Thursday, January 30, 2014

massive weight gain

Over the past week and a half I have put on six pounds.  In the previous week, I think it was something like four pounds.  The same thing happened with Emma's pregnancy at this stage, around 24-25 weeks and 25-26 weeks, I put on eight pounds in one week I think.  At that time I blamed myself for it, but this time I was prepared and counted every single calorie that went into my body, including those that come from the iron supplement that I am taking.  I am eating under 2000 calories every day, usually 1800-2000 calories daily.

For my height, 5'9'', that is not a lot of calories.  However, with Emma's pregnancy I ended up very heavy, at around 220 lb at delivery, and had a long hard road to losing the weight.  It took me about five months, and lots of running, but most importantly I did not actually lose all the weight.  That is why I started this pregnancy at 10 lb heavier than with Emma.  Well, sadly, at the same number of weeks, I am at the exact same weight, 190 lb.  Does this mean that I am heading towards the same threatening 220 lb?  Ouch. I remember how uncomfortable my feet felt all the time, and how much my hips hurt when lying on my sides.

I struggled with whether I should decrease the calories, as I don't want to affect the baby in any way.  I was thinking to go down to 1600-1750 cal per day.  I might do that for a few days and see how I feel.  If I am not significantly hungry, then it should be ok... I trust that my body will tell me if I should eat more.  The most important thing though is that I should probably stop baking and eating deserts and sweets.  Even the fruit smoothies that I pass as healthy in my book are probably avoidable.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Freezer meals

I am leaving for Vancouver in five days, and I am going to be gone until one month post partum at least.  That means that my husband is going to be without us for the next three-four months.  As such, I am preparing some freezer meals for him.  Since other people might be doing freezer meals for the first few weeks after having a baby, this might be a useful post.

We eat almost everything home made, including bread, pasta, deserts, cheese (except for fancy hard or blue cheeses), yogourt, etc.  The only things that I buy are bulk rice, chickpeas, lentils, seeds, nuts, flour and wheat kernels, plus eggs, meat and milk, veggies and fruit.  The rest I make.  I have been this way for over 12 years, since I have moved out on my own, and so I am used to it.  I am also not about to let my precious lovely hubby eat crap meals while I am away, so I am making lots of frozen stuff for him.  Most likely when I come back the food will still be in the freezer while my hubby will have survived on bread, cheese and jam. 

But hey, I try.

So, the things that freeze the best are the following:  beans, chickpeas, lentils, lasagne, any kind of ground meat curry, soups (in particular pureed soups made with pumpkin or carrots or sweet potatoes), fresh pasta if it was dried first (if you are really desperate, even cooked pasta can be frozen, but I have not tried, just defrost in the microwave), ice cream (duh).  So, for me, if I had a baby and had to feed a family of two adults plus toddler, I would make the following for one month of survival:

-four dense breads with 150g milled grain, 350g flour, 180g pumpkin/sunflower seeds, 350g water, 40g fresh yeast, 40g vinegar, 1 tsp honey, 2 tsp salt.  Just do the usual thing, and let the bread rise once in the pan and cook for 40 min at 425F.  Freezes like a dream.  We freeze it cut in halves.

-6 batches of beans or lentils or chickpeas made like this:  half to one onion minced, one or two carrots, one or two celery sticks, possibly one or two bacon strips, all cut into pieces and sauteed for five minutes in 2 tsp olive oil.  Then add your cooked beans (400g can or if you cook then something like 300g cooked), some chicken stock (1 cup), some crushed tomatoes (or if you want it creamy then some coconut milk/curry combo), whatever spices you like, I love cumin and turmeric and bay leaves.  Even cinnamon if I put in pumpkin cubes.  Winter or summer savory?  Cardamom? The kitchen sink? it is a very forgiving dish.  Just smell a spice and if goes with the cooking aromas currently in your kitchen, then it is a good spice to use.  That is my rule of thumb.  Cook either covered or uncovered depending on whether you overshot on the liquid (haha).  If it tastes boring, add some cream.  It will fix anything (I am joking). If you are in a hurry, it gets done in 10 min in the pressure cooker.

-any kind of ground meat prepared like this:  brown 1 lb of meat, add half to one onion chopped, one carrot chopped, and saute another five minutes.  Add one can of crushed tomatoes or something like that, or four fresh tomatoes should do it.  Perhaps some white wine (100g) or chicken broth or water if it needs it.  Add cubed potatoes or cubed yams or cubed pumpkin.  Cook until it is done. Spices:  bay leaves, oregano, thyme go well with this. Basil if it is cooked for a pasta dish, but then don't put in any potato/yam/pumpkin, they do not go well with basil.

- the basic above meat sauce, minus any potato/yam/pumpkin can also be used as a pasta meal: you can make lasagne with a layer meat sauce, one of bechamel (500 g milk, 60g flour, 60 g butter I think, I would double check) or ricotta cheese, one of cooked pasta sheets.  Or you can just mix it with some cooked tagliatelle.  (I cannot comment on any other pasta shapes because I have bravely resisted getting a pasta extruder, so the only shape I can get in my house is whatever I can cut, ie. tagliatelle, or mal-tagliatti, or ravioli).

-speaking of ravioli, that would freeze well too:  2 eggs, 180 g white flour, make a dough, let it rest, stretch it out as thin as you can (either with a rolling pin or with a pasta roller), then make a mixture of ricotta, pumpkin or spinach that you first cook, dry as much as you can, and then puree, and perhaps some parmesan cheese or salt or nutmeg or whatever spices you like), fill them out, cut out into ravioli (you can use a pizza cutter, really), let them dry and then freeze on a cookie sheet (I use silpat to make sure they don't stick, or lots of flour), then put them in a bag.

- I think potato gnocchi freeze well.  There is a recipe online for "thermomix gnocchi", just use the ingredients list and you will really know what to do, don't worry about the thermomix instructions.

-soup with sauteed half onion, carrot, and celery, then add chicken broth and more carrots or yams, some cream and puree.  Beautiful soups.  Keep the cream under control.  If you like it tangy, mix the cream with some yogourt and incubate it for eight hours in a warm place first (makes creme fraiche).

We also eat a lot of just "chicken and broccoli" both of which I defrost and steam.  Or "salmon and green beans".  Or "bison/elk/deer/etc and asparagus".  Just defrost, and steam the green component, then quickly cook the meat in a pan with a bit of wine or chicken broth, salt and pepper, and some minced garlic.  That is probably our default meal.

Quiche is great for freezing too.  We make good quiches with either the traditional 1-2-3 pie crust (see the book Ratio), or something more funky, like this.  There are no limits to what you can put in a quiche, but I prefer leeks, spinach, capsicum, mushrooms.  For liquid, I use one cup milk/yogourt combo, and two eggs.  Here are the rules for quiche.   I agree with them about the cheese being nice, but I really cannot afford to eat that much cheese because I get fat very easily, especially when pregnant.

Now, I often make quiche filling and bake it in muffin trays, using silicone or paper cups for liners, then freeze these.  They make a great breakfast or lunch treat (eat two, one is too small), with a salad.  No crust.

Phew, that was a lot of work.
This is more or less what I eat all the time for the past couple of years (since I am not vegan anymore).  When I was vegan it was a bit more weird stuff, and lots made with cashews or other nuts, more mushrooms, more potato/yam dishes.

Ah, I forgot the deserts:  you need to make something nice and freeze it for when you have a sweet tooth, otherwise you will go out and buy it.  Brownies freeze well.  Almond or other nut cookies do too (85g pulverized nuts, 50 g sugar, 2 egg whites, bake for 15 min at 350C).  Even banana bread cut into slices or baked as muffins would be good.  Do not freeze chocolate truffles because they will look odd (from experience).

Ice cream is beautiful and we almost never buy it:  400 g milk, 200 g cream, 4-6 eggs, 100 g sugar, 100 g melted chocolate (or vanilla pods if making vanilla ice cream), pinch of salt.  Beat the eggs, heat the milk and cream, pour over (temper the eggs first), then heat until it thickens like a creme anglaise (use a double boiler, if you accidentally scramble the custard then blend for one minute in a STRONG blender).  Let it mature in the fridge overnight.  Try not to drink it with a cup.  It WILL make you fat.  Freeze in a tray, cut into cubes, and then mix with the mixer to make it creamy and store in freezer.  I find it freezes a bit hard, so I add either 1 tsp salt, or 1 oz liquor if I won't give it to Emma, or 1 egg white pasteurized that I beat a bit first to stop it from freezing too hard.  Or I just let it freeze and microwave briefly before scooping.  BTW, MrH, one quarter cup is a serving ;).

I hope all this helps.
Does pizza freeze?  I plan on finding out tomorrow:  I will make a pizza and freeze half, then I will find out from hubby if it was good.  Warning: he will say yes anyway.   And then he will be off to eat his bread and cheese and jam sandwich.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

24 weeks today!

We have reached viability today, although seeing as I am still so far up North, it is only theoretical viability at this point.  Once I will be in Vancouver, then chances are good for actual viability.  Anyway, hopefully we won't need any interventions until the scheduled C section at 37 weeks, but it makes me very happy to be here and so uneventfully to boot.  The cervix is holding well, and the baby is kicking very vigorously.  What more can I ask for?

I am very happy to be pregnant, I am feeling well, and finally am starting to imagine a little baby curled up in my arms.  In addition, guess who's nesting?  And I only have one week to nest, as I am flying out to Vancouver next week.  I got out the car seat, the Puj tub, the Stokke stroller attachment for the baby stage and for the car seat, I bought a jogging stroller for two (the Bob duallie) for 350$ used on Craigslist, and I washed the Baby Bjorn.  My husband and a helpful young man brought the change table from the basement, and I got the cloth diapers and the Aden and Anais swaddling blankets ready.  Most of the G-diapers are pink though, so I am thinking that I should buy some green and orange ones.  Will try Craigslist and Ebay, and I am going to be selling the pink ones via the same route.

Unfortunately most of the clothes are pink and purple, so I will have to buy almost everything for a boy.  I got the 0-6 months undergarments, as I initially bought them in white, and I also luckily have some red snow suits, but other than that, I have to repurchase almost everything.

In any case, I am shocked at how easy it was this time to get ready.  Everything was in labeled boxes, and sorting through the boxes took at most half a day total.  It took me a lot longer to nest with Emma!  Having the "hardware" ready (car seat, baby tub, bouncy seat, infant carrier, stroller, change table and mattress) made it all easy.  We sleep in the same bed, so no baby crib, but I did buy Emma a twin size bed with mattress, mattress cover, organic cotton linen, and a down duvet.

I will also have to get a new car seat, which should be the only large expense other than the double stroller.  For my car, I have to old car seat that Emma was in, a Graco Snugride, but I think for my hubby's car I am getting one of those that you can keep until booster stage, preferably up to 65 lb.

Here is my boring update.  All is going really smoothly, so I cannot write about anything exciting.  Which is just the way we like it (grin:).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


I am very thirsty lately, especially at night.  I tried to measure how much fluid I am drinking in one day, and gave up after four liters.  I don't know if it is normal, but I suppose it has to be since I am feeling healthy and have no other complaints.  My weight fluctuates +/- 5 lb from day to day, showing just how much water I am moving in and out.  I think that if I cut back on the salt it would probably stabilize more, and I am going to experiment with that tomorrow.  Today I got my Varoma cookbook for Thermomix and cooked some blue cheese souffl├ęs in the steamer, and some deer meatloaf also in the steamer, with potatoes that had a creme fraiche/anchovies sauce.  Guess how much salt was in the whole shebang by the end?

I still don't like drinking plain water, but am not vomiting it anymore.  I prefer to add lemon juice, about one lemon per liter of water, that gives it a much improved taste.

The baby is moving a lot.  It turned breech two days ago and is kicking me in the bladder, which is a bit uncomfortable, but fortunately he is still so small that it does not matter too much.  We had another ultrasound yesterday, and the cervix is holding well, at 4 cm.  I don't think I will be having more ultrasounds until mid February or so.  My next OB appointment is for Feb 4, so I guess I am getting my ultrasound appointment after that.  However, now is when I have the most likelihood of problems, so I would very much like it if I could get an ultrasound every two weeks, to set my mind at ease.  Every ultrasound makes me feel safe for about a week or two, which is prefect.  By week three I am starting to get nightmares involving bleeding, preterm labour, and leaking amniotic fluid.

So far, enjoying the fact that everything is going well and the hope for a full term baby!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

at home

I am feeing quite isolated at home the whole day.  It is too cold to go outside, -25 to -35 C this week, and my car wouldn't start for the past few days.  I have to replace the battery, I think that is what the problem is.

I am making new foods in the Thermomix.  Today I have tried gnocchi and they turned out fabulous, despite the fact that I undercooked the potatoes and got them really gluey when I was mashing them with the mechanical blades.  We had a good lunch.  I must be careful though, because every time I am experimenting with new foods, I gain a lot of weight, so I only put one serving out, and the rest I froze.  Oh, and I made creme brulee, but that does not freeze very well, so I had to eat it.  I found out it only has marginally less calories than mayonnaise, but fortunately I had already eaten it when I found that out, so it's all good.

This is how I freeze foods around here:  put them on a non stick mat and place them outside.  Watch for the ravens who are hungry.  They are so big that they could fly with the whole metal tray in their beaks...heck they could eat the whole metal tray if I don't watch it.  Five minutes later (unless I forget) the food is already frozen.

The baby is moving every day and Emma is happy.  That's all I really need.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year everybody!!!

It is a glorious New Year day over here at our house:  beautiful white snow with great sunshine (still too cold to go outside though...).  We had a couple and their 3 year old girl come over last night and I got the pleasure of hearing Emma play her heart out for a few hours, before they both collapsed exhausted.  I also got to enjoy cooking a gourmet dinner (contents below), and today got to sleep next to Emma and MrH.  I woke up to the bread that I had put in the oven all done (MrH took it out) and had a slice with homemade strawberry jam from this summer, and passionfruit tea, and life is heavenly.  (Aside from the fact that the cat just puked on the floor, I wish she should stop eating palm leaves).

Four years ago, I was in the hospital with Adrian.  On January 1 at night I started contracting, and had him on January 2 in the morning.  We had such a crappy New Year, that for the rest of my life, that particular day will make any other celebration look glorious by comparison.  Here, let's put them side by side:  stuck in a very old hospital bed, in a tiny very old room, in absolute bedrest with my head lower than my body, suffering from diarrhea induced by the ultra high doses of clindamycin that were meant to prevent infection, hoping but knowing that my hope is probably foolish, and watching a baby move that I knew was doomed to die.  Oh, and let's not forget dinner:  I got an old stale tuna sandwich because the kitchen staff was off that night.  The highlight was a small trifle from Save On that MrH brought, and that we shared.  I can't bring myself to eat that kind of trifle since then...

By comparison, a New Year's where I am vertical, and have my whole family healthy and safe around me... well, it is just 100 to 1.

Now, onto my new resolutions for the year, I don't have that many:
- teach Emma Romanian language consistently every day.
- stick to healthy, wholesome eating habits (aka clean eating).
- learn German.

That's about it.  Let's see how far I get.

Addendum:  the dinner last night was as follows:
-cheese appetizers: blue cheese, aged cheddar, and Oka
-eggplant salad (finely chopped grilled eggplant with salt, oil, lemon juice, diced tomatoes and onion)
-shortcrust pastry "boats" (50g clean snow, 60g butter, 90 g flour, salt, parmesan) filled with goat cheese, smoked salmon and capers

Main course:  beef shoulder blade simmered for 4 h in red wine/broth with aromatics, diced sweet potatoes boiled and finished in the oven with a bit of parmesan on top, green beans stir fried with toasted hazelnuts and finely chopped maple bacon, risotto with saffron and parmesan, and broccoli steamed and topped off with a peanut sauce that I just made up.  In fact I pretty much made up most of this menu.  I had no idea if it was going to work together, but mmmm....

Desert: rum balls.  A little harder the second day after spending the night in the fridge than I would have liked.  Next time I am adding rum for sure.

Highlights:  Champagne (MrH got us Real Champagne...) and white/red organic wines (we had a pinot grigio and a merlot, both Italian), as well as Bailey to put in the coffee.  I definitely enjoyed the Champagne.  We still have some leftover, and I am thinking of how to use it, was looking at some recipes... Suggestions?