30 April 2013

old recipe + new twist = weekly staple

Baked oatmeal's great to have around right now. A piece can easily be eaten one-handed (i.e. while the other hand is busy holding Ellie, which it usually is in the morning). And oatmeal is a galactagogue so with my voracious little munchkin, I figure it can't hurt. :)

I wanted to see if I could reduce the sugar, though-- both because honey is pricey and because refined sugar is pretty much always good to reduce. First I replaced the honey with applesauce, but that was a little too bland. So I switched out the butter for applesauce too, then stirred in a chopped banana, and this got it to just the right sweetness level. It's also softer, in the sense that it crumbles less and sticks together when cut into bars. So, ideal for on the go snacking. Nom.

Sometimes I throw in some extra cinnamon, or another spice like cardamom or nutmeg.


I Love Baked Oatmeal

3 cups rolled oats
1 2/3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 cup applesauce
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large ripe banana, chopped

1) Stir together oats, milk, yogurt, and applesauce in mixing bowl. Cover with a clean towel and let sit on counter for 10-24 hours.
2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x9 square pan.
3) Add eggs to oat mixture and whisk briskly until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients.
4) Pour into pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, until firm and golden. Serve warm with milk or yogurt, or let cool and cut into bars to eat at room temperature. Refrigerate if you will have it around for more than 2 or 3 days.

Shared on Simple Lives Thursday

27 April 2013

Weekend linkage

"That's what daddies are for: to irritate their little girls."
-while tickling his daughter, who does not appreciate this

"Ellie, soon you will be so old you can apply for your NAACP card!"
-Jared gets his abbreviations confused


Life with Ellie: A lot less like drowning, more like, um, swimming in rough seas where a salty wave smacks you in the face when you aren't expecting it. With no sense of direction, but with a life preserver, and no sharks.

Okay, I'm no good at analogies, but what I mean to say is that things are markedly easier. I have grown so much in my affection for this little baby. At first it was really tough to see beyond the You're crying again? and You're hungry again? and You don't want to be held but you don't want to be laid down? craziness. I felt guilty for not having these overflowing gushes of love towards my daughter. It was like I was looking at a stranger. Keeping her alive, keeping her warm, holding her, trying to "bond"-- but a stranger. Which was accurate. After all, I'd never seen her before. I didn't know who she was, really. How are you supposed to have gushes of love for that?

cutest baby in the history of the world.
And then it changed. One day I realized that I wanted to get her out of her crib. I wanted to look at her chubby cheeks, cuddle her tiny feet in my hand, talk to her, sing to her, give her a bath, watch as she tried to focus on my face, laugh at her slightly cross-eyed expressions. She feels like my daughter now, somebody who belongs with me . . . not a wailing, needy stranger dropped into the middle of my life. I am so glad. And I haven't cried all week.

Most of that has simply been due, I think, to an increasing (still so small and wavering! but increasing!) trust in God during this season. Letting go of my worries and my desire for control is hard but very much worth it. It sort of feels like the beginning of 2012, when I was so tired of fighting for a baby, I had to trust the Lord. Anything else was too exhausting, and He gave me rest. Now I am so tired of fighting to make that baby do what I want, I have to trust Him again, finding peace in His promises.
From of old no one has heard
or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who acts for those who wait for him.
You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
those who remember you in your ways.
-Isaiah 64:4-5
he's a proud papa.
On the practical front, Ellie is sleeping for long stretches at night (meaning four to six hours between feedings instead of, you know, two). Sometimes she cries for a little while before falling asleep, and sometimes she decides to be social way too early in the morning, but overall she seems to have "day" and "night" figured out. I am awfully proud of her and take zero credit for her accomplishment. All I've done is try to keep her awake a good part of the day.

She also takes a pacifier now (well, not always) and that helps keep her happy. We figure she just gets bored easily and needs something to do while she is awake. It's pretty cute to watch her chomp down so furiously on a silly piece of plastic. :)


Food art!

ESV? NIV? KJV? Funny cartoon on what your Bible translation says about you. (I guess I'm one of the reformed hipsters.)

Also in the church humor realm, suggested hymns for everyone from the dentist to the electrician. (My favorite is the IRS agent: "I Surrender All.")

Kids weigh in: how do you know whom to marry? Hilarious.


I've been making this in the morning except without the corn syrup and Kahlua. Ha. So, basically iced coffee without the added water. It's good.

"Put them on their back to sleep, but don’t let them be on their backs too long or they will be developmentally delayed. Give them a pacifier to reduce SIDS. Be careful about pacifiers because they can cause nursing problems and stop your baby from sleeping soundly. If your baby sleeps too soundly, they’ll die of SIDS." Oh man. This is spot on: how baby advice can drive us insane.

23 April 2013

chicken fruit curry

We had friends bringing us meals for several weeks after Ellie came, but now I'm back in the saddle. Oh boy. It's an adventure. Someday I shall again make meatballs, Greek yogurt, and individually iced cupcakes. For now? Too much work, yo. We'll settle for scrambled eggs . . . and curry.

This is the kind of thing I'm making for dinner these days. It's fast, has minimal ingredients, needs little to no precision in measuring, can simmer for a while undisturbed, and uses one pan. Lots of protein and flavor and makes the house smell great. Just the ticket for the mama of a newborn baby.

Not a precise recipe so much as an idea and some instructions. :)


Chicken Fruit Curry

8 cups cooked shredded chicken*
2-3 bananas, sliced
1 tart apple, diced
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup or more chicken stock
curry powder**
sea salt

1) Heat coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat; add shredded chicken, 2 sliced bananas, and stock. Cook and stir for a few minutes, then cover and reduce to medium-low.
2) Let simmer for 10 minutes, or until banana is softened and is forming a "sauce." Add more chicken stock and/or another banana if things seem too dry.
3) Add diced apple and 1-2 tablespoons of curry powder. Cover and cook for 10 more minutes, until apple is tender.
4) Add more curry powder if you want, and salt to taste. I always put in a lot of curry and a healthy dose of salt-- these are the sources of flavor for this dish, so don't skimp, and keep tasting until it's good to you! Serve over plain rice or quinoa.

*I have been simply poaching whole chickens and stripping the meat off the carcass. This is the easiest way to get lots of cooked chicken, plus a nice start to a pot of broth! If you have uncooked chicken you could saute it before adding the other ingredients.
**Make sure it's a fresh, potent one. Stale or weak curry powder is going to make a disappointing dinner. It should smell delicious as soon as you pop the lid off the jar!

19 April 2013

Weekend linkage [except not]

"That thought is an alien invader into my common sense universe."
-Jared upon forgetting something regarding carseats

"Yeah, a screech owl."
-upon my calling Ellie a night owl


Life with Ellie: I think the exact same lessons that God was teaching me through difficulties with my skin (which, by the way, has been a lot better since Ellie was born) are continuing right on through the newborn stage. Embracing joy in the moment and not worrying about what might happen in the future. Accepting my weakness. Believing that God knows where I am and that he cares deeply for me . . . and for Ellie.

It's been tough. Not gonna pretend. Those people who told me that childbirth was the hardest thing I'd ever do? Liars. This is a thousand times harder. I feel as if I am being broken-- which I am-- broken of my pride and selfishness and anxiety. I keep remembering that in Hebrews, we're told not to despise the Lord's discipline because it is a sign of His fatherly love. This doesn't feel loving but I am choosing to believe that it is. That I won't be crushed, that I will come through, that there will be a new season with new mercies on the other side.

But this week was better, emotionally. I know that she will not be this dependent and fussy forever. That also means that she won't be this tiny and cute forever, either, so I'm trying really hard to enjoy that aspect of newborn-hood while it lasts. Even when she screams inconsolably and we don't know what to do and I'm crying because I cannot imagine ever sleeping again.

There have been very, very sweet times as well. Like when she has been crying but then she gets snuggled up on my shoulder and kind of hiccups herself to sleep. Or when she is wide awake and peaceful, and she looks up at me and I talk to her, and it almost seems as if she is listening. Or when she is nursing and grabs my finger and just won't let go.

I love my little girl. I didn't know motherhood would be this hard. I didn't know I could ever feel this tired . . . and still care for a baby. I didn't know I would fight this strongly against God's will for my life. I didn't know so many things.

But I love her so much.

Also, much as I did during pregnancy, I have hit the point of being tired. of. food. I mean, it's all totally delicious and I love eating in theory, but really? Two breakfasts and a snack and lunch and three more snacks and dinner and another snack? This is getting old. I guess nursing really does require a ton of calories, because I am eating like a horse and still losing weight. Weird.

No links. Baby has eaten my brain. Back next week, perhaps . . .

12 April 2013

Weekend linkage

"You are a hiccup machine!"
-Jared to Ellie


Life with Ellie: I think the main thing I will remember about her first two weeks is how faithful God has been. We've had good days and bad days but they have all overflowed with His goodness to us. For example, she slept really well for several nights, but yesterday and last night she wanted to eat every 2 hours; that was pretty frustrating. I just keep telling myself that she will fall asleep eventually . . . and she does . . . and so do I.

As they say, I'm not dead yet.

Also, non-maternity pants YAY. I was never so happy to see a pair of normal jeans.


This film looks weird-- too bad, because I love the book so-- but the sets will be cool.


From my friend Joy: no, my kids don't belong to the community.

Holy cow I will never complain about childbirth ever again because at least I wasn't in a tree.

Tourist "destinations" off the beaten path. This guy is super funny, too.

Gutsy, Shai Linne, gutsy.

08 April 2013

paleo banana walnut bread

I like Mommy's banana bread!
We eat a lot of bananas round these parts, and just like avocados and kiwis, those babies are hard to time. Too green, they sit abandoned on the counter. Too ripe, the fruit flies gather. The Holy Grail of banana-buying is to find one perfectly yellow bunch and one with stripes of green still down the sides; by the time you've eaten the yellows, the greens have ripened.

(Unfortunately each grocery store usually offers its bananas in a uniform shade of ripeness, so that to achieve said grail one must visit multiple stores. Ain't nobody got time for that.)

Anyway, I'm glad I have awesome recipes like this to use up the rejects. And stirring in some chocolate chips never hurt. Your call.

For a while I was using Tropical Traditions' coconut flour, but a little while ago, my mom gave me a bag from Peter Paul. I would say that it is a superior product! It has a light, fine grind that results in a great texture in baked goods, without any of the "grit" you may have experienced with coconut flour in the past.

I actually made two loaves of this just hours before my water broke. Took one loaf to the birth center, stuck the other in the freezer. Well done, me.


Paleo Banana Walnut Bread
(original recipe at Always Learning)

3 mashed bananas
1/4 cup melted coconut oil or butter

1/4 cup maple syrup, honey, or molasses
6 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line loaf pan with parchment paper.
2) Combine bananas, coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla in blender until smooth.
3) Add all remaining ingredients except walnuts. Blend until smooth.
4) Pour batter into medium bowl and stir in walnuts.
5) Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes; let cool for 5-10 minutes in pan. Remove loaf from pan and finish cooling on wire rack.

This recipe also turns out very well as one dozen muffins (I usually leave out the walnuts). Bake for 15-17 minutes at 400 degrees. 

07 April 2013

due date? what due date?

Swaddle blanket! She hates being put in it but once she's asleep it is great.

Today was Elizabeth's due date . . . but that ship already sailed, so instead you can have some cute pictures.

Pretending to sleep at 3:30 in the morning.

05 April 2013

Weekend linkage

"You must be a camel."
-Jared upon my 627th request for a new bottle of water

"That's me, Mr. Mom."
-upon successfully completing two loads of laundry

"No, we followed the Jared method."
-upon being asked if we used the Bradley method

"It's basically impossible to not take a cute picture of you."
-upon photographing one of Elizabeth's funny faces

"I do not think the chiropractor would approve of that position."
-upon observing his daughter's un-ergonomic sleep preferences


Life with Ellie: Her big accomplishments in the first week of life were to figure out nursing (though she's kind of a lazy eater), take a couple of baths (mixed reviews on that), visit our elderly neighbors (she charmed them to bits), make a lot of stinky messes in her diaper (whee), get extremely loud hiccups (we laugh although she looks so distressed), lose her cord stump (now she has a wee bellybutton), go for a lovely walk (she slept the whole time), and meet most of her family (only missing one uncle . . . he is a police officer with a funky schedule, so it might be a little while).

She has made me cry several times and I'm quite tired, but man oh man, we are certainly enjoying her!

I'm going to work on writing up the saga of her birth, for interested parties. Though there was nothing dramatic about it, I always like reading birth stories, so maybe you will too. :)


The ten most dangerous food ads. (I don't agree with the red meat one being dangerous, but other than that.)

The logical holes in Beauty and the Beast.

Why can't otherwise smart little kids name colors, and what can we do to help them?

Relish, "a graphic novel for foodies."

15 Swedish words we should incorporate into English. Flipperforalder is my favorite.

Anyone who has ever seen a video clip of themselves will understand-- why we hate the sound of our own voices.

That's right, it did!

03 April 2013

Well Written Wednesdays: the only perfect one ever born

"First Child . . . Second Child"
Ogden Nash


Be it a girl, or one of the boys,
It is scarlet all over its avoirdupois,
It is red, it is boiled; could the obstetrician
Have possibly been a lobstertrician?
His degrees and credentials were hunky-dory,
But how's for an infantile inventory?
Here's the prodigy, here's the miracle!
Whether its head is oval or spherical,
You rejoice to find it has only one,
Having dreaded a two-headed daughter or son;
Here's the phenomenon all complete,
It's got two hands, it's got two feet,
Only natural, but pleasing, because
For months you have dreamed of flippers or claws.
Furthermore, it is fully equipped:
Fingers and toes with nails are tipped;
It's even got eyes, and a mouth clear cut;
When the mouth comes open the eyes go shut,
When the eyes go shut, the breath is loosed
And the presence of lungs can be deduced.
Let the rockets flash and the cannon thunder,
This child is a marvel, a matchless wonder.
A staggering child, a child astounding,
Dazzling, diaperless, dumbfounding,
Stupendous, miraculous, unsurpassed,
A child to stagger and flabbergast,
Bright as a button, sharp as a thorn,
And the only perfect one ever born.


Arrived this evening at half-past nine.
Everybody is doing fine.
Is it a boy, or quite the reverse?
You can call in the morning and ask the nurse.

01 April 2013

she's not a tadpole anymore.

Now she is ELIZABETH!

Elizabeth Hope was born at 4:40 AM on Good Friday. It was hard, hard work but we did it! She weighed 9 lb 10 oz and stretched to 21.5 inches long, with a 14.5 inch head. Yeah, I'm a little sore. :) I honestly feel great though (for such a chunky baby, she took less than an hour of pushing, and even though I tore a bit I'm healing surprisingly quickly).

The sweetest.
We came home from the birth center Friday around noon, and since then I have just lounged about ordering my husband and other family members to do things for me. We have feasted upon steak, pot roast, and chicken stew, and a key lime pie await us in the fridge, so life leaves little to be desired. :) Everybody's been very kind and Elizabeth is doing superbly.

She opens her eyes only rarely but when she does, they are the most beautiful thing in the world.

Jared has off all week, so you had better believe that there are some good quotes coming down the pipeline. I leave you with this one, from Daddy to Ellie:

"Yep, you're our little bundle of joy . . . and crying and pooping."