Friday, December 25, 2009

Wise Words from a Fellow Foodie

"Find something you're passionate about, and keep tremendously interested in it".
--Julia Child

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Been Awhile...

Hello Blog Readers (Mom, and whoever else you may be),
It has been TOO long since I have updated this little baby. Sorry, but this is just a teaser blog- I am about to pop into the kitchen to make Sarah's world famous pumpkin bread, and then am off to run around town.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Next blog topic: organization and time management!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Exercise Your Right to Mangia!

Today is National Pasta Day!!!

As a tribute to our favorite carb-filled dish, fill up your plates with pasta today and enjoy the classic staple that dates back to the days of Marco Polo.

Buon Appetito!

A few of the many faces of our beloved pasta:




SO, go exercise your right to MANGIA (eat in Italian).

Friday, October 23, 2009


Several exciting pieces of news:

1. I won a prize for the first time in my life! I entered a contest, and I actually won! I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning!

2. The prize I won was.....(drumroll, please!!!!)

...A lovely, fall-inspired, handcrafted necklace created by the talented Heather Kent! Her jewelry is so creative and unlike anything you can find in stores, (and she's just so darn wonderful, too), so go check out her site:

You can commission her to do personalized pieces, and she finishes them quickly and they are darling! Perfect for Christmas presents :) I have a feeling they will be rising in popularity, so go get yours ASAP!

Monday, October 12, 2009

3 Top 3 Musts..

1. Greece.
2. New Zealand.
3. Panama.

1. It doesn't REALLY matter what everyone else thinks of me.
2. Facebook and Twitter are my heart's 2 greatest enemies.
3. It's okay to look girly on the weight machines at the gym.

1. Corn dogs.
2. Vodka tonics (I'm banking on my sister's recommendation).
3. Coffee without the creamer (okay so i've tried it- but i need to learn to love it!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Shameless Plug for Quality Music!

This is my shameless plug for my dear friend, Sara Lindsay!
Go buy and listen to her CD, "The Songs" (You can buy it on, and it will be on Itunes soon).
She is a brilliant lyricist and her musical talents are way developed beyond the average 20 year old musician. She is great- so please support her!

*My CD player is on the repeat setting on "Morning Sickness".

Friday, September 25, 2009

That's A Whole Lotta Sesame!

The weight of sesame seeds used on McDonald's Big Mac buns consumed in the U.S. each year...

....equals the weight of two Boeing 747 planes!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Left My Heart in San Francisco

I had my last hurrah for this summer and took a quick vacay up to visit my old roommate/ dear friend in the bay area. I fell in love with everything about it- the crisp air, the view of majestic Mt. Diablo, the little bakeries and coffee shops, and the sea otters at Pier 39! The cities are teeming with hospitality career opportunities, and I am praying that God will use my new love and guide my inklings as the future unfolds!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Recently & Currently


Steven Madden boots. Cute, huh?

Prayer Answered:
Gained a new member in the family of Christ! God is SO good.

The past 2 weekends, which were packed full of fun and friends.

Weight lifting (girly-style). It's a whole new ball game for me.


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. It is on the "Top 100 Books Every American Should Read" that BBC created. I am attempting to read all of them!

No sugar added mint chip ice cream. It is frighteningly addicting (as in almost 3 cartons were consumed this weekend), so be cautioned!

Praying for:
A mentor.

Reveling: the fact that I didn't leave my cooking skills in Italy! Check back soon for the scallop recipe that helped me boost my cooking ego.

Listening To:
Sean Kingston! No explanation necessary.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Summertime Sangria

Celebrate the closing of an amazing summer with a glass of delicious sangria! Need a recipe? Follow this simple one for a refreshing treat :)

1 bottle of red wine (a Cab Sauv is a great choice)
1 cup of sparkling citrus juice or soda (Orangina, Fizzy Lemonade, etc...)
1 thinly sliced orange
1 thinly sliced lime
1 thinly sliced apricot
(substitute for any type of fruit you like)

1. Dump the sliced fruit into the wine.
2. Mix in the soda/juice right before serving.
3. Serve all your friends.
4. Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Keen on Peach Cafe

A yummy meal was had today by my mother and me at little joint called Peach Cafe. Peach Cafe is in downtown Monrovia and specializes in breakfast and lunch. I highly recommend the pesto chicken salad- it is a light but yummy salad with pesto basted chicken, avocado, pine nuts, and fresh tomatoes. The cornbread is also delicious and extremely moist- no butter needed! For my birthday surprise dessert, they presented me with delicious homemade ice cream with fresh strawberries and chocolate fudge sauce (yummmmmy). The service was friendly and attentive, the atmosphere quaint, and it is a must try!

** Thanks to my old friend for the recommendation :)

My yummy birthday dessert

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Domaine Carneros

I am back from an extended vacation in Wine Country, and thought I'd give a shameless plug for my favorite winery, Domaine Carneros! If you love sparkling wine as much as I do, please make a pit stop at Domaine Carneros, which is a lovely place to sip bubbly, nibble on cheese, and enjoy the lovely view.

The elegant Domaine Carneros Winery

My sister and me thoroughly enjoying our "Sparkling Sampler" (highly recommended)

Lovely view of Wine Country!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Making Goals Realities

Ever since I was a young girl (but especially the past year), I have longed to have my own garden. While out for breakfast last summer, I scribbled on the paper tablecloth the beginnings of my "life list". Having a garden was on that list, and today, my roommates (who have felt the same way about gardens for ages) and I started to bring this dream to fruition! We are so excited about our little patio "oasis" that will we get to enjoy all year long!

Here's Megs providing some T.L.C.!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Spoken Like A True Italian

One of the most important lessons I learned in an Italian kitchen:

"Never Underestimate the Power of Salt!"

Monday, July 27, 2009

First Request!

The first cooking request has been made by my darling father. Gnocchi al pesto is the first item on the menu! Any other takers?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Dear Friend's Wedding

Stephie Mae got hitched today! She was the most stunning bride.

It was a perfect day- filled with lots of love and laughter.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shout Wipes Save the Day!

Before I left on my European trip, I made the impulse buy of purchasing Shout stain remover wipes in bulk. I typically don't have the tendency to spill all over my clothes, but better safe than sorry, right?

Have I mentioned that Italians have a strange fascination with Shout Wipes?

Here are two scenarios in which my Shout Wipes saved an Italian's day:

#1: I was sitting at the Italian Opera, and an Italian man in a Gucci suit sat on bird poop. As he and his wife frantically attempted to clean the pants, I sneakily slid them a Shout Wipe. They went from extremely perplexed (they clearly don't have them in Italy), to grateful, as my little Shout Wipe was a lifesaver to his overly priced suit pants.

#2: Did I tell you that a fellow wine taster spilled red wine on an Italian princess? Yeah... It really happened. We were eating lunch at the personal villa of the most successful wine producers in all of Italy, and someone elbowed her red wine onto the owner's skirt and WHITE jacket. Let's just say that Shout saved us all from Italian exile!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I am back in America and can't even express how good it feels! I woke up this morning, stumbled down the stairs (as I am feeling the lovely effects of jet lag), and went straight to the coffee pot and coffee mate creamer. How I've missed you, coffee mate!!!

As happy as I am to be home, I already miss the lovely land of Italy and its smell, romantic views, gelato, and wonderful people.

Nothing is as sweet as home, but I love that I will always have a second home in Italia.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happiness Is...

My first French crepe in France- banana and nutella!

With my favorite person in all of Europe!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Gelato Mission Accomplished

Hello Friends and Family and Other Blog Readers,
As many of you know, 4 weeks ago I set out on my exciting adventure to Florence. One of my goals before I left was to try as many flavors of gelato as possible during my time here. Now, as I approach my last 3 days of living in Firenze, I am proud to post that I have ordered 40 flavors of gelato. Yes, this does not include little taste tests (posso po= "may I try"? I think I've used that phrase over 100 times). I have eaten 40 whole scoopfuls of different flavored gelato without repeats. To reward myself for my successes, for 3 whole days I will allow myself to try whatever flavor of gelato I desire, even if I have tried it before.

Top 3 Favorite Flavors:
Biscotta (also referred to as "cookies")
Cafe e Stracciatella (coffee with chocolate chunks)
Yogurt (like our plain tart flavor)

The Gelato Legend

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Baking Queen

Apparently during the last month I've turned into an Italian baking fiend!

Flour "fountain", as they call it here!

Traditional Tuscan almond-orange biscotti.

Crust for our torta pasquillina.

I love baking!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

3 C's of Cappuccinos in Italy

In Italy, the saying goes that your cappuccino must meet the three C's standards:

It must be...

Caldo: hot
Carico: strong
Comodo: comfortable (please sit and enjoy- no standing&gulping like a "horse", as my teacher says)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

When Mary Poppins Meets Enchanted

Once upon a time, I sang like the princess from Enchanted to charm little chipmunks into my hand. Let's just say I wasn't as lucky during my attempt with pigeons in Venice, Italy.

One Thing I Miss About America

The free and easy use of all public restrooms! In Venice, we had to pay 1,50 euro, which equals about 3 bucks!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Roma Roma Roma....

This weekend, we went on a little weekend getaway trip to the historical city of Rome. What epic things did we see?
--> The Coliseum (the place where thousands of gladiators were slaughtered for sport)
--> The Pantheon (the oldest building still standing in Rome)
--> The Roman Forum (the remains of the beginning of the Roman empire)
--> The Trevi Fountain (Salvi's breathtaking Baroque style fountain, and the place where wishes come true!)
--> The Sistine Chapel (the Pope's private chapel, and the location of some of the most ornate and famous Michelangelo frescoes)
--> St. Peter's Basilica (the incredible church in Vatican city)
--> The Pope speak! (we saw the Pope speak to 1,000's of people in 4 languages!)

There is only so much you can say with words when you have such a life changing experience.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

John the Baptist Holiday in Firenze!

Yesterday was a city-wide holiday in Florence which celebrated "Saint Giovanni Baptista", or as we know him, John the Baptist. There was a "civil" soccer game (district team against district team), which was played in front of Santa Croce church. The game took place about 100 feet from our apartment, and therefore we were barricaded inside our street quadrant for most of the day. But, the most glorious fireworks show closed out our first and only Italian holiday in a lovely way.

The streets were jammed with people!

The breathtaking dusk-time view of Florence from the top of the city.

This is my roomie/latte drinking partner, Jessica!

And I thought I would miss out on 4th of July fireworks! Even better :)

The deserted soccer stadium after all the festivities finished- isn't it a little strange to see such a majestic church practically attached to the field?

All in all, it was a wonderful holiday to be had. I won't miss our Independence Day one bit! (okay, maybe that's a little white lie) =]

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

San Lorenzo Market Trip

As an alternative to our cooking class, Chef Vincent took us to the biggest market in Florence, San Lorenzo Market. Here are a couple of cool things we saw.

PS: Megs, I thought of you so much- you would have had a hay-day picking out veggies for your juice :)

These are red-shelled beans. Uncooked, the beans look like root beer jelly beans. Cooked, they become blood red.

Check out the size of that mushroom!

Beauuuutiful flowers! The roses smelled amazing, too. (Smelled them for Sarah!)

Typical Florentine tomatoes. The edges are always super bumpy- almost like a pumpkin.

Incredible squash blossoms. They are stuffed with goat cheese and deep fried here.
(We must make them at home, Mom and Dad)

REAL Parmigiano cheese from Parma, Italy. Chef Vincent said all other Parmesan cheeses (like the ones we have in the US), are like all bubbly claiming to be Champagne.

Wall of meat.

We also tasted balsamic vinegar (aged 5,10, and 20 years), honey with white truffle chunks, and nectarines with balsamic glaze. Beneissimo!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Non Si Fa...

Here are a couple of unspoken Italian food rules we've picked up on: (Non Si Fa= we don't do)
--> NEVER twirl your spaghetti in a spoon. It indicates lack of manners and motor skills. Children are the only exception to this rule.
--> Do not put parmesan cheese on everything you eat, especially something with a delicate flavor, like fish. This is highly frowned upon.
--> Cappuccinos are not to be consumed with food, other than at breakfast time. Order a cappuccino at lunch, and you'll get a weird stare from your waiter.
--> Drink your morning latte at a table before you pay, not when you order. Italians think it is dirty to handle money and food at the same time.

When in Rome....!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

No Maps, No Plans

Our Venice day trip turned day trip to Siena today. I refused to allow a map in the hands of anyone who came within 2 feet of me (my theme of the day: no maps, no plans). We meandered aimlessly around Siena for 6 hrs, seeing castles, Italian weddings, villas, and forests. We ate yellow plums and figs in the rain storm, mused about Renaissance construction, drank cocktails at 11 am in a store that looked like the one from Chocolat, ate gelato several times, and discovered what manual escalators are. When an hour-long hailstorm rolled through, we sat inside a gelateria and I chatted in Spanish with a lovely couple from Madrid. We sang songs and laughed as we bonded and discovered the lovely little town of Siena. Hands down, the biggest and most wonderful adventure of my life.

Cobblestone streets of Siena mid thunderstorm.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Via della Brache

Via della Brache is the street I live on. Today in our language class, we learned that it means, "the street of old-fashioned underwear".
So, I live on Granny Pantie street! Not super glamorous for a romantic trip to Firenze.
Our Italian teacher, Nada, got a good giggle out of that one!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gelato Update

Ciao Bellas!
I am keeping my promise and am attempting to try every flavor of gelato in Firenze. My progress as of day 3:
extra fondant
nocciola (hazelnut, and my favorite so far)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hellllllooooo Firenze!

The river near our apartment!

And my first Italian latte!