You won’t Believe it’s Healthy; The Perfect Carrot Cake

It’s been 2 years since I’ve started this blog and it’s been so wonderful, you’ve all been so wonderful! I feel so happy & grateful at all the amazing response I’ve gotten from all you (mythineaters & followers) about this blog, my recipes and advice. Thank you for all the support and awesome-loving feedback. You guys rock!

It’s also November one of my favorite months out of the year because it’s bringing you into the winter festivities, where you start to spend more time in the kitchen cooking, baking & experimenting recipes for the Holidays; and if you like to cook this is just a wonderful part of the year. With this being said I have been making a lot of healthy alternatives or replacing ingredients in the baking atmosphere and whats more there have been some really delicious turnouts and I could not be more happy. I seriously wonder why not everyone makes healthy substitutes all you’re giving up on is the unhealthy ingredients but the flavor is better, the moistness is there and it hits the spot in all the right places.

I really wanted to share this recipe with you. I would suggest it to be perfect for breakfast, an afternoon snack with your tea or coffee, and then of course a delicious dessert that you could also serve on Thanksgiving day or Christmas Eve. Which ever you pick just know that you are going to love it and every bite you take.
Don’t forget that you will cutting down the amount of calories you take in and it will be a nutritious dessert so forget the guilt and start enjoying this joyous season!! I’ll include the cream cheese icing at the bottom but I think that it tastes fantastic alone as well. Ciao

Ingredients:
Makes 9in cake

2 cups Kamut Flour*

1 cup Cane Sugar

2 Eggs

2 Egg Whites

1/2 cup Sunflower Oil**

1/2 cup Lactose-free Milk

2 tsp. Baking Soda

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Ginger, ground

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

3 cups Carrots, grated

1/4 cup Walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven at 350°F (180°C)

Grease and Flour you cake pan.

In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger mix and set aside.

In a large bowl with the mixer on medium speed beat eggs & egg whites until smooth. Beat in sugar for about 2 minutes. Add in oil, milk and vanilla, once incorporated start mixing in the flour mixture, then carrots and walnuts. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 40 – 50 min or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

*I used Kamut Flour an ancient wholegrain flour kept in its most natural state, highly digestible and light but you can use AP flour or whatever you like.

**You can use flax oil, pumpkin oil, extra virgin olive oil or also coconut oil, you see.

Lighter Cream Cheese Icing:

175 gr. Light Cream Cheese

3/4 cup Powdered Sugar

1 tsp Lactose free Milk

1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/4 cup Walnuts, chopped

In a bowl with a whisk Cream Cheese until smooth, add in your powdered sugar until completely smooth, add vanilla and milk once all smooth and silky pour over cake and spread out evenly. Sprinkle your walnuts on top and now take a bite of your delicious cake.

Cream Cheese icingThe Icing is a little lower in fat but not exactly Healthy….then again who cares eat it if you want. Ta-Ta!

Brown Rice Stuffed Mini Zucchini

In ode to Halloween I came up with this recipe. I had to:

  1. Because they look like little Pumpkins.
  2. Because a healthy, fun theme dish seems totally appropriate.
  3. Lastly, I just couldn’t resist these cute Zucchini & stuffing them seemed like the perfect thing to do since the moment I laid eyes on them.

I didn’t grow up with Halloween and I definitely never carved a pumpkin until about 3 years ago in the States with my Husband.  Here in Italy it wasn’t something common or known while I was growing up but in the past few years seems like it’s finally starting to catch on.

I was at the grocery store and since being back from the states I really do appreciate our agriculture much more. We have endless options of farm grown vegetables & fruits of which I learn more & more about each day.  For instance I had never even seen these types of zucchini before but the minute I laid eyes on them I knew I had to cook with them and make something traditionally different. You usually stuff bell peppers but I knew that this would be an excellent and lighter sub; turns out I was right. Also it brought Halloween to mind because they completely look like a tiny little green pumpkins.

I don’t really need to say that this is a healthy, vegetarian dish because it’s kinda obvious but the fact is that I think zucchini and brown rice merry so well together the flavors are light yet rich and totally perfect for the Fall to top it off the parmigiano reggiano really sets off the nutty flavors of the rice and the sweetness of the zucchini making it one delicious meal.
I didn’t really have many vegetables in the house to put inside but if you want you could add mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, bell peppers, spinach.
For an non-vegetarian meal you could add ground meat, bacon, shrimp or chicken. That’s the fun thing about these guys is that you can do whatever you like and I think it would all taste amazing. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Makes 4 Zucchini

4 Zucchini

100-150 gr. of Brown rice, cooked

1 Shallot

2 tbsp. EVOO

1/2 cup Vegetable broth

2 tbsp. Parsley, chopped

3 tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

S&P to taste

Preheat the oven @ 350°F (180°C)

Slice the top off the zucchini and with a spoon gently scoop out the pulp. Set aside & repeat with other zucchini.
Heat EVOO in a medium skillet; finely chop your shallot place it in the skillet and sauté until golden. Stir in chopped zucchini pulp along with the vegetable broth, parsley & brown rice add salt and pepper stir & remove from heat.

Drizzle a bit of EVOO in a baking dish. Get one zucchini at the time add rice mixture half way sprinkle some parmigiano fill up with rice and top off with more parmigiano put top that you cut off and place in baking dish. Repeat process with the rest of zucchini. Bake for 20-30 minutes until zucchini is tender.

 

 

 

 

My Gluten-Free Coconut-Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

It’s been a fantastic week so far. We just got back a few days ago after a much needed mini-vacation from Florence and Montepulciano. It was so gorgeous, fun and extremely delicious. (I posted all the food pics on my facebook page).

I got back however and have been in a total baking mood which is odd for me as I don’t really care for sweets. Ok, well maybe that isn’t totally true I like fresh baked goodness, that isn’t too sweet and that is made from whole ingredients (healthier versions of what one would normally opt for). Yeah that seems about right.
I must say that my Husband must be rubbing off on me a bit because I do crave a little snack after dinner (which I generally never did) so now there is that part too. Or could it be age? Or women time? Whatever we’ll never know. All I know is that I am in a baking mood; so baking healthy things has definitely been in my adventurous/guessing/inventing/substituting daily routine of perfecting healthy yummy sweet things and this recipe is one of them.

Did I mention these are Healthy. Gluten-free. Delicious. Good then now we can move to the recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients:Makes about 14 cookies

1 cup Peanut Butter

1/4 cup Honey

2 tbsp. Coconut Oil, hardened

1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

1 egg white

2 cups Shredded unsweetened Coconut

1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven @ 350°
Mix all ingredients in a bowl except Chocolate chips. Roll medium-small sized balls and place on a baking sheet flatten out a bit with your hand sprinkle with Chocolate chips & bake for 10-15 min.

Enjoy!

*Optional:
Substitute Peanut Butter for Almond Butter, also you can use smooth or crunchy depending on the texture you want.

Coconut Peanut Butter Cookies

 

 

Frittata ai Fior di Zucca

I love this time of year. And finally the crazy busy summer schedule has subsided, I have sometime off to focus on myself and my amazing Husband.

There is one thing that I truly enjoy about this country that somehow always makes me smile; the Farmers. They care so much about the whole vegetable/fruit and make sure that they work hard under the hot sun just so we can enjoy a delicious, juicy, pesticide-free and healthy vegetable and/or fruit. I particularly love going to the Market and just figuring out what I’m going to make by seeing what they have. They will explain everything to you; from how to cook it and eat it to when it’s going to be out of season and when it will be back, how it’s supposed to look when ripe and when it’s unripe. It’s a fascinating subject to me and I just love everything about it.

I had my first day off since April and I finally was able to go back to the market in tranquility without rushing around. I started looking at what vegetables where out and what I could potentially use for dinner. Before my Husband took off for work that morning, he had mentioned that he would like to have eggs for dinner as it had been quite a while since he had had them; so with that thought in mind I figured it would be a frittata kind of dinner with some sort of vegetables and fresh baked bread.
As I looked around the Market I spotted one of the most sophisticated & prestigious vegetables and knew that I was going to get them: Fior Di Zucca (which means Zucchini Flowers) 

Here in Italy it’s something that is generally dipped in a light batter and then fried. But I knew that there had to be a healthier way to make them and considering how delicate they are I knew that it’s would have to be perfect in a frittata. I got to talking with the farmer Lady and explained my idea and she looked back at me and said ‘Perfetto, sara buonissimo’ (which means Perfect, it will be delicious). With that she gave me a tip, she told me to not cook them before the egg, to lay them on-top of the egg because being so delicate I wouldn’t want to over cook them. She proceeded to tell me that it had unfortunately happened to her once. Ha!

I went home happy about my purchase and excited to be using Fior di Zucca for the first time. It came out delicious. Seriously, might have been the best frittata I have ever tasted. It was a proud moment that night when my American Bacon and Eggs Husband said that these were the best eggs he ever had and to add them to the roster of things to cook.
Yes, sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that give us the biggest satisfactions! I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

Ingredients:

6 Fior di Zucca

6 eggs

3 tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

S&P to taste

Delicately wash your Fior di Zucca and set aside to dry. Once dry slice them in half.

Place a medium sized skillet over medium heat (make sure that you have a cover for the skillet very important) add the olive oil and allow to heat.
In a small bowl crack your eggs, whisk and pour into your skillet. Gently add your Fior di Zucca, sprinkle salt and pepper and cover allowing to cook gently for about 5-7 minutes. Uncover sprinkle the parmigiano and by now you should see the consistency of the egg.
If it’s cooked turn off and serve, if it needs more time cover back up and allow to cook until egg isn’t runny anymore.

Risotto alla Milanese – A typical Healthy Italian Dish

Oh, how I love the fall. Everything starts to turn into beautiful mustard-orange colors. The sun is still out except that you can finally put on a little more clothes and wear those cute little sweaters and that gorgeous leather jacket. You can actually sleep comfortably with a comforter. And you can start eating warmer foods again and break out the red wine.

With that being said; there are just some things that you can eat in the fall/winter that you might not want to eat in the summer and vice versa. And sometimes it’s hard to not go overboard especially when you’ve waited the whole summer to indulge in some of your favorite dishes. But we must remember that it’s still nice out and you might still fit in a day or two at the beach, so try to indulge lightly. I for instance always choose the healthiest and yummiest. I like to indulge on things such as this dish for instance. It’s perfect because it gives you all the inside warmth you need but it’s so simple that you don’t have to give up on anything. You don’t feel guilty after eating it and you certainly can’t find one thing unhealthy in it….and that’s the most important part of it all.

Yes, break open a bottle of red wine and indulge in this delicious risotto. Enjoy!

Ingredients:Serves 2

200gr. Rice, I used Arborio for risotto

1.5 qt. Vegetable broth

1 Shallot , small and chopped finely

1 tsp. Powdered Saffron

3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

¼ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, Grated

Make sure that your Vegetable broth is simmering.

Chop your shallot finely. Grab a large sauce pan put over medium heat add the E.V.O allow to heat and add the shallot & cook until lightly golden.

Add the rice & mix well with the shallot, then slowly add some of the broth enough to cover the rice, mix; allow to cook 5 minutes then add more broth, continue to repeat this process until you have finished the broth should take about 15 minutes.
Add the saffron cook for another 5 minutes. You want the consistency of the risotto to turn out just perfect, not to dry it still needs to be a bit moist, so if there is too much liquid continue to cook just a bit, and if it’s too dry add some more broth or water.
Turn off heat add your Parmigiano and mix thoroughly. Serve warm.

*Follow rice cooking instructions on the package and regulate yourself with the broth that way.

 

I’ve Only Felt You But Never Met You, Yet You Stole My Heart Forever. Maddox I Love You!

This is going to be a tough post to write, but I’ve given it some thought, discussed it over with my Husband and I think that it’s time you all know what we’ve been going through over the past year.

As you may or may not know I was pregnant a little over a year ago & due about June 2012. I had an extremely healthy and relaxing pregnancy. No morning sickness, no aches or pains. I was at home able to really just spend as much time relaxing and prepping myself for the beautiful baby that we were going to have.  I actually started this blog when I was about a month pregnant to have something to do throughout the pregnancy and it was really nice because whenever I would put the computer close to my belly, Maddox (Our baby) would kick it as if to tell me to move it because it was bothering him, I connected to him as if he where already here.
I was home alone all day throughout the week until my husband would get home from work, so I would talk to him (my belly) and he would keep me company by kicking and moving around (in my head I guess that meant he was responding to my words).

It was Sunday March 4th, 2012 and it was not such a nice day; I told my husband that seeing I was 6 months 3 weeks pregnant and we might not have a lazy Sunday when he was born that we should take advantage and not do anything, stay in bed all day, relax and have special me and him time, so we did. We watched movies, cooked and just relaxed. We really enjoyed ourselves this day; we went to bed said our goodnight’s to Maddox as we did every night and dozed off to sleep. I woke up to go to the bathroom Monday in the early morning around 6am and didn’t feel him move and had a nudge that something was off, but I didn’t think much of it. The next morning I woke up at 8:45 and thought that it was odd because since Maddox had started kicking I woke up every morning at 8 max 8:30am and to wake up late without even a kick made me feel strange; I tried to think of what it could be and then thought that maybe he was just being lazy and that he might be resting, I had felt him be a riot all day on Sunday so I thought he was just resting and relaxing.

I had a Dr. appointment anyway on Tuesday morning so I decided to wait, but all day Monday I had a gut feeling that something might not be right I tried calling and talking to friends to see if it is normal to not feel the baby kick and they said if it’s only been a couple of hours then yes, so I tried talking to him, I played music, I ate sugary foods. I did occasionally feel as if maybe he would stick his butt out or something so although no kicks he was still moving somewhat. Monday night when my Husband told him goodnight he didn’t move or kick which is what he would normally do, I was sick to my stomach and that’s when both my Husband and I started to get really concerned; we didn’t sleep that night. I guess in certain movements that my body would make his body would move and stick to one side and so I thought that that was him coming up for a little rub. Tuesday in the AM I went to the Dr. and told her I had felt him all the way until Sunday night but Monday AM I didn’t except for the little nudges, she said that we would check for a heartbeat but not to worry because I had been perfect so she didn’t think that anything could be wrong. She started up the monitor and when we went to look for the heartbeat it wasn’t there, so she said that she wanted me to go to the neonatal hospital about 20 minutes away and told me to tell them that they couldn’t detect a heartbeat and try to get a second ultrasound.

We got there had an Ultrasound done, the technician said nothing stepped out of the room and in came the Dr., he showed us the screen and that’s when we saw him there not moving just laying inside there and not one movement not one heartbeat. If I have to describe what that moment felt like I would say ‘hell’, I couldn’t even start to believe that I would not be having a baby, it’s the worst pain I have ever had to deal with.
When they told us that the baby had infact passed and that they would have to induce labor we just wanted to die! I asked them what happened? What could it be? I had felt him kick? How is this even possible? They said that it happens, they said that the development was right up to the time 26 weeks & 4 days, so that means that yes we would’ve felt him move around all the way until then and then he just suddenly would’ve passed, no warning, no sign, no nothing we could do about it!

They admitted me Tuesday night to induce labor and I just had to ask for another ultrasound before we started the process just for peace of mind and the picture was the same as the first. My heart was shattered into a billion sad, angry, distraught, mortified, empty pieces.
They started giving me pills every 3 hours that would make me start having contractions and dilating, I was up all night with my Husband crying and with horrible contractions, they said that they were going to make sure that I wouldn’t feel any of the pain, (because when I found out that I would actually have to give birth, I was angry, I explicitly said that if I had to go through that and not have the joy of a baby I did not want to feel a thing) so they had me on a “morphine drip” and yet I still felt everything. I ended up giving birth naturally at around 7:30am on Wednesday March 7th, 2012 and felt the whole thing and it was the worst pain ever, I screamed and yelled and cried. At this point they asked if I wanted to see the baby all the while telling me that he was perfect, beautiful and gorgeous, but I asked to see my husband and when he came in the room I asked if he wanted to see Maddox and we both agreed under this shocking, stressful and completely out of this world moment that we did not want to remember our baby lifeless, we wanted to remember him lively and kicking. (I can’t say it was the right or best decision, but I can’t say that it wasn’t. All I know is we had to make a decision that we didn’t even know was to be made. We were caught off guard and made the best decisions for the state of mind we were in.)

They then asked if we wanted to get an autopsy performed and we said yes. We wanted to know what went wrong. What could they potentially tell us that could give us some sort of closure; peace of mind, an Answer is what we needed. So, they had us sign papers for the release of the body. Then they also asked us if we wanted to bury him or if we were fine with them burying him at the local cemetery. I honestly was caught off guard. I had no idea about all this; I guess I never thought about what happens in situations such as these. But it is a body and you have to bury it. So, we decided that seeing as they bury all the babies in this one lot at the cemetery that we would like him to be surrounded by other babies and so we told them to do it and hence signed more paperwork.  They said that it would all take about 2 months before everything was done and he would be at the cemetery.

They left the room and said that they would be back to check on me and make sure that everything was fine and my uterus was clean. I had delivered the amniotic sac intact, so they said they assumed that the uterus must be clean but they need to check with the monitor.
When they checked me later the PM they said that everything seemed fine and that they would double check in the morning. In the meantime we stayed a night in the hospital grieving and I think still in complete unbeknownst shock of what was going on. The next morning they checked me and cleared us to go home. They prescribed some shots that I would have to administer to myself for the next 12 days and also some pills to take to dry up the milk. Again, I was in total shock that I would have milk coming out for about the next 4-6months. I thought only if you have a baby would that happen and then the Dr. mentioned to me that I did have a baby; and that was just crazy for me to think about. I had a baby but I wasn’t bringing him home.

It all happens so fast. Literally! One minute you’re trying to plan parenthood, making lists about what you want to do, how you want to raise your child, talking to your belly, and the next minute you’re in a hospital signing papers, taking pills, making decisions that you didn’t know about or planned to make, and then you stop to look down and you can see your toes, no belly, no kick, no life growing inside of you. The world stops and you feel lost, like you don’t even know what just happened and what you are going to do next. Plans die and you just want to cry forever!

When we got home and opened the door to the house everything seemed to stop. And all you feel is a hole in your heart where there was to be love, love for the baby you planned to bring home after such an event. Everything makes you think about him. You crawl into a ball in the bed and just let yourself cry and be angry. Nothing really matters at this point, how can it; the most precious thing you and your Husband have ever created is gone and you don’t know how to feel, think or be.
It happened to be National Women’s Day here in Italy (which is a major Holiday) so my Mom and sister’s decided to come over and cook and just keep us company. (I have to admit I really didn’t want them there, I just wanted to cry and I knew if they come I wouldn’t be able to just sit there and cry). They came anyway; I just didn’t have the strength to hold up a phone to my ear & tell them no. All I can really remember is I was not hungry and the minute they left we crawled into bed and cried.

This is part of the letter that I wrote to my Mother-in-law and I just wanted to share it because I wrote it literally when I got home from the hospital, it’s what I felt at that moment and it’s the best description I have for you of our feelings:

What hurts more is looking down and not seeing him anymore, nights are extremely hard because it was our family time and I honestly hate to look at my stomach because it is flattening out really fast and I just wish he was there. I miss his kicks. I miss his nudges. I miss him. Nothing at the moment is truly consoling me and I just am so angry that he is gone, I wanted to finally have a family with Terry and I was so into it. I MISS HIM! It makes me so mad to know that he is gone and we didn’t get the chance to become parents. We were doing everything so perfect. I know that he is an angel watching over us but I wanted him to be our son.”

This is what I wrote to her the second day:

“Things will get better I know, I just don’t know how long will it take. We will never forget M. We loved him more than words will ever be able to say and we just still can’t believe it’s all done and he is gone. This is the second day home and it hasn’t been easy as we had planned so much around him, waking up this morning in our bed for the first time without M. has been really hard, I opened my eyes and before they were fully opened tears where already rolling down my cheeks. There is no reason to get up because I don’t have to feed anyone, and no one is asking for mommy’s attention anymore. I know it sounds silly, he never asked for anything, but every morning at 8:30 sharp he would start to kick me as if he was asking for breakfast and that is what I thought those kicks meant atleast. Also, looking at my blog bothers me some, because I started it when I found out I was pregnant and now trying to write without him kicking my stomach makes me feel empty. Alot of things have no meaning at the moment, and I know that I can’t give up. I just have to find some internal peace and learn how to cope and move on. Terry has been great with opening up and it has definitely brought me alot closer to him (I don’t know how close we are going to be after this, we already are so close) We are just taking it one moment, one step, one thought and one feeling at at time. I never know what the next thing is going to bring. I love you very much and so does your son.”

It’s tough to re-read this and go through these emotions but I want you to know what happens in the real world sometimes and people need to be informed that things like this can happen and it’s not as uncommon as you may think. There are emotions and I think that it’s nice to know that it’s ok to feel in certain ways and you are not crazy if you go through these same thoughts. I’ll give you the last piece of letter I wrote her a week later:

“Yes I decided to post something yesterday, I am not inspired but I feel like I owe it to M. and myself to not give up yet, if in a couple of month I still feel uninspired then I will stop but when my mind is a little more cleared.

Thanks for all the prayers, we really need them and although I am angry and my faith is dwindled, I appreciate the prayers. Time is flying and that is another of my fears, I am scared to death of moving on and forgetting what once was to be the most important person in our family. It’s tough because I want to move on and turn a new leaf but I feel like I am abandoning M. I know in my heart that he knows my love for him and how much he means to me and that a piece of my heart left with him and is there to comfort him, so therefore I could never truly abandon him, but I sometimes catch myself really hating the fact that I have to move on.

It’s so tough, I am a strong person and love to take care of others and like to absorb the pain so it doesn’t have to hurt anyone else, but I find myself to be the opposite in this situation. I am trying to be strong but I am so weak. I am trying to move on and yet I want to stay in the past. I know he’s in a better place and it happened for a good reason, but I want him to be here this was to be his home and no good reason can change that. I am trying to see the positive in the situation and all I can see is the negative. I try to distract myself but all I am truly and ever thinking is what happened. I know that I should eat and all I can think is that there is no one to feed. The days are changing and beautiful and I don’t want to go out because I wanted to enjoy them with him. I love Terry and I am trying to not bring him into my sadness because I want him to be happy….he deserves it more than anyone. I just have so many, many, many emotions.”

I want to mention that throughout this whole process I made sure that my Husband grieved just the way I did, for me it was extremely important that he feel comfortable enough to express himself, I insisted on him opening up and us crying together, I did not want him to hold anything in and just be strong for me because he lost his son as well. I didn’t want him to look back and resent me for not allowing him to be himself and express his feelings and emotions. Yes, I went through all the physical pain and I had all the signs still on my body of him, but both of our hearts were broken and it was our son, not just mine. I wanted us to experience the stages of grief together. And I certainly didn’t want this to tear us apart. I wanted him to tell me what he felt. As a woman you feel like a failure when something like this happens (atleast I know I did), I was the one that carried our son and he didn’t make it. I didn’t know if my husband resented me for that so I flat out asked him. He was just in shock that I would even ask something like that but I needed to heal correctly without any questions or concerns left behind. If we were going to heal; honesty and love was the only thing that would get us through this.

We got the results back from the Autopsy just like they said 2 months later and they didn’t find anything abnormal or any malformations, they said that they had found pneumonia developing in the lungs but they couldn’t define that as a COD because that’s the first place that infection develops in young bodies, so it could’ve been while we were inducing labor. As for the rest of the paper it describes every inch of your baby’s body, his head circumference, his eyes, his ears, his mouth, his nose, his heart, his length everything is described and that is one TOUGH paper to read.  At this point you cry because you can only imagine what your child would have looked like by piecing it all together.
Now, comes closure time, because up until now you are going to doctors visits, researching, reading, gathering information, and trying to get by. But when you get the ok to go to the cemetery it’s done, you are visually seeing something that you only imagined and you are seeing that this is truly over. It really has happened. That is how we both felt. It was a rough day to go to that cemetery and see this tiny little space. We had bought flowers and an Angel to put on his tomb and we just sat there and cried for a very, very long time.
Life at this moment sucks, you are exactly what you need to be angry and disappointed with everything that has occurred and that you are going through.
No one will ever understand the pain you have inside and no one will ever understand that telling you that everything is going to be fine; is bullshit. Yes, we will be fine eventually but our son will never be fine because he is gone. Again he’s in heaven but a parent doesn’t want to hear that. You shouldn’t have to bury your children, it’s unfair and my heart goes out to anyone that has had too.
It’s not like you lost your job and now u need to find a new one and someone pats you on shoulder and tells you “it’s going to be fine, it’s going to be ok”, yeah it will be you’ll find a new job and deal with this sucky period for now.
But how can you be fine when you lost something that no one or nothing will ever replace. You will always have a son that passed away so even if I have other children and we take family pictures there always will be Maddox missing. Birthday’s missed, first steps missed, first word missed, first day of school missed, our Son missed.  And that’s the reality of it all. You get through it, and learn to live with it. But you can’t change the hurt that is left behind because you’ll forever miss and love someone you didn’t have the amazing chance to meet!

It’s sad the things that we humans have to deal with. It’s nice to know that I have come to a place where know I don’t have to move on; I learned to live with. I have a scar that will never disappear, but it’s healing; and although a year later I can go to the cemetery without balling my eyes out I still randomly cry and miss Him! There is never a day that goes by that he doesn’t pop in my head (well maybe a day), but I’ll never forget and although people don’t like to talk about it for fear that they will make you remember or make you sad, well I say I never forget and I’ll never be happy about it; it’s not you that makes me sad it’s the thought that does, and no I don’t cry every single time I talk about him, but maybe sometimes I do, and so what! Who cares!
I am allowed to feel, I have a right to talk about something that is a part of my life. I do have a child, he may not walk or run around like others; but I know that one day I’ll meet him. He’s gone and why should I not talk about it for fear to make others uncomfortable. I should be uncomfortable. It happened to me. To us!! I only recently found out that the type of birth that I had is called an Angel Birth, so I know I have an Angel. But if we don’t do some research or talk to people you would never find out things. You’d be amazed out how many people out there can relate to our situation and yet until it happened to me I never even considered it being a possibility of an event that could occur.

A year and a half has passed and the emotions are many and just so different everyday, sometimes you feel hopeless, sometimes you cry, sometimes you want to talk about it and others you don’t. We got ourselves busy with trying to enjoy life and eachother and look forward to the future trying to create positive thoughts and just be there for eachother. I’ve learned that life is short and I have no problem eliminating people that aren’t a positive influence. I don’t walk around crying and playing the poor me card I try to have fun and be happy. When I talk about him it’s to inform and help others and not to make people pity me, I don’t need the pity it won’t change a darn thing.  All I need is for people to be open and honest. I know that my Angel is looking at me and I want him to know that I am a happy Mommy and I love him.

Thanks for listening. I hope that this helps you if by any chance you are going through a similar situation. I want to inform people that things do happen and I wouldn’t want anyone to be caught off guard or unprepared as we were. We get so much information about what pregnancy and bringing a child into this world is about, but we get no information about what happens if you don’t, or can’t, or something (God forbid) goes wrong, what are the things you will be asked, decisions to make, feelings to deal with. I want to help and if putting my story out there helps you; then I’m glad I mustered up the courage to do so.

May god bless you, and thanks for supporting mythineats and keeping this blog alive.
In loving Memory of our Precious Angel Maddox De FrancescoThurston

On a side note, I am not associated or affiliated at all with this project, atleast not at the moment hopefully I can help them out now. But, I randomly found this website the other day and I just want you all to take sometime to go on here and see what a wonderful project this is and what they are putting together. I was in awe when I saw this trailer the other day and how these people are trying to help all the families that lost a child or had pregnancy loss. Please check it out! Watch The Trailer, You Must! You can donate $5 to help get the documentary done.

 http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/still-project-phase-ii 

http://stillproject.org/

https://www.facebook.com/StillProject

My Summer Crave: Honey Walnut Granola Clusters

Sorry for my long absence. I do apologize; but other than the fact that I haven’t been on here because I’ve been so busy working (which thankfully is almost over), I also haven’t really had the time to cook.
I literally have been totally and fully reliant on my more than amazing Husband to cook, go grocery shopping, and all the household stuff….well besides cleaning I’ve still managed atleast that; and he has done an amazing job. Thanks babe, I really appreciate it!

Other than that he’s been tired too (I’m not the only one who works) and my guilt occasionally creeps in, so to try to give him a break we’ve been doing cereal Monday night pretty much every week. We have fresh strawberries, raspberries, bananas, really whatever we like; Greek yogurt, milk, nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit…you name it. It’s been fantastic and we’ve really enjoyed it. It’s too hot to cook so we’ve relied on this meal. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do! Ciao

Ingredients:

Lightly Adapted from OhsheGlows

1 cup Walnut Halves

1 cup mixed Nuts

3 tbsp. Honey

¾ cup Rolled Oats

½ cup Coconut, Shredded and unsweetened

½ tsp Cinnamon

Preheat oven at 275°F (130°C)

Place Walnuts and nuts in a bowl with the honey and make sure to incorporate completely.

In a smaller bowl mix all dry ingredients and add to the nuts and honey.
Mix well and then place on a baking sheet.

Place in oven and allow baking for 15 minutes, rotating pan and continuing to bake for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then place in a container.

Honey Walnut Clusters

Something Sweet & Simple: Nectarines with whipped Honey Mascarpone

I’m in need of summer comfort food right now. Today I got a rhomboid muscle strain or spasm, which pretty much is in the upper back inbetween the shoulder blades which hurts immensely; but what hurts more than anything right now is the fact that I am going to have to be on pause with the whole working out factor because I just can’t and simple put: WORKOUT!! (that’s me shouting…I am so disappointed).

I know this isn’t the end of the world and that this is happening for a reason, as I have been working 12 hours 7 days a week non-stop since June and will continue till September (which is why I haven’t been blogging as much) but I haven’t stopped working out; OK well maybe I went from working out 6 days a week to 5 days a week but I have been on a roll, no matter how tired I am I still make time to work out and now I can’t even if I wanted to!! 😦

I guess I just have to deal with it, like many things in life this isn’t the worst thing that could happen but it is going to be tough to get out of this routine that I so much love. I guess its also a form of therapy for me and I just am afraid of not doing it anymore. And more so for how long I won’t be able to workout because as research shows it could take quite a few weeks to heal. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that mine will be only a couple of days.

With all that being said I just need something sweet and simple (other than the hubby) to comfort me that isn’t too heavy or fattening (as seeing that I can’t workout) but that can still hit the spot and this is exactly the dessert I am talking about. It’s totally seasonal, refreshing and so fast to make that you could whip it up without having to whip yourself out of shape (pun intended).
You can make the nectarines the day before or the morning of or whenever just make sure to allow them to sit for a bit. Enjoy!

Ingredients:Serves 4

For the Nectarines:

  • 4 Nectarines
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 3 tbsp. Cointreau
  • 1 tsp. powder Ginger

For the Mascarpone:

  • 250 gr. Mascarpone
  • 3 tbsp. Honey

Slice the Nectarines and place them in a bowl with rest of ingredients cover and place in fridge for atleast 2 hours.

Once you’re ready to serve whip the Mascarpone with honey until smooth, a minute of two.

Serve your Nectarines topped with a few dollops of Mascarpone.
*If you like you could top with some Graham Cracker Crumbs, Crispy Granola, Nuts or just leave plain; you decide. Ciao

Nectarines with Honey Mascarpone

Figure Friendly Caprese Veggie Stack

I’ve been so busy lately I can’t even begin to explain. I’m so sorry that it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post; but if I’m being totally honest I haven’t had the time to blog or maybe I have just chosen to have a glass of wine after work vs. getting on the computer (shame on me, I know)!

With all that being said it’s also officially summer and man is it hot. So much so that I haven’t really felt like turning on the burners in the kitchen. So, it’s been raw foods or grill. Let me explain why….we do not have AC in the house. Here in Italy it’s not all that common and generally if you want it you get it installed yourself but the house we got doesn’t have one; which of course is something my husband will bring up every summer. I just think that fans are working pretty nicely and seriously AC monthly expenses are just a tad too expensive here in Italy and I much rather spend that money on vacations around Europe, fashion or the amazing food and wine. Seriously it’s a no brainer, I grew up here and I am used to it. When I moved to the States that was one of the things I hated most about it, I had to walk around during the summer season with a light jacket on tow for every time I stepped foot inside any store, restaurant, mall, shop, office or anything that wasn’t outside. I was cold all the time.

Besides being too hot to cook with the stove top, I also have been busy like I previously mentioned getting home at about 8:30 – 9:00 every night so it’s been eat healthy but fast; trying to still be creative. So, this is how this dish came about. It’s really simple, healthy and yes, you can put any veggies or cheese that you prefer. It’s all delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 Big Tomatoes

1 Med-Small Eggplant

1/2 lb. Asparagus

1/4 lb. Feta Cheese

Few Basil Leaves

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Put your asparagus in foil wrap and put on the grill allowing to steam for about 15 minutes.
Cut your eggplant into 1 inch slices and grill until light grill marks on both sides about 5 minutes each side.

In the meantime slice you tomato a little thicker than an inch. Now slice your feta into thin slices. By now all your ingredients should be ready, so grab your plates and start the stack. Lay the tomato first, sprinkle some salt with a light drizzle of E.V.O.O. and a leaf of basil, place a slice of eggplant sprinkle a bit of salt and E.V.O.O. get a slice of feta and tomato, sprinkle salt and E.V.O.O. place some asparagus on top and continue this process until the final piece is the top of tomato. Now do the other one. Eat and Enjoy!

* I made my husbands with prosciutto crudo so if you like that add that on it was pretty delicious.

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries and 29

Well, this is my Birthday week. It’s my last year in the 20’s and although I really don’t feel any different, I am looking forward to what this year will hold for me in all senses.
I have to be honest I am actually happy to be getting older. I feel sexier, healthier and definitely way more comfortable under my own skin than I think I have my whole life or at least since I was 15 when things were easy and simple.

I have gone through so much in the past 9 years I think I could write a book.
I’ll tell you the top 9 things that happened to me since I turned 20; seeing that I’m turning 29 I’ll put one down for each year in my 20’s.

  1. I got married 9 years ago to the most amazing person ever. Not only is he intelligent, handsome, courteous, thoughtful, humble, funny and understanding. He also makes me smile every single day, his faith in me and support are things that I can only thank God for. I know that I am lucky and I will strive forever to be the best wife/friend/woman I can possibly be for him but mainly because I need him in my life (so for me)!
  2. I moved to the States 9 years ago, leaving behind my roots and following my husband along with what ended up being an amazing experience allowing me to become cultured in all aspects of life all the while sharing my experiences with a wonderful man by my side. I started my whole life from scratch, moving from Georgia to Florida back to Georgia. In this time I found some amazing people that are still close friends, I had a wonderful job, and I became a US Citizen.
  3. I got to see alot of the US; New York, Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Washington DC, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Beverly Hills, LA, California, Savannah, Atalanta, Delaware, Annapolis, Charleston, Wilmington NC, Raleigh, All the Keys, Hilton Head SC, Tampa, St. Petersburg FL, Clearwater FL, Boston, St. Augustine. How lucky am I! All of which are unique and beautiful. I found something I love in each city.
  4. I learned a lot about health, from very Normal Eating to becoming a Vegetarian to Veganism, back to Normal Eating with a more wholesome, organic and biological aspect. I am thoroughly in awe about how much there is to discover in this aspect of life. Nutrition is a passion of mine.
  5. I was able to hang out in some of the best clubs in the USA with amazing DJs from Pete Tong, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Paul Van Dyk, Eric Morillo, Deep Dish, Flosstradamus, Steve Aoki, Kaskade, etc….I also got to see Velvet Revolver play at Mansion in Miami; as well as (ok, hang on……) Hoobastank, remember “The Reason”, well I loved that song and they played in St. Petersburg, Dave Navaro again down in Miami, Bengi Madden with Paris Hilton (yeah back when they were dating), etc…
  6. I became a Yogi. I love Yoga the way it makes me feel is something out of this world. My favorites are Ashtanga, Power Yoga and Vinyasa. It really has strengthened my body. I also started with Pilates and find that the mixture between yoga and pilates is a fantastic combo. Not to mention that 6 month ago I started the Tracy Anderson Meta Program and this has been the best challenge became addiction, I can’t live without her 6 days a week. My Body looks better than ever.
  7. I wanted to go to an Island for some relax, sun and romance with my Husband. We did! Yes, it was Maroma in Cancun Mexico. What a paradise that was I mean the powder white sand, the massage in a cabana over the sea at sunset with only the sound of the waves, the lobster candlelight dinner with our own little cabana out in the middle of the sea, the bubble rose petal bath, the pool on our balcony overlooking the sea with champagne, the amazing fresh fish fished everyday and cooked to perfection, and all the romance that surrounded us the whole 7 days.
  8. We wanted to move to Italy and not save that on a bucket list, so we decided to sell all, quit our jobs and move to Italy. Has it been a journey, I mean coming back home and bringing back my amazing Husband has been a reward of a lifetime, challenging but rewarding. I love my country and it’s such a different experience to see it with him. We are taking full advantage of the farmers markets, fresh foods, wines and amazing cuisine. We went to Tuscany, Positano, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Verona, Rome just to name a few. Oh man, I’m falling in love with my country more and more.
  9. Oh, did I mention we went to Paris. Yeah, such a gorgeous country. Okay I know that this is a lot of countries, but if there is one thing I love (and Thank God my husband does too) is to travel, we really love to take trips and see things that we will be able to enjoy now that we are young. We are making the most of our lives. So that when we have kids we can sit back and relax. (or enjoy their craziness). Ha!

Now, back to the recipe of the day (or that I will eat for my Birthday). I think it’s perfect because you can maintain your summer figure without giving up on a delicious dessert and still reap the benefits and nutrients that your body actually needs from the Strawberries and Dark Chocolate. This is definitely a favorite of ours and also just so simple to make. I usually make about 250gr. and save them in the fridge for about a week in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

250 gr. Strawberries, washed and patted dry

1 bar Dark Chocolate (I use 70%)

Parchment Baking Paper

Get a smaller pot fill with water only about a little over a quarter, place over medium heat bring to a boil. In the meantime get a smaller bowl (make sure it’s strong enough to withstand heat glass or ceramic should do the trick) that will be able to fit in the pot, get your chocolate bar and break it up placing inside of the bowl.

Once the water is boiling lower heat to a minimum and place the bowl with the chocolate inside give it a few minutes and you will see that the chocolate will start to melt, stir gently with a spoon and when it’s completely melted you may turn off heat.

Prepare a flat dish with the parchment paper laid out on top of it and now grab your strawberries, dip one by one and lay gently onto the parchment paper. Place the strawberries in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes then eat. Or leave them in the fridge until ready to eat. Simple.

The method I used to melt the chocolate is called Bain-Marie you can learn more here