Tried something new!

I am having one cUHrazy Halloween........

not really.... instead Bethany and I are drinking wine, eating oreos (from her parents visit!) and plugging away at projects. oooh! and I heard more plans for Eric's visit! We both tried new dishes for dinner, too! She made incredible lettuce wraps and I made this!
Toasted Garlic and Chickpea on a Toasted baguette
I am getting so into cooking and baking (mostly cooking here because our oven is teeny. tiny. itty. bitty. and its a bit tricky guaging time/heat without a temp gauge!) and this recipe has been in the back of my mind for mooonths. no joke! I read Iowa Girl Eats blog daily and she made this with white beans........

I made mine with chickpeas (an excellent source of protein, inexpensive, and low in fat!)
I toasted 3 fresh garlic cloves in olive oil, added 3 diced roma tomatoes, sauteed it a bit, and then added and mashed a can of chickpeas. Slowly, I added ~1/4 milk and s&p. I quickly toasted my baguette and smushed my spread on top of my bread. so good!

A little Cinese and home in Roma...

No, I did not misspell Chinese in the title :) Because 'c' is pronounced as 'ch' in the Italian language, all of the signs for Chinese restaurants are written Cinese here! I think its cute.

I just couldn't do it. no pasta. no veggies.

instead........ Chinese. with Karen :) We went out together a couple Fridays ago and enjoyed watching a ridiculous and scary cartoon while eating really good Chinese food just a couple doors down from our apartment. Weird but completely enjoyable. I had spring rolls (made with just cabbage (is this the way they are all made?).. they were a bit more sour than I am used to but still good!), white rice, and cashew chicken (that was tender!!). My total bill was 7 euro... not too shabby! Karen and I were both stuffed when we left.... buuuuut....
we wanted something warm and something chocolately! My parents brought me a box of turtle brownie mix so we whipped 'em up... they're a little funky made with olive oil but that didn't stop us. caramel swiiiiiirl
As much as I loooove baking cookies, making bars, and even pies or cheesecakes.... a pan of brownies is at the top of my list. Remember this!?
Oooooh! I didn't forget about it... I officially added it to my Christmas list haha :) And this! It seems to me that its a staple in any kitchen....
I leave for a week in Switzerland-Germany-Milan-and-Venice tomorrow night so I have a few things to get done before I can head out. Ciao! Have a great week!

All things green

Morning! ooo and Happy Halloween! I almost forgot! hmmm I could go for some leftover Halloween Twix or Kit Kats right now....

I've had a great morning so far and its only 11! woot! Marco's veggies were looking so good yesterday so I grabbed a huge head of romaine and this morning chopped it all so 1. I'll use it and not shy away from eating salad because of the dreaded prep work and 2. so I use it all and don't let it go bad!
Italians only use the balsamic vinegar & olive oil duo for dressing salads, but I have come up with my own favorite. I will for sure bring this one back to the states with me! A light drizzle of olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and the star ingredient ricotta cheese! It's sooooo good. I've been eating carrots, roma or cherry tomatoes, black beans and this 'dressing' on my salads... I love it!

Look at these little gems! Becky has had friends visiting from the states and after their Toscana trip they stayed here last night....... and since they didn't want to tote around a bag of grapes they left them for us! Can't say I was disappointed... These aren't your typical grapes. They are tangy, but so sweet! and they squish almost as if they are a really juicy gummy inside. The only downside... three. stupid. seeds. in. each. little. grape. The seeds in the oranges and grapes just annoy me.

and last but not least.... a little fruit before breakfast...
is it a lime!?
is it an orange!?
I'm still not sure and my search to find out what it is is coming up short..... beeest part!? no seeds! Marco gave Bethany and I a couple of these and I will definitely be buying more!

That's a wrap. Have a great Saturday!!


mm mm mm!

mmm! I just made -err heated up- soup and the best little baguette for dinner. You can't beat a fairly fresh vegetable soup with no added preservatives on a cool evening.... last night was a looong night (and morning!) doing homework so after a class, shopping, a nap and shower this absolutely hit the spot! For dessert I baked a couple small baking apples with cinnamon that I found at our fruit market. I miss my mom's apple crisp and my Grandma Shirley's apple pie bars! mmm can't wait for the holidays!!

On Tuesday we had the unique opportunity to attend a book making workshop by well known book artist Vittorio Fava. Who spoke NO english whatsoever, I might add.

Although my book looks a bit too 'mixed media meets collaged school project' I am stoked that I learned how to sew/glue/make the signatures or pages in the book and a few techniques along the way. A couple photos from the day...
our front and back covers are covered plywood.
bindings made of thick fabric (mine was denim) stuccoed and nailed.
my beautiful mess
putting the signatures together
(a signature is the most basic element of a page. each signature has 4 pages. think of how a folded piece of paper (which can be bound) has a front, front-back, back, and back-back.)
I chose some new gorgeous paper I purchased from Vertecchi, old pages from different books of all shapes and sizes, vintage Italian postcards, sheet music, tissue paper, and other textured paper.Vertecchi paper My completed back cover.
I will use this as a 'scrapbook' or journal of my semester in Roma for when I get home.
My mission: complete my travel journals within the first week I get home.I am going to try to update a few things on my blog... isn't annoying that the column width is so narrow and the leading is so large... one little paragraph spans 6 inches down your page. Trying to fix it.... have a great weekend! ciao!

25Oct Mass

hello mr. pope! our outing to the Vatican last Sunday resulted in mass. again. in San Pietro. again. this time.... sitting down. I was 3 chairs from the aisle so I got a close glance at Pope Benedict!

It is quiiite the spectacle and doesn't feel like mass at all, but incredible nonetheless. I will not be able to catch the pope again while I am here so I am thankful I was able to see him three times.
a barefoot man dressed up as Jesus..... a little peculiar.



Having my parents here was suuuuurreal. Absolutely surreal! I rushed downstairs immediately when I saw them drive up in the taxi and had to keep reminding myself throughout the week that We are in Italy! Together! No way!
too cute :) Love you both.

We had a week to ourselves... we hit every monument/statue/museum/church they could have wanted and were able to stroll through piazzas, alleys, and streets in Rome. After 4 days in Rome we drove to Tuscany. Driving was a blast... and it went a lot smoother than I thought it would :)
We stayed in a great hotel in a smaller town and shopped and walked the days away.... the highlight of the trip for me?? My new gorgeous Italian leather weekender! gorgeous. I loooooove it. Thanks Mom and Dad :)
After 3 days and 5 towns (Florence, Siena, Colle Di Val D'Elsa, San Gimignano and Volterra) they headed for London and the Cotswolds. They had a fabulous time here and I've heard they are loooving it in England/London!! :) I am looking SO forward to being home and seeing them and Jake & Sara... and sitting by a fireplace with hot chocolate!!... and dancing at Outlaws... and eating Mexican... and being with Eric. ooooooooo I can't wait!

One thing that I will miss is the food here. My parents and I had some AWESOME dinners and sweets during their visit... I want to remember every dish I have here so I can remake them when I go home-home so here a few of the best!

I love nutella and I love crepes... why not combine them!?gelatoooo!horrible photo but you get the idea. Risotta with clams and mussels. YUM! My new favorite!!sausage and cicory pizza!vegetarian pizza. SOOOO good!MY FAVORITE.
Cornetto al cioccolato
Karen and I even made dinner for our parents! Gnocchi and ricotta/spinach filled ravioli with 2 different home made sauces; pesto & zucchini and tomato and fresh basil. Delish!

the Tuscan country side... simply beautiful
surprise surprise :) my dad and Harleys

my mom and I
rolling and green and beautifula little self timer action...
so quaint... love the pop of redand a great way to end the trip :) my mom and her awesome leather purse!


Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary!
Celebrating 28 years in Rome at the Trevi Fountain
May parent's have seen it all.... multiple times! They've gawked and taken in the Pantheon, Vatican City and its multiple museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps, several piazzas, even more churches, aaaaaaand they've tried all of the awesome food I've fallen in love with!My mom's favorite -- Granita con panna! Icy, decadently sweet espresso sandwiched between two layers of whipped cream :) My dad's -- I think its a toss up between the lasagna he had tonight and the awesome sandwich we had for lunch.Off to Tuscany in the morning!