Twelve Months of Motherhood {A Baby Update} | @girlversusdough

And just like that, my little one is one.

I’ll continue to say it because it’s just so true: Time flies. It really does. I swear I blinked and yesterday Avery was born. I blinked again, and today she is one year old. Just a moment ago I was the most sleep deprived I’ve ever been in my life, waking up every couple of hours day and night to nurse/swaddle/try to figure out why she’s crying this time (or maybe it was me crying? I forget) while simultaneously cuddling the smallest, sweetest bundle of baby joy. And then, a moment later, she’s wobbly and walking and pointing at “birdies” and clapping her hands and throwing her first toddler tantrums and calling for “mamamamama” and giving me the best hugs and kisses I’ve ever received in my life.

If there is a thesis statement to this post, it is this: Motherhood is the single most difficult and amazing role I’ve ever played. And I am so blessed to be able to play it for my sweet Avery Kate.

Twelve Months of Motherhood {A Baby Update} | @girlversusdough

Oooooookay, so before this gets too sappy, I’ll tell you about her party: Um, we didn’t have it. My mom came into town the week before Avery’s birthday to visit and on Thursday night, she very quickly came down with a case of nausea and the shivers. A few hours later, she had the stomach flu. I’ll spare details. Because it got worse: By Friday night, my birthday, it had taken me down. And by Saturday morning, Avery’s birthday and the day of her party, it had knocked down my husband, too. Thankfully we were all pretty well recovered by Sunday, but I also had a fridge stocked full of uneaten cake and appetizers and, on the counter, a few boxes and bags of unopened streamers, pink polka dot plates and yellow pom poms.

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Greens and Goat Cheese Bisque | @girlversusdough

Happy almost weekend, friends! Or, in our case, happy almost birthday to me tomorrow, birthday to Avery Saturday and Mother’s Day on Sunday. Oy.

Right about now I’m elbow-deep in streamers, balloons and cake ingredients in preparation for the festivities (and in about 12 hours, I might even be neck-deep. I went a little overboard). You already know how I feel about the whole thing — excited? Yes. Anxious? YES. Have I been looking at old Instagram photos of newborn Avery all week long with heart pangs of nostalgia? I admit to nothing.

In any case, to keep myself fueled for the week, I’ve been slurping (ew — I mean, politely sipping) this delish greens and goat cheese bisque for lunch and sometimes dinner with a gooey, melty grilled cheese on the side. It’s been just the boost I needed.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart | @girlversusdough

Good news, friends! It is impossible to eat too much chocolate and peanut butter. I know this because I’ve eaten obscene amounts of it in my day and I’m still here to tell you about this chocolate peanut butter pretzel tart — which is basically a giant, no-bake peanut butter cup with a pretzel/graham cracker/secret ingredient (oooooh, suspense!) crust.

This tart was inspired by two things: One, my aforementioned obsession with chocolate and peanut butter, and two, a very similar tart I had at a local place called Cafe Latte. If you’ve ever been, you know they are well-known for their desserts (including that tres leches cake that I inhale every time I order it). And if you’ve never been there, well, just know that they make some amazingly delicious desserts. The last time I was there, I ordered a peanut butter tart and I kid you not when I say that was months ago and I’ve thought about it nearly every day since, it was so good.

And so, last week I decided enough was enough. I needed that tart in my life again and I could not wait one more day. And in just a few hours, it was so. Except I amped up the crust a bit to make it all salty/savory/SECRET INGREDIENT-y because… well, is there any reason to justify this? I think not.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan -- Tender, flavorful chicken topped with tomato sauce and melty cheese, all prepped in the slow cooker! @girlversusdough #girlversusdough #crockpot #chickendinner

This is a big week ahead. My mom is coming to town this weekend, my birthday is next week, my baby’s ONE YEAR birthday (!) is the day after that, I’m going to see Death Cab for Cutie in concert for the first time ever, which is a total bucket list thing for me, AND I’ll be diving into this slow cooker chicken parmesan for dinner probably no less than three nights in a row, which is also a total bucket list thing for me. I am so excited about all of it.

What, you don’t have this slow cooker chicken parmesan on your bucket list, too? Well, you should. Because it’s so easy and so tasty and so cheesy and so flavorful and actually, make that four nights in a row that I’ll be having this for dinner. With leftovers for lunch the next day.

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Spiced Lentils with Poached Eggs | @girlversusdough

I was vegetarian for a while. Did you know that? I feel like almost everyone who was vegetarian and now isn’t has had a similar experience: He couldn’t live without bacon. She couldn’t pass up any opportunity for a burger. For me, it was neither — it was simply that I had one too many bad experiences with bland, boring, uninspired vegetarian dishes, and I didn’t know how to cook any good meat-free dishes in my own home (besides a mean grilled cheese, that is. Perhaps I’ll share that recipe another day).

And so, since man and woman cannot live on grilled cheese alone (or at least I couldn’t, though I tried), I started incorporating meat back into my diet. And now, years later, I often find myself enjoying vegetarian dishes more than anything with meat. Funny how that works.

Of course, having bloggers like Erin of Naturally Ella to go to for veggie-filled inspiration helps. That girl knows her way around a vegetable, let me tell you. She’s also a cookbook author twice over. When I met her in person last summer, I quickly realized, too, that she’s a true gem of a lady. And she’s also about to become a mom to a baby boy. So what better way to celebrate her and her upcoming bundle of baby joy than with a super-quick, super-easy vegetarian recipe of celebratory proportions? ← That would be this lentil dish, FYI. Believe it.

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Hazelnut Rye Rolls | @girlversusdough

If you want your house to smell like sweet, home-baked goodness, if you want something swirly and hazelnut-y and cinnamon-y, if you love the taste of rye bread but also cinnamon rolls, if you need an idea of what to eat for breakfast for the rest of your life, folks, make these hazelnut rye rolls.

And even if none of the above applies to you but you are still a fellow carb lover, you should make these hazelnut rye rolls. If nothing else, do it for the glaze: the drippy cream cheese glaze. OK and maybe also the sweet swirly filling. Oh, and the buttery rye roll itself, YES. It’s just the right thing to do.

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