Sunday, December 28, 2008

Penne Pasta With Shrimp

Penne Pasta With Shrimp
This is a nice time of year to gather with friends and family to reminisce of the year past over a meal of seafood pasta, a nice spinach salad, and a warm crusty loaf of bread slathered with melting butter.  This is a quick to fix and a very satisfying meal.  Serves four.
8 ounces Penne Pasta
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound shrimp
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups half + half
1 roasted red pepper
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
shredded Parmesan cheese
flat leaf Italian parsley
Cook pasta 9 to 11 minutes or according to package directions.
Melt butter and olive oil in skillet, add chopped onion and sliced mushrooms.  Saute until onion is tender.   Add shrimp and stir to cook 3 or 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink.  Add peas and half and half, cook until sauce thickens.  Add diced red pepper and Old Bay seasoning.  Stir until well mixed.
Place drained pasta in serving bowls, add sauce.  Garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley and serve with grated parmesan cheese.  In Italy cheese is not served with seafood pasta.  It is an individual choice or taste.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Wish

If you see a fat man who is jolly and cute,
wearing a beard and a red flannel suit.
And if he is laughing and chuckling away,
while flying around in a miniature sleigh .
With eight tiny reindeer to pull him along
Then let's face it;

Your eggnog is too strong!

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2009

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Computer Problems

I am taking many photographs of sights in Italy for future posting.  I will post after January 20.  My problem is with a new camera and an apple computer.  Please check back after that time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Warm Donuts a la Mode With Spice Caramel

Warm Donuts a la Mode With Spice Caramel
2 cinnamon crumb or glazed doughnuts
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 small ripe bananas, peeled, cut on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices
Vanilla ice cream
Toasted pecans
Preheat broiler. Place doughnuts on small baking sheet; set aside. Stir butter and brown sugar in heavy medium skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Boil 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Mix in lemon juice and spices, then rum; stir to blend. Cool caramel sauce 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, broil doughnuts just until hot and bubbly, watching closely to avoid burning, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer doughnuts to 2 plates. Toss bananas with caramel sauce in skillet. Top doughnuts with scoop of ice cream, flattening slightly in center. Spoon bananas and caramel sauce over. Sprinkle with nuts and serve. 
Yield 2 Servings

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


"There is something abundantly festive about the puffed dome of panettone bread. In this traditional Italian holiday favorite, a sweet yeast dough is studded with golden raisins and jewel-toned glacéed citron.  While I am enjoying this Italian Christmas bread I thought I would pass the recipe along for your enjoyment.
For dough
1 cup golden raisins (5 oz)
1/2 cup sweet Marsala
1/2 cup warm milk (105–115°F)
2/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from two 1/4-oz packages)
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened, plus additional for buttering cans
1 cup diced fine-quality candied citron (not a supermarket brand; 6 oz) For egg wash
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Special equipment: a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; 2 (10- to 15-oz) clean 
coffee cans (paper or plastic labels removed); 
parchment paper

Make dough:Simmer raisins in Marsala in a small saucepan 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature.
Meanwhile, stir together warm milk and 2 teaspoons sugar in bowl of mixer. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.) Add 1/4 cup flour and beat at medium speed until combined. Add whole eggs, yolk, zest, lemon juice, salt, and remaining 2/3 cup sugar and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low, then mix in remaining 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Increase speed to medium-high, then gradually beat in butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to beat until dough is shiny and forms strands from paddle to bowl, 4 to 6 minutes. (Dough will be very soft and sticky.) Drain raisins, discarding Marsala, then add to dough along with candied citron and mix at low speed until incorporated.
Scrape dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 2 to 3 hours. While dough rises, generously butter coffee cans and line bottom and side of each with parchment (use a round for bottom and a rectangle for side).
Punch down dough with lightly floured hands and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Halve dough and scoop 1 half into each can, pressing gently to expel any air bubbles. Loosely cover cans with lightly buttered plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until dough reaches top of cans, 2 to 3 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours; bring to room temperature, 3 to 4 hours, before baking.)
Bake panettone:Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Beat together yolk and water and lightly brush top of dough with egg wash. Bake until tops are deep golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped (remove from cans first), 35 to 40 minutes. (Firmly thump bottoms of inverted cans to remove.) Transfer loaves to a rack and discard parchment. Cool to room temperature.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hazelnut Biscotti

Hazelnut Biscotti
Yield: Makes about 32 cookies active time: 20 min total time: 25 minutes
These crisp biscotti are made without butter. Instead, the natural fat in hazelnuts is put to good use when the nuts are ground with the sugar for the dough. This way, every bite is imbued with their flavors.  A great Italian favorite!
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts (7 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups self-rising cake flour
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Special equipment: parchment paper; a stand mixer with paddle attachment
Directions; Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toast hazelnuts in a shallow baking pan until lightly colored and skins are blistered, 10 to 15 minutes. (Leave oven on.) Wrap nuts in a kitchen towel and let steam 1 minute, then rub off any loose skins in towel while nuts are still warm (don't worry about skins that don't come off). Cool nuts completely, then very coarsely chop.
Pulse together sugar and 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to bowl of mixer along with flour and beat at medium speed until combined well. Add eggs and vanilla and beat just until a dough forms. Reduce speed to low, then add remaining chopped hazelnuts and mix until incorporated. Turn off mixer and knead in any loose hazelnuts with your hands.
Halve dough and, with dampened hands, form each half into a roughly 10- by 2- by 1-inch log on lined baking sheet, arranging logs 3 inches apart.  Bake until golden and set but still soft to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes. (Leave oven on.) Cool logs on baking sheet on a rack 10 minutes.
Transfer logs to a cutting board, discarding parchment, and cut logs with a serrated knife on a slight diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Arrange slices, cut sides down, in 1 layer on unlined baking sheet. Bake slices, turning over once, until golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes more. Cool biscotti completely on sheet on rack, about 30 minutes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

And The Winner Is ,,,,,,,

Anna conducting the drawing "St Louis Bruce" is the winner!
And The Winner IS ......
Granddaughter Anna conducted the drawing witnessed by my husband Don and her mother Mary. The winner is St. Louis Bruce. St. Louis Bruce is our son-in-law's uncle and a ferquent visitor to the blog. Bruce will receive the pictured Italian leather billfold. Thank you to all the registered and also visit the blog.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

LaScala Ballet

Anna placed a trick candle on the cake for grandma! What a special cake and dinner!
LaScala Ballet
I am celebrating another birthday and this year it is in Milan with our oldest daughter and her family. Tonight Don and I will attend the Ballet "La Bayadere" at LaScala and then have dinner in the Galleria. If you go to the website of LaScala there is a video of the ballet. .

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 12 of "Twelve Days Of Chrisrtmas Candy" Anne's Toffee With Almonds

Anne's Toffee With Almonds
Our daughter Anne is known far and wide for this recipe. She gifts family and friends at the holiday time with the gold box containing the candy. I can predict that if you try the recipe it will become an annual tradition at your home.

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 pound chocolate, melted
4 cups toasted chopped almonds
Melt over medium high heat with candy thermometer to 290 degrees or hard crack stage. Meanwhile prepare two cookie sheets with sides or jelly roll pans that has been coated with butter. Toast 4 cups chopped almonds.
When candy has reached 290 degrees, carefully pour onto one prepared cookie sheet. Spread to uniform thickness. Allow to cool slightly. Pour one-half of the melted chocolate over top of toffee. When it begins to set up. sprinkle one-half of nuts over chocolate. With a sheet of waxed paper to protect hands, press almonds into chocolate.
With second baking sheet, place over the toffee on the first baking sheet and flip toffee onto the second sheet. Apply chocolate to the "bottom" of the toffee and repeat the process.
There are many imitations of the toffee commercially sold!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 11 of "Twelve Days Of Candy" Hazelnut Fantasy Fudge

Day 11 of "Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy"
Hazelnut Fantasy Fudge
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 small can (5 oz.) can evaporated milk
13oz. jar Nutella (Chocolate Hazelnut Spread)
1 7oz. jar marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup hazelnuts, halved
In a three quart pan over medium heat, bring to a roaring boil while stirring constantly, sugar, butter, and evaporated milk. Bring to 234F
while stirring constantly, about 4 minutes.
Stirring constantly, remove from heat and add Nutella and marshmallow creme and continue to stir until properly blended and smooth and consistent in appearance. Add vanilla and hazelnuts and stir until well blended.
Spread in a foil lined 9 x 13 pan an allow to cool for 4 hours. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 10 Of Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy "Mixed Nut Spiced Toffee"

The Thorson Family Tree. Decorated with the newest family member in mind, "Charlie" who now jumps, chews, and acts as "Guard-dog. Notice no decorations below a certain height.
Day 10 Of "Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy"
Mixed Nut Spiced Toffee

1 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup sugar

1/2 cup (packed) golden bown sugar
1/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon mild flavored (light)molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 xups coarsely chopped toasted mixed nuts (such as cashews, almondsand pistachios).
5 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened or semi-sweet) chocolate,coarsely chopped

Butter small rimmed baking sheet. Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Add next 6 ingredients; stir until sugars dissolve. Attach clip-on candy thermometer to pan. Increase heat to medium; boil until thermometer registers 290°F, stirring slowly but constantly and scraping bottom of pan with wooden spatula, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Mix in 1 1/2 cups nuts. Immediately pour candy onto sheet. Spread toffee to 1/4-inch thickness. Immediately sprinkle chocolate atop toffee. Let stand 1 minute. Using back of spoon, spread chocolate over toffee. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup nuts. Chill 1 hour. Break toffee into pieces. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour before serving.) Today is the last day to post a comment and be in the drawing for a gift from Italy to mark post 500!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 9 Of "Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy", Butter Toffee

Day 9 Of Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy
Butter Toffee
1 pound butter
2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1-12 ouncw package chocolate chips
1 cup grond pecans
Bring butter, sugar and water to a boil in a Dutch oven stirring constantly until candy thermometer comes to a hard crack stage. Pour onro a cookie sheet with sides that has been sprayed with PAM. Immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. When the chocolate turns glossy and is melted, spread to evenly coat toffee and sprinkle with pecans. Store in air-tight container.

Day 9 Of "Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy "Hazelnut Truffles"

Day 9 Of "Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy"
Hazelnut Truffles
i received an inquiry re: an ingredient in one of my postings from Beatrice of the blog Ginger-Beat quite some time ago. I found her blog interesting and now I follow it faithfully.
I was given permission to copy this recipe and Beatrice even provided the photo. I thought these truffles had that look of melt in your mouth goodness! They are diary free for that lactose intolerant person in your life and would make a great gift! Check out this blog for some very healthy eating.
1/2 cup cacao nibs
3/4 cup hazelnuts, divided
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash salt
Place 1/4 cup hazelnuts in a food processor and blend until they have sand-like quality. Remove the ground hazelnuts from the food processor, cover and refrigerate until later use.
Place cacao nibs and 1/2 cup hazelnuts in a food processor, cover and blend until they have sand-like quality. Add the almoond butter, agave nectar, vanilla, and salt to the mixture, and process until smooth.
Scrape the mixture out of the food processor and in a covered bowl refrigerate for two hours.
After about two hours... Set out a piece of wax paper or parchment paper, to place the truffles on when finished. Roll 1 teaspoon of the mixture between your hands and create balls. Roll the truffle ball in the
ground hazelnuts to coat and place on the parchment paper. Repeat until all of the truffle mixture has been rolled. Refrigerate until serving. Any unused hazelnuts can be stored in freezer for further use. Makes about 18 truffles.
Thanks Beatrice!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day 8 Of "Twelve Days of Christmas Candy", Easy Pecan Logs

Day 8 Of "Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy"
Easy Pecan Logs
2 cups marshmallow creme
3 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon butter flavoring
1 (14 ounce) package caramels
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
chopped pecans
Combine marshmallow creme, confectioners sugar, vanilla, butter flavoring and vanilla. Knead until all sugar is well incorporated. Form into 8 rolls. Wrap each roll in plastic wrap and freeze. Melt caramels and heavy cream in top of double-boiler. Dip frozen roll in melted caramel and roll in chopped pecans. Store candy in cool dry place.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Day 7 Of "Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy", Aunt Lill's Brown Candy

The Bouck Family Tree
Day 7 of "Twelve Days of Christmas Candy"
Aunt Lil's Brown Candy

3 cups sugar, divided
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound pecans, toasted, coarsley chopped (about 4 cups)
Butter 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan. Combine 2 cups sugar and half and half in heavy large saucepan. Stir occasionally over low heat until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Bring remaining 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; continue boiling without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, brushing sides of pan with wet brush and swirling pan, about 8 minutes.
Immediately pour caramel syrup into half and half mixture in large saucepan (mixture will bubble). Stir constantly over medium-low heat until caramel dissolves. Attach candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to medium. Continue cooking and stirring until mixture registers 244°F, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in baking soda (mixture will foam slightly). Add butter and stir to melt. Let stand without stirring until mixture cools to 160°F, about 20 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Using large wooden spoon, stir constantly until candy begins to thicken and loses its gloss, 4 to 5 minutes. Mix in nuts (candy will be very stiff). Scrape candy into prepared pan. Using wet fingertips, press candy firmly into pan. Cool completely, then cut into 30 squares.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Day 6 Of "Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy", Spiced Pecans

photo courtesy of the Ball Family
Day 6 of "Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy"
Spiced Pecans
1 egg white, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon water
3 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a small bowl beat the egg white with the water. Stir in the pecans, mixing until well moistened. In a small bowl, mix together sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Sprinkle over the moistened nuts. Spread nuts on prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Be careful not to overcook. Remove from oven and cool. Store in an air tight container.
Post a comment on the blog between Dec 1 and Dec 10 when I blog my 500th entry and be eligible for a drawing on December 14 for a gift from Italy. Watch the December 14th posting for the announcement of the winner.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 5 Of Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy", Chocolate Saltwater Taffy

photo courtesy of blogger "Kingdom Jewels"
Day 5 of "Twelve Days of Christmas Candy" Chocolate Saltwater Taffy

Saltwater taffy has a distinctive salty flavor, but it got its name when a famous taffy shop on Atlantic City's boardwalk was flooded with ocean water. This recipe, although time consuming and a bit messy, is a lot of fun if you enjoy getting your hands dirty. You'll need a pastry brush, a candy thermometer, and unsalted butter for greasing the pan and a cutting board.
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light Karo
2/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1. Butter an 8x8-inch (20x20-cm) square pan.

2. Fill a small bowl with cold water and wet a pastry brush. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, cornstarch, butter, chocolate and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until a candy thermometer registers 256ºF. While cooking the mixture, brush down the insides of the pan with the wet pastry brush every few seconds to prevent the sugar from crystallizing. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour mixture into buttered pan. Be careful, mixture is hot and can burn your skin easily. Butter a large cutting board.

3. When cool enough to handle, butter your hands and pull taffy until it is light in colour and has a satiny gloss. This is a messy process but have fun with it. You'll need to pull taffy for about 10 minutes. Roll the taffy into a long rope about ½-inch in diameter and put it on the buttered board. Butter a pair of scissors and cut the rope into 1-inch pieces. Don't worry if the pieces are uneven. Let the pieces sit for about 30 minutes. Individually wrap each candy in a buttered piece of wax paper larger than the candy and twist the ends. Makes about 36 candies.
Note: Post a comment on a blog posting of December 1 thru 10 and be eligible for a drawing for a gift from Italy. On December 10 I will have 500 posts to my blog. If you sign as anonymous I do need initals to notify if you are a winner. All postings come to my site as I have no other ID.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 4 Of Christmas Candy, Peppermint Bark

Day 4 of Twelve Days Of Christmas Candy
Peppermint Bark
Tins of this bark make great last-minute special gifts. Use aromatherapy peppermint oil, the purest peppermint oil that you can buy, available at health food stores. It tastes much better than peppermint extract. Use Belgian chocolate for the best flavor.
1 lb. chopped bittersweet chocolate
8 drops peppermint oil
1 lb. chopped white chocolate
¾ cup chopped candy canes
Directions: 1. Line an 11 x 17-inch (28 x 43-cm) baking sheet with parchment paper. Adjust amounts for different sized cookie sheets. Set aside.
2. Melt bittersweet chocolate in a heavy pot on low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in 4 drops peppermint oil or more to taste.
3. Spread chocolate evenly onto the prepared sheet. Chill until set, about 1 hour.
4. Melt white chocolate in a heavy pot on low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining four drops of peppermint oil, then add candy canes.
5. Spread white chocolate mixture over chilled dark chocolate, spreading to the edge of the pan. Chill until set, about 4 hours or overnight.
Refrigerate until just before serving, then break into pieces and serve or package as gifts. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. Makes 1 large sheet.
Post a comment befor December 10. I will offer to the winner of a drawing a gift from Italy which I will buy on my Christmas trip. If you sign as anonymous, the posting comes to my site as I have to have initials or something to define who you are for the purpose of notifying you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 3 of 12 Days Of Christmas Candy "Chocolate Mile-High Chocolate Squares"

Chocolate Mile-High Chocolate Squares
1 (12 oz.pkg.) Nestle semi-sweet chips
1 (11 oz.) Nestle butterscotch chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
9 cups (16 oz. pkg) mini marshmallows
1 c dry roasted peanuts


Directions: Line 13x9 baking pan with foil. Microwave semi sweet morsels, butterscotch morsels and peanut butter in large uncovered microwave safe bowl on medium power for 2 minutes. Stir, morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary microwave at additional 10-15 second intervals, stirring until melted. Cool for 1 minute. Stir in marshmallows and peanuts. Spread into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares. Makes 48 squares.


Note....if you do not have a microwave you can gently melt the chips and peanut butter over a double boiler.
Also, Don't forget to sign in with a comment and be in a drawing for an item from Italy that I will buy over the holidays. December 10 is the last day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 2 of 12 Days Of Christmas Candy; Irish Cream Truffles

Irish Cream Truffles
12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon butter
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream
Melt chocolate chips, Irish cream, and heavy cream, together over very low heat. Whisk in egg yolks one at a time, mixture will thicken. Whisk in butter. Refrigerate over night or until firm.
With spoon, make small balls and roll in either powdered sugar, cocoa,
chopped nuts, or chocolate sprinkles.
Post a comment on the blog before December 10 to commemorate my 5ooTh posting to the blog and enter a drawing for a gift I will buy in Italy over the holidays.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Day 1 of "12 Days Of Christmas Candy" Buckeyes

Anyone with family in Ohio or has lived in Ohio, the Buckeye State, knows this recipe. It is the closest taste to a Reese Peanut Butter Cup.
One 12 ounce jar creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
1 pound box confectioners sugar
12 ounce bag chocolate chips
paraffin (see note)
Over a low flame or in a double-boiler, melt the butter and peanut butter, stirring until well mixed. Add the confectioners sugar and mix well. Form into buckeye shapes. Dip with toothpicks, fork or spoon into chocolate chips which have been melted and a few slivers of paraffin added to make the chocolate adhere. Leave a small space uncoated for the "eye" of the buckeye.
Note: I shape the buckeyes and freeze with a toothpick inserted. I dip them frozen into the chocolate and do not use paraffin. When the peanut butter shape thaws I close the hole left by the toothpick.
A Comment From Susan: Susan uses 1/2 of the amount of the butter in this recipe but adds more powdered sugar and she has the distinction of being "The Expert Buckeye Maker"! Now that title counts for something!
Add a comment this week and your name will be in the drawing for an item from Italy marking the 500Th posting on my blog on December 10. Winner will be announced December 14 from Italy.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Post 491

Today Is Post 491
Today is post #491 to my blog. On December 10, I will have posted "500 posts" to my blog. To mark the occasion I am offering to any reader who signs the comment link between December 1 and December 10, a chance in a drawing of something I will purchase during my Christmas trip to Italy. I will require a name somewhere if you sign as anonymous as I will need to contact you if you are the winner. I will also blog what you have won. I will have granddaughter Anna in Italy do the drawing.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Days Of Blessings

Days Of Blessings
Thanksgiving is traditionally the day we gather as a family at our daughter Anne and husband Greg's home for the annual Thanksgiving feast. Each year we have the usual comfort foods and no changes to the menu seem to happen. Our wedding anniversary was celebrated on Friday and lucky for us we had three of our four children with us to mark this memorable occasion. We met at Old Town for dinner and then said good-bye to Barbara who had a Friday evening flight to return home.
We received a card from the family with everyone signing it. The grandchildren were asked to sign the card with their wish. We thought it was so special I wanted to share what the grandchildren wrote.
Katie, age 16 "Happy Anniversary"
Jacob, age 13 "Happy Anniversary"
Phil, age 12 "Phil"
Veronica, age 12 "Happy Anniversary, I love you"
Charlotte, age 10 "Happy Anniversary! You guys deserve it all"
Olivia, age 9 "Happy Anniversary, Hope all goes well".
Moments like this are very special!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sandstone Cliffs Of Torrey Pines State Reserve

click on photos to enlarge detail.
These sandstone cliffs, according to a video shown in the Visitors Center, show the sea levels of millions of years ago. The weather and times have caused much erosion. In most areas the cliffs were at least 100 feet tall.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Torrey Pine

Each group of needles number five not the usual three. The Torrey Pine
Torrey Pine State Reserve is named for a rare Pine tree growing on the sea cliffs of the Torrey Pine State Park. These trees suffer persistent drought with roots growing in poor soil. These trees are blasted by storms and cooked by the sun and has a thick but scalier bark. It offers sparse shade. The strobili takes three years to produce a pine cone which then requires 2 to 3 years and up to 10 years to fall. This tree grows only in two places in California and that is along the Coast of San Diego in the LaJolla area and Santa Rosa Island.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Torrey Pines State Park

We walked about 4 miles on the beach. The girls climbed on the sandstone cliffs We met two girls designing a moat for their castle. This little guy was playing ball. Just another walker.
School is in recess for the week due to Thanksgiving. We had two granddaughters visiting for the day. It was decided to pack a picnic lunch and go to the beach. We were not the only people to make that decision. My pedometer said we walked about four miles. The girls thought we walked eight miles. Tomorrow I will blog the pines and Friday more of this beautiful beach and the sandstone cliffs.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Panini Potatoes

Panini Potatoes
Sunday while completing several tasks and trying to prepare lunch at the same time, I thought I would experiment with my panini maker and try roasting, or is it frying, potatoes. I sprayed the grill with vegetable spray and sliced the potatoes about 1/4" thick. I seasoned the potatoes and let them cook on a medium setting. It took about 12 minutes. We were quite surprised with the flavor. It was like a french fried potatoe minus the deep fat cooking oil.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nikki's Sweet Potatoes

Nikki's Sweet Potatoes

I received this recipe by email from Heidi Swanson. I thought it sounded too good not to pass on for your holiday menu consideration. You can make these vegan by using olive oil and not butter.
2 1/2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup raw, unsweetened grated coconut
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
1/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
Directions: Preheat your oven to 350F degrees, a rack in the upper third. Butter or oil 6 ramekins or a single medium-sized casserole dish. Wrap each sweet potato in foil, pierce numerous times with the tines of a fork and place in the oven for somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half, until each is baked through. Times vary greatly depending on the size of your sweet potatoes - in the end you should be able to cut through the center flesh as if it were soft butter. Remove the potatoes from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes, and cut each sweet potato in half. Scrape the flesh into a medium mixing bowl. You should have about three cups of sweet potatoes. In a large bowl mash the sweet potatoes with the coconut milk. If my sweet potatoes are on the fibrous side, l take a hand blender to them for a minute or so (alternately you could use a food processor). Stir in the ginger, maple syrup and salt. Let it sit for a few minutes, stir again and taste - adjust the seasoning if you need to - this is your chance to get the right amount of salt and ginger in the sweet potatoes before they go in the oven. Spoon the sweet potato mixture into individual baking dishes (or single larger baking dish), sprinkle with coconut, drizzle with olive oil and bake uncovered until warm and the coconut golden roughly 30 - 40 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with the toasted macadamia nuts. Serves about

Saturday, November 22, 2008


We all have read how the white man took the land from the Indians and gave them land called "Reservations". This is part of the land in California granted to the Indians where they could live, fish, hunt, plant corn and enjoy what they had in the wilderness. I understand why they took up gambling and now operate casinos. My husband says someday they will buy the country back with the profits. San Diego County is home to eight large Indian Casinos.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Kimono As Art

The San Diego Museum of Art Illustration Showing The Continuity Of Itchiku Kobota's Panoramic Design
click on photos for detail
Intricate Detail of Mt Fugi Embellishment On Kimono

The San Diego Museum Of Art is currently exhibiting the art of Itchiku Kubota through the courtesy of The Timken Foundation. Itchiku chose to use silk kimonos as the canvas of his art. Two separate exhibits were used to include the vast number of kimonos. One exhibit was in The Timken Museum with the main exhibit in The Museum of Art both at Balboa Park. In the main exhibit hall of the Museum Of Art, twenty-seven kimonos were hung side by side filling the room. The panoramic display began on the left wall with a summer scene of Mt Fugi. The Kimonos progressed until finally ending with a kimono titled "Silver" which was a total snow scene. The detail of one kimono lined up with the correct angle and color of the next moving into the next scene. The intricate stitches used to texture the fabric, the dyes used to enhance or create detail while controlling and containing color, the strokes he painted to develop his design kept one enveloped studying his artistic mind. Notice the details in the mountain and the hills. This is an exhibit I wish everyone could see as it was beyond ease in describing.
I tried an silk dying class once. Notice, once. Silk absorbs dye and it runs until the dye can spread no more. How Itchiku controlled his dyes with resist was a fete in itself. Just a magnificent exhibit!
If you google you can read the interesting biography of this artist and see many more photos of the actual exhibit. These photos are from a publication.