Hi friends – I hope you are staying safe and healthy. These are confusing and scary times right now, and I am feeling incredibly grateful to have a warm home to hole up in and a stocked pantry/fridge. I know others are not so fortunate, and I have donated money to a local charity in hopes I can help a little. I hope you guys will consider doing so as well if you are able to.
Our weekend was super low key; we cancelled all our plans for obvious reasons and stayed home, took family walks, played in the backyard, etc. We will be doing much of the same this week… and for who knows how many more weeks! Remember that social isolation doesn’t have to mean staying indoors, though – go get some fresh air, just not around other people! Fresh air always helps boost morale. 🙂
We also did LOTS of cooking this weekend!
On Saturday, I was in the mood for soup so I made us a big batch of chicken soup. I absolutely love homemade chicken soup – it’s so nourishing and tasty, and I love packing it with lots of veggies that I leave slightly still crunchy (vs. mushy) – creates such a nice hearty texture.
I decided to wing it and not follow a recipe, but if you are feeling the cooking this week too and want some inspiration, check out this post: 10 Easy Chili Recipes and Healthy Soups.
For the chicken for the soup, I defrosted a few chicken breasts we had hanging out in the freezer and, once thawed, put them into the Instant Pot, covered them with water, and set it to 8 minutes on high.
Once they were done I let the steam release naturally on its own, then took them out and shredded them. Easy! I love cooking chicken in the Instant Pot (<– affiliate link to the one I have… I have the Duo 6 quart version)… so hands off.
I also cooked some orzo for the soup separately because I didn’t want it to get super soggy in the leftovers – keep your grain/pasta separate from your soup if you are planning to save leftovers, and just combine right before eating!
As for the base of the soup, I started by sautéing minced garlic and diced onions in a large pot with some olive oil.
After a minute or two of stirring it around, I added in my carrots, celery, and mushrooms for a few more minutes of sautéing.
Sidenote – our compost bin is still going strong!
I’ll do an update on this once the weather heats up and the food start breaking down more, but if you are looking for something to do while at home in the coming weeks, consider setting up a composting system! You can get everything you need online. Here’s my blog post all about it: How to Start Composting at Home.
Anyway – back to the soup!
Once the veggie were slightly softened, I poured in a large container of chicken broth and brought it up to a boil, then down to a simmer to soften the veggies a bit further. Like I said, I like my veggies more crisp, so I didn’t let it go too long, but you do you!
Right before serving, I stirred in the shredded chicken, and then poured the mixture over the orzo I had waiting in bowls. We added some salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste et voila! Delicious.
And we have lots of leftovers which is great news for the week. 🙂
Riese and I also baked some muffins this weekend – these are our fave Simple Mills pumpkin muffin mix (<- affiliate link) and I used whole milk instead of water, plus added some chia seeds and chopped walnuts into the batter for extra healthy fat/staying power.
Pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top for the prettiness factor!
Another dinner from the weekend was a turkey 3 bean chili recipe that I was testing out for the blog!
The recipe I’ll be sharing is a slow cooker specific recipe, but I wanted to test out a stovetop version, too, so I could include those instructions in the post for anyone who doesn’t have a slow cooker or who wants to just cook it right then.
It’s yummy. Stay tuned – I’ll share the recipe on Friday!
And since we didn’t have any company as previously planned to help us eat it, I froze half for later. It makes a lot and I figured we’d get sick of it before we finished it, but I’ll love it in a month or so when I pull it out of the freezer!
The final dinner from the weekend was pizza! Chicken BBQ pizza, to be precise. Friday nights always feel like good “eat pizza at home in your coziest clothes” nights, and this past Friday was no exception.
Plus some string beans on the side, which I had already eaten most of by the time I remembered to take this photo. 🙂
For lunches this weekend we had lots of leftovers, and breakfasts were our usual staples like banana oatmeal and toast topped with nut butter, yogurt, and fruit/more nuts/seeds.
As for workouts this weekend, it was all about the walks, and I also did a nice 30 minute YouTube yoga video at home.
No long run this weekend because unfortunately my big half marathon (Rock ‘n’ Roll DC) was cancelled (well, postponed until fall). I’m really disappointed because it was going to be my first half in 4 years and my training buddy and I are all trained up, but of course I completely understand and support the reasons they cancelled it and know it was the right call.
Anyway – I’m hoping to get in a couple (non-social) runs this week if the weather is good because running always boosts my mood, training or not!
And that’s all I have for you today!
Going into the workweek I’m feeling very grateful that I have a flexible schedule and can ramp down my work when needed because we’ll be rolling without childcare… Matt and I decided it was best to ask our twice a week sitter not to come for now (we are still going to pay her, though, because it felt wrong not to) given the situation.
I did a lot of work yesterday while Matt was free/around, and will be taking one for the team and just doing nap-time and after dinner work this week so Matt can get what he needs to done during work hours (he’ll be working from home, though, so it will be nice to have lunch together every day). I know many of you will be having a hard time attempting to work from home while entertaining kids who are not in school – hang in there!
I’ll see you guys back here on Wednesday – I have an updated pantry meal ideas post coming in hopes it might be helpful while we are all staying home. <3
p.s. If you are looking for a good book to read while you are homebound, check out this post from last fall: 12 Books I Read Recently and Loved. I also highly recommend Jessica Simpson’s memoir Open Book (affiliate link)… it’s really well written and super engaging. I read it a couple weeks ago and seriously couldn’t put it down! I read the hard copy, but if you buy the audio version she reads it herself which would be interesting to hear.
p.p.s. If you want to have a solo/non-social St. Patrick’s Day celebration at home tomorrow, here are some recipes to consider: Healthy Shamrock Shake, Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread, and Vegan and Gluten Free Shepherd’s Pie!