Friday, December 2, 2011

New Blog

Howdy faithful readers!

The little miss has not made her grand appearance yet- so in the meantime I thought I would start a new blog in her honor! I will post photos of her here throughout her first year (or more!).

This is the address

I will also put a link on the sidebar for easy access. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Silver Hammer

So I have been given the words to live by for my next ~5weeks- No more weight gain!

I have hit the 41lb weight gained mark and my midwife thinks that is good enough. Also, I still have my sugar sensitivity (no gestational diabetes- but every time I eat/drink sugar at breakfast (OJ, pancakes, etc.) it shows up in my urine) so she wants me to cut back on simple sugars, eat more protein and complex carbs, and try to walk every night after dinner.

She also "yelled" at me for another silly thing I did this weekend- I was at Whole Foods checking out where I saw a lovely candy selection by the conveyor belt- and hey, it is candy season and I love candy-- so why not?! So I picked out some gummy stars and went on my way.

Driving home, chewing away on my delicious gummy stars-- what do you think happened next!? Well a gummy star pulled my crown right out! Luckily I did not swallow or crack it (those are some expensive metals!) and was able to save it. When I looked at what was left of the tooth in my mouth I lost most of my optimism... I immediately knew I was in for a root canal.

I told my midwife this morning I was not in fact going to work after our appointment but to a new dentist that specializes in sedation dentistry (thanks Kate!!) because I pulled my crown out on a piece of candy-- she promptly instructed me to not eat any more candy- ever!! I guess that goes along with the weight gain...

So no more weight gain and no more candy. I think I can handle that for 5 weeks (or less!!)... I hope! But the hard thing will be how to manage my hunger. I am CONSTANTLY hungry. Probably because I have let my fiber intake drop as well as my protein intake. But I have two years of practice in managing hunger-- and thankfully I kept a ton of recipes, hand outs and blog entries to keep me going again! So here we go, let's see how I can do keeping my weight gained for the last few weeks minimal.

Oh! I was right about the root canal, but they won't perform it until after the baby is here. So now I something else to look forward to!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Howdy readers (are you still out there?!),

Things are good here in my world, the baby girl is growing rapidly (only 6 weeks left!) and I have reached the insatiable hunger/uncomfortable part of the pregnancy! Sleeping is minimal (practice for when she arrives?!), muscles ache... typical pregnancy symptoms. But I am still upbeat and I have a lot of energy which has been directed at nesting- either through bedroom renovations or baking! (*photo from the beginning of September, I am bigger now!)

It is pumpkin season (my favorite baking ingredient!!) so I have already made 2 batches of pumpkin muffins! I have not made any pumpkin pies (whoopie or other) or pumpkin cookies yet, but those are on the to-do-list.

I also made my first ever carrot cake! I followed the Cook's Illustrated recipe (to the letter!) and it turned out very well. Although the next time I will surely be including raisins (the recipient whose birthday it was, did not like raisins in their carrot cake!).

Other than that, not much else is new here. I have recently been given the opportunity to think about foods pregnant women like to (or hate to eat), so I thought I would sum up my vague conclusions here (readers- feel free to add in your comments too):

Primarily, I hated the smell of food being cooked. Any food. If food appeared in front of me I could (usually) eat it. So in the beginning, it was mostly microwaveable items, no cook foods (cereal), toasted bread products and generally very bland items. Anything that left any taste in my mouth was eliminated (no coffee, garlic or onions- 3 of my favorite things!).

Carbs. Carbs are a safe bet for early pregnancy- plus they do not smell strongly when you cook them. Veggies were out- I handled frozen string beans well enough, but other than that I could not stomach any other veggie.

Processed foods are a safe bet as well. Don't ask me why, but I have never loved "childhood" foods so much: animal crackers, cheese sticks, sweet yogurts, ice cream, mac and cheese (from a box!), peanut butter and jelly, hot dogs, and pizza.

I also loved fruit throughout the whole pregnancy, but I have friends who could not even look at fruit in the beginning.

After week 16-- things started improving gradually and now I eat salad with gusto (when I can find the will to make myself one), decaf coffee is back in, I can eat complex flavored meals, and I cant eat A LOT!

I would find in the beginning I would have to eat many small meals throughout the day, and if I ate too much I would get terribly uncomfortable. That stopped after week 14ish but is now back again (much less room for the stomach to expand now!).

Those were my basic thoughts. Feel free to add in yours! Above is the King Pup ready to help open presents at my baby shower- he has no idea what is in store!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tofu Pad Thai

I am really happy with this recipe. If you ever cook tofu again do it this way!!

So easy and SO good!
Here is what I did:

Drain Tofu
Purchase firm or extra firm tofu
Drain from the storage water and place on a plate on top of 2 paper towels
Top tofu with another 2 paper towels and a second plate
Place a weight on top of the tofu "sandwich"
Leave here for 30min - 1hr

Slice Tofu
I cut mine into 4 steaks

Salt Tofu
Simple, add salt to the surfaces- we used Kosher salt but any salt works

Heat Pan
This is *very important*
TE gets very upset when I do not wait until the pan is fully heated to start cooking

Add Oil
You really only need a little bit

Add Tofu
And cook it! Simple!

I ate mine with quinoa pasta (yum!) and a store-bought pad thai sauce (eh)
We also added scallions and grape tomatoes for some color, enjoy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sugar Addict

At my last prenatal visit my healthcare provider found excess sugar in my urine. A symptom of gestational diabetes. They were not too concerned since I was (at the time) only 23 weeks and I had orange juice for breakfast (even though I have 4oz of OJ with breakfast every day- and before other appointments- for a folic acid jolt!). I have since learned that they like to catch GD before 28 weeks to be able to get the blood sugars under control and make sure the baby grows at a normal rate and does not get too big for delivery.

She is supposed to be around 1.5lbs now (25 weeks) so I would guess a bit more weight now (the baby gets bigger/fatter since she is getting all my undigested glucose) would not impact the birth weight too much-- but I want to do what I can to keep my glucose handling under control as much as I can before I get my official diagnosis (27 weeks). Toward that end, in the mornings I have eliminated all juice and refined carbohydrates. I am trying to eat eggs/egg whites and a slice of high fiber toast, high fiber toast and peanut butter, or another old protein rich favorite breakfast. Apparently the hormone levels are highest in the morning and make for the worst glucose digestion so I have been "saving" my glucose rich foods for later in the day.

Since I have started this diet adjustment I have realized how terribly addicted to sugar I am! I have always known that I prefer sweet to savory- but I did not realize how much sugar I am eating these days! So much for my mindful eating CALERIE days...

Whenever I talk about starting a new low-sugar-diet my friends and family are always quick to remind me how I cut back my calories for 2 years for this study (and loved it!) and 3 months of healthy eating won't hurt too bad. I know that if I had to do it full-time (once I find out if I have GD for sure) I will embrace it not just for my health but for the health of baby E. A fat baby may be cute, but I could never willingly put her at risk for glucose intolerance and a scary sugar crash after birth.

Stay tuned for a yummy tofu recipe- yes the veggies are back! I am happily eating everything again :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's a.....


TE and I are very excited to share the news. She behaved very well, moving all around during the ultrasound and we got to see all the major organs, her skeleton and even her little toes! The radiologist and technician were smitten as well.

More food updates to come :-)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Salad Woes

Being all confident after one week of feeling "better" (my 16th week- and everyone said if you are not better by 12 then for sure by 16- so I was perfectly on schedule) I ate a salad again.

Now, I love eating salad. I don't feel gross while I am enjoying the farm fresh greens-- but after a few hours of salad digestion, bad things happen- TE and I have decided that this baby does NOT like salad. At least not yet anyway. I won't be eating a salad again for another month or so.... Will need to find veggies in other ways.

But on a happier/more funny side. I am thinking of starting a series of "Things Pregnant Girls Like to Eat" (or at least this pregnant girl). For today's edition I even have a recipe!! Be forewarned, it is not healthy or gourmet or something to be proud of (unless you are entering a comfort food contest). But here it is, and it was soooo good!

Homemade Cheeseburger Helper (made 5 servings)

8oz Pasta of your choice, cooked
1lb of lean ground beef, cooked and drained

Cheese Sauce: Modified from here

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 1.5 cups half and half, 1.5 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
Melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes (will turn golden in color). 
Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk and cayenne. 
Stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Fold the macaroni/beef into the mix and serve!

Friday, June 17, 2011


* Totally not food related*
A fun thing happened today- I had my tarot cards read by my boss! He was taught the skill quite a few years ago and once the coworkers found out that I am pregnant the predictions began! Pretty much everyone has their idea about what TE and I are having (hopefully a healthy baby!) but my boss wanted to make a "real" prediction!

So I held the cards in my pocket for over an hour, then shuffled them, and he laid the cards out to answer my questions (What gender is the baby? Will it be healthy and will the pregnancy go well?). The over-arching theme was very good and the head card was the Temperance card. And from what I can gather from wikipedia the key words associate with predictions involving this card are:

  • Temperance ----- Harmony ----- Balance ----- Health
  • Moderation ----- Joining forces ----- Well-being ----- Recovery
  • Equilibrium ----- Transcendence ----- Unification ------ Healing
  • Synthesis ----- Bringing together opposites ---- Feeling secure
Pretty good I say!! I am not usually superstitious and I do not buy into a lot of magic/fantastic things, but I will take all the good predictions I can get! Anything to ease my mind, right?! The rest of the cards were equally good and positive, so that was an added bonus!

We will find out in less than two weeks the gender and see if everything is growing and developing appropriately and according to schedule. We will then learn (hopefully!) if the majority (predicts girl) wins or if it goes to the two dissidents (TE and my sister)!

*Food related*
Watermelon. Oh how I love watermelon. 

I am on a serious fruit kick. Mel told me other other day that a local store had lychee fruit. I was there faster than she could say lychee fruit! In the past two weeks I have spent more money on fruit than on any other food item! But it has been amazing to have so many wonderful fruits in season and available to me at this stage of my pregnancy. 

Aside from fruit, the general palate has not changed much. I am still eating pretty bland foods.

Breakfast consists of cereal with fiber, almonds, and whatever berry we have washed and available or an english muffin with peanut butter and apple butter.

Lunch is variable every day. It is typically pretty big and spread out throughout the entire day. I usually have yogurt with fiber cereal, crackers and hummus, a Trader Joes meal of some kind (today was Indian: chicken tikka masala), a granola bar, and fruit!

Dinner is variable in size and selection. The "no cooking" rule is still in effect (unless it is mac & cheese or other pasta dish) and some days I can eat a lot (last night!) and other days I eat almost nothing. 

Once I start cooking/baking again I will return with recipes and food pictures!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Weight Gain

I have a very good excuse though...

I am growing a "little bug*" inside me! (*The in utero name is still undecided- I hope this is no indication of how real name picking is going to go... but I do believe it will not be easy!)

The weight gain is not that bad- ~3lbs gained for almost 15 weeks!

So yes, around December 3rd-- TE, the King Pup and I will welcome this new addition to our family!
And since this is a food blog I will tell all my readers about my food adventures as I continue to grow :)

In the first trimester, I felt good during the day -- but come night time (starting between 4-7) I felt as if I had come down with the flu. Every night. And if that was not bad enough, I could not eat enough to not wake up at 2 or 3am starving!! It took one email to dietitian extraordinaire LR, and a few late night experiments to realize nothing was going to help, just time, and getting out of the first trimester! Now I eat well, sleep even better (for the most part) and am ready for the growth phase!!

My clothes are already a bit too tight. I eat a lot of cheese and fruit. I can not (do not want to) eat coffee, onions or garlic. And I drink more water than I thought was possible. Excessive thirst was my first pregnancy "sign." Other than that things are pretty "boring" over here.

More updates to come!! I hope you are all still out there :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I guess I failed to update my readers on the last two week's weigh ins... maybe my subconscious was forming a mental block.

I gained the 1.4lbs back last week, then lost it again this week. I guess things could be worse...?
I think strict counting is going to need to happen and I am going back and forth about how to best do it (paper method, online, CRON-O-Meter, etc...) But that decision is really just procrastination at its finest.

I also need to re-inspire myself with the science of calorie restriction. I looked back at some old posts recently and I remember now how hard it was to start counting and how hungry I actually felt in the beginning- and what really motivated me was the science!

Also back then I had people supporting me 3x/week (people I miss terribly! I ran into one of the study scientists the other day and I resisted the urge to yell- "TAKE ME BACK!!!" hahahaha) so now I am faced with the ongoing battle of how to do something difficult for myself. With no one benefiting from it but me.

Tonight I am making an oldie-but-goodie recipe. Turkey meatloaf. I remember enjoying it and I have all the ingredients- so that is on tonight's agenda. Also, my "scarf" (or linear piece of knitted yarn) is coming along very well, only 2 holes so far! I will say though, it is far less satisfying than baking-- maybe once I get better at knitting and I can produce something that will distract me from baking... maybe.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up and Gooey Bars

I know this is very delayed- things got crazy here! But for my diligent readers: on Tuesday, I had my weekly weigh in and discovered I lost 1.4lbs. Yay! Somehow...

It will be interesting to see 1)  if I can keep it off and 2) if it was actually "real" weight loss...

Food planning has been manageable. Obviously some days were better than others, but I think if I am going to have long term success in managing my weight/calorie intake this is an appropriate amount of time that I would want to spend thinking about my food intake :) So let's hope it was actual weight loss and I can do it...

I am still finding myself baking and cooking when I get stressed out. Take last night for an example: I roasted a chicken, made a mushroom barley risotto (yum!), and dangerously--- Gooey Bars.

Gooey bars are a "13yo Liz and AJ creation." I don't think I have made these since I was 13, but for some odd reason I was feeling nostalgic and really wanted to try to recreate them. So I did it from memory.
This is a very basic baked good. Something a 13 year old would find truly amazing.

Here is the gist of it:

Brownies from a box (baked according to the "fudgy" instructions), and underbaked about 15min
Once they have been mostly baked, remove pan from oven and top with:
mini marshmallows
chocolate chips
peanut butter chips
pretzels (I remember using Cheerios back in the day...)
and then drizzled, all over the top, with sweetened condensed milk
Place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the marshmallows are toasted and the sweetened milk is caramelized.

How is that for a healthy, diet friendly recipe?! I am doomed this week!

My coworkers love/hate me for bringing the gooey bars in to work today. One of our new students, astutely asked- "How is it fair that you are on a diet, Liz, and bringing US these Gooey Bars?!"

It is not fair.... But I reassured everyone here at work that this weekend I am learning how to knit a scarf for my latest hobby. It is my attempt to try to break the cycle of "comfort cooking...."

I wonder how many scarves I am going to need to make... :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 2 Disaster

It all started so well!

Yesterday I had such good intentions of eating a strictly-caloric-controlled dinner. That failed. Miserably.

My friend is going through a professional crisis so she came over to relax-- we went on a walk with the King Pup, and enjoyed drinks and snacks, and then we went out to dinner with TE.

TE and I were discussing what to do/where to go, and I could hear his happiness through the phone when I mentioned going to our favorite neighborhood restaurant... so we went. Despite my better judgement I consumed way too much food in the hours we waited for our 9:30pm dinner reservation. Let me proceed to disgust you all with the reality of how one could possibly gain more than 1lb/week...

Snack Time: 1240c
I should have stopped there, things would have been so much better...

1/2 bottle of white wine (305c)- I think that is a low estimate... but what I found from calorie king.. hmm
2 oz Tortilla chips (275c)
Salsa (50c)
Guacamole (160c)
Cheese (250c)
Crackers (200c)

Dinner: 1535c
Oy...At least I did not continue drinking...

Charcuterie (who even knows.. 400c?)
Toasts (100c)
Jam (35c)
Pasta with squash and chestnuts (700c at least)
Chocolate Terrine with basil ice cream dessert (300c since I did not eat all of it...)

I am sick thinking about it.

So today, I am being better. Getting right back up onto the proverbial horse. Which means that I had to refrain from a coworker lunch trip to a neighborhood Brazilian meat buffet. I am the only one in the building- and I feel like I made a poor choice, even though it was in my best health and financial judgement (I am trying not to eat all of my salary...).

This feeling reminds me a bit of one episode of Friends, where Rachel becomes a smoker because she thinks she will miss out on promotions and work insights by not being out on the smoking breaks with her boss. But alas, I am going to stay strong though this and try to work off the extra 2175 calories (!!) I consumed last night....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Days 1 and 2

I think I was successful yesterday-- I had very strong will power because it was my first day back-- it is always easier to start...
For dinner/snacks (and my remaining 600-700 calories) I went out with a friend to a bar to catch up. Going out is never good for counting calories, but this place has a great vegan menu and very healthy food options!
I had:
1 glass (8oz) of red wine (200c)
2c raw veggies (carrots, celery, peppers, and string beans) (~100, I am not being strict with my counting veggies)
Pita chips (~160)
Chicken/beef/potato skewer (100)

Then- when I got home, even though my wonderful husband made us a tasty dinner of roasted chicken thighs and barley, I refrained from eating dinner #2 by cleaning the dishes. At least I get to enjoy his culinary skills for leftovers today! While relaxing I made a mix of dried apricots and cranberries to go with my herbal tea... how exciting!

Today is starting out well. This morning I made steel cut oatmeal:

Recipe makes 2 servings (410 calories each)

1/2c Steel cut oats
2c  water
30g Almonds, chopped
30g dried cherries
1/2T butter

Topped with 1T maple syrup and 2T skim milk

Lunch will be the leftover chicken, barley and Brussels sprouts. I am guessing it is around 450 calories, and I figure one meal a day with realistic estimation should be fine. We will see after a week of that- and I will need to be strict with my dinner tonight.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Getting Real

Last week I decided I would start weighing myself and being more conscious of my diet. So I picked one day day- Tuesday- every week to reenact my CALERIE weekly check-ins. I would do this by keeping a weight log and thinking about diet tips and how I can improve my choices for the upcoming week.

I started last week needing to lose 10 (!!TEN!!) pounds. Within the week I gained 1lb. Ick. I have now realized that I just gained back the last year of weight that I had lost in the study. Dietitian, LR, had talked to us about what weight we would hit before we would rein it back in- I had previously thought +5lbs. If only.

So this week I am getting back to my accountability and blogging about my food Every.Day.

I am (re)recognizing the need to count calories, plan, and measure if I want to lose weight (AND continue to age healthily/more slowly). Guessing/estimating is not working out- maybe it would if I were used to being strict and used to what 1600 calories feels like- but I am neither-- so back to strict.

Here is what I have eaten today so far:

Breakfast: 380 calories
English Muffin (100cal/5g fiber)
2T PB (200)
Fig jam (40)
Skim Milk (40)

Kashi Cereal Bar (130/3)

Lunch: 510 calories
Sandwich (380/5)
Triscuit crackers (130)

Leaving around 600 calories for tonight... I will need to think about this one :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Goals

Howdy there readers, I am back!

This time I plan to stick around.
I am finally feeling more settled: I have been working at my job now for 2 months (!!), I cleaned out my desk at my graduate school (maybe a little prematurely since we just got our reviewer requests for my paper), and am slowly making my way back into my yoga routine. And the holiday season is over- I can finally stop blaming my poor eating choices on the holidays!

I have big plans for the new year (doesn't everyone?!?) and the first of which is the lose the 8 (!!) pounds I gained since October (eeek!!). I am inspired by the holiday CALERIE party I attended, where I was reminded that I did eat well for 2 years and actually saw the benefits of my mindful eating habits. My favorite souvenir from the party was my DEXA scan/results. I went from 31% body fat to 23% after 2 years on CR!! And even though I was not losing weight (or much weight) after the first 6 months or so, I still continued to improve my fat/lean muscle distribution.

I am inspired to continue my yoga practice as well. In my lazy, movie watching stupor I watched Ashtanga, NY and I think I will keep it ready to watch whenever I feel like skipping a practice. We also have a new teacher for the month, while our regular teacher is away, and he gave me some good tips to work on a few moves I have been struggling with.

And finally, I am going to work on keeping active in scientific outreach. I want to continue to mentor students and be involved in the scientific community.

All the while blogging- in an effort to keep me honest and for the extra accountability. Let's hear it for new year's resolutions! :)