Author Archives: Paige Greenfield

98 Days Until Baby!

DSC00344

Holy moly. This week we passed a major milestone. Wednesday marked 100 days until our due date and now we’re in the double digit countdown. WHAT? That’s just crazy talk. Considering the fact that only five percent of babies are actually born on their due date I realize it’s just a ballpark, but it’s still a big deal to me. I’ll be posting a second trimester recap in a few weeks, but I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on this whole brewing a baby thing now that we’re just over three months away from meeting our little guy.

Physically, I’ve been feeling really great. I can feel him kick, which is the coolest thing ever and still totally weird. To feel your body move and have no control over it is just…wow! I first felt kicks around 21 weeks and we could feel kicks on the outside by 22 weeks (I’m 26 weeks today). Some days he’s more active than others. And some nights he wakes me up while doing a conga line across my belly (or maybe it’s hiccups!) and I secretly LOVE that. I just lie there in the dark with a hand over my little dancer and a smile on my face until he goes back to sleep.

FullSizeRender

My belly is growing a lot more, too. I feel like it took a while for me to show and I’m happy to be out of that “is she pregnant or did she just let herself go?” phase. It’s sort of astonishing to watch my body change so much. I’ll never forget the first time a stranger commented on my belly. We were in the airport and the woman doing my pat down (I’ve been skipping the big X-ray machines) asked me right away how many weeks along I was. I kind of wanted to hug her right then and there, but figured I’d probably be breaking some TSA laws.

Once I passed the 20-week mark we started thinking about the nursery and buying and registering for baby stuff (!!!) We recently got a crib (already set it up!), mattress, dresser (that will double as a changing table), changing pad, bookcase, and ordered our glider. The glider will arrive in January and I can’t wait to sit in it, read, and just hang out in baby’s room. I realize that this stuff is just stuff and probably more than this little human will ever need. But I can’t tell you how helpful it’s been for my mental state. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve experienced a lot of fear throughout this pregnancy. It comes and goes, but sometimes the fear gets the best of me. There’s been something so reassuring about furnishing our nursery and researching baby items that’s made a big difference for me. I think it’s the fact that I can picture our baby using these things and it helps me trust that everything will be okay.

Speaking of our nursery, before becoming pregnant I wasn’t a huge fan of nurseries with a theme or that were overly babyish. Now? We’re going with a colorful safari/jungle theme and everything we’ve found is so cute I could just burst. Funny how things change, huh? Bring on the giraffes, elephants, rhinos, and monkeys!! Robert and I also bought baby’s very first clothing items last weekend: two onesies from Baby Gap and a hat and mittens. The thought of our little guy wearing them turns my heart to mush. Baby boy clothes are seriously the cutest.

IMG_0866

Thanksgiving Day in Kansas City

As someone who basically researches stuff for a living (and enjoys it), I always imagined I’d spend the entire pregnancy reading stacks of baby books. I’m surprised (and maybe a little embarrassed?) to say that so far I’ve only read one (Bringing Up Bebe) and it was actually more entertaining than informative. Robert just finished The Happiest Baby on the Block (seriously ask the man anything about the fourth trimester and the 5 S’s and he’s on it!) I’ll be reading that next followed by Heading Home with Your Newborn (it’s written by two pediatrician moms and the closest thing I’ve found to a baby owner’s manual; I actually received a copy years ago for a story I wrote for American Baby magazine so I’m happy I held onto it). I may read some Ina May Gaskin books I have, too. If you have any must-read recommendations, I’d love to hear them! We’ll also be taking some classes offered through the hospital in the next few weeks. But ultimately, I know that the real learning happens in getting to know our baby and figuring things out once he’s here. Plus, I’m relishing this time when I can still get through as many novels as I like : ) I just finished a really cute book called Vintage that I’d recommend if you’re in the mood for some chick lit fluff.

I have a feeling that with the holidays coming up, the next few weeks are going to fly by and all of a sudden we’ll be well into the third trimester and preparing for baby’s arrival (aaaaand making 10,000 freezer meals…I’m super excited about that). For now, I’m trying to make it a priority to slow down and soak in this time as much as I can because I know it really is so fleeting and such a gift.

What I’ve Been Cooking Lately

tableHi guys! Long time no see! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. We had a cah-razy Thanksgiving week with a lot of travel. The weekend before Turkey Day we flew to Kansas City for a night, then drove to Branson, MO and spent a few days with Robert’s family at Big Cedar Lodge. We then drove back to KC for Thanksgiving, flew home to Chicago for a night, and then drove up to Detroit for our final wedding of the year and back home again. Phew! I can’t believe all of that happened within the span of one week. At 25.5 weeks, baby sure has racked up some miles already! I must say, it feels so great to be home.

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, but I’ve been cooking A LOT. We’ve been so fortunate to host family and friends several times over the past few months. It’s funny, when Robert and I were registering for wedding gifts (best thing ever) he’d joke about the imaginary life I had in my head in which we throw dinner parties all the time. Before we got married we just didn’t do it very often. But over the past year we’ve been hosting more and more and I absolutely love it. We’ve become quite the team when having people over.

I must say: dinner parties at home > dinner out. It’s just so much more laid back and enjoyable!

Currently, I feel like I’m going through a phase where I’m really enjoying following recipes pretty much to the word. It’s a great way to sharpen my skills in the kitchen and get back to basics. At the same time, following recipes gives me the confidence I need to make things I’ve never made before (like penne alla vodka–from scratch!) Lately, I’ve been all about comfort foods and no one does comfort better, in my opinion, than the Barefoot Contessa. So you’ll see quite a few links to her recipes below.

Here are some of my favorite recipes lately:

Barefoot Contessa Italian wedding soup I made this soup for a big group of friends we had over on a Sunday afternoon. I served it with a big salad, cornbread, and apple cider cupcakes.

Barefoot Contessa penne alla vodka This is going to sound insane, but I actually decided to make this recipe on a whim as a way to use up some ingredients we had on hand including lots of frozen pureed tomatoes from our CSA this summer and some heavy cream. It’s probably the most extravagant clean-out-the-fridge meal I’ve ever made. It was delicious.

Barefoot Contessa winter minestrone soup with garlic bruschetta I’d been eyeing this recipe for as long as I can remember and I’m so happy I finally got a chance to make it when a friend visited for lunch one day last month. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I’m definitely going to make a few batches to freeze before baby arrives in March!

Smitten Kitchen sweet and sour holiday brisket in the slower cooker from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.This November, my parents and sister visited for a weekend. I had this brisket ready for them when they arrived late Friday night. I served it with roasted carrots and potatoes (recipe is also from the cookbook), sauteed shredded brussels sprout salad, and apple spice cake for dessert.

Smitten Kitchen big cluster maple granola from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I make a batch of this with raisins every week or two so I always have a container of it in my pantry. I love having a big bowl of granola with sliced bananas and milk most mornings. I’ve also been known to have a bowl when I occasionally wake up starving around 3 or 4am : )

Quiche Oh my goodness we’ve been eating so much quiche lately. It’s my favorite way to clean out the veggie drawer and finish up any remaining eggs each week. I use this recipe as my base, mostly for the instructions. Lately I’ve been taking a much simpler approach with shallot, canadian bacon, and arugula or spinach. Yum! I even made two of them while we were away with Robert’s family last week.

First Trimester Recap

Hi Friends! Thank you so much for sharing in our excitement over the news that we’re having a baby boy! Everything just feels so much more REAL now. What’s more, I *think* I’m starting to feel some movement in there. It’s so different from what I thought it would feel like and it’s pretty soft so far. It doesn’t feel like kicks, exactly, but it’s more like flips or turns or twitches. Twice this week, the movements have actually made me jump! It’s so cool! I especially can’t wait until we can feel them on the outside!

Anyway…I’ve had this post ready to go for ages now and I’m finally getting around to publishing it. At 22 weeks, I’m more than halfway through the second trimester and the pregnancy (!!), but I still wanted to share my first trimester experiences. I also want to mention that by no means are any of these symptoms I describe below complaints. I couldn’t be happier to experience each and every one of them. I’m just so fascinated by how pregnancy affects the body in so many different ways (and yet so many women experience similar things). Plus, I love reading about others’ experiences. So here it goes!

In early July, the very same day we found out I was pregnant, Robert learned he’d be working on a client located in Louisville, KY starting immediately. That meant he’d be traveling every Monday (sometimes Sunday) through Friday until at least September. What timing, right? At first I was really bummed about him being gone during this time. Now, with the experience of the first trimester behind us, I can say that if Robert had to be away for one trimester I’m glad it was the first. Here’s why:

Fatigue Within about one week of finding out I was pregnant, I became SO tired all the time. I’ve never known fatigue like that before (I have a feeling I’ll become all too familiar with it once babykins is here). I’d heard the first trimester really takes it out of you and that’s no joke. I found myself planted on the couch by 4 or 5pm most days, counting the hours until it seemed acceptable to go to bed. In other words, I wasn’t exactly the most fun to be around. I took quite a few naps, sometimes two or three per day on weekends. Quite impressive for someone who’s typically a terrible napper.

One of my favorite napping buddies

One of my favorite napping buddies

Food aversions/cravings The other thing that made his traveling during this time not so bad (as much as I missed him) is that meal prep became nonexistent. My lack of energy and bizarre appetite—I’d be hungry, but nothing sounded good to me—made it tough to make any real meals, especially in the evening. I had some cravings such as fruit and carbs (more on that below). I also had some aversions, especially to soft foods like eggs, avocado, fish, and slowly cooked meats, which explains why I abandoned the Whole30 right away. Plus, I wanted to be sure baby is exposed to all kinds of foods in there. I also couldn’t stomach the taste or smell of coffee, which is normally one of my favorite things in the world. By the end of my first trimester it started to appeal to me again, but I try to limit myself to about three or four cups per week now. As for classic cravings like pickles, that never hit me. I definitely had hankerings for pizza and pancakes, but I crave those foods normally anyway : )

Other symptoms I experienced…

Nausea When it comes to morning/all-day sickness, I think I got off pretty easy. I definitely had bouts of nausea (I still do every few days), but I never got sick. I’m not sure if that’s because it wasn’t that bad or because working from home meant I was able to immediately eat something if it was due to hunger, pop a ginger chew (love the ones from Trader Joe’s), drink a ginger ale, or lie down if needed. But to be perfectly honest, as yucky as nausea is, I was happy for it. I’d feel terrible and ecstatic at the same time. It was a welcomed reminder that there was really a baby in there and it was doing what it was supposed to do.

Fear I am a worrier through and through so I probably shouldn’t be surprised at how afraid I was that something bad would happen. But I was terrified. I wish I could’ve had an ultrasound every single day to check on baby (still do, but I’ve been much better about managing my fear lately). I almost caved a few times and wanted to buy an at-home fetal heart monitor so we could listen to baby’s heartbeat for reassurance, but as soon as I thought about how I’d feel if I couldn’t find it (they can be very tricky to find/distinguish from your own pulse), I decided against it. Probably a smart move. Without going into too much TMI detail, I also had a subchorionic hemorrhage (Google at your own risk..) that appeared around week six. Although my doctor assured me it wouldn’t affect the baby, it was extremely scary for many weeks. Fortunately, it appeared to be resolved by our 20 week ultrasound and everything looks healthy–thank goodness.

So those were my big symptoms: Fatigue, nausea, and fear. I also had terrible skin breakouts and could cry at the drop of a hat. Robert’s been keeping a list of quotes I’ve said throughout the pregnancy and one of them was, “I feel like I have to cry, but I have nothing to cry about.” Ha.

Here are some of the things (mostly foods/beverages…because of course) that I couldn’t get enough of during the first trimester:

FRUIT! I craved ALL THE FRUIT ALL THE TIME. Happily, in July and August all the good stuff was in season!

IMG_5478 IMG_5497IMG_5514 IMG_5541 IMG_5547 IMG_5579 IMG_5720 IMG_5770\IMG_5447IMG_5784

Cereal. I joke that the first trimester turned me into a teenage boy. All I did was sleep and eat cereal. A few times I woke up in the middle of the night starving and would eat a big bowl of cereal and then go back to bed. (Somehow I didn’t gain any weight in the first trimester. I don’t seem to have any problems packing it on now, though…) I tried to stick with healthier, whole-grain, organic choices, but I also had my fair share of Honey Bunches of Oats, Crispix, and Raisin Bran.

IMG_5572

Instacart. It’s not a food, but a service. And I don’t know how I would’ve gotten by without it. With Instacart, you pick out your groceries online and they go to the store (including Whole Foods!), get the groceries for you, and deliver them to your house. Normally, I LOVE grocery shopping (fortunately, I’m back to doing it again), but the combination of exhaustion and nausea made it difficult to do. Side note: any situation where there was A LOT of food, like the grocery store, made me queasy – I couldn’t even look at Pinterest or Instagram for most of the first trimester because of the onslaught of food. All of that combined with a husband out of town and no family nearby made Instacart my BFF.

Oatmeal & anything toasted with peanut butter. This is my classic pre-ski breakfast in the winter, but I was craving it even when it was 90-plus degrees outside. Also: Toasted cinnamon raisin bagels with peanut butter. My parents brought me some bagels when they visited in August (I was 11 weeks then) because you just can’t get a decent bagel outside of New York, amIright? One of my first pregnancy purchases was a toaster because we didn’t own one before. Now I use it all the time!

IMG_5809

IMG_5862

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whole Foods REAL ginger ale. For nausea, this stuff works WAY better than the kind in the green bottle. I still make sure to always have a few on hand just in case.

IMG_5853

Iced tea & lemonade. A Starbucks unsweetened iced black tea lemonade became my favorite drink in the world especially since I was off of coffee for a while.IMG_5508

Protein Bar Superfood Vegan Salad with Chicken. I had at least one, sometimes two of these per week. They’re not cheap so it was a total splurge (not to mention about a 10 to 15 minute drive from our home). For most of the first trimester, vegetables (cooked or raw) rarely appealed to me, but for some reason I could always stomach one of these salads. They made me feel slightly better about not consuming as many vegetables as I wished I could.

IMG_5706

Turkey and Fig Panini

Turkey & Fig Panini

My parents have a friend who has a recipe box filled with sandwich recipes. They go something like this: Take two slices of bread and spread with mustard. Add ham and Swiss cheese. Cut in half and eat. I always got a kick out of this guy because, I mean, who needs a recipe to make a sandwich?

Except here I am now posting a recipe for a sandwich. But…BUT…consider this more inspiration than a recipe because you can use any quantities you like and switch up the ingredients however you see fit. It would just be wrong for me not to share it with you.

The inspiration came from a wedding we attended two weekends ago in Kansas City where they had a panini bar during cocktail hour. How cool is that? I’ve been obsessed with paninis pretty much since then. While cold cuts aren’t recommended when you’ve got a bun in the oven (and I’d avoided them up until that point), the turkey, fig, and mozzarella panini looked way too delicious to pass up. So I hoped for the best and shoveled those things in as quickly as the panini guy served them up (sorry, other guests). Fortunately, I lived to tell about it–and make them on my own!

To avoid eating cold cuts this time (though you can absolutely use them!) I roasted a turkey breast the night before and served a mini thanksgiving with mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, and roasted beets. But the real reason for all of that effort was just so I could make this sandwich the next day. True story. It’s all about the leftovers, isn’t it? And oh man, was it ever worth it.

Gooey, melty mozzarella combined with sweet fig butter (find it at Trader Joe’s!), crisp spinach (you know me–always finding a way to add some greens), all smooshed together on toasty, golden whole wheat bread. I just used a regular loaf from the grocery store, but you can fancy this up with any kind of bakery bread. Pop this baby into a panini maker or George Foreman grill. But if you’re like me and don’t have either one just use a cast iron skillet with a heavy pan pressed on top (instructions below). It totally worked! As soon as I sunk my teeth into the very first bite I was already plotting when I’d be having my next sandwich (lunch today, duh). You’ll definitely want to make this when you’re drowning in leftover turkey later this month–if you can wait that long!

Turkey & Fig Panini

Makes 1 Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread (or any bread of choice)
  • Fig butter
  • 2 slices mozzarella cheese
  • Roasted turkey or chicken (cold cuts are fine, too). If you use roasted, though, heat it up a little before to help the cheese melt
  • Small handful of spinach, arugula, or other leafy green (optional)
  • Pat of butter

Preparation:

Prep the sandwich: Smear a generous amount of fig butter on one side of each slice of the bread. Place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of the fig butter on each slice of bread. On one of the slices add the turkey and then spinach. Top with the other slice of bread to form a sandwich.

Use a panini maker or George Foreman grill and cook until desired degree of tastiness.

If using a cast iron skillet: Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Melt a small pat of butter (less than 1 Tbsp). Place the sandwich on the skillet. Place the bottom of another pan on top of the sandwich. Apply pressure, if needed. Cook about 2-4 minutes, until bottom slice is golden brown, being careful not to burn. Use a spatula to flip the sandwich over and cook the second side, again with the pan stacked on top, another 2-4 minutes. Slice and serve immediately.

Baby Fowler is a….

boy_edited-2Robert and I couldn’t be happier to share with you that we’re expecting a baby boy! We are thrilled beyond words. The idea of a little Robert running around just makes my heart burst. I hope he’s as kind, curious, smart, patient, and funny as his dad.

%0A

Most importantly, we are so grateful that everything at our 20-week ultrasound appeared healthy and on track with our little guy. He was so active the entire time and we were lucky that he was very cooperative so the sonographer could capture every view and measurement she needed.

20141025_175142

Thanks to the happy news that all appears well and finding out that we’re having a boy, I’ve pretty much been on cloud nine since last Thursday. I even felt his very first kick this Saturday. It felt like a flick in my lower belly and I haven’t been able to feel anything again since then, but I can’t wait until his movements become more frequent and noticeable.

After our appointment last week I could think of no better way to celebrate (or satisfy my hunger…omg I was so hungry) than with a delicious donut! It was the first donut I’ve had in YEARS and wow was it good. I’ll never forget this moment of joy captured below. It has so much more to do with the happiness I felt in my heart than the taste of the buttermilk glazed Do-Rite donut (though that certainly didn’t hurt).

IMG_0369

Now bring on the blue!!!! I can’t wait to be parents to our little baby boy in March!

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip CookiesHappy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Did you do anything fun? Robert and I had a few adventures, but my favorite was a three-hour long intro to pottery class we took Saturday night. Um, did you know that using a potter’s wheel (is that even what it’s called?) is super hard? It took us a while to get the hang of it and learn how to keep the clay from flying off. It was so fun to get our hands dirty and pick up a new skill. We’re still total beginners, but Robert was quite good at it! We’re lucky that the place we went to is within walking distance to our house so we could definitely go again.

Okay….cookie time!!! What better way to start off the week, right? Now, if I’m posting a pumpkin recipe on here then you know it has to be great. There are approximately 10 billion pumpkin recipes floating around out there (not to mention the 10 billion pumpkin products currently available at Trader Joe’s) that I wouldn’t bother adding another one unless it was really, truly superb. And these are!

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip CookiesLike most pumpkin-based goods they’re a cakier confection and I love them for it. I’m a huge fan of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and these are a seasonal version of my favorite recipe.

I especially love sticking these in the freezer once they’ve cooled and snacking on them straight from there. The cookies become extra chewy and the chocolate chips have just the right amount of bite. You just can’t beat it. I highly recommend keeping a batch of these on hand to satisfy your pumpkin cravings for as long as they last. If that’s until springtime I certainly won’t judge you for it!

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, add flours, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and whisk to combine.

Add dry ingredient mixture to pumpkin mixture in two to three batches and mix until all ingredients are combined. Add oats and chocolate chips and mix until combined.

Drop cookie dough by the heaping tablespoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake cookies 12 to 15 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes and remove to wire racks to finish cooling.

 

Journey to Baby on SHAPE.com

Hi friends. I’m jumping on here this morning to tell you about a piece I wrote for SHAPE.com. It’s  about our journey to baby. We learned a lot along the way and couldn’t be more grateful for where we are today. The article on SHAPE.com is the most personal piece I’ve ever written and my first essay that’s ever been published. #cuepanicattack

Part of me wants to pretend I didn’t write it and let it go as unnoticed as possible. Considering the fact that it’s already received a whole bunch of shares, I guess that’s not going to happen.

The truth is, as a writer, I feel a certain responsibility to share what I’ve learned with the hope that it could make a difference for someone else. Of course, everyone’s experience is completely different and most women will never face some of the challenges that I did. Still, the statistics show I’m not alone.

So while I’m pretty nervous about strangers, friends, and relatives (eek!) reading about this uberpersonal stuff (and talking about things like menstrual cycles and mittelschmerz…) if it helps or informs one person then to me it’s worth it.

Check it out on SHAPE.com if you desire. And stay tuned for my first trimester recap coming soon!