Valerie’s Vanilla Soy Waffles

vanilla soy waffle

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

  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.

Smothered Country Steak – Recipe

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


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.

Bakefree Samoa Cheesecake – Recipe

Samoa Cheesecake


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


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.


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


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


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


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

The Pain Infertility Causes When You Should Be Overjoyed – The 411


There are things that happen in life that SHOULD fill your heart with joy.  There are times in life that you should be able to celebrate with others.  Infertility robs you of the ability to do those things.  Infertility robs you of joy, peace, understanding, compassion, and also the ability to give two f*^%S about anything in general at times.

Yesterday, I learned that my 18 year old niece is six months pregnant.  She is having a boy and he is due January 11th.  While any baby is a gift from God and here because He has a purpose for that life, it stings like hell and I am mad as hell about it.

We, grown women, who have the ability to care for and nurture a child and have some knowledge to impart to sow into the life of a child, can not seem to have one.  A child who has not experienced anything in life, has no job, work experience, headed to college, and is graduating high school in May, is pregnant with a baby she can not care for financially, has no patience for children as evidenced by how my niece who is three, grates on her nerves, and is not in a position to be a mother, IS PREGNANT !

We, adults, who are infertile, spend every dime in our savings accounts, suffer and struggle through this journey and it seems as though God has jokes.  Innocent babies are given to teens who are irresponsible, to crackheads, to trifling women who intentionally get pregnant for a 18-21 year payment plan, and life is supposed to be fair?

All I can do at this point is just get up out my feelings and trust in God’s Word.  I will stand in covenant faith that God will do what He said He would do and His Word will not return void.

I refuse to become Bitter !  I resolve to become BETTER !!  Funny how one little ole letter can change a word….

Through Christ, we can do all things and having a baby is one of those things !

After a discussion with my nephew yesterday, I have decided to move up my IVF timeline.  Instead of waiting until April to transfer, I will move it up to January.  I am moving to California and do not want to have to come back to the East Coast if I do not have to and that will allow me to find an awesome OB, RE etc in California in enough time.  My nephew brought up the point that all of his friends who have birthdays around major holidays, like Christmas, resent it.  That coupled with the fact that my niece is due the beginning of January (which means she could deliver earlier) has tarnished the whole Christmas birth for me.  I want my babies to be born during a month where there are no other family member birthdays.  I will shoot for October or November for the due date to avoid this.

I am trying to muster up enough energy to hide my hurt and disappointment so that I can be supportive of my niece at a time that she most needs it.  Her dad is being an ass from what my other sister told my mom.  I truly do not understand how a man who knocked up my sister when she was in college studying Physical Therapy and was deployed by the Army Reserves to Budapest when they started dating.  My sister came back from Budapest and found out shortly thereafter that she was pregnant.  They married when my niece was one years old.  They have been married now for 17 years and have another young teen daughter.  My mother wanted more for my sister other than to fall prey to a long standing family curse of pregnancy prior to marriage.  The only good thing, is that these couples marry and love each other and most have stayed married until death or are still married.  In so many ways, I fault my sister and husband for this happening.  Kids will be kids !  It is a parental responsibility to ensure that daughters are on birth control that PARENTS control (ie:  give the pill every morning before school, IUD or Depo shots etc).  You NEVER allow an irresponsible teenager to take their own birth control.  Additionally, the boy my niece is dating is nice, but he is not good enough to date her.  He has no real ambition, comes from a broken home with no familial support or influence and he just basically exists and does not know what he wants to do.  He should just go in to the military and find himself.  As a parent, I would have forbade that relationship period. My sister and her husband are too lax to me when it comes to their children hanging out with their friends. They are allowed to stay the night over their friend’s homes and also make friends with people they really should not be friends with because they are not on the same paths in life.  We were always taught that birds of a feather flock together and that we should make friends with people who had similar interests and who were going somewhere in life.  Even now, I keep people in my inner circle who are doing as well as I am or better.  They inspire me and I inspire them.  We push each other to do better. None of my niece’s friends have gotten pregnant.  It is sad that I kept thinking in the back of my mind that this is inevitable.  My brother-in-law is very hard on the girls and the girls are very softhearted like my sister.  Often, in an attempt to protect children or rear them in a way that you feel will make them avoid mistakes you have made in your own life, has an adverse effect and pushes the children further away from you, having them seek out the affection they crave from the stoic parent.  Ray Charles can see that !  What is sad, the sibling is a clone of her sister.  Both girls are very bright, but totally into how they look, makeup and selfies.  They also dress like typical teens… like a brat doll. Sadly, I will not be shocked if the other niece walks the same path.  For that, my heart breaks.  All I can do is pray for them and at the same time be glad that my sister and her husband are stable, loving, and have the financial means to be there for my niece.  This is not what I wanted for her.  My niece aspires to be a designer and model.  She is tall, tiny, and perfect for modeling.  I noticed before we moved that she was sleeping an awful lot, sick with the “flu” for an extended period, and also no longer wearing her mid drift bearing cIothes.  It all makes sense….  My niece did not want to tell my mom because she was scared to and also because my mom is still not well from the cancer treatments.

I swear I will not let the words “what next” come out of my mouth again !

Valerie’s Awesome Coffee Can Pumpkin Bread – Recipe


  • 4 large organic eggs
  • 3 cups Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose organic King Arthur flour (*see note below)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid pack organic pumpkin
  • 1 cup melted unsalted organic sweet cream butter
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • You will also need 4 regular sized coffee cans for this recipe.

*Spoon & Sweep method: Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour until required amount is obtained. Scooping measuring cup directly into flour bag will firmly pack flour resulting in too much flour required for recipe.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray coffee cans with cooking spray. Use a pastry brush to thoroughly coat grooves in can.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.
  4. Mix eggs and sugar. Add pumpkin, melted butter, water, vanilla, bourbon, orange zest, nuts and raisins to egg and sugar. Mix all together thoroughly.
  5. Add dry ingredients to above. Combine well.
  6. Fill 4 coffee cans 1/2 full with batter. Place directly on oven rack. Bake for one hour at 350°F. Remove from oven and cool, in cans, 15 minutes or until bread turns loose from can. Invert on racks and cool completely. Cut into rounds. If available, an electric knife is perfect tool for neat round.

Embryo Glue – Does It Work? – The 411

ivf - embryo glue

Embryo glue – does it work or not?

Does embryo glue really work? We were initially sceptical. A low-cost product that helps your embryo to implant? It sounded too good to be true. For fertility expert Robert Winston, it was. ‘The embryo does not need glue to attach itself to the uterus’, he blogged. For him, the embryo is master of its own destiny. ‘Adding substances is a very simplistic and unlikely solution.’

But embryo glue has grown up. A few years ago, we would have told you to save your money. Today, we’re seeing the roll-out of embryo glue to more and more fertility clinics, updated research and positive feedback from patients. We’ve changed our mind.

If the idea of having an embryo glued into you doesn’t appeal, don’t panic. Despite its name, embryo glue isn’t really a glue at all. It’s a specially developed solution that contains, among other things, high levels of a substance called hyaluronan, also known as hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronan occurs naturally in your womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Studies have shown that it makes secretions from these organs stickier, aiding fertilisation and implantation. Embryo glue mimics those uterine secretions. On your embryo transfer day, your embryos are dipped into the ‘glue’. Then they’re placed in your uterus. The adhesive effect of the medium may help your embryos stick to your endometrium.

Simple idea. Good name. Patients understand the concept. If embryo glue helps your embryo and womb hit it off for longer, rather than drifting apart at the crucial moment, we call that implantation-friendly.

You might have come across hyaluronic acid in the earlier stages of your pregnancy journey. It’s used in some forms of lubricating gel products supposedly to boost your conception chances after sex. The levels in embryo glue are more highly concentrated.

Like every new product or technique sold to the fertility sector, embryo glue has faced opposition. A 2012 study published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics and Gynecology cast doubt on its effects. That gave marketers of the product a very bad morning.

But more recent research suggests otherwise – and it certainly swayed us. For example, a review carried out by the Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Sub-Fertility Group, published in the respected Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2014, showed more promising results.

The review explored the benefits of assisted reproduction techniques involving adherence compounds (including hyaluronic acid) and their effect on embryo implantation. The results of 17 studies were analysed and compared. The authors concluded that the evidence does suggest that clinical pregnancy and live birth rates are improved by the use of hyaluronic acid. Other studies suggest embryo glue may be particularly beneficial for women who’ve had repeated implantation failure or unexplained infertility.

Let’s talk money. The good news is that, like an endometrial scratch, embryo glue is a relatively low-cost fertility add-on. It’s not going to break the bank. Clinic fees are around $0-300.  CNY Fertility Center and Spa offers this with all transfers at no additional cost.

Our thinking is this. At that price-point, clinics may be thinking more about their success rates than their bank balances. Although embryo glue will boost clinic revenues, any uplift in live-birth rates is good for business. They know that fertility patients are increasingly guided by the stats. So if they see value in an affordable product, perhaps we should to. It doesn’t seem like money for nothing.

The success stories about embryo glue are encouraging. It’s still relatively new. Research into its benefits is continuing. But if you’ve had failed IVF attempts, or issues with implantation, we reckon it’s worth serious consideration. Speak to your clinic.