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Vegetarian Thai Peanut Enchiladas May 26, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, vegetarian.
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I saw a recipe for chicken peanut enchiladas on one of my favorite food blogs, Closet Cooking, a while ago.  I bookmarked it and promptly forgot about it, until it resurfaced in a search this week.  It looked really interesting, and I thought a vegetarian version would be just as good.  Check out the original post if you are a meat-eater (and for a picture—-I made this dish when I had a friend over, and we got so wrapped up in our conversation I completely forgot to take a picture of it!)

I subbed crumbled tempeh for the chicken and modified the vegetables using what I had in the house.  It was really, really good—who would’ve thought peanut sauce and melted cheese would go so well together??!

As soon as I make this again, I will be sure to post a picture, but in the meantime, just trust me on this one.  🙂  As it is written, it makes enough for two servings.  Double the ingredients listed if you want leftovers!  I wish I would have.

Vegetarian Thai Peanut Enchiladas
(Adapted from Closet Cooking)
(Printable Recipe)


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper (thinly sliced)
2 green onions (sliced)
1 large carrot (julienned)
4 oz tempeh, crumbled
1 handful spinach (chopped)
1 cup spicy Thai peanut sauce (either homemade or store-bought; if you are going store-bought, I like the San-J brand)
4 (8 inch) tortillas
1 cup jack and cheddar cheese (grated)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish


Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.

Slice up your red pepper and carrot, and saute in a little olive oil until tender.  Add the crumbled tempeh and continue to saute until it is a little browned.  Add the chopped green onion and spinach, and saute until just wilted.  Remove from the heat, and stir in 1/2 cup peanut sauce.

In a small baking dish (I used an 8×8 brownie dish, and four enchiladas fit perfectly), lightly drizzle peanut sauce on the bottom of the dish. Fill each tortilla with a quarter of the tempeh-veggie mixture, roll it up, and place it seam-side down in the baking dish, on top of the peanut sauce.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.  Drizzle some more peanut sauce on top of the rolled-up enchiladas, top with the shredded cheese and cilantro, and bake in the oven until the cheese on top is golden and melted.


Crab and Boursin Spring Lasagna May 16, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, fish, good for a group.
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A week before Mother’s Day, I started thinking about what to make for our now-annual family get-together at our house.  For the past few years, both Ryan’s family and my family have come over for a Mother’s Day dinner, and I wanted to make something that we haven’t made before, something that would please everyone, and something that would make enough for ten people to eat.  I think the past few years we made salmon one year, spinach artichoke pies another, and enchiladas for some other family gathering, but no lasagna or pasta dishes.

I remembered seeing a segment on the news a while back where a chef from 24 Grille in Detroit made a seemingly easy-to-make crab lasagna roll-up.  I googled it, and came across this recipe and video.  If you read the recipe and watch the video, you’ll notice that the way the recipe is written up is not at all like it is done in the video.  I debated for a day or two whether I should scrimmage the recipe before making it on Mother’s Day but ultimately decided not to, because it makes a lot of food and Ryan would be the only one eating it.  How hard could it be, right?  I even had a video to follow!

Well…it didn’t turn out like the roll-ups in the video.   I went from Plan A to Plan oh-my-god-what-am-I-going-to-do and feared I might have to go to Plan order-a-pizza.  But in the end, it all turned out!!  And it turned out great!  I ended up making a big pan of lasagna, and used no-boil lasagna noodles instead of the pre-boiled ones.  It looked realllllly soupy before it went into the oven, and I was SURE we’d be eating Hot-and-Ready pizzas for dinner, but somehow, miraculously, it all turned out.  I think it was the use of the no-boil noodles.  They soaked up a lot of the excess moisture as the lasagna baked and it was set up perfectly when it was time for it to come out of the oven.

Oh, a note—I made a mini vegetarian version of this for myself at the same time.  I mixed a portion of the cooked vegetables described below with boursin cheese, and layered the veggies and boursin alternately with sauce and noodles, and topped it all with cheese before baking.

Crab and Boursin Spring Lasagna
(Printable Recipe)

crab lasagna


1 1/2 pounds (or about 22-24 ounces) of crab meat
16 ounces Boursin cheese
Sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch segments
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch segments
2 zucchini, diced
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper
24 ounces marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups Italian blend shredded cheese
1 package Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles


Chop the asparagus, carrots, and zucchini into 1/2-inch segments.  Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan, and cook the veggies, basil, thyme, and a little salt and peper over medium heat until tender-crisp.  Remove from the heat and set aside while you get the crab ready.

In a small sauce pan, melt the boursin over low heat, stirring frequently.  You don’t want it to be liquidy, but soft enough to make it easily spreadable.

Meanwhile, in yet another pan (or the veggie one cleaned out), heat a little olive oil.  Drain the crab (if necessary) and cook in the olive oil for about 5-7 minutes.  Sprinkle in some Old Bay seasoning.  When the boursin cheese is sufficiently melted, stir the crab into the cheese.

Prep a 9 x 13 lasagna pan by spraying it lightly with oil.  Spread 1/2 cup marinara on the bottom.  Layer your first layer of noodles on top of the marinara.  Spread a layer of crab/boursin on top of that.  Top with half of the veggies, some sauce, and then another layer of noodles.  Repeat by spreading the crab/boursin on top of the noodles, sprinkling the remaining veggies on top of that, layering another layer of noodles, topping THOSE noodles with sauce, and finally, sprinkling the shredded Italian blend cheese on top.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Watch to see when the cheese is nicely browned, it should be done then.  Remove from the oven and let it rest at least 10 minutes to allow it to set.

Easy Vegetarian French Onion Soup May 10, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in soup, vegetarian.
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I’ve been a vegetarian for years and years, but have always had a love for French Onion soup.  Almost all French Onion soup is made with beef broth, and delicious as it may be, it’s sadly not vegetarian.   So as much as I love French Onion soup, I rarely eat it, but I saw a picture of it recently and couldn’t stop thinking about it.  It’s probably the pregnancy doing this but once I get fixated on wanting to eat a certain thing, I won’t be satisfied by anything else until I have it.

Making the soup takes a little while, but a lot of it is hands-off time while the onions cook down.

Easy Vegetarian French Onion Soup
(Makes four servings)

vegetarian french onion soup

Two large Spanish onions, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups non-beef broth (if you can’t specifically find the “non-beef” bullion cubes, four cups of a nice vegetarian or mushroom broth would work)
Sprinkle of thyme and black pepper
1/3 cup miso
4 slices of bread (I used sourdough)
1 cup grated swiss cheese


First up, peel your onions and slice them realllllly thin.  The thinner the better.  If you have a mandolin, now is the time to use it!

cut up onions

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot (I used my dutch oven) over low heat.  Add the onions to the pot, stir, and continue to cook over low heat for at least 30-45 minutes.  Stir occasionally so the onions on the bottom don’t burn.  They should turn limp, and start to carmelize.  

While the onions are cooking, heat up your broth.  When it is hot but not boiling, stir in the miso, thyme, and black pepper.  Keep over low heat until the onions are done.

Now is also a good time to pre-heat your oven.  Set it to 375 degrees and get out four oven-safe bowls.

When your onions are done, add the broth to the onions and heat together over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.  Ladle a quarter of the onion and broth into each of the four oven-safe bowls.  Top each bowl with a piece of sourdough bread, and top the bread with some grated swiss.  A little more pepper on top isn’t a bad touch.

Heat the four bowls in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and browned.  Make sure you let them cool a little before eating! 

Best New (to me) Thing: Tiseo’s Pizza Dough May 7, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in products, uncategorized.
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Tiseo's pizza dough

We make pizza a LOT.  A green pizza at least once every other week, I’d say.  I rarely spend the time to make my own dough (I know!  Bad Ang!) and rely on Trader Joe’s bagged dough for our crust needs.  The other day, I was at Western Market in Ferndale and came across bags and bags of Tiseo’s pizza dough hidden way back in the freezer section, in the farthest case, on the bottom shelf.  The dough is $1.29 for a 16 oz bag there, I think.  I brought home two bags and figured we’d give it a try. The dough is frozen solid, but if you leave it in the refrigerator overnight, it thaws out just fine.

Yesterday was another pizza night, and you know what?  Tiseo’s dough is LIGHT YEARS better than Trader Joe’s!!   It is more elastic, easier to roll out (no holes from stretching it too far), holds it’s shape better, gets crispier, turns a really nice shade of golden brown when it cooks, and just tastes better overall than any of the three doughs Trader Joe’s sells.  I like that it’s a local company, too (make in Sterling Heights), and it is really convenient just to keep a few balls of dough in the freezer.

So, there you go.  I’ve tried for years with Trader Joe’s and had what I thought was  a pretty good system down to make it turn out decent (letting it warm up, pre-baking it, not using a rolling pin, etc), but it’s so temperamental, and you never really know how each bag of dough is going to react to the same elements.  I’m glad I found something that is more reliable and delicious.

Chopped Spinach Taco Salad April 5, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in lunch, quick meal, salad, vegetarian.
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I mentioned this salad briefly a few posts back, but since it is my meal at least 3 times a week, I figured it deserved it’s own post!  I make this for lunch a lot, packing all of the ingredients except the salsa, hot sauce, and chips into one container, and then mixing it all together right before I’m ready to eat.  It’s quick, easy, and really, really good.  I usually get three lunches out of one can of black beans.

Chopped Spinach Taco Salad
(serves 2)

chopped spinach taco salad

3 cups chopped baby spinach
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed well
Handful of grape tomatoes or one bigger tomato, chopped
1/8 cup walnuts, chopped
1/8 cup feta cheese
1/8 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 salsa
Hot sauce, to taste
Handful of tortilla chips, crunched up

Chop all of the ingredients, mixing in the salsa, hot sauce, and chips right before serving.

Spinach and Green Onion Gouda Quiche April 4, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in breakfast, dinner, vegetarian.
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I made a quiche last night that was really, really good, but forgot to take a picture of it!  I usually make a variation of this quiche; this was my first time using gouda and it turned out so nice and creamy.  I had to bake it longer than I had thought I would, and you definitely need to let it set about 5 minutes after it comes out of the oven to contain the creaminess. It’s super delicious.  The recipe comes from Cooking Light, and has been blogged about on one of my go-to food blogs, Culinary in the Desert.  Head over there for a photo and write up!  I highly recommend this for a nice brunch meal or a breakfast-for-dinner night.  I made some oven-roasted potatoes to go alongside it.

Spinach and Green Onion Gouda Quiche

1 pie crust (homemade or store-bought)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 cup milk
3 large eggs
4 ounces (about 1 cup) shredded smoked Gouda cheese (or a little more!)
3/4 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried basil
Pinch fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 cup shredded parmesan for the top of the quiche

Prepare your filling by heating the olive oil in a large saute pan.  Cook the green onions for a few minutes over medium, until slightly wilted.  Add in the minced garlic and spinach, and continue to cook until the spinach is also slightly wilted.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs, then add the cheese, salt & pepper, basil, and nutmeg. Stir well, and then stir in the spinach mixture.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Top with some shredded parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for at least 35 minutes.  I had to bake mine longer than that—about 45-50 minutes.  Insert a clean knife into the middle to test to see if it’s done—if the filling looks too runny or milky, let it cook a little longer.

Remove from oven and let it set for about 5 minutes before cutting into it.

Crispy Potato Enchiladas April 1, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, good for a group, vegetarian.
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Confession: I have made enchiladas TWICE this week.  On Tuesday, I made a Thai/Mexican fusion version with peanut sauce, red pepper, spinach, and tempeh, and on Thursday, I made a version inspired by Taco Bell. (The peanut enchilada recipe will be up soon; I forgot to take a picture and want to re-make it before I post it here.)

My absolute favorite menu item at Taco Bell is the crispy potato soft taco.  I don’t eat them often, but when I do, I like to get two and slather them with the Taco Bell green sauce packets.

With the Taco Bell soft taco in mind, I created a homemade enchilada version for dinner and it was out of this world!  I made a filling of spiced pan-fried potatoes, chopped spinach, plenty of green onion, tangy green sauce, and shredded cheddar cheese, put it in soft tortillas, and baked it in the oven until the cheese on top was melted and starting to brown.  They were delicious!

Crispy Potato Enchiladas
(Printable Recipe)

potato enchiladas

2 or 3 medium-to-large potatoes, diced
Olive oil
1.5 tbsp Mexican spices (I used a mixture of Penzey’s southwestern seasoning and some smokey seasoning salt; you could also use some pre-made taco seasoning, or any kind of cumin/chipotle/cayenne mix)
2 cups (or 3 large handfuls) spinach, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
6 8-inch tortillas
10 oz green enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded cheese (or more, if you like a lot of cheese!)

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.

Start by washing and dicing the potatoes.  I like to steam my potatoes before I put them in a saute pan to crisp them up, but if you have extra time, you could put them straight in a pan and cook them until soft but crispy.  If you want to go the steam-then-saute route, steam them either in one of those microwave steam bags, or in a steamer basket on the stove.  I usually steam them in the microwave for 5 minutes, then transfer to a pan with a little olive oil and saute them until they get browned and crispy on the outside.  Once you have the potatoes cooking in the pan and they are starting to brown, add the spices and continue to cook over low heat until they are crispy enough for your liking.

With the pan over low heat, add the chopped spinach and green onion to the potatoes.  Stir well, so the spinach and onions will begin to wilt.  Remove from heat.

Prepare your pan by pouring a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan and spreading it around so it just coats the whole pan.  Build your enchiladas one by one:   on each tortilla, spread a little green sauce, top with the potato mixture, sprinkle a little cheese, and roll it up!

potato enchilada filling

Place each rolled-up enchilada seam-side down in the prepared pan.  When all of your enchiladas are in the pan, drizzle the rest of the green sauce on top of them, top that with the rest of the shredded cheese, and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and starting to brown.

Remove from oven and let the pan sit a minute or two before attempting to remove the enchiladas.  We topped them with sour cream, hot sauce, and a little cilantro before eating.  Yum!

inside of potato enchilada

Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting March 29, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dessert, vegetarian.
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Carrot Cake Cookies

I got the urge to bake yesterday.  I’m not sure what got into me; this doesn’t happen very often.  I LOVE to cook but baking is not something I do regularly.  I had an almost-full container of New York Bagel cream cheese and some carrots on their last legs, and carrot cake seemed like the best choice for those ingredients.  I found a few carrot cake cookie recipes, and adapted one to make the cookies you see here.  I frosted half the batch and brought all of them to work today, where they received rave reviews from the early morning cookie-eaters.  If you are a fan of carrot cake, make these for sure!

Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
(Printable Recipe)

Shredded carrots


1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks of butter (1/2 pound), room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)
1 cup raisins (optional; add more carrots if you leave the raisins out)

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature (cut into pieces)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Sprinkles, if desired


Beat sugars and butter together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger together.  Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing at a low speed until everything is just blended together. Stir in carrots, oats, and raisins (if you are using raisins).  Chill the dough in the refrigerator for an hour.

While the dough is chilling, you can make your frosting by putting the cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.

When the hour is almost up, begin pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.  Spoon small balls of the chilled dough onto baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.  Bake until browned, about 14 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool. When the cookies are completely cooled, frost the tops and add sprinkles if you wish.  Keep cool, if possible, so the frosting continues to set.

Broccoli Cheddar Stromboli March 29, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, vegetarian.
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Broccoli Cheddar Stromboli

I decided to do something a little different from our usual Green Pizza weeknight meal recently, and made a broccoli cheddar stromboli.  A stromboli is really very similar to a pizza, just rolled up and brushed with olive oil and spices, but it is a nice change from the norm.  Plus, stromboli is a fun word to say, and I could not help but tell Toby the dog about a dozen times “Toby, I make-a da stromboli!!” while I was baking it up.

Using a pound of pizza dough made a big stromboli that barely fit on a pizza stone (I had to wrap it around in a U-shape to keep it on the stone in one piece!) and probably should have fed 4 people, but we are a hungry household.  🙂

So, stromboli!  A nice change from a pizza pie!  Try one today!  Throw some different veggies in it, changes up the spices, sprinkle some cheese on top—it’s almost impossible to make a rolled-up pizza taste bad.

Broccoli Cheddar Stromboli
(Adapted from Pizza by Brigit Binns)


1 pound pizza dough (homemade or pre-made, like the kind you can buy at Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 cup chopped broccoli (you’ll want to steam it before you put it in the stromboli; see below)
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded or chopped cheddar (I used Vermont sharp white cheddar, yum!)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pizza sauce
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil (to brush on top)


Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.  Place your pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven to pre-heat at this time.

Fill a saucepan with one inch of water and bring to a simmer. Place broccoli in a steamer basket over the simmering water, cover, and steam for 5-7 minutes until crisp tender. Remove strainer or basket from saucepan and let cool. Coarsely chop the broccoli and set aside. In a large bowl combine the ricotta, cheddar, garlic, basil, and salt and pepper. Mix well.

Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a pizza peel or large rimless baking sheet and place the ball of dough in the center. Dust the top of the dough with flour and, using a rolling pin, roll out to a 9-by-12-inch rectangle of even thickness.

With the long side of the dough facing you, spread the cheese mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border uncovered on all sides. Cover the cheese mixture with the pizza sauce, and then scatter the broccoli evenly over the cheese and sauce, and season generously with salt and pepper.

Unrolled Stromboli

Starting with the long edge nearest you, gently roll up the dough, lightly compressing the filling. Crimp firmly to seal, but avoid pressing down too hard.  Brush the roll lightly with olive oil, cut a few small steam vents in the top, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Carefully slide the stromboli on the parchment onto the hot pizza stone. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.

Remove the stromboli from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let the stromboli stand for 15 minutes then use a serrated knife to slice it crosswise into rounds.

Eating for Two March 24, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in uncategorized.

So, as I get close to the end of Month 6 of being pregnant and enter the last trimester, it’s probably time to write a little bit about what I have been eating, and how my diet has (or hasn’t) changed since getting pregnant. I was extremely lucky to not have ANY morning sickness (and hopefully I am well past that point!).


Baby, a few weeks ago!

If I ate what I really WANTED to eat, my diet would probably consist of toast with peanut butter for breakfast, pita bread pizza for lunch, and the Japanese Pan Noodles from Noodles & Co. for dinner. Every day.


Japanese Pan Noodles....mmmmm

But I know chowing down on a bunch of carbs does not make a healthy baby, so I’ve been doing my best to vary what I eat. Being pregnant means a lot of changes (obviously) but most striking to me has been how my body reacts to foods I had no problem with before the baby came along. To my dismay, it’s mostly healthy foods that I am having trouble with. Broccoli, oranges, tomatoes—all on the “tread with caution” list these days. The baby really just wants me to eat pizza and noodles all day! I was working my way through a 10-pound bag of oranges, because for a while, I loved them, but all of a sudden, my body turned, and eating an innocent orange would soon cause my heart to feel like someone was trying to squeeze it through my throat. Heart burn! Oranges can now only be eaten at certain times, and in certain order—they can’t be the last thing I eat, and I can’t eat too much before or after eating one.

Speaking of which, I try not to overeat in general, which is kind of hard for me. Anyone who knows me knows my appetite is probably way bigger than it should be, but now I really have to force myself to stop eating before I feel full and eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. There are times when I totally go against this, like on Tuesday, when I ate an enormous taco salad out of a mixing bowl at lunch and then finished the meal off with two pieces of pizza that appeared in the kitchen at work. It hurts now to eat that much, though, with the increasingly limited real estate inside me, so I try to pace myself with food and make good choices more often than not.

Being a vegetarian, I’ve definitely made a conscious effort to get enough protein and iron in my diet. I’ve been going through Greek yogurt like it’s going out of style, and have stacks upon stacks of canned beans in the basement, which make appearances in salads, pasta, dips, and more. My favorite lunch of late is the previously mentioned taco salad, made with chopped spinach, black beans, walnuts, chopped tomatoes, feta, cheddar (double cheese is the most important part!), avocado, salsa, hot sauce, and crunched up tortilla chips on top. It’s a lot of nutrition packed into a salad, and with all of the extras on the salad, I can get three good meals out of a can of black beans. Plus it tastes delicious, it’s an easy lunch to bring to work, and it is definitely healthier than pizza every day at noon.

I’ve been really good about exercising throughout this whole pregnancy (save for two weeks when I was too sick/cough-y/infected to go to the gym). I gave up running sometime around the beginning on Month 5, when I started growing and it just became too uncomfortable to run for any extended period of time. I traded the treadmill in for the elliptical, specifically the Precor machine with the adjustable ramp.

My best friend at the gym

I will go to the gym, do 300-400 calories on the Precor, lift some weights, stretch out, and head home. It’s not a KILLER workout, but I think it’s good enough to maintain a decent level of fitness. I’m not really sure how exercise will fit in once the baby is born. I am much more of a first-thing-in-the-morning exerciser, and I am pretty sure that is probably not going to work with having a newborn around who needs to wake up, eat, and be taken care of. I guess like everything else, it will just work out somehow once he is here. Maybe I’ll learn to love the gym at night, but I feel like that is just not in my bones.

All in all, I have been trying to stay healthy and not gain a crazy amount of weight that I will later have to struggle to lose. It is hard—pregnancy makes you ravenous at times, and I haven’t been holding back when I’m hungry. I figure the little guy has to grow, and because of that, so do I, as weird as it is to see my body changing shape by the week.