I spent tonight editing a big backlog of photos that has been building up, while half-watching the Bachelor (I can’t get into this season – snore!) and eating a dark chocolate truffle bar.  I thought about posting pictures from the fun New Year’s trip we took to Mt. Hood in Oregon at the beginning of the month.  And then I thought maybe I should skip ahead and recap the awesome weekend that Graham and I spent in Connecticut last week.  And then I decided to just post about today instead.

Today was day six on my own with two little kiddos.  Casey has been in London since last Thursday, and since then I have taken two showers, eaten an alarming amount of sugar, and have been woken up at 4am almost every single morning by my toddler who won’t stay in his big boy bed.

And so, a quick word.  I know this space has changed a lot and my posting frequency has been all over the map.  I assure you – I have noticed it too.  Blogs change as life changes, and right now life is this wonderful mix of unbelievably joy and absolute exhaustion.  Every day I am working to better myself, be there for my kids, get myself organized professionally, and hopefully have a little bit leftover at the end of the day to reflect and relax before my toddler creeps out of bed and it starts all over again.

Believe it or not, I have a lot of goals and hopes for this year, many of which are related to food and fitness – two things that used to be a big focus of my writing here.  I think they will both re-enter this space in a different capacity than they were in before, but I also think that is completely okay.

One of the big goals I’m working on now is getting back into regularly cooking balanced, healthy meals for our family.  Trying to figure out how to find time to cook now that I am essentially always with at least one child is…challenging.  There is plenty more to say on this subject, but for now I thought I’d share a bit of how I approached it today.

With Casey gone this week, I relied a lot on my rice cooker and my roasting pans.  Okay, we also got takeout once and had pasta twice.  I didn’t have time to prepare or assemble much other than chopping and cubing things during various naptimes.  After a few meals, I ended up with a refrigerator full of half-eaten leftover containers that were pretty boring on their own.

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I decided that instead of feeling overwhelmed by the idea of cooking or baking something while the kids were awake, I’d take advantage and let Cullen help me while Graham supervised from his bouncy seat.

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I decided to take a bunch of different leftover items, mix them together, add a few extras, and bake it all into a muffin tin.  What’s the worst that could happen?

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Cullen is at this wonderful age where communication flows freely and he understands everything I say and ask (whether he chooses to listen or not…).  He loves learning, and now more than ever I can tell that he relishes our one on one time together.  He rocked the apron my mom made him for Christmas, and we had a blast.  It made me realize that I should be willing to include him in my kitchen adventures more often.

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I combined two cups of cooked lentils with two cups of roasted cauliflower and broccoli…

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And since I didn’t have breadcrumbs, I improvised with two slices of crunchy toast cubed into small squares. 

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I believe we lost about 30% of the toast cubes due to sampling…

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Whisked in two eggs to help hold things together (along with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt)…

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And finished it off with about 3/4 cup freshly grated smoked cheddar cheese. 

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We moved our operation to the floor so that my assistant could help scoop into the muffin pan.  The biggest challenge at this point was making sure he didn’t eat any more of the mixture (that now contained raw egg). 

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All scooped in and packed down tightly – ready for baking!

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Baked at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, until the egg was set and the cheese was bubbly.

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I let them cool before scooping one out to see if it held up. 

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I wolfed one down and thought it was absolutely delicious.  Basically yummy leftovers repurposed into muffin bites full of gooey cheese.  What is not to like?

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So in the interest of keeping it real, I will tell you two things about the final product…

1.  It didn’t hold up as well as I’d hoped.  They stayed together enough to pick up and take a bite, but they still fell apart pretty easily.  That said, they were delicious and it didn’t really matter.

2.  Despite our cooking fun and all the hype, I still couldn’t get Cullen to take a single bite.  Getting this kid to eat anything beyond pancakes and applesauce is a battle like no other, and one I am currently losing.

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But that didn’t stop me.  I ate all twelve of them in two days, and it was nice to have something quick to grab for lunches or bites before dinner.

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I’m trying to get my mind back into a creative space – a place where I feel motivated and excited, and where I bring things to life instead of just writing them on to-do lists.

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This was a small start.  And hopefully the beginning of more to come!