Archive for November, 2007

40 weeks and 5 days

Yesterday I went for a different kind of follow-up, at the medical centre. Usually I just go to the neighbourhood branch and the nurses check some basic details, ask some standard questions, wish me luck, and send me on my way. Yesterday’s follow-up, however, involved a monitor. Exciting. The nurses sat me in a recliner and strapped a couple of discs to my belly, turned up the volume and left me to listen to the baby’s heartbeat … and the heartbeats of the babies of the two women in neighbouring cubicles, too.

At various points, various nurses came in to check the results, and invariably made comments such as “it’s all over the place”, “it’s really going wild”, and other encouraging(?) comments. Eventually – after an hour on the machine – I was told to go out, walk around for 20 minutes, and come back so they could try to get a baseline heartbeat. When I sat down again and got hooked up I tried singing a bit, too, to calm it down. I realised that the only stuff that would be really familiar would be Zohar Argov, since I’ve been blasting him in the car throughout the pregnancy. I felt a bit silly singing him, but did it anyway … quietly.

Whether it was that, or the walk, or my concentrated meditation on the yellow and blue flowers on the curtain separating me from the other heartbeats that did it, something calmed the baby down and they got a 135 beat.

They want to see me again today – I guess they want to get it right first time, so I’ll have a walk and a sing before I go in, and will hope for the best. On the referral letter that they gave me yesterday, it’s written that I must keep track of the baby’s movements (I have been doing so: it’s still moving), and that any drop in movements may require a visit to the hospital. Which all seems a bit contrary … it was the moving that they considered problematic yesterday; then they wanted it to be still, now they want it to move, what’s a baby to do?

Anyway, I know that too much moving is also supposed to be a sign of foetal distress, so I forgive them for interfering, and I’ll play nicely. Last night the movements were very strong for almost three hours, I might ask them if they condsider that to be normal. I didn’t feel much through the night apart from that, though. Then again, I was sleeping.

Later in the day I went to buy sheets for the bassinet but got flustered by the not-so-pleasant shop assistant and ended up buying a set made from 50% cotton and 50% polyester. It included a fitted sheet, a protector to tie to the slats, and a blanket. When I got home and discussed it with hubby (who I had also called about four times during the purchase), we realised that the fabric didn’t feel all that nice, that the blanket was totally unnecessary, and that it had basically been a mistake. I’ll be taking it back and will likely only receive in return a store credit, but better that than keep it. One thing that must be said for the set – it was pretty.


November 29, 2007 at 9:39 am Leave a comment

eating for two


Although I haven’t noticed any major increase in my appetite lately, this morning proved to be an exception. When I got in to work this morning there was no fresh fruit or Milkys in the fridge, but there were some little containers of tinned-style fruit. I added some granola and 1.5% yoghurt for a nice breakfast, and made myself some coffee. About an hour later, I returned to the kitchenette and took two mini-serves of cottage cheese (each about 20g) and two triangles of cheese. An hour after that, I was hungry again, so attacked the second kitchenette, scoring a sliced cucumber, three more cottage cheeses, and a big cup of frighteningly bright orange juice. Without bread it is harder to fill up, but usually this quantity of food is not necessary to keep me satisfied. It could be related to the fairly disturbed sleep I had – maybe since I didn’t regain all my energy in sleep, I’m having to compensate with massive amounts of food … or, at least, multiple tiny amounts of dairy food.

November 13, 2007 at 10:54 am 1 comment

freezer food

Whether it’s the nesting instinct kicking in, or just practicality, I have been cooking food for the freezer lately, in the hope that we can continue to eat decent food even when there might seem to be no time in the day to cook. Having the food will be more important for me than hubby, since he’ll still be going to work and eating nice big lunches.

Two weeks ago I made about 2 litres worth of split pea soup, and a batch of meatballs – a first for me. I’m already looking forward to heating them up in some tinned crushed tomatoes, but I guess I can wait until the necessity really hits. I also made a walnut and date loaf, to have something a bit sweet on hand.

The following Friday, I made a recipe for chicken tajine that used about 2.5 kilos of chicken pieces. I divided it into four separate meal-sized portions, in freezer bags. Later in the day I made a very simple leek and carrot soup. On Saturday morning, hubby went to the club to swim and go to the gym; I stayed at home and made chicken shnitzels.

November 13, 2007 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

chicken tagine recipe for the freezer



  • 1/2 kg boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed (about 4 medium breast halves)
  • 1 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed (about 6 medium thighs)
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • lemon zest from 2 lemons
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground ginger, coriander and cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 kg carrots (about 6 medium), peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 cups green olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped


  1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Coat with flour. Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 6-9 minutes. Transfer browned chicken to plate. Repeat with 2 more tablespoons oil and remaining chicken. Transfer to plate.
  2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pot and return to medium heat. Add onions, zest and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until onions are browned. Stir in garlic, paprika, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne. Cook about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in broth and honey, scraping up any browned bits.
  3. Add chicken thighs, bring to simmer and cook 5 minutes. Add carrots, then breasts in single layer atop carrots. Return to simmer, cover and cook 10-15 minutes.
  4. Transfer chicken to plate. Stir olives and apricots into pot, return to simmer and cook about 6 minutes, uncovered, until liquid has thickened slightly and carrots are tender. Meanwhile, shred chicken into bite-size pieces (or leave whole). Stir in shredded chicken, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To store: Let tajine cool, uncovered at room temperature, 45 minutes. Transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate up to 2 days, or freeze up to 1 month. 
  6. To reheat: Spoon off fat from the top and transfer to a pot. Cover and bring to simmer over medium-low heat, gently stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes (adding additional water as needed to adjust sauce consistency). Off heat, stir in lemon juice, mashed garlic and grated lemon zest. Let stand 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle cilantro over individual portions.

November 11, 2007 at 11:17 am Leave a comment

leek and carrot soup recipe for the freezer

Leek and carrot soup

  • 3 large leeks
  • 450 grams carrots
  • generous pint water or stock

Finely slice the leeks. Slice the carrots. Saute the vegetables in butter or oil until soft, but not brown.

Add the water or stock, simmer for about an hour.

November 6, 2007 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

meatball recipe for the freezer

Basic Meatball Recipe

  • 500 grams ground beef

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs or rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, optional (the meatballs will pick up seasonings from whatever you put them in)

Combine all the ingredients, and shape them into 1 inch balls. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet, and brown the meatballs on all sides. Remove to a dish to drain. Cool, then pack in freezer containers, or in foil, then freezer bags. Store in freezer for up to 3 months.

simmer down notes:

  • I made these before hearing a recipe from my husband’s aunt for chicken meatballs that are boiled, not fried, and the water can be filled with vegetables and then used for soup. When and if I make those I’ll post that recipe.
  • This was my first time making meatballs and they were very easy and satisfying, although they did completely lose their lovely round shape the moment I started frying them.
  • I used a combination of breadcrumbs and quick oats in this recipe.

November 6, 2007 at 9:44 am Leave a comment

pregnancy update – 37 weeks!

This morning, hubby called to check whether I’m feeling more space around my ribs and I think I am – he’s been reading up on how my progress should be. In the last few days I’ve also been feeling some minor groin and upper thigh twinges, and I wonder if that’s maybe a sign that the baby’s dropped. It could just be that I’m getting heavier and putting more strain on my legs, I suppose, but since I haven’t put on weight in the last two weeks, I feel like that’s a bit less likely.

Today I also have a feeling that the waistband (more like lower hipband, actually) on the H&M Mama jeans that I’m wearing is a little tight and I’m hoping there’s enough room in the lower pelvic regions for the baby’s head, neck, shoulders … I guess it can always lie sideways if it’s getting uncomfortable. I’m actually a bit more comfortable standing up right now, but I’m hoping that will pass in a few minutes. Until recently all I needed to do was sit up straight to really feel like I was providing enough womb-room; this morning I suddenly feel that even that isn’t quite enough.

Apart from that eency-weency complaint, everything’s still going swimmingly, and depending on what I wear, people are still registering shock at how far advanced I am in the pregnancy, and how not-far advanced I look. I’m still very mobile and not needing assistance with basic tasks – although some help with painting my toenails wouldn’t go amiss.

And the only other thing I have to report that could be considered as a rant is the two recent instances of honoured guests dropping food on the floor and then, as I’m on my hands and knees sweeping it up, uttering inanities such as “you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t be doing that!”. And I’m thinking “well if it bothers you so much, YOU do it!” … of course, assistance is never forthcoming.

November 4, 2007 at 12:33 pm Leave a comment