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Ravioli and Kale in Chive Garlic Sauce

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Today has had its ups and downs. A great way to start your morning is not getting on the scale, nevertheless, it’s a ritual now. I figure it keeps things consistent, at least, to have one set time to check these things. Mr. Brings-Me-Jamba-Juice-Because-He-Knows-I’m-Having-A-Bad-Day frequently tells me that you have to look at weekly trends rather than daily fluctuations. Nope, still doesn’t help.

Needless to say, I was not where I wanted to be. I’m trying to gain that perfect amount of weight, but my pregnancy with Monkeybear proved how seemingly impossible that is. The only reason I gained just 35 pounds was because I got the stomach flu at 34 weeks, which is obviously not the right way to go about things. Things like that can induce pre-term labor, which I am decidedly not interested in.

It’s hard to break the cycle of obsession with regards to weight gain or loss. On one hand, you count every single calorie you consume, down to the last single pistachio, because 5 calories makes all the difference (not really). At the same time though, this vicious cycle does by no means bring about happiness. True, you may be at the weight you want to be at the next day, but that doesn’t mean you get to stop. Oh no. That is just confirmation that you need to keep doing what you’re doing, because it is giving you the results you want. And if it isn’t, then it’s your fault, because you were not strict enough with yourself.

As for me, I have not just my life at play, but another’s as well. So every day, I get more panicked as the scale creeps up, though I know logically that it is not only healthy, but normal to gain weight during pregnancy. My mother-in-law has told me about her pregnancy with her oldest, the entirety of which was in Germany. The German doctor told her that she was only allowed to gain 17 pounds total, if I am recalling this all correctly. This was, of course, the 1970s, so things have changed. There are new standards, and more research has been done. I do not want this pregnancy to be like that. Or like it has been, for that matter. Obsessing about how many calories I am consuming, or burning off, just so that I hit that perfect 25 pounds. The agonizing about, “Well, If I eat this now, it means I can only have celery and raisins for dinner” (an exaggeration, but you get the point).

While thinking about tonight’s dinner, I knew I only had about 400 calories to play around with, considering that I took a nap instead of doing my hour and a half yoga routine I usually do while the Little Sir takes his nap. I started with the worrying about which ravioli I should choose; one sounded better, but the other one was lower calorie overall. And then it hit me.

It isn’t about the calories, really. It’s about eating healthy; making sure that the baby currently baking and I are getting vitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy fats we need. While being pregnant does not get me a free pass to eat for two, it does put the responsibility on me to make sure that I am giving both of us the right fuel.

I ended up choosing the lower calorie of the two ravioli’s I purchased, not because it was lower calorie, but because it was higher in protein, lower in saturated fat, and had more vitamins than the other type. I bought the packages of the premade fresh raviolis, but if you have a recipe for homemade, absolutely use it. If you have a brand or flavor you like, use it. A serving of this, as I made it, has about 400 calories, which is great. But don’t stress about it; that is my lesson for the day. If you worry constantly about small things, it makes it harder to recognize the small, everyday miracles. Like sending your son’s kisses to his daddy through the phone.

Ravioli and Kale in Chive Garlic Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

16 oz. ravioli

½ c starchy cooking water, reserved

2 c. kale, ribs removed

2 tbsp unsalted butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chives, minced

Splash of white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1. Cook your ravioli according to package or individual recipe instructions. Drain, reserving ½ c of the cooking water for the sauce.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the garlic and chives, and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the kale, and stir to coat. Cover the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the kale is fully wilted down.

3. Add a splash of white wine and a splash of the starchy cooking water and cook until it thickens slightly. You may not use all the cooking water you reserved. Stir in the ravioli and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Swiss Chard Berry Smoothie

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Let me tell you about my baby weight woes.

Let me just say, I have not had anywhere near the issues that some women have. While pregnant with James, I gained 35 lbs, which is on the upper end of the healthy range. I then produced the most perfect little boy this world has ever seen (and no, I’m not biased), and was left with 25 lbs to lose. Over the course of about a year, I lost the weight doing various things like P90X (I lasted a month), running, and cutting calories. At about a year, I got back down to my pre-baby weight of 110 lbs. I wanted, however, to get back to my academy weight: 108.6. Two pounds shouldn’t be that hard to lose, right?

Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha.

Now, I’m not talking hundreds of pounds here. But when you’re just over 5 feet tall, one pound looks like 10. So when I say that this was affecting my self esteem in a major way, I absolutely mean it.

The irony of it all was that I wasn’t even really trying to get down to 107.8 lbs. And it all started with my teeth.

At 24 years old, my wisdom teeth decided to make an entrance. Literally. So, off I go to the dentist, who says, “Yeah, your wisdom teeth needed to come out yesterday. What’s the earliest we can get you in?”

I vaguely remembered that my friends in high school who needed their wisdom teeth removed drank smoothies, ate ice cream, and were in tremendous amounts of pain. This made me decide to try green smoothies, because if I couldn’t eat my veggies, by God, I’d drink them.

As a side note, if you can stomach it, don’t let them put you under when you get your wisdom teeth pulled. I stayed awake for mine, and I thought the experience was oddly fascinating.

After my surgery, I get home, and hang out with my husband and mother-in-law. Tim whips me up this drink (I told him exactly what to put in), and when I say that you really can’t taste much of the “green”, I mean it. I won’t lie and say that it’s completely eliminated, but I think it won’t be nearly as good if you left out the greens.

For this recipe, especially if you are new to green smoothies, I recommend Swiss chard or spinach; it’s lot easier to mask. Kale, arugula, and lettuce can be used as well, but you’ll taste it a lot more.

 

Swiss chard Berry Smoothie

3 cups Swiss chard, rinsed and chopped

1 cup frozen mixed berries

1 apple, cored and chopped

1 orange, peeled and segmented

Water as needed

1. In a blender, add together the fruit, and put the lid on. Use the “Crush Ice” mode until the berries are roughly chopped, then add the Swiss chard. Blend until smooth.

Pour into a pretty glass, and enjoy!