Archive for May, 2012

Patrick, our friend E., and I took a cooking class this week. We learned to cook “en papillote.” It is a surprisingly fast and easy classic French cooking technique that mixes arts & crafts, origami, and crazy delicious results. As Ina would say, “What could be better than that?” Cooking en papillote with your faves, that’s what!

In class we cooked (1) Mediterranean shrimp (raw), (2) frozen dumplings (Pork gyoza dumplings from Trader Joe’s), and (3) classic dill salmon.

Step One-A: Cut your parchment paper into a heart.


Step One-B: Practice folding without food. Fold paper heart in half (over food) — start at the cleavage of the heart and fold along the edges and twist the tail of the heart (not a metaphor).

Look, ma, I did it!

Step Two: Put your heart to the side (not a metaphor) and chop and mix ingredients!

Can even do frozen dumps and chopped veggies! We also added just a bit of soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds to the mixture.

Step Three: Wrap it up! Place mixed food along one side of heart. And fold it down.

Patrick makes a packet en papillote!

Step Four: Put it in the oven at 425 degrees! (General rule: For protein over an inch thick, 10 minutes will do it. For protein under an inch thick, 8 minutes will get the job done. For real! Frozen dumplings take a little longer to steam — 10-11 minutes).

They should puff up in the oven. But if they don’t, the food inside still tastes just as good. That puffy one is our friend’s. Ooh la la!

Step Five: Cut open top with scissors. Admire the magic and the fragrance! Now that’s fast food!

Snip! Snip!

Mediterranean shrimp!

Dumplings and veggies!

Salmon with dill and shallots (and a 1/2 tbsp of butter and splash of white wine)

Step Six: Eat your heart out! Bon appetite!


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There is this super-amazing pregnant woman named Giselle. She looks like a Giselle — athletic, gorgeous, French, and happy. Since she is French, her baby will be sleeping through the night by 3 months, eating quietly and politely in restaurants, and eating off the normal menu. Naturally, it follows that my future child will be up all night flinging poo and screaming and refusing to eat anything other than french fries. Giselle and I have the same due date, so I can’t help but compare myself to her. But no matter what I do, I cannot live up to her…

During first trimester, when 24/7 “morning” sickness got so bad that my doc put me on meds, she bragged about how lucky she was to be doing her whole pregnancy med-free. I waited for her turn to come, but it never did. When first trimester then turned my forehead into a bumpy, red, acne-ridden mess, her skin was still flawless. I, of course, waited for her perfect face to break out too… But no. How did she do that?

When second trimester came and I finally got back into exercise 5-6 days a week, I was thrilled! I felt fit again, more in charge of my body, and my bump was growing beautifully. But leave it to Giselle to ruin that too. I could hear her thinking, “Oh you walk 2-3 miles and follow a prenatal DVD on weekdays. Um, that’s (lame) nice… By the way, did I tell you I’m TRAINING FOR A MARATHON? Doc says I’m fit enough. Ta ta!” Who does that? I… hate… her… 

26 weeks and 3 days

Did I mention that Giselle is also a writer? She “dabbles,” in her words, but she is as annoyingly impressive in this, as with everything else. During this pregnancy she has never been more motivated and creative. Her unborn child is her muse and constant source of inspiration. As we are approaching third trimester (and my mental capacity and energy levels are declining), Giselle tells me she manages to sit down every day to write. Yes, me too, if “writing every day” means watching Real Housewives of Wherever followed by a fatigue-induced nap. 

To sum up Giselle: Amazing, annoying, the wonder woman of pregnancy, and a completely made-up person I’ve been comparing myself to throughout this pregnancy. (I’m not totally crazy, I only gave her a name, super-amazing triumphs, and a nationality for the purpose of this blog post.) Even if Giselle is made up, I am sure there is someone out there in real life being just as fabulous and making me look like the lamest, laziest, most limited preggo ever.

But In truth, I feel like the happiest, luckiest, most Zen preggo out there. Every once in awhile, when this belly surprises me with a limitation or this pregnancy slows me down, I have a moment of doubt — Can other pregnant women out there do this? Are they sleeping through the night in comfort? Getting their shoes on faster? Walking 2 miles without intense back pain? But instead of letting these pointless comparisons get to me, I listen to my body, give the bump a little rub, put my feet up, and marvel at all the amazing going on inside. Running and writing can wait, we’re growing a baby!

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I know this sounds like the world’s lamest excuse, but since getting knocked up I have lost my memory, creativity, and attention-span. So, I have not been writing, blogging, or reading anything with chapters…or paragraphs…or really long sentences.

Luckily for me, baby books are written for people with the attention-span the size of a 140 character Twitter update–short sections and no long paragraphs to wade through–so I can still feed my obsession for baby info without just scrolling through my Twitter feed. Wait, what was the point I was trying to make?

Anyway, that is why I haven’t been: blogging, working on my book rewrites, remembering to add ketchup and flour to the grocery list, or finishing my thought… There was supposed to be more to this paragraph. Gah!

So it dawns on me that I forgot to tell you all that WE’RE HAVING A GIRL!! Also, I am smuggling a globe in my shirt and I can see the inside of my belly button for the first time.

Mama’s got a big ol’ bump, oh yeah!

Other milestones we’ve experienced: I can feel little Joey Kangaroo kicking and wiggling first thing in the morning, right before bed, and when I eat spicy food or sugar. When Patrick puts his hand on my belly, he can now feel our Kung-Fu Panda kick. And I have had one of those Alien moments–whilst reading a baby book (or Twitter, who can remember) I caught my belly moving “on its own” from the corner of my eye. I screamed.

Kung Fu Panda is growing!

We’ve also experienced something I did not expect, but I guess should have… Crazy generosity from our friends and family. Baby shower season isn’t even here yet and we already have a stocked baby bookshelf (with more board books on the way)!!

The most important area in baby’s room

And the clothes! Whew, remember to tell a few family and friends you are expecting a girl and you get a clothing explosion!!

Cute girl clothes!

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