perfect peace

There's something special about a child being so secure and comfortable in someone's arms that they can just fall asleep, trusting that they will be taken care of and all will be well.

Of course we see that all the time with newborns and small babies, but if your child is at all like mine falling asleep 'on the go' just doesn't happen.  There's too much to see and do and who wants to miss out on all the fun?!

Well, the comfort of daddy's arms shoulders just got to be too much to fight the other night...  Bjørn fell fast asleep, drooling all over daddy's head, and stayed asleep even as I took him, changed his diaper and his clothes and put him to bed.

Doesn't this just melt your heart?


what a craving is

For anyone who has not been pregnant, or who has never experienced intense cravings, I hope this helps you understand the mental chaos that is a true pregnancy craving.  Now of course this is just my opinion...  my experience...  but it is something, and if you have never experienced it, maybe now you will understand.

Or at least get out of the way if you and a pregnant lady are eyeing the same last container of a particular ice cream flavor at the grocery store!

I'll start with what a craving is not.  It is not a passing fancy for one food over the other.  It is not an "I think I'd like pasta tonight for dinner instead of a salad".  It is not an excuse to get whatever food one feels like eating at the moment!  It is not something that can be controlled, at least it's not for me.

What is it then?  A true craving is an all-consuming, intense, physical and emotional need for a certain food or type of food.  It is not something that can be will-powered away, or ignored.  If ignored, it often grows stronger and stronger until the need is almost desperate.  If I try to substitute a different, maybe even similar food for the one I am craving, it can sometimes offer a brief respite...  of mere minutes.  But soon the craving is back, and stronger.

Right now I am craving fruit.  All kinds of fruit, but the most intense desire is for fresh blueberries.  I fall asleep thinking about them and they are the first thing I think of when I wake up.  Unfortunately, I ate the last of our blueberries last night and today has been a miserable day of competition between the all-consuming desire for more berries and the very real need for a day of rest and not leaving the house.

Tomorrow though will bring a trip to the store for more berries, and tonight will be filled with dreams of them.  I can already taste them as their sweet juicy flesh pops in my mouth and their tart flavor consumes my taste buds.  If there was someone here to stay with Bjørn I would hop in the car right now, but it seems I will have to wait..........

So, if you see me tomorrow at Costco and we are reaching for the same container of blueberries...  please step aside and let me have them.  Otherwise I can't promise that I won't burst into tears and make a scene.

I really should have gone to the store today.


and we're done.

Nursing that is.  It's over.  I realized a few days ago that Bjørn hadn't nursed in a while.  Days actually.  He just stopped, and... I didn't even notice!  On the one hand, I was relieved.  This was something I wanted, you know, something I had initiated myself.  But on the other hand, I was broken.  I had missed the ending of this special bond with my son, and it broke my heart.  One of my favorite parts of being a mom so far was over, and... I didn't even realize it.

So, I decided I needed to create my own last time, so that I could enjoy each moment of my son's sweet breath, his cuddles, and his need for only me.  I offered, one last time, and he was happy to accept.  We cuddled and he nursed, and I stared into his eyes and savored his perfect fit until he wouldn't sit still one more minute.  I really didn't want this to end. Yet, I did.  Such an odd feeling of relief and misery.  Black and white at the same time.  Happy and sad.

Ultimately I am so grateful for this journey that we have taken.  I have loved every minute of it.  Every pain, every inconvenience, every discomfort... every experience of joy and satisfaction and of what being truly needed feels like.  I have loved it all.  And as happy as I am to be done, for now...  I am already so excited for this relationship to begin again with baby #2 this fall!!


chicken caesar salad

Caesar salad at a great restaurant with a glass of red wine is one of my favorite meals.  So satisfying, rich, garlicky, salty and perfect!

I finally decided I needed to come up with my own recipe for homemade caesar dressing, because really...  that's what makes the salad, and why pay $15 at a restaurant when I can make it at home for a fraction of the price!
Homemade Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3-4 cloves)
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
2 romaine hearts
1 store-bought rotisserie chicken breast, chopped
shredded or sliced parmesan cheese

Puree the first 7 ingredients in a blender until smooth.  This can be done up to 1 day ahead.

Wash, dry and chop the romaine hearts into a large bowl.  Toss in the chicken breast pieces and the parmesan cheese.  Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Just before serving, toss the salad with the dressing to coat.  Top with fresh ground black pepper and extra lemon slices for anyone who wants them!


blog slacking...

Yes, yes...  I know.  I've been slacking on the blog lately.  Why?  Because I'm tired!  :o)  Really, it seems I have been focusing every spare moment I have on catching a few winks of sleep!

I am starting to feel better, more like myself...  but I am still tired, and besides that I have been doing pretty much no cooking at all lately!  (Just ask my husband...  he's pretty sad!)  No cooking/baking = nothing fun to blog about!

Of course I could blog about pregnancy and babies and cravings and emotional breakdowns every 5 minutes, but is that really what you come here for??  Ok, maybe you come here for a little bit of that, but I'm betting that's not what the majority of you come here to see.  If I'm wrong, please correct me and I will gladly share with you all my random crazy pregnancy thoughts!  :o)

I did make these yummy Almond Poppyseed Muffins the other day (yes, it was a craving)...
But, they are not exactly what I wanted them to be and so I am not ready to share the recipe.  And since my taste buds/appetite/brain are not what they are usually, I don't want to scrap the recipe until I can try it again at a more 'normal' time!  Be watching for it one of these days (months?)!

Thanks for putting up with my pregnancy slacking!  I promise that I will get back up to par...  someday!


12 week baby bump!

Here it is!  12 weeks along with baby #2!!
I apologize for the quality of these pictures!  The cut off head, the grainy low-light situation...  everything!  I was using the self-timer on my camera this evening, and I just got tired of finding more books to prop up the camera on.  I will do better next time.  :o)

Here is a picture of my belly at almost 12 weeks when I was pregnant with Bjørn!  Is it just me, or does my bump look quite a bit bigger this time than it did with him??
Let's look at them together and see...
So, what do you think?

Oh, and here's a bump-baring pic!  Please please excuse the expression on my face!  What was I thinking??  (literally!!)  :o)
Hope these satisfied your curiosity!  I will do my best to update the bump pics regularly...  :o)


like father, like son

I don't know what they were being so serious about...  I think Andrew's team was winning the game at this point?!?
I promise he was having the time of his life up there on daddy's shoulders...  It really is one of his favorite places to be!  :o)



I'm craving DONUTS??  Really?!?  Good grief.  Oh, and not just any donuts...  these donuts:
Yep, jelly-filled donuts.  Doesn't matter where they're from, as long as they're fresh and full of yummy red jelly!

The thing is:  I don't really even care for donuts!  Sure, I'll eat 'em.  And once in a while I'll actually make an effort to go find one or to enjoy one if someone brings it to me, but right now these donuts are all I can think about!

Actually, they have been all I can think about for a few days now, but like all my cravings I always seem to try to ignore them for several days before I give in.  Why?  I have no idea!

Well, I wonder how long this will last??  And...  I wonder what will be next...


weaning and... stuff.

I never had a plan for when Bjørn would wean.  I really just felt that we would keep on enjoying it until I felt the time was right, or until either one of us wasn't enjoying it anymore.  Well, that time has finally come.  The time is right and I'm just not enjoying it anymore.

One of the most frustrating symptoms of this pregnancy so far is an extreme case of claustrophobia (and yes, I know that's not the right word for what I'm about to describe, but it's the best I can do).  I can't stand to be touched.  Pretty much at all.  Some days are worse than others, and on those worst days I want to cringe, and run away and hide every time someone comes near me.

Unfortunately, the two people whom I love the most, and who come to me for hugs the most, are my husband and my sweet baby.  And oh how I love those hugs...  normally.  Hugs are one of my favorite things in the world, and it's killing me that they have become so...  uncomfortable these days!

Of course I continue to hug and receive hugs as much as possible, fighting through the discomfort, as I don't think anyone else should have to suffer because of my weirdness!  But nursing is a whole different story.  Nursing my sweet boy is a not a quick hug and then freedom, it is sitting and being touched and holding and being hit and poked (he is a boy!)...  it is just too much for me to handle!

I didn't want to end our nursing relationship on a bad note, so the process will be a slow one and so far has been relatively painlessly for us.  The first thing to go (cold turkey!) was any daytime feedings at all.  No exceptions.  My boobs (sorry guys!) are completely off limits during daylight hours.

Nighttime has stayed pretty much the same so far...  one nursing before bed.  One in the middle of the night if he wakes, and first thing in the morning (to buy us a few more minutes of quiet in our day...).  We will work on cutting out the nighttime feedings once we are completely adjusted to the daytimes.

I have loved nursing my son so much.  It really has been one of my favorite parts of being a mom.  I am sad to see it go, but at the same time I am so excited for this new phase in our lives.  My little boy is not a baby anymore.  He is growing up, and I love seeing the person that he is becoming!  This really has been the best year of my life so far.  I can't wait to see what's up ahead!


gum. lots and lots of gum.

Do you know where this is?
I'll give you a hint:  It's in Seattle.
It's gross and fascinating all at the same time...
and we love it.  :o)


tres leches cake (PW style!)

I made this cake yesterday, for a neighborhood Cinco de Mayo potluck.   It. was. amazing.  Seriously.  The best Tres Leches I've ever had (and I love Tres Leches!).

Now, I don't usually share recipes on here that are not my own, but sometimes I just have to make an exception.  This one is too good to not get into my archives, and they only thing I changed was to barely sweeten the whipped cream (2 teaspoons sugar to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream) and put strawberries macerated in 1 tablespoon brown sugar on top, instead of the maraschino cherries!  Sooo good!

You can find the original recipe here.

Tres Leches Cake Recipe
(slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 eggs
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup whole milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1 pound strawberries, quartered
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F and generously grease a 9x13" baking pan with butter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt;  set aside.  Into 2 medium bowls, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites;  set aside the whites.

Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar until they are creamy and pale yellow in color.  Stir the vanilla and whole milk into the egg yolks, and then pour the mixture over the flour and stir very gently until combined.

Beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.  With the mixer on, pour in 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the whites are stiff, but not dry.  Fold the whites gently into the batter in 2 or 3 batches.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack or platter (It should release fairly easily because of all that butter!) and let it cool completely.

When the cake is cool place it on a platter or back into the baking dish, if you had it on a cooling rack, and poke holes all over the top with a fork.  In a large measuring cup, stir together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and 1/4 cup of the heavy cream.  Pour the mixture slowly and evenly over the top of the cake, allowing it to soak in and saturate the cake.  (The cake could be made ahead to this point and stored in the fridge overnight!)

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the quartered strawberries with the brown sugar, stir and set aside to macerate while you whip the cream.  In another bowl, whip the remaining 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with the powdered sugar.  Spread over the cake and top with the strawberries.  Store in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

No need for ice cream with this cake!  It is so rich and moist and lovely...  it really stands on its own.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!  (And please don't wait until next Cinco de Mayo to make it!)


pesto chicken penne pasta

I first had this dish at a little italian restaurant in Gamla Stan (the old town area of Stockholm), Sweden.   I loved it so much that I actually went back to that restaurant twice in the few days I was there!

I have spent years working on recreating this dish, and finally have it perfected.  This is exactly as I remember it tasting!  (Someday I will have to go back to Stockholm and test my theory!)  

Pesto Chicken Penne Pasta Recipe

2 chicken breasts, sauteed in olive oil, with salt & pepper
1 pound penne pasta, cooked al dente
1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water
2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, divided
1 garlic clove
salt & pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup (or so) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Cook the chicken, set aside.  Cook the pasta, drain and set aside (reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water).

In your food processor, place the basil, 1/4 cup of the toasted pine nuts, garlic clove and salt & pepper and red pepper flakes.  Pulse until everything is finely chopped.  Turn the food processor on, and slowly stream in the olive oil until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.  Dump the pesto into a large bowl, stir in the parmesan cheese and taste to see if you need any more salt and pepper.

Dump the penne and the chicken into the bowl with the pesto in it, and stir to combine well.  Add pasta water, a little at a time (you may not need all of it!), until the sauce has coated all the noodles and chicken.  Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts and serve!

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