Monday, July 28, 2014

Trinita dei Monti Church Italy

Thanks to

Monday, August 26, 2013

Cincinatti Chili

I know that this sounds crazy – chili and spaghetti – but it was so good that I knew that I had to share the recipe. It is so easy and just different enough to make it exciting. Cincinatti Chili 1 pound spaghetti 1 Tablespoon olive oil 1 medium onion, diced 1 Tablespoon minced garlic 1 (13 ounce) package meatless grounds 1 can (15 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes 1 1/2 cups frozen corn 2 cups pinto beans 1 cup vegetable broth 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon oregano 3 Tablespoons tomato paste Salt and pepper 1. Boil water for pasta and cook spaghetti according to package directions. 2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, or until translucent and fragrant. 3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until chili is thickened. Spoon on top of pasta and serve immediately.

Farm Dinner Sweepstakes

Full Circle, one of my favorite produce delivery services, is sponsoring an amazing Farm Dinner Sweepstakes, so I had to share it. Five lucky winners will get a pair of tickets worth $400 to an Outstanding in the Field dinner event. These happen all around the West, and they celebrate delicious, fresh food. To enter, visit Full Circle. Good luck!

Imitating Mary

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, this is the perfect gift for all the Catholic Moms out there. Imitating Mary by Marge Fenlon is a wonderful book that examines the Virgin Mary and how we, as women in the 21st century, can be more like her in all we do. Walking through all of the moments that Mary experienced as the mother of Jesus (from the Fiat – Mary’s “yes” – to Mary as a Disciple), this book walks readers through these moments in their own lives. This book is organized into sections so that readers get Biblical verses, a reflection, and an anecdote or two to show how everyone can become more like Mary in thought and action. There are questions with each section so that readers can reflect on scripture, our relationships with others, and how we can strive to become holier in our daily lives. Additionally, the chapters close with a prayer, or inspirational list to guide us through our mindful efforts to truly imitate Mary in all we do. This book is perfect for any Mother, especially the ones trying to grow in their spirituality. It is a beautiful reminder of Mary’s role as the perfect mother and is a powerful read.

However Long the Night

It has been a long time since I have been so moved by a book. Aimee Molloy’s However Long the Night is a powerful biography focusing on the tireless efforts of Molly Melching who has worked for decades in Senegal to educate and improve the lives of the women and children of villages across the nation. Melching originally traveled to Senegal as part of a graduate program study abroad, and was looking forward to learning about the culture and people. What she hadn’t planned on was the cancellation of the program. After convincing the university to allow her to study, Melching couldn’t help but fall in love with all that Senegal offered. Rather than returning home, however, Melching extends her stay and secures a position as a Peace Corps employee. She starts a school to teach the local children, focusing on them reading stories that reflect their own culture and language, rather than stories of European children who share little with their Senegalese peers. This venture quickly leads to another and before Melching knows it, she has embedded herself into the Senegal culture, learned the language, and established an NGO named Tostan to help educate the women and children of the nation. While she set out to improve the quality of life, it becomes apparent that one issue needs attention – that of FGC (female genital cutting). Remarkably, after much effort, and devoted educational efforts Melching and the women of the villages begin to notice a change in the FGC tradition. The women feel empowered, and slowly begin to convince others that a change is needed. This powerful book is inspiring, engaging, and insightful. I read it in one sitting, fascinated that I had gone so long knowing so little about Melching and the FGC crisis in Senegal. I have begun to recommend this book to all of my friends and love the discussions that come about because of it. I cannot recommend this book highly enough – it has been a long time since I have been so touched and inspired by a book – Molloy’s voice and Melching’s devotion make this a powerful story.

Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free

When having friends over, I love to make them a great vegan meal, but I realize that some of my friends aren’t vegan, and have dietary restrictions of their own. Enter Simply Gluten-Free & Diary-Free by Grace Cheetham. It is packed with a variety of recipes (for vegans and carnivores alike) that range from being gluten-free and dairy-free to soy-free and nut-free. With this many options for making a meal, it is possible to make a meal that will please any crowd. The recipes range from essential recipes (like sauces, stocks, and breads) to breakfast goodies (smoothies and granolas). There are delicious recipes for lunch, dinner, and dessert, too. With items like Wild Mushroom and Hazelnut Cream Soup, Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa, Tomato Tart, and Arame and Cashew Nut Stir-Fry, there are vegan options that your friends will love. There are also treats like Ginger Cookies, Mango and Hazelnut Florentines, Fig and Date Fruit Bars, and Fruit Loaf to tempt all your friends. While this isn’t a strictly vegan cookbook, there are a number of vegan options and even more meals that can be made vegan by simply swapping in vegetarian mean substitutes in place of the meats. The organization is a bit tricky to get used to, but with delicious recipes, this is worth exploring.

Gnocchi Antipasti Pasta Salad

Because store-bought gnocchi only takes minutes to make, it is the perfect easy dinner option. This version, with antipasti staples like artichoke hearts and olives, makes a wonderful side dish or entree. Plus, with fresh basil and cherry tomatoes, it is the perfect way to show off the best spring has to offer. Gnocchi Antipasti Pasta Salad 2 packages gnocchi 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved 1 (12 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 cup green olives 2 cups mixed baby greens (spinach, kale, arugula, etc.) 1/4 cup finely torn basil leaves 2 Tablespoons olive oil 1. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and allow to cool slightly. 2. Put gnocchi in a large bowl and mix remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature.