This week on the blog you’ll notice a special theme because I am celebrating my two year wedding anniversary! I can’t believe how time quickly time has flown by and what a unique experience it has been. Jon and I were happily dating and living in Boston when all of a sudden, he was presented with a career development opportunity which entailed an up to 18 month position in Cork, Ireland (now extended to 3 years). As we weighed the pros and cons of this major relocation, it became clear to us that that there was one thing that we still wanted to do while we were in Boston, which was to be married. And with that we made the decision to embrace the countercultural, forego the extended engagement period and plan our wedding within the last month of our living in Boston in combination with preparation for the international move. As I reflect on the wedding itself, I will without hesitation say that it was absolutely perfect. Never in my live have I ever felt more incredibly blessed and loved than to have so many of our closest friends and family make last minute arrangements to be there and jump in to help in any way possible to make our day a dream come true. It was a whirlwind of activity and excitement, but certainly not without stress!
It has been said that often it’s the things that go wrong that make for the best memories and highlights later. And how true this is! Since I didn’t have enough time to go the traditional and protracted route of wedding dress shopping, fittings, and alterations – I took a gamble (despite internet rants and real life horror stories) and ordered a dress online from China. It was a week late (pretty big deal when you had only planned on receiving it about two weeks before the big day) and I was checking the DHL website incessantly for shipment updates. There was nothing for days and I contacted both the dressmaker and the carrier for information to no avail – each blamed the other and in effect said there was nothing they could do about it. Sobbing and near hysteria, I called my best friend for consolation. True to form, she did even better than that. She was working as a personal trainer and had a few clients similar enough in size and style that had been married recently who were more than willing to graciously allow me to borrow their dress if necessary. Thankfully, my dress arrived the Monday before the Sunday wedding – it was beautiful and only slightly too big (much more easily remedied than too small!) and I was so deeply touched by Allyson’s ingenuity, resourcefulness and ability to act practically with such urgency – it will forever stand as a clear “proof of love” in my mind.
Then there was the saga of “The Thule.” My parents were driving from Michigan to Boston (about a 15 hour drive) loaded up with way too much luggage, decorations and catering equipment. As they drove down the highway, my dad thought he heard a strange noise, but didn’t think too much of it until he looked behind him to see his black suit jacket sailing through the air and the cars behind him swerving to avoid hitting it. Apparently the Thule overhead luggage container had come loose and its contents were literally flying out and down the motorway into the oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, one of the drivers didn’t react quickly or accurately enough and the suit became twisted in the car’s wheel well and a crash ensued. Thankfully, the driver and everyone else around were not harmed, however as you can imagine my veil (the official “something borrowed”) and the father of the bride’s apparel did not fair quite as well. My dad had stopped of course to check on the driver, picking up along the way his toiletry bag and then shredding the suit into black confetti as he tried to drag it out from under the vehicle. A few hours delayed and a shopping trip en route were of course a much better outcome than an injury due to the accident and the experience was a great ice breaker conversation amongst the wedding guests all weekend.
There were plenty of other moments of stress or things that were less than convenient. I had hand painted #mandjhappilyeverafter wine labels to replace the original ones which required more time and patience than expected or available to soak and scrub off, followed by precision to affix the new ones. Painstakingly, we got them all done and I only later learned that my sister had accidently dropped a box, breaking about 1/3 of them. My brother was playing in a college soccer game the night before so my sister’s boyfriend drove all night to pick him up and bring him to be at the wedding as an attendant. My mother didn’t sleep for about 4 days straight in her typical (but not at all normal human typical) superhuman fashion working on dress alterations, cooking, baking, etc. And then there was the disaster of my shoes, jewelry and undergarments being left an hour’s drive from the church with only about a hour left before the wedding was set to start. I will absolutely never forget running through the not-yet opened mall with the best bridesmaids that ever lived in silk robes to beg stores to let us buy the essentials.
Indeed these mishaps were not quite so funny or tolerable as we went experienced them, but they are now certainly unforgettable and fabulous stories which made our wedding even more amazing. And of course, stress is a common aspect of any major life event, particularly weddings and moves it seems. Therefore it is important to understand that when we are stressed or overwhelmed, we tend to fall back into our habits – whether good or bad. This may seem counterintuitive, or at least contrary to popular opinion since many people think that they are likely to make poor eating decisions when they are very stressed, but a lot of research shows that they are actually just falling back into whatever underlying habits they have formed (I am referring to situational and periodic stress as opposed to high levels of chronic stress and anxiety which has been shown to increase cortisol). So I find it helpful to have a few easy, go-to-recipes which I always love, but don’t require too much thinking, decision making or work. Some tried and true options or even “comfort” foods which don’t compromise my health or nutritional goals. Emotional eating, retail therapy, or using any other coping mechanism that you’ll later regret to soothe yourself in the moment is usually only a recipe for further stress. When I am feeling overwhelmed or know I have a tough week ahead, I have a few favorites that I can go to – one is my Cashew Dijon Salmon and another would be these delectable Buffalo Egg Muffins! I am a Frank’s Red Hot sauce fanatic and although these mini Whole30 and paleo frittatas are not overly spicy, the sauce adds the perfect zing to them. They are protein and healthy fat packed, can be made in advance, eaten hot or cold, and are filling enough for a breakfast, lunch or dinner. Delicious, yet simple and stress-free!
- Cooked Chicken 4.5 oz (125 g)
- Eggs 8 each
- Coconut Milk .5 cup (120 ml)
- Frank's Red Hot Original .5 cu p(120 ml)
- Fresh Spinach .5 cup (115 g)
- Chopped Green Onions 2 each
- Sea Salt 1 TSP
- Black Pepper .5 TSP
- Red Pepper Flakes/Crushed Chilies .25 TSP
- Garlic Powder .5 TSP
- You will need precooked chicken - if you do not have any, I recommend baking the chicken on a baking sheet lined with foil and covered with a small about (1 TBSP) of coconut oil, black pepper, salt, and crushed red pepper/chilies. Once cooked through, allow to cool and dice into about 1 cm cubes or shred.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C and lightly grease your muffin trays with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until broken and then add the coconut milk, Frank's Red Hot sauce, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic powder and mix until smooth.
- Add the chopped chicken, spinach, and green onions, stirring until combined.
- Scoop even portions of the mixture into the muffin trays and bake in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes, until the center is set and cooked through.
- Enjoy as is or over a bed of greens!