Thursday, December 31, 2009

Why can't lettuce taste like chocolate

knows she should lose weight and momma should also exercise but I have several hurdles to get over first.
Momma Explains: Lettuce. broccoli, and carrots just don't taste like chocolate. When you are in the midst of a bad day, you don't comfort yourself with the thought " This is a bad day but I will feel better when I get home and have a carrot smoothie." EWWWW YUCK, That would depress me even more, but if I said to myself. "This day is the pits but when I get home I am going to open that nice bottle of wine I have and eat a POUND of chocolate cake." Now, that is a happy thought! The kind of happy thought which gets you through a lousy day. I can't imagine thinking that a high fiber protein shake could offer the same comfort as a Cosmo and chips. When you are exhausted from the demands of the job, no one ever started to smile at the thought of some nice fluffy egg whites for dinner, but you dream up a thick and rare slab of prime rib, now I am grinning. The food industry really needs to pursue growing vegetables that taste like candy, fiber that taste like salt and chips and egg whites that taste like 2 pounds of prime beef, with mushrooms and garlic potatoes.

How am I ever to be thin and svelte when all the good stuff tastes so darn good and is just attached to me. Everyone likes to live with momma. I eat pasta and sausage and it takes up residence on my hips. The only way to combat this is through the evil exercise regimen of sweat, hard work and physical activity. What an incredible waste of time, I could be home baking a chocolate cake to prepare for a bad day at work but instead I have to go to some smelly( and it is not garlic) gym, look at everyone who actually thinks working out is more fun than chocolates and wine and then pretend I know how to work the machines. Then, I must disinfect the horrid equipment because people drip really gross things all over those machines, I use tons of hand sanitizer on the knobs and handles alone. If people were considerate and did not sweat all over the machines then we would not have to clean them before using.To make the whole experience even more humiliating, I usually spend more time fixing my towel and reading the instructions than actually exercising. One time, I actually got stuck on a weight machine and they had to pry me off, some man almost fell off the treadmill because he was laughing so hard. Maybe I should just spend more time hounding the food manufacturers about that chocolate lettuce idea. Waiting on hold for the customer service representative that I can understand, can be exhausting, I might even need some cake.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lemon spinach soup

loves soup in the winter but time can be short so you might need to take some short cuts without losing flavor.
Momma Explains: Soup is a classic comfort food and with all the flu and cold demons attacking, you had better always be ready to put a pot of soup on to combat the villains. Since you may not always have a fresh chicken handy to brew some stock, then it is worthwhile to keep some items on hand. I keep store bought chicken broth and an organic chicken stock in my pantry. All good Italian mommas have pastina or some small macaroni on hand and of course fresh garlic. I freeze herbs from my summer garden and they are always available then after the frost. The soup I make is simple but this version has a neat flavor twist that is especially good for colds. Take the ingredients I list and add salt and pepper to your taste. I like a decent amount of salt in soup as I feel it helps fight the germs, as does the garlic and herbs. All have been shown to have therapeutic value. Have fun with this but try it, you will feel the comfort.
Momma's Lemon Soup
For every 32 ounces broth use the following ratio
Chicken broth, organic or your favorite brand
one clove of garlic chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
scant zest of a lemon
sea salt and dash of pepper
small macaroni such as orecchiette
small package of chopped spinach, drained and heated in the microwave
Bring broth to a boil and add all ingredients except pasta, check salt flavor and adjust as needed. When ready to serve, add pasta to boiling broth, let cook about 7-8 minutes . Add grated cheese to each bowl.
Enjoy the comfort !

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Advent Reflection

ImageMomma wishes you all a warm and Christ filled Christmas. In the bustle of our lives, take a moment to thank the infant who was born to suffer for our sins and save us so that we might share eternity with Him. I am often amazed at the humility of the Christ child, how I wish I could be more like Him.

EWTN has a beautiful reflection for today, I am enclosing their link.

Peace Joy and Christ be yours

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Momma's Italian Butter Cookies

Momma loves her Italian cookies, sure hope you do too.
Momma Explains: Every cook makes her recipe for these a bit differently. I made this one as easy as possible because as much as I like to cook, I like to eat more. Try this recipe with the kids, they especially love to dip the cookies into chocolate and sprinkles.

Italian Butter Cookies
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 and 1/2 tsp grated orange rind
1 tbsp. rum
4 egg yolks beaten
1 and 1/2 cups unsalted butter cut into pieces
1 egg white beaten

Combine and mix together the flour, sugar and orange rind. Add rum and egg yolks in fourths, mixing thoroughly after each addition.Cut butter into flour mix with a pastry blender, sometimes my fingers work best. Get the dough crumbly ,Then knead into a dough.
Roll dough on board about 1/4 inch thick and cut into shapes. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or lightly grease your cookie sheet. Brush cookies with egg white and bake at 350 F for ab
out 15 minutes. When cool, dip tips in melted chocolate and then in sprinkles or decorative candies. They taste as good as they look.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The neighborhood light show

Momma loves looking at Christmas lights and the yearly tour our family takes has become a Christmas Eve tradition.

Momma Explains: Each family seems to develop its own set of traditions. Many of these traditions originate with the holidays or a personal celebration. This individualized heritage is special to each family. Some traditions such as the feast of the 7 fishes is an ethnic tradition that Italian families enjoy on Christmas Eve. Legend states that the 7 fishes represent the 7 sacraments and 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. As with many traditions, the feast is associated with a religious holiday. Our family does celebrate many of these ethnic traditions but we also started a few of our own. One of our favorites is to drive around some time after dark, on Christmas Eve, with a radio or a CD playing Christmas music, and we slowly enjoy the myriad of light displays. It is a joyous experience and we each have our particular display favorites. What ever our preference, the time we get to spend together, even if only 30 minutes or so, is a time which emphasizes the joy and magic of Christ's birth. This year, I encourage everyone to find some magic moments for your family to share. Moments free of gift giving and just share a song, a light display or a prayer as a family.
May you be blessed with the light of the world and lots of Christmas cookies !

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Snow Pearls

SNOW PEARLS ****************************************************************************************************

Momma promised some simple cookie recipes, these are one of my son's favorites. They go great with a sweet white wine like muscadet.
Momma explains: Cookies go with Christmas, and a mug of cocoa or glass of sweet wine is a wonderful pairing. Don't forget to try cookie swaps or exchanges just don't make the number of participants too large.

Snow Pearls

3/4 cup butter 1 and 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour

1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1/8 tsp salt

1/3 cup sugar

Cream butter with extract, then add sugar slowly and beat till fluffy

Mix flour and salt in bowl and add in fourths to butter mixture, blending well.

Chill dough about an hour or until you can easily roll into balls.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and press gently onto an ungreased cookie sheet. The balls look a bit flattened.

Bake at 325 F for 20 minutes. Look for a light brown ring to form on outer edge and bottom of cookie shouls also hahve golden tone.

Remove from oven, wait a couple of minutes and when still warm, drop into a bag filled 1/2 way with confectionery sugar. Gently move bag around to coat cookies. Place on plate and guard your snow pearl, these are jewels that the kids love to steal.

Happy Happy Holidays and Blessings to ALL

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

G Men Cookies

Momma loves Christmas and having some homemade cookies available for guests, but Momma likes simple and fast recipes that deliver on taste.
Momma Explains: Over the years a few cookie recipes have become a necessary -must have during the Holidays. I will try to share a few of them with you over the next few weeks. I do not make a huge variety of cookies nor are the recipes complicated, just yummy and of course they taste great with coffee, tea or eggnog. Feel free to enhance the flavor of your beverages with rum, whiskey or anisette.

Momma's Gingerbread Men:
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp ginger
2tsp cloves and 2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
Bring the above ingredients to a slow boil, stir and remove from heat as soon as the sugar dissolves. ( This is pretty fast so keep guard over the pot)
POUR hot mixture over one cup of butter, that you cut into chunks, use a heat resistant Pyrex type bowl. Stir mix until the butter melts then let cool to room temperature.
After cooling, stir in 4 cups flour which has been combined with 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp. baking powder.
Stir well, when evenly mixed, place in plastic wrap and chill for a couple of hours. Take out chilled dough and roll onto a surface dusted with flour and powdered sugar. ( Some people use only flour but I prefer the mix) Then roll out into 1/4 inch depth and cut with your favorite cookie cutters. Bake at 350 F for about 10 minutes. Cool and remove from pan, after thoroughly cooling we use a butter cream icing to decorate the G Men. They look delicious and festive.
Kids love to help with these and there are no raw eggs in the batter so if they sneak some dough you do not need to call Poison Control. There are moms who have so do not kids are always stealing raw dough and pappa is the worst.

Keep Christ in Christmas and enjoy your families

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Married to Clark Griswold

loves the beautiful lighted landscapes that abound during the Christmas season, however Momma's house does not meet that description.
Momma Explains: For every momma in the world there is a pappa and pappa has a serious obsession with lights. Momma loves theme scapes, that is you choose a color scheme then neatly and symmetrically decorate your property. Pappa has only one theme, to place as many lights as possible on any and all growing greens in our yard. Even dead bushes are illuminated. Color compliments matter not, it is quantity not quality. It is blazing beacons of misfit lighting arrangements that fill the neighbors with horror and awe. . The children of the neighborhood love the glittering candyland that is my front yard. Pappa has even encroached his lighting display to bushes that belong to the neighbors but face our house. There are a multitude of LED lights, colored lights, standard lights, half-lit lights. There was a time when large and small lights lived together on our shrubs but an unfortunate accident with Momma, an electric clipper and those bushes terminated that display. To this day I just can't understand what prompted me to trim the bushes in winter when the lights were in place. Oh, well too much egg nog, I guess. That little accident just made pappa more determined to use every available wattage, volt and amp that he could plug in the circuits. So if you are flying over the east coast and notice an erratic behemoth of lights which penetrate the farthest regions of outer space, land nearby and stop in, I will make you a little antipasto, while we bask in electric glow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Buying Wines For the Holidays

Momma loves to have company and my company loves to have wine. How do you meet the vino lovers needs without breaking your budget?

Momma Explains: Wine served per person is more expensive than the average beer cost. That is not including imported or high end beers. However, despite the fact that wine costs more, it has a higher alcohol content and people will drink less. Hopefully all your guests will drink responsibly and have a wonderful time at your festive gathering.
Now, since the economy is tight, there are actually great opportunities to make some awesome wine purchases for less. In many locales you can have the wine merchant email you their specials for the month and the sales are well worth checking out. In Pennsylvania , I know the State controls the sales of wine, however they also have some exceptional buys because they purchase in great quantity. If you go into any wine store, the fastest way to find the deals is to ask a knowledgeable employee. Your question is simply" Could you please show me the wines that are rated a 90 or better that are less than $15.00?" They do exist and they will be good. You will need to purchase both white and red for a party. Riesling, Vouvray or a sweet Muscadet are good whites. Shiraz or Syrah and Cabernet blends make good red choices. I am particularly fond of Spanish and Chilean wines which are made from grapes that you may not have encountered but are quite good. They are often steals too. I would easily purchase a case of red and white for my entertaining needs, especially if the price is right. Buy a case with a mix of wines and regions, you should still get a discount and it offers fun variety. I always try to bring a bottle of wine when invited to dine at some one's house and people enjoy trying new regions or vintners.
The trick to purchasing good wine at good prices is to know the ratings and the most reliable rating tasters. I am usually very comfortable with the ratings by the Wine Advocate and the Wine Spectator. While other reliable wine rating individuals exist, I have found these two the best and the most reliable.
You can find inexpensive wines that will make your guests feel very spoiled, shop early, shop wisely, use the store staff and the rating system and in vino veritas.