Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 29

Hi friends! Happy Thanksgiving! The hubby and I drove to Pensacola to spend the week with my in-laws. We spent a few days in New Orleans visiting my extended family (the backdrop for the week 29 preggo photo is Jackson Square), and we're headed home on Saturday. Even though it's awesome to see the fam, I am ready for my king size bed! We've been cramped in a double bed all week (with my snoogle, naturally) and it's a tight squeeze.

So much for the weekly updates! But here is week 29...

The bump has grown: (hopefully these are labeled correctly - you think you're going to remember and then... that goes too, along with everything else - thank you preggo mushy brain!)

Week 21: (these are the best sweatpants EVER! I highly recommend them, preggo or not! super comfy)

Week 25:

Week 29:

Pregnancy Stats:

How Far Along: 29 weeks

Size of baby: Baby Spice is the size of a butternut squash

Total Weight Gain: 18 lbs

Gender: Sweet baby girl

Movement: LOTS! Especially when Rich puts his hand on my belly

Sleep: Good on most nights. Still waking up frequently during the night to pee :/ and I woke up 2 days ago with the worst cramp in my calf. And it still hurts.

What I miss: Wine! In big glasses J

Cravings: salad. Kale. Avocadoes. All my “usual” food. It’s hard for me to decide what I feel like eating (nothing will sound appealing) so it’s mostly been smoothies and salad. Especially this week while visiting fam - I've been chowing down on greens while everyone else feasts on meat and oysters.

Symptoms: some moodiness, but no more headaches (keeping my fingers crossed!). At 26 weeks, my fundal height was measuring low (only 22cm), so I had an extra ultrasound (everything was okay, even though of course I freaked out and cried for hours) and was amazed at how much little girl has grown in the past month!

Maternity Clothes: nothing new recently, but everything still fits that I have been wearing

Best Moment this week: Several people in the past week or so have said how “tiny” I am – what can I say, the compliments really made my day! And after she hugged me, my aunt said "wow, I can still feel a waist! You don't even look pregnant from the front!" That was pretty sweet :)

We had a few chilly days and noticed that Maki would be super cuddly and always want to be under her blanket - so we got her a sweater :)

that's my little poser!

This year, I am most thankful for the little girl growing in my belly. I can't believe the pregnancy is already 75% over! Our baby shower is coming up on December 10. So excited!

What are you most thankful for this year?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Best Ever Chocolate Milk recipe (Gluten-free and Vegan!)

Hi friends! What's shakin'? This chocolate milk is AMAZING!

Maybe my favorite thing I have ever made in the Vita mix? Not to mention it is great for quelling that preggo chocolate craving!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Thick Chocolate Milk

1 c unsweetened almond milk (I used the Silk brand - I love how creamy it is!)

1 1/2 heaping Tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 - 1 tsp stevia, or more to taste (can substitute sugar or agave if desired)

1/2 tsp guar gum (can substitue xantham gum) - this makes the milk super thick!

3 ice cubes

1 tsp vanilla

pinch sea salt

Blend until smooth and creamy. Serve with chocolate chip cookies if desired (these were the Betty Crocker GF mix, made with Earth Balance and a flax egg).

This french toast rocked my world:

I topped it with a drizzle of agave - so delicious! Powdered sugar would be great too. Check out Peas & Thank You! Best cookbook ever :)

What are you up to this weekend? I am running the Disney Wine and Dine 1/2 marathon Saturday (tomorrow) night! It's my first night race - so stoked!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pregnancy Update: Week 21

Hi friends! How’s it going? I meant to do weekly updates all along, but… better late than never right? I am officially 21 (1/2) weeks along. My energy is generally pretty good (I’m usually up by 5am to hit the gym or run), but by about 9pm, I am done! I cannot seem to keep my eyes open any later than that. But I guess a growing bambino needs me to rest right? My sweet tooth has been out-of-control, which still seems weird to me because prior to becoming pregnant, it was non-existent. I also eat a lot of pickles

I started a new workout plan (by Jamie Eason) with my running buddy (who incidentally developed a potential slipped disk in her back with excruciating hip pain not long after I got pregnant), and we are now weight-lifting buddies. This workout may not seem tough while you’re doing, but you definitely will feel the burn! I am loving it so far. Even though my pregnant body is definitely a little slower and less strong than before, I still enjoy a good workout. Especially now with out-of-control hormones, I find daily exercise (anything from weights to yoga to running, or even a walk with the dog) imperative to staying balanced.

The bump definitely grows in the evening and is flatter in the morning . I feel like I’m finally getting to that “I look pregnant” stage and passed the “I have a beer gut” stage. Very exciting. This has led to buying more clothes (hey, there’s a limited time to show off the bump – I must take advantage and dress it up!).

(sorry for no bump picture... they all came out blurry :/ I will try again later!)

Pregnancy Stats:

How Far Along: 21 weeks

Size of baby: Baby Spice is the size of a banana

Total Weight Gain: 13ish lbs (I hate to admit it, but this totally freaks me out!)

Gender: We find out the sex next Friday (the 30th). We both still think it’s a girl, but I am so freaking excited to find out! And start buying clothes!!!

Movement: a little wiggling and fluttering – Rich actually felt the baby move last night! This was an awesome moment

Sleep: generally pretty good. I am loving my Snoogle body pillow (even though it takes up the whole bed). Sleeping on my back is still comfortable even though I know I’m not supposed to! I used to be a stomach (not possible) or back sleeper, and my side always makes me wake up with weird cricks in my neck and shoulders :/ and I wake up every hour to pee. This is annoying!

What I miss: Not much. Feeling pretty good with everything :)

Cravings: anything with carbs or sugar. Gluten-free toast with earth balance? Sooo delicious right now! And I still eat a lot of pickles

Symptoms: sleep interrupted frequently. Headaches almost daily (thank God there have been no migraines!) back starting to hurt a bit…

Maternity Clothes: Just ordered some tops from Seraphine ( and this dress from Asos. They both have amazing sales! I have this awesome bamboo nursing sweater from Serpahine, and I have to tell you, their customer service is amazing (I had to return it for a smaller size), you get your clothes super fast, and the quality is great.

Best Moment this week: Baby Spice has finally started moving a little! I hope this increases. Like now

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Taste of Fall - Pumpkin Caramel Frappaccino

Hey there bloggies! It’s been awhile – life has been crazy busy, between being pregnant (and requiring way more sleep than normal), studying for an exam and work – but all is good. I have noticed (as I’m sure we all have!) the massive pumpkin explosion which has occurred in the last few weeks – between the blogworld, the grocery store (bring on the gourds!), and, of course, Starbucks, fall has definitely arrived… except in Florida, where we are still enduring days of temperatures in the 90-degree range and ridiculous humidity (hell-o frizz!).

I was lucky enough to receive this Pumpkin Coffee and Caramel Pecan Bark from Godiva in conjunction with being a FoodBuzz Featured Publisher.

and it inspired me to make this frosty fall treat!

Recipe: Pumpkin Caramel Frappaccino

Serves 1

1 c strong brewed coffee (I did a blend of Caramel Pecan Bark and Pumpkin, made in my french press), chilled

1 c almond milk, preferably chilled in an ice cube tray until frozen

¼ c canned pumpkin

2 Medjool dates (amazing for adding a caramel flavor!)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp powdered stevia

Optional: 1 – 2 tsp maple syrup, if you like your beverage a little sweeter

Optional: add pumpkin pie spice, cloves, allspice, and ground ginger to taste

If your almond milk is not frozen into cubes, add 4-5 ice cubes to blender (this may dilute the taste).

Directions: add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. You can also freeze the coffee in an ice cube trays if you need to add any extra caffeine to your drink! This recipe is fast, easy and screams of fall – but it is also cool and refreshing for those summer-like days.

What's your favorite way to enjoy fall?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Maple Cinnamon Buckwheat Crispies lead to Cereal Addiciton

Hi friends! Finally, the weekend!

I am not generally a big cereal eater. Mostly because I could eat half the box and still want more. I went through about a week during my first trimester where I wanted cereal all. the. time. So I ate it. Many times a day. And it was glorious! My diet is generally very well rounded, but especially now that I seem to crave certain things (kale and avocadoes and watermelon come to mind) and then eat them non-stop for several days, I’m trying to make sure I eat enough nutrients – especially carbs. Most of mine come from veggies and fruit. Buckwheat is a pretty amazing little grain: it’s gluten free, cooks quickly, tastes good raw, can be made into flour pretty quickly.

I basically followed the recipe from Raw Food Real World. Here’s what it looks like after dehydrating for awhile:

And after breaking into bite-size cereal pieces!

So good with organic blueberries and raspberries:

adding the almond milk:

The best part about this cereal is it is super-filling and satiating thanks to the protein in the buckwheat. One bowl is actually enough to keep me full all morning! I bet this would even be good without dehydrating, eaten like breakfast porridge – the texture of the raw, blended buckwheat is chewy and creamy.

When I was a kid, I loved Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs. Now all the weird ingredients freak me out and I'd rather eat buckwheat! Funny how that happens.

Are you a cereal eater? What's your favorite kind?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Succotash Dreams

Ever since Mama Pea posted this recipe, I have not been able to get the idea of Summer Succotash Quesadillas with Nacho MMM Sauce out of my head! I pretty much followed the recipe, using these Brown Rice Tortillas. For the nacho mmm sauce, I used this jarred Chipotle salsa:
Xochitl is awesome. They make the best tortilla chips ever (love the blue corn) - they are thin and crispy and gluten-free! The mmmm sauce is so tasty - i want to swim in a jar of this stuff! It's like liquid gold.

I'm not sure if it's better than original mmm or peanut mmm (haven't tried that one yet, but the sauce + noodle salad looks scrumptious). Don't make me choose. If it has mmmm in it's name, you'll be moaning "Oh My Peas!" no matter what you put it on :).

Veggies all prepped and ready to go:

The veggies sweating out in the pan:

The Daiya pepperjack cheese was awesome in this - melty, ooey, gooey with a great kick of flavor. I cooked my quesadillas on a cast iron skillet and it was perfect.

My hubby loves the Daiya too (he can't eat dairy) - he says it tastes buttery and cheesy. How could that be bad?

I love to pack up my lunch for work while I'm cooking dinner. It saves so much time and I don't have to rush around in the morning. Tomorrow's lunch - spring mix, romaine, kalamata olives, 1/2 avocado and vinaigrette: (I bring salad 99% of the time)

What a perfect meal for the end of a long day! This morning, Baby Spice (my bloggie nickname for the baby in my tummy!) and I ran / walked 6 miles. It wasn't very fast, but it. felt. amazing! I spent my first trimester being so tired, and the heat and humidity are ridiculous right now (even at 5am!), but to me, nothing beats the feeling of a good run. I signed up for the Disney Wine & Dine half marathon months before I was pregnant (did I mention this pregnancy was, um, not planned? at all? We wanted kids some day, but I thought it'd be in a few years! Surprise!), and because I'm cheap and stubborn, I want to run it anyway. I'll be 22 weeks at that point, but hopefully still high on the second semester energy. I figure I can always back out if I'm just not feeling it.

something to think about: I read this article today, and for some reason, it really hit home with me. Maybe it's because of the baby on the way, but lately I've really been re-evaluating my life - my job, my time, what I'm spending money on. It really is so true that you already have enough and are enough - it's only a matter of seeing it that way. Perspective is everything :)

Have you learned anything new by adjusting your perspective? Have you tried Mmmm sauce yet? Go do it. Now!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Making Mustard Greens Edible

The other day, I was picking up kale. 4 bunches of kale, to be exact (like all normal people do, right?) :). Except one bunch wasn't curly leaf kale. I discovered after I got home that it was....

mustard greens! Oh how I dread mustard greens. I've tried a few times to like them, but they always just seems so... potent. Too spicy, or peppery, or intense. I've juiced them, made salads, but to no avail... I couldn't like them. Maybe it was because I never tried cooking them? I generally don't cook my greens (and I love eating raw collard wraps! that's a pretty intense green to most people :)), but as I looked up recipes, I found quite a few that were appealing. In the end, I went with Susan's recipe for Balsamic-Glazed Chickpeas with Mustard Greens. By the way, if you don't already read her blog, go check it out! She has tons of easy, fast recipes and it's all vegan and delicious.

Of course, I added fat to the fat-free recipe and used Earth Balance (sooo buttery and yummy!) and a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Cooking the onion, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes and carrots:

Adding the greens:

It looks like a lot, but they wilt down quite a bit. After 2 minutes:

I love how colorful this dish is!

After I took the greens & veggies out of the pan, I added balsamic, coconut aminos (soy-free, GF, vegan, to replace the soy sauce - if you haven't tried this stuff yet, you must - sooo delicious!), agave and chickpeas:

After the liquid reduced and the chickpeas had some nice color on them:

The finished product:

You know what? I actually like mustard greens. Maybe they are like tofu and you just have to cook them the right way. I love changing up the greens I eat (kale, spinach, spring mix, romain, red leaf, boston lettuce, arugala, watercress, chard, collards) to make sure I'm getting a variety of nutrients. Of course, kale almost always is in the house. I can't get enough! But now mustard greens can come home with me too.

In not-so-favorable cooking, I tried these new veggie burgers (bought with my own money, or more accurately, my hubby's since he picked them up for me):
Frozen meat patties in the wrapper: (the wrapper may have helped the flavor)

Of course, after making Angela's amazing veggie burgers, and Mama Pea's veggie burgers (seriously, these recipes are all amazing and I have made them all, most more than once. try them now!), any frozen patty is subpar. But these were terrible! They taste chalky and underseasoned and ... just gross. Sorry veggie burgers, but you're a no go. Score: husband = 1 for buying veggie burgers. New veggie burgers = 0 (major fail). Naturally, I can't get the Yucon Gold White Bean Basil burgers out of my mind. Sarah - you amaze me. I want your book to show up on my doorstep now!

Any awesome food finds or major fails for you? Tell me about it!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bloomin' Onion

The other day after my ultrasound, my mom and I went to a raw, vegan restaurant called Leafy Greens Cafe in downtown St. Pete to grab some dinner. I didn't have my camera, but we shared the Mediterranean Pizza and the Sandwich. They were both tasty, but the sandwich was amazing! It was my mom's first time having onion bread and she loved it! I am lucky that my family (both mine and my in-laws) are extremely supportive of how I choose to eat. They always stock up on tons of fresh produce, organic greens, kale and avocados when I visit. My parents (mom especially) will always try what I cook up too - they both love massaged kale salad and now request it frequently. Yay kale!

(my kale salad lover)

Anyway, the onion bread on the sandwich got me thinking - it's been forever since I used my dehydrator, so it was time to whip up a batch. Only downside? It makes the house smell... like a bloomin' onion :) not necessarily a bad thing! I didn't measure anything (per usual), but I used a recipe loosely based on this one (I use less oil). Here's the batter:

Into the deydrator:

So hard to wait for it!

but so good when it comes out :) I sliced some for sandwiches and used the rough edges to make crackers. sometimes it's okay to be a little rough around the edges!

I used some of the bread to make sandwiches with Italian pizza cheeze with alfalfa sprouts, julienned carrot, red pepper, grape tomatoes and guac.

I also did some with collard wraps:

Served with spicy almond butter dipping sauce:

and kale!

It was delicious!

What tasty food have you eaten lately?