Lazy girl recipe: 15-minute Modern Table Meals

My first Lazy Girl Recipe was a hit, so I decided to post another … only THIS one’s even easier, because it comes in a package.

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OK, I know what you’re thinking: A packaged dinner doesn’t really count as cooking. Well maybe to you, but in my world, if you measure some stuff and bring it to a boil, IT COUNTS. And FYI, it counts for double – sometimes even triple – if you’re sick/pregnant/a new parent/living in a construction zone. I’m all about justifying Lazy Girl Recipes, even if they do come in a package.

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Our situation: I was pregnant, hungry all the time, with a torn-up kitchen. We were doing dishes in our BATHROOM SINK, for crying out loud.

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Understandably, the last thing I wanted to do after work was cook, and the other last thing I wanted to do was a mountain of dishes in the bathroom. And so, we kept it simple – and healthy! – with Modern Table Meals. The pasta is made of LENTILS, you guys. If that’s not healthy, I don’t know what is.

Step 1: Open the bag. Brush the construction dust off the stovetop and boil those lentil noodles with the accompanying veggies. Stare at cute cat atop butcher block island.

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Step 2: Open the powdered sauce packet. Mix it with some oil and water.modern table meal - fancykins 7

Step 3: Pardon the construction dust. Drain the lentil noodles, then mix the boiled stuff with the sauce you just mixed.modern table meal - fancykins 8

Step 4: Serve on high-class paper plates to avoid doing more dishes in the bathroom. Best with a fancy side of buttered bread, a hammer and a drill.modern table meal - fancykins 9 modern table meal - fancykins 10

That is seriously it. Dinner’s served in just 15 minutes, you’ve suppressed your hunger in a healthy manner, it actually tastes good, and you’ve barely messed up the construction zone … I mean kitchen. And you don’t even need a working sink to do it!

Have you ever tried Modern Table Meals? Don’t run out and buy them for full price just yet – download Target’s Cartwheel app and keep your eyes peeled for a sale. Just a few weeks ago, they were just $1.83 EACH with the Cartwheel discount! Healthy, cheap, fast, delicious … seriously, if you don’t grab a few of these as pantry backups, you’re not living your best life.

What are YOU having for dinner tonight?

Try a Neti Pot, they said. It works, they said.

Remember yesterday when I shared our super exciting news and THEN I ended the whole thing with complaints about my seasonal allergies? Well, they’re still bad. So bad, in fact, that I’ve resorted to drastic measures: I bought a Neti Pot. And THEN I USED IT.

hollie tries a neti pot and hates itI figured I’d spare you the photo of the spout shoved in my nose and water running out of the opposite nostril. You’re welcome. 

I’m all for trying new things: Oil pulling. Aerial fitness. Cronuts. Fifty Shades of Grey. Zumba. But a Neti Pot? You’re out of your damn mind. I mean, I’ve done my fair share of somersaults in the pool without plugging my nose – I know how awful that feels.

But last night, after realizing that my sneezes and sniffling were making it hard to watch the latest episode of “Teen Mom” in peace (side note: can we please talk about this show in the comments or something?), I decided it was time to take charge of my life and shove a Neti Pot up my nose. Would I rather do that, or miss Amber’s romantic proposal from the 43-year-old Teen Mom super fan in a diner booth?

I opted for the former, and I have a feeling in my heart that you all would, too.

Thanks to the cheerleading from a few Neti Pot-using friends who promised me via group text I wouldn’t get brain parasites or accidentally waterboard myself, I started a hot shower (steam, they said, would help) and got in … with my Neti Pot. I don’t think I was supposed to do that, but I was pressed for time. MY DVR WAS WAITING.

So there I was, standing in the shower, naked and afraid, staring at that damn Neti Pot. Who would have thought that something so small would be so intimidating? With shaky hands, I picked it up and shoved its spout in my nose, trying not to look like this lady:

… but I totally did.

It felt exactly as I thought it would: AWFUL. My nose was so stuffy at first that the solution wasn’t even coming out the other side, and I didn’t realize it until I was all, “OK, this hell is probably almost over,” and then I looked at the pot and it WASN’T ANY EMPTIER.

That was one of those faced-with-fear moments that I will think back upon when telling my grandchildren my life story.

And so I kept on, because I don’t want my future grandkids to think I’m a quitter. I switched nostrils until the whole darn pot was empty. My ears were plugged. I had saline solution running down my face and neck and in my throat. At one point, I was so dizzy and worked up, I had to lay down on the shower floor and chill the heck out.

But, despite it all, I’ll be darned if that pot didn’t do the trick. I still felt allergic and sneezy, but at least I could breathe … and watch “Teen Mom” in peace. I’d try it again, but probably only as a last resort. You know, like if my allergies affect the next episode of “Married at First Sight” or something.

Who out there uses a Neti Pot, and do you have any tips for using it and not getting brain parasites? What crazy fads are YOU trying lately?

I’m not sure what SoulCycle is exactly, but it was crowded and hurt my ladyparts

soulcycle chicago old town fancykinsPerhaps my first mistake was not showing up wearing head-to-toe SoulCycle gear? Photo via SoulCycle.

I’m sorry if that title is TMI, but I feel like I need to keep it real with you guys. Remember that time I listed all the parts of my body that hurt after my first Flywheel class, including my crotch? Well, that’s about how bad I hurt right after my first SoulCycle class. Like, I need to sit on a doughnut at work, which is what women do after they’ve just BIRTHED A HUMAN.

Chalk it up to being super out of shape (most likely, hence my recent signing up for ClassPass), those tiny bike seats being hard as rocks (really, though), or SoulCycle being a super kick-ass workout (not entirely convinced), but I’m pretty darn sore. And the place was pretty darn crowded – I’m not sure the fresh ranunculus in the ladies’ changing room make up for the fact that the studio is just not large enough to fit SoulCycle’s hype.

ImageIf you’re feeling brave, you can see my post-workout mirror selfie with these flowers, complete with smeared makeup and frizzy hair, on my Instagram.

I’ve been intrigued by SoulCycle ever since I heard about its tendency to make riders inexplicably cry mid-ride and release bursts of pent-up emotion they didn’t even know they had. Also, it’s a spinning class that’s done in CANDLELIGHT, which makes everybody’s spandex-clad bodies look ultra bangin’. Who’s not into some Zen shit every now and then, especially if the lighting’s right?

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Knowing these things were possible  – rushes of emotion, candlelight, general chillness – I didn’t expect to spend a majority of the ride out of the saddle in third position, simultaneously dance-spinning and draped across my handlebars, dying. I mean, I’ll be the first to admit that the song “Booty” is enough to make me chair dance during work, but it didn’t do the trick this time.

Unlike Flywheel and Full Psycle (my personal favorite), SoulCycle’s bikes aren’t equipped with monitors that give you any indication of the work you’re putting in. So, yeah, you may be doing push-ups and tap-backs and side-to-sides to the beat of “Booty,” but the lack of accountability and friendly competition is sorely missed. Camaraderie is the goal at SoulCycle, apparently. And I don’t know about you, but I go to a workout class to be all up in my own head, not worrying about the resistance level of my neighbor’s bike.

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Also, I kind of had no idea what the instructor was saying most of the time, because the microphone feed in that room is THE WORST. Like, my cat chewed on my favorite headphones and the sound always goes in and out in one ear, and I’d rather listen to that than try and decipher SoulCycle spin commands.

Don’t get me wrong – the class, led by superhero-level instructor Anthony, was intense and still a pretty solid workout, but I can’t stress enough how disappointed I was with the SoulCycle facility – it was just so, so crowded. The spin room is large enough for 51 riders, which is fine and dandy until a full class is released, all sweaty and breathless, into a common area of 51 additional riders waiting for the next class while the spin room is cleaned. Imagine 102 sweaty, slippery bodies awkwardly brushing past each other. There are strange smells. There’s no place to sit down to take off those treacherous spin shoes. Some people actually stood IN THE BATHROOM STALLS to make room for other people to move around, which was only acknowledged by fleeting eye contact tinged with mutual sadness.

I’m sorry you had to stand next to a toilet while I wiped off my boob sweat, lady in pink workout pants. You’ll never see me ’round these parts again.

soul cycle chicago fancykins 3Imagine a full room of this. Also, DO NOT COME IN DIRTY CLOTHES, OK.

Have YOU tried SoulCycle yet, and did you think it lives up to the hype? Or would you, like me, rather spend your time strapped to bikes at Flywheel and Full Psycle? Eager to hear what you guys think!

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