We all juggle commitments to family, friends, work, our home, and of course, ourselves. Unfortunately, most of us don’t do a great job balancing these important aspects of our lives and at least one often gets neglected. I think some people are better at being out of balance than others, but I am not one of those people. I like routine and habit – I always have. Having Eliza really shook up a lot of the balance that I had carefully crafted and maintained over the years. Two years into motherhood, I think I have a better handle on how unscripted and unplanned life can be, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

One way that I’ve dealt with the imbalance, or rather the stress of living with it, is to cook. I realize cooking isn’t everyone’s remedy, but it is mine. There is something about reading recipes, organizing ingredients, prepping vegetables and preparing a meal that I find very therapeutic. Within a few minutes I am out of my own head and into the creation process, which is often what I need. I love the concentration that chopping an onion requires and the creativity that sparks when I stray from a recipe. This week was another busy week, beginning with my business trip to Madison, Wi. and ending with Patrick working an  evening and having his usual Thursday night class. Fortunately, I got a few homemade dinners in to keep me on balance.

The tools of my "therapy"

Tools for my “therapy”

Meal #1: Chicken Thighs with Shallots and Tomatoes
Meal #2: Pasta Carbonara with Leeks and Lemon
Meal #3: Roasted Cod with Potatoes and Olives
Meal #4: Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry + Rice

Your grocery list, excluding the usual pantry items:

red, new potatoes – 2 lb.
ginger – 1 small piece
scallions – 1 bunch
red, yellow or orange peppers – 2
zucchini and/or summer squash – 2
snap peas – 1 cup
shallots – 12 to 15
leeks – 4
cherry or grape tomatoes – 2 pints
tarragon – a few sprigs
parsley – 1 bunch
lemon – 1
kalamata olives (if you don’t already have them)
soy sauce (if you don’t already have it)
oyster sauce (if you don’t already have it)
rice wine vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
sesame oil (if you don’t already have it)
dijon mustard (if you don’t already have it)
Parmesan cheese (if you don’t already have it)
white wine
eggs – 2
penne or another short pasta – 1 box
rice
chicken breast – 1 lb.
bone-in chicken thighs – 8
bacon – 6 slices
cod fillet – 6 to 8 oz. per person