Friday, March 6, 2015

"Italian Sesame Cookies” & A “Mimosa Cocktail” To Celebrate "Festa della Donna"

Daylight Saving Time starts at 2am this Sunday March 8th. This means you will “spring ahead” and move your clocks forward one hour, which unfortunately because of the time change you lose an hour of sleep.

Here we are in March and the East coast just came through another big snow storm. But there is light through the tunnel. This coming week we are supposed be in the 40’s. So maybe Spring will be right around the corner. Everyone is tired of all of the snow and the cold. We all need to see that Spring has sprung! This month has many fun and wonderful holidays, like “La Festa della Donna,”(this Sunday) St. Patrick’s Day, St Joseph’s day, first day of Spring, Palm Sunday, and we can’t forget my mom’s birthday. Before we get to those special days of March, this month is also known as “National Flour Month.” Come, join me as we take a look at many different types of flour and how can we use it?   

Flour is an essential ingredient in baking and cooking. In European and American culture it is a defining ingredient that is used for making breads, pies, cakes, cookies, pastries, pancakes, and can be also used as a batter for frying foods. When brought together with the help of a few basic ingredients flour can be transformed into a delightful treat. Flour is a fine powder made by grinding grains that is high in starch. It is commonly made from wheat but also can be made from corn, rye, barley, and rice. Ground legumes and nuts such as soy, peanuts, almonds, and other tree nuts are also called flours. Grinding stones from Italy, Russian and the Czech Republic have been found embedded with starch grains, suggesting that 30,000 years ago people processed roots from cattails and ferns into flour.

In today’s world we have different types of flour that comes in many varieties of flavors, textures, and colors. Some of them I know you have used but some you haven’t and may want to try experimenting with. All purpose flour or plain flour is the most widely used. Bleached or non-bleached, that is the question? Bleached flour is when they put bleaching agents to whiten the flour which also gives it more gluten-producing potential. In my opinion, I use only non-bleached, but it is your preference. Bromated flour is another type that also has bleaching agents added to its finely milled flour. Bromated flour has been banned in much of the world, but remains available in the United States. Then there is cake flour, Graham flour, Pastry, Cookie, or Cracker flour, and Self-Rising or Self-raising flour, and Wheat flour. Some other types include; Corn, Rye, Tapioca, Brown Rice, Noodle, Buckwheat, Chestnut, and Chickpea flour. Did you know that Pillsbury began its annual “Bake Off” in 1950 to promote its “Flour” line?

Besides using flour for baking my family uses it as an egg and bread technique for frying fish, chicken, pork, and vegetables. Flour is added to the breadcrumb mixture as that will help the egg and breadcrumbs stick to the food. It also helps the fish, etc. not stick to the frying pan, and makes your foods crispy. 

“La Festa della Donna, “is also called “International Women’s Day,” and it is celebrated on March 8th, (this Sunday) which honors the equality of all women. This holiday originates from ancient Rome to celebrate the first day of spring and the goddess called Ariadne. It is a day of remembrance and history for women all over the world. 

Festa della Donna is also known to commemorate both the social, political, economic achievements, and rights of women. In Italy, this celebration was held for the first time in 1911. Most Italian men say with feeling and expression “Auguri alle signore!” This means “Best Wishes to the Ladies.” With that being said, the men in Italy, (the country of romance and food) prepare special dishes and baked goods for the women in their life.

There is another custom for this day, which men present flowers to the women in their lives. This custom started in Italy, some sources say, Rome in 1946. The particular flower of choice is called the “Mimosa,” and was chosen by Italian feminists. This flower was chosen because of its bright yellow color, fragrant scent, it is inexpensive, and it blooms this time of the year.  The Mimosa is cultivated for its flowers and honey production. The essential oils are used in perfumes and cosmetics.

As we celebrate women this month I can not forget to include my mom in this post. Tuesday, is my mother’s Birthday. My mom is the heart of our home. She is the one that gets everyone together for Birthdays and Holidays. She loves to cook meals for the family especially her grandchildren. She exhumes Love, Joy, and Faith plus has the patience of a Saint. Everyone in the family can attest to her strength, her honesty, and her warmth. My mom embodies what a mother should be and shares her wisdom with everyone she meets. I have so many memories of my childhood with my mom, but these thoughts are a special way to wish my mom a “Happy Birthday!!!” 

My mom and myself
My recipe this week is a perfect way to celebrate “National Flour Month” and my mom’s birthday with some “Italian Sesame Cookies!” These tasty authentic Italian cookie, are very simple and fun to make. You can even have your children help by coating the cookies with the sesame seeds before baking. Children love to help cook and bake. Let your family help and create many memories together. Enjoy this cookie with a cup of coffee or tea. To store them, put them in a covered tin, for long lasting flavor. (If they last that long) Then to celebrate La Festa della Donna is a delicious drink called “Mimosa Cocktail.” 

"Italian Sesame Cookies”

4 cups of unbleached flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of solid Crisco
2 eggs
1/2 cup of cold milk
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
Sesame seeds

Cut in 1 cup of shortening. (Crisco) Beat slightly 2 eggs. Add to eggs and 1/2 cup of milk. Combine dry and liquid ingredients. Pinch off a small amount of dough and roll in your hands. Shape into a size of a finger and taper at each end. (You can also create any shape to make these cookies in example: crescent, star, round, etc.) Now roll in the sesame seeds. Bake at 375°F for about 12-15 minutes depending on your oven and the type of pans you use.  


“Mimosa Cocktail”

8 oz of chilled orange juice (fresh squeezed or in bottle)
4 oz of chilled Champagne or Prosecco

Pour orange juice into a chilled fluted Champagne glass over two ice cubes. Fill with the chilled Champagne or Prosecco, stir gently. Serve with a cherry, or a twist of an orange slice.

(Please Drink Responsibly) 


Till Next Time………………….

Copyright © 2015 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. good afternoon Dottie ,
    Now this post is just wonderful , to learn we have a national flour month , how cute is that ?
    What a wonderful way to wish y your Mother a happy birthday ... I wish to add my wishes along with yours and many more to your dear mother .
    The Italian Sesame Cookies is a great idea , never made them before , they seem easy and the kids will love to help , my girls is at the age where they have their own opinion on cooking (11 and 12) .
    It's so nice you are building memories and thanks for sharing them with us my friend .
    The Mimosa Cocktail is refreshing and relaxing .
    Reminds me of a grown-up drink I make the kids .
    Chilled orange juice with white grape juice poured over crushed ice . Kids are so easy to please , love and patience do the trick .
    Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful weekend .
    Glad to hear your weather is going to get nice ...Nee :)

    1. Good evening Nee,
      Thanks for stopping over and your comment...I will tell my mom that you sent your wishes for her birthday. These cookies are a favorite of my mom's and everyone loves them. They are really easy and your children will love to help especially put the seeds on. 11 & 12 years old yes I would think they have their own opinion on what is good and cooking/baking. They are growing up too fast, right Nee? I love to share my memories and to make new ones...I hope that I can inspire you and everyone who reads this blog to share memories and have new ones especially with your children so young...I love the Mimosa, it is such a great relaxing drink and perfect for this time of the year. Love the way your make these drinks for your cute. You enjoy your weekend, have a blessed one with your family. Yes, Spring may be coming at last!
      Dottie :)

  2. Hi Dottie,
    It is interesting what you say about bleached flours. I don't think we can easily find out here in the UK whether the flour we buy as been bleached or not. I have noticed that when I buy organic flour it is normally darker (although it is not wholemeal) then non organic flour. I think it is because it has been bleached?
    My cousin used to work in a bakery in Italy and she used to say that most flour has been bleached and added lots of preservatives and unhealthy ingredients to it to make it last well. She used to get allergies from breathing the flour in whilst baking. That's not very good at all! I used to find it shocking and they say this is the reason why people develop intolerance to gluten too.
    Happy birthday to your mum! Soon is la festa della donna. I grew up receiving the mimosa flower which I love but here in the UK they don't really celebrate.
    On the 8th of March is my mother's birthday too so double festa!

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks for your comment. Our flour bag has on it unbleached on the label. Also the color is a little more beige. If it is bleached then it is really white. I personally don't like it because who wants to eat some thing that was bleached. I have never used organic. Have to try that if I can find it. My niece works in a bakery when she comes home from college as a part time job, I will have to ask her what type of flour they use. Interesting to learn about this. Thanks for your birthday wishes to my mom, I will pass it on to her...I show her your blog and the things you make, she loves it especially the posts on Calabria, as that is where her family comes from. Wow, you as well have your mum's birthday please tell her Happy Birthday as well. Plus happy Festa della Donna to you and your mum! Thanks for stopping over...Enjoy your weekend dear friend...
      Dottie :)...

  3. Dear Dottie, What a beautiful expression of love for your Mom. I wish her a Happy Birthday and a beautiful year of love and blessings ahead.
    These are one of my favorite cookies and of course hold many memories of my grandfather enjoying these with coffee.
    You are correct the light is peeking through with the promised nice days ahead.
    Blessings dear. xoxoxo Catherine

    1. Hi Catherine,
      Thank you for your beautiful words for my mom's are such a caring person. I realise how grateful I am that I still have my parents. So at this age, any birthday is a time to celebrate! Glad that you loved the cookies and it brought back memories for you. It was not too bad today, weather wise, but tonight it is really cold again. Everyone is reaching for that light to peek through, you are correct! Thanks for stopping over and I hope that you have a blessed week!
      Dottie :)

  4. Hi Dottie,
    I'm sorry it took me a while to get here. I'm so glad I finally did though. What a wonderful post and beautiful words about your Mother. Please wish her a Happy Birthday from the transplanted Long Islander, lol...

    I love that recipe for the Italian Sesame Cookies. I remember them well:) As for that Mimosa Cocktail, ooo la la I wouldn't mind one right now!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Dottie and thank you again for joining us for Meatball Day!

    1. Dear Louise,
      Just saw this and thanks for your comment and of course your comment. Don't worry I of all people understand. I will tell my mom you sent your Birthday Wishes. I agree those cookies are awesome! I make them a few times a year. Plus you are correct...I could use a Mimosa right now...You are so sweet, have a blessed and wonderful week...
      Dottie :)