Quiet Reflections

Life Around My Table

Perseverance is Everything

We can all start something, but do we have the courage and focus to stay the course? We can apply this to relationships, hobbies, work related goals, task lists, nutritional diets, and individual character choices. The list is endless.
Do we have the patience to see things through with integrity and a moral compass?

Life is certainly a challenge!

Italian Micromosaic Crosses from the Early 1900’s

These crucifixes were fashioned as mementos from the Vatican City back in the early 1900’s. The minute inlay of mosaic tiles in silver certainly must have been a painstakingly slow and detailed labor. Yet, here they are over 100 years later. These are beautiful examples of how some things will stand the test of time. I would love to know the journey these amazing pieces have had. I know for certain that there is a story attached to each, and they will, most assuredly, continue on their journey.

Solitary walks have never been a problem for me,
neither has going to a movie by myself, dining alone in a restaurant, nor sitting at a bar quietly observing those around me.
Solitude has always been a comfortable space for me.

Often, I think about the difference between Solitude and Loneliness.

I think loneliness is quickly dispelled by knowing yourself and choosing to engage in the present moment. Solitude, by choice, allows you the Gift of placing only what you really want in your heart.

There is something very special about this church for me. It sits in an open field high up in the forests of Tuscany.
One day soon, I will return to it.

Life Around My Table
Morning Light on St. James by the Sea
Life around My Table

I am always fascinated with churches.
It doesn’t matter to me what denomination they are. I just love their facades and the calmness that eternally emanates from within their interiors. There is something very soothing about the hushed silence.

I have been releasing my old life. And beginning my new one. It is a time of awakening and harnessing the powerful energy that is ME.

I call it Untethering the Ties

that no longer serve me well. One solitary knot at a time, I untie myself from the life I once knew and held onto so dearly. Every time I begin to feel constrained by an unseen energy, I ask myself to become aware of what it is that is pulling at me. I observe, perhaps even let its emotions wash over me once more, and then quietly, with resolve, release it to the winds.
These old energies are lovingly being replaced with confidence, strength and a positive focus that puts me center stage in the light.

It is the beckoning of the Wisened Woman who calls to me.

There is no better time for this contemplation and quiet reflection than now, during the Lenten Season. For me, it is a time to honestly think about what is most important and to allow everything else to fall away.

Then and Now

It is also a wonderful time to encourage myself to remember that this little one has never been very far away. Funnily enough, I see her more and more these days.

The days are still not long enough for dinner time to be lit with the evening sun, and there is a crispness in the air as the close of day descends upon us. Comforting foods are slow cooking on the stove and the warmth of the fireplace casts away any remaining chills.
It is Winter, after all.

When I first came across this recipe from Nigella Lawson, I was immediately envisioning a warm, cozy evening in front of the fire, surrounded by the people I love most, and sipping a beautiful Tuscan red wine. It just caught me by all my senses!
I love to cook with many layers of flavors and spices, and this type of preparation allows for just that. I have adapted this recipe and changed things up a bit to make it my own.
I hope you give it a try and create it for yourself!

Lemon Chicken with Whole Wheat Orzo

(adapted from Nigella Lawson), and changed a bit.


  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 organic free range chicken
  • 1 knob of fresh ginger, approximately 1 inch, peeled and grated
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 2 leeks
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 medium to large parsnip
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 3 Tbsp fresh tarragon, minced
  • 1 tsp garam masala, finely ground
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 1/2 cups cold water
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups whole wheat orzo pasta
  • 1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped fine, (3 Tbsp reserved for serving)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Rinse chicken under running cold water and then thoroughly pat dry. Rub entire chicken, including the cavity, with olive oil. Season entire chicken, inside and out, with Sea Salt and Black Pepper.
  2. Peel and cut carrots and parsnip into 1/2 inch rounds.
  3. Wash leeks and cut into 1/2 inch rounds.
  4. Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large Dutch oven. (I use a 7 quart oval Le Creuset with a lid.) Place the chicken breast side down in the hot oil and allow it to brown for 3-4 minutes. Turn chicken breast side up.
  5. Turn the heat down to low. Carefully put the pressed garlic, grated ginger and lemon zest around the chicken and with a small spoon mix it into the oil on the bottom of the pan. Add white wine and reduce down by half.
  6. Add the carrots, parsnips, and leeks around the chicken, and then the herbs and spices: Sea Salt, chili flakes, tarragon, garam masala, and freshly ground black pepper.
  7. Pour in the water and then the chicken stock, allowing the chicken breast to remain uncovered. Add lemon juice.
  8. Slowly bring pot to a boil, place lid on pot and put into preheated oven for 1 hour.
  9. After an hour bring the pot out of the oven and put the orzo around the chicken into the liquid. Scrape along the sides of the pot to release all the flavorful bits and stir into orzo. Replace the pot with the lid back into oven for another 30 minutes.
  10. Remove pot from the oven and take the lid off. Loosen up the orzo by giving it a gentle stir. Allow the pot to sit for 10 minutes.
  11. Stir in chopped parsley, reserving 3 Tbsp for serving.
  12. Serve by carefully removing skin and bones to adjacent dish, (the meat will easily fall away from the bones), combine the meat with the orzo.

“It Takes Courage to Grow Up and Become Who You Really Are”

EE Cummings

All photos ©️DianaAmato and Content ©️DianaAmato


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  1. February 29, 2020 / 2:19 pm

    I ADORE TO BE BY MYSELF ALSO.Good analogy on that and loneliness.
    I have the POT so next week I will COPY YOU!
    THANK YOU for the dinner inspirations as I am running on LOW in that department…………..XOXO
    PS. YOU look the same!!!SAME FACE!

    • 93zingara
      March 1, 2020 / 7:36 am

      It’s a good feeling to like spending ‘alone time’. It always gives me a chance to listen to myself.
      As for this chicken dish, it’s easy and fun to make. Plus, you can really season it anyway you like. Let me know if you have any questions. I usually pick up an organic chicken at Trader Joe’s or Sprouts.
      Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

  2. holly boyle
    March 1, 2020 / 1:10 pm

    Introduced to you by La Contessa and I am looking forward to your food for body and soul.

    • 93zingara
      March 1, 2020 / 4:43 pm

      Dear Holly,
      It’s so wonderful to connect with you here! La Contessa sure knows how to bring us all together. My love of food, healthy living and old recipes is something that I love to share. I hope you will comment along the way and always give me feedback when you try a recipe! Thank you for following me.

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