Breastfeeding Granola Bars

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So I had a small panic as my supply of milk suddenly dropped. I had cut back on the calories/carbs to try and lose a little weight. I woke up and just wasn’t producing as much as I had in the past. So there is a rumor that oats can increase your supply although I couldn’t find much scientific evidence. But I thought, well heck, it couldn’t hurt. I have given myself the grace of not worrying about losing the 20 lbs I need to until I am done breastfeeding. I am currently right at pre-baby weight. So I made these lovely granola bars. I didn’t measure anything so I am just going to list the ingredients.

Steel cut oats

Sunflower seeds

Sesame seeds

Flax seeds

Chia seeds

Shredded unsweetened coconut

Pecans

Dried cranberries (strawberry flavor)

Coconut oil

Butter

Peanut butter

maple syrup

brown sugar

vanilla

salt

Combine all the dry ingredients. In a pot, melt butter and coconut oil with sugars and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. In a 13×9 pan place buttered parchment paper. Pour granola into prepared pan, press using you hand. Bake for 20 minutes (longer for crunchy) at 350 degrees. Press it again. Take it out and let it cool. Cut it into bars and enjoy!

And I can attest, that it worked! I have 4 bottles in the fridge and put at least a 4oz a day away in the freezer.

 

As for PCOS, I don’t know that I would recommend this as a good low carb snack as there is sugar and oats. But it is packed full of great nutritional stuff!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

It’s football season here in Colorado. I think the Broncos are doing well, but I don’t really know because I haven’t watched a football game in 10 years or so. But the news is full of Tebows and Mannings it is hard to avoid it completely.

Speaking of Manning….did you know that he signed a contract for 18 million dollars to play this year? 18 MILLION DOLLARS! Did you know that I, as a school teacher make…let’s just say…considerably less than 18 million dollars? Where are our priorities people? A pituitary case throws a ball and gets compensated in large sums, and a teacher that devotes her time and energy to shaping the minds of our youth gets a water-bottle that says “You make a difference!”

Dear Payton Manning, (who happens to be the same age as I am) if you are reading this I encourage you to fund 80 Colorado teachers at $100,000 a year, this would still give you 10 MILLION dollars to spend on things like…oh I don’t know…your own trained dancing bear in a tutu. It makes me discouraged that as a nation we have such messed up priorities.

Ok, but I am a minority in my disdain for everything sports related. So I present to you the perfect sports snack. Everyone will love them, and you as a PCOS gal will not have to worry about the carbs. I don’t have time to make these, and I have never once been invited over to watch a game…so I am linking you to a different site. But I can tell you these are always a favorite and they are just so easy!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Ingredients

 

10 to 15 jalapenos

8 oz of cream cheese

1/2 lb bacon

 

Instructions

 

1. Soak toothpicks in water for 15 minutes. Cut the jalapenos in half length-wise and scrape out the seeds and membranes (this is the source of the heat, so if you want them spicy leave them in, if you want them mild make sure you scrape really well).

2. Put a chunk of cream cheese in the hollow body of the jalapeno

3. Cut a slice of bacon in half width-wise and wrap all the way around the jalapeno pinning it with a toothpick

4. Place filling side up on cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil or parchment paper. Put in oven at 375 for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bacon is cooked.

Happy Snacking!

 

 

Baby and Me

I am going to try to update this blog at least once a week because I know there are people out there that are struggling and maybe I can help. I have PCOS, I have trouble with my weight….but I had a baby, and maintained my weight….and so can you.

Miss E. was born on October 23rd 2012. She is a very alert and wonderful little baby.

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I have been breastfeeding little Miss E. and this has made me very hungry..all the time. But anyone who has breastfed a little baby knows that you are lucky to get dressed, let alone make a nutritious meal. So regrettably I have gained weight, as the easiest thing to do is to reach for the crackers, or sweets. I know it isn’t the right thing to do but I am so hungry all the time. The moment you are able to put the baby down, you want to eat and you know you only have a short amount of time to stuff your face.

But with the new year I am giving myself the gift of forgiveness for gaining the weight, I am giving myself the kudos for bringing a healthy baby girl into this world without the use of medications.

So lets start the new year with a dedication to trying to get back on track, to make good choices for me and for my baby.

This New Years Eve the baby is asleep upstairs in her room, and I am hungry. So my new favorite PCOS approved snack is Chicharrones or Pork Rinds. Now granted they are, in concept, kinda gross….it is pig skin.

But I can tell you they are salty and crunchy and filling with no carbohydrates. They puff up light and airy. You can eat them and not feel guilty (unless you love pigs). If you want you can even use them as dippers for your favorite dip. So if you are not too repulsed by pork rinds, consider it your gateway to snacking in the new year!

Chia Seeds

Remember those silly commercials for Chia Pets? The awful terracotta, simply add water-and-watch-it-grow ridiculousness that somehow we all had at one time? Yeah, I had a Garfield Chia Pet that I loved.

Did you know that you can eat the chia seeds? Did you know that they are amazingly good for you? Originally the seed comes from Mexico and Central America. They were consumed as a main staple because of their amazing benefits. So why have we forgotten about them?

A Tablespoon of chia seeds contain about 40 calories, but those calories carry an important nutritional punch. They contain fiber, protein and omega-3’s. You can use them in so many different ways, from adding it to baked goods, smoothies to soups and stews. They quickly absorb water and swell, they are fun in your mouth (almost like tomato seeds) and they fill your belly so you don’t have to eat as often.

Chia seeds also might be beneficial for a PCOS diet because it offers so many good things in such a little package. Of course consult with your dr to decide if it is a good addition to your diet.

Chocolate Chia Seed Energy Bars

These bars are wonderful in so many ways because they contain lots of proteins, fibers and healthy fats. In addition they are perfect for simple take along snacks, and can satisfy that sweet tooth without refined sugar.

Soak the dates ahead of time to help ease the load on your food processor.

Ingredients
1½ cups pitted dates
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup whole chia seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup slivered almonds (unsalted)
1/2 cup coconut (unsweetened you can find these at health food stores)
optional: sprinkle of salt

Instructions

Purée dates in food processor until a thick paste forms. Add cocoa powder, chia seeds, vanilla and almond extracts. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add the almonds and coconut; pulse until nuts are well incorporated into date mixture.

Spread large sheet of wax paper on work surface. Transfer date mixture to wax paper, and press mixture into 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. If desired, you can even out the edges by trimming them with a knife. Wrap tightly in wax paper, and chill overnight.

Unwrap block, and cut into 8 bars. Sprinkle with a bit of salt (if using). Re-wrap each bar in wax paper and refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container.

A little rant:

As a pregnant woman who knows that my body does not effectively process sugars and carbs I try to make sure that what I put in my body is good for me and good for my baby. I occasionally have a soda, or fast food chinese or a piece of cake. I do, I have and I will again. I am not a saint. But I am keenly aware that I have a better chance of developing gestational diabetes. I have chosen not to take the glucose test, as I do not believe that dumping all of that sugar into my body at one time is healthy. I would never put my body or baby through that. My dr. and I have agreed that I will have my glucose monitored for the rest of the pregnancy. The mothers group that I am part of is currently going through their glucose tests, and failing. Which in turn brings my palm to face. Seriously? If you know that you have a greater chance for developing gestational diabetes, why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to avoid that? Fast food, sweets and pasta are not good for you and not good for your baby. Stop eating that shit. Now. I started this blog because I wanted to document my struggle to eat right and deal with my body as it pertains to food, weight and PCOS. It has gone the way of a surprising PCOS fertility success story. I started overweight, I admit this and own it. I was 20 pounds over weight, and during this pregnancy (I am 28 weeks now) I have gained a total of 9 pounds, that’s it. I do not use pregnancy to eat whatever I want when I want it, I do not use pregnancy as an excuse. If you are currently a pregnant woman with a history of PCOS and find yourself failing your glucose test, please take responsibility for what food goes into your mouth and the decisions you make.

World Traveler….. Beef Guinness Pie and Mole Verde

I probably shouldn’t have started a blog if I wasn’t going to update it. But I didn’t know I was going to get pregnant, and I didn’t know that I would be traveling around the world pregnant and the toll that would take on my body.

So where have  I been and what have I brought back? (other than a nasty strain of some sort of bacterial yuckiness)

I started my summer in Ireland!

Ireland is lovely, with the kindest and most hospitable people I have encountered. We ate a lot of pub food and it was great! I asked the barkeep what pregnant women drank in the pub, he laughed and said, “Guinness of course!” Here is a recipe for Guinness Beef Pie. Granted, this is usually made with pie crust or potatoes. For PCOS eliminate the crust/potatoes and eat as a nice stew.

Beef and Guinness Pie (from Gourmet)

  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup Guinness or other Irish stout
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons drained brined green peppercorns, coarsely chopped
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Instructions:

    Pat beef dry. Stir together flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Add beef, turning to coat, then shake off excess and transfer to a plate. Heat oil in a wide 5- to 6-quart ovenproof heavy pot over moderately high heat until just smoking, then brown meat in 3 batches, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch, transferring to a bowl.

    Add onion, garlic, and water to pot and cook, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot and stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef with any juices accumulated in bowl, broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns, and thyme and bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to oven. Braise until beef is very tender and sauce is thickened, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Discard thyme and enjoy!

    Ok, so I returned for 5 days, in which I helped plan a bridal shower and then jetted off to Mexico! This is my 5th time in this area so it wasn’t much of a new adventure. My sister was getting married and we stayed at a resort, which doesn’t count much for traveling….
    “Toursits don’t know where they have been and Travelers don’t know where they are going.” Paul Theroux-
    I figure I am in the Travelers category.
    My favorite little known Mexican recipe is for Mole Verde. Give yourself plenty of time to make this, and don’t be surprised if you eat the whole thing in one sitting.
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    Mole Verde (from Rick Bayless)

    1 large white onion, sliced
    4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
    1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
    Salt, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
    1 good-size (3-pound) chicken, cut into quarters
    2 bay leaves
    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
    A generous 1 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) hulled raw pumpkinseeds (pepitas)
    12 large sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped, plus a few extra sprigs for garnish
    3 small romaine leaves, roughly chopped
    Hot green chilies to taste (roughly 3 serranos or 2 small jalapeños), stemmed and roughly chopped
    1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

    Instructions:

    1. The chicken: In a large (6-quart) pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add half of the onion and garlic, all the carrot, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the chicken back (if you’re lucky enough to have a separated one), neck, heart and giblets. Skim off any foam that rises after a minute or two, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Add the dark meat quarters, skim again after a couple of minutes, then add the bay, thyme and marjoram, partially cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the breast quarters, skim when the liquid returns to the simmer, partially cover and cook 13 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the chicken cool for a few minutes in the broth. Remove the breast and leg quarters from the broth and set aside. Strain the broth, discarding the solids, and spoon off any fat that rises to the top.

    2. The pumpkin seeds: In a large (10-to 12-inch), heavy skillet set over medium heat, spread out the pumpkinseeds and toast, stirring regularly, until all have popped (from flat to rounded) and turned golden (no darker); once they start popping, the whole process shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes. Spread out on a plate to cool; reserve a couple of tablespoons for garnish.

    3. The sauce: In a blender, combine the cooled pumpkinseeds with the remaining half of the onion and garlic, the cilantro, romaine,
    and green chiles. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth and blend to a smooth puree. Heat the oil in a large (4-quart), heavy saucepan over medium. Add the puree and stir constantly until very thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the broth (you’ll have about 4 cups broth left over for soup or another sauce), partially cover and simmer 20 minutes; the sauce will look coarse at this point.

    4. Scrape the sauce into a blender, loosely cover and blend to a smooth puree; if necessary add a little extra broth (or water) to give the sauce a medium consistency. Rinse your saucepan, return the blended sauce to it, taste and season with salt, usually a 1/2 teaspoon. Add the chicken and warm (but don’t bring to a simmer) over medium-low heat, about 10 minutes.

    5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter, then ladle the sauce over and around it, decorate with the reserved pumpkinseeds and cilantro sprigs, and it’s ready to serve.

    After returning, I had a stomach virus and a head cold. I blame it on the airplane flight. It has been 2 weeks since I have returned and I still need to be close to a bathroom. Hoping to one day eat normal again!

Baked Lemon Chicken and Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce.

I promise I will get back to writing recipes soon. There certainly is no need for yet another Mommy Blogger. Last week I made a Baked Lemon Chicken with fresh asparagus from the farmers market and a lovely hollandaise sauce from our eggs. It was wonderful. Did you know hollandaise is very very simple and that anyone can make it? Here is a recipe….
BLENDER HOLLANDAISE SAUCE 
Start to finish: 5 minutes
Makes about 3/4 cup

Ingredients:
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:
In a blender, combine the egg yolks, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-high, add the butter and heat until foaming.

Blend the egg yolk mixture at top speed for 2 seconds then, with the blender running, remove the cover and pour in the hot butter in a thin stream of droplets. By the time two-thirds of the butter has been added, the sauce will be a thick cream. Continue pouring, but don’t pour in the milky residue at the bottom of the pan. Taste and adjust seasonings.

If not using the sauce immediately, set the blender carafe in tepid, but not warm, water.

 

Here is my pregnancy announcement…. sorry about the watermarks, I worked on this for about a week and wouldn’t want anyone to steal it. (if anyone is interested, I will gladly make you your own pregnancy announcement, custom to what you would like for $60, you would own the image so you could print, or post as long as you gave credit)

 

 

You’d be a great mother…..

As a young woman, I didn’t go through that boy-crazy stage. I skipped it. I certainly was not interested in girls, but I wasn’t really interested in boys either. I just didn’t care. I remember watching all of my friends go through this magical transformation and wondered why I didn’t feel that way. I used to make up crush’s I had on various boys just to fit in. I remember “liking” one boy and having my friends torment him until he asked me out. I was mortified. I didn’t care for him at all, I had just made it up.

 

After thinking about it, I believe it was a coping mechanism. My mom had abandoned my sister and I when I was the ripe age of 12. Right at that point when you start to develop into the woman you will become. I had no one to teach me how to be a woman, I had no one to look up to. My mom had been sleeping with multiple men for years without my dads knowledge. But I knew. I knew I didn’t want to be like her, and sex meant being like my mom and liking boys was the first step towards sex.

 

So I never wore makeup, or worked hard at looking cute. I never cared if boys noticed me, I didn’t care about going to dances or on dates. Going to school was a means to and end, not a social feedbag. I took care of my sister, I raised my sister through her teen years. I was her model for womanhood, as flawed and clueless as I was. I assumed the role of mother. I didn’t have time for boys, or sex or the development of that side of myself.

 

I was not able to go to an out-of-town college, I stayed home to take care of my sister and work to support her. One day I was hanging out with my friend, her boyfriend and some of his friends. One of the boys looked at my friend and said, “You are so beautiful!” I chimed in with, “Hey, what about me? ” and he said, “You’d be a great mother.”  Which I suppose is a compliment of sorts, but it hurt, it stung and has always lingered with me. I would never be the girl anyone thought of as cute, or pretty or sexy. Just motherly, which isn’t to say that is a bad thing, but I never was cute, or pretty or sexy. I skipped that whole phase of personal development. This week the students at school asked me if I had any kids. (I haven’t told them yet) And I smiled and said, “no, not yet….why?” thinking they were on to me…. They replied, “Oh we were just wondering because you seem so mom-like.” Every year someone in my class remarks that they wish that I was their mom, or that I would make a great mom. I have had a really hard time accepting that as a compliment, probably because it stung so much the first time anyone said that to me, and because I always assumed I would never be a mom.

 

But here I am. 3 months pregnant, and “you’d be a great mother ” is a compliment I am going to have to accept and cherish.

Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables

I am sorry I haven’t written a helpful post in such a long time. I am finally starting to be able to eat ‘real food’ again, and things are starting to appeal to me. But it has been a long couple of weeks of yogurt and graham crackers. The baby is doing fine. We had our 12 week ultrasound on Friday and J. was able to see the baby for the first time. I have never seen him so excited.

I haven’t been very good about eating a low carb diet, as the only thing that I could stomach were simple carbs, bread, fruit, crackers, rice, noodles etc. But now that I am feeling better I am interested in fish and chicken, and lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. So I am transitioning to making better choices for me and baby.

Today I had a tuna salad. I have read quite a bit on pregnancy and high mercury levels. A pregnant woman should monitor mercury heavy foods and avoid ingesting too much. To say that in another way, you don’t need to cut these mercury heavy fish out of your diet, just eat them in moderation. Guidelines state no more than “12 oz of low mercury fish should be consumed weekly”

Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables

Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables (from Martha Stewart)

  • 4 cups (2 1/2 ounces) baby romaine lettuce
  • 3 cups (2 1/2 ounces) baby spinach
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons (3/4 cup)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 6 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 1/2 ounces radishes, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 6-ounce jar tuna packed in olive oil, drained, oil reserved for dressing (I like Tuna in Water)
  • FOR THE DRESSING
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (reserved from tuna)

Directions

  1. Make the salad: Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Make the dressing: Whisk together mustard, vinegar, shallot, lemon zest and juice, water, salt, and pepper. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until dressing is emulsified.
  3. Toss the salad with the dressing, and serve immediately.

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables

A song for the motherless mothers

Both my husband and I come from homes where our same sex parent was destructive and then absent. His father was physically abusive and later abandoned the family. My mother was emotionally abusive and later abandoned my sister and I. And whether we choose to acknowledge it or not this plays into our baby-making decisions.

There seems to be an abundance of articles and support for women that have lost their mothers in death, but so little support for those who’s mothers chose to leave their daughters. I can’t say that I wished my damaged mother would have stayed as we were probably better off without her, but you never lose that feeling of not ever being good enough.

So having children of my own, rattles me to the core. What if I just like the long lines of mothers on both sides of my family, I am less than adequate and do more harm to my children? Couldn’t it have been said that both of my grandmothers swore to never be like their mothers, and my mother swore never to be like her mother, and……

So here is to all the women out there who struggle with self-worth. Who’s mothers chose men, drugs, alcohol, sex, and selfish ambitions over their daughters. You are most lovable and worthy of all the lovely things life has to offer.

Here’s to settling into you feelings of rejection and abandonment, your loneliness. These feelings might not ever go away, but you can learn to sit with them and listen to the lessons they have to offer you and your future children. Do not deny yourself the time and space to feel these feelings deeply, it is only with your acknowledgement of these feelings that you can truly process.

I stilldon’t have a very close relationship to my mother. I told her that I was pregnant and she replied with a text, “oh wow! I AM VERY EXCITED! I am speechless. I’ll say congrats to you both and hope all goes well.”  I haven’t heard anything from her in over 3 weeks. The feelings of rejection and abandonment never go away, in fact sometimes they seem magnified.

To Drug or Not to Drug…..

I went for a follow up appointment today. Just your run of the mill, here is the medications you can take, here are some pamphlets and magazine articles to read, to do’s, don’t do’s and on and on. At one point the lpn  started to explain that at some point in the future I will need to take a glucose test. To which I think I might have audibly snorted. Glucose? I can already tell you that my body does a shit job of glucose management. So I asked her if there was anything that I should be doing to control my pcos…she scrunched her nose and said she didn’t know but she would go ask the ob/gyn. She returned a moment later with a smile and told me that no, there was nothing that I should be doing. I know in my heart that I need to do my own research, but sometimes it is just easier to listen to what the professionals say. So I relaxed a little bit. Maybe 15 minutes later on my way home the phone rings from the dr’s office. The lpn calls me to tell me that she realized I had been on Metformin and was going to encourage me to go back on it, at least until the 12 week (which is 3 weeks away).

 

So now I face the dilemma. Do I go back on Metformin? This means being sick because of the meds and being sick from pregnancy. It means dumping chemicals into my blood stream and into the blood of my forming baby. The effects to the baby have not been studied fully, some drs’ say stop as soon as you figure out you are pregnant, some say take it until you are 12 weeks and some encourage women to continue to take it throughout the whole pregnancy. What will happen if I start taking it again after being off for 3 weeks, will the change in blood sugars disrupt the fetus?

 

And if I don’t go back on to Metformin, will there be a higher chance for miscarriage? I already feel in these past few weeks I have lived a life-time with this little bean. And if I do lose it, I will always wonder….what if I had just taken the drug?  I can’t imagine losing it, I have already devoted enough ill feeling, low energy days to the cause. Will I develop gestational diabetes and need to take insulin?

 

Anyone with any advice is welcome to chime in, in as far as I have read it seems the general consensus is to take the metformin as the benefits outweight the risks. But we live in a drug crazy society, where the answer to everything is to take a pill, and I just can’t get behind that philosophy. I am sure that diet has a lot to do with it, and lately being unable to eat anything but high carbohydrates I have certainly fallen off the plan.

 

My intuition tells me to not take the drug and modify with a healthy diet. My dr. says otherwise.