Our Patient is Home!

Wow, we had a ROUGH week!

Dom was hospitalized on Friday afternoon.  Slidell Memorial Hospital.  Christine flew in on Saturday afternoon.

We had one scare after another.

They thought that he had contracted C-Diff and had him in isolation for 2 days.  We later found that this can be deadly.  Thankfully, he dodged that bullet!

Dr. Michael Nguyen was the admitting physician.  Very NICE guy who put together a phenomenal “dream team” for our Dom.

(In the past, I’ve always chosen to be admitted to another Slidell hospital.  Ochsner.  I might have to change preferences!)

All-day, every day, there was a stream of doctors, nurses, and therapists in and out of his room.

Dom had 2 Kidney Specialists, An Infectious Diseases doctor, A Cardiologist, a Neurologist, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists.

Sadly, Dom is not producing his own blood, thus needing transfusions.  He had 2 units transfused during this hospitalization. The kidney doctors had him on Sodium, Potassium, and Electrolytes.

He was diagnosed with Samonella and was treated with 2 different antibiotics.

He was sent home yesterday afternoon with 8 more days of antibiotics, as well as sodium supplements.

We follow up with his Kidney Specialist, Dr. Kovachev in a couple of weeks.  He’ll be keeping an eye on Dom’s Creatine levels.

Heading to see Dr. Safah at Tulane on Wed.  Dr. Calabresi (Slidell oncologist) the following Tuesday, then Dr. Kovachev later in the week.

It’s been a wild ride.  THANK GOD Dom is home.  I had my doubts last Friday.  He was incoherent.  What a scare.

GOD IS GOOD.  Thank you for all of the prayers and phone calls!

Simple New Ways to Use Chocolate for End of Summer/Back to School

Dom and I LOVE Chocolate!  The good folks at AMERICAN HERITAGE CHOCOLATE were kind enough to send me samples…Yummy!

As the new school year approaches and summer winds down, many of us are looking for end of season and back to school treats, fun ways to incorporate history lessons into family activities and simply new ways to use one of our favorite ingredients – chocolate.

AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate has a unique place in the history of Mars Wrigley Confectionery and in the hearts and minds of people all over America who appreciate an artisanal, authentic approach to making and celebrating chocolate. Conceived of, and crafted by, a dedicated team of historians, AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate is the result of painstaking years of research by a multidisciplinary team of more than 115 experts from around the globe. Culled from the archives of some of the most venerated historic institutions, libraries and private collections in America, and in consultation with leaders in food history – from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the passionate team has developed a chocolate product with a flavor profile drawn directly from the annals of chocolate’s historic past. It is the perfect choice for all of your home baking needs.

Try some of these AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate treats with your loved ones.

Monticello Historic Chocolate Ice Cream – This gem from the book Dining at Monticello may be the oldest American recipe for chocolate ice cream in print. Guests to Thomas Jefferson’s White House reported our third president enjoyed ending meals with a creamy dish of ice cream.



8 tablespoons AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate  Finely Grated Chocolate

3 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 vanilla bean

1 cup sugar


6 large egg yolks


Step 1 – Stir together the milk, cream and vanilla bean in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Step 2 – Add the sugar and a small pinch of salt, stirring until dissolved. Gradually pour in the grated chocolate, stirring constantly, and continue stirring until completely melted.

Step 3 – Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until smooth. Gradually beat in about 1 cup of the hot chocolate milk and slowly stir the egg yolks back into the simmering liquid.

Step 4 – Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and stir until slightly cooled, about 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean (it can be rinsed, dried and re-used).

Step 5 – Freeze in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions until set but still a little soft. Scoop into a 3-quart mold, or several smaller molds, running the spatula through the ice cream and tapping the mold firmly to remove any air bubbles. Fill the molds completely. Cover and freeze until set, about 2 to 4 hours. The ice cream may also be set without molding it: scoop it into a freezer-safe container and freeze until set.

Step 6 – To serve molded ice cream, dip the mold briefly in hot water, or wrap briefly in a towel heated in a clothes dryer. Run a knife around the top edge to loosen the ice cream from the mold. Invert the mold over a serving dish and gently lift the mold from the ice cream.

Step 7 – If not molded, serve in small scoops.

Chocolate Banana Nut Bread – Whether you like banana bread for breakfast, lunch, or dinner our recipe for Chocolate Banana Nut Bread will spice up your day no matter when you enjoy it! We use AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate to not only add chocolatey twist to your favorite Banana Bread recipe, but, thanks to our unique flavor profile, you’ll taste many historic spices including cinnamon, orange peel, chili pepper, and more!

Back when the Great Depression was affecting families across the county, no one could afford to throw out any scrap of food – bananas included! Around the same time, companies made baking powder and baking soda readily available on a mass production basis. Cookbook writers combined a thrifty mindset with readily available baking ingredients to create banana bread. Previously discarded rotten bananas were now a mainstay on tables around the country!

PREP TIME: about 20 minutes

COOK TIME: 45-50 minutes

TOTAL TIME: about 2 hours

NUMBER OF SERVINGS: Makes two 9-inch by 5-inch loaves


½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional for pans

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1⅓  cups AMERICAN HERITAGE® Chocolate  Finely Grated Chocolate

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon coarse salt

6 large bananas, very ripe

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

½ cup pecans, roughly chopped


Step 1 – Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center position. Brush two standard 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pans with butter and line with parchment paper, allowing the paper to overhang the long sides by about 2 inches. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, American Heritage Finely Grated Dark Chocolate, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Step 2 – In a large bowl, mash together 4 bananas and sugar until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, stir in eggs, vanilla and applesauce until combined. Stir in flour mixture to create a smooth batter. Gently fold in pecans.

Step 3 – Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Slice remaining bananas in half lengthwise and arrange on surface of batter. Bake loaves until they are firm to the touch and a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cakes in pans for 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or freeze up to 1 month.

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Dom is Slowly Improving! No C-Diff, but Salmonella.

When Christine and I arrived at 11 am, the Occupational Therapist had him out of bed and sitting in a chair.

He’s no longer in ISOLATION.  He tested NEGATIVE for C-Diff!

The Physical Therapy guys were outside his room, ready to pounce on him.  I told them to “Give him Hell”.  They were delighted. 

They WANTED to walk him, but after laying on his back for 5 days, his blood pressure was too low.  They’d test it sitting up.  LOW.  Test it standing up.  LOWER.  They’re going to try to get him walking tomorrow.

Dom asked to go back to bed and we all said, “NO!”.  He ended up sitting in that chair for more than 2 hours.

Our Slidell Oncologist came in.  Told us that he was SO HAPPY that Dom didn’t have C-Diff.  He’s lost TWO PATIENTS from that!  He said that he wants to get Dom STRONG before he gets out of the hospital.  His blood counts are dropping, so I’m guessing that he’ll need another blood transfusion soon.

Then Dr. Koachev, partner of Dom’s Kidney specialist, came in.  He spent almost 30 minutes with us.  Explained that Dom was limited to 2 liters of liquids per day.  Getting IVs of Sodium, Potassium and Electrolytes for his kidneys.  Also told us that his Creatine had jumped from 2.5 yesterday to 3.5 this morning.

Dom’s collar bone started killing him, so they put him back in bed with a percocet.  When he started getting dopey, we left.

Did a little shopping, had a late lunch and came home.

Dom called.  The Infectious Diseases Dr. made an appearance.  She said, “You told me that you had Salmonella once.  Well, you’ve got it again!  No more runny egg yolks!”.

She then went on to say that his Creatine number dropped from this morning’s 3.5.

Feeling hopeful, gang!

New Action With Dom- Blood Transfusions and a Hospital Stay

Hey gang!

It’s been pretty rough around here. 

On Wed. the 29th, he needed 2 units of blood in a transfusion.  His body has quit producing blood.  Either the myeloma cells or something else going on in his bone marrow.  To be determined.

After a few days, he felt like a new man.

THEN…This past week, he couldn’t get out of bed on Wed. or Thursday.  Weak.  Nauseous.  Diarrhea kicked in Friday morning.

His Oncologist had me take him to the ER at Slidell Memorial Hospital on Friday.

They admitted him that afternoon.  He needed yet ANOTHER unit of blood.  He needed Potassium and Electrolytes.

I came in on Sat. morning to find out that they were moving him to the Cardiac Step-Down unit.  They found an enzyme in his blood that could affect the heart.
They wanted to keep an eye on him.

Now he’s in ISOLATION in the Cardiac Unit.  Gowns, gloves and masks worn by everybody.

He’s got quite the team of specialists.  I met a Kidney Specialist this morning.  He explained that Creatine should be a 1.  Dom is a 2.5   Dialysis is needed at 5.  He ordered an ultrasound of his kidneys and bladder.

Then an Infectious Diseases doctor came in.  She said that he has some type of bacteria in his blood.  She’s THINKING E Coli.  They’re also testing him for C-Diff.  Bacterial infection in his colon.  Pretty creepy stuff. 


He’s got a Neurologist on the team.  Trying to deal with his Neuropathy.

Also a doctor of Internal Medicine.  She ordered Occupational and Physical Therapy.  “Use it or lose it, Mr. Manzo”.  I told the PT to work him hard!

Sooo…  our daughter flew in this afternoon.  When she showed up at the hospital, I left.  She’ll be a great help!  I’m tickled that she’s here.

I was sobbing yesterday.  He was almost incoherent.  No tears today, just smiles.  I like the new team of doctors!  I’m impressed with this hospital, too!

They need to keep an eye on a few things, but he was very engaging today!

Sparkling Ice Mystery Flavor Reveal- MANGO GUAVA!

Hi gang-

On these hot summer days, Sparkling Ice really hits the spot.

We LOVE the new “Mystery Flavor”.  YUMMY!

After months of speculation, Sparkling Ice is excited to reveal the flavor of its limited-edition Mystery Flavor – MANGO GUAVA!

Sparkling Ice officially announced that the tropical flavor over 403.2K people have submitted guesses for as part of the #WhatTheFlavorSweeps contest. One lucky grand prize winner will receive a 7-day Caribbean Cruise from Holland America, with over 500 additional winners receiving fun tropical prizes perfect for summer.

The Mystery Flavor will be available for a limited time at local grocery stores while supplies last.

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Delicious, Organic Drink Delivers Powerful Hydration in Two Refreshing Varieties: Spicy Watermelon Lemon Cayenne & Cool Watermelon Cucumber Basil

USDA Organic
OU Kosher
non-GMO Verified
Certified Fair Trade

Bayonne, NJ, AUG 1, 2019 – The consumers have spoken. Watermelon, one of today’s fastest-trending fruits, has enjoyed triple-digit growth in casual and fine dining. Demand for the refreshing summer staple is on the rise even in the fall and winter months. It’s a must for any mixologist and you’ll find it on one in 10 restaurant menus.

Most of all, people just love watermelon – and they know it’s good for them.

KAYCO (www.kayco.com) is taking the beverage industry by storm with Wonder Melon™, the latest thirst-quencher for those seeking clean, uniquely flavorful new refreshment options. Wonder Melon™ is made from 100% organic cold-pressed juice with no added sugar, artificial ingredients, or artificial colorings.

This healthy game-changer comes in two exciting varieties. Watermelon Cucumber Basil is a delightfully cool concoction of real watermelon juice, lemon juice, apple juice, cucumber juice, and basil, with only 80 calories per 8.45 oz. bottle. Watermelon Lemon Cayenne wakes up the taste buds with real watermelon juice, lemon juice, apple juice, and a dash of cayenne at just 100 calories per 8.45 oz. bottle.

“Wonder Melon™ perfectly captures what consumers are looking for right now,” says Kim Cassar, Kayco’s EVP Sales & Marketing – Beyond Division.  “It’s not only healthful and out of the ordinary, but also undeniably trendy and irresistibly delicious. We’re confident that Wonder Melon™ will make a huge splash this summer.”

Both varieties are non-GMO verified, certified Fair Trade, USDA organic, and certified OU kosher (parve). Packaged 6 bottles per case ($3.99/bottle MSRP), Wonder Melon™ is available in the refrigerator section at Shop-Rite, Fairway, Best Market, independent grocers and Amazon.

Wonderful Watermelon Facts

Watermelon’s 92% water content is excellent for hydration. It contains a bounty of nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals associated with the following:

Digestive health
Eye, skin, and hair health
Sun protection
Diabetes protection
Heart and blood vessel health
Weight loss
Combating asthma
Weight loss
Nerve function
Reduction of inflammation

This is some YUMMY STUFF, gang!  Here are a couple of my favorite drinks:

Pineapple Punch
2 oz pineapple infused vodka
1.5 oz Wonder Melon™ with Juice, Watermelon, lemon, and cayenne
Splash simple syrup
.5 oz pineapple juice
.5 oz peach schnapps
Summer Refresher 
2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. Watermelon juice
1/4 oz. Simple syrup
1 oz. Lemon juice
1 oz. Wonder Melon™ with Juice, Watermelon, Cucumber and Basil
Sugar rim
Kayco is one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of kosher foods. Its expanded Kayco Beyond Division sources and distributes new products to the general market beyond kosher, to meet the demands of consumers looking for optional products that are healthful, convenient and/or for restricted diets and lifestyles. These brands include Dorot, Absolutely Gluten Free, Beetology, Mighty Sesame, Tuscanini Foods, Wissotzky Tea Co. and new Wonder Melon™. They are headquartered in Bayonne, NJ. (www.KAYCO.com).
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One Thing After Another Here

Well, his 8 years of complete remission spoiled us.  The last 2 years have been chaotic!

Dom finished up his 5 days of radiation on his broken collarbone and ribs.  We went in to see our Slidell oncologist on Monday.  He did blood work and made us an appointment with Dr. Safah at the Tulane Cancer Center in 3 weeks.

We were tickled!  Three weeks off!  YAY!

Not so fast…the phone rang around noon on Tuesday.  “Dominic needs 2 units of blood!  Come in today to be matched, then go to the hospital for a Transfusion on Wed”.

We drove into Slidell.  (100 miles round-trip).  They did their blood thing and scheduled us for a transfusion at 8:30 the next morning.

Back to Slidell.  SOMEONE told us that it would be about 2 hours.

They were sadly mistaken.  We were at Slidell Memorial Hospital for 7 1/2 hours!  What a long day.

We were hoping that he would perk up today, but that’s not the case.  He’s exhausted.

So, that’s what’s new here.

Going to Tulane Cancer Center in NOLA on the 21st.  We’re afraid to answer the phone!

The Darzalex isn’t Working- Dom has a Broken Collar Bone

Hi gang-  it’s been pretty rough around here.  After 7 Darzalex infusions, they had to stop so that he could get radiation on his hip and both rib cages.

We LOVE his Radiology Oncologist, Dr. M.  This guy actually called Dom personally the other day and talked for about 15 minutes.  We’ve only had 2 other doctors do that.

The last time that we spoke to him, I said “Doc!  When he was diagnosed 10 years ago, it was a breeze.  Thalidomide, total body radiation and a stem cell transplant.  He was in complete remission for 8 years!”

Dr. M. said, “Dom-  you beat the odds, man.  You’re 10 years older.  The cancer and the treatment are kicking your ass.”

Sure enough.  Saturday morning he couldn’t lift his left arm.  Horrible pain.  He stayed in bed the entire weekend.  We called Dr. M on Monday.  He ordered a CT Scan for Tuesday.

He called Tuesday afternoon to say that the Darzalex wasn’t working and the cancer caused a BROKEN Collar Bone!

Dom was measured for radiation yesterday and had his first of 5 radiation treatments today.  He’ll finish up on Wed.

Then they have to figure out what to do for him.  He had originally told them “NO MORE CHEMO”.  Thus the Immunotherapy Darzalex.  We were SO hopeful.

I guess that they’ll try chemo again.  Dom doesn’t want to end up back in a wheelchair, as it is, he’s walking with 2 canes.

So, gang-  If you can find it in your heart, please say a prayer.


Hi gang!

I just returned home from a trip to Panama City Beach, and was surprised to find samples waiting for me.

As it’s pushing 100 degrees here, the timing couldn’t have been any better.

I’m HOOKED on this stuff!

Insanely Delicious And 100% Foolproof, The Classic Summer Beverage Starts With Steeped Coffee’s Innovative Single-Serve Coffee Packs

[Santa Cruz, CA JULY 8, 2019] – When the summer heats up, coffee lovers crave something a little less steamy and a little more refreshing. Iced coffee fits the bill perfectly. For some, that means driving to the nearest chain, dropping a bundle, and leaving quality to chance.

But you can save time and money – and the planet – on a superior brew by making it at home, exactly the way you like it.

The award-winning coffee experts at Steeped Coffee have some tips on preparing the perfect iced coffee. Their simple method requires no gadgets, no expensive equipment, no mystery instant powders, and no wasteful pods. With a pack of single-serve Steeped Coffee, a great-tasting and sustainable glass of cold summer happiness is just a few minutes away.

Steeped, Inc. is all about coffee without compromise. Their proprietary single-serve brewing method features Steeped Coffee Bags (think tea bags engineered for coffee) to deliver the best ethically-sourced and locally roasted specialty coffee, one delicious cup at a time. Nitro-sealed to preserve freshness, Steeped Packs are made with renewable and compostable materials.

According to the team at Steeped, the secret to a classic iced coffee is a well-crafted ‘coffee concentrate’. A good concentrate is also the basis for many other refreshing coffee drinks we associate with summer sipping.

First, we’ll cover the recipe for Steeped Coffee Concentrate, and then we’ll dive into all the different variations of iced coffee you can create using that concentrate.

How to make Steeped Coffee Concentrate

For each serving, you’ll need

1 Steeped Coffee Pack
10 oz. mug
Filtered water

Heat filtered water to 205 degrees, or just below boiling

Place a Steeped Bag at the bottom of a standard 10oz mug

Pour hot water over the Steeped Bag until the mug is half full

Dip and dunk Steeped Bag 20 to 30 times over 1 minute

Leave the Steeped Bag in, and let steep for 5 to 7 minutes or more to taste

Remove Steeped Bag. Your Steeped Coffee Concentrate is now ready for one of our 7 recipes below.

Pro Tips

To serve guests, make several batches of Steeped Concentrate in multiple cups. You can always store Steeped Concentrate in the fridge for later.
Freeze Steeped Coffee Concentrate in ice cube trays. Use coffee cubes instead of regular ice cubes to avoid diluting your beverage.
Everyone knows the best way to enjoy iced coffee is through a straw. Be kind to the environment – buy reusable, dishwasher-safe metal straws!


For each serving, you’ll need

1 serving of Steeped Coffee Concentrate (see above)
A tall glass
Optional: sugar and creamer or dairy substitute such as oat milk


Fill the glass to the top with ice
Slowly pour the Steeped Coffee Concentrate into the glass

Optional: top off with your favorite sweetener, creamer or dairy substitute to taste. Stir and enjoy.


You’ll need

1 serving of Steeped Coffee Concentrate (see above)
A tall glass
Good quality chocolate syrup
Cream or preferred dairy substitute
Whipped cream

Pour the Steeped Coffee Concentrate into the glass
Stir in chocolate syrup and milk or dairy substitute, leaving space for ice
Add ice to the glass until full and stir
Top with whipped cream to taste


You’ll need

A tall glass
1 serving of Steeped Coffee Concentrate (see above)
Liqueur of your choice: hazelnut, orange, Irish cream, amaretto, etc.
Sweetener or creamer (optional)

Fill the glass to the top with ice
Slowly pour the Steeped Coffee Concentrate into the glass
Stir in 1 shot of liqueur
Sweeten and top with creamer to taste.
Stir and enjoy

About Steeped Coffee

Steeped, Inc., based in Santa Cruz, California, is a B-Corp (Benefit Corporation) focused on every detail from farm-to-cup and beyond, to bring people the most convenient, quality, ethically sourced, and sustainably packaged products available. Steeped Coffee provides a single-serve method that combines convenience and quality all within Guilt-Free Packaging. The proprietary Steeped Brewing Method delivers 100% freshly roasted, precision ground, and nitro sealed specialty coffee pre-portioned within Steeped Full Immersion Filters. Steeped Coffee is the simplest way to make a perfect cup of coffee, with no machine needed, just add water. Steeped, Inc. offers its brewing method to Licensed Partners around the globe. For more information, visit http://www.steepedcoffee.com. For business inquiries, contact sales@steepedcoffee.com.

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We Had Quite the Morning

Hi there, gang.

We had quite the morning.  We saw Dr. Mannina the Radiology Oncologist at 8:30.

He informed us that Dom had broken ribs on the right, new lesions on the left, and a large lesion on his right hip.

A year or so ago was when Dom had a Plasmacytoma on his right hip.  That’s when he fell out of an 8-year complete remission.

So, here’s the plan:

We go in Tuesday afternoon to get measured for a contraption that will hold Dom’s arms over his head.

He’ll get about 30-minute sessions when they’re ready to get started.  Dr. Mannina is going to blast the hip, and “graze” both sides of his ribcage so as not to affect any internal organs.

He sent us downstairs for Dom’s 8th Darzalex infusion.

When we arrived at the infusion center, the gang had Dom all set up in his favorite “corner office”.  A lot of room and not sitting on top of anybody.

The volunteer already had our Diet Cokes, candy bar, pillow and blanket waiting for him.  This guy, Richard is a DOLL.  His wife is currently getting treatment for Breast Cancer, so he knows all too much about the ups and downs of treatment.

Our nurse cleaned his port and started the steroid infusion.

Brian, our favorite nurse from Dr. Calabresi office next door came running in…  “STOP  STOP!”.

After consulting each other, the 2 doctors didn’t want any Darzalex in his system for next week.

Sooooo…  Fitting on Tuesday, then 10 Radiation Treatments, THEN back on the Darzalex.

As you guys all know, the Radiation works wonders for pain, so we’re happy to get started.