Italian Street Food- a Spotlight

italian-street-foodBook Description:

Italy’s classic recipes are well known the world over, but few are aware of the dishes that reign on the flourishing Italian street-food scene. Hidden behind the town squares, away from the touristy restaurants, and down back streets are little-known gems offering up some of Italy’s tastiest and best-kept secret dishes that the locals prize.

ITALIAN STREET FOOD is not just another Italian cookbook; it delves into truly authentic Italian fare—the kind of secret recipes that are passed down through generations. Learn how to make authentic polpettine, arancini, stuffed cuttlefish, cannolis, and fritters, and perfect your gelato-making skills with original flavors such as lemon and basil or affogato and aperol. With beautiful stories and stunning photography throughout, ITALIAN STREET FOOD delivers an authentic, lesser known take on a much loved cuisine.

Buy the Book:

Rizzoli  ~  Amazon

Author’s Bio:

Paola Bacchia is one of Australia’s most popular Italian food bloggers. On her blog, Italy on My Mind, she shares family memories and their connections to food. It won awards for best food blog in 2013 and 2015 from ITALY Magazine. Paola returns to Italy every year to expand her knowledge of Italian food, its traditions, and innovations.paola-bacchia

Connect to the author: Website  ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram

Interested in winning a copy of this book? There are five copies that will be given away in the USA now through October 29th. Entere via the Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review: Sunset in Central Park

Things we know about Nora:

I love to read.
I don’t read nearly as many heavy/serious book as I used to.
I fell in love with the romance genre shortly after my mom passed away because while each character has some trials/tribulations and baggage, you can always, always count on a happy ending. And some authors write realistic, honest-to-goodness modern women better than others. Sarah Morgan falls into this category. I know I’m reading a romance novel of sorts when I sit down with one of her books but her main ladies aren’t sitting around waiting for a man to rescue them. No, they are independent, go-getters, career climbing women with realistic flaws and relationship hang-ups, but they are also characters I’d want to be friends with.

sunset-in-central-parkThe second book in the Manhattan Love Series, “Sunset in Central Park,” focuses on Frankie and Matt, both characters in the first book, their mutual attraction to one another and Frankie’s concerns about relationships, sex and being a good girlfriend.

About the book:

Love has never been a priority for garden designer Frankie Cole. After witnessing the fallout of her parents’ divorce, she’s seen the devastation an overload of emotion can cause. The only man she feels comfortable with is her friend Matt—but that’s strictly platonic. If only she found it easier to ignore the way he makes her heart race…

Matt Walker has loved Frankie for years but, sensing how fragile she is beneath her feisty exterior, has always played it cool. But then he uncovers new depths to the girl he’s known forever and doesn’t want to wait a moment longer. He knows Frankie has secrets and has buried them deep, but can Matt persuade her to trust him with her heart and kiss him under the Manhattan sunset?

I loved curling up with this book during the recent cool, crisp evenings we’ve been having, getting to know Frankie (and her friends Paige & Eva) more, and of course love the cameos the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park make throughout the book.

Interested in reading this book? Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy!

What’s you favorite genre of book to read as the weather changes?

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I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of my review. All opinions are my own.

Friday Smiles

Short weeks are both a blessing and a curse. Cramming five-days of other people’s needs & wants into a four-day week can be brutal which brings me to my first Friday Smile: It’s FRIDAY.

Other things that are making me smile:

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I was prepared to dislike this book as I’m not a gamer – unless you consider playing Candy Crush once a quarter being a gamer?- and I’m not into sci-fi as a general rule but this book is good, like don’t want to put it down, keep it in my purse good. I may or may not be having dreams that I’m in a virtual reality each evening.
  • Disney classics told by Emoji. I know it sounds silly and ridiculous but they are totally adorable and often make me laugh out loud. Watch this Beauty & The Beast one and tell me you don’t laugh! 
  • Finding adorable note cards that were 40% off at Barnes & Noble this past weekend. I have a cute note card obsession.
  • It’s my birthday month. I have zero expectations for my birthday but it is still kind of nice when the hubs says I get a “birthday weekend.” Wonder what that will entail?
  • A weekend trip to visit friends we haven’t seen in a really long time coming up in October.
  • Finally feeling settled in our post-summer, sans-kid routine. (Although there are moments when the house is just too darn quiet!)

What’s making you smile today?

From the Bookshelves

(I still don’t have my commenting situation figured out and frankly, I give up. I’m the least technical person ever, despite working for an IT company, and it all hurts my head. If I renew my blog this year, new hosting will be happening…. and the challenges of sorting out all of that!)

I’m sure you are just dying to know <insert sarcasm here> what I’ve been up to since I’ve been quiet on this old blog for the last six weeks. A short list of what I’ve been doing: working out, working like a crazy person, cooking, time with friends, adjusting to life without kiddos, enjoying a visit from my brother, surviving nearly a week of alone time when the hubs was out of town for work, coming to grips for the millionth time with my grief and loss of my mom, hitting and some days exceeding my daily step goal of 10,000 steps, thought about blogging but then didn’t for 101 reasons, binge watched Season 2 of Jane The Virgin, reading, reading and more reading.

According to Goodreads, I have 122 days and 6 hours (at the time of writing this post) to complete my self-set goal of reading 68 books this year. I’m sitting pretty at at 45 books read and am currently on track to hit my goal.

I’ve picked new books like The Weekenders, by Mary Kay Andrews- a little bit mystery, a little bit romance, a whole lot of fun (I read it in one weekend) and I highly recommend this book for your Labor Day weekend or last summer getaway.

I listened to an unabridged audiobook version of The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs, by Nick Trout, picked up for me at the library by my dad during one of our Saturday Dad/Daughter dates. It was charming and adorable… so much so that I bought the second book in the series for $1.99 on my Nook a few weeks ago.

I finally picked up, read, finished (and ok, cried) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by JK Rowling. That book made me have all the feels. Originally I read it so I could go out and get the play/book thing but for now I’m enjoying how much I loved the seventh book and am in no mood to ruin that.

After discovering how lovely it is to listen to audiobooks in my car, via the CD player – yes, I still have one! – rather than my iPhone, I’ve been on an audibook kick and am currently listening to the first book in another series by Janet Evanvoich, Wicked Appetite. It’s fun and fluff and I am enjoying it. Perfect for the commute to work. I also have another audibook by Beth Harbison (read her book When in Doubt, Add Butter and devoured it) on tap for my walks at work and when I do housework.

I’ve always been a fan of series books, especially when the characters are lovable, well written and full of depth so I finally returned to the Elm Creek Quilt series and finished The Runaway Quilt, by Jennifer Chiaverini earlier this week. The last 100 pages were packed with angst, cliffhangers, resolution, wonder, emotions and I’m reminded once again why I enjoy this series so much. Pretty sure I’ll be requesting the 5th book from the library soon.

I have a stack of library books and books I own staring me down, trying to decide what to read next. It’s a lovely problem to have, isn’t it? Too many books, so little time?

As my friend Lisa recently said to me, “if you can figure out a way for me to read and still get paid, let me know.” It would be my dream to read for a living. If only.

What’s the last series you read and enjoyed? Anything striking your fancy book wise these days? 

 

Blurbs

Thank you all for the movie suggestions on my last post (14 days ago!). You’ll be happy to know the kiddos loved The Sandlot; so many other fabulous suggestions that I have added to the must-see list. (How did I forget about Anne of Green Gables?)

I’m having a really frustrating and stupid issue with my current hosting provider and blog comments being emailed to me; bottom line is they work sometimes but not all the time. Since I’m paid through end of the year with my current host I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Not getting blog comments in my inbox (total convenience + first world problem, I realize) is really annoying so I may just make the switch to another host. Open to suggestions if anyone has them!

You know that feeling when you are on vacation and you kind of just wish it would last forever and you realize how big and gorgeous the world is, how people are really good and kind in so many situations, and that you love the ocean air and sea salt breeze, that there is so much to do, see, experience that you are left wondering why in the world we are chained to tablets/phones/desks/computers all day? Yeah. That was how awesome and wonderful it was to be in a different State, away from my office and with my loved ones all last week.

I had a really good chat earlier this week with our Pastor about how polarized all of the issues and situations are right now. That people feel obligated to pick either side A or B, or that they don’t have time to read all the issues on any given topic/conflict. When I told her that I feel helpless because I have friends who are on the frontlines of both sides of a lot of things in the news these days she reminded me to live “love and compassion,” everyday. That not all of us can be activists or voice our opinions, not all of us are comfortable being social media blitzers and blasters, that some of us are better at espousing hope and love and compassion. I’ve been absorbing what she said and realized that’s me: I’m a feeler more than I am do-er in really tense situations. I’ll be over here living love, light & compassion in my actions, my words, my thoughts. (And yes, I’ll be doing some things that are comfortable for me, too!)

Things I’m loving, in no particular order: reading books that I want to read, even if they aren’t popular or serious or by someone that was on the New York Times Bestselling list. Watching Jack’s ears as he hears the kiddos on the stairs each day. He waits for them patiently and adores extra cuddles with them on the couch/floor/his bed. BitMoji. Have you heard of it? It’s addictive and fun and makes texting more interesting. There’s a picture for nearly every mood, situation and etc. Recommend! Newly pedicured toes. Disney movies (I may or may not be able to sing, from memory, every Beauty & the Beast song). Amazon Prime shipping (I ordered a few movies the girls MUST see before they go back).

What’s on your mind lately?

Around Here

We are working on a 550 piece puzzle with the kidlets and it’s created so much family together time, joy, laughter and a bit of frustration because the pieces are tiny! Perfect activity for the hot summer days.

Knight and I came up with a list of classic movies the kidlets need to see: Back to the Future (already watched and they loved!); Big; Splash; Rookie of the Year. I have a really long list of others but they will have to wait until they are age appropriate. Any others that you would recommend in the interim?

I don’t know how my mom made my lunches nearly everyday for 13 years of school. I’ve been doing it for two and a half weeks and I’m so over it. (Yes, the girls can make some of their own and they do, but considering they forget what to put in it, even with a checklist, I’m giving in and doing it for them. Part of their plot? Maybe.)

Not sure how I feel about fourth graders having email addresses. Yes, I’m all for technology and their learning how to use it but it’s quite another to see how quickly they get sucked in, how quickly their “friends,” respond, the idea of having group chats at age nine… the list goes on and on. We limit the number of times email may be checked and how long the eldest can be on it as a result. (This email address is a school one, given to all fourth graders on their first day of 4th grade. If it were up to me, she wouldn’t have one until high school because I’m old school and mean.)

Parenting means I miss my mom about 100% more than I normally do. I have so many questions, want desperately to go out to ice cream with her and just talk, and to have her shed some light on what I’m facing. I know parenting is hard all of the time, for everyone but there are some days with my step-momma shoes on that I just… I have no idea what I’m doing. I hate that I can’t call her, absolutely hate it. I ask myself what she would do so often and I think sometimes I get it right… just wish I knew!

Am loving YA books. Anna and the French Kiss was adorable and 13 Little Blue Envelopes is lots of fun, too. I’m also craving/enjoying cozy mysteries and whodunits, preferably nothing too graphic.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods? What was your favorite movie when you were younger?

 

 

On Dog Walking

If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you know that I’m a dog momma to the wonderful muttling, Jack. He’s nearly 12 now and unfortunately is completely blind due to retinal degeneration; evidently it’s common in mutts of certain mixes. It’s not painful for him, just inconvenient. Thankfully our medium-sized dude is smart and has adapted well: he knows all the ins and outs of our house, knows where the furniture is and knows his way around our walks, too.

Now that I’m the mother of a furbaby that requires some additional attention and, ok, since I’m in my 30s, certain dog walking behavior drives me crazy. Today, I’m talking dog walking etiquette.

* DO Leash up! I love dogs of all kinds, I really and truly do but please, keep your dog on a leash unless you’re in a dog park. Since Jack can’t see, dogs running up towards him freaks him out and me by proxy. Both of us on edge = not good! I am sure your dog is loving and sweet and wouldn’t hurt a fly but Jack doesn’t react as quickly as he used to so when a dog comes out of nowhere, it causes us some problems. Maybe keep in mind that not all dogs are friendly and ready to play? (Fun fact? In my county there is a leash law for dogs and cats.)

* DON’T assume my dog wants to say hi to you/ your dog even if your pup is on a leash. If our dogs have met before, it will be fine but if you are new we can expect whining and nose-to-butt sniffing and occasionally the situation can go south.

* DO pick up your dog poop, for the love! Again, this is another county mandated thing where I live, but even if it wasn’t? Please, pick up your dog poop. We all have loads of extra grocery bags or can grab some quick and easy to use doggy waste bags  to keep the poop off the ground.

* DO ask me if you can pet my dog. Jack is an absolute love and will lean into any scratch, pet or affection you give him but he needs a minute to sniff your scent.

* DO make sure you check the weather if you’re taking your pup on a longer walk. A few weeks ago I did a local breast cancer 5k, the temp was nearly 100 degrees and I saw so many tiny pups and dogs trying to keep up. Yes, it’s your choice to bring your dog out in this weather but don’t forget to consider the heat and their exhaustion! If you need to have your dog out in warmer temps, be sure to have ample water and/or shade available to them.

Need someone to walk your dog when you can’t? Check out this resource from Rover.com for dog owners; reliable and safe dog walking is just a click away

Any tips & tricks or pet peeves from fellow dog lovers and owners? 

This, That & Lately

We are just two days shy of surviving our first week as a family of four. Knight and I set our intentions for this summer when it comes to eating, exercising and how we were going to structure the days/evenings. All I can say is that so far things are going much more smoothly, I don’t feel nearly as rushed and we get one whole hour to ourselves each evening. The kiddos are doing great and are a barrel of laughs, giving us a run for our money and are such a joy, all at once!

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Mother Nature must be really angry because we have been in a period of no rain, crazy humidity and extreme heat. Our 28 year-old air conditioning unit is struggling to keep up which means I’m terrified to see our electric bill in a few weeks. It’s too hot to get all my steps in outside so I may or may not go on the same loop in my house on repeat some evenings. The heat melts my brain and I’m convinced makes other people horrible drivers.

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I’ve been kicking my butt lately workout wise and am loving it. I’m officially down 12 pounds and am closing in on almost 40 inches lost overall. Not too bad for 10 months of work, eh? 3S Fitness has been doing a special Summer Series challenge which adds an extra boost to my routine each day; I’ve been having the girls join me for that part and trust me when I say it’s hilarious and fun to have them right along next to me. I know it can get tedious when people talk fitness and health so I’m going to just leave this here: 3S Fitness is offer a “Name Your Price” semi-annual sale. Literally you pick your price for the first month with 3S. Interested in more information or want to sign-up? Here you go. 

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I’m struggling to read anything of substance lately; I’m craving beach reads, fun mysteries and romance novels. Taking any and all recommendations if you have one! I figure I’ll go back to some heavier books once the weather turns cooler this fall. A few of my favorites have books coming out this summer and I’m so looking forward to treating myself to a book to add to my “favorite author,” collection.

What’s on your this/that and lately list? 

 

Review: Sleepless in Manhattan

Sarah MorganWhat a perfect summer read, friends. I couldn’t put this one down and couldn’t get enough of the characters, didn’t want it to end and I’m hoping there is a continuation in the series! Sleepless in Manhattan by Sarah Morgan is amusing, entertaining, light-hearted and inspiring all at once.

About this book:

Cool, calm and competent, events planner Paige Walker loves a challenge. After a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, she’s now determined to prove herself—and where better to take the world by storm than Manhattan? But when Paige loses the job she loves, she must face her biggest challenge of all—going it alone.

Except launching her own events company is nothing compared to hiding her outrageous crush on Jake Romano—her brother’s best friend, New York’s most in-demand date and the only man to break her heart. When Jake offers Paige’s fledgling company a big chance, their still-sizzling chemistry starts giving her sleepless nights. But can she convince the man who trusts no one to take a chance on forever?

As a self-professed list maker, event planning lover and Type A person, I could relate to Paige and her desire to make each client event she worked on successful. The Italian restaurant that the Paige and her friends spent time in made me feel right at home and I thoroughly enjoyed Jake’s mother with her classic Italian insights. Let’s not overlook the fact that this story takes place in New York City, one of my most favorite locations for books, movies and love stories. Morgan combines romance and strong-willed women in this book for one that will keep you turning the pages.

Giveaway time! Would you like to win a copy of this book for your summer vacation or poolside table? If you’re in the U.S. or Canada leave a comment by June 28th with your pick for best summer read! Winner will be notified by email.

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Disclosure: TLC Book Tours provided me a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of my review. All opinions are my own.

 

Reunion

A week ago I met some friends from high school, a few of the ladies I had not seen in person since graduation day, for drinks and dinner. I learned a few things that evening…

1) I was a total Miss Goody Two Shoes in high school. Some of the stories that were shared or remembered are things I wouldn’t even do to this day (yup, I’m boring!). I did not drink in high school, have never tried or done any drugs. Evidently I was in the minority on this! Lots of things happened in high school that I had no idea went on.

2) I don’t remember as many people by name as I thought I did. As soon as I got home from the evening I dugout my high school yearbook which was a hilarious and fabulous idea all at the same time. Faces I remembered, names not so much. We all agreed that next time we get together, hopefully not in another 15 years, that we’ll bring a yearbook to the event in case we need to look up pictures.

3) For anyone who is out there and struggling with high school, fitting in, etc.: try not to fret it. There were six of us at the dinner and we all came from different walks of life in high school but now? Four of the six are mothers, one is a doctor, one is a stay at home mom, one is a mom of two little boys and an engineer, another is a pediatric emergency room nurse, another still works for a family practice and then there’s me. My point is this: most of the evening was spent talking about marriage, raising kids, how expensive prescription drugs are, how the last time they were out this late was “way back when,” and how much fun it was to get together. None of our backgrounds or differences from then (or now; we all live in different parts of the city, fuel our bodies differently; some Cross Fit, some run, some drink, some don’t) mattered. We were just a group of 30-something women laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

4) In looking at my high school yearbook I laughed at my fashion choices, the fact that for some reason tweezing/waxing my eyebrows was optional for my senior photo (taken the summer before senior year, actually; I did tweeze/wax those brows all of senior year) and why in the world did our faculty advisor allow us to include pictures of people’s tattoos and piercings in our yearbook? I had a good laugh going through it, lots of smiles and suddenly had a desire to know what some of my long-since forgotten acquaintances were doing.

5) There are a surprising amount of high school couples to come out of my graduating class of 450. Not everyone stayed together after graduation but a few people circled back to each other after first marriages. The couples I thought would stay together? Didn’t.

6) I’m officially old. I started yawning around 9pm and was so happy to get home by 10:30.

When was the last time you got together with anyone from your high school or childhood? Any lessons learned from that get together?