About Me

Hi! My name is Lexy Briest. I am a teacher, artist, wife, and best of all mom to Delilah Poppy. This blog is meant to document what I love and discover along the way of becoming a mommy, which to me is a never ending journey. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My DHA journey to being a better mommy and making a brainier baby

This week on my pregnancy app (brought to me by Whattoexpect.com) there was a blurb about the DHA found in lean protein rich fish. I already know: protein, protein, PROTEIN!!!!!!! Apparently having a constant supply of these omega-3s aren't just benefiting baby's fast growing brain. They also decrease mommy's chance of postpartum depression as Omega-3s improve your memory and mood. Well all right, bring it on! Luckily, I do not have an aversion to fish like I do to meat. I also enjoy eggs and walnuts which are rich in these omega-3s.  So, I decided on a nice cut of fish that looked good in the store and decided I would figure out the rest when I got home. (It was a work night and I didn't have the brain power to think of recipes and ingredients then and there). So here is what I came up with with whatever I had on hand. (Please note, I didn't measure anything so these are just guesstimates).

Maple and Clementine Glazed Snapper
2 fillets of wild caught snapper
3 cloves of garlic
zest and juice of one clementine
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil 
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 clementine segmented 
1 lb steamed broccoli
salt and pepper

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a saucepan over medium. To that add the garlic and zest, releasing their fragrance and oils for 1 minute. Then add the maple syrup, soy sauce, and juice of one clementine. Turn off the heat and set aside. 
Season the fish with salt and pepper, then drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the fish. Spread over the fillet with your fingers to coat evenly. ( I used a nonstick grill pan, so the oil is really optional unless you are using something that is not nonstick).
Heat a grill pan over medium-high and place the fish in the pan, skin side down. Cover the fish with a piece of foil loosely so that it steams. After 4-5 minutes, flip the fish and cover with foil for another 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to flake.
Split the reserved glaze in half, placing some in a small bowl. Leave the rest in the saucepan and add the steamed broccoli and clementine segments to the pan, coating them with the sauce. 
Flip the fish once more so that they are skin side down. Using a basting brush, brush the reserved glaze over the tops of the fish. Return the foil so that the glaze gets sticky, about one minute. The fish is ready when it flakes when grazed with a fork. 

I served this with honey cornbread (made with almond milk) because Bryan and I had a lot of rice last week. You can serve it with polenta or rice instead. 

This really worked out for me as my main craving is natural sweetness, like that of fruit. I also love Chinese food, but try not to eat it out because of the high fat, sodium and all over greasiness. This glaze/sauce taste like a fresher, healthier version of the orange sauce used for Chinese orange chicken. So if you like that, you will like this! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Nursery Diaries: Part 2

Once we found out we were having a girl, I was so ready to start thinking about her room! I had already been looking at bedding from land of nod, dwellstudio, potterybarnkids, and restoration hardware. I wanted something organic and modern. We found out she was a she the day before Thanksgiving at our appointment on our way to New York to spend the holiday with Bryan's family. It just so happened that Dwellstudio just released a new pattern and of course were having their After Thanksgiving Sale! With only a little back and forth between Bryan, my mom and me, I decided on the Meadow Powder Blue Crib Bedding by Dwellstudio.
We opted not to get the bumper, as they are a SIDS risk. Instead, we got the crib skirt and sheet pictured above, as well as a sheet that has the same pattern as the skirt, the matching changing pad cover, and the play blanket which will be plush enough for tummy time. I also purchased the bib and burb set so that I would have something small to fit in my purse to match paint colors and decor with.  

Though this bedding is not labeled organic, Dwellstudio has reassuring information on their website: 
"All DwellStudio products are made of the highest quality cotton and linen available. DwellStudio prints are all low-impact fiber-reactive dyes. They contain no heavy metals or other known toxic substances, are AZO free and formaldehyde free, and meet all criteria for eco-friendly pigments. 
All of our products are formaldehyde-free and have NOT been treated with or contaminated by the following chemicals or agents during any part of the manufacturing process:
As for the crib, we certainly did not want to dish out $1000 for the Mid-Century Modern Crib pictured above (also by Dwellstudio). I did want something more modern and had been eyeing both the white cribs at Ikea and the Hudson Crib by Babyletto. We received some early baby gifts during Christmas and were able to purchase the Hudson crib with that money. 
One of the reasons we like this crib is for its modern appeal. It also has four mattress heights, while the Ikea Cribs only had two. The Babyletto Hudson crib also has a metal mattress support while the Ikea cribs have a fiberboard mattress support. The Hudson is made out of 100% solid New Zealand Pine from Sustainable Forests and the Ikea cribs are made mostly of solid beech. The crib we choose is made with a non- toxic finish that is lead and phthalate safe as well as JPMA certified while the Ikea cribs have tinted clear amino resin lacquer and acrylic lacquer. Both cribs allow for one side to be removed to create a toddler bed, but the babyletto crib comes with a toddler rail. Honestly, if we didn't have money from gifts, we would have bought the Ikea crib. But I like the stats and features of the Hudson crib better and am glad we purchased it! 
As soon as the floors are complete Bryan will be able to assemble the crib :) 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Nursery Diaries: Part 1

My original intention of creating this blog was to be able to document the process of putting the baby's nursery together. I searched and searched but cannot find the photo of what this room looked like when we bought the house. I have a sinking feeling that it is on Bryan's computer which decided to die over the summer. I will just have to start with the image I took after the room was primed and the carpet was removed.  But let me try to describe to you what the room looked like before. We named it the "murder" room ( I know, terrible!) because it was painted a dark crimson. The previous owners painted right over a border that lined the wall touching the ceiling, right over the chair rail, and did so with drips and rough spots on the walls. Not to mention getting the lovely paint color on the ceiling and on the already stained carpet below. So when it came time to prime the room, we had to do some serious sanding first. The result was a bright and more angel-like space:

Mind you, this is just primer on the walls. The ceiling has not been touched and I have paint samples up on the wall in this photo. Luckily, the sub floor was in tip top shape. 

After living with the samples for a week (which I painted in more areas in the room) to observe them at different times of day, we picked out one that we felt went best with the bedding (to come in another post).  Actually, the people at home depot who made our samples forgot to give us back the sample chip that has the name of the color, so we had to do some guessing work and went with what we thought was the sample chip. We went with Cool Cream by Behr. We took this to Lowes to have our paint made because we like the Valspar line. We got their Ultra series which is Zero VOC and low odor. It is a paint plus primer, but these walls were so thirsty, the added primer helped by using only two coats of paint. We only did one coat of primer previously because the walls sucked it up, even though the room is only around 10' x 10'. 

You see, this paint color can look warm with a peachy glow in certain types of sunlight or it can look cool with a blue tone depending on the light. 

We had left over white paint that we used in the hall bathroom for the trim and door, so we just used that for the baby's room trim, doors and ceiling. And volia! You can even see a glimpse of the wood floors Bryan is installing as I post! 

While Bryan is doing all this hard work, baby and I are rewarding ourselves with Coconut Sorbet!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Pregnancy Food

Since becoming pregnant, I have had quite the meat aversion. As a meat lover, this came as quite a shock. Not to mention the disappointment for my husband, Bryan. Though we both love food, I take care of the shopping and cooking while he takes care of the cleaning- I don't want him to cook and he doesn't want me to clean. We are good at what we do.

After my first trimester I was finally able to enjoy cooking and eating again. Certainly I am concerned with nutrition and eating right to nourish my growing baby, so I had to get creative in the kitchen to make up for the nutrients I was missing from my meat proteins. This isn't as important as the dancing baby in my belly, but I wanted my husband to enjoy his food too:)

This recipe hits all the marks, making Mommy and Daddy's palette happy. While I was reconstituting the porcini mushrooms, Bryan walked through the kitchen and exclaimed, "Are you making bacon? It smells so good!" No, of course I am not making bacon (hello, nitrates and overbearing levels of salt- another food aversion I have had this pregnancy!) It was the earthiness of the porcini's that emits this wonderful aroma. Their texture is "meaty" enough that he didn't miss the meat, either.  Finally, the best part of this meal: because it smelled so delicious, Bryan kept coming in and even offered to stir, which as a pregnant lady, standing for 20 minutes to stir and ladle hot broth can be a pain in the everything!

Lexy's Mushroom Risotto
.5 oz dried Porcini Mushrooms
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp Grapeseed oil (you can use any kind), plus a teaspoon
1/2 lb any fresh mushrooms (I used shiitake), sliced 
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsps unsalted butter
2 shallots, chopped
1 cup arborio rice 
*1/2 cup brandy (this is optional- I added it to give a warm flavor- you can try any liquor or wine- the alcohol burns off)
1 cup reserved liquid from reconstituting the porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup Mascarpone cheese
1/4 (or more to taste) Parmesan cheese
1 lb asparagus
salt and pepper

First you have to reconstitute the porcini mushrooms. Boil 1 cup of water and pour over the porcini's in a small bowl. Let sit 30 minutes.
Bring the broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Keep on low. 
In a large and shallow saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of grapeseed oil on medium. Add the sliced fresh mushrooms, cook 3-5 minutes. Squeeze the porcini's of their liquid (keep the reconstituting liquid reserved!) and add to the pan with the other mushrooms, cook 1 minute. Add the garlic, cook one minute, and remove from pan. Set aside. 
Add the reserved porcini liquid to the pan with the broth. 
Raise the heat to medium-high. To the pan, add one tbsp of the butter and the chopped shallots. Cook about 5 minutes till they are translucent. Add the rice. You want each grain to be coated and glossy from the butter before adding your liquids. 
Add your brandy. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get the bits leftover from the mushrooms off the bottom of the pan. The heat will burn the alcohol off and the rice will absorb the flavor left from the brandy. When the brandy has been absorbed, add one ladle full of the warm broth to the pan. Stir the rice constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this step for 20-22 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed or the rice taste creamy and a little Al dente. (I had about a ladle in a half leftover, but it really depends on how the rice is absorbing the liquid). If you run out of broth but the rice isn't as creamy or soft as you like, you can use warm water. 
Turn the heat off. Stir in the last tablespoon of butter, the Mascarpone, Parmesan, and the mushrooms back to the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cut or break off the tough ends of the asparagus. Drizzle the teaspoon or so of grapeseed oil on the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan on medium high and grill the asparagus about 5 minutes, turning once halfway through. Alternatively, roast the asparagus on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven. 
Plate the risotto, topped with asparagus and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.