Thursday, December 28, 2006


If you are a broad bean, you get to live in this comfy, soft pod. I like to squish it with my finger; it feels so nice.

Of course, the future of these beans is something rather less comfortable.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

369 days until Christmas

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas!

We had a nice quiet day - ate too much great food, and DS was thoroughly spoiled by all! Still - it was fun to see his delight in what Santa brought. I think the ride-on digger from Nan & Pop was the biggest hit!

I got the Queen of Swords by Sara Donati for my Mum and she (unbeknownst to me) got a copy for me! Yay! So I didn't have to borrow it off her! LOL! I've finished it already though and need another book. :-)

I had a midwife appt this morning and the good news is that I am well and baby is fine too. The bad news is that baby is posterior - the very thing I was hoping to avoid. If it doesn't turn before/during birth I'm in for a long labour with lots of back pain. To say I'm disappointed doesn't begin to explain my feelings! Poor DS saw me upset and was offering me arnica cream "to make you feel better". I have absolutely no signs of labour.

I was nervous about the birthing before, but it's been ramped up another level now because I've been down this posterior path business before with DS. My hopes for minimal intervention are more remote now; most likely I'll have an epidural at least. I realise this isn't a Bad Thing and I'm likely to be very grateful for it, but I did really want to try and do things "naturally" so my recovery would be a bit easier. At least my midwife has offered to get a specialist epi man to give me one that will allow me to be on my hands and knees rather than on my back with jelly-legs like last time. Pushing on my back was the worst for me; I felt like I wanted to squat or at least be upright so I hope that this will at least be possible.

I've been spending so much time on my hands and knees trying to turn this baby ever since I knew my placenta was anterior. My garden is virtually weed free - a highly unusual situation! My kitchen floor has never been so frequently scrubbed! I just find it hard to reconcile myself that all my preparation/carefulness has been in vain.

Still - must look on the bright side. At least my baby seems healthy and growing fine so far as we know. The friend I referred to in an earlier post has had her baby at 33 weeks. Somehow she caught toxoplasmosis and her baby has been affected. At this stage, they don't know how badly his brain will be affected; they already know his eyes have been. He has at least 12 months worth of treatment to face. Fortunately he is doing well in terms of growing and putting on weight. What his future holds remains to be seen. The Drs offered to terminate the pregnancy (at 33 weeks!!) but my friends refused for which I admire them immensely.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Naughty or nice?

Test yourself!

Apparently I've been:
Nice, but has naughty lapses. High marks in the good deeds department. Better than average manners. Hopefully, thoughtfulness will continue to be as good as last month. Neatness needs improvement!

hee hee!

Monday, December 18, 2006

38 weeks

Just to prove I'm still here.


Made Potato Gnocchi the other night. It's one of my favourites! The good thing about it is you can make extra and freeze them (free flow) for those "can't-be-bothered-cooking" days. Making gnocchi is a bit time consuming, so take a seat and enjoy the process.

1 potato per person (use a floury potato - Agria seems to give the best results for me, but I've used Rua with success too)
Egg *
salt & pepper
little bit of ground nutmeg

1. Boil the potatoes in their skins until cooked. Boiling in their skins keeps them from getting water-logged.
2. Allow to cool slightly.
3. Cut in half and push through a potato ricer. Using a potato ricer will give you the best results because it doesn't break up the potato cells to release their starch making a glutinous, heavy texture. If you don't have a potato ricer, try pushing the potato through a large holed grater or colander.
4. Add salt & pepper, nutmeg to taste.
5. Add an egg and stir it all together. If you're making this for more than 5 people I'd add another egg.
6. Now add flour. I can't give you exact amounts because I do this bit "by feel". Basically, you add flour and knead it in until the dough feels velvety. You should be able to grab a bit of dough and roll it between your hands to make a "snake" without it falling apart.
7. On a floured board, roll out lots of dough "snakes" about 1.5 cm thick. Cut into 1 cm "pillows" and roll these into little balls.
8. Take a ball and press it onto the tines of a fork. Peel it off the times towards you so you have a kind of ridged grub. Place these on a floured tray.
9. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, and turn down the heat so it's at a gentle simmer. Drop in the gnocchi one by one. When they rise to the surface, skim them off with a slotted spoon into a serving dish.
10. Pour over your pasta sauce of choice and enjoy!

* Gnocchi can be made without eggs for those who have egg-free households. They don't freeze as well as the egg ones though. If you do want to freeze non-egg gnocchi, you will have to place them still frozen into the sauce and warm the whole thing in the oven. If you use boiling water they will disintegrate. Egg-free gnocchi are best with simple sauce flavourings like melted butter and sage leaves.

I made a tomato sauce to have these because it is lower in fat. This sauce can be made in bulk and frozen into useful serving portions too. You can use fresh tomatoes to make the sauce but it will take longer to reduce, and you will probably want to skin the tomatoes first.

400g can of tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic
fresh herbs to flavour eg. oregano, rosemary, basil
bit of tomato paste
slosh of olive oil

Put the tomato, garlic and herbs into a pot and blend with a stick-blender (or puree it all in a food processor before putting it into a pot).
Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer to reduce the sauce. Stir reasonably frequently. This sauce tends to "spit" so I keep the lid half over it to stop it making too much of a mess. When it's reduce to a thick sauce, add the tomato paste and olive oil. Pour over the gnocchi and serve with lashings of parmesan. Yum!

Blue Cheese Sauce

Melt together a wedge of blue cheese with a 300ml bottle of cream and a tablespoon of butter. Lovely rich and fattening!

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Quick update

I am still around (literally) and in one piece! Just been busy with the stuff that happens this time of year.

Baby & I are fine. No signs of imminent arrival but just progressing in the normal manner. The baby's head is 1/5th engaged and is lying with it's back towards my right side. I hope it will turn a little before birth so that I don't have so much back labour this time.

I was so happy to find a recipe for an Apricot and Walnut Loaf I'd thought I'd lost. I made it for our weekend away. It's a tangy, crunchy type of loaf. The orange juice and zest give it a little extra lift.

2 1/2 cups plain flour, sifted
3 teasp. baking powder
1 teasp. salt
1 cup castor sugar
200g dried apricots, chopped
150g walnuts/pecans/ pumpkin kernels, chopped (I use a mixture of walnuts and pumpkin kernels)
1 Tablesp. orange zest, grated
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 Tablesp. oil (I used rice bran oil but any "flavourless" oil would be fine)
1 egg beaten

Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C. Lightly butter and line a loaf tin (23 x 13 x 6 cm).

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add sugar.
Add apricots and nuts. Toss to coat.
Mix together orange zest, juice, milk, egg & oil.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour liquids in. Stir to combine.
Pour mixture into the prepared tin, and bake for about an hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in tin for 10 mins then place on a rack to cool completely.

Great for morning tea.

If you have any spare "good thoughts", prayers, and other such like things, please send them up to the maternity unit at Auckland Hospital where a friend of mine is going through a tough time. Her little 33 week old boy has fluid on the brain, and she herself has cholestasis, and a number of other issues. She has 2 daughters who are 3 & 1 years old. She's on steriods to mature the baby's lungs etc but the outcome for him is uncertain.