#31 Weeks and a recipe for Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

There is a lot going on this week! We are looking forward to our co-ed Alice and Wonderland-themed baby shower on Saturday which is being thrown by my wonderful boss, Cindy, and my dear friend, Linda. I can’t wait to see our totally male orthopedic surgeon friends decorating bibs!

Oh, snap!

Oh, snap!

This Sunday, Missy and I are also going to be (for once), standing on opposite sides representing our cities as the Seattle Seahawks face the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC Championship! The Seahawks have been doing phenomenally well this year and the city seems to buzz with excitement whenever they play as we inch closer to the Superbowl. I’ve never seen anything like it, but it’s certainly fun to watch. Seattle has only been in one Superbowl before, but has never won. Wouldn’t it be fun if the city played in their second during our last year here?

#31 Weeks

#31 Weeks

I’m also 31 weeks! We are chugging along. To try and remember this time in our lives, I’ve been trying to keep a weekly pregnancy journal to record the journey. Here is this week’s entry:

31 weeks (wk 1/13)
Baby is the size of a: Coconut!
Total weight gain: 22 lbs
Maternity clothes: Oh yeah, tops and bottoms at this point
Stretch marks: Nothing I can see yet
Sleep: A little more disrupted, some insomnia, she likes to kick in the middle of the night when I start stirring. She is an early morning baby, God help me.
Best moment of this week: My parents coming into town for our baby shower Saturday!
Miss anything: Sleeping on my back, I am surrounded by pillows these days so I can remember to stay on my side!
Movement: She’s starting to roll in there, and I’m beginning to feel what seems like little hands or feet. It’s a crazy feeling.
Food cravings: Oranges and fruit juice
Anything making you queasy or sick: No
Have you started to show yet: The bump seems to grow every day and I think I’m carrying lower now
Gender: Girl
Labor signs: No
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding rings on or off: On
Happy or moody most of the time: Happy
Looking forward to: Our baby shower Saturday!
Thoughts to Baby: Hi Baby Girl, we heard your heartbeat again on Monday which was so comforting to hear because it is still very strong. Your measurements are good and the doctor says we’re progressing nicely. Let’s hope your delivery will be smooth too! We are so looking forward to celebrating you with our friends and family at the shower on Saturday! You’re already so loved!

Lastly, here is a soup recipe that I tried this week which was really yummy, healthy and yet still tasted decadent (thanks to the oxtails). I really love anything Ina Garten makes! She never fails me.

Yummy yum yum

Yummy yum yum

Rich Beef Barley Soup 2010, Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?
Prep Time:
15 min
Cook Time:
2 hr 20 min
6 servings


1 tablespoon good olive oil
2 pounds beef oxtails (some reviewers suggested beef short ribs if oxtails were not available)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
2 cups (1/2-inch) diced carrots (4 carrots)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup (1/2-inch) diced celery (2 stalks)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
3 bay leaves
10 cups canned beef broth
1 cup pearled barley


Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Add the oxtails, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until browned all over. Remove the oxtails with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Add the leeks, carrots, onion, celery, and garlic to the fat in the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the vegetables start to brown. Tie the thyme sprigs together with kitchen string and add to the pot along with the bay leaves. Return the oxtails to the pot and add the broth, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Discard the thyme bundle and the bay leaves, and skim off the fat.

Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the barley. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, drain, and set aside.

When the soup is ready, add the barley and cook the soup for another 15 or 20 minutes, until the barley is tender. Depending on the saltiness of the stock, the soup might need another teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Serve hot, with or without the oxtails.

*Cook’s note: I also cubed, browned, and simmered a small beef chuck roast to add in the soup as well because Nick likes his meat and there wasn’t a lot of meat on the oxtails.



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