Crab Cakes – Baltimore Style

Today my hair is short :).
Yesterday, I received beautiful roses, thank you Nancy and Philip. I also got a fantastic cooking book (I have chosen already several recipes) thank you Theresa!!!!

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The Maryland area and specifically the city of Baltimore are well -known for their famous crab cakes. Two nights ago I followed the recipe below from Epicurious; it is excellent.

Crab Cakes – Baltimore Style
Time: 40 min | 6 crab cakes
Level: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice plus wedges for garnish
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning**
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over (Chicken of the Seas is a great option)
  • 1 1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Whisk first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add crab; fold to blend. Stir in 3/4 cup panko, chives, salt, and pepper. Divide into 6 equal portions. Form each into 1 inch thick patties. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place remaining 1/2 cup panko on a plate. Coat cakes with panko. Fry until golden brown and crisp, 3-4 minutes per side. Serve with lettuce or salad.

Cooking tip: Panko can be found in groceries or markets with Asian products. Otherwise, bread crumbs are a good substitute.
**In case you cannot find Old Bay Seasoning in your local grocery store; you can make your own. Old Bay is a mix of the following spices: mustard, paprika, celery seed, bay leaf, both black and red pepper, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, salt, mace and ginger.

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Bea Prepared

Most people know that one of the common side effects of chemotheraphy is hair loss. I have known this myself from everything I’ve read and from being told what to expect by my experienced nurses at Johns Hopkins.  Since my first treatment I’ve expected the worst – that I will lose my hair. Since then I have been trying to mentally prepare for the day when I start seeing my hair falling out. Today was that day.

This morning I noticed that what the nurses told me to expect is real. My hair is officially starting to fall out. Not a lot for now, but most definitely it is happening.  For the last couple of days I have been thinking about cutting my hair all at once since I don’t want to see how it falls out. I am not personally worried about how my Sinead O’Connor hair style will look like, but I am worried about the reaction of others and I don’t want this to make me sad.

I guess I am prepared for the hair loss. I have hats, scarfs and a few wigs. In fact, my husband was surprised by how good the wigs look; he said they really resemble my hair (same color and cut). One of the wigs has long hair which is a great opportunity for me to have longer hair for a bit  and look more glamorous 🙂  If nothing else, I could always rip my wig off and scare random people.

On a related note, Dave needs a haircut and I have been trying to get him to let me cut his hair with new clippers.  So far he is hesitant and making excuses to avoid me cutting his hair . I have insisted that I  have enough knowledge to do it. I have watched several Youtube videos and have read the clipper instructions; what else do I need, really? Even if it goes bad, he always has my wigs. I am prepared.

 

Flowers and a Recipe

Last week I received this colorful and joyful bouquet of flowers. I love flowers!

When you go to a hospital you can experience mixed feelings, you might be scared, feel relief, be worried or excited. For me when going to Johns Hopkins is the latter. I get excited to go to the hospital because not only do I know that I am recieving the medicines that will help my body to recover, but I am getting the best care from wonderful nurses.
Through this journey I have met  beautiful people. I am fortunate to have the great care of Lynne and Jenny (amazing nurses). Their smile, laughs and positive energy heals, they make a difference and I admire them.

Last Friday I had my second chemo and I have been feeling very well. In fact, on Saturday I started running again. Three miles to be exact.

A super easy and fast recipe for any winter day…

Ginger Chicken and Rice
From Food & Wine
Time: 1 hr | 4 Servings
Level: Easy

  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 large cube chicken boullon (consome de pollo Knor)
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 2 inch of fresh ginger (cut into matchsticks)
  • 1 1/4 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 cups of baby spinach
  • 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk

In a bowl, dissolve the cube of chicken bouillon (consome Knor) in the hot water, set aside. In a rice cooker (if you don’t have one use a normal pot) combine the rice with the ginger and the boneless chicken thighs cut into cubes. Arrange the spinach on top of the rice. Pour the coconut milk and the bouillon broth (consome de pollo) already prepared into the pot and season lightly with salt.
Cook the mix until it boils and then simmer. (for about 30 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked)

Cooking tip: To make this even easier and faster, use canned chicken or turkey.

Buen Provecho!

The Fight

A great view of the aqueduct in Segovia, Spain during our honeymoon.

In our lives we face different challenges; some of those challenges mean that we have to fight. The fight is present at work, at home, or with ourselves.  Most of the time, we have the opportunity of choosing the fight; yet, some fights are unexpected defying our will power, our beliefs, and our entire being. Although I didn’t choose this fight, I have chosen to beat cancer. I know that I cannot give up and I am aware that some days I will be stronger than others, but I have to keep fighting with all the resources and tools I have been blessed with. 

In recent days, I joined a facebook group called the Lymphoma and Hodgkin’s Survivors and Awareness Club. Ann, a survivor wrote the following paragraph about fighting and never giving up:

“We decide the first day of our cancer diagnosis whether we are going to be a victim or a survivor. We decide to muster up all are strength to fight and win. We decide to stay positive and not let cancer define us completely. We decide how we are going to handle each day that we are fighting cancer. Yes, there are bad days and good days, but your attitude determines your every day. Hold on to your hopes, dreams, faith, support system and your determination to win because in the fight against cancer we cannot give up”

Tomorrow Friday I have my second chemo and I am ready for it, I feel strong and I have been feeling well in the last weeks.

I am a very lucky girl for having my incredible husband David on my side. Dave makes this fight a fun adventure. I love you, mi amor!

Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts!!!

A Great Recipe that Takes Time

Delicious cookies

On Thursday, we made the recipe below that takes a couple of hours to make, but it worth the time. A bit of patience will be required ♥.   The last days I have received beautiful gestures of love from friends. Thank you Aileen, Kip, Jo, Mike, Paula, Connie, and Bill. I love the gifts, books and cookies!.   Lamb Ragout with Olives and Peppers
From: Food & Wine Magazine
Time: 3hr 30 min | 6 servings
Level: Intermediate

    • 1/4 cup canola oil
    • 4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 large white onions, coarsely chopped
    • 4 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
    • 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
    • 1/4 cup tomato paste
    • 1 cup dry red wine
    • 10 cups water
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup sliced pitted Picholine olives
    • 3/4 cup sliced roasted red peppers
    • 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
    • 2 cups Israeli couscous
It worth the time – tasty recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 250°. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil until shimmering. Season the lamb with salt and black pepper and add it to the casserole. Cook over moderately high heat, turning the pieces once or twice, until deeply browned, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a platter.

2. Add the onions, celery and carrots to the casserole. Cover and cook over low heat just until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until the paste is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the pot, until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the water, season with salt and bring to a boil. Return the lamb and any accumulated juices to the casserole. Cover and braise in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours, until tender.

3. Transfer the lamb to the platter. Remove any fat and gristle and coarsely shred the meat. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Skim the fat from the surface of the broth. Return the broth to the casserole and boil until reduced to 4 cups, about 30 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, mix the butter with the flour to form a paste; whisk it into the broth and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Return the lamb to the sauce. Add the olives, red peppers and tarragon and keep warm.

Cooking tip: Since we made the recipe for Dave and I, we used half of the portions the recipe calls for and we still had leftovers.

A Video about Kindness

This is a great video. When we are kind to others good things happen to us and the people around us.
A quote from the video: “Kindness is what keeps the world afloat” and it sure does!.
 

A Recipe with Quinoa

Dave and I found this recipe at Food and Wine Magazine and we tried it for dinner tonight.
Quinoa is a seed and seems like a boring option for dinner; yet, this recipe adds a great flavor to it. Quinoa is known for its nutritional value. It is high in protein and considered a great antioxidant, it is also a source of magnesium for those that suffer from headaches and migraines; a great and nutritious ingredient that worth adding to your diet.

Photo from James Baigrie, Food & Wine, 2010.

Spice-Roasted Shrimp and Pistou with Quinoa
Time: 30-40 minutes | 4 servings
Level: Easy

To marinate the shrimp
1/2 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

To make the Pistou
1/4 cup (packed) basil leaves
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed  or cooked rice ready-to-serve
2 1/4 cups water

  1. In a resealable plastic bag, toss the shrimp with the garlic and onion powders, paprika, oregano, fennel seeds, dried thyme, 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper until coated. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°. In a food processor, pulse the basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme leaves, garlic and cheese. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil; puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. If you use quinoa, in a saucepan, combine the quinoa, water and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Season lightly with salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; keep warm.
  4. On a baking sheet, roast the shrimp for about 8 minutes, until curled and pink. Cut the shrimp into thirds and add to the quinoa with the pistou. Toss well, season with salt and pepper and serve

Cooking Tip: You can double the pistou sauce, it adds a great flavor to the shrimp. In case you don’t feel like using Quinoa, I encourage you to mix the marinated shrimp with rice (yellow is the best option for this dish)

Born to try (cover) – Delta Goodrem

Delta Goodrem is an australian singer that I like. Not only she has a beautiful voice and great songs but she is a Hodgkin’s survivor. An inspiration to me.
I like singing, I put together this short video of one of Delta’s songs: Born to try.
Love, Bea

Monkey slippers

Monkey Slippers

Kathy (my mother-in law) and Dave acompanied me today to the chemo session. In preparation for my first treatment, I did research beforehand in books, blogs and websites about what to expect in terms of the chemo itself and side effects.

The nurses at Johns Hopkins (JH) are amazing and make everything much easier. In fact, the treatment was not as tiresome and uncomfortable as I was expecting, so far so good…. I feel great today.

When we came back from JH, I had a nice surprise. A dear friend, her husband and beautiful daugther sent to me a “recovery kit”. This weekend I am relaxing and enjoying the kit that includes a pair of monkey slippers socks since my friend’s daughter likes comfy socks and monkeys, so this is the perfect combination. I love them!

A thoughtful recovery kit!. Thank you Jill

I am very fortunate. I am grateful for having incredible friends and family that inspire me to stay strong and positive all the time.

Thank you for your prayers 🙂
.

A beautiful flower

I love flowers. Today a dear friend from work gave me this beautiful flower. Tomorrow, Friday the 6th, is an important day for me not only because it is the “Three Kings Day” in Mexico but I am starting my chemo treatment. I must say that I am really looking forward to the later because I know the combination of science, love, mind, faith, soul and nature do wonders towards recovery.
I trust that my doctors and the nurses at Johns Hopkins are the best in their field. Everything is ready for a successful day.
Thank you for your good thoughts, nice comments, phone calls and good vibes. I am really grateful for your prayers, it means the world to me.

A photo of my desk with a beautiful orchid from a dear friend from work. .