Homemade Sushi

The summer is always fun and busy for me (and everyone else), but for me and my friends, the summer is also birthday season!! Four of my best friends from college and I celebrate birthdays, all within a month of one another, and we always take some time out of our busy lives to celebrate together. Last year we did something big for everyone’s birthday, but this year, with our busy schedules, we had to get a bit more creative with our time.

My friend Nikki celebrated her birthday at the end of July and since she loves to cook and loves sushi, we thought we would have a sushi making party and make our own sushi! Getting the supplies was not an easy task, but once we found everything we needed we were excited and ready to experiment.

We decided to make a spicy tuna roll, a bagel maki roll and a shrimp and avocado roll. We started with making the rice, which was an interesting task. You have to soak the rice in water and mix it around until the water is no longer murky. The rice takes almost an hour to make from start to finish and if you don’t do it properly, your rice won’t be sticky enough to make the rolls.

While I was making the rice, the other girls were making the spicy sauce, avocado mix and the bagel maki cream cheese mix. I will spare you the recipes that I used because I haven’t had a craving for Sushi since this night, and I used to crave sushi almost daily. Let’s just say that after all was said and done, I prefer to have someone else make my sushi. Not only is it worth every penny, but it tastes better and doesn’t make me queasy.

Maybe I should take a hint from my blog name and stick to my roots…Anyway, here are a few pictures of my failed Kitchen Adventure.

Add the rice to half of a seaweed sheet

Add the insides, roll and enjoy!

This just does not look appetizing, but it tasted a little better than it looks! (not much though…)

In other news, Ryan was nice enough to buy me a new camera for my birthday so I will be able to finally share some MUCH better pictures of my kitchen adventures in the future. Stay tuned for a recap of another Big Fat Italian Wedding soon! My cousin Nick got married last weekend and I can’t wait to share some pictures of the night. Trust me, this was nothing short of a crazy Italian wedding!

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Banana Bread

Where has this summer gone? Oh yea, it just started here in Chicago! I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve still been cooking and having adventures in all kinds of kitchens! The summer started off to a great start, so I thought. I couldn’t wait to head home to Indy for the Italian festival in June. Ryguy had just gotten home from Europe so I was not only going to get to see my family, but finally spend time with him! Long story short, I got to Indianapolis and instantly felt sick. I was lucky enough to make it to the festival Friday night, but honestly, I couldn’t enjoy it because I felt so miserable. Ryguy definitely enjoyed himself though and I’m pretty sure he tested food at every booth, which is a good thing because we didn’t make it Saturday night and got stuck staying in with a no fun, sick girl watching movies! Here are a few pictures of some of the delicious food I remembered to take this year.

Breadsticks

Cheesecake

Before I left for the Italian festival I was so anxious to finally see Ryguy and get home to my family and I couldn’t sit still. Whenever I’m anxious, nervous or stressed, all I want to do is cook. For some reason, it calms my nerves and really allows me to think clearly. Maybe this is because it takes me out of my head and allows me to just be in the moment – in the food – which is what I need sometimes! So, while I was waiting for my fun-filled (or so I thought) weekend, I baked Banana Bread! I didn’t have a family recipe for this (that I know of, hint hint Mom!) so I used the cookbook, Baking, my sister gave me last year as a present for my blog! I didn’t have all of the below ingredients and kind of just went on my own with this one – and it didn’t turn out the BEST, but it was still good and I enjoyed them, but I am going to share the actual recipe below!

Banana Bread

Ingredients:

Butter, for greasing

1 cup flour

3/4 cup light brown flour

Pinch of salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 large ripe bananas, peeled

3/4 cup orange juice

2 eggs, beaten

4 tbsp canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 2-lb loaf pan. Sift the flours, sugar, salt and the spices into a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with the orange juice, then stir in the eggs and oil. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Spoon into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour; then test to see if the loaf is cooked by inserting a skewer (I use a knife or toothpicks) into the center. If it comes out clean, the loaf is done. If not, bake for an additional 10 minutes and test again.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan. Turn the loaf out, slice and serve! This recipe serves 8.

(Sorry for the awful quality of this photo!)

The banana bread wasn’t my best, but I was glad to finally attempt making one of my favorite breads! Stay tuned for adventures of an Italian out west and one of my new favorite recipes!!

Homemade Mac and Cheese

I feel like it is that time of the year when, at least for me, I start to get  frustrated, complacent and even uninterested with everything. It’s still winter, but yet it’s March and I feel like spring should be here already. Enter frustration. It’s still cold and slightly rainy at times and it’s just easier to go home after work, watch TV and then go to bed. Enter complacent. I get home and I’m just bored. Bored with cooking, bored with the TV, bored with the routine of going out every weekend and doing the same thing. Enter uninterested.

As I sit trying to write this post about my homemade mac and cheese, I am feeling at a loss for words. Nothing extremely exciting is going on in my life currently and I feel like this frustration with winter has gotten the best of me. I really need a good kick of vitamin D, and soon, or I am afraid this mental block I have going on is going to be harder to kick than usual. My parents have been in Florida since January (I’m extremely jealous and miss them terribly) and I am hoping to visit them before the end of this month, so hopefully the Florida sunshine will give me that jolt of life I’ve been craving.

My Dad and cousin Michael in Florida…where I wish I was!

Speaking of cravings, I got home last night and for some reason could not shake the thought of eating mac and cheese for dinner. Not the kind from the box, but the gooey, cheesy, creamy homemade kind. I’ve never made this on my own before, as I really do enjoy the kind from the box, and I had no idea or recipe on how to make it from scratch. I had an idea in my mind of how this would go down, but I did some research before I took some ingredients from my fridge and made my own version of homemade mac and cheese.

I had high hopes at first, as the sauce was tasting amazing as it cooked on the stove, but then the kitchen disaster occurred. I had a feeling I should not have been in the kitchen last night, but I wanted mac and cheese and I was bored, so I had a kitchen adventure. So while doing my research I had read a tip to add some boiling pasta water to the sauce to make it creamier right before serving. Sure this is a great idea in theory, but it literally took all the flavor out of my sauce. I had to add in so much salt and pepper after I mixed the sauce with the pasta and I hate doing that. I always want my cooking to be so perfectly seasoned that there is no need for extra seasoning, but that was not the case last night.

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

1 lb of shells or elbow macaroni

1/4 cup butter

3 tablespoons flour

3 cups skim milk

1 egg

3 pieces Munster cheese

1/4 block fat-free cream cheese

1 package shredded cheese

salt & pepper to taste

Nutmeg (to taste)

Paprika (to taste)

In a large pot bring salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 8-10 minutes or until tender.

While the water is boiling, in a medium sauce pan, melt the butter. Once melted, slowly add in the flour and whisk continuously for 5-7 minutes. Make sure it does not get lumpy and do not burn. Once the flour and butter have turned into a thicker liquid, add in the egg (whisked), milk, cheese and then season with paprika, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Stir continuously until creamy. If it turns out too thick, you may want to save a bit of the boiling pasta water and add in at the end, but be sure not to use too much or it will take out the flavor of the cheese sauce (a ladle full at most). Drain pasta and mix with cheese sauce and serve!

The recipe really didn’t turn out that bad, except for the extra water I added. Hopefully next time I can fix a few of my mistakes and make it even better! Unfortunately, I don’t think my family has a “family recipe” for this amazing thing called mac and cheese. It has been, and still is, one of my favorite things in the world. I lived off mac and cheese as a child and I am pretty sure I still could if I truly had no cares in the world! Oh, to be 5 again.
Lucia

Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

A few months ago my Aunt gave me a book called The Geometry of Pasta. It has all the different types of pasta and what sauces to pair them with. It was such a nice and thoughtful gift and I was excited to finally get to use it. Not only is it a great recipe book, but it is actually very interesting and provides insight into the recipe. As I sat watching Top Chef the other night, I was reminded of the book when a few of the contestants were in the bottom for making their own pasta. One of the owners from Rao (that is where the challenge was that night) said that you don’t really need to make homemade pasta for it to be a great dish. He said the sauce should make the dish and that if something is just as good pre-made, there is no need to re-invent the wheel when cooking family style.

I instantly grabbed my book and started looking through recipes, as I am always inspired to cook when I’m watching Top Chef. As I scanned the Gnocchi section, I realized I had never made this for my blog. When I started reading about Gnocchi, I found it interesting that the book claimed it was better to make it from scratch than buy it from the store, as packaged Gnocchi is harder and does not cook as well as homemade. I agree with the guy from Rao when it comes to pasta, as I would probably never attempt to make penne or rigatoni, but Gnocchi seemed fun. I hadn’t made pasta in a while and I have never made Gnocchi so I decided to go for it!

Gnocchi Con Gorgonzola

Gnocchi Ingredients:

2 large Idaho Potatoes (or Russet)

2 Eggs

1 cup all-purpose flour

A few gratings of nutmeg

Boil the potatoes in salted water until fully cooked. Drain and let cool. Once cooled, peel off the skin and put through a ricer/foodmil.

When cool enough to handle, but still warm, add the egg, flour and nutmeg. Mix evenly (work as little as possible so that it does not become doughy). Take a small lump and roll on a well floured surface. Test it in the boiling water to make sure it doesn’t fall apart and cooks properly. Once you are sure it’s ready – roll out the dough in strips about as thick as your fingers (thumb or pinkie, it’s up to you). Cut it into pieces of equal width and height, about the size of the tip of your thumb. Make sure they have enough flour on them, but not too much.

Optional: Use a fork to put ridges on one side or use your thumb to make an indent. This allows the Gnocchi to gather more sauce during your meal.

*NOTE: I did not have a ricer/foodmil so I smashed the potatoes with a fork and then mixed them in the food processor.

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 cups of crumbled Gorgonzola (I just bought a package from the store)

Nutmeg

Pepper

Walnuts (Optional)

Optional: Roast walnuts and add to the sauce. Add in peas for additional flavor.

In a saucepan, mix the cream and the Gorgonzola on medium heat until well  blended. Continue to stir over low-heat. Add in some nutmeg and pepper to taste. While the sauce is cooking, add the Gnocchi to boiling salt water. Once they float to the top, cook for 2 minutes, add to the sauce with a little bit of the pasta water. Cook until well blended. Serve and enjoy!

And for your listening pleasure, my cousin Michael sent me this link today and thought I would share! I know it is out of season, but it is an Italian Christmas song we used to listen to as kids and it made my day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQrdxtWgHbE&feature=related

Lucia

Happy Birthday to you!

Today My Big Fat Italian Life turns 1! I can’t believe a year ago today, as I sat at my intern desk thinking about my “passions,” and how I could start to pursue them, I decided to write my first blog post. I had been toying with the idea of starting a blog for a few months since entering the PR world, but never had the courage, or so-called “passion” (or so I thought) to write about anything.

I was so inspired after hearing a speaker at my internship talk about pursuing your passion that I jumped in head first. As I sat thinking about what I was passionate about (and getting anxiety thinking I may not have any…) it hit me. I am not usually good at sticking to things or routines, but one thing I have always loved to do is cook. It’s something I have grown up doing with my family and it has brought my family and friends together my entire life. I knew this was something I could definitely stick to, and be passionate about! I also thought it would be a great way to be able to enjoy a meal with my friends more often. Coming from a large Italian family, I definitely missed Sunday dinners at my Grandparents after moving to Chicago and found myself feeling rather lonely Sunday nights when I knew all of my family was sitting around a table over pasta and meatballs without me. So not only did I start blogging, I started making Sunday dinner for my roommates and occasional guests. I am proud to say  that I have stayed committed to my blog and have worked hard at continuing to make it better. I may not get to make something I blog about every week, but I have continued to make new food and to even try some new food!

It took a while for me to find my legs with this blog, but as I continued to experiment in the kitchen and learn new recipes, I realized how much I enjoy making recipes my own by adding/tweaking ingredients, working with a tight budget, and learning new tips along the way! There are so many 20 something’s out there who might enjoy cooking, but don’t necessarily have a ton of money to spend or who are too nervous to try anything new. Hopefully I can be a motivator to get in the kitchen and have an adventure – teach yourself new tricks and try new recipes.

After a full year, I am glad I am still here and still passionate about learning everything there is to know about cooking and experimenting with new recipes. So here’s to your first birthday My Big Fat Italian Life and hopefully, many more to come!

And in tribute to this blog’s first birthday I thought I would share my most recent Kitchen Disaster. Lesson learned – don’t attempt a kitchen adventure after a long night out drinking and no sleep. Also, if you make waffles be sure to spray the waffle tray with a lot of Pam(cl) first 😉

Lucia

Cooking Fools – Making Pasta!

Months ago I purchased a Cooking Fools pasta making class with one of my friends through Groupon. I have made my own pasta before, but I have never actually taken a class on how to do it. I usually  just look at a recipe and go with it, so I was excited to maybe learn an actual technique. It was almost a year ago when I made Chicken Noodle Soup with homemade egg noodles (my favorite!). I want to say that I can’t believe this year flew by so quickly, but unfortunately 2010 was a long, drawn out, hectic year, and I am so glad it’s over and 2011 is here. I’m not saying 2010 was a bad year, but I don’t think I have ever experienced a year like 2010 in my life. There was a massive amount of changes and big events that 2010 left me feeling drained, exhausted and excited for some calm.

Anyway, back to the pasta  making class! I was running late due to work and got there just in time. Maegan had purchased a bottle of wine for us (which was much-needed that night) and we started making our pasta! The class consisted of making ravioli and pappardelle. There was also a demonstration on how to make Vodka Sauce and Basil Pesto. I had never used the pasta machine before and my first attempt at pressing the dough was not necessarily successful. My strip of dough turned out uneven, thin, and I ended up wasting a lot of it. For some reason I thought using the rolling-pin (like I had before) was easier.

Making Pasta

Pasta Dough
Yield: 10 oz, approximately 2 large servings
3 oz Semolina flour

3 oz all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

2 eggs

Mound flour on work surface. Build well in center of flour and crack eggs into well Use a fork to combine egg whites and yolks.Slowly, using a fork, begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well. As you expand the well, be sure to build up the sides   the well. When the majority of the flour is incorporated, the dough will begin to come together and you can begin kneading using your hands.Dust you hands with flour before touching dough. Use a light touch to prevent dough from sticking to your hands. Fold dough repeatedly until flour is incorporated, then knead for 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Ravioli & Pappardelle

I wish I could tell you how the pasta actually turned out, but they had everyone combine their dough and made a large batch of both meals. Anything mass-produced can be difficult, so I wasn’t that impressed with the end result, but it was a fun night and I enjoyed getting to spend time/catch-up/drink wine with Maegan!

A few things I DID learn…

  • The more you knead the dough the more the gluten comes out. You want your dough to have more gluten because it provides the necessary consistency for the pasta. When you are making dough for pastries or muffins, it’s the opposite. You don’t want too much gluten.
  • Making pasta with wine is extremely necessary.
  • Take out a small amount of the flour and put it off to the side. Add it in as necessary. The moisture and temperature in the room can affect the dough and you don’t want it to end up too dry.
  • Wish I remembered more, but we did finish the bottle of wine 🙂

Enjoying some Cooking Fools Food!

All in all I am glad I took the pasta class. It made me want to learn more about cooking and the technique. Yes, I can take a recipe and make it or find a dish I want to make and figure out the ingredients and make it on whim, but there is something about the science behind cooking that I find intriguing and I want to learn more. So hopefully there are more cooking lessons in my future!

ltalian Butter Cookies

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but yet Christmas is a week away and I can’t seem to get in the true Christmas spirit. I’ve tried to listen to my Christmas music every day, but today I gave in and went back to my recent obsession, Taylor Swift. I put up a Christmas tree, but I’m never home long enough to keep it turned on more than 20 minutes and it just seems out-of-place. I even had a Christmas cookie party with some of my friends, but it seemed like a typical Sunday, except we were eating cookies and drinking wine instead of having cocktails and going out to the bars after. Hopefully once I am home and with my family the Christmas spirit will kick in, but for now all I can say is, “I’m cold and it’s winter time.”

For my Christmas party I wanted to make an Italian Christmas cookie, but none of my friends really like fig, which is what my family typically makes for the Holidays. I found a recipe in my family cookbook for Italian Butter Cookies, and thought I would make those and add in a snowflake shape and christmas icing! I am glad I ventured to another recipe because they were so good and easy to make. Definitely something I will make again when I need to decorate cookies because they were easy to ice and were quick to make.

Pastafrolia (Italian Butter Cookies)


Dough:

1 lb butter (I used a little under a pound)

2 cups powdered sugar

4 egg yolks

2 lemons, grated

6 cups flour

Icing:

See Cream Cheese Icing in my Recipes!

Mix the butter, powdered sugar, egg yolks, and lemons. Slowly add the flour. Roll the dough on a flat, floured surface until desired thickness. Cut into favorite Christmas shapes and sprinkle with colored sugared (or opt to ice them after they are done!). Bake at 350º for 10 minutes.

I forgot to buy the lemons so I had to go with lemon juice. I definitely think the cookies would have been less dry if I had used actual lemons, so make sure you don’t skip that and use lemon juice (from a bottle…) like I did. It was a slacker move on my part, but Chicago was in the midst of getting 8 inches of snow, it was about 1 degree outside and I had no intention of going back outside once I was back in my apartment.

At the request of my lovely roommate I also made my Coconut Chocolate Chip cookies, which were once again a hit! She decided to make sugar cookies and all of our guests helped her ice them. For fun we decided to make a christmas cocktail and we went on a whim and used ingredients we found in our kitchen and it actually turned out to be SO delicious!

Laura & Lucia’s Christmas Cocktail


Absolute Citrus Vodka

Pomegranate Crystal Light

Soda water

Sprite

Sugar-free Instant Apple Cider

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher, add ice and serve!

I am headed home this week for Christmas, so I am bound to have a lot more kitchen adventures along the way. If you read “An Italian Thanksgiving,” stay tuned for an “Italian Christmas” because Christmas time in my family is taken seriously, and always accompanied by a lot of laughs, a lot of wine, a lot of cards/gambling, even more food, and overall a lot of love – if all of that doesn’t get me in the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will….

I also want to wish a very happy birthday (I won’t say the number) to my wonderful mother, friend, and role model. I love you mom (sorry I won’t be there to celebrate with you!!) and I hope you have a wonderful birthday. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it wasn’t for you – so since I won’t be there on your birthday, Cheers to you!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Lucia

Edamame Risotto

I had the pleasure of trying Edamame Risotto one summer evening with my parents while we were having dinner at Meridian Hills Country Club. I instantly fell in love and have wanted it ever since. It was something about the texture that hooked me. Also, I love risotto and edamame, so putting them together just seemed like a genius idea and I was jealous I didn’t come up with it all on my own.

I concocted a recipe and have had it saved on my computer, waiting for the right time to make it. I am fairly picky still so I decided on my own ingredients and a mixture of a bunch of recipes. I also don’t measure because I think it adds to the adventure! I have always been told how hard it is to make a good risotto, so I wanted my adventure to be at the right time. What better time than a night spent drinking wine and celebrating two of my best friend’s birthdays!

The Edamame Cooked in Sesame Oil and Seasoned

The Risotto cooking (you have to be patient and constantly stir!)

I was surprised at how easy I thought it was to make the risotto. This dish, which seemed so complicated at first, was fairly simple and I can’t wait to continue to experiment with the flavors.

Edamame Risotto

Sesame oil

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup Arborio Rice

2 cups (or more) shelled edamame

Soy sauce (reduced sodium)

Ground ginger

2-½ tbsp olive oil

½ cup white cooking wine

4 cups hot water

Crumbled goat cheese

Romano cheese

Dried basil

Salt and pepper

Heat sesame oil over medium heat (just enough in to lightly cover the bottom the pan). Once hot, add the edamame,  lightly cover in soy sauce, and add a few shakes of ground ginger. Continue to stir until the liquid has evaporated and let cool.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large pan. Add the rice and coat in oil. Toast the rice for about 3 minutes. Reduce heat and add some garlic powder (a few shakes) and the white wine. Once the wine has evaporated, add in 1 1/3 cup of hot water. Stir continuously until the water has evaporated and the consistency is creamy. Continue this process two more times. Remember to keep stirring. Once the rice is creamy, but still slightly firm, remove from heat.

Add the cooked edamame, Romano cheese, basil (to taste), and some goat cheese (to taste). Season with salt and pepper and Enjoy!

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Cookies

Last weekend I was home in Indy and spending the day with my mom at home. She wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to bake while we spent time together! She had a recipe for some Chocolate Coconut cookies she found and was really wanting to try them, and luckily we had all of the ingredients!
I can’t wait until I have a big kitchen where I can have all kinds of baking ingredients and cooking tools on hand at all time. My kitchen now is pretty tiny and the more ingredients/tools I keep buying the smaller it seems to become. The cookies were fairly simple to make and turns out they are delicious!
My mom told me about a trick she read somewhere about how to make your cookies extra fluffy and to give them great shape. Once your dough is made, cover and put in the refrigerator over night. When you take out the next day to bake, the dough should rise perfectly in the oven and it will be easier to give them a good shape before baking!
We were instantly craving the cookies, so I didn’t wait, but next time I will try it out and let you know if it makes a difference. I took them to my Grandparent’s for Sunday dinner and everyone loved them. My Grandma even said they may be her favorite cookie so far, so I am sure I will be making these more often!
Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 350º – Makes about 20 cookies
1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
Cooking Spray
Put coconut in a small baking pan (in a single layer) and toast in the oven for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown and stir once. Remove from oven and let cool.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and blend with whisk. Set aside.
Place brown sugar and softened butter into a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until well blended. Beat in vanilla and egg. Add the flour mixture and beat on a low-speed until everything is combined. Stir in the coconut and the chocolate.
Cover the mixture and leave in the refrigerator over night. This helps to make the dough stick together and will make your cookies fluffier when you bake them.
When ready, put dough onto baking sheets (spray is optional) about an inch apart. Bake at 350º for 10 minutes.
Enjoy!

Last night I made dinner for some of my friends to celebrate their birthday’s. They are all starting to turn 25 and it is making everyone a little on edge…25 used to seem so old, but I don’t feel old and I don’t think they seem old…hopefully I will say the same thing when we are all turning 30! Anyway, I made Edamame Risotto so stayed tuned for that AMAZING and fairly easy recipe!

A True Sunday Dinner

I have been heading home the past few weekends for events, weddings, and IU Homecoming, so I thought I would pay tribute to the biggest kitchen adventure of all, Sunday Dinner with the entire family. My Grandparents make dinner, without fail every Sunday for their kids, their 16 Grandchildren, and now 4 great-grandchildren, along with in-laws, great aunts and uncles who stop by and friends who like to drop in every now and again or even every Sunday. My Grandparents motto is “the more the merrier!”

The menu normally consists of pasta, meatballs, sausage, salad and multiple desserts. Lately my Aunt Annette has been baking bread for us to enjoy with some olive oil and cheese as appetizers and she even baked a homemade apple pie two weeks ago! This past Sunday we celebrated multiple birthdays and anniversaries! My Grandparents were married on October 2, my twin cousins turned 26 the same day and my adorable brother Jack turned 19. October 2nd is a pretty eventful day for our family apparently.

Sauce and Meatballs cooking

The homemade Meatballs and Sausage!

My Grandpa usually likes to add in a little surprise dish to the menu. Normally it’s breadsticks because my cousin David refuses to eat most things, but he will eat about 12 breadsticks for dinner…but a few weeks ago he made Italian meatloaf stuffed Cannelloni. At first I wasn’t sure what it was. As I was eating I knew it tasted good…but there was something about it that wasn’t familiar. Later I inquired and my Grandma informed that it was another one of his experiments and that it was meatloaf (well Italian meatloaf…)

The Meatloaf stuffed Cannelloni

My Aunt’s homemade bread

And her Apple pie!

Dinner is usually an eventful time. Everyone lines up at the stove, piles up their plates, and heads to their selected area for eating. Our family has grown so much over the years that we all don’t fit in one room. My Grandparents even had to add-on a porch the entire length of the house just to accommodate all of their grandkids (there are three tables on the porch to choose from)!

Sunday Buffet Line

My Grandpa finishing up dinner!

(Out of order…but you get the point)

The newest addition to the Page clan – baby Lucas!

It’s been so great being able to spend time at home the past few Sunday’s. I love being around my family and seeing all of my friends, but I am very excited to get everything back to normal and settle down here in Chicago again. I have also not been able to keep up with my own Kitchen Adventures, so I am excited to be able to start cooking again! With all the traveling I have been doing the past few months (or this last year, to be honest) I never even have food in my apartment!

I am making my first ever crock pot meal this week and I am looking forward to this effortless cooking (so they say!).