Thursday, February 1, 2024

Top chefs from New York City & New Jersey will gather on May 20, 2024 for a spectacular tasting event to benefit The Ashley Lauren Foundation, providing hope & help for children with cancer throughout the State of New Jersey.

 Join us on May 20, 2024 for the Second Annual Ashley Lauren Foundation’s Chefs Who Care premiere tasting event. Celebrate top chefs from Manhattan and New Jersey at the illustrious Essex and Sussex in Spring Lake while enjoying premium wine and spirits, live entertainment, special guests, an extraordinary auction, and some swag. This premiere gathering of renowned chefs aims to raise funds and awareness for The Ashley Lauren Foundation, which provides much needed hope, help and support for children with cancer and their families throughout the State of New Jersey.

 This year’s Chef lineup begins with Michelin Star Joseph Sergentakis (Boschetto, Allendale Social), Angelo Competiello (Alta Irpinia), Fabrizio Facchini (Facchini Food Services), Cesare Casella (Casella’s), Joe Tartamella (Felina Ridgewood), Roberto Caporuscio (Keste Pizza e Vino), Jesse Jones (Chef Jesse Concepts), Bryan Giron (Perquin by Santelli’s Hospitality), Stephan Yen (Liberty National Golf Club), with many more to come.   Sponsors include Italian Food Guys Inc., San Pellegrino, Urbani Truffles, Calvisius Caviar, Wines with Causes, D’Artagnan Gourmet Meats, DeCecco Pasta, and with many more to come.

John Dalton

“We are so honored to announce our Humanitarian Award Recipient for the event – entrepreneur and philanthropist, John Dalton,” stated Monica Vermeulen, Founder/CEO of The Ashley Lauren Foundation. John Dalton is the CEO of Monmouth County based company, IT Initiatives, an award-winning technology solutions design and delivery partner for senior living, hospitals and healthcare, education, and government sectors. John has served on various charitable boards and committees throughout his career while striving to support those in need philanthropically and through his work at IT Initiatives.

The Ashley Lauren Foundation, the beneficiary of this remarkable event, has been providing vital assistance to children with cancer and their families in New Jersey for almost two decades. “I founded this organization in 2005 based on my own experience when my daughter, Ashley Lauren, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of three,” shared Vermeulen. Through various programs and initiatives, the Foundation offers financial, emotional, and material support, ensuring that families have the resources they need to navigate the challenges of pediatric cancer. “We help with Direct Financial Assistance (all household bills, traveling expenses to and from hospitals, funeral expenses and much more); Material Assistance (food, clothing, household items); Emotional Support (for the entire family); 2 Major Parties for the Children and their families (Spring Party at the Boardwalk and Christmas Party); Advocacy; “Making Dreams Come True” Program; Birthday Brigade (each child is celebrated on their Birthday); Outings and anything else that is needed to make their lives easier and bring smiles to their faces. This event will strengthen our ability to bring much-needed resources and assistance to children and their families who are facing the horrific disease of pediatric cancer,” continued Vermeulen.

Co-chairs of Chefs Who Care are Eric Vitale (Eric Vitale Photography) and Gennaro Pecchia (The Good Food Fellas on Spotify). Tickets are $195 per person (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm) and $250 for VIP package (5:00 pm – 10:00 pm) and may be purchased by going to www.ashleylaurenfoundation.org. Proceeds will go directly towards supporting the programs and services provided by The Ashley Lauren Foundation. For more information about the Chefs Who Care event, including sponsorship opportunities and media inquiries, please contact us at 732-414-1625


Saturday, September 2, 2023

Happy Anniversary 15 years of Italian American Girl!


Another year its now 15 years from when I started the Italian American Girl web site.   Facebook was just starting, Twitter just launched and no Instagram then, my site took off so quickly just because of our tight knit Italian American community.  The support I received from my fellow Italian American friends from all over the country and in different parts of the world was amazing.  Till this day, we still have the same connections, its pretty amazing.  Being Italian American is definitely a very unique experience, I had the best of both worlds, growing up Italian American in the USA.   I think in today's climate of heavy immigration discussions, we are experiencing a new wave of immigrants who may or may not come into the country through the proper channels, but its also a severe economic and dangerous climate in the world.  When my father came over from Italy he was the oldest of his family expected to support the family after his father died in World War II, my father's uncle worked to get him to the USA to help him, everyone in Italy was poor, he knew if my father stayed there he would not make it to support an entire family.   My father is in the USA now close to 60 years, came over on a ship the whole nine...  true immigrant experience, yes my father is now almost 90 years old.   

Living in the USA and living the American dream is a challenge, the economic climate for most people is difficult, and if you don't speak the language even harder and you are treated badly, in my opinion.   America is about a dream, its about working hard.  If my father didn't come here and work as hard as he did, I would not have or do any of the things I've experienced or are able to have and enjoy.  I thank my father for everything he's done for me and my entire family.  Thank you for continuing to support my blog, my brand, my experiences; without you and our community we can't thrive.  Grazie a tutti.  xoxo 

~Margaret 

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Summer Italian tomato salad


 First tomato salad from the garden. 🍅 🌿 🍅 I added a chopped zucchini, tomatoes, red onion, basil, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Delicious and healthy.

Italian Meatball Recipe

 Italian Meatball Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cup of bread crumbs ( this can be home made from toasted Italian bread or store bought) 
  • 1 pound of ground meat, (you can substitute any meat, we prefer Turkey 100% lean.)
  • 4 oz. grated cheese Pecorino and Parmigiana
  • 2 Tsp of salt
  • 1 Tsp of pepper
  • 2 Eggs 
  • 10 stalk or pieces chopped parsley 
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 1 or 1/2 cup of water - depending on the quality of your bread crumbs. 

Mix all together, form balls (secret to keeping them nice and together, drip some warm water onto your palm of your hands as your rolling the balls.)  Then once you have your balls ready, fry them in a pan of very hot vegetable oil or canola oil. (some people like to substitute oils, we find this works best for us.)  Flip them till they are golden brown as you can see from today's meatball making.   


If you  have any questions, feel free to email me at margaret@italianamericangirl.com 

Happy Sunday! 



Friday, August 11, 2023

Making Black Olive Bread - Pane Alle Olive Nere


Well, it's time for a new post and I wanted to share an amazing baked bread that my brother Santo made, its a black olive bread, Italian style.  I believe many Italians make this in many variations as we like to experiment and also be simple with our staple dinner element.  

My brother has since baked a few loaves since this original loaf pictured here, I believe he wanted to perfect it and it almost seemed to get better each time he baked it.  

Now, once he made it, we had a chance to warm up the bread and enjoy with it with extra virgin olive oil and red pepper flakes.  

The next day I cut a slice and made a very glamorous avocado toast, which was amazing.  Pictured to the right I also made a plain authentic pizza type snack.  My brother followed the exact recipe from Orsara Recipes linked here: Black Olive Bread  Leave a comment if you have a good bread recipe to share! 




 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

A Trip Down Memory Lane - The Italian American Girl Story


A little trip down memory lane and retelling the story of why @italianamericangirl is a brand. I started the Italian American Girl blog back in 2008 when social media just came out and blogging was the trend then along with the new sites Twitter and Youtube. I was searching for a way to stay connected to my first generation Italian American friends and acquaintances so we could share stories of upbringing, family and culture. 

Here we are over 14 years later and now the Italian American community has grown online so much due to platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Also, no one was calling us influencers, myself and few others on here who I am still very close with know who we are and were just being authentic and enjoying the connections. The moral of the story is: it wasn’t about numbers, or influence but about connecting and bringing awareness to our culture, upbringing and values. Leave a ♥️ if you agree.  What's your Italian American story? 

Ciao. Xoxo ~Margaret

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

I'm Italian and Yes, I Have Curly Hair. Part 3

 

So, you're probably asking right about now, why am I writing about curly hair? Just this week alone my blogs have been about politics and serious topics...well today I want to talk about curly hair. I get tons of emails all the time about yes, my hair.


I have to say, I am very lucky to have super curly hair that's somewhat manageable. There was a time when I didn't know how to style it and always felt like odd girl out..while all my friends had their gorgeous straight hair.

Growing up with curly, frizzy hair always made me feel like a bit of an outcast. During middle school, teasing and spraying hair was pretty big. I could never do that, because if I teased I ended up looking like a poodle who got electrocuted. It was hard.

Then, in my later years in high school, I started to get the hang of it. It isn't till now, that I really love my hair and can style it with super products available for curly, ethnic hair. Yes, whether we like it or not, its "ethnic." If you research the curly hair characteristics and cultures of where people have curly hair, well..you guessed it..I'm in that percentile.

I guess I am the owner of the fitting characteristics of a Southern Italian woman. To add to the curly hair, not only is it hard just to figure out what to do with it, but in a business world such I am in daily..its another job trying to figure out how to fit in with the business types without my hair going wild.

Let me know below if you have a favorite product to use to manage our hair.