Sunday, October 14, 2012

Prayers always appreciated!

I'm sitting here enjoying a great Sunday morning with Adam, drinking coffee, watching the news, fire place going while it rains cats and dogs outside. Sounds perfect, right?! Well we decided to have a relaxing weekend after the horribly long week we had and we were fairly successful, mostly because it has rained all weekend long.

Our week started with me going back to work on Monday after not working for the past 5 months! I was fortunate enough that the week I decided to get aggressive with finding a job, I found out my old boss at the nursing home I was a social worker at before we moved out of Chicago 2 years ago, was looking for a social worker!! The girl who replaced me when I left had just resigned that week. So, I called my boss and she offered me the job on the spot! So, I am back working as a Social Worker at Cambridge Nursing and Rehab Center. I feel so blessed that it worked out this way! :) So, anyway I was pretty excited to get back to work and despite getting up at 5:30 to work out everyday before work, I think I have adjusted pretty well.

Our bad news came on Thursday when I had to go back to the doctor to have bloodwork and an ultrasound done in order to start my medication to prepare for our first IUI after the miscarriage in August. We were very anxious and nervous about starting the process again after our loss, but ready to start again too. After waiting until 2:30 that afternoon, which seemed like an eternity, the nurse called with my results. All of my bloodwork was fine but my ultrasound was not. They found that I have a luteal cyst. This type of cyst develops in the second half of the cycle after the egg has been released (at ovulation). As soon as ovulation has taken place in a normal cycle, the ruptured follicle then develops into the corpus luteum which produces progesterone in anticipation of a pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilized, the corpus luteum withers, progesterone levels fall and a period occurs. A luteal cyst is formed when the corpus luteum fails to wither when it should, and fills with blood instead. Apparently, sometimes it just happens, it's possible it happened because of the miscarriage but it's also possible it had nothing to do with it. Hopefully we will get some more answers on Tuesday, when we meet with the doctor and I have to have a saline ultrasound to look at everything in more detail. Hopefully everything is just fine, but it does mean we won't be able to do another IUI this month because any increase in hormones (because of the medications used) could cause everything to enlarge and potentially cause my uterus to rupture. Obviously that would be a bad thing. However, we were both very upset that we can't do an IUI this month. I wasn't exactly in the mood for cooking when we got home from work Thursday evening, so Adam stepped up and got dinner for us! Let me first start by saying my husband really is a good cook and enjoys helping me in the kitchen but he obviously wasn't in a great mood either. One of the many reasons why living in the city and having everything so close is amazing, a CVS downstairs! It has proved very convenient for  nights like this when we have a bad day. Dinner of champions, or at least down in the dumps, normal people! :) Dijorno, a sprite and a dark chocolate snickers...Adam knows the way to my heart! (And yes, it was Adam who took this picture to make sure I could include it in my blog! love him!)

We went throught the motions and got through Friday and were very glad to welcome the weekend! So, here we are mid-weekend and trying to stay positive for Tuesday. All thoughts and prayers are much appreciated for our appointment this week and also as we continue along this hard journey to having a child.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fertility Friendly Eating

Well, now that I shared my deepest, darkest secret with the world last week, I decided I can't hide out anymore and need to blog what we're going through, so even if I can educate just one person on the process and journey of infertility, I have done some good! One of the things we ourselves have been learning more about since beginning this journey is "food for fertility". Sounds crazy right, lots of people get pregnant who eat garbage, smoke, drink, and the list goes on. However, when you have been diagnosed with infertility of any form they recommend you live with a better diet. Sometimes this is because obesity is playing a role in the problem. For those of you who know Adam and I, you know that we are far from obese, are avid runners, eat pretty healthy, and definitely do not smoke. Yes, of course we have the ocassional glass of wine or bottle of beer, but hey, we have to keep our sanity somehow! :) So, the researcher in me began reading more about this idea behind "food for fertility". Basically, you want a healthy, whole diet...fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, some meals without meat, no soy products... The list could go on and on of do's and don'ts but I won't bore you with that. Because of learning all of this, I am always looking for healthy foods and new meat free options to try! I am going to share a coulple of them with you that we have found to be delicious and pretty easy.

The first one is a quick, easy lunch...Turkey, Bacon Wraps! I like to make them ahead of time so that all Adam has to do is grab one on his way out the door in the morning, which then makes for a quick, healthy meal for him when lunch time rolls around at work. So I set up an assembly line and got started!

Turkey, Bacon Wraps
Makes: 6 wraps
Serving Size: 1 wrap
Calories: 295 (this will vary if you use different brands of products)

What you need:
1 package Flat Out wraps (pick your type, I use whole wheat)
6 tablespoons light ranch dressing
9 slices Velveeta Fat Free Sharp Cheddar
18 slices Hormel Natural Choice Oven Roasted Turkey
6 slices Jennie O Turkey Bacon
6 cups romaine lettuce
3 good size Roma tomoto's

Cook turkey bacon in skillet. While bacon is cooking, layout all 6 wraps and prepare to assemble. Start by putting one tablespoon ranch dressing down the center of each wrap. Place 3 pieces of turkey side by side. Then break all slices of cheese into halves, place 3 halves down the center on the turkey. Spread about 1 cup of lettuce over the top. After bacon has cooked, lay on paper towel for a few seconds to soak what little grease it produces. Place one strip of bacon down the center of each wrap. Fold both sides in to wrap. I used Glad Press and Seal Wrap to roll them and seal all edges tightly. But you can use whatever you prefer. Then I sliced the tomoto's in half (one half per wrap) into chunks and seperated them into 6 ziploc baggies. The reason I keep the tomoato's out is because they tend to make the wraps soggy and well I hate anything soggy! :(

Each day you grab a wrap and a bag of tomoato's to add on when you're ready to eat! These are so healthy and filling. Adam and I normally have ours with a cup of Greek Yogurt and a cup of grapes...yum!

So there is an example of a great fertility friendly lunch, but remember it's healthy too, so you don't have to be concerned with fertility to enjoy them! Next comes dinner! I found this amazing recipe via Runner's World (one of my favorite places to find healthy recipe's)...Creamy Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna! This obviously falls into our meat free meals. We have now started the "Meatless Monday" tradition, however Adam thinks that sounds so corny, despite me telling him that many people call it that, so he prefers it be referred to as no meat on Monday's! haha! Sounds the same to me but whatever! Anyway, this lasagna was AMAZING! Adam even said he liked it better than regular lasagna and I totally agree!

Quick, Creamy Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna
From: Runner's World
Serves 12, Calories: 412 per serving

What you need:
15 oven-ready, rippled style lasagna noodles
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sliced mushrooms
2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup vegetable broth
3 cups marinara sauce (no sugar added or low-sugar)
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

(I chose to cut everything in half and only make an 8x8 pan since there is only two of us.)

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400°F. In a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, soak noodles in 2 quarts of piping hot tap water until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, sauté until tender and well browned, about 7 minutes. Add spinach, sauté until heated through. Combine spinach-mushroom mixture with the basil, 8 ounces of cream cheese, and 1/4 cup broth. Mix remaining 4 ounces cream cheese with 1/4 cup broth in a small bowl; set aside. To assemble, spread 1/3 cup marinara on the bottom of baking dish, then assemble 4 layers in the following order: 3 lasagna noodles, 2/3 cup marinara, 1 cup spinach-mushroom filling, 3/4 cup mozzarella, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Top with remaining 3 noodles, the cream cheese-broth mixture, 3/4 cup mozzarella, and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover with cooking spray-coated foil and bake until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Leaving lasagna on same rack, turn oven to broil. Remove foil and broil until lasagna is golden brown, 5 minutes. Remove from oven; let sit for 10 minutes.
This was so good and will definitely be served often in our house! Here's where that glass of wine comes into play as well...nothing better than a good wine with a pasta dish! :) Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Well, I promised after the first of the year I would get better at being more consistent with my blogs and I have clearly failed miserably. We have had a lot going on in our VERY personal life that we have kept somewhat secret for over a year and a half now. After the recent occurrences (which I will explain later) we have decided that we are ready to open up and let people in on what's been happening. Bare with me as I try to make this as simple as possible.

In January of 2011, Adam and I decided to start trying to start our family. After a very long year of let down after let down, we went to a fertility specialist in January 2012 in Urbana. After many blood tests and ultrasounds, I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and Adam was diagnosed as having low sperm morphology (poor sperm shape). These two things put together were keeping us from our dream of having a baby come true for over a year! It was very hard to let settle in but after moving back to Chicago in May, we began seeing one of the best fertility specialist in Illinois in June. Dr. Kaplan at the Fertility Centers of Illinois has a history of very high success rates, so that began putting some of our fears at ease. We underwent our first Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) in July and after the very long two week wait we had a positive blood test. I was actually pregnant! We couldn't believe it for quite awhile. Because pregnancies achieved through reproductive treatments are considered high risk we had to go in several times for blood work and ultrasounds over the next couple weeks and it was pretty scary. Unfortunately, on August 8, at 7 weeks, I suffered a miscarriage. As common as they are, anyone who has gone through one will tell you it is a horrible experience you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy. We are still dealing with our anger and pain daily, trying to understand why some people are given children so easily and we are stuck going through this horrible process. We will have to wait a few months before we are able to try IUI again, to give my body plenty of time to heal from the miscarriage. We were told by our doctor that it is very uncommon for people to get pregnant on the first IUI, which gives us some hope that maybe the next time it will be successful and have a better ending. Only time will tell.

Several of our close friends and family were aware of what's been happening for part of our journey so far, but we have decided that it's getting harder and harder to not tell people and we would love for more people to be educated on "infertility" including myths and fallacies that surround it. I will continue to do my best to help more people understand anything I can. Infertility is a very scary journey to starting a family, those who have or are currently experiencing it know exactly what I mean, and those who don't, well, I'm going to do my best to help you understand! :)

Otherwise we're doing okay and trying to support each other and stay positive! I'm going to leave you with a quote I found on Pinterest the other day. It made me think of my amazing husband as I read it, I could not have gotten through many of the days over the last 20 months without him!

"The couples that are 'meant to be' are the ones who go through everything that is meant to tear them apart and come out even stronger than they were before!"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Marathon, graduation, moving, and weddings, oh my!

Well I vowed to do better with my blogging this year and have so far not done very well...oops! I'm sure a lot of you can relate that life can get crazy and before you know time is flying past you! We have a lot of big changes coming up in our life in the next couple months and can't wait to experience it all! I have been vigorously training for my second marathon for several months now and the big day is just 5 days away now!! I am ready to do it...I am hoping to at least PR which would be under 3:48:54. I guess only time will tell now! Adam had to drop to the half a few weeks ago due to a knee injury he struggled with throughout the training. He just didn't feel like he would be ready for the full...but he will rock the half I'm sure!! :)

Adam is also closing in on graduating from the University of Illinois with his MBA! Over the weekend we got to attend a very nice ceremony for an honor society designated for students in the top 20% of the class. He was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma on Saturday. I'm so incredibly proud of him...he has worked so hard the last two years and deserves this great honor! 

In less than 3 weeks we will attend his's unbelievable how fast the last 2 years has gone! 

We have began the dreaded process of starting to pack up for our big move the end of May. We found a great 2 bed/2 bath condo in Chicago and can't wait to move back there! :) Adam will begin his job with Nuveen Investments on June 4.

In the middle of everything else I am in 2 of 3 weddings we have in the month of June! So I have bridal showers and bachelorette parties galore! Lots of fun but exhausting! Oh and because we didn't have quite enough going on we also planned a vacation to Cabo for a week to celebrate our 2 year anniversary in May! That is not something I am complaining about! I can't wait...besides Adam deserves a great vacation after all his hard work the last 2 years!! Lots of fun stuff to look forward to and feeling very blessed in our life these days!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Naan Pizza with Asparagus

Our time is extra valuable to us lately, between working all day, marathon training, giving two dogs some quality time, and other personal commitments, we have very little time to squeeze in a healthy dinner once our day finally ends around 8-8:30pm (and that's if we're lucky)! When I found this recipe on I knew it was going to be a hit! Not only did it sound delicious, it looked quick and easy, which it turned out to be both of those...bonus! With one taste of this yummy pizza, I guarantee it will become a favorite of yours as well.

Naan Pizza with Asparagus
adapted from Runners World
Calories per serving: 360
Carbs: 32g
Protein: 18g

2- 9inch store bought naan (normally found in the bakery department at most grocery stores)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup prepared pesto
3 slices Canadian bacon, cut into thin strips
8 asparagus spears, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup (about 2 oz) grated fontina cheese

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat over to 425 degrees F. Place naan on a baking sheet. Mix ricotta and pesto in a small bowl and dollop onto breads. (Couple of notes: I only make 1 pizza at a time since there is just 2 of us and one naan is 2 servings. Also I like to spread the ricotta pesto mixture instead of just dolloping.)

Toss the asparagus with oil and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Evenly distribute spears along with Canadian bacon, over naan.
Bake until the bread is warm throughout and asparagus are bright green, about 10 min.

Remove from oven; divide the fontina equally and top each naan with a portion of the cheese. Return them to the oven and continue to bake until breads are crisp and cheese has melted, about 5 minutes longer. (Note: I did not have fontina on hand last time, so I used reduced fat feta crumbles instead and it was excellent!)
Cut each pizza into quarters, serving each person two slices. Serves 4.
Don't forget a good glass of wine and you'll have a perfect meal! I hope you enjoy this healthy and delicious dish as much as we do!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies

As promised, here is the recipe for these delicious, red velvet gooey butter cookies!

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies
Adapted from: Paula Deen

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 box red velvet cake mix
confectioners sugar, for dusting

1. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the cream cheese and the butter. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla. Beat in the cake mix until completely combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
3. Roll the chilled dough into tablespoon sized balls. Roll in confectioners' sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool.

These turned out great! Adam loves red velvet and was so excited about these...they were a hit! :) Hope everyone has a wonderful Valentines Day with all the loves of your life! I will be spending my evening with chinese take-out and a movie night on the couch with Adam (and prob our snuggly dogs too)...a tradition we started our first valentines together! 


Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Treats

Over the weekend, I was finally able to get back in the kitchen and do some fun baking! Being that Valentine's Day is this week I wanted to make a couple treats for the one's I love most...Adam and our 2 dogs! :) I made the dogs' some yummy Cherry Crunchies, which they seemed to love! For Adam (and me too <3) I made a couple; Chocolate Heart Peanut Butter Cookies and Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookies! Yummy! Now, I know neither of these should be on our diet plan while training for a marathon, but I couldn't resist! Besides, I ran 45 miles last week and will run even more this week...I can eat a few extra calories, right?! :)

The recipe for the dogs treats' is so easy and doesn't take too much time either. Plus, your favorite furry friends will love you for these! After their jog with us yesterday afternoon, they were very excited to have a new delicious treat as a reward!

"Puppy Love" Cherry Crunchies
From: Rachael Ray Magazine

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dry milk powder
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
1 egg beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients and 2/3 cup of water, adding more water as needed if the dough is too stiff.
2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick. Using a 1 inch cookie cutter (I used a heart shaped for the occasion!), cut out the dough and transfer to a greased cookie sheet. Gather and combine all the scraps, roll and form more cookies; repeat until all of the dough is used. Bake until crisp, 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

On to the Chocolate Heart Peanut Butter Cookies. These are the traditional Chocolate Kisses Peanut Butter Cookies only the kisses are replaced with Dove chocolate hearts! They turned out so cute!

Chocolate Heart Peanut Butter Cookies

1 pouch (1lb 1.5oz) Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix
3 tbsp vegetable oil ( I used light olive oil, as that's all I buy)
1 tbsp water
1 egg
2 tbsp sugar
36 heart shaped milk chocolate candies (I used Dove dark chocolate because that's our fave!)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, oil, water, and egg until dough forms.
2. Shape dough into 36 (1 inch) balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately press chocolate candy into top of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, at least 20 minutes, before storing in air tight container.

I will share the other cookie recipe tomorrow on Valentine's Day! <3 Happy Baking!