THE NURSERY!!

Finally, after all these months of doing little projects here and there, we’ve put the nursery together! Turner’s clothes are washed, his bed is made, his pictures are hung, and his library is all set! Now all we need is Turner :0)

Random Pictures

Stew and I were playing around taking some different pictures. He took the one of me and Dexter (top left) and me with my teacup (bottom right). Stew’s mom took the one of Turner’s shoes (bottom left) and I set up the tripod for our three pairs of shoes. Then I messed around on photoshop to change it up a bit. Can’t wait for our REAL maternity photos to arrive!

31 Weeks

How far along? 31 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 21 pounds gained.
Maternity clothes? Still working with what I have. The good news is it’s getting cooler which means I can bust out the jeggings!!! Trust me, these things are amazing. Throw on a long shirt and some cute flats, and you’re in pregnancy heaven!
Sleep: Have I mentioned I love sleeping? I can probably fall asleep on command.
Best moment this week: Buying our first cloth diaper! Also, going to the birth center and choosing the room for my birthing time! It felt so real : )
Miss Anything? Laying on my stomach, sweaty workouts, and having tons of energy.
Movement: I think he’s ready for his debut already. He rarely stops moving!
Food cravings: My latest kick is caramel apples (which I love even when I’m not pregnant)! Stew and I make them before we sit down to watch our nightly TV shows. I also get this chocolate milk (gotta get my protein intake!) from Our Local Foods (a local organic farm market) that is so delicious! I mix it with a half cup of coffee in the mornings. It’s the best hot mocha I’ve ever had!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope!
Have you started to show yet: I’d say so.
Gender: Boy
Labor Signs: No
Belly Button in or out? Still in! It’s thinking about surfacing though.
Wedding rings on or off? Off at night. My fingers still hurt at when I sleep. I’ll ask the chiropractor about it.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: My shower next weekend! I can’t even wait. I’m also looking forward to decorating for Fall! I already put some mums out and hung our wreath on the front door. (I like to decorate months in advance). But next weekend, hopefully it will be cool enough to get our house full out Fall decorated!

Momma’s Chicken and Dumplings

I absolutely LOVE chicken and dumplings. I feel like it’s one of those warm-you-heart-and-soul meals. At least it always felt that way to me growing up. Now, I know it’s not quite cold enough, and I might be jumping the gun here, but I couldn’t help myself! I had some leftover chicken and I thought this was a great way to use it! My trick for shredding chicken, as I’ve probably told you too many times, is to pop the chicken breasts in a crock pot with water almost covering them. Put some salt, a bay leaf, and some peppercorns in there. Cook them on low for 3 hours and they should be SO tender and ready to shred. Then I use what I need and save the rest for another meal. It’s a good way to make your chicken go a long way. It also mixes up your meals so you don’t have to have leftovers! That technique makes this meal REALLY quick and easy to pull together on a week night!

Time for the soup! I pull out my already shredded chicken and cut up my veggies so I’m ready to go!

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onion until softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Sauté until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups chicken broth, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add in chicken and peas. In a separate bowl, heat 1 cup chicken stock and slowly whisk in 1/4 cup flour. Pour the flour and broth mixture into the soup (if lumpy, use a sieve to strain the mixture as you pour it in). Bring soup up to a boil and reduce to simmer about 10 minutes, or until broth is thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, prepare the dumpling batter according to package instructions. Here is my warning… I know you’re thinking “Bisquick!?” But honestly, I’ve tried all the homemade buttermilk dumpling recipes and they come out terrible! They taste like sticky gummy wads of dough. The Bisquick is the ONLY thing that has cooked up light and fluffy on the soup. Trust me!

Remove bay leaves. Gently drop spoonfuls of dough onto the soup about 1 inch apart. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the biscuits comes out clean. Spoon into bowls and enjoy!

Momma’s Chicken and Dumplings

Serves 4

1/2 onion, chopped

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1/4 tsp thyme

salt

pepper

2 bay leaves

4 cups chicken broth (1 cup reserved)

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

1- 7.75 oz package Bisquick buttermilk biscuit mix.

For the soup:

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onion until softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrots, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Sauté until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups chicken broth, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add in chicken and peas. In a separate bowl, heat 1 cup chicken stock and slowly whisk in 1/4 cup flour (use a sieve to pour mixture into the soup if it is lumpy). Bring soup up to a boil and reduce to simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes, or until broth is thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, prepare dumplings according to package instructions.

Remove bay leaves. Gently drop spoonfuls of dough onto the soup about 1 inch apart. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the biscuits comes out clean. Spoon into bowls and enjoy!

30 Weeks-10 To Go!!

How far along? 30 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 22 pounds gained.
Maternity clothes? Well I only bought 3 pairs of pants and 4 shirts. I refuse to buy anything else! So I will mix and match those with regular clothes for the next few weeks! Once the weather gets a little cooler, it will be leggings and big sweaters (my usual fall/winter attire).
Sleep: Like a rock! Waking up a few times at night to go to the bathroom has become a part of my normal routine these days. I think it’s my body’s way of getting me ready for Turner!
Best moment this week: Getting our glider! Stew beasted it upstairs all by himself. It is SO comfortable. We’ve both caught the other just sitting in there rockin’ away.
Miss Anything? Being able to throw any outfit on. Sometimes I forget how pregnant I actually am and go to put something on, even lounge around clothes, and it doesn’t fit!
Movement: Let’s just say I had to start my “kick counting” and he needs 10 kicks per hour….his average is about 10 kicks per minute!! YIKES!
Food cravings: Pretty normal. Although I did make salted brown butter chocolate chip cookies that are TO DIE for…they’ll be on my food blog one of these days! Other than that, I’m trying to fit in my 70-80g of protein a day… it’s a lot harder than it sounds!! Lots of greek yogurt, cheese, smoothies, nuts, etc.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope!
Have you started to show yet: See above!
Gender: Boy
Labor Signs: No
Belly Button in or out? Still in… getting shallower by the second though.
Wedding rings on or off? Off! I did something (in my sleep??) and can no longer bend the fingers on my left hand at night… I don’t know if they swell while I sleep or what…but it’s painful. Needless to say, a ring on there would just complicate things.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Receiving our maternity photos and having my shower!! I feel like there’s something BIG happening every week from now until November which will make time FLY. I’m trying to stay in this moment and not wish the time away. Though, I must say, I’m really looking forward to meeting this little guy :o)

Fruity Frozen Yogurt

As Stew and I wandered around Whole Foods the other day, eating all the samples we could get our hands on (there’s really no need to eat lunch when you’re going to Whole Foods), we stopped at the Vitamix man for a chat (and free samples). As a vitamix owner myself, I love hearing his spiel on it because it’s ALL TRUE!  I can’t even say enough on how amazing this thing is. I know $500 is expensive for a blender, but it’s like a food processor and blender all in one! And it lasts FOREVER! It’s definitely worth putting some money aside to start a Vitamix Savings Fund. The reason I am talking so much about the vitamix (no I’m not being paid) is because I wouldn’t make this recipe in a regular blender because it will burn the motor out. You can try it in a food processor if you don’t have a vitamix though.

Now, back to the FroYo. The other night Stew and I were watching TV, and I was wanting some sort of dessert. I was going through my options, then BAM, Vitamix Man came into my mind. He had made this “ice cream” at Whole Foods that had spinach, pineapple, bananas, apple juice and strawberries. It was so good and refreshing. I didn’t have most of those ingredients so I came up with a frozen yogurt of my own! Hence my fruity frozen yogurt. It was SO good! I felt satisfied and definitely guilt free after that dessert.

Fruity Frozen Yogurt

Serves 1-2 (depending how hungry you are)

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/4 package unsweetened acai smoothie pack*

1/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt

2 Tbsp mango juice

2 teaspoons agave nectar

Place all ingredients into your vitamix. Start out on slow, and turn the power up to high over the next few seconds. Use the tamper to constantly push down the corners until you have a soft serve texture and everything is combined. Serve as is for soft serve, or place mixture into the freezer for about 3 hours. Scoop out with an ice cream scoop. Top with fruit of your choice and enjoy!

29 Weeks

How far along? 29 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 21 pounds gained.
Maternity clothes? Mixing and matching! The top in this picture is not maternity. But I have always been a fan of big shirts so they can double as “maternity”!
Sleep: excellent!
Best moment this week: Passing my glucose test! What a relief.
Miss Anything? I’ve been missing a kick-ass, hot, sweaty yoga class these days. Soon enough!
Movement: Oh my gosh, if it’s any indication of what Turner will be like, he will be a wild man for sure!
Food cravings: No. Still eating what I normally do. In fact, I made a yummy batch of kale chips the other day! And I’m definitely taking advantage of the summer fruits while they’re still here!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope!
Have you started to show yet: Absolutely!
Gender: Boy
Labor Signs: No
Belly Button in or out? Still shallow! Not quite flat YET.
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Picking up my glider!!! It should be in any day now : )

Spicy Chai Latte Shake

I can’t WAIT for Fall to be here! I’m already brainstorming for a pumpkin carving party and dreaming about front porch decorations. I might add that being pregnant in the heat of the summer is not so fun! So I was trying to figure out a way to get the taste of Fall yet beat the heat of Summer… And, my friends, this shake is it! It tastes like a creamy chai latte, yet cools you down in the 90 degree heat! Not to mention, it’s not packed with sugar and white flour like the naughty pumpkin cake sitting in my office calling my name! I hope you enjoy!

Spicy Chai Latte ShakeServes 1

1 1/2 cup original almond milk

1 1/2 frozen bananas

2 teaspoons raw almond butter (use regular if you want)

1/2 tsp chai spice

2 dried pitted dates

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and mix until well combined. Serve and enjoy!

Chai Spice

Chai Spice
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground pepper
pinch salt
Combine all ingredients in a small airtight spice jar. Shake to combine. Store in a dark cool place.

Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Chip Granola

I’ve been in total baking mode lately. I’m pretending it’s Fall, even though it’s still 90 degrees during the day. The only problem with baking is that I end up with all of these empty calorie laden treats calling my name case in point, the chocolate chip cookies sitting on my kitchen counter that I’m hoping the hubs will eat before I do! I was all ready to make a pumpkin spice cake filled with WHITE flour and ZERO nutritional value. Then I thought, let me see if I can create a semi-healthy recipe that will satisfy my empty calorie-pumpkin-spice craving! Well, let me tell you, I DID IT! When I bit into this granola, I felt like I was in pumpkin pie heaven! I opted to put in just enough chocolate chips for a sweet bite, but not too many where I’d feel guilty after eating it. You can definitely leave the chocolate chips out and replace them with nuts or dried cranberries, which would be delicious too! I wish you could have been here while this was baking. It literally smelled like Thanksgiving in my house (minus all the calories)! I hope you enjoy this little Fall treat! 
Pumpkin Spice & Chocolate Chip Granola
3 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
 1/4 cup coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in your standing mixer and, using the paddle attachment, stir on low until well combined. Spread the granola onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. GENTLY toss the outer granola into the center so the edges don’t burn. Keep in mind, the chocolate chips are melted and will spread throughout the granola a bit. That’s ok! Continue to bake for another 20 minutes. Let cool COMPLETELY on the baking sheet. Once cooled, store in an airtight container.  Enjoy!