Monday, May 14, 2012

MAYONNAISE

Most mayonnaise in the grocery stores have added sugar and preservatives.  You may find it without those unnecessary additives at the health food store, but why not make your own?  You can use a blender, but I find mixing it right in a wide mouth canning jar with a hand blender works wonderfully.

1 egg
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/3 cups oil (vegetable and/or olive)
salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste


  • Blend egg and mustard
  • Add the oil, a little at a time, (this step is an important one, if you add the oil too fast, it will not blend properly).  Blend until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Season with lemon, salt and pepper. For added flavor, add a few tablespoons of fresh chopped herbs.  Yield: 1 1/4 cups

Monday, April 30, 2012

A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP

Regular bio-physical profiles were performed ( a collection of data, ie: measurements, weights, breathing motions, fluid levels, etc.) via ultrasounds. Baby C, Alison seemed to be behind in all of these things compared with her brother and sister, but my concern was limited as she was very active.  She had been substantially smaller from the start and according to my Connecticut doctor, she may have been conceived two weeks later than the other two.  At the time, the Massachusetts doctors laughed at that theory, but I've since learned that it is possible.

Roommates came and went, Nancy, Donna, Suzanne, Mary, Kathleen, and my favorite, Ramona.  Ramona was 30 years old and 24 weeks pregnant with her fourth child.  She began contracting, but was quickly brought under control with brethine.  She and I had clicked right away and although I was happy when she was being released, breaking out, I was sad to see her go.  Eventually, the hospital staff realized that this constant flow of roommates was bringing me down, and I was given an option of being transferred to a private room. As soon as one became available, I took it!

Looking closely, you can see me looking out the window of my new private room


A private room gave me the best of both worlds.  I was able to sleep without as much interruption of nightly med-giving, I was able to work on my cross-stitch without losing count, I was able to watch/not watch television at will, and I was still able to talk with other patients.  I had been introduced to several neighboring long-term patients, and we visited each other regularly. I was even invited to movie night with my neighbors, Cindy and Kate.   We watched "Turner and Hootch" while we talked and ate our dinner. I can't say I remember much about the movie, other than it starred a very young Tom Hanks.

February 25, 1990:  Slept well for a change - didn't wake up til 7:45 am, just in time for vitals and meds.  Had breakfast, showered, and the T.V. lady came to hook me up.   It's snowing hard; reports show snow all day, at least 8 inches. I guess I won't be getting any visitors this day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

NO KNEAD CRUSTY CHEDDAR/CHILE BREAD




3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 cups water
4 chile peppers, seeded and chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  
  • Add water and mix well.  
  • Add peppers and cheese.  
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 hours.  
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 
  • When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with lid in the oven and heat for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, shape the dough into a ball on a floured surface.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating. 
  • After preheating pot, place dough inside, cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  
  • Remove bread from oven and cool on rack.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

STUFFED POBLANO PEPPERS

This dish is derived from the Mexican dish, chile relleno, but rather than deep-frying the egg-battered  pepper, I wrap it in a plain egg omelet.  It goes well with a side of black beans and sauteed onions.  Labor intensive, but worth it!

10 poblano peppers, roasted
16-24 ounces (depending on the size of peppers) ricotta cheese
12 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded (8 for filling, and 4 for top)
10 eggs and about 1/4 cup milk
24 ounces tomato sauce
5 small chiles, optional
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chile powder
A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped or 1 tablespoon dried cilantro, optional
Salt and pepper

  • Roast the peppers under the broiler for 5-10 minutes on each side, or until bubbly; cool; peel off skin.
  • Slice each pepper down the middle lengthwise, being careful not to go through to the other side.
  • Combine the ricotta and 8 ounces of the Monterrey Jack cheese.
  • Stuff each pepper with the cheese mixture and close.

  • Whisk together the eggs and milk until combined.
  • Spray a medium pan and heat.
  • Pour enough of the egg mixture to cover bottom; it wont take long for the egg to cook through.  Remove by flipping over a stuffed pepper. 
  • Wrap the cooked egg underneath the pepper and put in a large baking dish; continue with all peppers, making sure to spray each time.
  • In a medium bowl or pot, combine the sauce, chiles, garlic, chile powder, cilantro, salt and pepper (there's no need to heat unless the sauce is cold).
  • Spoon sauce over the peppers evenly.
  • Top with the remaining 4 ounces of Monterrey Jack
  • Bake in preheated 350 degree F. oven for 20-30 minutes, til heated through and cheese is melted.




Monday, March 26, 2012

YEAH FOR DR. Y!

The highlight of my weeks, besides seeing Bob and the kids, was my dates with my husband.  He'd wheel me around the hospital through the underground tunnels that connect the Wesson Women's Unit to the main building.  Whether we went to the gift shop, the cafeteria, or just riding around the halls, it was a nice change of pace. We visited the Neonatal Unit and met the staff who would oversee our babies' care if critical enough to be there. It was an eye-opening experience, and as much as I hated being hospitalized, I knew it was the best thing for my babies.  There were some tiny babies there, the smallest one we saw was a beautiful little boy, 1lb, 10 oz., born at 26 weeks. My doctors would tell me that every day counts, and although I knew that, seeing those struggling babies, brought me closer to that fact.

After spiking a fever, my roommate Nancy was whisked away to delivery where she delivered a healthy baby girl.  Nancy was relocated to a room on the nursery floor, and I was able to visit her and see her beautiful baby.   Shortly after returning to my room, I was pleasantly surprised..a visitor, another Nancy who gave birth to triplets a year earlier.  She was a nurse who worked there at Baystate, and she had been hospitalized for three months before delivering at 34 weeks gestation.  It was great to be able to talk with someone who seemed to understand exactly how I was feeling, and she left me with her telephone number in case I needed to talk again.

One moment I'm feeling great, and the next.. an agent from my insurance company actually connected to my room via telephone and informed me that they would NOT cover any out-of-state charges. What?!  I explained everything to her, making sure that she had all of the facts, "I was in labor with triplets at 27 weeks in a Connecticut hospital and was transported to Massachusetts only after every Connecticut hospital with a neonatal unit was contacted, and if they didn't cover this, we would lose our house because we wouldn't be able to pay the mortgage, because I've been out of work for months, and my husband has student loans, and we already have two kids, and no, I wasn't taking fertility drugs, so I had no preconceived notion that this would happen, and please try to understand....." I let every little thing out, all of the things I had put away in the back of my mind since I first found out it was a multiple pregnancy. This agent got more than she bargained for, but she was steadfast in her convictions and as she stated, she was simply doing her job.

Dr. Y
Upon hanging up, I was left hanging and was in tears when my Connecticut doctor called to check on me moments later. He was livid that they had the audacity to call me and he assured me that they WOULD cover me.  I don't know what he said to them, but in addition to paying all charges, they also called me back and apologized. YEAH FOR DR. Y!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

FANCY FAN POTATOES

This side dish is an attractive way to serve a baked potato to your dinner guests.  It doesn't take much effort, and  you may dress it up any way you like. 


  • Peel potatoes.
  • Make thin slices horizontally through the potato, making sure you don't cut all the way through.
  • Place in a baking dish, and bake in 375 degree F oven for about 45 minutes.
  • Melt butter (about 1 tablespoon for each potato).
  • Drizzle butter over potatoes, while fanning with a fork, getting it into the crevices.
  • Sprinkle with salt, pepper, grated cheese and/or whatever herbs you enjoy.
  • Put back into oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Place in serving dish, and drizzle the run-off butter over the top.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A LOVELY SHADE OF PURPLE

Spending the night in the cold labor room left me with little sleep, so when Bob arrived at noon, I was exhausted but happy to see him.  He massaged me, combed my hair, helped clean me up, and stayed the night, sleeping in the chair beside the stretcher.

Okay, it was a little more updated than this
The next day, I was moved to a normal room with a real bed.  After spending two nights on a stretcher, I won't dare complain about the springs popping through the mattress.  It was an unoccupied, two-bed critical care room directly across from the nurses station and I would soon be joined by another Nancy, a 33 week gestation whose water broke. The technology for premature infants was nowhere as advanced in 1990 as it is now, and they were trying to hold her off as long as possible. She would be my roommate until she delivered, and I was happy to have company.

My glucose screening confirmed that I had gestational diabetes. I spoke with a dietician and we put together a diet that would sustain the four of us and should keep my sugar low enough. The nurses taught me how to test my sugar, which was done two hours after every meal for the duration of my pregnancy.  Aren't my fingertips a lovely shade of purple?

There was talk of me being shipped back to Connecticut as soon as I was stable, but I was feeling ambivalent about that. I'd already gone into labor twice and if it happened again, there may not be room for the babies this close to home the next time. I would've felt better if I knew if my babies lungs were mature enough, but the only way to know was to take some amniotic fluid via amniocentesis, a small risk.
Hmm..I'll have to think on that awhile.

Days passed without contractions and both Nancy and I were moved out of critical care.  Our room seemed to be cleaner than the last, and my bed springs intact.  Bob and the kids came for a visit, and it was great to see them, especially Jess, who I hadn't seen since Connecticut.  Zachary was a bit rambunctious, and although it didn't bother me, Bob was a little distressed. I don't think I've ever seen Bob get more than mildly agitated by that sort of thing, but I suppose managing everything from "eggs to apples" is getting to him.  That's one positive thing about being confined, it gave me an appreciation for every minute with my loved ones.  This whole thing was a wake up call for both of us, I mean, if we can't handle one rambunctious two year old, how on earth would we manage three?!

I had a nice visit from with my friends, Doreene and Tony.  Tony put some pressure on points in my feet to help relieve my aching back, I'm not sure if it helped my back, but it does feel pretty good, and Doreene helped me get started on the counted-cross stitch that my sister, Jodi had given me at Christmas-time.  It was a pattern for Zac's Christmas stocking and I couldn't think of a better thing to do while being cooped up.  For the first time in over a week, I felt stable and relaxed.