Fanciful Eggs in a Basket

Eggs in a basket are a special delight.   They look so great out of the oven, it may seem as if you spent a lot of time in the kitchen, but it is literally five to ten minutes of preparation.  Although, made many different ways, I prefer to give them a fancy touch by creating the “basket” from crepes.  However you like to make them, remember to serve them on beautiful plate and embellish with a couple of strawberries or grapes.  Your guests will love you for this out of the ordinary breakfast dish!

Eggs (can make as few as one and up to twelve)

9 in. French Crepes or wonton squares

1 Red or Green Pepper cut into fine strips

Salt

Pepper

Parmesan Cheese

Muffin Pan

Brush muffin cups with butter or pam.  Cut one whole crepe in quarters;

place one quarter over one muffin cup for each egg.

Crack one egg in each muffin cup and place 2 red or green pepper strips criss cross over the egg; season with salt, peper and parmesan cheese.

Place in the bottom half of the oven on 375 degrees  for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the egg white is firm but yolk still liquid. Remove from the oven and let sit 5 minutes before carefully removing the baskets from the muffin cup.

Welcome Friends

Truth be told, who doesn’t appreciate a little fine hospitality.  Home is a creation of spaces where people connect.  A necessary welcoming retreat from the world with plenty of good food and homey niches to burrow in.

How do you feel when you visit someone’s home? Do you feel accepted and welcome or “just there”.  Are you put  off or is it a good experience? Thinking about those experiences will help you to meet your own guests needs.

Hospitality also includes not only  the ambiance and atmosphere of the home but also the hearty welcome your guests receive.  Just offering a glass of water, tea or a warm cup of coffee (even if they are only there for 5 minutes) can put someone at ease.   I once was invited to visit an acquaintance of mine and upon my arrival I was shown to the kitchen where my host served their other family member a cup of coffee but not me!! I was stunned… and as I looked over, there was only one chair at the kitchen table and my host sat in it while I stood at the counter fumbling for conversation.  I had to ask for my own chair!  Funny but true!

Come to think of it, as children, there was always that one house, that one place, where we would like to gather with our friends.   Why?  It was where we felt most at home and could be ourselves.

Lastly, more than a “model” home, our homes should be an extension of our family story!  Each member of the family has a piece of their heart invested in our homes.  It should not just be a place of comfort for guests, but for our family members as well.  Allowing them their space and incorporating the things they like as well.  That’s when a house truly becomes a home.

Here are some simple items you can use to make your home a place of comfort and warmth anyone can enjoy.

*Comfortable seating where furniture is placed facing each other for great conversation

Christmas Gathering…tables, chairs, sofas placed in and around the fireplace and Christmas Tree

*Lots of comfy throws and blankets on chairs and couches

*Fluffy pillows

*Candles and room fragrance in homey scents like cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, or sage.

*Throw rugs placed about the home

*Warm and soft lighting from accent lamps or candles

  • *Offer a simple drink
  • *Offer speciality drinks like lattes, green or chai teas, cranberry juice/sparkling water if you and your guest have the time

Enjoy your home and enjoy people!

That Ain’t Italian!

Coming from an Italian family it was always tradition for Mom to cook a fantastic plate of macaroni and meatballs on Sunday.  When you grow up with an Italian cook, you don’t eat out very much, honestly, because the homemade meals are so good.  My mom grew so accustomed to her mom’s cooking and her own she preferred to just cook at home!  If invited to a meal out at a fine Italian restaurant, she would always say “That ain’t Italian” and we would just laugh!

Mom, My Husband Jim and I sharing in one of my mom’s wonderful meals!

The heart of our family life was around the kitchen table with good food, family and plenty of laughs. Mom always worked hard and hands down is the best cook!  Growing up, she made sure we had everything we needed and more. We were blessed to have such a fun mom!  She is what I would call the quintessential homemaker and her and my dad made sure we understood the value of family and friendship.

Mom, Dad, and My Brother Bill

Mom’s best meal was her delicious sauce and meatballs we liked to call “Sunday Sauce”.  I can still smell the wonderful aroma of meatballs cooking on a Sunday afternoon as the family would gather to eat delicious Italian food and connect.  Hope you enjoy this special family recipe.  Enjoy!

Sunday (Tomato) Sauce

¼ cup olive oil (you can use olive oil as the healthy choice or vegatable oil as my mom prefers)

3 cloves garlic

Pork country style ribs and beef

3 8 oz. cans tomato paste

1 16 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 cups water

Salt

Pepper

Red Pepper flakes (optional)

Saute garlic on low to medium heat. Add pork style ribs and beef until well browned.  Incorporate the 3 cans of tomato paste and mix well.  When pork, beef and tomato paste are well integrated, add one can of crushed tomatoes and (6) 8 oz. cans of water.  Mix in one more tablespoon of oil and stir all the ingredients together.  Wait for the sauce to boil and then turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about an hour.

Meatballs

1 lb. ground round beef with ground pork mixed in

2 gloves garlic

Salt

Pepper

1 egg

4 slices of Italian bread

1 tbls. Parsley

3 handfuls of Pecorano Romano Cheese

1 cup of Olive Oil (you can use olive oil as the healthy choice or vegatable oil as my mom prefers)

Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.  Place in the refrigerator to settle for about an hour. When ready to cook, heat oil in a large frying pan.  Roll the hamburger mixture into round balls and place in the hot oil until they are cooked through and crispy brown on the outside.  Add meatballs plus the leftover oil from the pan into the tomato sauce.  Delicious!