The best ice cream

At a time when everyone is going on a diet, I am almost embarrassed to admit I love ice-cream. I don’t particularly like cakes or dessert, but give me an ice cream and you’ll see a happy person.

The best ice cream I ever tasted left an indelible memory in my mind. We were in Rome, in front of the Fountain of Trevis—you know the famous fountain where you throw a coin to come back one day. I was hot and thirsty. When I saw the window of a Gelateria displaying scrumptious ice creams, I bought a gelato, as they call the ice cream in Italy. Oh my God, delicious, incredibly delicious. It had strawberries, chocolate, vanilla and whipped cream, stuffed with dried fruit. I asked for the name of that heavenly ice cream. They called it cassata Siciliana or cassata Napolitana, depending on whether the vendor was from Southern Italy or from Northern Italy.

Two days later, our cruise ship stopped in Sorrento. One of the waiters recommended a gelateria on the main piazza. “If you like ice cream, you can taste their cassata Siciliana,”  he said, bringing his bunched fingers to his lips and sending a kiss. “The best ice cream in the world.”

I didn’t need more convincing and led my husband straight to the gelato store.We each ordered a cone of cassata. My husband chocked at the price, $15 per cone.

But the store owner explained in broken English that his store was the Pope’s favorite gelateria. Apparently the Pope stopped here once to have a cone of cassata. Later, the owner built a St. Peter Basilica, made of cassata and presented it to the Pope. Of course, the picture was all over Italy’s newspapers and the owner showed us a copy on the wall with the pope receiving his pious ice cream. “So you capito perque cassata expensive?” the man added.

Si, capito, I understand why this cassata is so expensive.” Not that it reconciled my husband with the offensive price.

On the ship, the maître d’ gave me a recipe. The problem is that ice cream is loaded with calories and I am doing a terrible effort to watch what I eat and stay away from ‘dangerous’ food. I modified the recipe and used non-fat ice cream, or even better, frozen yogurt.

Cassata Recipe:

1-A pint of chocolate frozen yogurt containing dark chocolate chips.

2-A pint of strawberry frozen yogurt with frozen bits of strawberries.

3- A pint of mango ice cream with frozen bits of mangoes.

4- A box of non-fat whipped cream.

5- A pack of cut dried fruits, pineapple, papaya, raisin, coconut.

***The boxes of ice cream or frozen yogurt should be allowed to soften out of the refrigerator for half an hour before using.***

1-In an easy-to-open mold, spread the softened chocolate frozen yogurt evenly. Put in the freezer for two hours to harden.

2-Now spread the softened strawberry frozen yogurt evenly on top of the chocolate layer. Put in the freezer for two hours to let it harden.

3-Empty the bag of dry fruits in the box of whipped cream and mix well, then spread on the hardened ice cream in the mold. Leave in the freezer overnight.

4-Spread the softened mango ice cream evenly on top of the frozen whipped cream in the mold. Put in the freezer for two hours to let it harden.

**You can use mint chocolate instead of chocolate frozen yogurt, and pistachio ice cream instead of mango.

Take the mold out of the freezer half an hour before serving. Hold over a warm stove to loosen your ice cream from the bottom and be able to overturn the mold on a plate. Enjoy. Delicious and low calorie.

Shh…it’s a SECRET BABY…
Some parents would do anything for the sake of the kids they love.

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At Home by Mona Risk

Is it four weeks or six weeks that we have been locked at home? I can’t remember, but it seems like two years. Getting dressed, wearing a few pieces of jewelry, and fixing my hair are now nice memories. I stopped opening my closets. What for? My getting-dressed routine of the morning consists of choosing between two pajamas pants and a few black t-shirts–easier to wash it all together.

We live in a high-rise and we used to have a gorgeous view. Not anymore. In September, our building association had contracted a company for concrete restoration. So all balconies were blocked in September, the rails removed and the balconies’ floors repaired. And then the Pandemic started and the workers stopped coming. No rails, no balconies. No beach and no pool.

Who cares? For every problem, there’s a solution. Right?

Two weeks ago, I discovered that the catwalk, a walkway around the building used as an emergency exit, was still accessible, yet not used by anyone. A bit too high for my taste considering I suffer from ‘Acrophobia’ or irrational fear of heights. But in time of need, one would adjust to anything. At first I held my husband’s hand, and just looked at the floor, and then it got better…

The walkway became my walking track, with fresh outdoor air to breathe, no need to wear a mask, and a view to lift any mood. So now I walk four to five miles a day. Soon I’ll stop worrying about the extra weight I added at the beginning of our confinement. And I published a book, and started a new one.

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Cute but Crazy

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