Sites I am Thankful for……

November 30, 2010 5 Comments by Champagne Girl

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Mine was very relaxing. I didn’t have to cook this year, but I did make Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Cheesecake.  It was a hit!

It was nice to have a few days off.  I spent a lot of time catching up on reading some of my favorite food blogs and I found some amazing new sites that I would like to share with you.  Now that December is here, I am sure a lot of you, like me, will be cooking and entertaining.  Growing up, my father always had people over and was always cooking something.  I was often his assistant in the kitchen.

As I grew up and lived on my own, I followed in his footsteps.  I really enjoy cooking and baking.  I prefer to watch the Food Network or The  Cooking Channel over anything else on tv. I can spend hours reading food blogs and searching for recipes on the internet.  Here are some sites that I can’t live without:

1. CIAO FLORENTINA (Hollywood, CA)

I discovered this site on Twitter and let me tell is fantastico!  Florentina has some wonderful recipes and is very passionate about cooking.   Her recipes are comforting and delicious.  Some of the recipes that really caught my eye are: Blueberry and Ricotta Muffins, Chive and Sour Cream Biscuits,  Chocolate Covered Orange Slices, Blood Orange Cranberry Sauce,  and Spaghetti and Fontina Stuffed Meatballs.  She even has her own spin on a panini called a “funwich”.    I made her Tomato, Basil and Fontina Cheese Funwich and it was INCREDIBLE!   I will be making her Blueberry and Ricotta Muffins this week.  Be sure to visit her sight for some great recipes!  Follow her on Twitter @CiaoFlorentina, she has some sweet tweets!


Let me just say….Benissimo!  This is another site that I adore.  Rossella Rago is one talented girl! Let me warn you…..the recipes I am about to discuss are going to make you very hungry!

Cooking with Nonna is another site that I discovered on Twitter. (God bless Twitter!) I was looking for some fall recipes and came across a link to Rossella’s site for “Apple, Potato and Bacon Pie with Pistachio Crust.”

I immediately went to her site and said to myself, now THAT’S AMORE!  Her site is wonderful.  I looked through a few recipes and then decided I had to learn more about this talented ragazza.  Guess what?  She is only 23!!!  Mamma mia I feel old!  Rossella Rago is the host of the on-line cooking show and food webisode series, Cooking with Nonna.  She hails from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and is first generation Italian-American.  Her parents are from Mola di Bari, which is a small fishing village in the Southern Italian region of Apulia.  She spent most of her childhood cooking with her maternal Grandmother, Romana, and learned the different regional food styles of Italy.  Romana also shared the long legacy of Italian recipes that had been passed down through the generations for centuries.  She says that  “Being born Italian, it’s hard to escape the cooking gene, even if you don’t know the classic techniques; you are empowered with certain tools and recipes as a child.”  I can certainly identify with that.

I urge you to visit her site.  She is going to be a huge star!   She has even been in a few movies, but you will have to go to her site to find out which ones!  😉 Here are some pictures to tempt you:

Frittata di Pasta:

Pizza Margherita alla Napoletana:

Rigatoni alla Pizzaiola:

Ossobuco in Gremolada:

You can follow Rossella on Twitter @RossellaRago

3. TABLE SCRAPS (Ruskin, Brandon & Tampa, FL)

Whoo hoo!  A local site!  Well, local for me.  Table Scraps is a weekly food column written by Lynn Kessel and is published by the Tampa Tribune in the South Shore News and Tribune and the Brandon News & Tribune.  I discovered this site while looking through the South Shore News and saw a recipe that caught my eye….. Theo’s Apple Pie.

This pie was the winner in a pie contest that Lynn was in.  As I read her story about the pie baking contest, I though, wow, what a terrific writer. (you MUST read the story:  She has a job that I could only dream of! I then went to her site and found TONS of recipes and learned about places in the Tampa area that I have never knew existed.  She recently wrote about Twenty-Four Rivers Farm in Plant City and I am anxious to go for a visit. Some of the recipes that I found on her blog sound amazing and I can’t wait to try them.  Here are just a few:  Beer Margaritas, Charred Tomatillo Guacamole, Bottom of the Cereal Box Muffins, Twin Mountain Blueberry Coffeecake, Orange Habanero Glazed Cheesecake, and my favorite….Redneck Patè!  I just had to read the recipe for the Redneck Patè and was delighted to learn about the Ruskin Redneck Trading Company that features “Redneck Gormay” items such as “Swamp Thang”, “Fickle Pickle”, “Rub Me Tender” and a hot sauce called “A Dog’s Revenge.”  Here is the article Lynne wrote about the Ruskin Redneck Trading Company as well as the recipe for Redneck Patè:

Thank you Lynn!  You have given me some wonderful tips on places to visit on my “Quest to Fall in Love with Florida.”

You can follow Lynn on Twitter @TableScraps

4. STEAMY KITCHEN (Bradenton, FL)

I have found some wonderful sites that are based here in “My Other City by the Bay” and the Steamy Kitchen is another one I am excited to share with you!  Jaden Hair is someone who I deeply admire. I would love to meet her.  (she even lived in San Francisco!!!)  She is a television chef, a food columnist and award-winning blogger at STEAMY KITCHEN!  Jaden is a food columnist for Discovery Health, TLC, and the Tampa Tribune.  She is the author of The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook and appears twice a month on the Daytime Show.  She has close to 80,000 followers on Twitter, and it is no surprise.  I look forward to her tweets and it was via Twitter that I discovered her.  She has also been featured on some of my favorites: The Today Show, Martha Stewart Living Radio, CBS Early Show, and my all-time favorite, Parents Magazine. All of this began 3 years ago on her blog, !  Here is a wonderful clip from the Today Show where she makes hamburgers with an Asian flair!

Here are just a few items that have me anxious to make.  I must admit, I am a little nervous.  I am sure I will need to perfect them before I serve them to friends.

Thai Basil Turkey Lettuce Wraps:

Green Eggs and Ham Sushi:

I am going to make this, I am, I am! What could be better than sushi made with green eggs and ham?  :) I have never made sushi and really want to learn.  I am sure it will take me several times to get it right.

Warm Maitake Pasta with Warm Citrus Soy Dressing:

All I can say is YUM!  That looks incredible!   Her cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen, is on my list for Christmas.  I hope Santa remembers me.

Treat yourself, visit her site, You will thank me for it!  You can follow her on Twitter @steamykitchen

Ciao for now….. if you want to follow me on Twitter @tracyguida, I will be tweeting about the recipes I try from the sites above.


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  1. Jaden
    5 years ago

    You are so sweet! Thanks so much for the shoutout! xo jaden


  2. Champagne Girl
    5 years ago

    Thank you for your wonderful recipes! I asked Santa for your book for Christmas. :)


  3. Homepage
    3 years ago

    Taylor Lautner… By the way you might want to take a look at this cool website I found…… 85271


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