Monday, October 31, 2011

Our Weekend in Recipes

Friday Night to combat our colds...

Chicken and Rice Soup

cooked chicken (about 1-2 cups)*
1 cup brown rice
2 carrots
2 stalks celery
1/2 onion
2 quarts homemade chicken stock

Bring stock and rice to boil. Add chopped celery, carrots and onion. Reduce to simmer and cook 45 min-1hr until both rice and veggies are cooked. Add chicken and cook another couple of minutes until heated through. You could also add other veggies such as peas, corn or green beans at this point. Salt to taste.

*I cook a whole chicken in the process of making the stock. Place chicken in large stock pot along with onion, celery, carrot, garlic, fresh herbs, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to boil, skim, reduce and cook one hour. After an hour remove the whole chicken and set on plate. Once cool enough to handle remove meat from chicken and set aside. Return carcass back to stock pot and cook for another few hours. I used half the meat from the chicken in the soup and saved the other half for another meal.
Adapted from Nourishing Traditions

Saturday morning.... Homemade beef stock
Place beef knuckle bones (or some combination of beef bones for broth)in the large stock pot. Cover with water and add 1/2 cup vinegar. Let sit one hour, drain and cover with fresh water. Add onion, celery, garlic, carrot, fresh thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns and cook it for 12-24hours. We started ours at noon on Saturday and topped it off with hot water before bed and let it cook until 10am Sunday morning. Cool and then strain. Season with salt.

Saturday night...

chicken with curry sauce

cooked chicken
1/2 onion chopped
1 Serrano pepper seeded and cut into large slices
2 Tb butter
1 Tb olive oil
2 Tb Indian curry paste (or curry powder)
1 cup homemade chicken stock
1 14oz can of coconut milk (whole fat)
Juice of one lime
fresh cilantro
fresh or frozen peas thawed

saute onion and chili in butter and olive oil until onion is soft and translucent. Stir in curry and cook a minute or so. Add broth, bring to boil and whisk until will combined. Add coconut milk and cook at simmer until sauce has reduced in half. Add lime juice. Strain sauce and return to pan. Add cilantro and season with salt to taste. Add chicken and peas. Cook until heated through. Serve over rice.
Adapted from Nourishing Traditions

Sunday Morning...Toast with Homemade cream cheese, honey and jam

Homemade Cream Cheese (Recipe from Nourishing Traditions)
1 quart whole fat yogurt
cheese cloth or bread towel
mesh colander
large bowl

Place colander over large bowl. Line with cheese cloth or bread towel. Place whole carton of yogurt into colander and let sit all day. After 8-12 hours pour reserved liquid (whey) into jar and keep in fridge. Place long handled wooden spoon over yogurt and tie towel around it to make bundle. Leave bundle hanging over bowl over night. I usually transfer it to the fridge before bed. In morning add remaining whey to jar and place cream cheese in container. Will keep for one month.

To make cheese taste more like cream cheese you can salt the yogurt in the beginning.

To make honey cream cheese take about 1/4 cup of the cream cheese and add 1-2 tsp of honey. Mix well with fork until smooth and creamy. Spread on toast and top with fruit or jam.

Needless to say our weekend was delicious! I am especially enjoying our cream cheese. What have you been eating recently?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Randomness

I read somewhere that babies in the third trimester can taste your food, and that foods you eat while pregnant and nursing are foods your baby will be more likely to eat when you start feeding them solids. For this reason I have been trying to eat a lot of diverse and interesting foods, such as greens, squash, sweet potato, curry, Chinese food, beans etc. However, I pretty much have been craving cheerios and banana's, eggs and chicken broth. Not exactly the most interesting of flavors.

Can we just take a minute to acknowledge how awesome cheerios and bananas are? I mean really, are there as many combinations as perfect and refreshing as cheerios banana's and cold milk? I think not.

When I was a kid I never would drink the leftover milk in my cereal bowl. The cereal and fruit makes it sweet and I didn't want to drink sweet milk. Then I started buying my own milk and I quickly changed my ways.

We have delicata squash from our last CSA box and it is delicious. If you haven't had it you must try it. I know a lot of farmers markets and higher end grocery stores carry it. The best way I've found to fix it is to simply cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and place face down in baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes until tender. Add some butter and salt and pepper. It's the perfect taste of fall.

Last night some friends of ours brought us dinner and their 1.5 year old. He quickly demonstrated just how un-baby proof our house is. How is it that toddlers have such a knack at identifying the dangerous/disgusting things first. He went right for the plug ins, cords, garbage can and fire place pokers.

Yesterday I was watching Julia Child and she made tripe. This did not make me want to eat tripe. She had a whole tripe on the show and it looked just as disgusting as it sounds. Then I watched a show about homemade sausage. This was much more to my liking.

Well happy almost Friday! What are your weekend plans? I'm looking forward to my husband actually being home for a while. He's had a lot of evening meetings and events lately. I am also so excited for my church baby shower. I haven't been able to go to church for almost 6 weeks so I'm so excited to see all my church friends.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Varieties of Birthing Experience

I am a member of the City Club of Eugene's program planning committee. A few months back during a meeting I had to step out to take a phone call and while I was out it was decided that I, being about 5 months pregnant at the time, would plan a program on birth. This is always the risk you take stepping out of a meeting:)

The program I planned took place on Friday. Unfortunately I couldn't attend due to my bed rest but I was able to listen to the program on the radio. Here is the link It's called WELCOMING BABY TO EUGENE: Varieties of Birthing Experiences. And it features a child birth educator, Carolyn Jenkins, Colleen Forbes, Certified Professional Midwife, Michele Peters-Carr, Certified Nurse Midwife and Kay Yanit, Labor & Delivery Nurse at McKenzie Willamette hospital. I was so pleased with how the program turned out.

I have to say that when I first started planning this program I was very irritated. I was irritated that people assumed just because I was pregnant I wanted to plan a program about birth. However, as I worked to put it together I really enjoyed it. I've become very interested in issues around labor and delivery since I've been pregnant and preparing for my own birth. I was able to use a lot of my experience to shape the panel. One thing I wanted to highlight in the program is the outside things that influence a families decision about how they birth their baby. When Chris and I found out we were going to have a baby our first instinct was to use a midwife. We are both very interested in natural and preventative medicine and I have been seeing a naturalpathic doctor for years. A midwife who would be more focused on helping us have a natural delivery seemed like the best option. However, we soon learned it was not that simple.

In our area there are four options for your birth. An OBGYN in the hospital, the Nurse Midwifery center which is next to one of the hospitals, an alternative midwifery center, or a home birth. Our insurance only covers an OBGYN in the hospital or the Nurse Midwifery center. When we called the nurse midwifery center we were very disappointed to learn that you don't work with one midwife. You see whichever midwife happens to be on call during each of your visits and when your baby is born. Furthermore, if there are complications you may be transferred from the center to the hospital and be transferred to the care of whichever OBGYN is on call. We felt very strongly that we wanted to have the opportunity to establish a relationship with our provider. Yet going outside our insurance was not an option for us. So we ended up with an OBGYN in the hospital. We have been very blessed to find a wonderful OB who we love and who has been very supportive of our desires to have a natural birth. We've also been grateful as we've faced complications for her skills and knowledge.

It was very interesting to us how much our choice was limited by these conditions. In planning the program I wanted to relate what the different childbirth options were and what factors impacted families choices. I also didn't want a presentation that favored one method. As I have learned about birth I have realized that different models are right for different families.

For us we believe a natural birth is best and we are doing everything we can to prepare for that. But given the complications we've already had we are also grateful to birth in a hospital that will be equipped to intervene if it becomes necessary for either me or our baby.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Margot's Book shelf

Last week my book club came to my house so I could still be apart of the discussion despite bed rest. I have been a part of this book club since it came together almost 4 years ago. At our meeting they all surprised me with a book shower! They brought cake and each member brought their favorite children's book for Margot. And one of the ladies made Margot a Mother Goose quilt. It was so much fun and so exciting for Chris and I to open all those wonderful books.

We already had some children's books that were mine when I was a child and now with all of these Margot's book shelf is brimming with wonderful books to read. Chris and I try to read to her every day and we've a had a lot of fun working our way through the various books. Here are some of our favorites, first from my childhood:

This book was my favorite as a little kid. It takes place in Russia and is about a peasant who has magical powers and lots of wisdom and the Czar who lacks wisdom. The illustrations are amazing.

And some of our new books we love:

As famous as this book is I actually had never read it until someone gave it to us. I love the colorful pictures and the fun room.

Another one I hadn't read. This book is so sweet and has beautiful pictures.

Again another I hadn't read. This book has quickly become my favorite. I think I've already read it to Margot half a dozen times. It's a beautiful book.

What are your favorite children's books?

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I am feeling very random and restless this thursday afternoon.

-Tomorrow I am 32 weeks pregnant. This means we are just 4 weeks away from the "safe" point of the pregnancy. Right now I'm guessing we are about 6 weeks from Margot's arrival. I have a feeling she'll be about two weeks early--although its' just a feeling--who knows.

-I have been on bed rest for alomst a whole month.

-It's weird to watch seasons change primarily from the windows. I do get to leave the house but not very often.

-I have been watching a lot of Julia Child lately. Chris got the French Chef shows for me from the library. They are excellent. I've also been watching a lot of Good Eats because I heart Alton Brown--he's hilarious.

-The downside to watching cooking shows is I am inspired to cook something and can't. I miss cooking and can't wait to have my kitchen back.

-What else have I been doing?

Reading: Great with Child, on Becoming a Mother by Debra Rienstra. I am almost done with this book and have really been enjoying it. The Princess Diaries books (again). I just love these books they are mindless and hilarious in the best way. What to Expect the First year, now that we are so close to actually bringing a baby home I've been getting a little panicky about how to take care of her. So I've been reading on infant care. I'm sure it's irrational pregnancy hormones talking but I will become convinced at 4am that I'm going to incapable of taking care of our baby. I also try to read to Margot every day. Usually I read the bible or a children's book. I just finished reading the Mother west wind stories to her.

Watching TV: I try not to watch too much TV but you can't read all day long as much as you may enjoy it. Besides Julia Child and Alton Brown I also have been watching Glee, Cheers and we just finished the first season of Modern Family.

Cross stitching: I'm still working away at my baby sampler for the nursery. I don't even want to think about how many hours this thing has or will take me before I'm done. This however is really the only thing I can do to satisfy my nesting instincts so it's good.

Knitting and listening to the radio: Most days I listen to all things considered on NPR while knitting. Sometimes I listen to NPR other times too.

- I am very excited for this weekend because Lauren is coming for my shower and is going to stay with me and Chris parents are also coming to town. Saturday I'm having a baby shower thrown by my dear friend Jessica and I actually get to leave the house and see people!!!!

Happy Weekend:)

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Roles

Since I have been on bed rest Chris and I have found ourselves in new roles. Since we've been married I have generally managed the house and the kitchen. I make grocery lists, meal plans, clean out the fridge, cook, do housework and all the laundry. He's always helped with those tasks but never had to oversee them. Now he does. Probably this is good for both of us. He is becoming more aware of what is involved in taking care of the house and I am forced to let certain things go. We're growing.

Last weekend we had friends over for dinner. We'd made the plans before I was put on bed rest and we really wanted to see our friends so Chris said he'd just do all the work. I was so proud of him. While I remained on the couch directing him, he cleaned house, cooked dinner, served dinner, did dishes, served dessert and so on. And he was such a good host. Plus his dinner was delicious. I made up the recipe as we went and it turned out so wonderful. He is starting to become a really good cook. It's really fun to watch how much he improves. We didn't take any pictures but I thought I'd share the recipe anyway. This was a great meal for entertaining easy, cheap and delicious.

Braised Chicken and tomatoes with Cous Cous

1 chicken cut up or 6-8 thighs and drumsticks
2 Tb cumin
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
lard or vegetable oil
2 leeks chopped and rinsed
2 cloves garlic minced
5-6 fresh tomatoes chopped
1 tsp corriander
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken broth
cous cous cooked

Pat chicken dry and season with salt, pepper and cumin. Dredge chicken in flour and brown in hot oil or lard until brown on each side. You'll probably have to do this in batches. Set chicken aside. Add splash of olive oil to pan then add leeks. Cook for a few minutes then add garlic. Cook another minute then add tomatoes, salt, pepper, corriander and bay leaf. Add chicken back to pan then pour in broth. Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook about one hour.

Serve over cous cous. We served this along with glazed carrots and a salad. Sauteed spinach or chard would also be really wonderful along side this chicken.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Finished Project

We now have a red front door and matching red Adirondack chairs on our front porch. I love our new bright and cheery entrance. I'd hoped to put up a fall wreath and plant some Mums for our porch but that will have to wait for next year.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pregnancy Update 30 Weeks

This week I am 30 Weeks pregnant. I can't believe how close we are to meeting Margot.
Here are some pictures of the bump from last week (29 weeks).

So how are we doing at 30 weeks?

We have our crib and Chris is going to put it together this weekend.

We've had one baby shower and have another coming up next weekend.

Margot is growing well and is now over 3lbs.

I have completed two weeks of bed rest. I'll be honest bed rest is kind of horrible. Luckily I can work from home which I know helps tremendously. Work at least takes up 8-9 hours of my day. I have spent a lot of time reading, knitting, listening to records and the radio. People have been really sweet about coming to visit me which helps so much.

As much as I don't enjoy bed rest it appears to be working! We had another ultrasound and doctors appointment yesterday and the doctor was really pleased. There are no new signs of early labor and Margot is continuing to grow and thrive. So while I have to stay on my back for another 6-10 weeks at least it's keeping her safe inside. My mother in law told me that every day she stays inside is three less days in the NICU. So we just have to take it one day at a time and keep praying for a full term baby.