I’m not telling you how to live your life, but I am telling you to get a library stool for your kitchen.

I’m not telling you how to live your life, but I am telling you to get a library stool for your kitchen.

There are very few things I feel confident I actually know anymore. There are even fewer things I feel confident giving advice about. 

In fact, this is pretty much the only piece of advice I feel confident in giving to everyone I know. Men, women, parents, non-parents, everyone needs to know about this. Because I’m about to blow your mind with this one, simple truth. Ready? 

You need a library stool in your kitchen. 

You know what I’m talking about, right? Library stools? Those round, rolling things you find in, well, libraries? You know what I’m talking about. I know you do. Here, this thing: 

“Ooohhh, those things! Yeah! I remember those!”

Yeah you do. And without a doubt a library stool has been such a great addition to my kitchen I am baffled as to what I was doing with my life before it. 

I shall now explain all the reasons why, because, again, there’s almost nothing I feel actually confident about in this world, so if you could let me have this, that’d be great. 

It’s the perfect height helper. 

I mean, duh, right? This is literally the first criteria of any stool, that it makes it possible to reach things your body wasn’t designed to reach. And I can! I can reach tall places now! And even better, my kids can use it and become instantly able to help do cooking projects. And the best part? When it’s time for them to come mix or chop or whatever they can even go get it themselves because…  

You won’t find anything easier to move around.

These things were designed to be easily kicked around by someone with lots of things in their hands (say, maybe, librarians with lots of books in their arms). They roll easier than you remember. My kids can maneuver it anywhere (which turns out to be a blessing and a curse because now they can reach much higher in the pantry than I originally had planned for when storing baking goodies/Halloween candy/“why are you eating that 5 minutes before dinner?!” (That last one is a pantry category all parents know all too well.) 

Anyway, the point is this: there is not a single stool easier to move around with no hands required. And this might be worrying to parents except…

They’re really sturdy 

You might not remember exactly how these work, but as soon as you step on them, they lock down and will not move. No, seriously, they will not move. 

Bumpers! They have bumpers on them! 

So kicking things merrily around your kitchen is great and all, but eventually they’ll run into something. And these things have bumpers on them. Bumpers! So worry not about this easily mobile, sturdy, kickable stool: it won’t scratch your cabinets! 


Why on earth do you need more reasons? Okay, fine, you’ll look like a genius when you have guests over because they’ll all marvel at how brilliant this idea is. 

I’m not going to claim I came up with this idea, because I read about it on Lifehacker. But I will claim that the very few people I allow into my unfettered mess of a house have commented on what a great idea it is. And I won’t even care if you claim this idea as your own genius. That is how strongly I feel about your need for this item in your kitchen. 

Hopefully by now I’ve got you wondering where you even find such a marvel of old-school technology. I searched locally, but failed, so I got mine from Target, where there are a few colors available. I try not to shop on Amazon whenever possible*, but it appears they sell them there, too. 

So reach, my little beauties! Reach to cabinet heights previously unavailable! And now that I’ve dispelled one of the only things** I know to be true, I will go lie down and scroll through my streaming menus with decision paralysis and never actually choosing what to watch, because that is who I am and I’ve come to accept that. 

*It’s just a whole thing, so it’s best not to get into it, but basically it boils down to: I think they’re a terrible company doing terrible things to good people, the economy, and the world. 

**”Vaccines work” is the other thing. Vaccinate. Your. Children

Wish List: TaskRabbit for Moms

Recently I’ve been introduced to using TaskRabbit as a way to actually accomplish things on my to-do list. This is obviously nothing new – TaskRabbit has been around for a while now – but because I am perpetually old and lame it’s new for me. I’ve always been a “I can do this stuff myself!” kind of gal, but with two kids in the house and no parents nearby where we can send said two kids for the day, it turns out…I can’t do this stuff myself. I used to hire babysitters where I would tiptoe around the house trying to avoid the kids and accomplishing my to-do lists, but that never works. The kids find me, or, more likely, I find I don’t want to use my precious babysitting money doing something like moving my stuff from one closet to another. Finally it hit me: why not use my precious money on getting someone else to do the actual thing I don’t want to do instead?

If you’re unfamiliar with TaskRabbit, basically the concept of the app is, “Get people to do things you really don’t want to do yourself.” Need a tire changed? Pantry cleaned out? Sidewalk shoveled? Item returned at a store? Furniture assembled? Literally, anything you don’t want to do or don’t have time to do you can get a tasker up to the job. You set up a task, get a list of people willing to do the task, see their qualifications, reviews of people who have hired them before through the app (verified), and how much they charge an hour.

The thing is, though, there are certain tasks being a mom I can’t seem to outsource. I started to wonder if there shouldn’t be a new parenting Subcategory on TaskRabbit. Here are just a few of the tasks I would click “Hire” on immediately. 

TaskRabbit_ Toddler Dinner

TaskRabbit_ Get Toddler Ready for School

TaskRabbit_ Breastfeed.jpg

TaskRabbit_ Clothes Proxy.jpg

TaskRabbit_ Bedtime.jpg

Okay, Instant Pot Recipe Bloggers…let’s talk

Alternately titled: No, Instant Pot recipe writers and bloggers, it is NOT “just 20 minutes and done!” and you need to stop saying that.

(Second alternative title: this post is in no way about parenting, but this has been bothering me for months now and has to be said.) 

For those who don’t know, the Instant Pot has recently become the generic trademark (aka, when a brand becomes synonymous with the item, such as “Kleenex” for “tissues”) in the world of electric pressure/multi-cookers. Whereas traditional pressure cookers heat up on the stove and give me massive amounts of fear of exploding and killing us all, electric pressure cookers (supposedly) have multiple failsafes that supposedly don’t allow the whole “exploding pressure cooker” thing to happen. So basically: the Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that has taken the world by storm in the past year.

I’ve had my 8-quart Instant Pot for about 8 months now, which is long enough to have gotten used to the machine, tested it with multiple recipes and types of foods, and have cooked enough in it to finally need to call shenanigans on pretty much every Instant Pot recipe blogger out there.

Shenanigans, I say.


And here is where they go wrong: they never, ever, ever include the time it actually takes to come to and off of pressure in their recipes. And that, my friends, is a grotesquely misleading oversight.

Now, technically, while under pressure, the food cooks about twice as fast as it would on the stove or in the oven, which is supposed to save time and make it possible to do things like 3-hour sauces in a fraction of the time. On a weeknight, say. This is the claim.   

The thing is, though, the Instant Pot needs a lot of time to actually get to pressure. Often it’s more time than the actual cook time. Then once it finishes cooking and you need it to come out of pressure in order to, you know, access the food, it takes a long time to do that, too, whether you let it “naturally” come down, or “manually release” it, which means switching the vent open and kickstarting the depressurization all at once. (It would be physically impossible to open a pressurized lid before it has come off pressure. And also that would potentially do something bad like kill you, even if you could.) However, in almost every single Instant Pot recipe I’ve ever read, there is not one estimate of extra time around the pressurized cook time.

So this is my plea to every single blogger out there: you have to adjust your time estimates in recipes to include the pressurization and depressurization times.

Currently Instant Pot recipe writers tend to say something like, “…select manual pressure for 35 minutes, and then allow to naturally release for 10 minutes and then manually release the rest, and then enjoy!”

That’s not how that actually works, though. When I put everything into the Instant Pot to pressure cook, at minimum it takes about 10 minutes to come to pressure with the minimum amount of liquid necessary to make it work (1 cup of water, say). If it’s a big stew or soup or something, that process can take 20-30 more minutes! Then depressurization takes at a minimum 5 minutes with a natural release, or 20 minutes with a full natural release of a big soup or stew. So that “cook time” of 35 minutes doesn’t include: 20 minutes of pressurization or 10-15 minutes of depressurization. That means that “35 minute meal” actually is cooking for about an hour.

Time saver? Ehhh…maybe.

And yes, once the food is all in the Instant Pot, it’s in. It’s hands-off. But oftentimes you have to pre-cook some things, sear some others, or do general prep that you’d do with a non-Instant Pot recipe. So really, I’m not sure the time saving is great when you actually break it down. Here are a few examples of recipes I’ve actually made.

IP Time Fail Ex 1.png

IP Time Fail Ex 2.png

IP Time Fail Ex 3.png

My point isn’t that Instant Pot recipe bloggers aren’t doing a very cool thing. My point isn’t that they aren’t working hard to help others put food on the table. My point isn’t that their food is bad – quite the opposite, in fact. My point is that recipe writers have to start including the amount of time it takes to come to pressure and depressurize while writing these recipes to give an accurate account of how much time these recipes will take. And I’ve heard, “well it takes time to boil water if you’re cooking on the stove, and recipes never take that into account!” Which is true. Except…you can still do other prep things while you’re boiling water on the stove. With the Instant Pot, there is no other option than just wait. So it’s really not the same thing at all.

Now, you might think I hate my Instant Pot, and the truth is I don’t. I’m just not as wild about it as other people are. But to be fair, here’s where the Instant Pot really excels and can’t be beat:

  • Hard-boiled eggs. My 1-year-old can devour hard-boiled eggs and cooking them in a pressure cooker actually separates the shells from the egg in a way that boiling does not, which leads to perfectly peel-able eggs every time.. The time isn’t that different than the old-fashioned way, but the peeling of the eggs and their absolute perfection every time is fantastic.
  • Baby back bibs. These were the first things I made in the Instant Pot and I will never achieve fall-off-the-bone ribs like this in my oven. They finish in the oven with the barbecue sauce, yes, but since there’s only a cup of water to pressurize this one’s timing does make sense.
  • Frozen chicken breasts. I don’t know any other method that allows me to safely cook frozen chicken breasts straight from the freezer, which I can then put into my mixer/use my hand mixer to shred in a matter of 1 minute once they’re cooked. 

Look, I can see where I’m coming off as harsh on the Instant Pot and its hardworking food blogger devotees, and I don’t mean to. I think it’s a cool machine, and I really do appreciate all the hard work recipe writers are putting into making its complicated buttons and gizmos accessible to all of us with delicious food. I just think we need to be honest about the timing of this machine. We’ve been too busy trying to convince ourselves that we can pressure cook anything that we aren’t asking ourselves if, maybe, a lot of these things would be better off the old fashioned way. 

It’s a simple solution, recipe writers. Instead of listing just “prep” and “cook” times, include another line called “Pressure/Depressure” and add that number to the total amount of time needed for a recipe. You’ve done your job on selling us on the Instant Pot, and now it’s time to be honest about how long these things take. 

End scene. 

The one thing you should never do while pregnant

It all started innocently enough.


Every so often, Publix releases limited-edition Pilgrim salt and pepper shakers. They are literally my favorite holiday decoration I own.

My friend from college, Bethany (who also runs myfakefoodblog.com, which is both hilarious and delicious, and who happens to also be from Florida) posted a picture on Instagram of her Publix Pilgrim salt and pepper shakers and tagged me in it, because if you know me at all, you would know this is a completely rational thing to do. Now, if you don’t know what the Publix Pilgrims are, hang with me. I will attempt to explain in a little bit, and also what led to my downfall this past Sunday.

A little while after she had posted her Instagram picture Bethany texted me with an emergency. Well, it would be considered an emergency if you grew up in Florida* in the 90s. And by emergency, I mean an “actual, factual, real-life, earth-shattering revelation” about someone she works with.

Now, let me fill in the story for those folks not lucky** enough to have been in Florida in the 1990s. Publix is a grocery store that started in Florida and has since grown into states in the Southeast United States. The thing is, though, Publix sort of has this whole other level of existence for Floridians where if I try to tell people from out of state that it’s a grocery store the immediate and overlapping next words from Floridians are, “but it’s so much…more.” They each have a sub shop that serves the divinest of sub sandwiches. The stores are clean. The prices are fair. The employees universally go out of their way to help shoppers and customers and wear large buttons on their uniforms that tell customers never to tip them, for shopping at Publix is a pleasure. No, literally. That’s the slogan: Where Shopping Is a Pleasure. And it is. Shopping at Publix is, quite literally, a pleasure. Florida puts Publix up on highway exit signs for the restaurants. Floridians love Publix. When I was in college in North Carolina (this was years before Publix had broken ground in North Carolina) I wrote to Publix to ask if they would please open a store in Winston-Salem. And you know what they did? They wrote me back. They thanked me profusely for being such a wonderful customer. They told me that customers like me where what made them proud to do what they do. It’s so much…more.

“Okay, so Publix is cool, I guess, but what did you mean by Publix Pilgrims, you crazy lady?” I’m sure you’re asking by now. I’m getting there, I swear.

So we know that while shopping at Publix might be a pleasure, just as pleasureful*** are the commercials Publix puts out, specifically around holidays. The Whos in Whoville didn’t need to sing to grow the Grinch’s heart, all they had to do was play him any one of the Publix commercials put out over the years. However, the single most quintessential Publix commercial that every Florida kid associates with Thanksgiving – and subsequently their childhood – is what we all call the Publix Pilgrims Commercial (capital ‘P’, capital ‘P’, capital ‘C’).

Here, I’ll give you a minute to soak it in.

Go ahead, play it again. It’s adorable. And I’m being quite serious here, these Publix Pilgrims are as much a part of Thanksgiving to me as turkey and pumpkin pie.

This is why when Bethany texted me that her coworker had in his possession the original Publix Pilgrims, I actually screamed. Yes, that’s right. The ones in the commercial.

I will give all Floridians in the room this time to compose themselves. Are we good? Okay.

After hyperventilating a bit, I got a little bit more scoop. Years and years ago, Bethany’s coworker produced the commercial (Bethany works in advertising, because she’s cool and I don’t understand how people that are cool actually still are friends with me), and I guess he got to keep the shakers. But the worst part? He doesn’t even know where they are now. My first question only a Floridian would ask was, “Why aren’t they in the Smithsonian?!” because in my head they are almost as culturally important as Dorothy’s red slippers. My other Florida friends corroborated this question as well, not even understanding that something this culturally and historically valuable to our favorite holiday could actually be privately held. I suppose he didn’t grow up with the commercial, but the fact that they aren’t in an historically-preserved shadowbox display above his (perhaps hypothetical) fireplace literally astounds me.

You see what I mean about the emergency text? Floridians get it. So let’s move on to what happened Sunday.

After getting back from the park where I screamed the scream that shall forever be known as “the scream of knowing someone who knows someone who possesses the original Publix Pilgrim salt and pepper shakers” (read as: high-pitched, incredibly loud, alarming, and misunderstood by those who did not grow up with this cultural reference of the Publix Pilgrims) I decided I must indoctrinate Connor into the world of associating the Publix Pilgrims with Thanksgiving. I turned on our TV (which is “smart”, meaning, YouTube-enabled), and played the commercial. Twice.

And then, not fully realizing the magnitude of what would happen after this, I accidentally allowed YouTube to autoplay the next video(s), which were all the Publix holiday commercials of all time.

Now, these are tearjerkers in the best of times, but with pregnancy hormones a-ragin’, I didn’t stand a shot.

First came this one, titled, “Head of the Table.”

*sniffle.* Is it dusty in here? It seems a little dusty in here.

And then this one played.

This is when the tears really started to get going.

But then…this one came next.

Oh man. I gave up all hope of wiping any tears away at that point. I was a full-fledged mess.

But finally, the coup d’état, the one that made me go from “crying” to “full-on ugly-cry bawling” wasn’t even a Thanksgiving/Christmas commercial. It was this one.

“You’re really going to love Mom.”


Even now, I can’t watch this commercial without ugly-crying. I think it might literally be impossible as a pregnant person to see this video and not sob.

You might think upon composing yourself, “But isn’t this all just marketing? Doesn’t it seem a little bit like Publix is toying with your emotions?” But, the thing about Publix is, it doesn’t feel like that. If you grew up with Publix, you get it. The people at Publix overwhelmingly make you feel this warm inside on any given Tuesday. These commercials are an extension of them.

It took me a good 20 minutes to compose myself after this marathon of (potentially pregnancy-related) emotional catharsis. Chris was crying too, only his tears were from laughing at me so hard he was reduced to tears. I’ll take it, I guess.

So that’s my story. If you are an emotionally-compromised pregnant person and do not want to be irrationally reduced down to a pile of sobbing tears in a matter of 5-7 minutes, do not watch Publix holiday commercials.

I would say I regret it, but I don’t. Thank you, Publix, for making everything better, and making every memory I have of being in your stores a pleasure.

*And maybe Georgia? Did you guys have Publix up there back then?

**Yes, I said “lucky to be in Florida.” Wanna rumble? Because I can rumble!

***Fun fact: I literally just learned that “pleasureful” is a real word

(And, to show you guys just how much I love you, this is a selfie I took no fewer than 10 minutes after Chris smartly turned the TV off to save me from myself. The struggle. is. so. real.)


The cookbook that gets to sit next to my Jacques Pépin cookbook

Disclaimer: I was selected as a 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook Ambassador. I received an advance copy of the cookbook in exchange for my honest review, no other funds were given. All opinions are my own and/or my toddler’s. 

100 days of real food cookbookOn the list of “things yuppie adults and/or parents really like talking about when interacting with other yuppie adults and/or parents” are, in order:

  • Decluttering
  • “That podcast I just listened to about that, I’ll send you the link to it!”
  • “Real” (or “Whole”) food

For me, listening to other people talk about the last one is about as interesting as listening to someone’s flight delay/airline woes/cancellation story. I know in my heart the person telling the story believes in their heart that this flight delay/cancellation is really different than your flight delay story and it’s worth telling. It’s not. Here’s why: everybody has a story and (more importantly), nobody cares about someone else’s. Everybody thinks their flight delay story is more interesting/worse/deserves more, “Wow! The airlines really did that?! What happened next?” than will ever be received telling an airline delay story has ever been told. But as with every single flight delay story in the history of flight delay stories: nobody listening will ever care. It’s about as interesting to people as recapping a plot to a sitcom or what their dream last night was about. It’s important to you, as the teller of the story who lived through the agony of dealing with the airlines, but to everyone else it sounds about like the teacher from Charlie Brown. The same goes for talking about diets or your “whole foods” challenge.

All of which is to say: when my husband and I embarked on the “10-day Real Food Challenge” we didn’t tell people until it came up. I didn’t blog about it. I just wanted to do it, because everyone has their version of “real food” (paleo! Whole30! gluten-free! low-fat! no-low-fat-only-whole-fat! wheat belly! blah blah blah!) and nobody cares what your “brand” is.

However, my husband and I’s eating had gotten, shall we say, a little off the rails, so I looked for something to get a little more back on track but that I could still do with a toddler in the house. After I watched the documentary Fed Up (available to stream on Netflix) about sugar and how food manufacturers amped up sugar in food to replace fat in “low-fat” food and how that’s actually the cause of the obesity epidemic in America (and yes, even no-calorie sugar counts as sugar), I knew I wanted something that made sense to me. 100 Days of Real Food was the answer. The rules are simple. You can eat anything (including beer/wine! which right now doesn’t help me, but, you know, yay!) except:

  • White flour/rice. (All flour must be whole wheat flour, and rice must be whole grain brown rice…psst, whole wheat pasta is actually awesome!)
  • No refined sweeteners (sugar, Splenda, Stevia, etc. are all out, but honey and syrup are okay)
  • Anything out of a can/box with more than 5 ingredients on it (this was a big one for me, because it made me re-realize just how much junk is actually in the food we eat and buy)
  • Deep-fried foods/”fast” foods

I looked at the list and thought it couldn’t possibly be that hard. That’s how we always eat anyway, right? But then I started counting ingredients. And realizing maybe I wasn’t cooking as much as I thought I was. And, wait, maybe I wasn’t actually eating real food most of the time. So my husband and I (and Wee Connor, by default) did the challenge for 10 days and felt like it was a good lesson in not only cooking more but also just how much better we felt eating fewer chemicals.

Cool, right? End of story? And that’s how I got stranded in the Seattle airport for 3 days because it snowed 2″ once*? Well…

You guys, do you see this?! It really does look like the picture in the book!

You guys, do you see this?! It really does look like the picture in the book!

…the catch was this: a lot of the recipes on the 100 Days of Real Food site and old cookbook were, how shall I put this nicely, um, shackling me to the kitchen? Overwhelmingly difficult for something that seemed so simple? Yeah, that’s nice. I’ll stick with that. And not all are like that, but I felt a little overwhelmed by the end. Which was why when the new 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous cookbook (by Lisa Leake, author of 100 Days of Real Food blog) I was pumped. This cookbook was the answer to all my prayers: real food, but actually things that don’t tie me to the kitchen forever. Lunch ideas. Salad ideas that don’t make me want to throw things. Slow cooker recipes. Really, it’s a cookbook filled with simple, make-the-food-taste-good, real-food recipes.

So far I’ve made a few recipes and they’ve turned out amazingly well. So well, in fact, they actually looked like the pictures in the book. Like for real, looked like the pictures in the book.

My husband has already requested 5-6 of the lunch ideas recipes for himself to take to work, and so far I haven’t had a bust of a recipe yet. Which means that this little cookbook is going on the top shelf next to Jacques Pépin’s masterpieces**.

Right now 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous is on sale for preorder for $16 on Amazon. It’s fully released on October 25th, at which point I think the price goes up to full price. I really cannot recommend this cookbook enough if you’re looking for something to help get you back into eating foods that actually resemble foods, but also don’t want to become someone who talks about their “real food” adventure while stuck at the airport. It’s such a win-win.

(Oh, also, no I don’t get paid for you buying the cookbook. Should have mentioned that, too.)

*Great airport, by the way. Top notch. Real story.

**Sometimes when I’m feeling blue I pull down a Jacques Pépin cookbook and read it from cover to cover. This is me and you should probably know that.

I made a pancake cake in a rice cooker and now there’s no going back

The Pancake Cake

The greatest thing to happen to brunch since the mimosa.

(Pssst, here’s a jump to the actual recipe at the bottom)

You guys.

You guys.

You guys.

I need to tell you about this thing I just did. What did I do? I revolutionized the pancake breakfast/brunch/brinner.

Okay, well, I didn’t revolutionize it, but I followed directions from the internet and did the thing and now feel all empowered. So, yeah, vive la revolution! (Or whatever the appropriate phrase for “did the thing on the internet and succeeded” is.)

What is this magical pancake brunch revolution I’m talking about? Glad you asked, homeskillet. Repeat after me.

Pancake. Cake.

Now stay with me, because here’s where it gets crazy.

Pancake cake. Made in a rice cooker.

“Pancake cake?” You ask. “Isn’t that just like…a cake?”

But it’s not! It’s so not!

“In a rice cooker? Huh?”

I know, right?

Allow me to explain how this all came to be. After literal years of being a rice cooker snob (e.g., “Why buy a rice cooker when I have a perfectly good stove and pot?”) I broke down and bought a rice cooker after reading a few articles about the ease of cooking rice in the rice cooker, other cool things you can cook in a rice cooker, and the fact you can set a timer and have perfectly-cooked rice without babysitting a stove. We’ve recently switched to brown rice, which meant even longer cooking/stove babysitting times, and if we wanted rice with dinner it meant almost 0 chances of post-nap park playing. And that, my friends, was really the straw (or, dare I say it, grain of rice?) that broke the camel’s back.

I used some Amazon credits we had left over and bought the mack-daddy of rice cookers: a 5.5-cup Zojirushi. As I understand it, Zojirushi is to rice cookers what Kitchen Aid is to stand mixers. It has a bunch of different settings for whatever you’re cooking: white rice, brown rice, porridge, cake, and also has a steamer function, which if we ever have another kiddo might come in handy when I need to make bigger batches of baby food than our Beaba can do. You can set a timer for the food to be done at a certain time, and it also has sensors that adjust the temperature and cooking time based on the consistency of the food (a feature, I now understand is called “fuzzy logic”). I went all in on this rice cooker.

Once I got the rice cooker I made some brown rice immediately to try it. It took a long time but was completely hands off and came out perfectly. I was still sort of wary, though. Another appliance/space-taker-upper? In my kitchen? And then, breakthrough.

Pancake Cake SlicedI read about the famous (“famous” meaning “famous among people who read and write about rice cookers on the internet”) pancake cake phenomenon and decided I had to try it. It’s so simple it’s mystifying. You simply mix up your favorite pancake batter, pour it in the rice cooker (or, something I’ll do next time, mix it in the actual rice cooker itself), and turn it on for 45 minutes. When the rice cooker is done, you’re left with what is essentially a very large, thick pancake you can cut into slices. This appealed to me for a few reasons: first, #pancakecake. Second, no slaving over the stove fretting about the temperature and silently resenting everyone else enjoying their pancakes while you’re still attempting to use up all the batter. Third, #pancakecake. It had to be said again.

The pancake cake was a smashing success. I used the New York Times Everyday Pancakes recipe for pancakes because I basically think Bisquick is the devil* and pancakes have literally 5 ingredients. I then decided to use chocolate chips because I’m also apparently 5 years old and there is a limit to how sanctimonious I can be regarding processed food (Bisquick? No. Chocolate chips? Obviously yes). I set the Zojirushi to the “cake” setting, which is the equivalent to “on for 45 minutes” on other rice cookers (I am not sure of how other rice cookers function, so don’t quote me on that), and then came back to my beautiful pancake cake.

Connor couldn’t stop eating it. Chris couldn’t stop eating it. I am probably still eating it as the other two normal people in the house are in a brunchy pancake cake-induced coma. Seriously guys, it’s the best thing to happen to brunch since the mimosa.

Pancake Cake Connor EnjoyingIf you have a rice cooker, try this, guys.

You’ll feel like a mad scientist.

You’ll feel revolutionary.

You’ll feel like your brunch life has meaning again.

Pancake cake.

You’re welcome.

(And now, the actual recipe.)

(Also, you should probably consider getting a rice cooker. I’m officially a convert.)

Rice Cooker Pancake Cake Recipe/How-To

(Adapted from the New York Times Everyday Pancakes recipe)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups milk 
  • ~½-1 cup pancake fillings such as chocolate chips, fruit, etc., as desired


  • Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) together in the rice cooker
  • Beat eggs into 1 ½ cups of milk, then add to the dry ingredients
  • Mix all ingredients, and if the batter seems too dry, add more milk as necessary
  • Add mix-ins as desired
  • Close rice cooker and cook for 45 minutes (set to “Cake” setting on Zojirushi)

Recipe Notes

You can use ANY pancake recipe you love and it will work in the rice cooker. Just be sure not to fill it too high as the pancake cake will expand as it cooks. The recipe above fit perfectly in a 5.5-cup Zojirushi rice cooker.


Bisquick ingredients list

*Flour, baking powder, eggs, milk, and a pinch of salt are what go into pancakes. Take a look at the ingredient list for Bisquick. DATEM? Distilled monoglycerides? Blargh. I’ll take the extra step of mixing 5 ingredients I can pronounce any day over willfully ingesting an additive of diacetyl tartaric acid ester of mono- and diglycerides (that’s what DATEM is, by the way) as an “ingredient”. [Steps off soapbox, probably falls into own glass house.]

Iced Coffee: It’s SO much easier than you think

Summer, amIright?! Phew. Whoa. Hot. Words. Hard.

I can’t lie, though. I generally like summer, even if being pregnant seems to make it blaze with the heat of a thousand million burning suns. And one of my favorite things about summer? Drinking iced coffee without feeling like a dang lunatic. The thing is though? I could never quite figure out a good way to make iced coffee at home. My problem came that iced coffee typically needs to be brewed a lot stronger so you can add the ice and milk and have it still taste good. (I normally take my coffee black, except in iced coffee, where I like milk in it, perplexingly. I’m complicated. Deal with it.) Brewing a pot of coffee and then sticking it in the fridge risks cracking the coffee pot, and that meant a TON of waiting and effort.

french press 1And then, this article came into my life from The Kitchn. It explained a new, eye-opening method for making iced coffee: making a cold-brewed coffee in the French Press. LIGHTBULB. The trick is making it the night before and sticking it in the fridge to brew.

TLH and I use the French press exactly “not as much as we should because the coffee is so darn good from it.” Literally, that is what we say every time we either talk about the French Press or someone asks us how often we use it. If you’re in the market, we got this one, for reference on size.

If you’re a true coffee “connoisseur” (cough, snob, cough) you will hear that you need to grind your own beans to a less fine consistency so the grounds don’t seep through the sieve when you press the coffee down. But, I am here to say, I bought this Gevalia coffee pre-ground, and it worked just as well. My concession to the French Press is that I buy “better” coffee for it because you actually can taste the coffee more.

Vive la revolution!

iced coffee 2

This is the least pregnancy-friendly top shelf ever (beer, prosecco, coffee), but I had JUST gotten back from out of town, so…that’s an excuse, right?

Now, the actual making of this is so simple I’m about to make your head explode. Here we go:

  1. Put 1/3 cup of coffee into the French Press
  2. Fill with ~1.5 cups cold/normal water (not hot water like you would normally make a French Press brew) = I put it up to that silver line and stir it up
  3. Put the top on and don’t press it down
  4. Set the coffee to steep overnight in the refrigerator

What?! WHAT?! That can’t be it, right? But that’s it.

The next morning, press your coffee slowly (that’s the real trick with the French press), put in a bunch of ice into your cup, and then make your coffee to taste! What I like to do is fill it 1/3 of the way with ice, 2/3 of the way with the coffee over the ice, and then add in some milk and vanilla. I’ve tried peppermint extract as well and that was good too!

I can’t explain to you how easy this is. Five minutes in the evening and pure, unadulterated iced coffee in the morning.


iced coffee 3

Here’s the full recipe in a more readable format, if you want to save it!

Iced Coffee (Courtesy of The Kitchn)


  • 1/3 cup coffee
  • 1.5 cups room temperature/cold water
  • Milk (to taste, I probably put in 1/4 cup or so)
  • Vanilla (optional, to taste, start with maybe 1/8 teaspoon and go up from there)


  • In a French Press, put in 1/3 cup coffee and add water to it
  • Stir
  • Chill overnight – unpressed – in refrigerator
  • The next morning, pour coffee over ice and add milk and vanilla to taste

Happy iced coffee-ing!

All I needed was milk.

We ran out of milk. My mission was simple and direct.

Get milk.

I was also hungry.

There’s a moral here: never send a hungry, pregnant woman out to go get milk.

hungry grocery shoppingHere is what I came home with:

  • Milk (good. mission accomplished.)
  • TWO bags of steamable frozen sweet peas (why I needed two? I don’t know. Especially since we have a bunch of frozen vegetables in the freezer already.)
  • A pint of strawberries (there are clearly worse things to be eating.)
  • A bag of mini cinnamon raisin bagels (worse things like this.)
  • A bucket of sprinkle sugar cookies (why do they come in a BUCKET?! Publix at least has the decency to put them in a TRAY.)
  • A bag of Uncle Bens Long Grain and Wild Rice (WHAT?!?!)

All I needed was milk.

Never, ever, ever send a hungry pregnant woman to the store for milk.


Pregnancy has turned me into a 9-year-old

Supposedly every pregnancy is different with what you crave, how you feel, and what you do, but I would like to go on record as saying that this pregnancy has officially turned my appetite back into my 9-year-old self.

These are the types of things nobody tells you about. Sure, people spout the whole “pickles and ice cream” and think it’s adorable, but when you get into the actual details of what you crave people look at you with disgust.

Here, so far, is my list of cravings.

funfetti1. Funfetti Cake

There is not enough Pillsbury Funfetti Cake on God’s green earth to satisfy me. I don’t want homemade cake. I don’t want chocolate cake. I want Funfetti Cake out of the box with the “premiere” frosting with the sprinkles on it. Try and make a replica and I’ll know it.

I will eat an entire sheet cake’s worth of this crap, and have started to come to terms with it, especially since I have a hunch that most people actually really like the taste of Funfetti cake, they just are too ashamed to admit it. Well here I am, ready and willing to finally say: yes, I’ll have 5 more slices. For lunch. Thanks.

2. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese – the shaped kind…specifically…Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shapes

Call it pregnancy brain, call it “grew up in the 90s”, call it plain old gullible…but after I saw the newest Kraft Macaroni & Cheese ad featuring Vanilla Ice bringing back “Go Ninja, go ninja, go!” there was nothing else in the universe I could think of. I literally went out at the next opportunity that very day and made some.

My husband gave me a B+ for coming home with Raphael despite my insistence that it was all they had at the store. He didn’t believe me. Life lesson, husband: you can’t always get Michaelangelo. Learn to deal with disappointment. At the end of the day you (hypothetically, since I keep eating all the mac & cheese) still have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Kraft Mac & Cheese in your bowl. Learn to take the joys in life.

If you haven’t seen the commercial yet and are ready to experience a full-on 90s kid explosion to your brain, I suggest you watch it immediately.

tropicana3. Orange Juice

I think I might be keeping Tropicana in business with the amount of orange juice I have been consuming lately. Fun fact: I grew up in the town where Tropicana is made (Bradenton, FL, FOR THE WIN), and drinking orange juice was as much a part of my childhood as watching TGIF on Friday nights.

Please note: for me, the only acceptable brand of orange juice is Tropicana. If you try to hand me a from-concentrate orange juice I will throw that heresy back in your face. I have, in the spirit of compromise to my husband, agreed to try and get “some pulp” (aka, Homestyle), but personally my preference is for the “lots of pulp” (Grovestand) iteration. Apparently, I like my orange juice chewable. However, I drink the orange juice so fast that I’ve slipped in a few Grovestand bottles and the husband is none the wiser.

frosty4. Wendy’s Frosties

I still refuse to believe these aren’t delicious in real non-pregnancy life. It’s just that people are ashamed to admit it, much like the Funfetti cake that also helped comprise my childhood.

I had no idea until this pregnancy that Frosties even were available in a vanilla flavor. To me, here is how you order a Wendy’s Frosty:

Me: “One Wendy’s Frosty, please.”
Order-Taker: “Next window, please.”

But apparently now there are sizes to choose from. And flavors. This is all confusing and unacceptable. Wendy’s Frosties are a thing of simplicity, and that simplicity is the only thing I’ve ever wanted RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT.

Like I said, my tastes this pregnancy don’t even break middle school, but at this point, I’ll sit down with a big ole bowl of Raphael Mac & Cheese and Funfetti Cake. Game of Thrones is back on. Judge me if you want, but my dinner is delicious.

Be warned: poop’s about to get real.

Warning: this post is about poop. Feel free to move along if this makes you uncomfortable. However, if you’d like a natural remedy for some, er, “clogged plumbing”, aka, constipation, then read on.

I have no doubt that pregnancy is one of the “most magical, best times of your life”, but sometimes in the first trimester you get some of the…how do I say it…not so “best time of your life” symptoms before the awesome feelings come through. To add insult to injury, you can’t tell anyone why you’re exhausted because it’s too early yet to tell anyone. Overall it’s a poopy situation. Except that it’s not. (Ha! See what I did there?) And so I needed a solution to unclog my pipes, STAT.

Quick back story: I switched to a prenatal vitamin without iron (with the doc’s okay, of course, since I eat a lot of leafy greens and get a ton of iron in my diet on a normal basis) because iron can clog things up even more. My OB warned that I might get clogged up even so, and she was right.

With my “OMG YOU’RE HAVING A BABY HERE ARE THE 3483847 THINGS NOT TO EAT” package you get on your first appointment (paraphrase) there was a hidden nugget of information with a secret “magic mixture”. It’s so simple I figured there was no way it would work, but the beautiful thing is that it did.

Three ingredients: unsweetened applesauce, prune juice, wheat bran. (Do not confuse wheat bran with wheat germ, by the way. After much googling I learned they are VERY different things. I had to go to Whole Foods to get my wheat bran, where I could get it in the free-for-all section where it was $0.69/pound, and the amount I got was probably a cup’s worth for $0.22. I was getting more excited by the minute!

Here are the full instructions:


  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup prune juice
  • 2 tbsp. wheat bran


Mix all three ingredients together. Take two tablespoons (spoonfuls) at night. I keep mine in the fridge, and once I remember to get them at the store, will store in a mason jar.

Everyone, it couldn’t be easier. Put down the Metamucil and go for the natural remedies. Sometimes they just flat out work.

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