Is the term “gourmet grilled cheese” an oxymoron? For the sake of this post, let’s go with no.
I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like. Goat cheese, gouda, pepperjack, mozzarella…they all call to me. Fact: You can never have too many shoes in your closet or too much cheese in your fridge. There are some cheeses I keep on hand at all times (think: cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan) and other cheeses I reserve for fancy occasions. Brie falls under the latter. I don’t buy it often, but when I do I eat it in about 1.5 days (←I feel like this could be one of those Dos Equis signs you see on Pinterest).
My latest obsession is a brie and jelly grilled cheese. It is sweet and savory and can serve as breakfast, lunch or dinner…or all 3 if you’re pregnant and having serious brie cravings. That’s the thing about a grilled cheese – it transcends time. It isn’t confined to one window of the day.
Now, I know you’re probably wondering why I went and trashed up a perfectly good thing. Listen – I love the classic grilled cheese as much as the next 8 year old, but we’re all adults here. I think it is time we get fancy and sophisticated. So, put on your fancy pants because I’m giving you a ‘gourmet’ grilled cheese recipe.
The first thing you’re going to need is some Ezekiel Flax bread.
It contains grains, flax and lots of other good-for-you-stuff and I’m pretty sure the recipe is from the Bible, so nobody can argue with that. You can find it in the freezer section of most grocery stores and I highly recommend it. It takes a little getting used to because the texture is different, but I really enjoy it and I think you will too. Also, because this bread is healthy you can dub the entire sandwich as a healthy meal.
Next you’ll need some butter (I use yogurt butter), some brie and some strawberry jelly or jam.
Prepare this like you would your favorite childhood grilled cheese. Brie and jelly on the inside. Butter on the outside. Grill over medium heat for a few minutes until golden brown on both sides and the cheese is all melty. And voila! You’ve got yourself a gourmet grilled cheese that is the JAM!
Now, tell me…what are you eating these days? Brie is expensive and I’ve got baby furniture to buy so I need a new craving.
Oh – heeeeey there, friends! Long time no chat. My fault, I know. I take full responsibility for our lack of correspondence. Many of you have sent me the sweetest e-mails over the last several weeks and your kind words lifted my spirits, encouraged my heart and made me eager to return to the blogging world. Thank you so much for reaching out. There are many of you that I’ve never had the privilege of meeting in person, but yet I still consider you all friends. You guys are my favorite part of blogging.
In the last several weeks, Dave & I have moved out of our house, experienced major job changes, celebrated birthdays, spent time with family, consumed copious amounts of spinach dip (preggo craving) and found out the gender of our baby! Pretty exciting stuff, right? No? You don’t find spinach dip exciting? Just me? Okay.
I’ll be talking about all this in more detail in the weeks to come (yes, even the spinach dip), but today I will do a quick recap of my birthday and get you up to speed on “Baby A.”
I turned 25 in April.
The fact that I turned a quarter of a century old isn’t necessarily blog worthy, but that crack pie from Momofuku’s pictured above totally is. I would say I ate that thing by myself in 3 days, but that would be false. I have a baby inside me that helped. Dave was sweet (and smart) enough to order that pie for me and then not ask me to share. That’s why I’m going to marry him.
Oh yeah, we also got engaged. Did I mention that? How’s that for a literary surprise. No clue what our wedding plan is yet since I don’t like planning things. I just want to be his wife and take a super relaxing weekend getaway somewhere to celebrate. I would say I’m low maintenance, but that would be misleading since the honeymoon destination is picked and it isn’t cheap. But, can you really put a price on love and memories in the making? Didn’t think so.
In baby news, I’ve officially got a bump…
And I don’t think that is from the crack pie. That picture is actually about a month old, so I am slightly bigger now. I am 5 months and officially half way through with this pregnancy. Only 20 more weeks and I get to hold my baby BOY in my arms…
That’s right! We’re having a boy and I just posted a picture of his manhood on my blog. Don’t worry – that will be the first and last of those kinds of photos to appear on CnC. I just think that is the coolest picture. I can actually see it…”it” being his little thing. I’ve got the maturity of a 12 year old boy – clearly I’m not ready for this journey called parenting.
Anyways, I couldn’t be more thrilled about this precious boy growing inside me and I can honestly say I’ve never been so excited to meet a guy in my life! Hurry up, October!
Ob & Marley are doing great! Marley is sleeping now while he can…
And Ob is taking full advantage of still having my undivided attention…
This baby boy is already pretty darn lucky because he is going to have the best (fur) siblings known to man.
And on that note, I’m signing off for the night to go cuddle up with those 2 hams. I’ll be back with more posts this week, including some recipes. Goodnight, friends!
P.S. I’m looking forward to meeting some of you in person in just 4 days at Blend! I can’t wait for a weekend filled with blogging buddies and fitness!
Happy (belated) Easter! I hope you had a wonderful day filled with family time, Easter egg hunts and chocolate bunnies. I am currently on a ton of antibiotics that are making me super queasy, so Dave & I slept in yesterday and missed out on the usual Easter church service. We were able to eat breakfast and listen to last year’s Easter sermon from Elevation Church though and it was a fabulous way to celebrate the holiday. If you like listening to sermons, I highly recommend anything by Pastor Steven Furtick. After breakfast we headed to my mom’s house for a wonderful Easter lunch where we spent time lounging around in her beautiful backyard.
And can we just talk about how adorable this cake is that my mom purchased from a local bakery?
And it tastes even better than it looks. It is a layer of cheesecake topped with a raspberry filling and a moist vanilla cake coated in a white chocolate frosting. Oh have I mentioned my sweet tooth is slowly coming back? I credit this cake.
And now for my random thoughts that have no purpose or flow (I warn you, so you have every opportunity to stop reading)…
1. I signed up for Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp and did the first workout today. OMG – love it! I went pretty slow because I’m not quite up to par, but I still felt the burn in my muscles. Has anyone ever tried surrender squats? Holy cow! I’m not sure where I felt the burn more during that exercise – my arms or butt. If you’re looking to change up your workout routine, sign up this week before registration closes. We can complain about surrender squats over here on my blog together!
2. I bought my first batch of maternity clothes this weekend. I may never go back to pants without elastic again. The jean shorts I’m wearing in the above photo – totally stretchy waist. AWESOME. I’m really not sure why I haven’t been wearing these for every major holiday my entire life. I won’t be pregnant on Thanksgiving, but you better believe I’ll be digging into those casseroles in my stretchy pants.
3. Dave & I were riding in the car the other day and the Lee Brice song “Hard to Love” came on. Dave said, “Aw, this is my song to you.” Isn’t that so sweet? Except he followed it up by saying, “You are hard to love, but I love you anyways.” Uuuummm – not what Lee Brice meant, Dave. Not even close. Men. *Insert my rolling eyes here*
4. It is no secret around here that I love my evening bath time. It isn’t nearly as peaceful as it sounds because Ob insist on trying to drop all her toys in the tub, but it is still one of the highlights of my day because of these bath salts. I LOVE the way they smell, which is really saying something because I’ve gone through 3 different kinds of soap in the last month (basically all smells make me nauseous). But, these bath salts smell divine and the scent fills my whole bathroom and leaves my skin feeling oh-so-soft. I wish I was rich so I could buy all of you a jar. If you’re hurting after a crazy workout (like Tina’s), I suggest investing into the Muscle Ache bath salts. Superb!
5. This weekend we went to J. Alexanders for dinner and I ordered their veggie burger. It is without a doubt THEE BEST veggie burger I’ve ever had. It is all I can think about. I wish you all lived closer so we could go eat onion rings and veggie burgers together. If you live near a J. Alexanders go get their veggie burger….like right this second….GO!
Aaannd, that’s all I’ve got today.
What are you loving right now? Tell me new things I need to be obsessed with!
Those 2 pink lines. I knew they meant my life would be forever changed. I just had no idea things would change quite so fast. I knew my body would be going through a lot, but I immediately focused on the changes that would occur in October when “Baby A” arrives.
Soon after my pregnancy was confirmed, I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), which is basically crazy intense ‘morning sickness.’ It is something that doesn’t have a cure, but fortunately is short term in most cases. However, ‘short term’ doesn’t feel so short when you’re getting sick multiple times day and night for weeks. For about 7 weeks during my first trimester I was getting sick so frequently I was actually losing weight. I had to get fluids and anti-nausea meds pumped into me and my blood sugar and electrolytes got all out of whack (←medical phrasing). I couldn’t stay hydrated despite my best efforts and I found myself frustrated with my new life. In addition, my immune system was basically shot so since January I have caught the flu, a stomach virus, a few different bladder infections and most recently strep throat. That is more sicknesses in the last 3 months than I’ve had in the last 3 years combined.
Like I said, I knew those 2 pink lines meant my life would change. I just assumed it would be after I gave birth. I knew this baby meant I would never be able to walk out the door worrying about only having my keys and cell phone on hand. This baby would obviously keep me from soaking in the bath tub for 45 minutes after a long day. I also realized after a trip to Baby’s R Us that my ‘shoe fund’ would be no more. Seriously – who knew a 7 pound human needed so much stuff?! And perhaps the scariest thing of all – I knew this baby would mean no more sleeping for 8-10 hours a night.
My life has changed a lot during the first trimester though…much more than I ever would have anticipated. As I laid in bed this weekend with strep throat, I began to think “Why me?” I was finally over that horrible HG sickness…I was thinking I would be running consistently again soon….I was gaining weight (which I find oddly exciting)….and then BAM! I got hit with strep throat, which forced me back in bed. Saturday night I cried myself to sleep. Sunday morning I woke up pissed at my body. But then the thought slowly began to creep in my mind…I’m being prepped for parenthood. These changes have a purpose…perhaps more for my heart and attitude than anything else that is going on physically.
I was blessed with one of the best moms in the entire world and one of the things that made her so great was how willingly she sacrificed over and over again so my sisters and I didn’t have to go without. And she never complained about it once. She did it graciously and I’m pretty sure if she had it to do over again, she would. Her life as a mother to 3 young girls was marked by sacrifice, humility and dedication.
And I hope I’m half the mom she is.
Right now, my body is sacrificing a lot to grow a healthy baby. The doctors have kept close watch over me the last 3 months and they have continually told me that my baby is doing great and despite my own health frustrations and concerns, the baby is actually growing ahead of schedule, which is great. It is like my body knows (even if my mind doesn’t) that all of its energy must be devoted to growing “Baby A” so some things, like my own immune system, must be placed on the back burner. But that’s okay because I’m growing one of the most exciting gifts I’ve ever been given and I have a chance to impact someone’s life like my own mother impacted mine.
Most people have welcomed the news of this baby with excitement and encouragement, but there have been some pessimistic responses to say the least. “Oh – your life is never going to be the same. You poor thing – you better sleep while you can.” “You better enjoy that fit body while you have it because it won’t be the same after that baby.” And my personal favorite, “I never say congratulations when I find out people are pregnant. It is really just awful. It changes everything…your body…your marriage…your whole life.” What a peachy thing to say, right?
This is the point I’m trying to make: I think kids strip you of your ability to be selfish and that is why some people choose to view them as a burden instead of a blessing. My pregnancy has already stripped me of a lot of my selfish desires. As I contemplated everything I was so upset about, I realized it all centered around me. I wasn’t able to work out. I am not able to go to Napa Valley this summer. I wasn’t able to sign up for the latest race that all my friends are doing. I wasn’t able to look my best. I wasn’t able to go out and have fun because I was too sick. It was all about me, which is ironically something I don’t ever want to instill in my child.
I’m not sure why I’ve been so sick during this pregnancy (I hear some people skate through the first trimester with no issues at all – cheers to all those lucky ducks), but I think it is definitely shaping my heart for the journey that is before me. In just 3 months, I’ve learned I’m capable of loving someone that I’ve never met. I’m capable of loving a baby who has nothing in return to give me. Seriously – ♥ this baby to pieces already. Its weird. I’ve learned that if I let it, this baby is going to play a significant part in shaping me into the person I’m meant to be, just as I seek to mold their life. I’ve learned that forgoing freedoms is an excellent reminder of a commandment that I have forgotten for quite some time; “Do nothing out of selfishness, but rather in humility value others above yourself” ~ Phil2:3.
So, I don’t come to you today with a workout or recipe because I’m sick again, but I’m so blessed…tight pants, broken out face, strep throat and all…I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Ps. 127:3 “Children are a gift from the Lord.”
P.S. I reserve the right to still complain via this platform in 8 months when I haven’t slept in weeks because of a crying baby.
P.S.S. I also reserve the right to complain via this platform when I’m 36 weeks pregnant in the dead of summer and about to pop.
**As I wrapped this post up, I had to stop and get all over Ob because she was growling at Marley because he was getting up on the couch with us and she didn’t want to share her space. I think the only person (pup?) in this house whose life will be rocked more than mine & Dave’s come October is Ob’s. For now, she’s enjoying life as the baby in all its selfish glory though.**
More power to her.
Oh, you guys! Your sweet words of encouragement on yesterday’s post made my WEEK. You are the best and I smiled as I read each of your comments. Thank you so much! I’m so excited to share this crazy journey with you all.
Today I am coming at you with a workout…
I originally had plans of kicking butt in this superset workout, but quickly determined I was going to need some extra extended breaks to make it through the exercises I wanted to do. While I am certainly feeling MUCH better than I have over the last several weeks, I’m still randomly hit with waves of nausea that can knock me on my butt right quick. Seriously – pregnancy is humbling. This workout took me longer than it should have and I didn’t break a huge sweat because I went slower, BUT a slow workout is better than no workout at all. I had to go slow and pace myself, but I finished it and I have the sore butt and legs to prove it! Holla!
On the food front, I woke up getting sick this morning and then had to teach classes for 6+ hours, so I wasn’t able to eat a lot today. I was on the verge of passing out when I got home so we threw some tortellini, shrimp, spinach and sun dried tomatoes together real quick and I ate it on the couch while moaning about how light headed I felt (totally handling these pregnancy symptoms like a CHAMP). I didn’t snap a photo because I felt like if I didn’t eat it as soon as possible I was going to die (←actual thought in my head). Now, I’m feeling better and eating a mini cupcake from a local bakery. Thank goodness for my juice plus pills, or else there would be days when this poor baby wouldn’t be getting much nutrients from me.
In baby news (for those who are interested), I’m super excited for this 2nd trimester. Word on the street is that is the ‘honeymoon phase’ and life feels somewhat normal again. The baby is crazy active. It was jumping all around during our sonogram, which was easily the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Dave & I joked that it looked like “Baby A” (←what we’re calling it for now) was doing plyometrics. That’s my baby!
And in other random news, I know it is mid-March but I’ve been listening to Christmas music at work. Maybe it is because I’m super hormonal…maybe it is because my job is super stressful right now….but in order to keep from crying at work I turn on Christmas tunes and play them at my desk and pretend that Christmas is right around the corner. Is that not the most pathetic thing you’ve ever heard?? Don’t worry though, this will change soon. Michael Buble’s new CD comes out in April and once that debuts I will listen to that on repeat until October before busting out Christmas music again.
What workout did you do today? Go ahead, make me jealous. You guys are animals. I read your blogs – I see the crazy intense stuff you do!
So, I don’t have a workout or a recipe for you. BUT, I do have something exciting to tell you….
See, the reason I haven’t been blogging as much is because I’ve had crazy morning sickness. FYI: Morning sickness isn’t confined to the morning. It is all.day.long. But that’s totally fine, because in October we get a baby.
Dave & I couldn’t be happier! Ob & Marley are going to need some convincing…
But we’re sure they will come around to the idea.
I’m done with the first trimester and as of last week, I seem to be turning a corner and feeling much better. Praise Jesus!
I’m going to try very hard to not make this blog ‘baby central.’ Now that I have some energy back I’m looking forward to blogging about food and fitness again (← I’m typing this with a chocolate chip cookie in hand, so really I make no promises about the ‘fitness’ thang).