Showing posts with label Como. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Como. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Spring has arrived, and so have Easter, which came early this year! What is more befitting than to make everyone's favorite Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting...and the best part is to top it off with Shredded Sweetened Coconut, and the best...of the best part of this fabulous cake is
the Candied-Spiced Walnuts
which I happened to think of at the last minute! You can certainly skip the spice, and just go with the sweet, and crunchy glaze. Once they are dry and separated, it can be easy spread on the cake for decoration and an added yumminess that I guarantee will be the first to disappear before cutting the cake!


This was our first Easter holiday without family and friends, and not a very comforting feeling to all of a sudden just have a complete change. Just like from childhood, mine and yours perhaps, we can see the changes that are happening in our lives when it comes to the holidays that are spent with our loved ones and friends, and one day...everything changes, just like it did this year! Death of a loved one, family being separated from each other, dearest friends moving away across the United States whom you've been close to and spending the last 15 years each holiday, and now...gone, perhaps forever; very sad, but total reality which we must learn to adjust to!

Note: the only change I made to this recipe...I used 1 cup of canola oil (instead of 1 1/2 cup)...I omitted the sour cream. My addition was the shredded coconut, and the Candied Walnuts for decoration!

We have to appreciate everything in life...the small and simple things especially, family, friends, and our health, which is not to be taken for granted! Learn to be happy with ourselves, and one-another is the key to life's simple pleasures! I don't always have the energy or passion to cook and bake at home since this is what I have been doing for decades as a professional career, but I always make an exception to do my best for family and friends if the occasion calls for it. No holiday has gone by without my contribution to a special occasion, and that will always go on as long as I can physically make it happen. It brings me joy, and contentment to see the smiles on the faces of the people I love!
As the lyric of the song goes..."I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden"...we are not promised a rose garden, but we can certainly enjoy one, especially this particular one from 2 years ago when I visited extended family in Como, Italy. Could not believe my eyes, and how much joy it gave me to enjoy this beautiful little rose garden on a tiny little balcony overlooking a spectacular tall mountain, so actually I fared better, and I was promised a 'rose garden' ...and much more than that...love and devotion from a beautiful Italian family!
This beautiful white rose was from 'the actual' rose garden of Teresa...she so lovingly takes care of them, and they in return give so much peace and beauty for all eyes to gaze upon them!
I picked these gorgeous roses from the rose garden to put them in water, to enjoy!

As another saying goes..."stop and smell the roses"...yes indeed, you should take time to stop and smell the roses, whenever, wherever you might get the chance to do so. The only ones that really matter with such a beautiful perfume fragrance of their own are the ones that are naturally growing in a garden, and when you get the chance, don't pass them by!

I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to enjoy 'life's simple pleasures'...like this gorgeous scene looking out from the back of the house...never, ever, pass up the opportunity to find beauty in nature which are the simplest gifts from nature. You will never see the most beautiful healthy and the tallest pine trees, like in northern Italy, in the Como, and Lago di Como region. I was fortunate to spend 2 weeks there and loved every minute of it. I am so happy to share this with all my blogger friends!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Luscious Lemon Bars...and more of Italy!

The third day I was in Italy, I decided that I want to make something truly American, since the family was asking me to make a Cheesecake...which I was not too excited about making since its so time consuming and their Philadelphia cream cheese is not nearly as good, as ours and it is way more expensive. I had a torn out page from a Southern Living magazine that had the amazing Lemon Bars and since I had the American measuring cup and spoons there I decided to make it...really well worth the short time and effort.
Never, in my wildest dreams did I think that these lemon bars would be such a huge 'hit' with the family. They have never even heard of Lemon Bars...not alone taste it! I tell you, the butter there is superb and so rich, smooth and naturally sweet. I purchased the 'farmer butter' which was in the local supermarket and proceeded to make the crust first...then the filling with the freshest farm eggs, and fresh lemon juice. This is a 'failproof' recipe if you follow it correctly. For all you 'lemon lovers'...this is a huge treat!

Here's the recipe for the Luscious Lemon Bars from Southern Living

Linking to:Thursday Favorite Things @ Katherines Corner

While I was preparing my lemon bars, Teresa was busy making her traditional Italian Sweet Bread
I can't explain...but this really isn't like a Challah bread, its more of a texture of cookie dough when it is done.
Fresh out of the oven...for every day Teresa would have some kind of breads or sweets done homemade...of course.
See what I mean about the texture? Simple, just the right sweetness...so good with coffee or tea!
Isn't this patio the sweetest and most charming?... with all the potted plants and some herbs. Their condo is so awesome, great patio all around, and gorgeous view of the little town.
Teresa just working her 'magic' in her little galley kitchen...but then she has a larger second kitchen downstairs where she makes her homemade salami and cured hams.
I love this photo...a view from their kitchen window...such pretty little curtains, as well!
 

 
They even have door-to-door delivery for fresh produce by a local farmer.
...and here's the little open produce truck pulled up to the building entrance.
A gorgeous and serene view from the back of the building...neighbor's tree, huge fern tree which is all over growing so high, and so beautiful.
A short walking distance scene from my daily walks.

The little brook, close up!
Such a pretty scene of the brook!
I snapped this photo overlooking from the little bridge in that same neighborhood, behind is the brook...you can hear the water fall over the rocks...such a soothing sound!
 See what I mean?...total awesomeness!



Friday, June 21, 2013

For the 'Love of Foods' in Italy

I did not take a lot of photos of 'foods' ...simply, because the second week when I met up with my daughter. I was the official 'food photographer'...I became the 'annoying paparazzi, and tried to limit my food photos~

nothing like a casual morning walk to the local outdoor market...the freshest fruits and vegetables
grown locally!
Another fruit and vegetable stand at the outdoor market!
This is the local supermarket which is in a mall, and has other great shops as well.
You can try, and win this car while you're vacationing there!
These little mini pull baskets were very convenient!
Awesome seafood section...although I was asked not to take any photos...as in Whole Foods in the U.S. ...so, my store photos ended in the seafood isle; sad to say!
Just look at these lovely fish...all saying "hello"
Wow! Just look at the size of this octopus!
Outside the mall...all cloudy, and later in the afternoon...pouring rain. You can see the mountains in the background!
 

The first day for lunch I just opted for the baked fish and mixed salad...(no pasta for me)
Hard to resist a fresh homemade focaccia...right out of the oven.
Homemade olives from their farm in Calabria...just can't stop eating this, sooo incredibly good!
preparation for the next lunch...fresh farm grown arugula pesto for pasta!
Lots of freshly grated ParmigianaReggiana cheese

See what I mean?...you can't just eat salad? You go to Italy to eat pasta, pizza, and gelato!
...and don't skip dessert. Homemade crostata (tart) filled with homemade apricot jam...yumm!

After a great lunch a 'walk to the playground-park'...reading my novel. Park was empty, kids still in school!

Thank you for all your good wishes for speedy recovery!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! xo

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Stop and Smell the Roses"

 I arrived back late Sunday night, but not a very successful way. The worst summer flu, with a throat infection...a slightly sprained ankle two days before leaving (same ankle that I sprained 2yrs ago) this time missing a step down from stairway ...otherwise, I had the most relaxing and wonderful  amazing time...ever!

I actually do have a recipe for you...Lemon Bars that I made there for my Italian (extended) family and it turned out super luscious and perfect...thanks to the best and natural 'farmer butter' so fresh and sweet.

I took two great soft covered novels with me...which I read in less than one week...took long walks, ate amazing homemade foods. One thing that I took time to notice...take time to 'smell the roses' which are all around Como, and in Aosta (located very, far up northern Italy, abt. 3hrs from Como; surrounded by high mountains that some still have snow on them even in the summer...about 1 hr. drive to Switzerland, and part of France!

I will keep you posted, as soon as I feel better! xoxo









'Stop and smell the roses'... is a cliché that is widely used in the United States. We are all familiar with its meaning, which is, to take time to appreciate a situation or slow down and pay attention to what is going on around you.
'Stop and smell the roses' is commonly used when talking to someone who seems too busy to enjoy life.

Most often, this phrase is used by a well-meaning friend or family member when they become concerned that you are over-worked, or are not taking time to enjoy the pleasures of life.

This phrase can also be used just as a gentle reminder to take a few minutes for yourself each day.