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In case I haven’t professed one of my biggest passions in life, let me tell you about my shopping vice. I love shopping–but not in the $900 boot binge kind–I’m talking cheap. I love bargains, I live for clearance racks, I stalk out the best sales– the grocery store notwithstanding.

Anyway, I love the grocery store sales paper that we get every week. I like to study the paper and then compare my coupons, as if it’s my mission in life to become the coupon lady. This is how glamorous my life has become.

What I’m getting at is this: I love bargains, but at the same time, I’m not willing to sacrifice my expensive taste, either. So, that’s where the studying of the sale paper comes in.

Can you imagine what I looked like on Saturday when I saw that the Been tenderloin was on sale? I had pictures of Filet Mignon and Chateaubriand dancing around in my head!!

I bought my cheap Beef Tenderloin and decided to give a stab at making Chateaubriand. Appropriately enough, in the latest issue of Cookie, I remembered seeing a recipe for a Valentine’s Day Chateaubriand.

The recipe was straightforward, even though I never have shallots on hand. It did, however, call for red wine, which I had plenty of!! The meat turned out great, even though I had a crying baby and had to nuke the undercooked meat a bit (so we could eat in time for me to nurse before the kid pitched a tantrum!) I paired it with some steamed veggies– nothing out of the ordinary. The sauce was delicious, but it could’ve used a little more flavoring from the drippings. Jeff and I ended up having another serving each, which weren’t nuked. Those slices of beef turned out WAY better. The meat almost melted in our mouths.

Because of the cost of this cut of meat, I highly recommend trying the recipe when the beef loin goes on sale or for a special occasion. Check out the recipe at Cookie!

I have a secret.

I ate brownies for breakfast this morning. I’m not talking like one square. More like, half the freaking pan. I’m not apologizing or anything. I’m just sharing because they were damn good.

traderjoesbaking3.jpgLet’s get something straight here: Before I got pregnant with our giant baby, I never ate breakfast. Instead, I had 2 cigarettes and 2 cups of very potent coffee to wash it all down. Healthy, right? So, once the whole world advised that I should eat healthier, I obliged…except, the healthy stuff kinda got lost in the mix. Oops. At least I gave up the cigarettes and actually ate breakfast. (the baby “craved” sausage, egg and cheese on a roll from the deli.)

So, now that I have Jack and nurse him EVERY 2 hours on the dot, I’m always huuungry. I eat everything in sight it seems like. But can I brag for a second? My voracious eater is my best weight loss regimen EVAH.

During my pregnancy, I gained almost 40 lbs. And between us, I weighed A LOT.  I thought for sure that I’d be featured on Maury one day and Jeff would have to hire a crane to remove me out of bed.
Much to my surprise, I am happy to report that a few weeks ago, I got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. Yay me.  Seriously though, that’s not saying much. Actually, that’s not saying a damn thing!! I still have a long way to go before I don a bathing suit, or a skirt for that matter. The weight is generously redistributed thanks to gravity. Jeff’s been saying that he’s watched the weight just melt off. As sweet as he is, when you’re in sweats all day, how can you tell? So, when I wore a non-maternity dress for the first time this YEAR over the weekend, I actually felt good in my own non-pregnant skin.

I’ve been secretly patting my back since I shed all the baby weight even though it hasn’t been that ‘easy.’ Breastfeeding on demand for 2 months has been the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life, ya’ll. (Again, can you tell we just got back from Va. with the ya’ll.) Mama deserves a brownie or 5!

I’ve got a long way to go and now that I have the ok to go back to the gym, I hope to continue losing the excess weight. We’ll see how it goes.

Back to those delicious brownies…since I was in an especially Christmassy mood last night, I decided to bake! So, right before the Rockefeller Tree Lighting came on, I whipped up a batch of Trader Joe’s Truffle Brownies since our kitchen is bare. It’s like heaven in a box. Everything from TJ’s is awesome, but those brownies blow Betty Crocker out of the kitchen.

If you go to Trader Joe’s I recommend stocking up before I buy all the boxes myself– on the way to the gym of course!

I had another dr’s appointment yesterday.  If anything, it seemed like another routine appointment, rather than a full-term check up.  I seem to be retaining water (or the nightly dose of ice cream is finally catching up with me) so I gained more weight than usual.  Also, the dr brought attention to my slightly swollen ankles. haha. I hadn’t noticed I guess, because I haven’t seen my ankles since last night!  The dr. asked how I was feeling and I just chuckled and told him that everything hurts.  He then told me to expect even more pressure and even more pain in the next few weeks.  lovely!  It’s almost certain that I haven’t progressed much further, and we’re still expecting the baby to arrive around his expected due date of 9/24.  If we say I go early, we know I’ll go way late.  So, we’ll just assume the kid will make his grand entrance in a few weeks, giving me some time to relax on my own before his arrival.
We talked more in detail about the topic of the whole interracial coupling and baby’s size.  Generally speaking, nature intended me to have an Asian and smaller baby.  The dr. soothed our concerns, saying that while it can be an issue and has been in the past, he’s optimistic for us.  I’m going to try and do the same.  At this point, it’d behoove me to be optimistic and trust our wonderful dr.– we know he’s not C-section crazy, he’s not pushing for any unnecessary interventions and he’s always been one to ease our minds.

The reality of temporarily relinquishing my daily routine, which happens to be my first dream job, totally hit me when I gave the nurses my forms for my short term disability.  As much as I’ve been anticipating this “break” from work, I think it’ll be a bittersweet few weeks when I put my desk job on hold.

I definitely can’t wait for my new dream job…as mom.

This doesn’t have much to do with baby or pregnancy, but I thought I’d share our excitement anyway.

For the past year and a half, my husband has been stalking his favorite restaurant. He walked by, trying to peer in the covered windows, he’d check out their website almost weekly, he’d do drive-bys after he dropped off his carpool buddy and yes, he even called there on a regular basis…like he was stalking an old girlfriend. Every chance he had, he always touted the allure of this place, promising delicious sausage platters and beer. You see, his favorite restaurant suffered substantial damage after a fire. And since then, he’s been waiting for the place to rebuild and reopen. It’s been a long year and a half!

To be quite honest, the place isn’t swanky or all that fancy, in comparison to the other restaurants in town or across the river. Actually, before it burned down, its old school nuances is what attracted us to the place. Its simplicity and neighborhood charm is what made us fall in love. It’s an old German joint that served real German fare and delicious microbrews and imports in their respective glasses. Meaning, if you you ordered a Bock with your dinner, it was served in a Stange. If you ordered a Hefeweizen, it was served in a Weizen glass. It might be the little things in life, but details matter for beer afficiandos.

Besides, how can you go wrong with a place that serves something called an Oktoberfest platter, has your favorite microbrew, has live Polka and is walking distance from your house? haha.

jeff at helmers 1/06We liked walking down to Helmer’s for special occasions like Jeff’s bdays or even for a nice Sunday dinner. It had an old world vibe, as well as the old school aura that’s hard to come by in our neighborhood these days. Jeff even spoke so highly of the place, hoping that we could treat his parents there, or even his closest uncle and aunt from Philly. “It’s German and they have awesome beer!” he insisted.

So as you can imagine, when the place closed down, my husband was very heartbroken.

Anyway, it was serendipity perhaps, that Helmer’s reopened on a day that we were both home from work. We went in for lunch yesterday and had the famous steak sandwiches that we’ve missed so much. And yes, as you guessed, Jeff had his beer too. The mostly brand new interior, from the booths to the taps, have replaced the old school details, but it’s still a great place that will always resonate fond memories for us.. There’s nothing like your favorite neighborhood restaurant 🙂

Welcome back, Helmers’!

Aside from fruit, ice cream and baked potatoes, I’ve been craving a lot of meat so far. I could easily eat steak every day if I could.

Even before this pregnancy, we’ve tried our best to balance our meals with chicken, fish, turkey, pork and veggies. But man, what I’d do for a giant Rib Eye from Outback or a delicious burger from the Shake Shack right now.

burger.jpg

While I was researching the headlines for work this morning, I ran across this fancy headline from Reuters, and printed in the Post. It’s another one of those fine pregnancy warnings.

BABY BEEF GRIEF it reads!!!

There was a study where the University of Rochester Medical Center studied data on the partners of 387 pregnant women in five U.S. cities between 2000 and 2005, and on the mothers of the fathers-to-be. Of the 51 men whose mothers remembered eating the most beef, 18 percent had sperm counts classified by the World Health Organization as “sub-fertile.”

The article basically has some valid points in saying that, “pesticides, hormones or contaminants in cattle feed may be to blame. Chemicals can build up in the fat of animals that eat contaminated feed or grass, and cattle were and are routinely given hormones to boost their growth.”

Which, in my opinion could be avoided in the future by choosing to go organic. While it’s not the simplest solution, it’s still a viable alternative; and one that I’ll hopefully continue to follow whenever we can.

I don’t necessarily heed all of these warnings and studies, but something like this does create a cause for concern. With all the hormones and pesticides out there, God only knows what we really ingest on a daily basis. Aside from us, many of our friends, even my parents are opting to go green and more organic. Can anyone blame them?

I’m wondering though, will Wendy’s be kind enough to adhere to more organic standards? *I’ll have the organic Big Bacon Classic, please.*

That’d be really awesome if they could.