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