August 9, 2018

Today I went to Make-A-Wish headquarters in Oakland. At 7 AM my Mom drove us to Oakland’s Chinatown to park our car. First we went to a local bakery to buy some breakfast and take my medicine.

Afterwards we went to the Bay Area Make-A-Wish headquarters. The headquarters is in an office building shared with other companies. After getting directions by security, we went inside these huge double doors. The first thing you see is Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area behind the reception desk. The walls were painted light blue and the floor was blue carpet. The waiting area featured books that had pictures of other people’s wishes on there.

Beth was excited to see me! Beth is the Make-A-Wish coordinator that plans out all the wishes. At the Ronald McDonald house she called me to figure out more details. Beth told me the headquarters used to be at San Francisco, but then moved to Oakland. She also told me that the headquarters usually don’t have kids visiting. Usually the kids are at the hospital or at home, so me coming was rare.

Beth, my Mom, and I walked past portraits of other children with their wishes. There’s actually a girl who made a fashion runway show. She’s also a heart transplant recipient.

Edit: I met her August 11, 2018, at the transplant reunion party! She’s in the middle wearing a blue shirt:

The girl who did the fashion runway is in the middle.

Victoria, the chef granting my wish, came from Bart. She’s a nutritionist and personal chef that creates healthy meals for others. She said when she was a child, her aunt had a heart attack in front of her and died. That’s when Victoria teared up. One day, Victoria quit her job and went to culinary school. Since then she’s been a successful personal chef. Her goal is to show people a healthier way of eating.

I explained why I wanted to do this. I have a tube inside of me. Before transplant, I didn’t eat enough food each day, so through the tube I insert food inside of me. I would plug my tube to a machine and go to sleep. The next day I would skip breakfast, eat a light lunch and dinner, plug myself in, and repeat. After transplant, I have an appetite. I can start eating full meals every day. I want to develop recipes so that I’ll have enough food to not use my tube anymore. If I eat without my tube for 6 months, then my doctors can take it out.

My Mom, Victoria, Beth, and I went to take a picture in front of the Make-A-Wish logo.

Victoria will meet up with my Mom and me at our own house for cooking lessons (see August 25, 2018).

My Mom and I also checked out a government building nearby. Pictures above!

August 25, 2018

Today is my second session with Victoria, however this will be the first time we’re cooking. Victoria is the chef that’s granting my Make-A-Wish (see August 9, 2018). Her son also came today. He’s a marketing major and is helping Make-A-Wish by taking videos of us cooking. We’re making seared salmon and pancit.

For the seared salmon we rubbed the salmon fillet with garlic and dill. We seared both sides until they were pink. If they’re the slightest raw then I get a chance of catching a virus. My Mom was shocked by how simple it was.

The noodles for the pancit was soaked in water until they became soft. We fried frozen shrimp and cabbage strands in a pan, then added the noodles. We seasoned the noodles with soy sauce, sesame oil, and dill.

Check out Victoria here: https://www.eastbayhealthychef.com/

September 1, 2018

Another cooking day with Victoria! Sadly her son didn’t come. We made chicken salad and pesto noodles.

Yesterday, my Mom made a baked chicken. We shredded the leftover chicken and mixed it with mayonnaise, halved grapes, and dill We put the chicken salad between toasted bread to make a sandwich. It was savory but the grapes had a burst of sweetness. The texture of the bread made it amazing.

For the pesto pasta we made our own pesto. Victoria bought a pot at Trader Joes for $3. Victoria cut the basil leaves from the stems. The leaves were thrown in a blender. She told us if we placed it outside and water it moderately it’ll sprout new leaves.We toasted pine nuts in a pan and added it to the blender. We also added garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Since we’re trying to be low sodium, we didn’t add salt. Blending all these ingredients made us pesto. We combined the pesto with chicken and tomatoes to add over pasta.

Check out Victoria here: https://www.eastbayhealthychef.com/

September 8, 2018

Another cooking day with Victoria! Victoria is the chef that’s granting my wish from Make-A-Wish. Today we made green onion pancake, steamed broccoli, and a pasta salad.

The green onion pancake is a recipe my grandma knows. Since we didn’t use any yeast, the green onion pancake wasn’t easy to make. We made a dough with flour and water, and mixed green onion and salt in the dough. We rolled the pancake in circles, then fried them.

For the steamed broccoli, we put a small amount of water in a pot and added the brocoli. The evaporated water softens the broccoli. After the broccoli was steamed, we mixed it with grapes, bell pepper, pine nuts, and red onions.

Victoria chopped green olives in half while the egg noodles were boiling. She also diced some red onion. After the egg noodles were drained, she mixed them with the green olives and red onion. Sun dried tomato, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, and mustard were also added. To plate the pasta salad we added some basil leaves.

Check out Victoria here: https://www.eastbayhealthychef.com/

September 22, 2018

Victoria came, and we made spaghetti squash with brussel sprouts and Singaporean noodles today. In case you don’t know, Victoria is a chef that’s granting wish. Together, we’re going to create a cookbook.

I told Victoria about Nicole, and Victoria said people like Nicole, people with medical disabilities, is why she’s doing this. Victoria said condolences.

Victoria showed us how to cut a spaghetti squash in half. At the same time, we quartered the brussel sprouts. We rubbed both the spaghetti squash and brussel sprouts with olive oil, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. They were roasted in the oven. Then we sauteed ground turkey in a pan. Spaghetti sauce was added with the turkey, and we let it simmer. After the brussel sprouts and spaghetti squash were done roasting, we were able to scoop out spaghetti strands from the squash. The strands were plated with the simmered sauce on top and sprinkled with brussel sprouts.

There’s a lot of ingredients for Singaporean noodles. There are prawns, rice noodles, bean sprouts, chicken, soy sauce, tomatoes. The rice noodles are soaked in water while the prawns and chicken are marinated in soy sauce. After they’re marinate, the prawns are sauteed in a pan. Then the chicken are sauteed. The noodles are added in the pan. The noodles are seasoned with curry powder, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Tomatoes are incorporated. Sprinkled on top are bean sprouts and green onion.

Check out Victoria: https://www.eastbayhealthychef.com/

September 29, 2018

Today I cooked with Victoria, the chef granting my wish. Victoria’s son also came. He’s a marketing (or media?) major so he’s helping Make-A-Wish by documenting our cooking sessions. We made soba noodles and ramen today.

For the soba noodles, we boiled them in water for a short amount of time. Simultaneously we fried tofu with only little oil. After we drained the noodles, we mixed them with the tofu and added some sesame oil, grated garlic, soy sauce, and green onions.

For the ramen we boiled water with chicken and soy sauce to make broth. After about an hour, we mixed already cooked ramen with the broth. We shredded the chicken and added it on top of the ramen, along with tofu, red onion, and green onions.

Check Victoria out here: https://www.eastbayhealthychef.com/

October 6, 2018

Another cooking session with Victoria! Victoria is the chef that is granting my Make-A-Wish. Today we’re making salad. At Ronald McDonald house I developed a regimen:

  • Exercise at least 10 minutes walking on the treadmill
  • Ride at least 1 hour on the gym bike
  • Walk 10,000 steps (tracked by my Fitbit)
  • Eat a salad or another vegetable dish
  • Drink a protein shake

I’ve modified my schedule, but I stopped eating a salad each day. Therefore, I had Victoria help me with some salad recipes.

For our caesar salad, we first made our own croutons. We cut a French baguette into cubes, seasoned the cubes with italian herb seasoning, and tossed them with olive oil. The cubes were baked in the oven. Then a caesar dressing was made. Surprisingly there’s anchovies in a caesar dressing. Anchovies, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and mustard were blended. Finally, cut up pieces of romaine lettuce were tossed with the homemade croutons and caesar dressing. Shredded parmesan cheese and red onions were spread on top of the salad.

Next is the kale salad. Quinoa was cooked in a pot with water and curry seasoning, kale was chopped into pieces, and apples were cubed. After the quinoa was cooked, we mixed it with the kale, cubed apples, some red onions, and pecans. It was delicious.

Check Victoria out: https://www.eastbayhealthychef.com/

October 21, 2018

Today I cooked with Victoria, the chef from Make-A-Wish. She brought a bunch of ingredients: chicken breast, thai basil, coconut milk, coriander, lemongrass, tofu, etc. We made Thai Basil Fried Rice and Tofu in Thai Green Curry.

For Thai Basil Fried Rice we marinate the chicken we cubed in soy sauce. Subsequently we fried the chicken in a pan. After the chicken was thoroughly cooked we added cooked brown rice. We added some sesame oil and soy sauce. Lastly, we added the Thai Basil, but only let it wilt for 30 seconds.

For the Tofu in Thai Green Curry, we made a green curry paste. For the green curry paste we added thai basil, roasted coriander, cilantro, coconut milk, shrimp paste, and lemongrass in a blender. After the paste was blended we added it to coconut milk that was being heated in a pan. After combining the coconut milk and paste together, we dropped tofu cubes into the mixture and incorporated it.

I talked to Victoria after cooking. Victoria says she loves working for herself. She wants to focus on those with physical disabilities so they can be healthier. Maybe in the future, she volunteer in a hospital and cook for them.

Check her out here: https://www.eastbayhealthychef.com/

November 3, 2018

Another cooking day with Victoria! We made beef stew, singang, and seared chicken.

There was also a surprise visitor joining our cooking session today. Kathy Mima, my old tutor, visited me. Kathy has been very supportive since I’ve been in the hospital.

We first made beef stew. We bought beef then chopped it into pieces. We skinned the fat from the pieces then combines it with red wine, garlic powder, thyme, and rosemary. The skimmed fat was cooked and given to our dog, Billy. Victoria taught me how to open a bottle of wine. When we let the beef sit in red wine, it tenderizes and gives the beef flavor. Victoria cut up carrots, celery, potatoes, and leeks. We dredged the beef with flour, then seared it until it was golden brown. After the beef turned golden brown, we deglazed the pot with a cup of red wine and added carrots and leeks. We simmered them for half an hour, then added potatoes and celery.

Next we made singang. Sinigang is a filipino pork stew. We boiled pork in water to render the fat. After the fat was gone, we drained the soup from the pork. We then put the pork in new water, and added ginger, tomatoes, and onions. We simmered the stew for about an hour and a half. Subsequently we added spinach and lemon juice.

We prepared the chicken. Victoria brought leeks and my mom cut them up. We chopped up scallops and garlic and added them to the leeks. Next we dredge the chicken into flour. We seared the dredged chicken in avocado oil. After the four chicken breasts were golden brown on both sides, we added the leek, scallops, and garlic mixture. We deglaze the pan with one tablespoon of white wine and two tablespoons of red wine vinegar. We put a lid on the pan and let the chicken cook. After the sauce reduced, we turned off the heat and added spinach.

Check Victoria out here: https://www.eastbayhealthychef.com/

November 10, 2018

Today is another cooking day with Victoria. Victoria is the chef granting my Make-A-Wish (see August 9, 2018). My Make-A-Wish is to create a cookbook. Last week was actually supposed to be my last cooking session, but she decided to give me another for my birthday (see October 20, 2018) present.

We did two kinds of Alfredo today. The first type of Alfredo was a chicken fettuccine alfredo, and the second was a chicken fettuccine alfredo with mushrooms and tomatoes.

We prepared the ingredients by slicing chicken breasts into strips, thinly slicing mushrooms, dicing onions, dicing tomatoes, and mincing garlic. We sauteed diced onions in a pan with a little olive oil. When the onion was translucent, we added the chicken breast strips and minced garlic. We let the chicken sit, and after the chicken was cooked we dumped half of the mixture into another pan.

In the first pan we added garlic powder and salt, then let it simmer.

In the second pan we added the diced tomatoes and sliced mushrooms. We also added garlic powder and salt. We continuously stirred the mixture until the released mushroom juices were evaporated.

In a large pot we added 3 cups of half & half and 3 cups of chicken broth. We added fettuccine when the mixture came to a boil. We used a whole package of fettuccine (16 oz). The fettuccine absorbs the mixture, therefore it reduces; the starch released by the fettuccine thickens the mixture, making it a sauce.

When the fettuccine was Al dente, we separated the noodle in half for each pan. The noodles were combined with the pans ingredients, and that’s it!

Today is my last cooking session with Victoria. I already chose what recipes we made to include in the cookbook. Victoria will take those recipes and write them. When Victoria is finished writing those recipes, she’ll email them to my Mom and I, and we’ll try to recreate them. Victoria and I will meet again in December to format the cookbook.

Check out Victoria: https://www.eastbayhealthychef.com/