Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Caleb - ONE Month

Caleb is one month old! (actually yesterday)  How can this be?!?!?!   (picture heavy post...but they're cute!)

He's still very much new and baby...but how has it been a whole month since he was born?  We are loving being a family of four.  However, we are still getting used to having a baby. 
Most days have been great and no problem, but over the past two days he has been fussy and just wants to either be held or eat.  This led to David making supper last night while I told him what to do.  That was interesting!
Kate has been GREAT!  She absolutely loves having a brother and even told me if we have another baby she wants another brother rather than a sister.  :-) 
She loved helping us give Caleb his first bath, though I think we'll stick with letting her brush his hair since when I asked her to rinse his stomach the water still almost made it up to his face.  Ha!

I'm not getting much sleep as he wakes every 2-3 hours (occasionally 4-5 but that has happened only twice) to eat and makes those sweet baby noises plus some reflux noises when he is asleep.  I wake up with every sound! 
He typically only takes one good, long nap during the day and is otherwise up and wanting to be held, which limits my napping ability.  I know they say sleep when baby sleeps but I don't think I'd get ANYTHING done if I did.  I have taken about 3 naps when I'm by myself with him.  Thankfully, David has been sweet and lets me take good naps on the weekends when he's here more. 
He still sleeps in his bassinet in our room which makes sleeping difficult for me since he makes sweet baby noises when he sleeps.  He has napped in his crib and did ok.  He does sleep on his back but likes to twist to the side.

We are exclusively breastfeeding and he has done great so far.  I have started doing some between feeding pumping sessions to get some frozen stash started.  He did have one bottle when I was gone for about 3 hours one time.  He took the bottle great, which is good since he will be in daycare soon-ish.  However it made me a little sad...though apparently, this is what he does when I'm gone and he thinks he's hunger (or IS hungry!)
When I got back, he was hungry and IMMEDIATELY started feeding well.  That made this mama happy!

I'm not sure how much he weighs but he feels heavier and is starting to get some meat on his legs and a little bit of a tummy.  He was 7 pounds 8 ounces at his 2 week visit.  My very UN-scientific weighing of him puts him between 8 and 8.5 pounds.  I'm assuming closer to 8.  He still wears newborn outfits but they are actually fitting and he can wear 0-3 if needed.

He loves to go on walks. If he is fussy, I can put him in his carrier and stroll for about 30-45 minutes and he will just sit there quietly, gazing out at the world.  About 2 minutes after getting home he is usually fussy again.  The boy likes to move!  He usually "talks" when we start walking, which I love.  It's so sweet!  He also likes to be held and to look at lights.
(with Allie, my mom)

He has started to smile some but it is still random and non-reproducible; so, I'm thinking it's due to reflex and gas.  A true smile is coming soon, though.  I'm convinced of it!! 
It has been such fun to watch him start focusing on things.  He is definitely starting to notice the world around him.  He has followed objects very briefly and will look toward sounds.   


Being a mama to a new baby is such a different thing than to a toddler/child.  It is such an overwhelming but joy-filled experience.  I can go from being stressed, exhausted and crying to overwhelmingly in love, not wanting to put my baby down in a matter of seconds. 
What an awesome responsibility God has given me and David.  I pray that we never forget to seek him for wisdom and strength in raising Caleb and Kate (and any other children we may have).  We pray that they both come to know him as Savior and to have a relationship with him.  I also pray that I am an example to them of how to live in Him.  What a huge responsibility that I am so thankful for!

Caleb, we can't wait to watch you grow more and more!!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sacher Cake - October DB Challenge

I honestly wasn't sure if I would be able to the challenge this month.  You see, on posting day last month I was giving birth to my greatest baking thus far:  my sweet baby boy Caleb!  He is one month old today and I cannot believe how quickly it has gone by. 
We had a church function two weeks after that and I decided to make this cake to take.  The October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen. She took us to Austria and introduced us to the wonders of the Sachertorte.  Korena wanted us to make this in a classic way.  However, David is gluten free - so I used gluten free flour.  The only other change I made was to use raspberry jam (I didn't have apricot and didn't have time (BABY!) to go get it). 
It turned out really good and David loved it.  On the whole, it was a bit chocolatey for me...though I did like the icing.  :-)  Speaking of the icing, despite following instructions, it seized up very quickly and I wasn't able to spread it as it cooled VERY quickly.  It ended up being fudge like but tasted great!  Thanks for a fun challenge.

Sachertorte

Servings: 12-16
Cake Ingredients
¾ cup (180 gm) (4½ oz) (125 gm) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
9 tablespoons (135 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) confectioners’ sugar (aka icing sugar or powdered sugar)
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature (see note above about egg whites)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
½ cup (120 ml) (7 oz) (100 gm) granulated sugar
1 cup (120 ml) (4½ oz) (125 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour (for volume measurement, spoon gently into measuring cup and level top)
pinch fine grain salt
Assembly
Apricot Glaze (see recipe below)
Chocolate Glaze (see recipe below)
Writing Chocolate (see recipe below)
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream, cold

 Preheat oven to moderately hot 375˚F/350°F fan/190˚C/gas mark 5 with a rack in the centre of the oven. Spray springform pan with cooking spray. 

Place the bittersweet/semisweet chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and heat over a small saucepan of barely simmering water (make sure that the bowl is not touching the simmering water) or in the microwave until just melted. Set aside to cool completely, stirring often.

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer or electric mixer on medium speed until very light and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar on low speed, then increase to medium speed and beat again until light and creamy.  Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla and beat until well-mixed and very light and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

In a scrupulously clean bowl using the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with about one tablespoon of the granulated sugar on high speed until foamy. Gradually add in the rest of the granulated sugar and continue beating the whites until they form soft, shiny peaks - they should hold their shape but flop over on themselves.
 
Vigorously stir about 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a spatula until just a few wisps of egg white remain. Do this carefully so as not to deflate the egg whites. Stir together the flour and salt and sift half of it over the chocolate mixture. Fold in with a spatula until almost incorporated. Sift over the remaining flour and fold to combine completely.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared springform pan.  Bake in the preheated moderately hot 375˚F/350°F fan/190˚C/gas mark 5 oven for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The cake will crack and dome in the middle as it bakes but will flatten out as it cools.
 
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan and remove the sides. Carefully invert the cake onto a rack and remove the bottom of the pan and parchment paper, then turn the cake right-side up onto a rack and allow to cool completely.
 
Assembly
  Turn the cake upside-down so that the perfectly flat bottom of the cake is now the top. Cut the cake horizontally into 2 even layers.
13. Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate.  Spread it generously with about half of the apricot glaze. Allow it to soak in.  Place the second cake layer on top and spread the top and sides with the remaining apricot glaze. Work quickly before the glaze has a chance to set and use a metal offset spatula to smooth the top. Place the cake on a rack set over a plate or baking sheet lined with waxed paper and allow the apricot glaze to set.
 
Make the chocolate glaze as below (it must be used immediately, while still hot) and pour it over the top of the cake, first around the edge and then in the middle. Spread the excess glaze over any bare spots using a metal offset spatula. Before the glaze has a chance to set, move the cake to a serving platter.  

With the writing chocolate, pipe the word “Sacher” in the middle of the cake and add any decorative flourishes you wish. Chill the cake until the glaze is completely set, at least 1 hour.
 
Glaze:
Ingredients
1¼ cup (300 ml) (14 oz) (400 gm) apricot jam or preserves (or other fruit flavor)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rum (or other liquor) or water

 Boil the jam and rum/water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and drips slowly from the spoon, about 2-3 minutes. Strain through a wire mesh sieve, pressing firmly on the solids. You should have about 1 cup of glaze. Use warm.

Chocolate Glaze:
Ingredients
1 cup (240 ml) (7 oz) (200 g) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 ml) water
(4 oz) (115 gm) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Place the sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil,  stirring occasionally.  Attach a candy thermometer and cook, stirring, until the mixture reaches 234˚F/112°C, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate. It might thicken up quite a bit. If it does, return it to low heat and add a few drops of water if necessary to thin it out to a runny, pourable consistency. The glaze should be smooth and shiny.  Off the heat, stir the glaze for 30-60 seconds to cool it slightly, then immediately use it to glaze the cake.

Writing Chocolate
Ingredients
¼ cup (60 ml) (1.8 oz) (50 gm) chopped good quality chocolate
½ - 1 teaspoons vegetable oil

Heat the chocolate until just melted, then stir in enough vegetable oil to get a pipeable consistency. If necessary, let the chocolate mixture cool slightly to thicken so that it is not too runny.  Place the chocolate in a disposable piping bag or small Ziplock bag and snip off the tip to make a small hole.

Assemble cake as above and enjoy!!!
 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Gluten Free Waffles (Great to send for school lunches!)

A few weekends ago, I made waffles for Kate's breakfast.  This was quite a feat as she likes to eat first thing.  I think it helped that she came in as I was feeding Caleb and COULDN'T get her food.  So, then, when I was done, I just walked out to the kitchen and started making waffles.  Now she HAD to wait!  I like sending breakfast for her school lunch about once a week to change things up and waffles are great for that (as are muffins, leftover scrambled eggs, boiled eggs....lots of stuff!). 
Anyway, I made her waffles regular but we have used a few recipes of gluten free waffles.  Back in April, I made this recipe (at least I think it was this recipe!) because I wanted to use a combo of flours rather than an all purpose mix.  Sometimes, it's fun to make your own mix.  They turned out well.  I did add in some cinnamon for added flavor.  David liked them and was able to take the left overs to work for "second breakfast."  Yes, I have hobbit feet and he eats like a hobbit.  Ha!

Gluten Free Waffles adapted from Cooking with Alison
1 1/4 cup rice flour (you can use brown rice flour if you want more fiber)
1/2 cup potato starch (this is Not the same thing as potato flour)
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or use 1 1/2 cups of milk alternative and 1 tbsp lemon juice)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey, maple syrup, or granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Mix with a fork until you have a smooth batter.  Note that the batter will be thinner than most other waffle recipes.  Use cooking spray to lightly grease your waffle maker and heat it as per your waffle maker’s instructions. Spoon batter onto waffle maker and close, cooking per your maker's instructions (mine has a lovely little light that indicates a finished waffled).  Remove and allow waffle iron to reheat before cooking more.  Enjoy!

 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chess Bars

So, really all I want to post about is my sweet baby (and I'll do another Caleb post soon) but since I'm way behind on recipes, I suppose I should post another recipe. 
This was made way back in April...when I was still pregnant but didn't look it yet.  WOW!  David likes chocolate and I like chess pie, so I decided to try this recipe for chocolate chess pie...but made it into bars.  It ended up being super sticky and pretty chocolatey...but still tasted good.  I just used my mom's pie recipe, subbing gluten free flour mix.
 Kate helped me and got to use the pastry knife for the first time.  Her little four year old hands were quite coordinated enough to get a good mix but she had fun. You can make this a pie or bars.  if doing bars, simply put into a square cake pan.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Chess Bars adapted from It's All About a Good Recipe
 
2 eggs
½ cup gluten free flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
For Pie Crust: 
 1 cup gluten free flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 T water
1/3 cup shortening
Sift flour and salt into bowl. Remove 1/4 cup flour and blend to a paste. Cut shortening into remaining flour until pieces are size of small peas. Add paste to flour mixture. Mix with fork until dough comes together and can be shaped into a ball (this is best done by putting a piece of saran wrap over the bowl, dumping it, and pressing the dough together.) Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. (Roll out crust to 1/8 inch thick to cover 9-inch pie pan)
Preheat oven to 325.  Prepare crust as above but press into square pan if doing bars. Beat eggs in a mixing bowl on high until foamy.  Beat in flour , white sugar and brown sugar then add softened butter.  It will start to look like a batter, stir in the chocolate chips! Pour into unbaked pie crust and place on a cookie sheet then place in oven. Bake 55-60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before you slice!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cooking by Letter - Very Veggie Soup

We have had a nice little cool snap here in the deep south.  Personally, I think this is what it should be like all month but we typically don't have that.  It has, however, given us some nice days to walk with Caleb...and he LOVES to walk. 
I can almost guarantee that he will calm down on a walk if he is fussy; however, that doesn't always translate to remaining quiet when we get back. 
Remember last year when we were cooking through the alphabet with Kate?  Well, this veggie soup was one of the last recipes we made. 
Kate really enjoyed it, though I'm not so sure about David.  We will have to make it again soon.  I love that it is healthy and gets LOTS of veggies in my family. 
Kate has been a really good eater but sometimes it is a little more difficult to get her to eat veggies.  With this soup, SHE was the one making it, so of course she wanted to eat it. 
She even got to grind the salt and pepper!  I did choose veggies that I knew she would eat and David could tolerate. 
I used all cabbage but might add some spinach next time as David seems to do well with that, it's more full of vitamins, and produces less gas. 
All in all, this really was a Kate made soup.  I think her favorite was stirring.  That and giving Daddy kisses before eating.  :-)


Very Veggie Soup
3 handfuls (I probably used about 3 cups) cabbage, escarole, or spinach
1 pound green beans (I used frozen)
6 carrots (I used mini carrots)
1 onion, chopped
8 oz corn
12 ounce can tomato puree
salt
pepper

Tear or cut greens into small pieces.  Prepare green beans if using fresh.  Peel and chop carrots.  In a large soup pot saute onion.  Add all veggies to the pot, including corn.  Fill with enough water to cover the veggies.  Add tomato puree, salt, and pepper.  Then get to stirring!  Simmer, covered, for 1.5 hours.  Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Delivery (Caleb's Birth Part 2)

After a night of about 5 hours of sleep, the day that we would meet Caleb arrived.  I woke up and had to go to the bathroom.  Yeah, going without waking up David probably wasn't the smartest idea I had.  Little did I know but that stadol and phenergan had made me quite woozy.  I didn't fall or hurt myself but I did stumble quite a bit.  That was fun.  I seriously had to concentrate on that trip to the bathroom.  A little bit later the nurse coming in to take out the balloon.  Goal with the balloon is to dilate to between 4-6 cm.  She felt like I was about 6cm.  And of the whole procedure, taking the balloon out was the worst part.  I'd probably do it again if my doctor recommended it.  They said that frequently after the balloon comes out, the contractions get less intense.  I'm not really sure if I experienced this lessening of contractions or not because soon after, the doctor came in to break my water and start pitocin.  At that point, I was about 8 cm dilated. 

Y'all as SOON as she started the pitocin, my contractions got closer together and more intense.  My AWESOME nurse said that I could get the epidural whenever I wanted it.  I asked David what he thought and he basically said to get it whenever.  I waited about 10 minutes and asked for it.  I knew that I would just tense up whenever I got a contraction and that wouldn't help anything.  The anesthesiologist came is so quickly.  Now, an epidural was one of my biggest fears but so shouldn't have been.  I'm not sure if it was the anesthesiologist (apparently I had the chosen team as my nurse and anesthesiologist were the ones my OB chose for her deliveries with her kids) but it didn't hurt.  The worst part was the last little dose of lidocaine.  He numbed the area with three little "shots" of lidocaine.  Then he put the epidural needle and catheter in, gave me a bolus of meds (which just gave a sense of pressure but no pain), and taped it in place.  Then I was good to go.  I think I felt two more contractions after that. 

By that time I was 9 cm and we were just waiting.  I spent some time on my right side and then she turned me to the left.  Caleb wasn't a big fan of that as his HR dropped a little.  I was aware of this but was still super drowsy from the phenergan and almost fell asleep.  As soon as I turned on my back, that little beep indicating his HR bumped right back up to a good range.  Less than an hour after getting my epidural I was ready to push - without ever having to turn up the pitocin!  Again, my nurse was fabulous!  By the time the doctor got there, she didn't have time to put on her protective shoe covers.  I pushed once with her and our sweet Caleb was born.  Oddly enough, the only thing I actually felt was his shoulders. 

He had the cord around his neck once and was a little blue.  He started crying within a few seconds and was none too happy to be out of his little cocoon. 
He apparently had some retractions at first and needed a little positive pressure to help clear out his little lungs.  He also grunted a little bit.  The pediatrician in me just kept saying "none of that.  Stop that!" because it could make him end up in the NICU.  Thankfully, he listened.  He was given APGARs of 9 and 9, but David and I both agree that he should probably have been 8 and 9 due to his slightly blue color. 

I finally got to hold my sweet baby.  What an awesome feeling!  I didn't want to let him go.  Our family came to meet him and Kate got to hold him. 

Then they left and we got to feed.  He did a great job.  Then he had to go to the nursery for bath, shots, exam, etc.  I got all situated and once the epidural wore off, we moved over to the suites.  I got to eat, we saw Kate and then waited on Caleb to be brought back.  Such a sweet day.  At the time, I didn't think I could be more in love...but I think I love him more each day.
(He did this in utero EVERY sonogram we had.  Turns out, he's trying to find his thumb.  Sometimes he actually gets it into his mouth!)


Monday, October 06, 2014

Beginning of Induction (Caleb's Birth Part 1)

So, I had an ultrasound scheduled the day after my due date to check to be sure everything looked good going into the weekend.  I had not had any changes in how I felt or contraction frequency (YES!  I had been having contractions for MANY WEEKS and even had two nights where I was up with some discomfort - though I now know that it was really NOTHING compared to what people really mean when they say discomfort with contractions - with no changes); so, I expected that we'd be going for the ultrasound and then heading out for a fun morning of going to brunch and shopping!  David had even brought a bunch of coupons.  We went into the ultrasound room and she immediately saw Caleb "practicing breathing," his heart looked great and his movements were good.  She tried to get some pictures and we actually saw his face briefly (it actually looked exactly what he looked like...chubby cheeks and round!). 

Then she moved on to the amniotic fluid measurements.  Despite being a doctor, I have NO CLUE how much fluid there should be; all I know is that I thought "that looks like really small spaces."  After that, we waited.  My doctor's nurse brought us back and said that Dr. Brantley would be here soon.  Hmmm...I didn't think that was part of the plan but okay.  Then after a little while, she told me to get ready for an exam.  Um, yeah...I KNOW that wasn't part of the plan!  When Dr. Brantley came in she said "I didn't anticipate this at all!  Your fluid is low and we need to come in to have a baby today."  Of course, I hadn't changed any...was only 1 cm dilated (I had been this for 2 weeks).  So, I'm in shock.  Then she says, "And I'm not going to be in town this weekend so the on call doctor will deliver you."  More shock...
(With Kate that morning.  No CLUE it would be the last before Caleb)

When she left to get everything set up, I just fell into David and started crying!  Yes, I was ready to meet my baby...and had been for a while.  But I didn't anticipate that EITHER...and wanted to go get brunch!  Isn't that silly...I was crying because I was missing brunch with my husband AND my doctor wouldn't be there.  I knew everything would be okay...but I wanted brunch and my doctor! 
Anyway, we walked over to the delivery suites and got set up in the biggest and best room they had.  We texted our families that they needed to come because baby would be coming.  Then David went and got brunch to go.  How sweet is he?!  It was SOOOOO good...and ended up being lunch.  He also got me a petit four.  
After we ate, he went home to get our bags, etc.  Of course, right as he is texting me that he's leaving the doc comes in to place my balloon.  I was worried that it would be something that I would want/NEED him to be there for.  Thankfully, it ended up being essentially pain and discomfort free...until right after, because that's when my contractions - which were apparently every five minutes since I had been admitted (though they weren't hurting I could feel the tightening) - became uncomfortable.  I could continue without much problem but they definitely hurt some. 
My parents came by and Daddy brought some chocolate covered English toffee caramels.  (Kate is sampling in the above picture.) Then they went to get Kate from afterschool and bring dinner back. 
Kate was very intrigued by my IV.  She kept asking why I had it and what it was.  I will say, the worst part of the IV was actually HAVING it.  It only hurt a little bit when she put it in but every time I tried to get out of bed, etc. it pulled a bit.  At one point, it actually hurt some but was still flowing and was definitely not causing an infiltrate.  The next day, my nurse pulled it back a little bit and it started flowing better and didn't hurt.  We think it was up against a valve in the vein.  Anyway, while Kate and my parents were there, I honestly didn't feel any contractions - they were great distractions.  As soon as they left, I started feeling them again...and they only got more painful.  
The nurse offered Stadol and Phenergan (as well as Vistaril to help me sleep).  She had actually been offering since around 4pm.  Can I say that 1. I should have taken it sooner (I waited through about 2 hours of painful contractions where I would fall asleep only to be awakened by the contraction every 3 minutes or so) than I did!  2. SO glad I didn't have it before Kate came.  I was afraid of how I would respond to the meds since the anesthesia from wisdom teeth had made me sick for 24 hours after.  As soon as she pushed the meds she said I'd feel effects quickly.  Um, yeah...about 2 seconds later my eyes got all dizzy and I couldn't keep them open.  She said to just give in and boy did I!  I slept for about 3-4 hours without waking up until a contraction woke me.  I asked for more meds and slept through until morning.

(To be continued)