Archive | September, 2009

I Love Carbs Now, Honestly {recipe: chocolate caramel oat bars}

22 Sep

I am going to be honest with you, because it will be best to maintain honesty in our friendship. I originally made these bars to send to my brother. And then I ate them all.

Sorry, Ben.

I shall make more. Actually, I am a little afraid to make more in case the same thing happens where I lose all willpower and then eat too, too many. So maybe I will make you something slightly less tasty.

In the spirit of honesty, there is more I should share… all these tidbits of pregnancy that I did not expect. Honestly…

1. The first is that dutiful willingness to indulge in many a baked treat or carb. I have never been much of a bread or pasta eater, thinking meals laden with such things leave me feeling full and sleepy, but now I have a newfound love for them. Especially when I am hungry and turn into the need-to-eat-now-or-the-hungry-monster-will-take-control-of-my-emotions person, nothing fixes that quicker than a quick pasta dinner or frozen pizza (gasp!) for dinner.

2. There is a sense of pride that comes when someone you don’t know, asks you in public when you are due. At this point, you can stop wondering if everyone just thinks you drink a lot of beer.

3. The willingness of other pregnant ladies to share their pregnancy/baby things. Right now, I am wearing Erika‘s shirt and Olivia‘s pants. Amber-Rose‘s sling and Coralee’s Baby Bjorn are patiently awaiting a newborn, tucked away in the closet, and Jackie’s soft, green crib bumpers are rolled up on the floor, where the crib  will go in the nursery. I didn’t ask for any of these things. Friends just willingly shared from what they had from their own babies. Think of what life would look like if we did that with all stages of life.

4. Temporary, overwhelming emotions to a not-over-emotional person like me.

5. Pain. I came back from a run last week with shooting pain in my back and down my leg. I am only 23 weeks pregnant. This will get worse and I am a little irritated that the pain has started now, and not 12 weeks from now.

6. A sense of feeling. Other than physical pain and other than the occasional over-emotional times that I mentioned before. I feel like if pregnancy has done anything to me, it has made me ‘feel’ things more, giving me a heightened sense of emotion. I like it. I would say that I am someone who shoves things out of my mind and would rather not deal with things that are hard because they can cause hurt, and consequently, I don’t feel as much excitement around happy things as I should, because I feel like getting really stoked about something only sets me up for disappointment, and then that hurt that I so desperately avoid. So….I am hoping I can hold on to this. Not being an emotional wreck, but just having heightened senses of excitement and sadness, because I am finding that those things only drive me to a healthy empathy and sorrow, or joy and thanksgiving.

7. Pregnant does not always mean tired. There have been multiple mornings that I have quit fighting insomnia at the wee hour of 4am and just gotten up to start the day.

8. General largeness. I knew I would get bigger, but I really only thought my stomach would get bigger. I have jeans that side low, on my hips below my waist. I left these jeans in the closet when I rid the racks of any clothing I knew would not accommodate my growing belly. Much to my surprise, I am 23 weeks in and, um, none of those pants fit. Apparently all other body parts grow throughout pregnancy as well. Some more than others, but we won’t go there. This weekend, I will conduct Round Two of maternify-my-closet, and all such pants will be banished to the storage tubs, sealed, and placed on the floor of the closet, not to be opened until June of 2010.

9. Nosebleeds. And giant veins. I look like a body-builder. You gain something like three pounds just in blood during pregnancy…and it shows on me. So much that for 10 days straight the veins in my node would burst from so much pressure and I had nosebleeds.

10. Excitement and Fear. Fear of pain. Of giving birth. Of raising a human. Of not being enough…and Excitement to experience new life. To give birth. To raise a child with my husband. To try.

Chocolate Caramel Oat Bars

from Half-baked

2 2/3 cup oats, rolled, old fashioned or quick cooking, divided

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
32 kraft caramels, unwrapped (or, a bag of the new kraft caramel bits for baking)
5 tbsp cream
1 cup chocolate chips

Grease or butter a 9×13 pan.

Take 1 2/3 c. oats and whirl through a food processor until they resemble a fine flour.

Combine oat flour, baking soda, salt and stir well. Stir in oats and brown sugar. Cut butter into dry ingredients until crumbly.

Press half of mixture into a lightly greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
While the base is baking, in a small saucepan, melt the caramels in the cream until smooth.

Remove pan from the oven. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the base. Drizzle the caramel mixture on top. Add remaining oat mixture. Return to the 350 degrees oven for another 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow bars to cool before cutting. Because they don’t contain any flour or eggs the carmalites are not as thick and a little most crumbly than most bar cookies but they taste so good you won’t mind.

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This Will Change Your Life (and mine) {recipe: starbucks banana walnut bread}

1 Sep

Back in May, exactly one day after Mother’s Day and two days after I had thrown a baby shower for my most wonderful friend, I, myself peed on the magic wand to discover some timely news.

I have not told you all yet, blog readers,  but I, two-years-and-change-into-marriage, what-should-I-do-with-my-life, oh-things-are-so-easy-to-not-have-kids, am pregnant. Yes, sometime in mid-January we are supposed to be having a baby. I am just sure ours will come via stork, clean and wrapped in a nice blanket and not with the traditional arsenal of medical tools awaiting every pregnant woman at the hospital. I am sure.

From starbucks banana bread

That being said, I have the normal pregnancy stuff, nothing that I can really tell you which would be out of the ordinary. But there is one little caveat. The only thing I didn’t expect is probably this craziness of feelings and thoughts and emotions. I am not a huge “feeler.” I would say, in any event I sort of guard myself from becoming too excited that I would be devastated if let down, and I also deny becoming too upset about anything, because what is that going to help, really?

Let me tell you what has changed. Not just my expanding waistline, or the fact that I am a human incubator harboring giant soon-to-be milk factories, or that any time after 2pm, I could slide into unsuspecting narcolepsy, or that I think if I don’t find out this baby’s gender, I can’t feel bad that I don’t feel prepared for this baby because heck, I don’t even know if it is a boy or a girl. Oh, there is more than that.

We shall call it a tornado of emotions. Now, I would not call myself an over-emotional person. Moreover, I think that I don’t get excited enough about things because I fear disappointment, or that I am not greived enough, because I am trying to shield myself from pain and hurt. Until now. Now, there is no filter. No shielding.

So, last Saturday, I was a huge jerk to my loving husband. I then proceeded to cry, uncontrollably, for at least 90 minutes and between sobs said things like, “I am so overwhelmed,” and, “I am just sad.” And Jon would have done anything to help, but all I wanted was for him to “sit there with me” to console me, after I was so rude. Then I got over the overwhelmed part and cried because I was being a horrible wife and how am I supposed to be a good mother if I am already a horrible wife? It went on. He stayed. Consoled. I survived.

Whew. So, I got through it and I am back now, in action, but something inside me thinks that will not be the last time.

Well, a few good things have come out of the last week. We had some friends and their cute baby over for breakfast last Sunday and I made this banana banana bread that is so, so good. I then proceeded to make it three more times within the following week. That’s how good it is.

All that being said, the banana bread will change your life; the banana bread AND the baby will change mine. Can you tell I am nervous?

From starbucks banana bread

I can’t take credit for this recipe. I started with a recipe for Starbuck’s Banana Walnut Bread that they posted on their corporate site. With a few modifications, this is awesome.

Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread

makes one 9×5 in. loaf.

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/8 cup sugar

1 egg

1 T. vanilla

2 c. flour

1 t. baking soda

3/4 t. cinnamon

3 very-ripe bananas

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 325 F and grease a 9×5 loaf pan.

Mix together oil and sugar until blended. Add egg and vanilla and stir.

Stir in flour, cinnamon and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, mash bananas until creamy and then stir in  buttermilk.

Add banana mixture to flour mixture andstir to combine.

Stir in half of nuts.

Pour batter into pan and top with remaining nuts.

Bake 45-60 minutes or until wooden toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

From starbucks banana bread