March 29, 2012

I Love My Brother

I’ve lost some credibility this week. I decided on Monday night that I really don’t like our (almost complete) nursery anymore. Which isn’t really all that surprising to me because I have never been so indecisive about anything ever in my life. I want this room to be perfect. So, I am in the process of re-doing it. My mom has been patiently helping put new Pinterest boards together. My husband is being quiet about it and going with the flow (as long as he doesn’t have to paint). And I will be spending the weekend begging and pleading for a few stores to stretch their return policies and let me return curtains, pillows, baskets, and crib sheets that I’ve had for more than 30 days.

The only reason I tell you this is because I worry that what I’m about to say might make me lose even more credibility.

Do you want to know what I’m worried about when it comes to labor and delivery?

What I’m going to eat after I give birth to this baby.

It’s actually probably a coping strategy. Instead of thinking about how I’m actually going to push this baby out and survive it being the person who has to lay down to have blood drawn, I’m focusing on the food situation.

I know that people who have had babies will think this is crazy. I know that people who haven’t had babies will think this is crazy.

(And side note: I do think about more important things regarding this baby too, like how we’ll raise her, how we’ll take care of her, what her personality might be like. Not just about her surroundings and what I’ll eat after labor.)

But what can I say?

The thought of not eating for however long I’m in labor is downright frightening to me. That could mean I don’t eat anything for 24 hours. Maybe even more thanks to some horror stories that have been shared with me lately. And I am someone who eats every 2 hours on the dot. I have regular, full, balanced meals. I have lots of snacks in between. I get grumpy when there isn’t food in my stomach.

Okay, I know there is a chance that I will not be hungry during labor. That is what people tell me anyway.

But I know I will be ravenous after labor. And I’ve spent quite a good amount of time worrying about what I will eat when that happens. What if I have this baby at 1am and have no access to any food that I will eat? (I don’t do hospital food.)

My plan for a while was to fill up a cooler and wheel it into the hospital with us. I told Zach a few times (and I’m not sure he ever realized I was serious) that the second I go into labor, we are going to Lucia’s To Go for snacks to load into the cooler. Because I’m sure that poor Zach having to wheel in a ridiculous cooler while trying to manage me in all my labor drama and our overnight bags as we check into the hospital won’t be a total cluster. But, after our birth class instructor mentioned some people do it, I decided it wasn’t too insane.

I also have my brother lined up to be my designated food getter. He (somewhat) understands me. And he’s my brother. I can ask him to do things that I wouldn’t ask others to do and be bossier with him than I can with most people.

This is already very nice of him, right, to be on call to get me food? Well, he took it a step further today.

In an email from brother John-Paul:

“If you give me the list of places you're interested in getting food from, and what food you want from those places, I will put it into a spreadsheet with hours of operation so quick decisions can be made;)”
Be still, my heart.
I love spread sheets. I love having plans in place. I love food. This is like the best idea I’ve ever heard of. I love my brother.
So, I think I’m covered. A cooler full of Lucia’s treats that could get me through the night if needed if BGC does in fact come at 1am. And a brother who will pick me up whatever I want during normal-ish hours.
A plan. It’s in place. All is right with the world.

March 25, 2012

Something to Celebrate

I'm excited.

The path from getting my photos from my camera to my blog is now insanely shorter. This is life changing.

Before, Zach had to be involved in the transfer process. There was getting the photos downloaded onto our archaic business school laptop. Well, actually, they first had to be saved to an external hard drive because there was no more memory left on the laptop. This took a long time and invovled a complicated path that I didn't have the patience to learn. They they had to go into Picasa. This also took some time. Then the editing process was plain slow. Then, I had to boot up another laptop with the font I liked to type the content. The process was annoying. And that is part of why the blog has slowed down.

But it's all so much simpler now!

To celebrate, I'm having a cocktail. A mocktail. A prego cocktail.

It's a new favorite ritual. It makes me feel like I'm indulging. It makes me feel like I'm living a somewhat sophisticated life for a few minutes. And it's tasty. And one of the only things I'm eating that is healthy as of late.

There is no recipe. It's customizable.

It involves herbs (I've been using mint, but am going to explore with rosemary soon).

It involves fruit (I like raspberries best, but this was made with strawberries). I'm intrigued by the notion of using pineapple.

It involves some seltzer, some ice, and a garnish if you have one (but not required).

Into the cocktail glass goes the herbs and fruit. You muddle. I like to muddle.

You dump in the ice. Squeeze in the lime garnish if using. And you top with seltzer.

I'm sure some sugar added during muddling would be fabulous, but as I said, this is one of the few healthy things I've consumed in a few days. So, I skipped it.

Bottom's up.

March 18, 2012

Pat's Tap: Had Me at Mocktails

I have to say it feels weird going into bars (or gastropubs, I guess I should say in this case) these days pregnant. People go to bars to drink. Pregnant women aren’t supposed to drink. So there’s that. And as I stood there waiting for my friends to arrive, I was pretty sure that it was the loud music making my poor 2lb fetus jump around a lot more than usual.

But I got past all of this. As soon as I saw one lovely delightful word on the menu: mocktails.

I’ve talked about mocktails before, as you know. Mocktails have become important to me because I’m craving wine just as much as I used to. Dinners out just aren’t the same with a glass of water. And most places in town completely overlook the mocktail.

So, I ordered my faux margarita and felt like this place was already on the right track with me.

The menu at Pat’s is interesting—lots of traditional bar food kicked up on the quality meter, but lots of wine bar-ish small plates too. This could be a match made in heaven for Zach and I.

There were a ton of small plates that were drawing our attention: Socca Flat Bread with manchego, mushrooms, and arugula on a chickpea crust; a Pretzel with spicy mustard, Goat Cheese Fritters, and Castle Rock Creamery WI Cheese Curds.

We ended up splitting the Goat Cheese Fritters, which were perfect. Little fried rounds of oozy goat cheese, topped with tart onions marmalade and sitting on top of a pool of lavender honey. Oh yes.

For my main, I didn’t mess around. I went straight for the Big Cheeseburger. I have a thing for hamburgers these days, and this one didn’t disappoint. It was big and lovely and cheesy and delicious. The bun was so much better than your normal dull bun. The cheese was a big wad of white cheddar, broiled. And then there were perfect pickles on top. And some tomato. Overall, a perfectly balanced burger that came cooked as I had ordered it, so I enjoyed it thoroughly without any concern of passing along undercooked beefy diseases to BGC. (And yes, that could potentially have prevented my full enjoyment of it.)

This is the place we’ll be going to when we want bar food. Because sometimes I crave bar food. But good bar food. And that can be somewhat of an anomaly. This delivers on the craving, but is actually good quality.

Like it.

March 4, 2012

Pregnancy Craving: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

This has got to be pregnancy cravings in the works. I can’t say chocolate chip cookie bars are usually my thing. Not that I don’t like them. I just historically haven’t loved them. Un-pregnant me would not have made these over the thousands of other recipes I have flagged.

So let’s chalk it up to pregnancy cravings. Which miraculously haven’t taken over my life. Sure there have been a few (anything salty during the first couple of months, then a love affair with Skittles in months 3-4, a Papa Johns pizza at 10pm last week). But that ain’t so bad if you ask me. I’m convinced non-pregnant Sarah actually has eating habits similar to someone who is pregnant.

I’ve always had strong cravings. I’ve always had a really good appetite.

Thank god this hasn’t intensified with Baby Girl Cohen.

But here is what has changed with my eating habits thanks to BGC:

No more raw batter. Before being pregnant, I was (probably not so smartly) very unphased by the threat of salmonella. I had no problem eating raw dough, raw batter, raw eggs. But now I am completely totally paranoid and wouldn’t dare sneak a taste of anything raw that I’m baking up. And I am compulsive about washing my hands whenever I even look at raw eggs.

No more mayo. It hasn’t been hard to avoid unpasteurized cheeses. But it has been hard to avoid homemade mayonnaise with all of its raw egg glory. (Side note: it shocks me how many people tell me the raw eggs are usually pasteurized and probably fine. Maybe they are right. It sounds so wrong though.) So many of my beloved eating establishments make their own mayonnaise. And I can’t eat it right now. And it kills me. Lucia’s. Broder’s Pasta Bar. Smack Shack. So many others. This wasn’t immediately on my radar, so poor BGC has probably come into contact with raw eggs in her 25 week old fetus life. But if it didn’t make me sick, I’m guessing it didn’t make her sick. Sorry BGC. I’ve been trying to be better about the mayo.

A lot of chewing. I have never loved whole grains. Fruit and veggies, I can do no sweat. The whole grains, I just don’t love. And I’m supposed to be eating 6 servings of them a day. SIX. That is 6 slices of whole wheat bread or 12 rice cakes—take your pick. Either way, that is a lot of chewing. Zach has already asked if we can go back to regular pasta after BGC arrives. Yes, is the answer. Right away. Until she starts eating pasta of course. And then the good mama in me will have the Cohens back on whole wheat pasta.

No more wine. I naively thought my body would know I shouldn’t have it and would therefore not want it. So not the case. I take an occasional sip and let it sit in my mouth for as long as possible trying to enjoy every little drop. I miss wine. A lot.

A lot of burning. I haven’t felt sick in the slightest, but I have been spacy. I have pregnancy brain. It has manifested itself in the burning of many things. There were the cocktail nuts a few Fridays ago that I was hoping to serve to friends coming over for dinner. There was the tartine I forgot about in the oven that was just charred. And then last Sunday there was the granola, which I didn’t forget about, but just for some reason decided to burn. And I smelled it burning. And for whatever reason (pregnancy brain), it didn’t occur to me to get up and check on it.

But back to the bars. These were really good. If you like chocolate chip cookie bars, you will love these. The Baked cookbook very rarely lets me down. “That book is a winner,” said Zach enthusiastically the other day when he found out both these chocolate chip bars and some pumpkin whoopee pies I’ve made before are both from the book.

They are moist and comforting and chewy and best eaten in large squares. Don’t skimp on the portions. They are the perfect thing to eat after dinner during the work week. They will make you insanely happy and grateful that you have them especially if you are pregnant and chocolate chip cookie bars are sounding good to you. J

Brewer’s Blondies, Adapted slightly from Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

2 1/3 c flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp malted milk powder
14 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ c firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
¾ c malted milk balls, coarsely chopped in food processor
¾ c semisweet chocolate chips
¾ c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and malted milk powder.

In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until completely combined, scraping down bowl as needed. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.

Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add malted milk balls, chocolate chips, walnuts and mix until just combined.

Spread mixture into baking pan, smoothing out evenly.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.