Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Few Thoughts...

I'm 23 weeks into my pregnancy (entering my 6th month) and maybe just maybe I am getting my cooking mojo back.  This weekend I baked a delicious cinnamon swirl pound cake that could pass for dessert or breakfast, last night we enjoyed a homemade sausage pizza with fresh mozzarella, and tonight I'm making spaghetti.  I'm on a roll, people!

I have a few recipes to share and I'll have them written and posted as soon as I can stop napping and watching Oprah's Next Chapter on DVR.  For now, here's what's been on my mind...

1.  I decided to try alcohol-free wine.  I enjoy having a glass of wine with some meals and I know that wine is an absolute no-no during pregnancy (and I'm okay with that).  Today I bought some Fre Merlot (made by Sutter Home).  Well... it tastes like... um... watered down wine mixed with grape juice.  It'll do with my spaghetti dinner tonight, but I'm not sure I'd buy it again.

2.  I've been eating takeout/fast food/chain restaurant meals more than I care to admit.  My family has been so patient with my finicky appetite and strange cravings and I really appreciate it.  Despite my strange diet, my pregnancy is progressing in a healthy way and I'm feeling pretty good.  I try to drink plenty of water and I'm eating small portions (mostly because my appetite is still pretty low).

3.  I would like to go on a babymoon.  I know it's corny, but I'd love for my husband and I to have one last weekend trip before our new family member arrives in August.  The problem at the moment is that we're both so busy with work that we won't be able to spare the time until my third trimester.  Any suggestions for weekend getaways in the Mid-Atlantic area?

4.  We finally replaced our 15 year-old carpet (the only remaining areas were on the steps and in the bedrooms).  Between the new carpet and the new paint I feel like we're living in a new home.  Now I feel ready to start working on the nursery!

I've got to finish dinner (I'm sure both the dogs and my husband are confused and surprised that I'm even in the kitchen), but I'll be back soon with a few recipes.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Getting It Together

If you haven't noticed, I've been a bit inconsistent in my writing schedule lately.  I'm so happy and excited to be pregnant, but I won't lie, carrying this baby has taken much of my energy and changed my appetite.  I'm about 21 weeks pregnant which puts me in the middle of my second trimester.  Apparently the second trimester is the "honeymoon trimester" when all symptoms are minimal and I'm supposed to be feeling great.  Well, I'm still quite sleepy and my appetite is low, so for the most part I save my energy for my career and I let everything else fall to the wayside, including cooking and blogging.

However, I recently had a burst of energy, so I have some random things to share.

1. I turned 32 last Monday!  I celebrated by having dinner with my mom and husband at my favorite local Italian restaurant, La Casa Pasta.  Of course, my appetite is very unpredictable, so I wasn't even able to finish a half portion of my favorite entree, the lobster ravioli.  Yes, that's right.  I was only able to eat one out of three ravioli.  At least the leftovers made a tasty lunch the following day.

2. We bought a new dishwasher on my birthday, too.  Our 6-year-old LG dishwasher bit the dust, so we replaced it with an affordable and well-rated Whirlpool.  While the LG was very pretty and super quiet, it ended up being a hot mess, so I don't recommend that brand.  We've had the Whirlpool for two days and while it's a bit louder (but not loud by any means) our dishes are much cleaner and drier than with the old LG.  Wondering why we needed a dishwasher after just 6 years?  We're heavy users.  Sometimes we run two cycles per day.

3.  Speaking of appliances, lemon furniture polish (like good old fashioned Pledge) is an excellent cleaner/protector for stainless steel.  I learned this from a salesperson at Lowe's and would you believe that an old school furniture polish works better than special stainless steel cleaners?  Plus, it's cheaper.

4.  Grilled asparagus is pretty great.  Asparagus is in season right now.  I normally roast it in the oven, but last night we fired up the grill and I just placed it right on the grates.  All you need to do is trim your asparagus, toss it in some olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste and grill it for 5-7 minutes.  Even my husband, who is pretty neutral about asparagus, liked it.

5.  Whole Foods is a great place to blow your paycheck.  I haven't cooked in weeks, but I had the day off for Good Friday, so mom and I went to the new Whole Check Foods in our area and picked up a few special items for the holiday weekend.  We bought several packages of their amazing hot cross buns and some fresh salmon.  I also picked up some Hawaiian black sea salt.  That salt is amazing and it deserves its own post.  I switched it out for the kosher salt in this recipe.  Beyond delicious.  You need black salt in your life.

So now that I have some energy I'm trying to ease back into cooking, baking and blogging... if I can stay awake.  Thanks for being patient with me.  If you miss me, you can check me out on Instagram (if you're an iPhone or Android user).  My user name is keeleypowell.  I'm also @keeleypowell on Twitter.  And there's always the Facebook page for My Life on a Plate:

What have you been up to?  Have you discovered any new cleaning tricks or life-changing foods (hello black sea salt!)?
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