The power of a gift

This is a special Christmas for Dave and I, not only because it is our first Christmas as a married couple, but an opportunity to be with family, thus, a gift.
The word gift has several meanings and for some it is about receiving or giving a present, for others experiencing a miracle, trusting in God, and for others a gift is being with those you love; life and love are a gift themselves.
According to Wikipedia, “a gift or a present is the transfer of something without the expectation of receiving something in return. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free”.
So yes, a gift is meant to be free since it evokes a positive reaction (a smile, a laugh, a hug, a word of gratitude, tears of joy, etc).

On Christmas Eve while millions of people get together to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ I encourage you to take some minutes and make a list of all the gifts you have received in your life, include everything that comes to your mind, don’t forget the sweater or socks that your aunt or grandma gave to you on your birthday or Christmas. Think about all gifts that have brought a positive reaction and have drawn a smile on you.

I feel very fortunate. I have been blessed with many gifts this year and I am grateful for that.

I wish you a beautiful and wonderful Christmas,

Love, Bea

Brussels Sprouts Taste Good!

My mother-in-law shared this great recipe with me. We like brussels sprouts but we don´t eat them very often. It was quite a pleasant surprise to discover that brussels sprouts taste even better with this easy to make and tasty recipe.  Enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts with Pecans
Time: 25 minutes | Servings: 4
(82 cal, 12.6g Carbs, 3.6g Protein)

1 teaspoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
2  garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 cups halved and thinly sliced Brussels sprouts (750 gr)
1/4 fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in Brussels sprouts and saute 2 minutes. Add broth and sugar,cook 5 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Stir in salt.Sprinkle with pecans.

Cooking tip: Make sure you don´t add more than a tablespoon of sugar, otherwise your side will be too sweet.

For dinner: Pasta, Veal, Capers and White Wine

 Orecchiette with Veal, Capers and White Wine

Source: Food and Wine Magazine
40 minutes approx | 4 servings
Difficulty: easy

Dave and I love this recipe and have prepared in many occasions. We made this dish on Sunday and  today we had the leftovers for lunch!  

  • 2  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1  medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 1  pound ground veal (1/2 kilo)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed
  • 3/4 pound orecchiette or the pasta you like
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil.

Add the chopped onion and minced garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the veal, season with salt and pepper and raise the heat to high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veal is no longer pink and any liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes.

Add the white wine to the skillet (sarten) and boil over high heat until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, thyme, rosemary and capers and simmer over moderate heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta well and add it to the skillet along with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, chopped parsley and butter. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowls and serve right away.

Cooking tips: Add a bit of olive oil in the water to cook the pasta, this prevents the pasta from sticking together. Add 3 times more capers to give a better flavor.

Hoping for the best….. November 22,2011

After ten days of waiting to hear the biopsy results of a lymph node removed from my neck, on November 22 we were driving towards the doctor’s office. It was a grey and rainy day.

Days before my appointment, Dave and I talked about all possible scenarios and perhaps it is his military background but he said something that completely calmed me down: “Let’s hope for the best, but be ready for the worst”

So there we were at the doctor’s office hoping for the best. I was very calmed so was Dave. The doctor sat in front of us -I still remember his words- and said: “I am so so sorry to tell you this news, but unfortunately you have Hodgking’s Lymphoma”.

My first reaction was to close my eyes and cry. I was somehow ready and “prepared” to hear bad news so I carefully listened to the doctor and asked many questions. Dave and I left the office sad but thinking about next steps.

Hodgking’s Lymphoma is a type of blood cancer , each year about 8,000 people in the US are diagnosed with this disease. This type of cancer has a good prognosis and great survival rates. Although the causes of the lymphoma are unknown and perhaps multifactorial, it is a treatable and curable cancer and I am going to beat it.

I have gone through all the emotions you can imagine, it is not easy to digest a news of this sort considering that I look healthy, I take care of my diet and I exercise regularly. There is no point for me to think about why me or the unfairness of life. It is clear to me that the road to heal starts with a positive mind, the attitude of a fighter.

In this sense, this blog is a way to share those things that feed the spirit  and the mind in order to heal the body.

I am grateful for all the blessings I have received and for those that I will receive. I am grateful that I have an incredible husband, great doctors and the support and love of family and friends.

This is a journey and I am hoping and praying for the best!!!