February 8, 2016

Cooking Cooking Little One
Perfect Whole Grain Pancakes | www.Simmstown.com | Lisa Samuel

Waiting for Baby and Perfect Whole Grain Pancakes

Perfect Whole Grain Pancakes | www.Simmstown.com | Lisa Samuel

I fully intended to share this recipe before last weekend, but the week took some unexpected turns. Last Tuesday, two days before my due date, I somehow managed to fall off one of the bar stools in our kitchen, mostly catching myself on one knee and the side of my face. Although my belly didn’t take the brunt of the fall, it did hit the floor, so needless to say, we were a little scared.

We were able to get in to see our midwife right away, and a non-stress test and exam showed nothing abnormal. Relieved, we went back home. The next day, I had some spotting and cramping. We called our midwife just to be on the safe side, thinking it was probably no big deal. But they had us come in again, this time for another non-stress test and an ultrasound, just to rule out a ruptured placenta. Again, everything was fine, and the upside was that we got a beautiful ultrasound picture of Bubbles’ face, one we can’t stop staring at. 

On Thursday, the date that’s been circled in our calendars for the past nine months, Elie and I spent the day together on a “Due Date Date,” going for a long walk, stopping for coffee and pastries, and having lunch at our favorite place. I took a nap in the afternoon, and Elie made me dinner that night–pasta with avocado pesto, delicious! We curled up on the sofa together and watched a movie.  It was a luxuriously lazy day, the kind we usually only find on vacation.

I had scheduled an acupuncture appointment for Friday, and during my appointment, I noticed that Bubbles didn’t move at all. Afterwards, I started running a few errands. But when I still wasn’t feeling the baby move, I abandoned the errands and went home, where I drank a glass of orange juice. Usually, orange juice gets Bubbles dancing right away, but this time, nothing. I laid down on my right side and started gently prodding Bubbles to move, but I couldn’t feel anything. By this time, Elie was home, and we called the midwife again. She told us to go straight to the hospital.

Perfect Whole Grain Pancakes | www.Simmstown.com | Lisa Samuel

Perfect Whole Grain Pancakes | www.Simmstown.com | Lisa Samuel

Perfect Whole Grain Pancakes | www.Simmstown.com | Lisa Samuel

We were ushered in immediately and set up again on a non-stress test. Elie and I both held our breath when it took a few seconds to find Bubbles’ heartbeat. We soon heard the rhythmic swish and we both exhaled. After about an hour, Bubbles finally started moving around again. He or she must have been taking one long nap. When our midwife came in to check on us, she said things looked good, but she was a little concerned that Bubbles’ heart rate dropped after one of my contractions. She gave us three options: stay in the hospital and induce labor, go home and come back in the morning to check things out again, or have another ultrasound and get a little more information about how the baby was doing.

We opted for option three, which meant waiting until an ultrasound spot opened up. With competition from the emergency room, the queue for an ultrasound could have been long on a busy Friday night. Since we weren’t sure whether or not we would be staying, Elie went home to get our hospital bags. He also stopped by my Mom’s house and picked up food for us, since we were supposed to be going to her house for dinner that night. We had told her not to come to the hospital, since it wasn’t an emergency and we didn’t know what was going to happen.

By the time Elie returned, they were ready to wheel me to radiology. By this time, Bubbles was quite active and we spend most of the time during the ultrasound laughing at his or her antics–sucking a thumb or the whole hand, playing with toes, putting both hands above his or her head, continuous hiccups. We could also see from the outside, my belly rolling and bulging as Bubbles danced around. This was the little wiggle-worm I was used to feeling, which was why I had been so scared at not feeling any movement earlier. We felt relieved. 

While waiting for the ultrasound results, we ate Mom’s roasted chicken and vegetables in the triage room of the birthing center. With the lights dimmed and music playing on Elie’s iPhone, it felt surreally serene, other than the piercing sounds coming from the labor room down the hall. I wasn’t mentally prepared for that. At about 10 p.m., with a normal ultrasound result, we thankfully headed home for bed.

The upside of spending all of that time in the hospital last week is that we feel really comfortable getting to and being at the Childbirth Center. It feels reassuring to have been in the triage rooms, to have met many of the nurses, and to get a taste for what it might be like when I actually go into labor. 

Although it sounds like a stressful week, and it certainly had its nail-biting moments, the beginning of post-due date waiting has been lovely. The other day, a friend said she didn’t mind going past her due date, because she and her husband considered them bonus days—final days with just the two of them. We feel the same way, with each leisurely day stretching out with lazy opportunity–sleeping in, working on home projects together, walks with friends, coffee dates, naps, or mid-week pancake breakfasts.  As we are now officially four days past our due date, Elie and I are enjoying our bonus days together.  It’s a time we’ll both fondly remember.

Perfect Whole Grain Pancakes | www.Simmstown.com | Lisa Samuel

Perfect Whole Grain Pancakes | www.Simmstown.com | Lisa Samuel

This pancake recipe is inspired by the Tenderest Cardamom Pancakes in the Yogurt Culture cookbook, by Cheryl Sternman Rule. Adding full-fat Greek yogurt to the pancakes mades them irresistibly tender and light, while the whole wheat flour keeps them substantial.  You can vary the pancake recipe by using either corn meal, oatmeal, almond meal, hazelnut flour or another whole grain or nut flour in the batter.  Cooking them one at a time in a cast iron skillet will give you the best results. Just keep a cup of coffee by your side and keep the pancakes warm in a low oven until they have all been cooked. They also freeze beautifully, which means you can have pancakes any time you’re craving them.

Perfect Whole Grain Pancakes | www.Simmstown.com | Lisa Samuel

Perfect Whole Grain Pancakes | www.Simmstown.com | Lisa Samuel 

We like to serve our pancakes with a variety of toppings–butter and maple syrup (of course), but also warmed raspberries or blueberries, orange marmalade or strawberry jam, and peanut butter. Bacon and eggs sometimes make an appearance, too.  And post-baby, I’m looking forward to the return of mimosas!

Thank you for following our journey to becoming parents. Keeping this online journal during my pregnancy has been a joyful process, one that will help us to remember our thoughts and feelings, and the milestones we crossed in the past nine months. Thank you for your sweet and encouraging comments, thoughts and prayers. We appreciate and value every one of them. xo, Lisa

Perfect Whole Grain Pancakes
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Ingredients
  1. 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (you can substitute regular whole wheat flour)
  2. 1/2 cup of corn meal, oatmeal, almond meal or hazelnut flour (or another whole grain flour or nut flour)
  3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  6. 4 large eggs
  7. 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  8. 2 cups whole milk
  9. butter, for cooking
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, corn meal (or other whole grain), baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, add the eggs and whisk until the yolk and whites are combined. Add the Greek yogurt and milk and whisk together.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold them together, being sure not to over-mix the batter (over-mixing will make the pancakes tough). Let the batter rest for 5 minutes.
  5. While the batter is resting, preheat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add a little butter to the skillet (about a teaspoon) and then drop 1/2 cup of the batter into the center of the skillet. If you like your pancakes thinner, take the bottom of the measuring cup and spread the batter out a bit.
  6. Cook the pancakes on the first side until you see little bubbles forming on the top of the pancake, one to two minutes. Flip the pancake and cook one to two minutes on the other side, or until the second side is golden brown. Remove the pancake from the skillet, place the pancake on a plate and put the plate in the oven. Repeat with remaining batter.
  7. Keep stacking the cooked pancakes on the plate in the oven until all of the pancakes are cooked.
Notes
  1. This recipe makes a lot of pancakes--about 16 large ones. This is a good thing because they freeze beautifully. Once the pancakes have cooled, just layer them between pieces of unbleached parchment paper and then place them in a ziplock bag, pushing out all the air. Place the bag in the freezer. When you feel like pancakes, just remove one or two and pop them in the toaster or toaster oven, until thawed and warmed through. You can have pancakes any day of the week.
Lisa Samuel http://www.simmstown.com/

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