Thursday, June 8, 2017

June 7th

Wow. It has been a long time since I have had been here. Like crazy long! I'm not sure there are people out there that still follow my blog since I disappeared, but I am hoping to start back up. I can't promise it will be weekly or monthly but I miss this part of my life. The fun cooking and getting to be creative in my kitchen.

So I am back here to celebrate a special day. Yesterday was an anniversary of sorts. My cancerversary. It's a real term in the cancer world. I did not coin it, though I wish had. Some people celebrate on the anniversary of the day they were diagnosed, or last day of treatment, or day they were NED (no evidence of disease). I might celebrate on all of these dates, because why not? 

Last year on June 7th I found out that I had cancer. The tumor I had was indeed the dreaded cancer. Stage 2b breast cancer, Invasive ductal carcinoma.  After that most of the past year was a giant whirlwind of tests, doctor appointments, chemo, radiation, hospital, surgery. Not super fun. Or easy.

But through it all I had amazing, like ridiculously amazing support. I don't know how others do cancer, hardness, or just life in general without it. My support was trifold. You know those painted, rustic signs that say Faith, Family, Friends. Well, they don't lie. That really is what it's all about. My faith was sure tested and tried and then some more. But God never left my side. Not in the chemo lab or the long anxious nights of unanswered questions or the draining hours of waiting for results. I was never alone. 
And speaking of alone, I really wasn't ever alone. Because my husband formed his every minute around me and my needs to get our family through as seamlessly as possible. He basically was an angel. And my mom, who was at my house constantly, night and day to care for me and my Ella. And well Ella, my cuddly and lovey, never tired, but cutest one year old lil' girl stayed right next to me. And I really do mean right next to me. I could name everyone here but it would be the longest document ever. My whole family, each member gave up all their free time and rearranged their lives to be our support system. It was way, way above and beyond what was expected.  They babysat, cleaned, drove, and cared for every aspect of day to day living. Speaking of day to day life, our church cooked meals for us so we never worried about finding time to food shop or cook. Our friends were constantly there for us in any way we needed. 

And most importantly, I had more people praying for me than I had ever met or ever thought would possibly cared to care for a stranger. I felt loved on in every direction. That is just what got me through each and every minute of treatment, stress, and fear that reigned over this past year.

But enough of that, after 10 months of active treatment I am finally at a place to relax and celebrate. I have no evidence of cancer in my body. Aside from mammograms and MRIs check ups and hormone therapy I am currently doing, my life is much less cancer dominated.

Now I can focus on living, not preventing dying. I can enjoy my family and friends. I can rest easier.

As a way to celebrate my "cancerversary" I made these easy but cute pink cupcakes. I shared them with some people who were part of that wonderful support system I mentioned earlier. 
Then Robert and I ordered out from our favorite Italian restaurant and had a delicious dinner. Cupcakes and Chicken Alfredo. That's my idea of celebrating.

I wanted to bake, but not do something super detailed or intense so I could relax and enjoy this day too. So I cheated. I used a boxed cake mix. Gasp. I doctored it up some and added pink sprinkles to the batter for some festive fun. 

For the icing, I found through the ever addictive Pinterest the easiest way to make faux fondant-like icing. I loved it. So simple.  I will be doing this frequently.

All you need is one can of store bought frosting, a microwave and bowl, and something to stir with.

And I added food coloring. Pink gel based. But any dye will do.

Here's what you do.

1. Scoop frosting into microwave safe bowl.

2. Microwave for 15 seconds. Stir well.

3. Microwave for 20 more seconds. Stir well again. 

4. If you wish to add coloring, now is the time. Stir in a few drops of liquid or small amount of gel and mix till incorporated.

5. If air bubbles rise to the surface pop them with a whatever utensil you have nearby. 

6. Dip your cupcake top into the icing and let excess icing run off. The icing will be thin, but don't be alarmed, it sets up quickly. Surprisingly quickly. And you can double dip too. I did two rounds with these cupcakes though it's not entirely necessary. 

7. Be sure to add any sprinkles or small decoration before the icing sets. 

Now let the icing finish setting and enjoy these faux fondant cupcakes.

Then eat or share. Either way, it's good.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


The newest and cutest member of the Our Italian Kitchen family, Ella!

I have been completely MIA this past year. But I have a very cute excuse! 
We are the proud parents to a sweet little girl. She was born a week and a half ago. 
She's the best little blessing we've ever had.

After a stressful pregnancy and a painful labor (all the negative stuff), we have the cuddliest, sweetest, most adorable little girl.

We love you Ella Bella!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

French Dip Sandwiches Crockpot Style

So there are days that the crockpot can really be your best friend. Busy days. Stressful days. Lazy days. Hot days when you don't want to turn on the oven. Crockpot to the rescue! Here is a super simple, man satisfying, looks-like-you-worked-hard-but-watched-the-office-while-cutting-coupons-instead kind of dinner. Just a few ingredients and a few minutes to throw together and then come back hours later to delicious dinner!

3 lb beef rump roast
16 oz can beef broth (maybe a lil more depending of size of crockpot)
1 packet of onion soup mix
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
3 minced garlic cloves
Sliced provolone
French or Italian crusty bread or roll (like a baguette)

1. Place the roast in the bottom on crockpot. Add broth, onion soup mix, worcestershire
, and garlic in crockpot. Check to be sure the meat is covered with broth. If not, add more broth or water to be sure it's fully submerged.

2. Cook on low for 9-10 hours.

3. Slice baguette or rolls and toast in oven for a few minutes. Place sliced provolone on the bread/rolls and return to oven for a minute or two, just long enough to melt.

4. Remove meat from crockpot. Slice meat and pile up on toasty, cheesy bread. Reserve leftover juices in crockpot for dipping. Don't skip this step! The au jus makes this sandwich so incredible!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tomatoes Tulips for Easter

Here is a beautiful floral arrangements made of tomatoes, cheese and asparagus for an Easter appetizer or a spring brunch. Simple. Cute. Festive. Requires little time. All my favorite things.

red and yellow cherry tomatoes
herbed soft cheese (I used garlic and herb soft spreadable cheese by Alouette)
asparagus stems, tops cut off

1. Fit a piping bag with any round tip and fill with soft herbed cheese.

2. Using a pairing knife, make two perpendicular cuts from the narrow tip of the tomato toward the base. Only go about 3/4 of the way down. Do not cut all the way through!

3. Pipe cheese into the center where the cuts overlap. You will have to use your fingers to pry the opening a bit.

4. Arrange filled tomatoes on the platter. Place cut asparagus stems on platter to mimic tulip stems.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Carrot Veggie Platter for Easter

If you are looking for simple and cute appetizer for Easter, then look no further! This is as easy as it gets, yet looks super adorable! Try it and I guarantee it will be a hit! You could pair this appetizer with an Easter bunny bread filled with dip. Then you have a bunny and his carrot. Also, you can eat the veggies from the carrot with the dip. Happy Easter!

3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 heads of broccoli florets

1. Arrange slices of carrots in a narrow triangle shape.

2. Add broccoli florets in a heaping pile at top of the carrot triangle to make the carrot!

That's it! Like I said. Easy. Cute. Perfect.