Wednesday, March 24, 2010

*Insert awesome quote from The Office here*

I have resurfaced from a massive Office marathon to say: I heart Spring Break! And also Jim and Pam.
Best couple since Ross & Rachel.

Yesterday was uneventful [hence the lack of post], but nevertheless satisfying. All days such as this begin with...OATS!

Remember my Candy Land addition? Here's a new one - cinnamon oat shore + vanilla yogurt sea. Great for spoonboarding! (Get it?? surfboarding, Stop now Gillian. Just stop.)

Took my roomie to my Monday sandwich place - no photo, we had to walk-and-eat because we were busy shopping for...
The most beautiful handmade leather sandals ever.
And they're all mine. Spring can start now - time to get these babies broken in!

Lunch, by the way, was as wonderful as usual - tuna with olive oil, fresh tomatoes, and "salsa verde" (literally green sauce - very similar to pesto, different in different places - basically a blend of green herby goodness and olive oil). Lots of people were in there (all locals!), and most of the just ordered whatever they wanted on the sandwich (not off the menu), so maybe I will try that next week!

Dinner was my own random little creation:
Lentils, yellow bell pepper, parsley, spinach. Topped with pecorino that got all melty and yummy...mmm.

Today was just lovely. The sun was out [mostly] and the temperature was up. I had the windows to the kitchen wide open all day.

1st stop was to the market for some necessities! I thought you might like to see the goods:
The best almonds ever.
Semi-whole grain bread (funky shape!)
I've seen this several times and finally decided to try it today - it's called "Procorn". I don't what exactly it is, but it is a thick brown bread filled with different seeds. Here's a close-up:
It's incredible! Kind of buttery on it's own, with a really hearty flavor...I'm in love.
Yellow apples - my current fruit obsession.
Pecorino Romano
Spinach + arugula
Dried strawberries/white grapes - YUM!
This is more than I usually get; I only need the cheese and the dried fruits/almonds every 3 weeks or so. The market is just a fun place to wander around - great people-watching.  

Came back and sat on the little walkway that leads to another apartment. I haven't been able to sit out here yet because it's usually taken over by the girls across the hall who, um...well, let's just say, we don't "mesh" well. Interpret as you will. BUT everyone is off exploring Europe (or at least its bars), and this little spot is all mine! Took advantage of a new sandal break-in opportunity:
[Please disregard the mostly-chipped-off nail polish]

Frida the camera came out to sunbathe with me:

I eventually got hungry and came in to make...seitan burgers!
Seitan falls into a similar category as tofu and tempeh as a vegetarian protein - I think it's fermented wheat, but please don't quote me on it. I will look it up and get back to you. Whatever it is, I LOVED it! Maybe not quite as much as tempeh (but I reaaaalllly love tempeh), but it was delicious. Very much like Morningstar Farm veggie burgers, which I also adore. Can't wait to find more and experiment with it when I go home!

It was definitely a day for a passeggiata in Firenze! I walked for a looong time. 

Oh how I will miss these streets!!
First I found the street of the apartment that my parents are renting for their week here in April:

(No idea what number their building is)
Then I crossed the Arno...

I took this because if you squint you can see the sun beams through the looked better in person :)

I was searching for the Bracacci Chapel. My wonderful major advisor said it was a must-see, and that is what  my spring break is for! Funny story - I followed my directions and knew exactly where I was, but I couldn't find it. I did find some church-like building that was getting restored in the front, but no chapel. I walked around in a BIG square and when I came back to where I started...I found the chapel. It is part of the church getting restored. Clearly, I was expecting the chapel to come to life and formally introduce itself. Nope. Slight setback done with, I went up to the door...and read the sign that said "Tuesday--Closed." Figures. It was a great walk though!

I chilled for a while just soaking in the feeling of being in my apartment in Florence with the windows wide open, letting the breeze and sunlight's a nice feeling.

My poor roommate is sick! She just returned from Ireland and feels awful. Send her feel-better vibes! I considered going out to dinner alone, but kind of chickened-out. Lunch I have no problem with, but dinner is harder. However, I have a looooong list (Excel spreadsheet, actually - don't hate!) of places I "need" to eat at, so I picked one of the other places rumored to have the "best sandwiches in town" and was off! On my way, I passed a gelateria that I have heard highly recommended, but whenever we try to go, it's closed. We have seriously tried 3 different times. Quite frustrating. And I've always been a supporter of eating dessert first, so...
Almond gelato. MMM.
This place has "Sicilian-style" gelato - I honestly have no idea what that means/why it is different from the rest of gelato in Italy. It was good, but I didn't find it anything more special than others - Perche No! still has my heart.

I found the sandwich place, "I Fratellini" (The Brothers) - it's actually a teeny wine bar, a literal hole in the wall. I got the vegetariano:

There's a hole in my bread! Actually, I really liked it, made it easier to eat I think.
Light on the vegetables - mostly just eggplant & olive oil.
It was good, but not amazing - I'm not sure anyone will beat my beloved Casa del Vino. I did love this roll though, nice and crunchy like french bread. Man I love bread.

--We interrupt this post for a random rant from the author--

Wanna hear something funny? I don't gain a BIT of weight eating the "Italian way" - oats and fruit for breakfast, and either a light lunch if I'm going out for dinner, or vice versa - all washed down with some gelato and extra fruit here and there. It's a fantastic way to eat - completely satisfying and no deprivation at all. It's when I fall back into "bad habits" such as making my meals smaller to "reduce calories" - the funny thing is, making smaller meals sends a message to my brain that I "can" snack more, and it's when I get into snack after mindless snack that my pants start feeling a little smaller. It's a sick cycle, really. And I've been falling back into my snacking rut and feeling it, and I don't like it (even though most of the pants I brought are STILL too big!) SO, all that to say with all you wonderful blog readers as my witness - I am going to become a more mindful eater. Gelato, wonderful bread, and amazing pasta will NOT be excluded, and this is NOT a "diet." I am simply going to focus on eating what my body wants and needs - more paying attention to actual hunger, less snacking on crackers because "they're there." The other problem with snacking, for me, is that I enjoy the food so much less - I'm not eating it for fuel or flavor, just for something else to do. And that is taking all the fun out of food! Really, this rant is my way of holding myself accountable - if any would like to join me, feel free to comment and join the fun!
In case your eyes started to glaze over and drool got dangerously close to the keyboard when you started reading this, I will sum up: Eat real food mindfully and be happy.
Only an English major takes a huge paragraph to say 7 words.

--Now back to your regularly scheduled post--

I am planning on a trip to the Uffizi tomorrow...and other than that, who knows?



  1. To your comments off kilter, the "we interrupt your major program for this word...." kinda thing, remember the motto of that book, "Eat food, mostly plants, not too much." I like that. Am trying it myself, although have recently discoverd a truly decadent eggplant parm---yum, yum....

    Love you!

  2. Wow -eating like a princess and no weight gain- The question I always am left with then is- is it because you walk everywhere -you are in the city after all-while in America we are in the 'burbs and drive everywhere- even to the local store when it is only a 5 minute walk away.