How To Un-Follow A Blog

If you’re like me, you’ve followed more blogs than you really need. If you would like to un-follow this blog, you need to do it from your end. I have no control who follows this blog, nor can I stop someone from following.

The way I understand it to work is that once you get to my blog, you simply click on ‘un-follow.’

If you need further assistance, please google “how to un-follow a WordPress blog.”

Thank you!


“If It Feels Good Do It!” Just a Little Note From Mary


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Remember back in the 70′s when there were stickers, pens, t-shirts and all sorts of stuff that said “If it feels good do it?” Who came up with that? Whoever it was, probably made millions. Just like the little symbol that came out a few years back that reads “Life is Good.” Great thinking, but quite simple. I could definitely make some bucks off cute little quotes like those; hmmm, why don’t I?

Could we relate this 70′s saying to food? Certainly! I ate at McDonald’s the other day, and guess what? I could feel myself slowing down with every bite I took! I did NOT feel good after, and on top of that, I felt bad about myself for eating non ME-gan. I understand life is not perfect, and we cannot be 100% on top of our game 100% of the time, but I’m just making a point. That kind of food definitely did not make me feel good. And I can also tell you that when I eat food that makes my mind and body thrive because it’s full of nutrition, I FEEL GREAT, not only ‘good.’ So, if taken in context, “If it feels good, do it” is probably worth a million bucks; and could possibly lead you down a path to better health! Sitting on your butt all day probably doesn’t make you feel too good, right? Be honest! But get out and run a mile or two, then tell me how you feel! COME ALIVE!

So, this leads me to what I want to tell you. Writing feels good to me, and I want to do more of it! I enjoy writing about all sorts of things; love, life, family, even poetry and short stories! Yes, I do love writing about food, but there’s more! So, I am starting a new blog site this week where I will simply be ‘writing’ about anything and many things! Check back here later this week for the details.

And, oh by the way, I have 580 articles on this site, so please come back and read through them! Some of my best articles are at the very beginning! This is not going away, it will continue to be here for your reading pleasure! So, please do enjoy!

Talk to you soon!



VIVA La Cucina Italiana! Tastes of Umbria Come To La Cucina Bortelino!


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What happens when Mary wakes up with passion and exclaims “I wish we were in Italy?” Well, the next best thing happens; Mary gets busy in La Cucina Bortelino!

A Sicilian woman can (and will) do anything she wants!

I am lucky to have co-workers who have their own gardens; one person brings me Rosemary, one brings me Basil and another brings me Eggplant. Lee and I want to have a garden but we just can’t seem to get anything to grow here in Phoenix, other than ant hills and cactus.

With my eyes catching sight of potatoes and knowing that I have these fresh herbs on hand, as well as some very bright, beautiful mini peppers & onions, I decided to bring a taste of Umbria to the house. These are all familiar ingredients from this special land and region along with garlic & olive oil. Together they assist in making up the classic Umbrian dishes.

I will bring Italy here, if we can’t go there (right now anyway!).

I will also point out that this dish is ME-gan and is also the wonderful colors of the Italian flag! Mangia!

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Italian-ME-gan love to you! XXOO!


A Day To Remember Those Who Gave It All


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On this Memorial Day, we honor all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in defense of our freedom and country. It also provides another reminder to take a moment and reflect on all of our men and women in military service, past and present, who face extreme danger every day.

It is such a rushed and busy world today, but hopefully we all will take the time to remember the fallen, those we loved and those who loved us. This weekend Lee & I remember our fathers, who both served in World War II, and recall many memories and life lessons that they taught us. They both faced many challenges during the war, and we can only imagine what they chose to keep to themselves.

Lee speaking:

My father was a ‘no nonsense,’ straight ahead man of few words; but the ones he uttered had deep impact. He taught me to anticipate, think ahead and always take the high road first and stand on your principles. The work ethic I absorbed was a given from being a little boy. Keith, my father, would work on a project…not look at me or say a word,  then put his hand up for me to hand him the next tool he needed. He was teaching me to pay attention and to anticipate the next step before it comes to you.  He did it without saying a word!


Keith F. Bortel – US Army European Theater World War II

Mary speaking:

My dad was the most kind and gentle man there was. He was firm, yet loving. If he taught us kids anything at all, it was to ‘get along.’ I’m not saying it worked, but that was what he strived for! My dad did not like disharmony in the family, and often said “can’t we all just get along?” He was born with nothing, and kept most of it his entire life. But he had a strong sense of family and a powerful passion for life, love and living! He served as the Mayor of Mabscott, W.Va. in the 50′s; he and my mother had 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls. He was a man who loved his Lucky Strikes, Kentucky Bourbon and Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. His family immigrated here from Sicily, and yet they were the most ALL-AMERICAN family I have yet to know! I love you dad! See you soon, on the sunny side of life!


James Anthony Sparacino – My father, Man of Honor

May you all have a Memorial Day full of honor, respect, gratefulness & love for all our military whom we remember this day.

God Bless America, and GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS!!

Love Mary & Lee



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What is the meaning of Abbondanza? I bet most people think of the old Mama Celeste Pizza commercials when they hear this word. It’s an Italian noun, and the plural form is abbondanze. It refers to the following:

  • Abundance
  • Wealth
  • Richness
  • Affluence

What a great word, I just love it. For some reason I woke up yesterday with that word on my mind and have had it on there ever since; so today, I thought I’d write about it. You’d be amazed at how I can talk about and write on everything and anything! Lol!

I believe that God wants Abbondanza for all of us. But as I get older and life marches on, I realize it may not be in the obvious senses. When we achieve one or all of the above, we may have done just and only that. Do you know what I mean? What I’m saying is, Ok…so you’re there, you have it all; a home (or several), a car (or several) money in the bank (lots and lots), endless clothes & shoes (we’re talking running out of storage room here), food, drink & constant entertainment…now what? What’s missing? Happiness perhaps? What? Did I just say that? How could a person have all of these things and not be happy? Could it even be possible? This might make you rub your chin, roll your eyes in a pondering fashion, scratch your head, and let out a nice big “Hmmmm.” IMG_3424 IMG_3418 Yep, it certainly makes a clear calculation that with ABBONDANZA, happiness comes naturally. After all, hell, what more could one want?

  1. Abundance; plenty for all. Never running out or wanting for anything. 
  2. Wealth; endless material and monetary possessions.
  3. Richness; living on the good stuff, HIGH quality, or HIGH on the hog.
  4. Affluence; all of the above, profusion. 

Funny, they all kind of mirror one another. Perhaps if you have one of those, you have all of them? I definitely am not the person to confirm this, not from a ‘worldly standpoint’ anyway. But, what about spiritually?

I believe this is what God truly wants for all of us; Abbondanza in our hearts, souls, minds and actions.  When we can achieve THIS, what more could we want? I would imagine nothing, because this is what truly matters. This is and always will be true happiness!

May we each find meaning, fulfillment and love from all things in life that TRULY matter. Family & friends. Helping others in their time of need. Lending an ear or simply being there for the lonely. Helping out our veterans, homeless and disabled. Give love and understanding to a child who is hurting. Visit the elderly and forgotten; the nursing homes are full of people just crying out for friendship. Be a true friend to all, it’s human kindness. Be there through thick and thin. A friend in need is a friend in deed. They don’t need to ask for our help, we already know they need us. Why wait? Let’s get busy, because it’s not as easy as we would think to stop focusing on ourselves, and to start assisting others. When we can BE all of this, we’ve successfully reached ABBONDANZA, or should I say ABBONDANZE?!

Love and blessings to you and yours!


The Scale Doesn’t Have All The Answers.


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Put the scale away, and start gauging your health and weight by how you look & feel. The scale doesn’t have all the answers. Your body does. IMG_9469 Lee and I like to be in tune with our being. We like trying new foods, new cleanses, new options and facets towards better health. Without constant change, life can get boring. It’s to our advantage to try new things; you never know what health benefits may be one spoonful away. Eating healthy is not about losing tastes or sacrificing pleasurable foods… it’s quite the opposite. It’s opening up to new taste sensations that one has never experienced before. There’s a whole world out there full of flavors that we can’t even imagine, without actually experiencing them for ourselves. Read up, learn, and treat yourself to a whole new world and perspective of a healthy lifestyle.

Most importantly, we need to start putting ourselves first, and start caring about what we are putting into our bodies. The food we eat, as well as what we drink, affects how we feel. Are you sluggish? Do you have migraines? Do you have skin issues? Or… are you glowing and vibrant, with a zest for life? Do you need to exercise more? It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure this out. But, it does take determination and a will to live and be happy & healthy. IMG_9472 What challenge or new road will we take this week? Hmmm…I guess we’ll find out.  I have a few ideas up my sleeve. Whatever it is, I’ll need to decide by tomorrow. A new week, and new day and a chance for new opportunities to open that next door. Have a self-motivated, inspiring start to a whole new week!

Love to All! Mary!

Saturday Morning YUM Just in Time


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I love when I find markets, restaurants and even individuals who eat and cook the way I do. It’s so refreshing. What a treat it is to have others cook for me once in a while and I can simply sit back & enjoy, knowing that it’s ME-ganly safe and delicious. JOY!

This morning was a morning where I needed food. Not all mornings are like that. Sometimes I am in the mood for a juice masterpiece that we’ve been making with our awesome Jack LaLanne juicer, or maybe just some fresh decaf coffee…you know, just a slow, kicked back easy breezy morning with no desire for anything heavy right off the bat. The only problem was that I’m having plumbing work done in the kitchen and it would be difficult to get in there and make anything. Thank goodness for 24 Carrots Cafe (click here to visit their site) in Chandler- yeah baby! I was able to pick up some scrumptious gluten free vegan breakfast food for Lee and I. We’ve eaten lunch there but have never tried breakfast, and boy were we delighted.

I just wanted to say thanks to them for being there and especially for being OPEN – it’s made my morning complete. Now I can get to work around this old house and get a few things done! Here are some pics of our breakfast:

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Have a day filled with ME-gan goodness & love!


The Epiphany: When ME-gan Encounters Trying (Tempting) Times


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The ME-gan Lifestyle is a beautiful experience because the payoff is an incredible feeling of health, self control and euphoria of mind and spirit. But always remember, this is a “lifestyle change” and not a short term gain game. How many times have you seen the TV commercial pitch…”I lost 30 pounds in 20 days, I was amazed and I could still eat what ever I wanted!?” That is either a lie or a huge lie.


Sure, you can eat all you want of this, but don’t expect to stay thin and healthy.


Ohh yes, health by the spoonful! NOT!


All these NON-NUTRITIONAL treats just waiting to be bought for Mother’s Day! No thank you!


I’d rather have the love of my children on Mother’s Day, than the guilt and the extra pounds. Not to mention all the pain my tummy would be going through if I ate this crapola.

The truth and honest question is this; it took many years of unhealthy eating to reach a state of an unhealthy and over weight body, so how long is reasonable to reverse that trend? One month? Three months? The answer is simple:  as long as it takes for you to commit and stick to a belief system that works.

To pick a number out of thin air, 90 days is a reasonable time period to see dramatic results; however it must be approached as a true “take control” long term process that is directed by YOU and not a slick packaged system from a TV commercial. Just because it is color coded, doesn’t mean it works…it just means it is easy to follow the directions.

Once you commit to the ME-gan Lifestyle, you are on your way. However, temptations are part of the equation, it’s inevitable. Sure there are times when a double bacon cheeseburger (animal style) is something most people would love to devour…but wait, we are supposed to be in control; right? Trust me, you are the “only one” in control of YOUR life and your health; so grab the wheel and take command of your future.  No one else will, no matter how much money you pay them!

Here is a little inside tip that will help with your journey. When you are tempted by seductive TV ads or just the raw desire to turn that steering wheel to a hard right and pull into a drive-thru restaurant and “binge” your way to a temporary state of bliss, remember this undeniable truth; the “short term” ecstasy of a “fast food fix” results in a very short term period of “satisfaction” with many long term heart breaks. On the other hand, the ME-gan Lifestyle is all about discipline and restraint for long term health, happiness and a great self-image. Which would you choose? If you were a child the answer is simple…”take the ice cream cone.”  But as a mature adult the answer is just as clear…

Take the road of long term health and happiness over a short “fix” of indulgence.

Short term satisfaction & long term poor health and misery? Or, on-going discipline and a longer, healthier and happier life? There is only one correct answer. YOU are the only one in control of your life and your health. YOU are the one who must be the adult in the room and take charge!


Those who eat a no boundaries way of eating diet, go from “happy” a feeling of elation, because they can eat anything they want (so they make themselves believe)… pick one, gorge, but then…afterwards, they are miserable, sad, and guilty. The happy feeling didn’t last very long. Whereas, the ME-gan Lifestyle person is quite the opposite. There may be days (mamma said there’d be days like this)…where you wake up and want a greasy, cheesy, bacon and sausage breakfast burrito, but end up saying 3 rosaries before the temptation passes. You are miserable, grouchy and just not a happy person right now, and you begin to apply self pity…”poor, poor me, I can’t eat that because my body reacts negatively and I’m overweight.” But then, TA -DAH…once you pass that self-loathing part, you are HAPPY…HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY! Note, the non ME-gan is happy first, then miserable; the ME-gan is miserable at first then happy – and a long lasting happy I might add!

When I woke up this morning, I could have eaten food for an army.. but I calmed my self down, had fresh squeezed orange juice and ‘a’ ME-gan bagel (yes, only one!) I was not disappointed! IMAG3065

You choose; it’s YOUR life! I wish for you a long, healthy and enjoyable life!

Love, Mary.

Bouna Festa Mamma; Feliz Dia De Las Madre; Happy Mother’s Day!


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Happy Mother’s Day to ALL mother’s out there.

This posting goes out to MY MAMMA, who is miles and miles away! I miss her very much. I’ve always said, if I can just be a ‘spec’ of the mother she is, I’d be happy.  As I talk about in my book, The ME-gan Lifestyle, my mom grew up on a farm way out in the country in Summers County, West Virginia. She and my father raised 10 children; 5 girls and 5 boys. There was a pattern to her childbearing… it was boy, girl, boy, girl… all the way through. And to top that off, 5 were light and 5 were dark. The light skin coming from my mother, and the dark from my Sicilian father. How cool is this!

I, having raised 4 kids, can’t begin to fathom how my mother did it. I love to look back now at my age and try to piece together what she must have been going through at certain times in her life. She’s been raising children since 1950 and still is today! Just because they’re older, doesn’t mean they’ve flown the nest! God bless her – that’s all I have to say!

Here is my ‘from the heart’ mother’s day card for my dear sweet Jackie….

Happy Mother’s Day, Dearest Jackie!

May, 2013



Children cry out for their mama at all ages, not just when they are babies in the nest.

And no matter how far away mommy may be, the children know that they can

always count on her to give them unconditional & everlasting love.

Children can sense their mother’s love and concern; they long for her secure embrace.

As a child, I always felt your love. Now, as an adult, I also feel your love

and know that you are still there for me.

I wish we could have lived closer over the past 20 years, but only God knows

why we take the roads we do.

Although Mother’s Day gives me a chance to ‘tell’ you how much I love you,

you are in my heart with every breath I take and always will be.

You are a wonderful mother, who has always taken care of her nest, and

you continue to do so today!

May God return all the goodness you do for others, and may you

have a blessed and happy Mother’s day.



Love always, Mary

Rollin’ With The Flow


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Lee and I have to decided to roll with the flow, so we don’t get knocked on the flo no mo! LOL!

Sometimes the best antidote for stress, or whatever the world serves up, unannounced and certainly not asked for, is a complete get-away.

We had decided to seek refuge at a 3 day “staycation”, low cost, low stress, high pleasure and fun. Little did we know what we would encounter once our “stealth like” plan was put into play.

We packed all morning (for 2 1/2 days), getting ready to go, made a quick run to the store to pick up some last-minute fruit, veggies and ‘spirits’ to keep in our hotel room, and lo and behold the devil was on the loose and kicked us right in the tailpipe…actually the radiator. We got out of the car at the liquor store to find a “green goo” running rapidly out from under our car. Lee’s face turned purple to accentuate the green, and I said with a smile on my face….”it’ll still be here when we get out, let’s go get our shopping done!”

And when we did get out we knew that we would have to drive it straight across the street to the local Enterprise car rental. While driving a 1/4 mile over, our car temp was heating up by the SECOND! This became scary with visions of $$ attached to the solution. And do remember, this was to be a 3 day escape from stress and problem solving.

Well, we arrived at the rental place without our car engine catching fire, but the ‘luck’ just continued; when we got to the front door we discovered they had closed 15 minutes earlier! On a Saturday? What!? Not a person to be found. Here it is, 12:20 on a Saturday, in Phoenix, AZ., in May…let me just say this – it was already hot! If there was any positive outlook to any of this it would be that there was a box of booze in the back of the car, oh…but then again, we had no ice! Bummer!

What to do? Ok…we had to think logically in all this despair ..even though we had already promised our brains they wouldn’t have to do any high level thinking or problem solving this weekend! But, it’s ok… fortunately Lee and I have become experts at doing so. We called our dear neighbor Kathye who came to our rescue.

Long story short, the tow truck barely arrived just in time to get our car to the dealership before they closed until Monday morning. And when I say barely, we are talking minutes and seconds! Once all the paper work was done, we received our beautiful loaner. We would worry about fixing the car next week, when we ‘had’ to.  Nonetheless, YAHOOOO…our staycation would begin.

We arrive at this beautiful resort, and start unwinding and enjoying life instantly! There is nothing but peace and serenity surrounding us (and LOTS of chirping birds). Thank you JESUS! Whoa…HOLD that thought! We enjoyed a beautiful, ME-gan salad for dinner, and went back to the room to change into our bathing suits for an evening swim, and shockingly enough (NOT!) my stomach began to gurgle. Imagine that. Really? I thought. Uggg… bacteria in the salad? I was glued to the POT for over an hour!

Oh yes…the dark cloud was still hovering! <SIGH!>

It too (meaning my poo) passed, like all things do and we actually ended up having a spectacular night in the pool & hot tub, enjoying some of Lee’s awesomely crafted drinks!

We are off to the gym now, to begin our day! We are expecting nothing but…as the Beach Boy’s sing…Good Vibrations! But if you never see a follow-up to this blog, then it could mean that we did encounter more drama or we just simply ran away to another land – far, far away.

This is not a tale of woe, we’re just rollin’ with the flow!



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IMG_9451IMG_9463 IMG_9468Click here to listen to Charlie Rich, Rollin’ With The Flow! Life’s all about GREAT music!

May good fortune follow you all! Love,

Lee & Mary


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