Monday, 21 July 2008

Whoa, Belly! Week 16 (ish)

Lettuce take a moment to reflect not only upon how the belly has grown, but also how terribly the paint in our foyer photographs.

The Tapeworm (heretofore to be referred to as the Little One, at the behest of His Huffness) has decided to stretch its boundaries and make some room for flip-flopping around, and whatever else s/he is doing in there. It feels quite like an eyelid twitch inside my abdomen, but much less irritating, since I know that it's the Little One (sigh...that does NOT have the same ring to it as Tapeworm)**.

Also, total strangers aren't going around thinking that I'm winking at them, and getting the wrong idea.

At left, the Belly at 15 weeks, 4 days. Tell me I look pregnant!!! I think I have finally passed the "just looks chunky" stage. In fact, lettuce also reminisce about a few weeks ago, when, on the way to the gym, I turned to Chris and said, "I'm thickening," and he said, "What?" and then turned around and said, "Oh". Ouch.

And, for your viewing/snickering pleasure, lettuce now turn to the Random Feet Check.

As in, can I still see my feet?

Yes, yes I can. For now.

**Update! Thanks to input from an Alert Reader (Mommmm), the Tapeworm has been re-christened the Huffalump - a name that I'm sure we can all agree is less horrifying and offensive, but still has that certain je ne sais quoi.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

DG Presents: Yummus

The Domestic Goddess rides again!

Perhaps due to the increased spare time I have on my hands (Chris is still in la Calgarie, on French training, for another week and a bit), or perhaps due to uncontrollable cravings, I decided to make myself a nice batch of my homemade, low fat hummus, which I like to call Yummus. It's quick, easy, cheap, high in fibre and protein, deeeelicious, and great as a dip with veggies or as a sammich filling. Now sit up straight. I give you:

Yummus à la Goddess

Prep time: less than 5 minutes

1-2 cloves garlic*
1 tsp dried or a handful of fresh parsley
2 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs of DG's breakthrough product, I Can't Believe It's Not Tahini**
1 can of chick peas, rinsed well and drained

Throw the first 4 ingredients into a handy-blender/food processor (I got mine from Andrea -- thanks again!) and blend until the garlic is finely chopped and the rest is fairly mixed. Add chick peas, only a few at a time, pulsing to blend. Add water as needed to keep it blending; you can add extra water to make it smooth (for a dip) or leave it a bit chunky and textured for a spread.

That's it. Yum.

*amount of garlic you put in should be related to the amount of people you plan on kissing or close-talking in the next 24 hours. Note that the intensity of the garlickosity develops, so if you put in enough to make it garlicky right away, it'll be crazy garlicky (you know the kind - where you can actually feel the toothpaste and the garlic fighting it out, and the garlic wins the first round) (not a bad thing!) after a few hours in the fridge.

**tahini seems to come in giant-pickle-jar sizes only, and I've yet to use more than a quarter of one before it goes bad, so I use ...(purists, stop reading now!)... peanut butter. So far, nobody has been able to tell, except for perhaps the husband, but that was AFTER he knew I put pb in it, and he said, "it tastes like peanut butter". But really, I think he was just being difficult.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Belly up - 14 weeks

Ok, the belly is still growing, for some reason. I went on a shopping spree with the long-suffering baby daddy (nyuk nyuk) at Thyme Maternity in Calgary. He held up very well, considering... better than I did, actually.

Here is the belly on Saturday, July 12, at 14 weeks and 3 days. It looks SO MUCH BIGGER to me - maybe the camera is magic and takes away pounds... ?

Spreichen die shopping, I couldn't help but upgrade the belly-button ring; I'm already worried about stretching, and they make pregnancy-specific supplies, at quite reasonable prices. I got a 2-inch PTFE barbell (really, a thin plastic tube) with the cutest charm ever.

Due to such horrifying things as splotchiness (self-tanner), rashiness (who knows), and fuzziness (damn hormones), it doesn't photograph well on me, and I have decided not to post that picture. (Mom, I know you're disappointed, since you looooove to look at my belly ring!)

Can I get a Yeee-ha?

The Stampede was AWESOME!

First, because Chris' fantastic cousins (that I hope to meet one day) gave us VIP passes for the day, and who doesn't love being a VIP?

See how important I look? It's almost like I don't even NEED a cowboy hat.

Outriders are cool - they're the "support" team at a chuckwagon race, and although I was standing in the wrong spot/too short to see what they ACTUALLY do, they ride pretty fast in the home stretch.

The victory lap/cool down. This is really the only time you can get a clear shot of the wagons, since they're no longer going light speed. The chuckwagons burn up the track and thunder by, then do a little trot-by after the rankings are announced.

The most gorgeous horses in the world: the Budweiser Clydesdales. They came out for a drive-by during the "zamboni" (dirt-boni?) phase of the races. I wish I had gotten a good shot of Brady - he's the happy Dalmatian that stands on top of all the beer, wagging his tail.

The chuckwagons fly by in the home stretch - with four wagons racing in each heat, you can feel the ground shake!

What else was great about the Stampede? According to Chris, the Stampede double burger, the corn dog, and the mini donuts. (Yes, that's less than half the fair food he'd normally eat - he restrained himself very well!)

We also learned that cute little sheep don't necessarily say, "baaaaa". They sometimes sound like a very old, crotchety man, saying, "Bleaaaaahhhhh!"

And did I mention that we were VIPs?

Hail to the Chef

See, that's funny, because it was HAILING...


It was a dark and stormy night. The wind was whipping and the sky threatened rain. The severe thunderstorm warning had been on the radio for hours, then suddenly said that Redcliff, just west of here, was already being brutalized, which gave the Hat about 10 minutes to get ready.

Suddenly, the wind picked up even more. The rain started - big, splatting raindrops that looked and sounded like they would hurt a lot.

Hail was now hitting Redcliff. Uh oh.

There had been a massive hailstorm here 2 years ago, and the fallout was still evident when we were house hunting: roofs that still needed to be replaced, insurance claims still outstanding, and, of course, insurance policies changing to exclude hail damage from coverage; apparently, prairie hailstorms are pretty exciting.

So, I was making myself a nice, creamy bowl of comfort, to sit inside and wait it out with a book. Ahhh, KD, well actually, PC White Cheddar macaroni and cheese, which is so good, it doesn't even need ketchup - high praise indeed.

I apparently have a "funny" way of making KD (according to the Peanut Gallery). First, when I'm alone, I only make half the box. No need for extra temptation, and also, reheated KD just isn't as good. I boil the noodles in the normal way, then drain all but about 1/4 cup of water. Then, I return the pot to the burner, and add about a tablespoon of becel (light, of course!), and about 1/4 cup of milk, mix in the cheese, and then let the whole thing come back to a boil. I find that it makes a sweeter, creamier sauce. Yum.

Of course, one of the more odd pg cravings is Cheez Whiz, so I added a scoop of that, too. Oooo... now THAT's cheesy!

Anyhoo, I sat down at the table just as the hail started to hammer the deck. I thought that perhaps I should move the bbq back from the steps a bit, but then quickly rethought that, as it would necessitate me going out into the storm. Tout à coup, the bbq lurched towards the stairs. Oops. Luckily, Husband Supremo had locked the whole thing to the railing, so it stopped about an inch short. Whew!

The hail was only about dime-sized, but still bigger than I'd seen before. It only lasted about 15 minutes, but was an incredible show of the power of nature.

I'm glad that Nature decided not to unleash all she's got... this time, at least.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

PG Food Rant #1

Ok, 14 weeks (yesterday). Apparently, the Tapeworm is now the size of my fist. This may explain why I am in maternity pants already. Eep. (Actually, today I am wearing my Last Remaining Normal Pants - the ones that I always felt sloppy in because they were so big around the waist... karma...)

So, food. Love it. For someone who's been such a healthy eater for so long (but supplementing with chocolate), this has been awesome. I get HUNGRY. For FOOD. I call Chris and say, "Hey, we should go to Yuk Yuks when we're in Ottawa - they have great nachos." And he says, "Is EVERYTHING about food?" Yes, yes it is.

I've (finally) developed a healthy relationship with food. I don't feel guilty for eating -- in fact, I feel guilty for NOT eating. I've actually gotten out of bed to have a snack, realizing that I may not have eaten enough during the day. Trust me, sleep -- or even just being horizontal -- has always trumped food, needing to pee, etc. But now, I must eat.

I find that eating my snack at my OLD usual time (9:30) doesn’t make it to lunch – not even close. I’m feeling cautiously hopeful that the nausea that’s been causing me to snack every 30 minutes for the last 2 months has completely passed, although I still feel queasy on an empty stomach. Which I have now.

So, I rummage around in my trusty snack drawer (mental note: getting to be fairly slim pickings. It's down to graham crackers, marshmallows and leftover Easter chocolate, aka S'mores fixin's, and candy hearts from Valentine's Day. I really must replenish it soon, possibly with a variety of healthier options... or at least different types of candy) and find a dark chocolate bar with ginger. Double bonus! Not only do I get all the positive benefits of dark chocolate (I’m worried that the sudden drop in flavonoids and polyphenols -- related to my sudden drop in red wine consumption – will cause me mental health problems…some critics might call that “withdrawal”, but I don’t see THEM drinking any less! Kaff), but I also get the nausea-fighting bonus of ginger!

How nice!

Ok, um... I ate 2 squares.

Now seriously, is it lunchtime yet?

Friday, 4 July 2008

502, Oh I Love You

It's been a long time since I did a restaurant review, mostly because unless I want to review Kelsey's or Moxies, there's nothing else in the Hat.


A new restaurant opened on Monday. I only heard that it was different and upscale, but since the two-step lessons fell through last night (don't ask), Chris said we could go anywhere I wanted.

502 South is located at 502 South Railway Drive, underneath -- and by the same owners of -- the Ottoman Lounge (another place I'm keen to check out, it being a martini bar... but that will have to wait a few months). From the outside, it looks, well, unfinished - the only sign indicating that it's there is one of those neon-lettered sign boards that says "502 South - Now Hiring", but as soon as I walked in the door, I was blown away.

It looked and felt like a restaurant in the Market, maybe MTL, maybe Social. There was dark tile, dark hardwood, funky low-hanging lights, dark leather couches at the large, dark wood tables... I had to tell myself to calm down, not to get too excited. I mean, just because it LOOKS like a cool urban establishment doesn't mean that it won't serve up the standard quesadillas-and-steak fare.

I had a glass of their house red (Bin 555 Shiraz) (my doctor says moderation is totally fine, so no comments/lectures, please!) (you know who you are), and Chris had their brewed-on-site Ottoman Ale, which he liked.

The menu was just printed on a piece of paper (real menus coming soon, apparently), but it had us drooling. We ordered the romaine salad to start, and started the bread (slightly sweet and sourdough, with awesome butter) while we waited.

I wish I had my camera with me, but picture crisp romaine leaves and a marinated, grilled romaine heart, all tossed with a delicious citrus-herb dressing, baked asiago cheese crumbles, pancetta, and a cheesy crouton thing that we were probably supposed to crumble over the salad, but just ate plain. It was fantastic.

Second course: I had the cornish hen, juicy and somehow citrusy inside, crusted with some kind of tasty... crust... and sitting jauntily atop a mound of couscous, with grilled veggies and a quite-spicy peppercorn sauce drizzled around. Points for presentation and serving size, but the flavours seemed a bit too intense, too young. Instead of having one strong flavour and the rest complementing it, there were several flavours vying for first billing. /end food snob. Overall, I liked it.

Chris ordered a seafood trio -- prawns, scallops and something else...with vermicelli noodles and... well, not being interested in seafood, I didn't really take notice of what he was eating; the fact that it was served in a giant bowl that I couldn't see over the edge of was also a factor, I suppose. He did like it, but had the same feeling that the three very different (and delicious) flavours were too many for the dish. He also made a comment about why he never eats seafood in Alberta. Ah, foreshadowing.

The dessert menu, another printed piece of paper, seemed too good to be true. I ordered the flourless chocolate cake (somewhat like the lava cakes I make, without the lava), topped with ice cream and raspberries - no more needs to be said about that than "yum". Chris was blown away by his port-poached pear with brie ice cream (which I can't eat! Booo!) and a brandy snap. One day, when soft cheeses are no longer taboo for me, I will order the apple and stilton tart...

For the two of us, with a split appetizer, and a glass each, before tip, it came out to $73, which we agreed was a great price for what we had. Of course, normally, we would also order a bottle of wine... so really, we'll be MAKING money for the next six months or so... right?

All in all, with the exception of the Alberta-seafood-induced stomach-and-headache that struck Chris shortly after we got home, it was fantastic, and I have been raving about it all day to anyone who will listen... which really isn't many people, it being Friday and all.

Seriously, there were 2 other people here today, and they're both gone again now.


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

...and Tapeworm Makes Three

Wow, my faithful blog readers must have been saying to themselves recently. Your life sure isn't very exciting lately.

Of course not, I reply. It's because I've been exhausted, nauseous, and starving...waitaminute...

So, about 2 months ago, I took a little test, and sure enough, I was looking at my abs for perhaps the last time ever.
We are Proud to Introduce The Tapeworm, who, although "it" will be a welcome addition to our little family, sure hasn't been much fun yet. Ok, except for the starvation/voracious appetite bit...that part's been totally awesome. I think it's passed, though (boooo), and I'm back to eating reasonable amounts of healthy food, but with more fruit and dairy.

Lettuce back up, shall we?

There was a 2-year plan in place, after the wedding - enough time to be sure we were solid, still liked each other, and were solvent, before jumping into a giant, lifelong commitment to care for another human being (the decision to adopt Buddy the Fish was kinda tough, too, but we managed that one ok) - and, well, details aside, let's just all agree that it's best that "safety first" has always been my motto, because, to quote Yoda, "there is no try. There is only do..."

Anyhoo, at 13 weeks now, I'm still quite nauseous, but at least I have hope that I will feel better eventually (ideally in the next 5 minutes or so). We broke the news to the fams, and that was so much fun! We told my family when we visited Ottawa last week, just before the camera flashed for a family brunch picture (what does it say about my family that nobody even questioned us taking a family brunch picture?), and the result is as follows:

And as for the abs, well, they're gone. Here's where it stands right now, but I expect that the pictures will become more and more amusing as the weeks go on. For those interested more in the "real life" escapades of His and Her Huffness, well, I promise that this won't turn into just another baby blog....although the wining part of dining will probably get a lot less air time.
The Tapeworm pushes out my belly at 13 weeks (July 1, 2008).