healthy pasta alternatives

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The Best(?) of 2020

Published December 11, 2020 by Maryanne
Photo by Kelly Sikkema

If we made it through 2020 without getting covid, and worse, without dying, we are fortunate. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to live life to the fullest every day because you really don’t know what is around the corner. It was a crazy up and down year. Surprisingly, there were many outstanding moments for me, but also the most painful news–a very good friend dying on of a heart attack at the age of 56.

Pausing for a moment thinking of my dear friend Vinnie who died last April…

Yeah, 2020 definitely sucked on so many levels, but the eternal optimist in me will keep saying, this is the year to truly count our blessings.

2020 Year In Review

January – The year started off really cool. I actually saw a copy of my book, “Be (Extra)Ordinary” in Barnes & Noble bookstore! (https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/) I was ecstatic! I remember commenting that if I died at that moment, I lived the life I wanted. Little did I know, in just a few weeks I’d hear about so many dying of Covid. Just goes to show how crazy life is.

February – I was going crazy trying to score a deal on Billie Eilish tickets–and trying to decide whether to see her in NYC on a Sunday night; or New Jersey on a Monday night. Oh, the innocence of decision making prior to what was ahead. The decision was made for me…all her 2020 concerts were canceled.

March – Covid was in full force in the USA. It was weird. It was scary. But honestly, my husband and I were loving the lockdown. We took it as a time to be creative. We appreciated staying home with the kitties. We were cooperating with the law; and had a good time doing so. I thought during this time I’d write a new book; instead I focused on my singing. My husband and I made a video of us performing together, he on guitar and we on vocals and sent it to all our friends. As our friends were also sending us videos. We all did our best.

In March my clients, Domenic Lombardi passed away. I helped him and his wife write their memories: “200 Letters, 62 Years, and a War” (https://www.amazon.com/200-Letters-62-Years-War/dp/1949798453). What a loss, he was a very cool guy. Domenic and his wife Antoinette were my favorite clients ever!

In April, my book “Love Cats” which became out of print early 2020 was picked up for a second printing by Pink Flamingo Media! For the first time I used a pen name, Krystianna Mercury. Check it out: https://www.pinkflamingo.com/Love-Cats-PF3089.htm

But then, I learned that my very good friend Vinnie Bordogna died earlier that month. My heart is torn into pieces. He was truly one of my best friends. Christmas will not be the same without Vin at our party this year.

In June, there was another loss, Bob Cat. A 15-year-old ginger cat who was the star of the book, “A Street Cat Named Bob” by James Bowen. I read the book back in 2018. The book was out way before that, but it was an upbeat book that helped me get over the loss of my own ginger cat, Bennie, who had to be put down early 2018. Now to hear Bob was gone too … it was just too much. Many tears. Too many tears.

That summer, life picked up. Social distancing outdoor concerts were all the rage. Groups of friends sat on the grass in a white painted square. They were done so well and people had a great time! Drinks, food, sitting on the grass watching live music and the sun go down. Can’t beat that. It was a glimmer of hope in the midst of the madness. In addition to Covid, we had the George Floyd murder and so many terrible things going on in the news. Music kept us sane that summer, definitely.

In August, I hosted my very first ZOOM lecture for “Healthy Pasta Alternatives.” We had a blast! I had other ZOOM classes for anti-bullying, and “How to Meet Your Soul Mate.” Earlier in the year when all my live lectures were canceled, one by one, it was the biggest let down. But ZOOM saved the day with some of them, so it wasn’t a total loss.

September was a miracle! My husband and I took in a feral kitten who was abandoned by his mama and papa cats. We named him Happy Lightfoot Ferrell. Three months later, he’s adjusting beautifully! He’s my little shadow who follows me all over the house. And what a sweet cat he’s turning out to be. No more shy and hiding. Taking in a little life, giving him not only a home but a HAPPY home is the best accomplishment! I love our little new family member. He gets along so good with the other two cats, Nicholas Gray and Sammy Keane Clemmens. Happy Lightfoot Ferrell was the icing on the top of a year of madness.

I wish everyone a better 2021; we can do it!

BEST OF MUSIC 2020

Since there wasn’t nearly as much going out as usual, the list will be light this year. My husband saw about five or six outdoor social distancing concerts over the summer. Due to Covid, I think they all did an amazing job for us and unlike other years, this year I’m choosing not to pick a “best” for live music.

Favorite new songs/videos for 2020!

  1. Miley Cyrus “Midnight Sky” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS1no1myeTM
  2. Sierra Ferrell “Jingle Bell Rock” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mWKuQDBkls
  3. Billie Eilish “Therefore I Am” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUQl6YcMalg

Since there was plenty of dining, I’ve added restaurants this year!

Best restaurants of 2020

  1. Greentruth Organic: https://www.greentruthorganic.com/
  2. Cave Bistro: https://www.cavebistro.com/
  3. Clean Plate: https://www.cleanplateclinton.com/

And since retail shopping was non-existent, I’m linking to the last post I wrote, Clothes Shopping During Covid, mentioning the top three clothing subscription box companies: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2020/11/30/clothes-shopping-during-covid/

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements (via ZOOM during covid). She is now coaching aspiring writers via ZOOM.

Maryanne is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Zoomin’ in On Healthy Pasta

Published August 6, 2020 by Maryanne

by Joan - CuteThat’s me in the upper left hand corner! 

When Covid hit the USA earlier this year, the lives of many changed. I am an author, writer, ghost writer, and public speaker. Of course during these times my speaking engagements are not so public. I had many of them lined up for 2020, and one by one my face grew long as they canceled.

But have no fear, ZOOM is here!

At first I was hesitant. I’m a technophobe and also like to stand during my lectures, and presentations. However, I got used to giving ZOOM classes. I nail them like a pro.

All summer long I’ve given classes on anti-bullying, meeting your soul mate, and being extra-ordinary. But the best one was the one featured above, “Healthy Pasta Alternatives.” Notice everyone is smiling? How can you not when you’re talking about food! We discussed the different pastas available for all dietary needs like keto, vegan, and low carb. We also talked about our favorite pasta dishes. Unfortunately students couldn’t taste the dish I made; technology is not quite there yet! Nevertheless, we had a blast. There was a giveaway too — a gift certificate to Whole Foods.

I’ve been giving this class for years and I’m grateful to the Cedar Grove Library, Cedar Grove, NJ, for sponsoring my program.

How has Covid changed your career? Share some fun stories!

If anyone reading would like to sponsor “Healthy Pasta Alternatives,” drop me a line at maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. In addition to Love Cats, she is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

Visit Maryanne’s You Tube Channel here: Be YOUnique

“Healthy Pasta Alternatives” Another Successful Presentation!

Published April 17, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9882Cold Sesame Noodles made with Dreamfields Pasta

Once again I had another “Healthy Pasta Alternatives” presentation. This time it was held at Fairfield Library, Fairfield, New Jersey. Thanks so much to John Arthur for having me! The class is limited to 20 so I could give each person individual attention and answer all questions.

I’m not a nutritionist, but I’ve interviewed many health celebrities for articles during my career as a journalist. These include: David Wolfe, Carol Alt, Oleda Baker, and Patricia Bragg.

The dishes I make for these presentations are used with all natural, organic, clean ingredients. There are samples for everyone.

Thanks so much to singer/pianist/friend Barbara Hassenfeld (http://www.barbaraevanshassenfeld.com/) for coming!

SAM_9922Maryanne (left) with singer/pianist Barbara Hassenfeld

To have this presentation at your library, rotary club, JCC, senior club or private party, contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta for availability and pricing at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Healthy Pasta Alternatives at William E. Dermody Library, Carlstadt, New Jersey

Published April 7, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9882Cold sesame noodles made with Dreamfields pasta

Last night I had a blast presenting my lecture “Healthy Pasta Alternatives” at the William E. Dermody Library (http://carlstadt.bccls.org/) in Carlstadt, New Jersey.

We had a great turn out, including my sister!

The next “Healthy Pasta Alternatives” lecture will be presented Saturday, April 16, 2016, 1 p.m. at the Fairfield Library, Fairfield, New Jersey. To sign up, call 973-227-3575. The lecture is free, but you must call to sign up.

SAM_9885Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, former lead market editor DiningOut

SAM_9873

Here is the synopsis for “Healthy Pasta Alternatives”

Pasta: A Healthy Staple Food

Pasta, a typical dish of unleavened dough of a durum wheat flour, has been a traditional Italian staple, dated back to 1154 in Sicily.

It can be presented in a variety of shapes and made with flour from cereals or grains, and eggs. It’s a simple dish that can be served hot or cold, varying in taste, color and texture.

Discover how pasta evolved and changed over time – from a small simple item to an elaborate culinary dish.

Learn about the nutritional value of pasta, which contains complex carbohydrates, essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin B and folic acid. And depending on the flour, may also be a good source of protein.

Gather information about healthy pasta options such as: brown rice noodles, soy noodles, seaweed noodles, buck wheat noodles, squash pasta, and more!

This presentation will include a cold pasta salad made with one of the healthy noodle alternatives.

For cost and availability, contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the former editor of New Jersey Health & Fitness and former lead market editor of DiningOut (Bergen/Hudson County edition).