Looking for Light

Ern’s Tower Crane in the fog over Seattle 2018

Ernest and I have loved our one bedroom nest in Edmonds.  We have lived here for over 6 years! This was the perfect place for us to start our lives together, and we’ve made happy memories and wonderful neighbors. We watch out for them, and they for us.


I believe this was our first Christmas in the condo

We have made the necessary repairs: replaced the kitchen faucet, the light fixture that stopped working, and the bathroom fan.

We would like to have more space and light. We want to plant herbs and flowers again. Mostly, we need more LIGHT! I’m doing more art, and the PNW is dark enough.  Take away natural light and it starts to feel a bit cave like.


I love painting babies

We’ve looked for a home to buy, and haven’t found anything we feel is a great fit. The few we have liked were farther than we care to commute, and too much more time apart from one another. We’re at a crossroads now, do we bite the bullet, buy a house and suffer the commute? OR do we find a home closer in and rent? Honestly, I’m also a bit worried about the housing market dropping again. It happened to me in my last house, and I still haven’t forgotten how disappointing it was. I managed to make a small profit when I sold, but I’m sure it was a wash when all was said and done.

It’s a tough call because renting a house is pretty much the same, or a little less, cost as buying. We truly want the investment, but we’re well aware of the instability of the real estate market. Maybe it’s best to rent and invest more elsewhere.

We will find the right place. I’m sure we will. It’s just a matter of time. IMG_0789

Ern’s Tower Crane

Our Favorite French Toast

I’m a boring breakfast person. I usually eat a poached egg on toast with a cup of black coffee. Ernest almost always makes breakfast for me before he leaves to work, where he has an office with the most amazing views of the Seattle and surrounding areas.


On weekends, I usually feel like making breakfast. On Saturday or Sunday morning, I’m ready for a more sinful breakfast. The giant fluffy pancakes, patty sausages, crisp bacon, butter, syrup, hash browns, biscuits and gravy. You know, the breakfast so big you don’t feel hungry again until bedtime–kind of breakfast.

After a semi-disaster with my blackberry turnovers, I had quite a bit of the sweet cream cheese filling leftover. I decided to use it as part of my weekend morning breakfast, and it was a hit.

I made French toast the same way I usually do: French bread slices dipped in eggs with a dash of milk, that I beat together with a generous amount of cinnamon and sugar. Next I  fry egg soaked bread slices in small bit of oil.  Serve with butter, a light sprinkling of powdered sugar and hot Grade B maple syrup.

However, this time I omitted the cinnamon and sugar and only used the eggs.

After dipping the French bread slices into the beaten eggs, I pan-fried them in a light bit of oil, then I lay them on a baking rack, set over a baking sheet.  I served it with the  cream cheese filling leftover from the blackberry turnovers I posted here.  Wow!  I knew it would taste good, but I had no idea it was going to be the only way I ever want to eat French Toast again. Plus,I like the fact that there is now added protein from the cream cheese.  No butter or syrup needed. Seriously, you won’t miss it at all!


French Toast with sweet cream cheese, stuffed zucchini blossom, and bacon

It tastes like a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting. Next time I’ll add toasted chopped pecans.

Add few fresh berries or berries with a pinch of sugar,  and create another pop of flavor.

Here is the recipe for the sweet cream cheese spread:

Sweet Cream Cheese Spread for French Toast

4 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)

1/4 cup of sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp vanilla (optional)

Mix together until well blended.  I recommend a using a mixer.

That’s it! Easy peasy.

The Dude loves this on French toast, regular toast, crackers, a spoon. He might love it a little too much.


Fried Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms and Weeping Blackberry Turnovers

After my day at the Edmonds Farmer’s Market I was excited to create something special out of the produce I picked up.

These days I rarely deep fry foods.  But after scoring the baby zucchini blossoms as I posted here, I knew what I had to do.   There are very few ingredients, but get ready for an amazing “Holy Mother of God!” moment when you bite into one of these babies.

The Dude couldn’t stop repeating a line I cannot repeat here, but I can say it starts with Holy but it doesn’t end with Mother of God.  No matter, I know him well enough to know it’s meant as the highest compliment to the cook.

I should also add that I am (was) not a fan of goat cheese at all. I tried it a few times, but it was just too goaty.   A few months ago, Ernest and I ordered stuffed zucchini blossoms as an appetizer at a local popular restaurant and I was scared knowing they were stuffed with goat cheese, but the server assured me they would not taste goaty. They had a hint of the taste of goat cheese, and I loved them. Then I started craving them. I was hesitant for fear mine would not taste as good as the restaurant’s.

I found a brand of Chevre  advertised as mild goat cheese, so I went with it. The recipe also uses cream cheese which I knew would balance it out.

These stuffed zucchini blossoms are not as difficult to make, as they may appear to be.


Fried Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Print Recipe Here

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis recipe

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup of sparkling water (do not use plain water)

3/4 tsp Kosher salt

1  1/2 ounces  goat cheese, at room temperature

2 ounces  Cream cheese, at room temperature

You should have approx 1/3 + cup of cheese combined

1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

1 finely chopped scallion (green onion)

fresh ground pepper

6-8 zucchini blossoms

oil for frying (I used canola)

In a medium size bowl, mix the flour, sparkling water, and Kosher salt until smooth. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, mix the cheeses, chopped basil and onion, and salt and pepper until smooth.

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, deep fryer, or Dutch-oven, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until oil reaches 350 degrees F.  I use a deep-frying thermometer.  Dip the stuffed zucchini blossoms in the batter and allow any excess batter to drip off.  Fry for 1 to 2 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Allow the cooked blossoms to drain on paper towels. I prefer to set them on a cooling rack that I place inside of a baking sheet lined with paper towels. That way they aren’t sitting in their own oil drippings.

Before adding more blossoms to the hot oil, make sure you allow the temperature of the oil to return to 350 degrees F.

NOTE:  I gently open petals of the blossoms with the tips of my fingers and turn them down to make it easier to fill. After I stuff, I gently lift the petals back into place and gently twist the tips together to hold in the filling. It gets messy, and don’t worry if a little cheese mixture is sneaking through.

…and now for the blackberries.


I also bought 4 half pints of jumbo blackberries. Berries are probably one of my favorite fruits.

The night before I went to the market, I had a dream about giant blackberries. In my dream they were the size of plums. When I saw the jumbo berries at the market, I figured I had to buy them or maybe I could be struck by lightning or break a hip. You never know, and I didn’t want to tempt fate.

The recipe I followed uses puff pastry cups. I couldn’t find them at my grocery store, and I was too lazy to go to another store, so I bought puff pastry sheets. Next time I will use the cups. Why?

Just take a gander at the photo below.



Granted they’re not purdy, but let me tell you brothers and sisters, these are the tastiest tarts I’ve ever eaten. Seriously, the filling is a sweetened cream cheese filling with blackberries. Unbelievably flavorful and almost too simple to make–if you don’t make the same mistakes I made. The moral to this story?  Don’t be lazy and don’t over stuff your pastry.     image

I had leftover filling because I didn’t use the two sheets of puff pastry. I came up with another idea of what to use it for.  It has changed my life forever. More on that tomorrow.


Thank you for reading my blog.  If you haven’t had a chance to watch this video, please do! Sean is an amazing talent. Click here for “Black and Blue For You”



My son Sean (Mark Sean) Movie Director

Edmonds, Washington Farmer’s Market


Goodies peeking out of the trunk of my car

I’m grateful to live in such a beautiful little town in Washington state.

Edmonds is my favorite town in western Washington.  Not just because I live here, but because it has an old-fashioned charm I can’t seem to find anyplace else.

Health freak that I am, I drove down to the waterside to take my morning walk along the beautiful Puget Sound. I didn’t get far before I started craving a doughnut. By not getting far, I mean, I parked my car and locked it.

I rarely eat doughnuts, but the Edmonds Bakery makes French Crullers every Saturday. My craving grew and grew until I finally surrendered and decided my hands were tied and I had no choice!

I practically pushed people out of my way to feast my eyes on my beloved crullers, only to discover they were not there! The young man behind the counter told me they will be finished in an hour.

An hour? By then I could waste away. Again, my hands were tied.

photo 1 (1)

An Old Fashioned glaze and a cup of coffee. The second best doughnut.

Looking out the bakery window I noticed a herd of people walking by. Then I remembered the farmer’s market is today.

The Saturday farmer’s market shuts down two streets. There are artists, farmers, and beautiful flowers. Conventional and organic fruits and veggies are weaved throughout the booths. Smoked salmon, homemade jams, fresh-baked breads, you name it, they’ve got it.

As you can see in the picture at the top of my post, I decided I would walk off my doughnut by shopping at the market. I picked up a bouquet of beautiful cut flowers for five dollars! A steal. I also bought half a dozen baby zucchini with their blossoms and four half pints fully loaded with giant blackberries. I hauled the bounty back to my car and walked the few blocks back to the market to pick up a beautiful loaf of sourdough bread.

I didn’t go shopping with a plan, as I find it rather fun to just pick out what appeals to my eye, haul it home and come up with a plan.

The zucchini blossoms will be stuffed with cheeses and herbs, then deep-fried until golden. I will serve them alongside the leftover angel hair pasta dish I made for dinner last night.

The blackberries will probably end up in a dessert I’ll make with store-bought frozen puff pastry. The sourdough bread simply heated, sliced and served with butter.


Ain’t she perty?

As shown, a beautiful bouquet of flowers will adorn the dinner table. I shouldn’t buy flowers, as I’m allergic, but I couldn’t resist. In a few days they will go out on the patio table and I will be able to breathe freely again.

I’ll update with recipes and photos of what I turn this week’s goodies into.

photo 2

Thank you for reading my blog.  If you haven’t had a chance to watch this video, please do! Sean is an amazing talent. Click here for “Black and Blue For You”



My son Sean (Mark Sean) Movie Director

Revamping my Space

mewineriverI’ve been thinking. I’m sure I think too much.

How are you?

I really miss blogging. I find that writing is one of things that keeps me passionate about living.

Passion is a good thing.

I am also creating a second blog. Maybe I’ll blend them at some point, but I’ll have to think some more.

I want to share the things that have helped me recreate my life in a way that is more fulfilling and less fear filled.

I know I’ve left everybody hanging after my last post. I guess I realized I needed to work through some more of my own stuff (always working through my stuff, but this was some real icky stuff!).

I fill notebook pages with stories about my life, journaling, venting, drawing, and, yes, recipes. I’d like to share.

Those are the things I like to read on blogs that I’m subscribed to. I always want to know what people are passionate about! What are their childhood stories? What made them who they are today? Where do they see themselves tomorrow?

We’re all in this game together.

I turned 50 in May. The photo was taken by the Dude (AKA my husband or my little Whippersnapper) while we were on vacation celebrating my surviving half a century. I tell him that one day he will be old and wise like me.

He has three more years to go.

strawberry rose

I leave you with this strawberry rose. I am practicing making fruit and veggie flowers, but so far, this is as good as gets.

My First Paleo Run


Giovanni and his mama

First of all, to those who have been asking, Part 2 of my personal story, Destination Unknown, is almost finished.

I want to talk about why I’ve been busy. This past week I have been experimenting with the popular Paleo Diet.  I’m not one to follow fad diets, but I do like the idea of healthy eating.

I visited Third Place Books to see the author, Danielle Walker , speak about her new book, “Against All Grain, Meals Made Simple”.  I’d like to start by saying,  Danielle Walker has a wealth of information on grain free eating.  Obviously, I only have my two cents. This is the perfect book for people who want to learn how to start their grain-free diet.  As a sidebar, Danielle is drop dead gorgeous. She is also as sweet as pie. Of course the pie would be sweetened with maple syrup, honey, or coconut crystals, as she has a health issue which requires her to give up the grains. My curiosity was piqued when learning that this diet is also good for people with Hashimoto’s Disease. I have Hashimoto’s. I also have tummy problems, and end up in some degree of suffering several  evenings around dinner time.

I bought her book and followed her first week’s worth of grocery shopping – which was a lot of work. It wasn’t simple for me. She does make this as easy as possible by providing 8 weeks worth of menus and grocery lists, complete with copies and perforated edges to tear out of the book.  But make no mistake, changing how you cook and bake requires some work.

I shopped at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, plus I had to order a five-pound bag of blanched almond flour from Amazon ($40!).  Grass fed, pastured, organic, etc.  By now, if you know anything about food and diet, you know the drill for Paleo. If you don’t, you can check it out here. It is expensive, but minus the grains, it wasn’t as crazy expensive as I thought it would be–thank you Trader Joe’s.

photoABOVE: Produce for my week

I’ve only followed Walker’s menu plan for the last three days, so this is in no way a well-studied review.

After three days, I noticed something that concerns me. I don’t think I’m eating enough. I lose my appetite. The thought of another bite of pork, beef, coconut oil, egg, and even the damned pile of vegetables simply makes me feel sick. I didn’t eat dinner two nights in a row. I had a few bites and found the foods too heavy. This morning, after making paleo pancakes, I just had to stop with the recipes. Maybe it’s all of the fiber filling me up. Two days ago, I ate a good breakfast: egg, paleo wrap, slice bacon, light sprinkling of feta and a dab of pesto.  Then I took my parents out to lunch for my mother’s birthday, and I couldn’t eat. That evening,  I couldn’t eat the dinner that had been cooking all day in the crock pot. I did, however, manage to put down a glass of wine and half a coconut ice cream bar. Yesterday, I ate some of the leftover dinner in a wrap –not too much, just a quarter of a cup–for breakfast. I went to meet a girlfriend for lunch and managed to eat two slivers of chicken. At dinner time I ate two bites of the pork roast and a few bites of the spinach. I had a glass of wine and three paleo chocolate chip cookies (I like dessert). The end. Stuffed.


Paleo Wraps- not bad


ABOVE: Creating my own breakfast burrito (wrap, egg, bacon, pesto, feta)


I’ve found the recipes (from the few meals I’ve cooked) too time consuming. I am not going to spend the rest of my life in a kitchen dicing, slicing, julienning, etc. Plus, cooking chopping and browning meats and vegetables in the mornings to get the crock pot started and then returning home to do more of the same? No thank you. Been there, done that. I enjoy doing more than cooking and baking these days.

The upside? No tummy ache in three days. This is huge. Coincidence? Maybe.

I’m happy I bought the book. Danielle Walker gives all of the basics and I believe I have enough experience in the kitchen to understand how to convert my own recipes. Basically, I just need to drop the grains.

Breakfast can consist of hash browned yams, eggs, and bacon. Quiche is another option–especially for me as I don’t think I have a problem with dairy. Lunch can always be leftover dinner.  Dinners? A great grilled salmon with basil and lemon and a side of riced cauliflower and sautéed chard. Simple. Done. How about roasted chicken with a huge salad or asparagus and baked sweet potato fries? Done and done.

I am in love with the idea of pasture and grass-fed,  organic is awesome too. The expensive almond flour? Totally worth it. I think it makes great baked goods. I’ll keep that part up. Here is a link to Ms Walker’s chocolate chip cookies. Mmm, they’re so darn good. I added chopped pecans and an extra chunk of dark chocolate to the tops before baking. It’s nice to know I’m eating a cooking that isn’t filled with empty calories. I apologize for the photos below, but I was in a hurry to eat a cookie.

 IMG_1277ABOVE: As you can see, I got lazy and just started sticking pieces of dark chocolate into the center of the cookies

I still have the remaining ingredients for the remaining week’s recipes, but I will cook them following my own recipes. I believe Ms Walker’s intent on creating this cookbook was to create a guideline for those interested in Paleo, and as far as I’m concerned,she has succeeded.

Update: I made the  pancake recipe from Danielle’s cookbook this morning and I’m sorry to report, I don’t like them–nor does my husband. I’ll have to try something else.

Chocolate Orange Biscotti

Oh my goodness, it’s almost Christmas.  I am not as prepared as I’d like to be, because Mother Nature decided this is as good a time as any to send the Mother of All Life Changes and give me the gift of, a somewhat early, menopause!   (As if dealing with a spinal nerve cyst and surgery wasn’t enough in one year!)

I think the Universe gives me more credit than I deserve, by thinking I can handle so many changes at once.  Oh well, it is what it is and life is too precious to whine and complain (not that I haven’t), so now you know why I’ve been absent for so long, and I thank those of you who have missed me and expressed it in email or by phone.

I haven’t been doing a whole lot of cooking or baking.  My husband has been forced to learn to cook, and I must say, he is doing quite well.  As a matter of fact, I’m feeling a bit threatened by his ability to make spaghetti sauce that tastes so much like mine.  It’s a good thing I didn’t tell him how to make the cassata.   That cassata recipe is going with me to my grave.  😉

Life is a mystery, kind of like the box of chocolate Forrest Gump talked about.   It’s also like trying a new recipe.   Sometimes you get a prize winning dish, sometimes it’s mediocre, and other times it’s an absolute disaster.  That pretty much sums up my year.  The thing to remember, is when you get the disaster,  you must never forget that a prize day is sure to follow.  It always does.  Always.

Speaking of a prize–I found an amazing recipe for biscotti, on Epicurious.com.  I made a few changes, and now I have the best biscotti I’ve ever made in my life!  I want to share the recipe, and the changes I made, with all of you.


Chocolate-Orange Biscotti RECIPE

Click on link above for recipe.

The following are my ingredient changes:

I added 2 Tbsp coarsely grated orange zest, instead of 1 Tbsp

3 Tbsp Orange Contreau- instead of 2 Tbsp Orange Liqueur

1/2 tsp orange extract

6 ounces Chocolate Chunks (60%), instead of bittersweet chocolate

Angelnina’s NOTES:

I do not like my biscotti rock hard. I baked the first baking for 20-25 minutes and the second baking about 15 minutes.  My family prefers them lightly toasted on the outside, but still tender.

Bon Appetit hit the jackpot with this recipe!

Toasted pecans cooling

I love how pretty the dough looks with the orange zest, chocolate, and pecans!

Pre-shaped dough ready for first bake

After first bake

The flavors of this cookie take me back to when I was a child, visiting my Italian grandparents in upstate New York.  Orange and chocolate in a cookie, is like a bit of heaven, or nirvana, or whatever blissful place you wish to visit!


Happy baking and Happy holidays!