Valerie’s Vanilla Soy Waffles

vanilla soy waffle
Ingredients:

1 cup soy flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 Tbsps granulated organic cane sugar or Splenda

1/4 tsp Grated Vanilla Bean (optional)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

4 Tbsps organic heavy cream

3 large organic eggs (lightly beaten)

1 tbsp sugar-free vanilla syrup

4 Tbsps cold water

Directions:
  1. Preheat waffle iron (according to manufacturer’s instruction).
  2. Whisk together soy flour, baking powder, cane sugar (or Splenda), vanilla bean and salt in a mixing bowl, then make a well in the center.
  3. Add in heavy cream, eggs and syrup and mix until blended.
  4. Add in water gradually to the thick batter and mix until you have a slightly thick but still pourable batter.
  5. Pour about 1/3 cup of batter (adjust the amount according to your waffle machine) in the middle of the preheated waffle iron, cover and cook until the waffle is lightly browned on both sides.
  6. Repeat the same for the remaining batter.
  7. Serve.
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Smothered Country Steak – Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose organic flour or gluten free baking mix
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound organic grass fed beef cubed steaks
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups organic beef broth

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Mix the flour, black pepper, seasoned salt, and garlic powder together in a shallow bowl, and coat the cube steaks thoroughly with the flour mixture, patting the flour onto the steaks to get a good coating. Retain 3 tablespoons of seasoned flour.

3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and pan-fry the cube steaks until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Place the steaks into a 9×12-inch baking dish. Whisk the retained seasoned flour into the beef broth until smooth, and pour the broth over the steaks. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.

4. Bake in the preheated oven until the meat is tender and the gravy has thickened, about 2 hours.

Only 105 More Days – The 411

coming soon

Can you believe how fast time is flying by?  In 105 more days, it will be 2016 !  And do you know what that means?  My donor begins cycling in January and by the end of the month, I will be back at the fertility clinic preparing to undergo my 6th fresh IVF transfer !!

I am scared, anxious, and excited all at the same time !  Although I spending my time working on getting as healthy as possible, my mind often wanders onto this subject.

A lot has transpired of late and I decided that it was time to focus on me, my life, and my health.

My grandmother is now residing with her evil sister in South Carolina.  Her sister has strategically orchestrated removing my mom and her brother as power of attorney, attempted to get her hands on my grandmother’s retirement and social security checks, and has called and fraudulently cancelled my grandmom’s credit cards by citing they were stolen and then tried to change the billing address to her own and added herself as an authorized user.  She then attempted to evict my mother from the family home, where we were staying for only a few months while the Realtor was finding a property in Los Angeles.  As you recall, my mom brought my grandmom back to the family home in North Carolina because she was so miserable in Virginia and wanted to come “home” – a place she doesn’t even remember. She ran away and we found out that her sister instructed her to do this as soon as she got there and told her she would come get her and “help her.”   Unfortunately, this entire situation was making my mother physically ill.  The judge threw the case out of court and realized what was truly going on. Because I have had enough drama in my life, and I refuse to deal with anyone else’s, I told my mother to leave my grandmom’s conniving, manipulative and sneaky behind right where she is and wash her hands of the whole thing.

We did not want to stay at the family home, as without my grandfather, the place seems devoid of life.  I HATE being back there and only agreed to go for a period of six months because it is what my mom felt she needed to do.  God has a way of answering prayers.  We are FREE of my grandmother, her alzheimers, her nasty attitude, her temper tantrums and now can come and go as we please and there is no guilt because she set all this in motion.

My mom and I took a vacation after my grandmom left and I was joking with the resort manager about wishing they had Winter rentals and she promptly replied, actually we do !  She took my contact info and sent it to resort sales and they sent me the info.  I filled out the form and emailed it back to them and the next day, they called.  She asked if there was a particular property I was interested in and I told her.  She asked what unit I wanted, and I told her I wish I could have the one we stayed in during our visit.  That two bedroom oceanfront condo was not available the entire time, but an identical one three floors up was.  BINGO !  We now are residing right on the ocean in a huge two bedroom condo and there are restaurants, a state of the art gym and loads of amenities.  We will be there until the end of February and then the movers will go to storage and get all of the belongings and transport everything to California !!   By the end of February, I will hopefully be about 9 wks or so pregnant and will have to find an RE in LA and a new OB.  I am trying to decide if I want to give birth in LA or in NYC.  I have some time to decide that….

I still can not believe how things have fallen into place. I actually found a donor who meets ALL of my criteria on my wish list.  Now I am trying to decide what to do about the sperm donor.  Between now and January, I am sure I will have resolved that.

I am currently enjoying waking up and running on the beach every morning and again in the evening.  I will start going to the gym midday as well.  I am using Isagenix products for nutritional cleansing.  The strawberry shake is to die for !  I make one every morning with frozen strawberries, pineapple, and orange.  I have noticed a marked difference in my energy levels and the Product B seems to be doing wonders for my reproductive system.  My TSH levels are great and all of my blood work is looking really good.  I am doing walk/run intervals in the morning for 3.5 miles and in the evening doing 2.5 miles. In two weeks I am going to increase to a total of 8 miles a day.  I have dropped 30 lbs already.  I feel a lot better about my body and how I am looking.  Although I have lost the weight gained by taking steroids, my body does look a bit different.  I will continue to give this all I have got and stay focused on the paleo diet and using Isagenix.  By the time January gets here, I will be in amazing shape and ready to transfer healthy embryos to my body and carry them to term !

Last night, I whipped out my Elite Pro Pressure Cooker and cooked baby lima beans with a large country ham bone.  Then I cooked a chuck pot roast with 3 sliced onions and gravy.  Today, I heated those and then put some rice in the pressure cooker and that was dinner.   I am in love with my pressure cooker and my crock pot.  It makes life so much easier and I do not have to turn on the oven or stove.  The condo has a great kitchen. It is pretty big so I am able to film episodes of my cooking show, Valerie The Pajama Chef.

I just can not believe how things have turned out.  What the devil meant for harm, God turned it around for good !  #wontHedoit

Bakefree Samoa Cheesecake – Recipe

Samoa Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust 
2 cups Oreo crumbs (from about 20 Oreos, leave filling in the Oreos))
1/4 cup organic sweet cream butter, melted
Filling and Topping:
1 cup organic coconut flakes, divided
24 oz organic cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 cup vanilla wafers, broken into pieces
1/2 cup caramel sauce, divided
8 oz cool whip (or homemade organic whipped cream)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips for topping
additional caramel sauce for topping
chocolate sauce for topping
1. Spread coconut onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 325 degrees for 5-10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine Oreo crumbs and melted butter and press into the bottom of a greased 9 inch springform pan.
3. Combine cream cheese, sugars and extracts in a large bowl and mix until smooth.
4. Fold in 3/4 cup of coconut flakes, vanilla wafer pieces and 1/4 cup caramel sauce into cream cheese mixture.
5. Add Cool Whip to cream cheese mixture and stir until combined.
6. Add batter to crust in 3 parts, adding a little more of the caramel sauce each time until you’ve used all of the caramel. Use a knife to swirl caramel around. Be careful to not put the knife through the crust.
7. Smooth out the top of the cheesecake.
8. Top cheesecake with remaining 1/4 cup coconut flakes, mini chocolate chips, chocolate sauce and caramel sauce.
9. Refrigerate until firm, 4-5 hours.

Understanding Immunologic Factors and How They Can Affect Fertility

source: http://www.Nurtureacupuncture.com

baby - immunology

There are two types of immunologic reactions involved in conception and infertility:

Autoimmune disorders are more common, contributing to over ninety percent of immune-related infertility. A woman’s immune cells form antibodies (small proteins that target and attach to cells and identify them for destruction) to tissue that is normal and part of their own body. This is an abnormal reaction that is associated with several non-pregnancy related diseases.

Alloimmune disorders, in contrast, involve the formation of antibodies against tissue associated with the male partner (e.g., paternal sperm proteins). Alloimmune problems are associated with less than ten percent of implantation failure or recurrent pregnancy loss.

During implantation, at the site where the fetal and maternal tissue meet (the embryo meets the vaginal wall), the maternal immune cells in the lining interact with one another through mutual exchange of hormone-like substances called cytokines. Because of this complex immunologic interplay, the uterus is able to foster the embryo’s successful growth without allowing bacteria and other abnormal cells to infiltrate. In other words, the immune cells aren’t shut down, they agree to host the embryo when all goes right. Thus, the trophoblast establishes the very foundation for the nutritional, hormonal, and respiratory interchange between mother and baby. In this manner, the interactive process of implantation is not only central to survival in early pregnancy but also to the health of the baby after birth. Problems occur when the maternal immune cells don’t cooperate. Typically when this occurs, it will lead to implantation failure or pregnancy loss thereafter.

How Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Treat Immunologic Factors

Traditional Chinese medicine has been treating autoimmune infertility for thousands of years. Modern Reproductive Endocrinology has only recently recognized the impact that immunologic factors have on fertility. Elevated immune markers, like Antiphospholipid Antibodies (APA) and Natural Killer Cells (NKa), are thought to be associated with an immune reaction to an implanting embryo. Anti-sperm Antibodies (ASA) inhibit the sperm from ever reaching the egg for fertilization. Other markers of potential immunological fertility factors include anti-nuclear antibody, premature elevations of follicle stimulating hormone, lupus anticoagulant, and other clotting factors. The main treatment protocol in Chinese medicine for immune factors is to reprogram the immune system so it will not react to self-tissue, and to allow the normal suppression involved in implantation to occur.

Acupuncture will balance the immune system by treating the immune system directly and via the lymphatic system. By selecting certain points, acupuncture can either down regulate or modulate the immune system and reduce possible inflammation that may be causing the elevation.

Chinese herbs are very effective at modulating the immune system and can thin the blood to encourage proper circulation.

Reproductive organ massage (ROM) increases blood flow to the entire abdominal area and all of the organs through gentle manipulation of the abdominal musculature. This technique targets areas of stagnation and adhesions which can impede proper follicular maturation and release. ROM also retrains the breath into a deeper diaphragmatic space, allowing the body to process stress more quickly and achieve a parasympathetic state on a more regular basis. This parasympathetic state is necessary for proper hormonal production and regulation, and helps control an overactive immune system.

Nutritional management is an essential element in ensuring proper functioning of the immune system. Eating a diet rich in organic fruits, vegetables, grains, and microalgae, and eliminating cold and raw food, as well as wheat, will ensure the immune system does not become overactive. Supplementation with antioxidants, flower pollen, and Reishi mushrooms will also help rebalance the body. Including mediation and stress reduction into your daily activities will reduce stress and lower the immune response as well.

Research

Immune infertility is a type of autoimmune disease. Women with immune infertility produce anti-sperm antibodies (ASA) in their reproductive tracts. These antibodies neutralize sperm by clumping them together and poking holes in their membranes. Anti-sperm antibodies also smother receptors involved in sperm-egg binding and fertilization. An estimated 12-15 percent of unexplained infertility in women is linked to ASA.

Cheddar Bacon Herb Muffins – Recipe

bacon-cheddar-muffins 1

Ingredients:

6 tbsp organic unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 large organic eggs
3/4 cup King Arthur Organic all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
6 tbsp rye flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp canola oil
3 tbsp + 2 tsp maple syrup
1 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk
1/2 cup diced Cheddar (cut into 1-in/2.5-cm cubes), plus 1/4 cup grated Cheddar
6 tbsp grated Parmesan
11 slices cooked bacon, coarsely chopped, plus 1 1/2 tbsp bacon fat, cooled
1/4 cup fresh chives, parsley, or a combo, finely chopped
Chopped rosemary for garnishing

Directions:

1. Position a rack near the top of your oven and preheat to 400°F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with 15 paper liners, spacing them evenly between the two pans.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and salt for 1 to 2 minutes until nice and fluffy. Incorporate the eggs slowly, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, rye flour, and baking powder and mix until incorporated. Add the canola oil, maple syrup, and buttermilk. Scrape the mixer bowl well, making sure everything is well incorporated. Add the diced Cheddar, 4 tbsp of the Parmesan, the bacon, and chives. Mix just until dispersed, folding by hand to be sure.

3. Fill the muffin cups to the very top.

4. In a small bowl toss the grated Cheddar with the remaining 2 tbsp Parmesan and sprinkle evenly over the muffins. Bake for about 15 minutes, until nicely browned but not over baked inside. Garnish with chopped rosemary.

5. These are best eaten the day they’re made.

Caramel Apple Dessert Biscuits – Recipe

Caramel

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 to 1 cup organic heavy cream

Spiced walnuts

  • 1 tablespoon organic sweet cream butter (unsalted)
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Biscuits

  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cold organic sweet cream butter (unsalted)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup organic whole milk

Apples

  • 1 tablespoon organic sweet cream butter (unsalted)
  • 2 cups peeled, sliced organic cooking apples (Granny Smiths or Galas)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon each ground ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon caramel sauce, from above
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider

Directions

1)To make the caramel: Place the sugar in a 2-quart heavy saucepan (preferably light colored). Add the water and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring once or twice, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, and cook without stirring until the sugar begins to caramelize (become light to medium brown), which will take about 8 minutes. If using a thermometer, cook the sugar until it’s between 350°F and 360°F.

2) Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream; the mixture will boil up, so be careful. Return the pan to the heat and stir until smooth. Use more cream for a thinner sauce, the smaller amount if you want it thicker.

3) To prepare the walnuts: Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter and add the walnuts. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are barely starting to brown; this can happen quickly, so keep an eye on them. Sprinkle the sugar over the nuts and stir; add the maple syrup and stir again to coat the nuts. Sprinkle with salt and a pinch of cayenne. When the nuts are coated, remove from the heat and spread on a baking sheet or piece of parchment to cool.

4) To make the biscuits: Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the self-rising flour and brown sugar. Work in the butter until it’s in small pieces. Combine the apple cider with the smaller amount of milk and add to the flour mixture, stirring until the flour is evenly moistened. Dribble in more milk, if necessary, to bring the dough together. Use a bowl scraper to fold the dough over on itself a few times to bring it together.

5) Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper, pat it into a 6″ to 6 1/2″ circle (about 3/4″ thick), and cut into circles with a 2″ cutter. Pile any scraps on top of each other, fold twice to bring them together, and cut the remaining dough; you should get 8 to 10 biscuits.

6) Place the biscuits on a baking sheet, leaving 2″ between them. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until they’re light golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and keep warm.7) To prepare the apples: While the biscuits are baking, place a skillet over medium heat. Add the butter, and when it’s melted, add the apples and spices. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the caramel sauce and apple cider. Cook for 1 minute more, then remove from the heat.8) To assemble: Split the biscuits, and spoon 5 to 6 apple slices over the bottom half of each. Drizzle with some caramel sauce, then place the tops of the biscuits over the apples. Add a scoop of ice cream, more caramel sauce, then sprinkle with spiced walnuts.

Copyright 2014 Valerie Renèe