Fractured Facade

"A fathers death...a daughter's life...a sociopath's vendetta...FRACTURED FACADE ...a novel written as memoir. Only $3.99 and available wherever eBooks are sold. Click here for direct link to Amazon.


THE VALENTINE'S DAY CURSE -- A Short Story, Free everywhere...except on Amazon (boo! hiss!) where it's $.99 to buy! Click here for direct link! Let them know it's free at these stores and they may price match it! Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books...more to come.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Sunday Nu Scam

I'm out $160.00 and all I got to show for it is this blog post, oh, and one ounce worth of crappy face cream, the reason I'm out $160.00! Yes, I'm a dope and I'm writing this post so that you don't become a dope too.

I made a couple of mistakes. I fell for one of the biggest scams there is, the free trial, only pay shipping cost one. I believed all the reviews. I bought something off of Facebook. I used a debit card. And probably the biggest mistake was I should have done my homework before clicking buy now! If I had I would have seen that I am not the only one who was scammed by this crappy face cream.

In early January I kept seeing ads pop up on my Facebook feed for a face cream called Sunday Nu which is touted as being a daytime ageless moisturizer. The reviews were all rave ones and the ad promised it was free, I only had to pay $7.00 for shipping. I figured I'll take a chance for seven bucks. I received the product a couple of days later.

First thing I noticed was the false bottom in the jar. The jar itself is the same size as Oil of Olay daily renewal cream but has half the amount of product, 1 ounce Sunday Nu vs. 2 ounces of Oil of Olay. Honestly when I ordered it I didn't check the amount. Mistake. I wasn't impressed with the fragrance or feel of the cream but I figured I'd give a go.

I used it for a week straight before running out of the product. Not only did I not see any improvement, but it had irritated my skin. Ponds cream from the Dollar Store is better. I thought oh well, that's that. Good thing I only wasted 7 bucks. So it came as a surprise when two weeks later I received an email from Sunday Nu telling me my order had shipped. What order? I didn't order anything else. So it dawned on me I better check my bank card. And that's when I saw not only the original $7.00 fee, but a week later an additional $72.99 then the next week another $79.99! I immediately sent an email to the company telling them I did not order any additional product and that the first order should have been only $7.00! I never received a response so I went down to my bank.

I informed them of what was happening and they said they would open an investigation. I asked if they could stop any future charges from them and they said the only way to do that was to cancel the card which I did. I received a call the next from the bank saying Sunday Nu informed them I had signed authorization to receive the product. I know I never signed anything. The bank credited me back the amount while they continued to investigate.

I had opened this bank account primarily for a reason like this, in case I got scammed. I thought I would use this debit card for my recurring monthly charges, and once in a while to order things online but not keep a lot of money on it. I did not realize the difference between using a debit vs credit card online which I do now. You are more protected when you use a credit card. Because cut to yesterday when I saw my bank account dropped another $153.00 with Debit Provision Credit listed as the charge. When I called the bank I was told Sunday Nu had provided information showing that in their fine print on their website is not only an auto ship policy, but if you don't return the cream within a couple of days you get billed the entire price. So much for free, shipping only! I guarantee you I did not see that anywhere, so I don't even believe it's on their website. But whatever they showed my bank was enough for the bank to give them back my money.

This company is a scam. I will be filing a better business report complaint. I just discovered there's even a FaceBook Group now called SundayNu scammers. According to that page it looks like they go under a couple of names.

So lessons learned: Never order anything off of Facebook. Reviews are most likely bogus. Free is not free. Free trial means if you use a product and don't return it you will be charged full price. Read the fine print, however in a case like this, there was no fine print so I don't have an answer for that. Auto shipping can happen without your consent. Check you debit card balances daily. Use a credit card instead of a debit card when ordering on-line as you have more protection.

Oh yeah one more thing... SUNDAY NU SUCKS!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Virginia State Inspections Stay

With apologies to all those drivers who came into the shop in December and January to have their vehicles inspected saying, "this will be the last time I have to do this!" I am sorry to inform you that HB130 and SB125 which would have eliminated state inspections in Virginia did not pass. I am happy to inform the citizens of Virginia, and all drivers who drive through Virginia, that HB130 and SB125 did not pass.

So now you're probably thinking oh, this blogger's husband is a mechanic so, of course she's happy Virginia did not do away with inspections. Not true. Yes, my husband is a mechanic, but our livelihood is not based on a $20.00 inspection, but our lives and yours are safer because of that $20.00 inspection.

In 2018 20% of vehicles inspected in Virginia failed, that's one in five vehicles. Out of the 8.2 million inspected, 1.6 million had critical defects, 725,000 of that number were faulty brakes. By the time your foot goes all the way to the floor while pressing that brake it's too late. Your brakes have failed. When your brakes are going bad not everyone can "feel" it or "know" it. I am driving a 2015 vehicle and until my car was on the lift for an inspection I had no idea I needed brakes. I can guarantee you the mechanic (my husband) was not trying to "rip me off," but was performing the duties his inspection training mandated to keep the vehicle, passengers, and others safe. I can guarantee you he takes the same pride and effort for every vehicle's safety that he inspects as he does for his family and friends. After all, we are all on the same roads.

When I first heard the bragging from the Delegate who introduced the bill claiming it was bipartisan and it was about time Virginians were able to keep more money in their pocket by eliminating yearly inspections, it made me scratch my head. Did he seriously think $20.00 per year would greatly improve anyone's quality of life? Is saving that $20.00 on inspections way less than what Virginians are now going to be spending in the added gasoline taxes that they will be paying not once a year, but every single time they fill up their vehicle? I seriously doubt it.

Some folks said it shouldn't be up to the state to dictate to its citizens when they should get their vehicle inspected as we could keep our vehicles safe without having to pay $20.00! Other states don't have it, why should we? Well, let me tell you a story of what happened yesterday and is really the reason why I am writing this blogpost today.

Someone, let's call her "Jane", rolled into the shop yesterday for an inspection. The first thing Jane said of her 1993 vehicle was, "there's nothing wrong with it." Usually when someone says that, there's usually something wrong with it. Another sign that there might be something wrong is if the vehicle is used as a garbage can and ashtray. You see, that shows the occupant doesn't take "care" of the inside of the car, so there's a good chance they don't maintain the rest of the car either. No judging, just protecting, so a thorough inspection is done. Sorry Jane but your brake lights are out. "No they work." I'll show you, they're out. "Oh open the trunk and jiggle that wire." So Jane does and after a while the lights flicker on and then off. "See, I told you." Sorry, Jane the brake lights are not working. That's a hazard for you and others. "Well my boyfriend will fix it." Ok, that's fine. "So you're going to pass me, right?" No. "But he really is going to fix it." That's fine. Have him fix it, and if you come back within 15 days, the vehicle will be reinspected and if there's no problem you will get an inspection sticker. "Why should I have to pay for another inspection?" If you come back within 15 days you won't have to. Jane left with a rejection sticker and hopefully she will get those brake lights fixed before someone crashes into the back of her.

You see, just because a shop spent all that money on getting the proper equipment and hires trained mechanics who undergo testing to become an inspection station, if the vehicle fails, the shop does not have to be the one to fix the problems. You can bring it anywhere and get it fixed and if you don't want to pay for another inspection, as long as it truly is fixed and within 15 days from the rejection, you get your sticker. Now less you think shops are really racking up the funds, you should know for vehicles it's $.70, and for motorcycles is $2.00, of that $20.00 fee (which was $16.00 until last July) goes to the Dept. of State Police.

So how do the State Police feel about losing the inspection program? They are totally against it. And it's not just for the safety issue. The State Police also have an aviation unit. Guess who came up with the funds to replace the helicopter that crashed outside Charlottesville in 2017? The State Police. Not only are the helicopters used at the pleasure of the Governor to fly him here and there, but they are used to perform medical and search and rescue missions. I have a feeling the Governor did not realize that if he eliminates the income for safety inspections, he's hurting the State Police, oh, and himself.

Let's forget about the money for a second. Let's talk safety. Do you really believe that a person jumping up and down for joy because they will be saving $20.00 to have someone give a thorough going over on their vehicle is going to spend money maintaining that vehicle every year? Or, is it more likely that they will wait for that vehicle to break down before getting it looked at? They probably don't realize it actually costs more to repair a vehicle than to prevent a problem from happening. Fixing those brakes before they fail will cost a lot less than crashing into someone when they fail, and I'm not talking just money. Or maybe during a torrential rainstorm that you've just run into on the highway, you realize those wipers are shot to shit and you can't see a darn thing and crash. Could have been easily prevented.

You know who else would not benefit from eliminating yearly inspections? Consumers who buy vehicles from used car lots. At least now they are offered some protection if there is a current sticker on a vehicle they're thinking of buying. I still believe you should take the vehicle you're thinking of purchasing to a mechanic to look over before doing so, like many of our customers do, but a lot of people don't. Some used car dealers are less than, ummmm, honest shall we say, in reporting what the vehicle has been through and many people don't know what to look for. Free tip...kicking the tires will not tell you anything. It's unfortunate that we see too many people who have been taken advantage of after the fact, such as many immigrants who don't speak English well. They don't understand and are probably intimidated to seek any recourse when they are sold a lemon. I can only imagine how much worse it would be if the vehicle didn't have to undergo an inspection before being sold.

We've had jalopies come in held together by spit and duct tape, plastic bags serving as windows, cracked windshields about to fall out, red magic marker covering a rear light bulb, worn out tires with barely any treads, and many other head-scratching conditions that people think are ok to drive around with. They're not. Not everyone "gets it" and I don't want to meet those folks on the road, while driving with them, next to them, bicycling near them, and walking where they drive. So yeah, I'm thrilled Virginia is keeping its state inspections, and you should be too.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Virginia Laws By Loons

Nary a day goes by without me seeing a post somewhere on the internet, a text on my phone, or a phone call from someone asking what the heck is going on in Virginia. I'm assuming they're reading about the same head-scratching laws coming out of Richmond that I am. I briefly touched on some of the news in my last blog post, Virginia is for Tyrants. Since it’s been a couple of weeks, and we’ve reached the crossover deadline, I thought it would be good to once again check in on the state of Virginia’s mind…one word…loony!

For those who don’t know, like I didn’t, Crossover Day is the final day each chamber in Virginia can take action on their own final bills. As you know by now, both House and Senate are ruled by the Democrats. Although the refrain is elections have consequences, I still blame the Republican GOP for that scenario as you can’t vote on a candidate if there isn’t a candidate to vote on. And what we're seeing is the destruction of the state when one power rules it and tries to throw enough crap against the wall, only this time a lot of it is sticking. No use crying over rancid milk, so let’s get back to Crossover Day. Once that happens, sans budget bills, the House and Senate can only vote on bills that the other chamber has already passed. So let’s look at some of them…

There was a big hullabaloo when it came to light after Delegate Chris Hurst was stopped and released after blowing past the alcohol limit one should not have while driving, (skating past a DUI that would cost the average Virginian thousands of dollars,) that while in session the General Assembly are granted immunity from being arrested. That little known constitutional amendment is said to hail from the early days when delegates had to travel far and wide to get to the capitol and sometimes some unsavory characters would arrest and charge a delegate simply to keep them from arriving to the floor to vote.Those days are long gone, however Mr. Hurst did claim that the reason he was wobbly when he was stopped was because he had developed sciatica from having to drive back and forth from Blacksburg to Richmond. Hmmmm. I have sciatica too but my doctor never told me I got it from driving. Makes one wonder if we can expect a disability claim if/when Mr. Hurst leaves the House of Delegates. Anyhow, after the public’s outcry that delegates should not get any “special treatment,” on January 30, SJ87 regarding changing the immunity was introduced. On February 7 it was Passed by indefinitely by Rules of Voice vote. Passed by indefinitely does not mean it was passed. It means it was passed by like a stale doughnut at a cheap motel's free breakfast counter. Since nothing happened by Crossover Day, SJ87 bill is essentially dead. Did you have any doubt? That bill, along with any bill that would call for term limits will never happen. No way are they going to vote themselves out of a jail cell or a job. So the only way is for the citizens of Virginia to vote them out. Again I will say the only way we can vote someone out is to have someone run against them. Hey VAGOP that means get off your freaking ass and find decent candidates! Or VADNC get some moderate folks to run that aren't so far left they tip over! 

Virginia’s passing of gun control laws have by far gotten the most press and pushback. Doesn’t matter how much protesting occurs, Virginia has already passed 7 gun control laws which many believe is due to Michael Bloomberg’s opening his wallet to the tune of $2.5 million. He himself claims it at a rally he held in Richmond on February 15th as he tries to buy his way into the Oval Office. At that rally he was heckled as a fascist. Oh, if you think Virginia is going in a downward spiral, you ain’t seen nothing yet if Mr. Nanny State, destroyer of the Big Gulp, becomes president. But I digress. Back to the guns. I will admit I’m not the best person to speak about all the gun laws as, other than the potential of pissing someone off so much they red flag me, it's not my thing. Frankly, I just want to be able to protect my family and don’t want the government telling me I can’t. I also do not want them making me register guns as that's the first step needed for the government to confiscate them. It's basically handing them a list of where to go first. I’m sure there are many other blogs and sites out there that you can learn more about the specific laws better suited than what I can tell you about, such as the VCDL. As you can see from their page, between the over 22,000 protesters and all the 2nd Amendment sanctuary cities formed, many Virginians are “up in arms” about what’s going on in Richmond. I imagine the same outrage at the destruction of the 2nd Amendment will follow nationwide if Bloomberg winds up in the White House. Mini Mike has said proudly he is coming for your guns.

Onto to driver’s licenses. If you have been to DMV to get your Real ID driver’s license which will be needed if you plan to fly anywhere, or visit some federal sites, you know how difficult it is to obtain…original raised seal birth certificates, social security cards, marriage licenses, divorce papers, name change papers, w2’s, income tax returns, utility bills, blah blah blah needed to prove who you are even though you have your picture driver’s license already. Well, if you’re undocumented illegal alien in Virginia you should sail right through getting a driver’s license since SB34 and HB1211 have passed. The problem with this passing is not so much that someone will have a license to drive, hopefully they will have to undergo driving school and pass a permit test like the rest of us who have had to. Hmmm, will they? I don’t know. From what I've seen they also do not have to show as much verification as the legal citizens have to. The other problem is that it's a privilege given to someone who is illegal, not just an immigrant, but an illegal one. Oh, and let's not forget the perception is that this form of id can lead to voter fraud. Illegals are not supposed to vote in our elections, but do they? If they do, I’d wager it would be for democrats.

Speaking of wagering. Virginia has decided to join the 21st century by passing regulations allowing casino gambling via SB36 and HB4. Richmond, Norfolk, Danville, Bristol and Portsmouth would have to pass a voter referendum to see if their residents approve. If done correctly as a destination which offers more than casinos, these cities could have a major economic boom and attract gamblers away from North Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. If done incorrectly, it could wind up like the side streets of Atlantic City have…run down and crime ridden. The small Rosie's Gaming Emporium in Vinton brought in more than $350,000 in its tax revenue in its first five months. I always thought Explore Park in Roanoke County would have made a great destination for a casino complex, but they opted for the pod cabins, Yurt rentals, and RV site rentals instead. Since everything I like in Roanoke usually fails, as no one else likes what I like, and the crap they love goes on forever, it’s probably for the best they kept the park a park.

Confederate monuments mean little to this Yankee transplant so I really couldn’t care less what they do with them. However, I don’t think one can erase history and pretend it didn’t exist by rewriting it with the removal of said monuments which was passed via SB183 and HB1537, allowing localities to remove them if they choose to do so. I hear the words heritage and racism when people refer to them. Both sides are quite passionate. I can also see both sides, so if a locality does decide to remove a confederate statue one would hope it would wind up in a museum where it’s not destroyed. It is a form of art after all.

Oh art. Let’s talk about art therapy in Virginia. I had to google to make sure this wasn’t an Onion article after seeing it on Facebook. Virginia is about to require a government license because get this…glue and scissors are potentially dangerous! Yes, you read that right. Not only a license, but there is talk that one must get a Master’s degree! Are you freaking kidding me?! Apparently they’re not kidding…read all about it here! So what’s this really about? I think it’s about filling the coffers of universities and local treasurers. I mean c’mon. Do you really think glue and scissors pose a threat and a Master’s degree is needed to wield those deadly objects? What happens to volunteers who use them when they go to places like Goodwill, their children’s classes, adult centers, etc? Will volunteers no longer be allowed to cut pictures out of magazines? Will workers at Goodwill have to get a Master’s degree? Do you know how much they pay at Goodwill…barely over minimum wage. People don’t work there to get rich, well, not unless you’re the CEO or at the top of their food chain. Most of their employees do it because they want to help others and enrich their lives. By the way, Virginia pays slightly over minimum wage to someone who offers “companion services” to a disabled person who stays in their home rather than them living in a nursing home. The person who cares for them is not even allowed to get overtime pay like many other states offer. Why doesn’t the General Assembly focus on real issues like paying a decent wage for someone who is caring for disabled person, not an easy job, and for such little money, that many don’t show back up at after even one day.

Which brings us to minimum wage. It’s my understanding that Virginia has passed a $15/hour minimum wage bill to be implemented in various stages over a couple of years. I need to do some more research on it before writing about it, so will keep that subject, along with a couple of other recently tabled or passed, normal or looney, bills for the next "What the Heck is Happening in Virginia" installment. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Virginia is for Tyrants

From Merriam Webster - Definition of tyranny
1: oppressive power 

every form of tyranny over the mind of man
— Thomas Jefferson

especially : oppressive power exerted by government
the tyranny of a police state

Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government but illegal for the citizenry.  - Thomas Jefferson

When I woke up this morning and found articles all over Facebook regarding Virginia Delegate Chris Hurst's recent driving while impaired episode, which took over three days to actually get to the "news," and his subsequent slap on the back (not even hand!) release with not so much as a ticket, along with the non-apologetic, cavalier attitude, "it is what it is," it really irked me. Mr Hurst, for those that don't know, was an on air anchor at the same station as his girlfriend, Allison Parker who was shot and murdered along with her cameraman Adam Ward in 2015 while covering a story. The killer was a psychotic former co-worker.  After Hurst left the station, he pretty much ran on gun issues platform citing Allison's death as the reason for his run for office.

FYI...In 2017, 1,014 died from gun violence in Virginia. Out of that 65% were suicides. I do hope Hurst  is exploring mental health issues besides restricting gun rights. According to Virginia Traffic Crash Facts published by the VA DMV, in 2017 almost 250 people were killed in Virginia due to the actions of drunk drivers. 7,285 crashes were caused by drunk drivers. These crashes led to 4,430 injuries.

So, Virginia Delegate Christ Hurst who's concerned about "the safety of Virginians" blows over the alcohol limit and gets released with a warning. By the way, for the rest of us, drunk driving laws make it illegal nationwide to drive with a BAC at or above 0.08%. But the same laws apparently do not apply to Virginia representatives because get this: Article IV of the constitution says that during a session, legislators may not be arrested for anything short of “treason, felony, or breach of peace.” Click here to read the article.

You may talk of the tyranny of Nero and Tiberius; but the real tyranny is the tyranny of your next-door neighbor. - Walter Bagehot

And now with SB240, aka Red Flag Law, beware the tyrannical neighbor even more so. Despite heavy opposition, it's going to go through. Have a beef with a neighbor? Have a beef with an ex? Have a beef with a cop? Have a beef with anyone who doesn't like you? You can now be red-flagged.  Read the full summary at the end of this article. 

Don't get me wrong, some of the law makes sense, but it needs tweaking for sure to protect innocent people. As a recipient of some piece of shit making a false charge against me, warranting an after-midnight bang on the door from a couple of cops, I can attest to the danger of this law. I wasn't able to pursue charges that time because the officer was astute enough to not file any report, and I was naive enough to think it would be impossible for a cop to act on something so absurd it defied logic, but now I'm wiser. I realize I will always be an "Eye-talian hot-head" (his words) Yankee no matter how many decades I live in Virginia, and the police are not always my friends. By the way, this was before the time the same cops came to my house in a no-knock raid and held guns to mine and my husband's heads after going to the wrong address! Now I have cameras everywhere and will prosecute to the fullest extent, and the sue the shit out of anyone that files a false claim against me.

Tyranny cannot defeat the power of ideas. - Helen Keller

I have to wrap up this post quick before HB1627, an attack on the First Amendment, becomes law. According to the legislation, it bars anyone from insulting “the Governor, Governor-elect, Lieutenant Governor, Lieutenant Governor-elect, Attorney General, or Attorney General-elect, a member or employee of the General Assembly, a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, or a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.” So I best not say Governor Blackface, or Coonman (even though that was his nickname in college) under the penalty of crime. You can still read about the governor's blackface forays here in an article from the NY Times and see all the folks who called for his resignation before he sold his soul out.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. - Edmund Burke 

Riddle me this Virginians...How in the world did Joe Morrissey, who had sex with a minor, was arrested five times, disbarred, indicted on federal charges of possession and distribution of childhood porn not only get elected as a Virginia senator, but become the "biggest player in Richmond?"

You know why? Because the Republican party of Virginia did not run anyone against him. In fact the Republican party of Virginia did not put up a candidate in 29 districts! And word is there were lousy candidates in many of the districts they did have someone running. People say elections have consequences and it's true, you have to get out and vote. But, how can you vote against someone if there's no one running against them?! Time for fresh ideas, fresh faces, fresh candidates to step up to the plate. The swamp needs to be drained at all levels. May be long overdue to retire the two party system.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem to lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. - Thomas Paine

Right now Virginia is under the total control of the Democrats, and frankly, it's like they're mad with power. Actually, even some of the bills put forth by Republicans are making me scratch my head. Every day is a new "adventure." It was getting to the point that I thought you know what, maybe it's time to get the heck out of Virginia. We had a good run. My kids are older now. I'm about ready to retire. Why do I need to deal with this insanity? The people were never really that friendly with me, and southern hospitality is a myth. But then I think, maybe more than I'd like are unfriendly and not accepting of this damn Yankee, but not all are like that. I look around at the beautiful vistas, my mountains, streams, rivers, valleys, wildlife, fresh air, no rush hour traffic, no subways, no alternate side of the street parking hell, all around a just easier lifestyle, and I say, heck no! I'm not leaving. I'm a fighter. I will stick it out. This too shall pass. Maybe I need to start writing again to "let it all out" and hope they won't come for me. There's plenty of people fighting for the 2nd amendment...we need people to fight for the 1st too.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Christmas Cookies - Italian Sesame Seeded

Last year was the first year I found a recipe for a sesame cookie that had the consistency, taste, and aroma of an Italian Brooklyn bakery's cookie. It must have the right weight and aftertaste to be able to dunk in a cup of coffee. Besides a bagel, or a crumb bun, or a pastry, or a chunk of buttered Italian bread, a sesame seeded cookie is one of my favorite Brooklyn breakfast's.

The secret to the success is the anise extract. I opened the bottle and held it under my son's nose and asked him what he smelled. He thought medicine, or cough syrup. Huh? If anything it smells more like black licorice to me. He replied he hated black licorice and it smells "mediciney" to him. One person's delectable odor is another's gross one. Funny thing is after they were baked he couldn't stay away from the cookies. This recipe gets two big thumbs up!


3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup Crisco shortening
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp anise extract
raw sesame seeds


Preheat oven to 375
In a large bowl add eggs, sugar, Crisco, baking powder and anise extract. Mix everything well.
Add the flour and mix well.
Take a piece of dough, roll it to about 1/2" thick and cut it every 2".
Take each piece, wet it in milk and then roll it in the sesame seed.
Place all the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas Cookies - Robert Weinstein's Night Before the Diet Bars

Today's Christmas Cookie recipe isn't so much a cookie as it is a "bar." This is the first time I baked them and this recipe comes from The New York Cookbook. Honestly, even though they did taste better the next day with this afternoon's spot of tea, I'm not such a fan of them. I feel like something's lacking, however, the boys really liked them, and that's all right with me.

As I was just typing the ingredients I realized I did not use milk chocolate chips, but semi-sweet ones, and I wonder if that was the "thing" lacking. By the way, I have no idea who Robert Weinstein is...


12 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup milk chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 325.
Butter a 9-inch square cake pan
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Add the flour and vanilla. Pour one-third of the mixture into a small bowl and set aside.

Add the melted chocolate to the large bowl and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Pour the contents of the small bowl on top of the chocolate layer and top with walnuts and chocolate chips.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Makes 18 bars.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christmas Cookies - Venetians

The second Italian cookie recipe I'd like to share is for the ever popular Venetians, or 7-layers, or Rainbow cookies...whichever you want to call them. Up in Brooklyn in the Italian bakeries you can find these delicacies for a pretty steep price per pound. They are so worth it! Locally, here in Roanoke I've tasted three different place's version and although they looked nice they didn't taste too nice, actually not nice, seriously shitty. Yours might not come out looking professional, but if you follow the recipe below I guarantee you they will be better than anything you'll find locally, unless you live in New York City, but that's a given.

I'm not making them today, but hope to within the week...that is if I could find the Solo Almond Pastry filling in a can at the local supermarkets. For some reason the shelves at my local Kroger and Food Lion do not have a single can, and I can only pray that this product did not fall under the Elena know about the curse...anything I like here in the south, disappears, leaves, goes out of business, etc. It's important to note that the recipe yesterday called for almond paste. This recipe calls for almond pastry filling. It's a different consistency from the paste and I find it makes a much better tasting and textured cookie. Let me know if you see any in your travels and also if you see any reasonably priced pine nuts. I'm itching to make pignoli cookies.

I'm posting this recipe now, before I make another batch and have a much better picture to show because I don't know if I'm going to find the Solo pastry filling and these take two days total to be ready.  You'll need a space in your fridge for the layers to set overnight under a weighted wooden cutting board or similar so I wanted to make sure you would be ready to undertake them in time for whenever you wanted to serve them. As usual, make sure to use butter, not margarine. Life is too short to substitute margarine for butter...


Preheat oven to 350.

1 can (8 oz. almond pastry filling)
1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) butter softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp salt
10 drops green food color
8 drops red food color
1 jar (12 ounces) apricot preserves
2 1/2 squares semisweet chocolate


Coat three 13 x 9 x 2 inch pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line with wax paper, allowing paper to come up at the short ends. Spray paper.

Break up almost pastry filling in a large bowl. Add butter, sugar, egg yolks and almond extract. Beat with electric mixer until light about fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in flour and sat.

Beat egg whites in a different bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold into almond mixture until well blended.

Divid mixture into 3 equal portions. Add green food coloring to one, red to another, leave last yellow. Sparely spread each potion into prepared pans.

Bake in oven 350 for about 15:00 or until edges are golden brown. Immediately remove the cakes from the pans using the waxed paper overhand.

Heat preserves in a small saucepan, strain through sieve. Place green cake layer on a jelly roll pan (or cookie sheet). Spread half of warm preserves over layer to edges. Slide yellow layer on top, spread with remaining apricot preserves. Slide pink layer, on top of yellow layer.

Cover with plastic wrap, weigh down with large wooden cutting board. Place in refrigerator overnight.

Melt chocolate in double boiler over water. (I do it in the microwave and it comes out fine, at 20 second intervals stir.) Trim edges off cake. Spread melted chocolate to edges of cake. Let dry about ten minutes until chocolate is hardened. Cut into 1 inch squares.

You know which ones they are