CUCINA CARA MIA.......Random thoughts from "my dear kitchen" about food, travel, Italy, San Diego and life!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I love looking at design blogs. Love the photos of beautifully designed homes. There are a lot of talented women out there in blogland who have a great eye for design and a wealth of great ideas. I have never claimed to have that talent myself. I enjoy the hunt for deals, watch HGTV religiously and have stacks and stacks of decorating magazines that I browse through. But let’s be honest here, I NEED HELP!!!

I want to put an area rug in my living room, where the new floors are very DARK! Most things in the room are dark. I can’t afford to buy new furniture. I need a suggestion for a 5 x 7 rug to go under the wrought iron and glass coffee table. Do I go with a light solid, a small pattern, a zebra stripe (ha!!) or something else entirely different? Before the floors were installed, we had a sea grass rug in there. My husband has now claimed that one for the office.

Any and all suggestions and or “constructive” criticism are appreciated….

Sunday, July 27, 2008


So in order to give this blog more of an Italian feel, we say goodbye to the photo of Beacon's Beach, a ten minute walk from my house and, and insert a photo I took last year when we were in the beautiful town of Amalfi. We had lunch overlooking the beach, walked around admiring the incredible view, and enjoyed some decadent dessert at a sidewalk cafe. We hopped back on the bus that was packed like sardines. Much has been written about the crazy bus ride through the towns on the Amalfi Coast. The bus drivers have to be commended for their bravery in maneuvering around other vehicles without an accident on the narrow winding road.

This year there will be no trip to Italy - it's time for a staycation. Living in San Diego - America's Finest City, there is lot to see and do. Last night we took our speed boat out with a few friends on San Diego Bay. We enjoyed a crisp Pinot Grigio, some Jimmy Buffet music on the CD player, and took in some of the sights. The US Midway is now a permanent fixture in our harbor, along with other navy ships. Petco Park, home to the Padres is now our downtown ballpark. Across the bay is Coronado, home to the historic Hotel Del Coronado (remember the movie "Some Like it Hot"). They have the best Sunday brunch!

It may not be Italy, but it's home. Tomorrow we could visit the S.D. Zoo, Sea World, The Wild Animal Park, or Legoland. But, since Beacon's Beach is only a 10 minute walk, I think we'll save gas and go there instead.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Well its Friday another week has flown by….got to spend time with my sisters, brother and niece and nephew earlier in the week. I started sharing with them that I have a blog. They don’t get it….why would you have a blog?.. What is so interesting about blogs? I shared my blog with them. Showed them some of my favorite blogs.…I felt like I had to defend myself. Boy, am I sensitive, even at the ripe old age of 54. They pointed out that my blog title and the photo in the headline don’t make any sense. So of course, I spent part of yesterday trying to find a more relevant photo or illustration for Cucina Cara Mia. I googled Italian foods, Italian kitchens, looking for something that describes my blog better. I guess I could use my own kitchen photo. I know the photo is dark, and the camera is not the best digital out there. I am sure it can be more creative and interesting. Should I have someone do a blog design for me? Any suggestions on where to find free photos? The point of this---do we blog to make ourselves happy, or are we trying to please others????

Friday, July 11, 2008


It is so humid out today. Reminds me of the summers back in New York. It’s “Why is my hair so frizzy”? Weather. Not really a beach day, I require sunshine when I go to the beach, I also require myself to lose 25 pounds, but that isn’t gonna happen by the end of summer, so I just require sunshine. I thought about yesterday’s post and thought it was a little depressing. But, I am sharing my life here, and for a long time dealing with my daughter’s illness was a very big part of our lives.

We finally got our wood floors installed and I LOVE THEM, but of course, now everything looks so dark next to them. I guess I didn’t think about that when I spent over 2 months researching wood species, prices and installers. A little trip to two of my favorite stores for deals, Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx could solve some decorating blunders. I wanted to lighten things up a bit in the dining room. I got all three pieces for under $20.00! The roses are from the first white rose bush in my garden.

Good News!! Gas is only $4.35 per gallon at ARCO!!

Told you it was random…

Thursday, July 10, 2008



Today is the 28th anniversary of moving my 26 year old New York self to San Diego.
I have lived longer here than in my home state of New York. They say once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker. I still have a loud, say what I think personality, drive fast and talk fast. As years pass, and life experience change a person, I have mellowed a little. It has been an interesting 28 years with sad times, happy times (my wedding anniversary of April 11th) and moments I sometimes wish never happened, like the day my daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 18 months. I’ll never forget February 10th, 1993. Then there is the anniversary of her bone marrow transplant, May 30th, 1995. That day is an anniversary to always celebrate, and for a quite a few years we went to Disneyland to acknowledge her surviving that disease and all the pain and suffering our entire family experienced. Right now, she is upstairs blasting music in her room. She turns seventeen next month. Let’s raise a glass of bubbly to that one!

Monday, July 7, 2008


I love the color purple. From plum, to lavender, to lilac and every shade in between. I guess its one of those random things about me. I convinced my husband to paint our master bedroom a lovely deep lavender back in the early 90’s. It was a little too feminine for his liking. Eventually we sold that house and left that "unique" color for the new owners. My current home featured a periwinkle blue (otherwise known as purple) guest bathroom for many years. No more, it’s a safe, neutral tobacco brown today.

There was a time when every time I went shopping I was drawn to the purple shirt, sweater, dress, or pair of shorts at the store.

For my 40th birthday, I requested everyone dress in something purple. I am sure most of the men really didn’t want to come to that party, It was also my daughter’s 2nd birthday, so Barney came (you remember that Purple Dinosaur) and we served dinosaur shaped cookies, iced in purple.

Then there was the need for purple eyeshadow. Loving that color also made it easy for people to buy birthday gifts for me; purple jewelry, books, candles, picture frames, accessories, dishes and glasses. They are part of my life.

But as years go by, we all change our taste in clothes and decorating. As I look around my home today, the only purple I see is a purple vase in my family room and the exquisite purple flowers in my garden.
I am soooo glad my teenage daughters are over that Purple Dinosaur too!!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July. Our guests included my sister, her partner, my cousin and her husband,(marathon runners) my best friend, her daughter and boyfriend,(college football player) my daughter and a bunch of her enthusiastic 20 year old friends (returning from an afternoon at the beach) and my husband's friend from college. Interesting group, but that's what makes it fun! We never made it see the fireworks, the clouds came in and made it a little difficult to see the display. We also drank too much wine. Our cat went and hid in a closet in the laundry room once the booms started.

Here was my menu for our party:

Bruschetta with sliced French Bread
Guacamole and chips
Strawberries with lemon yogurt dip
Hummus and veggies and pita chips

Cous Cous Salad with Artichokes, cherry tomatoes, parsely, parmesan cheese and pine nuts
Italian red potato salad with fresh rosemary, lemon, olive oil and capers
Good Old American Corn on the Cob
Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, and Chicken Breasts

For Dessert

Flag Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate Cup Cakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Wine, Beer and Soft Drinks

This morning I woke up to quite a mess in the kitchen. So what do you think I did, I started looking at my favorite blogs for the past hour. Kitchen clean up will have to wait until later….much later. Have a great weekend!