Monday, January 20, 2020

Noodles and Memories

January in Pennsylvania...cold !   And the perfect time for soup.  You may remember in my October post I talked about how I cannot throw out the bones from a Costco chicken...the memory of my mother never wasting anything compels me to make soup.  If you missed that post, you can read it here .       

Yesterday was another bitter cold day and I planned soup for supper.  As you can see from the list of blogs I follow on the right side of this page - I stopped in at 320 Sycamore and saw that Melissa had a great post about making home made noodles for chicken soup.   I love reading her blog - when I first found it I was thrilled with the "It's A Wonderful Life" themed title as that is our favorite movie.   When I read the post about noodles it took me back to visiting my aunts....Annie and Katie.  Especially when my Aunt Katie would make her wonderful homemade noodles.    I am not sure WHY I never attempted to make noodles before this time.  And I don't know why I did not corner Aunt Katie and have her teach me how to make those delicious noodles.
Here is a photo of my mom and her sisters - 
The Elencik Girls!
That is my Aunt Katie on the left, my mom Mary in the middle, and my Aunt Annie on the right.  I get a kick out of how they all seem to have the same glasses...and every time I see a rerun of All In The Family I think of them...I swear my mom had a dress just like Edith Bunker.  They were all fabulous mom was the baby.  My mom was a FABULOUS cook and baker, but I don't remember her ever making noodles.   We would visit Aunt Katie and her husband, Uncle Johnny, for some delicious soup and noodles.   So yesterday, while making the noodles, I was sending a little prayer of thanksgiving to my mom, my aunts, and all the generations of women in my family who made great soup and noodles.   
Were they easy to make ?  YES !  Here you go...

Start out with a cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, a beaten egg, and 3 Tablespoons of milk.  I did not have milk in the house, so I used half&half and that seemed to work fine.
Put the flour and salt in a bowl, mix well, then make a little well in the middle and pour in the egg and milk.  Mix to make a dough...add a little more milk if needed.  

Mine looked like this when I used my hands to form a ball, kneaded a little, then formed a ball.
On a floured silicone pad I rolled out the dough to a very thin layer.  Then according to Melissa's recipe you should let it rest for at least 20 minutes.  If you read her blog you will find she often lets it rest for 2 hours while her soup is cooking.  Since my soup was made last week and was stored in the freezer, I let the dough rest while I took the soup out of the freezer, put it in a pot and slowly defrosted and brought to a simmer.
Using a paring knife I cut out the noodles...and tried to make them very thin.  I was not too successful and then I remembered that Aunt Katie's were not very thin, so I went with it!  I think I probably could have used more flour under the dough as some of the noodles stuck to the pad.  But most came up easily and I was surprised at how fast the whole batch came together.

I popped them in the soup and let them cook for a few minutes until tender.
It was cold outside, the wind was blowing, and I had two big bowls of soup for us to enjoy !

Thank you, meal was a success!
I served the soup with some bread, butter, and a glass of white wine.
Our little snowman butter spreader seemed to approve!
What great memories that meal brought back...I remembered all the time my mom and aunts got together.
We are enjoying a cozy winter and all the snowy decorations scattered around the apartment...
Our front door
In the foyer

The coffee table
A cozy chair to lounge in...
And our favorite spot...a table between our chairs to hold hot tea and a treat while we read the winter away.
Thank you so much for stopping by Our New Vista - please leave a comment below.  Let me know if you decorate for winter, or do you go right to Valentine's Day ?  How about noodles...are you a noodle maker?  What is your go to winter comfort food?
Whatever is may be...take the time to burrow into the coziness of winter !

Monday, January 13, 2020

Goodbye 2019....Hello 2020

New Year - and a fabulous close to 2019.  I am setting my intentions for 2020 - seems like this intention idea is taking over resolutions.   But before I get really started on the New Year
(even though we are almost halfway through January!) I wanted to share photos and thoughts from our holiday on the Viking Star cruise of the Mediterranean.
This was our first time being away from home at the holidays - for both of us.  I was excited and wanted to make it special.
Before we left I picked up a plastic wreath at Dollar Tree and put it in the bottom of my suitcase.  A simple suction hook attached it to our cabin door.   A small bell on the wreath gave a tinkle each time we left the cabin.
The ship was amazing!  Viking really does everything they can to make your trip magical. 

We enjoyed all the history in Athens, Ephesus, and Crete.  Then the Star left Crete for two days at sea.  We were anxious to explore and enjoy the wonderful ship.

While enjoying afternoon tea as the ship sailed out of Crete, the captain announced rough weather ahead.  He was NOT kidding.  There were 50-60 mph wind and 15 foot waves predicted.   Our cabin steward secured all loose items in our cabin and while it did get very rough - we weathered the storm. 

Christmas Eve is my wonderful husband's birthday and Viking left this wonderful cake and bubbly in our room.

We met new friend for dinner and took the cake to share with them.  We also packed "oplatiki" - and Easter European tradition that is a communion like wafer that you share with peace and goodwill at Christmas Eve dinner. We also grabbed another bread plate and setting to observe our tradition of setting a place for the Baby Jesus at our table.
Late that Christmas Eve the storm stopped and Christmas Day dawned bright and calm.  Even Santa took a break after a hard night of work and stopped for breakfast on the Star! ( This man was a fellow passenger...everyone was festive for the holiday.)

Dress code on the ship was casual - and not many people got very dressed up.  We did - and were glad we did, too.   Christmas day we passed the volcanic island of Stromboli and enjoyed a great dinner and beautiful dessert.

The next day was our stop near the port for Rome.   Since we had been there before we took the tour that included free time and after being dropped in Vatican Square we roamed Rome ( sorry!) and enjoyed a great pizza, then tossed a coin in the Trevi Fountain to insure a return to Rome someday.

The next day was Florence and once again we spent the day wandering back streets, enjoying the weather and this amazing and beautiful city.

Pisa came next - surely something to see, but it was very crowded the day we were there.
We headed back to the ship and took time to enjoy the fabulous Spa on the ship.
The spa is included in the price of your cruise.  This hot water spa pool is so relaxing.   After soaking you can go in a snow grotto
(with real SNOW), do an ice bucket, or visit a steam room.  There are comfortable lounge chairs, blankets, water, and you can read or nap while you enjoy a tranquil setting.

Monaco was of my favorite places in the world.  The gardens are so beautiful and smell so fresh.  I loved seeing the cathedral decorated for Christmas and thought the hanging Christmas trees were beautiful.

Some photos of our cabin - very spacious and easy to live in for the two weeks we were there.   
Food and drink were amazing - this is our Lobster Thermador entree on New Year's Eve.  Every meal was great...and the service was outstanding.

After a fabulous New Year's Even celebration that the crew made so special for all us...the next day they prepared this fabulous brunch and had stations all around the pool.   The handmade pasta with pesto made fresh to your order was my favorite...and I enjoyed more than one Bloody Mary !

Last day of trip was spent in Barcelona...such a beautiful city. Then it was time to fly home.  Would we travel at holiday time again - YES!  It was different and very relaxing!
Here is a toast to everyone reading this - wishing you health, happiness, love, and PEACE in 2020!
And now...this is my plate served in our home.  Salads and more water and healthy eating...those are some of our intentions for 2020.
Some others: make more time for reading good books, get more sleep, make a date to do something/visit someplace we have never been or done at least once each month, and to be EXTRA kind to everyone.  EVERYONE.  Because you never know what burdens others are carrying.
How about you ?   Do you make resolutions or intentions ?   What are they?   Let's all make this the best year ever!!!

Trip !

  TRIP !!! And not the trip we were looking forward to...out for a walk and waiting for the crosswalk to say WALK.  A tractor trailer turned...