ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cookies, Confirmation and Cappuchino....


             We can't believe it! We've hit 100 followers! We are so amazed and grateful- it's hard to believe that more than 100 people are reading what we write. We have made so many wonderful new friends and are having the best time! Thank you all. To commemorate this milestone, Allie insisted that we need to start planning our first giveaway- so stay tuned and bring your friends! Within the next week or so we'll have something figured out!
   Blogging may be a bit sporadic this week and we may be MIA for a short time. Our girl- yes, that's Miss Alexandra!- will be making her Confirmation this week. We'll be hosting my best friend Kathy who has agreed to act as sponsor and last night Allie informed us all that she wanted to be confirmed with the name Kathleen which is in honor of her sponsor and a derivative of Catherine who is one of her favorite saints. We're quite proud of our girl!
St Catherine's House

              So, we've been in the in the midst of dress shopping (if you've ever shopped with a 16 year old girl, you'll understand why I'm living on Advil!) and rehearsals and spring cleaning of our porch 
which went from this (yucchy southern pollen!)

and this

to this

and this

I just realized I took these pictures before putting the rug back, so just use your imagination. And I forgot to take the deck with the firepit- just imagine marshmallows, s'mores, and wine- ahhhh.....

        I also want to say thank you (I'm blushing here) to all of you who sent such sweet emails complimenting the few pictures I've posted of our home and porch. For those of you who don't know, I do some design and decor work along with teaching cooking classes and training. I'm not exactly your "typical" designer- I specialize in budget redos, vintage textiles, and helping DIY homeowners. Everything in my house with only a few exceptions, is an estate sale, yard sale, Craigslist, Ebay, or thrift store find. We repurpose, reuse and redo. All window treatments are made by me. 
              If you had seen this porch set when I dragged it home after finding it on CL, you'd have thought I was insane. Actually, my neighbor did! He asked Ray if he was really going to let me unload it from the truck!
        My poor husband knows better than to argue- after a few eye rolls, he helped me pull out the 11 million staples and rip apart the frame and remnants of shredded, faded floral fabric. Turns out when we flipped the couch over that the original tag was still attached. This couch came from a designer showroom in High Point, NC and had originally been part of an upscale sample sale! So there!! (not that I knew any of that, but still...)

I got 30 yards of indoor/outdoor fabric from an old design contact of mine- end of roll at 1 dollar a yard. Yes, folks, 30 dollars to reupholster a whole couch, 2 chairs, and some extra pillows. Yes, I'm doing the happy dance :)
In future blog posts, I'll show you some more of our house and some of our projects- this will probably fall under the category of my "reality" posts as you're liable to catch sight of dumbbells, cast iron pots, fabric bolts and assorted sports paraphernalia belonging to my children along with whatever it is I'm trying to show you!
So this is where you'll find me blogging and working when I'm home and not in the kitchen
Me and my cappuchino...

I made these this morning for a friend who requested them- her favorite!

These cookies are SO good with a wonderful cup of coffee or espresso. I've had the recipe for a while and tweaked it a bit. It's hand written on a scrap of notebook paper, but I had the letters FN in the corner. That usually means Food Network, so I searched it out this morning in order to give proper credit. I have changed it just a bit to adapt to my oven and because I wanted the chocolate coating to be a bit thinner. Enjoy- my Nonna would have loved these!

Orange Ice Box Cookies
adapted from a recipe by Aida Mollenkamp- Food Network
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons packed orange zest
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling cookies
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup toasted sweetened coconut
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons shortening
Toast one cup of sweetened flaked coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir continuously until the coconut begins to turn light brown.
Watch it carefully, it can burn quickly. Turn the coconut out onto a piece of parchment and cool.
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk until evenly combined. Toss in the coconut until combined.
In a medium bowl, using your fingers, rub the orange zest into the granulated sugar, then toss in the brown sugar
 Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat together butter and sugars over medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat about 2 more minutes. Add the vanilla and mix 
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, beating just until evenly combined. If you have to, use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine any remaining flour. Lay 2 large pieces of parchment paper on a clean work surface and put half of the dough along the center of each piece. Shape the dough into 2 logs measuring about 1 1/2-inches in diameter and 10-inches long. Roll logs up in the parchment and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. I usually just stick them in the freezer for about 30 minutes- I find it works better
Preheat oven to 350 F 
Cut the logs into 1/2-inch slices. Roll the edges of the cookies in sugar to coat and shake off excess. Arrange on a baking sheet, leaving 1/2-inch between the cookies. Bake until set and golden on the edges, about 13 minutes. Remove to racks to cool completely.
Place the chopped chocolate and shortening in a glass or metal bowl and place it over a pot of simmering water (about an inch or so of water). The bowl shouldn't touch the water. Stir chocolate and shortening with a rubber spatula until smooth. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate, shake off excess, and set on waxed paper on a cool cookie sheet. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set up before serving. Remove from fridge and allow to come to room temp before serving. They will be chewy in the center with a taste and aroma of orange- my kids have no idea the coconut is in there- which in the case of my boys is a good thing. They "don't eat" coconut but have put a good dent in this batch :)

As Always,

Buon Alimenti, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. Tell Allie congratulations! Your porch is beautiful and what awesome deals! Wish I lived closer to enjoy a cup of coffee with you...and some of those cookies! Have a great week!!

  2. Congratulations Allie on your confirmation! Also congratulations to you both on your reaching a milestone of 100 followers -- which by the way I am one! The cookies look yummy and I love them dipped! Your porch looks beautiful! I would like to stay there all day! Joni

  3. Wonderful job with the porch. Good luck with the confirmation. Many blessings.

  4. Do we say Happy Communion or good lucvk with your communion. Nevertheless it sounds like a special time. I have a sister-in-law that could take anything and make it into a treasure. Some people like yourself just have that gift!

  5. Congratulations to Allie on her upcoming Confirmation! Kathleen is a beautiful name to take.

    Pattie it sounds like you work magic with your decorative skills. The porch set looks wonderful! I love your quiet computer spot on your porch...and those delicious cookies!

    ♥ Pat

  6. Have a wonderful confirmation day~:)

    I love your sparkly deck and porch redo..I love $1.00 a yard fabric..I have not found any in ages..What a great buy! You did a fabulous job..Enjoy life on the porch...I hope to get a little rug for mine soon:)I hope to want cookies soon..I feel like yours and Lucy's:)Soon..

  7. Many wonderful transformations going on there and in your family! Best wishes to all and congratulations! Also, congratulations on 100 followers!

  8. What a wonderful transformation! I love it! Have a great confirmation day. Those cookies look deliciously fabulous!! Congrats on reaching 100 followers as well!! Way to go!

  9. I'm very envious of your beautiful porch! And, I've got to try the cookie recipe, right away. Congratulations to Allie!

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  11. Hi Girls!

    Congrats on 100 followers! So NOT surprising! :)

    I am so in love with your porch! It looks like such and inviting place to spend time. And what an awesome thrifty redo! I'm sure your guests at your upcoming celebration are really going it enjoy it as well.

    Orange and can you go wrong!

    When is the confirmaion? I know it's this week. Allie, no matter what dress you finally wear, I know you willbe just stunning!

  12. How nice to have a friend sponsor Allie and how nice to be able to visit with her. Congratulations on follower 100. That is a real milestone. I also love the ice box cookies. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  13. I've just become your follower...#104! You have a beautiful porch and yummy looking cookies. Hey, we're practically neighbors. I live in Raleigh.

    Love your blog!
    Deborah in NC

  14. Just beautiful porch. It looks so inviting.

    Thanks for your prayers I really appreciate it!

    You are going to rack up followers. You are wonderful!

    Have a great day!

  15. Dear Allie and Pattie,
    You are quite the duo....your blog is beautiful and so informative....By the way I am a good friend of your good friend Kathy, and she is so honored that Allie is taking her name....Enjoy you time together this week. Maria

  16. questi biscotti sono proprio golosi!!! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm......

  17. Everything looks lovely. I dont know how you did it as I clean off the pollen and 10 minutes later its back.. those cookies - yummmmmmm....


  18. Hi girls
    First, Alex and I want to thank you both for your continued prayers and support during the last couple of weeks. We appreciate it so much.

    Congratulations to Ms. Alexandra and yes I have been shopping for confirmation dresses for 16 year olds...twice!!! I am also very familiar with the eye rolls from husbands and your 'before' porch looks like my 'now' porch. G-Man has terrible allergies, so I have added that to my to-do list!!!

    Alex is a great cook. She is ready to add some activities to breast feeding, so I think I will have her make these cookies. They look so delicious! Just what a diabetic grandmother and a new mom trying to lose baby weight need!!!!! Ha!


  19. Congratulations to Alexandra! And, congratulations on hitting 100 followers of which I am one. I have hit 13. Yikes! Of course, I hit that number without really realizing what it meant. Feels good! And those cookies look delicious. I'm going to make some to have on hand for that occasional drop in to enjoy with tea.


  20. Congratulations on confirmation. I know it can be stressful, we had our youngest in November and during week night. Our son was sponser and sick all day. Gogeous enclosed patio room. I love red tablecloth and pillows. The gold colored candles add such a nice touch.The curtains frame the Carolina pine trees just right! I am new follower and left my first comment on previous post and meant to write it here!Not so good at this!Looking for all your new posts and take care and have nice weekend and God Bless, Emelia

  21. Oh My Goodness...this EXTREME Porch Makeover belongs on television. I honestly thought that first "after" photo was from a magazine. Kudos to you Pattie!!! Did you happen to take any "before" pics of the porch set? I hope so.
    Congratulations to Miss Allie on her Confirmation. We can't wait to see the dress!
    Take care,
    Mary Lou

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  23. Hello girls!!

    your porh looks so nice & elegant & so stylish too!

    Pretty! Those coookies lok so marvellous!!!


  24. Oh, Pattie... the porch looks FABULOUS! You did a super job with your decor. Love it!

    And I want to congratulate Allie on her confirmation. That is super news, and I hope you find the perfect dress.

    I know the whole confirmation and party will be perfect. You two do good work!

    Speaking of which, I escaped my workmen yesterday afternoon and this morning for a blogging sanity break. LOL! You know how that is. They've decided to move in with me. I hope they finish soon so Round II with the second set of "men" can begin. I miss you and blogging!

    All the best to you girls...


    Sheila :-)

  25. those cookies look fabulous!! and the view spectacular! How I do miss Italy....sigh
    I am so glad to have found your blog!

  26. Pattie, Congratulations on 100 followers! Awesome! I'm excited to see what you give away.

    I always love every minute I spend at your blog. You've always got such wonderful recipes. These cookies are simply so tasty looking...and sounding. I really like orange, shortbread, coconut and chocolate...I could live on that! The mix of flavors sounds incredibly tempting. In fact, I'd eat them now for breakfast if I could! lol

    Your porch pics should be in a magazine. I know I commented on it before but it's just stunning! I love that you layered a lace runner over the tablecloth...gorgeous. I love layering different fabrics and textures. It just gives such a rich but cozy look.

    Every thing is great about this post!

    Have a wonerful weekend!


  27. Congratulations on your confirmation Allie! Congrats on your 100 followers to both of you. Everything looks awesome :-)

  28. Hi Pattie...

    My friend, I'm sure you are just "swimming" with plans and activities for Allie's Confirmation! Congratulations to Allie and your entire family!!! Girlfriend, your porch looks absolutely fabulous!!! Ohhh my...I wouldn't have known it was the same area if you hadn't told us! BRAVO, sweet lady!!! What a fabulous place to hold a party! I know I would certainly love to spend some time out there!!!

    Well my friend, I just wanted to come by to say thank you for your sweet congratulations and well wishes for Sunday Favorites "One Year" birthday celebration! I sure do appreciate your kindness!!!

    Have a wonderful weekend and best wishes on the gift card giveaway!

    Chari @Happy To Design

  29. Congratulations on your confirmation, Allie. I remember my very special day years ago. It's always a treat to come by for a visit.

  30. Mmmmmmm......those treats look delish...but it's your PORCH that really has my heart. It is simply stunning.

    Warm blessings,

  31. What a lovely porch!Congratulations to Allie! Your blog is really wonderful.

  32. Oh wow, your deck looks absolutely stunning. I love everything. Your furniture that you redid is just gorgeous. You also have some fabulous accessories. Sure wish my small patio was large enough for a seating area, but it sure isn't. Barely big enough for a table. You've definitely created a beautiful outdoor room. Love the cookie recipe too. I will have to try these. Thanks also for always leaving such gracious and kind comments on my blog. I really appreciate it. Hugs, Marty

  33. I just found your blog while reading posting on Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti. What a wonderful blog and touching it is to share a blog with your daughter. I love the outdoor room. Many blessings with the confirmation.

  34. Hi Pattie and Allie!
    Congrats to Allie! and most importantly,
    May you always find Joy and Peace living in God's presence*

    Thanks for the great recipe!
    My daughter, Rachael is getting married soon... her shower is in two weeks! This recipe seems easy to handle and it looks FABULOUS!
    I love ebay and thrift shops! I'll definitely be stopping by to keep up with your posts!


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