Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Black and Gold for Life

A much belated (one week late) CONGRATULATIONS to my gorgeous little sister!!!!!!!! In August, she will be heading 3,333 ft. above sea level to the cool, refreshing NC mountains! She was selected for a huge teaching scholarship and not to just any university. The only University as far as these three sisters are concerned. Nat is a genius, to say the least and her passion for teaching is undescribeable. I could not be more proud!!
Now that she is officially headed to Boone, I think I am allowed to say the following: We cannot imagine our little Natalie going to any other school. Obviously I would even be proud of the little one going to a rival like Furman (that's for you, MM)... but thank God we will never find out what that would have been like. Love you little one!!!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

25 Candles

There really were 25 flaming candles on my 2010 Birthday Cake! I enjoyed my dad's famous and "never to be outdone" penne with vodka sauce and my mom created the most fantastic cake which happens to be the same one that I have been devouring for 25 years now (give or take a few years when she veered from the norm and made something a little unique...like the one with the seals and beach balls? I have no recollection of this but apparently, it happened). I don't know that I will ever post the recipe for the cloud like frosting that covers my angel food cake every year but I am sure it's no secret nor is it a hidden recipe. The recipe my mom uses is out of an old Betty Crocker cookbook and is creatively called "white mountain frosting". A puff of birthday bliss in one's mouth for sure. My family celebration was so wonderful, I am blessed.

The quarter of a century celebration isn't over yet! Time for fun with some best friends tonight and a visit from MM this week for the long Easter weekend!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

On the rocks, please!

The weekend is finally here and I cannot wait to spend time with so many of my favorites! A little Boone girls reunion tonight and a special birthday celebration with best friends tomorrow. I'll take a mojito please to toast to wonderful friends, lots of love and one more week until MM gets to Charlotte! Happy Friday!
photo via {here}

Monday, March 22, 2010

Strawberry and Mascarpone Filled Cupcakes

I cannot go a day without a small morsel of something sweet so it may be surprising that I don't do a lot of baking. This is probably partly because I would most likely eat everything in one sitting if I had dessert in mass quantities hanging out around my house. The baking bug hit me this past weekend and I tried out another Giada recipe that was another delectable delight...as per usual! These petite cupcakes are an absolute dream!


  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese, chilled
  • 1/2 cup thawed and drained frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar


Special equipment: 1 muffin tin

Make the cupcakes according to package instructions. Lightly grease the muffin tin and fill the batter almost to the rim of each muffin cup. Bake according to package directions and let cool.

In a food processor combine the mascarpone cheese, strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and lemon juice. Process the mixture until smooth. Transfer the strawberry mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a small tip. Push the tip gently into the bottom of a cupcake and squeeze in the strawberry mixture until the cupcake plumps. Continue with the remaining cupcakes.

In a small saucepan bring the 1/2 cup sugar, water, and vanilla extract to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved. In a medium bowl combine the vanilla syrup with the confectioner's sugar. Stir until smooth. Working quickly, use a rubber spatula spread the icing on the top of the cupcakes. If the icing begins to firm up, place in the microwave for a few seconds to warm up again.

*Recipe courtesy of Giada Di Laurentiis

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cousin Love

Today may be St. Patrick's day, but even more importantly, it's my wonderful cousin Roger's birthday!! We won't discuss his age, as it's just a number anyways, but I promised him that I would dedicate a birthday post in his honor. Ever since Roger discovered my blog, he has been all over it. He may have even called me a brat for having my own little niche on the world wide web but deep down, I know it was all said in the name of cousin love. Roger, I know you have been waiting all day with baited breath to see your face in the blog spotlight! Doesn't your face look so handsome on here? (of course with your gorgeous wife by your side!)
Each and every day I try to recruit Roger to join the growing world of blogs and twitter but I just can't seem to make him budge. Maybe all of this fame and attention he will get on Peace, Love & Good Food will entice him to take the plunge!

Love you, Roger!!! Happy Birthday!

Italians can wear green, too!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! If you are in Charlotte, you still have a few more hours to hop on over to The Blushing Bakeshop because Monika has outdone herself again with her Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes! (Chocolate Guinness Cake filled with a Whiskey Ganache and topped with a Bailey's Buttercream) Can you say a St. Patrick's Day dream!?! Some of her other daily flavors have festive green icing!
Typically, I would be eating a traditional Irish dinner of corned beef, potatoes, carrots and cabbage but due to my family's ever so crazy schedules, we will be rescheduling our yearly "let's smile and pretend we are Irish meal" for another day. I truly think Italian blood has a thing for any day, festival and/or celebration centered around food.

I may or may not be sitting in my cube hard at work with a Leprechaun hat on right now.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Kitchen Idol

It's another busy week around here and a Giada De Laurentiis recipe, yet again, was nothing short of a culinary success! I love Giada's recipes because they are easy, use fresh ingredients and the flavors always provide a phenomenal symphony in the mouth! Of all of the TV Chefs that make their way onto my television screen daily, Giada is my kitchen idol. Not to mention that her wardrobe and hair are consistently fantastic!

These easy tuna and artichoke paninis are fresh and exotic- bursting with earthy flavors in every single bite. Ashley and I loved our paninis until the very last bite and each enjoyed a small comforting bowl of tomato basil soup on the side.

Tuna & Artichoke Paninis
  • 3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives (Trader Joe's was out of the actual olives so I bought the kalamata olive tapenade and did not add the extra oil you will see in the list below...it was an excellent substitution)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (of course I added one extra)
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 (6 oz.) cans tuna, in water or oil, drained
  • 1 (12 oz.) jar marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (16 oz.) ciabatta bread, halved horizontally (we skipped the ciabatta and went for whole grain sourdough from Trader Joe's)
  • 1 tomato, diced.
puree the olives, oil, garlic and zest in a food processor until smooth and spreadable. Blend in the mayonnaise. Toss the tuna, artichokes, lemon juice and pepper in a medium bowl, keeping the tuna in small chunks.

Hollow out the bottom and top halves of the bread. Spread the olive puree over both sides of the bread. Spoon the tuna and artichoke mixture onto the bottom of the half of the bread. Sprinkle the tomatoes over. Cover with the bread top. Cut the sandwich crosswise into 6 pieces and serve.
*recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Friday, March 5, 2010

The First Sign of Spring!

Rumor has it that Spring is supposed to be "peeping" around the corner in Charlotte this weekend and I couldn't be happier! Wishiing beautiful weekends for all!

Me: Do you like peeps?
Janele: I LOVE peeps!
Me: I knew you were a good person.
Janele: Oh! I don't trust anyone who doesn't like peeps!
photo via {here}

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Little Fluff

On average, I would venture to say that around 50% of the conversations that I partake in on a daily basis revolve around food. This may seem a bit excessive but if you pay attention to those around you, food is a basic form of comfort that is enjoyed by all. I have found that I often associate many of life's memories with the things I ate and the flavors that made me smile. More than once this week, marshmallow fluff has creeped its way into daily conversation with my sweet (and most favorite red head who glows in the color green) friend Meghan. I could not help but pay a small tribute on my blog to the puffy white sweetness that found its way onto sandwiches, dipped with fruit and even transported straight from the jar with a spoon and into my mouth as a child. My love affair with chocolate could not be any more public but nobody stands in the way of me and my marshmallows and all marshmallow related puffy products. Marshmallow fluff is one of those things that takes me back to my childhood. Meghan is also a friend of the fluff but to my surprise, she was not aware of the deliciousness that is created when a joyous cloud of fluff marries up with quality sandwich bread and creamy dreamy peanut butter! (otherwise known as the Fluffernutter sandwich!) According to the official Fluffernutter website, a Fluffernutter sandwich is "long a staple of playgrounds, after-school snacks, college dorms, and the local diner, a Fluffernutter is a wonderful concoction of Marshmallow Fluff and peanut butter in a delightfully tasty sandwich!" Courtesy of my wonderful mother, Fluffernutter sandwiches would appear in our lunch boxes every so often. Even more often than this rare lunch treat, my sisters and I, in Sneaky McSneakerson style, would tiptoe into the pantry with our spoons and dive into the jar head first. I may or may not have done that earlier this week when I went to my familys' house for dinner! For old time's sake of course.

Peace, love and all things fluffy.

photos via {here}

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy Girls...

The last three hours of the workday always seem to scoot along so slowly, no matter how busy I am. It's just about the time that I need a pick me up to keep my battery going a little bit longer. I came across this quote that I have always loved and talk about feeling refreshed. Sometimes all I need as a pick me up are a few simple words that speak volumes. Audrey Hepburn is fascinating and in my opinion, a true icon for women of all ages. She exudes class in its entirety. Her words are blogworthy and need to be passed onto the rest of my girls."I believe in manicures.
I believe in primping at leisure
and wearing lipstick.
I believe in pink. I believe that
laughing is the best calorie burner.
I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.
I believe in being strong
when everything seems to be
going wrong. I believe that
happy girls are the prettiest girls.
I believe that tomorrow is another day
and I believe in miracles."

-Audrey Hepburn
photo via {here}