Saturday, July 8, 2017

My Mistake, Everyone...

Sorry, everyone! I accidentally hit "publish" on an in-process post. For those who read it, I will be working on it and will re-publish later this month or next.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Cooking With Morning Sickness

A year ago, one of my favoritest-of-favoritest blogs, Like Mother Like Daughter, published a post on cooking while mama has morning sickness:

Plain Cooking: Surviving Morning Sickness and More

At the time, while I wanted to write my own post on the subject. But I couldn't, because... I was suffering from morning sickness.

Oh, the irony.

(By the way, when you're reading the above post, make sure you spend the time to go through the comment section. So much good information there.)

Back to what I was saying:

Now that said pregnancy is over, and baby is four months old, I wanted to come back and write that intended post.

And while I love-beyond-love the blog above linked, the information in that post doesn't work for me during pregnancy.

Cook sweet potatoes while pregnant?

You must be joking.

I can barely handle food or open the refrigerator, let alone do something crazy like cook sweet potatoes.

If I'm ever blessed with easy pregnancy in which I am able to continue cooking throughout the duration, I will rejoice with great rejoicing.

Until then, I am here to provide the big reality check. And while I don't know that this post will be too-too-too useful, as in, of any actual use to a real human being, hopefully it should alleviate some of the guilt occasioned by mamas who suffer from severe morning sickness.

What I've learned about cooking during morning sickness is this:

I don't.

And that's really the main point. I don't, because I can't. 

I've tried to push through. I've tried to tough it out. It doesn't work, and it's actually worse when I try to be brave. Oodles of food gets wasted, recipes and smells are branded indelibly in my forever-mind as "do not touch or try these ever again, because they're now associated with nausea." I get frustrated and teary, and nothing improves.

Instead, when my nausea starts (which is early - current record at 2w6d),

(1) I stop buying vegetables.

Because if I don't, several months later I'll be pulling a slimy mass of goo out of our vegetable drawer and throwing it out (while throwing up some more).

Soon after that...

(2) I stop cooking.

As I mentioned before, when I try to cook while super-nauseated,

     (a) I end up with horrible long-term food aversions to whatever I try to cook. I even end up with horrible aversions to whatever I'm thinking about cooking. (Just ask. I can categorically list all of my trying-to-cook aversions, by pregnancy.) Additionally...

     (b) It's a futile fight that I end up losing. Wasted time, wasted food, wasted effort.

At that point...

(3) I go into survival mode.

This means 100% cold foods for the children (cheese, crackers, fruit, milk, cereal, etc.), and for dinner, my husband is - unfortunately - on his own.

And that's where we have, in the past, run into serious problems.

My husband is a wonderful man. But he's not a cook. I can't even get the words, "Honey, I don't have anything planned for dinn-" out of my mouth before he's out the door and on the way to getting fast food.

This creates two problems:

(1) The more children we have, the more expensive this is.

(2) Fast food is rotten for your health. Seriously rotten. (Remind me not to tell you that story some time.)

Long story short, we decided that we needed a plan - and I've been working on that plan ever since. We used part of this plan for the rest of our last pregnancy, and I am developing it further to prepare for our anticipated next pregnancy.

Here is THE PLAN:

(1) We developed a list of meals that my husband and children can prepare by themselves, with relatively little work.

We're talking seriously simple, folks. As in, "open can of beans and add chopped hot dogs" kind of simple.

Not super-healthy. But it keeps them away from Taco Bell.

(See my list of super-simple meals (and a shopping list template) at the end of this post.)

(2) I am working currently on developing a list of freezer Crock-pot dump recipes. 

Crock-pot freezer dump recipes are recipes in which you put all of the ingredients into a freezer bag, freeze, and then later thaw and place directly into the crock-pot. Cook, and serve.

Of course, having a crock-pot in the house while I'm nauseated is an absolute NO-GO. (Oh, the smells.) But that's why God gave us back porches and garages, folks. I plan to make use of mine.

(The further from the house, the better. Too bad they don't make houses with electrical outlets two blocks away from the actual house. Gee, that would be convenient for morning sickness. While you're at it, move the coffee pot, microwave, and toaster oven - if you have one - out to the garage too.)

I am planning to prepare several weeks of these when our current baby is 18 months old. That should fit our time frame fairly well, so that they'll be available when I need them.

(Waiting till we conceive is not an option, as I'm usually too nauseated to cook within a very short time of conception - sometimes even before I can get a positive test, like this last time.)

(3) Additionally, I am working to make our children food-independent.

Teaching littles to pour their own water. Teaching the bigger children to prepare simple foods so that they can get their own breakfasts and lunches.

I once had a friend who expected that her serious health problems would take her life at any time. Consequently, she taught her daughter very early in life to be extremely independent in all areas of life - brushing her hair, cooking, doing her homework, etc.

My friend didn't end up dying - she's still with us! - but her work had the pleasant side effect of teaching her daughter excellent life skills at an early age.

That's my goal too.

On the whole, I would say that I tend to be deficient in the area of teaching life skills. My tendency is toward laziness - the "it's just so much easier to do it myself" mode. (Bad. Bad. Bad.)

So while a friend of mine had a ten-year-old out there winning chili cook-offs, my own ten-year-old was more along the lines of, "Mom, can you make me a piece of toast? I don't know how to do it."

(Bad. Bad. Bad.)

But pregnancy has really helped me to loosen up and to allow my children to be more independent. This has been really good for both them and me. Over the past year, our now-11-year-old has developed into an excellent beginning cook. I wish to foster this independence and the development of invaluable life skills as much as I can. Looking forward to the needs of future pregnancies gives me the motivation to do this.

And there you have it. If you can cook while pregnant, great. If you can't, do your best but don't guilt yourself to death over it. (I'm still working on that.) In all cases, simplify, simplify, simplify.

And while you're at it, hire some housecleaning help. I did this - twice - during our last pregnancy, and it was an enormous blessing. Totally worth it.

Continue to fight the good fight, dear mamas!


Easy No-Recipe Dinners

(1) Baked beans with hot dogs

Ingredients: baked beans, hot dogs
Directions: cut up hot dogs, optional sauté them, add baked beans, heat
Serve with: fruit or baby carrots

(2) Rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, frozen vegetables

Ingredients: rotisserie chickens, boxed macaroni and cheese, milk, butter, package of frozen mixed vegetables
Directions: cook boxed mac and cheese, microwave hot dogs
Serve with:

(3) Burritos

Ingredients: GF tortillas, refried beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa
Directions: heat refried beans
Serve with: fruit

(4) Chili

Ingredients: canned chili, chips, shredded cheese, sour cream
Directions: heat chili
Serve with: fruit

(5) Peanut butter and jelly roll-ups

Ingredients: GF tortillas, peanut butter, jelly
Directions: spread tortillas with peanut butter and jam, roll
Serve with: fruit and/or baby carrots

(6) Easy mixed beans and rice

Ingredients: rice, 2 cans chili beans, 1 can black beans, cilantro, spices, sour cream, salsa
Directions: follow recipes
Serve with: frozen green peas

(7) Macaroni and cheese.  hot dogs

Ingredients: boxed macaroni and cheese, milk, butter, hot dogs
Directions: cook boxed mac and cheese, microwave hot dogs
Serve with: frozen green peas

(8) Soup with cheese and crackers

Ingredients: canned soup, GF crackers, cheese, optional ham/tomato/pickles
Directions: heat soup, slice cheese
Serve with: fruit

(9) Spaghetti

Ingredients: spaghetti noodles, jarred spaghetti sauce, optional 1 lb. hamburger, parmesan cheese (green can kind)
Directions: optional saute hamburger, drain, add sauce and heat, cook noodles
Serve with: salad and dressing

(10) Cheese and crackers

Ingredients: GF crackers, cheese, ham, tomatoes, pickle
Directions: slice cheese, ham, tomatoes, pickle
Serve with: fruit

(11) Sandwiches (lunchmeat/cheese or PBJ)

Ingredients: GF bread, peanut butter and jelly OR mayo/lunchmeat/cheese
Directions: assemble sandwiches
Serve with: baby carrots or fruit

(12) Nachos with beans

Ingredients: chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, refried beans
Directions: assemble nachos, heat refried beans and add
Serve with: fruit

(13) Hummus and vegetable tray, cheese

Ingredients: vegetable tray, hummus, cheese
Directions: slice cheese, serve
Serve with:

(14) Ground beef and macaroni and cheese

Ingredients: boxed macaroni and cheese, 1 lb. ground beef
Directions: cook boxed mac and cheese, saute ground beef, drain, add to macaroni and cheese
Serve with: frozen green peas

(15) Hot dogs with “buns”

Ingredients: hot dogs, GF bread, condiments
Directions: microwave hot dogs, assemble
Serve with: fruit

(16) Hamburger patties, mashed potatoes, peas

Ingredients: frozen hamburger patties, boxed potatoes, milk, butter, peas
Directions: cook hamburger patties, make mashed potatoes, cook peas
Serve with:

(17) Black bean soup

Ingredients: canned black beans, chicken bouillon/broth, salsa
Directions: follow recipe
Serve with: chips and sour cream

(18) Breakfast dinner: Choose fried or scrambled eggs, optional spam, cereal/oatmeal/toast

Ingredients: eggs, optional spam, cereal/oatmeal/bread
Directions: cook whatever your choices are!
Serve with:

(19) Tuna and crackers

Ingredients: tuna, mayonnaise, pickles, cheese
Directions: make tuna, serve with crackers, slice cheese to go with it
Serve with: fruit

(20) Baked potatoes

Ingredients: potatoes, butter, sour cream, cheese, optional hamburger
Directions: scrub and poke potatoes, bake or microwave, optional cook hamburger
Serve with:


Sample Shopping List

Dairy Meat
_____ Milk _____ Lunchmeat
_____ Cream _____ Hot dogs
_____ Sour cream _____ Hamburger
_____ Kefir
_____ Cheese
_____ Shredded cheese

_____ Cheerios
_____ Pickles
_____ Canned pineapple
_____ Canned green beans
_____ Tuna
_____ SPAM
_____ Mayo/Ketchup/Mustard
_____ Salad dressing
_____ Raisins
_____ Prunes
_____ Crackers
_____ Bread
_____ Tortillas
_____ Paper plates
_____ Paper bowls
_____ Salsa

Produce Frozen
_____ Apples _____ Frozen peas
_____ Bananas _____ Frozen corn
_____ Grapes _____ Frozen berries
_____ Baby carrots
_____ Tomatoes
_____ Bagged salad
_____ Vegetable tray
_____ Hummus