Category Archives: Today’s Joy

The Sweet Life

Family Photo5

“La Dolce Vita” is an Italian phrase meaning “The Sweet Life” that we picked up on our first visit to Italy. We’ve used it often to describe our life together over the years, but I have to tell you, life over the past six months has been even sweeter than ever. This little girl is such a joy! I don’t know if anyone will even see this post since it has been so long since I last wrote, but if you are reading this and you were one of the many people who prayed for us during this pregnancy, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It still amazes me that we get to be her parents. ❤

Over the past few months I’ve had several people ask if I’m going to start writing in this space again. And the truth has been that I just didn’t know. As I’m sure most of you who follow me on social media have guessed, we are currently keeping our daughter’s online presence to a minimum. Which means that I’m not planning to write about her here. I could write about the same types of things I used to write about here: recipes or fitness or time with friends or travels or photography or DIYs or house updates all without mentioning her or sharing photos of her. But, my friends, that’s just not where my head is right now.

I’m still doing all of these things that I was doing before her arrival, but she is just so much a part of our lives now that I don’t want to blog without talking about her. Maybe at some point down the line I’ll be ready for that or we will decide to share more about her publicly. But for now I guess this is me officially saying a goodbye to this blog.

I may not be writing in this space, but I’m not completely gone! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. And of course if you have questions about recipes or travel or baby things or just want to chat, you can always email me (thisitalianrach@gmail.com). I would love to hear from you! 🙂

I started this blog in 2010 and am so thankful for the connections I’ve made thanks to blogging. What a sweet and supportive group of bloggers I ran into in this corner of the internet. Thanks for being part of that and for reading along over the years! ❤

Love Rach

 

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Molasses and Butter

This is my grandfather, DaddyKen. He is one handsome looking fellow, isn’t he? 

He was a barber for 50+ years and has been my barber all my life. But he is also amazing in the kitchen. He taught me how to mix my cereals. And he makes the best bacon and eggs. Ever. True story.  He also taught me how to eat molasses properly.

You may think this is weird. My husband certainly did the first time he saw my family doing it. Now he’s a convert who loves it. But way back in the day, he definitely thought it seemed weird. And looked gross. So you are forgiven if you think this is weird or gross. But seriously, don’t knock it till you try it. 😉

Butter, molasses, a fork and a biscuit. Simple yet so delicious.

DaddyKen grew up eating molasses and butter “smooshed” together like this. He learned it from his father. And he passed it down to my mom who passed it to our family. And now my husband loves this too so you better believe that we will pass this down to our kiddos. I know it isn’t the prettiest thing, but believe me – it is amazingly delicious! 🙂

Has anyone else heard of this? Is it just my family? Or maybe a southern country tradition (my grandfather grew up in the country)?

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

Welcome to Spring, friends! In honor of today’s gorgeous sunshine (today’s high is 83 here!) I am sharing a delicious summery potato salad. I’m not normally a huge potato salad kinda girl, but add bacon, ranch and cheese to anything and I am so in, haha! I got this recipe from my mom a couple of years ago and I’ve made it frequently ever since!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

Ingredients:

2 lbs of red potatoes, cut in bite-size pieces
1 (16 oz) carton of sour cream
1 (1 oz) envelope of Ranch dressing mix
1 ¼ cups cooked bacon, crumbled
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

1. Place potatoes in large pot and cover with water. Bring to boil, then reduce to med-low setting, cover, simmer until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain and run under cold water to cool potatoes.

2. Combine sour cream and ranch mix until blended. Put potatoes, bacon, and cheese in large bowl. Stir in dressing until well-coated. Garnish with a sprinkle of shredded cheese. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Then serve!

In other news, several people have emailed me letting me know that WordPress won’t allow them to comment on my blog. I contacted support so hopefully I will have an answer soon. Until then, thank you so much for hanging with me! You guys are the best! 🙂

Apparently I like doughnuts…

If you like Southern cooking and that homestyle feeling then you need to know about Christy’s blog, Southern Plate. I love her recipes. They remind me of the stuff my mom cooked when I was growing up… real food. Delicious food. And sometimes… fried food. Christopher and I live by the principle that we eat generally healthy at home so we can eat whatever we want when we go out. This means that in the 3.5 years we’ve been married, we’ve only fried something in our kitchen once… until this weekend.

You see, Christy has this recipe on her blog for the most simple doughnuts ever. Seriously. She calls them “Melt In Your Mouth Doughnuts“. When I realized how incredibly simple they were, I just had to make them. Especially when I realized that I could make them sugar free by using Splenda instead of sugar! 😀

Christy’s Melt in your Mouth Doughnuts

Ingredients:

1 ten count can home-style biscuits (or your preference, just not flaky layers)
1/2 cup sugar (or Splenda!)
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 stick margarine, melted
vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

1. Pour oil into skillet to the depth of a little less than 1/2 an inch and heat on medium to medium high for about five minutes. In a bowl, melt margarine. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar (or Splenda).

2. Using a plastic bottle cap, cut the center out of each biscuit. Drop dough into hot oil, watching carefully and turning when golden. Once doughnuts are golden on both sides, remove to paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all dough is cooked, including doughnut holes.

3. Dip both sides of each doughnut into melted margarine, then press both sides into cinnamon sugar/Splenda mixture. Serve warm.

I haven’t had a doughnut in over 6 years. I had forgotten just how much I love them. I seriously ate 3 and at least 6 doughnut holes, haha! They were so good that Christopher asked if we could make them again the next day. 😉 Plus they are crazy fast the make. The longest part of it is waiting on the oil to heat up, because after that the oil cooks the dough super fast! If you aren’t opposed to frying food at home – I vote you try this. And even if you are normally not a big fry-foods-at-home-kinda-person… I still vote you try it. Believe me, they are delicious. Christy is a genius! Also, she has step-by-step instructions on this process on her blog, so check it out! 🙂

 

 

Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze

The first year that Christopher and I were married we cooked dinner together every night since it was something we both loved. However, after that first year, his work hours changed (from 7-4 to 8-5) and we started volunteering nearly every night which meant we had to be leaving our house by 6:30 nearly every evening. Not a lot of time for co-cooking to happen during the week. So these days most of our “together” cooking happens on the weekends (like our Friday night pizza night!) or late at night when inspiration strikes.

For example, earlier this week, late one evening Christopher decided that he needed to make scones. I said that we had leftover pumpkin puree in the fridge so we went straight to Pinterest and typed in “Pumpkin Scones”. It came up with hundreds of photos and links, but after going through several of them we realized that most of them were bloggers trying the same recipe. All with wonderful success. So we decided to go for it using the Brown Eyed Baker’s blog post as our starting point.

They. Were. Ah-mazing.

Pumpkin Scones
Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze

Ingredients:

For the Scones:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar in the raw
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger
6 tbsp cold butter
½ cup canned pumpkin
3 tbsp buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. In large bowl combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until it forms coarse crumbs.

3. In separate bowl whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently.

4. Pat into a 7 or 9 inch round and put into greased pie dish. Cut into 8 wedges and then bake for 15-17 minutes.

5. To make the spiced glaze, combine all of the ingredients for the spiced glaze. Drizzle over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving.

I hope you are able to resist these better than we could – we’ve made 4 half-batches of them this week alone! Granted, Oreo ate one batch (we left them out to cool unattended by accident) and I completely forgot to put baking powder in another batch (euuuw so gross!), but still! Two half-batches of these in one week! They are super delicious! 😀