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Thursday, May 27, 2010


When the clock struck midnight on May 27, 2009, I was laboring in the birthing tub in the hospital room. It felt great. Big T could spray my lower back with hot water every time I had a contraction. I relaxed and melted into the tub. After a while, though, I started to feel lightheaded. Like I had hung out in the hot tub for too long after one margarita too many. And the tub was so big that it was hard for me to find a place to drape my upper body, so I was on my hands and knees most of the time, and I was tired. I had also let them put in a hep-lock. I told them not to put it in my wrist. They put it in my wrist. If I had to do it again, I would decline the hep-lock or ensure that they put it somewhere in the middle of my arm. But I had very little use of that arm since I had a needle in my joint.

So I got out of the tub. I remember Big T saying, "We haven't been up this late in a looooong time." That's when I knew it had to be 1 or 2 AM. It was freezing in the hospital room. I couldn't stop shaking. I got in the bed and laid on my side and they draped heated blankets over me. I was exhausted. So sleepy. I couldn't keep my eyes open. I would sleep in between contractions. When the contractions came, I would moan, "Fuuuuuuuuccckkk, Paaaaamm....." And then I would drift back into sleep. Big T and Pamela looked very tired in their chairs. But they gave me the encouragement I needed when I needed it.

Pamela checked me around 3AM, and I was 9.5 cm dilated. I asked her to break my water, hoping this would move things along. After that, I still didn't feel the urge to push. I tried, but I was so exhausted and I wasn't really pushing very hard. I think I was partly afraid to push. I was in more pain now. I puked a couple of times. I was sweating but freezing cold. I felt out of my element. It wasn't just about the pain. I felt so strange. Like I was about to drift over the edge to utopia, but something was holding me back. I was antsy and nauseous and crawling out of my skin. I was exhausted but couldn't sleep. I had to pee but couldn't pee. I couldn't quite control my body, yet I wasn't quite out of control.

The nurse kept wanting me to get in the lithotomy position. I adamantly refused. I was not going to do this on my back. But I was exhausted. I tried sitting up and squatting, but I still didn't feel like I had to push. The nurse kept suggesting I lay on my back with my legs in the stirrups. I didn't want to, but finally I agreed, and it actually helped me. She would push back on my legs, and I would push and it was much easier for me that way. I did switch positions a couple of times... Pamela would have me sit up and squat and get on all fours and sit on the toilet. But my contractions never picked up. The nurse kept telling Pamela my station, and it stayed the same. The nurse and Pamela told me I was making progress, but I didn't believe them. The baby wasn't getting any lower.

I never felt like my body had to push, the way some women describe labor. In fact, it took everything I had to make myself push. I didn't feel like vocalizing. Every class I had taken and book I had read talked about vocalizing and opening your mouth and the vibrations would help your cervix open. But I never felt like making any noise. I wanted everything to be quiet. I applaud Big T and Pamela for being there for me the whole time. They gave me water and ice when I asked for it, and gave me encouragement when I needed it, and most importantly of all, were quiet when I needed them to be. They mimicked my energy, and it was perfect.

At some point, Pamela wanted to administer pitocin, but I was too scared of the strong contractions that would follow, especially since I hadn't had any pain medication. So we kept trying to push for another hour, and nothing. In fact, my contractions were so weak, that they hooked me up to a monitor so they could see when I was having a contraction, and I would have to ask so I would know when to push. They gave me some IV fluids to give me more energy, and then I agreed to some pitocin, which they only administered a little bit, and very very gradually. It worked. My contractions picked up to every 2 mins instead of every 5 mins, and this really got the baby moving lower. At some point in the morning, the midwives switched shifts, and Suzanne took over for Pamela. It hugged Pamela as she gave me her sweet smile and wished me the best.
I started pushing... really pushing. In between pushes and contractions, I discussed the ring of fire with Suzanne. Could they numb me topically before the baby crowned? They could, but it could make the baby's face numb. I didn't want that. Then another contraction would come and I would yell out. Finally, one last push and out he came! I screamed at the top of my lungs as I pushed him out. Poor Tieren. Came into the world in the midst of his loud screaming mama instead of calmness. But I couldn't help it. It helped me push him out without stopping. And honestly, there was no ring of fire. It hurt, yes. But I couldn't even tell when he was fully out. I don't think lanocaine would have done a thing. As he came out, Suzanne was trying to get my attention through my yells: "Hey Gaby... GABY!!... GABY!!!" And then I stopped yelling and said "What?" And Suzanne said, "Here's your baby!" and put him on my chest. It was amazing. He looked amazing, smelled amazing. It was surreal. He latched on and suckled 3 times for a few minutes each time, and he just cuddled up on my chest.
He was still pretty gray though, and wasn't pinking up, and he had a lot of mucus in his airways and mouth and nose, so they took him to the bassinet in the room to work on him. I could still see him. He ended up being fine. I loved him. I loved Big T. I loved my midwives. I loved everyone right about then. I had never felt so amazing before. I had never felt so much love.

Big T snapped the first picture of Tieren with his cell phone. And it turns out he is definitely my child. Like mother, like son.

Baby T, you are amazing. You are my luvaluv. My love of all time. I tell you this every day. And I will keep telling you this. I will tell you this in front of your baseball team. I will tell you this in front of your friends when they come over for pizza. I will tell you this in front of your first girlfriend. You'll give me your shy smile and look all embarrassed, but I know you love it. Happy Birthday. I love you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


On Tuesday, May 26, 2009, I woke up feeling like I had the previous Friday. It felt funny to sit down, and I was a bit crampy. I got up, grabbed my exercise ball, and went to work. I should have just stayed home. First of all, everyone was asking me, "Why are you here?" Um, because I didn't have my baby yet. Wasn't it obvious? I worked, bouncing on my exercise ball, and fielded questions.

Meanwhile, back at the homestead, Big T was fielding a situation of his own. It turns out that Sully's bite was infected. So Big T took him to the vet, where he got a shot of antibiotics and a drain put in. Unfortunately, he could reach the drain even with his conehead on, and Big T had to go to work. So I agreed to come home. I had a phone and computer there for work, so I could just answer calls from home. I left work around 11AM.

It was a slow day. Molasses. I sat in my home office answering emails. The phone hardly rang. Sully hung out with me. We watched soaps with me laying on my side on the bed because I was feeling crampy. I was starving. I must have had 3 bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch that day. But even though I was starving, I was also having some stomach issues. Basically, my stomach was emptying itself. But it wasn't just like I was sick to my stomach. It felt like all of the bones in my pelvis were opening up and my insides were coming out because there were no bones to hold myself together anymore. It was the strangest feeling.

So in and out I went to the bathroom. I lost my mucus plug. Now THIS was exciting. I was really hoping this was going to be the day, but I wasn't getting my hopes up. Until now. But the crampy feelings I was having still didn't feel like contractions. Everyone described contractions as an intense feeling. A pulling from the inside. A tightening of your body. Nope, this just felt like really mild cramps. But they kept happening.

I was bored. I figured I would check out, a website I had read about where you can easily track your contractions. I wanted to be ready when the time came. I watched Days of Our Lives and The Doctors, pressing S on my keyboard every time I felt a cramp start or stop.

I was glad I was able to be resting in the quiet of my own home. I would not have wanted to be driving with these crampy feelings. Or sitting in my cube answering inane questions. It makes sense that it all came down to the fact that I had to take care of the dog. Baby T is named after a dog. He has a dog's soul. But that's a story for another time.

By the time Big T got home from work, my "cramps" were 5-7 minutes apart and had been going on since 2:45 PM. He wanted to go talk to the neighbor whose dog bit ours to ask if she would pay the vet bill. I offered to go with him, but let him know that I might be in some pain. He didn't want my water breaking in her entryway. So he went by himself. I also asked him to stop at the store and pick up some bagels, because I was still starving.

While he was gone, I had cleared out the living room and laid down a blanket for Sully. I was sitting at the coffee table, organizing the playlist I wanted to upload to my mp3 player to bring to the hospital with me. When one of my "cramps" came on, I would close my eyes and melt into the song. Some songs I immediately rejected. And some felt really good to listen to. I rocked on the exercise ball some more and enjoyed the quiet and my music.

By the time Big T got home from the store, I had lost my appetite. I asked him to make me a bagel with butter, but I couldn't take a bite. I was now on all fours with my arms draped over the exercise ball, rocking and rocking. It felt good. It didn't feel comfortable to sit down. Big T poured himself a Captain and Coke, and I asked him to make sure he only drank one of them tonight. I wasn't sure what was going to happen. I called Pamela, my midwife, to let her know that there was still a lot of time left, but I felt like something was happening. She said she better take a shower just in case. But Big T and I really thought this was probably just another false alarm like the previous Friday had been. He tried to take a picture of me on the exercise ball. I yelled at him. He was watching reruns of Two and a Half Men on TV. I usually think this show is hilarious. But when the laugh track went off, I said, "Mute it." I was surprised at how weak my voice sounded. Big T didn't hear me. "What?"

"Mute it!"

Whoa. What was happening here? I couldn't eat, and I didn't want to watch one of my favorite shows? This is about the time that I realized I might really be in labor. This really might be it.

Around 8, I had to pee. When I went to the bathroom, I felt a rush of pressure. I felt like the baby was going to fall out of me. This made me nervous. Actually, it really freaked me out. I came out of the bathroom and told Big T we had to go the hospital now. This was coming from the person who really wanted to labor at home as much as possible.

If I had had a doula, someone who could coach me through what was going on and reassure me that all was normal, I would have been able to stay home and labor for longer. But as it was, I had no idea what this was all supposed to feel like and I didn't want to have the baby in my toilet. I waited on my hands and knees while Big T packed the car. Mind you, I was in the middle of the narrow hallway that connects the front door with the rest of the house. Big T had to climb over me with every trip out to the car.

The worst part was trying to figure out how I was going to sit in the car. I couldn't sit on my butt, I was only comfortable on my hands and knees. I tried to kneel on the floor and lean forward on the seat but there wasn't enough room for my giant belly. I ended up on all fours on the backseat with my head on our duffel bag and pillow. It wasn't bad--just a bit bumpy--and we got to the hospital pretty quickly.

As soon as we pulled up to the hospital entrance, I jumped out of the car and had a contraction. Which still felt like cramps, but they were much more intense. With every contraction, I had to fall down onto my exercise ball. I felt much better on my hands and knees than standing upright. I was hugging the exercise ball next to the car, and I remember some other people driving up and looking at me funny. Sorry, ladies. I'm in labor. Into the hospital we went. We had no recollection of our hospital tour, and took the elevator to the wrong floor. By the time we got to the labor and delivery floor, I was having another contraction. I dropped onto the exercise ball outside the elevator while Big T went to the nurse's station to prepare them for me.

I made it to the nurse's station a few minutes later and was greeted by a not-so-nice nurse who shoved some paperwork at me. I had to keep dropping to the exercise ball while filling it out. I think she thought I was being dramatic. As we were following her to triage, she asked me, "So why are you here?"

Are you serious?

"Uh, I think I"m in labor."

"Mmm-hmm..." she responded with pursed lips. "When is your due date?"


She brought me into triage and shoved a gown at me. I told her I didn't want to put it on just yet. She muttered something about having the nurse deal with me. A nurse came in and began to take vitals, and Pamela arrived a few minutes later. My biggest fear was that I wasn't going to be dilated at all. That I was just a big wuss, sitting in triage with a closed up cervix and some braxton hicks. But when Pamela checked me I was 5 cm dilated. I breathed a sigh of relief and was admitted. be continued...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


May 25, 2009 was Memorial Day. I had the day off. Big T was working and I had planned to get a lot done around the house. I was nesting. It was a beautiful day, and I woke up and did some laundry. Some time after lunch, I took Sully, our yellow lab, out for our daily shuffle.

We had made it halfway around the neighborhood when a neighbor's dog, who wasn't on a leash, bolted out from their yard, heading straight for us. I froze. The dog attacked Sully, and I held tight to his leash. The dogs circled my legs, Sully whining and trying to get away, and the other dog chomping at the bit. All I remember was screaming something over and over again. Something like, "Get off! Get off!" I became tangled in the leash, and in an attempt to keep the other dog away from mine, I fell to the ground.

It seemed like the owner of the dog was moving in slow motion. She stood in her yard calling for her dog, and the dog continued to attack Sully. Finally, I shreiked, "Come and get your dog!!" And she came over, grabbed her dog, I got up off of the floor, she apologized (barely) and I stood there, shaking.

"Ok, let's go home," I told Sully. As I began to shuffle away, something felt funny. I felt like someone had loosened all the joints in my pelvis. It didn't help that my heart was jumping around in my throat, I was still shaking, and there was a heavy, crampy nausea in my stomach. I couldn't take a regular stride. I could barely put one foot in front of the other. Slowly but surely, Sully and I plodded back home.

When we got home, I noticed that Sully had been bitten several times by the other dog. I forgot all about my pain and scrambled around the house, collecting supplies. I cut his hair so I could see the wounds, and cleaned them out with peroxide and gauze.

Then I threw myself on the couch. And all my plans for the rest of the day went out the window. I just...didn't feel right...

Monday, May 24, 2010


When I woke up on May 23 of last year, I felt fine. I did not feel 40 weeks pregnant. I had no pains, no twinges, no crampiness. Nothing. I had left work the day before excited that I might be getting my 2 months off and I might not have to go in on Tuesday. (It was Memorial Day Weekend, so I had Monday off.) But this morning, I was thinking, "no such luck." I felt great. I was a little disappointed. My due date was May 25, and I wasn't feeling a thing. Back to square one. It was hard not to be anxious about it. But I knew my body would do what was necessary when it was ready.
I did a lot of walking that weekend. Shuffling was more like it. It was a beautiful weekend, and I felt great.

To keep you all busy waiting to hear the rest of my birth story, I will entertain you with some pictures of Baby T's little birthday celebration we had today.
Baby T loved his bubble maker.
And the little boat filled with animals.

Everybody was oohing and aahing over this gift.

Baby T was very excited about his Vermont Teddy Bear.

Whoa. What is that and why is everyone singing?

Oh, they're singing for me?
Cool! You blew it out!
Mmm.... my first cupcake is delicious. Even if it has no sugar.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


On May 22 of last year, I woke up feeling a little uncomfortable. For some reason, it was really uncomfortable to sit down. It was three days before my due date, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. I had never had any Braxton Hicks contractions or really any discomfort yet during my pregnancy. (Not counting my feet, which had swelled to the size of Big T's. Believe me, that was NOT comfortable). But this morning, I felt a little crampy. And maybe a little pressure. I had a wave of excitement pulse through me. I was getting close.

But not close enough. I showered, got dressed for work, packed the exercise ball in the car, and left for work. Since it was uncomfortable to sit on a hard chair, I sat on my exercise ball at my desk all day. Got some weird looks, had people asking some strange questions--like when I was going to get my membranes stripped--um, yeah. Not something I was going to discuss with my male coworkers, and not something I was planning on having done. I was going to let this happen on its own.

I left for work that day with a lot of well wishes: "Have a great maternity leave! Good luck! I hope your labor goes well!" I was so excited. This was really happening.

Friday, May 21, 2010


So I've been a bit of a slacker. No Veggie Christmas post for Week 6. I guess I wasn't that creative, although I did use all my veggies except for the swiss chard. We got kohlrabi last week, which was a nice surprise. I love using veggies I've never tried before.

Kohlrabi has been described as tasting like broccoli stems, but I thought it was even milder. It almost tasted like potato. I ended up making Kohlrabi, Corn, and Cheese Empanadas with it, and Banana and Chocolate Empanadas for dessert. Amazing.

This week's box contained:
Green leaf lettuce
Purple Scallions
Bunch dill

I'm excited because there is much more variety this week. I was getting a smidge tired of getting creative with greens. Although I have pretty much started chopping, sauteeing and adding greens to everything I make. It's a great way to add nutritional value, and they taste so mild that you really don't even notice they're there.

This week's menu:

Wednesday: Dollar tacos at K-38 Baja Grill
Thursday: Risotto with Squash, Scallions and Radish Greens (* I realized risotto is a great thing to make when you're not sure what to do with your veggies. You can add anything to it!)
Friday: Dinner at Mom-Mom's (*I had so much dill and so many scallions that I sent some over to her house).
Saturday: BBQ Chicken, Broccoli Casserole with Squash
Sunday: Grilled sausage and pepper sandwiches, Potato and Turnip Pesto Salad
Monday: Rick Bayless' Tacos with Garlicky Mexican Greens and Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa
Tuesday: Chicken Korma, Barbecued Kale Marinated in Coconut Milk


Below are the recipes I'm making from the items in my CSA box this week:

Risotto with Squash, Scallions and Radish Greens
*uses squash and scallions from the CSA box and homegrown radish greens
I had been making stir-fry as my go-to dish when I had a bunch of veggies and didn't know what to do with them. But then I remembered I could also make risotto! I'm sure an Italian would tell you there's a science to risotto. Well, not the way I make it. First of all, I use whatever rice I have on hand. You can use arborio rice, but I used regular white medium grain rice last night. Sometimes I add wine, but I didn't have any last night, so I just winged it. And I didn't really measure out my broth. I make chicken stock every time I cook a whole chicken, and freeze it in ice cube trays and then put the cubes in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Sixteen cubes=approximately 2 cups of liquid.

2 cups uncooked rice
approximately 8 cups chicken (or veggie) stock
1/2-1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced (although it could have used more)
whatever other veggies you want. I diced squash, and chopped scallions and radish greens and sauteed them separately until the squash was brown and the greens were very wilted.
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat a generous amount of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and saute for one more minute. Add rice and saute until rice is coated in oil.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, heat your stock. Begin to add a few ladlefuls of stock to the rice. Keeping the rice on low/medium heat, stir quite often. Once the rice has soaked up most of the liquid, add another few ladlefuls. Continue to add liquid and cook, stirring frequently, in batches. When the rice begins to look like it is fully cooked, taste it. Once it is cooked to your liking, you're finished! Add the additional veggies, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

This makes a massive amount of risotto. (Approximately 8-10 servings). You could certainly cut down the amount of rice you use if you don't want as many leftovers.

Broccoli Casserole with Squash
*uses broccoli and squash from CSA box

This isn't the healthiest recipe, but it's delicious. The Kraft version of this recipe uses velveeta cheese, and although that is the recipe Big T's mom makes, and it's delicious, I can't bring myself to use velveeta. So I'm using regular cheddar.

1 head broccoli, chopped
15 Ritz crackers, crushed, divided
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 TBSP butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blanch broccoli for 3 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Remove and drain. Mix with shredded cheese and 3/4 of the crushed Ritz crackers. Pour into casserole dish. Mix butter with remaining Ritz crackers and sprinkle on top. Bake for 35 minutes or until heated through.

Potato and Turnip Pesto Salad
*uses turnips from my CSA Box

3 large turnips, peeled and halved (wash save the greens to use in the pesto)
5 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup basil leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

You will need to boil the potatoes and turnips in 2 separate batches. To boil, place potatoes and/or turnips in a large pot and cover with cold water. Heat and boil until fork tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Do the same with your next batch (potatoes or turnips--whichever one is remaining).

Once cool, dice the potatoes and turnips uniformly and place in a large bowl.

In a food processor or blender, add basil leaves, turnip greens and garlic. Process until basil is finely chopped. Add olive oil in a steady stream and pulse until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste, and pulse. When the pesto is seasoned to your liking, pour over potatoes and turnips and toss to coat. Refrigerate and serve cold, or serve at room temperature.

Tacos with Garlicky Mexican Greens and Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa
*Uses swiss chard and tomatoes from CSA box and cilantro from my garden
I am basing this on this Rick Bayless' recipe.

• 8 to 10 flour tortillas
• 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for blanching
• 6 cups loosely packed sliced green or red chard leaves (one 12-ounce bunch)
• 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
• 1 medium white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
• 1/4 cup finely crumbled Mexican queso fresco; queso anejo; dry feta; pressed, salted farmer's cheese; or Parmesan cheese
• 3/4 cup Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa (see recipe below)
• Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Prepare the filling: bring 3 quarts salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add greens, and cook until barely tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain in a colander, and spread out on a large plate or baking sheet to cool. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, stir for 1 minute, then add greens, and stir for about 1 minute, just long enough to heat them through. Season with salt.

Prepare the tacos: Warm your flour tortillas however you wish (I do it either wrapped in tin foil in the oven or covered with a wet paper towel in the microwave. Scoop the filling into a deep, warm serving dish, and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with the warm tortillas, salsa, and cilantro sprigs.

Roasted Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa
*Adapted from Rick Bayless' tomatillo salsa recipe

• 3 to 6 canned chiles chipotles en adobo
• 3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
• 2 large tomatoes, halved
• 4 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
• 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
• 1/4 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Remove chiles from the adobo sauce in which they are packed.
On a heavy ungreased skillet or griddle over medium heat, roast the unpeeled garlic, turning occasionally, until blackened in spots and soft, about 15 minutes. Cool, slip off the papery skins, and roughly chop.

Preheat broiler with rack about 4 inches above. Lay tomatillos and halved tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet, and place under broiler. When the tomatillos blister, blacken, and soften on one side, about 5 minutes, turn them over and roast on the other side. Remove tomatoes after 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool completely on the baking sheet.

Scrape tomatillos, tomatoes (and any juices that have accumulated around them) into a molcajete, food processor, or blender, and add the chiles and the garlic. Combine until everything is thick and relatively smooth (detectable little bits will add textural interest). For a chunkier alternative, combine tomatillos with their juices and the garlic only until everything is coarsely pureed; chop the rehydrated or canned chiles into tiny bits, then stir them into the tomatillo mixture. Transfer salsa to a serving bowl, and add enough water to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency, 3 to 4 tablespoons. Season with salt, and add sugar if you want to soften the flavor a bit.

Chicken Korma
2 chicken legs and thighs (I buy whole chickens so I will cut these off and use them for the dish)
1.5 c chicken broth
.5 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/4 c dates, chopped
1/8 c dried apricots, chopped
1 T apricot jam
1 T lemon juice
1 t grated ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin

Brown chicken in olive oil then remove to plate. Add spices including ginger to pan to lightly toast (watch carfully, do not burn). Add onion and garlic and let saute until translucent. Add dates, apricots and reserved chicken to pan then pour all of the chicken broth over and stir. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer 40 min. Just before serving add lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Serve with rice or couscous.

Barbecued Kale Marinated in Coconut Milk
*uses kale from CSA box
from this recipe

1 bunch kale
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
pinch red pepper flakes
juice of one lime
3 garlic cloves, crushed

Clean kale, discard stems and cut into 6 inch strips. Slowly heat up coconut milk while slowly stirring until it is just warm and thoroughly mixed. Transfer to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Marinate kale, covered, in refrigeration, for at least 4 hours. Remove kale marinade from fridge to grill, pat dry. Using tongs, place strips of kale on the grill for 30-45 seconds on each side. (You can reserve marinade liquid to use as fish sauce for another meal). Serve immediately.

Kohlrabi, Corn, and Cheese Empanadas
1 package Goya empanada wrappers
1/2 package frozen corn (approximately 1.5 cups)
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 kohlrabi bulb, peeled and diced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 TBSP olive oil
1 egg

Filling: Heat olive oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet. Add onion and cook until soft. Add garlic, cook one minute. Add kohlrabi and cook until soft, approximately 10 minutes. Add frozen corn and cook until heated through. Add cheese and cook, stirring, until melted.

Spoon approximately 1/3 cup of filling into empanada wrappers. (I roll mine out with a rolling pin so they are slightly larger and more flexible before filling). You can also use pie crust, cut to rounds approximately 6" in diameter. Dip finger into a bowl of clean water and wet edge of empanada. Fold over onto itself, enveloping filling. Crimp edges with fork or fold edges over onto themselves to seal.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and lay empanadas on sheet. Beat egg with fork and add a splash of water. Beat again with fork. This will be your glaze. Dip a basting brush into glaze and lightly glaze each empanada. Cook at 425 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until wrappers are golden brown.

Let cool a bit before eating. Filling will be VERY HOT.

I ended up having 3 wrappers left over, so I made some dessert empanadas:

Banana and Chocolate Empanadas
*you can adjust amounts to suit your needs.

3 empanada wrappers
2 bananas
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup brown sugar
cinnamon and sugar mixed together to dust tops of empanadas

Slice bananas. Put equal amounts bananas, chocolate chips, and brown sugar in the center of your empanada wrappers. Wet edges of wrappers and fold onto themselves to make little pockets. Crimp edges with fork or fold over itself to seal. Dust with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Baste with egg and water mixture. Bake in 425 degree oven for 7-10 minutes or until wrappers are golden brown.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

My first mother's day with Baby T outside of my belly was perfect. It was a beautiful spring day and we spent it outside.

We woke up and played in the garden. Baby T is quite a helper.

Big T worked on a potting bench that he made for me for mother's day. He had been working on it in the garage all week and keeping it a suprise.

It even has a gutter and downspout to direct rainwater into my watering can!
Here are my boys:


We went to the pool after Baby T's 3 hour nap. That was a great mother's day present, Baby T.

 That's pretty much it. Baby T played outside some more with his "car":

And today I have to go to work. I'm going to miss my boys. I had the best mother's day ever.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Shrimp Pasta with Dill and Scallions

1 bag frozen shrimp
1 box angel hair pasta
1 bunch dill
1 bunch scallions
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot
1 lemon
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP olive oil
red pepper flakes

Finely chop shallot, garlic, scallions and dill. Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat and sautee previous mixture until fragrant. Add shrimp and cook until pink and opaque. Boil pasta and drain. Add pasta to pot with veggies and shrimp and toss. Add juice of one lemon, salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

Collards Stuffed with Red Beans and Rice
Adapted from this recipe at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

1 cup cooked brown rice (I'm using brown basmati)

1 1/2 cup small red beans, cooked
1 large onion, finely diced
1 green or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/2 – 1 tablespoon Tabasco, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
salt to taste
12 leaves collard greens


You will need cooked rice and red beans, so before you do anything else, make sure you have those prepared.Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray or wipe it with olive oil, if you like. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring regularly, until it begins to brown. Add the green pepper and celery and cook, adding a little water if it starts to dry out, until the vegetables are tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Remove 3/4 of a cup of the vegetables from the skillet and mix them in a bowl with the fire-roasted tomatoes and a little salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

To the skillet, add the rice, red beans, the seasonings, and 1/4 cup of bean-cooking liquid or vegetable broth. Reduce heat to very low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly and adding additional liquid if it starts to dry out. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Wash the collard leaves and cut off the stems level with the bottom of the leaves. Turn them with the coarse stem-side of the leaf up, and holding a very sharp knife parallel to the leaf, trim off part of the thickened central rib. Be careful not to cut through the leaves. If leaves are very large, you can just cut out the thickest part of the central rib.

In two batches of 6, place the collard leaves into the boiling water, pressing them down gently to make sure all leaves are submerged. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse in cool water. Repeat with remaining leaves.

Preheat oven to 350F.

To assemble, spoon half of the tomato mixture into the bottom of a long, oiled casserole dish. Place a collard leaf in front of you, trimmed side up and stem closest to you. Place about 2-3 tablespoons of the rice mixture (2 for small leaves, 3 for larger) about a quarter of the way from the bottom.

Fold the side edges over the middle. Fold the bottom (stem end) over the filling, tucking it in behind the filling. Roll up tightly, and place each roll into the casserole dish. Spoon the remaining tomato mixture over the rolls, and cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve hot.

Pasta with Arugula and Goat Cheese Sauce
adapted from this recipe

a bunch of fresh arugula
4 sprigs fresh parsley
1 8 ounce container low-fat yogurt or sour cream
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
S and P to taste
1 pound fusilli noodles (or whatever you have on hand)
Grated parmesan cheese, as garnish

1. Before preparing sauce, fill a large casserole with water, and bring the water to a boil.
2 Wash and clean well the arugula and parsley. Dry thoroughly. Trim and chop both the arugula and the parsley.
3. Place the arugula and the parsley in a food processor. Add the yogurt or sour cream, goat cheese, salt, and pepper. Blend the ingredients thoroughly. Keep the sauce at room temperature until ready to use.
4. Add a pinch of salt to the boiling water, and cook the fusilli noodles following the instructions on the package. When the noodles are cooked, drain them, and place them in four serving dishes. Pour the sauce evenly over the top of each serving and add some cheese to each dish. Serve immediately.

Lemon Quinoa Salad with Arugula, Scallions and Dill
adapted from this recipe

2 1/4 cups water
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch arugula, leaves washed thoroughly, spun dry, and shredded fine (about 2 cups)
3 large scallions, sliced thin
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill, or to taste

Cook quinoa according to directions. Stir in lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper to taste and cool quinoa completely. Stir in arugula, scallions, and dill and chill for 2 hours or overnight. *I ended up making a "dressing" for this using this Caesar Vinaigrette Recipe and it was delicious.


I am a little uninspired this week. It's nice out, I'm spending time in my garden, and I'm a little busy making wool soakers. Baby T has decided that 5:45AM is a much more appropriate wakeup time for an almost-1-year-old, and he's also a fan of waking up several times during the night and screaming his head off. So I've been tired in the evenings.

In this week's box, we got:
Sugar snap pea, edible podded
Butterhead lettuce

Here's my menu for the week:

Wednesday: Didn't go to K-38 for dollar tacos tonight because it was cinco de mayo. We got Moe's takeout instead. Mmmm... gigantic burritos. Baby T liked them, too.

Thursday: Shrimp pasta with dill and scallions

Friday: Dinner at Mom-Mom's and Pop-Pop's

Saturday: Collards stuffed with red beans and rice (adding ground beef for Big T).

Sunday: Brunch and dinner at Mom-Mom's and Pop-Pop's

Monday: Lemon quinoa salad with arugula scallions and dill, grilled salmon

Tuesday: Pasta with arugula and goat cheese sauce

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


So you can REALLY Decide

This post is going to be long. Because I really have something to say. (As opposed to all the other times that I just want to say something). Redbook recently published an article called "Breastfeeding Facts: You Decide," seemingly illustrating the pros and cons of breastfeeding. Posing the issue of breastfeeding as one that society supports, but sometimes your body doesn't. Therefore, which side do you take: that of society, or that of your body? This article might as well have been called "Even Though Your Peers Will Pressure You to Think It's Cool to Breastfeed, Think Again--It Can Actually Suck."


I understand the desire to educate women about all aspects of breastfeeding--the benefits, the challenges--and it's important that women who do encounter challenges and who ultimately decide that not breastfeeding is the best choice for their families not be made to feel guilty about their decision.


Posing the question as society vs. your body is misinformed, misdirected, and a mistake.

Breastfeeding is not a trend. It is not like getting the new, hip, off-roading, 4-season stroller and showing it off to your friends to ooh and aah over. It's not an issue that people should be "divided over" as the article puts it. Breastfeeding is:
  1. What women's bodies were made to do. During pregnancy and beyond, our bodies are filled with hormones that fill us with a life force that adapts and changes to our babies' nutritional needs.
  2. How babies are supposed to get their nutrition. It is recommended by the World Health Organization as the exclusive source of nutrition for a baby up to 6 months of age, and recommended along with complementary foods up to age 2 and beyond.
It's a fact. Breastmilk is the best source of nourishment for a baby. Yes, there are other options. No, not everyone can breastfeed. And women should not be made to feel that their children will suffer a long life of malnutrition and obesity if they cannot breastfeed. But why is it constantly posed as an issue up for debate? It's like writing an article about water. Health experts recommend that you drink 6-8 glasses of water a day. We don't debate this. It is not a devisive issue. People who don't drink 6-8 glasses of water are not shunned. Nor do they write articles lashing out at those who do drink the recommended amount of water. Well, health experts recommend that you breastfeed your child. If you decide not to, that's up to you. But it shouldn't be a constant source of debate that divides women into two camps.

The Redbook article actually offends me (as does the article linked to in the first sentence, whose metatags show up as "Stop Breastfeeding" in my browser--but don't even get me started on that one. Although please know that this blog post is also highly impacted by that article as well.) This article is not only posed in a ridiculous manner, it is written with an outwardly negative slant, using strong language that honestly feels a little like a slap in the face:

"It keeps mom hostage"
Seriously? I went out every day during my maternity leave. I knew I didn't need access to bottles or water or a refrigerator, so I felt free to visit friends, go to the park or go out to lunch. I knew that when Baby T was hungry, I could simply put him to the breast no matter where I was. At 2 months old, Baby T got fussy when we were waiting for a table at a restaurant. I put him in my ring sling, latched him onto my breast, and when our names were called, I walked through the restaurant. Baby T was still eating, no one had any idea, and I was seated at my table. At 3 months old, I participated in a protest in the middle of the summer heat, Baby T nursing away in the sling. Not only did I NOT feel like a hostage, I felt like I had freedom to meet with friends, where I had that mama support that I desperately needed during Baby T's first few months, when he was fussy and colicky and I wasn't sure what was normal. Being out with women who understood kept me from getting the blues and helped me realize that everyone goes through the roller coaster that is having a newborn. On the other hand, when I have a nonstop, stressful day at work, I know that I can come home, put up my feet, and take a breather while Baby T and I bond and relax.

"It derails your workday"
Derails? As in a train off the track, laying on its side, passengers flung about? That sounds to me like "There is no possible way you could get any work done if you are a breastfeeding mother. You might as well realize that you just shouldn't go back to work, or else just go to formula so you can get some work done." Yes, I am having to pump 3 times a day during my first year back to work. Some days I could get away with twice a day, and now I'm trying to wean off of the pump entirely. I have a computer and a phone in my pumping room, and answer customer service calls and emails while I pump. But it is also a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the office and close my eyes for a second and relax. Please find me a new mom who is back to work, running on 2 hours of sleep, and tells you that she doesn't appreciate 3 breaks scheduled into her workday.

"Mom must watch what she eats and drinks"
Oh the horror. Guess what, moms? Now you're responsible for a life other than yourself. You can't just do what you want whenever you want. You can't just go out and pound 6 beers with the girls anymore. If you want to stay up late, lay off the 5 Red Bulls. No more Ambien to help you get to sleep every night, chased by the 3 cups of coffee you're used to in the morning. Guess what? As a mother, I have responsibilities to my child whether or not I'm breastfeeding. I'm not going to go out and pound 6 beers with the girls, because I need to come home and take care of my child. I don't want to take sleeping pills because I need to be able to be wakened when he cries in the night. Your life changes when you have a child. You don't act the way you did in college anymore, when you ate, drank, and did whatever you wanted. This happens whether you're breastfeeding or not.

"It's no magic weight-loss solution"
This is a con? Guess what, ladies? Walking is no magic weight loss solution either. So even though it's good for your heart and gets you up off the couch, there are a lot of other factors that go into determining whether it will actually make you lose weight. So think long and hard before you make that decision to get up and go for a walk.

"It lowers libido"
Gasp. You know what? Since I was 22, my libido has gone up and down. Being on birth control for 12 years didn't help. Coming home after a long day of work, sometimes sex was the last thing on my mind. And after having a baby, I can tell you that the fear of my 2nd degree tear didn't do wonders for my libido. Neither did Baby T's every-20-minute wakeups after 3AM. But some days, for no reason at all, my libido is on high alert. (I'm not really going to elaborate here since both my parents and Big T's read this blog...) But my point is, that there are so many factors affecting a woman's libido throughout her life. Can this really be used as a make it or break it factor in deciding whether to breastfeed?

"It can be extremely painful"
Back to the libido thing, so can sex after childbirth (be painful). For a very. long. time. But things heal, you take it day by day, and you get over it.  I am sure that there are women who never have sex again after having a baby, but I am also assuming that that number is very, very, very small. Yet, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 70% of new mothers initiate breastfeeding, 36% are breastfeeding at 6 months, 17% are breastfeeding at 12 months. If only 17% of women ended up continuing to have sex 12 months post partum, because it hurt too much, I can guarantee you that the divorce rate in this country would be sky high.

There can be challenges that come with breastfeeding. Just as there are challenges inherent in parenting. Just as there are challenges inherent in life. It's part of living and learning. Why do we have to be so judgemental in our debates? Why is the subject of breastfeeding so often framed as an opposition? As women, we shouldn't take sides on this issue. We should support the decisions made by educated mothers in preserving the health and happiness of their babies and families. This should include education and support from other mothers to get through the challenges of breastfeeding. Let's try to raise the breastfeeding rates in our country. Let's try to help each other get through it instead of framing it as an "us and them" scenario to lure people to our side. If there are no sides to take and no name-calling and ridicule, just healthy support and discussion, maybe more women would breastfeed. But if the challenges are too great for some women, let's embrace them and empathize with them instead of judging and criticizing. And then--because women need the support of other women to live and learn--maybe we can feel like one community of moms helping each other instead of two camps lashing out at each other.

Redbook, I'm honestly ashamed for you. And embarrassed that as a magazine for women, you are helping to create a divide between them instead of creating a global support system that is so important.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Dispelling the Myths About Wool

As I was finishing up a wool soaker a few days ago, Big T was sitting across the table from me and we were chatting. "Isn't it too hot to wear wool?" he asked. I explained no, that actually wool helps you regulate your body temperature and keeps you cooler in summer. Big T grabbed the soaker and put it on his head like a hat. "I have to say, it feels pretty hot. I would not go out with this on my head in this weather."

I thought about that for a second. He was right; people normally don't wear wool hats in summer. "But imagine wearing a plastic hat on your head. Wouldn't that be hotter?" He agreed. Wearing a cotton hat covered by a thick shower cap would definitely retain heat. And then putting clothing over that would get really hot in the summer.

Then he asked "What about disposables? Wouldn't those be more breatheable?" I'm not actually sure, but I don't think so. The chemicals and synthetics that make up a disposable diaper don't seem to be very breatheable to me. If they were, they would leak.

To which he replied, "Yup, I guess if you have all that stuff on your a$$ you're going to be kind of hot no matter what, so I guess wool would be the coolest."

And when I look at Baby T in his wool soakers with a prefold and doubler underneath, they just look more comfortable. They aren't bulky. His butt isn't the size of J Lo's. And have I mentioned he looks adorable in them?

Read more about wool soakers here.

Monday, May 3, 2010


You Can Buy My Wool Soakers Here, or Sign Up For the Giveaway on Friday!, an earth friendly baby boutique, is featuring Baby T's bum! Ok, not so much his little bum as the wool soakers I've been busy creating. You can find my soakers for sale in her shop, and she will also be having a giveaway for the month of March. The winner will get a custom sized wool shorty in a gender-neutral color (and if you're really lucky, I'll hand knit the cuffs in a color of your choice!)

For details on the giveaway, check out the blog at

It's pretty cool. April, the boutique's owner, is featuring 4 WAHM's (mom and mom-mom: that means Work At Home Moms) for the month of May. It's amazing how many women out there are trying to provide for their families doing what they are passionate about. It's amazing what a woman can do when she puts her mind to it: give birth, nurse a baby, care for a family, work full time, and pursue her dreams (and laundry).

And April is an amazing WAHM herself. With 3 young boys, she knows what it takes to raise a wonderful family. Three young boys also pretty much make her an expert in baby products. She carries organic and  natural baby products, cloth diapers, accessories, and even things for mamas, like nursing pads and Moby wraps in her online boutique. This keeps her pretty busy, but she lives simply and enjoys the little things in life. last time I saw her, she was out enjoying the fresh air with her 3 beautiful boys.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Oh, How Cute They Are!

I really am obsessed with how cute Baby T looks in his wool soakers. I'm a sucker for stripes, too. These are some soakers I made from one of the thinnest sweaters in the batch from the yard sale last weekend. They are super thin and stretchy, and super soft. Yet he can wear them all day and they don't leak through. And they look so cute with just a t-shirt!

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