Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Leftover Cheese Biscuits

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Noone told me that I would have to give up soft cheeses like blue cheese during my pregnancy. 9 months is awfully long to give up such loves in my life.

Actually we made these biscuits and my then-unknown unborn child was exposed to this kind of excess. But it doesn't count because I didn't know I was pregnant yet.

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Basically we used up all the extra cheese we had (hence the name leftover cheese). This included a very creamy St. Agur blue, Gruyere, Romano and possibly Brie. I can't quite remember if there was brie. Add a few pats of butter cut into squares and melt in your preheated oven.

Swirl it around a bit and envision the artery clogging bliss.

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Break out the can of biscuits and pop it open. I like to flinch when I open my can. Every time. It's like I don't know it's going to pop.

The cheesey buttery mixture just coats the bottom of the tin but you want to rub your biscuit in it and flip it over.

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Then simply bake according to package instructions.

I used reduced fat biscuits here! I really did, it's all I buy and it seem hilarious when you make them like this.

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The biscuits bake and then you flip them onto a plate. The hard cheese make a nice crust on the bottom and they smell divine.

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I won't make these again unless we are with a group. I could literally eat the entire tin.

For the record, I can't button any of my pants because I'm pregnant. Not because of these biscuits. ~cough~ Yeah, thats right, its the pregnancy.

Oh blue cheese, how I miss you so.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3....

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This is where I tell you what a spaz I am. Not that you'll be surprised.

It was the end of February and I was telling B that I was late and I wanted to take a pregnancy test. He smiled kindly and reminded me that I'm not exactly regular so not to get myself all worked up. So we decided that if I hadn't started by Sunday we would go get a test.

On Friday after work I just so happened to be at Target walking by the pregnancy tests. It's funny how things happen like that. Why not pick one up?

I looked at the different tests and literally laughed out loud at the fact that Clear Blue Easy had a digital test. Apparently some people can't read the regular test. I mean, who can't read a regular test? Who are these women?

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So I went home and ran up the stairs clutching my little box. I actually read the directions, as if I didn't know how it worked. I counted to 5 as I peed on the stick. Then I sat it on the counter and stood there just staring at it. In the first 30 seconds I was disappointed that the second line didn't pop up. I had to leave the bathroom. So I stood in the living room and stared at the clock.

When I came back in I saw it. That second line! I couldn't believe it! I clapped, I stared, I giggled. I walked out of the bathroom and stood in the hallway. I rubbed my face (it's an anxious habit) and then went back in to stare at the test. I'm not sure how long I wandered around the apartment with a million thoughts racing thru my head.

This is when I started to lose all common sense. The more I stared, the more I realized that one line was darker than the other. Yes, the pamphlet siad that might happen but logic was not a part of this thought process. Clearly it shows I'm pregnant. Right? Right. But, you know, I might as well take the other test. Since I have it...

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Um, what the heck? Is this one lighter than the one before?!

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It is!! I'm getting less pregnant by the second!

This my friends, is the beginning. I mean, we all see 2 lines. We do. But I kept leaving the bathroom and coming back in, expecting those second lines to have disappeared. I just needed someone to confirm that I was pregnant. I wanted to take a picture and text someone.

But B was at work and he had to be the first to know. So what did I do?

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Well I got back in that car and drove back to Target and picked up one of those new fangled digital majiggers. Why? Because I'm that girl. That girl that can't read a pregnancy test.

I mean, I knew I was pregnant but I just wanted to see that word pop up. Pregnant.

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I shouldn't mention how after the 3rd and final pregnancy test I went back to Target. But I did, for the 3rd time. I went shopping for some baby stuff. I bought a cute little blanket and tucked that test into the ribbon on top, stacked it on some colorful baby toys (all food themed of course), added a Dr. Seuss book and stuck it in a gift bag.

I had B open it when he got home. His response was, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh" and it continued like that sporadically for the next few days. Of course, I cried the whole time he opened the present. I wish you could have seen his face.

We are ecstatic. We're pregnant!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chemo-fied Eggs

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I often say that cancer is the gift that keeps on giving because it seems as though the effects of having cancer last forever. After nearly 16 months of treatments there were and still are the follow-ups with the oncologist, the surgeon and the radiation oncologist. Add that to the regular doctor and dentist visits and I could be in an office monthly. The most profound effect of cancer has been on my reproductive system. You see, chemo kills everything in its path and it doesn't care about your eggs.

In discussing my treatment plan before chemo I asked the doctor about the effect it would have on my fertility. He replied that there would be no babies without a mommy. Simply, if you don't live this won't be an issue. We thought briefly of harvesting eggs at $10,000 a pop but the focus was just on getting me started in treatment. We didn't really look into saving the eggs. I might not have done things the same way now but there isn't any use in looking back.

Several months into treatment I stopped menstruating. It's called chemo-induced menopause.

Oh menopause, what every 27 year old wants to go thru. I have 2 words for you. Hot.Flashes. Also known as my own personal hell in which you literally fry from the inside out. This lasted for months and months. Even when I would eventually start spotting again, the hot flashes stayed for so much longer.

The result of chemofying my eggs was irregular menstruation, one inactive ovary and lots of guessing as too whether they would recover. Hello little friends, are you in there? Are you awake? Are you ready to jump into action?

About a year and a half ago my gynecologist told me that I would probably be in full menopause by the time I hit 40 years old. As peri-menopause (when your fertility starts to decrease) can start up to 10 years ahead and I was 29, I had better get a move on. We were told that conceiving would be a tough road for us. We weren't even sure it was a possibility. There is no way of telling how damaged your remaining eggs are. My poor little chemofied ovaries. So we wanted to get started right away. B and I wanted to make sure that we gave ourselves the time to try before we had to move on to the next step. Whatever the next step is.

Friends and family offered words of support and pregnancy became a different type of subject around us. What if? Can we? Will I? How? Why? When?

So here we are.

We've been married for less than 4 months and naturally.....


I'm pregnant.
:)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Black Swans

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Believe it or not I still have massive amounts of photos from New Zealand that I haven't yet shared with you. I'm sure they'll work their way out into my posts for years to come.

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These pictures were taken at Lake Taupo. Early in our trip I spent the afternoon at Lake Rotorua and couldn't quite figure out what I was seeing far out in the water. It looked like dozens of tiny lockness montsers.

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Here in Taupo I could see that the S shapes were actually the curve of the black swan's necks.

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What really struck me in New Zealand is that the animals don't appear to be scared of humans like they are here. I don't mean to say that they are those types of animals that are so used to tourists that they come up and steal your lunch.

These are still wild animals and they keep an amount of distance and a close eye on you.

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But here I was, sitting on a rock by the water and this swan came right up. He or she just continued eating and swimming around while I snapped photos.

Apparently male swans are called cobs and females are called pens but I thought it rude to ask.

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I hear that the under part of their wings are white. They must be magnificent in flight with wing spans up to 6 1/2 feet.

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Incredible creatures. They were first introduced by Australians and later were found flying to New Zealand from other areas. This causes them to be called both exotic and native animals.

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This was the first time I had seen a swan in the wild. Absolutely beautiful.

Do you have swans where you live?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Really, this is the last of the Ferry Building.

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If you aren't already convinced to check out the Ferry Building in San Francisco I must also tell you about the farmer's market.

We acutally missed it but it happens every Tuesday, Thursday from 10 am-2 pm and Saturday
from 8 am-2 pm. I hear it is amazing. I can only imagine.

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I'm learning more and more about olive oil and have started to understand why chefs love it so much.

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This is Stonehouse Olive Oil and I think the display was perfect for those who are learning about olive oil and vinegar.

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B is really a minimalist in his cooking. He prefers simple ingredients and can really show case quality ingredients like this Persian Lime Olive Oil.

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Liquid gold. Perfectly highlighted on these shelves like the fine commodities they are.

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This store was created for B. The front featured a Sycip bicycle (one of our table names was Sycip after this company) and the shop itself was all about pork.

They use this bike for downtown delivery.

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Boccalone is a Salumeria. I've never even seen the word salumeria before but it's a store of hand-cured meats as well as panini and other tasty salted pig parts.

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I love this hand-cranked manual slicer.

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Cured meats are weird looking.

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Hmmm, very interesting but weird.

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They make about 20 different kinds of salame, salumi, whatever.

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Besides, where else can you get a cone of salumi, salami, salame, um, meat?

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The Book Passage is unique and fantastic. There is a van shuttling books from Corte Madera store to San Francisco so commuters can order a book in the morning and pick it up after work.

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These 2 stores are host to 700+ events throughout the year. "Book Passage has served the Bay Area for more than 30 years, providing the community with an array of author events, writing and language classes, and highly-respected, annual writing conferences: Conference for Children’s Writers & Illustrators (in June), Mystery Writers Conference (in July), and Travel Writers & Photographers Conference (in August)."

People travel from around the world to participate in many of these events. The list of authors that have spoken at the Book Passage stores are unbelievable, from Nobel prize winners and presidents to first time authors. There are some that say they got their start from the Book Passage.

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Owned by husband and wife team Elaine and Bill Petrocelli the Book Passage has done nothing but grow and influence since it's opening in 1976. They also feature several blogs including the author blog, the Book Passage Blog and both owners Elaine and Bill write on the Huffington Post.

Someday I'd like to see the store in Marin County. It covers some 13,000 square feet and includes a set of classrooms.

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Last but certainly not least is Miette Patisserie.

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I'm warning you now that I took about 46 photos because the place was so stinkin' cute. I love the way the cookies were stacked in their little containers.

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I want these tiny little pot de creme and panna cottas. You receive $1 back if you return the little pot.

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How precious are these candy flowers?! The description tells us that they've been made since the 15th century. Originally created by nuns of Santa Chiar for weddings they are still being made today in Italy.

I agree with the suggestions that these would be sweet at place settings or as party favors. Heck, I might want an entire wedding bouquet made from candy.

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I was snapping pictures of the cases as they were taking down plates and vases and filling them with goodies.

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Does anyone else have the desire to collect cake plates now?

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These little lemon cookies are so precious on this perfect mini cake plate.

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I love the little tables and display pieces.

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I need this refrigerator. Need.

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I wonder if they sell their display pieces?

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Oh but this is what it all came down to. Macarons.

Not Macaroons which are the coconut cookies. These are Macarons which is pronounced like macaroni without the i on the end. If you would like to try your hand at making them stop by Tartelette. She has been traveling aound teaching classes on this delicacy specifically.

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This was my first Macaron and it certainly won't be my last. I expected something crisp, hard and maybe a bit crumbly. What I got was a light crispness on the outside and almost a chewiness. Almost. It was like you thought your teeth were going to stick to it and then it sort of just melted away in your mouth. Miette uses whole almonds with the skin on which is why you can see flecks of it in the picture. They use all natural ingredients and flavorings.

They are heaven. Go find a macaron now.

I think that concludes our trip to the Ferry Building. At least until the next time I get to San Francisco...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Voodoo

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In an effort to distract you from the fact I've been absent and slacking in my blogging.... I'll introduce you to Voodoo.

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Voodoo is my niece's dog and she is such a lover. Tiny for an English Bull dog and always a good distraction.

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Smile Voodoo and show off those pearly whites! Those very crooked pearly whites.

Oh the things we do to our dogs.
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