Made With Love - A Tribute To My Parents
Made With Love - A Tribute To My Parents

Linda'S BLOG

October 20, 2015


My blog is moving to  Made With Love - A tribute to my Parents and Linda Sousa, Lifestyle Coach is teaming up to create some new and healthy recipes and to update some of these to healthier versions. Although II may continue to post and update here from time to time, my BLOG will be moving to and most of the updates will be on that website as well. is expected to be up and running by the end of the week.  So please check there and on my Linda Sousa, Lifestyle Coach page on facebook at for updates and future blogs.


Peace and blessings to y ou and yours,



October 20, 2015


Slept in this morning, got up at 6 AM! Tried to resist the urge to get on the scale because I try to do it only once a week at the same time. Couldn't resist, down another pound. I thought ugh, just one. Well guess I will take it!


Then I put on one of my go to blouses and could feel the weight of the top and how loose it is now. Yup I will take that one pound gladly, slow and steady, a pound at a time does make a difference.


The pictures from June were on my deck, fresh from a hair appointment! The October pictures are from this morning. I don't always notice, but I felt it this morning and I could clearly see the difference in the pictures. Can you?


If you are working on living a healthier lifestyle and trying to get back into shape, stay in shape or just live healthier, keep going. Relish in that pound or half pound, it adds up.


I am living proof of the motto, DECIDE, COMMITT, SUCCEED!!!



March 27, 2018

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Hebrews 13:2

My husband John and I belong to a faith community that is very active and involved in serving each other and the community at large.  A local shelter operates a soup truck during the winter months and many members of our community come together to provide sandwiches, salty and sweet snacks, fresh fruit and a hot hearty soup for the soup truck and our neighbors in need.  Loving hands and generous hearts full of kindness and compassion join together to donate food, time and talent. Each providing and doing what they can not only to feed our brothers and sisters with hearty warm soup, sandwiches, fresh fruit and snacks but to do so in Christian Action sharing the love of Jesus to all that we serve.  Our aim is not simply to fill hungry stomach's but to touch hearts with the light and love of Christ.  This weekend, my husband John's men’s sharing group and our families volunteered to purchase, provide and prepare the meal for the Palm Sunday soup truck.  It never fails, when we set out to serve others we are always blessed ourselves in ways we could never imagine.  For our Lord is never to be outdone in generosity. That has been evident all weeked starting with an impromptu celebration of Palm Sunday Vigil where the children in our group participated in every aspect of Holy Mass including narrating and reading all the parts and sobering words of the Passion of our Lord with inflection and thoughtfulness.  After Holy Mass it was all hands on deck as we gathered in the retreat center kitchen where the children had fun alongside their parents making over 150 sandwiches.  They also helped to assemble the fresh fruit, salty and sweet snacks for the lunch bags and they helped to peel vegetables for the stew that John and I planned to assemble and cook to perfection on Sunday morning.  Preparations done we ended the night with a light supper and fellowship to the joyful sounds of the children bonding and playing together.  An eventful evening filled with many blessings.  My heart was moved deeply many times as I witnessed over and over again no matter the task, young and not so young alike the joyful servant heart in action.  And it is this little collective action and a great deal of love that accompanies John and his sharing group brothers tonight as they serve up soup and sandwiches made wih lots of love.

March 22, 2015

I dont always go food shopping with a menu in mind.  Often I will see what looks fresh and good and create my menu around it.  This weekend I saw a beautiful bone in pork shoulder with skin on at the market.  There are many recipes that I could make but  in my mind was old family favorite that have not had since our italian family Christmas is Porchetta.  Porchetta is a deboned pork shoulder simply seasoned, rolled and tied with the skin on that is roasted in the oven.  What results is a savory, moist pork that melts in your mouth with a crunchy crackly outer skin.  To save time I asked the butcher to cut out the bone , he also flattened out the meat making it easier to roll and saving me the time from having to do it myself.  My dad used to make Porchetta's all of the time, Sunday dinners often consited of at least two meats, one of them was usually a Porchetta.  Inexpensive, simply seasoned, easy to make and a delicious hit with everyone made it a staple in our family menu.  The Porchetta always was paired with a large fresh salad with homemade italian dressing.  Our dressing too was simple, usually our dressing was simply oil and homemade red wine vinegar with salt and maybe a few herbs.  And sometimes lemon and olive oil.  These days I rarely use vinegar, preferring to use lemon, olive oil and salt.  The combination of the savory tasty pork and the fresh salad was always a perfect paring and is on our menu for today's Sunday dinner.  Porchetta always makes me think back to our pig roasts as a kid. I recall my dad preparing the whole pig for roasting and then the lineup of friends and family taking turns slow roasting and turning the whole pig on the spit over the outdoor barbeque pit.  It inspired me to find some old pictures a neighbor took and shared with me and my siblings from one of our neighborhood pig roasts many years ago.  Wonderful memories shared with wonderful people.  A Sunday dinner for two, a pig roast for the whole neighborhood, all are occasions for making memories and treasuring time spend together with those we love around the family table.  For the Porchetta recipe and pictures from one of our pig roasts check out the Recipe Tab and look under Porchetta.



Game day menu!  Carole's Crepes, Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Turkey Chili, Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps and  Oven Roasted Teriyaki Chicken Wings! 

It is Superbowl Sunday and as much as it is about the big game tonight, in our house it is also about the game day food and game time munchies!! So I was up early and in the kitchen preparing the lineup for the day.  We started our day with something I have not had or made in a long time but reminds me of family and my wonderful sister-in-law Carole.  Carole makes the very best crepes I have ever had.  As a kid it was always a treat waking up from a sleepover at their house to fresh from the skillet crepes.   My mom loved them too; she would eat them as is no topping, just warm delicious crepe goodness.  Carole is a wonderful cook, anything she makes is delicious but she is famous in our family for her crepes, awesome pork stuffing (Gorton), flan, haystacks, congo bars, dips and amazing deserts.  Carole was one of my early teachers in the kitchen as I had the privilege of cooking beside her growing up.  So this morning I pulled out my family cookbook and made a delicious batch of Carole's Crepes for me and my beloved!  I stuffed a few with some Nutella and my beloved stuffed his with peanut butter and chocolate.  It was a decadent and wonderful breakfast and start to game day!   Next up on today’s lunch lineup is a delicious pulled pork sandwich made with a slow roasted pork butt coated in John's dry rub that will be piled high on a fresh brioche and topped with my sweet spicy BBQ sauce!  And last but not least our game time menu features turkey chili, oven roasted teriyaki chicken wings and ground turkey lettuce wraps!  The chicken wings have been marinating all morning in a simple marinade of soy sauce, crushed garlic and sugar.  Before the start of the game I will drain most of the marinade off the wings and roast them in the oven till they are caramelized and tender!  And I will also assemble the turkey wraps.  Earlier this morning I reserved some of the turkey mixture that I made for the chili and in a sauté pan added to the ground turkey and hot and sweet turkey sausage mixture a little  soy sauce, some grated ginger, grated carrot, finely chopped garlic and red bell pepper, brown sugar and some homemade turkey broth.  I sautéed that all together then drained some of the liquid reserving some of the liquid to keep the turkey moist and reserved the turkey and liquid in a container and placed it in the fridge.  When it is time to make the turkey wraps I will wash, clean and dry a head of boston lettuce ( bib lettuce), fry up a small batch of  won ton strips, warm up the turkey mixture and lay it all out on a platter so it will be good to go for a game time munchies.  We are looking forward to a great football game, great food, some healthy munchies and cold Sam Adams Cherry Wheat to wash it down!  Game On!! 



GAME DAY - PULLED PORK SANDWICHES.  Pork Butt covered in John's spicy RUB and slow roasted in the oven for hours. Served up on a fresh brioche with homemade sweet &  spicy BBQ sauce.

GAME DAY - Turkey lettuce wraps.

GAME DAY - Oven Roasted Teriyaki CHICKEN WINGS

Barley soup garnished with spicey ground turkey and chives

Hearty Barkey Soup with a spicy turkey sausage garnish!

January 27, 2015

Great lunch for a cold wintery day during the blizzard of 2015!  This is a great barley soup, hearty and delicious.  I got the recipe from cooking with Giada (DeLaurentis) at home.  It looked wondeful and so I planned to make it and got all the ingredients.  Little did we know a wintery storm would be coming our way. So today was the perfect day for this hearty soup!  Check out her video or check her site for the recipie.  It is super simple to make and is filled with vegatable goodness like carrots, parsnips, zuchinni, fennel, leeks and swiss chard.  It has a simple base of low sodium chicken stock ( I used unsalted) with a bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste.  The barley gives it great texture and flavor and insertion of a the rind of a wedge of parmesian cheese into the soup gives it a great buttery yummy falvor.  The soup is garnished with some chives and spicy turkey sausage that starts off the cooking in this one pot dish before it is removed and set aside so the soup can be made.  Check out her video, get the recipe and give it a try and enjoy! This will be a staple in our home.





January 26, 2015

If you are in the Merrimack Valley area check out Haverhill Beef Company Butcher Shop and Meat Market in Haverhill.  They have some wonderful meats. We picked up some pork tenderloin and two amazing delmonico steaks on Sunday.  They also have a wonderful selection of microbrewry ales and of course wine.  Hopefully Martin Ulisse will be on their shelves soon!  It would be awesome to shop for choice meats and pick up a choice MU Sangeovese to go with!

Saturday, October 11, 2013

Spitzada is a Ulisse family favorite.  Tender chunks of pork simmered in a tomatoe wine sauce with red and green peppers and simply seasoned with salt and pepper and a touch of garlic.  When I was very young this dish was also often prepared with rabbit instead of pork.  Then I got a pet rabbit and that was the end of spitzada with rabbit for me and perhaps because of my childish protests the reason my parents made it less and less with rabbit and started making spitzada with pork and with lamb.  We use pork butt or shoulder and the wine helps to tenderize the meat and what results is a very tender meat in a tasty sauce.  We are a family of bread dunkers and this dish like the roasted peppers goes great with fresh italian bread,  During one of my parents visits years ago, my dad and I prepared a lunch for my coworkers and we brough it into the Boston office where I was working at the time. Spitzada was one of the entrees we served that day and of course we brought along fresh baked bread for dunking.  It was a veritable feast and we had a most enjoyable luncheon. I can still recall my father standing in the conference room joyfully serving my colleagues and beaming his big beautiful smile as he saw so many people jammed into our conference room enjoying the fruit of his labor. When my dad passed away, I received so many thoughtful notes and cards reminding me how much they appreciated the meal and meeting my dad that day.  I was struck how my dad's gift of cooking, his warm hospitable nature and his simple thoughful way of sharing that gift made such a lasting impression.  What a wonderful reminder for each of us to use the gifts we have, whatever they might be to leave moments of joy and love in the hearts and memories of those around us.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Spending time with treasured friends is always a blessing and we had a wonderful night planned for a dinner party and relaxing around the fire pit.  The night despite the rainy weather and change of plans to relax around the living room instead was wonderful and we had a pretty good dinner too.  As I was thinking about the menu earlier in the week I had a few things in mind but not about the entre.  Then I got the idea to make braised short ribs from the recipe of the month in my niece Chrissy's newsletter for her wine company Martin Ulisse Imports.  Then I built the rest of the menu around the entre and kept changing things right up to the last minute.  What resulted was a great menu with wonderful wine and a perfect evening with treasured friends.  We started the night with an array of antipasti with an assortment of meats and cheeses including ricotta salata, boccachini, sharp provalone, spicy sopresata, hard salmi, olives, roasted red peppers and tender roasted asparagus wrapped in prociutto.  Our primo was homemade cannelloni with bechemela sauce, the insalta was a refreshing plate of baby arugula and mixed baby field greens with bosc pears, salted & roasted pumpkin seeds and goat cheese topped with a honey, lemon, fresh thyme dressing which was followed by our secondi of my take on the braised short ribs served over a creamy polenta and accompanied by a side of pan seared brussel sprouts sauteed with panchetta, all paired with delicious MU Sangeiovese, one of my all time favorites.  The hints of the Sangiovese used in the braising of the beef complimented by a delicious glass of Sangiovese wine was a delight for our palate's.  We finished the meal with a rich and creamy old standby, Raspberry Chambourd Cholocolate Mousse Crown, decadant and delicious, that paired wonderfully with a cup of espresso.  Recipes for the cannelloni and Chocolate Mousse Crown can be found on the recipie tab of my site and the ecipie for the braised beef can be found on the Martin Ulisse newsletter, my version of the recipe can also be found on my recipe tab.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Spending time with Mark and Gracie are highlights for John and I and we were blessed to spend an evening with them last week while their parents were at a retreat.  We enjoyed some homemade pizza with fresh apple pie and ice cream followed by a night of great fun playing guitar hero.  We had had a full blown band complete with Gracie on drums, Mark on bass, Uncle John on guitar and Aunty Linda on vocals.  Simple meals and fun times spent with those we love will always make for the most treasured of memories.

I was looking for something easy to make after a long busy day and decided to make Chicken with lemon and capers (Chicken Picata). I recently uploaded the recipe to this site and had not made it in awhile. A quick trip to the Butchers Market to pick up some fresh, butterflied Chicken Breasts and less than an hour later my beloved and I were enjoying this delicious dish with a side of fresh baby spinach sauteed in garlic and olive oil, rice pilaf and a glass of MU Merlot! Yes Merlot, this chicken dish goes great with a full bodied Merlot! ps. I used MU Trebbiano to make the sauce, delish!!



There is nothing better than an impromptu pizza party on a rainy Friday night!  Especially when Uncle John and Auntie Linda get to spend it with Mark and Gracie making delicious pizza and wonderful memories.  Growing up I had a number of aunts, uncles and cousins.  In addition to my dad's siblings, my mom was an only child, friends of my parents, my siblings inlaws and cousins of my parents all became my aunts and uncles.  When  I met Marlene, who had a similar upbringing, we made an immediate conncection and fast became best friends and sisters.  And we got the blessings of her husband Steve and thier children Mark and Gracie as part of our family and visa versa.  After talking with Marlene earlier in the day on Friday I learned that she and Steve were leading a retreat for the evening and I thought it would be great for the kids to come over while they were  at the retreat.  Uncle John was right on board and got busy making his wonderful herb and cheese pizza dough.  After a quick trip to pick up the kids and to the market we were started right in rolling out the dough using Daddy's rolling pin.   Many years ago on a visit my dad made me a rolling pin and a wood table top to use for making dough and cookies.  Essentially it is a large wooden closet dowel cut down with a hole drilled through to loop a string to hang it.  I love the rolling pin, works great, it is seasoned, mostly I treasure the memory of my dad and the delight he had in getting me "set up" in the kitchen to make dough, bread, pizza, ravioli and cookies.  And I love that we continue to use it and to share the tradition and the fun of cooking together with the kids.  So Friday night, daddy's rolling pin at the ready, dough ready for rolling and toppings ready to be added it was now Uncle John's and Auntie Linda's turn to sit back  and for the most part hands off as the kids rolled out the dough and went to town topping the pizza's.  Of course the meal was delicious, the company even better, we love spending time with Gracie and Mark, they are amazing kids!   Could not have been a better end to a busy work week!  


Fun times in the kitchen, grinding fresh beef and pork for meatballs, making meatballs and hearty meat sauce and then on Sunday making homemade Crusty Italian and aromatic and tasty herb bread and homemade Parpadelle and spaghetti pasta.......a wonderful Sunday Feast!

Our kitchen is the heart of our home!  John and I love cooking together and with our famiglia and Amici!  All made and shared with love!  Just like Mommy and Daddy's kitchen!!

"So faith, hope, love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love."

1 Corinthians 13:13






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© September 26, 2006, Made With Love – A Tribute To My Parents