Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day +211

It's been a full month since Sam's last visit to Moffitt, and he's still feeling great. His blood work revealed a decrease in antibodies, so they decided to keep him for a second dose of IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin). His first dose was back in August and he responded very well. It's made by extracting antibodies from thousands of healthy plasma donors, and administered with the hope of boosting his immune system. It takes awhile to run, 6-8 hours in Sam's case, but Moffitt has a great facility where we have a private room (with our own bathroom!) and a patient/caregiver pantry stocked all day with free coffee, soda, juice, pudding, soup, ice cream, and sandwiches. That's right, MaryShannon. free. sandwiches.

Right before the benadryl kicked in. I tried to convince him to wear his Mr. Incredible costume from last Halloween to the clinic today. No dice. He's still pretty incredible to me.

$15,000 worth of medicine

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Monday

I'm not a big fan of Halloween, but a baby costume parade in the park is just too hard to pass up. We went to the event last year which turned out to be one of our last family outings at home before relocating to New York. It was incredible to be back again this year, meeting new families, seeing old friends and moving on.

 I know, I know. Not much of a "costume". Pretty much looks just like his dad.

Monday, October 22, 2012

gainesville weekend

What a great weekend! A big thank you to Mike and Cathie Ziegler for letting us stay in their beautiful Gainesville home and basically making the whole trip possible. Tailgating with a toddler was definitely a new experience, but it was such a blessing to reconnect with old friends and share places we love so dearly with Jack. Seeing him tot around the DZ and AGR houses was just too much. Thank you to all of our friends who went out of their way to come visit us. We hope to see you all again soon!

go Gators!


Finally! A play date with Emmett McCready

He loves his Aunt Nikki

Having fun on CB's farm in High Springs

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

chicken enchiladas

These are by no means authentic, but Sam loves them so I thought I'd pass them along. I don't take the time to fry the tortillas, and I skip the butter in the filling. Really. They're perfectly fine without it. If you're a small family like us do yourself a huge favor and split the recipe between two smaller pans and freeze one before baking. (click the link for the recipe)

Friday, October 12, 2012

whole wheat chocolate chip cookies

Don't be put off by the whole wheat flour. These cookies are seriously good. Even Jack, who pushes away most everything I bake, will gobble them up.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dry Mix:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Wet Mix:
8 oz (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 oz chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate)

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 F.

Sift together the dry ingredients, pouring back into the bowl any residual bits of grain.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the butter and sugars. Mix on low speed until the butter and sugars are blended, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing just until each is combined. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and blend on low just until it's all combined. You don't want to over mix the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the chocolate chips all at once and mix on low speed until the chips are evenly distributed.

At this point I prefer to chill the dough for about 30 minutes, to get smaller, thicker cookies, but you can certainly scoop your cookies out and put them straight in the oven. Scoop tablespoon-sized rounds of chilled dough onto parchment lined baking sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 14-16 minutes. This can vary depending on the size of your cookies. Like most chocolate chip cookies, these are at their very best when eaten warm, but they will keep for a few days stored in an airtight container.

recipe source: Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce (slightly modified)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

abide with me

For our friends facing incredible challenges, who may be feeling a bit worn and weary. There were many times in New York I would set this hymn on repeat and pray for the strength to make it through the day. I hope it brings to you the same comfort and peace it has brought me.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

jam jar balsamic vinaigrette

Believe it or not, the one thing Sam missed most while going through chemo and transplant was a big, crisp, cold salad. Since fresh fruits and veggies can carry all sorts of bacteria that could wreck havoc on a compromised immune system these had to be eliminated from his diet. When he was recently given the OK to eat salads again I wanted to elevate it a bit from my usual bowl of lettuce and tomatoes topped off with a few boring drizzles of bottled dressing. I found this balsamic vinaigrette in Tyler Florence's Family Meal cookbook, and haven't purchased the bottled stuff since. It's become our house dressing, and though Jack has yet to give it a try, Sam and I are enjoying more salads than ever.

Jam Jar Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 small shallot, finely diced (or 1 fresh garlic clove, minced)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (kind of optional, good with or without)
salt & pepper to taste

Put everything in a small jar. Shake hard. Lasts at least a week in the fridge.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

butternut squash & apple soup

This is one of my favorite fall soups. I found this recipe in college, and whenever I make it I'm always reminded of carving pumpkins at the little stone cottage behind Swamp. A very happy memory amidst the drudgery of grad school. It shouldn't be hard to convince your small one to take a bite since, let's be honest, it's not much more than a glorified baby puree.  enjoy!

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

3-4 lb butternut squash, peeled and seeded
2 yellow onions
2 McIntosh apples, peeled and cored
3 Tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
3-4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (or more for a thinner soup)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

Preheat the oven to 425.
     Chop up the squash, onion and apple in 1-inch cubes. Place on a large baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Divide the mixture between 2 baking sheets and spread everything into a single layer. Roast for 40 minutes, occasionally stirring, until everything is very soft. (You must stir to prevent scorching)
     When the vegetables are done place them in a large soup pot and add 3 cups of chicken broth. Use an immersion blender to puree to a desired consistency. (You could also use a food processor to coarsely puree the mixture with just a bit of broth.) Over a medium-low heat, add the remaining stock depending on the desired thickness of the soup, followed by the curry powder and more salt and pepper to taste.

serves 4-6. freezes great.