Food blogger

Saturday, July 27, 2013

HA! Just kidding. My pictures aren't that good. I'm only a temporary food blogger today in which I teach you how to make super simple bruschetta. It's crazy good. You should probably make it now. Because it's the perfect summer meal.

You will need: a loaf of fresh bread, butter (or spread), tomatoes, garlic- minced, basil, red wine vinaigrette dressing, and a ball of fresh mozzarella cheese.

Marie's Red Wine vinaigrette is our go-to option for bruschetta and it's 
great on salads too. It's with the refrigerated dressings.

First things first. Heat up your oven to 350.

Slice the bread- baguette or a loaf of soft french bread is good stuff, but you can improvise on whatever fresh bread you like. Not too thick, because you'll be layering stuff and you want to be able to fit most of it in your mouth. Spread a little (a very little) bit of butter (or Smart Balance, in my house) on your bread.

Here you have a few options: you can toast the bread lightly (a good option if your bread is soft, you don't want it getting soggy), you can toss it in a skillet to crisp it up (also good if your bread is soft), or, if you have a really crunchy baguette, you can toss it straight on a cookie sheet.

Slice up that mozzarella. It takes some practice to get the slices right on a slippery ball of cheese, but oh sweet goodness, it is amazing. Try not to eat it all... but that will be difficult.

Place mozzarella on your bread and put that sucker in the oven for about 9 minutes. Take it out when it all looks gooey and melty and insane. Like so:

While it is getting to that point, slice up your tomatoes (or have your sous chef do that while you do the above). We used 4 on-the-vine tomatoes, but you can use grape tomatoes, plum tomatoes, or any that you find delicious. Bonus points if you get them at a farmers market. Then add about 1/2 teaspoon to one teaspoon of garlic. Depends on how garlicy you like it.

We like our garlic. Add chopped basil. We like that too. Add a lug or two of dressing. I never measure it out, but you only want enough to coat the tomatoes. You don't want it swimming in dressing! No Marie's? Try a touch of olive oil and a hint of balsamic vinegar. Yum. (You can also do this ahead of time and stick it in the fridge to marinate a bit.)

Your bread should be done now. Add a heaping spoonful of the tomato mixture onto each piece of bread. Quick like a fox, you want the bread to be hot. You should really just skip any entree plans and just eat this for dinner... with lots of napkins and no utensils.

Welcome to Italy!
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36 Weeks

Thursday, July 25, 2013

 At 36 weeks in July, this is totally how I feel.
(This is Moby. Street name: Mobilicious. Seriously.)

How far along? 36 weeks! I'm finally in my 9th month- whoa. She's possibly 18 inches long and 6 pounds! Go girl, grow! She's close to being able to breathe on her own. Her skin is tightening as she's gaining fat and weight each week. Her liver, kidneys, circulation and immune systems are all ready for the big day. Not much time left because I'll be full-term in a few days!
Gender? It's a she-bean!
Movement? All the time. She's moving and stretching and at night, she likes to burrow on one side of me- usually my right. So when I wake up and rotate to stretch on my back for a minute, I have a little baby outline on one side of me! It's very cute, but I look a little funny until she wakes up a few minutes later and re-adjusts herself. She's actually moving right now, and if I'm perfectly still, it's very easy to see her. It looks like my stomach has a mind of it's own... I guess it does! She always wakes up when she hears her dad's voice, when I sing, and when there's music at church.
Food cravings? Muffins, milk, spicy food, pasta... lots of carbs. And popcorn.

Not so flattering of me, as my sister has strange photography techniques, but my
super-cute husband... makes my heart flutter. 

Have you started to show? I'm 9 months pregnant, what do you think?
Symptoms? Oh sweet goodness. The pain. Almost 2 weeks ago, my pelvic joints started loosening (in preparation for getting this bean out of me). The first day it just lasted for a few hours. The second day, it was there when I woke up... and it hasn't left since. It gets worse every few days. This happened in conjunction with my baby girl dropping- she is now head down and sitting very, very low... exerting a lot of pressure on my already sore hips. Looking on the bright side, my lungs have a wee bit more room now. This is pregnancy!
Belly Button in or out? Mostly out. Thomas finds it amusing.
Midwife? I've been seeing her every week since week 34 so we've had lots of time to discuss labor and delivery and other questions. It also reassures my anxious brain that everything is okay with my little one. I saw her yesterday- I'm 90% effaced (!!!!!!!) but not dilating yet (hooray for that- I can wait another week). She said she'd be really surprised if I made it to my due date. I could use another week around the house for cooking and cleaning, and we still have a few last minute things to get, but if she wants to come a little early, I won't be complaining. We'll see where I am next Wednesday.
Total weight gain? 25 pounds- no change.

 Love him. So much. Happy belated birthday, Thomas!

This week? Thomas has been on night shift so we're all just hanging on by a thread! It's also late July in Charleston which means heat, humidity, and more oppressive heat. I only go outside if I have to. The sun has made me queasy on more than one occasion and I see no reason to try and make myself feel ill. I may be the palest person in these parts, but it means I am a cool and happy one! Thankfully it's been a quiet week, so I'm taking lots of naps and relaxing as much as I can.
Looking forward to? My church is throwing me a baby shower on Sunday, and then it becomes crunch time (like it wasn't already)! We are figuring out what we need to get to survive those first few weeks, and making it happen! My hospital bag is packed and in the back of my car. We just need to install the car seat and grab a few things the day of. Most looking forward to? Her arrival!
Note to the Jellybean: Hey baby girl! You are getting HUGE. From too small to feel, to first only being able to feel you flip over entirely, to feeling all of you- as you can now take up my whole stomach, I am amazed at watching (and feeling) you grow. Yet I know when I see you in a few weeks, I will be utterly amazed at how tiny you are. Your dad and I are smitten- I wish I could show you the look of wonder and love in his eyes when his hands are on my belly and you're up to your crazy, gymnastic antics. A lot is up in the air with his job right now, but every possible scenario has you at the front of each decision we could make. We are happy to turn our lives around for you. Your grandparents and great-grandparents are all thrilled- visits are being arranged and you have lots of gifts. I have no idea how you're going to handle so much love surrounding you. Because you are loved, little one. You are so loved.
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34 & 35 Weeks

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

 34 weeks with one of my best friends and big sis in my sorority, Sarah. 
Sorry guys, I know she's cute, but she's taken. (Hi, Tom!)

How far along? 34/35 weeks! I'm sorry I'm so belated, things have been a little crazy. We've stopped the produce pictures because they seem very far from accurate and again, crazy life. Have you ever seen a 17" long coconut? Me neither.
Gender? It's a she-bean!
Movement? All the flippin' time! She moves all day, all night and I love it. Every few days, I can feel her reach somewhere she's never reached before and it amazes me. She's getting so big!
Food cravings? Fresh fruit, ice water, brownies, and breakfast foods (eggs, toast, etc).
Have you started to show? Yep. It took 8 months, but I look pregnant. I went to visit Sarah in Maryland at the beginning of July and we went to DC for the day. On the metro, it was super crowded- with one seat available. I asked the lady if anyone was sitting there, and she started to say no, but I put on my sweetest face with just a hint of "don't-mess-with-me" and laid my arm across my belly... whatdoyaknow, that seat was available. :) 
Symptoms? Huge giant belly, difficulty breathing, back aches.
Belly Button in or out? Half flat, half out. Yeah, it looks weird.
Midwife? She continues to grow, I continue to gain weight, and her little heartbeat is still wondrous to hear and perfect in my ears and the midwife's.
Total weight gain? 24 pounds. For almost 9 months pregnant, I'm very small.
This week? It was great to visit with Sarah and have a little rest away from home. It was nice to be with my best friend and her sweet, sweet family. They took great care of me and though they treated me so kindly because of my large state, it was nice not thinking about the nursery or how many things I have left to do or buy all the time. 
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This is pregnancy.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I am on my 4th cold of this pregnancy. Yes, it is July. Yes, I have a cold. No, I am not making this up. I have eaten a baked potato and soup. Ice cream is next.

My belly rests on my lap. My boobs rest on my belly. Everything is touching. This is an odd sensation.

Every few days, Baby Girl reaches a new place she wasn't able to reach a few days ago. Because of the aforementioned statement, I estimate she can reach everything in my abdomen and if I'm sitting, the tops of my legs. She kicked a nerve in my butt yesterday.

I have started to waddle. It's super attractive.

I frequently get stuck on my back like a turtle. This happens on our bed or if I sit (and then lay) on the floor, forgetting that I cannot get up of my own volition any more. I flail and grunt and moan until Thomas comes to help his massive wife get up.

He doesn't call me massive. I call myself that, when I'm not calling myself a beached whale or the Goodyear blimp. He calls me gorgeous.

I miss wearing shorts. And after almost a quarter of a century, I've given up hope that I will ever tan, so I really don't care about you seeing my pale legs. Mostly it's because it's really hard for me to shave. I can't sit in the bottom of the tub and reach forward because of 24 pounds of placenta, fetus, amniotic fluid, and uterus. I don't have very good balance standing up for the same reason.

I also miss wearing more than 10 items of clothing. Mom, I understand now. Current outfit: one of Thomas's t shirts and black maternity yoga pants.

Speaking of yoga while pregnant, what is it? Who the heck is doing this? I can't see my own feet, let alone bend and touch them anymore. Do they just stand in a room and wave their arms around?

I periodically press firmly on my stomach to move my child. People look at me weird when I do this, but I know it's because they don't have someone putting feet behind their ribs. *Look, don't get in a huff about this, it's a gentle pressing and about half as hard as what my midwife does every week.

I have skin tags. No one told me this was a side effect of pregnancy. It is. I looked it up. What's the explanation for them cropping up on my belly and neck? Hormones. What else would it be?

There is a certain part of my anatomy (hint, it's a pair) that will not stop growing. Will. Not. Stop. Sadly, the requisite contraption to contain them is no longer comfortable because of the encroaching uterus (will it ever stop growing upwards?). I have not figured out a solution to this problem other than being a hermit for the last few weeks. This may be a viable solution.

I have to sleep with so many pillows to be even slightly comfortable that I feel like I'm drowning in them when I wake up. When my sweet, sweet husband goes to work in the morning, he gently repositions them all around his groggy wife, as I have flailed them about in the night. He kisses me, tells me he loves me, I grumble incoherently, and yet he returns home every day! Women, get yourselves one of these. Just not mine. I may not be able to fight you for him, but I will roll on top of you and crush you with my big self. Hormones are dangerous.

I cry all the time. Mostly when thinking about the Jellybean. This love is overwhelming.

If you are pregnant, have been pregnant, or will be pregnant, there are 2 major revelations. One will hit you in the first or second trimester. It is when you truly understand that you are pregnant. When it really hits you. The pee stick just ushers in a level of the surreal. For me, it was the ultrasound to determine that I was pregnant. I saw the bean and holy crap, my world was upside down. The second will come after you have been pregnant for many weeks and it will hit you that you have to give birth to a human and some how, some way, that human will come out of you. Mine came at the hospital tour when I saw the red bio-hazard bag that my, uh... leftovers would be going into. Nothing like a giant, red trash bag for medical waste to say "Congrats, you're having a baby!"

I cannot walk anywhere with great speed. Heck, I can't walk anywhere with moderate to normal speed. I am a waddling pregnant sloth.

I pulled weeds at 9:00 pm tonight for two reasons. One was that it was finally cool enough for me to go outside and the second one is that nesting is a real and present psychological condition whose powers should not be underestimated.

After the Jellybean has exited the sterile environment she currently resides in, I plan on eating sushi, a huge roast beef sandwich from Arby's, testing Chinese food again, and drinking a margarita. It's going to be a glorious feast.

I eat a lot, I pee a lot, and I sleep a lot. Kind of like a newborn.

No amount of pillows can solve this back pain.

I cannot wait to see her face, to see what she looks like, and to fall even more hopelessly in love with her than I already am. Despite everything I've written here tonight, this has been a fantastic pregnancy. It's been worth everything I've given up and I am confident that she is worth it- and worth so much more than what I can give her. Can you tell I'm smitten?