Category Archives: Announcements and News…

Member Spotlight – Natalie Ciaccio Bales

Hi Everyone,

Hope all is well. I just had to share this with all of you. I just love when a member prepares one of my recipes and then sends me a text to tell me their thoughts about the final product. And I am over the moon when I get a picture to go with the text and that is what happened today.

There is an absolutely lovely member that I have known for a few years and her name is

Natalie Ciaccio Bales

Today, Natalie posted that she made the recipe I posted two days ago for the Saffron Fregola with Clams, Mussels and Shrimp and loved it and she posted a picture and I want to share her post with all of you.

“Thank you Diane Kantor for this recipe. It is absolutely delicious and a keeper! Saffron Fregola with clams, mussels and shrimp.” – Natalie….

May be an image of food and indoor

Natalie did a great job and I encourage any member who makes one of my recipes to send me your thoughts and a picture of your meal. It makes writing this blog and what I do so gratifying to me.

I hope you all have a safe, happy and wonderful weekend.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to subscribe to DishingwithDiane.com 

Once you subscribe, you’ll never miss a post…

Also, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Two-Year Heart Transplant Anniversary!

Hi Everyone,

I just want to take the time out to thank so many of my members for all the congratulations and well wishes I received for reaching this milestone of

2-Years Post Heart Transplant.

It has been a bumpy ride but I want to thank all of you for your support & love. Your kindness and caring mean the world to me. I appreciate your patience when I was in recovery and couldn’t post regularly and your encouraging words to keep me motivated. You have all become family to me and I cherish each and every one of you. Thank you.

I had a small celebration this year and couldn’t go out to dinner with friends like last year but Bob came through as he always does and he made me dinner, decorated and bought me a scrumptious cake – a 3 tier shortbread cake with cream around the edges and filled with fresh strawberries. He remembered how much I liked the cake last year (photo below) that was also a shortbread cake but filled with bananas, strawberries and raspberries and all topped with macarons.

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I wanted to share with you some pics from this year……. my beautiful cake, balloons and cards from family. It was such an emotional day for me and I am so grateful for this second chance at life and the opportunity to have these past 730 + days to make new memories and appreciate each moment of being alive and being able to do things that I couldn’t do before transplant like go for a long walk or climb a flight of stairs.

So, take it from me- when things get tough, look for the silver lining. There is always something to be grateful for each and every day. Stay well, stay safe and know how much I care and cherish each one of you for being a part of my life.

Looking forward to year # 3 and what life brings….

January 31, 2021

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!!!

Stay well,

Diane

Happy New Year- 2021!

Hi Everyone,

Happy New Year 2021…

I wish all my DishingwithDiane family good health, happiness, love, and prosperity.

Many blessings to you and your families.

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.

Happy New Year!

Hi Everyone,

I want to take this time to say thank you to all my DishingwithDiane Family Members for all your love and support during this very unique year.

I always wish you the best life has to offer and want to tell you how much each of you mean to me.

You have brought me so much joy and cheered me up when I had rough medical days and your inspiration gave me strength to continue.

I love sharing my recipes and stories and tablescapes and I have some special ideas in the works for the New Year so plan on some fun filled posts.

I am blessed to have made so many wonderful friends while doing the blog and I treasure each and every one of you.

Be safe, be well and we are off to a good year on DishingwithDiane.com.

So, spread the word and invite your family and friends to join.

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.

Merry Christmas

Hi Everyone,

Bob and I are feeling much better after our Covid 19 diagnosis and recovery- just moving in slow motion, still tired. Thank you for all the private messages wishing us well- deeply appreciated.

I finally finished a tray of Christmas Cookies this morning on Christmas Eve. I don’t think that I have ever been this late baking for Christmas.

I hope some of you had the opportunity to try some of the cookie recipes I posted last week and added them to your holiday trays this year.

Here is my cookie tray for 2020

(click photo to enlarge)

I did receive some feedback and it seems that the Chocolate Crinkle & the Tri-color Cream Cheese cookies were a big hit this year- Enjoy every bite.

I have a few new cookies I baked this year that I will have to add to the blog- Peanut Butter Crinkles and Ginger Snaps

Our son is not able to come home this year for Christmas due to safety reasons for Covid 19, so Bob and I are celebrating just the two of us.

We will have our traditional Italian, Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner tonight. (there are posts and pictures on the blog from previous years); and tomorrow a zoom Christmas with our son.

I wanted to wish all my DishingwithDiane family a very

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

It has been a rough year for many of us and I hope the new year brings you and your families good health, happiness and many blessings for 2021!

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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.

Happy Thanksgiving 2020

Hi Everyone,

Bob and I wanted to wish everyone a

Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving.

We are both home with Covid 19 and are trying to take care of each other, our current symptoms and any new symptom that seems to pop up in our path on a daily basis. Thank you for all the calls, cards and texts and I am sorry if I haven’t answered some of you yet. This virus has knocked me out and I spend most of my days sleeping on and off.

We cannot thank you enough for all the prayers sent our way and we deeply appreciate each and every one of them. We truly believe in the power of prayer. All we can do is pray for a blessing and a complete recovery (and possibly our sense of taste and smell back).

This virus is no joke and it is plain awful to go through. I wouldn’t want anyone else to experience this virus. Through it all we are still grateful that (so far) we are recovering at home and not in the ICU and we are together.

So have a Happy Thanksgiving even if this year is a little different than others and be careful when you are out and about. Wear a mask and follow CDC guidelines (it makes a difference), say a prayer for the lives lost to Covid and count your blessings.

All our Love,

Bob & Diane

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

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!

 

A Grateful Heart is a Happy Heart

thankful heart THANKFUL HEART

Dear Prayer Warriors and DishingwithDiane members,

I just wanted to take this time to wish you all a very
Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a very special Thanksgiving for me, one that I never thought that I would see. I am beyond grateful for the gift of life and for my heart donor and their wonderful family that chose to save others in their time of grief.

It is very hard for me to put my feelings into words and I feel as if I cannot fully express my gratitude.

What can you say when someone saves your life, gives you a second chance to live and make memories with your loved ones, allows you to be surrounded by friends and go out into the world and have fun and not spend most of your time within the four walls of a hospital.

There are no words for that.

Heartfelt, grateful, blessed….my feelings run deeper than that. It hasn’t been an easy journey to complete healing so far, there have been many setbacks, but it is my golden opportunity for a great life.

They told me that recovery from heart transplant would take over a year and at first, I thought that was too long but they were so right. I am slowly coming around to my old self and getting a little further along in my healing each day.

And you, my prayers warriors and members were there with me through it all and I couldn’t have done it without your love, caring and support.

You lit the fire in me to keep going and I will cherish each and every one of you for as long as I live.

I am extremely grateful this Thanksgiving for my new life and for my loving husband, Bob (who is my angel on earth) and my wonderful son, Michael. They are both my reason for living.

I plan on getting stronger and stronger and having many happy, healthy days and hopefully meet some of my prayer warriors and members in person.

I thank you for your patience, understanding and kind words while DishingwithDiane was “on hold” from all my tablescapes posts and recipes so I could heal and recover.

I will be back posting full time in 2020, which will also be the blog’s

5th Anniversary.

Hard to believe that time went by so fast.

I totally enjoy sharing my stories, recipes, and tablescapes with all of you, and I feel as if you are all my extended family. 

I want to thank you again for joining and asking your friends and family to join. Spread the word and keep bringing new members in to join the family. I would deeply appreciate that.

Remember, be kind to each other, stop and enjoy the small things, make beautiful memories and live each day to the fullest.

So, have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends. 

I wish you many blessings daily.

LOVE YOU!

Diane 2.0

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well!

 

 

 

Update on Diane

Hi everyone, this is Diane’s husband Bob.  I wanted to share with you why Diane has not posted in a while.  She had a heart transplant in late January and is now home recovering.  Diane will not be posting any tablescapes soon, but she will be posting recipes (with my help).  She misses all of her members and can’t wait to get back to posting on a regular basis.

Stay well,

Bob & Diane