Saturday, January 29, 2011

32 weeks and counting!

AHH! The end of a pretty hellish week. Last Thursday and Friday Travis got the little flu bug. Friday and Saturday Don got it (although it seemed to linger all week) then Saturday night I started feeling yucky. It's a scary feeling being on the verge of a fever and having chills when you are 31 weeks pregnant. This year I actually got a flu shot for the first time. I thought I was covered, apparently not. All in all it was a minor flu. I just felt yucky and achy and had chills. So I didn't get much exercise at all in this week.

With all our sickness I decided it was a good time to make some home made chicken soup. I chose the Chicken Alphabet soup from "Deceptively Delicious". 3 quarts reduced fat low-sodium chicken broth, 1/2 pound of chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup alphabet pasta (I used some tiny bow tie pasta with peas, carrots, and corn because it needed to be eaten and I thought it would be good), 1/4 cup cauliflower puree, 1/4 cup sweet potato puree.

Cook the chicken in the broth and then take it out and add all of the other ingredients. Cook for about 6 minutes and then add the chicken back in. It was good stuff and it lasted a couple days for us. Not only was the chicken broth good for our sickness, but in case you didn't know, sweet potatoes are the super veggie which has everything you need! So I was sure this would get us healthy quick!

For breakfast one morning (I think it was Sunday) I made the Baked Egg Puffs from "Deceptively Delicious". They looked so good in the picture in the book, I was sure they would be wonderful. I don't know if I cooked them too long or if I was just having a pregnancy aversion to eggs on that day, but they didn't sit well with me. They also didn't come out quite like the picture. Don and Travis seemed to like them, but I'm figuring out that they'll eat anything.

A couple nights later we were still feeling a bit yucky, and I really didn't feel like cooking. I thought I would make the home made Tomato Soup recipe from "Double Delicious", but we were snow bound and I didn't have all the ingredients. Don got home from work and asked what we were having. I told him I thought about making the tomato soup, and he agreed to make some grilled cheese. So I made some adjustments to the recipe with what I had around the house and just hoped it would come out okay.

The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 stalks celery (didn't have any, left it out), 1 small onion, 3 cloves garlic (just used garlic powder), 1 can whole peeled tomatoes (used diced, same thing), 1 cup sweet potato puree, 1/2 cup broccoli puree, 1 quart beef broth (used chicken), 1 bay leaf (left out), 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 4 ounces of low fat cream cheese.

Cook the onion and garlic in the oil over medium-high heat until the onion softens. Add tomatoes, sweet potato puree, broccoli puree, broth, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until it starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. Take off the heat and add the cream cheese. It says to blend with an immersion blender, I don't have one so I just put it in our regular blender.

The tomato soup actually came out really good. It was a bit more like a tomato bisque, and Don said it would've been great with some seafood in it. Along with the grilled cheese it was awesome.

We all seem to be pretty healthy now, although we are buried in snow with some more on the way. I did get in a little run/walk yesterday and I ran 1 mile at the track today and then walked about a mile. So I am starting to feel better and I hope that I can keep running just a bit until about 35 weeks. We'll have to see!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chicken and Biscuits

Well, it's been one of those mommy weeks! On Wednesday I decided to make Chicken and Biscuits. Sounded like a nice comfort food, and with the snowy weather moving in on us again I thought it would be good. Keep in mind that I mentioned before, I like to change recipes a lot, does that make me a non-conformist?  I suppose it helps me learn a little more about cooking. This time around I changed the recipe to take the easy way out on the biscuits part, but it turned out good anyway.

The basics of the recipe are 1 tablespoon Olive Oil, 1 lb. chicken breast cubed, 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 can of reduced fat cream of celery soup, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup of sweet potato puree. I added carrots and celery because I thought this seemed more like a chicken pot pie, and I love chicken pot pie, and you can never go wrong with extra veggies!

You cook the chicken in the oil (after peppering it) until brown (4 to 5 minutes) then you stir in all the other ingredients until they are well combined. Then remove from heat.

I put everything into a small casserole dish. Then I was onto the biscuit topping. This is where I cut corners. The recipe called for cream of tartar and buttermilk, neither of which I usually have around the house. I never use them and I've never bought them, so I figured it would be silly to spend the money on them just for this recipe only to have the leftovers go bad in the refrigerator. So went to the old standby, heart healthy Bisquick mix. I spread the biscuit mixture over the top of the ingredients in the casserole dish, then I put it in the oven for 25 minutes.

The result was a pretty little dish, not hard to make, and the family seemed to like it. We had enough leftover for everyone's lunch yesterday.

I made the leftovers for Travis, but he didn't eat any because he was running a nice fever and coughing and just not feeling well at all. When he was a little baby and he was sick I couldn't wait until he would be old enough to be able to tell me what was wrong. But now he is old enough, and he just cried and clung to me and said "mommy, make me better!" Well, let me see, eye of neut, chicken's feet, blood of a rare snake. I'm sure it will do the trick. Wound up all he really needed was lots of sleep.

He seems to be doing better now. I snuck out to the mailbox while he was sleeping, but that was pretty much all the exercise I got yesterday. Well, unless you include carrying around a 3 year old for half the day. I'm looking forward to some nice treadmill time today, since it is snowy and 15 degrees outside. I think I'll try the Chicken and Alphabet soup today. ON ON!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yummy Chicken Salad

It's been a long weekend! Travis and I were left alone while Don went on his annual winter hike. Before he left I made some Chicken Salad from the "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook. I wish I would have taken a picture of it, it was beautiful! It was also absolutely delicious. Needless to say I will be making it again.

2 large hard boiled eggs (farm fresh of course), 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken cutlets or breasts, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp Olive Oil, 3/4 cup reduced fat mayo (I use smart balance), 2 stalks celery finely chopped, 1/2 cup cauliflower puree, 1/2 cup non fat plain yogurt (I used greek), 1/2 cup green grapes coarsely chopped.

This recipe was fairly easy to make. You want to sprinkle all of the spices on the chicken and then cook in the oil. Just about the hardest thing was peeling the eggs. It must be because they are farm fresh and not store bought, I don't know! The Greek yogurt has more protein, and I use the smart balance mayo because I have to watch my cholesterol (can you believe that?!). The recipe also calls for taking all the yokes out of the eggs before chopping them, but I only took out two.

So you slice everything up and drop everything into a bowl and mix! It was fantastic! I loved it, and Travis loved it, especially the grapes, and I think as far as a chicken salad goes, very good for you! I will definitely be making this one again!

Now onto a little running and pregnancy update.....Today I had my 30 week check-up. I was happy that I had maintained weight instead of gaining after two weeks, but I know that you could gain no weight one week, and five pounds the next. I just keep trying to eat healthy and exercise and hope that I won't be too far in the whole come April. The Mid wife said everything was great, and I'm feeling great too, except for the occasional day when it feels like the baby is trying to pull an alien on me and jump out of my stomach. Oh, and every time I see someone I haven't seen in a while I get "wow, your belly is really popping out there!" well, where exactly do you expect the baby to go? Kinda like your only option for building in New Jersey is up, your only option for growing in my belly is out! I've come to terms with the fact that this baby will probably be over 9 lbs, and my belly will be HUGE come March! It's an amazing thing.

Despite my giant belly, I'm still getting around pretty good. Last week we had some wicked snow, so I stayed home with Travis from Monday night until Friday. I was able to get out for the occasional walk/run to the mailbox, and otherwise I got on the treadmill. I'm holding steady at about 2 miles. I've also been doing more exercises for legs and core. No abs of course, but some random running drills. I did a nice 45 minute routine with some of the WVU girls last night and I am feeling it today! The hips just don't want to do much except for walk! So today was an easy day of just walking since I am very sore, but it's a good sore!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lemon Chicken

This week I tried the Lemon Chicken recipe out of "Double Delicious". I paired it with couscous and string beans as you can see from the picture. I have to admit, there are times when I look at the recipes and they seem daunting. So I've decided to just take a deep breath and go slowly. What's the worst that could happen? I make a completely inedible dish. I have frozen pizza in the freezer for back up.

This recipe calls for: 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil separated, 3 cups chicken broth, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons water, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1/2 cup cauliflower puree, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional), 2 large egg whites, 1 large eggs, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

You cook all the ingredients up until the parsley in a sauce pan to make the lemon sauce. This wasn't too bad at all, the cornstarch and cauliflower puree made it somewhat thick. Then you combine the other dry ingredients for the coating and beat the eggs, dredging the chicken in the flour mixture, then the egg and drop it in the oil, 4 minutes each side or until chicken is cooked.

This turned out really well, although the flour coating came off of my chicken when I cut into it, but really I would've eaten it without the coating, especially with the sauce. I used the sauce on the couscous and string beans too. Don and Travis seemed to like it also. I think Travis likes saying couscous more than eating it though. I would make this recipe again!

Today I plan to try the chicken salad recipe. Travis and I have been stuck inside since Monday night because of the lovely lake effect snow showers. So I have plenty of time to cook.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beer Belly without the beer!

It's that time again. I did this when I was pregnant with Travis too. I would look down at my belly and think, "oh, there is no way that is going back the way it was!" Usually after going a whole day of walking around and a little running/working out, I wonder just how it is that a man can walk around with a giant beer belly and do nothing about it. I mean, it is really uncomfortable! I at least can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some time, hopefully before April starts, this baby will be out, and after a few weeks, I will start to feel like my old self again (I hope). But a man with a beer belly, there is no reward. Maybe he sees beer as the reward. I will never understand it. I prefer to be able to see my feet. I digress...

This week has been somewhat challenging for my running since it has been so cold and snowy. Monday I got outside for a run/walk for about 2 miles because Don was home, and it's also the day Travis goes to school. Tuesday I ran 2 miles straight on the indoor track. I was really happy about that. On Wednesday I pushed Travis around our little town of Bruceton while I ran/ walked for 40 minutes. Thursday and Friday I got on the treadmill for about 35 minutes, again just walking and running.

I also decided to start, or resume, some prenatal exercises so that I don't completely lose my muscle tone. Most of the exercises are for my legs, hips, and butt. Right now, my hips are retaliating against me. I guess they are going through a lot getting ready for a couple months from now. I never thought lifting my own body weight could hurt so much.

Yesterday I took my day off. I pretty much have had a day off every week. Today I feel lazy, but I am going to the indoor track again so hopefully I will get in another 2 miles. I keep plugging along, now at 28 weeks, hoping I can make it at least 6 more weeks being able to eek out my "running" or what some would call race walking. Maybe I can run this baby right out of me!

Friday, January 7, 2011

I never said I was a chef!

Ahh, staying at home with much time to cook. It can be a beautiful thing! That is, when your almost 3 year old isn't climbing up your leg. Travis wanted to "help" me cook this week, but he quickly lost interest. So I was on my own with my recipes.

Earlier in the week I tried home made chicken nuggets from "Deceptively Delicious". I had tried this recipe once before when I first got the cook book, so I figured I could handle it, and Travis loves chicken nuggets. One thing I must note is I like to change recipes a lot, either substituting or leaving something out because I don't have it around the house.

This recipe called for 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup flaxseed meal (didn't have it, so I left it out), 1 tablespoon grated parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon Paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1 cup broccoli puree, 1 large egg beaten, 1 pound chicken cut into small chunks, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon Olive oil (I used Canola).

You mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and the egg and broccoli puree in another. Get the skillet nice and hot with the oil and start breading the chicken. First in the egg/puree mixture, and then in the dry mixture, drop in the pan. 3 to 4 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked.
This really was a quick easy recipe that i paired with the broccoli that I didn't puree and some mashed sweet potatoes. Don and I loved it, Travis loved the broccoli, but prefers the store bought chicken nuggets. I plan to make this recipe again, so he'll just have to get over it!

A couple days later I decided to make the meatball sub recipe from "Double Delicious". I used deer meat instead of the ground meat and ground turkey that she suggested. Don said it might not hold together pretty well since there isn't a lot of fat in Deer meat, but I went ahead anyway.

Recipe: 1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs, 1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup sweet potato puree, 1 large egg white, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 pound meat (1/2 ground, 1/2 turkey), 1 table spoon olive oil, 1/2 onion chopped, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 can diced tomato.

I had a pregnancy brain moment and missed the step where it said to put 1/2 the chicken broth into the meatball mixture, so I put all the chicken broth in. Too much! I had to heat the onions in the oil and get it ready for the first meatballs. I plopped them in and tried to gently turn them when ready. It wasn't working out so well. Some of them decided to fall apart. When I was done with the whole thing I had about half meatballs and half sloppy joe. Oh well! I will try it again later, much later!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Reason's why?

I'm only guessing that every runner asks themselves at one time or another, "Why do I do this?".
I've been running consistently since I was in 7th grade, and I've noticed as time has gone by that my reasons for running have changed. When I first began running it was something to do, a way to be apart of things. I've noticed that with the middle school kids that I coach, it is 98 percent social for them.

When I got into High School it became more about competition and being the best. I did not like to lose. I trained with the boys because I knew it would make me faster. I ran in all sorts of weather, most days leaving the house with my father saying "you're going out in this?".

When I became a Senior running became my way to pay for college. Then, when I went to college, it became my job.

It wasn't until I was about 26 years old that it changed again. My father died of a massive stroke at the age of 56. His father died of a massive heart attack and the age of 56, and his brother died at the age of 54. This was when I realized, I could never stop running. Somewhere along the line my father went from a strong, athletic man, to an old man with diabetes and bad legs. It scared me to think that at 26 I might be at mid-life. If I take after my father (which I do in most respects) then the clock was ticking!

Now I run mostly for health and sanity. The social aspect that was there when I was in middle school has come back. I like having running buddies, although they are sometimes hard to find. I like going to the hash runs just to hang out with other runners. I like being outside and saying I ran the Boston Marathon in a Nor'easter, or I ran outside when we had 3 feet of snow on the ground.

It has turned out that running has been my constant companion for almost 25 years. Everything changes, that's just life, but running will always be there! At least I hope!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

So, here I am, 27 weeks pregnant and beginning a new year! This is part of my New Year's Resolution! Really, I have many, but the main resolution is to make every recipe in the "meal time" sections of Jessica Seinfeld's two cookbooks, "Deceptively Delicious" and "Double Delicious". This will be approximately 2 recipes a week. I technically started a few days ago with some home made chicken soup from her book, but my husband said I couldn't use it because I didn't make it in the new year. The other part to my resolution is to blog about making the meals, and also about my running in 2011, so I am combining them in this blog.
For January 1st I made the Skinny Egg Salad. this recipe comes in very handy at our house because we have chickens and we seem to have a surplus of eggs on hand. I cut the recipe in half for my first try. I have to say that it was delicious and very simple. Probably the worst part about the whole thing was peeling the eggs, which were all brown (btw, the color of your egg comes from the breed of the chicken, so if you are spending extra money on the brown eggs at the store, you are being conned!). It seemed the egg shells did not want to leave the eggs.  The recipe calls for 12 eggs,  4 green onions, but we aren't fans of onions in our house, so I used half an onion which I had leftover from another recipe. 6 tablespoons reduced fat Mayo, 1/4 cup non fat plain yogurt (I used greek, more protein), 1/2 cup cauliflower puree, 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, pinch of Paprika. I didn't have any paprika on hand, so I just left it out.
I am not a fan of spicy food, but  my husband is. This didn't have any spice to it, so I warned him of that before he ate it because he usually likes to add hot sauce. I also added some celery because I like some crunch.
If you don't know anything about Jessica Seinfeld's cookbooks, she's big on Puree's, especially in the "Deceptively Delicious" book because that's her way to get her kids to eat more veggies, which goes great with another resolution to eat better in the new year.
Now onto the running! I've not been doing a whole lot of running lately, since I am pregnant with my second child. With my first I ran 30 minutes a day until I was 32 weeks. I had no complications, except that he was 9 lbs. It just became too painful to run after that, and I figured I would just enjoy my time off from running.
This time around I backed off to 30 minutes a day to try and get pregnant. I tried to maintain that, but I had more sickness with this pregnancy, and things are harder when you already have a 2 year old. I try to at least walk 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
Lately I've been going on walk/runs, and I try to go for more than 30 minutes. My goal is to make it past 32 weeks being able to still at least attempt to run. Baby first, mommy second! I've run some races along the way and I think I may run a 5 miler in a couple of weeks. I hope to recover as well from this baby as I did my son Travis, running 3 weeks after giving birth, but I'm not one of those crazy super moms who is practically running out of the hospital. I prefer to be cautious with it. So, we'll see how it goes! Happy New Year!