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This is the phrase I’ve heard from my hubby about at least a couple of items that I’ve cooked in the past week. See, 2 weeks ago I started making and freezing about 2 main dish meals each week to reheat and enjoy after this baby is born. So each week when I sit down and do my weekly menu planning for our family, I always include at least 2 things for dinner that I think would be excellent nourishment post partum. Plus, with fall like temps hitting us early this year, it seems that most of these things are very “homey” as well.

It’s just interesting that I am in the full swing of nesting right now, and loving it I must add, and I feel like there is just extra “love” in everything that my hands touch right now. Including my cooking. And, I have to say that in my opinion, I have one of the opinionated, critiques of a husband who would tell me the truth about how something tastes whether I want to hear it or not. Last week, it was my spinach lasagna that he was in awe of, and that, we now have 2 pans of in the freezer, and tonight it was my scalloped potatoes and ham that he said was the best he’s ever had..(not even that I’ve just made), and that we have one large pan of for the freezer. I just think that there is some kind of magic in the air right now, and I can’t quite describe what I mean..Gabe thinks I’m just hormonally supercharged and as high as high can be. Whatever it is, I hope it sticks with me for the rest of this pregnancy, and I hope the “crash” won’t kill me.

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I love my beets!

Ok, I’ll just say that this is probably going to be boring for anyone other than myself reading this entry, but I’ve wanted to do this for awhile now. I thought it would be fun to look back on his life and see what some of his favorite foods and least favorite foods are. So, here we are at almost 20mths old and this is what he like and dislikes:

LOVES

  • Corn of any kind
  • Pickles, dill, the brinier the better
  • banana peppers
  • black olives, especially when eaten off his fingers
  • cooked carrots
  • peas
  • bread or toast with honey and butter
  • plain ol spoon fulls of honey
  • straight up tangy plain yogurt
  • raisins
  • grapes, green or red, but especially red
  • cheddar bunnies
  • chicken
  • any kind of dipping sauce…ketchup, BBQ, ranch, chip dip
  • cooked broccoli, I’m not kidding the child will eat almost an entire bunch in one setting
  • raw veggies with dip..(carrots, broccoli, celery, cucumbers)
  • tomatoes…suprised he didn’t turn into a tomato this summer he will pick them and pop handfuls straight into his mouth
  • tomatoes and cucumbers cut up with vinegar and salt and pepper on them..(this is how I eat them:)
  • Green Peppers, caught him eating them straight from my garden like an apple..how strange
  • peaches
  • smoothies of any kind
  • ice cream of any kind
  • cottage cheese
  • any kind of cheese..chunked up, shredded, parmesan, whatever…
  • Pasta of any kind, can’t get enough noodles
  • rice of any kind, brown rice, basmati, whatever…
  • Quinoa
  • Cous Cous
  • Peanut butter on anything
  • Bacon
  • yogurt covered raisins
  • Beets
  • Pizza of any kind

Not To Keen On

  • Eggs of any kind
  • Potatoes, could take em or leave em..
  • Beef of any kind

Yesterday at my MW appt one of the things we were chatting about was food, and all the hidden junk that is in it.  Since both myself and my midwife have little toddler sons running around, we are at the same point as far as trying to find them healthy snacks and staying away from the sugar.  It was a really good talk that prompted me to come home and raid my cupboards and look at all the ingredients on certain items and check for all the hidden dyes, and especially high fructose corn syrup.  Yep, it’s in nearly everything alright!  So today I went to the health food store and restocked on all the things I tossed like ketchup, peanut butter, syrup, just to name a few.  Both my hubby and my son are big snackers, and so I am trying really hard to come up with more healthy options for them.  We have been buying lots of fruit, and veggies that I give to them with dip of course…and today I stocked up on nuts and dried fruits..ok so I spent a fortune on them, and knowing my hubby’s appetite, he could probably eat them all in like 3-4 days..but hey, he is the one who pays the bills, so if he is ok with that, more power to him!

I guess more than anything, I like the fact that I am becoming much more aware of what we put in our mouth’s everyday, especially now that we have a already hyper active little boy, who doesn’t need the added sugar in his body.  I am trying to find some sort of middle ground, because I can not control every little thing, and I really don’t want to, but by making these little changes I feel like we are moving in the right direction.

Ethan LOVES corn. But it sure doesn’t get any better than real, fresh, Iowa sweetcorn. Gabe came across a truck selling Grimes sweetcorn last night and brought home a whole bag full. The ears were kinda small, but delicious non the less. I cut two ears off the cob for Ethan, but he was still hungry after that, so we just gave it to him the ol fashioned way, and he did a pretty good job! Too bad it all came right back out in his diaper today…sorry, I know you really wanted to hear that, right?

So this will be our 3rd summer at our house, and every year I have planted a garden in a different spot. I am still learning. The issue is sun. Or lack thereof in our yard due to our 4 very large shade trees. Finding a spot that anything will grow is a bit tricky. So this year I planted most of the garden in the only real spot there is sunlight for most of the day-by the garage. There was a flowerbed and a fence already in place there, and I dug up and transplanted all the flowers and bushes elsewhere, and this year added lots of compost, and good soil amendments and made this my garden. I also had the awful task of digging up grass and turning those old grassy areas into rich soil in which to plant my garden. This year I am attempting to grow lots of herbs. Basil, parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, chives, cilantro, and mint. Most are potted, a few in the ground. Then in my sunny area I planted 2 each of yellow squash and zucchini plants, 8 pepper plants, (4 red, 4 green), 12 tomato plants, some grape tomato, some early variety, and some later season variety, and sugar snap peas. In my not so sunny area, I have lettuce and a row of bush green beans. So far after all the rain we’ve had in the last few weeks I expect to see some major growth here real soon, as well as lots of weeds:( Here are a few pics of this year’s garden.

Ok, I think I’m an addict.  Right now I am addicted to the wonderful danish at Florene’s Bakery.  I wake up and can’t stop thinking that I wish I had one.  I usually only give in about once a week and actually go there and buy some, but lately it has been a bit more often.  This morning as wet and dreary as it was, I took Ethan down to the Historical Mueseum.  It is free and he loves to run around and play in the toddler area as well as climb the stairs and look at all the very realistic animal exhibits.

As I was driving back home though, I couldn’t get the danish out of my mind so I broke down and stopped by and bought a package of 2 day old danish..(which are still excellent).  I think I had one of them gone by the time I got home and just ate the other one..Oh my god, I can’t believe I am publicly sharing that I am such a pig!!!!   I am going to blame it on the pregnancy cravings…I never know from day to day what sounds good and what makes me want to vomit just thinking about it..so strange.  Ok, maybe I should go and feed my son something Healthy for lunch??

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Today marks a week since I’ve been making a daily “green” smoothie for breakfast. I joined a Smoothie Challenge that didn’t officially start until yesterday, but I got a running start on it. The Challenge encourages you to make at least one green smoothie daily for the entire month.

I now keep my freezer stocked with frozen fruits of all varieties and a fridge full of healthy greens. I must say I was a bit hesitant about the “greens” part, but now I’m hooked! Gabe prefers his made with a little less green than me, but I love the idea of starting my day off with so many healthy, beneficial nutrients. I have also noticed that I am not having that many in between meal cravings either.

So far I have experimented with kale, spinach, romaine, and parsley. I think my favorite so far is the one with 2 oranges, handful of strawberries, a few bananas, water,and 5 leaves of kale. Even Ethan likes them, which makes me feel great knowing how good they are for him. Wonder what delicious concoction I will make next!

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I must admit, I am not much of a holiday gift giver. And I’m happy that most of my friends and family are the same way. The kind of gifts that I like to give and to receive the most are things like cooking great meals, a foot massage, a terrific house clean, time to myself, being told I am a great mom/wife . I guess what I am trying to say is that I am not a roses, jewelry, teddy bear type of person. Gabe likes games. He likes surprises. And he usually succeeds with these types of things.

Here is how my Valentines Day went.

I called Gabe at work yesterday to ask him if I could cook him a nice dinner. He said, “No, I think I might be working late. We can celebrate tomorrow night.” A little bummed, but I thought, ok, no big deal. Well, he ended up coming home at 5pm, and suggested that I go and rent us a movie and we would have a movie and popcorn night. He said, “Everyone goes out on Valentines Day, plus we don’t have a sitter. We’ll just hang in tonight and maybe go out tomorrow night.” Again somewhat bummed, but I said ok, and left to go and pick up a movie. When I returned home the car was gone from the driveway. I went in the house to find a note on the counter. The note read:

Ethan and I have left for awhile

so that we may bring you a happy smile.

You better put on your nicest gown,

for a night out on the town.

It is best to use a hurried walk

because you must get to the next place by 7 o’clock.

Later on, to open the door

you will need to remember #3654.

Until then the next place to go,

Is somewhere you already know.

You don’t have to go too far

to get a cup of Z——-. (fill in the blank)

Good Luck!

So now I am excited, and hurried as fast as I could to put on my sexiest little black dress, high heels and all, a little makeup and mess up my hair..(guys think messy hair is sexy, I guess) Out the door I went, fancy outfit, driving a truck, and headed to a coffee shop.

I didn’t know if I should expect to find Gabe at the coffee shop, so when I got there I looked for signs of him, and didn’t see him anywhere. So now looking quite confused, I proceeded to the counter only to be stared in the face by a giant package sitting there with my name right on the front. The two people working were thrilled to see that I had arrived, and couldn’t wait to see what might be in the package.

Well, there was a note that said to open the box, and I must assemble the puzzle in the box, then flip it over to reveal my next message. Of course, Gabe made the puzzle and he must not know that it has been ages since I have assembled one, let alone one with so many funky corners and pieces of all sizes. The two baristas where so bored and were thrilled when I was asking them to help me assemble the puzzle. After about 20 minutes we finally got it together. It was a heart(of course!) and then I flipped it all over to reveal the message and it said. “Happy Valentines Day Brandy! Be at the Fitch Building at 7:30, studio 314. Alright! I headed downtown and went inside the otherwise empty building and found studio 314, peeked inside to find Gabe and a lovely table for two, black table cloth and all, flickering in candlelight waiting for me to arrive. He served me sparkling juice, wonderful appetizers, and an amazing dinner that he cooked himself on his college hot plate..ha ha. It was delicious, but more than that it was so thoughtful. We had a great evening without our son, bringing back memories of what brought us together in the first place. Oh, what a night.

You know, it really isn’t that bad. The South side that is, or even Des Moines in general. I was reminded today of just how lucky we are here in our little, quiet neighborhood. I feel so fortunate that I can go less than five minutes by car, or 15 minutes by foot, and find myself at my favorite Butcher Shop, Italian market, and Bakery.

It is true, I have developed a love affair with Findley’s Butcher Shop, Graziano’s Italian Market, and Florene’s Bakery and Coffee Shop. Since Findley’s opened about a year ago, I slowly have learned from the husband and wife owners, that they get all their meat locally. Not organic, but here in Iowa. I should mention that it is really good meat too,I can definatly live with that. Plus, since I am a sucker for great prices, I always like the fact that I leave feeling like I just got a really great deal. The best shaved pit ham from here in Iowa for only $3.99/lb!! Lunch meat for the week. Also the pork baby back ribs, Delish! Gabe can vouch for the fact that they were hands down the best he’s ever had. (Recipes to follow).

Ok, so you probably think I’ve gone mad, right? Have I become a traditional meat eating Iowan? I like to think not. But if I’m going to eat it, I am going to support my very local butcher in the process. And now for why I love Graziano’s. If you are not familiar with the south side of Des Moines, not that you really should be, but this is the Italian neighborhood. And Graziano’s is the food mecca for all your cooking and baking needs. You walk in and instantly get the most amazing whiff of spices, pungent cheeses and freshly ground Italian sausage. I can find practically anything I might be looking for including farro, which is a grain that I used to cook a lot when I lived in Portland, but since have never been able to find it. Local Italians sell their specialties there including sauces, fresh pasta, delectible little cookies, even fresh yeast cake!

Florene’s has been here for a couple of years and we happily tripped over it the weekend we were moving into our house. I must add that I believe what really happened was that I was just complaining to Gabe that I would have to drive at least 15 minutes for a pastry and a good cup of coffee, not to mention the conversation, and it was like-Whoa…what is this little gem we have stumbled upon? Could there really be something like this so close to our house? I remember feeling giddy. I still am. I have formed a great relationship with Tom the baker, and Kelly who runs the front of the house. She watched Gabe and I as we were buying a house together, then the belly bump appeared, and each week she watched as it grew larger. Florene’s was my very first outing with Ethan after he was born one cold January day last year, and since Kelly has become a great friend. I should say that besides conversing with Tom and Kelly, I also am a huge fan of the cinnamon raisin swirl bread and the delicate, flaky danish. Ahh, life is good.

I like to support my local community. It makes me feel good to know that I am not supporting another greedy corporate chain, and I am helping a small business succeed. I am also proud to be an Iowan. Yes, vacations are nice, but coming home to our little corner on the South Side is the best feeling of all.