Post-weekend sigh of relief

It’s not that I’m psyched that the weekend is over (cause that’s crazy talk right there – who is ever happy to have the weekend over???). It’s just that Luffy and I both succumbed to a mild case of food poisoning over the weekend and we finally feel better.

For the record, poor Luffy’s been sick since last, last weekend and was just starting to feel better from that when we got food poisoning. Which is probably why his manifested first, poor guy. We think it was from Potbelly’s, which we had for lunch Saturday. His kicked in by that night and was in fully force by Sunday morning. Mine was ramping up Sunday afternoon and peaked in the overnight hours. We never actually vomited, but I don’t know if I’d actually call that a win since I, at least, felt like I was on the verge of vomiting most of that time. The rest of the time, I just felt like I had a lead weight in my stomach. Seriously, last night I tried to eat a bite of Luffy’s grilled cheese since I thought I was feeling a bit better. I swear I could feel it settle in my stomach. Gross.

But today! Today I was actually hungry when I woke up, so yay! Feeling much better.

So yeah, our weekend was a wee bit boring. We did see some friends. They came over to play with the baby and scope out our neighborhood. They’re looking into buying a house this Fall because they just adopted an adorable, though very energetic puppy.

I also taught my class Saturday morning in the pouring rain (I mean, not actually in it, but I did have to drive through it).

And, uh, we played with the baby. Totally a weekend well spent.

Most Eggscelent

The dumpling has been slowly taking to solid foods. I finally started sending oatmeal or yogurt with him each day, so he’s finally started eating solids at least once a day. I try to have him try new things or eat other foods whenever I can find time, which usually means me rifling through the fridge, looking for something he can eat. I was really proud of him this past weekend because he successfully had blueberries! He’d eaten them before, but in his mesh feeder, which means he’s just getting the juice. This time, I cut them up and fed them to him along with some yogurt. Two pieces disappeared into his mouth – yay!!!

About an hour later, however, we were playing on the floor and I spotted something dark on the roof of his mouth. Took him to the bathroom to discover that he had a squished blueberry stuck to the roof of his mouth! Poor baby! And I had been wondering why he was drooling so much.

In more foodie news, the dumpling also finally managed to swallow some egg yesterday morning. Luffy and I have eggs for breakfast every morning and we usually give the dumpling a small bite. Up until yesterday, most of that bite has come right back out, but yesterday he managed to swallow it! Yay dumpling! We sent him off to daycare and headed out to work.

About 11:45, I get a call from daycare (I swear my stomach falls out each time I look at the caller ID and see that it’s daycare calling). They’d given him his yogurt for the morning, but he was developing a rash, they said. It was spreading quickly and they wanted us to come get him. Luffy picked him up and I met them at the pediatrician’s office where she confirmed a likely egg allergy.

Our pediatrician ordered an allergy panel for the dumpling, but that didn’t go so well. The lab couldn’t find a vein and they need to collect more blood than a heel prick provides. Unfortunately, we’ll be headed back to the lab (hopefully one a little more adept at pediatric collections) soon to confirm. Wish us luck on this – I really hated to see my poor dumpling distraught over the prick, especially when it wasn’t fruitful.

While I’m bummed that he could be allergic to eggs (oh what a life! to be allergic to eggs), this is apparently an allergy that has a high likelihood of being outgrown. There are a few factors here (that he had a reaction early, that it appears to just be a reaction to egg, that the reaction was fairly minor, that he is a boy) that make the odds of him outgrowing it even greater than average. So I suppose we’ll see!

In other milestone news, the dumpling has gotten really vocal all of a sudden. He’s always had his chatty moments at home, when it’s just us. Yesterday though, when we were at the pediatrician’s office and then the lab, he was just a talking away! Screechy, pterodactyl noises too! He’s also beginning to learn “up” and will throw his hands up at you if you say it to him. I always enjoy watching him, seeing what new habits he’s picked up and what he’s learned.

Oh what a weekend

It’s quite possibly the most cliche phrase ever uttered on a Monday, but – man – I wish it were the weekend again. Luffy and I had a wonderful weekend and I would pay good money to rewind the clock to Friday so that we could do it all again.

The weekend started a few hours early for me when I left work around 1:00 on Friday afternoon. I picked up some lunch for Luffy and I and headed to his office for a little desk picnic. I don’t know about you (and your SO), but seeing him earlier than usual always puts me in the best mood. I then headed out to run some errands and clean up the house a bit in preparation of our EPIC Saturday plans.

First up Saturday were our standing lunch plans with Luffy’s parents. Not all that exciting, per se, but always delicious. We then headed over to a friend’s house for the last baby shower. This one was co-ed (and hosted by mutual friends), so Luffy tagged along. We had a wonderful shower, filled with fun games (the boys tried to guess the flavors of baby food and then, in a much more appreciated game, tried to drink beer from baby bottles), tasty food, and good company. Our friends outdid themselves and some of my favorite outfits came from them (seriously! little tiny Fullmetal Alchemist and One Piece onesies!! so adorable).

And then, as if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, Luffy arranged for the most delightful treat for me and our friends: a private Frank dinner, hosted at our house.

Now, I’ve talked about Frank before, but one thing that I didn’t mention is that they actually offer in-home cooking (and some of the Frank experience) for private dinner parties. It wasn’t something I’d ever seriously considered (little awkward with just two people, don’t you think??), but Luffy decided that it would be a lovely thank-you to our friends for hosting our shower and a surprise for me. AND I’M SO HAPPY THAT HE DID. We had THE BEST time. He didn’t quite get to make it a surprise for me (he had to check that I was ok with it being at our home because, you know, he knows me and knew I’d want to clean all the things before I had professional chefs using my kitchen), but he did do all the heavy lifting of the planning and the prep.

Our chef arrived at little after 6pm. Our friends arrived at 7pm. Champagne was popped at 7:10 – and things only went up from there.

I’m not a food blogger, so bear with me and my woefully lacking descriptive skills, but you guys! The food! Was just unbelievable! We had risotto balls and THE MOST INCREDIBLE SOUP I HAVE EVER EATEN IN MY LIFE and octopus with assorted supporting cast members (like a delicious black bean sauce and a Cara Cara orange wedge topped with beer salt!) to create your perfect bite and chicken with waffles and blackberry ginger sorbet with granola and chocolate chunks. The soup! Best soup ever. Tasted like queso, but even more delicious. And I had three waffles to accompany my chicken. And Luffy told our chef that I like pickled things, so there were many freshly pickled items to choose from. And the dessert was incredibly refreshing and the perfect way to end the meal. The entire evening was wonderful. The wine flowed like water (for my non-pregnant friends) and they even made a couple of non-alcoholic mixed drinks for me. I had to turn in earlier, of course (a friend practically put me to bed herself after she caught sight of my drooping eyelids), but our friends stayed until about two in the morning.

Our Saturday was packed full of activities, so we did absolutely nothing on Sunday except enjoy the rain and football (and knock out the thank you notes).

Ahhhh, weekend perfection.

Pregnancy diet

Throughout my pregnancy, whenever I am confronted with a diet “don’t” I always try* to find the reason why because that kernel of truth is the true recommendation. Most rules you hear of these days are watered down for society and mangled through the grapevine like a truly disastrous (or hilarious?) round of Telephone.

For instance, one “rule” (and I’m going to use that word in quotation marks a lot because I can’t stand how much misinformation is picked up by people skimming or not understanding a response) for pregnant women is no soft cheeses. But why? Apparently, this got twisted from the original recommendation of no unpasteurized cheese. Soft cheeses (like brie) are more commonly unpasteurized than your average hard cheese like cheddar. It makes sense that a pregnant woman, with a taxed immune system, should probably avoid unpasteurized dairy products. So why not just say that? Why say soft cheeses? Because I am so tired of reading the thread where a woman is considering a serving of feta cheese her I-shouldn’t-be-eating-this-but-I-still-do-teehee! food. It is exceedingly challenging to find unpasteurized cheese here in the states. In fact, I’d applaud you if you just happened to stumble upon unpasteurized cheese.

Anyway, the loss of the reason behind the recommendation leads to some very interesting situations and speaks volumes about society in general.

For instance, I’ve routinely heard from others that deli meat is bad and I shouldn’t be eating it cold. I’ve also heard a lot about alcohol ranging from the low end (a glass or two a month shouldn’t hurt!) to the high (a friend’s doctor told her that she could either have a serving of caffeine or a serving of alcohol a day, so here take this over-sized glass of wine).

Now, for the first: Cold deli meat is not recommended because of the risk of transmitting listeria, a bacteria that thrives in the cold. True, listeria is potentially very harmful to a developing fetus and the mother if it is contracted. A couple of things to keep in mind though: 1. Listeria is a food-borne illness, which means that most reputable producers have safety standards and quality control. Obviously mistakes happen and contamination occurs, but what I’m getting at here is that it’s rare. 2. Deli meat gets an unfair rep here at being the big, bad, scary carrier of listeria, but it’s not the only thing that could transmit the bacteria. You can also contract listeria from improperly handled fruits, raw vegetables, and even the cold leftovers in your fridge. (I don’t say this to scare you, by the way, merely to show how many ways you could potentially be exposed. And keep some perspective! How many times in your life have you contracted food poisoning from eating an apple or your leftovers? I’m willing to bet it’s never.)

So! We boil down “no deli meat” to get to “no listeria” which really just means HANDLE YOUR FOOD PROPERLY AND DON’T EAT IT IF YOU AREN’T SURE ABOUT IT. Which, hmmm, isn’t that pretty common sense advice for anyone? Yeah. It is.

Moving along to the second: Alcohol? Yes. No. Maybe.

Now alcohol is tricky. According to research, scientists have been unable to find the threshold where a woman crosses from safe into fetal alcohol syndrome territory. They aren’t sure, but that magical threshold appears to vary from woman to woman, and even from pregnancy to pregnancy. Meaning that Woman A drank five servings of alcohol a week and her baby is fine, and Woman B drank three servings of alcohol a week and her baby exhibits signs of FAS. This is why the recommendation is that complete abstinence is the safest, but small amounts are probably ok.

So. We boil down the alcohol question to find that the answer is truly unknown, especially unknown for you specifically. This means, that every glass serving (because a glass doesn’t always mean a serving) is truly a gamble. Sure the first one may be fine, but what about that second you have a week later? Or the four servings you had last month? You won’t know where your line is until it’s too late.

To me, personally, deli meat poses almost zero risk, especially if it’s from a reputable producer. Alcohol, however, is a giant question mark of a risk and one that I’m uncomfortable taking. Thus, I’ve had numerous sandwiches with salami (gasp!) and prosciuttini (double gasp!) and I’ve also turned down countless offers for a glass or even just a sip of alcohol.

Everyone has an acceptable risk threshold and you should be allowed to make your own decisions. I would not judge you for having a glass or two or three of alcohol, it’s just not something I want to do. What I can’t stand are the people who will judge you (and me) or, and this is almost worse, give advice to you (or me) and not understand the facts.

*I put an asterisk here because I know that when/if Luffy reads this, he’s going to want full credit for being the person who makes me go research the reasons. When I first got pregnant I was all no deli meat, no allergy meds, no soft cheese – OH MY! He promptly called bullshit and went off to do his own research which led me to most of these conclusions… He advocates doing your homework before blindly following what others say.


Dinner Fail

Have you ever had a meal just go spectacularly wrong? That was our dinner last night. I mean, not smoke-alarm, blackened turkey wrong, but inedible nonetheless.

It started with a plan. A great plan, if I do say so myself! Skirt steak using our sous vide, collard greens, and leftover cauliflower mash. Perfect! Delicious! Healthy! And, probably most importantly, beef! Which I have been craving for the past couple of weeks. A perfect Tuesday night dinner: easy, healthy, and tasty.

When I got home (a tad early because of the small fact that I couldn’t breathe), I began scrolling through Instagram which is always a bad idea pre-meal time because I subscribe to a lot of food accounts. And…. yes…. a pic of cheesy garlic bread looked too delicious to resist and Luffy ever so helpfully (or perhaps unhelpfully) volunteered to go get some garlic bread. Yay! The addition of some carbs to our meal surely wouldn’t completely negate the otherwise virtuous meal.

When Luffy got home, the bread looked so delicious that we decided to dig right in. An appetizer! Just add some mozzarella and voila! It was good. Real good. We ate the entire loaf. And had no regrets. I mean, vegetables were still coming, no worries.

And this moment, right here, is when things started going downhill.

When I went to start dinner, I pulled the collard greens out of the fridge and realized they had gone bad. Whoops. I tossed them and got the leftover cauliflower mash out. I reheated it and gave it a taste. Even through my congestion I could taste the fridge (I suppose it’s really staleness, but food that’s been in the fridge too  long just always taste like the fridge to me). Bleh. So I put those to the side.

“Don’t worry!” Luffy said from the living room. “We can have carrots!”

So he pulled baby carrots out of the fridge while I finished prepping the steak. We sat down to a salvaged meal. There’s still beef! There’s still a veggie! All good. And then we each took a bite of the steak.


So salty. Too salty. Luffy apologized for over-salting it that morning and wondered what he had done wrong. He had used the same amount as always. And that’s when the light bulb went off for me. He had asked me to pass the salt shaker that morning, which I did. But I passed him table salt and I suddenly realized that he usually uses sea salt. At the time, I didn’t think to ask if table salt was what he wanted. If you’re not familiar with sea salt, it doesn’t pack the same punch as table salt. You need to use a lot more sea salt to season food, so of course if you’re using table salt when you think you’re using sea salt – hoo boy. I kept eating small bites (because CRAVINGS – there was beef right there), but finally I had to stop. Luffy didn’t even try (because he is smart). We finished our carrots and he offered to go get me some food. I turned him down because I’d already eaten lots of bread and carrots, no need to pick up a meal.

I told him to think of the garlic bread as a fancy grilled cheese. Yeah…. that’s what I was going for. Grilled cheese and carrots. Totes healthy.

Dinner rut

We’re in a food rut at our house. We make the same dinners, on the same day, just about every week. The worst part is, we’re starting to avoid cooking because we’re tired of what we’re cooking. So we’re branching out to find new and exciting (and easy!) recipes to put together during the week.

I love cooking, but – you know – on the weekends when I have plenty of time and when putting together a meal doesn’t mean I have to race in the door and immediately start dinner prep. On the weekends I’ll happily put together braised short ribs or multi-step casseroles. Weeknight dinners, on the other hand, get relegated to easy, boring meals that I know will come together quickly and painlessly. Especially because I teach an exercise class after work two or three nights a week, meaning that I don’t get home until late.

Anyway, one of my latest hits was a stew that I actually used to make all the time like two years ago (or was it three??? man I’m getting old). It’s a slow cooker recipe, so of course it’s insanely easy. Chop. Dump. Pour. Set and leave. Done. Plus, it makes enough to give us four meals worth of food. WIN!! As with most slow cooker recipes, the results aren’t that appetizing (why must the slow cooker sap all of the color out of food?) but they are very tasty, so that makes up for it. I don’t even actually have a recipe for it, but I toss in black beans, tomatoes, chopped kale, an onion, garlic, plenty of peppers, and chicken. Top with a can of Rotel and let it cook on low for a while. Then I shred the chicken and stir in some low-fat cream cheese. Serve it with a little extra cream cheese dollop on top cause that’s the good stuff. Call it a meal.

But then, Luffy and I got real crazy last night. Our typical dinners usually involve a protein (salmon or sausage or chicken) and a veggie, so last night’s meal of cod and quinoa was way out in left field for us. I found this recipe a few weeks ago. We finally got around to making it and it was so delicious! And super easy. It took us probably about 45 minutes to put together, but I imagine that time will decrease once we make it a couple more times. Our only critique was that, though it’s billed as “spicy,” it wasn’t actually that spicy at all. (Hey – we’re from Texas – if it doesn’t burn our tongues, it’s not spicy enough!) Next time, we’ll up the level of cayenne and I’m also thinking of adding a jalapeno to the sauce. Still though, it was a delicious, healthy, and fairly quick dinner that I think we’ll add to our regular rotation.

Other surprise additions to our weekly rotation include the mythical unicorn dinner and pizza at a Neapolitan pizza place that we loved when we lived downtown and then we moved and were sad but then they opened a location in the burbs!! And yeah, that doesn’t really count as a dinner that we make but it’s real good and makes me happy.

And now, a few random thoughts

Nothing much going on around here, so I have no full-length post today. Rather, I present a collection of random thoughts and we’ll see where it takes us. You on board?

I had a mythical dinner-prep experience this past Sunday. The unicorns of dinner-prep, if you will. I was putting off making anything. I knew we needed to use up some lesser-loved ingredients. I wanted it to be simple, since it was Sunday evening, but also tasty, since it was still technically the weekend. I wanted clean-up to be simple. I wanted to be able to eat it out of a bowl, since I was hours-deep into my latest binge-worthy show. To top it all off, I was bored with my go-to recipes and thus needed something fresh.

And then. I got into the kitchen and everything flowed like wine. The salmon came together with a quick marinade that was thick enough to stay put like a sauce. The pea shoots, ever easy, sauteed perfectly. The noodles, dressed in a light blend of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, turned out beautifully. No recipes needed. No measuring cups. No complicated prep. Though, to be fair, I did use several pots/pans. Once done, I piled it all into large bowls and served it up in under 20 minutes – start to finish. Then Luffy declared it delicious and polished off every bite, including some of mine.

See? The unicorn of dinner-prep experiences. I wish every dinner were like it.

Confession: I am obsessed with an adorable little app called Neko Atsume. First off, and perhaps most importantly for me, it’s free! It’s an adorable little app where you “collect” cats by putting out toys and treats and beds and stuff. Then they give you presents so that you can buy more toys and treats and beds and stuff and collect more cats. So simple! So addictive! I check in on them at least four or five times a day.

I still haven’t gotten my CD yet and I’m getting a little antsy now that I’m approaching it’s official delivery window. YouTube thinks I’m crazy because I’ve listened to that one song four or five dozen times and it hasn’t gotten old and I’m still so excited about my purchase.

Luffy is out of town again today. It’s his last trip for a while, so I’m happy about that. Although, to be perfectly honest, it’s also been sort of nice to have the house to myself for a while. Because I have a not-insignificant commute, I leave the house before Luffy in the morning and then get home later than him in the evening. This gives him almost two hours of solitude at home, each day, not counting the fact that he works close enough to home to have lunch at home every day. And on the weekends, if he’s out and about, I’m with him. So basically, I never get any alone time at the house. And I’m a person who likes some alone time. I have really enjoyed it this past week. I miss him when he’s gone, but it’s nice and quiet at the house.

My exercise place is having a challenge right now: attend 30 classes in 35 days for a t-shirt and BRAGGING RIGHTS. I mean, hello, that’s exercising six days a week for five weeks, you totally deserve to brag a little after that. And this is a class, I should say, so it’s a minimum of 60 minutes working out – no cheating by showing up, piddling around for a little, and then leaving. I want to participate so badly for the BRAGGING RIGHTS, but I can’t. Le boo. It’s a two-fold issue really. I live about half an hour away from the center (I’d have to explain the whole thing to you, but basically I make this big triangle from work to center to home. I actually spend less time in traffic on the nights I teach as compared to the nights I drive straight home from work. But I digress…) so this means that the hour class doesn’t take an hour of my time, it takes two. Almost two and half, if you factor the wait time for class to start. And that’s just too much time to be committing to six days a week for five weeks.

The other issue is that we’re in the midst of a Clomid cycle. My ovulation is already exceedingly flighty, as is. The last thing my body needs is for me to suddenly almost double the frequency of my workouts.

But still. Boo. BRAGGING RIGHTS will have to go to someone else.

Speaking of Clomid, I think I’m gonna start ovulation testing tomorrow. I’m technically scheduled to start testing Friday, which is day 12 and also five days after my last dose. In other words, that’s the “official” first chance at ovulation. But I always start getting nervous that I’ll miss it if I wait too long. Even though the last time Clomid worked, I ovulated on day 17, way late into the cycle, I still don’t think I’ll be able to wait until Friday. And then I realized that I have exactly one leftover cheap test, so guess what’s gonna be used tomorrow morning?

That’s all I’ve got for today folks. Luffy and I are headed to Napa for the weekend for a friend’s 30th birthday, so I’m sure I’ll have drunken shenanigans to report next week. Until then!