Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A possum held me hostage once

I always said that would be the name of my autobiography. Not that my life is interesting enough to warrant an entire book. Just a self-absorbed, stream of consciousness, random-ass blog ... Right?

Anyway, it's true. A possum held me hostage once. My college boyfriend ended up in the ER late night, which was basically my fault. I came back to his then-empty fraternity house to get his wallet (the doctors wouldn't release him without an insurance card) and when I tried to leave, there it was. A possum. Sitting on the front porch. Staring me down. Refusing to let me leave. Threatening my life. My arch nemesis, my biggest fear, looking me right in the eye. 

Ok, that story isn't really exciting. The headline is much better, I'll keep working on the autobiography. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Recipe: Four Bean Salad

This was 100% thrown together but a big hit with everyone, even London. I guarantee you can easily adapt it to your tastes / what's in your fridge and it still works! It's certainly a summery side dish but I was serving sloppy joes and I think it worked out, even in 30 degree sleet. 

1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 cup cooked green beans, cut into bite size pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped 
1 container feta cheese crumbles
3 tbsp (more or less to taste) balsamic vinaigrette

Drain & rinse all the canned beans
Cook, cool & cut green beans if using fresh or frozen (if using a can, just drain & rinse) 
Chop all the veggies
Mix all veggies / beans in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to eat
Mix in dressing & cheese when ready to eat

Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish Beef Stew

I'm not going to link back to a recipe because I used several as inspiration but really made this one my own, and it was delicious! My first attempt at beef stew from the cow we bought didn't turn out well (totally my fault ... and the fault of all slow cooker recipes that say "cook on low for 8 hours OR high for 4 hours!" ... Liars.) but this one was a hit - London especially liked the meat!

1.5lbs stew beef
4 medium carrots, 
2 medium potatoes
1/2 medium onion
1 can low sodium beef broth
1 (small) can tomato paste
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
3 bay leaves 
1 bottle dark beer (I used People's Porter)
1c water
1tsp minced garlic
Garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste

Chop beef, carrots, potatoes and onion into bite-size pieces; throw them all in the crockpot
Throw everything else in with it (water can be added or altered based on your discretion as to how much broth you want)
I added more salt than I normally would to help tenderize the beef
Cook on low for 8h. I'm not joking about this!

22 weeks

I was waiting until my drs appt today to see if there were any fun updates. Nope! And I chickened out on asking about my weight gain, so no news there either. 

How far along?: 22w 3d
How big is baby?: the size of a spaghetti squash! Baby is about 8 in long and weights about a pound. 
Weight gain?: ???
Stretch marks?: no
Maternity clothes?: I am actually wearing post-partum jeans today and they're too big. If the pants are still too big at 22w pregnant, that's probably a sign to get rid of them, right?
Sleep?: still waking early, especially with poor London coughing in the early hours of the morning, but sleeping ok
Best moment last week?: we took London to the St. Patricks day parade on Saturday and she LOVED it!
Food cravings?: yesterday it was a burger (mmm MoJoe's!) and I've been enjoying a pepperidge farms coconut cake!
Symptoms?: still getting these sharp, sudden pains which the ob said are uterus growing pains and totally normal, so at least that's good news. She said the pains get worse with subsequent pregnancies; let's hope I don't have to worry about that
Exercise?: signed up for prenatal yoga starting next month!! Although I'm bummed the teacher I love isn't there anymore. 
Movement?: very active but not painful yet. Most active when I'm sitting on the couch to rest, especially at night. 
Belly button?: still in
What I miss?: I'm worried about the placenta issue enough that I feel like I can't walk long distances, which is hard now that the weather is nice. Praying & believing we'll get good news in 6w and I can take London to the zoo!
What I'm looking forward to?: continuing to work on clearing out the nursery so we can eventually paint. We finally decided on colors! Red, navy & aqua with gray undertones and dark furniture. Now if only we could pick a name...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Beef with Broccoli

So, we bought a cow. Well, only a portion, but even a portion of a cow is a lot of freakin' beef. And for someone who didn't do a whole lot of cooking with red meat previously, it's been really eye-opening. I have no idea what to do with a lot of the cuts, and I used to cook chicken 90% of the time. But it's pushed me out of my comfort zone and some of the results have been great, including tonight's attempt at beef & broccoli. 

Recipe inspiration from:

1.5lbs beef cube steak (the recipe called for flank steak but I think cube worked fine if that's what you have)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce (I ised regular because that's what I had; it was very salty but still good!)
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp canola oil

1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp red wine
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp canola oil, separated into 2 tbsp and 1 tbsp
Half a bag of frozen broccoli

Whisk marinade ingredients together
Cover steak with marinade in a medium bowl
Cover & refrigerate for at least an hour ( I let it marinade for 4-5hrs since I was using a less tender cut)

When ready to prepare:
Heat 2 tbsp oil on med-high heat
Sauté broccoli until cooked through and tender (about 3-5min); remove from pan
Meanwhile, whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, flour, red wine and garlic in a small bowl
Heat 1 tbsp oil on med heat
Add marinaded beef to pan
Cover with half soy sauce mixture
Cook until beef is no longer pink
Add broccoli and remaining sauce; sauté for one more minute, stirring frequently
Serve with white rice

21 Weeks

20 weeks always feels like a great milestone, but 21 weeks might be even better. Why? Because, assuming all is well with me and Little Brother, my ob won't force induction until 42 weeks, so I'm officially at least halfway through the pregnancy, even in "worst case scenario". Because I am trying my darnedest to avoid pitocin this time!! So anyway, I'm 21 weeks, my belly is huge, and the man child still has no name. But all in all, life is good because hey! it's 60 degrees out and I have beef & broccoli marinating for dinner tonight and a new maxi skirt calling my name. Simple pleasures, y'all. 

How far along?: 21 weeks 2 days
How big is baby?: approx 7in long and 11oz
Weight gain?: my scale is broken. Oh darn!
Stretch marks?: no
Maternity clothes?: yes, but still not all the time. Rocking some shirt dresses recently with an empire belt. 
Sleep?: not bad. Still waking up earlier than I'd like to but I'd better get used to that. Hoping this daylight savings thing takes care of London's recent early rising. 
Best moment last week?: it was a pretty good week overall! I hit up a consignment sale and got some basics for the boy. Ben's been sick (boo) but it means he's been home more, which London & I love. I would say my best moment for the last week was getting a HUGE box of clothes for London passed down from a friend. What an incredible blessing! Oh, and singing "great is thy faithfulness" at church this morning. 
Food cravings?: ice cream; every night. Red meat. Shrimp tacos. 
Symptoms?: my boobs are so sore and itchy, it's awful. My nipples are bigger than should be physically possible and OH! do they hurt. The heartburn is really kicking up, and the tums have to be swapped out for Pepcid soon. But compared to where I was a few weeks ago, I'm grateful! 
Gender?: little brother
Movement?: daily but still faint and still very low. Ben gets to feel him from time to time. 
Belly button?: no change here
What I miss?: I'm being super indulgent with food this time around so I don't miss much besides sex (sorry if that offends but 10 weeks is too long!!). I had a delightful non-alcoholic beer last weekend to curb the beer craving and even had half a glass of wine last night with dinner. I'm pretty sure I was tipsy after 2 sips (kidding of course ). 
What I'm looking forward to?: warm weather hopefully sticking around!!