Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Italian Breakfast

I was very surprised to learn that most Italians eat very light for breakfast. Though I was born in Italy, my family migrated to the U.S. when I was only seven, so most of my life has been American, kinda.
It did not take us long to enjoy eggs, toast, and bacon. Yet, our usual meal was soft boiled egg with Italian bread cut in finger long sections for dipping.
When my husband and I visited Italy many years ago, my sister (who remained in Italy) served toast, Nutella, and espresso for breakfast. I loved it. When we returned to the states, I immediately bought Nutella and spread it on everything. I am NEVER without it. One day, she served us Panetone toasted to perfection with an unadulterated latte, simple espresso with milk.
I have made some changes to the Panetone breakfast that I have a feeling many people will enjoy.

Panetone - sliced thick and long
Peanut butter

Toast one slice per person
Spread peanut butter
Add sliced banana on top
That's it! Easy, fast, and absolutely delicious.
© Natala Orobello

Monday, January 26, 2015

RSVP Please!!

What has happened to responding to invitations? Are we all so busy we can't be polite enough to let people know ahead of time whether we can or cannot attend an event?

I believe this is the way it's supposed to work:
One: you get an invitation that requires an rsvp
Two: you respond whether you can go or not by the RSVP date given

It's as easy as that, so why are fewer and fewer people responding? Trust me, I'm not the only one complaining! This occurs for private and public functions. People think it's no big deal if they do not respond because it's only one or two individuals, but if many think that way, then it's no longer one or two it's ten or more. The food is purchased, the buffet tables are set, and those who expect 30 or 100 people are ready for that number not 20 or 80!!

Some people wait for a better invitation, and if nothing else comes up then they decide to attend the function for which they did not respond. Wrong, wrong, wrong. If you didn't respond, then you're not included any longer. If you responded that you are going, then go for goodness sakes, unless you are ill and then call the host or hostess and let them know.

Be cordial - be polite.
I admit we have become a lax society, but have we become rude as well?
RSVP, it's the right thing to do.

 © Natala Orobello

Friday, January 23, 2015

You're Forty!!

You're already 40, your bones ache a little more
Your joints crack when you go to stand up
You’re 40, menu writing seems smaller than acceptable
And a dozen cheater glasses have found their way around the house and your car
You're 40, your hair has more grey -and your face has a few more lines.
You're 40, a late night no longer means drinking till 3; it usually means one of the kids is sick.
You’re 40, a pain in the neck or ass isn't just a saying anymore, it's an actual ailment.
You're 40, days have become longer and years much shorter.
You're 40, you remember when TV's only had 13 channels and only rich kids had remotes
You're 40, you remember when there was no such thing as texting and reality TV
You're 40, cars didn't drive themselves and you had to stop and ask for directions from an actual person.
You're 40, you remember when phones had cords and Berlin still had a wall.
You're 40, when playing with your friends meant going outside and not "gaming" with them from home.
You're 40, when someone asked if you were on-line, we were actually standing in a line.
You're 40, a tablet or note was a yellow pad or a composition note book.
You're 40, the little things don't sting as much and laughter lines are enjoyed
You're 40, you're more confident and comfortable with who you are.
You're 40, you're more beautiful than ever, and your smile still brightens any room.
You're 40, you still steal my heart like the first time I saw you 21 years ago,
and your laugh is still contagious to anyone around you.
You're 40, and I love and look at you like we are 19 again.
You're only 40, and we have a long, wonderful life ahead and I want to enjoy every bit of it with you.
© Frank Orobello

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jambelotti or Lady Fingers

Jambelotti are my favorite cookie.  These are soft, oval shaped cookies that mom would make for special occasions because they are a bit more difficult to make, but boy are they worth the extra attention.  About a year before my mother passed away, I asked her for the recipe, which she readily gave.  I’m  forever  grateful that I asked because there is no one else I know who has the recipe or who knows just  how to make these cookies except for bakers, and they are not willing to give away their recipes!


3          cups flour
1 1/2    cups sugar
8          eggs, separated
2          tsp. baking powder
1          tsp. vanilla
1          tbs. orange rind


Beat egg whites till fluffy not stiff.  Add yolks one at a time.  Add sugar and vanilla to mixture.  When ingredients are well blended and fluffy, begin adding sifted flour and baking powder, when mixed add orange rind.  Allow to stand for ½ hour at room temperature.  Place one tablespoon of mixture into greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.  Bake in preheated 3500 This cookie should not be dark in color, but a light almond color when removed from oven (5 minutes on middle and 5 minutes on top.  If you want a sweeter cookie, melt confectionery sugar and brush on top of each cookie.
1 cup sugar / 2 tbs. water

© Natala Orobello

Friday, January 16, 2015

In Awe

Nothing matters but the sunset
The sunrise over the horizon
The crescent moon and stars
The sun’s warmth
The rainbow of colors.

All else is perpendicular
As if we climb mountains
That sometimes take us to the precipice
And sometimes to the plateau
A contest of wits, courage, and stamina.

Comforting relationships and loving partners
Kisses that bless a newborn or spouse
Embraces for those who are cherished and those in pain
Forgiveness for those who transgressed
These are valuable virtues.

Wisdom is knowing the difference between
Love of diamonds and love of man
Accepting that Grey is more powerful than black or white
Knowing that Ignorance is the epitome of apathy
And standing in awe of God’s creations.

© Natala Orobello

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Shrimp and Broccoli Rabbi

Mike loves to make this dish, and I love eating it. We add grated cheese (Pecorino Romano) to our dish, but you don't have to; it's good with or without. I'm not sure how or when we came up with this recipe, but it's been years and it's a staple at our house. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Ingredients for 4
4 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
24 extra large shrimp, cleaned
2 medium size cloves of Garlic – diced
3 anchovy fillets                                                
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 bunch broccoli Rabbi, trimmed (cut off stalk and keep florets and leaves), cooked, and drained (reserve liquid for pasta).
½ cup chicken stock
1 tbs. Corn starch
½ lb.  Penne

Place 4 tablespoons of olive oil in skillet, add garlic and anchovy. Braise garlic and melt fillets and add red pepper to taste. Add cooked Rabi to skillet ingredients. Finally, add shrimp and ½ cup of chicken stock.
Prior to adding Penne, dissolve corn starch with some liquid from shrimp mixture and return to mixture.
Cook Penne in Rabi water till tender. Drain and add Penne to Shrimp & Rabi mixture.
 © Natala Orobello

Monday, January 12, 2015

Change for Me

It amazes me that when we meet someone we fall in love with him/her because of certain traits we find endearing. We love the fact that they are _____________, _______________, and ______________ (you fill in the blanks), but years later, we tend to want them to change those exact same traits we fell in love with.  Those traits become annoyances, yet if we are asked to change we get angry, after all, this is who you fell in love with, right?

Change for Me

Will you change for me?
Will you change the way you look,
the way you dress, the way you act,
the way you speak and eat?

You haven’t changed from the day we met.
You’re still the same so many years later.

Me? You want me to change?

 © Natala Orobello

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Fresh Tuna Salad

Fresh Tuna Salad

We love this salad because it’s light yet filling. There are plenty of ingredients and you can keep adding, depending on your taste. The other day I changed the Italian dressing to soy sauce and wasabi and sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds on top. You can add blue cheese and walnuts or goat cheese and toasted pignoli nuts, yummy!

Ingredients for two people:
2 small tuna steaks – seared and left pink on inside – then slice for on top of salad
2 heads of Romaine lettuce – cleaned and chopped
8 Asparagus spears – steamed
2 slices of roasted red pepper – can be from jar – cut into strips
2 hard boiled eggs – sliced
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tbsp.  water
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
Pinch of oregano
2 leaves of fresh basil – julienned

Place chopped Romaine lettuce into salad bowls, one for each person. Then place 4 asparagus spears, several slices of red peppers, and one sliced egg in each bowl. Finally, place tuna slices on top.
Mix the dressing in blender so it is fully emulsified. Pour dressing on top of salads or leave on the side for salad dipping if you prefer.
If you must have bread, then serve warm flat bread cut into bread stick sizes.© Natala Orobello

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

With Love

The word love is overused
like ketchup on fries
or mustard on hot dogs.
Overuse dilutes the taste of love
so one cannot feel the pureness
or trueness.

"Oh, I just love you!" 
We say it to way too many people.
Years ago parents barely said it to
their own children, for goodness sake!

We love the produce guy who
helps pick our fruit.
We love the hair dresser who
styles our hair.
We love, love, love till...
We don't know the meaning any more.

I love my husband & my children
I love my good, good friends
and my dog.
And, I love lobster, baked in the oven.
© Natala Orobello

Monday, January 5, 2015

A New Year Does not have to mean a New You!

Every year, I make resolutions to be better, look better, act better, etc. etc. etc. I'm sixty + years old, I think this year I'm going to be me and to hell with trying so hard to be better blah, blah, blah.

This morning I was having a difficult time with the copy machine and a well meaning individual saw my unhappy face (I was actually smiling, so I really don't know what she saw), and she said, "well at least we have food on the table, and clothes to wear, and a roof over our head." True, but that doesn't mean I can't get pissed off at life's daily difficulties.

I drive twenty miles a day to work and then back and in that time, I count my many blessings. Why shouldn't I get upset if things don't go well? That's me and I get upset at little things sometimes!! So, this year I am going to continue being who I am and appreciate the person God made, so there goes trying to be better and act better.

As far as looking better, I'm tired of that too. I exercise, eat pretty nutritious foods, have a glass or two of wine a night, and don't smoke. I am not overweight and don't do drugs. I shower and wash my hair everyday, so I smell pretty good and am not offensive to be around. That's good enough.

© Natala Orobello

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Year of Hope

What have other years brought?
I don't remember.
I think there were many good years
and many years where strife prevailed.

People need a year of hope.
A year where peace is realized
A year where "religion" seizes to exist.
A year where love survives.

People deserve tranquil times
and hope for the future
for our children and their children
not Armageddon.

People from across the globe
must realize that hope begins with them
not from someone who will give it
but from within.

We all need a year of hope
for our past has truly shown
that hate and violence
result in nothing!
 © Natala Orobello