Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Big Gender Reveal

I can’t remember the last time I anticipated an event like I did with our 2nd trimester anatomy ultrasound!


I was going to find out if my baby was a girl or boy!  It seemed so crazy to me that I was going to know this information, and it was one step closer to making this whole baby “thing” seem more real!

18 weeks (and a few days)…this was the day of the ultrasound! 

The weeks leading up to Wednesday were the longest I can remember.  This was like right up there with my wedding day.  I didn’t even think I’d be able to sleep the night before…it felt like the biggest Christmas Eve of my life!!

My appointment was at 10:30am, but there was no way I was going into work beforehand…it would have been pointless.  Not like I’d be able to concentrate. 

The drive there, checking in at the hospital, waiting to register, then waiting in the ultrasound waiting room, then even waiting through the beginning of the ultrasound!!


Our ultrasound tech was a really nice woman and she asked if we wanted to know the gender, then got started.  First she started by looking at some of my anatomy, then the baby starting with the head and working her way down to make sure everything was there and measuring ok! 

Then we got to the goods.  I knew from seeing pictures of ultrasounds on BabyCenter that we were looking at that area, and I was trying to figure out if I could see anything before she said it.

Then she says: “see those 3 little lines, that usually means its a girl, but let me look around a little more to be sure”

2 seconds later

“yup, that’s definitely a girl!”

A girl??? A GIRL!!!!!  I didn’t freak out or anything, but as she continued with the ultrasound I was just kind of sitting there with a huge smile on my face trying to absorb that she just said I’m having a GIRL!!!!

So many people asked me ahead of time whether I had a “feeling” for what it was, and honestly I had no idea.  I never got that “feeling” you all speak of.  Never had any dreams of one gender.  Nothing. 

I did notice that Brian and I both would sometimes refer to the baby as “he” or “him”.  So I guess a little part of me, if I had to pick, would have thought it was a boy. 

Being a girly girl myself, I think I always pictured myself with a daughter, although once I was actually pregnant I was getting excited at the thought of either a boy or girl. 


It all just feels so much more real now!!  All my family is pretty excited for a new little girl too!! 

Now I can start shopping, and thinking of nursery ideas, and NAMES!  Oh man, I have a feeling a name is going to be the hardest thing for me.

And no I’m not sharing until she’s born ;) 

Mom and I had a blast on Black Friday looking at all the cute baby girl clothes :)  But I was good and only bought one thing.


It was on sale!


says “love to shop” very fitting if you ask me.   

And there SHE is


She’s kind of smiling in that picture!  It’s still so weird to officially refer to her as a HER! 

Oh and everything else looked great!  10 fingers and toes.  We saw all 4 chambers of the heart…so cool!  Even saw her stomach which was full!  So she’s already a good eater :) 

Other than that the long weekend consisted of family time at Thanksgiving, shopping time with mom on Friday, family time with Brian’s family on Saturday and some delicious food today.

Almond-Coconut pancakes for breakfast



Mmmm cappuccino.  So happy my love of coffee returned!  Still I don’t have one everyday. 

Stuffed pork chops for dinner


One of my favorite Giada recipes…  Pork Chops stuffed with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Spinach.  Mmmm and goat cheese ;)

I also made a batch of quinoa salad to have for lunches with some grilled chicken.  This was basically:

  • quinoa cooked in chicken broth
  • chopped: red pepper, cucumber, red onion, celery
  • chick peas
  • spinach (baby spinach rough chopped)
  • Feta!
  • dressing of:  olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, dried oregano, garlic

Mix all together.  Add chopped grilled chicken.


In summary:

Hope you had a great weekend.

It’s a girl!!!

Let the fun begin!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

10th Annual “Apartment” Thanksgiving

So most all of you know by now I always host a Friends-giving the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  Its been a tradition since junior year of college and we just realized this marked the 10th Anniversary!!!  Crazy!! 

The setting, the food, and the guests have tweaked a little over the years but in general it’s stayed the same.  Only now I’m in a house not an “apartment”. 

You can check out all my past 3 years of blogging about Thanksgiving and all the recipes I’ve used here: 2011, 2010 (and this 2010 recap has links to 2009 and 2008 which have some of my traditional recipes).

Some highlights from this year?

First, I switched up the method of cooking the Turkey for the first time ever!

I decided I wanted to try a brine and opted to use arguably the most popular brined turkey recipe on the internet: the Good Eats Roast Turkey.


Brine ingredients. 

You let the turkey sit in the brine for 8-16 hours. I put mine in the brine the night before, and took it out around 11:00 AM the next day.

That’s the other thing I liked about this recipe…MUCH shorter cooking time!  You roast at 500 for 30min, then lower to 350 for 2-2.5 hours until the bird is done. 

The recipe recommends using a thermometer probe in the thickest part of the breast and removing the Turkey from the oven when a temp of 161 is reached. 


My only gripe is that I think I should have taken it out earlier.  Once the thermometer beep went off at 161 degrees, the popper had popped and I wonder if it had popped much earlier?  I think the meat was delicious, but the white meat was a tad drier than I was hoping with this brined turkey.

Although the drippings made some KILLER gravy this year.


Nothing groundbreaking here.  I always boil carrots as a side because I use the cooked carrot broth in the gravy.  HOWEVER, this year we remembered we still had carrots planted in our garden!

The only green left in the garden.


A few colored ones!

I couldn’t believe how many we pulled up!



These were simply served with butter


Of course the classic family recipe stuffing.


Green beans


I also had fun with the cheese plate this year!

My bff got me a slate cheese board for my bday last year and I had YET to use it!! 


We hit up Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge and asked the guy to help us pick 3 cheeses.  I wish I could just go in there and sample EVERY cheese in that shop!! 


We went with a smooth comte, a 2.5year aged gouda, and a soft goat that was more on the mild side.  I love stinky cheese, but always go milder for guests.              

Apps and Drinks


And finally Desserts!!

After doing some online browsing for new fun, yet simple recipes….I picked these:

White Chocolate Mousse with Pomegranate Granita

This was actually super simple and SO good.  Definitely a favorite of everyone that came.  Plus they look fancy.


This was an eggless mousse that basically was just white chocolate, cream, and crème fraiche!

The pomegranate granita couldn’t have been easier.  Just dissolve the sugar into the POM juice and freeze.  Before I was ready to serve I just ran a fork through it to break up the ice.

I didn’t even make the pomegranate syrup, and honestly you didn’t need it.


Served in my grandmothers colored glasses she gave me :)


Rich but delicious and refreshing at the same time.

Next was….

Apple Galettes with Caramel Sauce


The recipe called for packaged puff pastry, but I just made a simple pastry dough from one of my cookbooks…your basic flour, butter, water.

I loved the addition of almond pasted under the apples


But I made some without it for my friends with nut-allergies.


Right before I served them, I made the caramel sauce on the stove.  It only takes a few minutes.


These were awesome!  Although if you have leftovers, the caramel sauce gets a little weird just sitting on top.  So I’d recommend not topping them all with caramel unless someone wants to eat them all.


Mini Black Bottom Pies!       IMG_5490

Not the best photo.  But I used the same pastry dough as the apple galettes, and used a recipe from an OLD OLD Betty Crocker Cookbook.


I only used 1 Tbsp of Rum in the recipe though and thought it was definitely enough!

Its basically a pie with a layer of a chocolate cream filling on the bottom, then a rum-custard filling over that.  Then serve with fresh whipped cream!

Well I think that just about covers it for House Thanksgiving 2012!!

It’s always a blast with my friends…although I think next year we will most definitely need a kids table!!  Crazy!

Speaking of kids…  I find out the gender of my baby today!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I CAN NOT EVEN WAIT!!  Only a few more hours now!!!

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

And so Turkey month begins!!

Usually I end up with 3 Thanksgiving dinners during this time of year.  The first being the one I host for my friends (a tradition since Junior year of college), the 2nd on actual Thanksgiving with my family, and the 3rd the Saturday after Thanksgiving with Brian’s family.

Well the season kicked off early this year with #4.  Another friend decided to have a “Friendsgiving” this past weekend to double as a house-warming! 

I was excited mostly because I got to see college friends I haven’t seen in a while and try out a new fun dessert!


After racking my brain for a while, and realizing I didn’t have time for anything that involved making any component ahead of time, I opted for a cheesecake.

Not any cheesecake though.  I was going to go off of my grandmother’s recipe which is my and my family’s FAVORITE! 

Ok, so her recipe is from some random old cookbook, but in my mind it’s still “Nanny’s cheesecake”.


I started there, but wanted to put a festive twist on it and after a little online research I blended 3 recipes into what I wanted!

Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust
makes 1 9” diameter cheesecake

adapted from Nanny’s recipe, this epicurious recipe, and this allrecipes recipe


  • 8 oz gingersnap cookies
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2T brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted


  • 3.5 packages cream cheese (8 oz each), room temp
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar (scant)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • shake of nutmeg and cloves


  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350

In a food processor, grind cookies, pecans, and brown sugar until finely ground.  Add melted butter and pulse until all combined.

Grease a 9” spring form pan with cooking spray or butter (I used a non-stick pan and it didn’t need to be greased). 

Pour crust mixture into the pan and press into the bottom and up the sides about 2”.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool in the fridge while you make the filling.

With a mixer, beat cream cheese until light.  Add eggs one at a time mixing on low after each.  Then add vanilla and sugar.  Beat until light and creamy. 


Add half of this mixture to your cooled crust. 


To the remaining filling mixture, add the pumpkin and spices and beat until well combined.  Carefully spread this mixture on top of the first layer.


Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes. 

In a separate bowl beat together sour cream, sugar, and vanilla with a spoon.  Spread on top of cheesecake surface.  Bake for another 5 minutes.

Cool, and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, or overnight.


YUM!!  Love the crust, and mostly I love that the pumpkin aspect isn’t overpowering the cheesecake flavor.  I love the layer of classic cheesecake, the pumpkin layer adds a nice subtle spice and flavor, and the sour cream topping gives it a delicious sweet tangy flavor. 


This cheesecake got rave reviews at the party and Brian is fully enjoying the leftovers ;)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Bump and Other Updates


Well step one in getting back to blogging was my last post.  Now step 2 needs to be trying to get back to a schedule.  Apparently easier said than done ;)

But I’m going to start with a little update on my baby bump progression…or lack there of!

I know I’ll look back in a few months and regret saying this, but….I WANT MY BABY BUMP! 

Yes it would be nice to take the picture every week, in the same spot, with the same outfit… but well that’s just not happening.4 weeks

5 weeks 

And of course missed a few weeks, but as far as belly growth they were quite uneventful.   My pants didn’t even start feeling tight until around week 11 or 12!


13 weeks 14 weeks 2  IMG_3450











The other funny thing is when I took those photos I always felt like the bump looked bigger in the picture than it did in the mirror to my eyes.

So yeah, unless you know I’m pregnant most of the time I don’t even look it.  But I’m also not wearing leggings and tight shirts out in public haha. 

Case in point… I was 16 weeks this past weekend and had a fabulous time at Elizabeth’s wedding!!!

IMG_5246 (750x563)

Me, the lovely bride Elizabeth, and Tina

IMG_5233 (563x750)

I was looking for a dress to camouflage the belly and think I succeeded.  I actually decided to use Rent the Runway for this!!  I’m bigger than my normal size with my growing belly and apparently chest as well, so I didn’t really want to by a dress that would only be good for a few weeks.  I also had a $50 birthday credit to RTR and decided to try it out!

Luckily the dress ended up JUST fitting over my chest ;)  But it worked and I loved it!  So fun, and just had to toss it in a pre-paid envelope the next day!

And you can’t see it but I’m also wearing my fun magenta/pink heals I wore at my wedding! 

The wedding was a blast and even bonus there were cake pops!!

photo (9)

I’m definitely not in maternity clothing yet, but I’ve been getting a lot of use out of those Be-Bands! They are like a stretchy band you can pull up over your pants in order to leave your pants unbuttoned. I have one in black and neutral. I’ve heard mixed reviews on them, but I love them so far…they make it so I can still wear all my pants!

Lets see… in other news I turned 30 today!! 

I love birthdays but still not sure how I feel about this one yet ;)

But unfortunately it was a bittersweet day as my grandfather passed away on Saturday and the services were also today.  Not my first choice for a birthday, but it was actually really nice to be with ALLLLL my family today :)  My grand parents had 9 children and 25 grandchildren and we were all there. 

There was even a small bouquet of flowers the night before at the wake from his great-grandchild on the way :)  Talk about a tear jerker. 

Sorry to leave this post on a sad note! 

But I’ll have more fun things to report soon.  Especially since I was told to be free Friday night ;)  

Have a nice night everyone!