Routines amidst Adventure

We all look to our routines to give us a sense of consistency in our lives. While I love (and seek) adventure and the unknown, I also revel in the comforts of the known and the familiar. The next few months is a true adventure for our family – we are going back to London as a family (we haven’t been back all together since we left last December) and then we are continuing on for a Southeast Asia adventure for a couple months – and then back to London for a few weeks to say goodbye to our home.

As I started packing for this upcoming trip (and editing my luggage so I wouldn’t be taking half a closet with me), I had to think strategically about everything that I absolutely needed for both London and Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. What are my essentials? What do I need to prepare me for every day, whether we are seeing friends and family in London or saying goodbye to the home we built or on a junk boat in Halong Bay in Vietnam?

When we first moved to Los Angeles and I was trying to make this new town feel like home, a girlfriend shared some well-received advice. She told me to carve out routines and things that are familiar – we went to Farmers Market every Sunday morning in London as a family – and so we started doing this in Los Angeles, and suddenly, we felt at home. We went to dim sum in London every Sunday afternoon, and as soon as we added this into our Sunday routine, our new life suddenly felt more familiar.

I’ve always started the day the same way – wake up and put on my robe (I’ve just been sent this Parachute Robe which I LOVE!) and boil the kettle for a hot water and ginger (I love this Wakaya Perfection Organic Ginger Powder) and then a cup of my favorite English Breakfast Tea (Royal Blend by Fortnum & Mason is my favorite and comes in such a pretty tin that the kids love to play with afterwards…)
Since we moved to Los Angeles and I’ve jumped on the wellness wagon, I’ve also added another two steps to my morning routine – a glass of Green Vibrance which we call swamp water in our house (it takes pretty horrific but it is so jammed with vitamins that it has to be good for me – and the face I make when I drink it sends all the children into fits of squeals which they love…) and finally a morning shake of either The Clean Program or Nuzest Clean Lean Protein which I blend with half a frozen banana and a handful of blueberries and a spoonful of almond butter. (Depending on what I’m needing and how I’m feeling, I also play scientist in the kitchen and might chuck in a handful of spinach and half an avocado…) Both the swamp water and the shake additions to my morning routine have been incredibly helpful, giving me a dose of vitamins and also now our school days start SO early and with three kids that I’m getting ready out the door, I have no time to feed myself – so I multitask and drink my shake and tea in the car on the way to drop-off…

While I was packing, and thinking about the importance of routine admits the chaos, I’ve added Fortnum & Mason Royal Blend teabags (easier for grab & go while traveling than the tea leaves), Green Vibrance (comes in individual sachets which makes it so easy!) and my Clean Program shakes (my favorite is chocolate – and if you buy the entire cleanse it comes in little sachets which makes easier for traveling). AND because we will be in London for a few weeks upon our return from Southeast Asia (and I will likely be wanting some creature comforts after braving Thailand jungles…) I’ve also packed my favorite Parachute Robe.

My girl scout training taught me to be prepared – and my experience moving, and the importance of routines has reminded me that if we even have just one thing a day that is familiar, then I can brave the adventure. So I’m prepared for it all – robe and swamp water in hand!

What are your little routines that help you get through the day? Comment below and let me know – as I’m always looking to add more little moments to my day.

Back-To-School Healthy Snacks and Lunches

I do love live television – there is a buzz I get about having an ‘air’ time – and prepping whatever I’m going to do or say… so when my friends over at Good Day LA called to ask me if I would come onto their Wellness Wednesday morning show to talk about my favourite Back-To-School Lunches and Snacks, I jumped at the chance!  Live TV AND sharing my favorite kids snacks and lunches with viewers? SIGN ME UP.

I wear this A.P.C. dress anytime I want a little color pop – and who can resist some photoprops – thankgoodness for Oriental Trading Company where I find SO many fun things for props and playtime.

Snacking is different in America than in London. I never really thought about snacks for the kids – sure something for them to nibble on but eating in public is sort of uncouth in London. I was taught that children eat at home, at the table, and have a proper meal – they certainly aren’t eating ‘on-the-go’ or ‘in-the-car.’ But LA is different. Our kids are ALWAYS in the car. And where as in London, our children were younger and so were home for lunch and their nap and I could easily cut up some apples and cheese for them, in LA they bounce from school to swim practice – and need something that travels with them, keeping them bouncing until dinner. In London, our children’s schools had in-house chefs that prepared their snacks and lunches, using local, organic ingredients. In LA, I wake up every morning and pack lunchboxes for Max and Jake, and Sadie for the park. Let’s be honest Moms, (raise your hand here) the morning routine of packing lunches makes us all want to bang our heads against the wall.

Thank goodness for my Fritatta which I make in muffin tins for on-the-go snacking and lunching and a few other recipes that I’ve included in my An American Girl in London: 120 Nourishing Recipes for Your Family from a Californian Expat. I’m also obsessing over Hippeas for organic nonGMO protein-rich snacking (you can order them here). Go on, order them in every flavor, you won’t be disappointed – they are totally addictive and delicious.

These Pottery Barn Kids lunchboxes are super cute AND you can personalise them… LOVE

SO, here is the solution, make it fun. Make it fun for the kiddos to eat, and make it fun for me to make. If I was packing the same lunch every morning, I would get SO bored – just as they would tire of eating the same thing.

Bentology has super cute colourful boxes that make packing balanced meals easy and Pottery Barn Kids has clever chic stainless-steel bento boxes. No more wasted ziplock bags and it also satisfies my inner control freak – love me some linear organisation.

 

Love the clean lines of these Pottery Barn Kids Divided lunchboxes

 

These Pottery Barn Kids sandwich cutters are great for making sandwich shapes.

 

These Bentology shapes are great for making veggies fun.

These pandas are adorable to stick into kiddie snacks

Check out my Fox 11’s Good Day LA segment here and make sure to comment below if you have any favorite lunch tricks and healthy snacks – I always love to hear new ideas!

Love x

Kitchen Sink Frittatas

I could write an Ode to Frittata, there are so many reasons why I love them: they can be served hot or cold, they are easier to make than a quiche (no pastry), they are healthier than a quiche (no pastry), they are a great way to use up leftovers, a frittata can be a breakfast, lunch or a dinner, they are protein packed, you can make them in muffin tins for individual sized-portions (also easy to freeze) or in a big skillet to serve a crowd, you can make them ahead of time (Moms, get excited!)—basically they are the perfect food. I love sneaking in veggies (spinach or broccoli) for the kids and sometimes adding cheese or sundried tomatoes, or whatever else needs to be used up in my fridge. Truly, everything but the Kitchen Sink.

TIP /// I like mine to have little bit of bulk to them so I often add potatoes or squash but you could easily omit.

Kale, Tomato & Feta

1/4 cup            olive oil

1                      sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1                      small red onion, finely chopped

2                      cloves garlic, minced

2 cups             kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped

1 pint               cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup            pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped

8                      large eggs

2 tbsp             fresh basil, shredded

1 tbsp             fresh oregano, leaves chopped

1 cup               feta cheese, crumbled

  1. Preheat your broiler to the maximum setting.
  2. Place a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the sweet potato. Cook for 10-15 minutes until fork tender. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 8 minutes until soft and translucent
  3. Add the chopped kale and cook for 5 minutes until wilted. Add the cherry tomatoes and black olives and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, basil and oregano. Season well with salt and black pepper. Stir through the feta cheese gently. Pour the mix over your vegetables in the frying pan.Cover and cook over low-medium heat until the edges are brown and the mixture is almost set, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the cover and place the entire thing underneath the broiler for 5 minutes, until the mixture has fully set and the top is turning a golden brown.

I always love hearing from you all so let me know when you like to serve your frittatas (breakfast or lunch or ALL. THE. TIME. and if you like to add anything else in them… comment below! xx

Green Goddess Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana
1/2 avocado
Small handful of spinach (or kale)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Medjool date, pitted
1 tablespoon nut butter
1 cup coconut water

Toss all ingredients into a blender and mix until well blended.

Favorite Toppings:

Hemp Seeds: A Complete, plant-based source of protein and high in fiber, hemp seeds add a nice crunch and a nutty taste.

Bee Pollen: You need only 1 teaspoon a day of this incredible nutrient- and mineral-rich whole food. It lends a gorgeous honey flavour and beautiful colour.

Chia Seeds: Not only do they keep hunger at bay, they are a complete protein and high in omega-3 fats.

Cauliflower Tabouleh

Cauliflower Tabouleh
1 head cauliflower
2-3 large tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
1 cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped
5-6 radishes, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
4 green onions, thinly sliced on the bias
1 bunch mint leaves, shredded
1 bunch coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Toasted Nut Mix
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup cashews
2 teaspoons za’atar
Pinch of sea salt

1. To make the nut mix: Place the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over medium heat. Roast for 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant, then pour into a mortar. Grind with a pestle until you have a powder. Add the hazelnuts, almonds, and cashews to the same pan and toast for 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden. Transfer to the mortar along with the za’atar and a pinch of sea salt. Using the pestle, roughly bash the nuts until they are chopped. Set aside to cool completely.

2. In batches, pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until a fine crumb has formed. Transfer to a steamer set over a pan of boiling water, cover, and steam for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked but still firm. Remove the steamer from the pan and leave to steam-dry and cool.

3. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, green pepper, green onions, mint, coriander, and parsley with the cauliflower. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir through the nut mix and serve.

Tip: This stores well, so make a day in advance or double the recipe for leftovers later on

Sweaty Style

The combination of moving to Los Angeles (where everyone exercises ALL.THE.TIME) and also not being pregnant for the first time in forever (and I can finally move my body and push myself without the fear of impacting my baby bump) means that I am finally starting to get in shape.

oh AND that we’ve booked to go to Burning Man (eek!) where I’ve been told I will be naked in feathers and sequins for 3 days – and so I better get sweating so I don’t scare everyone on the playa.

So while I count down the days to Burning Man (gone are the days of the #bikinibody, bring on the #burningmanbody) and embracing life as an Angeleno… Pilates (check), Weight Lifting (check), Hiking (check), I’m also rethinking my exercise gear as I’m actually spending quite a lot of time wearing it!

In London, when I would escape for a run around Hyde Park, I would throw on my old college t-shirt and some ratty old spandex and sneak out of the house (so that the children wouldn’t see me leave but also so NO ONE would see me in my exercise wear. It was gross).

In Los Angeles, athleisurewear is a THING! At school drop-off, ALL the moms are wearing their athleisurewear – and not just because they’ve come from the gym but because they look GOOD in it!

When I first moved here, I panicked that I would start to wear spandex all the time – even when I wasn’t in a sweat. Palisades people wear their athleisurewear as CLOTHES. It’s true. But now I understand why – they look awesome! The thought of attending a group class in LA (which is THE thing to do here because there are so many amazing options, had me terrified as I’m pretty sure no one wants to see my old crumbly spandex.  Enter Natalie at SweatNSK. I met Natalie at a Girls Dinner in January and while I was in a tizzy about Palisades life (and questioning how and where I wear this athleisurewear), she told me about her shop SweatNSK and as she said, it is the answer to all my problems AND makes me want to workout more! AND she is so sweet and is giving anyone who shops on her site www.sweatnsk.com a discount if you type in my promocode MARISSA15 – so whether you are working on your #postbabybody or your #bikinibody or your #burningmanbody – you can look good doing it (and throw your gear on in the morning and you can look good on the school run too!)

All that said, I promise that I am still wearing real clothes and getting dressed in the morning – unless of course I am doing a pilates class or a boxing class or going hiking in which case, it is SweatNSK all the way.