All posts tagged thanksgiving

Do I Look Like I Eat “Nothing”? (A Vegetarian Rant)

Published November 29, 2013 by Maryanne


Hi, this is me!

Do I look like I eat “nothing”? Last time I checked, I’m a far cry from Amy Winehouse or Kate Moss — so why do people assume I eat “nothing” or deprive myself when I share that I’m a vegetarian?

Of course telling people you didn’t have turkey on Thanksgiving Day opens up a whole can of worms. “What did you eat?” some may cry out in desperation as they secretly pity you. For choosing not to consume turkey (which I never liked anyway, including all other meats!) on Thanksgiving Day I’m viewed as some sort of freak.

Well, let me enlighten you — this freak loves to eat!

Since protein is an issue with most meat eaters, let me share some excellent sources of protein: rennet-less cheese, beans, quinoa, tofu, nuts/seeds (who doesn’t love peanut butter?) and veggie burgers. (Sorry other vegetarians, I hate tempeh!)

I also eat carbs. (Please don’t throw me on the gluten free band wagon —  I love pasta and bread!) Health experts I most respect eat carbs and I refuse to feel guilty for doing so.

But what’s really super about being a vegetarian — and the BEST PART OF THANKSGIVING — it’s the SIDE DISHES! How can anyone refuse the following: chestnuts, potatoes, artichokes, salad, olives. And I made the most delicious green apple and butternut squash dish! And that’s just what was on my family’s table. Other delicious Thanksgiving delights include: turnips, cranberry sauce, yams, string beans, fresh fruit, brussel sprouts, corn … is your mouth watering yet? One year I made the most amazing raw ambrosia dish that contained: grated raw yams (which are so sweet they could be mistaken for carrots!), raisins, pineapples, shredded coconut, apples and grapes. YUM!

I don’t know about you but I think my menu trumps a plate of turkey any day. Oh well, maybe if you get the wishbone in your turkey leftovers you can wish for something really cool — like, say, a side dish of open-mindedness!

Thanksgiving Photo Share

Published November 24, 2012 by Maryanne


My nephew, Matthew, age 11 (isn’t he the cutest?)

My beautiful sister, Kim and her dog Ally Marie Paige

At my brother-in-law Anthony’s home. Left to right: Father in-law Pop, Little Anthony, Jonathan, my husband Dennis (with black shirt), brother-in-law, Joe and Eileen

L-R: Drea, Jonathan, Kate, Kate’s mom Sandra, Pop, Sue, my brother-in-law, Joe and me

Me, the day after 🙂

Note: With SO MANY people and so much commotion, it was hard to take photos of everyone. So I just opted for the photos that were the best of the lot (without blur, too dark, eyes closed, etc.) So a special shout out to the ones not in the pictures: Mom, her other dog Oliver, Uncle, Kathy, Lisa and her girls, Brooke and Crystal, Lisa’s dad John, and my brother-in-law, Anthony. 

I love all of you, thanks for making it so special!

Thank You Very Much!

Published November 21, 2012 by Maryanne

Me, with my 18-year-old, Billy, he’s one of my greatest blessings!

So much to be Thankful for, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.

But Thanksgiving is a special day, featuring the word “THANKS” so all of our positive vibrations are working together, chanting, THANKS, THANKS, THANKS!


I am thankful for so many things in my life — the big things — the little things — the medium things. So I will begin this magical list and let the all the goodness in my heart just flow out to share with all of you!

My Magical List of Thanksgiving Blessings!

I am ever so thankful for my husband, Dennis, the coolest, smartest, funniest guy in the world and my best friend for life. Thanks to his true love, I am constantly growing to be the best person I can be. Each day is a magical adventure. I LOVE US! I adore you, Dennis! Thank you for making me your wife! I will never let you down! xoxo

I am very thankful for my blessed fur babies, Billy (18) and Derick (16). My teenage boys. They are such a special part of my life. They give me so much joy each and every day. We have all been through so much together. My little hearts!

I am thankful for my immediate family, Mom, Kim and Matthew, other family members I am close to,  all my in-laws and their significant others, their families, their children and their pets. All who are alive and well and in my life, as well as those who have passed on and always remain in my heart. I love each and every one of you, in a very special way that is meant just for YOU!

I am thankful for my late, beloved Grandma, who always showed me unconditional love. Did we fight? Hell, yeah! We got downright mean and dirty sometimes. But both of us, in true LEO fashion, we were quick to forgive and forget. I love you, Grandma! Please come visit me in a dream, real soon!

I am thankful for my best girlfriends, Gina and Darlene and my best guy friends, Ed and Todd. All of you are the FAB FOUR!  I don’t know what I’d do without any of you. Please know how special you are to me and how loved you really are!

And for every other friend (past, present, future, alive and deceased) who comes and goes in my life when things are meant to be. You are all like little rubies making up one big diamond. Thank you for touching my life!

I am thankful for my business, Pear Tree Enterprises (, and for all the wonderful clients I have that give me the opportunity to prosper doing all the things I love best and making the most of my talents. For this I am happy every day, whether it’s a Sunday, Monday, Wednesday or Friday. For this, waking up each morning is a blessing!

I am thankful for my health. And the opportunities to have some control over my health. I am thankful for raw foods. I am thankful for vegetarian food. And I am thankful to everyone who has made an effort to serve me vegetarian food, and to those I’ve inspired to eat a few vegetarian meals! I am thankful for exercise: yoga, kick boxing, Pilates, light weights, low impact aerobics, swimming, bike riding, walking, power walking, dancing, etc. All the wonderful ways to move my body and keep it healthy as possible!

I am thankful for my creativity.

I am thankful for my open-mindedness.

I am thankful for my good heart.

I am thankful for my dynamic personality.

I am thankful for middle-age! There is truly a wisdom and peace that comes with age that younger people don’t have. I love it and embrace it constantly!

I am thankful for all the beautiful animals I see every day: dogs on the street, birds, deer, rabbits, squirrels … all these babies will never know how much they make me smile. And for little Fawn, my Mom’s beloved Chihuahua who died earlier this year. She was the best and made our family very happy! Bless her little heart and soul. We were so lucky to have her in our lives for 15 years.

I am thankful for BLOGGING! I started this blog as a positive way to document my life. And ended up meeting so many talented writers — I am just blown away! I read as many blogs as I can each day. It’s my only internet livelihood. And not only are all of you talented writers, some of you have become internet friends that I care about because you care about me! Some say it’s just a computer, but there are human beings typing behind these computers, pouring their hearts out each day, sharing their lives, pictures, thoughts, ideas and creativity. God Bless all of you! You all make me very happy!

I am thankful for MUSIC! I love music so much, I married a musician! I love having music playing in the house as much as possible. All kinds of music: punk, new wave, country, rock, hard rock, classic rock, 1970s AM gold hits, alternative, easy listening … there is not much that I don’t like. I am thankful for radio stations, CDs, vinyl, Sirius radio, all the musicians I love that are still alive to perform, all the ones I saw before they passed on, and all the ones I DIDN’T get to see! Thank you to every song that has moved me! Thank you to all the bands in my record collection.

I am thankful that this is all just the tip of the iceberg and I can go on and on forever with all the things I am thankful for.

But I will stop here, just short of 1000 words, and wish all of you and the special people and animals in your life:


Staying Healthy This Thanksgiving Season

Published November 11, 2012 by Maryanne

One of my raw organic salads: oranges, kale, carrots, celery, flax seeds

This is an article I wrote for the Verona/Cedar Grove Patch, published November 19, 2010. It’s still relevant, so enjoy!


By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Thanksgiving is upon us and there is so much to be grateful for. But one of the things we often take for granted is our health. During the holidays people assume they get a “get out of jail free” card when it comes to their well-being, gorging on fattening foods and lying around during the four-day weekend watching football.

Would you like this holiday season to be different? I’m sure everyone would love to have more energy and eat freely without dieting. I’ve compiled some tips that have helped me stay slim and energetic over the years, especially during the winter months when our bodies are less active. Try some or all of these tips and you’ll be surprised that they actually work and may even make you lose weight – instead of gain – during the long Thanksgiving weekend!

1. Don’t forget to take your vitamins. During a long holiday weekend, people deviate from their schedules and something simple like taking vitamins can be overlooked. It’s important to remember to keep your health in check and your energy high. If you are feeling tired or fatigued, you will overeat.

2. Drink water. I make water my number one drink because there are so many positive benefits that come with it. Water is a wonderful appetite suppressant. It also helps you lose weight because it flushes toxins from your body. When your skin is hydrated you look younger and fresher. Drinking water aids in digestion and alleviates constipation. During holiday gatherings I make a game of it by drinking an ounce of water every hour. When it’s time to go home, I had my recommended eight ounces.

3. Get up and move. People like to relax during the holidays, and I can be very guilty of that too. But you will feel better if you don’t submit to the temptation of lingering around the dinner table nibbling or hitting the couch to sleep or munch on chips. There are many other things to do: take a walk outside, play with the children, volunteer to walk the host’s dog, clean up or even visit more people! I’ll never forget the year I visited four different homes on a holiday. It seemed like I was eating and drinking all day and I was almost afraid to step on the scale the next morning. But when I did I was actually two pounds lighter! All the running around and mini meals, rather than one big meal, worked in my favor!

4. Food exchange system. You don’t have to stress about giving up your favorite foods during the holidays, but if you can cut corners in certain areas without sacrificing taste, your digestive system will thank you. Mashed potatoes can be replaced with mashed cauliflower or turnips. When seasons right, they are just as delicious. Health food stores have tons of delicious cookies sweetened with fruit juices instead of refined sugars. You can even make your own. Raw nuts are less fattening than nuts that are roasted and salted. Raw carrots, instead of chips or pretzels, are great for dipping – but choose salsa or hummus instead of a creamy onion dip. Salads don’t have to be boring. I always add lots of fun stuff to mine like capers and sun dried tomatoes. Use colorful vegetables and even fruits to make it look enticing!

5. Gross yourself out! This idea is kooky but it works. If you think about what some unhealthy foods are made of, you may never want to eat them again. Cheese is one of the biggest holiday downfalls for most people. It’s on every appetizer and dessert platter. It’s assumed that cheese is just made from milk, but cheeses contain an ingredient called “rennet” which is a natural complex of enzymes produced in the stomach of a cow. Some of my friends who consider themselves vegetarians didn’t even know this. If this fact grosses you out enough to stay away from the cheese platter, you will spare yourself the extra fat and calories.

There’s a popular holiday recipe called “ambrosia” that is made with marshmallows. Most people don’t realize marshmallows are made with gelatin (which is a brittle protein made from animal tissues such as bone and skin). Marshmallows aren’t healthy because they are loaded with sugar, meaning empty calories. My healthy version of ambrosia is a holiday hit! Just combine raw shredded sweet potato (it tastes like pumpkin!), coconut, raisins, organic apples, pineapple and maple syrup. Let the dish sit at least an hour in the refrigerator. It’s delicious!

Take my tips to heart, or with a grain of salt. Or come up with your own. And I wish everyone the happiest and healthiest Thanksgiving ever!