Fall in Love with Cortona!!

beautiful cortona

It’s difficult to say what captures your heart when you visit a place, but you might just fall in love with Cortona. Cortona is an artsy hill town on the Tuscan/Umbrian border. Many hill towns have been overrun by tourism, but Cortona’s  year round residents maintain it’s authenticity. Francis Mayes put Cortona on the map with her book, Under the Tuscan Sun.  The story of a recently divorced woman whose spontaneous purchase and of a crumbling villa in Italy, restores and revives her own broken heart. Cortona is also a favorite destination of Jordan Schlansky, Conan O’Brian’s quirky producer and Italianfile. I spent 4 days in Cortona and it left a strong impression.

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Baba Ganoush- The Bean-Free Hummus Alternative

delicious baba ganoush dip

I don’t like eggplant. I admit it!!! It’s one of the only vegetables I struggle with. Eggplant can taste bitter, greasy, or cause digestive problems. Oddly enough, I’ve ALWAYS loved Baba Ganoush , a hummus-like Middle Eastern dip made with………eggplant.

Eggplant works perfectly in this dip, lending a smoky flavor and creamy texture. It’s neither bitter nor greasy and it’s easier to make than traditional chickpea hummus. Having reduced my intake of beans (to nearly nothing), this healthy Baba Ganoush dip has become my FAVORITE bean-free hummus alternative.

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Hiking the Dolomites with REI

Hiking the Dolomites with REI

The Dolomites, situated in Northwest corner of Italy on the Austrian border, are considered one of the most a beautiful mountain landscapes in the world.  Once known as the “Pale Mountains”, this natural paradise was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2009. In early July, my husband and I treated ourselves to a week hiking the Dolomites with REI (outdoor adventure company) and are still giddy from the experience. Sipping cocktails poolside sounds relaxing but active trips can be life-changing. When my heart was racing after 2 hours of vertical climbing, I felt completely present and at peace. The alpenglow colors illuminating the rocks at sunset, the emerald pastures, greenish-blue lakes, flowering meadows, vertical walls, and cragged peaks make this one of the most remarkable mountain ranges to explore. If you aren’t convinced yet, keep scrolling…..

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Kale n’ Quinoa Salad and Adding Greens to Your Diet

Kale salad with Quinoakale n quinoa salad

Are you getting enough greens? Most people will answer “no” to this question which is why I’m posting this vibrant and nutritious Kale n’ Quinoa salad.Recent research estimates that the optimal intake for reducing our risk of heart disease and early death to be around ten servings of fruit and vegetables a day” (source). We know we need to eat more greens but isn’t it easier to grab a hamburger, fries, or slice of pizza?

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My Favorite Tips on How to Travel as a Vegan

how to travel as a vegan

Traveling as a Vegan Has Gotten Easier

I used to worry a lot about how to travel as a vegan. And, at times, those worries were justified. But, mostly traveling as a vegan ends up being fun and easy. In fact, some of my FAVORITE vegan meals have come unexpectedly from restaurants around the world. Not only are more countries adopting vegan friendly attitudes but environmental sustainability is moving plant based eating into politics all over. In fact, Portugal recently passed a law requiring all civic restaurants to offer a vegan option. This law is intended to promote healthier eating, decrease harm to animals, and reduce long term environmental impact (source). Personally, it’s been my dream here in the U.S., but I’m thrilled it’s starting somewhere. This EXCITING news is music to my ears and makes me more eager than ever to plan a trip to Portugal next year.

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Summery Gem Lettuce Salad – And How to Make a Dinner Party Sparkle!

summer gem lettuce saladeasy summer salad

My neighbor Ann is amazing! Despite being in her 80’s (and still working part-time as a lawyer) she’s my entertainment guru. Whether she’s throwing a holiday gala, decadent dinner party, or casual drop-by of wine and nibbles she entertains with grace, charm and elegance. She always sets a beautiful table and serves wonderful food making her fêtes very memorable. At her last dinner party, she served this stunning gem lettuce salad to the oohs and ahhs of all her guests. Not only was this salad well received but not a leaf of lettuce was left. Now, I’m sharing this beautiful salad here.

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A Quick Trip to Cabo: with Insider Tips

a quick trip to cabo

When my husband and I first began dating, he treated me to a trip to Cabo San Lucas. I’d never been to Mexico and was instantly charmed by it’s perfect (dry) weather, gorgeous beaches,  warm people, and vibrant colors. Mexicans have a way of making you feel “at home”, as well as making the best margaritas! We stayed at the original Sol y Mar, a simple hotel on the Pacific tucked against the terracotta rocks. I drank my first strawberry margarita at the swim-up bar which overlooked the beautiful beach. This is where I fell in love with Cabo!

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Muhammara and the Joy of Sharing Meze

vegan mezze dip

Have you ever tasted Muhammara? Even heard of it? If not…you’re not alone! I learned about Muhammara on a trip I took to Turkey several years ago. Istanbul is a fun and dynamic city with tons of history, culture, beauty, and personality. The people are warm and engaging and the food is some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

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