Favs: Family, Baby Shower, & Fall

It’s Friday, oh yeaa oh yeaa. Yea. Woo! It’s Friday favorites time, so let’s get to it.

1. This was a week ago now, but packing up the car and heading up north for my brother’s wedding. I loved being able to pack as much stuff as I wanted, listen to music, chat with Dana, and take as many stops as needed on the way up. I was SO excited to get up north and relax.

packed car

 

2. The cool weather of northern MN, hot bonfires, sweatshirts, pontoon rides, and the view of Lake Vermillion.

 

blankets up north

 

3. Being with my family all weekend and welcoming my new sister-in-law to the family.

 

 

siblings scott and nicole wedding

 

4. Dancing…

 

dancing scott and nicoles wedding

 

5. My first baby shower thrown by my work ladies. This little guy is going to be so spoiled and so well-dressed!

 

mom and melanie baby shower

 

vest  baby shower

6. Fall decorations. They are all up and I am ready for the cool weather again. Fall is my FAVORITE! It officially starts next week! BTW Fall is one of those words that if you look at for too long it starts to look like it’s spelled wrong and just looks goofy.

 

fall decorations

 

Happy Friday to you all! I’m linking up with Katie and Clare today for Friday Favs! Thanks ladies!

Love, Beauty, and Sincerity Up in Northern MN

This weekend we celebrated the wedding of my brother Scott and his wife Nicole up north on Lake Vermillion. The love, beauty, and sincerity of the weekend is indescribable so I am going to keep my words few, and instead show you lots of photos.

We stayed at Spring Bay Resort and I would no question recommend this resort to anyone!

scott and nicoles weddingscott and nicoles wedding

scott and nicoles wedding 1

 

scott and nicoles wedding 2 scott and nicoles wedding 3 scott and nicoles wedding scott and nicoles wedding  scott and nicoles weddingscott and nicoles wedding scott and nicoles wedding scott and nicoles weddingscott and nicoles wedding

S’mores bar!

IMG_2121scott and nicoles wedding

Simply amazing. We are so happy and lucky to have Nicole as a part of our family. Thank you both for such a great weekend. It’s one we will never forget!

Checking in…

Hello all!

I just wanted to bop in and say hello and let you know that I am still around! I was struck with a flu bug the last few days so my eats have consisted of saltines, chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, grapes, and apple sauce. Super exciting.

Not much new over besides getting ready for baby and getting ready to celebrate an amazing wedding this weekend!

I hope you are all well. My posts have been seriously lacking lately I realize, and this may very well continue, but I do hope to post here and there to stay connected with you all!

Take care!

xoxo

State Fair Food & Home-Cooked Meals

Well, hello! It’s time for a little what I ate link up with Jenn! As always, thanks for hosting!

Are you ready for these eats? Let’s start with some from the state fair.

We got to the fair early to get to LuLu’s for some gorilla bread (like monkey bread—gooey caramely pull apart bread). We got in line and as we were waiting the guy behind me said that they are out of gorilla bread. WHAT?! That is what I was most looking forward to eating at the fair! But life goes on….

Runner-up was mini doughnuts, which truly shouldn’t even be considered runner-up because they were so darn good. The little warm gems melted in my mouth and were thoroughly enjoyed.

mini doughnuts

Caramel apple ice cream. It was really good but not something I would probably get again.

caramel apple ice cream

Fried pickles and cream cheese, aka a pregnant girl’s dream food. These were my favorite thing I ate at the fair!

fried pickles state fair 2014

Not pictured: chocolate malt, pretzel cheese curds, and a salted nut rolls. EVERYTHING was shared and we walked 7 miles while we were there. Yes, I’m justifying my calorie and fat intake. #yolo

I can promise you these foods haven’t become part of my normal diet.

Now let’s talk about home-cooked meals.

I actually have been cooking a bit around here. I am really aching for fall weather and have been making comfort meals despite the warm weather.

Tacos. Tacos are seriously so quick and easy to put together and just so amazing.

tacos

Deconstructed burger made with beef, quinoa, black beans, onion powder, Worcestershire, and salt and pepper. They were supposed to be burgers but completely fell apart. I melted Muenster cheese on top. I realize it’s not a purdy picture, but it was super good!

deconstructed burger

Beef and veggie lasagna with spinach, onions, and mushrooms. Delish.

lasagna

And the grand finale….homemade turkey breast and homemade mashed potatoes and gravy! Oh yes I did. Thanksgiving meal is my FAVORITE meal. Who says you can only eat it one time a year?

turkey mashed potatoes

Although there hasn’t been a ton of recipe creation happening over here, I am at least managing to get myself back in the kitchen once again! Can I get a whoop whoop for that?!

What’s your favorite comfort meal?

Have you ever tried fried pickles?!

Pregnancy Week 30

I can’t believe I am actually saying this…I am now 30 weeks! I thought you all might enjoy a little pregnancy update since it’s been a while.

melanie 30 weeks pregnant

A comparison back at 20 weeks

pregnancy 20 weeks

And I thought I was big at 20 weeks. Ha!

At 30 weeks, baby is about 3 lbs and 16-17 inches long! He’s getting closer and closer to his birth length and then he will continue to plump up day by day! I am definitely noticing more bumpage these days. I can tell this little guy is growing like crazy.

Symptoms

  • Braxton Hicks contractions especially when I’ve been on my feet too long or haven’t had enough water. These are never really painful, just uncomfortable. It feels like your abdomen is tightening and it feels very hard, and sometimes accompanied by mild cramps.
  • Mild back pain (lower and middle): again, if I stand too long or sit too long but it’s the worst at night. I toss and turn about every hour or two at night.
  • Increased bathroom trips, including 3-4 at night
  • Increased exhaustion. They weren’t kidding when they say fatigue usually hits in the first and third trimesters. I am needing to slow down and rest more often now.
  • Restless leg syndrome at night
  • Sore hips at night

Appetite

GREAT! This is nothing new. I eat three small meals a day plus three (or more) snacks. I focus on getting protein 3x a day as well as at least 5 fruits and veggies. Besides that I make sure I eat a fair amount of whole grains, dairy/calcium usually in the form of almond milk, cheese, and Greek yogurt, and healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts, etc. And it’s time to be real, the sweet tooth has gone crazy.

Which leads me to my next topic: cravings.

I honestly didn’t think I had cravings but when I was at Target I really wanted Oreos. I’m talking double-stuffed Oreos. They are one thing that I pass by in the grocery store every week and think “man, I really want those,” but then I never buy. Well I finally gave in last week and bought them.

You know what, they taste delicious. I’m trying to moderate how many I eat daily. I bought them last Monday and I still have some left so this is a good thing, right? Ice cream has consumed on a weekly basis (once a week that is), and I won’t pass up a piece of chocolate if it is offered at work. I’m REALLY trying not to go crazy with the sugar but goodness it is tough right now.

Not cravings necessarily, but foods I’m loving…

pregnancy food collage

  • Chocolate peanut butter smoothies
  • Greek yogurt with honey
  • Muenster cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Burgers
  • Cucumber sandwiches with laughing cow cheese spread
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Ice cream
  • Fruit

What I’m loving about pregnancy right now…

Feeling baby move, kick and hiccup! He hiccups every day and it is the sweetest thing.

Other updates

I passed the glucose tolerance test which means I do not have gestational diabetes and my iron level was excellent!

The nursery is coming along! I haven’t decided if I’m going to share it or keep it a private thing. I will tell you that the walls are gray, the furniture is dark espresso brown, the glider is gray, and the decorations are nautical and chevron! The look and feel of the room is very relaxing which is exactly what I was going for. We are still in the process of searching for an area rug, but besides that it is pretty much done besides filling it up with baby stuff from my upcoming showers!

We start our first birthing classes next month. I have been reading books like it’s my job and am feeling very prepared for birth. It will be good to go to the classes too!

We haven’t 100% settled on a name but we are pretty sure we know. It will be a secret from you all until he arrives. :smile:

That is it for now! I will give ya’ll another pregnancy update in a month or so!!

What are some of your favorite foods right now?

Carbolicious

Alright Becky, I’m linking up with you again today for Treat Yourself Tuesday!

This weekend I treated myself to LOTS of family time! I went dress shopping with my “second family,” had lunch with Dana’s parents on Saturday, and saw my parents and a bunch of family at my cousin’s wedding reception on Sunday! I loved every second of it. No wonder I was exhausted on Sunday night and yesterday! That, and it was 90 plus degrees and crazy humid.

I treated myself to a Shirley Temple (aka kiddie cocktail). I love that the bartender made it fancy for me and didn’t forget to put maraschino cherries in there. That is the best part!

shirley temple

We treated ourselves to some Indian food. We ordered chicken tikka masala and a cauliflower dish. It didn’t stand a chance to our Indian meal in London, but it was still good! Oh, and I love naan!

indinan food

 

We made a stop at Sebastian Joe’s for ice cream this weekend. The Nicollet pothole flavor is absolutely insane. I also got salted caramel which was really good. The last time I had Sebastian Joe’s was when I was meeting up with a bunch of bloggers in April 2013! That was the first time I met Katie and Becky!

sebastian joes

 

Yesterday I treated myself to all of the carbs. That is seriously all I wanted. I ate cereal, pb and j, a sandwich thin with laughing cow and cucumbers, watermelon, grapes….I couldn’t stop! I must have been tired if my body was craving such an abundance of carbs. Clearly I haven’t been following gluten-free too closely lately.

 

pb j

 

I treated myself to some couch time; some lazy time. I gotta soak up those moments while I have the chance right?!

I treat myself to (nearly) daily walks. Sometimes the walks are forced, but I am still doing it! I am finding it more comfortable to walk on my treadmill because I know I am closer to the bathroom (to be perfectly honest).

How did you treat yourself this week?

What does your body crave when it’s tired?

Some Favs from the Week!

I don’t usually say this, but this week seemed to last forrrrever. Forevvvver (name that movie). I am thrilled that today is Friday and I have a super fun weekend planned!

Although this work week seemed slow, there was a lot of fun that was had. I am linking up with Katie’s Friday Favorites. Let’s get this rolling.

Speaking of rolls, I enjoyed a cinnamon roll and coffee while catching up with my dear friend Haley. She is now a mama and her and I had lots to discuss as I prepare for this baby’s arrival!

coffee and cinnamon roll

An omelette made by Dana definitely makes my Friday Fav’s. It was loaded with veggies and topped with homemade salsa.

omelette

Finding new ways to use essential oils. This makes me oh so happy. Here’s the link to my post on my oil blog for carpet freshener: Freshen and Purify Your Carpets

essential oils carpet purifier

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes made by mi mama in honor of my brother Kevin’s birthday. That was one heckuva birthday meal request that I am thankful for! SOOOO good! It’s everything baby wanted. Homemade mashed potatoes made me super excited for Thanksgiving too!

meatloaf

Happy Birthday, Kevi!!

kevin melanie kevin and melanie and dana

 

Building excitement for my state fair visit. This is one I really want to try!

state fair food

Dinner with old friends at Peoples Organic. I got the Peoples Best Veggie Burger and neglected to take a photo of the actual burger due to being overly hungry and absorbed in conversation, but it was pretty, and it was tasty!

people's organic

Another favorite this week is imagining baby smiling inside. Now (at 29 weeks) is the time that they start to smile!

I’ll have to update you with a bump photo soon. Baby and mama are growing like crazy!

Happy Friday my friends!

Friday Favorites

Honey Nut Banana Oat Muffins (w/ Blue Diamond Almonds)

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past couple of months or so, you have learned that I am already into the hardcore “nesting” mode. I am wanting to organize everything in sight, I can’t stop thinking about the baby room and projects I want to tackle to decorate, I clean the house on Friday nights….yea that’s what’s happening.

Another part of nesting is food prep. I plan to make a handful of freezer meals to have on hand for when baby arrives. I’ve got a little list going of meals I want to prep in the next month or two (I will share this with you hopefully!).

I began my fresh freezer food stash this week.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a package from Blue Diamond which included two new flavors of almonds: Honey Roasted Vanilla and Honey Roasted Chipotle. The honey chipotle ones have been a serious hit for me. I love snacking on them. They are spicy and sweet and my taste buds are very happy with that combo.

The honey roasted vanilla are incredibly tasty too. I had to ration them because I knew I wanted to use them in a baking experiment, and the baking experiment turned out to be a success.

Enter: Honey Nut Banana Oat Muffins with Blue Diamond Almonds. A fully loaded recipe title.

honey nut banana oat muffins

I used the food processor to process oats and Blue Diamond’s honey roasted almonds to use as my flour!

honey nut banana oat muffins

The muffins are sweetened naturally with bananas and honey.

honey nut banana oat muffins

They take very little time to prepare and only 25 minutes to bake!

honey nut banana oat muffins honey nut banana oat muffins honey nut banana oat muffins honey nut banana oat muffins

These babies turned out fabulous. I kept a few out to enjoy now, but froze the rest so I could have a quick and healthy snack to grab from the freezer upon baby’s arrival!

Honey Nut Banana Oat Muffins
Print
Makes 12 muffins.
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups oats
  • ¼ cup plus 2-3 Tbsp. ground honey vanilla almonds
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use cooking spray to lightly coat a 12 muffin, muffin pan.
  2. In a food processor, process oats into flour consistency. Mine turned out to be a little coarse and that worked out just fine too.
  3. In a medium bowl combine oats, ¼ cup ground almonds, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl beat together remaining ingredients until smooth.
  5. Slowly beat in flour mixture. Beat to combine.
  6. Pour mixture evenly into muffin pan. Sprinkle with remaining 2-3 Tbsp. of ground almonds.
  7. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle of muffin (towards the middle of the pan) comes out clean.
  8. Enjoy as is, with butter, peanut butter, honey. They are a perfect on the go breakfast or snack.

Keep an eye out for these new flavors. They are very palate pleasing!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. I was given samples for free, however all opinions expressed on the products are solely my own.

Diet Changes During Pregnancy

My appetite currently in pregnancy is great! I’m nearly 28 weeks now. I wake up hungry or famished most mornings, eat breakfast, sometimes eat a snack mid-morning, always eat lunch, a snack in the afternoon usually, dinner, and a snack before bed.

Baby and I get pretty lethargic if we don’t get food when we are hungry, so I try and remember to always pack snacks when I am out and about.

I learned quickly that the snack before bed is a must otherwise I wake up insanely hungry in the middle of the night. My go-to bedtime snack is Greek yogurt with honey. Protein and carbs to tide me over for a while.

My diet has changed a few ways in pregnancy. I am eating more whole grains and not all of them are gluten-free. My body is tolerating the gluten and although I’m not going overboard with it, I am still eating regular bread, cereal, and snacks sometimes.

Also, I never know what I’m going to want to eat which makes planning meals ahead of time nearly a thing of the past. Dinners are usually pretty spontaneous these days. I’m still trying to clean out the freezer too! It’s going well!

Another thing I’m starting to notice, is that I feel much better when I eat smaller meals frequently opposed to large ones less often. This isn’t always completely doable with work, but I do my best.  My stomach is getting smooshed and appreciates smaller quantities at a time.

What I’ve Been Eating…

I think this baby gets some pretty tasty eats. Time to check out what I’ve been eating lately. I’m linking up with Jenn today!

One day I was suffering with terrible allergies and had no inclination to make food but I knew I needed food. I had pulled up pizza delivery on the computer and was all ready to order. Then the light bulb went off and I decided I would make my own mini healthier pizza instead, and that it wouldn’t be that much work either.

I topped a gluten-free brown rice tortilla with leftover meaty spaghetti sauce, mozzarella, onions, and green olives. I baked it for 5-10 minutes or so and then broiled it. As simple as it was, it tasted so good. Sometimes simple is best.

tortilla pizza

I’m STILL drinking this smoothie every.single.morning. Not sick of it yet! This is a record for sure.

 

chocolate peanut butter smoothie

We had a perfect green bell pepper from our garden waiting to be used so I bought some farmer’s market tomatoes (we didn’t have enough ripe tomatoes in our garden yet) so that I could make a batch of fresh salsa.

homemade salsa

And it was delicious.

I can’t get enough of the frozen spinach cooked to steaming hot with a little butter and salt. Popeye would be so proud.

salsa shrimp spinach

I’m really enjoying my egg sandwiches still slathered with yellow mustard some time type of cheese.

egg sandwich

The southwest salad made an appearance this week! It’s as good as I remembered.

southwest salad

Yesterday I made myself a heaping veggie wrap. I packed it with cucumbers, red onion, banana peppers, pickles, Muenster cheese, spinach and arugula, tomatoes, mustard and mayo. This thing was massive, messy, and SO good!

veggie cheese wrap

 

There’s been a fair share of sweets being consumed lately. My go-to has been ice cream and frozen yogurt. Summertime just screams, “eat ice cream!”

 

frozen yogurt

 

There’s been no lack of good food consumed over here per usual. I haven’t been super creative in the kitchen, but find ways to make do. We’ve been going out to eat more often than before pregnancy too. I’m okay with this though since it’s at most once a week.

What are some of your favorite quick summer meals?

A Friendly Weekend

It’s catch up time! How has everyone been?

My weekend was filled with so much fun that I just had to share.

Thursday: Katie and her cutie son Luke came over to my house with Panera and we enjoyed super good food and even better company. It was so good to see Katie (and Luke too!). I haven’t seen her since March! That’s not okay!

Friday:  Friday night was super chill. We got some stuff done around the house if I’m remembering correctly. Oh, and I made a delicious chicken teriyaki stir-fry.

stir fry

Saturday: We got to meet our friend’s new baby boy (!!), and then got together with a group of friends for a pool party! The sun was out for the first half and then went away. That was probably a good thing though since my since my skin is uber sensitive these days.

Once we got home I was completely wiped. I rested for an hour or so before getting ready for the night…

It was high school reunion time!

melanie 27 weeks

We met up with a group of friends at the Red Cow restaurant in Minneapolis.

red cow

We split an order of the caramel bacon puffcorn and OMG I would go back just for that stuff. I really do want to go back again some day because their burgers looked amazing. I didn’t get a burger because I had one for lunch and was trying to give baby some more variety and more veggies.

red cow caramel bacon puffcorn

So I opted for the Asian Chicken Salad.

red cow salad

It was good but not the best ever. Oh well you can’t win them all. I still want to go back.

Next up, the reunion at the Urban Eatery in Minneapolis. I was so excited to see my girls and my guys! This was one of the few photos I took the entire night. That’s a good sign I would say. :smile:

melanie amanda julie kate

It was a lot of fun minus the fact that it was really warm in the room we were in and Mrs. Preggo here was really sweating buckets. I was downing water like it was my job.

On Sunday, we celebrated an upcoming wedding with a couple’s shower for two of our friends who live in California. We ate insanely good food: quiche, monkey bread (which is my FAVORITE), yogurt parfaits, orange juice and ginger ale. Delicious.

It was a fabulous weekend full of friends! I loved it!

I am linking up with Becky‘s Treat Yourself Tuesday because I definitely treated myself to some tasty food and lots of friend time this weekend!

What is your favorite sweet breakfast treat?

I am torn between monkey bread and cinnamon rolls with lots of icing. I can go for a good doughnut from time to time too!