Monthly Archives: July 2015

Ricotta Gnocchi

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Many of you are familiar with the standard potato gnocchi on many restaurant menus; but there is another version and it is made with whole milk ricotta. I like the taste of the ricotta gnocchi much better because after you have eaten a plate, it doesn’t feel as if you have eaten lead like the very filling potato gnocchi makes you feel.

You know the feeling, you feel like a beached whale and can’t move for several hours.

Well, I was cooking and needed some background noise in the kitchen, so I turned on the Food Network (always need some inspiration). Anyway, there was a show on that I have never heard of before called “The Kitchen” hosted by a variety of Food Network chefs.

One of the chefs was Geoffrey Zacharian and he mentioned “ricotta gnocchi”. Immediately my ears perked up, so I stopped what I was doing to watch his version of this dish.

My biggest shock was how quick this recipe was. He made the dough and it didn’t need to rest, (so far so good). He topped it with a pancetta tomato sauce (very easy also). I was hooked.

I quickly wrote down all the ingredients and realized that I had all the ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry, so I decided I was going to give it a try. It was fabulous!

So fabulous that I have to pass this recipe on to my members. Sometimes you just find a recipe that is just too good to be true.

Bob loved it and told me that my grandmother would have been proud. I would like to think so, she was an excellent cook.

If you need to see the video for this recipe just go online to Food Network and search Geoffrey Zacharian- ricotta gnocchi. I guarantee you, you will not be disappointed.

Have fun cooking; and if you make this recipe, let me know what you think.

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!


Ricotta Gnocchi

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Recipe courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian

Photo courtesy of Me

Total Time :55 min  Prep:10 min   Cook time 45 min
Yield:4 to 6 servings Level: easy


Kosher salt
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Semolina flour, for dusting
Pancetta Tomato Sauce, recipe follows, for serving


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan, olive oil, eggs and 1 teaspoon salt with a whisk in a large mixing bowl. Add the all-purpose flour in 3 parts, stirring with a rubber spatula.

Bring the dough together in a ball and cut off one-quarter of it. Dust the work surface with all-purpose flour to prevent sticking, and roll the cut-off piece of dough into a dowel shape about 5/8 inch in diameter. Cut the dowel into 5/8-inch pieces. Dust some parchment paper with semolina flour and place the gnocchi on it to prevent sticking. Repeat with the rest of the dough, quarter by quarter.

Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Serve tossed with a bit of the Pancetta Tomato Sauce. Alternatively, you can freeze the uncooked gnocchi for up to 2 weeks.

Pancetta Tomato Sauce


6 ounces thick-cut pancetta (about 3 1/4-inch slices), diced
1/2 cup diced onions
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 28-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
5 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade


Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pan and reserve, leaving the fat behind.

Add the diced onions to the hot pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the crushed tomatoes, cover and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, then remove the lid, add the reserved pancetta and cook an additional 10 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, stir in the basil and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian
© 2015 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Thank you Mr. Zacharian



Since Father’s Day was on the “First Day of Summer,” I promised a special tablescape dedicated to the Dads, Dads to be, pet Dads, and Grandpas because I couldn’t prepare two tablescapes in one day. So men, this is for you…..

(Click on photos to enlarge)

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When I sat down to think of a theme for this tablescape, I kept thinking about the usual Dad sports like hunting, fishing, and golfing; but unfortunately I don’t have dishes for any of those themes. What I do have are dishes for a safari. So here we go… 

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Let me start off by saying that I just love animal prints. I have a den that is decorated in accents of animal prints. I don’t even have a favorite pattern. I like them all, cheetah, leopard, zebra, you name it; in just about every item they can make. I like animal prints in home furnishings, pillows, clothing, and obviously dishes; which lead me to purchase the dishes I am using today.

Here is a sample of just a few of my other animal print purchases from my den

Coffee Cups

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Throw Pillows

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The Den Rug

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Canisters (This is where I keep wrapped candy for movie night)

(Notice the safari wall paper? I only have this on one wall as an accent.)

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 I even have a cookie tin that is a leopard pattern. The cookies that came with the tin were awful, but I just wanted the tin.

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I found my “safari” dishes while shopping many years ago in Bloomingdales with my mother. We both saw them at the same time, looked at each other and without saying a word, my mother immediately knew my wheels were turning and I was going to buy them.

 I bought the entire set including platters and serving bowls. The china features lions, leopards, zebras, tigers, elephants and giraffes.

What more could you ask for?

The dish is by Sakura and the pattern is called La Menagerie; designed by artist John Zak in 1996.

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I wanted to take as many colors as I could from the dish for the tablescape, so looking at the leopard, I am using a cocoa brown tablecloth. I wanted to add a little punch of color with gold napkins to bring out the color of the giraffe. I used clear lucite napkin rings not to take away from any other color on the table. 

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Thanks to the zebra, I chose black woven placemats and white charger plates

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The flatware for this tablescape was easy. Many years ago, I was lucky enough to find and purchase animal print flatware from one of the thousand catalogs I receive on a daily basis. I mix and match the flatware pieces for each place setting. 

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I chose smokey black goblets for the glassware.

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 I decided to re-purpose the coffee cup to the set and instead of using the coffee cup for a hot beverage, I am using it as a personal candy dish for each place setting.

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I filled it with safari wrapped mints that I found online. I always like to have something unexpected and fun on the table.

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I purchased two zebra photo frames and decided to use them to feature the dinner menu instead of a photo Think outside the box.

I printed the menu myself and just cut it to fit the frame. I placed a frame on each side of the dinner table.

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Now that the dishes are all set, we move on to the centerpiece. I took some of the pieces from my den to showcase as a centerpiece. This is usually displayed on my fireplace mantle and it is a walking herd of elephants and the last one is just too pooped to continue. (There is always one…).

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My favorite elephant…

2015-07-18 18.25.28 FAVORITE ELEPHANT

The table needed some greenery and height so I borrowed some of the reeds from a floral arrangement in my den. I didn’t want to add a safari vase to the table and take away from the pattern of the dishes so I displayed the reeds in two clear cylinder vases with some river rocks. I had some river rocks left over, so I used them for table confetti.

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I wanted to keep this tablescape somewhat masculine, and not use any candles; but I purchased the perfect set and just had to use them. They are animal print votive candles and I placed one at each place setting. Now I feel better and the tablescape looks finished.

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And that completes my belated Father’s Day tablescape. I wanted it to be short, sweet, and simple.

This theme can also be used for a masculine birthday If you do use it for a birthday party, this is a photo of the candles that I would recommend you use.

(Most party stores carry these candles)

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I hope you liked the tablescape and got some ideas to use on your next Father’s Day or birthday celebration.

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And just for the Dads, I found a cocktail online called

“The Leopard” 

(Haven’t tried it, but I will make it for Bob and report back).

Here are the ingredients.

5 oz. sparkling wine

1 oz. orange juice

1 oz Amaretto di Sarrono

and an orange slice

So once again, Happy Belated Fathers Day from to all you wonderful men.

Instead of just one day a year, I hope all the Dads have 365 great days all year long filled with love, health and happiness.

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!


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Place Setting

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Tablescape Details

Sakura La Menagerie dishes from Bloomingdales

Cocoa Tablecloth from Linens and Things

Gold napkins from Bloomingdales

Safari flatware from Ross-Simons catalog

White chargers from Pfaltzgraff

Black woven placemats from Bed, Bath and Beyond

Black Goblets from JC Penney

Herd of elephant table accents from various specialty shops

Safari mints from Oriental Trading

Safari votives from Amazon

Glass cylinder vases from Michael’s Arts and Crafts

River rocks from Michael’s Arts and Crafts

Zebra photo frames from Homegoods

2015-07-18 17.58.29 HERD OPPOSITE ANGLE

I’m participating in Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps On The Porch

Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to join.

Either have them “Like” the DishingwithDiane Facebook homepage (blue thumbs up- top of homepage) to get facebook notifications

or follow the blog directly from the website 

Go to the website for easy one click instructions to join and follow all the fun.(click on the “follow button” on the right side of the page) to get e-mail notifications

or send me an email of a friend you think might be interested and I will send a personal DishingwithDiane invitation out.

Once you join, you’ll never miss a post…

Go and spread the word…

And please, continue to send me your comments, I love hearing from you.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

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Hi everyone,

I have been getting a few requests to post the recipe for

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna, so here it is.

I honestly don’t remember where I got the original recipe from and I have just been tweaking it over the years. I can’t take all the credit, but I can tell you it is delicious.

I hope you like the recipe enough to try it; and please send me your comments if you do.

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!

Have fun cooking!


(Click photos to enlarge)

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Roasted Vegetable Lasagna


8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, slice
2-3 orange, red, green or yellow bell peppers, sliced
4 peeled carrots- sliced
6 cloves of garlic, leave the skins on for roasting
1 green zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced

Broccoli florets & part of the stalks diced into coins

(Eggplant, optional)

1 – 2 (10 oz. pkg. ) chopped spinach,  sauteed with garlic & drained. This isn’t added to the veggies to roast, this is used to assemble the lasagna.

Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Dried basil, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste

Garlic powder, to taste

(ALL vegetables can be increased or decreased to taste)

Ricotta mixture Ingredients:

1-16 oz. container of ricotta cheese- (if you use fresh ricotta, must be drained to remove liquid)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

1/2 cup Locatelli cheese, grated
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 egg

Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
Dried basil, to taste
Dash of nutmeg

Other ingredients:

Lasagna noodles (I used no cook noodles- I found the Delallo imported Italian brand to be the best) 

2-(8 oz. pkgs.) Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Locatelli cheese, grated
Fresh basil


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper (for quick and easy clean up) then coat the lined baking sheet with olive oil or olive oil cooking spray.

Clean and slice the veggies and layer all but the zucchini and yellow squash on the sheet. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, season with kosher salt, cracked pepper, basil, garlic powder and oregano to taste. Toss to coat all the veggies and place in the oven for 20 minutes. (After the 1st 10 minutes, I toss the veggies once again).

After 20 minutes, add the zucchini and yellow squash to the roasted veggies, toss and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven. I put the veggies in a colander over a bowl for 5 minutes before I start to assemble the lasagna and let any extra oil drip out so the lasagna is not too wet.

Once the garlic cloves cool down, carefully peel the skin off and slice. Add sliced garlic back in with the rest of the veggies. Add fresh basil and toss.

For the ricotta mixture: Combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Taste and re-season if needed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a large 9 X 13 glass-baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray.

  • Pour a bit of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish then place a few lasagna noodles down to completely cover the bottom of pan.
  • Add half of the ricotta mixture and spread evenly over the noodles.
  • Next add half of the roasted veggie mixture, half of the sautéed spinach and sprinkle with grated Locatelli cheese and mozzarella.
  • Cover the veggies with lasagna noodles then sauce. Add the last of the ricotta mixture then the remaining veggies, spinach and sprinkle with Locatelli cheese and mozzarella
  • Cover with lasagna noodles, more sauce then sprinkle the top with mozzarella, Locatelli cheese and dried basil.
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes remove the cover and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy


Spaghetti Alla Trapanese

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Click photos to enlarge

For the past few weeks, I have been trying to make all the simple dinners that my Mother used to make for us during the Summer months when she didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen with the oven on.

Well, last night I had a craving for her Spaghetti Alla Trapanese. This is a Sicilian dish named for it’s birth place, the town of Trapani in the western corner of Sicily.

Basically this is a raw sauce added to hot spaghetti. The sauce is made like  traditional Pesto Genovese sauce. Quick and easy.

Great meal if you don’t want to spend too much time preparing dinner.

I hope you try it and enjoy!

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!


Send me your comments if you try this recipe.

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You will need:


1 pint of cherry tomatoes

Large handful of basil leaves

1/3 cup of whole almonds, lightly toasted – the skin can be on or off

2 – 3 garlic cloves

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper – to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil

1/2 cup grated cheese

1 lb spaghetti or any long pasta of your choice


Toast the almonds in a dry pan or on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees between 5-10 minutes, until just lightly toasted. Watch carefully, they can burn easily. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Rinse and pat dry the tomatoes and basil.

In a food processor, ADD the tomatoes, garlic, cooled almonds, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and use short pulses until mixed well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

While the food processor is still running, add the olive oil and form a creamy paste- Do not puree. 

Put the pesto in a large bowl and taste for seasoning.

Generously salt the pasta water. Cook spaghetti 2 minutes under al dente as per package directions.

Save 1 cup of pasta water. 

Drain the spaghetti and toss into the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the spaghetti, ADD the grated cheese and toss again. Add pasta water, 1 tbsp at a time to adjust consistency so that the pesto coats the spaghetti and is not too dry or too thick. 

I serve the spaghetti immediately, but in can be served at room temperature.

Additional grated cheese can be added at the table. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

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Eggs in Purgatory

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Today I have been very melancholy about my paternal Grandmother. She was so near and dear to me. I have nothing but wonderful memories of her. 

I was always so proud of her that she came as a young woman to a new country, learned the language, learned the subway system better than any native New Yorker, got a job in the garment industry and took care of her family. 

I don’t think that I could go to another state, let alone another country and settle into a new life. It took a lot of courage. She was simply amazing and we were as close as close could be. She took me to every tourist attraction in New York as a young child and I was just fascinated with her and with her stories of Italy.

And to top it all off, she was a fantastic cook. I wish I had all her recipes today, but that generation didn’t write anything down. It was all by memory. She could make a meal out of whatever you had in the refrigerator with no recipe and in record breaking time and it was always delicious.

She made so many wonderful dishes. At the time we just took for granted that she would always be around to prepare them. You really have to appreciate the ones you love every day, because life can change in a minute.

I love her and miss her so much.


One of the dishes that my Grandmother always prepared for me was

Eggs in Purgatory

and I decided to share it with you today.  I just had to make it this morning to honor Grandma.

Basically “eggs in purgatory” are poached eggs in a spicy tomato sauce served with crusty toasted garlic bread. I think this is where I developed my taste for very spicy food.

It is funny how a certain food, certain smell or certain song can bring back so many wonderful memories.


Can serve 2 or 4 depending on how hungry you are. One egg is usually enough with the toast.

4 eggs

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 tbsp. of olive oil

15 oz. jar of passata (fresh tomato sauce), or any other tomato sauce you have available

2 tsp basil

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

Grated cheese

Crusty bread


Preheat a skillet on med low heat, add 4 tbsp. olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.

Add passata or any tomato sauce and stir. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes, with the back of the spoon make a well in the tomato sauce.

Crack each egg into a ramekin first and carefully add the eggs one by one on top of the sauce in the well. Do not submerge, leave some yellow of the yoke exposed. Repeat with remaining eggs. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Cover the skillet for 5-9 minutes. The white should be set and the yolk will still be runny.

During the cooking time, slice some ciabatta bread and place bread slices under the broiler until golden on both sides. Remove from the oven and rub a garlic clove over the bread followed by a drizzle of olive oil and set aside.

When the eggs are done, sprinkle with basil, black pepper and more cheese if desired.

Scoop the eggs out of the pan along with some sauce onto plates and serve with the garlic toast for dunking.

(When it is only me having the eggs, I reduce the ingredients and put the egg in a ramekin and bake it in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.)

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it. It is great for brunch with family or friends. 

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!


Fourth of July

4th-Of-July2- 4th INTRO

(photo credit:

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Wow, it’s the 4th of July

and that means Summer get togethers with family and friends.

 At the end of the post, along with my recipe, my dear friend Marie Renello of “Proud Italian Cook” has graciously allowed me to post a great 4th of July dessert recipe from her blog.

Fresh Watermelon Cake with Berries and Cream

Wait until you see this, it’s absolutely fabulous and I have included the link to her website so you can see step by step instructions with photos and browse the rest of her great recipes. She is amazing!

A little stroll down memory lane for me before we start the tablescape…

I have always loved this holiday since I was a little girl. My Uncle Vinny (every Italian girl has an Uncle Vinny) used to bring the greatest fireworks and my all time favorite “sparklers” to our home every year. (We won’t mention that they were illegal back then….anyway, the story continues).

My cousins and I couldn’t wait for dusk so he could set off the fireworks. It was a production for him to set up and we all watched in amazement. He would always set up down the block and we weren’t allowed to go anywhere near the preparation. That was rule # 1.

We would lay on blankets on the front lawn, looking up to the sky for the show with all the oohs and aahs that go along with fireworks and then the sparklers would come out. Did I mention they were my favorite?

I still feel like a kid on 4th of July whenever I see sparklers at any special occasion such as a milestone birthday or a wedding.

But before the great fireworks extravaganza there was the barbecue. Oh, the food. My parents took all their hosting events very seriously and of course, being Italian we had more food in one day than you could possibly eat in a month.

We had a traditional antipasto with all the cheeses, cured meats and pickled vegetables – that was just a given. My Grandmother would make Linguine with Crab Sauce from the fresh crabs my Dad caught at Jones Beach Pier. Very often I would go crabbing with Dad and get all the traps ready. I still have the original traps in my attic; but I have never used them without Dad.

Linguine was mandatory, because after all, what is an Italian get together without some sort of macaroni on the table, no matter what the occasion? Then my parents went to town with the rest of the food.

I remember going with my Dad to the Italian food store to get sausage for my Mother’s Sausage and Peppers and skinny sausage rings for the grill. Everything had to be just so. Then there was the butcher to buy the steaks, chicken thighs and lamb for the grill. My Mother would marinate the meat with her “secret recipe” (I wish I knew what was in that).

Can’t forget some sort of fish to grill (most of the time my Father caught the fish himself) and last but not least, the lonely platter of hot dogs and hamburgers and their buns just waiting in case anyone should ask for one. After all, this was an American holiday.

My mom would start with all the side dishes. Caprese salad (home grown tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil drizzled with olive oil and some fresh black pepper), roasted peppers in olive oil and Lots of GARLIC (you won’t have a cold with that dish or friends either because you would smell like garlic for days), Potato, onion and string bean salad in oil and red wine vinegar (recipe in Beach Stripe post),  Foccacia with olives and rosemary, tomato salad, pasta salad, rice salad, panzanella salad (stale bread soaked in the juice of tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil and onion) and then the American, baked beans, tossed salad and corn on the cob.

Of course this was followed by all types of fruit and Italian pastries, Grandma’s amaretto cream puffs plus apple pie and ice cream. Espresso with anisette, sugar and a tiny piece of lemon peel and “American” coffee as my family called it.

After the fireworks,  Grandma always had some snacks ready in case you were hungry. Yes, I said hungry. The snacks were always zeppoles and calzone stuffed with ricotta and ham. Keep in mind this was all for a dozen people. And yes, we ate the zeppoles and calzones.

Food is Love to any Italian family. What can I say?

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I introduced my potato salad with God forbid, mayonnaise to the party. Mayonnaise was not used at these outdoor barbecues because it could spoil, everything had vinegar in it. I put my potato salad on ice and after much convincing, it was allowed to stand next to all the Italian dishes.

Over the years I have received many compliments on my potato salad, so I wanted to share it with you today. I love sharing recipes with all the DishingwithDiane members.

I made it a tradition in my family that the first time I will ever make this during the year is on the 4th of July. After that, I make it all summer. 

(I have included a recipe for my Potato Salad at the end of the post).

The funny thing is, that with all the Italian influences; you would think that the Italian flag would be flying, but the back yard was decorated in all Red, White and Blue and God Bless America signs and American flags hanging proudly on the back porch and the front of the house.

We are proud Americans of Italian descent.

My grandmother loved this holiday to celebrate America because for her, coming from Italy at a young age, America was truly the land of opportunity.

Fourth-of-July-WhatsApp-Messages- 2ND CHOICE

(photo credit:

Now on to the tablescape…

For this tablescape, I chose a very rustic looking dish set. The set is by the American Folk Artist and antiques collector, Warren Kimball and the pattern is called Colonial. It is a melamine dish made to look like a “wooden American flag”. I just felt it fit perfectly for the 4th of July and melamine is shatterproof and perfect for outdoor events.

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Now the tablecloth. I am using a navy tablecloth with white stars– just perfect. I never bought the matching napkins to the tablecloth so since this a barbecue; I am using 4th of July paper napkins for the holiday and continued with the flag theme.

2015-07-04 03.41.06 - NAPKIN AND TABLECLOTH

I dug out my galvanized charger plates. (My husband thinks they look like the tops of garbage cans, but I am using them anyway); to continue the rustic feel.

There is just something about these charger plates that also give me the Americana feel and I think they look great with the dishes. Once again, I am using my old stand by, my red woven placemats.

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The flatware was an easy choice because when I bought the dishes, I also bought the matching flatware.

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I use these dishes and flatware the entire month of July.

Yes, I change my dishes monthly.

What’s a dish collection if you don’t use them? Use your stuff, don’t save it, have fun!

Remember, make every day a celebration!

The glassware, well it was a toss up. Either striped blue and red glasses or the mason jar mugs. I chose the blue and red striped since I just used the mason jar mugs for my Memorial Day tablescape. 

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 I wanted to keep the centerpiece simple since the entire tablescape has a lot going on with all the extras on the table.

I am using a water pitcher with a star design and “America the Beautiful” written around the neck of the pitcher.

Let’s move on because I will have that song in my head all day. I think I just stopped singing it from Memorial Day.

I put red, white and blue carnations and Gerber daisies in the pitcher.

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Close up of the flowers.

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I usually use artificial flowers when I entertain outside in the Summer, just in case the real flowers have a mind of their own and wilt in the heat. No one wants a wilted centerpiece.

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I decided to add some galvanized pails that match the charger to hold a few additional items for each place setting. This addition is also my “party favor” for guests. In the pail, I put a mini bottle of Coke- very American, a small American flag, a themed paper napkin and a cute little patriotic pinwheel clip.

Just before the guests arrive, I will add some fresh baked cookies and of course they will have to be chocolate chip. 

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Close up of the party favor.

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I love to have party favors at all my parties. It doesn’t have to be a big gift. A little token from the party adds to the wonderful memories. I have used cookies, jam, mini champagne bottles, candy, etc. Use your imagination. I feel an edible item is the best- everyone loves to eat.

(I ordered some sparklers for this tablescape, but they didn’t arrive in time- oh well, I’ll use them next year. That is, if they last that long….I just love sparklers. I may be serving dinner or dessert with sparklers. Bob will be surprised; then again with me, maybe not).

 I love using candles on a table too. Everyone looks good in candlelight.

For this tablescape, I am using some patriotic star votive candles that I have had for years to add a little brightness. I had to take the photo with one candle not lit so you could see the pattern on the glass without the glare from the flame.

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Just for a little fun I also place two Frisbees on the table. You might need a little exercise after your big meal.

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Table Setting2015-07-04 00.39.41- PLACE SETTING

And now my 2015 July 4th tablescape is done.

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Thank you for letting me share my memories of the 4th of July with you. I hope you enjoyed the tablescape and you try the Potato salad and Watermelon cake recipes below. 

 I have such fond memories of the 4th of July and all the fun we had. Sadly, most of the relatives that I shared 4th of July fireworks and barbecues with growing up have passed on; but they will always be in my heart.  

I am now ready for my own barbecue (on a much smaller scale of course).

I have to go boil some potatoes and make potato salad, so I’ll see you next time. 

Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July!

Make some great memories of your own with your family and friends this holiday.     

Be safe and keep your pets safe too.

Until my next post, stay well and make every day a celebration!


2015-07-04 01.00.06- PLACE SETTING II

Table Details

The dishes and flatware were purchased so long ago, I forgot from where. I have a lot of sets that I can’t remember where I purchased them- sorry, be prepared. After all, my collection of dishes was collected over 40 yrs.

Galvanized chargers from Pottery Barn

Red placemats from Homegoods

Red and Blue striped glasses from the Dollar store

Patriotic pitcher from Homegoods

Navy tablecloth from Macy’s

Red, white and blue carnations,Gerber daisies, flags and pinwheel clips from Michael’s Arts and Crafts

Frisbee and paper themed napkins from Party City

Patriotic votive candles from Crate and Barrel


Diane’s Potato Salad

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2015-07-04 07.58.42- POTATO SALAD


5 lb bag of red potatoes- NOT PEELED – boil whole until a fork can pierce the skin but not mushy – DRAIN

2 ½ C         Hellman’s mayo – NOT LIGHT  

5 TBSP      Red Wine Vinegar

3 ¾ tsp       Kosher salt

2 ½ tsp       Sugar

¾ tsp          Pepper

2 ½ C         Celery (chopped)

1 ½ C         Red onion (diced)

1 dz            Hard boiled eggs

(Shredded carrots are optional)

* Safety check…

Check your eggs for signs of cracks. Since fresh eggs are harder to peel it is best if you purchase your eggs a week prior to boiling. You can test the freshness of the eggs by placing them into a glass of water. The freshest eggs will lie on the bottom of the water on its side. As an egg ages the air pocket inside grows so your egg will start to stand up on end. An egg that floats to the top should be discarded.


Mix mayo and vinegar together—Add salt, pepper, and sugar and mix thoroughly.

Add celery and onions—Next add potatoes WARM  (cut into bite size pieces)

Add eggs (sliced) and fold all ingredients together.


*I think the potato salad tastes best after it has cooled in the refrigerator for a few hours and all the flavors have blended together. If you try this recipe, please send me your comments. I love hearing from you.

Fresh Watermelon Cake with Berries and Cream

from “Proud Italian Cook”

cut-melon-cake1redo- watermelon cake

Refreshing, unexpected and a beautiful way to serve a watermelon, transformed to look like a cake. It’s healthy and delicious too!
Author: Marie
  • 1 whole seedless watermelon
  • 3 cups of heavy whipping cream ( you’ll probably have some extra)
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar or other sweetener like stevia
  • assorted fresh berries and other garnishes of your choice like nuts, sliced almonds, coconut, sprinkles, etc.
  1. First whip your cream with the confectioners sugar and vanilla, whip until you get nice stiff peeks, then refrigerate bowl.
  2. Wash and dry the whole watermelon.
  3. With a sharp knife slice the top and bottom off.
  4. Standing upright begin removing the dark green rind all around.
  5. Keep trimming the sides removing the light green rind underneath and trimming it into a nice cylinder shape.
  6. Wipe and pat dry the cylinder with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  7. Place shaped and patted dry melon on serving platter.
  8. Spread cold whipped cream all over with a rubber spatula, top and sides.
  9. Garnish with berries or other things of your choice.
  10. At this point you can refrigerate it until ready to cut. I placed the whole platter into my fridge and didn’t cover it, but if you had a cake plate topper that would fit over the top, that would be fine too but not necessary.
  11. If you have some of the “cake”remaining after cutting just refrigerate soon after so the whipped cream doesn’t melt down, especially on a hot day.

Click on the link below for the step by step instructions with photos

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happy-4th-of-july-wallpapers-festivals-and-events- 4TH CLOSING

(photo credit: