Monday, August 31, 2009

Making Baby A, Week 11: We have a heartbeat!

We had our second doctors appointment last Wednesday.

I was more excited than nervous this time around - we were going to hear the baby's heartbeat! The nice nurse warned us that since I am only 11 weeks, we may not be able to hear the heartbeat through a Doppler, but almost as soon as she put the magic wand on my belly, we heard the little thumping sound, fast and strong.

It was music to my ears.

{written on 8/31/09, published on 9/23/09}

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

the best chocolate chip cookies (ever)

Last night hubs and I were looking for a quiet activity to do at home and he suggested baking cookies! Great idea, I was immediately sold. I did a quick google search and clicked on the first recipe I saw, which happened to be the Original NESTLE Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies. I was blown away by the raving reviews!

We had all the ingredients at home so we got right to work.

Oh my, the cookies were absolutely heavenly! So easy and completely foolproof. I love chewy cookies so I ate them while still warm from the oven. For the leftover ones, I plan to use the microwave. I controlled myself and had 4 cookies. I think hubs had, like, 10. Granted, they are pretty small. I commented to the hubs that if we had make them bigger and thicker, they would be like one of those fancy gourmet cookies from the bakeries.

The only thing I would really change about the recipe is the amount of granulated sugar. The cookies were a bit too sweet for my taste. I suggest cutting the sugar in half.

The recipe made a lot of dough so we rolled up some in saran wrap and put in the freezer. Next time when the mood strikes again, we can just slice and bake. :)

This is definitely the only cookie recipe I will use from now on. I can already think of several variations.

Original NESTLE Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies:

- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

An Update

Hubs mentioned this morning that I haven't been posting regularly lately. He's right, I haven't. I have been neglecting my little blog.

The last few weeks have been "off" for me. I usually blog about food/recipes, but except for some simple dishes, I haven't been spending much time in the kitchen. I like to blog about my weekend outings, but I have been staying in on most weekends to avoid the scorching heat. As for my other hobbies - crafting and photography - I haven't felt inspired in weeks. I haven't taken any vacations since May so nothing to blog about there. Basically, my life has been slow as of late.

Although, I must add, not a screeching halt. :)

I write about life in general, so when life is quiet, I don't have much to blog about. I hope September will be more exciting, though. I do miss blogging!

In the meantime, I just want to say:

I am alive and well. The hubs is fine. And the puppies are as cute as ever.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Making Baby A, Week 9: Frozen Burritos Never Tasted So Good

I thought being pregnant would make me want to EAT EAT EAT, but it has been the exact opposite.

The thought of my favorite braised chicken makes me want to throw up, I can't stomach eating vegetables, and I haven't had my favorite spicy udon noodles in weeks!

The doctor told me that I can expect to gain roughly 25 pounds during the pregnancy, so far, I have gained none.

Luckily, most women lose weight during their first trimester, due to the exact same problem I am having, so I am not too worried. I read online that instead of worrying about eating what's healthy, I should just eat what tastes good to me. So my meals for the past few days included frozen burritos (oh yum!), corn chowder (creamy soups usually gross me out), egg sandwiches, plain toast, corn-on-the-cobs, and lots and lots of cereal and fruit.

I hope I get my regular appetite back soon! I miss eating!

{written on 8/17/09, published on 9/23/09}

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Making Baby A, Week 8: Pregnancy Symptoms

It may sound strange, but I actually don't mind pregnancy symptoms too much. It assures me that Baby A is still growing and doing well. And for the most part, the symptoms haven't been too bad at all, really.

I have the normal textbook symptoms: fatigue, nausea (but no vomiting), food aversion (meat and veggies? ew.), loss of appetite, sore boobs, occasional cramps, and a (very) bad case of acne.

But I’ve discovered there are lots of things that I can do to make myself feel better – walking, eating every two hours (this is hard when you have no appetite, but it keeps the nausea to a minimum), keeping busy with small activities, and washing my face often.

I have heard that some pregnant women also get dizzy, irritable, bloated, body aches, and headaches. I am grateful that I haven't experience any of that yet.

I have been taking extra good care of myself - drinking lots of water, taking prenatal vitamins, and getting plenty of rest.

More next week!

{written on 8/10/09, published on 9/23/09}

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Personal Goals: August Oh-Nine

I know August just started, but is it over yet? Although time already flies, I hope August flies by even faster. Why? After this month, hubs only have ONE class left! One more tuition bill left! After this month, our annual Disney trip will soon start! After this month, we have many things to celebrate in September - my birthday, Pesto's birthday, and our anniversary! As I said, is August over yet?

I didn't completely blow my July goals, but I came pretty close. Lets rewind:

1) Wipe up the kitchen as messes occur. Since I hardly did any cooking last month, this goal wasn't too hard to keep up.

2) Complete a daily/weekly project. I don't know where all my time went in July. Looking back, I can't really remember any significant accomplishments, except finishing recapping our Ireland trip.

3) Snack properly and exercise. I avoided junk food, drank plenty of water, ate one or two pieces of fruit every day at work, and walked whenever possible.

4) Train Pesto. I didn't get a chance to hold many training sessions with Pesto. However, miraculously, I *think* he's behaving better! He stops when we tell him to stop. He sits when we ask him to. He's still a ball of energy, which wears us out, but this little guy has the biggest heart and just craves our attention.

My goals for August:

1) Complete self-assessment for work. It's that time of the year again. I wish they would skip all the extra work and just give me my 3% raise.

2) Reconnect with friends. I have been so out of touch with friends lately. This month, I hope we can find time out of our busy schedules to get together. I took pictures of my friend Tiffany's boys back in June, and I have yet to give her copies! I am making it my top priority to do so this month.

3) Same as the past two months, eat well and exercise.

4) Use time more wisely in the morning. The first thing I do after getting dressed in the morning is turn on the computer, check emails, and browse. And usually, I don't have any new emails and the browsing can always wait. This month, I am going to detach myself from the laptop in the morning. Instead, I will spend time with the puppies - brush them, pet them, and cuddle with them.

5) Enjoy the last bit of summer! :)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pork and Shrimp Dumplings

I haven't felt like cooking lately. The last recipe I posted was back in June!

Today, while I got my groove back for a while, I decided to try making dumplings for the first time. I took the easier way out and used store-bought wrappers. Even with that and hubs' help in wrapping, it still took lots of work. All that chopping!

In the end, though, I think it was worth it. Although dumplings are pretty decently-priced (the local Asian market sells them 3 packs (28-30 pieces each) for $10), the mystery filling always freaked me out a bit. Not only I know exactly what went in my dumplings, the fresh homemade ones tasted a lot better, too, in my opinion.

I did the chopping and mixing, but thanks to hubs for folding (all 62 dumplings) all by himself! We had some for lunch and the rest is in the freezer, ready to be eaten the next time I don't feel like cooking.

Pork and Shrimp Dumplings:

- 1.5 lb ground pork
- 1/4 lb raw shrimp, peeled, devined, and chopped
- 4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
- 2 stalks green onions, minced
- 4 shiitake mushrooms, minced
- 1 tbsp ginger root, minced
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- white pepper and salt to taste
- 1 pkg dumpling wrapper (~62 wrappers)

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Fold the dumplings! For step-by-step, including making your own dough, click here.

To freeze:
Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet (or a large plate) so they are hardly touching. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of months.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!