Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Evening trip to San Cosimo

Each year we're in Puglia we make a pilgrimage of sorts to the Sanctuary of San Cosimo all Macchia to visit the Ss Cosma e Damiano, patron saints of my nonna. Not really a pilgrimage in the sense that we take a long walk there, but we did take a long flight to arrive to the country and then a short ride later in a car and we've arrived to the outskirts of the city of Oria where the church is located.

Ss Cosmas and Damiano

Also, tradition for my kids to run through the piazza outside the church near the parking lots.

Sofia running through the piazza in 2008...

And later Olivia in 2010...notice I put them in the same outfit for this traditional picture I take. 

C is for Crepes

I love crepes. They are a favorite sweet of mine in Italy and it's always been something I felt like I should attempt at making on my own. They look simple enough and it would come in handy when I feel like eating one when I'm not in Italy.

Today was the day. I found an amazingly simple recipe for crepes on my favorite search engine and off I went. My only question after making 15 crepes was why I hadn't been making them sooner?!?! I have all the ingredients on hand all the time, it took little effort and they were a quick and easy meal. Yes, I said meal. My girls and I enjoyed nutella crepes for lunch today. That's how we roll.

What's a nutella crepe without a touch of powdered sugar? Incomplete. Go ahead, add the extra sugar. Look at that smile as my middle gobbles up lunch.

And the list of ingredients you could add to the inside of your crepe is incredible too. Not just for Nutella lovers. You could add a multitude of combinations for either a sweet or savory taste:

- ham & cheese
- peaches & cream
- strawberry jam, really any kind of jam
- peanut butter & jelly
- cream cheese

Today I enjoyed it simple. Nutella, powdered sugar and a handful of chopped strawberries. See, I kept it a little healthy.

Monday, August 14, 2017

the days are long...

With the end of summer drawing near, too fast in my opinion, I'm reminded often of my one on one time with my little man is also drawing to a close as he prepares for his first year of pre-school this September. The shock is too much for this mama to stand.

It feels like yesterday that he arrived and became our party of five. First foods, first steps, first words. All milestones that have come, been celebrated and documented and now behind us. We had many days to ourselves and I'll always be grateful (and a little tired) remembering how we filled them. Lazy days around the house playing and watching favorite shows, trips to the park, visiting the library, the zoo and the farms. Our weekly sweet treat date just him and I.

Next stop...preschool. What is a mama to do?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fresh Roasted Tomato Sauce

From our trip last week to Maples Acres Farm, we came away with some fresh produce, most importantly - tomatoes! The farm was brimming with them and they looked so juicy and delicious I had to buy some up to make some fresh tomato sauce to freeze. I would love to try my hand at canning properly one day, but this method works well for me for now.

Quite honestly the easiest and simplest method to getting your tomatoes cooked down to blend to freeze is by roasting them. I chop off the stem of the tomato but other than that, I'm using everything else so not much gets wasted. No skin to peel and no seeds to have to discard. Simple and easy. Just what this mama needs.

I started by cleaning the tomatoes in a simple water bath and giving them a good scrub. They came directly from the farm, so there was some but minimal dirt resting on the skin. I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and while that got ready, I had plenty of time to halve the tomatoes, pour some olive oil in a casserole dish, place tomatoes in the dish side by side and sprinkle more olive oil and some salt. This part is done. Place in oven for about 40-45 minutes checking towards the end so that they don't end up drying up. Allow to cool.

Once the tomatoes have cooled, I used a very simple and inexpensive blender to chop up. I like it to be a little thick and not watery, so it didn't take too much to get to my desired consistency. Pour into my clean freezer containers and store away.

I use about roughly 1-2 of these containers a week so I go through them quickly. I thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter-top. These little guys can be used for so many things from pasta sauce, pizza sauce or simply adding to a minestrone or soup.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A break from Italy posts...Maple Acres Farms

We have been having very un-August-like weather and I'm not complaining. Usually it's hot, sticky, muggy and chance of showers daily. But, it's been rather nice and to celebrate that we've been outdoors when we can. I took the kids to one of my favorite outdoor spots, Maple Acres Farm. I think I'm a wannabe farm girl or I just really really really appreciate the way of life. Either way, I'm so happy places like this exist.

My kids are pretty happy they get to go too.

This small farm located outside Philadelphia, is known for many things. They have weekly yoga on the grounds, delicious produce year-round and the most perfect pumpkin picking in the Fall. But what I love the most, their zinnias. In full bloom now, the fields are so beautiful to behold upon entering the property. Fun to pick and fun to photograph. My mini-me #1 had fun taking pictures with me when we went.

This guy. He loves being outside and a place like this is perfect for a 3 year old very active little man.

Pick your own or buy from the small farmer's market located right on site too.

He's a cucumber kid.

Oh! And there are animals too! Who doesn't love to see chickens, cows, horses and of course pigs on a farm. What would a farm be without animals?

So happy that while I don't have a garden nor much of a green thumb, we have places nearby to go to and appreciate this way of life. Important for the kids to see where some of our foods come from, give back to the local farms and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Win-win-win.

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