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December 21st | Will the Mayans be right?

Earlier this year I wrote about a funny coincidence regarding the crumbling of part of Rome’s coliseum and the impending end of the world.  I guess we are just days away from finding out if those Mayans were on the right track or not!


If the predictions are right, we better live it up because the world is slotted to end this year.

Mayan Calendar

We’ve all heard about 2012 marking the end of the world as we know it, but where did all this dooms daying come from?  We have the Mayan’s to blame this time.  Unlike our cyclic calendar (which can go on infinitely) the Mayan’s followed a long count calendar which consisted of a set number of days.  The completion of the calendar marked the end of one world and the beginning of the next.  According to the Mayan’s, we are living in the fourth world which is the only one that has been successful at all and has sustained humanity.  So when does this glorious reign end?

December 21st, 2012.

The Venerable Bede

Interpretation of this date has brought on all kinds of attention and opinions:  New Age belief in some sort of Spiritual Transformation, Zombie Apocalypse, fire & brimstone and one half way decent blockbuster movie.  I don’t tend to pay too much attention to ruckus of this sort.  I worked night shift New Years Eve when we ushered in 2000 without so much as a hint of a computer meltdown.  Harold Camping (aka that crazy dude swindling people out of ungodly amounts of money) and his third failed prediction last May didn’t even raise my eyebrow.  I have yet to call any 1-800 numbers to find out what the one-thing-that-I-need-to-know-now-to-save-my-finanicial-future-before-it’s-too-late is.  But when I recently read about pieces of the Colosseum falling off and the political troubles already brewing with the scheduled restoration project, I couldn’t help but think of a famous prophecy.  The Colosseum was built approximately 2000 years ago and stands to this day as one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering.  Not earthquakes, nor fire or civil unrest has brought down this magnificent structure.  Not yet.  The prophecy that came to mind is attributed to the Venerable Bede:

‘While the Colosseum stands, Rome shall stand; when the Colosseum falls, Rome shall fall; when Rome falls, the world shall fall’

Maybe I better pay attention this time and dust off my bucket list.  We’ve got some traveling to do and by my calculations only 340 days left to do it!

Copyright 2012  Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Holiday Recipes from Italy

It is that time of year again!  The holidays just aren’t the holidays without something yummy baking in the oven.  I have compiled links to some of my favorite recipes that I am getting ready to test out this year.  Let me know what you think, and if you have a favorite tell me about it!

Madonna del Piatto

If you were following me this August, you will remember my month of favorite Italian websites.  This wonderful lady was one of those.  Here is her recipe for Bace di Dama cookies and she even put the measurement conversions in for us Yankees.  Another is her Assisi apple and olive oil strudel.

Baci di Dama

Baci di Dama

Over a Tuscan Stove

Another of my favorite cooking bloggers.  Here are several links and I can’t decide where to get started.  Fig and Walnut Paneforte, Christmas Treats, Bollito Misto (ok I’m dreaming here, following the links to actual recipe).


Red Star to Lone Star

I stumbled across this blog and loved the looked of it, then later found this post about the famous Italian cookies called Befana.


The Italian Dish

Another new mouthwatering blog that I am now following.  So so many recipes to go through.  Croccante, pine nut brittle and Mosiac Biscotti just for starters.

croccante italian baking

Croccante courtesy of the Italian Dish

I’m obsessed with feedback, let me know what you think.

Love it??  Pass it on!

Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel



Peppermint Chip Chocolate Biscotti

Peppermint Chip Chocolate Biscotti

I had to bring this one back for the holidays!  The perfect festive and yummy treat for this time of year.

cookie baking


1 cup  coarsely chopped Hershey’s Kisses Candy Cane (hurry, only available during the holidays!)   plus approx 1 cup whole for drizzle

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup  butter

2 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 to 2¼ cups flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt


1. Heat the oven to 350°. Melt the butter and chocolate chips together (I put them in a Pyrex measuring cup and microwave them) and set aside.

2. Beat the eggs and sugar until lightened, about two minutes.

3. Add the vanilla and chocolate mixture.

4. Mix in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt just until combined. You should have a soft, but not sticky, dough. Add the extra 1/4 cup of flour if dough is too sticky.  I usually have to add more.  Mix in peppermint chips.

5. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, form each half into a log that is 3½ inches by 9 inches. Place the logs on a heavy-duty baking sheet.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops are set.

6. Reduce the oven to 275°. Let the logs cool, then slice into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange the slices on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully turn the slices over, and bake for another 20 minutes.

7. Cool on a wire rack.  Heat remaining peppermint chips in microwave on 70% power for 1-2 minutes, then drizzle over cooled biscotti.  Store in an airtight container or freeze.

Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Featured Photo Friday | Winter Snow in Pietracamela

Courtesy of Life in Abruzzo

Courtesy of Life in Abruzzo

I’m obsessed with feedback, let me know what you think.

Love it??  Pass it on!

Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Waterspout off the Coast of Genoa Italy

christmas tree bozeman montanaWeird weather continues everywhere.  Here in Montana we are starting to wonder if it will be a white Christmas or not.  We actually wore our mud boots out on our outing to find a Christmas tree instead of the usual snow boots.

I wanted to share this pretty incredible photo of a dramatic waterspout off the coast of Genoa Italy yesterday.  Click here to read the article on Storm Chasers.

Courtesy of Storm Chaser Movies

Courtesy of Storm Chaser Movies



I’m obsessed with feedback, let me know what you think.

Love it??  Pass it on!

Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel



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