Hello Third Trimester!

13 Oct

I can’t believe that I am now 28 weeks and officially in the third trimester!  I don’t know where the second one went  (Ah! A little panic as I remember we still have no where for the baby to sleep!) ! I have, however, noticed a big change which happened in one week.  I am so tired, out of breath and achy.  I still have a pathetic stomach for someone who is officially in the third trimester but I feel like it is huge.  This last week, I’ve had SEVERE round ligament pain.  The ligaments in my stomach have to stretch and move away for my growing stomach.  It hurt so badly, some days I could hardly walk and the pain almost made me throw  up a few times.  I guess this  occurs in some women when they are undergoing a growth spurt.  But my growth spurt is not visible yet…

Saturday we went and toured a private hospital’s birthing unit.  It was a nice hospital. I guess I really have nothing to compare it to as I’ve never had to stay in a hospital before.  The food is really good there, though.  Overall, it was very nice but I found out I’d have to get a different doctor than the one I already have which sounds like a pain and I like my doctor.  So we’ll go tour the other hospital at the end of the month and see how that one compares.

Here’s another purchase we made for the nursery.

One of the only rocking chairs available in Switzerland.  And gliders?  Forget about it. Non-existent.

But do you see the little thing sitting on the rocking chair?  That is the owl I made for Hazel 🙂

Today,  I  got a package of American food from a supplier here in Switzerland!  In the mix;  Canned pumpkin, so much easier than roasting a whole pumpkin!  Peppermint extract, Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Banana Cheerios, Seriously they DO NOT have Cheerios here! Of all things!  I also got, a little teeny can of eggnog,  pre-made graham cracker pie crust, Helman’s mayonnaise  and candy corn.  Which may be a mistake because they are so addictive!  I was sooooo happy when I received my package!  Now if I could just find some maraschino cherries……..

Tomorrow we are off to Denmark for an early Christmas celebration with Christian’s family.  In a few weeks I will not be able to fly!!!!!!!!!!!!  I’m having difficulty dealing with this fact.  I may not get on another airplane until March or April! Yikes!

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Bars

3 Oct

The other night we had a pumpkin night.  Pumpkin streusel pancakes and pumpkin smoothies for dinner.    I had a bit of pureed pumpkin left-over so I decided to try these bars.  All the other ingredients I had on hand. They are currently in the oven but the batter is AMAZING!  I could’ve eaten it just plain without baking it.  The recipe also suggests the bars be topped with  frosting or caramel. I want to wait and see how they taste before I decide which topping will be the best.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars 

From: http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2011/10/pumpkin-peanut-butter-oatmeal-bars.html

(Vegan, Gluten-Free)

1/2 c peanut butter

1 c pumpkin puree (i.e. Libby’sin a can and if you don’t have pumpkin puree in your market, use sweet potato puree either canned or sweet potatoes that you boil/puree yourself)

2 c oats (whole rolled, not quick cook)

1 c brown sugar, packed

1/2 c white sugar

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (reduce/increase to taste)

1 tsp cinnamon (reduce/increase to taste)

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Optional: Add raisins, nuts, chocolate/white/peanut butter chips to the mixture.  Start with 1/3 to 1/2 c and going from there based on taste preference.

Optional frosting ideas

Cream Cheese Frosting; add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice + cinnamon if you’d like

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

Caramel Sauce, either jarred or homemade Dark Rum Caramel Sauce

Directions: Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir by hand.  Spread batter (it will be pretty moist) into a foil-lined and spayed 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan.

Bake at 350F for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  The bars may still look underdone, but that’s ok because they will continue to set up as they cool.  Allow to cool very well before slicing (yeah, right. I don’t think I’ve ever done that!).

Notes: All measurements are approximate and if you love peanut butter or pumpkin puree, add a bit more of either.

Reduce the sugar amounts if you wish or even attempt a sugar-free version by making with stevia, stevia “baking blends” or try other powdered forms of nonsugar sweeteners.

 

****I added Chocolate chips and thought that made the bars sweet enough.  No frosting or caramel required.  I think that would be too sweet!

Tomorrow morning is our next appointment with the OB!!!

Happy Birthday Sherri!

Baby Shopping in Germany and Korean BBQ

2 Oct

Saturday we made the one hour drive to Konstanz, Germany to do a bit of baby shopping.  Everything in Germany is about 1/3 the price it is in Switzerland so if you need to buy a lot of stuff, head across the border! I was hoping to get much more checked off my list but we were fairly successful in purchasing some of the more pricier items we’ll need.

First and most importantly, Our car seat/carrier!  I love the colors!

Here’s a close up to see it has green dots on it

Before I picked out the car seat, I picked out these toys to be attached to the car seat/ carrier and they match perfectly!

The electronic baby swings/bouncers are almost non-existent here so we got a baby bjorn bouncer. The baby makes the bouncer rock with its own movements. It is supposed to help develop motor skills and it has great reviews.

We were lucky enough to get a Moby Wrap from Sherri! Which should be great to carry Hazel for the first few months but after that I’ve been told an Ergo carrier is great. So we bought one. I think it will be perfect for going on hikes.

I also bought a Medela breast pump, a changing pad and a Diaper Champ but I don’t think we need photos of those 😉

These little birdies I made are for a mobile in the nursery.

And last but definitely not least! A recipe EVERYONE must try. I must be honest. I’ve never had Korean BBQ so I can’t tell you how ‘authentic’ this recipe is and I don’t know how it compares to others, but this recipe is one of the BEST I’ve ever made.

Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos

 

 

From: http://www.mylifeasamrs.com
Yield: 6-8 servingsPrep Time: 15 minutesCook Time: 8 hoursTotal Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
Makes  EXCELLENT leftovers!

ingredients:
For the Cucumber Slaw:
2 hot house cucumber (the wrapped seedless kind)
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 pinches of salt
crushed red pepper flakes to taste

For the Korean Beef:
6 1/2 pounds (roughly) beef back ribs (you can use short ribs, but they are WAY more expensive)

1 1/2 cups low sodium soy sauce
1 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
10 cloves garlic, grates
4 tablespoons grated ginger
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil (or other mild vegetable oil)
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

For the tacos:
16 small flour tortillas
bean sprouts
cilantro
sriracha (for some H.E.A.T.)

directions:
For the Cucumber Slaw:
Slice cucumbers as thin as you can get them (I used a mandoline slicer to help, but it’s not necessary) and place in a bowl. Add the rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and crushed red pepper; toss to combine. Set aside until ready to use. You can make these the night before if desired!

For the Korean Beef:
Spray a 7 quart slow cooker base with non-stick cooking spray and add the beef back ribs. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until combined; pour over the ribs. Cook on low heat for 8 hours. I rotated the ribs on my lunch break and also used a turkey baster to do a quick baste on the ribs with (the majority of the ribs will be submerged in the sauce & juices). When ready to serve, take out of crockpot, remove bones, and shred.

For the tacos:

Warm taco shells in the microwave (or my personal favorite – on the grill… just a few seconds each side). Add shredded beef, cucumber slaw, bean sprouts, and cilanto. If you are feeling extra frisky, drizzle on some sriracha for a nice kick!

Almost 26 weeks and a healthy(ish) dessert

28 Sep

Tomorrow I’ll be 26 weeks.  I think my stomach shrunk a bit after coming back from California!!  I’m eating  a fraction of what I ate when I was there so I guess it’s possible.  I think the baby likes to be in very tight spaces.  I’ll lay on my left side and can feel her kicking away right where my stomach meets the bed then I’ll turn to the right and she’s moves there on the right side!   Anyway, she is just moving constantly all day long. I am at the very end of the second trimester.  Baby is the size of an eggplant; 13.6- 14.8 inches long and 1.5 – 2.5 pounds.

We really haven’t been up to much lately.  Christian’s dad and brother-in-law, Jacob, were here this last weekend and they bike some major mountain passes.  I just waited for them to come home and served them food. 🙂

Christian, Jakob, John

I’ve been busy planning my decor for the nursery.  I ordered some custom crib bedding from etsy which will be ready in about 8 weeks.  I also ordered a rug which is out of stock for about 8 weeks.   In addition to decorating the nursery, we have a crazy long list of boring things we need to do.   I used to be a procrastinator, but not anymore!  I want to do everything now!  Poor Christian, many of the things we need to do are actually things he needs to do. Haha.

I was looking for a lighter dessert (so I wouldn’t feel so guilty after I uncontrollably ate it) and this one is just what I was envisioning.  The cake itself is light and not too sweet and then you put the cream cheese frosting on top. Yum! Who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting?!!?

Carrot and Zucchini Cake Bars

From Better Homes and Gardens
ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded carrot
  • medium zucchini, shredded (1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts  * I did not add because I do not like almonds in desserts
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • teaspoon vanilla
  • recipe Citrus-Cream Cheese Frosting
directions1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, ginger, and baking soda. In another large bowl stir together eggs, carrot, zucchini, brown sugar, raisins, walnuts, oil, honey, and vanilla. Add carrot mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Spread batter into an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan.2.Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Frost with Citrus-Cream Cheese Frosting. Cut into bars.3.Makes 36 bars4.Citrus-Cream Cheese Frosting: In a medium mixing bowl beat one 8-ounce package softened cream cheese and 1 cup powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. If desired, stir in 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel or orange peel.

nutrition facts

  • Calories125
  • Total Fat (g)7
  • Saturated Fat (g)2,
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g)2,
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g)3,
  • Cholesterol (mg)19,
  • Sodium (mg)44,
  • Carbohydrate (g)16,
  • Total Sugar (g)11,
  • Fiber (g)1,
  • Protein (g)2,
  • Vitamin C (DV%)1,
  • Calcium (DV%)18,
  • Iron (DV%)1,
  • Other Carbohydrates (d.e.)1,
  • Fat (d.e.)1,
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Week 24

15 Sep

I am feeling great lately, besides the jet-lag that forces me to wake for the day in the middle of the night.  I welcome the long awaited increase in energy with open arms as I have so much to do; many shopping trips, touring hospitals, setting up insurance, etc.  This week the baby can live outside the womb with significant medical help.  She is the size of an ear of corn or two mangoes. I also noticed, I can not only feel kicking from the outside, but see it as well.

I’ve just finished my first homemade baby project.  A play mat/ tummy time mat!  I bought some fabric online a while ago for a home decor project but strongly disliked the actual colors when I saw the fabric in person. But I think the fabric works great for this cause. I don’t have a sewing machine so I sewed it by hand.

side 1

side 2. I stitched down the middle so the filling would stay in place during washings.

Here are a few of my favorite purchases from the US

Diaper bag

And Clothes!

California

14 Sep

Oh Wow!  We had such a great trip to California!  I was so sad to leave and it will take about a week till I readjust to Switzerland. I really really miss living in the US. Our trip was composed of 4 mini trips.  We stayed three nights in Healdsburg (Sonoma Valley), four nights in San Francisco, three nights driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, which included:  Monterey, Pebble Beach, Carmel by the Sea,  Big Sur, Hearst Castle, San Simeon, San Luis Obispo, Solvang (The Danish Capital in the US) and Santa Barbara. Finally, with the last three night in Los Angeles visiting my three wonderful brothers! Unfortunately, I lost my camera on the first day.  I grabbed it from the hotel room to take on our trip to the Armstrong Redwood Forest and when we arrived at the forest, the camera was no where to be found. 😦

The Highlights of the trip…

  • An eight course tasting menu at the the 2 Michelin Starred Cyrus restaurant in Healdsburg.  Christian and I are no strangers to tasting menus but this one far surpassed any others we’ve had.
  • The redwoods. Walking between these huge trees was so peaceful and surreal. I could’ve stayed there for hours.
  • Alcatraz.  I usually bore quickly on tours but this self-guided audio tour held my attention the whole time.

    Mom and Dad before our Alcatraz tour

  • The Pacific Coast Highway and Big Sur.  I had no idea this drive would be so consistently beautiful for such a long distance.  And the beauty was much greater than I had anticipated.  I think every American should make this drive.
  • The Hearst Castle. Wow.  
  • The Magic Castle.  This is one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had.  The Magic Castle is a big castle, consisting of winding corridors and nostalgic magic themed memorabilia.   You can eat dinner there but the main attraction is magic.  There are many different magicians performing throughout the evening, at different times, in different rooms.  It is a members only club. Luckily, my brother, Chris’s girlfriend is a member.    http://magiccastle.com/
  • Tchaikovsky spectacular at the Hollywood Bowl with fireworks. This was such a beautiful night. We had a picnic under the nearly full moon while being moved (some of us to tears.   No, not me 😉  ) by the beautiful orchestra.
  • Huntington Botanical Garden in Pasadena
  • A hike with Greg and Christian at Runyon Canyon Park
  • Immense amounts of baby shopping!! Including my Uppababy Vista Stroller!!!!
  • Chris, Eric and Christian also enjoyed a bike ride at the Manhattan Beach. They seemed to really enjoy themselves and came back all smiles!  I of course, had to refrain.

    Christian, Eric and Chris before their bike ride

  • Dinner at Lucques the last night.
  • Christian and I were also asked to give some of our opinions on who should do the chores around the house in a marriage for the Dr. Phil Show.  That was wildly unexpected and who knows if it will ever air or if they will twist our words around 😉
  • The BEST part of the trip was spending time with my family (minus Sherri, Joe, Greta and Miles).  We all wish you could’ve been there!

Eric, Me and Christian getting Donuts!

Here’s a photo of my Uppababy Vista. I’m only slightly obsessed with it.  It also has a toddler seat but I won’t be needing that for a while.

The Best Homemade Chicken Enchiladas

26 Aug

I’ve tried many and this is the best.  No other chicken enchilada recipe has even come close to this one.  This should be made for guests to impress them with your mad Mexican culinary skills.

Chicken Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce

adapted from Tide and Thyme, orginally from America’s Test Kitchen

  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 3 medim cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
  • 1 cup extra sharp white cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
  • cooking spray
  • salt and ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine the onion, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil in a large saucepan. cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato. Bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.

Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through (thickest part reaches 160 degrees), about 12-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside to cool.

Strain the sauce through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the onions to a large bowl and set aside. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to the onin mixture, and add 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup cheese, and the cilantro. Toss to combine.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; Microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds. Spread the tortillas on a clean work surface, and spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each. Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.

Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 7 minutes, or until the tortillas start to brown slightly (skip this step if you don’t like the crunch).

Reduce heat to 400. Remove enchiladas and pour sauce evenly on top. Top with the remaining cheese (I use a bit more ). Cover dish with foil, and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, additional cilantro, etc.  Sour cream is a must!!