Saturday, July 18, 2009

Go Roomba Go!

If you haven't seen one yet, IRobot makes a self propelled vacuum that roams around the house sucking up dust and dander by itself so you can get other things done. Unfortunately, I find myself cheering my vacuum on as it glides through the house and following it around in amazement. Its a great purchase but sometimes it does need maintenance and you need to take it apart and clean the inside. (PS..Don't try to use it on shag carpet). It's great for everyday cleaning, I would not say DEEP cleaning. Check it out for yourself! And Hey...even the cat LOVES it!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Mom always told me that even at age two and three I would waddle around the house shouting dammit, dammit. Of course she has "no idea" where I got the affinity for the word, but it has stayed with me ever since. I'm not much of a curser, depends on the company I am in I suppose, but a trail of those bad words sure come flying out when I stub a toe or bang my not so funny bone. Apparently, that's ok...and on my friends, read on!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


This is a repost,but an amazing recipe! Have fun and enjoy!

Enjoy this fabulous recipe...on me. It comes straight from our SANGRIA BOOK. This is a great gift this summer.

Combine 2 sliced lemons, 2 peaches, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 3 oz liquor 43, 1/4 cup sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Slowly pour in one bottle of light red wine, chilled. Refrigerate two hours or overnight. When ready to serve, add 12 oz club soda chilled. Pour slowly over ice. ENJOY!

click here to purchase book!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mount Up!


Every July a special sporting event takes place which tests the absolute physical endurance of 180 of the world’s greatest cyclists. This year marks the 96th Tour de France and the return of Lance Armstrong to the Tour after a few years off from cycling. The Tour began on July 4th in Monaco with an exciting time trial and will finish in Paris on July 26th. Today is stage 10 of 21 which begins in Limoges and will finish in Issoudun for a total of 193 km (120 miles).

The Tour is considered by some to be one of the toughest athletic competitions out there. The race spans 23 days and when it is over the riders who finish will have completed 3,500 km (2,170 miles). The winner will be the one rider with the overall lowest time and the overall leader wears a yellow jersey (maillot jaune) to distinguish themselves from the rest of the riders.

To the first time viewer of professional cycling, it looks to be as exciting as watching paint dry, but after learning about the sport and watching more and more of it, I have learned that there is quite a bit of drama between teams, riders, and even riders on the same teams. This infighting makes for an exciting race filled with backstabbing and calculated strategy.

As mentioned above, the year sees Lance Armstrong return to the peloton (the group of riders) with hopes to win his 8th Tour de France. The interesting aspect is that Lance is not his team’s “leader”. On race teams there is a team captain and the rest of the 8 team members are there to support the captain. Lance Armstrong’s team, team “Astana”, contains a number of world class riders such as Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong, and Levi Leipheimer. There was a lot of speculation leading up to the Tour about whether Contador of Armstrong would be the team captain going into the race. The team manager picked Contador and Lance said that he would support him during the race. That hasn’t necessarily happened and watching this unfold over the last 9 stages has been interesting. Currently an Italian name Nocentini is the overall race leader and Alberto Contador is 2nd place only 6 seconds behind and Lance Armstrong is in 3rd place 8 seconds behind the leader. This means that Lance Armstrong is has a good chance to win his 8th Tour, that is if his own teammate Contador doesn’t take it away from him.

The stages generally start around 12 or 1pm European time and finish around 5 or 6pm. France is 6 hours ahead of the East Coast. If you’d like to watch this year, the cable channel Versus is covering it on cable and online. The online coverage is pretty good and starts at 830am Eastern time at this link:

General information can be found there and the official Tour website is:

Posted by our guest blogger DVACJ

Monday, July 13, 2009

An Afternoon with Grandma

One memory, from what seems like eons ago, that I treasure from my childhood is baking peanut butter cookies with Grandma! There was nothing like getting my hands sticky and sweet, filling the house with the aroma of sugary peanut butter and wrapping my lips around the warm creamy cookies. It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon with grandma. They are simple to make and not overly time consuming.

1 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky..however you prefer!
1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
1 egg

1. Heat oven to 375F, Stir together peanut butter, sugar and egg in large mixing bowl.
2. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Put some sugar on a plate and roll balls in it to coat. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Press each ball down with a fork to make a crisscross design. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies just start to brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool on wire racks.

I usually double the recipe and share with neighbors and friends!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Citrus Sunday

Most Sundays you will find me elbow deep in lemons and limes. Especially in the summer, there is nothing better than lounging on the back porch with a glass of sweet but tart freshly squeezed lemonade. Living in Italy I find that the people waste not and want not! So I use the lemon and lime rinds to create an an amazing potpourri that fills the house with a fresh sweet smell!

First: squeeze the juice of 6 lemons and 2 limes (you can filter or not depending on your preference on pulp).

Second: Make a simple syrup by combining 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water on the stove. Stir until completely dissolved!
Third: Mix 1-2 liters water with juice and add syrup to taste. Everyone likes their lemonade a little different. You may want less water and more syrup depending on how tart or sweet you want it. I usually have syrup left over and stick it in the fridge to add to my tea later. I bottle the lemonade in one liter bottles and put them in the refrigerator as well.

Fourth: Put the rinds into a pot, add water and 1/4 cup olive oil. Make sure water covers rines so they do not burn. From this point you can leave as is or as I like to do, add fresh or dried rosemary. Sometimes I also put in a splash of Vanilla extract. It truly depends on what fragrances you prefer. I have done this with grapefruit and pineapple rinds as well. Leave on the stove at low heat for as long as desired. Make sure to add water if it evaporates!

Cin Cin! Happy Sunday!