Monthly Archives: February 2023

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,