Another new recipe on my new blog!

Red Lentil Stew

Check out the new post over on Sarah Jane in Italy, a recipe for Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Stew

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I’m Back…

Dear followers (or people who read secretly and never comment..*cough* LIZ *cough*)

It has come to my attention that my absence has been noted in the “blogosphere”. I brushed this aside and merely explained that I was no longer into blogging, however after the 4th or 5th mention (I know…so many fans) I decided that for each person who actually commented or told me they read, there are probably at least 2 or 3 others who don’t say anything. Writing about my life here in Italy for 10 people who may be interested or even find this of use is enough for me. So here are some brief updates before hopefully getting back into the swing of things (I’m hoping for weekly posts or so..but no promises).

Livio and I just returned from our honeymoon in Peter Island (in the British Virgin Islands… you can see it’s location here.) Suffice it to say, it was all a honeymoon should be. Pure relaxation and privacy.

Little place where we went snorkeling on our private sail

Our little friend who came begging for crumbs every morning while we had breakfast on the terrace

The beautiful pool at the spa…this was in the middle of the day, as you can see, we literally felt like we were the only ones there sometimes. That is Livio walking next to the pool

Livio in the palm trees

The tiny little plane that we took over to Beef Island Airport (the closest airport to Peter Island in the BVIs). It was an 8-seater prop jet!

It is a great resort for a honeymoon because it is the only resort on the island and so it seems like you have the whole island to yourself, not to mention the great food and drink, beaches and spa. *Sigh* I wish we could honeymoon once a year…

After our week in paradise, we returned to the US for the week.  The main purpose of this was for the beautiful and *super* fun wedding of my brother Gordon and Annie (hi sis-in-law!). It was an awesome way to finish off our trip back to the US and I could not be happier for the couple.

first dance. Photo credit: http://kylelaferriere.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/annie-gordon-macmillan/

They had an amazing beach-themed wedding and my sister Lars and I were bridesmaids.

Here we are…boogieing with our dad

I know I need to finish up my wedding series here on the ol’ blog. Are people interested in hearing about my wedding planning still or shall I just move on with life? Anyone who reads this, let me know, any feedback or advice would be appreciated.

We are now back in Italy and after the usual week of adjusting and jet lag we are back to normal here. Normal meaning our weekly pizza dinner.

This pizzeria is one of our favorites in our area. It is called pizzeria la pace and I highly recommend it if you are ever in the Veneto region. They specialize in these huge pizzas al panaro, which are basically maxi-pizzas with several different topping sections (on the bigger ones up to 8). Those in the photo above, by the way, are considered just “individual pizzas”. Here is their site.

Well that is all for now. Please any feedback would be appreciated (even if just to say hi and that you read the blog!). A presto!

Vegetable Quinoa Salad

This salad is quick, quite inexpensive, healthy and most importantly, delicious! Quinoa is a grain-like seed that cooks up in 10 minutes and is healthy and chock full of protein, vitamins and minerals. I’ve been eating it for a while but more as a plain base for meat or sauces and not really mixed into a whole dish on its own until this past week. I went to Padova to hang out with some girl friends and they had the genius idea to make a quinoa pasta dish of sorts, basically substituting it in a dish where you could usually put pasta. Simple, yet brilliant in my opinion. I highly recommend this and you can substitute the zucchini and bell peppers for any veggies. I think today for lunch I will put brussels sprouts and fava beans to mix it up.

Vegetable Quinoa Salad

serves 3-4 (serves 3 generously)

1 cup dry white quinoa
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, thin strips
1 small zucchini, thin half moons
1 cup of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup grated parmiggiano (or any hard cheese such as pecorino or grana padano)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Put the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a pot, cover and bring it to boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat, leave it covered and set a timer (or just watch a clock) for 10 minutes. The water should be mostly evaporated after 10 minutes and you will see little holes in the surface. Turn the heat off and leave it covered for 5-10 minutes.

2. In the meantime, saute the onion in the olive oil in a large skillet (preferably non-stick).

3. When the onions become translucent add the bell peppers and a good pinch of salt.

4. When the red peppers start to soften up, add the zucchini with another pinch of salt and some black pepper. Saute the veggies until the zucchini start to caramelize just a bit.

5. Add the chickpeas and stir to heat through.

6. Add the cooked quinoa and toss to combine. Add salt to taste at this point.

7. Serve and top with grated parmiggiano.

Buon appetito!

Weekend Catch-up

Sorry I’ve been MIA all weekend. Let’s recap a bit shall we?

After my Friday afternoon trip to Venice with Lani, my soon-to-be mother-in-law and her sister, Lani returned with me to Crocetta (my town) to keep me company since Livio was gone this weekend! We got a pizza to go and watched a girly wedding movie (The Wedding Date). So cheesy but cute!

Saturday morning we woke up early and we went on a 6.25km/almost 4 mile run! It felt great and was the longest I’ve run in a while.

I didn’t photograph much of my eats this weekend however I did photograph my lunch on saturday:

I pan-seared this chicken breast and had it with a delicious and simple salad of lettuce, tomato, corn and corona beans!

For dinner I had some swordfish and veggies. I roasted the Brussels sprouts and grean beans in the oven with olive oil, s + p on 350F/180C for 25 minutes and marinated the swordfish in lemon juice, wine, parsley and garlic. It was quite good although I prefer tuna to swordfish.

Today I have been a cleaning machine, in preparation of my parents arrival. This afternoon I am working on my speech and going to visit my fried Fabio in Asolo. I’ll be back later with a yummy dinner post for after I pick up Livio!

Laborious Labor-day

So I actually ended up going on that run this morning! It was lightly drizzling however it cooled the temperature down quite a bit here so it was okay to go a little bit later.

I had some grapes as a snack before I left:

After I got back and cooled down I prepared lunch for myself and Livio. Tortellini for him and leftover veggies and chicken from last night for me! Someones got to finish those leftovers…I also prepared some delicious quinoa for the side. I LOVE it- especially the white kind.

Then my favorite treat! A chupa chups!!! Does anyone else like these? I had the vanilla flavor. These are popular in Europe but the vanilla flavor is difficult to find so when I find it I buy a lot! I glance in almost every store/cafe/bar that I go into for this and the chocolate flavor.

After lunch I got down to business, crafting DIY wedding decor and tying many little bows on the favors with Livio’s mom. I tried to explain to her the concept of my blog but she just got worried that it would make it too easy for someone to find me!! Ahah…I assured her that writing in English protected me because Italian creepers couldn’t understand what I was writing. So cute!

Dinner is quite boring, however one of my favorite things…TUNA! This type of Italian tuna is packed in Olive Oil and SO SO delicious. It’s basically like a whole tuna filet. I think you may be able to buy this brand in the states though I’m not sure!

I had it on top of a salad with some corn chips on the side.

I also had a small piece of Pecorino Sardo. It’s similar to Pecorino Romano, but less salty and a little creamier. It’s made in the island of Sardinia and Livio’s co-worker brought it back for us as a present! Grazie Marco!

Mm mm..And to top it off a piece of Ritter Sport Gianduia Chocolate. Livio and I each choose a ritter sport bar at the supermarket when we do the shopping, but this week we both chose the same flavor! I stole a piece of his though… heeheehee…he’s not here.

Shoot! I guess he’ll find out later when he read this…Good night everyone!