MECHADONG BAKA (FILIPINO BEEF MECHADO)

MECHADONG BAKA (FILIPINO BEEF MECHADO)

Mechadong Baka (Beef Mechado) could be a tart Filipino beef tomato stew with potatoes, carrots, and onions. Historically, the stew was created exploitation low-cost and lean cuts of meat that had little or no fat/marbling. To assist add flavor, associate degree incision was created into each bit of meat and a strip of pork fat was inserted, as delineated at Kawaling Pinoy. This method is what gave the stew its name- Mecha which means wick for the strip of pork fat protruding of the meat sort of a candle. I served the Mechado over a bed of steamed polished rice; however Chad conjointly likes it with Pandesal (Filipino Rolls).

While exploring through recipes, I found variable amounts of soy. Begin with 2 tablespoons and rise to four tablespoons supported style. Mixture of onions, carrots, and potatoes to the stew Shredded bell peppers also are widespread.The instruction is well doubled to serve additional individuals or create enough for leftovers. Like several stews, the flavor is even higher consequent day.

Calamansi (Kalamansi, Calamondin Orange, Golden Lime, and Chinese Orange) could be a style of citrus native to geographic area. it’s a cross between the Mandarin Orange and Kumquat. The fruit has associate degree orange bitter flesh and a skinny, sweet rind that starts inexperienced, however turns orange because it ripens. The rind is usually consumed with the flesh to supply a sweet bitter flavor. it’s usually found in Filipino preparation, from garnishes to condiments. The fruit are often found within the turn out department or the juice frozen in some markets that includes Filipino ingredients. If you’re unable to find it, substitute with lemon (I have seen mixtures line of work for one half fruit crush to three elements lemon juice), lime, or Meyer lemon.

 

Click  MECHADONG BAKA (FILIPINO BEEF MECHADO) for recipes.
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Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 pound stew beef (chuck, round), cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup water
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 tablespoons calamansi or lemon juice
2-4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 large potato peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 carrot peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Steamed rice for serving

Instructions

1. In a large pot, drizzle the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides.
2. Add the water, tomato sauce, calamansi juice, soy sauce, and bay leaves. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat for 1 1/2 hours.
3. Add the potato and carrot. Continue to cook until the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve hot with steamed rice.

 

MECHADONG BAKA (FILIPINO BEEF MECHADO)
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5 Uber Eats restaurants you need to try in Sydney

5 Uber Eats restaurants you need to try in Sydney

Uber Eats is a convenient means of ordering food from a restaurant and have it delivered to you All one needs to do is download the Uber Eats app on their phone and they are ready to make orders. There are over a hundred or so restaurants that offer this service. Just like making an order for a taxi ride on Uber, you can do the same for your food orders. The first thing one does is making a search of the restaurants that offer the kind of a meal that one wants to buy. Once you have made a decision on the restaurant and the kind of cuisine you want, you can place the order and an Uber partner in a car, a scooter or a motorbike will pick the order and deliver it to you.

It is now possible for you to Get a first time Uber Eats coupon when you download the app and start using it. If you are in Sydney, Australia, there are many restaurants that offer this service. We shall discuss some of them here.

Here are 5 Uber Eats restaurants you need to try in Sydney:

1. McDonald’s (Circular Quay)
This is one of the most famous or the most common of the restaurants that offer Uber Eats in Sydney. Once you make an order, you can have it delivered in 20 to 30 minutes. It is a common restaurant for people who love fast foods such as burgers. Some of the most common foods that you can order here are the 10 piece Chicken McNuggets that goes for $13.55. You can also make an order for the Quarter Pounder that goes for $12.00, among others.

2. Metro Pita Kebab
This is yet another very famous restaurant that offers UberEats services in Sydney. It is a specialist restaurant that offers Turkish cuisine that is Halal certified. You can have your meal delivered in 20 to 30 minutes after you have placed an order.  Some of the most popular food that you can order here are all-day-breakfast, Kebab Box, fresh Pizza, Halal snack packs among many other cuisines.

3. Angry Tony’s Pizza
This is an Italian restaurant that offers foods such as Pasta, Pizza and classic Pizzas among others. With this restaurant, you can have your meal delivered in 30 to 40 minutes. The Margherita Pizza that is made from Italian tomato, mozzarella, and basil pesto will cost you $17.00. The Tony Pepperoni Pizza that is made from Italian tomato, pepperoni, oregano, and mozzarella will cost you $18.00.

4. Oporto (Darling Harbor)
This is yet another very famous restaurant that offers UberEats services in Sydney. The restaurant opens at 9.00 AM and your meal can be delivered in 20 to 30 minutes after you make an order. Some of the most popular meals that can be ordered here are Burgers; Flame grilled chicken, sauces, Snacks and so on.

5. Fatima’s Lebanese Restaurant
This is a popular restaurant that offers Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine. When you make an order here, you will have the meal delivered in 20 to 30 minutes. Some of the most popular meals you can order here are Rolls, Plates and Combos, Sweets, bread and vegetable Containers among others.

12 Recipes Using Hard Boiled Easter Eggs

12 Recipes Using Hard Boiled Easter Eggs

 

Easter Sunday will be much more perfect if your house is anything like mine you will have at least a couple of dyed hard boiled eggs on your hands before lunchtime.

My first inclination is usually to chop the eggs up and make egg salad sandwiches for lunch for the next few days if not longer.

This year if you want to try something a bit different here are some recipes using hard boiled eggs along with some new twists on old time favorites like egg salad sandwiches and deviled eggs.

Try out one or two, perhaps you’ll find a new family favorite to make year round.  Click on picture for recipe.

To make these recipes you will need hard boiled eggs.  Click here for a tutorial on how to make the perfect hard boiled eggs from Recipe Lion.

Hard Boiled Easter Eggs

Add a bit of zip to regular deviled eggs with my Roasted Red Pepper Deviled Eggs.  It’s become a family favorite![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Hard Boiled Easter Eggs
Make your favorite deviled egg recipe into these pretty pastel eggs.
Here’s a photo tutorial on how to dye your hard boiled eggs from Donkey and Carrot.  Just dye the whites and pipe in your favorite yolk mixture![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Hard Boiled Easter EggsOr serve these deviled egg chicks from She Knows. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Hard Boiled Easter EggsLighten up your egg salad recipe by using adding Greek Yogurt.  Here’s a recipe from Damn Delicious.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Hard Boiled Easter EggsHere’s another egg salad recipe from My Yummy Life using Greek Yogurt, this one adds a bit of dill for some extra yum![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Hard Boiled Easter Eggs 
Two Peas and Their Pod has a great recipe for Avocado Egg Salad.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Hard Boiled Easter EggsFor a lower carb alternative try these Light Egg Salad Wraps by Lady Behind the Curtain.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Hard Boiled Easter EggsSkip the Egg Salad and use those hard boiled eggs in this Egg Wrap with Avocado and Ham from the Cookin Canuck.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Hard Boiled Easter EggsTry these Scotched Eggs, they’re a complete meal!  Hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage with a crispy shell.  Here’s a recipe for Baked Scotched Eggs from Left Side of the Table. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

Hard Boiled Easter EggsFor something a bit with a bit more spice try these Egg Masala Curry  In Spicy Tomato Gravy from Lisa’s Kitchen.
Served over rice this would make a filling meal. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Hard Boiled Easter EggsHere’s another Egg Curry, Indian Onion and Yogurt Egg Curry recipe from Girl Cooks World, this one uses Greek Yogurt.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

 

 


 

The top 4 things to consider before leaving your healthcare firm

The top 4 things to consider before leaving your healthcare firm

At one time or another, you may have found yourself having to change your healthcare provider due to different factors. Perhaps leaving your provider was a necessity due to moving to a new city. Or, perhaps your health insurance plan changed which made your rates go up, causing you to choose a new provider. In case you are considering leaving your healthcare firm for non-essential reasons, you need to take time and weigh all of the options. Consider what you are getting at your current provider, versus what you expect to get elsewhere and then do a cost-benefit analysis. If the advantages of leaving are not that compelling, then you would be better off staying where you are. To help you make a rational decision, here are the top 4 things to consider before leaving your healthcare firm.

1. The quality of service

Before you leave your healthcare firm, consider the quality of care that they give you. As a rule, go for a healthcare firm that offers you a comparatively higher quality of service. For instance, if your healthcare firm is in Melbourne Australia, you should consider comparing it with Mitcham dental clinic. Mitcham is famed for its high quality of service, and state-of-the-art equipment. If you find Mitcham dental clinic better, which is highly likely, then make the shift. You won’t regret it. To help you learn more about this firm, check them out at http://www.mitchamdental.com.au.

2. The distance from your location

Before you leave your healthcare firm, consider the distance from your residence. Your healthcare provider should be at a convenient distance from your home. For instance, there would be no point in driving for hours on end, just to see a dentist. If you are moving to a far-off location from where you currently reside, then it would make sense to find another one close by.

3. The opening and closing hours

If your workday doesn’t give you lots of free time, then you should consider flexibility before you leave your healthcare firm. For instance, if your healthcare firm offers 24-hour service, then it would make sense to stay with them. On the flipside, if they only operate during normal working hours, it would be practical to leave them, and find one that you can easily access at any time. This convenience can make all the difference in the quality of service that you get for what you pay your healthcare provider.

4. The small stuff, such as parking and public transport

These may seem trivial, but it is important to put them into consideration when looking to leave your healthcare provider. For instance, if your current provider has amazing parking, and is easily accessible via public transport, then it would make sense to stick with them. On the other hand, if they don’t have it, then you should consider leaving for one that fits this description. That’s because, the ability to access a healthcare facility easily can make a lot of difference in the quality of service you receive, especially if you work under a tight work schedule. They may seem trivial, but in reality, these factors are important.

 

5 things you need to know about puppy food for your little furry friend

5 things you need to know about puppy food for your little furry friend

Two White Puppies on Brown Wicker BasketPuppies are amazing. They are so adorable that once you get one,you want to spend all your time around your new bundle of joy. However, the challenge comes in taking good care of it. For instance, when it comes to feeding a puppy, you need to be careful about what you feed them. Otherwise, you may end up hurting your little friend.  To help you take better care of your puppy, here are the 5 things that you need to know about puppy food before you feed your little furry friend.

 

 

1.    The food needs to come from recognized brands

When it comes to puppies, you don’t just feed them anything. You need to feed them food that has very specific nutrients. To ensure that you feed them right, go for recognized puppy food brands. For instance, Royal Canin Puppy Food is one of the best when it comes to puppy food. They have food that is specifically for puppies, as well as, instructions on how to administer it. By feeding it such food, you are sure that your little furry friend will grow up healthy and happy.

 

2.    Different puppy breeds have different quantity requirements

When it comes to puppy food, the dog breed matters. You cannot feed a Chihuahua puppy the same food quantity that you would feed to a German shepherd puppy. To ensure that you feed your beloved puppy the right food quantity, go for recognized dog food brands. These brands usually come with specifications on how much food you should give to your dog. You don’t want a situation where you hurt your little friend, by trying to determine the quantity of food to give it by yourself.

 

3.    Changing food brands can lead to allergies

Like human babies, puppies do get allergic reactions too. As such, if you want to change dog food brands for your puppy, do so gradually. The idea is to allow the puppy’s body to transition well to the new brand that you want to feed it. In fact, before you feed your puppy a new type of food, talk to the vet first. An acute allergic reaction can easily kill your lovely puppy.

 

4.    There is puppy food for puppies with special needs

Like human babies, you may find yourself with a puppy with special needs. The most common of them is weight gain tendencies, where your puppy gains an unhealthy weight level even without feeding too much.  In case you have a puppy with such needs, go for a puppy food brand that has special needs food. This ensures that your puppy grows up healthy and happy, just the way you want it.

 

5.    It is very affordable

With all the benefits that come with good quality puppy food, you are probably thinking that it is expensive, right? Well, here is the good news, it isn’t! Good puppy food brands such as Royal Canin puppy food is within most people’s budget. It even cheaper if you buy it online at a store like Vet Send.

 

 

Last Minute Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt Ideas

Last Minute Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt Ideas

egg huntWhen my kids were young we always had a neighborhood Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sundays.  It’s a great day to get together for some fun, food, and neighborly chats; and a great way to use up all those hard boiled eggs.

It didn’t take a lot of effort on anyone’s part since everyone was dying Easter eggs anyway.  After the hunt some of the adults would supervise the kids in games and the others would head to the kitchen to turn the eggs into Egg Salad Sandwiches.  The rest of the luncheon food was pot luck.

We still get together with the neighbors on Easter Sunday for an Easter Egg Hunt, only now the kids are our grandkids!

Here are a few tips to help you plan a last minute Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.  If you’ve tried it yet, you may want to plan one this year.  You might just start a new neighborhood tradition!

 

 

A couple of days before the hunt:

1.  Get together with the neighbors and decide where your potluck luncheon will be held.  You may have to host it in a 2-3 yards to fit everyone.  Decide what time the hunt will begin.

2.  Gather chairs and tables and decide on a time when they can be set up at the host yards.  It may be easier to have each neighbor bring their own chairs, but hopefully you’ll have a neighbor who can bring over a folding table or two at least to place food on.

3.  Decide on how many eggs each neighbor will bring; both dyed hard boiled eggs and plastic eggs.  Set a budget on how much each neighbor should spend to fill the plastic eggs.  Decide if you will have a “golden egg” for the grand prize.  If you want to have one the easiest prize would be money; each neighbor can contribute $1 that can be stuffed in a special egg.  Decide if you want to limit the number of eggs each child can keep; if you do then decide on how many.  Don’t forget the teens and tweenies, you may want to do a separate hunt or different activity for them.

For Egg decoration ideas click here!

4.  Mark the territory where the eggs will be hidden.

5.  Ask each neighbor to sign up for the potluck so that you will have a variety of food, not just desserts.  Remember to ask one or two people to bring bread and ingredients for egg salad sandwiches.

6.  Decide where and who will turn the hard boiled eggs into egg salad sandwiches.  This can be a group effort in one person’s kitchen or you can have volunteers take a dozen or so eggs home to their kitchen to make their hard boiled egg dish.  Check out my post 12 Recipes Using Hard Boiled Easter Eggs for ideas.

7.  Decide what if any other games and activities you want to have for the kids.  Decide on the supplies you will need for the activities, who will provide them, and who will supervise the activities. You may want to start out with an Easter Bag/Basket making activity before the hunt.

8.  Decide when and where neighbors should bring their eggs for the hunt.  Decide who will hide them.

egg huntMorning of the hunt:

1.  Designated egg “hiders” can hide the eggs.

2.  Set up borrowed table and chairs in the host yards.

3.  Gather the kids for the first activity if you have any, otherwise start the hunt.

4.  After the hunt have the children give the boiled eggs they don’t want to keep to their parents or the people in charge of making salad.

5.  Keep the kids busy with games and activities while egg salad sandwiches are being made.

6.  Bring all the food to the host yard and set them up on tables.

7.  Enjoy!  This could be the first of many more neighborhood events![spacer height=”-20px”]

egg huntegg huntFor older kids hide some eggs in high places, they love the challenge![spacer height=”-20px”]

egg huntStart the event with a Bunny Bag craft like these from Fun A Day .  The kids can make these cute bags to put their eggs in.  You can get packs of plain paper bags or gift bags from the Dollar Store and decorate them with construction paper, pipe cleaners, and left over supplies from other craft projects gathered from the neighbors.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Easter Egg HuntKeep kids busy making Jelly Bean Bracelets from Artzy Creations.  [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

egg huntThis Egg Popper Tree by Studio DIY is a good alternative for older kids. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

egg hunt A sack race is always a fun game.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Easter Egg Hunt Egg on Spoon Races are always fun.  Think of different variations![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Easter Egg HuntA Lollipop Patch by Catch My Party is a great idea for younger kids.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

 

 

 


Kids Crafts at Joann.com
 [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Chicken Milanese with Lemon Butter Sauce

Chicken Milanese with Lemon Butter Sauce

Chicken Milanese with Lemon Butter Sauce, wow!  Sounds fancy doesn’t it?  Sounds like something you’d order in a fancy Italian restaurant.  It brings to mind the city of Milan, one of the world’s most fashionable city.

The name doesn’t lie, Chicken Milanese simply means Chicken made Milan style.  It is one of the signature dishes of Milan; in Italian it’s called “Pollo alla Milanese”.  Are you impressed yet? Traditionally it was made with veal, Cotoletta alla Milanese, but chicken has become a popular alternative.

Well let me tell you the first time I ever had Pollo alla Milanese was in a chic little restaurant in Cernobbio, a town on Lake Como about 40 kilometers away from Milan.  And yes I ordered it because I thought with such a grand name it must be something different.  Imagine my surprise when the waiter set a fried chicken cutlet in front of me and it didn’t even have any gravy!

Yup that’s what Pollo alla Milanese is, a battered and fried chicken cutlet.  If we were talking Southern cooking it would be called chicken fried chicken and chicken fried steak if veal were used instead of chicken.

But because it’s an Italian style cutlet it’s not smothered in gravy and served with mashed potatoes and corn, like the perfect Southern comfort food.  Instead it’s usually served with a bed of crisp fresh greens like an arugula salad.  Instead of gravy they usually squeeze a slice of lemon over the cutlet or top it with a light lemony butter sauce.  As far as I can determine that’s the only difference between chicken fried chicken and Chicken Milanese.

Well whatever you call it it’s still delicious!  A bit fussy to make (you have to cut, pound, dredge, dip, bread, and fry) but so worth the time and trouble.  I make it at home and serve it both ways, Milanese and fried cutlet with gravy, depending on what I’m hungry for.  Either way my family loves them!

Here’s the recipe for Chicken Milanese with Lemon Butter Sauce!

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Ingredients:

4 Pieces Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts – sliced horizontally to make 8 thin slices

2 Cups Flour

3 Eggs beaten

2 Cups Panko or breadcrumbs – I prefer Panko which can be found at Asian Markets, but bread crumbs work fine

1 Tbs Garlic Powder

2 Tbs Italian Seasoning

1/4 Cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Oil for frying

For the Sauce:

4 Tbs Butter

1 Tsp Minced Garlic

1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

1/2 Cup Chicken Stock

1/2 Cup White Wine

1 Tsp Italian Seasoning

2 Tbs Lemon Juice

Salt & Pepper to taste

Procedure:

Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap – you will have to do this with 2-4 pieces at a time

Using a kitchen mallet pound breasts to 1/4″ thickness

Pounding chicken breasts between plastic wrap keeps chicken juices from splattering all over the kitchen counters.

Set aside while you get the other ingredients ready.

Mix flour and garlic powder together and place in a shallow dish or bowl

Beat eggs in another shallow dish or bowl

Mix Panko with grated cheese and Italian seasoning in another shallow dish or bowl

Line bowls up in order (flour, egg, Panko) next to the stove.  This makes the frying process so much easier and neater.

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Oil will be hot enough if it sizzles when you drop a piece of panko in it.

Dredge a slice of chicken in flour making sure both sides are completely covered

Dip both sides of chicken in egg

Dip both sides of chicken in Panko mixture

Place in frying pan and fry both sides about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown

Drain on paper towel

Serve with Roasted Potatoes and Lemon Butter Sauce

 

Sauce:

Melt 1 Tbl Butter in saucepan

Saute garlic in butter until it starts to brown

Stir in cream, stock, and wine until well combined

Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat

Whisk in remaining butter 1 tbs at a time

Stir in seasoning and lemon juice

Season with salt and pepper to taste

Serve over Chicken Milanese

 


Chicken Milanese with Lemon Butter Sauce
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Chicken Milanese with Lemon Butter Sauce
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Ingredients
Chicken
Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
Chicken
  1. Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap - you will have to do this with 2-4 pieces at a time Using a kitchen mallet pound breasts to 1/4" thickness Pounding chicken breasts between plastic wrap keeps chicken juices from splattering all over the kitchen counters. Set aside while you get the other ingredients ready.
  2. Mix flour and garlic powder together and place in a shallow dish or bowl Beat eggs in another shallow dish or bowl Mix Panko with grated cheese and Italian seasoning in another shallow dish or bowl Line bowls up in order (flour, egg, Panko) next to the stove.  This makes the frying process so much easier and neater.
  3. place in a shallow dish or bowl Beat eggs in another shallow dish or bowl Mix Panko with grated cheese and Italian seasoning in another shallow dish or bowl Line bowls up in order (flour, egg, Panko) next to the stove.  This makes the frying process so much easier and neater. Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Oil will be hot enough if it sizzles when you drop a piece of panko in it. Dredge a slice of chicken in flour making sure both sides are completely covered Dip both sides of chicken in egg Dip both sides of chicken in Panko mixture
  4. Place in frying pan and fry both sides about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown Drain on paper towel Serve with Roasted Potatoes and Lemon Butter Sauce
Sauce
  1. Melt 1 Tbl Butter in saucepan Saute garlic in butter until it starts to brown Stir in cream, stock, and wine until well combined Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat Whisk in remaining butter 1 tbs at a time Stir in seasoning and lemon juice Season with salt and pepper to taste Serve over Chicken Milanese
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Still More Must See Italian Towns Off the Beaten Path

Still More Must See Italian Towns Off the Beaten Path

Italy is a very popular destination no matter what time of year.  I seriously doubt they have an off season like other vacation spots.  I’ve only seen 2 seasons, busy and busier.  It’s said to be empty in August during the dog days of summer when the Italians leave the cities to head for the shores.  Yes it’s less busy in August mostly because the natives are on holiday so you may find shops and restaurants closed for the month, this is true in the smaller towns and cities, not so much in the major ones.  But although the locals have fled the heat the tourists still flock to the big cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice.  That’s why we like to leave the big crowded cities and head over to these 5 Italian towns off the beaten path.

Mind you though we head for the less crowded Italian towns off the beaten path it doesn’t necessarily mean we stay there for days on end, some of them don’t have the accommodations we prefer, like large hotels with air conditioning!  We usually use one of the cities as a hub and take day trips from there when possible.  For us this works out better, but if you’re ok with small hotels, B&Bs, and other types of accommodations then go for it!

Today I’m sharing my 5 favorite Italian towns off the beaten path.  They are by no means the only Italian towns off the beaten path that are worth a visit; in fact in my opinion all Italian towns are worth the visit!

Though many of them don’t boast the large museums and famous art work you’ll find in the larger cities, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find in many of them.  From quiet piazzas, little trattorias serving awesome regional specialties, quaint wineries where you can participate in the harvest, and interesting festivals and events that some towns are known for.

Matera

Matera is a city in the Basilicata region in Southern Italy.   The modern city of Matera is pretty much a typical town and there’s not a whole lot to do there. It does however boast a very nice pedestrian free zone that connects the two Sasso Districts, Sassi Barisano and Sassi Caveoso.  This zone is lined with shops, restaurants, and churches including the cathedral.  But the main attraction in this city are the Sasso Districts.

Matera  or more specifically the Sassi di Matera (meaning stones of Matera) in my opinion is one of Hollywood’s best kept secrets.  Probably because during the years between the late 1950’s to the early 1990’s Italy would have liked to hide the town from the map.

Matera is definitely off the beaten path.  It’s not so easily accessible and is not on every tourist’s bucket list, although that is changing!  Thanks to Hollywood Matera is getting noticed!  Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ and the most recent Wonder Woman film were both filmed there.

The couple of times we visited Matera it was basically empty, we went in the fall and spring, a great time to go weather wise, specially if you want to walk down to the Sassi.   We didn’t see a lot of tourists in the modern and old sections of the city.  There were a handful of tour groups milling around, but finding a seat at one of the restaurants wasn’t difficult at all!

Matera is said to be the third oldest continuously inhabited place on earth.  Proof of its habitation dates back to the Paleolithic age, yes that’s caveman days, when ancient man found shelter in the caves that dot the walls of the gorge.

Over the years inhabitants built homes, shops, wells, and churches in the caves.  By digging in the soft tufa rock they were able create new spaces and enlarge existing ones.  The cave dwellings and churches don’t look like caves from the outside, everyone one of them has an intricate facade and many are grouped into little “neighborhoods” where several homes share a courtyard.

This worked out well for many years until the town became over populated and living conditions became very unsanitary.  People were living stacked in the caves with no running water, electricity, and poor ventilation; and raw sewage was literally running through the streets.  Diseases were rampant and the infant mortality rate was very high.  It became the shame of Italy and so in the late 1950’s residents, many forcibly, were moved to the modern city above.

The Sasso district was left abandoned for years until some enterprising folks along with help from the government began transforming the caves into luxury hotels, shops, and restaurants.  This pretty much started after the Sasso and the Rupestrian (stone) churches within all became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  So slowly the tourists are beginning to trickle in.  But the tourists that do go are very determined ones because as I said it is quite off the beaten path.

Getting to Matera isn’t difficult if you’re staying in Bari and the surrounding area.  It is connected by light rail the FAL line to Bari.  You can take this very slow train from the FAL tracks located in Bari’s main train station to Matera, that’s the end of the line.  Depending on the train you might have to transfer in Altamura  but no worries, the trains are marked and there are only 2 tracks in Altamura.

For more information on Matera check out my article here!

Bolzano

Another one of my favorite Italian towns off the beaten path is Bolzano.  Again it’s not on every tourist bucket list and those that do make it up to Bolzano are pretty determined tourists.

Bolzano is in the South Tryol region of Northern Italy.  It’s not easily accessible, but can be reached by public transportation for those with a mind to do so.

Located in the the Dolomites/ Italian Alps Bolzano can get fairly busy in the winter as there are ski lodges up in the mountain top.  It’s also a popular place for hikers as there are many beautiful trails in the area.  But having said that it’s still a pretty quiet town, specially in the early fall and late spring when the ski season is over.

Even if you’re not into winter sports or even hiking or trekking there are still plenty of things to do in Bolzano.  You can visit Otzi the iceman, he resides in a freezer in the archaeological museum in town.  His well preserved body was discovered in ice in the Italian Alps and the museum is pretty much dedicated to studying ice mummies.  You can also visit the cathedral located across from the town’s main square, Piazza Walter, some castles in the area, ride the cable car up to Sopra Bolzano where there is a bee museum and other interesting sites, you can dine in the many restaurants, and of course shop in the mall and the open markets.  Or you can stroll by the river and relax in the park along side it.  It’s a wonderful spot for a picnic!

Bolzano is an Italian town with a German feel.  The residents speak both languages, the buildings look more German than Italian, some folks do dress in lederhosen, and the cuisine features both Italian and German/Austrian dishes.

You can get to Bolzano by train from Italy, Germany, and Austrian.  From Northern Italy there is a high speed train that leaves from Verona Porta Nuova station.  The ride takes just under an hour and a half.

For more information on Bolzano check out my article here!

Padua

Padua is a town located in the Veneto region, a train ride away from Venice.

It’s a college town that’s a bit off the beaten path, at least the tourists don’t crowd there as they do in nearby Venice and Verona.  It does get a bit busy when there are festivals and concerts in town, but other than that it’s pretty quiet.

There are several churches and chapels in town that are worth visiting, but to me the best feature is the Prato della Valle, the oval green space in the middle of town.  It is a huge space said to be one of Europe’s oldest and largest squares, even though it’s oval shape it’s still considered a square.  It is bordered by a moat and is accessible by crossing one of the 4 bridges. Positioned around the moat are statues of Padova’s important citizens.  I love this place!  It’s a great place to let kids run around!

The square has some restaurants and bars around it, but for more food choices and shopping you can wander the shaded streets that connect the square to the museums and university.  Like I said it’s hardly ever crowded and is a relaxing place to spend half the day just wandering and sipping wine with a fine meal in one of its many restaurants.

For more information on Padua check out my article here!

Vicenza

Vicenza is a city in the Veneto region of Northern Italy.  It’s about a 45 minute train ride away from Venice.

For those interested in architecture, particularly the designs of Palladio then Vicenza is on their bucket list.  This little Italian town is home to most of Palladio’s work.

Here you’ll find his Basillica, Teatro Olipico, La Rotonda (the villa that inspired Thomas Jefferson when he designed Montecello), and a handful of other villas.

You can also make your way up to Monte Berico where you’ll find a church and a spectacular view of the town below.  Other tourist sites in the area include a museum dedicated to all things Palladio, wineries, olive groves and presses, and a lively market in the main square on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

For more information on Vicenza read my article here!

Marostica

Marostica is a town on the side of a hill in the Vicenza province in Northern Italy’s Veneto region.  It’s claim to fame is its live chess game the town puts on ever 2 years – every even year to be exact.

Yes a live chess game right in the main town square in front of the castle.  Very Alice in Wonderland!  It is definitely an Italian town off the beaten path!  It’s not the easiest place to get to unless you have a car.  The closest train station is in Bassano del Grappa and from there you must take the bus to Marostica.  But unless the chess festival is going on (September on even numbered years) you’ll more than likely have the town to yourself.  There’s not much to do there, specially when there are no chess matches, but you can explore the 2 castles and the churches then relax at the town square.  Very restful!  A great place to get away from the maddening crowds!

Ready for an Italian adventure?  Call Savvy Nana Travel, we’ll help you plan an adventure of a lifetime!

 

 

 

 

Breakfast Strata

Breakfast Strata

Easter morning is always hectic. Between sorting out Easter eggs and aiming to Church, it’s powerful to search out time for a hearty breakfast. Thankfully, I actually have a make-ahead breakfast dish that may provide you with much energy to survive the chaos.

Growing up, we have a tendency to continually create this scrumptious egg casserole as a part of our Church breakfast fundraiser. It absolutely was filled with fragmented sausage and cheese and that i loved it. Well, this can be a a lot of refined version, courtesy of Ezra’s cake.

There are several things i really like concerning breakfast strata. Initial and foremost is that the reality you create it ahead. The maximum amount as i like pancakes and contemporary toast that has time to form them on a busy morning? Not ME. However I will pop a dish within the kitchen appliance and walk away!

Next, it’s therefore filmable. the fundamentals keep the same—bread, eggs and milk. however the remainder, you’ll experiment and build your own favorite combos. For this version, I sauted spinach with garlic and mushrooms then further tomatoes and bacon. to form things even a lot of fascinating, I used jalapeno focaccia because the bread base.

I like spinach; however I wasn’t entirely sold-out on that within the formula. Next time, and there’ll be a next time, I’m aiming to eliminate the spinach and replace it with some artichoke hearts and roast red bell pepper for breakfast strata..

 

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 click here for Breakfast Strata recipes. 

 

Ingredients
5 cups of cubed bread (french bread, sourdough, jalapeno focaccia, etc.)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
10 eggs
4 cups milk (I used 2%)
3 green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
6-8 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
12 oz bag of baby spinach
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 plum tomatoes, chopped
8 oz container of sliced mushrooms
Instructions
1. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Place the bread cubes in the dish and top with cheddar cheese. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, green onion, cayenne pepper, mustard, salt and pepper together. Pour mixture over bread cubes.
3. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add washed spinach and 1 tablespoon of water. Cover the skillet and let the spinach wilt, 2-3 minutes.
4. Spoon the spinach mixture, tomatoes and bacon over the the bread cubes. Gently press down with a spoon to make sure everything is moistened.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for up to 24 hours.
6. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the strata, uncovered, for 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown and doesn’t wiggle when you shake the dish.
7. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Breakfast Strata
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Breakfast Strata
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Easy Last Minute Easter Treats

Easy Last Minute Easter Treats

Easter is tomorrow.  Most of us will be spending today frantically dying eggs and making treats and hoping it will all be ready for the Easter Bunny to give out come Sunday morning.

Don’t worry here are some cute and quick Easter treats you can whip up in a matter of minutes.  If you don’t already have the supplies a quick trip to Walmart, the Dollar Store, or even the grocery store can remedy that.

Easter TreatsThis cute idea from Oh for Sweetness Sake is pretty self explanatory.  Clear piping bag by Wilton hold a sugar cone filled with Easter M&Ms.  They recommend stuffing a few white cotton balls at the bottom of the sugar cone to use less candy.  The the whole thing up with a pretty ribbon and the Easter Bunny’s on his way.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

Easter Treats For a non-candy alternative here’s an idea from Creative Organization.  Fill the piping bag with Cheese puffs and tie with green ribbon to make “carrots”.  You can fill the bags with pretty much anything; goldfish, jelly beans, trail mix, etc. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

 

 

Easter TreatsThese Chocolate Cottontails by Rook No. 17 are simple to make using store bought marshmallow peeps and dipping them in chocolate.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

Easter Treats Don’t want to dip the peeps?  Then do what Your Homebased Mom did, put them on on a stick![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Treats Whip up some of Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Cake Batter Blondies using cake mix and sprinkles.  Easy and yummy![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

Easter Treats Don’t want to bake?  Then make this Popcorn Mix by Framed Frosting in your microwave. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

 

 

 

Easter TreatsHere’s another no bake treat Golden Oreo Truffles from Gimme Some Oven. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]

Easter TreatsTry these adorable Nutter Butter Chicks by Sweet Simple Stuff. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Easter TreatsThese Cream Cheese Filled Carrot Cookies from Live Well Bake Often uses cake mix.  Great treat for carrot cake lovers.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Easter TreatsIf you’re feeling more adventurous try your hand at this pretty Italian Easter Bread by A Homemade Living.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Don’t know what to do with all those hard boiled Easter Eggs?  Click here for some recipes using Easter eggs.