Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas Meatloaf was a hit! As I mentioned in my post below, our Christmas plans were changed a little and at the last minute I ended up having to make dinner for just the two of us, well three if you count the dog but he only ate the meatloaf, he's not a fan of green bean casserole. Dinner wound up being really great. So great in fact that we had a repeat of it last night!

My meatloaf turned out delicious but I still have not mastered how to cook meatloaf for just two people. This thing was the size of Texas and fed us for 2.5 meals (and even then we had larger than life portions). My twiced baked potatoes were delightful. Marco had never had them before and I think it's something he'll be requesting again. It was the perfect mix of potato, sour cream, cheese and spices, topped with crumbled bacon and baked to perfection. It was also the first time Marco had green bean casserole and it was tasty as well. Simple is good sometimes.

Things that didn't shape up so nicely were a bit of a blessing in disguise I think...the desserts. Half of my Lemon Thumbprint cookies were ruined due to a bitter jam I used. There were only about 15 cookies that were left edible out of the whole batch and I'm pretty sure that over the course of the last few days I have been responsible for eating at least 10 of those 15. Bad Sarah, good cookies.

I didn't make the lemon tart after all. It just seemed redundant after the lemon cookies. I did, however, quickly whip up the oreo cheesecake truffles. It was quite a sight and that's not a good thing.

The recipe is simple, crush Oreos, blend with a package of cream cheese, form into balls, dip into melted chocolate and let cool. Simple right? I decided to skip the dipping in chocolate part mostly out of laziness but also due to time constraints. I crushed, mixed and rolled into walnut sized balls, dropped onto a plate and put them in the fridge to chill. After a few hours I took a peek and almost tossed my cookies, quite literally. Crushed chocolate cookies mixed with white cream cheese makes a lovely grey colored lump. The "truffles" looked more like old, dried out, grey, moldy meatballs. Who would even take one of those to try them? I decided maybe it wasn't too late to save the truffles so I melted some chocolate and rolled the lumps of death around in it, coating them thoroughly. I will admit they at least look edible now but after trying just one, they're not really all that good. So now I have an entire plate of them in my fridge and I just need to throw them out but it seems like such a waste of good ingredients. Oreos here are expensive I guess because they're an American product and cream cheese, well it's not expensive but it's just such a waste. Not wanting to "waste" food is no reason to pack on the unneeded calories though so tomorrow I'll toss them.

So food wise I didn't do nearly as badly as I had imagined this holiday season. Next year we hope to spend Christmas in the good ole US of A so I'll have plenty of opportunity to eat fantastic food cooked by somebody other than myself! I'm thinking some Christmas pizza a-la-my dad's fabulous recipes and maybe something on the gwill with Keith and Josher? Leave it to an (ex) food addict to already be planning for Christmas dinner(s) 2008!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas Everybody!

(my spell check isn't working so pardon any errors you may find... okay you WILL find)

It's 9:11 am Christmas morning in Amsterdam. Like a couple of kids Marco and I couldn't wait until this morning to exchange our gifts so there's really not much for us to wake up and get excited over today. So I'm just sitting here drinking a cup of coffee, listening to my Riverdance soundtrack and waiting for sleeping beauty to decide to wake up and join me.

Christmas is a little different here than my experiences in the US. At home we celebrate Christmas Eve just as much as we do Christmas day. Here they celebrate Christmas day and what is called '2nd Christmas Day' (or Boxing day in Australia) which is basically just the day after Christmas. With no big plans, Christmas Eve was spent on the new couch snuggling up watching Christmas movies and drinking some (gross) hot chocolate.

Christmas day we had planned on going to my friend Alexandra's house for to have dinner together and celebrate the holiday and then 2nd Christmas day we would spend with Marco's parents and family. Well Alexandra called me yesterday to tell me she's very sick and that we probably shouldn't come for Christmas! What a downer but I'm really glad she warned us because, being pregnant, (and actually any time) I want to stay as healthy as possibly which means staying as far away as possible from Alexandra today. That also meant that I was going to have to figure out what to make for Christmas dinner for the two of us. Ugh. The plan was for Alexandra to make the main course and I'd bring some sides and dessert.

I braved the chilly weather and headed to the grocery store which was an absolute zoo. I have never seen it so packed with people. Some were friendly but some were just downright rude. I didn't need much so I didn't get a cart, just grabbed a little basket. Even with just me and my basket I could barely fit down the aisles without bumping into people and knocking things over. By time I found what I needed I was pissed off, pushed around, stepped on and just plain old irritated.

After all the grocery store hustle and bustle the Aarssen's are having some Merry Christmas Meatloaf for their main course. Yeah, I know it's not Christmas-y but we hardly ever have meatloaf and Marco and I both like it, it was fast and easy to grab and get the hell out of there. I'm also making twice baked potatoes, greenbean casserole, lemon thumbprint cookies, oreo cheesecake truffles and a lemon tart. Yes, there is just two of us but there was originally supposed to be 5 of us and I already have all the stuff to bake. I did leave out the sweet potato casserole so I have scaled back slightly. Plus I love baking. It's definately my weight loss downfall (one of them!) Most of the desserts are for Marco's parents house but I have a feeling the scale is not going to be so kind as it has been the last couple of weeks. Can I blame it on the baby? Probably not but will that stop me, probably not!

I must have been a really great girl for Christmas this year because I was given some really great gifts. Sunday we went and saw Riverdance (this was my birthday present) and it was fabulous. It was the 4th time (2 times Riverdance, 1 time Lord of the Dance) I had seen it and this was by far the absolute best one yet. They had live music, not a soundtrack, and it was just amazing. We had excellant seats and it was a breathtaking show. I already have the DVD but Marco Claus got me the soundtrack to listen to as a gift. It's been playing non stop ever since. I also got a new coat and hat. Marco and I got some DVD's to finish off our Seinfeld collection as well as some Christmas movies and some classics like On Golden Pond.

We also bought some new stuff for the house for Christmas gifts. We got the hall table we'd been wanting. We bought a new rug for the living room. We bought a new kitchen faucet (because I hated the old one). We bought other things that I just can't think of now but our house is definately feeling more like a home and not 'a new house that was just moved into'. We're still looking for some great wall art. I have my heart set on buying an original Greetje Feenstra (click on 'bloem' and then 6 to see the one I love) who is a local Dutch artist who paints tulips and landscapes but haven't found "the one" yet. We went through the open art market on Sunday and I found another local artist that I loved. His name is Paulo Ferreira and I just couldn't quit looking at his work. It's not very often that I see art and really am drawn to it, I just don't have the ability to really appreciate it I think, but with Greetje and now Paulo, their art does that 'oh wow' thing to me.

So that's our Christmas in a nutshell. Okay so a very large nutshell. It's to keep those rabid squirrels away, really it is. I wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season and I hope you have a wonderful and safe New Years and be healthy (well as healthy as you can when there are oreo cheesecake balls and lemon tarts to be dealt with)!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

So with all the uterine drama this week I missed my weigh-in once again. I guess better late than never. I hopped on the scale this morning and was pleasantly surprised to see that I've maintained again from last week (and the week before). Not bad, not bad at all.

As I've discovered time and time again... you can't plan your life out. If you do you'll only be frustrated when you're trying to turn a hard left and life is dead set on spinning you out to the right. I've learned to go with the flow a little more and not stress over things that are pretty much out of my hands.

So I can't exercise every evening because I'm in bed at 8:30 (would be in by 8 but they're re-running Seinfeld and I just can't miss it no matter how many times I've seen them). So what. Right now I just can't do it. There is no use in beating myself up over it. I'll play catch up in the second trimester.

So I can't sleep through the night because I wake up with my stomach growling and some wee-morning nauseousness and have to get up to have a small snack even though it's 3am. Yeah, I'm not usually an after dinner snack-er but this is an unusual situation and calls for an unusual solution for the time being. Am I going to wake up at 3 am after pregnancy for a feeding? Yes, but it won't be my belly I'll be filling. It's a temporary thing and I just have to live with it for now.

One "duh!" moment did come to me as I was laying in bed last night. I am having to eat about every hour, hour and a half, just something small, to keep the queasiness away. It's no big deal, I have some low calories snacks with me at all times for these instances. What this does mean is that I'm eat a lot more often but a lot less at one sitting...except for my meals. I didn't realize (and don't ask me why) that even though I was eating more often, at my main meals I was still eating the same amount when really I should be cutting these meals down to smaller sizes because I am eating more frequently during the day. So starting today I had a smaller lunch and a smaller size dinner. Breakfast was small to begin with so cutting back on that isn't possible. This downsizing should help stave off the weight gain and maybe even slide the scale down in the negative direction a pound or two. I can't believe I didn't notice it (or think of it) sooner. Okay everybody...say it with me.... DUH!!!!

Hopefully I'm not the only one out there in weight loss land living and learning by their mistakes. This is a learning process that's for sure... sometimes I surprise myself at the stuff I still have to learn!

I hope you're all having success in staying away from the Christmas goodies (or at least eating them in moderation) and I wish you all a healthy week!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Meet my uterus (not for the squeemish)

I went to the doctor today because I'd been having some bleeding. I mentioned it a few posts ago when I talked about my sonogram. Well the bleeding happened on Thursday. We had our sonogram on Friday and everything was a-okay. The woman said my cervix looked irritated which could be causing the bleeding, possibly I had a yeast infection. Fine.

Saturday my peeved cervix was in a mood and I had some bright red blood again and a little bit on Sunday. I was still having some itching/burning so figured I'd call the doctor this morning even though there was no blood.

I went to my GP (you don't get an obgyn here unless you're high risk, you get a midwife and mine had yet to call me back) and she took a look. She told me she saw something "coming out of my uterus that looked like dead tissue but didn't look like a fetus either". Not something a pregnant woman wants to hear. She said she didn't feel comfortable making the call as this wasn't her area of expertise and wanted to send me to a gynecologist immediately. She wrote up a little description of why she was sending me and all I had to do was read the words "threatening miscarriage" and I was a basket case. I was there alone as I told Marco he didn't have to come because I was sure it was nothing. Good thinking Sarah. She made the appointment for me and sent me on my way.

We got to the hospital/gyno and waited for an eternity. I held it together in the waiting room but as soon as I was in the little room I broke down bawling. I was shaking like a leaf and just so scared I was going to lose this little one. A few pats on the back from the doctor and Marco and I stripped down to start the show. They immediately did an ultrasound and we could clearly see on the monitor that the baby was fine. The heartbeat was strong and it was moving around like crazy (I'm 9 weeks today according to ultrasounds). I couldn't believe how much the baby had changed since just Friday. He/she grew another 1.7 millimeters! What.a.relief. ANTM's second photo shoot was a great success.

Satisfied that the baby was safe she continued her search mission. She said that what had wasn't dead tissue it was a polyp and it was irritated. I'm really over things in my lower half being so bitchy all the time. Perk up uterus, it's Christmastime. She said as soon as she touched the polyp it started bleeding which was the blood that I was seeing not at all related to the pregnancy.

So she tried to remove it, thinking it would be easy or maybe it was loose (I guess this is what she was thinking) but couldn't get it. She then consulted other doctors and decided to leave it for now. They want me to come back so they can check and see if it has any malignant cells and will decide then if they will try to remove it or not. They don't know how far into my body is goes and are afraid it may extend to where it cold put the baby at risk if removed.

I've never had any problems like this and am totally in the dark. What's a polyp anyway? What causes it? What are the chances that it is/isn't cancerous? I asked her if it was common in pregnancy and she said no, which wasn't what I expected to hear. I expected and wanted was a cheery "oh yeah sure, it happens all the time, it's totally normal."

Good news, baby is fine. Whew. I have to go back either this Friday or on the 4th to get the polyp looked at again where the will determine if it's anything to be worried about and if it is cancerous or not and if they will remove it or let it be. So much for an uneventful pregnancy for me. I'm off to google polyps in pregnancy and scare the bejesus out of myself.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Teppanyaki yum!

We had our Legal Department Christmas dinner on Friday at a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant. It's one of those places where you're seated around an enormous grill and the chef prepares your meal right in front of you. Our department is small, only eight of us, so this kind of meal is really great for us. It was my first time at such a place and what a spectacular time it was!

Let me start by saying that I just never know what to order at these types of places. I want to try everything so browsing the menu is always takes a painstakingly long time. The "menus" always look enticing, where you order #1 or #4 and get all 7 courses (or however many there are). Then you look at the "al la carte" menu and you want to try little bits and pieces of those menu items too. You also don't know what size portions they're going to be serving so you don't want to over order but you don't want to short change yourself either, especially when it's on the company's tab!

I ended up ordering one of the pre-made "menus" and it was great choice. My starter was a piece of chicken, a piece of egg/omelet and some anchovy salad thing that I didn't eat. When I say "a piece of chicken" that was literally what it was, a bite size piece of chicken. It was delicious but I always wonder if these sort of portions are more of a tease than anything. I mean if I really fell in love with that chicken I couldn't even have another piece.

Then my second course came out as my colleagues who ordered al la carte still sat without food. It was "clear soup" as stated on the menu. I was curious as to what clear soup was going to be because really, isn't clear soup just a bowl of hot water? Otherwise wouldn't you call it "beef broth" or "chicken stock" or something... not just clear soup? My clear soup had a piece of carrot, a button mushroom and a piece of boiled pork in it. The soup was indeed clear but definitely not just a bowl of hot water. It was tasty, a bit on the salty side and hit the spot.

Then the magic began as the chef started preparing all of the other food on the grill. It was amazing to see him behead so many prawns (jumbo shrimp in the US, I think) in such a short amount of time. Seriously, one second there are little eyes looking at you and the next minute... swoosh... it was gone! He was a whiz with the extremely sharp knife and in no time those guys were grilled up and served on a side of grilled cabbage/veggie mix. I didn't have any prawns but they sure smelled wonderful.

The cooking of the fried rice before your eyes was really kind of cool. I never realized how much work actually went into making a bowl of fried rice but it's a lot more complicated than I imagined.

My next dish was part of my main course. I had grilled salmon and grilled ______ (insert name of the fillet of white fish that I can no longer think of the name of at this time) and they were both perfectly seasoned and great tasting. I have never been a fan of salmon in the past, it was always too "fishy" tasting for me but I decided to be open minded about it and I was really glad I was. It wasn't too fishy at all and is quite good for you! This part came with a side of cabbage/sprout/veg mix that was okay but nothing to write home about. It also had some grilled zucchini, mushrooms and grilled white onions which were a perfect compliment to the rest of the dish. The zucchini was so delicious and I couldn't figure out why. I watched him cut it, grill it and season it and there didn't seem to be a trick but I know my zucchini never tastes that good.

Then I had a bowl of 5 veggie salad with sesame dressing that was really great. The veggies were all julienned so I'm not quite sure what the mix was but it was a nice salad. Just enough to leave you satisfied.

Next (yeah, we weren't done yet!) came my steak which was so tender and tasty. It came with a side of steamed white rice and I think some more veg. I enjoyed every single bite of it and tried all of the sauces available and liked every single one.

Lastly came the "grand dessert" as stated on the menu. I was expecting something tall, dripping with chocolate, whipped cream, possibly on fire with a name like "grand dessert" but it was actually pretty ordinary. It was slices of fruit (pineapple, melon) with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop (European scoops are WAY WAY smaller than an American scoop... one scoop is probably a tablespoonful here) of very yummy cherry sorbet, and a tiny slice of what they call here "cheesecake" but is nowhere near what cheesecake is to me. It was all very good though and after all of the other food I ate I really didn't need a mountain of flaming chocolate/fudge/carmel/toffee/cake whatever it was I had pictured in my head.

The whole meal took a whopping 3 hours but it was well worth every minute of it. I was in great company with great food, my tummy was satisfied, not overly stuffed, what I ate was healthy and I didn't gorge myself. I got to experience a type of dining that I've never experienced before and I look forward to doing it again! I highly recommend checking out a teppanyaki restaurant near you!

Friday, December 14, 2007

America's Next Top Model had his/her 1st Photoshoot!

For those who don't know why I refer to ANTM (so I don't sound do stinkin pretentious) I'll give you a little background. Wwhile we were dealing with our infertility issues Marco would always tell me after every appointment, every procedure, every failure, every success "you're one step closer to becoming the mommy of America's Next Top Model". I'm a huge fan of the show, haven't missed a season so it was fitting. It's been our running joke to lighten the IF load ever since.

So this morning we had the first photo shoot (ultrasound) with our little pumpkin and it went SO WELL! The baby is measuring 8 weeks 4 days (I thought I was 8w1d) so we're an early over achiever! The heartbeat was strong and beautiful and I am so relieved to have seen him/her. I had had some worrisome spotting this week and it was just great so see that baby is doing just fine. (The bleeding/spotting has since stopped). She did say my cervix looked "irritated' which could be the cause of my bleeding. I don't know what pissed my cervix off, but I hope it stops being so irritated with me soon, it scared the hell out of me!

So we're all a-okay! The baby looked more like a grey blob with a squiggly smaller blob attached and a little pulse but it was the most perfect blob of greyness that I could ever have wished for. WOOHOO!

We're one step closer to becoming the parents of America's Next Top Model! YAY!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

No more, no less

That's what my weigh-in proved. I didn't lose any from last week but I didn't gain any either. I'm actually surprised that I didn't lose a little as I've (finally) been a bit nauseated over the past 4 or 5 days, off and on and haven't had much of an appetite. I've cleaned up my diet a bit more than I had been in the past weeks as well, adding in more veggies, more fruits, less bread, less cheese.

I haven't been sleeping well through the nights, up peeing 3 and 4 times, so that's made me unusually cranky (I'm generally a breath of fresh air, really I am) and sleepy in the evenings. If I stay awake past 9 it's a miracle. This cuts into the time where I would usually be exercising. I did manage one workout this week but that's nothing compared to what I was doing in the past. I'm not going to beat myself up about it quite yet. The second trimester is around the corner and according to what I've been reading my energy levels should be up then as well. I'll play catch up then.

In other news, we have our first sonogram on Friday and we're totally excited. I'll feel so much better after we see the heartbeat (not that I feel bad now, but you know what I mean) and it's just exciting.

I hope you have a healthy week!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Wildly Snoozing

After another wacky night of dreaming I decided I had to start saving these things. I've begun a second blog to log my strange dreams. I've named it Wildly Snoozing and you can check it out here.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Now THAT's my kind of eating! (Negative Calorie Foods)

I just read a great article that was emailed to me and wanted to pass it along to you guys.

You can read the article Negative Calorie Foods: 15 Foods That Actually Burn More Calories Than They Contain here and feel free to post it on your blogs as well.

The great thing about this article is that I love most of the items on there and quite a few of them are already in my daily intake. I was surprised to see oranges and strawberries on there. Those are two of my favorite fruits and I have one or two of them every day. (I've been on a orange kick since finding out I am pg).

Carrots were another one that shocked me. You always here about how carrots a one of the carb veggies and should be eaten in smaller amounts than other veggies so I'm glad to see that I don't have to worry about the few sticks I have in the afternoons for snack. (not that I really worried). I could be wrong here but I think Atkins diet even asks you to avoid carrots for a bit of time. I believe you would have to be eating raw carrots to actually get the negative calorie effect though.

So take a looksie at the list and next time you're choosing a snack you'll have a good idea of which foods will help you best. Have a healthy day everybody!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I totally forgot to weigh in yesterday. Geesh you get off the scale for a few weeks and it all goes down the drain, doesn't it? I did hop on the scale this morning though. The last time I weighed in, the day I got my big fat positive pregnancy test, November 15, 2007, a day forever etched in my mind as one of the best most exhilarating days of my life, I was 105.3 kilos or 231.66 pounds. So in the last few weeks my weight has gone up to 106.6 kilos or 234.52, a gain of a little under 3 pounds.

I'm still bloated, especially my cankles, but I put the blame where it really belongs... vacation eating. Three pounds is more than manageable to get back off but really I ought not to put on anymore and in fact can safely continue to lose.

Lets get serious for one minute. I'll be 7 weeks pregnant tomorrow and as of week 6 the baby starts sharing what I'm eating. This means I have to be on my bestest behavior. As I'm not having any pregnancy symptoms at all (besides sore breasts but that's easy to forget if you're not constantly feeling yourself up, which I've been trying to stop doing) sometimes it's easy to forget this. I do want to make a better effort to remember that our little pumpkin seed needs a balanced day chalk full of nutrients. Cup-o-soup and a cheese toastie isn't exactly chalk full of anything but sodium and fat (well calcium as well I guess).

On a less serious note I have been having some wickedly weird dreams, which I've read is normal throughout your pregnancy. This is not to say I didn't have wacky dreams to begin with but these ones are extremely vivid and more than a tad bit disturbing. I'm contemplating starting another blog just to log my pregnancy dreams. One of the most recent ones I had while in Brugge included me thinking I was going to miscarry only to find Marco had a special flashlight that could see into my belly. When he shined the light on my stomach I could see our little girl (she was a girl in the dream, we don't know if we're having a girl) in there sitting on a little three legged stool in a cotton sundress drawing on a board. Everything was kind of a peach color and her face wasn't defined or anything. She did have little wispy chicken hair on the top and sides of her head. When she spotted the light Marco was shining at her she turned her little head to us (actually it was kind of a big alien type of head), smiled and waved real big, as if to tell me she was okay. Then I woke up. Yeah... what did I smoke before bed?

So okay. This week I am concentrating on really excellent nutrition, getting in some exercise that doesn't raise my heart rate too high (I have a problem with this as my heart rate goes into the 160/170 range rather easily) and laying off the hallucinogens before bedtime.

I hope you all have a great and healthy week!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Vacation takes it's "Toll"

This is our last day of vacation and it's been a wonderful week off together. I don't know how wonderful it's been on my waistline though. We did walk tremendous lengths while in Brugge and actually since we've been back in Amsterdam we've done quite a bit of walking too but I don't know if the exercise has "outweighed" the food intake.

There is just something about vacation that makes you want to be bad, isn't there? If it's not food-on-the-go then it's "I don't feel like cooking" syndrome that gets ya. I've given into both of these scenarios all to often this week, I know. I just keep telling myself, "next week we'll be back to normal and I'll be so much better" and I really do think it will be.

Last night was the great crescendo of thoughtlessness to really finish off our vacation with a BANG! (or it's probably sounding more like a PLOP!). Just three little words is all you need to read to know exactly what I mean.

Nestle. Toll. House.

Yeah, last night I decided to play Suzie Homemaker and baked some chocolate chip cookies (made with Belgium chocolate chips of course). We all know how that goes. You make the dough. You about make yourself sick from eating raw dough but it's just so good. You start to bake the cookies. You have to taste one fresh out of the oven even if it does burn the hell out of your mouth. You try to recreate the visions your remember from the commercials as a child with the warm cookie stretching, oozing out the chocolaty goodness. It takes a couple cookies to get it "just so" but eventually the resemblance in uncanny.

You bake another batch and repeat the burning of the mouth ritual. You really make yourself sick eating them. By time the last batch is in the oven you're praying to the porcelain God that you just make it through the night and you swear you're not going to touch another cookie. The site of the batter bowl makes you dry heave as you clean up the kitchen.

The remaining cookies slide into their cookie container to taunt you the next day. You're weak from the severe drop in blood sugar and decide you'll have just one. You have it for breakfast and that familiar sick feeling comes back to your belly. Now what in the world are you going to do with all these freaking cookies? Nestle Toll House. Great. Idea. Sarah.

So that's the demon I'm facing today. If anything, they'll go in the trash can. I think I can take them to work tomorrow for "Monday Morning Tea" but is it fair to subject my colleagues to the same torture that is Toll House? Sure it is!