Sunday, April 30, 2023

Celebration of a Milestone!

On September 13, 2010 - my middle son Greg's 4th birthday - I began my blog Chief 187™Chatter. I had been blogging at a NASCAR social media site called Rowdy and had cut my teeth writing daily about all things NASCAR and not-so-much NASCAR. It seemed time to branch out on my own and write about whatever I wanted to, and I did. It was liberating, fascinating, cathartic, and fun.

That led to great things: writing thousands of published articles, time on-air on both Internet and terrestrial radio, starting my own radio program with Ronnie Crate Payne and Keith Hayes on Anthony Arnold's station called Drafting the Circuits. I was determined to make this career work and dedicated endless hours, days, weeks, months and years to getting drivers on our program - we started humbly with young drivers who were making names for themselves like the incredible Tyler Dippel. Through hard work, consistency, positivity, and sheer passion, we continued to secure fabulous personalities in the world of Motorsports. Eventually we hosted names like IndyCar celebrity Bobby Unser and current stars Charlie Kimball and Alexander Rossi, 10-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel and champ Mason Mitchell,  NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Bobby Allison, and the legendary, incomparable Mario Andretti. Each person we had on the show was treated with the same awe and dignity. In addition to the radio show, I continued to write articles and was honored to interview NASCAR Hall of Fame members Leonard and Glen Wood. And, I was granted media credentials under my name for NASCAR, IndyCar and Formula One races across the country. 

During the summer of 2016 I had run my course with this part of my career. I had suffered some personal losses and there was a racing one as well. Those reasons in addition to having been elected to my town's Board of Education led me to step away from my Motorsports career, concentrate on my volunteer work, and set a new career goal.

Writing a book was something I had always wanted to do since I was a young child. Taking years of writings, experiences, and dreams, I published my first book, Christmas Candi: A Guide To Year-round Holiday Bliss in October 2018. On the day I contacted the publisher in July 2018, I was asked by another person in my life to write his life's story: he has played Santa Claus for over 70 years! My second book started the day my first went to the publisher! 

The Man Behind The Beard published in the fall of 2019. By then I had begun work with a longtime friend on a third book, Drafting the Culinary Circuits. This was an innovative concept to follow the 2020 NASCAR circuit and devise recipes based on the local foods at each locale. This book dropped in winter 2020. 

In 16 months I saw my life's dream come to fruition: three books published under my name.

December 2017 found me back in the classroom, working as a paraprofessional to get back into the traditional workforce. I still work there finding much fulfillment working with students, always learning, and knowing my purpose. My Board of Education position lasted two full terms. Then I was appointed to the Board of Trustees at Sussex County Community College at the end of 2021. 

And I write. I always write. Promote. Share. Communicate. Observe. 

So, when I awoke this morning to find that my original blog site that I started over 12 years ago had reached a milestone - over 500,000 all-time page views - I was emotional. 

Yes, many blogs reach millions of eyes per day, so my numbers may be small, but I earned each and every view on my blog. When I started I was thrilled if a post found 10 viewers. I lost my mind when I had over 10,000 views on a piece, and then 20,000+.

Every once in a while I'll post a new blog, but mostly I promote an older piece that I am still so proud. Most recently I reposted "Wear The Swimsuit" and it still has wings.

I will continue to write, to create, to say what's on my mind. 

Today I want to thank you all for reading. For supporting my efforts. For leaving a comment. For sharing a post. For talking about my article or my book. 

Each word I write, article I "pen", or book I create and publish is a labor of love. For you to read, embrace, think about, purchase, and mention is the highest accolade.

Thank you. 

Please help me in celebrating this most epic milestone for my blog!


Friday, April 7, 2023

Quick and Easy Easter Recipes

Easter time is a time of early spring, rebirth, pastels, Easter egg hunts, and family gatherings with tasty foods.

Many think of ham, lamb, or turkey as the main dish for an Easter celebration, and those are truly wonderful meals. The side dishes like cheesy potatoes, mint jelly, and stuffing are great as well. Add a spring vegetable like asparagus and the Easter meal is complete.

For those of you, however, who are not entertaining twenty-five people for dinner, do not like a roast, or are vegetarian, these meals don’t quite fit the bill.

Or, if you are doing one of these meals but want a supplemental dish that complements your spread but is unique as well, this meal is perfect.

I’m convinced, although I’m not by birth, that somehow I am Italian. I adore the Italians family values and their embrace of a huge spread on holidays and ANY day!

Pasta Primavera literally means spring pasta.

Pasta Primavera


• 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
• 2 medium zucchini or 1 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
• 2 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
• 1 onion, thinly sliced
• 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
• 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
• 1 pound farfalle (bowtie pasta)
• 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
On a large heavy baking sheet, toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheets. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoesand enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

I recommend using a whole wheat pasta cooked according to the directions as it offers a nutty flavor and a strong dose of fiber.

In addition, I’d offer a multi-grain baguette for a side as well as a delicious tossed salad.

And, since dinner is so healthful, and it is Easter, I’d serve a sinfully delicious dessert!

Here’s the offering. With Easter Baskets overflowing with cute egg-shaped candies, I thought this would be an adorable and tasty way to serve them!

Chocolate Easter Egg Nests

Shredded Wheat or Rice Krispies and melted chocolate make perfect nests for candy coated Easter Eggs and they are quick and easy to make.

Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 3 hours
Yield: 8 chocolate nests


5 large Shredded Wheat (or 2 cups spoon-size)
1/3 cup good quality milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup good quality bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
3 tablespoons golden syrup, such as Lyle's

mini candy coated chocolate eggs


3 cups Rice Krispies
scant 1 cup good quality semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup, such as Lyle's


1. Crush the Shredded Wheat into a bowl with your fingers. Put the chocolate chips into a saucepan together with the butter and golden syrup and melt over a gentle heat.
2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Stir the Shredded Wheat into the chocolate mixture and spoon eight mounds onto the lined cookie sheets, shaping into rounds with a dip in the center.
3. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours until set, then peel the nests carefully away from the parchment and fill with mini chocolate eggs.

These can be filled with jelly beans, foil-wrapped eggs, or the decadent Cadbury Mini Eggs I am so wild about. If you are expecting a lot of guests, definitely double or triple the recipe to be sure and have enough.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy and Healthy Easter/Spring! A very Happy Passover to those celebrating that holiday!