Friday, April 29, 2011

Chewy Granola Bars

My appetite has become more and more ferocious as my pregnancy progresses and I'm always in need of snacks on-the-go.  I used to have "feeding times" around 7:30am, 10:30am, noon, 3:00, 5:30 etc.  In recent weeks, however, my "feeding times" have become closer...and closer.  I am now having them about every 1.5-2 hours, and I'm sure during the third trimester it will be a constant thing.  It never fails that every time someone walks in my office I either have food in my mouth, or on its way to my mouth.  The best is when I have a huge spoonful of yogurt with the cup right underneath my chin for easier that's embarrassing.  Can you say "deer in headlights" look?  The good news is that I think my coworkers are getting used to it.  The bad news is that I'm running out of yummy and quick snack ideas.  Enter Food Network Magazine's "50 after-school snacks" pamphlet.  It was a God-send.

There are so many scrumptious and easy recipes in there, I could just drool thinking of them.  The one that caught my eye right away were the granola bars.  I used to buy the chewy quaker oatmeal granola bars but I have started to become more and more turned off by prepackaged goods and their ingredients.  They just don't taste good to me anymore, not to mention I get nervous when I can't pronounce all ingredients.  So I've been on the lookout for a quick and easy recipe.  These bars and me were meant to be.  

The recipe is SO easy and truly mess free that I just had to share.  I have made two different kinds now, and I will continue to experiment adding little things here and there.  In my usual fashion I have slightly altered the recipe from the original, so that's the one I'll share with you.  Then turn out soft and chewy, but hold up well enough to stay in bar form.  I knew that they were a winner when my husband tried them and requested them in cinnamon raisin form, chocolate chip, and a combination of both. (Sounds like a man pregnancy craving to me)

These are the Oatmeal Raisin Ones
Chewy Granola Bars
2 T butter
1/3 C honey
1/3 C brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 C oatmeal (I used the old fashioned oats)
1 C chopped nuts and dried fruit (I used a trail mix of almonds, cranberries, and sunflower seeds)
2 T flax seed (the recipe called for wheat germ but I LOVE flax seed)

Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add honey, brown sugar, and salt, stir to combine.  Take off heat and stir in oatmeal, nuts and fruit, and flax seed.  Press into a very well greased (I use Pam) 8x8 glass dish.  Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool completely then cut into bars.  I then wrap them individually in foil and keep in a plastic bag.

Note: If they aren't baked enough they may be a little too soft and have a hard time conforming to a bar shape without falling apart when you go to eat them.  To remedy, after wrapping the bar in foil, press together on all sides to help solidify the shape.

Alternate Recipes: Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and replace the 1 C chopped nuts & fruit with 1 C raisins.  Deeeelicious!  Greg likes this one way more than the cranberry ones I made.  If you want chocolate chip, I would just replace the 1 C nuts & fruit with 1 C mini chocolate chips.  No cinnamon. 

There are a multitude of different varieties you can make with this simple recipe as your base.  Please share if you make one you love!

Have fun!  Change it up!  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Week 23.5, The time has come.

At this time in my pregnancy I am officially over the halfway point and have only 115 days to go until we get to meet little Adelaide!  Yes, we have started the transition from Bobette to Adelaide now since we are 99.9% sure that is what we are going to name her.  (I'm sure she'll be grateful that Bobette isn't sticking, lol) Adelaide is actually a city in Australia, also known as the "city of churches", which I first visited with my family when they came to see me while I was studying abroad in AU.  Upon arrival I had this strange feeling that 'I was home' come over me.  It was so bizarre to think that I was halfway around the world, and I truly felt like I could've lived there my entire life.  It was such a beautiful city, right near the ocean, and I have never forgotten it or that feeling I got while I was there.  I loved it so much that when my Aunt Beth came to visit, I scheduled a visit there into our RV road trip for her to see it as well!  It wasn't until I had returned to the United States that I later learned that Adelaide is an old German name.  I immediately thought, "if I ever have a girl, that's what I'll name her!"  And it really does seem to fit her already.  Luckily for me, Greg loves the name too.  So now  the challenge is figuring out her middle name.  At any given point during the day I can guarantee that if you see me, I have a million middle names flying around my head that I'm trying out.  Let's hope we find one we like soon!

Now, since I am over halfway through my pregnancy, I realize that the time has come to start really taking care of the baby vessel, aka my body.  Since the beginning I've been bombarded with messages about exercising and how good it is for your labor and delivery.  I, however, am not a fan.  So I thought, how can I just ease into this?  After looking at many different websites, I've found that most suggest starting a walking regimen, preferable 30 min. every day, but doing it every other will suffice.  I thought, "I can do that!"  Well, apparently it's not just me that dislikes working out, but my body as well.  After just 3 days of light walking on a tread mill, I could no longer walk up stairs.  Pathetic, right?  That was during the first trimester though and, like I said, the time has come for me to give it another go.  Anything to help with a smoother labor and delivery is worth it I'm sure!  (I see another visit to the chiropractor in my near future....)

The other exercise that ALL websites say is a must is kegels...and let me just say that that is yet another thing I HATE doing.  TMI? :-)  I'm not sure why but to me they are the most uncomfortable things I've ever done.  I know, I know, it will help with the pushing process and recovery thereafter, however, I just can't get used to doing them.  And I can't help but think that every pregnant woman I see may be doing them at that very moment.  The websites make it sound so effortless!  Do it while you're standing in line in the grocery store, at a stop light, during your meetings...seriously?  How awkward is that?  Especially to know that all the other pregnant women around you are probably wondering, "is she doing kegels too?"  So next time you're standing by a pregnant woman...she just may be doing kegels...WEIRD right?!?!

I've also realized that the time has come to start wearing some of those maternity clothes I bought a month or so ago.  As my belly has grown in recent weeks, my wardrobe options have shrank significantly.  I'm still in most of my "normal" clothes but my morning dressing has become more of a chore as I have to go through multiple shirts to find one that fits well and is long enough to cover the maternity band since some start pretty low.  (Note to others who go to buy maternity pants: if you buy the pants with a nude colored full belly banded waist, make sure that the band doesn't start lower than your underwear line.  Otherwise, you're going to have problems...)  There have definitely been days that I have to keep making sure my shirt is pulled down enough so you can't see my hot pink thong peeking through the band.  How embarrassing.  I have a feeling that this summer, dresses and leggings will be my friend. :-)

23 weeks: This would be one of the shirts that
need to be retired pretty soon.  As you can
see, my photographer (aka Greg) is slacking
in the picture taking department, so I have to
do the good ole mirror shot.

23.5 Week Check-In

Weight Gain: 9 pounds
Showing: I have a basketball growing in my abdomen, in case any of you were wondering...
Cravings:  So I may have faked an incurable a pizza craving last night. 
Innie or Outie Belly Button?: Innie
Stretch Marks: Not yet, thank goodness!
Maternity Clothes: I throw them in here or there.  I really need to go through my closet though to eliminate any clothes that no longer fit.
Favorite Moment This Week: Seeing my friends at Beth's wedding and seeing my family during Easter!  Also watching my mom's face, then subsequent teary eyes, the first time she felt Addie give a good kick.
Most Looking Forward To: Figuring out Addie's middle name, it's killing me!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Week 21, almost 22, Am I Missing Something???

When you first become pregnant everyone is eager to tell you about both the good and the bad.  The first and third trimesters are labeled as the most troublesome while the second is often referred to as blissful!  I have experienced the bad of the first trimester, the extreme exhaustion, bloating, nausea, etc. and was fully anticipating the "blissfulness" of the second to take hold before the third hit.  Now, if I read back on my blogs you would think that I'd totally remember all of the "bad" parts of the first trimester quite vividly which would detract me from wanting to go through it again.  However, as I suspected, mommy amnesia has already set in and even as I read my pregnancy history thus far, I wonder, was that really me?  Needless to say I can now see how some people have HUGE families because I believe women are born with this innate ability to forget the "bads" of pregnancy.

I am now a little over mid-way into my second trimester and though I haven't had any really bad experiences, I'm wondering where all of the good ones that I've heard of are.  For example, the big one that I think all women look forward to are the cravings!  How wonderful it would be to have urges to gorge yourself in whatever food you want just because you have this intense craving that won't go away?!  I mean, who in their right mind would tell a pregnant woman not to eat this or that or deny them their weird craving food?!  Well, I wish I had the chance to find out if someone was that brave, however, I have had ZERO cravings.  Yup, zero.  I'm beginning to speculate that maybe pregnant women in fact don't have these crazy cravings.  Maybe it's a secret society or pregnancy pact that women use to have their husband wait on them 24/7?  If so, I think I may be joining soon and start faking it, because darn it, I want to indulge guilt free in some weird prego food! Just don't tell my husband... ;-)

Another blissful second trimester occurrence is the thick movie star hair that you're supposed to get.  Whelp, my hair did get courser which makes for some interesting mornings when my brush gets stuck in my curls and almost hits my husband as it flings across the bathroom after getting loose.  (I'm not sure if he's convinced this is accidental)  And I have gotten more hair...on my belly.  Gross, I know, but hey, ya'll that are not pregnant yet or haven't gotten to this stage, beware.  Baby fuzz will appear, or as I like to say, your happy trail will start to look a little, well, happier.  Doesn't help?  Oh well, I tried.  Needless to say my belly is not looking like all of those beautiful perfect  bellies in all of the pregnancy magazines.  As a result I am strongly reconsidering getting maternity shots of my nekkid belly.

I'm sure you have all heard about those amazing pregnancy dreams and 24/7 feel good hormones too, right??  Well, let's just say instead of having dreams about some ripped man whisking me off my feet and having his way with me, I instead dream about having a baby that looks like a gnome.  Yup, no sexy dreams for me.  Just gnomes or my baby switching gender 5 times throughout the dream.  The fact that we are having a girl has obviously not sunken into my subconscious yet.  (btw, I would NOT suggest telling your husband about the supposed sexy dreams that you are jealous you aren't having...not good for their ego, and I'm telling you this from experience, oops!  It's honestly not that I want to dream about other men cuz that kinda creeps me out, I just honestly want to dream about better things than gnomes.  Is that too much to ask?)  And those feel good hormones?  Well, let's just say they come and go, hence why I feel that Greg doesn't always think the brush throwing is accidental, haha.  jk.  It's honestly not that extreme but I think I've overinflated the idea in my head that I would be walking around with a "perma-grin" and that nothing would irritate me.  Maybe that's still to come??  Let's hope, because that would be awesome. :-D

Week 21 

Week 20

21 Week Check-In

Weight Gain: Um, I know I was up 8 pounds on Sunday at 21 weeks, however, my relentless appetite this week has probably boosted that up at least a couple more pounds by now.  Next weigh in; Sunday, duh duh DUUHH! haha
Showing: Oh yeah, no hiding it now!  Everyone in the office has commented on my "baby bump" and how you can "really see it now!"
Cravings:  I'm seriously going to start faking it soon...
Innie or Outie Belly Button?: Innie
Stretch Marks: I'm adding this dreaded category because I seem to be growing quite fast now and figure it's only a matter of time.  On a good note, my skin is extremely soft and smooth now so maybe I'll be one of the lucky ones to avoid the stretch marks??  Fingers crossed!
Maternity Clothes: I occasionally wear my maternity jeans but still haven't slipped into the other items yet.
Most Looking Forward To: Not traveling for work anymore so I don't have to haul my pregnant @$$ body in and out of schools/hotels day after day. 
Favorite Moment This Week: Morel hunting!  I know, totally unrelated, but Greg and I have been spending time in the woods and have found close to 300 hundred so far, Yum!  Including two HUGE ones pictured below!