Outdoor Living: Celebrating Family and Friends

posted in: Family | 8
A nice glass of wine, a great meal and some good music.
 It’s an easy recipe for creating a good time.  Add to that a beautifully set table and some interesting people, and all of a sudden,
there are memories in the making.
Dining Al Fresco at Our House


I am the one who loves to bring people together.  And yes, it is a lot of work!  It’s also very rewarding!
Both my husband and I come from rather large families.  While there are still quite a few family members around, we both can remember Holidays with 30 or more in attendance.  We call those Holiday Food Festivals, or in the Abruzzese region of Italy, where my dad’s family originates from, it is called La Panarda.
In ancient times these celebrations lasted all day long, sometimes over 3-4 days, even!
 There were in excess of 40 courses.  How did they manage that?  That’s a lot of food for a lot of people!
While we don’t eat like that anymore, we sure do enjoy a leisurely dinner of two or three courses on special days.


Ravioli making in the outdoor kitchen with Ralph, Diana, Cousin Sal and Nancy


Getting together on a Sunday afternoon before Christmas to handmake Ravioli was truly a labor of Love.  Cousin Sal was adamant that we make the Ravioli for our Christmas dinner.  My husband’s mother, Marie, would make these from scratch around the holidays.  She would enlist anyone’s hands she could to help her with this process.  We all decided that before I forgot how to make them,  we would make so many of them that we couldn’t possibly forget!
120 Ravioli later.
Handmade Ravioli for Christmas 2017
We ended the day with a simple dinner of Grilled Italian Sausages with Sautéed Peppers and Onions, and a nice bottle of wine.  It was a very relaxing way to end a beautiful day.


Cousin Sal, Nancy, Diana, Ralph, Aunt Pat, Uncle Charlie, and Aunt Millie


When out of town Family comes to visit, it is always a good time to have everyone over for an outdoor BBQ.  This past summer was no exception.  When you look at the photos of my outdoor dining space, you will see that we have room for up to 20 people at these tables.  When we were designing and planning the space, we knew it had to come with a large seating area.  There has been so much laughter, story telling and memory making around these tables.  The photos I have of the People, the Food and the Celebrations around this table mean the World to me.


Family 2010
This was the first Family dinner we had at these tables once the Backyard redo was almost Complete.
What else?  A PASTA DINNER for this Italian Crew!


An evening with friends.


Sometimes a simple preparation of Beef Bourguignon with good crusty French Baguettes and a beautiful French Bourdeaux is all you need for a casual and heartwarming supper.  It’s about the love that goes into it!




My Danish Kids and a Summertime BBQ
Pasta Sunday with My California Family


Cozy Winter Nights by the Fire


For me, there is always something very satisfying the day after one of these parties; remembering the laughter, the conversations and the fun we shared.  In a world where we have all become so fast paced about everything, I take
Great Pleasure in slowing things right down.


A 13th Birthday Celebration


When I think of the Celebrations we have shared here in our “Backyard Living Room”,  I always cherish most the times when my parents would come out from the East Coast, a week in advance of a Party, to help me organize and cook.  We would Food shop, organize the Kitchen and Pantry, and laugh together.  Each day’s preparations would always end with a simple dinner and a glass of wine.  By the day of the Party itself, we had everything ready and these events would take on a Life of their own.  We have Celebrated Christenings, Family Reunions, Birthdays, and “just because we’re together” moments.
My parents, Constance and Robert
As we head into the New Year, I am full of Hope and Anticipation of the Celebrations on the near Horizon!

What Dreams May Come!!!


La Zingara is an Italian Gypsy Woman, one whose Spirit yearns for a connectedness to the World around Her!  That’s Me!!!

8 Responses

  1. Nancy

    D, this is a wonderful post ! Family 1st! Beloved friends! This is what life is all about ❤️ Love 💕

    • 93zingara

      It is the stuff that our lives are made of! I certainly couldn’t do it without you! I’m ready to start planning a couple of early Spring Soirées!!!


    I ate at THAT TABLE or TAVOLA’S I should say!
    Merry Making and FOOD GALORE!
    Life is about ENJOYING and EATING is A MAJOR PART of THAT!MY ITALIAN husband always tells me “YOU NEED TO PUT LOVE INTO THAT and it will TASTE BETTER!”Sometimes I’m in a hurry……..you know to check out the CHATEAU or other Things!!!!!!

    • 93zingara

      I Am so MUCH like my Dad! It is so true; LOVE is the secret ingredient in everything in Life. We all get in a hurry and that’s when we need to remember that we never get to be in THIS MOMENT again! I remember to slow down when I’m cooking and when I’m gardening! Dad would always tell me as a girl, to take the time to talk to the TREES. ‘LISTEN”, he would say, “they will show you the way”! I’ll be on the LOOKOUT for hidden Treasures, don’t you worry! XO

  3. Juliet Russell

    Oh Diana, your outdoor dining space is divine! Makes me smile to see so many happy faces – family and friends – around your table enjoying good food, wine and each other! So glad we me and I discovered your blog! xo

    • 93zingara

      Likewise, Juliet!! What a truly small World this becomes through IG and La Contessa!! As Springs nears and you return to SD, we will have many opportunities to put that Outdoor Dining Room to Good Use! Baci XX 😘

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