Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Recipes: Day 5/Acca Dacca

So, Will and I went to New Orleans to see AC/DC in concert on Wednesday night. Our ears were still ringing until Thursday morning, but it was awesome! They still put on an amazing show. We were sitting close enough to throw something onstage (in fact a guy a few seats down threw his hat right beside Brian Johnson and made him laugh while he was singing). Unfortunately, my sucky camera phone wouldn't zoom in very well so all the pictures look tiny. 

Angus during amazing guitar solo. 

They pulled out all the stops: pyrotechnics, video, smoke, trap doors, and rising stage pieces. Angus Young was running around like he was still in his 20s (complete with signature duck walks, spasms, and his strip act). 

Brian Johnson swinging from giant bell during "Hells Bells"

We had an amazing time-the arena was packed with everyone from elementary school children to guys in their 60s. Plenty of devil horns and leather jackets filled the seats, along with one around 10 year old boy dressed in the Angus Young schoolboy uniform-he even had his shirt off after the strip act. It was really cool to hear thousands of people chanting "oi", "thunderstruck", "done dirt cheap!" on cue, and every single word to "You Shook Me All Night Long."

I also didn't forget the Recipe of the Day. I haven't tried this one yet, but it's so simple, and looks delicious.

Apple Sauce Loaf

1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. applesauce
1/2 c. nuts

Cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Sift together dry ingredients and gradually add to mixture. Stir until well mixed and add applesauce and nuts. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Mix together 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 1 tbsp. water and pour on cake while still warm.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Recipes: Day 3 & 4

Ok, so I missed yesterday's post due to a concert (will talk about that later this week), so I'll give 2 recipes today. First, the salty/savory:

Rye Bread

1 packet yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 quart warm water
3 cups rye flour
2 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon melted shortening
9 cups all purpose flour

Dissolve yeast and sugar in the 1/4 cup of warm water, set aside and let stand until frothy. Pour the quart of water in a large bowl, and add the rye flour, salt, caraway seeds, shortening, and yeast mixture. Mix well. Let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours, until bubbles start to form on dough's surface. Gradually mix in the all-purpose flour, until the mixture has become a firm dough. Knead on floured board for about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and let rise until the dough doubles in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Knead again for 10 minutes. Form into 2 loaves and put in greased and floured loaf pans or on cookie sheets for a more natural look. Let them rise again until doubled in bulk, and then bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees.

And finally, something sweet to top it off:

Raspberry Butter

1 cup raspberries
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon blackberry liqueur
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Boil raspberries, water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until syrupy, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Strain through sieve to remove seeds. Cool. Process with remaining ingredients until smooth and well mixed. Can be prepared one day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature and stir before serving.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Recipes: Day 2

Day 2 and delicious. 

Golden Herb Rolls

2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/4 cup water
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 package quick-rising yeast
2 teaspoons dried savory leaves, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed, crushed
1 cup canned pumpkin
4 eggs, divided
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 20 to 24 muffin cups. Combine milk, butter and water in small saucepan; heat until butter is melted. If necessary, cool to 120º F. to 130º F. Combine 3 cups flour, sugar, yeast, savory, salt, thyme and dill in large mixer bowl. Add milk mixture and pumpkin; beat for 2 minutes. Stir in 3 eggs and remaining flour. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place for 10 minutes or until doubled. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling 1/2 to 3/4 full. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place for 30 to 40 minutes or until doubled. Beat remaining egg and brush on top of rolls; sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until rolls are golden and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans; serve warm or cool on wire rack.

I think I'm going to leave off the sesame seeds, but I am looking forward to biting into one of these. 

Now, enjoy this hilarious video of Garfunkel and Oats singing about pregnant women.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Recipes: Day 1

This is Day 1 in the Week of Halloween Recipes. Today's recipe (which I started this evening) is: 

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

2 cups flour
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup chopped dates (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease twelve muffin cups. In a large bowl, stir together first 9 ingredients. In another bowl, stir together pumpkin, butter, buttermilk, eggs, molasses and vanilla until blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add pumpkin mixture and stir just to combine. Stir in pecans and dates.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups; bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean. Remove to wire rack. Cool 5 minutes before removing muffins from cups; finish cooling on rack.

Also, today I got 2 Organic Bamboo Velour Green Acres Designs diapers from Pittsburgh Cloth Diapers. Let me just plug PCD quickly-free shipping to the continental US, great prices, and quick service! I love this site. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

23 Weeks and Blasting Zeppelin

So, we've hit the 23 week mark (well, yesterday) and according to my Mothering newsletter, the little boy can hear pretty well now. Supposedly, he can tell when I'm dancing and will start to prefer types of music. So, naturally, Will has decided (and I completely agree) to get out the giant headphones and the ipod to pump plenty of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Flogging Molly into my uterus.

So, if you want to see what Plant and Page look like now,
click and think about the fact that they're as old as your parents/grandparents.

If the little boy's kicks and flips indicate any preference, it is for AC/DC, which is fitting. I may have to push him out to 'For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)' since he most definitely will be a badass little boy.

On a non-pregnancy note, Thursday it was 80F and practically monsooned-- we even had tornado warnings here in the swamp. And then today it was 65F and utterly beautiful. What is going on with the weather? Is mother earth just screwing with us?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Activism: Bodily Autonomy Edition

Today I thought I'd share some links about choice. We don't quite live in a libertarian society, but ultimately we each have control when it comes to our own lives: what to eat, where to live, what time to wake up in the morning. However, lately it seems that the choices we have surrounding bodily autonomy seem to be ignored for some reason-well, if those choices involve giving birth.

The first is a link about a Joy Szabo, a woman semi-famous in the news recently for her desire to deliver her child vaginally. Her first birth was a c-section and her second an uneventful VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean) in her local hospital. Now, the hospital policy says no to VBACs and will seek a court order for her to have a c-section. Why

An interesting article from the Huffington Post from July asks "Is a Woman in Labor a 'Person'?". It examines the rights we women as patients have when it comes to making our medical decisions when in birth. We have the right to refuse treatment, but do we really?

Why I chose a midwife: The Unneceserean shares a woman's story of her OB's policies on labor and delivery. It is truly scary. My favorite quote is:

Your legs will be positioned in the standard delivery stirrups. This is the most comfortable position for you. It also provides maximum space in your pelvis, minimizing the risk of trauma to you and your baby during delivery.

Because nothing is more comfortable than your legs in stirrups....wait. As a physiologist, I am amazed that he really believes this creates the widest pelvic area. Isn't he forgetting about the sacrum? Giving Birth Naturally sums up the details for me.

Since the topic is Bodily Integrity/Autonomy, I feel compelled to share Intact America's 'An Open Letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics' regarding the AAP's policy on circumcision. Please take the time to sign the petition.

Intact America explains in the simplest and most concise way the reasons Will and I are not circumcising this little boy. For us, more than anything it came down to "Whose Body, Whose Choice?". We were also shocked at how horrifying the actual procedure is. 

A more humorous, while factual, take on the controversial topic is the Circumcision episode of Penn and Teller's BULLSH*T! (Be aware that the video contains expletive language and some nudity--I mean, it is Penn and Teller, people. Just a warning. Safe for anyone who doesn't mind HBO.)

This sums up our first edition of Activism. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I am by nature not very crafty, but for some unexplained reason I recently became obsessed with the idea of learning to crochet. I guess it's some kind of primal nesting instinct, and I bought a pack of hooks and some yarn and began hunting for baby bootie patterns. I succeeded in making a couple of cute hats and found a cute booty pattern. (I sent the prettiest hat and set of booties to another expecting mom.

The light in this pic was funny, but the yarn on the hat is very 
pretty-it goes from white to blue and blends nicely.

After the fall semester started, I got too busy to start any new projects, but I have recently picked up the crochet hook again. I started again this weekend (see pic above for the beginnings of some lovely white mittens for the little boy). What I am most excited about is crocheting my own wool soaker diaper covers, and I found some beautiful alpaca yarn to use with this pattern.

I will post pictures of pretty crocheted items over the next few months, and hopefully the little boy will have plenty of little items to wear when he gets here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

22 Weeks

Today, I hit the 22 week mark on this pregnancy journey. I am finally feeling energetic, and for some reason I can eat and drink as much dairy as I want (I am normally lactose intolerant). The little boy is kicking and squirming; he enjoys bouncing on my bladder frequently. As uncomfortable and sometimes painful as it can be, I am thrilled because it reassures me that he is growing strong. In that vein, I want to share a video of Kimya Dawson singing "The Smoothie Song."

She wrote this song while pregnant with her daughter, and it shows a pregnant woman's anxieties about the kiddo growing so perfectly. Any time I start singing this song, Will now takes it as a hint to get me something to eat! 

I love Kimya Dawson's music, and she actually recently came out with a children's album, Alphabutt, that I am thinking about buying.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ode to the Corn Dog

One of my favorite snacks of all time is the Morningstar Farms corn dogs and mini corn dogs. They're meat free, protein filled, and delicious. I was happy to find Morningstar products when we moved to Louisiana (along with other organic and veggie quick meals). However, for about 2 months, I have been unable to find my favorite treat. After checking Target, Albertson's, Wal-mart, Sandra's, and Drug Emporium (hell, I even checked Amazon grocery), I came to the conclusion that something was wrong! Where have you gone, corn dogs?

I need these corn dogs. I cannot stress it enough. Pregnancy cravings added to late night snack desires have made me completely manic. So, I set out on an online mission: find Morningstar corn dogs at all costs. 
Don't they look delicious?

Upon using the Google god, I found news articles like this one from August that explained Morningstar had a corn dog shortage. They said the  distributor was having problems, but try our sausage instead. How dare you, Morningstar! Do not pretend that sausage is an adequate replacement for my precious corn dogs! (Sorry, excuse the outburst.)

I can handle a shortage. They will eventually come back, right?? Well, upon my last visit to the grocery, I noticed there wasn't even an empty spot on the shelf waiting for the corn dogs. This is a bad sign, I thought. Back to the interwebs.

Now I have found info about a recall earlier this year of the mini corn dogs due to packaging possibly not in an environment compliant with good manufacturing practices. I am here to say: I don't care! I will eat the recalled dogs--send them to my house. I need them. 

All this news I took in stride until this evening, when I see this post on VeggieBoards. It's official. They have stopped producing the corn dogs. No more corn dogs ever. There is no mention of them at all on the Morningstar website, like they never existed. I am depressed. By far, they were the best Morningstar product, and I am feeling resentful of the Morningstar chicken nuggets staring smugly at me from the freezer. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bullfrogs and Swine Flu

As I continue my second semester of graduate school, I am getting into the down and dirty of my research. Luckily the steady downpour of rain has continued for the last 40 days and 40 nights (wait, should I be looking for a big boat filled with animals?) has tempted many a Ranid frog out from the the deep swamp water. Makes for easy collecting!

Frog legs? Look at this cute face. How could anyone eat him?

Bullfrogs are ridiculously cute, especially at a young age, and that cuteness makes it all the more difficult when I have to euthanize them for the sake of science. However, my histology preparations are coming along nicely, and I am at the paraffin stage. 

One point of stress for me this afternoon was that I realized I had been exposed to low amounts of toluene for about 15 minutes. It can be harmful to your lungs, and a possible reproductive toxin, so I'm sure the little boy growing in my uterus is not pleased with me. However, after panicking and searching the internet, apparently I would have to huff it every day for a few hours for him to have any kind of damage, according to previous animal testing. 

Common uses of toluene: paint thinner, gasoline, nail polish, and TNT

Finally, on an unrelated note, if anyone is interested in good information on the swine flu vaccines available and whether you should get one or not, I recommend Dr. Sears' website. He lists the 4 different versions available, their ingredients, what ages they are approved for, and any possible risks. He also talks about H1N1 itself: the prevalence, risks, etc. 

I like Dr. Sears; he isn't anti-vaccination, but he also is rational when it comes to looking at what to get and what not to get for you and your kids. But most of all, I like that he gives you all the information you need to make an informed choice and leaves the decision up to you (though on some he does recommend for or against the vaccine). 

Being 5 months pregnant, swine flu is on my radar, but so are the possible effects on said unborn fetus. Dr. Sears lists the safer vaccines for preggos like me (ie no flumist or mercury containing vaccines) so when the vaccines arrive in my area, I can at least know which ones are safer for the kid. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It's already October?

Today, I am sitting on the couch and procrastinating. Though the laundry and my statistical ecology notes call to me to accomplish something, instead I am searching out recipes, crafts, and decorations for autumn. October snuck up on me, and though it's a bit too hot on the bayou to feel the seasons change, all I can think of is falling leaves and apple cider.

    Maybe this looks like a witchy place to spend Halloween,
     but there are definitely no falling leaves in the swamp...

Mrs. B's blog has some lovely kitchen witchery to check out, and if you start the hard apple cider now, it should be ready in plenty of time for Halloween. Plus, she has some fun contests for the 31 Days of Halloween that are worth entering.

If you're trying to figure out what to do with your extra pumpkin guts after carving some lovely jack-o-lanterns, hop over here for some yummy ideas. I also recommend roasting the seeds, which is my favorite thing to do after scooping all the orange goo.

I am in search of excellent (and simple) pregnant halloween costumes. So far, Will and I have considered dressing him like a devil and me like an angel or a nun. So, very played out. I may just get a black shirt and white paint and make a skeleton shirt (with added fetus, of course).