A Night at the Oscars -repost

Hi Everyone,

I know that this weekend is the Oscars on Sunday night and I decided to repost my “Night at the Oscars” tablescape” in case anyone needed some ideas to throw a party for Oscar’s big moments.

Click the link below and may your favorite movie of the year win BIG!

Includes how to make a candy bowl out of movie ticket rolls- check out the post and have a great night at the movies….

Here is the link to the YouTube video with directions for the ticket bowls……. click the link and have fun….

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,



Fusilli with Italian Tuna, Nduja and Spinach

Hi Everyone,

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I hope you all enjoyed the weekend and I am back with another recipe I just had to share with all of you. This is a definite keeper…

Back in the day, my grandmother lived with us for a time and it was a feast of Italian food every night. She was a fabulous cook and my mother learned many techniques and recipes from her.

Grandma could make a feast from very few ingredients and everything she made was always delicious.

None of my friends ever ate the food that we ate in our home, but everyone wanted the invitation to come over for dinner. The aromas from grandma’s kitchen were spectacular.

She used one ingredient a lot and it was a staple in our home — we called it “pork paste.” Later on, as I got older, I found out the real name is Nduja– pronounced – en-doo-ya.

Grandma added this to some of her sauces or served it on hot semolina or Barese-style Foccacia bread along with various kinds of cheese.

From Wikipedia, a better definition for Nduja…

“Nduja is a spicy, spreadable pork sausage from the region of Calabria in Southern Italy. ‘Nduja is made using meat from the head (minus the jowls, which are used for guanciale), trimmings from various meat cuts, some clean skin, fatback, and roasted Calabrian chili peppers, which give ‘nduja its characteristic fiery taste. These are all minced together, then stuffed in large sausage casings and smoked, creating a soft large sausage, from where the spicy mixture later is scooped out as needed.[3] ‘Nduja is mainly served with slices of bread or with ripe cheese.

One of the recipes my grandmother added Nduja to was her bucatini pasta (thick spaghetti with a hole inside) with Italian tuna and she added capers to the dish as well. It was so delicious.

One afternoon I was on Instagram and there was a chef (David Rocco) that made the very same dish I had as a child minus the capers. I had a flashback to grandma and decided I had to find Nduja.

Since I live in the Northeast I headed to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, NY, a little Italy of sorts, and in one of the Italian meat stores I found Nduja.

You can find Nduja online or at high-end grocery stores like Eataly. This is how it is packaged.

I followed the Instagram recipe from Chef Rocco with some changes of my own and came up with the recipe below. He just used the Nduja with the tuna and spaghetti, very simple, the way most Italian pasta dishes come together.

I didn’t want the capers that grandma used since Bob is not a fan, so I added some fresh spinach for color.

It was quick and easy and when I served it to Bob he gave me the greatest compliment and said, “Grandma would be so proud of you” and that is all I needed to hear.

I wish she was here so I could have made this favorite dish for her to eat, but somehow in my heart, I feel she knows I made this is her honor.

So, I had to share this recipe with all of you and I hope you try it and enjoy it….

Fusilli with Tuna, Nduja, and Spinachadapted by a recipe from Chef David Rocco

– 1 package (400g) OR 14 oz of Fusilli
– 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
– 5 garlic cloves, minced
– 1 tsp chili flakes
– 1 tbsp ‘nduja
– 250g or (2) 8 oz cans or jars of Italian tuna
– 1/2 bunch of parsley
– 1/2 cup white wine
– 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino

I added a small bunch of fresh chopped spinach.

I added 1 tsp of Calabrian chili paste and fresh ground black pepper

While your pasta is cooking, make your sauce.

In a large frying pan, add olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes.

I added 1 tsp of Calabrian chili peppers for a little extra spice (optional)

Add in ‘nduja and let it melt.

Then, add in tuna and parsley. Mix well and break up the tuna.

Add a splash of wine and let it reduce.

Mix well and add the fresh spinach (optional)

Add your pasta

Cook together for 30 seconds. Then, turn off the heat. Add in a drizzle of olive oil and pecorino, and toss for 20 seconds.

Plate and add more cheese if you want. Enjoy!

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Coconut Curry Chicken Wraps

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to March. I am in awe at how quickly the months are flying by…

I just had to pop on today to share a great recipe with all of you. One that I found by chance. Here is what happened…

I bought a whole chicken to make chicken soup the day before the Northeast was supposed to get its first snowstorm this season.

I bought a plump 5 lb. chicken and made the soup as planned, which was delicious and has always been one of my favorite soups any season of the year.

It was so comforting on the cold dreary day of the storm. The smell in the house when chicken soup is on the stove is absolutely divine and reminds me of my mom. It’s like a hug from a loved one.

So after we enjoyed the soup during the storm, I bottled five-quart jars of chicken broth for the freezer with some chicken added to each jar and I still had a lot of chicken meat left over.

Usually, not a problem and I decided to make some chicken salad (one of Bob’s favorites) for lunch the next day with some added mayo, grapes, celery, poppy seeds, honey, and walnuts and I still had chicken meat left over.

This was the most meat I ever remember from this size chicken so now I was on a quest to find another recipe to use the last of the chicken.

I searched and found a great, quick recipe for Coconut Curry Chicken Wraps from the Whole Foods website with only nine ingredients. It looked interesting and I had all the other ingredients in the house so I gave it a try.

It turned out to be a great find and tasted fantastic. I knew I had to share the recipe with you in case you are looking for a quick and different midweek meal.

The fresh veggies and the crunch of the peanuts along with the slightly spicy curry paste & creamy coconut milk made a great combination.

You can also prepare this meal with a rotisserie chicken to make the preparation time even shorter and serve it with a squirt of fresh lime, rice & beans, and salsa and chips, or a side salad.

I prepared this dish with taco shells (another option) since I didn’t have tortilla wraps in the pantry. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it.

Coconut Curry Chicken Wraps

Courtesy of Whole Foods Marketplace


  • ½ cup coconut milk (I used the thicker coconut milk from a can rather than the container in the dairy aisle- either is fine)
  • 1 tablespoon Thai red OR green curry paste (I used red curry)
  • 2 tbsps. of fresh cilantro OR parsley
  • 1 ½ cups of shredded cooked chicken
  • ½ large carrot, shredded
  • 1 green onion thinly sliced.
  • 2 tbsp. chopped roasted peanuts.
  • 4 (8-inch whole wheat tortillas or wraps) * I used taco shells.
  • 1 cup shredded green leaf lettuce.


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and the curry paste until smooth
  2. Stir in the cilantro or parsley, cooked chicken, carrot, and green onions and toss to coat
  3. Arrange the tortillas or wraps in a single layer on a flat surface.
  4. Place ¼ of the mixture down the center of each wrap.
  5. Top with lettuce and roll up the wrap burrito style, tucking the ends in and wrapping each snugly.
  6. Halve each crosswise and serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutritional Info:

Per serving: 1 wrap, 250 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 35mg cholesterol, 440mg sodium, 27g carbohydrates (3g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 19g protein.


Serve with beans and rice, a side salad, or chips and salsa


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Mardi Gras 2023!

Hi Everyone,

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I can’t believe that Ash Wednesday is tomorrow and today is Fat Tuesday… It seems as if the year is on full speed ahead.

Bob and I are having our traditional “King Cake” and beignets today to celebrate the occasion before we start our Lenten meals. And we hope you have a great celebration as well.

I have posted our cake and cookies for this year and followed it with links to past celebrations (at the end of the post) of full tablescapes with recipes for various traditional holiday meals.

Bob and I will have my traditional family recipe of Lasagna Carnevale tonight before Lent.

This lasagna from Naples is made with meat sauce and layered with mini meatballs, sausage, ricotta, mozzarella, parmigiana, and pasta sheets. We use all the rich fatty meats and cheeses before the 40 days of Lent begins and fasting.

I just love beignets and this year we found the cutest cookies with the traditional Mardi Gras colors to enjoy as well.

And the star of the show, the traditional King Cake.

King Cakes are oval-shaped to symbolize the unity of faiths. Each cake is decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors – purple representing justice, green representing faith, and gold representing power. A small baby, symbolizing the baby Jesus, is traditionally hidden inside each King Cake. The baby symbolizes luck and prosperity to whoever finds it.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


The following posts have some recipes you might be interested in for Mardi Gras……. click the link titles to open each past post.


Mardi Gras 2022 with sheet pan jambalaya recipe and shortcut cinnamon roll King cake recipe:

Mardi Gras 2015 with Carnevale king cake recipe:

Mardi Gras 2016 featuring a member Vera Sonnenberg’s recipe for Buttermilk pancakes for Fat Tuesday:

Mardi Gras 2017 with a quick Mardi Gras cupcake project with the kids:


Have a wonderful celebration and recipes for Lenten meals will follow soon on the blog.

Have a great day and make every day a celebration!

Valentine’s Day 2023

Hi Everyone,

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Wonderful Valentine’s Day with my Valentine Bob, celebrating our 38th Valentine’s Day together. He was working from home, so we had all our meals together.

My mother always said FOOD IS LOVE- so we started with a breakfast charcuterie board, then heart-shaped pizza for lunch and heart-shaped ravioli for dinner, followed by desserts, cards, and gifts. It was a perfect day together…..

I hope you all had a lovely day and have many days of happiness and love to follow…..

This year, I just wanted to give you a visual tour of our Valentine’s Day celebration …….. no special menu and no special recipes. Just a glimpse into our celebration.

I used all my Valentine’s Day-themed cutlery, dinnerware, and serving pieces and decorated the dining room with flowers and balloons from Bob. We had a fabulous day from start to finish…


I decided to make a breakfast Charcuterie board and coffee since Bob was working and in meetings, this made it an easier choice while working…..

I included homemade banana nut mini-heart-shaped waffles, a variety of berries, oranges, raspberry & hazelnut macaroons, and strawberry donuts, plus heart-shaped jelly beans- not a typical breakfast but more of a treat…


This was an easy choice and again something that can be easily eaten while going back and forth to meetings.

A heart-shaped pizza. (Normally I add a stem of parsley and top it with a sun-dried tomato rose but of all the items on my shopping list this week, I forgot the sundried tomatoes but you get the idea). Still, this is becoming a tradition for us to have during Valentine’s week…


Moving right along with the heart-shaped theme, I made heart-shaped ravioli in vodka sauce and a side salad. Keeping dinner not too heavy in anticipation of the desserts that were yet to be had…

I was thinking about a lobster or shrimp filling for the ravioli and then settled on four-cheese ravioli (one of our favorites)…

And of course, we had to eat off of heart-shaped plates… I used a different set for each course.


The star of the show and my favorite course.

We always have rainbow cookies and these are shipped from a vendor from GoldBelly and they are heart-shaped as well. I am thinking I might try making my own next year.

Along with the rainbow cookies, we ordered chocolate-covered strawberries from a local bakery- this is a must on Valentine’s Day…

Every year since we first got married in 1988 I have been making heart-shaped brownies for Bob so the tradition continues….

And our last sweet treat was a raspberry and chocolate mousse cake that was absolutely delicious.

Surprisingly, this cake came from the bakery at Whole Foods and they have proven to be excellent with many of their cakes and pies.

And that was our “food celebration” for Valentine’s Day.

Bob and I always make the day special but honestly every day is Valentine’s Day and you should show love to all and be kind and enjoy each day to the fullest.

I hope you have many days ahead of love and happiness and until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


In addition to the standard heart-shaped box of chocolates from Bob and our son, we also enjoyed these dark chocolate bars with some unique flavors for Valentine’s Day.

Are you ready for some Football snacks?

Hi Everyone,

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So today is the big day- Super Bowl Sunday!

February 12, 2023Super Bowl LVII

I sometimes think that Super Bowl Sunday is as popular as Christmas. Not only for the game but for the half-time show and the infamous commercials.

This year our opponents are the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs; but no matter what team you are routing for, we all want something to snack on during the game.

I have to be honest, football is not my sport but my husband enjoys watching so I put together a snacking menu to graze on during the game (and leftovers become lunch tomorrow). I wanted to share my menu with you in case you wanted some additional ideas to add to your game day snacks.

Bob and I have been grazing all day and this is lunch and dinner outside of a few cups of coffee.

This year I decided on a menu of the following items and the photos are after the menu list.

I have included recipes below for the Vegetarian Nachos, the Chinese 5-spice powder wings and instructions on how to whip ricotta for bruschetta.

The pizzette was a pre-made shell and my homemade sauce with pepperoni, grated cheese, and mozzarella in a 450-degree oven for 10-15 minutes

The hors d’ oeuvres are frozen and heated as per directions.

  • Loaded Vegetarian Nachos Supreme
  • Chinese five-spice chicken wings
  • Buffalo chicken wingsrecipe on the bottle of Frank’s sauce
  • Pepperon pizzette with lots of mozzarella cheese
  • Pigs in a blanket (my all-time favorite) & pizza bitesstore-bought
  • Whipped ricotta on grilled olive bread with various toppings- prosciutto with fig jam, Caprese topping, and balsamic glaze, and ricotta with lavender honey & rosemary, and lemon zest.

Of course, all who know me by now, know there has to be a tablescape to go along with the food so I set a casual, simple, and fun tablescape for today.

I used a tablecloth that I have that looks like a wooden picnic table. I usually use this for outdoor events to cover a beverage or snack table on the patio because it is plastic and can be washed or tossed easily. I keep a supply in the patio cabinet.

Next, to get into the football mood, you have to have turf, so I pulled out my artificial grass turf table runner- this is sold in rolls 14 X 48 inches. I have also used this from time to time with Easter displays.

Centerpieces are a little tricky for this theme if you want to keep it small, so I went basic and pulled out one of my son’s old footballs- yes it’s a Jets football but we are from NY. We had the stand to display it so the centerpiece is done.

I went with Party City football-themed paper plates, cups and napkins, and plastic cutlery, and the table is done and the cleanup is a breeze.

So, have a wonderful day, enjoy the game, half-time show, and the commercials, and may your favorite team win.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,



Loaded Vegetarian Nachos Supreme

Ingredients: for 6 servings

  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed.
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 15 oz corn, 1 can drain and rinse.
    • 15 oz black beans, 1 can drain, and rinse.
  • 1 lb. tortilla chips
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Mexican cheese blend.
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce.
  • 1 cup tomato, diced.
  • 1 cup black olives, sliced
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced (I used jarred Pickled jalapenos)
  • ⅓ cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • (Sour cream  & guacamole-optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F
  2. In a large pot, over medium-high heat, bring lentils, broth, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and oregano to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 35 minutes.
  3. Once cooked, mix in the corn and black beans.
  4. On a baking sheet, place a layer of tortilla chips, followed by the lentil mixture and cheese.
  5. Add another layer of tortilla chips, lentils, and cheese.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
  7. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, jalapeños, black olives, guacamole, sour cream and cilantro/parsley.
  8. Enjoy!


Chinese Five Spice Chicken Wings

Author Jehan Powell


¼ cup dark soy sauce

¼ tsp 5 spice powder

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

½ tsp black pepper

3 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 ½ tbsp crushed garlic

2 ½ lbs. chicken wings pieces


Make the marinade by mixing soy sauce, 5 spice powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. Place the wings in a bowl and pour the marinade over and mix to coat well. Marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place wings on a large baking sheet pan making sure that the pieces aren’t touching. Discard excess marinade. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Remove wings from the pan as soon as it comes out of the oven, and serve warm.

In case you are curious what is the 5 spice powder blend, here is a definition from google...

We did an informal audit of five spice powders, and it’s usually a combination of Chinese cinnamon, fennel seed, star anise, and cloves. When it comes to the fifth spice, it can be a bit of a wild card between ginger, white pepper, and Sichuan peppercorns!


Whipped Ricotta


1- 1/2 cups fresh ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bread

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary.

Flakey sea salt

Coarsely ground black pepper

Sliced crusty bread, for serving.


Using an electric mixer, whip the ricotta until light and airy, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate and use a spoon to create a well in the center. Fill it with olive oil and sprinkle with the rosemary. Generously sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill on the oiled side until toasted, about 2 minutes. Serve with ricotta and your favorite toppings!

I topped my ricotta with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil & balsamic glaze * prosciutto and fig jam * and lavender honey with rosemary and lemon zest.


Go Red for Women- 2023

Hi everyone,

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As we start this new month of February we focus on heart health, a topic near and dear to me and my heart.

National Wear Red Day is Friday, February 3, 2023. Together, we can wear red and be a BIG difference for a better life for women everywhere. 

Go Red for Women is a division of the American Heart Association that encourages awareness of the issue of women and heart disease, and also action to save more lives. The movement harnesses the energy, passion, and power women have to band together and collectively wipe out heart disease.

As many of you know who have followed me and become members, I have had cardiac issues since 1993. I was born with a rare genetic disease called ARVD where the heart muscle of the right ventricle gradually turns to all fat and therefore leaving that part of the heart useless.

Over time the heart becomes weaker and weaker and eventually does not work anymore. I was on medication from 1993 when I was diagnosed to 2018 living a fairly normal and healthy life with medication and an implantable defibrillator until those treatments no longer worked and I was evaluated for a heart transplant in 2018. I was devastated and in shock since I never had any issues until my early 30’s.

Fortunately for me, I was evaluated, accepted, and notified by the wonderful doctors on the transplant team at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC that they found a match for me and I was blessed with a new heart in January 2019, from a generous donor that decided upon their death they would donate life.

I was given a second chance at life which I cherish each and every day. It is not an easy road to receive a new organ but the results are miraculous and wonderful.

I am asking and hopefully encouraging all the women out there to be more aware of their heart health and be more mindful of their nutrition, lifestyle, and heart-healthy practices.

As women, we tend to put everyone else first and put ourselves last but what we should do is put our health first so we can be there for the ones we love and it is not selfish to take good care of ourselves.

We know a lot of numbers by heart in our daily life like phone numbers, pin numbers, birthdays and anniversaries, and passwords. But most of us don’t know the most important and critical numbers for our heart health. The knowledge that could save our life.

The personal health numbers that we should know are Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Blood Sugar, and Body Mass Index (BMI). These numbers assess the risk for heart disease and stroke. Take the time to make a cardiac check-up appointment to learn your numbers.

Talk to your healthcare provider. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, which is why knowing your risk is critical to preventing cardiovascular disease. And knowing your risk starts with knowing your numbers.

This month CVS drug stores along with the Go Red for Women movement will provide heart health screenings- please take advantage and start your journey to heart health and wear RED on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, to show support to all women.

I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to meet many wonderful healthcare providers that helped me get to where I am today and I am proud to say that I just celebrated my 4th-year post-transplant.

Take care of your heart for the ones you love!


Below are some photos from my 4th post- transplant celebration with my husband…..


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Happy 8th Blogiversary

Hi everyone,

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I hope your 2023 has started out well and you are all enjoying the new year.

I am proud to say that DishingwithDiane is celebrating our 8th Anniversary of posting tablescapes, recipes, and family stories and it has been a highlight of my life.

I consider all of my members extended family and I wish I could host an event someday to meet you all in person since I speak with you via comments and texts and I feel we have been friends for years.

I deeply appreciate all the communication that we have had over the years and thank you for your support of the blog.


This year I got the idea for the theme of the 8th anniversary in a very unusual way while visiting my son this past Fall.

Let me explain how this happened… Early one morning while we were all sitting around the table having breakfast, my son had the TV on in the background and a show came on one of the cable channels about food from South Africa.

The show caught our attention and after the chefs were preparing various entrees, the host decided to make a very popular classic South African dessert called “Malvapoeding” or “Malva Pudding”. It looked quite interesting and resembled the British sticky toffee pudding.

The dessert comes with a story about one of the fruit trees of South Africa and a folklore legend that this particular fruit makes elephants drunk. Scientists over the years have proved this theory wrong and it is just a myth for tourists.

This tree is called the Marula tree and once a year at the peak of summer, the tree bears a yellow fruit with white flesh the size of a plum.

The Marula tree is a member of the same family as the mango and grows widely in Africa. Its sweet, yellow fruit is used for making jam, wine, beer, and a liquor called Amarula.

Some African communities use the marula bark as an antihistamine and as a prevention for malaria. Marula fruit can even treat stomach aches.

In African folklore legends, the tree is also known as the “Elephant Tree or the Marriage Tree”. Many tribes have acknowledged that the tree and its fruit have aphrodisiac qualities. Believed to be fit for royalty, this tree is protected by African law, just like the elephants.

The magical scent draws the elephants from miles around to the trees and that is when the locals know it’s time to harvest the ripe, yellow fruit or the elephants wouldn’t leave any fruit for anyone else.

Marula trees are incredibly popular for elephants – they eat the bark and devour the fruit, then spread marula seeds around their habitats. The seeds are evenly spread through elephant dung. 

The Marula fruit is then distilled and matured in aged (French) oak barrels for two years before being blended with fresh cream to make the popular liquor “Amarula”

So after the show, we all decided we wanted to try this infamous Amarula Liquor and during our afternoon outing, we went to a local liquor store in town and inquired.

The salesman had the liquor in stock and knew of the myth about the elephants getting drunk and we bought two bottles (one for us and one for my son).

We stopped on the way home for a dessert to pair with the Amarula after dinner, and we tasted Amarula on the rocks with dessert. Delicious!

Amarula is a South African liquor made of sugar, cream, and fruit from the marula tree. This creamy and citrusy liquor tastes great on the rocks or mixed in a cocktail drink. Some of the most popular drinks include Amarula with coffee, coconut or fruit cocktails, and an Amarula milkshake.

In my opinion, it tastes like Bailey’s Irish Cream with a little more caramel.


Now I had to make the pudding that originally intrigued me. When we got home from our weekend, I searched for a recipe. Some were very complicated with long ingredient lists with and without the Amarula liquor. So I continued to search and finally found a recipe that wasn’t too complicated and I was off to baking and the result was delicious.

It is a sweet pudding made with a yellow sponge drenched in a decadent sauce. It contains apricot jam, which is a classic ingredient in South African cuisine.

The other ingredients include baking soda and balsamic vinegar which caught me by surprise for such a sweet dessert. The vinegar and baking soda are added together to make it rise. The more I read about this pudding, the more interested I became.

The batter is very liquidy and I never thought it would come together but this is my cake straight out of the oven and it was a perfect consistency.

(I poked small holes in the cake to make the sauce saturate the cake and topped it with sanding sugar for a light crunch).

So after my test batch, I made the pudding once again today to celebrate DishingwithDiane’s 8th anniversary and I served it with caramel ice cream, whipped cream, a few fresh raspberries, and of course some Amarula liquor to celebrate.

I want to share the recipe with all of you below.

To complete the theme of Amarula & elephants and South Africa, I am using my safari dishes- one of my favorite sets.

Starting out with a centerpiece that I thought would look perfect with the dishes.

Some cordial glasses for the Amarula, themed candles, coasters, cutlery, and the coordinating sugar and creamer set.

My place setting

And a few random photos of the anniversary tablescape….

I hope you find this as interesting as we did and buy a bottle of Amarula and make the pudding and indulge in a little South African culture for dessert.

Malva Pudding (Malvapoeding)

Author: Mike Benayoun

Cuisine: South African, Vegetarian Servings: 8 people


For the batter

  • 1 tablespoon butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup brown vinegar (e.g. malt or balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 cup AP flour, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the sauce

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Amarula liquor – added after the sauce is taken off the heat.


  • Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C.
  • Whip 1 tbsp of butter with sugar for 2 minutes. Then, add the eggs one at a time, and continue to whip well after each addition.
  • Add the apricot jam and mix well.
  • Then, add the milk and the baking soda, then the brown vinegar.
  • Add the sifted flour gradually and continue to mix.
  • Pour batter into a 9-inch ( 22 cm) square greased baking pan.
  • Bake for 45 minutes in the oven or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • While the malva pudding is baking, mix all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan on medium/high heat.
  • Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Cover. ( I added the Amarula when cool.)
  • Remove the pudding from the oven, then pour the sauce on top. Set aside for 15 minutes before serving so that the cake has time to absorb the sauce to saturation.
  • Cook Note: I poke small holes in the cake to help with the sauce saturating the cake.
  • Cook Note: You can use a cookie cutter to make individual portions
  • Serve with custard (like creme anglaise), vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream


This was a wonderful celebration for us and now we start a new year at DishingwithDiane.com I am so excited about what is ahead…

Again, thank you for your support and comments. Please continue to tell your friends about this blog and ask them to join and become part of the family.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Sweet Potato Brownies- the unexpected treat…

Hi Everyone,

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Good morning! I have to share this with all of you. It seems I accidentally purchased a large number of sweet potatoes- don’t ask. I bought a bag and so did my husband.

Well, after I made mashed sweet potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, and sweet potato fries I was stumped for something different to make with the remaining sweet potatoes and I started my google search.

I stumbled upon a few recipes for….wait for it…..”Sweet Potato Brownies”. I never had them before and I was completely intrigued. I read a variety of recipes, some with flour some without, some with lots of ingredients, and some with minimal ingredients and after reading I selected a recipe from the website, The Almond Eater.

This recipe seemed interesting to me with only 4 ingredients (5 if you counted additional chocolate chips) and I had everything in the house so I gave it a try.

Very easy to put together and I have to say for me and my husband I gave it 5 stars. It is fudgy, with no eggs or flour, and quick to put together. If you follow a vegan-friendly or paleo diet, you are in luck because this recipe follows those guidelines.

Of course, I had to tweak the recipe to my liking a little and I’ll let you know what I changed but I recommend giving this recipe a try. We were quite surprised and yes we did use the extra chocolate chips. I don’t think you will be disappointed and if you want to give your children a healthier brownie it’s worth a try. I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it.

I topped them with a little Maldon-flaked salt.

Recipe courtesy of “The Almond Eater” website.

Flourless Sweet Potato Brownies

These Flourless Sweet Potato Brownies are made with just 4 ingredients and are a healthy, paleo, vegan-friendly dessert that everyone will enjoy!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes Servings: 16 brownies Author: Erin


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (1 cup, mashed)
  • 1 ⅓ cup almond butter ( I used 1 cup of Kirkland mixed nut butter).
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup chopped chocolate or more (I used 1/2 cup of chocolate chips).


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Use a fork to poke holes into the sweet potatoes, then place them on a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 6-7 minutes until soft. Then, slice them down the center and wait a few minutes for them to cool off before scooping out the sweet potato flesh and discarding the skin. Alternatively, you can peel and roast the sweet potato in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Use a potato masher to mash the cooked sweet potato and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk almond butter and syrup together; then, add the cocoa and the mashed sweet potato. Last, stir in the chopped chocolate.
  • Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper (or grease with coconut oil) and pour batter into the pan. Bake brownies for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Wait 20 minutes before cutting the brownies and enjoy!


Storage: store these brownies in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or freeze them for up to 3 months.

The recipe says to microwave the sweet potatoes, but if you don’t own a microwave, you can cook them over the stovetop or roast them in the oven instead. 

These brownies are both vegan AND paleo, as long as you use dairy-free chocolate chips/chopped chocolate. 


Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 294mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 4008IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 1mg


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Baked Rigatoni- Comfort Food at its Best…

Hi Everyone,

Click on photos to ENLARGE and then hit the back arrow to return to the post.

I hope your January is going well. I can’t believe we are two weeks into the new year already and time just flies by.

I am enjoying the long holiday weekend with Bob and we are rearranging the kitchen cabinets. I do this every January, especially after the cooking frenzy from the holidays.

I make sure I am fully stocked on dried spices, pasta, and all canned goods that I use often and re-stock my baking supplies.

On days like this when the kitchen will be turned upside down, I like to have an easy meal to prepare that won’t take too much of my time. And that meal would be my Crusty Baked Rigatoni. Always a crowd pleaser.

This is my son’s favorite dish and he always requests this when he comes home for a visit.

It is also a good potluck meal and my official “New Mom” meal. I can’t tell you how many times I have dropped off a baked rigatoni, tossed salad and a loaf of Italian bread along with a baby gift for a new mom that comes home from the hospital and the last thing they need is to cook dinner. (PS- it freezes well too).

So, I wanted to re-post this recipe in case you have one of those days when you want something simple or even a lazy Sunday where you don’t want to fuss too much with dinner and have nice delicious comfort food.

I hope you try the recipe and enjoy it……



  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 ½ lb. ground beef or ground turkey
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP Italian seasonings
  • 1 large can (28 oz) peeled tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz can of “no salt added” tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Cups whole milk mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rigatoni, stir well, and cook according to package directions. Drain the rigatoni, place in a large bowl, and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Set it aside.

In the same pot, heat approx 2 TBSP olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and garlic and cook, stirring until soft (approx. 5 minutes)

Add the meat and cook stirring to break up the meat, until no pink remains (approx 10 minutes). Drain off all of the fat (I use a large colander and then return to the pot).

Add the parsley, oregano, Italian seasoning and tomatoes, and tomato sauce and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the tomatoes break down (approx 20 minutes)

Stir in the heavy cream, raise the heat, and return to a boil. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Return the rigatoni to the pot and toss well.

Oil the bottom of a shallow 3 qt baking dish. Spread half of the pasta mixture on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle half the mozzarella. Top with the remaining pasta, the remaining mozzarella, and all of the Parmesan cheese.

Bake until the pasta is crusty and golden brown (approx 30 minutes). Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes and serve. (Serves 6).


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,