Simple Pleasures: Grilled Cheese

“No, nothing flashed.”

Over the holiday I was fortunate to survive three different episodes of what the doctor diagnosed as heart failure due to anaphylaxis, and I’m sorry to share that, at none of those times, did my life flash before my eyes.

I have always been curious as to what exactly would flash: my entire life? all the good memories? all the bad? the childhood ones I can no longer remember? my most recent days? The movies and songs talk about your whole life being seen, but honestly there’s not that much time between when you first feel that first tightness and your breathing stops. How could your whole life possibly flash?

In my case, my brain seemed most preoccupied with the fact that I wasn’t getting any more air into my lungs, and the only conscious thought I remember having is concern for my children if I actually died on Christmas day of all days. It would be bad enough for them to lose me, but to ruin the rest of their Christmases to come just seemed to add insult to injury.

Fortunately, I am alive and well, and I’m wondering if the flashing of one’s life may actually be all the reflection you tend to have after almost dying. Things I’ve not thought about in years have come to the surface, and I find myself thinking about whether there is anything I need to consider doing before I do die.

One of the things I did was to scribble thoughts in reaction to recent events in my life and to send them off to everyone I know, telling them how much they mean to me and how much I appreciate them. The other thing I did was to finally make a vegan grilled cheese sandwich.

Now, this may strike folks as slightly absurd, but when I developed my dairy allergy, I lost out on one of the simple pleasures in life: a hot, gooey, grilled cheese sandwich, the type mom used to make for you when you were little and had had a bad day. Because I’ve not had much fondness for the “fake” cheeses, I’ve opted to forego having grilled cheese sandwiches. After recent events, though, I decided that life is to short to deprive myself of the simply things one can enjoy.

So, I adapted a recipe from Cooking Light which they created to make a lower fat, less calorie grilled cheese sandwich, though, of course, using all “real” dairy ingredients, and I have to tell you: Life is worth living! *grin* It was gooey and creamy and delicious, and I was very happy at lunch today.

So, I invite you to indulge as well, and below the recipe, I’ll share the thoughts I shared with the people in my life, because although it’s not a recipe for a meal, I’m thinking it’s a good recipe these days for life. (Hopefully folks will be able to open it. I’ll add it under my “thoughts” section, too, just in case….) Happy New Year!

Gluten Free Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich: Choose your favorite gluten free bread (I used Udi’s Soft and Hearty Whole Grain bread). In a bowl mix 2 tbsp of vegan cream cheese with 1 tbsp vegannaise and 2 tbsp Daiya shredded mozzarella. Chop up baby spinach and fresh tomato (strain the juice out) and mix into the cheese mixture. Spread the mixture onto one of your slices of bread and top with the other. In a shallow fry pan which has a lid, put 1/2 tsp of olive oil, and set your sandwich into the pan. Cover with the lid and cook over the lowest heat setting until the first side is golden brown and the cheese is starting to melt. Flip the sandwich (if needed add another 1/2 tsp of olive oil for the second side). When the second side is golden brown, move the sandwich to a plate and let is cool for a few moments before indulging.

Today Is the Day

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