Hot Mess Mamas

It’s amazing the pressure we put on ourselves as mamas.  You with me?

We expect ourselves to be flawless.  We teach our kiddos that perfection is not attainable — yet expect ourselves to fit the mold of that oh so unattainable perfection.

So, after leaving a play date full of mamas the other day in tears because of my own wildly debilitating insecurities — I did some thinking.

You know that saying “when you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.” — yeah, that’s so true.

I ASSUMED these mamas started their day with a cup of hot coffee, a devotional, and some lovely conversation with their husbands over a nice breakfast of bacon and eggs.

When in reality, chances are these mamas started their day with a half warm cup o’ joe, read a devotional while on the toilet for the only time that they will do so alone that day, and said hi/bye to their husbands as they ran out the door for work. Just. Like. Me.

I ASSUMED these mamas, clothed in LuLu Lemon, spent their morning at The Little Gym with their tutu wearing bright eyed and bushy tailed little love bugs, followed by a play date with a dear friend that consisted of belly laughs and the rehashing of beautiful memories.

When in reality, chances are these mamas spent their morning picking egg out of their kid’s hair, unloading the dishwasher, folding laundry, saying “no” more times than they could count, and maybe…MAYBE…finishing that cup of coffee from early in the morning.  Just. Like. Me.

I ASSUMED these mamas spent their afternoons, as their precious ones took 3 hour naps, perfecting their yoga practice and engaging in a bible study that challenged them spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

When in reality, chances are these mamas had cranky no-nap kiddos who decided to bring their lovely cranky selves into mommy’s workout routine, leaving mommy with a halfass workout and no time for that bible study that seems to be collecting dust.  Just. Like. Me.

I ASSUMED these mamas made a home cooked meal of chicken parm and organic greens from the garden in their backyard, wearing a plaid apron and a nauseating smile on their faces as their husband walked in from work.

When in reality, chances are these mamas reheated turkey chili they made in February and tried their best to give a fake smile for their husband.  Just. Like. Me.

I ASSUMED these mamas had riveting dinner conversation with their husband, their children ate every morsel of delicious organic food they fed them, and then proceeded to have glorious hot and heavy sex with their husbands after the kids went to bed without a peep.

When in reality, chances are these mamas could barely speak a word to their husbands over the whining of an over tired kiddo who relentlessly threw her microwavable mini pancakes on the floor for the dog, followed by that lovely kiddo fighting bed time because CLEARLY they aren’t tired.  Followed by collapsing in bed saying “tomorrow night, promise” to their husbands.  Just. Like. Me.

Moral of the story is — mamas — ain’t NONE of us have our ish together.

We need to stop conjuring up what motherhood looks like in everyone else’s homes and realize that we are in this TOGETHER. I am so thankful for mamas who have opened my eyes to being REAL, RAW, and VULNERABLE.

Stop comparing yourself to anyone else and focus on YOU and YOUR kiddos. That is my plan, I can promise you that!  And if any other hot mess mamas want to have a play date amongst some dust, doggie paw prints, scattered toys, a mysterious stain on the couch cushion, and an unshowered mama — girl — come onnnn over!

 

Thai Peanut Chicken!

This has become a STAPLE in our household!  In my opinion, Thai Peanut Chicken is a recipe that consists of a whole bunch of ingredients that just don’t seem like they could ever taste good together, combined, to make….perfection.  Add on the fact that it’s a crock pot meal and this busy mama is IN!

My husband originally found this recipe and I tweaked it to make it a bit more waistline friendly and up our alley!

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

3/4 cup mild salsa

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp reduced – sodium soy sauce

2 tsp ground ginger (or grated fresh!)

First, start by lining your crock pot with one of these handy dandy crock pot liners!

Then, after trimming the fat off your chicken breasts, place them in the crock pot on top of the liner.  

Next, it’s time to put together that tasty Thai sauce that sounds super strange but actually tastes like heaven!  Add all of your remaining ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until all ingredients are combined.

          

Lastly, ladle one big spoonful of sauce over each chicken breast until all 4 are covered.

Time to crock it up!

Now, the original recipe stated that this should be cooked on low for 8 hours.  However, my crock pot is a BEAST and I started cooking it later in the day so I put it on high for 2 hours and it was perfect!  Know your crock pot! If you will be at work or you are cooking it over night — definitely use your low setting.  If you’re like me and forgot to put it together in the morning and you’re making it mid afternoon — use your high setting, just keep an eye on it!

We paired the thai peanut chicken with some simple brown rice and broccoli!  I bet this would be SUPER yummy with pineapple as a side…definitely trying that next!

ENJOY!

Meal Prep For Dummies!

One of the questions I get asked the most is how I stay on top of my health and fitness routines as a working mama!

I have ONE answer to this question — MEAL PREP!

While creating the daily routine of exercising can be challenging at first, it becomes second nature and those 30 minutes a day are well worth the benefits.

However, eating a balanced diet — that is where the real challenge lies!

Enter, MEAL PREP.

You guys, without meal prepping on the weekends I can promise you that I would be a hot mess.  Hot. Mess.  Knowing that my breakfast, lunch, and dinner are planned and prepped on Sunday, prior to my week kicking off, not only sets me up for success, but it also honestly makes me feel super duper accomplished and like a super mom/wife/human.

SO! I have to share my tips.  Check out some of my pointers as you begin meal prepping for the first time, or if you’re someone who has been trying to get the hang of it but just can’t seem to find your groove!

Let’s start with breakfast.

Shakeology. Boom. Every single morning I blend one scoop of Chocolate Vegan Shakeology, 1 small banana, 8 oz unsweetened almond milk, and 3 ice cubes in my Oster Blend – N – Go and drink it on my way to work.  Sometimes I get fancy and add some PB2 or a dash of peppermint extract (haaaaay thin mint shake!).  A one handed breakfast is necessary when you have a baby on your hip, am I right, mamas?!

Onto lunch!

Salads.  Beautiful, nutrient dense, colorful — SALADS!  Snag your fav tupperware containers and get started! I measure out 1.5 green containers from Portion Fix  of spring mix and the remaining half of the container with some fresh cut veggies.  Keep it simple — some of our staples are grape tomatoes, squash, zucchini, shredded carrots, and snap peas.

We make 10 salads total for my husband and I to get us through the week days!

***TIP — when prepping salads for the entire week, use spinach or spring mix!  Romaine lettuce is MUCH more likely to wilt and go bad, where as spinach/spring mix will last you through the week!

We also wash and cut any fruits that we would like to pair with our salad for the day.  Apples, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, melon, you name it.  I typically have 1 purple container of fruit along with my salad each day.

 

What’s for dinner?!

Prepping dinners has made a HUGE difference after having my daughter.  Come dinner time, she is a clingy mess of a small human, so having something that I can reheat/defrost and pair with some already prepped veggies is a LIFE SAVER!!!!

We make large batches of our favorite recipes and throw them in the freezer to use for the week!

Some of our staples are:

Mexican Lasagna

-Skinny Chicken Parm

-Turkey Chili

-Thai Peanut Chicken

-Maple Dijon Pork Loin

-Taco Quinoa Skillet

Find some of your favorite healthy recipes and cook up 2 large batches on the weekend.  Freeze ’em up and use them on a busy night where the LAST thing you want to do is cook!

We also eat a lot of stir fry meals!

Fish or shrimp, chicken, brown rice, shredded carrots, snap peas, chopped onion (chop it during meal prep!), seasonings of choice, one scrambled egg– throw it in the skillet and voila — an easy and tasty dinner!

**TIP:  Wash, cut, and portion your veggies ahead of time!

          

Last but not least — SNACKS! 

Portion out those snacks on the weekend.  Put together some easy grab and go options that will keep you from hitting up those fast food chains that are your waist line’s nemesis.

Here are some of my go-to’s:

-Almonds (12)

-Baby carrots (10)

-Fruit

-Kirkland brand protein bar (mock off Quest Bar for a fraction of the price! Found at Costco!)

-Greek yogurt sweetened with truvia (1 red container)

-Rice cakes with 2 tsp. almond butter

Not too hard, right?!

All those small steps like washing and cutting your fruits and veggies the day of takes away priceless time from your (already) busy lifestyle.  Take 2 hours on the weekend, throw on some tunes, jam out, and meal prep!  It may take a week or two to get into the swing of things, but I promise that the few hours spent on the weekend preparing will free you up exponentially throughout the week.

Stay tuned for more recipes and tips to come!!

What defines you?

Mommy.

Wife.

Coach.

Teacher.

Entrepreneur.

Daughter.

Friend.

Cousin.

Hard worker.

Hustler.

Lover of all things pink.

Health and fitness enthusiast.

Recovered anorexic/bulimic.

Survivor of depression.

Spreader of motivation and joy.

Reader.

Student.

Choco-holic.

Wine lover.

Planner addict.

Type A Personality.

Perfectionist.

….Alyssa….

 

All of the above — both funny and heart wrenchingly true — can be used to define me, Alyssa Marie Maziarz.  I have used all of the above to define me in different seasons of my life.  Some for a moment, some for years.

However, there is a significant problem with this list.  It is missing the most instrumental puzzle piece to my life — GOD.  JESUS.

The other day, while I was doing something mindless like picking up toys, scrubbing bottles, searching for pacifiers, singing the ABC’s for the 100th time (mom life!) — I started thinking about what defines me.  As I looked at my baby’s eyes, the first word that came to my mind was “mommy”.  What a beautiful way to define myself.  I am a mommy.  There is no title that makes me more proud than that — mommy.  Mmmm.  Makes my heart feel so warm and cozy.

But again, there’s a problem here.

“Mommy” should not be the first word that I think of to define myself.

What should be?

Christian woman.  Lover of Christ. Dedicated follower.  Disciple.  Evangelist.

If I am not FIRST defining myself as a christian woman, I will forever be reaching for a new way to define myself.  A new way to find purpose.  Meaning.  Life. Restoration.  Reason.

I am a mom, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a coach, a teacher….I am all these things.

But first and foremost, I need to remember that I am the bride of Christ.  THAT needs to be the definition of Alyssa Maziarz.

So think about it — what defines you?

Is it your hustle? your drive? your long work hours? your relationship status?

Remember that you are created by a King who desperately desires for you to find your soul purpose in HIM so that you can live out a life that brings glory to His name and gives others the freedom that is accompanied with being saved.

xoxo

Pizza – 21 Day Fix Approved!

Does anyone else just feel like pizza on a Friday night is a necessity?  I always grew up eating pizza on a Friday night, as did my husband.  So when we got married, what did we do?  We ordered pizza on Friday night of course!  We both looooove a big ole white pizza with lots of garlic, cheese, and veggies.  Mmmm…that just screams Friday night to me.  Garlic breath and carbs.  Sign me up!

Now, let me assure you that my husband and I treat ourselves within reason.  But we found that there were so many ways to recreate our favorite unhealthy foods and make them a bit more waist line friendly, and pizza just so happened to be one of them.

I pulled out Fixate, a cook book written by the creator of the 21 Day Fix, Autumn Calabrese and I started flipping the pages.  PITA PIZZA.  Boom shaka laka.

As per the usual, I couldn’t just follow the recipe.  I had to make the recipe…mine!  Below is how we now make our garlicky, cheesy, veggie loaded, delicious, pita pizza….every Friday! Enjoy!

*Note:  21 day fix containers are used to prep and complete the meal.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. herbed oil

1/4 tsp dried parsley

1/4 tsp dried basil

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 pitas

2 blue containers mozzarella cheese (1 per pie)

2 green containers chopped broccoli and onions (1 per pie)

2 red containers pulled rotisserie chicken (1 per pie)

3 tbsp. part skim ricotta cheese (1.5 tbsp. per pie)

Directions:

Start by laying out your pitas on a baking sheet.  No need to spray the baking sheet!  Below is the pita we have been using, but feel free to use the pita of your choice.  Remember to take into account the size of the pita if you are counting containers for the 21 day fix.  A small pita would account for 1 yellow, where are larger pita (like we use), would account for 2 yellows.  I go for the larger pita because…yum.

 

Next, mix up your oil and herbs.  Start by pouring 2 tsp. of the herbed oil into a small bowl.  I LOVE Wegman’s Basting Oil.  It’s a bit expensive, but it is just so perfect on these pita pizzas.  It really kicks up the flavor.   Next, add in your herbs.  This is where you can play a bit if you’d like.  You want oregano?  Go for it.  You want more garlic? Go for it.  Hate parsley?  Cool, leave it out.  Make the oil yours!  After you have added in all of the herbs, mix it thoroughly until you have a thicker liquid.

 

Next, start to spread the oil and herb mixture onto your pitas.  Half of the mixture on one pita, the remainder on the second pita.  You will notice that it is difficult to spread.  This is because we are not slathering our pitas with oil!  This is simply to adding some flavor and, when baked at a high temperature, some crunch.  I use the back of a spoon to spread the mixture across the pita.

 

After you have spread the oil mixture as even as possible over both pitas, it’s time for the CHEESE.  Love me some cheese.  Mmmm.  Fill up your blue container and spread the mozzarella evenly across the pita.  This will create a very thin layer of cheese.  You will look at it and say, “Umm…I need more.”  You don’t.  I promise.  Once it melts, you will see that it is plenty.  And I LOVE cheese.  So much.  So just trust me.  After you have put your cheese on pita #1, repeat with pita #2.

Okay, it’s veggie time.  Chop up your broccoli and onions into small pieces.  Remember, this is going on top of your pizza so the smaller, the better.  You want to chop up one full green container of broccoli and one full green container of onions.  I used a white onion, but if you like more of that bold onion-y flavor feel free to use something that packs more of a punch.

After you have chopped your veggies, steam ’em up!  You can absolutely saute them, but this typically calls for more oil, and let’s remember this pita pizza should be waist line friendly, so I steam mine.  Steam those veggies until they softness you desire.  We like them to be rather soft, so I keep them in the steamer for a bit longer than most probably would.

 

When your veggies are steaming, pull some rotisserie chicken off the carcass (HATE THAT WORD).   We get our rotisserie chicken from Wegman’s or Costco.  Honeslty, Costco rotisserie chicken is BANGIN’.  It’s bigger, more moist (another word I hate), and just totally succulent.  Both are $4.99 so you just can’t beat NOT having to cook your own chicken at that price.  So much easier.  

After your veggies are done, fill your green container with a mixture of the onions and broccoli and put it onto your pita.  Repeat with pita #2.

Then, add 1 red of pulled rotisserie chicken to each pita as well.

Next, top each pita with 1.5 tbsp of ricotta.  I’m classy and usually just use my finger to plop little bits all over the pizza.  Ricotta MAKES this pizza!  Don’t skip this step!

 

Last, but not least, pop those pita pizzas into the oven at 425 for 9 minutes to crisp up the pita and melt that cheese.  I top mine with some Frank’s hot sauce because I top everything with Frank’s hot sauce.  And….voila! You have yourself a delicious Friday night pizza that is not going to leave you feeling like a walking carb!  You’ll still have the garlic breath.  Just rock it.  It’s worth it.

21 Day Fix Containers:

2 yellow (depending on size of pita)

1 green (veggies)

1 red (chicken/ricotta cheese)

1 blue (mozzarella)

1 tsp. (oil)

 

Submission

Submission is defined as “the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.”

Does that make you cringe?  Doesn’t it make you feel uncomfortable and almost immediately defiant?  Why should I have to submit to ANYONE?

Because the bible tells you to.  And because when you finally do, it will change your life.

Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

We are instructed to submit to God.  We are told that if we do so and resist the devil, he will flee.  We are promised that through submission to God, we will be granted peace, grace, and mercy.

But holy moly it has got to be just about the hardest thing to do.

If you’re like me, you like to have a kung fu grip on your life.  You like to live life on your own terms.  You like to determine what is best for you.  You like to dictate your destiny.  You like…no, you LOVE control. You crave control.  You need control.

But guess what?  We aren’t in control.  Not one bit.  And when we TRULY decide to accept that fact, we can slowly surrender to Christ and submit to Him in the way He desires.

So what does this look like?

Learning to submit, for me, was learning to be still.

Be still and know that I am God…

Psalm 46:10

When my counselor (yep, counselor – no shame in my game) instructed me to “be still” I genuinely did not understand what this meant. I eventually realized that being still essentially came down to one thing — TRUST.

I had to trust that God’s will for my life was infinitely better than my own.  That His plans would outdo mine every single time.

Surrendering control, something that I have white knuckled for YEARS, felt impossible.  I cried.  A lot.  I got angry.  I questioned.  I fought it tooth and nail.

But the way I was living my life was not sustainable.  I was hurting.  I needed change.

So I finally told God that I was putting my trust in Him.  That I didn’t want to, but I was.  I was giving him control of my marriage, my family, my finances, my career, my hopes, my dreams, my future.  My e v e r y t h i n g.

After I said that prayer, I was pretty nervous.  What now?

I wish I could say that I felt this immediate weight lifted off my shoulders and trusted that God’s will for my life was infinitely perfect and I could let go of all the lovely plans I had manifested in my brain…..but that’s not how it worked for me.

I have to choose to submit to God every single day.  But I can honestly tell you that I have seen him rain blessings upon me in return.  Blessings that continue to cement the fact that He is in control, NOT me.

He has restored my marriage, he has taken care of my family, he has made financial impossibilities a reality, he has given me fulfillment in my work place, he has given me hope, he has enabled me to work daily toward my dreams, and he has given me promises of a future that is unimaginably lovely.

Submission is a scary word.  But when you learn to submit, you learn to live a life you love.

Mexican Lasagna!

I love cheese.  I love Mexican food.  And I love to eat healthy.  So when I found this 21 day fix approved Mexican Lasagna, I was intrigued.  Intrigued soon turned to OBSESSED after making it for the first time.  Now, after having made it AT LEAST 10 times in the past year, I am HOOKED.

Right here folks is my very favorite 21 day fix dinner recipe!

 

Ingredients:

1 package lean ground turkey

1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and chiles (I use mild but if you like it spicy, go for medium!)

8 ounces pico de gallo (I use Wegman’s freh pico – delish!)

2 tbsp. taco seasoning (making your own is always best, but if you are in a pinch – be sure to get low sodium!)

1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 can black beans

12 corn tortillas

Steps:

  1.  Saute your ground turkey with the taco seasoning until it is a golden brown.  I do not use any oil, I simply spray my pan with cooking spray.
  2.  After the turkey has browned, add in your can of drained/rinsed black beans, the fresh pico de gallo, and the Rotel tomatoes and chiles
  3.  Stir together and let simmer so flavors mix.
  4. Next, lay six corn tortillas in the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish (they will overlap slightly).
  5. Scoop HALF the meat mixture onto the tortillas and spread out evenly.
  6. Top meat mixture with 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
  7. Repeat.  Six corn tortillas, meat mixture, cheddar cheese.
  8.  Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve hot, and enjoy!  Makes 6 servings.

*Optional toppings:  Greek Yogurt, Franks Hot Sauce, Cilantro.

 

21 day fix container equivalents:

1 yellow

1 red

1 blue

1 green

Surviving vs. Thriving

I think most of us simply survive.  And I whole heartedly believe this is NOT the way we were intended to live.  It doesn’t mean that life should always be rainbows and butterflies, but it does mean that our purpose in life is not to solely survive.

We dread Sunday nights because we know the week to come will be a long one.  We all get caught in the, “I can’t wait until Friday” mentality.  We check the calendar repetitively for our next day off.

How much of our time and energy do we waste being…miserable?  How much of our time and energy to we use simply stating how much we despise our circumstances? How much time and energy do we waste wishing the day away?  Too much time.  Too much energy.

I fully believe that I was not created to simply survive, I was created to THRIVE.

And so were you.

If we want to thrive, then we need to make changes in our lives NOW.  We need to make sacrifices TODAY so we can get where we want and where we need to be.

It’s easy to say, hard to do, right?  You’re thinking – okay, great but I HATE my job.  Or – okay great, but I’m just so depressed, I can’t get out of this funk.  Maybe it’s – how can I thrive when my sister has cancer?

Start by making small lifestyle changes.  I recently began waking up early before the baby wakes up to get in some professional development with a cup of coffee.  In silence.  Or mostly silence.  She’s crying now.  Go figure.  Anyway… make small changes.  Do something that fills your cup.  Find something that centers you and makes your heart happy.

Professional development books (You Are A Badass is AMAZING), exercise, massages, hair appointment, yoga, meditation, reading, coloring, baking, WHATEVER.  Do it.  Make time for it.  Even if it means waking up at 5am.  Trust me, 5am doesn’t look good on me either, girl, but it is SO worth it!

You’ll find that by doing small things daily that fulfill you will permeate into the rest of your day, changing your demeanor, changing your mindset, and creating an opportunity to THRIVE, not just SURVIVE.

“My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion and some style.” -Maya Angelou

Shakeology Balls!

 

Meet my very best friend.  This little ball right here saves the day midweek when my sweet tooth is off the hook and I desperately need some kind of indulgence!

Ingredients

3 scoops vanilla or chocolate Shakeology

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup nut butter of choice

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup chocolate chips or cocoa nibs

How to Make

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  With slightly wet hands (this is important!!) form into small balls and place on parchment paper.  You should have approximately 15 balls when done.  Refrigerate or freeze.  Enjoy!

*For my 21 day fix friends – 2 Shakeology balls is equivalent to 1 yellow!*

Don’t Blink

When you have a baby, everyone says time will fly.  They will say, “don’t blink.”  You really do believe them, but you just can’t quite understand it in full until you live it.

Those first few weeks with that little baby are T O U G H.  They are brutal.  Can we be real?  They kind of suck a lot of the time.  There is no sleep, there is so much to learn, there is endless self-doubt, not to mention bleeding nipples and a pretty sore lady part.  There is A LOT of crying, and a lot of wondering why the hell the baby is STILL crying.  Then you cry.  It’s a mess.

If your transition into motherhood was a smooth process, mama I commend you but honey…I do not believe you. 😉

Anyway, I digress.

Don’t blink, right?

Those days go by S L O W.  So slow.  They feel painfully long, especially after daddy goes back to work.  You are caught between overwhelming love for that sweet baby and about a millisecond away from entering yourself into a psych ward. Don’t blink?? I wished I could blink and all of a sudden this scary new human that came out of me could hold her head up, smile at me so I know I’m not totally failing at this whole mama thing, and maybe even stop exploding from every hole she’s got.

And then, you do blink, and holy crap she is 8 months old.  She is 8 months old and she is crawling, she is smiling, she is laughing, she is playing, she is exploring, she is learning, she is no longer that little scary potato you once wished away.  And all of a sudden, you wish you didn’t blink.  You wish you didn’t wish those early tough weeks away.  And your fairly certain that if you blink again, she will be standing in front of you in her wedding dress.  (Now I’m crying.)

So, if you’re reading this and you have a new baby at home or perhaps a baby on the way…it will be hard.  Undoubtedly, it will be the most difficult thing you will ever do in your entire life.  Ever.  Times a million.  But truly, don’t blink.  You’ll want those days back.

 

xoxo