Saturday, May 21, 2011

and then life suddenly changed……


My first born.  The first child I have made all the mistakes on.  The first pancake, the first crepe, the first experiment.  My first born.  My first love, my first joy, my first everything.  My son.  My whole life.  My legacy.  My world.

Life as we know it changed last week for our family.  Alexander was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.  A bolt of lightning struck our family and we were completely unaware there was a thunderstorm happening.  I have never been struck by lightning, but I can say that’s pretty much what the news felt like. 

There were no signs.  Just a moan.  “Can you take me to the doctors Mom?”  “What’s up Bubba?”  “It just tingles a little bit.”  “Sure thing Bub.”  So we went.  He did his job and we waited.  Diabetes was the next word I heard.  Then I heard him crying. 

We spent the night in the hospital.  Nurses, doctors, nurse assistants, lab technicians and hospital admitting came in to poke and prod at my son.  Each one telling him that everything would be okay.  Each one telling him that this will be a part of every day life now.  Each one telling an eleven year old that his life won’t ever be the same. 

Alexander kept a good face.  He put on the charm and wowed the staff with his brilliant wit and sense of humor.  He answered their questions and endured their pokes.  Only when they left the room did his eyes show their fear and his body showed it’s weariness.  His ears were hearing the words, INJECTION, CARBOHYDRATE COUNTING, BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS, and DIABETES EDUCATION over and over.  Words that will be a part of every day and night for the rest of his life.

So what do we do?  We go on.  We have to.  We change everything we know about eating.  We change everything about our lives and our schedule.  We poke and check and recheck.  We add and divide grams of carbohydrates and units of insulin.    We learn from the teachers and we become the teachers.  Parent, confidant, best friend, disciplinarian, and now diabetic educator.  We teach the grandparents. We teach the friends and the parents of friends. We teach the school.  We teach the brother and the sister who want to know why brother doesn’t act or feel sick all the time yet he needs four shots a day.  We teach everybody who will stand in the light that radiates from my son.

It will get better.  There are new things being discovered all the time.  There may be a cure for Type 1 diabetes in Alex’s lifetime.  He will live to be one hundred and ten so if it happens sooner than later, it would be a blessing.  There may be an insulin pump in the future and more classes to take as a result.  There will be decisions made on sleepovers and pizza parties that will make more than one of us sad.  For right now and for the next few months normalcy is not in our vocabulary.  We will live our lives one blood sugar at a time, knowing that each time will be more normal than the last. 


Thank you to all the well-wishers and beautiful souls who have kept a special thought in their hearts for our family.  The blog will return soon, I promise.  I am going to be including the carbohydrate grams with each recipe I post.  Since I have to figure them out, I might as well share them. 


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Thank- you again,



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spicy Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta Salad


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I am always searching for a great recipe to wow my friends.  A recipe that says “Hey, she took some time to think about what she is going to make us to eat”.   Something more than say, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or egg salad.  Something that says “I invited you for lunch.  Let’s eat like grown-ups”.   Well, I found the perfect recipe to make that possible. 

Spicy Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta Salad is an easy, quick, one-dish lunch that will make your friends say “Wow that tastes fantastic!”  I found the recipe in the Pillsbury cookbook “Stir-Fries and Salads”, published in 2004.  I really hadn’t looked through the cookbook much before this week.  I found some really great recipes to try in the future.  This recipe has just a few simple steps and a little chopping and presto you have a great lunch for friends on the table in less than 20 minutes.  Ideally the best way to eat this salad after it sits for a few hours in the refrigerator.  Doing that steps really helps the flavors develop and come together. 




Spicy Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta Salad


8 ounces (3 1/2 cups) uncooked bowtie pasta (farfalle)

1 cup mayonnaise

1 (4.5 ounce) can of chopped Green Chilies

1 (9 ounce) package frozen fajita style, cooked chicken breast strips, thawed and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 medium roma tomatoes, chopped (1 cup)

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)

4 ounces shredded taco-flavored cheese blend

Chives or green onions


1.  Cook the bowties as directed.  Drain.  Rinse with cold water.  Continue to drain while you make the rest of the salad.

2.  In a large serving bowl, combine mayonnaise and green chilies.

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3.  Add chicken, tomatoes, bell pepper and cheese.

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4.  Add cooked pasta and toss gently to coat.

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5 Decorate with extra cheese if desired. 

6.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gnocchi a la Parisienne


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Welcome to the second in the series “Pate Choux”.  That sounded important, didn’t it.  Anyway, welcome back.  This weeks recipe is a look at pate choux dough in a whole different way.  I didn’t realize how versatile this dough was.  I was perusing the cookbook Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan, when I came across another pate choux recipe.  I tell you, this cookbook is so fantastic.  I will definitely be making so many more recipes from this book.

I love this picture.

Gnocchi a la Parisienne takes pate choux dough to a whole other level.  It is a bit more complicated then the Gougeres, but with a little planning it can be made on a busy week night.  There are two different recipes within the dish. The b├ęchamel sauce holds the gnocchi together.  It is used in other dishes such as lasagna and homemade macaroni and cheese.  I did have a little trouble with it.  The sauce was supposed to be rich and creamy.  Mine turned out to have little teeny lumps in it.  I suspect I didn’t cook the flour quickly enough with the butter.  It tasted great!  It just wasn’t on the pretty side.   Oh well, life is about trial and error.   I don’t want that to stop you from making this dish! The b├ęchamel sauce can be made ahead of time, so it is all set to go when the gnocchi are ready. 

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The gnocchi are the heart of this dish.  Traditionally in Italian cooking, gnocchi are made from a mixture of potato and flour and a lot of time is spent shaping the dough to form little pillows that are boiled.  The gnocchi in this recipe is made from the simple pate choux dough and from a spoon formed into little globs, and dropped into boiling water.  The gnocchi only take a few minutes to boil and then they are drained on a kitchen towel.  This whole process, including making the pate choux took twenty minutes.  That’s it.

Once you have both elements, they need to be combined in a baking dish, smothered with cheese and heated through.  I made this as a side choice to go with some baked chicken.  It is thick and rich and oh so comforting.  Biting into the gnocchi is like biting into soft warm pillows of cheese.  I can live with that.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Speedy Mexican Beef Skillet



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It is that time of the day again.  Time to run around like a crazy mad man.  Time to yell at the refrigerator for not having anything in it.  Time to scream at the cupboard for not being able to find anything in it.  Time to make dinner.

Speedy Mexican Beef Skillet comes from the Pillsbury publication “Hamburger”.  It is a versatile compilation of all things ground beef.  Including make-ahead meals and 12 things to do with pre-seasoned meat.  Of course there are pictures of every recipe which is a huge plus in my book.  The Pillsbury cookbook collection are great to have if you need a recipe at a moments notice.  Or in my case dinner time.

Just a few notes about this recipe.  It serves 5 generously.  If you would like you could serve it with cornbread or a small salad or if you are desperate, canned green beans.   Another note, I substituted ground turkey for the beef.  I should probably change the title of the recipe but it doesn’t matter,  Speedy Mexican Turkey Skillet doesn’t have the same vibe.  Serve with a few crushed chips on top and you have a quick, easy meal that seriously only takes 20 minutes to make!  Thank-you Mr. Refrigerator and Mrs. Cupboard!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Birthday My Love

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Happy Birthday Baby. I am wishing you many more years of health and happiness, love and bliss.  Thank-you for being a wonderful husband, devoted father and constant supporter.  I watched you grow from a young man to man.  Sixteen years of change, each one better than the one before.  Each year to come filled with anticipation and wonder.   I am so excited that I get to wake up with you each morning and fall asleep beside you each night.  I am thankful for everyday with you.

Happy Birthday Ted.  I love you.