Showing posts from June, 2015

Crunchy Noodle Salad

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Total Time: 35 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 25 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

Kosher salt
1 pound thin spaghetti
1 pound sugar snap peas
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds, divided
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded, and thinly sliced
4 scallions (with and green parts), sliced diagonally
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the sugar snap peas, return to a boil, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp tender. Lift the sugar snap peas from the water with a slotted spoon and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Drain.

For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable o…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


An Artist's Way...

My dear friend Jodi gave me a book called the Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron with Mark Bryan. I kind of read it a few years ago when she first gave it to me, and then I lend it out to someone else and didn’t get it back for about a year. I’ve now made a commitment to start reading the book again, however, the book requires the artist to commit to two things, the morning pages and the artist date. The morning pages are used to retrieve your creativity; they are longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness. Scary! I have a million pages in my head that I can probably write each day but you’re only required to write three! The good news is that I started writing my morning pages this week and I haven’t given up! The second commitment is, the Artist Date, designed to receive and open myself up to insight, inspiration and guidance. It’s a block of time, a few hours a week, set aside and committed to nurturing my creative consciousness and my inn…

Firecracker Shots

Recipe courtesy of Victoria Belanger
"Nothing says patriotism like gelatin shots! Kick off the 4th of July festivities with these red and blue gelatin cups sweetened with Blue Curacao and grenadine, spiked with vodka and topped with whipped cream."

Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
Prep: 5 min
Inactive: 1 hr 25 min
Yield: 12 shots
Level: Easy

Blue Gelatin Layer:
One 1/4-ounce envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup Blue Curacao liqueur
1/2 cup vodka

Red Gelatin Layer:
One 1/4-ounce pouch unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup grenadine
1/2 cup vodka
Whipped cream, homemade or store-bought, for garnish

Special equipment: twelve 2-ounce plastic shot glasses

For the blue gelatin layer: Put 1/4 cup cold water in a bowl, sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top and let it absorb the water for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup boiling water until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in the sugar, allowing it to dissolve, then stir in the Blue Curacao and vodka.

Divide the mixtur…

Flag Cake

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten
Total Time: 1 hr 15 min Prep: 45 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 20 to 24 servings
Level: Intermediate

18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the icing:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
To assemble:
2 half-pints blueberries
3 half-pints raspberries

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour an 18 by 13 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir…

A (Belated) Father’s Day Tribute To My Dad…

Better late than never…

I’m happy to be able to speak of my father with great respect and admiration. My dad is the best example of how to live a truly happy and balanced life. We have a wonderful relationship and our family is lucky to have him live with us for most of the year. We’ve managed to live a happy life together but separately when we need to. It’s the best situation I could have ever wished for because my dad is still young in age and young at heart. He fills our days with joy and makes our kids’ lives so amazing, especially when they’re on summer break. He drives the kids to get ice cream, buy donuts, and junk food whenever he feels like it. I’ll be busy doing something around the house when I notice the kids are too quiet for their own good, and I just know that they’ve all snuck out and are up to their daily shenanigans! It brings back wonderful memories of when I was a kid. My dad catered to our silly ideas and our need to eat candy and junk food. He would sneak us out …

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BestieGram: Father's Day

Download and e-mail this BestieGram for your Dad!

Quote of The Day


Dr. Andrew Weil’s Holistic Plan to Get Your Energy Back and Fight Off Sickness

Article courtesy of

Follow this all-natural plan from Dr. Andrew Weil to eat and drink your way to a healthier body.

Feeling lethargic and under the weather? Boost your immunity with these simple, delicious and holistic solutions from Dr. Andrew Weil.

Start Every Day With an Antioxidant Mocktail Smoothie
Antioxidants are the first line of defense against the free radicals we don’t want in our bodies. This drink contains the anti-inflammatory antioxidants turmeric and ginger; frozen mango, a great source of vitamin C, which increases the production of white blood cells and antibodies; and unsweetened almond milk for vitamin E, which produces cells that destroy germs.

Swap Out Your Soda for Iced Astragalus Tea
Drinking this tea once a day will help boost and strengthen the immune system. It can also be useful in preventing sickness during cold and flu season.

Add Raw Crushed Garlic to Your Meals
Garlic offers a combination of flavonoids and sulfur molecules that act as both an anti…

Dr. Andrew Weil's Antioxidant Mocktail

Recipe courtesy of
Get your energy back and fight off sickness with Dr. Weil's antioxidant mocktail.

This smoothie provides a lot of antioxidants to the body to help fight off unwanted illness. The turmeric and ginger in this smoothie contain anti-inflammatory properties, which helps soothe and protect the body. The mango is a great source of vitamin C, which enables our bodies to produce the antibodies necessary to keep us healthy. Unsweetened almond milk provides germ-fighting cells through vitamin E.

Ingredients2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup chopped frozen mango
1 tbsp unpeeled fresh ginger
1 tbsp unpeeled fresh turmeric
ice cubes

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

For more wellness tips visit

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


My Soul Is Thankful...

My daughter’s Bat Mitzvah this past weekend was fantastic! Every minute of it was enjoyable, even through the chaos of decorating and putting the hall together before our religious service was great! My friend Jen rocked her amazing skills to pull together every detail as I envisioned it. Jen is not a professional party planner, but she’s an amazing friend who is caring, intelligent, amazing at everything she does, and always ready to help and show her love for her family and friends. All of my girlfriends in attendance played a role in helping me pull off the biggest party I’ve ever put together. Needless to say, I was overjoyed and overwhelmed by the love and care my friends showed during our family’s special milestone celebration.

I was beyond exhausted the next day but my soul was happy! The joy of seeing so many family members and close friends made the day a dream come true. I was in tears of joy just thinking about my friend Maria who designed the invitations and thank you car…

Superfood Breakfasts

Trying to get more superfoods into your diet? Start at breakfast: One small adjustment to your regular morning meal can put your day on the right track.

1 cup 2% Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons green tea matcha powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sliced almonds

Whisk together 1 cup 2% Greek yogurt, 2 teaspoons green tea matcha powder, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

Layer half the yogurt in a glass, top with a few raspberries and 1-tablespoon sliced almonds. Repeat with the remaining yogurt and more raspberries and almonds.

For more recipes visit

Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


Herbed Chicken Marsala

From Food Network Kitchens
Smothered in low-calorie sautéed mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, this dish is both healthy and satisfying. A little bit of butter goes a long way in the sauce-just a touch adds creamy richness.

Total Time: 35 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

Four 4-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil; not rehydrated), finely chopped or very thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
10 ounces white button or cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup sweet marsala wine
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 to 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place the chicken cutlets between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet (or the flat side of a chef's knife) until about 1/3 inch thick. Sprinkle with 1/4 t…

Strawberry Shortcakes

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total Time: 30 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold (salted) butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon sliced almonds

4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar (depending on the ripeness of the berries)
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 tablespoons 0 percent or 2 percent fat Greek Yogurt per serving, for garnish
Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Shortcakes: Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with your fingers until it resembles coarse meal.

Whisk together 1/2 cup butte…

A Most Humbling and Spiritual Experience

In the short time that my kids have been alive, there have been many milestones to celebrate, but none like the one happening soon. My daughter’s Bat Mitzvah has been a year in the making, and all of planning and coordinating is soon coming to fruition. I’ve experienced so many emotions and have learned many lessons throughout this process. I’ve felt an energetic force that has connected me to my spirituality, more than ever, which then allowed me to see my religion with a new set of eyes, respect and a greater connection.

When I was talking to a friend about my woes of the party planning, she asked what I want people to take with them when the celebration is over. I described it as the smell of a fragrant flower or perfume, a scent that makes you smile and that you take with you and remember fondly. I want our friends and family to see the commitment that my daughter put into learning to read Hebrew, her better understanding of our religion, and our commitment to root her so she can b…

Watermelon-Strawberry Sangria

Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay
Total Time: 1 hr 15 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 1 hr
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Level: Intermediate

1 small seedless watermelon, rind removed, flesh cut into large chunks (about 4 cups)
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced, 1 cup reserved for garnish
1 bottle rose wine, cold
1 cup vodka
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup orange liqueur
1 orange, sliced
1 lime, sliced

Combine the watermelon and strawberries in a blender and blend until smooth; add a splash of the vodka if needed to get the fruit pureed.

Strain into a large pitcher; you will need about 4 cups total juice. Add the rose, vodka, orange juice and liqueur and stir to combine. Add the orange and lime slices, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Just before serving, add the reserved strawberries. Serve in glasses over ice.

For more recipes visit

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Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


15 Effective Energy Boosters

Feel like a zombie all day, even after a full night's sleep? Fight fatigue and get your spark back with Dr. Oz's energy-boosting tips! Article courtesy of
1 of 15 - Oat Straw Extract The problem: The clock shows it's past your bedtime, but your mind won't stop racing. If your worries or to-do lists keep you up, or if you don't wake up feeling refreshed, it's hard not to give into the lure of energy drinks the next day. The problem with most energy drinks is the combination of caffeine and sugar are guaranteed to make you crash.
Why it works: Oat straw extract is an all-natural energy booster with nosugar or caffeine, which means no midday crash. Researchers have found oat straw may expand the arteries in your brain so more blood pumps through it, revving brain function.
How to use it: The extract is subtle, so you won't even taste it. Try two teaspoons in your coffeeor juice in the morning.
2 of 15 - Rhodiola The problem: It’s only 11 a.m. and you al…

Focus On The Things That Matter The Most…

There’s the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child." I truly believe that without my own village of friends and family, life would be a lot harder. The support and love that I get from them when I’m having a hard time dealing with my kids growing up, daily battles that frustrate me to no end, when they move into different stages or when we celebrate milestones. They’re there, and it feels amazing to have that love and support when you need it most. Which brings me to what I’ve been feeling lately, my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah is this month and I’ve had a couple of close friends disappoint me by telling me that they can’t make it to the celebration. I felt rejected and crushed when the first of my closest friends told me she couldn’t make it. I was upset and disappointed because I would do almost anything to make it to one of her kids’ milestone events. I told her that I was sad but didn’t go into any other details of how I felt, until she started sharing with me the plans she…

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine
Total Time: 35 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

1 7 -ounce container 2% plain Greek yogurt (about 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2 ounces)
1 Persian or Kirby cucumber, grated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 cloves garlic, grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 sesame hamburger buns or potato rolls, split and toasted
Lettuce and tomato slices, for topping
Potato chips, for serving

Combine the yogurt, feta, cucumber, mint, half of the garlic, 1 tablespoon water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Combine the turkey, the remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a medium bowl. Form into four 1/2-inch-thick patties. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then add the patties and cook until browned and cooked thro…

Last Week Was A Big Deal!

Last week was a big deal around here! My son finished elementary school and was promoted to middle school. The day came and went before my eyes. I was lucky to reflect on many great moments of his 6-year experience. There he stood, on the stage receiving an award, the little man who once held my hand tightly as he met his Kindergarten teacher for the first time. He grew (literally and figuratively) in those 6-years and now it was time to stand on that stage, one last time. I can't say I know every lesson he learned, but I can say that some of the painful lessons he experienced were twice as painful for me, because I wanted to fix everything and make it better so he didn’t have to feel disappointment or sadness, but it was impossible to do that. So, I watched from the sidelines and hugged him a little tighter each time.

The times he forgot he had a test and didn't study. The projects where he lacked enthusiasm for them and his grade reflected it. The lunches that weren't eat…

Life Is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3