I’ve Only Felt You But Never Met You, Yet You Stole My Heart Forever. Maddox I Love You!

This is going to be a tough post to write, but I’ve given it some thought, discussed it over with my Husband and I think that it’s time you all know what we’ve been going through over the past year.

As you may or may not know I was pregnant a little over a year ago & due about June 2012. I had an extremely healthy and relaxing pregnancy. No morning sickness, no aches or pains. I was at home able to really just spend as much time relaxing and prepping myself for the beautiful baby that we were going to have.  I actually started this blog when I was about a month pregnant to have something to do throughout the pregnancy and it was really nice because whenever I would put the computer close to my belly, Maddox (Our baby) would kick it as if to tell me to move it because it was bothering him, I connected to him as if he where already here.
I was home alone all day throughout the week until my husband would get home from work, so I would talk to him (my belly) and he would keep me company by kicking and moving around (in my head I guess that meant he was responding to my words).

It was Sunday March 4th, 2012 and it was not such a nice day; I told my husband that seeing I was 6 months 3 weeks pregnant and we might not have a lazy Sunday when he was born that we should take advantage and not do anything, stay in bed all day, relax and have special me and him time, so we did. We watched movies, cooked and just relaxed. We really enjoyed ourselves this day; we went to bed said our goodnight’s to Maddox as we did every night and dozed off to sleep. I woke up to go to the bathroom Monday in the early morning around 6am and didn’t feel him move and had a nudge that something was off, but I didn’t think much of it. The next morning I woke up at 8:45 and thought that it was odd because since Maddox had started kicking I woke up every morning at 8 max 8:30am and to wake up late without even a kick made me feel strange; I tried to think of what it could be and then thought that maybe he was just being lazy and that he might be resting, I had felt him be a riot all day on Sunday so I thought he was just resting and relaxing.

I had a Dr. appointment anyway on Tuesday morning so I decided to wait, but all day Monday I had a gut feeling that something might not be right I tried calling and talking to friends to see if it is normal to not feel the baby kick and they said if it’s only been a couple of hours then yes, so I tried talking to him, I played music, I ate sugary foods. I did occasionally feel as if maybe he would stick his butt out or something so although no kicks he was still moving somewhat. Monday night when my Husband told him goodnight he didn’t move or kick which is what he would normally do, I was sick to my stomach and that’s when both my Husband and I started to get really concerned; we didn’t sleep that night. I guess in certain movements that my body would make his body would move and stick to one side and so I thought that that was him coming up for a little rub. Tuesday in the AM I went to the Dr. and told her I had felt him all the way until Sunday night but Monday AM I didn’t except for the little nudges, she said that we would check for a heartbeat but not to worry because I had been perfect so she didn’t think that anything could be wrong. She started up the monitor and when we went to look for the heartbeat it wasn’t there, so she said that she wanted me to go to the neonatal hospital about 20 minutes away and told me to tell them that they couldn’t detect a heartbeat and try to get a second ultrasound.

We got there had an Ultrasound done, the technician said nothing stepped out of the room and in came the Dr., he showed us the screen and that’s when we saw him there not moving just laying inside there and not one movement not one heartbeat. If I have to describe what that moment felt like I would say ‘hell’, I couldn’t even start to believe that I would not be having a baby, it’s the worst pain I have ever had to deal with.
When they told us that the baby had infact passed and that they would have to induce labor we just wanted to die! I asked them what happened? What could it be? I had felt him kick? How is this even possible? They said that it happens, they said that the development was right up to the time 26 weeks & 4 days, so that means that yes we would’ve felt him move around all the way until then and then he just suddenly would’ve passed, no warning, no sign, no nothing we could do about it!

They admitted me Tuesday night to induce labor and I just had to ask for another ultrasound before we started the process just for peace of mind and the picture was the same as the first. My heart was shattered into a billion sad, angry, distraught, mortified, empty pieces.
They started giving me pills every 3 hours that would make me start having contractions and dilating, I was up all night with my Husband crying and with horrible contractions, they said that they were going to make sure that I wouldn’t feel any of the pain, (because when I found out that I would actually have to give birth, I was angry, I explicitly said that if I had to go through that and not have the joy of a baby I did not want to feel a thing) so they had me on a “morphine drip” and yet I still felt everything. I ended up giving birth naturally at around 7:30am on Wednesday March 7th, 2012 and felt the whole thing and it was the worst pain ever, I screamed and yelled and cried. At this point they asked if I wanted to see the baby all the while telling me that he was perfect, beautiful and gorgeous, but I asked to see my husband and when he came in the room I asked if he wanted to see Maddox and we both agreed under this shocking, stressful and completely out of this world moment that we did not want to remember our baby lifeless, we wanted to remember him lively and kicking. (I can’t say it was the right or best decision, but I can’t say that it wasn’t. All I know is we had to make a decision that we didn’t even know was to be made. We were caught off guard and made the best decisions for the state of mind we were in.)

They then asked if we wanted to get an autopsy performed and we said yes. We wanted to know what went wrong. What could they potentially tell us that could give us some sort of closure; peace of mind, an Answer is what we needed. So, they had us sign papers for the release of the body. Then they also asked us if we wanted to bury him or if we were fine with them burying him at the local cemetery. I honestly was caught off guard. I had no idea about all this; I guess I never thought about what happens in situations such as these. But it is a body and you have to bury it. So, we decided that seeing as they bury all the babies in this one lot at the cemetery that we would like him to be surrounded by other babies and so we told them to do it and hence signed more paperwork.  They said that it would all take about 2 months before everything was done and he would be at the cemetery.

They left the room and said that they would be back to check on me and make sure that everything was fine and my uterus was clean. I had delivered the amniotic sac intact, so they said they assumed that the uterus must be clean but they need to check with the monitor.
When they checked me later the PM they said that everything seemed fine and that they would double check in the morning. In the meantime we stayed a night in the hospital grieving and I think still in complete unbeknownst shock of what was going on. The next morning they checked me and cleared us to go home. They prescribed some shots that I would have to administer to myself for the next 12 days and also some pills to take to dry up the milk. Again, I was in total shock that I would have milk coming out for about the next 4-6months. I thought only if you have a baby would that happen and then the Dr. mentioned to me that I did have a baby; and that was just crazy for me to think about. I had a baby but I wasn’t bringing him home.

It all happens so fast. Literally! One minute you’re trying to plan parenthood, making lists about what you want to do, how you want to raise your child, talking to your belly, and the next minute you’re in a hospital signing papers, taking pills, making decisions that you didn’t know about or planned to make, and then you stop to look down and you can see your toes, no belly, no kick, no life growing inside of you. The world stops and you feel lost, like you don’t even know what just happened and what you are going to do next. Plans die and you just want to cry forever!

When we got home and opened the door to the house everything seemed to stop. And all you feel is a hole in your heart where there was to be love, love for the baby you planned to bring home after such an event. Everything makes you think about him. You crawl into a ball in the bed and just let yourself cry and be angry. Nothing really matters at this point, how can it; the most precious thing you and your Husband have ever created is gone and you don’t know how to feel, think or be.
It happened to be National Women’s Day here in Italy (which is a major Holiday) so my Mom and sister’s decided to come over and cook and just keep us company. (I have to admit I really didn’t want them there, I just wanted to cry and I knew if they come I wouldn’t be able to just sit there and cry). They came anyway; I just didn’t have the strength to hold up a phone to my ear & tell them no. All I can really remember is I was not hungry and the minute they left we crawled into bed and cried.

This is part of the letter that I wrote to my Mother-in-law and I just wanted to share it because I wrote it literally when I got home from the hospital, it’s what I felt at that moment and it’s the best description I have for you of our feelings:

What hurts more is looking down and not seeing him anymore, nights are extremely hard because it was our family time and I honestly hate to look at my stomach because it is flattening out really fast and I just wish he was there. I miss his kicks. I miss his nudges. I miss him. Nothing at the moment is truly consoling me and I just am so angry that he is gone, I wanted to finally have a family with Terry and I was so into it. I MISS HIM! It makes me so mad to know that he is gone and we didn’t get the chance to become parents. We were doing everything so perfect. I know that he is an angel watching over us but I wanted him to be our son.”

This is what I wrote to her the second day:

“Things will get better I know, I just don’t know how long will it take. We will never forget M. We loved him more than words will ever be able to say and we just still can’t believe it’s all done and he is gone. This is the second day home and it hasn’t been easy as we had planned so much around him, waking up this morning in our bed for the first time without M. has been really hard, I opened my eyes and before they were fully opened tears where already rolling down my cheeks. There is no reason to get up because I don’t have to feed anyone, and no one is asking for mommy’s attention anymore. I know it sounds silly, he never asked for anything, but every morning at 8:30 sharp he would start to kick me as if he was asking for breakfast and that is what I thought those kicks meant atleast. Also, looking at my blog bothers me some, because I started it when I found out I was pregnant and now trying to write without him kicking my stomach makes me feel empty. Alot of things have no meaning at the moment, and I know that I can’t give up. I just have to find some internal peace and learn how to cope and move on. Terry has been great with opening up and it has definitely brought me alot closer to him (I don’t know how close we are going to be after this, we already are so close) We are just taking it one moment, one step, one thought and one feeling at at time. I never know what the next thing is going to bring. I love you very much and so does your son.”

It’s tough to re-read this and go through these emotions but I want you to know what happens in the real world sometimes and people need to be informed that things like this can happen and it’s not as uncommon as you may think. There are emotions and I think that it’s nice to know that it’s ok to feel in certain ways and you are not crazy if you go through these same thoughts. I’ll give you the last piece of letter I wrote her a week later:

“Yes I decided to post something yesterday, I am not inspired but I feel like I owe it to M. and myself to not give up yet, if in a couple of month I still feel uninspired then I will stop but when my mind is a little more cleared.

Thanks for all the prayers, we really need them and although I am angry and my faith is dwindled, I appreciate the prayers. Time is flying and that is another of my fears, I am scared to death of moving on and forgetting what once was to be the most important person in our family. It’s tough because I want to move on and turn a new leaf but I feel like I am abandoning M. I know in my heart that he knows my love for him and how much he means to me and that a piece of my heart left with him and is there to comfort him, so therefore I could never truly abandon him, but I sometimes catch myself really hating the fact that I have to move on.

It’s so tough, I am a strong person and love to take care of others and like to absorb the pain so it doesn’t have to hurt anyone else, but I find myself to be the opposite in this situation. I am trying to be strong but I am so weak. I am trying to move on and yet I want to stay in the past. I know he’s in a better place and it happened for a good reason, but I want him to be here this was to be his home and no good reason can change that. I am trying to see the positive in the situation and all I can see is the negative. I try to distract myself but all I am truly and ever thinking is what happened. I know that I should eat and all I can think is that there is no one to feed. The days are changing and beautiful and I don’t want to go out because I wanted to enjoy them with him. I love Terry and I am trying to not bring him into my sadness because I want him to be happy….he deserves it more than anyone. I just have so many, many, many emotions.”

I want to mention that throughout this whole process I made sure that my Husband grieved just the way I did, for me it was extremely important that he feel comfortable enough to express himself, I insisted on him opening up and us crying together, I did not want him to hold anything in and just be strong for me because he lost his son as well. I didn’t want him to look back and resent me for not allowing him to be himself and express his feelings and emotions. Yes, I went through all the physical pain and I had all the signs still on my body of him, but both of our hearts were broken and it was our son, not just mine. I wanted us to experience the stages of grief together. And I certainly didn’t want this to tear us apart. I wanted him to tell me what he felt. As a woman you feel like a failure when something like this happens (atleast I know I did), I was the one that carried our son and he didn’t make it. I didn’t know if my husband resented me for that so I flat out asked him. He was just in shock that I would even ask something like that but I needed to heal correctly without any questions or concerns left behind. If we were going to heal; honesty and love was the only thing that would get us through this.

We got the results back from the Autopsy just like they said 2 months later and they didn’t find anything abnormal or any malformations, they said that they had found pneumonia developing in the lungs but they couldn’t define that as a COD because that’s the first place that infection develops in young bodies, so it could’ve been while we were inducing labor. As for the rest of the paper it describes every inch of your baby’s body, his head circumference, his eyes, his ears, his mouth, his nose, his heart, his length everything is described and that is one TOUGH paper to read.  At this point you cry because you can only imagine what your child would have looked like by piecing it all together.
Now, comes closure time, because up until now you are going to doctors visits, researching, reading, gathering information, and trying to get by. But when you get the ok to go to the cemetery it’s done, you are visually seeing something that you only imagined and you are seeing that this is truly over. It really has happened. That is how we both felt. It was a rough day to go to that cemetery and see this tiny little space. We had bought flowers and an Angel to put on his tomb and we just sat there and cried for a very, very long time.
Life at this moment sucks, you are exactly what you need to be angry and disappointed with everything that has occurred and that you are going through.
No one will ever understand the pain you have inside and no one will ever understand that telling you that everything is going to be fine; is bullshit. Yes, we will be fine eventually but our son will never be fine because he is gone. Again he’s in heaven but a parent doesn’t want to hear that. You shouldn’t have to bury your children, it’s unfair and my heart goes out to anyone that has had too.
It’s not like you lost your job and now u need to find a new one and someone pats you on shoulder and tells you “it’s going to be fine, it’s going to be ok”, yeah it will be you’ll find a new job and deal with this sucky period for now.
But how can you be fine when you lost something that no one or nothing will ever replace. You will always have a son that passed away so even if I have other children and we take family pictures there always will be Maddox missing. Birthday’s missed, first steps missed, first word missed, first day of school missed, our Son missed.  And that’s the reality of it all. You get through it, and learn to live with it. But you can’t change the hurt that is left behind because you’ll forever miss and love someone you didn’t have the amazing chance to meet!

It’s sad the things that we humans have to deal with. It’s nice to know that I have come to a place where know I don’t have to move on; I learned to live with. I have a scar that will never disappear, but it’s healing; and although a year later I can go to the cemetery without balling my eyes out I still randomly cry and miss Him! There is never a day that goes by that he doesn’t pop in my head (well maybe a day), but I’ll never forget and although people don’t like to talk about it for fear that they will make you remember or make you sad, well I say I never forget and I’ll never be happy about it; it’s not you that makes me sad it’s the thought that does, and no I don’t cry every single time I talk about him, but maybe sometimes I do, and so what! Who cares!
I am allowed to feel, I have a right to talk about something that is a part of my life. I do have a child, he may not walk or run around like others; but I know that one day I’ll meet him. He’s gone and why should I not talk about it for fear to make others uncomfortable. I should be uncomfortable. It happened to me. To us!! I only recently found out that the type of birth that I had is called an Angel Birth, so I know I have an Angel. But if we don’t do some research or talk to people you would never find out things. You’d be amazed out how many people out there can relate to our situation and yet until it happened to me I never even considered it being a possibility of an event that could occur.

A year and a half has passed and the emotions are many and just so different everyday, sometimes you feel hopeless, sometimes you cry, sometimes you want to talk about it and others you don’t. We got ourselves busy with trying to enjoy life and eachother and look forward to the future trying to create positive thoughts and just be there for eachother. I’ve learned that life is short and I have no problem eliminating people that aren’t a positive influence. I don’t walk around crying and playing the poor me card I try to have fun and be happy. When I talk about him it’s to inform and help others and not to make people pity me, I don’t need the pity it won’t change a darn thing.  All I need is for people to be open and honest. I know that my Angel is looking at me and I want him to know that I am a happy Mommy and I love him.

Thanks for listening. I hope that this helps you if by any chance you are going through a similar situation. I want to inform people that things do happen and I wouldn’t want anyone to be caught off guard or unprepared as we were. We get so much information about what pregnancy and bringing a child into this world is about, but we get no information about what happens if you don’t, or can’t, or something (God forbid) goes wrong, what are the things you will be asked, decisions to make, feelings to deal with. I want to help and if putting my story out there helps you; then I’m glad I mustered up the courage to do so.

May god bless you, and thanks for supporting mythineats and keeping this blog alive.
In loving Memory of our Precious Angel Maddox De FrancescoThurston

On a side note, I am not associated or affiliated at all with this project, atleast not at the moment hopefully I can help them out now. But, I randomly found this website the other day and I just want you all to take sometime to go on here and see what a wonderful project this is and what they are putting together. I was in awe when I saw this trailer the other day and how these people are trying to help all the families that lost a child or had pregnancy loss. Please check it out! Watch The Trailer, You Must! You can donate $5 to help get the documentary done.

 http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/still-project-phase-ii 

http://stillproject.org/

https://www.facebook.com/StillProject

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Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries and 29

Well, this is my Birthday week. It’s my last year in the 20’s and although I really don’t feel any different, I am looking forward to what this year will hold for me in all senses.
I have to be honest I am actually happy to be getting older. I feel sexier, healthier and definitely way more comfortable under my own skin than I think I have my whole life or at least since I was 15 when things were easy and simple.

I have gone through so much in the past 9 years I think I could write a book.
I’ll tell you the top 9 things that happened to me since I turned 20; seeing that I’m turning 29 I’ll put one down for each year in my 20’s.

  1. I got married 9 years ago to the most amazing person ever. Not only is he intelligent, handsome, courteous, thoughtful, humble, funny and understanding. He also makes me smile every single day, his faith in me and support are things that I can only thank God for. I know that I am lucky and I will strive forever to be the best wife/friend/woman I can possibly be for him but mainly because I need him in my life (so for me)!
  2. I moved to the States 9 years ago, leaving behind my roots and following my husband along with what ended up being an amazing experience allowing me to become cultured in all aspects of life all the while sharing my experiences with a wonderful man by my side. I started my whole life from scratch, moving from Georgia to Florida back to Georgia. In this time I found some amazing people that are still close friends, I had a wonderful job, and I became a US Citizen.
  3. I got to see alot of the US; New York, Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Washington DC, San Francisco, Napa Valley, Beverly Hills, LA, California, Savannah, Atalanta, Delaware, Annapolis, Charleston, Wilmington NC, Raleigh, All the Keys, Hilton Head SC, Tampa, St. Petersburg FL, Clearwater FL, Boston, St. Augustine. How lucky am I! All of which are unique and beautiful. I found something I love in each city.
  4. I learned a lot about health, from very Normal Eating to becoming a Vegetarian to Veganism, back to Normal Eating with a more wholesome, organic and biological aspect. I am thoroughly in awe about how much there is to discover in this aspect of life. Nutrition is a passion of mine.
  5. I was able to hang out in some of the best clubs in the USA with amazing DJs from Pete Tong, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, Paul Van Dyk, Eric Morillo, Deep Dish, Flosstradamus, Steve Aoki, Kaskade, etc….I also got to see Velvet Revolver play at Mansion in Miami; as well as (ok, hang on……) Hoobastank, remember “The Reason”, well I loved that song and they played in St. Petersburg, Dave Navaro again down in Miami, Bengi Madden with Paris Hilton (yeah back when they were dating), etc…
  6. I became a Yogi. I love Yoga the way it makes me feel is something out of this world. My favorites are Ashtanga, Power Yoga and Vinyasa. It really has strengthened my body. I also started with Pilates and find that the mixture between yoga and pilates is a fantastic combo. Not to mention that 6 month ago I started the Tracy Anderson Meta Program and this has been the best challenge became addiction, I can’t live without her 6 days a week. My Body looks better than ever.
  7. I wanted to go to an Island for some relax, sun and romance with my Husband. We did! Yes, it was Maroma in Cancun Mexico. What a paradise that was I mean the powder white sand, the massage in a cabana over the sea at sunset with only the sound of the waves, the lobster candlelight dinner with our own little cabana out in the middle of the sea, the bubble rose petal bath, the pool on our balcony overlooking the sea with champagne, the amazing fresh fish fished everyday and cooked to perfection, and all the romance that surrounded us the whole 7 days.
  8. We wanted to move to Italy and not save that on a bucket list, so we decided to sell all, quit our jobs and move to Italy. Has it been a journey, I mean coming back home and bringing back my amazing Husband has been a reward of a lifetime, challenging but rewarding. I love my country and it’s such a different experience to see it with him. We are taking full advantage of the farmers markets, fresh foods, wines and amazing cuisine. We went to Tuscany, Positano, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Verona, Rome just to name a few. Oh man, I’m falling in love with my country more and more.
  9. Oh, did I mention we went to Paris. Yeah, such a gorgeous country. Okay I know that this is a lot of countries, but if there is one thing I love (and Thank God my husband does too) is to travel, we really love to take trips and see things that we will be able to enjoy now that we are young. We are making the most of our lives. So that when we have kids we can sit back and relax. (or enjoy their craziness). Ha!

Now, back to the recipe of the day (or that I will eat for my Birthday). I think it’s perfect because you can maintain your summer figure without giving up on a delicious dessert and still reap the benefits and nutrients that your body actually needs from the Strawberries and Dark Chocolate. This is definitely a favorite of ours and also just so simple to make. I usually make about 250gr. and save them in the fridge for about a week in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

250 gr. Strawberries, washed and patted dry

1 bar Dark Chocolate (I use 70%)

Parchment Baking Paper

Get a smaller pot fill with water only about a little over a quarter, place over medium heat bring to a boil. In the meantime get a smaller bowl (make sure it’s strong enough to withstand heat glass or ceramic should do the trick) that will be able to fit in the pot, get your chocolate bar and break it up placing inside of the bowl.

Once the water is boiling lower heat to a minimum and place the bowl with the chocolate inside give it a few minutes and you will see that the chocolate will start to melt, stir gently with a spoon and when it’s completely melted you may turn off heat.

Prepare a flat dish with the parchment paper laid out on top of it and now grab your strawberries, dip one by one and lay gently onto the parchment paper. Place the strawberries in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes then eat. Or leave them in the fridge until ready to eat. Simple.

The method I used to melt the chocolate is called Bain-Marie you can learn more here

A few Blogger Awards to Mythineats

I have been nominated several times for a few different awards and feel it only right to say Thank you to all Mythineats readers and followers, but also how much I appreciate your support. I wish I could nominate everyone because you all do such a great job and it’s so nice that you share your experiences, hobbies, frustrations, goals and everyday life with the world but I only can nominate a few.

For starters I want to give Thanks to some of the people that have nominated Mythineats:

http://cooktolove.com
http://birgitlikes.wordpress.com

http://rezichfamilykitchen.wordpress.com
childrenshealthnaturally.wordpress.com

Such a fantastic group of bloggers, passionate about what they blog and willing to share all their positive experiences with all of us. Check them out!

https://i1.wp.com/www.breakfastblogspot.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/beautiful-blogger-award.jpg

For the Beautiful Blogger Award, you are required to list seven interesting facts about yourself, so I’ll do all of that here before I list my nominees for each.

  1. My favorite meal has to be Spicy. And by spicy I mean HOT. I love, love, love spicy food. The spicier the better. I always have powdered Cayenne pepper at the table and put it in my plate before I eat.
  2. I prefer to cook than bake. I feel that with cooking you are constantly doing something you can see how it’s turning out and add stuff to it along the way; whereas with baking you have to wait to see how the final product comes out and there is not alot of action.
  3.  No matter what I have to eat popcorn while watching a movie. I love popcorn (homemade) and no matter how full I am or whatever, if I am going to watch a movie it needs to be accompanied by popcorn. I pop it with extra virgin olive oil, add sea salt and cayenne. Delicious.
  4. I love almonds. I eat a small ramekin of Almonds pretty much everyday. My favorite are the dry-roasted ones. Lightly salted or not slated (depends on the mood).
  5. My favorite exercise is Yoga or Pilates. I love Vinyasa, Ashtanga or Power Yoga; anything that will kick my ass while keeping my Chi in check. Perfect body toning exercises.
  6. Cleaning is my salvation. There is nothing better than a clean house. I feel like I can breathe and move on with my day when the house is completely clean and tidy. A bit OCD i would say.
  7. I love my husband. Seriously! I don’t know where I would be in life without him, he is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me and I feel lucky to know that there is someone out there that has that much love, appreciation and most of all trust in me. Babe, I love you. Thank you for encouraging me to start a blog.

And The Beautiful Blogger Award goes to…

Lattes and Leggings A southern girl with an Italian Flare, Passionate about Latte and Leggings, right up my alley!

Pilates Evolution Now  Peta Serras A Pilates Instructor, passionate about sharing healthy ways of staying in shape while eating and working out.

@ Dieffs An amazing girl showing us that you shouldn’t diet but create a lifestyle with some of the most scrumptious and tasty dessert recipes ever.

Diane Abroad A west coast girl who moved to Paris for love and adventure, all the meanwhile sharing her food and other experiences with us while living abroad.

Clean and Lean with Lisa A gorgeous mother of two and a Certified Personal Trainer &
Nutrition and Wellness Specialist
, showing us how to get it done and look fantastic.

Mile High Healthy A Colorado Girl who lost over 50lbs and sharing her wonderful story with everyone about how you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.

Creative Liar A woman that speaks her mind in the most creative ways possible.

Happy Holidays from us and I will be back next week with a fantastic recipe. Buona Giornata a Tutti. A.k.a Good day to you all. Ciao

                                                     Under Italian Christmas tree

Tuscany: Food, Wine and “Le Terme”…Need I say more!

Wine tasting in the Banfi Castle, a Fiorentina steak in Montalcino, a fountain/cascade bath in Saturnia and more typical things to discover about Tuscany.
Let me bring Tuscany to you and discover some of the most delicious food, recipes and of course; wine (if you’re a wino like myself you will truly appreciate), and a few other surprises I discovered and wanted to share with all mythineaters.

It all starts in Montalcino the home of “Brunello di Montalcino” a luscious, deep red wine that has to be aged at least 5 years (or 6 years if it’s a Riserva) by Italian law and only made with Sangiovese grapes from the Montalcino vineyards.  If you like it just a little younger there is “Rosso di Montalcino” also luscious and deep red but more subtle, it only has to be aged about a year, still made with Sangiovese grapes from the Montalcino vineyards. Both amazing. The process is quite long, so there are about 2 weeks a year to be exact when the grapes are picked, generally the last week in September and the 1st week in October, then they are selected carefully, placed in these huge tins for fermentation, then moved into wood barrels and for the remainder of the aging they get placed in the bottle and when ready labeled and off to be sold. There are about 300 “Cantine” that you could visit, with some of the most famous in the world known as Banfi, Biondi Santi Franco, Brunelli, Campana, Colombaiolo, Il Poggiolo, Belpoggio, Barbi and Poggio Antico just to name a few.

                                    

The wine is paired beautifully with the Bistecca Fiorentina which is a loin cut from the male cow raised only in the Tuscany-Umbria region called Chianina . The bone has a “T” shape know as a T-bone steak in the USA, the smallest you could order is about 1 lb and 9 oz. and 2.3 inches thick. They cook it rare about 3-5 minutes per side (and don’t try to ask well cooked or they will give you a dirty look).  You salt it only at the end when you serve it; we accompanied the steak with some stewed veggies. It really was delicious and melted in our mouth.

               

Another famous dish around here is the “Ribollita” which means re-boiled, because every time you re-heat it, it tastes better. It’s derived from back in the day when the farmers only cooked on Fridays, so they used to get vegetables and old bread, cook it in a huge pot and then reheat it the rest of the week. The two most important ingredients are black cabbage and beans. You top it off with some Extra virgin Olive oil and Bread.

Then you have a lot of boar, that’s the meat they use for their Ragu sauce served with Papardelle.  I had Bresaola made from the Chianina cow served with rucola; and of course I had a delicious fresh Porcini soup. Crostini with Pesto, Patè or Pecorino toscano. And something very simple yet amazing, Ricotta Balls with just a bit of olive oil and Parsley.

                       

After all this delicious food there is of course endless desserts, but myself not being a sweet tooth decided that I would opt for the more simple cookies, afterall this is what Tuscany is known for. You’ve all heard about the world-famous Cantucci aka Biscotti in the USA. Then there is one that I particularly love called Brutti ma Buoni which means ‘Ugly but Good’ (in this case Delicious). It’s simply made with ground Hazelnuts, egg whites, sugar and powdered sugar.

  

Yes, I ate and drank all of this and still managed to go to Saturnia a town about 60 km south-west of Montalcino known for their Terme, which is pretty much a natural Cascade of Sulfur water that is at a normal temp. of 99,5 degrees Farenheit. It’s extremely therapeutic and highly recommended for the skin, bones and any circulatory issues one could have not to mention the relaxing benefits you get from the water. It is the most unique waterfall cascade/spring that I have ever laid my eyes on, supposedly the sulfur causes coves and that is how all theses little pockets are created. I loved every second of it and needed some detox relax after all that drinking.

    

Ciao, Hope you enjoyed Tuscany as much as I did.
 

I’m Back – My Summer Thineats in Italy

You’re right! Yes, I have completely disappeared into a world of my own, enjoying some of the most delicious cuisine in northern Italy; my hometown.

As most of you mythineater followers are aware of; I love to eat! I love to eat all types of food; good food though! I seem to have never come to terms with the fact of leaving the house and going out to pay for something that I could easily have cooked myself (and quite possibly even better).

I enjoy Italy especially, because food is a celebration; you go out and meet up with friends have about four hours sitting at the table enjoying each others company while enjoying some amazing food. No hassle, only pure enjoyment.

My husband and I live in Cervia, a beach town on the Adriatic Sea, in the province of Ravenna located in the Emilia-Romagna Region of Northern Italy. It’s a gorgeous, quaint little town where one of the things that I love to have and take full advantage of is FRESH CAUGHT FISH.
The fisherman get up at dawn, go out at sea and return in the early morn to sell fish at our local fish market, what they fish is what you make and eat that day.
Of course we have a couple of local “Pescheria” (fish store) that have other things as well and maybe fish caught that morning or the day before on the Mediterranean Sea. One of my favorites to purchase, something I always order or make at home is Vongole aka Clams. You make it in this delicious light wine sauce and they are divine and light. You can eat them alone or accompanied with any sorts of pasta, from Tagliolini to Bavette to Spaghetti.

These I haven’t yet mentioned , but I love just as much: Cozze aka Mussels, there’s just something about them so much flavor locked up in this black shell. I love “le cozze alla tarantina” cooked in a very light red sauce with just a hint of spicy. You get served some fresh toasted bread on the side and voilà.

Then they have something that cannot even be put into words of how delicious it is, don’t freak out I know that this is unexpected but it’s really one of my all time favorites, Polipo aka Octopus, yes you read right; Octopus. It’s delicious! Accompanied normally by boiled potatoes, you add some Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt, pepper and chopped flat leaf parsley mix it together and you have a party of luscious flavor in your mouth. Ah, Yes!

The list of seafood is infinite, anywhere from tartare to grilled, from broiled to poached, and from steamed to seared. The secret to why it tastes so amazing is that Italians don’t believe in flavoring their food too much, just a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper some parsley maybe and that’s it! You really don’t want to add too many ingredients and take away from that simple yet amazing flavor the seafood already has.

Then we go into the meats, we of course have some of the best charchuterie on the planet, I mean does it get any better than an amazing slice of Proscuitto di Parma, or Prosciutto San Daniele?! Or let me mention Culatello di Zibello it just melts in your mouth it has less fat on the outside and amazing in your mouth. We also have something called Bresaola, which is a lean meat aged as well and just very particular flavor almost a little peppery but oh, served with some rucola and Parmigiano shavings and a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive oil on top its to die for.

All of the above mentioned accompanied by none other than olives, amazing aged cheeses from Parmigiano Reggiano to Pecorino, also Mozzarella di Buffala or Squacerone con Fichi Caramellati (which would be a really soft, creamy, extremely fresh cheese accompanied by carmalized figs), I know but you have to try it to actually fathom what it tastes like.
I (and most Italians in this region) always have to accompany this with our local flat bread called ‘Piadina’ it’s crunchy on the outside but super soft on the inside, it’s hard to describe because you will not be able to get it anywhere outside of the Romagna Region (not even in Emilia) so it’s particular and delicious. Now there are other amazing breads out there to accompany this with; like a schiacciatina (just the Pizza crust), or a foccacia or of course any other sort of fresh-baked bread.

Then of course we have all sorts of delicious meats, salsiccia aka sausage, (this is very different from American sausage, it’s peppery and has some most amazing texture and oh so bad for you but delicious). Costolette aka ribs, just grilled though nothing else, yum. Pancetta aka bacon, but thicker and of course; delicious. The list goes on you’ll have the typical filleto (filet), Tagliata di Manzo (strip steak), Lonza (Pork chop), etc..

Always accompanied of course by vegetables, generally: Pinzimonio, which would be all types of raw vegetables, Fennel, Celery, Cucumber, Radishes, Tomatoes, Carrots, Endive, Cipollina, and Bell Peppers; chopped longwise and served with a small dipping cup on the side that has Extra Virgin Olive oil and Salt. You dip the vegetables in the mix and enjoy.
Of course, you also can have grilled veggies, spinach, mushrooms, rosemary roasted potatoes and “pomodori gratinate” aka tomatoes au gratin (which is basically breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, extra virgin olive oil and salt, sprinkled over a tomato half and baked in the oven). Or last but not least “radicchio ai bruciatini” which is sautéed radicchio with toasted pancetta and a balsamic demi-glaze.

And then, and then dessert! Dessert is something very particular in this country because it varies: You have Tiramisù, Profiteroles, Mascarpone, Zabaglione and of course Sorbetto and Gelato. But one of my all time favorites is Crostata di Frutta aka Fresh Fruit Pie, it has a really crunchy crust (my favorite thing: crunch) then crema della nonna (which is a cream made out of egg yolks, flour, milk and sugar), topped with fresh fruit; it’s hard to describe just how delicious it is. I love, love, love it.

Of course we all know about biscotti, but my favorites are the Scroccadenti they are practically the same as biscotti but with figs instead of the almonds. Delish!

The list of foods in this wonderful country are never-ending but this is all for now. I hope that you enjoyed.

Stayed tuned next blog will be about foods in Tuscany, Rome and Positano (the Amalfi); Yes, I’m taking you around with me. And no, I won’t forget to post recipes as well.

Ciao

Healthy Eating: How I spent my Valentines day!

Sorry I didn’t post anything yesterday but I was kept busy doing some special things for my Husband.
This is the first Valentine’s Day in Italy and also the very first we weren’t able to celebrate with a little wine or bubbly (or should I say I couldn’t drink)…. I take my responsibilities seriously and “the little Buddha” growing inside my belly was far more important than drinking, (although I really would’ve enjoyed it).

My Husband has been asking for pancakes for a few weeks now and I finally decided that when Valentine’s day came along I would wake up and make some pancakes for him, I am trying to still eat healthy throughout this pregnancy so  decided that I would go ahead and make healthy whole wheat pancakes. I did some research online of course to make sure that I had the right ingredients and also to see what recipes stuck out to me, I have to say that not one in particular did stick out to me, some called for buttermilk, others called for butter, some had a mixture of regular white flour and whole wheat flour so I decided that I would make them my way. They came out delicious and fluffy, that was my biggest fear being that they would be whole wheat I was afraid of them being heavy and not so exciting to eat. Well they came out fantastic….and the cappuccino along side was perfect!

You’ll need:

1 2/3 cup Whole-wheat flour

2 tbsp. Sugar

1 1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. Salt

2 Eggs, separated

2 cups Lactose free low-fat Milk

In a bowl large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl beat your egg whites with a mixer or whisk until stiff peaks. In a separate bowl beat milk, yolks and vanilla until foamy.

Add milk mixture to the flour and stir, (it’s ok if a little lumpy) fold in your egg whites and stir until evenly colored. Heat your griddle or pan and add very little vegetable oil to the bottom and distribute evenly with a paper towel, once the pan is hot pour in your batter. Allow top of pancake to bubble and then flip and cook for another 2 minutes.You may serve with whatever you like. We served ours with strawberries and maple syrup. Enjoy.

After a delicious and healthy breakfast we both went off to run errands, work ..the usual. For dinner we decided that we would cook together so we started. My husband has been getting more and more into cooking as the years go by and likes to help out whenever he can and possibly learn a couple of things, which I am happy about because it’s nice to be cooked for once in a while. We both decided that we wanted a light and fish based meal, it ended up being 3 courses but extremely fast and easy. For the “antipasto” (starter) we decided to have “Gamberi con rucola e grana” which is very common to eat here and simple; it translates “Shrimp with arugola / rocquet and parmigiano”.

                                   

You’ll need:

200 gr. Peeled and deveined Shrimp

1 handful Arugola / Rocquet

A few Parmigiano flakes

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Boil your shrimp. In the meantime wash your arugola/rocquet and set aside. Grab your Parmigiano and make your flakes with a knife (just enough to put on top of dish). Drain your shrimp (remember shrimp cook fast, once they turn pink they are pretty much ready).

Lay arugola/rocquet at bottom of plate, add your shrimp and drizzle 1 tbsp. of olive oil and salt to taste. Now you may add your flakes of Parmigiano and enjoy! If you like you may drizzle a bit of Balsamic vinegar over top.

For the “primo piatto” which means “first course”, we had “Ravioli a forma di Cuore, riepieni di Ricotta e Spinaci, in salsa di Asparagi e Salvia” handmade (bought though) heart-shaped ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach, with an asparagus and sage sauce.

                           

You’ll need:

250 gr. Ravioli filled with Spinach and ricotta

1 cup of sliced Asparagus stems

1 – 2 sprigs fresh Sage

3 tbsp. Olive oil

1/2 tsp. Margarine

a few of Parmigiano Reggiano flakes

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Salt to taste

Put a pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile grab your asparagus, chop the stems off and then slice them into 1/4 inch thick. In a medium saucepan place the olive oil, once heated add your asparagus and allow to cook at medium flame for about 5 minutes, now lower heat and add your sage leaves, red pepper flakes and salt and allow to cook for another 5 – 8 minutes. At this point your water should be boiling so throw in your ravioli and allow to cook for the time indicated on the package. Drain, and put in the saucepan with the asparagus add your margarine and mix until everything is fully coated. Begin to plate, add your parmigiano flakes and Enjoy.

Then for the “secondo piatto”; our “second course” we chose to have some “Spiedini di Gamberi e Calamari con Asparagi alla griglia” which translates into “Shrimp and Calamari Skewers with grilled Asparagus”. It turned out wonderfully and a great end to the feast.

                     

You’ll need:

10 Asparagus

1/4 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 Calamari, cut in 1/2 and ready to be skewered

Olive oil

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 lemon, quartered

Turn on your grill to medium and allow to heat (I used my stove top grill because it’s snowing outside).

Steam your asparagus for about 5 minutes, set aside. Grab a medium bowl and throw in your shrimp and calamari, pour a little olive oil on top, add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, mix it altogether and start to skewer, some shrimp, a calamaro, some shrimp; on to the next. Once you are finished you may bring over to the grill and allow to cook, about 5 minutes on one side and then flip; don’t overcook. Always remember that once the shrimp turns pink on both sides it’s cooked. Add your asparagus as well and allow same cooking time as skewers and then flip. Once your done plate, drizzle some olive oil over your asparagus and ad salt as well. Squeeze lemon over the skewers and enjoy this dish as well.

I hope that you guys have enjoyed the recipes. I know this looks like a lot, but it wasn’t; it was simple and we really enjoyed cooking and eating what we had made together, it was a nice experience and my husband was a wonderful help. We topped it off with a Chocolate “Bacio” and Tiramisu (but this recipe is to still to come).

We ended up watching Casablanca because neither of us had ever watched it and it was a nice stay at home, just us night. We figured that this is the last Valentine’s that we were going to have our house all to ourselves before the “little Buddha” comes and we wanted to enjoy it to the fullest…..and of course the fact that I just felt too lazy to go out in the cold weather with this belly and all. But it was nice to know that after being married for 7/12 years we can still enjoy each others company without having to necessarily go out, and without wine.

I willl say goodbye with this; This is what my Chocolate Bacio read last night:

P.s. I am about 23 and 1/2 weeks pregnant, sorry about the cleavage.

Eating in Paris

My Husband and I went to Paris for 2 days, it’s only a 2 hour plane ride from Bologna, Italy and so we decided that this would be our Christmas gift to each other. I was so excited because I have always wanted to go to Paris and see all the beauty, the shops, the streets, the sites, the gothic architecture and of course taste the cuisine. Although you really can’t experience a lot in 2 days I was determined to try some of my favorites. From croissants to baguette, from french onion soup to crème brûlée.

               

The first day we got in at about 6 pm, we took the train to the Hotel and decided to venture off. We could see the Eiffel Tour from our hotel and decided to take some pictures and then find a place to eat. It was raining and a Monday night, which meant that many restaurants would be closed so we ended up at a place called Bosque. A real cute and eloquent restaurant and very Parisian, we order the French onion soup (Soupe à l’oignon), it was delicious and perfect because it warmed me instantly, it had a little more salt than I would have expected but all in all delicious. For dessert we shared a crème brûlée, which was cooked to perfection, the cream was perfectly cooked and the sugar on top was perfectly melted.

The next morning we got up and went for a stroll and decided to have a french breakfast or atleast a Croissant and Coffee. I wasn’t expecting the croissants to taste any different than the ones you find here in Italy at any coffee shop, but to my surprise they actually tasted slightly different, you can sense that they are more buttery but soft and fluffy, it was delicious. I didn’t care too much for the cappuccino as here they like to make the milk foamy where as in Italy they are all about the Crema, and so am I. The place we had breakfast at was called La Coupe D’or, on a beautiful shopping street called Rue Saint-H’onoré.

                      

From here we decided to check out most of the sites, we walked up the Avenue Des Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame, Jardin Du Luxenburg, Sorbonne, The Latin Quarter, St. Germain, Pont Neufe, Etc… The sites were gorgeous and breathtaking. After all of that walking we got hungry and decided to go to the first place we saw, the restaurant we walked into was called Au Chai De L’Abbaye, it turned out to be quite cozy, I really wanted a baguette with some cheese but that wasn’t on the menu so I ended up ordering a french salad with french shredded potato patties. My husband ordered a grilled bread with goat cheese and tomatoes on top. The salad had a mustard dressing which was very subtle and nice, they did put a lot of cheese on top, which I thought complimented the salad I had ordered but I wasn’t expecting french salads to have that many ingredients, I like my simple Olive oil, lemon and salt dressing. But I was pleased with this lunch and starving so happy to finally eat.

After lunch we strolled the streets, we bought some fresh baguette and artisianal chocolates. We made our way back to the hotel and took a nap. We got up around 6pm and went to the Eiffel Tour, it was illuminated and it felt so surreal being in front of it. From there we went to have dinner at Mariette’s a cozy little family owned restaurant, we went inside and were greeted by the wife of the chef, I ordered homemade potato gnocchi with bell peppers and prosciutto, for my entree I ordered poached salmon. My husband ordered escargot ravioli’s and lamb for his entree, we were truly satisfied with this dinner, and the restaurant was eloquent and beautifully decorated.

We ended up with dessert a crepe with nutella on the Avenue Des Champs-Elysees.

I hope that you have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!