Category Archives: Soup

Big Chill Dinner

Photo Jan 06, 6 10 13 PM SOUP AND CHICKEN


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Hi Everyone. 

First of all, I hope that you are all safe & warm from the inclement weather that is sweeping across the country.

Here in the Northeast, we have 14 inches of snow, strong winds and single digit temperatures with wind chills below zero. Not very pleasant.

Please check in on your neighbors to see if they are okay, especially the elderly during this harsh weather.

I have a few recipes that I want to share with you today to hopefully make life a little easier during this weather. It’s brutal to go outside to shovel snow for hours in this blustery weather and then come in and have too start a meal for the family when you are exhausted.

The first recipe is one that I have been using for years and it is fantastic. It is …

Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker

You season your chicken with a dry rub, into the crock pot with some veggies and you are free for 8 hours to do your other errands (like shoveling). I highly recommend you try this…

Cooks note- In the photo below, I roasted additional vegetables in the oven because I am saving the vegetables in the crock pot for chicken stock.

(I roasted potatoes, parsnips, carrots, red onions, garlic and brussel sprouts)

Here is the recipe. I found it on


Photo Jan 06, 7 09 34 PM CROCK POT CHICKEN



  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  • 1 cup chopped onion, approx. 1 medium to large onion
  • 4 to 5 carrots, scrubbed, no need to peel, chopped in halves or thirds (I peeled them)
  • 4 celery stalks, cut in thirds
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 whole lemon quartered
  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lbs. roasting or fryer chicken


  1. Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Prep the vegetables and place inside the slow cooker (I use a 7-quart oval).
  2. Remove chicken from packaging and remove neck and pouch with organs. Discard or reserve for later use in another recipe. Rinse chicken with water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Rub garlic all over outside of the chicken. Put garlic inside the chicken. Put the rub all over the outside and inside the chicken. Add quartered lemon to the inside of the chicken.  (I also added parsley inside the chicken).
  4. Place chicken on top of the vegetables. Cover slow cooker and cook chicken on low for 4-8 hours. (When I used a 4 lb chicken, it took about 6 hours. The time will depend on the size of the chicken and your slow cooker.) Cook until the internal temperature of the leg is at 160 degrees F or use a pop-up thermometer as the original recipe calls for.
  5. Remove chicken and place in a 9×13 glass or ceramic baking dish. Place baking dish in the oven under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes. Allow chicken to rest after removing it from the broiler for 5-10 minutes.


 I make chicken stock with the veggies and juices in the crock pot.

 Chicken Stock in the Crock Pot


  • Leftover chicken bones or carcass roughly equivalent to one small or medium sized chicken
  • 1 onion, peeled and loosely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Salt, to taste
    Note: If you are missing any of these ingredients I wouldn’t let that stop you from making it anyway.


  1. After removing all edible meat from the chicken put/leave the bones, skin, cooking juices, etc. in the crock pot. If you are using the chicken carcass from the “Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot” recipe just leave every single thing that’s leftover (except the good meat of course) in the crock pot including the original onion and spices you used when making the chicken.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrot and spices on top of the bones and fill the crock pot almost to the top with tap water (leaving about ½” at the top).
  3. Turn the slow cooker onto “low” after dinner and cook all night long or alternatively you could start it in the morning and cook on “low” for 8 – 10 hours during the day.
  4. After the stock is done cooking turn off the heat and, using a soup ladle, pass the stock through a fine sieve to remove all herbs/bones/etc.


Since cold weather calls for hot soup, here is another favorite recipe of mine.


This is a soup that my mother made for us all the time and it hits the spot.

Best part, it’s quick.

Having this soup and the crock pot chicken is a perfect combination.

Stracciatella Soup with Spinach (rice or pasta -optional)

Cooks Note:  I add mini cheese ravioli to the soup whenever I can find them in the store, instead of rice. Lately, I have been lucky to find bags in Trader Joe’s. I think they look much cuter than rice.


  • 1 ½ quarts of chicken broth (6 cups), homemade is best. Low sodium boxed chicken broth is fine too. Be sure it’s MSG free.
  • 3 large eggs
  • Grated cheese (½ cup)
  • 1 tbsp. of semolina or fine breadcrumbs
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 cups fresh spinach (stems removed)
  • Black pepper to taste.


  • Heat broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.
  • Add 2 cups spinach to the broth to wilt
  • In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, grated cheese, nutmeg and semolina 
  • With a wooden spoon, swirl the soup in a circular motion while slowly pouring the egg mixture. Simmer for 1 minute
  • (optional- 1 ½ cups of cooked rice or pasta of your choice can also be added)
  • Serve the soup with some additional grated cheese and black pepper.


I hope you enjoy these recipes and stay safe and warm during the BIG CHILL.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well, 


Thank you for visiting my blog.

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

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Also, continue to send me your comments, I LOVE hearing from you.




She Crab Soup

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Hi everyone,

Well, I’m back from vacation.

Bob and I spent a lovely 10 days celebrating his 60th Birthday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Even though I live on Long Island, NY and my home is not too far from the beaches, there is something so different and calming about staying in a home on the beach and falling asleep to the sound of the waves and waking up to a spectacular view of the sunrise over the ocean. Bob thoroughly enjoyed his relaxing birthday.

In addition to the days on the beach, whenever I visit Myrtle Beach, I always enjoy one of my favorite soups. I know, hot soup in the summer, but this soup is very popular on the South Carolina coast and it is “She Crab Soup”. I just love it.

Photo Jul 10, 11 25 54 AM.jpg SHE CRAB SOUP

Bob and I drove from Myrtle Beach to spend a day in Charleston, South Carolina; where She Crab soup is the city’s signature dish. 

We read about a restaurant on Yelp that has won awards for it’s She Crab soup and off we went to sample this award winning soup. The soup is a combination of cream, crab-meat, a splash of sherry and female crab red orange roe (eggs). A cross between a bisque and a chowder.

We arrived at 82 Queen Restaurant and had a very nice dinner (including the soup), while watching all the horse drawn carriages pass by the restaurant.

Here are a few pics from our day in Charleston, SC and the “award winning” She Crab Soup.

Photo Jun 29, 6 34 23 PM.jpg 82 queen sign

Photo Jun 29, 5 36 37 PM.jpg 82 QUEEN FRONT

82 Queen Courtyard…
Photo Jun 29, 7 51 00 PM.jpg 82 Queen

Love the horse drawn carriages…
Photo Jun 29, 6 30 52 PM.jpg CARRIAGE

The award winning “She Crab” soup… with roe

Photo Jun 29, 6 56 24 PM.jpg 82 QUEEN SOUP

The roe just takes the soup over the top with a fantastic flavor, but roe is not harvested all over the nation in an effort to preserve the supply of crabs and it is very hard to come by in some areas.

When I first tasted this soup many years ago on a trip to Myrtle Beach and fell in love with it, it contained the roe. Now a lot of restaurants aren’t adding it, but the basic recipe is still fantastic on its own.

One of the waitresses told me that two crumbled hard-boiled egg yolks can be substituted for the ¼ cup roe needed for the traditional recipe to give it the right texture.

This year, back in Myrtle Beach, I was fortunate enough to get a recipe from one of the local chefs for “She Crab Soup” and I have to share it with you.

I made this soup when we got home (with a little tweaking of course).

Photo Jul 10, 11 26 15 AM.jpg SHE CRAB CLOSE

She Crab Soup

By Chef Heidi Vukov 

Owner of Croissants Bistro & Bakery


¼ lb. butter

¼ cup flour

2 cups small diced celery

2 cups diced onion

½ cup sherry

2 quarts heavy cream

½ tsp nutmeg

1 lb. lump crab-meat (fresh is best)

Salt & pepper to taste

COOKS NOTES: I tweaked this recipe by adding,

2 crumbled hard-boiled egg yolks

½ tsp. Hungarian paprika

Chives (for garnish)


  1. In a large pot over high heat, melt butter and add flour, mixing well. Cook until a blonde roux is formed. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the celery and onions and cook until the onions are translucent. Deglaze the pot with sherry….Move to a double boiler.
  2. Add heavy cream*. Bring to a boil. Add nutmeg

*(I added the crumbled egg yolks and paprika with the cream)

  1. Gently fold in the crab-meat.
  2. Thin with additional cream if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

COOKS NOTE: I garnished with chives and fresh crab-meat.


I hope you give it a try.

We are still in vacation mode so we are going down to the beach tonight with some of my “She Crab soup” and biscuits and have a relaxing night on the beach.


By the way, the birthday boy is the ultimate NY Yankees baseball fan so I had to get him the ultimate NY Yankee Stadium birthday cake for his 60th Birthday!

 (The cake is also from Croissants Bistro & Bakery).

If I lived in Myrtle Beach I would eat there every day….just delicious.

Here is a pic of the cake… had to show you, almost too pretty to cut.

Photo Jun 26, 10 09 34 PM.jpg YANKEE CAKE

and the filling…marble cake with peanut butter & chocolate mousse.

Two of Bob’s favorites.

Photo Jun 26, 11 09 00 PM.jpg SLICED CAKE


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,


Thank you for visiting my blog.

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

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

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

Photo Jul 01, 7 18 23 AM.jpg - BOB AND DIANE IN SHELLS


Happy Mother’s Day 2017

MothersDay-CateringPage-768x768.jpg MOTHER'S DAY END

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Photo May 12, 8 35 02 PM.jpg EXTRA

Hi Everyone,

Wow, Mother’s Day is here already. It feels as if I just packed up the Christmas decorations……

Every year when Mother’s Day approaches, I never think of myself as being one of the mom’s to be celebrated with that great honor of being a mom; even though I have been a mother for almost 27 years.

Instead, I think of the other mother’s and strong women in my life. My grandmother, my mother, and my sisters. I wish they were here today, so I could show them how much I love them and tell them what they mean to me.

I am fortunate to come from a long line of strong women who taught me great lessons.

They taught me unconditional love, family traditions, all about my heritage, perseverance, and gave me a strong work ethic to get things done.

Another important lesson I learned from these women, “If you don’t want to fail, then you don’t give up”. This is something that I remind myself of when life gets a little overwhelming.

I told you they were strong women.

So today’s tablescape, honors these women in my life who made a difference along with my mother-in-law who gave me the love of my life.

Bob is an angel on earth and I couldn’t imagine a day without him.


When I think of a Mother’s Day tablescape, I think it should be very feminine.

The first set of dishes that immediately came to mind were a set of floral dishes from the Kathy Ireland collection.

So let’s get started…

The dishes are the Georgian Estate pattern by Kathy Ireland and they are porcelain with a cream background with various flowers and leaves in shades of pink, lilac and green.

Photo May 12, 8 27 06 PM.jpg KATHY IRELAND DISHES

I am starting the tablescape with a dusty rose tablecloth. This color goes so well with the flowers on the dishes and it is also one of my favorite colors.

(It looks a little more coral in the photo due to lighting, but it is a deep rose in person).

Photo May 12, 7 08 11 PM.jpg - TABLECLOTH

Since my mother of pearl charger plate is so detailed and beautiful on it’s own, I am not using a placemat. The charger looks great against the dusty rose tablecloth.

Photo May 12, 7 07 30 PM.jpg CHARGER

This tablescape gives me a great opportunity to use my new purchase, pearl napkins rings. The pearls add to my very feminine theme and also remind me of my mom and her pearls. They will be used along with blush pink napkins.

Photo May 12, 7 13 07 PM.jpg NAPKIN AND PEARLS

Flatware will be off white pearl to match the chargers.

Photo May 12, 7 13 49 PM.jpg FLATWARE

My glassware will be Waterford Marquis goblets. 

Photo May 12, 8 29 43 PM.jpg SPARKLE GOBLET

The centerpiece can be no other than roses. What mom doesn’t want to receive flowers on Mother’s Day?

Photo May 12, 8 30 37 PM.jpg ROSES

You know how much I love candles, so I am using mercury glass votive candle holders and champagne scented candles.

Absolutely wonderful fragrance from Pier 1.

Photo May 12, 8 17 49 PM.jpg CANDLES

What is more feminine than pearls and diamonds?  So I am mixing pearl and crystal table scatter along with glass pebbles in shades of pink, frosted white and burgundy to decorate the table.

Photo May 12, 8 28 32 PM.jpg TABLE SCATTER

My centerpiece, along with the flowers have little mementos that remind me of my mother, grandmother and mother-in-law.

A strand of pearls for my mother; she wore pearls every day. 

She was such an elegant lady, full of love and a warm heart.

A trinket box for my grandmother and a pair of gloves.

The handbag trinket box was a gift from my grandmother and every time she took me out for a special day to the Plaza Hotel’s Palm Court restaurant in NYC for afternoon tea, she always bought me a new pair of gloves to go with my dress. I see gloves and I think of grandma.

Fruit jelly slices for my mother-in-law.

Jelly slices were her favorite candy in the world. We just bought them for her whenever we saw them- no special occasion necessary. When I see them I think of the smile on her face whenever we gave her a box.

Photo May 12, 7 15 49 PM.jpg CENTERPIECE CLOSE UP

These memories help to make the centerpiece complete.

Photo May 12, 7 16 12 PM.jpg CENTERPIECE

Photo May 12, 8 35 27 PM.jpg INTRO

Now that I spoke of them, I have to take this opportunity to share a few pictures with you of these beloved women…

This is a photo of me (I am the youngest) and my sisters with my mom in 1961.

Squeglia Girls - July 1961.jpg FOR BLOG POST.jpg with NAME


Me with my beautiful mom ( and her pearls).

Diane&Mom 1963.jpg DIANE AND MOM FOR BLOG

Me and my sisters.

Every year I dressed in the same color as one of my sisters for Easter.

2013-08-19 22.06.34.jpg SISTERS FOR BLOG

The next two photos are of my grandmother. The first picture when she was 19 years old and the second picture when she was 90 years old with my son. 

14002488_10210560634400779_758390721_o GRANDMA AT 19


GrandmaMichael.jpg FOR BLOG

The next picture is of my mother-in-law with my husband Bob (on the left) and his two brothers.

2015-05-10 09.12.55.jpg FREDA AND HER BOYS

Bob and his mom.

2014-10-30 22.59.19.jpg BOB AND HIS MOM

I miss them all dearly, but I am blessed to have had them in my life…


This year Bob wanted to take me out for Mother’s Day, but I decided to stay home for Mother’s Day dinner instead and Bob will be helping me cook. My son will not be able to come home for a visit, so Bob and I are planning our day driving out east on Long Island to some of the farms to get some new plants for the flower garden as well as my vegetable garden before returning home for dinner.

My menu for Mother’s Day 2017 with be some of my favorite dishes…

(Bob helped prepare and taste test the recipes for me last night so I could take the photos and share the recipes with all of you today).

(recipes at the end of the post)

Starting with a …

Mimosa or Bellini 

1st course: Shrimp and Champagne Bisque soup with Gruyere Cheese

Photo May 12, 11 03 47 PM.jpg SOUP

2nd course: Tart with Pancetta and Green Onions

Photo May 13, 5 17 12 AM.jpg TART

Spinach salad with strawberries, mandarin oranges, goat cheese and sliced almonds.

Photo May 13, 5 33 47 AM (1).jpg ENTREE

Dessert: Chocolate cake with chocolate and dulce de leche mousse, served on a pink glass vintage cake stand.

(purchased- no recipe)

Photo May 13, 1 11 38 AM.jpg cake Full

Photo May 13, 1 13 53 AM.jpg CAKE WITH SPARKLE.jpg WITH NAME

Photo May 13, 1 34 48 AM (1).jpg SLICE PHOTO 1


Maybe, if I have room left after dinner, Bob and I will go out for some homemade ice cream and return home to relax on the patio.

Sounds like a perfect Mother’s Day for me.

I wish all of you moms, moms to be, grandmothers, godmothers, stepmoms and pet moms a wonderful, happy and joyous Mother’s Day.

Enjoy your children, grandchildren, family and friends and make great memories.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well.


Place Setting

Photo May 12, 8 33 26 PM.jpg PLACE SETTING

Table Details

Kathy Ireland dishes – pattern, Georgian Estate from Dinnerware Depot

Dusty rose tablecloth from Amazon

Blush napkins from Amazon

Pearl napkin rings from Amazon

Mother of Pearl chargers from Pier 1  

Goblets and Champagne flutes from Waterford

Off white Pearl flatware from Amazon

Mercury glass votive candle holders from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Champagne scented votive candles from Pier 1

Pearl and crystal table scatter from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Shades of pink glass table scatter from Michael’s Arts & Crafts

Pink vintage cake plate from Pier 1

White cake plate to display centerpiece from Target



Shrimp and Champagne Bisque with Gruyere Cheese

Makes about 6 cups


4 tablespoons butter
½ cup minced shallots
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups clam juice
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 pound Medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Champagne or other dry sparkling wine
2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh chives
Garnish: Gruyère cheese, chives


In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots, and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle in flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Gradually whisk in clam juice and stock; bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. (At this point, soup can be refrigerated up to 3 days.)

Cut shrimp into ¼-inch pieces. Over medium-low heat, add cream and Champagne. Return soup to a simmer, and slowly whisk in cheese ¼ cup at a time, letting melt between additions. Stir in chives and shrimp, and cook for 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Garnish with shredded Gruyère and chives.

Note: Clam juice can be replaced with chicken stock for a milder flavor.

Recipe courtesy of the Cottage Journal


Breakfast Tart with Pancetta and Green Onions


  • Butter, for the pan
  • Flour, for the pan
  • 1 — 9-inch unroll-and-bake refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded gruyere cheese
  • 3 scallions, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Unroll the pie crust and gently press into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim any excess from the top.

With the tines of a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry. Using a pastry brush, brush the crust with the beaten egg white. Put the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until the egg white has set. Let cool 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, until browned and crispy. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk in the mascarpone, gruyere, scallions, salt, pepper and the pancetta. Pour into the cooled crust and bake for about 18 minutes, until the mixture has set and the top is golden.

Cool the tart for 10 to 15 minutes and then remove from the pan. Cut the tart into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis from “Weeknights with Giada” for Food Network Magazine


There is no recipe for the salad….I just mixed some fresh spinach with fruit, almonds and poppy seed dressing. 


Thank you for visiting my blog.

If you enjoy the posts, please spread the word and ask your family and friends to  “follow”, “like” , “share”  and please join.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

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

mothers_day_mkh.jpg mother day 2

Rainy Day Recipes…

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Hi Everyone, 

I don’t know if any of you are like me and have joined various “food groups” on Facebook. I love chatting with members of these groups, sharing recipes and finding new ones.

I received numerous requests for two recipes that I recently posted on one of my Facebook food groups; so I thought that I would share the recipes with all of my members.

I call them “Rainy Day Recipes” because they are comfort food to me when the weather outside is cold and nasty and you just want to stay in and be warm.

The recipes are for Spinach Quiche and Sausage, Bean and Spinach  Soup.


Sausage, Bean and Spinach Soup



  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. sausage (casings removed)
  • 2- 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 10 oz. pkg. of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and wrung free of water)
  • 1 medium onion- fine dice
  • 2 carrots – fine dice
  • 1 celery stalk – fine dice
  • 1 potato – fine dice
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 spring of fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cans cannellini beans- drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups broth – chicken or vegetable
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • (piece of parmesan rind – optional)


  • Heat olive oil over medium heat, add sausage and brown – approx… 10 minutes
  • Add ¼ cup red wine to scrape up all the sausage bits
  • Add diced onion, carrots, celery, potato and tomato paste- cook until the vegetables get soft
  • Add garlic, beans, and diced tomatoes, mix well. 2-3 minutes
  • Add broth, spinach, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and parmesan rind if using. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes.
  • The soup tastes better the more it sits.

Cooks Note: I served this soup with melted Dubliner cheese on toasted ciabatta bread. 


Spinach Quiche



  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • ½ cup real mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1/3 cup minced onions or shallots
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • 8 ounces shredded, sharp or mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach (thawed and wrung free of water)
  • (1) 9-inch unbaked frozen “deep Dish” pie shell


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Hand whip eggs, half-and-half, mayonnaise, and flour in a medium-mixing bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients.Pour into an unbaked 9-inch, deep-dish piecrust.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until top is golden brown.

6-8 servings

Cooks note: this basic recipe can also be used to make chopped broccoli quiche too – use  Dubliner, Swiss or cheddar cheese. Mix whatever combination you like.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!


Please ask your family and friends to “follow”, “like” and “share”  .

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

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


Dinner by the Fireplace- Soup & Sandwich

2016-01-24 13.27.55 - SNOWSTORM JONAS

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Hi Everyone,

I hope all of my friends on the East Coast survived “Snowstorm Jonas” with no problems last week.

We had 26 inches of snow where I live; but luckily no power outages. I guess we had to pay the price for having a 60 degree Christmas.

It seems as though once the snowflakes start to fall, everyone starts to cook. The craving for comfort food and baked goods is overwhelming. And let’s not forget the hot chocolate after shoveling ourselves out.

I made Tuscan Bean Soup and Vegetable Lasagna during the storm and if I didn’t have my Blogiversary cake left to eat, there would have been Brownies coming out of my oven.

I just LOVE soup with a sandwich or even soup and a buttered roll and any chance I get to make soup, I grab it. I think I could live on soup and be quite happy.

I am always collecting soup recipes and tweaking them here and there and I found a great recipe on Pinterest by Wanderlust Kitchen. I have many recipes for Tuscan Bean Soup, but I wanted to give this a try. (Of course with a little tweaking). It promised to be a 30 minute meal with preparation included.

2016-01-30 22.59.41  SOUP CLOSE UP

I was also in the mood for a grilled cheese sandwich and

my husband is the “King of the grilled cheese sandwich”.

He makes the best sandwiches I have ever had. We attribute this to his college days working part time at the grill of a local bowling alley to make a little extra spending money. (If we’re lucky, he’ll tell us his secret.) 

You just can’t beat bowling alley grilled cheese and french fries. I don’t know what it is.

2016-01-30 22.59.38  SANDWICH CLOSE UP

 If you have soup and a sandwich as a meal, what better way to eat it, then on a soup and sandwich tray duo? These trays are by Miles Kimball. 

Aren’t they the cutest? What more can I say? 

White ceramic trays perfectly sized for soup and a sandwich or soup and a salad.

2016-01-30 21.38.3  DUO TRAY

I recently saw these trays featured in a cooking catalog; but they were not used for soup. They were used for cake and ice cream or a muffin and fruit. 

With my love of soup, I just couldn’t pass these up and it makes your meal portable.

I bought these years ago from a catalog that I loved that went out of business recently, “Chefs Catalog”. I’ll miss their catalog. I bought so many products from them. (Just ask Bob).

Another one of their products that I love, is their soup spoons. Can’t forget those.

chef catalog soup spoon

Since I was a little girl, my mother always served soup with a soup spoon and I still do it today. I have gotten so used to it, that it drives me crazy when I go to a restaurant and they serve soup with a large dinner spoon and not a soup spoon.

You think they would know better.

 I think I might have to start carrying around my own soup spoon.

Anyway, here is the final product for my Snowstorm Jonas menu.

2016-01-30 22.59.48 - FINAL

Bob and I decided since the meal was portable, we would have dinner in front of the fireplace, instead of setting the table in the kitchen.

We wanted to be toasty, comfy and cozy while the snow was falling.

2016-01-30 23.30.28- FIREPLACE WITH FRAME

So during the storm, I had my honey, my soup, a sandwich and a fire. 

What more could I ask for? 

So Let it Snow!


Note– Scroll to the top left hand corner of each picture for the white and red “pin it” button and add photos to your Pinterest page.

Now for the Recipes…

Tuscan Bean Soup

Note: Recipe adapted from Wanderlust Kitchen.

 I made a few changes to the original recipe: 

  • I used 3 cups of chopped spinach – original recipe used kale, ribs removed
  • I used 1 (14 oz) can of canellini beans, drained and rinsed and 1 (14 oz) can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed- original recipe used 2 (14 oz) cans of canellini beans, drained and rinsed.
  • I used locatelli grated cheese & Dubliner cheese to top the soup- original recipe used Parmesan & Dubliner cheese.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 yellow summer squash, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 quart vegetable (or chicken) broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with juices
  • 3 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar


  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 6 quart or larger Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, zucchini, and squash. Saute for 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme and rosemary. Cook 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the broth, beans, and tomatoes. Bring the contents to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and add the chopped spinach. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Use an immersion blender* to partially puree the soup, leaving some chunks of beans vegetables for texture.
  • Add the salt, pepper, sugar, and vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.


*Alternatively, transfer small amounts to a counter top blender and puree as desired.

Serve topped with Parmesan or Dubliner cheese and a side of crusty bread.

Bob’s Grilled Cheese

Ingredients: serves 2

  • 4 slices of bread (your choice)
  • butter
  •  8 slices of American cheese

2016-01-30 22.44.09 INGREDIENTS

Directions for ONE sandwich:

  • Preheat skillet on LOW
  • Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a microwave safe dish for 25 seconds
  • SECRET # 1 – Brush one side of each slice of bread with the melted butter
  • In the preheated skillet add 1 tbsp butter
  • Once melted, place the first slice of bread, BUTTERED SIDE DOWN in the skillet
  • Add four slices of cheese
  • Top with the second slice of bread, BUTTERED SIDE UP
  • Increase heat to MEDIUM
  • Cook for approximately one minute pressing down occasionally with a spatula until bottom half is golden brown
  • FLIP the bread and REPEAT THE PROCESS with the second side of the sandwich
  • FLIP the bread once again and repeat the process completely flipping each sandwich twice
  • Now shut the burner and remove the skillet from the heat
  • SECRET # 2–  Cover the skillet with either a cheese melting dome, plate or pot cover for 1 minute and allow to sit and the cheese to completely melt
  • Slice, serve & enjoy!

Enjoy the preparation slideshow

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Until my next post, make every day a celebration!


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Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

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


Happy New Year 2016 – Lentil Soup

2015-01-01 20.58.20- replace soup

(Click on PHOTO to enlarge and then hit the back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone,

From my family to yours, have a very Happy, Healthy New Year.

All the best to you in 2016.

It is customary in many countries around the world to eat “Good Luck” foods to ring in the New Year.

On New Year’s Day in the Italian tradition it is customary to eat Lentils and Cotechino Sausage. The lentils, because they are shaped like little coins symbolize good fortune and prosperity. The cotechino, is a big pork sausage that’s boiled over low heat for about four hours before serving. When sliced, the pieces also look like coins and is meant to give wealth in the new year. My grandmother would also add spinach to the lentils because it is green and resembles the color of money.

So to keep with tradition, I wanted to share my recipes for Lentils with you. 

2015-01-01 20.58.20- replace soup

Diane’s Lentil Soup


2 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1 medium red onion, chopped

3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, chopped

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

1 (14 ½ oz.) can of diced tomatoes with their juices

1 bag of lentils (1 bag usually equals 1 ¼ cups)

8 cups low sodium chicken broth (2 boxes) or homemade broth

4- 6 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 cup grated cheese

Cooks Note: I always make lentil soup when I have the bone of a spiral ham. You could use a ham hock or skip this ingredient entirely


  • Sort lentils for any stones, rinse with cold water – set aside
  • Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat
  • Add the red onion, celery and carrots and a pinch of salt to sweat the vegetables.
  • After 2-3 minutes add the garlic and pinch of red pepper and sauté until all the vegetables are tender, about 5-8 minutes
  • Add the tomatoes with their juices
  • Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes
  • Add the lentils and mix well to coat. Sauté 1-2 minutes
  • Add the broth, bay leaf, thyme springs, and ham bone, if using
  • Bring to a boil over high heat
  • Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes
  • Remove the ham bone; when cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone. Discard the bone; dice the meat and return to the soup. Discard the bay leaf
  • Add salt and pepper and taste for seasonings
  • When serving, you can drizzle soup with a little olive oil and serve with grated cheese

 Cooks Note- salt the lentils at the end of cooking, rather than the beginning, so that they don’t remain hard.

 I hope you try this recipe and it brings you and your loved ones,

good fortune in 2016 !

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!


Please ask your family and friends to follow and share either on facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

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

Shrimp and Clam Chowder

2015-12-28 19.31.28.jpg SHRIMP CLAM CHOWDER II

(Click on PHOTO to enlarge and then hit the back arrow to return to original size).

Hi Everyone, 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends. My son is visiting for three weeks, so I am having a great time. That is why has been so quiet lately, I am enjoying every minute that my son is home.

But I will be back in 2016 with more stories and more tablescapes.

I just had to stop what I was doing so I could share this fantastic recipe with you. I know, more fish. You think I would be sick of fish by now right after Christmas Eve and the Feast of the Seven Fishes, but no. I could have fish every day of my life.

This recipe was given to me by a dear friend and fellow blogger, Peter Battaglia. Peter has a terrific website called, A FOOD OBSESSION (see link below).

You have to give it a look for yourself. Peter is a wonderful chef and not only does he share his great recipes on his blog, he also shares stories of his Italian heritage and experiences of his travels.

I saw Peter’s “Shrimp and Clam Chowder” recipe and I immediately stopped in my tracks. Everything I loved all in one recipe; soup, clams and shrimps. I hit the trifecta.

I looked over the recipe and both the ingredients and directions were quite simple so I decided to give it a try. I am so glad that I did, it was delicious. The chowder is smooth and velvety, not too fishy and a hint of heat – just perfect.

 I originally planned to make the chowder as part of my Christmas Eve menu but with all the other fish dishes that evening, I decided to wait for another night.

I am so glad that I waited because during the week, we had a cold rainy day that was the perfect weather for soup. I could now savor the flavor of the chowder and really enjoy it. Like I said, it was delicious. My entire family loved it and my husband said it was restaurant quality that reminded him of a soup we had at the famous Oyster Bar in NYC.

I immediately got in touch with Peter to let him know how terrific this chowder was and asked if I could showcase it on

So with Peter’s permission, here is the link to A FOOD OBSESSION and this wonderful recipe. You won’t be disappointed, give it a try.

I hope you have a safe New Year’s Eve and 2016 brings you the best life has to offer.

I wish you good health, happiness and many blessings.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!


Please ask your family and friends to follow and share either on facebook or sign up for emails directly from the web page.

Once you become a member, you’ll never miss a post…

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