Posts tagged food
thoroughly obsessed with....lactation cookies

A cookie is a cookie.  But, a lactation cookie has the added benefit of claiming to help with one's milk supply, therefore you are permitted to over indulge, no? I am really proud to have made it all the way to 6 months exclusively nursing Henry. With going back to work when he was a wee 8 weeks old, I did not have much confidence in being able to maintain my supply through pumping.  Thankfully, I have been able to.  There have been a number of days or weeks when I felt that my supply was going down or Henry's appetite was peaking and these continue to concern me. My next goal is 9 months and then 1 year. I feel that by setting these shorter nursing goals I relieve a lot of the pressure on my body to produce what it must. I have a little stash in the freezer that provides added comfort toward making my 1 year goal, but I also know how quickly that stash can be depleted! Henry has recently started to add solids to his diet and while these do not act as meal replacement, they do help him get through the work day on what I am able to pump from the previous day and then I frantically fill in the gaps with nursing at home and still at least once in the early morning hours. Having just come off a two week vacation (where my pump retired itself to the closet) I feel as though my supply has changed.  I know my body needs to get accustomed to our old work routine and I need to be patient but I also need something to help calm my racing, frantic mind.  That is where the cookies come in. If you Google how to increase your breast milk supply a few suggestions are commonly shared: Pump more. check. Nurse as often as you can. check. Drink mother's milk tea. Yuck, but check. Try Lactation cookies. Mmmmm check!  I have made these cookies a few times and really love them. They may be helping, they may not. But, they help give me peace of mind and that is priceless. it also helps that I think they are delicious! I have been using this recipe (although interestingly they come out a little different each time). I know in the picture they look a bit like dog biscuits, but truly they taste much better than that. Trust me!

  • 1 cup  plain flour, add 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup low fat butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons of brewers yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups steel cut oats
  • Chocolate chips
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar then add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flaxseed and water, let sit for a few minutes before adding to mix.
  • Add the dry ingredients (apart from the oats and your additional ingredients) and mix well again.
  • Finally, stir in the oats and your chocolate chips.
  • Bake for around 10-12 minutes at 350
food truck festival
Things have been a bit hectic here. My parents moved in while they await the completion of their home 6 miles away. And, we are helping them sort out a bit of paperwork and some home-selling bumps! In order to give everyone a break from the whirlwind this has presented, we decided to take a little short break on Saturday morning before having to dive back in.I don't know why but everyone seems to love food trucks! The meals are cheap, trendy, and delicious.  Not to mention the trucks always seem to have the cutest names like Chubby Chickpea, Insane-wiches, or Tipsy Taco. On Saturday our suburban community gathered on the common for the Metrowest Fest: a food truck festival combined with live music, bounce houses for kids, and a craft fair. The weather could not have been more perfect. When the sun came out it felt like a warm Summer day and when it hid behind the clouds a cool, crisp Fall breeze came through. The event started at 11AM and was bound to be a zoo, so we decided that since we have our little man it would be best to drive over and find parking early. We arrived around 10:45 and the whole space was ours for the perusing.

 

Instantly my parents knew that they wanted to check out the Lobstah Roll Truck. We were their first order at exactly 11AM. It looked delicious and my parents confirmed that indeed it was just as tasty as it appeared.

David is super lucky. At work each day of the week, one of these scrumptious food trucks parks at the end of the road by his office. So while all these places were new to me, they were old hat for him. Bahn Mi is a truck that David always raves about so I rushed there.

The sandwich was FANTASTIC!  I seriously could eat it everyday. The meat was tender and the sauces nuanced. The bread was toasted perfectly and I only wish I had another one!

We also sampled truffle fries, limeades, bacon grilled cheese, and calamari before we decided that we needed to take a little breather and walk around the craft fair. By then, it was starting to fill in and we were so happy we were able to see our friends: Joe, Nikki, Christine, Carl, Maryellen, Dan, Jill, Jordan, Karyn, Ernie & Annabelle there too!

David climbed the steps of the football stadium to take this above shot, do you see us?

But before we headed home completely full, we stopped at Frozen Hoagie for a sweet finish to a delicious morning. Now some of us are napping as a result of this food fest.

 

parmesan basil chicken patties
Thankfully this meal was salvaged! Just when you think everything is going smoothly and you confidently saunter about the house feeling like the most amazing new mom, you are snapped back into the reality of messy motherhood when you have a sleep-deprived moment. There I was cooking up the chicken patties and thinking I could briefly multi-task only to turn back around to the chicken and see them filling the entire kitchen with smoke! I had completely forgotten to turn down the heat to medium and had left the chicken to burn on high long enough to trigger the smoke alarms. David ran downstairs with Henry and the dogs as I stood there paralyzed not knowing what to do (this is my response to a crisis, which is a terrible response!!). Thankfully David snapped me out of my "playing possum" state by shouting turn the stove off, open the window, and flap a towel by the smoke detector. We were a jumbled mess as we tried to fix the kitchen drama, calm down the dogs, and soothe the baby. Luckily within a few  minutes the alarms stopped and the smoke cleared enough for it to no longer be scary. When we looked into the pan we were surprised to see that the chicken was burned but not so badly that we couldn't still enjoy it for dinner. Despite the mishap dinner was still delicious!

Ingredients:

2 diced cloves garlic

1 bunch basil

1 tomato

1 diced bunch green onions

1/2  edamame

3/4 cup barley

10 ounces ground chicken

1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a small pot of salted water to boiling on high. Add the barley to the pot of boiling water and cook 16 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Set aside until it is time to plate the meal.  While the barley cooks, in another pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced garlic and the green onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the diced tomato, basil, edamame, and 1/4 cup of water. Bring mixture to a boil, once boiling cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until the barley is done about 12-15 minutes. In a bowl, combine the ground chicken, basil, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese.  Create 4 patties and cook up in pan with two tablespoons of olive oil. Loosely cover the pan with tin foil and cook on MEDIUM (not high like we did!) for 4-6 minute per side. Once all elements  are prepared plate and enjoy!

skirt steak with long beans
It is amazing what you can do when sleep deprived. The last two nights Mr. Henry has decided to host an all-night dance party. The problem is mom and dad were not really feeling it. Unfortunately for all of us, Henry gets to dictate the evening schedule right now and so we were up, up, UP all night with the little fellow. Yes, he did sleep a little but it wasn't for long and by the time we fell back to sleep ourselves, he was rising out of his shallow slumber. Despite the last 48 hours of no sleep, we have still been able to shower, cook, and function more or less. Last night we cooked up this skirt steak with green beans and potatoes. It was super simple but if I had to do it again, I might not use skirt steak. I think a sirloin would have really heightened the meal. Fingers crossed that we are able to cook tonight before collapsing into a pile of sleepless jelly!

Ingredients:

1lb Skirt Steak

6 Ounces Long Beans

4 Cloves Garlic

1 Bunch Thyme

1 Pound Russet Potatoes

1 Tomato

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Place the potatoes on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange the seasoned potatoes in a single layer and roast in the oven for 20 to 22. season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the seasoned steaks and cook, loosely covering the pan with aluminum foil, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Remove the steaks from the pan and set aside. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan and heat , dd the diced garlic cloves and cook. Add the long beans, tomato, half the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes. Plate the dish by placing the potatoes first, top with greens, and lastly add the steak. Enjoy!

shrimp summer rolls

Our last Blue Apron recipe for the week was for Shrimp Summer Rolls. This was the one recipe that David was not too excited about. As a result, it has us questioning whether or not joining Blue Apron is right for us. While you can indicate generally what you want to eat via categories such as poultry, beef, and vegetarian, you don't really get to specify what you want to eat in detail. So if you have selected to receive seafood, you are open to receiving then any type of seafood dish. Some you might really like and others you might be lukewarm about it. Even though David was not a fan of the summer rolls as an idea, once it was cooked up it was quite good. When we go to the Cheesecake Factory, I always like to have the summer roll for an appetizer so now being able to make these myself will satisfy my craving for this light and refreshing dish. photo-36

Ingredients:

1 Bunch Cilantro

1 Bunch Mint

1 Carrot

1 Head Red Leaf Lettuce

1 Kirby Cucumber

10 Ounces Peeled, Deveined Shrimp

2 Ounces Cellophane Noodles

1/4 Cup Peanut Butter

1 Tablespoon Mirin

1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon Sriracha

10 Rice Paper Wrappers

 

Bring a small pot of water to boil. Turn the heat off and add the cellophane noodles. Allow the noodles to sit in the hot water to cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain, run under cold water for 30 seconds and set aside. In a pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil, add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and saute until shrimp are cooked through approximately 4 minutes. Take the shrimp off the heat and place them on a plate in the refrigerator to cool down. Now it is time to assemble the roll. Cut the cucumber and carrot into thin strips, pull the mint and cilantro leaves from the stem, and wash the lettuce. In a swallow bowl of warm water dip the rice wrapper for 20-30 seconds. Lay the softened rice wrapper on a clean surface, place lettuce, carrot and cucumber strips, 3-4 shrimp, 1-2 mint leaves, 1-2 cilantro leaves, and cellophane noodles. Roll the wrapper like a burrito and place on a plate. Repeat the assembly line until you have used all of the ingredients.

Sauce: In a small bowl add the peanut butter, mirin, soy sauce, and sirarcha (to taste)

 

lamb, mint, and pea orecchiette

We have been so lucky.  Since Henry was born we have been able to avoid cooking in the kitchen for almost 3 weeks. Our nearest and dearest friends have taken amazing care of us and have brought over nutritious and delicious meals. From chicken pot pie, to kale salad, to fajitas, to lemon pepper chicken, to homemade pizzas, to stir fries, and so many more, we have truly been overwhelmed by the love and care of our friends. It cannot be stressed how amazing it was to not have to think about, worry about, or shop for dinner.  We were really able to focus on Henry and figuring out his needs and were able to avoid the frenzy of cooking and juggling the baby. Unfortunately, preparing dinner has now become a daunting task and I feel quite shy about being in the kitchen and trying to make sure Henry isn't having a meltdown. But timing dinner and naps is unreliable at this early stage. Thankfully, our friends, Lauren and Mark, have helped us with this big transition. They currently use Blue Apron as a weekly meal delivery service and generously gave us a free week trial of meals. We received our package yesterday and everything was fresh and perfectly portioned. All I needed to do was mix it up on the stove top and enjoy. With Henry as my sous chef, we prepped and cooked our first Blue Apron recipe and we loved it!  It was so simple and the recipe was complete in 20 minutes.  This service is perfect for new families and David and I are thinking about extending our membership now. The service provides you with recipe cards for each meal that you can then use again in the future if you decide not to use the delivery service again. So it is a win-win situation!

 

Henry was an excellent sous chef in his rocking chair on the floor. I kept holding my breathe and hoping he would stay content while I told him what I was doing on the counter and stove top. Hopefully in the future he can help his momma out with a little more of a hands on approach.

Ingredients:

Orecchiette Pasta

English peas

3 cloves of garlic

1 bunch of mint

1 lemon (for zest and juice)

1 purple spring onion

8oz ground lamb

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

 

Cook the pasta and reserve 1 cup of water. In a pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute diced onion and diced garlic cloves for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the ground lamb and cook through. Season with salt and pepper. Add peas, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, squeezed lemon juice, butter, Parmesan cheese, and cooked pasta. Add the reserved water slowly to create a light sauce. Cook together for 2-3 minutes, serve and enjoy!

vanilla milkshake, the latest craving

It seems like it has been a few months since I could pinpoint a craving. Yes, I am always hungry but I have yet to send David out in the middle of the night to grab me this or that. Nor have I eaten the same meal or snack for multiple days in a row. The first trimester was my craving center. From spicy pad thai to pickles, I needed these items and craved them but rarely did I actually give in to my desires on a daily basis. Instead, I would distract myself with something I hoped would be a healthy alternative and move on. Unfortunately, 9 months later that early craving bug has kicked back in and this time it doesn't like to be distracted or denied! Vanilla Milkshakes have become my calling. I think about them probably 90% of the day (especially since I am home from school now and impatiently waiting for this little one). I think about the next one I am going to have, the one that I am currently having, and then ponder which of my milkshakes has been the ultimate shake. While I am a bit worried about the fat and sugar content, my baby brain keeps telling me "Hey it's calcium."  With about 1 week to go until the little man's arrival, I am going to give into this craving. How much damage can it do me at this point??  (Yes, I am very skeptical too about this).

Regardless, it seems my baby (and/or just me) is in the need of some TLC that can only come in the form of a vanilla milkshake. Cheers to you baby!

Ingredients:

2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup of non-fat milk

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Mix all ingredients into a blender, pour into your favorite glass, and enjoy!

braised chicken thighs with tomatillo sauce

Last night we were a little adventurous. We knew we wanted to cook something that could last a few nights but we wanted it to be a new recipe which is always a little risky. What if we make a huge batch of something nasty?  Do we push through it all week long or decide to throw away a perfectly good meal because we don't find it to our liking? Having had a lot of red meat lately (which I have been craving!), we settled on a chicken dish. A lot of pregnant women have an aversion to chicken.  While I don't hate it right now, neither do I go searching for it. This added an additional element of surprise to dinner: would I be able to even tolerate the meal based on its protein?  The answer was thankfully a resounding yes. As a one pot meal, it practically cooked itself and it was so flavorful and simple to piece together that I am sure it will get added to our rotation of repeat meals. Ingredients:

6 bone in chicken thighs

3 cups of chicken stock

3 jars of salsa verde (approx 5-10oz)

1 jalapeno diced

1 carrot diced

3 garlic cloves diced

1 yellow onion diced

2 bay leaves

Olive oil

Canola oil

Salt and Pepper

Start by heating up a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of canola oil in a braising pot. When the oils are almost smoking, add the chicken thighs which should be seasoned with salt and pepper skin down until the skin is browned (approx 5-7 minutes). Flip the chicken over and add in the onion, jalapeno, garlic, bay leaves, carrot to the pot for about 5 minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add in the salsa verde and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 1 hour. Serve in a bowl over rice and with warmed tortillas.

teriyaki salmon

This week I have been SO hungry!  I have just eaten through our pantry and refrigerator all day long.  Perhaps it is a growing week for the baby or perhaps it is just me being a fatty-pants but my hunger has been insatiable. I just finished dinner and seriously could eat an entire bowl of macaroni and cheese if it were offered. Part of me even wants to beg David to make it now as I write this! I am starting my 37 week this week and have so far gained 33 pounds. It took awhile to get to a place where I just accepted the rising number on the scale but  I am here now!  That being said, I did feel it was important for us to make a healthy dinner choice tonight after my week of binging of salty and sweet treats.  So we cooked up a quick and easy teriyaki baked salmon with our favorite kale salad. Ingredients:

Teriyaki sauce

Brown sugar

12-16oz wild salmon

garlic clove

 

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Mix together in a bowl the teriyaki sauce, chopped garlic cloves, and brown sugar. Marinate the salmon for at least 15 minutes in the marinade.

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Place the salmon on a baking sheet and pre-heat the oven to 450. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through and flaky.

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Then enjoy a super simple and delicious meal!

mezzaluna spinach soup

Not only is the school year coming to a close which is a whirlwind time but for the past two weeks, David and I have been fighting off a nasty cold. Our evenings have been consumed with sneezing, coughing, and trying to go to bed early. Yet, with the piles of grading calling to me from my work bag, I have tried to balance my need/desire for rest with the never-ending task of providing students with feedback on their assignments.  This has left dinners in a black hole. Last week, we simply pillaged our pantry. Which allowed us to eat through stocked items and goods that should have been eaten earlier but which also meant that we ate too many cheeseburgers and random meals for people trying to reinforce their immune systems. Finally on Sunday, there was (a) time and (b) ability to go grocery shopping. The only dilemma that remained was our low energy. We decided that since there was still a chill in the evening air that soup was probably our best bet. It would warm us up, include healthier ingredients than our depleted pantry, and would be quick and easy to pull together. This giant bowl of soup has sustained us thus far and hopefully after this week, we will both be in a place to rejoin the living. 1 box mezzaluna tortellini pasta

1 can 28oz diced tomatoes

6-8 cups vegetable stock

1 can white beans

1 bag of baby spinach

1 onion diced

3 garlic gloves diced

salt, pepper, red pepper flakes

Parmesan cheese

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In a large pot, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until fragrant and translucent. About 3-5 minutes.

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Add the broth, spices to taste, diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta and beans and simmer with a partially open lid until pasta is cooked to al dente. Add in a stir spinach until wilted.

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Serve with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

asian roasted brussels sprouts

I love Brussels Sprouts.  It could be because those little cabbages are super cute but the flavor always hits the spot. They could be cooked in any fashion and I would probably enjoy them. Recently at my friend Rodney's house, he roasted them with some Asian flavors and this really enhanced this side dish for me. Prepared this way, they were so light and fresh. In an attempt to replicate this dish, I roasted some Brussels Sprouts last night and have now found my latest obsession. Seriously though I crave them now at every meal! Ingredients:

1-2 lbs Brussels Sprouts, cut in half

juice of half of lemon

olive oil

salt and pepper

1/3 cup of fish sauce

1/4 cup of water

red pepper flakes

1/4 suagr

1 garlic cloves

Preheat the oven to 400.  On a roasting pan, toss the sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Lay the sprouts soft side down so that they really roast up and darken. Bake them for 20-25 minutes. In a bowl, toss together the vinaigrette ingredients. When the sprouts are done, toss them with the vinaigrette and serve.  It is seriously so easy and insanely flavorful!

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spicy dr. pepper pulled pork

When David was elbow deep in plaster and fixing our kitchen ceiling, I felt a little useless (post to follow soon about the Home Improvement Project). I know I am pregnant and I can't be standing on ladders or near a work site, but I still wanted to help him. David's weakness is Dr. Pepper. If left to his own devices he would drink himself silly.  Rhee Drummond , of the Pioneer Woman cooking empire, has an interesting pulled pork recipe with Dr. Pepper as a main ingredient. Dashing out to Whole Foods, I bought my supplies and put together the recipe. So as David plastered and painted, the pulled pork cooked slowly in the oven bathing the home in a delicious aroma. It was quite a nice Sunday after all. David was excited with the progress he was making on the project and I was thrilled that even though it was a DIY project that it would in fact be complete within the confines of the week. The rain outside made working inside desirable and the meal basting in the oven promised a scrumptious dinner to end on. And, it was. IMG_5604

 

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strawberry scones

I can't remember the last time we baked. Since there is not a lot of self control in our home when it comes to sweets, we try to avoid bringing them in the house in general. So sad, right? But of course, it is important to constantly remind myself that I need to watch the intake, keep sugars to a minimum, and eat meaningful calories. Nevertheless, looking through our pantry,  it became apparent that we had just the right ingredients to bake scones. Even though energy is a major commodity these days for me, I decided to expend a little in order to later enjoy a delicious scone while sitting with my feet propped up. The recipe from Eat, Live, Run was simple to follow and my first batch of strawberry scones were quite successful!  Every morning since, I have been very thankful to my former self for making these delicious treats that my current self can enjoy. Besides, it is made with whole grain and strawberries so it can't be too "bad" for me, right? Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 9.15.15 AM

spicy sausage & arugala naan pizza

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 9.14.09 AM 10 weeks.  That's all that is possibly left until we meet out little guy.  In some ways, 10 weeks still feels luxurious and distant and in other instances it feels like a blink away. Of course we are excited for the day to come but there is always so much on the "to-do" list.  Regardless of our planning though, I am sure he will come whenever he is ready to grace us with his presence! This week, 30 weeks pregnant, marked a change in my energy level.  My second trimester energy high is starting to wane a bit and I am curious if the crushing first trimester exhaustion that I have had an extended reprieve from is returning. Getting through the day isn't too challenging but I definitely feel the day on my bones when I ride home and in my muscles when I finally collapse on the couch. Quick and easy dinners are therefore a major necessity now. This latest naan pizza was so simple that it might become my next obsession.

Ingredients

4 Naan

tomato paste

ricotta cheese

1 Spicy Sausage

1 red onion

parmesan cheese

red pepper flakes, salt, pepper

olive oil

arugula

Preheat the oven to 425.  On a baking sheet lay out the 4 naan.  Mix 4 tablespoons of tomato paste with 4 tablespoons of water. Spread this mixture over the naan, leaving a little room at the edges for "crust." Lay some thin slices of red onion on top of the sauce, crumple the ricotta cheese and scatter over sauce, sprinkle parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Remove sausage from casing and crumble and distribute over the 4 naan. Drizzle olive oil on each naan. Bake in the over for 16 minutes. Once the time is up, top each pizza with arugula, serve, and enjoy!

advisory party

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 6.21.09 PM This afternoon I was anxious about lunch. My advisees, (9 students who I support and advise throughout the duration of their high school experience) wanted to go off campus for lunch. Not just that, but they wanted to go to Shake Shack which is notoriously crowded.  Of course, the idea of lunch off campus was totally appealing, but the reality of getting everyone there, fed, and back in time for their next class was intimidating. Despite my concerns, I went with it. Why not?  I mean my time with them is so limited and we enjoy our time together so much that I got in the car and drove over to our luncheon.

Once there it became apparent that they not only invited me to lunch to enjoy burgers together but also to celebrate the baby-to-be.  They brought "It's a Boy" balloons and a celebration cake that said "Congratulations" in blue to the table and were too cute with their surprise. They giddily shared how they planned the whole thing and how they tried so hard not to ruin the surprise. There thoughtfulness was truly touching.  The night before this surprise, I had shared with David how hard it feels sometimes to be the first friend in my primary friend circle to have a baby. Not only will a baby change the friend dynamics but I sometimes feel like this momentous event in which my body and my life will forever be defined as "before" and "after" baby is moving by fairly unnoticed. Of course, I in no means expect constant celebration but it sometimes feels that talking about the baby-to-be among friends isn't always popular.  Rationally I know that life gets in the way of life and that everyone is busy with the events, family, and moments that are most directly connected to them, but it meant so much to me today to celebrate and share with my advisees.  I am going to be devastated when this group of talented, kind, and funny students graduate in another year but I am so thankful to have gotten to know them so well and to share in their journey, just as they have shared in mine.

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vegetable barley soup

Last night David and I were set to watch a marathon of Homeland.  Finally realizing that our local library could save us a great deal of time and money, we have started to borrow television series instead of splurging on them ourselves. We donned our pajamas and curled up on the couch together each with a big bowl of our vegetable barley soup.  Covered in blankets, we enjoyed both the warm meal and the good drama.  Of course, being pregnant meant that our "marathon" of Homeland episodes was actually just one for the night as the meal combined with my sleepiness were the perfect combination for an early bedtime! Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 8.48.58 AM

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Ingredients:

5 garlic cloves diced

4 onions diced

6 carrots diced

4 parsnips diced

6 celery sticks diced

1 cup of barley

1 bunch of kale, washed and torn roughly

2 cans of 28 oz diced tomatoes

6-8 cups of water

red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt

Cook the barley according to package. In a large dutch oven or deep soup pot, heat olive oil  and add the garlic. Toss together until garlic is fragrant. Add all of the vegetables (carrots, onions, parsnips, and celery) and mix together.  Add spices. I went heavy on the red pepper flakes and pepper to ensure ultimate flavor. Cover the vegetables and left cook for about 12-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.  Once the vegetables are translucent and cooked through, add the diced tomatoes and water. Bring to boil, and then simmer together for 15-20 minutes. Add in the kale and the cooked barley.  Enjoy!!

roasted chicken and root vegetables

The picture associated with this meal does not do it justice. I should have taken the shot before David carved the chicken, but the smells of the delicious meal had permeated the house for 90 minutes and we were ravenous to begin dinner. The chicken's photo shoot was rushed but boy oh boy did we savor this meal. We actually even broke out into a little "fight" over the potatoes and whose plate was perhaps being too potato gluttonous! So even though this picture is a bit underwhelming, we had to post about the meal in order to add it to our growing list of delicious dinner options. Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 1.02.18 PM

Ingredients:

1  4lb chicken

salt, pepper

1 stick of butter

chicken stock

1-1.5lb of fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise

4 carrots, cut into 1-2inch sections

2-3 yellow onions, cut into quarters

1 lemon

1 head of garlic

In a roasting pan create a "bed" of carrots, potatoes, and onions. Pour 1 cup of chicken stock over the bead of veggies. Rinse the chicken and stuff the chicken with the lemon cut in half and the head of garlic cut in half . Seal cavity with a toothpick. Bring the stick of butter to room temperature and smear all over the chicken, even between the skin and breast meat if possible. Generously sprinkle pepper and salt all over the chicken. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes at 425, then flip the chicken over (add more chicken broth if needed to avoid burning vegetables and baste chicken), bake the chicken for another 30 minutes, then flip the chicken over (add more chicken broth if needed to avoid burning vegetables and baste chicken), bake the chicken for a final 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and wrap tightly in aluminum foil for 20 minutes to let the juices set. Carve and serve with the roasted veggies!!

spinach & fruit salad

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 1.39.38 PM I have decided that the best way to beat the winter blues is by making summertime lunches. With another snow storm approaching, we have decided to focus on our countdown to our "babymoon" in 18 days!! In just a little over two weeks, we will be packing our suitcases full of shorts, bathing suits, and tank tops and heading away from this arctic chill that won't shake Boston and onto the sunny beaches of the Caribbean.  While I still enjoy my belly warming meals for dinner, lunchtime has become a time for light, crisp, and citrus infused meals.  While David and Laura painted the nursery upstairs (I will post pictures soon!), I busiest myself in the kitchen tossing everything "summer" into a salad bowl. The final result was exactly the slice of summer I was aiming for.

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In a salad bowl toss together:

baby spinach

1 diced apple

1/2 diced blood orange

1/2 diced avocado

1/4 cup dried cherries

1 cup yellow tomatoes cut in half

1/4 cup diced strawberries

drizzle of fig balsamic dressing

Salad is best paired with Girl Scout Cookies, preferable Thin Mints and Caramel Delights...

spicy pork & mustard green soup

My cravings primarily come in two categories: salty and spicy. I find myself picking the spiciest item on the menu or adding drizzles of Sriracha sauce to everything (including my lunchtime salads!). This little dude has a "hot" tooth and I find myself giving in to it every day.  Thankfully,David already was a spicy food eater otherwise this latest phase of food cravings would be miserable for him. I sort of want to try a chicken wing eating contest with him now to see who can handle the hottest of hot. Prior to the baby-to-be, I wasn't a lightweight when it came to spice but I definitely feel a new level of spice competency! It is my latest "super power" perhaps? Last night for dinner in order to tap into this craving, we cooked up a spicy pork and mustard green soup from Bon Appetit. With David helping as my sous chef, cleaning the greens and dicing the scallions, the dinner from beginning to end took no longer than 20 minutes to make. Super easy, spicy, and flavorful my craving was satiated....for now. (Though a drizzle of Sriracha really added just that little bit extra I needed).

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paella & pregnant winters

The Winter is a beautiful season in New England. Snow covers the trees, streets, and yards of every home, while people huddle with loved ones and friends to stay warm. The sun shines brightly most days with clear blue skies, but the temperatures remind you that winter prefers for you to stay indoors or to layer yourself.  I like to pretend sometimes that I live in the North Pole when the banks of snow are higher than my thighs. How rugged are we? I say as I take Buster and Bella out back to carve a path. This winter has been particularly snowy.  Snuggling indoors with David, we cook solely belly-warming meals like paella. Yet, this winter has turned me a bit against it. Part of me has started to ache for warmer temperatures and springtime rains. Perhaps being pregnant contributes to this a bit. Snowy streets are treacherous for me now. I worry a lot about falling down and what that could mean for the little one. Thankfully (knock on wood) I have avoided this seasonal hazard so far. This morning though, I was in a panic as I tried to climb the hill to my school and found myself sliding backward more than moving forward. While I definitely don't want to "wish" winter away, I am getting ready for the Spring thaw to come our way. Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 8.45.08 AM