Friday, October 24, 2008

"I'm a hungry, hungry, hippo"

So, as many of you know, my blog is rather random. I like to post what makes me happy and share information that I think others will find helpful, interesting or funny. Having said that, and having lost the vast majority of my nausea, I am once again posting about one of my favorite things....FOOD!


I have my favorite food network shows....don't we all? I love Barefoot Contessa, Everyday Italian, Iron Chef America, Good Eats, Ace of Cakes, and Paula Dean....okay, so I love MOST of the food network's offering. One of my less-than-favorite shows is 30-Minute meals. WHY? Well, Rachel Ray kinda annoys me. BUT, I do like some of her recipes and I found this one on the foodnetwork.com and made it for dinner last night. I thought I would share, 'cause its super-easy, but appears gourmet and fancy.

Also, I wouldn't change a thing about the recipe (which is rare for me) so NO substitutions.

Love Birds - Chicken in Pastry


Ingredients
4 pieces skinless chicken breast, boned (about 8 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 sprigs fresh finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 sheet puff pastry (11 by 17-inch), (recommended: Dufour)
8 slices Italian fontina cheese, slices should be 2 to 3-inches square and 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick, cut in 1/2
1/2 cup fig preserves
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Season the chicken with salt, pepper and rosemary. Cut each piece of chicken in half across the breast giving you 8 equal portions. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly brown the chicken on both sides, 5 minutes total. Remove from heat.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut pastry into 8 pieces. Place a piece of cheese on each pastry square and top with spoonfuls of fig preserves and the chicken pieces. Pinch and seal the dough up and over the meat and cheese, seal with egg wash, flip the pastry packets over and brush the tops with remaining egg wash. Bake 12 to15 minutes, until golden.

For entree portions, simply leave chicken breast whole and cut the pastry into quarters. Trim off excess dough and use it to decorate the pastry with small cut outs such as heart shapes.

For the recipe click here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

maternity humor

I've seen a variety of funny maternity t-shirts - many are tacky and in poor taste, but some are downright hilarious. I can't decide which one is funniest...shall we take a vote?

1. "Watermelon Smuggler"
2. "And how does hearing your awful labor story help me, exactly?"
3. "Say hello to my lil' friend"
4. "Do my shoes match?"
5. "Pregasauras Rex"
6. "I'm making a human. What have you done today?"
7. "If you didn't put this baby in here, don't even think about touching my stomach"

These shirts are available here and here.

Hormones?

I am now at 11 weeks and have been fortunate that my pregnancy hormones have not reared their ugly head...until today.

I was shopping at Barnes and Noble and found the cutest Christmas Cards. I decided to take a photo with my phone and send it to my mom and sister to share in the humor, but while taking the photo all I could think was: if I were in Michigan right now, Michelle and Mom would be with me shopping and I wouldn't be here shopping alone. I burst into tears right in the middle of my 1/2 caf, iced, non-fat, vanilla carmel latte from Starbucks....it took several minutes to get myself under control.

I decided to grab lunch so I headed to Panera. There was a elderly couple kinda-sorta standing in line so I said:

Me: Are you ready to order?
Cute Old Man: I am, but she's not (pointing to his wife). She has trouble making up her mind (winking at me)
Me: Okay. (burst into tears)

The sweet old man reminded me of my Zhidie (grandpa), complete with old-man trucker hat, windbreaker, and slightly hunched back. His wife reminded me of grandma too. I can't be totally certain why I was crying....possibly because they were too cute having lunch together on a Saturday? Or thinking about my grandparents who are no longer on earth with me and how exciting it would have been for them to see a great-grandchild? I was "this" close to asking if I could eat lunch with them in order to satisfy my need for some family time. Instead I cried into my Orchard Harvest Salad.

Then, on my way out, I was hit two more times with reminders of my distance from family. I saw a guy with a Michigan State hat and sweatshirt on and then I smelled a woman wearing my Aunt Cindy's perfume. I bolted from Panera before I started sobbing again.

Of course, Jason isn't home today (just my luck) so I couldn't lean on him, and OBVIOUSLY I can't drink, so I drown my sorrows in a little retail therapy, but even the fabulous red dress I found at Marshalls for $20 couldn't cheer me up.

I miss my family, no doubt, but most days I can text, e-mail, or call them and be reminded that we're not too far away. I new that when I became pregnant, the distance would seem much greater and it has, but at the same time, its brought us much closer.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY:

It's easy to have a relationship with your kids and grandkids when they live down the street or the next town over, but you really have to make an effort when they live states away. My point? My family has shown me how much they care by taking the time and energy to be a part of my life, my marriage and this pregnancy everyday and I know that care will only grow with each passing day. THAT (and not physical distance)is what makes me feel close to them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

WE'RE PREGNANT!



Jason and I are happy to announce the anticipated arrival of our first child!

FAQs

Q: When are you due?
A: May 7th (I am currently in my 10th week)

Q: Do you know what you're having?
A: A baby. But we do not plan on finding out the sex of the baby...if that's what you meant.

Q: Do you have names picked out?
A: Yes, but nothing definite. Either way you won't know until after the baby arrives. Sorry!

Q: How are you feeling?
A: I was feeling quite a bit of nausea and exhaustion in the first few weeks, but it's beginning to subside.

Q: Do you have a OB/GYN or a Midwife?
A: We have found a wonderful Midwifery practice here in Princeton and the delivery will be at the University Medical Center at Princeton.

Q: Have we had an ultrasound yet?
A: We listened to the heartbeat this past Thursday, but won't have an ultrasound until around 20 weeks (right before Christmas)

NOTE: The blog will not be devoted COMPLETELY to the baby, but it will include photos of my growing belly, the baby's room, etc. and it will continue to include my normal, everyday posts, some with a new perspective. wink!

visitors

We were very lucky to have Chase, Dana and Scott visit us this past weekend. We had a great time! It was nice to have friendly faces and warm hugs from family (cause they're really like family) in our new home.

We went into Philly for the day on Saturday and took our very own "National Treasure" tour (one of Dana's favorite movies). You couldn't beat the weather with a stick and without massive crowds and traffic, the day was perfect.

Here are just a few photos from the trip:




Thursday, October 9, 2008

Inspiration (Part I)

God has blessed me with so many gifts in my life. Every day I am grateful for my husband, family and friends because they are my inspiration. They inspire me to be a better person, to give much and ask for little, to smile, to laugh, to cry and to create.

There are two blog sites listed to the right that are written by two of my best friends. 30s in Progress (by Sean) and Canning Tomatoes (by Lacey). I am thrilled to have them as fellow bloggers after having them as friends for so long. Their creativity, talent, and energy motivate me. I am constantly amazed by what they write, speak and create through their work. I am also eternally grateful for their love and support. Our conversations often revolve around philosophy, humor and understanding. If you have the opportunity, read a post or two from their blogs and I'm sure you'll see the beauty in their writing that I love.

p.s. this is the first in a series of "thank you" posts honoring people who inspire me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I could have been a ballerina


After a serious hiatus from dance, I have returned to the past time I love so much. I began dancing at age 3 and practiced everything from pointe to clogging. Tap was always my (and my mother's) favorite but ballet was the integral foundation to all other classes.

I remember being enrolled in Suzette's ballet class and the severe discipline she would instill in us. To say she "yelled" would be an understatement...she struck fear into my heart and made me question my ability to dance on a weekly basis. I wasn't great, nor was I competitive like some of my friends - I was just happy dancing. After a while I didn't feel like there was a place for me at the studio, I got a little older and I decided to stop. I do regret it sometimes, but I'll never forget what I learned while dancing, nor will I ever regret all the years I danced.

American Repertory Ballet has a ballet school in Princeton (lucky me) and great adult evening classes. I'm in the beginner class on Wednesday nights and I AM LOVING IT! I wish I could take classes 3 nights a week but it would break my budget.

My instructor, Douglas Martin, is amazingly talented and funny. Gone are my days of fearing my instructor and anxiously praying for the minutes move faster. Now, I am dissapointed when I look at the clock and only 15 minutes are left of my 75 minute class.

Watching a beautiful ballet can actually bring me to tears and I love the way I feel while I'm dancing - like yoga or sewing, it provides me with a sense of zen. The rest of the world falls away and its just me and the music.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Why I Love NPR

There are so many reasons why I love NPR. I could go on for days, but I may bore whomever is reading this so I will keep it to a minimum. Precisely, I adore the game show "Wait, Wait.....Don't Tell Me!".

For those of you who love the Daily Show and other political satire, this is the show for you. I love the banter of celebrity guests using the week's media headlines as funny questions and even better, the prize isn't money, but rather you get Carl Kasell (whose voice is one of the most recognizable to us avid listeners) to record your voicemail message! How fun is that?

You can download each week to your iPod, if you can't catch it live on Saturday afternoon. Either way, it is more than worth the 1 hour of your time. There is something nostalgic about listening to a radio program....not that I actually have my own past memory of what its like to sit around a radio and listen to the stories of mystery and drama with your family in the living room. However, I can appreciate the lack of visual distraction we encounter with television shows and focus more strongly on the auditory proc