Monday, July 21, 2014

Easy Bellini and Caprese Bruschetti Bites Recipes

Simple peach bellini recipe with a virgin option and Caprese Bruschetta Bites! 
easy bellini recipe
The Bellini is a classic Venetian drink made famous by Harry's Bar. I didn't get a chance to visit the iconic restaurant while we were in Venice, but I did get to taste a delicious Bellini at another restaurant, Ristorante San Stefano. It was perfectly fizzy, cold, slightly sweet, and refreshing. The good news is that bellinis are very easy to make at home, and can be made virgin by replacing Prosecco with sparkling water. The virgin recipe creates a fresh and healthy soda. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Venice, Italy Family Vacation

Part 2 of our Italian family vacation. Venice Italy. 
venice grand canal
While on our Italian family vacation we were staying in our house swap home on Lake Garda. Venice is only a 1-hour train ride away, so we just had to visit. Arriving by train is a great way to go, as the scenery is beautiful vineyards and that suddenly turn to water as the train approaches Venice. Before our trip I had major anxiety about someone falling into a canal. And then I read DesignMom's post, We Took 6 Kids to Venice and Nobody Fell in a CanalIt was just the reassurance I needed. Venice has a lot to offer families and small kids. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Venice with kids... 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Baked Zucchini Fries Recipe

baked zucchini fries
The zucchini plant just keeps on giving. The kids and liked the Parmesan zucchini chips I posted recently, but they were lacking some crunch. So this week we coated some thick zucchini spears/fries with panko breadcrumbs and baked them. I remember as a kid loving the deep fried zucchini dipped in ranch dressing at the local fair. These are a much healthier version but have the same qualities - salty crunch with a warm center!
baked zucchini
The girls liked these too. And Mr. Giraffe there. I added some sweet tomatoes from the garden to the plate for a tasty afternoon snack. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Easy Mint Chip Ice Cream Recipe

An easy no-cook mint chip ice cream recipe with vegan and low-sugar option. 
mint chip recipe
While we were in Italy we ate gelato every single day. I usually avoid sugar, but hey, when in Rome Italy.  
gelato

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Baked Zucchini Chips

A simple recipe for baked zucchini chips with Parmesan. 
zucchini chips
I thought I had a lot of summer squash before. But then we got home from Italy and after just two weeks the garden had grown wildly. So my quest to use up zucchini continues. This week I sliced a couple of zucchini into rounds, sprinkled them with Parmesan and a little salt and pepper and baked them. The kids (who aren't big zucchini lovers in general) gobbled them up and said they tasted like cheese crackers. Cheese crackers, only without all the refined flour and processed junk. These "chips" don't really get crispy crunchy, they are more like soft roasted zucchini, but the kids like them better when I call them chips, so chips they are. Maybe one day I'll invest in a food dehydrator and have some proper crunchy zucchini chips.
zucchini

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lake Garda, Italy {With Kids}

Lake Garda is a beautiful lake in northern Italy dotted with picturesque little towns. It's the perfect travel destination for families... or anyone! 
italy street
We're back home! We had a wonderful time in Italy, one of my favorite places in the world, but are happy to be home in our own beds. While in Italy we were based in Garda, Verona. Garda is a charming little town on Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy. It's about two hours east of Lake Como, and 1 hour West of Venice. It's an absolutely spectacular area; one you'll definitely want to add to your wanderlust Pinterest board. Let me show you around... 
garda
The lakefront is lined with tables luring passersby in for a cappuccino or Aperol spritz. The girls loved feeding the ducklings here while we waited for our food. I adore the car-free zones of many European cities. They are the perfect place for kids to run and play. 
italy kids
Where did we stay? We swapped our Santa Barbara home with a family in Italy. My mom came for a short visit and stayed at the Hotel Regina Adelaide. I highly recommend this beautiful hotel in in Garda - it's beautiful with large suites, a kind staff, and a killer breakfast buffet. The pool photo above was from the home. We really lucked out. cycling lake garda 
Though we have spent quite a bit of time in Italy before, this was our first trip with the kids, and our first visit to the lakes. We were nervous about the 11 hour flight with a 4 and 6 year old, and didn't know what to expect. The kids did great though. And Yummy Hubby was thrilled with Lake Garda, especially when he found out it is a cycling haven. Cyclists flock to the hilly landscape with stunning views. He rented a bike in Lazise (a town nearby) and rode almost every day. 
aperol spritz 
I, on the other hand, was busy sampling the local delights. Like the most popular drink in Italy right now, the Aperol Spritz. If you haven't tried it, Aperol is made by Campari, but is less bitter. The spritz is an aperitif made with Aperol and prosecco and finished with a slice of orange. It's a little sweet, a little bitter, and very refreshing! Recipe for an Aperol Spritz at the end of the post. italian pottery
5 of each, please! The outdoor markets in Italy are so much fun. Vendors line the streets with gorgeous pottery, clothing, gifts, and food. Our girls loved getting fresh calamari in a brown bag at the frito misto truck at the Friday market in Garda. Sadly, I didn't have enough space in my luggage for much of this lovely pottery. Next time I'm bringing an extra suitcase.


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