Lately (the Summer Edition)

Every once in awhile I love writing a "lately" style post that features a whole bunch of random favorites at the current moment. It's fun to read these on other blogs because I always learn a few new things. Make sure to leave me a comment with some of your favorite summer finds!

The Perfect Beach Read

the rules do not apply

In terms of personal goals for this year, reading more was one of the big ones for me! So far I've read nine books this year and The Rules Do Not Apply is one of my favorites! It's a memoir written by a reporter from The New Yorker and it's raw and heartbreaking, and I could not put it down. Here's the first paragraph of the inside cover that lured me in:

When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. 

I would highly recommend this for a beach read because it's quick (I finished it in two days) and compelling. 

Road Trip Podcast

There are a few new podcasts I have recently added to my rotation but my current favorite is Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard. First of all, I was totally obsessed with Parenthood and he interviews several people from the cast. Secondly, I just love that he's married to Kristen Bell.

Armchair Expert is essentially a recorded conversation between Dax and one of his friends and it's really funny, lighthearted and genuine - kind of like you are getting a behind-the-scenes look at their lives. Some of my favorite episodes that I would recommend starting with are Kristen Bell, Ashton Kutcher, Jimmy Kimmel and Zach Braff (hilarious). If you have a longer road trip coming up, definitely save some of these because the episodes are usually around two hours long. 

armchair expert podcast with Dax Shephard

Seasonal Eats

I've been feeling really inspired lately with all of the new summer produce, which has been great! Most notable are these chickpea salad radicchio cups that we'll be serving at my Summer Entertaining Made Simple event this Wednesday. P.S. All attendees will get access to the recipes that we showcase. This one is so good!

Two other recipes on my radar that I'm making ASAP: Walnut Chorizo Tacos with Pineapple Salsa and Grilled Carrots with Avocado and Mint

chickpea salad in radicchio cups

Summer Beverages

Besides water I am loving all of these mocktails... and usually an actual cocktail if it's the weekend. My go-to adult beverages of the summer are been Infinite Monkey Theorem canned rosé (the cans are so fun!), Stem Ciders Salted Cucumber (so unique and amazing), and Epic Los Locos Mexican Lager. All of these are local to Colorado so you may or may not be able to find them if you live elsewhere. 

Infinite Monkey Theorem canned rose

Warm Weather Movement

On the exercise front I'm still loving ClassPass (affiliate link) for the flexibility it offers. Especially in the summer, since I don't like being tied to a membership at one place (I would much rather get outside to walk or run). I am currently on the lowest membership level which equates to about one class per week and it's been perfect! I use it most often to go to my favorite Barre3 studio but love that I can pop in to a new place with friends once in awhile too.

Also worth noting, ClassPass just added wellness services like facials, massage and acupuncture to their schedule in select markets. I tried out my very first facial over the weekend for the same amount of credits as a class (a total steal) and had a fantastic experience at Glow Facial Bar in Cherry Creek. It was super relaxing and my skin was all dewy and glowing afterwards. Definitely a fun treat!

What are you reading, listening to, eating, moving to? 

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Adulting: Meal Ideas for New Moms

fresh figs

There are a few telltale signs that you are becoming more of an adult: you spend your weekend mornings at Home Depot and doing what I like to call "yard work cardio", you sit out Friday night bar hopping in favor of Netflix and wine, and you start bringing new moms (who are also your friends!) food. 

One of our dear friends had a baby a few weeks ago and I was so excited to use the whole "we'll bring food" gig as an excuse to meet the newest member of their family and hang out with them at the same time (read: ask all the questions about labor and parenthood). My dilemma was what the heck to make. I thought about what I would want if I was working nonstop and sleep deprived - most likely comfort food. But I also wanted to make something plant-heavy because I feel like new moms are kind of like superheroes and need extra nutrients to fuel things like breastfeeding and staying awake for so many hours straight. Most importantly I wanted it to be really delicious and satisfying.

I decided to poll a few mom friends to get their opinion and thought it would be fun to write a recipe roundup post to add on to what they said. This way, the next time you want to bring a meal to some new parents, you can come here and rest assured knowing that these suggestions are all mom-approved and awesome. 

I appreciated fresh food after some take-out and frozen stuff. So things to make a big salad and some type of casserole or lasagna. And something sweet.  

Here are two ideas I found that fit this: Vegetable Enchilada Casserole // Whole Wheat Shells and Cheese with Broccoli 

Something they can bake or freeze depending on when they want it. Also something that makes good leftovers. One of my favorites is enchiladas with all the toppings bagged on the side, along with directions to heat or freeze. I don't cook it, it's nicer I think to let them decide since who knows what their day/night looks like. 

Here are some freezable or leftover-worthy items: Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas with Avocado Lime Crema // Lazy Girl Chicken Quinoa Enchiladas // Italian Sausage, Kale and Tortellini Soup

Something that she can eat with her hands in case she's nursing. And wine. And coffee!

Here are some "finger food" meals: Smoky Chipotle Sofritas Tacos // Easy Thai Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Thanks to all of the wonderful ladies that gave me advice. I ended up doing a combination of all of the above and made the components for Chicken Pitas with Feta and Tzatziki. This was a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks (Seriously Delish) but I had never actually tried it before. I felt like it would be easy to eat (no silverware required), filling, and customizable because of all of the different toppings. Plus, it would be easy to double the recipe so there would be enough for us too.

Jacob and I worked together to do all of the prepping the night before and I packed up all of the fixings separately including pitas, cooked diced chicken breast, butter lettuce, diced tomato, thinly sliced red onion, sliced cucumbers, the tzatziki sauce, plus some hummus. Then I included a little handwritten note with the (incredibly simple) steps for assembly:

1) Warm the pitas

2) Stuff the pitas with the things

3) Add some sauce 

I think it was a hit! And more importantly, we had a great visit with our friends. Tell me about your go-go meal for new moms in the comments!