Retiring the title of PANK (Professional Aunt, No Kids)

Remember that time I wrote the blog post about The Great Baby Dilemma? Well, just 4 short weeks after that post was written, I found out I was pregnant.

For months prior to finding out, I felt disappointment whenever my period arrived. That was a sign that either my clock was ticking louder that I would allow it, or that I secretly did want to become a Mom. Having always been on the fence about children, my parents were surprised, but obviously happy to hear the news. In fact, so was I. The moment I saw that blue plus-sign on that pregnancy test, aka magical stick was the day I knew my life would be changed forever.

Being pregnant has presented many challenges; 12 weeks of morning sickness, pain and numbness in my left thigh followed more recently by both of my hands, dry skin, stretch marks, insomnia and the standard worries that come from carrying a baby. But, I keep telling myself that the payoff will be well worth it, but also that the challenges will continue to come. Parenting isn’t easy, but I’m ready for it.

In just three short weeks my boyfriend and I will welcome our baby boy and my nephews will get their first cousin. I will still be a wicked awesome Aunt, but my role will change as I will now fully understand the trials and tribulations of being a parent. I will see the world differently. In fact, I’ve already seen myself differently; I’m stronger than I thought I was, feeling vulnerable isn’t a bad thing, and my body is capable of housing a miracle.

To all the PANKS out there; keep up the great work. You’re impacting the life of your nieces and nephews just as they have and will continue to impact yours.

To all the Moms; I feel honored to be joining your ‘club.’ Wish me luck!

About the Author:

Diane Morris is (no longer) a PANK; Professional Aunt, No Kids and works for Mabel’s Labels as the Sales Coordinator. She’s an Aunt to two boys, and an “Auntie” to her boyfriend’s niece and nephew. She’s a sucker for romance, country music and peanut butter.

Why did the Chicken Last a Week? Because it wanted to make life easy for you

By Theresa Albert www.myfriendinfood.com

Many of us are trying to get more high protein foods in our diet. Chicken is a great way to get it. It’s a family favourite that lends itself to all ethnic dishes, provides lean quality protein and with a little planning, easy weeknight meals.

With some simple planning you can take one whole chicken, prep it on Sunday and enjoy it all week long with leftover chicken recipes.  All you need for a family of four is two whole chickens, cut into pieces, (or for a few extra pennies, you can buy the cut pieces and save on time) then creatively prep everything on the weekend. It should take under an hour, and if you can coerce the family into helping, even less. You will find everything you need for the easy chicken recipes listed below. Get ready to be organized, well fed and serene beyond your imagination.

Step 1: Getting prepared-Sunday

Cut a whole chicken into pieces and divide into breasts, tenders, legs, drums and wings.

Step 2: Recipe #1: Marinated Chicken Breasts

Place four breasts in freezer bag #1 and add marinade.  There are some fabulous chicken breast recipes on www.chicken.ca or you can use a bottled sauce to add some flavour to the meal.  Be sure to use a no sugar sauce if you intend to barbeque as the sugar will burn.  If you are going to bake, simply empty the contents of the bag into a baking dish and pop it into the oven. Serve with steamed broccoli.

Step 3: Recipe #2 Chicken Prima Vera

Place eight chicken tenders in freezer bag #2 and add 1 tbsp of Italian Seasoning and ½ tsp garlic powder. This can be stored in the fridge for up to three days or frozen for up to three weeks. When ready to cook, simply thaw in the microwave (if necessary) and place chicken and red peppers in a large pan. Simmer in your favourite bottled tomato sauce until chicken is cooked through.  Serve over whole grain pasta and dinner’s ready in 15 minutes!

Step 4: Recipe #3 Mango Thai Chicken Legs

Peel the skin off of four chicken legs and place into freezer bag #3.  Add 1 tsp grated fresh ginger and one minced clove of garlic and place bag in either fridge for three days or freezer for three weeks (thaw in fridge before using).

On the night of…feel free to use a tinned or jarred Thai chicken sauce or gather together a few basics:

1 mango, 2 orange peppers (or sliced zucchini), 14 oz coconut milk, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp hot-garlic chili sauce and one bunch of fresh basil cleaned and chopped.

Mix together everything except the fresh basil and pour over thawed chicken, bake for 45 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 F. Stir in basil.

Serve over brown rice with a crisp salad.

Step 5: Recipe #4 Shaked and Baked  

Place all four drums and wings into freezer bag #4. Add ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs, ¼ cup cornmeal, ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese.  Shake. Pour off any mixture that did not stick and store chicken, as is, in the fridge for three days or freezer for three weeks (thaw in fridge before proceeding).  Preheat oven to 375 F. Oil a baking sheet and pull chicken pieces from bag. (Do not dump out as crumbs will burn.) Bake for 45-60 minutes until cooked through.  Serve with carrot sticks, celery sticks and dip.

Step 6: Recipe #5 Chicken soup

Place carcass in freezer bag #5 along with: 2 chopped sticks of celery, 1 onion (quartered, skin on), 1 carrot, cut into 6 pieces, 2 crushed cloves of garlic and 1 tbsp of white vinegar.  Place in the freezer for up to three weeks.  Empty this entire bag, frozen into a slow cooker filled with 8-12 cups of boiling water.  Cook on high for 8 hours then strain the broth and discard the scraps.  (If you are really keen, you can pick through the bones to find some nice pieces of chicken!) Add some frozen peas and corn and a nice baguette.  Here’s a video to give you step by step help. http://chicken.ca/cooking-tips/videos/slow_comfort/

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

 

What’s the big deal about New Year’s?

New Year’s is a lot of pressure. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the holiday it’s just that the expectations that come with it are crazy.

Take New Year’s Eve- I don’t know about you but in the past I’ve ran around like a maniac searching for the perfect dress, (the one that will camouflage the extra Christmas poundage, make me feel sexy, and cost less than $100) googled the best venues in town and paid an exorbitant amount for a ticket that includes a tiny glass of champagne, a cover band that is happy this is the one night of the year they’re guaranteed work, and a plastic horn that makes one of the most annoying sounds known to man. Then I was always disappointed when at the end of the night nothing magical happened, and I almost lost a toe due to frostbite while waiting for a cab in shoes that aren’t meant for dancing or freezing cold weather.

Fortunately my expectations lessened after having children and now when we can get a babysitter on New Year’s and go out I will gladly dance to that cheesy band and smile through the pain of tortured feet for time alone with my husband. It’s a little thing I like to call perspective.

Then there’s New Year’s Day which comes most often with a hangover, a bucket of regret and a pile of argh resolutions.  But that’s the ugly…now for the good.

  1. 1.       It’s a fresh start

New Year’s is like clean powdery virgin white snow untouched by salt, pollution, and dog pee.

  1. 2.       Renewed hope-that this year will be the year.

Hope that this is the year we accomplish our goals whether it be weight loss and getting back into those skinny jeans or publishing that novel (Ahem! Please 2015!)

  1. 3.       It’s a kick in the pants

What I mean by that is like it or not the New Year does tend to spur us into action and that is a good thing.

Okay but here’s the other side. The bad.

Beating ourselves up when falling off the proverbial wagon

It’s a new YEAR’s resolution people not a month! That means a whole year to accomplish whatever resolution or goals you set up. So why is by January 15th when we haven’t met whatever almost impossible challenge we have set up for ourselves that we give up, falling into a shame spiral that ends with chocolate cake and a promise for next year? (I am talking about myself here but the “we” makes me feel better.)

And finally: putting it all into perspective                                         

It didn’t take a month to get a closet filled with clothes you can’t wear. Your basement didn’t get crammed to the rafter’s with everyone’s junk (again talking about me) in a month, it took time and it will take time to undo these things. This New Year’s, let’s give ourselves a break. I know I’m going to try- or at least I’m going to add it to my list of resolutions.

Happy 2015 everyone!

How do you feel about New Year’s? What are some of your New Year’s resolution successes and fails? Come on share!

About the Author

Lisa Van Meeteren is the mother of two children, ages 5 and 9. She works as a copywriter and has just completed a novel!

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