Category Archives: My Life

10 Things I’ll Miss (and not miss) About Pregnancy

After baby #2, my husband and I agreed we were done. We were blessed with 2 healthy boys, busy busy healthy boys. We felt content with having 2 kids and for years felt we were fully happy as a family of four. Then when #2 was about 3 1/2, we started to consider the possibility of adding one more to the family. I think we both felt someone was missing.

With less than 3 weeks to go until D-Day, I can confidently say (I think) that baby #3 will round out our family…at least I don’t plan on being pregnant again….sigh. I am lucky, I have good pregancies. I don’t have terrible morning sickness or complications and it pretty much is a smooth 9 months. Since this will be the last 3 weeks of being pregnant, it causes me to reflect on what I’ll miss (and not miss) about being pregnant.

Things I’ll MISS:
1. Feeling the baby tumble, rock and roll, kick and hiccup inside my growing belly. It’s an amazing experience to feel another person moving inside you, a little alien-ish but such a close bond that I wish my husband could somehow experience.
2. My flawless glowing skin, thank you pregnancy hormones….um, doctor. can I get a prescription for those ??
3. Proudly displaying the growing belly in every picture possible instead of sucking in the gut.
4. Not feel guilty about  watching my belly grow bigger and gaining weight each week.
5. My rock hard abs (okay belly).
6. The boys talking to the baby in the belly.  They like to use their monster voices to growl “hello baby.”
7. Stretchy, loose and comfy clothes everyday and everywhere!
8. Eating icecream for lunch or at night or really any time of the day and no one is judging, not even myself.

Things I will NOT Miss:
1. Heartburn….when I drink water or eat anything. Tossing and turning and sleeping upright to fend off the heartburn….and the taste of chalky antacid tablets.
2. Sleeping on the sofa with tons of pillows to help keep me propped in place to support the belly.
3. Braxton Hicks contractions that seem to extend to my back and have become progressively more uncomfortable.
4. Wishing every night that we had a bathtub in the house, or a jacuzzi, a jetted tub or something to soak away the aches
5. All those trips to the bathroom during the day and night
6. Not being able to run, hike or chase after the boys.

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Pumpkin Pancakes

This year we successfully grew 4 pumpkins in our garden. After making 2 pumpkin pies and several breads I had just a little leftover (from just 1 pumpkin!).  We often make pancakes on the weekend. The boys love to help measure, mix and flip until the first 2 pancakes are off the griddle at which time they seat themselves and dig in while I finish making the rest.

So one morning I added the leftover pumpkin puree and some spices to make some thoroughly delicious and festive pumpkin pancakes! Great for Halloween, Thanksgiving or any other time of the year. Since pumpkin is full of nutrients, I don’t mind serving these all the time!

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
6 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1-2 cups milk

1. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and spices in a large bowl. Add eggs, oil, pumpkin and 1 cup of milk. Mix together and add more milk as needed until you reach a good pancake consistency. You don’t want it too thick more on the runny side is better.
2. In a heated pan  or griddle over med to high heat, pour batter in 2-4″ circles. When the batter starts to bubble it’s time to flip. I use a non-stick griddle so I don’t have to butter the pan.
3. I serve this with warm real maple syrup and a dash of powdered sugar.  These are delicious the next day as a little snack served cold or with apple slices.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Still working through that whipping cream, I found this delicious recipe for creamy pasta and chicken with a little kick borrowed from cajun spices.  Another one to add to the rotation this recipe was so quick and easy. The sauce cooked up while the noodles cooked lending itself to an easy weeknight meal!

 

Ingredients:
2 boneless chicken breasts sliced thin and cut in half
1 lb penne pasta
2 tsp cajun seasoning
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
10 oz diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat, add chicken, season with cajun seasoning. Saute chicken until no longer pink 5-7 minutes.
2. Add onion and garlic, cook another 2-3 minutes. Add cream tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper and heat through.
3. Pour over cooked pasta, sprinkle with parmesan cheese

Seriously delicious-ness! Enjoy!

My First “Sunset” Recipe

Somehow I have started receiving Sunset Magazine, which I am finding quite entertaining!  Between having a big garden and my love for cooking the magazine hits several of my favorite subjects…and some day I plan to incorporate more travel into our lives as the boys get a little older so I’m getting some good ideas!

Sometimes I look at magazine recipe’s and just can’t fathom ever replicating the dish. But I found one this past month that I had to try in part because I have a 1/2gallon of heavy whipping cream that I bought for caramels now sitting in the fridge and I don’t want it to go to waste.  I’m warning you now there will be more recipes containing whipping cream to come very soon!

This was so quick to prepare and so easy!  Hubby asked me to add it to the lineup 🙂 That means it’s “goooooood”.  I changed it a bit to accomdate the ingredients that I had on hand. It called for Swiss chard but I used spinach from our garden instead. It also originally required spicey Italian sausage but I used the Brats we have an abundance of and added 1-2 tsp Italian seasoning…These changes are reflected in the following recipe. Find the original in Sunset October 2012 page 96. 🙂

Enjoy!
Creamy Sausage Fetticine
Ingedients:
1 lb fetticine noodles, cooked per the box
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 lb brats (or italian sausage of your preference)
1-2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped spinach leaves
4 Roma or meidum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup slivered basil leaves, to garnish
Shaved parmesan, to garnish

1. Cook pasta per box instructions. At the same time, heat large skillet/pan add olive oil, sausage, italian seasoning, onion, garlic. Stir frequently until sausage is brown, about 5 minutes. Add spinach, tomatoes and cook covered another 4 minutes. Stir in cream.

2. Drain pasta.  Pour sausage mixture over pasta, sprinkle with basil and cheese. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Mousse (or chocolate elk)

We’ve had more than our share of moose around the house this summer and fall. We’ve counted at least 5 different cows and bulls hanging out by the deck, sipping water from the boys “pond”, lounging by the playground and cruising our roads.  I have a 1/2 gallon of whipping cream from last weekend when I made caramels and needed a few more recipes so it didn’t go to waste. When I told the boys I was making chocolate mousse, they asked if I’d make chocolate elk or chocolate bear instead…so I think we have a new name for a very traditional chocolately dessert…here is our Chocolate Elk.

The boys loved helping whip this up, literally.  Of course they like licking the beaters!

I also think that what a person puts into a martini glass says a lot about them. I served our Chocolate Elk in my grandmothers vintage swirl martinin glasses….I honestly don’t think I’ve ever served martini’s in them but they make fabulous dessert dishes!

Ingredients:
8 ounces chocolate chips (or semi sweet chocolate)
6 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1. Melt chocolate and water in saucepan over medium
2. Whisk in vanilla and allow to cool
3. Whip cream. After it begins to thicken as sugar and continue whipping until thick.
4. Add cooled chocolate and blend on low.
5. Scoop into martini glasses, garnish with chocolate chips and chill in refrigerator.

Makes 6-8 martini glasses!
Enjoy!

Sticky Caramel Rolls

Last weekend we made caramels…ooey, gooey delicious caramels!  Maybe it’s the allure of caramel apples and the Halloween season  but I was seriously in need of caramel. While the caramels set up I moved on to these caramel sticky buns.
What I love about these is the dough is so easy and doesn’t take much time at all. The sauce is also simple and the final result is not overwhelmingly sweet but rather rich and well, delicious. I finished the weekend with a little less roominess in my jeans as I am sure I have some caramel hanging out waiting for me to burn it off at the gym!

caramel sauce

dough

filling

Directions:

1. Sprinkle brown sugar in greased 9×13-inch pan. Pour over whipping cream, set aside
2. In large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add water, egg, and melted butter; beat at low speed until moistened.
3. By hand, stir in 1 1/2- 2 cups flour. Knead 3 minutes; let rest 10 minutes
4. Roll dough to a 7×15-inch rectangle. Spread with butter; sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up tightly and seal edges. Cut into 1-inch rolls.
5. Place in prepared pan. Cover and let rise until doubled.
6. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.
7. Let sit for 5 mintues then invert onto serving plate (I used a large cookie sheet)

Originally found at http://baking.food.com/recipe/nanas-caramel-cinnamon-rolls-241325

Ciabatta Bread (Bread Machine)

I’ve owned a bread machine for at least 16 years, maybe more. I think I am on my third machine and I love it. I don’t ever bake the bread in the  machine as I prefer the traditional crust that only baking in an oven can make. Fresh baked bread from the oven makes me feel like a domestic goddess. Maybe because I feel like I am providing a very basic need to my kids, maybe it’s the aroma of fresh baked bread in the air, maybe it’s because I feel connected to my great grandmothers and a time when bread was sold in a loaf and not sliced. I don’t know what it is exactly but I could bake bread everyday!

I love crusty specialty breads like ciabatta and thought I’d give it a try at home. To my pleasant surprise I found this super easy recipe that makes a delicious bread perfect for meat dishes, pasta, soups etc. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

1. Place ingredients into the bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer.
2. Select the Dough cycle and start.  Go do something else, start your soup, pasta, drink some tea, whatever 🙂
3. Once cycle is complete, the dough will be very sticky and wet. DON’T add more flour.
4.Place dough on a lightly floured board, cover with a large bowl and let rest for 15 minutes.
5. Divide into 2 pieces and form each into 3 x 14″ oval
7. Place loaves on prepared baking sheets (I love using parchment paper on my baking sheets as it gives a nice stick resistant cooking surface). Dimple the surface with finger tips and lightly flour.
8. Cover and let rise in draft free place for 45 minutes.
9. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
10. Dimple dough again and place loaves in the oven.
11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Spritz loaves with water every 4-10 minutes for a crispier crust.
Let cool before slicing and enjoy!

originally found at http://low-cholesterol.food.com/recipe/ciabatta-bread-29253