World Traveler….. Beef Guinness Pie and Mole Verde

I probably shouldn’t have started a blog if I wasn’t going to update it. But I didn’t know I was going to get pregnant, and I didn’t know that I would be traveling around the world pregnant and the toll that would take on my body.

So where have  I been and what have I brought back? (other than a nasty strain of some sort of bacterial yuckiness)

I started my summer in Ireland!

Ireland is lovely, with the kindest and most hospitable people I have encountered. We ate a lot of pub food and it was great! I asked the barkeep what pregnant women drank in the pub, he laughed and said, “Guinness of course!” Here is a recipe for Guinness Beef Pie. Granted, this is usually made with pie crust or potatoes. For PCOS eliminate the crust/potatoes and eat as a nice stew.

Beef and Guinness Pie (from Gourmet)

  • 2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup Guinness or other Irish stout
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons drained brined green peppercorns, coarsely chopped
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Instructions:

    Pat beef dry. Stir together flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Add beef, turning to coat, then shake off excess and transfer to a plate. Heat oil in a wide 5- to 6-quart ovenproof heavy pot over moderately high heat until just smoking, then brown meat in 3 batches, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes per batch, transferring to a bowl.

    Add onion, garlic, and water to pot and cook, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot and stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef with any juices accumulated in bowl, broth, beer, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorns, and thyme and bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to oven. Braise until beef is very tender and sauce is thickened, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Discard thyme and enjoy!

    Ok, so I returned for 5 days, in which I helped plan a bridal shower and then jetted off to Mexico! This is my 5th time in this area so it wasn’t much of a new adventure. My sister was getting married and we stayed at a resort, which doesn’t count much for traveling….
    “Toursits don’t know where they have been and Travelers don’t know where they are going.” Paul Theroux-
    I figure I am in the Travelers category.
    My favorite little known Mexican recipe is for Mole Verde. Give yourself plenty of time to make this, and don’t be surprised if you eat the whole thing in one sitting.
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    Mole Verde (from Rick Bayless)

    1 large white onion, sliced
    4 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
    1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
    Salt, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
    1 good-size (3-pound) chicken, cut into quarters
    2 bay leaves
    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
    A generous 1 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) hulled raw pumpkinseeds (pepitas)
    12 large sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped, plus a few extra sprigs for garnish
    3 small romaine leaves, roughly chopped
    Hot green chilies to taste (roughly 3 serranos or 2 small jalapeños), stemmed and roughly chopped
    1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

    Instructions:

    1. The chicken: In a large (6-quart) pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add half of the onion and garlic, all the carrot, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the chicken back (if you’re lucky enough to have a separated one), neck, heart and giblets. Skim off any foam that rises after a minute or two, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Add the dark meat quarters, skim again after a couple of minutes, then add the bay, thyme and marjoram, partially cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the breast quarters, skim when the liquid returns to the simmer, partially cover and cook 13 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the chicken cool for a few minutes in the broth. Remove the breast and leg quarters from the broth and set aside. Strain the broth, discarding the solids, and spoon off any fat that rises to the top.

    2. The pumpkin seeds: In a large (10-to 12-inch), heavy skillet set over medium heat, spread out the pumpkinseeds and toast, stirring regularly, until all have popped (from flat to rounded) and turned golden (no darker); once they start popping, the whole process shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes. Spread out on a plate to cool; reserve a couple of tablespoons for garnish.

    3. The sauce: In a blender, combine the cooled pumpkinseeds with the remaining half of the onion and garlic, the cilantro, romaine,
    and green chiles. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth and blend to a smooth puree. Heat the oil in a large (4-quart), heavy saucepan over medium. Add the puree and stir constantly until very thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the broth (you’ll have about 4 cups broth left over for soup or another sauce), partially cover and simmer 20 minutes; the sauce will look coarse at this point.

    4. Scrape the sauce into a blender, loosely cover and blend to a smooth puree; if necessary add a little extra broth (or water) to give the sauce a medium consistency. Rinse your saucepan, return the blended sauce to it, taste and season with salt, usually a 1/2 teaspoon. Add the chicken and warm (but don’t bring to a simmer) over medium-low heat, about 10 minutes.

    5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter, then ladle the sauce over and around it, decorate with the reserved pumpkinseeds and cilantro sprigs, and it’s ready to serve.

    After returning, I had a stomach virus and a head cold. I blame it on the airplane flight. It has been 2 weeks since I have returned and I still need to be close to a bathroom. Hoping to one day eat normal again!

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Baked Lemon Chicken and Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce.

I promise I will get back to writing recipes soon. There certainly is no need for yet another Mommy Blogger. Last week I made a Baked Lemon Chicken with fresh asparagus from the farmers market and a lovely hollandaise sauce from our eggs. It was wonderful. Did you know hollandaise is very very simple and that anyone can make it? Here is a recipe….
BLENDER HOLLANDAISE SAUCE 
Start to finish: 5 minutes
Makes about 3/4 cup

Ingredients:
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:
In a blender, combine the egg yolks, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-high, add the butter and heat until foaming.

Blend the egg yolk mixture at top speed for 2 seconds then, with the blender running, remove the cover and pour in the hot butter in a thin stream of droplets. By the time two-thirds of the butter has been added, the sauce will be a thick cream. Continue pouring, but don’t pour in the milky residue at the bottom of the pan. Taste and adjust seasonings.

If not using the sauce immediately, set the blender carafe in tepid, but not warm, water.

 

Here is my pregnancy announcement…. sorry about the watermarks, I worked on this for about a week and wouldn’t want anyone to steal it. (if anyone is interested, I will gladly make you your own pregnancy announcement, custom to what you would like for $60, you would own the image so you could print, or post as long as you gave credit)

 

 

You’d be a great mother…..

As a young woman, I didn’t go through that boy-crazy stage. I skipped it. I certainly was not interested in girls, but I wasn’t really interested in boys either. I just didn’t care. I remember watching all of my friends go through this magical transformation and wondered why I didn’t feel that way. I used to make up crush’s I had on various boys just to fit in. I remember “liking” one boy and having my friends torment him until he asked me out. I was mortified. I didn’t care for him at all, I had just made it up.

 

After thinking about it, I believe it was a coping mechanism. My mom had abandoned my sister and I when I was the ripe age of 12. Right at that point when you start to develop into the woman you will become. I had no one to teach me how to be a woman, I had no one to look up to. My mom had been sleeping with multiple men for years without my dads knowledge. But I knew. I knew I didn’t want to be like her, and sex meant being like my mom and liking boys was the first step towards sex.

 

So I never wore makeup, or worked hard at looking cute. I never cared if boys noticed me, I didn’t care about going to dances or on dates. Going to school was a means to and end, not a social feedbag. I took care of my sister, I raised my sister through her teen years. I was her model for womanhood, as flawed and clueless as I was. I assumed the role of mother. I didn’t have time for boys, or sex or the development of that side of myself.

 

I was not able to go to an out-of-town college, I stayed home to take care of my sister and work to support her. One day I was hanging out with my friend, her boyfriend and some of his friends. One of the boys looked at my friend and said, “You are so beautiful!” I chimed in with, “Hey, what about me? ” and he said, “You’d be a great mother.”  Which I suppose is a compliment of sorts, but it hurt, it stung and has always lingered with me. I would never be the girl anyone thought of as cute, or pretty or sexy. Just motherly, which isn’t to say that is a bad thing, but I never was cute, or pretty or sexy. I skipped that whole phase of personal development. This week the students at school asked me if I had any kids. (I haven’t told them yet) And I smiled and said, “no, not yet….why?” thinking they were on to me…. They replied, “Oh we were just wondering because you seem so mom-like.” Every year someone in my class remarks that they wish that I was their mom, or that I would make a great mom. I have had a really hard time accepting that as a compliment, probably because it stung so much the first time anyone said that to me, and because I always assumed I would never be a mom.

 

But here I am. 3 months pregnant, and “you’d be a great mother ” is a compliment I am going to have to accept and cherish.

Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables

I am sorry I haven’t written a helpful post in such a long time. I am finally starting to be able to eat ‘real food’ again, and things are starting to appeal to me. But it has been a long couple of weeks of yogurt and graham crackers. The baby is doing fine. We had our 12 week ultrasound on Friday and J. was able to see the baby for the first time. I have never seen him so excited.

I haven’t been very good about eating a low carb diet, as the only thing that I could stomach were simple carbs, bread, fruit, crackers, rice, noodles etc. But now that I am feeling better I am interested in fish and chicken, and lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. So I am transitioning to making better choices for me and baby.

Today I had a tuna salad. I have read quite a bit on pregnancy and high mercury levels. A pregnant woman should monitor mercury heavy foods and avoid ingesting too much. To say that in another way, you don’t need to cut these mercury heavy fish out of your diet, just eat them in moderation. Guidelines state no more than “12 oz of low mercury fish should be consumed weekly”

Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables

Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables (from Martha Stewart)

  • 4 cups (2 1/2 ounces) baby romaine lettuce
  • 3 cups (2 1/2 ounces) baby spinach
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons (3/4 cup)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 6 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 1/2 ounces radishes, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 6-ounce jar tuna packed in olive oil, drained, oil reserved for dressing (I like Tuna in Water)
  • FOR THE DRESSING
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (reserved from tuna)

Directions

  1. Make the salad: Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Make the dressing: Whisk together mustard, vinegar, shallot, lemon zest and juice, water, salt, and pepper. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until dressing is emulsified.
  3. Toss the salad with the dressing, and serve immediately.

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Baby Greens with Tuna and Mixed Vegetables

A song for the motherless mothers

Both my husband and I come from homes where our same sex parent was destructive and then absent. His father was physically abusive and later abandoned the family. My mother was emotionally abusive and later abandoned my sister and I. And whether we choose to acknowledge it or not this plays into our baby-making decisions.

There seems to be an abundance of articles and support for women that have lost their mothers in death, but so little support for those who’s mothers chose to leave their daughters. I can’t say that I wished my damaged mother would have stayed as we were probably better off without her, but you never lose that feeling of not ever being good enough.

So having children of my own, rattles me to the core. What if I just like the long lines of mothers on both sides of my family, I am less than adequate and do more harm to my children? Couldn’t it have been said that both of my grandmothers swore to never be like their mothers, and my mother swore never to be like her mother, and……

So here is to all the women out there who struggle with self-worth. Who’s mothers chose men, drugs, alcohol, sex, and selfish ambitions over their daughters. You are most lovable and worthy of all the lovely things life has to offer.

Here’s to settling into you feelings of rejection and abandonment, your loneliness. These feelings might not ever go away, but you can learn to sit with them and listen to the lessons they have to offer you and your future children. Do not deny yourself the time and space to feel these feelings deeply, it is only with your acknowledgement of these feelings that you can truly process.

I stilldon’t have a very close relationship to my mother. I told her that I was pregnant and she replied with a text, “oh wow! I AM VERY EXCITED! I am speechless. I’ll say congrats to you both and hope all goes well.”  I haven’t heard anything from her in over 3 weeks. The feelings of rejection and abandonment never go away, in fact sometimes they seem magnified.

To Drug or Not to Drug…..

I went for a follow up appointment today. Just your run of the mill, here is the medications you can take, here are some pamphlets and magazine articles to read, to do’s, don’t do’s and on and on. At one point the lpn  started to explain that at some point in the future I will need to take a glucose test. To which I think I might have audibly snorted. Glucose? I can already tell you that my body does a shit job of glucose management. So I asked her if there was anything that I should be doing to control my pcos…she scrunched her nose and said she didn’t know but she would go ask the ob/gyn. She returned a moment later with a smile and told me that no, there was nothing that I should be doing. I know in my heart that I need to do my own research, but sometimes it is just easier to listen to what the professionals say. So I relaxed a little bit. Maybe 15 minutes later on my way home the phone rings from the dr’s office. The lpn calls me to tell me that she realized I had been on Metformin and was going to encourage me to go back on it, at least until the 12 week (which is 3 weeks away).

 

So now I face the dilemma. Do I go back on Metformin? This means being sick because of the meds and being sick from pregnancy. It means dumping chemicals into my blood stream and into the blood of my forming baby. The effects to the baby have not been studied fully, some drs’ say stop as soon as you figure out you are pregnant, some say take it until you are 12 weeks and some encourage women to continue to take it throughout the whole pregnancy. What will happen if I start taking it again after being off for 3 weeks, will the change in blood sugars disrupt the fetus?

 

And if I don’t go back on to Metformin, will there be a higher chance for miscarriage? I already feel in these past few weeks I have lived a life-time with this little bean. And if I do lose it, I will always wonder….what if I had just taken the drug?  I can’t imagine losing it, I have already devoted enough ill feeling, low energy days to the cause. Will I develop gestational diabetes and need to take insulin?

 

Anyone with any advice is welcome to chime in, in as far as I have read it seems the general consensus is to take the metformin as the benefits outweight the risks. But we live in a drug crazy society, where the answer to everything is to take a pill, and I just can’t get behind that philosophy. I am sure that diet has a lot to do with it, and lately being unable to eat anything but high carbohydrates I have certainly fallen off the plan.

 

My intuition tells me to not take the drug and modify with a healthy diet. My dr. says otherwise.

Bean at 7.5 Weeks

On Wednesday I noticed a slight pinkish discharge, that was not accompanied by cramps, but thought it best to call the Dr. anyway. The office was so nice and accommodating. They called my previous dr. and arranged to get my records, they fit me in at 3pm, and had me in an ultrasound by 3:15. I never said that I was overly worried or distressed. They just took care of it like I was an important person.

The ultrasound went well. I am almost 8 weeks nows. There was a heartbeat and everything looked ok. I do not have a bacterial infection so that doesn’t account for the bleeding. I had blood drawn, which went remarkably well to which I attribute the increase in blood in my body. I have another appointment next week to go over the blood work. I am constantly worried about losing the sea-monkey and I am trying my best to use CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) anytime I catch myself dwelling on miscarriage. I imagine in my minds-eye a large glowing pink lotus that houses this tiny creature. The lotus pulses with the beans’ heartbeat. I realize that I have very little  control over whether this is successful or not and try my hardest to be in mental place of loving stability.

I feel like shit though. I thought early on I was going to make it though the next month with very few symptoms. But it seems to get a little bit worse everyday. The best way I can explain it is, It is like having a perpetual hangover. I am always a little bit sick, nothing sounds good to eat, and when I do eat something I feel terrible afterward. Last night I thought I wanted Noodle Soup of the Asian variety. So I thought a nice bowl of Udon Noodles would cheer me up, I even thought I might be able to sneak in a bit of vegetables if it was mixed with noodles and broth. The noodles were good, the broth was good, the vegetables didn’t work out, and I ate the bite of crab they include in the soup and I almost lost it. Note to self: no crab. But afterwards, oh dear. I threw up a little in my mouth (i’m sorry, gross but true) and couldn’t get comfortable the entire evening. We watched Hugo, and at 10pm on a Friday night I went to bed.

Today I woke up and had corn chips for breakfast. I was awake for a couple hours and cleaned the kitchen, then had the incredible urge for a nap. I slept for two hours in the middle of the afternoon.

Cravings: Graham Crackers with Nutella, Corn Chips, Asian Noodle Soups