Monday, November 24, 2008

Thank you



I am finding strength and inspiration in many things.

I am thankful for my family
I am thankful for my health
I am thankful for my friends

Sometimes I wish my loved ones were closer and at times I dwell too much at how far or busy they all are, but I am choosing to instead be thankful that I have them at all.

I am trying to stop living in the past and worrying about the future.
I am trying to live for today.

Every night when I got to bed I ask for the strength to be a better mother, wife, friend, and human.

Every day when I wake up I try to take many moments where I just stop - look at the sun, take a deep breath, and look at my surroundings. I try to look through the eyes of a child.

Each moment I try to choose wisely, speak carefuly, and act kindly.

I may not always do these things

but I try.

Each day I try.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This fall has been a time of reflection and transition for me. Enzo started 1st grade, Sal started preschool,my nephew had brain surgery, a friend had a brain aneurysm, we had a history making election and the economy went to shit.

It has been an emotional roller coaster so far. Having loved ones in the hospital and an economy dangling over the edge has made me slow down and think a lot. Lately the conversation around our house has been about money. It sucks. We are broke. I quit my full time job in 2005 and we have been struggling since. It has been hard but so worth it for our family. Last year I was lucky enough to have consistent consulting gigs that I did from home so the extra money kept us a float. I haven't had a paying gig since the spring and so we are now feeling the pinch having gone through the summer without any extra cash. Now of course the holidays are coming and the stress is building.

So the talk about me getting a job has resurfaced. I have such mixed feelings about it. I want to work but I don't want to give up being with my kids after school. It seemed so much easier back when Enzo was younger and in daycare and preschool. Now that he is in 1st grade and I have two kids it all seems more complicated. In order for me to go back to work full time outside of the home I would need to pay for after school care for Enzo and find a full time preschool for Sal. Ideally I would work from 9-2 so I could pick them up after school and be able to be home so Enzo could do his homework and school projects before dinner. I thought this would all get easier when they entered school but it is actually much more complicated.

I feel guilty for not working because we are struggling. I will feel guilty if I have to work full time because the our lives will become so rushed again. damned if you do, damned if you don't. I know either way everyone will be fine but it is such a hard call to make.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

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Friday, November 14, 2008

delizioso!


I have recently been trying to cut back on the fake meat soy products in an attempt to cut back on processed soy. I am not a nutritionist but I know enough about the topic to agree with some of the recent articles regarding our now over consumption of processed soy products. Soy became the next craze and now you can't get away from it. Recently I found soy listed as an ingredient in several Celestial Season teas. In my opinion you eat it in moderation as you should with everything. Try to stick to the least processed versions. Tofu, tempeh, miso and soymilk, in my opinion are the safest bets. Just limit how much of them you eat. What I would avoid or seriously limit are all of the fake "meat" products out there. If you flip over the box of the most mainstream brands you will find soy protein isolates as one of the main ingredient. Soy protein isolates have been in the news lately. Do some research.

I have been a vegetarian for 16 years now and cooking has become a passion of mine. I have come a long way from the pasta and bagels with cheese I used to live on when I first turned my back on meat in college. In becoming a vegetarian I also migrated towards natural cooking. Starting a family 7 years ago also forced me to stretch my culinary passion even further in the attempt to feed my family whole foods as much as possible.

Lately I have been trying to cut some soy out of our lives and save some money. This week my focus was on a substitute for meatless meatballs.
Being part Sicilian I love a bit of substance with my pasta but I am sick of buying frozen soyballs. I wanted to make a soy free homemade version and I have finally done it!

I was bursting with joy last night after creating a recipe for what I am calling Sicilian round balls. I am not yet posting the recipe as I need to refine it a bit but I am thrilled to finally be able to rid myself of store bought, expensive, soy filled alternatives.

My husband and kids loved them. The real test will be my Italian mother. I called her up all excited last night and told her I thought my Gramma Grasso was smiling down from heaven.

They may not have been meat in my meatballs like she used to make but there sure was a ton of Sicilian passion and love.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thrift store finds



I found these plates at Recycle North last week. I was in need of small plates to use for bread, desserts etc. I picked up this stack of 9 for $2.44. That's it. These are good quality stone where plates. I love recycling.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I have been emotional since last night. An article in my morning newspaper explained how thousands UVM students marched down mainstreet last night after the announcement. Celebrations in streets happened like this all over the country. Regardless of your choice this is a time for all of us to embrace this wave of change, renewing our faith in the country and in each other. We can do this. Yes we can!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008



Well the time has come. Fresh pesto, salsa and tomato sauce have been packed away for yet another winter. My garden is cleaned up and prepped for many months of cold. My winter garlic has been planted. As I mourn the end of the growing season I look forward to the times of slowing down and shifting our diets. Tomorrow is the last pick up day at my CSA farm. The selection has been slowly shifting towards winter veggies. I am so lucky that it doesn't have to end though. The Intervale Community Farm CSA offers winter shares as well. Last year was the first year we participated. It is fairly new for them. The pick ups happen every two weeks and include veggies they have stored such as spinach, winter squash, potatoes, carrots, root veggies, garlic etc. You can also sign up for apple extras. There is nothing like getting Vermont grown veggies all year long.

It is a different way of eating though. For the most part I say goodbye to salads and other veggies that are getting shipped here from far away. I stick to the share I receive every other week and learn to cook in a whole new way.

Burlington is also lucky to have for the first time this year a winter farmers market.

The market will be held in Memorial Auditorium, 10am-2pm with the kick off
market November 22. The market will then continue on to the third Saturday
of each month from December through April (December 20, January 17, February
21, March 21, and April 18).

visit burlingtonfarmersmarket.org for more info on the winter farmers market