Monday, March 20, 2017

Flourless Peanut Butter Muffins

We've made this muffins a few times, and they couldn't be easier. I love that they barely have any added sugar, and they don't require having gluten-free flour on hand. We buy the Trader Joe's organic creamy peanut butter, and it works great with this recipe. These muffins are ready in 30 minutes from start to finish! (FYI the banana flavor is not pronounced at all... you mostly just taste peanut butter.)

Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

1 cup natural peanut butter (or almond butter)
2 ripe bananas (about 1 cup, mashed)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon

Optional add-ins: 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1 cup fresh raspberries or strawberries (for a PBJ muffin), or 1 sliced banana.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a muffin tin with 12 liners

2. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients until smooth (you can also do this in a food processor). Once the batter is smooth, you can fold in one of the optional add-ins if using.

3. Divide the batter between 12 muffin liners and bake for 15 minutes.

4. The muffins should be firm and lightly golden on top. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

5. Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, or in a sealed bag in the freezer.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Basically, this is a super easy recipe and it's delicious. Based off of this cookie cake.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Ingredients:
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup coconut oil or butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup gluten and dairy free chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and great a 9 inch cake pan.
2. Combine eggs, sugar, oil/butter, and vanilla and beat until quite smooth.
3. Add almond flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt, and mis well until a sticky dough forms.
4. Then fold in the chocolate chips, and transfer the mixture to the prepared cake pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until set.

So simple. So good!


Saturday, March 11, 2017

17 and 18 weeks

Week 17 was blessedly normal. I was ravenously hungry, most food sounded palatable, and baby started moving up a storm! I started feeling kicks and rolls 2-3 times a day. At the end of the week, Ross even felt one from the outside.

Week 18, I got sick. AGAIN. With another lovely respiratory infection. And I'm always hungry, but nothing sounds good. So not much to say about this week, except the fact that you can truly feel a BABY in there and not just a stomach pooch. It's so fun and bizarre. My favorite thing. The baby was the size of a croissant this week, and one evening I was poking around and felt its back and legs, and IT'S ALL HAPPENING! I'm so excited. I also gained 4 pounds in the last 4 weeks (as expected, but this was after not gaining anything for weeks on end) and I'm feeling large and in charge, even though strangers don't seem to notice a baby belly yet.

Noah has been so loving and so good at sharing the past few weeks. He wants to give toys, books, and food to the baby, and he loves giving it kisses and hugs. This morning, he wanted to kiss the baby before I left for work, and for some reason I asked, "Noah, what's the baby's name?" He thought for half a second and then tilted his head and said, "His name is Mark!" So matter-of-factly. It was hilarious, especially because I'm not sure Noah knows a single person named Mark!

When I got home from work, Noah was trying to give something to the baby and kept referring to the baby as "him," per usual. I said, "Noah, the baby might be a girl. Did you know that? We don't know yet!" He just looked at me and said, "It is a boy!" Not in a demanding or petulant way, just like, duh, mom. Time will tell. I know we will be happy no matter what!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

16 weeks

How big is baby? At the start of week 16, baby was the size of an avocado. As of today, he or she is as big as a chipmunk!

Due date: August 6. Noah was 1.5 weeks early, so since I'm expecting that this time, I'm sure I'll go to 41.5 weeks or something ridiculous like that!

How far along: 17 weeks today

Next appointment: Ummm... 2 weeks-ish?

Gender: Won't know until the very end of March!

Total weight gain/loss: Gained a whopping 1 pound in the first trimester, but I've finally been ravenous and super thirsty this week, so I expect that to change significantly at my next appointment!

Exercise: When the nausea and fatigue hit at week 6, it floored me. I didn't work out once from weeks 6 through 15! Combined with a toddler sleep regression, never-ending viral illnesses (cold, norovirus, and flu), and cold, gray weather, I don't think I've ever been as sedentary in my entire life as I have been this winter. I miss endorphins. But good news! My energy started coming back around week 14, and my nausea mostly subsided by the end of week 15, so this week I finally took one good walk and did two short workouts: a Piyo lower body video, and a 21 Day Fix upper body video.

Stretch marks: None yet, knock on wood. I somehow didn't get this with Noah?! But I haven't been as vigilant with almond oil this time, so we will see.

Swelling: In unmentionable places. Thank you, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome. I knew it would come back, and it has with a vengeance. I'm glad I have better ways to manage it and cope this time, but it's still pretty discouraging to know that if I literally just stand for more than 2 minutes without any support garments on, it's going to feel like someone kicked me.

Maternity clothes: Maternity pants since week 5, and maternity shirts since I "popped" around week 10.

Belly button: It's been on the verge of outie-dom since 9-10 weeks. It seems to be holding its own a little better this time around, so thank you physical therapy!

Sleep: Well, it was pretty decent (aka fitful, lots of vivid dreams, and lots of potty breaks, but otherwise sleeping through the night) until I tried to wean off of Unisom (the medication I was taking for nausea). Now I am awake from 2am-4 or 5am most nights. Super fun.

Food cravings: Still lots of aversions, and no consistent cravings.

Symptoms: Enjoying a bit of a sweet spot at the moment. I only get nauseated if I get too hungry, and my fatigue is okay as long as I'm not awake for the day at 2am (see above). Biggest symptom is swelling and pelvic pain this week.

Movement: Yes! Feeling something at least once a day. The best part by far.

Labor signs: Painful cramps 1-2 times a day, but they aren't signs of actual labor.... just annoying.

What I miss: Nothing, really. I'm not gonna lie... I ate some sushi last week (made sure to add lots of wasabi and ginger for antibacterial properties). It was so yummy!

What I'm loving: Noah gives the baby hugs and kisses and yesterday he tried to share a little book with it. He held the book up to my belly button and said, "where are the baby's hands?" He's so excited and so sweet.

What I'm looking forward to: Feeling the big kicks and rolls, and finding out if it's a boy or a girl!

Best moment this week: Gosh Noah has been so sweet this week. In general, but also in talking about and trying to share with the baby. He's figured out that baby brothers are little boys, and baby sisters are little girls. He has been giving my belly lots of hugs and kisses. Apparently baby can start to hear things this week, so I just love that it hears its big brother's voice all day every day!



Saturday, February 25, 2017

One Pot Greek Chicken and Rice

I'm slowly making my way through the list of to-try recipes I accumulated in my first trimester. We made this dish this week, and everyone loved it! 100% recipe credit goes to A Healthy Slice of Life. The only modification I would make next time (as reflected in the recipe here) is less lemon zest. The original recipe calls for the zest of two lemons, but that was super lemony to us, so next time we will just do the zest from one lemon, and save the second one for garnish as needed.

Ingredients
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken tenders
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced (roughly 1 cup)
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 2¼ cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • parsley (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Chop all ingredients.
  2. In a large pot like a Dutch oven, heat the 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute 2-3 minutes until onions start to become translucent.
  3. Into the same pot, add rice, broth, salt, lemon juice, lemon zest of one lemon, oregano, feta (if using), sun-dried tomatoes, and kalamata olives. Stir and bring to a boil.
  4. Once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and add chicken to pot. Cover and place in oven.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes until chicken is cooked through and rice is fluffy.
  6. Plate and garnish with chopped parsley and additional lemon zest, as desired.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Weeks 14 and 15: An Ode to the Boys I Live With



Ross,

Once again, thanks for putting up with bland/minimal food for so long. This was so much worse than the last time, wasn't it?! But you never once complained, and thankfully your work cafeteria actually seems to have some pretty great food, so you get one good meal each day.

Thanks for giving me weekends "off." I'm so bummed I spent so many Saturdays off of work AND sick in bed. You know that's not how I like to take advantage of being off of work. We both know this is a season, but it's still been harder than we expected. I'm thankful it seems to be winding down!

---

Noah,

You have such a sweet heart. You're so concerned when I'm sick (either from hormones or from germs). Your big hugs always make me feel better, and when you run up to me and hug my legs, it melts my heart. I know you're still a bit confused about this supposed baby that you can neither see nor hold right now, but I'm praying that you are the best of buddies soon enough! In the meantime, I'm soaking up all my time with YOU! You're growing so rapidly, and I love learning more about who you are. We talk all day long, and sometimes I forget you're just two!

---

The first trimester coincided with a really crazy season of life for us, and I didn't expect to be out of commission for so long. I feel like I'm finally getting some energy back, and now the nausea only pops up if I get too hungry, which is so nice. I still have a lot of food aversions, but even those are a million times better than it was. No consistent cravings yet, aside from BLT sandwiches in week 14, and yogurt, Cheerio, chocolate chip, and walnut bowls in week 15!

Now I just feel like I have so much to catch up on, after being in survival mode for 3 months.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Chicken Enchiladas

This is a meal I often make to take to new moms, and it's nice that it automatically makes dinner for us, too. We used to love using Old El Paso's hot enchilada sauce, but these days we stick with mild or medium because... toddler. I also don't want to shock anyone's tastebuds if they dislike spicy food. You can always add some pickled jalepenos or your own hot sauce to the finished product to spice it up!

Chicken Enchiladas
makes two pans of approximately 6-8 enchiladas each

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken (a combo of breast/thigh meat works well, but all breast is fine, too)
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 20oz can enchilada sauce
1 10oz can enchilada sauce
1 10oz can Rotel-style diced tomatoes and chiles
1.5 cups Mexican-style shredded cheese (optional)
12-16 6- or 8-inch tortillas, depending on what size baking dish you're using
sliced olives, avocado, green onions, and cilantro for garnish (optional)

Put the chicken in the crockpot and layer the diced onion and the tomato and chile mixture on top of it. Then add the larger can of enchilada sauce. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the chicken is easily shreddable.

When the chicken is done, preheat the oven to 375. Pour half of the smaller can of enchilada sauce into a shallow pie pan. Take one tortilla, dip it in the sauce, fill it with roughly 1/4 cup shredded chicken, and wrap. Place in the pan seam-side-down. Repeat until the pans are full of enchiladas. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce (in the can and in the crockpot) on top of the enchiladas. Then top with cheese and olives (if using).

Bake for 20-25 minutes until hot and bubbly. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving. Top with fresh toppings and dig in!