Monday, October 25, 2010

elyssa: coming to terms

current location: toronto (mid-way through the fall semester!)

italian truffles. so romantic. so exotic. the challenge of this post - the challenge of this week - is finding the significant in the mundane. in the endless batches of late night muffins. in coming to terms with the fact that sometimes the most exciting outing of the week is a trip to the nicer grocery store up the street. with the fading glory of fall, and long sunless stretches of time. with days missed at the gym. and piles of schoolwork to be tackled. with time spent apart from love ones. with the lack of sleep.

most of this i can't do anything to change. what can i do? take in, absorb, and love the beautiful surroundings and friends that have been placed before me. it ain't italia - but canada isn't so bad..

i haven't gotten excited for halloween since about 1995 (we were compelled, after all, to dress up as saints all through grade school. remember that?). perhaps that killed some of the seasonal fun ;)

i still don't get excited for halloween. i do, however, have a perpetual obsession with pumpkins.

and squash.

the result: recipeless butternut squash soup. roasted. olive oil. garlic. salt. blended. almond milk. yum.

next up, carrot pumpkin spelt muffins to be shared over tea with friends on a cold and windy night. recipe courtesy of angela!

and, another cold and windy friday night in with the boy, spent hovering over the stove making pumpkin butter! also, thanks to angela..

as soon as i get ahold of more ginger and lemon - must make more pumpkin butter! oh and lest i forget, huge moment, the boy finally tried his first breakfast souffle, and loved it, naturally..

his and her's

new challenge:

getting enough sleep. that is all!

blog moment: michael ruhlman 'has something to say' about cooking

current obsession: sleeping.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

hira: truffle honey, aged cheese, and breathtaking landscapes--alba.

location: back at pane e amore, my blogging station and armed with a foamy cappaccino.

a day-trip to Alba spanned out over my Saturday morning and afternoon, taking us along winding country roads to a small town with big goods--the famous white truffles. people come from all over to bid on these prized beauties; the intensity of the flavor used for a variety of things--honey, pasta dishes, jams, spreads, etc.

a quick stroll through the markets, paninis and morning caffe in tow, and we headed to the main event: the truffle fair! it featured wines (piemonte is known for its famous reds), whole truffles, and products using the truffle (honey, cheeses, jams, meats etc) as well as local entrepreneurs showcasing their handmade goods.

it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon, tasting my way through the fair with sarah and valeria. of course, i didn't emerge empty-handed either...

local. always.

two angels.

my mom's birthday (same day as katelyn :) ) is today, and one of her gifts came from this man and his wife--a hand-made cutting board. dark wood, earthy fragrances, and personally engraved.

and lastly. we meandered over to a castle, renovated to host tours and teach us even more about the inner workings of wine making and use of truffles. it was everything a castle should be, i guess--cold and dusty with narrow staircases. sitting atop a hill overlooking a beautiful landscape.

and this one is for you, daniele, love of my life ;)

looking forward to cooking dinner in my apartment tonight. it's the simple things.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

hira: apertivo culture and fine piemonte dining

current location: pane amore, via madama cristina. with sarah. (friendly owners, the best chocolate muffins, and wireless. soothingly familiar feelings.)

there is a beautiful thing about food in italia--it is everywhere. but unlike the states, it's hard to find food that is produced in mass quantities, yet retains quality and taste. affordable yet classy. traditional yet diverse. enter: the apertivo. brilliant, really, and quite a social endeavor: in addition to eating and drinking for a mere fraction of the normal cost, you also mingle with italians, americans, and other europeans. perhaps a more hira-esque alternative then multiple, consecutive nights at the same pub (ahem, murphy's.)

this week, we decided to try a new apertivo at la drogheria, in piazza vittorio venetto--the piazza that is booming in the evenings, twinkling with white lights, and provides breathtaking views over the bridge and river. a simple 5 or 6 euros will buy you a drink of choice, and unlimited access to the apertivos set out--la drogheria had grilled zucchini and eggplant, tomatos, polenta with a selection of sauces, pastas, foccacie, frittate, mele con canella (apples with cinnamon), couscous, and baskets of bread with various oils and balsamics.

cafes and small ristorante hold apertivos nightly, drawing in a number of people who love food and love to mingle. ergo, it's difficult to whip out the camera and snap photos while simultaneously balancing a glass and plate and smiling at the stranger talking to you. also, the lighting is less than stellar. i do what i can.

a beautiful night-view of piazza vittorio veneto

the road down to the bridge and river

drinks, couscous, apples and frittata

when we are not apertivo-hopping, my usual ragazze (amiche) and i are taking restaurant recommendations from the amazing daniele (i say this in hopes that he will read this...) and venturing out to try new foods. this time, we decided to celebrate at a piemonte ristorante called scannabue--located under a beautiful church at the corner of via baretti and via saluzzo. dining outside with torches of fire to provide warmth, we were first served the ultimate bread basket. i like options. this basket gave us 4 choices. next, aqua naturale and .5 litres each vino bianco and vino rosso. the owner came to greet us, and explain some items on the menu--upon his recommendation, i chose the 'guancia'--deer cheek. tipico piemonte. very soft and succulent.
getting warm--sitting outside because it was too crowded indoors!

clearly not skimping on the chocolate here...

celebrating. (hahahah)

and when i'm not eating or hiking, i am teaching this little one her english verbs. don't tell her nonna that we really spend the majority of our time simultaneously playing hangman and listening to shakira on my ipod (elisabette is a big fan).

this week: i was doing well by cooking at home and buying fresh fruits and vegetables--well, in the past week, i have eaten out too much. so this week, i am instituting clean week, italy. this includes 5 visits to the new gym i just joined (mostly because it is closed on the weekend) and cooking at home every day this week for dinner. i'm craving a detox.

obsessions: truffles. chocolate muffins at pane amore, dark-toned paisley scarves, latinos, bicerin, the return of the headband, carelessness.

currently thinking about: settlements. new ones. the ongoing struggle for justice.

i think of you often, dear. remembering the long summer days. love that you are reflecting back on the mountain and bringing it along with you. reminding me to reassess.

our story is not over.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

elyssa: a tribute to change

current location: toronto

stagnation. class. gym. sleep. repeat x 100. it's definitely time for a change.

all is well on the home front - things are just a little bit boring.

a shame since the city is in full fall bloom.

my daily walk to school is filled with color..

and my daily coffee is even showing early signs of christmas..

spicy tomatillo salsa at home:

and warm, brown sugar cinnamon spelt loaf (adapted from a veganized version of jenna's muffins):

..and yet something is off. we love the mountain because it forces us out of these ruts. long country walks. time to think. when routine gets in the way of my health - i know it's time to stop. adjust. tweak. the plan to bring the mountain here:

- take a strength training hiatus.
- bring back 'banish fat boost metabolism' for a 20-minute AM pick-me-up.
- join the boy on daily plate for solidarity.
- keep experimenting with spelt (haven't quite perfected spelt baking).
- plan a reading week vacation.
- sleep more. study more. enjoy the dwindling days of academia.

today i took a moment to acknowledge all the change that has made its way into my life:

i now bake entirely vegan.
i now bake, period.
i practice yoga 4, 5 x times a week (versus 1 x last year)
i exercise 6 days a week (versus 3 last year)
i now consider yoga a workout.
i sleep 8hrs most nights.
i go to school in my yoga clothes (versus changing a million times)

i still beat myself up when i miss a workout. will change.

blog moment: falling in love with jessica's fashion blog

current obsessions:

envisioning thanksgiving dinner. getting outta town asap. this spelt brownie cake. cutting the grocery bill to the bare minimum. more HIIT.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

hira: lazy hazy sunday strolls

current location: torino, italia. il mio apartamento (piccolo. molto piccolo).

hello blog world--checking in at the beginning of another week. i have to admit, i spent this weekend pretty much camera-less--choosing instead to walk the streets of torino and just live minimally. saturday and sunday were spent with respective roommates, first summer and then regina. it was a pleasant, relaxed weekend--strolling through via madama cristina for the street fair, via roma, garibaldi, po and piazza della repubblica for shopping and crepes with nutella. yes. visiting sick friends, pastries and chocolates in tow (harry potter taught us that chocolate was good for ailments, remember?)

at Murphy's-- a pub where the world seems to come together. here you will meet students from all over the world.

a lazy brunch at piazza san carlo felice with a good friend and roommate

still trying to spend as much time outside as possible before the weather gets too cold, usually studying my italian lessons--brown leather bag, as requested.

blog moments: emily's root vegetable pie and chili in a pumpkin bowl (seen all over the blogosphere). canadian thanksgivings. chicago marathons (inspiring longer runs).

currently obsessed with:

running a route that takes me over this beautiful bridge at sunset

milano. zara. divine.

Io voglio regalarti la mia vita, Chiedo tu cambi tutta la mia vita

{I want to treat you to my life I ask that you change all of my life}

tizzy, you've got me hooked.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

elyssa: pumpkin mania

location: starbucks, hamilton (the boy's place of employment)

week in review:

clean week went out with a bang. i.e. me baking scones at 2 AM. oatmeal scones to be precise. i took jenna's recipe - subbed in earth balance, for butter, and almond milk, for dairy. it's surprising how often this works without a hitch. all in all, 15 minute scones are pretty life-changing.

do i feel cleaner? a bit. mostly thanks to all the yoga shared with friends. yoga is one of those activities that's always better when shared - and i rarely say that about anything. something about doing your own thing as an individual - yet the same thing as everyone around you - makes it awesome.

all week i was dreaming of the food i would soon be making and eating. i've been scouring the blog world late into the night looking for new recipes. basically, i've turned into a huge blog copycat.

the weekend started off with pumpkin chili bowls from emily. definitely a crowd pleaser. too bad the only crowd was the boy and the cat. at least they were impressed..

after chili came angela's spiced gingerbread. i've never made anything with molasses before. i think it's love. it made for my absolute favorite fall dessert. i'd show you pictures but we ate it too fast for photographic proof. fail.

saturday brought a trip to the farmer's market. we bought plums and peppers. tomatillos and tiny ornamental pumpkins.

actually, the pumpkins were free. the vendor lady was so impressed by my fascination with the tiny pumpkins that she insisted i take them as a gift and put them to good use. in fact, she promised she would bring me an entire set of tiny pumpkins on a vine next week so i can save them for american thanksgiving!

the afternoon ended with an impromptu bouquet of sunflowers from the boy - my favorite flower. he's never bought me flowers before...

new goals:

the past week i ran myself absolutely ragged with school and exercise. friends and obligations. too too much. campus was beautiful - and yet the amount of times i criss-crossed from one end to the other left my poor legs quivering at the end of each day.

the law school

upper campus

mid campus

a beautiful place to learn.

the next two days will be ones of complete relaxation. family thanksgiving dinner. long slow drives to enjoy the changing colors of the season. maybe an impromptu yoga session or two. my legs (and my brain) need a vacation. columbus day/canadian thanksgiving is as good of an excuse as any methinks.

i will:

- sleep more
- drink more tea
- reevaluate my current exercise goals
- take as many pictures and do as much as possible to enjoy my last canadian fall

current obsessions:

chai tea. tiny pumpkins. countdown to christmas. making pumpkin butter. figuring out what to do with the massive sack of spelt flour the boy dropped off at my doorstep.