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Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

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

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

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

 

Peppermint Chip Chocolate Biscotti

Biscotti Recipe:  Week One – Peppermint Chip Chocolate Biscotti

For those of you that missed my previous post, my New Year’s Resolution this year is to make a new biscotti recipe every week.  Take that weight watchers!

cookie baking

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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

Italy in the News: The Colosseum is falling, saving lives in church, bringing Mona Lisa home and more

Headlines from December 25-31

(ANSA) – Priests at the Pistoia Cathedral in Tuscany may soon be saving more than just souls as the church became the first in Italy outfitted with a heart defibrillator on Thursday….Read More

(ANSA) – Premier Mario Monti said Italy was not following Greece’s economic demise despite its love of the country….Read More

(ANSA) – The Holy Shroud of Turin cannot be a fake according to a new five-year study highlighted by Vatican newspaper l’Osservatore Romano….Read More

(Reuters) – A courtyard column of a Roman house in Pompeii collapsed on Thursday, renewing concerns about the state of the site which was frozen in time when Mount Vesuvius erupted 2,000 years ago, burying inhabitants alive and preserving their homes….Read More

(ABC News) – Florence officials are launching a campaign to bring the “Mona Lisa” back for a visit….Read More

(ANSA) – The Colosseum lost another bit of masonry Tuesday following a fragment of wall that fell off on Christmas Day, fire services said….Read More 

(New York Times) – The traditional inauguration of the Christmas season got underway early this month in Rome, but travelers can visit vestiges of those early celebrations, and still take in a few more ceremonies, after the gifts have been opened….Read More

(ANSA) – Pope Benedict XVi on Wednesday stressed the importance of families praying together….Read More

Dreaming of Italy Christmas Give-Away WINNERS

Italian Riveria, Vernazza, ItalyThank you to everyone who was a part of the give-away, I had fun reading your dreams!  I decided to make each one of you a winner, so you all will receive $50 off any of my travel planning service with NO expiration date!  More info about my service here.

The following are my randomly chosen winners:

Iris Beard:  Magic Bridge (and 50$ off)

Amy Hill Cooley:  Inn Food cookbook (and 50$ off)

Meg King-Sloan:  Magic Bridge (and 50$ off)

Contact me so that I can find out where to send your prizes!

Dreaming of Italy Christmas Give-Away

That’s right!  If you can dream of Italy then you can be a part of my Italian Christmas Give-away.  Just tell me your Italian dream.  If there was one place in Italy you could go, where would that be and why.

Rules:  Enter your dream destination and why on my Facebook page.  For a second chance to win, follow my blog (sign up on the right hand corner) and comment on this post.

Three lucky and random winners will receive one of the following:

Contest ends at midnight Friday December 23.  Winners announced Christmas Day.  Good luck and start dreaming!

Copyright 2011  Andi Brown  Once in a Lifetime Travel 

Christmas Treats | Chocolate Dipped Butterscotch Biscotti

Chocolate Dipped Butterscotch Biscotti

Italian recipe

It’s down to the wire, only five days until Christmas and I still need to come up with little gifts for the neighbors, the teachers, bus driver, garbage man and anyone who decides to give me something unexpected.

What better to make than these?  They look like I spent all day in the kitchen, and let me tell you they taste fantastic.  So good in fact, I am on my third cup of coffee just so that I can keep dipping.  Which reminds me, anything said on this post was done by a hypercaffienated mom who hasn’t spoken to anyone over the age of 8 in two days.

So here is the recipe, I have made some modifications from a post I found on Savory Simple.

Chocolate Dipped Butterscotch Biscotti

**I have adapted this recipe for my food processor, but it can be just as easily done with a standing mixer**

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour (may need up to a 1/2 cup more depending on dough consistency)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips for dough;  2 cups for dipping
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

Directions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together in food processor.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla to mixer, while pulsing the machine on and off.
  3. When the dough starts getting crumbly (if it still looks wet add more flour a 1/4 cup at a time), add the chocolate and butterscotch chips.  Continue to pulse until everything is evenly combined.  If your processor starts to grate the chips instead of mix, then remove dough and mix by hand.
  4. Push the dough together in the mixing bowl or on a table until it’s a firm, slightly sticky dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 4 even pieces and roll them into logs.  Set the logs in a sheet tray covered with parchment.  Make sure you leave an even amount of space to prevent logs from sticking together as they cook.  Not a big deal if they do, they just don’t look as pretty.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Tops should be firm, then allow to cool.
  7. Slice on the bias about 1/2 inch each.  Try to cut them all the same size so that they will cook evenly.  Place slices back in the oven at 300 degrees for 5 minutes per side.
  8. Heat remaining chocolate in double boiler.  Dip long flat side of the biscotti into the chocolate and place chocolate side up on a cooling rack to dry.  Store in an air tight container or freeze.
  9. Immediately make a large pot of coffee, dip and enjoy!!

italian recipe

Copyright 2011  Andi Brown  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Cinque Terre – Keep Vernazza in your Christmas Plans

Christmas for Vernazza

This year the residents of Vernazza will be forced to celebrate their holidays away from their homes and their beloved town.   Vernazza is still under a state of emergency until the hillsides are deemed safe among other tasks.

Many people have already stepped forward to help, but they still need us and what better time to give than right now.  Below are several ways to help bring Vernazza’s people home.

  • Donate directly to Save Vernazza here
  • Buy a copy of Magic Bridge, this book is the complete package….love, travel, death, fear and friendship.  20% goes to Save Vernazza.  I’m reading it now and can’t wait to finish this post so I can go find out how this story ends!
  •  Gregory Berg of Enso Photography: “I’ve started a project to help SV: If you buy a Vernazza print from my online gallery, I’ll donate 100% of the proceeds to Save Vernazza ONLUS.”
  • Andrew Handrick, musician and business owner in Vernazza: “Five Steps Instrumental CD was inspired by my time spent in Vernazza. On the morning of the disaster I was working in La Buatta ceramics shop in Vernazzza and was lucky to get the last train out minutes before the worst happened and as such I have decided to donate 70% of the download sales of the album from this site to the Save Vernazza fund.”
  • Sherrill French of The French Palette: “Very special news today of a project near and dear to my heart! The first painting I ever sold was of Cinque Terre, Italy, a place I had dreamed of visiting. Just last month, I had the chance to spend a day there. As fate would have it, on that day the towns of Vernazza and Monterosso were all but destroyed by 20 inches of rain, mudslides, and unthinkable flooding. We were blessed to evacuate after 36 harrowing hours, but my heart is heavy for the devastation. To help the rebuilding efforts, I am starting a new series of paintings inspired by the beautiful Cinque Terre with ALL proceeds benefitting Save Vernazza! So long as there is work to do, I will continue to paint to help! First paintings coming very soon!”

Italy in the News – Vernazza Update, An Ugly Christmas tree, The Pope Mobile on the Move and much more

Headlines from the week of Dec 4-10

(OLT) – Today Save Vernazza founders Michele Lilley, Ruth Manfredi and Michele Sherman spent the day in Vernazza with a CBS reporter…. Read More

(ANSA) – Rome, December 7 – The mayor of Rome has decided to remove a giant papier-mache Christmas tree from the center of the city because he thought it was too ugly….Read More

(ANSA) –  A two-day ban on driving in the city of Rome went into effect Thursday in an effort to reduce smog…..Read More 

(ANSA) -Pope Benedict XVI was blessed with sunny and unseasonably mild winter weather on Thursday to mark the feast of the Immaculate Conception as he paid homage to the statue of Mary in Rome’s historic Piazza di Spagna….Read More 

(ANSA) – Italian Premier Mario Monti will meet United States President Barack Obama at the White House in January….Read More 

(ANSA) – The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO and the Italian government have agreed to join forces to restore rain-damaged Pompeii….Read More 

(ANSA) – The scaffolding and advertising came down from Venice’s famous Bridge of Sighs after a three-year restoration project officially ended Wednesday….Read More

 

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