Thursday, November 29, 2012

Update Blog!

Well, I have been M.I.A for a while.

I'm sorry.

BUT

I can make it up to you with all the wonderful pictures below.

First Stop is Verona, Italy!
Verona is where I tried to stay warm by drinking too much wine and brandy. Even with the rain and wind, I had so much fun!
Did I tell you it's COLD here?!
Brrrrrrrrrrrrr
Yep super-duper cold.

I went with my lad, Felix.  We ate, drank, met Juliet's statue, wrote her letters about our love lives, and best of all.... sang Christmas carols while walking around this dazzling, but small city.
Yeah, I guess we had a little too much to drink :)

My family and our family-friends (The Crawfords) have a wonderful tradition in America to go around our neighborhood singing Christmas carols.  This is not a common tradition in contemporary America AT ALL.
Everyone who answers the door is usually very confused, but soon delighted to watch us freeze our butts off drinking wine and completely destroying the lyrics.

I have the worst the best voice ever.
Now imagine a choir-singing British fella, who seriously has been caroling door to door his whole life.  His family really sits around the piano singing "Hark the Harold Angels Sing, ....." together while drinking a stiff.

JUST LIKE THE MOVIES!!!!
After a while I sensed Felix was embarrassed for me so I just shut it and listened to his angelic baritone voice.  What a day.

Excuse the blurry pictures… it was raining the whole time.


Second Stop is Parma, Italy!

I went to Parma with the thought of eating the most cheese and wine anyone could consume in a lifetime. This wasn’t exactly what happened. Aurelio was laughing at Laura and I because we wanted to buy a big wheel of Parmesan cheese.  This would not go to waste in our house… We eat pasta at least 4 times a week and snack on cheese every single day. Apparently, buying Parmesan cheese in Parma, Italy is the same thing as buying it all around Italy. Nobody understood why we wanted to buy cheese in this particular city.

We couldn’t find a solo cheese shop. I guess you have to drive to a farmer’s house to buy a wheel of fresh, fresh Parm. If there is anyone in Italy reading this, who would like to drive us to a farmer’s house in Parma, Italy I will give you a hug and share my wheel.  Promise.

We walked around, had a scrumptious lunch, and drank the fresh local wine. Remember those grapes that I picked earlier this year?  It is now made into wine out for people to drink! Cool huh?  Not necessarily Prosecco, but a local wine grown in the Emilia region.
 
 
 
 

Halloween came and went.  Laura carved her FIRST pumpkin ever. She did a great job… I supervised while eating our baked seeds (just not the same without Seasoning Salt…sad).

Laura L O V E D her pumpkin.  Seriously, she kept a candle lit inside every moment she was home. She would bring it in the bedroom when it was time to go to bed and back in the kitchen during the day. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. No candy for this girl, just get her a pumpkin to carve and she will be happy for a week!  I think her and Aurelio like the silly American traditions.

Here are more fun photos.
Yummmmmmm
Chocolate Fair!
Making pasta

So classy
Guess what?!

I have the best news ever ever ever… My sister, Jessi is coming to Italy in 3 days!!  I think I might pee my pants. I miss my family and having her come see where I live is going to be fun, fabulous, and my favorite time in Italy thus far I’m sure.

If you know us then you know we are major silly-willys together. I don’t think this country will be able to handle our spirited nature :) Blog to come!


Ciao Ciao,
meliss






Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving!!!


Happy Gobble Gobble Day!!

This is a bittersweet holiday for me this year. I wish I was home with my family, but instead, was able to share this yummy holiday with my roommates who have never had this meal before!

Yes, very bittersweet. 

My friend/roommate (we literally sleep in the same small, small room) was leaving to go out of town this week so I celebrated my Thanksgiving a little early this year.

Remember when I said this time in Italy has been an adventure?! This is a perfect example…

I cooked an ENTIRE Thanksgiving meal right here in Italy with my assistant, Laura from scratch.  I cooked a turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and delicious stuffing.  The adventure seems like taking on so much food alone right?

OH NO FOLKS

That was NOT the hard part.  It is the fact that Italy does not contain MANY Thanksgiving ingredients.  There is no canned anything around here. And remember that oven I told you about before not having a degree thermometer?  Now imagine cooking a 15 pound bird in it and praying it doesn’t burst into flames. This would be my version of the dogs destroying the turkey on A Christmas Story, and we don’t have any Chinese restaurants around here to save my ass :)

I guess I should back up and tell you what usually happens on Missi’s normal Turkey Day.  I wake up with a peaceful yawn, excited that both my sister and I are in town at my parent’s house.  We giggle about our dreams and force Oscar (our 70 pound, 12 year old puppy and yes, he is still my baby) onto the bed to snuggle with us until we hear Mom making us coffee in the kitchen.  I help my Dad with the turkey by simply holding the bag open where you put the bird in to cook. 

Usually, I set up the long table with beautiful d├ęcor and then get ready, waiting for the time for me to start making my mashed potatoes.  You see, I am one of the bakers in the family, NOT the cook.  I’m the one who makes the homemade apple and pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, and cookies during the week before the actual day.  My job on Thanksgiving is to make the simple mashed potatoes, heat my pies up in the oven, and continually keep my glass filled with wine.  My mom has tried to teach both my sister and I how to make different dishes, but I have been able to squeeze by the cooking deal with my God given talent for making homemade piecrust (thank you April for teaching me!  I owe you big.)

Now don’t get me wrong, this year I still set the table and had my glass full with wine the whole day, but I was  “captain of the kitchen” and it was a lot of pressure!  I had two hungry people to feed, but luckily they have never had a Thanksgiving meal before so they had nothing to compare it to!

I made homemade stuffing with real Italian bread cut up, fresh broth, yummy melted butter, onions, and any familiar spices I could find.  I made sweet potatoes from scratch with weird brown sugar and a walnut topping instead of pecans. 

Fun fact- pecans are an American nut and you can’t find it anywhere in Italy!

My green bean casserole was superb with my homemade cream of mushroom soup, fresh green beans, and homemade fried onions baby!  Most importantly, my turkey came out moist and delicious.  I will, however, NEVER make a turkey again.  They don’t exactly clean out your turkey before they give it to you over here.  I will spare you the details, but I think Luca down the street killed it and gave it to the butcher that same day.  I didn’t enjoy eating the best part of this holiday this year… Italy almost made me into a Vegetarian!

I survived, the apartment is fine, and my Italian and Spanish roommates enjoyed their first Thanksgiving. 

Yes, very bittersweet.






Feathers... yuck!!!



Look how sweet Laura is... she left me a coloring book and EXPENSIVE peanut butter for Thanksgiving!
I miss my baby Oscar!!! Muah
I hope you all enjoy this holiday.  Please give your families an extra hug for me this year and never forget what you are truly thankful for.  I know I am.  This adventure. 
     
xoxo

Ciao Ciao,
Meliss