Thursday, May 26, 2011

Don't wait for your ship to come in - swim out to it.

  18 years ago, my youngest son, Anthony entered this wonderful world with a cry that woke all the other babies in the nursery at Bethesda Memorial Hospital.

He hasn't stopped talking since.

     Today he graduates from high school, achieving another of life's momentous ocassions.  It's hard for me to believe that 18 years have passed, but as I reflect back on his life, the flood of memories amazes me.

     For a moment... he is still the little, shy boy reluctantly letting go of my hand in his kindergarten class.  He is the sweet innocent six year old boy wanting to sleep with a flashlight to keep the monsters under his bed at bay.

     He is the defiant seven year old, hell bent on beating up his 13 year old brother over a Jedi sword.  He is the sweaty 8 year old in full Army uniform, filming a war movie in the backyard. 

      He is the pain-in-the-neck 10 year old younger brother, that copies everything Mick does, but also enjoys the quietness of being in his shadow.

     He is the compassionate 12 year old that is overwhelmed with grief when we had to put his ailing dog to sleep.  He is the 13 year old that is obsessed with radio control cars, and Britney Spears.  He is the 16 year old that fell in love for the first time with the sweetest girl.

     He is the 17 year old leaving alone in a car for the first time having just passed his driver's license test.

     He is the young man that has a love and kindness for his grandmother that makes my heart smile.

He is my beautiful son, and I love him with all my heart.

     Congratulations, Tony - may the next sail on your journey be filled with happiness, good times, good grades, and more than you can dream!


 ~ Dr. Seuss

Friday, May 20, 2011

I can't take the heat, so I'm getting out of the kitchen

It's official.  Summer has arrived in South Florida and unfortunately, the incredible heat and humidity will be staying with us for the next six months.  One would think, that after living here for thirty two years I would be accepting of this fact.  Well, I'm not.  My Pennsylvania blood still courses through my veins, and I will always miss the changes of seasons, and never get used to 147% humidity.  I don't like it.  Not one bit.

The challenge of cooking in this inferno is one thing I can deal with, and overcome.  I try not to turn the oven on - take a dip in the pool, do more grilling outside - take a dip in the pool, and tricked convinced my family that a salad really can be a meal.  This is one of the Babe's favorite - Pasta Salad Primavera!  I make a huge batch and we have it as our main dish on Saturday,  then devour the rest on Sunday as a side dish.  The flavors marinate and it becomes even more delicious the next day.

This goes perfectly with a nice Pinot Noir - try La Crema Sonoma Coast 2008, which offers "brooding, earthy aromas of dark cherry and forest floor, with a touch of spice. Flavors continue with ripe, black plum, hints of coffee and cocoa surrounded by a soft, velvety texture that ends in a fleshy, long finish." - Melissa Stackhouse, La Crema Winemaker 

You won't be disappointed.

Pasta Salad Primavera
(recipe can be easily doubled)

1 lb penne pasta, cooked al dente', rinsed under cool water and drained well
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, any color, chopped
4 stalks of celery, sliced
1 lb feta cheese, chunked
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro - you can use parsley, basil, mint or your favorite fresh herb
1/2 cup great extra virgin olive oil
2 T of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Can it get any easier?  This salad can be served at room temperature, or chilled.  Serve with a good crusty bread, and a nice glass of feels cooler already.

Eat happy - even in the heat!

Friday, May 6, 2011

"M" is for the million things she gave me

Mother's Day

      I myself, think the holiday should be celebrated on a monthly basis.  I was lucky enough to grow up in a house with a stay-at-home Mom.  She was always there when I got home from school.  She made dinner every night.  She made all of my Halloween costumes, and prom dresses.  She taught me how to tie my shoes, how to cook, how to sew, how to grow roses, the closeness of family, and how devoted a wife could be to her husband.   She successfully raised five healthy and happy children, and she loves her grandchildren immensely.  We all respect her, love her, and are grateful.

A letter to my boys:

     Love your Mother - you only get one, and you guys really lucked out.   This Sunday you have the chance to treat your Mom like a queen, bow to my every wish, do all my chores, and then leave me alone to enjoy a day of peace and quiet.  If you know what is good for you, you will be bringing me my Eggs Benedict in bed Sunday morning, along with the Sunday paper, and then shutting my bedroom door on your way out.   What a perfect way to show me you love me!


Mommie Dearest

This is one of my favorite recipes from Principessa's recipe file.  She would make these every year for Valentine's Day, and sometimes in the shapes of shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day.  They are the best oatmeal cookie - ever!  I carried on this tradition, and thought they would actually be great for Mother's Day as well.  Show her the love...

Principessa's Iced Oatmeal Cookies

Mix together:
2 1/2 C flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3/4 C soft butter
3/4 C sugar
2 T milk
1 egg
1 t vanilla

1 cup oats

Beat for 2 mins, then stir in 1 C oats.  Roll to a 1/4" thickness, cut into heart shapes.  Bake at 375 for 12-15 mins on greased sheet.

Allow to cool completely.
Icing - 1 T melted butter, 2 T milk, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 3-6 drops of red food coloring.

Spread icing on cooled cookies.  Take a big plate to your Mom and tell her you love her.

Happy Mother's Day - eat happy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Little Mashugana

The Babe and I were invited to our first Passover Seder.  Gentiles that we are, we had no idea what to expect or more importantly, how to behave.  So, naturally, I called my sister Debbie in New York - the closest expert on yiddish, and all things Jewish.  She was the first gentile accepted into a Jewish sorority at Penn State, quite an honor, so we knew we could turn to her for guidance.  At this point, the only word the Babe knew was "mashugana", which means crazy.  We needed help.

Debbie gave us a crash course.  Our Seder hosts, Ken and Tara, were wonderful.  The dinner was delicious.  And the Babe and I were able to not make putzs of ourselves!  We are very much looking forward to our next Passover...if we get invited back.

Debbie was so proud, she sent us this incredible gift of MashugaNuts - "pecans wrapped in an outrageously  gorgeous coat of cripy cinnamon meringue". D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!  They went perfectly with our Crystal Head Vodka on-the-rocks martinis.  We couldn't get more spiritual.  Well, we could, but it was Happy Hour.

Drink happy, you little mashuganas!