There is a reason why I haven’t posted much in the last couple of weeks. In fact, I’m sure the title of this entry already gave my secret away. If you’ve wondered why I fell face first off of the Weight Watchers wagon and abandoned all talk about points or if you found me curled up in my office with my 3-year-old’s juice box or if you happened to see me dousing my wrists with lemon and peppermint essential oils or posting random photos of casseroles, grits, and anything that has to do with a white potato — then you probably already guessed that I might be pregnant. YOU, my friend, would be correct! Just got the news yesterday that I’m officially 13 weeks and we are having a girl.
This year I lost more weight than I ever have in my entire life: 30 pounds. I worked really hard at it. And now? Well, that scale is moving in the opposite direction. You see, I quickly realized I had to throw caution to the wind and make friends again with the white potato — mashed, fried, hashed, or boiled. It didn’t matter. Saltines? Heaven! Random packs of cheese and peanut butter crackers? My own personal life boat. I had to keep something in my stomach at all times to feel semi-normal. And so, I gave up on the points and found my way back to the white potato.
My hope is that I can regain some normalcy in the second trimester and make friends with the lettuce leaf. We used to be great friends. I need to find my way back to that lettuce leaf like nobody’s business.
So even though I have been cooking quite a bit, I haven’t been posting because I had no idea how to explain my sudden affection for comfort food in my life without spilling the beans. Forgive me for doing this all at once, but here is a recap of my first trimester. Points are not included (obviously).
First up: 101 Cookbook’s Heirloom Apple Salad: I really enjoyed the crispness of the apples (I used fuji) and celery, but next time I’ll probably use the mandoline slicer to get a much finer slice. I also used pecans instead of walnuts and I’d probably season/toast them next time. The dressing was the real standout for me: creme fraiche, rosemary, white vinegar, and sugar. I needed my sous chef to help me with the mortar and pestle!
Next up? Christmas Dinner! Smitten Kitchen’s Braised Beef Short Ribs and Endives with Oranges and Almonds plus Pioneer Woman’s Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes. I also added some roasted carrots and brussels sprouts to the mix! A few things to note: The short ribs were fall-off-of-the-bone delicious and the sauce was incredibly rich. Almost too rich for this pregnant woman (hello, antacids). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find endive anywhere so I ended up using Romaine leaves for the salad, which worked fine but it was definitely hard to eat. But the real show stopper? Mashed Potatoes. Now, I’ve already confessed to my rekindled affection for the white potato, but even my Mom and husband agreed with me wholeheartedly that these potatoes were absolutely amazing. Treat yourself. Unless you are counting points and if that is the case you need to stay far, far, far, far…..FAR away from these potatoes.
Let’s start with the ribs!
Picture above: She said to take your time with the browning process and I followed her lead and I’m glad that I did. Don’t crowd the pan and give it time!
Picture below: The Sous Chef was at it again…
Picture above: Nicely browned and crispy ribs!
Picture below: She said to “tuck parsley in and around the ribs.” I have no idea what that means, but thankfully I got some monster parsley stems and did the best I could. Seriously, will you look at those parsley stems? They look like tree trunks.
I must interrupt the scheduled short rib programming to introduce the potatoes. Yes, those are pats of butter on top of the mashed potato casserole that already has butter and cream cheese mixed in. But, I digress…
Ribs are done!
Picture above: Rib shot
Picture Below: Obligatory plate shot
And… a little fancy shot for you!
But here’s the thing nobody talks about. That dinner (and the Christmas breakfast casseroles I had to make at the same time) took almost all afternoon. This is exactly what I looked like when I sat down to eat this fancy Christmas Eve dinner. In my lounging pants. And my hair the exact same way it looked when I woke up. Kudos to all of you who manage to make the meal and then actually shower (ahem, I mean dress), but what you see is what you get in my household!
Next up: Barefoot Contessa’s Italian Wedding Soup. This is my husband’s favorite. Well, at least in his top five. I’ve shared this before and I’ll share it again. This time I went chicken sausage and ground turkey (instead of ground chicken). I liked it better. Well, I liked it better until I realized that yet again I have an aversion to garlic during pregnancy. So, Mike got the full batch all to himself, which was just fine by him. Serve this with some crusty bread and I promise you it’s worth the effort!
I feel like I’m moving through the calendar like nobody’s business. Maybe that’s because I am. Anyhoo, here we are…New Year’s Day! This year I decided to make a casserole. Shocking, I know. I saw Trisha Yearwood make a Grits and Greens Casserole and decided to follow her lead. It was pretty tasty. Just know it makes A LOT, so be prepared to share (I shared with our neighbors). Also, it needed more salt and the collard process could have used a punch (maybe some hot sauce or pepper sauce or something). My grits are from the McEwens (of course) and I cooked them for about 45 minutes on low in half & half and chicken stock. Yes, I did.
The photo above and the photo below define where I’m at these days. Grits and bacon? Oh, I’m in dangerous territory, people.
Here’s our lucky lunch:
Okay here’s where it gets random. I made a few dishes here and there and they were worth mentioning as well: Cooking Light’s One-Dish Chicken and Kielbasa Rice. This was really good and super easy. I didn’t add chicken, but you totally could!
I really loved this recipe I found on Brooklyn Supper: Orange and Pomegranate Salad. It is absolutely beautiful and fun to eat. It made more dressing than I would ever need, but all in all it was a fun dish!
And then there’s the pregnancy sweet tooth. As some of you may remember, I documented my obsession with pancakes during my last pregnancy and titled it, “Pancake Pregnancy” on Food Revival. Then I got gestational diabetes. Well, I’m proud to say that I have only caved ONCE (okay, twice) this pregnancy. And if you take away the cup of syrup on the plate (which obviously I can’t hide from you at this point), I’m proud to say that I found these pancakes on Skinnytaste’s website. They are called Whole Wheat Pancakes (New and Improved) and are 4 points for two pancakes. Confession: I used one cup of whole wheat and one cup of the forbidden white flour, so they may have a few more points, but STILL!
Okay, I think I’ve covered it. I left out a couple of cookie recipes but I can write about those later. As you can see, I’m finding my way through this first trimester just fine. Let’s see how the next trimester goes. Wish me luck!
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year ahead!