Today we are joining together to help raise awareness for Heart Disease. Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic lost her Mom to heart disease when her mother was 47, and Kim was 15. Each year on the day her Mom passed she shares stories and photos of her Mom. This year she joined forces with Jen of Juanita’s Cocina, whose life was also touched by heart disease when her Stepfather had a heart attack. Jen’s Stepfather is alive and well more than a decade later, and for that, Jen is thankful every day. The ladies got in touch with other bloggers to ask them to share their own stories about how heart disease has touched their lives. So today we share stories and recipes from our hearts to yours, in memory and honour of Momzie, Kim’s Mom. We hope you will share your stories with us today as well.
Uncle Ray will be 97 in October.
We never thought he would see 96. Or 95. Or 86. Or 50.
You see, Uncle Ray has heart disease. Has had heart disease for decades.
As a matter of fact, he had his first open heart surgery back when the procedure was so new that you had to fly to Houston, TX to have it performed by Dr. Michael DeBakey himself. At the time of Uncle Ray’s surgery, Dr. DeBakey was recovering from an injury so his colleague, Dr. Denton Cooley, performed the operation instead.
Before the nurse wheeled his gurney into the operating room, Uncle Ray grabbed her arm, looked up imploringly at her, and asked, “After the surgery, will I be able to play the violin?”
The nurse, seeking to comfort him (and not knowing him), patted him reassuringly on the shoulder and sympathetically answered, “There is absolutely no reason why not, Mr. Leavee.”
“It’s a miracle,” he replied. “I’ve never been able to play before!”
Fast forward a few decades and a few Scares later. It’s 2002. The year that The Beloved and I are getting married. In January, we ask if he will do us the honor of reading a poem at our public wedding ceremony.
“When is it?” he asks.
“October, eh?” He sounded as if he was pretty sure he wouldn’t be there.
That March, Uncle Ray is 86 and is playing a round of golf with some buddies. As he tees up at the 18th hole, he collapses.
He pretty much dies right there. But like Farm Boy Westley, he was just mostly dead.
People rushed to his aid and were able to jolt his heart back into sinus rhythm with one of the portable defibrillators that the club owns.
He now carries not only a pacemaker in his chest, but his very own personal defibrillator.
In October, Uncle Ray steals the show at our wedding. Ham. He still can’t play the violin, though.
The following March, on the anniversary of his collapse, he went back to the club to finish off his round. Yes, Uncle Ray finally played that 18th hole.
We have had a series of scares with Uncle Ray, but we have been so fortunate that he is a Tough Old Bird and has hung in there.
And that’s my story.
I wish I could hug Kim and all the other people who have lost family members too soon due to heart disease.
Now that I’ve shared my story, let me share my Smackerel with you. I wanted to make something quick and easy for a weeknight that still would count as heart healthy. I wanted it to be full of flavor, because who’s gonna eat healthy stuff that doesn’t taste so good?
Of course, I turned to the Oracle at WebMD to check out what they say are heart healthy foods. Both beans and tomatoes make the list of the top 25 best foods for your heart, so I give you black bean quesadillas with salsa rice.
What’s so great about black beans (or any bean, for that matter?) Here, let the lovelies at HuffPo tell you all about the health benefits of beans.
And tomatoes? Well, the folks at HealthMad will tell you about the Awesomeness of Tomatoes.
Make your rice with brown rice, and the health benefits are even greater.
And the best thing about these guys? They just Taste So Very Good!
Here’s to you, Momzie. You must be so proud of your girl Kim.
And here’s to your health, everyone.
- I recommend using a homemade salsa. I did not in this instance, but fresher is always better. My friend Brooks makes a mean salsa. Try his. You'll need about 1½ cups
- 1 cup canned black beans (or equivalent home-cooked)
- 1 teaspoon-1 Tablespoon hot sauce, depending on your taste
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- kosher salt, to taste
- juice of one lime
- 3 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
- 4 8" tortillas (whole grain is better if you can find them)
- 1½ cups cooked rice seasoned (brown is better)
- 1 cup of the salsa
- Sour cream
- Heat beans, hot sauce, cumin, salt and lime together in a sauce pan.
- Coarsely mash the bean with a potato masher or a fork.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
- Over medium heat, heat a heavy skillet large enough to hold the tortillas.
- Evenly sprinkle ¼ of the cheese on one tortilla.
- Evenly spoon on ½ of the bean mixture.
- Top with another ¼ of the cheese and then top with a tortilla.
- Repeat with the other 2 tortillas and the rest of the cheese and beans.
- Place one quesadilla in the hot dry pan and press it down gently with a spatula.
- Cook until that side is golden brown, and then carefully flip the quesadilla to brown the other side.
- Keep warm in a 200F oven while you cook the other quesadilla.
- Slice into 6ths or 8ths using a pizza cutter and serve with rice, extra salsa, sour cream if you would like and guacamole.
- Combine the rice and the salsa with a splash of water.
- Heat over medium low heat until hot.
- Serve with quesadillas and the optional fixin's.
I hope you enjoy the quesadillas.
Heart disease affects so many people and families. I hope you take care of yours.
To read other stories, memories and get more delicious and heart-healthy recipes, please visit the other wonderful people taking part in today’s memorial.
- Spicy Oven Fries by Cravings of a Lunatic
- Healthy Snacking with Radish Dip by Juanita’s Cocina
- Arugula, Walnut Pesto by Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
- Farro, Apple & Pecan Salad by It’s Yummilicious
- Chicken-Quinoa Burgers with an Avocado Yogurt Sauce by The Spiffy Cookie
- Pasta House Wilted Salad by Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker
- Gooey Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars by The Cooking Actress
- Dark Chocolate Covered Walnuts by All Day I Dream About Food
- Mini Pear Walnut Crisps with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce by Chocolate Moosey
- Kung Pao Chicken Tacos by The Dutch Baker’s Daughter
- Honey Soy Glazed Salmon by Curry and Comfort
- Apple Walnut Spinach Salad by Magnolia Days
- Broiled Salmon Gyros with Cucumber Feta Yogurt Dip by Damn Delicious
- Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Make-Ahead Chocolate Oatmeal by Crumb
- Hoisin Flounder by Taking on Magazines
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
- Veggie Nachos by Dine & Dish
- Cheesy Quinoa and Asparagus Bake by Hungry Couple
- Ahi Tuna Salad by Noshing with the Nolands
- Canapes of Apricot, Goat Cheese, Almonds and Rosemary by Cook the Story
- Thai Chicken Soup by From Cupcakes to Caviar
- Italian Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf by Rachel Cooks
- Black Bean Quesadillas by Pastry Chef Online
- Sautéed Rataouille with Quinoa by Whipped
- Polenta Rounds with Apples and Cheddar by Diethood
Thank you for reading, and take care of yourself.