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!

Mozzarella Stuffed Burgers with all the trimmings!

We are kicking of this new season with one of our favorite dishes of the summer – and what better day to celebrate our return but with Mozzarella Stuffed Burgers with all the trimmings this Labor Day!

Traditionally, Labor Day marks the end of the summer with the last BBQ before the Fall weather begins…..but here in California we will probably be grilling for a few more months this year and today the weather is just shy of 100°F!

This year we are praying in some rain and Fall-like weather – I long for some cozy Fall afternoons snuggled on a couch drinking a pumpkin spice latte while the rain pours outside! Please God let this be the year!

In the meantime I wanted to share this recipe for Mozzarella Stuffed Burgers with all the trimmings – this has been a regular visitor in our house this summer! We always like to find new uses for freezer staples such as ground beef and ground turkey and this was one of those perfect solutions.

Ingredients:

Makes 2 extra-large (or 4 regular) burger patties

1lb ground beef

2 tbsp garlic salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 1/2 tbsp basil

1/2 tsp ground mustard

2 thick slices mozzarella cheese

Trimmings:

Bread rolls or Iceberg lettuce leaves

2 oz sliced mushrooms

1/2 red onion, sliced

1 avocado, sliced

mustard/mayo/ketchup – optional

Directions:

In a bowl add the ground beef and seasonings and mix well.

Divide the ground beef into 2 or 4 balls and form burger patties using your hands.

Make a small indent in the center of the burger making sure not to go all the way through the patty.

Insert the mozzarella slice into the indent (you may need to cut the cheese into smaller pieces)

Cover over the indent with the ground beef making sure the cheese is completely covered in a think layer of meat.

Place in a hot pan and cook for a few minutes and then turn over, repeat this step until cooked thoroughly.

In a separate pan, cook the onions and mushrooms until soft and set aside.

To assemble the burgers:

For a burger in a bun:

Place the cooked patty on the bread, add the onions, mushrooms, lettuce, avocado and any additional garnishes.

For a protein style burger (no bread):

Place 3 iceberg lettuce leaves on a plate so that they are overlapping, place the patty on top of the center leaf and then add the onions, mushrooms and avocado, and any additional garnishes. Wrap the patty in the lettuce and secure (if necessary) with a toothpick.

 

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!

BBQ Teriyaki Chicken

We have a special recipe for you this week for 4th July, BBQ Teriyaki Chicken

This is a delicious recipe created by Captain America and we cannot get enough of it! I am delighted that we have another great opportunity to grill coming this week as we celebrate one of my favorite holidays.

This is an incredibly simple recipe and takes not time to make – it just needs to sit overnight so the chicken can absorb all the wonderful flavors!

This recipe is also great cold, so if you are having a picnic or you need to have pre-prepared food for the holiday then this will work really well

 

We hope you have a fabulous 4th July weekend celebrating with family and friends!

For more 4th July ideas check out these posts:

Decor & Crafts

Food & Recipes

Ingredients:

6.5 lbs chicken pieces (we used legs)

1tsp ginger

4 tbsp soy sauce

1tsp liquid smoke (hickory flavor)

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp yellow mustard

3 tbsp Korean BBQ sauce

2 C Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce

 

Directions:

Mix the marinade ingredients together.

Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces and place them in an airtight container.

Pour the marinade over the chicken and marinade overnight (or for a minimum of 5 hours)

Cook on the grill until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

 

Celebrate 4th July Round-Up: Food

4th July is fast approaching and I wanted to celebrate one of my favorite holidays in style with a Celebrate 4th July Round-Up!

Yesterday I did a decor and crafts round up which you can find HERE

Today it is all about FOOD! You all know how much Captain America & I LOVE food, cooking and recipes so I am really excited by the ones featured here.

I also included a few of our personal favorites and for some more 4th July recipe inspiration check my Celebrate 4th July post from last year!

I am delighted to share these exceptional creations with you! They caught my eye from The Pretty Pintastic Party a link party I co-host every Friday 

Now onto the Round-Up:

Breakfast

 

Spirited Star Waffles by Kenarry

 

Burgers & Hot Dogs

 

1) Oven-Baked Chili Cheese Dogs by Foody Schmoody

2) Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers by My Family Mealtime

3) Turkey Burgers by Captain America & His English Rose

4) Chipotle Burger by A Mother’s Shadow

 

Meat & Grilling

 

1) Mango BBQ Chicken Skewers by The Housewife In Training Files

2) 3 Ingredient Pulled Pork by Mommy On Demand

3) Fall-Off-The-Bone Ribs by Recipes For Your Daily Bread

4) Deviled Chicken Drumsticks by Living The Gourmet

 

Salads & Sides

 

1) Slow-Cooker Baked Beans

2) Italian Pasta Salad by Memories By The Mile

3) Tri-Color Pasta Salad by My Life Abundant

4) Best Ever Potato Salad by Delightful E Made

5) Red Cabbage & Broccoli Slaw by Captain America & His English Rose

6) Foil Roasted Potatoes by Captain America & His English Rose

7) Roasted Corn Salad by The Housewife In Training Files

 

Sweet Treats

 

1) Fruit Puree Shooters by Little Miss Celebration

2) Banana Cream Pie by Yesterfood

3) Red, White & Blue Cookie Stacks by Coffee With Us 3

4) Banana Nut Butter Soft Serve by Raia’s Recipes

5) Apple & Ginger Pie by Living The Gourmet

6) Malted Banana Ice Cream with Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pretzels by Eat It & Say Yum

7) Red, White & Blueberry Bowl by Meatloaf & Melodrama

8) Marshmallow Treat Fruit Skewers by Melissa’s Cuisine

9) Star Chocolate Cupcakes by Sizzling Eats

 

Drinks

 

Captain America’s Iced Tea by Captain America & His English Rose

Celebrate 4th July Round-Up: Decor & Crafts

 

4th July is fast approaching and I wanted to celebrate one of my favorite holidays in style with a Celebrate 4th July Round-Up!

Today it is all about decor and crafts! I am not the most crafty person in the world so I love it when I find incredible, inspiring and yet simple crafts and decor ideas.

I am delighted to share these exceptional creations with you! They caught my eye from The Pretty Pintastic Party a link party I co-host every Friday 

Now onto the Round-Up:

Indoor Decor

 

1) No Sew Table Runner by The Checkered Apple

2) Pottery Barn Knock-Off Pillow by For What It’s Worth

3) Pom Pom & Fireworks Centerpiece by Little Miss Celebration

4) Patriotic Stars by Julie Is Coco & Cocoa

5) Patriotic Holiday Shelf by The Road To Domestication

 

Outdoor Decor

 

1) Flag Pallet by Krafty Cards Etc

2) Door Flag by Fearlessly Creative Mammas

3) Paper Fireworks Wreath by Love Pasta & A Toolbelt

4) Patriotic Pom Pom Wreath by Krafty Cards Etc

 

Crafts with Kids

 

1) Wooden American Flag by Meatloaf & Melodrama

2) Easy Patriotic Banner by For What It’s Worth

 

I hope you are getting in the festive mood ready to celebrate 4th July!

The Best Birthday Carrot Cake & Cupcakes

The Best Birthday Carrot Cake & Cupcakes
Recently I needed to make a cake for an event AND a birthday cake for a friend.

I decided to make a bulk batch of carrot cake and make the best birthday carrot cake and cupcakes! Creating 2 cakes in one!

I actually used the cupcakes as the birthday cake – because it was serving multiple people at church – and cupcakes are easier to serve, and I took the cake to the party!

The Best Birthday Carrot Cake & Cupcakes

The cakes were VERY easy to make, especially as I didn’t grate all the carrots as many recipes suggest you do. I used my trusty Vitamix to chop up the carrots until they were really fine. You could us e a food processor or a grater attachment…..or you could be very dedicated and grate them all by hand!

The cakes were absolutely delicious! Even convincing Captain America that carrot cake is indeed fabulous! The birthday boy (well man actually!) loved them as did the rest of our congregation!

The large cake, even though it took much longer to cook than I anticipated, went down a storm at the party too!

The Best Birthday Carrot Cake & Cupcakes

I will definitely be making these best birthday carrot cake & cupcakes again……and I don’t think I will be waiting for a birthday to make them!

If you need advice on frosting cakes and cupcakes you can read my tutorial here: Frosting Techniques

The best birthday carrot cake and cupcakes tasted best the next day after the flavors had settled and have gotten friendly with one another. It is also more moist on the 2nd day as well.

 

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Matzah Ball Soup

Matzah Ball Soup

Captain America LOVES Matzah Ball Soup.

He talks about it all year and will eat the leftovers for weeks after our Christ In The Passover Dinner.

Matzah Ball Soup is a traditional Jewish soup, often served at Passover or other Jewish holidays. Captain America and I make it every year to serve at our Christ In The Passover Dinner. It is a total labor of love, but it is well worth the hard work, time and effort.

If it wasn’t so complicated to make he would probably make Matzah Ball Soup throughout the year.  However, it is not simple, I’m afraid to say, so instead we make a GIANT vat of it and hope it lasts forever!

If you are hosting your very own Christ In The Passover follow the links below for all the recipes:

Christ In The Passover Dinner

Christ In The Passover Desserts

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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.

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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!