A taste of Italy

I would like to dedicate this post to everyone who told me that my favorite Italian olives (Castelvetrano) are at World Market. Not only did they have the olives, some beautiful anchovies and my favorite Duplo bar (uhhh and about a thousand decor items I’d like to purchase), they also had beautiful pasta, olive oils and espresso. Be still my heart! 

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The experience of eating a Duplo bar is a liiiiittle different when you’re hastily shoving pieces down your face without letting the little one see, instead of wistfully enjoying it with a small cup of espresso in the Vatican. (It was right before dinner and while I understand that I’d still need to eat vegetables after that, trying to explain that to Oliv doesn’t quite work yet. Once you get her sweet tooth going, there’s no turning back.) 

I was even inspired to make my first Italian-ish meal since we’ve been back: some turkey quinoa meatballs. 

Meatballs  1 of 1 2

While Livi was eating lunch, I prepped everything and browned the meatballs. I used Jessica’s wonderful recipe, and the house smelled divine.

Browning meatballs  1 of 1

(Livi kept saying, “Delicious! Eat?” while they were cooking because they smelled so wonderful)

One thing I noticed while we were in Italy was that the sauces were extremely plain compared to the ones I’m used to. They still had bold, beautiful flavors, but weren’t loaded up with herbs, salt and seasonings. So for the meatballs, I covered them in plain organic tomatoes with a little bit of salt, and some fresh basil leaves from the garden. The meatballs were so flavorful on their own that it was the perfect complement.

Meatballs  1 of 1

Livi and I had a beautiful dinner together. My meatballs were atop zucchini with a nice glass of wine,

Pasta dinner2

and she enjoyed her meatballs with Thomas the Train pasta, zucchini and some cheesy bunnies.

Pasta dinner

I saved her some Duplo bar for dessert πŸ˜‰

Later that night, I also made a centerpiece using all of the wine corks we’ve saved.

Centerpiece  1 of 1

And by “made” I mean I put the corks in a glass jar. Let’s not get carried away here. 

Centerpiece  1 of 1 2

 I’d like to say that the corks reminded me of some awesome memories, but really, I just realized how much I really like Alamos Malbec. 

The meatballs were an amazing protein-packed snack to the enjoy the next couple of days. They were especially amazing with a fresh salad, the new olives, some anchovies and a drizzle of olive oil. Even though it will probably be a while until we’re back -unless I can convince the Pilot to move there- it’s nice to have tiny tastes from our trip and relive the memories. Who knows, maybe I’ll attempt some mussels next πŸ˜‰

Are there any ingredients or favorite candies you love to see in stores? I always get scared excited to see rebanaditas (watermelon lollipops covered in chili).

Any fun DIY projects?

Enjoy your day and Happy October!!! See ya later on the Fashion page, and I’ve been loving the discussion on this post.




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  1. Annie @ Annie Get Your Run on October 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I recently tried Biscoff spread for the first time, and dare I say I like it better than Nutella. It’s great on apples! Other than that, I have a strange thing for Kit-Kats from England…the chocolate is so much more delicious here, and they have more flavors there than here!

  2. Lisa on October 1, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Oh my, quinoa turkey meatballs sounds fantastic!
    I’ll be definitely checking those out asap!
    I have a bunch of DIY planned projects coming up for Halloween and Christmas that I’m excited to try out. Hopefully pinterest won’t fail me on those ones but you never know how they will really turn out!

    • Laura on October 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      Agreed! British chocolate is the best! There are a few stores in my town that sell if and I’ve gotten friends to pick it up for me on their travels. I suspect there is a higher fat content? Whatever it is, it’s delicious.

      • sarahf on October 2, 2013 at 8:39 am

        I dream of English chocolate, and, luckily, my Mum understands and sends it when she knows I’m due a box!! She knows the way to my heart!

  3. Lora lee frazier on October 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I will definitely try the olives and meatballs. Sound yummy.
    I found a cool thing to do with corks, thanks to Pinterest.
    As you open a bottle, write a word/ phrase on the cork signifying something special or sweet, or the time/ place, you had the wine. Mine would say ‘Mondays-dinner’ a lot

    • Fitnessista on October 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

      oh i love that idea!!

  4. Jackie on October 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I’d love to try that meatball recipe!

  5. RachelG on October 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Aaaaand I’m making those meatballs for my parents this weekend. Perfect distraction while the dude will be at his bachelor party! πŸ˜‰

  6. Joanna on October 1, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Don’t be afraid of mussels!!! So easy to make.

    • Sarah Fowler on October 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      They really all! All you need is white wine, garlic, shallots and parsley! We make them whenever they go on special at our grocery store. πŸ™‚

  7. Ashley @ Life and Fitness on October 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I love DIY projects because it’s so satisfying when they’re done! I’ve been making fall wreaths lately. In December I’m going to add some tinsel and fake snow on top and they’re now Christmas wreaths.

  8. Ali on October 1, 2013 at 10:33 am

    There is nothing more exciting than finding favourite foods from far away at home πŸ™‚ Such a great way to re-live those memories. OR you can just pack up your life and move around the world like I did πŸ˜‰ Love your centre piece, such an awesome idea!

  9. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on October 1, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Those meatballs look delicious! Yum!

  10. Maren on October 1, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I had to comment just because I saw Alamos in there and was going to say how much I love their Malbec!! But I also see Gascon in there and their malbec reserve is TO DIE FOR! If you like those two, you should try (if you haven’t already) Louis M Martini Cabernet…it’s a really good one too!

    • Fitnessista on October 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

      ohhh i’ll have to try that! i also love gascon πŸ™‚

    • Emily on October 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      Louis Martini is my favorite cab EVER. I’m usually more of a zin, garnacha, malbec kind of person but I LOVE that wine.

      • Fitnessista on October 1, 2013 at 5:46 pm

        ohhh i’m excited!

  11. Paige @ Your Trainer Paige on October 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Lauren (me and the mountains) made bison quinoa meatballs the other day – they look amazing!
    I think WF carries those olives, too! Or maybe it’s Lucky’s…

  12. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on October 1, 2013 at 10:55 am

    The turkey meatballs sound amazing! Its been so long since I made them! Maybe they’ll be on the menu for this weekend.

    No DIY projects planned for now, but hopefully I’ll have something in the works soon.

  13. Emily @ The Good Era on October 1, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I have a whole list of DIY projects to get tackling this fall. Just need to find a free weekend to do them!

  14. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on October 1, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I LOVE the wine cork glass! I think that is a great way to store your memories and a great reminder of your trip!

    I made turkey meatballs last week, but they didn’t turn out quite like I wanted. I think I will be trying this recipe – anything involving a crock pot is OK by me!!

  15. Jenni on October 1, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe, I’ll have to give it a try.

    I lived in Italy for 3 months and still miss parts of it! Totally transformed the way I cook Italian food as well. Everything is SO FRESH over there, which makes it taste amazing.

    If you still have an abundance of corks, you could try making those hot pads to protect the table from hot cookware. I’ve seen it on Pinterest and it looks pretty easy!

  16. Deanna on October 1, 2013 at 11:15 am

    You have to make mussels. They’re kind of the easiest thing in the world to make and impress people with. First chop lots of garlic and saute in a glug of olive oil (or butter) in a pot on medium high heat. Throw in the mussels (the ones at Whole Foods almost never need to be debearded…probably because they’re farmed). (Oh, and I go for the black mussels). Pour in a glass or so of white wine and stick a lid on the pot. After 5 minutes, check the mussels and give them a stir if there are any unopened and let them party at the bottom of the pot for another minute or two. Pull the pan off the heat, add chopped parsley. Viola! Mussels.

    I’ve also had mussels with chorizo and beer that were to die for, but I’m assuming you want to start with a more traditional recipe.

    I think it took me longer to write this than it does to make it.

  17. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on October 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Those meatballs look divine! Also, how proud are you of Liv using such big words like “delicious”?! I actually save champagne corks and write on them in permanent marker the date and occasion. I have one from my law school graduation when we went to the Champagne Bar at the Plaza Hotel, one from our wedding, one from my 30th Birthday and much more. It’s kind of a great way to keep something from a special event!

  18. Amber on October 1, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I miss the beer in Germany so much, that I get choked up just thinking about if I’ll ever get to drink it again…………………………………. *sigh*

  19. Anna on October 1, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Look really delicious!! And I really like the photo composition πŸ™‚

  20. Allison (Ms. Whirlwind) on October 1, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I know it’s silly and also not “real food,” but I get so excited for candy corn every fall. One nearby store has chocolate covered candy corn in the bulk bins this fall, and I keep looking for reasons to go to that store to replenish my supply!

  21. C. on October 1, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I love the sound of these meatballs – adding them to my menu for next week!

  22. Becca on October 1, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I loooooove Rebanaditas!

    I get super excited when I find more international ingredients here (I live abroad). The other day I bought a big jar of pickled ginger for sushi, except I like to eat it as-is. Oh! And I bought Sriracha, which I’d actually never tried, partly because you’ve blogged about it so much and I had to know more! I actually love it, far more than the ubiquitous Valentina which everyone uses here.

    • Becca on October 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      Well, edit that to “you and everyone else I know has blogged about or mentioned it.” Sriracha has a serious following, it seems!

  23. Annette @ FitnessPerks on October 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    I love easy meals like that–this sounds awesome!

    I love Swiss chocolate anything–my fam is Swiss, so it runs in my blood. πŸ™‚

  24. Holly G. on October 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I ALWAYS have to buy a Manner bar when I find it in a store. They’re thin wafers filled with hazelnut chocolate. I practically lived off of them when I studied abroad in Austria in college.

  25. Anna @ Fitness Γ  la Anna on October 1, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Looks delish! I’m planning on dying my fav wrap sweater which has some stains on it…we’ll see if I can save it!! Fingers crossed πŸ™‚

  26. Taylor @ Single-tracked Mind on October 1, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    That looks delicious!! Yum!

  27. Katie on October 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    We collect our wine/champagne corks in a glass vase too. I also write the date and a note on the occasion. It’s so much fun to look back and see our celebrations, vacations, date nights, and just random Tuesday wine nights!

  28. Kim on October 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Your wine cork centerpiece is right up my alley – that is about the extent of my crafting.
    And Liv’s shoes in that picture in the high chair are so cute!!!

  29. April on October 1, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Those meatballs look diving, printing the recipe now!

    And OMG, i HAVE to know where you got Thomas the Train pasta? My son is IN LOVE with Thomas, i would be the best mommy ever if i found it:)

    • Fitnessista on October 1, 2013 at 2:02 pm

      they had it at world market! organic, too πŸ™‚

  30. Livi on October 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    my roommates and I are making nail/string art of our states- so cute!

  31. Heather on October 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Noooooo! You have to Castelvetrano olives fresh…not jarred. Look in your local grocery store’s olive bar (hopefully they have one!). It’s just not the same. They pop up in our grocery store every few weeks…also check to see if you have an Italian market in Tuscan…they always have them at our’s.

    • Heather on October 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      ooops Tuscon not Tuscan. Italy on the mind πŸ˜‰

    • Fitnessista on October 1, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      ohhh i definitely will! thank you

  32. Amy Ramos on October 1, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Those meatballs look delish. I have everything for that recipe so I may make those and freeze them for future meals.

    By the way, I got my DVD and I did it this morning! I loved it! While I was not that coordinated, I let loose and had fun. For some reason, I feel more energized. Awesome job on the DVD1

    • Fitnessista on October 1, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      yayyy!!! i’m so happy you had fun πŸ™‚ thanks for letting me know! xo

  33. Susan on October 1, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    There’s Thomas the Train pasta?!?!? My 2 year old would be all over that! πŸ™‚

    I love Duplo too, although the prefer the German version. It’s more of a single long and hazelnutty kit-kat, rather than the Italian one (with creamy filling and whole nuts, if I remember correctly? It’s been a while…). I have to go find a World Market!

    • Fitnessista on October 1, 2013 at 5:47 pm

      yes! i’ll have to look out for the other version, too πŸ™‚

  34. Emily on October 1, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Green tea flavored kit kats from Japan. I fell in love with them in Tokyo, and now my only option is to order them on Amazon. They are perfect for an afternoon sugar rush.

    • Fitnessista on October 1, 2013 at 7:07 pm

      that sounds amaaaaaazing

  35. Erin @ The Almond Eater on October 1, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Those meatballs look delicious! I actually saw wine corks you can buy at the store for that same purpose, which is kind of weird because I thought why not just use your own? Maybe they’re for the non-wine drinker.

  36. Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine on October 1, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    YUM! I love Italian. It is so much fun to get inspiration from visiting other countries. πŸ™‚

  37. Kimberly on October 1, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Those meatball look awesome! I can’t wait to make them. My version of DIY is along the lines of taking the candles or vases I bought from tarjay or Pier 1 out of the bag I brought them home in. πŸ™‚ But I would like to try a photo wall! My friend did one with all mismatched frames that had pictures, post cards, poems, framed wedding invites etc. and it looked awesome!

  38. Emily on October 4, 2013 at 12:35 am

    I know I’m late to the party on this one, but those are my most favorite olives ever. I get in trouble any time they have them in stock at the Whole Foods olive bar.

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