Monday, January 27, 2014

A Support System + Make Ahead Breakfast Options

My friend Denise should open her own restaurant. She's an amazing cook and looks for the best ingredients to feed her family.

Denise briefly went back to work last year quickly to find her job at home was the most demanding, yet the most important to her family of 3. 
Here's what she had to say, along with some great Get It Done Tips for making a hassle-free, healthy, weekday breakfast.

My husband was laid off early last year so when I landed a job to help support our family, life was good again. Watching our bank account grow each month provided to self worth I was missing from being a stay-at-home-mom. Anyone can run a household but not everyone could earn money and provide. Boy was I wrong.

All was well until my husband got the call back to go to work.  Now no one was home to handle the household chores. So in addition to working we had to run errands after work, cook, clean and manage the finances. I was exhausted. 

Each morning became my time to spend with our son. Would I have preferred spending it eating breakfast together, talking about what he did yesterday and what are his hopes for the day? Of course. Instead, our 'quality' time was spent yelling, tempers flaring, food being prepped as fast as possible lacking any thought beyond, "Will he eat this?", and constant reminders of, "Hurry up, you're going to miss your bus!", while simultaneously getting myself ready for work and prep dinner for the slow cooker. And with the gluten allergies my son and I have, slapping food together for either of us is a chore within itself.

That was not how I imagined spending my mornings with him at all. Going to work no longer felt rewarding and seemed to get in the way of what I wanted out of life. I hated not being able to go to his Fall performance at school. I hated not being able to take time off for parent/teacher conferences, and most of all, I hated being filled in on his day and not being apart of it.

In total, I worked almost eight months that year and much to my dissatisfaction, I was not successful at being a working-mother. I didn't handle this failure very well. I had to find out what I did wrong so I asked my successful working-mom friends, "How do you do it?" and a common answer I received was, "I have a great support system." Whether is was the parents or in-laws, the husband, a nanny, and/or friend(s), you need a support system.

In my case, I am the support system.  And now, a year later, I am happier than ever staying home to support my home and run it like a system. It took everything spinning out of control in order for my husband and I to realize all the work that I put into it.

Stephanie also asked me to provide some of my favorite quick breakfast ideas/recipes so here are a few...enjoy!

Being wheat/gluten, soy, nut & seed free our options for breakfast is limited, time consuming and typically without ready-made store options.  In order to make something nutritious that also tastes good, every Saturday I make one kind of breakfast food in bulk.

Pancakes (sunbutter, apple banana), arepas (our favorite is with Manchego!), or corn muffins, which are easy to make and freeze well and also reheat as if they were freshly made,  are perfect for making ahead. 

Every other Saturday I alternate what I am making so I begin to build up a small stock and then my son has options and I am not exhausting myself with cooking something new every morning.

Also, one of my favorite easy weeknight meals is my crockpot chili.

Crock Pot Chili
1 lb Ground Turkey Breast
16 oz Trader Joe's Chipotle Salsa
12 oz  Trader Joe's Salsa Verde
1 lg onion diced
1 tbsp Spanish Olive oil
4-6 Queen Spanish Olives diced
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
2 cans Goya Spanish style tomato sauce
(a cup or two depending on how thick you like your chili) beef broth or water
Salt and pepper to taste
Saute onions with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
Add meat and cook until no longer pink
Add beans and saute for a few more minutes Add all remaining ingredients, stir to combine.
Put everything in slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.
I wholeheartedly agree with Denise's point about having a support system to help juggle it all - I know I couldn't do it without my husband and parents.   I also love the recipes -- I never had an arepa, but it may be on our menu one day soon! 
Thank you Denise for so openly sharing your experience and some great recipes! There isn't a job out there that is harder and more rewarding then being a stay at home mom and I tip my hat to you! ;)


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