23 November 2013

Recipe: Taco Soup

Well, I'm still pregnant! The hospital is at least 2 days behind on inductions, and my OBGYN doesn't appear too concerned since all he did was have me come in for an NST on Friday and told me to schedule another NST for Monday if I hadn't heard from the hospital by then. I'm still praying I go into labor on my own before then, but it's not looking very promising at the moment.

Since I had planned to be in the hospital and then home with a newborn this weekend, I didn't plan any meals. That led to quesadillas for dinner on Thursday and inviting ourselves for dinner at my parents' on Friday. Today, in an attempt to keep busy and not go completely mad from being in limbo, I did quite a bit of cooking. Aside from my usual eggs for breakfast, I made muffins for The Husband and the girls (with the added bonus of heating the house since my antique stove works better than our central heating unit) and decided to make soup for dinner since it's been so grey and cloudy here lately...perfect soup weather.

I love making soup. It's a fabulous way to stretch our food and, really, is there anything better than a hot bowl of soup on a cold, cloudy day?

Tonight, I made taco soup. I've made versions in the past that were so-so, but this version is my favorite. It is slightly spicy, chunky, and very comforting. I actually prefer to make it as a vegetarian dish, but since The Husband has been in kind of a grouchy mood lately, I decided to placate him with beef.

Doesn't that look scrumptious?


1 lb ground beef or turkey (optional)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 (15 oz) can chili beans (you may substitute pinto beans if you can't find chili beans)
1 (15 oz) can dark kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (29 oz) can hominy
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
1 packet taco seasoning (or you can use my recipe)
1 qt vegetable broth
Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips for serving

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, brown meat with onion, salt and pepper. If you are omitting the meat, just cook your onion in a bit of olive oil until it's translucent.

While meat is browning, open all of your cans and mix up your taco seasoning. Using a colander, drain and rinse the kidney beans, black beans, and hominy.

Once meat has browned, drain off excess grease, add the rest of the ingredients, and stir to combine.

Bring soup to a boil, stir, and reduce heat. Allow contents to simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve the soup topped with sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips.

Taco Seasoning:
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
*This taco seasoning has replaced all of the msg-laden store bought packets that used to overflow my spice cabinet (we eat a lot of taco salad), and tastes SO MUCH BETTER than any brand I've tried.

One of my favorite parts of this dinner is that there are enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Although, I can't promise that BabyA and I won't eat it for breakfast instead.

18 November 2013

Nearing the End

I'm not even through the labor and delivery portion of this pregnancy, and I am already feeling like my body failed me.

This was not supposed to happen. This birth was supposed to be the culmination of my months of research, of inspiration. It was supposed to be my chance to take back my birth and to make up for the incredible lack of knowledge that led to such an unsatisfying birth experience with BabyA. Now, I almost find myself wanting to return to my blissful ignorance. At least going into my induction with BabyA, I was more excited than apprehensive.

I feel let down. By myself, my body, and the medical community. I feel like I shortsighted things, that I should have been more thorough in my research when I was first diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. I failed myself because I didn't think that I would end up on insulin. My body failed in so many ways, but the most devastating of them were the actual diagnosis of GD followed by the need for insulin because, though I could control my glucose levels with diet during my waking hours, my body failed to control them at night. Most of all, though, I feel let down by the medical community. I spent hours researching everything I could find about GD and possible outcomes. What I discovered is that, while I found enough information to make a confident decision about denying induction without insulin dependence, the information on insulin dependent GD deliveries is very minimal. The information I did find just lumped all Type I/II and GD pregnancies/deliveries together with very little separation.

So here I sit. According to an ultrasound at around 8 weeks gestation, I am currently halfway through my 38th week of pregnancy, and I'm holding a slip that says my induction is scheduled for Thursday morning. While I know that I am capable of refusing the induction, I am not sure that I should because my research is inconclusive and the last thing I want to do is harm my baby because I chose to value my birth experience over his safety. I also haven't had great results on my urinalysis (I'm spilling a lot of ketones in my urine), and my blood pressure has been elevated during my last 2 visits.

I am working on self induction, and desperately trying to hold on to positivity, but I'm tired. On the way home from my parents' house tonight, with BabyA snoring in the back seat, I found myself begging God to let me have this baby on my own. Up until tonight, I'd been really good about asking for things to happen the way He planned. I was clinging to the thought that His plan had to be for me to give birth the way He designed.

If I'm wrong, and I end up with another induction, I am sure there's a bigger purpose. I know it is all part of the plan. But right now, I'm anxious and depressed.

02 November 2013

Trick or Treat!

I've been MIA for a couple weeks, trying to give my finger time to heal and dealing with a sick kiddo.

My finger's in that awkward stage where it's scabbed over and healing, but still hurts like crazy if I accidentally use it for something like typing or attempting to catch a running toddler.

I'm also having to use all of my extra energy in the form of self-restraint to keep from eating rather large amounts of the candy my girls got while trick or treating on Halloween.

It was BabyA's first time trick or treating (last year, she was only 6 months old, The Husband was working, and Princess was with her bio mom, so BabyA and I went to a trunk or treat at my in laws' church). Since we live in a pretty bad area, we decided to take the girls to my parents' neighborhood to trick or treat. Before they donned costumes and headed out, though, my mom made a fun Halloween-themed dinner, thanks to her recently acquired Pinterest account.
The Husband and I as Batman and Catwoman

I was in serious pain all Halloween day. I spent my morning doing as little as possible because I felt like my pelvis was going to break in half at any moment. I did manage to pick up Princess from school at the appropriate time (I really hate alternate schedule days) and help her with her homework, but the pain continued throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

I'm a tiny bit stubborn, though, and I was not going to miss out on BabyA's first trick or treat experience. Especially not when she actually started saying "trick or treat" a few minutes before we headed off into the neighborhood.

All dressed up and ready to go (with Auntie C as a zombie farmer)
My parents' neighborhood doesn't have normal blocks, so I have to estimate that we walked about 4 blocks and went to maybe a dozen houses.

By the time we got back to my parents' house, I could barely get my feet onto the ottoman after I all but fell onto the couch. The next day, I was still tearing up while doing things like getting in and out of the car. The pain, of course, did wonders for my blood pressure when I saw my OBGYN the morning after Halloween.

Overall, it was a fun night. I was never allowed to trick or treat as a child, so I like to live vicariously through my children (one of the reasons I'm so glad BabyA is a redhead). My parents spent most of my life staunchly anti-Halloween, and we celebrated by eating candy and watching Star Wars with our porch light turned off. Occasionally, we'd go to church carnivals/harvest festivals. When my parents decided that Halloween is only as evil as you make it, I was an adult. I took my sisters trick or treating while my mom stayed and passed out candy.

Thankfully, BabyA was more interested in helping to answer the door and pass out candy to other kids once we got back to my parents' house than she was in trying to eat her own candy. We gave her one of the lollipops my mom was passing out, and she was content. As long as her candy is kept out of sight and Princess doesn't eat it in front of her, we should be able to keep her from eating very much until The Husband can devour it.

I don't want my children to have the same hang ups about food that I've always had, so I really want to teach them moderation. It's easier with Princess because she doesn't have much of a sweet tooth and is perfectly happy with 2 pieces of candy after homework and dinner are done. BabyA has her daddy's sweet tooth and is obsessed with chocolate. I usually just give her a piece of my super dark, 80% cacao chocolate bars, and she's content...but lately she wants what sissy is having. Still, I won't be doing the Switch Witch, or buying candy back from my kids, or even sending it to the troops. No judgement is meant towards anyone who does choose to do those things, but I personally won't be doing it. My children are otherwise healthy, active, and well behaved. For those reasons, I think that a little extra sugar one day a year won't kill them. Once Halloween is over, the candy is rationed and they get 1-2 pieces a night until the candy is gone or they forget about it (I still have Easter candy in the candy jar on my fridge because they do forget).

Our Superhero family at the local pumpkin patch

BabyA insisted on "carrying" her own pumpkin