Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mom's Famous Cannoli Recipe

Well, I promised you a cannoli recipe so here you go.

My mom is known for her cannolis. You will not taste a better cannoli. I promise you. I will not purchase cannolis at bakeries because they taste like dirt next to these. Seriously. They're THAT good. When mom has a party? People come. Not for the party, not to see family, not for the holiday....but for the CANNOLI!!!

Although, in all honesty, this isn't actually my mom's recipe. She got this recipe from one of my Grandma's friends. So I kinda feel a little dirty for sharing this. Like I'm sharing someone else's secret family recipe. But I think it's safe to say that my Grandma's friend isn't reading this know....

And since I'm being all honest and stuff...I should probably also point out that I've never actually made this recipe myself. Because I don't have any of these:

It's on my to-do list to acquire some cannoli shell tubes of my very own but I still haven't gotten around to it.

I've been making them with my mom for years. My brother and I used to tag team it with her in her kitchen making the shells when we were growing up. Making the shells is a bit of a chore. And almost requires more than one person. Unless you of the above pictured tubes. But it's sooooo worth it!

So, without further ado....I present to you my mom's famous cannoli recipe:

Cannoli shell:
4 cups of flour
3/4 cup Crisco
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
20 tbsp of water or wine (there are 16 tbsp to a cup)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

(makes approx. 50 cannolis)

The key to a good flaky shell is to NOT work the dough too much..."cut" the Crisco into the dry ingredients until the mixture is no bigger than pea sized, then add the egg and slowly stir in the water until it forms a ball.

Mom usually makes this in advance and refrigerates the dough. It's easier to roll and work with when it's cold. Roll it thin (using flour so it doesn't stick), like less than an eight of an inch. Use a round cookie cutter (or a cup or a glass...anything round will do)...there are different sized tubes so you'll have to experiment with the size of the circle you're cutting. Wrap the cut circle around the tube and seal the edge with sure the edges are sealed good because they tend to pop open when frying.

Confession: My brother and I used to pray for shells that popped open because then mom let us eat them. You can't fill a cannoli shell if it pops open. =) And sometimes....just sometimes....we'd purposely not seal it well. Sorry mom.

Fill a pan with a whole lotta vegetable oil and crank the burner up to "high". When oil sizzles with a splatter of's ready. Electric deep fryer works too. Gently place several of the cannoli shells in the oil and fry until deep golden brown. If you have many tubes then making these are no big deal....but if you only have a hand full it becomes a chore because you have to wait for the tubes to cool before reloading the circles of dough. Hence, our tag teaming it as children. When you pull the tubes from the oil and slide the shell off the the shell on paper towel to soak up extra oil.

The shells can be made several days in advance and keep well.

Cannoli filling:

5 cups of milk
1 cinnamon stick
2.5 cups of sugar
1 cup of cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla

Heat sugar, milk, and cinnamon, leaving a little milk out to mix with the cornstarch. When milk comes to a boil add cornstarch/milk mixture. Mix until thick stirring continuously. Scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir so the milk doesn't burn...cuz then you end up with yucky ugly brown chunks in your filling. Put in the frig. When cooled, stir in vanilla. (Fills approx. 25 cannolis).

The easiest way to fill the cannoli shell is to use a cake decorator's bag such as this:

You're still not done.

Then you mix (very) finely chopped walnuts and some (very) finely chopped Hershey's chocolate together in a bowl. You can even mix some of the finely chopped Hershey's chocolate into the cooled filling. Yummy. Then dip the ends of the filled cannolis into the nut/chocolate mixture.

For best results...don't fill the shells too early. The shells with get a little soggy and lose their flakiness if you fill them too soon.

And that's it.

I'm going to make some soon....just as soon as I purchase my very own tubes....and take pictures along the way.

If you make these? You MUST share your opinion with me . It'll make my mom happy. =)

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Eggakooga - This is the phonetic spelling. Say it exactly how you see it. Egg-a-koo-ga. Sounds funny doesn't it? It's fun to say. Eggakooga, eggakooga, eggakooga.

Eggakooga is another one of those family legacies that I'd like to share with you.

I grew up with eggakooga. Eggakooga has been a part of my life ever far back as my memory begins. I obviously don't recall, but I'd bet my bottom dollar that eggakooga was one of my first solid foods. Some kids start with cheerios...we (I'm quite certain) started with eggakooga. We always looked forward to our weekend breakfast of eggakooga. It was such a huge part of our lives that I remember being absolutely shocked every time a friend came over to spend the night and had no idea what eggakooga was.


You don't know what EGGakooga is??!! How is that possible? Dude, it's eggakooga! Surely your parents haven't deprived you your entire life from the yumminess of eggakooga!!

I'm so sorry. You poor, poor thing. Here. We'll fix that. Mom? My friend here has never had eggakooga. Will you please make her some? She needs to know eggakooga.
It wasn't until I was older that I learned no-one knows of eggakooga because it came from Belgium.

Three of my Grandparents are from Italy and one of my Grandparents (my paternal Grandmother) is from Belgium. My Grandma moved here with her parents when she was a little girl and brought this deliciousness with her. She used to make it for her kids...apparently it was my dad's Grandma taught my mom how to make it....and now I make it for my kids. Although, truth be told, my mom makes it for my kids more often than I do. When my kids spend the night over there that's their little treat. They look forward to spending the night over there mainly because they know if they beg...Grandma will make them eggakooga.

Again, I'm not sure where this recipe originated from...whether it started with my Great-Grandma or Great-Great-Grandma is unknown. But I believe all the world should know about eggakooga.

Your life will be better because of it.

So here it is...


4 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
and a pinch of salt.

That's it. So simple.

Put above ingredients in a blender and mix.

Melt some butter (1/2 TBSP or so) in a frying pan (over medium heat) while the blender is going.

Pour a thin layer of the mixture into the frying pan to cover the bottom.
Cook a couple minutes on each side....give or take.

And that's it.

You can roll it up with fruit.

You can sprinkle powdered sugar on it. can eat it plain just by it's yummy self like me and my kids do.

And for some reason we've found that eating it like cavemen without utensils makes it taste even better. Go figure.

I've tried altering the recipe a little to make it a little healthier. Using Splenda to replace the sugar....using wheat flour to substitute white flour. And it works. But the original is so much better.

I should also warn you that we usually go through 16 eggs when we make this. I usually have to make four times the recipe. My kids are insatiable when I make it. Demanding more and more.

So, go try it and tell me what you think.

Holy Canoli! Spell check is NOT liking me today!

Hmmm....speaking of canoli...Maybe I'll share my mom's canoli recipe with you next. Pure heaven I tell you. Pure heaven.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The squacoon made me do it!

Parenting tip #213:

Telling your kids to "stay away from drugs" is not enough....

Dreamy: Mom, remember when you first started talking to us about how we should always stay away from drugs, and how they hurt you, and how they're bad for your body and brain and make you do stupid things and even if a friend tries to give us a drug we should always say no?

Me: Yeah

Dreamy: Well, I used to think that drugs were an animal.

Me: huh???

Dreamy: Yeah. I used to think that "drugs" were an animal. I figured in my brain that they were like a cross between a squirrel and a raccoon. Like a racquirl or squaccoon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

God Bless...Beep Beep

I spoke with my Aunt on the phone recently and she reminded me of this story and it got me to think'n.....

Most of you know when I was a little girl my father passed away. Leukemia. My mother found herself in the precarious position of being a widow with 2 small children (ages 5 & 2) at the tender age of 28. She didn't have a job nor did she have a college education. So, my dad, being the oldest of eight had a large family and they stepped up to the plate to help my mom out. My aunt came to live with us. She basically provided my mom with a live in nanny so my mom could get a job by day and go to college by night. I was only 5 at the time so I honestly have no conception of time. As far as my 5 year old memory is concerned it could have been 2 years she lived with us or just one month. I have no idea. But I remember that time very vividly. My Aunt made an impression on me and had a huge impact on my life. And she was only a young adult at that time. Maybe 19?

On a side note, and this has absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of this post, my Aunt is a dwarf. She stands less than 4 feet tall. I often wonder if I connected with her because she was my height at that time...or maybe it's because she was my father's sister. Whatever the reason, kids seem to be drawn to her as she has an incredibly wicked sense of humor.

But I digress...

So she came to live with us. And every time she would put me down for a nap or tuck me in at night she had a little ritual. She would lean over my bed, we would say our prayers, and she would then make the sign of the cross on my forehead with her thumb saying "God Bless" and then press my nose twice saying "Beep - Beep".

"God Bless Beep Beep."

This may sound like a silly little inconsequential gesture to you but it became oddly comforting to me. It was our little "thing." And I'm sure she did the same with my young brother at the time and she did the same with her future daughter. So it wasn't really "our" thing but my 5 year old self believed it was. I never knew, and often wondered, where that little gesture came from.

Until my Grandfather's funeral.

My Grandpa passed away several years ago. And at his funeral several of his kids (my Aunts and Uncle) stood up to share a few memories with all who mourned him. One of the stories that was shared was his nightly "God Bless Beep Beep" ritual. He did the same gesture to them every night before bed. And it touched them, enough to mention it at his funeral, the same way it touched me.

He had passed on this gesture to his kids, his kids passed on this gesture to me and probably all their own kids (my cousins), and now I pass on this gesture to my kids.

So this silly little inconsequential gesture has been passed on through 4 generations. Maybe more. Because now I wonder, where did my Grandfather get this? Did his mother (my Great Grandma) start this "God Bless Beep Beep" night time ritual when my Grandfather was a child? Did HER mother (my Great-great Grandmother) start this with HER in the Italian version of "God Bless Beep Beep"...which, according to free (and not so accurate) online translation, would be "Dio Benedice il segnale di segnale." Who knows? And maybe now my kids will carry on this silly little inconsequential night time ritual with their kids...and so on...

How many generations of this family will be touched by that one little inconsequential night time ritual? That one little piece of "whateveryouwanttocallit" has become a small part of SOMEone's legacy.

I wish I knew who that someone was.

So I could say thank you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Time flies...blah blah blah....

Has it really been almost a month since I last posted? It's probably been nearly as long since I've taken a peak in my google reader. In fact, hang on, I must go take a peak at my google reader numbers....this should be good.....

Don't go anywhere.....


My google reader has almost reached quadruple numbers! I miss ya'll. I do. Terribly. But I really suck at time management. As evidenced by my scatter brain household and parental mishaps. The most recent mishaps being......

1) With 3 kids all bringing notes home both from school and extracurriculars I tend to skim read them trying to pick out important information at a glance to save time. I mis-read the latest note from gymnastics thinking they didn't have practice the day before a meet....which didn't make sense....but whatever....and proceeded to tell another mom the same wrong information so they missed practice too. Yeay me.

2) We seem to have lost a very important part to my son's gymnastics uniform. Whether this is my fault or my son's fault is debatable but I'm guessing parents who are on top of things don't lose their kids' uniforms. Just a guess.

3) I somehow missed a very important school newsletter stating that there was a HUGE project due on Monday. My son has known about this for 3 weeks and I just found out 5 days before it's due date and 2 days before we left for an out of town gymnastics meet. Which meant I he we had approximately 24 hours to complete said project. The fault of this is, again, debatable but as the parent of this child I must accept a portion of the blame. A little aside here for any teachers who may be reading this.....please keep in mind I'm a little bitter about this.....HOW do all these FREAK'N projects contribute to my child's education AT. ALL???? They don't. Not at all. These projects are NOT for the children....they are FOR THE PARENTS!!! KNOCK IT OFF!!! I HAVE ENOUGH SHIT TO DO!!!

I would also like to say that I worked very hard on my son's project and fully expect an A+.

And for any parents out there who will undoubtedly feel the need to point out that my doing this project FOR him undermines the purpose and his education....I say...."save it."

Just trying to cover all bases here.

Kay, I feel better. If any teachers out there take offense to this....I apologize. I really do wish though that I could understand the purpose of these projects. They serve no purpose other than to stress an already "at her limit" mom out. If you feel projects are that necessary to their growth, development, and education....then how's about yah do them in the classroom? Just a thought.
Those are just a few of the most recent parental failures that come to mind...there are more....many....many.....many more.

On a happier note...

Our family vacation to Cancun was fabulous. There are very few things that make me happier than vacationing with my family. And every year that passes it becomes more enjoyable than the year before. The older our kids get the more self reliant they become. Plane trips are no longer the dreaded field trip they once were. (cue Bill Cosby and his "Jeffery" skit). I no longer have to worry about packing the pack-n-play, the stroller, the car seat, the diapers....etc. I no longer have to worry about how the kids will all fall asleep in the same room, making sure we're in the room for naps, or how to heat up a bottle. Up until a few years ago (for 9 years straight) vacationing was just a whole lotta work. Exhausting even.
It's the blissful escape and adventure it once was.

I assumed this position for much of this trip ~ Kindle in one hand & cocktail in the other. =)
The boys playing basketball at the kids camp with some of the friends they met.

We enjoyed a little putt putt.

Smurfette had her face painted at the kids camp.

Me smooch'n on my hubby. I would just like to point out what the humidity does to my hair. ACK!

Me and my favorite travel companions....

My husband joined a poolside activity...he volunteered to be a judge for bikini models. But instead got suckered into participating in a poolside Iron Man contest....he won and was deemed the King of Cancun for the week. I'm so proud.