Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Pepperoni Deep Dish Pizza

Do you remember school lunches?  Did you have a favorite?  In Jr. High my favorite was potato bar day, with a baked potato, and then a bar filled with cheese, bacon, broccoli, cauliflower, sour cream, chives, and butter.  I had health/gym at the farthest end of the school from the cafeteria and my teacher used to let us out a minute or two early before lunch so we could get to the cafeteria and beat the crowds.

But when I was in Elementary school, the number 1 school lunch was pizza day.  There's something about cafeteria pizza.  I mean, it doesn't even really taste like pizza.  Not the pizza your family would order in for dinner, or the pizza you and your friends would eat at the roller rink.  School pizza was it's very own entity. 

After one bite of this pizza both Thatboy and I declared that it tasted exactly like school pizza.  Which for him, wasn't a great thing.  But for me, it brought back all those memories of sitting around the table with friends, talking about the dumb boys in our class, or the crazy teacher we had.  That feeling of no responsibility.  Who knew there could be so many memories packed into a slice of pizza?

Pepperoni Deep Dish Pizza  (From Cooking Light)
 1 cup warm water
12 oz bread flour
1 pkg dry yeast
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
cooking spray
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 minced garlic cloves
1 can San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 oz pepperoni slices
2 Tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. Pour 3/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached.  
  2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
  3. Add flour to 3/4 cup war water; mix until combined.  Cover and let stand 20 minutes.
  4. Combine 1/4 cup warm water and yeast in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly.
  5. Add yeast mixture, oil, and salt to flour mixture; mix 5 minutes or until a soft dough forms.  Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray.  Cover surface of dough with plastic wrap lightly coated with cooking spray.  Refrigerate 24 hours.
  6. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  7. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  8. Remove dough from refrigerator.  Let stand, covered, 1 hour or until dough comes to room temperature.
  9. Crush tomatoes and add them with the juice, salt, and oregano to the garlic. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
  10. Punch dough down.  Roll dough into a 14x11 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface.  Press dough into the bottom and partially up sides of a 13x9 inch metal baking pan coated with cooking spray. 
  11. Preheat oven to 450.   Arrange 1/2 cup mozzarella over dough.
  12. Top with pizza sauce, pepperoni, parmigiano-reggiano, and 1/2 cup mozzarella.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Cut into 6 rectangles and serve.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 26 weeks

I'm about to enter the third trimester, and (knock on wood) I'm feeling really good!  I'm in that perfect stage of pregnancy where I'm not uncomfortable, I don't have any symptoms, and I've got that constant reassurance of steady kicks and punches in my abdominal region. 

We've pretty much finished Thatkid's room and so now I can start focusing on the baby's room.  Which is fun, because it's just decor since I've got all the furniture already.

Today is the start of my 2 week OB appointments!  That's a big deal.  Up until now it's been once a month.  Transition time!  Which means I should really get on top of the whole childcare situation!

Today is also my GTT test - the test for Gestational Diabetes.  Which always makes me nervous.  I passed with flying colors last time around, but that really means nothing in terms of how I'll do this time.  Wish me luck!

Total weight gain/loss: +15

Next Appointment: This afternoon!
Maternity clothes? I am going on a shopping spree for maternity clothes.  I had to go to court twice this past week.  I can still get away with most of my suit pants with a bella band.  I tried to wear my brown skirt suit and.....let's just say I won't be doing that again.  It was such an awkward fit when the back rose up.  The second court appearance I couldn't find a good top to wear.  The struggle is real y'all.
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: Restless lately.  I miss good sleep, but in truth, it's been years.
Best moment this week: Nothing terribly exciting, just those little moments of sitting on the couch with Thatboy after Thatkid has gone to sleep. 
Movement: Yup.  Now everyone can feel and see it.  Thatboy was uber impressed this weekend with the intensity and frequency.  Plus it's super distracting during work.  And I think the little one had hiccups this week.
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Nothing
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss:Running.  But that's more busy work week related than pregnancy related.
What I am looking forward to: Second trimester this week!
Contractions: Not this week
- Baby's eyes can open!
- Even though we don't know whether Oppobaby is a boy or a girl, his/her reproductive organs are now in place!  If we've got another little boy on our hands, his testes have now descended into the scrotum.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday Runday: Cold Weather Gear

When Thatbrother was a teen, he stuck a bumper sticker on his car that said "Soccer Mom."  Why?  Because every time he looked at it, he would smile and think "I'm not a soccer mom!"  That's kind of how I feel about cold weather running.

Don't get me wrong, it gets cold here - morning runs are in the high 30s, low 40s in the winter.  But I don't kid myself that those temperatures are in any way comparable to conditions other winter runners are used to.

Even still, I do have my favorite winter gear and I'm sharing it with you!

Let's start from the top down.  It's funny, in the summer a hat is a necessity for keeping the sun off your face, in the winter you need a hat to keep all that warmth in.  My personal favorite is my Under Armour Fleece Beanie.

So much better than just a regular beanie because the inside lining is moisture wicking - because even when it's cold outside, you still sweat. 

Moving down we start getting into fleece.  I love my hyper-warm long-sleeve from Nike. 

It's lightweight, super warm, and has the perfect little thumb holes so that my entire arm is covered and it doesn't rise up.

Speaking of thumb holes, gloves are a must.  Fingers get so very cold.  And you need something lightweight.  The Brooks Essential Gloves are perfect for that.

For bottoms, this is not the time to break out capris.  Running tights are the way to go.  Fleece lined being the best for cold weather.  I can't find a link, but Target carries a great C-9 fleece running tight, and rumor has it they're on clearance right now!

Friday, February 27, 2015

But There Are So Many Colors in the Rainbow: Peach Apricot Fruit Leather

We moved into our house in kind of a hurry, we only had one open weekend to get all the furniture moved and everything else happened on weekdays after work.  Which means, it's still a bit of a work in progress.  I wanted to get a handle on finishing up some of the bigger projects before the baby comes, because goodness knows there's going to be a lot less time after. 

My number 1 must do was a "big boy room" for Thatkid.  For a couple of reasons.  The first is that we're using his current furniture for the nursery, so we need to get him into something else if we want a space for the next one to happen.  The second is, with all the attention that's going to be coming to the new arrival, we wanted to take some time to really heap it on him and make him feel special.  Emphasizing the aspect that he's a big boy and gets big boy things.  And of course, he's outgrowing that little bed of his anyway.

So we've begun the process with the first step - painting his room a new color, one of his choosing.  I wanted him to have some input on his room, since it's his space.  And I remember how cool it was when my parents let me pick the paint color of my rooms.  Our before picture shows the muted brown the room started out with.

When we first started looking for a paint color for the nursery, Thatkid kept picking out colors for his room.  All of which were a deep, dark, purple, which I feared would make his room insanely dark.  And a little goth for a 3 year old.  We brainstormed ways to incorporate dark purple into the room without turning it into a dark lair.

But when we actually went to pick out the paint, Thatkid had his eye on a different color:

Behr Curry Powder.  Thatboy and I affectionately call this color "baby poop."  Thatkid calls it "brown and orange" or "my favorite color."  He was so excited about it, that despite Thatboy and my feelings about the color, we bought a couple gallons and got to work.

We spent most of Sunday (and some of Monday night) transforming Thatkid's room:

So the first step has been accomplished, now it's just a matter of the furniture and decor!  I'll post another update when we've got a finished product!

And honestly I can't be too surprised Thatkid is picking orange/brown colors.  One of our favorite snacks right now are homemade fruit roll-ups, which are a similar color.  We all can't get enough of them, even Thatboy, who isn't the hugest fan of dried fruit. But something about these wins everyone over.  I also really like how easy they are to make, since they consists of only dried fruit and sugar.  It's like the work is already done for you!

Peach Apricot Fruit Leather (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
1 lb dried apricots
1/2 lb dried peaches
1/4 cup sugar
  1. Put the apricots and peaches in a food processor.
  2. Sprinkle a large cutting board with sugar.
  3. Pat and roll out the fruit mixture to 1/8 inch thick and cut into 1 1/4 x 2-inch strips.
  4. Roll each strip lengthwise into a tight roll. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dinosaur Train: Ginger Marmalade

Having a toddler means being introduced to all sorts of new television.  A lot of it is terrible.  With repetitive, annoying songs, complete lack of plots, or characters with no redeeming qualities.  One show which Thatkid loves which we have completely encouraged in Dinosaur Train.  It's Jim Henson (so harkens to my childhood of Sesame Street, Muppets, and Fraggles).  The plotline revolves around 3 pteranadon kids and their tyrannosaurus rex brother.  Each episode has them boarding the "Dinosaur Train" - a train which can travel between the Cretaceous, Jurassic, and Triassic period - to meet a different species of dinosaur.  It has introduced us to so many types of dinosaurs we've never even heard of and also covers concepts of nature like earthquakes, droughts, snow, and rain.  And covers topics like not waiting to pee, being afraid of strangers, or jealousy.

When I saw the "Live" version of the show was coming to town, Thatboy and I thought it would be a good first theater experience for Thatkid.  So we got tickets and on Saturday headed to see the show.

I had prepped him that it was going to be a little different than the show, the characters were going to be more like puppets than cartoon characters, but we'd be sitting far enough away where they wouldn't see him (he still flips out when costumed characters look at him or try to interact).

He was pretty excited about the entire thing and kept asking when the dinosaurs were going to come out.  He was a little annoyed by the whole intro where PEOPLE came out to warm up the audience and assign them roles as Therapods, Sauropods, or Hadrosaurs. 

But eventually, the dinosaurs DID come out! 

Just like the television show, the Live show featured a trip on the Dinosaur Train in order for Buddy, the adopted T-Rex to ask a question about what it was like to grow into a giant carnivore. 

And who was Buddy looking for to ask this questions?  Why King Cryolophasaurus obviously.  Thatkid's favorite character.  He was so excited to find out he was going to be in the show.

Luckily the kids found King, who was having his own problems with being shy.  And the kids helped him overcome his fears.

Just in time for a rock concert!  Which had Thatkid out of his seat, dancing and singing along.

Overall I think it was a great introduction to theater for him.  He was able to sit in his seat and enjoy the entire thing without being distracted.  He loved the experience.  And it was nice for me to be able to see him having such a good time.

One of the things covered in the show is what the dinosaurs eat.  There are Carnivores, like Buddy and King, Herbivores (there's even a song about hungry, hungry herbivores - "if it's green it's gooood"), and Omnivores.  Because of this, Thatkid knows he's an omnivore.  He eats everything.  And breakfast is a great time to showcase this when we eat meat, grains, and fruit! 

Marmalade seems especially fitting for a dino-themed day, because it uses all the parts of the orange. There's something very primitive about eating orange peels, don't you agree?  

Ginger Marmalade
3 oranges
1 lemon
1 Tbsp chopped preserved ginger

  1. Peel the oranges and cut the peel into very thin slices.  Cut the orange pulp.
  2. Slice the lemons very tbin and combine all the fruits in a large pot.
  3. Add 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, then let stand overnight in a cool place.
  4. Bring to a boil again and cool rapidly until the peel is tender.  Measure the fruit and liquid.
  5. For each cup of undrained fruit, measure 3/4 cup sugar and add to the fruit, along with the ginger.
  6. Heat until sugar is dissolved and then cook for about 20 minutes or until thick.  Pour into sterilized jars and seal.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Pear and Prosciutto Pizza

That's it.  I'm calling it.  I'm ready for February to be over.  I know, that's rich coming from a spoiled little California girl who hasn't been buried in snow for weeks, but honestly, the past few weeks at work have been a whirlwind nightmare, Sunday night I was trudging out through the rain on a wild goose chase, and I'm dying for some fresh produce.

I always hit a certain point in the winter where I'm dying for fruit.  When that citrus craze that carries me through the previous months rescinds, leaving it its wake the need for something I can really sink my teeth into.  The berries are not quite there and the stonefruit is non-existent.  My search for apricots last weekend left me empty handed.  And the out of season fruit that is available is anemic at best.  So my solution for dealing with the lackluster fruit?  Cook it.  Winter pears may not have the zip and bite of their autumn counterparts, but throw them on a pizza and you'd never know.

Cooking fruit always brings their sweetness to the surface, and the texture issues of out of season fruit seem to melt right into whatever you're cooking them into.  Pear is a great addition to salads, which is what this pizza reminds me of.

Pear and Prosciutto Pizza
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups vertically sliced sweet onion
1 prebaked pizza crust
1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese
1 medium pear, thinly sliced
2 oz prosciutto, cut into thin strips
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted
1 1/2 cups arugula
1 tsp sherry vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 450.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion to pan; cover and cook 3 minutes.  Uncover and cook 10 minutes.
  2. Place pizza crust on baking sheet.  Top with onions and sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Top with pear and prosciutto.
  4. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.  Bake for 12 minutes.  
  5. Sprinkle with nuts.
  6. Place arugula in a medium bowl.  Drizzle vinegar over greens and toss gently.
  7. Top pizza with arugula mixture.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 25 weeks

Traveling when pregnant is a totally different ball game.   For a couple of different reasons.  The first is that it gets more uncomfortable.  Size is only part of the issue.  There's also the constant need to pee.  And round ligament pain. 

The second problem is trying to figure out what to pack when your size is changing.  Or when you're traveling to a place with a vastly different climate.  Do you buy a maternity coat or bathing suit for a weekend trip knowing you won't be wearing it again?

The third problem is trying to navigate a new area when you're not sure how you're going to be feeling or what you're going to want from day to day.

But, like everything with pregnancy, you can rise to the occasion or be mired in doubts.  On our trip last week, this is how I handled it:

#1 - Travel discomfort.  Let's just say I did not handle this as well as I probably could have.  We planned on the red eye.  I am fantastic with red-eyes.  I can (and do) sleep anywhere. The car, airplanes, sitting on the couch for a minute after dinner.... The only problem with this is when you're flying while pregnant, you're supposed to be getting up at regular intervals and walking around, to help prevent DVT.  I figured I'd chance it.  I put on compression socks and planned to sleep.  The second problem arose when Oppo-baby decided to take this "sleep" time as time to play rock-um-sock-um robots with my uterus.  I didn't sleep a wink during the flight because I was so uncomfortable with the beating I was getting from within.

#2 - What to pack.  I always have this problem when I travel while pregnant, I always bring something "just in case" I get bigger than I planned at the time I pack.  This trip had the added complication that I was traveling from California where we don't get snow, to the North East where they sometimes do in February.  I have "cold weather" coats - beautiful wool peacoats, but none of them close over my frontal region any more.  So I invested in a maternity puffer jacket.  I waited forever to buy one because I really didn't want to spend money on something I would only wear once, but I ended up buying it and leaving the tags on, figuring I could return it if I didn't need it.  You guys heard about Winter Storm Neptune?  Let's just say I lasted exactly 12 hours before ripping that tag off.

#3 - Planning for the unplanned.  I packed so many snacks for this trip!  Things that were easy to travel with - granola bars, yogurt covered raisins, fruit...  And I also mapped out all the restaurants around the hotel so I would know where to go if that insane hunger arose.

In general my traveling while pregnant philosophy is "it is better to have and not need, than to need and not have."  After all, the last thing you want when you're pregnant is to be uncomfortable.

Total weight gain/loss: +15

Next Appointment: March 2.
Maternity clothes? I had one of THOSE moments this week where I had to go to court and had nothing to wear.  I decided to go with one of my skirt suits, since most still fit pretty well with a bella band.  This one is now in retirement.  The jacket hit at just the wrong place, making every shirt underneath look sloppy.  The skirt has a kickpleat, and due to the weird rising and pulling based on the way I have to wear it with my stomach it just felt awkward.  What's funny is that despite how not flattering I felt it was, my boss commented that I looked really nice that day. 
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: Sleeping great at night, but having a hard time sleeping in the morning.
Best moment this week: I ordered my very first thing for the nursery!  A crib skirt and valence.
Movement: Yes.  I'm obsessed with watching my stomach move too.  And this week Thatkid got a chance to feel a kick for the first time!  And what kicks - I wouldn't be surprised if I gave birth to a full grown soccer player.  They hurt and take my breath away. 
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Nothing
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss: Sleep!
What I am looking forward to: Finishing up Thatkid's "big boy room" so we can figure out the furniture situation for the nursery.
Contractions: Not this week
- All the nerve cells are now on the surface of the baby's brain!
- First baby items bought!
- Baby can feel vibrations and hear people talking.
- Baby can make coordinated movements with hands and feet, make a fist, grab hold of toes