Category Archives: Birthday


Sweet and minty, these brownies were made with creme de menthe by Linda Vanderslice, a former neighbor and friend on the street we just moved away from. They represent years of experience in baking and if what they say about food equating to love is true, then the cocoon of a cul de sac that we lived on was a truly blessed place.

Across the street neighbor’s, Mary and Ray Paolantonio chose Saint Patrick’s Day to throw us the most festive goodbye party. The fact that we moved a mile away wouldn’t stop our neighbors because we have always related best through food, parties and celebrations.

Hit or miss unsanctioned block parties, backyard celebrations and the traditional Sunday evening before Christmas open-house dessert party which I expect we will return to the street to celebrate.

Whiskey, wine and beer added good cheer to the send-off. And a birthday cake for the kid who just turned the quarter of a century corner. Neighbors who remember when your children’s birthdays are? Priceless!

Truth be told, I don’t miss the house, which I hear has only one wall left standing and is being rebuilt into the dream-home of another family. I’m fine with that. I will miss stopping on my morning walk to chat with Christine and her sons. I will miss watching the children grow. I will miss waving at busy neighbors as they trim bushes and edge lawns. I will miss our next door neighbors. I will miss the relationships that have developed over twenty years. And I will miss the woman who grew up on our street, moved away, and then sent out postcards to see if any houses would be coming up for sale. She wanted to raise her family on the same street. A testament to the special vibes.

Living on Oaklawn was exceptional — out of the ordinary, really in neighborhood experiences. I thank everyone on the block for being the generous and kind souls that they are. I hold dear in my heart every single one of you! With love and gratitude…..


You can’t go home again. Really? Sure you can. Especially if it’s a big deal birthday party for someone you love.

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What’s a food writer/photographer to do when she’s invited to a special party at a four star restaurant? Guest or no, it’s no longer in my nature to leave home without the extension to my arm some call a camera. And the celebrity of the evening, our hostess, didn’t blink an eye when her personal paparazzo showed up prepared to shoot.

My very good friend Susan Davis, author, physical therapist to humans and the animal kingdom, fantastic foodie, and occasional martini sipper had a milestone birthday. I’m bringing you along for the celebration.

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Taste and Technique, a cooking studio in Fair Haven, NJ, often schedules local celebrity chef’s for demonstrations. These classes are always delicious, informative and entertaining. The cooking school also offers hands-on learning opportunities with professional chef’s. Rachel Weston taught a class recently, her first time at this studio, but not her first time teaching, that was instructive, insightful, and of course, delicious. Although I have some experience in the food world, I walked away with a few new tricks.

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Hitting all of the high notes on otherwise shaky ground, my husband opted to wine and dine me into my new decade. His plan to distract with food and champagne was brilliant.

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