Friday, January 30, 2015

My First Month as a Mom + Easy Snacks

I put my little 3 week 6 day old infant down in his bassinet after a 10:30 pm feeding. He slept an entire 4 hours and I swear woke up as a little boy. He felt heavier, fuller, with a thicker body, longer torso and limbs, bigger hands...even his hair seemed a little longer. Had his fleece onesie (already a 3 month size) even become a little snug? I think so!

I changed his diaper, nursed him then burped him and held him close for way longer than necessary before laying my sweet little slumbering baby back down in his bassinet. Who am I kidding? I was clinging to him for dear life, afraid that the next time he woke, he'd stand up and walk away from me a grown man!

Even after i finally managed to put him back down I sat there for way too long just watching him breathing and growing before my very eyes. I didn't want to sleep, even knowing he would be awake for his next feeding in 3, 2 maybe even 1 hour. I might have even been wishing a tiny bit that he would wake right back up so I could scoop him back into my arms and he could rest his cherub cheek on my shoulder and wrap his tiny arm around mine. What is sleep when you are so completely, helplessly in love anyways? I don't want to miss one precious moment with this perfect little man. The next day, at 2:53 pm, he would already be 4 weeks old.

Things I've Learned my first month as a mom

How to Live on Love. I quickly learned what living on love really means. Because there's no other way to explain how a human being can function on such little sleep for so many days! I have to giggle at posts I see on facebook of people complaining about only getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep...what's that even like?! That much sleep could keep me going for a week at this point!

Midnight snacks rule. Midnight snacks make nighttime feeds more bearable. Give yourself something to look forward to. Before bed, prepare a fully stocked nursing station wherever you plan on nursing the baby,. water, snacks, blanket, phone, charger, etc. That way, when the baby is ready and you rush to your rocking chair, you aren't left sitting there for 30+ minutes thinking of the water that's in the other room and how hungry you are! And, if you ask me, just go ahead and indulge. My snack of choice is M&Ms with Chex mix. Perfect mix of salty and sweet to occupy those long, dark hours. I would not have survived the first two weeks without a mug of this mix by the rocking chair. Snacking really helped to keep me awake.

Daytime snacks rule. I think you are probably catch onto a theme here. And it shouldn't come as a surprise that I clearly haven't stopped thinking about food!

The challenge with both nighttime and daytime snacks is it has to be something you don't have to refrigerate (unless your nursing area is complete with a fridge...which would be pretty sweet). I have spent some time finding great snack options to keep on hand for anytime feedings! Take a look at all of the yummy options on my Snacks Pinterest Board!
Make Lists. Between feedings, burping, spit ups, diaper changes, outfit changes, baths, laundry, snuggling, etc., you might get 5 minutes every other day to do one of the million other things you have on your mind. But add in sleep deprivation and chances are when you do have a second, your going to be brain dead and not able to remember anything you wanted to do. I started keeping a list on my phone and it really helps. I have made far better use of free time since doing that. As soon as I think of something I can't get to, I put it on the list and that way don't have to use brain power to try to remember what it was later on! Plus, it feels so good to check things off! Don't forget to put sleep, shower and eat on there for yourself.

Also, grocery lists. Since you won't be able to get out to the store yourself for a little while, you really need to be prepared to let someone else know exactly what you need - a list guarantees nothing is forgotten. Don't forget those snacks!

Cherish Every Single Second. No explanation needed. Being a mom is the best thing ever and babies grow way to fast (see above).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Introducing the Newest Member of the Search for YUM!

I am beyond happy to announce Colin Robert Donovan officially joined me on my Search for Yum on January 2, 2015 at 2:53 p.m. Weighing in at 8 lbs 4 o.z. and 20 inches, he already has a huge appetite!

Although he's limited right now in his selection of cuisine...he loves spending time in the kitchen and is as enthusiastic as I am to get cooking and baking together! ...And so is our trusty sidekick, Roxy!

I am also happy to say that my gestational diabetes is gone and I have been making up for the last few months and indulging my palette with plenty of carbs and sweets!

It seems like just yesterday that I was announcing my big news with my new found love and appreciation of mocktails! As I now have a wonderful little assistant, you can expect to see some big and yummy things on the Search for Yum coming in 2015! We have some big plans! It's going to be a great year! Lots of deliciousness to come!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bourbon Bacon Stuffing Recipe - Your New Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish!

Bourbon & Bacon Stuffing is about to be your new favorite Thanksgiving / Friendsgiving side dish! I was trying to think of something new and creative to bring to Friendsgiving last year when it hit me...bourbon + bacon + stuffing! Recipe is below...prepare to have this stuffing devoured very, very quickly! Only downside, you won't have any leftovers!

Bourbon Bacon Stuffing Recipe

What You'll Need:
2 loaves of bread (bakery Italian or french bread that has gotten a little crusty works best)
5 eggs
1 package of bacon
2 cups chicken (or veg) broth
3 tablespoons bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve but any bourbon will do)
2 apples, diced
1 large yellow or sweet onion, diced
4-5 large celery stocks, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
Garlic Powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste

1. Start by sizzling up the bacon (Make sure to save the grease when it's done!).
2. While the bacon is sizzling, combine the cubed loaves of bread, apples, onion, celery, and garlic.
3. Once the bacon is done to a crisp perfection, break into small pieces.
4. Now put everything into the pan with the bacon grease and add the bourbon, chicken (or veg) stock, eggs, thyme, parsley, garlic powder and salt and pepper.
5. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes - until everything is softened and mixed together.
6. Remove everything from the pan and put into a large baking dish. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.
7. Enjoy!

Bourbon, Bacon Stuffing in Action (second dish in)
And it didn't last long!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gestational Diabetes: Lament of a Food Blogger with GD

During pregnancy, it is a given that you will make a few sacrifices over the next 9 1/2 months...and a lot of them related to food/beverages. You should avoid alcohol, deli meat, certain cheeses, unpasteurized anything, raw seafood (goodbye oysters and sushi!), certain fish and other random things. There's plenty of lists out there telling you what food to avoid while pregnant. And besides the occasional long glance at a martini and oysters, there's really not much to it. Besides, you can make up for those few things with other great things - like double fudge brownies and hot fudge sundaes! Because those are ok to eat.....until you get diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Wah-Wahh!

Gestational diabetes is the icing on the cake...and trust me, you can't have your cake and eat it too with GD.

As a pregnant woman, this diagnosis was very hard. First I failed the 1-hour glucose test. People kept assuring me that this happened regularly and that my 3-hour glucose test results would most likely be fine. I failed. One quick phone call later, I was labeled as a gestational diabetic and referred to a nutritionist who couldn't see me for 1 week. Panic set in, naturally. And so did the guilt. What did I do wrong? What do I do now?!

Concerned that I was going to do more damage to my unborn child between my diagnosis and my nutritionist appointment, I did everything I could to educate myself on what someone with gestational diabetes should do. And I was lucky to have a husband doing everything he could to help as well. But the resources just weren't out there. We did what we could with the limited information we could find. But in the end, the only thing I achieved was losing about 5 lbs in one week - and in my third trimester! I was so scared of eating the wrong things, I was barely eating anything, which I'm sure was just as bad!

Not to mention as a food blogger, this diagnosis really got me down! I have felt as if my "Search for Yum" has been so limited that I just can't write at this point. But after almost a month of living with nutrition controlled gestational diabetes - and more food sacrifices than I'd like to even say - I realize that it's just important to write about what you can't eat sometimes as a food blogger as it is to write about what you can eat. Especially when there is little written about gestational diabetes in the first place. I am still trying to figure it all out, but want to make more of an effort to share what I'm learning here on the Search for Yum. It's hard, but you can still enjoy eating during pregnancy with GD. I've even gotten to have a little cake in the process too (in pieces of about 2in x 2in., but I'll take it!)  ;)

If you are looking for more information on gestational diabetes, the only reference the nurses at my doctors recommend at this point is the American Diabetes Association.

Do you have gestational diabetes? If so, I would love to hear some of your challenges and concerns. Or some things you have already learned! I know from pregnancy forums that there are countless people in the same situation I found myself in, and just as lost. Everyone's story is so different and I am interested in learning as much as I can about GD!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip Recipe

This Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip Recipe has been my go-to for parties for years. I actually had it posted somewhere else until recently and just realized I have never shared my signature dip on the Search for Yum. Shame on me!

Ok, here it is! The one and the ONLY – famous Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip Recipe! If you haven’t come across this little gem yet – ITS ABOUT TIME! The HIT of any party -guaranteed.

Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip:

What You'll Need: (for 1 party platter serving)

  • 1 8oz package Cream Cheese – Don’t scrimp, get Philadelphia 2 cups of Shredded Cheddar Cheese (normally 1 bag) 
  • about 4 cans of Canned Chicken (4 cans or 2/ 3 double cans -use your judgement as you mix) 
  • 1 bottle of Frank’s Buffalo Sauce (you will use about 3/4 or to taste) 
  • 1 bag of tostitos – scoooops (just do it-they’ll thank you)!!! 
  • optional: crumbled blue cheese OR ranch dressing AND/OR celery – to taste Honestly, 

Mix the ingredients above, and cook at about 350 degrees until everything is warmed up and bubbling ever so slightly (15 – 20 mins). buffalo chicken wing dip Perfect to take to a party – just bring all mixed in casserole dish and have host/hostess warm for about 15 minutes!

***I would have a photo of people thoroughly enjoying this buffalo chicken wing party dip, except it always gets gobbled up too quickly!!! #tastyfoodproblems

Now I hope that even more people can enjoy this simple recipe., Everyone I know raves about it!

For a really cool spin on this yummy dip, check out my recipe: Buffalo Chicken Wontons!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Zucchini Pasta Recipe + Vegetable Spiral Slicer Review

All summer I have been wanting to try a zucchini pasta recipe..the only problem was, I didn't have a vegetable spiral slicer. So when bluelife asked me if I would review their vegetable slicer I jumped at the chance!

I absolutely love this little gadget! I have to admit, that I wasn't so sure at first...but it turns out I was trying to use an old zucchini that was all mushy. Fresh makes a difference! As soon as I tried using it with a fresh, and actually edible zucchini, it worked like a charm! I was so happy! I will definitely be using this A LOT from now on!

It was perfect timing because a friend had just told me about her amazing recipe and here was my chance to try it! This type of recipe is exactly what I love. It's easy and add your own ingredients as you please. Pretty hard to mess up! I especially love that there is no additional cooking for this one. For dinner, my husband grilled up some steaks and I spiralized the zucchini and we didn't have to worry at all about syncing up our timing so everything was done (and at the correct temperature) at the same time!

Bonus: I just found out some people call these ZOODLES. How fun is that?!

Zucchini Pasta Recipe

What you'll need:
zucchini, peeled
lemon juice
fresh herbs
scallots (optional, but highly recommended!)
tuna or chicken (optional)

1. Use a spiral slicer to create the "pasta" or zoodles with the zucchini.
2. Mix the spiraled zucchini in a bowl with desired amounts of oil, lemon juice, tomatoes and any fresh herbs you would like! Also add scallots if you want.
3. (optional) If you are trying to make a heartier dish, add chicken or tuna!
4. Enjoy. It's that simple :)

More cool things about this veggie spiral slicer: (I'm a little bit of a geek when it comes to cool gadgets like this!)
1. There are two ends with different size blades. One end is 2mm x 3mm and the other is 3.5mm x 5mm so you get to choose how thick you want your spirals to be!
2. It comes with an end piece that helps you get to the very ends of whatever you are spiraling, which cuts down on waste and helps you get more!
3. It is dishwasher safe and also comes with a cleaning brush. I didn't fully appreciate the cleaning brush until I tried washing this by hand afterwards. It is hard to get stuck pieces out of the blades without it!

**A huge thank you to Bluelife vegetable spiral slicer for letting me review your product. Disclaimer to my readers: Don't worry, my opinions on this product are fully my own and I will never tell you I like something when I don't! I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How to Soak Nuts And Why It's Beneficial

After a step in the last recipe I shared, Strawberry Almond Milk, called for soaking almonds I started getting a lot of exactly do I soak the almonds? Whey do you have to soak nuts? So I figured this would be a great topic for the next How-to Tuesday!

Why You Should Soak Raw Nuts

The short answer is, soaked nuts are easier to digest.

But here is why:

Phytic acid is naturally found in all types of nuts. When digested, phytic acid binds to minerals in the gastrointestinal tract making it hard for your body's digestive system to break the nut down properly and absorb the nutrients.

Soaking nuts breaks down the phytic acid, making it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients properly in digestion.

Bonus! Soaking nuts also enhances the flavor!

If you're still not sure if it's entirely worthwhile (trust me, I'm usually the first person to take shortcuts) take a look at these before and after pictures I took when I soaked my almonds:
Before: Almonds that have just been put in clean water.

After: Almonds that have been soaking in water for 10 hours.

How to Soak Nuts:

1. Rinse desired amount of nuts thoroghly with water.
2. Place in a bowl or jar.
3. Add filtered water (2x more than the amount of nuts)
4. Cover the a clean cloth over the opening of the bowl or jar. this type of lid allows the contents of the bowl to breathe.

5. Soak nuts. The harder a nut is, the longer it will need to soak. Here are some guidelines to follow.

How long to soak nuts:

Almonds - 8 to 12 hours
Cashews - 2 to 6 hours
Walnuts - 4 to 8 hours
Pecans - 8 hours
Pine nuts - 8 hours
Macadamia nuts - 4 hours
Hazlenuts - 8 hours
Brazil nuts - 12 hours

6. Drain and rinse.