No explanation. Just a moment captured.
Thankfully this meal was salvaged! Just when you think everything is going smoothly and you confidently saunter about the house feeling like the most amazing new mom, you are snapped back into the reality of messy motherhood when you have a sleep-deprived moment. There I was cooking up the chicken patties and thinking I could briefly multi-task only to turn back around to the chicken and see them filling the entire kitchen with smoke! I had completely forgotten to turn down the heat to medium and had left the chicken to burn on high long enough to trigger the smoke alarms. David ran downstairs with Henry and the dogs as I stood there paralyzed not knowing what to do (this is my response to a crisis, which is a terrible response!!). Thankfully David snapped me out of my “playing possum” state by shouting turn the stove off, open the window, and flap a towel by the smoke detector. We were a jumbled mess as we tried to fix the kitchen drama, calm down the dogs, and soothe the baby. Luckily within a few minutes the alarms stopped and the smoke cleared enough for it to no longer be scary. When we looked into the pan we were surprised to see that the chicken was burned but not so badly that we couldn’t still enjoy it for dinner. Despite the mishap dinner was still delicious!
2 diced cloves garlic
1 bunch basil
1 diced bunch green onions
3/4 cup barley
10 ounces ground chicken
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat a small pot of salted water to boiling on high. Add the barley to the pot of boiling water and cook 16 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and return to the pot. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir to combine. Set aside until it is time to plate the meal. While the barley cooks, in another pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced garlic and the green onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the diced tomato, basil, edamame, and 1/4 cup of water. Bring mixture to a boil, once boiling cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until the barley is done about 12-15 minutes. In a bowl, combine the ground chicken, basil, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Create 4 patties and cook up in pan with two tablespoons of olive oil. Loosely cover the pan with tin foil and cook on MEDIUM (not high like we did!) for 4-6 minute per side. Once all elements are prepared plate and enjoy!
It is amazing what you can do when sleep deprived. The last two nights Mr. Henry has decided to host an all-night dance party. The problem is mom and dad were not really feeling it. Unfortunately for all of us, Henry gets to dictate the evening schedule right now and so we were up, up, UP all night with the little fellow. Yes, he did sleep a little but it wasn’t for long and by the time we fell back to sleep ourselves, he was rising out of his shallow slumber. Despite the last 48 hours of no sleep, we have still been able to shower, cook, and function more or less. Last night we cooked up this skirt steak with green beans and potatoes. It was super simple but if I had to do it again, I might not use skirt steak. I think a sirloin would have really heightened the meal. Fingers crossed that we are able to cook tonight before collapsing into a pile of sleepless jelly!
1lb Skirt Steak
6 Ounces Long Beans
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Bunch Thyme
1 Pound Russet Potatoes
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Place the potatoes on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to thoroughly coat. Arrange the seasoned potatoes in a single layer and roast in the oven for 20 to 22. season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the seasoned steaks and cook, loosely covering the pan with aluminum foil, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Remove the steaks from the pan and set aside. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan and heat , dd the diced garlic cloves and cook. Add the long beans, tomato, half the thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes. Plate the dish by placing the potatoes first, top with greens, and lastly add the steak. Enjoy!
Our last Blue Apron recipe for the week was for Shrimp Summer Rolls. This was the one recipe that David was not too excited about. As a result, it has us questioning whether or not joining Blue Apron is right for us. While you can indicate generally what you want to eat via categories such as poultry, beef, and vegetarian, you don’t really get to specify what you want to eat in detail. So if you have selected to receive seafood, you are open to receiving then any type of seafood dish. Some you might really like and others you might be lukewarm about it. Even though David was not a fan of the summer rolls as an idea, once it was cooked up it was quite good. When we go to the Cheesecake Factory, I always like to have the summer roll for an appetizer so now being able to make these myself will satisfy my craving for this light and refreshing dish.
1 Bunch Cilantro
1 Bunch Mint
1 Head Red Leaf Lettuce
1 Kirby Cucumber
10 Ounces Peeled, Deveined Shrimp
2 Ounces Cellophane Noodles
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon Mirin
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Sriracha
10 Rice Paper Wrappers
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Turn the heat off and add the cellophane noodles. Allow the noodles to sit in the hot water to cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain, run under cold water for 30 seconds and set aside. In a pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil, add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and saute until shrimp are cooked through approximately 4 minutes. Take the shrimp off the heat and place them on a plate in the refrigerator to cool down. Now it is time to assemble the roll. Cut the cucumber and carrot into thin strips, pull the mint and cilantro leaves from the stem, and wash the lettuce. In a swallow bowl of warm water dip the rice wrapper for 20-30 seconds. Lay the softened rice wrapper on a clean surface, place lettuce, carrot and cucumber strips, 3-4 shrimp, 1-2 mint leaves, 1-2 cilantro leaves, and cellophane noodles. Roll the wrapper like a burrito and place on a plate. Repeat the assembly line until you have used all of the ingredients.
Sauce: In a small bowl add the peanut butter, mirin, soy sauce, and sirarcha (to taste)
Our second Blue Apron meal was delicious this week. Oven Friend Chicken with Sauteed Green Beans and Corn really hit the spot and even David agreed that it was quite good! With two of our three meals digested, we are really really thinking about joining Blue Apron during this first year of new parenthood. Because, even though I can get the recipes from the service online, can I get all the ingredients for the price Blue Apron is offering, that is the question! David and I will try this week to buy three meals worth of ingredients for these Blue Apron recipes and see what it costs us from a regular grocery store. Anyway, back to cooking this meal. While Henry napped in his mamaroo, I cooked up this meal in 20 minutes. I seriously cannot believe how easy this company has made dinner time. Yes, I cooked it at 3PM and then let it sit on the oven until David got home and we reheated it for dinner, but it is the small victories in life as a new mom that matter! This meal will definitely join our meal rotation since it was super flavorful, easy, and the quick quick quick.
5 Ounces Green Beans
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Ears Corn
1 Bunch Basil
1 Clove Garlic
1 1/2 Cups Panko Breadcrumbs
1 Cup Buttermilk
2 Teaspoon Fried Chicken Spice Blend (Smoked Paprika & Garlic Powder)
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Mini Bottle Tabasco Hot Sauce
Preheat the oven at 450. Cut the chicken breast into three equal pieces. Dip the chicken in the buttermilk and then roll in the panko breadcrumbs and spices (which you should blend together in a little bowl). Place the breaded chicken on a lined baking sheet. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the breadcrumbs have browned. Meanwhile, in a pan on the stove, melt the butter and add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the green beans (which you should cut into 2 inch pieces). Once the beans are a bright green, about 2-3 minutes, add the corn kernels that you removed from the cob, juice of half the lemon, salt, pepper, and basil. Saute all together for another 2 minutes. Add a 1/4 cup of water to thicken the mixture. Then plate the sauteed vegggies and top with the delicious chicken. They recommend adding Tabasco sauce to taste on the chicken but I skipped this part and it tasted fine.
Oh my! How has is already been two weeks since Henry was born? Seriously, these last two weeks have flown by in a whirlwind of diaper changes, feedings, and cuddles. David goes back to work on Thursday for a two week project and then will be home again with us for another three weeks. While I am excited to see how Henry and I will do on our own, I am also a little nervous to be just the two of us. David has been such an AMAZING dad. He is quite the baby whisperer and without him I am not sure if Henry and I would have gotten into our breastfeeding, soothing, sleeping routine as quickly as we did. Most of our days are spent in the living room. In our comfy clothes, we spend the morning sipping our coffee and snuggling up to Henry between feedings while watching Live with Kelly and Michael in the background. We try to head out each day for at least one errand/trip. In the first days this would take us a few hours to time the feeding just so with our departure from the house. But yesterday we made it out to the Town Clerk’s Office to collect Henry’s birth certificate and then walked around the mall. It was a triumphant trip which included a public breastfeeding and restroom changing. These silly milestones provided us with some confidence to be “normal” outside of the house. It is amazing how something as simple as using the public restroom changing station can help you feel like, “Yes, I got this!”
We keep wondering what his personality will be like. It is a bit too early to know now but it is clear that he has a calm disposition which keeps evolving each day and he loves loves loves his daddy. Eskimo kisses help lull him to sleep and in the morning he loves cuddling in bed before heading downstairs to face the day. He eats like clockwork right now. Feedings are every 2 hours during the daytime and every 3-4 hours at night. I think he sleeps longer at night because he LOVES to be swaddled. We strap him into his little swaddle straight jacket and he is off to slumber-land. We feel incredibly lucky to have this early baby-generated schedule (though each day I worry that it is going to change!). As we become more adventurous with Henry, I feel as though our lives are settling back into place. I am surprised by how quickly this new little guy has become a seamless part of our existence and rounded out our family. While I am still a bit hesitant to dine out (nights tend to have a little cluster feeding), I am sure we will head out there soon!
As for me, I am feeling great! I was SO afraid it would take me the full 6 weeks postpartum to feel good. By taking it easy, my body has healed and I truly feel like my own self again (though a touch more tired). I have 13 pounds to go before I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight but I am not in a rush to lose it and I just feel completely amazed by my body: What it did during the 9 months of pregnancy, what it did during labor, and how it is recovering at its own pace. Yes, I had a weepy afternoon when I was overly tired last week, but David helped comfort me and usher me to take a much needed nap. His support has really helped make this family transition ideal. In these circumstances, no wonder people get addicted to making babies =)
When I envisioned going into labor the scene was always the middle of the night. At 3:40AM on July 2, I woke up feeling some mild contractions. Immediately excited, I tried to tell myself that this could be a false alarm despite my premonitions of a night like this. It became quite apparent within 15 minutes that this was the long-awaited labor. After a week of walking laps around the park, drinking raspberry leaf tea, and finally even trying a castor oil omelet, the little baby was ready to make his debut. I tried not to wake David right away and tried to lay in bed “asleep” for as along as possible. Obviously labor would be a long process and I wanted to “store up” my energy while I could. By 4:15AM though, any attempt at peacefully reclining in bed was over and David was up and by my side. We drew a tub and I stayed in there with the shower pouring over my back until our doula arrived. Things happened quickly in the beginning and before I knew it David was calling the midwife and we were being told to head to the hospital. This transition from bathtub to car to hospital was very challenging. I wanted to stay in the tub because I felt like I “understood” the contractions that were occurring there. They would come, they would go, they crashed over me like waves and in this new space I felt a homeostasis. But, I knew that staying was not an option as the contractions’ strength increased incrementally. I remember thinking between contractions that perhaps that was it, perhaps there would be no following contractions. Unfortunately, this was not to be true. In the back seat of the car, I begged David to stop driving during a contraction while my mom rubbed my back. My mantra during the labor process was “It’s just a minute.” David and my mom would repeat this line to me throughout the duration of the contraction and I tried to focus on this phrase to get me to the other side. It helped and then it became absolutely essential to each of my contractions.
Once at the hospital, we soon found out that the labor and delivery floor was awash in laboring women. There was no room in the inn for us! Panicked and afraid, I labored in the hallway with David rubbing my back as I leaned over the handrail. This was the moment when I felt my “calm” resolve begin to crumble. How could there be no rooms? We were ushered into a utility-type room to await processing and hopefully to be transferred into a labor room as soon as possible. I don’t know how long we were in there. It was a blur of contractions and being told, “It’s just a minute.” When we arrived finally in our room, it was so hard to sit still as they quickly monitored the baby’s heart rate before letting me up to do whatever internal labor dance would help me through contractions. Somehow despite the overcrowded conditions, we were able to get a room with a jacuzzi bathtub. With the lights turned off, candles lit, and bath drawn, I labored in the water until 10:30AM. It was a wild experience to be in what would otherwise be considered a romantic setting with labor contractions. Between contractions, the warm water would lull me to sleep and I felt my head nod off only to be brought back to reality as the contraction wave started in my back and wrapped around my center. David did his best to keep me calm and focused and poured water over me to help distract and soothe. At the 7 hour mark, I turned to David and said, “I am lucid right now, and I am telling you I am done. I want an epidural please.” I thought I would have been disappointed asking for a medical intervention, but really it was the best decision I made during the labor process. The pain was almost to the brink of unbearable and the thought of laboring on in this fashion left me feeling as though I would not be mentally present for the birth of my baby since my entire mind and body was consumed by the pain of labor. I was proud that I made it through 7 hours but I knew I had reached the limit of my pain.
Once the epidural was administered, I could feel my mind return to me. Calm washed over and I felt truly present in the experience. Our midwife, Tali, closed the shades and set us up for a nice long nap. Knowing I would need my strength for the pushing since I was only half way there, she ensured us that napping would be the best we could do to prepare. The rest of the afternoon we spent in and out of a few naps, chatting together about the wildness of what we were experiencing, and chatting with our medical team. We all shared family stories, jokes, and talked about what the pushing phase would be like. My favorite part of this time was sharing how David and I met, dated, and married. It was so special to be able to go over these happy memories with our midwife and doula before we welcomed our son into our lives and became a trio. Then finally at 7:30PM we were told it was time to start pushing to meet our son. While the epidural still took the pain away the pressure was quite intense. I remember shaking and crying that I could not do it. David held me close the whole time and reassured me that I was doing a great job. With each round of pushing, I would break down into hysterics and hyperventilation. But, with David there helping to catch my breath, I was able to regain control just in time for another push. A little into this part the midwife announced, “I think we will have this baby by 10PM.” I was deliriously excited by this news and looked over to the clock and asked, “Is it 9:45PM?” David had to break the news to me that no in fact it was only 8:45PM. Digging somewhere deep down inside of myself I knew that I could not make it to 10PM and I bore down. David and our Doula coached me, encouraged me, and said that I was making progress. I had to believe them I told myself because otherwise I would not have the stamina to continue. At 8:58PM Henry was born and we met our son. To say this was emotional is an understatement. We had created this little life from scratch and here he was all warm and pink and sweet lying on my stomach as we were encircled in David’s arms. It is by far the most amazing moment of my life. My little family was born that evening and we are so blessed to have one another.
Since Henry was born at 9lbs 12oz, he needed to have his blood sugar monitored during his first hours of life. He was also born with a slight fever so soon after his birth, Henry and David had to go to NICU for some blood work and brief monitoring. Despite these little challenges, I loved the birth of our baby and it was so miraculous to be together as a family. We stayed in the hospital for three nights and finally came home on Saturday. Breastfeeding has its challenges but with the help of my lactation consultant, David, we have problem solved some of the issues and seem to be settling into a nice easy routine with our little one. If this first week home with Henry is any indication of what life will be like with our little boy, we made the best decision ever to become a family. He is so tiny and yet he is so lovable. He is challenging when he is fussy and we don’t know how to comfort him (yet) but he is also the most charming little darling. We will learn so very much from this little man in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. I love him and his daddy so very much and am so happy Henry made me a mommy.
This week has been a bit tough. Yes, I know the old saying, “First babies are late” but still I really did not believe that that would be my reality. I had this gut feeling that despite the odds, I would right now be either sitting in the hospital or at home and I would be a mom. No such luck though. The baby is still tightly swaddled up in the bump with no signs of leaving the nest. So now at 40 weeks going on 41 weeks, I am an emotional roller coaster. Weepy, sleepy, restless, angry, delusional, and anxious are just a few of the primary emotions I sweep through during a day. The main problem though is that I had two due dates. According to my first midwife appointment the baby would be born on June 27. Then there was the first ultrasound which re-dated the baby for June 25. This two day difference doesn’t seem like a lot for the non-pregnant. Yet, it has quite large consequences at this time of the pregnancy. I really hoped that June 25 was our day. It came and went without any exciting movements. Instead I am now three days late from that date. Then again, perhaps the due date was June 27 then I am only one day late. With the July 4 holiday approaching selecting June 27 as “THE” due date is problematic as it puts us with a July 7 induction day. If the baby was in fact due on June 25 then our induction could be next week. See the problem? I could be waiting only a few more days or another 9 days for this baby boy to join us. That is quite a difference!! Yes, my priority is for both baby and I to have a healthy outcome but the great baby wait 2014 is slowly but surely eating away at me. Most of the day I can ignore the heartache but it flares up and in those moments it is hard. I try to stay busy with at least one outing a day but am running out of places nearby to explore (in case my water breaks…although this precaution makes me laugh as nothing is happening). Everyone around me has been super sensitive and loving and supportive and for this I am incredibly appreciative. Obviously this baby will be joining us soon, it’s just a complex emotional time. Keep sending those good vibes this way, they help more than you know!