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I’ll be Gone

Life as it currently is – not really the easiest thing to sum up.  I mentioned about a month ago that things had been a bit rough, and have been trying to figure out the best way to word it.  I try to keep things separate on the blog knowing that most people come here to read about tasty treats and not infertility.  So for those of you looking for veggie dishes – check back on Thursday.  For those of you that want to be caught up on Operation Impregnation – please stick around!

Part 1 Part 2 of the journey

Our second mini-IVF was a disaster, plain and simple, as we were left with no transferable embryos.  This left us with the one frozen blast from the first mini-IVF (aka IVF #2) – which was nicknamed Frostie.  In early July I began the medication needed to prep my body for Frostie, maxing out our pharmacy coverage for all future IVF treatments.  Frostie was transferred and within days I was getting positive pregnancy tests.  After the previous disappointments I decided to keep this one to myself, counting down the days until what I knew would be a positive BETA.  Then disaster struck, on the Thursday evening before my BETA I felt a sheering sensation on my left side and knew that it was over, that Frostie was gone.  The test on Monday confirmed my fears, my blood results were so low as for the cycle to be considered a fail – but the multiple positive HPTs were enough to convince my nurse to record it as a CP.  The loss of our last embryo was devastating, the only thing keeping me from the deep end (outside of husband and family) was an upcoming vacation to my favorite gaming convention.  Most of the people there were familiar with our situation and so I was welcome with open arms – outside of those filled with alcohol (Caramel Appletini) and caffeinated beverages.  This trip gave me time to recover while a weekend away with my better half helped us both to heal, and to begin talking about next steps.  The next cycle was a break cycle, no appointments and just a refocusing on the important things in life. We began researching adoptions and further investigated donor eggs.

When we first began this journey I was more than a little opposed to donor eggs – it made so much more sense to me to adopt.  Then I realized how difficult adoptions are, especially non-foster based domestic adoption.  After being turned down by three adoption agencies due to religion, and accepting that our under-30 status took international adopts off the table, we went back to talking about donor eggs.  Joe had always been open to the idea, assuming I was willing to take the risk.  With donor eggs, I take the same medication as with the FET cycle and then have a transfer on either day 3 or 5 (as with a standard IVF).  However since we’ve had at least 4CPs there is no way to guarantee that a donor egg will create a sticky embryo.  While all tests have come back negative for any likely disorder causing miscarriages, there is still the small chance that something is wrong and my body is unable to carry.   Thankfully we live near Shady Grove Fertility which offers a Shared Risk/Shared Donor program – which is what we have decided to go with.  Under this program we will pay a set amount of money and will then have up to 6 transfers.  If during that time we go home with a baby, Mazel Tov!  The journey is over.  However if after 6 transfers we are still babyless we get all the money back – and we’ll be at least 6 months closer to hitting 30 and thus eligible for international adoption.

So where are we at this moment?  Currently we are waiting to check off our final box on the egg donation form.  Then, depending on timing, I’ll either start the medication or take the cycle off and start the medication in November.  Once I’ve started medication, transfer will be scheduled for 4 – 6 weeks out depending on where the donor and other recipients are in their cycles.   The average rate of cycles is 3.2 so while we can hope and pray that the first one is the winner, we realize that we are just at the starting point for this journey and it could be another year (or more) before we reach the end.

That’s it – or at least that’s it for now.  For those of you that made it to the end – Thank You.  I first started posting about our IF journey a little over a year ago, when we had our first BETA confirmed miscarriage.  It’s been a rough year, with two more miscarriages added to the tally  – along with lots of medication and tears.  I’m still hopeful that at some point we will be parents, be it thru donor eggs or adoption, it’s just taking much longer than I ever thought.

Uncategorized

Testing

I apologize for the random post but I’ve been having some connection issues lately.  Hopefully everything will start cooperating shortly and can get back to sharing some delicious recipes with everyone!  Also starting to draft some recipes for when I’m out for the wedding/honeymoon…one month and counting!!!

*fingers crossed* new recipes on Monday!

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Shop Around

Latke

Comfort foods: things that warm you inside and out.  Soups, mac&cheese, pasta dishes, and anything involving potatoes always fall in this category.  Combining any of these dishes create a whole new level of comfort, and when it is snowing outside and the sky is grey this super comfort meals are the ones to go for.  For me there is nothing more comforting than a delicious soup, such as cream of broccoli, with delicious latkes.   Latkes use to be a labor of effort, that normally involved cursing while trying to cut the potatoes in to even pieces and then attempting to julienne them.  Then I got: the mandolin!  Suddenly things are easier and faster and my fingers are no longer at risk of being sliced/diced/julienned or otherwise removed! Needless to say between this and my immersion blender I am chopping, slicing, blending machine.  (yes i have a slight addiction to kitchen gadgets, but that’s okay).   [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:14]

In wedding news: invitations have been picked!  Have mailed the check to the venue and reserved the block of rooms.   I have an insanely crazy busy weekend coming up soon, just waiting for the MOH to get in town!  Still left to figure out: food, booze, music, and flowers.  (trying to not focus on that part tho…something about stress)

Uncategorized · Vegetarian on Vacation

By the Sea

Vegetarian on Vacation

Eastern Shore: Easton

In recent years I have been very fortunate in having multiple opportunities to visit the Eastern Shore of Maryland and with that multiple amazing restaurants.  While most of the restaurants are heavy on delicious local seafood, many of them also have vegetarian options and a growing number are starting to offer vegan options.  There are also more Farmer’s Markets than you could ever imagine and have offerings ranging from sweet corn to yellow tomatoes to pumpkin (!) rice pupping to dog treats!  Most of the restaurants are also involved in the localvore movement, so everything is as fresh as possible and is obvious from the first bite.  Every time I go there are a number of place on my MUST VISIT list, starting with the local Amish Farmers Market and ending when possible with General Tanukis.  There are still a number of places that I haven’t visited so this list will probably change but for now here are my top 5 places to eat while at Easton.

  1. General Tanukis – The downside: not vegan friendly, there is only one option on the menu.  The upside: amazing fusion food that is insanely good.  The pizzas are incredible, the Herbivore being my personal favorite.  They also have regular specials, and their curry is some of the best I’ve ever had.  The also have a number of different sushi rolls, including a few vegetarian options and a number of local varieties.
  2. Martini’s – Two words: Tomato Sauce.  I’m not sure if it’s simply using local produce but the tomato sauce on their Eggplant Sandwich is incredible.  As a bonus the sandwich can be prepared vegan as can their Pan Roasted Vegetable Wrap.  While on the pricey side the quality of the ingredients makes it worth spending the extra money.
  3. AVA’s Pizzeria – Not only do they allow dogs on the patio they also have a number of vegetarian and vegan options.   The home made potato chips are INCREDIBLE which is saying something since I am not a potato chip person.  The onion tart pizza is also insane, but it is potent so if you are on a date….
  4. Amish Farmer’s Market – Food the way nature intended it, no additives no artificial coloring just all natural fresh food.  While vegan food is limited to the fresh produce, there are a number of vegetarian options in the prepared food section including a good dozen salad types.  There is also a butcher shop in the back, so even if you prefer a good bratwurst to Broccoli Salad you are still in luck.
  5. Railway Market – Great place for Carnivores, Vegetarians, and Vegans who are looking for something quick and easy.  From their organic sandwiches to their flavorful soups to their deli bar everything is delicious and nutritious.  I had my first brussel sprouts here, and from that experience I learned that I actually like these strange little vegetables.
I’m hoping that on my next trip I’ll be able to try Out of the Fire, I’ve been hearing great things about it but so far every time I am in that area it is closed for a special event.  
Simple and In Season · Uncategorized · Vegan

Out of Reach

Summer Squash Orzo

Labor Day weekend is fast arriving, and with it the end of summer.  While I understand that summer doesn’t officially end until later in September, to me Labor Day will always be the end of summer.  Maybe it’s because of the school buses back on the roads, or the lack of college interns at work, or maybe it’s the closing of the local pools.  Not sure which of those is the real reason but however I look at it I have to accept that soon my garden will be buried under snow.  Luckily I am ending my summer on a high note, because the end of summer means that all the vegetables I love are in their full glory.  Tomatoes of all colors, squash in all sorts of shapes, and sweet vidalia onions…yummy!  This recipe utilizes all of these vegetables and depending on the variety in your market the variety of color combinations is mind boggling!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 5 basil leaves, torn
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 yellow squash, cut in .5in rings
  • 1 zucchini, cut in .5in rings
  • 2 cups tomatoes, halved and divided(I used a variety of Heirloom Cherry)
  • 8 oz orzo, cooked per box and set aside
Directions:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5minutes, until the garlic starts to turn golden.  Add the tofu, squash, and zucchini and cook an additional 5 minutes until adding the tomatoes.
  2. Puree 1 cup of the tomatoes with the basil along with some salt and pepper until slightly chunky.  Add the mixture along with the tomatoes halves to the saucepan.  Cover and cook for 10minutes over medium low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  3. Pour the vegetable mixture over the orzo and toss well.  Serve with Crusty Bread and enjoy!
I don’t think it can get any easier than this, especially if all your ingredients are located in your backyard.  I think my favorite part was picking out which cherry tomatoes to use, and making sure I had a few of each of the varieties in order to really showcase the colors.  I am hoping to get one last gathering of tomatoes before it all ends but even if I don’t this was a very successful summer garden and I’m looking forward to improving upon it next year.
Uncategorized · Vegan

Record Play

Fiesta Rice & Beans

So there is currently a culinary throw down between the sharp-tongued Anthony Bourdain and the butter-loving Paula Deen, and lines are being drawn in the risotto. While I am Team Bourdain I am also a fan of one of his other targets, Sandra Lee.  While I rarely watch her Semi-Homemade show I love the concept of using some processed ingredients in order to come up with quick and family friendly meal.  In the year following my house purchase I used a number of her tricks in order to stretch ever last dollar as far as possible.  While I no longer need to scrimp as much, some of those shortcuts are still useful especially those that result in a great taste for little effort.  I think the original hint for this dish was for making Spanish Rice but the concept of using a flavor packet to add an extra punch can be utilized in many areas, if you don’t believe me just look at the back of Knorr’s packet next time you are at the grocery!

Ingredients: (serves 4-5)

  • 1 tbsp butter/margarine
  • 2 cans black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 packet fajita mix
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped (used Heirloom Cherry)
Directions:
  1. In a medium saucepan mix the fajita mix with the water before adding the rice, place on burner and turn heat to high.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15minutes.
  2. Meanwhile in a saute pan over medium heat add melt the butter and then add the beans, onions, and pepper.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.  Once the rice has finished cooking, add the bean mixture and mix well.  Serve topped with sour cream and/or cheese.
Nothing like a quick and simple dinner for a crazy weekday night.
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Only Be Pretending

Creamy Tuna Pasta

Oh Glee, how I love you.  If only there was a sing along version I could watch my TV would be complete…or at least would be closer to complete.  My other TV fantasy involves the dishes from Top Chef magically appearing on my dining room table.  This Saturday I will have the opportunity to get as close to that as possible given modern technology thanks to the Top Chef Tour!  They will be at the Eastern Market this weekend, which means I will be at the Eastern Market for at least part of this weekend.  To say I’m excited about this is putting it mildly.  While I have been fortunate enough to talk to (!) Chef Spike on a few occasions this will be my first time seeing ANY of the other Top Chefs in person, including the amazing Hootie Hoo that is Carla 😀

This recipe is not a Glee themed recipe…or a Top Chef recipe…however it is a very filling recipe and a great weekday dinner since it comes together in no time at all.  For those wanting to keep it vegetarian replace the tuna with some cannelloni beans.

Ingredients:  (serves 5)

  • 1 lb tri-color pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 lb fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 8oz can tuna, drained
  • 1 cup alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, omitting the salt.  Drain and return to pan.
  2. Meanwhile heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan.  Add the garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.  Gradually add the spinach allowing it to wilt before adding more.  Add the alfredo sauce, and bring to a simmer.  Cook 5 minutes and then season to taste.
  3. Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and toss well.  Add the tomatoes and SERVE!

I normally serve this with oregano bread but regular garlic bread would also work to help soak up the sauce.