Archives for October 2013

Recipes: Breakfast Cookies, Two Ways

Breakfast cookies

Banana oatmeal breakfast cookies (top) and apple oat breakfast cookies

As I said a few weeks ago, there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating cookies for breakfast.

I don’t see anything wrong with eating any dessert item for breakfast, for that matter. A piece of birthday cake is basically a muffin with icing on it, right? And, ice cream is totally fine because it’s just frozen milk, after all.

As fun as this philosophy is, it sadly, does not benefit one’s waistline. Especially if one is trying to find hers again after having a baby.

So, what’s a girl to do when she wants something sweet, but healthy, for breakfast?

Enter the breakfast cookie.

These oat-based baked treats are hearty, satisfying, and have just enough sugar to satisfy a sweet tooth. And, they are ideal for those mornings when all you have time to do is grab something on your way out the door (or between baby catnaps).

Each recipe below takes less than an hour to make from start to finish. So, you can throw them together the night before (if you are super organized) or the early morning (if you are a procrastinator like me). Plus, they are a great way to use up fruit that is probably already sitting on your counter and other ingredients that are pantry staples.

Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

From: Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures

I picked this recipe based on the fact that everything could be thrown into the same bowl. Ain’t nobody got time for doing a ton of dishes.

The ample amount of oats in these cookies made them pretty hearty. Their chewy texture reminded me of baked oatmeal. I thought these had a great combination of flavors, that got even better after the cookies sat overnight.

I stored these cookies in the refrigerator because I felt like the slightly sticky texture and the chocolate chips would become a melted mess if left on the counter. They would probably freeze well, too.

What you will need

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup ripe bananas, mashed (about three small ones)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Drop onto greased cookie sheet (Note: I again used my medium sized cookie scoop and got just over 20 cookies from this recipe).
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until bottoms of cookies are light brown.
  5. Cool on wire rack.

Apple Oat Breakfast Cookies

From: Yummy Mummy Kitchen

These cookies had a soft, crumbly texture (almost like a scone) and are a great way to take advantage of all of the apple varieties that are in season right now. Next time, I think I will probably throw a handful of dried cranberries in as well.

What you will need

  • 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup fresh apples, diced (I used an Empire)
  • Sugar for sprinkling (optional)

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl.
  3. Mix together butter, milk and egg in another bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.
  5. Mix in apples.
  6. Scoop heaping tablespoon balls of dough and place on cookie sheet a few inches apart (Note: I used a medium sized cookie scoop and got about 20 cookies from this recipe).
  7. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake until light brown, about 10 minutes.
  8. Cool slightly on rack.

 

Adjusting

hoodie

Six weeks after Little B’s arrival, life still seems pretty surreal.

Sometimes, when the sound of a hungry baby jolts me awake in the middle of the night,  it takes me a moment to realize that I’m not dreaming–those cries really are coming from right next to my bed. I still feel out of place in the baby section at Target (but it is helpful that I can locate my car when I lose it in the parking lot by looking for the pink “Baby on Board” sign in the back window.) The words “my daughter” still sound strange coming out of my mouth when I call the doctor’s office to make an appointment for Little B.

In short, becoming a mom has kind of rocked my world.

Sure, there were some things about having a baby that have so far required minimal adjustment on my part. For example, spending a Friday night watching TV on the couch and going to bed by 10 p.m. has always been my idea of a good time. So, at least having a baby has given me a legitimate justification for my lameness. And, I’ve always been pretty good at multitasking, so I’ve already figured out how to eat a bowl of cereal with one hand while holding Little B in my other arm.

But, by and large, the things that were important to me, my relationships with family and friends, and my daily routine changed the moment that Little B was born.

While I, luckily, haven’t been struggling with major emotional issues like some new moms do, I would be lying if I said that I haven’t at least had a couple of mini-meltdowns over how much things have changed. A couple of weeks after Little B was born, for example, I was reduced to tears by an episode of Rick Steves’ show on PBS. Usually, his wardrobe choices and bad jokes make me a little bit sad, but this time it really hit me that I’ve given up the freedom to just get up and go whenever I want to now that I am a parent.

I know that I’m not the same person that i was just a couple of months ago, but I haven’t fully gotten a handle on who I am now, either. I realize that there are some things about my personality and the way that I have lived my life for the past 30 years that I need to be willing to adjust in order to accommodate the new little person in my life.

For example, I have always been a planner. Nothing makes me happier than sticking to a schedule and checking things off a to-do list. One day last week, I was counting on Little B to sleep for at least two hours straight in the afternoon, like she usually does, so I could organize my closet. But, every time I put her down, she cried. So, I spent those two hours holding her and getting itchy every time I thought about the pile of clothes on my bedroom floor that I needed to sort through. Obviously, I’m still working on becoming more comfortable with the degree of spontaneity and the ability to accept when things are less than perfect that having a child requires.

Of course, I wanted to become a parent and wouldn’t trade Little B for anything. But that doesn’t make the feeling of being caught in the middle between my “old self” and “new self” any less disconcerting.

So, I keep reminding myself that this is just a temporary feeling. Little B will grow and change and I’ll do the same, right along with her. I’ve heard that being a parent makes people, among other things, more patient, more compassionate, and more flexible, so maybe I’ll even be able to say that I’m a better person than I was before. Hopefully, when I look back on this time a year from now, I’ll be feeling a lot more settled. And then, things will probably change again. Just like they always do.

This new phase in my life also means that my little corner of the Internet will change. There will probably be fewer posts about food and travel and more posts about family and the other things in my life. I truly enjoy creating the content that goes into this space and I don’t want to give it up. If anything, I’m looking forward to changing things up a bit.

So, if you are reading this–thank you! I hope that you’ll stick around as I go on this new journey.

Little B: One Month

First Month Collage

What a difference a couple of weeks makes! Little B at 11 days old (left) and one month old.

It’s hard to believe that Little B has been a part of our family for a month. Between the diaper changes, feedings, rocking her to sleep, and just staring at her because I can’t get over how beautiful she is, the days just fly by.

As I’ve already said, the first two weeks were kind of rough. In the hospital, help came at the push of a button and Little B spent the night in the nursery while Chester and I slept. We came home, and we were suddenly on our own, with a little person who was depending on us 24/7.

Both Chester and I felt like we were in a fog during those early days. I remarked to him that I felt like we were a couple of hikers who got stranded on Mount Everest and had to keep talking to each other so that we didn’t fall asleep and die of hypothermia. In other words, I felt like we were just trying to survive.

By the third week, though, things seemed to get a little easier. We had figured out some of Little B’s patterns and preferences. She started sleeping for longer stretches at a time, so we did, too. When she was awake, she started to notice the world and the people around her, which was amazing to see. One of my favorite moments so far came towards the end of that week, when she buried her head in the side of my neck and gave me a snuggle for the first time. In that instant,I stopped feeling like she was little stranger that I was just taking care of until her real mother came to claim her. I truly felt like she was mine.

Chester and I make a pretty good team when it comes to taking care of Little B. We’ve tackled the late night/early morning diaper changes and feedings, first bath and periods of general fussiness together and have learned quite a bit about caring for a baby. For example, our first trip out of the house with Little B–to the pediatrician when she was a couple of days old–was a true comedy of errors. But, now we know that getting a baby, plus two adults, ready to leave the house takes quite a bit of time and effort. And, we’ll never forget to throw an extra outfit in the diaper bag because a diaper might decide to explode all over the one that the baby is wearing the minute we arrive at our destination.

As for Little B, she changes every single day. When I wake up each morning, it always seems that she has gotten bigger overnight. As the weeks have gone by, I think she’s starting to look a little bit like me (her facial expressions when crying are definitely mine) and bits of her personality are starting to shine through.

She:

  • Currently weighs in at 8 pounds, 10 ounces and is 20.25 inches long. She has noticeably filled out in her cheeks and tummy, and generally just feels more solid, although she is still wearing her newborn clothes and diapers. Now that she has gained some weight, I’m not as afraid that I will break her just by picking her up.
  • Is a bit of a drama queen. I have no idea where she gets this from (hint: it’s probably from her mother). Usually, she only cries when she has a good reason, but she can work herself into quite a frenzy when she’s hungry or has a dirty diaper. Sometimes, I laugh at her when she gets in this state. I feel like a horrible mother, but I can’t help it. Her facial expressions, animated hand gestures and sweet little cry when she is in the middle of a meltdown are priceless. She has totally mastered the art of the pout already.

bath_meltdown

Post-bath meltdown. I’m sure I was laughing at her here.

  • Enjoys her food. During her first month, she quickly worked her way up to 4.5 ounces at each feeding. Currently, she is eating every four hours during the day and can now go about five hours at night between feedings (much to my and Chester’s delight).

food coma

Food coma

  • Could give teenage boys a run for their money with her ability to burp, although she definitely doesn’t like being interrupted in the middle of a feeding so that she can let one rip.
  • Gets the hiccups–a lot. That explains the feeling of tiny bubbles popping that I had in my belly once a day or more when I was pregnant.
  • Hates to have a dirty diaper. Some of her most intense crying fits have happened when she needs to be changed. Like most babies, she hates the actual diaper change process (and she often lets us know, by peeing on the changing pad as soon as we get her dirty diaper off and/or as soon as we get a new diaper on), but you can practically hear her sigh with relief when she’s all clean.
  • Likes to know where her hands are at all times. She moves them around constantly, and definitely does not like to have her hands confined in a swaddle while sleeping. In fact, she sleeps with them right by her face most of the time. We noticed this even in  her ultrasound photos and its totally adorable.

hands_face

  • Takes after her mother in her love of a routine. When her eating, sleeping, or diaper change schedule is interrupted by something (such as a doctor’s appointment), she is fussy for the rest of the day and sometimes into the night. I’m hoping that this will change as we get out and about a bit more with her and she gets used to having things shaken up a bit.
  • Has incredible upper body strength. We started doing tummy time with her as soon as her belly button healed (around the end of her first week) and she quickly became a pro at lifting and holding up her head. In addition, Chester and I have both been at the receiving end of the mean right hook that she dishes out when she has to wait four minutes for her bottle to warm up.
  • Discovered a few favorite toys. She loves anything that makes noise (particularly rattling or rustling noises), plays music and/or has a mirror that she can look in. Her favorite things as the moment are her Emily doll and musical inchworm. This past week, she started to take an interest in colorful objects (like the pumpkins in my fall decor) and she also enjoys looking up at the ceiling fan in our living room (even if its not spinning).

emily

  • Humored her father and pretended to like football. And, to be a Bears fan, at that. Maybe they have a chance at making it to the Super Bowl this year because every time Chester has put her in one of her Bears onesies, they’ve actually won the game.

bears fan

  • Could spend hours in her mamaRoo. In case you aren’t familiar with this contraption, it’s the most awesome swing ever. It has five different settings that mimic the bouncing and swaying motions that parents make when rocking babies to sleep. I’m glad that she likes it so much because she loves to be held and rocked. And, as much as I love spending time with her in that way, sometimes my arms and legs just need a break.
  • Has quite few nicknames. Obviously, we call her Little B, to distinguish her from her namesake, my best friend Bridget. When she’s dishing out punches, she’s Mike Tyson. Sometimes, she’s just Little One. My mom calls her Puddin.’ But, my favorite nickname at the moment is Bumblebee. I came upon this one on the day we came home from the hospital. She was fussy, so I made up a song that involved words that started with B, like her name. When I said the word Bumblebee, she calmed down, so I just started calling her that.
  • Enjoys show tunes. In the early days of Little B’s life, when I was at my most sleep deprived, these were the only songs that I could remember the words to. But, they seemed to lull her to sleep. The songs that she enjoys the most seem to come from the shows that are depressing and/or inappropriate for her age, such as Les Miserables, Evita, Rent and Cabaret. Obviously, I need to brush up on my children’s songs.
  • Has made many new friends. Sharing our joy with family and friends has been one of the best parts of the last month. We don’t mind the company and Little B certainly doesn’t seem to mind the extra cuddles! Chester is going to have to start fending the boys off early, as she already met two potential husbands: Jack, the son of our friends Shannon and Dave, who was born two weeks prior to Little B and Owen, the son of our friends Richard and Louisa, who just turned a year.

Friends and Family Collage

Just a few of our recent visitors. Clockwise from top left: Aunt Theresa tells Little B all bumblebees; Little B loved her Auntie Rhonda; Jack and Little B fall in love at first sight; Ciotka Bridget explains how to get good deals at Labor Day sales; Granny reads Curious George to B, Uncle Mike shows Little B his tattoos and promises to take her for her first one someday.

Life now looks a lot different than it did just a few short weeks ago. But, I’m loving it. It feels so much…fuller. In all of the best possible ways.

Yes, there have been challenges, but I feel so incredibly lucky that I have everything that I’ve ever wanted in my life. I get to be a mother to the best little girl in the world and share the experience of being a parent with the best guy in the world.

I can’t wait to see what the coming months–and years–have in store for us.