PB Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

PB Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

Have you ever read a recipe and it made your eyes twitch? I found a really delicious recipe for lactation cookies on Pinterest and the blogger wrote out the ingredient list in a bizarre order that made it really hard to focus on what to add and when. (Ingredient lists should be written in the order in which they are used. If you don’t cook/bake often you might not be aware of this.) Anyway, I’ve modified the recipe a touch too because it called for an entire cup each of brown and granulated sugars, and that is more than even your basic Tollhouse cookie recipe.

I started this post about 6 weeks ago and it’s sat in the queue but since I want to make the cookies today for a friend who is due to have a baby any day now I figured I’d finish writing and publish so I can find the recipe easily in the future. If you or someone you know is breastfeeding (especially if it’s the first month or two after baby is born) these cookies are delicious and the flax & brewer’s yeast both help boost milk production. And if you don’t know anyone who is nursing a child these cookies are just damn delicious and the flax & brewer’s yeast are good for you regardless of your lactation status. So get baking.

Peanut butter chocolate chip lactation cookies 

4Tbs warm water
2Tbs ground flax
1c (2sticks) butter
3/4c granulated sugar
3/4c brown sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
2c flour
3Tbs brewer’s yeast
1tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon
3c old fashioned oats
3Tbs peanut butter
2c chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350*F

2. Combine ground flax & warm water in a small bowl or ramekin, let sit for 5 minutes.

3. Cream butter and sugars, then add eggs & vanilla. Let mix for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add flax & water to the butter mixture and mix until combined.

5. In a bowl combine flour, brewer’s yeast, baking soda, salt, & cinnamon, add to butter mixture until well combined, about 2-3 minutes.

6. Add oats, peanut butter, and chocolate chips. Mix until combined.

7. Using a tablespoon (or cookie scoop) place dough on cookies sheets, spaced 2″ apart. I always use a silpat mat to prevent sticking, but parchment paper works well too.

8. Bake 10-13 minutes, until golden brown. Allow them to cool 3-4 minutes on the cookie sheet before using a spatula to transfer them to a baking rack to finish cooling.

9. I used a 2Tb cookie scoop and got about 5 dozen cookies, depending on how generous or stingy your scoops of dough are (and how much gets eaten before baking) your mileage may vary.



The home stretch

Well kids, we made it. 30 days of posting, including through Thanksgiving. I didn’t quite get to some of the big topics I thought I might post about, but that’s ok. I’ve enjoyed sharing my (sometimes often mundane) days with you, and I appreciate you being along for the ride. Last year I was in the middle of an awful PPD fog, and making it to Nov 30 felt like crawling to the finish line. This year I’m crossing the finish line and wondering where the next race is. That is to say, I’m not quite done here yet. I’m not going to stress about posting every single day, but I am feeling more in practice and enjoying the process of writing and processing my days via the written word.

As I said yesterday, Gavin slept in his new room for the first time last night. I wasn’t quite sure he was ready, but Patrick started to move his humidifier, monitor, & nightlight, and that was that. Gavin has had a few days of playing in his new room so it’s not completely foreign to him, all of his “friends” were in his new bed, and I think the mattress in his new bed is “squishier” than the one in his old bed, so it’s more comfortable for him. He went down fairly easily yesterday and slept straight through the night until he woke at 8am this morning. I was all worried for nothing, he had a fine night, and even napped in there this afternoon. We just finished putting him down for night #2, but I made sure to take some photos before we needed to turn out the lights.

Here’s the view from the door and looking to the left:


The white cubbies are the KALLAX shelving unit from IKEA. It was formerly upright with my desk attached (like this) but now it’s serving as changing table, toy storage, bookshelf, and dresser. The four bins across the bottom are filled with toys, the top left bin has pajamas, the one next to it has cloth diapers, the far right cubby has books, and the remaining cubby has a mix of books & toys in it. Above the hamper is one of my favorite baby laundry hacks, two command adhesive hooks holding open a lingerie bag. These are fantastic for all of the teeny tiny baby pieces that washers & dryers love to eat, like socks, hats, mittens, etc. I keep one open like this next to his laundry bin so I can toss the tiny objects in as I’m getting him undressed, then just zip the bag closed & toss in with the rest of the laundry when it’s time. The lime green bin holds kleenex, cloth wipes (white baby washcloths) wipe solution, and various lotions, creams, & balms. The khaki/brown bin contains disposable diapers (he’s a heavy wetter, we do disposables overnight & when he’s with babysitters) and regular wipes are in the white container in front of it. The panels on the wall are cork boards I sprayed with adhesive and covered with fat quarters of fabric, right now they’re at least something up on the walls, but I’ll likely put photos and other mementos on them at some point. As we cleaned out the room Gavin found my Mickey ears and was quite taken with them so I decided to put them up on a shelf as decor in his room. The rocker & ottoman were my grandfather’s, my aunt and uncle had them the past few years and offered it to us last winter and it’s been in our garage waiting to be put to use. The lamp is an OttLite, it probably won’t be there for too long (they are pricey) but for the moment it’s working well. The curtains I had at my old apartment in Chicago, they’re Simply Shabby Chic from Target.


IMG_5611Here’s the other half of the room, the cabinet was handed down to us from the same aunt & uncle, it was their neighbors (who I used to nanny for, coincidentally) and is actually a media cabinet, but it’s going to be our linen closet because we are short on closet space, it’s full of towels & sheets & a few other soft goods. The frog humidifier will be going back in to the nursery (it matches the room color wise) and I’m planning to buy this train humidifier for Gavin’s room sometime soon. The little white disk on the front of the cabinet is The First Years Sounds of Silence sound machine with nightlight. I will be buying a second one before little miss arrives, we used this one in our room when Gavin was a newborn so we could see enough to get him when he’d cry and need to nurse but it was dim and cool light so it didn’t keep us up when we’d close our eyes and try to go back to sleep. You can see our video monitor mounted on the wall, we have the Motorola MBP36 Remote Wireless Baby Monitor and we love it. The video screen is large, we can move the camera remotely to see all over the room, and the best part is we can purchase extra cameras (up to 3 more) to sync with our receiver, so we just need to buy a new camera and not a whole new system for her room. The crib was generously passed down to us from some friends who are done having children, it’s gorgeous and we are so thankful to have such awesome people in our lives.


Last but not least, the final wall in his room is mostly closet. The left side of the closet has a high bar and has our infrequently used clothing items for the whole family (my wedding dress, suits & other formal work clothes, jackets for the non-current season, Patrick’s hockey jerseys, etc) and the right side is Gavin’s clothes. The column in the center is still a work in progress, the red bins contain socks & hats, and the other shelves are still kind of a hodge podge of items that don’t have a better place to call home quite yet. Looking out the door you can see the door to the nursery, this new room shares a wall with us (the crib side) and a wall with the nursery (the closet side). We are about 98% of the way there, I have more art I’d like to put up on the wall, but a lot of it is in storage at my parent’s house so I need to run out there sometime to take inventory and decide what I’d like to use. Overall I’m very happy with the (almost) finished product, and by all indications so is Gavin.

Moving on up

Moving on up

Gavin is sleeping in his new room tonight.

It’s real. This is happening. He’s in his “big boy” room, and the nursery is ready to be be prepared for baby girl. My growing-by-the-day belly is obviously proof enough that she’s on her way, but this is a pretty major step. His sleep the last week or so has been unpredictable but so far the night is going well. He played & chatted in his crib for a little bit and eventually fell asleep, he looks pretty comfy on the video monitor so I’m hoping he sleeps well and all through the night.

Early to rise

Early to rise

So far this has been a wonderful holiday weekend, & it’s only Friday night. Thursday was a nice & low key meal at my maternal grandmothers house; my moms family is so large that having all of my aunts, uncles, & cousins together is roughly 100 people, so a meal with only 18 is decidedly small. Gavin was on day 3 of his nap strike, and fell asleep in the car when we were 12 minutes away from my grandma’s. Because of course he did.

Patrick hung out in the car for 10 min or so until Gavin woke up, & it worked out fine because my mom got to have some cuddles with a sleepy baby who wasn’t ready to mingle quite yet. Once he warmed up Gavin played with his cousins & the adults all got to chat, and then we had a delicious meal with some of the best turkey I’ve ever eaten in my life. That is not an exaggeration, the turkey was phenomenal and this is coming from someone who doesn’t particularly like turkey to begin with.

Today has been another long day, but lots of fun. Patrick’s best friend is in from out of state with his wife & kids so we met up at the library for a few hours so the kids could play, then we went to a local Doctor Who themed cafe for lunch. “Theme” restaurants are usually high on kitsch & low on quality, but this place is just a really good sandwich & coffee shop that also happens to have a name & decor that are Who related. Everyone enjoyed their food & then we headed home so the kids could all nap while the adults hung out.

Patrick & this guy are close because their mothers are best friends, the kids all grew up together and he/his family are more like an uncle & aunt/cousins to Gavin, so it made perfect sense for them to join us over at my inlaw’s house for thanksgiving part two. There were more kids & chaos but the evening was so much fun. It’s 10pm & we’ve just gotten home recently & Gavin is finally asleep, exhausted from two days of cousins & fun. The last 48 hours have been so pleasant, and we’ve only just started the weekend.

So close I can TASTE it!

So close I can TASTE it!

For the second day in a row Gavin did not take an afternoon nap. At all. He is only 16 months old, way too young to drop the nap, especially because it results in a super crabby baby who refuses to eat dinner because he is so damn tired. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so his schedule is going to be messed up from travel and meals at different times of day, I just hope he’s able to fall asleep in the car on the way out there, even if he only sleeps for 45 min it’s more than he’s had the past two days and I’ll happily take it.

Gavin got to hang with one of his favorite people this morning, his Papa (my dad.) I had multiple baby-related appointments to get to, neither of which would be any fun for him, and I’d be unable to attend to him if he was there. The first was an ultrasound with the maternal-fetal specialist, then my (now weekly) regular appointment with my OB for a quick check and non-stress test. (NSTs basically are being hooked up to a monitor for 20 minutes and they look for a few specific rhythms of baby’s heart. I lay down on a table, read a magazine, and listen to her heartbeat. Not a bad way to kill 20 minutes.) Everything is good with baby girl, she’s measuring right on track, weighs about 4lb5oz and from the glimpse of her face that I got she looks shockingly like her big brother. I know all babies look essentially the same but it honestly caught me by surprise how familiar her face was. She’s still going to put on a few lbs (probably double her weight in the next 8 weeks) and fill out, but she definitely looks like “one of ours.”

While Gavin protested naptime from his crib, my dad and I hung out for a little while and discussed our travel plans for tomorrow and then took apart a wine rack that I don’t need any more that he took over to my sister’s house. He headed out to run his pre-holiday errands and I finally gave up on hoping a nap would happen. Gavin & I had lunch (grilled cheese for him, grilled ham & swiss for me) and then headed back upstairs to get him changed. As I was zipping up his outfit I heard the front door unlocking and Patrick coming through the door. His office closed early for the holiday so he was home much earlier than expected, which ended up being perfect timing. I’d worked on organizing Gavin’s new room a bit more, but we still had a few small projects we wanted to finish before moving him in. Since all of the tools were gone and I’d moved in his toys we decided to “reveal” the room to Gavin. We shut all of the doors in the hallway and left his room slightly ajar, with the light on inside. He went right to it and pushed it open and then said “wow!” To be fair, he says “wow!” to a lot of things, like when we come downstairs in the morning or he finds the sippy of juice I’ve put out for him, but he was genuinely excited to explore a new space.

We spent the next hour or so hanging a shelf above the changing table area while Gavin pulled books and toys off of the shelves and ran around playing. He had so much fun, I put him in the crib for a bit with his Elmo and Grover stuffies and he played nicely, hopefully he’ll transition to sleeping in that bed this weekend. (I want to wait until after our guests leave on Friday, the kids will likely all be taking naps at some point and I want him to stay in the bed he is familiar with until then.) I’m putting the finishing touches on the new room tonight & tomorrow night, and I will post photos soon to show you what all the fuss has been about. It’s about 90% done, I’m thrilled.

The other thing that has me feeling jazzed is the fact that my dining room is empty! Patrick moved a bunch of the boxes to the garage for me, I sorted through a few of them and condensed what I could and he put those in the garage as well. I haven’t had a chance to do a big organization like I had hoped, but the mini-organization has me feeling good and the fact that our first floor is a vacuum, swiffer, and tablecloth away from being presentable is just wonderful. We’re done for tonight and there’s not much work left for us to tackle tomorrow either. I’m crashing hard at the moment, but also feeling confident that we’ll be able to manage the little bit of work that’s left tomorrow when we get home from Thanksgiving dinner.

A couple of sneak peeks:

The board books are now down at Gavin’s level (that empty shelf you see behind him) and he’s enjoying the unlimited access
The gorgeous hand me down crib from our friends Tony & Angela. Gavin’s having a conference with Cookie Monster & Elmo.
Errands, errands, everywhere

Errands, errands, everywhere

Some days I wish my pregnancy app was alive so I could punch it:

To which I say: DUH.

Today felt like an exercise in futility. I spent more hours in the car than seems possible for the small amount of mileage I covered. Gavin & I met up with some of the ladies & babies at the hospital’s moms group in the morning, after being in the house all day Monday it was nice to get out of the house and socialize with other adults.

We got home just in time for naps, though neither of us took one. Gavin was almost passed out when I put him in his crib but he rallied and began chattering and playing. And continued to do so for two hours. I needed to take some time to finish the photo calendars I was making for my grandma & mom so I let him be. He needed a rest, if he decided to do it without sleeping there’s not much I could do about it.

I finished the calendars, placed my order, & got Gavin up. My mother in law offered to watch Gavin in the afternoon so I could run errands. I jumped at the offer, made an appointment with my chiropractor (so much easier to do without Gavin) and headed North. The chiro was helpful, but the errands were a bust. Neither store I went to had the item I need for my thanksgiving side dish, I managed to pick up a few staples and get milk but traffic in both directions was abysmal, it took more than twice as long as it should have to drive each leg of my trip. Seriously, 3.5 hours in the car to go to one appointment, two grocery stores, Oberweiss, and the gas station, all within a 12 mile radius.

I was not expecting to be home so late and had nothing planned (or thawed) for dinner so while parked in traffic I put in an order for a pizza. We don’t get “convenience” meals very often, but this week has been exhausting and occasionally you gotta do what you’ve gotta do. Thankfully Gavin ate dinner with my inlaws so I didn’t feel too badly about the fact that the pizza and I were more than 30 minutes after our usual dinner time.

I’m continuing to work on rearranging the house, I got a lot more done in Gavin’s room, I need to vacuum in there and move a few items over from his room, but I think we might be able to show him his new room as early as tomorrow night! We moved a bookshelf in the living room and replaced it with a dresser which is now housing hats, gloves, scarves and other cold weather wear. We have company coming in from out of town on Friday and will be at my grandmother’s house all day Thursday so tonight and tomorrow are it for getting his room ready and clearing the clutter out of the dining room. I’ve not had the time or energy to go through my supplies yet so I think I might have Patrick put them in the garage tomorrow night and take a break from that project, at least until after next weekend.

Kicking ass & taking names

Kicking ass & taking names

I got so much done in Gavin’s room tonight! I tackled the closet, which was our overflow/jacket storage, and also housed many various bags of junk. I threw out a bunch, saved some momentos, & properly stored the rest. There is so much room in there now!

Patrick helped me lug a bunch of Gavin’s toys upstairs, I kept his favorites in the living room but at the moment the first floor is overrun with my craft supplies and I can only handle so much mess at once. Friday is the deadline for this shiz to be sorted (we have friends coming in from out of town) so Gavin only has a handful of days to entertain himself with a skeleton crew of toys.

We are definitely still in the “it’s going to get worse before it gets better” stage but we both have a fire lit under our butts and I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t wait to show you the finished product, it’s looking great already.

Papa Gerc’s potato pancakes with sauerkraut & kielbasa

Papa Gerc’s potato pancakes with sauerkraut & kielbasa

I mentioned yesterday that I had planned to make my dad’s potato pancakes & sauerkraut with kielbasa for dinner last night, but by the time we were leaving the party it was too late to get started. This is one of my favorite meals, but it takes about 2 hours to prepare so it’s definitely not a “throw it together at the last minute” type of meal. I mentioned on facebook that I was making this meal for dinner tonight and I had a request for the recipe. This is something my dad makes a few times a year, and over the past 30+ years of watching him cook I’ve learned how to make it but I don’t have a recipe written down anywhere. I promised I’d take notes as I cooked tonight and pass along the details, but I decided to do one better and take photos and post it all over here. (My apologies now for the terrible lighting and photo quality, had I intended this to be a “Pinterest worthy” post I would have pulled out my DSLR and maybe cleaned my kitchen up a bit.) This recipe makes about 12 good sized potato pancakes, and should feed 4-5 adults.

Potato Pancakes

  • 4lb russet potatoes, washed & peeled
  • 2 large or 3 small onions, white or yellow
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4c flour
  • salt

Start with washing and peeling the potatoes and peeling the outer layer off of the onions. Depending on the size of your potatoes and onions you may want to cut into halves or quarters. I use an attachment on my Kitchen Aid to finely shred the potatoes & onions, but a hand grater or food processor would work as well.

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Once your potatoes & onions are shredded, you need to remove the excess moisture. The best way to do this is to take a small hand full and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Place the drained mix in a second bowl, sprinkle with salt (which draws out the liquid) & set aside.

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At this point, let the potato & onion mix sit while you prep the sauerkraut & kielbasa. Here’s what you’ll need:

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What you see there is one jar of Frank’s saurkraut, one kielbasa, and 5lb of bacon. Sadly, that bacon is not all for this recipe, it’s a new pack and I need to portion it out into parcels that I can freeze so I can grab the correct amount when cooking. This is the amazing delicious thick cut Neuske’s bacon that our family lovingly refers to as “grandma’s bacon” because my grandparents go up to Wisconsin several times a year and return with literally about 100lb of bacon (if not more.) Seriously, they know my grandma by name and she returns from most trips with random swag like umbrellas and tote bags because she buys such an incredible quantity each time she visits.

If you’re making this for 4-5 people (which is what the pancakes recipe above will feed) you probably want at least two kielbasas, if not three. You’ll also want some brown sugar. We like our sauerkraut sweet. I told my friend I thought there was about 1/4c brown sugar added, but as I cooked and tasted along the way, it ended up being more. 1/2c is probably what you should aim for, unless you like it really sweet. I added a second 1/4c scoop, and then a few small spoonfuls worth on top. Basically sweeten it to taste.

Drain the sauerkraut in a colander or mesh sieve in the sink, use the back of a spoon to push out as much moisture as possible. Let it continue to drain in the sink while you thickly chop 4-6 strips of bacon (1/4-1/2″ pieces) and sauté in a large pan on the stove top. Once it’s browned add the sauerkraut. I do NOT drain the bacon grease from the pan (no one said this was a healthy meal) and let the sauerkraut fry in it a tiny bit. Add 1/4c brown sugar and mix. I’d add another 1/4c brown sugar at this point, but it’s up to you how sweet you want it. Add the kielbasa (cut into 6 or 8 chunks) to the sauerkraut, reduce heat to low, and cover. Time to go back to the pancakes.

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Add 1/4″-1/2″ of oil to an electric skillet and set the temperature to 400 degrees F. (You can use a frying pan on the stove top if you don’t have an electric skillet, but having a thermometer to help regulate the temp is very helpful.)

Repeat the process of squeezing out the excess liquid from the potato mix, taking very small handfuls of mix and pressing firmly between your palms. When the bowl is empty add both eggs to the potato mix and stir with a large spoon. Once completely incorporated sprinkle with flour, about 1/8 of a cup. Stir to incorporate, add more flour as needed. Scoop potato mix (roughly 1/3-1/2c worth) and use your hand to form into a ball, place in the hot oil and use the back of the spoon to flatten. Let fry 3-5min, until the edges become golden brown and crispy, and use a pair of tongs to flip. Cook another 3-5min on the other side, then remove from oil and place on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. If you’re making a large batch I suggest putting your oven on low and keeping the cookie sheet in there between batches. When my dad makes this he makes enough for everyone to get one pancake to start with and then he keeps cooking while we stuff our faces eat.

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Here’s the final product: two potato pancakes (one smothered with sour cream) a piece of sausage and a heaping spoonful of sauerkraut. Gavin ate a bit of the kielbasa, bacon, and sauerkraut, but didn’t try the potato pancake (which is strange because the kid loves french fries.) There is plenty left over so we’ll be having it for lunch tomorrow, so I’m interested to see what items he’s drawn to for round two.

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Happy Birthday My Love!

Happy Birthday My Love!

Today my is my wonderful husband Patrick’s birthday. After a loooooong and exhausting week, we didn’t have the energy for any big celebrations like we’ve had in years past, but it’s still be a lovely day. We all slept in until 9:30 (yup, Gavin was up in the middle of the night screaming for a bottle, so while it sucked to wake up, it meant he slept in a bit) and then I made cinnamon rolls & sausage for breakfast. We hung out in the living room for a bit, Patrick gave Gavin a bath, and then it was naptime. He slept for 2.5+ hours, which is wonderful, I took a bath, and then it was time for everyone to get dressed. Our niece’s 1st birthday is next week and the party was today; because of Gavin’s nap we were almost 2 hours late, but it was perfect timing as they were opening presents and the atmosphere was pretty chill. Gavin got to play with new toys while Pat & I chatted with his brother and our sister in law (they just returned from a trip to Disney, so I was eager to hear all about it.) Gavin’s cousins came up from the playroom in the basement and got their fill of adorable cousin time, and then the party began to dissipate. Soon it was just the 3 brothers, their wives, & their children remaining, and we all headed out. I intended to make my dad’s potato pancakes with sauerkraut and kielbasa for dinner but it was way too late in the evening to get started so we stopped at Red Robin on the way home for a delicious dinner than neither of us had to cook. It was a calm quiet day with the three of us hanging out, and it was just right. Happy 36th birthday Patrick, Gavin & I love you more than you can imagine!