Archive | July, 2016

Orto Update

24 Jul

Just over three months ago, we planted an orto, or vegetable garden, in our friend’s yard in Tuscany. https://blogginginitaly.com/2016/04/22/planting-an-orto/

We decided on zucchini, peppers, onions, and of course, tomatoes. And just to be sure our tomatoes would grow, we built cane trellises for them. No slouches here. Last April 22, the orto looked like this:

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Despite several spring hail storms, and thanks to the watchful coaxing of Fernanda and Carlo, the plants flourished in the fertile Tuscan soil. Each week, we anxiously awaited our photo progress reports.

Tomatoes and onions

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Peppers

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Carlo adding another row of cane

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©Blogginginitaly.com

And just three months later, here are some of the amazing fruits of our labor.

Large and small tomatoes over six feet tall!

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©Blogginginitaly.com

And bright zucchini blossoms loving the sunshine.

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The beautiful yard is also full of fruit trees, especially susine or plum trees, perfect for making marmellata di susine or plum jam.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Needless to say, lots of serious picking going on these days…

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©Blogginginitaly.com

and of course, lots of delicious eating…

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©Blogginginitaly.com

and an assurance from our friends that there will still be much to pick and eat when we return.

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

Pasta, Pasta, Pasta!

8 Jul

If you wait long enough, many of the “avoid” foods seem to return, and not only return, but be included in a healthy diet. Eggs, dark chocolate, nuts, olive and coconut oil, and Himalayan salt are just a few examples. But this week, it was a surprising bonus to read that pasta can be added to that list.

According to an Italian study published in Nutrition and Diabetes‘ this month, based on the dietary habits of over 23,000 adults of varying ages, there seems to be a positive connection between pasta consumption and weight. To be more precise, the study found that there appears to be a link between the amount of pasta one consumes and how likely one is to be slim. Amazing.

But how can this be? Part of the answer lies in the fact that pasta is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, usually adding beneficial ingredients such as garlic, olive oil, tomatoes, and vegetables.

On the national news, they attributed this to the fact that Italians only eat pasta as a small side dish. Must have been a nutritionist behind that story who has never, ever been to Italy.

This got me to thinking about our diet, here and there. When we are in Italy, we eat pasta nearly every day of the week, either for lunch or dinner, yet significant weight gain has never been an issue. If we do gain a few pounds, it is more likely the result of a morning cornetto (aka croissant or sweet roll ) or a bit too much bread. We often say that for us, pasta è basta, meaning a pasta dish followed by a salad is a perfect meal. Yet when we are home, we tend to eat pasta once or twice a week. Age old wives tales stuck in our heads, I guess, but now a thing to happily move to the past.

Today I bought a new basil plant and plan to make some fresh pesto for Sunday’s dinner.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

And last night, it was pasta with olive oil, garlic, red onion, fresh tomatoes, wine and peas, and a dollop of ricotta and grated pecorino to top it off.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

If you are curious or doubtful, click on the link  ‘Nutrition and Diabetesand decide for yourself. As for me, they got me at hello.

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

Happy 4th of July!

4 Jul

A wonderful weekend for some R & R…Relaxation and Reflection. We adapted quite easily to both as we spent a lovely weekend at my sister’s home in Bridgman, Michigan.

Walks on the  beach…

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©Blogginginitaly.com (Sister and husband)

Visits to local craft beer breweries and whiskey distilleries for tasting…

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©Blogginginitaly.com (The gang, with Len acting the part!)

cocktail hour on the deck…

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BBQs each night… ribs, sausage, chicken, mac-n-cheese, potatoes, veggies, brownies, etc. Sorry, I was too busy eating to get many photos!

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©Blogginginitaly.com

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The weather was incredible… comfortable days and unusually cool nights. We thought about swimming…

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©Blogginginitaly.com

but opted instead for a fire at night.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Besides all the fun and relaxation, Bridgman is a great place for reflection.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Every night at sundown, TAPS is played at Weko Beach in honor of those who serve this great country of ours. This tradition began in 1991. Mrs. Joyce McCort heard TAPS played at the military graduations of her sons and thought it would be fitting to play TAPS at the close of each day at Weko Beach.

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This tradition continues each night, often with one player at the beach and a second player in the hills.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

A very moving way to end each night, and a reminder to reflect on how fortunate I am to call this incredible country home.

Happy 4th!

Judy

 

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