"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!


Most Popular Recipes of 2012: Healthy Eating

Chicken Casserole
Chicken Casserole
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Italian Mac n Cheese
Italian Mac n Cheese
Pizza Rustica
Pizza Rustica
Stuffed Artichokes
Stuffed Artichokes 

Ground Beef Stroganoff
Ground Beef Stroganoff
Spaghetti and Clam Sauce
Spaghetti and Clam Sauce

Weekly Menu Plan:

Sunday: Lentil Soup with Rustic Bread

Monday: British New Year's Eve Party bringing:

Tuesday: New Year's Day Brunch at our house:

Homemade Bagels with white fish salad 
Sausage, Egg & Cheese Casserole

Wednesday: Black eyed peas, Kabocha Squash, Kale

Thursday: Chicken Dijon, Fingerling Potatoes Boiled and Buttered, with Green Beans

Friday: Cheese Raviolis in Butter and Sage with a Green Salad

Saturday: Leftovers

This post is shared with:

Tuesday Food:
Hearth & Soul Blog Hop @ Premeditated Leftovers
Tempt my Tummy @Blessed with Grace
Trick or Treat Tuesday @ Bru Crew Life
Totally Tasty Tuesday @ Mandy's Recipe Box
Tasteful Tuesday Party @ Nap Time Creations 
Traditional Tuesdays @ Cooking Traditional Foods
Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ SS& GS
Show Me What You Got @ Our Delightful Home
Tasty Tuesday @ 33 Shades of Green
Tuesday Talent Show @ Chef in Training
Hand Made Tuesday @ Ladybug Blessings
Tuesday Time Out @ Reasons to Skip Housework
Take a Look Tuesday @ Sugar Bee Crafts
Share it Link Party @ Winthrop Chronicles
Wednesday Food:
What's Cooking Wednesday @ Confessions of Overworked Mom
Wholesome Foods Wednesday @ This Chick Can Cook
Cast Party Wednesday @ Lady Behind the Curtain 
Whimsy Wednesday @ The Melrose Family
 Wednesday Whatsit @White Lights on Wednesday 
Recipe Box @ Bizzy Bakes
Fresh Foods Wednesdays @ Gastronomical Sovereignty
Wednesday Adorn from Above @ Adorn from Above
Show and Share @ Semi Homemade Mom
Wonderful Food Wednesdays at @ Home Take 2
Wicked Good Wednesday Blog Party @ The Wilderness Wife
Linky Party @ Bloom Designs
Seasonal Celebration @ Natural Mother's Network
Wildcrafting Wednesday @ Self Sufficient HomeAcre
Wednesday Extravaganza @ Hunger Little Girl
Clever Chicks Blog Hop @ The Chicken Chick
Thursday Food:

Full Plate Thursday @ Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Tastetastic Thursday @ A Little Nosh
Link it Up Thursday @ Seven Alive
Creative Thursday @ Michelle's Tasty Creations
Fantastic Thursday @ Three Little Chiefs

Thriving on Thursdays @ Domesblissity
Tasty Thursdays @ The Mandatory Mooch

Friday Food:
Foodie Friday @ Home Maid Simple
Friday Favorite (DYI too) @ Simple Sweet Home
Foodie Friday @ Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Feasting in Fellowship @ Comfy in the Kitchen
Gallery of Favorites (DYI too) @ Premeditated Leftovers
Friday Favorite Finds @ Finding Joy in my Kitchen
Foodie Friday @ Rattlebridge Farm 
I Freakin' Did it Friday @ Miss Information
Simple Meals Friday @ Mexican Wildflower
Friday Food Fight @ Run DMT
Freedom Friday @ My Turn
Weekend Wonders @ The Thriftiness Miss

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Go-with-Everything Celery Root Puree: French Fridays with Dorie

Celery Root Puree
Celery Root Puree

I can't tell you how many times I bought celery root with the intention to do something with it: a salad, a soup, roasted... but every time I bought this ugly tuber I let it rot.

I mean look at it:

celery root
celery root

Does this look like it really should be eaten? I don't even think it looks like something that should ever be taken out of the ground.

I was so happy the Dorista's actually got me to cook one of these little brains.

Peeling a celery root is definitely a challenge. Though the rest of the puree's directions were not very complicated. Basically you treat celery root as if it is a potato. The only part of the recipe that I found unnecessary was cooking it in milk. The root didn't take on the milk flavor, I could have just added a little when I was pureeing it... all the milk did was scorch the bottom of my pan.

My son was so excited to see me put "mashed potatoes" on the table. 

"Well, they're not exactly mashed potatoes."

"Not another French thing... what is it?"

"Celery root."


He ate it,... and so did the rest of the family, but no one was thrilled, except for me... but I love the taste of celery. They would have preferred their beloved mashed potatoes. Oh well, I have a recipe for celery root as a cold slaw that I think I'll try maybe that will go over better, because I do think it is a truly interesting vegetable. 

Here is a similar recipe: Celery Root Puree

I served the celery root puree with a garlic brown sugar chicken recipe that everyone really enjoyed.

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken
Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

As a member of French Friday's with Dorie I am not allowed to print the recipe. I invite you to take a look at this wonderful cookbook "Around My French Table" if you are interested in this or any other recipe I review. 


Foodie Friday's Linky Party will be back next week: Jan. 4th.

Eat, Drink, and be Merry...
Happy New Year!!!!

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It's Simple: Food, Family, & Friends: Healthy Eating

Christmas Dinner

May your holidays be filled with food, family and friends.

Season Greetings 

Happy New Year



Weekly Menu Plan:

Sunday: Potato Leek Soup with Sour Dough Bread

Meatless Monday Christmas Eve:

Thursday: Day in the City

Saturday: Pizza (the chef needs to rest before the New Year party and brunch)

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menu plan monday

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Zuppa de Pesce in White Wine: Foodie Friday

Zuppa de Pesce White Wine
Zuppa de Pesce White Wine

When I was a kid hanging out in the neighborhood my friends and I would call our moms to find out what they were making for dinner. Whoever was having "the best dinner" would have to call her mom back and see if the rest of us could join them. One day my mom said we were having spaghetti for dinner. Everyone agreed that they wanted to eat at my house. I knew my mom had enough food for 3 extra kids because as an Italian-American my mom always cooked enough food for an extra family of 6 to stop by...no problem.

When we sat down to eat and my friends saw my family members raising forks of squid tentacles and clam bellies into their mouth... they screamed and ran out of the house. My mom looked at me and said, 

"Doesn't everyone put calamari in their spaghetti?" 

Guess not, but we do... and so this pasta dish which contains any seafood you would like in it... I put mussels, squid, and shrimp...concludes our Feast of the Seven Fish. I went over by one fish, we cooked 8 instead of 7,... but that is OK, more is always OK with Italians.

Zuppa de Pesce in White Wine

by Diane Balch

Preparation:  20 minutes                                         Serves 4 - 6


1 pound of seafood cleaned. Any assortment of: shrimp, squid, scallops, mussels etc.. It can be a frozen mixture.
1 pound of Barilla Plus Spaghetti or Schar's gluten-free Spaghetti
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of anchovy paste or crushed into paste whole jarred anchovy
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 teaspoon or more of red pepper flakes (or ground cayenne if serving to kids)
1/2 cups of dry white wine
1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley
(or 1/8 cup dried parsley)
grated parmesan cheese to garnish
salt and pepper to taste


1) Bring a well salted sauce pot filled 1/4 with water to a boil for the pasta.

2) Put oil, garlic, red pepper, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a large skillet. Heat on medium low. Do not brown the garlic. Mix and incorporate the anchovy paste until it dissolves into the oil.

3) Add wine and seafood to skillet. Mix and boil for about 5 minutes until water starts to evaporate and the seafood turns opaque. Be careful not to over cook the seafood, it will get rubbery if you do. 

4) Add cooked pasta and parsley to the skillet. Mix well, check if it needs more salt and pepper, and let stand for 5 minutes.

7) Sprinkle individual servings with parmesan cheese. Serve with a side green salad and white wine.
 seafoodpastasquidItalian recipeshrimpmussels  http://verygoodrecipes.com/italia

Foodie Friday Features:

Focus on Savory Appetizers: Great for both Christmas and New Year's Parties

From: Life in My Empty Nest

Artichoke Dip with Chilies
Artichoke Dip with Chilies

Everything to make this surprising dip you can keep on hand in your pantry. Great for this time of year when guest drop by... ho, ho, ho.

From: Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Cranberry Sausage Cookie
Cranberry Sausage Cookie

It is so important to have a balance of sweet and savory out for parties. These cookies have the seasonal flavor of cranberry... balanced with spicy sausage, cheddar cheese and pecans...kicking little nibbles!

From: My Carolina Kitchen

Chicken Marbella Appetizer
Chicken Marbella Appetizer

This substantial appetizer has a wonderful combination of sweet and salty flavors.

Note to Readers: We will be taking a foodie friday break. There will not be a link up next week. We will see you back on Jan 4th to resume sharing food together in the New Year. 

I wish you joy and peace
good times at the table with friends and family.

Instructions for Foodie Friday linky:

This is a food party please only link up food related posts. Thank you. 

Click on at least 3 other recipes.



SPREAD THE WORD: PIN, FB, TWEET ETC... this party. It is good for you and me.

1) Copy the Foodie Friday Button's html from this website's sidebar.
2) Paste this html to the html page of the recipe you want to link to Foodie Friday. You can also make a word link or post our button on your sidebar.                                                                 Please link back.
3) Copy the link to the recipes you want to add to Foodie Friday, not your homepage. You can post up to 3 recipes that you have not shared before.
4) Click on "your next" on this page.
5) Past your link and type in the name of the recipe, not your name.
6) Choose how you want to download the photo.


Newtown No Simple Answers: Simple Living Ideas

Newtown Flagpole Half Mast
Newtown Flagpole Half Mast 

I never would have imaged that I'd be writing my second post within 2 months time about the death of children. My town lost 2 boys during Hurricane Sandy now 15 minutes from my home 20 children are killed. I can't tell you how painful it was and still is for my town having lost those boys. I can not image the pain Newtown is feeling right now. The number of children dead is almost impossible to image never mind cope with...

Newtown, CT is a very special place to me. One of my oldest friends has lived there for over 20 years in a big old colonial house on Main Street with her 4 children. I can still remember the time my husband got stuck on the roof while helping to paint the house. 

Before kids my husband and I used to go to the movies in Newtown, in a quaint old theater that is actually part of the town hall. Our friends from Newtown hosted a wedding party for us. It was the most genuinely fun and unpretentious party... all the guests played wiffle ball in our dress up clothes.

Every Labor Day my family gets up at dawn and drives to Newtown so we can make donuts with our friends before the big parade starts. You see Newtown's Labor Day parade is famous... it is the best in the state. Every politician makes sure to attend it, but it is always the Shriners driving miniature cars that steal the show.

Now the show has permanently been stolen from this quintessential American town. Newtown will now be remembered as the home of the largest gun killing of children in our country's history. 

How could this happen in this town you ask?

The same way it can happen anywhere in the United States. 

It is time... in the memory of the children and teachers lost in this massacre... it is time.

Time to really figure out a national gun control policy that will not inhibit hunters, but will inhibit murderers. 

This is a simple living blog, and I wish I could write a simple solution to our country’s gun problem, but it is not a simplistic problem even though our politicians have been addressing it as one. 

We don't have to choose between having or not having guns. I am tired of the NRA saying this... My father was in the military and collected old pistols. My brother likes to shoot at a range. My husband is a skeet shooter, and my Boy Scout son just got his merit badge in riflery. I am not anti-guns.

The guns, semi-automatic pistols and a rifle, used in the Newtown massacre were obtained legally, but a mentally ill person got a hold of them, so having assault weapons available to the general public is not safe. 

Assault weapons, like the ones used in the Newtown Ct killings, are designed for warfare. They are designed to kill the most number of people as quickly and effectively as possible. They are not for civilian use, and they are not for sportsmen. There is nothing sporting about an automatic rifle. It is designed to slaughter, not to hunt.

I am tired of the argument that people not guns kill. On the same day of the Newtown slayings, a man in China stabbed 29 people, mostly small children, all of them survived. If he had a gun they may not have survived. Click here to read report.

Please write your politicians, sign petitions, talk to your friends and family. Even if the conversation gets a little uncomfortable as a nation we need to have it.

The conversation needs to not only be about guns, but also about mental health care in this country. All insurance policies should be required to cover it. There are too many mentally ill people who could potentially be dangers to society who are not getting the treatment and care they need. 

Please read this article by a woman who has a mentally ill son to understand what these families are going through... click here: I Am Adam Lanza's Mother.

Let your voice be heard... whatever your position.

Click here to sign a petition to the government and the NRA that we need a change in gun control laws.

Click here for a list of charities that are helping the families of the victims of the Newtown killings.

It is time. 

Gallery of Favorites

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modivation monday