How To Keep Your New Year's Resolution!

How fleeting the resolutions of a fresh New Year can be. You know the story: you made the resolution, and you totally meant to keep it, but for whatever reason, you just didn't. It's a common tale. Motivation runs high following the turn of the New Year, and quickly fades in the face of reality. Last year, I made a resolution to quit smoking cigarettes. I was so nervous as to whether or not my 10th attempt to quit would come to fruition, but guess what--it did!

I have been smoke free for one year, and I couldn't be happier. I didn't gain weight when I quit, and stayed strong throughout the entire year! Here are my tips to help you set and keep your New Year's resolution! Happy New Year!!!

Keep It Realistic 
Don’t go overboard making promises you can’t keep--that will only set you up for disaster. Keep your resolutions realistic, that way, when you meet your goal you will feel accomplished, and if you surpass your goal, you can feel even better.

Don’t make 20 resolutions
We all want to change things about our lives in an effort to be our best selves...but there is always a limit to how much we can do and when. Keeping this in mind, try to avoid too much change at once, Make one or two resolutions you can stick to, not a billion that will likely scatter your best intentions.

Tell people about it
Telling other people what your resolutions are makes you accountable for your choices. People will check in with you to see how you are doing, and knowing you have told people gives you extra incentive to follow through. Last year, when I quit smoking, I told everyone I was doing it, and when people asked how ti was going, I was proud to say that I was doing GREAT!

Replace bad habits with new, better ones 
Most people seek to break a bad habit during the New Year, and that is wonderful idea. But I once heard Dr. Phil say that we don’t just break bad habits. Instead, we have to replace bad behaviors with ones that counteract the old habit, and hopefully there is a benefit that takes over.

So if your goal is to eat less unhealthy food, perhaps replace it with something that makes you feel good, like taking vitamins and exercising. And beef up your veggie tray in the fridge so you always have something healthy to reach for!

Make a list of benefits 
Knowing why you are making a change in your life is one of the most important steps to helping you follow through on that change. Make a list of the reasons why you are making this change--even if the reasons may seem silly. This will help you reinforce your reasoning and it’s a great resource to look upon if you are ever feeling discouraged.

Set clear goals 
When it comes to making any changes--big or small--it’s good to know what your exact goals are. Sure, we don’t always meet our goals spot-on, but that shouldn’t discourage you from making them! For instance, if your resolution was to organize a space in the house, set a date... say by April 1st. This is will help to motivate your change at a faster pace.

Be your biggest cheerleader 
Doubt is a natural human emotion, but not one we should ever dwell on. We’ve all heard how important self belief is, but this can’t be stressed enough. Actively tell yourself that you can do it--even when you feel like you can’t. Say it over and over again in your head. “I am doing great with [fill in your phrase here]” should be your new mantra. When you believe, you can achieve.

Lotsa [Homemade] Pasta!

It's amazing I have been at this blog this long and haven't' covered homemade pasta! Homemade pasta is something I make fairly often. There is just nothing like fresh pasta--the taste is different, and I love the thought of making my own pasta. Though it may seem a little impressive, it's not hard at all. If you have a food processor and a free hour and a half, you can make pasta. 

I happen to have a pasta machine, but I only got it after months of pasta making, if you can believe it. At first, I would just roll out the pasta by hand and then I would cut it with a pizza cutter. It took a heck of a lot more time without the pasta machine, so when I was gifted this one for my birthday last year, I was a happy home chef! 

My one pet peeve about making pasta is where to put the finished product. Putting the finished noodles on top of one another can lead to sticking, which is basically a nightmare. When you make pasta, it's also somewhat delicate, so you want to be able to move it minimally. There are pasta drying racks available for the pasta making enthusiast, but really, you can make your own makeshift drying rack like I did. It's easy and makes the process a ton easier. 

My makeshift pasta drying rack is made out of grilling tools, electrical tape, and two tallish boxes. 
The aim is to be able to hang the pasta. I built in the two rows, and it was perfect for the amount of pasta I made!

Pasta is made of flour, egg, oil, a dash of salt, and a bit of water. 

A food processor makes the job a breeze. 
Sure, you can be a purist and do the flour with the well, but really, this saves you clean up and makes for a good dough. 

You start with the flour. Then you add the eggs and process (it sort of looks like cornmeal when you mix them!)

Then you add the oil through the processor (while it's running)
Then the water, one tablespoon at a time

It becomes a nice, uniform ball before your eyes, and just like that: POOF!
Pasta dough. 

You want lots of flour on hand because it keeps the pasta from sticking to everything you are using and/or touching. 

Lay your dough out on your floured surface. 

Cover your dough with an awesome Phish themed kitchen towel. 

For the next 30 minutes, make jokes to the towel and call it "Phishman" 

30 minutes later, realize you are still making Phish jokes, and talking to a towel..... 

Get your pasta machine hooked up

Slice your readied pasta dough into three sections 

Give 'em a nice little dose of flour

Also, you want to flour your pasta machine often, as well as flouring the dough throughout the process, making sure that the pasta isn't sticking. 

Start by passing the dough through the machine. 

The one side makes the pasta into flat sheets, and the other side cuts the pasta into the classic shapes. 

The largest setting is "1"
The smallest setting is "8" 

You want to go from largest to smallest to avoid the dough getting too thin too fast. It's best to run it through each number a couple of times to ensure the dough doesn't tear. 

The more you do it, the easier it will be. There is a rhythm 

If your pasta sheets get too long, simply cut them in half. 
Keep in mind that the length of the sheet will end up being the length of a noodle... and no one can handle a 3 foot noodle! 

Once you get the pasta dough thing enough, you are ready to pass it through the end that cuts the dough into shapes. 
[Make sure your machine is well-floured!] 

As you finish your pasta, hang it on the rack to dry a bit. 

You can either let the pasta dry completely, use it immediately, or let it dry out for a little while until you are ready to use it. 

This particular day, I made the pasta ahead of time and I let it dry for a few hours until I was ready to use it.... 

What I didn't use, I put into this tupperware and stored in the freezer. 
You can store the pasta in the freezer for up to 8 months! Cool right?! 

You will need:

Serves 4 

1 3/4 cups All purpose flour, plus extra for dusting 
pinch of salt 
2 eggs, beaten with a fork a bit 
1tablespoon olive oil 
1-4 tablespoons water 

Special tools: 
Food processor
Pasta machine 


Place the flour and salt in the food processor, start the processor running and add the eggs. The texture will look slightly like cornmeal.

With the machine still running, add the oil through the top, slowly.

Once the oil is incorporated, begin adding the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball  in the machine (you may not need it all). The dough should be easy to handle, and not too moist.

Flour your work surface, and place your dough ball on it. Cover the dough and let it sit (covered) for 20 minutes.

After the dough has rested, cut the dough into 3 pieces. Re-flour your dough.

Begin running it through the pasta machine, on the lowest setting (number 1) first and working your way up to setting number 7, running the dough through each number 2 times to ensure it doesn't tear or get too thin too fast. Re-flour as needed (especially if any sticking occurs)

After the dough is thinned, run it through the other side, choosing your desired cut of pasta.

Hang your pasta as it is finished. You can cook the pasta right away or let it dry out (up to overnight). You can also freeze the dried pasta and save in the freezer for up to 8 months.

Cook the fresh pasta in salted water for 2-3 minutes, 6-8 minutes for dried pasta.


Ladies: Do You LOVE Your Vagina?!

I thought this squash looked very vaginal! 

Nearly any woman will remember that scene from “Fried Green Tomatoes” where Kathy Bates has a meltdown because she can’t look at her own vagina in a hand mirror. There are actually several references to looking at your “va jay jay” with a hand mirror strewn across dozens of television shows and movies; some women can look, and others just can’t. So, it begs the question, when is the last time you looked at yours, or are you feeling dejected by the fact that you, like Kathy Bates, can’t look at it?

It’s a sensitive issue for women. The female orgasm wasn’t really recognized as “useful” for reproduction, and the minimized importance of our pleasure lead to a societal notion that we must not require it for WAY too many years of existence. Ultimately, that meant less love for the curious vulva....

Not having control over our reproductive rights for the larger part of our human history also bred a silence among humankind when it came to "talking sex" and in particular, the female perspective of sexuality. We weren’t even talking about sex, let alone how awesome orgasms are... so one could assume that no one was out there cultivating confidence for the vagina during that time either.

Marrying for love as well as the concept of sexual liberation for women are relatively "new" concepts, but I think we are adjusting rather well. Women are really coming more and more into their own on the heels of women’s liberation. We have really taken in the lessons of our mothers and grandmothers and integrated them into our realities. It would be safe to say that loving your vagina is a concept that is also relatively new, but also easier for women of my generation. Thank you, thank you, Dr. Ruth!

I have always been fascinated by my own vagina, truth be told, and I don’t mean this to be funny or cute in any way. Maybe it’s because my mother always told me how special it was to be a woman. Women are the ones who have children, and I think that makes us the givers of life. We can also feed children from our breasts, which seems like a pretty cool concept to me. Let's face it, women totally rock, and it IS special.

In my home growing up, there was nothing taboo about discussing the body or it’s functions. I was handed a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves at the age of 12, and I learned all about the vagina and it’s many glorious functions. Of course, there were lots of pictures, with lines pointing out the different parts, too. [Knowing what you are looking at really helps!]

When I was becoming a young teenager, the internet was really becoming a part of our lives, and there was a gamut of information available to those looking for it. I was looking for it, and BOY was that a wealth of sexual info! All that information at my fingertips really helped me to cultivate a healthy appreciation for myself, and my vagina.

Not everyone was raised in a liberal, sexually free environment as I feel I was, and I get that. There are still households in America where sex isn’t discussed openly, and where mothers don’t tell their daughters that being a woman is unique and awesome. (And that this awesomeness extends to our vaginas!) If you haven't heard it enough, let me say it to you plainly:  being a woman is awesome! And isn't it a wonder that each and every vagina is as unique as the woman it belongs to? Be shaven bare, or with a landing strip. Be it of large clitoral stature, or modest but mighty--we are all unique, we are all awesome!

If you find yourself blushing behind the screen of your computer as you read this, you probably aren’t alone. You know that Bossy Italian Wife is all about loving yourself, though, and part of my mission as a liberated woman is to help you love yourself, too. I want you to love yourself and your va jay jay. I once had a theater teacher who described the vagina as a "mysterious cave," and I think that it's a theatrically accurate description. Perhaps that is why it takes women a little while to be acquainted with their mysterious caves.

Now I don’t know if a hand mirror is the way to go or not, but it’s important to have a good knowledge of your body. Find ways to love and celebrate yourself. I’m a big fan of dancing naked in my mirror, but you know, whatever gets you there. And I have to say it: you gotta know what makes you feel good, and you shouldn't be ashamed AT ALL. How are you supposed to direct someone else to give you pleasure if you haven't got an idea what feels good on your own?

So, ladies, what are some ways that you love yourself, and what do you think keeps women from having stellar self esteem and vaginal love? Share your thoughts, tips, and comments in the comments section below!

Italian Stuffed Meatloaf

Meatloaf is an American classic, and one that most Americans just love. It's a dish I have made several times over. This time around, I wanted to put my Italian-American twist on the dish, and what came of it was mouth-watering! Instead of using the traditional ketchup topper, my Italian-American version uses a delicious tomato topper. It's also stuffed with proscuitto ham and white cheddar making it completely irresistible!

Italian Stuffed Meatloaf: 

In the bowl: ground beef, garlic, parmesano reggiano, onion, egg, cream, and breadcrumbs 

For me, mixing by hand is the absolute only way to make meatloaf! 

Pat the mixture into a rectangle on top of a piece of foil (the foil will help you roll that stuffed sucker!) 

Put the proscuitto ham on the loaf 

Add some cheddar to the top of that, and you're ready to roll! 

Using the foil to keep it neat, roll up the loaf into a nice loaf. 

Pat the sides and make it into a nice, cohesive little land of Italian meatloaf:

Cute, isn't it? I was really proud.... my meatloaf baby! 

Now put it in the oven for 1- 1 1/4 hours on 350 degrees 

Get your tomato sauce topping going on the stove 
(you can keep it at a simmer until you are ready to serve!) 


Top it with the tomato sauce topper, and you've got a meal! 

I served mine with rolls and a salad. 

Serves 4 

You will need:

1 pound ground beef (or whatever ground meat you fancy) 
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 handful of parmigiano reggiano
1 onion, diced
1 egg
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs 
1/2 cup cream 
dash of salt, dash of pepper
1/4 pound proscuitto ham
8 small cuts of white cheddar 
sprinkle of basil
sprinkle of red pepper flakes 
1 small can of diced tomatoes, with 1/4 of the juice
1 teaspoon oregano 
12 teaspoon sugar 
1 clove garlic, minced


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl combine beef, 1 clove of garlic, onion, parmesano reggiano, egg, bread crumbs, cream, salt and pepper. I like to use my hand to do this because then you know it is really well mixed. 

Lay out a nice sheet of tin foil on a sheet pan. Lay out the meat mixture on the tinfoil and shape into a rectangle. 

On the meat rectangle (yes, it sounds funny, don't it?) place the proscuitto and cheddar. Sprinkle with basil and red pepper flakes. 

Using the tinfoil for ease, roll up the meatloaf onto itself. Don't be intimidated--it's easy than it looks!! The meat will form very easily, so if any of the stuffing slips out, shove it back in and pat the meatloaf to cover. 

Place the loaf of a pan and place it in the 350 oven, uncovered, for 1 - 1 1/4 hours or until cooked through. 

Meanwhile, in a small pot, place the tomatoes, oregano, sugar, 1 clove minced garlic, and a little salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. You can let it simmer until the meatloaf is cooked. 

When the meatloaf is done, cut it and top it with the tomato mixture. Then stand back and marvel at how awesome you are!!! 

Since You Asked: Seasoning Cast Iron

Well I hope you all had an amazing Christmas celebration with your friends and families! I know we had quite the feast over here at our home, and really enjoyed ourselves. A week or so ago, I had posted about using cast iron, and how much I LOVE it. A reader asked at that time if I would write about seasoning a new skillet, and I thought that was a pretty good idea.

A reader of mine had brought a cast iron skillet at the second hand store and wanted to know how to properly season it. For those of you out there who go thrifting, these stores can be a great place to pick up cast iron that other people simply don't want any longer. The first that you will want to do when you get it, though, is DE-season the skillet.

Why? Because while you might want someone's second hand skillet, you probably don't want their second hand seasoning. So, to de-season the skillet, simple wash it with soap and water by hand. This should give you a fresh pallet to work with. Now you will be ready to re-season!!!

Seasoning your cast iron isn't rocket science, though, if you do a little research some people really do make it a science. Seasoning your cast iron simply means that you getting the surface oily and slick through repeated coating. Seasoning also protects the cast iron from rusting, something you definitely want to avoid.

When I got my cast iron, I did ZERO research into seasoning it, and today my cast iron is well seasoned, so some of it, I would suppose is intuitive. All I did was simply rinse it with piping hot water before the first use and then I oiled it with extra virgin olive oil--the staple of any good Italian kitchen--and cooked with it. After cooking in it for over a year, it's seasoned to perfection :)

I did do a little research for this post, though, and I found out that I was not too far off. If you really want to pre-season the skillet before you use it, all you need do is oil it with some high quality oil. Olive oil doesn't have the highest smoking point, so one COULD say that perhaps it isn't the best for seasoning. You could use avocado oil, or flaxseed oil--both are high quality oils and have higher smoking points.

Initially you want to go ahead and coat your pan with oil, and then wipe it "clean" with a paper towel. Though it'll look like you have taken off all the oil , there will be some left. then you want to put another good coat of oil on it and place it in the oven 450-500 degrees hot. Let the pan "cook" for 30 minutes, turn off the oven and then let it com back to room temperature (don't put cold water in the pan, it could cause it to crack if it's hot!) You can repeat this process about 4 times, and then you'll be seasoned!

And there you have it! I hope that this helps out with your seasoning needs :)

Meet My Sous Chef, Oscar

Most of my pictures on here either feature food, or a picture of me making food, but one thing you might not know is that beneath my feet stands a proud little man we call “Oscar.” He just turned 7 years old on Monday, and in honor of his birthday, I wanted to introduce you to my dachshund, and very loyal kitchen mate. There is ne’er a meal that he doesn’t watch me prepare, and I would like you all to meet him!

Ever since he arrived home from the pet store, Oscar and I were in love with each other. Obviously, he is very easy to love, and so we spent hours and hours cuddling together when he was a tiny, wrinkled little puppy. One time, when he was still a very tiny little pup, he slept for something like 16 hours straight--wouldn’t even go outside. I was so worried, I actually phoned the vet, declaring him “lethargic.” They told me he was fine.

Oscar is very much like me. He likes to do the things that I like to do... lounge about the house, cook, read, lay in bed too long, and cuddle. He also likes to steal my coffee, and has done this more than one occasion. Rainy days are never a problem for us. They are merely an excuse to work from bed and watch the rain fall.

As a cooking partner, he is everything a gal could ask for. He listens intently, but always lets me decide, and he eats whatever I drop. Whenever I make something involving flour, he ends up looking like a reverse dalmatian, and it’s quite amusing. (I have yet to snag a picture of that, but one of these days...) He also seems to intuitively guess my movements, dodging me as I zip through the kitchen.

I don’t know what I would do without Oscar in my kitchen. We have a wonderful time together, and yes, I talk to my dog. I sing to him, too... mostly show tunes, but you never can tell. Best of all, with Oscar at my feet, I never feel alone. Even if he is only there for the food!

Cookie Redemption

So you might recall last week when I had an epic [cookie] fail. The cookies got all crazy due to the fact that my baking powder was old as time, and my cookies ultimately fell flat... as pancakes! I vowed to get my cookie confidence back, which is sort of like getting your sexy back, only the cookie version of it.

For this, I would not go up against the same cookie. No, no. I am no where near ready to relive the trauma of that yet. First I needed a rebound or two. I chose three and made a citrus walnut biscotti, sugar cookies, and good old fashioned chocolate chip. I spent a total of 6 hours in my cookie haze, and when I emerged, I was triumphant for I, Bossy Italian Wife, had purchased new baking powder!!!

Since it's that holiday season thingy, I thought it would be the perfect time to share my pictures of my cookie party triumph! Perhaps they will entice you to make your own know, in the name of Santa putting baby Jesus down the chimney.

Welcome to my cookie party! 

Citrus Walnut Biscotti 

I used a Giada Di Laurentiis recipe for citrus almond biscotti from Everyday Italian, and added a few of my own twists... like changing up the type of orange and nut. If you don't own this cookbook, I have to say, it's one of those you can go back to again and again. She is a great, French trained chef with an Italian heritage, and it all melds into the perfect cookbook in Everyday Italian! 

Also, did you know that biscotti means twice baked? Yes, that also means you have to bake it twice, but really it's not bad at all. Observe.... 

Zesting fruit is tedious, and I have made it doubly tedious with my strange little grater. *sigh* maybe Santa will bring me a new zester.... 

Getcha flour all measured up. 

Take a clever picture of yourself whisking dry ingredients... 

...and your eggs, all laid out pretty! 

In this recipe, there is no butter, which I find awesome. It makes them that much healthier! 

See all that zest I got with that little zester? I deserve a metal for that one, I think. 

Adding wet ingredients to the dry ingredients 

And add a few nuts! 

Plop them down in two piles on a sheet 

Then make them into a two loaf like things. 
(wetting your hands for this step makes it miles easier!) 
They bake this way for something along the lines of 30 minutes on 325 degrees. 

Then they look like this. 

Then you cut them into the classic biscotti shape. 
It's funny how I used to wonder about their, was it special, or that shape on purpose. Turns out it was neither, just the result of loafing and cutting. Ah, it's the little really is! 

Anyway, after you cut them you put them back on the tray and bake 'em again. 

Then you get these, and you eat 'em, you eat 'em! 

Sugar Cookies: 

This recipe was an "old fashioned" style recipe I found after sifting through about 20 sugar cookie recipes (online.) 

These cookies, unlike the biscotti, have a ton of butter in them. 
MMMM....butter. *drool* 

Okay ingredients, you ready to become cookies? Ready or not, here I come! 

POOF! It was like magic... only magic that had to be put in the refrigerator for 3 hours to chill before you bake them, which I did. It took a lot of patience, but I was determined! 
 While the cookie dough was chillin' in the fridge, I came up with some ideas... 

Like dipping them in cinnamon sugar! 


And red and green sugar sprinkles! Oh holidays! 


Chocolate Chip Cookies! 

Who doesn't the love the classics? Snatched this recipe right of the nestle chocolate chip package. No shame in my game! 


It looks like a lot... because it is! 

These cookies are lucky they even made it to the pan... the dough is too yummy 

Chocolate. Chip. Cookies.