Wednesday, October 29, 2008
For this craft, simply go to your local craft store and buy individual wood letters with a flat bottom. (They will need to stand flush on a wood base)
Spell out any of your favorite words, or even your last name!
For the base, any thin piece of flat wood will do. I chose a scrap from my garage, but for the size you'll need, you can find them at a home improvement store for next to nothing.
Place the letters onto the wood base as you want them to appear. Usually these letters have holes in the bottom so you can use a small screw to affix each letter to the base. otherwise, a strong wood glue will work just fine.
Allow to dry, then spray paint the entire piece in your color of choice. The finished product is just as nice as those fancy, expensive signs you find at home decor stores. I did the word "AMORE" for under $10.00.
These are great gifts too. If you know a family with not too long of a last name, you can really come up with a cheap yet thoughtful Christmas gift. Here are some more great word ideas:
IN YOUR HOME/BEDROOM/OFFICE:
Display your favorite place in Italy:
Italia, Roma, Venezia, Firenze, etc
IN YOUR KITCHEN:
These are great above the cabinets, on a shelf, or even on the counter. I display my "Amore" sign on my fridge!
Cucina, Cibo, Vino, Pasta, Salute, Amore
ON TOP OF YOUR PIANO:
The possibilites are endless. If music is not your hobby, name whatever you love and display that!
This is such an easy project that costs nearly nothing but leaves a lasting impression. With the holidays around the corner, this could save you lots of shopping! Please comment with your word ideas......CIAO!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I just want to be there. I don't care where in Italy (although the Ponte Vecchio in Florence could make for some great Christmas shopping!) I just want to be there....now. The air is different there. Perhaps it's the feeling you get being in a place where you can find the best of all Italian food on every corner. Then you can shop in the finest stores, see the most beautiful sights, and eat again! And just when you think you've eaten too much, it's time for an afternoon nap. Oh, how I long for the Italian lifestyle....
Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy my American freedoms. It only takes one trip to Italy to realize that people only hang their clothes on the line to dry because washers/dryers are rarely found in homes. No one's taking that modern convenience away from me, no sir. You won't see me washing three kids' laundry by hand and drying each piece on my balcony.
So, for that reason alone (Okay, and maybe a few others) I don't think I could live in Italy all year long.
But spending 6 months a year in a vacation villa in Tuscany? Now you might have me convinced. I think the following pictures could twist anyone's arm. These were taken by my very talented Aunt Josie, who has a great eye with the camera.
Don't tell me you aren't craving a trip to Italy now......
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
But while spending this week visiting with my sister-in-law, I must admit that her recipe comes in a close second. We (actually, she) spent most of the afternoon mixing, kneading, and baking fresh loaves of bread to feed all twelve of us. (There are eight children between our two families!)
But even with a full house we can always find time for buon cibo. Having several little helpers is always a bonus! My daughter, who we call the "carb machine," (she lives for pasta and bread) enjoyed making and eating it more than anyone.
This recipe is so easy and very tasty. It makes a great sponge for soaking up your favorite pasta sauce....
HOMEMADE BREAD LOAVES:
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
2 TB salt
3 1/2 cups very warm water
4 1/2 TSP (or two packages) yeast
7 cups of flour
Dissolve yeast completely in the warm water. In a separate large bowl, combine salt and olive oil. Add five cups of flour. Add the yeast/water mixture. Mix thoroughly. Then add remaining two cups of flour while mixing.
Knead until springy and a nice dough is formed. Grease the sides and bottom of the bowl, replace dough. Let rise (covered) for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Once risen, think of something that makes you very angry, then punch the dough down with your fist. Knead again. Place dough on lightly floured surface and knead again (Trust me , it's worth it). Divide the dough into four equal parts. Knead each ball of dough individually.
Grease two sheet pans with olive oil & butter and sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll out each ball into a large rectangle. Then roll the dough lengthwise, folding the ends and pinching the seams as you roll. Once rolled, smooth out the loaf by rolling it a few times on the floured surface to ensure that there are no holes in the loaf. Place loaves on pan(s) and let rise for about 40 minutes.
Once risen, set oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.
Makes four loaves total.
You will surely want to double the recipe since it will likely be halfway gone as soon as it's out of the oven.
Even if you aren't a "carb machine," freshly baked bread is irresistible.
Don't believe me? I think my nephew's face says it all----->
Friday, October 17, 2008
Today is a very special day for Italians.....It is the feast of Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini - the very first American citizen to become a saint. And guess what? She was Italian!
Born Maria Francesca Cabrini in 1850, her health was bad from the beginning. She was brought straight to the church for baptism. No one ever thought she would lead a long life of tremendous influence.
In Italy, She lived in the village in Sant' Angelo on the outskirts of Lodi, about 20 minutes from Milan. As a child she dreamed of becoming a missionary. In play, all of her dolls became nuns. When she got older, she was schooled in Italy and graduated with honors as a teacher.
The rest of her life brought many travels around the world. At the age of 27, she took her vows and became the mother superior of an Italian orphanage. This was just the beginning of her influential social work.
In 1889, she was moved to New York without knowing a word of English. She learned the language and helped the Italians who had immigrated there already. In 1909, after years of teaching and caring for the sick, she fulfilled her desire to become an American citizen.
In her lifetime, she founded sixty-seven hospitals, orphanages, and schools around the world. Because of her social outreach to the Italians in both Italy and America, she is known widely as the patron saint of immigrants and schoolteachers.
Mother Cabrini has sent a strong message to Italian-Americans throughout her life and even now, after her death. She was undoubtedly a strong woman with a big heart who conquered many obstacles of her time for selfless reasons. It seems that what these strong women of history have in common is that they are always giving. All of the talents she acquired were used to help others.
Much like a mother, she ruled over her postulants, she cared for her sick 'children,' and she helped to teach people of all ages. So in her own way, Mother Francis Xavier Cabrini was a very special "una mamma italiana!"
Thursday, October 16, 2008
For direct access to my "home page" on italiansrus, click here.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
So we're sitting outside at an Italian restaurant in the summer. As you can imagine, the mediteranean weather had us hot and "sudato" (sweaty). To cool off, we did what any average American would do - we asked for some ice cold water. A simple request, right?
In Italy, like in many European countries, they drink water at room temperature because it is essentially healthier for you. You can drink larger quantities when it's not so cold (allowing for good hydration). Also, drinking water at room temperature increases your metabolism (so they say). So from a health perspective, you might begin to understand why "ice cold" is not the norm.....
Unless, of course, you were still hot and growing increasingly irritated.
So after getting our glasses of water, we had to call the "cameriere" (waiter) over again to ask for some "ghiaccio" (ice). <-----find out how to ask for ice in the 'word of the week' on the sidebar! So anyway, when all is said and done, the waiter brings out some ice (I'm talking 4 cubes for a table of 6 people) on a plate. Yes, a plate. And as I said before, the weather was hot so you can imagine that this little bit of ice didn't last long. But hey, at least we learned our lesson, right?
Take our word for it and don't make this same mistake in your travels. That way you'll keep whatever dignity an American tourist in Italy has!
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Crafts are a great learning tool for kids and adults alike! These simple crafts with an Italian twist will make Columbus Day a feast to remember! Check out more celebration ideas here.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Trim, de-vein, and season four chicken breast with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and italian seasoning
Add a few TB olive oil to a skillet
Brown the chicken breasts on both sides
Add in 1-2 cups of heavy whipping cream
(Remember to watch your heat, I suggest keeping it on medium from here on out)
sprinkle a few heaping TB of grated romano cheese over the chicken until all of it is covered. While cooking, the cheese will melt into the cream and thicken it.
Let the cream bubble, the cheese melt, and the chicken cook all the way through (about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts)
When you plate the chicken, save all that creamy goodness to pour on top
OPTIONAL - at the end, you could put the whole pan under the broiler for a couple minutes and get that cheese really bubbling! (either way, though, you'll get a tasty gravy!)See what I mean? Super Easy and very tasty. But that's no surprise considering romano makes everything taste great! Buon Appetito!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
It's a Tie!!!!!
Can you believe it? I guess the Italian American hearts are torn between Parmiggiano Reggiano e Pecorino Romano. (Can you really blame them?)
The freshly grated versions of both cheeses are pretty good, I'll even admit it (although Romano is my first love). But here's a little something that might change your mind.....
The above was a small (but hilarious) tribute to parmiggiano. Romano's tribute will come by way of a mouth watering recipe in the next couple of days...keep watching!