Saturday, March 30, 2013

St. Louis Arch Potatoes

When finding a recipe on pinterest, you're never sure how it will actually turn out. I found the recipe for Scalloped Hasselback Potatoes on pinterest and they looked good and not too complicated to make. I'm renaming them Arch potatoes because when making them they start to to curve and Jason commented that they look like an arch.

Here's the recipe:
4 Potatoes (I used Russets)
1 stick of Butter (Frozen)
Parmigiano-Reggiano hard cheese, Sliced thinly
Olive Oil
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Oven = 400 F

Note - Looking at the Pin or the other website helps a lot... the instructions posted have a lot of pictures. Read my tips below though!

Slice the potatoes, but not all the way through. It's recommend to use wooden spoons, I used rubber. With my sharp knife it wasn't the best idea. (My spoons have knicks now) The best trick I saw is to use wooden chopsticks! Those would be perfect and I will use them next time.

Slice the butter and cheese. Place the slices in the pre-sliced potato, alternative between the butter & cheese. The potato will start to curl, and be careful not to break it!

Place potatoes on a cutting board/plate/sink and drizzle with olive oil. I drizzled the EVOO when the potatoes were on the cookie sheet and it made a huge mess to clean up later. Sprinkle with salt/pepper/garlic/whatever spices you want.

Cook the potatoes for 45 minutes. Pull out and drizzle with cream or milk. (I used about 1/4 cup for 4 potatoes.) Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and put back in the oven for about 15 minutes. They were delicious!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Eating More + Cooking More = Healither Ideas

My blog title is more fitting then ever -- The Belly does Rule my Mind right now. Mostly this little human being I'm growing rules it most of the time.

I am hungry all the time. All the time! I'm also tired all the time!

A few weeks ago we ate a lot of fast food. I wasn't happy with the junk I was eating, but I was too tired to think about dinner and worry about planning and *gasp* actually cook something. We have a grocery budget of $80/week plus $40/week for restaurants. I also allocate $30 twice a month toward the co-op. We don't always use the co-op so that money just rolls over. During our eating out week, we actually didn't spend more than the cash we had, so on the money side, it was OK. On the health side? Not so much.

So over a week ago I vowed to eat at home more. Jason and I both need to eat better. I also need to plan plan plan. I used to be great at meal planning.

Trader Joe's is awesome. They make putting some meals together a real breeze. I usually get suckered into the sample dish they are preparing and wind up buying some weird things. Once - pretzel rolls for sandwiches. A few weeks ago? Cornbread & a Can of Chili.

Last night I made this easy dish.  Seriously - I mixed together the box of cornbread mix and can of chili. It took a lot of extra stirring. I put it in a 8x8 greased pan and baked it at 300 for 40 minutes. The Trader Joe guy LIED to me. He said he cooked it for 40-50 minutes. Men! No good for anything. It was a bit dry. I would recommend trying it at 30 minutes. After 20 minutes it wasn't quite done. It is still really good, even thought it's a bit dry. Nothing butter can't fix!

It makes 9 squares, about 225 calories each - yea, a little high. Hey, I'm eating for 1 and like 1/10 right now.

We had it with a baked potato. Good dinner, very filling.

So the past two weeks we have done much better with cooking & eating in.  It's still not completely all on the healthy side (Cinnamon Toast Crunch for dinner), but we're trying!

This week's coop was a great selection. I got Bananas, Cara Cara oranges, Fuji apples, Cherry Tomatoes, Lemons, Mangoes, (Bag of) Spinach, Broccoli, Asparagus, White mushrooms, and Green onions. Cabbage was available, but I just passed on mine. They donate any leftover produce.

I also ordered a bag of oranges & russet potatoes. I'm going to make twice baked potatoes this weekend and will use the green onions for that.I will probably make spaghetti this weekend and use the cherry tomatoes and mushrooms in that. Or roast the cherry tomatoes with something else. We'll eat all the fruit - love it all!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Genetic Testing, JBJ, and rearranging!

Our genetic testing results came back. The nuchal translucency (NT) ulstrasound combined with blood work shows that our baby has a 1 in 8,000 chance of having down syndrom and 1 in 10,000 chance of having Edward's syndrome (trisomy 18) and/or (?) Patau syndrome (trisomy 13). The Tri 18 & Tri 13 are so rare that most babies miscarry before the end of the first trimester.

My odds, at age 33 started at 1 in 380 for down syndrome and 1 in 780 for the Tris.

This is great news.

It's not that "bad" news would have altered our decision to have a baby. The baby is coming. It's just one more way to be prepared before the baby comes. If I have a special needs child, I will need to prepare differently, and mostly in the financial sense.


My friend E loves Jon Bon Jovi. She's seen him 13 times in concert and since he finally started coming back to St. Louis, she gets a group together. Last Wednesday, March 13, he was in St. Louis for the 2nd time in 2 years! He was here in May 2011, the night of the Joplin Tornado, and before that it was November 2001. The concert was great! We had good seats wtih a ladies restroom right behind us. I peed 5 times over a 4 hour concert period. Good thing the other ladies let me have the aisle seat! My picture is a little blurry, taken with a phone that didn't know what to focus on. The concert was very loud but I enjoyed it. It was Baby G's first concert! My first concert (in my mom's belly) was Neil Diamond. Probably why I like Neil so much. Luckily Baby G is starting things off right -- Bon Jovi loving.

Also last week our new bed came in. From Skymall. That's right, we ordered something from Skymall! When we traveled to San Fran in January, I was looking at the catalog and fell in love with the storage platform bed. The bed has 6 drawers on each side. We have been looking for a platform bed with head board and after two months of deliberation, decided to purchase this. It didn't hurt that I got a 25% coupon as a February 28th special. First time I had seen a 25% off coupon and didn't think it would ever get better. So we ordered it. Jason got most of it put together this week (the drawers and small things attached) and his brother Tim came over today to help finish putting it together and also to move my dresser and Andy's grandfather's desk downstairs.

Along with the new bed, we also purchased a 9-cube shelf for the closet. For my clothes. I hate hanging up my clothes. Hate it. Don't do it, just pile clothes on the shelf in the closet. So we got a shelf for me. I do hang up a few things, but my wardrobe is mostly t-shirts and jeans and there's no need to hang those up all the time. I also cleaned out the clothes that already don't fit due to Baby G.

This weekend I also purchased some more work out clothes - men's shorts. I don't understand why women's shorts are soooo short. And I found a maternity bathing suit!

Note - in order to move the desk out of the future nursery, you must take off the door to the room, door to the basement, and hand rails. Sorry Andy, that desk is being sold with the house!

Our next doctor appointment is a check up the first week of April and another ultrasound the last week of April to find out the sex! We are planners so finding out the sex is really important. We'll announce it once we've told the family.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Detox of the body & house (baby update at end!)

So the hardest part of being pregnant is not getting relief from ailments. Like having a nasty head cold and not being able to take the strongest drugs possible. So you have to find relief in other methods.

My friend Lani (and photographer) uses Young Living's Essential Oils for her family's healthcare. Today she had a Dr. Mom class where her friend explained all the benefits of the essential oils and how to use them. My mom didn't want to attend because it was too "new age" for her. :) I liked how the class had an example baby (doll) to show how to use oils on the baby too. I don't remember everything she said though... I should have taped the presentation!

I ordered the Thieves starter kit which has a variety of these items, and the Everyday Oils Essential Collection.  The starter kits also come with some extras like additional Peppermint oil. I plan to pass one of those off to my mom to help with her aches. Even though she's had knee replacement, I think she still has some pain, especially because she works out. If you sign up to be a distributor (no extra cost), then you get a discount on your products. You only have to purchase $50/year to maintain your membership.

Lani also uses Soap Nuts from LaundryTree. I'm trying to figure out what I am going to do for laundry soap with the baby. They make a LOT of baby related laundry soaps and cloth diaper specific diaper detergents. Some of my friends love them the BumGenius or Rockin' Green brands.  The one I am leaning toward is Nellie's.I like that's it 1 tablespoon per laundry load.

I went for an ultrasound on Thursday. The baby is measuring a few days behind and my due date is estimated at September 10th now. According to BabyCenter, if my baby is 14 weeks, it can now squint, frown, grimace, pee, and suck his thumb! So gross.. pee? Inside me? During the ultrasound he was quite a mover. He kept moving his 2 arms and 2 legs. Things looked great and he has a solid heartbeat. Just a lot of reassurance that everything is going well. He's about the size of a lemon now.

We go back on April 22 to find out the sex. I'm hoping he is growing a penis, and is able to spread his legs and show us! And well, if it's a girl, ok. I'll erase all mention of wanting a boy and never mention to her that I wanted a boy more.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Oh Baby Baby Baby

There is a LOT of stuff you start learning about that is scary as the worst horror movie when you become pregnant.

So far, birthing the baby is the scariest thing by far. Or well, what happens to your body after birth.
Number 2? Paying for college.

Had someone told me before I got pregnant that I would need to make something called a Postpartum Padsicles, I would have figured out how to pay a surrogate or go the adoption route. In fact, when trying to teach teenagers to abstain, they should concentrate on explaining how horrific childbirth is and the months of havoc your body goes through after it's over with. I don't remember seeing that featured on 16 & Pregnant or Teen Moms.

Pinterest is an amazing resource of info. How did mom's do it before Pinterest?

Our first registry is available online! We registered at Cotton Babies for cloth diapers and a few other things. It's just a start there too... once we find out boy or girl we'll go back and add more diapers to the registry. We plan to register at Babies R Us and maybe on Amazon. There's a lot of things I have found that are just easier to add to a Amazon list then to find at BRU, ect.

So far things are better. I am still very tired. Exhausted. I am not feeling as sick, but still have some weird food aversions. Jason eats a lot of things that smell funny -- like chocolate covered pretzels. It's the weirdest thing too.

The things I hate the most about being pregnant is acne and being tired all the time. Like all the time. If I could take the next 9 months off and do nothing but sleep, I would. Unfortunately our budget couldn't handle that so I must work. I'd also wind up bored after a week or so... but a week off would be nice. Our budget could handle that... maybe my company will start furloughs this year? Ok, that would actually suck since we're on a budget to save and pay off debt before baby.

There's a lot of things I learned since Jason's mom died. Like how important an updated will is along with making sure all your beneficiaries are updated. And owning your home, and making sure someone is paying enough attention to pay your real estate taxes while everything is in probate. I can't wait to be over and done with all this silly lawyer stuff and the house. It's an added strain to try to figure it out. We also have to do our own will and name our children's guardians should we pass before they are 18. (Any takers for my future rugrats?)  And we'll name a different person to handle the trust. And we have to get to State Farm to get some more life insurance. While our agent is nice, she's a bit pushy with the insurance stuff. She calls once a month -- until you change your phone number. So I was able to get some quiet, until she got Jason's number.