Laparoscopic Surgery for Pregnancy Chance

A lot has happened since I last posted. Many of them had to do with travel. My husband and I went to New Zealand and Australia for about a week, which was beautiful! One of the best vacations we have ever taken! We hope to go back again to visit the South Island of New Zealand.

The topic today is about the Laparoscopic Surgery I will have in about 2 weeks. There have been great results for many women who have opted for this surgery. My ovaries are just not responding to the fertility medications, pill or shot forms. They barely reach 12 mm and I usually have a lovely pearl string on each ovary. My doctor suggested drilling which is where, through Laparoscopic Surgery, a laser is used to drill holes into the wall that has built up around the follicles. The idea is that the wall is preventing, or making it difficult for, the hormones to reach the follicles. By making holes, the hormones will reach the follicles and increase my chances of getting pregnant. Most women who go through this surgery usually get pregnant within the second or third cycle of fertility treatment. The effects of the surgery should last about 6 months to a year depending on the woman.

In Japan, I have to stay in the hospital for 5 days without any complications. Luckily, I have extra health insurance from Prudential, so they will cover my expenses! Otherwise, it may be too expensive for me to even think about since the regular health insurance doesn’t cover these types of surgeries or hospital stays. Any and all well wishes would be appreciated. I’m sure I will be in pain for about a day or two, but hopefully it will subside relatively quickly.

The harder part is getting the hospital to follow my diet plan for my Leaky Gut Syndrome that has come to haunt me with all of these fertility medications. I will leave this subject for another post though.

All the best to you and as always, feel free to contact me if you would like. Just send me an email or leave a message on this site 😉

V

Beet Root Spinach Salad

I recently discovered a supermarket near me that sells fresh beet root! It is difficult to find canned beets in Nagoya and so I did not expect to find fresh beets! I almost did a happy dance in the produce section. Don’t worry I stopped myself before I could embarrass myself. 😉

The next step was to find some recipes to use them in. Beets have some good nutrients that I wouldn’t get from spinach or tomatoes. It’s good to mix up our vegetables to give our body a well rounded dose of vitamins and minerals!

Now as for the recipe, I found this recipe on Cookieandkate.com. I’m going to share the amazing recipe she came up with, because this deserves to be shared!

raw-beet-salad-recipe

Photo courtesy of cookieandkate.com

I have to admit it’s a bit of a pain to grate the beets, because your hands will become red. Just make sure to wash your hands right after you finish grating your beets and you should be fine. Oh, and don’t forget your elbow grease.

Colorful Beet Salad with Carrot, Quinoa & Spinach
(I switched quinoa for farro one time and it worked just as well! Also, I prefer mint over cilantro in this salad, but that’s just me.)
4.9 from 18reviews
Author: Cookie and Kate
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time:  30 mins
Cook time:  15 mins
Total time:  45 mins
Serves: 2 to 4 salads
Reset with this healthy beet salad recipe featuring superfoods like carrot, quinoa, spinach, edamame and avocado. It’s as colorful as it is nutritious! Recipe yields two meal-sized salads or four side salads. If you plan on having leftovers, store the greens separately from the other prepared ingredients and toss just before serving.
INGREDIENTS
Salad
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen organic edamame
  • ⅓ cup slivered almonds or pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 medium raw beet, peeled
  • 1 medium-to-large carrot (or 1 additional medium beet), peeled
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach or arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
Vinaigrette
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint or cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup or agave nectar
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. To cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water for a minute or two. In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 1 cup water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the quinoa from heat and let it rest, still covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot, drain off any excess water and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.
  2. To cook the edamame: Bring a pot of water to boil, then add the frozen edamame and cook just until the beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. To toast the almonds or pepitas: In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds or pepitas, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.
  4. To prepare the beet(s) and/or carrot: First of all, feel free to just chop them as finely as possible using a sharp chef’s knife OR grate them on a box grater. If you have a spiralizer, you can spiralize them using blade C, then chop the ribbons into small pieces using a sharp chef’s knife. If you have a mandoline and julienne peeler (this is a pain), use the mandoline to julienne the beet and use a julienne peeler to julienne the carrot, then chop the ribbons into small pieces using a sharp chef’s knife.
  5. To prepare the vinaigrette: Whisk together all of the ingredients until emulsified.
  6. To assemble the salad: In your large serving bowl, combine the toasted almonds/pepitas, cooked edamame, prepared beet(s) and/or carrot, roughly chopped spinach/arugula (see note above about leftovers), cubed avocado and cooked quinoa.
  7. Finally, drizzle dressing over the mixture (you might not need all of it) and gently toss to combine. You’ll end up with a pink salad if you toss it really well! Season to taste with salt (up to an additional ¼ teaspoon) and black pepper. Serve.
NOTES
Recipe adapted from Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables into Healthy, Creative, Satisfying Meals by Ali Maffucci.
MAKE IT VEGAN: Opt for maple syrup or agave nectar instead of honey.
MAKE IT NUT FREE: Opt for pepitas instead of almonds.
I can’t get enough of this salad! Try it out and let me know how it worked for you. I had to leave out the avocados last time, because it wasn’t ripe yet. It was still a very delicious salad. I subbed the spinach for cabbage once and that was wonderful as well! This salad is so versatile! Try it with various vegetables and see what you think.
Happy eating!

Sloppy Lasagna

This is the easiest lasagna you will ever make!

I’m allergic to dairy, so for the longest time I was going without my friend, cheese. Then I discovered Sheese, a soy based cheese. It’s vegan friendly and works well in dishes. I tried it on it’s own and it’s alright. Not quite the same, but better than nothing. In a dish like lasagna it was perfection! It was like I could eat dairy again!

I basically followed the recipe from pressure cooking today, but instead of lasagna noodles I used gluten free bifun noodles. Mainly because I had it on hand and didn’t have gluten free lasagna noodles available. Of course, the bifun didn’t hold it’s texture BUT it gave the sloppy lasagna the pasta flavor and helped thicken it up too!

The Sheese I used was the hard cheddar flavored type and it worked well in this recipe. Instead of butter I used coconut oil, instead of beef I used ground chicken and I left out the carrot. I read somewhere that your body doesn’t absorb the nutrients of carrots and tomatoes if they are eaten at the same time…not sure how true that is, but I usually don’t include carrots in my lasagna anyway. I decided to use eggplant in mine and mmmm it was good!

Here is her recipe

Courtesy of Pressure Cooking Today
Ingredients
  • Meat Ragu Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 fresh oregano sprig
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. ground beef chuck
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup chopped or crushed tomatoes*
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree*
  • 1/2 cup water (for electric pressure cooker only)*
  • Lasagna
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (10 noodles) wavy lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch pieces
  • Water, as needed
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced

Directions

Sauce:

  1. Select browning and add 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil to the pressure cooking pot. When butter has melted, add the onion, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. Stir in the carrot and celery.
  2. Move the contents to the side of the pressure cooker. Add the beef and garlic and stir to break up. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the beef is brown on at least one side and the juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes.
  3. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 18 minutes. When beep sounds turn pressure cooker off and use a quick pressure release. When valve drops carefully remove the lid.
  4. Remove and discard the herb stems. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the sauce and stir until melted.
Lasagna
  1. Add the salt and lasagna strips to the sauce in the pressure cooking pot. Pour in enough water to cover the pasta. (I added 1 cup water.) Smooth down the top pieces of pasta so they are submerged.
  2. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook at low pressure for 5 minutes, or half the cooking time indicated on the pasta package. When beep sounds turn pressure cooker off and use a quick pressure release. When valve drops carefully remove the lid. Taste the noodles and if you’d like them a little softer, cook on simmer until the noodles are tender.
  3. Pour the lasagna in to a large serving dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the lasagna; stir, and let stand, uncovered, for 2 minutes before serving.
Notes
*I used a 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree

Be sure and use the minimum liquid recommended for your pressure cooker.

FYI I was not asked to promote Sheese products. I just recently discovered it and some of them are available in Japan and thought other allergy sufferers of dairy would appreciate knowing about this product. Soy isn’t really recommended for women with PCOS, but when you want cheese you do what you gotta do. 😉

Beetroot Houmous

I love houmous, but there is only so many times I can eat houmous before I need a bit of a change. I know there are options like avocado hummus which is delicious! But, sometimes I want to save my avocados for another recipe. I just happened to be watching a cooking show on TV (Gordon Ramsay was the chef) and I saw Beetroot houmous! The color is what really got me. That rich purple red color with the creamy mix of chickpeas mmmm, splendid! I immediately started to pay attention and it was just as simple as avocado hummus!

Now, I know most people use canned chickpeas and that’s fine, but I don’t like the added salt in the can. I buy dry chickpeas and cook them in my pressure cooker and boy do they cook fast! To cook chickpeas in a pressure cooker you don’t even need to pre-soak. Just rinse 1 cup of chickpeas real quick, pop them in the pressure cooker with 3 cups water, close the lid and cook for 30 minutes. Simple as that.

I just happened to stumble upon fresh beetroots at my supermarket (almost impossible to find canned or fresh! in Nagoya at least). You have no idea how excited I was! I quickly bought 2 medium sizes beetroots and checked, my friend, pinterest for cooking length. It was surprisingly fast, too. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil (there should be enough water to cover the beetroots). Make sure to clean the beets really well, no dirt or grime left. This way you can save the water and use it as stock or food coloring. Once the water is boiling and your beetroots are clean, pop them into the water and cook for 20-30 minutes and then put them in an ice bath immediately after cooking. They should be soft, insert a toothpick to check. The ice bath helps to remove the skin quickly, but I didn’t have ice. I put them in a cold bath and then I used a vegetable peeler. Just be careful not to peel too much or you will lose a lot of your beetroots! Of course, beetroots are delicious on their own, but save some for the houmous!

Cut the beetroots into cubes and put them in a food processor with the chickpeas. Add some Extra Virgin Olive Oil ( I gave a nice dallop and then I added more as I went until I got the consistency I liked), add a dash of salt (again add in small increments till you get the flavor you like). I use about 2 cloves of garlic and add 1/4 tsp of garlic powder and onion powder. Don’t forget a generous portion of cumin (I like 1-2 tbsp, sometimes more) and blend away. Once the texture is creamy I add about half a lemon and squeeze all the juice (minus the seeds) into it and blend again. If you like you could add some smoked paprika!

It should be a beautiful rich purple red color that is oh so good! Make sure to buy some carrots and cucumbers (or lettuce leaves) so you have something to eat this hummus with or you will end up eating hummus with a spoon.  Thank you Gordon Ramsay!

Life Changes are Necessary

The past couple of days I have had to cancel 4 days worth of work. That’s not including last week or the month before. It seems with fertility treatments we have to make some sacrifices, particularly with our wallets. Not only does the cost start to snowball, but the amount of hours you can work dwindles. It could be because of trips to the doctor’s office or from side effects (nausea anyone?). I have 3 different part time jobs. All three are completely different and it helps to keep me occupied. But, this past week has made me realize that I will need to cut back on teaching English. I’ve had to cancel so many lessons with clients that I feel awful! They made time in their schedules to take a lesson with me and I cancel on them…repeatedly.

The good news is one of my jobs is working in my in-laws clinic where I do paper work. My mother-in-law has been kind enough to allow me to choose what day I want to work there. So, I will cut back on my teaching job (only Saturday afternoon for a few hours) and work a few days at the clinic. At least I’m doing paper work, so it won’t affect anyone if I need to come in later.

The challenge will be to work with the smaller income I will have. Yeah, I’m married, but there are things that I buy with the income I earned. For example, ingredients to make the “No-Knead bread” or the “Dark Chocolate nutella oatmeal cookies“, because I devour it all myself…I mean…yeah, I do. I eat it ALL. Hopefully, spread out over a few days though. There are many ingredients that are kind of expensive, but luckily I can at least buy them even if it is online! I usually order a large enough shipment where my shipping is free. But, I can’t live without bread or sweets! Some days they are just essential!

So, my husband and I will be tracking our spending over the month of March and calculate how much we earn, how much we spend, how much we save and what adjustments we can make. Did I mention that I’m still paying off my student loans? Those are the thorn(ssssss) in my side. I can’t seem to pay them off and some days I wonder why I went to college. I’m not even using the degree I earned. If anything I may have been better off going to a culinary school, I love cooking! It’s always easier to say “I should have~” right?

I’m sure we can find places to pinch for saving and places that are worth splurging a bit (food!). I know we can work it out. We have a nice place to live, good health care, great family, 2 pawsome cats, plenty of food to eat and (caffeine-free) tea to drink! Everything is great in our lives. But, if we could have a little more I would choose baby over money. So, we’ll try to do this as stress-free as possible and remind ourselves that we’ve got it gooooooddd!

 

No-Knead Bread

This bread has been a life changer for me! I love bread, but I have dairy and egg allergies. I can’t buy bread from the store, because they often use eggs, milk or butter, not to mention the processed sugar! As women with PCOS we all know that processed sugars are not our friend. It can lead to diabetes since we are already at risk just by having PCOS.

I had to find a way to make bread that wouldn’t require me to spend hours in the kitchen. The only thing spending hours in the kitchen is the bread itself. Because we don’t knead it we let the bread sit over night with a towel draped over it. I keep my in the oven, just because I have cats who might try to sneak under that towel. And there is the added benefit that the oven will keep the moisture generated by the yeast that we use.

I have made two different versions with this recipe. One was with sesame seeds, pecans, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds. The other one I went for a vegan olive cheese bread. Did I mention I’m allergic to dairy? And PCOS women shouldn’t consume dairy anyway, sooooo I tried to replicate the flavor of breads with cheese in them. Not exactly the same, but I liked the flavor. I still need to do more experimenting with that one, so I will share the first one only. The recipe I used is from The Awesome Green and it’s called the No Knead Bread with Buckwheat, Rye, Seeds and Nuts. Have you been to her site yet? I love it! Great photos and fun posts…unlike mine, but anyway! I just had to share this recipe, because it’s too good not to!

no-knead-bread

Photo Courtesy of The Awesome Green

All you have to do is mix all the ingredients together and then cover it. Keep it in a slightly warm place, this is why I used my oven. Whatever heat the dough would generate would stay in the oven and it helps it to keep the moisture. Which is really important if you use coconut flour like I do.

Now let’s get to the recipe!

No-Knead Bread with Buckwheat, Rye, Seeds and Nuts
Prep time
14 hours
Cook time
1 hour 10 mins
Total time
15 hours 10 mins
Loaded with fiber and minerals, the no-knead bread doesn’t require any baking skills and comes with a delicious crunchy-crust and nutty flavor.
Author: The Awesome Green
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour (wholemeal)*
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour*
  • 1 cup rye flour*
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ cup toasted hazelnuts
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • ¼ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1&1/2 cups filtered water
  • *extra flour to sprinkle the working surface and bowl
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast, salt, nuts and seeds, then add water.
  2. Stir to combine and obtain a sticky dough.
  3. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let the dough rise at room temperature for for 12 hours (until bubbles appear on its surface).
  4. Sprinkle a working surface with flour, transfer the dough on it, fold it once or twice and give it a ball shape.
  5. Sprinkle abundantly the bowl with flour, place the dough inside, cover with a clean towel and let it rise for two more hours (it should double its size).
  6. With about 20 minutes before the dough is ready, heat the oven at 220ºC/450ºF and place a cast-iron pot or a clay one into the oven, empty, to accumulate heat.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven, carefully transfer the dough into it, cover with a lit and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid and bake for 40 more minutes.
  9. Remove from the pot and let cool for a 10 minutes before slicing.
Notes
I subbed half buckwheat and half coconut flour when I didn’t have rye flour or whole wheat flour and it worked well! Just remember to keep adding water until the dough sticks to itself and feels sticky, otherwise it will just be a crumbly mess. It’s best to use 1 cup coconut flour, 1 cup rye flour and 1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour. Add the amount of water recommended in the recipe, but if it falls apart add more. Like I said before keep adding water a little bit at a time until it sticks together and it starts to feel sticky. Then place in the oven (off!) and leave it over night.
I don’t have a pot with a lid that can be baked, so I use a frying pan that can be baked and cover it with aluminum foil. It works great!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with what you throw in. I’ve used sesame seeds, olives, nutritional yeast and it turns out great. Find the flavors you like in your bread to switch things up.
Let me know how it works out! Happy baking!

no-knead-buckwheat-bread

Photo courtesy of The Awesome Green.

 

Entering the decade of my 30’s

February 1st was my 30th birthday. I have officially entered my 30’s. I know many people weren’t ready for it, but I was.

I appreciated all that I have learned in my 20’s. From the crazy nights of clubbing and drinking during college to becoming more responsible and going to work (not hungover). I grew from the immature and strong headed girl into who I am today. Of course, I can still be strong headed, but I’ve learned to not fight everything that comes my way. I’ve learned to let things go and say “oh well”. I’ve let go of friends (or at least pseudo friends) to keeping a small, close set of friends. That’s not to say I don’t make new friends, I do. I just now know how to recognize who will be a good friend for me. It isn’t about the quantity, it’s the quality of our friendships that matter.

I moved countries in my twenties. I met my husband in my twenties. I learned I had PCOS in my twenties. I started fertility treatments in my twenties. My twenties were a time of learning a lot about myself. Finding what worked for me. Learning how to deal with my health. I began to love cooking, because it was a way to take care of myself and experiment at the same time. My twenties…

I experienced so much in my twenties, but I was ready to say good-bye when my 30th birthday was approaching. Now, that I am officially thirty I can say that I look forward to what my thirties will bring. I hope that my thirties will bring me a baby or two, but I have no control over that. Whatever comes I know I will be able to handle it. The good and bad is a part of life and I will remind myself to focus on the good days, more than the bad. The bad days are so strong that I need to remind myself about the good. Otherwise, that will become a sinkhole that I don’t want to have to fight out of. I have enough on my plate thank you very much.

I think I’ve grown a lot, but I know that there will be more to learn and experience. There is always something to do or that happens. I hope that whatever comes my way I handle it gracefully and am able to look back on it and learn from it. Of course, I know there will be plenty of wonderful moments and I will try to hold onto to those and let go of the bad ones.

So, I say “Hello 30. I’m Victoria. It’s wonderful to meet you. What do you have for me today?”