Liquid gold: what fresh pressed EVOO looks like

I’m willing to guess most people have not seen what freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil really looks like unless they make it themselves. What most people find in the supermarkets, even if its fresh extra virgin olive oil, has already gone through filtering to make it clear. What you see above is what it looks like just a day after pressing.

Read more about our oil »

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Sugar and Spice Cookies

I really love to bake and I have a bunch of recipes I’ve printed out I want to try, from baked donuts (yum! no donuts in Italy so I haven’t had any donuts in … I can’t remember!) to pumpkin muffins to a !one bowl” chocolate cake from Eating Well magazine.

For nonna’s 90th birthday a few weeks ago, I wanted to make something that would be pretty. She hasn’t been doing well for the last couple of months and I hoped that a homemade treat would cheer her up. She has always had a healthy appetite and really resents not being able to eat what she likes recently.

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Rain and more rain. And 9 miles.

It has been raining since Saturday night and it still doesn’t want to stop. My long runs are on Sundays and yesterday my schedule said I had to put in 9 miles. Yikes, I’m up to 9 miles! Anyways, the rain was steady and not too light, what to do? I ended up skipping my run, thinking “I’ll do it tomorrow”.

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General update: Still here!

garter stitch blanket

I finally finished it!
A baby blanket for my nephew Davion, who is now almost 11 months – better late than never! ;-)
So the blanket is pretty easy to make but it can get a bit boring – I am actually still teaching myself knitting and therefore slow.
The pattern is from Lion Brand and you can find it here on the Lion Brand site (you might have to register to download the pattern). I made it in Lime color, using the yarn recommended which I found beautiful and easy to work with. A mix of cotton and acrylic should make taking care of it easy enough.

Here is a recent pic of Davion, with his little teeth popping out!

As for the half marathon training, it is going pretty good overall. I’ve managed to keep mostly on top of all the runs even if some weeks I’ve moved the days around. What I need to be better about are the other days when I have strength and stretching routines to do… have tended to miss several of those. I am ok with the days of cross training, but the strength workouts are harder to make myself do… I definitely have to improve on that.

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Bruises I missed growing up

So after my little sister ran her second half marathon two weeks ago I finally decided to stop procrastinating and start my own training, something I’ve wanted to do for about 2 years now – Irene, you’re my inspiration! I am very proud of you, of what you have accomplished and as far as running goes, I am trying to catch up to you!

I started the half marathon training schedule I found online and the first week went well. Then I get to the weekend and Saturday was a hellish sort of day and I skipped my scheduled workout, Sunday was a beautiful sunny day so DH proposed an outing on the MTB and couldn’t say no even if I had a run scheduled. Figured I’d do that today, which I did – despite the bruised arm and legs I am sporting today after a short flight off the bike yesterday. Happened so fast not sure exactly what happened, but it was a steep downhill and I was sure it would happen sooner or later. Aside from continuing downhill by foot while the leg and arm throbbed, once we got back on flatter ground I got back on and managed to do the rest of the short ride on the bike. Actually the bruises are not as bad as I thought and I think my run today, even if quite slow, will help get the aches and pains out quicker. DH says I am catching up on the bruises I missed out getting growing up, he calls me city girl… which isn’t really true, I was a small town girl but I guess we really didn’t spend much time outdoors.

Tomorrow I have another run and today’s strength workout to catch up on, let’s hope I can manage it and the rest of the week turns out better as far as being able to keep my schedule.

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Wisteria

We have an ancient wisteria plant, called glicine in Italian, right outside our garden door and through the years has been shaped to form a canopy over the garden entrance. This week with some sun and lots of water, in just a matter of a pair of days, we’re walking under a beautiful purple mass of scented blooms.

Just amazing, makes me stop and smile. A moment to stop and enjoy the moment. Sharing in the hope it brings a smile to your face as well.

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Polenta Apple Cake

It might not be very pretty but it sure was good and it was a good way to start off the week. The whole cake gone in less than a day, it was that good! It is a sweet cornbread with apples and raisins added, experiment resulting from trying a basic cornbread recipe and sometimes adding mashed bananas and walnuts, very good as well, and this time I tried apples. Great for breakfast or a snack. Not too moist, not too dry, just perfect. Try it and let me know if you like it as well.

Polenta Apple Cake

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Heat oven to 450°F (230°C). Mix the dry ingredients, then add the egg, milk and oil and mix well. Add the sliced apples and raisins if using. In a 8″x8″ cake pan, pour the whole mixture. Bake for 20-25 min.

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Another sign

Today I noticed another sign of spring in our garden! I swear it wasn’t there two days ago!!

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It feels like Spring…

… but I am trying to not get my hopes up! It was just like this – beautifully sunny and warm – last Saturday and in the meantime this past week we had a few snow showers. But you tell that to this pretty pink flower plant (not very good with names) in our garden: spring isn’t here yet!!

So stop making me hope! ;)

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Paris is just Paris…

… and it is just beautiful! Just got back from three days in Paris and it is hard to get back to work. But to think of it, three days aren’t really that long to cause a break or real interruption in your normal daily routine. This time it was enough though to take a mental break and relax for a few short days which was needed. It was likely due to the magic that Paris weaves. The city, even though we had cold, wet and windy weather, was filled with both tourists and residents alike and I suppose it must be like that all the time if not worse during the peak summer months.

I had been to Paris just once before (I am not counting all the transfers at the CDG airport) over 10 years ago with my older sister in December. We were also there two or three days but our experience then was very different. Met a lot of rude French, stayed at a hostel and ate mostly at McDonalds. This time we actually found some courteous Frenchmen and women and had several fantastic meals out. We still walked our feet off but in a city this size that is inevitable. I remembered it being bigger, everything further away and staying in Montmartre insisted on taking the metro as much as possible. But it wasn’t bad, one day we walked from Montmartre in the 18th arrondisement to the Eiffel Tower and it didn’t seem that far. Okay, so we were really tired by then and took the metro back but I suppose I’ve gotten more used to walking and the distance seemed less intimidating. We didn’t visit any museums this time, but enjoyed being outdoors and just seeing the monuments, gardens and sights. We’ve promised ourselves to go back soon, definitely not wait another ten years to go back. It is after all just a two hour plane ride from Florence, practically a hop away!

All day I’ve been fantasizing of making galletes and crepes soon, I’ve found some recipes already I’ll have to give a try and share with all of you!

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