recipes for feeding the toddling masses...creating and posting happy and pleasurable eats for the mamas and the papas, the babies and everyone in between.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

the tony carbone benefit concert

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

cancer is the enemy..

one year ago this past christmas our dear friend tony carbone had a massive tumor growing in his brain that nearly killed him. this battle has been constant with the worst was diagnosed just recently. unfortunately for tony and his wife sinnamon they were denied use of a preventitive medicine all thanks to those lousy insurance companies we know to hate.

on feb 2. there will be a benefit concert to help fund the costs of tony's meds. below i have copy and pasted the information on this event as well as a recent interview that they made to the press telegram. there is a myspace page dedicated to this benefit as well as an address for doantions.

his fight has been hard and sad...we continue to think the best for them every morning, every night and every day. this benefit is an example of the love that surrounds them and the kind of warm and awesome people they are.

the title will take you directly to the myspace page dedicated to the tony carbone benefit show.

Two years ago, Tony Carbone was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma — the most aggressive and life threatening form of skin cancer — which spread to his brain.

But the 34-year-old elementary school teacher for the Long Beach United School District is an amazing fighter. Since Tony’s initial diagnosis, the cancer has spread to his brain four different times. Because of the resulting brain tumors, Tony has paralysis in his left leg and has lost vision in his right eye. He has undergone six brain surgeries, whole-brain radiation and chemotherapy. This past Christmas he almost died, but eventually pulled through.

All of this has been a tremendous financial strain on Tony and his wife, Sinnamon. Tony’s response to treatment thus far has been successful and his doctors are recommending a drug called Avastin to supplement his intensive therapy.

Research indicates that Avastin is very successful in treating melanoma. However, his insurance company, Blue Shield, has denied coverage for the drug, calling it “experimental”.

Tony and Sinnamon appealed this decision by sending literature about the use of Avastin with melanoma patients and records from five other major insurance companies that have approved Avastin for patients with melanoma. The Powers That Be reviewed the information and concluded that while sufficient evidence shows that this medication can be effective for the treatment of melanoma, they do not approve it for this particular case.

With his insurance company denying the Avastin treatment, Tony and his wife have nowhere to turn. The Avastin cycle recommended by Tony’s doctor will cost $30K.

Tony’s family and friends are organizing a fundraiser to help pay for the cost of this treatment. A benefit concert featuring The Aquabats, Supernova and a special guest will be held Saturday, February 2, 2008 at The Glasshouse in Pomona, Calif.

In addition to the money raised from ticket sales, there will be a silent auction and a raffle of donated items that night. If you are able to, we ask that you donate an item for the silent auction or raffle. Further information about how and where to donate can be obtained online at

Thank you for your support.

Confirmed donors thus far:

Nike, Maroon 5, Kit Pistol, Plexifilm, Punk Rock Confidential, Dogpile Clothing, Fred Segal, Warner Avenue Animal Hospital, Warped Tour, Bamboozle Left, Aquabats, Supernova, Fluf, more confirmations coming in daily

Dear Family and Friends,
This article came out in the press telegram today.

Cancer shadows L.B. teacher's future
Although supported in part by the generosity of
colleagues and family, couple faces overwhelming
financial burden.
By Kevin Butler, Staff writer
Article Launched: 01/15/2008 10:15:46 PM PST

LBUSD teachers Sinnamon and Tony Carbone deal with
health insurance rejection and mounting bills as they
face Tony s brain cancer diagnosis. (Kathi Kent / For
the Press-Telegram)
LONG BEACH - About two years ago, Long Beach teacher
Tony Carbone and his wife Sinnamon were about to start
the next stage of their lives.
The couple, both teachers in the Long Beach Unified
School District, had just bought a new house in Bluff

Tony was about to complete a master's degree in
educational technology, while Sinnamon was preparing
to start a business teaching Pilates at home to earn
extra money to help pay for their mortgage.

At that point, they had envisioned starting a family
in the next couple of years. But in December 2005,
those plans were halted when they discovered a
5-centimeter-wide bump on Tony's waist.

Tony Carbone, 34, was diagnosed with advanced
melanoma, a type of skin cancer, which six months
later had spread to create tumors in his brain.

Since his diagnosis, he has undergone six surgeries -
three of them invasive - while the couple has
struggled to keep afloat financially and battled with
an insurance company and the LBUSD to get
authorization for a treatment his oncologist says is
needed to extend Tony's life.

Tony said he had been a healthy person who was rarely

"Surreal is the best way to describe how it feels and
you just get frustrated when your life keeps getting
put on hold," he said.

Since his diagnosis, Tony has had medical
ups-and-downs. On Christmas night in 2006, while
visiting relatives in Palm Desert, he nearly died
after being rushed to the hospital


when he complained of headaches and severe pain.
Tony, whose tumor was hemorrhaging, was saved only by
an emergency brain surgery, but was left partially
blind in his right eye.

The couple got some good news seven weeks ago, when a
scan showed no additional tumor growth. That
development allowed Tony to return to work at Lee
Elementary on Jan. 4 of this year.

Although still suffering from bruised ribs caused by a
fall about a month earlier, Tony was encouraged by his
oncologist to return to his job.

"He was exhausted, but he loved seeing the kids,"
Sinnamon said.

The couple saw a dramatic reversal in Tony's medical
fortunes less than a week later when an MRI showed two
new tumors. Also devastating was the knowledge that
cancer cells had seeped into his cerebrospinal fluid,
Sinnamon said.

Tony didn't return to his teaching job. He has tried
to remain optimistic during his ordeal, but it's been

"It just seems every time I was in the clear, then
something came up," Tony said. "Everyone says melanoma
is so insidious. It's so hard to get rid of, and it's
so aggressive. It's like a monster living in your

Tony Carbone began teaching nine years ago, after
spending time working as a sound engineer designing

He didn't have to look far for inspiration. Both his
parents and Sinnamon's were teachers.

"I love working with inner-city kids," Tony said.

Tony also likes the other teachers at Lee. Teachers
and staff at Lee and at Renaissance High School, where
Sinnamon works, have contributed the bulk of nearly
200 donated sick days to Tony so that he can keep
getting his full salary.

But there is a limit to how many sick days he can use,
and Tony in the near future will have to go on
disability, Sinnamon said.

His disability insurance for two years will pay him
about 75 percent of his teacher's salary, a figure
that will drop to 50 percent after that, she said.

Meanwhile, his wife is running out of days to use to
take care of her husband.

"I don't know what's going to happen" after the days
run out, Sinnamon said. "It's difficult. Not only does
Tony need my care ... but he needs me around for moral
support, too."

The illness has forced Sinnamon to put her Pilates
business on hold, depriving her of income that she and
her husband were counting on to help pay the mortgage.

Tony, before his illness struck, had nearly finished
his master's degree - an achievement that would have
led to a salary bump at the LBUSD.

The couple also has struggled to get insurance
payments for a treatment that his oncologist has
recommended. Tony is on the school district's
self-funded insurance plan, which has Blue Shield of
California as its claims administrator.

The couple has fought to get coverage for the
medication Avastin, which inhibits tumor growth by
blocking the formation of new blood vessels.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the
use of the drug for patients with metastatic
colorectal cancer and certain types of lung cancer.

Although not yet approved for melanoma, the drug has
been recommended by Carbone's oncologist as an
effective use for that condition.

Sinnamon Carbone said that the doctor, affiliated with
the Hoag Cancer Center Facility in Newport Beach, has
prescribed the medication to other patients with
melanoma whose insurance companies have paid for the

Blue Shield denied coverage of the medication, saying
that there was insufficient evidence in peer-reviewed
journals to show its safety and effectiveness in
treating metastatic melanoma.

But Sinnamon said that her attorney provided numerous
peer-reviewed studies that have shown its safety and

After exhausting appeals with Blue Shield, Sinnamon
said she asked the LBUSD to override the company's
decision and authorize payment for the treatment.

That request was denied in December, Sinnamon said,
leaving the couple to begin fund-raising to pay for
the $30,000 Avastin regimen.

A spokeswoman for Blue Shield of California said she
could not comment on Tony's case because of a federal
medical privacy law.

Chris Eftychiou, an LBUSD spokesman, also said that he
could not comment on the specifics of the case due to
medical confidentiality.

Family donations helped to pay for the first dose of
Avastin, which cost $5,000.

Despite the lack of coverage, Tony went ahead and
received the second dose this month, and the couple
hopes to raise money to pay for that bill, as well as
the remaining four doses, taken every other week.

What disturbs Sinnamon is the thought that the delay
in getting Avastin may have contributed to the
reappearance of her husband's tumors this month.

The couple is trying to raise money to pay for the
Avastin and other financial hardships.

"We don't want to lose our house," Sinnamon said.

They now are waiting for Blue Shield's approval for a
type of radiation therapy that the company has
authorized in the past, she said.

"We hope to have (approval) as soon as possible,"
Sinnamon said. "Every night I got to bed thinking the
tumors could start bleeding and Christmas night could
happen all over again."

Today, Tony is scheduled to have a stint implanted
into the base of his skull to allow for the delivery
of chemotherapy drugs.

A benefit concert, featuring the band The Aquabats,
will be held for Tony at 7 p.m. on Feb. 2 at The Glass
House in Pomona, 200 W. 2nd St. Tickets can be bought
from Ticketmaster.

A silent auction will be held Feb. 23 from 3 to 6 p.m.
at DiPiazza's, 5204 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long

Donations also can be made by writing a check made out
to Tony Carbone and mailing it to Harva Carbone, 9751
La Zapatilla Circle, Fountain Valley, CA 92708.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

veggie and turkey pasta casserole

i am not a fan of casseroles. i think the word casserole conjours up ideas of cream of blah something, pounds of butter, some sort of canned meat product, etc...not the kind of thing i look for in a dinner for myself or my family. with all that being said, it is a fairly drawing idea of putting a whole meal together in one pan and baking it up, not much different from a soup really. x-mas has finally ended for us with the departure of bigfoodie daddy off today for work for the first time since before x-mas. cleaning up the fridge helped me put together this litte casserole of sorts. shredded carrots, chopped leftover broccoli, ground turkey, frozen/thawed garlic marinara, penne, cheese....that was the list of ingredients i had on hand to throw together this little ditty. it came out yummy, creamy and not what i think of when i think of casserole (tuna casserole anyone?). the best part is littlefoodie, who although will really eat most anything with just some subtle encouragment took this down like a champ even with carrots being involved! the veggies all hidden in that cheesy mess is the best part!


1 lb ground turkey
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
few handfuls of sliced mushroooms, (i used the pre sliced bagged stuff from trader joes)
2 cups chopped cooked broccoli
3 carrots, shredded
2 cups marinara sauce or your favorite red sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup unbleached flour
2 1/2 cups milk
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup mozarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup provolone, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
1 bag whole wheat penne pasta or your fav pasta, cooked al dente

saute turkey, onion and garlic until cooked. add in mushrooms, broccoli and carrots. toss in marinara sauce and oregano and season with salt and pepper if needed. simmer 10 min then set aside.

add flour to pan and whisk in milk. heat pan to med heat and bring to boil; reduce and simmer until thick stirring constantly. stir in nutmeg, salt and fresh ground pepper. stir in cheeses.

stir meat/veggie mixture, pasta and cheese together in a casserole dish. top with either a little reserved cheese sauce or some fresh grated paremesan cheese. bake 1 hr at 350F or until warmed thru.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

white chicken chili

its been raining here and cold so chili is a nice little comfort on a windy and wet day. this is a little bit different than your regular chili but just perfect when you don't want the same ol tomato based chili. i've been making this recipe for years and lost it about 3 yrs ago...while cleaning out the fridge i found it all wet and soggy underneath and made it that night. its good with some corn chips sprinkled on top and even better the next day.


1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlc cloves, minced
1 cup organic corn
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 cup low sodium organic chicken broth
1 cup half and half
1 can organic evaporated milk
few splashes of tabasco sauce
1 tbl chili powder
1 tbl cumin powder
1 whole rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 can cannelini beans, drained
1 4 oz can diced green chilies, drained
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
handful of chopped cilantro

melt butter in saucepan over low heat; add onions, garlic and corn until tender. stir in flour and cook about 10 min, stirring constantly. slowly pour in chicken broth, half and half and evaporated milk, stir constantly. bring to boil and reduce to a low simmer until thickened.
stir in tabasco, chili powder, cumin, chicken, beans, chiles, and cheese and cook 20-30 minutes. add cilantro and serve.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

happy new year and a pizza pie

happy new year to all! last night we spent our new years eve eating some right on food! i recieved how to be a domestic goddess by nigella lawson for x-mas this year and have been thumbing through that book for days typically i make timpano for x-mas...a big ol' pie filled with meatballs, eggs, red sauce, cheese, meats, etc. all wrapped in a pastry. this year i decided on nigella's pizza rustica and wow, were we blown away. the pastry crust (for me at least) was thin and dry and seemed much to be desired. after a little fixing up and smooshing it into place in the pan it came out beynd amazing...flaky and moist and buttery. it tasted great served with a little marinara over it. i tweaked the recipe a little and added extra meats so i am posting my version. i am thinking the addition of good green olives would be magic but then there are endless ways to add to this dish.


pastry crust:
1 2/3 cup unbleached ap flour
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
2 lg egg yolks
2 tbl ice water
1 heaping tsp of sea salt
1 tbl sugar

the filling!:
4 italian sausages, casings removed and fried until cooked, crumbling up and cool
8 oz of good quality ricotta
1 1/2 cup sharp provolone, diced small
2-2 1/4 cup diced mozarella
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan
2 garlic cloves, minced
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
few pinches of crushed red pepper
4 oz proscuitto, cut into small pieces
4 oz mortadella, cut into small pieces
4 oz salami, cut into small pieces
4 oz coppa, cut into small pieces
2 lg eggs
fresh ground black pepper

egg yolk
2 tbl half and half
pinch of sea salt

put flour and butter in a dish and stick in freezer for bout 10 min. ( smart step from nigella! don't skip it!) stir together yolks, salt, water in a cup and put in fridge until flour is done. remove flour/butter and toss into food processor, add the sugar and pulse until small granules form. slowly add egg mixture and pulse util JUST COMBINED..DO NOT OVER MIX. remove and form into a ball. split in half, one half slightly larger and wrap in plastic. put in fridge for a few hours to chill.

preheat oven to 400F and put a large baking sheet in. unwrap dough and roll out larger one. place in 8-9in springform pan and press to get it all in. sprinkle bottom of dough with breadcrumbs.

combine the cooled italian sausage thru black pepper and sitr it all up to combine. pour into pan. roll out smaller disc and drap over top. crimp and press to seal and fit. combines the egg yolk, milk and salt for glaze and brush over top. poke holes with fork to release steam.

place it on the baking sheet in oven and bake 10 min. turn down heat to 350F and bake 45 min.

remove and let cool 15-25 min before serving.

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