It’s been a lovely weekend. We got to spend some time with our good friends. We went to see our High Schools production of  “The Adams Family”.  Performed by the class of 2018, it was truly a treat. The costumes and makeup were amazing. I would be remiss if I didn’t give these actors a big applaud. They were truly wonderful.


The school is close to us so I invited our friends over for deep dish pizzas, THIN CRUST DEEP DISH PIZZA CASSEROLE.  I used a regular canned crust for the ones I made last night. One was topped with Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers and mozzarella. The other was topped with chopped prosciutto, pineapple, and goat cheese. The link above will take you to the original recipe. I also served a salad with a white balsamic vinaigrette. That’s coming to you in another post.

My dear friend loves these cookies. They were truly a mistake that turned out to be a favorite. My father in law said, “Vick, this was a really good mistake”. It came from a recipe I found from Ina Garten. Let me explain.

The recipe called for a “good white chocolate”. So I went in search of that ingredient. When I got home I realized mine was a coconut white chocolate. So what’s a girl to do? I used it and I’ve never looked back. Chocolate and coconut are just a darned good combination. I keep bars of this on hand in my freezer. When I need it I just pull it out and chop it up. I admit to eating a nibble or two. It’s yummy as it is!

The chocolate component comes from cocoa. I just happen to love Hershey’s Special Dark. It’s blended with Dutched cocoas and gives the cookies that deep, dark, color. Regular cocoa would be fine, they just won’t have the same dark color.


This recipe can easily be doubled or it can be cut in half. It will produce the same result. I like to make sure my butter and my eggs are at room temperature. I take my chocolate out of the freezer and let it sit for about 10 minutes. I cut into large chunks with a serrated knife. It’s the only part of the recipe you have to stir in. That avoids turning your chunks into dust. I can’t stress enough, the chunks make these cookies.



  • Servings: 40-48 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 C dark brown sugar
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 lbs of Lindt’s white coconut chocolate bars, cut into large chunks


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream the butter and the sugars together until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.
  3. Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time and mix well.
  4. Add the cocoa, on low-speed, and mix well.
  5. Put the flour, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl and whisk together. Add it to the chocolate mixture on low-speed (or you will otherwise end up looking like Casper the ghost). Mix until just combined.
  6. With a heavy wooden spoon, mix in your chopped white coconut chocolate chunks.
  7. I use a 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Drop the dough onto the baking sheet.
  8. Bake for exactly 15 minutes, do NOT over bake.
  9. Let the cookies cool briefly on the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

These make excellent vehicles for vanilla ice cream also.

I hope you enjoy the recipe. This just puts a different spin on chocolate chip cookies. Instead of chocolate chips in the cookie, the cookie is chocolate. I guarantee your friends will ask for it. Of course, you can always direct them to my blog!

Til next time

Ciao xoxo

Check out my friends website.  Lots of great jewlery and all things for the Coastal Crush.


Aaahhh… there anything better than pasta for dinner? I think not! Know what makes it even better? Homemade sausage made by our friends.

We were recently sent some homemade sausage from our friends in Connecticut. Their son, now an avid hunter, brings home all sorts of game. Our friends, in true Italian fashion, make their own sausage. They shipped it to us along with some other goodies. I can not tell you how excited we were to receive it. Tonight, it became part of our dinner.


I would like to elaborate just a little bit about their son. An American soldier, he was wounded 2 times in Afghanistan and lucky enough to return home. Unfortunately, he suffered from PTSD, or, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He credits his continued recovery to the love of his wife, family, and now, love of hunting.  He was having difficulty when he returned home, and starting shutting himself away. His wife gave him a compound bow. He said he had no idea what to do with it. His wife said “you’re a soldier, you should know what to do.” With that, he started taking walks in the woods and began hunting.  He commented “hunting saved my life. It has such an impact on the human spirit.”


I personally thank God every day for our military. I thank the military for my freedom. I thank him and his family for the wonderful sausage. This is a very special meal for the Del Grosso household tonight. We send a special prayer and a salute to all those who serve and protect. May God bless and keep all of you!

While I can’t share the sausage with you; I can share the recipe. You can use any type of Italian sausage that you like. Typically I would have used a lean Italian  turkey sausage. If you have a favorite then use that. Whatever type of sausage you use, this dish will be wonderful.

Orecchiette is pasta. It’s name means little ear and is indeed shaped like an ear. It is pretty easy to find in most groceries. You can find it online at If you are lucky enough to have an Italian market they will have it.

Broccoli rabe is also called rapini. Broccoli rabe has a slightly bitter taste. The crowns, leaves, and stems are all edible. It is in the same family as the turnip. If you can’t find broccoli rabe you can use kale. Remove the leaves and discard the stems. Cook it as instructed for the broccoli rabe.



  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 large bunch of broccoli rabe, washed and 2″ trimmed off the stems
  • 1 lb lean Italian sausage, removed from casing (your favorite brand)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 oz orecchiette
  • 1 cup fat-free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Cut the washed broccoli rabe in quarters. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Add the broccoli rabe and let cook for 1 1/2 minutes, remove to the side with a slotted spoon. DO NOT DUMP THE WATER.
  2. Bring the water back to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. (Al-dente works well here, about 8-9 minutes) Drain.
  3. In a large deep saute’ pan, brown the sausage on medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces. When completely cooked remove and set to the side.
  4. Add olive oil to the pan and add the garlic. Cook until fragrant, DO NOT BURN! This step will take seconds.
  5. Return the broccoli rabe to the pan, mixing well with the garlic and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 1 minute.
  6. Return the sausage to the pan and mix well.
  7. Add the drained pasta to the broccoli rabe and sausage. Reduce the heat and stir for about 30 seconds.
  8. Add the chicken broth, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes (if using). Adjust the salt and pepper and toss another minute so that everything is mixed well and coated in the sauce.
  9. Remove from the heat and divide into 6 pasta bowls.

Additional grated cheese can be added if desired.

Til next time

Ciao xoxo

Photo courtesy of: Barbara Migliaro

Photography: Joseph and Vickie Del Grosso