Friday, February 24, 2012

Birthday at Spaccanapoli

Ciao a tutti!

Yesterday was my birthday!  It was fabulous and wonderful and bellissimo :).

For dinner, we decided to go to a famous Bolognese pizzeria, Spaccanapoli.  Silly me forgot to make a reservation, so we ended up eating outside (it must've been around 40 degrees out.)  Being a true Bostonian, the cold didn't phase me one bit (although the wine might have helped with that.)

This is a photo from the fall, when we were lucky enough to eat inside :).

The pizzas at Spaccanapoli are HUGE.  I ordered a pizza called Birichini, and was able to eat almost half of it.  It was a white pizza with ricotta, mozzarella, and smoked prosciutto - incredibly delicious.  (It's the one at the head of the table in the picture.)

Most Italian restaurants don't let you take any food home (I know, a tragedy.)  Spaccanapoli is an exception to that, however.  In fact, to take your pizza home, they roll it up into a cone and stuff it in a bag.  Elegant.

In the end, it was just 10 euro a person, wine included.  Definitely a place to revisit.

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Until next time! Live Enriched!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Vitamix Blenders

It's time for the product of the month!

This week, we're talking about blenders.  Vitamix blenders.

Recently, the world has been overcome with smoothie mania.  What can I say, I love it!  But just you wait, the Vitamix makes more than just a smoothie.

5 Reasons Why I Recommend Vitamix:

1. Having a Vitamix means you can eat more real, whole food.

Throw in whole fruits: that means you can even put in skins for things like apples, pears, and even oranges and bananas!  That means getting more nutrients (the nutrients are in the skin, you know!).  It also means getting more food for your money.  The Vitamix blends so well, you won't notice ANYTHING, I promise.

2. Vitamix can make almost anything.

Your Vitamix isn't just good for smoothies, it's good for almost anything.  You can blend a hot soup in about 6 minutes.  You can make your own peanut butter, almond milk, or fondue.  You can even make ice cream or sorbet!

Imagine feeding your family food that YOU made, and you know EXACTLY what's in it.  This will lead to a much healthier, more cost effective lifestyle.  (Check the bottom for a link to recipe videos!)

3. It's really fun for kids to help concoct recipes, or to drink colored smoothies.

If you've ever heard of green smoothies, Vitamix is perfect for these, too.  Throw in some kale, spinach, broccoli, grapes, limes, or really anything you want.  There are tons of green smoothie recipes on the internet... maybe I'll even post one here eventually!

Kids will LOVE the green color (or whatever color you want it to be.)  They also will have no idea you put in lots of "yucky veggies."

4. Vitamix is really easy to clean.

Put in some dish detergent and warm water, run the blender, and it cleans itself.  So quick, and so easy, you'll want to use it every day.

To watch the cleaning video, and other videos of great recipes, click here.

Want to find out more? Check out the vitamix website.

Have a Vitamix?  Leave a comment with what you think of it, or your favorite recipe.
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Until next time!  Live Enriched!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Homemade Guacamole Recipe

Homemade guacamole has become a weekly staple in this Italian apartment.  The freshest (and cheapest) guacamole - all made with fresh, real food.  It's SO easy, and so healthy, that it really should be on all of your weekly dinner lists as well.


1 large avocado
1 large tomato
1/2 onion
1 large clove of garlic (you can also use garlic from a jar)
1 small lemon
salt, to taste
Ingredients: FRESH and SIMPLE.


Peel the avocados, put them in a bowl, and mash them together with a fork.  (You can even involve kids in this part!)

Easy and fun!
Dice the tomatoes, onions, and garlic.  You can use a food processor, but Cutco works great for me!

Cutco cameo!
Mix all these ingredients together.  Squeeze the whole lemon into the guacamole, and add salt to taste (usually about 2-3 tsps).

Delicious, fresh, healthy... what more could you ask for?
Serve with tortilla chips, quesadillas, burritos, or whatever you decide!

Italian roommate LOVES my guacamole. And I LOVE HER! :)

Let me know how it goes!
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Until next time!  Live Enriched!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Reseal Plastic Bags To Keep Food Fresh

Welcome back for February's Kitchen Tip of the Month!

This week we're talking about keep your food fresh in plastic bags - by resealing them!

Have you ever opened up a plastic bag, let's say of brown sugar, or some sort of meat, or bread, and then remember that you already have one open?  Or you know that you won't use it again for some time, and you want to put it in the freezer but you have nothing to seal it in?

Instead of worrying about the freshness of your food, reseal it with an iron!  That's right, an iron that you use for your clothes.  Here's what to do:

1. Pinch the plastic together where it's open.

2. Put a piece of aluminum foil to cover the plastic you want to seal.  Make sure it covers both sides - you don't want the plastic melting to your table!

3. Run your iron over the aluminum - the aluminum will heat up, melting the plastic together.  (Don't touch the iron to the plastic, it will stick!)

4. Let it cool!  Don't touch the aluminum right away, because it will be hot!

You now have a resealed bag!

(P.S. If you use a transparent plastic bag, like a lot of food comes it, you don't have to worry about any chemicals or fumes.)

Bonus Tip:  If you have delicate clothing that you can't iron, but need to get a wrinkle out of, put a piece of aluminum foil over it.  Hold the iron 3-4 inches above the foil (so it doesn't get too hot).  The heat from the foil will take out those wrinkles.

(Thanks to and for these cool ideas.)

For another tip on keeping food fresh, check out this post on Sneaky Organization Tips.

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Until next time!  Live Enriched!

Friday, January 27, 2012

“One is wise to cultivate the tree that bears fruit in our soul.”

- Henry David Thoreau


Do you have fruit in your soul?  I have fruit in mine!

And here's a short post about how - in the past 5 months - I've been "cultivating the tree" that bears it. ;)

My favorite food has always been "fruit."  Can I pick just one?  Probably not - although I do have a small partiality towards grapefruit, blueberries, and kiwis.  I have never eaten a fruit that I did not enjoy, or would not eat again.  Since I've been in Italy (and France) I've been able to explore some new and exotic fruits.  Today, I want to share some of those with you - and hopefully encourage you to try some for yourself!

1. Indian Figs (aka Prickly Pears or Cactus Pears)

The first time I had and Indian fig, my roommate in Italy had brought one home, and gave me a slice to try.  The taste was incredibly sweet, and very juicy.  If I had to have one qualm about this one, it would be that the texture of the seeds on the inside isn't the most pleasant - but it's worth it for the taste!

2. Lychees

My first time for this one was in France.  These little guys are great.  They have a weird, prickly looking outside, and a large dark brown pit in the middle.  You peel the outside almost like the shell of a hardboiled egg.  The white fruit tastes a bit like the inside of a green grape.  Fun and delicious!

3. Chinese Grapefruit (aka Pomello)

The Chinese grapefruit is HUGE!  It is about the size of a cantaloupe or even a small watermelon.  I had a taste of this one in France.  It is much sweeter than the regular grapefruit - and therefore a great substitute for that not-so-healthy breakfast of grapefruit loaded with sugar packets.  The rind is quite thick though, so be ready for a bit of cutting and digging!

4. Blood Oranges

I found these by chance at the local farmer's market in Bologna.  They were cheaper than the regular oranges (and honestly, they looked similar from the outside!) so I decided to give them a shot.  I actually didn't know exactly what they were until I got home to figure out the translation!  They were a tad sweeter than regular oranges, while also being slightly more sour, but less acidic.  I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself well - just go try some!

5. Persimmons

Last, but certainly not least, are persimmons.  These might be my new favorite fruit.  They are one of the sweetest natural things I have ever tasted.  Here in Italy, they're slightly more expensive than other fruit, but well worth the price.  WARNING: they must be VERY soft and ripe before you eat them.  Mine are usually falling apart.  If they aren't ripe, they have a very chalky, bitter taste that dries out your mouth - so make sure you steer clear of that error!

(All photos from - great place to explore tons of exotic fruits!)

Like this post?  Share it!
What's your favorite fruit?  Let me know in the comments below.
Think you have a fruit that I might not like!  Challenge me!

Until next time!  Live Enriched!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Easy, Plain, Delicious Cheesecake

Welcome back foodies!

People who have never made cheesecake before probably think that it's really difficult to do.  I thought that too, until I made one!  Today, I'm going to give you an easy recipe for a delicious, plain cheesecake.  A little backstory first: when I went to France last month, they kept asking for cheesecake (they don't tend to put their cheese in cake over there.)  So I sent a message to my amazing friend Julia, who has all the recipes I could ever ask for, and she came through in the clutch!

Here it is, enjoy!  And after you make it, leave a comment and let me know how it turned out (a photo is even better!)

Easy, Plain, Delicious (and Enrichin'!) Cheesecake

3T butter, melted
1C graham cracker crumbs (7-10 whole graham crackers)
***I actually prefer a chocolate crust - for this you can use 1C of chopped up double chocolate cookies (about 10-15)
1.5T sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F

Mix these ingredients, spread them and press them into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan (or round pan, if you don't have springform) for 10 min. Set aside.

2 lbs cream cheese, softened (leave it on the counter for 30 min. or so)
4 eggs
1C sugar
1tsp vanilla
2tsp lemon juice

Beat the softened cream cheese until creamy. Add 4 eggs, beat well, until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes with an electric mixer). Add sugar gradually. Once it's all mixed in, add vanilla and lemon juice. Mix. Then pour into pan and bake for 35 minutes or more (the cake should be a little jiggly in the center). Cool for 1 hour, and top with fresh fruit or chocolate sauce or anything else!

This is the beautiful cheesecake we made in France.  It was a huge hit!

Of course, if you'd like to change it up, you can add almost anything you want - feel free to add chocolate sauce, peanut butter, or jam into the batter.

Until next time!  Live Enriched!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Barkeeper's Friend

Hey everyone!

I'm going to keep it short and sweet this week.

The Product of the Month for January is Barkeeper's Friend - and no, you don't have to be a barkeeper, have a bar, or even drink at all :).

Barkeeper's Friend is the PERFECT solution for any metal tarnishing.  Whether it's water spots or brown tarnish (for most of your stuff, it's probably NOT rust), this little gem will do the trick.

There is no chlorine bleach, so it's much safer and easier to use.  It works for kitchen sinks, counters, pots, pans, knives (even Cutco!), cooktops, and tile.  You can also use it in the sink and garage.

Almost every Cutco junkie I've ever met recommends this stuff, so if you have anything you need to shine up, this is it.  It comes in both powder and liquid form, and you can find it at most grocery stores or home improvement stores in the Northeast.  For those of you outside the best part of the country (just kidding!) you can also buy online here.

And the best part: it's only $1.50 for a whole can!

If you've ever used barkeeper's friend, leave a comment below and let us know what you think!
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Until next time!  Live Enriched!