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Good morning you adorable GUSadorables!!!!  I'm writing this diary on Easter Sunday at night.  I wanted to savor the day and reflect on amazing connections.

I also have to figure out if I'm doing my link to The Innoculation Project correctly -- REMEMBER they post at the same time my pure genius of a Sunday GUS open thread is posted which is 10:00 a.m. EDT.  Don't think I haven't noticed some of you haven't gotten your asses out of bed no matter which coast you are on.  If silkie can comment from the wrong coast -- the rest of you have no excuses.

Oh, wait, I forgot why I'm here:

GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, please -- join us!  We kindly ask that politics be left out.  

    You can also click the GUS tag to view all diary posts, or access the GUS Library at dKosopedia for a great list of stop-smoking links. Check it out! GUS library.

    A message to ALL quitters. You don't have to avoid GUS if you have a failed quit.  We won't give you a bad time and we consider the failed quits as "practice" for the real quit.

    Quit Keeper widget which is an outstanding aid for those beginning the difficult path to quitting.  It lets you know how long you haven't smoked, how many cigs you haven't smoked, how much money you've saved.

   Quit Smoking Counter    h/tGDbot.  For those of you who have had a problem with Quit Keeper or want a different counter!


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

I know we have buddies who are religious -- from multiple religions -- and non-religious.  One thing many folks have in common is the family event or memory.  If your memories are bad or you have no family events, join me with the one I had today (which, will be 2 days ago when you read this post).

I'm stressed to the limits.  I didn't want to be with anyone this weekend.  My dear friend asked me to come for Easter dinner at her mother-in-law's house.  I first said, "thank you, but I don't think I'd be good company."  She's like an angel -- knows when to ask again and accepts a nay or yea.  I finally said I'd love to join her family.

This morning (which is the 2 days ago morning) I regretted my decision and got more stressed out.  No way was I going to beg off at the last minute but I felt like I would be miserable company.  Well, if you have a holiday celebration with great people, you are blessed and I was blessed.

I listened to family stories which reached back into the 19th century.  Two women who are mid-80s talked about their parents and grandparents.  Amazing, wonderful, should be written down stories.  The food dated back to (at the very minimum) the 19th century as to the origin of recipes.  Typical Italian (or Indian or Jewish or name a zillion ethnic groups) -- a pinch of this, a toss of that, watch the tomatoes we grew in the garden, set the lasagna for x amount of time . . . .

The home was built by my host's father.  He was a stonemason and the foundation is incredible.  In the basement was/is the summer kitchen.  There is a gorgeous wood-fired stove/oven that looks to be in mint condition.  An old ice box (yes -- ice, not electricity).  A Hoosier -- which, for me is the most coveted kitchen thingy ever.  

We ate, we talked, we laughed, I missed my Mom.  History of families is critical.  We are not all important Google/Wiki people.  We need to treasure and pass on our histories.  Not all the stories are completely true -- that is why they are so marvelous.

Here's a recipe for Pizza Rustica.  My host had her own recipe which differed but the concept is the same.  She used prosciutto instead of sausage.  There are other names for this recipe depending on dialect.

Pizza Rustica from Giada De Laurentis


2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 (12-ounce) bunches fresh spinach, stemmed, coarsely chopped (about 12 cups), or 1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut-leaf spinach, thawed and drained
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
4 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
Pastry Dough, recipe follows
1 large egg, beaten to blend


Position the rack on the bottom of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sausages and saute until golden brown, breaking the sausage into pieces, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the same frying pan over medium heat. Add the spinach and cook until the spinach wilts and the juices evaporate, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Squeeze the spinach to drain as much liquid as possible.

Into a large bowl, add egg yolks and beat lightly. Stir in the ricotta, mozzarella, and 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese. Add the sausage, the spinach and prosciutto to the mixture and stir to combine.

Roll out larger piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 17-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch springform pan. Trim the dough overhang to 1 inch. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the dough-lined pan. Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round. Place the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges of the doughs together to seal, then crimp the dough edges decoratively. Brush the beaten 1 large egg over the entire pastry top. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan over the top. Bake on the bottom shelf until the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour.

Let stand 15 minutes. Release the pan sides and transfer the pizza to a platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

Pastry Dough:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup cold solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, beaten to blend

2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Blend the flour, the butter, the shortening and salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Blend in the eggs. With the machine running, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, with 1 piece twice as large as the second piece. Flatten the dough pieces into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to roll out, about 30 minutes.

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