Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mini Crunchy Caramel Apple Pies

WOW... Motherhood is exhausting! I was hoping to be able to keep up with my blog posts as much as I had been, but I've been finding out that it's hard to keep up with just going to the bathroom! Luckily, the wee little one has been snoozing for a bit now and so I thought I'd take this chance to share this yummy recipe with you all!

Now, normally I use my grandmother's pie crust recipe, but I was 37 weeks pregnant and a little bit lazy when I made these! So... I bought a refrigerated pie crust. I tend to find that Pillsbury is quite good.

Mini Crunchy Caramel Apple Pies

Yield: 16-18 mini pies

1 refrigerated pie crust

1/2 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
3 granny smith apples, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 red delicious apples, peeled and cut into small cubes

1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. caramel topping
1/2 c. pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat over to 350 degrees

1. Roll out dough, and using a 4" biscuit cutter (or bowl) start cutting out circles to place in greased 12 cup muffin pan.
2. After all crusts are placed in muffin pan, place them in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
3. Peel and chop apples then mix all ingredients for filling in a large bowl.
4. Take muffin  pan out of fridge and place a large cookie scoop full of pie filling into each cup, leaving about 1/8-1/4 inch space in the top of each cup for your topping.
5. For the topping, place brown sugar, flour, oats and cubed butter into a bowl. Cut the butter into the mixture until it becomes crumbly. Sprinkle this evening over each mini pie.
6. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until topping is slightly browned.
7. Drizzle caramel and pecans on top of each pie directly out of oven.

*NOTE: The tops of the pies will cave in once you add the caramel drizzle on top.

Friday, November 9, 2012

She has arrived! My delivery story.

Our daughter, Everleigh Kate Winchester, arrived at 6:03am on Saturday October 27, 2012. She weighed 7lb 1oz was 20 inches long and is perfect!

Allow me to now share my delivery experience. I will not spare many of the details, so for those of you who want instant birth control, this may be for you! Just kidding.... Sort of!

For those of you who know anything about pregnancy, or are in the health field, you should know most of what I discuss here...

So, let me start at the very beginning. At 3am on Thursday morning, I awoke to a feeling that felt something like I may have gotten my period. I had been on high alert for weeks waiting for my water to break and thought maybe this was the beginning. It was. I had lost a small part of my mucus plug and had what is referred to as "bloody show" (not as scary or as bloody as it sounds!). After doing lots of googling and looking in my nursing books I was informed labor could be hours or weeks away. Lovely. I was ready to get the show on the road!

That afternoon at 2pm I started to get contractions. They just felt like bad menstral cramps. Nothing I couldn't handle if it wasn't going to get much worse than that! My husband was at work, so my sister in law was nice enough to come hang out with me to keep my mind occupied and be there in case I needed to go to the hospital.

I was determined to wait at home for as long as possible before going to the hospital. I also knew the rule: contractions five minutes apart, lasting for one minute for at least one hour. As the evening progressed and my contractions grew stronger, falling into the "rule" and getting increasingly worse pelvic pressure, I decided it was probably time to go to the hospital. I wasn't bent over screaming in agonizing pain like you see in the movies, but I figured that's all exaggerated, right?

At about 9pm we arrived at the hospital. I was sent up to the unit after calling the doctor on call and alerting them I was on my way. While checking in at the front desk on the maternity unit the secretary asked why I was there. I stated I was in labor (duh). She said usually she could tell when women were in labor so she was just checking that that is the reason I was there. Bad sign #1. They kept me until about 10:30pm and sent me home saying I was only about 1cm and although my contractions were pretty strong and fell into the "rule" (although they went to about seven minutes apart once I got hooked up to the machine. It was like they got stage fright!) I was only in the very early stages of labor and could be like this for days. DAYS!!! They gave me a low dose Ambien to help me sleep through the night and estimated they would see me back in 12-24 hours.

I was able to sleep for about 5 hours Thursday night and woke up still having contractions on Friday. Kyle stayed home from work to be there should we need to go to the hospital again. Throughout the day my contractions grew stronger until about 1:30pm at which point I was breathing through them and they were 3-5 minutes apart, lasting 40-60 seconds and clearly it had been lasting for longer than an hour! I called the doctor and they told me to go to the hospital. I waited until 3pm because I still had a feeling they were going to send me home again and I didn't want to be the dummy that kept coming in and wasn't ready to go! So, we arrived on the unit at 4:30pm and they hooked me up to all the machines. They said I was definitely having strong, regular contractions and her head was very low in my pelvis but I was only 1-2cm. After keeping us there for two hours, they were going to send me home.... again. I was on the verge of a breakdown! We lived 40 minutes away and had been there twice already in the last 24 hours! I was determined I was staying!

Earlier in the evening when they checked my cervix, I noticed some trickling down there, but assumed it was from the lubricant they had used. However, upon standing up to get dressed, after they discharged me, I noticed another trickle. I decided to say something since I was at my wits end and was determined to not be sent home if I was getting to the end of my latent labor phase! I said something to the nurses, one of whom was a miserable old woman and grumbled. They performed three different tests to determine if, in fact, it was the membranes that had ruptured. The first two came back negative, however the ferning test came back positive- I was staying!!!

We spent a few more hours in the triage room before we moved to our birthing suite, which was very nice, I might add. That was my home from 9:30pm Friday night to about 8:00am Saturday morning.

I had gone into this with the thought that I was going to try to deliver without the help of any meds, except Nubain, an opiod that takes the edge off the contractions.

First, the nurse hooked me up to Pitocin and the resident ruptured the rest of my membranes to get things going. My contractions were strong and getting painful so when I was about 5-6 centimeters I asked for Nubain. Little did I know that I couldn't receive this throughout the duration of my labor. I saw the syringe and knew it was a push med (which isn't given as a continuous drug). I asked if I could get more and the nurse told me no, that it could make the baby sleepy, so they liked to give it earlier in labor, as opposed to later. GREAT. Well, I was going to take what I could get!

Hours past and I reached 7 centimeters. Then it took what seemed like several more hours for the resident to come back from an emergency c-section to check me again, stating that I was 9 centimeters. It was at about that time that I was fervently asking for the epidural. The nurse looked me in the eye and said "You're doing great. You've gone this far, do you really want the epidural now?" I asked how much worse it was going to get and how long it was going to take. She stated the last centimeter could take five minutes to fifteen and the pushing could be thirty minutes or three hours... there was no telling. Well, I decided to just go for it.

It only took about ten minutes for me to get to 10 centimeters and let me tell you... I wanted to push! At that point it was like a whirlwind with the doctor coming in the room, stirrups being put up, bright lights being turned on and lots of people in the room. I then continued to pushfor an hour and forty minutes before Everleigh made her way into this world!

I cannot describe to you the excruciating pain I felt upon pushing her into this world. That was by far much worse than the contractions that lasted for days!! I ended up having to get an episiotomy (boo) which has made recovery a bit harder and unpleasant.
So far we are all doing well and adjusting. Her cord fell off yesterday which was an experience. For almost two days it had a horrible smell that emanated all the way through her clothing- it was horrible! I was a bit concerned it may be infected it smelled so bad! However, I have been reassured by nurses and experienced mommas that this is normal. At this point I'm just glad the smell is gone!!
Now on to conquering breast feeding, which makes me want to cry every time she puts her tiny fists to her mouth. I'm starting to forget labor pain a little bit, but at this point I think breast feeding may be harder than labor!! We are both learning and working at it, but it is not my favorite!!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Zucchini Tomato Bruschetta

We often end up wasting veggies in our household for some reason, so one day when we had a lonely zucchini and plum tomatoes that needed to be used, we decided to throw them in a pan with some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and cook them up to have as a side. I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious they were! They have become a favorite side of ours.

This past week we had appetizers one night for dinner. My husband loves a good smorgasbord of things, so he is totally OK with having just a bunch of appetizers and a nice beer for dinner (love him for that!). 

I knew I wanted to have bruschetta, but not the traditional kind. Mostly just because i'm pregnant and bruschetta bothers me even when my digestive tract isn't smashed and shoved up to my throat! So, I thought it might be yummy to have the zucchini tomato mixture that we like as a bruschetta topping. Was I ever right! They are delicious!

Zucchini Tomato Bruschetta

1 Tbsp. olive oil
5 Plum Tomatoes
1 medium zucchini
1 tsp. garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 long french baguette

1. Preheat over to 450 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, chop up the zucchini into quite small pieces, a little larger than a pea
4. Chop up the tomato into small pieces, about the size of a dime (these will cook down, so you don't need to cut them as small).
5. Place about 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. garlic into a pan and cook for about 1 minute.
6. Toss zucchini into the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, followed by the chopped tomato. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until zucchini are tender. 
7. While veggies are cooking, slice the baguette into 1/4-1/2" slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil using a pastry brush. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side down. You will want to toast them in the top rack in your oven, so you may need to do these in batches, depending on the size of your oven. Toast for 5-6 minutes, or until the bread just begins to turn golden brown.
8. Arrange about 1 Tbsp. of the zucchini and tomato mixture onto the bread slices. Serve warm.