While most would respond with an emphatic “yes” if asked if they would like more love in their lives, I suspect few people welcome the extent of “work” required to achieve that outcome.  Of course, the amount of work involved depends on how far away one feels they are from the level of love they desire.



How changing your everyday habits will make you hot for each other all over again.



Heading into February, Settlers Hospitality has lots of romantic Valentine’s Day specials and events for you to enjoy with your sweetheart.



Take the Stourbridge Line train President’s Day Weekend for a special experience each of the three days, celebrating the song Winter Wonderland; the nation’s third president and bald eagles.



Have you ever fled for your life with your heart rate so fast you could actually hear it?  Or ran down the block when you were late for a meeting with no cab in sight?  Very often, we find that sudden surge of ‘booster energy’.  And you wonder how you, a ‘no-sports’ person, suddenly turned sprinter.


2019MistletoeCom (5)A Night at the OSCARS! The 78th Annual Mistletoe Ball

They’re rolling out the red carpet—literally—at the Wayne Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s annual Mistletoe Ball. The theme for the January 19th event at Silver Birches in Tafton will be A Night at the Oscars.

“Come experience old and new Hollywood,” says co-chair Nancy Moro, “dress like one of your favorite stars, and maybe you’ll win a prize.”  Moro, who is considering going as Marilyn Monroe, notes that the evening is fun and meaningful. It’s the auxiliary’s biggest fundraiser of the year to help its community hospital.

“The proceeds this year will go towards a fund to purchase the resources—such as equipment and information systems– needed to recruit physicians and other medical talent.  We’re building a state-of-the-art patient tower, and we want to assure it’s equipped and staffed as well as possible.”

The Mistletoe Ball will feature live music and dancing with disc jockey Jumping Jeff Walker from WKRZ and a “fabulous basket raffle” with donations from many local vendors, including Apple Day Spa, Black & Brass Coffee, Rustic Farmworks, Wallenpaupack Brewing, VIP Kids Club and Wayne County Ford.

With more than 200 members, the Wayne Memorial Hospital Auxiliary is one of the strongest in the state of Pennsylvania. Anyone can join, says Mistletoe co-chair Danielle Hedgelon.  “Come to the Mistletoe Ball and find out how much fun we can be while helping our community hospital at the same time.”

Tickets are $85 per person. Call (570) 226-9750 to reserve your spot. Visit wmh.org to find out more about the WMH Auxiliary.

Mistletoe Committee, left to right:

Gary Mesko, Joan Buehl, Marianne McConeghy, Martha Wilson, Carol Sturm, Danielle Hedgelon, Melissa Richard, Kaylee Racht and Michelle Corrigan. Missing from picture is Nancy Moro.




ELDERCARE PAGENothing is more emotionally taxing than caring for a terminally ill parent and preparing them for their end of life care.  It can be a bittersweet time as well if you’re able to bond and share the good memories while spending this limited together.  Depending on the progression of the illness or disease, some people aren’t given this opportunity, so it’s important to take advantage of the time you have with your parent(s) while they are healthy.

Millions of baby boomers are now taking care of their parents during the last stages of their lives.  With an estimated 13 million baby boomers caring for elderly parents and with a full 25% of those parents actually living in the home of the adult offspring, many family caregivers nationwide are struggling with how to discern, discuss, and deal with end of life issues with their families. There are many critical end of life topics that need addressing, and it’s important for families to be on board and communicative with one another so the parents’ wishes are carried out, and their last years, months, weeks, or days are spent as lovingly as possible.

Aging and elder care authority, Carolyn Brent, has first-hand experience with this.  She is a nationally regarded author and speaker on this topic with a book addressing these issues called “Why Wait? The Baby Boomers’ Guide to Preparing Emotionally, Financially and Legally for a Parent’s Death.”

For twelve years, Ms. Brent cared for her ailing father while he slowly declined, suffering with dementia.  “I experienced the bureaucracy of the health care field, enrolling my father in long term care facilities, and a whole spectrum of other things,” said Ms. Brent, who also works in the pharmaceutical industry.

Ms. Brent understands the emotional toll it can take when caring for a parent who is ill and preparing them for end of life care, especially when being the only one carrying this weight regardless of having a large family who could shoulder some of the responsibility.  “My father was my hero and my life,” she said.  “He had always shared his end of life issues with me, relayed his end of life wishes to me, and put them in writing.  He put his total trust in me.”

Although Ms. Brent had many siblings, she was her father’s primary caregiver and oversaw all  his needs, from taking him to the doctor to getting him into a long term care facility so he could be watched over while she worked.  A very tumultuous and heartbreaking time with her family ensued.  Her father needed emergency surgery requiring Ms. Brent to make difficult decisions she wasn’t ready to make.  Adding to this stress, a sibling was upset with Ms. Brent as her father’s caregiver, and lawsuits were filed against her despite Ms. Brent having done nothing wrong.

While dealing with the emotional stress of watching her father deteriorate and the heartache of being accused of terrible things by a sibling, Ms. Brent looked to the system to help her.  Ms. Brent found dead ends everywhere she went and wasn’t getting the answers she was looking for or the help she needed.  The idea for the book was a beacon of light during this tough time.  “Care-givers need to safeguard themselves, and it’s my duty to let the public know what is going on,” she said.  “I’ve been working tirelessly with U.S. Congress pointing out flaws within the system.”  Over the past few years, Ms. Brent worked with legislators.  “I’ll spend the rest of my life working to get laws changed to safeguard seniors, veterans, and caregivers.   My father’s legacy is me informing the public about these important issues.”

Highlighted on this page are tips and advice from Ms. Brent on how to deal with some of the important end of life topics baby boomers are facing when it comes to caring for their aging parents.

The Cost of an Average Funeral Today and the Alternatives

The cost of an average funeral today nationwide is about $6,000.  This is a steep amount, but there are alternatives out there if you still want a memorable service for your loved one without the added cost.  A popular alternative is cremation, which runs about $1,500 nationwide.  Free cremations are available for those who decide to donate their organs to science.

In addition, you can rent a casket.  Start off by purchasing an inexpensive casket to put the body in for burial and rent the fancier casket for the showing of the body at the funeral home.  “It’s a good idea to purchase a coffin when you or your loved one is still in a functional state and pre-plan the burial,” advised Ms. Brent.  “You tend to make smarter decisions and not let grief rule your thinking process.”

How to Know if an Attorney is Needed to Help with Legal Decisions

As we all know, utilizing an attorney for any reason can rack up fees.  The good news is that an attorney is not always needed for these matters.  “When a family gets along, they can get together and put the paperwork in order themselves and then submit it to any federal, state, and county officials required,” said Ms. Brent.   This can be accomplished for a small price of anywhere between $50 and $100.  If a family gets along but feels more comfortable with an impartial party present or if there may be some disagreements pending over the decisions about to be made, then having a mediator present is a good idea.

“This is in case a family is having difficulty coming together to put the documents in order,” said Ms. Brent.  Lastly, in the worst case scenario, a family may not get along at all, and in this case, a geriatric attorney would definitely be recommended.  “These attorneys specialize in geriatric law,” said Ms. Brent.  “I also advise families get a sibling contract drawn up to protect the caregiver who has been caring for the ill parent all along.  Also, if a caregiver is abusive, be sure you have proof of this and then file a report.”

The Difference Between Medical Power of Attorney and Directive to Physicians

Medical Power of Attorney and Directive to Physicians usually go hand in hand.  A Directive to Physicians often states, “These are my directions to do this…,” which can be that you don’t want to be put on life support, for example.  A Medical Power of Attorney is a person appointed to make sure these wishes are carried out.

5 Life or Death

Decisions Everyone Must Know

  1. Make sure to appoint someone as medical directive. It can be a family member, a doctor, or anyone else you trust. A medical directive records the medical treatments you wish to have or not have if you can’t express your wishes.
  2. See to it that your wishes are stated and made known to everyone involved. For example, what type of treatment, therapy, or medication is agreed upon? Be sure to get these details out in the open and stated on paper.
  3. Choose a Power of Attorney; someone who can stand in place for when you can no longer make suitable financial decisions.
  4. Let it be known how you want to be treated when you’re ill.
  5. Think about how you want to be remembered. What do you want your legacy to be?


Beef StewMaking hearty soups, chowders, bisques, chili, and stews is a fun and delicious way to stay warm once the winter chill bites the air.  One of the great things about making winter soups is you can basically add whatever you like depending on what’s in season and your particular tastes. With any soup you decide to make, you can include different fresh ingredients, and each time you can be creative by developing unique flavors with spices, herbs, meats, vegetables, and even fruits.

You can utilize your local farmers’ market or fresh produce market to find out what local ingredients are in season and select the ones you like best.  Making soup is the perfect way to have control over what you put into your mouth because you know exactly what ingredients are going into it. In addition, soup making is very flexible, and you can choose to follow the recipe verbatim or add and eliminate ingredients as you wish.

Using fresh spices and herbs is a great way to be creative and have fun when concocting your soup.  It’s all about personal taste. For a spicier soup, throw in some cayenne pepper and garlic.  For a sweeter soup, put in a dash of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and even apple cider.  For creamier soups, add as much heavy cream or milk you need to get that perfect creamy consistency.

Squash and pumpkin are two vegetables that are in season this time of year and delicious in soups.  Fruits in season such as apples and pears can add an extra element to these soups.  To make a soup really hearty, add sausage, chicken, potatoes, kidney beans, and cabbage.  Still not full?  Make homemade biscuits or crusty bread to either dip in the soup or have with butter on the side.  Depending on the soup, adding homemade dumplings to it can make it even more filling and satisfying.

To warm up on these chilly days and cold nights this winter, make a pot of soup and indulge in one of the most popular and guilt-free comfort foods.  Winter soups often incorporate all of the food groups and make great use of leftovers. They are also crowd pleasers, and the recipes can be passed down through generations.  Soup making can be a wonderful conversation; people of all ages and all walks of life can have fun with it.  Of course, you can make a fresh pot of soup any time of the year, but when the weather is frosty and chilly, it makes standing by the stove and eating a hot dish even more enjoyable.

So have fun and make your favorite soup this winter or try a new recipe that may become another favorite!

1/4 cup Minced onion

3 tbsp. Butter

1/2 lb. Shrimp, cooked and chopped

1/2 lb. Crab meat, cooked and flaked

1/2 lb. Scallops, cooked and chopped

1/2 lb. Lobster, cooked and cubed (optional)

1/3 cup Dry white wine

2 cups Water

1 pint Heavy cream

2 Egg yolks, beaten lightly

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. White pepper

1/4 cup Sherry or brandy

Sauté onion in butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat until onion is opaque. Add shrimp, crab, scallops and lobster and cook 2-3 minutes. Add wine and water. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes to blend flavors. Put pan back on low heat, add cream and heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Mix a little hot bisque into the egg yolks and mix well. Pour egg yolks into pan and heat for about 5 minutes. Add seasonings and sherry, stir well. Taste and adjust salt as needed.

2 lbs. Russet potatoes

1 lb. Leeks, washed and chopped

1 Onion, chopped

1 Celery stalk, chopped

1 Carrot, chopped

5 cups Chicken stock or broth

1/2 cup Milk

4 tbsp. Butter

2 tbsp. Chopped flat leaf parsley

to taste Salt and pepper

6 tbsp. Cream or half-and-half

1/2 cup Shredded cheddar cheese or chives

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the potatoes, leeks, onion, celery, carrot; cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken stock or broth, 1/2 cup milk, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are tender and potatoes are soft. Mash the potatoes and vegetables in the pot or transfer to a blender or food processor in batches and process until smooth. Be sure the soup has cooled for 15 minutes before processing in a food processor.  When ready to serve, reheat the soup, serve in bowls and swirl 1 tablespoon half-and-half into each serving. Sprinkle with chives or shredded cheddar cheese.

1/2 lb. Ground beef, lean

1 Onion, chopped

1 clove Garlic, minced

16 oz. Tomatoes, canned

1 cup   Celery, diced

2 Carrots, diced

1 Large potato, diced

16 oz.

Frozen corn kernels

16 oz.

Frozen mixed vegetables

1 cup   Water

1 tsp.   Salt

1/2 tsp. Pepper

In a 5 quart pan, over medium heat, sauté the garlic and onion in a small amount of oil until tender. Add the ground beef and cook until brown, stirring to break up meat. Drain if necessary, then add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and water to the meat. Add the carrots to the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes then add the potatoes and celery. Simmer for 5-10 more minutes then add the frozen corn and vegetables and cook for about 10 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. Adjust seasonings to taste.

1 tbsp. Olive oil

1/2 cup Chopped onion

1/2 cup Thinly sliced celery

1 can  Cream of chicken soup

1 cup   Low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup   Cooked wild rice

1 cup Canned, sliced carrots, drained

2 cans  Chunk chicken breast in water, drained (3 oz. Each)

1/2 tsp. Chili powder

1/2 tsp. Ground cumin

Pinch   Ground chipotle chile

1 cup   Shredded, Pepper Jack cheese, divided

1/3 cup Evaporated fat-free canned milk or heavy cream

3 tbsp. Chopped cilantroJanuary 20192019

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onion and celery. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until softened. Stir in soup and broth. Add rice, carrots, chicken, chili powder, cumin, chipotle chile and 3/4 cup cheese; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors, stirring often. Add evaporated milk and chopped cilantro. Garnish with remaining cheese and sprigs of fresh cilantro.



Before you hit the road

on that holiday vacation or business trip with a mindset of maintaining a healthy diet regimen, beware!  What you “think” you know about healthy food choices can hurt you.  Eating healthfully can be extra challenging when you are out and

about, whether traveling remotely, in transit from point A to point B,

or dining out locally.


Cardiologist, chef, and martial artist, Dr. Mike Fenster, author of ‘The Fallacy of the Calorie,’ lists eight medically-based food facts to help you correct common dietary deceptions.  This is information that will compel you to rethink your approach to healthy eating not only when you travel, but also when you’re preparing everyday fare at home:

  1. Diet salad dressings are equally, or more, detrimental. Opting for a salad even with “light” dressing when dining out may not be the healthiest choice. Whether it is low calorie, low fat, or regular salad dressing, it’s often loaded with omega-six polyunsaturated plant oils—too much of which is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. In fact, consuming too much of these salad dressings can be even more harmful to your waistline and overall health than what you presume to be “less healthy” menu items you were trying to avoid with the best of intentions.  When opting for salad, stick with just a little olive oil, vinegar, fresh lemon juice or nothing at all.
  2. Burgers beat deli meat. Despite conventional thinking, the consumption of fresh red meat that isn’t over processed has not been associated with any increased risk of heart disease, cancer, or mortality. Many restaurants today, outside of the fast food variety, offer freshly ground, quality burgers—some even use beef that’s organic, grass fed, and pasture raised. In contrast to fresh red meat, the consumption of highly processed meat and meat products like that typically used in deli sandwiches often presumed to be a healthier option over burgers- has proven to be associated with an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and mortality. Piling on a few zombified vegetables that have marginal nutritional value won’t give the meal much more health merit.
  3. Diet drinks are tied to disease. The common misconception that you can avoid or compensate for poor food choices with diet drinks is a double-edged exercise in futility. In fact, studies have shown women who drink more diet drinks are heavier and have an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
  4. Under-salted food may be a diet disservice. We season our food so it tastes good, and a properly seasoned meal leaves us more satisfied and less likely to binge and over-consume. What’s more, adding salt to fresh food only accounts for about 5% of the daily intake—well within bounds. But, “fresh” is the key word as over 75% of an average person’s daily sodium intake comes from eating highly processed and prepared foods. Seek out those restaurants that utilize fresh ingredients, from produce to proteins.  In a worst case scenario, stop into a market and grab some fresh fruit, optimally organically grown, to tide you over.
  5. Low cholesterol advertising is a fat trap. Most are surprised to learn the cholesterol consumed in one’s diet has little or nothing to do with your blood cholesterol levels. Foods and menu items promoted as “healthy” because they are “low in cholesterol” are often loaded with fat, sugar, or other additives that cause more harm than a three egg omelet ever could.
  6. Bars are bogus. Energy bars, protein bars, granola bars, and other so-called healthy eating snacks are often marketed as an all-natural or otherwise nutritious choice. The fact is that many of these bars are highly processed and contain high levels of low-nutrient fillers and sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Diets high in added sugars, fructose in particular, have been associated with an increased risk of developing hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other life-threatening medical conditions.  Bars are also often loaded with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame that’s linked to a myriad of health ailments.  The short term energy boost bars provide is often followed by a “crash” that can cause you to eat yet more unhealthy bars or other food to get revved back up.
  7. Bagels are the “other” white bread. Many people are aware of the empty calories and the lack of any nutritional redemption in a slice of white bread. Commercial breads are the number one source of sodium in the average American diet.  They also often contain significant amounts of refined sugar and fat in the form of detrimental omega-six polyunsaturated fatty acids.  While many health-seekers do already avoid that slice of white bread for these many unappealing reasons, they may not know a seemingly benign plain bagel is equivalent to several slices of white bread…even before the addition of toppings or fillings.
  8. Counting calories is a fallacy. A calorie is measured by turning food to ash and recording the amount of heat given off. The caloric content of a food or beverage item doesn’t have much to do with how we actually metabolize our food. Additionally, calories alone do not accurately reflect a food’s nutritional value.  For example, a 100 calorie soft drink is not the nutritional equivalent of a 100 calorie apple.  Healthful eating isn’t about focusing on the quantity of calories, but rather it is about the quality of the consumable.

Whether you are at home or on-the-go, taking even these few considerations into account relative to the quality of the “healthy” food at hand can have a significantly positive impact on your diet and overall well-being.  Indeed, the food and drink choices you make when traveling can put you on the road to good health or result in a figurative food fatality.

Dr. Mike Fenster, “America’s Culinary Interventionalist,” is a Board Certified Cardiologist, chef, and athlete whose cutting-edge medical expertise and insight, culinary talents, and dedication to fit living convene in his uniquely integrative Grassroots Gourmet™ approach to food-born health.  His upcoming book, “The Fallacy of The Calorie: Why the Modern Western Diet is Killing Us and How to Stop It,” is currently available for pre-order at www.CardioChef.com.