Friday, January 21, 2011

Filled Rolls recipe, more freezer meals

Yesterday was baking day - I put away:
  • Orange Carrot Oatmeal muffins (from Muffin Mania),
  • Bran Muffins (from Muffins and More),
  • Oatmeal Energy Bars (the same ones I made for Christmas tins here; the recipe, from Canadian Living, is here)
  • Filled Rolls (recipe follows)
And then made pizza for dinner. Lots of cooking, it's very satisfying to see that freezer filling up with meals for after baby's arrival! If there's a theme to the day's meals, aside from 'baking', it's fiber... I hear that's pretty important for post-natal mamas! ;)

Filled Rolls
(Vegetarian - but they don't have to be. Read the options!)

  • Your favourite bread or roll dough. You could use frozen (thawed) pre-made here. I used the whole-wheat mix-and-match dough recipe (from Canadian Bread Machine Baking) and added 1/4 tsp thyme. This was a small recipe, using only 1 cup of flour (a dough ball about 6" in diameter).
  • cooking oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped button mushrooms
  • vegetarian "ground round" - I used about 1/3 cup of "plain" because that's all I had on hand. You could substitute the spiced versions, or cooked meat if you prefer). I think 3/4 cup would be a good amount.
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp chipotle sauce (or Worcestershire sauce, to taste, if you eat fish - it contains anchovies)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk
Saute the onions, mushrooms and zucchini in a little cooking oil for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Let cool. Taste it - you may wish to add more seasoning.

Divide the dough into dough balls about 3" (my dough made eight, your dough recipe may make more) and roll them out to about 1 cm. Fill with 2-3 Tbsp of the filling, gather and pinch the edges together firmly to seal. Place the rolls, seam down, on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased). Brush the tops with milk (to help them brown).

Bake in a 375* oven for 25-30 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

Makes about 8 buns that are a decent size for lunch, but the amount does depend on how much dough you start with, and how much filling you allocate per roll. Freeze them baked, and pop in the microwave when you want a hot, filling lunch.

Options (you know I love options!):
You could really fill rolls with anything. Here are some ideas:
  • Peanut butter and jam. Seriously... this would be so yummy.
  • Pizza fillings (1 Tbsp of sauce, cheese, and your favourite toppings)
  • Spinach and ricotta (use your favourite recipe for manicotti or shell filling (leave out egg); or simply mix frozen, thawed & drained spinach, a tub of ricotta, a pinch each of nutmeg and salt, maybe some sun-dried tomatoes). Serve buns with tomato or marinara sauce for dipping.
  • Taco filling (bean-based or meat-based), serve with salsa.
  • Chili (vegetarian or meat)
  • Cinnamon bun filling (use a plain white or sweet dough): butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, walnuts.
for the carnivores:
  • Swiss cheese and ham with a bechamel sauce
  • Saucy barbequed chicken or pork
  • Sloppy Joe meat (here's a good looking recipe - vegetarians can, of course, sub in veggie ground round for the beef!)
You could put tons of tasty things in there, all starting with just a batch of dough and some imagination.

BTW, for you foodies, there's a Vitamix giveaway going down at Chocolate Covered Katie...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stocking the freezer - your ideas?

I'm trying to build up meals in the freezer so that after this baby is born, we won't have to think about cooking so much and can spend our time thinking about her!

So I've been searching for meal recipes that I can prepare ahead and freeze. Some are fully cooked and just need defrosting; others are prepared up to the point of baking and can just be popped in the oven.

So far I've made:
  • Chili (3 meals for 2) (my own recipe) + 1 meal's worth of biscuits (recipe from Muffins and More)
  • Bean burritos (1 meal for 2) (my own recipe)
  • Spaghetti Pie (4 meals for 2)
  • Four Cheese Stuffed Shell Casserole (3-4 meals for 2)
  • Breakfast burritos (15 burritos) - I doubt these will last long enough, but I want to see if we like them before making a whole whack. Frozen eggs sounds weird to me, not sure if they'll make the transition well. (To those of you who have been following a while - yes, I'm eating eggs again after a year's abstinence, and not too thrilled about it. I'm buying the 3x more expensive "free-run, organic" ones at the store as I haven't been able to find a local farmer from whom I can buy more ethically farmed eggs. It is a source of major frustration for me. For the newbies, here's why I am anti-eggs.)
  • Cheesy Spinach and Rice Casserole (4 half-meals - to serve with a salad, probably)
(the spaghetti pie and shells casserole are quite similar, actually... I hope we don't get tired of baked pasta dishes)
We also have a LOT of soups that we made over the summer in there already.

Still to do:
*We're vegetarian, so that limits the options a little.*

I'm considering making runzas (a.k.a. bierocks), but have never done them before and am not sure what to fill them with as we don't eat meat, and my husband hates cabbage (the traditional filling has both). While I sometimes use those vegetarian versions of ground round, I'm not too keen on them (soy's a phytoestrogen, not something I want to play a huge role in my diet). Maybe some kind of vegetarian sloppy joe type filling? Pizza toppings? They seem like they'd be a pain to make, but yummy and tidy to eat - great for one-handed lunches.

I'd like to get a dry-erase magnetic board to put on the freezer so that we have a menu of meals & an up-to-date list of freezer contents. It would be nice to be so organized!

Here's where I need your help: I need some more ideas - and recipes! Do you have any favourite meals that are happy to spend some time in the freezer? Though I haven't made much in this line yet, we love ethnic foods (Indian, Mexican, whatever), so bring it on.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I'm full term. 37 weeks (and a couple days). Wow. I can hardly believe we made it this far after what we've been through in the last couple of years.

And now the waiting game begins... To think that she could "arrive" any time within the next 5 weeks is kind of disconcerting. Five weeks is a BIG window.

I am, and am not ready. We have the stuff we need (okay, I still need to pick up some arnica or witch hazel), and we've taken a prenatal class together. I've read a dozen books and have attended a breastfeeding class. I've watched countless birth videos and read birth stories that have brought me to tears. I'm starting to really feel uncomfortable, not only for sleeping, but walking and - well, just existing in general. The weight of the belly (and the lack of decent sleep) are taking a toll. I'm slowing down. I want my body back, though I'll surely miss the belly and the movement! In these ways, I'm ready.
But can anything really prepare you? Not only for the work and pain of labour and delivery, but for parenthood? And, can someone please pack my hospital bag, because I've been putting it off!

I have a pretty good idea of the kind of parent I want to be. I realize that there are lots of things that it's easy to say "never" to when you're not a parent, and then when reality hits and it's a question of your sanity or upholding the "never"... I know what I'll be tossing, and it's not my mental health (I hope). It is so easy to pass judgment on parents when you're not one... I've tried not to be that person but at the same time have caught myself thinking, "Wow, I don't think that's the way I would handle (whatever)." Hopefully I can take those lessons and apply them to my own parenting skills. Not that I'll be the perfect parent. I'm just as fallible as the next person.

I suspect that the main thing is to be flexible. I guess that applies to most of life - you need to adapt when things aren't quite what you expected.

For now, the not knowing is the hardest part.

WHEN will it happen?
Will I be able to handle it, or will I give in and beg for pain meds?
Will she and I make it through okay?
Will I ever sleep again?
What if, when we meet her, the name we've picked just doesn't fit her?
What if we get a major surprise and she is a he??!!!

So my questions for you are:

Any guesses as to baby's arrival date? My due date is February 2nd (according to ultrasound dating), or February 4th (according to ovulation). She's 2/5 engaged (that's not the station, just how far down her head is by palpation). I'm having more frequent and intense Braxton Hicks contractions, but no other signs of labour yet. I haven't had any internal exams, so no idea on effacement or dilation. It's my first baby.

Any sage advice you want to share?