being a new mother has been both life-altering and yet the most natural thing i have ever experienced. i was born for this. i have no idea what i'm doing. welcome to my dichotomous life.
when i was pregnant, i read daily some advice or another on how to raise a baby. i know babies turn into children who turn into teenagers who turn into adults. however, i was only focused on babies at this point.
sometimes my reading was from books i bought, sometimes it was from different baby websites. what i learned is exactly what i was and was not going to do as the perfect parent. back is best. never let her sleep in our bed. breast is best. stick to a schedule. twelve hours sleep in twelve weeks. the list goes on. i just KNEW that i would be able to do all of it. and the more doubt i had from people in my life, the more determined i was.
when babycakes finally arrived, it felt like the more die-hard i was about making something happen (like breastfeeding), the more difficult it was for me to have it come to fruition. ongoing cases of mastitis, syringes literally inserted into my breast on multiple occasions, mrsa, blood that i won't detail, no sleep from a constant cycle of breastfeeding, breast pumping and bottle washing. this was my life. this was not the beautiful experience i had been promised by the books and websites. this wasn't even the awful experience i had read about on real women's blogs. this was worse than childbirth. this was heartbreaking because i wanted it so badly. after giving myself permission to let go, i was able to hold on tighter to my baby with more calmness and less frustration. this was my first testament into realizing that all that advice i had clung to like the gospel was just that- advice.
now, when someone gives me advice, i tuck it away and am grateful. what i don't do though is completely write it off or cling onto every syllable.
this was my baby. my life. my turn to figure it all out and in a way that worked best for my family.
rumor has it that your friendships change when you have babies. this was true for me; even though i didn't believe it would ever happen. not my friends. not my life. here's the thing though- change isn't always a bad thing. it just takes some adjusting.
some of my friends viewed me as a new person altogether, this new alien-mother-creature. what this started to do to my psyche was make me question if i was still melinda. was i really this new alien-mother-creature who wasn't worth hanging out with anymore? i did go through periods of what felt like isolation from my former life and my friends who were in it. felt shunned. this was hard.
however, some of my friends grew closer, loved me despite my new persona. maybe even more so because of it.
i came to terms with the fact that change is hard for some people. i am still me, just with an enhancement. what is different is that i can't do and go like i used to, but i can still be me. i'm ok with this.
the first breath after giving birth to my daughter soaked me in so many emotions, but left my clarity in complete tact. my eyes immediately went to my brand new baby and then to my husband by my side. there were tears, laughter, and a love like i had never felt before. for him, for our daughter, for life.
the best news is that my love continues to grow. for both of them. marriage is challenging with this other person, with so many needs, in our life. there's not nearly enough us time and especially so because we don't live near family to watch our daughter. so date nights don't really exist.
however, we have to rely so much on each other because of it that i feel we have a heightened bond. then there's the love for and from my daughter. i see the world differently because of her. every worry i had before for myself has now transferred to concern for her. the news is a nightmare now because this is the world my daughter lives in, the world a mother worries about for her daughter.
entertainment is watching her do her tongue-y raspberries, squealing at our funny faces, trying a new food for the first time. hope is looking into her big, brown eyes and seeing my tie to this earth. joy is holding my sleeping baby against my chest and feeling my heart beat soothing her dreams to sweetness. that face. oh, that little face. i get choked up just thinking about it.
no doubt about it. things have changed. my perceptions about the world, about others, about life in general is not what it used to be. the grass is greener. the sky is bluer. the sun is hotter. sometimes it is so hot that i want nothing more than to pass out in its sauna, but hey- this is the life of a new mother.
sleep is nothing like what it used to be. don't ever become a mom if sleep is a priority. it used to be one of mine. i changed my mind, like i had a choice.
relationships have changed, friends have changed, my views have changed, my heart has changed.
my life has changed. being a brand new mother is like walking as a zombie through a field of breathtaking flowers. dichotomous life i tell ya. i love it.
each day's dawn finds me opening a new gift. there's anticipation, hope and joy.
sometimes though, it just doesn't fit quite right and may need to be reshaped. never ever though have i wanted to return it.
what the next day, month, decade holds will surely be filled with...well, i guess i'll just have to wait to find out.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
when i asked my eye guy what sounded good for a weekend breakfast, he asked me if i had cereal mind. i do usually have cereal in mind. this time, however, i was offering to cook us a little more involved dish. i expected him to say something like eggs, but french toast with cream cheese and strawberries in between came out.
'what?! did you just watch an ihope commercial?'
luckily, i aim to please. you should too.
chop up fresh strawberries and toss very lightly with sugar. this is breakfast after all- not dessert. ignore me. toss in as much sugar as your little heart desires. set aside.
in a bowl, whisk 2 eggs, half a teaspoon of sugar, half a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of cinnamon. this doesn't need to be an exact science...just put a little bit of this and a little bit of that in with your eggs.
in a small saucepan, heat 3 to 4 heaping tablespoons of cream cheese over low heat. heating the cream cheese makes for a smoother, soft texture.
after dipping and then dripping your bread in the egg mixture, add them to a medium-high griddle with some already melted butter. this is where the magic happens.
(there should be enough egg mixture leftover to do another set.)
now that your strawberries are getting juicy, add most of them to your cream cheese and softly mix. if you mix with a vengeance, you'll tear up too many strawberries. leaving some chunks in is what makes this dish legit.
oops! you haven't burned your french toast have you with all that talk of strawberries and cream cheese? don't forget to flip them.
your strawberries and cream cheese are by now a pink medley, ready to spread. take half of your mixture and get to work.
the stuffed portion of this process comes by layering another piece of french toast on top of the other with a stuffing of strawberries and cream cheese between. thank goodness you have me around to explain this intricate process.
top with a few of your remaining strawberries. if you're freeling fuity, (help me.) drizzle some caramel sauce on top before you add your traditional syrup. it's a world gone mad. mad i tell ya!
time to go back to the stove to do it all over again. you didn't think my eye guy was the only one eating this sinful breakfast, did you?
truly unbelievable taste. you better believe it.
strawberries and cream cheese stuffed french toast
what you'll need
4 pieces of bread
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of sugar for toast
1-2 tbs butter
1 tbs sugar for strawberries
3-4 heaping tbs cream cheese
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
caramel sauce (optional)
what you do
chop fresh strawberries, toss in a tablespoon of sugar and set aside. heat cream cheese over low heat until smooth.
whisk eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and 1/2 tsp sugar in a bowl. heat a griddle or skillet to medium high (around 375 degrees). melt 1 tbs of butter on griddle.
dip bread in egg mixture and let drip over bowl so that there isn't excess moisture on the bread. toast on griddle until golden and flip. voila- french toast!
mix the majority of your strawberries in with the cream cheese over low heat. spread the mixture on a finished piece of french toast and then top with another. you now have stuffed french toast. add a few more strawberries to the top and drizzle caramel and syrup if your heart desires.
repeat the process again for a second serving.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
while i am pleased with the taste of these, i definitely wouldn't win an award for presentation (or photography for that matter). eh, let's be real. it's all about the yum factor.
to celebrate cinco de mayo, how about trashing up your dessert with this easy peasy "homemade" concoction.
the southern girl in me loves cinnamon toast. i applied this good ol' recipe to a taco tortilla. butter, sugar, cinnamon and an oven. just heat until the tortillas are starting to crisp. it took me about eight minutes at 350 degrees.
as soon as the taco shells come out of the oven, fold them up and stuff with the ice cream of your choice. i went with this triple cookie fudge sundae. keepin' it simple? nah.
the whole concept of an ice cream taco centers around the ice cream.
warm cinnamon sugary goodness on the outside, cold creamy heaven on the inside.
wait a second. magic shell too? yep. let's keep trashing them up. my intention was to also add caramel sauce, but i forgot. there. no good excuse.
whether you're making cinco de mayo a little more fun (not exactly authentic) or are just in the mood for something tasty, try these tacos out.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
since having babycakes, my love of all things caffeinated has increased factorially (mathematically more explosive than exponentially). imagine my delight, then, when coming across a recipe for frozen cappuccino goodness by the pioneer woman.
i destroyed mine in a food processor to the point that there was no trace of dark parts versus white parts.
melt two tablespoons of unsalted butter.
pour it in with your cookie crumble and combine.
line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. or, line a cupcake pan with muffin liners. or, line a pan with circular holes with paper liners. phew. evenly divide your cookie mixture between the 12 liners and press to the bottom. this will be a shallow "cupcake bottom."
why buy coffee ice cream and mix in chocolate when ben and jerry have already done it so fabulously for you? take your pint of softened ice cream and dump it into a bowl.
add 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp nutmeg to the chocolate-chunked coffee ice cream and mix really well.
top each cookie bottom with a big dollop of ice cream "frosting." aren't you already dying? hyperbole is my friend.
top your treats in whatever way suits your fancy. i chose to shave some dark chocolate over each of mine.
goodbye starbucks. hello home freezer.
these individual treats are great to have on hand for when you just must. have. coffee.
frozen cappuccino cupcakes
adapted from the pioneer woman
what you need
15 whole oreo cookies
2 tbs melted butter
1 pint coffee ice cream (buy it with chocolate already mixed in like i did or add your own semi-sweet chocolate chunks), slightly softened
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
topping of your choice
what you do
Place twelve cupcake liners into muffin cups. (or muffin liners into cupcake cups...)
Crush cookies into crumbs and add melted butter until it combines. Press this into the liners and set aside.
Mix softened ice cream with chocolate chunks, cinnamon and nutmget. Spoon into 12 liners. Top with dark chocolate or top after freezing with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, nuts, etc. Freeze until firm. You can store them out of the pan in an air tight container in the freezer.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
have you ever heard the expression, "a day late and a dollar short?" when my mom wished me a happy national grilled cheese day yesterday, i was excited and disappointed at the same time. you see, the night before this amazing holiday, i made the most brilliant grilled cheese- the spinach artichoke grilled cheese sandwich. today, now the day after this astounding holiday, i blog about it. at least i'm not a dollar short.
oh forget it. let's just celebrate it right now, and the next day and the next...start by heating some extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
toss in several big handfuls of fresh spinach.
let's make it flava flave by dicing one garlic clove and adding it to the spinach. after the spinach wilts and the garlic becomes aromatic, remove the pan from the heat and toss the greenness into a medium-sized bowl.
measure a 1/2 cup of canned artichokes and press the mess out of them with paper towels to remove as much moisture as you can.
add these chopped artichoke hearts to a medium bowl of your wilted spinach and garlic.
throw in 1/2 cup jack cheese and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese.
before you start mixing it all together, throw in a heaping tablespoon of sour cream and a pinch of sea salt.
oh wait- a secret ingredient! ok, so it might not be a secret, but it sounds way more enticing that way. put in a teaspoon of sriracha and stir it up. i promise not to sing. i lied.
stir it up, little darlin'...stir it up.
uh hem. back to the sandwich. paint the insides of your bread with some cream cheese to serve as a glue to the spinach artichoke dip.
pile on the good stuff for each sandwich. if you are only making one, divide the recipe in half.
on a griddle or in a pan, heat up some butter.
now, let's grill it up, oh baby...grill it up. i'll stop.
this is so good. my favorite dip meets my favorite sandwich. time stood still. pigs flew. i actually made the sandwiches and blogged about them on the actual national grilled cheese day. ok, i went too far. whenever you make these, and you should make them, enjoy!
spinach artichoke grilled cheese sandwiches
from joy the baker
what you need