Monday, March 18, 2019

Mami-Hilda's Chicken Soup for Anyone's Body and Soul ... A Cuban Cure for Flu or Colds!

Mami’s Chicken Soup … Hilda Gacio’s Recipe

3 large chicken breasts
3 large baking potatoes
4 whole carrots
I big onion, (usually Spanish onion)
1 green pepper
4 small envelopes of Sazón Goya mix
Garlic powder to taste
2 or 3 large ears of corn
A large handful of spaghetti noodles cut in half.
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley flakes (optional)

Cook the chicken breasts, with the peeled onion cut in big pieces and the green pepper washed and sliced. Cook this in pot or pressure cooker filled with water until the chicken is tender and falls apart easily. Take chicken out of the pot after and separate it into small chunks. Remove cooked green peppers and onions, the removal (optional) according to preference. Add clean, sliced carrots and peeled and cut up potatoes to the chicken broth and add to this the cut up chicken. Add more water to fill the pot. Add the 4 envelopes of Sazón Goya mix and the spaghetti noodles. Add the Goya mix and then taste to determine if the soup still needs salt. Add salt if needed, to taste and the same with pepper. Parsley flakes are optional. Cook all of this until the potatoes and carrots are tender. And that’s it! Mami-Hilda’s chicken soup. Great for illnesses, revives the dead. Not hard to make. A Cuban cure for colds, flu, etc. Cuban Chicken Soup for Anyone’s Body & Soul! Amen.    

Friday, April 13, 2018

Kissed By The Mouth Of Truth

             Kissed By The Mouth of Truth       Flash Fiction by Amarilys Gacio Rassler

A story inspired by the movie, Roman Holiday.   Winner of the second prize for flash fiction at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference and used by an improvisation theater in the Tampa Bay area.  Words 501
                                               Picture from movie, Roman Holiday
Karl screamed over the sounds of busy Roman traffic. "Where now, Angelo? What about a dream?"
Angelo Donato zoomed on his Vespa through the buzzing streets of Rome while his  friend, Karl, behind him, tightened his grip on Angelo's jacket. Cars blew horns and pedestrians scooted out of the way. Karl watched Angelo snaked his way through lanes passing close, very close to people sitting outside cafes sipping their mid-morning espressos.  
Karl’s fingers pulled on his classmate’s brown leather jacket. "Hey, you'll kill us." Angelo’s loud laughter rang like clanging cymbals.
Karl had been three years away from his Germany, studying in Rome with this friend, yet Karl still couldn't understand the Italianos. So impulsive and emotional. Even the men in Angelo's family kissed each other on the cheek. Couldn't figure....
Angelo cast his words back into the wind at Karl. "I have to hurry. She's waiting. I must kiss her by the Bocca della Verita. She'll be there."
"Kiss her? Someone from your dream? Crazy. Even if true, you're committed to ... if  someone finds out...."
Angelo stopped at the porticos of the church of Santa Maria, home of The Mouth of Truth. Inside the gates tourists waited to see the stone disc with the bearded face and the dark slot mouth. He parked his scooter by a wall. He handed his helmet to his friend. "I told you. I had a dream, my friend. From God. I need to kiss a girl wearing a yellow hat with a purple butterfly."
Angelo shook Karl's arm. "Pray for me," he said.
Angelo wove his way through the crowd to the stone disc. And then, Karl saw her. A pretty girl with a yellow hat and purple butterfly. He observed in disbelief while Angelo kissed her softly. Karl's curiosity propelled him closer to his friend. He stood outside the gate within hearing.
"Is there a heaven?" The girl asked Angelo.
"Yes. Jesus said, 'Anyone who believes in me, though he dies, will live.' God brought us together by dreams. He told me to kiss you. To answer your question. You prayed for a messenger? One that would kiss you by The Mouth of Truth." Angelo brought the girl's hands to his lips. "He's speaking truth to you through me. Do you believe in Him?"
Karl watched the young girl burst into tears. "Yes. Now."  She lifted the corner of her hat, revealing her baldness. "I'm dying."
Karl's heart sank.
A tour bus parked in front of the gate.
"I must go. See you in heaven?"
Angelo nodded and smiled. "Yes." He kissed her hands again. She turned and dashed through the gate to the bus. 
Angelo returned to his friend with tears in his eyes and Karl embraced him.
"The last girl I'll ever kiss, amico mio. Such a gift," Angelo said.
Karl planted a kiss on his friend's face and turned to hide tears. "Let's go, Angelo. They're waiting for us to help with mass at the Seminario." 

Thank you for reading my story, friends!
            I write stories to touch people's hearts. I also like to imagine the tales for discussions at book clubs. Below a few questions about the story. Please feel free to answer one or more. Would love to read your comments. Is there another question you think would go with this story? Please, let me know. I'm compiling stories for an anthology with discussion questions. Thank you! 

 How does the difference in Karl's culture compare with Angelo's? How does it bring about an arc to his character at the end of the story? What do you think changed in Karl?    

           Was there more than one mouth of truth in this tale?
           Is there something for you memorable about this story? What would that be? Setting? A character? The twist? 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

SO WHAT'S BEHIND A SONG? A man comes to America, writes a poem and falls in love ... Do You Hear What I Hear?

So, what’s behind a song?  A man comes to America, writes a poem and falls in love with a musician.
Always fascinated by the person behind the 
   Noël Regnei                                        

                                           Noël Regnei  

                       The Man Behind The Song, Do You Hear What I Hear
                A man falls in love with a woman who writes music and he….

  Noël Regnei was born in Strasbourg, Alsac, France. He was drafted into the Nazi army despite being a Frenchman. As an Alsatian, he spoke the German dialect, Alsatian, as fluently as he did French.
           It is told that he soon deserted, joined a group of French Resistance fighters, and became a double agent for the French. He led a group of Nazis into an ambush, was shot in the arm, but survived.

Already reading this history I’m fascinated! This man loved poetry and music and he wanted to write it. Here are amazing facts about him:

     Noël Regnei came to the United States after World War II and wandered into New York’s Beverly Hotel. There, in a luxurious dining room, he saw a beautiful woman playing music on the piano.
          He was smitten by her, Gloria Shayne, and though he spoke little English he managed to woo her well. Within one month they were married.
           He fought depression, brought on by flashbacks to his own days as a Nazi soldier, and then as a resistance fighter. He wanted to write something that would bring him peace of mind. He hated war and the devastation it brings.
    He was inspired to write a poem about the first Christmas, recalling his own memories of sheep walking through beautiful fields in his native France. 
       He asked his wife, Gloria, to write the music for it.
      The couple took the song to the Regent Publishing Company, owned by the brothers of the big band leader, Benny Goodman.
       Regent heard it and right away contacted Harry Simeone, who had scored a huge success with Little Drummer Boy. The Harry Simeone Chorale recorded the touching work.

So how did our nation respond to this song?
Could this carol’s combination of words and music powerfully voice the nation’s desire for its prayers to be answered?

Newspapers stories of that time wrote that drivers hearing it for the first 
time on the radio pulled their cars off the road to listen.

And which version of the song touched the writers of this song the most?
Gloria Shayne said it was Robert Goulet’s version: “When Robert Goulet came to the line, ‘Pray for peace people everywhere,’ he almost shouted those words out. It was so powerful.”

Noël Regney went on to write other songs including, Rain, Rain, Go Away, Sweet Little Darlin’ and What’s The Use of Crying. He died on November 22, 2002, of complications from Pick’s disease.
Information from the book, Stories Behind The Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, by Ace Collins. And Wikipedia.                                                   


Do You Hear What I Hear?

             Said the night wind to the little lamb,
             do you see what I see
             Way up in the sky, little lamb,
             do you see what I see
             A star, a star, dancing in the night
             With a tail as big as a kite
             With a tail as big as a kite

             Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
             do you hear what I hear
             Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
             do you hear what I hear
             A song, a song, high above the trees
             With a voice as big as the sea
             With a voice as big as the sea

            Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
            do you know what I know
            In your palace warm, mighty king,
            do you know what I know
            A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
            Let us bring Him silver and gold
            Let us bring Him silver and gold
            Said the king to the people everywhere,
            listen to what I say
            Pray for peace, people everywhere!
            listen to what I say
            The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
            He will bring us goodness and light
            He will bring us goodness and light

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cuba? Why Speak...?

                    CUBA? Why Speak For Cuba?

         "Oh, Com' on! Enjoy your family, your grandchildren your life, here in the states. Let the Cubans in Cuba fight their own fight." Well, here's my answer.

I Will Speak by Amarilys Gacio Rassler                      

Why make a fuss?

You’re here now in U.S.A.

Safe and sound,

On freedom’s ground.

Isn’t that good enough?

Why stir the pot?

Let bygones be bygones.

And the young take up the cause.

Close your lips, bend your head,

Join that majority instead.

Look at the money we will get!

                                              Now is the time to forget.


                                                          But No, 

                                                                 I will speak!                                                            

                                                                  For their voices

                                                                  Call to me,

                                                                  Of those buried

                                                                  In the sea,

                                                                  Of those shot

                                                                  Without trials …

                                                        Cruelty, injustices and                                                    

                                                            Hearts filled with guile

                                                            Still in Cuba, for me to accept?

                                                            To join the multitude that swims

                                                            In their ocean of denial?

                                                       No. I will speak!                                                             

                                                          Until my breath runs out

                                                         I will scream, I will shout,

                                                Though my hope sometimes in drought,

                                                                I will rise to                                                    

                                                         Be watered by the One

                                                         Who assigned this truth               

                                                          From where I stand,                                                 

                                                           To fight,

                                                           For an imprisoned land,

                                                            No! I will speak!

              "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute."   
                                                                                                        Proverbs 31: 8 (NIV)

Picture of Rafter by Tony Mendoza, from book, Cuban-American, Dancing On The Hyphen.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Marggie Does It Her Way Tiramisu!

                                              TIRAMISU. And just what does that mean?  

                                 Tiramisu is the term in Italian for “pick me up,” or “lift me up.” It does me!

Your hardest mission if you decide to accept it is to get the ingredients! The rest is done easily if you turn on that Italian music. Andrea Bocelli helps me make a fun tiramisu! 

This can be done as a family activity. Children or grandchildren can grate the chocolate and /or whip the cream.  Doggies stand by for a taste!


No Eggs, No Cooking! My way. But delicious, or so I’m told by my family and guests! I know I've done something right when they go for a second and third piece. You’ll need:

(The following recipe is for a very large Tiramisu. You can cut the recipe as your need would be).

3 packages of Lady Fingers Cookies

4 cups heavy whipping cream ( that’s 2 pints or 1 quart)

4 large packages of cream cheese

1 cup espresso coffee

1 cup Kahlua

2 ¼ cup sugar

2 boxes of Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate - You will need all the squares of one box plus 2 or 3 more squares from the second  box, all grated fine.  

Make your espresso coffee and set it aside.  When it cools mix it with the Kahlua. Place this in a bowl into which you will be able to dip the lady fingers.

Soften all your cream cheeses in the microwave or let them stand until soft. Place your cream cheeses in a bowl and mix them together.

In a large, cold bowl, (I place my bowl in the freezer for a few minutes), beat your whipping cream with the sugar until it is thick forming peaks almost like a meringue.

Fold the cream cheese mix into your whipped cream mixture. Set it aside.

In a large glass lasagne pan, (I use a glass one, 15 in. long by 10 in. wide, 2 in. deep), place first a layer of lady fingers which you dip first in your coffee/Kahlua mix. Don’t soak them. Just dip them enough to get some of the mixture into them. Layer a row of Lady Fingers on the bottom of your glass dish/pan, until all the bottom is covered by the Lady Fingers.     

Now scoop out your whipped cream and cream cheese mixture and spread  it over the Lady Fingers.

Then place another layer of Lady Fingers, dipped in the coffee/ Kahlua mix. And then spread another layer of the whipped cream/ cream cheese mix on top of the second layer of Lady Fingers.

Sprinkle your grated chocolate over this, covering all the top of your whipped cream/ cream cheese mix.

Refrigerate overnight. Get ready to be TIRAMISU!  “Lifted UP!”

Would love to know if you tried it. Glad to answer any questions. CIAO! VOLARE, OH OH….

The patient canine at the end got a taste!

Whip the cream until good and thick.

If you don't have one of these buy espresso coffee and make it in your regular coffee maker.
Dip your Lady Fingers in the coffee and
Kahlua mix. Let them drip a bit before you place them on top of whipped mix.





The top layer should be the white whipped mix. Ready for your chocolate.

Ready to eat.TIRAMISU!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A LETTER TO MY MOTHER ON HER NATAL DAY, JULY 23, 2015 ... mail going long distance!

A Letter To My Mother On Her Natal Day, July 23, 2015 … mail going long distance!

“Her children arise and call her blessed….”  Proverbs 31:28 (NIV)


Dear Mami,

         Are you watching me from your balcony above? How I wish you were here. This would have been your 90th birthday. Happy Birthday, sweet Mami.

        I have so much I want to share just in case you didn't know.This year, the book you encouraged me to write, Cuban-American, Dancing On The Hyphen, made it all the way to Oregon State University! I know that must have you dancing on the hyphen with a new body and with no horrible arthritic pains. Is Papi dancing too? Did I make him proud with the book?
   I miss you down here. It’s not the same without your sayings, your Cuban cooking, your many prayers and your wonderful antics that sometimes made us call you Mrs. Magoo!  
  I’ve kept your rockers. They remind me of all those times you shared your life with me on your porch.                                                                                           

      And we still have the house. I kept your favorite picture of me as a bride where you left it on the wall. Somehow I feel connected to you every time I pass by it. Your little prayer room is very much the same too ... a symbol of the faith you passed down to us and of your love for the land you left behind.                                                                                         

     Happy Birthday, my Mami. Dance away with Papi. I promise you both I’ll continue to work hard to make you proud.
                                                      All my love, Tu hija,      
                             P.S. I'm finally using the name you gave me!




Sunday, June 21, 2015


 Did you ever feel like quitting? Don't! Put on your fighting boots.
by Amarilys Gacio Rassler

My fighting boots are worn today

From all the battles of yesterdays,

But if their tongues could come to life,

What stories they'd tell, of spiritual strife.

My fighting boots have served me well

They've helped me to stand against a savage hell.

Amidst the darts of Satan's own,

I lifted the shield and boot-clad, I won.

Though thirty-six years of warring they've made,

These fighting-boots' power won't change, won't fade.

For the strength of my boots comes from my God above

I could only thus stand, in my Savior's love.

My fighting boots are getting old,

But if your spiritual eyes could behold,

The celestial sparks upon the soles,

They'd see their readiness to help some soul,

Brave shoes, awaiting their marching call.

Then on that day when my eyes will close,

And my soldier's body comes to repose,

My fighting boots will come to rest

Upon my coffin, having passed their tests.

No more they'll need to shod my feet

For at the Pearly Gates at last I'll meet,

My beloved Who will change this army dress,

To my bride's sparkling robe of righteousness.