Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Il Vero Amore - "true love"

Sometimes this mamma wants to pull her hair out.

Other times I just sit back and smile and realize how in love with my children I am....

Trust me, this is a rare moment and usually only happens when:

a.) they are sleeping peacefully and I stare at them from the doorway


b.) I sit down and look at a couple rare and AWESOME pictures of them just being themselves. It is a moment of happiness captured forever and I am such a sucker for it:)

These are the latest moments that remind me what true love is all about:

I am truly blessed.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Monday AGAIN

So Mother's Day has come and gone...which for this mamma, means that it's back to dishes and laundry :(

Every Mother's Day my husband spoils me rotten by making breakfast, lunch and dinner. He even does all the dishes so that I may lazily observe his adorably incorrect way of doing things in my kitchen. He loves the concept of a dishwasher, yet loads it completely improperly. He chose one of my favorite dinners for last night (filet mignon with garlic mashed potatoes) yet nagged me the whole time for "guidance" as he quivered in fear of overcooking my steak.

Needless to say, when I should have been sitting lazily at the table, watching him cook up my gourmet Mother's Day meal, I had to step in and "keep an eye" on the filets so as to not end up disappointed. Some might call that micromanaging, I call it brilliant, considering a well done steak is a mortal sin in my mind:)

Anyway, the dinner and the whole day was wonderful to say the least. I had all my kids and my loving husband with me all day which could not have made me happier. Plus the weather was fabulous so we got to spend most of the day outside playing baseball in the yard! Loved every minute of it! (that was, until the Yankees-Red Sox game, which is NOT to be discussed at all here)

Well, now that it's all over (I kid, really, because my husband does spoil me more than once a year) I am back into the daily grind of planning dinner on my own. I need to be slowly weaned into a day like this (especially a Monday) because the stark change from relaxation to school, housework and homework is NOT easy, my friends.

So here's the perfect meal to slowly bring you back into reality. What's the secret? The crock pot. Using the slow cooker on a Monday helps me avoid the overbearing feeling of pure depression that comes with the beginning of the week. Last week, I experimented with a white wine chicken breast recipe in my crock pot. I was just too exhausted to stand over the stove, and I had some sauvignon blanc that I wanted to try. So, I poured a glass and used the rest for this recipe...give it a shot, and drink away the Monday blues.

White Wine Chicken Breasts


4-6 chicken breasts
1 small vidalia onion, thickly sliced
4 tbsp minced garlic
2 1/2 cups Sauvignon Blanc white wine (any dry white would do, really)
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
cracked sea salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Place the chicken, onions, and garlic in the crock pot. Season, and top with remaining ingredients. Cook on high for four hours. Serve with pasta or a side salad for a light, healthy meal.

(NOTE: I only use sea salt and ground black pepper when I'm seasoning my meat/sauce/anything, really. It just holds so much more flavor, especially in the slow cooker. I also do not really measure my seasonings. It's all by eye, like nonna used to do. So the measurements above are guesses to be modified according to your liking.)

This was so tender and tasty; the tomatoes cooked perfectly and the wine gave it such a great flavor. Try it, I would love to hear if you feel the same way. Buon Appetito!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Need a drink?

Some days I just need a drink....other days I just want one:) In either case, my absolute favorite drink (outside of the mixer category) is Prosecco - a white sparkling wine that is fruity and mild, and ironically quite good as a mixer ingredient! It is a very popular ingredient in a yummy, famous drink called the Bellini...

The first time I had the pleasure of tasting this cocktail was in Venice 8 years ago! (Yes, it's time to go back) It's safe to say I fell in love with the drink, as do a lot of Venetian tourists, I'm sure...(Ernest Hemmingway and others were known to frequent the place).

The drink was born at a well know restaurant in Venice called Harry's Bar, invented by the owner, Giuseppe Cipriani. While in Venice, we actually took a boat ride to Isola di Torcello - an actual island upon which is located possibly the most beautifully quaint Hotel Cipriani owned by - you guessed it - the same Cipriani family that founded Harry's Bar (and the Bellini).

Naturally the many celebrities of yesterday who frequented Harry's Bar also made their way to Torcello for a stay at the hotel, which is accompanied by a lovely restaurant with equally as beautiful food:)

We ate outside on a gorgeous veranda surrounded by a perfectly manicured flower garden. It was breathtaking to say the least. How I wish I could go back one day....

Honey, I hope you're reading this - you know when my birthday is! (hmm, wait - I hope you know when it is.........)

Anyway, the entire experience was amazing, and one of the memories I took home with me was the Bellini. So for Christmas one year, my aunt gave me a bottle of Prosecco with the actual Bellini mix (a canned sparkling white peach juice) to make my very own!!

Now there are several variations of this drink, some include pureed peaches, others add different fruit juices...but either way, including prosecco makes it a hit.

Try it - I'm sure you'll agree.
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