Posted on January 16, 2022
12 oz Small Pasta – rotini, elbows, ditalini etc
1/2 Yellow or White Onion, diced
1 carrot, chopped into small pieces,
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can cannellini beans + aquafaba – Do not drain beans!
1 can whole peeled tomatoes or tomato sauce
Vegetable Stock or Broth (Or water if that’s what you have on hand)
1. Chop and mince your vegetables and garlic, set aside in separate small bowls
2. Boil pasta in large pot according to package directions. Before draining, save a cup of pasta water. Set drained pasta aside.
3. In large skillet over medium heat, heat oil, add carrot pieces and chopped onion, sauté until soft. 5-7 minutes, careful to brown and not burn.
4. Add garlic to onion mix, cook over medium low heat about 30 seconds or until fragrant, remove from heat.
5. If using whole tomatoes, put them in a blender and blend until smooth. If using tomato sauce, you may skip this step.
6. In the pot you cooked noodles in, add tomato sauce, onion, carrot, and garlic mixture, cannellini beans, and noodles. Add enough vegetable stock (or water) to cover veggies by an about an inch. Use reserved pasta water to thin sauce if desired.
7. Simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes,
8. Add noodles. Add more stock or water to achieve desired soup or sauce consistency. If too soupy, simmer until thickened slightly.
Note: I used canned beans with the aquafaba. This was the thickening component for my soup/sauce. If you choose to drain your beans or use dried beans you may achieve different results. You can add a little flour to the onion mixture, stir to combine and cook it an additional minute, before adding it to your tomato sauce. This should thicken the soup.
I didn’t have flour or cornstarch at the time, so beans were the answer!
Posted on January 15, 2022
Our stay in picturesque Proceno is winding to a close. We’ve been here for 30 days, spent a quiet Christmas and rang in the New Year with style. Our Homebase and hosts have been gracious, generous, and helped us feel right at home.
If you’re planning an Italian getaway and you enjoy the country, rolling hills, and the peace and quiet of nature, Proceno is an excellent place to visit. We have spent nearly every day exploring the immediate area. There are trails aplenty with paths for walking or hiking through the fairytale forests, some people even mountain bike or dirt bike. Coming from Denver, Colorado where the elevation is a mile high or more, hiking here has been a dream. At home I feel like I could drop dead for lack of oxygen at any moment despite the fact that I’m a Colorado native. Even though the area is very hilly, they’re very doable hills. I’ve definitely felt my fitness level improve since we have been here. If you want to relax and unwind, have a quiet place to work remotely, or enjoy the surrounding nature, I highly recommend Proceno, located in central Italy.
We got here in Mid-December and it’s now Mid-January and the temperature has been so mild. As I mentioned, we came from Colorado and the temps there this time of year are usually in the 40s-30s (F). Here in Italy it’s been anywhere from 60 as a high to 40 as the low. There has been a fairly significant amount of rain, which is novel for me since it rarely rains in Denver. If you like rain as I do, it’s the perfect atmosphere to snuggle up inside with the pellet stove on and read a book and make some soup with crusty bread. The downside is the streets get pretty slick with moss so you do have to exercise caution if you venture to the bar or grocery store. However, once the rain stops you can go outside for a walk and see how the plant life has unfolded, mushrooms, flowers, moss, lichen, birds flitting about, and the cats return to their posts. Photograph opportunities aplenty.
If you’re not such a fan of soggy weather, summer might be a better time for you to visit as the trails are drier and there’s more opportunity to sit out on the balcony or explore the countryside without getting sucked into the claylike mud.
Proceno’s beautiful landscapes and Olde world charm have been absolutely delightful.
However, a word of caution to you Traveler, if we could change one part of our trip it would have been to have a car and we would not recommend coming out here without one. In the summer the public transport might be better but I wouldn’t bet on it. We have found the bus wholly unreliable so we have had to employ a taxi or rely on our gracious host on several occasions which is a bit costly and/or inconvenient by comparison. If you do rent a car, remember you need an International Drivers Permit in accordance with the Italian embassy. (There are many countries where you need this permit! Plan accordingly!) People do rent cars here without one, but the consequences can be costly if you get caught. Also, remember to get your permit before you leave your home country!
If you’re a history buff, obviously Italy as a whole is the perfect place for you to visit! I particularly love that Proceno has placards with town history written in both Italian and English. They’re famous for their Red Garlic here, so don’t forget to pick some up! I’ve used it in nearly every recipe I’ve made and it’s so tasty. It is mellow, not overpowering, with a delicious, light garlic flavor (in my opinion!) The papery skins on outside are white, but the skin covering the bulbs is red. In pre-covid times, they had a garlic festival each year in August. Hopefully it will return again in the near future.
We didn’t know how far from public transport we would be when we booked the adorable home in this castle town, but I can honestly say that’s the only downside to being here. After our whirlwind craziness of getting here, this was the perfect spot to slide into our vacation, and settle into life in Italy, the slower pace, the culturally accepted and encouraged midday naps (YES! My People!) and everything staying closed on Sundays. This easy pace is wonderful, and I’ve been super content and happy here. Now that we have found our footing and our rhythm, it’s time to move on to the faster pace of city life in Firenze (Florence).
If you find yourself longing for an Italian getaway in the Tuscan countryside, feel free to reach out to me and I would be more than happy to put you in touch with our hosts. They’ve been incredible, going so far as to lend Gabe a coat when our luggage was lost, and bake us tasty Christmas treats. We’ve truly felt accepted and welcomed here, I hope you’ll come experience this place for yourself! Learn some Italian, Rent a Car!
Sentieri Felici ,
Posted on January 2, 2022
This recipe came into being because it’s what I had left in the pantry and freezer, it got a 5 star review from my guy, and was simple to throw together. It looks like a lot of steps but it’s very easy. Buon Apetito!
16 oz Bucatini Pasta or similar
1 white or yellow onion, diced small
6 cloves garlic, separated into 4 & 2, minced or diced small
1/2 cup mushrooms of your choosing
1 cup peas
1 tsp flour
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Salt & Pepper
1. Boil water over high heat in large stock pot, add peas and noodles, cook noodles according to package directions, drain, set aside.
2. While pasta is cooking, in sauté pan add olive oil, chopped onions, sprinkle with salt, cook until soft and translucent. Add mushrooms, cook down until water evaporates, then sprinkle with a light dusting of sugar to help caramelize the mushrooms and onions. Cook for another two minutes, making sure they don’t burn.
3. Over low heat, add 4 minced garlic cloves to mushroom onion mixture, sauté around 30-40 seconds until fragrant.
4. Coat mixture with flour, stir to combine, continue cooking another minute.
5. Using your vegetable stock or broth, add enough to just cover mixture. Over medium heat, bring to boil. Allow to simmer until mixture thickens to desired saucy consistency. Add more broth if necessary.
6. Return noodles to stock pot.
7. In a separate, smaller sauté pan add 2 Tbsp of olive oil, heat for a minute, add remaining minced garlic to oil. Cook 30 seconds, watch that oil doesn’t burn. Carefully, pour oil & garlic over noodles & peas, stir to coat.
8. Add mushroom mixture to peas & noodles, stir to combine. Salt & pepper to taste.
Serve & Enjoy!
Posted on December 29, 2021
It’s taken me a long time to learn how to be a good friend, how to cultivate healthy friendships, how to sort the weeds from the wildflowers.
This past year of 2021 has been a beautiful unfolding of female relationships.
I have long been blessed with a solid foundation of friendships with older women, usually somewhere in their 40s-60s and these have been and continue to be some of my strongest relationships. Keep in mind, I’ve only just turned 30. These women are where I’ve built my home. It’s easy to cut through the superficial, to see each other without the suspicion, cattiness, and competition that society breeds in younger women. These mature, adult, women have walked through fire and are wise enough to cut through the bullshit. Historically, they have been my people. They will continue to be the rock on which I base friendship, because there is so much goodness there, so much for the soul.
I’ve also been of the opinion in the past, as I know so many women are, that men are another safe place to build friendships. I was long a proud shouter that I got along better with men than women.
As I look back on the majority of those relationships I see now that it was patently untrue. I’m not a big believer in the male/female “friendship” anymore. Sure, we got along great, but I see the strings that are attached now, the underbelly. There are certainly some men who are good at their very core, who are able to be friends with women without the strings, but they are few and far between, in my opinion.
The other awareness around male friends I’ve come to realize with astounding clarity is this: Men have no idea what it is to be a woman. They have no idea, how we operate in life. Even the most well intentioned man is still going to fall flat. It’s not their fault, they’re men. It’s not like women understand them any better. (Make no mistake, I love my man beyond all words and reason) But no, men are not the answer to that particular longing in our hearts – you know what I mean, I know you do.
What we need in this life, is a circle of women. Who better to understand what it is to bleed every month – until you don’t? To witness those profound life changes? To bear the responsibility of giving or not giving life to a human? To understand the depths of our heartache, or the fierce love we carry, or the joy we are capable of. Who better to bear the full weight of our emotional spectrum? It’s women.
I’ve had the good and unexpected fortune this year, of encountering some really phenomenal women. The unusual part of this, is they’ve been very nearly my own age. This has been a profoundly new experience for me and I wasn’t exactly trusting of it to begin with. I’m weird – I know I’m weird. I don’t relate that well with people my age, my tolerance for “young people” drama isn’t very high. But these women? They’ve been real. They’ve been raw. Most importantly, most surprisingly, I felt immediate connection with them in a very visceral way.
You probably know what I mean. You meet someone you’re attracted too, the electricity is there, the chemistry is there, and you’ve never even spoken. This is usually where you go out on a date or fall into bed or some other non-platonic relationship thing.
In my case, I wondered if it was one sided. If I was just reading into something I admired about these various women. One night in a women’s gestalt group, I decided to be brave and call out what I was experiencing with another woman in the group, though we’d had no direct, intentional contact up to that point. I told her I was feeling wildly connected to her, on a heart level and I just wanted to give voice to it. She looked at me and said “I knew you were going to say that. I feel it too.” I was blown away.
That’s pure magic, is what that is.
I started to look for it in other places. In another women’s gestalt group I was co-facilitating (Group is magic!) on our last day of the group, I was experiencing some melancholy and an unfinishedness – this was my last group before leaving to travel.
To my left, my thoughts were voiced out loud by one of the ladies. “I’m feeling kind of panicky – we just met and I feel connected to you, like I just found you in this life and now you’re leaving.” Oh wow, she felt that too! My soul knew this person, and had connected in a way that was powerful without it ever being consciously decided. I’ve since been able to look back and pinpoint some other instances in life, more fleeting but still impactful, where that same “charge” has connected me to another female.
Perhaps the most important relationship that’s been forged this past year, in trials by fire, I might add – is that of a client who has become my closest friend. She and another very dear client-turned-amazing-friend, hired me to work with them and their horses about two years ago.
The day I met her, I felt like I’d met her before. I took a couple of weeks racking my brain for when or if we’d ever met, I even asked my mom if she knew her or remembered her. Turns out we hadn’t ever met, but my soul knew her. She was mine from the get-go.
This incredible manifestation of sisterhood has been something I’m in awe of. For the first time in my life I have a tribe of healthy, awakened, actively healing, powerhouse women around me, of all ages.
I’ve learned a new superpower – to listen to my heart and intuition and that electrical pulse that tells me when someone wonderful has entered the scene. That awareness has brought joy to my heart this past year, along with some extra heartache because it’s hard to say Goodbye for Now, to all these incredible women while I’m on this epic journey with my man. The beauty of social media is I’m not as far away as I once might have been, and I get to stay in contact with all of them.
I hope that you have a community who brings you joy like mine does, who sees you and holds you and loves you for who you are. If you don’t, you can change that. Stay open. If you have a “bad picker” for men or friends, seek out someone who has a good picker. (I’d be happy to help you identify toxic people and patterns and help you break free of them! That’s what I love to do as a coach)
Learn what makes a good friend, learn how to be a good friend, keep your heart on high alert for the zing of good people, and you’ll soon your tribe will find you.
Posted on December 27, 2021
Everything Pasta / Tutto Pasta
1 16 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
10 oz short pasta like rotini
1 eggplant, cubed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 garlic bulbs, minced
Boil water in medium sauce pan for noodles, follow package directions. Strain, set aside.
Over medium low heat, add 1tbsp olive oil, sprinkle with salt then sauté onion and red pepper until soft, about 10 minutes Add garlic, sauté 30 seconds.
While onion & pepper cook down, remove whole tomatoes from can to cutting board, and dice. Add remaining sauce in can and diced tomatoes to soft onions & peppers. Stir to combine. Sprinkle with salt & black pepper to taste.
In second sauté pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add cubed eggplant and sauté until soft and slightly browned on all sides. Add eggplant to tomato sauce.
Return noodles to sauce pan, cover with tomato sauce, stir to combine.
Salt & Pepper to taste.