Monday, January 16, 2017

Easy Vegetarian Pie Recipe and Veggie "Rose" Appetizers

I have an easy vegetarian recipe to share with you today that is super delicious and eye catching at the same time so this is a great recipe to make for any occasion, be it special or not. I made something similar for New Years Eve and I'll show you later in this post a cute appetizer idea using the same ingredients. 



Ingredients: 

 - one sheet shortcrust pastry (any ready made pie crust will do)
 - 250 gr ricotta cheese
 - 1 egg
 - 80 gr grated Parmesan cheese
 - 500 gr frozen spinach
 - 3 medium sized carrots
 - 2 medium sized zucchini
 - olive oil for coating
 - salt and pepper to taste

First step is to cook your spinach making sure to drain any excess water and set aside to cool. 


Prepare your veggies by washing them, trimming off the ends and slicing them into very thin rounds. You could also use a mandolin slicer if you have one to make things easier. 



Set these aside and prepare the filling. 



To make the filling mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper until all the ingredients are thoroughly blended. 



Add the spinach to the mix that you previously set aside to cool off. 


This is what you should have at this point. 


Now all your ingredients are ready and you can assemble the pie. Line your pan with parchment paper and add the pastry dough.


Trim off the edges and set aside....I'll show you how to make little veggie roses with them later :-)
Add the spinach and cheese filling. 


Go around the pie layering the rounds of carrots then zucchini until you reach the center standing the rounds upright into the spinach cheese filling. 



Once you are done coat the top layer with some olive oil and add another dash of salt and pepper. 


Now bake in a preheated over at 180°c (355° f) for one hour. 


and you're done!



Here is another version of the recipe that allows you to make cute little appetizers using the same ingredients. 

I used the extra dough that I previously trimmed off  but you can take a sheet of savory pastry dough and cut into strips. 


Spread a layer of ricotta cheese (you can  also substitute with cream cheese here - I recommend Philadelphia herb and garlic cream cheese for this recipe) and add the carrot and zucchini making sure that the veggies stick out a bit from the top. 


Roll them up forming little "roses".


Close the bottoms and add them to muffin liners brushing some olive oil on top and adding a dash of salt and pepper.


Bake at the same temperature as the pie and for the same amount of time. 


Aren't they the cutest?! And they are so tasty.


Hope you enjoyed the recipe!

xoxo

Silvana


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Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Year of Hope.

Hello my friends and Happy New Year!  I hope you are well and that you had a pleasant holiday. The holidays are way past us now and in the beginning of every new year, as most of us do, I find myself thinking about the future...thinking about what's going to happen this year. For starters I will be turning 35.... ugh. 

When I was younger, I imagined I would be a mother to three beautiful children by now (my perfect number...3).  That's all I ever wanted. I'm not career savvy, I'm not one of those women who do all that they can to climb the ladder and have a wildly successful career...that's just not who I am. Things don't always go as planned so instead of my three children I have a job that I enjoy and am thankful for and two fur babies that mean everything to me. I have a man by my side that loves me like no other man has ever loved me and I have a house that embraces me with a feeling of warmth and comfort every night when I come home from work. I have friends and relatives that I laugh with until my belly hurts...but I am missing something important. 

I know there are many options out there for couples like us but my faith comes from God and only Him. "Unexplained infertility" is what we were told...which is worse in some ways because if we knew what was wrong we might actually be able to fix it but there IS nothing wrong....

Sometimes I get very frustrated and upset because I feel like my prayers are ignored but I continue praying and that small light of hope dims somewhat as time goes by but never burns out. Right before New Years, I was in my car stuck in traffic and the radio station I was listening to aired the final General Audience speech that Pope Francis gave of 2016. 

The Pope focused on the story of Abraham from the Book of Genesis.  Here's a summary:
Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.”  And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
This is a translation of the Pope's speech in regards to this passage: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Our continuing catechesis on Christian hope leads us in these Christmas days to consider the example of Abraham, who, as Saint Paul tells us, “hoped against hope” in God’s promises.  Trusting in the Lord’s word that a son would be born to him, Abraham left his home for a new land.  Although the fulfillment of God’s promise was long delayed and seemed to be impossible, Abraham continued to hope.  Even his discouragement and complaints were a sign of his continuing trust in God.  Abraham, our father in faith, shows us that sure trust in God’s word does not mean that we will not have moments of uncertainty, disappointment and bewilderment.  It was at such a moment that God appeared to Abraham, called him forth from his tent and showed him the night sky shining with countless stars, assuring him that such would be the number of his descendants.  Hope is always directed to the future, to the fulfillment of God’s promises.  May the example of Abraham teach us not be afraid to go out from our own tents, our limited outlooks, and to lift our eyes to the stars.

These words touched my heart and were the words that I NEEDED to hear in that exact moment to nourish that dimming light inside me. 

I wanted to share this with you just because I know how it feels to be frustrated and discouraged. I want this year to be my year of hope. As Pope Francis said...if all we have left is to look up at the stars, it's time to put your trust in God. There is nothing better than gathering up all your worries and putting them in God's arms. Hope never disappoints. 



Speaking of bringing hope to others... did you hear about what Chris Martin the lead singer of Coldplay (band that I absolutely adore) did on Christmas Eve? He showed up at a crisis center in West London on the night of Christmas Eve and surprised a huge crowd of homeless, volunteers and staff by playing all his songs and rocking out with everyone there without any publicity at all.  Someone that worked at the crisis center posted a picture with Chris Martin on Instagram writing "That moment when Coldplay's Chris Martin drops into the Crisis at Christmas shelter, with no fuss, no fanfare and no press, to help make tea and coffee and also play guitar so the guests can have a sing song. Thank you for coming down and getting stuck in."

via 


I loved this story.... This is what we need more of in this world. These are the things that give people Hope. 


Thanks for reading and God Bless. 

xoxo,

Silvana

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

It's Christmas Time!

Sooo I've decked the halls....and even though I'm not fully in the Christmas Spirit this year I love cozying up on the couch in front of my Tree watching Christmas movies. I haven't done any baking yet but would like to start soon. I haven't made any sweets in a while so I'm eager to try some new recipes.  I will definitely be making my Italian Fruit Cake again which ended up being a hit last year.  You can find that recipe here.  I'll leave you with some pictures of my living room Christmas decorations.  


My pets have been really naughty with the tree this year.... Whenever I come home I see ornaments scattered all over the house. It's definitely mostly Gigia's fault I'm guessing. She just can't stay away from shiny dangly objects! 

I have to share this meme with you guys because I saw this on Instagram and I thought it was hysterical....excuse the French... 

#basically

Anywhoo moving on with the decorations...


This is Nativity Scene that I put out every year.  It's a tradition in our family that on Christmas Eve before going to bed we walk around every room of the house, each one of us holding a candle while the youngest family member holds the Baby Jesus. We sing Christmas Carols as we walk through the house and then we place Him in the Nativity Scene. It's as if He blesses each room of the house.  That is why we don't incorporate Baby Jesus into the Nativity Scene until the night of Christmas Eve.

Can you spot the Billy photo bomb?



 Where do you hang your stockings if you don't have a fireplace? 



I just love this little Angel my Mom gave me. 


The Tree at night all lit up is my favorite :-)


By the way, I decided to go back to my natural hair color.  I'm no longer a blond!

What do you think?


Be back soon hopefully with some yummy Christmas cookies to share!

xoxo, 

Silvana

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Quick Malm Dresser Makeover & Sunday Thoughts

Hello dear ones, it's been a while since I've written because until recently I haven't had much inspiration honestly.  I've been keeping myself busy with work and have had lots on my mind.  The Holidays are VERY QUICKLY (like wayyyy too quickly) approaching and it's a stressful time of year for me as I'm sure it is for many. Christmas is my favorite Holiday by far but unfortunately it's been a while since I had a pleasant Christmas holiday. Sure, there's Christmas cheer everywhere and I'm never not in the mood to decorate even before Thanksgiving comes around (I know...) but there is always some sadness in the background that lingers. I pray that this year will be different than the past and that the good Lord will bless all those in need of Him and answer the prayers of  those that are in need of His Grace. I went to Mass this morning and today's Gospel was very deep:

Luke 21:5-19
"Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be powerful 
earthquakes,famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty 
signs will come from the sky. Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led 
before kings and governors because of my name.  It will lead to your giving testimony.  
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a 
wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.  You will 
even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,they will put some of you to death.You will be hated by all because of my name,but not a hair on your head will be 
destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives."

So since there were many children attending the mass, it was a hard Gospel to explain but I think the priest did an excellent job. During the homily he asked the children, where were you before you were born? And the children shouted "In mommy's belly!" and the priest explained that mommy's belly was a comfortable place and that you didn't have to brush your teeth, or get dressed for school, you could just sleep all the time and be safe because mother did everything for you. But then there came the day where you had to leave mommy's belly and now that you are on earth, you feel safe and secure here because you have your routine, your friends, etc. and you know that Mother Earth will protect you, therefore you shouldn't be afraid of what the Gospel said today because when you're in Heaven you will be protected there as well by God and His Mother. It was such a simple explanation for a difficult topic that is life and death.  A lot is going on in the world right now and as scary as it all is, I think that with Faith in our hearts we can overcome even the biggest obstacles if only we could learn to treat others with respect and help those that are in need even with the smallest of gestures.  I think you can never love too much and you can never give too much.  



Ok, ok I'm done...Moving on!

I've been on the hunt for a new dresser for a while now but I haven't found anything that I really liked. The dresser I currently have in the Master Bedroom was in bad condition...I mean BAD people! It's a malm dresser that we've had for 5 years now and although it's very spacious it's not of the best quality as we all know and also.....saggy drawers.....

So the drawers were really bad...like I couldn't get them open anymore because they kept getting stuck. I really just wanted to throw the piece of S&%$£ out the window and never see it again... 


But I couldn't find what I was looking for.  All the dressers I found that I kind of liked were smaller, fewer drawers , etc so I just didn't want to compromise. I also didn't want to buy something just because...I want to be sure I love it. 

Come in DIY...

The first thing to fix was the saggy drawer situation... Bad, huh? I know..


I went to the hardware store and found these little guys. Do not ask me what they're called, I have no idea...


Screwed them in and voila! Saggy drawers no more!



I added these to all six drawers and it really didn't take long at all. Next I got rid of the ugly hardware and decided to spruce up the front of the drawers a bit.  I had some textured wallpaper that I had bought a while ago but never used so I watched some tutorials and decided to give it a try.  It was so easy!

I bought some permanent adhesive spray. This stuff....make sure it's the permanent kind. 


I laid the drawers on the paper and cut around leaving some space along the sides. 


Now take that sucker outside and spray the top of the drawer making sure to get the sides and cover the whole area with adhesive. Next place the wallpaper on top.  You really don't have time to move the paper  around once its on there because the stuff dries like super quick. 


Now flip the drawer over and cut the extra paper off with a paper cutter. 


Next you want to take a nail or something similar to poke through the back of the drawer where your hardware is going to go. Obviously drill the holes before putting the wallpaper on. 


It was such an easy project and it took me seriously half a day to do between fixing the saggy drawers and adding the wallpaper. It was one of those "why didn't I think of this sooner" moments lol. 

Here's how it turned out.


I ordered the hardware online and I love them. I think they go well with the wallpaper. 



It has sort of a shimmer to it which I really like.  

I did the bedside tables while I was at it as well....I wanted to wallpaper ALL THE THINGS... hahaha


And then OF COURSE I had to change bedding, curtains, wall art, throw pillows etc.....  so since I was at it I figured I would go with the blue and white theme because I love it so much 

I found this beautiful bedding set with matching curtains here. 








Isn't this little turquoise tray cute? I thought it would be a nice place to put my perfumes. 

I'm very happy with the end result and this will last at least until I find the dresser of my dreams. The thing I'm happiest about is that I don' have saggy drawers any more!!




Have a wonderful week ahead everyone and God Bless. 

xoxo