Lazy weekend

Not much to report over the weekend. Relaxed and hung out at home... A LOT. Feeling kinda crummy and homebody-ish... ya know.
Today hubby and I went to Mom's for lunch and had a great time hanging with them. We had lofty plans to go to the movies but I really just wasn't up for it. I slept really late this morning and felt the afternoon yawns coming on! :)
Next couple of weeks are pretty quiet... then hubby is home from school for the SUMMER. AGH! Just kidding. Looking forward to it. We are already planning hikes and bike rides and maybe a road trip... We'll see what happens.
No new pictures to post... :( Don't be sad... I'll work on it for the next week or so.
I thought about photographing the frozen yogurt that I just made but it would be a picture of white liquid in a bowl and then the ice cream machine churning. I will be sure to take a picture of me enjoying the yogurt and post that... :) In the meantime I will tell you how I made it...

Vanilla Honey Frozen Yogurt
2 cups of plain yogurt
1 1/2 cups of light cream
2/3 sugar (or honey)
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

Start by lining a colander with wet paper towels or cheese cloth, then put the yogurt in it and put the colander in a bowl. The yogurt needs to drain all the excess liquid so you can add the cream and not make the liquid to thin. (hope that makes sense) Put the whole thing in the fridge to drain; will take 2 or so hours.
I should have started out by saying that you HAVE TO HAVE an ice cream machine. The bowl of it should be frozen. I keep mine in the freezer all the time so that on days like today when I decide at the last possible second (because the whole process takes a couple of hours) at least I don't have to wait for the bowl to freeze.
When the yogurt seems pretty thick (almost soft cheese like) take it out and transfer to a bowl, add the sugar and whisk until dissolved (unless you use the honey, than mix until well incorporated). Add the cream and vanilla and mix until ... well mixed.
Bring out that frozen bowl, set up the machine and start it then add the mixture. Should take about 20 or so minutes until soft serve consistency, put into a freezer safe container and put in the freezer. If you want to add a mix-in... wait until semi-frozen and then add whatever you want and let the machine mix it in before you finish. You can eat it at the soft serve consistency but it melts so fast. Best to freeze for a couple of hours or until it is calling to you! Enjoy.
I super duper love the tang of the honey and yogurt in this dessert. So delicious. Today I used greek yogurt and yummy native raw honey from a friend.

Ok peeps... that is all for now.



May Book Club

Last night was our monthly book club meeting and I hostessed. We had a great time and a great turnout! For dinner we had tomato and goat cheese tarts, tortellini pesto and a huge yummy salad. The tarts were such a big hit (thanks to my sous chef Jenn and my MIL that provided the recipe) here is the recipe.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
1 pkg (2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
Olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves cut into slivers
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (I used dried)
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 ounces shaved with a peeler (didn't do this bit)
4 ounces garlic and herb goat cheese (I used regular)
1 large tomato cut into 4 slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves (I used freeze dried)

Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11 -inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. (I objected greatly to this. This recipe calls for 4 tarts from 2 sheets... I had 8 women coming over so I didn't discard any of the pastry and cut 4 squares from each sheet and continued on...)
Place the pastry on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15- 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture left in the pan. Add 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and the thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from heat.
Using a sharp pairing knife, score a 1/4 inch border around each pastry. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each pastry staying in the border.
Place 1/4 (or the onions divided into however may pastries you have) of the onion mixture on each, again staying in the border. Crumble 1 ounce of the goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper. Finally scatter 4 or 5 shards of the shaved Parmesan cheese on each.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve hot or warm.

Super delicious! Wish I took pictures they looked so great.



I am usually a very smiley person.
These are the things that have made me smile lately.
• bottom crust
• movie date with my hubby
• DeLish turkey burgers with potato salad
• walking round the neighborhood and remembering for the millionth time that I love my house
• Summer plans
• coffee dates
• BBQ with friends
• the bomb BBQ sauce
• having an in depth discussion about the merits of having a go-to cocktail vs. straight liquor on the rocks
• having and loving my long locks
• spending so much time with my family and still finding 10-15 minutes worth of conversation on the phone
• book club is this week... at my house!
• plans for the week and upcoming weekend
• you!

(This is an old picture but we are all pretty smiley)


May Days

Gosh it is gorgeous outside. I have never been one to worship the sun but it is so hard not to on these gorgeous days. So I take my coffee and a book out and soak up the rays. I really believe that it helps my mood. :)
Been spending tons of time with the family lately. Juju bean had her 6th birthday this past weekend and before that it was mother's day and before that my sister's birthday... lots of visits up North. I also attended Kyle's soccer game this week. Lots of fun.
No news on the homestead. Hubby is itching for Summer vaca. Counting down the days with the kids. Not quite sure what we will do home together for the Summer... lots of hiking and bike riding I hope. Picnics and daytrips... yeah! Really looking forward to it. Unless of course, miracle of all miracles a job works out for me... We'll see. Trying to stay positive but it really is hard. If one more person tells me not to worry because a lot of people are out of work I may just SCREAM. Consider yourself warned.



Wardrobe Malfunction

Picture it, Bally's West Hartford, 7:01pm, class is over.
I was standing at the side of the pool (still in it) chatting with a friend laughing talking about class when I reached around to hold my hands behind my back. Not really sure what happened but the seam on the bottom of my suit started to unravel. The whole seam... all at once. There was no hope for me or the seam. Said friend had to run to my bag and get my towel out and wrap me up in the pool before I could get out.
Oooh girl, my big ol' booty was hanging out.
When I later inspected the suit I noticed that the side was unraveling as well... lucky my boobie didn't pop out.




Lately it seems as though everything is super random.
Since last post I've been busy and that is always good.
Gosh I almost can't even put into words all the awesome fun things that I've done lately.
On Wednesday I had the distinct pleasure of going on a photo shoot with Jenn and had a great time. Can't remember the last time that I was able to pick up a camera and shoot for the art and creativity of it. Boy am I rusty. If anyone is interested in a for fun photo shoot let me know... I would love to keep practicing and whatever I shoot is yours for the printing.
This past weekend was my BFF birthday. We had a great time celebrating even if she was super hung over. :)
Sunday was mother's day I always get together with my Mom and if she is available, my sister. I picked up my beautiful mother and we traveled up to my sister's where we hung out with the kids and then got some super yummy gelato.
Monday and Tuesday this week I had fancy lunches... Monday with Jax and yesterday I had the awesome opportunity (thanks again to Jenn) to go to the Women in Business lunch by Hartford Business Journal. They honored 8 women in business and had a speaker talk about her trek and conquest of Mt. Everest. Her story was super inspiring. Have a dream and what it takes to conquer it. You can do it! I met some great women at my table and surprised myself with my can do attitude towards networking and meeting people. I think I've gotten to the "what have I got to lose" part of this whole trip.
The weather has been A-mazing, I took advantage of it on Monday and walked the reservoir with Bridget. I will never tire of that walk. It is always so calming and quiet and beautiful and challenging.
So that's all really for now peeps.
It's all about the can do...
(pics are randomness too!)



I wanted to write about my weekend yesterday but I got all caught up in writing about Dr Taylor. I hope you took the time to watch her speech it is great.
The rest of the weekend was... well... absolutely fabulous. At the last minute Friday hubby and I decided to have date night. We were going to head to the theater for the the "after party" and then decided that we might as well add dinner to that and then... again at the last possible second we decided to add theater tix to the mix. And the best part... the whole night was virtually FREE.
We had restaurant gift certificates from x-mas and birthdays that we hadn't yet used, I called in a favor from a friend for the theater tix and well the party was free anyway.
Noises Off! at Hartford Stage was AWESOME. Very funny! The actors were really great. Timing is everything in this show and they had it down pat! We laughed and loved it. Dinner was... ok. I am always so super critical when it comes to restaurants and we had some issues with the service. The food was ok. Nothing spectacular so I won't mention where we went. As always the after party was a lot of fun. It is my one opportunity to really get out and dance. I'm not really a bar or club girl so this is a fun night for me. The scene shop at the theater is cleared out and they generally have a DJ or some really great music and I get to dance dance dance. Hubby does not really like to dance so it is great because I have some old friends at the theater that I can shake my booty with. All in All... Friday was spectacular.
Made it really hard to get up on Saturday, after all we didn't get home til almost 2am. So needless to say Saturday was much more low key and that was just fine with me. I got to hang out with my lady HeatherE and we did some much needed shopping and chatting. She is one of those people that I feel like I can say anything too and she will not pretend to understand, or pretend to have all the answers but I know that she is not judging me and I know that when she does have something to say it comes from her heart. I can't go that long without spending time with her. Saturday night hubby and I stayed home and ate spaghetti... yum.
Sunday was my sisters' birthday. She is one of those people that you can't help but love. She is an amazing mother, sister, daughter (says my mom), friend and I can't go that long without talking or spending time with her either. It used to be that we couldn't stand one another... we are six apart in age. But these days... I look to her for advice, comfort and reassurance. I was so happy to be there for her birthday brunch. Her hubby and friend Cindy cooked up a delicious brunch and you know how I feel about breakfast.
And last but not least in the evening we went to yet another birthday event. My friend Ed from college had a birthday last week and we celebrated with a soggy BBQ. He can cook a mean piece of meat. By the time we got home Sunday eve we were bushed.
On to another week!


This is basically the talk that I had the pleasure of hearing last week. Enjoy.



Last Thursday I went to a Women's Professional Development Conference in Springfield, with my bff Leah. There were 700 women all ready to soar (the theme of the conference). The first speaker, Vivian Stringer is a woman's basketball coach and spoke alot about the trials in her life. She talked about balancing her career (she has brought three different schools to the Final Four) and her home life. She made moves to different schools that were more strategic for her family than her career, and talked about the guardian angels that spoke to her in different instances in her life that helped her make the tough decisions. She was very inspiring and has led a very interesting and tough life. Then we went to a break out session about learning to Say 'NO', understanding priorities, not taking on too much and learning when it is ok to say no. This session seemed a little too much for me. The conference was being hosted by a local college and it seemed to me that the audience was pretty young and might benefit more from a session learning to say YES more. After having worked with a lot of interns and young professionals I think that the young people coming out of college sometimes have a chip on their shoulder and need to learn a little more about hard work and working hard.
The lunchtime speaker was the most inspiring and I walked away thinking the most about what she had to say. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a trained and published neuroanatomist, basically she is a scientist that is trained in brains and brain functions. Her brother has schizophrenia and she wanted to understand the brain better to know why. Then one day she woke up and discovered she was experiencing a rare form of stroke. She went in for surgery to remove a clot the size of a golf ball from the left hemisphere of her brain. It took 8 years for her to rebuild her brain- from the inside out. The stroke placed pressure on the left side of her brain so the right side of her brain blossomed. She talked a lot about the differences of the hemispheres of the brain and what it meant to only have one side functioning. It was really interesting to hear her talk about her brain and how to connect with the hemisphere that you don't really use. She published a book about her recovery from stroke and the insights she gained into the workings of her brain (My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey). She was really funny and so easy to listen to. She talked about what it was like being a brain scientist and realizing that she was having a stroke, "This is so cool, so this is what it is like to lose you brain!".



May Day

Welcome to May!
Today is May Day, and in Europe it is their labor day. We are still praying and thinking of the folks in Italy that have suffered from the earthquake. This coming weekend is the mass of the patron saint, Madonna della Libera in the town that my mother is from. Every year they celebrate with a huge mass and weekend of celebrations. Hartford is like the sister city of Pratola and also celebrates this weekend. The celebration isn't as big and doesn't last as long, but a church in Hartford houses the statue of the Madonna that is exactly like the Madonna in Pratola. This year there will be no celebration in Italy because the church sustained some damage as did the Madonna. The mass in Hartford will be to pray for our town and families, that they continue to be safe.
Today my Mom treated me to a pedicure. It is one of those luxuries that pays off tenfold. Makes you feel so pampered and extravagant. It was a real treat.
And tonight is a spontaneous date night... we are finally using a restaurant gift certificate that we got from Christmas and going to TK for dinner, tix at Hartford Stage to see Noises Off! and then after party at the theatre. Whoohoo... really looking forward to letting my hair down! I'll give you the scoop tomorrow.