Monthly Archives: September 2014

Food Nesting

My freezer is cooler than your freezer.

My freezer is cooler than your freezer.

The wife had a wedding the weekend before last and I told her at 32 weeks that in no way was I going to be working at wedding at 36 weeks pregnant. I really enjoy working weddings with her, but they are long days (at least 12 hours), with lots of walking, carrying and general hustle. My last two weddings, my Fitbit ranked 20,000+ steps. The physical and emotional toll of it was just too much. So her mom came up to help and I stayed home and cooked for two days straight.

I’m not even kidding about that. Look at the before and after of my freezer. Look at them. Are you scared? I’m scared. I spent something like $300 on groceries prepping for that, but we easily have 3 weeks of food in there. And I would look at what I did and go “I don’t know why that took so long, I only made 8 dishes” but dude, cooking is work! It takes time! I forgot that somehow.

The only thing I’m not pleased about is the lack of vegetables in all of this. I’d really wanted to throw some zucchini in my burritos, but costco & target didn’t have any, so I went without. I figured I can still eat all of this with salad when the time comes anyway.

My jumping off point for this was Don’t Panic: More Dinner’s in the Freezer, a book I’d gotten on Kindle when it was on sale for $1. I really only used one recipe from it (Apricot Bars), but the tips and tricks for how to make and freeze stuff was invaluable. A lot of the recipes I could take or leave (not a lot of veggies, using frozen bread dough instead of making pizza dough, etc…), but still, something like that is a great resource. Here’s what I did make.

Martha Stewart Chicken Penne Bake

Honey Lime Avocado Popsicles (hoping to be a labor snack)
Banana Bread
Lactation Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Pizza Dough
Spinach, Bacon & Mushroom Calzones (using this kitchn how to)
Apricot Bars
and burritos. So, so many burritos.

Do you want to learn how to make burritos? Come close, children. First, you don’t need a recipe or any references, but if having some will make you feel better, read this Kitchn tutorial.
1. Crockpot 6 chicken breasts with a jar of 16oz salsa (I used Mrs. Renfro’s Jalapeno Salsa because we both like that, but it is spicy) for about 8 hours. Shred with 2 forks.
2. Cook up a bunch of rice. I did 1.5 cups dry brown rice, which I think made 3 cups cooked rice? Could also do quinoa or another grain.
3. Add a bunch of black beans. I used 4 regular sized cans of rinsed beans.
4. Mix 1-3 together. The rice will absorb the extra liquid, so your burritos will still have the flavor but not be drippy.
5. Cool to room temperature.
6. Make into burritos! I added the Costco Mexican cheese mix to each tortilla underneath and on top of the 2-3 serving spoonfuls of filling. That used just about a bag of the 2 bags that were in a Kirkland pack (so about a pound?). I used the Kitchn’s tutorial and it worked super well (though I did have to look up how to roll a burrito on the internet).

That made about 18 burritos using 10″ tortillas. I filled up the remaining 6 tortillas with a shredded pork tenderloin I’d crockpotted with salsa verde with a smaller amount of rice and black beans and had about 3 cups leftover. I would have sauteed some onions and zucchini and thrown those in if we had the zucchini, but you could add other veg too – mushrooms, peppers, that sort of thing. I had also thought to do a mashed sweet potato burrito, but ran out of steam. And also tortillas. And freezer space.

I used two containers of aluminum foil and a box of gallon ziploc bags getting this all in. And I’m still not done. I have a bunch of hummus from a recent baby shower I’m going to freeze for snacking and I’d like to cook some chicken breast pieces and freeze those to defrost later for salads.

Also, I underestimated how physically exhausting it is to stand in a kitchen while 36 weeks pregnant. I used to do Friday night cook-a-thons similar to this in my single days, except that I’d get shitfaced on cheap wine and listen to podcasts while doing it (I was a classy youngster with a roaring social life, what can I say). I had to take an hour break several times during the day because my feet were the size of the burritos I was making.

In the end though, making all the burritos was the least time intensive and yielded the most results out of everything. I may have to make this a monthly habit to help keep lunch costs down.

Mothering Instinct

No joke, I just pulled a grown ass man out of traffic. I guess mothering instinct is kicking in? I am still laughing at myself.

See, at the metro stop near my work, there is what looks like a 4 way intersection that is actually a 5 way and affects the crosswalk. When with pedestrian traffic gets a green light, pedestrians always think they can go (even though they have a don’t walk), when in reality, there is a right turn lane that allows cars through for 30 seconds or so. Every damn morning (unless there’s a traffic cop paying attention), someone jaywalks, then nearly gets hit by a car, then has to back up and it slows the whole flow.

This morning, the guy next to me stops, the light goes green (but not the pedestrian light), he looks both ways and steps out into a crosswalk. I say “Dude, no.” and then GRAB HIM BY THE FOREARM and yank him back just as an SUV goes around the corner. Then we both just start laughing. I apologize, the light changes, we start walking, I apologize and say it was inappropriate, he says it’s OK, it was cute and we go about our day.

But yeah, I’m still amazed I did that. In my defense, I am super tired today, so maybe the appropriateness filter isn’t there?

Ow. Ow ow ow. Ow.

Sometimes I feel like I should write a book called “The Things No One Told You About Pregnancy.” I mean, I’m sure someone did tell me and if I read month by month in the Mayo Clinic book or somewhere else, I wouldn’t be continually surprised by things. Like, did you know your nipples just leak after birth? Just randomly a thing?

Today, it’s side body pain. Dude, my ribs are killing me. It started at 34 weeks but a few days ago, it got *rough* on my left side. To the point where I can’t sleep on that side anymore. Trust, I’ve tried, but after an hour or two, I have a deep, niggling, something wrong that’s not just sore muscles pain in my abdomen.

So now I can only sleep on my right side, which means that my right hip and shoulder are killing me. I also tend to sleep in a way that I call ‘sentry duty’ – meaning I wake up every hour or two, look at the clock, make sure we haven’t been attacked by aliens, roll over and go back to sleep. Except now I can’t roll over, so instead I get up and go to the bathroom. Because that’s something else that they don’t really tell you, you’ll have to get up multiple times in a night to pee.

But the left side rib pain has become constant. It gets worse, probably when baby girl is kicking me in the ribs, but it’s pretty much always there. The pain level is like a 2, but as anyone with a toothache knows, a constant 2 can become intolerable by hour 6. Tylenol is made of magical fairy dust, at least for a couple of hours, but I’m really trying to stay chemical free during this pregnancy. Off to the chiropractor again today. They didn’t really help last time, but hey, maybe this time? Maybe?

Also, OW.

Welcome, APW!

I wrote a thing that’s on APW today about how I’m still not really sure I’m a grown up. Are we sure? Really?

I mean, the universe is giving us a baby. Really? To us? Because I’m pretty sure we’re gonna break it, and break it pretty quickly. Maybe that’s what all parents do in their own ways, but even if I fill out the warranty card, I don’t know if we can get this done right.

We’ll find out. 5 weeks and counting. (OMG 5 weeks and counting!!!!)

Shit’s Getting Real

I am 34 weeks. We attended a birth planning meeting yesterday held by our midwives to discuss expectations and plans. At least once I day, I watch my stomach move around with a frequency and intensity that I expect an alien to burst out. I have taken a breastfeeding class and have signed up for two more. We have two showers in two weeks and half our friends with kids are unloading stuff they don’t want anymore on us. (Dear friends who have done this, I LOVE YOU) We’re interviewing a temp for while I’m out on leave.

But the kicker?

I just recycled a bottle of 300 prenatal vitamins that I bought in February. That felt like so many days when I got it, an eternity away. But it’s empty now. And I pulled it out from its hiding place behind a sweater in my cabinet and recycled it in the office kitchen, unafraid that someone would see it and start asking questions. It’s still hard for me to let go of that lingering ‘I CAN’T TELL ANYONE’ feeling. Which is made even funnier, because strangers and acquaintances still don’t realize I’m pregnant until I drop baby hints.

Keep cooking, baby. But this is getting real.