Tag Archives: pregnancy

What not to do When There is Already a lot Going On {recipe: Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Smoked Gouda}

17 Dec

I try to write blog posts after stuff happens, and not while I am in the midst of it. Because as much as you think you may want to, you really don’t want to read my irrational diary entries. You want to read my blog posts. I do, at least. I want to read and write about what I learned or am learning, and not all of the crazy, I-am-sure-I-am-the-only-one-who-thinks-this-crap thoughts that get me to the end point. So I am writing in the morning, when my head is clear and I haven’t had time to think of anything crazy.

That being said, we have slowed down a little this week. The holidays take people out shopping or on vacation, and we have enjoyed a few nights at home this week. I can’t remember the last time that happened. We love everything we do and have wonderful friends and spend a lot of time out doing things, which I never regret. But, I also do not remember the solace and comfort of being home until I am doing it and it’s cold outside and we’re sitting on the couch drinking tea and eating cookies and not even remembering where our cell phones are. That is a good night.

This, in contrast to my days. I am starting to feel a little anxious. Only during the day when I am alone and usually when I am out to run an errand. I think it is becoming real that at any time, this baby could come and shake our worlds at any time, even when I am running to Target at lunch. I am excited to meet it, but I am also excited for it to bake a little more.

Right now it is safe. Feeding it is easy, I don’t have to know when it sleeps or when it wants to play, it sometimes makes me tired but I am sure it is not as tired as I will be later when it’s out and I am trying to get it to eat or sleep or stay awake or not cry. So when I am by myself, I start to think about the latter half, when it’s out, and I get a little anxious.

And when I get anxious I make lists of stuff.

What stuff? Any stuff. Things to do. Tasks to occupy my time with.

The best part of these tasks is that they are usually things that I have never done. When something stressful is going to happen or when something is coming that I know I don’t have control of, I try and give myself jobs that are a little risky, but I know I can master. I do it to build my self-confidence before whatever big event happens. To show myself that I am strong and I can conquer hard tasks. I also usually come up with these tasks close to the stressful event date, because I also like to show myself that I am good in a time crunch. Which I am.

Examples of past tasks are things like creating hand-made soap (this was two days before having six people come to stay at our house), or making personalized Christmas gifts for  20 people (three days before Christmas).

I am writing this blog post because I just put “make homemade marshmallows” on my list. I am confessing to you that I do not need to make homemade marshmallows, but I am going to do it. I don’t care if I have to get up at 5 a.m., it is worth it. I am going to prove to myself that I can be a little anxious about a baby and truly enjoy a quiet night at home but still conquer marshmallows. Alas, at least I am aware? Look forward to a post on marshmallows later.

This recipe is easy, it won’t make you crazy and you should make it. How is that for a segue?

Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Smoked Gouda

serves 6

12 ounces spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 10 oz cans sliced mushrooms

1 small red onion, sliced

1/2 cup dry white wine

kosher salt and black pepper

16 oz frozen spinach

8 oz smoked gouda (or other cheese that will melt well – mozzarella, brie, or monterrey jack would all work well)

8 oz meat, cooked and chopped (optional, I used leftover spiral sliced ham)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

In another pan, heat the oil over medium heat about a minute and then add the onion and mushrooms, cook about 5 minutes until onions are soft. Add the wine, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook about 5 more minutes

About a minute before the pasta is done, add the spinach to the pasta pot to thaw it.

When the spinach is thawed, run the pasta and spinach through a strainer and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Put the pasta and spinach back in the pot.

Toss the pasta with the cheese and reserved pasta water until the pasta is coated. Stir in the mushroom mixture and meat if you’re using it.


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.