Thursday, June 26, 2014

19 weeks + Carolina travels

I'm really starting to feel pregnant... not sure if that's a good or bad thing! Nothing too crazy this week, I had a busy week of cupcakes and then it was off to the beach with my parents for a little getaway!

19 weeks at the beach

They drove from IL to OH and picked us up; then we journeyed on to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. What a cool place! It's a huge estate built by George Vanderbilt in 1895 (well, completed in 1895. It took about 6 years to build.) It has been restored to pretty much its original condition - complete with 65 fireplaces, 33 guest rooms, and 43 bathrooms. Nuts! We took a tour of the main house, and we also did a behind-the-scenes butler's tour, which was really neat.

After spending a day and a half at the Biltmore, we journeyed on to Myrtle Beach, SC, where my parents had a condo on the beach for the week. It was so nice to just relax and soak up time with family. You betcha we celebrated pizza of the week! (Yes, I brought my pizza stone on vacation. Ha.) We did a simple pepperoni & cheese, and also a vegetable.

The biggest question of the week with my parents - what do they want to be called as grandparents? At one point, we threw out "Mammy & Pappy" as a joke. Well, walking around later that evening, we came across this restaurant and thought it was pretty fitting. Who knows, that might be Poppyseed's nickname for grandma. ;)

We also spent a day in Charleston before flying home, which was SO much fun, I'm going to devote an entire blog post to that day itself. Lots of good food.

19 Weeks - The Facts

Poppyseed's size: the size of a mango! Which is appropriate because I ate mango tilapia tacos this week and mango guacamole.

Sleep: Pretty ok... I've rigged up a good system with an extra pillow that helps me stay comfy. My Business Man bought me a snoogle pillow a few weeks ago, but that thing's way too big for the bed (at least right now). That could change in the future.

Movement: I'm definitely feeling flutters! Exciting. Can't wait to feel them more and more.

Running: Only 30 miles this week, no real long run. The days we were in the Carolina's, the heat & humidity were awful! My legs have also been super tight, but I attribute that to two back-to-back days in the car (8 hours + 5 hours). I know that doesn't seem like a lot but I think something is up with my blood flow because I got so stiff!

Cravings: Just enjoyed a lot of vacation food. I ordered a cheeseburger at the Biltmore and asked for extra pickles on the side... she brought me what seemed like a whole jar! Pregnancy cliche, I know.

This meal completely hit the spot! Except for the 5 hour drive afterward... didn't sit too well.
Looking forward to: The 4th of July! We are having a bunch of people over to grill out and watch the fireworks. My favorite race is also that morning - Lima's very own Freedom 5km. Though I'm pretty sure I won't be running a PR like I did last year.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

BLT Pizza

What's this? A recipe post??!?! Haha... we are currently on the beach and it is a rainy day, so I thought I'd have a little fun. I only have about 5123 recipes in my arsenal from the last several months that I'd love to write about. We'll start with BLT Pizza.

My Business Man and I have decided that this summer is the summer of pizza. Homemade pizza night once a week, and we're going to try not to repeat anything. Here's what we've done so far (with links to recipes where applicable):

It's been fun to come up with something different each week... I thought BLT would be a unique twist on pizza. I love BLT's in general, so why wouldn't it be good on a pizza? I browsed online for some recipes, but most of them had a big slop of mayonnaise on the crust as sauce. I am not the biggest mayo fan (except in chicken salad or tuna salad), so I decided to lighten it up with a simple garlic-butter-olive oil sauce.

It's then topped with my favorite roasted tomatoes, thick-cut pepper bacon, mozzarella cheese, grilled corn, and goat cheese. 

Once it's baked, it's topped with a few cups of shredded romaine tossed with balsamic vinegar. The salad kind of wilts on top of the pizza, and it's SO good! 

Anybody have any pizza suggestions to get me through the rest of the summer? I've got my eyes on a crazy mushroom pie (I'll have to do that one when my Business Man is out of town... he hates mushrooms) and I also want to recreate a shrimp & mascarpone pizza we had in Hawaii.


BLT Pizza

Yield: One 12-inch pizza
  • For the roasted tomatoes:
    • 1 pint grape tomatoes
    • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
    • salt & pepper, to taste
    • pinch sugar
  • For the sauce:
    • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2-3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • To assemble the pizza:
    • 1-lb pizza dough (my favorite crust)
    • 1-1½ cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese
    • 4 slices thick-cut pepper bacon, cooked to a crisp & diced
    • roasted tomatoes (from above)
    • ½-1 cup grilled or roasted corn
    • ½ cup fresh goat cheese
  • For the salad topping:
    • 2 cups shredded Romaine
    • 1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    • salt & pepper, to taste

1. Roast the tomatoes. Cut grape tomatoes in half; place in 9x13-inch pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sugar. Roast at 350*F for 40 minutes. Remove to cool.

2. Preheat oven to 500*F and place a pizza stone inside to heat for 30 minutes before baking pizza.

3. For the sauce, combine melted butter, olive oil, and minced garlic. Set aside.

4. To assemble the pizza, prepare a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal. Press/mold pizza dough into a 12-inch round on top of parchment. Brush with butter/olive oil mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Top with bacon, roasted tomatoes, and grilled corn. Top with spoonfuls of goat cheese. Slide parchment onto pre-heated pizza stone and bake 10-11 minutes until pizza crust is puffy & golden brown.

5. To make the salad topping, toss the romaine with balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle over the pizza. Let cool at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

18 weeks + travels all over the state

18 weeks, and feeling pretty good still! Nothing really notable this week... I'm starting to feel a little more bump-a-licious. Though a lot of people are still telling me I don't look pregnant at all. (Though I am hoping my usual summer 'six-pack' doesn't quite look like the picture below, ha.)

One of the highlights of the week was a day trip to Cincinnati with my friend Lindsey. We hit up IKEA, the mall (hello GapMaternity!), Noodles & Co for lunch, and my beloved Trader Joe's. I finally got myself some maternity skinny jeans, and I am wishing I would have done it weeks ago! They are so comfy. And exactly like the Gap skinny jeans that I usually wear. Except with a stretchy waistband.

On Friday night, we were invited to a Dayton Dragons baseball game... now I am not usually into baseball, but I'm not one to turn away free tickets to a fun event! We were actually in a suite with several other people from Lima, and enjoyed some tasty food. Unfortunately the Dragons didn't pull off a win, but we still had a good time.

Saturday was my Business Man's birthday, and I revived one of his childhood traditions of baking him a red velvet cake. His birthday is on Flag Day, and as a kid, his mom always made him a traditional red velvet cake - one layer red, one layer blue. I was a little nervous because I know the frosting can be tricky, but it turned out great! I even found some sparkler candles, so that was fun. And it was absolutely delicious! I think I ate more pieces than him.

So velvety and moist! Yum!

It was definitely  a friend-centered week, because I also got to see one of my best friends from college, Kristi,and her two kiddos. She is currently living in the remote village of Beaver, AK (only accessible by plane, no cars, limited running water, crazy!) She was visiting her family for a few weeks up in Michigan so I drove up for the day to see her. It was SO good to spend some time catching up!! Miss her so much. I am now planning a trip to Alaska for next summer... gotta take advantage of a friend living there while I can!

Kristi & I

Me with her sweet daughter Cora... Casey was taking a nap.

And we can't forget our pizza of the week! Kept it simple with BBQ Chicken... bbq sauce mixed with ranch, topped with mozzarella, chicken, bacon, onion, goat cheese, and cilantro. Yum!

18 Weeks - The Facts

Poppyseed's size: Bell pepper!

Sleep: Getting worse... I've been dealing with some weird headaches that have me up several times a night. That, plus the whole peeing 3 times a night. Looks like I'll get some really good sleep in 4 or 5 years, haha.

Movement: I think I am starting to feel some flutters! Especially at night if I'm sitting on the couch. Last week, I had a piece of cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory around 8:30ish and I could definitely feel something. Perhaps all that sugar woke Poppyseed up and put him/her into hyperactivity mode.

Running: 37 miles total with a 10-mile long run. Feeling pretty good still. I'll take it while I can! My running buds have been on vacation so I've mostly been running solo. I even went lap swimming one day for fun! Ha, my arms were so sore the next day.

Cravings: Nothing crazy, but I got so excited when someone brought donuts to Sunday school. I definitely indulged in a blueberry cake donut and part of a bear claw. SO DELICIOUS! Donuts might be a new thing.

Looking forward to: Our next ultrasound and anatomy scan... not until July 8! We are also leaving later this week for a mini vacay with my parents to Myrtle Beach and Charleston, SC. It should a lot of fun. I've already done the most important thing - map out all the restaurants I want to eat at. Priorities. And I got a new bathing suit that fits my growing, voluptuous body... (TMI?? I'm not used to this many curves!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

17 weeks + goooood eats

Another week has passed! Apparently Poppyseed is now the weight of a turnip. Who even eats turnips? I have no idea what a turnip even looks like, let alone how much it weighs. And honestly, what's with the constant comparison to fruit & veggies? I have to admit, while I've been eating a good amount of fruits & veggies, that's not what I've been craving. ;) 

I stumbled upon this Junk Food Baby Size Chart, which seems to be much more accurate in helping me understand how big the baby is. This week, looks like Poppyseed is almost the size of a can of pop. (Make that a caffeine-free Diet Mountain Dew to be exact. No worries, gone are the days when I would have 3-4 cans over the course of the afternoon. Now it's maybe one every other day.)

The theme of this week has been FOOD! Now that business has slowed down a bit, I've actually had motivation to cook fun meals. We ate really well last week. (Which means this week will probably be a combination of frozen pizza and boxed mac & cheese.) 

My favorite was definitely the Mango Mahi Mahi Tacos... I will probably be posting this recipe to the Chief Market Blog sometime next month. The best part about it was the cilantro-lime crema, aka flavored sour cream. I might have just scooped it up with my tortilla chips. Who needs salsa? 

Another fabulous meal was this 20-Minute Chicken Florentine Pasta. Super quick and tasty, it was surprisingly light for a summer-time pasta dish.

I also went on a homemade ice cream bender. Our church is hosting an ice cream social later this month, where we've been challenged to bring our best homemade ice cream to share. Of course, that means I have to go crazy and find the best flavor(s) to bring. 

This one was really tasty, but I'm not sure that it would go over too well with all the kids in the church crowd.

I received an ice cream cookbook for my birthday over a year ago that I hadn't yet touched... so I tried out three recipes. All in one day, no big deal. Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter Fudge Ripple, and Strawberry Balsamic. All were absolutely delicious, but my favorite was surprisingly the Strawberry Balsamic. It was so refreshing! I still have a few other flavors bookmarked to try, but we need to work through these flavors first... a girl only has so much freezer room!

PB-Fudge Ripple... this was really tasty. And ice cream cones are much harder to scoop than they appear.

And of course, my pizza of the week! I tried something new this week - BLT Pizza. I like BLT's, I like pizza, why not combine them? I searched for a recipe online, but a lot of them used mayonnaise on the crust (blecchh!) I am not a big mayonnaise fan unless it's in chicken salad or tuna salad. So I improvised and came up with my own version, and we were pretty impressed! I hope to post the recipe sometime this week.
You can't go wrong with bacon + cheese + carbs. This would have been lovely with some
diced avocado thrown on top, too.

OH! And the biggest excitement was probably our little adventure to Columbus to get a new (to us) car! We've been talking about upgrading my Buick Regal to something more cupcake friendly since January... and we finally did it. Introducing my Nissan Murano... aka the cupcake caddy! Though I am extremely happy to have a new vehicle, I was not too happy with the 3-hour car buying process. We got there at 5pm and didn't leave until after 8pm! Didn't they know that this preggo needed to get some dinner?

I have only used it to haul cupcakes downtown, but this baby is SO nice. Rather than wedging cupcake boxes every which way in every nook & cranny in the car, I'm able to just stack the boxes all nice & flat in the back. You can easily fit 40-48 dozen cupcakes back there! It makes it so much easier to load & unload without worrying about cupcakes tipping everywhere.

17 Weeks - The Facts

Poppyseed's size: Turnip!

Sleep: Hit or miss... mostly due to poor eating choices and eating dinner too late (especially the night of the car-buying. Note to self: Red Robin at 8:30pm with seconds on bottomless fries is NOT a good idea.)

Movement: Not feeling anything yet, but I had a dream I could feel Poppyseed squirming around. I even woke up my Business Man to tell him about it, haha.

Running: No long run this week, but still got in 34 miles. I had a really funny run on Sunday... the first two miles felt like death. I stopped to stretch, and out of nowhere ran the last 3 in 8:04, 7:40, and 7:22. I haven't seen a pace below 7:30 in a good 3 months!

Cravings: Nothing in particular, but I'm still loving the Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles. I try not to start eating them, because once I start, I can't stop.

Looking forward to: Finding some maternity  jeans this week! One of my friends & I have plans to go down to Cincinnati to do some shopping and I'm hoping to find some jeans. I don't know how many meltdowns I've had because I have 'nothing to wear'. (I really do, just nothing I want to wear. Why can't I just live in yoga pants??!) 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

16 Weeks + cupcake chaos

16 weeks down, 24 weeks (give or take a couple) to go! It's hard to believe how quickly the time is flying by.

Poppyseed is roughly the size of an avocado this week, and he/she has been treating me pretty well! I've had some tummy aches after eating large amounts of vegetables, but I think that's mostly due to a lot of fiber than anything else. Guess I'll just have to eat more carbs... :-P

[Random side story: The other morning just after we woke up, my Business Man put his hands on my belly and asks me, "How's the guacamole doing in there?" Haha. I was so confused... we had pizza for dinner the night before. Then I realized that he probably meant avocado. Now it's our little inside joke.]

I had my 16-week appointment today, so that was fun. Nothing too exciting really happens at these appointments, which I guess is a good thing! Weight, blood pressure, and then find the baby's heartbeat. It was beating a quick 160 beats/minute today... all I know is that's a good thing! We will get to find out boy or girl at our next appointment in July. Can't wait!

I haven't really been craving anything, though Cheddar & Sour Cream Ruffles have really been hitting the spot. I also re-discovered Noosa yogurt and can't get enough! It's Australian yogurt made in Colorado, and it's so creamy & rich. Definitely a splurge though, as it costs like $2/tub (even on sale!)

My favorite is the strawberry rhubarb.
I had my longest run yet of this pregnancy on Sunday morning - 11.5 miles. I've been surprised how good I've been feeling on these longer runs! (Shorter weekday runs are a whole different story.) 

Don't let that 7:45 pace fool you. Definitely had lots of 8:30+ miles.
I think the key factor has been that I've started off really slow and picked up the pace as the run progresses. The weather has also been very cooperative. Temps in the 50s-60s with low humidity are just about perfect. Pizza carb-loading on Saturday night might also play a factor. ;) I've decided that Saturday night is homemade pizza night this summer... my goal is to do a different homemade pizza each weekend. We'll see how long that lasts! This week was Strawberry Bacon Balsamic.

The best part? Thick-cut pepper bacon!
Meanwhile, in the cupcake world, I just finished up my highest-grossing cupcake sales month yet with Sara's Sweets! And that was with being on vacation the first six days of May. Insane! I'm looking forward to a couple slower weeks, but who knows? I keep thinking I have a slow week coming up but then the orders keep coming in. Not complaining here. :)

And one last random tidbit... I borrowed my Business Man's car on Saturday to haul cupcakes downtown (way too many to fit in my little Buick!) As I was shuffling around in the backseat, I found a really sweet Mother's Day card. Haha. I texted him a picture... BUSTED! Lol, it's the thought that counts, right? It was still really sweet to find out 2 weeks later. Now if I can just get him to sign it...

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