Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not" and Make it Delicious!

Waste Not, Want Not" and Make it Delicious!
By Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali,
Author of Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes

There is no more appropriate time than now to think about how and why we cook. Food is a way of connecting with the people who surround us. Through it, we communicate emotions like love, compassion and understanding, and there is no better opportunity to communicate with our children than at the table. It's where we can discuss our values of life that are important to us as individuals, as a family and as a part of the world we live in.

As overconsumption and greed have come to haunt us, now is a time for reflection. We should be looking back at the generations before us to understand their approach to the table. Growing food, shepherding animals, foraging for the gifts of nature is all part of respecting food. Nothing needs to be wasted. Bread can be recycled and used in soups, casseroles, lasagnas and desserts. Water is carefully conserved as in the pasta recipe I share below where the same water in which vegetables are cooked is used to cook the pasta that follows, and then that is saved for soups or for making risotto.

When one respects the food we prepare, it also leads to a more sensible and balanced intake of proteins, legumes and vegetables.

So "waste not, want not" and make it delicious!

Excerpt from Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009)

Maccarun ch'I Hiucc

Serves 6

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, and I regret that many people don't sufficiently appreciate its unique flavor and nutritional value. This is not the case in Molise, where it is cooked often and creatively, as exemplified by the following two simple vegetarian pasta dishes. The first recipe, maccarun ch'i hiucc, is zesty with garlic and peperoncino.

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta pot

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

7 plump garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

½ teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 large head cauliflower, cut in small florets

1 batch (1½ pounds) Fresh Cavatelli (preceding recipe), or 1 pound dried pasta

1 cup freshly grated pecorino (or half pecorino and half Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano, for a milder flavor)

Recommended equipment: A large pasta pot; a heavy-bottomed skillet or sauté pan, 12 inch diameter or larger

Fill the large pot with salted water (at least 6 quarts water with 1 tablespoon salt), and heat to a boil.

Pour the olive oil into the skillet, set over medium-high heat, and scatter in the sliced garlic. Let the garlic start to sizzle, then toss in the peperoncino and parsley; stir and cook for a minute. Ladle in a cup of the pasta cooking water, stir well, and adjust the heat to keep the liquid in the skillet simmering and reducing gradually while you cook the cauliflower and pasta.

With the pasta water at a rolling boil, drop in the cauliflower florets, and cook them for about 3 minutes, until barely tender. Drop in the cavatelli, stir, and return the water quickly to a boil. Cook another 4 to 5 minutes, until the cauliflower is fully tender and the pasta is al dente (if you are using dried pasta, it will, of course, take longer).

Lift out the florets and cavatelli with a spider or strainer, drain briefly, and spill them into the skillet. Toss well, to coat all the pasta and vegetable pieces with the garlicky dressing, then turn off the heat, sprinkle over the skillet the grated cheese, and toss again. Heap the cauliflower and cavatelli in warm bowls, and serve immediately.

Pane di Cioccolato al Cucchiaio

Serves 6

This recalls for me the chocolate-and-bread sandwiches that sometimes were my lunch, and always a special treat. And it is another inventive way surplus is used in Umbrian cuisine, with leftover country bread serving as the foundation of an elegant layered dessert. Though it is soaked with chocolate and espresso sauce and buried in whipped cream, the bread doesn't disintegrate, and provides a pleasing textural contrast in every heavenly spoonful.

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

8 ounces country-style white bread, crusts removed

½ cup freshly brewed espresso

2 tablespoons dark rum

2 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ cups chilled heavy cream

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Recommended equipment: A large rimmed tray or baking sheet, such as a half-sheet pan (12 by 18 inches); a spouted measuring cup, 1 pint or larger; 6 parfait glasses or wineglasses, preferably balloon-shaped

Put the chopped chocolate in a bowl set in a pan of hot (not boiling) water. When the chocolate begins to melt, stir until completely smooth. Keep it warm, over the water, off the heat.

Slice the bread into ½-inch-thick slices, and lay them flat in one layer, close together, on the tray or baking sheet.

Pour the warm espresso into a spouted measuring cup, stir in the rum and sugar until sugar dissolves, then stir in half the melted chocolate. Pour the sauce all over the bread slices, then flip them over and turn them on the tray, to make sure all the surfaces are coated. Let the bread absorb the sauce for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, whip the cream until soft peaks form, by hand or with an electric mixer.

To assemble the parfaits: Break the bread into 1-inch pieces. Use half the pieces to make the bottom parfait layer in the six serving glasses, dropping an equal amount of chocolatey bread into each. Scrape up some of the unabsorbed chocolate sauce that remains on the baking sheet, and drizzle a bit over the bread layers. Next, drop a layer of whipped cream in the glasses, using up half the cream. Top the cream layer with toasted almonds, using half the nuts.

Repeat the layering sequence: drop more soaked bread into each glass, drizzle over it the chocolate sauce from the tray and the remaining melted chocolate. Dollop another layer of whipped cream in the glasses, using it all up, and sprinkle the remaining almonds on top of each parfait. This dessert is best when served immediately while the melted chocolate is still warm and runny.

©2010 Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali, authors of Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipes

Author Bio
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, coauthor of Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipe, is the author of five previous books, four of them accompanied by nationally syndicated public television series. She is the owner of the New York City restaurant Felidia (among others), and she lectures on and demonstrates Italian cooking throughout the country. She lives on Long Island, and can be reached at her Web site,

Tanya Bastianich Manuali, Lidia's daughter and coauthor of Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy: A Feast of 175 Regional Recipe, received her Ph.D. in Italian Renaissance art history from Oxford University. Since 1996 she has led food/wine/art tours of Italy. She lives with her husband and children on Long Island.

Five Tips to Help Your Child Develop Their Natural Gifts

Five Tips to Help Your Child Develop Their Natural Gifts
By Rafe Esquith,
Author of Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World

It'd be nice if there was a secret I could tell you about how to instantly make your kids more successful in school and life. But there is no magic pill, only that old stand-by, hard work. And the funny thing about that is, you can't force kids to work hard. I suppose you could try, but I've rarely seen anything useful come from kids whose parents had to hold their noses to the grindstone. If there's something close to a secret, perhaps it's this: Kids work hard when they want to work hard, and this happens only when are motivated to do so by some positive internal goal, and not by fear or because they are worried about disappointing others. They work hard because they value hard work. Instilling kids with values like this is the first step the long road to real success.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing you can do to make this happen. Here are five ways to put your kids on the path to extraordinary:

Toot Your Own Horn. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you I sound like a broken record when it comes to spreading the gospel of music education. Put simply, every child should play an instrument, and parents should make whatever sacrifices are necessary to put a flute, trumpet, guitar, or tuba in their kid's hands. I don't have room here to list all the valuable skills that playing music can help develop, but one of the most important is the ability to listen to others: to make great music, a child must learn to pay attention to what others are playing. Doing so improves focus and teaches a valuable lesson about collaboration.

Be the Example. We've probably all seen a parent yelling at her kids to be quiet and perhaps chuckled to ourselves about the mixed signals sent by this gesture. It seems like an easy lesson: for kids to understand why things are important, you have to be consistent. But this isn't just situational advice. Kids mirror parents and adults in far more depth than we often realize. They internalize our values by watching what we do, which is why it's essential that we live the way we want them to live. We can stress the importance of being on time until we're blue in the face, but if we're constantly late to pick them up from school, that's what they're going to remember.

Great Books are Great for a Reason. Kids have two backpacks: the physical one they carry their books in, and the mental backpack where they store all the lessons and experiences they'll use to help make decisions. A paperback copy of To Kill a Mockingbird won't take up much room in the first one, but the wisdom contained within this book can be carried in the mental backpack for a lifetime. There are lessons here about choosing generosity over selfishness, making the right choice even when it's the difficult one, and standing up for your beliefs. I also recommend Thornton Wilder's fantastic play Our Town, and anything by Shakespeare (important note: kids are never too young for Shakespeare). A kid with a library card has the world at her fingertips, and when parents read with her, they can serve as map to help make sense of that world.

Do Unto Others. Volunteering is a great way to build character and teach values while making an important contribution to the community. Working at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving, visiting an elderly person at a retirement home on a regular basis, or planting trees and helping to beautify your town are all great ways to help kids learn about the importance of selflessness and humility. I know several families who volunteer together on a holiday schedule: on each day off, they pick a different activity and spend a few hours volunteering together. This way, parents get to be the example, reinforcing the positive message.

Patience, My Dears. In today's on-demand world, kids are taught that anything worth having can be had instantly. This is an incredibly bad lesson, and parents must work to counteract this by instilling kids with patience and focus -- the skills that will let them buckle down to achieve the truly great things that invariably take much time and effort. I've found that gardening is an excellent choice when it comes to teaching patience. Kids see that reaching their goal is a slow process, one that requires dedicated care and attention at every phase. And since they get to watch their garden grow as they tend to it, they learn that the real pleasure is in the process (though ripe tomatoes are certainly also a pleasure, and tasty!).

You may have noticed that most of these "success" tips don't have anything to do with school. That's because making kids extraordinary people is the first step toward making them extraordinary students. All follows from values and character, and in working to instill these, you'll create kids that you -- and the rest of the community and country -- can be proud of.

©2009 Rafe Esquith, author of Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World

Author Bio
Rafe Esquith, author of Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World, has taught at Hobart Elementary School in Los Angeles for twenty-four years. He is the only teacher to have been awarded the president's National Medal of the Arts. His many other honors and awards include the American Teacher Award, Parents magazine's As You Grow Award, Oprah Winfrey's Use Your Life Award, and People magazine's Heroes Among Us Award. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Barbara Tong.

For more information, please visit


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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Giveaways Galore 3/15-21

Here is our Weekly Linky. I'm asking other Bloggers to put there Giveaways here for my readers. They will go in Monday's newsletter!

Monday, March 15, 2010

One on One training dvd set $240 set giveaway & review!

Closed - Winner is # 69 Rjlyons Congrats!!
I can't tell you how excited I am, there are no words! Bikini season is around the corner and the people from Beach Body gave me the opportunity to review Tony Horton's newest DVD set. He's the guy behind Power 90, P90X, and 10 minute trainer.
Anyway, they are also allowing me to give away a complete 13 disc set to a Taking Time for Mommy reader, a value of $239.40!!

There is so much to the set I'm going to review it all month and I'll pick a winner on April 11! To let you know a little bit about this DVD. It's just Tony and one camera man, not a whole crew. I thought it was a little cheesy at first but the more I got into it I felt like he was my personal trainer. Before the kiddos, I actually went to one and let me tell you, I was more like $300 for a month. Not a series you can keep and always use!

The first disc is called plyo legs and when I watched him I thought I was going to die. There was no way I could do some of the things this man was doing. I have no balance! My husband was behind me telling me that I should just do what I could and quit making excuses so that's just what I did. Every time I have done the workout since it gets easier. I still have a long way to go but I can tell it's really working! I know that I will have a Beach Body by the time summer comes. Who know, I may even show ya'll a before and after picture? Even my husband is happily using it!

Buy It - Can't wait until April 11 and need to buy it now? Head on over to

Win It - One lucky reader of TTFM will win the complete 13 disc set! Mandatory entry!!Just head over to and check out the site and their great products. Head back over here and tell me a success story, a product, or a service they offer. Good Luck!

Extra Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on Twitter HERE
Extra Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on FaceBook HERE
Extra Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on Google Friend Connect
Extra Entry - Follow my other blog Mommy Reads too Much on Google Friend Connect
5 Extra Entries - Signing up for our weekly Newsletter (form to the right)
3 Extra Entries -Fan our writer Tawdra Kandle on Associated Content and comment on one of her articles Here
2 Extra Entries - Comment on any non-giveaway post on either Taking time for Mommy or Mommy Reads Too Much

Giveaway will end on April 11th at 11:59pm. The winners will be chosen by and announced here as well as emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway open to U.S. & Canadian residents 18+ only.
Disclosure - A few product was given for review for my honest opinion, no other compensation. I learned of this review from Product Review Place..


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Homemade Chocolate Mousse

By: Judy Spencer

Prep Time:
20 Min
Ready In:
20 Min

Original Recipe Yield 2 servings


* 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
* 1 tablespoon water
* 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup whipping cream
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* Whipped cream


1. In a small heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips with water over low heat; stir until smooth. Stir a small amount of hot chocolate mixture into egg yolk; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool, stirring several times.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat whipping cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Fold in cooled chocolate mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish with whipped cream if desired.

This Little Prayer of Mine coloring contest

Enter the This Little Prayer of Mine coloring contest and you could win over 10 WaterBrook Multnomah children’s books, a value of over $100!

Three winners will receive these books that deal with topics like:

• Having a good attitude when Mom says “no”

• How special each child is to God

• Sharing God’s love

• The power of kindness and the strength of mercy

• And more!
Enter Here!

You've been Selected Game Review and Giveaway

Winner is Bookie!!! She was #37 picked from!

Whoo hoo a new game for game night! We love to play games and I recently received a copy of You've Been Sentenced, Twisted Fish and the Wheel of Chore-ture to review and give my honest opinion. The perfect opportunity came to check it out when it was pouring down rain and we couldn't go outside to play. First we broke out the You've been sentenced game. This sentence-building game uses unique five-sided cards with multiple conjugations of a base word. With a hand of 10 cards, players try to score the most points per round by constructing the longest, grammatically correct, and sensible sentence. Any player can object to another players sentence, on either grammatical grounds, or the fact that the sentence just doesn't make sense. The defending player and the objecting player get to argue their points to the rest of the players, who form a jury. Half the fun is trying to defend, explain, and justify a completely ridiculous sentence to the other players. First player to reach 200 points wins. McNeill Designs was kind enough to send all 5 of the add on decks for us too!

The Reader's Digest National Word Power Challenge-This officially licensed deck is taken from the Word Power page of Reader’s Digest and the magazine’s national student vocabulary tournament the Reader’s Digest Word Power Challenge.

Pop Culture-Do you know Lindsay from Jen? What’s an IM? And how do you crump? If you don’t know, you may just learn something from your students!

Gourmet Cuisine-A budding Rachael Ray or Emeril Lasgasse will appreciate this deck, which is filled to overflowing with famous chefs, exotic spices, and all of the kitchen gizmos necessary to cook up some fun!

Sports highlights -Ready, set, hike! This deck contains the lingo of the field, court, and diamond, legendary sports heroes, technical terms, and favorite teams.

Sci-Fi (my personal favorite)-Warn your student to set their phasers for stun and prepare for a warp speed ride through the most memorable of the ever popular sci-fi/fantasy genre!
The second game was Twisted Fish. This was my 5 yr old's favorite! She loved the colors and funky fish designs. Twisted Fish is a fishy game of outrageous fun! It's Go Fish, with a twist! Players compete to gather the most points possible by collecting as many 'Full Baskets' as they can. A Full Basket is complete set of the same 'Twisted Fish'. The twist comes in the form of 8 special 'Zinger' cards which allow the players to flout the rules, steal cards from other players, prevent other players from fishing, or go again out of order!
This was my favorite! The wheel of Chore-ture! I have this on my fridge and I tell the girls to
spin it to see what chore they need to do. They spin, go do their chore then run back so they can spin again. Who knew it could be so simple?

Buy It: Visit McNeill Designs to purchase these fun games!

Win It: McNeill Designs has generously offered one of Taking Time for Mommy's lucky readers a family game night assortment – You’ve Been Sentenced, Add-on Decks, Twisted Fish, Wheel of Chore-ture ($78 value)!

Mandatory Entry: Visit McNeill Designs website and tell me something fun you learned about their games! Please leave a separate comment for each entry and remember to leave a valid email address so that I can contact you if you win!
Extra Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on Google Friend Connect
Extra Entry - Follow my other blog Mommy Reads too Much on Google Friend Connect
Extra Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on Twitter HERE
Extra Entry - Tweet this Giveaway - once per day - Come back here & let us know.
Extra Entry - Follow Taking Time for Mommy on FaceBook HERE
5 Extra Entries - Signing up for our weekly Newsletter (form to the right)
3 Extra Entries -Fan our writer Tawdra Kandle on Associated Content and comment on one of her articles Here

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this game for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received. All views expressed are my own opinions. I learned about this opportunity from The Product Review Place.


Giveaway will end on March 28th at 11:59pm. The winners will be chosen by and announced here as well as emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway open to U.S. residents 18+ only.



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