Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's totally a girl. Unless it's a boy.

It's rather impossible to believe, but this kid is 37 weeks—full term—as of today. Little E is coming whether we're ready or not, so the only real question that remains is...girl? Or boy?

I totally don't believe in the whole old wifey sex predictions business. (Side note. Do we still not know the difference between sex and gender? It's 2012. The baby is a male or female. We did not find out the baby's sex. Please stop calling these gender predictions.) Cause guess what? This is allll 50/50 here. And 100% the hubby's fault doing. Which is awesome, by the way. I love placing blame.

However, that's not to say it's not fun to pretend...I just love when people are so adamant about it. Once someone decides what you're having, based on whatever, you are HAVING IT.

I constantly have someone look at me, pause, and make a "It is TOTALLY a (fill in the blank)" declaration. Seriously, it cracks me up. And I am totally guilty of this one, myself. (My track record on this one is excellent, by the way. I called the Parallel having a girl from cross country. And last week, another girlfriend had the boy I knew she'd be having. That is two for two on the "hunch," people. I should charge for this gift.)

So. In honor of all of you who care enough to have made your best guesses, or who still need to, here's a quick rundown on the most popular reasons why it' or the other.

Survey Says:
Low and in front= Boy
High and wide=Girl

I'm carrying high and in mostly in front, so, ass is definitely wider. So let's count that?
Score one for: Girl

Survey Says:
Heartbeat 140 or lower= Boy
Heartbeat 140 or higher=Girl

This one has pretty consistently been around 150, and sometimes as high as 175.
Score one for: Girl

Survey Says:
"Normal" morning sickness=Boy
Excessive morning sickness=Girl

I had next to none at all, and I'm sorry to rub that in—so many of my friends have had hellish times with this. (...I'm not, actually, it was fantastic.)
Score one for: Boy

Survey Says:
Leg hair grows faster=Boy
Leg hair grows normally=Girl

Seriously, this part has been mind-boggling. I'm normally a shave every/every-other-day girl, and I've been able to push it for 4 or 5 days lately. It's just not growing. Not normal, however.
Score one for: Girl?

Survey Says:
Acne,"being robbed of beauty"=Girl
Normal or glowing skin=Boy

First of all, let me just roll my eyes at this whole "robbing of beauty" bit. Screw you, I'm tired. The acne, however, has come and gone more than normal. On the other hand, I've been getting a lot of the 'glowing' comments lately. So I'd have to say...
Score one for: Toss-up

Survey Says:
Craving salty snacks=Boy
Craving sweet stuff=Girl

I'm normally all about the salt, but I've definitely had a sweet tooth, especially during the second trimester.
Score one for: Girl

Survey Says:
The father has more brothers=Boy
The father has more sisters=Girl

Hubby comes from quite the mixed family-two half brothers by his mom and a half brother and sister by his dad.
Score one for: Boy

Survey Says:
Dry, chapped hands=Boy
Softer than normal hands=Girl

Um, it's winter and I have dry skin. But since my hands are dry (especially my cuticles, someone needs a mani...), we'll go with it.
Score one for: Boy

Survey Says:
If you crave the heels of the bread=Boy
If you like the middle=Girl

I love this one. All I know is that if I have two slices left in a loaf and one is the heel, I'm toasting them both with some peanut butter. And I'm enjoying the heel one more. But I wouldn't eat it just because unless it was the last slice.
Score one for: Toss-up

Final Score:
Girl: 4
Boy: 3

Other "considerations," with which you should do with as you please:

Chinese Calendar says Girl.

In our birthing class, we were the only couple who did not know the sex. The other five couples were having boys.

Every single one of my cousins, on both sides of the family, have had boys first.

All of hubby's coworkers have had boys (five for five so far), even if the Chinese calendar said girl. None of them found out the sex beforehand.

As for my own hunch? I honestly have no idea. The first trimester I had a sneaking suspicion that it was a girl, but that's faded into more of a daily guessing game. Some days I get the boy vibe, some days it's more girly. Though that often just depends on which of our names (we have names!!) I'm liking more that particular day.

And there you have it, folks. So what's it going to be?

Friday, January 27, 2012

No, seriously, I need an oven.

There's a fun new game in my house, and it's called "Let's see how comfortable I can get in the crib before Pam comes and kicks me out." Factor in how long it takes me to get off the couch every time I hear the crackle of aluminum foil (Note to interweb advice-givers: aluminum foil does not keep cats off of surfaces. At least, not these cats. Not even a little bit.), and it keeps me fairly busy.

Yes, I can keep the door closed. But a perpetually closed door just seems to make the baby's room that much more intriguing, and I'm trying to adjust them gradually...learned behavior...reinforcement, blah, blah, blah. Wish me luck.

Yes, my life is so hard. I know. Unfortunately, I currently have people in my life who have actual problems. And I love said people dearly, and am really bummed out that I'm not able to leave town to see them right now. So last night I decided to put together a little Chemo Care Package. Some fun scarves, some new music, and some homemade ginger cookies. Ginger helps with nausea...I have no idea if cookies do the same. I hope they do. (And if not, that at least they cheer you up, Doc. I love you, and I Hate cancer. Capital H. No one, least of all you, deserves this shit.)

So between the cat-wrangling and baking 5 cookies at a time in my toaster oven, it was an interesting night filled with a soundtrack of aluminum crinkling and timers dinging. And cookies being eaten. I may have eaten a few cookies. Or three. Cause they're pretty damn good. And the baby wanted them. (And they're only 102 calories each!)

Ginger Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 slightly full tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup margarine (I used Country Crock with Calcium)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp orange juice (or you can just use water)
1/4 cup molasses

Combine dry ingredients (flour, soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt). In a large bowl, mix together margarine and sugar until completely combined and a little fluffy. Beat in the egg, then add the juice and molasses.

Gradually mix in the dry ingredients (About a third at a time) until completely combined. Put dough in the refrigerator for about a half hour. (Otherwise it will be crazy sticky when you try and form balls.)

Heat oven to 350.
Shape dough into balls a little bigger than an inch across. (If it's still sticky, try dropping them in a bit of sugar before you rolls them in your hands.) Place on cookie sheet with about 2 inches in between each. Flatten each cookie gently with your hand or a spatula. Cook for about 9 minutes, the let cool a couple of minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Makes about 24-25 cookies.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I feel like "Easy" and "Fast" should be the same thing.

Being the size of a house right now, and without the energy to make much more than salads these days, I've been looking for quick and easy dinner ideas.

(And this would be y'alls cue to send me quick and easy dinner ideas.)

I'm bored with Cooking Light recipes. is fabulous, but impossible to browse unless you have some inkling about what you want. So I went back to Sam for some help.

He promised these eggrolls would be easy and tasty. Both are true. But easy does not necessarily equal fast. Although, now that I'm thinking about it, if I hadn't also been juggling making cookies and cooking everything in a toaster oven, I could have had these done in one pass. Also, chopping pre-cooked shrimp, sauteeing for less than five minutes, prepping the rolls for another 5 minutes, and baking for 15ish minutes certainly sounds like it's fast. Sooo, how about Ms. Whineypants over here just shuts up and gives you the recipe already.

Served with Sam's Baked Scallops. Something went terribly wrong with my panko and they ended up with total mush around them, but they still tasted good. Add some sriracha to the sauce, it's worth it.

Shrimp Eggrolls
peanut oil
1 bag mixed cabbage for coleslaw (usually white, red and carrots)
8oz cooked shrimp, chopped
1/4 cup of stir fry sauce (We used Saigon Sizzle)
Sriracha (optional)
10 spring roll/eggroll wrappers (from the refrigerated section)
Spray oil
Sesame seeds
Soy sauce (low sodium)

Heat a bit of peanut oil in a wok or large skillet/saute pan. Add cabbage mix, and saute for a couple of minutes until it starts to soften just a bit. Add shrimp, and saute another minute or two. Stir in sauce and a good squirt of sriracha (if you like spicy). Remove pan from heat and let sit 5-10 minutes until cool enough to handle.

Spray a baking sheet with spray oil and heat the oven to 375.

Take an eggroll wrapper and place it with a corner facing you. Add a scoop of filling-2 tbsp or so-and spread it out a bit widthwise. Fold the right and left corners a bit over the filling, then roll up the whole thing away from you. Use a bit of water to wet the wrapper to close it and place on the baking sheet. (You'll get the hang of it. You'll no doubt have extra wrappers if you need to start over a couple of times.)

Spray each roll with cooking spray and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cook about 8-10 minutes, then flip and cook another 5-8 minutes or until they begin to brown.

For dipping sauce, mix another tbsp of stirfry sauce with 1 tbsp of soy sauce. Add a bit of sriracha or rice vinegar, depending on your mood/taste.

About 75 calories each.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cambodian Curry

I know that I'm a fortunate girl to know the founders of The Pepper Project personally. Not only are Tom and Cris both wonderfully talented people, but their generosity astounds me. (So go buy something. 100% of the profits go back to various artists and causes in Cambodia. One Hundred percent. That's called working for free. Well, that's what I call it. Tom and Cris call it donating their time for something they believe in, but they are obviously better people than I am.)

Tom—the chef half of the couple—knows I love to experiment with ethnic dishes, so it's not unusual for him to return from one of his trips abroad with a little something extra tucked into his bag for me—fish sauce, pho stock (A pho-kit, if you will. Ahem.), sea salt or spices. A couple months ago, he grabbed me some Cambodian curry powder, which is amazing. I've used it in place of Indian curry powder, which worked excellently, and last night I tried it in an actual Cambodian recipe, which was similar in flavor to a Thai curry.

My point is that you probably can't get your hands on this stuff (but if you can, do it!), and so feel free to substitute Thai curry powder or paste in this recipe.

Cambodian Chicken & Veggie Curry
Peanut oil (or canola)
12 oz. chicken breast, cut into smallish chunks
2 tbsp curry powder
2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 in thick
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 in thick
One medium brown onion, peeled, ends removed, and quartered
4 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 can light coconut milk
Small eggplant
Cooked white rice, to serve

Wash the eggplant and halve it lengthwise. Slice into pieces (about 2 cups worth) about 1/4 in thick and place on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit about 15 minutes as you chop the other vegetables, etc. Rinse well. (This step cuts the bitter flavor of the eggplant, if you were wondering.)

Heat about 1 tbsp of oil in wok or large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry until cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Add another 1/2 tbsp of oil and curry powder. Stir-fry about a minute, then stir in fish sauce and sugar. Add carrots, potato and onion, and toss well. Stir-fry about 10 minutes, stirring often, then add coconut milk and about 1/4 cup water. Bring to a slight boil, then add eggplant, combining well. Continue stir-frying, stirring often, until potatoes are tender, another 5 minutes or so.

Serve over hot rice.

About 1055 calories (not including rice):
211/5 servings
264/4 servings
352/3 servings

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Did you have a Shake-and-Bake childhood?

I totally did. There was a lot of shakin' and bakin' happening in my mama's kitchen. And it was always chicken..but I'm having a hard time remembering what the sides were. Probably broccoli, green beans or lima beans (which my sister always promptly fed to the dog)? Those were kind of staples growing up.

But I digress. Let me introduce you to a whole new way of looking at coated, baked meat. I used pork, but chicken would work just as well. It totally reminded me of the old-school in-a-box variety, but better ("waaay better," according to the hubs).

Went well with Stanky Brussels and a salad.

Oven "Fried" Pork Chops
4 6oz boneless pork chops, pounded with flat sided mallet
1/4 cup flour
large pinch salt
1/4 cup brown mustard
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
About a tsp smoked paprika
About 1/8 tsp white pepper
1 packet onion soup mix (Lipton, etc.)
Spray butter
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400. Arrange 3 shallow dishes on the counter. In the first dish, combine flour and salt. In the second, combine mustard and a couple tablespoons of water. In the third, combine the panko, paprika, pepper and onion mix.

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

One chop at a time, dredge both sides of pork in flour. Dip in mustard, coating both sides, then place chop on panko mixture, turning over gently to cover both sides completely. Place on foil and repeat with all chops. You'll have some flour and panko mix left over. Spray the chops with spray butter (a few good squirts each).

Bake at 400 about 7 minutes, then flip and cook another 7 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Roughly 350 calories each.

Musings of the Fat and Sober, Vol. 4

Cross posted today at Salt and Nectar.

Well, I am officially in the home stretch. 35 weeks down, which means this kid can safely arrive in as few as 2 weeks (and in less than 6, if it knows what's good for it.) It also means that this is my last Fat & Sober post, so I'm feeling a little nostalgic.

Here are some things I will not miss:
1. Needing two hands and the support of a wall to put on my underwear, pants, or anything else going on the lower half of my body.
2. The double bathroom trips. I'm already one with a small bladder, so I'm used to frequent potty breaks. But what is with the mandatory second trip 5 minutes later? Every. Freaking. Time.
3. Non-underwire bras. The baby hates underwire (as in, jab, jab, jab, jab all the live long day), so for the sake of my rib cage, I switched to the less supportive non-underwire route. I have a feeling this will not be the last concession I make for this child.
I felt this was an opportune time to point out that for the first time in my life, I now look down and see something other than my boobs. It's kind of exciting. And I obviously mean my belly. Ramona is always there.

4. Fetus-safe eating. I would like my first meal post birth to be spicy tuna rolls, a turkey sandwich, and a dirty gin martini. I will have a bottle of Shiraz for dessert. Whoever brings me this meal wins.
5. Posterior Pelvic Pain. It would be swell if my left ass cheek didn't hurt every time I do anything other than sit still or lie flat on my back. Speaking of…
6. Sleeping on my sides. See also: numb shoulders, ankle cramps, and sore hips.
7. The taste of Tums.
8. Flossing my teeth and spitting out enough blood to make it look like I just lost a fight to a hockey player.
9. The gas. Seriously. Like we need another excuse to be compared to blimps.
10. The (unsolicited) opinions; even the genuinely helpful ones. They just get old.

Oh, you have a name suggestion? I'll bet it's what we'll pick, then. I should have an epidural? I already decided I don't want one...Yes, I'm totally serious. I need a bassinet? But we have a crib, like, 10 feet from our bedroom. No, we're definitely not co-sleeping. We already co-sleep with the cats, and that's precisely why we know we don't want to.
Wait, seriously, mom? I shouldn't listen to rap because babies in utero don't like it? I just...I just don't have words sometimes. I know you all love us and are very well intentioned here, but Hubby and I are in agreement on our decisions, and he's the only other one who legitimately gets a say here. Even about Jay-Z (who, obviously, will also not be consulted for baby name opinions.)

And the things I will:
1. Feeling it move inside me. Even the karate kicks when I'm trying to fall asleep. Seriously. It's amazing.
2. Not having to suck in my stomach for photos.
3. Ummm.

Let's circle back to this whole naming issue. I've decided this is definitely one part of having a baby that would be easier if I were single. (It would also be helpful if all of my favorite girl names weren't currently in the top 10 baby names this year. I refuse to have my child known as Olivia H. or Ava#4 her whole life.) After many lists, much discussion, a lot of "ew, realllly's?" and about 3 mind-changes, we've come to an agreement on a girl's name. It's a good adult name, easily shortened to make an adorable kid-friendly name, and the middle name is in honor of Hubby's maternal grandmother. Done and done.

But as we were stupidly gung-ho on not finding out the sex, we've also got to decide on a boy's name. And this is proving to be impossible. We had decided on one, much to my mother's chagrin...

Mama: Any decisions on names?
Me: I think we're going with Ezra Jack.
Mama: (Loooong, painful pause.) Can I call him Jack?
Me: Noo, but you can call him Ezra.
Mama: But...what will you call him when he's little?
Me: We were thinking...Ezra?

And then my FIL convinced the hubby that we needed David as a middle name (blah, blah, family tradition). Ezra, which Hubby loves, is one thing. Ezra David, however, is another...we are not bible people. Like, at all. And now we're back at square one. At least we have a middle name?

I'm not that old, right? I mean, 19 year old moms get joint pain, too, right? Right??
As I was bitching to the hubby about how annoying it is to have to slow down and do everything old lady style, he gave me a shrug and, without even looking up from his Words with Friends game, said, "It's ok. You're not in a hurry."

...Oh. I guess...I'm I? Huh. I mean, why should I be in a hurry to get out of bed at 2am? Why do I need to literally hop out of my car when I'm just going to the grocery store? Does taking the stairs two at a time really make a difference when I'm heading into work? There's one flight. And this is why this man balances me. He can state the obvious and completely floor me with his brilliance. (Plus, I'm biased and a little bit stupid right now.)

That said, my chiropractor rules. I spent almost three weeks in agony, hardly able to walk, with a shooting pain in my butt every time I took a step, twisted, sat down, or generally used my pelvic/hip joint for anything. In other words, it was constant. And the only thing nearly as annoying as the pain was the involuntary grunting. Sitting down—ooof. Turning over in bed—hrrrrughhh. Every step—mmph. Seriously, it was annoying even me.

My doctor basically told me to get over it-it was common, and while, yes, it sucks, it will go away and nothing will help it. So I tried my chiropractor, and boom. I'm walking again, which I pointed out gleefully to the hubby last night. His response? "You're a lot quieter, too!"

But pain, annoyances, sacrifices and grossness aside, I know I've had it pretty darn easy. Pregnancy is not fun, and so many of my friends and family members have had it a whole lot worse. And all of them would do it again (or already did it again.) It's 40 weeks of our lives. It's an experience I'm glad I've had. I'm sure in 4 weeks I'll be to the JUSTGETOUTGETOUTGETOUTTTTTT stage, but for now, I'm ready for this baby to come when it's ready. Even if I'm still not sure I'll ever be.

So wish me luck! The Sarahs have asked me to share my sleep-deprived, clueless good, bad, and ugly experiences as a first time mom, so you'll be hearing from me soon. Until then, thanks for all the support, comments, and for listening to me bitch the last nine months.

XOXO, Pammy

Monday, January 9, 2012

Don't try and trick me with your bubbles,'re still not champagne.

Even though I allow myself to have some alcohol these days, I really don't want it. I'd say realistically, I've had maybe one glass of wine every week or two on average. Even during the holidays. Though I did discover that sparkling cider is far tastier with a splash of champagne on top.

That said, I have had a lot of excess sparkling cider around, and this was a great way to use some of it up. The chicken was good, but the rice was amazing.

Plus it gave me an excuse to use some of the many, many, many pecans we have gathering in the backyard right now. Too bad shelling the little suckers takes so long...otherwise we'd have some mad pie going on right now.

Cider Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter Pecan Risotto
1 tsp light butter
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup cider
2 cups chicken broth (plus additional)
2 tbsp light butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1 tsp light butter
4 chicken breast fillets, pounded thin
Salt and pepper
Chicken broth
1/2 cup apple cider (sparkling or regular)
1 tsp dijon mustard

For the chicken:
Sprinkle breasts with salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a saute pan over medium high. Brown chicken about 3 minutes, flip, brown another 3 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and cook until done, 2 or more minutes depending on thickness, adding a splash of chicken broth if chicken starts to stick.

Remove chicken. Add cider and mustard, combining well, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for a few minutes until thickened. Add chicken back to pan and cover until ready to serve. Pour cider sauce over chicken to serve.

For risotto:
Melt 1 tsp butter in large saute pan, and add rice. Saute over medium about 2 minutes. Add a half cup of cider, and let cook down, stirring often. When liquid is absorbed, repeat with remaining 2 cups of broth, half cup at a time. When broth is gone, taste the rice—if it's still a bit hard, repeat with another half cup of broth.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small pan. Let cook down until it just begins to brown, a minute or two. Add pecans, and toss well. Let cook another minute or two, then stir pecan mixture into rice.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How's that resolution going?

Cross posted at Salt & Nectar today.

To be perfectly honest, I don't make resolutions. I'm a stubborn Taurus and don't like being told what to do (or when to do it.) But whether or not you agree, I know how many people struggle with changing their eating habits this time of year. I'm not a dietician, and I'm definitely not a fitness guru. But I have learned some things over the years about making meals easier, healthier, and more interesting, and the Sarahs asked if I'd share some pointers.

Honestly, the easiest and most effective way to eat more healthful food is to cook it yourself. That way, you control everything from the ingredients to the portion size. So go buy yourself a cute apron, wash your hands, and let's do this.

For all of you "I hate cooking"/"I'm a bad cook"/"I have no idea where to start" non-cooks:

First of all, stop being afraid of the kitchen. For a lot of people, cooking is really intimidating—but it doesn't have to be, I promise. It also doesn't have to be time-consuming. I know a lot of people see cooking as a chore, but I really enjoy it. I see it as a way to get to eat exactly what I want while feeding the people I love. And take it from me—you don't have to be a world class chef to put something awesome on the table.

I think the best way to start is with a great cookbook. When I was in college, my mom bought me a chicken cookbook with 200+ recipes from different cooking styles and regions. I swear it changed my life. Go to a bookstore and browse the cooking section-flip through any that look interesting and see what you think. If you like soup, get a soup book. If you're into Italian, pick up a basic Italian one. Celebrity chef books can be great for beginners, too. Just be sure you see some recipes that sound fantastic but look doable.

Oh, and get your hands on a copy of The Joy of Cooking. It's got everything you will ever need to know in the kitchen, from what temperature you bake a potato at to the best way to cook an omelet. (Or you can always consult Google. Don't underestimate the power of the internet when it comes to cooking.)

Basically, just dive in. Start with the easy stuff, and always read the directions before you start. And remember: cooking is not an exact science. If you take a bite (always taste while you cook!!!) and you think it would be better with some pepper, add some pepper! If it's a stir fry that looks great except for those carrots you just can't stand, don't use them! Once you get more comfortable in the kitchen, you'll start realizing what flavors go well together, and which you prefer, and you can start experimenting more and following recipes less exactly.

Feeling pretty confident in the kitchen, but tend to get bored with your standard repertoire?

Make an effort to try new ingredients.
Take a walk through the produce department and make a list of items you've never used. Never tried sweet potatoes? Break out a cookbook or fire up Google/online cooking sites and search "sweet potato recipes." Pick a couple recipes that look good (and are very different-you may end up not liking sweet potatoes as a sweet mash, but may love them with some salt and cumin as fries) and/or have good reviews and give it a shot.

Sit down and plan some meals-variety is key. On most Mondays, I sit down during my lunch break and decide what I'm going to make for dinner that week. If I get stuck coming up with ideas, I start surfing cooking sites to see if anything strikes my fancy. Once I've got a meal or two down, I switch it up for the other nights. If it's red meat for Monday night, I search for a vegetarian recipe to try on Tuesday. Maybe something with pork on Wednesday, chicken something on Thursday, and some sort of pasta on Friday...I find when I keep it interesting, cooking stays more fun. It also keeps your family on their toes. No one likes eating spaghetti every single Tuesday night.

Keep in mind that reusing ingredients can be really helpful when meal planning. Basil, for example, is often used in Italian dishes and in Thai dishes, so you won't waste the extra if you use it on two different nights.

I also really like to use one or two main ingredients within a full meal to tie it all together. If you stuff a chicken breast with herbed goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes, serve it with a salad of mixed greens, goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes and balsamic. It's easy and you'll save money.

Just remember: keep it simple, and don't be afraid to try new things. You'll no doubt have some meals that go straight in the garbage, but you'll more often have some that become automatic favorites—make sure to always, always write those down.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Things I learned in Birthing Class.

When you're pregnant, the doc typically recommends you take an eight hour birthing class (broken up in several sessions, usually) at the hospital you're scheduled to give birth in. It's not mandatory, but for me it was a no-brainer. I like to be prepared, people. First step, however, was convincing Hubby that we even needed to go.

Hubby: Wait, so when is that baby class thing again?
Me: Birthing class. Tuesday at 6.
Hubby: Crap...that's the same time as our holiday party...
Me: (Not taking the bait) Aw, that sucks. But...why would they do it on a Tuesday anyway?
Hubby: I dunno...ummm...soo, we can't really miss one? Do we even need to go? We know what happens. You have the baby. Whatever.
Me: (Sorts emotions into place) Yes, babe. We have to go. It's the first class. There are only four, and we have to pay and everything. And we don't know what happens. I need more information...I don't know what to expec—
Hubby: Wait, wait, wait. We have to pay? What kind of bullshit—
Me: Oh, stop. Yes, it's 50 bucks.
Hubby: Fif-wha-come onnn.
Me: (Death stare.)
Hubby: Alright, alright. (mutters) Fifty dollars. I could teach this class for free.

Tuesday afternoon:
Hubby: So, I was talking to Fahzzy. He and L didn't go to birthing classes.
Me: (waiting to see where he's actually planning on going with this.) No?
Hubby: He said he wishes they had, though. She was in labor for 30 something hours, and he kept freaking out. So, you know.

I do, babe.

So. A few fun things we I learned.

The instructor may have you practice deep breathing methods by first watching a clock for 30 seconds, then watching some video of clouds and baby feet and ocean waves for 30 seconds. When she asks the class which made the time pass more quickly, the correct answer is not, "the clock." This answer results in shocked silence and apparently gives you the distinction of being the "only one in the history of the class" to feel this way. Hubby has now, however, offered to help me out Flava Flav style during my labor.
I've also been informed by the instructor that she will remember me forever. "If not by name, by the fact that you're the clock couple."

Having a baby is like having a poo. No, really, the instructor said this. In those words, because she is a quirky Brit and says fantastic things like that all day long. What she meant is that your body just instinctively knows how to push, but I will forever think twice about using the term poo-baby from here on out. (You know what a poo-baby is...when you have to get it, I know you do.)

I will forever be scarred by the wall-sized projection of a drawing depicting an episiotomy. She promised (PROMISED!) the doctors don't want to do these and so won't unless absolutely necessary, as they don't particularly like performing extra procedures (stitches, in this case). So all I can do is believe her.

Oh my god, the image is ingrained. Make it stop.

The idea of an epidural that I was tossing around? I don't want it. I am still open to it if medically necessary, but I'm now even more gung-ho about trying this thing naturally. If I succumb to the pain issue, I'd rather cave and receive another option, like a 'numbing' agent, rather than the whole shebang of the epidural. I know myself, and whether I will actually want to get out of bed and move around or not, the fact that I physically wouldn't be able to will seriously upset me. I'm already off my anxiety meds for the sake of this kid...the last thing I need is a panic attack during my labor.

Speaking of panicking, I'm ACTUALLY HAVING A BABY.

But eight hours of class later, Hubby told me how much he enjoyed the class. I think we're both feeling much more prepared and aware of what to expect, how long I can labor at home before having to drive to the hospital, and how he can will support me while I push a CHILD out of my body. (BTW, when are they going to invent a way to do that laparoscopically? That's got to happen eventually, right?) I was pretty disturbed that our class only had five couples in it when it's only offered twice a month, because I'd recommend it to anyone having a baby.

Yes, you have to watch some videos showing more of complete strangers than you're really comfortable with, and you may be struck a few hours in with the notion that ohmygodthisisreallyhappening, but it's also fascinating and informative and honest. If you're ever on the fence, go. And tell that baby daddy of yours to shut it and just go. Cause really, we all know this is all their fault.

Monday, January 2, 2012

There's a baby in there. It's not just steak, I swear.

It's really not fair to be pregnant over the holidays. I feel like all I've done lately is eat, and I'm getting weighed—by a doctor, no less—every two weeks. It's just not right. When I cook, I can at least control some of the potential damage, but it's still hard. Especially when the hubby requests New Year's Eve dinners that are "like we went to a steak house without having to actually going to one." Right.

He specifically requested creamed spinach, which I'd never made before, surprisingly...I love that stuff. We're not the only ones, right? It's delicious. And so is this recipe. Thanks to Anne Burrell for providing the base. Thanks to me for making it way less fattening. (Without the cheese—which I did not miss at all—and with light milk and butter, you can cut out 230 calories and 23 grams of fat.)

By the way, no judging the ginormous potato and piece of steak on the plate. I feel the need to point out that I ate less than half of each. I needed to save room for a berry tartlet. Priorities, you know.

Creamed Spinach
Olive oil
Cooking Spray
2 pounds washed baby spinach (bagged is easiest)
One large shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons light butter (butter/canola mix)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup 1% milk
About 1/8 tsp nutmeg
sea salt

Coat a stock pot with spray and heat over medium. Add spinach and cover, stirring and tossing often until mostly wilted, then remove spinach to a colander to drain. You may need to do one pound at a time for space reasons.

Add a splash (about 2 tsp) of olive oil to the pot. Add shallot and saute about 3 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and saute another 2 minutes. Add butter and allow to melt. Using a whisk, stir in flour. Cook, moving around constantly, 4-5 minutes.

Slowly whisk in milk and nutmeg. Stir frequently, allowing milk to come to a boil, then reduce heat immediately to low and continue whisking about 5 minutes or until thick. Add salt to taste, around 1/2 tsp or so. Stir in spinach. Serve hot.

652 calories total
8 servings/81.5 calories
6 servings/109 calories
4 servings/163 calories