I'm Really Italian Now!

by Heather on June 24, 2010

This title needs explaining; I know this :)

Yesterday was another Vegan Overnight Oat & Banana Soft Serve combo, this time with a little peanut butter and cocoa powder mixed into the soft serve:

Again, delicious!  Honestly, it’s still kind of weird eating cold oatmeal, but the soft serve MAKES it!  Plus it keeps me full for hours :)  Yesterday was “ride your bike to work day” in Boulder, but I didn’t since I was still not feeling 100% and we take our dogs to work.  For some reason I just didn’t want to ride my bike 15 miles in with 2 huge dogs (crazy, I know)!  Either way, there was a massive bowl of fruit for everyone at the office, so I made sure to snag a bunch of cherries for a snack:

I’m really picky about the fruit that I eat, but these were amazing.  I love cherries!  Reminds me of the time in college that I was in a horrible mood (only happened once, right Nate? :)) and Nate got me a bag of cherries at the store.  We ate THE.ENTIRE.BAG in one sitting, and I loved it!  Anyway, they were good :)  Lunch was some leftover Spelt Berry, Black Bean, and Edamame Salad, a cubed grilled chicken breast, and about 1/2 a cup of Pineapple Salsa:

Heaven in a bowl! I love the chew of the spelt berries, and the salsa is seriously perfect:  sweet from the pineapple, but has just enough heat from the Rotel and the jalapenos.  Funny story about the spelt berries…I had HUGE plans to make Angela’s In a Jiffy Spelt Burgers, and, without reading the recipe, went to Whole Foods and bought 6 cups of spelt berries from the bulk bin.  That night I actually sat down to look at the recipe before dinner, and found out that she uses spelt flour, not berries, and I haven’t used them ever since.  So let that be a lesson to all of us:  make sure you read the recipe before buying the ingredients!

Another example is last night I was planning on using up 2 huge potatoes for Bell’ Alimento’s Gnocchi al Burro e Salvia (gnocchi with butter and sage sauce), but apparently missed the fact that it calls for fresh grated parmesan cheese.  What’s a food blogger to do when she is missing a key ingredient and has a hungry husband in the house?  Improvise!

OK.  I really just put myself out there for you guys…and I’m slightly embarrassed! I found those packets of “parmesan” in our cabinets and just hoped for the best!  While the potatoes were boiling for the gnocchi I cut them all open and put it in a tupperware container for later use.  Phew.  It’s out there, let’s move on shall we? :)  I decided to roast up some frozen broccoli:

And made a dijon-brown sugar glaze to bake some salmon in (I don’t recommend putting the parmesan on the salmon…yet another little kitchen mishap…):

And obviously the gnocchi.  OH THE GNOCCHI! I didn’t have fresh sage, so I used a small sprinkling of ground dried sage, and it was completely amazing!  I also browned my gnocchi a little bit (that’s just a preference of mine) in the butter, died, and went to heaven.  I also loved the feeling of boiling the potatoes, smashing them up, using my arm muscles to mix the flour and egg in, rolling it out, and cutting it.  It just felt so RUSTIC, you know?  If I had all the time in the world I would make my own pasta every single day, and love every second of it!  Because I’m really Italian now :)

Is it bad that I’m drooling still over this amazing dinner?

So there you have it:  despite the spelt berry mishap, the parmesan crisis, and the lack of fresh sage, I would call last night (and the night before) kitchen successes!  Plus I’m for-real-Italian…who could beat that?! :)

What’s the craziest thing you’ve used to sub in a recipe because you didn’t read the ingredient list carefully?


What food do you make that makes you feel AUTHENTICALLY part of that cuisine’s culture? I can’t really think of something that’s really CRAZY different than something on an ingredient list, mainly because I just decide to make something else if that’s the case…shows how adventurous I am, huh?  And I would say that rolling out pasta, kneading bread dough, and hand-stirring ingredients for both make me feel truly Italian, which I love.  Because, even though I might only be Italian by marriage, I FEEL Italian in my heart!

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather June 24, 2010

Oh boy-I’ve had to sub ingredients too many times to count! LOL!
As far as food that makes me feel authentically part of a cuisine’s culture:
Yumm. Hubby is from Louisiana, and the first time he took me there we stopped at a little restaurant, got a paper sack of crawfish, corn, and boiled potatoes, went to a park and ate.
So good.


2 Kelly June 24, 2010

I am terrible at subbing ingredients…I am trying to be more daring and creative though!


3 allieatfood June 24, 2010

Your overnight oats look sooo good! I haven’t tried overnight oats yet but I am interested in what they’d be like. Haha I cracked up at your improvising. Hey, I think that makes you a good cook to be creative!


4 Paula - bell'alimento June 24, 2010

Ah, Brava! They took so tasty! I love gnocchi and don’t make them nearly often enough {I’m a firm believer in using what you have on hand, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rolled the dice & hoped for the best tee hee, it’s part of the fun of cooking!} xoxo


5 Jessica @ How Sweet June 24, 2010

I don’t really make anything authentic, but anything Mexican makes me feel that way! And I have none of that in me…LOL..I’m all Irish!


6 Becki @ HikeBikeEat June 24, 2010

I used to live in Boulder! I miss those bike paths so much – Cali is seriously lacking.

I made a bread loaf and used whole wheat flour, wheat germ, walnuts, flaxmeal, and some other random things instead of just white flour. It was edible, but it weighed about 40lbs…


7 annenglish June 24, 2010

This looks amazing! I’ll never forget the first time I made gnocchi (and i’m Italian by blood)- i’d been making pasta, marinara and all sorts of other Italian foods since I was 8, but I was 24 when I first made gnocchi. It was an experience like no other- so satisfying!

To answer your question: GREEK FOOD! I’m practically Greek, anyway- my family is like the Italian version of the family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Now, if I could just find a John Corbett…


8 Jenny June 24, 2010

Gah. I keep posting as annenglish accidentally. Anyway, I forgot to add that one of my most shameful cooking mistakes had to be when I was about 9. I was making cookies, we had no vanilla, so I used vanilla ice cream instead. *headdesk* Fail.


9 Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes June 24, 2010

That oatmeal soft serve looks amazing!!!!!!!

I agree with everything you said about rolling pasta, etc. that make you feel Italian. I’ll add putting together a true antipasti platter to that list. And a Paella for Spain, for sure! xxSAS


10 lpskins June 24, 2010

you’ve done some serious cooking….. and please, we all have a hidden stash of restaurant condiments. Soy sauce anyone?


11 Stephanie Orr Midkiff June 24, 2010

Hi Heather! Found your blog the other day and love it! I love cooking but not so much baking because after eating one piece of ___ (insert dessert here) we have a whole dessert left and it just sort of sits there! But I’ve had several family birthdays lately and I’ve made from scratch: a Texas Sheet Cake and also a butter rum pound cake with bananas foster! It makes me feel like an authentic southern woman and I love it! I actually talk about those on my blog here: http://texas2nashville.blogspot.com/2010/05/rite-of-passage.html and here http://texas2nashville.blogspot.com/2010/05/butter-rum-pound-cake.html

Keep in touch! Stephanie


12 Anna June 24, 2010

Any time I made gumbo or Creole or Cajun food, I feel my Louisiana roots shining through :-)

I love it that y’all bring your dogs to work :-)


13 Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty June 24, 2010

Heather, your photos are gorgeous!

I was drooling over everything!! Well done!!



14 Heather C June 24, 2010

Oh I *rarely* have every ingredient that a recipe calls for! It’s too hard to keep all those random things in stock – improvising is key ;)

Those Ghnocci look so good! I have wanted to try making these from scratch with Sweet Potatoes – yummm.


15 Lindsay June 24, 2010

I really want to try to make gnocchi from scratch one of these days. It just seems so intimidating!

Once, when I was making homemade cinnamon almond butter, instead of grabbing the cinnamon bottle, I grabbed a big spice jar full of ground pepper, dumped it into the food processor, and processed away. I didn’t realize to later what I’d done to it! Needless to say, that nut butter was given the heave-ho pretty quickly.


16 Jen June 24, 2010

Yum, Yum, Yum!!!! So dang yumm, I don’t even know where to start!! I’m going to attempt overnight oats tonight and then do banana/peanut butter softserve to go with it in the morning. I was just sent a bunch of peanut butter samples and I need some creative ideas!!



17 Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries June 24, 2010

Wow. I am officially impressed! Gnochhi is soo good. You really are an authentic Italian now! =P


18 Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama June 24, 2010

Oh man… I am a total subber! That’s what I love about recipes, though. You can play around with them and create something amazing!


19 Jessica @ The Process of Healing June 24, 2010

Girl.. your dinner sounds SERIOUSLY amazing. The gnocchi, the salmon.. oh yum. can you come cook for me? please?


20 Run Sarah June 24, 2010

That gnocchi looks AMAZING, yum!!! Your lunch salad looks wonderful as well – I need to buy shelled edamame.


21 Lizz June 24, 2010

I like to brown gnocchi a little too. I’m not sure if it’s ‘supposed’ to be done like that or not. I’ve only had it in restaurants a handful of times, none of which seemed really authentic. I may just have to take a trip to Italy to see how it’s done!

Hmmm…what crazy substitution have I done?? Once I used powdered egg replacer with a brownie mix because we didn’t have any real eggs. It did NOT work!


22 Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) June 25, 2010

That gnocchi looks so good! I am mostly Italian, so I feel that I fit in with that cuisine, especially growing up in a house that was pasta-based, lol.

I hardly ever follow recipes to a T, I’m always improvising or making subs.



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