About Me

9.26.2016

The Best of Both Worlds - Italian & Spanish



Get the best of both worlds, learn more about Italian vs. Spanish cooking and get the recipe for two amazing dishes!



The Differences Between Italian Cooking vs. Spanish Cooking


Two of the most popular ethnic foods in America are Italian and Spanish, but learning how to cook them in an authentic manner often seems impossible. The range of spices and ingredients are very different, but an equal amount of effort is required to refine the skills needed to comfortably impress your next dinner guests. Below are a few of the main differences in Spanish and Italian cooking, as well as how you can develop the skills to bring these types of favorite foods to your table.

Chorizo vs Classic Italian Sausage

The differences in the taste of Italian and Spanish food lies in the abundant variation of spices used in the base ingredients. Chorizo is one main staple of Spanish cooking that sets it apart from Italian. Rather than using a spicy pepperoni, salami or Italian sausage, Spanish versions of soups, pizza and stews use the rich smoky flavor of cured chorizo. Dishes such as
Seafood and Chorizo Paella are the best example of the difference between using Spanish ingredients to make a dish vs. Italian ones.  



Manchego vs Italian Cheese Blends

Cooking both types of foods often call for cheeses of various types, but Spanish dishes seem to prefer the use of the slightly sweet and nutty Manchego. It is normally sliced thinly, just as Italian blends, but the flavor enhances a wider variety of foods. The popularity of Manchego makes it a staple for eggs, meats and pasta dishes alike. The heavy use of tomato based sauces in Italian cuisine call for the use of saltier and tangy cheese varieties, such as Romano and Parmesan.
Rustic Vegetarian Italian is a good example of appropiate use of cheese in Italian cooking.  


Appetizers and Light Foods

Spanish appetizers, brunch and light food items are in a dimension all their own. They are generally filling, without being over the top in both flavor and richness. Dishes like tortillas, which is a baked omelette, are satisfying to the palette, without the guest being overpowered in flavor. Italian light foods tend to be heavier, bolder in spice and rich. Italian stuffed pasta shells are a fine example of the extravagant splendor of light Italian cooking done right.


Serrano vs Parma Ham

Thinly sliced ham is common in both Spanish and Italian cooking, but the rich texture and flavor of Serrano makes it versatile. Parma is favored as a snack to be eaten alone in Italy, but it works just as well as a topping for pizza and pasta dishes. Serrano is also treasured as a stand-alone treat, but it is used in a variety if pasta and casserole dishes that are near and dear to authentic Spanish food lovers worldwide.


Availability of Fresh Produce

The drive to learn how to cook Italian and Spanish foods used to be based largely on the cost and seasonal availability of the fresh produce required for authenticity in taste. The import of fresh produce during all seasons has made it possible to experiment and learn how to cook either one affordably. There are some recipes that allow for preserved produce, but the difference in the results can be detected by the true fan of authentic Spanish and Italian foods.


Difficulties in Learning to Cook Italian and Spanish Foods

Grabbing a cookbook and trying to throw together a wholesome, great tasting meal with true Italian or Spanish flavor is hard without any real professional experience. It is worth investing in sound cooking technique instruction, utilizing the experience and skills of cooks that are well-known in their field of expertise. Consider bringing a professional cook to your location to walk you through the preparation, cooking and serving of an authentic Spanish or Italian meal. You can impress all of your friends and family with your newly acquired cooking skills.


Make a Special Event Even Better

Birthdays, holidays, wedding receptions and any special event involving a shared meal can be made even better by providing a true taste of Italy or Spain. You have the ability to help plan everything from the appetizers, main course and dessert. You can enjoy professional guidance in planning by a seasoned chef that can design the perfect meal plan for either Spanish or Italian food. The authentic flavor of the foods and attractive presentation will take your event to a whole new level of fun.


Experience the Difference

The best way to really learn the differences in Spanish and Italian cooking is to experiment with both and see which results you and your family prefer. Both have their own unique challenges, but the proper instruction and guidance will help you learn quickly and easily.



Thanks to CozyMeal for sponsoring today's discussion.

9.22.2016

The Perfect Fall Meal: Gluten Free Salisbury Steak & Idahoan #SignatureRussets Mashed Potatoes

I've partnered with Idahoan on this sponsored post and all opinions stated are my own.


You know, some days you just need a meal that feels hardy and "hits the spot". With today being the first day of fall, even though we are in warm Florida weather, I would say today was one of those days in my home. I was craving something different, something that just makes you feel like "home". 

Craving something delicious to celebrate the start of fall? Try this easy to prepare Gluten Free Salisbury Steak recipe paired with Idahoan #SignatureRussets Mashed Potatoes for lunch or dinner today!

I started brainstorming and realized that Salisbury Steak and Mashed Potatoes was just the right thing to make! This pairing is made up of the perfect comfort foods, the best way to start fall out on the right foot! Filling, flavorful, and a family favorite, what more could you ask for?  Do you want something savory and delicious for dinner tonight?

Craving something delicious to celebrate the start of fall? Try this easy to prepare Gluten Free Salisbury Steak recipe paired with Idahoan #SignatureRussets Mashed Potatoes for lunch or dinner today!

Making Salisbury steak is actually easier than you would imagine. Go ahead and get your apron and grab these items from the pantry to get started:

    1 tbsp olive oil    
1 white onion, finely chopped 
2 garlic cloves, minced     
5oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced    

For the Salisbury Steak:
1lb ground beef   
½ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs     
1 egg     
2 tbsp ketchup     
1 gluten free beef bouillon packet    
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce     
3 tsp dijon mustard

For the Gravy:
2 tbsp unsalted butter     
3 tbsp plain flour     
2 cups beef stock     
1 cup water     
2 tsp dijon mustard    
 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce     
Salt and pepper

Begin this recipe by heating the oil on medium, in a skillet. Add in the onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes - remove about half of the onions and place in a large bowl.

Now go ahead and add the mushrooms into the skillet and cook these for around 2 minutes as well, then place in a medium bowl on the side.

Next you'll want to add the Salisbury Steak ingredients in the large bowl and use your hands to mix all the ingredients until combined, not overdoing it. Divide into 5 patties or so.

You'll want to get cookin' now, add a splash of oil and heat over high heat, adding steaks in a timely manner. Cook one side of the patty for about 1 minute, then flip and cook for another minute (note: these will still be somewhat raw).

Take the skillet off the stove and transfer your steaks to a plate. Turn the heat down to a medium/low setting and return the skillet to the stovetop. Adding the butter, then adding the flour once the butter has melted - cooking the combination for around 30 seconds to a minute.

Craving something delicious to celebrate the start of fall? Try this easy to prepare Gluten Free Salisbury Steak recipe paired with Idahoan #SignatureRussets Mashed Potatoes for lunch or dinner today!


Mix in the remaining gravy ingredients until completely smooth, increasing the heat slightly, adding in the additional onions and mushrooms. Stir until smooth and then add the steaks and the juices from the plate as well.

Cook all together for 7 minutes, or until gravy is thickened and steaks are cooked through. During this time go ahead and start following the directions on the Idahoan potato packet.

Craving something delicious to celebrate the start of fall? Try this easy to prepare Gluten Free Salisbury Steak recipe paired with Idahoan #SignatureRussets Mashed Potatoes for lunch or dinner today!

Remove steaks and place on plate, taste gravy and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve steaks with gravy on top and Idahoan potatoes on the side!

Craving something delicious to celebrate the start of fall? Try this easy to prepare Gluten Free Salisbury Steak recipe paired with Idahoan #SignatureRussets Mashed Potatoes for lunch or dinner today!

While the Salisbury steak is a bit more involved to make, the mashed potatoes are easy-peasy thanks to Idahoan! The new Idahoan Signature Russets taste just like homemade mashed potatoes without all the added effort. With more than six pounds of premium Idahoan russet potatoes in each 16 oz pouch and a nice smooth taste with just a hint of butter and cream, these delicious potatoes taste just like the ol' family recipe you love to make and no one will know the wiser - unless you share your Idahoan secret!

Craving something delicious to celebrate the start of fall? Try this easy to prepare Gluten Free Salisbury Steak recipe paired with Idahoan #SignatureRussets Mashed Potatoes for lunch or dinner today!

So tell me, what are your favorite fall meals? Also, if you give this meal a try, be sure to let me know what you think of the deliciousness in the comments below!

9.21.2016

7 Tips For Living a Healthy Lifestyle with a Baby!


Leading a healthy life with a newborn can be difficult at times. I've heard all kinds of tips like "sleep while they are sleeping", "you can eat anything while breastfeeding and you won't gain", "you can't go out of the house until your baby is 6 weeks old", etc. While I'm certain every bit of advice has come with good intentions, I've come to realize living a healthy life with a newborn is kind of a "winging it" thing and you do what works for you.

Since I've kind of made my own healthy living plan with Delainey, I thought I'd share what works for both of us. I think it's great that I have so many people in my life willing to help me find our way in the world, so here's my two cents on how you can live a healthy life with a baby in tow.

Life with a baby can be exhausting and chaotic, but so incredibly rewarding! Find out how you can still take care of yourself and lead a healthy lifestyle... #SnackBrighter

1. Go with the less is more approach - We went overboard buying gadgets and dohickeys to make sure our daughter would be content... Now that she's here, I've come to realize she really didn't need nearly as much as we have for her. With two swings, a bassinet, a Rock & Play, a Pack & Play, and more, I feel like we could open an orphanage and still have space left for little one's to relax. I'm super happy we had enough to provide all these amazing things for her to choose to chill in, but I know with our next baby (yes, there may be another - at some point) we will be more of minimalist. If you're currently expecting, take a look at your registry and make sure you really need/want everything on there!

Life with a baby can be exhausting and chaotic, but so incredibly rewarding! Find out how you can still take care of yourself and lead a healthy lifestyle... #SnackBrighter

2. Learn to snack healthier - It's easy to get carried away when you finally have your appetite back, especially when you are nursing a newborn and it feels like they are taking all of your nutrition the second it hits your body... I'll be the first to admit I eat "lactation cookies" like they are going out of style. But I've also found ways to eat healthier versions of my favorite foods. Outshine Simply Yogurt bars and Outshine Fruit bars have become my daily ice cream fix. Whether I'm enjoying Outshine Fro-Yo bar first thing in the AM while reading a book and watching Lainey on her monitor or I'm having a Fruit bar as a midnight snack, I know I don't have to stress about counting calories... plus, they just taste better than other popsicles (so that's a total WIN)! Want to try the Outshine goodness for yourself and #SnackBrighter? You can find a location nearby you that carries the deliciousness here!

Life with a baby can be exhausting and chaotic, but so incredibly rewarding! Find out how you can still take care of yourself and lead a healthy lifestyle... #SnackBrighter

3. Increase your activity level slowly - Take it easy, let yourself get back into the swing of things at your own pace. While it's tempting to jump back into working out, you need to take it easy, as your doctor probably advised you. It's nice to go for a short walk with a newborn to get a little fresh air but be sure to listen to your body (and your intuition) and don't over do it!

Life with a baby can be exhausting and chaotic, but so incredibly rewarding! Find out how you can still take care of yourself and lead a healthy lifestyle... #SnackBrighter

4. Find sleeping arrangements that work for you - While co-sleeping isn't recommended, it's what has worked for us so far. I don't plan on always snuggling up with her in our bed and I often place her in her bassinet whenever she's napping or I'm pumping, etc. but sometimes she just needs to be held. It's easier while we are doing middle of the night nursing and I know we both cherish the skin-to-skin time as well. This tip is a sensitive topic but I know it's what is working for our family so I thought I'd share with you.

Life with a baby can be exhausting and chaotic, but so incredibly rewarding! Find out how you can still take care of yourself and lead a healthy lifestyle... #SnackBrighter

5. Be sure to take a moment and relax - Whether you're enjoying an Outshine Simply Yogurt bar on your back porch while watching your little one relax on the baby monitor... or you need to take a long hot shower, be sure to take some time for yourself. As a new mom, I didn't realize I was skipping showers until I finally got around to taking one after a few days of being sticky and smelly. It's like your whole world gets wrapped up in baby and while it's an amazing thing to experience, you need to be sure you are taking care of yourself first. Treat yourself, allow yourself a moment to breath deeply, and be sure to make sure you are clean - a shower may seem so insignificant, but sometimes it's just what I need to mellow out and be the best mama for Delainey I can be!

Life with a baby can be exhausting and chaotic, but so incredibly rewarding! Find out how you can still take care of yourself and lead a healthy lifestyle... #SnackBrighter

6. Invest in a new "mama friendly" wardrobe - If you are nursing, you'll want to buy yourself some nice nursing bras, a nursing tank top (or two), and of course, clothing that makes your breasts easily accessible. If you are hoping to achieve your pre-baby body in no time, I highly suggest looking into waist cinching undergarments as well. I know ot's easy to feel defeated when you try on your pre-baby clothing just after delivery, but give yourself time... it took you 9 months to put on the "baby weight", I suggest allowing yourself about half that time (if not longer) to lose it! In the mean time, buy yourself some waist cinching panties and a few new items of clothes that don't hug you as tightly and embrace the new curves!

Life with a baby can be exhausting and chaotic, but so incredibly rewarding! Find out how you can still take care of yourself and lead a healthy lifestyle... #SnackBrighter

7. Follow your intuition - If something doesn't feel right, then don't let it happen. Whether you aren't sure about your baby's new pediatrician and the way they manage their practice or you just know something isn't healing right during your recovery, don't be afraid to speak up. I haven't had either of these issues but I know it's good to listen to what my mama instinct is telling me. If your in-laws are sick and insist on coming over, remind them that you and your newborn are more vulnerable and that they need to stay away until you both have less weak immune systems.You have the power to make decisions so be sure to use that power and tell others that something is making you uncomfortable,


So tell me, are you a new mama too... or have you done this whole parenting thing before? I'd love to hear any advice you have to share on how to lead a healthy life with a newborn, leave me a comment telling me below!

9.18.2016

5 Fall Cleaning Tips For Busy Households

This review was made possible by iConnect Influencer Management, Febreze and Swiffer was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.


Fall is here! Take a few minutes over the next couple of days and get your house in order with these 5 cleaning tips for busy households. #FallReset

Fall is here already... with cooler weather, stylish scarfs, colorful leaves, and pumpkin spice everything and I feel so happy about it all! While fall is such a happy time, it means my schedule is getting busier and with Delainey in the picture, things are really busy this year! If you're anything like me, you have a hundred commitments, a handful of appointments, and maybe even a newborn baby cooing at you. It's a busy time in my life, but so rewarding too! Instead of slacking off on my housekeeping, I've found ways to make keeping my house clean a little easier.

Fall is here! Take a few minutes over the next couple of days and get your house in order with these 5 cleaning tips for busy households. #FallReset


1. Use stylish storage to keep your stuff organized - It's true, we all have junk drawers and a closet full of stuff that we may need in the future. Instead of stuffing it all in a cubby and hoping it doesn't fall out when a guest visits, find some awesome storage options and give everything in your home "a place it belongs". I love a quick visit to The Container Store to get my stuff organized, with bins, bags, and storage options galore - I know they have everything I'll need to get my house in order!


Fall is here! Take a few minutes over the next couple of days and get your house in order with these 5 cleaning tips for busy households. #FallReset

2. Vacuum, spot-clean, and Febreze furniture, blankets, and cushions - While it's wise to do this regularly, with a busy lifestyle, sometimes you can only manage to deep clean furniture once a season! I highly suggest making sure you do this during the Fall, to get rid of stinky summertime smells and to refresh your home with awesome smells like Febreze Big Sur. Refreshing and inviting, your home feels new when you take the time to clean your furniture!

Fall is here! Take a few minutes over the next couple of days and get your house in order with these 5 cleaning tips for busy households. #FallReset


3. Wash the windows, drapes, and blinds - This may seem like you're overdoing the cleaning thing but it's so nice to have fresh windows to see the beautiful weather through! Take a few minutes while you're tidying things in each room and wipe down your windows and if you have some extra time, open the latch and wipe down the outside of the window as well! After your windows are nice and clean, use a duster to get the blinds or take down the drapes and give them a good wash - while they may not appear dirty, you'll notice how much dust goes flying if this isn't a regular chore on your list.

Fall is here! Take a few minutes over the next couple of days and get your house in order with these 5 cleaning tips for busy households. #FallReset

4. Deep clean the floors - Sweep, Swiffer, vacuum, and scrub all the places you walk often. These high traction areas are prone to dirt and while you may clean your floors often, it's good to deep clean these areas at lease once a season! I love using my Swiffer all year round, but scrubbing the floors is something I don't do as regularly but I definitely notice a difference when I do.

Fall is here! Take a few minutes over the next couple of days and get your house in order with these 5 cleaning tips for busy households. #FallReset

5. Organize closets and cupboards - Taking the time to change out your clothing from Summer wear to Winter coats is a good step in the right direction, but also take a moment to rid your closet of unwanted items. While you're at it, go through your cupboards and cabinets in your kitchen and bathroom and get rid of expired items - whether it's a spice that no longer seems to be as pungent or a compact that you've had for a little bit too long, purge and let it go!

Fall is here! Take a few minutes over the next couple of days and get your house in order with these 5 cleaning tips for busy households. #FallReset

It's that easy to get your house in order for the fall! Spend a few minutes each day completing each step and before you know it, your house will be spic n' span and you'll be relaxing watching Hocus Pocus and drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte - after all, that's what fall is all about!

Fall is here! Take a few minutes over the next couple of days and get your house in order with these 5 cleaning tips for busy households.

So tell me, do you have a favorite cleaning product? Do you have any fall cleaning tips you just have to share? Dish all the details in the comments below!


Also, be sure to use the giveaway tools form above to enter to win a Swiffer WetJet & one full size Febreze product!

Printfriendly