Sunday, March 31, 2013

Brunch at Ardeo Bardeo, Washington DC

It was gorgeous out this Saturday. While it was really tempting to stay home in my yoga pants and empty more boxes in the new house, we forced ourselves to meet up with friends for brunch in DC at Ardeo Bardeo.

After all I don't know how long it will be before we can meet up with friends after the baby comes. (Or how different it will feel)

I'm starting with this picture because these "Crispy Brussels Sprouts" were a-maz-ing.

I plan to try and replicate them as soon as possible. A blog I found says they are fried (of course) but I don't think I'll fry mine. They are tossed with olive oil then placed on top of some yogurt. The pistachios and dried apricots are what make it drool worthy.

I think the apricots are in some kind of preserves. Or tossed in honey maybe? I don't know, but look for this recipe on here soon because they are delish.

Ardeo Bardeo is in a trendy neighborhood in the Cleveland Park area. Parking was rough since it's always busy so we had to park pretty far a way.

Well actually, my sweet husband had to park far away. He dropped my preggo butt off at the front door, but we did make the trek back to the car together.

Inside Ardeo Bardeo I liked the black and white photos and their plush curtain room dividers when you walk in.

(What the heck is an "Ardeo Bardeo"?)

I ordered the "Salmon Rillettes" (like a pâté) to start. Tasty but not as memorable as the sprouts.

A couple friends got the "Marinated Chickpeas" with goat cheese, carrots, arugula and lemon.

I hate to say it, but no one really raved about their entrees. They were pretty good but again ... not as good as the sprouts. (Go get the sprouts!)

This is Ari's "BLT" with Benton’s bacon, smoked tomato relish and Fried egg.

I had the "House Benedict". It came on an English muffin with Canadian Bacon and hollandaise and two poached eggs.

I didn't care for the Canadian bacon that much but I will say their hollandiase sauce is really good. Very lemony.

Will's "Braised Leg of Suckling Pig" with cheddar grits, black eyed peas, peanuts and red eye gravy

I think the omelet that Ericka and Maggie got was the prettiest. It had mushrooms, onion, goat cheese, and herbs.

I don't miss drinking that much, but a mimosa or bloody mary would have been nice. (Soon enough)

The best part the brunch was seeing our friends. It made me happy to have all the ladies with their hands on my tummy trying to see if Austin would kick. Only Ari was lucky enough to get to feel him. I swear he knows when people are around and gets shy. :)

Photos from the new house coming in the next day or so! Happy Monday.

P.S. The service at Ardeo Bardeo was really good. Our server was very friendly and didn't mind giving my husband and I a separate check when we left a little early. I always have anxiety about asking for a separate check but he was really nice.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Baby Update: Weeks 29 and 30

I started feeling extra, extra large this week. Just in time for moving day. I might not have a recipe post this week while my kitchen is still in boxes but I will post some pics of the new house soon!

Total weight gain: I'm guessing 30 plus lbs. I will know more Thursday at my next appointment. I really hope they do a growth scan soon. I want to know how big this little guy is already!

How I'm feeling: I'm starting to feel really, really pregnant. When I try to get out of the car or my bed it's a slow process. In bed I have to kind of rock my self forward in order to get up. During the move I tried really hard not to do too much but I felt incredibly guilty. I still packed up boxes and made some trips to my car with clothes and things that were light enough. I still felt like I ran a marathon at the end of the night though. My hip flexors were really sore and so were my feet.

Most Major Issues: Still can't feel my fingers on my right hand. Heartburn is still bad. Even with taking Unisom I haven't been sleeping through the night. At the end of the night lately my whole body just starts to hurt, I get restless legs and pains in my shoulders and arms. RIBS ARE KILLING ME.

P.S. The blood work from the 3 hour glucose test came back negative. Phew. Also they said I had a slightly enlarged liver and spleen and they made me do a liver function blood test. So far no word back so that must mean I am okay. 

Maternity clothes: At work I live in short cotton or sweater dresses with leggings under them and flats. At home I am in maternity yoga pants all. day. long.

Stretch marks: Not yet -- fingers crossed.

Sleep: I love sleep, I wish I could get some.

Exercise: The stairs in our new house are taking some getting used to -- that's about it these days and it feels like a lot. Heck, putting my pants on feels like exercise.

Best moment this week:
These few weeks have been busy but have had a lot of great moments.  We bought a lovely house, we really made it happen! Every time we put together a new piece of furniture or finish unpacking a room is a great moment. Another great moment was realizing my commute (knock on wood) isn't TERRIBLE. It's taken an hour, the same amount of time it was taking me from an area closer to Washington DC.

Movement: He moves a lot lately. So much so that when I realize an hour has gone by and I haven't felt him I get nervous. Did anyone else do that?

Food cravings:
I can't eat as much lately. If I do I feel sick. I have resorted to smaller meals more often.

Belly Button in or out? It's not out yet but it's looking really strange.

Wedding rings on or off?
Still off. I think I could get them on but I don't want to chance getting them stuck!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Last Friday I was insanely busy at work and the guys in our IT department really saved my butt in helping me set up something I could have never done on my own. I decided they deserved some cookies.

Some chewy, sweet, lemon cookies.

They were really easy (especially for a non cookie baker) and they were really, really good too.

Just the right amount of softness, tartness, and sweetness. Right out of the oven they are very soft and almost cake like, but then they harden up just enough when they cool down.

The really reminded me these lemon brownies I made. Remember these?

It never hurts to have the IT guys on your side. Remember that ... and make them these cookies.

Lemon Crinkle Cookies
(Makes about 2 dozen)

Recipe from on LDS Living

½ cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoons baking soda
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte {not melty or shiny}. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

*If using a non-stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Marshmallow Jello Shots in Real Marshmallows

Sometimes my husband comes up with the craziest ideas. Like hollowing out a giant marshmallow and putting alcoholic jello in it.

I didn't think it would work (I thought the jello would soak through the marshmallow and leak out) but promised him I would try it.

Guess what ... it works!

Brilliant man I married! It's easy too.

1. Using your fingers pinch out the center of your giant marshmallows. (I ate the centers as I pinched. If I was feeding these to guests that wouldn't be cool, but since these were just a test batch it was okay :)

2. Let your marshmallows sit out a little while to toughen up.

3. Make your alcoholic jello. I used this awesome new Jolly Rancher flavored jello. 3/4 cup water on medium heat until in reaches a boil, stir in jello packet. When dissolved, pour into 1 cup cold vodka of choice (I love Pinnacle Whipped for everything).

(For a kid friendly, non-alcoholic version just use cold water instead of vodka)

4. This step is really important. Let your alcoholic jello mixture cool. It should be at least room temperature before you poor it into your marshmallows. If it's hot it will melt the marshmallow and it won't work.

5. Carefully pour your jello mixture into the marshmallows.

6. Save any left over jello you have so you can check them as they set and see if any need to be topped off.  They should be ready/set in a few hours.

My next question is .... would this work with Peeps?! Hmmmmmm.

Marshmallow Jello Shots in Real Marshmallows

1 bag giant marshmallows, center hollowed out
1 cup vodka of choice
1 box jello (small box)

(The jello goes a long way, you could probably fill the whole bag of marshmallows.)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Baby Update: Week 27 and 28

I've been hiding from the camera for the most part -- but try to take a picture at each month marker. This is "7 months".

Next month we need a good family picture with me and Nick and the Honey Bear too.

Total weight gain: 25 lbs. Won't know how much more until my next official appointment. Still feel chubby but starting to accept it (knowing that I can get to work on burning it off soon enough.)

How I'm feeling: Feeling okay. Still have energy in the morning and afternoons which I am very grateful for.

Most major issue: Still with the severe rib pain on my upper right side. Every time he has a growth spurt I can feel it, some days are worse than others. I have an appointment for an ultrasound on Friday to make sure it's just the babe on my ribs and not an issue with my gallbladder.

Also -- my glucose test came back high :(  I came in at 130 which is apparently right at the cut off. I have the 3 hour blood work glucose follow up test tomorrow. Fingers crossed, I will feel extremely discouraged if I have gestational diabetes. This pregnancy has been a bit rough as it is.

Other annoying things: Heartburn and I still can't feel my ring and middle finger on my right hand. My ears were popped all day yesterday too. Weird.

Sleep: First let me say I wish I could find a week by week pregnancy blogger who is having a tough pregnancy like I am. I keep checking out some of the popular ones and they say things at 28 weeks like "Sleep is awesome".

I can't remember the last night I could classify as sleeping "awesome" :(

I've been jamming pillows under my back and having my boppy body pillow in the front. That helps a little but my arms still fall asleep which wakes me up and I get up to pee at least once through out the night.

Exercise: No gym these past couple weeks. My belly has been too sore and it's just getting hard to maneuver around. My goal for my second pregnancy (one day) will be to be better about keeping up with exercise even through the first trimester when I am nauseated.

Best moment this week: Finding out we get to move into our new house a little early. I can't wait to start getting his nursery together.  

Movement: Tons. I started counting like some pregnancy websites suggest to, just to make sure he's doing okay in there. I get about 10 kicks every hour at least.

Food cravings: Eggs, apples, bananas, cereal with vanilla almond milk and bananas (and ice cream sandwiches).

Monday, March 11, 2013

Brunch at Home: Avocado, Feta, Tomato and a Poached Egg

We went to Roanoke, Virginia this weekend to see family. My husbands grandma took me to get a mani/pedi which was perfect timing because you should have seen me trying to paint my own toe nails last week with my 7 months along belly.

She also shared with me her recipe for apple pancakes that my husband loves, loves, loves. Look for that later this week and a baby update too!

Until then here is a drool worthy "brunch at home" picture tutorial.

1. French bread cut in thin slices topped with olive oil, salt and pepper, avocado and tomatoes.

2. Top with poached egg and green onions and a little more pepper.

3. Break open poached egg and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Diet Mixed Berry Smoothie

I woke up this morning hoping to look out the window and see the 4-10 inches of promised snow in the DC metro area. Whomp, whomp.

Of course right now we just have slush. It might get bad still though so I am keeping my pregnant tush in my "work from home" spot. Folks in Syracuse are probably laughing at us.

On to this smoothie! Ocean Spray asked me to try out their new diet cranberry juice and I seriously love cranberry juice.

As a woman (without getting into the personal details, if you know what I mean) cranberry juice is really good for you, but we all know juice is a diet buster so this is pretty awesome:

1 cup of diet cranberry has only 5 calories and 2 carbs. (Regular cranberry has 132 calories per cup and 30 carbs).

The juice tastes really good too. It doesn't have a fake sweet taste, it's just a little lighter and in this smoothie it might as well be regular non-diet juice. Here is the recipe for the smoothie. If youre watching your calories or if you just love smoothies, try this one!

Diet Mixed Berry Smoothie  (Makes 1 large cup)
3/4 cup Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry Juice Drink, any flavor
3/4 cup frozen mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries)
1 6-ounce container low fat berry-flavored yogurt (I used Chobani Bite raspberry chocolate!)
1/2 banana, cut into slices

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend for a few seconds on high speed or until ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour into a large glass.

I have partnered with Ocean Spray through DailyBuzz to help promote their new Ocean Spray Diet product. I have been compensated for my time commitment to work with this product, however my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Shamrock Pudding Shots for St. Patrick's Day

I know St. Patrick's Day is a few weeks away but I've already seen some traffic for St. Patrick's Day jello shots so I wanted to get these posted earlier for you.

These pudding shots are similar to my eggnog pudding shots but instead they are made with pistachio pudding and spiked with Baily's and Jameson whiskey.

Just like last time the process is super easy and they have wafer cookies that double as spoons!

1. Take 1 box of instant pistachio pudding mix (make sure it's instant, I bought the cook and serve by mistake one time and had to go back to the store) and mix it with 3/4 cup milk with an electric mixer.

It should look like this.

2. Next you add 1/2 a cup of  Bailey’s and 1/4 cup Jameson and 1 (8 ounce) tub of extra creamy Cool Whip that has been thawed in the refrigerator. Mix it lightly (don't over mix it just make sure there are no lumps). It should look like this.

If you don't think it's green enough, feel free to add a couple drops of green food coloring.

3. Spoon or pipe the pudding mix into a shot glass top it with whipped cream and sprinkles. Store in the fridge until you serve. Don't put the cookie in until you serve, you don't want them to get soggy. 

I also put some layers of green sprinkles in there to make it look more festive!

If you don't like pudding shots -- check out my shamrock shaped jello shots from last year. Ther were really easy to make as well!

Shamrock Pudding Shots (makes 12-14 large shots)
3/4 cup cold milk
1 small box pistachio instant pudding
1/2 cup Bailey’s
1/4 cup Jameson whiskey
1 (8 ounce) tub extra creamy Cool Whip, thawed in refrigerator
1 package of sugar wafer cookies  -- I used lemon and they were really tasty
Sprinkles and whipped cream (optional)
Green sprinkles for layering (optional)
Green food coloring (optional)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Pie Review: CoCo Pie Co. Blackberry Heaven

If this photo doesn't make you want a bite of pie ... then you must not like pie.

It's warm blackberry pie with the most amazing crust I've ever had. Soft but still crisp around the outside and a hint of saltiness in the pastry dough.

A light dollop of Cool Whip on top. Mmmmm.

Turns out my grandpa is friends with the owner of a pie company in Georgetown (Washington, DC), the Copperthite Pie Baking Company. They have been making pies since 1886 (whoa) and are celebrating their 125th anniversary.

He reached out and asked if I wanted to try his pie. It helps to have friends in high places when you're a pregnant lady who always wants pie.

I can't say enough good things about this pie. It was perfect. I can't wait to try the apple next.

Happy Friday!
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