From the mouth of babes: more fashion tips

This time, I knew I couldn't go wrong with a white and black ziggy-zaggy shirt. As soon as it caught Tortellino's eye...

Oh, Ma... that shirt is AWESOME!


If you stand next to a Zebra, no one will see you, only your black pants sticking out like an extra pair of legs.

At least, he thinks that at some point, I will have the occasion to be standing next to a Zebra.  Oh well!



From the mouth of babes: compliments

Getting ready for a trip and I was trying on a new shirt.  Having had some limited success with a bold black and white striped shirt I bought a bold red shirt with white dots. Tortellino got really excited when he saw me.
WOW!  Mom, you look like a clown!


It's OK. You're a really beautiful clown.

You can always count on your kids to know just what to say to make you feel better.


Milk & Stawberry Tiramisu'

Taste of Home Strawberry Trifle
Tortellino's birthday is today and I made him a special cake.  Usually, he requests a cake with real fruit, for the first few birthdays - because of a milk intolerance I made him Angelfood Cake with macerated berry topping.  The last couple of years I made fruit tarts - beautiful, shiny and well... boring! This year I was short on time and ideas but I saw a beautiful picture of a Strawberry Tiramisu' - most Itailans have never heard of this because it's an American invention!

The best part... nooo baking!


How to Out-fox the French: Italian Style


As you may have heard in the news, there are literally thousands of north African immgrants arriving on the small Sicilian Island of Lampedusa every day.  Italy has asked Europe for help in managing the situation- which involves checking the identity of each arrival. If they have legal documents and no criminal record, they are granted entry into the Country.  If not, which almost all do not since they burn their identity papers before boarding these immigrant ships they are refused entry and get a boat ride back to their supposed point of origin. Italy has asked the European Community for help in managing this situation all  have refused. France, of course, is the final destination for many of the immagrants from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and other African French-speaking counries.

And who is sending undocumented immgrants without papers by the bus-load across the boarder and dropping them off into Italy? In their "defense" France claims that "they entered Europe thorugh your coast line, they're your problem now."

What to do?

Run a series of "expose'" stories on the Italian news showing all the routes to get into France undetected - including unsupervised fence areas, and mountain roads used by bootleggers. 

Today's news expose' story focused on how Friday is "Market" day in the Italian boarder towns and many French would be coming to Italy to shop for bargains making boarder controls back into France chaotic and difficult.

They're just saying...  you know... just in case you were wondering.


Centrifugal Juice Whizzer...

From the website of my favorite catalog, that featured an injured child to sell curtains, now we have an anatomically correct centrifugal juicer...

Bottom's up!


Barbie: I can be... a dentist OR a potty attendant, I mean behind wiper, I mean..

...babysitter! Yea, that's it!

That idea never popped in my head when I this at the store today.  I can't decide on what level any executive at Mattel thought this was a good idea.  Aren't there better ways to illustrate a babysitter than to have her, washcloth in hand, attending to a child going to the potty?  As if that wasn't enough, the potty is inteactive -the interior turns yellow with a brown "shape" and when you flush it makes a sound and the interior turns blue.


From the mouthes of babes: I forgot

Driving home from school I asked Tortellino what he ate from lunch. This is what he said, with a very "pained" look on his face and his hands in the air, palms up...

Well... uhm... ahm...  when I was playing I left the idea door open and all of my ideas fell out and what I ate was there too. It fell out. I don't know how to tell you. I don't have the picture of food in my tummy, anymore. It fell out.

You can imagine the discussion we had about leaving doors open and loosing your ideas!

What are your unforgettable quotes?


Italy's Lunch Program... Wow!

The hub-ub continues about the quality of food in U.S. schools and it's effect on one of the heaviest populations in the developed world. For perspective, I would like to show you the lunch program in Tortellino's school.  We live in Italy, not far outside of Rome- each province and region has it's own menu depending on the traditions and ingredients of that region.

For Tortellino's school, there are two menus a "Summer" and "Winter" which cycle on a 5 week schedule. Each meal consists of a first course, second course, side dish, bread and fruit. This is not slop on a tray, they (including kindergarten) receive ceramic plates with real metal implements to eat with.  You will see that each week is marked on top in Roman numerals, and the day of the week is written on the left in yellow. Oh, and most kids eat everything on the menu. Really. (click on it to enlarge, or scroll down for the translation)

The food , and it's preparation, is under strict control by a mixed panel including parents, administrators, cooks and government officials.


The Underside of.. Bernalda (MT) Italy

Italians don't like to show off their dirty laundry. Clean laundry, is another thing...


Ferragosto Feast

On the 15th of August, every Italian celebrates Ferragosto - a day of picnics, outings, or elaborate lunches. Usually, my husband's family has a lunch in the countryside among their orange and olive trees. It sounds far-away and picturesque but since they live in a little town on top of the hill, the countryside is just down the hill from them. This summer we celebrated in my mother-in-law's home because she had just converted her garage into a nice apartment. We were only 16 - usually the group is 30+ people because she has four brothers and a sister each with about three kids each, and each with two or three kids each... it adds up!

I took this as an opportunity to practice my food photography. So... I present her menu to you...

 A lasagna with meat sauce, plus grated ham, mozerella and beschemel sauce.


vitello tonnato (cold veal roast with tuna sauce) - via pressure cooker

I have gotten such an enthusiastic response to my pressure cooker recipes that I posted this one, and many more new ones, on my new blog dedicated to pressure cooking.  Come and visit hip pressure cooking... and make a pressure cooker recipe request, or post your own!

The white wine and aromatics used in the braise are forcefully injected in the meat under pressure making this Italian cold roast juicy and delicious from the inside out! It takes only 20 minutes to cook under pressure (versus one and a half hours on the stovetop), 20 minutes to cool, and a little more than an hour to chill in the refrigerator.


I almost lost Ctrl...


...when my 2-year-old daughter removed all of the keys from the keyboard of my laptop.  Yes, all of them! In just 10 unsupervised minutes. After a house-wide search we found it under the couch... but it refuses to stick back on.  So, watch out, from now on my blogging is going to be out of Ctrl.


hang some starfish with... a hanger!

I wanted to liven up an empty corner above my refrigerator. And had just the things from my local shell store.   Since these are real and not ceramic starfish they needed a good seal to keep the humidity of cooking from re-hydrating them.  I could have gone with a clear seal, but since I'm going for a modern elegant look I painted them white for more contrast.


why I blog

I ran across this question online today: Who inspired you to blog?  I answered it in the little comment field, but I couldn´t stop thinking about it.  Many said that other blogs inspired them to blog.  Well.. I started this blog in 2003 and there were very few interesting blogs to inspire.


the 7-minute risotto - via pressure cooker!

I have gotten such an enthusiastic response to my pressure cooker recipes that I posted this one, and many more new ones, on my new blog dedicated to pressure cooking. Come and visit hip pressure cooking... and make a pressure cooker recipe request, or post your own!

I present you with an Italian-approved risotto pressure cooker recipe. The rice comes out creamy and delicious just like the original - faster, and without all that stirring and baby-sitting.  This technique will not  result in boiled rice and will only take 20 minutes from start to finish.