Showing posts with label Italia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italia. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Cottage in the Country

I've been having a great summer and am so sad to see it coming to an end. I am extremely grateful for the time my mother and I have been able to spend together. She will be leaving next week and I will miss her dearly but I am already looking forward to my next trip to the States this winter.


We spent the first half of august in southern Italy with family and friends and everyone was so happy to see her as it was over two years since she had been back in Italy. 


We had a big family dinner but unfortunately not everyone could be present.  We have a huge family in Brindisi.  It was nice to see everyone again.  Even though I live in Italy I don't get to see them all very often because I live further away so it was a treat for me as well to see everyone. 


The last week of vacation we did something different and rented a villa in Umbria close to Assisi through an agency called Emma Villas. They rent luxurious private villas all throughout Italy but are mainly based out of Tuscany and Umbria. 


There are hundreds of villas to choose from. All of the villas have private pools and offer all kinds of services and amenities that suit your needs. It was a dream come true for me as this cottage pretty much sums up my dream home... 


Some of the pictures here I took myself but others are from the website since they did such a wonderful job capturing the beauty of the property. 


Since there were originally 6 of us (we ended up being 4 since two of our guests couldn't make it) plus our pup, we decided on a 4 bed 4 bath 3 story villa. The property was entirely enclosed which was perfect for the the dog who could roam around freely and I wouldn't have to worry about him running onto busy streets.





I absolutely fell in love with the home and it was such a peaceful and relaxing week that I needed to take my mind off of things and just recharge my batteries. 


This was where we had dinner most nights and I loved waking up early and just taking in the beautiful surrounding scenery with my morning coffee.  It was so peaceful.


There were olive and fruit trees all throughout the property which were illuminated at night. 


Here are some more pictures of the cottage of my dreams... swoon...


The pool was located at a lower level with respect to the cottage and was surrounded by secular old olive groves. 




The villa had everything we needed including a barbecue which we used almost every night. Mom was the one who knew how to start the fire! Neither Mr. Amore or I had ever used one before (I know...) and she was seriously a pro! 


Everything was amazing! One night we made grilled fish, calamari and prawns on the grill and they were outstanding!


The house we stayed in was filled with beautiful artwork.  Each room had a special piece that you could tell was original and probably pretty expensive. 




One of the paintings really stood out to me for some reason and there is quite a story we found out about the woman in the painting below. 


I found out that the lady is mother to the owner of the cottage. Her name is Madame Suzanne and she was from Auvergne, France. I found out that she was a talented decorator and lover of antiques, gourmet food and an excellent swimmer. She was mother to three boys and unfortunately died in a tragic car accident in Italy, most likely in Umbria in 1964, 10 years after this painting was made and was probably in her early forties. Her three boys were all very young when they lost their mother. 


Here is a picture of her with one of her sons. I don't know why this particular painting stood out to me so much.  She seemed like a very sweet and loving lady as well as beautiful indeed. May she rest in peace. 

While we were in Umbria we visited Assisi which I've visited before but my mother was never there and really wanted to visit the Basilica of St. Francis. 


It is astoundingly beautiful inside and I'm not going to lie I got pretty emotional.  It touches me to see so many people praying together and when you're in a place like this you can't help but pray for more peace in our world. 

Assisi is a medieval town and it shows through its architecture. 


We stopped at a cute little restaurant before heading back home and had some great food. 


Umbria is famous for it's prosciutto and wild boar so many of the typical entrees include these ingredients.  


Above is a typical Umbrian first course dish of egg pasta or pappardelle with a ragu sauce made with sausage and wild boar meat. Below are two different types of flat bread pizza one with squash blossoms and one with prosciutto.  


I think I'm going to end this post here with my favorite things...you know, food :-) 

Now that august is coming to an end, I'm looking forward to all things fall and am glad to be getting back into the routine of things. 

Hope all is well with you dear friends. 

xoxo, 

Silvana


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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Arrivederci Roma!

We spent a beautiful afternoon in Rome last Saturday and I wanted to share some snapshots that I took while there. My family and I lived in Rome when I was in high school for four years and it was wonderful.  I would move to Rome in a heartbeat if I could.  I haven't been many places other than the States and Italy but as far as the cities I've visited, Rome takes the cake in my book. I find it very romantic, alive, and mysterious. You can really feel the history that the monuments and streets encompass. There is so much to visit in Rome but we were only there for a quick afternoon...  just enough time to make a wish at the Trevi Fountain and stop for a gelato. 

Fontana di Trevi


The Trevi Fountain is breathtakingly beautiful and always packed with tourists....and coins :-) You just can't visit the Trevi Fountain without throwing in a coin and making a wish...

Here is a view from the opposite side of the fountain so you can see how many people were there.  There were also sooo many armed forces in Rome that day... I feel protected when I see them but then I also feel that it's such a shame to have to live in fear nowadays... I find that really sad. 



Via dei Condotti


Via dei Condotti is the street where all the designer shops are and it's the via that takes you to The Spanish Steps, also filled with tourists. 


This is where we stopped and had a gelato.  I got my favorite coffee flavored gelato and Mr. Amore got dark chocolate....even though it was a tough call as there were plenty of mouth watering flavors to choose from as you can see.





No words to describe the deliciousness....

We then headed back to the entrance of the city and to the Piazza del Popolo or the "People's Piazza"....we did a lot of walking that day!



Ok so this was pretty crazy...this dude was apparently "levitating" and I was dumbfounded as to how he was actually doing this so when I got home I had to Google "floating man trick" and spoiler: he's pretty much sitting on a chair.. lol.  But it's a pretty good trick! 



This street (Via del Corso) starts from Piazza del Popolo and leads to Piazza Venezia where the Victor Emmanuel II Monument pictured below is located (also known as "The Wedding Cake"). This Via is also filled with shops but they are more "accessible", if you know what I mean,  as opposed to the Via dei Condotti designer stores.

Via

You will find many artists that sell beautiful watercolors of the city and "vintage" photographs with images from the 1950's films Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn and  La Dolce Vita with Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg who danced in the Trevi Fountain in the famous Federico Fellini film ....how romantical :-)  

Via


I'm sure I'll be back in Rome again soon and share some more pictures of this beautiful City with you because legend has it that if you throw a penny into the Trevi Fountain, you will most certainly be back again... :-) 

So until next time, Arrivederci Roma!


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Prawn Linguine with Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce

I know I haven't been very good at keeping up with my blog lately and I do miss it. This is a place where I like to share the things that make me happy and it's something I really enjoy doing so I'm happy to be back here today. 

Things have been pretty hectic with work and life in general.  I've been making an effort to go for an hour long walk/jog every day after work. I've been doing pretty good with sticking with it so I'm proud of myself for that. I haven't noticed any drastic weight loss or anything but I feel stronger and have more energy so I guess that's some improvement. 

My favorite blogs to follow other than DIY/home decor blogs are weight loss blogs.  I'm fascinated by the drive and motivation that these bloggers have to push through on their weight loss journey. I'm inspired by them to live a healthier lifestyle because that kind of drive is not easy to maintain every day for an extensive period of time. At least not for me... I'm usually pretty good for a couple weeks then I slowly creep back to my old eating habits. I'm sure I'm not the only woman who struggles with this...it's just frustrating at times especially when the warmer weather comes around and I'm trying on bathing suits and shorts...ugh! 

I have tried many fad diets and low carb eating but I find that it's not in the least bit easy for me to maintain long term.  Yes, I would lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time but I would always put it back on again (...and then some...) as soon as I starting eating regularly again. I also firmly believe that moderation is key and that it's ok to have pasta every once in a while but I make sure that the condiments or dressings used are healthy and light so I opt for a fresh tomato sauce as opposed to a creamy cheese sauce for example. I'm also trying not to mix carbs and protein in one meal so I'll do rice or whole wheat bread with a salad or veggies for lunch for example and only protein and veggies for dinner. Hopefully I will maintain a steady and gradual weight loss without having to starve myself or feel deprived from the foods I love. Anyways, I'm not here to give weight loss advice I just wanted to document what I've been doing lately and it seems to be working for me (for now at least lol). 

On that note I wanted to share a delicious and light seafood pasta dish that is great for summer and won't leave you feeling weighed down when you finish eating. This is a typical Italian dish that I made for our Sunday meal a while back and instead of using ready made sauce I made my own tomato sauce from fresh cherry tomatoes.



It was just the two of us so I bought a handful (about 8) fresh prawns.  These little guys don't really have a lot of meat in them but they do have a lot of flavor so they add a delicious seafood taste to the sauce. I just rinsed them and dried them off with a paper towel and set aside. 


For the sauce I used about half a kilo a fresh cherry tomatoes cut in half.  I added them to a pot with a cut up shallot and some fresh basil leaves and let them cook for about ten minutes on low heat stirring occasionally. I didn't add any salt yet as it will be added later together with the prawns. 


Next I placed everything in the sauce maker and pressed the condiments into a small bowl. 


Keep turning until you're only left with the skin and seeds of the tomatoes. Make sure to scrape the sauce off the bottom of the press. 


Here is the fresh tomato sauce that will be used. 


Next I sauteed the prawns with one garlic clove (which I removed once it browned), about a tablespoon of olive oil and a cup of dry white wine. 


When the white wine evaporates add the sauce. I like to press the prawns down while cooking to release the juices which will add that delicious seafood flavor to the pasta. 


At this point I added salt and pepper to taste along with some chopped fresh parsley.


In a separate pot I cooked the linguine "al dente" drained the pasta and added the sauce amalgamating everything together for a few minutes on low heat. 



That's pretty much it! Now you're ready to serve...preferably in your favorite dinnerware :-)


This is about a 400 calorie dish and it will keep you full for a while. In the future I might try making this with whole wheat pasta which would probably be an even healthier alternative and I'm sure would taste just as good. 


I hope you enjoyed this recipe. 

Have a great rest of the week and I promise to be back again soon and update on my weight loss progress.

xoxo

Silvana


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