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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Two Incredible Italian No Cook No Fuss Desserts Not Well Known In The US

Macedonia Invernale -Here's a terrific no cook, no-fuss dessert that popular with Italian home cooks. You just mix your favorite fruits with chopped nuts, chopped chocolate and any left over candy. Add some organe juice and a splash of liqueur and pass the spoons. Here are the ingredients:

2 handfuls of assorted dried fruit chopped
2 handfuls of  assorted chopped nuts
1 handful of assorted leftover candy bars chopped
1 handful of dark chocolate chopped
1 handful of milk chocolate chopped
10 amaretti ( crisp almond cookies ) or other cookies coarsely chopped
A little candied orange peel minced
Freshly squeezed orange juice
Itlain liqueur such as limocello or amaretto
Mascarpone cheese or whipped cream

In a resealable plastic bag or container with a lid, combine the dreid fruit, nuts, candy, dark and light chocolates, cookies and candied orange peel. Seal and set aside for up to 3 months. One hour before serving add enough orange juice to moisten thr fruit mixture.  Just before serving add the liqueur to taste.
Serve in wine glasses with a dollop of Mascarpone or whipped cream. Serves 10 to 12.

Dolce Torino or Instant Chocolate Cake

This no bake recipe comes from an Italian Piedmont cookbook written in 1891. Here's what's inside:

7 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 cup fo confectioners sugar
1 large egg yolk
3 1/2  ounces dark chocolate at least 70% cacao
2 tablesppons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon puree vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar plus more to taste
4 tablespoons of sweet liqueur such as alchermes
12 savvoiardi ( lady fingers )
2 tablespoons of crush pistachios or hazelnuts

In a large bowl, using a wisk or electric mixer, beat the butter, confectioner's sugar and egg yolk until very smooth and creamy. Set aside. Then put the chocolate and cream in a smaill bowl and melt the chocolate either in a microwave or over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Let the chocolate mixture cool to room temperature, then stit it and the vanilla into the butter mixture. Set aside.  Next combine 5 tablespoons of warm water with the granulated sugar in a shallow bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the liqueur adding more sugar to taste. Dip 4 of the lady fingers one at a time, into the liquid. Be sure to moisten them well on all sides. Arrange the 4 liqueur dipped lady fingers in a row, close together on a serving plate. Spread one third of the chcolate mixture on top and around the stacked lady fingers. Spinkle top layer with pistachio or hazelnuts. Repeat the dipping and layering to make 2 more layers, spreading the last layer of chocolate mixture on top and around the lady fingers. Sprinkle to the top layer with pistachio or hazelnuts. Rerigerate  for 3 hours until firm. Serve cold. Serves 4 to 6.

Four Sensational Leaf Peeping Spots Just A 3 Hour Drive From Mercer County

Here are four scenic getaways that don't require a trek to the airport or long hours behind the wheel

1.Clinton, NJ Located in Hunterdon County, this town looks like a Norman Rockwell pianting came to life. For more info see http://www.clintonnj.gov/  ( 1 hour by car)

2. Kent, CT  Named the top New England foliage destination by Yankee Magazine, Kent is situated near two state parks for plenty of leaf viewing. For more info on Kent, see http://www.ct.gov/ ( 3hours by car)

3. Millbrook, NY This town is filled with rolling hills, beautiful gardens, and Millbrook Vineyards (845) 677-8383. Just 10 minutes away from the winery is Innisfree Garden which occupies 150 acres on part of  a lake. The public garden features streams, waterfalls and terraces.  Call 845-677-8000 for more details. 
( 3hours by car)

4. Hunter, NY Get your adrenaline fix with a trip to Hunter Mountin and take a Skyrider Tour. It's North America's longest highest and fastest zipline course. It sends riders flying at speeds of 50 mph on lines that extend 3,000 feet and more than 600 feet in the air. The entire course covers more than 4.6 miles of forest giving thrill seekers a stunnung aerial view of the Catskills. For more info visit http://www.huntermtn.com/ or call 800-HunterMtn. ( 3 hours by car)

Friday, September 23, 2011

12 Ways To Outfox Bill Collectors

1.If they threaten to have you arrested, use profanity or call before 8am or after 9pm, then they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. So report then to your state attorney general at http://www.naag.org/ and the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftc.gov/

2. When they leave a message on your phone, its just a message from a made up person. When you call back and ask for him or her, they will say they are out to lunch and offer to help you instead.

3. When a bill collector makes unreasonable demands,  never ask for a manager since he or she won't  help you. Just call back and get another collector on the line.

4. Bill collectors love to call you at work because it puts extra pressure on you. However, if you specifically ask them not to call you at work, by law they have to stop.

5. If you decide to settle, collectors are trained to "take your application" in a bored voice. They'll the ask for your spouse's work phone, and other personal information. But it's  they're way of getting more info out of you in case the debtor rejects your settlement. So if you want to settle, don't give them an more info to harass you.

6. Always check whether your debt has passed the statute of limitations. You can check for info about your state at  http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/credit-card-state-statute-limitations-1282.php
If your debt has passed the statute of limitations, they can't sue you or put it on your credit report. But if you make any kind of payment or even acknowledge the debt, then that starts the clock ticking all over again !

7. Debt collectors always lie when negotiating and say they have to get a manger involved. Then the other collector becomes the "bad cop". The theory is that just having another voice on the phone may get you to open your wallet.

8. A lot of collection agencies buy debt for pennies on the dollar. So when you negotiate, start low at about 25 cents on the dollar. Then say, "I have $200 I can apply towards this debt.. Will you accept that as payment in full?" If the collector says "no", then ask what they will accept. When you reach a deal always make them put it in writing. Then pay the bill.

9. Collectors won't tell you , but most accounts have a one time settlement fee of 15% to 35% that's pre-approved.  This is especially true with credit card debt. So always negotiate hard.

10. The more money a collector can get out of you, the bigger bonus he or she will get. Top collectors routinely get bonus checks of $10,000 or more each month. So always negotiate your debt down to pennies on the dollar.

11. All collectors have heard every tale of woe in existence. They may seem sympathetic when they talk to you, but they just don't care.  So make sure you always negotiate your debt down.

12. Debt collectors are trained to believe that all debtors are compulsive liars. So no matter what you tell them , they are trained to keep pushing. So they ask you if you can borrow from friends, your 401k or another credit card. Don't do it. If the collector won't negotiate the debt down, hang up.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sensational Sunday Italian Meat Ball Recipe

Meat Mix:

1lb ground beef ( 80% lean/20% fat )
1lb ground veal
1lb pancetta or thick-sliced smokey bacon, finely minced
2    whole eggs
1/3 cup  finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
8    garlic cloves minced

Herb Mix:

1/4 cup fine dry unseasoned bread crumbs
4oz. (1/2 cup) whole milk
1 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Slowly add milk to bread crumbs, stirring until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Then add to the meat mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix well. To taste for seasoning heat a small amount of canola oil in a small pan. When it's hot, it will ripple in the pan. Pinch off a bit of meat, and fry it in the oil. Remove with a spoon, taste, and correct seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Refrigerate meat for about 30 minutes.

Next you'll need:

canola oil for browning
12 cups of good quality tomato sauce kept warm over low heat ( see recipe below )
finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Shape meatballs using an ice cream scoop. Firmly pack the meat into the scoop, pressing down on the flat side with your palm. Then use the spring trigger to release it, and roll it between your flattened palms into a ball.  In a large skillet, heat about 1/4 inch of canola oil until very hot.Working in batches, brown all sides of each meatball. As they finish, transfer browned meatballs to a deep, ovenproof casserole. Cover meatballs with tomato sauce and make sure they are totally submerged. Place in oven and bake until well done, or about  1 3/4 to 2 hours. When done, they should feel firm to the touch, or an  instant read meat thermometer should read 160 degrees.

To Serve:

Spoon sauce over meatballs ( 2or 3 per person) and top with grated cheese. Makes 25 to 30 meatballs. Serve 8 to 10 as an entree.

Tomato Sauce Recipe


San marzano tomatoes, oilive oil, garlic cloves, basil leavesight

1.Get eight (8)  28 oz cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes.

 2. Empty in a huge bowl and crush by hand or with a potato masher. .

3.  Place an 8 to 10 qt stockpot over moderate heat.

4.  Add 1/2 cup olive oil and 8 crushed garlic cloves, and cook until the garlic starts to sizzle, about 3 or 4 minutes. ( Don't burn it. That will ruin the whole sauce )

5. Add tomaotoes in four portions, waiting until each comes to a simmer before adding the next. ( This speeds up cooking time)

6. Lower heat, add a few ripped basil leaves, and simmer until foam subsides and the sauce looks a little oily. Probaly about 45 minutes.

7. Let cool and store until ready to use. Makes about 16 cups so you'll have leftovers.  


Design It Yourself Sneakers, Handbags, Jewlry & More

If you don't like off the shelf  fashion acessories, then design them yourself.

Sneakers:                       http://www.nikeid.com/

Baggage:                        http://www.reloadbags.com/

Fragrances:                    http://www.gardenbotanika.com/

Lingerie:                         http://www.evloveintimates.com/

Jeans:                             http://www.makeyourownjeans.com/  

Dress Shirts/Suits          http://www.moi-meme.com/ 
Shoes:                             http://www.shoesofprey.com/

Handbags:                      http://www.elementalthreads.com/ 

Pillows & Bedding:        http://www.inmod.com/

MakeUp:                        http://www.discontinuedlipstick.com/     

Jewelry:                          http://www.egjewelry.com/  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is It a Mirror Or 2-Way Glass?

 How can we tell the difference between a real mirror or a 2-way glass in public bathrooms, hotel rooms or  changing rooms?  It quite easy. Here is a simple test provided by a policewoman who travels all over the U.S.
She gives  seminars to businesswomen about security issues. Just place the  tip of your fingernail against the reflective surface. If its is a genuine  mirror,  there will be about a 1/8" gap between your actual fingernail and the actual reflection of your finger nail.  However, if your fingernail DIRECTLY TOUCHES the image of your nail with NO SPACE or NO GAP, then BEWARE! IT'S A 2-WAY MIRROR! Now you motto should be,
"No Space, Leave The Place". So remember to do the fingernail test every time you see a  mirror. All ladies should share this information with their girlfriends, sisters, daughters and moms. Men should share this info with their wives, daughters, daughters-in-laws, moms, girlfriends and friends.

Why Have Italian Men Given Up Sex?

"Italian men don't want to have sex anymore," said Manuela Grassi  and Antonella Piperno in the weekly Panorama. "Our mothers used to warn us to be careful with that boy, he'll try to  get you in bed. Now they warn us to watch out for that one, he'll never get in your bed." In Italy, it seems that young men, who are supposed to be in their sexual prime, don't know how to have sex. Nearly 20 percent of men between 18 and 30 have no sex life at all, and don't seem to miss it. Plus it's the women who are suffering. All across Italy, in beauty salons, Internet chat rooms, and agony columns, women are wailing with frustration. One woman left a man she might have really loved because he refused to get intimate more than once a month. Some experts say that Italian men are overwhelmed by the pressure to succeed in business. Others blame rapacious Italian women for intimidating men. Italy's sexy TV personality Anna Falchi is typical. "I had a likewarm lover only once, " she said. "I threw him out immediately." Experts say its no wonder why men are too scared to perform.

How To Negotiate A Severance Package

When you get a job termination notice, don't shake hands with the people who have fired you. Instead, deliver a written counterproposal to the company's cookie cutter severance package. Ask for one month of severance pay for every year you worked there, an extra month of pay for each of your dependents, full health coverage until you find a job, a promise of strong references, and a lump-sum payment. If they refuse to negotiate, say they will hear from your attorney soon. In the unlikely event they call your bluff by letting you leave, have your lawyer place a call. Just stand ready to compromise, get the final check, and say goodbye.      

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Six Ways To Appear Like A Local When You Travel

1. Eat Fast Food -Strangely enough, fast food places are a great way to understand a culture. For instance in Vienna, where coffee is an obsession, the city is defined by the numerous  coffeehouses that dot the city.  Even at Starbucks, the locals order a melange which is much like a cappuccino. That unfamiliar option is a tip off to what the locals order. At McDonald's in Rome, look for a self-serve salad bar since Italians won't out up with pr-packaged greens.

2. Read Local - To keep sticking out as a tourist, buy a local newspaper in the local language and carry it under   your arm.  It makes fro great camouflage.

3. Dress Like A Local - Spend the first morning in any new city people watching to see how they dress. Then budget to buy a piece of clothing that will be a souvenir and serve as camouflage.

4. Watch Your Timing  -  To pass as a local, don't stick to rigid time table. For instance, in Spain or Greece, eating super before 10 pm means your a tourist. In Valencia, locals don't start to party until 3am even on weekdays!  To keep up with the locals, just live like they do. Instead of plowing through 8 hours of sightseeing, linger over lunch, nap during the hottest times of the day, and dine late at night.

5. Learn The Local Lingo - In Philly the subway is called the"L", in London it's called the "tube". So make sure you familiarize yourself with the local slang words. You can purchase small slang books for various languages or you do a Google slang search for our destination. 

6. Bonus Tip - Only Americans wear sunglasses when it's shady out-so only bring them out on the sunniest days.