Friday, November 27, 2009

Furniture update!!

So we finally got our new furniture!!!! Here's an update for all you curious Georges out there!

Hapy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day To All!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Birthday Girl!

Ok, so on Monday my students brought Pumpkin Pie, and yesterday the brought me a bouquet of Sunflowers for my Birthday!!! I must be doing something right !!! They're pampering me like crazy!

I received a few more gifts from my family as well! Enrico bought me a pair of boots to die for!!!

My Mà my FAVORITE perfume -CHANCE eau fraiche de Chanel -

and my sister-in-law Cristiana- Clinique super defense face creme!

My sweet mother-in-law this new Desley cabin size trolley!!

Thank you everyone!!!!
I ♥♥♥♥ you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I love this idea!

This is such a cute Idea!

A place of their own: Kids will have fun practicing their table-setting skills with colorful paper pieces.When kids learn to set the table, they discover what all those forks and spoons are for. A diagram can get them started.

Place-Setting Practice How-To Silverware is put in the order it will be needed; items used first go on the outside. There are a few exceptions; for example, dessert silverware goes above the plate. Kids can adjust what they set based on the meal. No soup? Don't put out the soupspoon. If adults will have wine, add a wineglass to the right of the water glass.

click here to get the print-out template!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Surprise!

Last week I taught my English class a little about Thanksgiving and its traditions. We spoke about why it is celebrated and of course what we eat on this special day! I told them about the Turkey, the stuffing, yams and cranberry sauce and of course my favorite: PUMPKIN PIE! They asked me for the recipe and guess what???

Today they surprised me with a freshly home baked Pumpkin Pie! How neat is that!

I my students!!!

Note: Pumpkin pie is not a typical recipe here, actually, they had never heard of it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Farm stay anyone?

This weekend we went to a grape picking/wine festival in a small town called Milis and stayed in an even smaller town called Massama (if you blink, you might even miss it!!) We had the pleasure in staying in a renovated 1800's farm house that has been handed down to the Orrù family for generations. The youngest daughters recently decided to renovate and transform the Farmhouse and farmland (120 hectares; [1 ha =107,639 sq ft] 12,916.68 sq ft) into a Holiday Farm/ Farm Stay. It was really nice to eat what they grow and raise on their land, and to eat freshly picked veggies and fruit. Here are some of the pictures of the weekend:

Dining hall
details of the stone and brick wall
view from outside
the older dining area
with the old tiles

some of the rooms (including ours) were out side
recuperated from old hen houses and barns
Milis City/Town Hall the Boyl Palace.

Seadas (typical sardinian dessert it's a fried pastry
with cheese inside topped off with orange honey)
made by the Vincentian women.
All profit was donated to childern in Africa to help build wells

(click on the name Seadas and sardinian to get the recepie)

The women hard at work
The wonderful woman
in the middle is the project manager
Detail of a lamp post in Milis.
We all took turns on the bull.... yes we ALL did. (geeze)

The next day......

In the tini tiny town of Massama there is a HUGE church. The central façade belongs to the Church of The Assumption of the Virgin Mary while next to it is a smaller church named "small church of the souls" (I don't know where they get these names from, kinda creepy) Both the churches were built in the mid 13th century. Modifications and additions were made by later conquerers. You can see both Roman and Byzantine influence (even if they were the same Empire the different ages brought different styles ) The first, simple and linear, the second more rich in detail and decor. So in the pictures you can see the distinct contrast between the "old" and the "new". I think it's pretty cool!

tiny tiny bell tower door (I'm short like 5'2)
Entrance to the big chapel (too bad it was closed)
The land around the farm
Our room - the hen house
relaxing in the sun

nothing like laying on the grass...... ahhhhhhhhhh

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vegetarian Gumbo & White Chocolate-Cherry Christmas Fudge

Vegetarian Gumbo

Nonstick baking spray
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 16-ounce package frozen stir-fry vegetables
2 cups frozen cut okra
2 to 3 teaspoons seasoning
3 cups hot cooked white or brown rice (optional)
Chopped green onion (optional)

1. In a 3 1⁄2- to 4 1⁄2-quart slow cooker combine beans, tomatoes, stir-fry vegetables, okra, and cajun seasoning.
2. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. If desired, serve over hot cooked rice and sprinkle with green onion

White Chocolate-Cherry Christmas Fudge

Makes: 3 dozen squares


2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 equal pieces
12 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups dried cherries
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
18 maraschino cherries
2 bunches fresh mint (72 mint leaves)


Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the confectioners’ sugar and half-and-half. Add the butter and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the mixture reaches a boil, stop stirring and let it cook for 5 minutes. It will be thick.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the chocolate, whisking until smooth. Stir in the dried cherries and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Chill until firm, about 2 hours.

Invert the pan onto a cutting board, lift off the pan, and peel off the parchment. Cut the fudge into 1-inch squares. Cute the maraschino cherries in half. Remove seventy-two mint leaves from the mint sprigs (the smaller the leaves, the better). To decorate the fudge, place a maraschino half, cut-side down, on the fudge, pressing it gently into the fudge to adhere. Place two mint leaves at the top of the cherry to resemble cherry leave, pressing the gently into the fudge to adhere.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dried Cranberry–Pecan Stuffing, Gingersnap Punch and Cranberry Pepper Biscotti

Dried Cranberry–Pecan Stuffing

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 medium Vidalia or sweet yellow onions, chopped

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried, divided Salt Freshly ground black pepper

5 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 cup very thinly sliced fresh basil leaves, divided

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh parsley, divided

10 cups cubed bread (see headnote above)

1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or tomatoes

1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) pecan halves or other nuts, coarsely chopped

1 to 1 1/2 cups milk


1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and the oil over medium-low heat. When the butter has melted and begins to sizzle, add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Season with half the thyme and some salt and pepper. Add the celery, half of the basil, and half of the parsley, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the celery is just beginning to soften. The celery should still have somewhat of a crunch.

2. Meanwhile, place the bread in a large bowl, and mix in the remaining thyme, basil, parsley, the dried cranberries, and pecans. Pour the celery mixture from the skillet on top of the bread and gently toss to mix all of the ingredients. Place the skillet back over low heat and add the milk and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes, using a spatula to scrape up any bits and pieces clinging to the bottom of the skillet. Pour 1 cup of the hot milk mixture over the bread and toss; the stuffing should be somewhat moist. If the stuffing seems dry, add the remaining 1/2 cup milk. Season to taste.

3. If making the stuffing more than an hour ahead of time, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to stuff the bird. The stuffing can also be placed in a lightly greased baking dish or casserole and baked at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes, or until hot throughout. If possible, baste with some of the turkey juices from the bottom of the turkey pan to keep the stuffing moist.

Variations -- Add 1 dozen freshly shucked oysters (and their juices) to the skillet when the celery is cooking and cook for about 1 minute. They add a rich, briny flavor. -- Add 1 pound sweet sausage (taken out of the casing) to the skillet along with the onions and cook for about 8 minutes, until golden brown. -- Add 1 cup roasted, coarsely chopped chestnuts instead of or in addition to the pecans

Cranberry pepper biscotti

Makes: about 2 dozen (24) biscotti


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter (or hard margarine), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs


Put first 6 ingredients into large bowl. Stir. Make a well in center.

Cream butter and sugar in medium bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add to well. Stir until soft dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead 6 times. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 8 inch long log. Place logs crosswise on greased baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Flatten logs slightly to 3/4 inch thickness. Bake in 350ºF oven for about 25 minutes until edges are golden. Remove from oven. Let stand for about 10 minutes until cool enough to handle. Using serrated knife, cut logs diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange, cut-side down, on greased baking sheet. Reduce heat to 275ºF. Bake for about 20 minutes until bottoms are golden. Turn slices over. Turn oven off. Let stand in oven for about 30 minutes until dry and crisp.

1 biscotti: 102 Calories; 4.2 g Total Fat (1.1 g Mono, 1.2 g Poly, 1.5 g Sat); 23 mg Cholesterol; 14 g Carbohydrate; 1 g Fibre; 2 g Protein; 47 mg Sodium

Make Ahead: The biscotti may be baked up to 2 weeks ahead of time and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. For longer storage time, these freeze well for up to 3 months.

Serves: 8


6 cups ginger ale
2 ounces raspberry syrup
3 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
8 candied lime slices, for garnish


Fill a large glass punch bowl with ice. Pour in ginger ale, raspberry syrup, and lime juice. Stir. Serve in a glass punch cup, garnished with a slice if candied lime.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Saffron Festival

This weekend we went to a saffron festival. It wasn't anything special but it was a good way to spend a rainy weekend with my Mamma and friend Marta while Enrico enjoyed surfing at Cala Cipolla (Onion Cove, called that way because many beautiful sea daffodils grow there and if you pick them them smell like onions, that is why they are more commonly called "cipolla di mare" onion of the sea, and where the cove gets its name from.)

Cala Cipolla

On the way to the small village of Villanovafranca
where the saffron festival took place.

Saffron Flowers

My Ma and our friend Marta

The Sky
Sardinian woman making semola

Semola or semolina made from durum wheat

Beautiful rianbows!

Country side