Some things on my mind....

-should I make my last box of brownies tonight?? will I want them more later in the week? oh but they sound so so good!
-my professors are being SO understanding about being sick last week... I am quite blessed.
-I just put in a load of clothes... I am hoping they are dry by the time I have to leave next week!
-I'm going to miss my room mates... they are the best group of girls.
-I can't wait to live at home. I am 22 and am probably too excited about this haha
-I'm looking forward to my leftover tuna noodle casserole for lunch tomorrow
-I LEAVE NEXT WEEK! ooooooo I can't wait!
-should I buy boots or not.... the budgets tight ooo I want them!
-my pinkies are cold, thats weird
-I can't wait to give everyone's Christmas gifts to them... still have to get a couple!
-moooore snow at home!? eeeks Im glad Im here!
-I can't wait to make homemade marshmallows with my mom
-okay finish this project up so you can cross it off the list!


blog a blog

By far, one of the most beautiful, wish-I-could-pluck-that-piece-of-pie-from-the-screen, and wonderfully-written food blogs I read is Smitten Kitchen. She photo-styles so uniquely and so well the food seems to have a life of its own and the colors are incredible. There are three -or four or five or six!!- recipes I can not wait to whip up when I get home.

Take a look at Smitten Kitchen.... you will not be disappointed!

Look at the ones I can't wait to dive into:
Coffee Toffee
Sweet Potato Buttercream Pie
Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
Nectarine Galette


never thought id say this...

I can't eat pasta another day.
whether its with tomatoes. or pesto. zucchini. garlic. or all combined in different ways....

blah. I am CRAVING moist tender turkey, moist chicken with crispy skin, a Culvers burger with fries (hello!), a great steak sandwich (ala my parents), baked rice, a loaded baked potato, a BLT, yogurt pie, homemade popcorn, mm and Christmas cookies!
Tonights meal I tried to down...

Don't get me wrong.... there is wonderful pasta here. WONDERFUL. And my special salads still make me swoon and how I love the pizza... I just cant do anymore traditional pasta dishes. Bring on the soups e panne (bread)
Excuse the horrible pictures; but its Christmas in Italy too and we are celebrating!! We decked our tree out in pasta garland -how appropriate- and some of the cutest paper snowflakes that the girls made. I am sooooooooooo O O O ready for Christmas!!


wish I could rewind....

oh what a week! I had such a great time with Eric and Mary Ann! They left this morning around 4:30 and are probably arriving home right about now..... Thanks for visiting. I absolutely loved having you both here! It was wonderful to see and shop Florence again; tromp up the 441 stairs to the top of the duomo's campanile;
spy Pisa's white leaning tower against the black sky from around the corner;
hear Eric order McDonald's in Italian; and count 20 prostitutes on the way to McDonalds; enjoy 4 bottles of wine, grappa shots, aaand limoncello with Eric and Mary Ann;
take in several of Bernini and Michelangelo's most incredible sculputures like the David, Apollo & Daphne, Pluto and Proserpina, as well as Caravaggio's incredible work;
absolutely incredible. simply stunning and life like.

listen to Mary Ann nearly die of an anxiety attack as Eric drove back to Rome on the Italian autostrade;

listen to lots of snoring :); enjoy croissant after croissant after croissant;
take the completely wrong bus and be an hour late meeting Mary Ann in St. Peter's Square; see Eric's face as he saw the Roman Forum for the first time, drink even more vino; enjoy conversation and stories over great food with great people;
show Eric my studio and apartment and to finally introduce him to my room mates, eat several FANTASTIC meals like this one
going through St. Peter's and the Vatican Museums, including the Pieta and the Sistene Chapel;
watching Eric be a beggar for a couple minutes; taking 3 different trams getting home trying not to get caught riding illegally; first joking about leaning like the tower for our photo and then tripping on the rope and actually falling..... before, after the fall, still trying to recover;

looking out across Florence from Piazza Michelangelo;
and, finally, throwing my coin into Trevi so I can return to Rome one day.
The week was such a great way to end an incredible semester in Italy! 2.5 weeks to go... lots of projects and a bit more shopping.... then home to hot chocolate, family, friends, Christmas, cozy blankets, mexican food, etc etc etc! I can not wait!!



I'd like you to meet thee best sandwich in the world. oh yeah... the woooorld. He is a pastrami sandwich and grew up in Bar del Cappucino, a small and oh-so-traditional Italian Cafe just around the corner from my studio in the heart of Rome.Fresh chewy toasted bread, a smear of mustard and mayo, freshly (right in front of you!) sliced tomatoes and lettuce and freshly shaved pastrami. Drizzled with a bit of lemon juice and wrapped porta via! [to go!]

I had my first pastrami yesterday and had to have one today! I am not much of a sandwich person but this one has won me over! Absolutely delicious! .... I should mention that it doesn't hurt that a young hot Italian guy serves these up!

Today was kind of an odd day. I spent the entire day at studio writing an art history paper on the Cosmatesque mosaics from the 12th century AD that are found in so many Roman churches... yay. thrilling. blah. Its done. Buuuut on the other hand, it was a great and exciting day! I skyped with Eric one last time before he headed to the airport and he is flying from Des Moines to Chicago as I type this! After a short layover in Chicago he will leave tonight (US time) and arrive in Munich tomorrow around noon (my time) and finally in Rome tomorrow at 4:40. Travelling for more than 24 hours and adjusting to a 7hr time change is going to be tricky... I hope he and his aunt aren't too tired and can still enjoy the day tomorrow!

I. can. not. wait!

It hasn't quite hit me yet.... but it slowly is. As I was packing earlier I realized that I will actually get to see him tomorrow! no more skype! Woot woot! :) I need to finish up a couple projects as I won't be back in Rome until Wednesday (we will be in Florence!). Ciao!


a week in review

This last week has been a whirlwind! I have been trying to complete projects before Eric and Mary Ann get here and still fit in a few things that I have been wanting to do here! A quick list of things I have seen and enjoyed in the past week.

Melissa, a friend and student who is also in graphic, and I joined her former priest from Rochester for an awesome tour around Rome. We walked for 5-6 hours and saw soooo many basilicas/cathedrals and learned SO much. Fr. Bob was spewing with information, quizzing us about different facts/catholic things/history, all while cracking us up with jokes and stories. It was awesome! We are hoping to fit in another tour before we head home and he leaves for home for the holidays.
Saint John in Lateran
[named after Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist]
the cathedral of Rome and the Papal residence during the 13th century
this cathedral had unique friezes above the main apse's arches. on the left side were stories from the old testament, and on the right were the corresponding stories from the new testament.
The Pope at the time (... I can't remember his name...) had a vision that St. John would rebuild the church. After being told of the Pope's dream John quickly started building churches and soon realized this was not what the Pope had meant; but more of a spiritual rebirth and growth. He was later known as Saint John the Evangelist. This sculpture, viewed at the right angle shows Saint John holding up the church. very neat :)
Saint Helen, Constantine's mother, traveled to Jerusalem several times during her life. On one occasion, she brought the stair case from Pilate's palace in which Jesus walked. They are now covered with wooden planks and now can not be walked on. One must kneel their entire way up. It was a unique experience... one very humbling, full of prayer, and quiet. Saint Helen also brought soil from Jerusalem. This is now in the Capuchin Crypt beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. Mary Ann, Eric, and I will go there next week.

Next: Mass in the Pantheon. QUITE AMAZING!

The Pantheon is a large space! Right before 10:30 everyone that wasn't attending mass was kicked out, so there were maaaaybe 50 of us. It was kind of an odd mass, but between the flood of natural light from the oculus, the music resonating around the room, and the strong smell of incense, it felt very intimate and special.

Best dinner of the week: Homemade Spinach and Artichoke dip!
1. Thaw/heat frozen artichoke hearts and spinach
2. Chop garlic, onions, and pecorino romano cheese
3. Sautee olive oil, garlic, and onions, add strained spinach and artichoke, add cheese, and a tub of cream cheese
4. Stir.
5. Transfer to glass pan and bake for 15-20 minutes until you can't stand it anymore because you can't wait to dig inEnjoy!
This was sooo delicious. We served it with tortilla chips but a couple weeks ago Bethany baked tortilla for thicker tortilla crisps.
Yesterday morning: Art History walk
LOVE these!
We walked 5.5 miles yesterday on our walk. We were kind of tired after it haha, but it was fun to see the north side of Rome and the contemporary side of Italian architecture.

Parca del Musica
cork tree
This was used to make olive oil.
grind our little olives around the circle and the oil will drain from the two drains at the front.

This complex was so neat... these are photos of the actual Parca de Musica. The Renzo Piano Building Workshop (an Italain architecture firm) was commissioned for this design in the late 90s because of their specialization in acoustics.
This steel sheath was is like a shell above the wooden and brick building. The

One last picture of the music complex. There are 4 buildings in all; one being this outside amphitheater. The largest is for 2200 people, which is the largest size buildings can be made before the acoustics are effected.
oooo time is ticking! Eric leaves for Europe tomorrow afternoon and arrives at 4:40 Sunday afternoon. I can not wait!!



WOOOOO found a new favorite today!!

I bought almonds at the grocery store earlier tonight and just chopped them up and sprinkled them over bran cereal. Along with the cold creamy milk and a very light sprinkle of brown sugar... it was awesome.



a few things I'm thankful for...

family dinners (I had a great night last night)
driers (we wash our clothes here and we hang them up. and then we wait daaaaaays weeeeeeks)
chips and salsa (I love chips and salsa and Ive had them a lot in the last few days and I love them even more now!)
my little french press and coffees with my mom
Harleys (I can't wait for next spring already...)
Visitors (I loved having my parents come and I am soooooo excited for Eric and Mary Ann to get here)
Marco (and his fruits and veggies)
Lacey (I like her. a lot. She pushes me and our friendship has continued to grow even though we are worlds apart)
warm weather (sitting on the terrace today during class was pure perfection)
wireless internet
family (I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone)
feeling so safe here (I realized today that I have only felt legitimately unsafe less than a handful of times this entire semester)
creativity (I love my major and am so thankful I get to work on this type of homework and get to be creative each day)
country music
hot chocolate mix I'm hoping Bethany is feeling generous enough to give me some tonight)

I can hear homework calling my name.


Stuffed Peppers

Its becoming kind of a challenge for myself to see what types of meals I can make that are flavorful, inexpensive (especially if it lasts me 3 meals like my tuna noodle casserole did!), but are still packed with nutrition, too. I love the challenge!

After visiting Marco at the market I had the perfect ingredients to make stuffed peppers (that weren't stuffed, after all).
-a HUGE red pepper for 80 cents (I only used half)
-pack of mushroom rice 1.40 euro
-3/4 cup of peas (from a bag that was about 1.20)
-onions and a couple slices of peperocino cheese (entire block was 90 cents)
I boiled the peppers, made the rice/onion/pea blend, smothered the chunks of peppers with rice, topped with cheese and baked for about 10 min. It was a great meal and I still have a plate this size left for dinner tonight!
I am heading out with Melissa and her priest (from her home parish in Rochester who is now living here) to tour a few popular/famous churches here. Melissa's priest has lived and studied here for many years and is very knowledgeable about Rome's Christian history... can't wait!!


more birthday...

Who is lucky enough to get 2 birthdays!? yeesh... thank you so much everyone! I received these beautiful flowers and my favorite combo of nutella and bananas from my best friend Lacey, who is actually studying in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands right now!! She had already given me such a sweet and thoughtful gift that I was stunned that these were from her! Thanks lace :)

Usually I love to plan, shop, and cook my dinners... but that went straight out the window Wednesday night when I received this :) chips and salsa!!

I had the best birthday, as you all know, so when I walked into our studio for my art history lecture Wendesday night to this HUGE box I was shocked. and SO happy!

29 (let me repeat, twenty nine) pounds of food. my favorite food. my favorite food from home. loooove love love love love thoughtful gifts like this... wooo I have the butterflies again!
Brownie mixes, cake mix, frosting, oatmeal (!), 3 bags of tortilla chips!, 4 jars of my favorite flavor of salsa, dove chocolates, twizzlers and more twizzlers, skittles, starbursts, nutella, and the softest little stuffed animal!! Eric deeeefinitely earned some brownie points with my room mates......... thanks again hun!
I had every intention to take a better picture of all of the food looking a bit more organized than this heap of food buuuut I was too hungry! haha I am loving the chips and salsa!

**You may notice that the cake mix box is open... Karen opened the box on the way home just to smell the mix... what can I say?! we miss food from home! **

Tonight: brownies. Tomorrow morning? Oatmeal and toast. ohhhh yeah!


missing home

I miss home today....... and I miss my mom and dad's cooking..... especially the casseroles and warm desserts so I whipped this up for lunch!
tuna noodle casserole
a la Bridget

another huge perk of my newly found obsession and love for cooking and baking!? making my favorite dishes healthy and knowing exactly what I'm putting into them! I loaded this one with peas (they were so sweet!) and sauteed evoo, garlic, onion, milk, pepperocino & ricotta cheese (because thats all I had) water and tuna until the pasta was ready. Tossed them together and let them cook a little longer....... delicious!

speaking of delicious...

look at this lineup from last night's birthday chinese dinner!
white and fried rice, chop suey (my new favorite!), cashew chicken, sweet and sour chicken, shrimp lo mein, and spring rolls!

And, of course, we devoured the tarts and cream puffs! The puffs were filled with a sweet hazelnut paste filling, pistachio filling, and a perfectly chocolate mouse. I liked the lemon and fruit tarts the best, but they were all so tasty! yum!!
Thanks again, to everyone, for making my birthday so special. The songs/serenades (haha you know who you are!), on-the-hour Happy birthdays!, facebook posts, cards, and emails... everything made me feel so special.