Tag Archives: Julia

A Healthy and Hearty Minestrone Soup Recipe

I (Jen) can safely say Minestrone Soup will be a new staple in our home.  I love it for many reasons.  First, it’s something that I was eating as a baby when my Mom and Nonna (Grandma) would prepare it for me before I even had teeth.  For that reason it’s a soup that not only warms the belly, but also warms my heart.

Julia enjoying some vegetables – pre-soup
I also love that it’s a hard dish to mess up.  You can throw in whatever you have in your pantry and fridge and even though it may not taste exactly the same as the last time; it will always be good.  I also love that I feel good about serving it to my family.  It’s a healthy, complete, meatless dish that tastes good and leaves everyone feeling satisfied.   I love that it works for all ages.  As I mentioned I ate this as a child.  This is a perfect dish to blend up for your baby once they start eating real food.  And I love that now my daughter asks for this soup by name, nearly every day “mom-mom… ZUP!” Continue reading A Healthy and Hearty Minestrone Soup Recipe

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?!

A Culinary Odyssey of Epic Proportions!

No, we didn’t oversell it in the title.  This meal was

LEGEN…wait for it…DARY!

Like Odysseus who fought heroically in the Trojan war and embarked on a long journey rife with cyclops, lotus-eaters, sea monsters and hostile giants; we too fought our own heroic battle of hunger and embarked on a journey rife with wrong turns, communication challenges, unpaved roads and hostile baby cries.  In the end however, it worked out better for us than Odysseus.
We decided to visit the neighboring town of  Lecco and grab a bite to eat.  When I quickly opened my browser and selected a restaurant from Trip Advisor based solely on someones comment “good food, family friendly” – we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  We plotted our course in the GPS and set out to eat at Osteria Belvedere Montalbano, a thirty minute-minute drive.

Lecco – a lake town on the east “leg” of Lake Como
A panoramic of the lake that I stitched together – the view on our way to the restaurant

Thirty-five minutes later, we pulled up.  To a house.  This couldn’t be right.  We tried again.  Twenty minutes later we ended up in the woods.  Hmmm???  Twenty five minutes later we pulled up again.  To another house.  How many Via (Street) Montalbano’s could there be?!  Jen dug a little deeper and translated a few google posts.  She discovered that the restaurant is in fact, in the woods.  So we were right when we were in the woods???  We tried that route again and hit a dirt path that looked to be traveled only by horses.  As frustrated as you are reading this, you can imagine our displeasure.  We’d had enough… time to throw in the towel. Continue reading A Culinary Odyssey of Epic Proportions!

Image Post

Julia Poses in Front of the Former Pope's Church
Julia Poses in Front of the Former Pope’s Church

A Sunday Stroll

What’s a good thing to do on a Sunday?  We thought a stroll by the lake might be the perfect activity.  Jen’s uncle Franco had been telling us about a lake nearby that is an exact 5k and perfect for walking and stroller pushing because it has a paved walkway.
Lago di Segrino

Jen and I had ventured off on our own half a dozen times this past week trying to find this nearby lake. First, we went to Lago di Alserio, because that was the closest.  We discovered a charming new town and another “happy hour” place to try – but alas, the lake was not suited for walking.  Next, we tried Lago di Montorfano and found a place to rent boats and a fun-looking beach bar for the summer time.  But no walking trail.  After a few more failed attempts, we realized that we were never going to find this place on our own, given that this area of Italy is often referred to as the Lake District of Italy.  So Sunday morning we asked Franco if he would show us on google maps the location of the map.  Instead, he volunteered to join us and personally direct us in the car.  And fortunately, Claudia offered to stay home and cook us lunch for our return! Continue reading A Sunday Stroll

Julia’s Favorite New Food