Monday, January 28, 2008

Induction Junction

My old friend Pitocin and I met again to duke things out. But it's hard to complain when this is the end result:

Helen Priscilla
9 lbs, 0 oz.
21 inches long
January 25
9:17 p.m.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Let's burn off some of this pre-labor energy by writing some overdue reviews for Go Dairy Free before Alisa fires me, shall we?

Authentic Foods Pie Crust Mix (gluten, wheat, and dairy free)

This made-from-almonds crust has a shortbread-y feel and taste that our whole family enjoyed. It is definitely made for sweet, not savory fillings. Scott and I think it works best with a creamy/custard filling. We filled ours with dairy-free pumpkin pie filling and it was lovely. (Yes, I should have covered the crust edges with foil. I forgot. Oops.) As with so many gluten-free products, you can't expect this crust to bake up like a wheat one would. But we really enjoyed the almond flavor and texture, especially with a smooth filling.

Ingredients: rice flour, natural almond meal, evaporated cane juice, tapioca flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, potato starch, vanilla, salt

We mixed in 1 large egg, 2 tablespoons plain soy milk, and 4 oz. of shortening. One package makes one crust.

Kinnikinnick Chocolate Cake Mix (gluten, wheat, and dairy free)

We liked this chocolate cake mix for many reasons, the most important being: it tastes like chocolate. Deep, dark, cocoa-y chocolate. Mmmm. I frosted it with dairy-free chocolate glaze.
I tend to like the texture and moistness of gluten-free mixes like those made by Namaste Foods, whereas Scott prefers a drier texture and finer crumb. This Kinnikinnick cake was just what he likes. Don't get me wrong, it is not a dry cake, nor was it disliked by anyone in our house. It's just a slightly different texture than other gluten-free mixes we have tried, which I think is a good thing. If at first you think you don't like gluten-free mixes, try, try again.

Ingredients: Sugar, potato starch, white rice flour, cocoa powder, sweet rice flour, KinnActive baking powder, guar gum, salt, pea protein, sodium bicarbonate, pea starch, pea fiber.

We made the cake with 4 eggs, 3/4 cup oil, and 3/4 cup cold water. The mix makes two 8x8 cakes or one 9x13 cake.

Kinnikinnick Pancake and Waffle Mix (gluten, wheat, and dairy free) (shown here with mixed berries)

I love this pancake mix. The kids eat it not knowing that it is any different from our usual pancakes. Scott said the only difference he could detect is that this batter is slightly sweeter than other mixes/recipes we've made. He doesn't mind the sweetness; he was just being pressured by his wife to comment on what, if any, differences he detected. I like the pancakes we make with this mix because I don't feel as if I have a lump of dough sitting in my stomach after I eat them. And I feel smug about feeding them to the children. "You're eating pea protein and liking it! Mwaa ha ha."

Ingredients: Pea starch, white rice flour, cornstarch, sugar, tapioca starch, dextrose, defatted soy flour, whole egg powder, KinnActive baking powder, inulin, pea protein, pea fiber, fructose, salt, cream of tartar, sodium bicarbonate, sodium, carboxy methylcellulose, vanillin, guar gum.

We mixed in 1 egg, 3/4 cup plain soy milk, and 1 tablespoon of oil with one cup of mix. One bag makes about 3 batches of pancakes. The mix does contain whole egg powder.


No baby yet.

Time to enjoy some online retail therapy where no one looks at me and where I do not run into a woman in the lotion aisle who says, "I just can never find a lotion that works!" before opening various lotion containers to sniff and spread all over her hands and arms. In the store.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Let's Get This Party Started

I don't have to be induced! I get to go into labor on my own! I... have no idea if I'll actually realize when I'm in labor! I've never done this before!

Brief Birthing History, TMI Edition (Look away, Dad.)

Baby #1: Admitted to hospital on Thursday evening, released Friday evening after a failed induction. (Note to medical personnel - TELL PREGNANT WOMEN INDUCTIONS MAY NOT WORK.) Went home and ate my weight in fried chicken livers while sobbing hysterically. Readmitted to hospital on following Tuesday at lunchtime. Water broke early Wednesday afternoon as doctor was filling out release forms to send me home again. When I told him my water had broken, he said, "Oh, Ok. (Pause.) It's going to be a long day." Baby born first thing Thursday morning, at 42 1/2 weeks. Cervidil and Pitocin were used liberally both times. Poor, poor baby was born with the help of a vacuum extractor.

Baby #2: Admitted to hospital Wednesday evening. Induction started without drugs. Reached 5 centimeters by morning but still wasn't in labor, so it was time for Pitocin. (Bleah.) Baby born early Thursday afternoon at 40 weeks.

So, 36 hours of labor, 3 hours of pushing, then 18 hours of labor, 1 1/2 hours of pushing. Do I hear 9 hours of labor and 45 minutes of pushing for #3? Hey, I can dream.

I had an appointment yesterday, and I have reached two whole centimeters all by my ownself, which has never, ever happened before. Also, this little girl does not appear to be a 9- or 10-pounder like her siblings, so there is time to wait things out.

But enough of this waiting stuff. I want to hear all of your voodoo tips to move things along. GO!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

To the Lady in the Megamart


I don't know if you remember me, but I remember you. We met only once, in the summer of 2001. I was grocery shopping after work, having brought my husband along for company and protection. You see, I was very, very pregnant with my first child, and the last few times I'd been shopping I left the store in tears after one too many unwanted comments/stomach fondlings. (And it was almost always a retirement-age man touching my belly. What is with that? Not that I'd expect you to know.)

Anyway, we saw each other several times weaving in and out of the grocery aisles, the pharmacy aisles, and I caught you looking at me each time we met. I hid behind my husband and whispered, "That woman keeps looking at me!" Inevitably, we met in the toiletry section while my husband was somewhere else. You reached out to touch my arm. As I braced myself for a comment I was sure I didn't want to hear, you said, "Excuse me. I just wanted to tell you how lovely you look in that shirt. I'm sorry I've been watching you all through the store, but it is just such a flattering color on you."

Thank you.

I think of you often. When I am pregnant and besieged by unthinking comments, yes, but especially when I catch myself looking at a pregnant woman. I remember your kind words, and I try to pass them on.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Vote Fer Mah Man

C'mon, look at that food.

Photo courtesy of

by Scott H@tfield for the 2008 Pill$bury B@ke Off

(I attracted all kinds of unwanted visitors when I wrote about this before. Trying to be a bit more careful.--Nowheymama)

For taquitos

  • 3 tablespoons Crisco Pure Canola Oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 bag (30-ounce size) frozen country-style shredded hash brown potatoes (4 1/2 cups)
  • 1 box (9 ounces) Green Giant frozen spinach
  • 1 can (4.5 ounces) Old El Paso chopped green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 package (10.5 ounces) Old El Paso flour tortillas for soft tacos and fajitas (12 tortillas)

For sauce

  • 1 jar (12 ounces) Smucker's Apricot Preserves
  • Remaining Old El Paso chopped green chiles
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and potatoes; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are thoroughly cooked and slightly browned.

Meanwhile, cook spinach in microwave as directed on box. Drain spinach; cool 5 minutes. Carefully squeeze with paper towels to drain. Pull spinach apart into smaller pieces. Measure 4 teaspoons of the chiles; reserve remaining chiles for sauce.

Stir spinach, 4 teaspoons chiles, the salt, coriander, 1 teaspoon garam masala and 1/2 teaspoon ginger into potato mixture. Cook over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixed and thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; gently stir in lemon juice.

Place about 1/4 cup potato filling on each tortilla, 1/2 inch from one side. Starting at side with filling, tightly roll up each tortilla around filling; place seam side down on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush taquitos with remaining 1 tablespoon oil.

Bake 8 to 11 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir sauce ingredients until well mixed. Serve warm taquitos with sauce for dipping.

Serves 12.

Look at that guy with the crappy kitchen. Clearly he needs a better cooking environment.

Photo by Rebecca Droke, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

You can vote for his recipe here--and by voting you enter yourself for a chance to win one million! The Post-Gazette article is here. Bon Appetit!

Edited to add: The person whose recipe gets the most online votes will win $5000. Scott goes to compete for the $1 million in mid-April. Dude, I'm just excited about the free microwave he gets.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Crayons, Church Ladies, and Communion

First things first: yes it is January 2008, and yes, I am still pregnant. The due date is the 26th and I've always been induced before at 40+ weeks, so simmer down now. Although if you feel like sharing any home induction tips, please feel free. I will not hold you in any way responsible for what does (or does not) happen.

Secondly, what do you do with a load of non-chlorine-bleach-only lights that somehow went through the dryer with a toddler's brand-new, jumbo-sized, orange crayon? I mean, hypothetically. "Sit down and cry" is the best option I've come up with so far, but I'm happy to entertain other suggestions. Bonus points for those who know how to clean all of the wax out of the dryer.

I haven't been to church in a couple weeks, so yesterday I got the full-on smile-knowingly-at-the-pregnant girl (Trust me, in this group of folks, I am a baby) treatment from the church ladies, as well as the what-are-you-still-doing-in-that-condition-yuk-yuk treatment from their husbands. Our seminary intern decided to really drive the point home with an Epiphany sermon about the magi that began, "I'm sure we all know a young couple who is expecting a baby...." Gee, thanks. Let me just wrap things up by waddling down the aisle collecting the offering so everyone can smile and make "big belly!" gestures at me. That'd be swell.

On the plus side, I finally procured a copy of the church's top secret communion bread recipe! (Of course I'll share it with you.) We've been waiting to find out the ingredients so we know whether or not it's safe for Katherine to start taking communion. Church Lady Number One told me that it is safe when the volunteers follow the recipe, which she and Baker Number Two apparently do. Baker Number Three (whose name Number One would not reveal) likes to mix things up and use cinnamon cake mix in place of the cake flour called for in the recipe. So the communion bread is safe for Katherine when it is white, but NOT when it is khaki. Number One will talk to Number Three, but she can't promise anything. Ah, the intrigue.

Here's the recipe, which I have never made. Some of the directions are a bit...vague, but they're what I was given.

Dairy-Free Communion Bread, courtesy of Tower Presbyterian Church

2 1/4 cups egg whites
4 1/2 t. baking powder
3 cups flour
3 cups cake flour (or dairy-free cake mix!)
3/4 cup shortening
2 1/4 cups sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line pans with waxed paper. (What pans? I have no idea. Jelly roll/cookie sheet pans, I'm guessing.)

Beat egg whites (For how long? No idea.), add sugar, then shortening, then flours and baking powder.

Spread a layer on each cookie sheet and loaf pans. (How many? I dunno. However many you find in the church kitchen, I guess.)

Bake until the bread starts to brown on the edges, approximately twenty minutes.

Turn out and pull off waxed paper. Trim off edges and cut while still warm. (Apparently this is very important.)

According to Church Lady Number One, this makes enough communion bread for three Sundays, two services a Sunday (or approximately 150-200 people per Sunday).

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Holy Crepe

Wow. I didn't realize how long it's been since I posted. Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I know we did.

Katherine received an apron and the Ratatouille cookbook for Christmas, among many other things. The night she received the cookbook, she immediately began altering recipes to make them dairy free and/or to use ingredients she likes better. She and Daddy prepared dairy-free crepes for New Year's Day brunch, and they were fantastic! Katherine has decided that she's going to be a "cooker" when she grows up, which is fine with me.

Colette's Crepes, adapted from What's Cooking? A Cookbook for Kids

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain soy milk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted soy margarine (Katherine likes Soy Garden.)

Put all the ingredients in a blender in the order listed and blend until smooth. Remove the lid and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Briefly blend the mixture again. Set the covered blender in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight.

When it's time to cook the crepes, spread 1 teaspoon of dairy-free margarine in the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch shallow nonstick frying pan and place over medium heat. Blend the batter again to smooth it.

Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter into the pan. Immediately tilt and swirl the pan to evenly coat the bottom. This should take about 5 seconds. Cook the crepe on the first side for about 45 seconds, then quickly flip it with a spatula and cook the other side for about half as long. Remove to a plate, folding if desired. Spread a little more margarine in the pan before cooking the next crepe.

Katherine recommends serving the crepes with thawed raspberries from the freezer and powdered sugar.