Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Taste of Italy by Tracey Devlyn

This month's theme is all about treating ourselves. When I sat down to write this post, I stared at the screen much longer than was healthy. The cursor blinked and blinked, revealing a sad lack of treating going on in my life.

My story is not unlike many of yours, I suspect. The notion of downtime is a rather foreign term to many of us who are juggling full-time jobs, a writing career, kids, husbands, pets, friends, social media...oi, I'm tired just thinking about all the things that pull at us each and every day.

But we must treat ourselves. Even if it's going to the local ice cream parlor and ordering three scoops of our favorite sinful vice.

In my debut novel, A Lady’s Revenge, Miss Cora DeBeau treats herself to moments of silence. With a murderous Frenchman dogging her every step and the handsome Earl of Helsford arousing forbidden dreams, Cora takes every opportunity she can to loll against an ancient tree in the woods, practice Tai Chi near a lake, or throw her beloved knives at a homemade target in her guardian’s attic. These are the only places where she can free her mind of her terrible past and puzzle out her feelings for her childhood friend.

As for me, my getaways, my decadent treats consist of visiting one of four bookstores near me on a Friday night, watching an action-packed film on a Saturday afternoon, or, if it’s a really special occasion, having dinner with my husband at Villa Verone, a lovely Italian restaurant whose chef continues to make my favorite Pasta Puttanesca dish, even though it was removed from the menu two years ago. Now that’s decadence!

And if I'm a really, really good girl, my husband will read me to sleep while skimming his fingers in whisper light circles over my face. My secret treat is my husband. He helps me through the hard times and always makes me feel better.

Now I'd like to treat one lucky commenter. Leave me a quick note in the comments section for a chance to win a $20 gift card to a shoe store of your choice! Whatever store you choose, please make sure it’s one I can order a gift card via the Internet. The picture to the right shows you how much of a girlie girl I am.

I'll announce the winner tonight at 10 CST. Remember, no matter how tight your schedule, make room for three scoops. You deserve it!

Hugs, Tracey



  1. Tracy I'm with you on the Pasta Puttanesca. I have a recipe that I make once in a blue moon. I studied Italian in college and my husband was shocked when I told him what Puttanesca meant! It is very cool that the restaurant makes it just for you. Okay, it isn't even 7 a.m. and now I want Italian food!

    *FYI - Puttanesca means "Little Whore" because the pasta is cheap, easy and leaves you satisfied. LOL You gotta love the sense of humor of the people of Naples!

    user1123 AT comcast DOT net

  2. OMG, Stacie! Are you serious??? I had no idea.

    I do love pasta--of any flavor. I'd probably go into withdrawal if I had to give it up. So I guess it's an apt name for myself. LOL

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing that bit of trivia!

  3. I love pasta too but unfortunately they just diagnosed me as diabetic so I'm not eating any right now. I can't work myself up to try wheat pasta yet. My treat to myself used to be a trip to Starbucks, sadly with the exception of plain coffee and plain tea I've had to give them up too. I did discover some sugar free syrups for coffee on Amazon so I ordered some Irish Cream and it's pretty good. I love Amazon, they just have everything. They have some crocs on sale I've got my eye on. I have severe RA so I have to wear something comfortable and they fit the bill.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  4. Ooh, I love pasta--made some from scratch for dinner last night. :) And I love Italian restaurants. :) It's about amore....

    Stacie, too funny. If I ever have a chance to eat Puttanesca, I will be smiling the whole time--only partly because I'm sure it's delicious.

  5. Part of my wedding vows, "I promise to love, honor ...and make pasta once a week."
    His were, "I promise to love, honor...take out the trash and not divorce you if you make pasta once a week."
    Rebel marries Yankee...vows are different.
    Good post Tracey. SO sweet that your husband reads to you! Was that part of the wedding vows or a wonderful surprise?

  6. I love Puttanesca! I've never had it at a restaurant, but I found a brand of sauce at a local store that is out of this world!

    Hey, Linda! There is a low glycemic index pasta from Dreamfields that has only 5 gms of digestible carbs per serving, and you can't tell it from the pastas with 38 gms!

  7. Tracy, so sweet that your treat is your husband:) And I'm a "pasta whore" too, especially since my jaw surgery! Linda, I've learned to like whole wheat pasta. It beats no pasta at all! Good luck with your new diet - I know it's hard.

  8. Tracey, what a wonderful post and darling man that you married. ;)

    I really love Puttanesca and have a recipe that includes the origin of the succulent dish. The ladies of the whore house would put on the sauce to simmer and it would entice customers in with the scent and promise of satisfaction. ;)

    I NEVER add the anchovies (cannot stomach the flavor) and usually don't serve it over pasta, we just serve it on a plate with crusty Italian bread and for a treat sometimes serve it with roasted garlic to spread on the bread...add a little red wine and your man will be over the moon! I'll have to save two weeks' worth of WW points to eat it, but it'll be worth every bite! LOL

    Thanks for a wonderful post. I cannot wait to read A Lady's Revenge!

  9. I work in a restaurant that's known for it's Italian food. But my favorite pasta is Kraft Spaghetti. lol. don't tell my boss I said that ok?
    Very cool about your husband reading to you! You got a good one there...=)

  10. Your husband sounds fabulous. I could go for some Italian food right now!

  11. I am a pasta girl, I keep telling myself if I would just leave the pasta alone I might could loose some weight. Also the shoes you showed is my kind of shoe I am not a girley girl either.

  12. Tracey I really related to your post. Treating ourselves isn't always in the cards but the craziness of life is eased by my hubby too. Thank God I have a great partner. Can't wait to read your upcoming release. Have an awesome day. I'll be reposting this!

  13. Hi Tracey!

    Now you've got me thinking of the malfadine they used to have on the menu at a local Italian place near my house...malfadine in a creamy shrimp sauce with asparagus tips. I love capers so pasta puttanesca is great too.

  14. Mmmmm, Italian.
    And their food is good, too.

    You're a lucky woman to have such a supportive husband. A perfect indulgence. :-)

  15. That's so sweet of your husband. I'm jealous.

    I love pasta, though I have never had puntanesca sauce. I should try it. I'm just starting to like different sauces. I wasn't the biggest fan of tomatoes until recently. Now I love them in sauces.

  16. Oh, Linda--pasta and Starbucks are my two favorite vices. I probably should have included my 4 pump vanilla latte in my list of treats. Hang in there!

    Terry--I wish I knew how to make pasta. Could save myself a lot of cash!

    Carolyn--my husband started reading to me a couple years ago when I went through a bout of insomnia. He has a very soft, lulling voice and it was heaven the first night I fell asleep. He saves that treat for the weekends now. LOL

    Cheryl--I'd love to know the brand of that sauce!

    Joanne--I haven't tried the whole wheat pasta. Not a big fan of whole wheat bread, so I fear it'll be the same with pasta. :(

    C.H.--another recipe! I'm salivating already. Love dipping garlic bread in marinara.

    Carrie--thanks! Kraft spaghetti works for me too. My hubby makes a to-die-for sauce. Yum.

  17. Shana--he is! Not sure how I got so lucky.

    Virginia--glad to meet another hiking/sneaker shoe gal! Thanks for stopping by.

    Sara - thanks! I'm so glad you have someone to help you through the craziness too.

    Jen-hiya! Malfadine sounds yummy. I love asparagus with my pasta, especially with fish. Villa Verone puts capers the size of peas on the puttanesca!


  18. La Risata was the restauraunt I used to go to when I needed a treat. We had been there for the opening when they were still playing with their menu and fell in love with the penne with gorgonzola cream sauce topped with fried leeks. A few years later, they took it off the menu, but they still made it for me and my family on request since we were old regulars. Sadly we have since moved far away and are no longer able to frequent the restauraunt.

    However, I have discovered another fabulous treat though it is rare I indulge in this one. It is a rich chocolate cake multi-layered with not too sweet mocha cream, crushed toffee and chopped peanuts served on a chocolate sauce drizzled plate with a finger of lightly sweetened whipped cream on the side. I always order this with a strong, black cup of coffee and it satisfies all of the corners of my soul on a dark day.

    A less calorie laden delight is something similar to what your husband does stroking your face. I have long hair and while I lay on my side, my beloved combs my hair. It is incredibly relaxing and a precious kind of treat.

  19. Hi Tracey,

    I'm with you...time spent with my husband is a treat. We love to hang out and enjoy a long walk or a quiet dinner alone. Sometimes, just watching an old movie we both enjoyed is a great treat, while camping and hiking at the beach or in the mountains is heavenly. Of course, there have to be books along for the trip...a great romance, like yours!

  20. Interesting article .I will have to give the pasta a try.

  21. Interesting article .I will have to give the pasta a try.

  22. Lil--I've never had gorgonzola cream sauce, but I'm a huge fan of leeks. I have a feeling I'd like you dish very much. I used to have long hair and my angel stepdaughter would brush it for me. Loved, loved those days.

    Wendy--hey lady! You live on this side of paradise and I'm so jealous. LOL Thanks for stopping by.

  23. I'm a big pasta fan, too, but my younger daughter - not so much. Unfortunately for me, the daughter who likes pasta is away at college most of the year, so I don't get a pasta fix very often these days.

  24. It's called Gia Russa, Tracy. You can order it online. :-)

  25. Margay--although I can eat pasta alone, somehow it tastes better shared with someone. Just a few more months and you'll be able to get your fix!


  26. My treat - going shopping by myself so I can stop at the local book store and browse all I want without feeling guilty. To top it off I'd add a cup of chocolate mocha.

  27. My favorite dessert is an Italian delight. Tiramisu. Then again, I'm someone who can survive on pasta alone. LOL. I must have been an Italian in a previous life.

  28. Marleen--bookstore and chocolate mocha--heavenly!

    Sidney--I love Tiramisu. Haven't had it in ages, though. Will have to change that soon.

  29. Winner of the $20 shoe store gift card is....STACIE!

    Congratulations! I'll be in touch with you soon.

    A big thanks to everyone who stopped by today to share their favorite treats. Such a fun Sunday!

  30. I loved your post, Tracey! You are so right!