Week 35: Honeydew Bubble Tea

honeydew

Still on the drink train this week!  I came across this recipe and since I LOVE bubble tea and wanted to make something relatively easy, it was the winner.  Although, easy as it was, I still had to take a day-long break in between prepping the ingredients (last night) and combining them in a blender and actually consuming it (tonight).  I had been repeatedly avowing earlier in pregnancy that “pregnancy is not a disability” but…official retractment for the last 6 weeks, at least for me.  I am most definitely a lumpy, whiny, pathetic shell of my former self (sorry, Shane).  Current response to people who ask me how I am at work: “I’m here! That counts for something!”

Anyway, no one came here to listen to me complain!  So, back to the fun stuff.  We had our 36 week appointment today (since I’m technically 36 weeks along today) and got some updates on Lentil’s progress: growing well (a little TOO well…he’s a swarthy 6 lb 5 oz according to their estimates, which, while often wrong, still elicit fear in soon-to-be-mothers who don’t love hearing that their unborn child has a “larger than average”-sized head).  (Sorry, that was another complaint.  Feeling salty today)  Doctor also thinks he might arrive early since I have been active and whatnot, so we’ll see…

Tomorrow, Shane and I head to our babymoon/his belated birthday gift from last year: we’ll go out to a fancy grown-up restaurant and stay at the Willard Hotel in D.C., which gets fabulously decorated for the holidays.  Looking forward to one last night of being a swingin’ childless couple out on the town before a few months of being homebound.  Hope you all have a similarly festive weekend!

Honeydew Bubble Tea

bubble tea.jpg

The Verdict:

Difficulty: Simple to prepare, just numerous steps (brewing the tea, boiling the tapioca, chopping the melon) that may be too numerous depending on the level of pregnancy you are experiencing (i.e. “not pregnant”: piece of cake; “severely pregnant”: a smidge more tasking).

Taste: Meh.  Too pulpy; I would strain it next time (although then you’d lose the fiber) to get a smoother consistency.  Flavor was not very pronounced, but probably more so because I am used to the teas made with flavored powders that are probably full of artificial flavors and coloring (AND DELICIOUSNESS).

Modifications: I used black tea bags instead of green because I prefer black tea and wanted to make it decaf.  Didn’t get as brilliant of a green color as I would have with the green tea.

The honeydew recipes I wish I could drink right now (4 more weeks!!):

Honeydew Hefeweizen Smoothie

Fresh Honeydew Margaritas

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Week 34: Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

cantaloupe

This week was the week that I realized that I didn’t exactly know how to spell “cantaloupe,” so, overall, a TERRIBLE week.

Additionally, my buddy continues to make his presence known, often in a less-than-pleasant way, so these recipes continue to get significantly less complicated.  I also wasn’t feeling very inspired by cantaloupe recipes, since there aren’t that many interesting ones that I found (does cantaloupe pie sound good to anyone?) and with melons not being in season, I didn’t want to make anything that really relied on the deliciousness of the fruit itself just in case I got a bum hothouse melon.  Therefore, I found the easiest-looking recipe that also looked like it could be tasty.  Unfortunately, (*spoiler alert*) it wasn’t, but thankfully, I could drown my sorrows in the gallons of fresh-squeezed lemonade left for me by the hostesses with the mostest of my shower last week.  It has been a fantastic week of eating lots of leftovers, including cake and Oreo truffles, and not having to grocery shop at all (SCORE).  So, thanks, everyone!

Lentil was the weight of a cantaloupe this week and continues to grow like a champ.  Can’t believe he’ll be here next month!

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

cantaloupe agua fresca.jpg

The Verdict:

Difficulty: Mind-numbingly easy, especially when your sister chops the cantaloupe for you.  Put it in the blender, add water and sugar, pulse.  Monkey-level easy.

Taste: Meh.  Right after this picture was taken, it started to separate into a clear liquid at the bottom and thick, chunky goo at the the top.  Despite what should have been sufficient blending, it never achieved a smooth consistency.  I ended up spooning the top layer into the trash and drinking the bottom, but it still wasn’t very satisfying.

Annoyance level: Medium-high.  I became a big fan of agua fresca in Costa Rice so this was a disappointment.  Oh well! Onto the next recipe ASAP.

Cantaloupey goodness (maybe):

Chilled Cantaloupe Soup

Cantaloupe Coconut Lassi

Week 33: Pineapple Empanadas

pineapple-08.jpg

Today is my shower!! Very exciting.  The crew is hard at work downstairs setting up a million cute little things so I am relegated to my bedroom to tell you about the empanadas I made this morning.  Last week, Lentil progressed to full-grown pineapple status and seems to be trying to re-create the experience of me carrying a prickly pineapple in my belly, based on the jabs and pokes I am getting.  Very Method of him.

Here’s a recent pic:

34 weeks bump

Yowza! Gettin’ bumpy.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Pineapple Empanadas

pineapple empanada

The Verdict:

Difficulty: I made it easier by being lazy (i.e. using storebought pie crust instead of making the dough that was called for).  This recipe took 10 minutes, tops.

Taste: A satisfyingly sweet breakfast! (What, does this not seem like a breakfast food to you?!)

Next time you happen upon a pineapple (or if you ask your husband to buy one can of pineapple and he buys three “just in case”):

Oatmeal with Pineapple and Mint

Pineapple Lassi

Week 32: Strawberry Mango Jicama Salad

Yam Bean

Lentil is now the weight of a jicama!  Well, actually, he is a little larger, since he weighed in at a hefty 4 lb 6 oz as of our last ultrasound (apparently jicamas weigh around 3 3/4 lbs, according to my baby app).  Little guy continues to thrive and is becoming more of a parasite every day: he’s doing great, and I’m quickly declining in functioning.  Good excuse to get people to pamper me over the next eight weeks!

Speaking of pampering, I had a lovely shower thrown for me on Friday by some of my dearest girlfriends, a few of whom then treated me to a pedicure on Saturday (thanks, all of you awesome ladies!) and we all got massages.  So basically, I was loving life, and even the elbow-throwing of my tiny passenger couldn’t keep me down.  Add an overnight stay at Krystle’s cabin-in-law (too nice to be called a cabin…what is the “glamping” version of cabin? “Glabin”?) and I was ready to relax forever.  But it was back to work on Monday, le sigh.  At least Thanksgiving is right around the corner!

Additional thanks to the family members who showered me two weekends ago 🙂  So much cute baby stuff, I love it!  We Leases are very lucky to have such quality people in our lives.  And speaking of quality, shout-out to my doll of a husband who surprised me when I got home from work today by showing me that he had assembled the crib and rocker in the nursery.  You are Lentil’s favorite dad ever, Shane!

Strawberry Mango Jicama Salad

strawberry jicama

The Verdict:

Difficulty: Very easy; just some chopping and throwing in a bowl and voila!

Taste: Sweet and tropical and just what I needed (been feeling fruit-deprived and haven’t had much energy to prep healthy meals the way I usually try to).  Could have used more mango but the one I bought had some weird brown spots I had to cut out and toss.  The jicama added a nice contrasting texture to the softness of the fruit.

Modifications: Tossed in some lime zest just for the heck of it because, why not? (master tip: whenever you have limes or lemons for a recipe, zest them first and freeze the zest in a ziploc bag; great to have on hand to throw in when you’re cooking!)

More seasonally-appropriate jicama recipes:

Braised Pork Belly Tacos with Watermelon, Jicama, and Jalapeno Salsa

Avocado, Orange, and Jicama Salad

Week 31: Coconut Shrimp

Let’s go ahead and call a spade a spade right away: I failed this week.  I.e., I did not actually cook a coconut dish.  Well, correction: I cooked it, but it was not from scratch.  Frankly, I was tired of posting late and already thinking ahead to jicama, as well as feeling pretty run down by my new companion, baby/scoliosis-related back pain.  Shane was playing basketball tonight, so I was making dinner for one, andddddd….there it was, in the freezer…

Coconut Shrimp

coconut shrimpThe Verdict:

Difficulty: Easy, duh.

Taste: Satisfyingly acceptable.

Shame level: Off the charts.

I promise to do better next week!  In the meantime, coconut recipes I wanted to make (sorry, Shane):

Raspberry Dark Chocolate Macaroons

Every one of these

Brown Butter Coconut Crack Pie

Week 30: Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage

cabbageAnother late blog post…sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…lots of excuses that I will not bore you with.  INSTEAD, Lentil’s latest mug shot!

30 weeks
Left side profile, nose at the top middle, left hand curled up by his face

Tell me that is not the cutest thing you have ever seen (obligatory gushing mom comment).  Deceptive, that little guy…looks like he’s dozing peacefully, when in fact, he NEVER SLEEPS, just kicks me all the live-long day.  At this point, I think he has secretly entered some sort of Guinness Book of World Records contest for longest continuous fetal dance party.

Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage

suspicious cabbageThe Verdict:

Difficulty: Once I got around to actually cooking this dish, not difficult at all.  Decent amount of chopping but nothing tricky.

Taste: In the words of Shane, “This is good! Cream tastes like cheese.”  In other words, it had a nice, savory, creamy richness to it from the heavy cream.  Very flavorful; in the future, I might go with more ginger just to jazz it up a tad.

Awards: Best/Most Alluring Title.  The recipe got great reviews and wasn’t too complicated, but the main thing that resulted in it being selected for preparation was having an awesome title.

For all of your other cabbage needs:

Apple Cider-Braised Cabbage

Cabbage and White Bean Soup

Week 29: Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad

butternut squash

Another late blog post…boooooo me.  Still catching up on everything, pretty much, including moving/unpacking, work, all of the other things I’ve been neglecting over the past few weeks.  This will be a brief post since I need to get a jump on cabbage for Week 30.  Sorry, butternut squash!  You are a great vegetable and don’t deserve to be rushed.

We’ve been eating so much takeout and fast food since moving that I was really craving a healthy, hearty salad.  This quinoa concoction caught my eye and got the thumb’s up.  My original plan was to make the chili at the end of the post and I bought all of the ingredients before changing my mind, so I’ll be doubling up on butternut squash this week.  ‘Tis the season!

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad

butternut squash quinoaThe Verdict:

Difficulty: Easy, as long as you remember to buy the pre-cut chunks of butternut squash and don’t try to cut one up yourself (wayyy too much work when someone else can do it for you for a few cents more).

Taste:  I liked it!  Definitely satisfied my craving for a delicious, nutritious lunch.  It was pretty sweet, what with the balsamic vinaigrette and cranberries, so it might be more of a side dish for some people than a main course, although it certainly counts as a complete meal, nutrition-wise.

Making later this week:

Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili with Avocado

Balsamic Butternut, Kale and Cranberry Panzanella

Twice Baked Butternut Squash (with quinoa and gorgonzola)