Friday, January 30, 2015

Weekend Brunch: Apricot Pineapple Jam

Thatboy and I are getting back into our weekend routines.  Thatkid wakes up shortly before dawn, and for a long time we've been getting up with him.  Which makes us pretty useless in the morning, lazing about because we're too tired to actually do anything.  We've gone back to our "turnsies!" early mornings.  So one day I get up early with the kid, and one day Thatboy gets up early.  Meanwhile, the other sleeps in.

I enjoy having a sleep in day, it makes it all worthwhile.  On mornings when it's my turn to stay in bed I awake to find the boys have eaten breakfast and often Thatboy has started on the lawn work.  On mornings I'm up early I enlist Thatkid to help me make a breakfast for all of us.  He's a big help in the kitchen.

Last weekend we made an orange bread.  I had high hopes of using fruit from our tree, but it's still a touch green, and Thatboy insists on picking them early, so we don't have ripe ones yet.   Thatkid is so proud to present his work to Thatboy upon his awakening. 

Homemade bread, on its own is a treat, but to really get the most out of it, you need to have it warm, slathered in butter and homemade jam.  This was a new one for me, but I love the combination of flavors.  Pineapple adds that brightness you often get from citrus, with the sweetness that you don't. 

Apricot Pineapple Jam (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
1 lb dried apricots
8oz canned crushed pineapple and juice
  1. Put the apricots in a pot and barely cover with cold water.  Cook until soft.  Drain, reserving the juice.
  2. Chop the fruit and return to the juice.
  3. Add the canned pineapple with its juices and measure.
  4. Put in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Measure sugar, using two-thirds as much sugar as fruit and stir in.
  5. Boil rapidly, stirring to prevent sticking, until thick.  Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Grown Up Night: Popcorn Balls

On Saturday night, Thatboy and I headed out for a much needed date night.  We don't do those nearly enough and they always make me extremely giddy.  Partially because it is an amazing feeling to eat dinner at a "grown up" time and have uninterrupted grown up conversation!

We sat beside a large plate glass window overlooking fountains while we ate lobster bisque, brie, steak, pork, creme brulee, key lime pie, and a chocolate brownie.  We got to talk about our days, upcoming plans, and enjoy the company.  I love nights like that, they make me feel young again.

We got home to find our master manipulator had convinced his sitters to let him stay up, as he dived into the bed and pretended to be asleep as we walked in.  But honestly, I can't get worked up about him staying up late every now and again, especially when it means he doesn't scream, cry, or wail when we leave the house.

It helps that we spent the entire day with him, catering to what he wanted to do.  There's nothing quite like spending hours making dinosaurs out of clay!  And that I made his all time favorite dinner while we headed out-  macaroni and cheese.  He ate 2 bowls!

Macaroni and cheese is his favorite food, but he shares another favorite with me - popcorn.  We both love popcorn.  And while in general I'm not a huge fan of sweet popcorn like caramel corn (I make an exception for the salty sweetness of kettle corn), there's something very fun about popcorn balls.  They're fun to make, and fun to eat, they make me feel young again.

Popcorn Balls
12 cups airpopped pop corn
2 cups light corn syrup
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

  1. Combine the corn syrup, vinegar, and salt in a heavy pot.  Cook over medium heat, stirring until the syrup reaches 250 on a candy thermometer.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
  3. Place the popcorn in a large greased bowl and pour the syrup over, tossing with a greased fork until the syrup coats it all.
  4. Let the popcorn cool until you can handle it, and then shape into 3 inch balls.  Place each ball on wax paper until they are completely cool.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Artichoke and Arugula Pizza with Provolone

You guys know what this weekend is right?  The one weekend where sports fanatics and people who don't even know the shape of a football join together. 

The Superbowl seems to be the great uniter, because there are lots of different reasons to watch.  Some people watch for the commercials.  Some for the halftime show.  Some for the actual sport itself.  And of course, there are those who watch for the food.

Superbowl food is its very own category.  Diets are put on hold for the day.  "Bar food" becomes "home food."  We hold parties and invite our friends over - delighting them with all that is cheesy, meaty, and crunchy.  Pizza is, of course a Superbowl staple.  This pizza is not your typical Superbowl fare.  There are no pepperonis.  There are no mushrooms.  Instead there is prosciutto and artichoke. I promise these are substitutions your Superbowl guests won't mind.  And if they do, well that just means more pizza for you!

Artichoke and Arugula Pizza with Provolone (From Cooking Light)
1 Tbsp yellow cornmeal
1 can of refrigerated pizza crust
2 Tbsp pesto
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
1 oz thinly sliced provolone
2 Tbsp shredded Parmesan
1 1/2 cups arugula
juice of 1 lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Unroll the dough onto the baking sheet and pat into a 14x10 inch rectangle.
  2. Spread pesto evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border.
  3. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over pesto.  Place baking sheet on bottom rack in the oven.  Bake for 5 minutes.
  4. Coarsely chop artichokes and arrange on pizza.
  5. Top with sliced prosciutto.
  6. Sprinkle with Parmesan.  Return to bottom rack in oven.  Bake an additional 6 minutes.
  7. Place arugula in a bowl.  Drizzle lemon juice over arugula and toss gently.  Top pizza with the arugula mixture and cut into 6 rectangles.  Cut each rectangle diagonally into 2 wedges.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 21 Weeks

One of the hallmarks of pregnancy is crazy dreams. With Thatkid I had vivid dreams of the birth, that he was she (which according to my PA is right, because we dream of the opposite sex...), and amazing dreams involving sex and the men in the television shows I watched.  Since this is Oppo-baby, it should come as no surprise that I am having absolutely no crazy dreams.  No dreams involving a baby at all, or being pregnant, or being a family of four, and no sex dreams. 

I'm having the weird dreams, but not any different than my typical weird dreams.  I've dreamt about taking Thatkid to Sea World, or airplane trips, or him throwing gigantic tantrums in the supermarket.  I dream about work issues, and all the things I dreamed about 5 months ago.

I had a really rough first trimester, and now that I'm in the "boring" second trimester I'm thankful for the movement I feel all the time, because otherwise it would be easy to forget I'm actually pregnant. 

Total weight gain/loss: +10
Next Appointment: February 2
Maternity clothes? Still top only - I tried to wear my black maternity pants this week and they're too big.  Sigh.  I was really hoping to save money on maternity clothes this time around by not having to buy new.
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: Not enough!  But mostly because I've been staying up to late.
 Best moment this week: I think it is far too early for the baby to have "responsive" movements as opposed to involuntary ones, even still it was kind of cool earlier this week to do what felt like a little call and response with the little one.
Movement: Yup, lots and lots.  My PA warned me I might not have consistent movement for weeks, but like with Thatkid, this one never stops moving around.
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Not really.
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss: Running without pelvic pressure.  And it wasn't even that long ago!
What I am looking forward to: Nothing big this week, it's going to be a mellow one baby-wise.  Big one work wise which isn't so fun.
Contractions: Nope.  Last time around I didn't get them until they were induced through medication.  Part of me is kind of hoping to actually have those moments this time.
- Baby has been focused on growing organs and stuff up till now, now s/he's starting to store fat.
- Baby now produces red and white blood cells and platelets!  Earlier this was done by the yolk sack.
- Finger and Toe prints are forming.
- The sphincter muscle is fully functional, keeping meconium out of the amniotic fluid.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Runday: The Secret Conversations of Runners

I'm about to break the whole thing wide open - spill the deepest, innermost thoughts of all your running companions.

Or not.

One of the fantastic aspects of my running group is that it's more than just support, and people to run with, but we also get together socially too.  These little get togethers are always a little nerve racking for me, because usually the people I've never met outnumber the people I know.  I go through that whole anxiety thought process of - what if they don't like me?  What if it's awkward?

But the great thing about hanging out with other runners is that there is always an instant connection.  Always something to talk about.

So what do runners talk about?
- past races
- future races
- post pregnancy race plans
- their kids
- food
- strollers
- running get togethers

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Picnic Weekend Part 2: Salted Brazil Nuts

Because one day of hiking just wasn't enough for us, Thatkid and I met up with his friends for another day full of fun the very next day.  Horsewhisper has been frequenting Daley Ranch with her family recently and felt like it would be a good venue for the little guys to stretch their legs.

None of them were actually all that into the hike, but they did love spending time with each other.  They're all very into super heroes right now, so they spent a lot of time "flying" down the trail.

We headed all the way up to Ranch where we had picnic lunches, went on a snake hunt, and played with sticks.  This is one of my favorite pictures of the kids.  Juriskid did NOT want his picture taken, Little HW isn't paying attention, and Little Pirate and Thatkid obviously have no idea where the camera is, but know they're supposed to smile.

The grownups talked about how much these guys have changed since the beginning.  The first meeting was when the kids were 5 months old (before Thatbaby was even born!) And they just sat around staring at each other like babies.  Now they're running, playing, and interacting with each other.

Thatkid and I were definitely tired out from our hike and busy morning, but it's always nice to go for a walk with friends.  And since everyone there was a mom, we were prepared for everything.  No worries about forgetting sunscreen.  And snacks galore for the kids.  The Horsewhispers won the competition for best snacks.  They had pretzels AND trail mix with M&Ms.  We spoke about the biggest problem I have with trailmix - Thatkid eats all the m&ms and leaves the rest.  Which is why we tend to stick with just nuts as snacks.  But nuts are a great snack on their own.  Sure chocolate is nice, but it's not necessary.  Especially when the nuts are roasted and salted, and sliced thin to make snacking easy.
Salted Brazil Nuts
1 cup Brazil nuts
1 Tbsp butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Cover the nuts with cold water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.  Drain and cool.
  2. Slice the nuts lengthwise and spread on a baking pan.  
  3. Dot with butter, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 15 minutes.

Picnic Weekend Part 1: Raspberry Jam

I can't remember if I wrote about this or not, and I'm too lazy to check, but back in November we awoke to find the ceiling cracked and coming down in the guest bedroom. 

As upsetting as this was, it was compounded by the fact that we had plans that day to meet up with some friends for a hiking trip.  Because these friends were Thatboy's coworkers, I sent him and Thatkid out for the hike while I stayed home and met with contractors, contacted the insurance, and played point person.   The good news is that the work on the room is almost completed - the air conditioner that was the source of the problem was replaced, the mold which was found was removed, the heater which wasn't a problem but determined to be condemned was likewise replaced, the ceiling was put back up, this time with an access panel to reach our attic from the inside, and the room has been painted. 

And since we're almost back to normal, it was time for me to make up for the hiking I had missed.   We headed back out to Alpine for a hike in the Cleveland National Forest.   We got caught on the freeway for an extra hour on our drive due to a potential jumper on the overpass, and our little trooper was a bit over it by the time we got to the forest.  Thatboy found a nice, easy, hike for us and we trekked along to a near constant chorus of "I'm hungry."  So we found a nice rock to stop for a little snack.

Thatkid was much more energized after he got some food in his stomach.

For a little bit that is.  I swear this kid must be going through a growth spurt.  Because it wasn't long before we heard the familiar refrain again.  Luckily I had packed us lunches, so a picnic break was in order.
I don't know what it is, but I have a thing for picnics.  Something about eating outside amidst beautiful scenery just does it for me.  And I pack a mean picnic.  This one consisted of olives, grape tomatoes, apples, and of course, the main course - peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

PB&J is fantastic for a hike.  You don't have to worry about refrigeration and peanut butter is a great source of protein and energy.   But I'm not going to share a recipe for peanut butter and jelly.  Everyone knows how to make those.  There are children's songs written about it.  This PB&J had a very special ingredient, homemade raspberry jam. 

This may be the simplest jam to make.  A great introduction to jam making for the novice.  Only two ingredients - raspberries and sugar!  And it's a big hit here.  Thatkid now searches for it specifically in the fridge.  When I mentioned I was going to have toast for breakfast he headed straight over and suggested I use the raspberry jam.  I love when something so simple is so well received.

Raspberry Jam
2 cups raspberries
1/2 cups sugar

  1. Put raspberries in a pot and crush them.  Cook for 15 minutes over low heat.
  2. Add the sugar and bring to a boil.  Continue cooking until the mixture reaches 214 degrees (use a candy thermometer to verify).
  3. Let cool then pour into a hot, sterilized jam jar and seal.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Apricot and Prosciutto Thin-Crust Pizza

This is the noisiest pizza I have ever made.  Now I know what you're thinking - noisy pizza?  She must be doing it wrong.  Well, that is certainly a possibility my friends. 

You see, like any good kitchen, mine has a smoke alarm.  A smoke alarm that not only detects smoke, but also heat.  A smoke alarm that does not like when my oven is up at 550.  By the way, my oven doesn't like 550 either.  It got to 545 and started shaking it's head nuh-uh.  545 is apparently as high as it is willing to go.  And my smoke alarm didn't like that either.

Luckily this pizza only cooks for 9 minutes total.  The preheating time is still a bit of an issue, but I suggest you enlist someone tall and handy with a towel to stand and wave the hot air away from the smoke detector.  That's what I did.

Apricot and Prosciutto Thin-Crust Pizza (From Cooking Light)
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp dry yeast
8 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
6 oz bread flour
cooking spray
2 Tbsp cornmeal
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 apricots, pitted and each cut into 8 wedges
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
1 cup arugula
1 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. Combine the water and yeast in a bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook and let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Add 4 tsp oil and 1/4 tsp salt to the yeast mixture
  3. Add flour to yeast mixture and mix 2 minutes.  Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4.  Remove dough from fridge and let stand 1 hour.  Punch down.  Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet.  Roll dough into a thin 12-inch circle.  Crimp edges to form a 1/2 inch barrier.  Pierce dough several times with a fork.
  5. Place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 550.  
  6. Combine 1 Tbsp oil, thyme, pepper, apricots, shallots, and 1/4 tsp salt and toss.
  7. Slide dough onto the preheated pizza stone.  Bake for 4 minutes.
  8. Top dough with goat cheese and apricot mixture.  Bake an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Cut pizza into 10 wedges and sprinkle with parsley and chives.
  10. Toss arugula with 1 1/2 tsp of oil and arrange over the apricot mixture.
  11. Top with prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 20 Weeks

I am firmly ensconced in the second trimester now.  I'm halfway through with the pregnancy!  Which means right now I'm feeling pretty good.  Except for the constant nosebleeds (another fun new symptom this pregnancy), and my sciatica is driving me nuts.  My running is even a smidge faster than it was first trimester! 

I've been photodocumenting this pregnancy, just as I did the last, but really no one wants to see weekly pictures but me.  But I'm officially showing right now as those who know me will agree, so it's probably time to share a snapshot of where we are now, at 20 weeks.  I've been taking pictures wit the corresponding size produce, this week the baby's the size of an artichoke!

As I was telling Horsewhisper yesterday, I don't have that pregnant woman glow.  I have that tired mama look.

Total weight gain/loss: +10
Next Appointment: February 2
Maternity clothes? I switched over this week with tops.  Still mostly wearing regular pants with the bella band.  Which is good, because I realized yesterday that I can't find my maternity jeans!  My super expensive big splurge from my first pregnancy maternity jeans.  I'm devastated.
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: Not enough!  But mostly because I've been staying up later.
Best moment this week: Ridiculous kicking.  All the time.  They make my night.
Movement: See above!  I can even kind of feel it from the outside!
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Not really.
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss: Singing in the shower without getting breathless.
What I am looking forward to: Nothing big this week, it's going to be a mellow one baby-wise.  Big one work wise which isn't so fun.
Contractions: Nope.  Last time around I didn't get them until they were induced through medication.  Part of me is kind of hoping to actually have those moments this time.
- Halfway there!
- Baby is starting to lay down fat reserves.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Runday: Changing it Up

As I slogged through my runs this week I got to thinking about how far I came last year.  In so many respects.  First with the distance.  I used to dread anything over 6 miles, now when asked to run 10 I don't even blink.

But my biggest accomplishment was my speed.  I'm so proud of my sub-30 5ks last year, especially given that I never focused on my speed.  And I really think a lot of it has to do with the cross-training I added in to my routine.

I honestly have always dismissed the idea of cross-training in the past. I mean, I love running and the fact I can zone out, do it on my own, and in my own time.  But it's still challenging to find time for it.  Finding time to add something else in too?  What's the point.

But last year I added in pilates to my daily routine.  I noticed a change in my body, and I also noticed a change in my running.  Focusing on different muscles than get worked during your average run made me feel stronger during my runs, and in turn, I got faster. 

The pilates also helped with my flexibility, and I think helped me be less sore after runs.  Which allowed me to run even more!

There are various schools of thought behind cross-training.  Most recommend some aerobic, complementary workout such as swimming or cycling.  As I said, I liked pilates - the combination of strength training and stretching.  What are your thoughts on strength training?  Do you do it?  What do you do?

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Year, New Friends:

We started the first weekend of the month by visiting with old friends.  Last weekend we spent with some new ones.

First up was a visit to the Ks.  There's a brand new Baby K and I couldn't wait to get to meet her!  Of course, I can never go to visit a family with a new baby empty handed:

Is anyone else just going nuts for fruit lately or is it just me?  I packed her a big bag with some winter staples - citrus, pears, and apples.   Along with some individual shepherd's pies.  Perfect for a quick reheat for dinner or lunch.  I did both the classic lamb,

As well as a turkey version (with redskin mashed potatoes).

And for some easy lunches, a loaf of bread and some chicken salad.

Chicken Salad

1 chicken breast, diced
1 quarter red onion, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Dash of hot sauce 
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

But we couldn't stay and visit too long, because we had important places to me.  Thatkid had a birthday party to get to!  Thrown by one of his new besties at his new school, Kragle.
And this party also marked an important first for Thatkid.  His first time at Chuck E. Cheese.

He loved riding the rides and playing games with his friends

And I found out that Kragle and Thatkid would be Vegas's dream come true as I watched them slide token after token into a machine.

The one new friend Thatkid was not a fan of was the mouse himself.  He became hysterical at the mere sight of Mr. Cheese, breaking down into tears and trying to throw himself from his chair during the birthday show.  He even bypassed pizza and cake in an effort to stay away from Chuck.  He still talks about the fact that he did not like "the real Chuck E. Cheese guy."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Year, Old Friends: Crystallized Mint Leaves

Thatkid is never content.  Last time we went to the "train park" with Little LO he kept saying he wanted to go to the train park with Lexus.  In truth, I think it's less about being a malcontent, and more about wanting all his friends to be with him all the time.  He hasn't quite grasped the concept that everyone doesn't know everyone.

Whatever the reason, once the holidays were over and we could all settle down, I played a play date at the train park with Lexus.  (And of course he wanted to know if BA or Little Parrot were going to be there also).

It's been a hot minute since these two last saw each other - I think it was Thatkid's birthday in October.  But it doesn't seem to matter.  The two fall right into old habits nearly instantly.

We rode the train twice, with the kids choo-chooing the whole way.  Then we headed over to the playground for them to burn off their own steam.

And because these guys can't get enough of each other, we had dinner together, parted ways, and met up the next morning for Captain N's super hero birthday party.

Seriously, I know I've said it before, but I love how close these kids are.  Lexus, Thatkid, Captain N, and BA all went to daycare together from the time Thatkid was 5 months old until this past summer.  Lexus and Thatkid have moved on to different schools, but they still share such a bond.  Captain N spent all morning making sure Thatkid and Lexus would be at the party and as soon as we arrived, the three were inseparable again.

Until, of course, BA showed up and the Gruesome Twosome took off on their own adventures.

After a weekend spent surrounded by 3 year olds (and a newly 4 year old), both Thatboy and I could use a good, stiff drink.  Problem is, I don't get to do much of that right now.  So while Thatboy made himself a mojito, I got a non-alcoholic alternative - iced tea. The star of both our drinks were the crystallized mint leaves.  Sugar mint leaves turn your average ice tea into something really special, and since sugar and mint are two of the main ingredients in a mojito, these mint leaves serve as a way to kill 2 birds with one stone.

Crystallized Mint Leaves (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
 36 mint leaves 
1 egg white, beaten stiff
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 cup superfine sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 250.  Wash mint leaves and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Brush both sides of each mint leaf with the egg white.
  3. Use a fork to mix the peppermint extract into the sugar
  4. Place some wax paper over a cake rack on a baking pan.
  5. Dip each leaf into the sugar and place on wax paper.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through, until dry.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Beef and Bacon Pizza

Thatkid is going through a huge bacon phase right now.  I'm not sure why  (I mean, I know why he would like bacon, everyone does, but I don't know why he asks if every restaurant has bacon.  Or if there's bacon on every one of his meals.

What I do know is the addition of bacon to this pizza was a big hit with the little guy.  He gets picky about his pizza.  When he first began eating, he deconstructed pizzas.  Then he went through a "cheese only" phase.  Then he decided he liked pepperoni.  Currently he requests just cheese on his pizza.  So I was a little concerned about this one.  But he loved it.  Loved the beef, especially loved the bacon.  And now wants bacon on all his pizza.

As for the grownups, who are fairly easy to please when pizza is concerned, Thatboy liked this a lot.  I wasn't sure how I would feel about such a meat heavy pizza.  You know what?  This wasn't nearly has heavy as I was expecting.  Despite the fact that it was loaded with beef and bacon, it didn't sink in my stomach (maybe that's why it's Cooking Light?) and I had no problem polishing off a couple pieces.

Beef and Bacon Pizza (From Cooking Light)
1 refrigerated fresh pizza dough
1/2 lb ground sirloin
1 1/4 cup slices onion
3 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 Tbsp cornmeal
1/2 cup marinara
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. Let dough come to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 450.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook beef until browned, then remove from skillet.
3.  Add onion to skillet and cook for another 6 minutes.
4.  Add garlic and cook another minute.
5.  Add beef and rosemary back into pan.
6.  Season to taste with pepper.
7.  Sprinkle cornmeal on a large baking sheet.  Roll the dough into a 12 inch circle and palce on the baking sheet.
8.  Spread the sauce over the dough.
9.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella.
10.  Spread the beef mixture over the cheese.
11.  Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. 
12.  Sprinkle with bacon.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 19 weeks

I have taken to calling this baby "Oppo-baby" because this pregnancy is the exact opposite of my first.

I had somewhat of a unicorn first pregnancy.  No aches and pains, no nausea, no fatigue, really my only "symptoms" were the fact that my breasts grew a bunch in the first 7 weeks, I had extreme bloating, a super sense of smell, and I stopped having a period for months.  I felt movement early, despite having an anterior placenta.  I started showing around 16 weeks, and my weight gain was slow and low.


For anyone who is already rolling their eyes at me, know that this time around I am getting my just desserts.  This time there has been no breast change, bloating, or extreme sense of smell.  Instead, my first trimester was filled with nausea and fatigue, shortness of breath, a racing heart, and uncontrollable anxiety.  Good times.

I've got a posterior placenta this time around (see EVERYTHING'S different!) and felt movement so much later than last time.  While most second time moms look farther along than they are, I look weeks behind based on where I was last pregnancy.  And although I had only gained 2lbs by this time in my last pregnancy, this time I'm already up 10lbs.  It's humbling.

We had our big ultrasound this week and it went swimmingly.  Everything checked out perfectly.  Oppo-baby has all 10 fingers and toes, and we got to see them.  S/he has the same habit Thatbaby and I do of rubbing our feet together while we sleep.  And those hands were in constant motion, waving, fist pumping, and finger-sucking.  Oppo-baby was much more cooperative than Thatkid was.  He refused to turn over so we could get a good spine shot.  Oppo-baby woke up towards the end of our session and rolled so we could get all the information we needed.  
The tech was a little concerned about the placement of my placenta, so I got a lovely secondary ultrasound with the trans-vaginal wand.  The good news is, my placenta is far enough away from my cervix that it's not a concern.  
The other main concern for this ultrasound was checking out the fibroids found during the ultrasound with Thatbaby.  Especially the large one at 5.7cm. The tech found the small one, which was the same size as last time.  But she couldn't find any trace of that large one.  She did find that my ovaries were unusually prominent.  Typically the ovaries can't be viewed very well during ultrasounds, mine were large and bright.  And the right one was 5.8cm.  Very similar in size to the "fibroid" found last time.  So similar in size and location that the tech is pretty sure that the fibroid wasn't a fibroid after all.

And we got some lovely souvenirs from our visit. 

I think Oppo-baby looks a little like a Who, what do you think?

Total weight gain/loss: +10
Next Appointment: February 2
Maternity clothes? Not yet.  But I've been shopping!  So I'll be breaking out my new pieces soon.
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: Pretty good this week, although disrupted because Thatkid hasn't been sleeping well.
Best moment this week: Successful ultrasound!
Movement: Yup.  I might have been unsure before, but now I'm getting definite kicks.  Although after seeing the baby during the ultrasound I'm thinking it might be punches, not kicks.
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: I don't know if it's necessarily an aversion, but I was really into ginger beer for the longest time - it helped with the nausea.  But now I'm really not enjoying it.
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss: This week it's rum.  I made crystallized mint leaves and Thatboy turned them into a mojito.  Oh mojitos.
What I am looking forward to: Being halfway done!
Contractions: Nope.  Last time around I didn't get them until they were induced through medication.  Part of me is kind of hoping to actually have those moments this time.
- The BIG ultrasound!
- all the toothbuds are there

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Runday: First Trimester Running

As I mentioned last week, this pregnancy has been very different for me in terms of running.

The first pregnancy running was easy.  Well, easy is a bit of an overstatement.  When I ran the Arizona Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon I had an inkling I was pregnant, because I was so thirsty, had to stop for port-a-potty breaks, and was generally slower than the half I had run just 5 months earlier.  But really, the only noticeable difference in the first trimester was that I was really thirsty when running. 

This time I have not had the same experience.  On September 7 I ran a 5k in 27:29.  I became pregnant shortly after.  On September 20, when I was about a minute pregnant I had no problem running at normal speed for the Beat the Blerch Virtual race.  And yet, by October 11, when I went to do 10 miles with my running friends, I was already feeling the effects of the pregnancy.  I was already slower and having difficulty breathing.  It was easy to convince my friends that I was getting over an upper respiratory infection, which caused me to lag behind.  And I continued to do so.  During our weekend runs, I would turn back early, because it took the same time for me to run 7 miles as it did for them to run 10. 

Luckily, I was able to keep running, because my amazing running friends didn't mind me slowing them down, or trailing behind.  And I continued to slow.  By the time I ran the Fit Foodie 5k in November, my 5k time had already slowed to 31:42.  On top of all that, I've been struck with nausea and fatigue, neither of which reared their faces last time.  I had hoped that maybe the running would help with one or both of them.  It didn't.

The second trimester has so far been kinder.  The breathing has been much easier to deal with.  Although the speed remains my biggest impediment.  I'll do a full second trimester update, once I'm through with the second trimester!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Ringing In the New Year: Barbecue Pasta with Shrimp and Sausage

I'm not a huge fan of New Year's Eve.  There's so much pressure to go out and do something.  To make the most of the last few moments of the old year.  To stay up late.  (And I'm not a late night kind of girl.)

But I love New Years Day.  No pressure.  Even though it's a brand new year, there's a sort of unspoken rule that you don't have to do anything on the 1st.  Sleep in, grab brunch, and just kind of laze about.  This year I thought it would be wonderful to do all that, with friends.  So we hosted a New Year's Day Brunch.

It was a very casual affair, decorations consisted mostly of tissue paper confetti I punched out while waiting for the ball to drop.

Our guests meandered in and made themselves at home.  Thatkid entertained his peers while we greeted the New Year with coffee, mimosas, and lots and lots of food.

Thatkid made 2 kinds of muffins, there were bagels, cold cuts, calamari salad, breakfast burritos, egg casserole, chips, dip, watermelon, and oranges.

Our guests stayed until late into the afternoon.  While Thatkid napped we played a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity.  And then after they left, cleanup was a breeze.  I especially like throwing a party on the first day of the year because all the pre-party cleanup means we start the year with a clean house!

As usual, the party left us with lots of leftovers.  Which is nice, because that means we didn't have to do a lot of cooking for the next couple of days.  But when we were out, comfort food was the logical next step.  Pasta.  Not the healthiest way to start the new year, but it fits along with the whole lounge about on the couch mentality of New Year's Day.

 Barbecue Pasta with Shrimp and Sausage
box of penne pasta
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup canola oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 chipotle chile
1 Tbsp red chile flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz sausage, sliced
1/2 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces Parmesan, grated

  1.  Cook penne according to instructions on box.
  2. Combine barbecue sauce, canola oil, lemon juice, mustard, chile, chile flakes, and cayenne in a blender until smooth.
  3. Heat olive oil in saute pan over high heat.  Add sausage and cook until browned.
  4. Add shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes until shrimp are pink.
  5. Lower heat to medium and add cream and barbecue sauce.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add pasta and cheese.  Toss to combine and cook until heated through. 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Christmas Morning: Chicken Fajita Tacos

Christmas Eve was a nightmare as usual.  Because TMIL didn't want to even begin dinner until we got home from church (right around Thatbaby's bedtime).  Which meant we went late to church so Thatbaby could have frozen macaroni and cheese.  Merry Christmas to him.

Christmas morning, however I took over.  After 13 years of miserable breakfasts, Thatboy finally agreed I should be in charge of breakfast.  And when he broached the subject with his family, they had no problem with me taking over.  Which meant, for the first time in 13 years we all ate a warm breakfast together!  I made a  fruit salad the night before along with a creme brulee french toast casserole, which meant I just had to pop it in the oven while we opened presents.

And it was all ready to go when we were!  And because I did the prep the night before, the only cleanup was putting our dishes in the dishwasher.  So the boys could take advantage of a little jam session time.

Success!   Of course, now that we're home, breakfasts are consisting of less fancy fare.  And dinners are pretty easy too.  I'm very much enjoying the holidays being done and having less on my plate - literally and figuratively!  Tacos are one of my quick, weeknight meals.  Like the French toast casserole, these are prepped the night before, so they just need a quick trip in the pan before being completely ready to serve.

Chicken Fajita Tacos
Juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 chicken breasts, sliced
2 cups sliced bell peppers
1 red onion, sliced
  1. Combine lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil, sugar, garlic, cumin in a bowl.
  2. Place chicken in one ziplock bag and bell peppers and onions in another.  Pour half of the marinade in each bag.  Refrigerate overnight.
  3. Drain chicken and pepper mix.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Spray with cooking spray.  Add chicken and cook for 4 minutes.
  4. Add bell pepper mixture and cook for another 4 minutes.
  5. Spoon filling into tortillas and top with your favorite taco condiments.