36 Weeks

June 10 – 16

Eeek! 4 weeks left. I have to keep reminding myself (and others) that 4 weeks could mean anytime now.

I’m slowing down…guess it had to hit me at some point. Overall, I’m still feeling good but everything is getting a bit harder. Sleeping, walking, breathing, eating, working out, etc. One day I just couldn’t get the energy to work out so I tried a 30 min walk at lunch. Whoa! That was hard work. The next day though, I was feeling great again. Guess there will just be those days.

Apparently, Baby Ruf has NOT slowed down. I caught him in action this week. Check him out!

He’s also inherited a hiccuping problem from his mama. The poor little guy gets them at least once a day. I wonder if they feel the same floating around in the amniotic fluid? For his sake, hopefully not!

In other big news, I officially have a full outie. I think the little guy has been messing with it from the inside all week. So many of his movements have been right behind my belly button. Thanks Lil’ Dude.

My office threw us a shower this week. Wow, are we feeling loved. The gave us our car seat and base (yes, seriously!!) and others bought Baby Ruf clothes, toys, and so many fun things. They even brought in the cutest little cupcakes.

baby shower cupcakes

We’re in love with the RockABye pirate rocker they gave us to match his nautical themed nursery. They have some other very cool designs on their website. Aren’t they adorable?

Thanks to everyone. What a fun day!

Bacon and Cheddar Scones

Bacon-and-Cheddar-SconesYes, I’ve been a bit absent, but I’ve been distracted and don’t feel one bit guilty about it (okay, maybe just a little). We’re so busy taking care of last minute things to get ready for baby Ruf. I don’t think I’ve cooked a meal in more than a week. Yikes! We’ve been having our ‘last meals’ out with friends, running errands after work, cleaning out the freezer, etc.

So this weekend, Andy and I didn’t plan anything except to just take care of things around the house and hang-out with each other. Of course, we ended up doing more than we planned to but it’s been nice. I really didn’t end up cooking much again, but that’s ok. We had a bunch of veggies from our garden and pesto caprese sandwiches. Works for us!

Bacon-and-Cheddar-Scones-2

It also happened to be my week to host Project Pastry Queen and I chose Bacon and Cheddar Scones. Bacon and cheddar in a scone?!? Yummy! I also made a plain batch for slathering with butter and jelly.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 C flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 C chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 ½ C grated Cheddar cheese
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into 1” pieces
  • ¾ – 1 ½ C buttermilk (I used all of it)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp water


DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Gradually cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles small peas.
  4. Add grated cheese and mix until just combined.
  5. Add green onions, bacon, and ¾ C of the buttermilk to flour and cheese mixture.
  6. Mix by hand until just incorporated. If dough is too dry to hold together, use remaining buttermilk, adding 1 Tbls at a time, until dough is pliable and can be formed into a ball.
  7. Remove dough from bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface.
  8. Pat dough into a ball.
  9. Using a well-floured rolling pin, flatten dough into a circle about 8” wide and ½” thick.
  10. Cut dough into 8-10 wedges.
  11. Whisk egg and water in a small mixing bowl to combine.
  12. Brush each wedge with egg wash.
  13. Place scones on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 18-20 min, or until golden brown.
  14. Best served warm.


NOTES
8-10 scones

Scones can be made in a mixer but for the lightest, fluffiest scones, they are best made by hand and handled as little as possible.

Basil Pesto

Basil-Pesto

One of the things I’ve looked forward to most about living in a house with a real yard, is the opportunity for a garden. We tried growing a few things at our apartment last year but we just didn’t get any sun and nothing flourished. The only two tomatoes that made it on our plant, ended plummeting three stories down before they were fully ripe.

Not this year!

Check out our green thumbs!

Garden-0004

We’ve got three basil plants, two cilantro, dill, thyme, chives romaine lettuce, bibb lettuce, lots of different tomatoes, squash, banana peppers, jalapenos, and red and green peppers. So far, we’ve harvested some of the Bibb lettuce, a ton of basil and a few other herbs as we’ve needed them. Give it a few more weeks and we should have some of the tomatoes, peppers, and squash.

The two empty spots in front are where we harvested the Bibb lettuce. We read to cut them 1 1/2″ above the soil. It was scary because it didn’t look like anything would ever grow back, but if you look closely, new leaves are already sprouting! It’s only been 5 days.

Of course with the plethora of basil, I have to make pesto. We put basil pesto on sandwiches, pizza, pasta, crackers, and even eat it off the spoon.

I’ve always worked from the same recipe though you really don’t need exact measurements. You can leave out the pine nuts, swap out the cheeses, make a much smaller batch, etc.

INGREDIENTS
12 fl oz olive oil
3 oz pine nuts
6 oz basil leaves (If you don’t have a scale, estimate 3 very large handfuls. It’s a lot of basil.)
1 Tbsp garlic, chopped
4 oz parmesan, grated
4 oz romano, grated
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
1. Place ⅓ of the olive oil in a blender or food processor and add all the remaining ingredients.
2. Blend or process until smooth.
3. Add the remaining olive oil and blend a few seconds to incorporate.

NOTES
From On Cooking, 3rd Edition.

This makes quite a bit of pesto and the recipe is easily cut in half or thirds.

35 Weeks

June 3

Everything is still moving along and the belly is getting bigger! Some days I just can’t believe there is a little 5-ish pound little one inside my belly. It’s pretty amazing.

We had our first appointment with the midwife practice this week. It’s definitely a different experience compared to a normal OBGYN office. They did the weight, pee, and blood pressure test. Then they listened for the heartbeat and little man kicked the midwife! Oops! Maybe it’s because she said he has a bony butt. :) She said I am measuring a bit small but that I could just be a bit smaller and that’s ok.

They asked me why I was switching practices so I explained my reasoning. To my relief, she said a lot of people change towards the end of pregnancy because just like me, they don’t really start thinking about the delivery until much closer to the due date. We talked about epidurals and my concerns and said we can definitely decide the day of. We talked about inducing, and while I didn’t ask how long they’ll let me go after my due date (should it come to that), she talked about their goal in not inducing if at all possible. Overall, it wasn’t a long appointment but I did feel very pleased with our decision to make the switch. The only thing that surprised me is that she said I didn’t have to come back for two weeks.

Because she didn’t need to see me for two more weeks and because I’m just nervous, I went ahead with the follow-up sonogram to check Baby Ruf’s measurements. I just needed peace of mind in knowing he’s doing ok. This week, every movement or lack of movement has had me on edge and assuming the worst.

Of course, he’s measuring just fine! He’s still got super long legs and they are measuring a week ahead of everything else. She said he’s measuring about 5 lbs 8 oz (give or take 8 oz). And, he has hair! Can’t wait to see what color it is. Andy was bald for a long time before growing in beautiful blond hair. I had very light brown/strawberry blond hair. I hope he gets my curls.

Baby Ruf sucking on his fingers

Working out – Whoa! It’s getting harder and harder every day. I do find that the days I don’t workout, I’m more tired. Guess I’ll keep at it!

Hormones – I haven’t really been too emotional or had any crazy mood swings (you can ask Andy for the real story) this entire pregnancy. Over the past few weeks though, I get these over-the-top urges to cry. I don’t really know how to describe it but it’s overwhelming. I haven’t actually broken down and cried but it’s that I get the urge, think I’m going to lose it, then it passes. Weird.

My mom and maid-of-honor, Elli, hosted my other baby shower. It was awesome and everyone was so generous. One of my dearest friends, Sarah, happened to be in town (all the way from Switzerland) and she’s 30 weeks pregnant with a boy! The three of us have been through everything together and it’s so cool to be able to share this with them. Thanks to everyone who came and showered us with tons of love and an insane amount of gifts!

Baby boy bumps

Judy made this gorgeous quilt!

cousins Stacy and Rhonda

Boston – 3 months 

Traci and Beverly

Lydia and Mom

Mothin-in-law, Robin 

Lydia and Casey

Marie

Pat (Godmother), Stacy (cousin), Kyla (Boston’s mommy)


Sarah and Carly


34 Weeks

May 27

It’s about time to have a comparison. Yep, I’d say there is something cooking in there.

Baby-Bump-22-Weeks

34-Weeks-1

22 Weeks                                                         34 Weeks

This week we had a doctor appointment and the 3D/4D appointment.

First was the doctor appointment. We met with the PA and she was awesome. I don’t think this will change our mind about moving to the midwife practice though. She said my fundal height is a measuring a bit small. She’s not too concerned but we should keep an eye on it for the next appointment. She gave us an order for a growth ultrasound if we wanted to go ahead and get it done anyway for peace of mind.

At first, I wasn’t concerned. But then, it just churned all afternoon and I got worried, so…we’ll definitely be going for the follow-up. Plus, I like seeing the little guy.

Because she noted him/me being a bit small, I asked her about my weight gain or lack thereof. She said she wasn’t concerned because everyone is so different. She said to just keep an eye on it and indulge a bit. I should be gaining about a pound a week according to the norm and I haven’t gained a pound in almost three weeks. Oh, how things have changed in 8 months. I bet I won’t have this concern in about 6 weeks! ;)

After the doctor appointment, we had our 3D/4D sonogram. Seriously??? Baby Ruf didn’t cooperate again! He still has his head buried and they just can’t get a good view of him.  Apparently, I have lower amniotic fluid (not too low) plus, he’s got his face nuzzled right on the placenta and buried behind my hip. All of these make it hard to get a good view of his face. After about 5 min of planking and being on all fours, he moved just a bit for us to kind of see him.

He looks like…a baby.

3D-Sonogram-1

Big yawns!3D-Sonogram-2

Here’s a few pics from the awesome baby shower my two sister-in-laws threw! Aren’t they the best? Love them. Thanks girls!!!

Awesome cake made by Andy’s cousin. It looks just like the invitations, which the girls came up with b/c of my blog name, and then added little crocheted cowboy boots (another story behind that).

Baby Ruf now has his own designer onsies. What a cute idea!

Cutest table decorations and favors. Inside the pouches (which they sewed!!) were chocolate dipped pretzels, then secured shut with a diaper pin.

Baby Ruf isn’t complete without his own Detroit Lions attire!

They’ll kill me for posting this but it was the only pic with the two of them.

Baked Chocolate Doughnuts with Nutella Glaze


Baked-Chocolate-Doughnut-with-Nutella-Glaze

Last Friday was National Doughnut Day and I have a mini doughnut maker sitting in the cabinet that hasn’t been touched. It was time to try it out. Honestly, I had very low expectations for this $10 on clearance impulse buy. I bought the Bella Cucina Donut Maker.

To my surprise, it works very well and is incredibly easy to use. Seriously.

Plug it in and let it warm up. Add the batter. Close it. Let it cook for about 2-3 min. Eat.

INGREDIENTS
Doughnuts
1 C flour
2 Tbls cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
⅔ C sugar
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
2 Tbls cold butter, cut into small pieces
¼ C coconut milk (buttermilk or regular milk can be substituted)
¼ C sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Glaze
¼ C Nutella
½ C powdered sugar
2 tsp coconut milk (buttermilk or regular milk can be substituted)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda.
  2. Whisk in sugar, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Add butter and cut in with pastry cutter, fingers or two knives until mixture is crumbly.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine coconut milk, sour cream, vanilla and egg.
  5. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, until just combined.
  6. Cook according to electric doughnut maker instructions. (Mine took only about 2-3 min.)
  7. Allow doughnuts to cool slightly.
  8. Warm Nutella for about 20 seconds in microwave.
  9. Whisk in coconut milk.
  10. Whisk in powdered sugar until desired consistency.
  11. Dip doughnuts in glaze and let cool (or not).

NOTES
This recipe was made in an electric doughnut maker though the recipe should work well for any baked doughnut.

Adapted from Hooiser Homemade

33 Weeks

May 2033 Weeks-1913

And with this post, we’re officially back on track and caught up with the baby bump.

My two sister-in-laws, Angie and Sarah, threw me a shower last weekend. It was fantastic! They were so creative. Once I have the pictures, I’ll post a few. Just wait until you see this cake Andy’s cousin made and the adorable cowboy boots for the top. So cute! Thanks to everyone who came. We’re so thankful and Baby Ruf is so spoiled!

33 Weeks-1905

Warning! Long and somewhat opinionated post coming up…

It’s been an interesting week baby-wise. Ya know, just a rib out of place and changing doctors at 33 weeks. No big deal!

So, for the first. I know with being pregnant comes back pain. With my history of back problems, the pain I’ve had has been minimal. So minimal, I haven’t talked (complained) about it. This past week though, it was getting uncomfortable. I couldn’t quite get a full breath and when I took a deep breath I got a sharp pain in my mid-back. Turning over in the middle of the night was the worst.

Andy rubbed my back a few times then one night said,”Your rib feels funny.” Duh! I should have realized an old injury would pop up when all of my insides are being squished and moved around. A few years ago, I had some ribs slip out of place. I’m still not exactly sure what this means but basically, everything that keeps your ribs lined up gets out of whack and it’s not comfortable. After a visit to the chiropractor, I’m breathing much better but still very sore. Unfortunately, he said it might not feel right until I deliver since the baby will continue to push at my ribs.

For the second item…changing doctors. I’m not completely sure when or why this happened but I was just getting uncomfortable with my practice and information I was finding out about the hospital. I probably should have researched more of this early on, but as the due date approaches, I’m just now thinking of some of these things. I’ve had two concerns from early on: 1) I don’t want to be tied to machines my entire labor and 2) I don’t want a c-section if at all possible.

I just learned the hospital I’m planning to deliver at has a 38% c-section rate. That’s high and they have one of the highest in MD. Also, I know a few people who have delivered there and been induced way before they wanted to. One had to have a c-section.

I didn’t know much about midwives and all I really think of when I hear the term is water-birth and giving birth at home. I don’t want either of these. I want to deliver in a hospital but not be forced to do things I don’t know enough about or that aren’t necessary. After doing a bit more research on some local midwife practices, I gave one a call. Because I’m past 32 weeks, their only caveat was I had to do a hospital birth. So, I set-up my first appointment but it’s not until June 6.

  • Their c-section rate (including the hospital births) is only 5%.
  • Epidural is still an option (this is a game-time decision for me)
  • IV and constant fetal monitoring is optional assuming everything is going well
  • Episiotomy rate = 1% and induction rate = 10% (Admittedly, I don’t have numbers to compare this to but they seem fairly low to me after talking to others.)

Before June 6, I still have another appointment at my original office where I’ll ask a few more questions and if I’m not pleased, I’ll continue with the midwife. We also have our hospital visit and birthing class before the 6th so I can ask more about the hospital’s standard practices and how they make some of their choices.

Andy also says he’s pleased with us going this direction. It may be more that I’m at ease but either way, he’s on board.

By next week, I could completely change my mind again so don’t hold me to anything! Also, I know that by making all these “plans,” nothing will go as planned. It just makes me feel better and more prepared.

32 Weeks

May 13

32 Weeks-1887-2

It feels so good to be home with my conferences over. We can focus on baby, knock a few items off our to-do list, finish a few books (I’m in the middle of Hunger Games!!) and try to enjoy these next two months.

No big news from this week’s doc appointment. Heart beat is good, he’s still head down, Braxton Hicks have stopped, and my weight good. I also double checked with the doc to make sure that when baby is digging around, I can push him right back. :)

Weight gain is right at 16 pounds. A couple less than the books say is “normal” but I’m eating when hungry (plus some) and the doc hasn’t said anything. I thought this didn’t happen until much closer to the end of pregnancy, but I’ve already found I can’t eat as much in one sitting. I just get too full and uncomfortable very quickly. I’ve always been a snacker, so eating smaller, more frequent meals hasn’t been an issue.

A few people ask me what I’ve been doing for workouts these days. Since we moved, we no longer belong to a gym. It’s a bummer but I’ve made it work. I have a few DVDs that I swap from day to day, plus I try to walk on nice days.

Summer Sanders’ Prenatal Workout – I really like this one because it has different workouts for each trimester and a full and short version of each. This one seems more tailored for someone who has been active prior to pregnancy so I appreciated that. Doing the same workout for three months straight does get a bit old so I bought a few others.

Denise Austin Fit & Firm Pregnancy – I got this one near the end of my second trimester. Had I purchased it earlier, I might have been bored, but now I love it. It has great cardio but isn’t too strenuous. If you’ve been active in the past, you’ll probably find the 20 min cardio to not be enough. Combined with one of the 20 min strength training portions, it’s just right.

Yoga Pregnancy: Pre and Post Natal Workouts – This is good for those days where you just have no energy or need some good stretching. I’d been having a bit of back pain and tightness and thought some yoga might help. I’ve done yoga here and there throughout the years and find this DVD to be a bit easy. I’ve found it’s a good one to combine with another workout. Also, it’s been great for keeping me flexible as the other two DVDs focus on cardio and strength training.

Most of all, keep moving! I really think it’s helped me in keeping up some energy and feeling better overall.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Bundt Cakes

Peanut-Butter-Chocolate-Mini-Bundt-Cakes-1905-2

It’s safe to say, this cake is good. But really, there’s  not much bad to say about chocolate and peanut butter together, right? It works, it’s delicious, and it’s hard to mess up. This cake has been approved by two pregnant ladies, a birthday girl, and a husband who says he doesn’t like dessert.

The original recipe is a coffee-chocolate cake but since I hate coffee, I just made a few adjustments to make a peanut butter chocolate cake. Soooo good. Also, I cut it in half and made mini bundt cakes. Check out Amanda’s post from Homekeeping Adventure with the almost original recipe for Mahogany Cake for this week’s Project Pastry Queen.

Peanut-Butter-Chocolate-Mini-Bundt-Cakes-1911

INGREDIENTS
Cake
½ C unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ C sugar
2 large eggs
¼ C boiling water
¼ C unsweetened cocoa powder
½ C sour cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 C sifted cake flour (sifted then measured)
½ tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp baking soda
⅛ tsp salt
4 oz. peanut butter filled chocolate (I happened to have a Godiva chocolate bar filled with peanut butter and a few bittersweet baking chips but you could use Reese’s or anything else.)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Icing
¼ C boiling water
3 Tbls unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbls unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbls peanut butter
1 Tbls vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
2 C sifted powdered sugar (sifted then measured)

DIRECTIONS
Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease 6 mini-bundt cake pans.
3. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium speed about 2 minutes, until fluffy.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed about 20 seconds after each addition.
5. Pour the boiling water into a medium bowl.
6. Stir in the cocoa until smooth.
7. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla.
8. Place the sifted flour in another medium bowl.
9. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
10.  Add about ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
11. Add half of the cocoa-sour cream mixture and beat until just combined.
12. Continue adding the dry and wet ingredients alternately.
13. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
14. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans.
15. Bake for 20-25 min until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
16. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, invert onto a rack, and cool for 20 minutes before icing.

Icing – It’s best to ice the cakes while cakes are still warm (not hot!)
1. Pour the boiling water into a medium bowl.
2. Stir in the cocoa until smooth.
3. Stir in the butter, peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.
4. Add the salt and powdered sugar. Stir until smooth.
5. Set the cake on individual serving plates and spoon the icing over it, covering it completely.
6. After 30 min, cover with plastic wrap.

NOTES
Adapted from Pastry Queen’s Mahogany Cake.

Serves 6.

If you want to double the recipe and use a 10-12 C bundt pan, double everything except for the following: increase to 3 eggs, only 4 oz total chocolate chunks per original recipe, and icing recipe is as is (there’s a lot more surface area to cover with mini cakes so I made the full batch).

The covered glazed cake will keep at least 2 days at room temperature. It can be frozen up to 3 weeks.

White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Cake

White-Chocolate-Vanilla-Bean-Cake

I love cooking for my family. They let me experiment and they eat pretty much anything. My parents came over a few weeks ago and I made all new recipes except for the steak. Wouldn’t you know it, that’s the item I messed up!

After a huge meal, I wanted something that wasn’t too filling yet still felt like a substantial dessert. I had torn out this recipe years ago (Food & Wine 2002 – yes, I know…old.) and it seemed like it would top off the meal well. To complement the dessert, I thought it would need something else. I roasted some grapes, made whipped cream, and even pulled out some melted dark chocolate. It didn’t need any of these!

This recipe is especially good for when you’re having guests because it can be made in advance. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

7 oz. white chocolate, chopped
1 oz. white chocolate, for shaving
7 Tbls unsalted butter
2 vanilla beans, split, seeds scraped
5 large eggs, separated
⅓ C bread flour, sifted
pinch of cream of tartar
⅓ C sugar

DIRECTIONS
1. Butter a 9” springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the paper.
2. In a large bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water, stir the chopped white chocolate with the butter until almost melted.
3. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the vanilla seeds and stir until smooth.
4. Stir in the eggs.
5. Sift the bread flour over the batter and stir.
6. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar to soft peaks.
7.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until the whites are stiff and glossy.
8. Beat ¼ of the egg whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain.
9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
10. Preheat the oven to 375. Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for about 30 min, until puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
11. Let the cake cool completely in the pan.
12. Run a thin knife around the edge of the cake, then remove the side of the pan.
13. Slide the cake onto a plate. Shave white chocolate onto top of cake.

NOTES
From December 2002 Food & Wine.

Serves 8

The baked cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature for best flavor.