Sicily – Stepping Back in Time [Part 1]

I’ve been a bit slow about blogging lately, so here’s to catching up!  In mid-April, Bobby and I took a nine-day trip to Sicily and it was our second time visiting the island.  On our first trip, we visited some pretty amazing places – Taormina, Siracusa, and Agrigento (to name a view), which are located in the eastern half of Sicily.  This time, we wanted to make a western loop.  I guess you could say our “loop” got a little out of hand being that we ended up covering 3/4 of the island and driving over 500 miles.

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Florentine Birthday

Group shot

Yesterday marked the beginning of my last year of my twenties.  Yikes!  Luckily, I had some pretty great people to celebrate with.  Our friend Eva, who happened to be in town from Belgium, and our Italian friends Tatiana and Francesco joined Bobby and me for dinner at Piazza del Vino here in Firenze.  It was our first time at this (really!) lovely restaurant and we had a great time gorging ourselves on extremely large portion sizes of Italian food and good wine.  This was just the finale of my birthday, however.  Earlier in the day, Bobby treated me to peanut M&Ms (my absolute favorite) for breakfast, I drank my yearly Coca-cola, and we watched the first Formula 1 race of the year.  Bobby also gifted me two new cookbooks, tickets to the Romeo and Juliet musical, and a Kopykake (a projector to create some pretty awesome desserts that I’ve been lusting after), which should come in the mail any day now.  All in all, it was a pretty amazing day, which makes it a little easier to come to grips with the fact that I’m only a year away from being 30.  Double yikes!

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Piemonte Food and Wine Tour [Part 1]

The fields surrounding Grinzane Cavour

It’s crazy to admit, but this is the first trip we’ve taken to the Piemonte region to enjoy all of its culinary delights.  This region, in northwestern Italy, is known for its wines – Barbaresco, Barolo, Dolcetto d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, and Asti – as well as its food – tartufo (truffle), grissini (breadsticks), tajarin (a type of flat noodle, similar to tagliatelle but smaller width), agnolotti (a type of pasta similar to ravioli), farinata (chickpea “pankcake,” which was adopted from Genoa), baci di dama (“lady kisses” or small cookies filled with chocolate), and zabaglione (similar to an eggnog type custard).  We tried our best to make the rounds in the region, trying every type of food or wine we could get our hands on.  Having already visited Asti in a previous trip, we stuck to the Langhe valley of the Piemonte region, which is the famous truffle and nebbiolo grape zone.  … [Read More]

Christmas Cookie Collection

The finished products!

How’s that for an alliteration?!  For Christmas, I wanted to bake some of my favorite holiday treats and box them up for friends as gifts.  The hard part is deciding what sweets to pick, as there are a LOT of good recipes out there.  For this year’s Christmas cookie gifts, I narrowed it down to 4 – a collection of frosted sugar cookies, mint chocolate thumbprint cookies, peanut butter balls, and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.  Having tested all of these before, I can attest that these recipes are delicious!  (Note: I am a little worried, however, that the thumbprints may dry out after 3 days – the standard advice given online.  Mine need to last 4.5 days until delivery.  We shall see!)  Without further ado, here is the 4-part cookie collection!

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