Memories, The Power of His Memory, Who am I?

How do you stay so happy?

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The other day someone asked me: Genevieve, how do you stay so happy?

I was uncertain as how to respond. I kind of chuckled and thought do I really seem happy? This was the day after the funeral of a very close friend’s baby sister. I was rather stunned that this person asked me this question when deep inside I was falling apart. I thought for a second, then replied: Because I focus on the positive. 

The person quickly asked: And what are those?

I replied that I am healthy. I am not dying. I have friends. Family. And my God who love and care for me deeply. I didn’t think much of our little encounter until afterwards. As I was leaving work, I began thinking about that question. I thought to myself: what made him think that? What about my behavior/attitude made him think that? I was perplexed since I didn’t view myself as being very happy. I feel stress, overwhelm, hurt, and lonely. The last feeling I had was happiness. Yet something about my attitude made this person think that I was happy. Something I either said or did made others think that I was happy. Maybe it was my smile. My hearty good-morning to them. Or, maybe it simply was because I am happy. Since if I really sit down and think about everything that has happened in my life, there has been sorrow and pain, but truly I’ve had moments of true happiness.

From the moment my parents baptized me, I’ve had the opportunity to experience true happiness. Happiness that comes from within. Happiness that is lasting. Since God is true happiness and He gave Himself to me so that I can possess the ultimate happiness. The happiness of being with Him forever. As we are taught in our early years of Catechism, if you were the only person, Christ still would have died just for you. It’s a simple way of explaining God’s love for us, yet it is so accurate. I have to remind myself of that simple phrase sometimes, and I will admit sometimes it does not seem to be enough. But if I actually took the time to think of all that has happened in my life–the good and the bad–I would have to admit that I am happy.

And because of all that, I stay happy. I know times get hard and rough, but they get better. This has been proven to me from time and time again. And, as I think about this, I realize just why one would think I am happy… because I have no reason not to be.

Culinary, Pastries, Recipes

Italian Creme Cake

Today I was bored and decided to make a cake. Here’s the result:

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Isn’t that just beautiful?!?

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Oh yes, here’s a cool shot right there:

So, I know I haven’t posted in a little over a month and unlike the Ratatouille post I shall post the recipe right now! Though I promise that I’ll post the Ratatouille recipe soon. Promise!

ITALIAN CREME CAKE

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 5 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Shortening (I use Vegetable)
  • 2 cups White Sugar
  • 5 Egg Yolks
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/3 cups Flaked Coconut
  • 1 cup finely Chopped Pecans

Frosting

  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Butter, softened
  • 4 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Finely shredded Chocolate
  • Whole Pecans
  • Coconut
  • Fresh Fruit

Directions:

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Grease and flour two 9” round baking pans.
  3. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Do not get ride of the yolks; you’ll need them.
  4. In a mixing bowl beat together the butter and shortening. Make sure it’s light, not necessarily fluffy, but close. Add the white sugar and yolks. Beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Mix the flour and baking soda together. Alternate between the flour and buttermilk, adding both to the butter mixture.
  6. Add the vanilla.
  7. Mix in the coconut, and pecans.
  8. Finally, fold in the egg whites.
  9. Pour the mixture in the prepared pans.
  10. Bake for 35-40 minutes. It should be a nice golden brown.

Frosting

  1. Beat together until smooth cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla.

I decorated with finely shredded chocolate and pecans. But next time I was thinking of doing some coconut and strawberries/other fresh fruit… Just have fun and enjoy it!

Next, I have the recipe for several other dishes I have made. . . Ratatouille, King Cake, and some others. Gotta get this together! 😉

Anyways, enjoy this elegant cake! It really is fancy-spancy…. If you get what I’m saying. 😉

Chef G

Memories, Mi Familia

A Birthday Letter to My Best Friend

jeetaCollageDear Jacinta,

Sixteen years ago today my best friend was born. I was then only eighteen months old, but I think I was quite excited for my newest baby doll! From what they’ve told me, once they gave you to me to hold I was unwilling to give you back! But how could they steal “my” baby?!? 😉

Well, it is very unreal to me that sixteen years have already come and gone! Just before my very eyes you have grown and are maturing into a beautiful young woman! Through the years you have always had my back. You have been the friend to me when I least deserved it. You always have an encouraging word and a jokeless joke to give me. Whenever I feel most lonely, I know I can count on you! If ever there is anything troubling me, you are always the first to be concerned.

It’s just unbelievable that we could go from one second as little girls with bows in our hair playing baby dolls, to now driving and much more interested in make-up and chatting! We always were such good buddies, right?!? I know, we have had our ups and downs, disagreements and quarrels, and even our anger towards each other. But never once in any of those times did I question your love for me and my love for you. We have grown-up together, shared everything from toys, clothes, secrets, and heartache. It’s such a great comfort to me knowing that I shall have someone to go through life with. Makes this crazy dark world brighter and much more full of life and love!

I pray that as the years go by, we grow even closer! That no matter the distance we always stay in touch! And since I can’t put it very meaningfully, I found this poem:

A Sister Just Like You

I just want to let you know

You mean the world to me;

Only a heart as dear as yours

Would give so unselfishly.

The many things you’ve done

All the times that you were there;

Help me know deep down inside

How much you really care.

Even though I might not say

I appreciate all you do;

Richly blessed is how I feel

Having a sister just like you!

Don’t forget that, darling! That because I have a sister, I shall always have a friend! Thank you for always being the perfect and best friend anyone could ever wish for! ❤

God bless you today on your sweet sixteenth birthday!!! 🙂

Love your fortunate elder sister,

Genevieve ❤ ❤ ❤

“Side by side, or miles apart… We are sisters, connected by the heart!” ❤

 

Culinary, Recipes, Vegtables

Ratatouille & Ai of Dallas

So, today Dad and I visited The Art Institute of Dallas. I have been interested in cooking for quite sometime now and really enjoy visiting Culinary schools! I have visited Le Cordon Bleu and  Culinary School of Fort Worth, so this was number three on the list! I still have not made up my mind on which I will attend, but I do not regret visiting as many as I can! In fact, I plan on visiting more, like El Centro, TCC also has a program, and any other ones I happen across.

Well, although I was not very intrigued by the school I was certainly thrilled to watch the chef make Ratatouille! It was amazing… I should rephrase that, it is amazing watching these chefs just whip together a masterpiece of culinary! Gives me such a thrill! And the excitement that comes over me as I think of how “this could be me someday!” is just the BEST! So, yeah! If you have not noticed… I am going to be a Chef!!!

As we left the kitchen, I mentioned to Dad how we–as in the royal ‘we’ 😉 –need to make that! So, after leaving Ai we went to the market and bought the ingredients. I made it! It was so delicious and really easy! I promise to post the recipe soon, but here is a little snapshot of the Ratatouille along with me and my brother!

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It was just sooooooo good!!! And colorful! And beautiful! And just amazing! Defiantly going to be making it again!

Recipe coming soon… I promise! 🙂

Chef G 

Culinary, Main Dishes, Meat, Pasta, Recipes

Chicken, White Wine Pasta, and Greens

This was a couple of days ago dinner which I threw together! It was rather delicious little Italian meal! We had left-over grilled chicken , so I decided to make some sides to eat it with. In the end, I sauteed zucchini, summer squash, and green beans, made a white wine sauce for the pasta and we ate it! Delicious!

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With the zucchini, squash and beans I put some garlic, oregano, provence, and oil, then sauteed them until they were soft and slightly brown. The white wine sauce which I put on the noodles was, surprisingly really good! It was a last minute “throw-together”, and consisted of random things. And yes, I’m serious, that’s usually how I cook. Looking in the pantry and cupboard, deciding what looks good at that moment and sticking it in the “pot”! I was going all Italian. . . (Which that’s about 99% of the time to be honest! 😉 ) To see my white wine sauce click here! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Chef G 

Culinary, Pasta, Recipes

Olive Oil, White Wine Sauce

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Out of time but need a yummy sauce for those leftover noodles you made? Here is a very quick and easy, last-minute oil and wine sauce for your pasta!

I was not good at all about snapping some photos, so you’ll have to forgive me! I’m still new at this and am still getting my “feet wet”. Anyways, back to the reason why I’m writing this! Here is the recipe: (NOTE: The quantities are approximate! Another habit of mine, I do not measure anything. I mean literally ANYTHING! Just throw stuff together, test it and change accordingly!)

Olive Oil, White Wine Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 (17 oz) bag of your favorite Pasta (I used Casarecce)
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup White Wine (I used a cooking wine since we don’t have many white wines, but next time I’ll make it with some real good white wine!)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 Tbls Butter
  • 2 Tbls Flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 – 2 Tbls Oregano, Provence, Basil, (any other Italian herbs you just love! I love Parsley on pasta, and will probably add that next time!)
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups of Parmesan

Directions:

  1. Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions. (Casarecce is 11mins)
  2. Heat the oil and wine on medium heat. Add the garlic, and sauté. Do NOT do this on high. The garlic will burn. Trust me, I’ve made that mistake before!
  3. Add the butter, flour, milk, herbs, and salt. Let this get almost to a boil. But DO NOT let it boil.
  4. Once the sauce is heated, add the parmesan. Make sure you whisk, or beat, the cheese so it does not clump up. Trust me. You do not want your younger siblings complaining that their noodles have “nasty chunks of stuff” on them.
  5. Once the sauce is heated, and tastes just the way you want it. Pour on pasta and stir.
  6. Serve and Enjoy!

Being Italian: serve with Parmesan cheese for the top!

Buon Appetito!

Chef G

Memories

To Where You Are

Dear Theodore,

I am sorry that I have neglected writing to you in quite some time. Life has been quite busy and I have not had the opportunity. But now I have some time and would like to share some thoughts. 🙂

I know that I have mentioned before–on my previous blog--that I fell in love with music after you died, but I have not yet gone in to explaining just how much music has helped me. Just the  melody mixed with words to create a meaning can touch someone so much, and explain how that was for me. There are so many songs–ones which I heard right after you died, and others which have only just been released–that have helped me and encouraged me! The list is too great, it would take too long to list them all.—-In fact, I do not even know them all off the top of my head!!!—-I will incorporate some of the songs with my post(s), but again, these will only be a few of a very large quantity.

The first which I’d like to share in this post is the song, which has touched me more than I could ever explain, is To Where You Are by Josh Groban. In this song, (which you can find here), he is singing about someone whom he loved that he lost. . . Which is very straightforward. But if you not only listen to the words, but feel them you will discover a whole new meaning. He begins with the possibility that his loved one is still present. He claims that this is an option, because their memory is so vivid and clear in his mind. He goes farther when he sings “deep in the stillness, I can hear you speak. . .” Just let that sink in. He is so lost in thought of his loved one that he can hear them speaking to them. It’s like our Christian way of prayer. We pray to God and then wait for him to reply, and at some point we believe that God is speaking to us. When we talk of “speaking” here, we are not meaning that it is like one is speaking to their friend. But it’s something you feel. You sense it and hear it in your heart. As Groban goes on to say, “you’re still an inspiration. . .” What deep meaning that one line holds. He feels them speaking and inspiring him through his life. He knows that they are with him wherever he goes, and in his line “that you are watching over me, from up above. . .” They are so present in his heart, that even after losing them, he knows that they are not even gone. They are still watching over him, caring for him, inspiring him, and speaking to him in his hearts so can show how much they love him.

In the chorus, he shows the longing in his heart and just how much he misses them. With starting “fly me up to where you are. . .”, he clearly shows just how he longs to see them “if only for a while. . .” I will have to say that the chorus is what always gets me. Well, just listen to what he is saying:

“Fly me up to where you are,
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you’re there
A breath away’s not far
To where you are”

His heart is aching to see the one whom he loves. It sings out in a troubled way, but puts its sorrow so beautifully that anyone who hears it can not but hope that they too can see their own loved one. Everyone at some point in their lives have lost someone so dear to them that their death has almost cost them their own life. We all can understand what he is telling us in this chorus. I can not help but wish that too. I know that at the end of my life I will see you again, but I want to see you now. I want to be reassured of your happiness. I want to see you smile. Hear you laugh. It does not have to last very long, just a minute, or even less. . . just a few seconds. Moments. Just to see you there, happier than ever with the angels and God by your side! I want to see that heavenly vision. I want to see you.

I have written a lot but I want to share one more thing. At the end of his second verse, he sings: “And that love will live on, and never leave. . .” Do I really have to explain that one? It is very straightforward. The love which he has for them, will stay with him forever. It can not lessen, only grow and strengthen. The same goes for me. The love which I have for you will last with me and I will die with it on my heart. It is something that can no be replaced. It is something that I cherish. Even though the more I love you the more I hurt, I do not wish to love you less. In fact, I desire to love you even more and more, because I know that it will bring me closer to you. For as he says: “A breath away’s not far to where you are!”

Until we meet again, I remain your affectionate sister,

Genevieve

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