Sunday, October 28, 2012

What nursing mothers really eat

If you are reading KERF (Kath Eats), and you are wondering how she survives on the miniscule portions of food she eats as a nursing mother...yeah, me too.

I've got a 3 month old and I'm trying (and succeeding) at losing weight.

Here's what I had for dinner one night last week.

 Big salad with pears, blue cheese, avocado.

Carrot ginger soup (Trader Joe's, not my homemade)

Homemade bread, expensive cheese, crackers, and kielbasa.

And I went back for extra cheese and kielbasa.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sickness and Recovery - Soup! Pie!

So last week was the week that it all hit the fan.  It was my first week back to work 80%.  Well, it should have been.  I ended up with a stomach bug and both kids were sick with a fever/cough.  So Tuesday, I left early due to lack of sleep and stomach issues.  Thursday I was home with a sick baby.  Friday I was home half day with a sick baby.  Husband was out of town Tuesday and Wednesday.  Fun times.  It can only get better from here, right?

So I didn’t eat all of the food that I’d planned for the week.  I laid off the vegetables.  I really only ate enough to keep going.  We did finish off the cream of celery soup by Friday:

I ended up eating a lot of homemade applesauce and toast.  I used some of my time home with the sick baby to make pomegranate juice.  We had 6 pomegranates.  We have four more again.  Ugh.  They are too much work.
Now it’s Sunday and the hubby and I feel like we are coming down with the same cold that the boys have.  It’s expected when babies sneeze and cough on you.  I’m loading up on Emergen-C and Zicam. 

Thursday night my hubby brought home a roasted chicken from Costco.  We ate it with the Mexican rice, guacamole, cheese, sour cream.  And carrot sticks.  Friday night I threw some carrot, onion, and celery bits in with the chicken carcass into the crockpot and made stock.  Saturday night I made chicken and rice soup (trying to head this cold off at the pass).  I started with the recipe from The PrudentHomemaker.  I had celery in the freezer (I can never finish off a bunch of celery, so I blanch and freeze the rest), carrots (3 bunches from the CSA, but I didn't use that many!), and green onions.  I bought a 5 pound bag of rice for $2.69 from Smart and Final so needed to use some of that up.  I basically made a double batch, which means I used 1 cup of raw rice.  I added dried thyme and parsley.  The stock was very yummy and gelatinous. I probably should have diluted it and saved some of the yumminess for later.  But I didn’t.

I also made olive and rosemary bread.  I like no-knead bread but never plan enough in advance.  So I used a rustic white bread recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Family cookbook, except I used the bread machine to make the dough.  And I added some olives and rosemary.  The bread machine just doesn’t beep loud enough when it’s time to add the mix-ins, so I guesstimated.

Then I realized it wouldn’t be done in time for dinner.  It’s 2.5 hours on the dough cycle.  Then you shape it and let it rise for an hour.  Then it needs to bake for 45 minutes.  Then it needs to cool for two hours.  Dinner at 8 pm anyone?  So I cut the dough in half and baked two loaves for faster baking and cooling.  I used the method in Healthy Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, which involves baking on the pizza stone.  That cut rising to 45 minutes, baking to 30 minutes, and cooling to about an hour.  It was ready for dinner at 6:30 pm.

Both the soup and the bread were fabulous, along with a romaine salad with pears, walnuts, blue cheese, and avocado, with balsamic vinaigrette.

Sunday morning I got started right away (after feeding the baby…he’s waking in the night again due to the illness) on mini-pumpkin pies.  This is a recipe from my grain-free and dairy-free neighbor.  They are delish!  She uses honey, I use maple syrup.  I made up the crust and put them in the muffin tin and put them into the freezer.  Then I took a nap.  Then I finished them off.  I’m not gluten, dairy, or grain free, but hey, if it’s good, it’s good.  She actually combined two different recipes to make them.

Mini Pumpkin pies:
The crust:
Scant 2 cups nut flour (I used almond flour)
1 Tbsp coconut flour
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
2 tsp coconut oil
Mix in a food processor until it forms a ball.  Mine never really did, but it did get sticky enough.  Coat the muffin tins with coconut oil and then put a heaping Tbsp of crust in each.  Flatten along the bottom and partway up the side. I had enough for 12 muffins.  Cool in the fridge 1 hour.  Bake at 350F for 8 minutes.

The filling:
2 cups/1 can pumpkin puree
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 eggs
1 cup coconut milk (I used the full fat version)
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg

Bake at 325F for about 45 minutes, or until brown on top. 
This made extra filling, so I threw 3 silicone baking cups in with just the filling, to finish it off.

I almost never say this, but...I used 1/3 cup of maple syrup in the filling.  Next time I'll use 1/2 cup.  I rarely think things need to be sweeter.  I'm almost always cutting back on the sugar.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Husband Travel Week

Here's a tip about me: I like having family dinner.  I also would prefer my family eat together and that the  meal be hot.  Yesterday was a fail on many levels.  We didn't eat together, the steak was overdone, and the food was cold.  On a Saturday, when it should be easier, it wasn't.  I was disappointed.  And my six year old was cranky from the trifecta, not enough sleep, a very active day, and a flu shot.

Spouse is traveling this week.  Of course, it's the week my schedule at work increases to its new normal (80%).  It's probably the fastest possible trip to the east coast (for a 3 hour meeting) possible.  Fly out one day, fly back the next.  Assuming he makes the plane.  Traffic in DC, you never know.

So here's the plan for the week:

Lunches: bean and vegetable burritos.  I made these this morning between 6 and 7 am while the hubby and baby were sleeping and the kiddo was playing a Star Wars video game (don't judge).

Saturday: steak, roasted potatoes, salad with pomegranates.  I got six this week from the CSA. They are a pain in the ass.  But tasty.

Sunday: leftover steak, cream of celery soup, Mexican red rice.  This is the second week in a row of celery from the CSA, and it's just not "snacking celery", it's small, hard, and chewy.  It's definitely cooking celery.  Most of last week's celery went into a freezer bag for future vegetable stock, with carrot peels and onion pieces. 

Monday: leftover rice, kidney beans, cheese, broccoli.

Tuesday: chicken fingers, tater tots, carrots

Wednesday: frozen pizza, and whatever vegetables I happen to still have in the fridge at that time.  It's hard to predict.

Thursday/ Friday: I have no idea.  Maybe grilled cheese with soup?  Scrambled eggs?  Falafel?  I'd have to have the energy to cook up the chickpeas, so maybe not falafel.

Other random cooking:
Applesauce.  I used some crappy apples and pears and some good apples from my boss's orchard, and made two ridiculously easy batches of pressure cooker applesauce.  One plain, one with cinnamon.

I also made gluten-free pumpkin bread.  My neighbor is gluten free (and starch free), and she gave me a bite of bread and a bite of some mini pumpkin pies that she'd made, and they were awesome.  I made the bread which was also crazy-easy: almond flour, eggs, maple syrup, pumpkin, spices, baking soda.  Very moist.  I want to try the mini pumpkin pies next weekend with the rest of the pumpkin, which I should probably freeze.

Well, off to finish my coffee.  My plan is to go for a walk today and then head to the Lemon festival with the family.  After that, stop off at the pumpkin patch for a photo-op with the baby's friends.  He's going to be Superman.  And he slept 12 hours last night.  12.  hours.  I'd heard about babies and kids who did that.  I thought they were a myth.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tastes like...

I could say "chicken".  Because we grilled chicken this weekend (it was black on the outside and raw on the inside...not our best work).  And I made my standard Trader Joe's breaded frozen chicken on Tuesday.  And Wednesday we had leftover Crockpot Butter Chicken from last week (I froze it) over the mashed potatoes we had on Saturday. (The most successful dish of the "burned chicken" night.)

But what I really mean is to channel Biz and say "tastes like ass".  Because this weekend I bought some fruit at Ralph's. And it sucked.  I bought pears which were hard and tasteless, and apples that were mealy and gross.  I mean, it's October.  Apple season, right?  Ugh, how can the apples be mealy and tasteless?  They were galas.

The last two pears and the apples are getting turned into applesauce with some better fruits this weekend, from my boss's tree and the CSA.  I bought the apples before the boss brought in the fruit.

I am a fruit snob.  From now on, I will stick to Trader Joe's for apples (pink ladies, never mealy) and cantaloupe, the farmer's market, the CSA, or my boss's trees.  Actually, last week I bought pears at Tri County Produce, and as expected (based on the store name), they were quite good.

The rest of the week has gone along as planned:

Saturday: burned chicken, mashed potatoes, salad.  At 8 pm we were eating the still burned but no longer raw chicken, that was finished in the oven.
Sunday: More of the chicken made into quesadillas with guac, green beans, mashed potatoes
Monday:  The last of the chicken and some frozen meatballs, broccoli, mashed potatoes
Tuesday: Chicken fingers, tater tots, Indian spiced cauliflower

Wednesday: Crockpot Indian Butter chicken, mashed potatoes, steamed cauliflower with feta.  Now, why I didn't make the Indian spiced cauliflower the same night as the Indian butter chicken...I dunno, I'm weird that way.

Thursday: The last of the Indian chicken with some mashed potatoes and maybe more potatoes if we run out of mashed. looks like carrots.  I think that's the only veg left in the fridge.
Friday:  Wow, I thought the curry chicken would take me until then, but it probably won't.  So probably we'll have grilled cheese sandwiches with a vegetable.

Lunch for the adults is Spaghetti Amatriciana.  I cooked up a pound of pasta and it makes 10 lunches.  Plus we're eating leftover veggies, hard boiled eggs, and carrot sticks.

Breakfast for the kiddo has been pancakes that I made on Sunday morning and froze.  I've been eating yogurt with fruit or toast, depending on whether it's a workout day or not.  Toast if it's a workout day.

The mashed potatoes were quite good and not really pictured.  You can kinda see them under that curry chicken.  We got chives.  So, they have chives, butter, milk, cream cheese, and sour cream.

The Indian spiced cauliflower was great.  I used the aloo gobi spice mix.  I steamed 1/2 head of cauliflower (it was a big head) for 3 minutes in the microwave.  I then sauteed it in one Tbsp oil in a skillet until it started to brown.  Cauliflower absorbs a lot of oil.  Then I added the spices and stirred (I used 1/4 of the spice mixture, because the full recipe has a full head of cauliflower AND potatoes), and added 1/4 cup of water, covered, reduced heat, and simmered about 5 minutes until done.

On that note, I still have a kid's lunch to pack before bedtime.  On a new-mommy note, I'd like to add that my 3 month old baby has slept 8-10 hours for three nights in a row.  From about 7:30 to 4:30 or 5:30.  I may have to revise my statement that he's the hard baby.  His big brother didn't sleep that long until 8 months.

And he's so snuggly.  I'm lovin' the snuggles I get from my boys.  Pure heaven.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Saturday was grill night!  This week we experimented with pork tenderloin.  I used a dry rub from America's Test Kitchen Family favorites and followed their grilling instructions...success!

We got a boatload of parsley this week. As big as my  head.  So I looked up parsley recipes and settled on chimichurri.  I mixed a couple of recipes know, I winged it.  I started here, but added cilantro instead of oregano and used less olive oil.  I used garlic from our CSA.  LOOK at the size of this clove. 

This is one clove.  It's the size of 10 regular cloves.  I chopped it into 9 pieces to put through the press and saved the extra in a container in the fridge.  It went into today's Indian Butter Chicken (crockpot).

I also did a repeat of the Moroccan Carrot Salad.  This time with baby carrots because I hit Trader Joe's during stock up hour and they were out of the regular carrots.

And I followed it up with this crockpot bean dish.  I got this recipe from a cooking class and I love it.  But...I think I ate too much of it.  Gave me some tummy issues later.  From now on: 1/2 cup of beans is fine.  A full cup is pushing it!