Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Happy New Year To You


A new year is beginning to peak through
softly beautiful and different like new falling snow,
each day unique and shaped just for you.
Your life adding something as each day does grow.
My wish for your new year is beauty
and softness with surprises thrown in for delight.
Love for each day bringing happiness to you,
making your life a scene of sparkle and shining sunlight.
-- Author Unknown

Monday, December 28, 2009

Saying Goodbye

I don't think anyone has come up with a cure or antidote for saying goodbye under any circumstances in a more dignified way. Well, let me just say, it isn't particularly dignity I'm seeking just a sincere emotion that you will be missed, you are gone but not forgotten,I will miss you terribly, you can never be replaced nor would I ever try.

We lost a cat on Christmas Day. He was a wonderful sort....I should know I have quite a selection to choose from. His passing was not our first...we have a cat sanctuary and we have lost a few. Each and every time it is not unlike this being our only cat. At the time, he is indeed all that comes to mind.

It is a loss matter who. You continue to fill his long will that last? You still see him on his favorite rug, or in his favorite bed. Is that to make our transition of his not being there less painful? I don't know but at times it does feel like he is still here.

I said my "goodbye" as he was being carried out to the car, I knew he would never return. And he did not. I carry his memory with me. I can look at photos, but dear Klondike you are missed. RIP RD

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas to all.

And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, Which shall be to all people. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, Lying in a manger. - St. Luke 10-12

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Romantic History of Italian Panettone. by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer

The Romantic History of Italian Panettone
Filed Under (Breads), (Cakes), (Desserts), (Novelty), (Traditional) by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 In Italian folklore, it is widely believed that Panettone originated in the city of Milano in northern Italy during the 15th century. It became instantly popular. Today, hundreds of years later, people around the world continue to enjoy the sweet bread. It was originally called Tony's Bread or Pan de Tonio . The name has since evolved to become known as the panettone we enjoy today.

As with all ancient recipes, several legends circulate about how is one came into being. Here is the most popular, and most romantic of the versions. How typical of the Italians to meld together romance and food.

In the city of Milano in northern Italy during the 15th century, there lived a baker named Tony who had a beautiful daughter named Adalgisa. A wealthy young man, Ughetto della Tela, fell in love with the beauty and wanted to marry her, but he knew his family would oppose the marriage because she was a commoner.

Ughetto, a quiet, studious man, worked as a hawk breeder in the court of Duke Ludovico Maria Sforza. Undaunted in his quest to marry Adalgisa, he began to secretly meet the lovely young woman late at night, far from prying eyes. Meeting at such odd hours made a lot of sense because Adalgisa was required to start mixing the bread in the wee hours of the morning in her father’s bakery.

Soon, a strange series of misfortunes befell Tony. A new bakery opened nearby and he began to lose clients. Then he fell ill. This left Adalgisa to do all the work in the bakery, including all the heavy chores.

The gallant Ughetto seized upon this misfortunes and offered himself to assist her. He wanted to improve the bread by adding some butter to the mix, but the struggling bakery had no money to buy the additional ingredient, which was very expensive at the time. So Ughetto sold a few of his prized hawks and with the money purchased all the butter needed.

The bread was an immediate success. Loaves disappeared from the shelves. When Ughetto decided to add a little sugar to the recipe, it became even more popular. Soon word about the tasty bread spread. The beautiful Adalgisa smiled, for the bakery was once again turning a profit. Happy to see his beloved happy once more, Ughetto decided to improve upon the recipe once more. This time, he added candied citron and eggs. At Christimas time, he added raisins. Now the bread really became a huge success, well known throughout the entire city of Milano. Tony's bakery prospered and he became very wealthy.

Without hesitation, Ughetto's family approved the marriage to the wealthy young woman and Ughetto and Adalgisa were soon married. Their secret recipe and other bakers soon began to imitate the bread, ever-increasing quantities to satisfy the palates of Italians.

Today, the bread is produced and shipped throughout the world. It is always given away as gifts and graces the tables of all Italians at Christmas.

Once December hits, I find myself making panettone almost daily. My family loves it. Here is my favourite recipe, easily made in the bread machine:

Mirella Patzer's Panettone

3 1/4 cups bread flour (divided)
1/4 cup each golden raisins
1/4 cup candied mixed peel
1/4 cup milk
3 eggs, beaten
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup softened butter
1 tsp anise extract
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh grated orange peel
1 tsp fress grated lemon peel
2 tsp yeast

Mix 1 tbsp of the flour with raisins, candied peel and citron. Add milk, eggs, butter, vanilla, sugar, salt, orange and lemon peels in bread machine pan or proceed as per manufacturers instructions.

Turn on machine and set to normal/basic bread setting, choosing light color setting if possible. Sprinkle reserved fruit mixture into machine when fruit alarm sounds or just as second kneading is ending. Makes one 1 1/2 lb. loaf.

(If candied mixed peel is not something your family likes, this bread tastes just as good with only the raisins.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Imagine My Surprise.....

I had ordered an artificial christmas tree from Ebay several years ago. It had never been unpacked or really inspected by me. It arrived too late for that year and we made due with the tree we had sans the top. That is another story.

I have great plans every year to not get myself or the rest of the family caught up in a rush to get things up and the tree adorned by Thanksgiving at least. This by the way has never happened. Not that I haven't given it a great deal of thought by at least Halloween. I simply cannot be rushed.

This year I decided the living and dining room needed to have wallpaper removed since the cat had begun the process and it frankly looked awful. This task was not monumental, remove paper, prep, paint. Somewhere between prep and paint I lost my way.

I like to utilize my 'oops' finds. I thought I had the perfect match with the top wallpaper, not so. Then I thought if I did a little home made mixing I would find the exact color.....nope that didn't work either. I do have an abundance of latte colored paint however.

I broke down and bought several gallons of sonoma red. Got it up just in time for Thanksgiving. It looked to me that I had made it, no muss no fuss Christmas stuff next.

Here we go. I finally unwrapped the new tree. It was ordered as a double balsem seven and one half foot tree. Eeeegads look at this I is barely five feet tall and some kind of wicked pine. Not unlike a Charlie Brown creation. I already had several table top versions so here was a third of this kind.

In my haste and feverish temper I sprained my knee. Now folks this is the max it is painful. No amount of rubs, soaking , pills takes away that kind of pain. You limp, you are confined to the first floor and all the ornaments are in the attic. You do not merrily go shopping or caroling with a bum knee. So this too has put a damper on getting things done.

We decided to use all three trees. They range in size of four to five feet tall. We now have a forest of lit trees awaiting ornaments. I must make my way into the attic and grab whatever I can to put on the trees. It has been at least a week so my mobility has improved. Bob unfortunately has a repeat of his sciatica so he is of little assistance.

The thought has crossed my mind.....Do Not Take the Tree Down...We could possibly avoid all of this who ha by having Christmas 24/7 365. Is that a plan?

Be care ful out there the roads can get icey. RD

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

The diagnosis is in.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I found out yesterday that I have fibromyalgia. Laugh because I had been looking into this disease for many months. Cry because it took so darn long to find out. Actually, with all the people that show symptoms of this disease it is devilish to get this diagnosis in as short a time as I did.

There is a medication out there Savella, which I will begin taking tonite. Ofcourse I read up on this as well. Hey, if I could get a good nights sleep, finish a task in a reasonable amount of time, and not hit a wall everyday at 3pm I'll be good to go.

I waffled between Chronic Fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia. They do have alot in common. The good thing is you are granted good days and bad days, on those good days is when I always mention in my blogs that I must make hay. I usually can and do. On those off days, they are really off the chart with pain, and a feeling of wasting away.

After about eight months of getting tests and returning to the physicians office to hear well, it isn't this or that I became frustrated. I stopped going in to hear no news. Then I got a note from the office wanting to see me about my results. Hooray, they have come up with something.

I like to know what I have. I like knowing there is a treatment. I like knowing that I will have ups and downs. And getting used to the fact that I may never be able to handle Lucie is the roughest part.

I've told you I needed to remove wallpaper from the living and dining room. That is done, in fact three layers of paint have been applied. Thank goodness Nicci was there to lend a fact truth be told, she did the majority of the work. Now that I'm on the home stretch I need to clean up and move furniture. Just can't be done, I close the doors and know it will be there tomorrow.

This was just to let you know why I've been so sporadic in my postings, occasionally on the dark side. I hope that the new meds will put me on a more even road and I will be a bit more responsive.

Heck, I'm really lucky, come to think of it....this diagnosis could have been so much worse. I'll hang in there and deal with the discomfort and moodiness, you can join me for this ride if you like. Remember....there will be good days.

Be careful out there....pickpocket season is upon us. RD