How to cook a bun…

…in the oven! 


Isn’t our blob the cutest?


-Bake in the “oven” at 98.6 degrees for 9 months.  How easy is that?

 Yep, if you haven’t guessed it already, we are preggo!  We will be 10 weeks on Monday and the due date is 1-28-13. The ultrasound picture was from our first appointment this past Wednesday.  I was nervous because I’d seen other “blob” pictures in the past, and never understood what the big deal was.  It was just a blob!  But the blob is WAY cooler when it is your blob.  I loved seeing my blob.  I loved seeing it’s heartbeat and knowing it is growing right on track.

The symptoms I’ve been experiencing…a little bit of EVERYTHING.  

Exhausted – I feel like I’ve run 3 marathons everyday.
Frequent trips to the bathroom – all day and all night, so I guess I am running a marathon, to the toilet!
Nauseous – This is brought on randomly, by smells, by foods, it really is a joy.
Barfing – I got sick a few times during week 8.  But luckily, I figured out it was from switching prenatal vitamins.  So once I went back to the brand I was taking before, the vom trips stopped.
Food aversions – I can hardly eat anything.  Nothing sounds or tastes good.  Especially meat and fresh produce.  Which explains why I’ve been so quiet on the cooking front.  I’ve been having to stick with bland and strangely, greasy fast food.  And I’m sad to say, that pickles are no good right now.  They used to be my FAVORITE (I would even drink the juice), but my taste buds right now have made pickles extremely salty.  Also, I drank orange juice yesterday that tasted like a slim jim…
Food cravings – Even with the food aversions, I’ve had some funny cravings already.  Deviled eggs, Easy Mac with Texas Pete, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Crab Rangoon, lots of milkshakes, lots of root beer.  And when I get to satisfy my cravings, ohhh man, it is the best that food has ever tasted!
Hungry all the time – I could give any football player a run for their money right now.  If I had my full appetite back and it were Thanksgiving, oh goodness.  This was one of the first signs to show up before I knew I was pregnant.  I would get up at 4:00am, go downstairs, and raid the kitchen.  One morning the only thing in sight were hotdog buns.  So you bet your butt I ate 6 of them and went back to bed.  Later that day, I decided it was time to take a pregnancy test!
Crazy sense of smell – the grocery store is hell to me now.  Unless ours just needs to demolish the fish section and start over.  Lots of smells have made me gag.
Mood swings – LOVE YOU NATE!!!

So even though I’ve been counting down to 2nd trimester, pregnancy has been a fun adventure from the start.  I’m actually enjoying the “unknowns” from it all and having to re-adapt. I’m looking forward to my belly actually starting to show some evidence of my blob living in there.

This was taken at week 6 in a hotel bathroom in Chicago.  Bloated as heck, but still a decent “before” picture 🙂

Chicago Buildings

Blogging fail.  I typed this post over a week ago and thought I had clicked “Publish.”  Didn’t happen! haha.

The architecture in Chicago is enough to keep you busy for a week.  It is really amazing to me that aesthetics were not sacrificed in any of the ginormous skyscrapers downtown.  And every detail in the building’s design had a specific purpose and function…which is a must in any good design.  I’ve been to some cities where it seemed they just constructed tall, glass, ugly rectangle buildings with not even a smidgeon of individuality.  To get an up-close and personal history on these beautiful buildings, I took an Architecture River Tour.  If you are ever in Chicago…or even if you live there…I highly recommend taking this river tour!

For the size and the amount of people in this city, I could not believe how clean and well kept it was.  Even all the plantings were healthy and well taken care of.  I may have seen 1 person cleaning up the sidewalks during the week, but everything was always spotless!  There were people smoking everywhere, no ashtrays, but no cigarette butts in sight.  How do they do it?  Raleigh, NC is much smaller and has ashtrays, and I still see cigarette butts quite often!

The Trump Building

Our hotel – The River Hotel

Known by locals as “The Corn Cobs”

This is where Oprah and Obama work out.

Another river tour passing by

The Merchandise Mart

The old Chicago postal service building…scenes from The Dark Knight and Iron Man were filmed here!

Are you sure the Sears Tower is the tallest building in Chicago?  Oh perspective!

My favorite building.  Designed by the same architect that did the corn cobs.

Me and The Bean

The Bean

Lots and lots of children having the best time ever…but how freaky are these?

They blink!

And spit at you.

The Purple Pig

The Purple Pig is up there with my top 5 favorite dining experiences.  If you are ever in Chicago, this restaurant is a must!  The atmosphere is friendly and inviting with many communal tables, you never knew who was about to sit down next to you.  My favorite part about restaurants with this style of seating, is that you can strike up a conversation with the random person sitting beside you.

Even though there was an overwhelming amount of pork on the menu, there was something for everyone.  My coworker has a strict diet which includes…no pork or shellfish…had a wonderful experience.  One thing I kept repeating throughout the week in Chicago was how great the service was at every restaurant.  Going to a large, northern city, I was expecting the servers to give decent service, but to not be as friendly as what I am used to back home.  Boy, was I wrong!  Everywhere we went the wait staff were friendly as could be and my drinks never got sipped below halfway.  

The waiter at The Purple Pig was very helpful in navigating the large menu.  His advice and descriptions of each item in question was spot on.  I decided to give the pig’s tail a try.  I’ve had every other part of the pig except the tail, so I thought this was a must.  After 6 bites, I decided I did not care for it.  Not because of the meat, but because of the shaved egg on top.  In my opinion, the egg brought out the strong swine flavor in the pig’s tail.  The tail was cooked perfectly and I had chosen to order this, so even though I did not like it, I was not going to say anything.  The server noticed that I hadn’t touched most of the dish and asked if there was anything wrong.  I explained to him that it was great to try something new, it was cooked perfectly, but I just did not like it, and not to worry about it.  When we got our bill at the end of our meal, the pig’s tail was removed from the check!

Deviled Egg with Arugula & Caper Berries
Deviled Egg with Arugula & Caper Berries

Panino con Nutella {A Sweet Sandwich filled with a Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Marshmallow Cream & Bananas}
Panino con Nutella
{A Sweet Sandwich filled with a Chocolate Hazelnut
Spread, Marshmallow Cream & Bananas}

Pig’s Tails Braised in Balsamic
Pig’s Tails Braised in Balsamic

Salt-Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese & Pistachio Vinaigrette
Salt-Roasted Beets with
Whipped Goat Cheese & Pistachio Vinaigrette

Braised Baby Artichokes, Fingerling Potatoes, Asiago & Salami Toscana
Braised Baby Artichokes, Fingerling Potatoes,
Asiago & Salami Toscana

Still here!

Feels like forever ago since I last posted.  Life has been getting in the way, but get ready for Chicago trip overload!  Had some fabulous food while I was there and can’t wait to share my favorite meal of the week!

Must be getting old…

Normally, when I travel, I am the life of the party.  I’m constantly on the go and up for anything, and could stay up for anything.  This time around I find myself exhausted at the end of the day and just want to go to bed.  I could careless about the excitement going on outside my hotel window.  What I do care about is missing my husband, my dog, my house, and my bed!  

Granted, this is my first business trip, so I’m not use to working and traveling, and maybe that is what’s to blame.  Maybe I feel like I have more of a duty to be well-rested for the next day of conferences.  Maybe I feel like this trip isn’t at all about having fun, it is work, end of story.  But, probably not.  I’m just getting old or something haha!

I’ve had a wonderful time so far and have already eaten some amazing meals.  Of course my first stop was to try one of Chicago’s famous stuffed, deep-dish pizzas and it did not disappoint!  I kept being told that Chicago had great steak, which makes no sense to me.  Where are the cows?  But I try filet mignon sliders and holy cow they were amazing!  Who know a simple sesame seed bun and hunk of meat could be that tasty?  One of my favorites being the ginormous double-baked potato…

Also enjoyed an afternoon snack at this cute little pizza place and my outdoor table provided an excellent place for people watching!  Does anyone else like to people-watch while traveling?  I know to some it may sound creepy, but just watching random people, you get the overall vibe of a city.  For me, I’m always curious what other people’s lives are like.  What do they do all day?  

Years ago I could. not. wait. to get out of town.  Years ago I thought I wanted to live all over the place.  Now that I’m away from home, all I want to do is be home.  And I keep comparing the place I’m at to home and oh how I miss you Raleigh!!! Hold on, is this homesickness?  This is a first!

Recipe Swap: Home Made Salsa

There is nothing that we love more than chips and salsa.  It really never gets old and is always delicious.  The great thing about pigging out on salsa is that it is super healthy for you, so you don’t have to feel guilty about over indulging…except for the chips.  Darn them!

So when doing a recipe swap with Mike from Mr. Shine’s Food Blog it was a no-brainer which recipe I was going to choose! I only made a few adjustments.  Oh yea, and you may have heard of Mike’s wife Ashley from The Shine Project.

Home Made Salsa

Home Made Salsa

4 small California white peaches (or 2 large)
5 tomatoes
1/2 a cucumber
4 tomatillos
2/3 of a red onion

2 teaspoons roasted garlic
2 cups cilantro
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
juice from 2 limes
a couple pinches of salt
a couple grinds of pepper

Give the peaches, tomatoes, cucumber, tomatillos, and red onion a rough chop.
Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. And pulse until your desired consistency.  

The salsa was so yummy and I even brought it to a neighborhood cook out.  Everyone loved it!  I also want to try the Mexican Hummus.