Nugget News Update: Closing in on the Home Stretch

It’s been a rough ride, folks, but at long last the end is in sight! At last week’s visit, there really wasn’t much going on in there. Nugget was head down, but that was just about it.

Today though! Today the midwife told me that I’m two centimeters dilated and 70% effaced! Baby is at -2 station. Hooray! While the very few rational pieces of my brain that have eked through 37 weeks of preggo hormones do occasionally gasp out a reminder that it’s not actually possible to stay pregnant forever, I was beginning to think that it might not ever end. But at long last, it seems that my baby is actually going to emerge!

Unfortunately, this pregnancy isn’t giving up without a fight. I’ve come up with a case of pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP). And they can call it “benign” all they want, but it’s horrid. I’ve tried a whole range of variously ineffective treatments, both OTC and prescription, but the only real cure is delivering the baby.

So, here we are. I am ready to meet my baby. I am done – DONE – being pregnant. It is time to pray this baby out! I don’t care about the baby room or the furniture or packing my bag or anything else. All that matters now is getting the baby out.

Also, don’t forget to enter your guesses in the baby pool! Only a few more weeks before I close it to new entries.

the master plan

I’ve had a number of requests for my curried chicken recipe, but I’ve been hesitating to put it up because I wasn’t getting consistent results. Finally though, I’ve got a recipe that I’ve used three times in a row with great success, so I think I’m ready to share.🙂 It’s a combination of the basic recipe in my encyclopedic Indian cookbook and my mom’s method of making it. Enjoy!!

Curried Chicken

3-4 tbsps vegetable oil
4 cloves
3 whole star anise
8 curry leaves (These have to be fresh! Look for them at an Asian market. They shouldn’t run more than a few dollars for a whole bag of them.)
4 cardamom pods
1 stick cinnamon
1 large onion, chopped
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and smashed (Use a meat mallet. If you whack it gently for a while, it’ll flatten out beautifully. The more you smash it, the more it will cook to nothing in the sauce, which is good if you don’t like biting into chunks of ginger.)
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (Meat mallet!)
4 tbsps hot curry paste (This is sold in the Asian aisle at most supermarkets.)
1 tbsp tumeric
2.5-3 lbs skinless, bone-in chicken pieces (I use dark meat, but you can use white if you really must. Just be careful not to overcook. White gets stringy really easily when cooked in sauce like this.)
1.5-2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 lb bell peppers, chopped (A bag of frozen chopped peppers works beautifully here.)
coconut cream (from 1 can of coconut milk – do not shake the can!)
salt (to taste)
cilantro, chopped (to taste)

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot (a Dutch oven type pot is ideal here), heat the oil, cloves, star anise, curry leaves, cardamom and cinnamon over medium heat until the cardamom pods swell and the curry leaves are nearly (but not quite) burnt. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger; cook until the onions are lightly browned. Stir in the curry paste and tumeric, and cook until the oil starts to separate. This will take only a minute or two and requires watching to prevent burning. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat. If the spices are starting to burn to the bottom of the pan, deglaze with a small amount of water. Cover and cook about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, cover, and continue cooking until the chicken is nearly done (10-15 more minutes). If you like a thicker sauce, leave the lid partially open at this point to reduce the sauce. Add the diced tomatoes and the peppers and bring back up to temperature. Taste and salt as needed. Don’t worry if the sauce seems too spicy at this point; the coconut cream will absorb a great deal of the heat, so you really want the sauce to have a good strong bite to it at this point. Skim the coconut cream off the top of the can of coconut milk and add to the sauce. Heat gently and stir once or twice until the coconut cream melts into the sauce. Taste and salt again as needed. Fold in the chopped cilantro (if using) and serve hot over rice.

Notes:

This is a medium spice version. It’s far too bland for a “real” Indian, but it’s probably too spicy for your average meat ‘n potatoes kind of guy. You can adjust the spice by changing the heat or amount of the curry paste that you use (look for one labelled “mild”) or by adding chilies. If you add chilies, fry them in the oil with the other spices at the beginning to bring out the flavor.

The fresh spices at the beginning are really the only way to develop the layers of flavor that need to be in a good curry, so don’t skip them. They’ll keep for about a year (except for the curry leaves, of course). Look for them at an upscale food market (Earth Fare, Fresh Market, Whole Foods) where you’ll be more likely to find them in small quantities.

The coconut cream makes a lovely smooth sauce, but you can substitute sour cream or plain yogurt in a pinch, although you’ll need to use more of it since it’s not as thick. Sour cream will make a tangy sauce which is also very good but is not as smooth since the sour cream tends to curdle if it’s not heated very, very gently. It still tastes great, but it doesn’t look as pretty.

Nugget News Update

In Nugget News…

I’ve gained a healthy but not excessive 38 pounds, and as of yesterday’s prenatal visit, Nugget is head down. S/he gets the hiccups on a regular basis (very annoying!), and s/he’s very, very active. Lots of kicking and twisting and rolling about, but the head seems to stay pretty firmly downward pointing, which is fantastic. No signs of any trouble. I’ve had a few little crampy spots that may or may not be actual contractions, but definitely nothing to worry about. My chiropractor is saying very positive things to me about how my back looks, and I’ve been staying as active as possible putting furniture together and painting and cleaning and cooking and going to choir and interning at the county manager’s office two afternoons per week and walking as much as possible.

With just under 7 weeks to go until March 9, I can only be pregnant for a maximum of 61 more days, and then one way or another, Nugget is comin’ out. Hooray!

Oh! If you haven’t entered the baby pool yet, don’t forget to enter! Go to bebepool.com/nuggetraab and give it your best guess. There’s no entry fee, but I am giving a $20 amazon card to the winner.

counting run amok

I took a stand today.

I spoke up.

I took action.

No more will I bow to the (un)grammatical foibles of my neighborhood Food Lion. No more will I grit my teeth in silence as I pass through the express lane. Today, I became a public editor.

The small paper hanging sign in the express lane now reads “12 items or less fewer.”

In some small way, I made the world a better, more educated place today.

In lieu of donations to your favorite charity, please send flowers to me.

Baby pool!

Come one, come all! The prognostication desk is open.

www.bebepool.com/nuggetraab

It’s been suggested that the winner should get to name the baby. But I think I’m going to stick with a $20 Amazon card for the winner.😉

colorful opinions needed!

Or at least opinions about colors…😉

So painting the baby room is the plan for this weekend. We’re waiting to find out if Nugget is a boy or a girl, so the paint scheme needs to be neutral enough to handle either one and also friendly to all kinds of decor since I’m not the kind of person who coordinates crib sheets.

The plan is to do the two walls nearest the door in Tidal Wave and then get wild and crazy on the two walls farthest from the door. [insert evil grin here] Stripes!! In two different colors!! [doin’ a little happy dance] Base coat in Yellow Lotus and top stripe in Sweet Orange. I’ve never done stripes before, but there’s this French bakery here in Charlotte that has a gorgeous tone on tone vertical stripe going on that I’m absolutely in love with. It’s just so fun! And I thought it would be a perfect thing for a baby’s room, kind of playful and whimsical. They’re big fat stripes, all the same width, and it creates kind of a ribbon effect on the walls.

What do we think, internet and facebook world? Paint is being bought tomorrow, so if I’m making a horrible mistake, talk me out of it now, please!

reason 138 to love my husband

I think there is a small mouse living in our Christmas tree.

It is not my job to deal with that.

🙂

Husbands are great!😉