Category Archives: Uncategorized

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!

 

Happy New Year!

NEW YEAR 2020

To all my Prayer Warriors, Friends, Family, and Members…

Hi Everyone,

I want to take this time to wish you all a very Happy New Year filled with love, health, happiness, laughter, and prosperity and also to thank you for all your love, caring and support that you have shown me this past year.

2019 has been a bittersweet year for me… I am elated and blessed to receive a new heart and the gift of life but also sad to think of my donor’s family and their grief. I wonder about my donor every day and hopefully, I will get some answers this year.

It has been a hard year of recovery with many ups and downs but all of you stayed by my side and gave me the strength to carry on and move forward. You all mean the world to me and I thank you for patience while DishingwithDiane was on hold.

I will continue to move on with your love and support and every day I pray that all of you receive many blessings for your kindness.

I feel that this new year, new month, a new decade and a new heart will bring many blessed days ahead and I hope that we continue to share this journey together. 

I will be back shortly with all of my tablescapes and more recipes. You are the best group of members anyone can ask for and I feel as if you all have become extended family.

Stay tuned for DishingwithDiane’s comeback. 

With warm hugs and love,
Diane 2.0

Spinach Croquettes…

Photo Nov 07, 7 42 25 PM SPINACH CROQUETTES WITH SPINACH RAVIOLI

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Hi Everyone, 

I hope all is well and everyone is adjusting to the end of Daylight savings time and darkness at 5pm. I am personally not a fan. Add that to the cold weather and I am ready to stay in my home until the Spring. 

When the weather gets cold, all I want to do is make comfort meals, but there are just so many soups and stews you can make. I pulled an old recipe from my files that was one of my favorites when I was growing up and I have fond memories of making these spinach croquettes with my mother. I think it was her take on mini-meatloaf.

When I was younger I hated to eat sauteed greens, spinach, broccoli rabe, escarole, you name it. My mother would slowly incorporate these vegetables in other foods to make it more appetizing for me and this is one of those recipes.

You can use any ground meat of your choice although I have never made it with ground chicken. I usually make them with either ground beef or turkey. Lamb might be interesting. The ground meat is mixed with spinach, onions, and seasonings and either stuffed with a mozzarella cube or mixed with shredded mozzarella, breaded and broiled.

A winning combination.

I usually prepare this dish with spinach ravioli and a small salad, either a mixed green salad or a tomato salad with a basic oil & vinegar vinaigrette.

(In the photo, I have a slice of olive bread from the famous Madonia Bakery on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, NY. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Arthur Avenue- please don’t leave without buying the bread- beyond fabulous).

I hope you review the recipe and give it a try. Let me know if you do and send a photo.

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.

 All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

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Spinach Croquettes

Ingredients:

(1 ½ – 2 lbs.) Ground turkey or beef, or combination beef/pork

1 small onion, diced (shallots can be substituted)

Seasoned breadcrumbs

Grated cheese

Salt & Pepper

No salt organic seasoning (Kirkland brand is the best) – optional

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 tbsp fresh parsley

Fresh mozzarella, diced in small cubes

1 egg, lightly beaten for the meat mixture

¼ cup milk

10 oz pkg chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained*

(* To drain spinach completely—after the package is thawed, place spinach in a dish towel and ring the towel out and release all the liquid)

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For the Breading:

2 tbsp olive oil

3 eggs lightly beaten

Cornflake or panko breadcrumbs

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Directions

In a large bowl, mix seasoned breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic, onion, no-salt seasoning, salt, and pepper ……

ADD ground meat, Worcestershire sauce, and 1 slightly beaten egg. Add the drained spinach and gently mix the meat and seasonings –do not overwork the meat

Make ¼ cup size meatballs and put a small cube of mozzarella inside, close and form into an oval croquette shape…complete forming all croquettes before the next step….  or toss meat mixture with 2 cups of shredded mozzarella before forming croquettes.

In a breading tray mix 3 slightly beaten eggs with ¼ cup milk (add additional salt and pepper if desired), 2nd breading tray, mix cornflake or panko crumbs (and additional grated cheese & parsley if desired)

Dip the croquettes in breadcrumbs, egg mixture and then back to breadcrumbs and place on a cookie sheet drizzled with olive oil. Let croquettes sit for 5 minutes.

Broil for 10 minutes, flip and broil for 5-7 minutes longer until golden brown

(Optional: light fry in a sauté pan before the broiler to get a crispier breadcrumb……I usually do this step).

 

 

“Engagement Chicken”

 

Photo Sep 03, 12 00 17 AM ENGAGEMENT CHICKEN

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Hi Everyone,

I hope you are well. 

I haven’t been cooking much lately since I came home from the hospital but Bob was craving a roasted chicken and I did manage to prepare that using a new recipe and it was absolutely Fabulous!

So I have to share it.

I keep reading about “engagement chicken”. If you are not familiar with the story,  here is an excerpt from an article I read in The Daily Meal by Carlton Jared Lockett.

“The recipe was developed by Kim Bonnell, who gave it to co-worker Kathy Suder to prepare for her boyfriend. Soon afterward, the couple was engaged. The recipe was so spot-on that it became a hit in their office. Three other colleagues tried this secret weapon, and marriage proposals soon followed. Even Howard Stern’s wife used the recipe to win his heart. Some say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach — maybe this recipe will win your beau’s eternal affections”.

 Cute, right? It is even what Meghan Markle made Prince Harry for dinner before he proposed. I wasn’t looking for another marriage proposal but I had to try this chicken recipe. When I saw how easy it was, I was ready to cook.

I used the recipe courtesy of Ina Garten and added a few side dishes, mustard & brown sugar-glazed carrots ( I make this every year for Thanksgiving) and smashed Yukon gold potatoes.

It was a quick and delicious meal.

(PS- I didn’t get a marriage proposal but Bob did say that he loved the chicken. And loved that I made it for him even when I didn’t feel well. That is what you do after 34 years together, you take care of each other.)

I hope you give all of these recipes a try and enjoy them as much as we did.

They could be a nice addition to your Thanksgiving table.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,

Diane

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Engagement Roast Chicken

Prep Time:5 min ***Cook Time:1 hr. 35 min***Level: Intermediate***Serves:3 Courtesy of Ina Garten…

Ingredients

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove and discard the chicken giblets. Pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Cut the lemons in quarters, place 2 quarters in the chicken along with the garlic and reserve the rest of the lemons. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a small (11 by 14-inch) roasting pan. (If the pan is too large, the onions will burn.) Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken in the pan.

Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce, leaving the lemons and onions in the pan.

Place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stock and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect under the chicken. Carve the chicken onto a platter and serve with the lemons, onions, and warm sauce.

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Carrots Glazed with Mustard and Brown Sugar

Brown sugar caramelized with butter and Dijon mustard creates a sweet-hot glaze for carrots. A sprinkling of fresh chives adds a colorful finish.

Ingredients:

  • Salt, to taste
  • 8 large carrots, peeled and sliced on the
     diagonal
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives or flat-leaf Italian
     parsley

Directions:

Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water, add the carrots and cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Return the carrots to the pan and set over medium heat. Add the butter, mustard and brown sugar, season with salt and pepper, and stir gently to coat. Cook, stirring constantly until the carrots are evenly glazed. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and sprinkle with the chives. Serve hot.

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GARLIC SMASHED POTATOES

courtesy of Damn Delicious

These potatoes are incredibly tender on the inside yet amazingly crisp on the outside!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 24 ounces Dutch yellow baby potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly  ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook potatoes until tender, about 15-20 minutes; drain well.
  3. Place potatoes onto the prepared baking sheet. Using a potato masher or fork, carefully smash the potatoes until flattened but still in one piece. Top with olive oil, garlic, and thyme.
  4. Place into oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
  5. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Let’s Dish.


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. 

 All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Update from Diane…

Hi Everyone!

I hope this post finds you all well. I have missed posting and missed all of my members.

It’s been seven weeks since my heart transplant operation and I am so grateful for the gift of life.

I just want to say on a personal note how much I appreciate all the e-mails and comments regarding my medical condition. I appreciate your kind words, care, love and concern. I am getting stronger each day, although some days are harder than others.

I feel that all my members have become my extended family and I can’t wait to get back to writing the blog on a regular basis again. I might even come up with a few new recipes for organ recipients like myself that have a restricted diet.

Thank you once again for all of your love, I LOVE you all!

Although I am still too weak to start lifting dishes to set a tablescape or get back in the kitchen to cook, I wanted to share a few tips that I have learned in the hospital that I think would be good for all my members to follow.

Since the new “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists came out this week listing all the foods that have the most & least pesticides, and the recalls for listeria and E-coli; I have to share this with you.

EWG’s Clean Fifteen 2019                   

  1. Avocados     *unfortunately, this week avocados have been recalled
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Sweet Peas Frozen
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwis
  10. Cabbage
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloupes
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew Melons

EWG’s Dirty Dozen 2019

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

As you can imagine, not only do I have a lot of food restrictions post op, but I have to try and remain as healthy as possible and clean all my food thoroughly since I no longer have an immune system to rely on.

Rinsing fruits and vegetables in a colander under water is just not enough, washing with organic dish detergent is not enough and produce sprays that you can buy in a grocery store are basically citrus extracts that aren’t strong enough to clean the pesticides. In addition, most of the produce sprays contain grapefruit extract which interferes with some medications, especially cardiac medication.

So what can you do? After many studies, it turns out that the best pesticide cleaner is good old baking soda. In a bowl of water add a tbsp. of baking soda and soak your fruits and vegetables for 10-15 minutes. Remove the food from the bowl and into a colander to rinse by using tongs or a glove. DO NOT pour the water from the bowl directly in the colander or you will be pouring the pesticide sediment back on to your food. Rinse with water and then cook. I could definitely feel the difference with the fruits and vegetables once washed this way.

Tip # 2

Many of the doctor’s were very concerned about the proper temperature of the food once cooked. Every oven is calibrated differently and sometimes looks alone can’t determine if the food is cooked to the proper temperature. 

  • chicken and turkey- 165 degrees
  • fish – 145 degrees
  • beef, roasts – rare (130 degrees) & well done (155 degrees)
  • pork, veal, fresh ham -rare ( 130 degrees) & well done (155 degrees)
  • pre cooked ham, hot dogs, sausages -140 degrees

To solve the mystery, Bob and I bought an instant read meat thermometer. I bought a separate thermometer for my hand bag for when we are allowed to eat in a restaurant again (which won’t be after a year of healing for me, but I am prepared). The thermometer is instant read and lifetime warranty. We purchased it on Amazon for $18.95 and it gives me peace of mind to know the food is cooked properly.


 

I hope you try at least one of these tips and find it helpful. Food safety is so important for all of us.

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 emailsI Love hearing from you.