Saturday, September 29, 2012

~Oh It's Saturday: Harvest Moon and A Coupon Code~

I know I'm aging myself, but does anyone else remember the Little Rascal's Saturday Song that Spanky used to sing?  It goes, "It's Saturday, oh it's Saturday......Hi Ni Ninny and a Hot Cha Cha"?  Well...that's the way I'm feeling today!! So.....the last Coupon Code on my website for a while, in honor of Spanky, Saturday, and the Harvest Moon. Use Coupon Code BLESSED on my website, only: for 10% on your order through tomorrow, once you "Like" us on FB!

Tonite (the 29th) is the Full Harvest Moon, which is the full Moon nearest to the autumnal equinox. Did you know: For several nights near the full Harvest Moon, there is an abundance of bright moonlight early in the evening, a traditional aid to harvest crews. It’s traditionally very beautiful. Don’t miss it!

We're having some dear dear friends for dinner tonite....October is in the air.....It's Saturday. Life is good!

Blessings to each of you this cool crisp autumn Saturday~

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

~Of Spaghetti and Prayers~

At this point in my life, cooking and baking have become very nostalgic and soothing. The other thing that is a 'soul-soother' is prayer. Along with my daily prayers, I say at least one rosary. A friend told me about the free rosary CD's available from Catholic It's a life-saver whenever I get in the car. The CD play button is the first thing I hit as I'm backing out of the garage. The entire rosary takes a mere 20 min. I always have lots of extras on hand in my purse, kitchen and car...and I cannot tell you how many I've given away, to friends and acquaintances who also love Mary the way I do.

So, Sunday was the perfect time to turn the Rosary CD on in the kitchen, as I began to recreate my Mom's wonderfully rich Italian Sauce! I mentioned it on FB, and so many people commented and emailed me for the recipe, I've decided to post it here. It's as close as I can come to a written recipe...for after 40+ years of making it, I do literally 'throw' it together, tasting it as I go, just like Mom did.  And of course, it wouldn't taste the way it does without adding pork neckbones, sweet italian sausage...and the wonderful to-die-for meatballs cooking in the sauce along with it. Ive added that recipe below, too.

And so, I cooked, tasted, prayed the rosary....and cried. Good tears. Tears of thanksgiving. Streaming tears of childhood memories...of Nonna....and home. Tears that I hope will be 'good tears' someday as my sons (both of whom LOVE to cook) will recreate this recipe, cry and pray the rosary in their own kitchens long after I'm gone~


Mom's Italian Sauce

3 large cans tomato sauce (28 oz)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c. olive oil
2-3 pork neckbones for flavor
1 1/2 lbs. sweet italian sausage cut into 3-4" pieces
1 tsp. basil (I use fresh summer, frozen in winter)
1-2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c. sugar (my addition...not mom's...seems to cut the acidity)
3/4 c. water added while it's cooking...may need a bit more


In lg. pot, saute garlic in olive oil. Add pork neckbones and sweet sausage to brown.
Add remaining ingredients (including meatballs) to pot and simmer for 3 hours.....stirring (and tasting!) lots!

Mom's Italian Meatballs

1 lb. ground chuck
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1/2 cup italian breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 T. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese


Mix all ingredients in bowl with hands. (very important: love)
Roll meatballs a bit larger than golf ball.
Lightly saute meatballs in little bit of olive oil in frying pan.
Drop into sauce.
Let simmer 3 hours.

The sauce is wonderful served on pasta of your choice & freshly-grated parmesan cheese...or for dipping fresh italian bread broken off in 'hunks' while it's cooking. Mangia!!

postscript: leave it to my little italian VEGETARIAN cousin, Debbie, to spot that I had left the sausage ingredient out of the recipe. It's in there now. Deb...your email really cracked me up!! xo

Sunday, September 9, 2012

~Back From the Sea~

What a beautiful time we had by the sea the past two weeks. We met two dear friends we don't see often enough. Laura and I became friends in the 8th grade. We were 13-years-old. We literally 'grew up' together sharing the secrets that teen-aged girls share: secrets of crushes, first kisses, first dates, being 'grounded' by our parents, going off to college. (we both became elementary teachers) After that, we planned our weddings. Laura was MY maid-of-honor, and I was HERS!! She married her high school sweetheart...I married my college sweetheart. Her husband, Rick, ended up in the marines, and they've lived all over the country over the last 40 years. Jim and I went to visit them in most of the places they lived. They ended up in California...we stayed near both our families in Ohio.

 Laura's mother died 2 years ago. Up until then, she came in often to visit her mom...and of course, we always had time to visit and 'catch up' with each other. So now...we have to have another plan to get to see each other. We started a new tradition: one year they will meet us on the island.....the next....we'll travel to their home in CA. We had such a nice visit the past week with them: lots of giggling,(Laura emailed a correction "We didn’t giggle; I recall loud guffaws.")  still....sharing lives, books, recipes....just like old times! I will miss her dearly until we meet again!

Today's Blessings:

~I thank God for our piece of "Heaven" at our villa on the island.

 ~For good friends: the old who share our 'history'; the new who share our present lives.

~For memorable vacation time that lingers in our hearts and minds.

~For time away that makes us eager to leave...but happy to return home.

~For the comfort and joy of early mornings in my studio....watching the sun come up with Rosie and coffee~

~For the end of summer and the beginning of can just smell the difference in the air~

Happy Monday Blessings to all of you, wherever you are in this world, from me and Rosie, as we head to the studio with a mug of Pumpkin Spice Coffee. Hmmmmmmm.....