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Seeing Blessings, Not Curses

January 27, 2014

My friends, Bob and Debra had everything a year ago. A thriving business, a gorgeous new home, and tons of friends. They still have the friends, the business and the home,  but Bob can only see it from a hospital bed.

ALS is ravaging him. In less than a year, he went from being healthy to looking gaunt, unable to move and barely able to speak. But rather than be its victim, Bob’s using it as a platform to raise money and make a difference, and Debra is sticking right beside him. Horrible illnesses like this are even worse when the people involved are as nice as Bob and Debra.

Here are tiny glimpses into how nice:

Last year they finally had to stop offering free lunch to their large work crew due to expenses (after years of feeding them hot lunches daily) and they actually apologized.

And when a friend posted something on Facebook about helping them through this illness because the bills are overwhelming, they sent out an email saying they are grateful people want to help, but they’d rather earn the help, than have it given to them, so please refer businesses to them for work.

And Debra; rather than wallow in sadness keeps talking about everyone’s incredible kindness. She says they would never have experienced so much love if ALS hadn’t struck, so she’s counting her blessings.

Their company is Deyan Audio, producers of audiobooks and much more. If you’ve ever listened to an audiobook, there’s a good chance it was produced by them; they’ve produced tens of thousands. Their walls are covered with awards. They won the 2013 Audie Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. The Audies are like the Academy Awards of Audio Books.  What Meryl Streep is to the movie industry, these two are to the audiobook industry. Here’s a link to contact them, just in case:

They’re the kind of people most of us wish we were; always able to see the blessing, not the curse, and they deserve special treatment, so I brought dinner last night.  It’s what my parents did when someone was sick, and now I do it.

It was a good excuse to make another Mommy Meal, one of my personal favorites, slow cooked chuck roast with onions and red wine that’s so tender you can eat it with a fork, creamy garlic mashed potatoes and glazed carrots with fresh ginger.  I defrosted the last of my lemon cheesecake squares and brought them too. It’s one of those meals that just makes you feel cared for and God knows they can use it right now

I was all excited about the meal, running late and blasted out the door, taking two pots of carrots and completely forgetting the mashed potatoes… typical me.  Turns out Bob LOVES carrots, thank God, and it did my heart good to see him enjoying the meal. But I felt so bad I forgot the stupid potatoes that I brought them over today.  I got to see Bob again, give him a kiss and wish him well.

You know what? I feel better after these visits.  I feel good inside that I  helped and it really makes my day.  I just wish my food could cure Bob.  Obviously, it can’t, but I hope it shows how much I love the two of them. Who knows, maybe this will revive the old tradition of people showing their love by bringing food when times are tough.  It would be nice if something good came out of Bob’s suffering.

Deb made me promise I’d put in the recipe for the glazed carrots, which everyone loved, (the poor beef felt a little upstaged) so I’m including the glazed carrots, the slow roasted beef and the garlic mashed potatoes recipe too!

I’m pissed that there are still diseases out there that aren’t cured, so I’m putting up a link to the ALS donation page:

If you donate, maybe your good karma will bring someone to your door someday when you’re sick. Hell, maybe I’ll show up — and I won’t forget the potatoes.


Glazed carrots that stole the show, tender chuck roast with red wine and onions, and garlic mashed potatoes

Glazed Carrots

5  large carrots (peeled and sliced diagonally about 1/2 to 3/4″ thick)

3/4 cup apple juice concentrate

1/4 cup orange juice concentrate

A breeze of orange zest

1 tsp. fresh ginger, packed

2 TBSP cold water mixed with 1 TBSP corn starch

1 large dash of cinnamon

Steam the carrots just until they are tender,  not soft.  Remove them from heat and drain all water, keeping them covered to stay warm.  In a separate pan combine the apple and orange juice concentrates, the ginger and cinnamon.  Stir to combine.  Then stir the cornstarch mixture and add it to the pan.  Stir with a whisk over medium heat until it thickens (2 to 5 minutes).  When thickened, add carrots to pan and stir to coat.


Slow Cooked Roast with Onions and Red Wine

One  3 lb. boneless chuck roast

Meat Tenderizer

2 medium onions

1/2 bottle good quality cabernet or merlot

1/2 cup flour for dredging

2 cloves garlic crushed

1 TBSP. olive oil

Pam Spray

Remove meat from packaging.  Sprinkle it with meat tenderizer and poke it all over with a fork.  Crush the 2 garlic cloves and place them in a frying pan with 1 TBSP olive oil.  Heat the pan while dredging the meat in the flour on both sides.  Place the meat in the pan and brown it on both sides.  Remove it from frying pan and place it into a roasting pan sprayed with Pam.

While the frying pan is still hot, pour the wine in the pan and deglaze it, scraping up all the pieces of flour and garlic.  Turn off heat and set aside.  Slice the two onions into 1/2 inch slices.  Lay the onion slices over the top of the beef.  Then pour the wine from the pan over the onions and meat.  Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for three hours or until meat is fork tender turning at least once while cooking.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes 

8 large red-skinned potatoes

1 cup or more of half and half

1 stick of butter

5 garlic cloves finely chopped

Sea Salt

Scrub the potatoes and remove any eyes, then chop them into eighths (or smaller)and place them in a large pot. (I don’t peel them because everyone tells me the skin is where the nutrients are, plus it’s so thin it really doesn’t detract from the taste at all. Fill the pot so the water  is about an inch over the top of the potatoes and let them boil.  While they are cooking, take a small pan and put the butter in with the chopped garlic.  Saute the garlic for 1 to two minutes, but no longer.  Do not let it brown.  Set it aside.

When the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, drain them and immediately add the butter and garlic mixture and the half and half.  (Once I made the mistake of draining the potatoes and waiting a while to add the butter and half and half, and they were like stucco!  You could have plastered the walls with them. I never lived it down.) I use a hand mixer and just mix them with the half and half and butter garlic mixture until they reach a consistency I like. Sometimes I add more half and half, sometimes less. I add sea salt to taste and then serve them with a little dollop of butter in the middle.

  • Reply
    Justine Martin
    January 28, 2014 at 6:03 am

    This broke my heart. 🙁

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      January 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Aw, Justine, I’m so sorry. I’ll write something more fun next time. I don’t want to bum people out. If you know any publishers, let them know about these guys. They are amazing. I just revised the story to include a link to their site.

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