Sandwiches, Snacks and Dessert …

Hi Everyone!

Click on photo to enlarge and back arrow to return to original size.

Hope you are all well.

Please be careful, Covid-19 cases are on the rise all over the world and I pray that you and your families stay safe.

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In the middle of the pandemic, many ordinary things have changed for all of us, especially grocery shopping. Now we use instacart and have everything delivered. But we have to follow guidelines and hopefully make it safer for all.

Bob and I ordered groceries from Trader Joe’s this past week and I wanted to share a quick recap of some of my lunches and desserts that I made with the new items. I wish I could have gone to the store. I miss browsing the aisles for new items, but for now online shopping is the only way for me.

These lunches and snacks are all quick and I thought it could possibly save you time in the kitchen since school is back in session.

Of course everything is pumpkin online but I controlled myself.

All the sandwich ingredients can be substituted with items that you prefer in each category and just consider this a general guideline.

I know there are many days I stand in the kitchen trying to think of something new to have for lunch that isn’t time consuming to make or isn’t old reliable soup; so I hope these photos and brief descriptions give you some new ideas.

First sandwich is melted white cheddar cheese with fresh gala apples and 1 slice of no nitrite/no nitrate & no sugar added bacon (bacon is a treat for me, so that is why I only used 1 slice) on an everything ciabatta roll served with a side salad of organic romaine lettuce with cucumbers and radishes and fresh blueberries (a small side of cheddar wisps crackers for Bob).

*Cooks Note– eliminating the sugar from the bacon gives us a little wiggle room to have a dessert with sugar. For me to stay within my food restrictions and post transplant guidelines I have to give and take here and there.

Shopping List:

Trader Joe’s No Sugar Dry Rubbed Uncured Bacon for $4.49

Trader Joe’s Everything Ciabatta Rolls for $2.49 (qty. 4)

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First dessert– is chocolate hummus with fresh apples and pumpkin cranberry crackers with spiced pumpkin seeds for a fall touch.

Other items to eat with the chocolate hummus are bananas, strawberries, & no salt pretzels.

The hummus is made with cooked chickpeas, tahini, sea salt, cocoa and cane sugar. Absolutely delicious and I am becoming quite obsessed.

Shopping List:

 Trader Joe’s Chocolate Hummus (8 oz) for $1.99

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps for 3.99

Trader Joe’s  Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds for $2.99

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The next sandwich is spicy avocado hummus with a hard-boiled egg and fresh tomatoes and chives on a bakery roll, served with an organic romaine lettuce side salad with pecans and some of the leftover hard-boiled egg that didn’t fit on the roll and organic blue corn chips.

There is a quick story with the hummus… I am no fan of avocado at all. I have never had the desire to have avocado toast or guacamole etc. and then this product came on the market and I tasted it and it wasn’t so bad and I decided to buy it. All who know me were shocked that I ingested anything that had avocado in it. It is very spicy and not a strong avocado flavor and I think that is why I liked it. So, I can now say that I have tried it but I am still not ready for anything else avocado.

Shopping List:

Trader Joe’s Organic Spicy Avocado Hummus in an eight-ounce tub for $2.99

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The next dessert is the ultimate fall comfort dessert and it is southern fried apples. Reminds me of eating the inside of an apple pie without the crust (think Cracker Barrel if you have ever been there) with snickerdoodle ice cream- ahh!

Apple pie or pumpkin ice cream would taste great too.

This needs a recipe and was not store bought but very easy to prepare…… I have been using this recipe for years and I think I printed it from All Recipes back in the day….

Fried Apples

Ingredients:

½ cup butter

2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

½ cup white sugar

4 granny smith apples- peeled cored and sliced

Directions:

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir sugar and cinnamon into the hot butter.

Add apples and cook until the apples begin to break down, 5-8 minutes

Serve over pancakes or waffles or ice cream.

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I hope these images gave you some inspiration for lunch.

Enjoy and stay well and make a plan to VOTE!

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, 

I Love hearing from you.

Sausage & Peppers- the quick version

Hi Everyone,

Hope all is well.

This dish is a traditional staple of all Italian households and especially at summer barbecues and Italian street festivals, but I love it all year.

I usually prepare this dish the old fashioned way and I will include my original recipe at the end of this post but I have to tell you how this quick version happened…..

A few nights ago, I made turkey chili for dinner and I made it a little too spicy for Bob (I love spicy). I didn’t want him to eat leftovers for dinner so I decided to make a separate meal for him (quickly) so we could still eat together.

I had all the ingredients in the house for sausage and peppers except my sausage was frozen so I went to plan B.

With plan B, I used “store bought pre-cooked sausage” that I had in the refrigerator. I originally bought this sausage because I was going to make a sausage, kale and zucchini frittata but instead, I used the pre-cooked sausage for Bob’s sausage & peppers dinner.

The meal turned out well and I thought that this could be another quick meal for a school night so I want to share what I did ….

Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers – washed and sliced (a mix of colors is nice for this dish)
  • 2 yellow onions- sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic – diced
  • 4 links of pre-cooked sausages (so many brands on the market- your choice).
  • Cooks Note: I used Teton brand sausage but found them to be salty so I am looking further for another brand). At this point I don’t have a brand to recommend- sorry…
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano flakes (I use Italian imported)
  • 1- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 “hero” rolls (in the northeast) or hoagies, clubs, etc.

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced onion and sliced peppers and sauté for 5 minutes and then add garlic, sauté a few minutes longer until veggies are soft.
  3. Make room in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste and stir for a few minutes to toast the tomato paste; then mix it well with the peppers and onions.
  4. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, & oregano and mix well
  5. Add the precooked sausage just to heat through. (I cut them in half and heated face down in the skillet until the sausage was golden).
  6. Serve on toasted rolls

Here is my Sausage and Peppers Traditional recipe for when you have more time to spend on dinner.

Sausage and Peppers

Just open the link and click

OR

search the search box on the right for sausage & peppers.

https://dishingwithdiane.com/2015/06/25/recipe-sausage-and-peppers/

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails, 

I Love hearing from you.

Pasta with Peas

Hi Everyone,

I hope that you are all doing well and staying safe.

I can’t believe that it is October already. Wow, time is sure flying by. I haven’t been on the blog for a few weeks because it seems that all of my post-transplant doctor appointments have been scheduled around the same time; but I have been thinking of all of you constantly.

Yesterday morning, driving to one of my appointments the roads were crowded with school buses and I thought of all the moms and dads that are faced with the beginning of the school year and homework, school projects, new schedules and still having to get dinner on the table.

And then I thought…… What could be a really easy meal to feed a family that could be prepared under 30 minutes and less than 8 ingredients & one of my favorite meals popped into my head and I wanted to share it with my members.

The dish is “pasta piselli” or pasta and peas. I might have posted this before but as the years go by I tweak all my recipes, especially since the heart transplant, searching for better choice ingredients.

When I first got married, my mother told me to always keep canned and frozen peas, a container of mascarpone cheese and 1 box of medium shell pasta in the house and you will always be prepared for a quick easy meal and Mom was always right.

I cannot tell you how many nights this meal came in handy- after a day in the city for doctor appointments or when my son was younger, a late night dinner after sports practice.

But before I type the recipe, I want to wish “Good Luck” to all the students starting school and to the administrators and teachers that have to keep themselves and our children safe while working with Covid19 restrictions.

God Bless them all.

Now, let’s eat some Pasta with Peas ….

Ingredients:

1 lb. box of medium shells pasta

 6-8 TBSP mascarpone cheese *

1-2 cans low sodium sweet peas, rinsed and drained

1 bag frozen peas (10 oz)

2 medium red onion (sliced)

Salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp. dried Italian oregano

Olive oil

2-3 TBSP Pecorino Romano cheese (or more to taste)

Reserve 1- 2 cups of the pasta water

  1. Prepare pasta shells according to box
  2. In the meantime, in a large skillet or saucepan add olive oil to slightly cover the bottom of the pan (approx. 1/3 cup).
  3. Add onion and sauté for approx 2-3 minutes
  4. Lower the heat to low and add the frozen and canned peas, turning slightly and gently not to smash them, only heat them.
  5. Add the mascarpone cheese to make a sauce
  6. When the pasta is ready, Reserve 1- 2 cups of the pasta water and set aside prior to draining the pasta.
  7. Drain the pasta and add to the peas & sauce in the pan and mix gently.
  8. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, and Romano cheeses and 3 TBSP of the pasta water. Mix well
  9. If you feel the pasta is too dry, add a TBSP at a time of the pasta water to the desired texture, otherwise this dish is complete.

Can be served with additional Romano cheese (to taste)

SAVE the pasta water in a jar. You will need it to heat up the pasta piselli leftovers.

I hope you try the recipe and enjoy it.

  • If you cannot find mascarpone cheese, you can substitute heavy cream, low fat Greek yogurt, cream cheese or sour cream.
  • If you do use mascarpone for this recipe and don’t know what to do with the leftover (remember it is an ingredient in tiramisu), it can be used the same as butter on toast with a little cinnamon and added berries as a sweet treat for breakfast.
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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails

I Love hearing from you.

Grandma’s Fried Zucchini Flowers

Photo Jul 19, 3 00 55 PM (1)

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Hi Everyone, 

Hope all is well and for my members in the northeast, I hope you are handling the heatwave and my thoughts and prayers go out to my members in Texas who are dealing with the hurricane. My prayers for all.

Today’s post is about a traditional Italian summer favorite, Zucchini Flowers. Some of you may remember my first post about zucchini flowers in July 2018 (I will repost the original link at the bottom of the page). 

I have been posting this dish on my personal email quite a bit this summer and I have been asked to reprint the recipe once again.

Many people are unaware of this favorite Italian delicacy and for Italians everywhere, it is the beginning of the summer garden harvest.

When I used to entertain guests and serve this appetizer with a creamy ricotta and lemon/basil dip, people were shocked that the zucchini flowers were edible. They are delicious!

The first time I posted about this delicacy, I included the batter that I had been using for many years which included beer as part of the batter ingredients. Well, a week ago, a very generous neighbor gifted me some zucchini blossoms and I wanted to fry them immediately because they are best on the day they are picked and I didn’t have any beer in the house so I went old school and prepared them grandma’s way. 

Grandma used a simple batter of AP flour, club soda, salt & pepper, and baking powder that I wanted to share with you.

Whisk all the ingredients together very well, and coat the flowers lightly and fry to a golden brown. It’s as simple as that.

This batter brought back memories of grandma running out to the garden in the early morning when the flowers are open (and you can see if there are insects inside) to collect the blossoms to make either plain fried zucchini flowers or she would add them to scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Every bite was a culinary treat.

Absolutely delicious.

Always a summer treat. Grandma picked the male flowers (long skinny stems). The female blossoms have a small zucchini attached and keep those on the vine until fully grown and ripe.

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(The dip is whipped ricotta with a drop of lemon juice, lemon zest, and some chopped fresh basil).

I really hope you try this recipe and enjoy every bite.

So here is the recipe for Grandma’s Zucchini Flowers….very simple and delicious…

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of flowers ( approx 30 flowers)
  • 2-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 24 oz. club Soda
  • olive oil

Directions:

  • Wash flowers under cold running water, drain and dry the flowers and remove the stamens inside, then remove the sepals on the outer leaves- be careful and watch for insects (mostly bees) inside the petals.
  • Cook’s Note: if the flowers are too wet, they will splatter once they hit the hot oil. Be Careful…
  • Dry the flowers on paper towels or on a tea towel and prepare the batter.
  • Heat 1-1/2 inch of olive oil in a skillet. Dip the flower in the batter and let excess drip off. Fry for 1-2 minutes per side turning once until golden brown. (crispy not soggy).
  • Remove with a slotted spoon & transfer to a paper towel-lined cookie sheet to drain excess oil.
  • You can sprinkle with sea salt or grated cheese and serve with ricotta dip.

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 There are many other recipes with leftover blossoms. 

For example, I add some diced and fried blossoms with some sauteed zucchini, cheese, sauteed onions, and a few eggs to make a wonderful summer quiche or add some fried flowers to a pizza. Both delicious treats.

Photo Jul 12, 8 23 27 PM

Below is my original post from July 18, 2018, with a little more detail and a recipe for stuffed zucchini flowers…..enjoy

Click on the link to open

https://dishingwithdiane.com/2018/07/18/summer-delight-fried-zucchini-flowers/2018 original post

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails

I Love hearing from you.

Photo Jul 08, 4 55 59 PM ZUCCHINI FLOWERS

 

Mascarpone Polenta with Mushrooms and Fried Egg

 

My rendition …

Photo Jul 04, 3 43 42 PM (1)

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Hi Everyone,

How many of you are like me and on occasion are stumped as to what to make for a weeknight meal? The days when you just can’t think of something new to make after you have run through your usual “go-to” meals in your head that you know will be a hit, but they just aren’t what you want?

I am fortunate that it’s just Bob and I and he is not a picky eater. If I said, “let’s have ice cream for dinner” he would be okay with that.

I always have frozen meals that I have prepared when I make a larger portion than we can eat in one sitting but nothing I had in the freezer appealed to me.

I still cook as if my son lived home even though he moved out eight years ago (it has to be an Italian mom thing. My mom never cooked for just two people after I got married either). I usually save those frozen meals for days I will be at the hospital all day so we have a hot meal when we come home.

No, I needed something different and then it hit me. A few years back (seems like yesterday but it was 7 years), Bob and I attended the Feast of Saint Anthony in the North End of Boston, and one afternoon we wanted to leave the festivities of the Feast and find a quiet restaurant so I read some reviews online and we booked a reservation at a restaurant called Nebo (stands for North End Boston).

It is a Southern Italian restaurant owned by two sisters (the Pallotta sisters- Carla  & Christine) and they happen to have roots in Bari, Italy like my family. The majority of recipes are family favorites passed down from their mother, so we had to try it.

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 We were fortunate enough that Carla and Christina came to the table to spend a little time with us and we spoke of our heritage and food and traditions. Lovely hosts.

(yes, they tan and I don’t)
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I found a fantastic appetizer on their menu that I thouroughly enjoyed and decided to try and recreate it at home – simple ingredients and it quickly comes together plus it’s delicious.2013-08-23 18.54.42

The appetizer is creamy polenta with mascarpone cheese with a saute of wild mushrooms accented with sage and a fried egg in olive oil to the top of the masterpiece. The restaurant and the hosts are both fabulous and I highly recommend a trip.

(Their appetizer does not have mascarpone cheese) 

So here is my rendition…..

You can even make this a brunch item.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. of mixed mushrooms (cleaned and chopped)
  • 1/2 stick of butter (divided)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped sage 
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • sprig of thyme
  • sage leaves for garnish
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  •  1 1/2 cups of your favorite grated cheese (I use Locatelli)
  • polenta
  • water or milk or chicken broth for polenta – your choice
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • large eggs for frying

Directions:

I now use the 5 minute polenta in a box as opposed to the original slow cooked 45 minutes polenta so this step is very easy.

Prepare the polenta as per package directions which usually includes bringing water (or milk or chicken broth) to a boil with a pinch of salt and the chopped sage. Gradually pour in the polenta, stirring continuously for about 3-5 minutes until the polenta has thickened and pulls away from the pan. Take it off the heat and add the mascarpone cheese and Locatelli cheese.

For the mushrooms, melt 2 tbsp. of butter & 1 finely chopped shallot in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and for the first few minutes do not move them and let them start to carmelize. Then add 1 clove of chopped garlic, salt and pepper and continue to saute until golden brown. If the pan gets too dry add 1 tbsp more of olive oil.

Add 1 sprig of thyme and 1/4 cup sherry and scrape up the brown bits in the pan. Cook for 1 minute more to cook off the alcohol then shut the heat. Check for seasoning.

Last step, in another skillet,  add olive oil and fry a large egg and try not to break the yolk.

Assembly, add 2 tbsp of butter to the polenta and mix well to keep it creamy and place in a dish, add sauteed mushrooms on top of the polenta and top the dish with a fried egg and garnish with sage. 

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We had a wonderful weekend and I even got to meet Maryann Esposito from the “Ciao Italia” TV show and she autographed an Italian apron for me …

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Here is a little slideshow of some of the highlights of our trip ….

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I hope you try this dish and enjoy it! If you do, let me know what you think….

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails

I Love hearing from you.

 

2013-08-28 06.55.31

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Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers

Photo Jul 09, 8 47 17 PM (1)

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Hi Everyone,

I wanted to share a recipe with you and one I was actually so surprised that it was requested.

Last night I made pork chops with vinegar peppers (a favorite meal of my mother’s) and posted the pic to my personal Facebook page. A lot of people remembered this old Italian favorite from their childhood and asked for the recipe, so I decided to share it with my blog members.

It is usually prepared with all HOT cherry peppers but I am now making it half hot and half sweet peppers because as years go by, Bob’s stomach is liking super hot and spicy less and less.  These are the peppers I use…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many variations to this dish. I hope you try this variation and enjoy it.

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Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers

Ingredients: serves 4

  • 4 pork chops (I prefer Berkshire pork)
  • 12 oz jar of sliced hot cherry peppers***
  • 12 oz jar of sweet cherry pepper strips
  •  1 cup of vinegar from the jar ( I use a combination of the hot and sweet vinegar- you can use just one type if you prefer).
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or white wine
  • 2 yellow onions- sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves – diced for the onions
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp. of olive oil (I used a garlic-infused olive oil)***

Garnish with Parsley Flakes

Cooks note***whole hot cherry peppers can be used as well but it is very hot and you would only need between 5-7 depending on how hot you want the dish. Also found in a jar in the Italian food aisle. You will have to slice and de-seed the peppers.

Cooks note*** – if you do not have infused garlic oil, saute halved garlic cloves in olive oil on a low flame until the garlic takes on a deep color and then discard the cloves.

Instructions:

(I marinated the pork chops in a thin layer of olive oil, salt and pepper and a spring of thyme for a few hours in the refrigerator and then took them out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to get to room temperature).  Pat dry before adding to the pan.

When ready to cook:

Over medium heat add 3 tbsp of infused olive oil to a large fry pan. After a few minutes when the oil is fairly hot, add the pork chop and cook for 4 minutes per side. Remove the pork chops, and set aside. 

Add the peppers to the pan and saute for 2- 3 minutes, next add the sliced onion and saute for 3-4 minutes or until they wilt and start to get color, next add the diced garlic and seasonings and saute for 1 minute.

Saute this mixture for an additional 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add the pork chops back and the reserved vinegar from the jars and 1/2 cup chicken broth or white wine. Lower the heat and continue to cook covered for 30 – 40 minutes.

To make a thicker sauce (almost a glaze), remove the cover, and raise the heat so the sauce reduces down to your liking.

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I usually serve this dish with sliced roasted potatoes …

Any peppers and onions and potatoes I have leftover I make a frittata with some eggs, herbs, and cheese the next day.

Italians are taught not to waste anything.

Enjoy!

Photo Jul 09, 8 47 17 PM (1)

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Ask your family and friends to share, like, comment, and join DishingwithDiane.com and become part of the family!

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post.

Also, continue to send me your comments and emails

I Love hearing from you.

 

 

So glad to be back…..I deeply missed you

 

thankful heart THANKFUL HEART

Hi Everyone, 

How are you? I hope that everyone is safe and well and that your families are doing well.

I cannot tell all of you how much I missed you and missed preparing the posts and reading your comments and having such wonderful conversations regarding food and tablescapes.

 I would like to fill you all in on what has happened to me during my months away and let you know that I haven’t abandoned you or the blog. I will be back in full force but it will take a little time so I am starting off slow with recipes.

Since my last post which seems like ages ago; not only did our country get hit with this awful Covid19 pandemic, I had personal health issues as well that prevented me from coming back to the blog.

My new heart showed rejection after 15 months (a surprise to all of us but it happens) and I had no choice but to be admitted to the hospital under the careful watch of the transplant team and heavy doses of very strong anti-rejection medications. I spent 10 days in the hospital and Bob was not allowed to be there with me in the hospital or see me for the entire stay. There was a no visitor policy in the hospital due to Covid19 so this was a solo experience and the longest that Bob and I have been apart in all our 35 years together.

After 10 days of treatment and awful side effects, the transplant team came in to tell me that the rejection has cleared and they could send me home on very strong oral medications that I need to be on for at least the next 4 months (along with all the wicked side effects I have been going through). I will have to have additional medical testing and blood work every week along with telehealth appointments with my doctors until I have to be back in the hospital for my next biopsy to check on the rejection status. I need to have readings of no rejection for three biopsies in order to change my medication once again and head down the path of recovery. I am so grateful that this hospital nightmare has ended and I am able to come home to Bob. It was very difficult being away from Bob and only able to facetime a few times a day and my heart went out to all the other patients and families in nursing homes, assisted living and group homes that can’t see their loved ones in person. 

My heart also went out to all the families who lost loved ones from the pandemic because I had a front-row seat to the tragedy that was happening in the hospital and I was scared to death that I would become sick from that as well but the hospital had me in isolation. May the victims rest in peace with the angels and their families find strength. My takeaway from this hospital stay was please wear a mask and practice social distancing – this is not a hoax or a joke. Follow science because this is real and scary and protect yourself, your family (especially the vulnerable), and your neighbors. As the saying goes, “we are all in this together”.

It is going to take us a little time to get the new schedule together and sort out the medications and new restrictions as we face this new step of the healing journey. But we have been faced with challenges before and we will keep going forward and try to remain strong and positive together. A small price to pay for the gift of life and having the ability to be alive for more years with the people I love.

I am sure that before you knew me, many people thought that once a new organ is received, all is well and you are good as new and that is not the case. Transplant is not a quick fix to normal that happens after a new organ and the precious gift of life has been granted and received, but a daily struggle to stay healthy with many restrictions to get the best outcome. Most people don’t realize that the life of a transplant patient is not unlike our lives under Covid-19 protocols – isolation, masks, gloves, disinfectants, constant hand washing, social distancing, and constant vigilance is just a way of life for a transplant patient and can become overwhelming at times. The world now lives like a transplant patient and everyone can agree it’s not easy.

However, it is truly a miracle and I am so blessed to have a fabulous transplant team and one of the best hospitals to rely on for their care and expertise. Without them, I wouldn’t be here today and I think of that every day of my life and thank God for my blessings that I am one of the lucky ones.

just wanted to say thank you for following my journey from the very beginning and for all your love, prayers, and constant support. I am not just saying the words, I deeply feel your love. It truly means the world to me, Bob, and Michael. You are our family and you give us the strength to go on, step by step, and day by day. We couldn’t do this without you.

I love you all very much and I am grateful beyond words for the opportunity to have each and every one of you in my life- my prayer warrior family (and BTW- you do great work. Our prayers have been answered).

So, let me settle in and have a good happy cry and I will keep you posted.


Stay safe, stay well, and appreciate each day and each other.

With my deepest love, 

DishingwithDiane

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

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Hi Everyone. 

I am still, a little bit under the weather but I wanted to let you how to make

 Mardi Gras cupcakes.

If you don’t want to order a King Cake and want something you can do with the kids, I saw this on Pinterest years ago and thought this would be a great project. I have been making them each year at my house for Mardi Gras.

You can make or buy cupcakes, some white frosting, and colored sugar.

(Wilton brand colored sugar is great and it is sold at Michael’s Arts & Crafts or Party City ) and create your own Mardi Gras designed cupcakes.

(great for class moms or extracurricular after school groups).

Remember the Mardi Gras colors:

Purple for Justice,

Green for Faith and

Gold for Power

mardi-gras-cupcakes - mardi gras cupcakes

See you soon, with a new tablescape. 

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 

Diane

 

One Year Heart Transplant Anniversary

Anniv Card 2 - Bob pg1

Hi Everyone,

Well, here we are…. I can’t believe that 365 days ago today, I received the call to go to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital to accept the greatest gift of all- the gift of life from a total stranger. What a miracle for me to have a donor and his or her family that decided in their time of grief to think of someone else and be beyond generous, loving and caring and allow their loved one’s legacy to live on in someone they don’t even know. I am still overwhelmed and I don’t think I will ever get over their generosity or be able to put my gratitude into words.

It has been a long tough year with more ups and downs than I care to remember and I want to thank my beloved husband, cherished son and all my extra special prayer warriors for being by my side through good and bad times and never giving up on me. Your strength carried me through my darkest days and my happiest moments.

I made a promise to take care of my new heart in every way I can and I have been trying to do my best this past year no matter what obstacle was thrown in front of me. I have to be honest and tell you that it hasn’t been easy and things popped up that I never expected, but I was determined to make it through. The doctors and my transplant team told me that the first year is the hardest because there are so many side effects to the medications (such as my hair loss, a striking blow to all women) to adjust to and in addition, I had to get used to a laundry list of restrictions and essentially change everything about my life and how I have to live it.

It isn’t just about getting a heart and moving on, there are so many precautions that you have to take and tests that need to be done and constantly try to avoid illness because you no longer have an immune system on board to help you. There are so many things I took for granted that I had to give up (especially some of my favorite foods that I had to say good-bye to forever) and drastically change my daily life. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I am still the most grateful person on this Earth for this gift of life and gift of having the opportunity to share many more years with friends and family and make more memories.

My biggest take away to share with all of you is to enjoy every day as best you can and really “don’t sweat the small stuff”. It’s not worth it. Go out and have fun, tell the people you love just how much you love them, laugh, experience new things, live, enjoy, make new memories, eat the cake and appreciate what you have. I am happy to say that after 27 years of heart disease I can now take a walk where I don’t have to stop every 5 minutes to catch my breath and I can walk up a flight of stairs or dance to a favorite song. All the things I missed and longed for that so many people did, without even thinking twice about it. Chalk off those things you want to do off your bucket list and be happy, be kind and be thankful. There is always something to be grateful for and always a silver lining to things that don’t go as planned.

So tonight, I am giving my new heart a gift. A “Celebration of Life” with a long-awaited dinner and celebration (in a restaurant and not confined to home) with my honey and better half, Bob (aka known as the best husband, best father, best friend, caregiver, nurse, angel on earth, love of my life and not a bad journalist either with all his updates). Bob has been through it all with me every step of the way and never complained about taking me to doctor appointments, hospitals or any of the demanding caregiver responsibilities- we are a team. We took our wedding vows quite seriously and made a new vow to continue to celebrate life every chance we get. Not many people get a second chance at life and we are not taking anything for granted. I LOVE him beyond words.

My only wish this year is that my donor family gets in touch with me so I can thank them in person for what they did for me and find out if my donor was a male or female, what they loved, their hobbies, their birthday, their name and if they had children  – and if they did have children, I want to show their children how much I cherish their mother or father and how committed I am to take good care of my new heart in their honor.

And to my prayer warriors, I love you all, more than I can say…

Thank you for your support, caring, encouragement, cards, phone calls to check in on me, constant prayers and most of all, your love. I felt you with me and it gave me the strength to keep going… Your prayers and just being in my life made such a positive difference in this long journey of healing.

So, I’ll continue to kick ass (my sister Linda would be so proud, family joke) and continue crossing things off my bucket list as I enter my second post-transplant year (hopefully less medically eventful) and take you along for the ride. We still have a lot to do.

Sending you all my love, warm hugs, and kisses,

Always & forever,

Diane 2.0

P.S. To start my anniversary on the right foot, my Transplant team called with all of my recent test results.  It seems my heart likes its new home and there are no blockages in my arteries, no narrowing of my arteries, no inflammation in my veins, no internal bleeding, and best of all…NO signs of rejection!

DishingwithDiane will be back in full swing posting tablescapes and recipes and once again would like to thank you for keeping me in your prayers and holding on an waiting for me to return. Thank you and God Bless all of my members aka my extended family.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

 

Pistachio Torrone

Photo Jan 07, 12 26 05 AM PISTACHIO TORRONE FOR BLOG

Click on the photo to enlarge and then the back arrow to return to the original size.

Hi Everyone

Happy New Year!

I hope you are all well and everyone enjoyed their New Year’s Eve. I wish you many blessings along with good health, prosperity, lots of love & laughter and the making of terrific memories in 2020. Let’s start the decade off with all good things.

Today is a special DishingwithDiane post for me because I want to honor one of my dearest friends; my friend Roseanne.

Roseanne is selfless. She always puts other people first and has the kindest and most genuine heart. I am very fortunate to have her in my life and I just love her.

In addition to being the perfect friend, she is also the perfect baker and there isn’t anything she can’t bake. Every bite is so delicious, it could put you in a trance. 

When I had my “false alarm” call for the heart transplant, Roseanne sent me her famous brownies with a note that brownies make things better and she was right. A perfect brownie does take away all sadness.

Well, Roseanne has done it again. And just when you thought you couldn’t possibly look at another dessert after the holidays, I have the ultimate dessert I have to share with you.

Roseanne sent Bob & I a special gift of her pistachio torrone to enjoy on New Year’s Eve and it was fabulous. For those of you not familiar with torrone, it is an Italian nut and nougat confection.

You have probably seen the original version with the paper wafers and not covered in chocolate.

Ferrara Torrone - 6.35oz

I posted the photo of Roseanne’s torrone on Facebook and the reaction was overwhelming. Roseanne was very gracious and offered to share her recipe, so here it is. I hope you try it and enjoy.

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Roseanne’s homemade Pistachio Torrone.

Photo Jan 07, 12 28 00 AM pistachio TORRONE

Chocolate Pistachio Torrone

1. Melt approximately 5 ounces of dark chocolate in a double boiler.
2. Put some of the melted chocolate in base of a silicon loaf pan (a ¼
layer or less.) Roll pan to coat sides of the pan up to about one inch.
3. Freeze or refrigerate until hard.
4. Melt 7 ounces of white chocolate in a double boiler. Add 1 jar of
Pistachio paste (7 ounces) Then add 4+ ounces of pistachios. Stir
well.
5. Spread on top of the chocolate base. Freeze or refrigerate until hard.
6. Leave out on the counter until it is room temperature.
7. Melt some more dark chocolate to spread on the pistachio layer. This
actually becomes the bottom.
8. Freeze or refrigerate.
9. Remove from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Then
with a sharp knife, trim the excess chocolate. Turn over on a plate.
The silicone pan will let you bend it to remove the Torrone.
Keep refrigerated.

Easier method:
1. Put melted dark chocolate in the base of the pan. Do not roll. Refrigerate.
2. Pour pistachio mixture over top. Refrigerate.
3. Put one more layer of chocolate on top. Refrigerate.
This wouldn’t look as good but will taste the same. You can also do it with
one layer of chocolate for a nice pistachio candy which will save time.

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I hope all you bakers out there, give this recipe a try. You will absolutely love it as much as we do.  PS- it freezes well too.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

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Photo Jan 01, 1 52 14 AM PISTACHIO TORRONE 1