Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life on Repeat

If my life were an Ipod it would be stuck on repeat. My days have become one long routine that just cycle over and over and over.

8am: Wake Up, let dogs out, eat breakfast
9am: Go to Yoga or Body Pump, and run on the treadmill
11am: Home - plan dinner, do housework, feed dogs, watch TV, eat lunch
1:30pm: Get ready for work, talk to the hubby when he wakes up
3pm: Work
12am: Go home, let dogs out, watch 1 hour of TV
1:30am: Sleep


As much as I hate it, this is the way my life has to be right now. If I don't follow this routine then I will fall off the wagon and start packing the pounds back on. I wish I could press shuffle on my life. Throw in a day trip to Philly, an AHL hockey game, buy a ticket to Vegas and go spend a couple uninterrupted days of just me, the hubs, some good food and not a gym in site. But the slightest change in routine and I lose all will power. A trip to Philly would result in cheese-steaks, desserts, and dinners in Indian restaurants. An AHL game would be filled with hot dogs, pretzels and funnel cake. Vegas would be pure culinary sin.

Here is an example of one little change in the routine throwing everything off. I went to my parents' house on Monday and hung out with my sis and nephews. We went pumpkin picking, took some pictures and just had a great time. Then we go back to the house and I proceed to stuff my face with vegetarian 7-layer dip, tortilla chips, and tuna noodle casserole. I can't help it, the minute I step in my childhood home I feel the need to eat everything in sight. Thankfully I had worked out like a maniac that morning, so I didn't gain any weight from my moment of weakness.

Life right now just seems so life-less. Everything I do and think is about losing weight and getting ready for IVF. I want to shake things up. I want to figure out a way to have one day without worrying about whether or not we are ever going to have our family. I want a day to just enjoy being a married couple with nothing but two dogs tying us to this place. I want a day where I don't feel like a failure or a broken woman. But if I take that one day, I am afraid I will be sacrificing my one chance to have a family. I know it isn't logical, but let's face it, fear isn't always logical.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Worst Side Effect

It isn't just all the hormones and drugs that cause side effects. Just having an infertility diagnosis has side effects all its own. The worst of which is the loss of the ability to be happy for couples who have the amazing fortune to be able to get pregnant easily and naturally. Once you hit your late twenties to early thirties everyone around you starts getting pregnant. In the past two months alone I have known 10 people who announced they were pregnant. Five people at work, four friends on facebook, and one kid I used to babysit. I can't even bring myself to type the number of people who have gotten pregnant around us in the two years since we started trying.

Every single one gets harder. I wish more than anything that I was big enough to be able squeal and clap and hug everyone that told me they were pregnant. But I just don't have it in me anymore. I can't even properly fake it anymore. I am lucky if I can force a smile on my face when I hear the news. More often I have to excuse myself quickly and find a quite place to cry.

Being stripped of the ability to feel happiness for other people and having it replaced with jealousy and bitterness is one of the most demoralizing things I have ever experienced. And that is coming from a girl who was stalked by an ex-boyfriend, emotionally neglected by a boyfriend, and constantly bullied in school. It feels like I am in the middle of a NASCAR race, stalled in the middle of the track with everyone else zooming by at break neck speeds, while I just stand still and watch. And there is nothing I can do about it.

I wish I could be like the Boy in the Bubble. I wish I could hide in a sensory deprivation chamber with a sign hanging on the door that says "Do Not Disturb, the slightest hint that you could be pregnant and this woman could crack for good." I wish everyone with a properly functioning repoductive system could just leave me alone until I can start my IVF cycle and get some hope back.

Ugh... OK enough whining for now. Hopefully the next post I will have something more pleasant to talk about.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

95 Calorie Cupcakes, and Competition Standings

The Cupcake Cup standings were posted last week and I am very happy and proud to report that I came in third place in the amateur category! I was so excited I decided to bake the next day. But since I am very focused on my diet I decided to make a low fat version of one of my favorite recipes. So here is the recipe for Low-Fat Roasted Banana Mini-Cupcakes with Caramel Sauce and Low-Fat Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. Enjoy!


Low-Fat Roasted Banana Cupcakes
(adapted from Martha Stewart, changes in italics)
Makes 80 Mini Cupcakes

3 ripe bananas, plus 1-2 more for garnish
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted light butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Place 3 whole unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet and roast 15 minutes (the peels will darken). Meanwhile, sift together cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Remove bananas from oven and let cool before peeling. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

2. With a mixer on med-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add roasted bananas, and beat to combine. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of sour cream, and beating until just combined after each. Beat in vanilla.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a tester in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
For the low fat chocolate version used this recipe. Just substitute 1/3 less fat cream cheese and use 3 cups powdered sugar and 1 cup cocoa powder. Enjoy!

Caramel Sauce

Nutrition Info:
1 mini cupcake, w/ 1 tsp caramel, & 1tsp frosting
Calories = 95
Fat = 5
Fiber = .5

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Instruments of Torture

That is what I saw everywhere I looked when I walked into the gym this morning. It was not a good gym day. I wanted to give up before I even stepped on the treadmill. But then I took out my phone and I looked at a couple pictures of my nephews and reminded myself why I am doing all this. I want a family, this is the only way I am going to get there. So I jumped on that damn hamster wheel for humans and suffered through 36 minutes of wanting to throw up or pass out.

While I was trudging along I started forming this post in my head. This is my motivation post. I am going to refer back to this post whenever I need a little extra kick in the exercise pants.

First an update on my progress thus far. Since I started my weight loss quest in April I have lost a total of 35 pounds. That is about a pound and a half a week. This is by far the most I have ever lost on a diet. I am noticing a difference in my clothes on an almost weekly basis now, which is pretty damn awesome.

Aaaaand now some motivation. these are the things I think about on the treadmill instead of the pain and sweat. First the whole reason I am here. Babies. Children. Family. More than anything else I want to be able to read my kids bed time stories. Sit at the dining room table and do math homework (I will only be a help up until about 6th grade then it is the hub's turn). I want to be embarrassed in the middle of Target when my kid has a tantrum over a toy. Seriously, I welcome it.

And once I get those kids, I want to be around for a very, very long time. I plan on torturing my kids with how actively I participate in their lives. I am sure I will annoy the crap out of them, like mine did for me. But hopefully when they reach their mid twenties they will be as close with us as I am with my Mom and Dad. Hopefully they will look back at all the basketball games, plays, and lectures about not smoking and thank me, like I do my parents. I am going to need to be healthy for that to happen.

I don't want my kids to be tortured at school because of their weight. I don't want my kids to come home every day from school crying because someone left a can of Slim Fast on their desk, or wrote a note in their year book saying they should work out over the summer. Maybe if I can fix my eating habits now, I will better be able to help my kids have good habits from the start. And maybe they won't get picked on quite as much as I did in school.

I want to go on a vacation with my husband and not be shrouded in big t-shirts and shorts on the beach. I am never going to be a bikini girl, I am cool with that. But it would be nice to feel comfortable in a bathing suit lounging on the deck of some cruise ship holding the hand of my hubs without the little voice in the back of my head telling me to cover up before someone sees me.

Those thoughts are what keep me going. And when those start to fail I fixate on the little pulsing digital hearts on the stationary bike monitors around me. I picture that little heart is beating in my belly, pumping away, telling me to keep going so we can meet. I picture seeing that little heart beat on an ultrasound monitor some day, instead of just seeing the little black circles in my ovaries that cycle after cycle don't turn into a baby. When I want to drop right there on the tread mill and let it shoot me back against the wall so I can just lay there not moving, that little green digital heart is what keeps me on my feet.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Harrisburg Cupcake Cup 2010

This weekend was the 2010 Harrisburg Cupcake Cup, and your favorite infertile crohnie baker entered in the amateur category. Unfortunately I did not win, but I had a damn good time baking all weekend and eating lots of cupcakes. And best of all the event raised almost $1500 for the Central Pa Food Bank!

I made Chai Caramel Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream. I think these may be my favorite of all the cupcakes I have ever made. So for your enjoyment here are just a couple pictures from the event, and don't forget to check out the recipe for my Chai Caramel Cupcakes at the bottom of the post.

Here are my cupcakes. The little pumpkin and leaf are homemade fondant that I spent hours shaping into little pumpkins.

Check out all the gorgeous cupcakes! The contestants really brought it this weekend, they were all very good!

The crowds were amazing! It was jam packed in the Midtown Scholar Bookstore.

And finally a last shot of my nephew chowing down on one of the cupcakes. He takes his cupcake tasting very seriously.

And here is the recipe:

Chai Cupcakes:
2 cups cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black tea (grind in coffee or spice grinder)
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine all the dry ingredients; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons butter (room temp.)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (room temp.)

Combine sugar and water in a large heavy sauce pan. Use at least a 2 or 3 quart pan. Heat the sugar mixture over medium high heat until it starts to boil. You have to pay close attention once it starts to boil because it will begin to caramelize very very quickly. When the sugar gets to be medium amber in color whisk in the butter and continue to whisk until all the butter has melted. The caramel will bubble A LOT this is why you need such a big pan, otherwise it would all bubble over and make a huge hot mess.

Once the butter has melted remove the pan from heat and count to five. After you count to five slowly pour in the heavy cream while whisking constantly. It will again bubble up a lot. Continue to whisk until the caramel has stopped bubbling and is completely smooth. Let stand in the pan for five to ten minutes then transfer to a glass bowl to continue cooling.

Once the caramel is cooled simply cut out a cone shape in the middle of your cupcakes and fill with about a teaspoon or two of the caramel sauce and top with some vanilla buttercream.

And here is the recipe for Vanilla Buttercream