Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Trying to Conceive and getting pregnant

For many people who knew me when I was younger this post may seem odd.  I never wanted children.  Throughout puberty and adulthood I had been pretty steadfast in my belief that I didnt want children.  I was afraid that I was too selfish or that I would be a bad parent or that I couldnt be enough for my children.  Then I meet my husband.  Children were the line he drew in the sand of our relationship.  I needed to come to terms with my feelings and it was hard.  I love my husband and I know he loves me.  I struggled for a long time before I finally decided that it wasnt that I had changed, but that my life had turned a corner I never thought it would.

It wasnt that I didnt want children, I just never thought I would be in a place in my life where children would fit or that I would be in a relationship stable enough to support children.  I never thought I would want to be married before I met my husband, but after meeting him I quickly knew that I wanted to marry him.  That I wanted to spend my life with him.  Learning that I wanted children so dearly, was just another part of this journey in self discovery.....

My husband and I got married on October 6, 2012 after having been together since 2009.  We did everything backwards to the traditional relationship milestones: 1.) date, 2.) buy a house, 3.) raise a child (we got custody of our 16 year old nephew), 4.) get engaged, 5.) get married.   We loved our life in rural Arkansas with our 3 dogs (2 are ours and 1 we are fostering for my brother in law).

When we got married I was 29 and my husband was 30.  We knew that we wanted a family and we knew that we weren't getting any younger.  Most of our friends and relatives our age have had kids for many years now.  I told Michael that if we had more than one child that I wanted them to be about 3 years apart.

 Knowing that I didnt want to be giving birth and raising an infant after age 40 (in an ideal situation) and that in a perfect world, we didnt know how long it would take us to conceive a child, we started trying to get pregnant right away.  I quit taking my birth control pills a few days into our honeymoon.

I am a librarian, and what do librarian's do?  We research.  So that is what I did.  I found and read message boards, I learned about ovulation cycles and basal body temperature.  I read What to Expect Before You are Expecting and several other books and articles.

On our 1 year anniversary we still hadnt managed to get pregnant.  I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, so I had my Endocrinologist run extra labs to see if there was anything thyroid related preventing us from getting pregnant.  He found nothing he felt was causing our infertility.

I have always been curvy and big chested and have heard my whole life about my "child bearing hips" and I couldnt get pregnant.  Yes, I know there are people who struggle for years with infertility.  I know several and I know my struggle was no where near the trial that they had been facing, but I still felt inadequate.

We made an appointment with a fertility specialist in October  that was scheduled for December, but after learning that my insurance would only cover the most basic testing once per lifetime made us reconsider our options.  We choice to cancel the appointment and keep trying on our own until my annual exam at the end of January.  We decided that if we still hadnt conceived by then we would ask the doctor for her recommendations.

As it so happens we got a positive pregnancy test on December 1st (15 cycles of ttc)!  I was so nervous and excited.  I took two tests to be sure.  Michael wasnt home when I found out, but months earlier I had bought a super cute t-shirt that said "Daddy est. 2014."  I put this t-shirt out on the bed along with my two positive tests and when he got home I told him to come into the bedroom because I had a present for him.

He was so shocked and so excited.  He hugged me and asked "are you sure?"  He wanted to shout the news from the roof tops, but I asked that he wait.  I wanted to tell our families at Christmas and I wanted to wait til the end of the first trimester to tell work (I live in a small town, so once one person knows the whole world knows).

We met with a nurse at my OB/GYN clinic on December 18th which was basically just blood work and we meet with the doctor on January 9th.

This blog entry will post to the public on January 22nd, and their might be a few follow up posts that go hand in hand with this one that will post around that time too.  After that point, all blog entries about my pregnancy will be posted the same day I write them.  I am so excited for this journey!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gluten Free Mini Pies

I was craving pie the other day and so I decided to try my hand at making a gluten free version.  I had also been concerned about whether or not I would get to eat dessert at Thanksgiving or not.  I decided to go for a mini version of a pie for 2 reasons: 1.) higher crust ration and 2.) ease of eating and storing.




This recipe makes 9 to 12 mini pies using a muffin pan.  I used a drinking glass to cut the pie shells.  The pie shown here is peach.

Gluten Free Mini Pie Recipe:

Filling:

Any of your favorite gluten free pie filling.  Many brands are gluten free, so just read the label.  A couple of examples are Comstock and Musselmans.

Crust:

1 cup almond flour ( I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon xantham gum
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Cup butter - chunked
2 Tablespoons of cold water (you may need to add more, just watch your dough and see - add a Tablespoon at a time until the correct consistency)
Cinnamon and brown sugar, to taste (optional)

Directions:

1.) Add dry ingredients to your food processor and pulse to mix
2.) Add in butter and pulse until the texture is crumbly.
3.) Add water to bind the dough together
4.) Sprinkle flour on flat surface and roll out dough.
5.) Use a drinking class that is floured or greased to cut circles.  You may need to re-roll scraps until you get the right number of crusts.
6.) Grease muffin pan and place crusts in the bottom of each section.  You want the crusts to go up the sides a little bit to hold the filling.  The dough is really forgiving, so if you need to patch holes, cracks, or thin spots go ahead and use scraps to patch the crusts.  This will not make the crust tough.
7.) Bake in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes until it starts getting golden brown (but not quite done)
8.) Remove muffin pan from the oven and add filling to the crusts.  If you are using a pie filling with large pieces of fruit (ie. peaches), put them in the food processor for a few pulses first.  You want the filling to fit in the crusts, but not be mush.
9.) I sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar at the point, but its optional.
10.) Bake the final product for an additional 10 to 15 minutes (10 is normally enough)

These pies should slide right out of the molds, or you should be able to scoop them out with a spoon.  These are best served fresh, but do hold up well for later.

This recipe was developed by using this recipe from the All day I Dream About Food blog.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Southern Style Biscuits and Gravy for the Gluten Free Crowd

Last night I made Breakfast for Dinner.  Our normal "go-to" breakfast is pancakes/waffles, bacon, and eggs, but I wanted something different.  Tonight I wanted to try biscuits and gravy.  My husband was skeptical.  In fact, he told me to cook him something separate because he didnt think they would be edible.  Boy did I surprise him!

*Sorry there are no pictures in this post.  I was too hungry to think about taking pictures.

Biscuits (This is very similar to the recipe provided by the Betty Crocker Website)

2 Cups gluten free Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs

Add the salt to the Bisquick. Using a fork, work the shortening into the Bisquick mix until the texture of the Bisquick changes.  Stir in the milk and eggs.  This makes 10 nice sized biscuits.  Separate the dough out onto a greased cookie sheet.  I recommend using surgical gloves that you have sprayed with PAM as the dough is very sticky.  Bake at 400 degrees for 16 minutes or until golden on top.

Gravy

2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of gluten free all-purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup of oil or bacon/sausage grease (use however much you want.  I just used all the drippings from my bacon)
Milk (I eyeball this so I dont really know how much - probably 2 to 3 cups)
Pepper and salt to taste

Toast the flour in a skillet.  Be careful because I found that the GF flour burns more quickly than standard flour.  Add in your grease and stir until combined.  Cook for 2 or 3 minutes.  Add in the milk.  Stir until combined.  Add in salt and pepper.  Cook until thickened.  (adjust thickness by adding more milk if needed)  This yielded enough for 5 or 6 biscuits (if you like to slather on the gravy like I do).

*Notes: These biscuits are really good, but dont expect them to taste like homemade buttermilk biscuits, because they aren't.  My next foray into biscuits will be to try a buttermilk version.  The gravy needs work, but is very good.  I think this gravy would be awesome with sausage crumbles in it.  Next time I will also add more salt and pepper than I did this time.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gluten Free: a beginner's guide

I started my Gluten Free journey in June of this year, after educating myself about my Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and ways I could reduce my symptoms and make myself healthier.

I wont go into a lot about my illness, because I have posted about it before, but I will say that since going gluten free, I have been healthier.  Prior to changing my diet, I was sick a lot and when I had a cold or something similar it hung around for weeks.  Since my change in diet, I have not been sick once.  My headaches have mostly disappeared and I have not had a cold or sinus infection.  The one exception to this was the one time I ate macaroni and cheese (even though I knew better).

Enough of that.  This post is not about my health.  This post is about the resources I have found that make eating gluten free easier.

Before going gluten free myself, I had heard a little about the diet, but I really hadn't paid that much attention.  Therefore making the change was a huge task.  I educated myself about how my body reacted to gluten (mine is an immune response), what gluten actually was, what types of foods I was going to have to give up, and where I could find information about gluten free alternatives.

This post is what I wish I had found on day 1.  No its not a fancy list with eloquent reasons why or introductions to each link, but you know what? I'm not a fancy person.  I like facts, and I dont like fluff.  So here is a list.  A simple (and by not means all inclusive) list of websites, blogs, etc. that I have found useful in the last several months of my gluten free journey.  I hope it helps.

Informational Resources about Gluten and Hashimoto's :

Discussion Boards about Gluten and/or Hashimoto's:

Websites and Web Resources:

Gluten Free Blogs (My favorites):

Other Resources:
  • Living Gluten-Free for Dummies (Book)
  • Gluten-Free Made Easy As 1, 2, 3 (Book)
  • The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide (Book)
  • 2012/2013 Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide (Book)
  • Find Me Gluten Free (App)
  • Is That Gluten Free? (App)

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!  This year I have reverted back to my old staple costume, a black cat.  Yes, I know its not very original, but I forgot about putting together something until the last minute.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Our Family's Favorite Pork Roast - Gluten Free

Gluten Free Pork Roast
  • Pork Tenderloin or your favorite cut
  • 1lb carrots - cut in 1in pieces 
  • 8 to 10 medium red potatoes - cut in 2in pieces
  • 1 large pkg of mushrooms
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 an onion chopped 
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 4 Peperoncini peppers
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten free flour
  • Orrington Farms Brown Gravy Mix - 2 1/2 teaspoons
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 2 Teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 a stick of butter (cold)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare gravy mix as instructed with chicken stock (instead of water) and add flour.  Put vegetables in bottom of crockpot and top with raw meat.  Add gravy mixture, seasonings, peppers, and butter.  Top with bacon.  
Cook for 6 to 8 hours on high in large crockpot.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Subscription Box Review: Bark Box (August)

I started getting Barkbox last year when it was offered through Groupon.  Barkbox is a subscription service for dogs that ranges in price from $19-$29 based on the number of months you subscribe.  Each month your dog gets a box in the mail, based on its size, that includes treats, toys, accessories, and pet care items.



We have two dogs of our own, both around 25lbs, as well as my brother-in-law's pit bull who is 60lbs.  We subscribe to the medium weight box and for the most part all dogs are happy with the selections in the box.  This month we received 1 toy, 3 bags of treats, and a food topper.  This month our box was worth $49.20.

The dogs have learned that every month they get a Barkbox and when they see the package they get super excited and start begging and trying to get into the box.

The Aussie Natural's neoprene dolphin was a huge hit!  All three dogs love this toy and since it arrived they it has been their favorite.  Of the treat/food items included, all were enjoyed by our dogs, but their favorites have been the Barkworthies Bully Flakes and the Plato duck treats.

You can tell by these pictures that our dogs are loving every minute of the unboxing (excuse the messy floor).