Apple – Banana Nut Bread

I just checked and the last time I posted a recipe was back in March! What?! That’s just unacceptable!  Rest assured though, I have a great one for you today.  The perfect intro to Fall flavors.  My Apple-Banana Nut Bread.

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A Hometown Recipe: Sbrisolona

You’re probably looking at that title and thinking “What is THAT?!”

If you haven’t checked out my about page, you might not know that I was born in Italy.  In a little town called Mantova or Mantua in English.  If you’ve read Romeo and Juliet, you’re already familiar with it.  It’s where Romeo flees after killing Tybalt.  There’s always a collective “ohhhh” after I tell people that.  Giuseppe Verdi sets his opera, Rigoletto, in Mantova and besides its cultural fame, Mantova is also known as the seat of the Gonzaga Family.

And (spoiler alert!) maybe the most relevant thing of all, it’s the setting for our second musical that has yet to have a title!  We’ve been busy working on this new venture lately and all the research has made me a bit nostalgic.  I moved to the states when I was only 4, but I remember a lot about my time there.  I’ve also gone back to visit multiple times.  The last time was when I was studying in London.  Robby was studying in Rome at the time and we met in Mantova to visit some friends.  While we were there we sampled many scrumptious dishes, one of which was Sbrisolona.  Pronounced Zb-ree-zoh-loh-nah.  It’s a Mantovana specialty.  They sell it in almost every tourist shop in Mantova and Robby and I promptly stocked up on a few to take back with us.  The bro has been bugging me to make one for a while now and I finally felt inspired to do so!

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Veggie Stuffed Peppers

Is everybody getting sick of all this snow yet?  Ummm last time I checked it was MARCH.  Ugh.  Well, if you’re stuck inside like I am today, this is the perfect recipe to warm you up–Veggie Stuffed Peppers.  I happened to find a bag of Boca frozen meat crumbles in the freezer and thought I should use them up.  They’re delicious and if you’re trying to cut back on meat, this is a great substitute!  Feel free to use any kind of meat you’d like though if you don’t want to make them veggie-friendly.  Crumbled Turkey works great as well!

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Lemon Chicken and Broccoli

Here’s a healthy twist on a classic combination.  I’ve been making this dish for years and it’s a favorite with the fam.  It’ll be a favorite with yours as well!  A fast, healthy, easy dish–great for a weeknight dinner.

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Lentil Vegetable Soup

Have you ever had any of Amy’s Soups?  They’re really fantastic! Delicious, organic, low in fat and sodium, and fast when you don’t have the time or energy to cook.  My favorite is their Lentil Vegetable Soup.  Over the years though, I thought, “I can probably make this myself…” and that’s exactly what I did!

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A Gingerbread House Demolition Tea

In case you missed it, I had made a Gingerbread House for Christmas this year.  While I was making it, my family kept asking me what I would do with it.

Me: “Well, it’s meant to be eaten.
Mom/Dad/the bro: “You can’t destroy it!
Me: “Well, it can’t stay there forever.

After they finally resigned themselves to the fact that it would eventually be destroyed, my mom came up with the idea to have a Gingerbread House Demolition Tea.  It would be a fun way to destroy it, while getting rid of all that gingerbread at the same time!

That’s exactly what I decided to do.

Mother nature however, had other plans as it randomly decided to throw a blizzard our way during the time of the tea.  A lot of people couldn’t come, but some still braved the weather (couldn’t believe they trekked out in that!) and decided to come.

Good times were had by all!

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My First Gingerbread House

Merry Christmas! I thought I would post something festive today, being Christmas Eve and all 🙂

I’ve been wanting to make a gingerbread house for years.  It’s been on my baking bucket list (yes, I have a baking bucket list) and I’m so happy I finally get to cross it off!  This wasn’t the easiest house to make and I’ve definitely learned a lot on what to do next time (especially on those damn wrought iron fence railings!), but I still wanted to share it all with you (mistakes aside).

Hopefully it will put you in the Holiday mood and inspire you to make your own!

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Butternut Squash with Maple Syrup and Cinnamon

An indulgent side dish without being so indulgent on the waistline 😉

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Mark’s (Crack) Dip

This recipe should come with a warning:

WARNING: After consuming one bite of this dip, you will find it hard to stop.

This is my friend Mark’s recipe, who in turn got it from his friend.  The bro and I first encountered this dip at Mark’s apartment for his birthday.  The second we tried it we were like, “What is this?!”  Then proceeded to stay around the dip for the remainder of the evening, gorging ourselves.  Don’t judge.  I’d like to see you resist after you try it.  Go on. I dare you.

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Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Streusel Topping

I know, I know.  The title itself is enough to put you in a sugar-induced holiday coma, but you seriously need to try this recipe out.  Everybody will be raving about it!  Also, have I ever steered you wrong??

The bro and our friend Jess usually do a Cheesecake Factory trip around this time of year to sample their pumpkin cheesecake.  Actually, it’s one of three that we try.  We order a bland-like one (i.e. Pumpkin), an over the top one (snickers or peanut butter cup), and an in between one (like the red velvet–yes, I know it’s really not an in between one, none of them are); we split the three of them and are usually suffering the effects of high sugar levels and guilt for the rest of the night.  That doesn’t stop us from doing it every year however…

I decided to make my own cheesecake for once.  I’ve never done it before and I was always a bit intimidated.  What if it cracks?  My solution to this: “Put a streusel topping on it so nobody will see!

Genius.

Oh did I mention delicious as well? Yea.  It’s pretty darn good.

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