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Archive for February, 2010

Ready to Share

What a week this has been!  Sorry to disappear for a couple of days, but I have a good reason…. I am ready to start sharing some of the excitement in my life right now…..and of course….you can’t go around sharing exciting news with cyberspace until you’ve shared that news with key people in the real world!

I’ve mentioned that I’ve had a hard time blogging in recent weeks.  I’ve been behind in writing my blog and reading your blogs.  For one, I have have felt like blogging my meals just pales in significance to everything else right now.  Everything I have wanted to talk about has been off limits!  I have also been using my “recreational” computer time looking at non-blog-related sites and forums.  All of that has equaled less time and enthusiasm for blogging.  So I am sharing this news now, in part, because I just can’t keep up with half-hearted blog posts!

Let me take you back a few weeks… This was February 1st:

After hyperventilating a bit, I went right to the doctor where they confirmed the news with a blood test.  Yeah!!  Shear excitement for…..maybe 2 days.  Then the panic set in!  The doctor didn’t want to see me until 8 weeks (which is standard procedure), but that felt like an eternity.  I have spent the month of February in a constant state of anxiety, spurred on by those informative, yet terrifying baby websites and message boards.  Everyday, I would read about several women who had miscarried that day and I would become even more panicked.  And my fear wasn’t totally out in left field…..after all, 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.  And since I am programmed to be a worrier anyway, my mind went right there!

I have never wanted to be sick and uncomfortable so much in all my life!  But with the exception of  a bloated belly, a couple days when I have felt a little queasy in the evenings, and just an overall sluggishness, I have felt great!  I’ve been working out most days, and generally feeling…..not pregnant.  Which of course, freaked me out!  Please, God, let me throw up!!

On Thursday, we had our first doctors appointment and ultrasound.  What a horrible week this has been!  I didn’t sleep.  I couldn’t concentrate.  Cramming for Wednesday’s microbiology exam was torchure!  I was terrified that they were going to look inside me and see nothing.  Afterall, I haven’t had strong symptoms.  How could my hormone levels be where they’re supposed to be if I’m not even sick?!

I was literally shaking by the time we walked into the doctor’s office.  Unable to sit at home waiting any longer, we left and got to the appointment a bit early.  The ultrasound technician must have seen the panic in my eyes because she took us right in.  Being early on in this whole adventure, I expected I would be undressing for this ultrasound (those internal ultrasounds are better at picking up early pregnancies).  But she just lifted my shirt, rubbed the jelly on my belly, and immediately found this:

That was the best indistinguishable blob I had ever seen!  She told me everything looked great and there was a strong heart beat!  I felt like I lost 20 pounds instantly!  All of that worry just lifted.

The ultrasound was followed by seeing the doctor.  This is a new doctor for me, so I was crossing my fingers that I would like her.  She was great and took her time explaining everything to me.  I have felt rushed before at doctor’s appointments, but she very patiently answered all of my questions. My biggest question was around exercise.  It’s a huge part of my life, and I was afraid she would tell me I couldn’t run or sweat.  There are guidelines floating about that say not to let your heart rate get above 140 bpm during pregnancy and not to get overheated.  I hoped I hadn’t signed on with an “old school” doctor.  Without hesitating, she told me that the 140 bpm recommendation is terribly out-dated.  After all, heart rate is elevated anyway during pregnancy, so getting to 140bpm doesn’t take a whole lot of activity!  She said I could do anything I did before, as long as I felt good and stayed hydrated.  The concern is when someone who has never exercised before gets pregnant and thinks “I can’t gain too much weight, I’d better start running!”  That’s a problem, I can see that.  But she said that my body is used to exercise and the baby will only benefit from the activity.

A healthy baby and a green light to exercise!  I was walking on air as we left!  I am still worried.  I am, as of today, 8 weeks, 3 days.  That’s still early, and for the rest of the first trimester, I will still be worried about this little bean.  But the doctor said that that just seeing a heart beat betters the odds for a healthy pregnancy, so I feel more hopeful.

We had already shared our news with our parents and siblings when we first found out.  But after Thursday we shared the information with the rest of the family and a few friends.  Its not something we are going to paste on facebook, but we do want to be able to be openly excited.  We also feel like, if something bad did happen, we would want to lean on more people for support.  And as far as blogging, I have never been part of a more supportive community!

There are a couple other exciting things on the horizon that I will share with you in the next few days.  But that is enough news for now!  I have a big chemistry test next week so I will most likely take the rest weekend off of blogging to study.  With all of the anxiety over the last couple of weeks, I feel a little behind!

This was a fun post to write!  Thank you for reading!  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  🙂

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Unlike this weekend, when I was looking longingly out the window at the beautiful weather, today I am more than happy to be inside with my notes.  It is torrential out there!  I hope it lets up by the time I have to leave for my exam at 4:00.   I am going to be very happy when this exam is over.  I studied a lot, and there are still some things that haven’t “stuck,” but more or less, I know what I am going to know.  That means I am as ready as I’m going to be…

I just fortified myself with an excellent lunch.  I hope it gets my brain firing on all cylinders!  I had a half of an acorn squash left over from a couple of nights ago, so I roasted that up.  I can’t decide whether I like acorn or butternut squash better.  But acorn squash is definitely easier to make.  Butternut squash requires a lot of chopping to make it the way I like it.

I paired my squash with a huge scoop of cottage cheese (for protein) and salsa (for a little kick!).  I love salsa in my cottage cheese!

Since I posted before dinner last night, I also have my french toast to share with you.  Topped with hot pumpkin, apple, raisins, and cinnamon.

I used to always put berries and yogurt on my pancakes/French toast/waffles.  Then there was the banana and peanut butter faze.  But ever since I started pairing the pumpkin, apple, and raisins, there is nothing else I want to dress up this dish with.  Strangely, I do not like maple syrup at all, so the standard topping has never been in the rotation for me!

This is a lackluster post, but I have 2 more hours before I have to leave so I am going to review all of my notes one more time, and then relax for a little bit to clear my head.  Thanks for so many well wishes.  I need every one of them!

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Its been an unblogwothy start to the week.  When I sat down to blog last night, I thought to myself “I got nothin’!”  This is what my day yesterday consisted of:

I told you.  Completely unblogworthy!  I have my second of 3 exams in microbiology on Wednesday and a Chemistry test next week.  So this week has been all about cramming.  I need to get through tomorrow night’s exam so that I can focus on chemistry.  It’s getting hard and I need to put in a lot of time before I will be even close to being ready to take the test next week.  Microbiology isn’t hard, but it is a lot of memorization.  I am really good and committing things to memory.  But with the names of viruses and bacteria, they are so random and difficult to pronounce that there is nothing that makes it stick in my memory.  I’ve tried making up a couple of songs, but what rhymes with Borrelia Burgdorferi?!  (That’s the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease, by the way.  Its a non-gram staining spirochete, in case you’re wondering.)

Jack and Rudy, ever the helping hands, got right in on the study action!

Does anyone have cats?  Isn’t it amazing how they can pick out exactly what you are reading and sit right on it!

Today was all about chemistry because I have lecture and lab on Tuesdays.  But now that I’m home, the mircrobiology notes are back out!

Food-wise, the last 24 hours have been rather uneventful.  Lots of snacking while studying.  Little meals to get me through.  One thing I did make yesterday that was noteworthy was a smoothie, enhanced by Amazing Grass.  I still have a couple of samples left over that the kind folks at Amazing Grass had sent to me several weeks ago.  This one was the Berry-flavored Green Superfood.  It claims to: support body alkalinity, boost energy and the immune system, and is a gluten free and vegan supplement.   I added the 30 calorie packet to a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, a cup of almond milk, and a handful of frozen strawberries.  I also added a 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum to thicken it up.  I don’t think that I would enjoy the mix by itself, but mixed in with the sweetened protein powder and milk, it was great….and healthy too (albeit, a rather unattractive shade of brown)!

I have some more cramming to do before Dave gets home from work.  And then I think French Toast is on tap for dinner.  I have a new shipment of gluten-free bread coming this week, so I want to use up the last loaf I have.  It saves a lot of money to buy several loaves at once, so I believe I have 5 loaves on the way!

I am nearing the end of this 8 week condensed microbiology course, and when its over, I hope to have a little more time to blog….and to blog about interesting things!  Thanks for hanging in there with me!   I am so touched that people still take the time to comment even when I am not posting about the most interesting things and not posting everyday.  You brighten my day with each comment!

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This weekend was such a tease! For one, it was beautiful spring-like weather in the middle of February.  We all know that there just has to be a snow storm on the horizon!  And on top of that, I had so much studying I needed to do that we had made no plans to get out and enjoy the weather.  So I sat inside with my books and notes, watching sunshine-deprived neighbors walking around outside and playing with their dogs in the grass.

Sigh…

Now that I have you all feeling sorry for me, I’ll show you why you don’t have to pity me…

I put away all of my notes on bacteria and viruses to enjoya show I have been loooking forward to seeing for years!  It was a perfect Christmas present.  Thanks Dave!  This was probably the most artistic show, with the most beautiful choreography and costuming that I’ve ever seen.  Story-wise and music-wise, there are other shows I like more, but from the standpoint of staging this show, I was beyond impressed!   The way the brought the animals to life required such creativity.  I was in awe!

Any other musical theater fans out there?  I think my favorite shows are Mamma Mia and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  Both shows have such energy and the music is invigorating and fun!

In addition to our night on the town, I also managed to eat pretty well too!  My Friday night pizza did not disappoint.  I have been using Chebe products to make my pizza dough.  But this week I was craving the polenta crust I discovered when I first went gluten-free.  This polenta pizza I topped with peppers, artichokes, spinach, and soy crumbles.  Perfection!

I have been on a real spinach kick lately, adding it to anything I can think of!  Here I mixed it in with some egg beaters that I put on 2 slices of gluten-free bread with tomato and Laughing Cow.  Great combination!

I also made a huge spinach salad with cottage  cheese (its mixed with salsa, which is why its read!).  A favorite meal has become a big salad paired with squash.  Goes together so well!

And because I hadn’t had enough spinach in the last 48 hourse, I added some more to my shirataki noodles tonight.  Along with some crispy baked eggplant (dipped in egg and crushed rice chex cereal)!

I have put away my microbiology notes for the night.  Time to join all my boys on the couch for some Olympic updates and a date with our DVR!

And before I go, a reminder to check out Kristen’s giveaway of Newman’s Own goods at Change of Pace.

Have a great end to the weekend.  I hope it was beatiful and warm wherever you are…and that you got to go out and enjoy it!!

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Yeah for Friday!  I love Fridays….even though I’m back in school and don’t have a 9-5 gig right now, and even though I have a lot of studying to do this weekend…I love Fridays!  Fridays are always the same here…. pizza, LOST on the dvr (LOST is special so it gets the Friday night slot!), and a morning without an alarm to look forward to. And this weekend, even though I have a huge test to study for, I also have a fun date night planned!

One of Dave’s Christmas presents to me was tickets to see The Lion King when it came to town this month.  I am a huge fan of musical theater.  I have entire productions memorized!  The Lion King has been on my must see list for a long time!

There was no blogging again last night.  Another bellyache had me on the couch.  But before being hit by that, I ate really well!  I love the combination of squash and cottage cheese.  I think it’s the combination of the hot squash and the cold cheese.  I mixed the cottage cheese with some salsa and dipped the squash in it.  Delish!

I didn’t intentionally plan it this way, but dinner also focused on squash yesterday.  I made my new favorite dish….spaghetti squash mixed with Laughing Cow cheese, spinach and tomato.  I could eat this every night!  On the side, I made some kale chips dipped in ketchup which I had forgotten about for months!

I think I finally have the timing down right for this oven.  375 degrees for 20 minutes.  They have to be the perfect amount of crispiness, without being burned.  These were perfect!  Even Dave liked them!  In the picture below, I only have a few chips left because I forgot to take a picture before digging in!

I have pizza in the oven and it smells so good!  I can’t wait for pizza and LOST!  Hopefully, my tummy will be have and I can really enjoy it.

Have a great Friday night!

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Blogging Derailed!

Oh boy!  I was really excited to show you my chili last night!  And more than that, I was really excited to eat it!  But I ended up sidelined with an awful stomachache.  Although my stomachaches are better sice cutting out gluten, I still have my bad days.  I was so focused on getting through dinner so that I could curl up on the couch, that I didn’t photograph my chili, didn’t blog about it, and hardly got to enjoy it, for that matter. 😦  Too bad, because it was really good!  I can’t wait for the leftovers, when I can truly appreciate it!

I mentioned last night how I have been searching for the perfect chili for 7 years.  Let me explain….  About 7 years ago, I went hiking on Mount Washington in New Hampshire with my aunt.  We have gone on “adventures” together since I was really little, and this was just one in a long line of grand adventures.

Mount Washington, if you’ve never been there, it a tough hike.  It’s a day long hike up and back.  At the top, you can take a breather at a little touristy restaurant they have built up there for all of the people who have hiked or driven up to the summit (there is definitely something gratifying about walking in there all sweaty because you’ve hiked it, while all the other sweat-free drivers look clean and refreshed!).

We made it to the top in record time, huffing and puffing, but on the way down we met some other folks, and with all the talking, it took much longer.  It was great fun, but when we got back to the car, it was getting dark and we were starving!  We were also freeeeezing!  Our original idea….to check into our cabin, shower, and then go out to dinner…..was replaced with, “we need food now and then we want to crash in our cabin and not come out ’til morning!”

We pulled into this little convenience store and picked up some chips, chocolate, and drinks.  And then we saw it.  A vat of convenience store chili!  It may not sound enticing, but it was hot and we were hungry.  Anything would have probably tasted exceptional at that point!  The combination of needing warmth and needing food, made that chili the best I have ever had!  Since then, I have tried bowl after bowl of chili, and none has come close to matching that convenience store chili!  Until now….

Even with a raging stomachache, this chili was unbelievable!  Although I was too uncomfortable to think about taking pictures last night, I dumped the leftovers into a bowl this morning so I could show you.

I followed Heather‘s recipe almost to a T, but I cut it in half.  I knew Dave would eat it, but I also figured he wouldn’t be super excited about it.  As it turned out, he did like it and now I wish I had more!  It helped that he had crescent rolls on the side! 🙂

This chili had:

  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can mexican stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can of no salt-added corn, drained
  • 1 1/3 cups Morningstar Farms veggie crumbles (tried to sneak that by Dave!)
  • 1/2 packet of chili/taco seasoning
  • 1/2 packet of Ranch salad dressing (I never would have thought of this Heather!)
  • 1/2 red pepper and 1/2 onion diced (and cooked until soft)

All thrown into the crock pot…this couldn’t have been easier!  This was the chili I’ve searched for and I will definitely be making it again!

I have class tonight from 5-10 pm so I will be back tomorrow.  Have a great Wednesday!

Are there any foods that you have tried to find/recreate because they taste so good in your memory?

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Ole!

I spent the afternoon going back and forth between my microbiology book and the kitchen.  I made chili for dinner tomorrow night!  I am so excited because this is something I have been wanting to make for a long time.  Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned, Dave doesn’t like anything with any kick to it.  He thinks toothpaste is too spicy!  So I’ve held off making chili.  But after seeing Heather’s chili make several appearances over the last week, I couldn’t stand it anymore!  She said it was much better the next day, so I cooked it up and tomorrow, I’ll rewarm it in the slowcooker while I’m at class.  I’ll show you my creation tomorrow and tell you why I have  been searching for the perfect chili for 7 years!  Maybe I’ve found it….

Because I had to buy some chili ingredients, I found myself in the mexican aisle of the store and before I could think twice, I was putting taco shells in my basket too.  I haven’t had tacos in ages and I love them!  But alas….another thing Dave would prefer not to have.  Poor Dave, with tacos on the brain, I had to satisfy the craving.  Here’s the spread:

  • Spinach
  • Peppers and Onions
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • steamed broccoli sprouts
  • spicy tomatoes
  • plain tomatoes
  • chicken with a little bit of taco seasoning (for Dave)
  • Soy crumbles with lots of taco seasoning (for me!)
  • cheese (missing from the picture)
  • taco shells

My tacos had everything in them!

Dave’s had chicken, a couple pieces of tomato, and cheese.  Not his favorite dinner.  But I loved it!

One more spicy dinner for Dave tomorrow, and then I’ll spare him the rest of the week.

I got a lot done today and feel very productive.  The house is vacuumed, my take home test for microbiology is done almost done, I got my cracked windshield fixed, hit up the grocery store, and made 2 dinners.  Phew!  I’ve earned an evening in from of the tv with my boys.

Believe it or not there are 2 boys intertwined here…

My third boy is warming the couch for me right now!  Have a great night everyone! 🙂

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