Mamma Regina celebrated her birthday but she's always sweet 16 to Papa' Pasquale. © Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
Many of you know that I’ve been on a health kick lately, which has me stretching my body for the Wii gods in ways I didn’t think possible and drinking gallons of water and green tea and eating wheat, fruits, and vegetables by the ton. But I can’t give up delicious food (c’mon, you know the wheat tastes like cardboard), and I’ve been experimenting with recipes for special occasions, which is when I’m allowed to cheat a little. When I saw the recipe for this layer cake in the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I knew it would be the perfect birthday cake for Mamma Regina. And I think it won points with the ‘rents.
I have to admit that I didn’t follow the recipe to a T. I was a little bit pressed for time (not to mention, lazy). I used Presto cake flour, which includes the baking powder and salt already. I also made four layers instead of five because five would require baking yet one more cake, and it was already almost 11 p.m. (Way past my bedtime!) In the end, I failed to get whole and evaporated milk, both of which were necessary for the icing. So, I used fudge icing from a can that I purchased. I know that was pretty bad. Sorry. I’ll try and do better next time. Still, I think the cakes were moist and tasty with a hint of vanilla. (You can see the cake and Mamma Regina by visiting the “Mamma’s Birthday 2010” photo album.) Of course, the cake could never be as sweet as my Mamma.
Amy prepares to defend her team's net. © Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
Ali gets ready to take a corner kick. © Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of soccer. I even helped launched a girls soccer club in my hometown back when I was in high school. That’s why when my little cousins Ali and Amy (who is also my Goddaughter) asked me to watch their recent soccer games, I couldn’t wait to cheer them on. To view photos from the games, visit the “Girls Soccer 2010” photo album. The games were spirited and the girls showed some good form. A few of the kids had excellent technical prowess to boot. Of course, Ali and Amy were the stars that I’ve always known them to be. It was a delightful day on the field (despite the hot, hot sun). Thanks for inviting me, girls! Go team!
Hair dresser Francesca takes our criticism for some funny looking 'dos. © Photo by Laura Porraro
Girl’s night is a necessity when you need to blow off some steam. Little girls are just as good as big ones when you need to put aside stress — which usually is a result of the men in your life — and have a little fun. After the worst trip I’ve ever had to my family’s native Ischia (lots of drama and work and little time for rest), I was itching for a girl’s night. And my nieces — Francesca, Laura, and Giulia — were up for an old-fashioned pajama party. (To see photos from our slumber party, visit the Girl’s Night 2010 photo album.) We pigged out on pizza and chips, did each other’s hair and nails, poked fun (just see the hair-do’s above), and we even slept a bit. In the morning, I made a big American breakfast, with eggs Benedict, pancakes, ricotta pancakes, and even pancetta (instead of bacon) on the menu. In the end, I had a lovely pedicure, soft hands, and a little less stress than before. Grazie mille a Francesca, Laura, e Giulia!