Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jesus is the Reason for Our Season & Italian-American Traditions shared!!!

Merry Christmas to all!

I am happy to share that things have been going well for me this Christmastime! I love this time of the year!

I love all of it - the music, the decorations, the cooking, the baking, the memories of those who've left our presence and those recipes that I've tried to recapture to connect my soul to theirs, the kids, the traditions, the lights, the creativity I get to share with others, the gift of music that speaks to my soul, the sweet moments when my family is in bed and I get the chance to catch up with my blogging friends, the Christmas cards, the pictures, the ONE handmade card I received this year (Allison you so totally ROCK!!!), the Advent wreath, the twinkling lights, the jingle of the bells on my back door every time someone walks in or out, the kitchen I have cleaned for the umpteenth time today after baking, cooking and eating the meals in-between, the wrapping, the ONLINE shopping that made my life so much easier this year, the sweet peace that comes from accomplished tasks and goals that have been met!

I am blessed.
I know God loves me.
I have that Love to share with everyone I encounter.
I am peaceful.
I am resonably happy.
I have somewhat healthy family members.
I have friends.
I have food.
I have a husband who loves the Christmas season almost as much as I do.
I have children who ask me questions and want to learn about our heritage among many other things.
I have my Catholic Faith that gives me the great traditions over 2000 years old.
I want for nothing.
I am free (thank a soldier).
I have extended family - flawed and crazy and not living near me - ha ha ha!
I have my sense of humor that gets me through some tough times.
I have my voice to sing - it's my calling.
I have my heart to share my Christmas moments with you.
I have a good camera to capture my creativity and love of family with all you reading this!

I have wrapped, cooked, baked, cleaned, ordered, delegated, stamped (rubber and postage), addressed, cut, shop, decorated, glued,, taped, copied, made, created, thanked, sang, watched ALL of my favorite Christmas movies with my kids and DH and slept this Season - if that is not the Grace of Jesus in my life I don't know what could ever possibly be!

One tradition is the Tiny Tart Cookies my dear sweet Grandma Mary made for years! These are sort of like the Pecan Tassie's or Nut Cups recipe, but substitute your favorite jam or preserves - Red Raspberry or Black Raspberry Jams. They truly melt in your mouth!
If you are fortunate to have your Grandma still alive, go visit her! One is in heaven my dear Nonnie, and my other Grandma is in a nursing home unable to recognize us much anymore. I miss her - just when I started to appreciate her, the dementia started and I lost the beginning of a friendship I now have lost! Go, visit them now - life is too short!

The big countdown winds down - the kids cannot wait!

Found these bells at KMart in the Martha Stewart section a few years ago - strung them on ribbon and hang them on the door knob of my back door! Love the sound they make when we come and go!

I painted a pre-made ceramic Nativity figure years ago - still has meaning for me.

When I kept moving the Baby Jesus in this cute wooden set, my six year old daughter Sarina stomps over and says, "Mom, Baby Jesus is NOT BORN yet!" and moves it to behind the lamp! Isn't that a crack up?

Grandma Nina & Papa Jim Polizzi's famous Ricotta Cheese Cookies! Email me if you'd like this recipe! They are the MOST delectable cookie you've ever eaten, baked or served! You'll get the oohhh's and aahh's you've been wanting!

Dominick making fudge - OMGosh! You must take this recipe down! It's a Marshmallow Fudge and trust me - it's painfully good - and I gain weight just looking at it!!! Also, no candy thermometer needed!!! It's uber easy!!!
Marshmallow Fudge
1/2 c. butter
1/8 tsp. salt
1 6oz. can evaporated milk (2/3 c.)
1 8oz. pkg. marshmallows
1 6oz. pkg. chocolate chips
1 square semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. nuts or crushed candy canes

Combine marshmallows, chocolate chips, baking chocolate & vanilla in a large bowl and set aside. Combine butter, salt, evaporated milk and sugar in a 2 qt. heavy sauce pan. Stir and bring to a boil. Then, at a rolling boil, continue cooking and stirring constantly for exactly 8 1/2 minutes. Pour hot candy mixture and blend with electric mixer. Add nuts or crushed candy. Pour into buttered 9" square pan. Cool and cut into 1" squares. Makes 81 pcs.

Sweet Gianna working her little fingers off to make the Ricotta cookies, dropping them on to the cookie sheets!

Andrea waiting patiently for the candy mixture that cooks for the Fudge recipe! Is that the biggest bowl you've ever seen? Stainless steel goodie, my friends! I am serious when I say I have bathed my children in a bowl similar to this one - yup, it's that big - but not the exact one where bare bottomed babies bathed....I assure you!

Sarina and Andrea waiting for the cookies to bake!

Vinny rolled out the pizza dough for Christmas Eve dinner - thanks to my Nonnie, I am passing this tradition to my family! Nonna di buon Natale. Manco l'amiamo! - I miss you dearly this time of year!

Dominick trying his hand at tossing the pizza dough!

Here is the baked Ricotta cookies, cooled and lightly frosted with powdered sugar and milk combo! YUM-O!!! Thanks to Rachel Ray - I love that saying!!!

Italian sausage and a bowl of tomato sauce for the pizza - getting ready for the big evening with my side of the family coming over the pizza dinner!

Need I say more?

Santa needs a good Sugar Cookie with his milk!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours -

(Buon Natale dalla mia famiglia al vostro)!!!