Showing posts with label mamma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mamma. 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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Foodie Friday & Everything Else

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Cottage in the Country

I've been having a great summer and am so sad to see it coming to an end. I am extremely grateful for the time my mother and I have been able to spend together. She will be leaving next week and I will miss her dearly but I am already looking forward to my next trip to the States this winter.


We spent the first half of august in southern Italy with family and friends and everyone was so happy to see her as it was over two years since she had been back in Italy. 


We had a big family dinner but unfortunately not everyone could be present.  We have a huge family in Brindisi.  It was nice to see everyone again.  Even though I live in Italy I don't get to see them all very often because I live further away so it was a treat for me as well to see everyone. 


The last week of vacation we did something different and rented a villa in Umbria close to Assisi through an agency called Emma Villas. They rent luxurious private villas all throughout Italy but are mainly based out of Tuscany and Umbria. 


There are hundreds of villas to choose from. All of the villas have private pools and offer all kinds of services and amenities that suit your needs. It was a dream come true for me as this cottage pretty much sums up my dream home... 


Some of the pictures here I took myself but others are from the website since they did such a wonderful job capturing the beauty of the property. 


Since there were originally 6 of us (we ended up being 4 since two of our guests couldn't make it) plus our pup, we decided on a 4 bed 4 bath 3 story villa. The property was entirely enclosed which was perfect for the the dog who could roam around freely and I wouldn't have to worry about him running onto busy streets.





I absolutely fell in love with the home and it was such a peaceful and relaxing week that I needed to take my mind off of things and just recharge my batteries. 


This was where we had dinner most nights and I loved waking up early and just taking in the beautiful surrounding scenery with my morning coffee.  It was so peaceful.


There were olive and fruit trees all throughout the property which were illuminated at night. 


Here are some more pictures of the cottage of my dreams... swoon...


The pool was located at a lower level with respect to the cottage and was surrounded by secular old olive groves. 




The villa had everything we needed including a barbecue which we used almost every night. Mom was the one who knew how to start the fire! Neither Mr. Amore or I had ever used one before (I know...) and she was seriously a pro! 


Everything was amazing! One night we made grilled fish, calamari and prawns on the grill and they were outstanding!


The house we stayed in was filled with beautiful artwork.  Each room had a special piece that you could tell was original and probably pretty expensive. 




One of the paintings really stood out to me for some reason and there is quite a story we found out about the woman in the painting below. 


I found out that the lady is mother to the owner of the cottage. Her name is Madame Suzanne and she was from Auvergne, France. I found out that she was a talented decorator and lover of antiques, gourmet food and an excellent swimmer. She was mother to three boys and unfortunately died in a tragic car accident in Italy, most likely in Umbria in 1964, 10 years after this painting was made and was probably in her early forties. Her three boys were all very young when they lost their mother. 


Here is a picture of her with one of her sons. I don't know why this particular painting stood out to me so much.  She seemed like a very sweet and loving lady as well as beautiful indeed. May she rest in peace. 

While we were in Umbria we visited Assisi which I've visited before but my mother was never there and really wanted to visit the Basilica of St. Francis. 


It is astoundingly beautiful inside and I'm not going to lie I got pretty emotional.  It touches me to see so many people praying together and when you're in a place like this you can't help but pray for more peace in our world. 

Assisi is a medieval town and it shows through its architecture. 


We stopped at a cute little restaurant before heading back home and had some great food. 


Umbria is famous for it's prosciutto and wild boar so many of the typical entrees include these ingredients.  


Above is a typical Umbrian first course dish of egg pasta or pappardelle with a ragu sauce made with sausage and wild boar meat. Below are two different types of flat bread pizza one with squash blossoms and one with prosciutto.  


I think I'm going to end this post here with my favorite things...you know, food :-) 

Now that august is coming to an end, I'm looking forward to all things fall and am glad to be getting back into the routine of things. 

Hope all is well with you dear friends. 

xoxo, 

Silvana


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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Summer Vibes - My Favorite Vacation Spots in Italy

I am SO excited about summer vacation approaching! I'm really looking forward to visiting some new places this summer.  My mother will be here for the month of August and this year I wanted to go somewhere different from our usual vacation spots. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but if not my mother is from the Puglia Region specifically from the town of Brindisi which is basically located at the heel of the "boot"...I know, I'm so geographically technical LOL...

So our vacation spots are usually down south that way my Mom can get to visit all of her family and relatives in the short time she's here. This year we want to switch things up a bit. I would love to take a cruise over to the Greek Islands.  I still have yet to go to Greece and every year I say I'm going to but I never do so hopefully this year I'll get a chance to.

So in case any of you are interested in visiting Italy any time soon, I've picked out some of my favorite summer vacations spots you can consider that are not your usual touristy places like Rome, Naples or Milan but that are really worth a visit.

Porto Cesareo 

Porto Cesareo is located in the province of Lecce on the coast of the Ionian Sea and is famous for its long beaches and sandy bottoms that remain low for many meters.  Since it is located in the gulf area, it really has a Caribbean type vibe and is just a spectacular vacation spot...by far my favorite in Southern Italy. It's relatively close to Brindisi, where my family is from so it's where we usually go on the weekends when the weather is nice. The best time to visit is between May and July and in September. In August it is PACKED with people so be prepared to book early because waiting 'til the last minute is not that great of an idea if your planning on visiting Porto Cesareo in August.  
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There are many places to stay in Porto Cesareo but if I had to recommend a Resort I would definitely suggest Le Dune Suite Hotel . It is located right on the beach and it is a relatively new hotel with a beautiful Spa and private beaches for their guests. It also has 3 restaurants within the hotel.

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Santa Caterina al Bagno


There are so many beautiful places to visit if you are in that area. Just a few kilometres away is a small town called Santa Caterina al Bagno which is a lovely beach town with lots of shops to visit. While there really aren't that many sandy beaches here as it is more of a reefy area it is still a sight to see and great for snorkeling and fishing.

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Porto Selvaggio

There is also a very secluded "secret" beach... which is not so secret anymore... called Porto Selvaggio which is also in the same area as Porto Cesareo and Santa Caterina al Bagno.  It is a natural reserve and can only be reached by taking a long ass hike which kind of sucks because if you are going there to take a swim it's probably like 100° outside and you're most likely trucking along a beach umbrella, bag, toys, etc. etc. and you probably will be really uncomfortable. This is a picture of the hike from Santa Caterina al Bagno to Porto Selvaggio:

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But once you get there.....YOU'RE IN PARADISE...

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The places I've listed above are all pretty close to each other and it is by far my favorite place to be in the summer and I highly recommend it to anyone.  The entire Puglia region is breathtakingly beautiful but this spot here takes the cake in my opinion.

Moving up to central Italy my second favorite place to visit is ....yes...Tuscany. The colors, the wine, the people, the FOOD... to die for.  Obviously you are already aware of the more famous Tuscan cities which are Florence, Pisa and Livorno and I love visiting them all. The people in Tuscany are the sweetest, very generous and friendly and I have seriously considered moving there because it is one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. Mr. Amore and I frequently visit Tuscany on long weekends because it's not that far and we have found that one of our favorite places to stay is:

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is located in the Province of Sienna and it is a medieval town situated of a limestone cliff about 40 miles from Sienna. Montepulciano is known world wine for its wine and you can be certain that whenever we go there we stock up on our vino rosso!

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We buy our Red rigorously at the Cantina Contucci located in the heart of the town. It is a family owned winery and the owners are the nicest people. The Contucci family has been producing wine since the Renaissance period! We're talking 1700's so they know what they're doing! 

It's a tiny little hole in the wall when you see it from the street


But then you walk it and it's like...BAM...

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When we visit Montepulciano we always stay at Villa Poggiano.  It's a very cozy hotel with great service and offers lots of activities including a cooking class as well as hiking and backpacking tours. 

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The Alps - South Tyrol

Moving further up the peninsula...(I feel like a weather hostess)...another AMAZING place to visit in the summer are the Alps in Trentino Alto Aldige specifically the South Tyrol area.   We stay in a small town called Ahrntal which is very close to the Austrian border. It's funny the first time I went there I was surprised as the people living there speak a German dialect that is typical of the area and many don't even speak Italian. 
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We love visiting each year and I always leave feeling so refreshed and relaxed. We get lots of exercise when we go here as it is a place where you do lots of bike riding and hiking. So if you're into sports and wellness this is the place to visit.

It has a very "Sound of Music" vibe. It's gorgeous in the summer as well as winter.

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It's definitely not as hot in the summer as it is in the south and the air is so pure and clean from pollution and smog. We hit all the trails whenever we go and get a great workout. Here are the maps we use which are available at the location.  This particular mountain is called Speikboden





Whenever we go we stay at the Schwarzenstein Resort & Wellness Center.  This is an all inclusive resort with a premium Spa area that has 10 different saunas that are included in the price and that you can use whenever you want. This place is truly good for the soul. 

So those are the places that I have very much enjoyed and I wanted to share them with you because they are not your usual touristy cities.  This is more of an insiders perspective to some beautiful Italian places to visit that aren't that well known to tourists but that are definitely worth the visit if you get a chance. 

Hope you are having a great week! 

xoxo

Silvana