Wednesday, April 30, 2014

ny weekend visit part 1 - the lungs part

I had a few things happening in Manhattan Saturday to Monday - spending time with Aly, a paint bridal event for Laurie, and my second annual lung transplant testing for my new lungs! This weekend included lots of eating too, that I will blog about later. I wanted to first write about lungs, since I actually don't share THAT much about that aspect of my life...

First I can't believe it's been two years since my second double lung transplant. Time flies! Monday I had to do the following tests: bone dentisy scan, chest CT scan, full PFT (pulmonary function test), the normal xray and blood work, a 6 minute walk, an EKG and an echo. It was a full day! 

My CT scan looked really good. This always makes me nervous because in my 5th year of my first lungs all of a sudden I had spots all of my lungs in a CT scan, and then sort of started my downward spiral. But this one looked really good!  I wish I had a picture to show you guys. I forgot to capture this.

My 6 minute walk seemed good. It's much easier to do this without the aid of oxygen. I hadn't done this test yet with these lungs so there really is no base line - this is my base line. I can't tell you if I did better or worse than last year. But it did kill my leg muscles. Eleven years of all the medication I take and my muscles are pretty sad. 

My EKG looked good! The heart is still pumping! We are trying to figure out why I'm having serious palpitations at night even with the aid of two heart medications. We'll figure it out eventually!

My PFTs are pretty normal.  My lungs are at around 80% function - which is not where my first lungs were, but it's still great and I've learned to be okay with this after much internal conflict and anxiety. My lungs feel pretty good most of the time and this is what matters.  

The only test that came back that was really concerning to my team was my bone density scan. Just a quick explanation that I've had "bad" bones forever, this is a complication of CF and transplant and transplant medications, but since the last time I had a scan - likely 4 years ago, my hip bones in particular have drastically taken a turn for the worst. I am being set up to see the bone team there. I always have really bad lower back pain, but to be honest I just assumed it was a side effect of my life (i.e CF, meds, transplant) and never complain or say anything about it. It can get really severe too. I probably should have mentioned this years ago but alas we will figure this out too. 

So all in all the lungs look good. There is always something happening. This is transplant life. Besides the bones we are still trying to figure out if my stomach wrap has come undone and I'll go back for another test in a few months, but seriously I am breathing. Transplant is trading one disease for another. They don't give you lungs and set you free and everything is like a normal person. I still have CF, I still have a lot of problems, but the most important thing is they are all manageable. And so far I've come up against nothing I could not handle. But I hope this is a message for those of you that are healthy - literally something is always going on in the body of someone who has had a transplant and rarely will you hear one of us complain about it (like many other illnesses). Please think about that when you evaluate your own life and how lucky you probably are and how thankful you should be for your healthy specifically. I'm so very thankful for all of you that have followed and supported me along the way! I wouldn't be able to do it without you guys!

82% lung function - looking good!

They are filming at Columbia! Duck for cover!

A sweet message from Dylan's Candy Bar - my favorite

Thursday, April 24, 2014


I have been itching to try pastoral since they opened up a few weeks ago. I'm a pizza freak! 

I was really impressed with their menu. There were so many things that sounded so good that I wanted to try! Way more than just pizza! All of their pasta dishes sounded amazing. We ended up ordering the prosciutto pizza because our waiter highly recommended it (and we were struggling to choose!) Along with a lobster carbonara special. And fried olives. 

Everything honestly was amazing. I find a lot of times people tend to make this type of pizza too thin and it won't stand up to the toppings, but this pizza had the optimal thickness for me, it was just chewy enough and cooked exactly right. The pasta was handmade and just a fantastic combination of ingredients--lobster, pancetta, peas, egg.  The fried olives had such a great flavor and just enough breading.

The only thing I was not crazy about was the wine on tap. I had both the cabernet and the pinot grigio. I would imagine a lot of people complain that they serve the wine in a drink glass and not a wine glass. I get trying to be trendy, but wine should be served in a wine glass even if it's stemless. 

Can't wait to go back and try more things!

Fried Olives

This glass for wine?

Prosciutto Pizza

Lobster Carbonara

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


In the summer squash is my go to veggie for dinner. I cook it practically every night! But I found a new tool that makes it more fun and somehow more tasty! The machine makes veggies come out like ribbons (it also has other blades) that I then saute in just olive oil with salt and pepper.  But I think you can find a lot of recipes out there for this tool! The machine can be found here

I also have a video up on instagram, follow me over there!

Monday, April 21, 2014


My favorite candy store. Sugarfina
Gummy Bento Box

Sponged Eggs

Glittered Eggs

Friday, April 18, 2014

tortellini video

here is a video (not the best quality ever) of making a tortellini! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Oh Joy

I am a huge fan of pretty paper products. There is a new line at Target by Oh Joy, of paper party products, that I have been really excited about. Today I got to make a few fun purchases for spring entertaining (it will come!) that I wanted to share.

Paper Plates

Paper Napkins

Serving bowl with bamboo lid (show here in white)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

row 34

I used to live in Fort Point, before it become the hip foodie destination it is today—so when anything new opens there I get really excited. My mom heavily looked into the building that is now Dragon 8, before she died, to open a dining establishment. I went and scoped out the building with her several times with its property managers. This area holds a place in my heart and I love to see it flourishing. The vibe of the culture, food, drinks, atmosphere speak to me.

I’ve been trying to get into Row 34 for weeks! They got some really good press really fast; I think that made it hard! But finally I was able to score a reservation for their first ever brunch with our foodie friends Laura and Abe. I was particularly excited to eat here with Abe because he can eat like I can and we don’t disgust one another with our habits—like ordering A LOT of food.

The restaurant is an atmosphere that I like a lot—very lofty and contemporary, minimalist almost, with concrete floors and metal but doesn’t overwhelm with that sterile feeling that can sometimes happen. This was the first time they were doing brunch and they had a lot of great options. We each ordered an appetizer and meal. Abe couldn’t decide between their two lobster rolls—he ordered both, which is why I LOVE to eat out with him.

Abe and I started with the obvious—oysters, this is after all something they are famous for. Their namesake was my favorite! 

We continued with tuna crudo, which was good. It was fresh and had a nice taste to it. The addition of the avocado was great, as usually citrus is presented with such a dish. I'll admit I had the best tuno crudo of my life a week prior at Tarry Lodge so anything would be hard to measure up after that. 

Laura ventured more into brunch territory and ordered the scones! They were plentiful and had a nice texture--not too hard or dry, as scones tend to be. The jam and butter that came with it was obviously homemade and very yummy.

I ventured out from lobster roll terrain--shocking because lobster is my favorite, and ordered shrimp and grits with a poached egg. It seemed different to me, and I love all of those components separately so I thought it should be good! It was a nice flavor combination, and great textures mixed together--a little gooey, a little grainy.

They had two different lobster rolls. One was creamy and cold, while the other was buttered and warm. We were all torn. Abe did the right thing by ordering both, but we did agree the buttered was the way to go! Not that you can ever go wrong with lobster, really.

I will be thrilled when I get a chance to return to try some of their other sea creature dishes.  Grab a reservation if you can!

One note: they do not have a full liquor license here and are more into craft beer. 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

tortellini making

On a rainy day nothing is better than making some comfort food. This is my first time making homemade tortellini on my own - which I learned last week at Stir (a blog post on that soon).

At this point I am going to let you work with your own dough recipe, or look one up. But for the filling, which I have never done before you will need chicken, egg, cream, garlic (and really anything else you might want to add, I added mushrooms). I used the leftover chicken from a roasted chicken I made the night before, so it had already been cooked and seasoned. But you can use whatever kind of chicken! Put this all in a food processer.

2 chicken breasts
1 egg
1/2 cream
3 garlic cloves
salt, pepper, rosemary etc to taste.  

Once this is blended put this in a piping bag (or like me a Ziploc).  For my broth I collected the chicken fat from the prior nights roasted chicken and added about a half cup of broth (or water.)

Blended up filling

Press out your dough to almost the thinnest setting

Sheets ready to cut into circles (use a cookie cutter).

Add a tiny bit of filling. DO NOT OVERFILL. Wet the outer circle.

Fold into a half moon. Wet the edges again to ensure everything is closed up.

Meet the sides.

Finished product in semolina. Freeze for 20 minutes.

Tortellini in chicken fat with a little broth.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

pigs & pinot

A few years ago, my friend Judy, brought me to the town of Healdsburg, CA when we were out visiting her family in San Francisco. I've always loved Napa, which surely stems from my mom's love of Napa. But Healdsburg is a hidden gem of wine country (although maybe not for too much longer as they were just named the No 2 small town to visit in Smithsonian Magazine). It's a small walking town filled with great food and wine but with an undertone of community that I find magnetic. The people are friendly, and the dogs are happy. The food is vibrant. The wine is some of the best. Everyone seems to be trying to make everything there enjoyable.

When I was there with Judy and her family, we stayed at the Hotel Healdsburg and ate at Charlie Palmer’s restaurant – Dry Creek Kitchen. I remember like it was yesterday how creamy the risotto was. I talked about it for weeks—it had an egg in it too. It was a dining experience to remember. When I got back home I did what any person obsessed with food does, I googled Charlie. I had seen him on TV before but I didn’t know that much about him. His food provoked me to want to know more. When researching I read about an event he puts on every year called Pigs & Pinot. Just from the name it sounded wonderful. The few years that followed I was too sick and waiting for new lungs to try and attend this event. But as soon as I got my second lungs and was able to travel I knew one of the first things I needed to do! The first year tickets went on sale, I couldn’t believe it, but the event sold out before I hit purchase! I ended up spending a week in Healdsburg in December for my 30th birthday, that held me over, but I knew when Pigs & Pinot came around the following year I was not missing out! And thankfully I didn’t. 

We arrived on Friday night at The Healdsburg Hotel. And a few hours later we were engorging ourselves with everything pork. Each bite of pork (I think there were 60 participants) that entered my mouth was heaven. I didn’t even care about the pinot—food supersedes everything to me. I wanted nothing to distract my taste buds!

The next day we attended The Ultimate Pinot Smackdown where 16 wines and 4 sommeliers competed for the winning title of best pinot. This was an amazing concept (think basketball and the sweet 16) and event.  Each sommelier stood up and defended the wines they chose against each other. It was brilliant. And so much fun! In the end Soliste, which was fantastic, ending up winning. 

Our last event was A Gala Dinner in Dry Creek Kitchen with five courses, each accompanied by different two wines. My favorite course—Macaroni alla Norcini with pork sausage, black truffle, and parmigiano made by Frank Crispo of Crispo in New York was literally some of the best pasta I’ve ever tasted my entire life. This was a pretty fancy event, so I didn't break out the IPhone to snap any pictures. Regretfully!

We stayed an extra day just so we could enjoy dinner at Chalkboard—one of my favorite restaurants of all time. They make a pork belly biscuit that is not of this world! They are based on small bites, so you can have the chance to taste a lot. The food is incredible while the atmosphere is just easy and simple. My favorite.     


I can't wait to return next year!