Pregnancy – Approaching 6 Months

Everyone keeps asking me how I’ve been doing, pregnancy-wise, and I must say I feel that for the most part, I seem to have had a pretty easy pregnancy. I didn’t have virtually any morning sickness, I have been able to keep up the vast majority of my duties at work (with the exception of lifting things that are, you know, 50+ pounds), and we even seem to have a more active social life in the past couple of months than we have had previously.
There are, however, some minor things that, when you add them all together, have been driving me absolutely crazy. One is the dog. Clover loves jumping on top of me like I’m a goddamned trampoline, and I must say I do not appreciate it, and I’m pretty sure baby Blueberry doesn’t either! Thankfully she’s only, like, 10 pounds, or this would be a serious problem rather than just kind of annoying.
Another thing is this whole eating round the clock thing. No longer can I just stuff my face a few times a day and be happy as a clam in between. No, now I have to strategically pack enough snacks to get me through the day, and hope that I’m hungry for actual meals at the same time Jeremy is. Which, by the way, is annoying him quite a bit too. Our conversations regarding food lately have gone something like this. Me: I’m hungry. Jeremy: What, right now? But I just got home. Me: I can’t help it. I’m hungry right now. Jeremy: Well, go eat a snack. Me: -goes and eats a couple little things- -an hour later- Jeremy: Want me to cook dinner? Me: No, I’m not hungry any more. I already ate. Jeremy: But now I’M hungry! Me: Then go eat something. Jeremy: -harumphs off to the kitchen, gets frustrated, and usually doesn’t end up eating anything until I end up being hungry again-
Not to mention this whole needing to pee CONSTANTLY. I’m totally fine if I’m sitting down, or laying back on the couch. But god forbid I get up to get a glass of water, or roll over to find a comfier position, because then LORD HELP ME if I can’t get to the bathroom in the next 30 seconds.
Now, many people, when they meet me, assume that I am naturally graceful and, I dunno, light on my feet, or something. But let me tell you, I am nothing like a cat. Except that I might claw your eyes out if you touch my feet the wrong way… but that’s another story. When I’m not pregnant, I am clumsy. I trip on flat surfaces, run into walls and doorframes on a regular basis, and generally wake up with all kinds of bruises and scrapes and can’t seem to remember where and how I got them. This is just something I’ve come to accept as part of being me. But this natural talent for finding walls with my shoulder and coffee tables with my shins has actually become WORSE since pregnancy. Yes, I know my equilibrium has been thrown off due to added weight in all the wrong places, and “I just need to be more careful” and blah blah freaking blah. The other day when making cupcakes, I managed to drop an entire jar of cocoa powder, which promptly shattered all over my kitchen floor, and which my dog seemed to think would be super fun to try to eat – glass shards included. My broom is really not made to sweep up anything so fine as cocoa powder, and trying to fend off the dog while wiping up cocoa powder with wet paper towels was… not easy. Then, the other day I managed to trip down the last couple stairs on my way out the door in the morning. Luckily it was only the last step or two, and aside from scraping my knee up a little, I’m totally fine. But yea, clumsiness is definitely getting worse.
Well-meaning people. Yes, I get it, you raised two kids yourself 30 years ago, or 5 years ago, or whenever, but guess what? I have a trusted professional that I go to for my prenatal advice. You know who that is? My doctor. So unless your name is followed by Ph.D., I really don’t want to hear about how I need to stop stressing, relax, think about my blood pressure, watch my sodium intake, or any of another million things you think I should be doing. Oh, and don’t EVEN lecture me on my choice to go drug-free in labor. My blood pressure is fine – I’ve never had a history of high blood pressure, and every check up I’ve had, I’ve continued to be fine. Some stress is totally normal, and completely unavoidable, particularly in a job like mine where I can almost guarantee I’ll be dealing with at least one unhappy, yelling customer a day (and many times more), let alone coworkers who can’t seem to do their own jobs, and yet have some serious thoughts on how I should be doing mine. Just because you chose to have an elective C-section doesn’t mean I want one. I have serious anxiety and panic attacks related to needles, and even the thought of having any form of surgery is enough to bring me to tears… that is not something I want to have to face while going into labor. The most ridiculous thing I have heard yet? “You shouldn’t be eating that. Soup is bad for you.” Uh, don’t you mean top ramen? “No. You shouldn’t be eating any soup. It has too much sodium.” Wait, what? “Yea, soup is bad for you.” Uh… huh… Right… Let’s pretend we never talk again… ever… That’d be great…
Milk. (This may not be strictly PG, so feel free to skip this little section). While we were getting ready for bed one night, I happened to notice that one of my nipples had a little drop of something on it. I gasped and looked up at Jeremy. He looked at me, confused, “What?” Me: What’s that? -points to nipple- Jeremy: Haha milk. Me: EWW! Jeremy: -leans closer- Cool!! Me: NO! EWW! Gimme a tissue! Jeremy: -grabs a tissue, but doesn’t hand it over- You want me to wipe it off for you? Me: NO! GIMME THAT!! -snatches it- Yea… leaking for the first time kind of freaked me out a little bit. Haven’t leaked since then, but it kind of just threw me off guard for a few minutes until I could wrap my brain around it. I guess I just didn’t expect to start leaking so soon…
Anyway… that pretty much sums up my pregnancy experiences lately. Anyone else have any weird/annoying things to share?
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Cupcake Update (Days 3 – 9)

I have been having tons of fun baking up these mini batches of cupcakes. I’m just not very good about posting every day, haha. I will give you the mini recipes for the stuff that actually turned out well. If it still needs work, I will hold off until its perfect so you don’t have a whole bunch of not-quite-right recipes.

Day 3 (Thursday): Vanilla Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese frosting.

Once again the vanilla recipe came out too spongy and dense. After this, I decided to ditch this version of the vanilla and try a new one altogether the next time I try vanilla. They honey cream cheese frosting was actually really good, though. I wasn’t sure Jeremy would like it, but he did!

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 oz. cream cheese

1 1/2 tsp butter

2 tsp honey

6 -8 Tbsp powdered sugar (I think I used 6)

I warm up the butter and cream cheese a little before mixing everything together, because it makes it easier to stir them without it being super sticky to the whisk. Just whisk and frost! 🙂

Day 4 (Friday): Lemon Cupcake with Strawberry Buttercream frosting.

Oh my freaking goodness, this frosting is so good! I slathered the cupcakes with it, and then licked the bowl clean! This recipe would be so easy to just substitute other berries or fruits in, also. The lemon cupcake wasn’t quite as lemon-y as I had hoped (probably because I didn’t use any lemon zest like I usually do with lemon cupcakes), but much better texture-wise than the previous couple batches of plain vanilla.

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting: Mini batch

2 Tbsp butter

7 Tbsp powdered sugar

1 Tbsp pureed strawberries

1/8 tsp vanilla extract

Just puree the strawberries, then mix everything together. Delicious!!

Day 5 (Saturday): Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting.

Saturday we had some friends over – Jeremy’s sister and her husband, and another couple that live a few houses down from us. We decided that instead of a mini-batch, I would bake a full batch. So I went back to my old trusty vanilla-nilla recipe, but with the strawberry buttercream frosting I had tried out Friday. Unfortunately for me, I mis-read the strawberry frosting recipe, and accidentally added twice as much strawberry puree as I should have. It didn’t taste bad or anything, but the texture of the frosting got all chunky-looking and weird… For a full batch, follow these directions (this will be the right amount of strawberry!)

Vanilla-nilla Cupcakes: Full batch (made about 20 cupcakes)

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese

1/2 cup butter

1-1/4 cups sugar

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla extract

4 eggs

1/4 cup corn oil

1/4 cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Using mixer, mix together cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated. Next, beat in oil. Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk in two parts. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 – 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Strawberry Frosting: Full batch (will probably make way more frosting than you need)

1 cup butter

3-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup pureed strawberries

1 tsp vanilla extract

If you need more strawberry flavor, use a strawberry extract rather than just adding more strawberry puree, to keep the consistency correct. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes to stiffen frosting a little.

Day 6 (Sunday): Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting – SMALL batch

I decided that I wanted to try scaling down the vanilla recipe from the day before, plus I wanted to re-try that strawberry buttercream recipe and make sure that the doubled amount of strawberries was indeed the reason I messed it up the day before, so I did the same type of cupcakes, but in a small batch. They turned out great!

Vanilla Cupcakes: mini batch

1 oz. cream cheese

1 Tbsp butter

2-1/2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg white 1 Tbsp oil  (without the yolk, the consistency is too spongy. try substituting oil instead)

1/2 Tbsp oil (in addition to the change made in previous step)

1/2 Tbsp milk

4 Tbsp flour

1/4  tsp  baking powder

pinch of salt

Bake at 325 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Day 7 (Monday): Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting.

These cupcakes came out tasting like brownies. So good! And the peanut butter frosting tasted just like peanut butter, but much creamier and smoother — perfect, but definitely go light on the frosting so it doesn’t overwhelm  the cupcake.

 

Chocolate Cupcakes:  mini batch

3 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp oil

1 Tbsp melted chocolate chips

3 Tbsp flour

1-1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1-1/2 Tbsp milk

Bake at 325 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

 

Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting: mini batch

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp peanut butter (creamy – I used Lara Scudder’s)

1 tsp milk (may need a smidge more)

4 Tbsp powdered sugar

 

Day 8 (Wednesday  – yes I know I skipped Tuesday, I didn’t end up making cupcakes that day because I was just too tired): Angelfood Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting.

 

Nope, nope, nope.  Angelfood cupcakes turned out AWFUL. Little molten lava bowls, not even fit to attempt to fix. It was a total disaster, and this is exactly why I’m glad I’m only making mini batches, because if I had made an entire batch of these, I just might have cried.

 

Day 9: Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting.

 

Yum! Love lemon, and these were so good! The lemon cream cheese frosting was perfect! Yay! The one change I made from last time was to ditch the egg white in the cupcake recipe, and try oil  instead. So happy I did that!  They were light and fluffy. Just a LITTLE too crumbly, but I think that just means back off the oil a smidge.

 

Lemon Cupcakes: mini batch

2 Tbsp butter

4 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp oil  (try 2 tsp instead)

1/8 tsp vanilla extract

 

6 Tbsp flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

3 tsp lemon juice (for a bigger lemony punch, try adding 1-2 tsp lemon zest as well)

2 Tbsp milk

Bake at 325 degrees F for 18-20 minutes.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:  mini batch

1 oz. cream cheese

1/2 Tbsp butter

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8 tsp vanilla extract

8 Tbsp powdered sugar

Cupcake Challenge (Day 2)

Today I made two kinds of cupcakes – chocolate with chocolate frosting and vanilla with vanilla frosting.

I decided to make two mini batches because we were going over to Jeremy’s parents’ house for dinner, and I wanted to bring cupcakes. His dad likes generic-flavored cupcakes (plain vanilla or plain chocolate), so I thought I’d try to fix the problems I had with the chocolate from yesterday, and try out the vanilla at the same time.

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Once again, the frosting was delicious! Tastes a lot like the chocolate frosting you buy at the store, but the texture was better. The cake was much better this time. More flavorful and chocolatey and less flour-tasting. 🙂

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The vanilla cake was spongy, but the flavor was good. Next time I’m going to try baking at a slightly lower temperature for a little longer. And maybe not cooking two different batters at the same time… But the frosting, again, was delicious. A little oily (will cut down on the butter a little), but perfect once you refrigerated the cupcakes for a few minutes. This one also tasted like a frosting from the store.

The only real problem I ran in to baking these cupcakes was dropping a glass jar full of cocoa powder… shattered it all over the kitchen floor. I had a hell of a time trying to get it all cleaned up while keeping the dog out of the kitchen. Cocoa powder is too fine to just sweep up with a broom, and the dog kept trying to sneak back into the kitchen, trying to lick it up of the floor. Glass and cocoa powder all over the place… fantastic combination for a dog to be trying to get in to.

At least I still have another full can of cocoa powder to make more cupcakes!

Cupcakes!!

Let me just go out on a limb and say… I LOVE CUPCAKES!!

If you read my old blog at all, you know just how much I love cupcakes! When Jeremy and I still lived with our old roommates, I used to bake cupcakes all the time – at least a batch a week, sometimes more. I really liked experimenting with different kinds of cupcakes each week.

The problem I had was setting aside every week to bake a batch (Btw, in my universe, a “batch” did not equal a dozen cupcakes. A “batch” was more like 3-4 dozen cupcakes usually). It took about an hour and a half just to mix up the batter and the frosting, and another hour and a half to two hours to cook up all the cupcakes (when you only have one muffin tin, it’s kind of a pain).

So you can only imagine how excited I was to find a cupcake recipe that makes just two cupcakes. TWO!! How cool is that?

I’ve always wanted to take some kind of food challenge. Think Julie and Julia , that movie where she cooks different dishes every day for a year. But honestly, I don’t like cooking. I like baking, though. And cupcakes. Mmm, cupcakes.

So I am thinking about taking on a food challenge of my own: make different cupcakes every day for a year. Ok, maybe a year is a little long to commit to. Maybe I should start with a month. Or a week.

What do you think? Different flavors of cupcakes (for as long as I can manage)? Sounds like a delicious, delicious challenge to me!

 

So for today’s kitchen escapade, I made chocolate cupcakes with mint frosting, covered in chocolate chips. 🙂

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On the old blog, I used to follow my cupcake pictures and whatnot with feedback – what everyone thought of the cupcakes.

 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Frosting and Chocolate Chips:

The frosting was delicious! The texture was good. The cupcake itself was a little less chocolatey than I would have liked. Tasted a little flour-y… Next time I try the chocolate (it’s really a staple), I’m going to try to add more chocolate flavor. The texture was good a fluffy, cooked nicely and evenly all the way through. Jeremy thinks we would have done better with mini chocolate chips instead of the normal size.