Sunday, March 25, 2012

We have a winner!

Thanks to all who left a comment for my one year giveaway.  I  wish I could send each of you a prize.  


Thanks also for all the good wishes and prayers during my recuperation from corrective eye surgery.  I am progressing nicely, and now I can drive during the day time.  Hopefully at my next appointment in a few weeks, I will be able to drive at night as well.






The winner is  Earl!   I mean Lynn, of Happier Than a Pig in Mud!   Please email  me your address and I will get this out to you this week.


Thanks again to everyone who participated and to all my followers.


xo



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Note Card Party at A Haven for Vee

Vee has started a new Linky party.   All you need to do is choose four photos that have already appeared on your blog that you feel would make a nice note card.  


Here are my choices:


Farmers' Market




An Apple a Day


I Love Fall


Lazy Hazy Day
Stop by A Haven for Vee to see all the other entries.  Thanks, Vee, for the great idea and for hosting.


xo

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nudie

Well. I think I may have captured your attention! Actually, the word is gnudi, a ricotta and spinach dumpling.  Gnudi means "nude", as these are the filling of ravioli without the outer dough covering.  Today, March 20th, happens to be Ravioli Day.  The recipe is in this beautiful cookbook




Cucina Povera  means "poor kitchen".  Written by leading cookbook authority Pamela Sheldon Johns, this cookbook has more than sixty recipes inspired by the peasant cooking of the region of Tuscany, teaching the philosophy of not wasting good food and using technique to make it as tasty as possible.




I won this in a giveaway several months ago from Marie at Proud Italian Cook.  I spent some quiet time prior to eye surgery reading this cook book.  It is beautifully bound, deckle edges on its pages and lots of photos.  The recipes are traditional Tuscan peasant food.  I say there is nothing "poor" about cooking and eating from God's bounty.


Gnudi


3/4 cup steamed spinach
3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 large egg yolks (I saved the whites for breakfast)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 cups tomato sauce


In a large bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, grated cheese and egg yolks.  Stir to blend and stir in the nutmeg and salt to taste. Stir in the flour, mixing just enough to pull the mixture together.




Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Heat the tomato sauce and spread a thin layer of it over the bottom of a13 x 9 baking dish. Set aside.  (I used a muc smaller pan)


Using two tablespoons, (I just used my hands) shape and compact the ricotta mixture into ovals and drop them directly into the boiling water in batches, so as not to crowd them.  They will float to the top after 3 or 4 minutes.  




Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer them to the baking dish. Keep warm in a low oven.  Spoon remaining sauce over the top.  Continue until all are done and serve at once.  I made 12.  I think 3 is a nice serving as a first course, so this recipe would serve 4 in my house.  Recipe states it serves 6.


The oval shape made me thing of eggs, and I think this will be on my Easter table, or my take along dish.  




This recipe comes together rather quickly.  They were lighter than I expected, but absolutely at their best when eaten right away.  I did have leftovers, and I will rewarm them in the oven.


Thanks again to Marie for this wonderful giveaway, and I apologize for taking too long to do a post.  I will be joining the Bunny Hop Party (1st time), Alphabe-Thursday (catching up on letters P, Q and R),  Foodie Friday, Potpourri Friday and Seasonal Sundays.


Please be sure to enter my $50 blogaversary giveaway here.  Winner announced on March 25th. 


xo







Sunday, March 18, 2012

St.Joseph's Day

This is a reprint of one of my very first posts.  I did not know how to upload photos when I did this post. So I edited it to add some.  I will be sharing this with Seasonal Sundays.  




Today is the feast day of St. Joseph.   St. Joseph is known as the spouse of Mary, and foster father of  Jesus.  He is the Patron Saint of hearth and home and also venerated as a model for laborers.  With the economy today and lack of jobs, I say it couldn't hurt to say a few prayers to him. 






St. Joseph has also gained fame as the go-to saint when you want to sell your house.  I am not ashamed to admit that I actually had two statues of St. Joseph at work when my home went on the market.  You can buy kits with a tiny plastic figure of him, a plastic bag to place him in, a cloth sack to store him in (you must remember to take him with you when you move) and a prayer card.  You then bury the statue in your backyard upside down and facing the house.  No yard, you can use a flower pot.  I did sell my house but it was probably a year after I buried my first statue.  


My second statue was a gift, and since St. Joseph was holding Baby Jesus in his arms, I opted to place this one in my front window.  I made sure to take both statues with me!






My paternal grandmother, who was born in Sicily, was very devoted to St. Joseph.  Each year she would  cook and bake and prepare a huge feast for family, friends, and neighbors.  There would be a statue predominantly displayed, surrounded by flowers.  Her best linens, china, glasses, silverware would all be taken out and scrubbed til it shone.  One of the dishes guaranteed to be on la tavola di San Giuseppe (the St. Joseph's table) was pasta con sarde.  






Thick-cut bucatini pasta (a fat spaghetti) topped with a sauce of fresh sardines, raisins, pignoli nuts, fennel, a hint of tomato, onion, and toasted breadcrumbs.  Not a dish for the faint of heart, it is definitely an acquired taste.  I tasted it for the first time when I was in my twenties, and was immediately hooked!  There are many recipes on the internet.  One that I use is from Mary Ann Esposito of Ciao Italia.


For dessert, there are two delicious pastries.  One is zeppole, 






a cream puff filled with a rich vanilla pastry cream and topped with a cherry (old fashioned pastry shops use a brandied cherry), and sfingi, 




a deep-fried cream puff filled with cannoli cream and topped either with a cherry or a strip of candied orange peel.  With a cup of espresso (or as my mother and grandmother would  say, "demi tasse") it is a true decadent indulgence. 






Although St Joseph's Day follows on the heels of St. Patrick's Day, there is certainly a lot less fanfare with St. Joe than there is with St. Pat.  But I guess I was channeling Grandma Jennie today when I decided to do this post.  That and the thought of a dish of pasta con sarde and perhaps a sfingi.  Yum!  xo,

St. Joseph, Patron Saint of Real Estate (?)

This is a reprint of one of my very first posts.  I did not know how to upload photos when I did this post. So I edited it to add some.  I will be sharing this with Seasonal Sundays.  




Today is the feast day of St. Joseph.   St. Joseph is known as the spouse of Mary, and foster father of  Jesus.  He is the Patron Saint of hearth and home and also venerated as a model for laborers.  With the economy today and lack of jobs, I say it couldn't hurt to say a few prayers to him. 






St. Joseph has also gained fame as the go-to saint when you want to sell your house.  I am not ashamed to admit that I actually had two statues of St. Joseph at work when my home went on the market.  You can buy kits with a tiny plastic figure of him, a plastic bag to place him in, a cloth sack to store him in (you must remember to take him with you when you move) and a prayer card.  You then bury the statue in your backyard upside down and facing the house.  No yard, you can use a flower pot.  I did sell my house but it was probably a year after I buried my first statue.  


My second statue was a gift, and since St. Joseph was holding Baby Jesus in his arms, I opted to place this one in my front window.  I made sure to take both statues with me!






My paternal grandmother, who was born in Sicily, was very devoted to St. Joseph.  Each year she would  cook and bake and prepare a huge feast for family, friends, and neighbors.  There would be a statue predominantly displayed, surrounded by flowers.  Her best linens, china, glasses, silverware would all be taken out and scrubbed til it shone.  One of the dishes guaranteed to be on la tavola di San Giuseppe (the St. Joseph's table) was pasta con sarde.  






Thick-cut bucatini pasta (a fat spaghetti) topped with a sauce of fresh sardines, raisins, pignoli nuts, fennel, a hint of tomato, onion, and toasted breadcrumbs.  Not a dish for the faint of heart, it is definitely an acquired taste.  I tasted it for the first time when I was in my twenties, and was immediately hooked!  There are many recipes on the internet.  One that I use is from Mary Ann Esposito of Ciao Italia.


For dessert, there are two delicious pastries.  One is zeppole, 






a cream puff filled with a rich vanilla pastry cream and topped with a cherry (old fashioned pastry shops use a brandied cherry), and sfingi, 




a deep-fried cream puff filled with cannoli cream and topped either with a cherry or a strip of candied orange peel.  With a cup of espresso (or as my mother and grandmother would  say, "demi tasse") it is a true decadent indulgence. 






Although St Joseph's Day follows on the heels of St. Patrick's Day, there is certainly a lot less fanfare with St. Joe than there is with St. Pat.  But I guess I was channeling Grandma Jennie today when I decided to do this post.  That and the thought of a dish of pasta con sarde and perhaps a sfingi.  Yum!  xo,

Friday, March 16, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

Yes, I know, not a very original recipe, but it is one of the tastier versions that I have eaten. 




 Still time to bake one, I don't know how it is in your area, but, where I live, the week before St.Patrick's Day buttermilk becomes a hot commodity and hard to find.


Ready to go into the oven.  The batter was not colorful or pretty so I didn't photograph the mixing process.




After baking for fifty minutes.  My kitchen smelled so good.


It comes out of my baking pan perfectly, and it has the design which is on the dish.  (This is a poor photo and my lighting is very bad, too.)




Here is the recipe which is printed on the pan.


Irish Soda Bread


3 1/2 cups flour           
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups raisins
  (I only had 1 cup of them)
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional, I used)


Mix dry ingredients together


1 1/3 cups buttermilk (I used low fat)
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla


Mix liquid ingredients and combine with the dry, mixing til well blended.  Pour into a greased and floured pan (I used non-stick spray).  Bake 350 oven for 50-60 minutes.



I will be joining Potpourri Friday, Foodie Friday and Seasonal  Sundays.  Stop by and say hi to our hostesses.


xo



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

4th Annual St. Paddy's Day Blog Crawl At Cuisine Kathleen


This post is dedicated to two of my friends, both fair lassies!  Kathleen J. of the O'Hearn clan and Diane of the Collins' clan.  Top o' the mornin' to both of these fine colleens




It's that time to add a little wearin' of the green to my home




A quick trip to Dollar Tree for the felt shamrock and silk carnations ,and a cute green mug to use as a vase.  The tea cloth was an EBay purchase made after seeing Kathleen's linky party last year!  I was blogging just a couple of days, and was absolutely mesmerized by the whole thing.  I was quite linky challenged for awhile.





I think this might be a shillelagh?  (Update:  It is a harp, a shillelagh is a walking stick!  Thanks Pat and Diane!)  Forgive me, I've not one drop of Irish blood, but I do enjoy a good St.Paddy's party!  There is a corned beef in my freezer and buttermilk to be used in my Irish soda bread.  Only problem is, I hope I can read the recipe :/




This is the pan I like to bake my soda bread in.  I bought it at a lovely tea room and gift shop called Granny McCarthy's in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 




I am pushing myself a little here, so just did one place setting to give you a general idea.  I found the cutest demit tasse cups with shamrocks in Christmas Tree Shop.  




I popped in some mint Lindt truffles.




Close up of the saucer.


Please be sure to stop by and visit all the other participating blogs.  I guarantee they will knock your green socks off!  Thanks to the very talented Kathleen for hosting this each year, She does a great job and has lots of prizes.  


I leave you with this Poem for a Friend.....(author unknown)


Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter, too
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!


xo







Sunday, March 11, 2012

My One Year Blogaversary


Giveaway is now closed.  Winner is Lynn of Happier Than a Pig in Mud






March 11, 2011 is when I first started my blog.  It also happens to be the birthday of my friend Kathleen J., who kept encouraging me to go for it!  I had never even heard of blogging until she gave me links to some really wonderful spots.




It has been a fun time for me, meeting new blogging friends, visiting places I only thought about, adding places to my "Wishful Travel" pin board, even learning about Pinterest.


So while I am still recuperating from eye surgery and still rather blurry, I will keep this post short and sweet.


To mark this occasion, I will be sending one of my followers a $50 money order.  I simply could not decide on a store!  This way, you can spend it anyplace, anywhere, anytime you wish...entry is so simple.  Just be a follower of Two Birdies and a B. on either Google Friend Connect, (1st choice) Linky or Networked blogs and leave me a comment  on this post.  Please be sure your avatar is up there as I will be checking :).  Also be sure I have an email so I can contact you if you do not have a blog.


For international blogging buddies, if your banking institution will accept a U.S. bank or U.S. postal money order in U.S funds, please make sure to enter.  But confirm that your bank will honor it.


Winner will be chosen on March 25th by Random.org Generator.


Hoping to be back to normal soon.  I caught a really bad bug and have been  out of it the last couple of days.  Just starting to come back to feeling normal.


xo

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hello Everyone

The surgery went very well but the computer (and reading) is a bit challenging, so no real post just yet!  But I can watch television and am thankful for that.  


I will have a lot of catching up to do. Hope you all have a great week.


xo
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