Sunday, February 19, 2017

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


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!



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!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Recipes I Want to Make

It's no secret that my appetite has been less than stellar for the past few months. It's coming back in bits and pieces, but not as fast as I would hope. In the meantime, I have a bajillion recipes open in my phone browser, just waiting for me to feel like getting back in the kitchen on a consistent basis.

Here they are, all in one place, with notes after trying (a few will need modifications to be gluten/dairy free):

Dinner Ideas

Taco Torte

Garlic Brown Sugar Flank Steak with Chimichurri

Pineapple Chicken Fajitas

Honey Dijon Skillet Chicken

Marinated Flank Steak with Caprese Salsa

Sweet Chili Salmon Skewers

Greek Shrimp Pasta

One Pot Greek Chicken with Lemon Rice

Lemon Chicken Risotto

Grain, Green, and Bean Skillet with Yum Sauce

Cajun Baked Tofu with Collards and Grits

Gluten-free Ravioli

Bang Bang Shrimp with Napa Cabbage Slaw

Crunchy Taco Kale Salad (I LOVED the dressing in particular, but Ross thought it was too tart. I'd probably make it again, though.)

Thai Crunch Chicken Salad

Coconut Milk Ranch Dressing

Slow Cooker Creamy Southwest Chicken

Slow Cooker French Onion Pot Roast over Polenta

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Coconut Curry Noodle Soup

Vegan Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Gnocchi and Chicken Sausage Soup

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup

Breads and Breakfasts

Spinach and Red Pepper Bacon Wrapped Eggs

Revolutionary Pancakes (Sadly, we were underwhelmed. Not sure if I made them wrong, or what. A little thinner and they'd made a nice crepe! But we just weren't huge fans of them as pancakes.)

Gluten-free Sourdough Bread

Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

Savory Oat Crackers

Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Loaf

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

Paleo Blender Muffins

Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Muffins (I actually did make these last weekend, and plan to make them again ASAP!)

Superhero Muffins

One-Bowl Pumpkin Bread

Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars


Paleo Thin Mints

Chocolate Coconut Milkshakes

3-Ingredient Flourless Chocolate Cake

Pretzel Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Bark

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Tomato and Sausage Risotto

I can't think of the last time I felt like cooking dinner, but now I'm in the second trimester and this was a great recipe to get back in the kitchen to! Recipe via Smitten Kitchen. It was the first time I have made risotto since going dairy-free. I left the cheese out, but it was still so flavorful we didn't miss it!

Tomato and Sausage Risotto
Serves 4-6

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 bunch spinach (10 to 14 ounces), washed well, and chopped (about 7 cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
2 tablespoons butter 
  1. In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with their juice) and 3 cups water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add sausage and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes. 
  3. Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute. 
  4. Add about 2 cups hot tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue adding tomato mixture, 1 cup at a time, waiting for one cup to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, about 25 minutes total (you may not have to use all the liquid). 
  5. Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach, Parmesan (if using), and butter; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately (risotto will thicken as it cools), and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Week 13

I feel like my "pregnancy" updates have just been infectious disease updates from an immunocompromised preggo who lives with a toddler. The great news is that my pregnancy nausea was vastly improved this week! That bad news is, I got another terrible respiratory bug. We are talking meds, inhalers, 3 boxes of kleenex, gagging on mucous, unable to breathe when you lay down kind of sick. So gross. I had to call in sick to work this weekend because I lost my voice toward the end of the illness, which was fun. Thankfully (again) Ross let me take it easy this weekend. It's IMPOSSIBLE to rest your voice when you have a toddler!

I'm writing this update all by itself in the hopes that my next few updates will be pregnancy-only!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Weeks 10, 11, and 12

I sit here at 13 weeks and 1 day pregnant, and I'm overwhelmed with gratitude. Today is the first day I haven't had any outright nausea in a long time! The last 3 weeks have been rough. It took me a full week to recover from the head cold I got after the new year, then we had a few "normal" days before Noah came down with the dreaded norovirus. I had started some herbs for nausea in addition to meds, and they helped for a day or two! Then the day Noah started getting better, I caught the stomach bug, adding insult to pregnancy nausea injury. I had 4 days of really intense nausea (and vomiting) and inability to do much of anything. I'm so so grateful that 2 of those days were on a weekend and I wasn't scheduled to work.

My mom was supposed to come keep us company during week 11, but ended up postponing travel by 4 days between an ice storm in the area, and the desire to avoid getting sick. She came to town briefly, spent that Thursday with my brother and niece, and came over to our house for a bit on Friday to bring us some groceries (THANK YOU) and entertain Noah for an hour while I laid down. It was so helpful, and since Noah was better and we'd Cloroxed common surfaces, I thought she'd be good. Alas, this bug is intense and it even got my mom sick!

So I can't even distinguish between weeks 10, 11, and 12 right now because they were so very crazy. Now I'm down with another head cold, which is ridiculous, but still way better than feeling like throwing up all the time.

All I know is, I'm so excited to be entering the second trimester! Let the fun part of pregnancy begin!


P.S. The change in prenatal care in the 3.5 years between pregnancies is more different than I expected. It could also be because last time I saw an OBGYN at KU until 28 weeks, and this time I just started seeing my Midwife from the get-go (she's actually way more thorough than the OB ever was). With Noah, we got the Nuchal Translucency ultrasound and associated blood work drawn at 12 weeks. With this baby, that wasn't offered (bah it was a fun ultrasound to see). But they did offer a genetic panel in which they drew my blood and were able to detect baby's genes to look for trisomies, other genetic abnormalities, and even baby's sex! We decided to wait on the boy/girl diagnosis until the 20 week ultrasound, but it was a huge relief to hear that everything else was normal! Life is such a miracle.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

On Being Present

I normally scoff at the idea of having a "word of the year," but this year I really felt like I needed and wanted to focus on being PRESENT and intentional with my time and my relationships. The irony has not escaped me that we are 21 days into the new year and I'd rather be anywhere but here.

Far be it from me to compare my babies, but since pregnancy is my own body and my own hormones, I feel like I can say this: the past two months have been AWFUL. Some say it's because I'm having a girl. I feel like it's because I'm 31 years old and not 28. All I know is, I missed being pregnant so much after my first delivery, and right now, today, I cannot for the life of me imagine why. My skin is flaring up into all sorts of weird, unflattering rashes. My angry immune system got slammed with a respiratory virus two weeks ago that took me down for a full 5-6 days. I've been short of breath from the get-go. I know I need prenatal vitamins, but I can.not. stomach them most days.

I pray that those fun pregnancy days are to come: the wiggles and hiccups and the oneness that you can't help but feel with that little heart beating away. For now, while I'm ever so grateful that baby's heart IS beating away in there, I'm just sick.

The first time around, I had a constant level of queasiness, and I certainly had plenty of food aversions, but I also had cravings. Some foods tasted phenomenal and I ate them again and again. Right now? Gag me. NOTHING sounds good. If something sounds remotely appetizing, I do my best to eat it, but I inevitably feel sick afterwards and never want to eat that food again. This week, I finally had 2-3 days of feeling pretty close to normal. Acupuncture, herbs, twice-daily meds, and gestational age seemed to be on my side. Thursday morning, I told a friend I was on the downhill side of the nausea, and I ate a whole plate of food at our MOPS breakfast. That night, I started getting symptoms of the stomach bug Noah's had all week.

And today, I'm having a major pity party. The sun was out this morning, and I couldn't even get out of bed. I long to work up a sweat (that's not a night sweat or a fever-breaking sweat), but I haven't worked out since the nausea started at 5 weeks. You know what? It's January. It's gray. It's cold. I'm freaking out about how much life is already changing. I need endorphins.

I hate seeing how scared and sad Noah looks when I sit in the bathroom, waiting to throw up. ("Mama need burp.") It breaks my heart to hear him say, "Mama don't lay down anymore" when, out of necessity between fatigue and nausea, I've spent the better part of December and January in a horizontal position.

So God, help me be faithful. Help me be PRESENT. Help me see you here. Not because it could be worse (because it could). Not because it will hopefully be better soon. Although I pray that this sickness does not last the entire pregnancy. But because you made me, you knit me in my mother's womb, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Every day of every one of my pregnancies was numbered before I was born, and I'm honored to be a vessel for new life. THIS IS A SEASON. Very likely the end of my last first trimester ever. I don't want to wish it away. Okay, I do. But I don't WANT to want to wish it away.

I love that I do feel movement already. I can't wait for our 20 week ultrasound to see baby and find out if there's a he or a she in there. I love that at 12 weeks with this one, my belly basically looks like it did at 20 weeks with the first. I laugh at myself in hindsight, because while I was legitimately really insecure about gaining weight early on with Noah, long before I gained a belly, I'd take that awkwardness any day now, because it would mean I'm eating real food.

I'm confused, I'm tired, I'm sick, I'm SO emotional. But let the record show that I was here.

(Also, let the record show that Ross is working his butt off to do everything I'm not doing right now, and that Noah has the sweetest heart ever and he keeps giving me kisses to help me feel better.)