Monday, April 10, 2017

Weeks 21 and 22

Time is FLYING. I'm sitting here well into week 23, feeling baby move daily, and losing track of how far along I am! I'm so so so thankful that the nausea is still 90% gone and, knock on wood, I've been healthy for a month straight!!! It makes a huge difference.

How big is baby? At our ultrasound at 21 weeks, baby's estimated weight was 1 lb 0 oz, the head circumference was 18.61 cm, and the abdomen was 17.05 cm around. It blows my mind how much growth happens in the second half of pregnancy! I know that technically the rate of growth actually slows down, compared to the first trimester. Yet, growing from a 1 lb baby to a (hopefully) 7 lb baby feels a whole lot more physically impactful than growing from the size of two cells to the size of a blueberry! This past weekend, Ross and I went to a homeschooling conference. There was a pro-life booth in the vendor hall with little models of babies at certain gestational ages. It was kind of cool to be 23 weeks pregnant and holding the 24 week model. There's a BABY in there!

Sex: It's a GIRL! With Noah, our guess was girl, and he's all boy. With this one, our guess was boy, and the ultrasound technician put the probe on my belly and said, "you're wrong again!" (I think Noah was kind of upset she said it that way, and he took it personally.) So once more, we were in shock. It took a few days to adjust to the idea, but we are so excited. We asked Noah what her name should be, and he said "Red." We'll work on that. But in the meantime, it's so fun to have a pronoun to use. My friend Rachel bought us our very first GIRLY cloth diaper a few days later, and it was so cute! And made everything feel even more real. 

Total weight gain/loss: I think at 21 weeks I was up 10 pounds? Feeling bigger every day now!

Exercise: Oh boy. I was really happy to be getting into a routine of Barre3 twice a week and walking once a week, greatly anticipating the walks increasing as the weather improved. But last week, we walked to BSF and it killed my hips. I'm definitely struggling with this. Walks with Noah are my very favorite part of our summer routine, and I'm so so sad that they might not happen this summer. 

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

Swelling: Just yes. It's really uncomfortable. Not sure what I'm going to do when it's too hot for compression hose! Getting a massage next week, so I really hope that helps for a bit.

Maternity clothes: Exclusively. I even had to switch to a maternity tank for pajamas since my belly was getting cold in my old PJ shirts!

Sleep: It's fairly decent (aka fitful, lots of vivid dreams, and lots of potty breaks, but otherwise sleeping through the night). About every other night, I'll have a bout of insomnia after waking up to pee, either around 2am or 5am. This lasts anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, but it could be so much worse. I'm SO GLAD I'm not working night shift this pregnancy!

Food cravings: This is so bizarre to me. I remember last time, when food sounded good, it sounded REALLY good! This time, food still mostly just sounds tolerable, or most definitively not at all. Onions, cooked or raw, have become a definitive no right now. They do not sit well. If I'm craving anything, it's slightly tart tropical fruit like pineapple and mango. And also the gluten free lemon bars at Dolce. A few weeks ago, baby must've had a growth spurt because I was craving chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. But nothing too intense, random, or consistent. 

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. Biggest symptom is still swelling and pelvic pain this week, and I'm fighting a lot of discouragement on that front, along with sorrow that my "last summer with Noah" won't look quite like I'd hoped.

Movement: Yes! Consistently in the morning and evening, and sometimes more often. The other night, Noah got to feel a few kicks during bedtime stories. The look on his face was sheer delight!

What I'm loving: I love looking pregnant and feeling the baby move. Pregnancy is such a unique season of life and growth, and I do want to soak it up. Even though I know I don't know what life is going to look like in a few months when our family totally changes, I do know everyone says your heart just expands to make room for the next baby. So much love.

What I'm looking forward to: Feeling more big kicks and rolls! And having my gestational diabetes test behind me.

Best moment this week: Seeing baby on ultrasound two weeks ago was really sweet. We got to see her little profile and her little hands and feet and it all just feels so much more real. It's also cute to hear Noah use his "baby sister" voice, and to hear him start to include her in things already. And he notices babies everywhere. I'm so excited for these two to meet!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Easy Stovetop Granola

Why have I never made stovetop granola before? It's seriously SO easy!

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 Tbs butter on medium heat and stir in 2 Tbs maple syrup, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

Add 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal, 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, and 1/4 cup walnut pieces.

Cook on medium low for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Then, remove from the burner and let it cool in the pan, stirring occasionally.

So easy!

Monday, March 27, 2017

The BEST Gluten Free Pancakes

I've tried A LOT of gluten-free pancakes over the past 5-6 years. A lot. Some are decent. Some are awful. Most are mediocre. Some taste decent, but the texture is way too starchy. Some (like my favorite buckwheat pancakes) have a good texture, but don't taste like the quintessential pancake. Sometimes you just want a stack of pancakes.

This weekend, I mashed a few recipes together and totally lucked out. These were so good. Like, Ross took a bite and asked, "are you sure these are gluten free?" So. Good.

Gluten-Free "Buttermilk" Pancakes
makes 15 pancakes

2 cups almond milk
3-4 Tbs lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
4 Tbs butter, melted
2 Tbs sugar
2 1/3 cups Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Mix (do NOT substitute other flour blends here)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

1. Add the lemon juice or vinegar to the almond milk and mix. Let sit for 5 minutes to curdle. This is your dairy-free "buttermilk."

2. Whisk the eggs, butter, and "buttermilk."

3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until just combined. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

4. Let batter sit for 5 minutes.

5. Scoop 1/4 cup of pancake batter at a time onto a hot skillet. Cook until the first side just starts to bubble, and then flip and cook until both sides are very light golden brown.

6. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

THIS is a recipe you can serve to your gluten-free and gluten-loving friends alike. That's always my barometer of whether a recipe is worth posting or making again.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

19 and 20 weeks

Week 19 was full of lots of baby kicks, many of which could be felt from the outside! It's so cool to be able to feel exactly where the baby is in there, instead of just having a general sense that my uterus is getting bigger.

Week 20 has been AMAZING. Very little nausea despite weaning off of Unisom, very few food aversions, and so much more energy, at last! It's corresponded with the beginning of spring, and I couldn't have planned it better if I tried. I'm SO grateful we are leaving winter behind us. It was a rough one!

We still haven't had our big ultrasound yet, but I looked back at my 20 week post with Noah, and thought it'd be fun to amend this list of old wives' tales, since all anyone seems to ask is if it's a boy or girl. I have no idea, honestly. Noah thinks it's a boy, and often refers to the baby as "he," so that's been skewing my perception a little bit in the past week. 

As an aside, the other day Noah said, "I'm RILLY full! My tummy is bumpy! I have my baby sister in they-ah." So cute, right?! I asked if I was carrying the baby brother, and he said, "no I have baby sister, you have THE BABY." I just love hearing how his mind works.

Anyway, here are the predictions and the answers based on this pregnancy. We will find out next week if the majority answer wins or not! We don't have a preference, but we sure are excited to know more about this baby.

A few of the less ridiculous old wives' tales, and our corresponding answers:

-If you're carrying high and round, it's a girl. If you're carrying low and pointy, it's a boy. (BOY)

-If baby's heart rate is above 140 it's a girl, if it's below 140 it's a boy. (GIRL)

-If your hair becomes thinner, it's a girl. If it becomes thicker, it's a boy. (BOY)

-If you're craving sweets, it's a girl. If you're craving salty or sour foods, it's a boy. (BOY)

-If you have morning sickness, it's a girl. If you don't, it's a boy. (UNDECIDED. This time, the nausea was worse and longer-lasting than it was with Noah, but I wasn't vomiting unless I had norovirus, so I'm not sure it counts.)

-If you break out more, it's a girl. If you don't, it's a boy. (BOY)

-The Chinese Gender Predictor lets your plug in a few calendar dates and predicts what you'll have. (GIRL)

-Mayans supposedly determined a baby's sex by looking at the mother's age at conception and the year of conception. If both are even or odd, it's a girl. If one's even and one's odd, it's a boy. (BOY)

-If Dad gains sympathy weight, it's a girl. If his weight stays the same, it's a boy. (GIRL)

-If you're moody, you're having a girl. If you're happy, you're having a boy. (BOY-- much less moody this time around, but I was super emotional with Noah, and he's all boy, so I don't put much stock in this!)

-If your legs stay the same size during pregnancy, it's a girl. If they get bigger, it's a boy. (GIRL. Not 100% sure, but I think they're smaller this time?)

-If you have a dream about having a girl, you'll have a boy. And vice versa. (Very very early on, I had a dream it was a girl, more recently I dreamed it was a boy. So I've got nothing.)

-If you're graceful, it's a girl. If you're more clumsy, it's a boy. (BOY)

-If you can only agree on a name for a boy or a girl, you're having the gender you agree on a name for. (I refuse to discuss names until we know! haha)

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


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.


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

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

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.

  • 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)
  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


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: Late Winter/Early Spring Edition

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 (Meh. I didn't follow directions exactly, but I wasn't crazy about this. Not crazy about Mexican spices in general right now, though.)

Pineapple Chicken Fajitas (Same as above.)

Vegan Chili Cheese Nachos

Turmeric Chicken Pasta

Simple Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches

Gyro Burgers

Sweet Potato and Cashew Dip

Hobo Roasts!

Early Spring Market Meatloaf

Garlic Brown Sugar Flank Steak with Chimichurri

Honey Dijon Skillet Chicken

Southwestern Sausage and Vegetable Brown Rice Casserole

Marinated Flank Steak with Caprese Salsa

Sweet Chili Salmon Skewers

Asparagus Potato Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Greek Shrimp Pasta

One Pot Greek Chicken with Lemon Rice (So easy and good! I'm going to give it its own post.)

Lemon Chicken Risotto

Grain, Green, and Bean Skillet with Yum Sauce (Love the concept, didn't love the mustard-y sauce. Next time I'll use Mmmm sauce. So good!)

Cajun Baked Tofu with Collards and Grits

Gluten-free Ravioli

Salmon Quinoa Burgers

Sheet Pan Salmon with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans 

Green Goddess Club Sandwich (vegan)

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

Shrimp Po' Boy Panzanella

Coconut Milk Ranch Dressing

(All the Whole 30 homemade dressings and sauces, really)

Slow Cooker Creamy Southwest Chicken

Slow Cooker French Onion Pot Roast over Polenta

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken (So good it's going to get its own post.)

Coconut Curry Noodle Soup

Vegan Broccoli and Cheese Soup

Gnocchi and Chicken Sausage Soup (Not as amazing as I'd hoped. Might try again with spicy sausage to see if that helps.)

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup

Corn and Black Bean Party Dip

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.)

Tater Tot Breakfast Skillet (it's not as fun when it's cheese free, but Ross still loved it and said he'd eat it weekly!)

Gluten-free Sourdough Bread

Life-Changing Loaf of Bread

Savory Oat Crackers

Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies

Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Loaf

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

Blueberry Pumpkin Muffins

Paleo Blender Muffins

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

Superhero Muffins

One-Bowl Pumpkin Bread

Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars

Poppy Seed Fruit Salad


Paleo Thin Mints

Chocolate Coconut Milkshakes

Bliss Bites

3-Ingredient Flourless Chocolate Cake

Pretzel Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Bark

Coconut Custard Pie

Peanut Butter Fudge

Healthier Strawberry Shortcake (would need GF substitution)

Vegan Chocolate Pie

Vegan Lemon Bars

Coconut Obsessed Pie

No Bake Lemon Fruit Tart

Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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.)

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Day in the Life

I've been meaning to do this for way, way too long. And in fact, I almost forgot I'd chosen to do it today until mid-morning. Of course, my phone memory is full, per usual, so I barely took any photos. I guess this a truly an accurate depiction of our lives right now!

0300: I start tossing and turning and can't get back to sleep thanks to a tension headache.

0600: Ross finally decides to just get up and go to the gym.I continue to lay in bed, trying to catch a cat nap before the craziness begins.

0645: Ross is home and Noah is up. This is the fourth night this week that Noah has slept through the night. Thank God! He was up 1-3 times a night most nights in December and we are still recovering.

0700: Ross gets Noah and gets him dressed, while I get up and get myself dressed.

0720: Noah and I eat breakfast while Ross gets ready for work. I also pack a lunch for Noah and myself since we have a busy morning.

0735: Ross heads to work, and graciously starts my car so it can warm up a bit in the driveway.

0745: Noah and I rush out the door for my prenatal appointment.

0815:We check in, and only have to wait a few minutes before my name gets called. I don't know if it's because it's Friday, or because it's early, but I've never seen the clinic this quiet!

0840: Midwife comes in, chats for a few minutes, and finds the heartbeat. It took a minute, and I found myself holding my breath. I was so relieved when she found the baby handing out on my right side, heart beating away perfectly. So relieved. After that, I got a quick blood draw and we headed to our next destination.

0930: We arrive at Urban Air! We loved Jumperoo last winter, and I can't believe we haven't been yet this winter. Actually, yet I can. November and December were crazy. It was really fun to be back, though! We spent 2.5 hours running, jumping, and climbing. I'm super proud of him for keeping his pants dry all morning.

1145: Only had a minor meltdown leaving our fun morning activity. Noah and I both ate lunch in the car on the drive home (chicken salad, applesauce, and granola bars).

1215: When we got home, Noah and I inhaled some air-popped popcorn. He played while I took a quick shower (just... too many germs indoors in the winter, and I just recovered from the last cold).

1245: Finally have Noah in his nap diaper and nap jams, in his dark room. I am PRAYING that our morning activity wore him out enough to nap. This 1+ month-long nap strike isn't my favorite. I proceed to lay in my bed and play on social media, waiting for the chattering and the footsteps in his room to die down. They never do. Instead, I waste the whole time on my phone, instead of napping or being productive. Not the best idea.

1430: I open Noah's door and he bolts out of his room. I ask if he wants to snuggle in my bed (praying for a nap), and his answer is an emphatic "no!" He plays with his little airplane, and I start making some potato salad. I wouldn't say I've had any pregnancy cravings yet, but the past 3 days I've actually had an appetite, and when something sounds not revolting, I've been trying to make it happen since I have lost half a pound in the past 11 weeks. Anyway, thus begins an hour of cutting, boiling, mixing, interruptions, toddler playing with water in the sink, needing clothes changed, etc. While the potatoes boil, I help Noah assemble his plane twice, and he fully disassembles it twice. It's fun to watch him figure it out!

1545: I eat a bowl of potato salad and read 5-6 books to Noah. He really loves the Jillian Jiggs books this week, which warms my heart.

1600: Time starts passing very slowly by this time of the day, especially when no nap is involved. I start grasping at straws, and ask Noah if he wants to help me bake cookies.

1615: The peanut butter has been thrown, jar shattered, and toddler in time-out while I clean up.

1630: I call the local Thai restaurant for takeout, noting the need to get medium spiciness this time. We order hot most places, but we were practically crying when we ordered hot from Lemongrass last time!

1700: Noah and I leave to pick up dinner.

1730: We are home, and start eating. Yum!

1800: Ross is home. He helps us finish mixing the cookie dough we started earlier, and then he and Noah play "lots of minutes," per Noah's request.

1845: Ross takes Noah to get a shower while I tidy up.

1900: We tag-team the bedtime diaper, lotion, tooth-brushing drama.

1925: Noah is in bed. He's been sleeping in his crib sans side since we got back from Christmas, and he's doing really well in the sense that he hasn't fallen off the bed, or slept on the floor by the door at all! We did change the monitor view, though, and I do miss smiling at all of his funny sleep positions before going to bed for the night.

2030: I eat a second helping of my dinner while Ross finally gets to eat his dinner. We debate watching a movie, but decide to watch a few episodes of The Office instead.

2130: Never mind. Don't actually get into bed until 9:30, and decide we are too old and tired to watch anything. Lights out!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Weeks 7, 8, and 9, oh my!

Wow. Wow wow wow. Either I'd forgotten how awful the first trimester is, or it's really just worse this time around for whatever reason. Nausea and total food aversion hit hard right at the start of 6 weeks, and even the thought of giving a nuanced weekly update made me more nauseated! I'm very thankful for twice-a-day meds, but I still have zero cravings whatsoever. Just a whole lot of aversions.

The holiday season? Wonderful. Joyful. Wiped. Me. Out. On the one hand, I'm super thankful that all the chaos has made the first ten weeks FLY by, whereas I remember them positively crawling when I was pregnant with Noah. On the other hand, the massive cold that I got this week has to be my body's way of saying that things are changing, quickly, and I need to slow down and re-evaluate accordingly.

And speaking of holidays, we told my extended family the news the day after Christmas, by simply letting Noah wear a "Super Cool Big Bro" shirt to Christmas at my grandma's house. It was fun to see the realization slowly dawn on people's faces at different times.

Another fun thing is, I feel like my belly started to "pop" this past week. I feel like I look now the same way I looked at 14-15 weeks with Noah. Also, I know the naysayers will scoff, but I SWEAR I've been feeling baby move this week. He or she is the size of a strawberry, so surely that's big enough for me to feel a "thump" when he or she bounces around, right? It's certainly big enough for me to have trouble bending over to pick stuff up already.

It's all suddenly so... real. We are (hopefully) 25% of the way to meeting this baby already! *gulp*

To quote my old favorite, Saved by the Bell...