Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

A daughter is a mother's gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self. And mothers are their daughters' role model, their biological and emotional road map, the arbiter of all their relationships. ~Victoria Secunda


A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall u
pon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. ~Washington Irving


Today I cooked a seafood dinner for my Mom-

I made Salmon,Shrimp Scampi and Linguini with Clam Sauce (of course Mom made the Clam Sauce because hers is always better!).

For dessert I made my first Gluten Free Cheesecake.

I found a great Gluten Free chocolate cookie (by Pamelas products)

that made the perfect crust for the bottom of the cake.

I used a cheesecake recipe from Pierre Franey's Cooking in America.

It is creamy and rich and seems to be a family favorite.

The base:

1 tablespoon of butter

1/2 cup of cookie crumbs

The Cheesecake:

3 packages of cream cheese (8 oz.each at room temp)

4 large eggs,separated

1 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of pure GF vanilla extract

1 cup of heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Butter the bottom of a 9 inch spring form and spread your cookie crumbs.

In the bowl of a mixer cream your cream cheese,add your eggs and blend for 15 seconds.

Add 3/4 cup of sugar and your vanilla. Keep beating for 5 seconds.

In another bowl,preferably copper- beat the eggs until soft peaks form.
Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar- continue beating until stiff peaks form .

Using a large rubber spatula,fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture.

Pour into your spring form pan and place on a tray into the oven.
Bake for 1 hour...

then turn off the oven

and let it cool for 2 hours

with the oven door ajar!

I was so happy-

although it didn't look perfect and beautiful-


I hope everyone had a wonderful Mothers Day...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gluten Free Nutella,Peanutbutter, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy World Nutella Day 2011

Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso (and Shelley from At Home in Rome, in spirit) solemnly declare Saturday, February 5th “World Nutella Day 2011″ – a day to celebrate, to get creative with, and most importantly, to EAT Nutella.

I haven't posted much lately mainly because of my new Gluten Free lifestyle.
I am still learning how to live my new lifestyle ,but as this day slowly approached I knew I had to figure out a way to incorporate Nutella into my life. The result is a yummy cookie that makes being Gluten Free a whole lot easier!
Now I have to keep reminding myself that although they are Gluten Free they are NOT fat free so over indulgence is not an option ...but you can't eat just one!

1 cup of Nutella
1 1/2 cups of chunky All Natural Peanut Butter
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips (whatever kind you prefer)

1-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
(Prepare your cookie sheets-I used Silpat Mats to make my cookies because nothing ever sticks-but you can use parchment paper if you prefer)
2-Combine Nutella ,peanut butter,eggs, and sugar and mix until smooth. I used a hand mixer -the mix might be a little thick but the mixer helped me insure a smooth mix.
3-Mix in Chocolate Chips by hand. Spoon dough by tablespoons onto cookie sheet.
4-Bake for approximately 12-14 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned.
(do not over cook or the cookie will be very crunchy)
Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes before removing.

**Note- if you notice that your mix is a little too loose and your cookies spread out too much add a bit more peanut butter to your will help them keep their shape. Also do not over cook them because they will spread out too much.

**I also made these cookies with smooth peanut butter and walnuts-they were just as yummy!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Split Pea/Lentil Soup(Gluten Free)

  • 1 cup green split peas
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 small leeks, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic chopped
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • 1 cup of diced ham
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Optional garnish - small toasted croutons, parsley, chives or sour cream.

(avoid for gluten-free version)


1 Pick over the peas and lentils and remove any stones. Wash and drain .Sauté onion, leeks, carrots and celery and garlic in a 4 quart heavy gauge pot .Add ham and 2 1/2 quarts of water. Bring to a simmer. Skim the scum off the top of the soup for several minutes, until the scum ceases to rise. Cover loosely and simmer about 1 1/2 hours, or until peas and lentils are tender, stirring occasionally in case they stick to the bottom of the pan.

2 Purée the soup with a blender. An immersion blender works great for this. I only purée ½ the soup and leave the other have slightly chunky. If you are using a regular blender, take care to work in batches and only fill the blender halfway if the soup is still hot, and hold down the lid while blending. If you want an exceptionally smooth soup, pass the purée through a sieve.

3 Return the purée to the pot and heat to serve. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into warm bowls and garnish with croutons (avoid for gluten-free version) and parsley or chives.

**I omit the croutons because they are not Gluten Free-unless of course I have GF bread handy!

Makes approx:2 quarts. Serves 6.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Finally Fall

As Fall quickly approaches I have a sudden desire to cook and create.
Although I feel a bit more challenged these day with my whole Gluten Free issue...
I refuse to let that get me down!
I am dreaming of warm comfort foods that will satisfy my Fall cravings!

My first attempt was last week-
I have been baking and cooking up a storm for the rest of my family
but there was nothing GF that I could have sooooo...
I decided to try my hand at a zucchini bread -Gluten Free-with my name on it!
Of course once I make it and everyone smelled it-
they all wanted to taste it!
I suppose that's a good sign.

The batter was beautiful and already smelled so good.

It rose and got golden-just as I had hoped .

Came out of the pan without falling apart!

Once I cut it- I couldn't resist...I had to try it!
I don't remember where I actually found this recipe,
(my apologies to the original chef)
because I was frantically copying recipes from all over the GF Blogisphere.
I followed this one to the T and it came delicious!

GF Zucchini Bread

This recipe makes one loaf.

1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 ½ cups freshly shredded zucchini
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ cups of your favorite GF flour mix
1 teaspoon xanthan gum for each cup of flour

Shred the zucchini and chop the walnuts in a food processor and set them aside.

Use a mixer to beat the eggs and add the sugar, oil and vanilla. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Slowly pour in the flour and xanthan gum until well mixed. By hand, mix in the zucchini and walnuts. Pour in greased & floured loaf pan and bake at 350F degrees for 75 minutes. Let cool.

My first baking attempt was a success and I

am anxious to begin baking more GF goodies that

I can enjoy with the rest of my family.

I hope you try this recipe- I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"My Lifes Joys" goes Gluten Free

I suppose you have noticed that I haven't posted in quite a while.

I am trying to get back to my blog...the curve ball that was thrown my way somewhat messed up my cooking habits.
Due to the fact that I have discovered I am intolerant to gluten...(no more wheat,rye or barley ) I am exploring a whole new way of preparing my food.
I have also become avid label reader!

No more pasta...No more pizza...No more crusty Italian bread...
Life is now quite different.
That is not to say that it is bad...just different.
Good thing I love rice because it has become a new staple!
I am exploring new ways to make some of my favorite Italian dishes...thanks to the help of the many awesome GF bloggers out there!

This is a perfect time to go gluten free too...our garden is planted and there is a lot of fresh produce at the markets.
No real need for the traditional "cold weather" comfort foods.
Ill deal with that when the weather gets colder.
My Oregano went crazy again this year...

The garlic that my husband planted in the Fall is doing beautifully...

A few pea pods...can't wait to stir fry them!

My Sage and Lemon Thyme came back bigger than last year!

Please don't give up on me...I will try to post some interesting things that everyone will like.
I have to get myself into the garden more often-camera in hand- and start sharing progress photos with you...veggies are growing-flowers are blooming and critters are enjoying my yard!

I hope you have a wonderful summer and I will post more soon!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Monica’s Fine Foods Featuring Calabrian Olive Oil (and a giveaway!)

Posted on: Feb 15, 2010

Did you know 25% of Italy’s olive oil comes from my favorite little region that is burrowed down deep at the toe of the boot? Well, it does.

It is also a staple in every Calabrian kitchen and is used in antipasto dishes, pasta plates, meat, fish and even desserts. In fact, it is a little joke around our house because most recipes don’t even list olive oil or garlic in their ingredients … because, you know, they are a given – you should know to use them.

Marcella Hazan, renowned Italian food

writer and author of Marcella Cucina cookbook said, “The taste of a dish for which you need olive oil will be as good or as ordinary as the oil you use. A sublime one can lift even modest ingredients to eminent heights of flavor; a dreary oil will pull the best ingredients down to its own level. Partial clues to the quality of the olive oil you are buying are supplied by the label and the price, but ultimately, the only way to determine which one, among those available, is right for you is to taste and compare.”

And that’s where we come in.

Through the magical interwoven web of the Internet, I met Monica Kripalani, a new distributor of Calabrian olive oil whose recent trip to the mezziogiorno changed her life. After a brief tour through Calabria and into the hills of Lamezia Terme, Monica decided to open Monica’s Fine Foods to share her new-found love of Davoli Olive Oil with North America.

And that, my friends, means you.

Monica is giving away one 250ml bottle of Davoli Extra Virgin Olive Oil to one lucky Facebook Fan *and* a $50 gift certificate to a random blogger.

Interested, any? Here are the details!

To be eligible to win the free 250ml bottle of Calabrian olive oil, all you need to do is become a Facebook fan of Monica’s Fine Foods before Friday, February 26 at 5:00 PM (Pacific Time). At that point, Monica will randomly select a winner from her Facebook Fans and the winner will be announced here on My Bella Vita on Monday, March 1.

Bloggers, this part is for you …

For your chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Monica’s Fine Foods, just re-post this contest information in full on your website or blog by Friday, February 26 at 5:00 PM. Leave a comment here on My Bella Vita telling us about your post, and you will automatically be entered into the drawing.

Due to distribution restrictions, Monica can only ship items in the US and Canada, so if you have a US address … you are good to go!

In bocca al lupo!

Friday, February 5, 2010

“World Nutella Day 2010″ it's finally here

Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso (and Shelley from At Home in Rome, in spirit) solemnly declared Friday, February 5th “World Nutella Day 2010″ – a day to celebrate, to get creative with, and most importantly, to EAT Nutella.

This is the second year that I am sending in a fun and yummy Nutella idea to the group.

My treat was rather simple to throw together but the crowd went nuts!
I bought the small Wonton wrappers that you can easily find in the refrigerator section of your local grocery store and a jar of Nutella.

I scooped a small amount of Nutella in the middle of the wrapper then moistened the edges so it would stay closed.

Once I had them all filled I deep fried them until nice and golden.

Oh they were so beautiful.

Then before they could cool I sprinkled them with powdered sugar and served them to the waiting crowd.

Let me tell you I didn't make enough and I couldnt fry fast enough. What a hit! They were so much fun and so yummy!

Try these Im sure you will love them.
Check the other Nutella sites on Monday 2/8/10 -Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso -and see the delicious treats everyone is sending in!

If you would like to see how it all started check this out...
Buon Appetito

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chickpea, Tomato, & Barley Soup

I was going through my favorite blogs this morning and came across a link to another blog that I had never seen before Buff Chickpea. What an awesome blog- there are so many wonderful recipes and I cant wait to make each and every one of them!
There was one though that caught my eye and I had to rush right into the kitchen and make it for lunch.
Chickpea, Tomato, & Barley Soup
-this recipe was simple -I had all the ingredients in my pantry and boy was it delicious!
I will surely make this one again- its a keeper!
Chickpea, Tomato, & Barley Soup
Adapted from Body and Soul Magazine

1 cup barley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
2 celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, for garnish

Rinse barley clean under running water. Place in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for 1 hour; drain.

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add bay leaves, paprika, cumin, barley, broth, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes or until barley is tender.

Add tomatoes and chickpeas and cook for 20 minutes or until flavors have blended. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.

Thank you Hayley and I love your blog!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

**********HAPPY NEW YEAR **********


When the mid-nite bell rings tonight... Let it signify new and better things for you, let it signify a realisation of all things you wish for, Let it signify a year of courage and believes, Wishing you a very...very prosperous 2010.