Sorry for the silence this past week or so. Lots going on here chez Cookin, as witnessed by this very long and rambling post.
I stopped working after the first weekend in November. It has been tough adjusting to the new schedule and I’m trying not to climb the walls in anticipation of the birth. But I’ve found lots of things to keep me busy most of the time. Here’s the run down:
Nesting is some serious stuff. I’ve had some crazy bursts of energy and desire to get things done. Over the past month I’ve cleaned just about everything I possibly could in the apartment.
I’ve had the shower re-grouted (by maintenance) and hung a new shower liner.
Steam cleaned the entryway carpeting.
Washed the drapes.
Washed, Sorted and put away baby clothes (Way too many baby clothes – you would not believe how much longer it takes to sort and fold a bag of baby clothes compared to a bag of adult clothes…all those tiny pieces!!)
Both cars detailed inside and cleaned on the outside. (Car seats are now installed too.)
Dogs groomed. Ceiling fans – cleaned. Coat closet organized. And let’s not forget all of the vacuuming, dusting and kitchen cleaning I feel compelled to keep repeating.
Another side of my Nesting and preparing for the baby has been to stock the freezer with meals I can quickly heat while I am by myself with the little guy. Freezer cooking is something I have taken quite seriously so far. Let me tell you, it’s helping me sleep better at night knowing I’ve got about 25 nights worth of meals hanging out in my freezer.
So far I’ve put up the following:
2 qts Potato Leek Soup
3 qts Beef and Barley Soup
4 qts Minestrone
2 qts Tuscan Meatball Soup
1 qt Broccoli, Cheese, Wild Rice Soup
2 pans Shepard’s Pie (each pan is enough to feed 2 adults dinner)
2 pans Lasagna (same size pan)
3 pans Chicken Enchilada
1 dozen English Muffins (homemade, of course)
4 jars Cornbread Mix (recipe at end of this post)
Still to do – We’re making pork sausage to put in the freezer, some for breakfast, others for dinners (great for quick pastas or stews).
Blueberry Muffins and Pumpkin Muffins (I’m also thinking about freezing some cookie dough – but that might be too much temptation for the hubs and his reduced carb diet 😦 bummer for me.)
Chicken pot pies – I’ll be making those tomorrow.
Sauerkraut – I just started one jar tonight, it takes 21 days to ferment, I’ll see how it goes and may decide to make more later on.
Bread starter – I’ve gotten my bread starter going again (used for the english muffins) I won’t be pre-making any bread, but it’s nice to have the culture started and active so I can make a good loaf when I want after the baby comes.
Yogurt – I’ve also started making yogurt again (the pregnancy nausea precluded me for making yogurt for past 8 months, but we’re beyond that now) I should be making another 2 qts in the next couple of days, which will probably last until the baby is born, fortunately, yogurt doesn’t take much active work to make.
I’ve also been busy trying to finish up some craft projects. I completed another baby hat. I’m trying to finish up the binding on the baby quilt – I haven’t had much patience for that kind of work. I’m also trying to complete my herringbone cowl before it gets much colder, fortunately it’s a project I can work on while watching shows on hulu.
Something I’ve been wanting to do and have completed (hooray!)
A dog bed for the nursery!
The dogs needed someplace in the nursery for themselves. With their own dedicated dog bed, I can tell them to “go lay down” and they know exactly what I mean. We’ve been practicing with them in there and it’s pretty cute to watch them head for their bed.
I took the scraps from the quilt that I made for the baby and pieced them together without giving it any thought a to a pattern or how it would look, and then I used the leftover fabric from the rocking chair slip cover for the back. I put a zipper on it so that I can wash the outside when it gets too hairy. The inside is a bag that has simply been stuffed with all of the scraps that I have saved from my past projects (six years worth – I’ve been keep them to stuff a dog bed this whole time!) It was kind of fun to go through that bag and see scraps and pieces from fabric from all of the quilts and projects I’ve made since I got married, a little walk down craft memory lane! I was very happy that this new dog bed project didn’t cost me one extra cent above what I’ve already spent for other projects and it matches the nursery!
Also completed at this time are the Christmas gifts we’ll be giving out. I’ve packaged and wrapped everything so when the time comes – it’s grab and go. Fortunately we aren’t doing anything elaborate this year (we don’t usually). I’ll be ordering the usual online for the parents. We’re not doing much with my siblings, and the packaged gifts are mostly to swap with the hub’s brother’s extended family whom I’m pretty sure we’ll be spending the holidays around. Nothing expensive mind you – all homemade and hopefully the recipients will also find it useful. I may do a post-mortem on the gift after the holiday – but I don’t want to spoil the surprise for them – in case you’re reading.
So now I’ve let you into my nesting sickness! While I’ve gotten a lot done, I’m sure I’m forgetting something and I’ll be kicking myself later. But I do think we’re ready for this little guy to come. The doctors think he’s already surpassed the seven pound mark, he’s going to be pretty big. I’d rather he make his way out a little early before he reaches anything whopping like 8.5 pounds or larger. Ouch.
In the meantime, while we’re waiting for the big event:
Tomorrow I’m going to the farm to pick up the turkeys for Thanksgiving. With all of the extra time I have now, I’ve told the brother that I would be happy to help cook dinner for the whole extended family at his in-laws (with him). We are getting started tomorrow. Turkeys will need to be brined and he’ll make soup (he’s cooking here because they are renovating their kitchen). The next day I will make cranberries and roast off sweet potatoes. On Wednesday we’ll finish up all the other do-ahead prep that we can. On Turkey Day, I’ll captain the kitchen and the make all the sides while he oversees the three turkeys frying outside. The hubs will probably supervise his brother and the turkeys while drinking beer (which I fully endorse, seeing as how he only gets the one day off – he shouldn’t have to cook much. However, he is assigned the gravy duty, which has to be made from scratch since there isn’t any roasted turkey drippings to turn into gravy, so it becomes more of a process).
And then, hopefully on Saturday or something – I’ll go in to labor and have the baby a week early – perfect world scenario, we’ll see what happens, I’ll try to keep you posted. Here’s the 37.5 week photo.
Cornbread Mix (This fits into a pint jar) 1 cup Cornmeal1 cup Flour1/4 cup Sugar1/2 teaspoon Salt4 teaspoon Baking Powder Whisk everything together in a bowl, put in a jar to store for later. (If you try to layer this directly in a pint jar, it won’t fit. So stir it up and pack it in) To make the cornbread. Whisk together the following:1 egg1 cup milk (or buttermilk)1/4 cup melted Coconut Oil or Butter Stir in the dry ingredients from the jar. Pour into a greased pan. (I like to use a preheated cast iron skillet that has some butter melted into the bottom)Bake at 425 F for 20 to 25 minutes (until golden brown on the outside and set in the middle)