Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We're On Our Way!

So I've been very busy lately and with that lovely first trimester exhaustion setting in most nights, I haven't kept up with my postings here. That's sad because I have good news! I went to my endo last Friday and we not only saw a growing baby right where it was supposed to be, but also a heartbeat. One of the most beautiful little flickers you will ever see on screen and the sound...like underwater music. I was amazed at how much little Blueberry had grown in just 10 days. So this ultrasound measured the baby and said I was 7 weeks 3 days on that day, which puts my official due date at June 29th. Naturally the busy mom in me thinks this is a wonderful idea--no worrying about ferrying the boys to and from school while a birth is going on. Woot! The next day we told the kiddos...to mixed reviews. They were confused (What? You don't LOOK pregnant??) to happy (Awwww BABY!) to mildly freaked out (Wow we already have four kids...now we'll have FIVE?). This cracks me up as that's kind of how my thought process went when we first found out too. Once I start showing, it'll settle in on them more, I think. Right now they're too busy hating our names. But kids have no taste. We told them we're liking Jude or Luke this time around and they instantly declared that they didn't like either. Then Sean suggests Duke! Duke?? Then someone says "Awww Dukie!" I angrily respond that Dukie is just another word for poop! Hysterical laughter ensues. Uggg... anyhoo. Our kids wouldn't be happy unless I named him\her Link or Zelda so I guess they're doomed to be miserable.

Moving on to the health department....yeah it's kind of sucked here lately. The weekend felt kind of celebratory after the good news so I let things slide here and there. Then yesterday was my Erik's 4th birthday and he wanted pizza and chocolate cake with chocolate icing. Ohhh a boy after my own pregnant heart. Anyhoo eating like that always makes me uber happy...and then makes me feel like shiz warmed over for the rest of the evening. You'd think I'd learn! *sigh* But I must fight those food-loving Italian genes and strive to do better this day! (Why did I hear that last part of the sentence in a Katherine Hepburn sort of voice? Wow...) Well I'd better scoot. I'll try to post a recipe later on or make good on my promise of healthy lifesaver shout-outs. Ta-ta for now, darlings....

How do you like your chicken fried? (Horrible inside Katherine Hepburn joke...)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life (and Diet Changes) are Like a Roller Coaster...

Alrighty, so yesterday I fell off the wagon at dinner time. I was tired. Nay, exhausted. Like dragging on your feet, not even a direct IV line of straight caffeine could pull you out of it exhausted. I had a headache. Bren had taken a really short and crappy nap. My house was a mess. I had cleaned out the fridge earlier in a frantic search for my tahini paste, so my sink had been taken over by The Metallic Blob again. Words cannot describe the piles of laundry in my bedroom. And then to top it off, one of the decorator pumpkins I had on my bar exploded and left it's nasty, stanky guts oozing all over my bar area. And did it smell. Oh my gosh. When I'm pregnant, the smells KILL me. I can smell things from a mile away and it can either make me very happy, or (more often) make me very nauseous. For example, when I was pregnant for Bren, I went to my parents' house. We were sitting at the table with my sister just chatting and I caught the delectable scent of Molina's Relish. I inhaled deeply and asked my sister if mom had made relish. Her eyes got big and she replied "Umm...yeah. Last WEEK!" Jason then dubbed my pregnant super power "Super Scent". Anyhoo, back to yesterday... Tuesday is BOGO day at Dominio's (SNL's Donald Trump anyone?) so I caved. Since I couldn't find a magic wand to make my dishes magically clean for me, I decided to use the magic internet to have my dinner magically brought to me instead. Needless to say, dinner was NOT healthy. To be honest, it wasn't even good. It was bland. And that Buffalo Chicken pizza they make is gross. Waaaayyyy too much cheese, hardly any buffalo sauce flavor and big hunks of undercooked onion. What the hell does onion have to do with Buffalo Wings?? Left me stumped and unhappy. Cici's makes better Buffalo Chicken Pizza than that and it's way cheaper. Ah well, lesson learned. 

Well, since I didn't get around to my "shout-outs" post yet, I figured I'd post a recipe that I thoroughly enjoy and will be making this weekend. In keeping with my Italian theme here lately, I will post this amazing recipe by Weight Watchers for Pork Cacciatore. It's amazing. It's like this warm homey Italian stew that's easy to make and only takes one pot! (A huge help in the war on The Metallic Blob.) 

Pork Cacciatore
Serves 4

12 oz lean pork tenderloin, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-in chunks   
1/2 tsp table salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, divided
3 spray(s) cooking spray, divided  
3 small uncooked Yukon Gold potato(es), peeled, cut into 1-in chunks
1 medium onion(s), halved and thinly sliced
3/4 cup(s) water, or more if necessary, divided
1 medium yellow pepper(s), cut into 1-in chunks
8 oz mushrooms, halved or quartered lengthwise (about 3 cups)
3/4 tsp dried rosemary, or to taste
1 cup(s) marinara sauce

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat.
Sprinkle pork with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add pork to skillet, increase heat to medium-high and cook, turning pieces occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes; remove to a plate.
Off heat, coat same skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and 1/2 cup of water; cook, scraping bottom of pan, 1 minute. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
Add yellow pepper, mushrooms, rosemary and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper to skillet; sauté over medium-high heat, until vegetables are lightly browned, adding a tablespoon or two of water if needed to prevent sticking, about 7 minutes.
Stir in marinara sauce, pork and 1/4 cup water; bring to a simmer. Cover skillet, reduce heat to medium and cook until vegetables are tender and pork is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.

Well, I must cut this one short. Senor Bren-Bren has decided that my attention should be fully focused on him and not my laptop...unless I pull up his Laurie Berkner videos. I'm just not ready for that yet this morning sooo....toodles for now.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Recipe Post #2

This lasagna rocked my socks. I kid you not, it is the bomb. My entire family loved it so much that I felt obligated to post it and spread the good Italian cheese-laden word. The servings were really large, it oozed with cheese and at only 320 calories a serving... yeah I could put a really horrible Italian cliche here, but I'll refrain. Just suffice to say, this beats the pants off of any healthy frozen lasagna I've tried. If you don't want to use jarred marinara, you could always use your own. The only time my Momma used to make lasagna is when she had leftover suga ready to go. This is the route that I would ordinarily go, but I was tired tonight. I cracked open a jar of Prego Healthy Smart and even that couldn't bring this lasagna down.

So without further adieu....

Better-Than-Ever Cheesy Meat Lasagna
Makes 9 servings
(this little gem is from kraftfoods.com)

3/4 lb. extra-lean ground beef

3 cloves  garlic, minced
1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 jar  (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce
1 large tomato, chopped
1 container (16 oz.) 2% Milkfat Low Fat Cottage Cheese
1/4 cup  Grated Parmesan Cheese
lasagna noodles, cooked
1 pkg.  (7 oz.) 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, dividedHeat oven to 375°F.Brown meat with garlic and oregano in largesaucepan. Stir in spaghetti sauce; simmer 5 min., stirringoccasionally. Remove from heat; stir in tomatoes. Mixegg, cottage cheese and Parmesan until well blended.Spread 1/2 cup meat sauce onto bottom of 13x9-inchbaking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Top with layersof 3 noodles, half the cottage cheese mixture, 1/2 cupmozzarella and 1 cup sauce. Repeat layers. Top withremaining noodles and sauce; cover.Bake 30 min. or until heated through. Top withremaining mozzarella; bake, uncovered, 5 min. or untilmelted. Let stand 5 min. before serving.

In other news, things have been going well. Tomorrow I plan to post a few shout-outs to some healthy-living lifesavers that I really love. But for now, this pregger is tired and my bed is singing it's siren's song to me.

Yes, my love... I am coming.... *snore*

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Into Every Pregger's Life, a Little Fat Must Fall..

So Friday was a good day. I kept tracking everything in my babyfit tracker and made a slimmed down "Loaded Baked Potato" soup for dinner with wheat baguettes. It was a recipe from kraftfoods.com that is really simple and yummy that I made some substitutions to. Instead of full fat cheddar and sour cream, I used reduced fat and 2%. Instead of regular bacon cooked in a skillet, I used Bacos. Overall, it was good, but next time I would definitely use turkey bacon instead of the Bacos. They really weren't that great and the preggo after-burps were just awful. Funky..soy...weird...yuckness.

Now yesterday on the other hand... *insert maniacal laughter here* I fell off the wagon. Why no pouting or sadness? Because it was GOOD. It was just what I was wanting so bad and it friggin' rocked. Oh sure, there was a modicum of guilt but overall, I figure it's a deep craving satisfied and today I'm back on the healthy-horse. Here lately I have been wanting comfort foods. Things that are warm and satisfying. So the other day the craving hit for down-home fat-laden Paula Deen approved Southern food. I wanted Chicken Fried Steak covered in cream pepper gravy with mashed potatoes and rolls with butter. I wanted this more than I can express with words. I can only suppress cravings like this for so long so last night we decided to go out to Bed Bath and Beyond for some home necessities and I suggested we hit the Barbeque place down the road. It was heaven. I ordered a big bad Chicken Fried Steak, garlic Mashed potatoes (both covered in cream gravy), green beans with bacon, and of course...they have a little warmer full of yeast rolls and butter. This is almost pregnant porn, people. It. Was. Worth. It.

We walked around (aka fought with the kids) throughout BB&B so I figured maybe I burned a few calories (especially the fought with the kids part. Mental note to self: never bring a bunch of young boys to a place like BB&B...it's just suicide). But then on the way home, we passed a Ben and Jerry's scoop shop. Now we have been on the hunt for their new limited time flavor "Schweddy Balls" since we heard of it's creation. That SNL skit was always one of our favorites and to have an ice cream paying homage to it was, to us, uber awesome. And then the flavor! Little rum balls peppering ice cream? Sounds great, sign me up! This flavor has been crazy-hard to find thanks to the prude-moms-of-america being offended by it's name. I won't go into this...it honestly chaps my behind and I could fill an entire blog post about this unfair persecution of Pete Schweddy and his amazing holiday balls. But I won't. What I will say, however, is that they had the pints in stock, and Jason and I enjoyed it last night...and it was amazing. Those little rum balls tasted like real chocolately rummy confections. Excellent way to end the evening and made my pregnant heart happy.

But did I enter that evening in the babyfit tracker? Hell no. And I'm pretty sure Paula Deen would smile and say "You go, girl...that baby needs some butter, yall!"

Friday, November 4, 2011

My First Recipe Post

So yesterday went really well by way of trying to be healthy. I signed up with the website babyfit.com first of all. I wanted to see what nutritional recommendations they had for me. They gave me a minimum of 2200 calories! That really threw me for a loop... I feel like I ate a lot yesterday and my calorie count came in around 1800. I guess once I get established with an OB (my endo is taking care of me and the Sproutlet for now) I'll ask about this. 2200? REALLY? Maybe I should drink more milk. Well, if I liked milk.

Okay down to the recipe! I tried out a new recipe for Taco Meat last night and it was the bomb. Here's what I did:

Lean Chili-Taco Beef (makes 4 servings)

    2 Tbsp chili powder, or Mexican seasoning  
    1/2 tsp ground cumin (I made this heaping...I love Cumin) 
    1/2 tsp Garlic Powder 
    1 tsp olive oil  
    1 small onion(s), chopped  
    8 oz uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)  
    8 oz canned tomato sauce  
    8 oz canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained 

Heat the olive oil over Medium heat. Add the meat and onion, cook until the meat is browned. 
Add Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Cumin stirring well and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Add the 
kidney beans, tomato sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring 

And you're done! I was worried about the tomato sauce. I honestly thought it would be too runny, but since the beef is so lean, it added an extra depth of moisture and flavor. Not at all watery either. 

I even made my own healthy tostada shells! I took a sheet pan sprayed with a bit of non-stick spray, laid out the tortillas, hit the tops with an extra shot of spray, and baked them in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes. I popped them out, flipped them, hit them with a touch more spray, and returned to the oven for 3 minutes. Take them out, allow to cool for a few seconds and you have some really yummy shells made without deep frying or tons of oil. :D 

For myself, I topped the shells with light sour cream, the meat mixture, some 2% shredded Mexican blend cheese, chopped tomatoes, and shredded lettuce. Delicious. And very filling. Made my pregnant self very happy. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm not fat, I'm knocked up!

Well now that I've rambled about surprises and purposes, I figured I should get down to the brass tacks of this blog. My main purpose here is to work on my health. I am a notorious yo-yo dieter. I'll do great and follow all the rules for months...and then fall off the horse and go back to eating way too much junk. And exercise? Something so good for you should not be this hard for me. I even have a gym membership and can't seem to get there near as often as I should. It's really pathetic. To complicate matters I have an autoimmune disease involving my thyroid so loosing weight comes a lot more slowly than it used to. Both J and I did the South Beach lifestyle for a long time and enjoyed many aspects of it, but certain aspects of it were not realistic. To keep all elements of sugar out of your diet, you seriously have to cook every single meal from scratch. Did I mention I have four kids? Boys at that? Yeah, that's not realistic. And don't get me started on the dishes it created....my sink looked like it had been taken over by the metallic version of the blob all the time. So not too terribly long ago we tried out a free month of Weight Watchers. We loved it. You really can eat anything, you just have to factor for it. You don't have to avoid sugar like the plague, it teaches decent portions, and allows you to eat as many fresh fruits and veggies you want for no points at all. But Jason and I both LOVE our food. We're heavily Italian and Italians love food. They make GOOD food. I am a damn good cook. And when I don't feel like cooking, we both love fast food waayyy too much. Burgers, pizza, tacos, ice cream, you name it, we love it. Did something happen worth celebrating? Yay let's have food! Are you depressed? Comfort food will make it all better. Mediocre day? Food! Bored? Food! aaannnddd so on and so forth. It's an evil cycle and both the love-of-my-life and myself are like hamsters in wheels. It's hard as hell to get out.

But this has to change. My last pregnancy I gained more weight than ever and it all settled in my hips, thighs, and butt. I spread width-wise so much that everyone thought I was finally having a girl. In reality we were coming off of the South Beach lifestyle and all I craved in early pregnancy was white carbs. Grits, bread, crackers, tortillas...they were delicious and helped to stave off nausea. All that weight I'd taken off of my belly came back with a vengeance. I was quite a hefty pregger and I strained my usual maternity clothes. It was sad. I felt like a whale. I do not want to be in that place again. Unfortunately due to my extreme lack of willpower and the surprise factor of this pregnancy I'm not where I wanted to be weight-wise. I know preggies aren't supposed to diet per se, but you can eat healthy and exercise. You can become strong and all the weight you gain can seem to drain out of you and into your growing belly. I know because my second pregnancy was this way. I came out of that pregnancy way smaller than when I went into it. I was scared to death of being gestational diabetic (like I was in my first pregnancy) so I ate healthy with my OB's guidance and morphed into a different person during those nine months. So I think I can do this. With the help of the principles I've learned in Weight Watchers, some serious willpower, and the help and support of my family and friends, I really want to do this. I want my tiny sesame seed to be healthy and I want to be healthy for him\her and my other boys. I do NOT want to be the pregnant beached whale again.

I want this blog to be the place where I can vent, laugh, post daily anecdotes, doctor's advice, and recipes too! As I mentioned, I love to cook. Finding a recipe that is crazy delicious and good for you, thrills me to my toes. Cooking successfully fills me with pride that rivals the pride I have in my children. (Don't flame me, I'm kidding. Sort of.) So, without further adieu, I hereby christen this blog with a big virtual bottle of alcohol-free champagne, and open my journey to the world.

Wish me luck.

Good morning, starshine...

...the earth says hello.
This is my first official blog post. Guess I'll start with an intro. I just turned 30. I am married to Jason the love of my life and have been for almost 10 years now. I am a stay-at-home mom to four awesome little boys ranging in age from 8 to 1 years. I recently found out that the universe decided to send me a huge SURPRISE!!!...in the form of an unplanned little #5. Stunned much? Why yes... very much so. My husband and I both were, actually. I seriously felt him trembling when he hugged me. I began worrying about his heart. But after walking around like a stunned zombie for a day, I started to remember that everything happens for a reason. I honestly believe this to my core. Nothing happens without there being an underlying cause and usually, an effect that makes you sit back and go "Ohhhh...now it makes sense."

Case in point #1, my awesome hubby once got a job..it had better pay, benefits, and was an overall upgrade. It quickly proved to be a hot mess. They stopped paying for benefits after a few months, the execs were demanding (we're talking calls about e-mails not being received at 3am), the environment was toxic, the hours were erratic and very long, and we found out that the company wasn't profiting and (my personal favorite tidbit) the CEO was a former bigwig at Enron. Ohhh that had WINNING written all over it. Sooooo many times we'd ask ourselves "why the hell did this happen?" Well, while he was there, a new manager came along who was waaayyy too good for that crappy company. He and Jason hit it off really well and when the company tanked later on (inevitably) this guy got an amazing new job at an international company and contacted my hubby to offer him the job he has now. WOW. See? You sit back and go "Ohhhhh, right! All that hell had a reason and was worth it!"

Case in point #2. After our third son, we inevitably got baby fever again and wanted a girl. We revamped our girl name selection and dreamed of pink. I dreamed of passing down my old She-Ra dolls and buying Barbies and princesses and fairies. The entire pregnancy was different. Everyone predicted that we finally had our girl. 20 week ultrasound came along and our little girl had a big ole penis. My husband was depressed. Hugely. He'd wanted a Daddy's little girl soooo badly. Well, he adjusted, of course, and 20 weeks later, Bren was born. Bren is like J's mini-me. He lusts after technology more than any baby I've ever seen, he and J slept together, napped together, and when Bren was fussy, J would put on Depeche Mode and that made the tiny guy happy. He LOVES his Daddy. Jason wouldn't trade him for a million little girls. ;)

So this pregnancy, will have an amazing purpose. Perhaps the tiny product of it will grow up and find the cure for cancer or be the next Steve Jobs...or you know what, he\she could just be a ditch digger that touches a life somewhere along the way. Will I go a little crazy in the mean time? Yeah, probably. But as long as I don't land in the looney bin, I'll be good. ;) I am woman. Hear me roar. And probably cry from time to time, but damn it I will always come back roaring!