Nicole Ziccarelli is a mom for all seasons
Advisory board member and attorney turns
cook, blogger and entrepreneur
The newest member of the Penn State New Kensington Advisory Board is an attorney, blogger and entrepreneur. But when asked to describe herself, Nicole Ziccarelli, a Penn State alumna, says that she is a “mom who likes to cook for her family.”
Ziccarelli became a mother in 2011 with the birth of a son, Franco, who is 2 1/2 years old. Nineteen months later, she and her husband, Frank Ziccarelli, tripled their offspring with twin daughters, Melina and Valentina, now a pair of 1-year olds. The melding of Nicole’s Greek heritage, her maiden name is Lobaugh, and Frank’s Italian heritage, resulted in a passionate, loud and hungry household.
“About four years ago, I probably would have told you that I was a Greek-American attorney, a Penn Stater through and through, and a Pittsburgh girl at heart,” said Ziccarelli, who resides with her family in Lower Burrell.” Although I am still all of those things, being a mom is my life’s greatest treasure. My happiest moments are spent in my kitchen with my kids all around me as I make them meals inspired by my Greek roots and my love for Italian food.”
Although the children put her career on hiatus, they also nourished her creative side. Cooking for Franco gave Ziccarelli the idea of sharing her healthy baby recipes. The arrival of the twins and the increased food production gave birth to the blog, “Mediterranean Baby,” which features Mediterranean recipes for the whole family -- babies, adolescents and adults.
“I needed a creative outlet to document and share the love I express for my family through food every day,” said Ziccarelli, whose recipes won the top cook-off award in November at the annual Farm to Table Harvest Festival. “My goal is to inspire you to create Mediterranean meals for your entire family with simple, fresh ingredients.”
In addition to “Mediterranean Baby,” Ziccarelli keeps her creative writing sharp as a blogger for Image Pittsburgh, blog ambassador for La Cucina Italian magazine. And to come full circle with her pre-baby life, the quintessential mom resumed her law practice in February as sole proprietor of Nicole W. Ziccarelli, Esq. The practice specializes in child custody, divorce, general family law, and real estate.
“My career as an attorney was put on hold as I became mommy-in-chief in my little corner of the world,” said Ziccarelli, who is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. “I started practicing law again on a part-time basis.”
Ziccarelli earned a bachelor’s degree in communications at Penn State University Park and a juris doctorate at Penn State Dickinson School of Law. She became a member of the advisory board in February and serves on the Constitution and By-Laws committee. Prior to coming to the New Kensington board, she served two years on the advisory board of Penn State Greater Allegheny and three years as a student trustee on the Penn State Board of Trustees.
“I joined the advisory board to give back to my alma mater and continue to feel connected,” said Ziccarelli, who was senior editor of the Penn State Environmental Law Review. “After all, Penn State lives here.”
“Penn State Lives Here” is a new brand initiative that is meant to embody the impact that students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends are making in the classroom, in research facilities, in communities and around the world. In an environment that values teamwork, success and service, they are “inspired doers,” such as Penn State New Kensington junior Hannah McBean, an adult learner and mother of six, who wrote a book of inspirational poetry.
Ziccarelli also personifies the initiative. Giving back to the community was the impetus for the founding of “Mediterranean Baby.” Besides the campus Advisory Board, she serves on the board of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children. She has held numerous volunteer positions, including tutor for adult learners for the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council and co-chair of the Greek Fire Relief Benefit.
In December, the Ziccarelli family hosted a traditional Sunday dinner for the patients and families at Family House in Shadyside. Family House provides a special “home away from home” for patients and their families who are in Pittsburgh for treatment of serious or life threatening illnesses.
“The holiday season has a way to inspire the best in all of us,” said Ziccarelli, who previously served two years as a volunteer greeter at Family House. “It reminds us of our many blessings and also reminds us of those who could benefit from the kindness of strangers.”
For more on “Mediterranean Baby,” visit http://mediterraneanbaby.com/
For more on Penn State Lives Here,” visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/Information/News/45569.htm#NEWS45569
NICOLE'S CHICKEN POT PIE
Anyone else hungry for hearty, warm, winter goodness?? This time of year always makes me crave pot pie, with or without the chicken. The best part is that everyone in the family can enjoy this, and it’s full of veggies for the little ones. All of my kids pick out their favorite pieces and share across their high chair trays.
4 celery stalks, diced
1/2 large white onion, diced
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
10 oz. baby bella mushrooms, quartered
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
4 leaves sage, chopped
2 chicken breasts, seasoned, baked, and diced (optional)
1 lb. bag, frozen peas
32 oz. chicken stock
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. all purpose flour
2 pre-made rolled pie crusts
1 egg, beaten (set to the side for egg wash)
salt and pepper
olive oil for drizzling
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the veggies (not the peas) on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt, pepper, sage, and rosemary.
Roast, uncovered, for 35 minutes.
In the meantime, melt butter over medium-low heat and add flour, whisking until golden brown. Add chicken stock, still whisking.
Add veggies to the stock mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken and peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place veggie/chicken mixture to baking dish. Cover with pie crust and brush with egg wash.
Bake at 425 degrees for 35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
Wait for the pot pie to cool and set a bit before serving. Enjoy!