Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's Foggy..Let's Talk Italy (i.e.Food)

One of the reasons my heart is still in Italy...


This is what it looks like outside. It's not exactly ugly, but Im really not in the mood for fog at 10 am even with my Mint Green tea in hand.


Let's talk Italy. This is one of my favorite pizza's that I ate in Firenze.

We went to our regular Sunday meeting (Public talk and Watchtower discussion) in Scandicci and then drove to Certaldo for a special English public talk. After the special English meeting at the Certaldo Kingdom Hall we went to the Osteria da Carlo in Castelfiorentino, Firenze.

Every element of this was completely delicious! And yes, I am taking the picture while eating a slice. I was really hungry after eating only a small chocolate gelato for "dinner" in between the two meetings.


Certaldo is a midievel town one hour drive from Firenze (Florence). It was a beutiful place! I love how things can be hundreds of years old (or older) in Italy, but nothing feels "dated" or negatively "archaic".

This is the delicious pepperoncini oil thats meant to be drizzled on the pizza at Osteria da Carlo. This has just the right balance of heat and flavor thanks to the use of local extra virgin olive oil. Its meant for drizzling, but i accidentally (but thankfully) poured too much on my plate and dipped the crust in it.

On one of our weekend trips to preach in Certaldo (specifically we were inviting people to the special English talk given there) their happened to be a special Food and Wine Festival taking place.

This guy was a butcher selling some sort of meat product. And I stood at his booth for a while because Im interested in aged Salami.


Stop looking at me like that. It is a common thing to admire beauty in Italy.

Moving on to less incriminating topics....

This is Lavnder Honey also being sold at the Certaldo Festival. The bees get pollen and nectar from the lavnder and produce this amazing Lavender honey.

It tasted like honey at first but then there were these notes of something else. I cant really describe it. You will have to try some to understand.

Just looking at the picture makes me want to back some scones, pull out the coconut butter and drizzle some of this all over it.....

I need a minute....Wow.... Okay..

Moving on....


This is an example of an Italian breakfast done my way. The classic is a pastry with espresso. Im not a huge coffee drinker, so I had some black tea and croissants filled with apricot heated in the toaster oven. What a great way to start the day.

How does this sustain you? Well, the trick is that they bake with whole grain and often spelt flour. You get a healthy dose of fiber and protein(spelt is loaded with protein). And with the addition of an all natural fruit spread there is some natural sugar to give you a boost.

Let's not forget that espresso is more caffein-dense than its watered down American cousin.

Its really a balanced meal in a proportion that will keep you moving, but not weight you down. Luncheon is the biggest meal of the day for most, so you want to eat just enough to keep you going until then.

I adore lentils, but these bad boys are somethin special. They are canned with a tomato paste and veg blend that the lentils absorb so that even after rinsing they have a light lovely taste within them. I sauteed them with spinach and mushrooms and added some walnuts for texture.

This was the first fresh greens I purchased on the trip. I was so excited to have spinach I was just going to eat them sauteed with onion and fresh garlic, but I thought I should add some protein so I threw in the chickpeas as well and made a dense, nutrient rich soup.

Right after a Sunday meeting we went to Galleria degli Uffizi di Firenze. Needless to say we our stomachs were talking louder than we were when we exited the museum. We immediately started hunting for reasonably priced noshes and found this place.

You see what caught my attention.

Not the best I had while there, but cheap and very yummy. They sold everything by the pound. I had to take a picture of me enjoying my bread.

I did not eat this, but I had to share this craziness. It's litle sign literally translated to "meat pizza". Special Times!

Oh Spelt Caserecce pasta! So delicious and hearty with a gang of fresh vegetables sauteed in olive oil of course.


Some of my friends are wondering how I ate like this...

and not like this and still managed to lose weight while I was in Italy.
Well, I didnt exercise on purpose at any point during my trip, but....

There were 80 of these bad boys from the ground level to our apartment. Sometimes I was walking up them carrying two 2L bottles of mineral water and groceries.

I also did a lot (A LOT as in a few miles a day) of walking while in the ministry, but just in general. We walked most places and caught buses.

When I could, I would stand up on the bus instead of taking a seat. You burn more calories burning than sitting and engage several muscle groups trying not to fall while the Italian bus driver speeds through tight roads and around sharp curves. I so miss that.

No seriously! It was fun!

And im a big fan of NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). NEAT basically encourages you to move as much as possible throughout the day thus increasing your overall calorie burn.

It includes doing things like walking in place while making photocopies, taking the stairs instead of elevator (being on the 11th floor is no excuse....walk up two flights then catch the elevator) and my favorite is standing up while talking on the phone.

My second favorite is setting a timer to go off every thirty minutes and when it does get up and move. Squats, arm circles and standing stretches are my favorite things to do.

You are encouraged to suplement with regular physical activity when you can, but on days when you can't devote a chunk of time to exercise you can still get your calorie burn on.

Okay enough with the fitness PSA!!

Proof that everything is cute (from the greek word ka'no's also translated superior in every way). I got this cute little guy along with some sea salt and lemon juice for my salad at S&D market....

You know im obsessed with almonds right? Well, this smelled like almond extract. It was not the most natural product in the world, but the smell and the low low price tag had me at go..

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