Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Whats For Dinner

In a previous post I said that I had been trying out new recipes to stop our "Chicken, Rice & Vegetables" rut. Thus far I have tried 9 new recipes, only two of which we've dubbed repeatable, and none really worth sharing. But it has been fun trying new stuff and even my husband has noted how nice it is to have something new for dinner {{smart man}}.

Tonight started the second round of new recipes I've picked out of my little recipe box. I made Steak and Vegetable Pie. Chosen because the picture looked tasty. The recipe isn't to complicated but it did take awhile to prepare.

The recipe as it reads on the card:
1 - 9" pie pan
Flaky Pastry recipe ((as follows))
1lb. round steak cubed
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 - 4oz. can mushroom slices
Beef broth
1 - med. potato, peeled, and cut into 1/2" cubes
2 - med. carrots peeled and sliced
1 - sm. onion, minced
1 egg, beaten with tbsp water, optional

Flaky Pastry:
In bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cut in 1/4 cup shortening until small particles are formed. Mixing with fork, gradually stir in 5 tbsp of cold water or enough to hold particles together. Shape into ball. Wrap in plastic. Chill.

1.) Mix flour, salt and pepper. Put n plastic bag with cubed steak. Shake to cover meat. Remove meat. Reserve flour.

2.) Heat large skillet or dutch overn with a little butter. Add meat. Brown Meat. Stirring frquently. Stir in reserve flour.

3.) Drain mushroom liquid into measuring cup. Add broth to measure 1 cup. Add to meat. Bring to boil.

4.) Cover. Simmer, stirring frequently, for one hour or until meat is tender. (Add broth of beef becomes dry.)

5.) Turn into 9inch pie plate. Distribute vegetables evenly over meat. Add 1/2 cup broth.

6.) Roll 2/3 of pastry in circle 1/2" larger than pie plate. Put on top of filling. Cut Steam vents. Brush with beaten egg.

7.) Bake at 400* for 35 to 40 minutes until brown.

*Tip:Roll out remaining pastry and cut into decorative shapes. Arrange on pie prior to baking*

What I did differently:
I'm not a fan of cooked mushrooms, much less canned ones, so I just used beef broth in the pan and then cut up fresh mushrooms and placed them in the pan with the other vegetables. Also, we are a garlic loving family and this recipe calls for none. So I sliced up a couple cloves of fresh garlic and added them to the vegetables as well. After I brushed the egg on the crust I salted it with coarse sea salt.

How it turned out:
YUMMMMMMMMYY!! {{And SOOOO pretty too!!}}

What I suggest you change:
I cooked the pie for 45 minutes until the crust was pretty. Unfortunately, the vegetables didn't cook as well as the crust and our potatoes were less than done. In the future when I cook this I will add the vegetable to the pan with the meat for the last 15 minutes or so while its on the stove top. Also, I will add garlic powder and salt to the beaten egg to give the crust more flavor.

Clearly, the not-quite-done potatoes didn't stop us from enjoying it...


Friday, October 14, 2011

A Short Post

I often think about new blogs to write as I'm laying in bed at night. I come up with attention grabbing openers, compelling, thoughtful arguments for why I'm right and even clever and witty closing lines. Then, usually, I fall asleep.

And it's all gone forever.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Consumer Report

This is a long story but if you have skin issues it will be well worth the read:

Thanks to some bad genes and some bad information from an aesthetician, at 22 years old I suffered with the worst possible acne you could imagine. It covered my cheeks, chin, jawline and good portions of my neck. This wasn't just a pimple here and there. This was an infection under the majority of my face, causing pimples to head in three or four places, three or four times. It was very painful and VERY ugly. Not helping the situation any, was my tendancy to pick at all of it. I would say it took a good 18 months of trying different things to finally stop the acne completely. Thanks to some extra strength ProActive {{that's right extra strength for those as hopelessly pockmarked as I}} and a lesson in figuring out different things to do with my hands {{picking is BAD for your skin people!}} The acne FINALLY went away. The year and a half of bad acne + the picking left nice acne scars on my cheeks. Not ideal but acne scars are a LOT easier to cover than acne.

Towards the very end of that whole fiasco, I got pregnant with Bug. I was actually one of those women whose skin got better from pregnancy. Cleared up completely and since having her I've only had a handful of pimples, and those were probably more due to hormonal changes than anything else. However, what being pregnant did do to my face was cause nice half dollar sized, dark spots in several places. These are due to hormones and previously feckled skin thanks to a childhood and early adult hood of tanning my face. Including one particularly annoying spot on the left side of my upper lip that looked like I had half of a nice hairy mustache. {{Only half, though, which is some how even more embarrassing than a whole one.}}

After Bug, I started doing research on chemical and glycolic peels. Call it vanity if you want, but I don't think I've ever met a woman who wanted acne scars and dark spots on their face. Both types of peels are fairly expensive and, let's face it, they sound a little scary and there is something just a *little* frightening about allowing a total stranger to put chemicals on your face. It's easy to put off things that are going to cost a lot of money and hurt, so I did. Then I found out I was pregnant with 2.0 and decided I'd wait until I was done with pregnancies completely before dealing with it.

Fast forward to the end of August. J and I were at the MAC counter picking up some foundation and powder {{for me, not him}}. It had been awhile since I purchased MAC {{I usually go back & forth between MAC & MK}} and I needed to be color matched and while applying the foundation the girl grotesqueley looked at my face and said, "You need to exfoliate!" Oblivious to my reddening cheeks, she explained the benefits of exfoliation and pointed to all the spots on my face that needed help. {{Yes, it was awesome and I ran away as soon as I paid.}} Maybe a little quick to point it out, but she definitely had a point and after some digging I found a MK's Microdermabrasion System I purchased at the end of last year and hardly used {{Aha! There is a point to this post!}}

I have been using the at-home microdermabrasion system for 6 weeks now and their skincare system for about 4 weeks. The microdermabrasion set is $55 from any MK person and seemed like a logical place to start before spending hundreds of dollars on face peel and it is safe to use during pregnancy. The first few weeks I used the scrub and replenishing serum every other day and then backed it off to every two days and now I'm using it about twice a week.

What it helped with: Right away the texture of my skin was better. After about a week, I could tell the pores on my nose and cheekbones were getting smaller and after two weeks some of the areas the informative girl from MAC pointed out were gone. About a week ago, I noticed that the spots of discoloration are quiet a bit less noticeable and the areas of scarring I had are not nearly as deep as they were. In fact they are hardly noticeable at all.

What it didn't help with: The areas around my eyes. A couple of the discoloration spots were high on my cheekbones and under my eyes. The cleanser is a rough scrub and obviously you cant use a rough scrub on the thin skin close to your eyes. My next project will be to find something to help with those.

Over all I'm really happy with the results, especially for the price. Anyone with bad acne scars, wrinkles, discoloration, and patches of clogged pores would probably benefit from the use of this product. There is one thing that is important to note: the first time I used the product I thought I could use it every day like a cleanser. Trying to be aggressive with it and using it every day irritated my skin pretty badly and I stopped using it. If you have tried it and it irritated your skin, you might want to re-evaluate the way in which you were using it.

I don't have any before and after pictures {{come on people, I won't leave the house without foundation on, you think I'm going to let someone take my picture without it? Yea, right!}} so you're just going to have to take my word for it.

That is all.

Monday, October 10, 2011

There is something about pregnancy, that makes a woman "public domain". I don't know why we do it, but once we've had a child, a woman is suddenly an expert and thinks they should bestow upon the pregnant people around them ALL of their wisdom {{even especially the horrible terrifying stuff}}. It's not usually a bad thing. I have certainly given my fare share of advice and even caught myself on one {{or more}} occassions saying something unnecessary to a pregnant woman. I always feel like a jerk afterwards. I don't know what it is about other pregnant people that gives you diarrhea of the mouth, do you?

Thursday I had a 2.0 check-up. We are doing good. Almost to the finish line. Only one small 'thing' that might not be a 'thing' at all: 2.0 is sitting happily where she's been this whole time, my pelvis. No really, she's actually SITTING in my pelvis, with her back to mine as it would happen. A breech baby at 35 weeks isn't really that alarming. More of just something to watch. The doctor said at my next appointment I'll have an ultrasound to double check and then we'll discuss our options. There is still time for her turn but I need to note that she has been sitting this way for the whole of the pregnancy. It's possible she may not.

I'm not stressed about it. I'm REALLY not. There happens to be a great number of things that happen to us in life that we can't control. When and how we go into labor is one of them. Even as a control freak, I own this. If she turns, great. If not, oh well. Pro's and cons to each side. Whatever.

Friday, I was discussing this with the lady that does my hair. {{My hair needed some attention and, yes, it looks FABULOUS!}} She was appauled at my 'whatever' attitude on the subject and then gave me a 45 minute lecture on why I NEED to have 2.0 all natural. I am ALL FOR you Mama's that can do the all natural thing. More power to you. I'm all for the Mama's that chose epidurals, water births, births at home outside or on the beach. Even the Mama's that opt for cesarians from early on. Do your thing. It's yours. Do what you want with it. But do not tell me how I NEED to have mine, K? Especially when your lecture consists of a story about your own all natural birth that lasted TWO WHOLE HOURS and was 25 years ago. Luckily for her I had starbucks and a good amount of time to let my caffiene kick in so the Pregnancy Rage wouldn't. I was able to let it go and now I have fabulous hair.

Then on the way home a friend called and asked for an update to which I got the response, "DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY'LL DO TO YOU?!" Actually, no I've been living under a rock my whole life and have no clue what a c-section entails. Not to mention that first birth experience I had, which clearly amounts to nothing. We talk about it for a little while and after a few minutes of her telling me every AWFUL c-section story she had in her arsinal, I assured her that I wasn't stressed out about it {{Hell, it might not even happen! Why should I be?}} and since it was my gut, she shouldn't be either.

It's not that I don't appreciate the concern and see it for what it is. I do. But why do we jump to every awful story we've ever heard {{half of which probably are just a smidge overexaggerated}} instead of, "If your not stressing it, niether will I"? And what is it about birth plans that get people so worked up? Why should it matter to my hair dresser {{or any body else}} HOW my {{MY!}} baby is born? If she's healthy and I'm healthy then nothing else should really matter.

Just sayin...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sheesh! Where have I been?!

Pouting mostly. I have written many blogs this month that I get to the end of and don't publish. Quite a bit of the things I have been thinking don't need to be said aloud. Actually, I'm 34 wks pregnant and have the pregnancy rage, so pretty much everything I think shouldn't be said aloud, including most of what is. It's just not fair to make you all suffer through boo-hoo-whiney posts if I don't have to and mostly, I don't.

Pouting isn't the only thing I've been up to. Actually, the last week I've been enjoying having my spouse home {{yay!!}} A whole day and hours earlier than he was expected!! How lucky am I?! The week before he came home I was busy practicing a new blasting technique {{that I'm SUPER excited about!!}} I have no idea what I'm doing but one of my best assets is my ability to fake it 'til I make it and if there are ONLY 10 people out there who are really good at it, how hard can it be? {{I mean really, I might possibly, could teach myself to be the eleventh... right?}} One of the really AWESOME things about tackling this new technique is the man at the local glass store told me he's never met anyone who could do it and they get asked about it all the time!! {{Thats good for business in my book!}} So, figuring it out could be VERY important for Sugar Bee's. I'll blog and post pics later of my fails & of my successes.

I have also been enjoying the cooler fall weather we've been having. The two weeks of near 100% humidity we had prior to Fall breezing in made me really appreciate weather in the 60's. Drinking hot chocolate, watching football with my favorite man in the whole world, and opening all the windows so the house feels cool and fresh. And when my husband argues with me about how cold the house is all I have to do is point at my unusually large butt belly and remind him that I have 40% more blood volume than him so I get to choose the tempurature in the house {{So what if we can hang meat?}}

One of the things we did to enjoy the weather this past weekend was take a trip to our local pumpkin patch. It was cute they had animals, fresh local fruits, veggies & honey, hayrides, and of course some great pumkins and gourds. Bug was really impressed with the turkeys and the strawberry ice cream she suckered Daddy into {{he just can't say no to her}}.

Some how in the pouting and busy-ness of the last few weeks, a few weeks flew by and today the 2.0 ticker told me I only have 38 days{{ish}} of this pregnancy left. We are pretty much set for her to come. I need to wash the infant carrier, buy some newborn pacifiers and we really need to find a dresser. But other than that, this kid is SET! Now that J is home tackling whats left on the 2.0 list won't take very long.

I'm really excited about what's coming up... between a baby & a nice good business opportunity how could it be bad??