“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.” –Thoreau

24 April 2013

Preparing for Peanut

After turning in my fourth homework packet for graduate school, I'm playing the baby-waiting game. I am usually a pretty patient person but I am so uncomfortable. Seriously. I am never, not ever comfortable. I sleep badly and can't nap. Basically: I'm ready for Peanut to make her debut!

In the meantime, I'm trying my best to stay busy. I've already stocked up on my homemade cleaning products--laundry soap, bleach alternative, and all of my other household cleaners. I've mixed up some of my personal care products, too, although I probably need to make some more body lotion because I'm running low. I've been sorting and organizing like crazy; Casey and I have been moving things around in his office quite a bit. Basically, I'm in a mad nesting frenzy. It's a bit out of hand.

The biggest preparatory project is more... gastronomical. I know that in some places (small towns FTW) people bring new parents food for the first week as a way to make life easier. That's a lovely tradition. We live pretty far from most of our friends and family, though, and aren't planning on receiving this kind of assistance. I know neither Casey nor I will want to cook meals in the beginning. I've been preparing and freezing foods that I think will sound good to us.

Our parents and siblings will be here, in shifts, for the first month after the birth. I know they're all happy to cook for us but I can, at least, relieve some of that work. We won't be going out to eat and I'd like to avoid fast food as much as possible while I begin breastfeeding. With the exception of Wendy's hamburgers. Because those are awesome. Here are a few of the foods I'm freezing:

1) Pasta sauce. I made one big pot and froze it into three individual freezer bags. Each portion serves four people. I don't have a recipe for this because I make it so often, and it is so easy.

2)  Soup. I have one two-person serving of Chicken Noodle left over from earlier this month, and I whipped up a pot of Corn, Bacon, and Potato Chowder, which yielded one meal for us and two four-person freezer bags. These recipes are pretty close to mine although I always tweak recipes as I'm cooking. We do have a few canned soups in the cupboard. I also prepped and froze some more homemade chicken stock, since we were running a little low.

3) Sandwich meats. These include Taco Meat, Barbecue Pulled Chicken, and Sloppy Joes. I used ground turkey for the tacos and ground pork for the sloppy joes because we're low on the ground beef we get from Casey's family farm. The Pioneer Woman has a great recipe for sloppy joes. I don't use a recipe or seasoning packets for taco meat because, again, I make it so often. The pulled chicken is simply dredged in Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet 'n' Spicy Sauce (which is just too good not to use). I have one four-person bag of each.

4) Chicken dinners. I'm preparing Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans, Chicken Pocket Pies, and Sweet Mustard Chicken (which the recipe calls "World's Best Chicken"). I'm only making one four-person bag of the cilantro lime chicken because it uses chicken breast, which is more expensive. I'm making two bags of sweet mustard chicken since it's made with cheaper chicken thighs. The pocket pies can be made with canned or rotisserie chicken, although I'm using poached chicken breasts. I put the cooking instructions on the outside of the freezer bag so anyone can use them.

5) Smoothies. I've made up lots of two-person servings of Green Smoothies. I make tropical, berry, and green apple varieties. All the bags contain some chopped kale, parsley, and leafy celery tops, plus frozen banana slices. The tropical smoothies have extra banana and frozen pineapple added to them. The berry smoothies have strawberries and blueberries. The green apple smoothies have one and a half chopped apples. When we make them, we'll add honey or stevia, water, and ice. I also add Greek yogurt and spoonful or two of Benefiber, but Casey doesn't always like that.

6) Junk food. Okay, but at least it's not fast food! I'm freezing some hotdogs and precooked bacon. I am picky about our bacon and hot dogs; they have to be uncured, without nitrates or nitrites (because that stuff is poison). I just cook the bacon until it's not quite done, then cool it down to room temperature and lay out the slices on parchment paper to freeze it. When you want a piece, it's easy to reheat in the microwave or on the stove. The hotdogs are a personal thing. I love them. I make my own Ketchup and Comeback Sauce. We've also stocked up on granola bars, crackers, and fruit-and-nut mix. We should probably stock up on cookies, too. Let's be real.

Critical thesis turned in, nursery completed, 3 centimeters dilated, and 80% effaced. I'm feeling pretty accomplished right now. I'm going to be posting again soon, once I have a sense of where my graduate school semester is headed. Well, provided that happens before Peanut's arrival. We'll see!

Hope everyone is having a gorgeous Spring so far.