This Just In…

To start, an announcement:
Jamie Oliver, a chef with a couple shows on Food Network (who happens to be very attractive and has an adorable British accent), has started a campaign to bring healthy, nutritious foods to schools in the U.S. and to revive cooking within our communities. I think it’s hugely important – now is the time to start making changes in the way our country handles food! Read more about it here and sign the petition! Every single person gets it one step closer to reality – and I’m thinking the Obamas would dig it, too!
What have I been up to after this wonderful weekend? School, food, the usual. Although there is not much that is “usual” about taking a Food & Culture class or eating fresh pasta and gelato…oh, how my idea of what is ‘normal’ has shifted. Won’t make going home easy, that’s for sure.
Monday means sandwich day! To Casa del Vino I went, and today I took the plunge and tried a new one:
I promise, looks are deceiving – this was t-a-s-t-Y!
It was sausage (salsiccia) mixed with stracchino, a very soft creamy cheese that has the consistency of a kind of cottage cheese or yogurt. It was a really interesting combination – the sausage had a kind of cinnamony, spice-y sweetness that played off the slightly sour (not in a bad way) taste of the cheese. I likened this to the Italian take on a lox & cream cheese on a bagel – salsiccia e stracchino on schiacciata (the bread)! I did enjoy it, but it was by no means my favorite I’ve had there. What can I say, no cheese can compare to the all-mighty pecorino in my book. 
In my last post I mentioned the Bacio (‘kiss’ in Italian), a chocolate made by the Italian company Perugina from the city of Perugia I visited on Sunday. Well, here it is, up close and personal:
All wrapped up!
Notice the whole hazelnut lump…
And there you have it. I hope my first kiss is as good as this one!
Although it’s not my favorite combo in the world, the Italian obsession with chocolate + hazelnut is pretty amazing. I think mint still wins my heart, but this is nothing to shrug at. Good chocolate never is.
I tried another type of Perugina, called a perla (pearl):
It’s basically a Lindt Lindor truffle twin, but this was dark chocolate outside and had a strong hazelnutty hint to it that just led me to truffle heaven!
Chocolate = medicine.
Actually, that it was my presentation on Monday was all about – the ancient medicinal uses of cacao! It was really interesting and a lot of fun to learn about. It was only a beverage until the 1800s and believed to do everything from aiding digestion to curing infections. In fact, for a while it wasn’t even considered a “food” – there was a text from 1645 that said it was permissible to drink chocolate during a Christian fast, as long as it wasn’t mixed with “foods” like eggs or milk. Cool, right? I’m a chocolate fountain (ha!) of inspiration!
In other food news, tell me this isn’t some of the prettiest lettuce you’ve ever seen:
It’s called sorghino. I can’t make it to the market on Mondays because of classes and the grocery store was clean out of arugula, so I went for this kind because…well, it’s awfully perty. More or less tasteless, but makes  for some photogenic salads:
Mmmmm….veggies = love!
Unfortunately, I ended up going to bed very late on Sunday and the same happened Monday night, and all that plus the mild scratchy throat/cough led to my executive decision to sleep in today and skip class. It was really frustrating because I actually wanted to go to class – we’re starting a part of Italian that I learned but still find a little confusing – but somehow I was able to silence the perfectionist who wants perfect attendance and stay where I was. I may or may not regret, but I can’t help feeling a teeny bit proud that I listened to my body and put it’s health in front of class because when it’s all said and done, I won’t ever regret taking precautions against sickness. I feel SO much less worn down!
Yoga today was good – I got closer to headstand and was up for about a nanosecond before tumbling straight down. I will get there, slowly and surely. I did do a successful crow for a solid second and a half:
I was pretty excited!
[Just a disclaimer, I am by no means trying to brag or show off “what I can do” – I just thought if you don’t know yoga well, you probably want to know what the heck I am talking about!]
I’ve been working on it for several weeks and isn’t it just a fun feeling to accomplish something you’ve been inching towards?
For Ethnic Tuesday, we went for an old classic – Italian! My roommate found this jazz club-restaurant, Caruso, when another restaurant was too busy and raved about it, so we had to go! 
I got:
Tagliatelle (fresh pasta) with zucchini and tiny shrimp
It was delicious!!! A little too salty, but otherwise wonderful. The pasta was well-cooked – I can’t stand overcooked pasta – and the shrimp added a fishy taste that was not at all overwhelming but was juuuust the right touch. Plus, they were fun to eat – they’re so cute and little! They definitely pack a flavor punch, though. My roommate Alaina got a pizza and I may or may not have helped her out with the last large slice…it was thin crust and gooooood tomato sauce…just how I like my pizzas. I will be honest, pizza here is not a big thing, and I haven’t had any that I would say are better than what I can get at home. Bertucci’s has some of the best ever [New Englanders, take note!]! The jazz music playing on the stereo added a really nice atmosphere, and paired with a little wine, it was a very successful dinner.
But let’s be real, no dinner can be truly successful without…
The ubiquitous gelato.
I passed a place near our school that we’ve been to before, and this week I noticed they were offering GREEN TEA!!! I adore green tea ice cream (and the tea itself – I usually drink a cup a day!). The best I have ever had is at a place in Greenville, South Carolina (next city over from my college) called The Blueberry Frog. My cousin is good friends with the owner, who created the recipes all by himself! It is one of those “tart” frozen yogurt places a la pinkberry or Red Mango that are popping up right and left, but his place definitely takes a place above the rest. It is a non-negotiable stop when I am in Greenville. ANYway, clearly I had to try the gelato version of it! So I talked my roommates into going for dessert. [And by talked into, I mean I talked them into going to this particular place for gelato – gelato after dinner is pretty much a given with us!]
I got the green tea and a kind that was flavored with a brand of juice that is really popular here [my roommate drinks it all the time] called YOGA juice!!! I know, too perfect, right? The flavor is a mix of blueberry, apple, pomegranate, and a variety of other fruits. I loved it – it was very sherbet-y and mixed SO well with the green tea! The green tea itself was a little underwhelming – a little too creamy and didn’t have a strong enough tea flavor. I am not a tea-with-milk type of girl – I drink it straight up, pure and unadulterated! But the combo of the two was perfect!
So, I have a massive research paper due next Monday for my Food & Culture class, and we got to choose the topic. What could I possibly have picked? Food blogs, of course! That said, I am hoping to use Gillianasana as one of my research tools, so I hope you as a reader don’t mind if I ask some questions in the next few days? I don’t have the paper as well outlined as I’d like, so I have to get that down first. I’m excited to write it though, because I think it’s such a fascinating and novel entity in the gastronomic world!
Alrighty, bed time for this yogini. I may or may not be doing something incredibly exciting tomorrow and I may or may not be able to discuss it on here for a while…vague? Who, me?
Ciao ciao!
~Namaste~
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Yogalicious

As well as I am doing, I cannot say the same about our Internet. It’s flakier than pastry. And I am not much for pastry.
On the other hand, there is not a whole lot to update about. April is not only a crazy month travel-wise, but school-wise as well – I have 2 presentations and a paper due next Monday and a massive research paper due the next Monday, and with my parents’ arrival next week and an impending trip to Siena this weekend, I’m a bit overwhelmed. Please forgive me if my posts are rather less prolific this week!
It occurred to, in thinking about all my to-dos, that during the school year all I say to myself is “just get through this week, month, assignment, etc” and I started thinking that here – but I had to stop myself. I want every minute here to last as looong as possible and I will not let looming schoolwork take away any of the fun and happiness this trip has left in store for me. Yes, I do want to do well because a lot of these assignments are actually very interesting (a presentation on chocolate? yes please!), but I don’t want their enormity to stress me out to a point where I forget where I am. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I plan on continuing to treat it as such. So there, perfectionist-me!
Ok, back to FOOD. Remember the yummy fennel-spiked salami I had at the olive oil tasting in Lucca? Well, I found it at none other than Casa del Vino, my Monday sandwich spot! I almost tried a new sandwich, but I saw ‘finocchiona’ on the list and had to have it. With pecorino, of course. 
Yup, just as amazing as I thought it would be. 
I promise, I will get it again and describe it as I eat it to try to nail the flavor a little more. Gosh, ordering this again–now that’s a challenge. NOT.
After classes, most of my day was spent battling with the Internet to try and get some of the mountain of research I have to do done [it didn’t end well for the research]. Dinner was a salad and soft-boiled egg on toast, unpictured because, well, they’re not exactly the most thrilling things to photograph.
Speaking of photography, I’m getting a new camera!!!!! My dad is bringing Frida’s replacement when they come next week. I’m so excited! Expect lots of “I have a new camera omg” pictures.
I think the all that intense hiking on Sunday followed by a mostly-sedentary Monday really took a toll on my body, and I was really feeling it last night. Though it was late, I decided to do a little yoga before hitting the sack. I need to do this more often! Though I didn’t get much sleep at all, I have a ton more energy today than usual and waking up was a lot easier! It felt sooo good, too. I know I have had a lot of good food, but yoga may be the yummiest thing ever.
After Italian and a quick trip to the market, I headed home for some much-needed oats:
Hide-and-seek eat!
And here’s lunch:
Fresh arugula + cukes + pecorino and good balsamic vin + olive oil. Sooooo yummy 🙂
The weather has gone a bit downhill since last week’s perfect spring warmth, but honestly I’m not too upset because I need every excuse to stay in and get work done before the weekend whisks me away! I would very much appreciate warmer weather though. Sitting in the kitchen with the windows wide open is such a wonderful feeling. *insert sigh of contentment here*
Yoga was actually a bit intense tonight, but that’s generally a good thing. We tried head stand for the first time. I have tried it before but have yet to get all the way up. The end result looks something like this:
Was certainly not going to happen on my first shot, but I got farther than expected. It takes a lot of balance. I am slowly improving my crow, though:
It’s actually really fun to try! I can stay up for at most one second, but one of my favorite things about yoga is that it doesn’t matter how well you able to physically execute a pose so much as that you are trying and slowly working up to it. And this is surprisingly easier than it looks! One of the best things about this yoga class here is that it has taught me new poses I probably would have been too hesitant to try on my own–yoga is all about the individual journey, but I do think it’s important to start out with a teacher because injuries can happen if the pose isn’t done correctly. 
After yoga, it was Ethnic Tuesday time! Tonight the roomies and I set our culinary sights on Ruth’s Kosher Vegetarian Food, a Jewish restaurant near the synagogue. The main reason for our going here was 1 thing: hummus. All 4 of us love it and miss it terribly (we can’t find it sold anywhere!), and we were pretty excited about getting reacquainted with this chickpea-tahini delight.
This place was so cute! Quite small inside, with a cute little old man as the owner/waiter. We got hummus to share:
[Excuse the blur!]
Eaten with Tuscan bread. Fusion food at its finest!
I ordered tabbouleh, which is a kind of grain salad made with bulgar, parsley, onion, bell pepper, and olive oil.
It was delicious – especially mixed with hummus! I happily devoured it.
Alright, back to work – I’m giving a presentation on chocolate in my Food & Culture class next Monday! The research is actually pretty interesting. There have been a lot of cool studies done on chocolate! I wanted to take my presentation in a sociological direction & talk about chocolate as a comfort food, but I’m having surprising difficulty finding good solid stuff about it, and it is starting to feel a bit overambitious with everything else going on, so we shall see…I’ll report with some fun facts that I find!
~Namaste~

Eat. Sleep. Yoga. Repeat!

SPRING BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now that that’s out of the way…
I apologize in advance for a lack of pictures – the eats were not too eventful. Mid-terms tend to suck my brain away. BUT it’s Spring Break – fun is to be had and food to be eaten. Let the culinary tour of Florence begin!
I got a 95 on my Italian mid-term, mostly just because of tiny mistakes that I didn’t realize were wrong, so I’m quite happy with it!
My last mid-term was for my cooking class. I have SO much info in my brain about nutrition basics now…it’s pretty cool! I really just love learning about how food works, inside and outside of the body. Studying for this was actually pretty enjoyable because I genuinely wanted to learn, not just memorize to spit back out on the test and then forget it. The test went alright. It was all short answers and 2 essays, so LOTS of writing. My approach for tests like this is just to write every. single. thing I know about the topic. I was the last person to leave, so I hope that means I know a lot! And our teacher made us coffee. I love Italy.
Foodage was random, but when dinner time rolled around, I felt the need to have some fun with…
Polenta! Aka, corn meal. 
It’s essentially like oats in that you throw some in a pot with water (3 parts water to 1 part polenta) and cook until it thickens. After that, I threw a teaspoon of oil and a garlic clove into a pan (best. smell. ever.) and then formed the polenta into little cakes and pan-fried them with a little fresh basil. They were really good but as a whole, needs some work. Maybe cook the garlic first, then make the polenta and add it in and then make the cakes? Hmm. Experiment time!
Being the official start of Spring Break and all, the roomies and I agreed that some celebratory gelato was definitely in order.
We tried a new place the school recommended. That fudgy goodness on the right would be chocolate. The other flavor was called “Ambrosia” – yogurt, honey, and cinnamon. This is pretty much exactly what I make at home, so obviously I had to try in gelato form! It was reeeaally good. I find it hard to compare gelato places though, mostly because they are all just wonderful in different ways! Grom is still a must-try for anyone who visits Florence though – you can just taste the high quality of the ingredients. Really though, gelato is just good. Get it.
After that ensued a scene of such utter goofiness, no words could possibly describe it sufficiently.
Today has been mostly grey outside, but that works for me because my plan was pretty much:
  1. Sleep late – check.
  2. Yoga – check.
  3. Do generally nothing because I can! – check.
There is a cool-looking bead store on our street and my roommate is in a jewelry-making course here, so she wanted to check it out. It was SO cool! I think I’m going to go back and make some presents for people. I love projects!!!
We went across the street later for aperitivo – fixed price for a drink and a buffet. This place is perfect because they always have so much food, you really make a meal out of it. They have this cous cous that I just love…maybe because I just in general love cous cous. Either way, it’s good food and a nice glass of prosecco in a funky atmosphere. I brought my camera with full intentions of using it, but it was super dark and they just wouldn’t have come out well 😦
Tomorrow I am taking a day trip to Livorno, which is a little town on the coast. You know what that means – SEAFOOD!! I promise, I will make up for the lack of pics!
Ok, off to catch up on my Office episodes…[Jim&Pam FOREVER!]
~Namaste~

Zentastic

Today was a much-needed day of r&r. No trains, buses, museums, or century-old churches. Just chillaxin.
It was a big day however – after sleeping quite late, I was honored to attend the opening of the hottest new yoga studio in town – my living room:
Just me, the mat, and Lisa from YogaDownload. It’s GOOD to be back.
By the way, if you haven’t heard of YogaDownload, it’s a website with TONS of different yoga classes you can download to your computer. They have both audio and video classes and all different levels and schools of yoga. The prices are great, and they also have many free 20-minute classes which are perfect for the morning. They also have a podcast with many of their 20-minute classes. If you have never ever done yoga before, I would hesitate to recommend it, just because in the beginning you really want some teacher supervision, but if you’re a all familiar these classes are great. Any mood you’re in, they have a class for. Check it out!
Yoga felt amazing – MAN have I missed it! Thank goodness for UK Amazon & my dad who ordered it for me. It’s even a pretty color!
Time to show off some NaturaSi loot! (That’s the name of Italy’s Whole Foods. A dangerous discovery but oh so fun!)
Peach-mango yogurt. Taste-amazing. The price…not so amazing.
Organic pear. I think he was lying down in submission. He knew his fate.
Stark apple. I’ve never had this kind before, but it was great! Not mealy at all. Just like classic apple juice.
And finally…
ALMOND MILK!
Oh goodness, have I missed almond milk! It took my coffee to a whole new level. Of course, today I went to the regular grocery store and there it was, laughing at me. I don’t know if I’d never noticed it before or if it’s new…well, at least I know I won’t have to trek to NaturaSi when I run out!
I could eat breakfast foods for 3 meals a day. So many options! Oats for lunch it was:
Carby, dark, and handsome: cocoa powder + almond milk, topped with berry jam. De-lish.
About now, I had a fight with my camera. Every time I clicked to take a picture, the camera turned off. My cameras enjoy finking out on me on big trips, so I probably should have seen that coming. But, it was nothing a fresh pair of batteries couldn’t fix. Left me a little nervous though. My roommate was laughing at me, because I have the tendency to yell at inanimate objects when they fail me. “You have ONE JOB. Take pictures. You are a camera. How hard can THAT be?” Yeah…living with me is, um, well…entertaining, at least.
After some more, er, doing absolutely nothing productive, my roomie and I went to the grocery store/bakery to grab some necessities. It was COLD today.  Hi, Mother Nature, it’s March. March means spring. Get it together, woman. I’m glad we didn’t try to go to Fiesole today; I’m sure in the hills it would have been bitter. More on that later.
Came back and made dinner, and I must say, it was quite awesome.
Homemade bean burger with arugula and sauteed spinach-tomatoes-garlic. Perfect!
The burger recipe comes from this genius, whose blog was the beginning of my food-blog addiction. She’s got a great philosophy and is always a pleasure to read! I want mine to be just like her’s when my blog grows up:)
It’s super easy and the possibilities for different creations are endless. Tonight I used my cannellini beans and added sage, garlic, fresh basil and tomato. Threw it on the skillet, flipped it once, and added some pecorino on top to melt (totally took this to the next level!). I heated up some garlic and olive oil in a pan and added lots of sage with spinach and tomatoes. Thrown together with some fresh arugula, this was great! Super fresh and light. Don’t forget the bread!
Finished it off with a mocktail:
Tropical fruit juice + sparkling water. In a wine glass that I promptly broke and shattered all over the floor…the sad part is there wasn’t even any alcohol involved. I’m just that good.
I got a hankering for some gelato, so we braved the chill and wandered out to get our fix! We tried 2 places that have been recommended…but both were closed. 9 o’clock on a Saturday night seemed a little early, but whatever. We prevailed on our walk home:
Dark chocolate + coffee mousse. It looks good right? Well, it tasted better. The coffee mousse was light and fluffy, and the chocolate was super dark, just the way I like it. My name is Gillian, and I’m addicted to gelato.
Promptly came back and did…homework more nothing. Except eat a bit too much peanut butter. Some things will never change.
It has been a blissfully unproductive day. Tomorrow I’m *planning* to go to Fiesole with my roommate, which is a little hill town overlooking Florence with some beautiful Etruscan ruins and views of Firenze. Wish us luck!
~Namaste~

Exhaust Fumes

I hate to start out a post on a sour note, but I have to be honest – I am NOT doing so hot over here. I don’t feel sick, I just feel like I’ve been hit by a sledgehammer. Like someone drained every ounce of energy out of my body. Look at the weather today:

And all I can think about is bed. I’m hoping it’s just a travel hangover – Rome was rougher on me than I knew. It will be an early night.

Italian this morning was a little rough. I just could NOT get myself to focus. I deal with tiredness a LOT, but even this is rare for me. Our teacher told us the legend behind panettone, a sweet bread eaten at Christmas here. She even brought some for us to try – it helped. It was delicious, and I’m going to ask around for a good recipe. It’s very fluffy with a strong vanilla flavor and dotted with raisins. Even through my exhaustion haze, I could tell this was GOOD. Project: Panettone will soon be put into action.

I dragged myself back to the apartment and immediately went back to bed. I slept for a solid 2.5 hours straight, and the oddest thing is I slept fine last night, just not enough.

You don’t want to hear whining, you want to see some good eats! And as promised, here is my breakfast experiment:

Overnight CEREAL!

You see, I was totally the kid whose favorite part of the bowl of Cheerios was that last bite of completely milk-saturated Os. And, being a lover of oats, I figured, “hey, why not apply the overnight soak method to regular cereal?” The results: I’m a fan! It was a consistency very similar to oat bran, which I actually prefer to oats and miss very much 🙂 Very thick, almost pudding-like, especially after I added the yogurt. I sprinkled cinnamon over it before putting it in the fridge and it really seeped throughout and gave a great flavor boost. Now obviously if you like your cereal super crunchy, this is not for you – but it was a fun experiment and I’m definitely going to try it again!

I was still a little hungry (it was a small bowl – it was, after all, the first trial), and so I made b-fast #2:

Tea, toast & eggs. Quickly becoming my new favorite snack. And as you can see, I was much more successful with peeling this time…

Blogged a bit and did some emails while staring longingly at the beautiful blue sky, and then made some lunch:

Very light salad, just to keep my energy up for some errands.

I felt a little better once I was out and went for a short walk before yoga club. Did some window shopping…

Ooooh so perrrrty:)

 And had to snap some pics:

Oh Duomo, I’m going to miss you so in a few months!

Hit up the grocery store, came home, made coffee, went to yoga. I knew that if anything would help this exhaustion, yoga would. And it did – we held shoulder stand for a gloriously long time. There is something about seeing the world from upside down for a while that just makes a difference.

One of my favorite poses:)
Tonight was deemed Sushi Tuesday in our apartment after we tried to go last Monday, only to discover that essentially every single sushi place in Florence is closed on Mondays. I haven’t had it since the day I boarded my plane here – I was ready for some maki!
We went to a take-away place pretty close by. We ended up waiting for a good 25 minutes, which seemed a little excessive considering the phone didn’t ring once when we were in there and we were the only customers, and there were 4 of us. I just got a salmon roll and a cucumber roll, nothing special but I like the simple rolls more anyway. Sushi is one of my favorite meals because it involves fish and it never fails to leave me satisfied but not never heavy-full. Because we waited so long and then walked back to the apartment, I ripped into it before thinking to snap a picture! But I promise, it looked very similar to this:
(Pretend that tuna is salmon or cucumber.)
I reaaaally wanted some gelato, so I dragged a couple of my roomies out with me. The place we had in mind was some random recommendation and I didn’t think it would be particularly picture-worthy (which was silly – is gelato EVER not worthy of a photo? no. silly gilly!) But the place was closed, so we went to Grom in hopes that the March flavors would be there. It turned out that the March flavors are…the exact same as the February flavors, but Grom is pretty amazing in general, so I wasn’t complaining. I was sad that I forgot my camera, though 😦 I got pear and Bacio, which is essentially Italy’s Hershey Kiss – it’s a popular chocolate with a whole hazelnut in the middle. Trust me, it was GOOD. Hit the spot.
I definitely need to hit the sack soon, but I couldn’t resist the call of the blog:) Tomorrow I’m going to Mercato Centrale (I’m out of my beloved pecorino! The horror!) and out to lunch to my new Wednesday spot, Sergio’s. A domani!
~Namaste~

Carpe Diem Tuesday

Ciao a tutti! Smile – it’s almost hump day!

I had a rather difficult morning. I barely slept, which is especially frustrating since I was exhausted and even got to bed at a reasonable hour. I walked to class in icky rain. My Italian class went pretty well today though – we had a subsitute teacher and there was something about her I really liked. She seemed to move at a faster pace, which helped energize me and get me out of my lack-of-sleep fog.

When I came home I was faced with a dilemma of dire proportions: go back to sleep or make breakfast? I attempted sleep first, but my stomach got the best of me. Oat-time it was!

Today I used this delectable comestible from the1- euro store:

Apple-blueberry sauce!
Add it to cinnamony oats…
Appley, blueberry-y, cinnamony goodness!
Not long after, I started crashing and gave in to the nap-urge. It was either that or do nothing productive and think about all day. Slept for about two hours, which got me up to a grand total of maybe 4 hours? Ick. I’ve dealt with worse though, I’m a tough cookie 🙂
I got up and made some coffee. Made a second breakfast that got a little messy…
I have resolved to turn myself into an egg person, at least while I am here, because it is a perfect protein, cheap, and protein is generally a bit lower for me. Carbs, though – noooo problemo. Got those covered. ANYway, I have been experimenting with soft-boiled eggs and I have yet to conquer the cracking skill. As you can quite clearly see. No matter…
It still tasted good! Those little toast things are all the rage in Europe. They are like little mini toast crackers, about the size of my palm. When I was at my homestay in France and lived with a little old French lady named Monique, I had these every morning with nutella and her homemade strawberry confiture. Mmmmm 🙂
I was determined to not let this Tuesday turn into another day of ‘blah.’ After breakfast #2, I worked on my scrapbook. I brought a journal with me, but since I started the blog, I haven’t felt the need to write in it as often, so I have turned it into my study-abroad scrapbook. I’ve been holding on to various tickets, tags, business cards, etc. for this purpose and it’s been piling up. It’s gonna be a prettttty sweet scrapbook!
Then, I took a walk. I will NOT be in Florence sitting on my butt all day in the apartment because I’m tired. Nope. So out I went! The great thing about this city is that you can just walk anywhere and there is so much to look at. I really had no earthly idea where I was going or where I was, but it didn’t matter. And my golden rule here is “all roads lead to the Duomo,” which semi-true. After about 45 minutes it occurred to me that I was starving, and so I found my way to the Duomo and headed on home. I passed by our favorite bakery on our street and as usual noticed the interesting looking olive-studded rolls that I have been dying to try. I walked by, figuring I would just wait to go home, and then I stopped – if not now, WHEN? I turned right around and got me one:
I was expecting a crispy, crunchier bread, but this was light and fluffy and olivey. Yum! It felt GREAT too, to just do it and stop saying “oh, next time.” Carpe diem was my theme today 🙂
I decided I needed something a little more substantial before yoga club, so I threw some spinach and parmeggiano reggiano in a pan, and put it over a little (we’re talking half a cup max) whole wheat penne and tomato. It fit the bill quite nicely.
Yoga was really nice. The style is a little new to me, but it is a very relaxing, meditative class and I love it. The teacher is really cool too. And on my walk home, a little old man was playing the accordion in the street. It was like being in a movie. Made me smile.
As part of my ‘carpe diem’ day, I picked something up at the grocery store that I have been eyeing: SQUASH! I have wanted to make roasted squash for ages because I adore roasted sweet potatoes (SO far superior to french fries) and today was the day!
I cut some up into long wedges and some up into little, chunky wedges, just to see which one I liked better. I seasoned them with a little olive oil and sea salt, and then cinnamon + a sprinkle of cane sugar on some, cinnamon + honey  on some, and rosemary on some. I love playing with my food 🙂
I ended up liking the little wedges a little more – they got crispier and held the flavors better. The bigger ones didn’t quite cook enough. I like a little char 😉
I have a good bit of reading to do, but I still feel good about today because I stopped thinking, planning, making excuses and started DOing. It’s an awesome feeling.
Tomorrow I am wandering over to the other side of the river to check out a market there and see if I can find the restaurant the fam and I ate at when we visited Firenze a couple summers ago. And, hey, who knows what else will happen?!
~Namaste~

Born in the U.S.A.

I know it sounds like I am loving it here so much that I don’t want to come home. And that may be more or less true. BUT that is not to say I don’t miss certain things, like…


The BABY!!!

Luna/Kashi bars. The only processed food I miss…they’re just so yummy!
Yes, this dork. Who DESPERATELY needs a haircut, btw.
Most amazing peanut butter ever. If I actually did live here…I’d have it imported.

Mamma mia!
Papa G!
Yoga…but that is soon to be righted!
Makes the best oatmeal/homemade lattes ever. MMMM.
My Bill Gangstahs!
Yes, I can walk around and go to the mercato and speak my 3rd semester Italian, but at the end of the day…I’m still just an American in Firenze.
Now WHERE is my Gene Kelly????