Sunday, August 15, 2010

Keep It Simple....Stupid

I may have to change the name of this blog from Dolce Vita to the Matta Vita, meaning, the Crazy/Looney Life.  So much has been going on and not enough time to scratch my butt let alone write a blog entry.

First things first:
1.  Finally working as a photographer and I am COMPLETELY pumped about it!
2.  Ryan and I are settling nicely into our new digs!
3.  Grad school starts up again in a week
4.  Nutcracker and Dance Cincinnati rehearsals are filling my schedule

This is why I need a breather, I am carrying 3 part timers, plus the dance company, plus school.  I am creating a mantra for myself of "Keep it Simple."  A boss of mine a few years back added the stupid...but, that isn't positive at all!  It reminds me that it is simple things in life that will keep me going:  smiling while dancing (it really does manipulate the way you dance), meditating, and cooking basics.

This is leading me to the recipe of Pesto I just created.  I read somewhere to keep your leafy greens from spoiling, blend them into a pesto.  Awesome idea!  Ryan just devoured most of our spinach this week leaving barely enough for a salad after you weed out the slimy pieces so here it is:

Mixed Greens Pesto:

1/4 cup of olive oil
2-3 Garlic Cloves
Handfull of Walnuts (or Pine nuts depending on your mood).
Assorted Greens (mine today were:  Spinach, Arugula, and Basil).
Juice of half a Lemon

Toss all in the food processor till you get a rough but creamy consistency.  I guestimated on the oil--like an old Italian lady--I really just add until it tastes right.  But this is the beauty of using limited ingredients!  Simplicity is AWESOME.

Have an awesome week Foodies, Friends, Yogis, and Others....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A test of Patience: Limoncello

For some reason this summer--I got a bug up my butt about making Limoncello, an Italian dessert liqueor.  I found the recipe at Not Knowing...and Trusting Anyhow Blog after long hours researching on Google.

I am not going to write a full blog entry on this, because hers is pretty awesome:  click here.

In her article, she writes that Limoncello is a test of Patience.  Yes it is indeed.  You need the patience to basically filet lemon peels for days.  You need patience when the cashier at Jungle Jims gives the wierd face when you come to the register with 20 organic lemons in the first place, let alone, pick them out by hand to make sure they aren't blemished on the peel (the peel is what makes this little tasty treat anyway).

The ultimate patience is waiting while the peels soak in the vodka.  Then adding the sugar.  Then waiting some more.

In the end, this is what the equation and time chart for my first batch looks like:

May 31st:  Bought Lemons and Vodka.

June 3 9:00 PM - 12:00AM:  Peel lemons (and talked to my friend Kevin on speaker phone before went to work 3rd shift.)

June 4th:  7:00 AM - 8:30 AM  Peel Lemons (ironically, again, spoke to Kevin on speaker phone when her got off 3rd shift and proceeded to tell me that he will making a complimenting citrus bunt cake to compliment the limoncello when it is ready.)


July 15th:  Added the Simple Syrup to the lemon/vodka mixture (I about forgot all about it and then re-read the recipe only to find that I needed to wait another 2 weeks before straining).

July 28th:  Strained, bottled, froze, then sampled the finish product--NOT TO BAD!!

So now I have 3 liters of goodness for Ryan and I to share with friends and I am probably going to make a mother load batch in October for Christmas festivities....

Friday, July 23, 2010

So much to do and not enough time

Ryan and I are moving.

I am studying for the Praxis.

Just accepted a new job in my field (PHOTOGRAPHY).

Dancing my butt off and continuing to deal with pain from my ankle sprain.

That is about it.

More Dolce Vita to come when my life settles down in a week and a half....(okay, maybe 2 weeks or 3).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Weekend Roadtrip, Yoga Therapy Balls, and NEW FOOD!!

Ryan and I went up to Sandusky, OH this weekend to go play at Cedar Point.  All was good, a few bumps in the road while trying to get up there on Friday night (tractor trailer accident and stuck behind a train).  We spend all day there on Saturday (12 hrs) and I road pretty much all the big ticket rides.  I woke up Sunday to a terrible back ache.  I couldn't decipher whether it was the air mattress that Ryan and I slept on at the camp grounds or if it was riding some serious rides that day.  I am personally blaming it on Mean Streak, the equivalent to King's Islands "The Beast" which is the longest wooden roller coaster.  This thing was just down right rough.  So much so, that it wasn't even enjoyable.  I like roller coasters but this thing was tossing me around in the car the entire time.  My lower back is crying.

I couldn't really touch my toes on Sunday.  As a dancer, this is bad.  Which is why I need to do a shout out to the folks at Gaiam along with Rodney Yee for creating Yoga Therapy Balls.  Its like self massage and yoga all in one and it really has begun to release the tension in my back.  I can at least touch my toes again!  Thank goodness!  But it is definitely still stiff so I believe I will be doing this therapy for the next week or so.  I didn't even attempt to go ballet technique class yesterday.

So I have a New Recipe the I learned from one of my managers at work:

Tuna with Lemon, Garlic, and Spinach.
This is really a quick simple recipe that was originally made for Salmon, but, I had tuna steaks in my freezer instead.  I think this would be great with a white fish like Halibut, Cod, or Tilapia.  I would even venture to say this would be a great way to cook scallops but Ryan won't eat those.


2 Tuna Steaks
1 Lemon
1 bag of Spinach
4-6 Garlic Cloves, peeled, whole
Salt and Pepper

1.  Preheat your oven to 375.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place fish in the center.
2.  Use the juice of one half of the lemon and squeeze over fish and add salt and pepper at your discretion.  Slice the other half of the lemon and place slices on top of the fish.
3.  Place Garlic around the fish and dump the bag of spinach on top of the fish.  Wrap all the foil around this modge podge of food to create a little packet (this will basically steam/cook the spinach).
4.  Cook in the oven for 17 minutes.  I did mine longer because my tuna steaks were still a little frozen but I should have kept it at 17 minutes because like regular steak, I like my tuna steak a little rare.

Another delicious and QUICK meal.  Perfect ending to a long day accompanied by a Cabernet from Chile.

The usual suspects, Jack and Spike--checking out the food.  They love tuna.  They basically do this every time we have dinner to see if we will feed them anything, which, generally doesn't happen.  They are just so darn cute!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Directions and Name Changing

Reasons for the change and purpose of this blog:
1.  I am deciding to put good things and positive energy out in the world rather than constant whining (so I won't even get into my sprained ankle situation with ballet--all you need to know is that it is under control)
2.  I love food.  I love to eat out and I LOVE to cook.  Because of this, my coworker Holly and I chat about new recipes CONSTANTLY.  She told me I should blog about cooking and discoveries.
3.  Dolce Vita, as we all know, is Italian for the "Sweet Life."  And let's face it, I have a pretty sweet life when you don't hear about the drama.

I am trying to cook more naturally and am trying a lot more vegetarian recipes.  The reason being is I have hit a weightloss plateau and I am trying to re-ingnite with more cardio and more physically demanding aspects besides my ballet training.  Tonight I swam 950 yards at the Y with Ryan and came home to cook this quick and easy recipe from Vegetarian Express by Rose Eliot called

Polenta with Artichoke Hearts and Fresh Tomato Sauce

8 oz of quick cooking Polenta*
Salt and Pepper
14 oz can of Artichoke Hearts
4-6 Sprigs of Fresh Parsley
1 oz of Parmesan Cheese

For the Sauce
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced (original called for one, but, I like garlic)
1 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato puree (I use tomato paste and worked great)
14 oz can tomatoes in juice
salt and pepper
Red pepper to taste (optional)

1.  First the Sauce:  Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan and add onions and garlic until SOFT not carmelized (5-7 minutes) then stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and red pepper until it thickens (15 minutes
2.  Boil water for the Polenta and cook according to instructions on the packaging (I used Dell'Alpe Instant Polenta) then stir in artichoke hearts and parsley.
3.  Dish Polenta out into Bowls--add some Parmesan Cheese--and Top with the Tomato Sauce.  Quick and Easy!  And Ryan went back for seconds

*Polenta is basically Italian grits--I will be further investigating this "peasant dish turned gourmet treat"

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

This and That

*The solution to my family is to just ignore it.  Is the problem going away?  Probably not.  But at the end of the day--I cannot put my time and energy into making sure I live MY life the way THEY want me to.  SO--after tears and meltdowns and sound advice from Judi and Meridith--I just need to get away.  Though my parents live 5 minutes down the road--I am going to continue on.....but I have Santa Fe in my sights for Ryan and I--that's our place of compromise for moving.  Bonus:  No Allergies in the Desert!

*For some crazy reason this morning, I woke up with my eyes swollen and puffy.  Allergy season is over and this shouldn't be the cats.  Why would it start now???  I accidently rubbed my eye last night after dinner with traces of jalapeno juices on it I presume--may that's it.

*Due to stress or whatever--had a meltdown/fit on the bike on Sunday.  Ryan took me riding through Western Hills to get where we needed to go.  Fell trying to unclip at Boudinot and Queen City in the middle of the intersection.  Pissed.  Proceeded down Queen City--Scared shitless riding down the hill gripping my breaks with crazy ass drives zooming by--couldn't unclip in time for a traffic light--paniked--cried--Ryan caught me and I unclipped.  I then proceeded to get pissed.  Chucked the bike in the grass.  Cried more and proceeded to tell Ryan not to take me in this "Fucking Traffic" ever again until I'm ready.  I was livid and not ready.  I had no idea this is what he had planned for the ride.  He felt terrible.  I was being a bitch.  He didn't deserve that.  It takes a special person to deal with me (and well, my family).  He's a keeper.  I promised I wouldn't yell it him while riding because that's all I ever seemed to do while we ran.  Hopping back in the saddle for the TT tonight.

*Shot more photos in Spring Grove.  Have some good ones.  Ryan came with me.  All 200ish are edited, but, mostly not web friendly yet so I need to fix that (whoops).  I also am expecting a phone call from the gallery today (yay?!?!).

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Priorities, To Dos, and Tears.

I'm just going to start out this post was inspired by priorities and perspectives--and that has become a more prominent issue in this past year more so than ever before.  I turn 26 in a little over a week--and--I am officially putting my foot down.  I am an adult--have been technically for the last 8 years but I would argue for only half the time (living at home with your parents during undergrad is not the exact definition of adulthood so it does not count),

Priorities the Way it needs to be in my mind:
1.  School
2.  Ryan
3.  Work
4.  Ballet and Art (tied because they both make me happy equally and challenge me equally).

Priorities the Way my Parents Want it to be:
1.  School
2.  Work
3.  Ryan
4.  Art
5.  Ballet

The Way it Actually is Right Now:
1.  Ballet
2.  Work
3.  Ryan
4.  School
5.  Art

I keep wondering how I got here.  I am happy and unhappy.  The only person who really truely sees my misery beneath the front I put up is Ryan (why he isn't number one on any of these lists isn't fair for the amount of bullshit he puts up from me and the rest of my family that drives him nuts)--I shouldn't have to be torn the happy and unhappy place the way that it is.  God love my parents, and I do, they raised me in a good home and made sure that I had the best but it needs to stop.  The only way I can describe my relationship with my parents (yes it is now both parents) is a constant state of disagreement, different places, different lifestyles, and in their minds, different priorities.  I want to have a good relationship with them but it is hurting me more than it is helping.

As much as they say, "Stop comparing yourself to your sister," it's hard not to when she has set a standard that has become a double standard.  I realize situations are different and I am not going to bash my sister by none the least because she has worked hard for everything she has:  her job, her home, her family, and her body.  But Jesus expectations are so different.  Lori has never truely worked and gone to school--yes she ran on a XC and Track Scholarship along with Academics and managed to get her Master's paid for by the athletic department at Wright State--there is the arguing the girl has worked.  There was a time where I worked 7 jobs in one year during college.  SEVEN!?!?!  I had to pay for sorority, and books, and art supplies, and formal dresses.....everything.  I pushed through and hardly slept and partied when I could and still made bad decisions and got GREAT grades by standards of DAAP.

I am still having this fight.  My mom and dad would like me to pick up ANOTHER job.  Yes I realize retail doesn't pay the best--but--I can't really get anything else right now.  Lori didn't have a real job until she got her masters.

I'm just frustrated.  I know the situations are different.  It ultimately comes down impracticality.  My life is impractical according to my family (especially the ones that live here in Cincinnati).  I do not know how much more I can take and how much more venting I can do to Ryan (or the Amy's, or Tara, or Mario and Meridith, or Judi)---it's not fair that I have to live it much less them hear about it all the time.

I have loving parents.  Why can't they just accept my situation and be happy for me instead of always bringing me down....isn't it supposed to be the other way--you know--lift me up.