Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blogging Woes

I really need to get better at this whole blogging thing. I think it hurts that I don't have a really good computer at home. To clarify, I don't mean one that is super fancy and what-not. What I mean is one that you don't have to hook up to your TV just to be able to see the screen. A new laptop or desktop is totally on my Christmas list this year.

I'm not quite sure how this blog is turning out. I wanted to make things easier on myself by combining all my interests, but it just seems like all my posts are long winded and just kind of muddled. I'm also not a huge fan of the title. I dunno, just reminds me of a domesticated animal or something like that.

So, here's my proposal: I've been doing a lot of work and real hard thinking of a blog over at WordPress. It will be called "Big Hearts, Little Hands". This will be all my crafty and mommy related stuff. For the recipes that I post, I will re-open Cafe Strawn. I really liked the layout and I think it's nice that you don't have to shuffle through a bunch of personal posts just to find something good to eat.

What do ya'll think? Do you think this is a good idea, or something destined to fail? I really want to get on a schedule for the BHLH blog, probably once a week on Mondays or something like that. Maybe I'll do Cafe Strawn posts on another day of the week (perhaps Friday).

Anywho, I think I'll set up a poll for you to easily answer, but feel free to leave your opinion in the comments. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ramen with Shrimp and Vegetables

It's been one wild and crazy ride here in my house. Lots of long distance traveling (which is made even longer by having a 6 month old with ya) and just lots of events going on. All this while, I'm trying desperatly to stay on my life change plan. didn't go so well while we were traveling, but now that I'm back and our traveling is pretty much done for awhile (save for an anniversary get away this weekend) I've gotten back into the habit of things.

After doing some thinking and looking over some stuff, I've decided that I needed to bump my calorie count down from 1480 a day to 1200. I'm not going to freak out if I go a little bit over, but I think this will really help me lose weight. My goal is to lose 2 pounds a week, but if I'm over, that's awesome; if I'm under, oh well, a loss is a loss.

So, while I'm dealing with all this craziness, I'm also trying to find fast foods I can cook which are (somewhat) healthy for me. I came across this recipe in one of my cookbooks and thought I would give it a try. I'm usually not a huge ramen fan, but this tasted really good. More after the recipe!

  • 1 lb uncooked peeled deveined medium shrimp, thawed if frozen and tails peeled.
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 package (3 oz) Oriental-flavor ramen noodle soup mix
  • 1 bag (1 lb) fresh stir-fry vegetables
  • 1/4 cup stir-fry sauce
  • Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp in skillet 2 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pink and firm. Remove shrimp from skillet; keep warm.
  • Heat water to boiling in same skillet. Break up noodles from soup mix into water; stir until slightly softened. Stir in vegetables.
  • Heat to boiling. Boil 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in seasoning packet from soup mix and stir-fry sauce. Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until hot. Stir in shrimp.

Soon after this picture was taken, this bowl was empty

My Take

All in all, I loved this recipe. It's quick and easy to do, and, maybe for the shrimp, you may have everything on hand. There were a few things I changed, but they were very minor, and probably didn't change the taste of it too much.

First of all, I didn't read the ingredients carefully when I went shopping so I bought pre-cooked shrimp. It wasn't that big of a deal, though. I just heated them up in the skillet and took off the tails. It might make it a bit quicker, but just make sure you don't cook them for too long.

Secondly, I already had some frozen asparagus stir-fry in the freezer, so I used that and just cooked it the same. It had some little noodles in it as well, but I didn't mind as I felt that there was a lot of shrimp and it needed more noodles any ways. I think it had to cook for a little bit longer, but it wasn't terribly long.

Also, I didn't have any stir-fry sauce (didn't even know there was such a thing) so instead I added a little bit of soy sauce and a few sprinkles of sesame seed oil. I didn't want to add too much, because I didn't want to overpower the taste from the seasoning packet. 

This recipe makes 4 servings, but since it was all I was eating, I ate 2 servings at a time. Each serving is 210 calories with 4 grams of fat. Pretty cook for a quick, yummy, Asian meal. This will definitely be on my "make again" list.

Until next time, kiddos: Eat healthy, Exercise, and Have Fun!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Late Night Musings

I know, I know. I should be in bed since I have to get up early tomorrow for a doctor's appointment, but I just couldn't sleep and I just felt the need to blog. So, here I am. Blogging on a laptop which it's screen is broken, so I have to use our TV as the screen. Oh how ingenious we can be!

First of all, it has been over 5 months since Lucy was born. Can you believe it!? Time has gone by crazy fast. Just within the past few weeks she's started to become mobile and is now, for the most part, sitting up all by herself. Sometimes I catch myself thinking back to the "good ol' days" when we first brought her home from the hospital. She's just gotten so big!

5 months!
Sitting up like a big girl

Secondly, my diet/lifestyle change has gotten off to a pretty interesting start. Due to personal issues, I started but then stopped last week and started anew this week. Tomorrow will my fourth day in, and I'm doing okay.

I try to weigh myself every Monday. Just lets me know if I'm headed in the right direction. Interesting story about this Monday, however. My cheap little bathroom scale is currently about 5 pounds less than 0. I can't find the little doo-hickey to zero it out (I think it might have broken off) so I just do the subtraction. Anyways, I step on the scale on Monday and it slowly moves to 5 above 0. I'm just so happy. One week of not really trying and I already weigh 0 pounds! Sweet! (Actually, I think I need another scale).....

One major step that I've taken to head towards my goal is doing daily exercises. Now, the ones I'm doing currently aren't terribly strenious (although they feel like it to me since I didn't do anything previous to this) but they are getting me into the habit of doing them daily.

The set of exercises I'm doing originally came from This is called the Starter's Exercise Plan. This is how it goes (JJs = Jumping Jacks):

Day One: 30 JJs, 10 crunches
Day Two: 35 JJs, 15 crunches
Day Three: 40 JJs, 20 crunches
Day Four: 45 JJs, 10 sit-ups
Day Five: Rest
Day Six: 50 JJs, 15 sit-ups
Day Seven: 30 crunches, 10 leg lifts
Day Eight: 55 JJs, 10 leg lifts
Day Nine: 60 JJs
Day Ten: 10 lunges (each leg)
Day Eleven: Rest
Day Twelve: 15 crunches, 10 leg lifts
Day Thirteen: 20 leg lifts, 20 sit-ups
Day Fourteen: 15 minutes jogging in place
Day Fifteen: 10 lunges (each leg), 60 JJs
Day Sixteen: Rest
Day Seventeen: 20 leg lifts, 10 toe-touches
Day Eighteen: 5 minute jog, 15 toe-touches, 10 lunges
Day Nineteen: 20 lunges, 10 toe-touches
Day Twenty: 10 lunges, 10 sit-ups, 20 JJs

If you would like a prettier version of this to print out for yourself, feel free to visit my "Getting in Shape" board on Pinterest, or visit the original poster in the link mentioned above.

Sure, to you veteran work-outers, this may not seem very hard, but man my shoulders were sore after the first day of doing those jumping jacks. I sometimes wonder if I'm doing my crunches right because I haven't felt really any pain in my core, but maybe that's a good thing...? After I get done with this plan, I'm going to take a day of rest, and then move onto her Level One Exercise Plan. I like these because they're fairly simple and I don't need fancy equipment or a gym membership to do them. I can actually do all of them in the comfort of my own living room. Yay!

And here is the embarassing part, my "Before" pictures. I hate taking body pictures of myself, and even more, I hate putting them up on the Internet. But, I think that if I do this, then it will really show me how much of an improvement I'm making, even when I feel like I'm not making any. So...without further ado....Shiloh's

Before Pictures:

Front shot
Side shot

Sorry for the bad shots. I don't have a full length mirror so I kinda had to work with what I had. But you get the jist of it, I hope. Main problem areas for me are my upper arms and the whole tummy area. But, hopefully, those will be blasted away in the future.

I think I have babbled on enough about me, so, my loyal readers, what about you? Are you on your own weight loss journey, or are you thinking of starting one up? I hope that by me sharing mine with you (all the ups and downs included) that it will make you think about starting one yourself, if the need is there.

Until next time!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Healthy Eating

I need to get into shape. Okay, so I've made this statement several times before, but I really need to get on the ball of this. Not only because it would be awesome to have a hott rockin' bod, but it's a major health reason for me as well. On one side of my family, heart disease is the main issue, while on both sides, diabetes is a problem. It's not just for me anymore, I have a kid I have to watch out for. Soon she'll be cooking with me, and I want to teach her healthy eating habits, not just eat whatever you want whenever. Maybe she'll get lucky and have Dylan's energy and metabolism.

My overall goal is to drop from 192 lbs to 135 pounds. That sounds like a ton, and it is, but if I just do it 10 lbs at a time, then it may be easier. I've been on diets before, but I really need to do a whole life change. There are some things which I have been doing for awhile which have helped me be a tad bit healthier, such as using low-fat margarine instead of butter (I don't ever remember buying butter since, like, ever), eating whole wheat bread, using ground turkey instead of ground beef in recipes, and trying to get as much low-fat stuff as possible.

I think one thing I really need to do is eat more fruits and veggies. As it is now, I barely eat any, so that's one thing I really need to change. I just went grocery shopping today and bought some yellow squash, frozen blueberries, and some red potatoes. Not a whole lot, granted, but in my opinion, it's a step in the right direction.

Another thing I really need to work on is doing some sort of exercise. I hate exercise, so I think this will be the hardest thing for me. I think running/jogging will be out of the picture for awhile, because 1) I hate running for anything and 2) because of my weight, it puts a lot of strain on my joints and I think it's doing more harm than good. There's some exercises I've found on Pinterest which I think I may try and start off with in addition with maybe walking a bit with Lucy. She seems to enjoy them, but we may hold off until this extreme heat wave passes us.

I'll still be posting recipes and the like, but I'm going to try and post healthy ones or ones that I've adapted as healthy. I need to stick to serving sizes, as that's another down-fall for me. Hopefully some of you readers will find this helpful and maybe we can walk on this journey together. Feel free to contact me by either commenting or by e-mailing me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Long Time No See

It's been awhile since I've been on here, but I have good reasons! First I've been busy with Lu. Every time I sat down at the computer and tried to put in an entry, she would whine or get me distracted somehow.

Secondly, my laptop power cord died, so we had to get another one. When we finally got it, it wouldn't work. I wasn't sure if it was the cord or my computer. I had been getting blue screens and I was going to get it checked out but kept putting it off. So I finally brought in yesterday only to find out the cord worked just fine, it was my motherboard that died. *le sigh*

So here I am on the Blogger app on my phone updating ya'll on my somewhat boring life. I'm going to try to post from here more often, but I would much prefer to do it on a computer. Oh well.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

From time to time, I get a craving for chicken tacos. Usually when we have taco night at my house, I cook up a pound of ground beef (for Dylan) and a pound of ground turkey (for me). That's good and all, but sometimes what I really want is a chicken taco. For some reason, I love fresh ingredients on my chicken tacos, so that's even more of a plus. But, alas, I have never really found a really good way to make taco-seasoned chicken. I did it really well once, but I used canned chicken, and found it more difficult to do with fresh chicken breasts.

So, imagine my amazement when, one day, I was surfing on Pinterest and found a recipe for chicken tacos. It only used three ingredients and was cooked in the crockpot. I followed the link and it lead me here. I decided to put it on my constantly-growing "cook this" list. Let, lemme give you the recipe and then I'll talk more about it. :)

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 envelope of taco seasoning
  • 1 16 oz jar of salsa
Dump everything into a crock pot and give it a little stir to blend the seasoning with the salsa. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done, the chicken should shred easily when stirred with a fork.

My Take
Oh. My. Goodness. These were soooo easy and soooo amazing. I actually eyeballed everything as I only had 3 (albeit quite large) chicken breasts. That and I have one of those large taco seasoning jars, so I never buy the packets. I cooked it on low for 5 hours and then shredded the chicken and let it cook for another hour, letting the flavoring get in the chicken really well.

I actually just finished off 2 tacos and am thinking of going back for seconds. I may also make some tortilla soup with the leftovers or maybe make my Mexican casserole again but this time with chicken! Oh the possibilities! I haven't used my crockpot that much in the past, but that is totally going to change. :)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go stuff my face with more of this wonderful stuff.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tie-Dye Fruity Cupcakes

This year for Easter, I decided that I wanted to make some kind of dessert, but I didn't want to do something huge and difficult, but I wanted it to look "springy".That's when I came across these cute little cupcakes. They were yummy looking, and they didn't seem too hard to make. I was a little bit curious as to how they would taste.

  • 1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix
  • 1/4 cup dry lemon Jell-o (about half a package)
  • 1/4 cup dry lime Jell-o
  • 1/4 cup dry strawberry Jell-o
  • 1 container (16 oz) ready to spread vanilla frosting

  • Prepare cake batter as directed on package; divide evenly into 3 bowls. 
  • Stir different flavor dry gelatin mix into batter in each bowl. Alternately spoon batters into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, adding about 2 Tbsp. of each batter to each cup. Bake as directed on package for cupcakes. Cool completely.
  • Frost cupcakes with frosting.

Do you know how hard it is to cut a cupcake
to make it look pretty?

My Take

These turned out even better than I expected. The flavors went really well together, although the lime seemed to overwhelm the other flavors. I put whipped vanilla frosting on top and dyed some coconut flakes green to make it look like grass. Yay for simple decorations!

I will definitely make these again in the future. I'm kind of curious to try other flavors, such as a triple berry with strawberry, rapsberry, and that blue one.  One other variation they say to do is to top the cupcakes with Cool Whip and sprinkle the remaining Jell-o. I'm going to have to try that one sometime as well.

So, lemme know if you try this, or if you try it with other flavors. Feel free to leave a comment! :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

All About Cross Stitching

As of late, I've been having this huge urge to cross stitch. I love cross stitching. I learned it from my mom when I was just a kid, and now it's a stress reliever (and sometimes a stress creator!). Some of you may recall that I had another blog called "Shiloh's Stitches" in which I talked about the various projects I was working on. Well, today I would like to show you what my current cross stitching project is. It's called "The Mighty Samurai" and it's Dimensions kit #3881

The finished product
I started it back in either November or December of last year and after I left work in mid-January, I pretty much worked on it all day, every day. So, before Lucy was born, I got a lot of it done. The picture below is what I've gotten done as of Sunday. I did some more yesterday, so it's not totally current, but close enough to give you an idea of close I'm getting.

The yellow stain you see on the bottom is from me accidentally setting the project down on an open highlighter. Ugh...I'm hoping that most of it will come out when I wash it, but I guess we'll see.

The plan is that when I'm all finished with this, I'll frame it and put it up in our bedroom which has an Asian theme. Whenever I get done with my two Geisha girls, he'll go inbetween them. He's such a ladies man. It must be the peacock by his side. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Getting Into Shape

Since it has been over 6 weeks since I had Lucy, I got the go-ahead from my doctor to pretty much do anything (yay!). So, with that in mind, I'm going to try my darned hardest to get into shape. I'm not going to say "get back into shape" 'cause, well, honestly, I haven't been in shape since I was a kid. Unless you count round. Round is a shape, right?

Moving on from horrible jokes....

I would love to lose 60 pounds. I understand that is going to take a long time. For me, it's not a matter of looking pretty or being able to fit in certain clothes. Those are nice, but I have to do this for my health. I am at severely high risk for diabetes and heart disease (both run in my family. Yay...?) Technically, I'm obese. I know I don't look it. I hide my fat well. But it's true.

So, the time has come for me to shed all this excess baggage and start down a healthier road. It's going to be hard as Dylan and I have such different needs regarding food. He needs a high-calorie, high-protein diet because of his manual labor job. I, on the other hand, do not need all those calories.

This is going to be difficult. Dylan and I love pizza. We have it at least once a week in some form or fashion. But I must resist (Dyl actually made a frozen pizza last night and I'm sure there are leftovers....) I must be strong. I must stand my ground, and fight against the calories which come my way.

I threw myself under the food bus by making brownies last night. Baaaaad move....

An online tool which I'm hoping will help me is called the Super Tracker. It's actually put out by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Not only does it show you how many portions a day, but I can track my food intake and my physical activities. It also gives me a personalized plan showing me how many calories a day I'm suppose to eat, taking into account me trying to lose weight as well as the fact that I'm breastfeeding. It's really nice, and I'm hoping that by having to track everything, it'll keep me accountable.

Yesterday was my first day of tracking everything. It was a so-so day. I learned that I eat a ton of empty calories and I barely eat any dairy. I also went over my limit of sodium as well. Not good. Today I'm hoping to get a bit better.

Sidenote: Soda is definitely out. Drank a can of root beer yesterday. Had 152 calories in the whole thing. Empty calories? 150. Eww.....

So, in addition to the recipes and random stuff about babies I put up from time to time, I also am going to share my weight loss journey with you. If you, too, are wanting to lose weight, I invite you to join me in this life-changing experience. I'm not planning to go on a "diet". Rather, I'm wanting to have a life change; change the way I view food.

So let's share our ups and downs. Share tips and ways you've found to combat the evil fat monster. As Red once said, "Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together."

Monday, April 2, 2012

Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork

So there's this popular idea of making BBQ Pulled Pork with root beer that's been floating around the Internet recently. I loved pulled pork and I love root beer and I could see how the combo could work, so I decided that this was something I would have to try. Dylan also loves pulled pork, so I wanted to see if I could make one of his favorite BBQ recipes at home. It turned out great! But, lemme give you the recipe and then I can rave about how good it was.

  • 1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
  • 1 (18 ounce) bottle your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 8 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted
Place the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6 to 7 hours. Note: the actual length of time may vary according to individual slow cooker. Drain well. Stir in barbecue sauce. Serve over hamburger buns.

My Take

The smell of it while it was cooking was a bit....weird, so at first I was really worried if it was going to turn out right. I've never made pulled pork before, so this was all new to me. But it turned out fabulous! I did change the recipe a little bit.

First, before I put the tenderloin in the slow cooker, I rubbed it with a little bit of salt, pepper, and garlic salt, just to add a bit of flavor to it. Then, I poked a few holes in it with a fork, just to make sure the juices could get in there and do their magic.

Then I cooked it for 5 hours, took it out and drained the root beer. I proceeded to shred the pork, mix it in with some BBQ sauce (didn't use a whole bottle, just did it by sight) and then cooked it for another hour, to get the sauce nice and absorbed into the meat.

Now, if I had to do it over again, I think I might use a different cut of meat, like a shoulder cut, as it would give me more meat for cheaper. Also, I used Famous Dave's BBQ sauce, but I think next time, since I cooked it with root beer, I might have to try it with the A&W BBQ sauce, just to keep the root beer flavor more intact.

This was totally a winner in my house, and it was very easy to make, so I'm totally going to have to make this again.

Lemme know if you try it and how it turned out for you! I love to hear from you, my loyal readers. Also, let me know if there's something you've heard me talk about that you would want the recipe for. I tend to do my posts around food that I've cooked in the past week or so.

Anywho, that's all I have for now. Dunno what'll be up next. We'll just have to see. :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Maple Salmon

I found this recipe while looking for easy salmon recipes which I could use up some of the frozen fish I had. I just tried this today and it is amazing. The taste totally reminds me of my teriyaki salmon, but it uses less ingredients and is a bit easier to prepare.

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound salmon
  • In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
  • Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.
My Take

I thought this dish turned out amazing. I was initially worried about sticking maple syrup in the oven, fearing that it would be a nightmare to clean up, but actually it wasn't too bad once you added the soy sauce. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it tasted a lot like teriyaki, which is a good thing. I ate this with some leftover fried rice from Hy-Vee and it was great. Dylan didn't try any as he's not a big seafood person. I ate it all by myself. >.>

The only thing I changed with the recipe was that I used light maple syrup, as that's the only kind of maple syrup that I use. Also, I think I would have liked to add a little bit more, as it was a bit too "twangy" for my taste. (Did that even make sense to you, loyal reader?)

Well, that's about all I have for now. Right now I'm cooking some Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork in my crock pot. Look for a post on that sometime in the near future. I'm hoping it'll turn out awesome. :)

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    Cabin Fever

    Time goes by so fast. Lucy-Lu is already over a month old, and I still feel like I'm learning something new about her every day! But, things are getting easier....somewhat.....

    Isn't she just the cutest thing?

    The other day, I just broke down. I just started feeling like I never left the apartment any more except to go to church or to a parent's house. I was getting depressed 'cause I felt like I didn't have anyone to hang out with (which I know is partically my fault as I don't reach out, but who said depression had to make sense?). I was also starting to get stressed from taking care of Lucy. We're having a somewhat hard time right now as we're trying to get her on a "stay awake during the day, sleep at night" schedule, and that's hard to do with a month old. So, I think Thursday/Friday I stayed up for 23 hour straight, which as soon as Dylan came home from work, I passed the baby off to him and went straight to bed.

    The next day wasn't much better. I started the day by snapping at Dylan, which made him get upset, but I tried to explain why I was so short. I think I must have somehow communicated my frustration with him, 'cause he took Lucy over to his mom's house for the day. I sat at home and moped around, and took a 4 hour nap. Dyl came back home at 11 and Lu was sleeping, but I was still grumpy. So, at 2 am, I went down to the grocery store and bought some Chinese.

    Unless you're a stay-at-home mom or feeling the effects of cabin fever, you have no idea how just going to the grocery store can feel. (To help alleviate the depression, I bought myself an Oreo cookie cake....)

    Honestly, that actually made me feel tons better.

    Now, why do I make a post complaining about this? Is it to gain sympathy from you, my loyal readers? No, it's not. I'm not grasping for attention or crying for help or anything like that. I'm simply sharing my experience with you. This blog is about me adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom and a housewife, so I thought I should share the bad along with the good. My life isn't perfect (far from it!) so if you ever feel stressed or just want to get away, trust me, I know how you feel.

    That's pretty much all I have to say in this here post. There's a new recipe that I'm probably going to try this week or weekend (Crockpot BBQ Pulled Pork made with Root Beer) so I may have a post up about that.

    Oh, completely off topic, I did make a Beef and Irish Stout Stew, but it turned out horribly. I burned it not once, but twice (I blame having to take care of Lucy and not watching it closely enough) so that might have been part of it. I don't think I'm going to write a full blog about it since I don't really have any positive things to say about it at all. Here's a link to the recipe if you would like to try it yourself (only thing I added was some red potatoes).

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Baked Buffalo Wings

    I personally do not like buffalo wings. I think it's because of the hot sauce used in them, but whatever the reason, I've never been a big fan. Dylan, however, is. So when I came across this recipe for baking buffalo wings as opposed to frying them, I was intrigued. This was something I could make at home and it would be healthier than the fried version (not that Dylan cares. :p) The recipe that I'm going to give is the original recipe for 20 wings. I adjusted it for 8 wings (as that's all I had, since just one person was going to be eating them). Also, I did a few things that aren't in the original recipe, so after I do the recipe and "My Take", I'm going to post an adjusted recipe with all my changes (except for the serving size change). So, here we go!

    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 20 chicken wings
    • 1/2 cup melted butter
    • 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce (such as Frank's RedHot®)
    • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with cooking spray. Place the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt into a resealable plastic bag, and shake to mix. Add the chicken wings, seal, and toss until well coated with the flour mixture. Place the wings onto the prepared baking sheet, and place into the refrigerator. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
    • Whisk together the melted butter and hot sauce in a small bowl. Dip the wings into the butter mixture, and place back on the baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and crispy on the outside, about 45 minutes. Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly.

    My Take

    As stated above, I don't like buffalo wings, so I didn't even try these. Just the smell of the sauce was just icky to me. But, I feed them to Dylan (my taste-tester) and he loved them. I was worried about them being soggy, but he said that the texture was perfect. I was also worried about them drying out, but he said they were fine.

    So here's what I changed in the recipe to make them all good:
    • I made sure that the wings were nice and dry by squeezing them with a paper towel before I dredged them in the flour mixture.
    • Instead of cooking them on a baking sheet, I baked them on a cooling rack over a baking sheet to keep them out of the juices to keep them from getting soggy.
    • Instead of immediatly putting the sauce on them, I first baked one side for 25 minutes, flipped them and cooked them an additional 25 minutes. Then I put the sauce on them and baked them for 5 additional minutes. 
    I didn't change any of the ingredients, so I'll just list the "new" directions.

    Revised Directions
    • Squeeze and pat the chicken wings dry with a paper towel, making sure all excess moisture is gone.
    • Mix the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt into a resealable plastic bag and shake to mix. Add the chicken wings, seal, and toss until well coated with the flour mixture. Place the wings onto a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
    • Spray a cooling rack with cooking spray and place over a cooking sheet. Place the wings on the cooling rack and place in the oven. Cook on one side for 25 minutes. Flip and cook for another 25 minutes.
    • Whisk together the melted butter and hot sauce in a small bowl. Dip the wings into the butter mixture and place back on the cooling rack. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. If desired, drizzle or coat the wings with remaining sauce.
    As always, lemme know if you try out this recipe. Comments are always appreciated! :)

    Friday, March 9, 2012

    My Labor Story

    This is a long time coming, but when you have a newborn who pretty much refuses you to put her down, you don't get to get on the computer very often. So, while she's over there taking a nap on the couch, I thought I would attempt to write down the majority of my labor story.

    Just a warning, this can get a bit TMI, so if you're not interested in hearing about the gritty details of the birthing process, I suggest you skip this post. :)

    I was due on Thursday, February 9, 2012. Well, that day came and went with nothing to show for it. I had an appointment that following Monday, and the doctor checked my cervix. I was already 3 cm dilated. They went ahead and scheduled me to be induced on Thursday, February 16, one week after I was due. I was really hoping that I would go into labor before that, as I really wanted as close to a natural birth as I could handle.

    To my disappoinment, I didn't go into labor before the designated day, so, on Thursday, February 16, 2012, my husband and I showed up at the hospital at 6:15 in the morning. Due to me being totally worried about the whole thing, I didn't get any sleep the night before. Um...yeah...not a good idea. Anywho, by the time they got all the paperwork done and my IV in (took them 4 sticks to get it in) it was 8:00 am and my induction started.

    At first it wasn't too bad. I got to see Lucy's heartbeat on the monitor, as well as the strength of my contractions. That was pretty interesting. Because I had tested positive for the Strep B test, they had to give me penicillin every 4 hours during the labor. Oh my gosh I hated that stuff. They gave it to me via the IV and within half an hour, my arm started to burn. Apparently that's pretty natural, but still it was pretty annoying.

    After a few hours, my contractions started getting to the point where it was getting hard for me to handle. I really wanted to stay away from getting a spinal epidural, so I decided to try some painkillers via the IV. They gave me Stadol. Within minutes it started working. And man did it work!

    It didn't make the feeling of the contractions go away completely, but it helped a lot. It also made me really sleepy (which didn't help when added to the fact that I didn't get any sleep the night before). Most of the time while the drug was in effect, I was in this drugged sleep phase. I was consious of stuff going on around me (such as my mom sending Dylan out of the room to get something to eat) but I was just so tired that I couldn't open my eyes or say anything. I remember Dylan was saying something about how I had fallen asleep, and I replied that I wasn't....even though I was snoring. It's really weird to snore while you're still awake. I would become slightly alert when a strong contraction came along, but other than that, it was all good.

    But, alas, all good things must come to and end. The Stadol started to wear off, and the nurses told me that they can give me another dose, but it won't work as well, and then after that, it pretty much won't work at all. They checked my cervix again and I was dilated to 6 cm. This was around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. (Forgive me for forgetting the times when this all took place. Drugs + it being 3 weeks ago = a forgetful Shiloh.) They asked me again if I wanted an epidural and I said no. The nurses left the room and a really strong contraction hit me. This was probably one of the strongest ones that I had had up to that point and oh man did it hurt. I was almost crying and I finally broke down and asked for an epidural.

    They went to get the anesthesiologist and while they did that, they got me up to go to the bathroom. For those of you not in the know, when you get a spinal epidural, you're pretty much paralyzed from the waist down. While walking back from the bathroom, another really strong contraction hit me, and I pretty much doubled over from the pain. I kept trying to say "Labor pain is good pain" in my head (something I heard from one of the labor videos I had watched) but that didn't really help a whole lot.

    One random thing was that when I was on Stadol (I think, memory's a bit fuzzy), I started shaking really bad. I think it was just a combination of the meds in the IV as well as I had developed a fever sometime during my labor. It was kind of annoying to be dealing with contractions as well uncontrollable shaking.

    Sometime during labor
    So finally the anesthesiologist came and they started the epidural. I did not like getting the epidural at all. First, they had me sit up in the bed and hang my feet over the side, so they could get to my back. One of the nurses held me upright while the anesthesiologist did her thing. She numbed the area, but I don't think it got numbed very well. I don't know exactly what she did back there, but man it hurt. I could actually feel the needle go in, and I let them know that by almost breaking down in tears saying I felt something. Didn't help that I was having a contraction at the same time. Also, the nurse that was holding me pretty much held my head against her chest, which really freaked me out as I hate having my face covered (something like a mild form of claustrophobia). So I was freaking out about 3 different things so they had a hard time holding me still.

    Yet, once the epidural started working, wow it made a difference! I guess I had a really strong contraction, and Dylan asked "Did you feel that?" My response was "Feel what?". Even though I really didn't want to get an epidural, I'm glad I did. I honestly don't think I would have been able to make it through without one. One bad side effect, though. As mentioned before it makes you really numb from the waist down. Well, I could barely feel my right leg. Like, if you poked it, I could still feel it in that weird numb way, but I couldn't move it at all. Kind of bad when you're suppose to hold your legs up when you start pushing, but I'll get to that in a minute.

    So while on the epidural, I catch a few hours of sleep, watch the Antique Roadshow with Dyl and my mom, as well as watching the first part of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I found that when I went to sleep, I dilated faster (or so it seemed). After taking a nap, they checked my cervix again and found that I was dilated to 9 cms. Yay! Progress!

    But progress was slow after that. I was stuck at 9 cm for awhile (again, can't remember exact times). At one point I had dilated to 9.5 cms and stayed there for awhile. Finally, they had me start pushing at 9 pm. They didn't think it would take that long. Uh...yeah....sure....

    So they had me push for an hour. You think you know how to push, but when you're on an epidural, and can't really feel down there all that well, pushing becomes a lot harder. I guess I wasn't making any progress, 'cause the overseeing physician told them to let me rest for an hour. I think I may have fallen asleep for a bit, kind of hard to remember, but at 10 pm, they had me pushing again.

    Again, they didn't think that it would take that long as they could feel her head pretty well. They apparently underestimated how big my child's head was. So for over 2 hours I pushed, with Dylan and my mom holding my legs up, since I couldn't do that myself thanks to the epidural.

    Long story short, I pushed and pushed and pushed. They kept telling me "Just one more big push!" for about an hour. more push....right....Finally, I pushed her head out and the rest was pretty easy. Dylan was going to cut the umbilical cord, but it was wrapped around her neck and she wasn't breathing. So the doctor had to cut the cord and they had to use that suction-thingy to clear out her nose and throat so she could breath. Even when they got that clear, she whimpered more than cried. That was kind of scary for me, but they told me that she was doing fine. I was going to have her plopped right on my chest, but because of her traumatic entrance into the world, they had to do some tests and stuff right away to make sure she was okay. She was, thankfully.

    Exhausted after giving birth

    Then came the afterbirth. Holy cow that was way easier than the actual birth. Oh, and if you're expecting and going to have the father in the room, please inform him what the afterbirth is. That way he won't be so freaked out when this balloon of bloody flesh comes out of you. Thankfully I had informed Dylan of this before, so he wasn't so surprised, but I, personally, was grossed out by it. But then they handed me Lucy, so I forgot about it pretty quickly.

    I also tore pretty bad, apparently, as they took while to stitch me back up. I guess I had internal stitches as well, but they didn't really tell me much about that, and I didn't really ask.

    Also, I was almost out of my epidural, and they said they weren't going to give me anymore once it ran out, something about a shortage or something. I don't really remember. But seriously, I only had some left in the tube underneath the dripper deal by the end of it all. I was terrified I was going to run out. Thank goodness I didn't, otherwise I don't know how I would have handled it.

    Lucy Joanna was born at 12:11 am on Thursday, February 17, 2012. I was in labor for 16 hours and pushed for about 3. It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. She also had a much bigger head than they first thought, and actually she had a large bump on the back of it which was all bruised. That got better pretty fast, though she still has her stork bite on the back of her neck. She was also pretty jaundice, but she got better before we left the hospital.

    My first good look at her

    Because I was Strep B positive, we had to stay in the hospital for 48 hours, which was kind of nice because we didn't really have to worry about anything. At one point we needed some sleep and Lucy just wanted to cry and scream, so the nurses took her to the nursery so we could get some sleep.

    So, there you have it, there's my birth story. I'm sure there are details in which I'm forgetting, but that's the major part. Feel free to ask questions if you have any. :)

    Our happy family
    My perfect baby

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Baby is A'Coming....

    Well, not right now. I highly doubt that if I were in active labor, I would stop to make a blog post. A post on Facebook, yes, but not a full-length blog.

    But she is coming soon (I hope!). Today I am 37 weeks. For those of you who aren't familiar with pregnacy (as I was before I got pregnant) there are, usually, 40 weeks in a pregnancy, so I only have 3 weeks left until my due date. Now, as any woman who has had children before can tell you, due dates are very rarely exact, but I'm to the point where I'm hoping it'll be sooner rather than later.

    As we come closer to the big event, several things are running through my mind. First, I'm entering the whole "freak out" stage where it's finally becoming reality that I'm going to be a mom. I'm not worried that Dyl and I will be horrible parents, it's just that this is a huge life-changing experience. After this, there is no going back to the way things use to be. It's kind of intimidating, to be perfectly honest.

    Secondly, I'm starting to worry/think about the whole labor process a bit more logically/seriously/thoughtfully. Growing up here in America and watching all the films, you would think that you have two choices of giving birth: 1) You make it to the hospital and you're attached to IVs and monitors and you're lying on your back screaming bloody murder as the father of the baby passes out next to you or 2) You don't make it to the hospital and thus you have to give birth at home or in the car. Sometimes an elevator.

    Uh...yeah...those both sound...uh....lovely. Thankfully, I took birthing classes at my hospital and I also watched a great documentary about birthing (The Business of Being Born) so I feel much more educated about what I want to happen during my labor. Now, obviously things can go waaaay different than I have planned, and I'm okay with that. In the end, it's all about what's best for Lucy. And me, too, I guess.

    You know in all the movies and TV shows where they show the Lamaze class doing those silly breathing exercises? Yeah, they really make you do that. We didn't have to do it in class, but I'm suppose to practice breathing at home. I know it's going to come in handy and all, but I can't help but feeling a bit....well....silly.

    Now, I know some of you are dying to know how Lucy's doing. She's doing pretty good. She's head down, so she's all ready to go. Her heartbeat's been good and she is moving a whole lot, mainly sticking her feet in my ribs. I have also found out she likes her space. Dylan had his head on my belly trying to see if he could hear her heartbeat and she kept kicking his face. That's my girl! She also kicked Nana (my mother-in-law) and the doctor when they were trying to listen to her heartbeat. And my mom finally felt her kick, so I have a feeling she's going to be a spirited, hard-headed little girl, like her mother.

    Random note: Tomorrow is my last day at work. It's very bittersweet....

    Well, this may be my last post before I give birth, but don't worry, I'll be sure to update ya'll once she gets here and all that jazz.

    My question of this post is...If you've had children, what products couldn't you live without and which ones you could?