Tuscany has been a life-changing place for me. From the moment I arrive and smell the air I feel washed in the rich sights, sounds and smells of this beautiful place. The energy here has brought me great healing and love. I am so grateful to appreciate the endless vistas, the serene vineyards of the Tuscan countryside, to marvel at the imposing fairy-tale architecture, or ride through the rolling hills that never end. Of course I also enjoy making time to shop, eat and sample a Chianti Classico or perhaps a little known SuperTuscan. Perhaps what I find most peaceful is the gentle pace and rhythm which I try my best to bottle up and bring back with me, holding these memories forever close to my heart.”
My favorite pasta while in Tuscany that I had to bring back with me to enjoy was Pici. I bought the best stuff at Monticchiello di Pienza in Siena. I wish I had bought more. Don’t forget to put this on your list when in Tuscany!”
Linguini from Tuscany
with Homemade Pesto Sauce
Whenever I feel homesick for the rich simplicity of Tuscany I enjoy nothing more than spending time with friends preparing Linguini with Pesto along with savoring a great Tuscan red. I feel more grounded and less heartsick all at the same time. Works like magic!
4 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto
4 oranges, zested
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup pine nuts
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a cookie sheet and dust it with some flour. Place whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip it until it forms soft peaks. Add the sugar steadily and beat for 2 minutes. Stop the machine and add the flour, vanilla, amaretto, zest, and cocoa powder. Mix for 1 minute and stop the machine again. Stir in the nuts quickly and place 2-inch blobs on cookie sheet 1-inch apart. Bake 30 minutes until crisp. Remove and allow to cool.
Arches National Park in Moab is a red rock wonderland containing some of the most scenic and inspiring landscapes on Earth, Arches National Park contains the world's largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. Although over 2,000 arches are located within the park's 76,518 acres, the park also contains an astounding variety of other geological formations. Colossal sandstone fins, massive balanced rocks, soaring pinnacles and spires dwarf visitors as they explore the park's viewpoints and hiking trails. Geologic faulting has exposed millions of years of geologic history within the park. This was my introduction to Moab and took my breath away. The connection I felt there to a inner peace was something like I’d never experienced before. And that’s saying a lot. This is not to be missed!
There is so much to see in Canyonlands National Park I bought a year-round pass. Granted I don’t live there but figured this would help strengthen my commitment to return time and again. My favorite visit was The Island in the Sky mesa which rests on sheer sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. Every overlook offers a different perspective on Canyonlands’ spectacular landscape. The Island is the easiest district to visit in a short period of time, offering many pullouts with spectacular views along the paved scenic drive. I can’t wait to return and picnic in the sky. The best lunch I’ve ever had was under the sky in Canyonlands!
Don’t miss the best sandwiches in Moab, great to take for Picnic when hiking around. Check out: The Red Rock Bakery & Net Café, 74 South Main Street, Moab, Utah 84532, 435-259-5941. They even offer a couple Yoga classes in one of there back rooms during the week! How cool is that?
Cuenca, Ecuador is a city of great historical significance. The city itself centers around old colonial looking buildings with narrow cobbled streets. However, the city is also the gateway to the thermal baths of Banos and one of the last outposts before visitors enter the Amazon Jungle. All of these would be enough to encourage any visitor to come to Cuenca; but the charming, elegant market of Cuenca also adds to the reasons why so many people make the journey here. ...read all about Cuenca, Ecuador
I've traveled all over the world and Chicago is really one of the best cities anywhere! The best time to visit is Spring, Summer or Fall (to be honest anytime before the snowy Winter season). Some of my favorite things to do that I would recommend to you whether you have a week or a day to visit include: Walking Millennium Park – the gardens and the fountains are amazing, visiting the Art Institute, going around Grant Park all over Museum Campus along the waterfront and of course going to a Cubs Game. Now that’s just during the day. At night you must make time for Broadway in Chicago (always amazing shows) and some Blues or Jazz including a visit to the Green Mill. Welcome to SWEET HOME CHICAGO!