September 25, 2014

Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce


This picture really does not do this meal justice. I adapted this recipe from Skinny Mom. My husband and I were shocked at how amazing this meal was. So simple to prep too! All of these ingredients are things that we usually have on hand, so that makes this meal a keeper for us! We eat grilled chicken almost every night of the week and sometimes struggle with how to spice it up and make it taste more rich, rather than like bland chicken. This recipe did the trick for us! Love that the sauce is made with fat free greek yogurt! We prepped this entire meal and stuck two of the chicken breasts in the skillet, and saved the other two in a plastic bag for the next night. Two dinners prepped in less than 10 minutes! This meal is gluten free, high in protein thanks to the chicken and greek yogurt, low carb and contains healthy fats!

INGREDIENTS

Chicken:
  • 4 thin sliced chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
Sauce:
  • ½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Optional: I wanted mine a bit sweeter, so I added a 1 packet of stevia
  • I added about two tbsps of water to this to make it thinner.
DIRECTIONS
  1. Combine paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, onion powder, sea salt and black pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Coat chicken breasts in seasoning.
  3. Spray a large frying pan with non-stick cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, cook chicken for 7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. 
  4. Meanwhile, mix all sauce ingredients in a blender until fully blended.
  5. Once the chicken is fully cooked, top with the avocado cream sauce and enjoy!
Jess




September 19, 2014

36 Weeks


How far along are you?  I am 36 weeks and 3 days pregnant today! 25 days left until our due date!

Gender: It's a BOY


How big is the baby? About 19.5 inches long and he is estimated to be 6 pounds and 7 ounces right now. Going to be gaining a half a pound a week from here on out! Doctor estimated him to be about 8-8.5 pounds at birth. From the ultrasound this last week, we could see is is a skinny little string bean with LONG legs in the 94th percentile! He also has some pretty chubby cheeks!

More about this week from Baby Center:


"Your baby is still packing on the pounds — at the rate of about an ounce a day. She now weighs almost 6 pounds and is more than 18 1/2 inches long (about the size of a head of romaine lettuce). She's shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected her skin during her nine-month amniotic bath. Your baby swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, resulting in a blackish mixture, called meconium, will form the contents of her first bowel movement.


At the end of this week, your baby will be considered "early term." (Full-term is 39 to 40 weeks. Babies born before 37 weeks are pre-term, 41 weeks is late term, and those born after 42 are post-term.) Most likely your baby is already head-down. But if not, your practitioner may suggest scheduling an external cephalic version (ECV). That's a fancy way of saying that your practitioner will apply pressure to your abdomen to try to manipulate your baby into a head-down position."

Total Weight Gain: I am sitting at about 17 lbs right now. Pretty happy with my weight (goodness, never thought I would hear myself say that!). Knowing I have three weeks left, I feel good that I will probably only hit the 20 pound mark, which was my goal in the beginning of my pregnancy! I am SO incredibly confident in my ability to lose the weight and get in even better shape than before, so I am feeling more at ease about my weight gain.


How I’m feeling: My body is pretty achy these days, but nothing compared to how I feel emotionally. At my appointment this week, the doctor told me I was measuring smaller than I was two weeks ago. This could be due to many things: baby dropped, low fluid, leaking amniotic fluid, etc. I went back for an ultrasound this week and was told that if I was leaking or if my fluids were too low, that I needed to be prepared to be induced that day. So, mentally, I went in prepared to come home with a baby. As happy as I am to report baby is completely healthy and my fluids aren't low, I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly bummed. From day one, I have said I want a healthy baby (that is most important) and if I had things my way, I really want to go into labor on my own and have a regular delivery. Meaning, I don't want to be induced and I don't want a c-section. So, as bummed as I am that I have to wait a couple more weeks to meet my son, I am really glad that he is healthy and my delivery preferences are still on track. 

I just can't wait for the moment I get to meet my son and to see what he looks like. I feel like I have been waiting for the moment my entire life and it is SO close, yet seems so far away too. During the first trimester, I found myself super emotional, crying at literally everything. Happy, sad, exciting, frustrating...you name it, I cried. Emotions kind of dried up in the second and for most of the third trimester. But, now they are back. I get so emotional every day before work. My bathroom is right across the hall from his bedroom and each morning as I get ready, I peek in there and it gets me every time. For a while it was just a spare room where we kept our junk that we were too lazy to unpack. But now, its HIS room. His name is above the crib in wooden letters accompanied by the words "Dream Big, Little One", my husband's old baseball cards are on his shelves, his clothes are neatly folded in his dresser, his bedtime books are neatly organized and his little lamb stuffed animal is on his changing table. I don't know why, but it is SO emotional for me. I find myself in the mornings just standing over his crib thinking that in just a few short weeks, he will finally be here. I really can't wait. 

Maternity clothes: I have about a handful of items that fit me right now. I may have to start wearing things from my husbands side of the closet if my belly grows much more. 

Favorite workouts: Lots of walks. I am trying my best to walk on my lunch break when I can and also after work. I am still weight lifting with my husband occasionally too. I can tell my ligaments in my hips/groin area loosening up for baby. When I walk for long periods of time, it feels like something is about to dislocate or pull. I also get a LOT of contractions while working out, so I feel like I really need to be careful.

Stretch Marks: My tummy has a lot of veins, but, knock on wood, I don't think I haven any stretch marks yet. I have a lot of old ones from when I gained weight years ago, so it would not surprise me if I get new ones as I get bigger. 


Cravings: I feel like I could eat for a family of five lately. Pretty sad when I can out eat my husband at EVERY meal. When we used to cook, I used to give him the bigger piece of chicken, the bigger potato, etc. Now, its the opposite. So many cravings too. I have lots of cravings for fried food (EWW) and sugar!


Sleep:  I have been sleeping like a baby this week and I am loving every minute! I have been having some SUPER weird dreams though.
Best moment this weekWe got to see our little guy on the ultrasound this week. We haven't had an ultrasound since our 20 week appointment, so we loved seeing him again! I was happy to find out I am already starting to dilate and am 60% effaced too! He has dropped and is head down, perfect position for labor and delivery!

Movement: His movements are getting smaller since he is running out of room. He likes to stick his foot out of my right side! He has a lot of hiccups these days too! He is most active in the mornings when I am eating breakfast! Likes to sleep during the day!
Food aversions: I don't have too many food aversions lately. 
Belly button in or outIn still, but getting smaller by the day! Wouldn't surprise me if it disappeared soon!
What I Miss: I miss sleeping throughout the night without having to take 5+ bathroom breaks. I am up about once an hour each night to go to the bathroom.


What I’m looking forward to: I literally cannot wait to go into labor. If I knew how to start labor, I would. I am pretty convinced it won't happen for a few more weeks, but I really can't wait. 

Baby Buys: I am done buying for baby! We are as prepared as we are going to be!

Jess

September 12, 2014

34 & 35 Weeks

How far along are you?  I am 35 weeks and 3 days pregnant today! 32 days left until our due date!

Gender: It's a BOY!
Can I just say that I LOVE when I tell people that I am having a boy that their first response is ALWAYS..."Aww, little boys sure looooooooove their mamas!". It is like music to my ears! Clearly I am hormonal because just typing that makes me tear up! LOL. 

How big is the baby? A little over 18 inches long and about 5.25 lbs, which is the size of a honeydew melon!

More about this week from Baby Center:


"Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (about the size of a honeydew melon). Because it's so snug in your womb, he isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight."


Total Weight Gain: I am sitting at about 17 lbs right now. I have been SO stressed about my weight gain throughout this entire pregnancy and now that I am nearing the end, I have kind of come to terms with it, especially knowing I will be back to losing weight in about a month!


How I’m feeling: My body is a HURTIN'! But I am reminding myself that all of these aches and pains are WORTH it! I am having a lot more contractions lately and a lot more pains throughout my pelvis and legs. My body aches though, are nothing in comparison to how I have been feeling mentally and emotionally. My emotions are all over the place and some of them make me feel quite guilty. Being uncomfortable all the time makes me sometimes wish I wasn't pregnant anymore. Even typing that makes me feel flooded with guilt. I am only 35 weeks, I should not be wishing my little guy was here because he isn't fully developed yet. I find myself googling how to induce labor naturally, etc. WHY?! Selfish me wants to have my body back and wants to not be in pain anymore, but the mommy inside of me feels so incredible awful for even thinking about wanting him here sooner than he is ready. As anxious as I am to meet him and to get my body back, I really want my little guy to be healthy. I feel awful for wishing he was here sooner than his due date. Also, starting to really stress about postpartum. I have read so much about the mood swings, baby blues, bleeding, tearing, stitches, swelling, going to the bathroom postpartum, sweating, exhaustion, etc. That all sounds scarier than the entire nine months of pregnancy! My husband will be able to stay home for a week or two, but then I am on my own for the rest of my maternity leave. How will I care for myself and this tiny infant? I need to keep reminding myself that my sweet little boy will be here in HIS OWN time, when HE is ready. I can wish him here all I want, but I want him to be fully baked and healthy as can be. That being said, I really cannot wait to meet the little guy I have been carrying for the last 9+ months.
35 Weeks

Maternity clothes: I have about a handful of items that fit me right now. I may have to start wearing things from my husbands side of the closet if my belly grows much more. 

Favorite workouts: Lots of walks. I am trying my best to walk on my lunch break when I can and also after work. I am still weight lifting with my husband occasionally too. I can tell my ligaments in my hips/groin area loosening up for baby. When I walk for long periods of time, it feels like something is about to dislocate or pull. I also get a LOT of contractions while working out, so I feel like I really need to be careful.

Stretch Marks: My tummy has a lot of veins, but, knock on wood, I don't think I haven any stretch marks yet. I have a lot of old ones from when I gained weight years ago, so it would not surprise me if I get new ones as I get bigger. 


Cravings: Oh, cravings. I was hoping I would be one of those lucky pregnant women who craves fruits and veggies. But no, I am one of those pregnant ladies who craves disgusting unhealthy foods. Chips, french fries, chicken nuggets, candy, cheese, salt, etc. I literally have to FORCE myself to eat healthy these days. Its a real struggle. I want to be healthy for my little guy and I wouldn't want him eating that kind of junk, so that helps me stay motivated to eat healthy.


Sleep:  What sleep? I wake up about every hour or two to use the bathroom at night. Lately, ALL of my dreams are about babies. Whether its preparing for labor, taking care of a baby, getting ready for baby to be here, etc. Clearly, I am ready for this baby!
Best moment this weekI finally decided when would be my last day of work before my maternity leave. October 3rd. I wasn't planning on taking any time off before I go into labor (I am not due until the 14th), but I have saved up all my vacation for the year and found out it will go to waste if I don't take off some time before my due date. I think this is a blessing in disguise. I have been so stressed about all the things I want to do before I go into labor and this will hopefully give me a little time to get those things done (unless he decides to arrive early). I have never taken days off work unless I actually have something to do, so I am kind of looking forward to that down time before our lives change forever. Knowing I have three weeks of work left kind of makes things feel more real! Very exciting for me!

Movement: His movements are changing, that is for sure. You can tell he is running out of room because his movements used to feel like kicks and punches and now it just feels like slow moving lava. There are not too many distinct movements anymore, more like slow movements that move my entire belly!
Food aversions: I don't have too many food aversions lately. 
Belly button in or outIn still, but getting smaller by the day! Wouldn't surprise me if it disappeared soon!
35 Weeks
What I Miss: I miss being able to breathe. I find that I have to watch tv while leaning forward on an exercise ball. He is pressing on my lungs and I almost have to hang my belly while on the ball to relieve some pressure so I can breathe. I constantly feel out of breath!


What I’m looking forward to: We are taking another baby class next weekend. This class is all about how to take care of baby (diaper changing, bathing, etc). Looking forward to this one because, let's be honest, I don't know a lot about babies! Also, I am really looking forward to the day I go into labor. I don't know why, but I feel so ready and I am really looking forward to labor beginning, even though I know it will be painful!

Baby Buys: I think it is safe to say I am all done in this department! Last weekend, my mom and I went to Babies R Us and did a last run through for the things I needed. We bought a crib mattress protector, baby bath, hangers, a couple outfits, a baby memory book, home safety things, receiving blankets and more sheets. There are still a few things we will need down the road, but I think they can wait until he is a couple months old!

Jess