Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Where did I go?

Yes, I have been a little MIA in life here lately.  But I have a really good reason.  At this point this little reason is about the size of a blueberry and is due in October.  Yes, that's right, our round table will be adding another nut! 
Pregnancy number two is so different.  I have been tired out of my mind and getting sicker by the day.  The bare minimum is pretty much the status quo for my daily life.  My kiddo may be watching a little bit more TV and I may be taking naps in my bed with him just so he will nap longer for me. The first time around I wanted fresh fruit all the time, this time I want beef, beef, and more beef.  Which is so crazy since I usually only eat about 4 servings of meat a week. 
I would like to share, for those who don't know, where my family's journey began.
I went in for an exam in April 2010 and a cyst that was around 7cm was found on my left ovary. The Dr. wanted to wait and see what it was like in May and when I returned it was over 9cm. I had surgery to have it removed and my new Dr. (the other got fired at that point for several reasons – but mostly her inability to act like she gave a crap about me) found that I did not have a right ovary or fallopian tube and that my left fallopian tube seemed blocked. I went thru a horrible procedure to find that yes indeed my left and only fallopian tube was 100% blocked. As I was laying on the table the Radiologist who did the test told me that I would not be able to have children naturally and then turned and left the room. Spencer and I were crushed but we picked up the pieces of this unimaginable situation and decided to go forward to In Vitro Fertilization. We completed the preliminary tests and all of the paperwork.
We waited for the first visit but two weeks before I began to feel very different. I took a pregnancy test thinking I was ruling it out, only to find (twice) that it was positive. We were excited and terrified at the same time. There was a good risk that it was ectopic or another cyst. Tests and the ultrasound gave us the confirmation that God can create miracles when we cannot create our own. Our beautiful son Coen was born in June 2011. He is the only proof I need of God’s love and that in Him all things are possible.

In April 2012 I began to have some problems that seemed all too familiar. I went into my Dr. on 5-1-12 and told him I thought the cyst was back. He did not seem to think that was the case but sent me for an ultrasound. It was confirmed, I had a 4.53cm cyst but not to worry it would probably resolve itself and to come back in 2 months.
I returned on 7-3-12 with hope but knowing the truth deep down. My cyst had grown to over 9cm. I was devastated. Since I only have one ovary we decided to try another option to try to shrink it. To do everything we could to save the ovary and the possibility of any harm but to no avail. I began to have so much pain that it was getting difficult to pick up my sweet Coen. I went back in on 7-31-12 to find it had not gotten any smaller; it had grown to 9.73cm and was possibly causing some harm to my fallopian tube. It has to come out.
I knew that my Dr. will do everything he can to protect my ovary, my possibility to grow our family, my life, but very little gave me comfort to know that in a moment my ability to have any more children could be taken away.And I know there are many ways to add to a family. But for the moment I was being selfish and I admit it. I also know that God has always had a plan for me, for my family; and I needed to trust in nothing but that. So on the morning of 8-13-12 I went into the hospital and put my life and my fertility in my Dr. and Lord’s hands. I was scared.
Though the Dr. had to do a great deal of work in there, my ovary was saved!  My fallopian tube remain the same, blocked.  But we knew we had to just put our faith in God's hands.
On 2-10-13 I took the test that confirmed it.  Went into the Dr. for the blood test to confirm.  So then I set out to plan the perfect reveal for the hubs.  It was craft time for Coen and me!  How great that it was Valentine's week!  We finger painted in red and cut out hearts.  Then I had him make hand prints. This is what the hand print looked like.
It was a great surprise!  We did the same thing with both of our parents and it was great!

So here we are!  So will I be posting more regularly now?  Yeah, who knows.  But I will share the journey of going from one kid to two with honesty and humor!

Today, choose love!
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Stretching Chili Style

So if you are a little bit crazy like me you did a year end evaluation of your finances (yes, I am a big nerd and yes, I do know how to have a good time) and nearly passed out.  Let's face it the price of everything is going up - gas, toilet paper, bananas, and milk - I am strongly considering buying the cow (nobody is giving the milk for free these days!) but I am pretty sure that might be a little costly too.  So what do you do when you see your income versus spending is not getting along in a way that keeps the heartburn beast at bay?  You gotta find ways to stretch those precious dollars.  So in honor of short funds I give you "stretching it chili style"!
Here is a list of ingredients you will need for all of the meals.
2 Qt of Tomato juice
3/4 cup of dried onions
2 cans of medium chili beans
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can of tomato paste
1 to 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef (turkey, etc)
1 1/2 cup of Orzo pasta
8" flour tortillas
2-4 cups of cheddar cheese
2-4 tsp of ground black pepper
4-6 tsp chili powder
2 tsp chipotle chili powder (if you cannot find this use a little more chili powder)
1 tsp of Cumin
1 tsp of granulated garlic
other extras you might want:
Diced onions
Crushed tortilla chips
Sour cream
Real bacon bits or crumbles
Here is just a tip - when trying to get something like tomato paste out of the can - use a very small rubber spatula and you will be able to get every bit - see!
Penny pincher's delight!
Okay so you brown the ground beef (or other) and when it is only about half pink add in the dried onions.  I don't know why but for chili I really prefer the dried but if it kills you to use dried you will probably want to use a finely diced medium onion.
Once the meat is fully browned and the onions rehydrate add the (don't drain anything) 2 cans of chili beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 qt worth (4 cups) of the tomato juice, and spices. 
Okay I have to be honest.  I do not measure spices really at all.  I do everything to taste and it also depends on the heat level appropriate for the diners you will be serving.  Thus I give you a range.  I "measure" like good ol' Rachael Ray, by using my hand or sight.
 About a good tsp!
Simmer for 25-30 minutes and taste for seasoning.  Enjoy as is or top with cheddar cheese (I suppose you could add crackers but then you are just ruining it). 
Ah the first finished dish - Kristin's Chili
Okay after you have enjoyed as much as you like of the chili take a slotted spoon and put about 2-3 cups in one container and the rest in another.
Next up we add 2-3 cups of the left over tomato juice and 1 1/2 cups of Orzo pasta to the larger portion of leftover chili.  Now I know most of you probably grew up like my hubs with chili containing macaroni and I am sure that is fine.  The thing is I had orzo on hand and thought it would not over power the chili and I was SO right!  We loved the texture.  But if you cannot bear to see another pasta be my guest and change it to another small cut pasta of your liking. 
You may have to adjust seasonings after the pasta is done cooking which will take about 15-20 minutes. (If you were smart and own a pot that can go from the stove to the fridge and back again you saved your self a washing and stored the large portion in the pot you made it and then just added these ingredients).  Top with a little cheese, maybe sour cream, and tortilla chips - dress it up anyway you like! - and if it stretches another meal - try it topped another way!
Orzo Chili
Next break out the tortillas and the strained chili.  Heat up that chili, warm your tortillas, top with cheese and whatever else your heart desires!
Delicious Chili Cheese Burritos
Now I know you are saying, "But Kristin I still have some stuff left over."  No problem.  Enjoy the leftovers or slap whatever is left in a tortilla with cheese and fold it in half.  Toast in a pan on each side-  chili cheese quesadilla!  Now take that left over tomato juice and make yourself a  Bloody Mary because you just stretched a one pot meals to the extreme!
If you have a great stretch it meal or an idea for another way stretch this chili please feel free to share!
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