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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Sad End Of Gia-Gina In Italy/Across The Pond

I loved having this blog. I started it as a way to keep my family and friends in Seattle, Hawaii, Guam and elsewhere abreast of my comings and goings as I left Seattle for Italy in Jan of 2005. It was really a great way to keep in touch with everyone even as the blog evolved into a way for me to meet other expats all over the world. As I explored and immersed myself in the Italian culture I got a chance to share my thoughts and experiences with the blogging world. Support, goodwill and love flowed from the keystrokes of friends all over the globe. I will always be grateful to everyone who read, wrote and commented.

With two small babies to concentrate on, I really do not have time to keep up two blogs. So farewell to Gia-Gina in Italy and Gia-Gina Across the Pond. Deme and I will still eat, cook and live our lives but I think my job as a mom comes first and so if you want to continue reading about our family, come on over to our Sprog Blog.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sprog Number 2 Has Arrived!

Yes we are still remodeling and in spite of all the construction going on Lorenzo Yu decided to arrive, see the baby blog for updates. I predict a slow death for this blog after all the work on the condo has been done. Two babies in diapers will be a handful and I think one blog will be work enough.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

A Nice Mention

Newsflash: Remodeling still going on and Sprog #2 has not shown his face yet.

Amber tagged me for this post. Do I feel I am nice? Am I a good person? I have always thought that I am. I hate to self promote so I won't but in my heart of hearts I know I am a loving mom, wife, sister, daughter and friend. There are so many ways to express kindness I think. One can volunteer to hold babies in the NICU, cook a meal at a homeless shelter, pick up garbage in your neighborhood on Earth Day, send a card to someone you love or like, make a donation to a charity, the list goes on and on.

Over the years I have tried not to be too negative about my life in Italy as a foreigner. I opened myself up to making new friends and now I miss them all terribly. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Still I have so much to be grateful for. Thank you Amber for making me remember all these wonderful blessings in my life.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

We Have Fire!!!

Yesterday our stove was installed and we officially had fire! After 15 days of making scrambled eggs, oatmeal and frozen entrees in the microwave we cooked a real dinner last night. Deme and a friend placed a small bet about what type of pasta we were going to make first: carbonara or matriciana, I wanted to make carbonara but we didn't have any pancetta.

*click on images to see them larger.

This is the original 20 year old kitchen with white oak cabinets and black appliances.

We had the old cabinets removed and waited 4 weeks for the new ones to arrive. I choose simple maple wood cabinets for a clean and modern look.

After the new cabinets were installed, we had to wait until the counter tops could be fabricated.

We used a great guy named Yuri to supply and fabricate our counter tops. With the advice of Deme's friend Roberto, we got a great deal and great service. (Usually it takes 7-10 business days but he rushed the job for us seeing that I am pregnant.) We ended up purchasing two full slabs of Uba Tuba with enough leftover to have a counter top for the wet bar too.

Here is the kitchen sink with the holes pre-drilled for the faucet, the garbage disposal, the soap dispenser and hot water dispenser.

We started using the kitchen right away and as you can tell our counters are getting pretty full. I still have to go out and get a few small kitchen appliances like a blender, toaster, coffee grinder and mixer but I'm i no hurry at all.

We love the look of the dark granite with the dark floors and light colored counter tops, maybe I have a future in interior design.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Che Stress!

We have moved into a construction zone. The kitchen is half finished, one bathroom is out of order and there are still boxes everywhere. Progress is being made daily and things should be back to "normal" in 1-2 weeks. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

We are still waiting on the granite counter tops and they take a week to make. Luckily we have a microwave and refrigerator available. The stove, sink and dishwasher have to be installed after the counter tops so we think in a week the kitchen will be up and running.

Don't even ask what that tower in the corner is with all the wires sticking out from it. It's Demetrio's entertainment "project", enough said. BTW, this is our living room.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Look What I Found

Demetrio's half brother is named Alessandro. We Googled him last night and found him here.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Blood Oranges

A friend of ours who works a company that sells blood orange juice, asked me to take some photos for an ad campaign. I really could not do a good job as most of our camera and photography equipment is still in boxes. These however are a couple of the best images.

Blood oranges with lemons and limes.

Blood oranges with blackberries. We were trying to show how dark the flesh of the oranges are compared to the berries.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Remodel Updates!

More and more work is being completed, the new closets are in, the painting is done, the floors are done. We still have to finish the kitchen but the majority of the work is complete. Once by one we will complete each of the three bathrooms as well; one bathroom a month is our goal right now. We planned to move in the weekend of the 15th and 16th but without a kitchen we have postponed moving in until the end of the month.

Old closet 1 of 4

Old closet 2 of 4

New hallway closet 1

New master closet

New carpet to MIL apartment

Old fireplace

New fireplace with slate tiles. All the wires are Deme's entertainment center project in progress.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Fruits of My Labor 2

I won't be able to garden for much longer. Deme, V and I spent about an hour yesterday harvesting and cleaning up my garden patch. Thank you Deme!

This is my third cavolo nero harvest. Most of the time I just saute the greens over low heat and add chopped onion, garlic and oil. Other times I stew the greens with a bit of tomato and we eat it as a side dish. I plan to freeze a batch for ribolitta this winter.

We picked about 15 pounds of tomatoes yesterday and after Veronica went to bed last night I went into full sugo production. The tomatoes were nice a sweet since they had not been watered for over a week. They were also nice and ripe so I did not have to add sugar to my sauce.

Onions and garlic are the only other ingredients in my sugo. Other additions are oregano and tomato paste (if needed.)

It takes me about 2 hours from start to finish to make my sugo. I start by sauteing onion, garlic in good olive oil. When the onions are soft and golden, I add the tomatoes, skin and all to the pot and let it all cook and meld together. Add your herbs and season with salt and pepper. If your tomatoes are on the watery side, leave the cover off during the last hour to concentrate the sauce. When the sauce is finished I pass the sauce through a sieve to remove all the seeds and skins (this takes just a minute or two) and I am left with a very flavorful sauce that has a million uses. Try it today!

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Monday, September 03, 2007

The Fruits of My Labor

My mom tells me not to garden since the bending over and the strain might hurt me. I have gotten some help from friends with the weeding but I still water my garden once a week and try to get out there once or twice a week to pick tomatoes, artichokes, lettuce and salad greens and herbs. I have started planting my fall and winter crops but with the baby arriving soon I really have to cut back.

Baby zucchini and fresh salad and sauce tomatoes. The variety called "Mamma Mia" is very similar to San Marzano. Can you believe I have been picking 10+ pounds a week? Next year I will have to plant fewer plants.

I love misticanza and so does Deme. It is a great accompaniment to meaty dishes. When the salad greens go wild and bolt, I end up picking just the hearts of the escarole, endive, frisee, radicchio, chicoria and other greens.

All contents copyright 2004-2007.
All rights reserved.