Tags Posts tagged with "Valentine’s Day"

Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is not solely about romantic love; it can also be about spreading love for the community, and in particular, for those in need. In honor of Valentine’s Day and the season of love, Emma Clark Library, 120 Main St., Setauket will hold a Little Valentines: Baby Supplies Drive now through Feb. 26. The Library will be collecting new store-bought and hand-made baby clothes, as well as diapers, wipes, pacifiers, toys and other baby-related items for local organizations that help babies and their families. Diapers are one of the most requested items from homeless shelters and organizations, and they are a basic need for caregivers. 

A table for the donated items will be located in the Library lobby to the left of the Circulation Desk, and all are welcome to donate (residents or nonresidents) during Library hours. 

Teen volunteers will be picking up the items and distributing them to various local organizations in need. These junior high and high school students earn community service credit for doing so. If you live in Three Village, are in grades 7 to 12, and would like to apply to become a Volunteer Teen Transporter, please visit teen.emmaclark.org/teen-transporters or call 631-941-4080.

Cocoa-Kissed Red Velvet Pancakes

By Heidi Sutton

If the way to your loved one’s heart is through the stomach, there’s no better way to start off this Valentine’s Day than with a homemade breakfast prepared with love. 

Whether you’re whipping up a breakfast for a spouse with a sophisticated palate or trying to tempt the taste buds of your littlest loves, explore these ideas to get inspired.

* Red is the color of love, so build your menu around fresh strawberries or raspberries, which pair perfectly with French toast or crepes, and can even dress up a simple cereal.

* For a more sensible menu, opt for a fruity berry smoothie or a parfait layered with fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt and granola. Add a hint of loving indulgence by sprinkling dark chocolate shavings on top.

* Show your affection with a plate of these colorful Cocoa-Kissed Red Velvet Pancakes featuring rich 100 percent cocoa, buttermilk and fresh berries. Heart-shaped cookie cutters lend a special touch to these fluffy, flavorful pancakes. Add sweet garnishes like powdered sugar and berries for a sensational way to say “I love you.”

Cocoa-Kissed Red Velvet Pancakes

Recipe courtesy of Nestlè

YIELD: Servings: 10 pancakes


1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons baking cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1 cup reduced-fat buttermilk or low-fat milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon red food coloring

 heart-shaped pancake cutters or cookie cutters (optional)

butter, for garnish (optional)

powdered sugar, for garnish (optional)

maple syrup, for garnish (optional)

fresh berries, for garnish (optional)


In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir well.

In separate large bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, unsalted butter, vanilla extract and food coloring. Add to flour mixture; stir to combine. Allow mixture to sit 5 minutes.

Heat nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush with oil or butter. Add about 1/4 cup batter to skillet. Cook about 2 minutes, or until bubbles start to form on top. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes, or until bottom is lightly browned. Serve immediately with butter, powdered sugar, syrup and berries, if desired. 

Tip: If using pancake or cookie cutters, be sure to coat with oil so pancakes don’t stick. Place cutters in skillet and pour batter into cutters. Remove cutters before flipping.

The Quartet 'Antiquity' from the Harbormen Chorus sing to two 'sweethearts.'

“Let me call you sweetheart…” The Harbormen Men’s Chorus is out in public again, singing and entertaining at various venues. This year quartets will be offering in-person and virtual singing Valentines. If an in-person presentation is acceptable, four elegant gentlemen can visit your home, office, school, restaurant or any other locale on Monday, Feb. 13 or Tuesday, Feb. 14 to sing two love songs and present a rose, chocolates and a personalized card to your sweetheart for $75. If preferred, you can request a link that delivers a digital version of the songs with a personalized introduction for only $35. Call 631-644-0129 with your preferred format and times. 

Playwright Jude Treder-Wolff will host (Mostly) True Things: 'Bad Valentines and Worst Dates Ever' on Saturday, Feb. 11.

By Melissa Arnold

When you’re on a mission to find your perfect match, it’s safe to say you’ll have some less-than-great experiences along the way. It happens to the best of us.

Whether you’re partnered up or flying solo, an evening of Valentines-themed storytelling is sure to be relatable and entertaining.

The Performing Arts Studio in Port Jefferson will host a production of (Mostly) True Things, a recurring show featuring people from all walks of life sharing real, personal experiences. Their Feb. 11 production is themed “Bad Valentines and Worst Dates Ever.”

There’s also a game wrapped into the evening — while all four stories are true, three storytellers will change subtle little details. In Act 2, the audience will have a chance to question each person and decide for themselves who’s being sneaky. Winners get a tote bag, and the whole truth about each story is shared before the end of the night. It’s a combination of comedy, heart and community that is truly a unique experience every time.

The host and creator of (Mostly) True Things is Selden resident Jude Treder-Wolff, a creative soul who has worn a number of hats. 

“I grew up in a family where everyone learned to play piano, and I fell in love with it. I’ve always been a musician and a performer, and I got a degree in music therapy in my 20s,” Treder-Wolff explained. “Music has always been a healing art form for me … I love helping people tap into their creativity and use the arts as a way to express their feelings.”

After working as a music therapist in hospitals, rehab facilities and sessions with children, Treder-Wolff went to graduate school for social work and began a private practice. 

She was also growing creatively, getting involved with the cabaret scene in New York City and writing her own material. A mentor encouraged her to share true stories from her own life as well. 

(Mostly) True Things has appeared around New York City, Long Island and the Midwest since 2014, weaving the performers’ stories with original songs written and performed by Treder-Wolff.

This Valentine’s edition is special, she notes.

“I don’t usually do themed shows, but a while back I was in a show called ‘Worst Dates Ever,’ and it was hilarious, so I put out a request for story pitches on that theme,” she said. 

To be cast in the show, potential storytellers meet with Jude, often via Zoom, to present their ideas. If it’s a good fit, they’ll work with her to develop a carefully-crafted and polished story for the show — possibly with those little white lies added in. 

Among the Feb. 11 performers is Kelly Massaro, a Westhampton Beach middle school teacher and writer. 

“I was a scarecrow in my elementary school play, and that’s all the theater experience I have. I’m feeling terrified and thrilled,” Massaro admitted, laughing. “But I made a New Year’s resolution to try new things. I saw (Mostly) True Things in the past and knew I wanted to share some of my writing with Jude … The show was so evocative, thoughtful and funny — the little twist of trying to find who’s telling their story straight is really engaging for the audience.”

Massaro will share the ups and downs of learning to own her romantic history while giving herself permission to love. It may not be the funniest story of the night, but she hopes it will resonate. 

“The most important stories come from being vulnerable,” Massaro said. “I want to reach the person in the audience who might be nursing a broken heart.”

The evening will also feature performances by humor writer Ivy Eisenberg; playwright Jack Canfora; and political comedian Joey Novick.

Ultimately, the goal is to leave the audience feeling hopeful, Treder-Wolff said. 

“Everyone can enjoy this because it’s both comedic and real,” she added. “I think it can help people to feel a lot less alone in their life experiences.”

See (Mostly) True Things: “Bad Valentines and Worst Dates Ever” at The Performing Arts Studio, 224 E. Main St., Port Jefferson on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 online at www.mostlytruethings.com or $20 at the door (cash only). The show is recommended for teens and adults. For more information, call 631-928-6529.

Town Clerk Andrew Raia, Bride and Groom Christine and Gerard Tully. Photo from Town of Huntington

Wedding bells rang again this year in Town Hall on Valentine’s Day, as Town Clerk Andrew Raia, chief Marriage Officer for the Town, presided over eight marriage ceremonies. “It is a privilege to unite these couples and share in the excitement and happiness of their special day,” said Raia.

The intimate ceremonies included a Town Board room decorated as a Valentine’s Day-themed wedding chapel, mood lighting, and traditional processional music. Each wedding ceremony included a rose and a cake presented by Town Clerk Raia and La Piazza Cucina Italiana & Wine Bar in Melville donated gift certificates to all of the happy couples.


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Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson in a scene from the film. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

By Jeffrey Sanzel

Romantic comedies cover a broad spectrum. Whether classics, such as It Happened One Night, The Philadelphia Story, or The Shop Around the Corner or contemporary favorites, like When Harry Met Sally, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Love Actually, most viewers have their personal favorites. 

On the low end are unwatchable travesties, usually humorless and coarse (thank you, Holidates, for ruining an entire year’s worth of celebrations). The majority play somewhere between, floating in that B-/C+ range on the bell curve. They are watchable but by-the-numbers predictable or just fail to reach their potential. Marry Me, now playing in theatres and streaming on Peacock, is guilty of both. 

Singing superstar Katalina “Kat” Valdez (Jennifer Lopez) is poised to marry the younger Bastian (Maluma) in a spectacular event. The combination concert and ceremony will play to five thousand “guests” and twenty million watching from around the world. It will also unveil the titular duet. Just before she is about to enter and take her vows, an online news source posts video of Bastian carrying on with Kat’s assistant. After a speech about “love is a lie,” Kat selects an unwitting audience member to be her husband. He is math teacher Charlie Gilbert (Owen Wilson), who happens to be holding his daughter Lou’s (Chloe Coleman) “Marry Me” sign. He comes onstage, marries her, and the story begins. 

The premise is ridiculous, but there is an opportunity for both humor and insight if one embraces the idea. The opening shows preparations for a celebrity wedding in all its excess, both the over-the-top production and the media coverage. How much more interesting would the film have been to continue this path, emphasizing the misplaced values and the constant internet hype? Instead, the story becomes painfully predictable. 

Kat’s people convince Gilbert to continue in the faux marriage so she can “change the narrative.” Because he is such a good guy—the windbreaker is a dead giveaway—he agrees. But, of course, they fall in love. She takes him to openings; she teaches his mathalon students to dance. It is all precious and precocious. 

The supporting cast is reduced to ciphers, with Sarah Silverman playing Gilbert’s best friend, a school guidance counselor, who is the “kooky sidekick.” John Bradley (interesting in the execrable Moonfall) and Michelle Buteau play Kat’s considerate handlers. But they are given so little character, they function more to move things along, reminding Kat that she has a photoshoot or a plane to catch. The banality of their performances is no fault of theirs. Maluma, a gifted singer, is given the caricature Latin lothario. Coleman does well enough as Gilbert’s daughter, caught between divorced parents and trying to fit in her new school.

But the film’s sole reason is Lopez and Wilson, and, unfortunately, they seem uncomfortable much of the time. Lopez is saddled with the worst of it; she is the star who is lonely in the crowd. Lopez is a charismatic performer, which shines through when she is allowed to sing. Here, she engages fully, and these are the brighter spots. Wilson is trying to channel an everyman but just comes across as clueless (projected through his use of a flip phone). 

There is not so much a lack of chemistry as no fusion. Kat and Gilbert are quickly too comfortable yet remain distant, mouthing speeches that are a patchwork of cliches. It is as if someone has cut up Hallmark cards and pasted them together as a script. In this case, the someones are John Rogers, Tami Sagher, and Harper Dill, who penned the pedestrian screenplay (based on a graphic novel by Bobby Crosby). Director Kat Coiro fails to bring any originality or point of view.

Many obvious moments will either satisfy expectations or just annoy. The whimsical challenge: Kat will attempt to function without assistants; Gilbert will go on social media. (The arc lasts all of three minutes and then is forgotten.) The requisite surprise birthday gift:  A visit to a childhood amusement park. The romantic date:  They chaperone the school dance. The build-up to consummation: It might be the first time in fifty years that anyone has been inspired by Robert Goulet’s “If Ever I Would Leave You.” The final obstacles involve the Grammy Awards and the big math event, lacking stakes and tension. So much for conflict, contrast, and texture.

One of the major missed opportunities is mentioned in passing. Kat is “north of thirty-five.” Far more interesting would have been incorporating the fears of a not-young-star in a youth-centric culture. Lopez would have brought both depth and dimension to this element.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you want. If you hope for wit and originality, Marry Me does not deliver. But, if you can accept a bland if not unpleasant movie, there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.

Rated PG-13, Marry Me is playing in local theaters and streaming on Peacock.

Red Velvet Heart Pancakes

The Perfect Pancake for Your Valentine

(Culinary.net) Finding something unique and special to do on Valentine’s Day for your significant other can be a challenge. Every year, the day to celebrate love rolls around and every year it may seem like you’re out of ideas. Many people feel the same way. However, with just a couple bowls, a cookie cutter and a skillet, your Valentine’s Day could start off a lot sweeter.

Try these Red Velvet Heart Pancakes, which are one of a kind and a delicious way to spend your morning with your loved one. Celebrating the day of love has never been easier.

Add your favorite pancake toppings like butter, syrup, powdered sugar or raspberries. In the end, you will have yourself a scrumptious breakfast, made with love and as sweet as can be.

Kids also love the fun shape and color of this breakfast. It’s a neat way to have them help in the kitchen and make a meal for the whole family.

Valentine’s Day is a big reason to celebrate. You don’t have to stick to the same flowers and chocolates as last year. Mix it up with this delectable recipe meant to spread some love on a significant day.

Find more breakfast recipes and sweet treat ideas at Culinary.net.

Red Velvet Heart Pancakes

Yield: Serves 8 to 10


1 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for garnish

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

30-40 drops red food coloring

nonstick cooking spray

syrup, for garnish

powdered sugar, for garnish

raspberries, for garnish


In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In medium bowl, whisk egg. Add buttermilk, 2 tablespoons butter, vanilla extract and food coloring; whisk until combined.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Spray heart-shaped cookie cutter with nonstick cooking spray and place in skillet. Add enough batter to fill heart. Cook 2 minutes. Remove heart cutter. Flip pancake and cook 1 minute.

Serve with butter, syrup, powdered sugar and raspberries.

Note: If mixture is too thick, add water until desired consistency is reached.

See video here.

Just a few of the cookies designed by Kim Carter of Rolling Pin bakery in East Setauket. Photo by Rita J. Egan

During the pandemic, small business owners have been looking for ways to get customers’ attention. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, a local bakery is providing an option that stands out from the average box of chocolates.

Kim Carter, of Rolling Pin, holds one of the cookies she decorated. Photo by Rita J. Egan

When people first walk into Rolling Pin bakery in East Setauket they’ll spy on the shelves colorful cookies wrapped in individual clear bags. The works of art are created by Kim Carter, the bakery’s decorator, who is currently busy preparing cookies for Valentine’s Day featuring cute couples, colorful lovebirds, adorable animals and more. Every holiday for about eight years, Carter said she comes up with novelty cookies for customers to purchase to give away as gifts and Feb. 14 is no different.

When Evelyn Haegele began working at the bakery a few months ago, she was floored by her new co-worker’s talents. Her cookies are “just incredible,” she said. “Each one is a work of art. I felt like, ‘Kim, you really deserve to be noticed.’”

Carter has been working for the bakery, which is owned by David Dombroff, for 13 of the nearly 27 years it has been open. The decorator said as each holiday approaches she looks for inspiration by searching on the internet. She said each cookie takes a different amount of time to create. Making the sweet treats involves a few steps, from first baking them to then cutting them into different shapes. She then creates backgrounds for each cookie by dipping it in a color she has chosen. After the background is ready, she creates the outline for the cookie and fills it in freehand.

Just a few of the cookies designed by Kim Carter of Rolling Pin bakery in East Setauket. Photo by Rita J. Egan

“It takes practice and there has to be the right consistency of the icing,” Carter said. “If not, it will be running or too soft or too hard to squeeze.”

In addition to cookies, Carter decorates cakes, too. Before she started working for Rolling Pin, she worked for various bakeries and has 20 years of experience in the field. Carter’s decorating talent is one that naturally came to her.

“Since I was a kid I just liked art,” she said. “Then, one day, I said, ‘Hey, I can decorate a cake. I see people doing it. I can do it.’”

Her favorite holiday cookies are the ones she makes for Easter, Halloween and Christmas, and the decorator said she feels bad during Father’s Day because it’s one of the holidays that’s difficult to come up with themes that would be fitting for a cookie.

The bakery also takes custom orders for parties and showers. Sometimes, Carter said, the shapes are unique, and she creates a temporary cookie cutter out of tin until she can find one to buy.

Haegele said her favorite cookies since she started working at the bakery are the Halloween and Christmas cookies, including one that was shaped like a snow globe with sugar that looked like glass.

“What she did was amazing,” Haegele said.


The Rolling Pin bakery is located at 1387 Route 25A, East Setauket.

This year’s Love My Pet was a great success with over 90 adorable pet entries submitted from pet parents along the North Shore. While we couldn’t get all entries in print, they are all online here in alphabetical order for your enjoyment. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Pixabay photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Maybe it is a Hallmark holiday, but with St. Valentine’s Day approaching, love is definitely in the air. Perhaps Chaucer started it with his poetry about Valentine’s Day in the 14th century. There have been many iterations since. At the least, it’s a time to reflect on the loves in our lives. And there are many. Let us count them together.

Saint Valentine’s Day has traditionally been associated with romantic love, as people—give each other material declarations of their affections. These start with cards, some of them originally composed and handwritten, others store bought and ceremoniously delivered. Red roses are the usual accompaniment and perhaps even generous amounts of chocolate. All of that helps to endure a cold winter’s day and night. It certainly helps the local economy.

So many other loves exist, some of them deeply in our hearts. The love we bear for our children makes for family bonding. It has been said that if children loved their parents as much as parents love their children, the human race would end because the children would never leave their homes. From the marvel at first sight of those tiny fingers and toes to the day we walk them down the aisle to start their own families, we love them, disregarding all the aggravations that happen in between. For most, this is an indissoluble love.

And yes, most of us truly love our parents, the mother who taught us to read, the father who taught us to swim. We go from thinking they are all-knowing demigods to wondering if they are the stupidest humans on earth, and ultimately to respecting them for all they have given us despite their various shortcomings. We are awed by their indestructible love for us and at the same time acknowledge that they are but human. 

We have been impressed with the number of entries for our Love My Pet section that is running in the newspapers and on the website and social media this week. We certainly love our pets, maybe because they can’t talk. And they are unfailingly loyal and forgiving. Well, dogs, are. I’m not so sure about cats. In some cases, we regard them almost as our children. 

A carpenter of undetermined ethnicity, who was doing some work in our house, once pointed to our golden retriever and proclaimed, “In my next life, I want to come back as an American dog.” 

We love our true friends, those who are there to prop us up when we fall as well as those who share our good times. We can also genuinely love our teachers. A caring teacher can make a profound difference in the direction of a child’s life. For example, my sixth grade teacher, in an unexceptional neighborhood elementary school in New York City, stayed after hours, for a few weeks, to coach half-a-dozen of us so that we might pass a citywide test for an exceptional junior high school. Two of us did, and to this day I love that woman, though after that year, I never saw her again.

We can love members of our clergy, who are predictably there for us with advice at critical times and with solace at times of deep loss. Yes, that is their job, but some do their jobs beyond measure. We can love our doctors, who take an oath to watch over our health, but again, some are deeply caring. For these people, we are more than grateful. They love us, and we love them back.

We can love the natural world around us, a world that is filled with songbirds and butterflies, squirrels and foxes, wild turkeys and seagulls to delight the senses. We love the first sight of crocuses announcing the beginning of spring and the early flowering magnolia trees. 

If we are lucky, we can truly love our jobs. For us, they are more than a source of livelihood, more even than a career. They are a calling. They propel us out of bed in the morning and often are the subject of our last thoughts as we go to sleep at night. They coax out the best in us and provide us with unique satisfaction.

Finally, we need to love our lives. Sometimes to do so takes re-contexting and perhaps re-adjustment. That love seems like a worthy goal.