The DiSanto's Posts

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by Sarah Bamford Seidelmann with Alice the Elephant

Though it may seem unlikely that an elephant could know anything about navigating the wild and woolly holiday season that is now upon us—you might be surprised. These thoughtful beasties have much soft, gray, and wrinkly wisdom to share with humans.

Alice the Elephant, an elephant in spirit form, is a wonderful companion of mine, and she has generously agreed to share five aligning tips to help you have the most meaningful experience possible this holiday season.

1. RELY ON YOUR POSSE. We elephants lean heavily on one another for emotional support and make it a point to linger together at our favorite watering holes. It keeps us strong. The holidays are no time to skimp on time with friends. I lovingly insist that you double down on phone calls, caring texts, walking/coffee dates, and nights out with your girls/boys. You’ll be having such a good time you won’t even worry about the fact that your holiday cards never even got ordered in the first place.

2. GRACE IS AN ATTITUDE. Have you ever seen an underwater view of a swimming elephant? We are capable of balletic flow and majesty! It’s as if we have no idea that we weigh as much as a car! We embody buoyancy. So, remember, when you are trying desperately to find a gluten-free, vegan, fair-trade, sustainably harvested, dairy-free entree on Pinterest to serve at Thanksgiving—and despite how heavy that might seem— you can choose to float. Breathe, and even try a pirouette.

3. SHOW YOUR HEART. When we elephants feel something, we aren’t afraid to express it. We cry. We reach out and touch each other with our trunks to trace the beautiful curves of our friend’s cheeks. I implore you this holiday season to say what you need to say—a good place to start is “I’m sorry,” or “I love you,” or “I appreciate you.” These simple gifts are always better than any kind of shark attack survival kit or three-piece, minty melon bath set from T.J. Maxx.

4. CLEAR A PATH FOR YOURSELF. We elephants aren’t afraid to do what it takes to get what we need. If the last juicy marula fruit is dangling from a tree’s tip-top branch, just out of reach, we will wrap our trunk around the tree and pull it out from the ground to get that fruit. What is standing between you and your marula fruit (a.k.a. your peaceful holiday season)? Too many commitments? Too many gifts to shop for? A holiday letter you have dreaded writing for twenty years? It’s time to pull out (by the roots) what stands between you and that juicy fruit! Jettison the letter. Go gift-free for a year or agree to exchange books, for that matter. And, for elephant’s sake, say no to the office party that gives you hives!

5. NEVER FORGET. Above all: Commit to believing that you deserve to experience all of the love and connection your heart desires. No earning or repenting or serving time is required. Elephants never forget this.

Thought

Music

So easy and so tasty…even without the “whey”- this bread is good! Recipe in previous post.

Recipes/Cooking

Tried to recreate mom’s dinner from Maitre D’.

“Ricotta Gnocchi, house made, butternut squash, sage brown butter”

Liked the Gnocchi, got a great scalded on the brown butter, squash was good but I thought the dish was too rich- I would like the Gnocchi and butter and call it a day!

Recipes/Cooking

Ken & Sue retiled their entryway and redid their steps…looking good!

Mom, Dad & Kris did a little shopping and replaced the bookcase and table, added a rug, pillows and hung the prints Farley got for them. Beautiful!

The plummer made it! Tub too large- had to cut through my den wall and studs to get it in…hope this is worth it. Twice as long to do, probably more $$$ and more work to accomplish clean up (repaint bathroom and den walls).

Projects

My bathroom has looked like this for 1 week- the guy we hired demo’d it and we have been waiting 1 week on a plummer- my patience is wearing thin! Silvie did think it was fun that my bathtub is in my living room. We are putting back in a tub because of Linda’s legs- hope soaking them will help.

Projects

1 gallon whole milk
1 cup cream
1 quart buttermilk
cheesecloth

In a very large, heavy duty pot add the milk, cream and buttermilk.  Heat over medium/low heat stirring only occasionally so the milk doesn’t scorch on the bottom of the pan. On the pot, clip on a candy thermometer or use an instant read thermometer.   Heat the milk mixture to 200 degrees F.  Remove from the heat and let the mixture stand for 30 minutes.  Place a wire mesh strainer over a very large bowl or pot. Pour the mixture through a wire mesh strainer that has been lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth. Gently stir the curd to release the liquid or whey from the ricotta.  Cover the ricotta completely with the ends of the cheesecloth.  Leave in the strainer and place in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours.  Transfer ricotta to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.  Ricotta will last for about 7-10 days.  Yield:  3 – 3 1/2 lbs.

I will then turn it into Ricotta Gnocchi (It has to sit in fridge for 24 hours). Going to try store bought ricotta and homemade to see the difference. The difference in taste is very noticeably as well as the texture. Homemade is wonderful and so easy.

I will also try Ricotta Pancakes- heard they are wonderful and full of protien. Homemade ricotta is suppose to be very smooth and wonderful tasting- I’ll let you know how this endeavor turns out!

I will use the whey to make…Crusty Bread.

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Instant or Rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water (substitute Whey here for a sourdough flavor)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 – 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

Recipes/Cooking

Birthdays

Birthdays

Birthdays

Holidays

Birthdays

The Culvers are in Salem, Massachusetts- Hocus Pocus reincarnated!

Kelly and Rob are in New Orleans!

Kevin, Kristy, Silvie and Aunt Prissy are at Myrtle Beach!

Family News

Let’s wish Clark a Happy Birthday!

Birthdays