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Thursday, January 31, 2013

What's for Dinner?

Well tonight, due to acid reflux and heartburn (love being pregnant) I just ate a plain chicken breast and a sweet potato but the other day I made a delicious Portobello mushroom tart.

The recipe is from "The Chubby Vegetarian."  I changed a few things just because I didn't the ingredients or I didn't care for some.  For the cheese, I used a mixture of Parmesan and white Cheddar.  Also, I sprinkled the top with Thyme and Marjoram.  I didn't use the garlic or shallots.  I did use the half and half instead of whole milk and used honey vinegar instead of champagne because I didn't have any.  And due to time, I just used pre-made pie dough. 

Below is the original recipe:

4 ounces goat cheese 3 cloves garlic1 large egg1 yolk (from a large egg)1/4 cup whole milk (or half and half)Kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)1 teaspoon champagne vinegar2 large portobello mushrooms (thinly sliced)5 sprigs thyme (stems discarded)1 medium shallot (sliced)1 tablespoon olive oil
Make the Basic Pie Crust Dough and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the crust out to roughly a 16 x 11 rectangle and place onto a parchment-lined 17 x 12 baking sheet. Fold the ends up and pinch the corners together. Dock the dough with a fork and par-bake for 10 minutes.
While the tart shell is baking, place the goat cheese, garlic, egg, yolk, milk, salt, pepper, and vinegar into the work bowl of your food processor and blend until smooth. After 10 minutes, remove the tart shell from the oven and place mushrooms in a shingle-like pattern over the surface. Pour the goat cheese mixture evenly over the whole tart. Sprinkle with thyme, sliced shallots, and drizzle with olive oil. Return tart to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until the top is nicely browned. (Serves 4.



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

All For Love...

The other day, some veteran Mums and I were chatting about my pregnancy and their past pregnancies and what they did to make sure their baby was healthy.  It's amazing how someone could love somebody they've never even met and want to do right by them.  I think this is what every mother-to-be feels for their unborn baby as well as Dads.  I know, growing up, my parents did many things that were to better our family.  But when you find out you are pregnant, immediately you want to be a better person for that baby. Many of us give up or cut back on things such as food, caffeine, sugar, etc or start exercising.  For me,  I immediately bought prenatal vitamins, I looked up which was the best and found it at Sprouts (Rainbow Light Prenatal 1).  I was also told right away that I had to give up my 3 cups of morning tea (Ok, I was still able to drink 1 cuppa but it was hard!). Wahhhh!!!

 I also cancelled my hair appointment; if anyone knows me I've been coloring my hair since about 6th or 7th Grade.  There were certain face products and hair products that I stopped using as well as my herbal remedies to stay healthy. (Though I know some I may have been able to still take but I wanted to be safe than sorry).  I did this all because I loved someone whom I've never even met.

It's just the same in marriage.  You want to be a better person for your spouse because you love them and your goal is to be with them for as long as possible.  Your whole world changes when you become a family, where before it was "me," now it's "US".   I know I won't live forever but I'm going to do my darnedest to be around for as long as I can for our child.  During pregnancy, you get all sorts of reminders from your OB/GYN about eating healthy.  And I've found myself rethinking the food I eat.  I LOVE sweets and though I tried not to eat them (which was easy to do in the first trimester) I have to pack something sweet in my lunch or I start snacking and just don't feel fulfilled.  I make my lunch every day- usually consisting of chicken salad with vegan mayonnaise, whole grain crackers, an apple, and then the something sweet. This week it's brownies.  :)  I also include in my lunch bag a bowl of cereal, something with fiber, whole grains and healthy, with mixed fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries) more berries than cereal.  This afternoon, when I came home.  I had this for a snack:

But what I really wanted was this:

But I do it because I love someone and want to make sure he gets the proper nutrients that he needs.  And if we're lucky enough, I'd do it all over again.  And I think you would do the same. 


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday Tunes.... for Baby

A few years ago when I would watch a sweet baby girl, I would often sing parts of these to her. Now I can't wait to sing these to my baby.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Need a gift idea?

Need some gift ideas for friends?  Cell Phone covers!  Check out my site at

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fashion Friday for Mothers-to-Be

Just before I found out I was pregnant, I bought some really cool colored jeans The Gap.  Then for my birthday I received some wonderful outfits from Free People and Anthropologie.  Unfortunately, by this time, these clothes were already too small for my growing tummy. Finding hip but inexpensive maternity clothes did not prove to be easy.  I did find some foundation items from Pea in the Pod, good quality and they've taken me this far, but I had come across this website, Hatch.  Loved the clothes on here but they were a little out of my price range.  But definitely worth a look.

Here are some other outfits that I thought would be great for those special 9 months.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Because He is so Sweet!

If you are looking for a one of a kind gift for a friend's child, baby shower or loved one, look no further..... than Jill Paolini Farris on Facebook!

I was going to post about something else tonight but when I arrived home there was a lovely little package waiting in the mailbox.  No the stork did not come early :)  It was one of Baby's first toys.

A school friend makes these adorable dolls from socks and each one is different.  The stitching is perfection and the color combination is brilliant!

One of his little feet.

 Every doll is sewn and sent with a bit of love.  One can just tell because of the care that she takes in making them.  Just look at how the heart is right in the center of his tummy and is so big.  Love will be all around him!!

The stars are for my maiden name (Starzyk) and every doll comes with a name.  This one was called Treacle because he is also part British (treacle is a sweet syrup  used in the UK).  Check her out!!!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Family Cooking Made Easy- Pizzettes

Here's a simple recipe that I think would be great for a family meal. It super versatile, easy and quick!!  I found the recipe in a British magazine a while back and it suddenly popped into my head tonight to make it again.  They're little pizzettes made on puff pastry.  I usually keep a box on hand in the freezer.  To thaw the pastry quickly, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds (10 at the most, you may need to turn it and nuke it for a few more seconds) carefully unfold the dough and cut into four pieces.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Drizzle with your favorite oil. I used Grapeseed oil but it's totally a matter of taste. Sprinkle on some herbs such as Thyme or Basil.  Throw a little of your favorite cheese. For this, I used Parmesan cheese, then add your toppings.

 I was in a veggie mood so I cut up some zucchini, summer squash, peppers and mushrooms.  But I would think any topping would be great.  Just have fun with it which is the great thing about this, each pizza could be made to a person's taste.  Oh, last but not least sprinkle with a little more cheese.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

I sprinkled a little Feta cheese after I removed them from the oven. 



Monday, January 21, 2013

Why yes, I'm Pregnant!

The other day when I had got out of my car to ask the Park Ranger a question, Nigel had the distinct feeling that a woman, who was watching me, questioned for a moment whether I was fat or pregnant.  No, I am pregnant.  Unless, the kicks and turns I feel are caused by some very bad Chinese food, I am pregnant.  Like some women, I enjoy being pregnant.  Feeling the baby move, seeing him on the screen during an ultrasound, thinking that Nigel and I will have a child of our own, hearing his heartbeat.  BUT it's all the other stuff that I could live without.  The first three months were characterized by constant progesterone poisoning (or morning sickness) and extreme exhaustion.

Truthfully, at times, I feel that I can not even remember those months because I was so tired!  I do consider myself lucky that my progesterone poisoning was just that, I never did get sick but it is so true that certain foods are definitely a turn off. I remember one night when Nigel made a lovely traditional British dinner (with chicken instead of beef), I couldn't wait to bite into the brussel sprouts, the carrots and parsnips.  And then just as quickly, I couldn't wait to get those items off my plate.  The first and only bite from each produced this horrible sick feeling.  I seriously looked down at my tummy and said, "Baby, brussel sprouts are good for you!"  I was so sad!  Another time, we were eating Chinese food at my family's house and I love chicken Lo Mein.... sadly my stomach did not.  There were many a night, after I woke from a nap where I would text Nigel, "Please bring home some mexican food.  Chicken tacos, beans and rice. Thanks xo"

I think this meal was eaten about once a week. I look at it as a craving.  Food would pop into my head and I just had to have it or I would continuously think about it until I did eat it.  But I'll save this for another post.

I was getting so tired of this and then poof!  It was over, the beginning of the second trimester, I woke one morning to find that I was fine, the poisoning was over or at least my body got used to it and everything was fine.  I wasn't AS tired as I was but still was low on energy.  But then came insomnia, I thought this was suppose to be the easy months!

As time went on, I would try to incorporate yoga into my routine or a walk with a friend. But still just didn't have the energy (plus now the holidays were starting).  But it was the not sleeping at night that started to bother me.  My friend as well as one of the parents from school told me about the Snoogle .  So I order it, it came right when the holiday break was going to start.  I laughed so hard when I pulled it out of the box. It was so big! And when I put it into the bed with us, it was like having a full grown person with us.  There was absolutely no room.  I would have to wait until we got home to our king sized bed. (now I love my snuggle!)  That was when the aching legs would start in the middle of the night.  I did find if I stretched a little before bed it wasn't as bad.  Next came dental problems due to the pregnancy.  Then the stuffed up nose and nose bleeds.... then the acne (well I had this for a while).... the discoloration.....the carpel tunnel or either the tennis elbow because all your joints get loose in preparation for the baby. Then the round ligament pains which I had been feeling since the first trimester.  Then there is the forgetfulness and poor Nigel has had to suffer many a cold night in the house because the hormones are keeping me warm.  I've many dreams where I'm being suffocated only to realize that it's because I have too many covers on.  When I get into bed I'm cold but within a hour or so of sleep all I need is a sheet and a blanket.  What about the endless potty breaks in the middle of the night? And my latest thing is a blocked ear which I found out is also normal in pregnancy. How fun and I'm only in the second trimester.  I can't wait to see what else will come my way.  I mean, I hear mothers say, "I love being pregnant."  SO either my pregnancy is hard or it is true that mothers get pregnancy amnesia.  I like to think its the latter because if we all do have these symptoms, like the books say,  I think our population would have diminished long ago.   So yes, to answer that lady's question, I am pregnant.

Me, on the right, at 17 weeks

Well, I have to go and use the bathroom.... again!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ahhhh! Weekends!

What a great weekend!  Yesterday we went for a hike; the hike was short but getting to our destination took a while.  We decided to bring Wilbur

and headed over to Torrey Pines State reserve.  After paying the fee (and boy was it a fee!), with Wilbur barking in the backseat, we headed up the road crowded with people. If I could, I would have walked faster up the hill than how long it took in the car. Suddenly, Nigel noticed a small sign on the side of the road, "No Dogs Allowed." WHAT??!! Well maybe it was just on the trails, Torrey Pines also has a long walkway that runs along the road which was what we wanted to walk on.  OF COURSE, we found parking right away and I got out to ask a Park Ranger who indeed confirmed that Wilbur could not come out of the car. Sighing, I got back in the car, told Nigel and Wilbur we couldn't stay and made our slow descent back down the road.  Luckily, there was Mission Trails :)

After a rigorous hike (not).  I haven't worked out since I found out I was pregnant, I had to go really slow especially up the first and only hill.  Stopping every few yards to catch my breath. But boy, did it feel good to be back out in nature.  I love hiking!  The wind in my hair, the sand/dirt beneath my feet.  You become very introspective when out in nature and realize how this land belongs to so many more than just people. Anyway, after the hike, I decided to set about trying some new dessert recipes. Jamie Oliver's Cheats Banoffee Pie. Very easy to make, but I would make some changes the next time I make this.  Not changes to the recipe but to how I made it.  Recipe will follow in the next few days. 

The best was making Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls via Smitten Kitchen's blog.  This was my first attempt at making cinnamon rolls. And not to toot my own horn but they turned out SOOO good! Even Nigel liked them!  (he's not too big on overly sweet things and these weren't) They were perfect! Can't wait until tomorrow morning to dig into them again!  YUMMMM!

(the middle one has a little flour on it still)

Hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend! 
(oh, and I get one more day MLK day tomorrow)


Friday, January 18, 2013

Fashion Friday for Mums-to-Be

I was so excited to find out that I was pregnant.  The week before I found out, I had just bought some new colored jeans from The Gap, within the month, those jeans and most of my clothes did not fit.  I was trying to hid my pregnancy from my co-workers for the customary first 3 months.  Though as that time wore on, most started guessing! lol!  I usually wore a long tank dress that I got from Target 3 years ago- it was the best buy I've made, a long jersey A-Line skirt, with one of my sweaters by All Saints (the baggy ones).  I had also purchased some other A-line maxi skirts and some large button-down shirts.  I was wearing the same 5 outfits week after week.  FINALLY, I was able to tell and immediately bought some real maternity clothes.  Though truthfully that was hard.  Many clothes looked cheesy or "too maternity-ish", it just wasn't me.  I did find some VERY comfortable maternity skinny jeans which I wear about twice a week, some long sleeve turtle necks (there's a charcoal one that I wear all the time), two pairs of leggings, another pair of black jeans, an orange sweater and two grey sweaters. I change most of these with some of my clothes bought from Free People (the maxi dresses) but since it's been chilly here in Southern California, the leggings, black skirt and sweaters are definitely getting a little thread-bare.  Below are some of my favorites.  Oh! And course, one must think of shoes.  Some of my boots grew too short, for instance, my Frye engineer  boots :(  Can't get my right foot into them.  But luckily, I received the most comfortable boots at Christmas time (see below), as well as the daisy-cut oxford.  These are so comfortable that I don't mind standing on the playground during recess time.  I bought the flats for my husband Holiday party ( we were on a boat and I thought it best NOT to wear a heel).  I had also purchased a pair of tuxedo jeans, and a black shirt both very comfortable.  The red dress was also a gift- and so versatile.  This can be carried over into Spring and Summer.  The LOVE sweater, I saw on a parent at our school who is also pregnant and the Union Jack..... well, I can still shop, can't I?  Enjoy!!

Mama's Clothes

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