Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Next Chapter of the Fat Kid Life

So we begin maternity leave. Food posts will ensue once I get the hang of managing an infant's schedule. Be ready for bagels, specialty Chex Mix, etc. I'm feeling ambitious for the next 15 weeks.

As I'm re-entering the blogging world, the mix of posts will be a little more varied. It'll mostly be about food, but there will be a dabbling of Notorious B.Y.G. posts as well.

I've been very fortunate through this pregnancy. Not only did I have friends who already had children, but also friends who were pregnant as well, so I was surrounded by a wealth of support and was able to crowd source answers to all my burning questions. I also had my family nearby, who would deliver home made meals and come take walks with me towards the end of my pregnancy. Most importantly, I had Joe, who rubbed my feet every night, randomly left me sweet notes, and was my rock every time I freaked out about something (which was all the time). For all of this, I am extremely grateful.

I think there are things everyone knows about pregnancy, but here are some of the things I learned that I wish someone had just told me before hand, so I was more prepared:

  1. You basically lose all dignity. You constantly pee or leak fluid during contractions (so you're always wetting the bed). You need help to pee because you have an IV attached to you. You get over it quickly because you're in a lot of pain.
  2. We all know that labor is painful, but the recovery is just as bad (especially if you take an epidural, I'd argue that recovery is almost worse). You're organs are trying to get back into their normal spots, you continue to bleed non-stop, moving around is hard, sitting is hard (if you had stitches and they're still healing), and you have to mentally prepare for bowel movements for the first week (trust me on this).
  3. Use your hospital resources. It's ok to not know how to do anything with the baby. We had amazing nurses that taught us everything. They hooked us up with lots of supplies to get us through the first week at home. There's no shame in asking for help. I hit the nurse call button at least 10x a day. I had them there at every feed to show me again how to nurse a baby. If you want a pain killer - take it. Hospitals aren't going to give you anything that's harmful to you or the baby (it's too large a liability for them). I learned more in the two days at the hospital than in any class or by reading any blog, etc. 
  4. Everyone tells you, you should breastfeed. What no one says is that breastfeeding is tough and can be extremely painful. If you're like me, you don't produce enough to satiate your child. There's no shame in taking formula, people make you feel like there is, but there isn't. I accidentally starved Bethany for 36 hrs because I didn't think I should use formula. Then I cried uncontrollably at the thought that I was starving her. Sure, there are benefits to breast milk, but a full milk drunk baby is a happy baby, so do what you got to do.
  5. You will cry uncontrollably, both mom and dad (or at least feel very emotional). It's ok, go for it. There will be times in the first week, you just want to quit because the baby won't stop screaming. You'll feel like you're already a bad parent. Post-partum depression is real - I think different people feel it to different extents and in different ways. Joe reminded me every day that I was doing great, my friends told me things were going to get easier, and all of that was true. Old acquaintances reached out with words of encouragement and people constantly checked in to see how I was doing. Having a good support system is everything.
Finally, I leave you with this. Everyone's got an opinion. You can listen to them and evaluate them, but do what's right for you and the baby. Take some precautions, but mommy instincts will kick in quickly. 

This little one is already everything to Joe and me. I can't believe for the last month this full human was living inside me! Also, how can you love something so much instantly?

Bethany Yu Gagnon. 8 lbs. 5 oz. 20.5 inches born 10/9/16.
10 days later! She already looks so different.
She loves her Daddy. The best part of her day is skin-to-skin time with Daddy.
We're in for a lifetime of battles. It starts with breastfeeding!
Yes, I still have a teddy bear and I'm not ashamed. I'll pretend it belongs to Bethany.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

3 of Us to Celebrate Year 3

I hope we're always this awkward and this happy in life.
Life has been insanely busy preparing for the arrival of our little monkey. It's been a race to fix up the house and to make sure we have everything a baby needs. In between that, we've (read: Joe's) been tending to our garden and I've been trying to keep up with our abundance of tomatoes and basil.

That Tomato Life.
Over the past month, I've worked more hours than a pregnant lady should and when I told Joe "see you in September", I wasn't kidding. When we were both at home we were running around preparing the house for the baby shower (thanks Mom, Mama G, and Liz for hosting!) or preparing little monkey's room. During our Sunday Night Facetime session with Joe's parents, Mama G said, "and you have an anniversary coming up" - to which I thought to myself, "SHIT!" How did I completely whiff on our anniversary again?

Three years have flown by, and to date, the best decision I ever consciously made...was going to Boston College. I found some of my best friends and my wonderful husband there.

Thanks for always letting me over order at new restaurants (because there's a chance I never go back):
Probably too much food for two people...
Hosting parties where I make enough food for twice as many guests...
Part 1 of a 2-Part Party (CNY and SuperBowl)
Tolerate my absolute goofiness...(and often participate...)
Looking sexy as always.
But most of all, thank you for your constant support. From always holding my purse to always holding my hand - there's no one I'd rather have as my partner in crime. As we expand our family to include a third, I know she's one lucky monkey to have a father like you.
She'll understand - BC plays on Saturdays.
Happy Anniversary. I'm sure I'll forget again next year.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

An Overdue Update: BBQ, Birthday, and a Baby

It's been awhile since I've updated the blog, but as we settle into our new house and I have some more time, I've decided to give it another go.

So friends - let's catch up.

Last post, I bought a house in NJ, and then spent most of the fall working on it. 

In October I got to help co-host my sister-in-laws baby shower (I was in charge of food), with a menu consisting of wontons with chili oil, marinated cucumber salad, chicken satay, and pork belly BLT sliders on homemade Parker house rolls. Ask me to make you Parker house rolls - they're tasty.

Another Giants fan getting added to the clan.
Re-imagined BLT: Bourbon glazed pork belly, sun-dried tomato spread on a fresh Parker house roll.
Then in December - my niece was born!
Nugget, only a couple days after birth.
At the end of the year - we went to Taiwan.
Crossing the bridge to what was a pretty tough hike in Taroko Gorge!
Eat with Daddy Yu's Family.

Eat with Grandma and Grandpa Kung.
Eat tasty beef noodle soup.
On this trip, Joe and I were constantly asked when we were going to have kids. Grandparents want to be great-grandparents, and family members want to see a cute mixed baby. We kept mum about our plans.

Then we went to Japan and ate sushi at 5:45 in the morning, after waiting since 3:30 a.m.
Raw fish for breakfast? YES PLEASE.
In February, Joe and I hosted our first Chinese New Years / Super Bowl!
Feast from the East.
Am I glowing in that picture?...because February was also when Joe and I found out...
I was pregnant! With our Little Monkey! (Who will have to be a Red Sox fan, unfortunately,)
We told my parents when Liz was back for a weekend, and told Joe's family over Easter.
I tried to capture the surprise, we got everyone ready for a photo, and I said, on on the count of three say, "Vicky's Pregnant"... As you can see, everyone just smiled for the photo...until someone said..."Wait, really?"
In April we did a babymoon in Nashville.
I could eat Loveless cafe biscuits all day.
We did a cave tour to walk off some of the mass biscuit consumption.
In April the nugget also came to visit us.
Wow she's growing fast!
May happened and now June. I got to throw my first BBQ, turn 29, and tell the world about Little Monkey!
Ribs in the BGE are $.
Have to have Mama Yu style corn.
Sausage sliders with onions and peppers.
Shrimp skewers.
Steak tips marinated in garlic, soy, balsamic, and maple syrup.
Cake TIME!
Group photo!
Three (one was hiding) generations of Kung women :)

Family Love.

Our wonderful cake made by our local bakery.
Making a wish!
It's a....GIRL!
So that's what's happened over the last 8 months. Now that we're all caught up, get ready for some more food posts as our garden comes in!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Two Infinity and Beyond

Gags, please don't kill me for this picture, but I love it, because it's us in our goofy bubble.
Last night Joe said to me, "Tomorrow we'll have purchased our first home together and I'll be a two-year veteran of marriage." That's been our on-going joke these past couple of weeks, Joe keeps saying, "Well, I bought you a house for our two year anniversary, I'm setting the bar high, this is going to be hard to top."

So in case you didn't know, that's the big news for year 2. Joe and I bought a house in Rutherford, NJ. We're closing on it today, wish us luck, I'm trading in fancy dinners for home repairs.

Fancy dinner example: crabs at PQ Dungeness Island. Apparently 1 crab is good for two people, if you can't tell, I ordered us a crab each.
Between work and home buying, things have been hectic in the Yu-Gagnon household, so hectic that I practically (actually) forgot we had an anniversary coming up. Joe surprised me yesterday with tickets to see "Fun Home" at the theater we saw our first Broadway show together and then took me out for dinner at Bar Boulud (good effort on his part, but it's not on my list of recommendations). Me? I have no idea where I put the card I bought months ago and ran to the local bookstore yesterday to pick up a gift that had once caught my eye.

Why Joe decided not to look at my camera, despite my yelling "SELFIE", is beyond me.
If that doesn't summarize what Year 2 of marriage has been, I'm not sure what does. Sometimes I'm not sure why he wanted so badly to marry me, I mean my sweet and sour chicken is good, but it's not that good (or is it?). Either way, I'm thankful, thankful that this guy is willing to listen to me complain about work, be my guinea pig for recipes, have random dance parties with me, and even practice boxing with me (which consists of me popping him in the face and if he even brushes me, I start whining).

I was with a friend recently, who said it sounded good to be me and damn straight kids, it's good to be me. Wonderful family, good health, loving husband and now a chance to understand what it means to be "house poor".

Joe, happy two years. Two infinity and beyond. I love you and I can't wait to pop open a bottle of Frexienet (our Cava of choice from our honeymoon) and celebrate home ownership with you.

For everyone who isn't Gags, you can now clean off the vomit on your floor.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Recipe: Chorizo Hash with Sous Vide Eggs

A touch of habanero hot sauce takes it to a whole other level!
Chorizo Hash with Sous Vide Eggs!
Serves 2 (but easy to half and make for 1!)
Special equipment: Sous Vide (if you have!)


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Russet potatoes
  • 1/2 medium onion (diced)
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic or 2 sprigs of garlic scape (if you can find it)
  • 1 link of chorizo (I use the uncured type, if you use the harder chorizo, just dice it)
  • Herbs of your choosing (I like rosemary and thyme)
  • Handful of cilantro
First, if you're going to sous vide your eggs, get your water bath started and set to 62.5°C. Once it reaches that temperature, gently put your eggs in for 1 hr. If you don't have a sous vide - try making a 6 minute egg (boil water, drop down to simmer, put in egg, time for 6 minutes and then run under cold water). If all fails - make some over easy eggs.
Nice not bath for my lovely eggs.
Pre-heat a non-stick pan over medium flames with about 1-2 T of olive oil. Peel and dice your potatoes into 1 cm cubes. Get them into the pan and toss them in the oil. Continue to toss them every couple of minutes and allow them to cook through and slightly brown.
Any breakfast that starts with potatoes is off to a good start.
As you cook your potatoes, get the rest of your ingredients ready!
Mise en place like a boss!
Once the potatoes have cooked through, toss them into a bowl with a little salt and half of your chopped or dried herbs. Seasoning potatoes while they're warm gives them a great flavor.

In the pan that the potatoes just came out of, put down your chorizo with your garlic and break it up into small pieces.
The smell of chorizo is intoxicating...or maybe it's the garlic.
Once the chorizo is broken up and 75% cooked through. Add the red pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes and add the onion. I always find that if I don't stagger it, the onions are mush before the pepper finished cooking.
Onions and peppers are a breakfast's best friend.
Once the onions and peppers are about cooked through, throw the potatoes back in. Add some salt, pepper, and the rest of the herbs along with your cilantro!

Toss it all together and divide into two plates. Keep warm if you need to, if not, run your eggs under cold water for 30 seconds (so you can work with them) and crack 2 eggs on top of each plate. Garnish with hot sauce and some extra cilantro.


Love when the yolk oozes over the potatoes.
Enjoy with a friend (or significant other)!