Monday, January 30, 2012

Munchkin Update: 18 weeks

Munchkin.  That's what we call our sweet baby.  I refuse to say "it"; but, since we don't know if Munchkin is a boy or a girl yet, we agreed Munchkin was a good nickname for our miniature Lippincott.

I can't believe I am almost at the halfway point of this pregnancy.  Where has the time gone??
I still have a hard time remembering I'm pregnant sometimes.  I think this is mostly due to:
1.  I was very blessed never to experience morning sickness
2.  It's taking a lot longer for me and others to be able to tell that I am pregnant than I thought it would.

Not that either of those are bad things!  I am very thankful that I was never very sick and that I haven't had to buy any new clothes yet.  It just doesn't seem very real yet.  I'm almost afraid I will wake up and find that it has all been a dream.

The first glimmer of reality occured recently.  I am almost 100% certain that I felt Munchkin move for the first time this weekend.  Saturday evening we were sitting on the couch watching tv when I first felt those tiny movements.  Then Sunday afternoon at church, while the orchestra was playing "I Sing the Mighty Power of God," I felt them again.  That was an awesome moment for me.  I have been praising God ever since for His wonderful creation!

Next Tuesday we go in for our second ultrasound and will find out if we are having a boy or a girl.  We are very excited!  We have a few names we like either way, but this will definitely help narrow down the search.  Don't expect to hear the results right away though.  I won't be posting them until after Saturday night.  That will be the first time we are able to get with my family to share the news.  I kinda think they deserve to know before the rest of the world ;)
Any guesses?  I don't have a gut feeling either way and really don't care!  I just can't wait to see how our baby is doing!

Munchkin and (a very tired) Mommy at 18 weeks

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Indian Comfort Food: Chicken Tikka Masala

This week has been a little rough for me.  I've been suffering through a nasty cold.  Let me tell ya...a tiny cold can completely wipe a person out at 16 weeks pregnant.  Who knew?  Praise the Lord, I have a very kind and thoughtful husband who has done a great job of taking care of me.

Monday night he left work early, did the grocery shopping, and brought home dinner.  I am so spoiled!  I knew he was going to have to work later yesterday to make up for his time on Monday, so I mustered up all the energy I had to make a warm, comforting meal for him to come home to.  Chicken Tikka Masala was on the menu for the week and sounded just perfect for a rainy Tuesday night.

Amusing anecdote of the day:  This recipe requires broiling chicken in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.  When you make this, please, please, PLEASE make sure your top rack is not too close to the broiler.  Otherwise, you will open the oven door and:
1.  fill your entire house with smoke
2.  set off the loudest most annoying smoke alarm in the world
3.  run around the house waving a dish towel in your hand while ripping smoke alarms off the wall
4.  almost burn the onions sauteeing on the stove
5.  find out later the pan you broiled the chicken on is warped
6. and fall asleep at the counter once everything is done and you are waiting for your husband to get home.
Not that any of that happened to me ;)
Let's get back to the Chicken Tikka Masala, shall we?  It is an incredibly flavorful Indian dish.  Indian food is yuuuuuummmy!  And for those of you who are skeptical of trying it, the preparation isn't much different from any other dish.  They just use a lot of spices which creates lots of flavor.  Flavor is good.  It doesn't take too much time to prepare either.  I had it ready to go in just over 45 minutes (and that includes the smoke alarm fiasco).
Make it on the next cold, rainy night we have this winter.  You'll be glad you did!

Chicken Tikka Masala
adapted from The Pioneer Woman
serves 6

 3 whole Chicken Breasts
Ground Coriander
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Large Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp. - 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
Garam Masala spice  (ESSENTIAL!  If you can't find it anywhere, I have included a spice mixture at the bottom which will give you the same flavor)
1 can (28 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes
1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream (Or milk, if you are like me and forgot to put cream on the grocery list)
2 cups cooked rice

Optional:  I also included half a jalapeno pepper and a lot of chili powder to make ours a little spicier.  The dish is delicious either way, though.

Season the chicken breasts with salt, coriander, and cumin and coat with yogurt.  Set the chicken on a metal cooling rack over a foil-lined baking sheet and place it about 10-12 inches below a broiler for 5-7 minutes per side. Chicken should be slightly blackenened.  Depending on how thick your chicken is, it may not cook through all the way.  That's ok!  It will finish cooking in the sauce.

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat.  Toss in diced onion and sauté until slightly browned.  Add the garlic and ginger and 1 Tbsp. salt to the onions.  Next you are going to add about 3 tablespoons Garam Masala spice.
Now you are going to add your can of diced tomatoes. Continue cooking and stirring, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up all the flavor from the spices. Add about 1 tablespoon sugar and let mixture simmer while you start the rice.
After the Tikka Masala sauce has had a chance to simmer for a little bit, add in the 1 ½ cups of heavy cream.
Note:  If using milk, the sauce will not be as thick, but will be just as tasty.  I've made it both ways and decided I won't be bothered buying heavy cream next time unless I need it for something else. 
Now, chop up your chicken breasts into chunks and stir them into the Tikka Masala sauce.  Let simmer until the rice has finished cooking.  Right before serving, I stirred in 2 cups of peas for color and added veggies.
Garam Masala Spice Mixture
1 tablespoon coriander; ground
1 tablespoon cumin; ground
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper; ground
1 tablespoon fennel seeds; ground
1 tablespoon ginger; ground
1 tablespoon cardamom; ground
1 tablespoon nutmeg; ground
1 TEASPOON cloves; ground

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mom's Vegetable Soup

We are pretty healthy eaters at our house.  I almost never buy packaged chips, cookies, etc. but try to buy plenty of fruits and vegetables for us to eat with our meals and as snacks.

Ever since we found out Munchkin was on the way, eating healthy and sensibly has become even more important to me.  I'm doing my best to take care of this sweet baby already :)

Christmas made eating healthy a little harder around here, though.  With all the Christmas parties, baking, and other treats, I have eaten more junk food in one month than I care to think about.  But, that is why we have the New Year, right?  Time to start eating healthy again!

My mom's Vegetable Soup is a great way to fill up, keep warm, and get all those yummy, healthy vegetables into your diet.

This recipe is so easy!  You basically dump a whole bunch of vegetables and some broth in a slow cooker for a few hours.  By the time the soup is finished cooking, your kitchen smells fabulous and you can't wait to eat dinner!

Since there is no specific recipe for this soup, I'll just tell you how I made mine.  The best part about this soup is that you can tailor it to your family's tastes and your stock of vegetables.

This recipe makes a large batch of soup.  We both had two big bowls for dinner last night and for lunch today.  I still have plenty leftover to freeze for a later time!

Mom's Vegetable Soup
In a crockpot, I dumped in:
  • 2 (15 oz) cans of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Frozen Corn
  • Frozen Green Beans
  • Chopped Carrots
  • Medium Diced Potatoes
  • Approximately 1 cup each of water and beef broth
  • I also put in a ham bone leftover from some ham I cooked a while back.  This flavors and adds salt to the soup. 
    • Right before serving the soup, I pulled out the ham bone.  All the leftover ham that was stuck to the bone fell off and became a delicious addition to the soup
    • My mom always made her vegetable soup with ham, but she said you could also use ground beef.  You would need to brown it first before adding it to the crockpot.
I cooked the soup on HIGH for 2 hours and then on LOW for 4 hours more.

Mom's Extra Thrifty Tip:  Save leftover veggies from meals and freeze in a large container or freezer bag.  Use these to make your soup instead of buying extra.  It's a great way to save money and keep from throwing food out!

Vegetable Soup tastes great with biscuits or cornbread!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Out with the Old. In with the New.

Happy New Year, everyone!  I cannot believe 2012 is already here!  Where did 2011 go?  When I was a kid, I was always told not to wish my life away because it goes by too quickly.  "Yeah, right," I would think to myself.  Time never seemed to go by fast enough.  I think I'm beginning to understand that now.  So much has happened in 2011.  I'm not quite sure how it all got squeezed into one year!

(By the way, sorry I haven't posted in a while.  My computer died at the end of October, so I was computer-less until my sweet husband remedied that situation for me at Christmas.  He's the best!)

Here are just a few pics of my favorite memories of 2011.  Hope you enjoy! 
(I would also like to add, mostly for my mother's benefit...My new year's resolution is to buy a camera.  I think I'd like to take more pictures this year ;)

In May, I graduated with a Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling.  The past two years of classes were by far my favorite of my entire college career.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to sit under and grow through the daily preaching and teaching of the Word.  But, I am also thankful that school is finished and I can focus on my husband and home.

The day after graduation, we celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary.  I am extremely blessed to be the wife of such a God honoring, hard working, fun loving, caring, compassionate man.  I can't wait to spend forever with him!

In July, we purchased our first home and moved in the beginning of August.  We love our new place!  We are so much closer to our church, which gives us the opportunity to get involved more.  We also live closer to several of our friends from church and have had a wonderful time getting to know them better!

One of my biggest goals for 2011 was to run a half marathon.  In February, I told my husband that I had signed both of us up for one at the end of October.  Yeah, I'm sneaky.  I didn't want to train by myself.  :P  We had a ton of fun training for and running the race.  (Ok, so it wasn't always fun, but it was definitely worth it!)  I can't wait to do another one!  But, that will have to wait until next October because....

We are having a baby!  Sweet Baby Lippincott is due July 2nd, and we are over the moon with excitement and anticipation!  I am currently 14 weeks 3 days and go for my ultrasound to find out Munchkin's gender in 5 weeks!  I will definitely keep you updated on our progress.

As we start 2012, knowing this is going to be a big year of new experiences and changes, our fervent prayer is that God will use every situation to draw us closer to Himself.  We recognize our deep need for His grace and strength to fight the battle against sin and grow in our Christian walk more and more every day.  We pray that we will never lose sight of the goal of Christlikeness and rejoice that, in Him, we can do all things!