Saturday, January 3, 2009

Back to Things Pregnant People Like

1. Walks. I may go slowly, but I really enjoy going for a walk outside these days. I don't even need my IPOD - I think my brain is slowing down, so I occupy myself quite well without any music. My favorite walk takes a while (it's about 7 miles) but it goes all the way down San Vicente to the ocean, and then back up Montana for some browsing.

2. Wasa Crackers. I really like peanut butter on crackers as a snack, and I've been looking for a whole wheat cracker that tastes a little more interesting than the norm. These hit the spot. They have tons of whole grain and fiber, but still taste really good. Plus, they don't have a lot of fat or bad stuff in them, so I think they can be called good for baby!

3. Brownies. They are my favorite dessert, hands down. And, I am constantly amazed at how easily and quickly they can be thrown together. Here's a recipe that I just tried, and it's perfect for a smaller batch. It is by Marc Bittman of the New York Times. It's quite similar to the recipe from Gourmet that I posted a few months ago:

Marc Bittman's Brownies

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 stick salted/unsalted butter (I tend to bake with unsalted)
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. flour
pinch salt if it's not in the butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8" x 8" square pan. Combine chocolate and butter in saucepan over very low heat to melt. (I cheat and almost always microwave the chocolate and the butter together. I don't microwave chocolate alone, but I think the butter helps keep it from burning.)

2. Transfer the chocolate mixture when melted to a bowl. (If you use the microwave, you can make everything in one bowl, which I highly recommend!) Stir in sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time (I dumped them both in at the same time, but I'd be curious to try this the other way and see if it makes a difference.) Add flour, salt and vanilla and stir until flour is incorporated.

3. Pour into pan (I added chocolate chips on top at this point) and bake for 20-30 minutes. I baked for 25 and found that gave the perfect balance of fudgy but still crisped the brownies on the side of the pan, and I like a bite that is both crispy and fudgy.

4. Mesu Portion Bowls. I'm trying to watch my portions to avoid gaining more than I have to, and while I've owned these little bowls for years, I'm finding them incredibly useful right now. It's so easy to figure out what a portion looks like. Plus, they are pretty darn cute. And, it's really helpful when you want a brownie and ice cream, but you don't want to totally overdo it.

5. Coffee. Unlike my beloved friend wine, which is off limits and DISGUSTING (it all tastes like vinegar), coffee still tastes pretty darn good. I'm limiting myself to a few cups a week, but those cups (heavy on the steamed and frothed milk) are so darn good.
6. My Isabella Oliver Wrap Sweater. Warm, comfy and room to grow! What could be better. I'm wearing it like a coat these days, as it's cold and damp here, and I think it was worth every penny!

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