Have you ever thought about bread? I mean really thought about it? Before my pregnancy, I rarely ate bread. Occasionally we would have some at a restaurant, or at someone’s house, but generally speaking we did not have bread in the house. I have always (and still do) feel like bread is a filler food. I am one that believes that we should always fill our bodies with food that is fuel. Such as vegetables and fruit.
Until being pregnant. Now I cannot get enough bread. I have had a few cravings. Nothing too exciting. Chex-Mix, animal crackers, and for the entire pregnancy I have wanted bread. In the form of toast, sandwiches, and pizza. It is the only thing that ever sounds good. My OB said that my appetite would come back in the second trimester. It has not. Nothing ever sounds good. I never really am interested in eating. Except I know when I need to. When I start to get nausea (although I never had morning sickness) I know it is time for a snack or a meal. When that happens I only want bread.
It is comfort food. If you think about it, we have the option for bread in many different meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in different cultures (roti, naan, flatbread, to name a few). Now we even have gluten-free. You can have it plain, or toppings galore. I remember as a young child when I did not feel well, or when I wanted a treat, my grandma would make me toast with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. My dad loved peanut butter on his toast, my mom loved apple butter. At the moment, in the middle of this pregnancy, I want jelly. There have been times though when all I wanted on my toast was melted butter.
Now bread has become a phenomenon via the not so new culinary concept of “toast.” In San Francisco and New York you can find menu items such as buttered toast for $4. Yes. Maybe it is on high quality brioche, but still. I might sound like my grandma but I can almost get a loaf for that amount. In any case, bread, toast, what have you, it is my comfort food of choice as I ease into my third trimester.
Apples and bananas have been fruits that my pregnant belly has been wanting. Over the summer in the earlier part of my pregnancy I wanted berries (specifically blackberries and raspberries). Now that we are easing into fall and berries are no longer local, I have wanted apples. Over the holiday weekend we decided to try this Apple Fries recipe. They were definitely delicious, but in my opinion have two flaws. They take too much time to make than they are worth AND they made the house smell for days. That does not mean it will happen to you, but currently our range does not actually ventilate outside and thus the smell permeated throughout our house. We had to open windows and light candles for a few days to get rid of the apple fry smell.
2 large Granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced into wedges
¼ cup Cornstarch
Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
¼ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of your pan on high heat.
Toss apple wedges in cornstarch, coating both sides.
Place just enough of the coated apple wedges into the hot oil to make a single layer and fry on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. They should be just golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the apple wedges.
Transfer the cooked apples onto a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and drain for a few minutes.
Toss in the cinnamon sugar mixture and serve.
Whip the heavy cream and vanilla to use as a dip. Yum!
I have a few phobias. Snakes. Bats. And one I will not go into on the Internet involving personal safety. I freeze when I see a snake and depending on where I am and where it is, I imagine every time that I am going to shit my pants. I have not yet, but there are still many years left for that to happen.
Bats. I have a story from about five years ago involving a bat and my house. I was on a conference call with my boss at the time. I worked from home in Portland and my team worked remotely, with my boss in Boston. I am sitting in my office at my desk, with my old school headset (corded) connected to my BlackBerry when I see a black flying object zoom past my head, just grazing me. I screamed (and I have lungs) and jumped. My headset went one way, my BlackBerry went another, and I ran like hell out of there. I run back and decide to try to shut the door to the closet so that I can lock the sucker in the office.
I freak out some more. Try to call Chris on the phone at work and do not get an answer. I go outside. No one was out and we barely knew our older neighbors. I look down the street and see a landscaper. I run down and ask him if he can help me. Shit. He does not speak English. I flap my arms, know I have the most panicked look on my face, and motion for him to follow me. He does.
Back in my house, I open the door and basically lock him in the office and then go outside to show him through our sliding glass door how to open the door to let the bat out. It takes a while of back and forth and he eventually does. I am petrified and wonder how the bat got in so I, being so scared shitless, bring the man around the house and upstairs through the different bedrooms to see if he can figure out where it came in. We are not communicating well and I start to realize I have just brought a strange man into my bedroom! I realize I need to thank him and get him the hell out of my house. Hoping there are no more bats where that came from, I finally breathe, and realize I was on the phone with my boss. About 15 minutes have passed and I call him back. He was so worried that he had not heard from me and due to the loud scream followed by the disconnected call, he was in the process of calling my local police to have someone sent out to my house. Wow.
We are a “take your shoes off” house. Yes, when you enter the front door we have a rug and bench that allows you to take your shoes off and leave them by the front door. That might make some house guests uncomfortable because they are wearing socks with holes in them, or maybe their socks do not match. I do not care about your socks and, if you are barefoot and want socks, just ask.
My house is usually clean (depending on the day of the week you arrive). Regardless, what we do not want is to bring the dirt from the world into our home. Think about all the places you were before you knocked on our door? You probably are not out mucking a horse stall (or maybe you are), you might have been in a mall, or on a hike, or in the grossest bathroom in town. I do not care, I want it to stay at my front door and not be brought through my house.
Think about it.
I remember as a counselor at summer camp, we each had buckets of water outside our cabins where we would stick our feet in before entering the cabin. The hope was if you washed all the sand off your feet before entering you would have less at the foot of your bed while sleeping. You could always tell the campers that never cleaned their feet, because when they changed their sheets half the sand from the lake was in the middle of the cabin floor.
While I do not think of all the gross bacterias and funky things that can spread, this article does shed light on why it is important to leave shoes at the door upon entering a home. So are you a shoes on home, or shoes off home?
I lived in the same house until eighth or ninth grade. At that time my father had moved out, my parents were freshly divorced and our house was foreclosed on. I do not have many nostalgic memories of that home. It was falling apart at the seams. Sinking and rotting floors, very old carpeting, ancient appliances to name a few. I cannot imagine the family that purchased it and what they had to do to “flip” it. Regardless of all that it was the home that I knew.
It was the neighborhood where I learned to ride a bike, where I had a paper route, sold Girl Scout cookies, and candy + nuts for my school. It is where we would explore the creek, the woods, and sneak off to buy candy at the Village Pantry. I also grew up with a few families and babysat their children.
When we had to move out, my mom went into a nursing home, I lived with my grandma, and my sister with a family friend. From there I left for a boarding school in St. Louis for the last three years of high school, then off to four years of college in Illinois. After that I ventured to Boston for about 4 years before Chris and I made our home in Portland. So as you can see I did not move around a lot, and yet my home is so important to me.
Having a home that was falling apart, living in odd family situations, and then in a dorm for 7 years has made me crave and cherish my home. I want things to work and function, have a purpose, and be a place and comfort for Chris and me, as well as those that experience our home.
Often when we travel or are away for a weekend or longer I find I want my bed and to be home. I love to explore and have adventures, but somehow I still find I long to be at the home we have created together.
Created on an iPhone, please excuse any formatting or typos…