Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Life Lately with a Side of Italian Roasted Peppers

I have a lot of catching up to do on this blog of mine and it seems like I have so much to say I don't know where to start. Things have been hectic around these parts and my anxiety level is slowly creeping back up. I had a terrible day this past Friday and needed to blow off some steam. The day just started out bad from the moment I woke up until I left work because it seemed that everything I did was wrong, there was way too much to do and I just couldn't take the pressure anymore. I haven't been sleeping well at night as the dog wakes up at all hours of the morning barking up a storm because it's too damn hot here and so I have to leave the window open.  He hears cats outside rummaging through the trash and goes bonkers... When I wake up in the middle of the night I start thinking about a million things...my mind starts racing and I can't go back to sleep.  The anxiety has gotten to me.. 

There are few things that calm my anxiety and one of them is shopping... The only shopping that relaxes me is home furnishing and decor stores...so that is where I went. I found this pillow that lightened my mood and took it home with me. I think it looks good and it makes me smile so it's staying on my couch for the time being.


Another thing that calms my anxiety is painting...anything... Just put a paint brush in my hand and I'm good. So my balcony needed painting as it was pretty chippy (not good chippy either). 


So I also picked up some paint and went to town. It looks so much better now and I'm glad I took care of that cause it was bugging me for some time now. 


I don't think I showed you my front door that I painted a couple weeks ago. I know I posted it on Instagram.  My dog scratched the crap out of that door and it too needed some lovin'. It looks so much better now and I am no longer embarrassed when people come over! 


I added some new accessories to my kitchen  and organized some spices and things in cute little glass jars. I just think they look more organized now as I had most in their original store bought baggies. 


Gigia has had this rodent ulcer thing on her lip for almost a year now. Her lip swells up and nothing seems to help her expect for a cortisone injection (depomedrol). It apparently is an allergic reaction but I have absolutely no idea to what...The shot lasts for about 20 days...the swelling goes down but now her lip has swollen back up and I'm nervous about giving her another shot because of the side effects.  I've changed her to a hypoallergenic diet, tried a bunch of things but nothing seems to work. She's not in pain or anything and she's acting normally but I just hate seeing her like this. She also got diarrhea after the depomedrol shot and that was great... I had to switch up the diet again...anyways...it was a mess.  Now that the diarrhea is gone the lip swells back up...my poor baby.


On a more positive note we went to my cousins First Holy Communion in Rome last week and that was fun. It reminded me of my Holy Communion and got me thinking about how my faith stayed with me and has gotten stronger over the years. I pray that these children don't take for granted this blessed Sacrament and that their faith accompanies them throughout their lives. My faith has gotten me through many hardships and I wouldn't be anything if it wasn't for God's strength in me. 


He's our little guy Antonio :-) He's a cutie.


This is part of the family at the restaurant and a picture of the beautiful cake. 


It was SUPER hot that day so little guy had to go and change because he was itching to go play outside with his buddies. 


That's pretty much what's been going down lately in these parts. 

Oh yes! I almost forgot about the roasted peppers! This is another typical Italian dish that is very healthy and is served as a side dish or antipasto.  It goes super well on top of bruschettas or crostini and is so easy to make. Let me guide you through the process.

Wash your bell peppers and place on a baking sheet.  Preheat the oven to 180° C (350°F).  


Roast for about 35 minutes turning the peppers over after 15 minutes. 


Place the peppers as they are in a plastic container covering them and leaving them to cool for no less than one hour. 


The steam from the peppers will facilitate the removal the skin later on. 


Once the time is up remove the stem.  You should find that seeds are mostly attached to the stem. 


The skin comes off super easy.  The peppers will release a good amount of juice.  Make sure to keep that and set aside. Place the peppers in a dish and just peel off the skin as shown below. The secret here is the time left in the container.  The longer you leave them sitting the easier it is to remove the skin. 


In a small dish combine a couple garlic cloves, a small jalapeno pepper, the juice that you set aside from the peppers and a tablespoon or so of olive oil, some salt to taste and chopped parsley. 


Mix well and add to the peppers. 


That's all there is to it.  I love this antipasto.  It's easy enough to make at home and it's healthy!

I hope you all are doing well.  Now I'm going to get back to my day finish my coffee and get ready for church. 

Counting down the days 'til my mamma gets here!  We're going to have a blast.  I know Cathy is going to miss her but she has some wonderful ladies that take excellent care of her while Mom's away so I know she's in good hands. 

I don't know about you guys but I am slightly obsessed with selfie filters and so is my mother apparently ! Cathy doesn't seem very amused though LOL! 


Have a wonderful week ahead! 

xoxo, 

Silvana



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Prawn Linguine with Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce

I know I haven't been very good at keeping up with my blog lately and I do miss it. This is a place where I like to share the things that make me happy and it's something I really enjoy doing so I'm happy to be back here today. 

Things have been pretty hectic with work and life in general.  I've been making an effort to go for an hour long walk/jog every day after work. I've been doing pretty good with sticking with it so I'm proud of myself for that. I haven't noticed any drastic weight loss or anything but I feel stronger and have more energy so I guess that's some improvement. 

My favorite blogs to follow other than DIY/home decor blogs are weight loss blogs.  I'm fascinated by the drive and motivation that these bloggers have to push through on their weight loss journey. I'm inspired by them to live a healthier lifestyle because that kind of drive is not easy to maintain every day for an extensive period of time. At least not for me... I'm usually pretty good for a couple weeks then I slowly creep back to my old eating habits. I'm sure I'm not the only woman who struggles with this...it's just frustrating at times especially when the warmer weather comes around and I'm trying on bathing suits and shorts...ugh! 

I have tried many fad diets and low carb eating but I find that it's not in the least bit easy for me to maintain long term.  Yes, I would lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time but I would always put it back on again (...and then some...) as soon as I starting eating regularly again. I also firmly believe that moderation is key and that it's ok to have pasta every once in a while but I make sure that the condiments or dressings used are healthy and light so I opt for a fresh tomato sauce as opposed to a creamy cheese sauce for example. I'm also trying not to mix carbs and protein in one meal so I'll do rice or whole wheat bread with a salad or veggies for lunch for example and only protein and veggies for dinner. Hopefully I will maintain a steady and gradual weight loss without having to starve myself or feel deprived from the foods I love. Anyways, I'm not here to give weight loss advice I just wanted to document what I've been doing lately and it seems to be working for me (for now at least lol). 

On that note I wanted to share a delicious and light seafood pasta dish that is great for summer and won't leave you feeling weighed down when you finish eating. This is a typical Italian dish that I made for our Sunday meal a while back and instead of using ready made sauce I made my own tomato sauce from fresh cherry tomatoes.



It was just the two of us so I bought a handful (about 8) fresh prawns.  These little guys don't really have a lot of meat in them but they do have a lot of flavor so they add a delicious seafood taste to the sauce. I just rinsed them and dried them off with a paper towel and set aside. 


For the sauce I used about half a kilo a fresh cherry tomatoes cut in half.  I added them to a pot with a cut up shallot and some fresh basil leaves and let them cook for about ten minutes on low heat stirring occasionally. I didn't add any salt yet as it will be added later together with the prawns. 


Next I placed everything in the sauce maker and pressed the condiments into a small bowl. 


Keep turning until you're only left with the skin and seeds of the tomatoes. Make sure to scrape the sauce off the bottom of the press. 


Here is the fresh tomato sauce that will be used. 


Next I sauteed the prawns with one garlic clove (which I removed once it browned), about a tablespoon of olive oil and a cup of dry white wine. 


When the white wine evaporates add the sauce. I like to press the prawns down while cooking to release the juices which will add that delicious seafood flavor to the pasta. 


At this point I added salt and pepper to taste along with some chopped fresh parsley.


In a separate pot I cooked the linguine "al dente" drained the pasta and added the sauce amalgamating everything together for a few minutes on low heat. 



That's pretty much it! Now you're ready to serve...preferably in your favorite dinnerware :-)


This is about a 400 calorie dish and it will keep you full for a while. In the future I might try making this with whole wheat pasta which would probably be an even healthier alternative and I'm sure would taste just as good. 


I hope you enjoyed this recipe. 

Have a great rest of the week and I promise to be back again soon and update on my weight loss progress.

xoxo

Silvana


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Monday, May 8, 2017

Kumquat Coconut Cake

Remember in my last post where I shared with you a photo of my bountiful kumquat tree and had no idea what to do with the fruits? Well I tried a great recipe that I'll share here today. It's really simple to make and the kumquats give the cake a delicious citrus flavor that pairs together rather nicely with the coconut. 


I saw many recipes online for kumquat coconut cookies and thought I might try mixing the two ingredients into a cake topped with cream cheese frosting and it turned out fantastic.

So I picked the kumquats from my tree and I used about 30 of them in this cake. If you want a more citrus flavor you can go ahead and just add more. 


Ingredients for the cake: 

 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
 - 3 eggs
 - 1/2 cup milk
 - 1 cup vegetable oil
 - 30 chopped kumquats 
 - 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
 - 1/2 cup desiccated unsweetened coconut 
 - 2 teaspoons baking soda
 - 1 teaspoon salt


When chopping up the kumquats make sure to remove the bitter seeds if they have any. Mine had a lot and it was kind of a pain but it's a necessary step. 


Mix the ingredients together in your mixer until everything is blended evenly. 


Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and pour batter into a previously greased and floured baking dish. 


Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 


You can't even begin to imagine how good this cake made my house smell. It smelled divine for the whole day...no Yankee candle can even compare!


I let the cake cool completely and frosted with home made cream cheese frosting which went really well with this cake. 


I shared some with my next door neighbor and her family (so that I wouldn't eat it all myself lol) and they enjoyed it as much as I did so I'm happy to say it was a hit. 


Who says you can't eat cake for breakfast? I sure enjoy it :-)

Have a spectacular week ahead! 

xoxo, 

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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