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

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Foodie Friday, a Thank You, and Summer Pictures

Happy Friday to All!

First of all, I want to say a very heartfelt thank you. After I typed out yesterday's post (found here ) and pressed that "publish" button, I started thinking that I might get blasted for my thoughts. I tend to think of these things after the fact sometimes.
Anyway, I woke up this morning to an overflowing email inbox- and the overwhelming support just floored me! I am still wading my way through and trying to respond to everyone. For those who thought I was a bit harsh, I'd like to step back up on that soapbox for a minute and explain. I'm copying and pasting from a couple of my responses today only because I'm the world's worst and slowest typist:

" I have no problem at all with a bit of "touch up". I am forever grateful to my OB who interned with a fabulous plastic surgeon and left me with an almost invisible scar after 3 C-sections. There are many who undergo Bariatric surgery and work very hard to achieve their health and fitness goals who benefit greatly from surgery. I'm not even talking about Botox- I'm talking about parents who are paying for breast augmentation for 16 year olds! That CHILD will never be able to breast feed HER child because of a ridiculous obsession with looking "hot". And is THAT the right way to celebrate graduating high school?? It really upsets me to see men and women every day who are so frustrated with what they see as their "inability" to compete with what they "think" they should look like. I had a husband bring his wife to me for training and while the poor woman sat there in silence, he proceeded to tell me that MY job was to get her into a bikini in 6 weeks. His buddy had a new "trophy wife" and he didn't want to be "embarrassed". I don't think he was expecting the language he heard from THIS 5 foot Italian!
Why on earth would a healthy 15 or 16 year old need Botox or Liposuction?? I may be dating myself here, but in my day every Daddy I knew wanted to throw a blanket over his little girl before she walked out the door. I can't imagine my father or my Nonno breaking out his checkbook for his little girl to look "more womanly". 
And let's talk about the boys. I'm a trainer. I've worked with Armed Forces recruiters, trained bodybuilders and worked with college football teams- I'm no "sissy girl" even if I'm small in stature. Listen up parents- NO child 13 or 14 or 15 years old should be lifting weights like a bodybuilder! Their growth plates aren't completely closed till about 17 or 18 and damage to the growth plates is a HUGE deal involving risks to their continued growth, hormones, and future health. The father that told me that his son's high school coach was going to "make a man" out of him and he'd be "a real stud" also felt my wrath. I'm talking about society's obsession with how we "look" versus how we "feel". 
Run, play, live, laugh, love, make your home a loving sanctuary, eat well, work hard, play harder, and be the best person you can be- and instill that in every child you are blessed enough to be around"

Okay- I'm off my soapbox now. And again, I thank you all so very much. 
Now go make some of those Hot Chocolate Cherries from yesterday's post- we're still licking the last bits out of the jar! YUM!!

Oak Island Beach

Some of you asked for pictures of our recent trip. Allie hasn't gotten around to downloading them all (and I'm a techno-dummy), but I have a few to share

Allie thought this was pretty cool...

Mr B giving Nick pointers on body boarding. No, he didn't demonstrate :)

Is this suit a hoot? Our little bodybuilder!

Aren't I COOL Grandma??!

You can see the Italian in him- he talks with his hands!

My pretty girls- Aunt Allie and the Princess..

Tonight we're sharing a pasta dish I made for a recent luncheon. A wonderful fresh asparagus pesto blends with cognac infused shrimp for a flavorful, yet healthy dish. Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Shrimp and Asparagus Pesto
Spaghetti -about 12 ounces
1 lb. thin green asparagus
1 lb shrimps
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp pine nuts
3 tbsp cognac
4.5 tbsp butter
4 garlic cloves
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil
Maldon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Fleur de sel
a few roasted pine nuts

To make the shrimp:
Shell and devein shrimp .
Take a frying pan and melt 1.5 tbsp butter. When hot, add 1 chopped garlic clove.
Cook for 1 min on medium to low heat without turning it brown, then add the shrimps and bring the heat to high. Cook until the shrimps are pink on all sides (only a few mns).
Away from heat and quickly, add the cognac and flambée the shrimps. Set aside, keeping them warm.

Clean the asparagus and snap off tough ends.
Blanch them for a few mins, then submerge under cold water to cool quickly. Drain. Cut some tips off and set aside for garnish- the rest goes in the pesto
In a food processor, mix together the 3 remaining garlic cloves, the basil, 3 tbsp of butter (soft), the pine nuts, a dash of Maldon sea salt, pepper and the asparagus.
Set aside.

Grate parmesan cheese.
Cook the spaghetti till al dente.
Reserve a few tablespoons of the pesto and a few shrimp if you intend to layer the dish. Take a large bowl and mix together the spaghetti with the pesto sauce and parmesan. 
For a lovely presentation, pile a layer of pasta in a circle, top with a layer of shrimp, then more pasta. Top with some pesto and a few pieces of shrimp and asparagus. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts if desired. OR, just toss everything together in a large platter!

Come join us at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. Michael Lee and her guests serve up the best food in town!!

And don't forget- take advantage of your local Farmer's Markets and email us your favorite delicious, healthy recipes- we'd love to share!! And we'd love to see you on Facebook where we always share "bonus" recipes!

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


  1. First of all, I am still cheering for you, Pattie! Bravo!

    And second, look at all of the cute ones! Loved seeing the pictures.

    Third, YUM! That looks delicious.


    Sheila :-)

  2. This looks like a wonderful recipe. I read your soap box post from yesterday and like you even more now! Very beautifully put.

  3. Hurray for you. I love the pictures of the little ones, looks like so much fun. Can't wait to try the recipe. Sounds so good. Hugs,Marty

  4. Pattie, I am standing on the soapbox you just got off of and I am giving you a standing ovation!!!! Very very louldy!!!!
    Thank you for being a common sense voice of reason. We should be obsessed with loving ourselves and others not hating our bodies and checking out the body parts of others!
    God's word says, "we are fearfully and wonderfully made". So who will I believe, today's messed up world or God... God~ every time!
    Bless your heart!
    And please tell your darling Allie that I just A-D-O-R-E her freckles!!!!!!!
    No wonder I love to stop here.

  5. Great photographs! Beautiful grandchildren!

    Your pictures have made me so hungry. This looks absolutely delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

  6. More people need to stand up for our country's health and our nation's obsession with stars and beauty. Let's start with loving our children, families and ourselves. I love your outlook on life and the food you serve, Pattie. What a wonderful recipe!

    Your hear us, right, Allie? You're a beautiful girl, just the way your are and your mom is the best ;)

  7. Hi Pattie

    I don't know how I missed your last post but I read it and I agree with you wholeheartedly. I fear TV shows like the Jersey Shore and much of music and media gives many teenagers the impression that a buff body counts more than intelligent mind. That makes me very sad!

    This looks fabulous and even better than what I ate recently in a restaurant. If I lived close to you I'd sign up for some of your cooking classes. I loved all your family photos, and how nice it would be for you to move closer to your grandchildren!

    ♥ Pat

  8. Pattie , I am even happier today listening to you than yesterday! I wish you could be on tv sending these messages far and wide. The best we can do is to try instill these ideas in our own kids by example. Allie is adorable and so are the little ones. And your pasta/shrimp dish looks wonderful! Linda

  9. Pattie, mentioned your comments in my "Blueberry Soup" post! Loved your sound off! Joni

  10. Pattie, I'm with you. I think it's very sad that people can't be happy with what God has given them! It must be such a burden to always be striving to be something they are not. I love who I am, warts and all!!! Lovely pics of your loved ones and that pasta dish looks fabulous!

  11. Bravo Pattie! It is more important for friends and even syrangers to comment on a kind word or our smile or laugh than our chest size or anything else physical about us. Just be the best you can be..isn't that an army slogan:D Loved the photo pictoral of your family and of course the pasta...oh the pasta!!

  12. great photos, beautiful people and lovely pasta,looks delicious!!! Kisses

  13. I was in the kitchen most of yesterday and missed reading your post, Pattie. Will do that when I post this.

    I loved every single one of the vacation photos! Wonderful!

    The pasta looks fabulous. I love pasta!:-)

  14. Hi , DITTO SOAPBOX!Great post with "Food for Thought" and great vacation photos and your daughter and grands are precious.Emelia.

  15. Bravo!!!
    We are driving down to FL from NY for vacation and will finally stop in Savannah and Tybee after passing it by so many times! What have I missed about Oak Island? We have been to Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head but never heard of OI! Should I plan for next year?

  16. I take one day off from blogs and I MISS things. Great post. Great other post, too. It's to bad more folks don't have your common sense. There is something really screwy with some of the ideas our poor kids are getting these days about body image.

    The shrimp pasta salad, however, is perfect. Thanks for sharing the pictures from your vacation, too.

  17. It looks like marvelous summer fun. Your girls are indeed beauties and I'm sure will learn much from you about how to carry that beauty. I love your summer pasta. It really looks perfect for a hot summer night. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  18. This looks like a perfect summer pasta dish. I'm bookmarking it right now!

  19. Great summer night dinner! Your family is beautiful:) Hope your day is going better....I too am giving you a standing ovation for your soapbox speech!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Stop over I am having a CSN giveaway:)

  21. Hi Pattie and Allie,
    I've been MIA for awhile now, but just had to drop by to say Hi! These pics here of the fam at the beach and by the pool, are precious.
    Your two grandbabies are ADORABLE!!! : )
    Have a great weekend,
    Mary Lou

  22. Pattie,
    Your family is beautiful! Love the swim suit photo! This sounds really good and I think we have some shrimp and pesto on hand! Will need to give it a try :)

  23. I am giving you a standing ovation, Pattie!
    Not only for your soapbox speech, but for this shrimp recipe. I cannot wait to try it.

    Jane (artfully graced)

  24. Hi Pattie and Allie: This recipe looks delicious. And, thanks for sharing your sweet family and vacation with us.

    I am celebrating my blog anniversary with a giveaway. Stop by and "take a chance".

    Have a wonderful weekend.


  25. Ooooh...yummy looking shrimp! And I love the photos! Looks like you and your sweet family had a wonderful time! Hope you are having a great weekend!...hugs...Debbie

  26. Hi Pattie!

    It looks like all of you had such a fun visit! The salad looks wonderful!

  27. Hi there...thanks for your visit to my blog and for your kindness. I so agree with you..I am so sad about so many young girls who have grown up with all the wrong ideas in their heads. A lot of them got them from their mom's I think too..example is the greatest teacher. So many girl don't have a clue as to what their purpose is here on earth, they are nothing of what they should be. Your Allie is a natural beauty and seems to have a calm sereneness about her. And you mom..sound like a multi-talented woman! :D

  28. you go girl!!! who doesn't love a passionate fiery woman!!!!!!! you know the world would be a better place if more people thought like you did....and children need to be children. We love you Pattie!!

  29. I can't believe I wasn't already a follower, because I am! But now it is official. I hopped in today to get the recipe for the chocolate cherries. I had already printed it but can't find it. We are having crepes with the extended family and I want that as one of our toppings. Don't worry about the soapbox, I totally agree with you and it sickens me. I am afraid for these children. T

    This shrimp dish looks great. We are such shrimp lovers and pesto lovers and this looks so good together. I am printing it too. Blogging is going to put weight on me!

  30. I had to come back and comment. We did a crepe bar tonight and I had to make the hot chocolate cherries to go with it. I could have eaten the WHOLE batch! Those were soooo delish. I used almond flavoring instead of the alcohol and it worked out great. I did miss one pit and of course my son in law got it! Thanks that is a great recipe.

  31. Hi Pattie,
    Here's the deal -- the house next to us IS going on the market, so you buy it and I cruise Craigslist and we find great bargains, and YOU do all the cooking. And whip me into shape. :-)

    Between laughing a LOT.

    You are spot on, about the last couple of your posts. It is scary, and it is one thing for "grownups" to be obsessed with their bodies and trying to stay "young," but when they infect their own children with this, that is tragic.

    So tell me, that husband who wanted you to turn his wife into a Trophy? Was he Speedo material himself? I tell howard I am his trophy wife -- a great big heavy silver trophy and I'll conk him on the head if he doesn't believe me!


  32. This dish is exactly the kind of pasta that I like to make. Yum!

  33. OH MY...the asparagus pesto sounds so good! I love pesto and usually freeze enough to last all winter. Also just discovered spinach pesto and now I can add the asparagus
    pesto too.

  34. Hi Ladies: Here! Here! I totally agree. I, too, was involved in Bodybuilding (not in competition, but staging the members at their performances, etc) Perfection was the key and the emotional/psychological results were not good. As for our children: we must not only tell them how wonderfully created they are, but make them feel that way with love, support and uh-oh...saying NO at times. We must also be aware of how we portray we complain about our looks, getting older & do we show that we love our own natural attributes? And who do we show them we admire?...the women in those crazy housewives shows who are shallow and self-centered and all about themselves? Our children learn by our example. Is my hair gray, no, it's silver. My nose perfect, no, but that's what makes me look like my beloved Nonna. Has my figure changed since I was 20, 30, 40, heck yes, but I'm healthy and happy. I am wiser, more balanced...I am loved.. I am me. And boy, can I cook! Let's teach our kids to love and respect their bodies and that getting older is one grand adventure.


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