Happy Valentines

February 14th, 2014 :: 5 comments :: permalink

Valentines1What a different Valentine’s Day this is from last year. Back then, I was two months pregnant and I could barely hold down a cracker without tossing my cookies. Of course it was all worth it and this year I am more than making up for the lost calories. Besides some extra weight, we have a little ball of cuteness to show for it.

Thank you Aunt Diane for this onesie and our friend Saejin for the tutu. The combo is adorable. ♥

Valentines2We also will remember Avery’s Grandfather and Dustin’s dad. He passed away exactly a year ago. Thankfully, we got to tell him about his soon to be grandchild before he passed. He was so happy for us and told Dustin he would be a great dad. It was a tough first half of the year in 2013, but the process of being pregnant and now having Avery gave us an extra sense of connection with our own parents and their sacrifices. This Valentine’s Day we will think of our loves that have been lost but not forgotten and our new loves gained. Happy Valentines!

Avery 3 Month Update

February 3rd, 2014 :: 4 comments :: permalink


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I can’t believe Avery is already three months old. It feels like it was just yesterday that Dustin and I nervously brought her home from the hospital as a tiny frail creature. Now she is an energetic human being that is ready to absorb whatever we toss her way. As expected, everything is new and exciting. She was not quite sure what to make of our Charlie Brown Christmas tree. I’m sure that will change quickly when she realizes all the wonderful gifts she will get in years to come. This picture was taken after we opened all the gifts and cleaned up. Please do not send us money for gifts. ;)

3months_thanksThankfully (pun intended) we did not have to travel outside of Chicago to celebrate Thanksgiving with family this year. This was the first time that we ventured outside of our little apartment bubble since we brought Avery home. We learned a lot from this day. For one, never try to skip a nap and make up for it later. We spent the first half of the night in the coat room trying to calm Avery down. Once she slept for a little bit, she was a happy camper again. On the car ride home, we learned to never push her feeding time when we had to stop in a dark Baskin Robins parking lot to feed her.

3months_baptismThe same Thanksgiving weekend, Avery was baptized. Dustin and I both had a tough time keeping ourselves composed. We look forward to watching her grow up and this seemed like the first big step. She was very patient throughout the ceremony, but wasn’t particularly happy with having cold water poured on her head. Her baptism gown was passed down from Dustin’s side of the family and was over 125 years old, which made it seem even more special.

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The cold weather has given me another reason to dress Avery in cute little warm outfits, most of them resembling some cuddly animal. I can’t imagine many things being cuter than a pink polar bear.

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Avery has grown so quickly in the last couple of months. She looks like a toddler compared to the little scrunched up newborn we brought home. Dustin and I really had no idea what we were in for until the first week in the hospital. It was quite an eye opener to only sleep an hour or two a day. Things started gradually getting easier after then. Around week 2, breast feeding became second nature and with each new week we started to figure out what made Avery tick.

She is such a happy, energetic girl. She still has her witching hour at the end of the day, but it is becoming less and less frequent. Maybe it has something to due with her getting used to us too.

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Avery was only five days old in the picture on the left. I almost forgot how tiny she was. She seemed so scared of everything the first few weeks and even diaper changes seemed stressful. At one point, we were warming her wipes in the microwave to make it a less startling process for her. Now she loves cooing and smiling as we change her diapers…such a significant change.

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If Avery could walk before learning to crawl, she would. She always has a smile on her face when she is in her jumper or when we help her stand. If the last few months foreshadow her personality, she is going to be quite an ambitious child and very vocal of her likes and dislikes. We look forward to getting to know Avery a little more every day and saying we love her to pieces is an understatement. Almost every day we talk about how lucky we are and can’t believe we get to keep her all to ourselves.

Have a Sweet New Year

December 20th, 2013 :: 2 comments :: permalink

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Donut Sisters

November 18th, 2013 :: 4 comments :: permalink

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DonutSistersCoverDuring a casual conversation with coworkers, someone let slip that they had a deep-fryer at home. I felt my mind snatching this slip of information from mid-air and filing it away for future intentions. Seasons later, I realized I was going to be going through yet another Chicago rainy fall and winter and that this former Texan needed something stronger than hot tea and wooley socks to get out the door and to work. I needed doughnuts to go nuts for.

Because doughnuts are becoming a popular item to buy in both intimate corner bakeries and restaurants offering fine dining experiences, or perhaps through kismet, I ran across a doughnut cookbook in the library that turned out to be excellent for its base recipe and new ideas. ‘ Glazed Filled Sugared & Dipped’ by Collucci.

Joann and I flipped through the book, throwing out a rabble of doughnut ideas…whatever popped into our heads. We quickly decided to use the same cake doughnut recipe to learn and experiment with two different flavor variations, Roasted Coconut Sugar doughnuts for her, Rosemary-Blueberry for me.

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EQUIPMENT:Standing mixer, rolling pin, deep-fryer or deep stock pot, baking sheet (or other flat transferable surface)
INGREDIENTS:
Using the basic cake recipe for doughnuts Collucci provided:
1) 3 cups all-purpose flour 2) ¾ cup sugar 3) ½ teaspoon baking soda 4)1 teaspoon baking powder 5) 1 ½ teaspoon salt 6) Zest of half a lemon 7) 2 large eggs 8) 1 large egg yolks 9) ½ cup buttermilk 10) 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 11) ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and 12) Enough vegetable oil to submerge for frying

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INSTRUCTIONS:
1)
Ahead of time, melt butter and let cool
2) Gather dry ingredients together in a bowl: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.
3) Pour into a standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on low for a couple of turns to help mix everything together.
4) Add the following wet ingredients: whole eggs first, mixed for a few turns, then the egg yolk, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla.
5) Mix until it comes together as dough that can stand by itself.

*At this point, I added my variation to my half of the dough. ½ tsp of chopped rosemary and chopped blueberries

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6) Scrape the dough onto parchment paper or plastic film set on the baking sheet. Roll out dough until it is somewhere between 3/8  to ½  in thick. Top the rolled dough with a second piece of parchment or plastic film. Refrigerate the dough on baking sheet for 30 min to 1 hr.
For all the fuss over the deep-fryer, we ended up not using it, but enjoyed compete success with a deep stock pot.
7) Heat at least two inches of oil in the stock pot until it is 350 degrees.
8) Cut 2 ½ to 3 in. doughnut rounds. We had a biscuit cutter and used a the wide part of a metal piping tip to make the doughnut holes. Use what you can if you don’t have a doughnut cutter.
9) Fry several doughnuts together, but not so many that the pot becomes over crowded and it becomes difficult to flip doughnuts one at a time. Fry a minute per side.
10) Remove and set on paper towels.

 

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A basic glaze was very simple and quick. 1 cup of confectioners/powdered sugar mixed with two tablespoons of milk or water until the lumps are gone.

I made a topping station so I could quickly dunk the tops of the doughnuts in bowls of garnish after first dunking them half-way into the glaze. My rosemary was ¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary and 2/3 cup sugar.

Joann’s roasted coconut topping was a mix of  ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, roasted golden brown in the oven, 2/3 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt. This made a cup and was enough to use on all of her doughnuts.

DonutSisters6A plain doughnut from this recipe had a stronger lemon taste than I had expected, but it actually worked well and brightened the flavors we added. It worked especially well with the blueberry and rosemary.

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Relaxing with my niece was a nice way to finish the day. And having a little hill of fried doughnuts to eat the next chilly-blue morning was worth all our effort.

Welcome Little Avery Harper

October 9th, 2013 :: 9 comments :: permalink

WelcomeAvery1We are so excited to welcome little Avery Harper. There really isn’t anything that can prepare you for what it feels like to be a parent for the first time. I had a c-section which was surreal enough, but all my anxieties and fears went away once I heard that amazing cry. Her introduction to the world required a lot of convincing from the doctors, which was followed by one of them exclaiming  “Now that’s a good sized baby!”

For the first time during the surgery, Dustin let go of my hand and stood out of his chair. He said she was surprisingly clean and her eyes were open. They handed her to Dustin and he gripped her securely as if she was the most fragile, priceless thing. All I could do was touch her face with my free hand and stare at her in amazement. I know babies are born every day, but when it happens to you, it really does feel like a miracle.

WelcomeAvery2Our first and second nights in the hospital were tiring, exciting, scary, and tiring again. I was bedridden right after my surgery and it took a day before I could feel my legs again. We probably slept two hours the second night and felt completely clueless. One of the perks of having a c-section was the extra few days in the hospital, which meant extra help and advice from the staff. The nurses were nice enough to help us change our first diaper, show us how to swaddle, and answer our endless questions.

WelcomeAvery3When it comes to physical appearance, Dustin and I are complete opposites. I’m short, he’s tall; I’m dark, he is fair skinned; I have brown eyes, he has green eyes…the list goes on. We were anxious to see what features Avery would take from each of us. She looks a little different every day. Right now she looks a lot like Dustin, with light blue eyes and reddish brown hair, but with mom’s round face.

WelcomeAvery4Here is the less commonly shown part of being a parent…the meltdown. It’s her way of letting us know that we no longer make the schedule. This meltdown in particular told me she was done with pictures.

WelcomeAvery5Every week we learn something new about Avery as her personality evolves. Thankfully, we have family to help us along the way and give us time to breathe and get our bearings. Although the transition to new parenthood is rarely smooth, we are enjoying getting to know her, whether we’re well rested or not.

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3rd Trimester, Homestretch

September 12th, 2013 :: 7 comments :: permalink

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Nine months have gone by so quickly. Although we are in the final stretch and can’t wait to meet our little one, there is still part of us that just wants to get one more thing done before she arrives.

We have loved our apartment for almost five years, but with an extra person now joining us, we are having to find creative ways to work around the cozy size of our living area. Dustin set up our Mercer Crib. I love that this crib comes with extra storage underneath. Right next to the crib are drawers from The Container Store which hold mouth toys, pacifiers, bibs, cloth diapers and regular diapers. We also bought  a few cloth bins from The Container Store (aka the happiest place on earth) to organize clothing by size. It is nice to have them since we happily received so many hand-me-downs. Love hand-me-downs.

The biggest thing that will help with storage space is a dresser Dustin designed for our bedroom. It will also act as a changing table. We both tried to find little ways to put our own little touches on every project. We’ve been told to get “personal projects” out of our system now, since time will soon be in short supply for a while.

3rd-Trimester_ShowerA few month ago The aunties mentioned hosting a shower for us and I was so excited. I thought of all the things I would help organize and design, but I quickly found out that this was not something I was allowed to participate in. Dustin’s sister did the decorations and most of the planning, while my sister cooked brunch for everyone in attendance. Mimosas and virgin mimosas kept everyone relaxed.

After eating, a few of us ventured to the onesie design station. It was such a cute idea to get little personal images or messages on each onesie. We also played a diaper racing game, in which two people were blindfolded and raced to diaper a teddy bear. Dustin’s teddy bear had his arms securely pinned into his diaper. Oops.

If that wasn’t enough, Dustin’s co-workers had a grown-up Baby-Q for us and another couple on a similar baby timeline. Food was also a big part of this shower, as the event was fully catered and even had a bartender. Many thanks to his company for that evening.

We are so appreciative of all the advice, hand-me-downs, clothes and baby goodies we have received. Having so much help made me realize we couldn’t have done it alone. Not as gracefully at least.

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The last two months have been a race to the finish line. A few years ago, Dustin sold his car and we started sharing my little car (picture from 2003!). After finding out I was pregnant, Dustin was more than eager to buy a new car that he could actually fit into. With a little wheeling and dealing, I sold the first car I ever bought. Dustin, being a good Catholic, was useless in the negotiations. We are both happy with our new SUV and it’s awesome to have some extra room. I can’t imagine how tight it would have been to put a car seat in my little Acura.

Last, but not least, we slowly started to pack for the hospital. I started by making a checklist and gathering all the hospital paperwork and numbers. For the actual packing, I found a bunch of blogs and websites that gave me a few starting points. I thought it might be helpful to someone out there, however, to bring it all together in one location. Have a look below if you’re interested. I didn’t make a list for Dustin. I figured he’d just throw pj’s in a bag and use some of my toiletries. Guys are easy.

After putting this post together, I realized how much we really did to prepare. Hopefully it will help us keep afloat for the next couple of months while we settle into our new role as parents. Here we go…


♥ Here is my FULL hospital packing list ♥

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DIY Baby Mobile

August 14th, 2013 :: 10 comments :: permalink

Baby-Mobile1For quite a few months I searched for a baby mobile with the right colors and style and that felt 3D instead of 2D. I narrowed down my search to hot air balloons, because I’ve always loved traveling and I hoped a little of that curiosity would rub off on our daughter. I debated if I was being a bit overzealous in looking for the perfect mobile, but a lot of my concern was due to the fact that our little one would be looking up at this for the first couple months of her life. After a few months of searching, I came to the realization that I would never find a mobile that met all of my criteria. I then found the “How Joyful” blog, which gave step by step directions and a free pattern. I knew if I could work from that, I could add some of my own twists and details.

The first balloon was the toughest for me. I’ve never worked with felt or, for that matter, sewn anything other than a button on a shirt, but I really began to like the idea of creating something personal. I almost gave up after the first balloon though (the green and white one) when I noticed a few uneven stitches after three days of work. After a pep talk from my sister, I realized these imperfections could make it special, so the next four balloons were finished more quickly and confidently than the first.

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Most of the materials I used were listed on How Joyful. She had a very straight forward list, along with the links to each tool on Amazon. I was, however, particular about the felt, which I bought from “Felt on the Fly.” There were an abundance of colors and the quality of the pure merino wool was fantastic. I didn’t know how great it was until I tried to buy regular felt from another store and found it transparent and difficult to cut.

I also knew that I wanted a different mobile base. Etsy is my favorite site for almost every project. Seven Acre Toys has lovely, high quality wood toys and mobiles. They were kind enough to sell me a great base, sans mobile.

After I gathered all my tools and materials I sketched a little to figure out color schemes. I wanted to find colors that would go with our Tiffany Mint Green nursery.

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Baby-Mobile4I stitched everything by hand. A sewing machine would have made the process go much more quickly, but it wasn’t fully necessary.

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I am so happy with how perfectly imperfect everything turned out. It’s a nice personal touch to our nursery.  Hopefully another mother or father will be inspired to give it a go for their little one.

 

 

2nd Trimester Update

June 19th, 2013 :: 8 comments :: permalink

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Week 20 we had our big ultrasound to make sure our baby was developing normally and, of course, to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl. The process only took about an hour since baby was cooperative and didn’t seem to mind being “photographed.” It was a bit nerve racking at times, however. I listened carefully to the doctor’s voice to make sure there were no sudden changes or concerns. A few minutes in, Dustin and I both relaxed and watched as pictures were taken of the brain, heart, spine, legs, arm and numerous other body parts. Every once in a while, baby would roll around and hide from us.

Toward the end of the picture session and checklist of fingers and toes, the doctor made her way to baby’s spine. Dustin and I both saw the kidneys, which we mistook for being boy parts, but once she fully zoomed out, we both realized it was a girl. We would have been happy with either a boy or a girl, but for us it was nice to know and made us feel even closer to the little person in my belly.

After the sonogram was complete, the doctor went through the list of everything they had checked in the last hour. I skimmed everything, making sure everything said normal, before I could really listen to his comments. Dustin said he did the same thing. The doctor mentioned that baby had long limbs (in the 95th percentile!) and confusingly asked if I was tall (I guess because I was laying down when he saw me). I laughed and said, “Nooo, it’s that guy,” pointing at Dustin. Needless to say, with the morning sickness gone and a baby that takes after her father, my daughter and I have both grown a lot the last few weeks.

2nd-Trimester_Nesting

When I found out I was pregnant, I already felt behind in planning. Maybe that was natural mother’s guilt starting early. I found a few things that made me feel more prepared and less scatterbrained. I started a baby journal, where I logged my thoughts, name ideas, pictures, food cravings, or whatever else popped in my head. I really didn’t like some of the “baby books” that had very general questions and fill-in-the-blanks. Having my own journal for her felt a little more personal. Dustin also wrote in it periodically. His most recent entry was about how excited he was to feel her kick for the first time.

Dustin, Edna (my sister), and I have also started to learn baby sign language. It seems to be super easy to remember most of the words. The first we’ll work on with her are Mom, Dad, milk, dog, and food. After that, we will move on to thank you,  grandma, grandpa, yummy, yucky, and so on. I like the idea of being able to communicate with her as early as she is ready. The youtube videos of babies signing are amazing.

I started planning baby’s room using Pinterest, which is one of my favorite sites. I was never great at keeping bookmarks of my links, but Pinterest was a nice organized way to save all my favorite internet finds. After I had an idea of what I wanted the room to look like, I nerded out and made a floor plan of our apartment in Illustrator, placing all the new items I wanted to purchase in the diagram. It was a nice way to see what furniture we needed to get rid of and what new furniture would fit. Hopefully all this planning will result in fewer surprises, although I’ve been told I no longer control that.

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Most of my baby room finds and mom research are on my pinterest page. Our apartment isn’t huge, so we had to be very creative with space and organization. I loved the Babyletto Mercer bed for its extra storage drawer and its relatively small size compared to other cribs.

The Mod Rocker was slick looking and compact. As a nursery chair, some people didn’t find this chair comfortable, but it worked for me. The one negative is that I won’t be able to fall asleep in it, but I should probably stay awake while nursing anyway.

The Story Mobile was one of the cutest mobiles I found. I loved how it told the story of Peter Rabbit and a lot of other children’s book characters. Even though we are having a girl, I would like the toys and decoration to be gender neutral. I grew up a bit of a tomboy and turned out mostly normal. It also makes sense should we have baby number two someday.

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By far, stroller shopping has been the most stressful endeavor so far. I wanted something modern, lightweight, easy to fold, and that could be used for a newborn.

Mountain Buggy Cosmopolitan was adorable, and the chair was super versatile. The chair turned both directions and it converted to a bassinet with no extra pieces. It seemed like it was durable and would last for a long time. Only down side was that it was a bit heavy and not the most compact. It did fold nicely.

Britax B-Agile & Safe Travel System was so lightweight (16 pounds) and you could fold it with one hand. It also came with a car seat, which made the price even more attractive. It seemed like this stroller was very close to an umbrella stroller and would have made traveling around town easy. It did have a reclining seat but it didn’t come with a bassinet. I found it a bit funky to attach the car seat or added bassinet atop the stroller. It just looked odd and cumbersome to me. The chair only faced outward/forward, which was a big concern for me with a newborn, though would probably be less of a concern when the baby is older.

The Stokke Scoot was just beautiful and had a reclining seat back that laid almost flat. The seat could face both directions and was higher off the ground than most strollers, so mom and baby could be near each other or so the baby could see more of the outside world. Downside: this stroller was fairly heavy for me and didn’t come with a true bassinet. It was also very expensive.

The Bugaboo Cameleon was the top stroller I found on my stroller scouting missions at a nearby playground. I probably wouldn’t have stalked strollers if I wasn’t visually pregnant. The Cameleon came with a bassinet, which could also be used for regular napping. The seat could face both directions, which was nice. It’s not the heaviest nor the lightest stroller I’ve considered. It is usually very expensive, but we are looking at getting it secondhand, so that would give this one some bonus points.

Now you can see my dilemma. I don’t think we’d go wrong with any of these choices, but it’s still hard to bite the bullet. [Update: We ended up buying the Cameleon from a friend. It is indeed a bit more complex and awkward than some of the strollers we looked at, but the bassinet, seating options, style, and the great secondhand price pushed us in that direction.]

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Here are a few things I found better to do sooner than later. I probably was in dire need of a bra review a few months before I sought one out. After I was fitted, I could breath again and realized this was a long time coming. I had no idea I had grown two sizes. The lady helping me with my fitting (who was also pregnant and having contractions…scary) told me that they have the capability to change regular bras into nursing bras. Good stuff to know for later.

Also on the sooner than later list…it was recommended to me to find a daycare solution as soon as possible. So we have started our search for caregivers in the area. We are trying to decide between home care or daycare, but thankfully we are thinking about it now, because there are a lot of waiting lists in Chicago.

In the next couple of months, we will be attending some much-needed parenting classes, which I will find extremely helpful. The last time (probably only time) I baby sat, the little girl started to help me put her diaper on.

And finally, the registry. I’m glad I started early, so I could do some research along the way. I didn’t want to buy anything before the start of our third trimester, but it made me feel a little more sane to have some things figured out beforehand.

 

 

Southern Style Tempeh with a Side of Hushpuppies

May 29th, 2013 :: 2 comments :: permalink

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Oh, how time has flown the last few months. I’ve been behind on logging my cooking projects, largely due to the fact that the sight of food wasn’t very pleasing for the first half of my pregnancy. Now that I’m over that hurdle, I’m raring to eat.

Fried foods are great for a recovering stomach, but I felt I could use something healthier than the usual deep frying method. I first fell in love with hushpuppies when I was eight years old and living in Fort Polk, Louisiana. My dad would order a six-inch high plate of crawfish when we went out to eat. Being a vegetarian in the making, I refused to eat any fish or seafood. I would instead order a tower of hushpuppies and ketchup. I remember always leaving two hushpuppies on the plate, resolving myself to eating every one of them the next time. No hushpuppy should be left behind.

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BAKED HUSHPUPPIES
INGREDIENTS: 1) 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal 2) 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 3) 1 teaspoon baking powder 4) 1/2 teaspoon salt 5)1/2 cup finely chopped onion 6) 1/3 cup milk 7) 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 8) 2 egg whites, beaten 9) vegetable cooking spray 10) 2 stalks chopped parsley INSTRUCTIONS: Combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; make a well in center. In a separate container, combine onions, milk, vegetable oil, and beaten egg whites. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter per hush puppy onto a cooking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pan immediately.
Recipe slightly modified from cooks.com.

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BREADED TEMPEH
INGREDIENTS: 1) 1 brick tempeh, sliced into thin triangles 2) 2 cups all purpose flour 3) 1 tablespoon baking powder 4) 1 teaspoon salt 5) 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 6) 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 7) 1 cup corn starch 8) 12 oz water mixed with 1/8 teaspoon of yeast and a pinch of sugar (in place of beer)
INSTRUCTIONS: Heat a pan on medium heat with a generous amount of vegetable oil. Place the corn starch on a plate and set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Slowly add the water/yeast mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing until batter is smooth. Coat tempeh pieces in the corn starch and then dip the in the batter. Place the coated tempeh in the heated pan and fry until golden brown on each side.

Everyone in the household, vegetarian and carnivore, tried this and thought it was pretty tasty, especially considering the hushpuppies were baked and the “fish” was really tempeh. Next time I may brown the tempeh before coating it in batter to give it a little more complexity, but other than that, this hit the spot. Here’s hoping you can create a healthier version of an old favorite recipe of your own.

First Trimester Update

April 10th, 2013 :: 6 comments :: permalink

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The last few months have been quite an eye opener when it comes to my thoughts on pregnancy. It’s definitely not like the movies. There are lots of great milestones though, such as hearing a heartbeat for the first time and seeing sonogram pictures of the little one using your bladder as a bouncy house. Those milestones make everything seem worth it, even at the worst of times, and there were a lot of not-so-fun moments in my first trimester.

Last week, which was my 16th week, was a turning point for me. Dustin and I tried every home remedy for nausea that was recommended to us. Through trial an error, we found a few things that gave me some comfort, but I was still having a lot of trouble. I really wanted to be free of chemicals and over the counter drugs for at least the first trimester, but after losing five pounds by the start of my second trimester, the doctor recommended an anti-nausea drug. We of course did our research to convince ourselves of its safety and ultimately agreed that it was time to give it a try. The first two days on the medication I gained five pounds, got a lot of energy back, and started to feel more like myself. I usually try to be as natural as possible, but sometimes modern medicine just kicks ass.

Now that I am back to myself again, I can begin all the fun baby planning. I’ve started a registry on Diapers.com while simultaneously researching what half of the products on the site do in the first place. And, of course, I’ve been reading all the baby books that seem to contradict each other. Although my first trimester wasn’t what I would call fun, it was of course worth it and I’d do it again.

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1. NETI POT
A week before we found out I was pregnant, I had horrible congestion and nose bleeds. After doing a little research online I found out that 30% of women get this symptom from higher amounts of estrogen, which then causes swelling and more mucous (lovely). I was a little scared to try this, but it doesn’t hurt if you get the salt concentration right. Just feels a little odd. It really does help. I boiled the water first to kill germs and kept the pot as sterile as possible.

2. TAKEYA GLASS WATER BOTTLE WITH SILICONE SLEEVE
Before I was pregnant, I liked my water room temperature. Now anything less than ice cold water curdles my stomach. These modern glass bottles are cute and fit in most medium sized purses. I also like that it’s not plastic. Pregnancy teaches you to think of everything.

3. SAN PELLEGRINO SPARKLING MINERAL WATER
Periodically, I craved something bubbly and San Pellegrino sparkling water did the trick. It was also nice that it made me burp, which got rid of some not so needed gas.

4. NETFLIX
When horizonal is the only angle that doesn’t make you feel like tossing your cookies, you tend to have a lot of time on your hands. Netflix was my lifeline. Dustin and I completely nerded out on the entire series run of Battlestar Galactica.

5. HEALTH AND PARENTING APP
This is a nice app that gives you so much useful information. Week by week it tells you how your baby is developing and gives picture and size references. It also talks about doctor visits and helps you organize. Some weeks I would cheat and look ahead to the next week. It was like looking into a crystal ball!

6.THE BARF BOUTIQUE BAGS
One of my worst fears was throwing up in public. It made me feel better that the icon on the front of the bag was a pregnant lady, so hopefully the people around me would be more understanding if I had to use it. Luckily, I didn’t throw up in public since Dustin was nice enough to drive me to and from work everyday. I did use the bags at home and in the car though. They did the job.

7. FOLIC ACID AND DHA
Depending on the day, prenatal pills were not always easy for my stomach to handle. Those days, I opted to just take Folic Acid and DHA (which is omega-3, nix the fish oil).

8. WHOLE FOODS POPSICLES
Cold things like popsicles or icees were the only thing I can say I really craved during my first trimester. They hydrated me, put me in a good mood, and didn’t make me feel sick.

9. MOTHER’S SPECIAL BLEND ALL NATURAL TONING OIL & BURT’S BEES CHAPSTICK
My skin and lips became very dry after I became pregnant. After searching through a lot of natural creams and oils, I found Mother’s Blend at Whole Foods. Every other oil I tried had a really strong scent that irritated my newly sensitive nose or just took forever to absorb. This toning oil works great. Burt’s Bees chapstick always works well too. Now I just use it more often.