Iceland and Poached Cod in Tomato Broth…

I have just returned from a trip to Iceland. What a wonderful and isolated country!

 

Iceland

 

This year I had no set destination. So I simply chose the cheapest international ticket, which turned out to be a direct non-stop to Iceland. So our adventures took us into the wild expanses. Highlights include, coffee, licorice, and hotdogs, geysers, standing under and behind waterfalls, road trips, glaciers and ice, secret and not-so-secret-hot springs, boat rides, sweaters, sheep, falling in the mud, half-breakfast, and day light 24 hours a day!

Because Iceland is an island, fish is abundant, and I was spoiled. When I returned home to my land locked state of Colorado, I went to the grocery store and reluctantly bought a pound of cod from the seafood counter. I made this simple soup with a few modifications and I must say it was delicious! I highly recommend you try this! Of course if you are watching your carbohydrate intake please omit the potatoes.

 

Poached Cod in Tomato Broth

 

Poached Cod in Tomato Broth

(modified from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Hon Dashi Benito broth (Japanese fish broth)
  • 1/2 medium onion, very thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 cups  tomatoes, diced
  • 8 ounces  potatoes, diced
  • 3 sprigs basil, plus fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 skinless cod fillets (4 ounces each)
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Directions

  1. Bring broth, onion, 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, potatoes, basil sprigs, red-pepper flakes to a boil in a large, deep, straight-sided skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Season cod with salt and pepper, add to broth mixture, and cover. Simmer until fish is opaque throughout and just cooked through, about 7 minutes.
  2. Remove and discard basil sprigs. Add sugar snaps, remaining 1/2 cup tomatoes, and lime juice to skillet, gently stirring to combine; cook just until warmed through. Divide fish, vegetables, and broth among 4 bowls. Garnish with basil leaves, drizzle with oil, and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.

 

Fridays Lunch

I have not been able to find a reliable source for farm raised chicken in the area, so this chicken was store bought. It was on sale for less than $6.00 for 8 chicken thighs. This was a good deal as I was able to make this stretch into 6 meals. That is less than a $1.00 per meal. So although ethically I feel bad for these poor chickens I did get a good deal.

 

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  • Curried Chicken Salad over baby spinach
  • Carrots and tomatoes with cheese wedges
  • Pears with a sprinkle of coriander
  • Dried apricots stuffed with goat cheese and slivered almonds

Shopping List

  • Chicken
  • celery
  • scallions
  • raisins
  • cilantro
  • honey
  • curry powder
  • salt and pepper
  • carrots
  • grape tomatoes
  • cheese
  • dried apricots
  • goat cheese
  • slivered almonds
  • pears
  • ground corriander

The shopping list is a little long, but hopefully you have some of this in your pantry…and if you don’t, lets stock up your pantry!

Thursdays Lunch

My little bean is 6 months old this week. So we are starting real food. It is going alright, she likes peaches ok, she really likes avocados but she dislikes sweet potatoes. Which is a shame because I cooked a whole sweet potato. So I incorporated it into todays lunch…but if you are trying to make this lunch you could skip it in favor of cream cheese stuffed celery and salsa, or plantain chips with roasted peppers and goat cheese, or oven roasted bell-peppers, onions and tomatoes.

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Thursdays Lunch:

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(sorry about the crappy picture, I made this at 9pm after a long day, shaky hands and bad lighting…too tired to do it right)

Mexican Theme

  • Oven Roasted Chicken
  • Black bean mango salsa
  • Sweet potato pancake with goat cheese and cilantro
  • Strawberries with honey and cinnamon
  • Plantain Chips (use sparingly)

Ingredients

Chicken ( you can pick yours up from the store if you don’t have time)
Black beans (I used canned)
mango (they are on sale)
scallions
tomatoes
cilantro
sweet potatoes
goat cheese
strawberries
honey
cinnamon
plantain chips (salty not sweet)

Tuesdays Lunch

Maybe you have seen the Bento sites; elaborate, beautiful, cute and artistic lunches. And while I appreciate them tremendously, I have no time at the moment to make them…maybe when Miss E. is older. My goal is create a healthy, nutritious and filling lunch. Something I can look forward to eating, something that I feel good about eating.


Tuesdays Lunch:

photo (13)

Italian Theme

  • Caprese Salad
  • Olive stuffed Ham
  • Roasted Beets and Carrots with goat cheese and pine nuts
  • Strawberries with basil and balsamic vinegar

 

Shopping List

Fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese

Tomato

Basil

Olive oil

Deli ham

Kalamata olives

Beets

Carrots

Goat Cheese

Pine nuts

Strawberries

Balsamic Vinegar

 

As you hopefully can see, I am using some of the same ingredients from yesterdays lunch but with a new twist.

Strawberries, goat cheese, basil, tomato and deli meat.

For the roasted vegetables: Start them before preparing the rest of the lunch. Cut vegetables into nice bite size pieces (but not too small or it will burn). Toss with small amount of olive oil and season with salt. Place under the broiler for 10 minutes until roasted and the sugars caramelize.

The hardest part so far about preparing these lunches is the planning and coming up with combos for the foods I have available. Buy what is on sale and what is in season to save money and take advantage of the freshest ingredients.

Mondays Lunch

If you are anything like me, lunch time is my down fall. It didn’t used to be so bad as I would generally just skip lunch. No problem. But lately I find myself starving, wandering the grocery aisle looking for something to eat for lunch. If only I had prepared my lunch at home! I would lament. When you are hungry the simple thing to reach for is processed food with a ton of carbs. And that just won’t do.

So this week in my attempt to try something new I am making low gi and interesting lunches. There are a plethora of blogs that cover this topic, so feel free to look here, here and here.

My  rules are: it must fit in my bento box, it must take no longer than 15 minutes to make, and include low carb whole foods.

Mondays Lunch:

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Turkey sandwich with chipotle/tomato cheese spread, lettuce, and tomato (I am still breast feeding so a little bit of carbs is good for me)

Dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in basil

Strawberries

Celery, carrots and hummus

Shopping List

Deli Turkey

Laughing Cow chipotle cheese

lettuce

tomato

sprouted bread

(from Marks Daily Apple: One study found that eating sprouted grain breads (not Ezekiel, but similar to it) reduced the blood sugar response and increases the glucagon response when compared to eating unsprouted breads, 11-grain, 12-grain, white, or sourdough. That’s pretty good… for a bread. But it’s still bread. I’d like to see it matched up against a lack of bread)

Strawberries

dates

goat cheese (A shout out to our local goat cheese maker)

basil

carrots

celery

hummus (can be made at home easily….but I bought mine)

Hopefully this helps you out and gives you a great start to the week too!

Going back to work and Caprese Salad

Two things that really have nothing in common with each other. Let’s start with the snack first since that is probably how you found your way to this blog.

On my first trip to Rome I found myself wandering the streets by myself. My alcoholic aunt who i had traveled with, decided that she did not want to tour the city and would rather drink herself silly at our rented apartment. So I ventured out alone. I visited the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Forum and the Colosseum. I jumped on a bus that took me to the Spanish Steps. It was hot, muggy and there were so many mosquitos. I was tired, my feet blistered and aching. I stopped in a out of the way cafe for a solitary lunch. I was seated. I was a hot, sweaty, tired tourist. The woman seated near me was the epitome of Classic Rome, she was beautiful, poised and drew at her cigarette with a graceful bored look. She blew the smoke my way on purpose. I looked at the menu and spotted a cool and refreshing lunch option. Caprese Salad. I ordered my lunch and gulped what could have been gallons of water. The waitress brought me my lunch and I was astounded to see that my light lunch of cheese and tomatoes was about a pound and a half of fresh mozzarella cheese, with enough tomatoes to feed a family with a lovely drizzle of olive oil and fresh basil. There was no way that I could eat all of this cheese by myself as i once again cursed my aunt for leaving me to navigate by myself, at least she could have helped me eat all that cheese.

it was delicious. A meal to remember, and I did my best to eat what I could. So I give you …Caprese Salad. Easy, convenient and good for you. (Try to get the mozzerella packed in water, it is more authentic)

Caprese Salad

ingredients:
Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Tomatos
Basil
Quality Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
Cut slices of mozzarella. Cut slices of tomatoes. Arrange on a plate. Drizzle with oil. Top with julienned basil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Going back to work

edith 3 months-67

I am grateful to have a job. I am grateful to have a job that I love. I am grateful to have a job where I make a difference. But my job consumes me. It is my other half. I am Mrs. Clemmerbottoms, and when I come home I am Kate.

I have had the good fortune to have had 16 weeks of maternity leave. 15 weeks to spend with my new baby. And now it is time to go back and leave the care of my baby to someone else for the majority of the day.

I can’t say that motherhood and I have come to terms yet. It is so boring. Everyday is the same. Everyday I attend to every whim of this baby. Sometimes I don’t get dressed. I haven’t left the house in weeks. My boobs ache. My flabby belly folds over my pants. I have spit-up down in my bra and I just don’t care anymore. And next week I have to leave it all behind, and it makes me sad.

I can handle going to work and being Mrs. Clemmerbottoms. I love it most days. But it takes a lot of time and effort to be the best I can be at my job. There are on average 70 souls I see each day, and each day I try to say something nice to them, to know that I care. I teach, I counsel, I encourage, I listen, I joke, I smile, I manage behavior, I write emails, and plan lessons, organize supplies and clean up after 70 kids. And that was all well and good when I didn’t have a child of my own.

Since having my own child I am completely devoted to her. Her every need I attend to. For petes sake I am still supporting her growth from my body. Every moment of my day is for her. And that was all well and good until I have to go back to work.

I am not the first or the last to expound upon this modern conundrum. But I feel pulled in so many directions. Somehow I must balance Mrs. Clemmerbottoms, Mommy and Kate. Three different parts of me, all important. So who loses? Most likely Kate loses out, let’s just hope she doesn’t get lost.

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

It’s football season here in Colorado. I think the Broncos are doing well, but I don’t really know because I haven’t watched a football game in 10 years or so. But the news is full of Tebows and Mannings it is hard to avoid it completely.

Speaking of Manning….did you know that he signed a contract for 18 million dollars to play this year? 18 MILLION DOLLARS! Did you know that I, as a school teacher make…let’s just say…considerably less than 18 million dollars? Where are our priorities people? A pituitary case throws a ball and gets compensated in large sums, and a teacher that devotes her time and energy to shaping the minds of our youth gets a water-bottle that says “You make a difference!”

Dear Payton Manning, (who happens to be the same age as I am) if you are reading this I encourage you to fund 80 Colorado teachers at $100,000 a year, this would still give you 10 MILLION dollars to spend on things like…oh I don’t know…your own trained dancing bear in a tutu. It makes me discouraged that as a nation we have such messed up priorities.

Ok, but I am a minority in my disdain for everything sports related. So I present to you the perfect sports snack. Everyone will love them, and you as a PCOS gal will not have to worry about the carbs. I don’t have time to make these, and I have never once been invited over to watch a game…so I am linking you to a different site. But I can tell you these are always a favorite and they are just so easy!

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Ingredients

 

10 to 15 jalapenos

8 oz of cream cheese

1/2 lb bacon

 

Instructions

 

1. Soak toothpicks in water for 15 minutes. Cut the jalapenos in half length-wise and scrape out the seeds and membranes (this is the source of the heat, so if you want them spicy leave them in, if you want them mild make sure you scrape really well).

2. Put a chunk of cream cheese in the hollow body of the jalapeno

3. Cut a slice of bacon in half width-wise and wrap all the way around the jalapeno pinning it with a toothpick

4. Place filling side up on cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil or parchment paper. Put in oven at 375 for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bacon is cooked.

Happy Snacking!

 

 

Chia Seeds

Remember those silly commercials for Chia Pets? The awful terracotta, simply add water-and-watch-it-grow ridiculousness that somehow we all had at one time? Yeah, I had a Garfield Chia Pet that I loved.

Did you know that you can eat the chia seeds? Did you know that they are amazingly good for you? Originally the seed comes from Mexico and Central America. They were consumed as a main staple because of their amazing benefits. So why have we forgotten about them?

A Tablespoon of chia seeds contain about 40 calories, but those calories carry an important nutritional punch. They contain fiber, protein and omega-3’s. You can use them in so many different ways, from adding it to baked goods, smoothies to soups and stews. They quickly absorb water and swell, they are fun in your mouth (almost like tomato seeds) and they fill your belly so you don’t have to eat as often.

Chia seeds also might be beneficial for a PCOS diet because it offers so many good things in such a little package. Of course consult with your dr to decide if it is a good addition to your diet.

Chocolate Chia Seed Energy Bars

These bars are wonderful in so many ways because they contain lots of proteins, fibers and healthy fats. In addition they are perfect for simple take along snacks, and can satisfy that sweet tooth without refined sugar.

Soak the dates ahead of time to help ease the load on your food processor.

Ingredients
1½ cups pitted dates
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup whole chia seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup slivered almonds (unsalted)
1/2 cup coconut (unsweetened you can find these at health food stores)
optional: sprinkle of salt

Instructions

Purée dates in food processor until a thick paste forms. Add cocoa powder, chia seeds, vanilla and almond extracts. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add the almonds and coconut; pulse until nuts are well incorporated into date mixture.

Spread large sheet of wax paper on work surface. Transfer date mixture to wax paper, and press mixture into 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. If desired, you can even out the edges by trimming them with a knife. Wrap tightly in wax paper, and chill overnight.

Unwrap block, and cut into 8 bars. Sprinkle with a bit of salt (if using). Re-wrap each bar in wax paper and refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container.

A little rant:

As a pregnant woman who knows that my body does not effectively process sugars and carbs I try to make sure that what I put in my body is good for me and good for my baby. I occasionally have a soda, or fast food chinese or a piece of cake. I do, I have and I will again. I am not a saint. But I am keenly aware that I have a better chance of developing gestational diabetes. I have chosen not to take the glucose test, as I do not believe that dumping all of that sugar into my body at one time is healthy. I would never put my body or baby through that. My dr. and I have agreed that I will have my glucose monitored for the rest of the pregnancy. The mothers group that I am part of is currently going through their glucose tests, and failing. Which in turn brings my palm to face. Seriously? If you know that you have a greater chance for developing gestational diabetes, why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to avoid that? Fast food, sweets and pasta are not good for you and not good for your baby. Stop eating that shit. Now. I started this blog because I wanted to document my struggle to eat right and deal with my body as it pertains to food, weight and PCOS. It has gone the way of a surprising PCOS fertility success story. I started overweight, I admit this and own it. I was 20 pounds over weight, and during this pregnancy (I am 28 weeks now) I have gained a total of 9 pounds, that’s it. I do not use pregnancy to eat whatever I want when I want it, I do not use pregnancy as an excuse. If you are currently a pregnant woman with a history of PCOS and find yourself failing your glucose test, please take responsibility for what food goes into your mouth and the decisions you make.

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.
    <

    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!

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.