And Now a Shout Out to Mia Madre.

So no one probably noticed the change in my “Bonjourno Buon giorno” bit on the right of my blog except for mia Madre (my mother).  Ma – how do you like that for proper Italian?

Mama O’ is brilliant.  And hates music like “Call Me Maybe” (see my dad’s blog shout out below).  She and my Dad are great together (it’ll be 34 years of wedded bliss on Sunday) and they have their differences: taste in music, height, and how ground beef tastes best (one says raw, the other says cooked).  I come from a family of carnivores and we share blue eyes, political beliefs, love and proper spelling and punctuation.  For the most part.  Which is how this all comes together.

I woke up this morning to an email from my mother:

Mi cara figlia,


Buon giorno (correct)


Buongiorno  (colloquial)

Look it up yourself and do it for your mother.


Your Mother.

This is the 12th email from my mother beseeching me to properly spell buon giorno.  (No, I don’t actually know that it is the 12th, but it’s definitely more than 11 and less than 13.  Just kidding.  But seriously.  There have been a lot.)

So, Mom.  Happy Friday.

P.S.  I also finally opted to stop acting like this is a DIY (Do It Yourself) blog and more of a BD (brain drain) blog and updated the buon giorno section to reflect that.  Now I can stop pretending I’m Martha Stewart.  But I won’t ever stop wanting to be her.

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My Dad is Cooler than Your Dad

My dad just called me at work to blast Call Me Maybe from his car stereo.

He said, “I heard this and figured I should call you.”

Yes.  Yes you should.  Best. Dad. Ever.

In other news, have you ever watched the video?  Because I think it’s hilarious.  Stick with it to the end.

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Easy Pizza Dinner

How is this for simple?

– pepper
– onion
– broccoli
– basil
– spaghetti sauce
– 1 pack Trader Joe’s refrigerated pizza dough
– 1 pound shredded mozzarella

Note that the only real measurement is the POUND of cheese. But seriously. Dump your fridge of veggies and spend $5 between the dough and the cheese. We fed three people. As they say, the proof is in the pudding… cheese.

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Highlight of My Day

You know it’s a good day when this is on your desk…


Free peanut M&Ms (gone before noon – yes, that bag is empty) and a planner!

Love the planner and am totally backdating so I feel like I was cool in August, too. But things are booking up fast and now I can pretend I have a life.

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The Meandering Woman

I think that is what I should call myself.  Or the rambling woman.  Or something other than “uncramp your style” because, as my roommate pointed out yesterday – our style isn’t really that cramped anymore, and I really am not doing a whole lot around the apartment lately.  But that’s because I’ve been… busy.  Yep.  You knew it was coming.  But sincerely.  The wedding season is upon us.  My birthday is around the bend.  And my head hurts just a little from the bottle of wine that went with dinner.  I actually cut this out and put it on my desk at work:


So let’s do what I always do and love to do and can’t stop doing (oh wait – do you get the idea?).  In. Sta. Gram. Boom.  Bet you didn’t see that coming.  So here’s a three-week round-up of sorts.

Kevin and I went berry picking.  And I ate them all.  Despite having aspirations of making cobblers and muffins.  They didn’t make it longer than an hour.  Then we went hiking.


Then I choked in mini golf and lost.  For the first time ever.  (Well.  First time ever to Kevin.  And no.  Real golf does not get played.  Because I don’t, in fact, have any idea how to do that.)


I came home to two wedding invitations.  Which I loved.


And ate as many Dove chocolates as I could until I found one I liked.


I bought a bike.  We will revisit this as soon as I can get a stranger to take some awesome action shots.  Because no one I know who want to stand around and enable my relationship with Mustang Sally.  Yes.  That’s her name.


We celebrated a bachelorette weekend that involved a harbor cruise and an open bar cooler.


And I went home and did a Vineyard Sound cruise with my ‘rents and we stalked some beautiful boats.


We went to a wedding.  It was amazing.  Beautiful.  Stunning.  And yet.  I’m only showing pictures of my friends and me…  Hmmm.



And today I took my sweet time to stop and smell the roses in the public garden.  As in.  It took me 30 minutes to walk .7 miles.  That’s commitment.


 Maybe I’ll tell you about what’s happened in my garden tomorrow.  Turns out it’s like The Garden of Good and Evil.  The good, the bad, and the ugly caterpillars.

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Basil Butter

I told you the other day about the smelly little furry used-to-be-cute-but-now-I-hate-them caterpillars that have been eating my basil and ravaging my garden.  What I didn’t tell you was that I also picked a healthy batch of basil before the weekend (when those little buggers re-infested) and made some basil butter.

I knew I would eat all of the basil I had and I wanted to use it for pesto, but I didn’t have any pine nuts at the time (of course, I bought pine nuts the day I came home to find much of my basil missing thanks to the hungry hairy hippos – yes, I am bitter).  Then I remembered that I read a lot about herb butter and folks making their own variations, so I decided that I could make some basil butter; and that I couldn’t possibly mess it up.

Note: this recipe is very loosely adapted for Martha Stewart’s recipe.  I measured nothing.  Tasted nothing.  Chopped the basil roughly.  Used regular black pepper instead of ground pepper and way more basil than the recipe calls for.  Another note:  none of that seemed to matter because it’s delicious.

Start with basil, pepper, salt, and butter.

Let the butter reach room temperature (it took all of ten minutes to reach a practically-melting point in my 80+ degree kitchen).

Gross, I know.  So quick and cover it up with all that beautiful basil.  As much as you want, I say (forget Martha)!

Toss on the salt and pepper – again, as much as you want – whatever kind you want – have a butter add-in party – pretend your butter is the base of your Cold Stone Creamery creation – go hog-wild.  And then play with your food.  Mix it all up.

You’re done with the “recipe” itself.  (Can you even call this a recipe?)  Now you just roll it up in parchment or wax paper in the shape of a cylinder.  This was the hardest part for me because the recipe doesn’t tell you how to do that. 

Seems silly, but make sure your placement of the butter on the parchment paper is right.  Mine wasn’t.  It was too much in the middle, so I had to scrape it over to the sides to make the wrap which then made it less Martha Stewart and more Muddled Mixer.  So when prepping to wrap up your butter, so you can roll it perfectly and prettily, put the butter all the way at the edge of the paper.  To not end up with this.  And butter all over your fingers.  And every layer of parchment paper.

When wrapped, it should resemble something like this (probably better).

And then stick it in the freezer.  Now you have tasty basil butter at your fingertips to add to whatever recipe you’re making!  I used mine for – shocker – pasta.  It was easy and scrumptious, and I felt minorly Martha Stewart-y.  Sans the jail stint.

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Mary, Mary, Quite Contrar(ily edited)

Catie, Catie, oh dear Catie,

How does your garden grow?

With begonias and basil plants

All in a pretty row?


No, no Catie, those are zinnias,

Begonias you have not,

And basil, basil, your sad basil,

Caterpillars eat that lot.

But that diatomaceous earth should help

To vanquish those furry critters

And soon – real soon

I’ll make basil fritters. 

What about those pretty pansies?

Whatever do you mean?

Mama told me they’re petunias,

My thumb, it isn’t green.


I’ll add tomatoes to my basil fritters

There’s one plant that is no frills.

And bugs and slugs (no joke – they’re gross)

Will never have their fill.


All there really is to say,

Is thank you to my Mama hen.

She planted these, you see

And has faith that I won’t kill ‘em.

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