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Hey friends, me here! I know it's been quiet on Sundays for the past few weeks all I can say is eh, life has been happening.
I've been in a really busy period at work and by the time the weekend rolls around the last thing I want to do is more work. Paul has been travelling a lot lately for work and races, which has meant a lot of extra (solo) time with the kids, and I marvelled at how, when I decided I wasn't going to bother with a Sunday post, I was able to relax, lean in, and just enjoy spending time with them.
Ordinarily I'd try and do a bunch of blog work anyways, which would mean extra screen time for them, which is well and good for a while, but usually results in us leaving the house to do an activity much later than usual, which in turn results in them climbing the walls, fighting, and driving me nuts, which then results in me getting stressed, yelling a whole lot, and generally doing a crappy job of everything.
Not posting on Sundays has meant I've had time to make pancakes, take the kids swimming, clean the house, and go into the week feeling like I'm in control of things. I hate that scaling back on blog work makes life more manageable, but it is what it is.
I've also felt like I don't have a whole lot to say lately, which has made it hard to start writing these posts.
I had a list of things to talk about that includes how I've been using the small cloths from my retired reusable wet-wipe system for everything* lately and how satisfied** I am with the at-home IPL hair removal thingy that I bought in the spring but never talked about. So it's fairly safe to say we're scraping the bottom of the barrel topic-wise.
Part of it is that I've felt increasingly uncomfortable talking about the kids and my personal life a whole lot, which is hard because it's pretty much what these Sunday posts are about and why many of you are here. But I've had a few too many emails from people who I've never met IRL offering up unsolicited advice because they are overly familiar with my life.
I mean, seriously, if we've never met in person, don't email me using my kids' nicknames and doling out your opinions about how I should raise them, k thanks. But what I realized is that while I can't control how people react to what I share, I CAN control what I share. So I've scaled back a bit, maybe a bit too much, but need to find a balance that I'm comfortable with.
*Seriously, everything. I use them to take my makeup off, I use them as coasters, which my friends find horrifying but they're SO PRACTICAL because they're the perfect size and if your drink spills you can just wipe it on up! I use them as hand wiping cloths for the kids. There is nothing I won't use these cloths for.
**Very satisfied indeed! I've been using it since April or May, and I no longer need to shave my legs except for a one a month maintenance shave to pick up stray hairs, and a monthly IPL session. Same for armpits and bikini line. It was a bit of a time commitment up front (weekly IPL sessions that took about 30 mins to do everything) but now it's done and I love not having to shave anymore. I love that I can decide to spontaneously take the kids swimming or whatever and not even think twice about what the state of my legs or bikini line might be.
But speaking of the kids and stuff, I have a goal to get all of my Christmas shopping done by December 1st and I need your help! I hate Christmas shopping because I feel like it's mostly just panic buying a bunch of useless junk that I will spend the rest of the year picking up off the floor, and I have to rep not just myself but also the grandparents (they send money) AND that lazy pain in my butt Santa.
Niko wrote a Christmas list this year which includes a Playstation 5 (not going to happen), a BMX bike (will probably save for his birthday), a remote control boat (probably the only realistic item) and some merch from his favourite Youtube channels. Odin wrote a list that's mostly just random stuff that I'll pay no attention to.
So, what are your favourite gifts for kids aged 3 and 5 who are super active, into building things (lego and magna-tiles are always a hit, but we have lots of that stuff) and love vehicles, but that isn't cheap plastic junk we'll end up tossing in a few months or annoying crap I'll end up resenting? Any ideas???
If you, too, are trying to get your shopping done early or are on the lookout for Black Friday deals, be sure to check out My Favourite Kitchen Tools and My Favourite Healthy Cookbooks for inspiration!
American friends! Did you know that I've got a Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu on the blog?
It's got a protein-packed main dish, several drool-worthy sides, and, of course, dessert. Best of all it's got a printable grocery list that will streamline your shopping experience if you're going to make the whole thing.
I put together that menu two years ago and really need to update it to include some new favourites like Green Beans Gremolata, Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole, and Instant Pot Stuffing, which you can totally make without an Instant Pot (it's my mom's mashed potato stuffing recipe) but if you DO have an Instant Pot it's a great way to free up some oven space on the big day.
For our Friendsgiving dinner this week I'll be making Pumpkin Pie and probably my Miso Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts. So, so good.
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK
First up, Crispy Tofu Nuggets! These beauties are so much fun for an appetizer, snack, or as part of a main dish. I included both Air Fryer and oven baked instructions so everyone can get their nug on.
I updated my recipe for Healthier Pumpkin Pie. This beauty is naturally sweetened with dates and a bit of maple syrup, and is so, so good. I'll be making one for our annual Friendsgiving this coming week!
And lastly, another addition to my mung bean empire... Mung Bean Soup! This is a bright, lemony soup with lots of dill, loads of veggies, and of course, protein-packed mung beans.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
Yeah, yeah, we all know that Mung Bean and Coconut Curry and How to Cook Mung Beans are in the top spots. Yes, still! So let’s look at what else is trending.
1. Homemade Pumpkin Purée. This post has been going OFF lately, especially around Halloween. Makes me so happy to know that people are cooking their pumpkins!
2. 10 Minute Vegetable Ramen Noodles. Mmm, so cozy and so good.
3. Amazing Vegan Gravy. I don't like to throw around words like amazing too often, but this stuff is legit.
4. Cinnamon Roasted Apples. Still going strong!
5. Black Bean and Quinoa Freezer Burritos. Always and forever!
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Hazel left the following commend and 5-star review on my Homemade Pumpkin Purée post:
What the heck, Katie! For 3 years I’ve thought about this post each time I chucked my jack’-o-’lantern friend to the compost and hadn’t bothered to heed your advice. I cannot believe how freaking easy and delicious this was. After making the purée and then subsequently your pumpkin overnight oats and then pumpkin miso soup, I went and saved my in-laws pumpkin from his compost fate, and now have a freezer full of of purée to use this fall. All those years wasted!! thanks for the instructions and annual reminder. Im a convert.
Yasss! Stoked to have another pumpkin cooking convert!
THIS WEEK’S MENU
Is it really Thanksgiving already this week? What in the actual heck?!
HERE’S WHAT’S ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:
Monday: Big salad!
Tuesday: Making a batch of my Vegetarian Baked Ziti!
Wednesday: Falafel wraps with Air Fryer Falafel.
Thursday: I'm away at a conference - who knows what dinner will be!
Friday: Something simple since I get home from the conference late. Maybe leftover pasta!
Saturday: Friendsgiving! Can't wait to stuff my face with stuffing!
Sunday: Pizza night! I made a double batch of Spelt Pizza Crust last week and have lots of dough in the freezer.
Keva planks! My 7 year old plays with them more than Magnatiles and has been for three years now. For some reason I had never heard of them until a friend enlightened me. They are the simplest building toy ever and results in so much creativity.
I've never heard of those before but will definitely look them up. Thanks for the suggestion!
Hi Katie! I feel you about the struggle of Christmas presents. Would Niko be into something like a subscription. We grew up with Owl and Chickadee or there is National Geographic kids magazines? There are also some cool subscriptions to STEM kits and such, though I have no idea what he is interested in. Our 3 year old guy is getting books, always a go to, art stuff, and we also suggested puzzles and puppets to the grandparents. Hope that gives you a couple ideas.
So glad you mentioned the IPL, I was thinking of gifting one to myself but was hesitant because I honestly didn't believe it would work. I'm going to go ahead and "add to cart" now.
It apparently doesn't work on all skin tones / hair types but for me it has worked really well. I started to notice a difference after 4 weeks and now that I've been doing it steadily since the spring I have hardly anything growing back so all I need is the once a month touch up. Highly recommend!