Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Carrot Cake Pancakes

Carrot Cake Pancakes?!?

I was reading a  cooking blog the other day and I grew intrigued by his carrot cake pancakes. 

I made a test batch, and as I mixed the batter I said, hmmm these proportions are missing something.  I made one wee test batch, and sure enough, they were tough or heavy, and a little oddly textured to my point of view.  I revised the recipe tonight  and made a very large, new and improved version.  They're still not light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes with this much shredded provider of betacarotene and other vitamins, but they're better.  They taste so good.. quick, go make some.

My critics occupy the dinenr table.  We're talking 7 people eating carrot pancakes.   And they devoured them. 

But wait, back up. I personally dislike cooked carrots. Oh I do like carrot cake, and thus carrot cake pancakes are a luscious thought.  But what if I ended up with surplus carrots? Then what? I would have to ::shudder:: use up a bunch of carrots as a moral necessity.  Necessity being the mother of invention - I opted to peel half a butternut squash and shred it quickly.  I love squash and I can imagine hundreds of squash use ideas. But the carrots would go to the goats.. no carrot salad for me.

The original recipe, when quadrupled for my crowd, produced heavy, but delicious lead weight pancakes. I opted to lighten them with a bit more leavening, add 1/4 cup of oil for the proper texture and to prevent unreasonable stickiness/gloppiness. These taste great!  I used an artificial sweetener Splenda, and a touch of molasses for the brown sugar flavor.  It reduced the carbs a little, and still tastes really yummy.  Please, feel free to try this on your crew for brunch, 'breakfast for dinner', or a weekend breakfast treat.  A dish of applesauce, some lean turkey sausage, or scrambled eggs makes a nice accompaniment, whatever time of the day you're serving these.

Carrot Cake Pancakes

But really, they're made with shredded butternut squash.  Did I mention they're low fat too?

1 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour (or use all white flour if you don't have whole wheat in the house)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups milk (or buttermilk)
2 eggs
1/2 cup splenda sugar free sweetener or brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of molasses (omit if using real brown sugar)
1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter or margarine
2 cup shredded raw butternut squash

Optional Topping:
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
6 tablespoons maple syrup
powdered sugar to taste

First take your average size butternut or other winter squash, and cut it in half.  The butternut confines its seeds to the bulbous, so for speed, avoid that part, and peel just the longer neck portion. See, speedy! Now toss into a food processor on shred, and Bzzt, you're done. Or like me, use your box grater and 5 minutes later you have 4 cups of shreds. That wasn't too time consuming. Watch those knuckles though. Now on to the batter.

1. Mix the flour, leavenings, and spices in a very large bowl. Not that one the larger one. Ok, thanks.

2. Mix the milk, egg, oil, sweetener and shreddy squash in another bowl.

3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients making sure to not over mix. Over mixing causes tough pancakes.

4. Heat your skillet or large griddle (we have a huge nonstick electric griddle that cooks 6 pancakes at a time).

5. Pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pan and heat until the surface starts to bubble and the bottom is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

6. Flip the pancake and cook the other side until the bottom is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.

We served these with margarine and sugar free or reduced sugar maple syrup or real maple syrup from our trees. There are diabetics at my dinner table each night.   The children are also sensitive to cream as in cream cheese, so we'll be making the topping another night, from goat cream cheese. But do try it, because the thought of cream cheese frosting on carrot cake pancakes makes you drool - doesn't it?

Optional:  Mix the cream cheese and maple syrup and add some powdered sugar to get it as sweet as you like. Then spread your cream cheese frosting onto your carrot cake pancakes.  I'd use it as filling and just sprinkle some powdered sugar on top, myself. 

The family reviews were unanimous.  WOW, good carrot cake. And that's with sugarfree syrup and diet margarine.  Imagine, if you made these with sugar and real maple syrup on top.. they'd be over the top FABULOUS.  Try them however you prefer. They're delicious.
Psst.. have you tried Butternut slaw?  That's right, you make coleslaw with shredded butternut squash, and it's sweet, and delicious and leaves you saying:  now why didn't I think of that?

Butternut Slaw

To one shredded butternut squash (about 4 cups), add 1/2 cup of dried cranberries, and 1/2 cup of toasted chopped walnuts.  Then toss with your family's favorite coleslaw dressing or try this  variation. 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, 1 1/2 tablespoons honey,  3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1-1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Taste and adjust it to your palate, then pour over the salad.  Or just substitute the shredded butternut squash in your favorite coleslaw recipe. It's really good.  Just try it. It's Autumn. It's good! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trim Healthy Mama! Cabrini Greenie Casserole

I revisited this recipe - Cabrini Greenie Casserole, after starting the Trim, Healthy, Mama Plan -- because it took just a little adaptation to be trimming and slimming and still delicious. I hope you give it a try. If you prefer, you can skip the pasta and make a side of Zucchini ribbon noodles and pour the sauce over the top rather than bake it, or you can use a Gluten Free option if your family is Gluten Intolerant, rather than following the THM plan. However you make it, I'm sure it's going to be a favorite. <3 KelliSue

I made this Greenie dinner tonight, after adapting it to my pantry and provisioning.  It is so delicious.  I'm posting the original Cabrini Spinach recipe, and then the alterations I made so you can make one or both or even your own version. I reduced the fat in this dish by cutting out one cup of cheese, switched up the frying fat to coconut oil which raises your body's ability to burn your energy, and used low fat sour cream.  Extra sharp cheese has reduced or no lactose, which gives us here a little dietary wiggle room here in using sour cream in a dish. You can substitute Greek Yogurt for 1 cup of the sour cream without affecting the flavor and you'll increase the protein. THIS is a One-Pot wonder!

KelliSue's Cabrini Greenie Casserole - with my apologies to the Junior League
1 16oz. or so box of rotini - I use Dreamfields brand rotini, (with 5 grams available carbs) cooked in well-salted water until barely tender, drained
1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
3 cups of chopped cooked swiss chard, stems finely chopped, or spinach, drained
2.5 to 3 cups of shredded extra sharp cheese or your favorite
1 diced onion
1 cup of diced mushrooms (I used foraged wild mushrooms)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed - sprinkled with season salt
2 cups of sour cream (low fat works perfect here) or Greek Yogurt for even less fat
6 grinds of freshly ground black pepper
For those following the THM plan please grind up some On Plan bread crumbs from Joseph's lavash bread or pitas, etc.,
For those not on this plan Panko style bread crumbs work well.

In a large bowl, stir together cheese, sour cream, pepper.  Pour the not fully cooked, hot drained pasta over the top, and gently combine. Meanwhile, saute  the onion, mushrooms, and chicken in 1/2 cup of coconut oil or  When the chicken is cooked through and the onions are softened, combine with the pasta mixture and place in a 9x13" casserole dish. Top with a layer of Panko style bread crumbs, and spray with butter flavored or coconut oil spray.   Bake uncovered at 400*F for 30 minutes.  The breadcrumbs get nice and crunchy and the casserole becomes one delicious pan of cheesey melty goodness.  Makes 8-10 servings.  The original calorie count is below. I'm sure my version was improved! You can keep this vegetarian by omitting the meat. 

My family's reaction to this casserole, which goes nicely with homemade bread by the way, was "make this one again Mom".  My husband liked how delicious it was, and was happy that the chard came from the garden.  As for me - I like one dish meals.  You might want to put in 1 lb. kielbasa, cut into coins, instead of the chicken breast, or use some leftover ham cubes another time.  This wasn't an expensive dish, using garden produce, 1 box of pasta, 1 lb. leftover or planned over meat, 3 cups of shredded cheese, and a .99 pint of low fat sour cream.  I'll be blanching swiss chard and putting it in the freezer so we can enjoy this one again in the deep freeze of the winter months in Upstate New York.

KelliSue Kolz

Cabrini Spinach
Recipe From: Creme de Colorado by The Junior League of Denver

9 oz spaghetti, broken into pieces, cooked al dente and drained
1/2 cup butter, melted
20 oz frozen spinach, cooked and drained (2 boxes cut-leaf spinach)
4 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
1/4 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup diced onion
1 dash dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients. Place in a 9x13" casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 350oF for 45 minutes. Makes 8-10 servings.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 461 Calories; 33g Fat (63.8% calories from fat); 18g Protein; 24g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 85mg Cholesterol; 458mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1-1/2 Grain(Starch); 1-1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 5-1/2 Fat.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Opie Taylor goes to Iraq

With fourteen children in my family during my formative years, I'm surprised that it seemed like Robbie was the baby for the longest. Maybe it was because I was in high school when he was born and that makes all the difference. He was fun to play with, and of course more happy to see me at age 2 than my siblings who were within a year of age to me. I see that in Emma now. She runs to the door hugging and kissing her Andy, Gerard, Sarah and Merina when they return home from school.Robbie was born pretty bald like most of my birthed in siblings. The adopted ones all had dark hair. Robbie grew in the brightest head of redhair and with his big grin and freckley face he quickly resembled Opie Taylor of The Andy Griffith Show.

As my little children (12 and under) have grown I've been reminded of Robbie's childhood several times. Emma is redhaired and destined to be freckley some day. One morning she came to me in her blue footy pajamas and said Mama, I wet. As I changed her out of her soaked diaper and wet pajamas and put her into the shower I was flashed back to when I was a teen and Robbie was a wee toddler.All the children's rooms were upstairs, like in this old house we live in here. Robbie's room was down the hall from me, but Mom was way down the steep stairway, or so it seemed when we were small.

On the occasion when 2-3 year old Robbie would wet the bed, he'd shed his footed pajamas and soaked underclothing on the bathroom floor and make a speedy, dark, dash down the hall to my room. I slept on the bottom bunk of our bunkbeds shared by my sister and I, and I could reach the bottom drawer of my dresser without much stretching. When Robbie woke me up I'd reach over, grab an old Tshirt out of my bottom drawer and pop it over his head for a makeshirt night shirt, tuck him into the bottom of my bed and go back to sleep.That's what I remembered as I was changing Emma one morning.

Robbie called me with news a few mornings ago. He told me he loves me and that he is being shipped to Iraq with the U.S. Army. Oh sure, he likes the Army life, and he's a good cook keeping both his culinary skills sharp and the army soldiers well-fed, but he's my baby brother. This is not what I envisioned as I encouraged him during culinary school. There's no safe place in Iraq. Even Army cooks have to drive along those roads with those roadside bombs. Even Iraqi children fall prey to the sadistic terror of their countrymen gone wrong. War is Hell.I do not want my baby brother in Hell. I want him exchanging recipes for things we wish we made more regularly, and trying new techniques for things we do repetetively.

I want Robbie kissing my children and milking my goats and coming with surprises for holidays and asking for my prayers about things with which he's struggling. God bless our Troops. May God bless my baby brother who I love so much.

I would appreciate it if when you read this that you would pause and say a heartfelt prayer and ask God to please watch over Robert Brown, the freckle faced boy from Kent, Washington who really wants to make a difference in this world. And maybe one for his mother and his sister who cry over him and want him safe and home.I'll be praying for our president and other leaders who need to fix this situation and get the U.S. Army out of Iraq. Nevertheless, not my will, but God's be done. KelliSue Brown Kolz

Monday, October 5, 2009

Where did you hide the rabbit?

Ree, at Pioneer Woman made a beautiful blog about Welsh Rarebit, which we have always called Welsh Rabbit.  Growing up on Bunny Bee Farms in Ferndale, Washington, there was a little irony in that title.

"Where's the rabbit?  I can't find any rabbit. Moooooooom, I didn't get any rabbit in mine. "

Ahem. Ok, it was a family of 14 children, 15 and under, I kid you not. Since I'll get letters... yes, there were 7 adopted children.

This is a riff on my mom's version, in case you're hungry today.  Mom stirred in scrambled eggs to stretch the Welsh Rabbit.  You can do that, or like I do with my family of 7, try scrambling three whisked whole eggs into a 12.3 oz. box of extra firm or firm tofu that you've cubed. When the eggs are cooked, the tofu is hot, and then blend with the yummy cheese sauce that is Welsh Rarebit.

Mrs. Kolz Welsh Rabbit

6 Tablespoons butter or margarine
6 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt 
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
 a few drops of hot pepper sauce or a hearty pinch of  ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, right from the jar
1 cup of either apple juice or white grape juice
or 1 cup of chicken broth with 1teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice added into the broth - just trust me.
2 cups of milk of your choice (we use goat)
3 cups shredded sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese

Melt your butter in a large sauce pan on medium heat, just until no solids remain. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir with a wooden spoon, letting it bubble for a couple of minutes, nice and light golden. This removes any starchy flavor in the final sauce. Pour in either the juice or the acidified broth, and whisk until the sauce is completely combined and no lumps remain. Toss in the sauces and spice if you use it. Gradually add 2 cups of milk and stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens. 

Meanwhile, have one of your children or other cooking assistant toast up hearty slices of bread.  Get them nice and crunchy! This is a great place to use up hearty, grainy bread, or rustic artisan breads, homemade bread, whatever you have.

If you have a slicing tomato sitting on a sunny windowsill, now's the time to go slice it.  I love a crunchy slice of toast, a ladle full of Welsh Rabbit, and then a beautiful slice of ripe red tomato right on top.  Use a fork and knife and dig right in while it's hot.  Bliss!

But you know what's even better?  A Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich. Try this variation, and you can thank me later. 

For each Hot Brown sandwich, place two slices of toasted bread on a metal (or flameproof) dish. Cover the toast with a liberal amount of sliced, possibly leftover or deli sliced turkey. Pour a generous amount of sauce over the turkey. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan  or cheddar cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler, top with a thin slice of tomato, cross two crispy pieces of bacon over the top into an X, and serve immediately. You eat these with a fork too.

Makes 4 servings of two open-faced Kentucky Hot Brown sandwiches each.  They're special. You are too, so try one soon!

Here Moosey Moosey!

I have a love affair with shelf-stable, ready when I want it, tofu. Truly. Stay with me, you might find yourself in my camp. Really - that chocolate pie at the very end is quick to make, and will make a convert of you.

That's right. 12.3 oz. of silken goodness, just waiting for me to add it's protein richness to something we eat. This little box costs about $1.50, give or take, and can also be bought in 24 pack cases, which is how I usually purchase it. Ideally I mix 12 of the the extra firm and 12 of the silken in the case pack, if the store manager is in the mood to be helpful. The two varieties are used quite differently at my house, so the firmness matters.

How convenient that they color code the boxes so I can send a 7 year old into the pantry with instructions to bring me a blue tofu box, or a pink tofu box.

Chocolate mousse makes a nice dessert on a Sunday afternoon after a big dinner, or a fluffy surprise for after school snackers at my house. It's kind of diet friendly, if you're counting carbohydrates or are diabetic. I also keep on hand a box of Whipped topping mix that I make with icy goat's milk, or a container of frozen Cool Whip in the freezer. This recipe calls for real whipping cream, so use that if you prefer.

Let's make something with the silken soft tofu first. How about a chocolate mousse that's sugar free and yummy? These are ingredients that sit on my pantry shelf just waiting for the mood to strike. And I heart it, because it has a good supply of protein, along with chocolatey goodness. Think about your favorite flavor of pudding and you might find a variation that flips your lid. My personal favorite is chocolate mint.

Sugar Free Chocolate Mousse
1 4 oz package Chocolate Sugar-Free Instant Jello Pudding
1 10 oz to 12.3 oz. package soft tofu (refrigerated tofu is sold in 10 oz. pkgs, and shelf stable in 12.3 oz. pkgs.)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Optional: Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract to vanilla pudding or 1 tsp. peppermint extract to chocolate pudding or 1/2 tsp. butter pecan flavoring to butterscotch pudding
1 pint real whipping cream – whipped and divided

In a large mixing bowl, add the pudding mix, tofu, cocoa powder and optional extract. Beat with an electric mixer on medium high until very smooth. Or mix with a hand held blender until ultra-smooth. If you wish to make vanilla or butterscotch, omit the cocoa powder.

In separate bowl, mix the whipping cream until soft peaks form. If you are dairy intolerant - this is a good place to use a whipped nondairy topping. Just gently fold 2 cups of nondairy whip into your mousse, until barely combined. Then skip ahead to serving in the parfait dishes.

Gently fold 2 cups of whipped cream into the mousse mixture using a rubber spatula, just until it's softly combined. You don't want to deflate the cream.

Serve in parfait dishes and garnish with some of the remaining whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or a sprig of mint. Fluffy, sweet, and oh so nice.

But let's be real. Nothing beats a deep, dark, chocolate pie. Not even mousse.

Try this one with the extra firm or firm tofu. You'll need a blender or food processor for this recipe.

Can't Believe It's Tofu Chocolate Pie
1 pkg. 120z. pkg. or so of (2 cups) semi sweet or special dark chocolate chips (these are non-dairy)
1 Tablespoon of butter or margarine
1 pkg. (12.3 oz. ) extra firm tofu
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract

Crumble or break up tofu into a high speed blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. While it blends, melt butter and semisweet chips together in a microwave safe bowl, one minute on high power. Stir until smooth, heating an additional 10 seconds at a time if necessary. Pour the liquid melted chocolate mixture into the blender container of smooth silky tofu. Add vanilla extract and blend until completely and evenly mixed.

Immediately pour into dessert dishes, or a graham cracker or pre-baked pastry crust. Chill until firm. This cuts like a cheesecake without the lactose issues that affect my children. It's amazing and once it's cooled you'll not taste any tofu taste at all. Try it. If you use soybean margarine, this is an appropriately vegan recipe. My dad, the tofu hater, loves this pie and can't believe it's tofu.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Tale of Two Cookies

Two recipes for butterscotch no bake cookies. It's an experiment... two very delicious butterscotchy cookies, not to be confused with the candy-like haystacks, that obtain their butterscotch flavor from two different sources. The first is

Butterscotch No Bake Cookies
Using Butterscotch Morsels

3 Cups Butterscotch Morsels (that's 2 full 11 oz. packages Nestle butterscotch morsels, with 1/3 cup leftovers to feed your assistant.)
1 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Milk (we've used both soy and goat's milk with success)
3/4 Cup Butter
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Cups Chunky Peanut Butter
3 1/2 Cups Of Quaker Rolled Oats
Cooks note: I have used both old fashioned and quick cooking oats.

Serving Size 15-30
125 Calories Per Serving
5 Grams Of Fat
Preparation Instructions:

In a large bowl, barely combine the peanut butter and rolled oats. Just mix a few times, you'll set them aside for later. In a medium sauce pan combine the sugar, milk and butter and bring to a boil. Boil for exactly 1 minute. Turn off the heat, then stir in the 3 cups of butterscotch morsels and add the vanilla extract. When they're melted and well incorporated, pour over the rolled oats and peanut butter. Mix well, and drop by tablespoon onto a well-greased cookie sheet or on a counter that is lined with was paper. Let the cookies sit at room temperature until hardened, or to expedite the process you can slide them into the refrigerator to chill. Excellent with a glass of cold goat's milk.
Cook's note: That's $5.00 for butterscotch chips alone, and I'm not feeling the love of my family budget in this recipe. They taste good, the peanut butter is a nice addition, but really, $5.00 for just one ingredient? These go fast, so the children aren't getting very many cookies for their budget dollar in my opinion. They're cute on an all no-bake cookie tray, alongside the vanilla and chocolate varieties.

Pantry Lover's Butterscotch No-Bakes
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup milk
1 (3 1/2 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix (I have used both instant and the cook and serve variety - they both work here.
3 1/2 cups quick oats

1On stovetop in a 3 qt pan on medium heat: Combine first 3 ingredients and bring to boil, stirring frequently. If using cook and serve pudding mix, add here, mixing well. Boil hard exactly 2 minutes.
2Remove from heat and add oats and instant pudding mix here, if using.
3Mix thoroughly.
4.Drop spoonfuls onto waxed paper.
5. Let cool 15 minutes

These are called pantry lovers, because we can store all the ingredients in the pantry and at the last minute when we want a quick cookie treat, voila'. They're quite good, and pretty inexpensive. The butterscotch pudding was less than $1.00 which makes it a viable choice for sitting in the pantry as a last minute cookie go-to item. They're also simple enough that many children can manage the recipe on their own, with a little supervision at the stove top.

This one is a keeper.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Closure and Remembrance

I was about 7 weeks pregnant. The fertility center's protocol is that at 6 weeks you have an ultrasound. My friend Clare, who is my age (gasp, we're past our 40th birthdays) had been in to see her doctor at 6 weeks and was told there was no heartbeat on her ultrasound but there might be and she should come back in a few days. Later, at the return, she found that her embryo had already died. Remembering that experience, I delayed my own ultrasound for one week so there would be no dilly-dallying about growth of a fetus.

I flippantly and cheerfully gave my husband a pass and encouraged him to stay at work instead of coming to the second ultrasound. I had seen the embryo on a previous ultrasound, firmly implanted in my uterus at 5+ weeks, so we knew that the pregnancy was proceeding normally. I hopped in the minivan and dropped the children off at my parents and zoomed off for the hour drive to the Fertility Center.

As I drove, I was struck by a sudden sense of gloom, an almost tangible grey cloud, and I began to pray out loud for relief. I asked Heavenly Father to help this horrible feeling to leave me so that I could enjoy my pregnancy, and had the most immediate feelings and impressions. I felt comforted, but the gloom did not leave me.  My prayer changed and I asked Heavenly Father to help me to be cheerful and enjoy this experience for however the pregnancy lasted. I then saw in my mind's eye a fat little baby with a sweet baby face looking at me. I smiled at that baby, because the baby was a little smaller than my Andy and Sarah, who were 10+ and 12 lbs. each, and the baby was also bigger than Emma who was 5-11 when I brought her home from the hospital. I felt some relief to be seeing a live birthed baby because this feeling of gloom was so strong as I drove. And yet I felt comforted.  I put it all aside to cheerfully greet the receptionist.

I went in and got ready for my ultrasound and chatted with Dr. H who was there to perform it. She scanned my abdomen and a momentary flicker led me to say Oh There's the heartbeat, and she said no.. that's not.

Oh. A sick feeling of dread overwhelmed me. Shock and puzzlement filled my soul. How quickly I forget what I had been warned.

She scanned over to the actual fetus and said "I'm sorry Honey, the baby has no heartbeat". I sucked in air abruptly.

There's no heartbeat - how can that be? Oh.

She measured and recorded her medical information for my file, the baby made it from embryo to fetal stage, but had stopped growing one week previously.

I want my mama!

How am I going to tell my husband? He's at work, and this is going to hurt so bad.

She hugged me and left me to dress into my street clothes, indicating I was to meet her in the office across the hall from the ultrasound room. I texted my husband to call me. I sat in her office and heard the clinical explanations of what happened. Probably chromosomal damage. An incident of the interaction between one particular sperm and one particular egg. Not uncommon over age 35, but not a portent of everlasting doom either. That helped, somewhat. FarmBoy called as I sat listening, and I told her I'd take my husband's call. He took the information calmly, and Dr. H was able to answer his questions as she had mine.

How do you recover from that? How do you take that same rounding belly home, and wait for your body to recognize that the baby is dead and expell the fetus? Why does morning sickness make you barf on the way home, even though you just found out the baby is dead. Darn those hormones! How do you reconcile the joy you felt at having a new family member join your family with this sudden gloom? There are no simple answers. Here's where I found peace.

I was given three options. I could wait and see how my body handled a miscarriage within the next two weeks and it might take care of everything on its own. I could use misoprostol, a drug that dilates the cervix and gives one contractions which will encourage the expelling of a dead fetus - but with a risk of incomplete miscarriage. I could schedule surgery, a dilation and curretage which would scrape out my uterus and end this process quickly and surgically but with a risk of uterine damage or scarring.

I opted to wait at home with my family. It gave me days to ponder my family, my hopes and our dreams, and to feel and process my grief in privacy. I cried, I was comforted, and I continued through stages of grief. It was good for me. However, as the 2nd week approached without resolution, I opted to take misoprostol, hoping to avoid surgery. I received testing at the maternity ward at the hospital and the shot for my RH factor in my blood. I took the prescription drug Cytotec every 4 hours as prescribed by my OB/Gyn's backup Dr., with painkillers, and was stunned at how painful the contractions were. I had gory blood clots but didn't see anything that was what I expected a fetus to resemble. My OB/Gyn called regularly to monitor my progress at home. After the third day of this I saw my OB at his office, and I was barely able to walk due to contractions and pain. He examined my cervix and said he could see the fetal sac right there, and predicted I'd pass it in his office or on the way home. Making certain I had all the supplies I'd need, I opted to go home, a mere 15 minute drive. I was a little cheerful, hoping for a final resolution and end to this ordeal.

The next day, a Saturday, came and went, without resolution, and I decided to go back into the office on Monday to schedule a D&C and be done with the suffering. I woke up on Sunday morning shaking and shivvering in the recliner as I lay wrapped warmly in my quilt. July turned out cold and cruel, after all. I came to my senses and took my temperature and headed for a hot shower to warm up. It was 102*. That's enough to send a woman in my condition to the ER.

I called the OB who said he'd meet me there. I took my pain medication and ibuprofen for the fever, swallowed a glass of water, and got to work. It took me an hour to get the children awakened, showered, fed breakfast and ready for church and organized to meet Grandma who would keep them for the day. My fever dropped as I went along, as I knew it would.

Then, content that all was well in my little nest of chicks, I went with my husband to the hospital. The OB examined me after I'd received an IV, and said yes, you have a large blood clot at your cervix. I told him it had been there since Friday and we had no tissue pass at all. He asked if I was still feeling strongly about avoiding a D&C. I said not any more. I asked him if I had a UTI. We had tested for that when I arrived. The lab results said no. I was a little anemic though. He held up his hands to show how far I was dialated, and indicated it would be curretage (scraping) only, and would be done under general anesthesia. As I was 15 minutes from needing another pain pill, I told him that as long as it was within 15 minutes I would be fine. I felt calm and noticed that FarmBoy didn't even look like fainting this time. He has that vaso-vagal response which put him on the floor at the sight of blood or trauma, but he held up pretty well, seated safely at my head.

I was wheeled into surgery. The surgery was normal and uneventful, and I had no nausea afterwards. I'm reconciled and have grieved the loss of our child some two weeks as I waited, so I was just clinically noting my responses to each thing and determining that everything was okay with me. I was hungry. I wanted sushi. This amused the nurse and doctor.  I ate sushi on the way home from the hospital.

The surgeon-OB told me that most all of the fetal material was still internal when he did the surgery, so the d&c was a wise choice. A wide open cervix is like a wick to a uterine infection. I had avoided that. He gave me some IV antibiotics, but just one dose, feeling it was sufficient. I recovered well, noting that I felt much better immediately, compared to the previous week of laboring for nearly 5 days.

It was good to see my children at home and my toddler gleefully climbed in my lap and asked if my tummy was all better. I had very gingerly held her over the past week, asking her to avoid my really sore abdomen. She's glad that's past, as she takes flying leaps into my lap with her pink cheeked demand "Hold me, I tired". Grandma, my mother, brought over dinner Sunday night, as I vegetated, while my white faced self recovered from anesthesia.

I rested on Monday, just putting dinner into the crockpot to simmer while I read books and snoozed. The children went to Seabreeze, an amusement park with their Grandfather, and Grandmother kept the toddler with her. Yep, I milked it. Napped, nibbled, novels. A good day to recover. I skipped soccer practice that night, as a nod to my OB, but not because I needed to.

Ladies from church have apparently recieved word that an army has taken up residence, as they brought over trays and trays of food including enough pasta salad and artisanal bread for an encampment, and a turkey dinner for the neighborhood. Bless 'em all.
I had to hurry and put the food away as we had a soccer game for the 7 year old's team that we coach. I ran off and on the field with the kids and assigned positions, blew my whistle incessantly to oblivious 7 year old blue frogs and just generally had a good time. It's nice to feel my muscles again and stretch my back and use my abdominals as we warm up.

When we got home, I still had energy. It's amazing. I've been tired of feeling pathetic, so this is nice! I took half the turkey dinner to a friend undergoing chemotherapy,my excuse being that it just wouldn't fit into our refrigerator with the food of the day before. And she has cancer. I had minor surgery, that I've been expecting for weeks, and I filled my freezer and pantry with easy to prepare foods and crock pot essentials.

It felt good to do something good for someone else for a change. Now that's more like it.
This is in retrospection of my miscarriage in July. It's now the last day of September. One year ago today I gleefully noted that I was pregnant with a new baby after two long years of trying, and had a miscarriage a day or two before Halloween. Then in July, just a month after that baby's due date, I had another later miscarriage. I know that there is a chubby, pink, visibly healthy little boy child waiting to join our family. We eagerly await the news that he's on his way after these two false starts.

If you would like to join us, please pray for a healthy, strong, full term body for a baby to join the Kolz family. Grandma Kolz passed away September 11, and we'd really like to celebrate another one coming, after we noted one passing.  Baby Daniel, Mama longs to hold you in her arms.