have served for them.

I hop in the shower by 6:10 and out in 10 minutes.  I get dressed and check on my beans. I season them with oregano, cumin, garlic and salt (minimal) and keep the heat on. 

I comb the girls’ hair and make sure they brush their teeth while I dry my hair and finish getting ready. By 6:45 I get our lunches ready in our containers, turn off the stove and walk out of my the door by 6:55.  A ten minute walk later and we are catching the dash off to start our day.

Some people might say that they think it’s ridiculous to be waking up early to do this but I feel great when I get to work with the knowledge that I have a yummy lunch waiting for me and that I went for a run- so if I want to reach for a piece of dark chocolate as a snack- that’s okay.  You can always make time- always.

Recap since I started the Downtown Parent gig

7 Jan

kids enjoying the pool @ Market Lofts

made lots of friends at our first meet up

It seems that over a year ago I thought that the hours in the day would magically extend for me and that on top of the writing for Blogdowntown.com, full-time job, being a parent of two, being a girlfriend, taking online classes, and doing the basic stuff like eating and sleeping I would be able to write a daily journal on life.

Well a year later and not much has changed in my schedule but I have an itch to write and I figured why not blog so you can listen to me? 🙂

A recap of the last year:

I found Bella and Iza a “local” elementary school for them to go to this September, I turned in magnet applications to another school as a back up, and I’m having a hard time letting go of the comfort of Lumbini (their current school) since it is a 15 minute walk from work. 

But as we all know money rules the world and I need to save the tuition mullah for other things like say a second bedroom or college- for them not me.

As soon as I thought that I could pat myself on the back and relax after my school hunt was over I realized that it was more of an individual hope for the best solution.  I’m worried that the girls will not get into the school through open enrollment, that the magnet bus schedule will make it impossible to go to the back up plan, and what the heck will I do with them for the 3 mos.+ of vacation that LAUSD gives to kids each year.

I did start a parent group so I could start building a sense of community for the girls and myself as a parent and it has gone very well.  Downtown L.A. Parents on facebook has 98 members- some of them representing a family other parents each being a member – and the weekly playdates have been incredible. 

Our first big meeting reminded me of House on Mango Street when Sandra Cisneros dreams of having homeless people living in her attic..but in a less, less, waaay less creepy way.

The potluck/pool party was at my building’s community room and people were invited through fliers that I left at multiple residential buildings, libraries, and the girls’ school.  I sent out emails and invited parents I ran into at the park and told them to spread the word.

You might think that I am absolutely crazy for inviting complete strangers but I felt a sense of security not being specifically at my home and the whole kid thing seemed like a good screening- no kid- no entrance.

It was a great turn out- about 50 people showed up and I made awesome friends which is so hard in L.A.

So now here I am January 2010 and I want to take it to the next level.  We’ve met, we’ve chatted now how about that school?

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