The Bristal at West Babylon Blog

New Year’s Eve in West Babylon

Here in West Babylon we had such a great time celebrating New Year’s Eve! We started the day with live music, brunch-style hors d’oeuvres, and a lot of dancing! The party led us to a countdown to 12 noon, followed by an exploration of our resolutions for 2019. While some had the expected resolutions of losing weight and eating healthy, the majority expressed their goal for 2019 is to simply continue being as happy as they already are! Happy New Year from The Bristal at West Babylon!

Tree Trimming in West Babylon

Today in West Babylon, we held our 2018 Tree Trimming Ceremony! We started off the morning decorating our tree and listening to JK Hodge on the piano. In the afternoon, we did some holiday caroling, had our first eggnog of the season, and then received a surprise visit from Santa! He passed around candy canes and took photos in front of our freshly decorated tree.

Veterans Day in West Babylon

Here in West Babylon, we spent the afternoon honoring all of our Veterans for Veterans Day. We had a special patriotic sing along, recognized each of our Veterans with a pin made by The Bristal Helping Hands, and presented each with a special flower. We were then honored to have our Veterans share stories after reading Chicken Soup For The Veteran’s Soul. Thank you to all of our Veterans for your service!

Halloween in West Babylon

Here in West Babylon we had a great time celebrating Halloween! We started the day with a parade, which featured impressive costumes including Frank Sinatra, Indiana Jones, witches, candy corn, Kings in the Corner and more! After completing our march through the building we enjoyed live music, refreshments, and of course spooky stories. We even made our own witches brew!

Chef’s Table: The Bristal at West Babylon’s Amanda Ciniglio Shares the Recipe for Her Blueberry Carrot Cake

carrot cake recipe

Amanda Ciniglio, Director of Food Services at The Bristal at West Babylon, has always loved food and cooking. In fact, the first badge this lifelong Girl Scout received was for cooking. Growing up in an Italian family, a love for food is in Amanda’s blood.

“I learned from my mother, my father, my grandfather, and food was always important in our house,” Amanda says.

Although Amanda makes all types of food at The Bristal at West Babylon, she credits dessert as her favorite to prepare.

“People are happy when they’re eating desserts,” she says. “Dessert kind of brings people back home; brings them back to memories. Whether it’s cookies, cakes, breads, it can bring you back to happier times. If you’re in a funk, dessert is an uplifting thing. It’s nice to share with people. It gives me a good feeling when I show up at somebody’s house with baked goods that warms their heart, and they enjoy them.”

So, it’s no surprise she chose a blueberry carrot cake with cream cheese and raw honey frosting to share! Read on to learn more about Amanda and to get her recipe.

About Amanda, the Chef at The Bristal at West Babylon

Amanda originally went to school for music therapy but changed her major to culinary because she was having so much fun working in restaurants. After culinary school, she worked at a few restaurants and ended up in senior living, eventually coming to work for The Bristal.

What She Enjoys About Being a Chef at The Bristal

When asked what her favorite thing about working at The Bristal was, Amanda says that it is the people, like the residents and her wonderful staff, that she enjoys most.

“I feel like I have a purpose, helping seniors through food, giving them an excellent dining experience to share with their friends, their families,” Amanda says.

She also says she enjoys having a lot of food freedom at The Bristal. Whereas at a restaurant, you have to follow the recipes to a T, she can stray off the menu here.

“Here, we can have a lot of creative moments with our menus,” Amanda says. “We can change things and do fun events and theme days. You can get as creative as you want with the food.”

Amanda noted creative events like the San Gennaro feast, clam and lobster bakes, Hawaiian day, Oktoberfest, and an apple-themed fall festival as some fun food events she’s enjoyed at The Bristal.


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Being a Chef Outside of The Bristal

When Amanda’s not cooking for residents at West Babylon, she stays busy. For the past nine years, she has judged the junior culinary competition at the Long Island Fair every year, where kids from Nassau, Queens, and Suffolk counties enter their baked goods in the competition.

Amanda is a lifelong Girl Scout and holds a Gold Award. She also participates in numerous cooking competitions and fundraisers, as well as chef showdowns through area fire departments. In 2014, she won the Taste of Long Island. In 2016 and 2017, she was part of the winning team for the Guiding Lights of North Carolina’s Share to Care event.

About Her Brain Food Cake

Amanda says her blueberry carrot cake with cream cheese and raw honey frosting came about because she wanted to look at a different way to incorporate brain foods. She notes they try to get as many healthy ingredients into their menu at The Bristal at West Babylon, and this cake is no exception.

“It’s a fun way to spin a dessert to get them some healthy foods, and it’s very tasty,” Amanda says of her made-from-scratch recipe.

Amanda’s Blueberry Carrot Cake with Raw Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients You’ll Need:

For the Cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups grated peeled carrots
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, washed
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger

For the Icing:

  • 10 ounces cream cheese (such as Philadelphia), room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw honey

Preparation

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, blueberries, and ginger. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  2. Bake the cakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off parchment paper; cool cakes completely.

For the Icing:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat at low speed until well blended. Beat in raw honey. Chill until just firm enough to spread, 30 minutes.
  2. Place 1 cake layer on a platter. Spread with 3/4 cup icing. Top with the second layer. Spread remaining icing over entire cake. Arrange walnut halves around top edge. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with a cake dome; chill. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.)

Enjoy!

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Testimonial Video from Rose Guadagnino

Testimonial Video from Rose Guadagnino

“I lived alone in my house and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had a fright one night because I thought I was having a heart attack and I called my son and he said hurry up – he got me one of those buzzers, fast alert or something. I called an ambulance and they came right away, took me to the hospital, but it wasn’t a heart attack, thank God. And I got so frightened, I said “that’s it, I’m not living alone anymore.”

So my daughter said “you know they’re building a Bristal in West Babylon.” I said “alright, I’ll look at it.” My daughter came and saw the floor plans, she said “this is going to be great for you.” And I took her advice and when it was built, I decided to move in, and I was the first one that arrived here.

It was such an honor to be the first one! I was really overwhelmed with the greetings, what a greeting they gave me when I walked in with my children! And I saw the room for the first time, I never saw my room, and I liked it, I liked it very much.

You’re gonna love it here because they are, really, the staff, everybody is just great. They are there to help you – always – they’re always there to help you. The programs they have are outstanding. We do so many things here, woodworking, jewelry making, I mean, it’s really, they keep you busy all day long so you never have time to do anything else! People tell me: “Why don’t you call me?” I say “I don’t have time!” I say “I’m in a different program every hour, ya know!” But it’s great, I enjoy it so much, and everybody else does, too.

I made so many friends, a lot of nice friends – they’re good people. And we’re all in the same boat, so, you know, there’s no competition or anything. I look forward to each day because I know something else is going to be happening that day for us. It’s really enjoyable, it’s very good living here. And I enjoy it very much, I like it.

I’m not lonely anymore. It was very, very hard being in my house all by myself, I didn’t like it. Who had to shop for me, I couldn’t drive anymore, and I said “that’s it, that’s it, I’m going to live in assisted living.” And I don’t regret it.

It was a good choice. I made the right choice, the right decision.”

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Grandparents Day in West Babylon

Here in West Babylon we had so much fun celebrating Grandparents Day! We created our very own miniature golf course for guests of all ages to enjoy! The DJ had us dancing, singing, hula hooping, getting low with limbo, and shaking it on the conga line. Face painting, tattoos, and popcorn were among the favorites of the little ones though. Thank you to all the families who came out and celebrated this special holiday with us!

West Babylon Trip to Fire Island

West Babylon residents took a trip over to Fire Island today! We enjoyed a beautiful lunch on the water in Ocean Beach followed by a walk around town and ice cream. From the weather, to the food and the friends we were with, it was a perfect afternoon. With just a few weeks left of summer, we are making sure we enjoy every last bit of the warm weather!

Testimonial Video from Irene Seidner

Testimonial Video from Irene Seidner

“My name is Irene Seidner. I live here at The Bristal in West Babylon.

My children, thank God, found this place, convinced me to come here. First I didn’t want to. I wanted to stay at home. But once I saw it, once I realized it’s for me, I came here, am very, very happy. Met wonderful, wonderful, wonderful friends. You know at this age our friends kind of fade away, but I got wonderful new friends.

I brought over a game called Kings in the Corner. I taught it to everyone here and we play it after breakfast for an hour and after lunch for an hour. I partake in everything. My friends and I go to everything. I go down in the morning at 7:30. I don’t come up to my room until six o’clock. I am down all day doing everything they have to offer us.

The staff – the staff is wonderful! I have never asked anything of anyone that I got a ‘no.’ The food is A1 and everyone is just very nice. We’re free to go wherever we want. The buses take us, they take us shopping and you can request if you want to go someplace, and maybe they get a group together. Oh and then we go for scenic rides which is very nice.

We feel like one big, big family. Life is good to me. And like I said this place, I thank God every day.

It means a new life, it means new friends, a whole new outlook.”

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Testimonial Video from Mario Caputo

Testimonial Video from Mario Caputo

“I am Mario Caputo and I live here at The Bristal.

Living here is very exciting and they treat you very good, and if you do need anything in a hurry they make sure they get to it.

My daughter comes practically every day and visits me because she’s only a few miles away. And we enjoy it here. There are no complaints, really. Of course, the hospitality is very good. It’s like a casino down in Atlantic City. I go down to the arts and crafts and I did a few things down there, which I forward to my grandson and granddaughter, and my daughter, what I made.

It’s enjoyable. And matter in fact, it still in enjoyable. The place is very clean, very clean, I gotta admit that. They keep the room very good, they come up once a week, change the sheets, and clean…better than I used to clean! But they are good, they’re very good.

The Bristal means freedom to me.”

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West Babylon Moon Chaser Trip

We are having such an amazing time enjoying this summer weather. This month we took a trip to the Great South Bay for a ride on the Moon Chaser. We enjoyed lunch as the boat drifted by the Fire Island Lighthouse. Whether we wanted to soak up the sun or take it easy inside, everyone was able to enjoy this relaxing day on the water!

Testimonial Video from Caroline Evangelista

Testimonial Video from Caroline Evangelista

“My name is Caroline Evangelista and I live at The Bristal.

I worked in Manhattan for The Hearst Corporation and I was Assistant to the President, so I did a lot of things, you know. I like it so I worked until I was 74 years old. I had an accident where I broke my heel and my shoulder, and so it was surgery, and I went to rehab for three and a half months, and then my family decided they didn’t want me to live alone anymore. So I decided to come here, and I think it, well I know it was the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

A couple of my friends had said “they’re putting Caroline in a nursing home?!” But when they come here, they can’t believe it – it’s not at all! If you need help, you get help, 24/7. If you don’t show up for breakfast, oh boy, they come to your room, they’ll come in, it’s unbelievable, it’s a great place. So I mean, we live here, but we really have a life.

I just planned a cruise to Bermuda in October. I go on cruises all the time. I just booked one the other day, ’cause I’m going on my cruises no matter what! So, I mean, it’s like you live here and you have assistance if you need it, which thank God so far I’m okay, but it’s really, you could do what you want, you know. You can go out, family, on the holidays I stay over. So it’s really a pretty good life.

They do everything for you here, and I mean everything. Since I’ve been here, I have made friends that you would not believe. They’re almost like lifelong friends, really and truly. It’s unbelievable.

First I said it’s like living in a hotel. But then someone said, “you know, it’s like being on a cruise.” You can eat, you’ve got three meals a day, all this going on, you’ve got the pool. We get entertainment all the time. It is, it’s like being on a cruise – that’s probably why I like it here!”

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West Babylon Fishing Trip

Here in West Babylon we have been loving this beautiful summer weather! This month we traveled down to Oak Beach where we went fishing off of the pier. One of our friends from the community volunteered his time by joining us on this fishing trip – helping us with equipment and teaching us everything we need to know about fishing! It was such a great day, we plan to go back in August for snapper fishing!