the cooking class

Andre signed us up to take a cooking class while we were in Rome…and anyone that knows me knew that was music to my ears.  Since I LOVE food, cooking, and of course eating!  
This cooking class was held at Chef Andrea’s restaurant Le Fate (in the Trastevere part of Rome). 
One of the best parts of Andrea’s restaurant is that it is a 0 km restaurant (meaning that he gets all of his food locally… grown and made!). We had such a great time cooking, laughing, and talking…not to mention that I really learned so much about Roman cuisine.  
Like did you know that, the skin of garlic is where all of the nutrients are found!?!
Well I know all of you are wondering just what we made…
all of the ingredients…all fresh from the market that morning

after admiring and taking lots of pictures we started cooking…
I sliced tomatoes and then fried some eggplant…yum!
the tomatoes, arugula, and eggplants
up close of the fried eggplant…
the colors are just SO pretty…tomatoes, basil, arugula, and eggplant

and of course we made fresh pasta…this pasta is called “priest choker” πŸ˜‰
Andre rolled lots of this pasta…he was a master pasta roller!!!
we stuffed some zucchini flowers with prosciutto and mozzarella
my mouth is watering just looking at this picture!
one of the tomato sauces that we made…I helped a lot with this one πŸ™‚

 so after all of our hard work we ( all 12 of us) sat down at a table out in the restaurant
the place setting

the appetizer: zucchini flowers with prosciutto and mozzarella and Southern Style pesto
also know as …Fiori di Zucca dorati e ripieni con prosciutto e mozzarella con Pesto alla Trapanese
the pesto sauce

man were these good!!!!

then for the first course: fresh homemade pasta with a fresh tomato, basil,and ricotta cheese
Strozzapreti al Pomodoro fresco, basilico e ricotta 
*didn’t andre do a great job with the pasta πŸ™‚

second courses: paper thin beef with arugula, cherry tomatoes and shaves of parmesan
Straccetti di Manzo con Pachino, Rughetta e Scaglie di Parmigiano
the steak was so tender and sweet
Eggplant Parmigiana
Parmigiana di Melanzane
then a side dish: sauteed flat bean with cherry tomatoes
Fagiolini Corallo ripassati in padella

and of course DESSERT: Tiramisu

us during the meal

the entire group…a couple from Murells Inlet (SC), us, a couple from New York City, 2 friends from Estonia that just graduated from medical school, a couple from Canada, and a mom and son from Sweden
we had such a great time together!!!

my two new friends from Estonia!!!
this cooking class was amazing and one of the highlights from our trip!  Go “here” to see more about Andrea’s restaurant Le Fate and “here” for more info on his cooking classes!
and by the way…we loved this restaurant so much that we went back twice for dinner during our stay. The food was extraordinary both times!!!!
Us with Chef Andrea

and Chef’s mom with me!!!
if you are visiting Rome this is a must go place for dinner…you will not be sorry!!!
**by the way I am cooking the zucchini flowers, eggplant parmigiana, and the tiramisu tonight :)**

Tomatoes + Mozzarella = happy kit…a recipe

Confession: I LOVE fresh tomatoes and mozzarella
together they are true bliss
 then add some balsamic vinegar and nothing is better!!!
Andre and I made grilled portobellos with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella this weekend.
This dish was AMAZING!!
you start with some fresh portobellos with the stems removed
drizzle with evoo and sprinkle with salt and pepper
then just throw them on the grill
grill on each side for 5 minutes
while the ‘shrooms are grilling 
dice up 1 large or 2 medium tomatoes and a ball of fresh mozzarella
then mince a clove of garlic and a handful of basil
add tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic, and basil to  1 tablespoon of evoo
toss to combine
season with salt and pepper
after the shrooms are grilled top with tomato and mozzarella salad
drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar
and EAT EAT EAT!!!

July 4th weekend

This entire holiday weekend consisted of hanging out together, grilling, and watching Teen Mom (I was the one watching Teen Mom)…(I was trying to get caught up for the new season on Tuesday).  It was such a laid back weekend but so much fun.  We grilled out every night and ate on the deck while listening to fireworks in the distance.  It was perfect!  We talked about how happy we were during dinner each night and how thankful we are for EVERYTHING!!!!
Here is the recap in picture form…
grilled buffalo chicken salad
my sweet husband that happens to be the master griller πŸ™‚
the american flag cake circa 2011

I took the pups on a long walk and Tucker decided that the cool pool was the answer after getting back!!!

Sunday dinner
onion rings…Andre says that I have mastered the O. rings

wine in my favorite glasses

steaks on the grill

grilled lettuce….if you have not tried this..then you must.
the spread…steaks with roquefort sauce, onion rings, and grilled lettuce

my 2 boys
the spread…grilled chicken with basil dressing, grilled portobellos with tomato and mozzarella salad

the dessert…grilled fruit

Told you that there was lots of cooking and eating this weekend….but this girl does love to cook and eat!!!  
Hope your holiday weekend was equally as relaxing!

Breakfast essentials

I go through phases with my breakfast
I eat breakfast everyday but not always the same thing
the phase I’m in now is
whole wheat english muffins with peach preserves
a caffe latte with soy milk
and a BIG glass of water (that part never changes)

I also take my vitamins with my breakfast.
The peach preserves are from Cotton Hill Farm.  That is the farm that is right around the corner from my parents house.  I love getting things from them since I know where it is grown and made and I know the people that are growing and making all of the food items!!!
what do you like to eat for breakfast!?!
just because we are cute…

I’m still looking for a few more people to guest post on my blog in July when we go to Rome.  
If you are interested just email me :
you could blog about anything…
travel, photography, food, health, relationships, marriage 
or just tell a story!!!


I slacked off last week and did not link up with Jamie,
but this week I am doing better πŸ™‚
*i’m loving* that I am in class all week so that means that I am in the AC all day!!!!  It is like 105 degrees here during the day and I am SO glad that I am not out in that heat all day!!!
*i’m loving* that my mom is coming to spend the night with me on Friday night!  Andre has basketball camp so we decided to have a girls night!!!
*i’m loving* that I got to spend an entire week with NIKA!!!  WE had such a great time at Salkehatchie!!!
*i’m loving* that Andre’s car is finally fixed.  We are not ready to get a new car or better yet we are not ready for car payments!!!  
*i’m loving* the difference we made in the families lives this year at Salkehatchie.  Go “here” to see the before pictures and “here” to see the after pictures!!!
These children really stole my heart!!!
the 3 girls and me

Jr (maybe the cutest little boy ever) and me

*i’m loving* this photography book that the Pioneer Woman posted about yesterday!!
what are you loving today!?!

My Loves…

I am linking up with Jamie today…
to share all of my loves on this hot but beautiful day
*i’m loving*
…that Salkehatchie Summer Service starts next week.  I can not wait to see all of my Salkehatchie friends and to get my hands dirty!!!  I know we are going to do so much more than just repairing houses this week.  Faith will be renewed and strengthened during next week’s mission!!!
…that I got some pretty good news on Monday.  It will be a few more weeks until I can share the details with you all, though.  I know, now you are suspicious…just wait it is great πŸ˜‰
…fresh peaches and homemade biscuits and caffe lattes for breakfast πŸ™‚

…ferrero rocher… enough said
…day lilies on our backyard

…and of course my weekly loves….
Tillman and Tucker

and my sweet and supportive husband!!

Becoming a Vegetarian…

My husband and I are becoming vegetarians for the month of March.  We both really like the ideas and benefits of the lifestyle but wanted to do a trial run to see if it is even possible for us.  We will start March 1 and no meat for us for the month.    

There are many different type of vegetarians and vegans….here are some explanations blow

Vegetarian is a blanket term used to describe a person who does not consume meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.
This grouping includes vegans and the various sub- categories of vegetarian; however, it generally implies someone who has less dietary restrictions than a vegan.
SEMI-VEGETARIAN: (this is what we are now)
The term semi-vegetarian is usually used to describe someone who is a vegetarian who consumes dairy products, eggs, chicken, and fish, but does not consume other animal flesh.
OVO-LACTO-VEGETARIAN:(this is what we are becoming for the month of March)
Ovo-lacto vegetarians are vegetarians who do not consume meat, poultry, fish, and seafood, but do consume eggs and milk. This is the largest group of vegetarians.


Ovo-vegetarian is a term used to describe someone who would be a vegan if they did not consume eggs.


Lacto-vegetarian is a term used to describe someone who would be a vegan if they did not consume milk.


Vegan is the strictest sub-category of vegetarians. Vegans do not consume any animal products or by-products. Some go as far as not even consuming honey and yeast. Others do not wear any clothing made from animal products.

We are becoming ovo-lacto-vegetarians….

I have been doing a little research trying to find some great recipes.  I have found quite a few.  I plan to still make some of our favorite things and just omitting the meat products.  

Here are a few of my favorites so far…

Are you a vegetarian/vegan?  What are your favorite meatless meals?

Friday Foodie…

I went grocery shopping the other day and I was browsing the produce section (like I do every time I grocery shop) and something caught my eye. What was it you may ask….it was red currants!
I developed a love for these little red balls of goodness while we were in Paris on our honeymoon.  They were used as garnish on many of our dessert dishes.  I had never seen them before, but LOVED the taste.  We kept asking our waiters and waitresses what they were and they would say “groseille”.  We did not know what that translated into english as so we were on a mission to find this mysterious fruit in all of the produce markets.  We found them in a market on Rue Cler.  We did a little online research and found out that the mysterious fruit was the red currant and were not readily available in the US 😦
That is why I was so shock and surprised and happy when I saw them in the produce section the other day.  Of course I bought them and have been snacking on them all week.
The red currant is like a small grape with a tart taste.  The skin is very thin and has an edible seed at the center.  If you every see them in the store you should try them πŸ™‚
Have a great Friday and be sure to check out my VLOG below πŸ™‚