Saturday, 10 May 2014

28 Weeks

In the last few weeks I have been informed by several people that my bump is "neat". As far as I can tell, what they mean by this is that I still have a defined waistline, I haven't put on weight anywhere except my bump (and my boobs, but most people are too polite to comment on that) and my bump is all in the front. You still can't see it from behind. I'm convinced it's more obvious from the left side than the right, but maybe that's just me? Either way, there is definitely a bump, but somehow I still fit into this age 13-14 dress from Asda. 

More importantly, we're officially into the third trimester! Now is the time for antenatal classes, slightly more midwife appointments (all of them rather unexciting, since there's not much to discuss with a ridiculously low risk pregnancy like ours, thankfully!), ordering our pram and deciding on a birth plan. Simon's ideas on what to include in our birth plan? "Having a baby." Anything we definitely don't want to happen at the birth? "Not having a baby." As you can see, we're making fantastic progress on that item on our to-do list.

How far along? 28 weeks & 1 day
Total weight gain/loss: Still at 9lbs, so I haven't gained anything in the last couple of weeks, but I haven't lost anything either! 
Maternity clothes? I'm still managing to fit into some of my old clothes--mostly long tops and elasticated skirts and loose dresses--but I love my maternity jeans. So comfy!
Stretch marks? Still none! Given the rate that my bump seems to be growing at, I'm rather surprised.
Sleep: I'm not as tired as I have been the last couple of weeks, but I'm having weird dreams and can't seem to sleep in past 7:30am. Either the baby's movements are waking me up, or it's my bladder. 
Best moment this week: Reaching the third trimester! It's exciting and scary at the same time. 
Movement: The baby has actually been a little quieter the last few days, but its movements are pretty consistent, and sometimes we can actually see my belly moving. There was one day when I was having horrible backache, and then we saw the baby very obviously kick right below my ribcage, so its position explained why I'd been in so much pain! And then it moved around and kicked at my side. According to my midwife, the movements will change over the next month as the baby has less room to move, and I think I'll miss the usual activity!
Cravings/Aversions: I've really been craving chocolate lately, and the other day I was in the mood for pizza. I guess that counts?
Gender guesses: A lot of people have told us they think it's a girl. It's fun listening to everyone's guesses, and we're honestly surprised we've managed to keep it a secret this long ;)
Labor Signs: None, although I have been researching Braxton Hicks so I know what to look out for, especially given how bad my backache has been recently. 
Belly Button in or out? Still in. I'm starting to think it's never going to pop. 
What I miss: Wine. I've not had a glass of wine since September, when we first started trying to get pregnant, and I'm finally starting to properly miss it. 
What I am looking forward to: Our baby shower tomorrow! Some friends from church are throwing us a very low-key baby shower, and we're really excited about it :)
Weekly Wisdom: Just smile and nod whenever anyone tells you that you barely look pregnant, even though you feel as big as a house and struggle to lean over to put your socks on in the morning. 
Milestones: We've reached the third trimester! Which means I'm flip-flopping between being excited that our baby will be here soon, and freaking out that we're not organised enough. Simon is being incredibly patient and, naturally, not worrying at all.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Recipe: Sloppy Joes

One of our favourite places in Edinburgh is the Games Hub; a cafe on Lauriston Place where you can pay £2.50 to stay as long as you want, and play as many board games as possible. They serve very reasonably priced food, from standards like toasties and wraps, to their soup and dish of the day. Their dish of the day is often Sloppy Joes, which is where I was first introduced to this meal. After having it a couple of times at the Games Hub, I determined to figure out how to make it myself, but struggled to find a recipe that I completely liked the look of. I ended up combining several recipes I found online, so I'm afraid I can't credit this one to any one source in particular.

This recipe contains a lot of vinegar and mustard, so if you don't like that much of a tang in your food, you might want to cut down on the quantities of those. You can add more brown sugar to off-set the vinegar if you do find you use too much.

We usually top our Sloppy Joes with extra mature cheddar cheese (which is the standard cheese that you can always find in our fridge), but on this occasion we used Velveeta. Ages ago, I asked a Texan friend what Velveeta was, since I'd seen it mentioned in a couple of recipes. Recently she posted us a box so we could try it. It's basically like a big block of the individual cheese slices you typically put on top of burgers, which my family always referred to as "plastic cheese". It actually works really well with Sloppy Joes!

Sloppy Joes
Serves: 4
Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cook. Time: 10-15 minutes

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 bird's eye chillies, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 pepper, deseeded and chopped (bell or sweet)
3 ribs of celery, chopped
500g of minced beef
1 (500g) carton of passata
1 (400g) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup of ketchup
1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1.5 tbsp of brown sugar
1 tbsp of white vinegar
1 tbsp of cider vinegar
2 tsp of dijon mustard
1 tsp of American mustard
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
8 burger buns (two per person)
Cheese of choice, sliced

1. Heat some oil in a large saucepan and fry the garlic, chillies, onion, pepper and celery until the onion and celery starts to soften and turn translucent.
2. Add the mince and cook until browned.
3. Add the passata and kidney beans and stir until combined. Then add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, vinegars, mustards, cayenne pepper and any seasoning you desire before stirring the mixture again.
4. Simmer until the sauce and beans are hot. While the mixture simmers, toast your burger buns--either in the toaster or under the grill. 
5. On a grill-safe plate, top each half of the burger bun with some of the sloppy joe mixture, before adding some cheese. Place under the grill until the cheese melts and begins to bubble.
6. Serve with hot sauce, if desired! 

Friday, 2 May 2014

Recipe: Black Bean & Sweetcorn Quesadillas

This is a relatively quick and easy recipe, but the scotch bonnet makes it very hot, so this isn't for those who wince when they eat anything containing chilli powder. And I say "very hot" in terms of most normal people's heat rating--honestly, this is just standard hot for us ;) We try to use red scotch bonnets as they're the hottest, followed by yellow, then green.

Sadly, black beans aren't terribly popular in the UK. You can buy cans of them in Morrisons and most health food shops (Real Foods, Holland & Barrett, etc) but they tend to be relatively expensive. If you know you like them, it's more cost-effective to buy a big bag of dried black beans (found in most supermarkets and any health food store) and either soak them overnight or cook them in the slow cooker, before freezing them in reasonable portions (we tend to go for two cups per bag). 

Black Bean & Sweetcorn Quesadillas
Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe found at MyRecipes.

Serves: 2 (with leftovers or second helpings)
Prep. Time: 5 minutes
Cook. Time: 10 minutes

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 pepper, deseeded and chopped (bell or sweet)
1 (400g) can of chopped tomatoes
2 cups of cooked black beans
1 (326g) can of sweetcorn, drained
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of lime juice
1 tsp of cumin, finely ground
1 tsp of paprika (smoked or ordinary)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of fresh coriander, finely chopped
100g of Mexicana cheese, grated
4-8 large flour tortillas (depending on how full you fill your quesadillas)

1. Heat some oil in a medium-sized saucepan and fry the garlic, scotch bonnet and pepper for a few minutes. 
2. Add the chopped tomatoes, black beans and sweetcorn, then the vinegar, lime juice and dried spices, as well as any salt and pepper you desire. Stir to combine.
3. Bring the mixture up to boil, before reducing to a simmer and adding the chopped coriander. 
4. Heat a very small amount of oil to a large frying pan. Once the oil is able to run about the pan like water, quickly fry a tortilla on both sides. Remove this tortilla from the pan and replace with a second one. Once you've fried it on one side, flip it over and top it with some of the black bean mixture and cheese. Once the tortilla appears to be cooked on the base side, top with the other tortilla and transfer (carefully) to a plate. Assemble the other quesadillas similarly. 
5. Cut into quarters with a pizza cutter and serve with sour cream, salsa and lime wedges, if desired.