The Cook Returns

Every pregnancy is different, but all of mine have one thing in common: nausea. There are varying degrees to be sure, and this time I have not made a trip to the ER for fluids and IV meds a la Duchess Kate like I did with Archie, but all three babies have given me the gags long into the second trimester.

This time I have to eat, like, every thirty minutes to keep my blood sugar from going haywire and causing hours of nausea. To keep from heaving, I have to eat several small meals and pay attention to how I’m feeling because just when I think I can hold off on another turkey sandwich, I wait too long and feel wretched. I do mean several meals and not snacks, because protein and fat are the only cures for this blood sugar mayhem. Crackers don’t help and fruit makes it worse.

I generally have fairly potent cravings and aversions with each child, and this time I’m averse to most meat and only want to gorge on fruit but alas, that is not an option assuming I want to keep that fruit in my stomach longer than an hour. When I can’t go another minute without a tart, juicy orange, I make a giant sandwich with double meat (heated to kill listeria, natch), eat the entire thing, and then quickly eat orange segments immediately afterward. Sometimes it’s still too much sugar and acid, and I have to follow the meal with almond butter or a few bites of last night’s leftovers to keep from coming down with a case of the gags.

My signature dish is roast chicken, the thought of which has me reaching for the Zofran right now. Meat is wet and smells like garbage. Cheese is okay, but doesn’t help as much as I’d hoped. I can’t eat a ton of vegetables, especially raw veg, after a warning from my Gastroenterologist: “No more fiber unless you want to have surgery while pregnant.” Apparently my Crohn’s has caused problems in my guts that will need to be fixed with a scalpel rather than medication, and abdominal surgery while you’re chock-full of baby is not safe for anyone.

For anyone keeping track, that’s a firm “no” on raw veg, fibrous veg, meats that are wet and/or have smells, fruit, and sweets. That leaves carbs, dry meat, overcooked veg, and fat, which I have to consume hourly to avoid bouts of barfs. The weight gain is going swimmingly, as you can imagine. I’ve asked to be tested for gestational diabetes because a lot of my problems are sugar-related, and a pregnant woman should be able to eat an apple without having to hold the bones in her skull together during migraines, dizziness, and heaves. My God, the heaves.

This week, I’m finally making an attempt to cook again. I wasted a lot of food thinking I’d be fine to cook and then by the end of the day I felt so miserable I had to leave the room while Robby scrounged up something microwavable for the kids. I bet you didn’t know morning sickness could be worse in the evening, but there you have it. I’m just so special.

0BE42F37-7EDC-461A-B44D-A6509D35B5F2.JPGLast night was one of the first real meals I’ve made for the family in a while, and by some miracle everyone ate it! I made kefta, because ground beef doesn’t totally upset me right now, and couscous with vegetables and a honey-lemon vinaigrette. This meal is very flavorful and cheap, and I think food resembling the kids’ standby favorites warms them up to trying new things. They are obsessed with pasta and both love rice, so after mild success with risotto the other night I decided to try couscous on my way to introducing them to quinoa.

My only regret is not grating the onion for the kefta, which I think might have helped the kids get over the bits poking out. Jackson complained about green stuff in the meat (parsley) but only after he’d consumed half his large portion. I made mine into patties and cooked them on the grill pan inside, so they looked a bit like burgers. I omitted the cayenne for my tiny diners, and didn’t add the optional mint because I had ground beef rather than lamb.

For the couscous, I made a whole box of plain according to the instructions (olive oil not D6CC18F8-6FFE-4E2E-9B14-2A3CB31F3F80.JPGbutter because Archer is allergic to dairy) and full disclosure: I put in a pinch of saffron. Saffron is not cheap, but I got it for Christmas so mine was free! For this option, drop of pinch of threads into your liquid before bringing to a boil. If you don’t have any, you won’t miss it. I used chicken broth, so I made sure to taste the couscous before adding anything to gauge the salt level.

I roasted diced carrots in a 400* oven until they started to wrinkle a bit, then added diced onion and bell pepper to the sheet pan and roasted them another 10 minutes. All veg was tossed with EVOO, salt, and pepper.

I made a dressing with the juice of two small lemons, a pinch each salt and pepper, a tablespoon of honey, and several tablespoons of EVOO (the good stuff, because you’re not going to cook it). I also added a few dashes of ras el hanout which is a Moroccan spice mix made of cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and a whole host of other goodies I highly recommend, but if you don’t have it a dash of cumin will do nicely. Drizzle over fork-fluffed couscous, toss in roasted veg, and serve with kefta. Garnish with mint.

Everyone dug into the bowl before I could snap a picture, but it turned out pretty tasty!

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