Pumpkin Lactation Muffins

  Happy Halloween! To celebrate the holiday, I whipped up a batch of Pumpkin Lactation Muffins to enjoy,

These muffins come together in a jiffy and are delicious- dense but not heavy, not too sweet. I used maple syrup and, as written, I actually think they’re a bit savory & work great in place of a regular dinner roll or biscuit alongside a plate of turkey or chili. If you prefer a sweeter muffin try using honey or brown sugar, instead. When I tested this recipe I didn’t use muffin liners, I just oiled the pan with coconut oil and they popped right out with no problem.

These muffins freeze well, so you can make a big batch & save some for later. They’re effective, too! I only had one from the first batch & had noticeably more milk. The flavor of  brewer’s yeast isn’t noticeable to me, but some may be more sensitive to it. If that’s the case try decreasing the yeast by half a tablespoon &/or mixing in some yummy extras such as chocolate chips, dry cranberries, pecans, etc.

No one in your home breastfeeding? No problem, just leave out the yeast, no other adjustments are needed.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c almond or coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
  2. To a large bowl, add the pumpkin, applesauce, syrup/honey, eggs, milk, vanilla and oil. Whisk until combined.
  3. In a smaller bowl mix the flour, oats, baking soda, spices, yeast, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Don’t over-mix, you just need to stir until combined. Batter will look somewhat grainy.                                                                                          *If you’d like to add any mix-ins, like chocolate chips or walnuts, now’s the time to do so.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly into the cups.
  5. Bake the muffins for 20-22 minutes, until tops spring back when gently touched.
  6. Allow muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely, or they might fall apart.
  7. Enjoy!

 

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Stretch & improve store bought frosting

 

To increase volume without changing flavor:

Whip room temp frosting on medium-high for several minutes, it’ll look slightly lighter in the end.

To improve flavor:

Vanilla or Almond- add 1 tsp of vanilla or Almond extract to any flavor frosting

Orange or Lemon- add 1 tsp orange or lemon extract, or 1 Tbsp grated zest, to vanilla frosting

Cream cheese- add a package of room temp cream cheese to any flavor frosting

Marshmallow- mix in 1/2 c of marshmallow fluff to any flavor frosting

Peanut Butter- Add 1/2 c peanut butter to vanilla or chocolate frosting

Espresso- add 1 tsp espresso powder to vanilla, chocolate, or caramel frosting

Mint Chocolate- Add 1/4 tsp mint extract to chocolate icing

Adding  flavor might make your frosting too thick or too thin for your liking, so to improve consistency:

To thicken frosting- add powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time/ You could also use cornstarch or arrowroot powder, 1 tsp at a time.

To thin frosting- add 1 Tbsp milk or water at a time

 

Postpartum Thyroiditis

Early Friday afternoon, as I was walking to the kitchen for a drink, my heart began to gallop. It felt like it was trying to burst out of my chest it was pounding so hard. I had only walked about 8 feet, so I was already concerned, but the pounding lasted HOURS.

I called the Doctor and was advised to go to the emergency department- advice I followed, kids in tow. Thankfully, I didn’t wait too long before getting called back to triage, where they took my vitals. By this time my heart wasn’t beating as hard, but it was still racing. The nurse likened my resting heart rate to that of someone jogging.

They immediately took me to a room where I got my very first EKG, I didn’t realize just how those were done and was surprised by how fast it was. I was also hooked up to the heart, oxygen/pulse, and blood pressure monitors, and an IV. The IV was the most painful I have ever had. Normally I’m not bothered by needles at all, but this was a 20 gauge needle so I felt it, and the IV was right in the bend of my right arm, so movement constantly irritated it. They told me they had to use a larger needle because of some of the blood work that was going to be done- I was going to be tested for blood clots, among other things. Of course, now I had to wait awhile before a Dr was available to see me. We discussed my complaints- the racing heart, which was a symptom I was just noticing that day, the severe anxiety I have been experiencing since about a week or so before the baby was born, and a constant, inflamed feeling in my throat that I had unsuccessfully tried to get addressed by my regular care provider. At some point my family left, and a breast pump was brought in since the baby wasn’t going to be there to nurse. I got to pump once before I was given propranolol, after which the pumped milk was dumped. Blood was then drawn before I was taken up to get xrays of my chest & throat. Then there was nothing to do but wait some more, and watch figure skating on the hospital TV.

Now guys, like I said I have already gone to the Dr about the swollen throat and anxiety a couple of times now. I was unable to get someone to even take a look at my throat, but I was able to talk them into drawing blood for a thyroid panel, which came back fine. That was about 3 weeks ago, ok.  After a few more hours of waiting in the ER bed, the Dr came in to tell me I was being admitted, that she had ordered a thyroid panel even though I had just had one done, and sure enough I had signs of hyperthyroidism. She told  a little about what that meant, and why I was being admitted. I needed to be monitored overnight. I had been in the ER for about 4 hours at this point, and it was another 5 hours before I actually was given a room.

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Once I was finally moved upstairs, I had to answer more of the same questions, listen to the policies of that floor,  get settled into the bed, etc. Finally, sometime after 2 am, I was allowed to sleep- but not before being informed that I’d be woken at 4 am for my vitals and weight to be checked. What ACTUALLY happened at 4 am was that I was woken up for a blood draw. They came half an hour later for the rest. Afterward, I fell asleep for another hour or so, before waking for the day. At 8:30 am the Dr came in to discuss my diagnosis & what course of action we should take. It was decided, because I am breastfeeding, to keep me on a low dose of propranolol for now. I was told to I’d be prescribed a blood pressure cuff, given a referral to an endocrinologist. Around noon my husband & baby finally came to visit, the other kids were at their Uncle’s. At this point it had been 15 hours since I had seen the baby, and since I hadn’t had any more medication I was able to nurse her. In fact, I  wasn’t given any for several more hours- until closer to time for me to go home. When that time came, we saw that there was no prescription for the blood cuff inquired about it. The nurse left to ask the Dr & when she came back she told us he didn’t remember that, but the pharmacy should have them available for purchase. I strongly suspect that they just didn’t want to bother with the paperwork when cuffs are available over the counter.

I was discharged around 2:30, and went home to wait for my prescription to be ready. When I did go to pick it up I was told the pharmacy was really behind & it wasn’t ready. I asked if they had blood pressure cuffs, and the guy had to go ask someone else, just to tell me no & refer me to a different pharmacy (Fred Meyer). So we went there, only to be sent on a wild goose chase by that pharmacist. From the parking lot we tried to call the other Fred Meyer store to find that their call system is automated & there didn’t seem to be a way to get ahold of an actual human being. FRUSTRATING> We called around town & finally found that Rite Aid had them in stock. So we go there and find a manual cuff for $30, since the automatics there started at the $60 range. Youch. Long story short, my prescription wasn’t ready before the pharmacy closed.

Later,  around 8 pm, while sitting on the couch watching The Office with my husband, my heart felt like it was pounding hard again. We gathered our stuff up & headed back to the ER. Once we arrived I sat in the parking lot for awhile, trying to calm down, I was taken back immediately, and we discussed what was going on with me and how I had been unable to fill my prescription.  I was given another EKG, and hooked to the monitors again, before being given a dose of medication. Then they just monitored me for 2 hours, sent the prescription to other pharmacies, & ent me on my merry way.

I am happy to have slept in my own bed last night. My husband fed the baby previously expressed milk & let me sleep, something I am grateful for. I’ll admit I didn’t pump at all during the night, I was too exhausted, though I regret it as I sit here pumping milk that will be dumped. If I had gotten up, I could be nursing the baby instead. This screws up my whole schedule, now I won’t be able to nurse the baby until much later today,  Lesson learned for sure. because I can’t feed her for 5 hours after taking the medicine. I don’t have enough milk saved up for this, I’m going to have to supplement with formula, something I am NOT thrilled about.  I’m scared & overwhelmed by everything. Please keep me in your prayers.

 

Bible Verses to Soothe an Anxious Heart

Here is some scripture I find comforting when I am gripped with anxiety.  By meditating on the Word, I can leave anxiety & worry behind, replacing it with hope & peace. Do you turn to scripture when you’re feeling overwhelmed? Which verses do you find most comforting in those times?

  • Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today
    and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’
    or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matthew 6:25-34 
  • For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 
  • Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9 
  • Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. ~ Luke 12:22 
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7 
  • Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
    and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:28-30 
  • Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16 
  • Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you ~ 1 Peter 5:6-7 
  • The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. ~ Exodus 14:14 
  • Pray without ceasing ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17 
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11 
  • I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. ~ Psalm 34:4 
  • God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1 
  • When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. ~ Psalm 94:19 
  • When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. ~ Psalm 56:3 
  • Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty!~ Psalm 93:4 
  • The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. ~ Psalm 118:6-7 
  • Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid. ~ John 14:27 
  • You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. ~ Isaiah 26:3 
  • Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” ~ Isaiah 35:4 
  • But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint ~ Isaiah 40:31 
  • So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10 
  • But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. ~ Isaiah 43:1 
  • Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you. ~ Deuteronomy 3:22 
  • Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6 
  • For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. ~ Isaiah 41:13-14 
  • Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’ ~ Mark 5:36 
  • And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. ~ Romans 8:38-39 
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ~ Romans 15:13 
  • The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. ~ Zephaniah 3:17 
  • Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.’ ~ Revelation 1:17

 

I am going to be writing one verse a day on unlined index cards and carrying them with me. You can see my progress here. I would if you joined in & made your own! Use #fromfeartohope and tag me @this_is_kammie so I can see your work!

fromfeartohope

World Mental Health Day

Despite usually being a private person, I have always been vocal and open regarding mental health issues. I have generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder, which has caused me to struggle with depression, agoraphobia, and postpartum psychosis in the past. Right now, I am wrestling postpartum anxiety, though to be honest it started about a week, maybe a week and a half, before the baby was born.  I have not felt healthy, calm, centered, or safe for more than 40 days. It is impossible to feel truly happy, or enjoy anything like I should. Every day is a struggle. It is, frankly, a living hell.

The doctors tell me it’s hormonal, that I am ok, I just don’t feel that way. They’re probably right, but they aren’t addressing the physical symptoms- the swollen lymph nodes in my throat, the dizziness that lasts hours- that are, at least in part, triggering the anxiety. I will persist, though. I will be having my vitamin levels checked, to see whether or not this might improved with some vitamin D or B.

It’s really hard to see right now, but good things will…HAVE…come from this. Suddenly, for the first time in my life, my health is truly a priority, and I have overcome a lot of bad habits- like my caffeine addiction & sweet tooth- overnight. I’m seeing a behavioral health specialist, who has turned me towards some of the resources available to me. I’ve realized how much my family cares about me. I’m discovering new coping tools- for example, today I joined in on the 5 day Yoga for Mental Health Challenge with Ashley Turner, albeit a bit late. I learned a mudra there (pictured below) that is supposed to help with anxiety.  I just have to keep reminding myself- good things will and HAVE come from this.

One day I will be able to look back on this and, in a way, be glad it happened. Until then, please keep me in your prayers.

antianxietymudra3

Don’t drop eggs on the baby

Today I made myself *real* food for lunch for the first time since I had the baby.  Since she’s teensy & needs constant attention it needed to be something I could whip up quickly. Of course, the moment I sat to eat she woke & started to cry for her fifth or sixth feeding of the day.  #Momlife, am I right? I know this newborn stage is fleeting and soon I’ll be able to have a little more time to take care of myself, but it can certainly feel a bit overwhelming in the moment.

I have been craving sweet potatoes lately, but for whatever reason my preferred grocery stores have been out for about 2 months, so when I saw them back in stock last week I made sure to grab a bunch. I love sweet potatoes seasoned with cumin+chili powder, and cinnamon+sugar is a popular choice. I love them stuffed with spinach & eggs, topped with chili, served with goat cheese & honey, in a curry… I just love sweet potatoes, they’re so versatile!

I decided to make myself some savory sweet potato medallions with garlic spinach & scrambled eggs. This is the fastest, easiest way I know of making sweet potatoes. It was certainly super quick & easy to make, and delicious, even if I did end up eating it cold.

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Sweet Potato Medallions

Preheat oven 400 degrees

Wash your sweet potato (peeling is optional) & trim the ends

Slice into 1/4″ thick rounds

Toss with 1 Tbsp oil (coconut, olive, or avocado)

Season to taste

Bake 20 minutes (no need to flip!) or until tender

Enjoy!


 

What’s your favorite way to enjoy sweet potatoes?