Tag Archives: Holidays

Adding Italian Flavor to Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow – here is a suggestion of something you can do to dress up your leftovers.
Risotto is a favorite of mine; winter, spring, summer or fall.  While cooking risotto, I like to use fresh, seasonal ingredients – and with fall comes all things pumpkin.  So, this was my chance to combine one of my favorite dishes with one of my favorite fall flavors.
Risotto con zucca (Risotto with pumpkin)

However, when it came to the Thanksgiving dinner we just had, I knew it would be too much for a first course.  While risotto is relatively simple to prepare it is time consuming and requires my undivided attention for at least 20 minutes.  I decided instead to create a new family tradition.  My plan was to serve pumpkin risotto the day after Thanksgiving, along with all of the other delicious leftovers.  I think it’s a perfect way to add a new element to a meal we’ve already eaten a couple times over by lunch the next day.  I had plenty of left over zucca (pumpkin) from the soup course, which worked out perfectly.  I have officially converted Greg into a pumpkin/squash lover.  If you want to add some Italian flavors to your holiday meal this year, check out my simple recipe.  I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do.  Continue reading Adding Italian Flavor to Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Dolomiti e Una Macchina Fotografica

“The Dolomites and a  Camera”

You may have recently read HERE about our trip to the Dolomiti (Dolomite Mountains) to visit Franco and Claudia over Easter weekend.  What I wasn’t able to fit into that post, was all the imagery we captured of the most spectacular mountain range we have ever seen.

Hilltop view – I had to trespass to get this shot
Mountain view from “Claudia’s” bridge in Canale D’ Agordo

We extended our trip in Canale D’ Agordo (Claudia’s hometown) by a day, because the three days we planned was barely enough to just scratch the surface in this region of Italy.  Claudia wanted to show us not only her town of Canale D’ Agordo, but also the surrounding towns.  We would like to now share them with you. Continue reading Dolomiti e Una Macchina Fotografica

Mardis Gras’ Got Nothing On Dublin

Day three in Dublin brought no less excitement than either of the first two days.  If you haven’t read about the first couple days and are interested in reading about this wonderful vacation in sequential order, you can read about Day One HERE and Day Two HERE.

Julia getting ready to go outside for some fun

We had booked a return from Dublin on Monday morning so that we could enjoy the famous Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and all the corresponding festivities on Sunday.  We had heard for quite some time that the People’s Parade was a wonderful sight to behold and that we should arrive early.  Fortunately, our hotel was directly along the parade route.  Even more fortunate was that we were given a room with a direct view of the parade. Continue reading Mardis Gras’ Got Nothing On Dublin

I’ll take a pint of the black stuff, Gov’na!

May your heart be warm and happy,
With the lilt of Irish laughter,
Every day in every way
And forever and ever after.
An Old Irish Toast
To start a new post
About viewing sights
And about drinking pints
We went on a Guinness tour
How many pints… we’re still unsure!

Come enjoy a pint with us…

We arrived in Dublin on Friday with plenty of time to enjoy the day, which you can read about HERE.  We woke up Saturday even more eager to get started after everything we had seen the day before.  We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of eggs, soda bread and black pudding (blood sausage) in our hotel’s restaurant.  As Jen drank her fresh-squeezed orange juice, I poured over my cheesy, hyper-animated tourist map of the city.  I came to two conclusions – animated graphics of tourist attractions are as helpful as pictures on a menu at Denny’s.  That, and we were going to do a lot of walking! Continue reading I’ll take a pint of the black stuff, Gov’na!

Kiss me, I’m Irish in Dublin!

We had exactly two trips pre-planned before we moved to Italy.  One to Scotland with Jen’s family this coming June and the other; something way to good pass up…  Saint Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland!  Jen suggested we participate in one of the largest parties in the world and I happily obliged.  We booked a flight on a local carrier and headed to Dublin for a long weekend.  I’m going to publish three separate posts dedicated to Dublin – too many stories and photos to fit all into one!
On our way to Dublin

We boarded our flight on Ryan Air from a small, regional airport.  As it turns out Ryan Air (an Irish Airline) is simultaneously the coolest and the absolute worst airline on the planet.  They offer low-cost airfare throughout Europe (great), but those flights are tricky to find and they nickel and dime you to death (not great).  When you book your ticket, you have to navigate through 5 pages of extras that they try to trick you into buying (“would you like trip insurance for your goat?”).  By the end, you’re too burned out to read their luggage policy and you might end up in a pickle like we did. Continue reading Kiss me, I’m Irish in Dublin!

A Romantic Valentine’s Lunch… On a FARM?!

I just tell you – I am quite the romantic!  I mean, so much so that I didn’t have a card, a plan or a clue this past Valentine’s day.  But I just knew something would work out!

“Sure hope Daddy has something special planned for us”

I figured, what better way to start a romantic Valentine’s day than finalizing one of our last major tasks – car shopping.  Thanks to my new best friend – the internet – we found a car in a town about 40 minutes away.  So we piled in and headed over.  After some intense negotiating (and let me tell you – your author was winning like Tyson versus Spinks) we built up an appetite.  We asked the salesperson for directions to a local pizzeria (having not eaten delicious Italian-style pizza for a full week).  He asked if we wanted pizza, or we wanted to eat like a local.  That was a no-brainer and we answered at the same time in Italian (my accent, perfect – Jen’s not so much) that we wanted to eat like the locals.  He gave us directions and we set our coordinates to GO.

La Pioppa
“Welcome to La Pioppa”

Continue reading A Romantic Valentine’s Lunch… On a FARM?!

Christmas in Italy

OK, we realize it’s nearly February and people are more inclined to think about Valentine’s Day than Christmas… but it’s still cold and snowy and hey, who couldn’t use a little holiday cheer any time of year?!  So, if you’ll forgive us for posting about Christmas at the end of January, than you’ll certainly excuse the fact that these pictures were taken last year!

Christmas is such a special time in Italy.  We didn’t want to miss a posting about this wonderful event and some of the local traditions.  When we arrived  on January 4th, all the lights and decorations were still present but we didn’t have an opportunity to photograph anything.  Therefore, we had to use some from last year’s library.

Lake Como’s Duomo – lit up at night

Starting in early December, you’ll find lights and decorations sprinkled throughout each piazza and cobblestone street you encounter.  In front of every church you’ll see a presepio (nativity scene)  that is always presented wonderfully and illuminated each night.  If you venture into the suburbs (or look up toward the windows in most cities), you’ll see hundreds of little Santas trying to climb their way into someone’s home.  And you’re sure to hear “Buon Natale” (Merry Christmas) at every turn. Continue reading Christmas in Italy