Saturday, November 26, 2016

Domestic Goddess?


Ranting alert about cable television food, home and gardening programming!
I long for the days when Martha Stewart was the domestic goddess and the emphasis was on making our house a home.  With the exception of the food channels, it seems like the tide has turned to real estate, demolishing homes and rebuilding them.  While I enjoy seeing how they turn a disaster into beauty, I really miss the gardening shows, the crafty kind of shows and the interior decorating shows. Remember Christopher Lowell or Debbie Travis?  Loved those shows that taught us how to make such awesome stuff for our homes.
The food channels have even ventured away from “normal” programming of good old fashioned cooking shows that I love so much.  Now it is mostly about game shows and a combination of travel and food . . . finding a great place to eat (if you are into travelling).
At least I have the internet for all those homey kind of things that I love.  There are many websites and blogs online dedicated to the home.  In fact, I have a website page dedicated to those websites.  That page will be undergoing a major renovation to include all the new discoveries I have made, but you can find my old favorites like Christopher Lowell and Debbie Travis on that page.  Click on the graphic to go there . . .

Cinco de Mayo 2014


Got plans for the big party day?  The Captain and I will prepare a special meal and spend a quiet day at home.
We have continued planning and working toward our economical grocery plan which will include freezer meals.  It will be fun getting this all together with marathon cooking sessions to make other days easy and convenient.
Some of the recipes I have posted in the past couple of days . . . Roasted Red Pepper Pasta which is a basic recipe with lots of variation possibilities, Refried Beans that we will use for making lots of taquitos and burritos for the freezer, Linguine With Shrimp and Artichokes which is a total departure from the usual shrimp pasta dishes I make since The Captain keeps telling me how much he knows I will love artichokes that I’ve never eaten before.  Pasta dishes have been and will continue to be great grocery budget stretchers in our kitchen!
Blue Cheese and Chive Dip from Tyler Florence sounds like a dip that I will really enjoy since I love blue cheese dressing so much!  And a totally decadent pie I found that we will be enjoying very soon,Kentucky Chocolate and Walnut Pie . . . that is my treat!!
As more and more time goes by, we are all looking for ways to stretch our precious dollars.  One way is by doing our own home maintenance and repairs. Click here for an awesome website with tutorials for every type of DIY project you can think of!
My crafting friends will love the cute DIY Jeweled Clear Clutch I found online with a great tutorial!
As much as I hate to admit it, I wrote another “blah” post since I still haven’t completely shaken that ugly monster.  This too shall pass as all the other blah times have, but this one has lasted way too long!
Hoping you all had a wonderful weekend and are looking forward to a productive and fun week!  Whatever you do . . . be safe.

Some Thoughts From May 2014


Seems like since I was hit by that nasty flu or virus, whatever you want to call it, I have not been able to pick myself back up.  I've heard from others who were hit by the virus that it was a nasty one, but to last this long?  All I want to do is sleep!
My intentions are always positive that "today will be the day I can get up and go" . . . but it is not happening!  Human nature makes us so impatient!
As usual, my food blog remains active since I'm always looking for great recipes . . . since I've been spending a lot of time resting in bed, the Food Network and the Cooking Channel have been what interests me and I am finding more great recipes than I haven't had time to post!
This week at Gina's Italian Kitchen, I have featured Oven Baked Breakfast Tacos that look delicious, easy and the variation possibilities are endless . . . also freezable! Kelsey Nixon's Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Creamy Mac and Cheese is one of the first new meals I'm going to try since Mac and Cheese is a popular item in our kitchen! Can't wait to try out Guy Fieri's Spicy Polenta Cakes to put my stomach on fire with the jalapeno peppers :)
The Captain and I missed the Cinco de Mayo festivities, but we are gearing up for some spicy happenings in the kitchen when we are feeling better!  Lots more Tex-Mex type of recipes coming!
Something I found for the crafters who love to design their own jewelry will love the DIY Rhinestone Statement Necklace . . . I can't wait to get back into creating! 
While Peace, Love and Happiness has been sapped by not feeling well, this time has been one of self-reflection and being so grateful and blessed for where I am compared to one of the lowest points of my life when my first husband JR passed away.  It is so easy to get caught up in our day to day irritations that momentarily rob us of our joy and happiness, but it takes looking back at desperate times to appreciate these little things that usually pass quickly, making way for the next catastrophe, right?  The post "Picking Up the Pieces . . . Putting Them Away" ponders those thoughts.

Friday, November 25, 2016

April Fools Day in 2014

Originally published April 2014 

It was surprising with a trickster husband skulking around the house I didn’t get zonked with an April Fool’s prank.

This week in the kitchen . . . we enjoyed a very delicious cuban style roast pork accompanied by tasty black beans and white rice. The meal is a staple in the latin community, kind of like a burger and fries. It is a meal that lasts at least a couple of days and when you’ve have enough, the pork is resurrected into another meal.

This time around it turned out to be what we call The Captain’s Pork Stew, a very delicious thick soup that is loaded with pork and various vegetables in a light tomato sauce. Learning how to use leftovers to make different meals is a trick we are perfecting in an attempt to stretch our food dollars.

Check out Gina’s Italian Kitchen for some awesome recipe discoveries I’ve made this week!

My curiosity has been peaked by felt crafts that I have been running into around the internet. Seems to be a rather inexpensive and easy craft to get involved with. Cute stuff worth looking into.

It has been one of those weeks when certain music has been ringing in my ears and I couldn’t ignore it. The result is a music post on my blog Gina’s Music Memories . . . Linda Ronstadt, The Mad Love Album. It took me back to the days of the early 80’s and new wave music. Good times and great memories! Great music too . . . check it out if you haven’t heard it or it has been a long time.

Then there is my blog about life . . . Peace, Love, Happiness. Sometimes the most bizarre thoughts cross my mind and I just have to explore them in detail. Just stuff of life that happens or feelings or emotions we go through. Sometimes happy, sometimes not too happy. I’ve been trying to cut down my smoking in an attempt to quit smoking and my thoughts go to strange places. But don’t we all do that?

By the way . . . having a really tough time kicking the habit. April 2 was my quit date and I almost made it the whole day. The Captain quit cold turkey a while back, he’s on day 50 something of being nicotine free . . . extremely proud of him!

A couple of months ago, a very large tree limb crumbled part of our large storage shed that holds all my treasures. The Captain is finally feeling better after his surgery to tackle that problem. We are going to have all types of log furniture, I kid you not! Get ready for some of those DIY projects . . .

All is well for another week in Gina’s internet world . . . hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Peace, Love, Happiness and the Blahs

Originally posted April 2014 

The big ugly monster . . . I hate him (yes, to me he is a male). His name is THE BLAHS!!

Seriously, I truly believe we all get them. For sure I wish I didn’t know this guy!

Anyway, depression, anxiety and restlessness have been an ongoing battle for me. When I write about my mental health problems, I do so not just to help me, but to help others who perhaps feel they are alone in their battle.

One of the tools a former psychotherapist introduced me to is journaling. I choose to do most of my journaling in the form of blog posts for my blog Peace, Love, Happiness.

The blog was born out of a need to write about the grief I was experiencing following the death of my spouse in addition to my depression related illnesses. It has evolved through the years, however, the theme remains the same and is universal . . . we all want Peace, Love and Happiness in our lives. The blog explores those three little words.

My mental health reference page goes along with the blog. Sometimes it is important to do research, find an organization, forum, find out more about prescription medications we have been prescribed or just understand what we are experiencing in greater detail. The internet has presented us with a wealth of information!

The blahs doesn’t mean you have a chronic mental illness. Sometimes coping with life will present us with a bad case of the blahs. Actually, in my opinion, you are not normal if you have never experienced the blahs.

Want to read some of my posts specifically about “the blahs?” . . . click here.

And yes, you guessed it, “the blahs” come to mind since I am being visited by the monster. The Captain and I have both been fighting the battle of a stomach virus that does not want to go away . . . at the same time, a toothache has decided to show it’s ugly head too. Blah, blah, blah!!!

Organized Kitchens


To some people, this kitchen looks terribly cluttered. To me, it is colorfully festive and beautiful.

Actually, this is what I was striving for when I first changed up my kitchen and pulled off the cabinet doors a while back. Colorful, festive kitchen glassware, especially vintage, is one of my big loves. I want to look at it every time I walk into the room. It brings me joy. Crazy . . . I know, to many of you, it sounds like I’m as crazy as a loon.

Well, as years have gone by and my new husband has added his touches to the kitchen, gone is the festivity and semi-functionality is what is left. He’s super tall and I’m super short, so something at his fingertips requires a step ladder for me. And not so appealing to my eyes.

As it stands, we have not solved our kitchen dilemma!

The photo comes from an article I found, 20 Organized Kitchens from Real Cooks. It looks like a promising article to assist us and I have decided to do more research looking for more articles like this one, which I will add to this post as I find them.

For those of us who love to cook and love our kitchen stuff, the way it is stored and organized is very important. When there are two passionate cooks in that kitchen, both opinions have got to count . . . not an easy task!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Dreams of Back in the Day


Dreams can take you back to a time and place in vivid detail, at least they do for me. Since I’ve had this virus or flu that has hung on for way too long, sleep has been something craved and enjoyed.

This afternoon’s nap took me to a dream back to my childhood days of the 60’s. When I woke up, it felt as if I had actually been there again, reliving the moment, visiting with those loved ones that are no longer with us. It is truly a gift.

Anyway, the dream was part real and part parody . . . dreams can be like that. It was set back in the day, but I was a child in present day. The time and place was a party, probably around the holidays, at my godmother and godfather’s house. They had grand parties and as a child I loved them!

The food and drinks were overflowing, the music was playing loud and there were the regulars who were on the “dance floor.” You know how people get when they have alcoholic beverages, a bit less inhibited. Well, I can remember sitting on the couch with my Nana having a good time laughing with raised eyebrows at those who were really getting into the watusi or whatever dance they were shaking their booty to. In real life, we did that all the time!

It is very annoying that I can’t remember all the stuff that I remember right after I woke up. Don’t you hate that about dreams?

The good thing is I remember the people in the dream. Especially my Nana. I miss her so much and dream of her often. Sometimes I think I “wish” myself into a dream with her in it. It must sound crazy to someone who does not dream like I do. My Nana does not visit my mom in her dreams no matter how much she craves a visit with her mom. I tell her about mine like it was a real visit, we have a good cry at the days she was with us and how much we miss her. Dreams can be bittersweet!

On the other hand, The Captain has dreams of the military that are disturbing and often keep him from having a good night’s sleep. On occasion, I’ll have those disturbing dreams where someone is chasing me and I wake up exhausted and will fight my sleep so I won’t go back there. Bad dreams are like that . . . I often go back to them and feel like I can’t get out of it!

Dreams also have a strong power of suggestion . . . after seeing all that food spread out on those tables, I woke up so hungry for all that good holiday food. Of course, there is none of that type of food in the kitchen and it is later at night and too late for a trip to the store. I should go back to sleep and try to go back to that dream so I can have some of that awesome food.

Let's Talk Chicken

Can you ever have enough chicken recipes?
We can’t!
The Captain and I love stocking up on chicken when it is on sale at the local meat market or grocery store.  Sometimes we will cook whole chickens, shred the meat and freeze enough for one casserole in separate bags.  What a time saver, not to mention you can save so much money doing this.
Do you get bored with the same ole recipes week after week?  
Expand your choices!
Click here for chicken recipes from my food blog, Gina’s Italian Kitchen.

Moving website

I have decided to move to this blog.  In the coming days, selected blog posts from will be moving to this blog.

Having a paid website is highly overrated!

Happy Holidays :)