Sunday, December 31, 2006

When Life Gives You Oranges, Make Muffins

One of the good things about living in Sicily is the blood oranges. Being from New England, my mom had never tried or even heard of blood oranges until she moved to Sicily. Now she doesn't know how she could have survived all those years without them! Right now the oranges are ripe and almost every day this week we have found a bag or a box of oranges on our doorstep from neighbors or secret admirers. As a result, our house is in major citrus overload so today we made lots of orange juice and some yummy orange muffins. My mom got this recipe years ago out of Shape magazine and now we're sharing it with you. Very Berry Orange-Oat Muffins
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 medium orange
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 whole egg
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 4oo. Lightly coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Stir together oats and buttermilk in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a medium bowl. Grate rind from orange and add to a large bowl; squeeze 1/2 cup orange juice and add to rind. Whisk in sugar, oil and egg until mixture is smooth. Blend in oatmeal mixture, followed by flour mixture. Stir until ingredients are just combined, then gently fold in berries.
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mimi's French Onion Soup

This evening Dad showed me how to make his Mom’s (my Mimi’s) French onion soup. It is so yum, I had to share the recipe with you. Mimi’s French Onion Soup
6-8 cans of beef broth
6-8 large Spanish onions
5 egg yolks
½ cup good, dry port wine
½ cup Parmesan cheese
French bread
Swiss cheese

1. Sauté onions in butter until golden brown.
2. Add onions to simmering broth.
3. In a bowl mix egg yolks, Parmesan cheese and wine until like paste.
4. Stir paste into broth gradually. (This is where things can go terribly wrong. Make sure the broth is not too hot otherwise the eggs will scramble and float and that’s not what you want—yuck!)
5. Let simmer covered for 30 minutes to an hour.
6. Toast French bread slices.
7. Place soup in bowl and top with toasted bread and cheese and broil until cheese melts.

Serve with French wine and good company.

I Would Like To Thank All The Little People

I can’t believe it either! I’ll admit it; I was surprised when I learned that I was Time Magazine’s 2006 Person of the Year. It’s quite an accomplishment in itself, but for a seven-month-old it is an incredibly impressive achievement. To paraphrase Time Magazine, blogging makes any would-be intellectual a publisher therefore my blog plays a small role in the revolution of the Information Age thus making me, Currier Quinn Balent, Person of the Year! I will be adding this accomplishment to my resume along with these monumental skills—
* Sits up on own.
* Holds own bottle.
* Crawls backwards on stomach and scoots forward on back.
* Reaches and grasps objects.
* Says several sounds like, ma, da, di, ga, ah and ba.
* Shouts for attention.
* Laughs and smiles a lot.

The Lady is Dressed in White

On our way home from base this afternoon, Mom and I stopped to take this picture of Mount Etna covered with snow. Isn't she lovely? We live in the city to the left—Motta Sant' Anastasia.

Monday, December 25, 2006

My First Christmas

After weeks of sleeping through the night, last night I woke at 12:30, 2:45, 4:00, 5:30 and then finally at 7:30. Dad suspects it's because I'm off my schedule (we had friends over our house the night before last and then last night we had Christmas Eve dinner at the Wissler's house), but Mom is convinced it's because I'm so excited for my first Christmas! Since one of my Christmas wishes is for world peace, let's just say they're both right!
I must have been a good boy because I got lots of wonderful presents from family, friends and Babbo Natale. I'm very thankful!
Babbo Natale left me an ipod under the tree. It's just what my parents... I mean... it's just what I wanted and it's delish!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Straight out of the Lands' End Catalog

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Love, The Balents

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Caltagirone in the Rain and Fog

Today Dad decided to play hooky from work and we took a day trip to Caltagirone to see the nativity scenes. Caltagirone is a small city in the Catania province and is about a 45 minute drive from our house. The city is known for its production of ceramics and its flight of 142 steps decorated with majolica tiles. During the Christmas season, Caltagirone boasts some of the largest nativity scenes in Italy, so we jumped on a bus tour to go check them out. Unfortunately, the rain and fog hindered our plans. As soon as we stepped off the bus into the pouring rain I pulled off my hat and threw it into a puddle (I hate hats!). The rest of the day was spent indoors or running for shelter with a blanket over my head. This is Dad and I on Caltagirone's Scala di Santa Maria del Monte. This picture does the enormous staircase no justice. It's really quite breathtaking. Please click HERE for a view of the staircase during good weather.

Mom dragged Dad and I ceramic shopping. We didn't mind too much since it was down pouring outside. I picked out a nativity scene ornament for our Christmas tree- A little Sicilian keepsake from my first Christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Seven Months Old Today... December 19th 2006

This was a big month for me— I got my first teeth, I started eating solids, and I mastered sitting up on my own. My new thing is sticking out my tongue constantly and the saliva has caused a rash on my chin and cheeks. I have to use a prescription cream to help with the irritation because keeping my tongue in my mouth just isn’t an option. I’m super psyched for my first Christmas. I hope Babbo Natale brings me that ipod I've been wanting!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Baby Gene Simmons

I want to
rock and roll
all night
and party
every day!

My First Teeth

Yes, I said teeth- plural. I had two teeth come in at the same time. I put my tongue back in my mouth for a second so that my mom could take a picture of my teeth. Can you see them on the bottom? Ouch!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jumping for Joy

I went to the county fair. I saw Currier there.
Jumping, jumping, jumping, jumping everywhere.
He jumped to the left. He jumped to the right.

He was jumping, jumping, jumping.
He jumped right out of sight!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

My Meeting with Santa

Santa (or Babbo Natale in Italian) came to Sigonella last night.

Dear Santa,
I would like world peace and an ipod for Christmas.
Your favorite, Currier

Christmas Crib

My parents thought it would be cool to decorate my crib with lights for Christmas and then they realized this is probably a fire hazard. Oh give them a break- They're learning!