28 September 2011

Recipe - Mongolian Beef

We made Mongolian Beef and brown rice for dinner last night and it was so yummy! Chris even said that it was the best Mongolian Beef he had ever had. The recipe is supposed to be a knock-off of PF Chang's, I don't know about that since I have never had PF Chang's Mongolian Beef, but it sure was yummy.

I made a few changes to the recipe but included them in the recipe below:

mongolian beef
1 hour, makes 2 large servings

1 pound flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup water
1 cup + 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
snow peas
1 small onion, sliced
a few green onions, thinly sliced
vegetable oil

  1. prep the beef. slice the beef into quarter inch thick slices. toss the with cornstarch and set aside while making the sauce.
  2. make the sauce. heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium low heat. add the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and water to the pan. be sure to add the ingredients quickly as you don't want the garlic to burn. add the brown sugar and mix until dissolved. raise the heat to medium and boil the sauce for two to three minutes, or until thick. remove from heat.
  3. heat one cup vegetable oil in a wok over medium heat until shimmering. add about half of the beef to the oil and cook about two minutes, or until the edges are brown. remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining beef.
  4. Cook onions until soft but still crisp, add snow peas for a few minutes.
  5. return the beef to the pan and cook an additional minute or two until cooked through. add the sauce and cook for a minute until heated through.
  6. toss the green onions with the meat. cook an additional minute. serve with rice.
You can find pictures (because I never remember to take any) and the recipe at Kitchen Trial and Error.

20 September 2011

Memories - Casper's First Day Home

4 Weeks and 30 Minutes

We are having a baby in exactly 4 weeks and 30 minutes! Wow! It will be here before we know it. We have a few things left to do, but I think the biggest is to finish refurbishing our BumGenius diapers. I am replacing the velcro and elastic on all of them and then splitting the stash into 2 (a set for Casper and a set for Little Guy).

Here is what BumGenius velcro diapers look like after 2 years of use:

 (Picture and a great tutorial for replacing the velcro from

My sewing isn't amazing so they don't look awesome but they work great again. Yay!

16 September 2011

Weekly Menu Plan

I always try to make a weekly menu but don't really assign a specific day to each meal. Instead I just plan for 5-7 meals (depending on our plans for the week) and make whatever we feel like having. This week I haven't made a menu and we don't really have much in the house so I need to go grocery shopping for the weekend.

1. Chicken Pot Pies (will make extra for freezer)

2. Chicken Tamale Casserole (will make extra for freezer)

3. Pierogies with caramelized onions

4. Tuscan Garlic Chicken with Pasta

5. Pizza or other take-out

More for freezer:
breakfast burritos
pumpkin muffins
macaroni and cheese

15 September 2011

We're Having a Chunky Monkey

I want to say first that my post yesterday was kind of whiny, and I'm sorry. Obviously it is our choice to not live closer to family (this is where the work is, but still), and I can't expect people to drop everything to come help us. I guess emotional support and interest in what is going on with us would be nice though.

Anyway, we went back to the perinatologist today. Placenta is not moving but since the c-section is already scheduled that shouldn't be a problem unless I go into premature labor or my water breaks. Cervix is looking good. The technician also looked at the "window" around the incision on my uterus form the last surgery and said it looks strong and thick. I have lots of fluid, too.

The best news though is that the little guy is weighing in at 4 lb 13 oz, well ahead of what the average is right now. He looks so chunky with these big cheeks. The technician said she could also see hair in the ultrasound.

We go back in 2 weeks, like usual.

14 September 2011

October 18, 2011 at 9 AM

That is when we are having our new baby!

We have worked out a plan with Ilhana to work extra hours since we won't have any family here to help us. I wish someone could come out here, but no one can, so we'll make do. We might as well be in Hawaii, though, since we don't seem to see family any more often than we did when we lived there. At least in Hawaii we had friends we consider family that would be there for us. So, Ilhana will be starting early that day since we need to leave the house by 6:30 AM to get to the hospital in time (we have to be there at 7:30). She'll also stay with Casper that first night since Chris wants to spend at least one night in the hospital with us. Chris will come home in the afternoon after I recover a bit to bring Casper and Ilhana to the hospital to meet the little guy. And then Chris is going to have to split his time between the hospital and home until I come home on Friday or Saturday.

We are very excited and in the home stretch to try and get things done.  

13 September 2011

Visit to the Northern Virginia Lactation Consultants

I went to the Northern Virginia Lactation Consultants in Fairfax today for a quick visit. I needed to buy replacement tubing for my Medela Pump In Style Advanced breast pump and couldn't find it online. Well, actually I found some on Amazon but I there was no definitive way to tell if it was actually made by Medela or not since it was being sold by a company in Asia and didn't have Medela packaging. I felt more comfortable getting what I know to be a good product made by Medela.

I walked in right when they opened, and both of the ladies working today (I didn't catch their names) were absolutely so welcoming and informative! I talked to them about my pumping and breastfeeding history with Casper, and they were so excited when I told them he was still nursing at night. That was great because so often I feel like people think it is weird that he is a nursing toddler. The support they gave me for that in the few minutes we talked was wonderful.

Besides selling breast pump and accessories, they have some nursing and maternity clothes, nursing wraps, and Moby wraps. I bought the Simple Wishes Hands Free Breast Pump Bra which has amazing reviews online.  They also offer one-on-one consulting, prenatal breastfeeding classes, and breastfeeding support groups.

Oh, and they emailed my itemized receipt right to me, which I thought is such a great way to reduce paper use, as well as make sure you have a copy for tax season since some of the pumping products are tax deductible, I believe.

I was so impressed with the help I got, the knowledge of the staff, and the friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Their website is and you can call 703-425-2229.

12 September 2011

We Made Our Major Pregnancy Goal!!!!!

We made it past 32 weeks with nothing unexpected or scary happening!

I'm sure all of my readers (so, my mom and sister, basically) know that Casper was born prematurely at 32 weeks after my water broke at 31 weeks. I wasn't being monitored for any complications, although I did ask the doctor's to measure my cervix at 17 weeks because I had had a LEEP right before I got pregnant where they had to remove a significant amount of my cervix. The doctors at the OB clinic of Tripler thought I was being ridiculous and, although they did do it, didn't feel it was necesary and never checked it again. So, basically we don't know why I had a PROM (premature rupture of membranes). You can read all about this and the complications we had following his birth in his birth story (May 2009 archives).

OK, back on topic. I have been on bed rest since 17 weeks, seeing the perinatologist every 2 weeks since then, and have been on 17-alpha hydroxy progesterone injections since 15 weeks. I have had a short cervix, placenta previa, and the risk of another PROM and premature labor the entire pregnancy. Our major goal was to make it to 32 weeks. Now we only have 5 more weeks until our scheduled c-section. Wow!

The Best Chicken Strips (or Wings) Ever

I forgot to take a picture, but you can see one at Favorite Family Recipes, where I got the recipe.

Winger's Sticky Fingers

For the sauce:
1/3 c. Franks Red Hot Sauce Original
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. water

Heat up hot sauce, brown sugar and water in a sauce pot until all the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temp before adding to strips or wings OR prepare ahead of time and refrigerate. The chicken turns out best if you don't pour hot sauce over them, when it cools slightly it gets thicker and stickier. I serve the extra sauce on the side for dipping, but you can obviously serve ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing on the side like with wings, too.

I actually use more Franks Red Hot because we like things spicier around here. It tastes great according to the recipe, but is more of a sweet sauce than a spicy sauce. So, it's easily adjustable.


08 September 2011

Freezer Cooking for Baby

I have been making a few dishes to freeze for after the baby arrives, and had completely filled up my regular freezer last weekend. So yesterday I bought a chest freezer for the garage to keep those things in and I am so excited to fill it up! It's a purchase we have been wanting to make for a long time, and with 3 adults in the house, plus a toddler (not that he eats much), the fridge and freezer are so packed all the time. Add in the fact that we'll have to start making baby food and freezing it in another 6 or 7 months, and our current freezer situation just wasn't cutting it.

So far in the freezer I have:

a lasagna
cornbread muffins
2 batches of chili
a batch of spaghetti sauce
a bag of taco meat
a pan of macaroni and cheese.
pumpkin muffins

I am planning on adding breakfast burritos, too.

Does anyone have any recipes for things they particularly like to freeze?

01 September 2011

Latest Perinatologist Appointment Results

We went to the Fairfax Hospital Antenatal Testing Center yesterday for our biweekly appointment. They tested my cervical length, amniotic fluid levels, and placenta previa. And everything was good! My cervix is long and closed, plenty of fluid, and the placenta is finally making some progress in moving further from the cervix.

I also spoke to the doctor about the risks of having a baby via scheduled c-section at 37 weeks or if we should wait to 39 or 40 weeks. She was kind of confused about why we were doing that. Apparently, my OB's office never informed the ATC that I had a uterine dehissance (I'm sure that is spelled wrong) following my last c-section. We talked about that and the doctor said that with that history it's important to have the baby at 37 or 38 weeks to prevent rupture by the baby getting too big. And there shouldn't be any risk to the baby, only .4% of babies haven't had the final push of hormones to mature their lungs by 37 weeks. So, that is our plan. At our next appointment in 2 weeks, the ultrasound tech will be looking at the scar on my uterus and just checking it out to make sure it's doing good and isn't too weak with this big baby I am carrying around. That will be interesting, it's never been looked at.

Sorry if this is too rambling and medical. Just giving an update and some of my thoughts on these medical issues we are having with this pregnancy.