Monthly Archive: October 2012

Sugar frustrations

My second glucose test was this morning.  This time I had to drink 100 g of glucose.  After fasting for >8 hours. 

So last night I got home from work, showered, ate a low carb dinner and tried not to think about how my body was about to enter starvation mode.  My seitan and daiya dinner would have made Mr. Atkins so proud.  My body really doesn’t like being without whole grains.  I was itching to throw my vegan “cheese-steak” on some whole wheat bread.  In the end I added a bit of quinoa to the mix (because I knew I’d never survive off protein alone).  Before my zero hour arrived I had some dessert (a few spoonfuls of peanut butter) and not long after I went to bed. 

I anticipated heading to the hospital as soon as the lab opened in the morning, which was 6 am.  This meant no food after 10 pm.  But I can barely keep my eyes open past 9 pm on work days, so I really only had between 8:15 and 9 pm to fuel myself up.  [I got home from work at 8, but took the time to shave while in the shower, thereby costing me an extra 5 minutes and delaying dinner ever so slightly]

Kyle was so sweet, offering to accompany me to the hospital and distract me while I waited out the torture.  He even woke up to get ready before I did to avoid eating in front of me.  It was still dark when we left the house at 6:30 am, but my stomach was already wide awake.  So was my baby – kicking and rolling and punching away – begging me for food, no doubt.

I checked into the lab and they took my fasting glucose, after which I got to chug the glucola.  It was even more concentrated than the one I had last week.  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever consumed 100 g of sugar in a single day before, let alone one sitting.  It felt so horrible knowing what I was putting into my body was pure crap and I didn’t even have a choice. 

The first hour was the worst.  Not just the waiting (which was incredibly boring), but the way I felt.  I thought I might puke for the first 30 minutes.  Kyle and I read trashy magazines to pass the time, but I got bored with those.  So then we looked at furniture (still on the hunt for a inexpensive but semi-nice dresser that will double as a changing table).  Blah.  Sitting in the waiting area was so boring.  Should have brought the iPad to watch something.  Finally it was time to get the first hour check. 

The second hour was a breeze.  We walked to the hospital cafeteria because I needed a change in scenery and I did a crossword.  I’m pretty happy when doing crosswords, especially the Daily Bruin ones, so this made the time fly by.  However, I’m also a crossword geek, so I finished it with plenty of time still to spare waste.  Thumb twiddling.  Finally it was time to get the second hour blood test. 

For the last hour we walked to the on-campus store.  We looked at baby clothes from our alma mater and dilly dallied the time away.  On our way back to the lab, Kyle ran into a former professor (I really dislike meeting people for the first time while pregnant…I feel like I need to add a disclaimer to everything from my appearance to my brain function).  In any event, I fiiiiiiinally had my last blood draw taken and bolted.  Kyle was waiting with the car in the turnaround because we were planning on going somewhere for brunch, but I was so wiped out, I just wanted to get home. 

I thought I’d feel starving by the end of it, but my appetite seemed to go away after the second hour or so.  I mostly just felt gross. 

We stopped at WF for groceries and by the time we got home I started feeling pretty bad.  At this point it was 10:45 which meant I’d gone well over 12 hours without food.  Not surprisingly, as I was making breakfast, I got really shaky and weak and faint.  Fortunately, my breakfast didn’t involve much preparation, so I had a nice warm plate of eggs and tempeh bacon pretty quickly thereafter. 

It took my body a while to feel okay again.  My hands were shaking for most of the time I was eating and I had to lie my head on the table in between bites.  I’m sure my body was pissed at me.  It was probably wondering WTF I was doing drinking super syrupy soda for breakfast with nothing else. 

The meal made me feel better though, and by 11 o’clock I was feeling “normal” again (normal is a relative term during pregnancy).  Truthfully, I was so unsatisfied with my carb-less breakfast.  I really wanted bread or potatoes or something, but after chugging pure sugar first thing in the morning, I couldn’t help but feel guilty about the imbalance in my diet.  Such a dilemma.

In the end I had some roasted purple potatoes a while later because I knew ignoring an entire macronutrient wasn’t going to lead me anywhere good.  I’m also 100% certain my body isn’t on board with the paleo/atkins/dukan approach. 


Now I’m (impatiently) waiting for the results.  If I weren’t so afraid of the legal side of medicine I’d log in with my work ID and check the results myself.  It’s a good thing I’m not on campus because then I’d really be tested…


Well, I couldn’t wait any longer.  So I emailed my provider and asked if the results were back.  Good news!  I passed!  So I guess the first glucose test was a fluke and my random dizzy spells and such are just the normal pregnancy symptoms I suspected (and blew off) before. 

10/30/12  1008   (COLLECTION TIME)    10/30/12  1009  (IN LAB TIME)
-  GLUCOSE,3 HOUR                     67 mg/dL                     65-110
10/30/12  0910   (COLLECTION TIME)    10/30/12  0914  (IN LAB TIME)
-  GLUCOSE,2 HOUR                     95 mg/dL                      <140
10/30/12  0810   (COLLECTION TIME)    10/30/12  0817  (IN LAB TIME)
-  GLUCOSE,1 HOUR                     92 mg/dL                      <185
10/30/12  0705   (COLLECTION TIME)    10/30/12  0706  (IN LAB TIME)
-  GLUCOSE,FASTING                    77 mg/dL                     65-100

Clearly my body was ready for food by the last hour!!!

Now that I see how well my body tolerated the 100 g glucose, it seems odd that my first test (after drinking 50 g) was a whopping 147, but who knows. 

I’m just happy to be able to continue my normal diet throughout the remaining months of pregnancy.  I was trying to be open minded about the idea of meeting with a dietician in the event of an abnormal fasting GTT, but it definitely didn’t seem appealing.  Not to sound arrogant, but considering how (healthfully) I eat and (often) I exercise, it didn’t seem like there were many things for me to change, which is why I was worried insulin may be the next step.  But all my concern was for naught.  Typical Elise, overanalyzing everything to the extreme.


Hooray for carbs! 🙂

Pantry & freezer made food


I’m in the process of trying to clean out the freezer and use up things that I’ve been storing since 2010.  Which includes some frozen meals that I got long ago with various coupons. 

Side note: Now I know why I don’t buy frozen meals…I forget about them!


This red curry with vegetables (with tofu and rice) is by Sukhi’s, a company that’s based in the Bay Area, and has numerous other products I like (ie the naanwich).

Anyway, the ingredients list is one I approve of, with all real foods and spices I recognize.


Ice burn.  Ouch. 

I chipped away most of it and then put it in a glass container to thaw/reheat.


The flavors were good, but there’s something lost in the reheating of frozen tofu.  The texture was different and semi-spongy.  The rice was also too al dente for my liking and the sauce wasn’t thin enough to coat everything.


I ended up adding some plain almond milk to it which made the sauce a delightful creamy curry that I could mix all the rice and everything in. 


In other non-cooking-use-up-food-that’s-been-sitting-around-forever news, I made a vegan mac ‘n cheese last week, but didn’t get to taste even a bite of it.


I guess it’s actually penne ‘n cheese since I didn’t use macaroni noodles, but in any event, Kyle polished off the entire thing in two nights.

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I used teese vegan creamy cheddar sauce which was seriously as easy as could be.

Dump on noodles, mix, and serve.

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Kyle thought it tasted a little bit like my butternut squash cheesy pasta bake.  And also a little bit like The Veggie Grill’s quinoa mac ‘n cheese.  Both good options.

Apple cinnamon rolls with peanut butter & chocolate filling


This is the kind of recipe that gets attention with photos alone.  So I’m gonna be brief with the text and just get to it.


Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Peanut Butter Chocolate Filling [vegan]


Basic Dough (I used this recipe)

  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp active yeast (1 packet)
  • 4 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp salt


  • two medium apples
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil (or vegan butter)
  • 1/2 -1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
  • peanut butter
  • chocolate hazelnut butter (I used rawtella brand)

Vanilla Icing (optional)

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk


1. For the dough, add warm water, sugar and yeast to a big mixing bowl.  Let the yeast proof for a few minutes.  Once it’s frothy, add flour, salt, and oil.  Knead until you have cramps in your fingers (and then knead some more).  The shaggy dough will form a pliable dough.  After several minutes of working the dough, grease the inside of a large mixing bowl (with oil or cooking spray) and leave the dough ball in it. 

Keep in a warm area to rise for 1- 2 hours.  [I put it next on the open oven door after pre-heating the oven to warm and then turning it off]  Once the dough has doubled from it’s original size, punch it down and re-knead it into a ball for it’s second rising.  [At this point, I covered it in saran wrap and put it in the fridge overnight for use the next day, but if you want to use it right away, let it rise again for at least an hour]

2. For the filling, dice apples and sauté with coconut oil/vegan butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup until apples have softened and the syrup has reduced.  Set aside.

3. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until you have a large rectangular area.  Lather on peanut butter and/or vegan nutella.  Feel free to do half and half (like I did) or both.  The thicker the layer the better since the dough will get big when it cooks and you want to make sure your ratio of filling to bread is adequate.  Next add the sautéed apples, scattering evenly over the dough.

Roll the dough (along the longer side) to make a log shaped roll.  Then slice into individual sections with a knife (about 1-1 1/2 inches apart) and place in a greased 9×11 pan. 

4. Bake for ~20-25 minutes at 350 degrees, until light golden brown.

5. For the icing, beat the powdered sugar, margarine, and vanilla with an electric mixer until the margarine is distributed into the sugar (it will be crumbly).  Then slowly drizzle in the non-dairy milk and beat until the icing is smooth (~2 minutes).  After the rolls have cooled slightly, slather on icing and serve.


And now, for the photo tutorial portion…

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Dough rising.

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Apples sautéing.

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Dough and nut butter fillings.


Good vs. evil.  Chocolate vs. peanut butter.


Plus the apples.




Dark side.


The divide.


The PB side.


Cutting the rolls.


Swirl cross section.

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Packed into the pan.


With cane sugar sprinkled on top.


I only added the sugar because I wasn’t planning on making an icing.  If you’re gong to make the vanilla icing, you don’t need to sprinkle sugar on top.  Although I won’t blame you if you end up doing both.  🙂


All puffed up.


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Left: peanut butter
Right: chocolate


The real decision is which to try first?????

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I went with the chocolate.


But the next morning, I made sure to even things out with a peanut butter roll.



Birthday week fun

My birthday week started last weekend with apple picking.

After that we headed to lunch at Mendocino Farms.  As much as I love the place, it’s not conveniently located for me.  But since we had already been in the car for well over an hour, we figured what’s an extra few miles out of the way?


Kyle got the Modern Tuna Melt which has “all white Albacore tuna with fresh herbs, farm house cheddar, vegenaise, housemade pickles, red onions, tomatoes, Scarborough Farm’s greens on panini grilled buckwheat.”  He nixed the pickles, obviously, and deemed it the best tuna melt he’s ever had.


I got the Traditional Vegan Club which has “house marinated organic vegan tempeh bacon with smashed avocado, vegenaise, pickled red onion, tomatoes, Scarborough Farm’s greens on buckwheat.”  Only I swapped the buckwheat for the gluten free bread, which was a delicious poppy seed thing.  Yum!


We also split the lentil soup and spinach salad.  Good stuff.

The rest of the weekend was relaxing and I even won my fantasy football game.  My team is (maybe) making a comeback????


I used my apples and baked some cinnamon rolls stuffed with peanut butter and vegan nutella and sautéed apples.  I know I keep teasing you, but I will post the recipe soon.  Pinky promise.


I attempted vegan caramel with brown rice syrup and almond milk, but it didn’t work at all.  Way too thin.  I tried to get it to thicken and added a ton of chia seeds, but it was a no go.  Oh well.

Unfortunately, this kitchen failure meant my sweet craving was left high and dry.  So I had caramel apples on the brain for the rest of the night…and then the whole next day.


So I remedied the situation. 🙂  I ate this in a few servings because I didn’t want to pound my body with all that sugar at once.  At the time I thought I was being so good, eating my treat in moderation.  Little did I know I’d failed my glucose tolerance test the day before.  So now that I’m dealing with that, I don’t know how many more sugary treats I’ll be enjoying for the remaining few months of this pregnancy (it’s not like I was doing that before but whatever).  I guess I’ll know more once I take the fasting glucose tolerance test.


To be perfectly honest, I’m pretty annoyed I had to drink this nasty sh!t.  Of all the times to ingest fake chemicals and food dyes.  Ugh!  I can’t believe pregnant women are required to do this!  Can’t they figure out a more natural way to serve up glucose?  The worst part is I have to do it all over again now in a few days.

Ok, I’ll stop whining about it now.  Back to birthday week stuff.


Here we are watching the Giants seal the deal against the Cards.

The next morning was my real birthday so I woke up and opened presents with my mom.  Then we went to brunch at Shutters on the Beach.

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They have a few restaurants, but this was their right-on-the-beach-front breakfast spot, Coast.


I got chai tea with soy milk to drink (which I only steeped for 30 seconds so it wasn’t very caffeinated).  To eat, I got the Coast vanilla waffle with strawberries and bananas and a fried egg.


My mom got the Lemon ricotta pancakes with berries and a latte.


Lovely start to the day.


And the weather could not have been more perfect.  We walked back home along the beach, stopping at the Pier on the way.

The rest of the day was mellow.  I went for a run and before I knew it I had to get ready for my dinner date.


I drove out to the Silver Lake/Echo Park area to see my bestie Ethel.  She surprised me with vegan cupcakes and a mix cd (both of which I forgot at her place – oops!).

After we shared a pre-dinner banana cupcake from Lark Cake Shop (I was still freshly freaking out about my high blood glucose test, so I only had a few bites), we headed to dinner.

We were so excited to finally hit up Cru, a highly recommended raw vegan hot spot.  But when we got there it was closed!!!!  No!!!  The website is still up and doesn’t indicate anything about it being closed, so I’m unsure if this is a permanent thing or not.  Apparently it was open a month ago, so I’m not sure why or when this happened, but it’s definitely a loss for LA.  Cru was one of the few restaurants that (supposedly) rivaled Pure Food & Wine and the likes.

In any event, the area has plenty of vegan options, so our plan B was hardly a disappointment.


Mohawk Bend is a restaurant and bar in Echo Park that focuses on fresh and locally sourced fare.  It’s been on my radar for a while because it’s sister restaurant, Golden Road Brewing, is really close to where Kyle works and my cousin’s family lives.  They’ve all been there and raved about it (insert a bit of jealousy).

The owner (of both places) is vegan which is why the menu is loaded with animal-free options.  Unlike most restaurants, Mohawk Bend’s menu says it’s vegan unless noted otherwise.  Love it!

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My lovely date.  🙂  I was going to go with water, but I decided to live it up (since it was my birthday and all).  So I got a lemon/lime soda water spritzer thing.  It was sweetened with agave and tasted so refreshing.  Ethel got a ginger beer.  Mmm.

I’ll have to go back once I’m not pregnant because the beer menu is massive.


Since Ethel had been to Mohawk Bend previously, she knew that an order of the Buffalo Style Cauliflower was a must.  It came with celery and a vegan “bleu cheese” dressing.  OH. MY. WOW.  I want this recipe.  I’ve never tasted cauliflower like this.


Next we got the Hearts Of Palm “crabcake” with corn relish and smoked paprika aioli.  Fabulous!  I didn’t taste much heart of palm actually, but it did taste crab like.  Somehow.  No clue.  I tried to figure out what it had in it – if I had to guess it was a potato-seaweed-esque flavor.  Definitely good with a crispy fried exterior and soft “crabcake” inside.


Finally, we split the Vegan Banh Mi pizza.  It had marinated tofu, pickled carrots & daikon, jalapenos, herb salad, and sriracha aioli.

It was really really really good, but there was one issue.  The jalapenos.  Can you see them above?  Probably not since they’re hidden below the mint and cilantro, but there were tons and I made the mistake of eating one.


And ended up having to ice my lips for 15 minutes to recover sensation.  So much tingling!  Ethel had the same problem and we were both rendered helpless for a significant portion of the meal due to the numbness.

We picked off the rest of the jalapenos for sure.


After dinner we were off to the concert.  Ethel took me to see Shiny Toy Guns at the Echoplex and even though they got off to a (way) late start, it was a fun concert and I’m glad I finally ventured away from the westside for this fun.

I was worried about the volume but my baby boy was kicking away the whole night.  I think this counts as his first concert.  🙂

I didn’t get back to Santa Monica until 12:30 but then I had to pick up Kyle at his hotel (he had a business thing all week) because he forgot dress socks.  We swooped by our house and then went back to the hotel, which meant my bedtime was the latest it’s ever been since this whole pregnancy began.


Since I slept over at his hotel I decided to take advantage.  Room service!


Fried eggs and home style potatoes with chai tea and soy milk.


What more can I take advantage of while Kyle’s at work?  How about the gym!


I can’t remember the last time I went to a gym.  It was fun to zone out on the elliptical to crappy tv.  I put in a good 30 minutes and then walked to WF for lunch.

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Left: birthday present from my parents
Right: tofu stroganoff with mega veggies and quinoa


Later that night I met back up with my mom for another birthday dinner at Akasha in Culver City.  She brought my g-ma (she’d been visiting with her while I did the concert/hotel thing) and my aunt and cousin also joined.

I had such a great time, but that’s because I have the best family ever.  It didn’t hurt that the Giants game was on at the bar area.

I got the ginger lemonade to start (it was stellar).

And then we got two orders of the frog hollow farms pear salad to share.  It had pomegranate, mizuna, toasted pumpkin seeds, and a pear lemon vinaigrette.


Light and lovely.


For my dinner I chose the special which was a coconut curry scallop dish.  It had rice and greens and three scallops swimming in the most flavorful coconut curry sauce.  It had quite a kick at times, but I loved it.  I only managed to get through half of it though.  Leftovers!


We also split a side order of the brussels sprouts, which were almost the best thing I ate all night.  Whatever they did with the balsamic and mustard seed marinade was amazing because they managed to make Brussels sprouts taste like light fluffy potato chips.  So good!!


But what’s a birthday without a candle to blow out (and your family mortifying you by singing at the top of their lungs?

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We got two desserts, including the salty chocolate peanut bar (which I sampled liberally) and the dark chocolate torte.  The first had a chocolate spelt crust, candied peanuts, sea salt, caramel, and peanut butter gelato.  There’s no greater combo than salty and sweet, is there?  The second was one of the daily specials and basically looked like chocolate heaven.

Such a fun night.

The next day my mom and I slept in and walked to Huckleberry for breakfast.  I can’t believe it’s been so long since I ate here.  We used to live right across the street, but since we moved (a whole 3 blocks further) it’s not as frequently on our radar.  Well, that and we’re really trying to save money, which means restaurants on special occasions only.


I’ve gotten this dish before.  It’s quinoa, kale and butternut squash topped with two sunny-side up eggs.  I actually ate the entire thing, too, which was definitely an anomaly.


My mom got a blueberry scone, two scrambled eggs, and a latte.


After breakfast we had a few errands to run, but eventually ended up at the mall for some maternity clothes shopping.  Oh boy.  It’s really nice to finally have some diversity in my wardrobe.  I was getting pretty sick of wearing the same few things on rotation, so now I’m set for a while.

It was pretty funny trying things on because they had a pillow to strap around your waist that supposedly added 3 months.  In other words, the pillow makes me full term and ready to give birth.  Yikes, that seems soon!!!

The rest of the day was mellow.  We went for a long walk.  Stopped by giggle to look at baby stuff.  Hit up WF for dinner and groceries.  Watched the Giants win (again!).  And then I got ready for work the next day.

What a week!!

I’m so glad my mom was in town to make my 30th birthday as fun as it was.  To say I’m excited for the year(s) ahead is an understatement.  I don’t feel like I’m 30 years old, but I’m as happy as can be right now, and feeling very blessed to have a wonderful husband, family & friends, a baby on the way, a beautiful house near the beach, and a job that I enjoy.  I pinch myself every day.

Trader Joe’s in October

This product right here was reason enough for me to go against my usual standards and indulge in non-organic greek yogurt.


I only bought two, proving that self restraint does in fact exist within me. 


It’s tangy, tart, and only slightly sweet with hints of ginger and orange.  I loved it.  Had Kyle not been shopping with me, we’d probably have 500 in our fridge right now.  I wonder how long they’ll have these seasonal treats in stock?

Runner up in the pumpkin department goes to this coffee blend.  Still obsessed.

Next item on my TJ favorite list is not seasonal at all, but still makes for a nice fall comfort meal.


Trader Joe’s meatless meatballs are your typical vegan junk food.  The ingredients list is not amazing, but sometimes you just want what you want.


You can even out the healthfulness of them by making a meal with spaghetti squash noodles and organic marinara.  Or you can say to hell with it and just get your comfort food on.




Why fight it?

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Trader Joe’s makes shaved Brussels sprouts, and I’m a huge huge fan. 


I have so many recipe ideas for these guys…I can’t through them fast enough!


This was a quinoa and brussels sprouts salad with nutritional yeast cheese sauce on top…and there are tons more brussels recipes on the way.

If you have a TJ’s nearby, what’s on your grocery list?