July Favorites: Tuscany, Reese’s Brownie Cake, Farinata

July 18th, 2012 · Tags: Favorites · Food · Italy

I love lists and favorites, so I’m going to share a few which have caught my eye now in July. Are you a subscriber to my newsletter? There will be a few favorites in there which aren’t in this post, so sign up now! I’m also on Twitter @rossoSee past favorites.

Favorite Italy moment: 

Gina from Warm Pears is a wedding and portrait photographer who I’ve admired for years (and still have to meet in person). She does some amazing things with light, making her pictures seem timeless and soaked in the energy of the day. The photos she took at Val d’Orcia in Tuscany (with her iPhone!) really put you in the feeling of summer in Tuscany. Some day I hope to second shoot a wedding with her. You’ll also want to dive head first into her Rome category.

Love this one – traveling via train through Italy is a great way to see the countryside. You don’t always appreciate it, as this man evidences.

Favorite nostalgic eat: 

Before I moved to Texas for university, I hadn’t ever heard of queso. What a sad existence prior to that moment! I learned the delights of Velveeta + Rotel when making it at home (I even got some in an early care package to Italy), but now I would much rather turn to a homemade version of queso with whole ingredients like this Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce from Kitchen Simplicity. I’d spice it up with some homemade pico de gallo mixed in.

Favorite jam(s) of the moment (the audio kind):

UpWisin & Yandel (feat. Jennifer Lopez) – Follow the Leader - This is going to be a summer jam for sure – it feels like every year I have a Spanish song that’s a big jam for me (check out some past posts featuring summer music in Italy). Love the Parkour in the video, too. Get it on Amazon MP3.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmap94TcDNs]

Down: Still Going “Untitled Love” - a nice electro mix which keeps me focused. (Thanks to Delicious Days and her Tasty Music posts.) Get it on Amazon MP3.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsbN7m80rQ8]

Favorite thing I want just one piece to exist and not worry about leftovers being in my vicinity:

Chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream in the same bite? Yes, please! Chocolate Vanilla Frozen Cake from La Receta della Felicidad (recipe in English)

Favorite street food – farinata: 

I’ve been loving farina di ceci – chickpea/garbanzo bean flour and I regularly make chickpea pancakes for a quick lunch. But torta di ceci, or farinata (as I usually see it in Piemonte) is a delicious street food made with just chickpea flour, water, olive oil, and salt and pepper. You should definitely stand in line to buy it when you see the huge round pans bubbling with olive oil and this simple chickpea batter. Emiko Davies gets you closer to farinata on her site.

 Favorite Tutorial for the Perfect Hostess: 

I love a good cheese plate – in a few of my favorite restaurants I often order the goat cheese plate and I’m always delighted when they put dabs of honey, onion compote, raspberry jam, and other spreads to pair with the various cheeses (as well as nuts and dried fruits). If you can recreate this experience at home, you’ll be a lauded hostess. My tip: make the cheese plate the star of the evening rather than just an appetizer! That way your guests will really dive into each of the flavors without worrying about that steak or pasta dish they’ll have to squeeze in after. Joanna Goddard pairs with Murray’s head cheesemonger Sydney Willcox to give you the tips for the perfect cheese plate.

Favorite motivation: 

How to Finally Quit your Job from Harvard Business Review. It’s not for me – I just celebrated 2 years at my company, Automattic, and I’m loving it…but maybe you need that boost? Also, keep your momentum going and read the epic post I wrote “Stop Sabotaging Your Own Success: A Manifesto” on my tech site, When I Have Time.


Favorite Get in My Mouth Right Now: 

Bakers Royale and I apparently have the same dessert fantasies (did you see last month’s Snickers Cake?) and again, an ice cream cake sounds decadent to me for summertime. An ice cream cake that mixes two of my favorite things in the entire world….brownies and peanut butter cups? Sign me up. Now. No really, I would like a piece right now. Reese’s Brownie Ice Cream Cake from Bakers Royale.


Favorite DIY: 

Are you a fan of dry shampoo? I use a sulfate-free shampoo (which preserves the natural oils in your hair) and don’t wash my hair every day, so I think the idea of a dry shampoo for those really important days when you just need to refresh your hair without doing the whole shower-song-and-dance is essential. This DIY recipe for Dry Shampoo from ModCloth looks easy and fast!


What are your favorites this month? Do any of these inspire you? Let me know in the comments if you like my Favorites posts and I’ll keep doing them! :) 

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9 responses so far ↓

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  • 1
    Heather // Jul 19, 2012 at 2:37 am

    I love these photos! I especially love the photo of the guy sleeping on the train. I have a lot of great memories on trains and the view from that window looks very familiar.

  • 2
    Camels & Chocolate // Jul 19, 2012 at 4:20 am

    I need that chocolate cake in my life (and mouth) five seconds ago. Those sunflowers, too! Dreamy.

  • 3
    gina // Jul 19, 2012 at 9:32 am

    thanks for the lovely compliments ! and yes, we must meet soon!! :))

  • 4
    Marla // Jul 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Fun list..now I know what else I can do with some lavender oil I was given.

  • 5
    Tanja // Jul 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Hey, yes love your favorites and PLEASE keep doing them:)
    Love, T.

  • 6
    Arlene Gibbs Décor // Jul 20, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I love these posts.

    Big fan of Gina’s photography as well.

    I cannot believe J.Lo is in her 40s. She is working it.

  • 7
    Ms. Adventures in Italy // Jul 20, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Glad you guys are enjoying them – they are fun to do, too :)

  • 8
    Carla Coulson // Aug 1, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Great July favourites and Italian train travel I love it just the adventure!! My mode of transport in France also Gina’s pics are great will go and check her site.
    Carla x

  • 9
    Lucinda Keller // Aug 30, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Fantastic post! LOVE the sunflowers!

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