December 28, 2010

A Day in the Life of The Naptime Chef {Naptime Simple Tips}

A Typical Grocery Haul When Farmer's Market isn't in Season

Chalk it up to too many glasses of champagne, but today I thought I’d take a break from recipes and give you a peak under the tent. I try to do this with every post – give you an idea of my daily routine – but this time I am going into much more detail. On occasion people ask if I really do it all, or if I have a housekeeper (no) and full-time nanny (no) to assist me with my daily work. These are legitimate questions and I want you to see how I really make it through each day. I am not Supermom by any stretch, I just love to cook and bake and make a point of fitting great food into our family life. I also clean the house, care for our daughter and take care of all those little things that come with family life. I am drawing inspiration from these types of Daily Diary articles. I love how they provide a glimpse into the inner workings of someone’s day or week, a true picture of how it all fits together.

With the book project underway I’ve hired a babysitter for a few (just a few, less than 6) hours a week. This gives me the time I need to work on the manuscript, or meet with people to discuss my other exciting projects like the JMcLaughlin Westport Cafe and such. Also, my daughter is attending pre-school now which frees up a nice amount of time, in addition to naptime, for work and cooking. On a typical non-babysitter weekday this is how my day flows:

7:00am-ish – Blasted out of bed by calls for cereal coming from down the hall. Retrieve daughter from her room, blanket in tow. Immediately brush her hair and put it into ponytails; god forbid the long ends dip into the cereal bowl and bring breakfast to a teary and premature end. Multi-vitamins for the whole family.

7:30am-ish – Make our bed. Make her bed. Toss in a load of laundry. Stumble downstairs in my exercise outfit, maybe wearing make-up and contacts, maybe not. We like hot breakfasts so I dive right in with the hot oatmeal for my daughter and I. My husband doesn’t eat breakfast and he is off to work. I like to savor my oatmeal while sipping hot tea, my daughter barrels through her bowl and asks for another. I often try to have her eat at least one serving of fruit at breakfast so she wraps up her second bowl of oatmeal with a banana. I am always amazed at how much food that little tummy can hold. Clean up after breakfast, empty clean dishwasher from night before, start loading it with dirty dishes for the day.

8:15-ish – Change laundry into dryer and it’s off to the gym! Daughter dressed in a semi-coordinated outfit comprised of clothes that are entirely her choice. I pick my battles. If it is seasonally appropriate she is allowed to wear it. No tank tops in January. I pack a snack trap with pretzels and raisins for the ride. I work-out at the gym while watching the news. It’s usually a boring news show since all the relevant news shows are on earlier in the morning. Make shopping list in the locker room before picking up daughter from the child care area.

9:45 – Grocery store! Yes, I am one of those people walking around the grocery store in yoga tights and a down jacket pushing a cart with a toddler in it. Don’t judge, I just don’t have the time to run home to shower before going back out to shop. Also, shopping after exercising inspires me to steer clear of all the carbs and sweets in the grocery store, bathing suit season is never that far away! I am partial to Balducci’s and our local gourmet shop for most of our food when the Farmer’s Market is not in session. They do a great job supporting local producers. A Whole Foods is being built in our town and Trader Joe’s isn’t too far away, so there is a lot of good food shopping available. While shopping my daughter usually rides in the cart seat and I give her “jobs,” like holding boxes of grains and selecting the fruit she wants for the week.

11:00 am – Home to shower, unload groceries and think about lunch. My daughter prefers hot lunches so we do a lot of pasta with butter and cheese, quesadillas, grilled cheeses and macaroni and cheese. Obviously she is obsessed with cheese. She almost always finishes off her lunch with a yogurt. I like my Trader Joe’s Almond Butter with Sea Salt on whole wheat toast and either pretzels or potato chips. Load more dirty dishes into the dishwasher.

Noon – School. Early afternoon preschool has worked out beautifully for us. She loves the time with her friends and takes a nap when she gets home.

Summer Camp Stepping Stone Project in the Snow!

Right after Noon – I race home after drop-off and go straight to work. Photographing, writing, catching up on emails, Babble columns, etc. Loving every minute of it, my mind races with new ideas. Whilst working I fill up my notebook pages with notes and scribbles – things to follow up on later.

2:45 pm – School pick-up! Daughter usually falls asleep on the way home and I transfer her into her bed for a quick snooze. I prepare dinner and/or bake depending on what I have planned. I usually have swift dinners put together in 20 minutes, but more involved ones can take up to an hour. When they take that long I make sure they will last for at least two nights. If it’s a filming day I’ll film this part.

4:30pm – Everyone’s awake! Fold dry laundry and put it away in everyone’s respective dressers. This a special time of day for my daughter and I – time for play, walks, bike-riding, phone calls to Mere-Mere, etc. It is also snack time. This pre-dinner hour is deadly for me. I could so easily consume thousands of calories. I usually try to munch on roasted unsalted almonds or popcorn. Daughter likes a sweet snack like animal crackers or a granola bar. I resist sampling her snacks, it is a slippery slope!

5:45pm – What’s for dinner? Oh yeah, I already made it (phew!) Finish preparations. Notice that kitchen counters look dirty, wipe them down. (Maybe next year Santa will bring me that cleaning lady I am hoping for…) Give our stainless steel fridge a quick spritz to remove little fingerprints. It’s great that she knows how to help herself to water, but it gets messy quickly!

Cooking for January

My January Cooking Inspiration

6:15pm – Dinner for the family, husband may or may not be home yet, but a plate of hot food is waiting. Load more dirty dishes into the dishwasher and run it!

8:00pm – Daughter’s bed time. I go back to work for another hour or so before catching up on TV with my husband. When the house is quiet it is the perfect time to make movies, write articles and finish up what might not have been done during the day. We usually munch on a sweet treat or two for dessert.  Make tomorrow’s to-do list in my head during 30 Rock and write it down before I go to bed. There is always more to-do…