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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Eating to Exist

There are some people that eat because you need to eat to live. I call it eating to exist. I am not one of those people.

My new daily breakfast of 1/2 cup cooked plain oatmeal. ~sigh~

My nutritionist is one of those people. I'm supposed to take my blood sugar levels exactly 1 hour after first bite, but there were times in the past that we would still be eating. When I told her that she looked at me like I had two heads. Of course, with my new diet this won't be an issue...ever. There will be no more multiple course anything.

On top of developing gestational diabetes I seem to have a new cholesterol problem. I was pretty surprised because I had it tested when I first got pregnant and I was just fine. I'm not going to dwell on it but it definitely throws another level to the already dismal diet. This has caused the banning of red meat, seafood and egg yolk. This leaves me with egg whites, tofu, lean chicken and lean turkey and I'm bartering for some lean pork loin.

It feels quite insane. Especially for me. I've never counted carbs in my life and I have a don't eat list a mile long. It's been drastic this week as we gain quick control over these problems. We have to work fast, we're not making slow lifestyle changes but dramatic quick changes for the good of Peanut.


On the do not eat list is: dessert (obviously), any grains that aren't whole grain, egg yolk, red meat, seafood, any additional fat like oil or butter and get this- fruit. I'm taking multi-vitamins and eating a variety of veggies to make sure Peanut is getting everything he needs. Add that do not eat list to the pregnancy do not eat list and you have one sad lady.

I have to eat every 3 hours and as you can see the diet plan for the week was repetitive and boring. After breakfast, lunch and dinner I need to walk/exercise for at least 15 minutes to help burn the glucose. If I eat one meal late it throws off my schedule for the day.

I'm hoping this next week I can change things up a bit because I'm already getting tired of half-sandwiches. I've always known how important eating was to me but this really brought it home. I need variety. I'm hoping today's meeting with the nutritionist goes well and she can give me other options for meals.

I miss so many things about a varied diet. I miss cheese. I miss different proteins. I miss eating meals with B. I'm sad to be cancelling plans we had that involved eating.

I know this will all be worth it in the end, don't get me wrong. I just cannot wait to eat my favorite foods again. I.cannot.wait.

Monday, August 30, 2010

OCPAC Free Movie Monday


During the summer the Orange County Performing Arts Cener does free movie Mondays! It's a great way to gather with friends, have a little picnic and watch some of your favorite movies.

Tell me you don't love the picnic wine set.


This particular Monday they were playing the Wizard of Oz. Before the movie started (though I was too busy talking to get pictures) there was a costume contest.


We all gathered around and spread out our food... because what kind of gathering wouldn't start with food.

I hadn't seen some of these ladies since we all worked together maybe 8 years ago! Oh the magic of facebook.


Herre we're laughing about how times have changed. If you look closely we're all looking at the cloth diapers my friend Kelly brought to me.

It was great to see old friends again.

Do you have an old friend you've been meaning to contact?

P.S. Today is the Last Monday in August! It's been a crazy 6 years my handsome husband, I love you more today than yesterday but not half as much as I will tomorrow.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The young, the old and the pregnant...

....have a hard time controlling their bladders.

~31 weeks~

Reader discretion advised. Oversharing, TMI, etc.

A very wise friend once told me that pregnancy can be incredibly undignified. It's so true. Your body becomes, well all kinds of crazy things. Sometimes I'm not even sure this is my body.

Case in point: A month or so ago I was getting ready to go out with B.

I went to the bathroom, took a shower, stepped out of the shower and sneezed. Normally this wouldn't be an issue but apparently my body stored just enough liquid to make this an issue.

Baby pushing on bladder + weird pregnancy symptoms +sneezing and subsequent contraction of stomach muscles = involuntary urination.

I proceeded to turn around, turn the shower back on and clean off. B was wondering what the heck I was doing and I was wondering how in the world that happened if I just went to the bathroom.

Then there were the 3 weeks I had a cough. It's hard to really cough and clench at the same time. It's just not always possible.

Or the time I sneezed when my mom and I were in Babies R Us. I don't have dainty sneezes. Most of the time I have those loud, echoing, bionic sneezes. I had to run to the bathroom. I believe I was rude to the employee who was pleasantly asking me if I needed anything. The fun part of the Babies R Us bathroom is that they have kids mirrors and sinks. This way you can just stand there and see if the wet spot shows while you're standing or if only you can see it. It's nice to know when you need to carry your purse awkwardly as you walk to the car.

Don't even get me started on B making me laugh. I feel like I spend half my time at home running to the bathroom as I'm laughing hysterically. I'm pretty sure he likes to make me pee my pants. As if I'm not already sexy enough.

~here I am being sexy~

Things seem to have gotten better... or maybe it's just that I've gotten over my cold. It might be that I'm in the bathroom every 30 seconds.

Perhaps I've just gotten used to it all.

Spontaneous Clenching

PS. Thanks for the good thoughts on the insulin verdict. Due to a change in insurance and a lack of the correct paperwork I was not able to see the doctor. Argh. Until I get it worked out I'm following a very strict and un-fun diet to keep things under control. Now think of me and go have a BLT and a chocolate malt.

Friday, August 27, 2010

We're Moving...


No, we're not moving to Hobbiton. Although I would love to live in a little hobbit house. Or New Zealand. I would also love to live in New Zealand. Just think of all the adventures we could have!

You know, I wore that shirt yesterday and I'm pretty sure I didn't look a thing like that picture. I can't even fit the pants past my knees. Will I ever fit into those pants again?

I'm rambling.

So, as of tomorrow you can find me at That is if everything goes smoothly. Do these things ever go smoothly? I just wanted to give you a heads up in case you stop seeing my posts in your blog feed.

I'll keep you posted.

I'm off to my 4th doctors appointment this week... wish me luck... I'm going in for the insulin shot verdict. ~cue scary music~

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Presents for Peanut


This past weekend my friend Tina threw me a shower for Peanut.


Such a cute idea! I love this :)


These are deadly. It's basically a mixture of cheese, mayo and bacon layered on a crostini with tomato and zucchini. The kicker is that she used bacon drippings to brush the bruschetta before baking them to make them crispy.


I love spinach dip. I just love dip in general. ~sigh~ I'm going to miss dip.

9 more weeks of this diet.


Celeste, Tina, Amy and I have posed for possibly thousands of pictures like this.

Celeste is the other preggo. She was born 7 days after me and her baby is due 10 days after mine. We're pushing for another 7 day split :)


Cutest baby shower gift idea ever. This came in a super adorable wicker laundry basket and pulled out to all these little outfits hanging on a clothes line with clothes pins decorated in numbers and letters.


Tell me you don't want to steal this idea! I don't even want to take the outfits off to use them.


Did you know that Burt's Bees has a baby line? Love it.


Adding to the bee theme was the boppy I received.


Hopefully Peanut is here before Halloween! This little outfit says daddy's little monster on the back.


Auntie Courtney went a little crazy with a collection of her favorite childhood books. B & I read them all later that night.

But she also included this Emergency Baby Rock Star Kit that she found on Etsy.


How adorable is that?! It'll go perfectly with the Rockabye Baby, lullaby rendition of the Rolling Stones that I received.

Yes, that is my belly in the bottom of the picture.


I'm sure you'll see more of the presents as I do more posts. Mostly I'm just happy to have such wonderful friends and family.

9 more weeks and the Peanut is here!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gestational Diabetes


Yup, I gots it.

Gestational Diabetes is diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy. It affects between 2% and 7% of all pregnancies, therefore I have it. You know how I like to be in those low percentiles.

We're not exactly sure why gestational diabetes occurs. Sometimes the placenta gives off a hormone impeding insulin production or the action of the insulin. Sometimes we just don't produce enough insulin. Did you know pregnant women should create 3 times the normal amount of insulin? Basically it has to do with my body's inability to break down glucose, even in very normal levels.

It needs to be controlled because it's not good for baby or mama and left untreated can have some very negative effects over both our lifetimes.

What now? We're going to try and control it with diet and exercise. I have to journal everything I put into my mouth and I'm doing that fun finger pricking 8 times a day to test my glucose level.


8 times a day! Hopefully they'll knock that number down in the coming weeks. It's not really painful but you are pricking your finger enough to draw blood and it just doesn't feel natural. You know? I've found that I have to load the little pen and click it right away because if I hesitate with it against my finger I could take forever. Eventually I hope to stop flinching during the process. You would think that doing this 8 times a day would get me used to it real fast.


I'll meet with the diabetes counselor once a week to go over my food journal and my glucose levels and I go into the obgyn twice a week (from now until Peanut comes) to monitor the baby. I get to sit in a chair and do a non-stress test among other things. I will not be bringing B with me as he was with me for the first non-stress test and he made me laugh.. and then I got the giggles... and then I was laughing so hard I was crying. The nurse actually came back in because the monitors were making such a loud noise and my test went all haywire from my belly jiggling while I gasped for air.

So that's where we are. My diet is actually not changing too drastically besides the elimination of dessert. I pretty much already follow most of the guidelines. Oh and the fact that I can't have fruit or milk for breakfast which really throws me off. I've never counted carbs before so it's been really interesting.

I'm pretty sure I can't have any more bacon-wrapped chocolate-covered oreos. Or chocolate-chipotle brownies. Or all you can eat pasta. Or cheese biscuits.

Or Frostings cupcakes which I have had a mean craving for.

Oddly enough I feel like baking. It's comforting and I did it all during weight watchers too. I have no idea why. So, if you live in the area you can expect some treats because they certainly can't stay here!

Now go out and have something sweet and/or full of carbs for me. Please and thank you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bicycle Pillows


I can't very well have a nursery for our baby boy without throwing some of our passions into it. It just didn't seem appropriate to have a room full of food and cupcakes so I thought I'd go with books and bicycles.

Then I opened the mail and got a surprise package from a dear friend! First off, aren't packages the best?! Secondly, are dear friends the best?!

Some of you know this lovely lady as LMM or Lemonade Makin' Mama and I just want to hug her and squeeze her but actually that might be odd because she doesn't live in the same state as me and we've never met in real life.

I love explaining these types of friendships to people outside the blogosphere. :) Anyway, the pillow comes via Etsy and I will think of her every time I see it. Love that pillow.


Now this pillow I made with my own two hands. I know it's just a rectangle but you have no idea how unskilled I am in the sewing area. I made another unpictured pillow in the same material that is square with a button on it. Given my background, sewing a straight line is an accomplishment.

So is remembering to reverse the material before you sew it. Oh and checking to make sure you have thread in the darn machine before you complete two sides. Did I mention that I'm scared of the sewing machine? Apparently if you don't press the pedal with authority then the stitching is all weak and loopy. Be the boss of the sewing machine. (I will repeat this as I sew)

I'm sewing squares people and I still can't decide if I like this whole sewing thing. I laugh everytime I read posts like this one and this one. I cannot even imagine the process of making these things.

I'm working on another pillow now.... and by now I mean that it is sitting on the table next to the sewing machine my mom pulled out of my closet last week. Given the fact that it hasn't been out of the case for 9 years I think we're making pretty good progress.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

China Moon, Laguna Niguel


About a year and a half ago a couple came into B's work and bought a bike from him. As they chatted he found out that they owned a local Chinese food restaurant called China Moon. B couldn't have been happier.

B loves Chinese food almost as much as he loves me. Or maybe more depending on the day :)


A while later we headed into the restaurant to check it out. They greeted us with happy smiles and open arms and brought a never ending amount of food... and it was all incredible.


A few months later we got married and we kept meaning to go back in but life just got crazy.

So we popped in on Monday night and the moment we walked in the door Jackson greeted us with a huge smile. He remembered B's name and remembered we had gotten married in December. I mean, we haven't seen him in over a year! He remembered me and was so excited to see we were expecting. I'm still impressed. Do you know how many people come in a restaurant in a year?

Pictured above are house-made dumplings or shu mai. They aren't on the menu but they had them from a very large order made for the St. Regis hotel's brunch. I think they should put these on the menu.


Did I mention that when we were walking towards the door of the restaurant a man with a very large to go order passed us by? He very loudly told us that it was his 6th night in a row there... and it would have been 7 but they are closed on Tuesdays. Not that we asked but I thought it was cute he wanted us to know that.

This is the chicken, crab and asparagus soup. It is so incredibly flavorful. We ordered the small and it is enough to serve out 4 of these small bowls. It's delicate and unusual and our leftover soup didn't make it past breakfast the next morning.


My personal favorite is the two flavor shrimp. A combination of both the sesame shrimp (left) and the tangy aromatic shrimp (right). The shrimp is perfectly cooked. It's crispy on the outside without being breaded and both sauces are phenomenal. I also love any dish that allows me to be indecisive and try more dishes.

Get this shrimp.


Sauteed green beans with scallions, ginger and garlic. Again, perfectly cooked. You want your green beans al dente and the flavor is amazing. Scallions, ginger and garlic and I'm sold.

At some point Jackson's wife Vanessa came by the table and excitedly rubbed my stomach and asked me questions about the baby. She was genuinely happy for us and it was incredibly sweet. I told B is was like seeing an aunt and uncle and delivering all our good news.


Originally we thought we might try lemon chicken but the server thought that was too similar to the shrimp dishes and suggested the peppercorn chicken.

I love that he suggested something different than what we already had. When it came to the table he tossed the chicken and vegetables onto a hot plate to finish it. All I can say is sizzle, steam, sigh.

You'll love this dish too.


During dinner I listened to the couple at the booth behind us talk about how coming there is like visiting family. I'm not sure how often they are there but it sounds like quite a bit.

I'm also impressed that Jackson and Vanessa repeatedly came by our table and poured water or cleared dishes or did whatever they could to help the servers. Unfortunately you sometimes see managers and owners that don't take an active roll in service. Everyone helped each other throughout the evening.

We can't wait to go back and try some new dishes... that is if we can tear ourselves away from the ones we've already tried.

Every have one of those all around fantastic dinners? This was just what we needed that day.

Do you have a place you go that has great food and gives you the warm fuzzies?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I call it "Minimalist"


Well you wanted photos of the nursery! This, my friends, is my new age minimalist nursery.

All we've really done so far is break the apartment complex rules. We've painted the walls a nice light grey. The paint color is called Misty Moonstone. Oh and we took down those awful hanging blinds. Actually, my mom convinced me to paint over the horribly cheap and easily marked walls. I've been wanting to for years. I made her promise to help me paint it back before we leave.


I've also been framing artwork for Peanut's wall. I've decided to include some of the pictures from our engagement session as the colors and shots with the bicycles are just perfect. Some of these will go into a photo album but I'm currently in a constant state of indecision and picture rotation.

Well, there you have it. It'll be a while before I have it together. Until then I'll have to share pictures of the nursery at my parent's house.

Most importantly, please don't slouch. It's so unbecoming.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Eye on the prize


This photo makes me laugh. She is so focused. She wants that Cheerio. She needs that Cheerio.

What is it with kids and Cheerios?

Lots going on around here this week. We've taken hospital tours and need to make a decision on where to deliver. Apparently not all hospitals provide private postpartum rooms and the thought of B only being able to come by during visiting hours makes me cringe.

We started the baby's room and I've been framing pictures and posters for the walls. We put the crib together and I've just been staring at it. Just staring.

There is baby stuff in our apartment. Baby stuff! OMG we're going to have a baby. Ha!

Coming up are posts on a bridal shower (long overdue) and a wedding!

How was your weekend?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chocolate-Chipotle Brownies


I really love these fudgy brownies. Have no fear, they are not spicy. The chipotle and cinnamon give it a fantastic flavor to balance out the sweetness of all this chocolate. I made these for B to take to work and the gift to give to his boss as she liked these best last Christmas.

Noone picked up these brownies and noted they were spicy- in fact most just noticed the cinnamon.

Try these. The printable recipe can be found here.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9x13x2 inch baking pan with foil making sure that it extends over the ends of the pan. We'll be using the foil as handles to lift out the brownies later.

Lightly coat the foil with cooking spray.


In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt 1 heaping cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (chopped for faster melting) with 1 cup of butter.

You have to love a recipe that starts with chocolate and butter. You want it completely melted until it's smooth and glossy.


In a small bowl combine 2 cups of flour and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. I suppose you could sift it and make it pretty but I'm too lazy.

I'm not sure why but I cannot use cocoa powder without getting it all over everything.


Now for the most funnest part! This is what separates this brownie from the rest.

In a large bowl combine 2 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 tablespoon of instant espresso powder (I just used instant coffee), 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon AND 1 to 2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder.

I know that sounds like a ton. Actually if you were just cooking dinner with it, that would be a ton. Keep in mind all the sugar and chocolate (and other ingredients) going in this to balance out the chipotle. In this batch I used 1 1/2 teaspoons and not a single person said they were spicy. But if you look for it you get a little chipotle at the back of your tongue after you eat it.

I'll use 2 teaspoons next time :)

Give your sugar and spice and little mix. Sugar and Spice.. now this recipe is going to remind me of Jana, which is never a bad thing.


Now pour the melted chocolate into the sugar and spice mixture.


Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute, scraping the bowl occasionally.

I know it looks a bit funky but please lean over that bowl and inhale deeply.

Aaaahhhhh, comforting and exotic.


Pull 6 eggs out of the refrigerator because if you don't you may forget half-way thru how many eggs you just cracked into the batter.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low after each until you can't see the snotty texture sitting on the top anymore. Or until just combined. Same difference.

Beat in 2 teaspoons of vanilla until just combined.


Now grab that flour mixture that has been anxiously waiting for your attention. Add it 1/2 cup at a time, beating on low until just combined. How many times can I say that in a row?

When it's all in go ahead and scrape the sides down and beat on medium for another minute.


The batter should be thick. Pour it into the pan and spread it as evenly as possible.

Lick any utensils that have come in contact with the batter. You'll really taste the spice but it will be a bit less noticeable after baking time.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan.


Cool the brownies in the pan on a wire rack.

When they are cool (or close enough) go ahead and use the foil handles we left to lift the brownies out of the pan.

At this point you can sprinkle them with cocoa powder. I don't. The brownies get a nice little crust on top which means that the cocoa doesn't stick and I don't like the taste of plain cocoa on my tongue or up my nostrils. Apparently I always inhale before I bite. Inhaling unsweetened cocoa is not my thing.


Cut it into bars. The recipe says it makes 32 bars but unless I'm serving something like this as a dessert I always cut them into smaller bites.

My theory is that people eat more when they are little. Typically I am baking for get togethers that are more of the grazing variety. Also, I was making it for B's coworkers and I wanted them to be able to snack on these at work whenever they got the chance.

Sometimes when I'm introducing something different it's easier to get people to try them if it' in little portions than if it's big.

I would have gotten 66 squares (a little more than 1 inch) but I didn't even to attempt to cut the first row which B ate immediately. Then he proceeded to eat some of the other corners and some of the edge pieces as well.


Box some of these up and ship them off or you will eat half the pan yourself.

Always a crowd pleaser!

What are your favorite brownie recipes?
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