Thursday, January 28, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mother, Friend, Confidant: An Introduction

She goes by 'mom', she's a friend to many and inspiration to all; loving, honest, hard-working and generous- she embodies so many of the things we all strive for, and we have such fun along the way!

Carmen left Naples, Italy and came to Southern California, the year was 1973. One of her four sisters Anna came ahead of her after marrying a handsome American GI near their family's hometown (Anna and her husband Patrick would lend a helping hand in Carmen's safe arrival and in getting established).
With less than a working knowledge of English and her two young children in tow (my brother Alberto was just under 3) she embarked on what would be a long and often difficult, if not painful life as the pursuit of her American Dream began to unfurl.
Our father Nino remained in Italy behind us as the rigors of his teenage marriage to my mother were too much for them both to effectively manage... A heartbreaking reality we were forced to cope with as we grew up, and to this day are still affected by; he passed away just two years ago leaving us behind with the sorrow of intermittent though not unaccomplished relationships.
Making her first home in a tiny bungalow in Reseda, CA. she took her first job on an assembly line in a electronics factory that is long since gone.
                         "Lo sono sola, me io non sono solo..." she said, determined not only to survive but to succeed.

Valetine's Day

The perfect tray and the perfect day. I'll be serving my husband breakfast in bed on this neat little tray I found at TJ Maxx and then customized with favorite photos of he & I from over the years (set beneath a glass surface) .

Dinner will be served on our Wedding China.

Large Silver Urn; Coffee or Tea anyone?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bella Sophia

Distinguished beauty, sophisticated and elegant, Sophia Loren i love! I guess lots of good things come from Naples- lqtm (laughing quietly to myself)... ~

 Naturally beautiful; sexy but classy~

One of her cookbooks 'Recipes and Memories' is a favorite, it's collection not unlike much of what I saw growing up. My mom taught my sisters and me (and our only brother too [he grew up to become a renowned chef], our Alberto) and demanded the best from us; fresh ingredients and always homecooked meals. She still calls each of us every day to check-in and ask what's cookin! We feel spoiled- and thankful- having always been around such great food. There is nothing like coming home to the delicious smells of something tasty cooking in the kitchen, its good for the husband and good for the kids (and one of my most cherished memories from childhood).

Eggplant Parmesean is one of the most enjoyable, and, one of the most popular dishes in Italy. While Sophia's recipe ("Eggplant alla Parmigiana") is just a little different than the one we like to use, it's simplicity is attractive and the result is phenomenal. Try a slice of it inside some good fresh French bread: So Good!
"Eggplant alla Parmigiana"
(Serving for Four)

4 pounds eggplant
Extra-virgin oliver oil
Fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 pound canned peeled and crushed tomatos
1 / 2 cup of freshly grated parmigiano cheese
1 pound of fresh mozzerella cubed
Cut eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices.  Layer the slices on a large plate, sprinkling each layer with salt. Once all of the eggplant has been sliced and layered, cover with a piece of waxed paper and then place another plate (equally sized if possible) atop it (think of it as the 'final layer') and then something of weight-like a large can of food.  This will help with the draining of excess moisture.  It should be allowed to drain for 2 to 3 hours.
Meanwhile, heat about two large teaspoons of the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic, when it's lightly browned add the tomatos and basil and cook until thick.  Add salt & peper to taste.
Remove the plate/ weight from the eggplant, rinse the slices gently, and pat them dry.  Cover the bottom of a large heavy skillet with olive oil and place it over high heat.  Add the eggplant slices, browning them on both sides.  Adjusting the heat and adding oil as needed. You may have to cook the eggplant pieces in more than one batch.  Drain the cooked slices on paper towels and pre-heat oven to 350.
Lightly coat and oblong 9 x 12 inch oven-proof dish with tomato sauce, a layer of the eggplant slice over the sauce and sprinkle them with the cheese, then repeat until the dish is full (you should finish with a layer of sauce and cheese on top).  Bake 15-20 minutes to heat-through and melt the mozzeralla.  Serve at room temperature. Bon appétit!
                                                                ...and don't forget some good red wine!

 Country Girl~

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Touch of Lace

Lace looks good no matter where you put it, elegant, sensual, comforting, sexy (!). Take a look at this neat website I've discovered (and love- think you will too):
While these beautiful pitchers look wonderful on a hutch, I also actually use them from time-to-time; they add a touch of warmth and character to the breakfast / dinner table.  Use them in the fridge for fresh orange juice,  milk or iced tea/ iced coffee~

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Letter Holder with Service Bell

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rainy Day, Cozy Day

Home today with the fireplace turned on and some delcious chicken soup on the stove; it's an incredible rainy day, but sure is cozy inside. They say it's never supposed to rain in Southern California, but we sure can use it ; ) This kind of weather sort of makes you want to stay in and cook, bake & eat!  Nothing like a comfy day at home to inspire some new pictures of some things I hope you'll enjoy.

Lovely faux headboard that hangs securely against the wall above my daughters bed~

 Hanging in front of her closet  is this chandelier (I removed the old sliding glass doors and replaced them with the pretty lace curtains)~

And on her vanity, this ornate hairbrush set on thick lace doily~

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A cute little heart-shaped table...

    And with pretty vase/ hydrangea combination.

Resting atop a coffee table of mine is a neat old egg basket from the early 20th century.  Pretty sunlight from a side window contrasts nicely with the lit candles.  The basket also looks great with dried flowers, faux or fresh fruit, or small books.
Behind the wheel of an old Tea Cart (circa 1860) I picked up about 8 years ago sits a favorite silver tea set of mine. Though not nearly as old, it sure can start to look that way if not kept polished! (The ongoing debate about whether 'To Polish', or 'Not To Polish'...)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just returned from a fun trip to Arizona for my mother-in-laws 70th birthday, it was a big suprise for her with close to 30 of her closest friends and loved ones.  She loves Standadrd Poodles so the theme of the party was everything pink and poodle-y.  Mamma mia. : )

Each of her sons spoke some kind words for a toast, and there was much visiting and laughter; everyone had such a good time.  So thankful for her good health and happy marriage of more than 45 years!

The next morning we all had breakfast together, coffee and more good talk-  we capped-off the trip with a quick visit to a local swap meet where I was hopeful to find something special; a unique nick-nack or decorative item of some kind...  Turns out it was more of a people watching event, and not much in the way of anything I wanted to buy, but the weather was beautiful and it was enjoyable nevertheless.

Thankful to be home again, and looking forward to more with the new blog!

Bye for now,


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

A New Year and I'm new to the world of blogging;  My sister Lulu form 'DustyLu Interiors' encouraged me do it!  Here I will share my ideas with you on decorating, cooking, love relationships and just about anything that has to do with the home.  My foundation is God; I love my life and my family I am so excited to share them with you.

Looking forward to a beautiful & productive 2010!