Cataldo Family Christmas Ravioli

The Cataldo Family has a wonderful family tradition at Christmas – homemade Ravioli!

They are so delicious and made from scratch!

A few months ago we all got together for a family gathering to make the ravioli ready for the holidays. I must admit that most of them did not make it to the holidays as we ate them all well before – but more will be made in time for Christmas Day where we serve them alongside Prime Rib and many other delights!

I will admit they are not a fast or simple dish to make – which is why we all made a HUGE batch of them to freeze and eat over time. The results are well worth the effort and time!

I have never made pasta or ravioli before – however the rest of the family had made it many times before! I am delighted to tell you that I passed the test, my Mother-in-Law said I did a great job and she should know she has been making them for decades!

Here’s me with my rolled out ravioli!!

I was very nervous to get started but I had excellent supervision and tutoring! Rolling out the dough is easier than it looks although I did have buff arms after a few batches!!

The family has a cool ravioli rolling pin that really makes the job easier! These gadgets come in all different sizes but we prefer the smaller ones.

After you roll out the dough you put filling in a very thin layer on one half of the dough and then fold the dough over the top and then roll it out using the fancy rolling pin!

Here’s the recipe: 

Ingredients

To make the dough:
28 C flour
6-8 eggs (depending on size and moisture)
a little oil
warm water
To make the stuffing:
3 medium onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3lbs ground beef
1lb ground pork, ground black forest ham or ground Italian sausage
4 bunches spinach or swiss chard (we prefer swiss chard)
3 carrots
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
4 C finely ground breadcrumbs
1 C grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
6 eggs
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
2 tbsp basil
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp allspice
salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: Mix together the ingredients, kneed well (use a machine to help with this stage!) Roll out thinly – so it looks like paper
  2. To make the filling: Chop onions and garlic very finely and saute in a large skillet. Add the ground beef and pork to to the onion mixture and brown. Set aside.
  3. Boil the carrots and and swiss chard/spinach in salted water. When tender, chop coarsely and add to the skillet mixture.
  4. Reserve spinach water in case you need to add any to alter the consistency of the filling.
  5. Add breadcrumbs. grated cheese and eggs to the skillet.
  6. Pour into the food processor and blend until mixed well.
  7. Add the spices and taste! Adjust seasonings to taste.
  8. To assemble the ravioli: Roll out dough very thinly on a well floured surface into a rectangle shape. Brush the entire top surface of the rolled dough with a lightly beaten egg.
  9. Spread ravioli stuffing very thinly onto one half of the rectangle. Fold the uncovered half of the dough on top of the filling and press down lightly.
  10. Using a ravioli rolling pin roll over the dough and PRESS DOWN HARD. Then cut between the ravioli using a ravioli cutter.
  11. If you are not cooking and eating the ravioli immediately:
  12. Place each ravioli on a baking tray covered in parchment paper and freeze. When fully frozen you can transfer them to a freezer proof bag and store until you are ready to eat them.

From our family to yours – we hope you have a fantastic time celebrating the birth of Jesus with your loved ones.

Merry Christmas from Captain America & His English Rose!

We are taking a little blogging break over the holidays and we will be back in the New Year!

31 People: My Dad

Dad

Today is my Dad’s birthday!

What better way to honor him, especially as I am so far away, than adding him to my 31 People who Inspire, Influence, Impress list!

I love this picture of me and my Dad. It was taken (by our amazing photographer, Shauna Castaner Photography) on my wedding day.

I love the joy and pride on his face. He had waited 32 years for that moment and as his only child, and only daughter I know that moment was magical for both of us.

Growing up I was never a Daddy’s girl – even though I look more like my Dad (I have his eyes), my personality is so much more like my Mum which is the opposite of Dad. Dad is a thinker, a melancholy, a processor. He hates conflict and is a peacemaker. This served him very well in his career as a social worker specializing in fostering, but as a Dad with an incredibly verbally expressive, often argumentative, and extremely passionate (some call it volatile!) daughter it lead to my teen years having their fair share of conflict and arguments. Oh the joys of teenage angst!

Meanwhile, my Dad never raised his voice to me (even though I gave him many opportunities) instead he was constant and consistent. I ALWAYS knew I was dearly loved no matter what. I always knew he was proud of me no matter what. Those things matter so much more to me now and the frustrations of my teenage years are but a comedic and distant memory.

I was blessed with a Dad who never left me in any doubt about how he felt about me. I have met many women who have struggled throughout their lives with their identity because they did not grow up with a secure father figure in their lives. I realize the value and security his love and consistency brought me.

My Dad is one of the funniest men I know, admittedly some of the time people are laughing at him – but Dad is very aware of his idiosyncrocies and regularly makes light of them and ‘plays to the crowd’. Friends still talk about my wedding speech, partly because it was very long (by American standards not not by British standards!), full of useless details, funny memories, heartfelt moments and hilarious laughter – including the moment Dad started laughing at his own stories!! He laughs until he cries often and when you are with him you can’t help but get swept up in the hilarity!

For the purposes of these posts I interviewed some of the people I am featuring in the 31 People series so you can get a little more of an idea of who they are and what their real lives are like.

Here is a smattering of my Dad’s answers:

Describe a typical day in your life: 

Now that I am retired there is no such thing as a typical day. One of the advantages when I was working was that every day was different and now that I am retired I don’t do routine.

Having said that as I am now a dog owner he expects a degree of routine, so unless the weather is very bad he is taken out for a walk every day. Even then I try to vary the route & the time of day when we go for a walk. I go to the gym twice a week & like to go early in the morning before breakfast. I help out at a local food bank one morning once every two weeks. With my wife I go t church on Sundays and we both run a housegroup for teenagers which meets once every two weeks. I am also a member of a housegroup that that also meets every two weeks.

Who or what is the greatest influence in your life? 

As a Christian the answer should be my personal relationship with Jesus Christ and on reflection that is true because my Christian faith does influence a lot of my thinking.

However, in practical day -to-day matters my wife and my daughter are the significant influences. Both are able to provide insight and sound advice. My wife and I spend more time together now that we are both retired and for the most part this works well, but we both recognize that we also like to pursue individual interests, so we try to make sure we set aside time for them.

What is your greatest quality and why?

I cannot stand arrogance and conceit so I do not think about my own qualities. People say I am dependable, reliable and can be trusted. I like to follow through with promises I make to people and don’t like to let people down.

Tell us about a defining moment in your life: 

There are three, all related and of equal importance: when I became a Christian, when I met my wife and when my daughter was born.

I hope this gives you a great taste of who my Dad is and how proud and grateful I am to have him as my Dad!

I Love you Dad – more than you will ever know!

Happy Birthday!

Why Disneyland Is The Happiest Place On Earth

Captain America & I just returned from an incredible trip to Disneyland!

I had the most incredible time and I want to tell you why Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth (or at least one of them!)

This was my very first visit to Disneyland, at the grand age of 34! Let me tell you, it was well worth the wait and I now fully understand why people rave about this place and return year after year. I was a little skeptical, although I did count this as one of the things on my bucket list.

I expected a theme park with way too much schmaltzy child-friendly antics mixed with a HUGE  helping of consumerism, aimed primarily at children who would then hold parents to ransom, tantrums, excessive heat, long lines and a huge let down to be honest! Don’t get me wrong I’m sure this is some people’s experience, but it was not mine.

 

What I actually found was a wonderful theme park, with rides suitable for all ages, lines that were short, slightly longer and manageable (especially if you take full advantage of the Fastpass system) and many rides with no line at all.

Yes there are definitely things to purchase, and the prices are high (although not as high as I expected or rumors lead you to believe), but it is all well masked behind beautifully themed shop fronts AND most of the stores stock the same items so when you have seen one of the larger stores you have seen most of what they have to offer.

The entrance fees are high, especially if like us you want a multiple-day park hopper ticket that allows you to come and go in both parks (2-day park hopper $218), however the cost is not too much higher than other similar theme parks.

Disneyland and California Adventure are both easy to navigate too, much simpler than many other theme parks I have visited both here and in the UK. There are maps and information points throughout both parks and lots of friendly staff to help you out.

I LOVED the themes in each ‘land’ and that most of the rides being so much more than ‘just a rollercoaster’. All of the rides in Disneyland do not even go upside down, which may be a let down for the daredevils out there but I liked that about them as they made the whole park much more suitable for all ages. Our group consisted of 8 people in total with the youngest being 11 and the oldest 75, we could go on most of the rides as a whole family and we all really enjoyed ourselves.

I also liked the attention to detail that Disneyland and California Adventure has created and maintained. Each ‘land’ has a well thought out and executed theme where EVERYTHING fits the theme, even the controversial addition of Starbucks to the parks is well masked so you have to look carefully for it.

The parks are exceptionally clean, the staff are in character, very helpful and everywhere. The food is excellent-ice-cream, turkey legs the size of your head, corn dogs, beignets (to die for!) and almost everything else you can think of – at all different prices!

The atmosphere is hard to beat and it ensures that people come happy and stay happy!

Overall, the parks are wonderful places to take the whole family. Yes, the costs are high especially when you add in all the other expenses (travel, lodging, food etc) but it really is the trip of a lifetime, a great place for families of all ages and so much fun it’s ridiculous!

If you haven’t been to Disneyland and California Adventure already then add it to your bucket list and start saving for the trip of a lifetime now – you won’t regret it!

Disneyland is the happiest place on earth!

We’re Going To Disneyland & I NEED Your Help!

Later this week I get to fulfil one of my bucket list items because We’re Going To Disneyland!

I am soooooo excited I can barely concentrate!

I have wanted to go for many years, but I have always missed the opportunity in the past but we are taking a trip with our family to celebrate the many birthday landmarks across the family this year!

My family could hardly believe it when they heard that I had never been to Disneyland before, and they are all very excited to be there when I get to experience it for the first time.

Most of you will know that I am a planner at heart, I love to know what I will be doing and when I will be doing it (and yes, this gets me into trouble all the time!). Disneyland however, stumps me! I don’t even know where to start! No don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to plan every moment we are at the park as I want to go with the flow and experience it as it happens when we are there – but I also don’t want to miss anything exceptional, and often if you go with the flow and don’t do just a little research
you can miss out on some of the best stuff!

 

I out two of my great friends to work recently and they compiled a list of the Top 10 Must See’s at Disneyland for me! They have been many, many times with their whole family and they love it!

I wanted to ask you too…….what are your recommendations?

What MUST I see and do before I leave the park?

What item must I take with me?

What top tip would you give me?

Where are the best places to eat?

What can wait until next time?

Here’s what I do know:

We have our flights and hotel booked! We are staying across the street from the parks.

We are there for 3 nights and 2 full days (a Thursday and Friday) in the parks.

We do intend to go to California Adventure too!

I like rollercoasters

I don’t like rides that spin round and round as they make me sick

I love water rides and don’t mind getting wet.

We love to eat great food

We love coffee.

We will need to rest a little as we are old 😉

The weather is due to be in the mid to high 80’s during the day and mid 50’s at night.

I want to meet a Disney Princess and have my picture taken with at least one!

I want to watch the Parade and fireworks at night 

I don’t want to spend much money!

 

Photos courtesy of: Michael Sult and Patrick Nijhuis at Freeimages.com

Father’s Day Gifts, Treats & Ideas

Father’s Day is just around the corner!

Do you have something special planned to celebrate your Dad/husband?

If not, then do not panic! Here is the best of the best from the Pretty Pintastic Party to get your creative (and not so creative!) juices flowing!

Over the past few weeks I have been noticing some incredible Father’s Day gifts, treats and ideas circulating around the internet and I am delighted to share some of the best of them with you that were linked up at our very own Pretty Pintastic Party!

Every Friday, myself and 4 other bloggers co-host a fabulous link party, The Pretty Pintastic Party

 

We have over 100 links every week and we are growing rapidly! Other bloggers, crafty types and foodies link up their best posts from the week and I get the privilege of highlighting the best of the best Father’s Day  gifts, treats and ideas here!

Want a weekly reminder when The Pretty Pintastic Party goes live? Subscribe to our mailing list here:

Without further ado let’s get on and show you so you can get creative and make your Dad/Husband feel extra special!

If you are very handy and crafty and have a little spare time this week check out these fabulous ideas for homemade, quality crafts, many of which are suitable for small kids too:

DIY World’s Greatest Dad Shadowbox by Little Miss Celebration

Drop It Paper Mache Bowl by Little Miss Celebration

Craft Round-up by Titicrafty

Button & Glue Craft by Laura Kelly Designs

And my personal favorite…………Druff Beard Oil by BumbleBree Blog

What Are You Doing For Dad? by The Mad Mommy

Gift Ideas by Fearlessly Creative Mammas

If you prefer to just buy something for your Dad – here are a couple of very helpful guides with some great suggestions for all price points:

Gift Guide by Logan Can

 

For a fast fix, check out the following printables, for cards, labels and messages:

Father’s Day Printables by Gloriously Made

 

Father’s Day Card Printables by Snapshots and Snippets

 

Want to cook up a storm in the kitchen to make your Dad feel extra special? Check out these recipes ideas:

26 Father’s Day BBQ Recipes by Old House to New Home

 

Father’s Day Recipes by Faithful Provisions

 

Saying Goodbye From Afar

Saying Goodbye From Afar

Saying Goodbye From Afar is never easy.

It’s even harder when you have known this day would come from many years-and now finally it is here.

Today I am saying goodbye to my Nana.

She died, quiet suddenly in the end, on March 30th, Mother’s Day in England, ironically. She died peacefully, after a short battle with pneumonia and years of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Today, the rest of my family are together in England at her funeral-they get to remember her life, to celebrate who she was, to rejoice at where she is now and to grieve.

I wanted to write about this on the blog-as a somewhat cathartic process of dealing with my loss but then I was asked to write something to be read at her funeral-so part of this post will be being read in England today. I get to ‘be there’ in one capacity or another.

I have many fond memories of life with Nana.

Saying Goodbye - Nana Continue reading

Captain America

Celebrate the New Captain America Movie in StyleI’m not going to lie but I have been anticipating this weekend for a VERY long time!

Captain America is back!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is finally on our screens after months of anticipation and you can celebrate the movie launch in style!

For those of you who don’t know-the reason our blog is named Captain America & His English Rose is because I named my then boyfriend, Captain America, after seeing the first Avengers movie!

keep calm CA

Oh go on then…..I will….I mean “I do”!!

We are both BIG Marvel fans-not in a geeky kind of way, mind you! Captain America loves them because he grew up reading the comics, he has a collection stashed somewhere in storage and a mind packed full of wild, imaginative stories and fond memories from childhood! I, however, was more of a girly girl growing up, however I did develop a love for great action movies, throw in a great story, a love triangle (or any angle), a hint of comedy, and make it a blockbuster then I have a front row seat!

I am so grateful that we are a couple that agree, most of the time, about what kind of movies we like to watch! Don’t get me wrong the 6-hour long BBC version of Pride & Prejudice will always have a very special place in my heart, but I can’t get enough of a great thriller or action movie!

As a tribute to this marvelous (did you see what I did there!!) movie weekend-and because we just had to cash in on the Captain America storm that is raging right now, here is my guide to all things Captain America for all you fans out there!

Let’s paint everything red, white & blue (if nothing else we will be fully prepared well in advance of 4th July!!!)

Clothing & Accessories:

Captain America Clothing + Accessories

Betsy Johnson ApronFlipflopsWatchNecklaceHoodieCufflinks

 

Party Decor:

Captain America Party Decor Ideas

#1#2#3#4#5

Party Food:

Captain America Party Food Ideas

Cake PopsPancakesCupcakesCandy BarStrawberry ShortcakesCookies

 

How To Make A Captain America Cake:

So go ahead-throw a party, invite your friends over, make a cake, buy ALL the clothing and accessories you can find, find any excuse to celebrate the launch of the new Captain America movie!

Or if you are like me, and married to Captain America, then celebrate him! Oh go on then….

Keep Calm & Kiss Captain America

Alternatively, just go and watch the movie! If you didn’t already go and see it this weekend, here is the trailer to wet your appetite:

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1

For more fun Captain America themed ideas, check out my Pinterest board:


Lent: What it is, Why we do it & How you can get involved?

The Season of Lent

The Season Of Lent: What it is, Why we do it & How you can get involved?

The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the tradition and events of the New Testament beginning on Friday of Sorrows, further climaxing on Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday, which ultimately culminates in the joyful celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Source: Wikipedia)

lent

What We Are Doing

Captain America and I will be turning off our TV for the 40 days! We have developed a habit of watching far too much TV, so after praying about it we both felt like this is something we should reduce. Instead we will be focussing our time on each other, reading and studying God’s Word and reading the pile of Christian books we have but claim we “never have time to read”.  I will also be reading along with the ladies from She Reads Truth with their Lent Study.

Keep In Touch Via Email – never miss a post:

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Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes

In England, Shrove Tuesday is a HUGE deal!

We love to make pancakes, we find any excuse to have them for dinner, and arguments ebb and flow as to what the ‘must-have’ topping is!

Lemon and sugar is the most traditional, my personal favorite is Nutella and banana….because you just cannot go wrong with chocolate, banana and nuts.  You can have savory ones or sweet ones…..but you HAVE to have them!

For those of you that don’t know, Shrove Tuesday, also known as Shrovetide Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and Pancake Day, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent (more on that tomorrow). Shrove Tuesday is determined by Easter; its date changes annually.

The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “confess”. Related popular practices are associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent.

Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. The liturgical fasting emphasized eating plainer food and refraining from food that would give pleasure: In many cultures, this means no meat, dairy, or eggs. (Source: Wikipedia)

Pancakes in the UK are more like crepes, they are very thin pancakes made with flour, eggs and milk. When cooking, tradition is that you have to flip them!

According to an article in The Daily Telegraph, a Professor from University College London has developed the Perfect Pancake Flipping Technique! Princess Katherine has it down!!

Princess Katherine Pancake Flipping

Photo: The Daily Telegraph

How to make British-style pancakes:

Ingredients:

Makes 4-6 pancakes

4oz all-purpose flour, sifted

pinch of salt

2 eggs

200ml milk

75ml water

Directions:

In a large bowl, add the sifted flour and salt.

Add the eggs and stir

Measure out the milk and add the water to it. Then gradually pour into the flour mixture, mixing continuously with an electric whisk.

The better should be runny, pourable and lump-free!

Pour the batter onto a hot, greased griddle pan (get the pan very hot then reduce the heat to medium-high when you are actually cooking). Turn the pancake over when all the liquid ingredients become solidified, cook both side until golden brown.

Serve immediately

Pancakes

As for toppings, as I said it’s all down to your personal preference!  I loved this extensive list of 102 Pancake Toppings from The Hungry Goddess! 

What is your ‘MUST HAVE’ pancake topping??

102 Pancake Toppings

 

I hope you enjoy Shrove Tuesday as much as we do!

Last Minute Valentine Ideas

Last Minute Valentine Ideas

Are you struggling for Valentines Day ideas? Are you on a tight budget?

If so then look no further – here is the best of the best of Captain America & His English Rose’s Valentines ideas and recipes!

Whether you want to bake something quick and easy, or make something more dramatic we have the perfect recipes for baking up a storm.

If you are looking for date night ideas on a budget, we have some great recipes that you can make at home, some are a little more technical (but remember neither I or Captain America are professional cooks!), some are quick, easy and delicious, and some are a way you can replicate a take-out meal to save you money!

Whatever you do to celebrate Valentines Day – make the most of the opportunity to celebrate the ones you love! Continue reading