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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When things get rough, try and think of happier times

Dear followers,
my mom is having a really rough week, this is just for when she checks the blog itll brighten her day a bit
i love my mommy! <3
much love,

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's been a while.....

Hi All! 

          It's been a while and I miss you all so very much. I actually can't believe how much blogging has come to mean in our lives.
              Well, since you all know me so very well, you know I’m not one to keep quiet when I think something needs to be said. So here goes. First of all, I want to say how blessed and thankful I am for all of you. I have been blessed with the most amazing family, wonderful friends, UNBELIEVABLE neighbors, clients, and now blog readers and friends. Life has taken some crazy twists but brought incredible people into my path along the way. .
Most of you know that I’ve been dealing with some health issues for some time.    
                      My wonderful clients and those who were taking my classes watched as I had to leave the job I loved so much. You all know I preached the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet, a love of life and family, and how important it was to integrate all those factors. I tried to carry that over when my wonderful daughter decided we should write a blog and we found it struck a chord- people seemed to like what we were saying. I’m hoping people will continue to listen in the future because I will have a lot to say.
Here’s what I never thought I would have to teach my clients- sometimes the medical community won’t listen to you. Sometimes you’ll be patronized. Sometimes you’ll be just plain treated badly. And sometimes you’ll find the absolute best people in the world- the heroes who SHOULD be recognized and never are. The ones who fight for their patients and don’t give up and represent what their hospital is SUPPOSED to stand for.
YOU know your body. YOU know how you feel. YOU are your own best advocate. YOU are your ONLY advocate.
2 years ago I had a cardiologist call me a “diva”. I was told to “stop exaggerating” and “self-diagnosing”. I was having “fainting spells” due to “lack of sleep”. 1 1/2 years ago I had a “cardiac episode” - my heart rate was 32. I was told it was because I’m an athlete (At his peak,Lance Armstrong had a resting heart rate of 34 beats per minute) 5 months ago it was discovered that my fainting spells were actually due to the fact that my heart was STOPPING for 13-14 seconds- in went the pacemaker.
          I was scheduled for a total hysterectomy next Thursday- necessary for many other reasons. Because I’ve been so sick, lost so much weight, had trouble breathing with exertion, etc..., the test I asked for so long ago was done this week.
               2 years ago at 6:30 on Monday mornings, the "Diva" would have been hitting the switch for the music, turning to face a class full of smiling people and lifting a set of barbells. The next hour would be devoted to a high intensity Body Pump class, lots of laughing and the start of a wonderful day. This Monday morning at 6:30 my class will be facing another teacher. I will be on a table being prepped for surgery.
Nobody wants to be validated this way, but it turns out I’m pretty good at self-diagnosing. I have Coronary Artery Disease. Known as The Silent Killer, it is the #1 killer of men and women in this country. The wonderful doctors at UNC are going to fix the blockage in my heart. If all goes well (it’s a real big if, I know), the other surgery will proceed on Thursday. If not within 2 months. The “cardiac incident” was, indeed, a heart attack. I will be back. I will be loud. I never asked to become the poster girl for both breast cancer and the American Heart Association, but if this is what God is asking of me then this is what I’ll do.
To all of you who have offered your help- thank you so much. I just ask that you keep an eye on my family. They’re kind of scared and I’m kind of focused on all this right now. Plus we’re SO trying to sell this house! I love you all. Stay happy, stay healthy. xoxo And I can't WAIT to get back to blogging!!! And maybe a cookbook???......

                                                          Buon Cibo, Buon Amici

                                     Pattie and Allie

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Back for Foodie Friday with a Giveaway and a Guest Post!!!

Happy Friday All!

I am SO happy to be back for this week's Foodie Friday. I've missed my favorite party!

This is a VERY special Friday for us. This is our first week back to blogging after my surgery and it's been spectacular. We have a fabulous giveaway to celebrate (click on the giveaway link under our header to enter!) AND we're doing our very first guest post! How cool is that!?!

I was so honored to be asked to do a guest post on one of my absolute favorite blogs, More Than a Mountfull . Our post will be up Thursday evening, so be sure to check back!

Dennis is just the BEST- passionate about food, the girls he works with, and I am honored to call him friend. Please head on over to read about Autumn harvest foods in Italy and enjoy our recipes for Torrone and Chestnut Pasta

Dennis also has some great giveaways to celebrate his Blogaversary, so be sure to leave a comment to enter!

I'm still a bit limited in the kitchen due to having to work one handed (my left arm has decided to bail on me temporarily), but my wonderful husband and Allie have stepped up to the plate and have helped tremendously.
Poor Irish Mr Bramasole (who is the world's PICKIEST and plainest eater) has had to learn the ins and outs of cooking curries, risottos, and how to roll out pastry dough. 

I think I'll keep him.

When I was growing up and we spent our summers in Italy, polenta was on the table every day in some form or another. Soft and cheesy, or grilled, or battered and fried so the outside was crispy and the inside creamy. 

Now that we live in NC, it's no wonder I love grits! One of our earliest posts was about my introduction to grits

The uses for polenta are endless. This is a dessert that my Nonna liked to make in the Fall. We'd sit on the terrace and eat warm bowls topped with ladles of cream. Enjoy!

(sorry about the terrible picture. "Someone" borrowed my camera and I had to use the kids'!)

Sweet Autumn Polenta 

2 sticks butter
2 2/3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 whole egg and 6 egg yolks
1 TBLSP dark rum (or any liqueur of your choice)
1 1/3 cups of almond meal or VERY finely ground almonds
1 3/4 cups of polenta (yellow cornmeal)
1 cup flour sifted with 2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the butter over low heat and allow to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 1 1/2 or 2 quart souffle dish with baking spray. Beat the butter with the sugar (you can reserve a tablespoon or two of the sugar to sift on top later if you like) till blended and smooth. With the mixer going, add whole eggs one at a time then add the yolks. Keep beating and add the liqueur, almonds, flour mixture, cornmeal, and finally, the vanilla
Pour batter into souffle dish and bake for 45- 60 minutes minutes till top is crusty and golden brown and it's cooked through. Cover with a piece of foil if it starts to get too dark. Serve warm, spooning it into bowls and topping with cream or gelato!

Be sure to hop on over and visit us at Dennis' place!

And we'd love to have you as friends on Bramasole's Facebook page- we frequently post Bonus Recipes and we LOVE to hear from you!

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie

Monday, November 15, 2010

Slowly Healing, Happy to be Back and Celebrating with a Giveaway!

Oh my gosh! I don't even know where to start. 

First of all, I want to say


to all of you. I am humbled and amazed by the outpouring of emails, phone calls (I can't believe that some of you actually took the time to look up my number!! You're amazing!), notes, Facebook comments (both to me and on the Bramasole page- Allie has been monitoring both for me). I am so blessed to have the very best friends and readers in the whole world
And to celebrate our return...

drum roll please..................

CSN Stores is sponsoring a giveaway right here at Bramasole!!!!

I LOVE CSNStores!!! With the holidays around the corner, you can find anything from a beautiful leather briefcase to amazing cookware (you all know where I spend hours browsing!)

I know that several people on my gift list would go crazy over a beautiful bag like this

or if they've been REALLY good maybe Santa will bring one of these....

and on MY wish list........

and I just LOVE this platter


to celebrate our comeback and to thank you all for the amazing support and prayers you sent my way CSN will send the winner a gift card worth 55 dollars good at ANY one of their over 200 stores!! 

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment for 1 entry and be (or become) a follower for an extra entry (be sure to leave a separate comment letting us know you're a follower- I get confused easily!) 

That's it- just comment and follow if you'd like to. Remember- you do NOT have to be a blogger to follow. Simply register with (free) .  Also, please be sure that you send us an email address where you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be chosen using a random number generator on Tuesday November 23rd. The lucky winner can spend Black Friday comfortably at home shopping CSN Stores from their favorite armchair! A-h-h-h-h-......

A month ago I expected to have a fairly quick recovery from surgery. Unfortunately, there were a few complications and this recovery has stretched beyond what I had envisioned. I'm a bit exhausted but SO anxious to catch up with you all. Posting may be a bit slow at first as typing is still a bit difficult, but I'm looking forward to getting back to my kitchen and design office! I have had a lot of time to think about upcoming posts so I hope you all enjoy!

I'll be doing a guest post on one of my very FAVORITE blogs soon. So stay tuned for THAT!

 I can't even tell you all how much I've missed spending time in my kitchen. I have a wonderful, amazing husband who has taken over during my recovery, but I am more than ready to resume my place as chief cook and bottle washer. Allie has been begging for quiche and my mom has a list of "cravings" she's been having  :) So come back often~ lots of great cooking in our future!  

I know today would normally be our Meatless Monday post, but since I'm still not "allowed" full kitchen privileges I'm just going to share a simple and very traditional Italian "Torta". When I was a little girl, I remember loving  a dessert that my best friend's Italian grandmother made frequently- "Torta della Nonna" - Grandma's Pie. I grew up thinking it was just a cake that my friend's Nonna made. Then when we went to Italy for the summer with my grandparents I saw it on restaurant menus as Torta della Nonna or Torta di Crema (Cream Pie). It's simple, homey, and simply delicious. For variation the pastry cream can be flavored with ground almonds (a favorite of mine), rum, cognac, or lemon syrup. 

Enjoy! Tutti a Tavola!!

Torta Della Nonna (Italian Cream Pie)

1/2 cup of butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 2/3 cups sifted flour + more as needed
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Cream Filling- see below
Confectioner's sugar for garnishing top of torta

Beat together the butter and sugar, then beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in the flour till combined- this will be a soft, sticky dough at this point
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch tart pan with baking spray and set aside. Turn dough out onto a well- floured counter and gently knead in just enough flour to enable dough to be rolled out- it should be soft.
Divide the dough in half and roll out 1 half to a round large enough to line the tart pan. I do this between 2 sheets of floured wax paper- it makes the soft dough easier to transfer to the pan.
Mound the cream filling into the shell and cover with the second half of dough rolled out. Roll the edges together to seal
Bake for 40-45 minutes till lightly golden. Cool completely on a wire rack then shower the top with confectioner's sugar. Store in refrigerator

Crema Pasticcera Italiana
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
Beat egg yolks and sugar till very pale and thick. Gently stir in flour. Bring the milk to a boil, then remove from heat. Slowly whisk about a half cup of hot milk into egg mixture, then return egg to pan of milk. Return to low heat and cook stirring constantly to prevent lumps. When mixture thickens, remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface. Cool completely

I am SO happy to be back. I love you all

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie

Thursday, October 14, 2010

She must be better!

In pain, but she asked for her laptop! Says she'll be back soon :) :)

<3 Allie