What I am Currently Reading
The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology – This was a birthday gift from my Mother, yup, leave it to her to buy me a medical textbook (she is a neonatal nurse practitioner). I have already learned a lot of new things, and put some of my AP Biology terminology to use.
Rosemary’s Baby – I love the movie and thought now would be the time to read the book. Good news, my husband isn’t best friends with our older neighbors, so I think I am safe about not having a devil baby.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting – Still working on this. Read up one month 7, and will start advancing to the delivery chapter to know what to expect. Yikes things are coming up soon.
What I’ve Read
I know this book is very baby centric. I was going to keep baby books separate from my reading lists, but I thought why not just plop it in here. It was like my own little Finnegan’s Wake– kind-of painful to read (so many strollers… so many baby seats… ugh and the mattresses!) I didn’t read it front to back, but read a major chunk of the book. It is pretty obvious what it is about- pretty much a published version of Consumer Reports. What I like about the book is that they give recommendations of what to look for in quality, which might not be so easy for new parents. Like what mattresses are the best? What should I be looking for in strollers? I certainly would of dismissed some of the recommendations they made before reading the book.
I also love that they help filter through the “must haves” and the “don’t needs.” While putting together the registry there were lots of recommended items to add such a baby walkers, DVDs, and too many different items of clothing. The book kind-of breaks down how many they suggest you buy which made me feel a little better to have a more realistic number. I didn’t want to come off as too greedy on my registry.
Downside? You can research and research but sometimes it can be too hard to put all of the “best” in one registry. Many products are exclusives to some companies, which is partly why we registered at two different places. But it was nice to see some cheaper brands were recommended (hello Target!) It definitely helped discourage us from getting certain products. I was really jazzed about those smart phone monitors and the reviews were very “meh.” I am thinking the products will get better as they become more popular, but the reviews showed that they were inconsistent.
Overall I think this is a must have for any pregnant ladies. If a friend announces that their pregnant, this would be a great little congratulations gift, even if they aren’t “strapped for cash.” They do reviews for those super pricey items and will tell you the flaws and the perks, which companies have reliable products, and which crib companies get recalled the most.
I read good things about this series so I figured I would give it a try. Especially since I was checking it out from the library rather than actually buying it. I have some mixed feelings about it, but overall decided not to continue reading the series. It just didn’t really jive with me.
The story is about Amir Halgal, a 20 year old from a nomadic tribe who marries a 12 year old boy. The story takes place on the silk road, and talks about the cultural differences between Amir’s nomadic upbringing and her new husband’s, Karluk, farming family. The story centers around Amir’s blossoming relationship with Karluk and his family and teaches the reader about the lives in Central Asia.
Good Things: The art is amazing. A quick google search will show you tons of a pictures from the manga, and all the fine details. I also enjoyed the unusual setting. I do not know much about Central Asian tribes, but the story seems to be pretty accurate. The story isn’t just about Amir and Karluk, it is about the whole family. The idea of a 20-some year old woman marrying a young boy seems a little far fetched, but shows how poor Amir’s family probably was.
Bad Things: I think overall I wasn’t so interested in the series since the story just wasn’t strong enough. The focus seemed to be on how different and exotic the lives are for the main characters rather than complicated family dynamics. Sure there are some small little stories for each chapter, but there just didn’t seem to be enough high stakes to draw the reader in. This is ultimately why I think I dropped the series. It is pretty long, and from what I can see from reviews, it evolves more to be able the family as a whole, but mostly focuses on the women. So I could see myself really liking the series over time, but I have too many other things I want to read first.
I saw this book on GrrFeisty and thought it looked interesting. The book centers around an American (actually it sounds more like Jewish New Yorker) who moves to France to marry a British man. They have kids and find there is a big cultural divide between the children in France and the children in England and United States. I was really interested in reading this book because I have even noticed differences between children in urban environments and suburbia within the United States. I even noticed a difference between the children in on the East Coast compared to the kids I met when staying in Utah with my parents.
The book is well researched but is overall littered with opinions and generalizations. I don’t mean this as a negative, just something a reader should be aware of. Apparently many readers found the book as an attack on American childrearing, which I didn’t take that way. I think there were many instances that the author openly criticized the French on how they bring up children.
So what makes the French different from Americans? Well, it seems the overall theme is that it is the parents duty to make sure that they balance their personal needs with their children’s. You might be thinking “duh” but the ideas are slightly different how we think about this idea in the United States. It is important for parents to have time to theirselves, like sending kids off a week or two at a time to be on school trips or with Grandparents (something I did when I was little but husband never did.) There is also a big stress to teach kids how to act in society, including manners, living within common schedules, not being loud in public, etc. And above all, it seemed that most French parents viewed it their responsibility to “teach” rather than “discipline.”
Then there was my favorite chapter- teaching kids to be diverse eaters. This is something I think is super important. It is the main thing that irks me about American society. Children are so picky and their choice in food stinks. Heck, there are also so many adults who keep their picky habits as adults. Sorry if you are full grown adult you shouldn’t be picking around the beans in a dish that a friend cooked for you. The book does not imply this is an easy thing to teach kids. I know I was a picky eater when I was little, but my mom was persistent and I learned to eat pretty much everything. It is also something I take to heart as an adult.
I loved the book except for the body shame-y beginning. There was a lot of talk about how Americans view pregnancy as a time to binge on food. And it depends. Historically speaking doctors would actually discourage as much weight gain as possible. But slowly doctors figured out that women who gained more weight were more likely to have healthier babies. So now we have the recommendations of 25-30 lbs of weight gain. Now, some people view pregnancy as a way to indulge, but doctors seem to stress on eating well. It makes sense, but when my pregnancy app is flooding with daily articles about learning to skip dessert, increase my protein (but don’t forget those grains!), tips on how to gain weight, and even tips on how to slow weight gain it is overwhelming. I get what the author’s point is about keeping “thin.” In the United States parents put their bodies and lives second. I hear many stories of people who become very out of shape after having kids and only take up exercise again 10 years afterwards. We need to take care of ourselves. But in some parts Druckerman implies that France has great prenatal care, giving validity to all the French women who drink and try and stay thin while pregnant. The large infant deaths in United States (compared to France) probably has less to do with prenatal care and more with infant care. In fact France has GREAT care for children that is provided by the government for various income brackets. Man was I green with envy reading it.
I think this is a great book for anyone who might feel a little weird about American kid culture. I think trying to adopt some of the styles of French parenting styles can work in an American environment. I think the negative parts of French culture can be balanced with the good parts of American culture. Can you enjoy this book without having kids? Probably. Though I think you might have a deeper appreciation for it if you are expecting or planning to eventually have kids.
**Also note- I write American, but Druckerman does talk about English speaking countries, implying many child rearing techniques are found in England AND the USA, and possibly Australia and Canada.
After all the babies and marriage books, I read this- a true crime non-fiction book about a woman who chopped a man up into pieces. Nice balance right? I am not a huge true crime fan. I enjoy a good True Crime story, especially one that is creepy or full of corruption. But I don’t actively seek them out. I found out about this book after listening to the author on the podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class.
The book takes place in Philadelphia 1887, a headless, limbless torso is found in a river. The police force has a hard time telling if the body is of a light colored black man or a dark toned white man. This leads to a lot media speculation over the race of the body, and puts the dead body on the police force’s priority list. The police identify the body and narrow their search down to two suspects- Hannah Mary Tabbs, a black woman, and George Wilson, a half white half black man.
Author Kali Nicole Gross focuses the story on the facts and explaining the racial views of society. She paints a great picture of why story was so sensationalized during the time, most were from where the body was found and the race of the victim and culprits. She is thorough to talk about the politics of the police force, and why corruption in the government might of swayed the decision of the court. She does this without making the book seem dry, which is pretty hard. But most of all she avoids doing too much speculation, only giving her opinion about who actually committed the crime.
If you live or lived in Philadelphia you will be happy to read this book. I enjoyed reading how the different areas changed over time. There are maps in the book showing all the road and alley ways, most of which are now gone. There are labels showing all the different wards, which are never referred to in modern Philadelphia. As some point I think it would be fun to take a walk around the city hitting all the different important locations in the book.
I am trying to keep this review short since I don’t want to give away too much of the details. Going in with a pretty blank slate will really make the read much more interesting.
Finally got to the last two weeks of the second trimester! That means it is all downhill from here. I will hopefully be so pumped about cool fall weather, finishing up the last bits of setting up the house, and celebrating holidays that I will totally forget that I am counting down the day till I can
have a drink meet my baby.
Last week I was so busy painting that I didn’t post my baby update until the Monday of week 26. Eek! But we have painted the ceiling, painted a walls bright turquoise, and the rest of the walls a nice cool grey. We are now just moving things on the third floor, organizing and making it workable. We will definitely post photos of the place when we get it to a “finished” product. Mostly because 1) It is cool and 2) It is nice to have a photo of it being all clean and perfect before it because a messy working space. XD
Then I get to fret over the nursery… which isn’t so bad thinking about how we didn’t have to choose a crib, changing table, or rocking chair. Just needs a coat of paint (on the ceiling at well ugh) and us to install all the furniture. I guess after that we will think about buying more art for the walls or whatever else we need to make the room feel less empty.
In good company
I am pretty excited to find out that my friend from college is pregnant. About a year ago I went to her wedding, and I guess I wasn’t expecting that she would try and get pregnant (totally caught me off guard.) But I think part of my excitement is that I have a friend who has a baby and the same age as me. As most people my age are just starting to settle down and earning/saving some real money. So I think most of my close friends either aren’t having kids because of money, or think they will probably live a child-free life. I think it is important to have friends without kids, but there is a part of me that would like someone that I can bring my kid to play with theirs. But, it doesn’t matter too much since my friend is a 5 hour drive away in Maryland.
Actually, there are lots of far-away friends who recently had kids or are pregnant. One of my online buddies recently had a baby girl, and my other online friend Jessika (who I’ve met IRL a few times) is pregnant with baby number two. And my old college roommate is having his first baby right around the same time as I am. But everyone is scattered in Maryland, Virginia, and Portland Oregon. Which is kind-of stinks that I don’t have someone closer.
Yeah, I guess I am starting to feel pregnant. I can’t big things anymore. Not because I lack the muscles, but because my arms can’t span around both a big box AND my big belly. And I am getting yelled at more and more for carrying heavy items. It’s so hard for me to not do things myself. My feet are slightly swelling (shoes are a little more snug) and I am starting to feel some Braxton Hicks contractions. Heartburn is coming back again, making dinner not very enjoyable. My back randomly hurts, but I have been trying hard to keep my back straight but hip tilted.
I do find it a little funny when people talk about how they cried so much during their pregnancy. The waterworks aren’t going off for me. No instead I feel like an angsty teen. I went on a rant while grocery shopping about men waiting for women to pass. It makes no sense to me. If you are confused by what I mean, let me explain. There is a sidewalk lining the parking lot of Wegmans. They are wide enough for two shopping cart to go in different directions. While pushing my cart to the car (pregnant or not) I’ve had men walking on the other side of the concrete stop and wait for me to pass. I’ve seen this happen with other women too. I don’t THINK they are checking out the passing person’s butt, especially since one woman was pushing a cart with a baby in it. I assume this is some weird outdated politeness rule, like opening doors for ladies. But why? I mean what the hell is the point?! Are men walking so fast that they create wind that blow women over?
Ugh. It just makes me so mad, proving my point that I am an angsty and angry little shit (or rather huge… I mean my belly.) God helps if any strangers touch my stomach randomly.
Hahaha…. yeah it has been practically non-exsitent. Luckily I’ve been keeping active painting, moving crap up and down 3 flights of stairs. I’ve probably gone for only 2- maybe 3 runs over the past two weeks. Somehow I am still going faster… what the heck? This morning I ran only 1.4 miles but ran about a minute per mile faster than a week ago. Go figure. But don’t think I am breaking records. I was aiming for 10 minute mile pre-pregnancy, I am averaging 12:30-14:30 minute miles.
My belly button is seeing it’s last days. I woke up this morning seeing the top half kind-of start poking out. It is only a matter of time till it all comes poking out. The baby is also really active and you can now see the kicks pretty easily. While waiting for my scanner to go at work, I was able to quickly take a video for Jon since he keeps making fun of me for staring at my belly when going to bed. I feel a little bad that I can’t be bothered to get him when the baby kicks to feel for them. It is never just a kick either. It is like punches, kicks, and head butts. Sometimes I feel like my kid is American Ninja Warrioring it in my stomach.
My weight gain is right on track, and I try not to focus on weight but man do I love stats and charts. Look at that perfect little line. I am just starting to hit the “target” area, but the gain has been pretty steady.
These past two weeks…. oh man have they’ve been something. My blog was being hosted by my lovely friend Jamie. Sadly she decided that she wouldn’t be able to keep her hosting services since of various things including money and poor hosting service. I stress the poor hosting service because it has been causing a headache for me. The company she used is slow to reply to help requests, goes down often (which I think more international readers have been at the end of that stick), and general crumminess. The server went down, no big deal, except I freaked out that it was 100% gone forever since Jamie mentioned getting rid of the hosting service (I know I was being irrational, but couldn’t shake that thought.) Then when I came back up, I backed my XML posts, and tried to connect to the FTP… and just couldn’t get it to connect. Turns out, my password was wrong, and the program I used wasn’t compatible. So my IP was blocked, and I couldn’t see anything from my computer. Worse it seemed all Mac FTPs were being blocked as well. So weird. So I had to ask so many favors from Jamie about backing up my files, sending them over, etc. And I felt bad because I had over 2 GB of images for the blog!
Good news? We are moved to our server, and has given my husband a boost in interest to help my blog out more. He is helping me compress my photo files, which means faster loading times for you guys. I am also hoping to improve my search engine crap and work on a new layout that won’t be too boring, but a little more mainstream. Bad news? If you go into our older posts you might find some broken images. I am slowly fixing that
But since it has been so long, I have a bunch of links to share. Some are quick reads, some are opinion pieces, and some are total fluff. Hope you guys enjoy them and I will have more new posts coming up soon next week.
Let’s start with the fluff! I am not going to be one of those people who will flood you with ooey-gooey Mom stuff, but I need to share this. Even if you don’t like kids, you’ll love these photos. Laura Izumikawa takes photos of her cute baby while she’s asleep. There are some athletes, cartoon characters, anime, nerdy stuff, and pop stars. If you haven’t already seen all the news articles featuring her photos, check out her instagram.
Nothing makes my blood boil more than hearing people make gross racist remarks like “oh black people don’t exercise” or “people on welfare just eat garbage.” What makes it worse is they never seem to care to make a change about that. So when I read about grassroots movements of trying to get free exercise and wellness programs for low income or people of color, I get really excited. If you want more inspirational reads you can check out this Mosaic Podcast episode about the diabetes epidemic in Harlem.
I don’t talk too much about it but I am a film nerd. I love movies, and I rarely get off my butt to watch them. Why? I am not interested in blockbusters… like at all. In fact my husband and I have lots of debates over stuff because I think his “greatest films” are kind-of just fluff. *cough* steven spielberg *cough* If you didn’t already picked up that I am pretentious art school
student graduate, you now officially know. Anyways, even people who love blockbusters are getting sick of all these sequels and “reboots.” So if you are looking for something new but different, check out this list. I am wanting to watch the ones we haven’t seen before… which is a lot. I’ve only seen about a quarter of the list but here are the films I think everyone should check out (when you have night to really watch a movie) Note- these are my favorites from the list or ones I think that are a little less known, so you know keep that in mind.
- Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson, 2012)
- Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)
- The Pianist (Roman Polanski, 2002)
- Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)
- A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2009)
- City of God (Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, 2002)
- Oldboy (Park Chan-wook, 2003)
- WALL-E (Andrew Stanton, 2008)
- The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012)
- The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014)
- Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman, 2008)
- Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)
- Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2013)
- No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
- Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
- There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
- In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
Vegan Mofo will be returning this year! The announcement was made while I was blocked from my server and transferring files so at first I was overwhelmed with the thought of doing it again. I think I will be trying it out again this year with Alexa’s help. But truthfully we will see how often a post since it will be during the 9th month of pregnancy (yikes!) But I had so much fun doing it in 2015 and 2014 that I just had to.
This is a brief look at the first vegetarians restaurants in the world. It is interesting to see how vegetarianism have evolved over the years, and how Hitl has stayed the same. I would love to visit it sometimes, but I wonder if they have many vegan options (it seems to have a lot of eggs and dairy in the recipes). Still a fun slice of history.
I’ve always been one to recommend people go out and get some exercise. I don’t think you need to go to a gym, but I know some people thrive with the direction (especially early on.) This study shows that maybe health insurance companies should cover gym classes. It does show to save some money. Even still, walking 30 minutes a day still does the body some good.
Women Who Eat Full-Fat Yogurt Are Happier, So Don’t Believe the Smug Lady in Yoplait-Light Commercials
Okay, so I find the title of this article more interesting than anything else. A quick summary is that women who eat full fat yogurt have less depression than women who eat the light stuff. There isn’t any direct correlation with fat consumption and depression. It could be because there is more sugar added to the low-fat stuff or could be that women who are depressed are more concerned about weight gain. I take it as better body image equals better mind.
And if you made this far- congrats! This is a surprising article about fidgeting. We all know sitting down for long periods of time can be bad for our bodies. So scientists wanted to see if fidgeting would help counter the negative effects. And it kind-of does! Sure it better to not sit down for several hours, but it is a great way to counteract it if you have no choice.
Finally I am reaching the end of our baby registry rainbow! This might seem like a dumb thing to be excited about but most of my reading time has been devoted to reading Baby Bargains (not to be confused with The Baby Bargain, which has more cheap thrills the cheap strollers.) It is pretty much the Consumers Report on all baby stuff, and man was I reaching my limit of decision making. I mean none of it is particularly fun. Mattresses, sheets, nipple tops, diapers, and so many strollers. When I got to the end of things we needed to buy, I was so over joyed. I think I was so burnt out from making decisions on which was the “best” that I flipped out on Jon when he asked if “ceiling white” would be okay for third floor.
I still need to get a diaper bag. We kind-of went for backpack because I think it would be good for Jon’s sake. Plus I still have the mondo purse that I made and if anything I could make smaller compartments to better hold certain things- like a mini diaper bag. I just couldn’t find anything I liked that was vegan and cute that wasn’t $100. I know I could put it on the registry, but I already feel greedy enough as it is. Besides- I much rather have this bag as a diaper bag. Maybe I need to get into the impractical diaper bag business.
Yup I put some big ol’ quotes in there. I am pretty convinced that “nesting” isn’t a real symptom of pregnancy. Why? Because of coarse you will be worried about making sure everything is nice, we don’t make nurseries months before trying to get pregnant! This past two weeks have been exhausting because we have been repainting my old dresser. It has been kind-of fun because my sister found the old mirror that goes with it. I took it to work, took out the mirror and found out that the dresser had been built in the 50s! It isn’t the BEST dresser, but it much nicer than if I bought an Ikea dresser. We have to paint it because 1) the mirror frame doesn’t match and 2) my father scuffed the dresser pretty badly because he isn’t the most cautious person when moving furniture. We have been doing that almost every night before bed adding a new coat.
We are also fixing up the third floor to be our office/workout space so we can move our office to the third floor to use the old space as a nursery. And that involved doing some ceiling painting each day of the week. No we don’t paint the ceiling each time we paint a room, we just had a leak earlier in the year and had to fix it. This weekend will be hanging with family and trying to paint the walls. Next weekend? Moving everything to the third floor. Then we can start to figure out what the heck we want to do with the nursery. *sigh*
I recently went to the doctors for one of my last “boring monthly visits.” I am being upgraded to a visit with tons of tests then to bi-weekly boring visits. Lucky me! I got to meet the practices new midwife and I really like her. I am not looking for a midwife or doctor specifically, just seeing all the doctors and hoping a click with someone. Too bad I have no choice on who really delivers the baby (it is mostly who is staffed that day.) I am hoping to schedule more of my appointments with her, though I am still not down with everyone telling me that I can only lift 20 lb. No really, how do you do anything otherwise?!
I actually had questions this time around! Shocking. One was about Toulouse’s ringworm. She periodically get outbreaks and she had a really bad case a week ago. The midwife told me, I am probably fine, but I should avoid petting her (mostly to stop, you know, picking the scabs cause it is all my monkey genes coming out.)
Although she thought I would be fine, she pointed out that if I haven’t been immune to ringworm, I could have a horrible outbreak. It was best to let Jon apply the medication and I take a step back. Happy about everything I leave the office with a photo text from Jon- the cat has been sleeping in my boxes of clothing (look above- painting dresser.) I had mixed feelings of “awww cute” and “god damn it.” All week, my cat has been all about sleeping in my boxes of clothes or sleeping on my side of the bed. She stopped now that we have had another heatwave, you know, when her ringworm got back under control.
When I first started to read articles about body image issues on my pregnancy apps, I thought it was weird. I can’t tell someone their too small or they might cry. I can’t tell someone they look big or they might cry. But now I am getting it. At first I was wondering if it was bad- or good about the weight I had. All the books say I should be showing by the second trimester and I just didn’t look too much like I was. People who know me kept saying I looked pregnant, but I still kept looking thinking that I could just be bloated.
I have finally hit “tipping point” where I need almost all my clothes to be maternity wear or very stretchy. I put on my cute dress enjoying how I can finally wear the maternity clothing. Went to our art restorer to drop off some art (expensive shit like an etching of The Golfer by Rembrandt, yeah, I’m name dropping) and talked to the owner. I mentioned he wouldn’t see me in December since I was pregnant. He seemed pretty surprised and didn’t notice that my belly was fairly large. Maybe that is a sign he is looking more at my face than my body XD
Otherwise I am noting other changes- like my boobs. I look at the photos from when I first started taking them weekly and they looked- dare I say- pointy. At least compared to now. I could be just a man with a basketball and grapefruit stuffed in my shirt for all you know. Everything is super round. Even my butt is getting bigger- or more circular.
Oh, my belly is getting a little more torpedo shaped. In the morning when I stretch my arms up my belly button starts to poke out. Belly is getting a little itchier but so far no stretch marks. No linea nigra, but I do have more tummy fuzz going down my navel. It is hardly noticeable though.
I am hitting another sugar overload moment. I probably will start going back to trying to make a crunchy savory granola bar again. I guess it is better to be tired of sugar than craving more? I am eating more sugar than normal from the oreo pudding pie (will be posted on the blog this week), hemp protein brownies, ben & jerry’s ice cream, clif bars, lattes, and cookies.
Oh and the tons and tons of fruit I eat. I am always eating a banana for breakfast, and an apple for lunch. But now we have watermelon and cantaloupes from the CSA, so they have been packed in my daily lunches instead. To make it even more crazy, my in-laws are in Switzerland and Italy for two weeks and we have been picking up their shares so I have 2 large red watermelon and 2 small yellow watermelon this week.
Otherwise I’ve been pretty healthy just eating all the fresh produce we’re getting from CSA before it goes bad. We also got a bunch of blackberries, that I am still not sure what I am going to do with yet. Thinking banana ice cream or chia pudding. Too much pressure to make the best of them since they are all done for the season.
It is no secret I really like Terry Hope Romero and Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Sometimes I feel like the vegan world is crammed with feel good Californians, so having some snarky New Yorkers with killer food makes me happy. Since Terry and Isa both started to write their own cookbooks, it has always been interesting to see how each person cooks. Romero seems to write about specific topics- whether it is a specific world cuisine, salads, or in this case- protein.
There isn’t a photo for every recipe, but then again, do we need that? Answer- probably not. I mean we don’t need to see what a smoothie bowl looks like more than once. But the photos that are in the book are beautiful and fun. Instead of JUST featuring the recipe, the photographer arranges the recipe as if it is just being arranged in the kitchen.
The photographer worked with Terry Hope Romero for her sister book Salad Samurai and for Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book Isa Does It. As I praised with Isa Does It, the photos look as if you walked into a working kitchen, but somehow with the perfect lighting and the perfect amount of mess. Although the photos are clearly staged, it does give the recipes a sense of approachability that encourages people to make them everyday.
Romero takes a quick approach, giving you an introduction and some protein basics. This is probably a good thing since she uses protein powders in so many of the recipes. She talks about the basic different powders and why she chooses to use one in a certain recipe and not another. I am a little disappointed that she doesn’t include soy protein isolate, or at least explain why she doesn’t like it. It use to be THE protein for vegans.
She then touches base for other common ingredients she uses and talks about some cooking basics. Most people can skip this section but if you never cooked brown rice before? Well Romero has you covered so you don’t have to pause that podcast to google “how to cook brown rice.” Heck I even used her coconut bacon recipe in that section.
Recipe categories? I liked how she divided them up: Unstoppable Smoothie Bowls and Granola; Stealthy Protein Pancakes, Waffles, and Much Much More; The Protein Bakery Basket; Super Toast: Savory and Sweet; Protein-Packed Patties and Burgers; Better Than Ever Burger Bowls; Grain and Noodles Bowls; and finally Sweet Treats.
As with all Terry Hope Romero’s book, I am always impressed with her writing. It is always open and very relatable. She more or less mocks the pseudo-enlightened statements that are the so common ever since M.F.K. Fisher. She also has no visible typos or issues with the recipes- oh wait except for one. Her chickpea eggplant hemp veggieballs have no hemp in them. It bothers me endlessly. But truthfully, this is the least amount of issues I’ve seen in a cookbook where there is always one or two ingredients out of place or letters missing.
It seems there is a divide in the vegan world over this cookbook. A lot of vegans complain that it feeds into the “protein complex” that America has. Which is sad because Terry Hope Romero addresses this in the introduction. She, for the most part, wrote this book for weight lifting vegans. And I have to say, I think this is super helpful. I know Alexa would love this book since she is a big crossfitter, and is a flexitarian. She would like to avoid dairy and eggs, but when you are surrounded by a world that loves the paleo diet, it is hard to learn about vegan protein. This book would be perfect for her. Terry’s recipes recommends cheap protein powder, aka not to use Vega (though some recipes need that, like the smoothie bowls)
What I also love about this book is that there are lots of tips to save your recipes. Many people don’t live with their significant other, or eat the same thing as each other. So I hear lots of vegans say that they can’t make a full recipe because it will go to waste. Romero gives lots of notes on which recipes you can double and freeze. This has been nice for me since I am expecting so I am stocking my freezer up for sleep deprived post baby me.
Right now, protein isn’t on my list of things to pay attention to. I’ve been getting what I need, and probably should be eating more whole grains (as a pregnant lady that is) But once I deliver I probably going to dive into this cookbook. I find that this has lots of recipes that are very warming, and don’t use as much fresh produce. So testing out these recipes while I have my CSA is a little bit of a struggle.
Otherwise I love this book. I will be using it a bunch in the future. If anyone is a vegan weight lifter, even with light weights, they will probably want to pick up this book. Terry Hope Romero uses protein powder, yes, but I think she varies the types making it friendly for lots of vegans. I am still a little sad she ignore soy protein, but hey, she likes to use tofu so that’s okay.
Wanna Skip the Protein Powder?
As mentioned above, some of the biggest critizism has been how much the recipes use protein powders. I have to point out a few things if people want to save some cash. One tip would be to skip the hemp protein powder and only get the rice and pea protein powders. I got NOW protein, which isn’t the best for smoothies, but works well with these recipes. You can get most of the rice and pea proteins for $6-10 per pound depending on the size you buy. I super recommend getting these for the baked goods and burgers as the protein powders help with binding (think of eggs and how their proteins work in traditional baked goods)
Wanna skip protein powders overall? Well, some of the recipes aren’t going to be high in protein, but you can do almost everything in the first chapter with the smoothies bowls. But there is almost always a non-protein powder recipe in each chapter. Quick way to find them is to look at the savory recipes over sweet. So you want to check out the end of Stealthy Protein Pancakes, Waffles, and Much Much More, and almost all recipes are protein powder free in Super Toast: Savory and Sweet and Grain and Noodles Bowls.
26 Centerton Rd, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
500 Rte 73 S, The Promenade at Sagemore, Medford NJ 08053
More locations in MA, NH, NY, CT, ME, NC, RI, Canada & Switzerland
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I don’t normally like giving updates on restaurants since I know they can change so much. Especially in this case- a chain. New places are going to open, often. But I kind-of felt like I needed an update. One I’ve tried so much more on the menu, and two I really like how this place tries to keep things local. Plus the new location is rather close to where I live, so I find it really nice.
Let’s start with their new locations. If you follow this blog because you like seeing restaurants in the NJ/Philadelphia area, there are two new locations to pay attention to. One is in/near the King of Prussia mall. I never go here, so I know nothing about this location. They have another location in Mount Laurel, which is right across from the new Virtua Health and Wellness Center. I like this since I swear most places surrounding hospitals are fast food joints. They also have started to expand to North Jersey and the NYC area. If you follow this blog for fun and aren’t even in the United States- good news! B.good is expanding out to Canada and Switzerland. Not sure how big the franchise will actually get in those areas though.
What’s vegan? The options are pretty large. Salads, grain bowls, burgers, smoothies, and acai bowls. The grain bowls are their upgrade to the quinoa bowls, as reviewed in the older post. Pretty much you can get any of their bowls with quinoa or their super grains mix, which I thought was a little over cooked, but still tasty. If you aren’t quite full from their salad or grain bowl, you can add grilled tofu, chicken, or a hard boiled egg. What I like is that their tofu is supplied by Philadelphia brand Nature Soy, and is the same price as the chicken.
We tried their online ordering service, and it was pretty awesome. It is very easy to customize your food, we were able to order the Adopted Luke and Buffalo veganized. The food was ready when I got there, and if you want you can schedule when to pick up your food. The local New Jersey locations also does catering, which is great if your company needs some food for business meeting.
The owners of b.good have expanded into the juice making market. They are debuting their fresh pressed juice under the name 4 Petal Fresh Pressed Juices. There aren’t any grand plans for the juice franchise yet. Their website was a pain to find, and very outdated. The Mount Laurel location had both juices and “agua frescas.” Though the juice is more expensive than what I would spend, they aren’t anymore than other slow press juices on the market.
As always I recommend checking out the website before going to the chain. Why? Each location can vary, since you know, it is suppose to be all local. The location near you might vary differently with the ingredients in the sauces. But below is a quick review of the food that my husband and I have tried to give a quick little sampler of what you can get
- ACAI BERRY SMOOTHIE – This was so-so. The smoothie was pretty icey and didn’t seem blended up all the way. The flavor didn’t come through all the way, which is a bummer.
- LUCY BLUE – On the other hand this smoothie was full of flavor. It still didn’t get blended up enough, but I did see the guy blend it 1 1/2 cycles to try and get the dates all blended up. But I really liked it, just wished he left the second cycle run all the way
- REAL FRIES – These were really thick fries. They brag on the bag that the fries have less fat than normal french fries, which can be great for some people.
- SWEET POTATO FRIES – These were super tasty. Sadly we had them to go so they got a little soft and floppy but I think would of been perfect if we ate them there
- CRISPY VEGGIES – That’s the description and I was envisioning various veggies cut into long strips and fried. Nope. Just steamed veggies.
- SPICY AVOCADO & LIME QUINOA BOWL – I reviewed this my first visit and really loved it. You have to ask for no cheese to make it vegan. But the sauce was super yummy, and it tasted great with the quinoa (though it was the only option at the time)
- TOASTED ALMOND & GINGER SUPER GRAIN BOWL – Another bowl with a great tasting sauce. The whole thing was massive and super filling (I think even more than when I got the Spicy Avocado Bowl.) I tried the super grains instead of the quinoa and some of the grains felt over cooked. I think I would stick with the quinoa.
- WEST-SIDE VEGGIE BURGER – Wasn’t a fan of the patty, but my husband loved it. Very “chunky” with vegetables and not too many umami flavors. This burger you have to ask no cheese, but it works out well with the spicy sauce and guac.
- ADOPTED LUKE VEGGIE BURGER – I think my husband and I agree this is our favorite burger. Since the burger lacks umami flavors, the onions make up for it. Ask for no cheese to make it vegan.
- BUFFALO VEGGIE BURGER – I love everything “buffalo” flavored. Sadly, they either nixed the sauce or didn’t put enough! I had this burger to go, so I was home to added my own sauce. The veggies were nice on the burger, though I wish they cut the celery thinner. Ask for no dairy/cheese.
Seed to Sprout
410 Main Street, Avon by the Sea NJ 07717
560 A River Road, Fair Haven NJ 07704
*Note: the Fair Haven location is in the ACME shopping center and isn’t visible from River Road*
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Finally, I have been able to visit Seed to Sprout. This place has been on my radar for awhile. Back in the day, I had the cool vegan places to visit, while Alexa had slimmer pickings. I remember scoping Happy Cow to try and find new vegan and vegetarian restaurants to eat at near Alexa. Seed to Sprout was one of these places. Then as time went on, their popularity grew. They aren’t massive by all means, but still they are growing. Terry Hope Romero has mentioned them in her Protein Ninja Book, they opened a second location in my hometown, and they are now selling some of their food at local Whole Foods.
Alexa is a pretty big fan of this place since they have a location across from her work (their Fair Haven location), giving her a vegan and healthy option on the go. Seed to Sprout is a vegan restaurant that models around the trendy healthy vegan movement. The foods are very light and veggie heavy. The store made me think of P.S. & Co in Philadelphia and Heart Beet Kitchen in Haddon Township. There are some raw options, salads, bowls, and grilled sandwiches. They also have a large selection of desserts to choose from, and prepackaged meals to grab to take home or to the office. And like any “healthy” restaurant there are lots of liquid options- fresh juices, kombucha, hot drinks, smoothies and shots.
The restaurant keeps expanding their options. They do a Friday Pizza Night serving both traditional pizza and raw ones. Note that the regular pizza you order by 12 inch pie, raw pizza you order by the slice (at a steep $7/8 per slice.) They have two featured pizzas each week, so you can always switch it up. They also do brunch Saturday and Sunday, where you can try their banana bacon pancakes that Terry Hope Romero talks about in her book. They also offer catering services for parties, and it seems their cakes are popular item.
So what did WE get?
Jen: Well I got the cashew collard wrap because I figured I could use the veggies (but didn’t want a massive salad.) Even though I always see collard wraps and think about how small they look, this was rather filling. I can only assume it has most of it’s calories are from the cashew pate. What I like about this wrap is that it is super healthy but eat to grab on the go. It won’t get soggy, but still something I wouldn’t make at home. Instead of getting a smoothie I got their Live Soda Kombucha, because I love that stuff. They had my favorite flavor- root beer.
Alexa: I ordered the Mexican Omelet breakfast sandwich! I love the millet & flax bread as well as Seed to Sprout’s tofu scramble. The scramble is always packed with flavor and the Mexican omelet version had added coconut bacon and fresh chopped tomato. It was delicious and the perfect amount of food for a light meal during the summer. It’s been so hot out that the idea of eating anything more than this has made me feel like forgoing food altogether.
Alexa’s note: I normally enjoy getting the salads from Seed to Sprout as they are HUGE and for a pretty decent price. While they normally range around $11-$12, I find that I usually have enough salad to split between two meals whereas every other place in Fair Haven has way smaller salads for about $9-$10.
While it is right across the street from work and only about a 10 minute drive from my house I try not to eat here too often because it is a bit pricey. I understand I am getting good food that is environmentally conscious and animal friendly but it’s a bit much on my wallet if I venture in more than once a week.
Alexa’s note: I did get to go and have breakfast with my friend and fellow vegan from out of town and I tried their daily special breakfast sandwich as well as one of their kombucha mojitos.
I have been craving this kombucha drink pretty much all summer but stayed away from it because it’s $5. I figured that since I was on a lovely breakfast date I would break and give it a try. My only gripe is that it isn’t in a bigger glass because it is SO refreshing and delicious (and definitely non-alcoholic). The breakfast special I got was a fig melt which included spinach, figs, cashew cheese and caramelized onions. I got this specifically because I’ve never had anything like it and I’m always intrigued by the endless options in vegan dishes. It did not disappoint!
The biggest competition with Seed to Sprout is Good Karma. Sure Good Karma has some hippie-granola crunching decor, but both places offer an all vegan menu, raw food, gluten free options, and brunch. As Alexa mentioned, Seed to Sprout can be a little pricey, especially when compared to the portions to Good Karma. It is worth noting that Seed to Sprout is all organic, Good Karma is not (probably the cause for price differences.) Overall Good Karma is more stick to your ribs good, but Seed to Sprout has the best carry out options out there.
Do yourself a favor- go to Seed to Sprout and grab their salad or raw burrito to go. Maybe add in a baked good or drink. Then drive out to Sandy Hook. It’ll be bliss- eating something tasty on the beach.
Boy I am pooped this weekend. I haven’t really done THAT much but again, the heat. Thank goodness it is going to start cooling down a little again. I am most excited about it being cool enough to open the windows at night. Jon and I had a crib sitting in our living room, but we took it apart and now we are painting my dresser since it got all dinged up during the move. So we now have a big blue dresser in the living room. We are also in the process of figuring out our fire alarms…. which might need to be replaced. Ugh. I just can’t wait to get our new office and nursery set up and have some organization back in my life.
Farm Round Up:
What I got:
2 cantaloupe (FINALLY!)
1 watermelon (either yellow or orange fleshed)
1 pint blackberries
9 oz green beans
7lb 4oz cherry tomatoes (golf ball sized)
10lb 8oz slicing tomatoes
1lb green peppers
1lb 8oz poblano peppers
3 red italia peppers
2 small eggplant
5 white onions (very small)
What I’m cooking:
BBQ Sauce (9lbs of tomatoes cooked down and frozen for future use)
blanche green beans and save in freezer
Blackberry Muffins (modified from Protein Ninja)
Chickpea Eggplant Hemp Veggie Balls in a Tomato Sauce (from Protein Ninja)
Bhindi Masala from Isa Does It (to use up the rest of the okra from last week)
Stuffed Poblano Peppers (using up the peppers mostly)
Tomatillo Tofu Burritos (using up tomatillos from last week)
Jajangmyeon Spaghetti Squash (cuz I never made this last week so I still have spaghetti squash)
Most of the meal planning this week was trying to use up things from the week before. This week was light on veggies, but man we have so many tomatoes still. It’ll only get worse because next weekend we will picking up our in-law’s share from the farm. o____o I will probably ask if my friend Justine wants to come with us and take whatever she wants. I just have a hard time saying no to things. XD But I know I will be eating all that melon IN THE RAW!
I am not a huge fan of watching running parts of the olympics. I did enjoy watching the women’s 10,000 meter when I was sick last Friday, but otherwise I get bored with all the heats and such. But I am trying to watch it regardless after reading this article. I have noticed the largest range of nations being represented by running events. The Olympics is a pretty white sporting event, but it is awesome to see it start to diversify.
I love reading Amy’s blog, which I am a little surprised about. She rarely features recipes, but instead usually posts recipes from various cookbooks. And she loves to throw a party. I love this idea of an Olympics Kickoff Party where there are foods made from different countries and “sports” for everyone to compete in. Maybe this is something fun to do next summer Olympics.
I thought this was pretty interesting. Junk food gets lots of advertising because there is a specific brand. For blueberries to get a commercial it involves several farmers banding together for form an advertising committee. So it is nice to see another way to get publicity for fresh produce! Especially when being promoted by athletes.
I love the podcast Gastropod. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it is a podcast all about food usually talking about it from a scientific and historical context. Their most recent episode is all about kombucha. It is really interesting to hear about it’s roots in the United States, and I can safely say I would NOT be drinking kombucha in the 90s… way too pseudosciencey. But it is interesting to hear how kombucha has changed over the years, and it is nice to hear about safe it is to make. It really makes me wish I still had my old mother culture to start brewing again.
UPDATE: Store is closed
So Greenplate has been on my radar ever since I saw a flyer for it in one of those coupon books. It said vegan selections, and it is rare that a place that offers vegan food would have discounts and coupons- even when they are brand new. But the restaurant is a little out of my way, so I always skipped it. But one Monday I was running errands and thought- why not check it out? It was only an 8 minute drive away. Sadly, I think this is the one time I have a bad review of a restaurant on this site.
Let me start with the good things about this place. The store was VERY clean and pretty easy to get to. I kind-of like how it is in a strip mall since it comes off as more approachable for some people. The store has a tablet ordering system similar to Honeygrow. I love this type of system because it makes it easy to know what you are ordering, or there isn’t any miscommunication with the staff, which I remember happening often when working in the restaurant industry. Plus it is easy to see what you are being charged extra for.
The staff was really helpful. I ordered a smoothie and asked for no honey, not noticing they were pre-mixed in a slushie machine (which is becoming more and more popular for healthy fast food places.) Someone came up to me and pointed out they couldn’t take it out, and refunded me the money. They knew what was in everything.
Now for the bad stuff- the food. The food was super underwhelming. I am excited there is a place that has vegan options. Any of the stir fry or salad dishes you could sub the chicken with tofu or tempeh. Annoyingly the tofu was an extra 50 cents, which seems odd that soy beans would be expensive than organic chicken. The tempeh was a dollar extra, which seems about right knowing the current price for tempeh in the states.
I ordered the Dragon Ginger noodles. You had the option for brown rice, wheat noodles, or gluten free noodles. I got the wheat noodles, which tasted like linguini pasta- which doesn’t work in a stir fry. The sauce was really thin, and sank to the bottom of the bowl. The veggies were pretty cheap, but at least fresh. It was just some green bell pepper, red onion, and shaved carrot. The tofu was NOT worth the extra 50 cents. It was raw, which being pregnant isn’t the greatest as it should be fully heated to kill any bacteria. Nor was it pressed or seared or had anything done to help with flavor. I don’t think the staff knows how to cook tofu properly, which made me extra happy that I didn’t bother getting the tempeh which probably was very bitter.
I really want to like this place because I like how they are trying to encourage a vegan diet. But overall the place has a similar format and goals as other restaurants with much better food and personality like Honeygrow or b.good. If I was trying out vegan food and I got this dish I would of been really disappointed. I would probably assume tofu sucked, and there was something lacking from vegan food.
Even though everything was great- fast service, spotless kitchen, helpful staff, I can’t find myself coming back based on the food. If the food isn’t good, why would I come? I can easily make this dish at home, and it seemed pretty overpriced for what I got.
I was doing so well working out 5 days a week, and then heatwave came, and then I woke up nauseous, and then my husband woke up with a migraine. Let’s just say not much has been done. Oddly I have been expanding my running distance. Something I wasn’t expecting to do 6 months into the pregnancy. The biggest thing holding me back is usually having to pee mid run. I might try and run to a local park so I can take a mid run potty break.
It’s official- I can no longer hide my tummy. Both photos for this post I had to make sure to pull my shirt all the way down. I went to H&M and got three shirts because normal shirts are just starting to get a little too short. I keep reading suggestions that you can size regular shirts up, but I really like the pregnancy shirts with the ruching. They are completely worth it. I probably will buy a bunch from Swap.com next month.
Jon keeps asking if anyone notices if I am pregnant. And I keep having to point out that I am not quite big enough to make people feel comfortable to ask. I think people don’t want to offend someone who might have a big tummy. But just last week, I was wearing my purple dress at work and helping a customer pick up her framing. She asked if I was expecting, and I was a little surprised since I thought my outfit, if anything, hid my tummy (I am trying not to hide that I am pregnant, just trying to put on anything that is cool and fits.) I had the one lady working at Fernbrook Farms ask if I was pregnant as well, and said she was happy I was since she gets nervous that she might be wrong. XD
As for my tummy- it is starting to get itchy from the skin stretching. So I’ve been putting on some lotion. My belly button is still hanging in there. And I am starting to even see my tummy move from kicks. At first I thought I was imagining things because it looked like stomach was moving with the kicks when reading a book. Then when I stared at my tummy for a few solid minutes, I could see a little slight movement. It isn’t drastic enough to try and record, heck my husband still hasn’t felt any kicks yet. They are always totally random and all over the place.
Cravings? Hmm… still finding this the most blown out pregnancy myth. But then again, I keep having this problem where I sit around and don’t want to eat what I have, so I just get more and more hungry. Think I am kidding? Earlier this morning I was reading blog posts and thought “man, I am really hungry… but I really don’t want leftover harira…. but I should really eat that before it goes bad” Drove out to Whole Foods and got a pumpkin spice almond milk latte…. hot. Then finally got home and caved and ate the damned soup, about an hour and half later. I’ve been doing this with work too. I have been working on managing clients for a booster football club. And I always find myself thinking “WHAT THE HELL!? IS THE WHOLE WORLD STUPID?!” because someone asked a very dumb question or a very ugly ad. Then I look at the clock and find that I normally would of eaten lunch an hour ago.
But if there was “cravings” going on right now, it would be sugar and cold things. Smoothies, yes. Ice cream, yes. Cereal, yes. Seltzer, yes. Cut fruit, yes. Heck, I went to Trader Joe’s just to get a few vegan ice cream treats that I could grab and eat after getting home from driving in a hot car. I cry a little on the inside when it comes to dinner time and I need to turn the stove on to cook anything. Even hot leftovers are painful.
Time for those cute animal comparisons. These past two weeks are animals that are very similar- a guinea pig and a chinchilla. One is a domesticated rodent in South America, the other is an animal recently introduced into the pet trade. I remember wanting a chinchilla when I was little, but as an adult, I’ve only heard about how delicate chinchillas are. They apparently make horrible pets since they can easily get depressed. But I did have two Guinea Pigs, and they were very boring. Apparently people say they are much more active when they have another Guinea Pig buddy. Want some cute Guinea Pig pictures? Well here you go.
Why is everything for babies so fuggin cute? I mean all colors are muted, ruffled, with doe eyed animals. Well, let me put it this way- there seems to be a nursery divide. If you look on Pinterest you would get the impression that everyone is shopping at Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware for their nursery. I kind-of prefer this look. I mean it isn’t my FAVORITE, but I like how everything is clean, sleek, and has some bold design aspects. And I think I have a soft spot for Pottery Barn because I get emails that say PB Kids or PB Baby, and I secretly hope there is a video of a baby covered in peanut butter having a puppy lick it off. And what do you know, that is cute.
But as I put together my registry, I am finding that the people who actually make baby decor have little taste. Once I find something that is kind-of cute, I figured let’s see what else is from this brand or line. And sometimes I freak myself out. Like everything needs to match. I mean EVERYTHING. Oh that cute animal print on the fitted sheets- let’s make a crib ruffle with, and put in the curtains as well. And let’s put it on the trim of a quilt. And it just stimulus overload. Do these people not know of solid colors? Or worse- crib bumpers. They are shown to increase the risk of SIDS, and I keep seeing them for sale. All they do is make your crib look like a layered parfait of patterns.
Okay I get it- companies want to sell things, so they make them match. And they want a photo with everything together so they cram it all in one small space. But the whole patching together all the patterns just make me feel like a hobo clown decorated a room.