Monthly Archives: April 2010

Ciao, Bella! Musings from my trip to Tuscany

Greetings friends and fellow food lovers.  If my blog has been a little quiet lately, it’s because I’ve been in Italy on vacation for the last two weeks!  Pretty rough, I know.  Italy is a beautiful, special country and certainly a culture that cherishes its food.  It’s been a few years since I’ve spent significant time in Europe (I lived in France for 8 months in 2006), and in the time since have made major changes to my diet, so I was curious (and maybe a little nervous) to see how I would do.  After all, my daily diet with whole grains, vegetables, and a variety of high quality proteins is pretty different from the pizzas, pastas, and gelato of Tuscany.  Especially because, since I’ve been pregnant, my stomach has been a little more sensitive than usual. 

I’m happy to report that not only did I survive, but I was able to really enjoy a lot of the best dishes Italy had to offer.  We started off in Tuscany,where red meat, pasta, pizza and gelato reign.  Interestingly, wild boar is a major staple on menus.  I saw it so frequently that I even asked a local if the wild boar was truly wild these days, vs. farm-raised (it is – which is cool bc wild game tends to have more nutrients than farm-raised meat).  Anyways, I sampled that in a few pastas and a polenta dish, and it was quite tasty.  My favorite food – pizza – didn’t disappoint, and we took elaborate means to identify and travel to some of the best pizzerias in Florence.  The pizza there is practically paper thin, which really lets you taste how delicious the fresh tomato sauce and toppings are.  And the [...]

By |April 30th, 2010|General|

Are you breaking bread, or is it breaking you?

Few foods ignite stress these days like bread.  Are you confused?  If you are, it’s not too surprising (don’t feel bad – it’s not just you).  Just think about all of the confliciting information and buzz words flying around out there that are associated with bread: whole wheat, whole grain, refined, lite, low-glycemic, low-carb, white, low-calorie, high-fiber, etc, etc.  Who can keep track?

The truth is that bread can be good for you, and it can also be junk.  It’s worth putting a little effort into your bread selection so that you know it’s a healthy choices, vs a detriment to your health.  But you don’t have to have a phd in bread science.  Here are five simple tips to use when picking your daily bread:

1)  The darker, denser, and chewier the bread the better.  If the bread contains whole grains it will have nutrients and fiber, both of which are are excellent for you.  If the bread is dark, dense, and chewy, it’s more likely to bc composed of whole grains.  Likewise, if something has a light-as-air consistency it’s not whole grain, even if it says so on the label.  More likely it has a sprinkling of whole wheat flour and possibly some color additives to make it look wholesome.  (I’m not making that up – food manufacturers use caramel coloring to mimic the look of whole wheat). 

2) Buy bread with only 3-5 ingredients, all of which you recognize as legitimate food items.  Food manufacturers put a lot of questionable stuff into bread these days so make it last 4 weeks on the shelf, make every loaf the same, and have it look a certain way.   Many of those additives have negatives side effects – avoid them – [...]

By |April 9th, 2010|General|

How cool is this? The perks of living in an historic neighborhood..

So this is a kind of random post, and it has nothing to do with food.  But I had such a cool experience this afternoon I just had to share.  Jacob and I live in one of the best neighborhoods in Cleveland to take a walk – in Cleveland Heights near the Cedar-Fairmount intersection.    On pleasant evenings like we had tonight one of my favorite things to do is walk around and look at the incredible homes nearby.  Not one looks the same, and if we wander down Fairmount or over to Ambler Heights the mansions are truly incredible (Tudor mansions, one of a kind stone work, hundred-year old original carvings, etc).  Now I’m not a big history buff, and I don’t necessarily know what I’m looking at, but I do love to look and simply appreciate the craftmanship of it all. 

Well, while out on a walk this evening we noticed that one of our favorite houses is up for sale by owner.  The owner happened to be in the yard doing some yardwork and we struck up a little conversation with the owner.  After talking for a couple of minutes he generously offered to give us a tour of the home.  Now I thought this was pretty cool, but I didn’t even know what I was in for.  This house was obviously old and grande and historic, but what we saw and heard during the tour was a little piece of Cleveland history!  The house was built in 1911 by Kermode Gill, whose family owned the construction company that built  Hanna building, the Allen Theatre in Playhouse Square, the Federal Reserve Bank and the Terminal Tower.  It was designed by Frank Meade, who has been referred to as “Cleveland’s dean of architects”.   [...]

By |April 5th, 2010|Cleveland, General|