Monday, November 20, 2017

Tiny Turkey Shaped Rolls

So with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, a lot of Thanksgiving recipes are hitting my Facebook feed. One attracted my attention: 6 Fool-Proof Ways to Shape Store-Bought Bread Dough into Holiday Table Showstoppers

The breads were really unique. I was enchanted with the Tiny Turkey Shaped Rolls. While out shopping, I added 2 tubes of the Pillsbury French bread to the carriage. One to try before Thursday and one for Thursday. The plan would be if the test batch didn't turn out quite right, I'd just bake the other tube of dough per instructions on the packaging.

Sadly, the directions for these breads are similar to directions given to contestants on the Great British Baking Show when they have to recreate one of Mary Berry's or Paul Hollywood's recipes. That is minimalist. No baking temperature or baking time.

To bake the French loaf, the temperature was to be set at 350o F. So that's what I used. The dough was supposed to be rolled out and cut into triangles. Easier said than done. The bread was to be laid in a mini-muffin pan with the long point of the triangle sticking up and resting on top of the pan. Four slashes were to be cut into the wide end of the triangle to form the turkey feathers. I couldn't find my mini-muffin pan. The muffin pan I have was too deep, but Ma had given me her muffin pan when I first got married. It's a lot smaller than today's standard size muffin pans so worked out okay. I baked the turkeys for 15 minutes.

My test flock didn't turn out too bad. They sort of look like turkeys if you squint your eyes and tilt your head. The recipe called for brushing the turkeys with an egg wash. I'll skip that step next time as some of the egg wash ran to the bottom of the muffin cup and a couple of the turkeys got stuck to the pan.

Fortunately for me, we'll be celebrating the holiday with just the four of us. No worries about company. My crew won't care if the house isn't clean, the meal is served on a paper plate, or the turkey shaped rolls look a little wonky.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Since the sunroom is closed up for the season, my work area in the dining room doesn't give me a direct view of the birdfeeder to see what birds and critters are still romping about.

The squirrel trying to be a hog sat on the perch and closed the hatch to the birdseed.

Bedraggled morning glory vines. Chilly this week, but not col enough to freeze the water in the birdbath.

More tired morning glory vines.


Gusty winds took down a section of the neighbor's fence.

Bare naked trees

The meadow looking like the Upside Down

The Japanese Maple's leaves have turned from red to rust.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Happy Feet

This month, Jan and Jewish Mother Extraordinaire, from Creative Instigation has been focusing on little things that make one happy. Last week, she mentioned Super Socks

Lately, I've been obsessed on a colorful sock kick. Maybe it's a middle age crisis thing. Maybe it comes from years of sock repression and being forced to wear dark green knee socks or white ankle socks. Maybe it was sock envy because the girlies could express their personality through socks even when they wore their school uniform. Whatever. Colorful socks make me happy.

Top Row, left to right: Black Cat Halloween (no surprise), Hokusai - The Wave, Michelangelo - The David, Monet - Houses of Parliament at Night, Munch - The Scream, Christmas Polar Bears (there were no Christmas black cats)

Middle: Steinlein - Le Chat Noir (of course), Botticelli - The Birth of Venus, Fox =^,.^=, van Gogh - Starry Night, de Saint-Exupéry - Let Petit Prince (one of my favorite stories. I've read it in French, English, and German),

Bottom Row: Flying Squirrels, Flying Monkeys from The Wizard of Oz, Bob Ross and Happy Clouds (there were happy trees, but blue is my color), Burch - Primitive Cats, Moon Phase, Constellations, Gumby and Pokey (I had a Gumby as a kid. A green rubber figure with wire in the body so you could twist and pose him. I twisted that thing so much the wire poked through the rubber. I wanted a Pokey, but never got one. Until now.) And if you need to borrow a pair of socks, just let me know.

So what little thing(s) make you happy?

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Too cold to be in the sunroom. Himself moved the television into the bedroom.

2. Found a good deal on a Christmas gift for the girlies.

3. Went on a shopping expedition to Wegman's. So much stuff to see and choose from. I liked the self-serve fruit and nut machines.

4. The librarian loved the lettering for the Christmas tag workshop.

5. Got some compliments, and they made my day.

How was your week?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

Front Row Siblings: Mario, Emma, Olga, Joe (Dad)
Spouses standing: Phyllis (wife of Mario), 
Jack (husband of Emma), youngest sibling Robert (aka 
Bob, Bobby, Chick), his wife, Lena and
Joe's wife, Mary (Ma)
circa mid1970s
To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

Raffaeluccia was born in Grottaminarda in Italy on August 28, 1894 [ed: 1891] She had two brothers Uncle Vincent and Uncle Luigi, Lucia and Philomena and a sister whom I never heard mentioned.

My mother lived with Uncle Francisco and his family. I imagine that the other sisters also lived with their uncle's family when they came to America.

Lucia was the elder of the sisters and was a wonderful, caring aunt. She had one little problem. If you asked her who was the oldest she would point to her younger sisters. Her husband's name was Thomas and he was a wonderful uncle. Our aunts and uncles were all wonderful even on the in-law side. It was a period where families were very close and so those who were related by marriage or cousins. After WWII this began to slowly go down. The backbone of the nation, the family began to be set aside. MAybe because related families lived close together before WWII as children and cousins moved further apart. In East Boston, I had Aunt Angelina and family, Lucia and family, and Philomena and family.

Philomena married Michael Grifone and they lived two doors down from us.

Aunt Angelina lived on Cottage Street and on Chelsea Street and Saratoga Street. Later she moved to Revere. Grifone moved to Somerville. My married cousins did likewise and so did I. [ed: move out of the old neighborhood and area] This can be seen today. Families are spread out all over the country. Even friends have moved out of a community to another state and this applies to children who either live in another state or are living a good distance from their parents and relations. In years gone by it was unthinkable. In fact, more sons followed their father's trade or profession, etc. Not today. So much for family history.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

T Stands for Pretty in Pink

The Eldest liked the fingerless gloves I had made for myself and asked if I could make a pair for her. I had a gift card for Panera so suggested on her day off from work, we could go to Michael's to pick out her yarn and then go to lunch at Panera.

For our drinks, we had our usual. Iced tea with lemon for me and Prickly Pear Hibiscus Fresca for her.

We each got the You Pick Two. Soup and half a sandwich. We both had the Autumn Squash Soup. I had the Roasted Turkey Cranberry flatbread with chips (crisps). She had Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt and an apple.

She chose a variegated, medium weight yarn. The color is called Peony. I spent the rest of the afternoon crocheting the mitts for her. She really liked them.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Himself Went Shopping

The Eldest asked, "Is there a blizzard coming that I didn't hear about?"
 Or maybe it's to feed a cold

Sunday, November 12, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Temperatures in the mid-70s

caused another batch of morning glories to bloom

A pair of mourning doves spent their afternoon sitting on the edge of the birdbath

A clover blossom made an appearance

The petunias woke up

Better hurry, little sleepyhead

The temperatures dropped, the winds blew, and a dusting of snow coated surfaces. 

The water in the birdbath froze solid. Tail feather will freeze lounging on the edge of the birdbath.

So much for the morning glories.

And hydrangeas that Morticia Addams would love.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Mail

You wouldn't think a little thing like a cold could lay you low, but this week you could have knocked me down with a feather. There's nothing like Happy Mail to make you feel better.

Loved seeing my name in the beautiful leaf and vine cartouche. And the green stamp coordinates with the green of the leaves and envelope. Who sent it?

From my friend, Nan. Her family calls her Nanski Drewski because she loves mystery stories and tries to solve them not always getting the correct who done it. So her return address stamp really cracked me up. Even the back of the envelope got decorated with the dragonfly and leaf sticker.

Even the inside flap is fancy.

And then a lovely thank you note. Thanks, Nan for brightening my week.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. With the veil thin last week, I had a very vivid dream where I was holding and petting Ink.

2. Attended a gender reveal party at The Nephew and his wife's new house.

3. Got a pair of blue suede shoes

4. So happy I made the cappellini.  Trying to convince Himself we should have those for Thanksgiving dinner instead of boring turkey.

5. Received some happy mail

How was your week?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

Uncle Joe when we were kids he always gave us a dollar and cut our hair. The brothers loved each other they were close. Even with their sister.

Uncle Fred's pick for a wife did not sit well with his sister, nor did the brothers the objection his wife was closely related to the family by blood in a very close degree. [ed: Uncle Fred and his wife, Esterina, were second cousins through the Ardolino side of the family]

Uncle Fred was called The Soldier. He served in the Italian Turkish war [ed: 1911- 1912] When I was being discharged in WWII I ran into my cousin, Arthur, who convinced me to go with him to Wellesley. As he was going to be picked up and then after visiting my uncle they would take me to Newton and I could catch the Boston elevated.

Uncle greeted us in his uniforma and a glass and a fifth of whisky. He also had a couple of medals.

Uncle Fred's wife died young and he was left with Tootsie, Charlie, Arthur, Freddie, and Ellie. You my dear daughter may not know if, it happened many years ago that Ellie's son took a liking to you with serious thoughts. [ed: Yes, Dad, I knew] But he did know that he was within the blood degree. [ed: second cousins] He asked if he was close his parents told him. We said yes. He was a nice kid but you got better [ed: Himself]. I don't think that there's any one like him for you.

Besides his two brothers my father had another brother Alberto, who did visit American and brought a son with him. He was a nice looking man. Not very tall and shy. He also had a sister but I never heard her name.

This is getting somewhat ahead but it is telling about your roots.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

T Stands For Remember, Remember the Fifth of November.

No, not because of Guy Fawkes Day. 5. November is my grandma' s birthday. Grandma would have been 122 years old. I thought this would be the perfect day to try to make her home-made macaroni, Cappellini, little hats. What others call orecchiette, little ears

I followed the pasta recipe found in the cookbook, Cooking with Nonna. I'm making the macaroni pictured in the upper-right corner. Had a cup of tea before I began.

Semolina flour and water are mixed to form a dough. I used my stand mixer according to the recipe to do the initial mixing.

When the dough came together to form a ball, it was time to knead. I did this by hand. The semolina dough is not as smooth or as easy to knead as the bread dough and ravioli dough, I'm used to working.

The dough ball wrapped in plastic wrap to rest. 

It's easier to work the dough in small batches. The cookbook stated to keep the dough under a damp towel. Ma used to keep her ravioli dough in two bowls to prevent the dough from drying out. One bowl to hold the dough, the other inverted as a cover. That's what I'm used to so that's what I did.

A small piece of dough is cut from a rope. Using a serrated knife to pull the bit of dough towards you, causes the dough to roll up. The macaroni could be removed and left to dry at this point. The pasta shape would be called cavatelli. To make the hats, you flip the dough over your thumb and turn the pasta inside out.

See? A little hat.

The cappellini are left to dry on cotton dishcloths. I was worried the macaroni would stick to the cloth so I lightly dusted the cloth with all-purpose flour. Grandma used to dust the macaroni with flour to help dry them out so they could be stored or given away. Since I'll be cooking the macaroni for dinner, I skipped this step. Though I laughed remembering a family story. 

Grandma had come to our house to stay for a week. It was probably a school vacation and since Ma worked, Grandma could babysit the Brother and me. The Brother was probably 11 or 12 years old. I would have been 5 or 6 years old. On her regular macaroni making day, Grandma began her chore. The Brother asked if he could help. She had finished forming the little hats but gave him the job of dusting the macaroni with flour. She went to the other side of the kitchen to do the washing up or left for some reason or other. The Brother decided the process was taking too long, and he could speed it up by dumping the entire 5 lb. bag of flour all over the macaroni. He went off to play with friends.

Grandma wasn't happy when she saw what he had done. She had to take each little hat and carefully dust it off to try to salvage the macaroni and was upset by the extra work and the wasted flour.  When Ma got home from work, Grandma gave her an earful. In her broken English, she told my mother, "He's a niza boy, mut a somonabaitch." 😹

Each week, Grandma made pounds and pounds of cappellini. Enough for my family, my aunt's family, herself, and she made the macaroni as thank you gifts for people who did favors for her. We used to tease her that she could put the Prince Macaroni Company out of business.

Everyone into the pool!

Home-made macaroni cooks quicker than commercial pasta. The macaroni is cooked al dente when they float to the surface of the water. The cappellini took 6 or 7 minutes to cook.

Mmmm. Cappellini smothered in gravy with sausage and meatballs (not pictured). I think I did Grandma proud.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Housewarming Gift

The Nephew's bride invited us to see their new home. I wanted to bring something as a housewarming gift. I got the idea from one of my friends. She makes money bouquets to give as gifts.

Pretty easy to put together. You need a container. A posey. Some cash. I made a couple of dollar bill origami hearts and a few lollipop flowers. While browsing Michael's for a posey and lollipop stick, I found the cute birds in a nest doodah and couldn't resist. I had a mason jar and some tulle and ribbon to make a bow. The round flowers are held together with removable tape  No bills were harmed during the production.

Such a cute and useful gift, if I do say so myself. And a gift isn't a gift unless there's a card to go with it. The card is done in the style of Joanne Fink's Zenspirations. The lettering style is based on Frank Lloyd Wright's Eaglefeather font.

Micron Pigma Pen, watercolor pencils on Strathmore announcement card

Sunday, November 5, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The heavy rains from both storms last week bowed the heads of the hydrangea revealing Dido the Gargoyle's hiding place.

Oh, no! I forgot to bring my black cat, Halloween garden flag in before the storm. The wind blew the flag away.

The first storm dumped nearly 5 inches of rain on us. The second storm, a few days later, dumped almost 4 more inches of rain.

Rocky is the only Zensical Garden statue left in the Zensical Garden. The dragons, glass birds, and meditating bear were brought in before the storm.

Wednesday morning sunrise. The phone camera didn't capture the beautiful light or the red sky.

Blue Jays have been visiting the feeder lately. They are elusive and I've had a hard time capturing a picture. Managed to photo this guy looking for tasty seeds in the grass.

The Cardinals stopped making an appearance at the feeder for a few weeks. They have come back. The male Cardinal surveys his kingdom. Hi, Dad!

The male Cardinal and a House Wren share the feeder perch.

The female Cardinal takes her turn at the feeder. Hi, Ma!

A red squirrel is a new visitor to the feeder. Ink's statue was brought inside before the storm.

How does your garden grow?