NEDA Week: Celebrate People

February 22nd marked the first day of the National Eating Disorder Awareness week. Each year that passes, the meaning that this week has for me grows. It marks another year when I can say that “I made it”. Although there are still times when I struggle, I know that I am “on the other side” of my eating disorder. Sometimes, I still hear that disordered voice in my head – however, I am now able to listen to it, acknowledge that it’s there and then let it go. It’s not my -TRUTH- anymore. I’ve learned to detach from it and come back to myself.

About a month ago I met Jessica Raymond. She is the face behind Recovery Warriors, a site with tools that help girls during their recovery from eating disorders. She also lives in San Diego and it was great to connect with someone else who fought her eating disorder and is now giving back to society and the community. I heard her say that recovery is like surfing. You can have periods of time where you are just patiently sitting on your board, waiting for the waves in peace. A period of time where everything feels steady. Then there’s times when the waves hit you and you just have to ride them, not knowing the outcome, unaware if you’re going to make it out “alive”. She said she’s learned to treat emotions like waves. You have to acknowledge that they are there, you have to ride them to realize that they are fleeting. That they are not permanent. That they will pass. If you think about it we all pretty much go through a sort of “surf recovery”.. our lives are filled with steady moments that sometimes change into a set of crazy waves.

I know that sometimes it’s hard for people to talk or think about eating disorders. I also know that more people than you think you know, struggle with them. So I don’t think that talking about them is in vain. Now that I have a daughter my priority is to raise her with a high self esteem and self love. I want to celebrate her for who she is. I know that a big part of this is the example that I set for her, in how I treat myself and how I treat others.

This year for NEDA week my goal is to celebrate people and I want to invite you all to do the same.

I come from a family where friendly “banter” is part of the dynamic. Mexicans love speaking their minds and although the intentions are never hurtful I’ve noticed it’s easier to laugh at people than to compliment them. We love instant gratification and it takes way less time to find something on the outside of people that you can talk about than actually taking time in getting to know people, asking the right questions and finding something lovable/admirable inside of them. It takes work. It takes dealing with feeling vulnerable.

We reap what we sow. This is what I want to teach my daughter.

Find time. Learn to love people for who they are. Don’t be quick to judge strangers. Know that how you treat other people is only a reflection of what is inside of you. Love yourself. Ride the wave. And to all my fellow recovery warriors: I love you all! We are doing this – we are living life freely!

Quinoa “Ramen”

The other day I was craving ramen but a) I didn’t have all of the ingredients for ramen and b) I was looking for a healthier dinner option. We had a lot of leftover miso paste from our last trip to the Asian market and I noticed we also had seaweed, kimchi and vegetables that could join forces and turn into some sort of ramen-ish soup.

With no noodles in the house I decided to just cook some quinoa in a miso broth and it actually turned out pretty good! For a vegetarian option, you can soft boil an egg and add it to the recipe below.

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Quinoa “Ramen” – Yields 2 Large Bowls – Vegan – Gluten Free

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 1 quart of vegetable broth
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 12(ish) shishito peppers
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of miso paste
  • 2 large handfuls of red spinach (you can sub for regular spinach)
  • 1/2 cup of kimchi (look for an option with no fish sauce if you want a completely vegan dish)
  • sesame oil for garnish
  • roasted seaweed for garnish
  • salt, pepper and olive oil for roasted vegetables

Directions:

Preheat the oven at 375F. Cut the head of broccoli into florets and spread on a large cookie tray along with the shishito peppers. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast vegetables for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil and dissolve miso paste in the liquid. Add quinoa and bring down to a simmer, quinoa will begin cooking.

In a small pan add the olive oil and cookthe spinach lightly until it’s wilted. Set aside.

Assemble two bowls with: seaweed, 1/4 cup of kimchi each, wilted spinach and roasted broccoli and shishitos once they are done roasting.

When the quinoa is ready add quinoa to the bowls and then ladle some broth on top. Drizzle with sesame oil.

Enjoy!

Sienna and I are headed down to Guadalajara for a few days later today and I am hoping that she will do good on the flight. Wish us luck!

Trader Joe’s Finds & Faves

I’ve heard people say (mostly girls but I’m sure it applies to most of us) that it’s hard for them to leave Target without buying something that they didn’t even need. Yes. Guilty. I do have to say though that I’m pretty good at just walking straight to the aisle or department of the item that I need, grabbing it and heading to the registers. I don’t really browse at Target that much. Take me to Trader Joe’s though and it’s a totally different story.

Trader Joe’s is my Target. Obsessed! I walk down every aisle, EVERY time. We don’t really do our groceries there, Sprouts is cheaper and less tempting for me. Not to mention they do bulk so that’s that. Anyways back to Trader Joe’s. I’m a fan. When we lived in Hillcrest we used to live so close to one that I’d pretty much go every day. Now that we’re further I don’t find myself going as much but when I do I make sure to take my time and check out any new stuff and pick out some of our TJ staples. Here are some gems from my latest visit:

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1. Organic Baked Teriyaki Tofu – I love how it’s already pressed and seasoned. Perfect for when I don’t have the time to press and marinade a regular block. It’s a couple of dollars more than just their regular tofu but so worth it!

2. Cold Pressed Juices – Looks like TJ’s caught on the juice craze and went their own route. The juices are delicious, made with only fruits and vegetables and cold pressed. They’re 5.99 a piece which is cheaper than the cold pressed competition.

3. Inner Peas & Inner Beans – We’re quite the snackers over here so I’m always looking out for healthy snack finds. We love snacking on nuts, hummus, baby carrots and these crunchy peas. This was the first time I bumped into the beans which I’m pretty sure will live up to their name.

4. Preserved Tunisian Lemon Slices – I was totally wooed by the presentation of these bad boys. The slices look perfect and so pretty! Not to mention I have had my eye on this Cauliflower Cous Cous with Preserved Lemons and Chickpeas Recipe.

5. Almond Butter – Gimme that! Nut butters are a staple in our kitchen and this one is hands down our favorite. No fake ingredients and so delicious. We get one or two jars every time.

6. Roasted Seaweed – Put some hummus on it and eat it!

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7. Japanese Green Tea IPA by Stone – IT’S BACK! Boo-yah! John and I were on a serious beer hunt for this beer when this came out about 3 years ago. I’m a big green tea fan so I knew I had to try it. I didn’t even know that they had released it again and BAM! There it was. Happy early Valentine’s Day to me!

Weekend Happenings

We finally made it to Popotla for lunch! Sitting on a plastic chair by the beach, drinking Tecates and eating seafood in Popotla had been on John’s bucket list for a while. Sienna still hates the car seat so some parts of the little excursion weren’t super fun but it was worth it! The food was delicious, there was no line at the border to cross back and if you follow me on IG you probably saw that Charlie met a pig… it was pretty hilarious.

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I tried this delicious hummus trio and did some work for the next issue of the “La Vida Vegan” column. I can’t reveal the spot I picked yet but… it will be awesome! Also, for the March issue I will be one of the featured contributors so make sure you pick up a copy!

I got Sienna ready and all dolled up for a bridal shower that we had on Saturday. My cousin got her this cute dress from Du Pareil Au Meme for Christmas and I was waiting for a special day to put it on her. Unfortunately, the outing ended up being a total #fail. Her naps have been funky and she’s starting to teeth so she had a Meltdown with a capital “M” that ended up with her napping at home while John watched her and me arriving at the shower almost two hours late. It’s true – having a baby is amazing but there are definitely days that totally go wrong. How cute did she look though? :)akeout from Tajima on Saturday night. Enough said.

Babies and beers at the Modern Times Flavordome. I know I mention this place pretty often. It’s really close to our house and my friend Andrew works the bar so it’s pretty much our go to. Also #allthebeer that they make is delicious. And their typography is pretty. And Sienna loves the lights in there. Sold.

We went to the San Diego Zoo! Sienna loved it! Her favorite part had to be the aviary. At her age she couldn’t really “see” a lot of the bigger animals so she loved just being around all of the plants and sounds inside the aviary. She spent most of our visit with John holding her and they had a great time together. Sienna met her little cousin David visiting from New Jersey. His mom is my first cousin and it was great to catch up with her and her husband. John and I don’t have family living in San Diego so it’s nice being able to spend time with our families whenever they visit. I grew up surrounded by so many cousins! Luckily we have a lot of close friends in San Diego already so I am sure that Sienna will have a good amount of company around her as she grows up.

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Lazy Girl Chipotle Chili

When John goes out of town for work I rock my lazy girl lifestyle. My daily priorities are the same (i.e cooking, working, keeping the house in order, getting a good dose of exercise, getting some vitamin D by stepping outside for at least a small chunk of our day…) but my pace definitely changes. I feel confident in being able to take care of Sienna by myself but I have to admit that days are a little more stressful and tiring when I’m playing single parent.

I don’t get my little morning break where I can walk Charlie or where I can go for a run. I don’t have a partner who will get up and give Sienna her pacifier at night if she cries. I have to bring my A game and make sure that Sienna is getting everything she needs so I take a little more relaxed approach to my day in order to keep my anxiety levels at a minimum.

I keep my lululemon pants on all day. I put my hair in a high bun. I don’t put on my contact lenses. And most importantly – I bring my trusted friend the crockpot out to help me with dinner.

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This is a take on regular bean chili just a little more Mexican(ized). Perfect for a hearty and comforting dinner after taking care of a baby all day. A glass of wine to accompany it is highly recommended.

Lazy Girl Chipotle Chili – Yields about 6 cups – Vegan – Gluten Free

Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini – cubed
  • 1 medium russet potato – cubed
  • 1 small sweet onion – finely diced
  • 15 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 jalapeño – minced
  • 1 can of black beans – rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans – rinsed and drained
  • 2.5 cups of veggie broth
  • 1 pack of Chipotle Chili Salsa (I use this one brand because who doesn’t love Rick Bayless? – Also, no fake ingredients.)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 lime
  • cilantro for garnish
  • avocado for garnish

Directions:

Add all ingredients to the crockpot – cook on low for 10 hours or high for about 5 (just check for desired consistency). Adjust seasonings. Serve in bowls and garnish with avocado, a splash of lime and cilantro.

Buen Provecho!

Sienna Kai’s 5 Month Update

I can’t believe our little girl is 5 months old! I could kiss those chunky cheeks all day!

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I’ve noticed that since she was born, months have been flying but days actually go by slower. Having a baby definitely helps staying present and in the moment – and then when you look back, it’s strangely a big blur. Yesterday I was talking to a friend who has a toddler and she mentioned how you definitely forget a lot of the newborn stage things as your kid grows up. She says you end up being so focused on the present stage that your child is on, that on the moment that they’re on the the next one, the last one becomes distant as it looses all of your focus. I guess it’s like going on to the next level on a video game :).

This is why I want to start writing monthly updates for Sienna. I actually wish I had done this from the beginning! Oh well.

Time with Sienna is getting to be so much fun these days. She is so interested in everything that is going on around her. Our walks are awesome. I’ll catch her staring at trees and flowers. She reaches out to grab stuff too which is pretty neat. We’ve been walking to the dog park as well and she loves watching all of the dogs running around. Most of our walks are still in the carrier as the stroller is still hit or miss for her. We are making progress with the car seat but occasional meltdowns in there are still part of our routine (worse part of my day). She also loves being in the carrier when I am cooking – I like talking to her and telling her what we are making for dinner as I prep all the ingredients.

She used to nap when I made dinner but she has more alert time now so she’s my little sous chef. She’s been going to bed pretty early these days as she doesn’t always take a third nap anymore. We’ll start her bath (which she loves) at around 5pm and she’s usually in bed by 6ish. If we’re lucky she makes it all the way until 6am the next morning. That or she wakes up at around 4:30am as she lost her pacifier. I rarely feed her at night anymore, only when she can’t seem to go back to sleep after waking up or when I notice she’s going through some sort of growth spurt. One of my favorite parts of the day is early in the morning when I go into her room to unswaddle her and say: Buenos Dias! Seeing her smile back at me is the best way to start the day. She still sleeps swaddled but I am pretty sure I will have to stop soon as she started rolling over from tummy to back. We’ll see how our nights go once the swaddle is gone. Eek! We tried the Merlin Sleepsuit like a month ago but she still seemed too small for it, I may give it another whirl.

She’s been eating like a champ lately – already at 8 ounces per feeding. She loves eating laying down and actually prefers to not be held for this. My mom bought her this Boppy Lounger when she was born, she used to fall asleep in it all the time but now it’s her favorite place to eat. We use it pretty much all the time unless we’re not home. This past week she’s gotten stronger though and is starting to lift her upper body while laying on it – like boat pose in yoga. She cracks me up.

I was almost certain that I wanted to wait until she was 6 months old to feed her solids but we started a little early. She had been doing this chewing motion with her mouth and showing interest in food when she saw us eat. I read this could also be a sign of teething but she seems pretty happy (not in teething pain) so I didn’t think it was that. I’ve been doing some reading on baby led weaning and yesterday we decided to give it a go with a banana. SHE LOVED IT! She just got frustrated when the banana started getting slippery as she would loose grip of it when she still wanted more. She kept opening her mouth and moving her chin down as if she could magically call the banana back in her mouth. This photo was right at the beginning of our attempt, we had to change her clothes after as it was pretty messy. I am excited for future adventures as we experiment with food!

Our play time includes tummy time (which she is finally enjoying more), dancing, reading, petting and observing Charlie, time on her play mat and baby airplane. She’s discovered her feet too so sometimes she doesn’t even need a toy to entertain herself. She’ll just stare at them and try to grab them. She loves her sock monkey snuggle buddy and this lamaze peacock. We started playing peek-a-boo the other day but it doesn’t work all of the time yet. One day she was laughing so hard when I was playing with her and the next day she was like… ummm what are you doing mom?

Her laugh is in my opinion, the best sound the world. I’m pretty sure I look like a goof all day with my multiple attempts at making her laugh. Her cooing and babbling hasn’t gotten old either. Her least attractive sound these days is a grunt that she keeps doing whenever she gets bored or wants to change her position but she can’t. I feel like she’s at a stage where she can’t do much although she really wants to so she gets frustrated sometimes.

She is definitely in love with her dad this month. Her face lights up every time he walks into the room and they have such a cute bond when they are together. John and I take turns; he’ll surf a day and then I’ll go out on a run the next day. So we both get some exercise and bonding time with Sienna in the mornings (which is normally when she’s in her best mood). When she was younger I was definitely overprotective of her when she was around John… #firsttimemommyproblem, nowadays I feel comfortable just letting them do their own thing. This past Saturday I had my first solo day trip while Sienna and dad stayed behind. I went on a taco + beer + mezcal tour in Tijuana so it was kind of great to not have cell phone reception or else I’m pretty sure I would have been texting John the whole time. I came home to a sleeping baby. Success!

In a couple of weeks, Sienna and I are flying down to Guadalajara by ourselves, John will catch up with us later. I’m hoping we make it down there without any airport/airplane meltdowns. It’s nice having an extra set of hands to help with the carry on, other than that I feel pretty confident so wish us luck!

I feel so thankful that I get to spend these early months with her. I actually still don’t know if or when I am going back to work full time as I am currently just working remote on different projects. I’m still and always will be a dreamer when it comes to my professional life – the vision of owning a small restaurant run by me is one that has been in my mind for years now. There will be a time and place for that. Or at least I like to believe so. Motherhood is so amazing and so hard some days. Life goes by so fast. I am certain that I won’t regret setting this time aside to raise our daughter and I am thankful that I have such a hard working husband that allows me to do so :).

Crushing On:

1. NPR’s Invisibilia Podcast. One word: OBSESSED. “Invisibilia (Latin for “all the invisible things”) explores the intangible forces that shape human behavior – things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.” Totally up my alley. I’ve been loving streaming it while Sienna sleeps and I’m attempting to cook, work or clean. That or I’m just streaming it while I’m laying on our bed snuggling with Charlie.

2. Suja Juices. I know, I know… the whole juicing “thing”. A trend that I definitely have been partaking in. At least it’s a healthy trend no? Sprouts has been having these sales where they are 5.99 instead of the usual 9.99 so every time I go grocery shopping I’m like… Well, I should get at least two right?  This one is delicious if you like beets and celery (which I know half of the populations probably doesn’t):

3. The Body Shop’s Coconut Lip Butter. I’ve never been a lipstick kind of girl. I actually do love red lipstick but it never goes that well. People end up telling me it’s on my teeth – half an hour after I put it on. Thanks. Not to mention chapped lips after using lipstick. I realized I couldn’t be buying Lip Smackers forever as I am trying to achieve a more grown up look (John and I joke about how I only own cartoon or beer t-shirts) – so I am totally into this balm right now.

4. Ergo 360 Front Facing Carry. We got the Ergo 360 a couple of months ago after using the regular Ergo. We wanted to be able to carry her front facing and she’s been loving it. It’s makes trips to the dog park so much easier and Sienna loves exploring and looking around when we go out walking. The back support is also pretty legit.

5. Amanda Pete in Togetherness. I started watching this show a couple of weeks ago and her character is awesome. As if I didn’t already have a girl crush on her. She plays this girl named Tina who is a total go getter. I’ve always been a planner so I’m secretly jealous of people who can be spontaneous all the time. The show is pretty funny too. And real. It deals with relatable issues. My type of series.

6. Father John Misty’s new single Chateau Lobby #4. John and I are so excited for his new album coming out in February. I was a big fan of his last album so I am looking forward to listening to his new songs. He’s such a sick romantic. I love it. Also we are going to his show in April at the North Park Theatre. Boo-yah!

7. This article on The Motherhood Days We Don’t Talk About That Much That We Should. If you’re a mom just read it. That’s all.

9. My friend Kristin recommended I check out the Minimalist Baker blog and it’s so neat! It’s written by a couple living in Portland that create recipes with a minimal number of ingredients. YES! Also, beautiful photography.

10. Pretty much everything on the OEUFNYC website for baby girls. More specifically these crowns. Are you kidding me? As if I was not already super into Sienna’s headband game. Adorbs.

Happy Weekend Friends!