positano…

Amazing Zara spring 07 fashions aside, this stunning dustjacket attic blog is completely captivating with photos by Carter Smith. The next time I go to Italy, I wanna go here!

Positano was on my shortlist for honeymoon destinations, unfortunately we got married at the beginning of the economic decline (prior to any reduction in travel expense, in other words, money was low and prices were high) and weren’t able to go. We did just make up for it with a 9-day trip to Rome last month, but I’m really hoping my next trip to Italy will be southern, sunny and sandy 🙂

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family-style cooking…

Unfortunately, I tend to worry. I also tend to be a people pleaser. Don’t get me wrong, I can definitely stand up for myself and I have my own opinions, but I generally want others to be happy…and I sometimes see it as my job to help them get there.
This is a problem on vacations when I feel like I need to bring something home to show family that I was thinking of them while I was away. I can spend a good chunk of time worried over finding a meaningful gift for each person that is within budget…it’s a difficult task…especially when you’re in Europe dealing with the added problem of a weak dollar.
In Rome I focused on enjoying myself during the first part of the week, but as our return flight edged closer I began to scope out gifts and panicked when I realized that budget, meaning and luggage space were definitely going colide in a way that made it immpossible for me to accomplish finding anything.
And then my genius husband came to my rescue.

After making several local Italian friends who schooled him on different areas of his native culture, he purchased three jars of a sauce called “Nduja” (it comes from the region his family originates in Italy) to share with his family at a big dinner some night upon our return. And then he called it a day. Ah, to be so uncomplicated.
I, on the other hand, still looked and worried and looked and worried over what I should get my family. Finally, he convinced me that I should do something similar with my family and we ended up purchasing a bottle of wine, a block of cheese and some chocolates.
This Sunday, I will be cooking an Italian family-style meal for my family and sharing all the goodies we brought home for them in a way that also allows us to share some stories and quality time.
Genius.

I have been looking over recipes trying to find the perfect Italian recipe to share…I think I’m going with homemade pesto pasta, since it was a favorite of mine over there.


Wish me luck…I’ve never made pesto before, but I believe I’m up to the challenge. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Here’s the recipe I’m thinking about using, in case anyone feels like trying it for themselves:

Ingredients
2 cups basil leaves
2 cups arugula leaves
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 tablespoons walnuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 cups hot cooked linguine (about 1 pound uncooked pasta)

Preparation
Place first 6 ingredients in a food processor; pulse 7 or 8 times or until mixture forms a smooth paste. Add cheese, broth, salt, and pepper; pulse until combined. Combine pesto and pasta in a large bowl, tossing to coat.

Oh, and by the way, the Naniamo bars were excellent!!

looking forward toward adventure…

Well, hello! It’s been a while…

Since I’ve written last, we’ve seen another Christmas Eve, Christmas day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and the media blitz of “Winter Storm 2010” (pronounced “twenty-ten”) come and gone. And that’s not to mention all the little mundane things that truly make up the days of our lives…like overcoming a sickness or installing a toilet or mopping the floors. Because when we get right down to it…that’s what we’ve been doing in this house lately!

Anyway, we leave for Rome in exactly one month from today so I’m brushing up on my Italian travel knowledge and learning some bad words (thank you Chris Foster) that I’m sure won’t come in handy. My sister-in-law gave me a bunch of books and maps and a journal for Christmas so I’m already jotting down some must-sees and getting really excited! The last time I was in Rome was five years ago and it was only for a few days during a whirlwind tour of Europe. This time we’ll be there for nine whole days and I want to make the most of it!

Of course we’re going to hit the major sights like: Vatican City, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum, the Roman Forums and the Imperial Forums. But I also want to make a point to see lesser known spots like: Catacombe di San Sabastiano, the Keats-Shelley House, Pincio Hill, Terme di Caracalla, Trastevere, Piazza Navona, and Villa Borghese. And if possible, I would love to take a day trip up to Florence (a favorite city of mine) and perhaps a day trip out to the coast (since I’ve never been), but we’ll see.

I’ve also thought it might be fun to rent a Vespa…calling to life all those “Roman Holiday” fantasies, and what girl doesn’t have them?…but then again, I’ve heard it’s like taking your life in your own hands. So I’m guessing that will also be a wait-and-see activity as well.

For now, I’m studying weather patterns, reading up on Italian history and gazing wistfully at pictures…soon, very soon…

the Spanish Steps

view of St. Peter's

Trevi Fountain at night

a typical street cafe