Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday Munchies...Roasted Chicken with Vegetables

So it might surprise you when I say that, I'm afraid to cook and bake! Yes, I do did it all the time, and some of the things I bake and/or cook are pretty impressive if I do say so myself...anyway....I don't typically stray from my norm, even though all the #foodporn posts all over social media have me wanting to brush the dust off my cookbooks and go back to cooking eight course meals again. But then I think of all the dishes I'd have to do, no thanks!  However, this past weekend when our friends came for Shabbos, I was in desperate need of a new, healthy, but filling, low-fuss chicken.  As usual, I texted my go-to friend and she gave me this wonderful recipe to Roasted Chicken with Veggies.   I think I'm way behind the times with this one because I mentioned how delicious it was to my sister-in-law yesterday on our playdate at the park, and she said, we make that all the time.  Maybe, just maybe, I'm not the last one to have heard of this! 

What's awesome about this recipe is that the prep is minimal, it's a one panner (as my 4 year old would say-just like twix is a two barrer...mmm...twix...)  and it tastes so moist and delicious, the chicken, not the twix! I'm tossing around the idea of making 2 at a time just to have one for myself for protein backup! You can change up the spices and the veggies to your liking, so this can really be customized and kept interesting.  

Some veggie suggestions are:
Carrots
Turnips
Parsnips
Zuccini 
Beets
 Cauliflower 
Cabbage 
Potatoes 
Squash 
Sweet Potatoes 

Can you think of anything else?



Roasted Whole Chicken with Vegetables - I am giving this a shot tonight with brussel sprouts, onions, potatoes and carrots:

Roasted Chicken with Vegetables 
1 rotisserie or broiler chicken (not cut)
All the veggies! 
Olive oil 
The spices of your choice 

I bought my chicken from the local store, but I've been told that Costco has smaller, cheaper chickens that are flash frozen.  I think I'm going to go that route from now on because it's not always convenient for me to pick up a chicken, and this week I ended up freezing it because I can't make it until Thursday. 

Line your pan with parchment paper.

Prepare your vegetables, toss with olive oil and spices.  I stuck with my go-to: salt, pepper, and garlic.  I also added in whole cloves are garlic. 

Place your chicken(s) on top of the prepared veggies, coat with olive oil.  I spiced my chicken with salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary.  There are several variations of spicing, and a few I'm thinking of are a lemon pepper, or a spicy Cajun.

If you use root vegetables, pour 1/2 cup of water on the bottom of the pan.  I was given the wonderful advice that if you use potatoes, boil them a little first in a pot on the stove.  Surprisingly, I forgot to add the water to bottom of my pan, and after cooking-some of my vegetables still had a crunch!  Thankfully, because of this trick, the potatoes weren't one of them! 

Roast, at 350, for 3 hours, or until chicken juice runs clear.  

Because the cook time is long, I had no choice but to make this in advance. I'm happy to report that it reheated extremely well! I covered it with foil and reheated on 300-350 for about an hour.  I think that helped cook my still crunchy vegetables, but everything remained moist!  

This recipe got rave reviews by all of my guests, and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.  I can't wait to make this again very soon! 

What variations on spicing the chicken do you suggest?   

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Answering a couple of questions

My last post left some people asking questions.  

1.  When will you know if you're pregnant?
Nothing has happened, yet, that would allow me to be pregnant.  The transfer is tentatively scheduled for late April.  I am currently on a round of birth control to provide enough estrogen to reduce my ovarian cysts, and I will go back in for monitoring on day 2-3 of my upcoming cycle in about 2 weeks. If all checks out well, we can proceed forward.  I'm not sure what the next month will look like-more birth control, lupron, or what. With my last transfer, I didn't need Lupron, but I don't exactly remember what "medical support" I got pre-transfer.  We didn't discuss what the plan is if the birth control doesn't shrink my cysts.  In the upcoming month and a half I will also undergo a saline ultrasound to measure the size and shape of my uterus, and endometrial biopsy to check my uterine lining (and new research shows that scratching the surface of the uterus increases implantation rates) and I will also have the polyp on my cervix removed. 

2. Why don't you try to get pregnant again naturally? 
There are a few different answers to this questions.  The first one is the obvious-I'm on birth control, and I have been on birth control for the past 7 months while I was on accutane.  Therefore, trying for a pregnancy wasn't an option.  Technically, I could forgo birth control and see what happens, but there are a couple reasons why we're not doing that. One reason is that I have a history of irregular bleeding, and because of the laws of family purity (you can read more about that in my very first blog posts), we aren't interested in dealing with that. There's also an emotional component-trying to get pregnant is very time consuming, emotionally obviously physically taxing. We know that the odds are not in our favor, so why bother with the emotional roller coaster?  Plus, we do have the four remaining embryos that we wish to use, and I have excellent insurance coverage at the moment, so it makes sense to go this route.

3. So you want 7 kids?
Sure, why not?!? However it's not that likely that all 6 of my initial embryos will actually result in live children.  I don't know hard statistics, but most people have failed IVF cycles, and most likely, it will happen to me too...just being realistic.  Who knows how many children will actually result from the remaining four embryos.  
4. Would you stop at 3 kids?
Not if I have any say in it... but ultimately, I don't know what my final family looks like or how I'll get there or when.  I'm sure if I were so lucky that I did end up with 7 kids, I'd be done.  Is four enough? Is five? We haven't bothered really answering these questions because there are so many factors that would go into make that decision-like money, age, time, etc.  For now, we're looking at having baby #4-how and when we'll get baby #4 is unknown, to us, but it will happen #whentheresawilltheresaway 

If you have any questions about my personal journey, or (in)fertility in general, please comment or message me and I'll gladly do my best to answer them!


Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday Munchies...

                             
Hannah was diagnosed with her allergies at a time when she wasn't eating much "real" food at 13 months.  However, at two and a half, that has changed.  We've navigated her allergies really well, and come up with alternatives that work for us.  Such as, Baskin Robins labels all of their ingredients so I know which ones to avoid, and kindly request they clean the scooper.  Or, our local dunkin donuts has assured me all of their donuts are completely fine.  However, I always avoid  fro yo places because she cannot eat any of the toppings, so we just don't bother.  Another places we avoid is our local Chinese establishment, and I have to say, I really miss it.  Especially since they have an all you can eat buffet on Mondays.  Because of the nature of Chinese food, I just can't risk taking her there-it's not like pizza, and it never occurred to me to make my own Chinese!  Until I saw this recipe on Facebook, and now, I can't wait to experiment and hopefully eat some old favorites! 




2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1” pieces)
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons Oliveoil
½ Cup Raw Cane sugar
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
⅓ cup vinegar (white distilled or apple cider)
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon dried ginger
Green onions, chopped, to top
Rice and broccoli, to serve

Combine ¾ cups cornstarch, salt, and the pepper in a shallow dish. Dip the chicken pieces in the cornstarch mixture to coat, shake off excess, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken pieces. It should take less than 2 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
In the slow cooker, combine the sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and cayenne. Stir to mix well.
Add the chicken to the crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours. Check 20 minutes before serving and make sure your sauce is thick enough. If not, take the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and mix it with 2 tablespoons cold water until a slurry forms. Then, gently mix a bit into the chicken and sauce, being careful not to scrape the cornstarch coating off of the chicken. If it’s very thin, you’ll need more, if it’s not too thin, use is sparingly. It thickens significantly as it cooks, so you may not need the whole ¼ cup. Cook for another 20 minutes, and then serve over broccoli and rice. Top with chopped green onion.

This recipe seems easy enough, and definitely tasty enough!  I can't wait to try this! 

Here are some other clean Chinese recipes found on Pinterest

Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken | gimmesomeoven.com

 

Clean Eating Orange Chicken Stir-Fry with Asparagus Recipe http://cleanfoodcrush.com/orange-chicken-stir-fry http://cleanfoodcrush.com/orange-chicken-stir-fry/ 

Paleo Sesame Chicken - Ready in under 30 minutes this Chinese classic will satisfy any take-out craving! | wickedspatula.com

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Our Road to More

So...this is a little bit deeper then most of my posts: revealing, personal...raw. 
I know I was given this path for a reason, and a promise I made to myself would be to share it honestly, and openly.  Some people share their story in an attempt to rid society of the taboo that is infertility, but that's not what was my goal.  I mean, I have no filter, so whether it's taboo or not, you're going to hear all about my excessive bleeding from my uncontrollable periods, or my date with the dildo cam (that's the street name for internal ultrasound), or about the polyp my doctor found on my cervix that he promised me over and over was fine and, "no, you're not dying." Diarrhea of the mouth is not my goal here.  Rather,  all I want, is for my journey to spread sensitivity, appreciation, and thankfulness. 

Yesterday began our journey to what will hopefully be another baby.  

As I sat in the lab, getting seven vials of blood taken, it felt so surreal to be sitting back in that chair.  It's been awhile....over three years.  We didn't really know when we wanted another baby, other than we needed a break.  I went back and forth, some days I was totally fine having a large gap between kids, after all, Hannah is still my baby, and as she's getting older and more mature and the thought of potty training comes up, it was nice sometimes to not have to worry about a baby.  But other days I felt that menopause was imminent and I needed a baby now.  I was also on accutane, so that kept me in check, but the whole time I had been calculating when my accutane was done, plus three months to make sure it was out of my system. And then one day, it happened-it came time to make my appointment.  Almost 10 years exactly from my first appointment with Dr. B, I found myself back in his office.  We reminisced, shared pictures, went over the past, spoke of the future.  

I went though the works yesterday: had my blood taken, had a full exam-where we confirmed a polyp on cervix and a cyst on my ovary.  My wonderful, completely non-judgmental doctor also confirmed several times that I most definitely am not dying.  My follicle count looks good, on the non-cystic side, with 7-8 follicles.  At this time, it doesn't really matter since we still have four frozen embryos.  

The plan is go on a higher estrogen birth control for the month so I can hopefully get rid of this cyst. And when my cyst goes away, so will the ovarian pain I've been having, which is another reason I questioning my longevity.  In all seriousness, there have been many "freak" stories of young people having terrible, life threatening diagnosis recently, and even if we weren't in the market for another baby, I was still planning a well visit.  At the young age of I'll-be-29-next-weekend, I'm not so young anymore and I can't rationalize the state of my health with that excuse anymore.  The moral of the story is, should you have any abnormal symptom, please get it checked out-one can never be too sure.  This is also why I'm adamant that the polyp be removed and biopsied-better to have it checked in a lab than trust the doctor's eyes. Although I trust him with my life, one can never be too sure. I've also heard freak stories of doctors thinking one diagnosis and then they ended up being terribly wrong.  I'm taking no chances here, but I am confident he's right.  I will have to undergo a saline ultrasound which is when saline is injected into the uterus to measure the size and shape in preparation for a transfer.  I also have to have an endometrial biopsy to test the uterine lining and make sure it's a habitable environment for it's impending visitor.  Studies have also shown that scratching the lining helps with implantation of the embryo.  I will have the polyp removed during this procedure.  I'm not looking forward to this-I've had it done before and it was the worst pain I've ever felt, so there's talk of drugging me, as I'm not sure how I'll actually get myself in there otherwise.  

I'm sure I'll have to have some drugs thrown in, and of course I've been given fair warning, "we're going to stick you several times," so I see many needles in my future. But hey, it's par for the course. 

 When I reflect on my journey I really can't believe I've been so lucky.  And all I keep thinking is, I sure hope, with every fiber of my being, that my luck hasn't run dry.  I'm bracing myself for disappointment, while trying to tell myself not to get too emotionally invested, but I've had three back to back pregnancies and I know that joy so well, I can feel it.
G-d, I hope you're listening....

Something amazing about the infertility community is that everyone is so supportive, but that support, that joy we have for each other, doesn't typically extend beyond those of us that are in the trenches.  Pregnancy announcements from fellow infertiles don't pain us like the ones from your average Janes.  But I worry I'll be shunned from the infertility community because I have had such success. I don't have great battle wounds, and for that I'm thankful, yet I also feel like an impostor, especially after my spontaneous pregnancy.  
For those friends of mine who are reading that have had (in)fertility struggles, please know I think of you often, and I know your family will be complete when the time is right.  

God's plan is always the best. Sometimes the process is painful and hard. But don't forget that when God is silent, He's doing something for you.:


Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday Munchies

Sunday is Valentines Day! We don't have anything special planned, other than a 14 hour car drive to my grandparents, but hey, who's counting! 
Valentines Day is such a great excuse to make something extra special for those loved ones around you.  I love to use these smaller holidays as times for baking with my students.  It's important to be exposed to cooking and learning the terms, but I'm limited in what I can do because I have no real cooking/baking vehicle other than a microwave!  
So, that brings me to my Monday Munchies! 

Valentine Rice Krispies Treats:
Microwave Rice Krispy Treats 
1 box of Rice Krispy cereal
1 container of Marshmallow Fluff 
mini marshmallows 
Valentines Day sprinkles 

Microwave the container of fluff until you see if expanding above the container.  Watch as it expands, as it's not supposed to actually overflow, rather over expand I guess you could say!

Pour your Rice Krispies into a large mixing bowl, and add the fluff once it's heated.  Stir until the krispies are evenly coated and then incorporate the mini marshmallows.  

Press the batter into a 9x13 pan/tray/ I'm going to double the recipe so I can put the treats into a cookie sheet sized pan.  Add on the sprinkles and use a heart cookie cutter to cut the treats into hearts!

Voila! 

If you want to change it up from your old school rice krispy treat, put them on a stick, or dip it in melted chocolate.  

DIY Wedding Favors: Rice Krispies Treat Hearts:    So cute!  Can't wait to try these!  Getting some good ideas for Valentine's Day treats for my kids school class and my class for the girls at church!:   Heart-Shaped Chocolate Dipped Rice Krispies Treats. Easy to make, and great for both kid and adult Valentine's Day parties!:

 Now this is the Valentines Day treat I want to try!
 

I came across this recipe in People magazine this week.  Chocolate that you can eat with a spoon-yes please.  And if you don't want to use a spoon, just add an extra cup of milk.

Wicked Hot Chocolate 
2 cups whole or 2% milk
1 cup 60% dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup milk powder
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch 
pinch of chipotle powder
pinch of ancho chili powder
1/8 teaspoon allspice 
1 cup heavy cream

Boil milk over medium-high heat. Then, lower the heat and add in the chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted completely.  Add in the milk powder and cornstarch and whisk until dissolved and the chocolate is thick and smooth.  Add the chili and ancho powder and the allspice.  Continue whisking....

The whipped cream is meant to be the topping: freeze the cream for 5 minutes before whipping, then whip until soft peaks form.  

Divide the chocolate into four mugs and top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with chili powder should you desire.  

Yum...I might just have to make this fit my macros!  I'm curious to try the Fairlife whole milk instead of actual whole milk...if you haven't heard or tried the Fairlife milk, it's a game changer-especially their chocolate milk.  I have withdraw if I go a morning without my chocolate milk!

Previous Valentines Day cooking HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE 
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