I’m in the life stage where I’ve graduated and living with my parents again. I somehow managed to skip this step when I graduated the first time around by going to India then grad school. Since moving back home, I’ve made one major observations: my family eats a lot of meat and very few vegetables.
I’m going nuts.
I offered to cook all meals for my parents. They said no, because they would pretty much be exclusively meat-free meals. So basically, I’ve given up on trying to get them to eat healthier. Instead, I’m making stuff for myself and sharing leftovers.
Yesterday, I made a quinoa, bean, vegetable salad.
Surprisingly, everyone liked it (even though once they claimed to not like quinoa).
Colorful Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup edamame
1/2 cup black beans
1 red pepper, diced (I used about 5 multicolored sweet mini ones)
1 mango, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
Juice of 4 limes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the quinoa in 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes with some salt. While the quinoa cooks dice your vegetables. Place edamame, black beans, red peppers, cucumbers, tomato, mango and cilantro in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Once quinoa is done and slightly cooled, add to the mixing bowl with vegetables, pour in the lime dressing and mix. Serve and enjoy!
So I guess this is my new strategy: make healthy, tasty (to me) things I like and hope they’ll eat it as well.
Off to the gym I go! Have a great day!
My nano is a goner.
As a result of my dead ipod, I went to the gym music-less today. It wasn’t too bad at first because they play loud pop music in there anyway for example this came on:
So that was fine, until a woman decided the music was too loud for her so she turned it off. Boo!
She was polite enough to ask me if it was okay, but sadly my Italian is good enough to understand what she said but too bad to know how to say “can you just turn it down instead of off?”
The next half hour of my workout was in silence. Woh woh… Not as fun, but the 45 minutes went by pretty fast. Apparently I have a lot on my mind.
On the bright side, there was basically no one there when I got there! It was lovely since that place is pretty small.
After the sweaty work out and a shower, I made lunch. This meal was a crazy mish mash of things that probably don’t really go together, but I sorta loved it.
Tuna Salad + Curried Potatoes with Peas (Aloo Mattar, sorta) + Green beans
Delicious! I’ll be making those potatoes again. Super tasty and went great with the green beans. Tuna salad (made with a small can of tuna, mustard, lemon juice, capers, onions, salt, pepper and a handful of garbanzo beans) surprisingly wasn’t bad when mixed with the curried potatoes. But then again I’m generally a fan of mixing everything on my plate together. I seem to have this idea that it heightens all the flavors.
True or False? Who knows! Probably all in my head…
Enjoy the weekend!
Sunday Dinner last night was the best.
First, because I didn’t cook.
Second, because it was just damn good.
Third, it was meat free, and I miss that.
Nancy made fruit salad and a spinach salad.
Kyla just got back from Ethiopia and brought spices with her. So she made shiro and a delicious bean stew.
It was to die for. I’m obsessed with the shiro that Kyla made. Sooo good and so easy to make (given that you have the shiro spice mix). It definitely came at a time when I’ve sorta been going crazy regarding Italian food. Basically I’ve had enough. I miss spiced food. I cannot find cumin or cilantro in stores here! I’m going to the “ethnic markets” in the immigrant neighborhoods this week to scout out spices. So this dinner definitely helped with my spice cravings.
Spices, beans, grains, fruit, vegetables, friends! What could be better?
We basically spent the Biscotti Queen’s last day in Rome just eating.
I’ve eaten so much I don’t even want to look at food anymore. The thought of pizza makes my stomach turn (more on that later).
But her last night, we made sure to go to Hostaria Farnese, a small restaurant between Piazza Farnese and Campo d’ Fiori. The Biscotti Queen and her family had been to that restaurant 10 years prior and had take pictures with the family. Biscotti Queen’s uncle Mark offered to buy us dinner if we went and took pictures with the family.
After a bit of wine (or maybe an entire bottle of sparkling wine between me and the Biscotti Queen), we all (Biscotti Queen, Lis and me) went to dinner.
After ordering, Biscotti Queen pulled out the pictures from 10 years before.
The old man and his son, Luca, were so pleased! So we got a picture of Sara with the family! Mission accomplished.
On to the food. The three of us shared a spaghetti Carbonara (because it was Biscotti Queen’s last day in Rome and she had yet to have it)
Lamb with potatoes
and Artichokes. They also gave us some of their house flat bread to try (and some wonderful anti pasti that I forgot to take a picture of). They were awfully generous!
The next day, the Biscotti Queen left and it was back to work for me. Super sad!
I had such a wonderful time with all my visitors. It was nice to we around close friends again. Everyone here in Rome is great, but they’re no match to friends from home.
After all these visits though, I’m sooo tired of food. I’m starting a mini diet on Monday. More on that soon.
Remember that time that decided to take a vacation. We walked, bused, trained, bused again and finally made our way to Amalfi, because let’s be honest, Rome is fantastic but the Amalfi coast is pretty much amazing.
Then it was time to venture out. We walked about 200 meters to the Duomo, the main cathedral.
Our vacation ambitions somehow convinced us to shell out 3 Euro to take a tour of the Cloister, Catacombs and Cathedral.
Lovely! Then of course, we fed ourselves, because Sara’s main goal on her trip to Italy was to gain 10 lbs.
For lunch, pizza and gelato on the steps of the Duomo.
After there was no more food to eat (for now), we wandered, because really that’s what we’re good at and that’s what there is to do on the Amalfi coast. There’s one main street in Amalfi. We walked up and down it probably 20 times. After we window shopped enough, we decided to wander through the neighborhoods.
The neighborhoods are not what you would imagine. First off, Amalfi is built into the side of a mountain. So the streets are made of tiny corridors full of many, many, many stairs.
After getting lost a few times, we referred to the map to try to get to the neighboring little town, Atrani. After an hour of stairs, twists, turns, amazing views and a few more stairs, we made it.
Atrani was tiny. We saw a main square, a bar, some people going to church, a restaurant, and two fisherman. Then we turned around and headed back to Amalfi. This time, we walked along the side of the road. It took about 15 minutes to get back, compared to an hour and a half to get there… Stair free.
A few hours later, our friend Lis joined us! By this time it was about 10 pm. Most things were closed but luckily the restaurant we had scoped out in one of the random alleys off the main street was still open. We then proceeded to have the best meal EVER.
Mussels with lemon and pepper.
Pasta with tomatoes and mussels
Arancini (Risotto balls)
Then we proceeded to pass out in a food coma.
Life is good in Italy.
Last Tuesday, after a full day of work and two hours of class, I went to the grocery store. In my drowsy state of exhaustion, I decided I wanted rice. Unknowingly I purchased arborio, the kind of rice used for risotto, instead of the regular longer grain rice that I’m accustomed to. I don’t think it was a language barrier, as the box was clearly labeled “arborio.” It was probably just that I was tired, hungry and not in the right state of mind.
Long story short. I now have a box of arborio rice sitting in my kitchen cabinet. Clearly, it can’t go to waste. Neither can the huge bag of spinach that I purchased in a moment of desperation when I felt like I’d had it with carbohydrates.
But alas, carbohydrates can’t seem to escape me. Luckily, they’re delicious.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup arborio rice
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup white wine
3 cups vegetable broth, warm
2 cups fresh chopped spinach
pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (or more if you’d like)
Heat oil in a pot on medium heat. Add mushrooms and arborio, cook for 5-10 mins until rice begins to turn translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add white wine, stir until it is almost completely absorbed. Then begin to add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the liquid absorbs. Repeat until you’ve used all but a bit of the broth. Stir in the chopped spinach and the last bit of liquid. Keep stirring until almost completely absorbed, then add the pepper and parmesan. Once all the liquid is absorbed, serve immediately.
I think I’m going to suck it up and pay the 195 Euro to use a gym for three months. I think it might be worth it.
Even though I walk everywhere here, I don’t think it’s going to cut it. I hadn’t realized how lucky I was to have a cheap gym so close to me in Ithaca. While I don’t miss the snow, I definitely miss how easy it was to work out.
I’ll keep you posted on the gym dilemma. Any thoughts?
Let me start by saying that this title might be grammatically incorrect. Surprisingly, being in Italy has yielded little opportunity to learn Italian. However, I might leave fluent in French. Today I spent the majority of the day reading reports in French, who knew I still can read it… but google translate helps… On to Sunday… Domenica!
A new tradition has started. Well, at least, I hope it’ll catch on. Inspired by the Biscotti Queen and her family, the grad students and I have decided to start a Sunday Dinner tradition.
My roommate and I both love to cook. So it sorta works out. Plus, he’s Sicilian and doesn’t fool around.
Now this wasn’t your average Sunday Dinner. It started around 3:00pm and ended around 8:00pm, and it was amazing.
It started with an unorthodox, antipasti. Not meats. Instead, cream puffs.
Nancy and I love sugar and she stopped at a bakery before arriving. They were amazing! Some were filled with lemon cream and others with a chocolate cream.
To die for. So while Nancy and I munched on cream puffs and waited for the others to arrive, Joe started making primo piatto.
Once Lis, Kyla and her friend Giuseppe arrived. We were ready.
Spaghetti ai Frutti di Mare
After some sitting and chatting, I made secondo piatto. It ended up being some strange version of saltimbocca. Thinly pounded chicken breast, rolled with prosciutto and sage, cooked in a butter wine sauce.
Not bad. For contorno, rosemary roasted potatoes.
Nancy and Lis both brought dessert. However, I only remembered to photograph what Nancy brought (other than the cream puffs):
Some sort of delicious crostata! I was pleased.
After dessert and coffee, we were sufficiently full and basically ready for the night to be over.
Next time, I want to make primo and leave the meat making to someone who knows what he’s doing.