Tag Archives: cooking

Black Friday

Before: A little Black Friday fun

After: Paolo is so over it

It’s been quite the week.

On Sunday night after making and freezing a sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving, I was felled with a horrible case of the flu. I kept putting off getting my flu shot this year, and oh boy did I just pay for it.  I felt like I was run over by a mack truck for two days.  Giuseppe had to work, so it was just me (barely alive) and Paolo. Thankfully, he seemed to understand that I was sick and was actually a really good boy.  Instead of being the crazy little toddler that he normally is, he played by himself in the living room while I was splayed on the sofa. And he took nice long naps with me, which was glorious.  Don’t worry, he’s back to his crazy little self now that I am back to the world of the living.

Then, on Wednesday, I was feeling more alive than dead, so I began preparing for Thanksgiving. I cooked a pecan pie, a pumpkin pie, and no-bake cookies, and then finished the shopping for Thursday.  Yesterday we had a few friends over for Thanksgiving dinner, which was really fun.  And it was the first time that I actually cooked the traditional meal.  Thanksgiving is usually vacation time for us (2004: trip to Tuscany, 2005: trip to Tuscany, 2006: trip to Paris, 2007: trip to Paris, 2008: parents visited us in California {my mom cooked!}, 2009: trip to Hawaii) so I had never subjected myself to the traditional cooking. I think it went okay, everything turned out pretty well!  At least, no one complained!

And then this morning, we did a little Black Friday shopping. Which is something that I had never, ever done before. Since we live in a small town, the shopping isn’t exactly swanky. We went to Target and bought a few stocking stuffers, and – drum roll, please – an XBOX Kinect.  It is awesome. I’ve never, ever purchased a video game before nor have we ever had one in our house. So this is a big step for us.  We bought it, obviously, for the Dance Central game.  And, yes, it really as much fun as it looks on the ads.  I am going to wrap the box and put it under the tree, as it is our gift to ourselves this Christmas.  (There was no way we could actually wait for Christmas.)

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Love this duck

How adorable is this vintage ceramic duck? My mom brought it for me when she was here was visiting last month. It was my grandma’s and I love it.  It’s perfect to hold butter, so I keep it next to the toaster. It brightens up the stainless steel toaster.

Well, actually, I was keeping it next to my toaster, until my Bimby arrived!  Now I have my KitchenAid, toaster, and Bimby lined up like little kitchen soldiers. And the duck’s new place is currently next to the Bimby.  I’m still getting used to having so much on that one counter. I may have to rearrange. We’ll see.

So, “What is a Bimby?” you ask.  It is the most amazing kitchen appliance in the whole world.  My mother-in-law swears by it; and she sent it to me.  The Bimby can cook just about anything, from cappucini to pasta alla breschamella.   It came with this giant cookbook, and I can’t wait to start experimenting. But I’ll have to wait until my power transformer arrives.  This appliance isn’t for sale in the U.S., so it requires a transformer.  It turns out none of the stores in Ames carry 220/110v power transformers so I had to order one from Amazon.  It should be here in a few days.  And I can’t wait!


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Pasta e fagioli

Last year, I published my quick and easy delicious recipe for my Pasta al Pomodoro, which is a staple in our household.   Another simple, delicious Italian recipe that I make regularly at home is Pasta e Fagioli.  Usually I serve pasta as our first course to be followed by salad, a meat dish or cheese, vegetable, and fruit. But this dish is pretty hearty, so I usually serve only a simple tomato and spinach salad as the second course.

(1) Over medium heat, cover the bottom of a medium-sized  pot in extra-virgin olive oil.  (2) Add 5 small whole cherry tomatoes.  (3) Sprinkle in about 2 teaspoons of organic sea salt.  (4)  Add 3-4 cloves of fresh crushed garlic.  (5) Sprinkle in a pinch of fresh rosemary, and squish the cherry tomatoes so they open in the sauce.  (6) Once heated, add one jar or one can of white cannellini beans.  (7) As this heats up, add 2 1/2 can-fulls of scalding hot water.  (8) Allow to boil for approximately 25 minutes, until beans are soft and open.  (9) Add 3/4 package of penne. (10) Cook pasta in the sauce until pasta is done al dente.  (11) Serve with freshly grated white pepper.

Bon appetito!


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We are back in IOWA

Yesterday afternoon we returned home from our glorious month in Italia.

Italia was filled with amazing meals, breathtaking panoramas, great friends, spectacular parties, and was so incredible that it felt like we there for about two whole days.  I can’t believe the trip is already over.  I’m still working on a travel journal; I’ve not yet decided if I will publish it here, but I will certainly be posting some photos in the near future.

When we walked out of the Des Moines airport yesterday, I was greeted by the most beautiful day I have ever experience in Iowa.  The sky was crystal-clear blue, the air crisp and cool.  Autumn arrived to Iowa while we were in Italy.  The past two days have been just absolutely beautiful.  Paolo and I have been busy trying to unpack our loads of luggage, getting the house back in order, and making some real meals for the hubs.  (Giuseppe actually did a fantastic job of keeping the house clean; but the refrigerator was barren, with only two beers and no food.) But we have been taking breaks to for walks outside. After such a scorchingly hot summer, any time outside at a comfortable temperature is absolutely heaven!  The gorgeousness of the weather is a definite plus.

We are still fighting jet-lag, which is a pain, but a small price for such a fabulous trip.  This week will be busy with party preparation: Paolo’s First Birthday Party “La Festa Italiana” is Saturday!  I’ll have to try to squeeze some time in for my blogging addiction, which I wholly neglected while I was traveling!

A presto!


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