Valentine’s Day Cookies and Milk

Happy Valentine’s Day!

When you think about V-Day, what comes to your mind? C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E! Chocolate gets the spotlight, front and center of every possible dessert creations. However, there are many other dessert-like dishes that can be created on this sweet day. Here is one of my favorites. Great for couples to share, for single friends to sip and enjoy together, and for families to slurp with children. It is super fun, easy, and cute!


This is what you will need:

  • 1 Gallon of milk (choose your favorite nonfat, 1% or 2% or whole)
  • Sugar cookie dough (buy your favorite brand. Just make sure that it has direction for making it into a rolled out cookie dough).
  • Red food coloring
  • Heart shaped cookie cutter
  • Round shaped cookie cutter (or anything other round shaped item that you can use to cut out cookies)
  • Milk bottles or shooter glasses or vintage looking glass
  • Vintage paper straws



1)     Preheat oven by following the directions on cookie dough package

2)    Follow cookie dough directions for rolled dough.

3)    Roll out your dough and cut your cookies. I made round cookies and then cut the center with a heart shaped cookie cutter.

4)    Bake your cookies and once done set aside to cool.  PS: you can also bake all the heart shaped cut outs and freeze them. Use them to decorate cupcakes or any other dessert at a later time.

5)    Pour your milk in a pitcher.

6)    Add one drop of red food coloring.

7)    Mix. If too light of a pink, add one more drop.  Go slowly so that you can achieve your perfect hue.

8)    Pour the milk in the individual glasses.

9)    Place straw and place 2-3 cookies on the straw.

10)  Repeat for each glass.

A perfect treat for a day filled with love, no matter who is by your side.

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An Independence Day Food Extravaganza: Fourth of July Recipes

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays in the United States. Growing up in Italy, I would only see it on TV. It was when I moved to the United States that I discovered the fun, energetic and patriotic spirit of the people celebrating Independence Day. What intrigued me even more was the variety of foods available during the celebration. From pies, to pizzas, to pigs in a blanket, everything sounded too delish to be true. As we are about to celebrate the 4th of July for 2013, I thought to share with you some of my favorite recipes that will delight your palate.

On the 4th of July, start your day with a patriotic breakfast.


What better way than using the red, blue and white colors of our flag? Mix your favorite Greek yogurt with blueberries, raspberries and almonds bits. Drizzle with honey and enjoy.

As lunch rolls in, you want to be able to have something easy that requires little work.  A sandwich seems a perfect solution. Call it PANINI and you have a winner! Is it finger food? Entree? No matter what, it will delight your taste buds.


You can use your imagination and make any of your favorite combinations. One of my favorite Panini assemblages is grilled bread, fresh tomatoes and basil with mozzarella. Stack of the ingredients and then place in a Panini press. If you don’t have one, just use your pan and press the Panini down with something heavy (i.e. smaller pan). However, your possibilities are infinite. Brie, pears and honey mustard is a perfect ten for a Panini.  As a side, you can serve veggies, salads, chips, kale chips, baked veggie etc.

As dinner roll in, the 4th of July screams ground meat! Specifically, burgers and meatballs. Burgers have always the spotlight, so today, we will focus on the underdogs:  Meatballs!


If you want to keep it leaner, use ground turkey. Otherwise, you can use ground beef. In a bowl, mix ground meat with your favorite seasoning. I usually use a chipotle based seasoning because of the smoked flavor. Add, one egg, a half a cup of bread crumbs (or panko or oatmeal), fresh herbs (especially sage and rosemary). Mix everything together. With your hands, form small balls and line on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake is oven for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Serve hot or cold with your favorite sauce.

Of course we cannot forget about dessert.  This is the time to indulge. Buy your favorite desserts. The ones that you wish you could eat every day . The ones that make your eyes roll. And enjoy!

HAPPY 4th of JULY!




Lucca, Italy:Your Honeymoon Destination

When it comes to preparing for your wedding, there is nothing more exciting than choosing the place where you will spend your first moments together as husband and wife.  If you are anything like me, you will probably make a long list of exotic locations which will make your choice even more difficult. Allow me to make it easier for you. Let me do the picking. I choose ITALY! Why you ask? Well, let me tell you why a honeymoon under the beautiful Tuscan sky will make the beginning of your life together even more memorable. Italy is synonym with romance. This is the country of Romeo and Juliette. This is the country of eternal love. Everything in Italy screams “romance.” As you walk through the old towns, you will live and breathe history together and you will partake in some of the most beautiful sightseeing that you have ever seen.  Every day you will feel like you are in a dream, and what better way to live a dream but next to the love of your life. Italy’s food is an aphrodisiac. Your palate will indulge in flavors that you have never experienced before. From the beautifully hand-crafted pastries, to the hand-tossed pizza, you will share the culinary beauties of Italy while looking into each other’s eyes. Guiltless. Free to indulge.  Can you already picture yourself, holding hands, and staring into each other’s eyes? Do you need more convincing? If yes, let me also show you a possible location and accommodation. If you have never been to Italy and would like to have a more romantic-quite vacation I would like to suggest to you to go and stay in Lucca. Awww, Lucca! Only thinking about it gives me googley eyes.

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Lucca is a Roman city surrounded by 10 feet tall walls on which you can walk, stroll, run, bike. It is surrounded by Tuscan hills on one side and by the Tirreno Sea on the other side. It is the city of Puccini (for all you Opera fans!). It is close to Florence, but not as hectic, and it is perfect for a romantic, quiet and intimate honeymoon. You can take day trips to different destinations such as Pisa (only 15 minutes away), Siena, Florence and the Chianti. Depending on the season of your travels, you can explore vineyards, taste different Chianti specialties and indulge in the great flavors of Tuscany. And, if you are more adventurous, you could hike the mountains and trails, and explore the small villages on the hills. I am telling you, it is a perfect destination for your honeymoon. You have my word.   Lucca has everything for everyone. And how about staying at your own apartment-villa? Here is your accommodation.

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{Villa Rosa Dei Venti}

The Villa is immersed in Lucca’s verdant country side ideal for walking or biking. The historic downtown of Lucca and the central train station are only 2 km away, thus reachable even by walking. The owners of the Villa have different luxury packages available, and everything can be customized to your personal liking. From private dinners, to wine tasting, to shopping at luxury brands stores, your vacation will not skip a beat. For more information please contact Bridal Hot List.

Whatever your dream honeymoon may be, there is nothing better than Italy to begin a new journey with the love of your life.

Love + Delicious food = Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day is approaching, and if you are anything like me, you are probably dreaming of mountains of chocolate, filled with trees of cotton candy and flowers shaped like cupcakes. If you are anything like me, you probably cannot wait to devour something succulent, delicious and unforgettably chocolaty. And of course….if you are anything like me, you probably considering eating your hearts out side by side with the love of your life! After all, it is Valentine’s day. There are specific treats that are fit for a Valentine’s Day celebration. Here are my top choices.


Dark Chocolate Ganache with cream filling. Coco Sala, Washington, D.C.

Dark Chocolate Ganache with cream filling. Coco Sala, Washington, D.C.

Never take chocolate for granted. The greatest ingredient that nature can offer, it is a VIP of culinary creativity. Versatile, creative and used in a myriad of recipe, it leaves your taste buds always crying for more. So what to do on a Valentine’s day celebration? Visit a chocolate boutique specialized in deserts.

When visiting a chocolate boutique/restaurant, the menu will leave you speechless. Literally. You will want to order everything the menu lists.

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Artfully Chocolate in Del Rey, Alexandria, VA

I feel that hot chocolate deserves a category on its own. It is the perfect Valentine’s day drink as it calls for snuggles and warm embraces. Plus, you can make it at home or venture out in finding the best hot chocolate in town. There is nothing better than a sweet adventure.  So what about a Strawberry White Hot Chocolate?

Or a Wasabi Dark Belgium Chocolate?


Georgetown Cupcakes, Georgetown, Washtington, D.C.

Georgetown Cupcakes, Georgetown, Washtington, D.C.

You cannot go through Valentine’s day without cupcakes. Indulge!

One single cupcake can be shares, devoured or savored bite by bite, all, while in each other’s company!

So Bite In!

Ice Cream

If you are like me, you cannot live without ice cream. Being Italian, gelato has always been like water in my life, INDESPENSABLE!

Ice Cream

Ice Cream

From custards, to frozen yogurts, to soft serve or gelato, ice cream is another perfect fit desert for Valentine’s Day. It is during this day that you can allow yourself to try new flavors.

So this Valentine’s Day, don’t hesitate to increase your level of sweetness intake. It will be worth your while, as long as you also generate some output of good old L.O.V.E!!

Happy V-Day!!

Healthy Super Bowl Party Ideas

Super Bowl Sunday is here. The party is about to begin, and all you can think of is how to avoid stuffing yourself with all those delicious salty, sugary and saucy Super Bowl snacks. After all, you have been getting in shape,working out and eating well, all in preparation for your wedding day. But, do not despair. Just because you have opted for a healthier life style, it does not mean that you have to give it up for one day. Follow these easy steps and you will have a great time without the guilt!

Step One: Preparation

Make all your food ahead of time. Focus on what you made for yourself, and don’t go looking for something else.

Step Two: Variety

Avoid the one type food thing. You know it will lead you right in the trap. Before you know it, you will be reaching for the chips and salsa and pigs in a blanket.

Step three: Don’t Eat for the Sake of Eating

Keep your focus on the game. Not the food.  In this case, you have more than one game to look for….the Super Bowl and your Wedding Day.

To help you stay on track, here are some easy and healthy recipes:

Dip without the Guilt

We all love the fatty, delicious and high calorie dips. But guess what? You can still have dip without all that! Yes it is possible.

Mint/Basil Greek Yogurt dip

Mint/Basil Greek Yogurt dip

Mint/Basil Greek Yogurt dip

Here is how to prepare it:

  1. Chopped fresh mint
  2. Chopped fresh basil
  3. Non fat Greek Yogurt

Can it be any easier? Paring with Cucumbers, Carrots and Celery for a crunchy snack!

Crunch without the Guilt

Have you heard of the wonder world of Kale? Kale is a power food, full of fiber and vitamins. Most importantly, when baked right, it becomes the best crunch you will ever crave. The good news? You can have bowls after bowls and not have one ounce of regret!

Kale Chips

Kale Chips

How to prepare Kale Chips:

  1. Chop some fresh Kale
  2. Toss with salt and olive oil
  3. Spread on a baking sheet
  4. Cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then broil for another 5 minutes
  5. Enjoy!

For the Sweet Tooth

You will never believe it, but this is not your average pudding. Not at all. The main ingredient? Avocado! Believe me, you won’t even taste it. This will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Choc-ado Pudding

Choc-ado Pudding

Choc-ado Pudding

Here is how to prepare this yummy treat:

  1. In a food processor or blender, add one avocado, chocolate powder (the one without sugar), and honey
  2. Blend
  3. Chill for one hour
  4. Devour




I am not going to lie. You have to stay away from the soda, the alcohol and the mixed drinks. Don’t worry, there are other options.  With the following substitutes, you will not feel the craving and you will still enjoy the party spirit.

  1. Lemon Spritzer: Sparkling Water with lemon
  2. Steamers: Warm drinks which will delight you. Here is how:
    • Microwave some milk
    • Add sugar free vanilla syrup (or any other syrup)
    • Dress up with a cinnamon stick
    • Sip to your life
  3. Cappuccino
    • Hot milk, Foam and Espresso. This sophisticated drink is the party VIP.