Cloudy, With a Chance of Wine

Funny stories. Crafts we’ll never do. Recipes I’ll never make.

My grandma’s delicious mincemeat pie recipe

As you may or may not know, I was raised by Brits, which means we didn’t get to enjoy tasty things like homemade cookies, chocolate fudge, and butter tarts when we were growing up.

Nope.

Dessert in our house was a little different.

We had trifle.

And rice pudding.

And rhubarb crumble.

And for Christmas and Easter, my mum always put my grandma’s mincemeat pie recipe to good use.

Have you ever had a mincemeat pie? It sounds disgusting, doesn’t it? In fact, had I not grown up in our household, I wouldn’t have believed it was a dessert.

But it is.

And if it’s made JUST RIGHT, it can be pretty delicious.

Read on to find out my grandma’s secrets!

Fresh baked mince tarts in vertical format

INGREDIENTS:

-Shortcrust pastry

-8 ounces of plain flour

-1/2 level teaspoon of salt

-2 ounces of margarine

-2 ounces of lard

-Cold water

-1 jar of mincemeat (available at most grocery stores)

-Icing sugar

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oven to 425F

2. Sift flour and salt in a bowl and roll in the margarine and lard until you’ve created a breadcrumb consistency

3. Slowly add cold water while using a round-bladed knife to bind the pastry together until you’ve created a dough

4. Knead sparingly

5. Place on a flat, floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll into a thin sheet

6. Cut rounds of pastry that are the same size as your greased tartlet tin* and place on top

7. Cover about 1/3 of the round of pastry with mince meat, add another round of pastry on top, and stick the 2 pieces of pastry together with a little water around the edges

8. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown

9. Carefully remove from tartlet tin and place on cooling rack

10. Dust with icing sugar when cool

*You must use a tin with a shallow base – a muffin tin will not work

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10 tips for coping with morning sickness

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fear of vomit.

Everything about it bothers me – the sound, the smell, the worry that it will travel across the room, up my leg, down my throat, and make me sick….

Everything.

So it’s no surprise that I suffered from endless weeks of morning sickness when I was a pregnant with my daughter. Only, I wouldn’t call it ‘morning sickness’ because it started at about 3 pm and lasted until I threw up my prenatal vitamin the following morning.

It was so much fun!

Fortunately for you (not me), it lasted long enough that I had time to talk to my OBGYN, a nurse, all of my friends with kids, a gal in the elevator, the chick behind the counter at the pharmacy, and anyone else who would listen to me whine about how unwell I was feeling, and they all gave me some great tips for coping with morning sickness.

And because I cannot bear the idea of another human being lying in bed swallowing her own vomit every night for 10+ weeks, I decided to write them all down.

Boy holding his girlfriend head above toilet.

1. EAT FREQUENTLY

I know, I know. The last thing you want to do is put food in your mouth, let alone swallow it when you feel unwell. But I speak from experience when I say that an empty stomach is the worst thing that can happen to a woman when she’s suffering from morning sickness. So make sure to nibble on something every hour or so, even if it’s just a couple of saltine crackers.

2. EATER SMALLER MEALS

If you’re perpetually queasy, you probably don’t want to eat more than a few bites at a time, but just in case you have a sudden increase in appetite (unlikely), make sure to eat smaller portions over a longer period of time. Your tummy will thank you.

3. AVOID ACIDIC AND SPICY FOODS

One of my girlfriends suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum and warned me that tomatoes and curries were the devil with morning sickness. Not only did they upset her stomach, but they burned like anything when they came back up. So I avoided them both until my 39th week of pregnancy, when I downed a bunch of Indian food to try and induce labor.

Spoiler alert: it worked.

4. DRINK GINGER ALE

Did your mom ever give you flat ginger ale when you felt sick? Mine didn’t. But I drank a lot of ginger ale when I was in my first trimester, and it really helped settle my tummy. I personally found the carbonation helped, but if the bubbles bother you, all you need to do is stir in some sugar to get rid of the fizz. Pretty genius, right?

5. ACCUPRESSURE

Have you ever heard of Sea-Band Mama? It’s an accupressure bracelet that offers immediate relief from nausea, and it’s safe for pregnant women. I personally didn’t find it CURED my morning sickness, but it did help take the edge off. If you want to order a set, you can find them RIGHT HERE.

6. EAT BEFORE BED

After a long day of trying not to puke, the last thing you want to do is eat something before crawling into bed and falling into a nausea-induced sleep, but since you’re more likely to feel sick if you have an empty stomach, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you have a piece of toast before hitting the hay.

7. GET PLENTY OF REST

I know this isn’t always easy to do, especially when you’re working and/or caring for other children, but do yourself a favor and grab some extra Zs whenever the opportunity presents itself. It might not get rid of the queasies, but it’ll definitely give you the energy you need to cope.

8. KEEP CRACKERS BY YOUR BED

This is one of the oldest tricks out there because it actually works! Simply nibble on a couple of crackers as soon as you wake up in the morning (before you even sit up), and it should take the edge off.

9. SUCK ON LEMON DROPS

I must’ve gone through 50 bags of lemon drops during the first trimester of my pregnancy, and I always had at least 3 canker sores in my mouth, but at least I wasn’t puking, right?

10. TAKE YOUR PRENATAL VITAMINS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

This was a life-changer for me. For weeks, I took my prenatal vitamin as soon as I woke up, and then waited the recommended time (2 hours?) before having breakfast, and I almost always ended up dry-heaving in the shower. It was really, really sexy. And then one night I decided to try taking it when I got up to pee in the middle of the night (which I always did), and it actually helped! I sometimes felt like I was going to hurl, but if I counted quietly in my head, I could often get through the feeling without actually puking.

If you have any other tips for coping with morning sickness, leave them in the comments below!

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My new guilty pleasure

I don’t know about you, but the beginning of 2014 has not impressed me.

A sick, snotty kid almost infected my daughter with the plague in January, and I made a scene about it at one of our mom-and-me classes.

My daughter and I spent far too much time climbing the walls of our 1,300-square-foot condo in February due to an endless cold weather alert that made it unbearable to go outside.

I turned 37 at the beginning of March and noticed far too many grey hairs on my head for my liking.

And my daughter turned 3 at the end of March and officially transitioned from the Terrible Twos to the Trying Threes.

The good news is that, mere moments before I officially went on strike and spent the rest of winter lying in bed like Brian Wilson did, my husband announced the 3 of us were flying to Las Vegas for a week.

And this is why I love him.

Of course, the week leading up to our trip was a mess of laundry, packing, more laundry, and more packing, so when I finally got us onto our plane, handed my daughter her DVD player, and ordered myself a glass of wine, I decided to write down all of the things I wanted to do during my week away from my chaotic life. I very rarely get to share parenting responsibilities with my husband these days, and felt like I needed to make every second of those 8 days and 7 nights of luxury count. I figured I’d go for a run every morning, read a stack of cheesy romance novels by the pool every afternoon, spend some time at the salon every night after dinner, and take as many trips to the mall BY MYSELF as I could financially justify.

And you know what?

I didn’t do any of those things.

None whatsoever.

But I did indulge in one luxury that wasn’t on my list: I read TWELVE magazines.

Yup.

You read that right.

TWELVE.

And I learned so many important things, I could barely keep them straight: Gwyneth and Chris continue to make the entire world vomit over their whole “conscious uncoupling” announcement, Jessica Simpson has lost all of her baby weight and is sporting her Daisy Dukes again, NKOTB is celebrating their 30-year anniversary with concerts in Las Vegas this July, ABC is debuting a new series called Bachelor in Paradise this summer, Snooki is pregnant again, and Juan Pablo finally said the “L” word to Nikki.

Via a YouTube song.

I’m not kidding.

Sadly, my brief love affair with celeb gossip came to an end on Saturday night, and I’m back to cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping, and shuttling my 3-year-old to all of her activities by day, and guzzling wine, eating Ho Hos, and wondering why I can’t lose weight at night.

But don’t worry.

Life is pretty good.

More than pretty good, actually.

It’s fantastic.

Why?

lying woman with white laptop with blur foreground

Because I just teamed up with Beamly, and over the next 4 weeks, I’ll be contributing to some pretty awesome TV rooms.

Have you heard of Beamly?

It’s THE 24 X 7 social and content network for TV and TV fans, and it’s pretty awesome.

I like to think of it as an interactive TV experience – a place where you can follow all of your favorite TV shows and stars, connect and chat with fans who share the same interests as you do, discover new shows, and interact through games, voting, and other cool options. And since there are TV rooms for the HOTTEST shows on TV, I finally have a place where I can oooh and aaah about Don Draper without making my husband jealous.

I told you it’s awesome.

So once the kids are in bed tonight and you have a glass of wine in your hand, create a profile on Beamly so you can see what it’s all about. And while you’re there, make sure to follow me so we can drool over Don Draper together in the Mad Men Room on Sunday night. And if Mad Men doesn’t do it for you, you can also find me in the Revenge, Naked and Afraid, Friends, and Game of Thrones rooms, too.

Need more convincing before you sign-up? This video should do the trick:

Beamly is THE 24 X 7 social and content network for TV and TV fans. Join me today in TV conversations and get the latest juice and gossip about your favorite shows!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Zeebox. The opinions and text are all mine.