Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Anatomy scan

Hi folks,

We had our anatomy scan today. Baby looks healthy, vigorous... and male. Both screening tests came back negative. We spoke with the genetic counselor and she doesn't have any serious concerns for the baby -- only one concern for me that suggests a visit from a geneticist might tell us more about the potential risks (a hemorrhaging risk and a heart abnormality risk -- again, neither one is confirmed at this point.) It was a phenomenally reassuring morning.

Tomorrow, we are at 20 weeks (and where did the time go?)

I hope that all is peace and love surrounding each of you today, too.

Well, surprise, surprise.

Huggies did a study and found that diapers are too expensive for many families to afford.

Why not use cloth diapers and save OVER $100 PER MONTH? (Their excuses about laundromats are valid, but not universally.) Sheesh.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Whooping cough

Please, folks, vaccinate your kids. I agree that if your child is allergy prone or if you have a family history of respiratory problems, you may want to look into a slower vaccine schedule where your child only gets 2 vaccines at any one time, so that you can keep track of and respond well to allergic reactions. But risking your child's life -- and the lives of others -- by not vaccinating is silly; this is a million times sillier if it's due to fear of autism, for which there exists NO link to vaccination. (Seriously. Get your information from scientists, not celebrities.) There, I've said my controversial piece.

For better or worse, but almost definitely because of the anti-vaxers, we're having a whooping cough epidemic. Wheee!

Edited to add: I just received a terrific email from Kristi at Newsy.com, who turned me on to an informative video on just this subject. It's worth a watch!

Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How'd the kimchi turn out, you ask?

I put the kimchi in the fridge late last night. It could have stayed out another 12 hours or more to get more tart, but I liked my taste of it so much that I put it in the fridge. Note that our weather has been very cool and that this may have slowed down its fermentation.

It is the mildest, freshest tasting kimchi I've tasted. The chili powder finally decided to join the party and taste spicy, but not HOT spicy; the cabbage retains fresh cabbagey crunch and flavor; the tartness is pronounced but not squintworthy. I am glad I omitted fish sauce from this batch, because this is a lovely springy/summery flavor that would have been overbalanced by briny umami if the fish had joined the party. There's a substantial perfume of ginger, and a tangible but not brutal flavor of garlic.

If I wanted something more authentic, I'd add a little more garlic, a little more chili than 2 tablespoons or a jalapeno, serrano, or Thai bird chili for more fire, and leave it out for another whole day to get tart. And I might -- MIGHT -- add the fish sauce. But I am happy with this -- especially the texture of the green onions, sliced finely rather than left in 2 inch segments.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Easy Kimchi - new recipe

This is a completely inauthentic recipe and seems like it will be pretty mild kimchi once it has finished fermenting, but my tastes of the unfermented product were delicious.

Easy Kimchi

1 medium-large napa cabbage, sliced vertically into eighths, then sliced in 2 inch segments crossways
1/2 cup salt
8 cups water
2 tablespoons coarse chili flakes (Korean chili flakes if possible) [edited: please consider raising this to as much as 1/4 cup, depending on your chili flakes!]
2 tablespoons sugar
one thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
four large cloves of garlic, minced finely
four large scallions (2/3 bunch), sliced into 1/4 inch slices
[edited to add: 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)]

Mix water and salt, and soak cabbage. You will need to weight the top. For me, the ideal container was a plastic pitcher with a heavy bowl that nicely fit the pitcher's diameter. As the cabbage soaks, it will both shrink and float, and you want to keep it submerged. Soak for 2 to 12 hours, then drain well, rinse in several changes of water, and squeeze dry. (I used my salad spinner and followed up with gentle squeezing out.) Save the juice to top off your jars.

Mix all other ingredients in a separate bowl, adding a tablespoon of water or so to make a thick paste. Leave this paste for a few minutes to allow the chili flakes to swell. (You may cut down or omit the sugar; I have made kimchi several times without it and this is the first time with. It tastes dandy, but isn't necessary.) PUT ON KITCHEN GLOVES and lovingly massage the paste into your salted, drained, squeezed cabbage leaves until the coating is uniform.

Pack kimchi into sterile jars and top off with the reserved juice -- the red stuff with the seasonings first, then any leftover juice from the cabbage. You are aiming for 3/4 inch headspace. Squish down cabbage mixture so that juice fills all the cracks between and covers the top; you do not want air bubbles in your jars. Fasten jar tops loosely.

Allow to ferment at room temperature for 24-48 hours, until it smells and/or tastes tart. Then, refrigerate, and enjoy! This is a lactic acid fermentation that has awesome health benefits.

This seems to make a relatively mild kimchi. You can amp up the quantities of garlic, ginger, and chili flakes -- or add gochujang or minced fresh chilies -- to make a fiery one. I went mild for the sake of my buddy April, who wanted to try some milder kimchi.

This makes about 5 to 6 cups of kimchi. Believe it or not, the volume of the cabbage reduces by about 2/3 overall!

(It is more traditional to leave the scallions in 2 inch segments -- but I HATE them that way. The flavor is outstanding but they get a weird, tough, slimy texture I can't get down with. Slicing them finer is the answer to a Ducks-friendly kimchi.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Good news for the contest winners...

I finally got out to the Post Office yesterday and put your things in the mail.

I am so sorry for the delay; I caught an ear infection/sinus infection/bronchitis combination that was just wonderful without medication (and I knew this was coming ... every summer I catch something awful, plus Murphy's Law says that while I'm pregnant I will get something I'd rather medicate if I had the option... and I have a six year old friend and my partner teaches at community college, so I am much exposed to Schtuff.)

Kimchi soup is my favorite cure for colds and stuff, but I wasn't sure I could eat kimchi -- because of the fermentation. However, after some wild internet searching, I find that it's not only fine but beneficial to preggies. Okay! But I still didn't want to eat the (very old) kimchi from the back of my fridge's top shelf... so I am making a fresh batch today.

Anyway, kimchi soup: sour, but with fresh veggies and, if you like, protein to fit your preferences; spicy, but tamer than a big bowl o' kimchi; hot, which coupled with sour and spicy really clears your head. Ahhhh, comfort food. Plus, if you're really sick, you won't be able to smell your own garlic breath after!

If you like it enough to have oh, about a gallon on hand (or you have friends who will take a portion of it off your hands), make your kimchi from scratch (or purchase a dry "kimchi mix" from an Asian grocer with a Korean section and follow the easy -- practically scratch -- recipe there). You can control the fiery-ness, the sourness, and, hey, it's crisp and delicious homemade. There are recipes all over the Internet.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I've been making cloth diapers. Not only knitting wool soakers to go over prefold diapers, but noodling around with making All-In-Ones (as convenient as disposables) to see how I like them.

Here are two AIOs made with the Darling Diapers free newborn size AIO pattern. I probably will make about a dozen or so in newborn size and then find a great pattern to make a couple dozen One-Size diapers, which baby can wear from small to toddler (they're adjustable via snaps.)

Oh, and disregard that reoccurring hideous tablecloth. It's plastic coated, so it's convenient to have on there for sewing and stuff: it doesn't pick up the hideous green lint from the sacrificial towel that forms most of the absorbent stuffing (there's also cotton batting) of these diapers. The exterior is yellow and green (gender neutral) fleece and the interior is yellow and green flannel.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Go. Make. This.

This spicy shredded carrot salad from Smitten Kitchen is the most delicious thing. It's a far cry from the usual things I do with shredded carrots, and a great way for me to get a couple of the 8,652,395,782 servings of dark yellows and greens I'm s'posed to be eating for the baby every day.

If you can't find harissa, don't hesitate to make this anyway. You need to make a paste of spicy ground chilies, cumin and/or caraway and/or coriander seeds (coriander adds something wonderful to the finished salad), olive oil, and water, and if you want you can add a little sun-dried tomato in pulverized or paste form and/or a little garlic. The professionally made stuff is the (delicious) elephant gun of the hot sauce world; you can't miss too badly if you sort of approximate it.

It's OMGWTF delicious without the feta, but the feta transforms it from something pure and spicy and slightly sweet to something balanced, salty, and darkly complex, so it's worthwhile here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We have a winner! Actually, three winners! Results for drawing here!

Thanks to www.random.org for providing the random number selection.

For the first drawing, for Nina Planck's Real Food for Mother and Baby... the winner is ...(drum roll please)....

Anonymous (sejotess)!

For the second drawing, for Alice Domar's Conquering Infertility... the winner is ... (drum roll please)...

Jennifer (who submitted her request via email)

For the third drawing, for ovulation test strips, I needed two winners... each of whom will receive 25 test strips! And the winners are ... (drum roll please)...

Jennifer (again), and


Congratulations, winners. I will email you requesting your mailing addresses today. Check your inboxes!

To everyone else -- I hope something wonderful comes your way today anyway. Best of luck, and thanks for participating.