Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Christmas Will Soon Be Here!!

Hi friends!  I know it's been a while since my last post but have had so much going on since I last posted an entry on my Blog!!  The main reason being that my mom fell ill at the begining of this year and after various tests we found out that she had cancer, she went into hospital in mid March only to never return home, after many ups and many, many downs she quietly left us on July 17th/2014 with me by her bedside 😔 It was the saddest moment of my entire life!!!   But life goes on, right?!  After mourning and feeling depressed for weeks, at times not even showing it, since I have 2 sons who were devastated by this loss, I had to naturally grieve with them but also try to keep going for them!
I have just lately started to embark in new little projects, one of which is getting some friends together from different parts of Italy to meet up for a luncheon in Rome around the Holiday season, mom would've wanted me to go on as she did many, many times in her life.

My other little projects are simply putting together my little Christmas gifts for friends and family and buying my supplies will be part of the fun of doing so, anyways have to go now and continue my daily routines, will chelck in with updates on both my luncheon preparations and xmas projects, hugs and ✌️❤️☕️ Oly!!  This is a photo of my beautiful mother Carmela, taken in her youth when she lived in Genova, Italy, love and miss her tons!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Holidays are Over but not Forgotten

Although the Christmas and New Year's holidays are over the memories that we've created will linger in our minds and in our hearts.  My holidays were blessed with the warmth and love of my family and friends, both near and far, cooking was also a big part of our traditional Christmas celebration, who could forget my mom's almond bark or honey sweetened Struffoli, yum.  I delighted my family with my homemade Lasagna and roast Salmon not to mention my vol au vent filled with pink cocktail sauce and prawns, our pastry chef Panettone was none the less, moist and covered with a crunchy Almond crust, yum, yum, so inviting, worth every calorie...lol :)

Just so many special moments to remember, New Year's Eve, the boys went away with their friends and hubby and I stayed home and had our soecial candle lit dinner, so romantic, I made Farfalle shaped pasta with fresh Salmon sauce and fillet of sole with creme fraiche sauce, Panettone was the crowning glory of this wonderful dinner with a bottle of bubbly of coarse, Spumante! Midnight was filled with happiness and love as we rung in the new year, goes to show you that you don't need a crowed to be cheerful and have fun!

Our time spent recieving our loved ones were moments to treasure forever and my husband's and I walks in the cold winter sunshine was a real treat too, not to mention our afternoon at the GAM (Gallery of  Modern Art in Torino) to view the Renoir painting exhibit, a real treat for both of us, we love art and this was a super exhibit!

Amongst the things we visited there were also the local Nativity Scenes sponsored by the city of Collegno, Italy is famous for the most beautiful Nativity Scenes in the world, doesn't surprise me since this is the country where they originate.  Every year my husband, Danilo and I love to take one afternoon during the Christmas break and go and visit the local Nativity Scenes, some are just plain statuettes with Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus and the lot, and others are mechanical scenes, with all the charecters moving and the day that becomes night and vica versa.  These Nativity Scenes have a lot of hard work and time and effort put into them by local volanteers, they are just breathtaking! I take my hat off to these volanteers for the dedication and passion that they put into making these Scenes without earning a dime, if not the praise of their admirers.

In closing I want to say so long Christmas Holidays, you maybe gone but surely not forgotten.

Monday, December 16, 2013

I Hate Modernday Christmas shopping!

Well it's Christmas again, and along with it comes all the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping.  Today I finally Decided it was time to do my holiday shopping so off  I went to the Mall thinking that since it was Monday morning not too many holiday shoppers would be there, well surprise surprise, it was packed!! as soon as I got there It didn't take me long to find a parking spot for my car, luckily someone was leaving and so I quickly sped to occupy my much desired spot.  It's often unbelievable how cars in mall parking lots follow shoppers with overflowing carts around the parking lot, hoping to get a parking space and so frustrating when sometimes after all that following and patiently waiting for the shopper to unload and put away his/her cart they signal with their index finger swaying back and forth to say no, their just unloading and not leaving yet.  All I can say is that today was my lucky day, I found parking in five minutes flat! Must've had someone watching over me, thanks dad, I always thank my dear old dad when things go my way.

Once inside the Mall I decided to browse around comparing prices and picking up some ideas, as I walked around I was dumbfounded at how many shoppers were on their smartphones consulting with friends or family on which gifts to buy as if they were deciding the next move towards world peace, gosh your buying a gift not wether to have open heart surgery or not! It was evident that aside from grocery shopping and the odd hop over to the neighbourhood stores I hadn't been out Mall shopping in a while.  I was totally feeling like a fish out of water, mind you I love modern tech, I have my own IPad and smartphone wich I use everyday but all this pushing and shoving to get where you had to go at all costs in order to get what you want was just too overwhelming for me, not to mention all the angry worried faces I came across, just one salesgirl was very sweet and curteous, guess I'm just getting older but not old haha, long story short I decided on a couple of trinkets for mom and niece and some clothes for my sons but I just couldn't wait to go home, hubby's gift will have to wait till later this week, just enough time to get my nerve up to go to the Mall again, unless I decide to just take a hop over to the local perfume shop or bookstore, hahaha. Just can't get over on how much confusion and forgetting what this holiday is really all about.  I miss when I was younger, when yes we went shopping and there was a lot of Christmas hustle and bustle but there was also a human side to it, when salespeople would wish you a Merry Christmas and help you in choosing the best gift to give for that special someone. All I can say is I'm so happy I was young when I was and my warm Christmas memories will keep me happy for a long time coming. Happy shopping everyone!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Our Family Christmas Tree

Hi everyone, hope you are all having a great weekend!  I'm having a nice family downtime weekend, yesterday we finally put up the tree :) Isn't it gorgeous?  I think it's super, decorated with lots of love and care by the whole family while listening to Christmas Carols, a traditional family ritual in our home!  Well got to run and get Sunday lunch started, wishing you all a super Sunday, maybe decorating your tree or whatever you're doing together.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bling, Bling, Bling!!!!

Hi everyone, I have many interests, but one of my passions has always been, yes, that's right, bling!  I think I developed this passion at an early age, seeing that already when I was about five I used to dress up w/my mom's costume jewelry and not only, yes, her high heels were a must too, lol.  Since I can remember things that glitter and shine have always caught my eye, mind you I'm choosy, never liked the gaudy bling, it always had and has to have a certain elegance and fit in with what I'm wearing perfectly.  As a child in the late sixties I used to love to imitate my beautiful mom, I used to go in her room and put on her heels and costume jewelry, often she'd walk in and say "you mustn't wear my heels or they will ruin" then she'd laugh and say "I used to do the same with my mom's things."
As I grew my bling passion progressed, in the seventies my Saturday afternoon passtime was going to Birk's at Jackson Square in my hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, with mom or a friend, but mostly mom, since we shared this blingy hobby..lol.  If you are from Canada and love bling then you will agree that back then Birk's was the place to go!  I remember there used to be a special offers table set up at the entrance with the little blue Birk's boxes lying on top and each box held a small Birk's treasure, nothing expensive mind you but so appealing to the eye, and wallet.  I think we never, ever left empty handed, we always ended buying a bling or two.  I still have many of those little treasures to this day.
In the eighties when big bling was the craze, I loved to wear huge earrings, clunky bracelets and chokers along with my big hair of course.  Back then it was all about hair and shoulder pads, so the big bling fit in perfectly, haha!
In the nineties when I married and had my children I still wore my bling but only in appropriate moments since holding my sons while they were grabbing at my necklaces was not very practical or comfertable, not to mention safe, as they always stuck things in their mouths as most babies and toddlers do.  I'd limit myself to wearing blingy jewelry to special occasions or the occasional dinner party with my husband.
The 2000's were a turning point for me as far as bling goes, my children grew older and less grabby, haha, and so hello bling again, full force that is, I had to make up for lost time blingwise!! These days I'm living in Italy and every chance I get I hit the local open air markets, believe me you can get some great deals on bling, beautiful costume jewelry with prices that vary from €1.00 to €5.00 for the cheapest but still nice bling to €10.00 to not more than €15.00 - €20.00 for the most expensive bling.  In other words a bling lovers heaven!
So as you can see my passion lives on, even after all these years, no regrets or guilts for always having bought all the bling, and my moto was, is and always will be, I Love Bling!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sunshine and Good Books

Hi everyone, I'm here lying on my lounger and basking in this beautiful fall sunshine, it must be Indian Summer!! Just loving every moment.  These are those moments where you grab a nice lounger, lie down, cosy up to the french window and enjoy a good book, which is what I'm doing. The book is called A Girls' Guide to Homemaking by Amy Bratley, I bought it on a whim, I saw it on the shelf at the supermarket last Friday and picked it up because I loved the cover!! I then decided, "ok, you're going in my shopping cart". I often buy books just becuase I like the cover, usually they don't let me down, haha.  I started reading it the same afternoon and believe me so far so good, it has romance, ambition, mystery, cheating boyfriend, repentment.....etc. etc.
As soon as I finish it I will give you the lowdown on if the book has a captivating storyline till the end or not, so off I go to continue with the adventures of Juliet (the main character) and her life story. Ta ta everyone,  my lounger and book are waiting for me in the warmth of the cosy Indian Summer sun.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Oven Made Prune Jam

Ciao everyone, today it's a super grey day!!! Dark and dreary, perfect for making some homemade jam, as you can see I've posted a photo of red prune jam, believe it or not this jam was made in the oven and not on the stove.  To make 3 small jars of this delicacy you will need:

1kg of ripe red pulpy prunes (cut up in small pieces)
250grms. of Demerrera sugar (also white sgr will do)
1quarter teaspoon of cinnemon
5 cloves (finely ground)

Take the prunes and wash them, dry them cut in half then take out the pits, cut the prunes in small pieces put in a bowl and stir in the 250 grms sugar.
Pour in an oven pan that is at least 6 to 8 cm deep and put in oven at 200 degrees (Better if you have a ventilated oven) for about 1 hour and a half, or when you see it gets to the right jam consistancy.  Near the end, about 10 - 15 mts before you take it out of the oven get a wooden spoon and stir, this helps to mix the jam better and have the desired consistancy.  To test that the jam is ready just put some on a small dish and let cool a few minutes, if it doesn't slide off the dish when tilting, it's ready!! :)
At this point remove from oven add the ground cloves and cinnemon, stir and pour in the jars, now put the jars upsidedown for 5 minutes or I usually prefer to leave it overnight to create a vaccum pack.

When filling the jars make sure to fill them almost to the rim, so not to leave any pockets of air.

Your jam is ready to be enjoyed already the next day.