A Neighborly Visit

I have fond memories of going to my Italian grandmother’s and my Aunt Millie’s house on Sundays. They lived in a two-story home located in a small Italian neighborhood.  Everybody knew them. Any time you stopped by, there was always company, and someone speaking Italian. Aunt Millie was the ultimate chef. She would always have mounds of food ready to be eaten the moment her boys (and girls) jetted in the house from school. Grandma lived upstairs and Millie was downstairs. Later when Aunt Millie had grandchildren, they would call them Grandma upstairs/downstairs. Being a part of the hustle and bustle of their home was where everyone wanted to be: family friends, neighborhood kids, and relatives. My mom worked in the area sometimes, and always stopped in, no phone call necessary. You were always welcome!

My neighbor and I are like that. We still keep that open door policy and stop in and chat. These days finding that time, to stop in and visit with our neighbors has become much more difficult given our kid’s busy schedules. However, I still think it’s nice to bring over a dessert you made to share with a neighbor, or invite them over for tea. I have often sent over many freshly made desserts like my banana bread, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, vanilla cake, among other yummy and scrumptious desserts like these lemon drop cookies. It just takes a few minutes to call or drop over. That is what keeps us connected in a society where face-to-face time has been replaced with Face time and Facebook!  Challenge yourself to reconnect like they did in the good ole’ days. If you are not in close proximity to your neighbor, you are just a phone call away.

My husband, Peter and I  were at a local restaurant one night. We live in a University town and get to meet some wonderful, and very interesting people. This particular night we sat at the bar and sat next to a man named Jim. He was dining alone, so my husband and I struck up a conversation. He was a Princeton University graduate and a former business developer. We had a lot of laughs and a pleasant conversation. He was an older gentleman in his seventies and he discussed texting on the phone versus a phone call. He mentioned that to him texting was just not the same as a phone call. During a phone call you can hear the inflection in someone’s voice, and hear their tone etc. Nothing is left to guesswork, like in texting. Obviously, face-to-face is the best, but calling is the second best option.

Today my house is a lot like Aunt Millie’s. We have many of my kid’s friends coming and going all the time. I think they like to stop in to eat! Haha! Anyway, it’s a nice to remember that if you want the kids to hang at your house – feed them! They love to hang and chat with me in the kitchen. They are always welcome! They have become some of my best taste testers for my recipes.

Hope the summer is going well for you. Book launch coming soon!



Summer Pasta Salad

Summer is the time for family gatherings and picnics. Everyone always wants to contribute a meal, but doesn’t want to bring a dish that will spoil in the hot sun. This is a great option. It’s the perfect make-ahead salad for a picnic or a summer party. If you haven’t been to the Mediterranean, this salad will bring you there in one delicious bite. I love the combination of flavors: fresh dill, olive oil, and seasonings paired along side salty, crumbly feta cheese and Kalamata olives.  You can serve it cool or warm. If you serve it warm add the cheese last, once the pasta has cooled.  Try my Mediterranean Penna Pasta Salad.

Try these hot dogs for the kids!

These are as easy as they look! I bought a package of crescent rolls and sliced them thinly. Then, I carefully twisted them around the hot dog. They baked in the oven until they were cooked through, and the rolls appeared lightly browned. Serve with your favorite hot dog dipping sauce, and the kids (and okay the adults) will be happy. Summer fun!