Comfort Food – A Recipe for Risotto

Rosie (Robotina) One of my favorite cartoons when I was a kid was the Jetsons (Los Supersonicos) and I always thought about how the future will look like and how amazing will be to have a robot like Rosie (Robotina for the version in Spanish) to help in the house. I have to say that several days ago, I turned into a robot like Rosie.

I finished my second cycle of intense chemo two weeks ago. And yes, I am officially done with chemo!!!!!. I will start radiation on Feb 1st.  I am so grateful because my mother in-law stay with us and went with me to the hospital each day. Dave and Kathy were very patient since my mood was horrible, I didn’t want to talk, I couldn’t sleep, I was nauseous and the prednisone (steroids) made me hyperactive.  I had what I will call the “Rosie Syndrome”, I wanted to clean the apartment and organize things 24/7 non-stop, exactly like Rosie/ Robotina.

Although the chemo was super strong and sometimes I was not hungry at all, there were times I will crave for comfort food particularly pasta and rice.  I love risotto and I found an easy-to-make recipe from Cooking Light Magazine . I made it for one night and It turned out very well. Here is the recipe:

Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone
Cooking Light
Level: Easy  | 4 servings
Time of preparation: 50 min
2 cups of boiling water
1 cup dried Porcini mushrooms (1 oz = 28 g)
1 can of less-sodium beef broth
cooking spray
1 cup uncooked arborio rice
3/4 cup chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup  grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese (Italian cream cheese)

Fresh thyme leaves (optional)

1. Combine 2 cups boiling water and mushrooms; let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain through a colander over a bowl. Reserve 1 1/2 cups soaking liquid; chop mushrooms.

2. Bring soaking liquid and beef broth to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil) Keep broth mixture warm.

3. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add rice, shallots and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, and cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes)

4. Add 1 cup broth mixture to rice mixture, cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of the broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes).

5. Add mushrooms, grated cheese, chopped thyme, salt and pepper; stir gently until cheese melts. Spoon 1 cup risotto into each of 4 bowls. Top each serving with 1 Tblsp mascarpone and thyme leaves, if desired.

Cooking tip: I couldn’t find Porcini mushrooms and I used regular mushrooms instead. Also, if you cannot find the mascarpone cheese try 1Tblsp of sour cream or regular cream cheese on each serving to add more flavor.

Thank you to my friends Anna, Michelle and Maria for the beautiful flowers that make me smile.

Thank you for keeping me in your prayers and positive thoughts!!!!

Have a great weekend!.

New look, New Year, New Treatment

2013, a year that starts with a new look (I am bald now) and a new treatment.

Although we were very busy during the holidays, we had a great time. My parents and younger sister spent Christmas with us. We had a Mexican/American holiday dinner on December 24 that was delicious. It was great having them at home since I went through the first cycle of intense chemoteraphy during the holidays, their moral support was very important.

In a previous post, I talked about the hard decision we had to make regarding treatment. Indeed I believe in research and after doing my homework, looking for information on “Grey Zone Lymphoma”, reading blogs from patients and survivors, and having conversations with friends and family; We decided to go with the treatment proposed by the Lymphoma Team at NIH.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the US medical research agency. It is a federal government entity whose work and research benefit not only the people in the US but the world.

The new treatment proposed by the group of experienced doctors and nurses at NIH consists on two cycles of intense chemoteraphy followed by 6 weeks of radiation. Each chemo cycle lasts 5 days. The first day I had to stay in the hospital for 24 hours. The next 4 days are not so bad since I carry a fanny pack (“cangurera” in Spanish) with a pump that administers the chemo. I can go home and do my regular activities. Each day I go back to the hospital to change the chemo bag and then I go back home.

The new chemoteraphy regime includes the following medicines: Campath, EPOCH and Rituximab (DA-EPOCH-R). These medicines are extremely powerful and believe me, they work. When I asked about loosing my hair, I remember the doctor telling me that I will will lose my hair on the the third week after the first cycle. Since I didn’t lose all my hair on the first round, I thought the doctor was underestimating my “Mexican genes” (like Dave says)…. well my hair is gone and I have a new look.
New Look 1

Now I can change my look each day and I am having fun with it. It is definitely a process of finding what makes me feel comfortable and great. I can wear a wig, a scarf, a hat, or whatever I want. I can also try different colors, lenghts and styles. Certainly, on the next post, I will share some of the funny stories.

Tomorrow I start cycle 2 of my treatment and I will spend the night at the hospital so the chemo does it magic and gets rid of the cuckoo cells.

This is certainly a new start and I am looking forward to winning this battle and regaining my gNew look 2ood health.

Your prayers, positive thoughts, calls, cards, and emails mean a lot to me. But most importantly, I am grateful for feeling so loved and supported by our families and dear friends. Thank you!

I will keep you posted.

Enjoy the rest of the week!