Week 26 + 30 Easy Meals – 300 Calories Or Less!

Week 26

lettuceLettuce. Really? I’ve got to admit, I’m definitely confused by the idea that my baby is the size of a head of iceburg lettuce.  I mean, the graphic straight up says the kid is 13.6 – 14.8 inches long.  Your average head of lettuce isn’t more than 6 or 7, tops.  Maybe they did the circumference… and if so, that’s really not indicative of the size of the creature inside of me. A better gauge would be, “Your baby is about as long as the average laptop screen is wide (not the diagonal).  HEY, FREE SERVICES THAT HELP US ESTIMATE: DO BETTER. 🙂

It’s been a good week.  Baby’s still moving a bunch, and I’ve been feeling well, aside from heartburn. Only 2 weeks until our next ultrasound. 🙂  I’m looking forward to seeing him again.

I also read a blog post last night that made me laugh so hard that I was crying and almost peed a little. (What? I’m pregnant! It happens.) I figured I should share the love with you readers. Normally, I try to shy away from Mommy blogs because some of them can be really stress-filled and judgmental, but Beth’s humility and sense of humor really won me over.

On a less humorous note, I got the results of the gestational diabetes test on Wednesday, and the verdict is in — I’m not diabetic! (Thank the Lord.) No need for insulin, no need to cut carbs, which is pretty great.  They did find, however that my metabolism’s not optimal, so I’ve been instructed to eat small meals every 2-3 hours. It’s supposed to help with the damn-near constant heartburn and help regulate my blood sugar.

This way of eating is completely contrary to everything I’ve done my whole life. The biggest change in my life when I was 8 and in Weight Watchers was learning not to snack throughout the day. Apparently, the science behind that way of thinking has changed over the last 25 years. Because of that, I felt like I needed to do some research to find some easy, delicious meals that I could eat.

My requirements for recipes that made the cut were simple:

  1. No specialty ingredients. Gotta be able to buy everything at the grocery store across the street.
  2. It must be easy to make. I am too tired for anything that requires real effort.
  3. It must look, based on my food knowledge, like it’d actually taste good.
  4. It must be filling. There’s no point in making something that doesn’t fill me up.

This is what I found.

30+ meals that are 300 calories or less per serving

I love me a green smoothie.

I love me a green smoothie.

  1. A green smoothie
  2. 1 light multigrain English muffin (or whole wheat bagel-thin) w/ 1 tbsp cream cheese & 1 tbsp fruit spread
  3. A cup of Greek yogurt w/ fruit & or honey (I’m currently in love with coffee flavored Fruyo.)
  4. Apple w/ 1 tbsp. of nut butter (peanut, cashew, or almond)
  5. A cup of oatmeal w/ fruit (Like Kathleen’s Quick Oats. Persian flavor is the best!)
  6. 1 serving of whole wheat crackers w/ 1-2 oz of cheese
  7. 1 pita w/ 2 tbsp of hummus (So yummy.)
  8. A hot dog
  9. 2 scrambled eggs w/ 2 slices of bacon
  10. A can of soup. (Any flavor by Amy’s fits the bill.)
  11. A grilled cheese sandwich: whole wheat bread, a little butter, & two 2% American cheese slices
  12. A bowl of cereal and milk

    crunchy_black_bean_tacos_3

    Yeah, I could eat this…

  13. Crunchy Black Bean Tacos
  14. Skinny Broccoli Cheese Soup
  15. Broccolini and Chicken Sausage over Polenta
  16. Chicken Tamale Pie
  17. Creamy Chicken Quinoa Broccoli Casserole
  18. Mustard & Herb Panko-Crusted Chicken Breasts
  19. Red Velvet Crepes w/ Sweet Cream Cheese Filling
  20. Baked Spicy Fries with Garlic Cheese Sauce
  21. Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo
  22. Skinny Lasagna Rolls
  23. Philly Cheese Turkey Sloppy Joes
  24. Chicken Thighs with Mustard Citrus Sauce
  25. Slow Cooker Pepperoni & Chicken
  26. Black Bean Cakes
  27. Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
  28. Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
  29. White Chicken Chili
  30. Creamy Thai Sweet Potatoes & Lentils
  31. Skinny Veggie Lasagna
  32. Chicken Apple Sausage Breakfast Sandwich
  33. Seveche-style Shrimp & Avocado Tacos
  34. and then there’s this entire collection on AllRecipes.
Um, yes, please.

Um, yes, please.

I think I’ll be able to survive. 🙂 I hope that these recipes are helpful for you too!

Daily Cute

And, because we all can use a good giggle, here is some Cute.

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Pregnancy Is So Cool. (Pun intended.)

Yesterday was awesome! I got an email from Erin over at Polar Products, letting me know that they’d chosen one of my reviews to feature on their blog.  I was totally surprised and excited to see that they also linked here!  I figured that was a big hint that I might want to update. 🙂

Week 25

25eggplantAside from being vegetables, what do a head of cauliflower, a rutabaga, and an eggplant all have in common?  They all are used to represent the size of a fetus at 25 weeks.   Please pardon me while I scratch my head.

Like any good cook, I’ve picked out each of these types of produce at a market, and they are not even kind of the same shape or size. I think, based on what I saw at Jewel, that the eggplant is probably the closest in shape and size to a baby.  But whatever!

As far as the baby goes, things seem to be well. Kiddo has definitely slipped into sleep cycles, which would be much cooler if he’d actually sleep when I sleep. Instead, the action of lying down to sleep seems to wake him up and make him decide it’s time to practice martial arts or slam dancing.  Of course, now that I’m typing this, he’s smackin me from the inside.  It’s like, “Gah, Mom. Come on. Quit making fun of me! From my perspective, the whole world just turned by 90 degrees for no apparent reason! What do you expect from me!”

rutabegaTomorrow morning, I already know, is going to be a massive pain in the ass.  Last week, my OB had me do a 1 hr glucose test to help determine whether or not I have gestational diabetes. Well, I managed to just barely fail. The number I popped was actually the very lowest number you can get where they still want to test to make sure you don’t have it. Just the luck!

So, tomorrow, I have to be at the hospital at 7:45 a.m.  This wouldn’t be such a big deal if I just kept the same sleep schedule as my husband…but I don’t. In fact, I get most of my restful sleep after he’s gone to work. I’ve been regularly sleeping until 9:30 or 10 a.m. every day, assuring myself that I can use the extra sleep, and that it’s my JOB to enjoy the ability to sleep in right now, since the damn-near sleepless first months are coming soon, and they have no mercy.

cauliflowerUnderstandably, I’m really hoping that I don’t have gestational diabetes, but with my luck, it only makes sense. I mean, if one hundredth of one percent of people get something, it’s like it’s been earmarked for me — and gestational diabetes is actually fairly common. About 9.2% of all pregnant women in the U.S. end up with it. So, I’m rolling with the punches.

I mean, my current diet already mostly fits all of the meal plans for folks on gestational diabetes, with the exception of having more fruit in my green smoothies than the daily recommended amount (of 2 servings – equal to 1 banana) and drinking ginger ale when I’m sick at my stomach…oh, and having the occasional scoop of ice cream after dinner. Guh. Ok. I’m seeing where the sugar is coming in. It’s not like I’m eating a ton of refined sugar or enriched white flour, but there’s definitely room for improvement. Apparently, eating cereal or greek yogurt for breakfast will be a thing of the past. Good thing the egg aversion has gone away!

What protein-rich breakfasts would you suggest?

Register This.

It’s been my responsibility for the last several weeks to put together baby registries at various places. It’s been really eye opening, seeing how many options exist for every little thing – most of which we probably don’t need. (I mean, really, people, which of you crazy bitches is responsible for putting stroller footmuffs on the baby registry checklist? Fess up!) The most surprising (and disturbing) thing has been looking at how prices wildly vary from store to store, and even with the same product, from color to color.

gracogotham

Clearly superior by at least $60.

Take the Graco FastAction Fold Jogger Click Connect Travel System for example. I have registered for it at 3 stores now – Amazon, BuyBuyBaby, and Target.

In the week since I added it, the price for my chosen color (Gotham) has changed dramatically on Amazon. Last week, it was $199. Now it’s $259.03, while the colors “Marathon” and “Chili Red” remain at $199.  Is there really a $60.03 difference? Of course not… which makes it even more bizarre that if you buy the exact same pieces separately (the car seat and the jogging stroller), your total will only be $248, which means you’re paying Amazon an additional $11 for the convenience of buying them as a system.

gracosystemmarathon

Just kidding. They are so the same goddamn thing.

At Target, the exact same system costs $299.99 (a full $100 difference!), with no option to buy the pieces separately, while at BuyBuyBaby, the system (regardless of color) costs $319.99. At least there, buying the system makes sense (and will save you $20), since the car seat alone is $149.99 and the stroller is $189.99.

Can anybody explain to me why there’s such a significant difference in price here? Because I sure as hell don’t understand it… and it makes me question all the things that I’ve registered for.  I mean, how do I know that the prices on anything on the list are even comparable today to what they were when I added them?

I made decisions for everything on the registries based on the reviews, consumer reports information, and price point information available at the time. Now, I’ve lost faith in my decisions. This whole process has frustrated the hell out of me. This change in price makes it look like I’m willing to blow $60-$120 for a meaningless cosmetic choice… one that genuinely doesn’t matter to me even one iota.  Or worse, like I want a friend or family member to spend way more than they need to for the exact same gift.

Hey, Universe! Why isn’t there a service out there where you can create a registry and it will create and/or modify all your baby registries at every store that you’ve signed up for, as well as alert you and friends & family to price changes?  I demand more convenience!

All That & A Birth Plan

plansandgodSpeaking of convenience, have you heard about birth plans? TheBump even has one that’s a 6 page print-out checklist. The whole idea of making one seems totally silly to me, because when I make plans, God laughs.

I mean it very seriously when I say that my plan is to show up to the hospital when labor starts with bags for me and the baby, ask for the good drugs, and do whatever the hell they tell me to do from there.  The last thing this type-A Rae needs is to be in pain going, “THIS WASN’T THE PLAN!!!”  The days of me being a control freak in the medical arena are LONG since past. Life has taught me that it’s a special kind of stupid.

All I care about is getting out of there alive with a healthy baby, which is why most of the options on that 6 page print out make me chuckle.  I mean, I’ve never been in labor. How the hell am I supposed know how I want to spend the first part of it, let alone the position I want to assume during delivery? What makes me equipped to make decisions about fetal monitoring or labor augmentation?  That’s exactly the specialized knowledge I require from my high-risk OB.

dont-know-how-to-answer

When I looked at the list for pain relief options, I turned to Adam and asked, “Where’s the checkbox for ‘YES’?”  Seriously, I don’t discriminate. If my doctor thinks something’s gonna make me feel better, DO IT. If he has to knock me the fuck out, I’m fine with that. Just do the job and get me and the baby home safely. Everything else is window dressing.

I honestly think there’s some weird, pervasive cultural conspiracy going on, designed to make expectant mothers lose their minds with decision fatigue and self-doubt.  I’d say that I refuse to play the game, but I’m already in too deep.

iwin2

Ladies & Gentlemen, We Have Viability!

week24 As of today, I’m officially 24 weeks pregnant, and the baby, if I were to go into labor today, would have a better than 50% chance of surviving birth.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the little guy has been wiggling and kicking like crazy, but this takes the “realness” up a notch for me.  Not that I would ever personally consider abortion, but the time for thinking about it (or rather worrying that there will be some terrible health thing that threatens me or the baby) has officially passed. It is now time to clean all the things (and buy the ones we need and don’t have) so that our apartment is ready for his birth.

cleanallthethings

In that vein of thought, I’ve been working like crazy on figuring out everything we want and/or need. The Amazon baby registry is finally looking done to me. The Moms (mine & Adam’s) have suggested that I go ahead and register at a brick-and-mortar store as well, just so people who want to buy us a present have options when it comes time. We’re probably going with Target, just because it’s all over the United States, isn’t over-priced, and isn’t Walmart.  I’m just wondering if I should essentially copy the Amazon registry (which would increase the likelihood of us getting doubles) or just put certain things on the Target one and certain ones on the Amazon one (which would decrease the likelihood of us getting certain things).

Either way, I feel totally uncomfortable with the process of creating baby registries and figuring out who to invite to the baby shower/beer & diaper party/Welcome to the World party in the first place. Wish lists and registries have always felt kind of icky to me because they sometimes come off like a “give me this” list (which smacks of entitlement) instead of a “hey, it would be cool to have this” list (which is more of what it truthfully is).

Truth be told, I’m just super stoked to be having a baby, and I want to invite the whole world to celebrate with me. That’s why we’re going to be live-streaming all the events.  Right now, I think the front-runner for the live-streaming platform is Twitch, so that everyone who’s “tuned in” can chat with one another. I am, however, open to other suggestions. The presents are an awful lot less important to me than the presence of friends in welcoming the kiddo to life. Because I am trying to be so inclusive, I’ve posted a survey 3 times on Facebook, trying to get friends to give me their contact info, but so far have only gotten a handful of responses. Not sure if folks just aren’t interested in filling it out or if FB’s recently tweaked algorithm is making it not even show up for them.  I’m guessing that I’ll need to email or PM everyone individually to be able to send out invitations.

My Husband Is a G-D Saint.

My favorite part of pregnancy so far has been laughing about the insanity that comes over me from time to time.  There have been a couple of times now where I’ve yelled at Adam for absolutely ridiculous bullshit and almost immediately broken down crying in apology.  If I hadn’t been through therapy, I would not see the humor, but truthfully, it’s hilarious, and has made me decide that this is my current theme song.

Somehow, Adam can tell the difference between genuine anger and hormonal wonkiness.  He understands me better than I do. And then there’s nesting. I thought that people were joking about feeling an intense need to clean and reorganize everything. NOPE. It’s real. (Why can’t it be a regular thing?) I even accused both of us of living like 10 year old boys, while frantically bouncing between different cleaning projects and getting absolutely nothing productive actually done. Oh, and then more crying.

And cravings? YUP. Definitely a thing. Feeling an intense need to eat something mind-bogglingly specific makes me feel like I’m a crazy asshole. I mean, there’s food in the house! Why am I not craving what’s immediately at hand??  That would be too easy, right? Nope. Can’t be that easy. But Adam takes it all in stride.

panchosanchoTake last night, for instance… after having eaten a delicious dinner of roasted turkey (yeah, he freakin roasted a turkey breast last night), stuffing, and sweet potatoes at a reasonable hour, at around 9 at night, I had an intense craving for Pancho’s cheese dip.  And I don’t mean “intense” like “Wow, I would really like some cheese dip.” but like, “OH MY GOD IF I DON’T EAT PANCHO’S CHEESE DIP UNTIL I CAN’T POSSIBLY EAT ANY MORE, I WILL SURELY DIE.”

Of course, we live in Illinios… far, far from any store that carries it.  Did that deter Adam? Not one bit. We found a copycat recipe from my hometown newspaper, and at the time he usually starts to fall asleep on the couch, my husband went to the grocery store for ingredients, came home, and fixed me some of the most delicious, thick, gooey unhealthy crap I’ve ever asked for. And it was glorious. Angels sang and divine light flooded the room as I glutted myself on it… and it was just as glorious when I ate it cold for breakfast this morning.  Cold cheese dip with tortilla chips sounds kinda gross, right?  Anyone from the greater Memphis area has my back on this one. I promise you, it’s a thing. 🙂 And I have no regrets. Not even one.

It’s Not Easy Being Green… Or Is It?

Of course, on the other side of things, I’m genuinely trying to eat more healthfully for both my benefit and for the kid’s. As you know, Adam and I have taken the 30 day Green Smoothie Challenge as our New Year’s resolution. Have we had a green smoothie every day for the last 14 days? Nah. But we did it for 11, and that’s not shabby! There are a couple of recipes that have emerged as clear favorites for us. I figured I’d share them for anyone else who loves the idea of getting more spinach into their diets, but isn’t a fan of eating salads all the time. Both of these recipes makes enough for 2 people.

Tropicolada Fiesta (My very favorite!)
2 c. spinach, fresh
1 c. coconut water
1 c. water
1 1/2 c. mango
1 c. pineapple
1 banana
1 tbsp. lime juice

Blend spinach (tightly packed), coconut water, and water together until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again.

Vitamin C Immunity Booster (really more of a purple smoothie… We like to add 2 tbsp of flax & chia seeds to it too.)
2 c. spinach, fresh
1/2 c. orange juice
1 c. water
1 banana
1/4 c. carrots
2 c. strawberries
1/2 c. blueberries

Blend spinach (tightly packed), orange juice and water together until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits & blend again.

Other than that…

There’s not much else to report. Tomorrow, I see the OB for our monthly visit and have the glucose test.  I’m gonna be sure to ask what all I need to do to set up cord blood donation and what goes in to keeping the placenta so that I can get it encapsulated.

Things here have just been really unusually relaxed. I’m guessing it’s the calm before the storm. (Or Stormageddon. 🙂 You know, whatever.)

I’m super-happy that both Adam and I got over the colds we had. It doesn’t matter how many years in a row I deal with a winter head cold, it’s always surprising to me how badly they knock me out. Thankfully, they don’t happen often.

Tonight, I’m looking forward to watching the season 7 return of Parks & Recreation and episode 3 of Agent Carter. (Finally! A well-written female-lead Marvel show!)

Hope you’re doing well ❤