19 September 2014

2nd pregnancy – First Trimester Reflections

You’ll have to forgive me, for sharing our big news a few months ago, then going silent. I can’t say it was intentional…the days and weeks just seem to be flying by so fast at the moment.

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In fact, I officially finished the first trimester 6 weeks ago (?!) yet am only now sitting down to put thoughts on paper. I loved having my first pregnancy diaries to look back on, and compare with, so feel it would be nice to do an abridged version this time around too. So here it is.

Mind

After undergoing multiple rounds of IVF, the news that we were actually, truly, pregnant, was simply amazing. But having a highly monitored cycle – means that we found out really early. Like 4 weeks early.  And we were realistic enough to know that a positive pregnancy test did not necessarily mean the pregnancy would progress.

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The countdown to the all-important scan at 7 weeks was a killer. I  stopped running, and despite my best efforts to stay busy, it was hard not to get my hopes up. And plan the upcoming months.

Thankfully, THANKFULLY, we walked out of that first scan with big smiles – after being our little jelly bean’s heart beating nice and strong, and measuring spot on.

Big sigh of relief, indeed.

We broke the news to our families – who were well aware of our IVF attempts – and, as you can imagine, they were all thrilled to bits.  C even outed me to her daycare teachers when she declared, with gusto, that “Mummy’s got a baby in her tummy”.

Yes…a 2 year old is not the best secret keeper its turns out!

The next big milestone was the 13 week scan, at which the various other screening tests also took place. We again received fantastic results – and finally – we felt that we could really get excited. And breathe.

Body

In some ways this pregnancy has been very similar to my first. I stacked on weight early (yes it seems as soon as I get that positive pregnancy test I go up a dress size, or two), and I started experiencing headaches.

But in more many ways, it has been incredibly different.

This time I’ve been suffering from horrible all-day nausea – which started at 6 weeks and continued to the end of the first trimester. The nausea seemed to get worse as the day went on, peaking just before bed time – only easing while I was eating – and  returning shortly after I stopped. Carbs, carbs and more carbs were my friend, and the desire to cook disappeared completely.  This was all very new to me, as when pregnant with Charlotte, I pretty much functioned as normal throughout the first trimester.

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(11 weeks pregnant, and feeling oh so sick)

I also had grand plans to run or at least continuing exercising throughout this pregnancy, but I stopped around 7 weeks. The all-consuming nausea seriously knocked me around, and it took all the effort I had to put on a straight face, squeeze into clothes that weren’t tracksuit pants, and keep up appearances at work. All while running around after a toddler of course. Bed times came earlier and earlier, and I headed to bed at the same time as C most nights. Yes, 7.30pm.

Soul

When pregnant with Charlotte, it was all I could think about.

This time, if I’m honest, I frequently forget that I’m pregnant! Sure I catch a glimpse of my expanding body in the mirror and am quickly reminded, but truthfully, there are moments in the day when I simply just forget.

But, despite this, I am so very excited about the prospect of our family becoming a family of 4. I can’t wait for C to be a big sister – a role I have no doubt she will take on with enthusiasm.  And I am constantly overwhelmed with feelings of gratefulness – and awe - as to the wonders of modern medicine.

So the first trimester, in summary:

How I felt? Tired and sick. Horribly sick.

What I missed? Running, no feeling sick, vino, rare steak and brie cheese.

Symptoms? Nausea and headaches. The seemingly dreaded duo.

Cravings?  Carbs, carbs and more carbs. Preferably something I didn’t have to cook. Yes I think ate more takeaway during the first trimester than I have in the last 5 years!

Highlights? The wonderful wonderful news that we were pregnant, and seeing our little one grow and grow!

But although it was a rather rough first 13 weeks, I am pleased to report that things have improved since then. All to be covered when I recap the second trimester!

17 September 2014

Lemon feta asparagus

The asparagus theme continues this week, as we happily munch our way through the various bunches gifted to us.

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I opted to keep things simple with our second dish.

No fuss, no messing around. But also no compromising on flavour.

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Simply – asparagus spears – grilled to perfection. Then topped with mint leaves, lemon rind and a good amount of creamy feta.

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Finished with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice – and our lovely little side dish was complete!

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Served, on this occasion, with some steak and olive sourdough. Although the real star, hands down, was that grilled asparagus. Just delicious really!

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Thanks again to the Australian Asparagus Council for their surprise asparagus gift!

14 September 2014

Chicken & asparagus salad with pesto yoghurt dressing

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Happy Monday lovely people! We just finished a beautifully balanced weekend. Some chores, some fitness, some good eating , and some relaxation. And we are all feeling very accomplished!

I am also loving what appears to be the return of my energy levels now that the first trimester has passed. Not to mention the return of my appetite for healthy foods and salads. 

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(my dinner-making audience)

Thus a delivery from the Australian Asparagus Council last week could not have been more timely. For come Friday night, and after a big lunch, I was craving salad for dinner. And with the asparagus as a starting point, the rest came together pretty quickly.

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Grilled chicken for protein, along with the asparagus that I also grilled.

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Piled high on a salad of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado and creamy feta.

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Finished with a little ‘throw together’ dressing of two big spoonfuls of yoghurt – mixed with a spoonful of pesto.

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All together now!

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Gosh I am loving that my appetite for dinners like this has returned – so many flavours and textures in one bowl!

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And with the warm chicken and charred asparagus – this was one tasty meal indeed.

What about you? What is your favourite way to use asparagus?

ps. Did you know that you can store asparagus by standing it upright in a container in the fridge,  with 1cm of cold water in the bottom (covered)?  I had no idea! Check out www.asaparagus.com.au for more handy asparagus tips!

Thanks again to the Australian Asparagus Council for their surprise asparagus gift!

12 September 2014

Mushroom, egg & herb fettuccine

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There is no mistaking, that these last few months have all been about carbs. Comfort food.

And while some of it has to do with the cooler weather, I suspect most of it has to do with a very different pregnancy experience this second time around.  I’ve been meaning to post about it, actually, just struggling a little with limited time and low energy.

But needless to say – meals like this pasta dish – have been making a regular appearance.

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Simply – wholemeal fettuccine- cooked until al dente. Then added to sliced mushrooms, onion, and garlic, that I had softened in a little olive oil.

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To that – we added a couple eggs – and allowed them to cook through – and form a lovely little sauce.

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Then finished with a good amount of mixed herbs (chopped parsley, basil and a little thyme).

Yes, my friends, this was a perfect comfort meal indeed.

What about you? What is your favourite pasta combination?

09 September 2014

Father’s Day 2014

In what is quickly becoming an annual tradition, we hosted a family Father’s Day brunch / lunch over the weekend.  And, as has been the case in the last two years (2012, 2013), we were blessed with perfect Spring weather and sunshine.

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This year, my inspiration for lunch came in the form of dessert. For I have been wanting to make baklava for a while now. So, working backwards, a ‘Turkish theme’ began to emerge.

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We aimed to to eat lunch around midday – given the little one’s nap time (she ended up falling asleep at the dinner table shortly after 1!). And, in the end, we didn’t worry about serving starters and mains separately, just loaded up the dinner table with everything when it came time to eat and “dug in”!

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There were homemade dips (carrot, beetroot, hummus) with the most delicious freshly baked bread from our local bakery. There were marinated olives, and a rather rustic attempt at spinach and feta borek.

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For main, Mr BBB worked his magic on the BBQ, grilling some meat we had marinated overnight (sis tavuk, kofte and lamb cutlets), served with buttery pilav rice and a chopped salad).

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But for dessert – it was all about baklava. And I was pretty happy with my first attempt (for working with filo is new to me). Layer upon layer of buttery, sweet goodness – and jam packed with pistachios and walnuts.

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Overall – it was a beautiful day,  blessed with great family and great company. And to celebrate the Father’s in our lives nonetheless! And while sadly I could not spend the day with my Dad (we are catching up with my family in a few weeks time) it was wonderful to spend the day with my ‘adopted’ Canberra family – with the surprise addition of Mr BBB’s niece and her husband who travelled here from interstate.

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It’s hard to believe that this time next year we will have a 7 month old and be a family of four!

What about you? How did you celebrate Fathers Day?

04 September 2014

BBQ pork ramen noodle soup

This was a meal that came together oh so quickly this week. But time saved did not mean sacrificing on flavour, thanks to a few simple ingredients (and with the help of some store-bought BBQ pork from a local Chinese restaurant).

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Simply – a flavoursome broth – made with chicken stock, soy, garlic, ginger and spring onions.

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To which we added bok choy and ramen noodles.

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Ladled into large bowls with lashings of the BBQ pork, and finished with some fresh chillies and more sliced spring onions.

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Yes, my friends, this soup hit the spot just beautifully one chilly evening.

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And took literally only moments to prepare, and even the little Miss goggled down the noodles and pork with gusto.

A winner all round!

What about you? Are you a fan of soups like these?

02 September 2014

Chicken salad with lite caesar dressing

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Let’s start the week off, with something that’s a little lighter. For after weeks, nay months, of craving nothing but carbs (and not the ‘good’ kind) I’ve been seizing any hint of salad craving with gusto.

On this occasion, it was a chicken salad.

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Jazzed up with  some avocado, boiled eggs and beautiful varieties of tomatoes.

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Grilled chicken for protein, and drizzled with a homemade caesar dressing – the lite version.

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Simply, 2T natural yoghurt, 1/2 T tahini, i clove garlic (crushed), 1 tsp lemon juice and 1/4 tsp ground cumin.  Stirred together and seasoned to taste.

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Drizzled over the salad – topped with parmesan – and our lightened up dinner was complete!

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I love using yoghurt as a dressing base – for it is full of flavour but not overpowering. Plus it is often far more healthier than its calorie-laden oil or mayo-based counterparts.

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As for the salad itself? Well when there are boiled eggs and beautiful fresh tomatoes involved – you can rarely go wrong Winking smile 

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What about you? What is your favourite salad dressing?