28 January 2015

Kitchen kind of day

Second trimester: the part of pregnancy where you have energy and feel mostly not-awful and being productive generally sounds like a positive thing, and then suddenly you have to go lay down and put your feet up because you've exceeded the invisible energy limit and your legs won't hold you up for one. more. minute.

Today I got a lot done. I had a lot on the rolling to-do list, and a few things have been sitting there for a while not budging and they still haven't been touched (sort through maternity clothes, revise monthly budget... my sloppy handwriting on that one looks more like "revive" than "revise," which sadly is a tiny bit too close to the truth...) But this morning there were four in-the-kitchen items on the list, and it seemed like a good day to do them all.

For some reason, it also seemed like a good day to clean out the fridge and take advantage of the almost-enough pizza makings to bake homemade pizza for lunch, so I didn't actually start crossing things off my list until afternoon. But there's a plate of leftover pizza in the fridge now, so it was definitely worth it.

Over the afternoon, Little Bear helped me make banana bread for Matt's office, mix up a new batch of taco seasoning mix, hard-boil eggs, and bake protein snack bars, plus make an Italian sausage pasta sauce for supper. It is so great that he likes helping in the kitchen! I don't know how I would get things done if he was constantly demanding that I come out of the kitchen and play with him. I mean, I'd obviously get things done anyway, but everyone would be much less happy.

He was beside-himself excited about the hard-boiled eggs: I stepped out of the kitchen to mess with the fireplace for a minute before starting the eggs, and came back to hear him exclaiming, "Hard-boiled egg time! All ready!" He proudly showed me the napkin he'd put in front of his chair at the table, with a big pile of salt and pepper on it. "Hard-boiled egg now?" It took a minute to convince him that we had to cook the hard-boiled eggs before we could eat them.

Going through my recipe card file over the weekend, I found a recipe for protein bars that a friend gave to me around the time we got married. I'd never tried it, but the recipe sounded perfect: high in protein, high in fiber, respectably low in sugar. There were lots of ingredients that Little Bear could help scoop up in his measuring cup, which made it more fun for him than the usual "Mama measures everything, then you can help stir." 

Protein Snack Bars

2 1/2 cups rolled oats (I actually used a medley of hard red wheat, soft white wheat, oat groats, barley, rye, spelt, and flax)
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup TOTAL of raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, etc
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine oil, sugar, eggs and extract in a separate bowl. Stir everything together thoroughly. Spread in a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Cut when cool. Makes 20 slightly-square bars (are they only "bars" if they're rectangles?)

Yes, they tasted slightly "healthy," but they were good! Next time, I'd like to try using honey or molasses in place of the brown sugar, but they certainly weren't too sweet. I think it's safe to say they received Little Bear's stamp of approval as well: after we'd sampled one and I was cutting up the rest of the pan to put them in a tin, he kept trying to climb up onto the counter to get another "bar! bar!"

Right around the time Matt got home from grand jury duty (late—the last case was long), I hit the "I can't stand up any longer" point and had to go lay on the couch. A half hour with my feet up was enough of a break that I made it through tonight's RCIA class fine, but now it's definitely bedtime.

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