Archive for February, 2014

Heart to Heart

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
 

heart to heart alt

2013 was a year whereby my thoughts were directed to matters of the heart. I actually mean the human heart in the literal sense!

You see, last February after a lengthy period of uncertainty and questioning my teenage daughter was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT).  She must have begun to doubt herself after years of complaining about a problem with her heart only to have every EKG turn up clear while doctors and parents consider anxiety as the culprit. Let’s be honest I’m sure she felt vindicated when we had answers! The diagnosis came when her SVT episodes began coming one after the other, sometimes multiple times in a day. She complained more and I in turned pushed harder with the doctor. Finally we got referred to a pediatric cardiologist. The cardiologist did something that changed her life, he put her on a heart monitor and 3 days later we had answers and relief! Relief because SVT is not life threatening, episodes are treatable and the condition is manageable with medication for those who suffer frequent episodes like my daughter.

As we consulted the cardiologist following a severe episode of SVT which ended in an emergency room visit requiring an adenosine treatment, we learned of a procedure called a Radiofrequency Cathetar Ablation. This medical procedure finds the abnormal electrical pathways in the heart and destroys them. The thought of the procedure was terrifying to my daughter yet she took the pamphlet home and kept it. Months later as we prepared for her cardiology check in, she approached me and let me know she had changed her mind and would like to have the procedure after all.

On November 21st 2013 we rose up early in the morning and headed to Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) in New Hampshire for the procedure. I walked my girl into the operating room, held her hand while she went under and was given a pager. The procedure is considered relatively low risk with high odds of success yet that did little for my nerves knowing she would be under sedation for 4-8 hours while a room full of medical professionals inserted catheters and threaded wires into her heart. I anxiously awaited every update. About 6 hours later I would finally get the news that the abnormal pathway was located on the left side of her heart and corrected. Now, 3 months later and a year after diagnosis, she has shown no sign of SVT returning. I am so incredibly thankful!

A week after her procedure, she was up and at them again. We were ready for Thanksgiving! That was they day however that once again the heart came to the fore front! On that day I received a phone call that my older brother had suffered a massive coronary and had been airlifted to UMASS hospital. This was actually his second heart attack occurring 13 years after his first. My brother is still a young man in his late 40s. He lives a good lifestyle and does not fit the profile one might have in their head of a “heart attack victim”. His Doctors suspect that his case may be hereditary. Apparently heart disease can skip a generation so although we know our parents are healthy, there may have been a grandparent or great uncle etc who passed this trait along. I am fortunate to tell you however that he survived and walked his oldest daughter down the aisle last month.

Now it is February, it is American Heart Month. As we close out the month I encourage you to know your own risk factors for cardiac disease. I encourage you to reduce your risk, get healthy, quit smoking, lose weight, move more and eat better! I encourage you to have a heart to heart with your doctor about your family medical history and get checked! I encourage you to take it seriously, after all cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States.

Before we go let’s talk about today’s lunch! Pictured in my Easylunchboxes container this lunch contains:

  • Ham sandwich pressed with heart shape
  • Cucumber, tomato and pepper salad
  • 1 1/2 Clementine oranges

Finally I want to mention the wonderful strength and hope Lunchbox Love notes I received from my dear blogger friend Shannon from over at What’s for Lunch at Our House. Thank you to Shannon, it was a sweet gift at a time I definitely could use strength and hope!

Sincerely,
Deb

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Say Cheese! Cheeseburger Pizza for lunch!

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
 

cheeseburger two

My family loves pizza and I love the challenge of coming up with different kinds of pizza! I make it a personal mission to come up with new, easy, fun and yummy family meals. I also work full time in Sales & Marketing and have 4 active children. My time is short and my energy level low at the end of the day so fast is a must! We all know once the snack cabinet is open while waiting for food, appetites for dinner will diminish!

I had this idea for a simple cheeseburger “stir fry” and it just evolved into pizza!

“Cheeseburger stir fry”
Spray your heated pan with cooking spray. Cook 1/4 cup of diced onions until translucent then add one pound of ground beef. Cook/scramble beef thoroughly draining off the grease when done. While mixture is hot stir  in 3-5 tablespoons of ketchup and 1-2 tablespoons of dijon mustard. Taste the mixture and adjust to suite your taste.

Spread the cheeseburger mixture on your favorite pizza crust. I topped with american cheese but use whatever you like on your cheeseburger! You could also add cooked bacon (but I did not) for a bacon cheeseburger variety. Cook until crust is cooked/heated and the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and add your favorite cheeseburger toppings such as pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard etc.

For a gluten-free version for my son I simply skipped the crust and stirred the cheese into the mixture. I served it to him as the original “stir fry” mixture I envisioned.

 

For lunch I packed a slice in my Easylunchboxes container and included:

  • Mangos & blackberries
  • Snyder’s Gluten Free Pretzels

Sincerely,
Deb

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Hearty Portions (and gluten-free!)

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
 

hearty portions one

Not so long ago I read a very active, very heated, online discussion regarding the definition of an appropriate “hearty portion” for a man versus a woman. The discussion actually stemmed from a photograph of one of my very own lunches. Now nothing negative was said about the actual lunch itself but the photograph involved in the discussion did note that the lunch was for “him” (that being my husband). The point of the original post that featured the photo however, was to show how I changed things to suit my husband’s taste versus my own and was actually not a statement on portion sizes for gender. No worries I did not take the discussion personally! lol

Regardless, I thought I’d clear the air on how I feel! I actually believe that portions should be related to an individual’s appetite, health and activity level amongst other things!  The lunches I show illustrate the portions I feed my family. I always recommend you decide your own portion and adjust accordingly! The two lunches featured in this post are MY lunches and I consider them “hearty portions”. The large compartment of my Easylunchboxes container holds up to 2.5 cups of food and in both cases I have filled the compartment pretty well. This compartment alone can be a very filling portion! I skipped out on crunchy snacks or a sweet treat in both to fill out my leftovers with lots of fresh produce. This gives me the opportunity to fill my appetite with lower calorie options. The two smaller compartments hold 3/4 cup and 1/2 cup respectively. All in all that is almost 4 cups of food if packed tightly (ok 3  and 3/4)! Now generally I eat the fruit or veggie in the late morning and the leftover heat up as the actual lunch later.

hearty portions two

Lunch one (at top of post)
This lunch box contains a Rotisserie Chicken Leg/thigh along with homemade ,skin on, mashed red potatoes. Sliced Cara Cara oranges sit alongside European cucumbers cut with a crinkle cutter. Red grapes complete this box.

Lunch two (above)
Gluten free pasta (Tinkyada Brown rice pasta) is topped with tomato basil pasta sauce. Not well pictured but nestled within the pasta are a couple of gluten-free meatballs. We actually tried the Bove frozen brand which was new to our grocery store. Every member of the household enjoyed them so we highly recommend although slightly pricey as gluten-free foods often are! Made on consecutive days, this lunch also used the European cucumbers and red grapes but is finished out with mango slices and raw broccoli florets.

Sincerely,
Deb

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