Back in the Saddle.

As we get ready to start another FET cycle, I’m trying to get as healthy as possible.

And along with that comes (or goes?) all the usual suspects.

Caffeine.
Sugar.
Artificial sweeteners.
Alcohol.
Refined Grains.
Good ole’ gluten.

Goodbye old friends. We had a good run, didn’t we?

And, unfortunately for me, since our last loss I have just been eating my feelings (they taste like pizza and ice cream!) for months. Then, that rolled into vacation eating.

And so all that had to stop.

And then I did something unthinkable.

I started going to the gym again. On purpose! Repeatedly! It’s not as often as I’d like, and I can’t work out as hard as I used to (who remembers when I was thin?!) but it’s better than never, ever going to the gym, which is what I’ve been doing for, ohhhhhhhh, six years?

And after all these years of infertility treatments, and pregnancies, and breastfeeding, and going dairy-free, and then eating ALL THE DAIRY, I honestly cannot tell you what my pre-pregnancy weight was.

The good news is, I’m not focused on being a certain weight, or a certain size. This body of mine will never be perfect, but it gave me Gus, and that’s a body worth celebrating as far as I’m concerned, even if it doesn’t look perfect in a bathing suit. But leggings and tunics seem like they’re here to stay awhile, so amen and hallelujah for stretchy pants!

My goal is to lose as much weight as I can (healthily) between now and our FET, while getting stronger and eating these things called “vegetables” I’ve been hearing so much about.

So far, so good.

Spicy Black Beans

Are you ready for the simplest recipe, ever?

It’s low fat, vegetarian/vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, high in protein and fiber, and full of healthy carbs.

It can also be face-meltingly spicy, if that’s how you get down (and you know I do).

Here’s all you need:

1 can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded (or not, leave the seeds if you want more heat) and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped.
Salt, pepper, cumin and red pepper flakes to taste

Sauté the onion, jalapeño and garlic until the onions start to soften. Add the black beans and stir to combine. Cook for a few more minutes, covered, until the onions are completely soft and the beans are hot. Season with salt and pepper, and liberally with cumin. (If you add a lot of cumin, and I think you should, things can get a little dry in there, so add some water to help everything mix together.)

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Now, what can you do with all those beans?

Well, at dinner time, they make an excellent side dish for any protein really.

You could have them for breakfast, topped with fried or poached eggs! Or wrapped in a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, salsa and cheese.

For lunch I like to top mine with chopped grilled chicken, some chopped cucumber (for some crunch and to cut the heat a bit) and some guacamole. It’s like a DIY burrito bowl!

I don’t have any practice uses for dessert, but I suspect everyone is ok with that.

Recipes, Ryan Reynolds, and Randomness

The other night (when I should’ve been sleeping, because the baby was sleeping, and that’s what you’re supposed to do!) I got sucked into a vortex of blog stats, and started reading the top google (etc.) searches that people used to find/stumble upon me and my story.

I was happy to see that the majority of people ended up here because of my Almond Flour Pizza Crust (which is delicious!, and gluten free!, and low carb! You should try it.)

I was surprised to see almost everyone else was looking for ways to curl their hair with a headband/sock bun/no heat, which I literally tried once (and failed) THREE years ago.

Other popular searches were for good Gluten Free Fried Rice and Copycat Cosi Tomato Basil Soup recipes, and mine are pretty good, if I do say so myself.

The rest of the searches though? They were a mixed bag of totally random, and WTF.

For example.

My BFFs Full Name — I thought, well, that’s weird. Why would looking for my Bestie bring you here? I don’t think I’ve ever even used her full name. So I did a search to see what happened, and almost every google image result was a picture …of me?! And one of our friend Kelly, holding a giant fish. Ummmm. Ok. Obviously we’ve spent so much time together the Internet has decided we’re the same person.

“Tom Selleck Three Men and a Baby” — Obviously, if this is what you’re searching the Internet for, we should get to know each other better. Handsome men, in short shorts, and that stache! Yes, please. I hope you found what you were looking for.

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“Pigs Humping” — Now, to be fair, Mike and I DO have a set of S&P shakers from Jamaica in the shape of humping pigs (because they’re hilarious, and when you find something like that, you do not hesitate to buy them for everyone you know.) Unfortunately I don’t think that’s what this person was looking for.

“Ice Skating Shoes” — 1) They’re not called that, and 2) You came to the wrrrroooong place if you want advice about ice skating, other than, never, ever, try to ice skate (you’re welcome).

“Hammocks” — A little generic, sure, but I love a hammock as much as the next girl. Unfortunately my claim to fame involves going ass over teacup into the sand in front of all my coworkers.

“Babies with Muscle Men” — Sorry, friend. That’s just weird.

“Hot Date Tonight” — Good for you! I hope you didn’t come here looking for inspiration, unless you and your significant other are really into ordering Chinese food and watching a SVU marathon.

“PMS jokes” — This had to be a man. Women already know that 1) you better not joke about that shit, and 2) all the really good jokes.

“Ryan Reynolds Naked” — We have SO MUCH in common, my friend. And the Internet just keeps letting us down, right? Believe me, if I could help, I would.

And the weirdest, and my personal favorite:

“Boy Crutching with Hard Leg Cast Next to Doctor” — I don’t even know how to respond. But I’m certain they didn’t find what they were looking for.

Sweet Dreams are Made of Cheese

I haven’t (intentionally!) eaten any dairy products since Gus was three weeks old. I remember the pediatrician telling us we could give it a try when he was six months old, and thinking that would take FOREVER.

And then I blinked, and he was basically borrowing the car, and trying to impress older girls.

So, I get to try some dairy! I haven’t been this excited since I had a baby got to eat sugar again.

I realize it might not last very long, if the little man’s belly still can’t handle it.

But if it does?

Ohhhhhhh, if it does.

I’m not sure what I’ll have first — but I have some ideas…

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I miss (real) ice cream! And (real) pizza!

Wish us luck!

Easy and Delicious No Knead Bread

I can’t stop baking bread.

For the record, I’m not much of a baker. I make Christmas cookies with my mom every year (not this year: infant + no dairy = why bother). I’ll make a quick box-mix cake or some brownies from time to time.

Once I made a dark chocolate and croissant bread pudding. That was pretty impressive.

Making bread at home always seemed really labor intensive and complicated to me, so when I found a recipe for an easy “no knead” bread at Kitchen Vignettes, I was excited to try it.

If you have some downtime, or you’re back at work post-holidays and aren’t really ready to empty that inbox, whatever — do yourself a favor and look at all the recipes at Kitchen Vignettes. They all look delicious, and the video how-tos that accompany each one are so beautiful. They’re my new favorite thing.

But back to the bread. I’ve made three loaves already this week — don’t worry I gave one away — but I won’t lie to you, the others we ate really quickly.

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Every time has been a little different — the first time I didn’t cover it well enough during the first proofing and it got weird and dry along the top of the dough. I carried on though, and it was perfect when it came out of the oven.

It’s pretty impossible to mess it up, as far as I can tell.

My favorite part? It’s really really easy. Yes, it has to proof for awhile so you have to plan ahead but that’s my only mini-complaint.

It’s also totally dairy- and soy- (which I don’t have to cut out, but I do when I can) free, and it’s not full of a bunch of random ingredients I can’t pronounce.

I haven’t attempted to make a gluten-free loaf, but I think it would be worth a shot. Seriously the recipe is so simple, and can be easily adapted if you have special dietary restrictions.

Next up, I want to play with some mix-ins and different flavor combinations — first on my list are Rosemary & Lemon, Dark Chocolate & Orange, and Garlic & (fake) Cheese.

2013: A Year in Review

Ahhh, New Years Eve. We meet again.

You always show up a lot faster than I thought possible, and this year was no exception.

2013 was jam-packed with surprises for us. Car accidents (and then new car shopping), pregnancy (and then actually staying pregnant), appliance failures (and blinding rage on my part), and an unexpected c-section (epidurals are a.maz.ing).

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Sarah at The Mamas Rapscallion stole these questions from someone who probably stole them from someone else, who probably stole them from a MySpace survey in 2005.

And so I will steal them now.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? I got pregnant (been there, done that) but then I STAYED THAT WAY, hollaaaa!

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2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I think I made some resolutions? I know I wanted to learn to sew, which I didn’t do, but I did finally get a sewing machine, so that’s a step in the right direction. I don’t have anything specific in mind for 2014 — if I remember to brush my teeth every day, I consider that a success. Throw a shower in there, and ooooohweee, Momma’s takin’ care of business that day. The bar has been set pretty low.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? So many people! High school and college friends are popping out babies left and right. My ex-boyfriend’s sister’s best friend?! Yup, her too. Babies Everywhere.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes, unfortunately. My Grandma, on my dad’s side, passed away the day after her 90th birthday in the spring. Fortunately I got to spend the day with her the week before, on one of her last really good days, and she was so so soooo excited when I told her I was pregnant again (I had literally just found out. Hadn’t had my first beta yet, so it was sort of a gamble to even bring it up).

5. What places did you visit? Ugh, none. We even skipped family vacation, because I had a crapton of doctors appointments once I hit like 25 weeks. We did spend a weekend at the beach, just the two of us, and my morning sickness finally subsided enough for me to eat at my favorite Mexican place, repeatedly.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? Nothing, really. We got everything we really wanted about 10 weeks ago. A winning lottery ticket would be nice though, because that baby was expennnsiiiiive.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 24 I flipped my car over. February 3 we won the Superbowl. February 12 was our embryo transfer. September 7 was my baby shower. October 21 Gus was born. A lot of other stuff happened in the middle, I think.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? See above, re: birthing a human.

9. What was your biggest failure? I’m obviously terrible at driving on ice.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Again, see above.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I’m a big fan of our new car. The baby is quite nice too.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Mike’s as usual. I married a saint.

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13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I was seriously pissed at the guy who made my sandwich at Subway the other day. Lettuce, mayo and tomato explosion, with every bite. Sandwich Artist, my ass.

14. Where did most of your money go? Towards that adorable 11 pound baby of ours. At least we hit our deductible really, really quickly.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Dressing a tiny human. And meeting Kevin Nealon!

16. What song will always remind you of 2013? No question:

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier!
b) thinner or fatter? So much thinner! I’d breastfeed this kid forever if it didn’t get so creepy.
c) richer or poorer? Financially poorer, richer in everything else.

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18. What do you wish you’d done more of? I wish I’d eaten more dairy when I thought I could. And I wish I’d eaten more delicious crap before I found out I had gestational diabeetus.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? I was pretty lazy this year. I don’t know if it’s possible for me to have done less of anything.

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2013? Christmas is usually a really stressful day for me. Growing up with divorced parents meant I had to operate on a tight schedule so there was time to see everyone and open gifts before it was time to move on to the next location/relative. Add in a husband and a stop at the in-laws (who understandably want equal time with, you know, their son), running home to feed the dogs, and now breastfeeding every two hours? Forget it. This year we told everyone we were hanging out at home, come over if you’d like, we’ll have some snacks and alcohol ready to go. We opened presents, ate all day, and watched several Christmas movies. It was wonderful. I smell a new family tradition.

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21. Did you fall in love in 2013? I’m in love with this chubby baby, that’s for damn sure.

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22. What was your favorite TV program? I just started/finished Orange is the New Black (loved it, obvs) but my heart belongs to Scandal.

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2013? Ahhh, January. That was forever ago! We ate sushi, and Mike covered me in diamonds.

24. What was the best book you read? I loved The Cuckoos Calling by an in disguise JK Rowling. And Serena by Ron Rash was pretty good (Jennifer Lawrence will kill it in 2014, naturally).

25. What did you want and get? The world’s most adorable baby.

26. What did you want and not get? Twins seemed like a good idea back in February, but I was mistaken. One is plenty.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? Catching Fire was soooo good. Yes, I’ll be 33 in two weeks. Pffft. Team Peeta, ya’ll.

28. Did you make some new friends this year? I made some bloggy/Internet friends. That counts, yes?

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I really, really wish I’d done my hair the night we met Kevin Nealon. Priorities, people!

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30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? Two words: elastic. waists.

31. What kept you sane? Kept? That’s being generous.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Steve Martin, always and forever.

33. What political issue stirred you the most? Ugh. Politics schmolitics, am I right? They can all suck it.

34. Who did you miss? I miss old friends who aren’t local anymore. A lot of them I’ve know for a long, long time and it’s sad they aren’t around to meet Gus.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.”

Also, googly eyes make everything funnier.

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Let’s Talk About Food, Baby

Yes, I’m still talking about food.

I officially want to eat everything. After almost four months of gagging at the idea of anything more substantial than water, I’ve finally reached the point in my pregnancy where I am a bottomless pit. Well, sort of — I still can’t eat very much, but at least now I actually want to eat things.

Oh, but damn you gestational diabetes! Damn you straight to hell! All the things I want to eat are off limits.

I’m told as soon as I have this baby, I’ll be back to normal. So, naturally my thought process is something like:

1) Have a baby!
2) Hold that baby!
3) Kiss my husband!
4) EAT EVERYTHING.

And because I like to daydream about food, and torture myself, here’s what I have planned for November:

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