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Monthly Archives: June 2013

So I’m having surgery on Tuesday morning and since I’ve left most everything to the last minute, I’m not sure when I’ll be back to posting. If I were a responsible blogger I would have some drafts ready to auto-post… but that’s an awful lot of preparedness.

I really hope to at least post a picture or a mini-update on Tuesday afternoon…but I’ll be fairly heavily medicated so who knows what will happen. I apologize in advance for any off the wall, pain med-induced updates that might happen.

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Got my blood work over with today. Woo!

As I was getting my blood drawn today, the nice woman and I chatted about my upcoming surgery. Turns out, she’d had the same procedure a few years ago.

“I had a ten pound baby with no meds,” she exclaimed,”but this surgery was a HELL of a lot worse!”

Um…That’s not really what I wanted to hear.

“And don’t get me wrong, he split me wide open! It HURT!”

Ok, really?!

“Oh, I see that they’ve ordered two bags of your blood to have ready… So you’re going to be a problem patient, huh?”

SERIOUSLY.

She did give me a hug before I left and said she’d be praying for me… So that was nice. She obviously didn’t understand what a roller coaster I’ve been on trying to get this surgery done and I think she was genuinely trying to comfort me… But…yeah.

If you’re so inclined, I would appreciate any prayers you’d like to send my way. If you aren’t a praying person, good vibes are welcome, too!

I hope to be back soon. Love to you all!

Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@ashlee_mae) or instagram (@theoriginalashleemae) and like Willfully Disobedient on Facebook for possible up-to-the-minute updates!

**EDIT**

What should I bring to the hospital?


You know how you end up with tons of leftovers when you do a pork loin in the crock pot? I like to make pulled pork tacos or barbecue with the extras…but some nights I just don’t have the time to doctor up the leftovers into something totally new.

Last night I got home later than I had intended. I had some pork loin in the fridge, along with mashed potatoes and gravy. It occurred to me that I had everything needed to make Manhattans, even though I’d never heard of making one with pork.

If you’ve never had a Manhattan, you probably don’t frequent what I call Old People Restaurants. If there are beets on the menu, you’re probably in an Old People Restaurant. You’re also likely to see beef or turkey Manhattans: piles of meat, mashed potatoes, and gravy on top of a slice of bread.  Healthy? Not at all. Good? You bet they are!

I made these pulled pork Manhattans for dinner last night and they were pretty much the best thing ever.

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Top a piece of bread (any kind will do, butter is optional) with warmed up leftover pulled pork. Drizzle a little gravy over the meat, then top with mashed potatoes. Pour more gravy over the whole thing.

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Delicious!

You could do this with any kind of leftover meat, really. Beef and turkey are most typical, but don’t be afraid to try chicken, pork… if you can make gravy with it, you can make a Manhattan!


You guys.

For real.

If you make this cake you’ll understand why I have no words. When you get it out of the oven, angels will sing. Ed McMahon will come knocking on your door. A unicorn will trot through your kitchen with a leprechaun and a pot of gold on his back. What I’m trying to say is, this is a damn good cake.

A friend of mine suggested this recipe when I mentioned that I was searching for the perfect chocolate cake. The BF’s birthday was yesterday and the man loves chocolate more than a woman in the middle of a visit from Aunt Martha. Last year I made him a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing and it was good but I wanted better. I may have found it.

The original recipe is courtesy of a lovely little blog, Slow Like Honey (I was immediately won over by the Fiona Apple-inspired name) and can be found here. I only made one tiny change… I used regular unsweetened cocoa powder instead of dark. I actually couldn’t find dark cocoa powder in my little grocery store. I probably could have found it at Wal-Mart but I try not to go there too much. It isn’t good for the psyche.

The BF made the coffee this morning, and he likes it strong so that’s what ended up in the cake. There wasn’t an overwhelming coffee flavor, so don’t worry about having a mostly coffee cake.

I was curious about the pepper, even wondering if it was a mistake. I added it (which caused a sneezing fit when I switched on the mixer) and I’m glad I did. It’s definitely there, but not overpoweringly so.

The icing (or frosting?) is seriously the best thing ever. I found a recipe a long time ago and have adjusted it to meet my needs. I use:

1 cup of creamy Jif peanut butter (don’t go cheap…this is the brand that seems to work best)

1 stick softened butter (I used unsalted today since I already had it, but I’ve used salted before and it was fine. Just use REAL butter, please)

2 cups powdered sugar

3ish tablespoons milk (I had whole milk on hand, but you can sub in whatever milk you have.)

Use a hand mixer to get the butter and peanut butter nice and smooth, then add the powdered sugar a little at a time. Once you’ve added all of the powdered sugar, add milk a little at a time to get the consistency you want. Now just make sure most of it ends up on the cake.

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This cake was sitting in the refrigerator calling my name all morning… I had to practice a lot of self-control to avoid eating the rest of it for breakfast.

 


I’ve been pretty busy lately… With Father’s Day, the Dave Matthews Band concert, and the BF’s birthday all happening within days of one another I feel like I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Add in the surgery I’m supposed to be having next week (but maybe not thanks to my insurance company) and I haven’t had much time for menu planning. To be honest, there hasn’t been a lot of cooking going on in my kitchen.

I know. I’m disappointed in me, too.

Last Thursday I had to make the 30ish minute drive for a last minute ultrasound that insurance was demanding. I got back to town and realized I needed to make a trip to the store and I still didn’t know what I was making for dinner.

I opened Pinterest to see if I had anything easy in my food board. Before I could even open my own pins, I saw a spaghetti recipe that seemed easy enough. It was better than the frozen pizza I was seriously considering, so I grabbed what I needed at the store and headed home.

spaghetti

The original pin can be found here.

For once in my life I actually followed the recipe almost exactly. I didn’t use the entire box of angel hair pasta, and I seasoned my ground beef with some salt, pepper, and a little granulated garlic…those were the only changes I made. It was pretty easy to make, and it was surprisingly good. Million dollar good? Eh, maybe not. I’m not really sure what that even means…

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You’ll end up with a lot of food… so be prepared for leftovers. I finally tossed the last little bit because I just couldn’t eat any more of it. I’m not sure if this would freeze well.

I’d make this again, with a few changes. I think a rectangular baking dish is the way to go with this one, because you’ll have thinner spaghetti layers. I used a deeper dish and had a lot if plain spaghetti in the middle. I’ll probably add some chopped garlic, maybe some basil and oregano to the cheeses.

It’s a good throw-together meal when you don’t have a clue what to make!


Oh, Paula…

You know what? I think this whole fiasco is ridiculous. Ok, so you used the N word. So. Freaking. What.

Well it’s offensive. Well some people don’t like it. Well she’s white, so she doesn’t get to say that word. It’s racist.

I think giving that much power to one little word is pretty stupid. Yes, I know why people get all up in arms about it, but seriously. Just let it go. You know what I do think is offensive? How about the fact that you’re responsible for something as disgustingly artery-clogging as fried butter?! I mean, people need to take responsibility for their own choices (ugh, and why would you eat fried butter by choice?!) but why did you even need to go there?

That apology video you posted? That’s weak sauce, Paula. It’s pretty obvious that you weren’t apologizing because you genuinely felt bad about what you said…but because you got caught. There was no lesson learned, you were just begging Food Network to keep you…Ten bucks says you dropped a couple of unsavory words after filming that grovelfest.

I don’t even know why you’re so worried. You still have your restaurants and your overpriced line of cookware. Besides, good ol’ Kimmy K just squeezed out the baby of the century, so people will forget about your N word fiasco as soon as the (millions of) pictures start popping up everywhere.

 


When I created my baby registry, I looked at a lot of baby books for little O. I thought all of them were just kind of cheesy, but I put a couple on my registry because I thought we were supposed to have one.

Cheeeeeeeeese

I was perusing the scrapbook aisle at Wal-Mart (it’s all we have in my town, unfortunately) looking for something to use as a guestbook for my baby shower when I happened upon something interesting. It’s called a Smash book, made by K&Company. There are books for every occasion (wedding, travel, etc…) and the Baby version was perfect to use as a baby shower guest book/baby book for little O.

This book comes with a black pen/glue stick that is really handy…and it’s a lot like a Sharpie pen. I love Sharpie pens.

They also come in blue and pink.

There are tons of other accessories you can order through the website… Pockets, acid-free tape, notepads, etc… I could spend a lot of money on this stuff but I manage to practice self-control.

Ok, I ordered a blue pen and some acid-free tape while writing this post. I’m only human.

I plan to try to cram O’s first year into it, but I’ve got an awful lot of stuff in there already. I may have to buy another book for the remaining five months. 

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Part of the reason I love this book so much is that it’s completely original. Instead of having the same baby book that every other kid has (because they really are all the same), my little guy will have a book that is unique. 

Part of me wants to buy one for every year, so he has his very own library. I have a feeling I’ll meet with some opposition from The BF on that one. Besides, if we ever had more kids I’m not sure I could keep it up.

Just so you know, K&Company did not pay me to write this…they don’t even know I exist. If they wanted to send me some free stuff I would certainly let them, though!

They have a blog, and as of today (June 18, 2013) you get a 10% off code by checking it out here.

I happen to think this would be a great gift for a new mom, or perhaps for a newly married couple. 

 


I love authentic Asian food, but I also have a not-so-secret soft spot for crappy Chinese buffets. I was thinking earlier about how good some meatballs from Super China Buffet would be…but I really didn’t feel like going into town. After digging through my pantry, fridge and freezer, I decided I could just make my own.

I did my best to remember everything, but I don’t have exact amounts for some things because I made it up as I went.

For the balls (snicker, snicker):

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1 lb ground beef (ground pork would be good, too)

1 large egg

1/2 cup of bread crumbs

Soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Minced onion

Celery seed

Black pepper

Salt

**For the dry spices, I used about a palm full of each. I drizzled the soy sauce directly into the bowl, maybe two laps around?**

Preheat oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with a little Pam. Mix all ingredients in a bowl (your hands work best here) until combined, then roll into balls. I used a dinner spoon to scoop the balls and they were about an inch or so. Place balls on greased foil, evenly spaced, and bake for 20-25 minutes. You don’t want to dry them out, but you don’t want to see pink. When they’re done, set them aside on the baking dish or put them directly into your crock pot…just don’t turn it on yet.

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Balls!

For the sauce:

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2 cans beef broth
1 small can pineapple chunks
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
Soy sauce
Garlic powder
Minced onion

Celery salt

Ground ginger

Creole seasoning

Salt

Pepper

Corn Starch

In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine 1 1/2 cans of beef broth and all remaining ingredients EXCEPT corn starch. Blend corn starch with the remaining 1/2 cup of cool or room temp beef broth and set aside. Let sauce come to a simmer, them slowly stir in the corn starch mixture. It should thicken immediately. Pour over meatballs in the crock pot. I put mine on the keep warm setting, but you could probably use low. I think my meatballs were in the crockpot for about three hours.

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For something I just made up because I was too lazy to go to the store… these were pretty good! The ginger and creole spice added some nice heat, and the pineapple and brown sugar made it just sweet enough. It definitely went well with my homemade fried rice. I think next time I’ll use ground pork or chicken, though.


My dad is a humble, hardworking man. He can be reserved, but if you happen to bring up one of his favorite subjects he’ll immediately warm up. Once that happens you might as well get comfy, because you’ll be chatting for a while.

His sense of humor leans toward goofy, with some occasional sarcasm thrown in. Be careful, though, because the man possesses razor-sharp wit and is capable of coming up with some real zingers. I’d like to think I got my sense of humor from him.

When my brother and I were little, Dad liked to get involved with our activities. I mean, really involved. When my brother played baseball my dad umpired and coached…He carried a mini rule book in his pocket and I swear he had it memorized. I was in 4-H, and I’ll never forget the year Dad helped me bake cookies on our gas grill.

Dad taught me the value of honest, hard work. He taught me that honesty is always the best policy and that when you assume, you make an ass of you and me. He tried to help me learn from his mistakes, but was always there when I had to figure things out on my own.

I can remember when my Dad was just the dumbest guy on Earth… Like most teenagers, I was not so inclined to listen to his advice. Now I can see how much heartache he tried to save me.

I thank God every day that I have my dad…especially after his heart surgery. I’m even more thankful that I get to watch my dad experience his first grandchild. The man was made to be a grandpa.

 

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.


Dear male readers:

It turns out that female breasts (fun bags, jugs, hooters, boobs, bazingas, dirty pillows, etc…) actually serve a purpose and are not solely for your enjoyment. If the idea of breastfeeding squicks you out at all you probably should turn away now, because there won’t be anything for you to see here.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…

I’ve always intended to breastfeed…It’s just (in my opinion) the right thing to do. When O was born I tried and tried and tried but the little sucker (or not, really) just wouldn’t latch. On the rare occasion that he did attempt to eat, he’d just go right to sleep. After I spent my time in the hospital having nurses and lactation consultants shoving his face into my boobs practically around the clock with no progress (I guess he’s not a boob man?), we were instructed to take him to the doctor for a weight check two days after we brought him home.

At the doctor appointment, we discovered that he’d lost a little weight and were told to start supplementing formula. Luckily for us, I had gone a little crazy signing up for free samples so we had a few cans at the house already. We went home and I started washing all of the bottles that I had scoffed at when people gave them to us. I was so disappointed that I actually cried a little standing at the sink. I’ve never been a crier, but having a baby does strange things to you.

A friend of mine was kind enough to bring me a manual pump, because I was seriously uncomfortable and I hadn’t totally given up on the idea of breastfeeding yet. We started giving him formula and breastmilk in bottles and suddenly the little stinker decided that he did actually like to eat. At the next doctor appointment, we discovered that he was back to his birth weight and all was right with the world again.

Well, except for one thing.

I still wanted to breastfeed but little O seemed to be doing so well with the bottle that I didn’t want to upset the applecart. I decided to continue pumping and giving him bottles…but I really had no idea what I was getting into. Lucky for me, I had another good friend that not only hooked me up with a sweet electric double pump but sent me loads of info on breastfeeding and pumping. I don’t know what I would have done without her.

Here are some handy tips for anyone that might be toying with the idea of going the exclusive pumping route:

1. Get a good pump. Medela and Ameda are both good brands…I have the Ameda Purely Yours pump and I would definitely recommend it.

2. Have extra pump accessories on hand. You don’t want to be stuck with a torn valve at midnight with no way to pump. Trust me, it isn’t fun for anyone involved… You can buy spare part kits online and at some stores. I would even add them to your baby registry.

3. Get bottles that fit your pump, that way you can pump directly into them. I did use Lansinoh storage bags for a while but those get expensive and sometimes they leak. It’s not fun to watch a 4 oz bag of breastmilk go swirling down the drain after you pumped for 20 minutes to get it. Honestly, since I discovered that I could pump directly into bottles, I’ve never needed storage bags. My kid eats so much I don’t really have enough left over to store in the freezer, anyway.

4. In the beginning, you really should pump every time your kid eats to establish your supply. For me, that meant propping O up in the Boppy pillow next to me and feeding him while I pumped. You’re probably going to feel like all you ever do is pump and feed your kid…and you’ll be right…but it will eventually get better. Once you have a good supply going you might even be able to start eliminating pumping sessions.

4 1/2. When I say every time your kid eats, I mean every time. Yes, you’re going to have to do it during night time feedings, too. I’m sorry, I know it sucks.

5. I typically pump for 20 minutes. You might want to talk to a lactation consultant or your doctor to see what he or she would recommend.

6. I don’t know if this is legit or not, but some women swear by eating oatmeal to help bump up their supply. I really kind of hate oatmeal, but it’s good for you and the baby so I ate it as much as I could stand while I was pregnant and in the early days of pumping.

7. Here are some guidelines for breastmilk storage, courtesy of La Leche League.

8. You’ll need a way to warm bottles that have been in the fridge. I have a bottle warmer at home, and when I’m out and about a cup of steaming water will do the trick just fine. You really only need to take the chill out of it, so if you drip some onto your wrist and can’t feel it you’re good to go.

9. Get a good cooler for when you have to bring bottles with you. I love the Munchkin Cool Wrap bottle bag.

10. Breastfeeding burns calories…even if you’re pumping.  That has to be the second most awesome thing about breastfeeding (first being that it’s awesome for your baby). I dropped every single bit (and then some!) of my baby weight with no effort at all.

Do you have any other questions about pumping or breastfeeding in general? I’m no expert, but I’ve been in the trenches for the last 7 months and I did a lot of fumbling before I found a good routine that works for me. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have. Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email at willfullydisobedientblog (at) gmail dot com (spammy spammers aren’t going to get me!) if you feel like your question is too personal.

Are you experienced in pumping or breastfeeding? If you have a great tip that I haven’t mentioned, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear about what works for other women.


I ran into town earlier today, and somehow I managed to drop a wad of dollar bills while lugging my tank of a baby out to the car. I figured they were gone and lost forever, considering how windy it’s been.

When I got home, O was sound asleep in his carrier. I took him in the house and went back outside to re-trace my steps on the off chance some of the money was still there. I was shocked when I saw a lone dollar sitting in the gravel of the driveway… and then another one a few feet away.

I spent the next five minutes or so wandering around my driveway and front yard, picking up dollar bills like they were a trail of bread crumbs. I found every single dollar.

The whole time I was looking, I couldn’t help but think about that State Farm commercial, with the creepy agent dangling a dollar bill in front of his customer.

It was quite a bizarre experience.

So if you happened to drive by my house at just the right time, you might have seen me wandering around the front yard, stopping to bend over at random and jumping up in excitement with a dollar bill in my hand yelling, “I found another one!”

It really doesn’t take much to make me happy, y’all.



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