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Traveling Solo to Italy

September 16, 2014

Sad BiagioTraveling to Italy has always been my dream.  More like a misty dream, never quite clearly seeing through the fog to when it might come true.  A single mom, carefully budgeting my way through life and cleaning up after storms along the way.  But honestly, I can now say, my storms have all been a blessing.  In disguise, of course.

 “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all.”

                                                                 – Helen Keller

I’m going for a daring adventure.  Personally, I’m gently reserved, geared more toward intimate one-on-one conversations than free for alls; I cherish solitude, my home, and always thoughtful in my decision making.  Though so driven by comfort and security, I’m easily seduced by change and adventure.  Sometimes successfully, as in my life move to Florida, and other times not so great, as my move to Atlanta.  But regardless, in both circumstances, I grew, and I have no regrets. Read more…

Carrot Beet Cupcakes (gluten-free)

April 23, 2014

carrot beet cupcakes buffet3

Yes, I know…it’s been awhile.  You can thank Judy at Savoring Today for this special treat in reaching out to me to guest post.  I was both flattered and grateful to be contacted by Judy, presenting me an opportunity to pick myself back up and help a friend while she is going through her surgery, resting and healing.

The timing could not have been any better as I have finally accepted the perfect job.  Yep, I’m excited to be once again, a working gal, grateful for Monday mornings!   It took a good six months, not always feeling positive, but hanging on with faith and hope.   It is said we learn and grow through our trials; I can attest to that for sure.  Spring begins my new year, renewal of self, gratitude and blessings.  This Easter was a very special holiday for my family and I wish you all had a blessed Easter.

You can read more about these cupcakes and find the recipe at Savoring Today!

Raspberry Valentine’s Kiss

February 13, 2014

Raspberry Kiss

I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing lately.  Mostly, it’s a good thing.  Those cherished memories, secretly stored in my heart, bringing a warm smile and good feelings.   I love to keep those memories close to me.

I remember when I use to blog…frequently….and visit my favorite bloggers.  I remember my little villa on the lake, my fresh start as a single mom….and I remember the challenges and joys of raising kids on my own.  I remember when I had a job, I remember when I freely spent.  I remember the choices I’ve made and still wonder why (?)  I remember memories I learned from, but  don’t really want to keep too close.

Memories of Valentine’s Day have always stayed in my heart.  I’m just a hopeful romantic.

This drink was posted way back in 2011.  Happy times for sure.  I remember exactly where this picture was taken, on my villa patio.  I’m so grateful to have this blog to browse through my life!  It was in August, following a cruise I had just returned from.  I’ve made it dozens of times since and think it’s the prettiest drink for a romantic ending.  And well, here’s the rest of the story…reblogged from 2011….

Every evening on our trip we were presented with pretty layered after dinner cocktails.  I excitedly inquired about each drink’s layered flavors and playful names. I love after dinner liqueurs that either replace a dessert or compliment a small treat, such as served with a chocolate covered strawberry, chocolate espresso beans or a small biscotti.  What I also love about these “dessert” drinks is that when I plan a last-minute dinner party and don’t have time to prepare a dessert, having a well stocked bar and a few tried and true favorite recipes, I can easily impress my guests with a fancy fun ending.

The layering of liqueurs does take just a bit of practice and patience to slowly pour clean layers.  The trick is to pour the “heaviest” liquor first, continuing to finish with the lightest.  Basically, alcohol weighs less than water, therefore those higher in alcohol are lighter and float on top.  A specific gravity chart I follow is at this link, http://supercocktails.com/bartending/Layering-Cocktails—Specific-Gravity-Chart

Another important step is in how the liqueur is poured.  The first heaviest liqueur should be gently poured directly into the glass to not “splash” up the sides of the glass.  The next layer should be poured gently over the back of a spoon that is placed in the glass just above the first layer.  This way the liqueur slowly tops the thicker bottom layer.  When there is a larger difference of alcohol (gravity) count between the layers, the more definite the layers will appear.  Finally, carefully move the glasses so that the layers don’t mix around.   Narrow glasses are best to use.

Raspberry Kiss

per kiss…. 1 shot Chambord Raspberry Liqueur, 1/2 to 1 shot Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, depending on the glass size or layering effect desired

Following the guidelines above, gently pour  the Chambord on the bottom of the glass topping with the Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur.  Sip, indulge and enjoy.  Good times happen every day, every moment.

Gorgonzola and White Wine Bisque

January 21, 2014

gorgonzola bisqueMust Love Gorgonzola!  I for one, just love the unique taste of gorgonzola.  Its creaminess and green/blue marbling is a gentle version to the sharp taste of blue cheese.  Gorgonzola is always a staple in my fridge, topping it on salads, melted into polenta, sprinkled on pizza or any dish I feel needs a bit of extra zest.

This bisque is very light in texture; the color is enhanced by the carrots used to flavor and thicken the bisque.  I didn’t want to add any more fat into this bisque by using cream, so I used cannellini beans to “cream” and slightly thicken the soup. Sometimes my love of gorgonzola makes it difficult for me to accurately judge how others may take to its taste, so I was able to do a quick taste test last night with a special friend, who gave it a definite thumbs up!! Read more…

The Best Homemade Pita Bread

January 13, 2014

pita_wheat_plated

Can you pass up freshly baked bread? I can easily pass on the bread basket served at most restaurants, unless with one sniff as the basket is laid before me, it’s freshly baked, warm from the oven.  Then I need to immediately rethink my ordering to balance out the bread.  I am one of those, do not combine foods girl.  That means no protein and carbs at the same meal.  Yes, it gets tricky with sandwiches and spaghetti and meatballs, but I’ve done it for so many years, I hardly think about it.  When I eat pasta, I eat pasta!!  but no meatballs!

And when I eat bread, it has to be worth every bite.  There is a pita bread that I so love and miss from Ohio that every time I visit I have to bring some back with me.  They make it ultra thin, soft with a slightly chewy texture.  I can eat them warm from the oven, toasted for a crisp crunch, topped with a tossed salad, perfect with hummus and especially good paired with a warm brie which we enjoyed over the holidays.  Read more…

Chia Hot Chocolate

January 7, 2014

hot healthy chocolate2If you live in South Florida, quick…make this hot chocolate because by tomorrow it will be warm weather again!  If you live elsewhere, no rush as you most likely have a several more weeks of cold weather.  I woke this morning to a real chill in the air, about 50 degrees!  We get really excited to open our windows and let in the cold! Read more…

Easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge

December 20, 2013

Peanut butter chocolate fudge prep

I’m resting easy this evening.  My holiday menus are planned, Christmas greetings sent and a few pretty presents nestled under the tree.  My daughter is on her way home; the merriest Christmas is about to begin.

Tonight we will sit and catch up; not that we don’t chat daily, at a minimum twice a day.  But tonight I will see her pretty face, the pups will lick her all over and all will be perfect as the beauty of life is not in the grand events but in the small, everyday moments we cherish.

Peanut butter chocolate fudge

Read more…

Savory Sundried Tomato and Herb Biscotti

December 12, 2013

Savory Sundried Tomato biscottiStep aside crackers, a new love has entered into this Spicegirl’s life.  Happy hour has just gotten a bit happier.  Wine and cheese met a savory new companion to take to the party.  The flavors mingled, flirted and fell in love.

You never know when someone special will come into your life, in just a wink of an eye, a casual smile, a knowing look.  Or in this case, an unexpected email, from a Savoring follower, describing a savory cracker recipe full of butter that she wondered could be possibly made into a biscotti? Read more…

Sicilian Pizza

December 9, 2013

Sicilian PizzaSicilian pizza = family gatherings.  It would not be a family gathering without including the Sicilian pizza, especially through the holidays.  My mom would bake sheet after sheet pan of pizza to serve our hungry family, uncles, aunts and cousins.  Grabbing squares of pizza, it didn’t matter if they were hot or at room temp or even leftover cold straight from the fridge!  Way back then, I never knew there were round pizzas!  The round ones came from the pizza restaurants, and we never ordered a pizza!

I rarely bake the thick crust pizza.  My favorite is the thin crust, as in my Napoletana Pizza I make every Friday evening.  But when I drift back down memory lane as I was this morning, thinking of Christmas past, there was no other pizza in my life than the thick, square cut Sicilian pizza. Read more…

French Gingerbread, Pain d’epices

December 4, 2013

French Gingerbread2

Baking, sharing, holiday love from my kitchen.  It’s a year round love of giving but more so at the holidays.  Extra batches of cookies are baked, double the pies and my single loaf pan is set aside to fill smaller pans for sharing.

This is going to be truly a simple Christmas season for me this year.   Out of work for 3 months now, gifting to others will be homemade, handmade gifts from the heart, warmth from friendships and family.   This year will be more on moderation and celebrating the reason for the season, the birth of baby Jesus. Read more…