Monthly Archives: February 2016

On friends I’ll never meet

February 9, 2016

Taking a break from all of the food posts today, to get a little raw and real with all of you.

I’m not sure why, but it seems like recently CF’ers being around other CF’ers has hit a bit of buzz.  In recent years, it’s a topic that has made appearances on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Red Band Society, along with others, I’m sure, but no one really noticed then.  Perhaps it’s the social media outbreak and hype over a child being removed from a classroom where there was another child with CF.

Whatever the reason for the recent worldly revelations, it stunned a lot of friends and family to learn that this was a truth in my life: People with Cystic Fibrosis really can’t and shouldn’t be around other people with Cystic Fibrosis.  (unless you are in the same family, because you build immunity to each other).  Long story short, we have specific bacteria and infections that are incredibly harmful to each other.  In some cases, being together could be deadly.  It’s a hard reality that is heavy on my heart lately.

The magnitude and weight of that reality didn’t hit me when I was diagnosed- at 16, a fresh diagnosis wasn’t something I wanted to discuss with anyone, let alone friends or someone that had the same thing as me.  I guess the mindset at the time was more of a ‘if I ignore this, and don’t mention it, I can pretend to be normal.”  After all, isn’t that what every teenager craves?  To just blend in and be normal?  And besides, I felt that I had plenty of supportive people in my life already.

It wasn’t until my adulthood that I really felt the weight of it.  I often found myself searching for someone like myself- someone that really ‘got it’ because as much as you try to explain the dark days, fears, and doubts to the people in your life that know you- no one can really truly know.. unless you’re experiencing it, too.  I needed women in my life that had my fears and my struggles, and more than anything, I needed someone who had once stood in these deep, vast waters and had made it to the other side.

I needed clarity, and I needed hope, and so the internet became my salvation.  Through social media, blogs, and forums, I’ve made acquaintances that continue to grow into amazing friendships.  We cheer each other on, we support each other…and most of all, we get it.  These strangers know me better than some of the dearest people in my life.

And here’s where that gets hard- I’ll quite possibly never meet the beautiful souls that touch my heart and get me through some of my hardest moments.  We can’t chat about life over a glass of wine, or go check out the latest flick that we’ll (inevitably) cough through.  I can’t be that shoulder to cry on, even though it’s not that far of a drive.  I’ll never meet the young mom with CF whose blog inspired me to keep holding on to hope.

They don’t tell you that part about CF.  They don’t mention that with your diagnosis comes a painful loneliness; that your greatest support system can be your greatest downfall if you were to exist together.

Some day soon, I know we’re going to cure this thing, and when we do, I’m having a huge party for all of us.

Until then, I’m hugging you from here.
J

AHDN: Brussels Sprouts Gratin

February 2, 2016

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Brussels Sprouts Gratin

1- 9oz bag of shaved Brussels sprouts
4 tbsp butter; divided
2 tbsp flour
1 cup grated parmesan; divided
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tbsp paprika
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 cup half and half
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp olive oil

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large, high- sided skillet and add shaved brussels sprouts.  Saute about 3 minutes over medium until brussels sprouts are a vibrant green color.  Remove from the skillet.  Add the additional 2 tbsp of butter to the pan and melt.  Stir in 2 tbsp of flour.  Gradually whisk in 1 cup of half and half until smooth.  Stir in 1/2 cup grated parmesan, along with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella.  Add salt, pepper. and paprika and combine.  Return the brussels sprouts to the skillet and fold into the cheese sauce mixture.   Pour into an 8 or 9 inch baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of breadcrumbs with remaining 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese and enough olive oil (approx. 2 tbsp) until the mixture is the consistency of wet sand.  Sprinkle on top of the brussels sprouts.

Bake for 40 minutes @ 375.

This side dish was a perfect compliment to the chicken, and the left overs heated up nicely to go with some broiled flounder.  Whip up a double or triple batch with a bit of pancetta, and you have a GREAT holiday side dish!

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AHDN: At Home Date Night

February 2, 2016

When you have a life with littles, sometimes “date night” can be few and far between.  With baby sitters and broken routines, cries for mama and good night kisses…well, sometimes is it just plain hard!  To help alleviate some of the pressure, but also keep our time as just us, Mr. Twice Around and I have started implementing AT HOME DATE NIGHT, or AHDN as we call it.  The thought is that once munka is in bed, we have the rest of the evening to ourselves and can enjoy a “date” together.  No phones, no distractions – just time shared together.

The only real RULES that we have for AHDN are as follows:
1) Real clothes (with the occasional exception for PJ’s- when appropriate)
2) No cell phones
3) It has to be more than a Netflix binge on the couch

This past week was my turn to plan, so I decided on a kicked up version of dinner and a movie.

Act 1- Dinner.  Stone ground Mustard Chicken Thighs with a Brussel Sprout Gratin and White Wine

Act 2- Cozy Movie Time with snacks,  Tomato Cheese Crackers, prosciutto, grapes, brownie bites, and of course, champagne.

Now, the thing that really makes this ‘not your average movie night’ for us is the location of our movie.  Typically, we only have 1 TV in our home, and that is in our main living area.  We like it that way.  We prefer it that way. BUT- it makes it fun to bring out our second TV from storage and create a new ambiance for movie watching.  I decided that for date night, I’d set up our TV and Apple TV in our bedroom, and that we’d watch the movie from the comfort of our cozy bed, stacked high with extra pillows and cushions.  Add a tray for our snacks, and we were all set!

Stay tuned for more AHDN ideas!