Changing Gears

It has been 35 days since my last post. Whoa. Where does the time go? I started this blog as a means of motivation to stay inspired in the kitchen and stick to the Weight Watchers plan all while working the crazy schedule as a waitress. Well, a lot has changed since arriving back in NYC from our two- week trip to Spain.

First, I am no longer a waitress. I am still working at Haven’s Kitchen a few nights a month but now my main gig is hanging out with the two coolest kids in the city- I am a New York City nanny to an amazing family! My schedule has shifted from getting home at 3am from a long night dealing with guests and restaurant drama to snoozing my alarm at 5:53am everyday until I finally pull myself out of bed around 6:15. I’m out the door by 6:45 and on “mommy duty” starting at 7:30am. My schedule varies but I am with the family about 30 hours a week (or like last week, 52 hours…) but I absolutely love it. I have never been this happy in a job. It’s been 2 months (I started shortly after arriving back from vacation) and I think the early morning routine is my only complaint- but it isn’t even really a complaint. As soon as I am out my door in the morning, I am filled with excitement to see what the day with the kiddos holds. They’re just simply adorable, amazing, loving, snuggly and growing every day!

Second, I am no longer doing Weight Watchers. I struggled with this decision for a few months before finally pulling the plug last week. I am a huge supporter of the WW plan and, at only $18.95 a month for the online program, it is affordable. But I wasn’t using the tools and I wasn’t logging. It just started to feeling like a burden instead of a helpful weight loss tool. But I am optimistic in my journey to loose some more weight.

Lastly, I have not been inspired in the kitchen, which is the main reason for my absence here. It is actually a combination of all three things. I originally started this blog with a very specific point of view- WW follower and wildly inspired restaurant employee. I am no longer any of those things.

So I am changing gears.

I have held off on any blog posts recently because I felt like I owed everyone some background on my absence. I couldn’t start a post and just drop in, “Well, I quit Weight Watchers” without some sort of explanation. I have a few posts in mind and one I have been working on so keep an eye out for the new direction.

I will eventually get around the changing around the “About Me” section of the blog but for now, here’s my new focus: eating right while managing two young kids (10 months and 3 ½) while using short cuts to eat as healthfully, locally and seasonally as possible.

Thank you everyone for your support and any all and “mommy” tips would be appreciated. Let’s just say, I have a whole new appreciation for parents. Like, WHOA.

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Favorite Fall Recipes

Where does the time go? I have been nannying for two months now and I feel like I’ve become a mom. I am with the two kids about 40 hours a week and by the time I get home, I just want to crash on the couch and order take out. **Shout out to all those moms out there who don’t get to “clock out” at the end of the day!** It’s a horrible habit but I can’t seem to break the cycle. I have, however, managed to make two of my fall favorites the past few weekends: pumpkin gingersnap cookies and curried celery root and roasted sweet potato soup.

These are my favorite fall cookies that are easy but a bit time consuming. So many of my childhood holiday memories are connected to the cookies, pies and other baked goods my mom used to make around this time of year. Now that I am out on my own, I am trying to create some of my own holiday food traditions.

I stumbled upon this recipe last fall when I had some extra canned pumpkin in my pantry. Gingersnaps were always part of my mom’s repertoire so I thought theses Pumpkin Gingersnaps would be the perfect addition to mine.

Pumpkin Gingersnaps 

½ cup of butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies

½ cup of pure pumpkin (I used Trader Joe’s canned pumpkin)

¼ cup of molasses

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

In the bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and smooth using a hand mixer (or a standing mixer if you have one). Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg, and vanilla extract, mix until well combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined.

Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1 hour. The dough can be chilled for 2-3 days.*

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.

Place sugar in a small bowl. Roll tablespoon-sized balls of dough in sugar until well coated and place on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until cookies look cracked and set at the edges. The cookies will still be soft.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a 2-3 minutes after removing them from the oven, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

*I cannot stress enough how important it is that you let the dough chill for AT LEAST one hour. I usually leave mine overnight. If you attempt to roll the dough in your hands and sugar before it is properly chilled, you will have a frustrating sticky mess on your hands (literally). The longer the dough chills, the easier the rolling will be!

This next recipe is loosely on Mark Bittman’s Creamy Curried Celery Root Soup.

Curried Celery Root and Roasted Sweet Potato Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon curry powder

Salt and black pepper

1  pound celery root, peeled and cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes

1/2 pound sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch cubes

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put sweet potato in a large bowl and coat with 1 tablespoon of oil and 1/2 tablespoon of curry powder. Toss to coat. Spread out on a lined cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes (it might take a little longer so just check in 3-5 minute increments).

Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, deep pot over medium-high heat. When it’s melted, add the onion and cook until they begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes

Add 1/2 tablespoon of curry powder and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute

Add the cubed celery root and stir just to coat it in the curry powder, then add the stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat so that the stock bubbles gently and cook, stirring occasionally, until the celery root is fully tender, 15 to 20 minutes more

Cool the roasted sweet potato and the cooked celery root cool slightly. Add both to a blender or food processor, and purée carefully. You may also add the sweet potato to the celery root, stock and spices and use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pan.

These recipes have become a part of my fall/holiday tradition and I hope you will try them out. They are a little tricky at first but practice makes perfect! Once you get a hang of these, they will be great fall backs when you’re in need for a fall pick-me-up! Enjoy!

If you’re looking for some fall inspiration, check out this list of seasonal fall fruits and vegetables and some other fall recipes, in this  from Buzzfeed!