How to Keep the Party Going

Christmas is gone, lips have locked under the mistletoe, the Tiffany ball has dropped, 2016 has made an entrance.  Here we are, some/many pounds heavier, with a bit of a hangover, decorations to take down, a long cold winter pushing in and no good holidays till Valentine. I say the hell with it.
There is no better time than now to get some glitter on and attack the next few months and extra pounds with some tasty but clean foods and listen to some good advice not only on how to keep the party going but also on how to start the New Year with positive energy.

Janet-horton-silvia-baldiniI personally foresee sunshine, no remorse and unquestionably no sad or limp vegetables in the future. To confirm my predictions I contact Janet Horton. Janet is a one of the most accredited psychics in NY. She has been successfully reading cards in Manhattan for years.
She has a huge and devoted following and she is the trusted psychic to the stars and to the exclusive Broadway set. For years she turned her tarots upstairs, at Raoul’s on Prince Street, one of my favorite hangouts in the city.  I find her on LinkedIn and after a quick exchange of emails we set up a phone meeting.

I call Janet Horton in the morning and she graciously agrees to give me a reading and a prediction on the outlook of 2016 for women, specifically for my women readers. She pulls two cards, and I immediate feel a surge of positive energy and relief coming from her voice. Janet takes her reading very seriously, and she tells me she is extremely pleased with what she has uncovered, she affirms she couldn’t have turned 2 better cards.

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The Lovers and the Ace of Pentacles.

She continues explaining the Lover Card represents perfection, harmony and attractiveness. The Lovers card also symbolizes the establishment of a personal belief system and becoming clearer about your own values. This is a time when you are figuring out what you stand for and what your personal philosophy on life is. This card means a lot to women in 2016.
It means they will connect with someone that gets them; they will feel more attractive and will connect with a special soul mate.

Then Janet talks about the Ace of Pentacles. She tells me this card is one of the most important ones in the deck. It expresses financial matters, empowering, balance, new opportunity, and it’s very positive. In short it means money is coming in. That’s good news for all of us! She also adds that the Ace of Pentacles is about manifestation of your goals, and that you are moving into a more positive state of mind about what you are capable of achieving. Your ideas are ready to be turned into something tangible. Figure out what will work and make it a reality.

I couldn’t be happier with Janet positive reading. She was truly surprised to get both these cards. I can hear a little bit of a snicker and skepticism coming my way, let me just add, many years ago, she predicted I would marry at 38 a very detail oriented, math obsessed man.
And wouldn’t you know it.
I thank her and I make an appointment to see her in a couple of Mondays.

If you are interested in a personal reading you can find Janet on Sunday evenings at La Lanterna
in the Village from 6 to 11 pm and at Winnie’s Jazz Bar in the Refinery Hotel on Monday evenings
6-10PM  I suggest you make an appointment to see her because she books really quickly and she is also busy finishing her novel titled “Behind the Veil.” A murder mystery set in Manhattan in 1939.
The plot revolves around a Psychic that predicts a murder and she consequently becomes in danger of being killed her self.
You can contact her via email at TarotbyJanet@gmail.com , by phone on her office number at
201-963-3173 or on her mobile at 201-360-9958.  She is also available for events, parties and phone readings by appointment.

With such a positive out look on 2016 I move on to the next issue.  Exercising and getting back in to my jeans. I call upon Jill Valente.  Jill is my favorite instructor at SoulCycle.  She describes herself as a dancer for life.  She is stunningly beautiful and motivating. I love taking her classes. When I ride with her I feel, not only the pounds literally melt away, but I also recharge my positive attitude.
Jill is focused on making every class a journey, filled with amazing songs, hard work, passion and sweat. Let me also add, when not on the bike, Jill is busy teaching her daughter how to be a rock star and making sure people don’t confuse her identical twin boys.

I ask Jill for some advice on how to squeeze back in to some form of non-elastic pant and she writes me back a.s.a.p. I can feel the sweat starting to percolate from my back.  Jill thinks that dealing with post holiday weight gain is tricky mainly because we have all fallen into so many bad habits. We have been indulging and enjoying special foods and while that’s fabulous, it categorically should be done only once a year. Then she writes: “…after the holidays I like to attack those extra few pounds slow and steady. I am not a fan of cleansing or completely restricting your diet because I just don’t think that’s a realist habit to maintain.  I pick a few problems foods that I have been indulging in and I cut them out week by week. Right now I’m having a huge issue with eating too much pizza so on week 1 of January I cut out pizza, week 2 will be bagels and week 3 will be sweets. After I return my body to better foods and/or I have reached my normal weight I start to introduce them back in moderation”.  Jill also writes me her thoughts about exercise. She says: “The trick to exercise and staying fit it’s finding something YOU LOVE! There are so many incredible options nowadays that it is easy to find the one that best suits you. Obviously my heart is with SoulCycle but I also do a lot of hot vinyasa yoga and love to power walk outside. People often ask me how to prepare to come to a SoulCycle class and there is one thing you have to do…BOOK A BIKE!!! There is no preparation, there is nothing you have to do or be, you just have to SHOW UP and that goes for almost anything!”.

Jill you are right! I have booked my bike already. The more the better! Here’s Jill schedule in CT,
I hope to see you there.

With my butt in check I finally attack the elephant in the room. That would be food, not me.

We all have been eating and drinking too much. It’s time to clean out the fridge and our arteries. Like Jill, I don’t believe in cleansing, or in completely eliminating and restricting food. I like to eat and I like to be happy. I say life is too short to crunch on a celery stick. I believe in smaller portions, fresh produce, good oils, no snacking on empty calories and a good dose of planning. That means think a week in advance what you are going to have for dinner.  Change your protein every night. Plan 7 good and satisfying dishes, shop for all the ingredients, make enough to have left overs for lunch, spend some time in the kitchen prepping them and enjoy dinner time with your family.

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This is my 7 day plan:

  1. Orange lentils and carrots soup, Meyer lemons roasted salmon and brown garlic long beans.
  2. Whole grain pasta with a chick peas rosemary sauce, poached chicken and charred broccoli
  3. Black-Eyed peas and pancetta minestrone, roasted lemon and rosemary potatoes salad
  4. Herbs and prosciutto frittata, salad and lemon steamed zucchini
  5. Fennel steamed Mussels, rice and peas
  6. Black lentils, feta, avocado and pistachio salad with baby spinach and pomegranate seeds
  7. Quick grilled flat iron steak, a crunchy green salad and steamed parsley purple potatoes.

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You can shop for all the ingredients in less than 45 minutes. Prep all in one day, and cook each meal every evening in less than 30 minute. I pay attention to my portions and I load the plate with vegetables.
I give out small desserts to the kids/husband. Something simple, a couple of cookies, a chocolate pudding or a scoop of ice cream and I keep my fruit bowl filled with good seasonal choices.

In January I love to cook with a lot of lentils, black eye peas, pomegranate, fish, long beans and even longer noodles. These ingredients are eaten at the beginning of the year and they are meant to bring wealth, good luck, long lives and good health. You can watch me on CTSTYLE talking about my 10 favorite lucky foods and making my very simple but delicious and filling black lentil and avocado salad.

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I also believe in keeping a little of the party going. Just because the holidays are over it doesn’t mean you have to leave in darkness and gloom.  The Italians believe in wearing red to encourage good and plenty of sex during the year. I say why not!
My friend Jana Platina Phipps, the famous and much admired TrimQueen, decorates her table and her house with her exquisite trim creations. She has an impeccable eyes and even more fabulous collections of napkin rings created out of vintage brooches. Read about Jana and drool over her creations in my sharing corner.

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Finally the recipes are below.  Feel free to email me with any cooking question you might have, or questions about a 7 day plan, but mostly I hope you have a sparkling, healthy, wealthy 2016.
Keep the party going!

Black-Eyed Peas and Pancetta Minestrone
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6/8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes overnight soaking
Servings Prep Time
6/8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes overnight soaking
Black-Eyed Peas and Pancetta Minestrone
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6/8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes overnight soaking
Servings Prep Time
6/8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30 minutes overnight soaking
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cubed pancetta
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1 large Onion finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 4 cups washed green spinach leaves kale, cabbage or swiss chard can be used
  • 1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas soak overnight in water
  • 6 cups chicken stock vegetable, beef can be used
  • 3 sprigs parsley chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. In a pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the pancetta, onion, celery, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, until the vegetables are softened, 10 minutes.
  2. Add the soaked black-eyed peas and stock, bring to a boil. Add the parsley, bay leaf. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat until the black-eyed peas are tender, 25 minutes.
  3. Add the spinach or whatever green you are using and cook for 5 additional minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Season and serve.
Recipe Notes

Finish with olive oil. You can add some cooked small pasta or rice to the finished dish. Freezes well

Share this Recipe
Black lentils, Feta, Avocado and Pistachio Salad
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6/8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6/8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Black lentils, Feta, Avocado and Pistachio Salad
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6/8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6/8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 cups puy lentils
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 4 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 cup toasted pistachios nuts
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp pistachio oil avocado oil or regular olive oil can be used
  • 2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Cook the lentils in salted boiling water for 12/15 minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl to cool.
  2. Add to the lentils the avocado peeled and chopped, the crumbled feta, the spinach leaves, the pomegranate seeds and gently toss.
  3. Combine the lemon juice, the pistachio oil, the balsamic vinegar with salt and pepper and pour on the salad. Toss again.
  4. Sprinkle the pistachios, parsley and mint on the salad. Taste for seasoning and serve.
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Brown Garlic Long Chinese Beans
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 mintes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 mintes
Brown Garlic Long Chinese Beans
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 mintes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
10 mintes
Ingredients
  • 1 large bunch long chinese beans
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 large peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy-sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 medium juice of a lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
  1. Wash and trim the beans. Cut in 4 to 6 inches pieces.
  2. Add the sesame oil to a pan and the garlic. Brown slowly on medium heat. Add the beans. Shake a couple of times. Add the soy-sauce, the fish sauce and the lemon juice. Simmer for 7 to 8 minutes until cooked but still crunchy. Season with salt and pepper and add the cilantro.
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