White Chocolate Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies

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Happy official fall and pumpkin season!!!

Starting off the season with soft, fluffy pumpkin cookies stuffed with white chocolate and cranberries with a hint of orange. These are lightly sweet which helps the white chocolate shine and offset the tartness of the cranberries. A bit of orange extract makes the whole combo into this deliciously bright fall offering.

Aside from the orange, these cookies are similar to my White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies. Same condiments, different cookie. One a light and fluffy ode to fall, another a chewy classic oatmeal cookie. Both scrumptious.

Before writing up this recipe I felt a twinge of pumpkin guilt. You know, the I’m making and sharing so many pumpkin recipes and desserts that maybe everyone is already sick of them except me? Then I remembered that I actually haven’t shared any truly fall recipes on the blog yet this year! I somehow managed to hold myself off until after the autumn solstice. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been baking fally things, uh uh no. I’ve already opened one of my precious cans of pumpkin from the States (what I did with the extra room in my baggage because a small can of pumpkin costs almost 5euro in Florence) and squeaked out a batch of these pumpkin cookies, brownies with a spiced pumpkin cream cheese swirl, and pumpkin streusel coffee cake. Fall, I welcome thee with open arms.

So, I hope wherever you are in the world, you share my love for autumnal things, and enjoy baking up these White Chocolate Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies, don a sweater and some cozy socks, and read a book with a nice mug of tea. Hopefully your weather allows for that.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

Recipe adapted from Some the Wiser


White Chocolate Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup / 240g pumpkin purée

  • 1 1/4 cups / 250g sugar

  • 1 egg

  • scant 1/2 cup / 90g oil

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/4 tsp orange extract

  • 2 1/2 cups / 300g all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 3/4 cup / 105g dried cranberries

  • 3/4 cup / 127g white chocolate chips

Directions:

Oven 350°F / 177°C. Baking sheet lined with parchment paper, silpat, or greased.

  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, egg, oil, and extracts in a large bowl.

  2. In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt.

  3. Add dry ingredients, cranberries, and white chocolate chips to wet ingredients, stirring until evenly moistened.

  4. Drop by generous spoonful onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 9-12 minutes, or until bottom of cookies are golden brown and the center still looks a bit wet.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • I used half goji berries half cranberries last time and really liked it. Dried cranberries usually have loads of sugar and I liked that the goji berries were unsweetened.

cookies, pumpkin, white chocolate chips, cinnamon, orange, cranberry, goji berry, fall recipe
dessert
American
Yield: 24-26
Author:

White Chocolate Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies

Soft and fluffy pumpkin cookies loaded with mini white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and goji berries with a hint of orange and cinnamon.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: 12 Mtotal time: 37 M

ingredients:

  • 1 cup / 240g pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/4 cups / 250g sugar
  • 1 egg
  • scant 1/2 cup / 90g oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp orange extract
  • 2 1/2 cups / 300g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup / 105g dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup / 127g white chocolate chips

instructions:

How to cook White Chocolate Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies

  1. Oven 350°F / 177°C. Baking sheet lined with parchment paper, silpat, or greased.
  2. Combine pumpkin, sugar, egg, oil, and extracts in a large bowl.
  3. In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients, cranberries, and white chocolate chips to wet ingredients, stirring until evenly moistened.
  5. Drop by generous spoonful onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 9-12 minutes, or until bottom of cookies are golden brown and the center still looks a bit wet.

NOTES:

I used half goji berries half cranberries last time and really liked it. Dried cranberries usually have loads of sugar and I liked that the goji berries were unsweetened.

Calories

168.23

Fat (grams)

5.85

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.37

Carbs (grams)

27.70

Fiber (grams)

0.93

Net carbs

26.77

Sugar (grams)

17.09

Protein (grams)

1.99

Sodium (milligrams)

130.03

Cholesterol (grams)

8.86
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 24 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

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Some of the best things in life are the simplest things. A simple gesture of love, a simple word of appreciation, a simple day off, a simple meal.

What is it that makes simple, special? The intent, or quality behind the simpleness. A simple gesture of love done with purity of heart, a simple word of appreciation that is genuine, a simple day off with no stress to go and be, a simple meal with quality ingredients.

It’s this last idea that I’m honing in on today. A meal so simple it almost seems boring. Until you eat it, and all you want for dinner is the same thing. And lunch again the next day. This happened to me this past week with a fresh mozzarella and tomato sandwich on focaccia.

You know when you’re so hungry and everything tastes extra amazing? Then it keeps coming to mind, even if it was a humble meal, until you eat it again? One time, I think it was last summer, I unexpectedly had to go into the city center and didn’t have time to eat lunch beforehand. I live about a half-hour bus ride outside of the center, then when you add in the time spent waiting for a bus, walking all around the center to accomplish errands, then waiting and getting a bus back home, simple 1 or 2 errand runs can easily end up being 3+ hour ventures. Having missed lunch and still needing to go to the other side of town, my husband and I decided to get a quick sandwich from a bar. This is a very common lunch, with all the bars (where you eat breakfast, lunch, get a coffee) replacing their morning pastries with fresh sandwiches starting around 10:30am. These are a hot option for Italians on lunch break or as a quick snack. There are usually two sizes, and they often have just 2-3 ingredients each. Probably a slice of meat and cheese, like mortadella (which is the cooked prosciutto/ham) and mozzarella, or tuna and boiled egg, prosciutto and cheese, etc. They’re simple, and maybe because I’m used to the super stuffed American sandwiches they seemed a bit measly to me. (But much more affordable and realistic for a lunch on the go, costing between 2.5-4euro usually, where an American sandwich would probably run you $6-10.) Until this particular day, and it suddenly became the best tasting sandwich ever. Fresh mozzarella and tomato with a bit of dried oregano sandwiched between two fluffy piece of salty, oily focaccia. I immediately wanted another. Alas we were already on the bus to the other side of town.

So the other day I was thinking, what’s for lunch? And this tomato and mozzarella sandwich kept haunting my thoughts. A run to the grocery store produced all the necessary missing ingredients, and within a matter of minutes I was devouring this dream of a sandwich. And it was so much better than I remembered. I had it again the next day for lunch. And maybe again tomorrow, using up the last of the cheese and tomatoes.

In fact, it’s very similar to caprese, it's simply in sandwich form without the fresh basil. To read up on using the best ingredients for caprese salad (that also apply to today’s sandwich), click here.

I feel weird calling this a recipe because it’s so simple, so I shall say, here is the recreation of the Italian bar Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich!! Quality of ingredients is of utmost importance. Quantity and exact measurements are not.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

Inspired by the Italian bar sandwiches


Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

Makes 2 sandwiches

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Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of focaccia

  • 1 large heirloom tomato

  • 200g fresh mozzarella

  • dried oregano

  • extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Slice each focaccia to make halves for a sandwich.

  2. Core tomato and slice. Slice the mozzarella.

  3. Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on two of the focaccia halves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with oregano. Voila! Buon appetito.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • I used schiacciata the first time I made this (the Tuscan variant of focaccia, usually with a bit more oil that renders it crispier), but a slightly softer focaccia would be best for sandwiches, easier to slice and eat. Buy or make your own at home!

  • Other Italian bar sandwich ideas include: Prosciutto and asiago, mortadella and asiago, bresaola with arugula and gran padano, tuna with hard boiled eggs, mayo, and tomato, smoked salmon with arugula and mayo. Some of these ingredients might be harder to find outside of Italy, but if you live or visit here, these are great ideas for a quick lunch and readily found in grocery stores.

sandwich, panino, mozzarella fresca, pomodoro cuore di bue, Italian recipe, oregano, extra virgin olive oil, mozzarella di bufala
lunch, sandwich
Italian
Yield: 2
Author:

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

A sandwich inspired by the typical Italian bar: Thick slices of fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of oregano stuffed between two soft slices of focaccia.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: total time: 10 M

ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of focaccia
  • 1 large heirloom tomato
  • 200g fresh mozzarella
  • dried oregano
  • extra virgin olive oil

instructions:

How to cook Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich

  1. Slice each focaccia to make halves for a sandwich.
  2. Core tomato and slice. Slice the mozzarella.
  3. Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on two of the focaccia halves. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with oregano. Voila! Buon appetito.

NOTES:

I used schiacciata the first time I made this (the Tuscan variant of focaccia, usually with a bit more oil that renders it crispier), but a slightly softer focaccia would be best for sandwiches, easier to slice and eat. Buy or make your own at home! Other Italian bar sandwich ideas include: Prosciutto and asiago, mortadella and asiago, bresaola with arugula and gran padano, tuna with hard boiled eggs, mayo, and tomato, smoked salmon with arugula and mayo. Some of these ingredients might be harder to find outside of Italy, but if you live or visit here, these are great ideas for a quick lunch and readily found in grocery stores.

Calories

462.69

Fat (grams)

29.57

Sat. Fat (grams)

12.13

Carbs (grams)

26.07

Fiber (grams)

2.33

Net carbs

23.74

Sugar (grams)

4.25

Protein (grams)

23.83

Sodium (milligrams)

834.01

Cholesterol (grams)

64.09
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 2 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Caprese Risotto

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You know risotto, right? That creamy Italian rice dish, usually cooked with a splash of wine? And you also know Caprese salad, the traditional Italian salad consisting of just tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil? (I gave you a nice preface to today’s recipe by sharing the recipe for Insalata Caprese Tradizionale last month on the blog.) Do you know what happens when you combine these two ideas into one dish?

You get a delicious creamy, rice dish with flavors of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil! Risotto is usually a pretty hearty, comforting dish, better for cooler months, but this one has delicate summer flavors so you can have a risotto for every season. Because It’s mid September, my family back home in Michigan has been wearing jackets and pants for weeks, meanwhile it’s still in the mid 30’sC / 90’sF here in Florence. I’m dreaming of cooler weather, breaking out the sweaters and cozy socks, lighting candles, and making hearty chilis, soups, and everything pumpkin spice and nice. And risotto. So I compromise with a taste of summer, the remnants of summer Italian produce, and a comforting cooler month recipe.

This Caprese Risotto is a bit of a mix between Italian and American cuisines. It’s a risotto and involves all the ingredients from Caprese, but that doesn’t necessarily make it Italian. It’s one of those dishes stuck in the in between, and that’s ok. If it’s anything, it’s American. And I thought I should let you know that, so I don’t give you the false impression that I’m giving you some nonna’s recipe passed down for generations. Nope, this is me being American, taking one thing and combining it with another to create something that doesn’t fall into any category really. That’s one of my pet peeves actually, when I see recipes labeled Italian this or Tuscan that…just because something has oregano, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, or parmesan, does not make it Italian. Especially if it’s a meat, usually chicken is what I see, mixed with pasta. That’s a big no-no in Italy. Pasta is a primo piatto, or first course, and chicken and proteins are always a secondo piatto. You will also never find chicken on pizza. Or pineapple. This doesn’t mean to say you can’t do these things, of course you can, but just keep in mind that it is not Italian. After that, call it as you wish. Oh, and hand me a nice slice of pizza with pineapple, ya? Thanks.

Back to this summery risotto. When I first was making this I wanted to make sure the tomato flavor was closer to a fresh, sun-ripened tomato as it would be for Caprese, and not pungent and salty/sweet like we associate with a lot of canned tomato soups. I love tomato soup, just not the flavor that I was going for here. By using fresh tomatoes and getting saltiness from just the low-sodium broth, this turned out quite nicely. Add the creamy, pull-apart cheesiness from the mozzarella and the sweet, nutty basil, you’ve got a winner summer dinner! If you like, although not traditional to the Italian Caprese salad, add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar at the end. This dish isn’t traditional, so I feel ok about adding it. ;)

Bonus, this dish is also effortlessly gluten-free.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!


Caprese Risotto

Serves 4-6

IMG_0980.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups / 1,422g low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil

  • 1/2 onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 cups / 278g arborio rice, uncooked

  • 1/2 cup / 119g white wine, optional

  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped

  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried

  • about 16 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons

  • 1/2 cup / 50g grated parmigiano reggiano

  • 200g fresh mozzarella, sliced into chunks

  • extra virgin olive oil, more cherry tomatoes, basil leaves for garnishing, and balsamic vinegar if desired

Directions:

  1. Heat broth in a pan over low heat.

  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and simmer for a few minutes, until starting to turn translucent.

  3. Add garlic and rice, stirring occasionally, until rice is toasted and just starting to turn translucent on the edges; about 3-4 minutes.

  4. Add the wine slowly, stirring all the while, until mostly absorbed by the rice.

  5. Add all of the tomatoes, stir until heated through.

  6. Begin adding heated broth to the rice mixture, 1/2 cup / 119g at a time, stirring and allowing broth to be mostly absorbed before adding the next bit. As you near the end of the broth, start checking the rice every minute or two. When it looks cooked and is al dente when tasted, remove from heat. You may not need all the broth, but make sure it’s not too dry or thick. You’ll want to pull it from the heat when it still looks a bit soupy, as it will continue to cook and absorb liquid. (Thick, moundable risotto is a technically overcooked risotto. It should lazily settle back into the plate if you try and mound it.)

  7. Add oregano, basil, parmigiano, and mozzarella. Stir until parmigiano is melted and mozzarella is stringy.

  8. Spoon risotto into plates, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic, if desired. Serve immediately.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • In a pinch you can use a 14.5oz / 411g can of diced tomatoes instead of the 3 medium tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes will always be better but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

  • If using wine, try using a dry white wine, nothing too aged or overpowering, as this is a risotto with more delicate, summery flavors. Think Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, a young Riesling, etc. Whichever wine you use in your cooking should ideally be served with the meal. Because of this, it is mistaken to use the “cheap” wines in cooking and then bring out the nice stuff for the meal. Remember, you’re cooking out (most of) the alcohol, not the flavor.

    In fact, because of the delicate flavors of this risotto I don’t add wine, but it’s up to you if you do! Wine is traditional in risotto so you may think me odd that I don’t add it. :)

  • If you have only bouillon cubes or normal-sodium broth on hand, you can substitute part water for the broth to keep the sodium levels down. I recommend using 4 cups / 948g worth of broth/bouillon broth and 2 cups / 474g water.

  • Using heated broth speeds up the cooking time so you’re not waiting for the broth to simmer and be absorbed between each addition. I have, however, made risotto many a time before I learned this trick, and although it takes a bit longer to cook when adding cold or room temp broth, it won’t in any way ruin your risotto.

  • Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese) is another ingredient typically used in risotto. It’s not used in caprese but it lends a cheesy hand to the mozzarella which is quite mild.

  • Another idea I’m drooling over right now, would be to add a nice portion of burrata on top of the plated risotto right before serving. Burrata is very similar to mozzarella, except it’s softer. It usually comes in round form, and the moment you cut into it the super soft, creamy center oozes out. Oh yes. Oh yes please.

    If you don’t live in Italy chances are burrata and even fresh mozzarella will cost you, so you may opt for one or the other in this recipe. If your budget allows, go for both!! Here in Italy fresh mozzarella can be found easily for 2-3euro a pound.

gluten-free caprese, risotto, rice, tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella, parmesan cheese, parmigiano reggiano, burrata, Italian recipe, oregano, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, white wine, which wine to use in risotto
dinner, vegetarian
Italian, American
Yield: 4-6 servings
Author:

Caprese Risotto

Creamy risotto playing off the classic Italian summer dish of caprese; tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, parmesan cheese and a hint of oregano.
prep time: 45 Mcook time: total time: 45 M

ingredients:

  • 6 cups / 1,422g low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups / 278g arborio rice, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup / 119g white wine, optional
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried
  • about 16 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • 1/2 cup / 50g grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 200g fresh mozzarella, sliced into chunks
  • extra virgin olive oil, more cherry tomatoes, basil leaves for garnishing, and balsamic vinegar if desired

instructions:

How to cook Caprese Risotto

  1. Heat broth in a pan over low heat.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and simmer for a few minutes, until starting to turn translucent.
  3. Add garlic and rice, stirring occasionally, until rice is toasted and just starting to turn translucent on the edges; about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the wine slowly, stirring all the while, until mostly absorbed by the rice.
  5. Add all of the tomatoes, stir until heated through.
  6. Begin adding heated broth to the rice mixture, 1/2 cup / 119g at a time, stirring and allowing the broth to be mostly absorbed before adding the next bit. Keep an eye on the rice; when it starts to look cooked and is al dente when tasted, remove from the heat. You may or may not need all the broth, but make sure it’s not too dry or thick. You’ll want to pull it from the heat when it still looks a bit soupy, as it will continue to cook and absorb liquid. (A thick, moundable risotto is a technically overcooked risotto. A correctly cooked risotto should lazily settle back into the plate if you try and mound it.)
  7. Add oregano, basil, parmigiano, and mozzarella. Stir until parmigiano is melted and mozzarella is stringy.
  8. Spoon risotto into plates, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cherry tomatoes and basil leaves. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic, if desired. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

In a pinch you can use a 14.5oz / 411g can of diced tomatoes instead of the 3 medium tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes will always be better but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! If using wine, try using a light white wine, nothing too aged or overpowering, as this is a risotto with more delicate, summery flavors. Think Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, a young Riesling, etc. Whichever wine you use in your cooking should ideally be served with the meal. Because of this, it is mistaken to use the “cheap” wines in cooking and then bring out the nice stuff for the meal. Remember, you’re cooking out (most of) the alcohol, not the flavor. In fact, because of the delicate flavors of this risotto I don’t add wine, but it’s up to you if you do! Wine is traditional in risotto so you may think me odd that I don’t add it. :) If you have only bouillon cubes or normal-sodium broth on hand, you can substitute part water for the broth to keep the sodium levels down. I recommend using 4 cups / 948g worth of broth/bouillon broth and 2 cups / 474g water. Using heated broth speeds up the cooking time so you’re not waiting for the broth to simmer and be absorbed between each addition. I have, however, made risotto many a time before I learned this trick, and although it takes a bit longer to cook when adding cold or room temp broth, it won’t in any way ruin your risotto. Another idea would be to add a nice portion of burrata on top of the plated risotto right before serving. Burrata is very similar to mozzarella, except it’s softer. It usually comes in round form, and the moment you cut into it the super soft, creamy center oozes out.

Calories

423.93

Fat (grams)

21.69

Sat. Fat (grams)

8.54

Carbs (grams)

36.34

Fiber (grams)

2.31

Net carbs

34.03

Sugar (grams)

7.25

Protein (grams)

16.20

Sodium (milligrams)

714.71

Cholesterol (grams)

42.80
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 4 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_0982.jpg

Jeannie's Healthy Breakfast Cookies

2019-02-17+15.32.23.jpg

What could be better than a cookie? How about a cookie that’s packed with nutrients and can be eaten anytime, especially for breakfast, guilt free?

I love cookies. They are my go-to when I want to whip up something with limited time, or don’t have much energy for other more entailed desserts. I’m sure this has NOTHING to do with the fact that cookies are also one of my favorite things to eat. It ends up turning into a win-win-win situation because I’m having fun, being productive, get to eat some of the ingredients while baking, get to eat some dough while baking, and BONUS if there is enough dough to actually be baked into cookies! So many wins.

I have to bring up the negative, however, to classic cookie baking. They’re kinda calorific and not very good for you. I’m all for eating cookies for breakfast, but that usually goes along with a sugar crash later on. What to do?

Bake healthy cookies! They have to be delicious of course, and not gross. I have just the recipe for you, made up by my mom many years ago when we needed a portable nutritious breakfast for a trip. This recipe has been in my recipe box ever since as “Jean’s breakfast cookies”, made with many adjustments because the add ins are very versatile depending on your tastes. My mom likes to be called Jeannie (not by her kids of course) so I adapted the title accordingly.

One thing this recipe is not is a taste-alike recipe to say, chocolate chip cookies with a surprise twist that it’s healthy. Nope, these cookies have a satisfyingly healthy look and taste and are upfront about it from the get go. They get positive feedback and recipe requests wherever they go!

The recipe that follows is just one version of many, many possibilities. Just keep in mind that major adjustments may need other adjustments. For example, if you don’t have any honey or maple syrup on hand for the sweetener, you could use raw or regular cane sugar. Substituting a liquid for a dry ingredient, however, will mean you may need more liquid from elsewhere. Maybe add another egg, a bit more oil, or even water until you get a cookie dough consistency once again. Other ideas to make the recipe your own:

  • Use any kind of flour you wish instead of wheat flour. Oat flour, almond flour, coconut flour…I often use wheat germ in place of part of the flour or flaxmeal, usually 1/4 cup.

  • If you want these cookies to be gluten-free, ensure that your oats are gluten-free, and use a gluten-free flour.

  • Change up the spices. Sometimes towards fall I also add a bit of ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Cardamom is also nice.

  • Beyond dried fruit and walnuts, get creative with your add-ins! Just try not to go too far beyond 1 cup, otherwise there might not be enough dough to hold everything together. In the photos on this post I used dried apples, dried cranberries, and walnuts. I’ve also added various combinations of dried cherries, prunes, dried apricots, raisins, dates, dried figs, dried pears, fresh apples, grated coconut, pecans, hazelnuts, dark chocolate, crystallized ginger, and anything else I had on hand!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

Recipe adapted from my mama


Jeannie’s Healthy Breakfast Cookies

Makes about 18-22 cookies

Ingredients:

2019-02-17 14.45.17.jpg
  • 1/2 cup / 112g olive or coconut oil

  • generous 1/3 cup / 120g maple syrup or honey

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 cup / 120g all-purpose or whole wheat flour

  • 1 1/2 cups / 135g rolled oats

  • 1/2 cup / 90g flaxmeal

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

  • 3/4 cup / 105g nuts, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 apple, diced

  • 1/4 cup / 50g dried fruit, chopped if necessary

Directions:

Oven 375°F / 190°C. Baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper.

  1. In a large bowl combine wet ingredients: oil, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla; beat with a spoon until smooth.

  2. In another medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients: flour, oats, flaxmeal, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

  3. Add dry ingredients, nuts, apple, and dried fruit to wet ingredients, mix until well combined.

  4. Spoon generous tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly as they won’t spread much, leaving at least 1 inch between cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges turn lightly golden brown and centers are no longer doughy.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • you can make flaxmeal at home by simply processing some flaxseeds in a coffee or spice grinder.

  • olive oil has a rather strong taste so if you prefer to avoid that, try going with the coconut oil option or even a neutral oil like peanut oil.

  • 3 egg whites can be substituted for the 2 eggs for cholesterol-conscience people.

healthy, nutritious, cookies, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, dried fruit, apple, fall spices, oats, nuts, coconut, portable
breakfast, dessert, snack
American
Yield: 12-16 cookies
Author:

Jeannie's Breakfast Cookies

Healthy cookies packed with nutritious ingredients that make for a great breakfast or anytime snack. Dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and can easily be made gluten-free.
prep time: 20 Mcook time: 10 Mtotal time: 30 M

ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup / 112g olive oil or coconut oil
  • generous 1/3 cup / 120g maple syrup or honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup / 120g all-purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups / 135g rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup / 90g flaxmeal
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup / 105g nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup / 50g dried fruit, chopped if necessary

instructions:

How to cook Jeannie's Breakfast Cookies

  1. Oven 375°F / 190°C. Baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine wet ingredients: oil, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla; beat with a spoon until smooth.
  3. In another medium bowl whisk together dry ingredients: flour, oats, flaxmeal, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Add dry ingredients, nuts, apple, and dried fruit to wet ingredients, mix until well combined.
  5. Spoon generous tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly as they won’t spread much, leaving at least 1 inch between cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges turn lightly golden brown and centers are no longer doughy.

NOTES:

you can make flaxmeal at home by simply processing some flaxseeds in a coffee or spice grinder. olive oil has a rather strong taste so if you prefer to avoid that, try going with the coconut oil option or even a neutral oil like peanut oil. 3 egg whites can be substituted for the 2 eggs for cholesterol-conscience people.

Calories

265.40

Fat (grams)

15.87

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.49

Carbs (grams)

27.23

Fiber (grams)

3.34

Net carbs

23.89

Sugar (grams)

9.53

Protein (grams)

5.72

Sodium (milligrams)

188.36

Cholesterol (grams)

31.00
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 12 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
2019-02-17+15.36.02.jpg

Basic Butter Pie Crust

IMG_4560.jpg

Everybody needs a basic butter pie crust. A recipe that’s easy to make, turns out, and goes with all your baking ideas. Oh, and dinner too! Dinner is important.

Like last night. I decided I wanted to make a quiche for dinner, and it was SO nice to be able to pull up this recipe and be able to whip it out, knowing it would turn out, not shrink, and be flaky but sturdy enough to hold a whopping load of eggs, milk, and veggies. Too many veggies, actually. Even though I pre-cooked them, there just wasn’t enough of the custard part of the quiche to hold it all together. Ah well, you live and you learn. And I just had to choose veggies like tomatoes that lose a LOT of liquid when baked. It’s actually a really delicious quiche, I made it crustless a few weeks ago and wanted to share the recipe with you guys, but um. I’ll reduce the quantity of veggies and get back to you with a successful recipe. The crust was nice, regardless.

This crust is your easy buttery friend. If you bake things that need crusts a lot, like quiche, pies, pot pies, homemade poptarts, etc. you’ll have the recipe memorized in no time and can whip it up on command!

I like butter because it tastes the best and is definitely the healthier option when looking at lard and shortening. My mom always uses oil, but oil makes for a finicky and often tough crust. So for a reliable crust, I use butter. For a healthy crust, oil. That recipe will come, but it also won’t be touted as a fool-proof, everyday crust! :)

This butter crust is only flour, salt, butter, and water. If you’ve been burned by crusts in the past (or you’ve burned them, heheh) because they shrink, fall apart, or are tough, despair not, my friend! I think we’ve all been there, maybe on repeat and it can be very frustrating. Along with the recipe I’m also going to share with you all the tips and tricks I’ve learned to get a fool-proof pie crust every time!

Plan Ahead

If you normally eat dinner at 6:30pm and it’s now 6:21pm, I’m sorry but your pie crust will be compromised. Pie crusts need time if they’re going to be the flaky, tasty, shapely vessels for filling that we want them to be!

For this crust you need about 1 1/2 hours minimum, plus more if you need to blind-bake it.

It can be made up to 2-3 days ahead of time and kept in the fridge. It also freezes beautifully. Either way, you can store it as a block of dough or even already prepared in the pie dish.

Tips for a Flaky Crust

When cutting up the cold butter, the chunks don’t have to be super small. 1/2” chunks are great, and try to keep them all the same size so smaller chunks don’t melt while you’re still squishing the bigger chunks.

When crumbling the butter, less is always more. You may be tempted to really integrate the butter, but this is more likely to cause the butter to melt and result in a tough crust. Leave chunks of butter, really, it’ll turn out great!

Make sure your butter is cold and stays cold while you’re making the dough. If your house is warm or even hot like my house in the summertime, then you will probably need to stick your butter back in the fridge or freezer after you cut it into small pieces. If you do this first, you can then weigh your flour, salt, and prepare your ice water while it’s chilling.

If your cold butter softens up too much while crumbling it into the flour mixture, it’s best to stick it back into the fridge/freezer for a few minutes before adding the ice water.

Another note on the ice water, you can also just stick some water in the freezer, but this requires a bit of planning so it’s cold enough when you go to make the crust. I often do this because I have only one ice tray and don’t always have ice ready…especially in the summer. Sometimes an iced beverage takes preference over a crust, haha.

How to Avoid a Shrinking Crust

If your crust is shrinking, most likely it didn’t rest long enough in the fridge. While you are mixing the dough it is inevitable that a bit of gluten builds up, which is a very elastic-like substance. This is good when making bread, bad when making flaky pie crust. The dough needs to rest so that the gluten strands have time to relax. If the gluten strands didn’t have adequate time to relax they will shrink back on themselves, hence the shrinking crust.

If your crust is still shrinking, try to use a ceramic or metal pie dish instead of slippery glass. I LOVE my Emile Henry ceramic pie dish I received for Christmas. French baking ware like Emile Henry and Le Creuset are pricey but so worth it!

You can also try using pie weights if you are blind-baking, or dry beans if you have those on hand. Simply line the inside of your prepared crust with parchment paper and add the pie weights or dry beans. Bake as directed.

Still shrinking? Bake at low temperatures, like 325°F - 350°F / 163°C - 177°C.

Freeze the prepared crust for at least one hour or even overnight.

Make sure your crust reaches high enough that it rests on the lip of the pie dish, not beyond or too short, but just resting on the edge. It also helps to cut off the extra pie crust while leaving an overhang of about 1/2” all the way around. Tuck this overhang under and crimp the edge, or use a fork. The thicker crust edge not only gives you more to work with while crimping, it is also less likely to shrink down.

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Basic Butter Pie Crust

Makes 1 bottom pie crust. For a bottom and top crust, double this recipe.

Ingredients:

IMG_4558.JPG
  • 1 1/3 cup / 160g all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5g salt

  • 4 Tbsp / 56g butter, cold, cut into equally-sized 1/2” chunks

  • 4-6 Tbsp / 59 - 89g ice water

Directions:

Oven 425°F / 220°C. Ungreased 8 - 9in / 20 - 23cm pie dish.

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together flour and salt.  Blend in cold butter using a pastry cutter, fork, or your hands.  You want the butter to end up in pieces, no smaller than peas. 

  2. Add the ice water, starting with 4 Tbsp / 59g, mixing as little as possible.  The dough should be able to hold together in a ball, without being too dry or too wet, but still a bit shaggy looking.  Add more water if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time.  

  3. Place dough on a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disc, and wrap tightly.  Place in fridge for 1 - 48 hours.  

  4. After the crust has rested, roll into a circle on a lightly floured surface or silpat.  Roll a few times with your rolling pin in one direction before turning the crust 45° (quarter turn) and continuing with a few more rolls.  Periodically check under the crust to make sure it isn’t sticking and sprinkling more flour if needed. Continue like this until your crust is nicely round and roughly 2in / 5cm larger than your pie dish.

  5. Carefully transfer crust to pie dish (this is easier if using a silpat), trim the excess overhang to within about 1/2” of the edge of pie dish if necessary, and fold the ends under. Crimp as desired, or press with a fork.  Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork.  The crust can also be refrigerated or even frozen at this point, if needed.  

  6. If blind baking, bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is lightly golden-brown.  Cool completely.  Otherwise fill and proceed according to your recipe.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • You can also use a food processor, pulsing in the butter until it has the desired consistency.  Just be sure to remove the dough from the food processor and mix in the water with a fork or pastry cutter so you don't overwork the dough.  You want to work it as little as possible once you add the water. The liquid helps to awaken the gluten, and the more you work it and the gluten strands develop, the tougher your crust will be.  The minimum of 1 hour rest in the fridge allows what gluten inevitably developed to relax.  

  • If you are having problems with a shrinking crust, try using a metal or ceramic pie dish and allowing the crust more time to rest before baking.  You can also try using pie weights and baking at a lower temperature.

  • I have made this pie several times over the past year, and have always needed all 6 tablespoons of water, possibly because it was always during the dry winter.  If you live in a really dry climate, you might need up to 7.  Just be aware, an overly wet crust is more likely to glue itself to the pan during baking.   

easy crust, best crust, all-butter crust, pie crust, crust for quiche, flaky crust, tender crust, butter
dessert, dinner
American
Yield: 8 Servings
Author:

Basic Butter Pie Crust

An everyday all-butter pie crust that is easy, flaky, reliable, and can be made ahead. Great for all your pie crust needs.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: total time: 10 M

ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup / 160g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp / 2.5g salt
  • 4 Tbsp / 56g butter, cold, cut into equally-sized 1/2” chunks
  • 4-6 Tbsp / 59 - 89g ice water

instructions:

How to cook Basic Butter Pie Crust

  1. Oven 425°F / 220°C. Ungreased 8 - 9in / 20 - 23cm pie dish.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour and salt. Blend in cold butter using a pastry cutter, fork, or your hands. You want the butter to end up in pieces, no smaller than peas.
  3. Add the ice water, starting with 4 Tbsp / 59g, mixing as little as possible. The dough should be able to hold together in a ball, without being too dry or too wet, but still a bit shaggy looking. Add more water if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  4. Place dough on a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disc, and wrap tightly. Place in fridge for 1 - 48 hours.
  5. After the crust has rested, roll into a circle on a lightly floured surface or silpat. Roll a few times with your rolling pin in one direction before turning the crust 45° (quarter turn) and continuing with a few more rolls. Periodically check under the crust to make sure it isn’t sticking and sprinkling more flour if needed. Continue like this until your crust is nicely round and roughly 2in / 5cm larger than your pie dish.
  6. Carefully transfer crust to pie dish (this is easier if using a silpat), trim the excess overhang to within about 1/2” of the edge of pie dish if necessary, and fold the ends under. Crimp as desired, or press with a fork. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. The crust can also be refrigerated or even frozen at this point, if needed.
  7. If blind baking, bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until crust is lightly golden-brown. Cool completely. Otherwise fill and proceed according to your recipe.

NOTES:

You can also use a food processor, pulsing in the butter until it has the desired consistency. Just be sure to remove the dough from the food processor and mix in the water with a fork or pastry cutter so you don't overwork the dough. You want to work it as little as possible once you add the water. The liquid helps to awaken the gluten, and the more you work it and the gluten strands develop, the tougher your crust will be. The minimum of 1 hour rest in the fridge allows what gluten inevitably developed to relax. If you are having problems with a shrinking crust, try using a metal or ceramic pie dish and allowing the crust more time to rest before baking. You can also try using pie weights and baking at a lower temperature. I have made this pie several times over the past year, and have always needed all 6 tablespoons of water, possibly because it was always during the dry winter. If you live in a really dry climate, you might need up to 7. Just be aware, an overly wet crust is more likely to glue itself to the pan during baking.

Calories

122.99

Fat (grams)

5.87

Sat. Fat (grams)

3.63

Carbs (grams)

15.27

Fiber (grams)

0.54

Net carbs

14.73

Sugar (grams)

0.06

Protein (grams)

2.13

Sodium (milligrams)

192.78

Cholesterol (grams)

15.05
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 8 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_4555.JPG

Italian Holidays

Italy, the land of pizza, wine, many hand gestures and many holidays. As you may have guessed from the title, this post is covering the holidays in Italy and why you should care.

The Beach at Viareggio. Most Italian beaches are not free, you have to rent an umbrella and a couple chairs, usually around 30euro per day.

The Beach at Viareggio. Most Italian beaches are not free, you have to rent an umbrella and a couple chairs, usually around 30euro per day.

Italy is a predominantly Catholic country and home to Papa, or the pope. Well, technically the Vatican which is in and of itself a country is home to the Papa, but the Vatican is in Italy, so, same thing. There are many holidays celebrated in Italy to commemorate different saints and events in the Bible. Some seem to based more on folklore than actual fact, but they are celebrated with gusto and nonetheless an important part of the culture here.

Whether or not you celebrate them, these holidays will still have an effect upon your life if you travel or live in Italy. If you’ve planned a trip or traveled to Italy, you may have read about or experienced the infamous Ferragosto, the holiday on August 15th where all the Italians escape seaside for vacation. Even though everything closes down like it’s Christmas, the “ferie” or holidays actually start usually towards the end of July and finish the beginning of September. This means having to plan very carefully when you grocery shop, shop, get public transport, go the gym, eat out, go to the doctor, and everything else that includes hours of business. Make sure to tell all your appliances and A/C not to break during August. If they do, and you know that if they do they will during this month, sorry ‘bout ya. The plumber is at the beach. So is the electrician. Also the tabaccheria where you buy bus tickets, your local coffee place, and the doctor who was supposed to perform your surgery. Ah well.

City centers mostly stay open for tourism, but neighborhoods around that don’t get many tourists will almost achieve ghost town status. It’s quite peaceful, actually, until I start missing the pizza from my local pizzeria. Come backkkkk!! I’m hungry!! Ah well, #firstworldproblems.

Another good thing to note is that all Sundays are considered giorni festivi, or treated like holidays. This means that every Sunday there will be fewer buses and shops will probably close earlier, if they were open in the first place.

What about the rest of the holidays? What are they about? Are they a big enough deal to close schools down, or mere formalities?

The following list includes all the major holidays in Italy that usually affect business hours, schools, and public transport, if not all three. This way we can plan our lives in Italy accordingly and not have to wonder why there are witches and stockings everywhere in the stores in January and not October! I say we because this list is as much a refresher for me as it is for you; I’m fairly certain I end up asking or Googling every year the same holidays because I just can’t keep them all straight! :)

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!


Italian Holidays

  1. January 1 - Capodanno / New Year’s Day

    Yes, even in Italy the New Year happens, albeit 6 hours ahead of the EST.

  2. January 6 - Befana o Epifania / Befana or Epiphany

    The day in which the wise men visited Jesus according to the Catholic tradition, hence the word epiphany. If you count from Christmas Day you’ll notice that there are twelve days between it and January 6, which is where the Twelve Days of Christmas originated.

    It’s also called Befana in Italy after the old woman who gets on her broom and flies to deliver little gifts to good children who have left out stockings on the night between the 5th and 6th of January. Naughty children will wake up to coal, garlic, or possibly a stick. Children often leave out fruit or treats for Befana and maybe even a glass of wine (ohhh, Santa is jealous). This is similar to the Babbo Natale/Santa Clause tradition, although Befana has been a part of the Italian culture longer than Babbo Natale even.

    As one story goes the three wise men are traveling to find baby Jesus in Bethlehem and find themselves in need of direction. They ask an old woman, Befana, who indicates to them the way. (Another version says she didn’t know the way but instead offered them food and a place to stay for the night.) They are so grateful to her that they invite her to come along. Despite their insistence, she refuses. After they depart she regrets staying behind, and attempts to find them, bringing with her a large bag of sweets. She is not successful and gives out the sweets to every child she meets in the hopes that one of them will be Jesus.

    Another, darker version recounts Befana as a mother whose child dies. Her grief turns to madness and she goes to offer baby Jesus gifts to make him happy, thinking that he is her son. Jesus in turn gives her the gift of being the mother to all children in Italy, and she goes around giving gifts to them.

    You will notice the stores full of witches and pre-filled stockings leading up to this day. The day of Befana usually involves many excited children, parades, and women who dress up like the old, sooty Befana. In Florence there is a parade with the magi coming to see baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph in the nativity setup in front of the Duomo.

    This holiday ensures that the Italian children also get their moment of realization when they find out that Befana is not in fact real, haha!

    This holiday usually signals the end of the Christmas festivities, with school starting shortly after.

  3. February/March - Carnevale

    Carnevale is like a much happier Halloween. It’s a festivity that usually takes place over a period of days, usually in Catholic countries. People dress up, there are parades, and also special sweets and food before the Lenten season begins.

    If you’ve been to Venice you probably noticed how many shops sport costumes and masks for Carnevale. In fact, Venice is among the cities most renowned in Italy (and the world) for their Carnevale festivities, along with Viareggio, Cento, Ivrea, Acireale.

  4. March/April - Pasqua e Pasquetta / Easter and Easter Monday

    Similar to the US, Good Friday-Easter Sunday are usually government holidays. Easter Monday, or Pasquetta is also a holiday in Italy remembering the women who met the angel at the empty tomb of Jesus, usually spent with family and friends, probably eating.

  5. April 25 - Anniversario della Liberazione d’Italia / Anniversary of the Liberation of Italy

    An important day in Italian history when it was freed from fascist control and Nazi occupation.

  6. May 1 - La Festa dei Lavoratori / Worker’s Day

    The day that the 8-hour work day became law, first in Chicago, Illinois. This law soon spread to other states and is now celebrated by many countries around the world. Ironically, although it originated in America we now celebrate this achievement in September, and we know it as Labor Day.

  7. June 2 - La Festa della Repubblica / Day of the Republic

    A day to celebrate the birth of the Italian Republic after the institutional referendum in 1946.

  8. June 24 - San Giovanni / St. John the Baptist

    Each city in Italy has a patron saint and celebrates on different days. John the Baptist is the patron saint of Florence, and is celebrated with fochi d’artificio or fireworks, parades, and the final match of calcio storico Fiorentino, a type of historic soccer/rugby.

    Most shops around Florence close in the evening if not the whole day.

  9. August 15 - Ferragosto o Assunzione di Maria Virgine / August Holidays or the Ascension of Virgin Mary

    The holiday we discussed in the beginning. It originates from the Roman Empire when Caeser Augustus was emperor in the year 18 a.d. when he designated the August holidays, “Feriae Augusti” in Latin.

    This is also the day that the Catholic church says the Virgin Mary ascended into heaven.

    In reality, these holidays stretch anywhere from end of July to early September, with most businesses choosing 2-4 weeks within this period to close up shop and head to the coast. So while the towns might be quiet, the beaches are crazy. The actual day of August 15th pretty much everything is closed, so this is a day best used for taking a stroll, a picnic, or staying at home.

  10. October 31 - Halloween

    While this is not an Italian holiday, it is an American one and thus becoming quite popular in Italy. Italians don’t tend to dress up as much as they go all out with makeup, the more gruesome and scary the better. All the pretty costumes are saved for Carnevale closer to springtime. The exception would be the expat’s children and a select few Italian children who dress up and go from store to store to trick-or-treat.

    This one does not affect schools, transport or business hours.

  11. November 1 - Tutti i Santi / All Saints Day

    Just as it sounds, this is a day celebrating all saints. And there are a lot of them.

  12. December 8 - Immacolata Concezione / Immaculate Conception

    The day in 1854 in which Mary was declared by Pope Pio IX to have been sinless from the time of her birth until the conception of Jesus. This day deals with the dogma of original sin, and not, as I had originally understood, the day in which the angel appeared to Mary to announce to her that she would give birth to Jesus. That doesn’t work out very well on the calendar anyway if we celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25th…not that Jesus was born on December 25th in the first place.

  13. December 24, 25 - Vigilia di Natale, Natale / Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

    The best days of the year celebrating Jesus’ birth!

  14. December 26 - Santo Stefano / Saint Stephan

    A day to commemorate the Saint Stephan. Being so soon after Christmas it all seems to just blend together!

  15. December 31 - Ultimo Giorno dell’Anno / New Year’s Eve

    I experienced my first New Year’s Eve in Florence, and wanting to make a fun night of it, went with my husband to the Duomo where there were large crowds and we were hoping to find a countdown. There was no official countdown whatsoever, and several different groups of people seemed to announce it at different times depending on when their phones/watches changed. I kept asking, was that it? Is that the New Year? Needless to say, it was a bit anticlimactic with a lot of chaos. Everyone had open bottles and glasses of beer and wine, and it was sloshing everywhere. Don’t wear nice clothes out in public on New Year’s Eve. Lots of noise, major smooching, and the firecrackers are awful. People like to set them off at random, even the week before and after, and it can be frightening and hurts my ears! If you can’t tell, I have since decided to spend New Year’s Eve (at least in Italy) inside with a nice movie and food and not in the city center! But to each his own! The next day there are bottles and trash strewn everywhere, between little rivers of red wine. Just not a fan of drunkenness and the various aftereffects.


Christmas time is magical around Florence

Christmas time is magical around Florence

There we are, a (hopefully) comprehensive list of the major holidays in Italy. If I missed any, let me know in the comments below. Or if you’ve had any funny run-ins or fond memories celebrating any of these holidays, I’d love to hear about it! Until next time!

Insalata Caprese Tradizionale - Traditional Caprese Salad

IMG_0994.jpg

Insalata Caprese, often just referred to as Caprese, is by now known the world over and has been adapted into many different dishes and styles. In today’s post we are going to cover the traditional Italian Insalata Caprese, unaltered and in its purest form. How the Italians make it. Leave aside the Caprese grilled cheeses and Caprese pasta for just one second.

Insalata Caprese (EEN-sah-lah-ta cuh-PRAY-zay), or Caprese Salad is an Italian dish consisting of merely 5 ingredients: fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of salt, maybe pepper. Oregano is also added sometimes. That’s it, simple and fresh.

Because there are so few ingredients, no cooking required, and little spice, the quality and freshness of the ingredients are of upmost importance. This is one of the golden rules of the Italian kitchen. In fact, I would say that any caprese salad you’ve eaten in the States is probably a far cry from the shining beacon that it is here in Italy. This is not through any fault of your own, but Italy has certain protected regions and methods for making foods, with rigorous control checks and rules, which holds the product to high standards.

You may be familiar with some of these rules, especially if you seen some Italian wine bottles. You might have noticed special seals that read DOC or DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata or Denominazione di Origine Controllata Garantita), which basically act as a quality seal. One such wine, considered one of the kings of Italian wine, Brunello di Montalcino, will always have the DOCG seal because it can only be grown in the Montalcino region near Siena which has ideal soil and climate for this particular wine. If it doesn’t have the seal, don’t buy it. Hazelnuts, mozzarella, how to make a Neopolitan pizza, and many other food items and processes, sometimes connected to a specific region, are protected by law in Italy.

I just mentioned mozzarella, so you may be understanding how I managed to go on that long spiel and still connect it today’s subject matter. :) Suffice to say, Italian mozzarella, the good stuff, is in a class of its own.

That’s the beauty of Italian summers, where lunches are made up of ripe tomatoes, a slab of cheese, a drizzle of olive oil. Maybe with a hunk of fresh, salty focaccia. Or maybe just prosciutto and melon.

But maybe you aren’t IN Italy, and you’re wondering how you can make the best Insalata Caprese possible? Let’s dissect the ingredients real quick before getting into the recipe.

Suggestions for selecting ingredients for the Insalata Caprese

  • Tomatoes. You want the freshest, tastiest tomatoes available. The most widely used in Italy would probably be the tomato variety “cuore di bue” or literally, “ox heart,” which originated in America. There are two prinicipal varieties of cuore di bue, Arawak and Albenga. These tomatoes are ideal for salads because they have a thin skin, great flavor, and very few seeds and water inside. They are not usually very round, but fall into the ugly tomato category with lots of ridges. As they say, the uglier the tomato, the more delicious it will be. If you can’t get your hands on a cuore di bue, use your favorite, fresh tomatoes.

  • Mozzarella. You’ll want the freshest mozzarella possible, which might not be that easy to find unless you know a cheese producer. Traditionally the mozzarella di fiordilatte is used (normal cow’s milk mozzarella), but if you want to up your game, go for the more expensive mozzarella di bufala (buffalo mozzarella) which can also be protected by one of the laws we were talking about earlier, this time the DOP.

  • Basil. Fresh basil, torn into pieces if desired and ideally added just before serving so it can’t even think about wilting.

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I cannot stress enough to you the importance of having a good bottle of olive oil on hand. In Italy there are usually two kinds of olive oil, those used for cooking, and those use for drizzling just before serving. Select your oil carefully, paying attention to where it is produced, when, and when it expires. Olive oil generally has a best if used by date of two years from being bottled. So if you find a bottle that expires in a year or less, you know that bottle has already been sitting on the shelf for too long and is best used for cooking. Also pay attention to wording like “produced in” or “bottled in.” The latter may mean that olives were brought in from elsewhere and merely bottled in Italy so they could write that on the bottle. No really, there are so many shady practices when it comes to olive oil, it can be hard to decipher the great ones, especially when dealing with imported bottles. My mom used to order bottles straight from Italy to get some of the high quality stuff. Basically, you don’t want to pay less than $15 for a bottle in the States. Frantoio Franci and Laudemia are two very high quality brands. If you know your EVOO’s, select a light and fruity oil.

  • Salt and Pepper. Usually just the tomatoes are salted, and pepper is completely optional.

  • Oregano. Oregano is also optional, but a bit of fresh or dried is a nice touch!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!


Insalata Caprese

IMG_1002.jpg

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • about 1/2lb / 200g fresh mozzarella

  • 2 medium tomatoes

  • a few fresh basil leaves, whole or torn into pieces

  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • fresh or dried oregano, optional

Directions:

  1. Slice the mozzarella and the tomatoes into equally sized slices and place on a plate.

  2. Drizzly lightly with olive oil and sprinkle tomatoes with salt. Sprinkle with a bit of pepper, if desired.

  3. Garnish with basil leaves and oregano; serve.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • It may seem strange, but some recommend to serve the mozzarella at room temperature. If the mozzarella is cut while cold it may lose more water, interacting with and changing the flavor of the tomatoes. If the mozzarella is losing lots of liquid regardless, it may not be as fresh as desired.

  • You can use a paper towel on both the mozzarella and tomatoes to absorb any excess liquid, dabbing or letting them sit on the paper towel if they are very wet.

  • Contrary to American belief, Caprese Salad does not traditionally have balsamic vinegar. Nor mayonnaise, olives, eggs, or other non-Italian inventions.

Gluten-free, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, mozzarella di bufala, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, fresh oregano, Italian recipe
Side, Lunch
Italian
Yield: 2
Author:

Traditional Caprese Salad

This classic Caprese Insalata is bursting with summer flavors. Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil, just as the Italians would make it.
prep time: 5 Mcook time: total time: 5 M

ingredients:

  • about 1/2lb / 200g fresh mozzarella
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • a few fresh basil leaves, whole or torn into pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh or dried oregano, optional

instructions:

How to cook Traditional Caprese Salad

  1. Slice the mozzarella and the tomatoes into equally sized slices and place on a plate.
  2. Drizzly lightly with olive oil and sprinkle tomatoes with salt. Sprinkle with a bit of pepper, if desired.
  3. Garnish with basil leaves and oregano; serve.

NOTES:

It may seem strange, but some recommend to serve the mozzarella at room temperature. If the mozzarella is cut while cold it may lose more water, interacting with and changing the flavor of the tomatoes. If the mozzarella is losing lots of liquid regardless, it may not be as fresh as desired. You can use a paper towel on both the mozzarella and tomatoes to absorb any excess liquid, dabbing or letting them sit on the paper towel if they are very wet. Contrary to American belief, Caprese Salad does not traditionally have balsamic vinegar. Nor mayonnaise, olives, eggs, or other non-Italian inventions.

Calories

326.94

Fat (grams)

25.15

Sat. Fat (grams)

11.64

Carbs (grams)

7.00

Fiber (grams)

1.73

Net carbs

5.27

Sugar (grams)

4.09

Protein (grams)

19.14

Sodium (milligrams)

663.60

Cholesterol (grams)

64.09
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 2 servings.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_0996.jpg

Resources and Tricks for Learning Italian

Photo Credit to  Practical

Photo Credit to Practical

Learning a second language (or third or fourth or twelfth) can be challenging, enjoyable, frustrating, rewarding, and just plain ol’ take a lot of your brain power, thoughts, and time.

If you weren’t lucky enough to grow up immersed in a bi or multilingual family, then you can hop on the struggle boat with the rest of us while learning another language.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably studying or thinking about starting to learn a new language, maybe Italian, and I commend you! Or, maybe you are curious as to what it might take, or are looking for resources for someone else. Whatever brings you, I’m glad you’re here, and I hope this post might help you or a friend out.

When it comes to learning a language, you will be most successful if you are fully immersed. You’ve probably heard this before, but it bears repeating because it’s true.

If you aren’t immersed, don’t despair. Taking a trip to a country that speaks your desired language or finding a friend, community, or group in your city or online that you can practice with can make a big difference! Even if these are not possible for you, there are still ways to learn a language successfully.

I for one will do everything in my power to search and learn things for free. I don’t want to pay for school, tutors, programs, books, more books, some more books, and a couple more programs if I don’t need to. (Yes, you can say it, I’m a tightwad.:) Those are all helpful and good things, and if you have the resources to do those things, go for it! But there is more to the equation than just “intensive Italian school = Italian fluency.”

There is a principal ingredient you need to learn Italian or any language: drive. The drive, desire, patience, and determination to learn and work through the moments of frustration and plateaus. If you have the drive but don’t live in Italy, you will still make good progress. On the other hand, if you move to Italy and have no great desire to learn Italian, you will probably pick up very little Italian. It still surprises me how many people I come across who have lived in Italy for years and still can only speak very basic Italian. Some people learn quicker than others and the younger you are the easier it is, but still. You’re only doing yourself a favor if you learn the language and it’s respectful of the culture you are now in. I know it’s way easier to live with and hang out with your culture and every once in awhile order a gelato in Italian…but if you want to learn, get comfortable being outside of your comfort zone.

This may leave you asking, “How long does it take to learn Italian?” I asked people I met and friends this a lot my first year in Italy, those who weren’t native Italian-speakers. Almost everyone responded with “about a year.” Knowing various nationalities who speak varying levels of Italian, I would like to amend the 1 year guideline so you don’t feel too much pressure or behind. You will probably have learned Italian fairly well after 1 year IF you are immersed in the culture and also consistently speaking with others in Italian. If you have Italian friends, live with an Italian roommate, work in an Italian setting, study at an Italian school, or date/marry an Italian speaker, this 1 year guideline could very well be true for you. Otherwise, expect longer and no shame! As long as you are learning new words and concepts and they stay with you, you are on the right track.

Enough philosophy-ing and let’s get to these resources, most of which are free, or if they’re not, I truly think they’re worth it! Keep in mind that the more resources and ways you can expose yourself to a language, the more success you will have. Try not to ever get stuck using just one, i.e. Duolingo or the back of Rick Steve’s Travel Guide. :)

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Resources and Tricks for Learning Italian

  • This Italian Verb Drills book

    One of my best friends went to Italy as an au pair and she used this book while learning with her Italian family. Shortly after she got back I went to Italy, and she passed it on to me.

    It’s not overly complex because it only covers verb forms, but it’s the simplicity of its layout I think that makes it so useful. And once you understand the verbs, it’s like a door opens for understanding the language.

    Honestly, if you were to take just one of the suggestions from this post to add to your current learning methods, I would probably recommend this one.

    Pros: Easy to use, excellent for learning verbs, a main component of any language. It’s also pretty cheap. You can also find French, German, Latin, Spanish Verb Drills easily on Amazon, all for about the same price, $10-$12.

    Cons: Not free, and will only help with verbs and not other aspects of the language.

  • Duolingo

    If learning a language has ever been on your radar, you’ve probably used or at least heard of Duolingo.

    Pros: Free, tons of languages to choose from, easy to use, fun, and accessible. You can use it on your computer or download the app on your phone to use anywhere, anytime.

    Cons: New words aren’t always easy to remember, and there is no way to go back and easily reference what you’ve learned without doing the lessons over again. They recommend you write down the words you’ve remember after each lesson, but I think they could also provide a list of things learned for each section/level.

    I also think they could explain concepts better. While you can often click on words or phrases which opens up a discussion board, that becomes quite entailed to do so every time especially since anyone can comment on the message boards and they can be quite long. For example, I’d rather have someone explain to me that when “a” and “an” in Italian (un/una) is in front of a masculine word that starts with a vowel, it remains separate from the word, but when it’s in front of a feminine word that starts with a vowel, it is separated by an apostrophe.

    Un amico (masculine) - or - un’amica (feminine).

    Otherwise in Duolingo they would just give me sentences that include this idea, but without actually explaining it. It’s up to you, as the learner, to notice that, hey, why do un and una sometimes stay separate and sometimes are separated by an apostrophe? See what I mean? If not, don’t worry, suffice to say that Duolingo as you’re only learning source will only get you so far.

  • Babbel

    Another online resource similar to Duolingo. Trying new programs and keeping a variety may be more fun and thus make you more likely to want to practice every day instead of the “I should….” Plus every program has their unique approach and you might learn some words you wouldn’t with other programs.

    Pros: Free, easy to use, plenty of languages to choose from.

    Cons: To get the full experience you will have to pay, but even just using the free part is worthwhile!

  • Translator App

    Having a trusty translator app on your phone can help you learn, too! Anytime you’re practicing, even if you’re just thinking through things, there will probably be words that come up that you don’t know what they mean or you’re saying or thinking a sentence and missing a word. Pop out your phone to translate throughout the day.

    iTranslator is my favorite translator probably. It’s simple and I like that when you translate a word, below it often gives you all the person tenses (if it’s a verb) or all the different synonyms or similar words if it’s a noun or adjective.

    Google Translate App is another good one. It’s a bit snazzier, you can even scan a chunk of text and it will translate it on your screen so you don’t have to type anything in, although it doesn’t always work super great.

    A word to the wise, don’t trust a translator 100%, especially for longer sentences or paragraphs. It’s a computer and doing its best, but it can’t really know exactly what you’re after. Then add in all the dialects, slang, phrases that don’t translate well, and words that just may not exist in that language and well, just realize it’s not going to be perfect. Always run by new words with a native speaker if you can, especially if you have any doubts.

  • Coffeebreak Italian

    This is a podcast where you get to listen to a man with a lovely Scottish accent while learning Italian. They also have several other languages, I recently started Coffeebreak French to brush up for my impending trip to Paris. Eeeeeee!!

    Pros: Listening to a language is SO important, and what better way than to have it clearly explained to you through a hands off podcast? Great for when you’re driving, making dinner, or anytime!

    Cons: No visuals, so you can’t see how words are written, which isn’t helpful for my visual learning friends. It can also get annoying to have to keep backing up if you couldn’t hear over honking horns or you want to hear something again.

  • Italian Books

    If you take a trip to Italy or can find some ones that interest you on Amazon, reading books in Italian is a great way to learn. I suggest reading children’s books (seriously, baby animal and counting books are wonderful for beginners!) and books you are familiar with unless you have a pretty good handle on Italian.

    Pros: Reading is good for you, and reading in Italian is also so good for you! If you read adult books it can actually be quite difficult and you will quickly find out how many words you have to learn, but on the upside books contain so many words (no, really Jenny?) that you will see certain words over and over again, thus emblazing them upon your memory.

    Cons: There is a special verb tense for writing in Italian. It’s not usually spoken so you really only learn it by reading. However, if you are an avid reader just beware that those verbs won’t serve you in everyday conversations.

  • Write

    I recommend keeping a small notebook handy with you, maybe in your car or purse, to write down all the new words you learn. Writing things down help to cement them in your memory, even if you never reference back to them. And when you can’t remember that word you learned yesterday, you have it handy!

    You can also try journaling or writing out your calendar in Italian.

  • Netflix

    Now you can Netflix and chill and be “studying”…yesssss. If you have Netflix (or even Hulu or other paid prescriptions, but I’m not sure on the others) go into the settings on your profile and change your language preference to Italian. Now all the films that are available in Italian or with Italian subtitles will show up on this account. The selection will be different, so you probably want to keep at least one other profile with English or your native language. Similar to reading books, I recommend starting with movies or shows you are familiar with. Watching them in Italian the first time may crack you up, but it will help you understand them better. Disney was my best friend when I started watching films in Italian. I actually went to the Italian grocery store once when they had a sale on Disney movies for 5-7euro each…research, ya know? ;)

  • Language Tandem Partner

    Having a language tandem partner ( a person with which you exchange languages, i.e. I, an American, might meet up with an Italian where we would spend time speaking in both English and Italian) is super helpful. You get to hear a native speaker and listen, I mean, pick up on their accent, and ask all the questions you want while practicing your language in real time.

    If you happen to live in Italy, there are Facebook groups called AEGEE and Language Exchange that you can join. Depending on what city you live in, you will join your respective city’s group. I’m a part of AEGEE - Firenze and Language Exchange in Florence - Language Tandem. Usually you post in the group introducing yourself, English or Italian is best so everyone can understand, and ask if someone would like to meet up with you. I specified that I wanted to meet up with a woman, because I don’t love meeting up with strange men, ya know? Then you’ll probably get several messages from people who saw your post and would like to meet up with you. I still got WAY more men messaging me than women, even some offering me romantic sunsets and rides on their vespa…tempting, but no. Then you choose who you want to meet up with! The AEGEE group also offers free courses in various languages and organized events or trips.

    Pros: Free and a good way to make new friends. Plus you get to learn all the best spots to eat and drink around the city, from a local!

    Cons: This may only work if you live in Italy or can find someone who speaks Italian in your area. Also can be quite intimidating the first few times, especially for uh, introverts. But I wouldn’t know by experience, nope!

  • Think in Italian

    This isn’t a resource as much as it is a suggestion. As you go throughout your day, try thinking in Italian! This is best done after you have a decent base, but you’ll soon find words you don’t know and become curious how to say them. As I hinted above, use a translator app to learn new words throughout your day. For a bonus, put sticky notes around the house with new words or phrases, or ones that you’re having a hard time learning.


Are you learning or have you learned a second+ language? What really helped you learn? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

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IMG_0952.jpg

Buon Ferragosto!

Also known as the day where everything is closed and I feel slightly trapped. Hmmm the gelato place is closed so I’ll just run to the store and pick up some…oh wait, all the grocery stores are closed. Ok, well maybe I’ll go browse some shops, oh wait, all closed. I’ll go walk around in the center for a bit…nope, hardly any buses running today to get to the center. Even if I could find a bus, all the places I could buy a ticket are closed. Ok, so I’ll walk to the gym to work out and enjoy some air conditioning. Ah, closed. So, I hunker down and eat whatever food is in the house, try to stay cool. Actually we’ve come to a bit of a cool spell, today only has a high of 90°F. I’ll take it!

I actually planned ahead this year and went grocery shopping last night. I got fruit and veggies for lunch and dinner today, but why didn’t I get better snackies? But then I remembered that I have a good stash of gelato in the freezer, and made me think of this delectable milkshake I made a few weeks ago.

So with all this time on my hands, I shall be milkshaking and sharing this milkshake with you! What’s so great about this milkshake?

It’s a Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake. That’s such a long name, and kinda going against my own rule of not listing every ingredient in the title, but otherwise I didn’t quite know how to get the dream across, ya know?

How about this: Strawnutelloco Milkshake. Stranucoco Milkshake. Conuterry. Strawconutella. Regardless, this milkshake tastes like a chocolate covered strawberry rolled in coconut with a hint of hazelnut.

I have a confession to make. I originally made this milkshake to try and hide this not-awesome gelato I bought. There was a sale on a brand I had never tried before at the grocery store, and they had coconut and I love coconut but it just did not end well. Icy and so much coconut it was chewy. I didn’t want to waste it, but I also didn’t necessarily want to force myself to eat gelato?

Enter the milkshake idea. I had strawberries, Nutella, and milk, and this beautiful combo was born. The copious amounts of coconut from the gelato still rendered my milkshake a bit chewy, but if you have a GOOD brand of coconut ice cream, or even vanilla ice cream with a bit of flaked coconut and maybe a drop of coconut extract or two thrown in, you’ve got yourself the perfect summer day’s treat.

So thank you, gelato brand that shall remain unnamed, for the not delicious gelato that prompted me to create a delicious milkshake.


Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

Serves 2

IMG_0947.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut ice cream, slightly softened

  • 1/2 cup milk, any variety

  • 1/2 cup hulled strawberries, fresh or frozen

  • 2 heaping Tbsp Nutella

  • Dash of vanilla extract, optional

  • Whipped cream, optional

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients except whipped cream to a blender and blend until smooth. Check consistency and add more milk if desired.

  2. Spoon into 2 glasses and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • Don’t have coconut ice cream but still want that coconut taste? Substitute chocolate or vanilla ice cream and add a bit of flaked coconut and a drop or two of coconut extract.

  • For creamier shakes, use whole milk.

  • For thinner shakes you can sip, add more milk. For thicker, spoonable shakes, add less milk. Some blenders don’t blend thicker shakes well, so if yours is having problems, either wait a minute or two for the ice cream to soften a bit more before continuing to blend, or add a touch more milk.

  • To make fresh whipped cream, whip about 1/4 cup / 60g heavy whipping cream with 1 Tbsp / 14g sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, or with a handheld mixer. This makes about 1/2 cup fresh whipped cream. Store in fridge, best if used within a few days.

milkshake, milk, strawberry, Nutella, coconut, ice cream, vanilla, fresh whipped cream, dessert, summer
Dessert, Beverage
American
Yield: 2 Servings
Author:

Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

Thick and creamy milkshake with coconut ice cream, Nutella, strawberries and whipped cream on top.
prep time: 5 Mcook time: total time: 5 M

ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut ice cream, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup milk, any variety
  • 1/2 cup hulled strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 heaping Tbsp Nutella
  • Dash of vanilla extract, optional
  • Whipped cream, optional

instructions:

How to cook Strawberry Nutella Coconut Milkshake

  1. Add all ingredients except whipped cream to a blender and blend until smooth. Check consistency and add more milk if desired.
  2. Spoon into 2 glasses and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

Don’t have coconut ice cream but still want that coconut taste? Substitute chocolate or vanilla ice cream and add a bit of flaked coconut and a drop or two of coconut extract. For creamier shakes, use whole milk. For thinner shakes you can sip, add more milk. For thicker, spoonable shakes, add less milk. Some blenders don’t blend thicker shakes well, so if yours is having problems, either wait a minute or two for the ice cream to soften a bit more before continuing to blend, or add a touch more milk. To make fresh whipped cream, whip about 1/4 cup / 60g heavy whipping cream with 1 Tbsp / 14g sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, or with a handheld mixer. This makes about 1/2 cup fresh whipped cream. Store in fridge, best if used within a few days.

Calories

440.85

Fat (grams)

23.21

Sat. Fat (grams)

19.31

Carbs (grams)

54.51

Fiber (grams)

3.87

Net carbs

50.64

Sugar (grams)

40.58

Protein (grams)

6.95

Sodium (milligrams)

49.23

Cholesterol (grams)

9.42
Nutritional information is approximate and based on 2 servings and includes whipped cream.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_0943.jpg

Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

IMG_0863.jpg

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

Fresh, cool, crunchy, creamy, and delicious Tzatziki, which is basically a Greek cucumber salad made with thick, strained yogurt, and seasoned with dill and garlic. Uh, yum, right? If you’ve ever had tzatziki, you know what I’m talking about!

It’s funny because I’ve known about tzatziki for a long time, enjoying it at restaurants and such, that wonderful Greek yogurt sauce dip wonder. I’ve seen several cucumber salad recipes around this summer on some of my favorite recipe sites like foodgawker; German cucumber salads, normal cucumber salads, and others. It got me hungry, so I decided to make my own. And let me tell you, I got right on it because zero cooking or baking in a recipe is a wonderful thing when the summer here in Florence has been between 90-106°F / 32-41°C since June.

I noticed most of the recipes I came across used sour cream, but I used plain greek yogurt because it’s more nutritious. Once I found a nice balance between the flavors, I wrote down the recipe and decided to share it with you guys! Then I recalled that tzatziki has very similar flavors, and although I’ve never made it nor even looked up a recipe, my curiosity got the best of me to see just how similar they would be. What do you know, I basically made tzatziki and didn’t even know it! So much for making an original recipe, haha!

So what I’m sharing with you today is my accidental take on tzatziki, similarly enough to be called so, but not THE original. If you make the changes listed below, however, you can have yourself a delicious and authentic Greek tzatziki!

What are the differences from a traditional tzatziki and the one you see below?

  • The cucumber is usually grated and drained (either by squeezing or letting sit in cheese cloth over a bowl overnight) instead of sliced. I also use more cucumber to make a creamy salad rather than a dip that features cucumber. if you want to make real tzatziki, use a half of a large cucumber or a smallish one.

  • Traditional would have more yogurt so again, more of a sauce or dip rather than a salad. For real tzatziki, double the yogurt to 1 1/2 cups / 340g.

  • For the acidic element, I used lemon juice, but vinegar of some sort is usually called for. I’ve read in Greece they most often use red wine vinegar.

  • I added more fresh dill! Because I love dill. If you think about it, this is like a creamy dill pickle dip. It has the cucumbers, the garlic, the dill….no wonder I like it so well! For original tzatziki, use about 1 Tbsp chopped.

If you eliminate the cucumbers (or shred them like the traditional way), it makes an excellent and much healthier alternative to most veggie dips. I might even like it better than Ranch!


Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

Serves about 2

IMG_0852.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup / 170g plain greek yogurt or vegan yogurt

  • generous 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

  • 2 tsp / 10g lemon juice

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 large cucumber, chopped with skin/seeds removed as desired

  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling, optional

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl combine yogurt, dill, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

  2. If serving immediately, add cucumber and stir to coat; drizzle with olive oil. Otherwise, refrigerate until ready to serve, adding cucumber and drizzling with oil at the last minute.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • For optimal creaminess, I would use full fat greek yogurt. If you are vegan or dairy-free, use a thick/Greek dairy-free yogurt alternative!

  • In an ideal world the dressing would be made a day ahead of time and the cucumber added just before serving. This helps the flavors meld together and cuts the sharpness of the garlic a bit, without the cucumber sitting in the dressing for a day and losing its liquid. However, this makes a great last minute dish and it tastes just fine if eaten right away!

vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, veggie dip, cucumber, garlic, fresh dill, Greek yogurt, Ranch substitute
Side dish, lunch, sauces and condiments
Greek
Yield: 2
Author:

Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

Creamy salad form of the classic Tzatziki sauce: Cucumbers, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and fresh dill.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: total time: 10 M

ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup / 170g plain greek yogurt or vegan yogurt
  • generous 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp / 10g lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped with skin/seeds removed as desired
  • extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling, optional

instructions:

How to cook Tzatziki Cucumber Salad

  1. In a medium bowl combine yogurt, dill, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  2. If serving immediately, add cucumber and stir to coat; drizzle with olive oil. Otherwise, refrigerate until ready to serve, adding cucumber and drizzling with oil at the last minute.

NOTES:

For optimal creaminess, I would use full fat greek yogurt. If you are vegan or dairy-free, use a thick/Greek dairy-free yogurt alternative! In an ideal world the dressing would be made a day ahead of time and the cucumber added just before serving. This helps the flavors meld together and cuts the sharpness of the garlic a bit, without the cucumber sitting in the dressing for a day and losing its liquid. However, this makes a great last minute dish and it tastes just fine if eaten right away!

Calories

123.72

Fat (grams)

7.21

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.05

Carbs (grams)

5.89

Fiber (grams)

0.61

Net carbs

5.28

Sugar (grams)

3.78

Protein (grams)

9.30

Sodium (milligrams)

181.86

Cholesterol (grams)

4.25
Nutritional information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
IMG_0856.jpg

How to Learn Some Italian Using Words You Already Know - Lesson 3

1X9B0135 copy copia.jpg

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, Jennyblogs may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps to support Jennyblogs. For further information see the privacy policy. Grazie!

Here we are at the third and final installment of this little series, “How to Learn Some Italian Using Words You Already Know.”

What originally began as my fascination with the amount of English words used in Italian ended up turning into these comical learn-Italian-effortlessly lessons. Aren’t you glad I decided to write them down? Heheheh. :)

In Lesson 1 we saw all the English words Italians use in every day conversations, or that are the same. Words like budget, Facebook, privacy, password, etc.

In Lesson 2 we saw all the Italian words we can learn simply by adding vowels onto the end of English words, like tubo, musica, dieta, cono, etc.

After Lesson 2 you might be feeling pretty snazzy with all the new words you learned. If you spend any time listening to or reading Italian, maybe you have started to keep an eye out for other words that can easily be deciphered. You’ll probably notice plenty of them that didn’t even make it in these lessons!

Therefore, before things get too comfy, I am going to burst your bubble a bit in Lesson 3. How lovely. We are still going to learn some new words, but we will look at a variety of words that are the same (at least written) or that you think would be the same or mean something similar. But they’re not, or they don’t.

For example, let’s look at the word “peperoni.” You might be looking at an Italian pizza menu and spot a friendly face: Peperoni Pizza. (Truly it would probably be called “Pizza ai Peperoni” or “Pizza con Peperoni” but regardless, you understand “pizza” and “peperoni,” right? Maybe not—>) You order your peperoni pizza while snickering at how they spelled “pepperoni” with only one “p” instead of two. Your pizza arrives and to your shock and dismay, you have a cheese pizza with bell peppers, not pepperoni, and are snickering no more. This is an all too common mistake made by meat-loving American tourists, as indeed “peperoni” means bell peppers in Italian, not spicy-meat-sausage-pizza-condiment.

One more for ya: If you saw the word “arma” you might think it means “arm.” I probably would, too. But guess what? It actually means “weapon.” So don’t go around saying what a nice “arma” that person has, thinking you’re complimenting their strong biceps, alright?

You’ll be happy to see that today’s list is not as extensive as the other lessons, but I’m sure it will continue to expand as I’ve been adding new words almost daily to the other lessons since I’ve posted them. If you want to be of help in growing any of these lists, drop me a note in the comments below!


Italian Words That Are Not All That They Seem

  1. Camera (CAH-mair-a) - not a photo camera, but a room. An apartment with two camere.

  2. Lampone (Lahm-PO-nay) - you might think this means lamp, but it actually means raspberry.

  3. Lampo (LAHM-po) - still doesn’t mean lamp, but this refers to a twinkle, flash of light, or lightning. I frequently get this confused with lampone and am forever saying “ohhh, did you see that raspberry in the sky?” It’s embarrassing.

  4. Stiro (STEE-ro) - not stir, but a verb that means “I iron.”

  5. Topo (TO-po) - I’m on topo of the world! Nope. Topo means mouse.

  6. Formica (for-MEE-ca) - You might be thinking formica countertops? Nope. Formica means ant. So you might have a formica or two on your formica.

  7. Peperoni (peh-per-OHN-ee) - As mentioned above, this is not pepperoni misspelled, but actually bell peppers. By the way, I love peperoni on my pizza! Give me all the pizze ai peperoni! ;)

  8. Sale (SAH-lay) - Shopping friends, don’t get too excited, this doesn’t mean

  9. Salsa - salsa means sauce. While Americans take salsa to mean the spicy red tomato and pepper sauce (ya know, chips and salsa?), this is used much more generically in Italian. It can be used to mean a dressing, condiment, sauce, gravy, etc. You can also say sugo, which is a bit more specifically translated to sauce. So if you’re deciding which sauce you want to go with your pasta, you would be better off saying sugo.

  10. Moka - if you hear someone talking about moka, you might be thinking of the mocha with coffee and chocolate. What they’re probably referring to, though, is a moka pot, the instrument of choice for making espresso at home!

  11. Latte - another word that often results with tourists in a conundrum. Latte as it is known in the English speaking world is really a shortened form of caffè latte, which is Italian in origin. So when you try and order a simple latte in Italy, you will end up with a glass of milk. If you want a latte WITH coffee, then go ahead and order that caffè latte, sometimes also spelled caffelatte or caffellatte.

  12. Kebab - While we could call anything in America that’s skewered (fruit, meat, veggies) a kebab, in Italy it refers to the very large hunk of mixed meats that is skewered and slowly roasted while rotating. This meat is shaved as it’s roasted and used to make kebab wraps or sandwiches, referred to as just kebabs. It has origins in the Middle East, and is why most of the kebab restaurants will be Pakistani, Turkish, Indian, etc. It’s delicious, by the way.

  13. Granite (grah-NEE-tay) - more countertops? No, rather the Italian version of a slushy. I’ve never had one, maybe because I don’t really like slushies. I’m sure if I tried one, in its little 8oz-ish cup with fresh fruit flavors, I would enjoy it, especially if I were in Sicily where they’re supposed to be the bomb.

  14. Gusto (GOOS-toh) - I always thought we used this to mean with oomph, with style, in English. As in, “he swirled his cape with gusto.” In Italian, this means taste. So it still kinda works, “he swirled his cape with taste.” Eh, not quite the same.

  15. Punto (POON-toh) - Not a football punt, but a point, period, or dot. Get my punto?

  16. Solo - dance solo, flying solo? Yes, finally one that is more or less correct! Solo means by yourself, alone, or just or only, as in “just one pizza, please!” How many cones of gelato did you eat today? “Solo uno!” (Only one!)

  17. Mano (MAH-no) - if someone asks you if want a mano, they’re asking if you want a hand, not a man, silly. Man is uomo. Mano is hand.

  18. Oro - do you want pizza oro pasta? <——Not correct usage. Oro means gold. The Italian way to say “sweet dreams” is to say “sogni d’oro” or literally, dream of gold! Awwwwwww.

  19. Argento - maybe this one isn’t all that close to Argentinian, but if I didn’t know what it meant that would probably be my guess. It actually means silver! Now that you know how to say both silver and gold in Italian, you can sing your favorite song come Christmas time. Argentooooo e oroooo, argentoooo e oroooo..!!

  20. Avvocato - if you ask someone what they do for a living and they respond with, “I’m an avvocato,” they’re not delusional, they mean that they’re a lawyer. That double v and t for a d makes a very big difference in differentiating between our little green friend and a career choice.

  21. Slip (sleep) - we might say slip in reference to an under-dress or under-skirt, but in Italian this refers to underwear. This can be men’s briefs or ladies’ undies.

  22. Casino (cah-ZEE-no) - you might think Italians talk an awful lot about casinos as you hear them mutter, “che casino!”, but this really means “what a mess.” If you come to Italy to live you too will soon be muttering this under your breath, often and fervently. To say casino it’s actually casinò, with the accent on the end.

  23. Per - this literally means for in Italian, and although it is used in both languages, we use it a bit differently in English. If you want to translate the English per to Italian, sometimes it’s per, other times a. “Let’s make 3 cookies per person” / “Facciamo 3 dolcetti per persona.” “We earn about $100 per day” / “Guadagniamo circa $100 al giorno.” It can also be used to talk multiplication. Five times five equals twenty-five. Or cinque per cinque fa venticinque.

  24. Grasso - what a nice, lovely yard of green grasso you have there! Grasso means fat. We basically just insulted someone’s fat yard. If you want to say grass, say erba.

  25. Grosso - not gross, but another way of saying big, fat, and wide. For example, the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is called “Il Mio Grosso Grasso Matrimonio Greco” in Italian. If you wish to say gross, say schifo. Che schifo! / How gross!

  26. Fine (FEE-nay) - La fine / the end! Not “Fine and dandy!”

  27. Arma - this one we also discussed above, so you should be wise enough to know it doesn’t mean arm, but rather weapon. Unless you swing a good one and want to think of your arm as a good one?

  28. Pronto - “I need the report pronto!” meaning right away, asap…in Italian, this means ready, and also what they say when they answer the phone. “Pronto? ahh ciao Chiara, come va?”

  29. Vesto / Vesti / Veste - none of which mean vest. These are the first, second, and third person of the verb vestire which means to dress, so I dress, you dress, and he/she dresses, respectively. Sounds like an article of clothing but refers to dressing, easy enough to remember, no?


Here we are, 3 lessons later, actually 4 if you needed a refresher on the Italian alphabet and pronunciation. What have learned? Oh, ya know, only 200+ new Italian words!

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

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July pasta month is over and I find I still have pasta dishes I want to share with you! Like this Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta with toasted walnuts.

Several years ago I went through a phase where I wanted everything roasted red pepper. I’m not sure if that was an actual thing in the culinary world, or it just happened to be the first time that roasted red pepper really came to my attention, and thus started noticing and wanting all things roasted red pepper. Pastas and dips, sandwiches and wraps, and anything you could incorporate roasted red peppers into. That smoky, sweet flavor you get from grilling the red peppers was this elusive, elegant flavor profile because I didn’t know how it was made.

Then I found a recipe for roasted red pepper sauce, made it, and was floored by how NOT elusive it is. It’s so attainable. I even grilled my own peppers instead of going for the much easier option of buying a jar of roasted red peppers at the store. And you know what? Even grilling the peppers and peeling off the blackened skin wasn’t nearly as hard as I imagined it all to be. Sometimes those mountains we build in our heads are much more scalable than we make them out to be, even if that’s just learning how to make a dish you really like, as in this example, harhar. Or you come to realize it’s WAY more difficult than you ever imagined, and you were right to wait. Aha!

This was not meant to turn into a inspirational post, back to food.

It’s been a while since I’ve eaten roasted red pepper anything, definitely not much of a thing here in Italy. But I decided, while being inspired and eating so much pasta in the month of July, to make my own little twist of a roasted red pepper sauce. And it turned out really great! Amazing! Delizioso! As I stated above, however, it’s really not rocket science to make, so I should probably calm down. Adding goat cheese and toasted walnuts are no new pairing to goat cheese, but remain such a good combination. Never had nuts on your pasta? At least not that you’re aware of? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Unless you have a nut allergy, then please don’t. (You’ve probably eaten basil pesto on pasta, yes? Pesto is made from pine nuts traditionally, and often walnuts when pine nuts are not available or too expensive. See? You love nuts on pasta and didn’t even know!)

The great thing is, the roasted red pepper sauce actually makes enough for two meals, and freezes well. The next time you want roasted red pepper pasta, just thaw the sauce and boil the pasta. So easy peasy.

For extra easy-ness, you can buy a jar of roasted red peppers or grill them yourself, completely up to you.

Are you vegan or dairy-free? Simply omit the goat cheese or substitute a vegan-friendly cheese!


Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

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Serves about 6

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz / 500g spaghetti

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil

  • 1/2 onion, diced

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 16 oz / 454g jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced

  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme

  • 1/2 tsp / 1g chili powder

  • 1/2 tsp / 1g turmeric

  • 1 tsp / 5g balsamic vinegar

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 3 oz / 85g fresh goat cheese, cut into pieces, optional

  • 1/3 cup / 30g walnuts, chopped and toasted, optional

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat, adding salt just before water boils. Cook pasta according to instructions on package. Drain pasta and return to pan, reserving a generous 1 cup / 237g of pasta water.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

  3. Add sliced peppers, thyme, chili powder, turmeric, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook until peppers are heated through.

  4. Transfer all of the pepper mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.

  5. Pour half of the roasted red pepper sauce over the pasta and add a bit of the pasta water. Add goat cheese and toss until pasta is well coated and cheese has melted, adding more pasta water to thin out sauce as desired.

  6. Plate pasta and top with toasted walnuts.

  7. Refrigerate remaining half of sauce for up to 2-3 days or freeze.

Jenny’s Notes:

  • To roast red peppers yourself, place whole on a heated grill or near an open flame, turning occasionally, until all sides are blistered and start to blacken. You can also roast them on a lined baking sheet in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or very carefully over a gas burner. Once done, place in covered pot, bowl, or re-sealable plastic, anything you can close, to let the peppers steam for about 20-30 minutes. This helps the skin to slip off easily. Then remove stems and seeds, and slice. Proceed as in recipe.

  • If you don’t have fresh thyme available, substitute about a scant teaspoon of dried.

  • Add more chili powder, cayenne, or hot spice of choice for a spicier kick!

  • If you’re in a pinch you don’t have to toast the walnuts, although you miss out on that tasty flavor that comes out of the nut only by toasting. But it will still be delicious!

  • Omit goat cheese or replace with suitable substitute to make vegan and dairy-free.

roasted red pepper, red pepper, thyme, turmeric, garlic, onion, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, pasta, recipe, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free
Yield: 6 servings
Author:

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

Pasta in a smoky, sweet, roasted red pepper sauce with goat cheese and toasted walnuts.
prep time: 30 Mcook time: total time: 30 M

ingredients:

  • 16 oz / 500g spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp / 28g oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 oz / 454g jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/2 tsp / 1g chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp / 1g turmeric
  • 1 tsp / 5g balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 oz / 85g fresh goat cheese, cut into pieces, optional
  • 1/3 cup / 30g walnuts, chopped and toasted, optional

instructions:

How to cook Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat, adding salt just before water boils. Cook pasta according to instructions on package. Drain pasta and return to pan, reserving a generous 1 cup / 237g of pasta water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add sliced peppers, thyme, chili powder, turmeric, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook until peppers are heated through.
  4. Transfer all of the pepper mixture to a blender and puree until smooth.
  5. Pour half of the roasted red pepper sauce over the pasta and add a bit of the pasta water. Add goat cheese and toss until pasta is well coated and cheese has melted, adding more pasta water to thin out sauce as desired.
  6. Plate pasta and top with toasted walnuts.
  7. Refrigerate remaining half of sauce for up to 2-3 days or freeze.

NOTES:

To roast red peppers yourself, place whole on a heated grill or near an open flame, turning occasionally, until all sides are blistered and start to blacken. You can also roast them on a lined baking sheet in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or very carefully over a gas burner. Once done, place in covered pot, bowl, or re-sealable plastic, anything you can close, to let the peppers steam for about 20-30 minutes. This helps the skin to slip off easily. Then remove stems and seeds, and slice. Proceed as in recipe. If you don’t have fresh thyme available, substitute about a scant teaspoon of dried. Add more chili powder, cayenne, or hot spice of choice for a spicier kick! If you’re in a pinch you don’t have to toast the walnuts, although you miss out on that tasty flavor that comes out of the nut only by toasting. But it will still be delicious! Omit goat cheese or replace with suitable substitute to make vegan and dairy-free.

Calories

240.54

Fat (grams)

10.29

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.79

Carbs (grams)

29.36

Fiber (grams)

2.01

Net carbs

27.40

Sugar (grams)

2.96

Protein (grams)

8.35

Sodium (milligrams)

121.89

Cholesterol (grams)

6.52
Nutritional information is approximate. Based on 6 servings using half of the prepared sauce and includes goat cheese and walnuts.
Created using The Recipes Generator
Now we’re being more honest about a real portion size! :)

Now we’re being more honest about a real portion size! :)


How to Learn Some Italian Using Words You Already Know - Lesson 2

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In the first lesson of How to Learn Some Italian Using Words You Already know we focused on all the English words Italians use on a daily basis, thus making our lives that much easier when trying to communicate. There are over 70 words, in fact, that are either English, the same in Italian and English, or so similar that you understand anyway, and I keep finding words to add to that list!

To read Lesson 1, click here.

For Lesson 2 we are going to focus on taking the English words you can turn into Italian, simply by adding a vowel on the end. (If you hadn’t noticed from lesson 1, these lessons aren’t exactly serious… they aren’t aimed at the studious, full-time Italian-language student, but rather can be enjoyed by anyone, whether you speak any Italian or not. :)

If you have spent any time around the Italian culture (or just watching The Godfather) you will have noticed that Italian words all end in vowels, and that it’s very easy to imitate them by adding a vowel on to any word. This is often found highly entertaining by other cultures (ahem, American), even if it (obviously) ends with made-up words. '“Yes, ciao, I will take-o the pizza and the pasta to take-away-o!”

If you don’t want to sound like you are speaking Ameritalian or someone who has lived their whole life imitating Italian stereotypes, read this post about the Italian alphabet and pronunciation of key letters. Some words in the list that follows are spelled the same as in English but with a vowel on the end, but the pronunciation might be slightly different. Likewise, some are spelled differently but are pronounced the same, aside from that last vowel, of course. If I don’t indicate how it should be pronounced, that means the accent and pronunciation stay essentially the same as in English.

One more note to remember as we progress: Italian words are split into two categories, feminine and masculine, usually ending in a or o, respectively. The ending of adjectives can fluctuate, depending on if the word or person they are describing is masculine or feminine. For example, “buono” is an adjective that means “good,” and you could say “oliO buonO” or “pizzA buonA.”

One more example to make sure we’re clear, let’s take #1 from the list below. I am an American, (and a woman) so I would say, “sono un’Americana.” I can’t (or shouldn’t) say “sono un Americano” because the adjective “Americano” no longer matches what it is describing, me the woman. So if you see the o/a below or realize a word is an adjective, remember it depends on if the noun the adjective is describing is masculine or feminine!

Ok, ready to add to your Italian vocabulary?


English Words to Which You Can Add Vowels to Make Italian Words

  1. American, Italian, Indian, and others / Americano/a, Italiano/a, Indiano/a - This holds true for several nationalities, but not all. For example, Australian is Australiano/a, but British is Inglese and French is Francese, Ah well, helpful for some!

  2. Person / Persona (per-SOHN-a)

  3. Tube / Tubo

  4. Cube / Cubo (COO-Boh)

  5. Sphere / Sfera (SFAIR-ah)

  6. Case / Caso (CAH-zo) - in any caso…

  7. Event / Evento - Hey let’s go to that evento!

  8. Concert / Concerto (cone-CHAIR-toh)

  9. Art / Arte

  10. Ballet / Balletto - Ah, finally you can pronounce that “t” sound like you’ve always been tempted to!

  11. Dance / Danza (DAH-nza)

  12. Music / Musica (MOO-zee-cah)

  13. Tambourine / Tamburino

  14. Battery / Batteria (Baht-TAIR-ee-ah) - this also can refer to drums.

  15. Angelic / Angelico/a (ahn-JEL-ee-co)

  16. Content / Contento/a - I am so contenta to see you!

  17. Conversion / Conversione (cohn-VAIR-zee-ohn-ay)

  18. Impression / Impressione (eem-PRESS-ee-ohn-ay)

  19. Candle / Candela (cahn-DEL-ah)

  20. Diamond / Diamante (dee-ah-MAHN-tay)

  21. Mark / Marchio note that there is also “marca” but that means a brand or make, such as Gucci or Ferrari, rather than a mark on something.

  22. Television / Televisione (tel-eh-viz-ee-OHN-ay)

  23. Kiosk / Chiosco (kee-OH-sco) - or newspaper stand.

  24. Zone / Zona

  25. Current / Corrente (cohr-EHN-tay) - this can be used for all forms of “current” in English, current in water, current events, etc.

  26. Equilibrium / Equilibrio (ee-quil-EE-bree-oh)

  27. Diet / Dieta (dee-EH-ta)

  28. Vitamin / Vitamina (vee-tah-MEE-na) - Let’s go soak up some vitamina d!

  29. Ingredient / Ingrediente (een-GREY-dee-en-tay)

  30. Rice / Riso ( REE-zo)

  31. Cone / Cono

  32. Carrot / Carota (cah-ROH-ta)

  33. Melon / Melone (Meh-LOHN-ay)

  34. Marmalade / Marmellata (mar-may-LAH-ta) - you might not eat marmalade very often, but “marmellata” refers to all jams, jellies, and marmalades.

  35. Olive / Oliva (oh-LEE-va)

  36. Liquor/Liqueur / Liquore - although liquor refers to stronger spirits (vodka, taquila, etc.) and liqueur to sweeter spirits (Kahlua, Bailey’s, etc.) both of these are encompassed in the Italian “liquore.”

  37. Cream / Crema - this can refer to any kind of cream, such as a face cream or a cream you would eat. Crema is also how you would say “pudding” in Italian.

  38. Spinach / Spinaci (spee-NAH-chee)

  39. Protein / Proteine (pro-tay-EEN-ay)

  40. Pork / Porco it’s also often referred to as “maiale”

  41. Pen / Penna - if this word looks familiar, that’s because yes, penne pasta literally means “pens” in Italian! Remember to lay those n’s on nice and thick, because if you take away one “n” you end up with a completely different word that you definitely don’t want to be ordering for dinner! (If I got you curious, it’s anatomy, not a swear word or worse, but you can go translate it because I prefer to keep this blog G rated. :)

  42. Train / Treno (TRAY-no)

  43. Airplane / Aeroplano (air-oh-PLAHN-o)

  44. Airport / Aeroporto (air-oh-PORT-o)

  45. Bank / Banca (BAHN-ca)

  46. Post / Posta - this can refer to the post in your mailbox as well as the actual post office.

  47. Postal / Postale (post-AHL-ay)

  48. Pharmacy / Farmacia (far-ma-chee-ah)

  49. University / Università (oon-ee-vers-ee-TAH)

  50. Camp / Campo (CAHM-po) also means field, realm, sphere, domain, any of those kinds of camp.

  51. Metal / Metallo (Meh-TAHL-lo)

  52. Metallic / Metallico/a

  53. Atomic / Atomica (Ah-TOH-mee-ca)

  54. Comic / Comico/a also known as a comedian or used as an adjective to describe something funny

  55. Animal / Animale (ahn-ee-MAHL-ay)

  56. Elephant / Elefante

  57. Lion / Leone (lay-OHN-ay)

  58. Dolphin / Delfino (del-FEEN-o)

  59. Serpent / Serpente

  60. Rat / Ratto

  61. Vote / Voto

  62. System / Sistema (sees-TAIM-a)

  63. Problem / Problema

  64. Terrible / Terribile (tair-REE-bee-lay)

  65. Crucial / Cruciale (croo-CHYA-lay)

  66. Special / Speciale (speh-CHYA-lay)

  67. Incredible / Incredibile (in-cred-EE-bee-lay)

  68. Important / Importante (eem-por-TAHN-tay)

  69. Fine / Fino - thin, the dimension, not “fine, be that way.”

  70. False / Falso - true or falso?

  71. Liberty / Libertà

  72. Destiny / Destino (des-TEEN-o)

  73. Ocean / Oceano (och-YA-no)

  74. Divine / Divino/a (Dee-VEE-no) - not to be confused with “divano” which means “couch.”

  75. Noble / Nobile (NO-bee-lay)

  76. Dollar / Dollaro - (DOL-lar-o)

  77. Button / Bottone (boo-TOH-nay)

  78. Distant / Distante (dee-STAN-tay)

  79. Second / Secondo

  80. Moment / Momento

  81. Medicine / Medicina (meh-dee-CHEE-na)

  82. Pulse / Polso (POHL-so)

  83. Palm / Palma

  84. Penicillin / Penicillina (pen-ee-chee-LEE-na)

  85. Vein / Vena

  86. Nude / Nudo/a - Don’t come in, I’m nuda! In English we more commonly say naked rather than nude, but in Italian you get one option. Try not to laugh too much the first time you actually get to use it.

  87. Cigarette / Sigaretta

  88. Rose / Rosa - means rose as well as pink.

  89. Vase / Vaso (VAH-zo) - I got you a vaso to put your rosa in.

  90. Medium / Medio (meh-dyo)

  91. Category / Categoria

  92. Comment / Commento (cohm-MEN-toh)

  93. Phrase / Frase (FRAH-zay)

  94. Alphabet / Alfabeto

  95. Letter / Lettera - as in English, this can mean both a letter in a word and a letter you write someone.

  96. Note / Nota - like a note you write someone along with musical notes, etc.

  97. Icon / Icona (ee-COHN-a)


There is yet another taste for you, that Italian can be easy to learn! And fun(ny). There are many, many more words like this, which is why it can be almost effortless to expand your vocabulary of nouns and adjectives. And this doesn’t even touch upon all the letter combinations you’ll start to pick on, those that are in English but not Italian, then figuring out the Italian equivalent, which enables you to translate words on your own without using a translator or asking a friend. Huh? Let me explain quickly.

Take for example, words in English that end in “tion.”

Frustration. Eradication.

If I tell you that “frustration” becomes “frustrazione” and “eradication” becomes “eradicazione,” you can see that the root of the word stays the same, and the “tion” suffix becomes “zione" in Italian. Easy, right? I bet you can figure out the next three.

  • Extraction = Estrazione

  • Indication = Indicazione

  • Indecision = Indecisione

Did you catch the exceptions? Where one root word didn’t stay the same, and one word didn’t end in “tion”? The “ex” in “extraction” became “es” in “estrazione,” and “indecision” ends in “sion.” This, in turn, could open the next letter combinations you could translate by yourself. There is no “x” in the Italian alphabet, therefore the combination of “ex” usually becomes “es,” and words that end in “sion” often become “sione” in Italian.

  • Expulsion = Espulsione

  • Extrusion = Estrusione

  • Extrinsic = Estrinsico

  • Invasion = Invasione

I’m getting ahead of myself, and going beyond the just the light-hearted lesson I had planned-o today-o, but I’ll leave you with on last word to translate on your own. Conversation…go!

Until next time, alla prossima!





Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

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Aglio, olio, peperoncino is a pasta found often throughout Tuscany, and even more often on my table for lunch. It originally hails from Napoli but has become beloved throughout Italy.

It’s simple, so simple, with the classic version requiring just 4 ingredients: spaghetti, garlic, olive oil, and a hot pepper. It’s great to whip up in a pinch because it’s quick and the ingredients are those you probably have in your pantry. It can be on the table in about as long as it takes to boil and cook pasta, plus 2 minutes for mixing. Because of its simplicity, as many Italian dishes are, attention to the quality and freshness of your ingredients will really make this dish shine. (Especially with that olive oil, nice and shiny. :)

There are many slight variations, but they hardly vary more than an ingredient or two. Some use fresh hot peppers, some use chili flakes; some versions call for bread crumbs, others a bit of fresh parsley added at the end, some say to mince the garlic, others slice. Based on these variances, you can always decide to play a bit to find exactly how you like to eat your aglio, olio, e peperoncino pasta.

The version that follows I learned from my husband, the fresh pasta expert. We usually use fresh hot peppers, but will also use chili flakes if we don’t feel like running to the store. It’s pretty close to the classic recipe, with one exception. We add a bit of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and it catapults the pasta to the next level. OH YES, cheese!

A note about using fresh peppers: I’m not actually sure what kind of peppers I use here in Italy. At the supermarket there are usually bell peppers “peperoni” and hot peppers “peperoncini” with no indication what variety they might be. Bell peppers come in red and green, but not always at the same time, and the hot peppers are usually red OR green, depending on the season. I suppose they’re jalapeños or a similar variety because they’re spicy but not overly so. Apparently Italians are not pepper connoisseurs, you certainly won’t find jalapeño, habanero, serrano, and other pepper types readily available year round! If I were writing this recipe in Italian I would just put “peperoncino,” and everyone would know to get the only kind of peperoncino available from the store. In English recipes we are used to being told more specifics, and writing “1 hot pepper” would not be as helpful. So I wrote jalapeño on the recipe, but just be aware that you can play around with the kind you use if you want, especially if you try a jalapeño and decide you want spicier, like serrano!

Recipe from my husband


Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

Serves about 6

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Ingredients:

  • 500g / 16 oz spaghetti

  • 84g / 6 Tbsp olive oil

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 1 small red jalapeño pepper

  • generous 1/4 cup /30g grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot over high heat. Just before boiling, add some salt.

  2. While water is heating up, mince the garlic and dice the pepper. Add the oil, garlic, and pepper to a small pot or pan.

  3. When the water boils add spaghetti and cook according to instructions on package. Meanwhile, place the small pan of oil over low heat.

  4. Simmer oil for 5-8 minutes; remove from heat when garlic is fragrant and starts to appear to dry with barely golden edges.

  5. When pasta is done cooking, drain, reserving about 1/2 cup / 120g of pasta water.

  6. Return drained pasta to the pot and immediately add oil mixture, reserved pasta water, and cheese. Working quickly, use two forks to mix and toss spaghetti until oil, cheese, and water have coated the pasta in a light, creamy sauce. Serve immediately.


Jenny’s Notes:

  • These measurements are approximate, we never measure when making this, but this is pretty close to our normal. So if you decide you want to use 5 cloves garlic and 2 jalapeños, that’s fine, too, because this is not an overly precise recipe!

  • For less heat, remove the seeds of the pepper before dicing. If using chili flakes, don’t simmer them in the oil but add to the pasta with the cheese at the end.

  • Look for parmigiano reggiano, which is the best. It can only be called so if it is made and aged in the designated area in Italy according to their regulations. Even if you are a world-class parmesan maker but make it in Wisconsin, it cannot legally be called parmigiano reggiano. This pasta is also delicious with other sharp, aged Italian cheeses. I like a mixture of aged pecorino and parmigiano.

  • Keep a close eye on the simmering oil, the garlic goes quickly from perfectly cooked (barely golden) to burnt (anything golden or beyond.) Even if you happen to burn your garlic, it only takes a few minutes to start the oil, garlic, and pepper over again and could still be ready before the pasta even finishes cooking.

  • One of the great things about making this is that even if you add too much pasta water, it will eventually evaporate out while mixing. One of the first times I ever made this solo, I added way too much and had a good inch or so sitting in the bottom of my pan. I had already added the oil and cheese and it was too late to dump the extra out. So I tossed and mixed for several minutes, and what do you know, the water eventually evaporated and mixed in, and I ended up with a wonderfully creamy and cheesy sauce.

aglio, olio, peperoncino, garlic, olive oil, hot pepper, spaghetti, Napoli, pasta, Italian pasta dish,
Italian
Yield: 6
Author:

Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

A simple and classic pasta dish served throughout Italy with plenty of garlic, olive oil, spicy pepper, and a bit of parmigiano reggiano.
prep time: 25 Mcook time: total time: 25 M

ingredients:

  • 500g / 16 oz spaghetti
  • 84g / 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 small red jalapeño pepper
  • generous 1/4 cup /30g grated parmesan cheese

instructions:

How to cook Garlic, Oil, and Pepper Pasta - Aglio, Olio, e Peperoncino

  1. Bring water to boil in a large pot over high heat. Just before boiling, add some salt.
  2. While water is heating up, mince the garlic and dice the pepper. Add the oil, garlic, and pepper to a small pot or pan.
  3. When the water boils add spaghetti and cook according to instructions on package. Meanwhile, place the small pan of oil over low heat.
  4. Simmer oil for 5-8 minutes; remove from heat when garlic is fragrant and starts to appear to dry with barely golden edges.
  5. When pasta is done cooking, drain, reserving about 1/2 cup / 120g of pasta water.
  6. Return drained pasta to the pot and immediately add oil mixture, reserved pasta water, and cheese. Working quickly, use two forks to mix and toss spaghetti until oil, cheese, and water have coated the pasta in a light, creamy sauce. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

These measurements are approximate, we never measure when making this, but this is pretty close to our normal. So if you decide you want to use 5 cloves garlic and 2 jalapeños, that’s fine, too, because this is not an overly precise recipe! For less heat, remove the seeds of the pepper before dicing. If using chili flakes, don’t simmer them in the oil but add to the pasta with the cheese at the end. Look for parmigiano reggiano, which is the best. It can only be called so if it is made and aged in the designated area in Italy according to their regulations. Even if you are a world-class parmesan maker but make it in Wisconsin, it cannot legally be called parmigiano reggiano. This pasta is also delicious with other sharp, aged Italian cheeses. I like a mixture of aged pecorino and parmigiano. Keep a close eye on the simmering oil, the garlic goes quickly from perfectly cooked (barely golden) to burnt (anything golden or beyond.) Even if you happen to burn your garlic, it only takes a few minutes to start the oil, garlic, and pepper over again and could still be ready before the pasta even finishes cooking.

Calories

257.59

Fat (grams)

15.37

Sat. Fat (grams)

2.72

Carbs (grams)

24.37

Fiber (grams)

1.09

Net carbs

23.28

Sugar (grams)

0.94

Protein (grams)

5.56

Sodium (milligrams)

94.52

Cholesterol (grams)

4.30
Nutritional information is approximate.
Created using The Recipes Generator
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How to Learn Some Italian Using Words You Already Know - Lesson 1

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Did you know that you already know a whole bunch of words that Italians use everyday? You’re basically fluent in Italian and don’t even know it. Ok, ok, not really, but the fact is, Italians use a good bit of English in their everyday jargon. I’m not talking about Italians when they’re speaking in English, I mean the English words that are thrown in to Italian conversations. English words that have come to replace the traditional Italian, or words that were coined in English in recent decades and have wound their way into Italian.

Some Italian words by now are almost obsolete. I’ve spent almost 3 years’ worth of time in Italy, only including the time in which I was learning Italian and conversing maybe more in Italian than English, and still have yet to hear the Italian equivalent of certain English words. For example, “privacy.” Written, spoken, it’s always “privacy.” I didn’t even notice I had no idea how to say nor had I ever heard someone say “privacy” in Italian until someone brought it to my attention. So I had to ask, how do you say “privacy” in Italian? “Privatezza.” By now with "terms of privacy” and the like around the internet, especially here in the EU, “privatezza” has been rendered all but forgotten, I guess. Maybe just uncool.

English is a desired language and thus becomes cool if you can speak any. Plus Italy is so dependent upon tourism that many people’s jobs require them to speak some basic English, if not fluently. Many parents look to English speaking au pairs to teach their children English from a young age, or get them in any programs that involve English native-tongues, no matter the program, just for the language experience. Teaching English is almost always an option for native speakers.

I can’t tell you how often my Italian colleagues in every day conversation would sprinkle in some English. “Yes” would replace a “si,” “excuse me,” “oh my god,” “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” would be used just as often as their Italian counterparts. And my colleagues often weren’t talking to me, the only native English speaker who worked there. Americans learn a second language often in high school, but because we have no need of the language it is never exercised and usually forgotten. Even the basic words we retain we don’t often use, even if we also think it’s cool, because it seems a bit pretentious. At least I think the general consensus is that it is. Here, I don’t know, maybe the desire to learn English (and French, German, Spanish, etc.) is almost so accepted that it’s more common everyone is “practicing” in a way, and therefore not pretentious? Shrug.

Whether you’re looking forward to an upcoming Italian adventure, learning Italian, or simply curious, here is a great way to add some QUICK and EASY words to your repertoire. Heheh.

Buca di Beppo requires full out Italian speaking mode ON

Buca di Beppo requires full out Italian speaking mode ON

Quick Note on Italian Pronunciation

Even if it is a true English word that Italians use, they often pronounce it with their wonderful accent ( and sometimes may not understand you the first time [or ever] if you pronounce the same word but in the correct English way.) So as you are reading the words that follow, you might want to learn or brush up on the Italian alphabet and how to pronounce some of their key words to get the full appreciation. (Click here to do so.) It’s way more fun to pronounce things in an Italian accent anyway, so let your inner Fabio/Martina come bursting forth!

If you want to actually learn Italian or you have a base that you would like to build upon, I have found this book to be very useful in clarifying all the different verbs in Italian. One of my best friends used it while she was in Italy as an au pair, and later gave it to me to use when I first came to Italy!


Italian Words You Already Know

Some they borrow from us, some we borrow from them, either way we understand each other!

  1. Weekend - Il Weekend. By now everyone wishes you a “buon weekend!” instead of “buon fine settimana!” I once heard an elderly gentleman say “buon fine settimana” to an acquaintance on the bus. It actually made me turn around and take note of this gentleman. And that’s it. Just that one time I’ve heard it. It’s really just the older generations that use it. I think it’s a bit sad, really, that some words aren’t hardly even used anymore. As someone who wants to learn Italian and learn it well, it feels a bit like cheating injecting words you already know!

  2. Relax - you could use the Italian verb rilassarsi, but why don’t you relax and use what you already know? ;)

  3. Budget - I was using the Italian “bilancio” for the longest time until I realized that Italians use “budget.” Why do I even try?

  4. Zero - one number down, uh, a couple trillion to go?

  5. Radio - La radio. This I learned when briefly taking Italian lessons. Yay for words that are the same, just a slightly different pronunciation! Rahhhhdio instead of Rayyyydio. Remember those pronunciation rules?

  6. Computer - they even say this one a bit like we do, the u is a “yoo” sound instead of the usual Italian “oo.” But try and roll that r a bit. I know I know, but you’ll get there!

  7. iPhone, Android, iPad, and other well-known technological products and companies - Even though Android seems to have a higher number of cell phone users, Apple is still as desired here as it is in the States. Except an iPhone can cost about €100-300 more than it’s American retail price. Add that in with a weaker economy and it doesn’t take much imagination why Android is still #1.

  8. Social - the only difference here is that Italians don’t say “media” after. It’s always just “social.”

  9. Facebook, Instagram, selfie, etc. - all those trendy words coined in recent years are all the same!

  10. Email - la email…

  11. Password - la password…I don’t even know if these have a translation in Italian. I think they are what they are.

  12. Account - I believe you can also say il conto, the same you would say when asking for the bill or tab at a restaurant. But I’ve never heard anyone use anything other than account, so, no worries!

  13. Display - what a nice display of words we have here! There are several different ways to say this in Italian, such as “mettere in mostra” / to put on display, or “sfoggiare” / to show off, display. But it’s much easier just saying display, now, isn’t it?

  14. Wi-Fi and Internet - need WiFi? You can communicate with one word. WiFi? Si? Grazie!

  15. TV - pronounced “tee-vo,” and short for televisione, but reading it is the same.

  16. Modem and Router - at this rate you might be thinking you can handle calling a help center for internet or something. You can say password, account, email, internet, modem, router…right? Wrong. This bit of knowledge I can pass on to you, internet, cable, and phone companies are awful to talk to all the world round. You may have already known this. ;)

  17. Giga - like social media, they don’t say the second word. Instead of giga-byte, it’s simply giga. I have 50 giga per month, and so far my phone service has only taken unauthorized money from my account once, and they fixed it afterwards, these are two positives of my phone company!

  18. Touch Screen - you could be all fancy and say “schermo tattile” or “schermo sensibile al tatto” but I haven’t seen those readily as touch screen is way easier to say, no?

  19. Cliccare and taggare - these might be the only verbs on this list, but they make me laugh because they just turned English words into Italian verbs. All Italian verbs end in “are” (ah-ray), “ere” (air-ay), or “ire” (eer-ay) in the infinitive form. Thus “click” became “cliccare” (to click) and “tag” became “taggare” (to tag, as in Instagram).

  20. Privacy - as stated above, I finally had to ask, how DO you say privacy in Italian? Ah. Privatezza. But goodness, you’re so uncool if you say the Italian.

  21. Area - pronounced like the name “Aria” this is the same in Italian and English.

  22. Marketing - Italians have taken American marketing to new levels. The kind that makes you roll your eyes and say “marketing.”

  23. Logo - “il logo” logos are logos the world round!

  24. Range - this one seems really random to me. But useful, because I can’t think of how to say it in Italian. Gamma, assortimento, portata, actually there a quite a few.

  25. Babysitter - or you can be a tata!

  26. Stalker - useful. Very useful.

  27. Gas - as in water “with gas.” You’ll hear this quite a bit in restaurants, but not necessarily to be used for gasoline, or the other kind. Um, flatulence?

  28. Spa - the relaxing wellness center, not to be confused with S.p.a. which is the Italian equivalent of our LLC.

  29. Fitness - fitness is so important, people! Even Italians understand this.

  30. Personal Trainer - there are so many at the gym I go to!

  31. Zumba, Spinning, Yoga, Pilates, Box, and other popular sports and activities - there are also plenty of corsi di fitness at my gym. Note that boxing is said just “box.”

  32. Studio - Pilates è in studio 1. Pilates is in studio 1. Only one word is different. Crazy, huh? (Although 1 would be pronounced “uno”)

  33. Sport - lo sport, very important in Italy and Europe.

  34. Basket - like social and box, basketball is just “basket.” Or pallacanestro.

  35. Trek - un trek!

  36. Adidas, Nike, Prada, Timberland, any well-known international brand - except, much to my enjoyment, the pronunciations are sometimes different. Not just the letters but the accent, too. I grew up hearing Adidas as “ah-DEE-des” but here it is “AH-dee-das.”

  37. Performance - or spettacolo.

  38. Record - un nuovo record! Used as in “setting a record” and that type of record, but I haven’t heard it used as the type of record related to music and other meanings.

  39. Stop - I learned some Italian phrases before coming to Italy for the first time, including the useful “basta” (stop, or enough). It would have been nice to know I could’ve also used good ol’ STOP, too.

  40. Bus - short for autobus, but ends up essentially the same in the abbreviated.

  41. Mascara - long a’s, ladies, for long eyelashes.

  42. Shopping - shoppers, rejoice!

  43. T-shirt - mi piace la tua t-shirt! Italian is “maglietta,” but they are interchangeable.

  44. Jeans - jeans are jeans. “Pantaloni” refers to all long pants, but if you want specifically a pair of jeans, the term is jeans.

  45. Push-up - I’m not sure about the exercise push-up, but ladies will have an easy time finding a certain type of lingerie in this style!

  46. Influenza - the sickness, but is also Italian for “influence.”

  47. Stress - lo stress. Yes, even Italians living their dolce vita experience stress. Che stress / what stress!

  48. Idea - what a great idea! Che bella idea! It’s the same, different pronunciation.

  49. Blu - said the same as our blue, but without the e. There is another word for blue in Italian, azzurro, that is more commonly used, especially for medium and lighter blues, but for your purposes, using “blu” is just fine.

  50. In - this is actually Italian and English, and generally used in the same way: Inside something.

  51. Me - also both Italian and English. Chi, me? Yes, you.

  52. Circa - this is usually used in English to determine an approximate date. “He was born circa 1950.” You can use it this same way in Italian, but also in many other ways, such as: with regard to, about, approximately, roughly, thereabouts, etc etc.

  53. Via - Used similarly in the two languages, to express a means of getting somewhere. “I sent it via email.” Only in Italian, however, it is the equivalent of street. I want to live in Via delle Belle Donne! In Italian you can also say “attraverso,” meaning through.

  54. Film - usually used in place of movie. Do you want to go see a movie? Vuoi andare a vedere un film?

  55. Set - film set, set of plates/set di piatti, set of silverware/set di posati…if Italians lift weights in the gym they probably have a number of steps they do. I just said set too many times in my head and now it seems like the most bizarre word. Set. Weird.

  56. Fan - this is widely used in Italian in reference to a fan club (not the ventilation fan), but if you want to sound more Italian you could say appassionato/a, fanatico/a, or tifoso/a for a sports fan.

  57. Video - a videoclip on Facebook or recording on your phone is considered a “video.”

  58. Foto - short for fotografia, but pronounced the same.

  59. Piercing - your parents might not appreciate that there isn’t even much of a language barrier for getting a piercing here. Heheh.

  60. Bomber - I’m not cool enough to know how to use this exactly right in actual English, but I do know that Italians understand it as a cool, “fuoriclasse,” or out-of-their-league person. Cristiano Ronaldo is a bomber. Maybe “This cake is the bomb” and if you made the cake, you’re the bomber? I’m trying, ok!?! Let’s just say it can be used exactly the same in Italian as it is in English, mmmk?

  61. Rock, Pop, Rap, and other types or styles of music - la radio, pop, per favore! Look, we’re already able to easily build phrases from this list. Amazing. “Per favore” I realize is not on here, but you’ll find that in any guidebook. ;)

  62. Bar - bar is the same in both languages, although it is a bit more widely used term in Italy. Bar is used to refer to just about any place that sells coffee. A true bar usually opens early with coffee and pastries, somewhere around 10am transitions to selling sandwiches “panini” and maybe some lunch dishes, and sells alcohol all day long, and finally closes sometime in the early evening.

  63. Hotel - these, of course, you will see everywhere, and if you ask an Italian they will point you to the nearest “otel.” Italian is albergo, but maybe they also eventually adopted hotel because the people who search for hotels, that would be tourists, would find and understand hotel better than albergo. Just a theory.

  64. Pizza - I think this has long been accepted as both English and Italian.

  65. Pasta - Another dual citizen here, except it has a few more meanings in Italian, not always meaning the delicious plate of carbs with wonderful sauces. Pasta can also mean dough, batter, paste, and pastry.

  66. Spaghetti, Gnocchi, Linguini, etc. - these probably seem obvious, however I will add a quick note: for whatever reason, types of pasta are sometimes referred to in their singular form. You may not notice this as a tourist, but if you hang out enough with pasta and Italians, you’ll start hearing “spaghetto” and “raviolo” or “gnocco” and “casereccia.”

  67. Panini - important note on this one…panini is PLURAL. You shouldn’t ask for one panini in Italian, that’s like ordering “one sandwiches.” It’s panino, and denotes any kind of sandwich rather than the American grilled sandwich. Just so you know. :D

  68. Cheesecake - there are many cheesecake gelato flavors and cheesecakes themselves in restaurants and gelaterie, but they generally taste quite different. They are more like a semi-freddo in texture. I don’t know why. I thought it was the cream cheese, but after making cheesecakes at home that turned out great, I still don’t understand. It shall remain a mystery for now.

  69. Hamburger - to be pronounced as Jacques Clouseau from the Pink Panther. Hamburgers are very popular here, and based on the restaurants Italians seem to think that America is stuck in the 1950’s diner era and all we eat are hamburgers, French fries, and milkshakes. Ah well, Americans think Italians only eat pizza, pasta, and wine, so we’re even, right?

  70. Hotdog - not as popular as the hamburger, but it has it’s own following and can be found in most grocery stores.

  71. Yogurt - the yogurt section can be quite extensive in grocery stores, as Italians are rather obsessed with their digestion.

  72. Avocado - millennials, rejoice! No translator needed to find your beloved green fruit. Your wallet will not rejoice, as avocados usually hover about €5/kg (that’s about $2.50-3.00/lb)

  73. Banana - you say “bah-naaa-nah,” Italians say “bah-nah-nah.”

  74. Lime - sometimes called the same as a limone. But lime and lemon are very different, how can I tell what you are offering me if you say limone? I don’t understand.

  75. Sushi and other ethnic foods - entering an ethnic restaurant that then tries to explain under the title what the dish is in Italian, can be very amusing to me. Lo mein that is explained as spaghetti just doesn’t get it for me, haha.

  76. Paprika - spelled the same, but in Italian it has a different pronunciation: PAH-pree-kuh instead of pah-PREE-kuh

  77. Curry - the same, although the u is not pronounced as the Italian u, instead it is a strong a, like in “carry.”

  78. Sultana - we usually say raisin in English, but sultana works in English and Italian!

  79. Brioche - technically a buttery, enriched French bread in French or English, this term in Italian applies to any pastry.

  80. Cocktail - cocktail and most of the classic cocktail names, Mojito, Moscow Mule, etc. will get you far during aperitivo hour.

  81. Espresso, Cappuccino, etc. - yes, all the famed coffee drinks that were invented in Italy are the same and so far we haven’t managed to mess up the pronunciation too much! Good job, everybody!

  82. Broccoli - the same in Italian and English. Random, but hey, we could all use a little more broccoli in our life!

  83. Hobby - an Italian hobby might be sitting at the local bar and people watching, wine tasting, long dinners, long strolls, watching soccer, discussing soccer, watching news discussing soccer, and playing soccer.

  84. Food Truck - Italians have picked up on the food truck trend in America and are following suit with their own trendy hamburger food trucks!

  85. Street Food - like food truck above, except I don’t think that restaurant I saw the other day advertising “street food” fully understood the concept.

  86. Take-away - mangi qui o take-away? Italian is “da portare via” or “d’asporto.”

  87. All You Can Eat - ALL sushi restaurants I have ever seen or eaten at in Italy are always the “all you can eat” formula. And “all you can eat” is always written in English, everything else in Italian. Don’t ask me why.

  88. Freezer - I always appreciated this one because for a while there I could never remember “congelatore.” Maybe because I heard the English more often than the Italian, didn’t stick with me, haha!

  89. Zebra - the same, except I say ZEE-brah, you say ZAY-brah…

  90. Zoo - everyone loves the zoo! It’s the same word except for in Italian you pronounce it “Zo.”


There you are, a whole list of “Italian” words you already knew. My little Italian prodigies!

I’m sure I’m missing a whole slew of English/Italian words, if you want to add to this list drop me a comment below!