Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Hodgepodge

So much to talk about… Maybe I’ll do this post bullet-style:

~(just because “~” is more fun than “-“, see, it has an artistic squiggle!)

~Tuesday Hubster and I went to see the preliminary, unedited photos from our maternity photo shoot.  I was so worried that with the rain and everything that I would look like a drowned rat… but the photographer is amazing and I do not, in fact, look like a drowned rat!  I love the pictures, and we picked the one that will be our Christmas card (she’s going to focus on editing that one first so we can place the order for the cards ASAP) It was funny though, even though I take “bump photos” I don’t really see pictures of myself very often, and certainly not multiple pictures from lots of angles all at once.  I exclaimed “Wow, I look really pregnant!” and both Hubster and Suzy (my friend AND professional photographer) looked at me and said “That’s because you are really pregnant!”  I tried to explain it to Hubster later.  See, I’ve always struggled with my weight.  So, I’ve always had a “big abdomen”.  So as far as how I feel, I don’t feel any different than when I was heavy.  Big abdomen.  I mean, sure, my abdomen feels different in that there is a heaviness/weightiness to it.  My abdomen isn’t squishy, it’s solid.  I can feel a little person moving around inside of it.  But there is this ingrained body image that I’m overweight, that I am generally large, and that I look like I am overweight.  I generally assume that walking down the street, people assume I’m NOT pregnant, but that I am overweight.  So it really was a revelation to realize that while I feel pregnant, I also  look pregnant.

~On a pregnancy-related note: I’ve always had an average amount of baby-fine hair.  Which means I tend to have styling issues.  If I don’t shower every 24 hours, my hair looks really greasy and gross.  If I don’t put hair ties on really tight, they slip off my hair.  If I part my hair wonky, it looks like I’m balding… but since being pregnant causes you to stop shedding hair, I have thicker hair!  And now, I can shower every other day and my hair looks fine!  (Like a normal person!) Hair bands stay in place!  My part doesn’t have to be perfect!  If only it could stay like this forever…

~Work is good.  Monday was a terrible, horrible, no good day because we were slammed, were having power surges which was messing with the computers and then we had a really horrific, bully of a client come in and I had to walk away or I was either going to scream at him, or cry.  In contrast, Wednesday was a GREAT day, very chill and very nice customers.  But through it all, I love that the people I work with are such great people.  They really try to pull their weight and work hard and help me out.

~Wednesday morning I had a midwife appointment.  Things are still coming along nice and normal, nothing really exceptional to report.  Seedling is moving, wiggling, rolling, had a good heartbeat.  My blood pressure is nice and low.  Everyone’s happy!

~Here in the states, yesterday was Thanksgiving.  I made grain free biscuits and stuffing, grain free pie crust, and my infamous family recipe pumpkin pie.  Can I just say… that stuffing recipe is the BEST EVER???  Even if you don’t need to eat grain free, it is delicious!  Hubster is NOT a stuffing fan AT ALL, and even he liked it!  And the pie crust was equally amazing, had great flavor and texture, and if I had not know it was grain free I would not have guessed that it was!  My dad, stepmom and mom all came over.  Hubster was really expecting a terrible time, lots of family awkwardness and that it would be uncomfortably cramped in our small apartment… but somehow it all worked out!  It was actually really amusing to watch my mom and stepmom take over my kitchen and work together and chatter away (mostly about how they think I have organized  X well but really need to improve the organization of Y with the baby coming… lol)  There was just two less than stellar moments:
1.  when my mom started digging into a pity party about how terrible her boss is, and then I just changed the subject much to everyone else’s amusement.
2.  when my stepmom started going off about how I must be so done with being pregnant and how terrible it was for her to be pregnant, but I just stopped her and basically said “I think after infertility, loss, and all my friends who have had really difficult (sick, bed rest, late term miscarriage) pregnancies I don’t have anything to complain about and am trying to enjoy every moment of this that I can.”  And that basically shut her up!
All in all it really was a great visit!  The food was amazing (I’m digging me some Thanksgiving leftovers!) and since everyone had to work nobody stayed too late and I got to go to bed early.
The Thanksgiving table… the tablecloth, china and silverware were my late Maternal Grandmother’s… it was nice to have a piece of her with us on the holiday 🙂

~The day after Thanksgiving here in the States is usually called “Black Friday” because lots of stores have huge sales, trying to clear out inventory etc with Christmas coming.  I’ve never been a big fan, getting up and standing in line at midnight to deal with a bunch of exhausted and cranky people bickering over who grabbed the last box of who-the-hell-cares just to save a few bucks?  Not my cup of tea.  But this year, I had my gift cards and cash gifts from our showers, and I did my shopping online to try and finish up some of the last, important things on our registries.  Of course I couldn’t get everything, but tried to grab all those last-little-things, and left the 3 largest items for the handful of family members that still want to get us things.  (I think it’s easier when someone says “What do you need?” to list 3 things, rather than 20)  I’m very happy I got my fabulous deals with free shipping, no lines, in my jammies and was in bed before midnight.  Anyone wanna read a list of what I got?  Because in my nerdiness, I made one!  (Hurray for lots of discounts and deals!!!)  I am also stupidly excited for packages to show up in my mail lol 🙂

Black Friday Loot
Bedding:
Serta Organic Contour Pad
Changing Pad Cover – brown dots
Changing Pad Cover- yellow dots
Organic Contoured Changing Table Cover
Graco Quilted Pack N Play sheet – ecru
Yellow Crib Rail Cover (1 long)
Yellow Crib Rail Cover (2 short)
Swaddle Blanket – Kiwi Triple Paisley design
Swaddle Blanket – Sterling Sparklers design
Jersey Sheet – Soft Yellow
Jersey Sheet – Yellow Stripe
Safety:
First Years American Red Cross First Aid Kit
Hyland’s Teething tablets
Summer Infant Oral Care Kit
Bottle Drying Rack
Universal Outlet Covers (6)
No Scratch Bottle Brush
Diapers:
OsoCozy 6 pack prefolds
Simple Step Diaper Pail
Rumparooz Pocket – Preppy design
Rumparooz Pocket – Lux design
Rumparooz – Ladder design (Hubster was a firefighter for 6 years, I couldn’t pass up a diaper with a firefighter theme!)
Thirsties Cover – Family Tree design
Thirsties Diaper Pail Liner (2)
Thirsties Hemp Prefold (5)

~Saturday we are meeting up with friends to go and cut our Christmas tree.  I’ve never done the weekend-after-Thanksgiving Christmas Tree thing… a little worried it will be a a mad house but I’m looking forward to seeing this group, especially as some of them live quite a drive away and we see rarely.  Than Jewel is supposed to come down Saturday evening to hang out for a bit.  We haven’t hung out for a while, and I will borrow some much-needed super-small needles from her to get started on a Christmas project.  Sunday has no plans other than church, and by gum, I’m keeping it that way!!!  Looking forward to an afternoon spent on the couch, hopefully getting some serious work done on my pile of Christmas present projects!

Guiltless Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mama Chocolate (A blogger of cloth diapering stuff) posted a recipe link earlier today on Facebook touting the nutritious value of molasses… And these cookies. (The recipe is in the second link) After an incredibly frustrating morning of job hunting (I was only able to find one good lead, and when I went in to drop off my resume and cover letter the woman very apologetically told me they have already started the interview process… AKA I’m too late, better luck next time.) I had been craving a really gourmet chocolate chip cookie… So it was a pretty exciting to read about some healthy and delicious cookies, I even had most of the ingredients!

So the trip to the store went pretty quickly, came home and got to work. I made a few modifications:
-didn’t have enough cinnamon (woops!) so just 1 tsp of cinnamon plus half a teaspoon of allspice (but I’m digging the flavor!)
-did half milk chocolate and half semi sweet chocolate chips
-replaced the quick-cook oats with normal oats I put in the food processor briefly
-also briefly chopped my nuts (walnuts) in the processor
-I hate raises, so I replaced them with dried cherries, if anything that ups the amount of antioxidants! Woot!
-I had about a half cup of leftover coconut flakes I threw in just because I could

20120810-165906.jpgDough on the stoneware sheets…

20120810-165925.jpgSo hard not to eat all the leftover dough while the cookie were cooking!  The dough was so fragrant with the molasses and spices, reminded me of gingerbread!

20120810-165938.jpgFresh out of the oven!  When the directions warn against overcooking, they mean it!  I was only cooking 7-8 minutes and can’t imagine letting them go any longer!

20120810-165954.jpgVICTORY IS MINE!!!!!!  Sorry this is a bit blurry, I took the picture and then chowed down, and didn’t realize until after my plate was empty that the picture was bad… Oh well!

Needless to say, it’s exactly what I needed.  And now to hurry and box up the rest of the cookies and put them in the freezer before I eat the entire batch!

My First Angel-Food Cake

My mom had her birthday this last sunday, but as she was fencing in Vegas, we couldn’t get together to celebrate.  SOOOO, last night we got together at her place, made dinner, exchanged a gift and cake.  She had requested angel food cake, but to be honest I’m not the biggest fan, every angel food cake I have gotten from a store has been kind of dry and bland.  So I came up with the grand idea to make one myself, after looking up recipes and realizing I would only need a few ingredients from the store as I had most of them anyway.  I was nervous, because it’s supposed to be light and fluffy and was worried I would overcook it or not get it fluffy enough but it came out pretty great!  So I also made homemade whipped cream, and topped with fresh raspberries.

Everything all together….

Looks good enough to eat, hu?  The cordial in the background was this amazing chocolate-cherry stuff my mom had that we ended up drizzling on the cake.  SO GOOD!

My mom-mala, along with her fancy new “birthday plate and birthday tea mug” (I also bought her new tea, you’ll just have to believe me that it’s in the mug)  I don’t know about you guys, but I think she was pretty happy with her gifts 🙂  It’s hard to see, but the plate and mug had this really pretty white-on-white swirly design.  And the cool thing with the mug is that it came with a “basket” that holds loose-leaf tea while it steeps.

So, I know what you all are thinking…. and YES, here are the recipes!  I basically combined two different recipes to make it work with what I had on hand.

Tulips’ Super-Amazing (Slightly-Citrus-Surprise!) Angel Food Cake:

12 egg whites (approximately 1 1/2 cups worth)
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour (I used pastry flour)
1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (I ended up sprinkling a bit more in because it was taking a long time to thicken)
1 1/2 vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Orange zest from 1 orange (This is where I made it my own, and I think it worked really well without being overpowering)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (I used raw sugar)

1) Separate egg yolks from whites.  Place in mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, sift confectioners’ sugar and flour together (it said to do it 3 times, I only did it once….) then set aside.
3) Add cream of tartar, extracts, zest and salt to egg whites.  Beat on high speed until frothy.  Gradually add sugar, beating until sugar dissolves and stiff peaks form.  (Here is where I added a dash more cream of tartar, I think that something about the orange zest was keeping the egg mixture from thickening even with the mixer on high for 15-20 minutes)
4) Gently fold in flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time.
5) Gently spoon mixture into 10″ tube “bundt” pan.  (The directions called for it to be un-greased, but then we had a helluva time getting it out.  So I plan to next time lightly grease the pan so the poor cake doesn’t come out looking so mutilated.)  Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets.
6) Bake at 350 degrees ferenheit for 40-45 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched.  (I started smelling the “Done cake” smell at 30 minutes, so check it at about 15-20 minutes to make sure you don’t overcook it!)
7) Immediately upon removing from the over invert the pan.  Let the pan cool COMPLETELY before removing cake from pan.

Home-Made Whipped Cream
(There are a million recipes out there, this is just what I did)

4 cups heavy whipping cream
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
~2 tablespoons raw sugar (I start minimally, and taste-test – I find most recipes use too much sugar and it’s too sweet but that’s just me!)

Put mixer in high and watch it thicken!  Everyone likes their’s at different consistency, I tend to like mine when it looks fairly firm, but as soon as it is forming stiff peaks you can serve it.  The longer you whip it the firmer it gets.  (Anyone else suddenly hear the song “Whip it good!” playing in their heads?)