40 Weeks

40 Weeks

Who could have ever imagined that when I was trying to find the perfect name for my blog nearly two years ago it would tie so perfectly well with the turn it is about to take.
Rassasy is an outdated word that means to satisfy a craving, which I just thought was the best name for a food blog. Am I right?😁. Concurrently, I rediscovered an unfulfilled part of myself, that I was and still am pursuing. What I found was actually me, but had been covered up and put away for awhile.
A monumental piece of this was that I had actually found my best friend. My soul sister. My person. I was always envious of movies, TV shows, books and real life when there were best friends. You know the ones I am talking about? I always dreamed of that connection, but didn’t find it until right before I turned 40. What’s so ironic is that she was in and out of my life for the 10 years prior; the only way to explain it is a work of God. We laugh when we remember (or don’t 😉) all the connections, intertwinings (or is that intertwinnings?!)   and what appear to be coincidences that were present. But, I don’t believe in coincidences, it was definitely the work of a higher power knowing that not only was my person out there, but she lived only 1.5 miles away!
Fast forward to a little more than two years later and near the eve of her moving 1291 miles away for a nine month teaching assignment in Alaska. How far away is 1291 miles? 22 hours by car, 5 days by bike or a mere 18 day walk. Because I am a much more of a “better to laugh than cry” type of person, I’m trying to make the best of it… although writing this is making me cry.
So, one of the ways we’re getting through it is looking at it like a pregnancy. She’ll only be gone for a pregnancy. And after one hilarious road trip we came up with actually documenting “our pregnancy” (cause why is she the only one that gets to be pregnant?😂) weekly based on the food each week of pregnancy represents. Which, now comes back to my blog. A nine month food pregnancy blog, with each recipe based on the food that corresponds to the size the “baby” is.
To satisfy a craving. Full circle.

Turning 40. Midlife. Middle age. This is cause for something epic to be done, right? Thanks to the inspiration from a dear friend, I compiled a 16-item bucket list of forty things to achieve during the year.  These include things that I’ve been wanting to do, been putting off, quietly nagging at me or just plain fun!

I love food! I’m fascinated with new foods and learning about foods from different cultures.  There’s so much out there!  One of my #40 bucket list items is to cook forty new recipes.  What makes this more ambitious is that I’ve stopped eating meat and dairy this year, while my family has not.

Rassasy, an old 15th century word meaning to satisfy a hunger.  Could there be a better name for a food blog?  I think this just may be my new favorite word.  If I’m having deep thoughts, thank you Jack Handy, this hunger could also be my love for adventure.  Or food adventures.

 

Week 27 – Rutabaga

Week 27 – Rutabaga

Week 27 is pretty much the beginning of the third trimester! Which I’ve decided is a fine time for the baby shower! My favorite (est) baby shower was the book shower thrown for me when I was pregnant with Maya, everyone brought their most beloved children’s book! There were so many good ones, but I think my favorite was King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub!

Was this one you read? I loved the illustrations and how silly it was to read, almost sing, with fun effects. So, when I was stumped with the rutabaga, then found the children’s book, “Rutabaga Bob” I decided this was the perfect time for a book baby shower and some fun games! I know, I know, I really shouldn’t quit my day job!

Yes, I finally met my match. The rutabaga. I worked my way through the avocado and lettuce, and still not sure what I will do with durian….but Rutabaga=1 and Angie =0. I do have a vague memory of us even buying rutabagas and not being impressed with them. I think I mashed mine and you may have roasted yours or vice versa #details. And really, what else is there? Plus, it was time to mix things up. So, yes “Rutabaga Bob” with just a few alterations 😉

The two “funnest fun facts” I found about rutabagas, besides them being a root vegetable, a cross between a turnip and cabbage is their history of being carved into masks and for Halloween until the pumpkin became widespread in the 1980’s. And in Ithaca, NY, the International Rutabaga Curling Championship is held on the last day of market season.

Can you even believe the #fakebabies are getting so big? Not only the size of a rutabaga, but also a Barbie doll (or Ken). Their brain is rapidly maturing and their brain is active, with sleep cycles, even having dreams!

So, how, you ask, do you throw a baby shower, long distance, through the mail?

1. Mad libs. You fill it out and I will add in the words for I’m sure a hilarious story.

2. Draw baby. Place paperplate atop your head and draw your best baby. Here’s mine.

3. Nursery Rhymes. Fill in the blanks.

Now, let the games begin! And please let me know what you think of the book😂

Week 26 – Lettuce

Week 26 – Lettuce

When I saw lettuce as one of our #fakepregnancy foods, my mind immediately went to the “lettuce of the sea.”  In the form of dulse.  A well known, red algae snack food. Growing north, along the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.  I wonder if as north as you, #twisterofthenorth. Lemme Google that, pause please, I’ll be right back! Well, I still don’t know. None of my friends knew; Alexa, Google and as you know, I’m not allowed to play with Siri. And she’s probably the one who has the answer. However, I did discover that it’s been eaten in Iceland for centuries and is also found along the Irish coastline. This just all screams research to me. The dulse that I have is from Maine. Rich in iodine for your thyroid, chlorophyll giving you energy and is highly alkalinizing improving your immune function. A trifecta!

26 week babies weigh in at 2 pounds and 14+ inches long also about the size of a VHS tape.

Pretty fitting, and such a great flick!

This is when the babies can start opening their eyes. Did you ever try the flashlight trick? Shining a flashlight on your stomach and waiting for the baby’s response? So fun! First play!

Now the next obstacle was finding a recipe using the sea lettuce. I was really excited about finding this one.

www.meghantelpner.com – Sunflower Dulse Bread

Ingredients:

  • Sunflower seeds (soaked) – 2 cups
  • Flax seeds (soaked) – 1 cup
  • Dulse – 1/3 cup
  • Carrots, chopepd – 1 cup
  • Olive oil – 1/4 cup
  • Dried basil – 1/4 cup
  • Dried parsley – 1/4 cup
  • Salt – 1 1/2 tsp

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients into food processor and mix until smooth.
  • If too sticky, a little water can be added (I didn’t need to do this)
  • Spread mixture onto pan.
  • If using a dehydrator, dehydrate at 115 degrees for 3 hours, then flip and dehydrate another 4 hours.
  • I used my oven and since it won’t go as low as 115 (175 is the lowest) I just followed the same directions, but set it to warm.
  • Keep in a sealed container.
Fresh out of the oven.

I rather liked it with some goat cheese spread on it, thanks to the idea from your eldest😄

You may try this and think it’s for the birds…well, that is okay too, feed the birds!

Pretty please!
Week 25 – Cauliflower

Week 25 – Cauliflower

Cauliflower is such a good substitute for rice, I find it indistinguishable. And I have been so antsy to share this recipe with you, best dolmas I’ve ever had! No joke. I don’t joke about food. I often feel like Winnie the Pooh, when trying to come up with some of these #fakepregnancy food ideas. Think. Think. Think.

Cause there’s rules. So many rules. Oh, all good rules though. Plus it keeps it more creative. So when the lightbulb went off to make dolmas with cauliflower I was ecstatic. Knowing that you do enjoy a good dolma, but there’s the rice, so I’m excited for you to try these.

How versatile is the cauliflower? Let me count the ways! Not only can it be eaten raw or roasted; it’s now quite popular as a pizza crust, made into mashed “potatoes” or as a rice, like in these dolmas. Of course, you can make your own cauliflower rice at home, just grating fresh cauliflower. But, now it’s so easy and economical to just buy it already “riced” in the frozen section, and after my search I was pleased to find a shelf-stable option!

Did you know that cauliflower contains choline? Say what?!? Haha, me neither! Thought it was an interesting and timely fun fact because choline helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. All so relevant! And as an added bonus fact, Jeopardy are you listening? Peanuts are another food high in choline.

25 week babies are 13.6 inches long and weigh 1.5 lbs! Their new trick this week is sticking their tongue out, according to babylist.com. Moms may be starting to experience a hard time sleeping, so pretty fitting that the cauliflower contains the choline, aiding in sleep!

Following this recipe, just making an easy switch of rice for cauliflower.

www.ethicspoon.com – Dolmas

Cauliflower Dolmas (when I see this I read it as California Dreams, but I digress)

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz grape leaves, 1 jar
  • 1 1/2 cups riced cauliflower
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion medium, diced
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/4 c raisins
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 Tbsp mint fresh, chopped
  • 1/2 c parsley fresh, chopped
  • 3/4 c water

Sauce

  • 2/3 c olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh squeezed

Directions:

  • To make the sauce: Mix olive oil, sugar and lemon juice together. Set aside.
  • In a bowl place cauliflower, raisins, mint, parsley, and allspice and mix well.

  • In a small skillet saute the onions and pine nuts in the olive oil until onions are translucent.

    Before & After

    • Remove from skillet and add to cauliflower mixture. Mix well.
  • Can we just stop and eat this now?

  • Rinse grape leaves and pat dry.
  • Place leaf flat on a large cutting board.
  • Place a heaping teaspoon of the cauliflower mixture near the bottom of the leaf.

  • Fold the bottom of the leaf over the rice, and bring the sides inwards following the guide you created.
  • Roll tightly to form a cigar shape.
  • Place seam side down in a skillet lined with the grape leaves.

  • Pour olive oil sauce mixture and water over the dolmas, and weigh down with a plate.

  • Cover and cook on low for about 50 minutes.

  • Allow dolmas to cool in the pan.
  • Transfer to a serving platter and refrigerate for about 2 hours before serving.

    But, who are we kidding….like we have time to wait for them to cool in the fridge, get in my belly now!

    Happy 25th week!!!

Week 24 – Cantaloupe

Week 24 – Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe. One of the foods I craved when I was for real pregnant with Maya. Well, actually, it wasn’t just cantaloupe, it was all the fresh, summer melons, thanks to those third trimester summer pregnancies. And by that, I mean all summer, the whole hot summer. And once was so fun, I did it again. Finally got a little smarter and only had to spend half of the summer pregnant my third time. The final, third time is a charm, time. Boy, I’m sure glad our #fakebabies are due May 31 and we won’t be pregnant over the summer, for so many reasons! What a drag it’d be being pregnant on the Danube!😉

According to the Google, cantaloupes are the most popular melon in the US, originating from Cantalupo, Italy and first brought here by Christopher Columbus. Their vines can grow to be 5 feet long. That’s nearly as tall as us, says Captain Obvious. In Australia they’re referred to as rock melons. Which, now that I think about it, they do kinda look like rocks. Edible, nutrient-filled rocks.

24 week babies are 11.8 inches long and weigh about 1.3 pounds. This is also considered the point of viability, when they can survive (with a lot of help from the NICU) outside the womb.

By the way, I can’t believe this is #6 of packages, all just piling up waiting for a clear day for the mail plane to head your way! Ha, I think I just made a poem. Speaking of delayed #fakepregnancy food packages; from our phone chat, the last one(s) you received were the avocado/onion/sweet potato trifecta. Does that mean our #fakebabies are now different sizes? I hope you feel sorry for me at delivery when mine is similar to an uncontrolled diabetic mom and weighs 14 pounds, but yours on the other hand will be suffering from IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) and you’ll have a petite little thang. Oh dear, do you think they will look like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito from Twins? Do you remember this movie? Speaking of twins, will we be able to tell them apart?

“Only their mother can tell them apart.”


Okay back to the cantaloupe. And feet. Wait, what do feet have to do with anything? Well, at 24 weeks moms-to-be may start to experience foot swelling. So this is the perfect time for the Cantaloupe Foot Soak. Thanks Camp 36 Soapery!

And if this isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is! Remember that day I ran home from the high school? On purpose, with no wild animals chasing me, in case anyone is wondering. February 1st to be exact, the same day I started writing this. Anyway, just as I was approaching the bridge, you’ll never believe what I spied laying in front of me… One lonely, cut up piece of cantaloupe, just lying there on the bridge sidewalk. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen cantaloupe chunk(s) on my running path, or for that matter, any other sort of path.

Not sure what this means, but how ironic that the same day I’m writing this, I find a piece of cantaloupe on my run. I’ve never seen cantaloupe running before! It’s a sign!


And now after all my running and your snowy adventures; which when you also sent me a message today, still February 1st, about needing an Epsom salt bath, I almost died. Okay, we’re listening universe!


Cucumber/Cantaloupe Milk Bath & Foot Soak

Ingredients:

  • 1 silver bag
  • 1 bag Epsom salt and dead sea salt
  • 1 bag of powder milk, baking soda and citric acid
  • 1 bottle of oil and fragrance oil
  • Body safe mica color
  • Lavender buds

Directions:

  • Add one bag of mica color to the bag of salt. Close the bag and squish it around to mix the color in with the salts.
  • Add fragrance and oil to the salt bag, make sure to close the top and do the mixing dance again. (I think this requires music..maybe ‘Push It’ by Salt-N-Pepa, okay that’s better, MUSIC!)
  • Once mixed, add this salt mixture to the milk, baking soda and citric acid. And repeat.. Turn up the music, seal the baggie and mix!

Once all mixed, pour everything into the silver bag!

  • Now it’s ready for your feet!
  • Add 1 Tbsp for just a foot bath
  • Add 1/4 cup to a whole warm bath
  • Sprinkle with the lavender buds!
One Happy Foot!!

Week 23 – Grapefruit

Week 23 – Grapefruit

I thought I had a brilliant idea and went to look up the German word for grapefruit and you’ll never guess what the German word for grapefruit is? Yup, grapefruit! How’s that for a letdown? Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll find more just as useful German words 😉.

Grapefruit, a cross between a pomelo and an orange; a sour, sometimes bitter fruit. This was all news to me (well, not the sour part) seeing as how I’ve never been much of a grapefruit fan, hence not a lot of research has been done. But, does anyone really research the history of the grapefruit, I digress. But, now that I’m such an adult, the adultiest of adults, I am slightly obsessed with them and haven’t been able to stop eating them. Can’t believe I’ve missed out on them for so long! Don’t worry, I’m making up for it now😉

Making a smorgasbord of these citrus fruits was quite tasty! And a fun perk of “my job.” 😂

Our week 23 #fakebabies are 11 inches long and just over a pound. This is when they start to pack on the pounds with some serious weight gain, doubling their weight over the next 4 weeks, all while listening to what’s going on outside the womb.

This week we’re steering off of the food train again, “All aboard the crazy train,” using one of Camp 36 Soapery recipes, Grapefruit Lip Balm. Sorry, I didn’t mean to trick you with the fresh fruit pictures.

Coconut Grapefruit Lip Balm

Ingredients:

  • Beeswax and 1 cocoa butter wafer
  • 1 bottle of sweet almond oil, coconut grapefruit fragrance oil and grapefruit essential oil
  • 1 lip balm tube

Directions :

Place beeswax and cocoa wafer in a glass microwave safe container, preferably a measuring cup with a pour spout.

Melt these 2 ingredients together in 15 second bursts, mixing in between. It took me 2 minutes to accomplish this.

Once melted, add the oils and fragrance from the glass bottle. Stir to combine. If it hardens from the oils being cold, just pop it back in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Now, it’s time to pour the mixture into the lip balm tube.

Once it’s full, set aside to harden, with the lid off. Will take a few hours.

And look at how great it looks on your lips…. #childishantic#11

Like I was just saying, “the adultiest of the adults.” 🤣😂🤣😂

Week 22 – Papaya

Week 22 – Papaya

Did you know that we like to call Maya, Maya-Papaya? And she isn’t a fan of this nickname. So this week reminds me of her.

Who knew there were so many ways to fill your papaya quota? From the fruit flesh, to the leaves, seeds and flowers. Papaya is widely used in many culinary and therapeutic purposes.

Okay, confession time. Now already being at week 22 and reading about the health benefits of all these different foods (what is that 18 so far?)… it’s beginning to sound a bit like the teacher in Charlie Brown, wah wah wah.

Which fun fact, did you know that it was actually a trombone that did the teacher’s “voice?” Actually all the adults in The Peanuts. A trombone. Spoiler alert. Wow, how is that for veering off topic? Rest assured your students will never think that you sound like that- cause you’re way too fun!

So yes, eat papayas, long story short, they’re good for you! Also, if a real pregnant lady is actually reading this, this is in no way all that you should be eating- as Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Our 22 week #fakebabies are 11 inches long and just under 1 lb! They’re growing more hair on their head and eyebrows, nails are growing to the ends of their fingers and the lips and eyelids are becoming more distinct.

Well, this is a lovely recipe, mainly because I am enjoying it while I am typing this. The only thing that would make it better, is if we were sharing the cuppa tea together.

Tea brewing. Almost like watching paint dry or grass grow.

www.thewholeserving.com – Papaya Leaf Tea

Ingredients:

  • Papaya leaf tea
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup milk ( I used Trader Joe’s Almond Cashew with Macadamia Nut milk) #allthenuts
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • Cinnamon

Method:

  • Steep tea
  • While tea is steeping- combine milk and coconut oil in small saucepan and bring to a low boil
  • Transfer milk and tea into blender and add in the honey and vanilla
  • Blend until creamy and frothy
  • Pour into mug and serve (I sprinkled some cinnamon on top too)

Happiness begins with a cuppa tea!

Week 21 – Pomegranate

Week 21 – Pomegranate

Pomegranates are so worth the work to obtain those little juicy jewels of red seeds inside. I wonder how many Google searches are done during their ripe season of October and November for the best way to cut open a pomegranate? Millions? I wrote that in my best Austin Powers voice with my pinky finger at my mouth. See below, for reference 😂

I know, practically twins, lol!!

21 week fetuses are about 10.5 inches long and are beginning to have more controlled movements, now that their arms and legs are proportionate. The amniotic fluid also tastes different each day depending on what mom eats. That’s one way to get your child to eats its’ vegetables, mama needs to eat hers too. No problem.

Pomegranate seeds, with all their antioxidant properties, are amazing just eaten as is, great atop a salad; but also can be cooked down into molasses. Although pomegranate molasses is thick and syrupy, it’s not overly sweet, it adds more of a tanginess. With just a little bit going a long ways. I’m sure you knew the recipe had to be pomegranate molasses because it’s shelf stable. And not only that, but my trusty Google source even says opened pomegranate molasses stays fresh in the pantry, or the USPS mail holding center (weather permitting). Same thing.

While researching what to make this week, I was super stoked to find this recipe because it also calls for dukkah; which I believe you were with me when I bought this herby nut blend at Trader Joe’s. And really, who am I kidding, aren’t you nearly always with me or me with you? Because this is an Australian recipe, the measurements differ from the United States. Not in the way that the UK does, with the good ol’ trusted metric system, using grams instead of cups, which actually makes total sense, by the way. But, did you know the Tablespoon in Australia is different from the Tablespoon in the United States? 20 mL compared to 14.8 mL. Mind blown. So I have done all the #maths (conversions) for you. You’re welcome.🙂 And who knows, it may not even make a noticeable difference- plus you’re so skilled at cooking without measuring anything anyways…. I’m not quite there yet!

www.sbs.com – Vegetarian Kofte with Pomegranate

Ingredients:

  • 100 g bulgar
  • 400g can lentils, drained and mashed
  • 1 lemon, juiced and grated rind
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1.5 Tbsp dukkah
  • Salt
  • Cooking spray

Method:

Place the bulgar with a large pinch of salt in a bowl and cover with about 3/4 cups of boiling water. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir. Put aside for 15-20 minutes, until the water has been absorbed.

Mix together the tahini, tomato paste and pomegranate molasses in a large bowl. Add the lentils and dukkah and mix well. When ready, add in the bulgar and mix until well combined. Taste and adjust the flavors if needed. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°. Shape the mixture into 8 equal sized kofte, although I did not learn this shape in elementary school, I made do. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. The original recipe says cook for 7-8 minutes, turning once. You’re looking for a golden color and starting to brown around the edges. Was it because I doubled the recipe or did I make them too big? #bigkoftes Whatever the reason, it took a good 20 minutes of cook time.

All the the little kofte soldiers lined up ready to be baked (I doubled the recipe when I made it, so I could share 😉)

One cooked kofte

These would be an amazing Mediterranean salad addition, eaten plain or as the original recipe suggests- in pita bread.

No surprise, I had it with a salad! Greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, artichokes, pomegranate seeds and homemade taziki!