This is my first post! I am very excited to share this project with you. To get started, let’s get acquainted. Here’s my interview and a first glance at what lies behind Mommies and Meals. Hope you’ll enjoy it!
Tell us more about yourself.
Hi, my name is Nathalie. I am 40 years old, happily married and mom of a spirited little girl who is 4 years old. I was born in France but I now live in the South bay of Los Angeles, California. I used to work in communications for non profit organizations in Europe, taught a little bit of French when I moved here 9 years ago and am now a full time mother and hopeful part time blogger.
How have juggling motherhood and meals been for you so far?
Since becoming a mom, I have definitely increased my time spent in the kitchen, as I’m still cooking different meals for my daughter. I feel I’m not as organized as I could be. I spend a lot of time searching for new recipes. I have quite a few family hits but to my husband’s despair, I keep trying new things that sometimes fail miserably (I’m a gemini so naturally very inclined to diversity)
Let’s break down meals and start with breakfast. How is it like at your house?
I usually step in the kitchen around 7:40 A.M. My first official act is turning on the Nespresso machine. I also start to boil some water in a pan for my husband’s daily oatmeal. Then, I wash some berries, prepare some tea and get my daughter’s breakfast and lunch box ready at the same time.
What does she like to eat?
Her typical breakfast is a slice of whole wheat bread with some cheese, berries (she only seems to like blueberries these days), a hard boiled egg sometimes (she always disses the yellow part) or just plain old cheerios and a banana.
And what about you?
I try to stick to my Parisian nutritionist’s plan: a peeled banana with another seasonal fruit as well as 5 almonds and 5 hazelnuts with some Rooibos tea, but once or twice a week, I indulge in some brioche (this one from Whole foods is insane) or homemade pancakes, or when I want to be healthier, an acai bowl (I love this recipe and so does the rest of the family! Bingo)
What are lunches like?
Very quiet compared to the morning rush! My husband and I mostly eat leftovers. Sometimes, I do this convenient kale salad that I find at Ralph’s. I just add some pomegranate seeds and eat it with an avocado toast. Sometimes we eat together but most of the time, we don’t.
How about your daughter?
It took me a while but I’m finally getting used to this lunchbox thing (I’ll elaborate on that at some point!) Today, for example, she had some homemade hummus with cucumber, carrot sticks and some whole wheat pita chips. I typically give her a fruit as well.
What’s the dinner situation?
I usually try to get diner ready while my daughter is at school so that I can focus on her when she comes home. Some meals work for everyone, like tomato soup or pasta marinara. But because my husband is a strict vegan and I am an opportunistic vegetarian, I often prepare some extra protein for my daughter. She’s not not too keen on meat, so mostly fish. I manage to hide some italian sausage in the marinara sauce though.
Do you have a dinner ritual?
To my biggest despair, we are still not able to have a family dinner. My daughter typically eats before 5.30 and 5.45 which is way too early for me, but not too early for my husband. So sometimes I just pour myself a glass of red wine and sit with them so that we share some time together.
When it comes to meal planning, how go you get organized? Do you rotate with a set of recipes? Improvise with what you have? Where do you look for recipes?
I spend a lot of time thinking about meals. I could easily rotate with a few winning recipes but I’m always on the hunt, looking for something new and untried. I even tried a fixed weekly meal plan for a while but I got tired of it. I typically browse blogs for inspiration. My favorite ones are Cookie and Kate (pretty much foolproof and always attractive). I also recently discovered Deliciouly Ella. I also always appreciate the simplicity of the New York Times’ Mark Bittman.
Where do you shop? How often?
Several places. Mostly Ralph’s, occasionally Whole Foods for specific items that I can’t find at my regular store and a local produce shop that I absolutely adore, Grow for meat and fish. I would like to shop once a week but I typically end up having to go 3 times a week because there is always something that I forget.
What’s your monthly budget?
Our budget is approximately $ 1600 per month. We are really trying to cut that a bit as it seems too extravagant. I’m curious to hear about other mommies and learn from them on this aspect.
Do you have any tips?
When in doubt, always have some Rao sauce and some pasta in your pantry!
Show us what’s in your fridge right now.
To walk you you through quickly, I see some berries, milk, Belgian beers, white wine, almond milk, leftover from yesterday’s risotto, ham, spinach, vegenaise. And kale, celery, red pepper and grapes in the vegetable drawer. I am sure I am missing something…
What is your ten must have? The things you buy over and over again and never get tired of
Berries; Rao marinara sauce and pasta; San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes (for quick tomato soup that my daughter adores); camomille tea; dark chocolate (we love this one); arugula salad; whole wheat bread; parmigiano reggiano; brown rice; red wine (for well deserved mommy break)
What’s your cult recipe?
I’d say my vegetarian stuffed peppers, inspired from a Moosewood recipe.