I’ve been fighting it, but I have finally accepted that one of the only ways I’m going to eat my vegetables during (at least this phase of) my pregnancy is if they are hidden in smoothies, pasta or dessert. I have officially turned into a three year-old, at least when it comes to mealtime.
It’s interesting how many of our life choices are made out of habit. A habitual breakfast or lunch, a glass of wine with dinner, go-to snacks, an exercise routine. And then something happens to force us to re-think our habits, and we change. Fairly easily, I’ve been surprised to learn. As a wine lover since college, I’ve always enjoyed a glass of wine while cooking or with dinner, but as soon as we did that embryo transfer, I gave it up with little thought or cravings. After the first trimester, I experimented with having a few half-glasses of wine, but ultimately decided to give up all wine during my pregnancy, just in case. I certainly won’t regret that safe choice, although I am looking forward to a glass of red wine after Bubbles is born! Tea just doesn’t cut it.
As someone who habitually ate a lot of vegetables–both because I like them and because they’re good for me–my new aversion to green things bewilders me. I made pasta the other night with sautéed swiss chard, and after one bite I actually picked each tiny piece of chard out of my bowl. Just like a three year-old.
Other than the funny food choices, I feel great. At 23 weeks, I’ve made the transition, and I am thankful to say I absolutely love being pregnant. Before I was pregnant, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the weight gain, but I love seeing and feeling my belly growing each week, and I feel so good in this new body. It’s the most amazing, beautiful miracle. I wake up every morning to feel Bubbles kicking and punching and turning inside my belly, and I’m awestruck. I think Bubbles may have had hiccups for the first time last week. It made me giggle. I know the pregnancy experience is different for everyone, but I already feel so connected to and in love with this little human being inside of me.
Because I am a dietitian, I do think about giving Bubbles all of the nutrition he or she needs while nestled inside me, so in all seriousness, I really do sneak vegetables into breakfast, lunch, dinner and even desserts. Most of my cooking lately has consisted of multiple variations of grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta and desserts, so some of those recipes will probably make frequent appearances here over the next months.
All of the photos of pumpkin spice lattes on Instagram had me craving pumpkin flavors this week. Despite their popularity, I’m not a fan of of the PSL, but I love a good pumpkin bread. I prefer one that’s moist but not-too-sweet, one that benefits from a little butter. This Whole Grain Pumpkin Bread is the result of my recipe testing. It’s tender with great pumpkin flavor that’s not masked with too much sugar or too heavy with oil. I think it’s perfect, especially when using this technique of toasting a slice in a cast iron skillet with butter.
I would eat this for breakfast, a snack or dessert. It’s appropriate for all scenarios, and is even better served with a cup of coffee or tea and a good book.
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 15-ounce can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt and spices.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, olive oil and vanilla. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 - 55 minutes, or until the bread is browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- You can just slice the pumpkin bread and serve a slice plain, or with softened butter and jam. But I love to toast a slice in a cast iron skillet with butter. To do this, heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of butter and let it melt. When it starts to foam, add a slice of the pumpkin bread. Let toast and brown on that side, about a minute or two, and then turn and brown the other side. You could get creative and top it with a little fresh whipped cream, creme fraiche or jam.