Tuesday, May 31, 2011

6dp3dt - trucking along!

We have made it to 6 day past transfer!! Still feeling queasy and some achiness/crampiness. My temp was up and down again yesterday - from 98.4 to 100 degrees! Still not seeing anything that makes me feel "convinced" on any of the HPTs I've been using - but of course I shall keep hoping and testing! I would LOVE to have great news for Jenn and Chad this week!!

I got my positive on Answer and OSOM at this point with my last transfer, so of course I'm keeping everything crossed today and holding my breath! I can't believe it's already almost been a week since transfer - time is passing quickly with everything going on.

Kenneth is doing a LOT better now in his recovery since surgery, but still needs assistance and support with a lot of little things. Plus yesterday 4 sweet boxer mix puppies joined us to be fostered for about 3-4 weeks! They're 6 weeks old now and in about 2 weeks will be neutered and then available for adoption. They are all boys and named after Criminal Minds characters - Rossi, Hotch, Morgan and Reed! Love it!! I took a ton of pictures yesterday and posted them on Facebook - I'll have to share a few of them here later when I get a chance. We made it through night number one without major incident - but 4 puppies really is a LOT and they came from a litter of 10!! I cannot even imagine!! Thank goodness Kent and Kenneth are both there all day and can really give them the time and attention they need. Plus we already had a great extra large crate available so that is set up with an old blanket in the living room so we can be around them and interract with them and they can get used to normal household sounds and smells and activities!

They are SO adorable - and even today you can really start seeing their personalities coming through. They were having so much fun running around the yard this morning while Kenneth stayed out with them and watched them! I can't wait to get home and see them and play with them some more! :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Meal Plan Week of May 30th

This week is sort of "Recycle Week" from recipes I had on my meal plan but didn't get around to making over the past month! Seems like a lot of P.W. recipes coming back around - they all sounded so GOOD but for one reason or another as usual I never end up cooking every day of the week and all of these got bumped for "later"! Hopefully this week I'll get a chance to not only use some of the items in my fridge and freezer since none of these recipes call for anything "unusual" and get to try out some new hopefully soon to be favorites! :)

I have had P.W.s cookbook from the library for about the past month and finally decided to just order it since I knew I would want to keep looking back through it! Of course most of the recipes are available online, but there's just something about sitting down with a cookbook and browsing through that's special! I can't wait to get some cube steak next time I'm at the grocery store and make some chicken fried steak for my hubby - I am pretty sure he will agree that is Cowboy Cuisine and he will approve - we may not raise cattle but I definitely feed a cowboy each evening! :)

Monday (Happy Memorial Day!!)
Breakfast: French Toast
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Italian Sliders (inspired by AllRecipes Mini Meatball Subs)

Tuesday
Dinner: Sweet and Sour Pork from Cooking with Cristine with mixed steamed vegetables and brown rice

Wednesday
Dinner: Pioneer Woman's Turkey Pot Pie, garden salad
 
Thursday
Dinner: Pioneer Woman's Shrimp Scampi, steamed green beans

Friday
Dinner: Pioneer Woman's My Favorite Meatloaf and Corn Casserole

Saturday
Breakfast: Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pancakes
Lunch: Meatloaf Sandwiches
Dinner: Leftovers

Sunday 
Breakfast:
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Spanish Pork with White Wine and Spanish Green Beans

Dessert for this week: Banana Pudding (by request!)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

4dp3dt!

Here's my flashback post for 4dp3dt: http://rebekahrose.blogspot.com/2010/03/4dp3dt-evening-check-in.html from March 2010!

Today I'm not sure what to think - having some good signs and symptoms, but only time will tell I know! Not too crampy today, it would make me feel better if I was - I keep hoping I'll feel some! I've had a few twinges, but not as much of that heavy bloated feeling. I have had a temp of 99.5 this afternoon, an upset stomach earlier, a little bit of smell sensitivity on a few things, and a few waves of nausea and my mouth has been watering for no reason for the past half hour. I know it seems crazy early for any of those to be actual pregnancy symptoms, and it could definitely just be from the meds but I had some pretty similar experiences at this same point last time so I admit it makes me feel hopeful! Fingers are staying crossed and I am sending lots of encouraging and positive thoughts to Jenn and Chad's little one! I hope they're making themselves totally at home right now and I hope we'll all know about it SOON! :)

I got to sleep in nice and late this morning and have pretty much taken it easy all day. Made biscuits and gravy for the boys this morning but yet again I didn't have much of an appetite at breakfast so I just had about 3/4 of a biscuit with some jam and that was enough. I got a nap this afternoon while Kenneth while he laid down to give his back a break for a little while and then we went out for the first time all three of us since Kenneth's surgery! He's been feeling a LOT better the past couple days and was feeling a little bit of cabin fever so we went to Wal Mart and picked up a few things and wandered around a little. We got Kent some "gear" for his beta fish that Maggie was sending home with guests at her wedding last weekend. Kent is so excited that he got to get a fish finally! He's been asking for one for years but Kenneth didn't want him to have another thing to keep up with and isn't a huge fan of fish, but since it was from Maggie he conceded! :)

I'm fixing some Meatball Sliders for dinner which are smelling pretty good and then back to taking it easy again. What a life! :)

Banana Bread

I had 4 bananas that had gotten to the "make banana bread out of me" stage recently so I decided to try out a new recipe. I have one I really like that I've been using for years but my son isn't a huge fan of it and I think my husband likes it ok, but it's not necessarily his "favorite" either, so every now and then I'll try something new and see if it's better! This one comes from Kraft.
Started with whole wheat and AP flours, Stevia, butter, cream cheese, baking soda, baking powder, eggs and bananas!
I softened the butter and cream cheese for about 10-15 seconds and put those in the mixer bowl.

Next came the Stevia!
That was allowed to blend until completely combined and smooth.
I peeled the four very ripe bananas!
And in they went to the mixture!
That was blended thoroughly to break up the banana.
And then the eggs came next.
Blending in the eggs.

Next the dry ingredients were combined in a bowl and mixed together.

The dry was combined with the wet.
Resulting in a lovely, lumpy, banana-ey mixture!

Spread into the greased loaf pan.
An hour later, a beautiful golden brown loaf of banana bread emerged!
The first slice!
Tender and very moist, this definitely tasted better after allowing the flavors to meld overnight. I think it's a pretty good loaf of banana bread, but not my favorite and I'll keep searching. The original recipe called for 3 bananas instead of 4 and I think if I did make it again I'd add about 1/2 a cup more sweetener (it just didn't quite have enough sweetness for our taste) and only use the 3 instead of 4 bananas. I think the extra banana gave it a little too much moisture and it flattened and doesn't really have much a "bread" quality/texture to it. I like the tenderness the creamcheese seems to give it - this is the first time I've made a loaf with that ingredient and do think it works well.

Recipe slightly adapted from Kraft.

Ingredients
1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 cupsugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
2 eggs
1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp.Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Directions
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, butter and sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add bananas and eggs; mix well. Add combined dry ingredients; mix just until moistened.  
    
POUR into greased 9x5-inch loaf pan.

BAKE 1 hour or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 min.; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely before slicing to serve. Store any leftover bread in refrigerator.

How to Soften Cream Cheese

Place completely unwrapped package of cream cheese in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 10 sec. or just until softened..

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday - 3dp3dt!

Today we are 3dp3dt! I wasn't sure how much I was going to post during the 2ww about how I felt day to day, then I looked back at my posts from my last transfer and realized how similar some of the things I'm feeling now are and thought it would be fun to capture everything each day this time as well!!

Here are my 2dp3dt and 3dp3dt posts from March 2010!

I felt pretty much "normal" the first two days (day of and the first day after transfer) - but once I was home after transfer I spent most of the afternoon/evening resting other than fixing dinner and helping Kenneth a little with whatever he needed since he wasn't feeling so great that day. Same for Thursday, I spent most of the day resting/lounging and didn't feel much crampiness at all until the evening when I was up a little bit. When I was laying and my feet were up I didn't really notice it. Yesterday and today it's mostly the same, I feel it sometimes when I'm resting, but mainly when I'm sitting or standing I feel a "heavy" full and bloated sensation in my lower abdominal area. A few twinges, but nothing big that I've really noticed yet, just that bloated and crampy feeling.

I know people will often feel this way whether they're pregnant or not, and it will drive you crazy!! It's weird that it doesn't start until transfer - you'd think if it was related to the progesterone, it would start right after you start progesterone! But no, it waits until after there are embryos on board and you're hyper aware of every sensation, every feeling and wondering if that means right now there's an embryo making itself at home in your womb! I just cannot WAIT to find out....!! And because I cannot wait, I went ahead and already tested this afternoon... yes, everyone together smack their foreheads with me. It is only 3dp3dt. That is ridiculously early. The earliest I've gotten a positive was 6dp3dt and that was a fresh transfer. With my FET our positive was 7dp3dt, so I'm really not EXPECTING to even be ABLE to see anything until maybe Wednesday or so... but will that stop me from trying? Heck no!! That's why I bought a ton of cheapie tests - to satisfy the POAS urge!! :D I am actually having to stop myself from testing again tonight... The one I took at 4pm is STARK white, which it should be. Unless Jenn and Chad's baby to be split 4 times and already implanted, there is no reason I should be getting anything on an HPT tonight... however, logic has failed to reign supreme today. Sigh. Oh well, as I told my husband when he pretty much told me I was wasting tests, that's why I got a bunch of the cheap tests - so I can at least mostly guiltlessly appease the need to POAS! I do know from experience that it gets old FAST seeing negatives day after day and I really shouldn't have started this soon - once you start you cannot stop. I think it's a rule somewhere. If it's not, I'm making it one. :)

In any event, I have also discovered in testing today (just for practice!) that my fantastic new camera has such great resolution I can zoom the HECK out of the test and REALLY get up close and personal!

Above is the original picture.

And here it is cropped and blown up!! A little fuzzy, but WOW!!

Pineapple 101!

I am far from an expert, I'm sure but I have cut quite a few pineapples in my day! I love fresh pineapple! It is delicious and SO much better than anything you can get in a can, the texture and flavor when you get that perfectly ripe one just can't be beat. They are juicy and will give you visions of white sand beaches and deep blue waters. You may be sad when you realize you are only in your own kitchen holding a pineapple, but at least you can take a mini vacation even if it is for just a few seconds while you enjoy this fantastic tropical treat!

When I look for a ripe pineapple, I smell the bottom for a sweet scent and look for it to be at least partially brown along the bottom, and not all green on the outside. This has yet to fail me! The only time I've ever cut into one to find it overripe is when I've let it sit for more than a day or two before slicing. If you get one ripe, you should slice it within 48 hours or it can over ripen fairly quickly, at least in my experience!
I always start by cutting the top off.
Then I leave it standing and start cutting the sides away. I go back and trim up any eyes I missed.

All cleaned up and ready for dicing!

Mmmm.... fresh pineapple...
I put it back on it's bottom and cut straight down, only leaving the hardest circular core out, I include everything else.
Then I'm left with a bunch of different shaped long pineapple wedges!
I often cut these once or twice horizontally, depending on how thick they are and then dice them vertically into good sized chunks perfect for popping in your mouth and enjoying!

One average sized pineapple fills about a 6 cup Tupperware!

I didn't used to buy a lot of fresh pineapple, but when I entered the surrogacy community back in 2006 and started my research on factual and mythical ways to help ensure a successful IVF cycle, I discovered pineapple was mentioned numerous times!

There are numerous places you can find information on pineapple being linked to improving fertility:

http://www.beginnerbaby.com/improve-fertility  Vitamin C – Vitamin C is an antioxidant that blocks damaging free radicals. There is plenty of Vitamin C in strawberries, citrus fruits, cherries, cantaloupe, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet peppers, mangos, kiwi, pineapple, grapes, peas, potatoes, parsley and spinach. Too much vitamin C can dry cervical mucus, so do not take over 1,000 mg a day.

http://www.amandabears.com/pineapple-core-for-implantation.html 
Pineapple Core For implantation


This could be an Ol'wives tale, however, many woman have conceived after eating the core of a pineapple. So it is really up to you to try it. Please follow directions, do not eat the meat of the core, just the core. A website below has been provided to tell you how to cut a pineapple.


Using Pineapple core to Assist Implantation: Pineapple contains bromelain. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that breaks up proteins that inhibit embryo implantation. Consuming a whole pineapple (focusing on the core as it has the highest concentration of Bromelain) during a fertility cycle can be beneficial.
Mostly anything related to IVF cycles and implantation of the embryo specifically reference bromelain.

Here are a couple threads from SurroMomsOnline where I first learned about pineapple for a surrogacy!

The mystery of McDonalds french fries, pineapple, and water!!

101 Ways to Consume Pineapple! (And a Poll)

Transfer Superstitions what are yours?

There are some fun facts for the day!! :) Now go out and enjoy some yummy fresh pineapple this summer!





 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bruschetta Pizza & Jay's Signature Pizza Crust!

This one is a "two-fer"! I had stumbled upon "Bruschetta Pizza" at Recipe Shoebox and had been craving something bruschetta for awhile now and with hubby not eating much this week while he recoups I thought a veggie version of the bruschetta pizza would be PERFECT for me!! I was very excited to try this one out, and it did not disappoint. The original recipe called for a pre-baked crust (like a boboli crust) but I couldn't find one at the store I stopped at to get some fresh basil! Weird, yes, and I'm sure it was there somewhere but I didn't want to track someone down to help me locate it so I decided to just make my own.

Starting with the pizza crust ingredients - AP and whole wheat flour, active dry yeast, salt, olive oil and brown sugar.
The brown sugar and yeast went into the warm water and were stirred to combine and then allowed to rest for about 10 minutes.
The mixture was starting to get creamy and form bubbles so it was time for the next ingredients!
In went the salt.
Followed by the olive oil.

Then the AP flour.

And the whole wheat!

I turned on the mixer (scraping down the sides as needed) and let the mixer do the work.

I oiled a bowl for the dough to rise in.

Dough ball! Ready to rise!


I put the dough ball in the bowl and flipped it once to get the oil evenly distributed on both sides.

I covered that with a kitchen towel and let it rest in a warm place for an hour.
I added about a tablespoon each of olive oil, butter and minced garlic to a small pot and let that simmer about 5-10 minutes until the garlic was starting to brown.
Down went some flour for rolling out the dough!
See how pretty, all nice and risen!
I flipped the dough out onto the floured counter and added a little more flour until it was no longer tacky.
Ready to roll it out! My little helper (aka my son!) jumped in and did this task - he likes doing it, and who am I to argue?

When it was close to time for the dough to be ready, I went head and started getting some of the pizza ingredients prepared!
I diced up three pretty Roma tomatoes.
See the garlic butter mixture starting to get darker... imagine the garlicky butter smells... mmm...

The dough was all rolled out and ready to go!
I spread the garlic mixture over the crust.
Drool. Then this went in the oven for about 10 minutes to pre-bake.
Next came the bruschetta mixture! Yummy diced tomatoes.

Followed by some thinly sliced fresh basil (I adore fresh basil!!)

Look at those gorgeous colors!! The minced garlic joined the party.



Followed by the balsamic, sage and salt!

Here is the very lovely pre-baked pizza crust!

Topped with cheese and I put some mushrooms and bacon on Kent's side since that's what he asked for!

The bruschetta mixture is all combined and allowed to rest and get yummy and juicy while the pizza finishes baking!
Pizza from the oven - hot and melty! Yumm!

Delicious, garlicky, cheesy balsamicy bruschetta covered pizza. This was fantastic... The amount of bruschetta I made was barely enough to cover my half of the pizza, because I piled it on THICK! That stuff was fantastic!! I really enjoyed it. I think I might put a thin layer of sauce under the cheese next time so the crust isn't quite so dry, but there is quite a bit of liquid in the bruschetta mixture you can spread on top too for a little extra "sauce"! YUMM!!! I will definitely make this again and will use this bruschetta mixture for other things too. So good! :)

Bruschetta Pizza recipe adapted from Recipe Shoebox

1 pre-baked Italian bread shell crust (14-oz.) (or one home made pre-baked pizza crust such as Jay's Signature Pizza Crust below)
2 cups (8-oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
1-1/2 cups chopped plum tomatoes (about 3-4 small)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced (or 1/2 TBS minced)
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme (or 1/8 tsp. dried thyme)
1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions
Place crust on an ungreased baking sheet. Top with cheese. Bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, sliced basil, oil, garlic, thyme, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Spoon over pizza. Garnish with additional basil if desired.

Jay's Signature Pizza Crust slightly adapted from AllRecipes
Makes: 1 large pizza crust

Ingredients
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 -2 cups all-purpose flour (as much as needed)

Crust Topping:
1 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS minced garlic

Directions
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.

When yeast mixture is creamy stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.

Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky (or use dough hook and mix in mixer). Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza recipe.

For pre-baking for Bruschetta Pizza: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil the pizza pan before placing the rolled out dough on it, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.

While the dough is completing it's final rise before adding toppings, combine crust topping ingredients (butter, olive oil and minced garlic) in a small pan over medium heat on the stove. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes until garlic is turning golden brown. When the dough is ready for toppings, brush the garlic mixture on evenly over the pie crust and either pre-bake for about 10 minutes prior to adding cheese or add toppings directly over the garlic mixture and bake as directed.

Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.