Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Coconut Meringue Pie

One of my dad's favorite desserts is Coconut Meringue Pie and over the years my sister has been perfecting a recipe.

She had a busy Easter weekend, so I stepped in, and tried a new recipe. It was a winner except it was too sweet, so this recipe has half the sugar.

The coconut custard is derived from a Martha Stewart recipe (thank you!)

Pie Crust

- make your own pie crust or use a pre made one
- roll out pie crust (yes I would even roll the pre made one out a little more) then transfer to 9" pie dish
- fold over edges and crimp to form an edge
- bake according to recipe/package directions and let cool completely

Coconut Custard Filling

- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk (original recipe calls for whole, I used what I had on hand 1.5% and it was fine)
- 1 can (14oz) coconut milk
- 4 large egg yolks (SAVE THE WHITES! cover and refrigerate while the pie cools)
- 1/2-3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1. (optional) toast coconut at 350 deg for 5-10 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet and cool
2. Increase oven temp and bake pie crust (let cool completely)
3. In a medium to large saucepan (off heat), whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt
4. Gradually whisk in the milk, making sure to dissolve the cornstarch
5. Whisk in coconut milk and egg yolks
6. Place pan on medium heat and whisk continuously
7. Cook and whisk on medium until the liquid thickens and becomes custard like, 5-10 minuets (time is not important, consistency is)
8. When liquid starts to thicken, turn heat to low and cook and whisk for another minuet or so
9. Remove pan from heat, and pour custard into a bowl, scrape with spatula to get it all  (I like to use my largest pyrex liquid measuring cup to make pouring into the pie that much easier)
10. Stir in cooled coconut flakes
11. Pour custard into cooled pie crust, smoothing top with a spatula
12. Cover and chill, at least 4 hours or up to 1 day (great to make in advance!)


- 4-6 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
-  1/2-1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4-1/2 cup sugar

1. Bring egg whites to room temperature. Make sure there is NO YOLK in them at all. Take the pie out of the refrigerator too and let it warm up while you prepare the meringue.
2. Add cream of tartar and vanilla to egg whites in mixing bowl. Use a stand mixer or hand mixer with tall, wide bowl. Remember the egg whites will grow quite a bit in size
3. Beat egg whites at a high temperature until you reach soft peaks
4. Lower speed and gradually add sugar
5. Beat egg whites and sugar until you have formed stiff peaks
6. Spoon meringue onto pie, making sure to go all the way out to the edge of the crust as it will shrink during baking
7. (optional) sprinkle sweetened coconut flakes on top of meringue
8. Bake at 350deg fr 10-15 min until meringue is set and coconut flakes are lightly browned
9. Let pie cool and firm up before serving

Hope this is a winner!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Quiche and individual quiche

During maternity leave, my dislike of most normal breakfast foods has become even more apparent.

I was doing ok with oatmeal before work but wanted to mix it up a little more and introduce more protein.

I have enjoyed quiche in the past and tried a few other recipes from Pintrest but still enjoy quiche the most (and it's easiest)

purchase 9" DEEP DISH frozen pie shells in the tin, or 9" refrigerated rolled crust to put in your own pie plate/tin. You can make your own too (of course).
breakfast meat
grated cheese (your choice, I like sharp cheddar)
3 eggs
1 c. milk (any

choose breakfast meat and chop into small dice: bacon, sausage, ham
saute breakfast meat in pan then train on a plate with a paper towel

choose and chop veggies into a small dice: onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli (frozen works great) whatever you have on hand
saute using either the fat from the meat (using the same pan), olive oil/vegetable oil, or both

combine meat with veggies and turn off the heat

place meat and veggies in the bottom of the dish. you don't have to use all you cooked, just enough to cover the bottom of the pie crust

whisk eggs and milk together, then slowly pour over the meat and veggies (I like to use my 2 cup pyrex for this)

sprinkle cheese on top, use as little or as much as you like. It will sink in a little if you want so it's not all right on top.

bake at 325 for 35-45 min until the center is firm

feel free to alter the dish to you liking, that's the beauty of it! I hate eggs, so this is a great way for me to get all their nutritional power without wanting to gag.

Individual quiche:
purchase 9" refrigerated rolled crusts (2 come in a pack)
12 cup muffin tin, regular sized

repeat steps with breakfast meat and veggies and milk/eggs

spray muffin tin with cooking spray

unroll crust after bringing them to room temp

cut into 4" circles (approx). I use a rice bowl, because I'm asian like that. It's how we cut our dough for dumplings too. But you can use a big round cookie cutter.

Push the crust into each muffin tin, I kinda of pushed in two sides, placed the crust in, then folded over and pushed to form the crust to the tin, how you do it isn't important just that you get it mostly even and no holes

Now, you will get 4 circles from the pie crust in it's original shape. but this is not all the pie crust. So do a LITTLE work, push the remaining crust into a ball and roll it out to get 2 more circles. I rolled, did another circle then re rolled and did the last one. Try to achieve the same thickness.

Repeat until all 12 tins are filled

Spoon meat/veggies into each tin filling 3/4 full, or a little less

Carefully and slowly, pour the egg/milk mixture into each tin. It is always better to under pour a little and then go back around to top off. The liquid should fill the tin/crust but NOT over flow. Remember there is still cheese.

Sprinkle cheese on top of each quiche.

Bake at 400 for 15-20 min

I use our regular good old fashioned 1.5% royal crest milk, and it comes out fine, so use whatever you have on hand for drinking, you do not necessarily need half and half like some recipes suggest, so this is a huge calorie cut.

I like the individual ones best because I don't have to cut, etc, and it is already portion controlled.

Pair with some fruit for a delicious, well rounded, protein filled breakfast.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

1 week old

What a week.

After we were discharged home we quickly had our hands full with a toddler and newborn.

Here's a quick update.

Adah continues to be followed closely by the pediatrician for her oxygen and bilirubin. We had several bili checks and thankfully the levels stayed under the threshold to start her on lights and her last level dropped to acceptable levels, so no more lab draws!
We will follow up Monday for a room air trial, which we pray goes well. You thought having a newborn was tough, it's even worse with the leash of oxygen! We will do whatever it takes to keep her healthy, of course, but will be thankful when she is able to breathe normally without the oxygen.
It is very normal for babies born before 37 weeks to need a little oxygen until their lungs mature more, especially at our altitude. The worry is their muscles are not strong enough to breathe deeply/frequently enough all the time, and they might get lazy and not breathe adequately, especially when asleep. 
Luckily, Adah is already doing very well for her gestational age and on the lowest amount of oxygen. 

Kasia is feeling much better. Her delivery was easy since Adah was small and early, so physically she feels good, but her blood pressure continues to be high as we wait for the pregnancy hormones to clear. To keep things normalized, she is temporarily on BP meds until her 6 week OB check up, when she should be able to stop them since the pregnancy hormones will be gone. 

She will also repeat an important preeclampsia lab at that time to ensure that has resolved completely as well.

Her OB remains unconcerned and confident that everything will return to normal as time passes. 

Your continued prayers and good thoughts are welcomed as we adjust to being a family of four and staying healthy.

If you are interested in visiting, it is best to wait until Adah is 1 month old, but exceptions can be made for healthy adults, just contact Kasia.

Blessings to you all.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Home again home again jiggity jig

Yesterday Adah spent the afternoon in the NICU on a room air trial and we had to make some decisions about whether to try to continue the roon air trial overnight (resulting in another day of hopsital copay and a "hotel stay" for mom and dad) or to go home on oxygen.

After lots of phone calls to insurance, talking to the dr, and making decisions we decided to go home on oxygen since the chances seemed rather high that this would be the end result even if we did stay another night due to Adah's age and would allow us to be home as a fsmilye.

We waited for the home oxygen to arrive and we packed up, elated to be going home. We walked out of the hospital with Adah just before shift change at 7pm.

The amazing grandma and gong gong hosted Naomi for one more night allowing us precious time to adjust.

We were able to get somewhat settled and unpacked last night and are now preparing to go to the dr this morning to check in.

Tony will be home on paternity leave until drill this weekend which is a blessing to help Kasia get settled and in some sort of a rhythm with two beautiful little girls to care for.

We have no idea how long home oxygen will last but it is worth it to keep Adah healthy.

We are so glad to be home in our own space where we know bonding and healing is optimal.

We will wait a few weeks before accepting visitors for Adahs health but please let us know if you are interested in visiting down the road.

Blessings to all.

Monday, February 3, 2014

day 3

welcome to day 3. we hope these updates are helpful in keeping our family and friends informed

the blessings continue to overflow and everyone is doing wonderful.

Kasia is officially discharged as a patient and is now just in the hospital to support baby Adah as needed

Her BP is staying low enough to avoid medications and she will just follow up as an outpatient

Adah is doing a trial now to stay off the oxygen and prove she can ride home in the car seat. She is eating well and overall doing great otherwise.

A couple things may happen:
1. we will go home on oxygen and she will wean off at home
2. we will stay another night and do more room air trials with her sleeping and feeding

We are juggling all the fun insurance things while making sure everyone is taken care of medically and trusting God to help guide our decisions

Thanks for your continued support and prayers!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

mom and baby update 2/2/14

Happy Superbowl Sunday


as we prepare to watch our favorite team win, we are thrilled to share that today has brought all the good we hoped.

Kasia is off the magnesium and her BP is still a little high, but not too high, so right now we wait and watch and she will only get put on meds if it stays really high, otherwise it will resolve on it's own as the pregnancy hormones clear her body naturally. She has been disconnected from all her tubes and got to shower and walk around! Finally feeling like a human :]

Adah is now rooming in with mom and dad. She is doing well learning how to nurse and we supplement a little formula to help her grow and keep her blood sugar stable.
She is still on a little oxygen, but that is nothing out of the ordinary.

We will probably still be here at least one more night, but things are looking up.

Thank you for your continued support, prayers, and thoughts. We are so blessed!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

welcome adah

hello to all our family and friends

as you all know by now we have welcomed our second daughter, Adah, into the world and here is the story of her journey in one place for all to read about

Kasia's pregnancy started normal and healthy and was progressing right on track. She and baby were healthy and growing on track. 

As you may know, with Naomi, Kasia had high blood pressure near the very end of the pregnancy then during labor and after N was born. This of course raised the concern for preeclampsia during her second pregnancy so she and her OB Dr were watching her blood pressure carefully. 

Kasia continued to work and be a mom until her 35 week check up on 1/29 when her blood pressure suddenly spiked and there was protein in her urine, which together indicates preeclampsia, a circulation problem related to pregnancy that can lead to stroke and seizures.

Kasia went to the hospital as advised by her doctor for a few hours of initial observation and testing, and the initial tests came back normal.

She was discharged and sent home on strict bed rest to finish a 24 hour test that would truly indicate the severity of the preeclampsia.

Grandma and Gong Gong (Barbara and Clement Lee) were already taking care of Naomi and ready to seamlessly take over full time care as Tony was still in the mountains enjoying a ski vacation and the snow was coming down hard so he would wait until morning to travel. 

At this point, the doctors were anticipating some sort of bed rest for a few weeks and maybe delivering a few weeks early but ultimately were waiting for the 24 hour test to results. Kasia turned in her lab work Thursday night and had a dr appointment scheduled for 1130 Friday. 

Friday morning the Dr called and promptly announced that Kasia's values were  extremely high on her test, indicating severe preeclampsia. Kasia had yet to have any symptoms or problems, but since the values were so high, the danger of her having a stroke and/or seizure were also quite high.

So, the Dr told us to proceed directly to the hospital and get ready to have a baby!!!!!

We of course had mixed feelings, knowing that baby's chances of surviving and having a completely normal life were very high, but also disappointed to have to welcome her earlier than was medically ideal. 

Luckily, Naomi was once again in the wonderful care of Grandma and Gong Gong and Kasia's sister and brother-in-law were quickly available to help care for the dog. The prayers and offers for help were more than could have been expected, and a true blessing.

Of course, Kasia's body was not quite ready to have a baby so she was medically induced. She was started on magnesium to relax the blood vessels and smooth muscles in her body to decrease the dangerous effects of preeclampsia, and given cytotec to start her labor.

Things progressed as expected until the 3rd does of cytotec, when once again God intervened and he started Kasia's labor without needing to add pitocin. Her water broke all on its own and she started having regular contractions and lots of cervical dilation, indicating her body was getting ready to have a baby. 

At this point, it was about 0100 on 2/1/14 and Kasia was exhausted emotionally and physically, so she decided an epidural was the right choice for pain relief so she could rest and ultimately push the baby out.

Kasia was grateful for a wonderful anesthesiologist who got the epidural on the first try and titrated the numbing effect so she could still move her legs a little and feel slight pressure with each contraction, but also could fall asleep and get some rest in preparation for the last stage of labor.

At her next cervical dilation check she was completely dilated and baby was ready to come.

Unfortunately, her body also decided to slow down the number of contractions she was having so the Dr did put her on a small amount of pitocin to encourage more frequent contractions so she could push more frequently to bring the baby down. After another hour of waiting, Kasia pushed through 4-5 contractions with the nurse to bring the baby down, then it was time for the Dr to come in. Kasia had to push through only 4-5 more contractions until Adah Lee Lucia made her appearace at 0637 on 2/1/14. What a difference from 3-4 hours of pushing with Naomi!

We were overjoyed to hear that first beautiful cry and the NICU nurses swiftly took over, but were very impressed by her color and respirations, her APGAR scores were 9/9, wonderful for a baby who is only 35 weeks gestation! 

Kasia even got a few minutes to bond with baby on her chest right after delivery and even to nurse a little before Adah went to the warmer and eventually to the NICU per protocol for babies born before 37 weeks gestation.

Meanwhile, Tony had been an amazing supportive partner, going sleep deprived to help Kasia breathe through contractions, get up out of bed, keeping everyone in the families updated as to what was happening, and generally waiting on Kasia hand and foot. What a wonderful man!

Needless to say, by the time 8am came, Kasia, Tony, and Adah were all exhausted and dozing on and off at every chance they got.

Tony went with Adah to initially get settled in the NICU, and at this point we were still undecided on a name. 

Tony returned to the labor suite to help Kasia transfer over to the mom/baby area and on the way to their room they went to the NICU to visit sweet Adah.

Kasia was able to stand and see her again and had an overwhelming feeling that this little girl should be named Adah and so it was decided between the two of us that our second daughter should be named Adah Lee Lucia. 

In the NICU Adah is currently working on staying warm on her own, and has been given a little oxygen to help keep her levels up. These are both normal things for babies born before 37 weeks to struggle with, and already Adah is doing well. 

Adah is able to come to mom's room every 3 hours to eat and bond for 1 hour because she is doing so well, and if she does well overnight may be able to stay with Kasia and Tony in their room.  

Today, Naomi got to meet her little sister and the Lee clan got to visit. Nonni and Papa (Kathy and Bob Lucia) will visit tomorrow when they return from the mountains. 

At this time, depending on how Kasia and Adah recover from their respective problems, the Drs are saying Monday or Tusedsay to be discharged and the best part is that so far all the doctors anticipate a sooner than later discharge for both of them.

Kasia continues to be on magnesium until tomorrow morning to treat the preeclampsia, then will probably be switched to other medicines. 

God has been with the family keeping both Kasia and Adah healthy through what easily could have been a life threatening ordeal, especially considering the extremely high lab values. God's plan and his hands are obvious in the birth of this little one and they are so grateful to be in His good hands!

Tony, Kasia, Naomi, and Adah would like to thank their family and friends for all the love and support and prayers offered throughout this experience. The power of God and prayer is obvious to all involved.

Blessings to all. 

Adah Lee Lucia 
2/1/14 @ 0637

5 lbs 11 oz