Vivaldi and Lemon Balm Tea - My Favorite Natural Focus Solution

Lemon Balm Tea Time to Calm Me
My pot of Lemon Balm Tea in my "The Art of the Brick" cup.
Have you seen Nathan Sawaya's Lego Exhibit?   It's amazing, don't miss it if you enjoy Legos and/or art!
Sometimes I find it hard to focus and I have a couple of tricks which help me on days like this. I thought since I'm implementing them with success right now, I should share them with you, though I may have mentioned them previously.

1. Vivaldi! Oh my goodness, his music always puts me in a great mood and helps me crack the whip on finishing whatever project I've started. Any other Vivaldi lovers out there?  My kids may have been caught laughing at me when they catch me directing the symphony or playing my air violin. More proof of my Acquired Italianism!!! 

2. Lemon Balm tea. I make a pot of Lemon Balm tea with some Stevia thrown in and if anything has my mind stressing out...I find my shelter, my calm. I'm on my second cup now. 😀 I hope your day is going calmly, too!

Star Wars Recipe - Bosskotti AKA Family Friendly Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Star Wars Bosskotti Cookies - Chocolate Chip Biscotti Recipe
Chocolate Chip Biscotti - Star Wars Bosskotti Recipe
Star Wars Biscotti
shaped into logs.
Biscotti are Italian "twice-baked" cookies. If you've never made them, you might be shocked at how easy this recipe is to make and even more delicious than store bought.

Slice Biscotti
I'll put a few photos of the steps to show you just how simple they are to make!!! If you've ever made chocolate chip cookies, then you can make these.

Don't forget to get the free printable Star Wars party food label on the Star Wars Mom website to display with these yummy bosskotti cookies. These are sure to be a hit with all ages!
Place Bosskotti on sides
and bake more.





Star Wars Recipe - Bosskotti AKA Chocolate Chip Biscotti (Family Friendly)

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Star Wars Bosskotti - Family Friendly Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Biscotti so scrumptious, your Star Wars Kids will become bounty hunters in search of Bosskotti.
  • 1/2 cup butter, salted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 2. In a medium bowl, beat the butter, sugars, almond extract, vanilla extract, baking powder, and eggs until the mixture is creamy smooth.3. Stir in flour and chocolate chips. Mix until well blended. 4. Divide the dough in half and place half on each parchment lined baking sheet. Shape into logs, about 10-12 inches long and 3-4 inches wide. Straighten the edges of the logs somewhat. 5. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Rotate pans on racks half-way through. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes. Turn down oven to 325. 6. Using a bread knife or a chef's knife, slice the bosskotti diagonally in about 1/2 inch slices. Slice straight through so that you can place each slice on its side for the second bake. 7. After setting each slice on it's side, return pans to bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 more minutes or more if needed to bake them firm enough to dip. The cookies will set firm as they cool, as well. 8. Transfer to rack to finish cooling and drying for an hour. Then place in an airtight container. Enjoy dipping in coffee, tea, or milk.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: About 16 slices

Star Wars - Spicy Peach Cobb Vanth Recipe

Star Wars Spiced Peach Cobbler Recipe
Star Wars Recipe - Spicy Peach Cobb Vanth
aka Barely Italian Spiced Peach Cobbler
Chef Bretto is back in the kitchen and he's working with fresh, summer peaches. And like a good, young man should, he's wearing his Star Wars tee shirt!!!
Chef Bretto preparing Star Wars Recipe
Chef Bretto preparing
Spicy Peach Cobb Vanth

It's hard to believe how much he's grown up since he first started pursuing his passion for cooking/baking. What's even better about his love of food, is that when he makes a dish, he learns to appreciate the ingredients more often than not. Take peaches, guess who enjoys them now???  😁 🍑

Today's Star Wars recipe was fine-tuned and prepared by Chef Bretto. It's a recipe that's been around for many years in our family and recipes similar to this are online.

I don't normally care for the smell or taste of peaches, but I must tell you, he's made a peach-liker out of me! I think it's because he added more fresh grated nutmeg and cinnamon to this. He's a spice lover!

As usual, you can find the free printable food label on the Star Wars Mom website.


Spicy Peach Cobb Vanth Recipe
aka Barely Italian Spicy Peach Cobbler

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Star Wars - Spicy Peach Cobb Vanth
A spicy version of Peach Cobbler from the Star Wars Mom.
  • 8 peeled, pitted, and sliced peaches
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 medium lemon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon and sugar
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 13x9 pan.2. Add peaches, lemon juice, 1/3 cup white sugar, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cornstarch to a bowl. Mix well.3. Pour into prepared 13x9 pan and bake for 10 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, mix the flour, 1/3 cup white sugar, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, and baking powder. Cut in the butter until it forms small pieces of dough. Add hot water and mix until it forms a dough. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the peaches, until it is well distributed across the top of the peaches. 5. Sprinkle dough with a thin layer of cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and add another thin layer of cinnamon and sugar. Place back in oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. 6. Serve warm or cold. Top with ice cream or whipped cream.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 13x9 Cobbler

Star Wars Recipe: Anakin and Padme Wedding Cookies AKA Barely Italian Wedding Cookings

Barely Italian Wedding Cookies Recipe AKA Star Wars Wedding Cookies
Star Wars Italian Food: Anakin and Padme Wedding Cookies Recipe AKA Barely Italian Wedding Cookies Recipe
I can't seem to help myself...I'm still cooking/baking Italian!!! It's what I know. I don't know how to cook UKish, yet. 😄  We love, love, love Italian Wedding cookies. Not only the perfect almond flavoring, but also the way they sweetly MELT in one's mouth. Yum!!!

Real Italian Flavor!

One of the things about most Italian Wedding Cookie Recipes is they are made with only vanilla flavoring. That's not how it's done in our "barely Italian" family. We use flavors one would expect coming from Italy...and we like it better than the ones we have bought anywhere else. However, one can adjust the flavorings if they are making these into Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Teacakes. For instance, you might want to use Mexican vanilla and cinnamon in the Mexican Wedding Cookies. In Russian Teacakes, you might want to substitute some honey and ground walnuts for a more traditional flavor.

Roll 3 Times!

Also, many people only roll their cookies once in confectioner's sugar, but we roll each cookie three times in the powdered sugar to make sure the layer is thick for three reasons: (1) Wedding cookies are not that sweet on their own...they pick up most of their sweetness from the outer layer of powdered sugar. (2) The wedding cookies stay softer by being enclosed in this thick layer, less chance of drying out. (3) Most Italians believe strongly in the "Trinity" and the "three-strand cord wedding" and it's symbolic.

And don't forget the free printable Star Wars Party Food Label!!! 

Star Wars Italian Food:
Anakin and Padme Wedding Cookies Recipe
AKA Barely Italian Wedding Cookies Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched almond meal
  • 3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon almond extract or amaretto extract (whichever you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Extra 2 cups of confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) for rolling baked cookies


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Stir together 1 cup confectioner's sugar, almond meal, and flour.  
  3. Mix extracts into melted butter and then add to dry ingredients. Combine until well blended. 
  4. Take approximately a tablespoon of dough and roll into ball. Place one dozen cookie dough balls on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 15 minutes (until lightly golden on bottoms, but not on tops). 
  5. Let cool to set for 5 minutes then remove from cookie sheet and roll in confectioner's sugar. Set on rack. After you roll the entire dozen which have finished baking, roll again. Then after cooling even more, roll a third time. Finally, for a very pretty finish, sift powdered sugar over the tops. 

Acquired Italianism, Barely Italian or Both? Vote!

So as many of you now know...I'm barely Italian according to my DNA results. It took me a bit of time to come to grip with the reality of this brutal blow to my identity!!! LOL

I'm serious...I find out that I'm BARELY Italian. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm Italian, love God and my family, and adore Star Wars.

I mean I studied how to cook Italian. I took being Italian very seriously. I was ITALIAN!!!

Remember in the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" when Gus Portokalos says, "There are two kinds of people - Greeks, and everyone else who wish they was Greek." I always felt that way about being Italian...
"There are two kinds of people:
1. Italians
2. Everyone else who wishes they were Italian."

Since receiving my DNA results I feel like I've slipped from Category 1 - Italian...into Category 2 - Everyone else who wishes they were Italian.  I began calling myself, "BARELY Italian." Yet, I've had an interesting development since writing that last post.

My sixteen year old son theorized, "Mom, if you have 'acquired autism' for Levi's sake, then can't you have 'Acquired Italianism' for your own sake?"

For those of you who are not aware, my fourteen year old son has Autism. Years ago, Levi was sad that he was the only person in the family who had autism. I quickly rebutted, "But that's not true. From all my time hanging out with you...I've acquired autism. Haven't you noticed I'm quirky too? That's because I have "Acquired Autism!"

Levi loved it. He no longer felt alone in our family.

I can fully see the reality that I have "Acquired Italianism."

However, I think you, my readers and friends, should vote and help me decide. The poll is both below and on the side of my full website and will be open until the end of August 2017. Let me know what you think. Xoxoxox