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dining

Life
Dreamy Outdoor Summer Dining
July 9, 2010 at 10:08 am 0

summerdinnerparty

One of the best thing about summer evenings is the warm air, sweet smells, and relaxed ambience that lets everyone sit back, enjoy a meal together, and linger for just a bit longer. So figure out when your next free evening is, call your closest friends, and have them over for a lovely dinner party. It's just so much more intimate than going out for dinner...and since we're all working our buns off so we can live a great life, let's make sure we are actually living a great life! We found this great recipee in Country Living and just couldn't resist sharing it with you.

menu_summerdinner

Warm Garlic String Bean Salad For Warm Garlic String Bean Salad, blanch a 1-pound mix of yellow and green string beans for 2 minutes. Rinse to cool. Return to a saucepan with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter, 3 tablespoons minced garlic, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook 4 minutes (medium-high heat). Toss in 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley and 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest. Serve warm. Pasta with Garden Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella Pasta with Garden Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella is redolent with gently sautéed onion and garlic, which beautifully offset perky chopped tomatoes, basil, and cubed mozzarella. Sliced Grilled Rib-Eye Steak Marinade takes just minutes to prepare but adds a lot of flavor. Whisk 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar and 6 tablespoons olive oil together in a large nonreactive baking dish. Add 1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Rib-eye steaks' primary attribute is their juicy flavor, making them great for grilling. Place four 12-ounce, 1-inch-thick boneless rib-eye steaks in the marinade and refrigerate for 1 hour; turn occasionally. The grill should be heated to medium-high. Shake onion bits from the steaks and grill until medium-rare — about 5 minutes — or longer if desired. Serve the steaks, thinly sliced, after resting them (tented with aluminum foil on a cutting board) 10 minutes. Leftovers make great lunchtime sandwiches the next day. Photo Credits: Country Living
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Travel
Traveling to Italy: The Essential Guide
May 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm 0

It's Spring, and the travel bug is spreading like crazy! This year Italy is a very hot vacation destination. With loads of airlines having big sales, hotels offering deals, and a huge desire to get away the time is now to plan your summer vacation. Check out these posts with great tips on what to see, where to go, and what it's like. Florence Tuscany Rome Amalfi Coast Siena 7 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Italy Shopping In Italy
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Life
Seven Ways I Survived the Economic Crisis
July 21, 2009 at 6:59 pm 0
Recently I had a chance to reflect on life over the past year. It has been a great year for me in my personal life (just a hint, but I met someone lovely), and it's also been a good year for me financially. I was able to get a better job and weather the economic crisis with a good chunk of savings. Here are some of the things that I did that made a difference to my bottom line. 1. I bought a condo that was affordable. Instead of being tempted to buy a larger 1bdrm apt that was over my budget I settled on my bachelor apt. Yes, it`s small, but so are my mortgage payments. Besides, I know I won`t be here forever, and I`ve been able to save a lot living in this very affordable space. 2. I switched to a cash budget. Every month I watched my money very carefully and made sure I never over-extended myself. With cash it is so much easier because you never get a surprise credit card bill in the mail. 3. I paid off my debt and saved like crazy. I needed to have a large safety savings account so that I could feel comfortable everyday, in case something bad happened. Now I know that if I lose my job I will be okay for a few months. 4. I socialized differently. I love going out to fancy restaurants and very much enjoy great wine, but I don`t need to indulge all the time. This past year I`ve had friends over for dinner more than ever, and I drink my fancy wine at home, too. If I do go out it`s for a special occasion, or I meet my friends for drinks after dinner. 5. I shopped for less expensive clothing alternatives. Instead of going for the pricey brand names I`d opt for the less expensive clothing lines. The funny thing is, people often ask me if I got my dresses at designer stores. I was at a wedding in Montreal and a girl at my table asked me if I got my dress at BCBG, but really I got it at Bedo. As long as you stick with decent quality you`ll be fine. 6. I second guessed purchases. When tempted by a purchase I`d step back and figure out if I really needed it. If the answer was maybe, or no, I just moved on. 7. I didn`t go into stores if I wasn`t looking for something specific. I avoided the temptation. If I didn`t need to go shopping I`d do something else that made me happy, like read a book in a coffee shop, or go for a walk outside. That way I didn`t feel like I was denying myself.
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Travel
Tuscany: Italian Dream Part Two
July 17, 2009 at 9:15 am 2
The Tuscan Countryside After two exhausting days in Florence it was so nice to escape to the countryside. By chance we made a hotel reservation to a modest looking hotel, the Borgo di Fontebussi, which turned out to be a luxury retreat. The pictures on Expedia do not do justice, and the price was amazing for what you got. As we drove up to the gated retreat I just wanted to sit inside and take a nap…until I saw the place we were staying….and then I felt like a princess who just landed in heaven. There were many different buildings, a lovely pool, two restaurants and many seating/park areas. The views from the hotel were outstanding and it was filled entirely with Europeans that wanted a little getaway. Everyone was just relaxing and having lovely slow meals, drinking wine together, sitting on the grass and enjoying life. It was bliss! After spending our first day in the retreat it was time to check out and go to Cinque Terre, but I just couldn’t leave. My very accommodating boyfriend had no problem with losing money on our other hotel reservation and staying on one more night….he’s so lovely about these things. Since we had an extra day we decided to peel ourselves away from the heaven retreat and visit the Chianti route. We drove around all day and visited many different towns, cafes, restaurants and vineyards. It was nice to just chit chat away driving down the country roads, getting lost and seeing amazing views at every turn. Throughout the entire day I was concocting plans in my head figuring out how I would take a six month sabbatical in Tuscany, living in a farm house, eating glorious food at every meal, and drinking the best wines I could imagine. Tuscany is a place to lose yourself in fantasy….and indeed I did. I felt so relaxed, blissful and in love with everything, and I’d go back tomorrow if I could. Stay Tuned: The crazy city of Rome is next! For more Italian travel journals see posts on Florence and Rome
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