Sunday Thoughts ~ A Season of Change

“It was Indian summer, a bluebird sort of day as we call it in the north, warm and sunny, without a breath of wind; the water was sky-blue, the shores a bank of solid gold.” ~ Sigurd F. Olson

autumncottageattic: “ lena.kjonsson ”

Good Sunday morning, dear ones.  It is hard to believe this is the last Sunday of October.  I hope you have enjoyed many “bluebird sort of days.”  I have tried to keep my mind on lovely things and the magnificent beauty which surrounds me.  Unfortunately, this next week will most likely be full of confusing political issues, and unsettling remarks.  Not to mention, more sad news about the dreadful virus.   I have heard so many people say, “November third can’t come soon enough.”  Honestly, I will admit, I feel that way too.  And, I know you join me in praying we will see a week without violence.

“The most solid comfort one can fall back upon is the thought that the business of one’s life is to help in some small way to reduce the sum of ignorance, degradation, and misery on the face of this beautiful earth.” ~ George Elliott

Hydrangeas, Hydrangea Flowers, Bush, Hydrangea Shrub

Did you know hydrangeas represent, ‘thank you for understanding?’  They do.  I believe it is so important to try and be understanding. Sometimes I succeed and other times I don’t.  I suppose that is because I am human.  It would truly be a dull world if we all thought alike or had the same opinions. However, now more than ever, it is especially important to take a step back and try and understand others, to truly listen, and to place ourselves in their shoes.  It is our “business to help reduce ignorance, degradation, and misery.”  Our differences can make us a beautiful nation and an example to the world.  Because, “When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.”  And, isn’t that a lovely thought?

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” ~ Pema Chodron

I pray we will walk through a new door, into the light.  And, from all we have learned, be better humans, working together to build a nation of respect and kindness.  To live with John Denver’s thoughts in our minds, “I believe that we are here for each other, not against each other. Everything comes from an understanding that you are a gift in my life – whoever you are, whatever our differences.”

 

Dear friends, thank you so much for your visit.  In closing, I would like to say, “With all my heart, I believe a change is in the air.”  And, my faith tells me it is for the good.  The virus will eventually go away and it will have taught us many things.  

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And…

“After all this is over what really will have mattered is how we treated each other.” ~ unknown  

To that, I would like to add, and how we ‘continue’ to treat each other.

Wishing you a beautiful day and may the angels walk with you along your path.  Stay well!

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Notes:  Quote information, “When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.” is by Tuli Kupferberg.

Images:  Pixibay and tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty ~ The Gentler Side of Life ~ October, 2020

“Those who seek beauty shall find it.” ~ Bill Cunningham

Good morning, dear ones and welcome to ‘The Gentler Side of Life.’  As I write this, I feel as though God has lovingly smiled upon me this morning.  The window beside me is open, the house is completely silent, and the only sounds I hear are the sweet birds singing to me from our dear garden.  The huge sugar maple in the yard behind us is dressed in gold.  In our garden there remains a few honeysuckle blooms on the arbor, the hydrangeas are their deep rusty pink, and many of the peonies are ready for their long winter nap. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such beauty and I do hope you have a lovely view from a window in your home.   

Years ago, I was reading one of Alexandra Stoddard’s books, and she said, “From every window of our homes, we should see something of beauty.”  I believe she was trying to teach us to open our eyes and see the beauty which surrounds us.  Her words have never left me.  There is always gorgeousness, in some form, right in front of us.  Something just waiting to charm us, we just have to look and find eyes that see.

” Because beauty matters.” ~ unknown

Yes, beauty does matter.  It is most important to the human heart and soul.  There is so much written about the subject from wonderful minds, how could we possibly doubt its significance in our daily lives?  Beauty softens our lives and our hearts.  And, if only for a few moments, seeing such clears our heads and allows us to actually appreciate what we see.  It puts us in a stress-free zone.  Beauty holds great power and it can be life-changing.

“It is what I was born for ~ to look, to listen, to lose myself inside this soft world” ~ Mary Oliver

As you know, I enjoy the writings of Mary Oliver.  And the above quote is an example.  I believe Ms. Oliver and I are kindred spirits.  Even as a young girl I could be moved to tears by the magnificence of a fabulous bloom.  I have always been my happiest in a “softer world.”

This past Sunday morning, when I came downstairs, my husband greeted me with, “You must read Dear Abby.”   He had already read the Sunday paper.  I don’t know if the Dear Abby column appears in your local newspaper, but Mike always enjoys reading it.  Anyway, this past week it was about beauty and a woman who suffered from Alzheimer’s.  The woman’s daughter would take her mother for daily walks.  Sometimes the woman knew her daughter and some days she did not.  But, on their walks, they would always pass a house with beautiful flowers and for a few brief moments, the woman would have complete clarity.  She would remark, how she and her husband would always plant such flowers. When the woman passed away, her daughter wrote a note to the lady who lived in the house with the lovely flowers.  She told her how much joy the beauty she had nurtured and planted had given her mom during her final days.  She not only enjoyed the gorgeous flowers, but they returned her to the beauty of her own life.  Amazing power. 

“Dishes are one of the tools that support life. Please take great care when using them.” ~ Shoukei Matsumoto

There is so much beauty in this world, it is hard to know what to talk about first.  I am most passionate about my love for the beauty of gardens and nature.  And next, I imagine I would have to say it would be lovely and delicate china, especially vintage china.  It never ceases to captivate me and I have many wonderful memories of finding special items over the years.  As well as memories of lovely and special gifts.

One such memory was being with my mom in one of our favorite antique haunts.  Mom had a magnificent eye, she could spot something lovely a hundred yards away.  And such was the day she spotted, under a table, a set of Haviland china (now mine).  

Apple Blossom, Haviland china.

The set included twelve cups and saucers, six dinner and salad plates, and six soup bowls.  Not a piece had a chip or crack.  The serving pieces included a sugar and creamer, and a beautiful covered soup tureen with an underneath platter.  I treasure this set not only because it is beautiful, but especially for the memories of a wonderful day spent with mom.

The Christmas following our adventure mom gifted me with her set of Fostoria, Pink Navarre.  She said, “They will be happy with your Haviland,” and they are.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.”  ~ John Keats

 

“Antique things have an appreciation and worth. Something can be old, but it can be timeless…” ~ Cee Lo Green

“Everything that is made beautiful and fair and lovely is made for the eye of one who sees.” ~ Rumi

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Dear friends, thank you so much for your visit.  I hope you have enjoyed your time in the “no-stress zone.” 

Please know, I wish you a perfectly beautiful day.  And until we meet again…

May your path be lined with loveliness and kind souls.  Stay well!

“Beauty gives us hope” ~ unknown

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images:  via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ “Calm in the Chaos”

“It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.” ~ Donna Karan

j-k-i-ng: “““Untitled“ by | Daisuke Uematsu” ”

Good Sunday morning, beautiful souls.  I hope this finds you well and at peace.  The deadly virus appears to be on the rise in almost every state and the rise of heated political rhetoric is flourishing as well, unfortunately.  So how do we find “calm amidst such chaos?”  I certainly do not know. However, I do know, once upon a time, life was sweeter.

Jim Kirwan writes, “We live in a world where violence has become the currency of the day, where the insanity of hatred overwhelms the spirituality of our existence. We search for meaning, yet all we find is chaos.”  For me, home is my shelter from the ugliness of the world.  As I imagine it is for you.  Home, now more than ever, is a true blessing and such a refuge for all of us.  

Our home in the spring.

Although, the violence of this world came too close to our doorstep these past few weeks.  One horrible incident: our neighbor (three houses down the street) was shot while trying to protect his wife from someone who carjacked her and her mother as she pulled out of their driveway. Thankfully, he was not killed but remains in the hospital, and his wife and her mother are safe but emotionally scarred.  

These times are so difficult on many levels and it is not only the violence that seems to be out of control,  it is also the failure to respect other opinions.  Resulting in friendships being lost, some expanding decades upon decades.  And when this happens, friends lose the shelter of one another.  Both are tragic.

Heart, I implore you, it’s time to come back from the dark.” ~ Mary Oliver

I feel certain you will agree, “it is time for many hearts to come back from the dark.”  Perhaps it will be the end result of the virus, once it is over.  I pray we never return to this constant state of ‘rush and confusion.’  And that we will once again respect each other, know our neighbors, pay attention to the magnificence of the earth that surrounds us, and foster kindness.  Because the words of Robert A. Heinlein speak the truth, ” A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. A lack of consideration for others in minor matters and a loss of politeness…”

“There are many things to be grateful “for” but, as I ripen with the seasons of life, the many reasons blend into a sacred mystery. And, most deeply, I realize that living gratefully is its own blessing.” ~ Michael Mahoney

michaelnordeman: “Today I was almost attacked by this nuthatch. “Can’t you see the feeder is empty?” Some birds, especially Nuthatches and Willow tits, are actually following us around the garden whenever it’s time to refill the feeders. Not that...

There are many things I am extremely grateful for and have helped me sort through these difficult times.  To name a few, my husband who is at his core a cheerful person, the beauty of nature, and my blog.  I am so grateful for my dear blogging friends, their encouraging words, and humor.  And my dear friend of sixty-plus years, Janet.  I am grateful life has not eroded our friendship.

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” ~ Helen Keller

Dear friends,  thank you so much for your visit.  I wish you and yours a perfectly gorgeous day.  May the week ahead be filled with everything that is good and wonderful. And, may you always find “calm in the chaos.”  Stay well!

On that note, I will leave you with the thoughts of Steven Charleston. I hope you will find them as hopeful as I did.

 

“Wait and see. Mercy will return once more, like a mist coming down into the valley, long trails of fog as white as a wedding gown against the gray-green mountains, draped by an unseen hand, drifting down to cover the valley below, putting a stillness in the air, a veil of mystery no human heart can yet decipher. Wait and see. Peace will come once more, dancing over the tops of white-tipped waves, rushing like salt spray to tell the good news to every creature waiting, bending the stubborn wetland grass to touch the Earth, as sharp a breeze as can ever fill any sail. Wait and see. Love will be here to stay, coming over the freshly harvested fields like the shadow of a cloud in an October light, moving forward to embrace every longing heart, wrapping us in swirls of colored leaves, the season of rest already upon us, as the promise of our dearest hope is finally fulfilled. Wait and see.”

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images:  via tumblr, Michael S. Lambiotte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ Sharing Smiles

“Just one smile immensely increases the beauty of the universe.” ~ Sri Chinmoy

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Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  I hope this finds you well and under blue skies.  Today, I thought I would share a few smiles.  Smiling is good for all of us, especially during difficult days.  So, make yourself comfy and enjoy some of the things that made me smile.  I hope they will make you smile too.

On a side note, if you had all these Lab puppies, you would never stop smiling.  They arrive in the world happy.

“It’s hard not to feel happy when you make someone smile.” ~Roy T. Bennett

I love to read signs, they always seem to give me a big smile or a laugh.  And, they usually contain a certain amount of truth or a solid message.

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I don’t know about you, but when I receive a ‘real’ note or a letter from someone I adore, it truly is ‘love delivered.’

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” ~ Mother Teresa

The animal world never ceases to provide smiles.  Our treasured pets as well as the dear creatures who reside in nature have much to offer.

This guy is about to sneeze or he is having a bad day.  Either way, I smiled.

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Now, I have been owned by many dear kitties and none of them would have been happy with this hat.

I have felt this way many times in my life.  Wonder what has upset him or her?

oldfarmhouse: “[🌄sunday rituals ”

Our home in Virginia had a four hundred foot driveway.  I can promise you we smiled when our Labrador retriever brought us the paper.  It was one of her favorite things to do.

Such decisions!

Caught!

Who wants to go for a boat ride?

eyeheartfarms: “Flower hungry ”

Ah, it is Buggs.  I will write about him later.  This photo is exactly what he looks like, but he has a taste for delphiniums, not roses.

“A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.” ~ Denis Waitley

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Is there anyone who doesn’t smile when the opportunity presents itself to enjoy a country drive on an autumn day?  And finding a roadside stand is a bonus.

Or, a shop with an interesting name.  Should one venture inside or remain outside?

Beautiful France….

And to find the perfect spot to soak in nature’s glory. What a day.

“Smile more. Smiling can make you and others happy.” ~ Roy Bennett

 

everythingfox: “Kekekeke *fox laugh* Photo by Louise Beech ”

Dear friends, thanks so much for your visit.  I hope you have found a smile or two.

I wish you and yours a magnificent autumn day.

And…

May your week ahead be full of smiles!

 

 

“Let us meet each other with a smile, a smile is the beauty of the soul.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

 

Amour, 

Sandra

 

Images:  via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ Magnificent October

“Autumn lights one more fire in the maples.” ~ Julia Alvarez

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Good Sunday morning, dear friends.  I do hope this finds you well and enjoying the beginning of this glorious month.  The cooler days, crisper air, and not to mention the beauty, are such glorious gifts.  Yes, glorious gifts, especially during chaotic times such as we once again witnessed this past week.  Truly, it is as Joseph Campbell says, “Awe is what moves us forward.”   

That said, please know I thank you, more than you can imagine, for your visit.  And, I do hope you will find a few things today that will give you an “Awe” moment.

“It was October again… a glorious October, all red and gold, with mellow mornings when the valleys were filled with delicate mists as if the spirit of autumn had poured them in for the sun to drain ~ amethyst, pearl, silver, rose, and smoke-blue. The dews were so heavy that the fields glistened like cloth of silver and there were such heaps of rustling leaves in the hollows of many-stemmed woods to run crisply through.” ~ Lucy Maud Montgomery

“My favorite color is October.” ~ Author unknown

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“Ah! the spring days, the summer dawns, and October woods!” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“October had tremendous possibility… the golden leaves promised a world full of beautiful adventures.  They made me believe in miracles.” ~ Sarah Guillory

 

This beautiful Ginkgo tree, with its branches hanging over the water, is my favorite specie of tree.  Not only because it is a gorgeous tree, especially in autumn, but because it is a hardy tree with quite a story.  “The tree is native to China and has been grown for thousands of years. Because it’s the only surviving member of an ancient order of plants, it’s sometimes referred to as a living fossil and is the only living species in the division Ginkgophyta, all others being extinct. It is found in fossils dating back 270 million years.”  Truly, an extraordinary tree, with a survival history that is a ‘miracle.’

“A tangerine and russet cascade of kaleidoscopic leaves, creates a tapestry of autumn magic…” ~ Judith A. Lindberg

“In October any wonderful unexpected thing might be possible.” ~ Elizabeth George Speare

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Early walks abound with sweet surprises.  It is a treat to spot a red squirrel busy preparing for winter days.   In West Virginia, they are usually found only in our heavily forested areas.  However, gray squirrels are found in towns and the countryside, usually robbing bird feeders.

And to come upon deer, who wish I would have taken a different route.  Their look says, “You are not welcome.”   So, I promise them I won’t stay long.

“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” ~ Robert H. Schuller

And returning home I find an anonymous gift (the best kind) from a sweet soul,  a basket of apples to be enjoyed.  A lovely unexpected blessing.

” Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

 

Dear friends, I pray October will be good for all of us.  It is such a magnificent month, full of marvelous weather and a feast of beauty at every turn.  So, please be sure to “take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” 

Know I wish you and yours a beautiful day.

And…

May October bring you many sweet surprises.  Stay well!

“October breathed poetry ~ beautiful and glowing.” ~ Terri Guillemets

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images:  via tumblr
Information about the Ginkgo tree from Wikipedia 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ Mary Oliver

“It is a serious thing just to be alive on this fresh morning in the broken world.” ~ Mary Oliver

Sunrise, Autumn, Nature, The Fog, Forest, Trees

Good Sunday morning, beautiful souls.  I hope this finds you well and enjoying some lovely autumn weather.

Today, I would like to share some of the writings of Mary Oliver.  I have always loved her work, much of which was inspired by nature.  She so enjoyed her unaccompanied walks in the woods and along the shore.  Truly, the beauty and the sincerity of her feelings remain a blessing to the world.  And, she continues to inspire us to pause, revisit her thoughts, and wonder. 

Mary Jane Oliver (1935~2019) was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, both for poetry.

“Why do people keep asking to see God’s identity papers when the darkness opening into morning is more than enough?” ~ Mary Oliver

sunrise over Lake Superior “Why do people keep asking to see God’s identity papers when the darkness opening into morning is more than enough?” - Mary Oliver Sunrise over Lake Superior.

 

“Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood…Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers. Let me keep company always with those who say, ‘Look!’, and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads.” ~ Mary Oliver

Como Conservatory Ladyslipper Orchids “Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood…Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers. Let me keep company always with those who say, ‘Look!’, and laugh in...  Lady slipper Orchids ~ Como Conservatory, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

 

Messenger ~ By Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.”

“You wouldn’t believe what once or twice I have seen. I’ll just tell you this: “only if there are angels in your head will you ever, possibly, see one.” ~ Mary Oliver

Great, Egret, White, Heron Photo from, Pixabay

Dear friends, thank you so much for your visit and I hope you have found a thought or an image to carry with you throughout the week.  

Wishing you and yours a beautiful day.

And in the week ahead…

May you pause for a moment and “pay attention.”  Stay well.

“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” ~ Mary Oliver

 

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

Images:  Pixabay and  tumblr

 

 

At Table ~ Rao’s Table

 

“A tavola non si invecchia.” ~ Italian Proverb
Translation: “At the table with good friends and family you do not become old.”
Image may contain Restaurant Shop Kiosk Cafe Food and Meal
 Photo by, Johnny Miller.

Good morning, sweet friends and welcome to another “At Table.”  Today, we are at the table of Frank Pellegrino.  Sadly, Mr. Pellegrino passed away on February 1, 2017, from lung cancer.  But, I can assure you he is with us in spirit, and I hope his spirit will guide me as I write about his renowned restaurant, Rao’s.

Do you love and enjoy Italian food?  Oh, my goodness, I do.  But, I think it may be in my blood.  My Aunt Nellie was a wonderful Italian woman.  She wasn’t really my aunt, she was our neighbor when I was growing up.  In those days children did not refer to their elders by their first name, so to me, she was Aunt Nellie.  Aunt Nellie spoke Italian to her family and friends, and to me, she spoke broken English.  But I always understood her.  By her side, I learned many things about Italian cooking.  I loved her dearly.  She was my extra grandmother and because of her, I know how to make a delicious sauce.  While I could write an entire post about her, this post is about Rao’s and the Pellegrino family.

“Rao’s is truly one of the greatest Italian restaurants.  There’s nothing fancy about it, just great food and great service.” ~ Vic Damone

Charles Rao was the first owner when Rao’s opened its doors on a corner of Harlem in 1896.  However, it was Frank Pellegrino,  born and raised in East Harlem, who turned this restaurant into what it is today.  As a restaurant with a bit of a ‘shady’ past, it is known for serving the best Southern Italian food in New York City.  Frank Pellegrino inherited the restaurant from the Rao family.    
When Rao’s opened, it had a mere ten tables and it remains that way today.  Tucked away on this little corner of East Harlem it stands in what was once a legendary Italian neighborhood.  Frank Pellegrino was the proprietor until his death and then the honor was then passed on to his son.
Image may contain Frank Pellegrino Clothing Apparel Human Person Suit Coat Overcoat Shirt and Man
  Frank Pelligrino Sr. and Frank Pellegrino Jr.~ Photo by, Timothy White,2015

“The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.” ~ George Miller

You are probably wondering, “Has she been to this restaurant?”  The answer is no.  You see, this restaurant is so exclusive that is it almost like purchasing a time-share.  With only ten tables the restaurant has had the same customers, with standing reservations, for years.  And, these reservations are passed down through generations.  So, how do I know about this restaurant?  A grand cookbook, of course, with outstanding recipes from the Pellegrino family.
“Every dish is a family recipe that has been passed on from generation to generation, including the sauce that we sell in the markets. They all come from my Grandmother Paulina, Aunt Anna, and Uncle Vincent, and are recipes that were brought over from Italy. My dad and my aunt collaborated together on pretty much all the staple dishes, and now my chef Dino [Gatto] is involved. The recipes themselves evolve but their origins remain tried and true.” ~ Frank Pellegrino

 

I know you are anxious to see what recipes I will share from this marvelous cookbook.  So, I will get right to it.  These are easy recipes and are approved, as always, by the resident taste tester at ‘Maison De Jardin.’  

Image may contain Food and Meatball
 Photo by, Johnny Miller.
Anna And Frankie’s Meatballs ~ “Polpettini”
Ingredients
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 and 1/2 Tbls. chopped Italian parsley
1/2 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 cups Bread Crumbs ( see note)
2 cups lukewarm water
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fine quality olive oil
Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl.  Add eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Using your hands, blend ingredients together.  Blend bread crumbs into the meat mixture.  Slowly add water, 1 cup at a time, until the mixture is quite moist.  Shape meat mixture into balls – about 2 and 1/2 to 3 inch balls.  Heat oil in a large sauté pan.  When the oil is very hot but not smoking, fry meatballs in batches.  When the bottom half of the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp, turn and cook the top half.  Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.  Lower cooked meatballs into simmering Marinara Sauce and cook for 15 minutes.  Serve over pasta or on their own.  Note:  In place of bread crumbs, you can use stale Italian bread, white part only, that has been lightly soaked in lukewarm water.  My Aunt Nellie always used Italian bread and hard crust Italian bread.  She would tear up bread, including crust, and soak in warm milk.
Marinara Sauce ~ “Salsa Marinara”
Ingredients
2 ~ 28-ounce cans imported Italian plum tomatoes with basil ( preferably “San Marzano”)
1/4 cup fine-quality olive oil
3 Tbls. minced onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Salt  and pepper to taste
6 leaves fresh basil, torn,
pinch of dried oregano
Remove tomatoes from the can, reserving the juice.  Using your hands, crush the tomatoes, gently remove and discard the hardcore from the stem end, and remove and discard any skin and tough membrane.  Set aside.  Put oil in a large, nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add onion, sauté for about 3 minutes or until translucent and just beginning to brown.  Stir in garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until just softened.  Stir in tomatoes, reserved juice and salt, and pepper.  Raise heat, and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce to a very low simmer and cook for about one hour or until flavors have combined and sauce is slightly thickened.  Stir in basil, oregano, and cook for additional few minutes.  Remove from heat and serve.  Wonderful over any pasta.

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” ~ Federico Fellini

Rao’s Famous Lemon Chicken ~ “Pollo al Limone”  (serves 6) 
2- 2 and 1/2 pound broiling chickens halved 
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley 
Lemon sauce – recipe follows
To attain maximum heat, preheat the broiler for at least 15 minutes before using.  Broil chicken halves, turning once, for about 30 minutes or until the skin is golden-brown and juices run clear when the bird is pierced with a fork.  Remove chicken from broiler, leaving broiler on.  Using a very sharp knife, cut each half into about 6 pieces ( leg, thigh, wing, 3 small breast pieces).  Place chicken on a baking sheet with sides, of a size that can fit into the broiler,  Pour lemon sauce over the chicken and toss to coat well.  If necessary, divide sauce in half and do this in two batches.  Return to broiler and broil for 3 minutes.  Turn each piece and broil for an additional minute.  Remove from broiler and portion each chicken onto each of 6 warm serving plates.  Pour sauce into a heavy saucepan.  Stir in parsley and place over high heat for 1 minute.  Pour an equal amount of sauce over each plate of chicken and serve with lots of crusty bread to absorb the sauce.
Lemon Sauce
1 cups fresh lemon juice (fresh only)
1 cup olive oil
1 Tbls. red wine vinegar
1 and 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk together juice, oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Whisk or shake vigorously before using.  Note:  if you have refrigerated this mixture, take out of the refrigerator a few hours before using, as the olive oil will be thick.

Amaretti ( makes about 3 dozen cookies)

Ingredients

8 ounces almond paste (This is available at bakeries or in the bakery section of markets.)

1 cup of sugar

2 tsp. almond extract

4 large egg whites, separated

pinch of salt

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 300.  Using an electric mixer, beat together the almond paste, sugar, and extract.  Add 1 egg white and continue beating until smooth.  In a separate bowl, beat remaining egg whites until foamy.  Add salt and continue beating until stiff but not dry.  Fold the beaten egg whites into the almond paste mixture and then beat for about 3 minutes or until very light.  Lightly butter and flour 3 cookie sheets.  Drop the batter by the half teaspoonful onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 1 and 1/2 inches between cookies.  When all cookies are made, place confectioners’ sugar into a fine sieve and gently shake it over the cookies so each cookie is lightly covered.  Let cookies rest for 1 and 1/2 hours.  Bake cookies in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and all to cool on the cookie sheets.  Store, tightly covered, in separated layers, for up to 2 weeks.

Note:  Do Not bake these cookies on a rainy day. Egg whites often won’t become stiff if they are beaten on a rainy day.

“There’s nothing more romantic than Italian food. ~ Elisha Cuthbert

 

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Rao’s Table.  Everyone seated ‘at your table’ will be most pleased if you prepare any of these dishes. They will be speechless for hours if you prepare more than one. They are wonderful, as is the cookbook, which contains many more delicious recipes.  Additionally, Pellegrino is the author of several cookbooks and if they are all as wonderful as the one I have mentioned, they would certainly be worth purchasing.  And, with the holidays approaching, any of these books would make a lovely gift for anyone who enjoys cooking.  
Enjoy these beautiful autumn days and your time in the kitchen. 
 
And remember,
Some of the best memories are made “At Table.”
Stay well!
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“In heaven, after antipasti, the first course will be pasta.” ~ Steve Albini

Buon Appetito,
Sandra

Images:  Vanity Vair Magazine, Rao’s and tumblr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts ~ Wisdom

“Wisdom has its root in goodness.” ~  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good Sunday morning beautiful souls.  I do hope this finds you well and under blue skies this morning.

Today, I want to share some thoughts about wisdom.  Wisdom is something I feel we all seek, at least I do.  Especially, when I offer assistance to someone in need or when I am making a decision for my own life.  I always pray for wisdom to say or do the right thing.  Perhaps, that is what C.S. Lewis meant when he referred to “…patches of God light in the woods of experience.”  I believe he knew we are all walking through “the woods of experience.” And, when I know I have done or said something correctly in a matter of importance, it is a “patch of God light” for me.   Truly, Divine wisdom bestowed upon me. 

Some time ago, a dear friend introduced me to the writings of a wonderful man, Steven Charleston.  You may or may not be familiar with him, so I will share some information about him and his life. 

Steven Charleston was born and raised in Oklahoma.  He is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a Native American elder, and retired Episcopal Bishop of Alaska.   Additionally, he received his BA from Trinity College, his M.Div. from Episcopal Divinity School, and DDs from Alaska Pacific University and Trinity College. He has served as Executive Director of the National Committee on Indian Work at the Episcopal Church Center; Director of the Dakota Leadership program, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Creator, and Director of Cross-Cultural Studies at Luther-Northwestern Theological Seminary;  and Chaplain, Trinity College.  He also served as President of Episcopal Divinity School, as well as a professor of Theology. 

This man is not only well educated, but he is also so inspiring with great wisdom. And, his writings always hold both.  Therefore, I thought I would share one of his recent posts from Facebook (see my note at the end of this post).  It certainly speaks to our times and I do believe will provide a few moments of thought. 

“We are in a time of awakening. …  We are waking up. It is not easy, but we are waking up. We are becoming alert to the fault lines that have made our culture more fragile than we imagined. We are seeing the injustice, the inequality, and the pain. We are waking up to the result of past mistakes come back to confront us with climate change. We are living between flood and fire. Now we are engaged in a great process of political change. We are opening our eyes to the end of chaos and the beginning of renewal. Even if we are not sure where we will go next, we are spiritually more aware than we have been in a very long time. The awakening has begun.” ~ Steven Charleston

Dear friends, thank you for your visit.  

Have a beautiful and peaceful day.

And, a lovely week ahead.  Stay well.

“Wisdom teaches: the fruits of silence; the blessings of health; the rewards of self-discipline; the satisfaction of achievement; the responsibility of power; the beauty of nature; the miracle of love; the meaning of friendship; the privilege of prayer; the power of faith; the joy of sharing; the treasure of integrity.” ~ William Arthur Ward

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

 

Note:  Steven Charleston posts a daily meditation on his Facebook page.

Images: via tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty ~ The Gentler Side of Life

“The voice of beauty speaks softly; it creeps only into the most fully awakened souls.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Good morning, sweet friends.  Welcome to the first post of  “The Gentler Side of Life.”   Beauty truly is the gentler, sweeter, softer, and more lovely side of life, isn’t it?  Whenever I see a beautiful flower, a magnificent tree, a gorgeous piece of china, or a lovely piece of needlework (the list goes on), my heart melts.  You may not be as gushy about it as I am, but I imagine your heart turns a little softer too.  I return to a gentler world.

As many of you may know, I began my blog as a source of inspiration for those of you who are interested in beauty and goodness and, like myself, weary from the chaos in our world.  I like to think it is a respite for all those who visit.  These days, I believe beauty is more important than ever. So, I had a revelation.  I have decided to write “The Gentler Side of Life” as a once a month series as I do “At Table.”  It is my great hope that you will enjoy the beauty that I share and you will feel uplifted with a sense of peace when you leave.  I will do my best to keep the posts from being too lengthy. However, I make no guarantees.

“Sometimes a revelation comes with a flash of heavenly light and a booming voice ~ and sometimes it is jotted in a sun-bleached spiral notebook.” ~ Jeffrey A. Lockwood

You Are Now Entering A Stress-Free Zone ~ Relax and Enjoy!

colorel11: “via ”

“Beauty is visible music.” ~  T.C. Henley

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.” ~ Boris Pasternak

Do you love sweet little surprises?  A small bouquet of flowers tied to your door, a book someone thought you would enjoy, which they left it on your porch, an unexpected package from an old friend, a loaf of Greek bread a friend knows you love, or hubby arriving home with a lovely bouquet of a few precious blooms.  It really is all about the little things.  They bring so much beauty and joy to our world.

twoweeks: “https://www.instagram.com/p/B9-K-k2FTGH ”

“Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.” ~ Samuel Johnson

“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.” ~ Jules Renard

Ah, the lavender fields of France.  I have never seen them, but when it is once again safe to travel, we are headed there.  Although I am not as well-traveled as many of you, I have visited many of the Caribbean Islands and have been all throughout the South. Through these travels, I have experienced unforgettable beauty. And, the place I call home, “Wild and Wonderful West Virginia” is majestic.  Truly, there is beauty in our world at every turn.

New River Gorge in West Virginia.  Dressed in her autumn beauty.

 

“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.” ~ Mary Oliver

“When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go.” ~ Alexandra Stoddard

“I often think of that rare fulfilling joy when I am in the presence of some wonderful alignment of events.  Where the light, the colour, the shapes and the balance all interlock so beautifully that I feel truly overwhelmed by the wonder of it.” ~ Charlie Waite

matialonsorphoto: “ lavender days by matialonsor ”

Isn’t light wonderful?  I love to see the early morning dappled light as it filters into our old home.  And, another thing I love is to see: it dancing and sparkling like diamonds on the water.  Such beauty is incredible.

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“Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers ~ for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.” ~ Osho

Golden Rain Tree in bloom.

 

“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility.” ~ Rachel Carson

Dear friends, I hope you have enjoyed “The Gentler Side of Life.”  As you know, I love beautiful words and it is my hope that you do too.  For me, it seems important, even more so these days, to read words that are meaningful and make us pause for a moment and just think. I will also try to present lovely photos to accompany these words which will be peaceful and happy.

For some time, I have continually felt a gentle nudge to write this series, which I have been working on for a while.  I know  I have no solutions to problems in our world, that is in God’s hands.  But if I can offer solace and a few moments of peace, I want to do just that.   

I want you to know how much I appreciate your visit and if you can take a moment, I would love to hear your thoughts about this series.  Wishing you a beautiful and peaceful day.  Stay well !  

 

 

“Beauty gives us hope” ~ unknown

 

Amour,

Sandra

Images: via tumblr and WV travel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Thoughts – A Whisper of Fall

“In the hazy days at summer’s end when the air’s still warm and the green near spent.  When the days grow short and the evenings tall.  Then you feel in a whisper, Fall.” ~ Laura Jaworski

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Good Sunday morning, sweet friends.  Are you beginning to see “whispers of fall?”  I hope so, because they are signs of magnificent beauty about to arrive in the days ahead.  If you would, take a moment and do as Catherynne M. Valente instructs us,  “Squeeze your eyes closed, as tight as you can, and think of all your favorite autumns, crisp and perfect, all bound up together…”  Now, isn’t that a lovely way to begin your day?  I imagine you could describe many beautiful days and times that accompanied your perfect autumns.

“Summer is leaving silently.  Much like a traveler approaching the end of  an amazing journey.” ~ Darnell Lamont Walker

Summer does quietly slip away as we welcome glorious autumn.  Every season holds its own great magic and beauty, however, to me autumn is extraordinary.  The weather is delightful, the humidity of summer is gone, and the sights are a visual feast.  There is a beautiful stillness to everything as Mother Nature‘s summer begins to drift off to sleep.  Truly, a magical season.

“Autumn evokes different feelings for everyone…As the energy of summer slows down, the frosty winter is getting closer, a beautiful autumn day is truly special.  Cool morning air, grass wet with dew, and those amazing warm golden colors spreading through the trees…unforgettable autumn.” ~ Vicki Chicago-Marsh

“A tangerine and russet cascade of kaleidoscopic leaves create a tapestry of autumn magic Upon the emerald carpet of fading summer.” ~ Judith A. Lindbergh

Dear friends, I hope this finds you well and beginning to dream of lovely autumn days.  This is such a wonderful time to enjoy simply being alive, dressing our homes for autumn, and soaking in every drop of  Nature’s glory.  The magnificent beauty is free for our enjoyment.  

Know I wish you and yours a glorious day. 

And…

Thanks so much for your visit, have a wonderful week.  Stay well!  

 

“The sunshine kissed the summer blooms and sent them all to slumber.  Sweet dreams to you, my treasures, for I’ll see you all next summer.” ~ Freya Turrill

 

Amour,

Sandra

 

 

Images:  via tumblr