Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's My SITS Day!!!

“Each friend represents a world in us, 
a world possibly not born until they arrive, 
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” 
Anais Nin

And then....
A chorus of HALLELUJAHS slowly begin to rise in the air...

Hooooooly Heavens...... it's my SITS day!!!!!
It's my SITS Day...It's my SITS Day...It's my SITS day.
*doing the "cabbage patch" dance...very awkwardly I might add*

Wait....what is SITS you may ask???
For reals?
Where've you been bella????
Alrighty...time for you to crawl out from under that rock 
and let's get you up to speed....

SITS stands for "The Secret is in The Sauce"
Sooooo what's the secret????
It's diving into the sauce baby....
SITS is an amazingggg sisterhood of 15,000 bloggers
dedicated to supporting one another by leaving comments
and learning about blogging.

I have discovered so many incredible blogs through SITS,
and the friendships that have forged through this community
are irreplaceable.
I feel so blessed to be a part of it....
and today....Mangiabella is on the menu.

So welcome SITS-tahs....
have a seat, 
and take a look around.

I've gathered a few tasty selections to whet the appetite...
enjoy, and Mangia!

If you'd like to know how it all this
if you need a little this
if you're feeling weary & in this
if you're going through a fierce this
If you're in the mood for a little this
if you're this
if you're this
if you're longing to this

and if you're trying to please everyone around you...stop it....and read this 

I hope your soul finds rest today...
That amidst the hustle and bustle
and busy-ness of life,
you'll find a moment to be still.
To ponder. To reflect. To listen.
That you'll feel a stirring deep within...
And respond.
Praying for an extra measure of strength 
and courage
 to walk the path set before you....

Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pear Mousse...and Friendships!

"There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. 
Inside the dullest exterior there is drama, a comedy, and a tragedy." 
~ Mark Twain

I was thinking about friendships in general today, and what a gift they are.

I especially love that "confidante" element of girlfriend friendships.

Males don't seem to enter in, in that way, you know?
At least most of them don't...
there are definitely exceptions to the rule.

But you get two women together over a cup of coffee
and the sharing is immediate.

Do you have any friends who excel in that way?
I can think of several.
I can say anything and they will add to it
and usually take us beyond the point that I wanted to make.

It's so refreshing to have friends 
who keep you on your toes in conversation
don'tchya think?
Always pushing us to that higher level,
desiring us to be more...
more alive,
or more importantly,
more AWAKE!

When I think more intently on the friendships God has given me,
I delight in how each one has brought
such a unique element to the table,
making my life so much richer and more satisfying.

Distance is a barrier to serious affection shown
but I send smiles & warm embraces along these lines...

The recipe I'd like to share with you was given to me by
one of the sweetest bellas I know, Pat Danforth.
She charms everyone who crosses her path 
with her East Coast accent
and her pearls of wisdom,
and ALWAYS brings the most sensational desserts
to potlucks and fellowships.
This mousse is light and delicate
with hints of lemon and the sweetness of pears.
The moment it graced my lips 
I knew I had to have the recipe.
She emailed me a typed out piece of paper
with this recipe, by Barb Olson.
With only 4 ingredients, it couldn't be any simpler.
I do hope you'll give this a try,
I think it would be lovely to serve it in puff pastry,
phyllo cups, or champagne flutes :)

Pear Mousse
1 - 29 oz. can of Pears
1 - large package of Lemon Jello
8 oz. of softened cream cheese
8 oz. of Cool Whip
Drain pears and reserve juice. 
Heat juice to melt Jello and set aside to cool,
Blend pears in blender or mash until smooth.
Add 8 oz. of cream cheese and blend until smooth.
Add cooled jello - mix well.
Fold in cool whip and refrigerate until set.
(I allowed mine to set overnight)
Garnish with fresh fruit just before serving, if desired.
Enjoy...and Mangia!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Those Were The Days...& an Ode To Felix

"I don't cry over spilt milk,
but a fallen scoop of ice cream is enough to ruin my whole day."  
~Terri Guillemets

I spent a decade living in a small town 
nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Taos, New Mexico.
Best known for it's stellar skiing, fine arts, exceptional cuisine,
and the kind of breathtaking scenery that allowed one to indulge in
every outdoor activity you can imagine.

But one thing Taos didn't have was an "ice cream man."

The most I'd seen driving around there was an old school bus
that had morphed into a Grateful Dead mural on wheels.

Did you have an "ice cream man" in your old neighborhood?

When I was growing up, we had an ice cream man,
and where I lived, he ruled the streets.

He stocked the best of the best...
Not only a full display of good humor products,
but tons of candy & all the crazy practical joke toys that 
kids loved and parents hated.
Like those snappers you'd throw on the ground that sounded like a firecracker.
Cherry bombs. Stink bombs. The works. Even parachute men!
He had his own special song that played, 
and his name was proudly displayed above the windshield...

When all the kids on the block heard his tune,
we would run into our houses like Speedy Gonzales 
to raid our piggy banks or beg our parents for spare change
so we could make our score.

Of course, we had bionic hearing back then,
we could hear his song playing from blocks away.
Looking back, I wonder if he had subliminal messages in his music...
It would literally put us in a trance, 
as if he were The Pied Piper luring us in.

All the neighborhood kids would line up
for italian ices, red white & blue bomb pops,
choclate eclair & strawberry shortcake ice cream.
We'd stuff root beer bottle caps, sweet tarts,
jolly rancher sticks, fun dip & & candy rings 
in our pockets to fuel us for
the next round of fun in the streets.

Ahhhh, yes, those were the days....
when we were wild eyed and carefree...
sitting on the curb with sticky fingers & cherry red stains on our lips 
from the popsicles we'd just consumed...
The days when we'd ride our bikes alll dayyy looong.
The days when we'd build go carts
and act out scenes from X-Men comics in the streets...
Torturing locusts by day and catching fireflys by night.

Those were the days...
Nowadays, I like to fanc-i-fy my ice cream whenever possible.
I like to scoop ice cream in liquor glasses and chop up fresh ingredients.
Something about it makes it feel...special...indulgent.

Pictured above is good ol' fashioned vanilla ice cream
served in a cobalt blue margarita glass and topped with blueberries, kiwi & coconut.
The other is served in an eclectic clear martini glass with strawberries, chocolate, and sliced almonds.

How fun is that?!!
What about you?
If you could choose any toppings you wanted,
how would you dress up your ice cream?

I'm thinking it's time for an ice cream party...
yet another great way to draw in the youth 
and stir up some meaningful conversation :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Youth of a Nation...And Meatball Lasagna

"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, 
yet we forget that he is someone today." 
 ~Stacia Tauscher

Is anyone else concerned about the youth of this generation today? 
Is anyone else alarmed?

I came across some nationwide statistics that I had jotted down a few years ago 
when I heard Ron Luce from Teen Mania Ministries speak, 
and let's just say it is BEYOND troubling.

This is the largest generation of youth that has ever been.
33 million teenagers in America.
Larger than any other generations before them, 
and they are struggling, big time.

1,500 of them kill themselves each year.
1 out of 5 have thoughts of suicide. That's staggering.
1,000,000 of them are pregnant.
750,000 of them had abortions last year.
½ of them are no longer virgins.
9 out of 10 have viewed porn online. That is a lot.
8,000 of them get an STD EVERY SINGLE DAY – 
that blows my mind.
The most common STD is gonorrhea of the throat 
(because teens today don't think that oral sex is really sex)

This generation views 16 to 17 hours of television each week 
and sees on average 14,000 sexual scenes 
and references each year. 
That's more than 38 references every day.

This generation spends 3 hours a day online 
and is the first to grow up with the point and click pornography. 
90% of them say that they have viewed porn online 
while doing homework. 
(there is estimated to be at least 300,000 adult websites)

Teenage girls wear "sex beads" that tells boys, 
depending on the color of beads they are wearing,
what they will do with them in the bathrooms at break.

Is anyone else troubled by this? 
Is anyone else noticing a serious moral decay of a generation?

Friends, a battle is waging for our youth. 
The casualties are mounting.

If things are this bad now, 
what will it be like when your toddlers are teenagers?

We can't just sit back and not do anything about it. 
We have to get involved with our youth of today. 
We need to get out there on the battlefield ourselves 
and start mentoring these youths. 
Get out of our comfort zones and really step it up a notch.

We have to try to make an effort to win back this generation.

These kids are struggling with 
purpose and meaning in life....
and many many other things....

We must try and capture their hearts before it's too late......

Don't you think???????????

Invite a youth over, reach out, make a connection, 
make them a meal....
make them meatball lasagna...
I mean hey, who doesn't love meat-a-balls?
Meatball Lasagna
I make my sauce in so many different ways, it all depends on the mood. 
Sometimes I use a mirepoix, other times I use red wine, 
other times I use meat...but this time I made a very simple marinara,
and I doubled the batch so there would be enough sauce for the lasagna. 
Here is the way I make a single batch: 
I start with a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, I add 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 
appx. 2 TBSP worth of fresh basil, 
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper,1/4 teaspoon of freshly 
cracked black pepper...AND THAT'S IT! 
I heated that over low heat for about 15-20 minutes, 
stirring occasionally, while I prepared the meatballs.

I also make my meatballs many different ways, 
sometimes I use a 3 part meat mixture, sometimes I use cream cheese instead of egg, but this time, I used:
1/4 cup of bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of chopped italian flat leaf parsley, 2 large eggs
lightly beaten, 2 TBSP of whole milk, 
1/2 cup of grated parmigano reggiano,
a generous pinch of salt, probably almost 1 tsp worth, and the same amount of freshly ground black pepper. 
I mixed all of these ingredients into a medium sized
bowl, and then added 1 lb of ground turkey into the mix, incorporating gently, always
being careful not to over-work the meat. 
I rolled them into golf ball sized balls, and
then browned in a skillet with olive oil, appx. 3 minutes each side. Then removed and drained on a paper towel, and set aside.

I took a small container of ricotta cheese, 
and mixed in 2 handfuls of freshly chopped basil,
1 clove of minced garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper.

I have never made my own pasta, 
one of the things on my bucket list for sure, 
so even though I'm a lover of those no cook lasagna sheets, 
this time I used regular lasagna sheets, and boiled them
for about 8 minutes, putting them into the pot one at a time, 
waiting for it to soften enough to submerge
into the pot. Because I used a smaller pot, 
I cooked 6 at a time and made it in two batches. 
Once the noodles were ready, 
I laid them on a dry towel until I was ready to begin layering, 
this helped the excess water drain off, and was easy to grab.

In my 9 x 13 baking dish, I ladled some sauce on the bottom, enough to gently cover the entire surface.
Then I layered three sheets side by side. 
I spooned 2 heaping tablespoons of the ricotta mix onto each 
noodle, and gently spread until they were covered in a thin layer. 
Then I grated more parmigano reggiano 
to cover the ricotta entirely. 
Then I placed 6 meatballs on each sheet, for a total of 18.
Next, ladle more sauce over to cover the meatballs. 
Then, repeat that process one more time: noodles,
ricotta mix, parmigano reggiano, meatballs (18), sauce. 
Then, put one more layer of noodles on top,
followed by a very generous layer of sauce, you want to make sure all the noodles are covered otherwise
they will dry out inside the oven. 
Finally, I cut up fresh buffalo mozzarella 
into little slices and covered the 
sheets, you can use shredded mozzarella if you want. 
I sprinkled some dried oregano on top and put it
in the oven at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. 
Serve with garlic bread and a green salad. 

Friday, April 6, 2012


Proverbs 31:25

"Fear cannot take what you do not give it."  
~ Christopher Coan

 I used to write a lot of poetry in high school, and a bit after, 
then sort of stopped for no apparent reason - 
thought you might enjoy reading one from "the vault"
I wrote it over a decade ago.
Funny how these words can still speak after all this time...

by Jaime Carrillo

What is the word
That lingers
In my mind
Telling me I can't 
Robbing my joy
Stealing my confidence
Giving me grief
Stepping on my toes
Holding me back
What is the word?

so what about you bellas? what's holding you back??


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