30 weeks, 3 days – Bébé is Size of a Summer Cantaloupe

10 more weeks left!  I’m sure it will feel like a year.

I had my 30 week appointment yesterday.  I’m happy that every time I go in, they all seem very happy about how baby and I am progressing.  This time, the nurse and doctor both made positive comments about my weight and how I am only carrying in the belly, which will be great for losing the baby weight down the line.  Believe me, that is the LAST thing on my mind right now.  All I can think about is surrounding myself with yummy sandwiches and hot dogs and sushi once baby girl is born.  That’s when I’ll be packing on the real pounds, since the whole morning sickness idea will be a thing of the past!

I have found that sleeping is no longer as easy for me.  I wake up at least six times a night now, having to pee.  I can never get comfortable.  And I get so upset, because if you know me, you know I love my sleep.  The worst part is that I finally start to get comfortable and calm around 5:30 or 6 a.m., which is when hubby wakes up.  So what’s the point?  So disheartening.

I would also like to touch briefly and as generically as possible about being “blocked up” in the digestive system, because it is real, and it is normal to occur in the third trimester.  I feel like my body has stopped working.  Baby girl must be pressing on all of my intestines and messing up how my system works.  Tuesday was the worst day ever.  I actually had to call my brother and ask him to bring over some prune juice because I was doubling over in pain and Mike wouldn’t be home for hours and I thought I might actually pass out from the pain.  Doesn’t get much more embarrassing than that.  Now I’m terrified to eat anything that could potentially block me up.   I know, TMI, but I keep reading about how “normal” all of this is.

I also never had heartburn before in my life.  Now I do!   Another normalcy in the third trimester, evidently.  Picture this:  I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at 6 p.m. for dinner (I didn’t feel like cooking, and Mike was bowling that night).  All good, watching Hindsight on VH1 and lounging around with the dog.  Finally go up to lay down at about 10.   A few minutes after I lay down, I am tasting the peanut butter in my mouth!  SO NASTY.  So now, for the first time in my life, I’ve had to purchase Tums.  I didn’t even know what kind to buy, so I bought like 3 different kinds (they even make them in chews now – kind of like Starburst).  So that has helped a bit, but now I have to stay away from even more foods, and determine if I am eating too close to bedtime.  This shit just keeps getting better!

feeling: It’s physically difficult to get up from chairs/ couches/ bed.  I feel good today though, and it’s probably because the sun is out and I listened to St. Patrick’s Day music on my way into work 🙂  I keep waiting to feel awesome and motivated, but I fear that will never happen before baby girl arrives.

reading: Nothing!  Let’s talk about how unprepared I am going to be for this baby.  I really need to start reading “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” before it’s too late.  My friend kindly lent it to me, and I have not even started on it.  I also need to finish my other book about French parenting techniques.  Please, please, please bring on the motivation!!

buying:  We are going on a hunt for a nice glider chair this weekend.  Mike is shocked at how pricey they are and told me I can sit on the couch downstairs while nursing.  I laughed at him and told him if I had to walk up the creaky stairs after baby girl falls asleep with the dog barking at me to let him out and she wakes up, I would be bringing her into him.  So we are looking at gliders this weekend 🙂  Other than that, I have invested in some baby leggings, because they are freaking adorable:


sleeping: I get up about six times per night to go to the bathroom, which is always fun.  I’m starting to get used to it.  I even try to monitor my fluid intake before going to sleep, but it doesn’t even matter.

getting used to: Not being able to see my feet, and random people commenting on my belly and how pregnant I look.  I’m not offended anymore, so that’s good.

craving:  plain cheese pizza!  Mike and I went to Pizza Hut for the lunch buffet on a rare occasion when we were both working from home when the roads were too bad to go to work.  I could have sat there for three hours eating their plain cheese pizza while dipping it in ranch.  I have also been on a Cool Ranch Dorito kick as of late.  I know, nothing but healthy stuff for baby girl!  I figure she won’t have any allergies after all the crap I’ve been eating and hopefully won’t have to deal with any of that gluten free/ peanut allergy business that so many parents are having to deal with these days.  I hope she has an appetite like mine, and will eat or try pretty much anything 🙂

pondering:  Giving Young Living Oils a shot.  I know a few consultants, and I really want to order the start kit, but it is so expensive!  I have been researching about how the oils can benefit newborns, etc, so I’d really like to talk Mike into it by the time she is here.  Anything to make our house calm and happy.  The problem is, I am easily sold on certain things that happen to be trending.  Mike thinks this makes me a sucker, because he thinks everything is a pyramid scheme and all the people are out to get money and add to their pyramid scheme.  I’m going to keep trying – and if that doesn’t work, I think I will add it to our baby registry, hahaha.  Either that, or my birthday is coming up, and I could tell him that is what I want (see response from hubby below).


23 Weeks, 4 Days – Bebe is size of bunch of grapes

Really, Ovia?  A bunch of grapes?  SO WEIRD.

Okay, so I had another appointment Monday with my doctor.  This time, she actually took out a measuring tape to measure my belly.  Feeling fatter by the day!  But that’s okay.  I think I’ve managed to lose all other muscle in my body, so I’ll probably come out ahead in the long run (yeah, right). I have gained 13 lbs since my first appointment in October.  Hard to believe since I feel as though I am puking half of my nutrients away. When the doctor was listening for the heartbeat, baby kept kicking and kicking.  Baby is super active, and that makes me happy.   I’m sure baby will settle down when baby is born, right?  Because mama has no energy as it is. Before the doctor came in to visit with me, I could hear her talking to the woman in the room next to me.  The mom-to-be was 40, and they decided that she would be induced on Friday.  She said, “the next time I see you, you will have a baby” – how crazy is that?  I can’t believe we will be having that same discussion in the near future (hopefully not about induction – I have heard such horror stories!)

Something interesting we talked about while the doctor came in, was about hydration – a major concern of mine.  The taste (or lack thereof) of water makes me nauseous.  I generally put lemon in it, but even then it is hard to tolerate more than one bottle.  Every pregnancy blog announces how important it is to drink eight glasses of water per day, because baby needs it!  They make you feel so guilty if you don’t or can’t.   So I started telling her my problem, and she cut me off right away and started shaking her head, “You aren’t actually trying to drink that much water each day, are you?”  I said hell no, I just try to push myself to four glasses a day, which is a stretch.  She said don’t push it!  People tend to forget how much water is in the food that we eat, and even the other drinks that we take in, so it is rare that I would need to worry about being dehydrated.  If I were puking all day long and not holding anything down, then yes, we would need to talk about how I’m staying hydrated.  She seriously made me feel so much better.  I’m basically living on unsweetened iced tea with lemon at this point, drink-wise.  Unless fountain Pepsi is available…

My doctor also told me that the next test of mine would suck.  The glucose test that I have heard oh-so-much about!  After she explained that I would have to drink a can of lemon-lime juice containing double the sugar of a Red Bull in less than five minutes, I’m sure my facial expression explained it all.  I told her my fear was that it would make me sick, after she told me how much it disgusted everyone.  She told me I can take my anti-nausea pills that morning (even though I’m not supposed to eat or drink anything), and that I can wait another 4 or 5 weeks until I feel that the nausea period has passed (HA!).  If you can’t keep down the liquid crack and vomit, then you have to prick your finger every day for a week or so to monitor your own blood sugar.  NO THANKS.  So, I will definitely be the child sitting in the corner plugging her nose while she chugs the liquid crack.  Then, I get to sick and wait an hour after drinking it so they can take my blood again to make sure it’s doing what it should be with the sugar.  I told Mike he didn’t have to join me for that appointment.  It’s not going to be pleasant for anyone.  Stay tuned for that update.

I also asked her about my terrible lower back pains.  She suggested getting the icy hot patches and wearing those at work or in the car.  So I bought those at Walgreens yesterday, and THEY SUCK.  Don’t bother buying them.  I resorted to bringing my heating pad to work with me, which is the only thing that helps when I am having to sit upright for longer periods of time.

Anyhow, on to a more fun subject for me:  FOOD. I have found a new addiction/ craving.  Jodi’s Italian Ice Factory in Hammond, IN.  They only have a Facebook page right now, so that is the link I had added.  I know what you are thinking.  Who eats or wants Italian Ice in January in Chicago?  Only a fool!  Or a pregnant chicky.   It’s not just normal Italian Ice – she experiments with these crazy flavors.  For example, what got me to stop in was their sour strawberry/ lemonade sour patch kid Italian Ice.  Pair that baby with some nachos and jalapenos, and we are good to go.   I made my second trip there in a week yesterday.  So worth it.  Turns out the Subaru has an added nacho holder that I didn’t even know about!  Heck yeah.  Here are some photos of the goodness:

Italian IceNacho Cheese

And now for a healthier addiction I’ve had for lunch this entire week!   See below for the recipe/ photos.  Courtesy of Cuisine Magazine – Fast & Fresh Edition.  I made these sandwiches for my husband and I all week.  I usually get sick of things so quickly, but this has stuck.  I am thankful, since this is healthy for the most part.

Dill Havarti Veggie Sandwiches

For the dill spread, whisk: 1/4 cup of canola or olive oil mayonnaise 1/4 cup of sour cream 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill 1 tbsp. minced lemon zest Salt and black pepper to taste

For the sandwiches, spread: Pumpernickel Bread Slices 2 cups fresh baby spinach 8 oz sliced dill Havarti cheese 1/2  zucchini (crosswise), thinly sliced lengthwise  *mandolin works great for this 1/2  yellow squash (crosswise), thinly sliced lengthwise  *mandolin works great for this 1/2  red bell pepper (seeded and sliced) 1  cup thinly sliced cucumber (about 1/2 large cucumber)  *mandolin works great for this 1/2  cup thinly sliced red onion

For the dill spread, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, dill, and zest in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper and set aside

For the sandwiches, spread the dill spread on one side of each bread slice. Layer spinach, cheese, zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, cucumber, and red onion on the bread.

CALORIE CONTENT:  Per sandwich, 448 calories; 27g total fat (15g salt); 69 mg chol; 873mg sodium; 32g carb; 6g fiber; 20g protein

dill havarti veggie sandwich

22 Weeks, 6 Days…Still Corny on the Cob

Just a few updates…

I should have started taking Zofran AGES ago.  I thought I’d try to do the “non-medicine” thing and keep my system clear of anything that could harm baby, but that ship has sailed.  I’m not going to jinx it, but I’d like to meet the person who invented this wonderful medicine.  Keep working your magic!

My pregnancy pillow has arrived from Bump Nest!  Even though I didn’t get the polka dot pattern that I really wanted since they were out, I am very please with the Chevron pattern.  Rorschach is also interested in this pillow.  Mike saw it and said, “This is going to be like a third person sleeping with us!  That thing is massive!”  He clearly did not know what to expect when I explained it, even though I did send him a link.  Oh well!  The first night of sleeping with it was a good one!  I’m going to have to mess with it a bit, because my neck hurts a little – I’m not used to having such a firm pillow, so I know that has contributed.  But it’s as wonderful as I thought it would be!

photo 2

photo 3


Now if only these terrible leg cramps would disappear!  I guess it is a pregnancy thing.  I wake up in the middle of the night and stretch out, thus pointing my toes.  WORST idea ever.  It never fails, because my right leg consistently cramps up, and I feel as though I have pulled a muscle.  I have to sit there and wait for it to go back to being normal.  WTF.  I have read that it could be dehydration.  Whatever.  I have to pee ALL THE TIME.  If I added more fluids, I would just take up permanent residency in the bathroom.   Also, I did read that it is normal to have leg cramps in the THIRD trimester, which is a club that I am not part of yet.  Seems like all of these symptoms are hitting me a trimester early, which is not cool.  Does that mean I’m going to be free and clear in trimester three and I’m suddenly going to love pregnancy?  DOUBT IT!

Despite what I think I should be eating, my body still craves food that is probably not the best for me.  Like yesterday for example.  My kind mother offered to bring me lunch to work so that I wouldn’t have to go out in the cold if I didn’t already have something.  I had some frozen lunches in the freezer, but did not want them (shocker).  I am the worst.  So I asked her for a cheeseburger, small fry, and small Coke from McDonald’s. A happy meal without the toy, if you will.  Pretty standard.  She comes in with a big cheeseburger from a local pancake house cafe, fries, chicken noodle soup, and what I’m pretty sure was Swanel (cheap-o generic Pepsi for cheap-o restaurants that don’t want to pay for the real thing).  Of course, I thanked her.  But in my head, I was defeated.  I just wanted a McDonald’s cheeseburger!  Baby wants what baby wants.  She told me that I shouldn’t be eating crap like McDonalds.  Ayayayaya.

Speaking of good/ bad food, I left early from work one day last week, as it was blizzarding outside.  A common occurrence when living in the Midwest (why the hell do we still live here?)  Visibility was zero, wind was insane, and I couldn’t see the lines on the expressway.  But all I could think about during the drive was how incredibly hungry I was.  There is a Taco Bell 5 minutes from our house.  Any normal person would have driven straight home after the scary drive I had.  Not me!  Taco Bell it is!  I didn’t care at that point, I figured I could slide my way home on the side streets if I had to.  Best pregnancy lunch ever.  This baby is probably going to be vegan or something insane after all of the terrible foods I am scarfing down.  I know what you’re thinking of the picture below.  “That is easily 2,000 calories on that plate”….and worth every single one of them!  I even took a nap afterwards.   VICTORY!

photo 1

21 Weeks, 5 Days – Bebe is the size of a Baby Bok Choy

First of all, I love my pregnancy app – Ovia.  It gives me updates daily on how I should be feeling, and what the baby is doing in there.  For example, today, Baby’s internal reproductive system is developing.  And also, it told me that I’m probably gaining weight at a more rapid pace (no shit) and may be experiencing some effects like fatigue or backache.  It also shows a picture of how big the baby’s hand is at this point in time compared to what it will be at 9 months.

Here’s what I hate about Ovia, and similar apps:  How they compare your baby to the size of fruits or vegetables that are so random.  Like, I don’t know how big a baby bok choy is…I don’t even know how big a normal bok choy is!  Why not compare the baby to menu items from Taco Bell?  “Baby is the size of a nacho cheese chalupa” or “Baby is now the size of a crunch box”…at least I can relate to those things.

So this morning was a good start to the new year.  As I was driving on the expressway, I realized that I forgot to put on both deodorant AND make up.  So that was cool.  Not that I’m trying to impress anyone at work (believe me), but I am wearing a new sweater today, so I’d rather not ruin it with nastiness.  Luckily, I’ve got a spare deodorant in my office.  But the face is a lost cause.  Oh well!  Pregnancy brain strikes again.

My goal for 2015 is no more vomiting.  I don’t know how doable that is, but I will try.

Someone asked me the other day if nesting has kicked in for me yet and if I had started organizing and cleaning everything.  I just laughed at this person and said no, not yet.  For Mike’s sake, I hope it does kick in eventually.  I threw a fit about taking down the ornaments and putting all the Christmas stuff away last night.  Why do we have to get this done immediately on January 1?  Not that I didn’t sit around the entire rest of the day, but I didn’t feel like putting things into boxes, etc. No fun!

My other goal for early this year is to start buttoning things up at work.  I am hopeful that I will not go into labor early, but I suppose I should be ready at any point to not come back.

I have also heard that you can get your insurance to pay for your breast pump, so I need to get on that.

I have been thinking more and more about when we put the house on the market this February.  Part of me hopes (selfishly) that it wouldn’t be worth it to put it on the market this year, and that we should wait another year.  If we do sell this year, I am afraid that it will be at the worst possible time.  Mike’s sister is getting married in May, and so for us to move into his parents’ house during that time of chaos, I think I would just rather not.  I don’t need the added stress, and I don’t think his parents do, either.  If we can hold off on selling until AFTER the wedding, like into the summer months, I would be a little more willing to move in with them.  Part of me also wants those 12 weeks just with the baby and I, in OUR house.  Not that I don’t love my in-laws or that they wouldn’t help me at all, it’s just me being selfish again.  I won’t get those first 12 weeks back, and I want them to be wonderful and comfortable for all of us.

I created a Target baby registry for us the other day, just to make it easier for when we actually go in and start scanning things.  I was looking at their “popular items” lists, and I honestly have no idea where we are going to start.  So many different options for a high chair, stroller, car seat…I should hire someone to research the best of everything.  Should be a test of our patience for sure 🙂  Also, all of the furniture that I like is either “out of stock” or “not available online or in stores”…WTF Target?!

Ultrasound tomorrow!  Let’s hope I don’t have the bitchy ultrasound tech, because I seem to not have a filter lately, and it won’t end well for either one of us.  Fingers crossed for a boy!  Now that I’ve said that, it will most definitely be a girl.  Mark my words.

Everyone Sucks.

Warning:  This is a pissed off, ranty post.  If you are in a positive mood and don’t want to ruin that, feel free to pass this over.  I won’t be offended.

First of all, I think the thing that all of this is stemming from is my continued sickness with this pregnancy.  Got sick again on Sunday and today.  We are officially at 20 weeks, hence this is pretty much bullshit.  I had a pounding headache for the entire day yesterday, and I had to go to venue-hunt with my mother-in-law.  Usually a fun time, but was not feeling it at all.  I pretty much don’t care where the baby shower is at this point.  Have it at a bar, for all I care.  Or Pizza Hut, where everyone gets their own personal pan pizza, like Book-It.  I would love that.  Too bad Little Caesar’s doesn’t have a dining room.

Now, let’s talk about work.  My old boss needs to come back immediately.  I am working with idiots now.  All of them.  Part of the reason I came back to this job was because of the person who was commissioner of my department.  It’s hard to find that kind of dedication and intelligence.  And now we are back to square one.  Whatever.

We just got a delivery of cookies for our department.  Since I am the only one here today (as is often the case), I am keeping these for myself.  Pregnant lady gets what pregnant lady wants.  Everyone else can suck it.  I will consider this my win for today.

My back pains are getting insane.  The pain goes all the way through to my ribs on the other side.  Just on my right side, though.  Whatever.    The heating pad is my go-to when I get home.  I should probably get one for the office and look like a super old lady.

50 minutes to go.  Then I get to go home and bake a new recipe.   Fingers crossed!!

I want hibachi style shrimp and some spicy sushi.

That is all.

18 weeks, 3 days – Bébé is size of Sweet Potato

In honor of me not wanting to post depressing, vomiting things all of the time, I have opted to go for a new format.  This will help me focus on the good, as it should be (sometimes, at least).

I think that I may have turned a corner while vacationing in Florida.  I don’t know if it was the constant sunshine, the Golden Girls-style resistance pool, the reading of a great baby book, or the lack of stress.  Either way, I only got sick once, and it was because I went a little nuts at a casino buffet.  My bad.  🙂

eating:   Trying to eat home cooked meals as much as possible.  Mike has helped with this.   However, he made this awesome tater tot/ poutine dish with ground beef and sauce.  I ate it, loved it, and got sick later that night and lost it all (this was before we went on vacation).  He’s for sure getting frustrated with me.  But with that negative, there comes a positive.  I ate two beef sandwiches last night with hot giardinera.  Mike Ditka’s roast beef to be exact, paired with Mike Ditka’s giardinera.  SO GOOD.  And I didn’t get sick!  This might be my new meal of choice.  At least I got some protein in me!  Baby seemed happy, and I didn’t cramp up at all yesterday.

drinking: Mostly Gatorade and trying to choke down as much water as possible.  It’s been hard, but it’s definitely getting better.   I crave fountain Pepsi now like no other.  That’s healthy, right?!

avoiding:  Anything with tomato sauce, seafood, chicken, avocado, ground beef, Papa John’s pizza (bad experience a few weeks ago).  Baby for sure doesn’t like grease.  Baby is trying to be healthier than momma.

wearing:  at home, my hoody and sweats all the time, if possible.  work attire hasn’t changed, but the pants are really starting to get tight, so I might have to invest in some maternity pants or just start walking around with my pants unbuttoned (oh wait, we’re already there).  super classy!  oh, I haven’t worn high heels in weeks.  I just bought the most comfortable pair of flats from Target yesterday.  they are moccasin/ loafer kind of shoe.  kind of ugly, but SO comfortable for Target shoes!  Mike said the other day, “why don’t you just buy some pants that fit you?”    So we might be making a trip to Target and the maternity section this week (cringe).

feeling: Pretty good, except I do get exhausted some days when I’ve been running around too much. I’m generally pretty awake and alert as long as I get enough sleep (8 hours at least- and I was even sleeping 10 in Florida!!  at one point, my father-in-law said, “wow, you can really sleep!”), but there are some days that I just want to fall onto the couch and veg out , which is pretty much what I do when I get home from work.  That, and I eat some yummy white cheddar cheese-its.  Also, my lower back (right side, specifically) has been hurting like no one’s business.  I know that this is normal, since things are shifting, and thus my body balance is off, but it does seem a bit early to be dealing with back pain when I am barely showing at all.  Obviously, this concerns me, as it will likely only get worse in the future.  Oh well, the heating pad has been my friend as of late.  My masseuse also told me to buy some hot/ cold pads that are supposed to work wonders.  My how my Christmas list has changed this year!  No more Anthro clothes, just hot-cold pads and some maternity leggings that I will likely live in for the next few months.

reading: I bought a book in Florida to read by the pool called “Bringing Up Bébé” by Pamela Druckerman.  I am in love!  It is about an American woman – born and raised in the states – who married a gentleman who ended up getting relocated to Paris.  There, she became pregnant and brought up her little bébé amongst French families.  The thing is, the French style of parenting is SO incredibly different than how most parenting is done here in the United States.  Kids are so demanding here, and parents just let it go and let it happen if their kids agree to shut up.  I’m not saying that I would never bribe my kid with McDonald’s in hopes of them sitting still for a few minutes while momma tries to get something done.  But I already know things that I want to avoid.  I also worry that it will be 10 times more difficult to manage because we are surrounded by children that get what they want NOW, or ELSE.   I told Mike he will need to read it afterwards.  There are things you can implement as parents while the child is even a newborn.  Consistency is key, so Mike has got to be on board.  Fingers crossed 🙂  Here is a link to the book:  http://www.pameladruckerman.com/books/bringing-up-bebe/

buying:  Just trying to get as much Christmas shopping done as possible.  Lots of roast beef sandwich items.  Our Christmas tree!  No baby shopping for a few weeks at least.  I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday, and she will give me the orders to schedule an ultrasound so that we are able to find out the sex of the baby.  Maybe I will allow minimal shopping at that point.  I just know we are going to get bombarded at Christmas.  Oh well, we will be well prepared either way!

sleeping: Pretty good!  I’m actually not waking up every night to pee anymore.  And of course, now I’m getting paranoid that something might be wrong.  I’ve been staying up later though, and I try to stop drinking liquids around 9 or so.   Can’t sleep on my tummy anymore, but that’s okay with me.  Laying on my left side has proven to be the best for me.

loving:  Getting ready for Christmas and buying Christmas cards with a special “Baby Peters coming in May 2015” message.  Telling pretty much everyone the news without blasting it on Facebook yet.

getting used to: Tight pants, tight shirts, tight bras…   and I THINK that I can feel baby moving.  I could be wrong.  I suppose it could be gas, which is why I am reluctant to even type this.  But I do think I can feel him/ her dancing around.  Especially when I am laying on my back with my hands on my tummy.  Weird, weird, weird.  But it is a good weird.  Love love love 🙂

Time to Buy a Waffle Maker

*This will be a long post – mostly a foodie review at the end.  If you get bored, peace be with you.

Yesterday was a pretty good day, though it didn’t quite start out as such.  I woke up, and my husband said that he would go down and make us breakfast so I could stay upstairs and relax, in hopes of not getting sick.  He’s pretty wonderful.   So when breakfast was ready, I headed downstairs.  He made scrambled eggs with pepper jack cheese and dill, along with some toast on the side. YUM!

So we sat down in the dining room to eat, and all was well.  I ate about half of the scrambled eggs and a bit of the toast, and then had to stop for a second.  My husband can now tell when I’m having a wave of nausea.  I usually tap my fingernails on the edge of the table as a distraction to thinking about my stomach.  It helps me get through it.  Only this time, I didn’t get through it.  So now, I can cross scrambled eggs off of my list for the rest of my life (or at least the remainder of this pregnancy).

Of course, after that happens in the morning, my whole day is generally shot.  If I have to go to work, I will certainly go, but I am the most unproductive person and am not my normal, cheerful self.  Yesterday, we had tickets to a farm-to-table dinner/ craft beer tasting event at County Line Orchard with some of our friends.  I was not about to give those tickets up (they were $55 each)!  So, I basically sat around all day, took a few naps in preparation for the evening activities.

The good news is that I made it through the whole night!  Granted, I was quite tired by 9 p.m., but I made it without getting sick or even having to sit down!  The funny part is that those $55 tickets included unlimited food tastings (which were pretty decently sized), and unlimited craft beers from local breweries.  I walk up to the pop table and ask for a Coke like a 4-year-old (yeah, they didn’t even have Pepsi).  She pours me a pop and then says, “That will be one dollar.”   I just stared at her blankly.  Then I said, “Oh.  I will be right back – hopefully my husband has some cash!”  Since he is always way more prepared than I am, he did have some money.  Before he handed it over, he asked, “It’s Pepsi products, right?”  And I looked at the floor and said, “Sure.”  Granted, we were there with his best friend who works for Coke.  He let it slide since there was literally nothing else I could drink.  Still ridiculous that I had to pay for that.  I felt like collecting as much craft beer as I could and finding something to store it in to make it worth our while.   No problem though, the boys drank more than enough for all of us put together.

So the food was AMAZING.  I was a bit worried, because farm-to-table can sometimes be a bit weird (ingredient-wise, at least).  So we started out with appetizers.  Since it was at County Line Orchard, we had an apple tasting (honey crisp apples have never tasted SO GOOD!).  After that, there were some pita chips and breads set up, followed by a bunch of locally made cheeses from local dairy farms.  I was so impressed!  Aside from the fact that I knew I couldn’t try the moldy-oldy cheeses that looked so good.  There was one that actually said “penicillin” in the description!  And another one that had pure lactate and cow’s milk.  Mike was very concerned with what I brought back, but I think I stuck to the safe ones.  If not, one piece of cheese isn’t going to kill me (us).  The boys went to get the remainder of the appetizers.  This included a pumpkin-sweet potato hummus (NASTY – I love hummus, but I have always been a hater of the sweet potato), an onion marmalade (not bad), and a green tomato chutney (didn’t try).  CHEESE FOR LIFE!

Promptly at 7 p.m., the restaurant booths were opening up for business with their samples!  Megan and I started out at Strongbow while the boys held our table.  Basically, you get in line in front of the restaurant’s “window” – behind the windows were the chefs for each restaurant, prepping everything in the giant kitchen.  It was a very nice set up, in my opinion.  So here is what they gave each of us from Strongbow:  Chili-braised brisket tostadas w/ pickled tomatillo salsa (like a full sized tostada!), and then a mini cup of Turkey Mulligatawny w/ apples & pumpkin.   And the nice thing was that they allowed us to bring back extra servings for our husbands.  Strongbow’s food was AMAZING!  The tostada was fantastic (I went kind of light on the brisket because I didn’t want to mess up my stomach early on), but the lime salsa/ sour cream sauce was delectable.  Also, the Turkey Mulligatawny was EXACTLY what I needed.  It was a hearty, creamy stew with all good stuff in it.  Baby definitely enjoyed it and I felt like I could finally keep something healthy down!

Next window we went to was Rolling Stonebaker, since they were the only ones creating a wood-fired pizza.  And I LOVE pizza usually depending on the sauce.  What a let down.  As we were standing in line, I kept smelling this terrible smell.  I couldn’t even describe it, but I was praying it was the woman in front of us.  WRONG.  It was the pizza!  Oh dear.   Here is what they served us:  Wood-fired pizza with maple-glazed brussels sprouts, candy onion jam, wood-roasted squash, and Italico cheese.  So I can’t figure out what it was that smelled so badly (I know, brussels sprouts you would think, but I’m pretty sure that was not it), so I basically took one bite and was finished.  I just couldn’t get over the smell.  The crust was good, though!  They also gave us a wood-fired giant meatball made with local pork, lamb, and bison w/ tomato ragu, whipped ricotta and basil-chili oil.  I can’t eat anything with tomato sauce or I will vomit, so Mike has this.  He said it was fantastic.

Next was one of our favorite restaurants/ breweries that we frequent.  3 Floyd’s (Munster)!  We expected the best, and they did NOT disappoint.  They served us smoked pork shoulder w/ pork belly cornbread, cherry BBQ and last season pickled ramps (i.e. pork rinds).  They also gave us a piece of apple, maple, and sage pork sausage.  I didn’t try the pork sausage, but loved the pork shoulder dish!  The pork belly cornbread that everything sat upon was savory – wish I could have managed to steal the recipe somehow.  I always forget how much I love cornbread!

Next was Bartlett’s Grill in Tavern (out of Beverly Shores).  Bartlett’s is another restaurant that we have started to frequent in the summer months.  They have my favorite baked mac and cheese, and my favorite pear cider.  Their restaurant is out in the boonies, and we always lose service/ get lost trying to find the place.  But it ends up being worth it when we get there!    Anyhow, they served us a winter white bean cassoulet w/ local sausage, lamb, duck confit, and pork topped w/ truffled parmesan breadcrumbs.  They also gave us a mini cup of squash, cinderella pumpkin, leek & apple bisque, which was topped w/ caramelized shitake mushroom & baby kale/ arugula pesto.  The bisque proved to be too sweet for everyone, though the flavors worked well together.  The winter white bean cassoulet was a winner though!  Another hearty type of casserole with tons of healthy/ fresh ingredients.  SO GOOD.  (ps, I was still feeling pretty good at this point – just two more stations to go!)

Next was something that I was not even close to being interested in, but Megan and I got in line since the boys wanted to try it.  This was from White Oak Tavern, and the dish was a savory sweet potato custard w/ fall vegetable salad, smoked vegetable broth & buckwheat crumble.  I will never understand everyone’s obsession with sweet potato dishes in the fall.  Just so gross.  Mike really enjoyed the dish, so I will leave it at that.

Saving the best two for last!   The line was crazy long for the chicken and waffles dish from a restaurant called Valley Kitchen and Bar out of Valparaiso.  Chefs Cory Muro & Jason Rudy were the geniuses behind this dish.  It was a homemade belgian waffle (they had the sweet waffle iron right there so everyone could watch), butter, Sink’s Sugar Camp Syrup, with fried Amish chicken, Carbon’s Golden Malted Syrup, and a dash of hot sauce.  Now, I have never had the pleasure of trying chicken and waffles yet.  It has always been on my to-try list.  So, the chicken basically melted in your mouth.  That being said, chicken is usually a no-no for me lately, so I only had a bite so that I could take in the whole experience.  It was by far my favorite dish.  Mike went back to get me another one, and then I went back and asked if I could possibly get just the waffle.  The head chef was SO NICE and held up an entire waffle asking if I wanted butter and syrup (they were cutting them in fourths to fit them on the mini plates).  I love that I didn’t even have to explain my situation, they just buttered it up and handed it over!  Granted, they probably thought it was for my kids, but I wish I could have told them that their waffles are the best thing I have tasted in the past three months!  I think I will write them a thank you note.  The awesome thing is that they won first place!  Everyone got a voting ticket so you could vote for your favorite dish. So perfect.

And finally, they opened up the dessert window at 7 p.m.   This was from Valpo Velvet and consisted of Hoosier Honeycomb vanilla ice cream atop of an apple cinnamon donut, and everything was topped with a honey drizzle and sea salt.   BEST DESSERT EVER.  Sweet and savory.  Loved the addition of the honey drizzle and sea salt – I am a big fan of sea salt in just about anything, but this is the second time I’ve had it paired with an ice cream and it is just exquisite.  They even gave us a mason jar sample of the honey they used on our way out as a favor.  We will definitely go back next year!  A very well-planned event and evening – and it wasn’t overly crowded!  Win Win Win.

Okay – that’s enough from me.  Just excited to have made it past 9 p.m. last night WITH a full stomach 🙂