Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Healthy Homemade Dog Treats with Carrots and Turmeric

This little guy has my heart.  He's been with me for 6 years now and ever since I've had him, my life has never been the same. He's been with me through ups and downs and to me he is literally my baby.  Obviously I want the best for him and I know how important nutrition is for these little fur babies, even though sometimes I must confess that I give in to those sweet eyes and table feed him every once in a while (I know, I know..), I just can't help it.


When I got him he was a small puppy and was sick with distemper, a terrible even fatal viral disease with no known cure. My little guy got better thank God with the help of a great veterinarian in Naples.  


Because he was a puppy when he had this disease, I wasn't able to train him as puppies should be trained because I was afraid he would get sick again, so I kept him indoors most of the time and I never let him socialize with other dogs because distemper is a very contagious disease and even a recovered dog can shed the virus for up to 2 to 3 months in the environment. 


He also didn't eat much so I gave him all the things that he liked the most just so he would eat and get better so I pretty much spoiled him rotten.  As I said, he eventually got better and today, 6 years later, he's become a very picky eater, he'll bite if he's on my lap and someone gets too close and he's a barker... I had him neutered when he was 2 and he's calmed down a bit since then but not completely. Nevertheless, in my eyes he's perfect as he is and I wouldn't want him any other way :-) He gets along great with our cat, Gigia and I'm glad they have each other when they are left home during the day since they keep each other company. Gigia absolutely adores Billy and follows him wherever he goes.


So now you can better understand why I want to give my little guy the best nutrition possible and some of the store bought treats aren't the best health wise. Billy's vet told me to try to incorporate some turmeric in his diet and by giving him one of these dog biscuits a day, I am able to do that. 

Turmeric is great for dogs and helps by boosting the immune system, it promotes heart, liver and digestive health as well as help with allergies, epilepsy and liver disease.  

I had to test the recipe out a couple times to get it right so I'm happy to share it with you today and hope that your dog can enjoy it as a treat as much as mine does. 

Ingredients: 
 - 300 grams rice flour
 - 3 grated medium sized carrots
 - 2 tablespoons of turmeric
 - 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
 - 1 egg
 - approximately 1 cup of water 
 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil



It's really quite simple. Incorporate all of the ingredients mixing well the dry ingredients first and then add the water, egg and oil until you reach the right dough consistency. Add more water if you find the dough to be too dry.



Bake for about 25 minutes in a  200° preheated oven until dried. 


The treats will keep for about 3 weeks stored in a closed container. 


When he really likes something, whether it's a toy or a treat (or something bad that he steals...) he'll take it under the dining room table LOL. I don't know why he does this. So when I gave him the treat and he took it under the dining room table I knew it was a winner! 

Hope you enjoyed the recipe!

xoxo, 

Silvana


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Friday, October 13, 2017

Yoga - Namastay In Shape.

I have started practicing Yoga recently and getting more into meditation and relaxation of the mind.  I just feel like this is what my body needs right now to get rid of pent up frustration and stress. I've always been fascinated by meditation and "mindfulness" but it's always been something that I have observed from afar. I guess I just never really knew where to start.  People would talk to me about meditating and I tried it but never really "got" it. 


I spoke briefly in another post about our issues with trying to conceive (TTC) which is cause for much grief and frustration for me. Mr. A and I have been actively TTC for years now and this journey has both brought us closer together as a couple but it has also put a lot of emotional strain on myself in particular. I'm not going to get into details about all the feels because if you've ever struggled with fertility you know exactly what I'm talking about and if you have not...well, you will most likely never understand. 

Until recently I was doing pretty well, or at least I thought, at hiding my frustration but lately things have changed and I find myself avoiding certain social situations which involve other pregnant couples or small children as I usually just break down and it's extremely hard for me to control those emotions so I would rather avoid them all together. 

I've talked to other women struggling and many have spoken very highly about meditation and yoga for relaxing the mind so I decided to try it out.  I don't have a lot of time on my hands with work and life in general and there aren't any good yoga studios near my house so I was considering buying dvds for beginners to start out with at home since I know practically nothing about yoga. I then happened to read an article by a woman that introduced me to YogaGlo. YogaGlo is an online yoga class membership site that offers unlimited access to classes of all styles from beginners to experts.  It costs $18 a month to join and you get a 15 day free trial. I'm still trying it out and not sure whether or not to invest in it yet (even though I already bought a yoga mat, two yoga blocks and a strap...LOL) but I do feel different since I started...."better different" that is. I've been doing a 5 minute session in the morning and a 30 minute one when I get home from work. I'm learning as I go but the instructors are great and talk you through it.  There are SO MANY classes to choose from so I know I won't get bored with it.  I've always been a cardio girl and have always gotten a rush from jogging and aerobics but right now I feel like I need something soothing and invigorating at the same time and I think this is it, at least for the time being. 


What I notice the most is that during the various yoga poses or "asanas" (that was the first time I used an actual yoga term y'all!), I acknowledge different areas of my body that I never really paid attention to before during my regular exercise routine. In the first class I followed for example, the instructor had us sitting in a normal lotus position (cross legged on the mat) and while bending the torso to the side, she had us run our thumbs along the side of the rib cage sort of massaging between the ribs on either side. That felt amazing! I would have never thought about that area of my body but I felt as though I could breathe deeper after that...it was a wonderful feeling. I'm happy because it's been a long time since I've felt passionate about starting something new. I laugh at myself because I REALLY set the mood when I start my class by turning the lights down and I even bought an essential oil diffuser that I absolutely LOVE and I create my own little yoga studio in my living room.  


I've been feeling less rushed during the day.  While driving to and from work I'm calmer for example. I just feel all around more serene in a sense. Again, I just started but I'm curious to see where this new journey takes me. 

Also, I think I need this t-shirt in my life. 

Via
I would love to hear your yoga stories. Have you tried it and what has it done for you? 
I'll update soon and see how things go. 
I hope you all have an amazing weekend! 

xoxo, 

Silvana





Sunday, June 18, 2017

To My Father

Dear Daddy,

You carried me on your shoulders and showed me the world.


You taught me how to ride a bike and drive a car as I was your favorite little girl.

You pushed me to never give up and keep going when I was ready to quit.


You even created my very own math computer program to help me appreciate the subject I hated the most (LOL...true).


Every moment I spend with you, you teach me something new.


You manage to lift up my spirits whenever I'm sad and blue.


I may not need you to hold my hand anymore, but I will always need you to hold me in your heart.

Happy Father's Day.

I love you,

Silvana


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping & Tips for Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh

Happy Valentine's Day! I know it's a silly holiday but I can't help getting all lovey dovey when I see big red and pink hearts everywhere.  I'm a hopeless romantic at heart what can I say. :-)


I hope you are enjoying this day with your sweetheart and if you're single: friends, chocolate, and some wine are just as good... if not better!

If you're in the mood for baking today, here's a flourless chocolate cake recipe you should try. It's the recipe for the Italian Caprese Cake which I topped with a meringue frosting.  It's pretty easy, there are just a few tricky steps but I'll explain them through. This is Mr. Amore's favorite cake so I made it for him this Valentine's Day. 

Ingredients for the cake: 
Skinned almonds - 200gr
Sugar - 180gr
Butter (room temperature) - 200gr
4 eggs
Dark Chocolate - 150gr

The first step is to roast your almonds for about 10 minutes in the oven at 400°F. Just lay them flat on a baking sheet and they should brown some once done. 


Next place them in a blender or mixer (I used my Nutribullet) and set aside. 


I got a creamy, buttery texture with my Nutibullet but if your consistency is drier and more flour-like, it's fine as well. 


Next step is to melt your chocolate in a double boiler (or in a microwave if you prefer).



Now mix the egg yolks, butter, sugar and almonds until thoroughly blended and set aside the egg whites. 


The batter should be pretty thick at this point as pictured above. 

Now in a clean glass or metal bowl whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. 


This is the tricky part... you have to very slowly and gently incorporate the two being careful not to  over-whip the egg whites. 


This is what the final batter should look like. 


Add to cake pan and bake in preheated oven at about 340°F for one hour. 


Now for the meringue topping, whip up 4 egg whites, half a cup of powdered sugar, a tablespoon of lemon juice and whip as done above, until stiff peaks form. Add a few drops of red food coloring if you like for decoration. 


Now add the meringue topping to the cake and decorate as you wish. 


Return to oven for about 10 minutes and voilà! If you have some  topping left over you can make little meringues like these. 

And if you happen to receive a lovely bouquet of flowers this Valentine's Day and want to keep them fresh for as long as possible here are some tips to make them last longer. 

Cut the ends off under running water or in a bowl of water to make sure no air enters the stem. 


Try adding half an espresso cup of vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar to the vase water. This is a homemade flower preservative that balances the pH of the water and helps keep the flowers bright and vibrant longer.



Happy Valentine's Day!


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Thursday, January 12, 2017

My Year of Hope.

Hello my friends and Happy New Year!  I hope you are well and that you had a pleasant holiday. The holidays are way past us now and in the beginning of every new year, as most of us do, I find myself thinking about the future...thinking about what's going to happen this year. For starters I will be turning 35.... ugh. 

When I was younger, I imagined I would be a mother to three beautiful children by now (my perfect number...3).  That's all I ever wanted. I'm not career savvy, I'm not one of those women who do all that they can to climb the ladder and have a wildly successful career...that's just not who I am. Things don't always go as planned so instead of my three children I have a job that I enjoy and am thankful for and two fur babies that mean everything to me. I have a man by my side that loves me like no other man has ever loved me and I have a house that embraces me with a feeling of warmth and comfort every night when I come home from work. I have friends and relatives that I laugh with until my belly hurts...but I am missing something important. 

I know there are many options out there for couples like us but my faith comes from God and only Him. "Unexplained infertility" is what we were told...which is worse in some ways because if we knew what was wrong we might actually be able to fix it but there IS nothing wrong....

Sometimes I get very frustrated and upset because I feel like my prayers are ignored but I continue praying and that small light of hope dims somewhat as time goes by but never burns out. Right before New Years, I was in my car stuck in traffic and the radio station I was listening to aired the final General Audience speech that Pope Francis gave of 2016. 

The Pope focused on the story of Abraham from the Book of Genesis.  Here's a summary:
Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.”  And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness.
This is a translation of the Pope's speech in regards to this passage: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Our continuing catechesis on Christian hope leads us in these Christmas days to consider the example of Abraham, who, as Saint Paul tells us, “hoped against hope” in God’s promises.  Trusting in the Lord’s word that a son would be born to him, Abraham left his home for a new land.  Although the fulfillment of God’s promise was long delayed and seemed to be impossible, Abraham continued to hope.  Even his discouragement and complaints were a sign of his continuing trust in God.  Abraham, our father in faith, shows us that sure trust in God’s word does not mean that we will not have moments of uncertainty, disappointment and bewilderment.  It was at such a moment that God appeared to Abraham, called him forth from his tent and showed him the night sky shining with countless stars, assuring him that such would be the number of his descendants.  Hope is always directed to the future, to the fulfillment of God’s promises.  May the example of Abraham teach us not be afraid to go out from our own tents, our limited outlooks, and to lift our eyes to the stars.

These words touched my heart and were the words that I NEEDED to hear in that exact moment to nourish that dimming light inside me. 

I wanted to share this with you just because I know how it feels to be frustrated and discouraged. I want this year to be my year of hope. As Pope Francis said...if all we have left is to look up at the stars, it's time to put your trust in God. There is nothing better than gathering up all your worries and putting them in God's arms. Hope never disappoints. 



Speaking of bringing hope to others... did you hear about what Chris Martin the lead singer of Coldplay (band that I absolutely adore) did on Christmas Eve? He showed up at a crisis center in West London on the night of Christmas Eve and surprised a huge crowd of homeless, volunteers and staff by playing all his songs and rocking out with everyone there without any publicity at all.  Someone that worked at the crisis center posted a picture with Chris Martin on Instagram writing "That moment when Coldplay's Chris Martin drops into the Crisis at Christmas shelter, with no fuss, no fanfare and no press, to help make tea and coffee and also play guitar so the guests can have a sing song. Thank you for coming down and getting stuck in."

via 


I loved this story.... This is what we need more of in this world. These are the things that give people Hope. 


Thanks for reading and God Bless. 

xoxo,

Silvana

Monday, September 5, 2016

2 Different Recipes for Stuffed Focaccia

Happy Labor Day to all of my American friends! I hope you are enjoying your long weekend whether it be relaxing, laboring or partying, the important thing is that you are well! 

This weekend we had guests over for dinner and since it's still really warm out I thought it would be nice to have dinner out on the patio. I made two different types of stuffed focaccia because they are always a big hit and even if they get left over they are great to have for lunch the following day. Today I'll share my recipe for spinach and ricotta stuffed focaccia as well as prosciutto and smoked mozzarella focaccia. Making stuffed focaccia is not really that difficult. It just takes time to make the dough beforehand and let it rise.  We had dinner at 8:00pm so I started making the dough at around 5:30.  


For the dough, here is the list of ingredients you will need: 

 - 500 grams of bread flour
 - one packet of active yeast (25gr)
 - 250 - 300 ml of lukewarm water
 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil
 - 1 tablespoon of salt 


You can either knead the dough yourself or let the mixer do the work for you. I did the kneading myself and left to rise in a sealed container for about 2 hours. If the dough seems too dry go ahead and add a little more water until smooth and elastic.  

After the 2 hours it more than doubled in size and looked great!  This is enough dough to make 2 large stuffed pies so if making just one, use half - doses. 


Now we are ready to make the focaccia. I started with the spinach and ricotta. Cook and drain your spinach (500 grams) making sure to really remove most of the water or else you will get a soggy focaccia bread...no bueno! Preheat the oven to 220°C or 430°F.

Add about 2 cups of ricotta cheese, one cup of Parmesan, a pinch of salt, pepper and a sprinkle of nutmeg. 


Mix everything well and roll out the base of your focaccia (about 2 fist fulls of dough).  Place the base on a greased baking dish and coat the dough with a drizzle of olive oil.  


Add your spinach filling on top of the dough making sure to leave some space on the sides where you will be sealing the focaccia closed with the top section. 


I added a couple small mozzarella balls cut in half before closing. Now add the top section of the dough, cover and seal the edges. Coat the top with a drizzle of olive oil and poke lightly as shown below. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden. 


Next I moved onto the prosciutto stuffed focaccia. The procedure is the same so lay out the bottom section of the dough making sure to grease your baking pan. Add the ingredients you wish to add so in this case I added some slices of cooked prosciutto, black olives, some tomato sauce and smoked mozzarella cheese. You really can add whatever ingredients you prefer with stuffed focaccia.  Mushrooms, artichokes, or even broccoli work really well  here.


This was the smoked mozzarella I used...mmmmm. Love it! It has a really smokey flavor to it and it tastes heavenly when melted on pizza. Try it sometime as an alternative to regular mozzarella cheese. 


Then just go ahead and cover it sealing the edges. Drizzle the top with some olive oil and poke with a fork. Same cooking time applies here as well. 


Isn't it lovely?!





Then I served it nice and hot from the oven and it was just the perfect consistency. Crispy outside and warm inside. 

While you're here, would you like to see my outdoor table setting? Fall is almost here but I'm still really enjoying these last summer nights outside with candles and lanterns... so romantic don't you think?




Have a great week! 

xoxo

Silvana


PS - What do you think of my new design? Hope you like it as much as I do :-)


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