Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HWFD? - Fish Chowder

Just in time for another Lenten Friday...

Fish Chowder
(from my dear Granny)

1-2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
Salt & pepper, to taste
3-4 medium potatoes, diced
1-2 lbs. Cod fish filets, cut into chunks (I usually use 1.5 - 1.75 lbs)
1-2 cups Milk or Heavy cream (I used coconut milk, unsweetened)

Saute onion in butter in large dutch oven until onion is translucent. Add salt & pepper. Add potatoes and stir. Add chopped fish filets. Add milk until it almost reaches the level of the fish and potatoes. Cook on medium/low for about 20-30 minutes - use a temperature so that the broth is gently bubbling. Keep an eye on it to make sure it's not too hot--it will very quickly boil over! Stir frequently--I recommend using a non-stick dutch oven so it doesn't burn. Once cooked, mash in pot with a potato masher to achieve desired texture.

I've never frozen the leftovers, but they keep nicely in the fridge for a few days. Reheat on the stove so the fish doesn't get rubbery.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Serves: Hungry tummies :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Prayers please! :)

I had my third scan today of the ultrasound series. (It's CD15). This morning I was told that the tech heard some sounds that would indicate the follicle was either rupturing or starting to rupture. I think that was how she put it. Please pray that tomorrow will be the last scan! :) I've almost always identified P as CD16... plus, after the last round of ultrasounds, I'd be thrilled if I only had 4 scans this cycle. :)

Prayer Buddy, I'm offering my 5:20 am wake-ups and early drives for you!!

I haven't noticed any changes with the Evening Primrose oil, but I didn't add it until pretty late in my cycle (I was supposed to start CD1). I am on FertileAid, Fertile CM, the Primrose oil and the amoxicillin for good CM. I noticed a decent change after I started the Fertile CM, but I'm beginning to wonder if this is overkill? I used to have pretty good CM, but haven't the last number of months. I have so many alarms on my phone now for pill-time.... Some are twice a day, some three times, some 4 times. I've tried not to think about it too much since my head starts spinning when I do, haha!

Alright... come on follicle, BURST already!! :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Honey, What's for Dinner?

One of my favorites:

Tamari Beef Tips

1-2 Tbsp. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 large green pepper, diced (about 1-inch)
1 medium onion, diced (about 1-inch)
1-2 lbs Sirloin, cut into stir-fry strips or stew meat (I buy it pre-cut at our grocery store or Farmer's mkt)
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1/8-1/4 cup Gluten-free Tamari sauce (you can use Teriyaki if you can have gluten)
About 1/8 cup Red Wine - optional, but highly recommended ;)

Heat EVOO in a large saute pan. (I use a 4-qt stainless steel pan so I can get the beef to lightly brown.) Add onions and green peppers and cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Add beef tips and season with salt & pepper. Once meat has lightly browned, drain excess liquid from pan. (Cooking time will depend on your stove - just watch to see when the liquid builds up. Then drain it. You don't want to add the sauces until you drain the excess liquid.) Add Tamari sauce and red wine if you desire. You want to see everything lightly coated with the sauce - but not drenched. :) Continue cooking for about 10 minutes on low-medium heat. The sauce will probably thicken slightly - this is fine.

(1) A little over 2 lbs of beef.
(2) This is what your meat will look like when you start draining the liquid. It's fine if the meat is still a little pink. Just get rid of the liquid before you add the Tamari sauce and wine. Otherwise, it doesn't seem to flavor the meat as well.

(3) I use San-J brand. I've used regular and lower sodium; both are good. It's usually in the organic section of the grocery store, near the dressings and such.
(4) DH is more of the wine consumer than me, but I LOVE using red wine to flavor dishes. :)

This is delicious served over rice, or by itself with a side salad (which is how we usually eat it). Sometimes I cook it with extra green peppers and onions. Sometimes I add a red pepper too!
If you have time, marinate the beef tips in a bit of tamari sauce for a few hours before cooking.
I really recommend making extra (hence 2 lbs of beef) for leftovers - it is even better the next day! :)

I'd love to hear if you try it! And please let me know if you have any questions! :)

In case anyone is interested, here is my Menu Planning/Grocery List sheet.  It appears I can't upload a PDF to blogger, so if you want me to email you the real thing, I can. Just leave a comment. I have the week planned out on the left (breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks) and my grocery list on the right.
Menu planning helps a TON. It's so much better than trying to cook something and missing ingredients or needing to run to the store for 1 item. Once a week I sit down and plan about 2 weeks worth of menus and a grocery list. I try as much as possible to do a big grocery shopping trip every 2 weeks, and then if I need to, stop for fresh produce, or fresh fish if we're having it, once a week. I also buy most of my meats & eggs at a local farmer's market.

Happy Cooking! :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My new series

It's the question we often hear from our beloved hubbies when they home from work... it can either spark...

(1) Relief. "We're having ____! It's already ready - on the stove/in the oven/in the crockpot."

(2) Terror. "Uh... what on earth is in my fridge that I can throw together?"

On the advice of a two sweet bloggers (A & R), I'm going to start posting recipes more frequently. I always think about posting when I find a great one, but am terrible about taking pictures. So... I will try to remember to take pictures, but I will probably be much better about posting the recipe.

So to help you answer that welcome or dreaded question, I bring you...

For those of you on special diets, the recipes will be dairy and gluten free. I will usually substitute coconut or almond milk for dairy and for regular flour, either almond meal (or some kind of nut, like walnuts or pecans), though occasionally I use GF flour (this brand). It's a straight 1-for-1 substitution which makes it super easy. Oh, and there will be dessert recipes in the mix too... so please don't judge. Life is short. Eat dessert first. ;)

Before I got married, everyone I talked to either loved to cook and hated to bake, or loved to bake and hated to cook. Are you like that? I already knew I loved to bake so I was rather terrified at the years of cooking that loomed before me once DH & I got engaged! I knew that it would fall to me as I planned on being a stay-at-home wife and in 9 months, a mother. (Well, we all know the second part of that plan turned out. :)) Nearly 5 years later, I'm still essentially a stay-at-home wife with a side business of piano teaching. However, during those 5 years I've learned to LOVE to cook! I began with old family favorites that I knew I enjoyed to eat, and determined to learn to make at least those ones. I also began watching the Food Network and Everyday Ita.lian quickly became a must-watch in my daily schedule. I've never been much to watch TV, but I was hooked. Gi.ada uses a lot of fresh ingredients and her recipes are easy to follow. I do recommend it, although I don't watch it anymore (only because we got rid of cable).

There are also a few cookbooks that are a must in my kitchen that I find myself turning to over and over again:

Cooking Light, Superfast Suppers
Cooking Light, The All-New Complete Cooking Light
Sarah Fragoso's Everyday Paleo (and her blog: Everyday Paleo)

And never underestimate the power of of a Google search! I always look for recipes that have high ratings and numbers of ratings.

Look for my first recipe this weekend! :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blogger Meet-up! & Dr. S appt

Yesterday afternoon my DH and I were blessed to meet and enjoy a lovely lunch with Rebecca and The Man! We met at a wonderful coffee shop after our mutual appointments with Dr. S. We talked for 3 1/2 hours straight! It's so nice to meet the people behind the blogs (I am getting addicted!) and it's so refreshing to be able to talk to people who "get it". I certainly wish none of us were going through this, but it's a HUGE blessing that we are in this together. The power of prayer is immense. Rebecca, it was terrific to meet you and The Man and I hope that we can all get together again soon - maybe to cheer for our Black and Gold! :)

My appointment with Dr. S... well, he hasn't given up hope. :) First, he suggested that I add Evening Primrose Oil to my regimen, 2000 mg per day, from CD1 thru P+1. Have any of you used this? Has it helped CM? Also, I'm going to get the food allergy panel done. I'm calling my health insurance after I finish this post to ask about covering it through our FSA. I'm also adding Cylotec, 200 mg per day CD12-16. He is hoping that will trigger ovulation. Have any of you taken this? Has it helped? I forgot to ask him what the side effects might be... The other thing is that I'm doing the Follicular Ultrasound series again. It will be a little more limited - I'm going for a scan on Friday, CD4 (since Saturday is out), then not until CD14 on the 27th. I almost always identify peak as CD15 or 16. So please pray that the follicle ruptures!!! I know I'm blessed to be able to clear my schedule to go up every morning, but it is exhausting. Dr. S said he would continue to monitor me until the end of March. He also suggested switching to Dr. D. (Dr. C is works more on the surgical aspect, which I don't need anymore.) He did confirm that a new doctor is coming to Rich.mond next fall... but I don't want to wait until then. He asked how I was doing... handling all this. I was honest, but I did mention now that we're officially waiting to adopt. It eases the pressure a bit. I know we'll be parents one way or another. I told him I would keep working on trying the medical route, but if we are chosen, I anticipate taking a break, at least at first! :)

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Heard in the Isaiah household last night...

Me: What time are you going to Mass tomorrow morning?
DH: 6:45.
Me: What time would you like breakfast then?
DH: What time would I like breakfast? (Slightly puzzled)
Me: Yes, what time would you like breakfast?
DH: What time would I like breakfast? .... Oh crap...
Me: (Laughing) You forgot to get me a card, didn't you?
DH: Yes. (Hangs head in shame) Here honey! You dropped this sock! Here's the sock for your drawer! Oh, here I'll put these other socks away. These are my socks. They go here! See, I'm being very helpful.

Ahh... my DH is the best! :-D

This is a man who constantly, daily, showers me with the most amazing love... he gets up early and works hard every day to provide for us. He's sweet and funny and is the best listener (oh man, does he ever put up with a lot from me!). He is thoughtful and he gives the best back and shoulder rubs (I ask for them often). I am SO lucky to be his wife!

I reminded him last night that he's made me some really cute cards lately. (My sister suggested that I leave construction paper, scissors and cute stickers out on the desk for him tonight, haha!)

This is the one I made him:

Hope you all had a wonderful day! :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Giveaway Winners!

The Winners of the Giveaway are:

Mary - The Sacred Passion

Catholic Mutt - Lukewarmness, the Devil in Disguise

Congratulations! I hope you enjoy the books as much as I have!

I will contact you on your blog to get your info! :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Thanks, Rebecca, for hosting! :)

Today I am thankful for...

1) The new desktop photo I mentioned here. It's on my phone now too... and has proven to be a REALLY good reminder that I have much to be thankful for. It just makes me smile! And... then I want to jump up and down like Snoopy and Charlie Brown! I've resisted... so far. :)

2) My awesome hubby. He's away on business this week (shall I mention that he's in Hawaii? No, I shouldn't mention that. Forget I said anything.) I miss him LIKE CRAZY!!! It is so good to hear his voice at night - with the time difference, we haven't had much of a chance to talk. Although last night I started falling asleep on the phone! Oops. I was that tired.

3) A clean house. Well, I need to put stuff away from dinner. But I'm thankful to be done with dusting and sweeping and everything else. (Pitts.burghers say "sweep" not "vacuum". I know, I know, it's weird. And not technically correct. Oh man, did DH ever tease me after we got married and I talked about sweeping the carpet!)

4) Family. Can't wait for the rest of them to arrive tomorrow!!

5) The gift of music. (I need to practice more!)

6) Did I mention my awesome hubby? And how much I miss him? I can't wait for him to get home!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My new desktop...

has this as it's background:

Found it on Pinterest. It's a good reminder.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Scan Day 13 & Blog Giveaway!! UPDATE!

Scan Day 13 is tomorrow. Sheesh!! I'm glad my DH loves road trips... please pray that this darn thing ruptures by tomorrow at 11:30! I DO NOT want to be traveling to PA every morning while my sister is here. Plus, I think my choir director is wondering what is wrong with me as I've missed 2 Sundays and 3 rehearsals. I'd appreciate any of your prayers for rupture!

Dr. S. emailed me and said I don't need any more scans! Hooray! He said the smaller follicle-fluid area hasn't changed significantly and it could be an area of fluid collected outside the ovary, considering that adhesions might still be there to some degree. I just have to get labs drawn on Monday. I am SO going to enjoy sleeping in tomorrow and NOT getting up at 5:30 am!!! (I did tell DH that this wake-up time has given me more of an appreciation for the fact that he does it EVERY day. It also gives me more incentive to get to bed earlier so he can get more sleep too.)

Now for the giveaway!!

DH and I LOVE to read. This means that we have many books. Hundreds probably... I can't imagine counting them. Among them we have several duplicate books - spiritual reading in nature. So, since Lent is just around the corner, I'm going to give away 2 of our duplicates. (There will be 2 winners!) They are not new (maybe read once or twice) but are in great condition.

Here they are:

Lukewarmness, the Devil in Disguise
by Francis Carvajal


The Sacred Passion
by Luis de la Palma

If you want to enter the giveaway, leave a comment and let me know which one you'd prefer. If either is fine, let me know that too!

The giveaway will close next Friday, February 10th!

Good luck! :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Thanks Rebecca for hosting!

This will be brief.... I am about to take a nap. :)

1) My DH... he's my rock, in so many way. I can't imagine going through all of this without his strength. I'm sure lucky I get to spend forever with him.

2) Having the chance this week to meet the beautiful Ania... we talked for 3 hours straight! It was my first blogger meet up and it was perfect. It was such a blessing to meet you Ania... I can't wait to see you again and meet Rebecca as well in less than 2 weeks! :) And yes, we definitely have to take photos!!

3) My car... which just turned 100,000 miles... she has been doing great since I've put almost 2500 miles on her in the past 2 1/2 weeks. While DH and I travel back and forth to visit family, we often take his car. Mine usually gets 6-7,000 per year. It's probably wondering what in the world happened. I think my FSA will reimburse mileage for medical treatment... I'm REALLY hoping anyway!

4) A flexible work schedule. I've had to reschedule a bunch of piano lessons and everyone has been just terrific. Several of the familes know of our struggles, which helps, but still... it's nice that they've been so flexible!

5) Sleep. I'll be even more thankful when I get more. :-D I'm absolutely exhausted... I have no idea what that follicle is up to, but it's still growing just a little since yesterday. So... I'm heading back to PA for another scan tomorrow (Friday).

6) My sister is flying in on Saturday (the one who lived with us a bit this summer before moving to TN) and I'm super excited. She'll be working at her old office during the week so she's here for 10 days! Yippee! But please pray that I am NOT driving to PA after tomorrow or at the latest, Saturday. And then, the second weekend, I have 2 more sisters coming to visit and the future BIL as well. Full house!

7). Naps... yes, I'm going to take one now!
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