Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

It's that time of year - warm soup time! Beef stew is one of my favorites and this is my tried and true go to recipe!

You will need: (for 6 - 8 servings)
around 4 pounds of stew meat
1 cup of flour
olive oil for cooking
1 large onion
1 6 ounce can of tomato paste
1 cup of red wine
2- 3 large potatoes
4 carrots
around 2 cups of beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of butter (optional)

I have a multi cooker so I can cook this all in one, but if you don't you will need to first saute before you can put in the slow cooker. 

Coat the beef in flour with a pinch of salt and pepper
Brown the meat in some olive oil

Add the chopped up onion and cook for about ten minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste and coat the onions and meat

Pour the wine in the skillet along with the potatoes, carrots, broth, thyme and bay leaf, with a little more salt.  Cook for 5 minutes and transfer to your slow cooker where you can add butter, salt and pepper to taste.  Add your bay leaf and a pinch of thyme. 

Cook on low heat for 7.5 hours or high heat for 4 hours

You can of course play with these things, if you don't like something you do not have to add it, or you can add other things (peas etc.)  I tend to like more broth so I cut down on the potatoes and add a little more broth.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Gold leaf pumpkins

I really love decorating for fall and Christmas.  It's my absolute favorite time of year.  I love pumpkins, apples, cider, trees, wreaths, lights.  All of it! I got this project over from cupcakes and cashmere.  I'm going to say I ended up not being crazy about this.  Paint and spray paint is easier and I think comes out nicer to be honest.  The gold leaf was very hard to work with, and the spray glue was a complete tacky disaster.  And it did not come out as polished as I would have liked.  But it was an interesting thing to do.

You will need gold leaf (found at Michaels or amazon)
Spray glue
A foam brush
Small pumpkins
Painters or sketchers tape

tape off in the middle of the pumpkin and spray glue on top half

after much effort placing gold leaf

pazzo gets in on the action




Friday, September 20, 2013

Bermuda Trip

This is my fourth time to Bermuda, but I still found it as nice as the first! It was super hot (I am not a fan of heat and humidity) but it was a nice time away and a beautiful wedding! Here are some pictures!

bermuda shopping!

wedding day

i will ride on this yacht anytime!

rehearsal dinner

wedding day

the drinking starts at the airport

from the plane

wedding dinner sunset

the obligatory mask/xanax taken shot
boat ride

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Saving fresh herbs

I am constantly throwing away fresh herbs.... I use what I need then they wilt and die and get thrown in the trash.  I have a nice bunch of parsley that I knew would go bad while I was away, so I saved them in ice cubes (this is something I have read various times) then when it's time to use them in: sauce, soups, whatever, you throw the ice cube in!

cut up the herb
put them in an ice cube tray
fill with water
freeze, viola!

Off to Bermuda

I am off to Bermuda tomorrow for a wedding.  This is only the third time I have traveled since my transplant.  The first time was to Italy, which was a trip that literally helped keep me alive when I was sick.  I kept dreaming about it on days that were really hard.

My dog is really in poor health so I am a nervous wreck about leaving him, but my grandmother is watching him and she will do a fantastic job I know.  Today I cooked up all his meals (13) for while I am away.  And put out all his pills with a mini candy bar in a cup - candy bars are how I hide his pills.

13 meals

meal prep

my pills for the trip

my pumpkin

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Puree of Summer Squash soup

I love to make blended soup, but it's harder to do in the summer because who really feels like making a pureed soup when it's hot?

The other week I had an abundance of fresh summer squash from my aunt's garden.  I didn't want any of it to go bad so I thought what can I do with a few of them? Soup puree!

I made it exactly like I make all my puree of "insert vegetable here.' with onion and chicken broth (or you could use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian friendly. 

You will need: olive oil, one onion, two big summer squash, about 3 - 4 cups of chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste.

1. Cut up the onion and saute it over medium heat in a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper it while it cooks for several minutes, until translucent. 

2. Cut up the summer squash and add it to the cooked onion.  Let it cook for a few minutes.

3. Add the broth and bring it to a boil for about 15 minutes (I add just enough broth to be about an inch over the squash.)  Then put it in the blender and puree.  (Be very careful with the hot liquid, hold the top on very tight!) 

4. Add salt and pepper to taste, you can also thin it out with more broth if needed.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

NY Visit

I am having reflux again (which likely is the cause of my first lungs going bad) so we have been doing some testing to see why it's happening again - since I had a previous stomach wrap to stop reflux.  My test was early so I stayed in the city the night before at my friend Aly's apartment.  We were able to have a nice dinner out.  On Wednesday morning I had an esophagram.  This test is performed by drinking a barium substance (think chalk.) They lay you on a table and start to take imagines with a moving xray.  Then they tilt the table up and down and move you from side to side and all around to try and make reflux happen.  The radiologist told me he didn't see any reflux but this is a pretty unreliable test.  It only showed reflux in 1 in 3 people who have it.  So we are going to attempt another test at a different hospital in Manhattan to see if there is reflux happening.  They have seen evidence of reflux in my bronchoscopy and endoscopy procedures.  My throat always looks raw and inflamed which is evidence of reflux coming up, but they want more before they go in and tighten my wrap. 

post esophagram lunch

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I'm back!

Hi all of you beautiful people that I have neglected the past year! I apologize! I guess the good news is, that means things have been going great here with lungs pair number 2! I haven't really had any major bumps in the road with my lungs (just a minor fungal infection that we took care of right away) and so far so good! Things have been different the second time around for sure... I still experience pain and discomfort (which I never had with lungs number 1!) my lung function remains much lower than my first pair, and my kidneys took a hit from my second surgery so we are watching them closely! But I AM BREATHING and I AM ALIVE, so what could be better?

I am working on writing a memoir about my journey, so I would love to start blogging again as much as possible, to share my life with you guys again! I hope that you will return and share with me what is going on on your life!

PS.  Amazingly my little guy Pazzo, with all his health problems and old age, is still kicking!