Goodbye, Italy! Take 2

It’s my second last night in Italy within the past month. I am too freaking lucky. Look at all this great food!


Caffe Latte and Pastry at a Cafe at the corner of Via Nazionale and Via Faenza in Florence.



Pastries from Il Forno, by the Mercato Centrale.




Firenza salad, Mostodolce pizza (tomato, mozzarella, truffle, mushrooms – AMAZING), and the Martellina beer – this restaurant/pizzeria brews their own beer. I tried the honey brew, and WOW. It was so good! I haven’t have house-brewed beer since I left the States, so this was a real treat – very sweet with spicy notes and a just-bitter-enough finish. Perfection!! All from Mostodolce, Via Nazionale in Florence.

Sadly, I didn’t get ANY pictures of our pasta courses we ate out our first night. Extremely disappointing. It was amazing and I forgot my camera. More later.

I am super sad to be leaving Italy.

Goodbye, all you lovely Italian pastries and caffe lattes :(.

I will be back.


soooo off topic

Guys, I totally freaking suck for not updating so much. BUT COME ON. I'M STUDYING IN SPAIN.

It seems like a good excuse to me, at least ;).

Anyway, I saw this post on LiveJournal (ahh I know) and I really want to make them when I get back. Can't wait to get into a kitchen again!!

Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuit Recipe


skipping around…

WELL hello there! I have accidentally abandoned this blog! Unfortunately, that means I’ve missed out on some amazing stories, like these perfectly ripe and delicious strawberries my mom and I picked in June.






…and strawberry ice cream..


…and the perfect foamed tea latte (finally!).


But all of that is a moot point right now, because by the way: I’m studying abroad in Spain! The food here is incredible, yes, and my goal is to blog as much as I can, of course! I don’t have steady internet access as of yet (it may be changing soon), but keep your eyes out for many new posts throughout the year. I’m returning to the states on December 19th, just in time for the Christmas season: aka, BAKING SEASON. I cannot wait!



to make this week: another link round-up


what i'm eating right now

Definitely NOT the greatest picture - I wanted to snap a quick photo of it before eating because I'm running tight on time today, so I used my phone.


Today's breakfast: sliced kiwi, cranberry English muffins (my favorite!  Price Chopper had them on sale from the holiday stock), blueberry acai YoPlus, and chocolate milk.  Yum!

And yes, I'm eating in bed :-P.


to do list for tomorrow (sunday)

...and the near future!


lazy sunday afternoon brunch


My favorite way to spend a Sunday morning:  wake up around 9-10am, check email/blogs/ims while lazing under heated blanket, watch some TV (Bravo usually has some kind of marathon of crappy shows I'm addicted to!), then think about making breakfast/brunch around 12pm.



Airborne (wooo staving off colds), coffee, plain yogurt w/honey and bananas, toast with apricot jam and SmartBalance, and omelette with sauteed tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini.  Yummm!


new year's spread

  Chris and I decided to spend a quite New Year's Eve in at the apartment.  Good thing we didn't make any plans that didn't involve lounging around and making food - we got snowed in!  Happy (late!) 2009 :).


Blueberry waffles, and banana white chocolate chip waffles. Mmmm.  Plus some bacon (YUM), cherries (still not as good as the Washington ones, but pretty good!), and coffee made with my new stovetop percolator and espresso cups from Nina!  Plates from an old woman's closet at a craft fair Heather and I went to a few weeks before Christmas.




Making Ham and Cheese Scones (recipe coming this weekend!), and to the right, fresh spinach artichoke dip.  I use this recipe for the dip, and usually replace all/part of the mayo with ranch dressing (I usually don't have mayo in the house).


Everything on the coffee table!  We also had olive oil + spices for bread dipping, and the Scharffenberger brownies. If you're wondering what Chris is doing...our couch ate the TV remote :(. 


Happy (sleepy!!) 2009!


pancake paradise

After the series of ice storms at the end of the semester, we were lucky enough not to lose power, unlike the other half of the city.  Over the course of the weekend a few friends ended up staying over because they didn't have power, and on Sunday morning Heather and I made pancakes for a bunch of our friends.  There's no better way to spend a Sunday than with friends and breakfast foods! :D


(This is how I know we go to a tech school.......)


We used Joy the Baker's Oatmeal Raspberry Pancakes recipe, with a few substitutions.  I had no buttermilk, so in place of that I used a mix of plain yogurt and regular milk.  I also doubled the recipe, and used instant oats (the recipe doesn't specify), and it turned out great!  I love pancake recipes because they're so flexible - almost all of the non-pantry ingredients (like milk, eggs, buttermilk) can be substituted with whatever you have in the fridge.  It's so easy!

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My friend Jeremy took over the reins in pancake-making during the second round.  He claimed he never did this before, but take a look at some of the pancakes he made! ;)  He had it down to a science, forming the shapes piece by piece so the layers cooked in order, and taking requests from the crowd.  So cool!


Skull and crossbones


Flipping the dragon...


...and here it is!  I need to learn how to do this stuff ;)


I may have had a 30 page paper hanging over my head that day, but for me it was one of the most memorable ways to end the semester.  :)


Oatmeal Raspberry Pancake recipe here, from Joy the Baker.


mmmm sprinkle cookies


I went over to my roommate Heather's house right before we went home for Christmas break, and we baked a double batch of Italian Sprinkle Cookies with Heather's mom.  It was so fun!  The recipe was called "Aunt Lena's Italian Sprinkle Cookies", but I remember my grandma making these for many many years when I was little, calling them her Ukrainian cookies. :-P Heather's mom got the recipe online, and it made me really happy to know these cookies I used to love were so easy to make!


These colorful cookies make a great gift no matter what season it is.  We bagged them up and gave them out in groups of 6's, 8's and 12's to friends, family, co-workers, and bosses.  The cookies were delicious!  The key to this recipe is to use pure almond and lemon extract - the quality really makes a difference when the cookie relies on the extracts for flavor.  You also want to make sure to use fresh sprinkles!  In the past, I've accidentally used stale sprinkles on birthday cakes and it really brings down the taste.  Oops!

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The original instructions said to mix melted shortening into the flour mix, but that ended up creating tons of lumps (not that that affected the taste at all!).  We ended up going through the dough piece by piece, trying to smooth out all of the lumps and bumps.  We guessed that adding the flour to the shortening instead would've avoided this, and Heather made the recipe again a little late, she told me it did!  The glaze was also much too thin at first, running right off the cookies and not really holding sprinkles.  So, I'm posting the edited version below.  Enjoy!



Aunt Lena's Italian Sprinkle Cookies

makes about 7 dozen

6 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons PLUS 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup shortening, melted
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract


1/2 cup warms milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 lb confectioners’ sugar
Round colored sprinkles

Using a heavy-duty electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs until light and foamy, about 5 minutes. Set aside. In another mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar and baking powder.  Pour the melted shortening and extracts into a large mixing bowl.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the melted shortening and extracts until a bead-like texture is formed. Gradually add beaten eggs (dough will be stiff). Roll dough into 1-in, balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. The tops of the cookies will not brown, but the bottoms should brown slightly.

For glaze, combine milk and extracts in a large bowl. Add sugar; whisk until all lumps are dissolved and the glaze is smooth. As soon as cookies are removed from the oven, quickly immerse two or three at a time into the glaze. Remove with a slotted spoon or fingers. Place cookies on wire racks to drain. Quickly top with sprinkles. Let dry 24 hours before storing in airtight containers.