Thankful Sunday…

I’ve decided that Sunday is going to be “Thankful Day”. So every Sunday I’ll post about someone or something I’m thankful for.

This week it’s…..

 This Guy.

 I love everything about him.

 Everything…..even when He can’t stop himself from being goofy. Love, love, love….

He is my husband. He is my best friend. He is my life. And I thank God for him every single day, not just on Sunday….

Enjoy your day!


Full Circle

This fun fact hit me the other morning while I was in the shower, of all places…..

My Mom wrote a magazine column based on her favorite hobby. Her Pen name was Granny Kath. I write a daily blog about a few of my  favorite hobbies. My Pen name is Grammy. Mom included lots of little stories about her family in her column over the years. I’ve done the same…Her column enjoyed much successs for 30 years. I can only wish the same for myself…. Here’s one big difference: Mom did the bulk of her writing in the middle of the night. Her “day” really got going around 11 pm. I remember many many times waking up in the middle of the night when I was a kid, listening for the sound of her typewriter and if I heard it would feel all was right with the world and fall back asleep. I write in the early morning while I’m having my coffee. Mom was NOT a morning person. I have a hard time staying up past 10 pm…

Mom would make you pull the car over on road trips to take pictures of wildflowers, aka weeds. I have made Luke pull the car over on road trips so that I could take pictures of weeds, aka wildflowers. She drove us all nutso snapping her camera in our faces. She took my picture 11 minutes after giving birth to Chef Vivi for crying out loud! 11 minutes!!! Cuz I was looking GOOOOD…..I drive my family and friends crazy snapping their pictures, just ask Luke and the guys that helped him move his pool table into the house. Snap. Snap snap. Snappity, snap…..Since I am their bosses wife, they grinned and played along but I knew they were thinking “Mrs. Self this table weighs about 600 lbs and its not getting any lighter posing for you. Please get outta the way!”  It’s officical. I have become my Mom. Reckon I could do worse….

   Vivian Sawyer Kath

I could do much, much worse.


And the winner is……………

I sat here trying like heck to figure out how to spell a drumroll….barumpadadadadadadadadada?? brmppppppppppppppppppp?? Nothing looks right so….


*insert drumroll here*

CHEF VIVI!!!!!!!

Congratulations! To the Victor go the spoils! Bobby Flay asked for your digits, he’ll be calling soon. In fact, that’s him calling right now, quick ANSWER YOUR PHONE!!!

(not to tarnish her victory, but she was the only entry…coulda just asked her for ideas. Party poopers…..)


A weed by any other name….

 Weed? Or Wildflower? Don’t know, don’t really care what variety of Weeduscarniferous it is, its pretty! One of my all-time favorite things to do is hike in the Hills with my trusty Luke and my trusty Rebel and take photos of interesting plantlife. Much to the amusement and frustration of the Hubs. Hello??? Why does he think I agreed to go Turkey hunting with him?? Photo opps…duhhh!

 I spent 20 minutes trying to get this shot, the leaf was teensy tiny and I couldn’t get closer than 5 feet from it. My camera kept wanting to focus on bigger things around the leaf….I heard a couple of sighs escape from Luke during this process….Ok, it was a lot of sighs. And then he left without me. No appreciation of the arts!

 I can’t help myself…

 It’s an inherited sickness. My Mom did the same thing. And I’m pretty sure I’ve passed it along to Chef Vivi, though I don’t think she’s quite as obsessed as I am….yet. She’s young, give her time!!!!!

 I mean, come on……

I spied this little guy buzzing around these roses from across the creek, and I wasn’t about to cross a fast moving creek to take his picture. It’s nice to have a big fat telephoto lens! And yes, I know a wild Rose isn’t a weed. My theory is if it grows wild it’s a weed….That way I don’t have to be able to identify it. If someone ask’s “What kind of plant is that?”  I can answer with confidence “oh thats a weed”….I like to keep things simple.

 I took this one in Taormina, Sicily. Chef Vivi and I had hiked down to the beach and on the hike back up I stopped to catch my breath and this little guy called to me….

I love when they do that…..

Hubby doesn’t believe they speak to me  but they do. “”Lookit! I’m an under-appreciated, lowly little weed. Please love me….pweeeeeeeeeese???” Who could resist a plea like that???

Not me.


Che c’è per cena stasera? Or, Grammy cooks Italian!

Italian to English Translation: What’s for dinner tonight? And the answer is Pollo Parmigiano!!! Chicken Parmesan!!   The good stuff….no sauce from a jar, (Gah!)  just good authentic, make your tummy smile, cause your Peeps to make Yum Yum noises Homemade Chicken Parm! Mmmmmmm….Ready??  Here’s whatcha need:

 (Sorry about the glare, gotta remember to turn the flash off!)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Medium onion chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced, or pressed

2 Bay leaves

20 fresh Basil leaves, coursely chopped (or chiffonade if you’re Chef Vivi)

1 28 oz cans Whole Tomatoes, drained

4 skinless boneless Chicken Breasts

1/2 lb spaghetti (more if your Peeps eat like Luke, my 1/2 lb only fed 3!)

all purpose flour (for dredging)

1 egg  beaten with 1 Tablespoon water

2 cups Dried Bread Crumbs

4 oz Mozzerella, shredded

freshly grated Parmigiano

pinch of sugar

salt and fresh ground pepper

Heat a little  olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add chopped onion, bay leaves and garlic. (I use a garlic press as I hate chopping the stuff. I give the clove a good whack with the press so the peel comes off, then presssss, Garlic Press Rocks!) Let that cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the basil and stir til its nice and fragrant.

Now about the tomatoes….you can crush them by hand if you’re into that sort of thing. I ain’t so I use this handy dandy gadget I got at a Pampered Chef party, called the Mix and Chop. (I use this thing to break up hamburger meat when its cooking, I mash potatoes with it, its very versatile!) I’m willing to bet an old fashioned potato masher would work great too…

  How ever you smash ’em up, add them to the onions, garlic and basil. Throw in a pinch of sugar, and salt/freshly ground pepper to taste. Let that simmer on medium high for about 15 minutes or until the liquid has reduced a bit. You might be asking why I don’t just use canned diced tomatoes, here’s why: I think canned whole tomatoes taste better….that’s my story and you’ll never convince me otherwise! If you like your sauce chunky, then at this point it’s finished. If you like it a little smoother, like me, then dump it in the blender and give it a few quick pulses! Leave it in the blender cuz it makes it easy to pour in a minute…

 See? Still has pretty pieces of basil!

Put the chicken between 2 pieces of waxed paper and whack the heck out of them with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until they are about a half inch thick. This step makes this dish a good one to make if you’ve had a bad day! Put your flour, beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, and bread crumbs into separate shallow dishes. Salt and pepper the chicken and dredge in flour, then dip in egg, then coat with bread crumbs.

In a large oven proof skillet or saute pan, heat some more olive oil. Brown chicken about 4 minutes per side (flipping only once) until it has a nice pretty color. If your pan isnt big enough to cook all the chicken at once without crowding, cook it in batches, put the cooked ones on a plate to rest while the others cook.

It’s time to grate your cheeses now if you haven’t already! Please, please, I’m begging you,  listen to Grammy when I say pre-shredded cheese is cattivo (BAD)! Block cheese keeps better and is buon sappore! (GOOD TASTING) There really is a difference in the taste, and it only takes a couple minutes to shred 2 cups or so!  I won’t sleep a wink worrying about my Blog Peeps out there eating wax covered pre-shredded cheese.  And I’m grumpy when I don’t get enough sleep. It ain’t pretty….so do everyone a favor and Trust me on the cheese thing!

 Once they’re all browned put them back into the pan and pour the sauce over them but reserve about a cup to mix with the pasta.  Top each breast with mozzerella first, then as much parmesan as you can stand!  Bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.

 Now, I normally don’t put basil leaves on before I put the chicken in the oven and not sure what the heck I was thinking (except it made my photo pretty)…the leaves turned into crunchy little black things. Duhhhhhh! I pulled them off before I served dinner.  Don’t me like me…. 

While the chicken bakes, heat a pan of salted water to boil. Cook spaghetti, drain and mix with the reserved sauce.

Serve chicken on a bed of sauced spaghetti, THEN garnish with a fresh basil leaf! (A classic case of do as I say, NOT as I do!)

 Yum! Happy tummy! Happy Peeps! Life is good!!! You are Welcome!!!!

Ciao’ Bella! 🙂