Tuesday, 31 October 2017

ITALIAN HALLOWEEN VOCABULARY

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! BUON HALLOWEEN! 

It is October 31st, and time for all the ghosts, goblins and ghouls to come out and play!  
While this holiday is highly celebrated in North America, it is not traditionally as recognized in Italy. Typically, Italian culture has focused on November 1st, All Saints' Day, and November 2nd, All Souls' Day.  However, due to Western influence on Italian culture, Italians have embraced the fun of dressing up and trick-or-treating as well!

While I have no tricks to play, I do have a treat for you!  I have outlined some basic Italian Halloween vocabulary below, for you to use in your Halloween adventures!  You can be sure your neighbours will be surprised when you say, "dolcetto o scherzetto" tonight! ;)

To practice your knowledge of these and other Halloween words in Italian, check out this Quizlet link for some vocabulary games and activities! 


Monday, 30 October 2017

MUSIC MONDAY ~ N.12

In the spirit of Halloween, this week's Music Monday selection features the amazing, yet slightly haunting voice of Giuliano Sangiorgi - lead singer of the popular Italian music group, Negramaro.

Sangiorgi is known for his unique sound, and multi-talents.  Not only does he perform lead vocals with the band, but he also plays guitar and piano. Furthermore, he is a songwriter with multiple hits, including, "Le Parole Che Non Ti Ho Detto," which was sung by distinguished tenor, Andrea Bocelli.  

The song, "Mentre Tutto Scorre," from the group's album of the same name, discusses a failed love and seems almost like an argument between Sangiorgi and his lost lover.  He dares this other individual to try to take him down, but assures that he won't be so easily beaten.
When asked in interviews the significance of the line, "Green rabbit with a thousand funny faces," Sangiorgi explains that it can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and basically means, whatever you want it to mean.  It can mean hope or disillusionment; it is a mixture of interpretations.




Wednesday, 25 October 2017

WORLD PASTA DAY

Happy Word Pasta Day!  Bring out the gnocchi, the fusilli, and the fettuccine! Whatever the kind, today is a day to celebrate and eat pasta! 

The word pasta comes from the Italian word for, "paste," which is probably due to the paste-like product that results when one mixes pasta's basic ingredients of flour, eggs and water.  With a rich and varied history, it is a little difficult to determine exactly where pasta first originated.  Some believe the first noodles were produced in Central Asia thousands of years ago and made their way westward.  While others believe, pasta made it's way to Italy via Mediterranean trading in the Middle Ages.  Records indicate pasta's increasing popularity in Italy from the 13th century, with the dish even being mentioned in the famous work, The Decameron, by 14th century writer, Boccaccio.

Pasta, which was once reserved for the wealthy in Renaissance times, is now a common dish that can be prepared in a variety of ways.  There are a multitude of noodle types to choose from and endless  ways to dress them up - like a rich ragu sauce, or a simple garlic and oil combination!  Whether you plan on making your own special pasta dish tonight or opt to order "un primo" from the menu, I've rounded up some of my favourite pasta dishes from celebrity chefs to help you make your pick!

Buon appetito!


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Chef Mario Batali



Chef Giada De Laurentis



Chef Lidia Bastianich



Chef David Rocco



Chef Jamie Oliver




Friday, 20 October 2017

LANGUAGE LEARNING BOOKS FOR KIDS






1 ~ Lil' Libros - These books are a great resource for Spanish language learning.  Each book has both English and Spanish translations, and incorporates the learning of elements such as numbers and shapes into cultural stories.

2 ~ Caillou Spanish and French Books - When introducing a new language, it is sometimes best to use a familiar element so that children won't feel as overwhelemed, and may be more eager to engage with the new information.  As such, these Caillou books are a great learning tool for little Caillou fans!

3 ~ Kloo - This award-winning game offers a fun-filled way to learn Spanish, French or Italian! Players learn words and build sentences around a particular theme in order to earn points. After players master the first deck of cards, they  move on to the subsequent deck which builds on the language knowledge they just learned.  (Bonus: There is a version of the game made for adults too!)   

4 ~ My First Book of ... - These  picture books offer a great overview of first words in a foreign language.  Offered in a multitude of languages, these books are a great resource if wanting to create a multicultural library for your children!

5 ~ Tuttle Publishing - The first phrase that pops up on Tuttle Publishing's website is, "bridging the East and the West."  That concept is clear through their collection of books aimed at teaching the languages of Asia.  These books use the familiar A-B-C structure of the English language to outline new words in a variety of Asian languages.  What's more, they include cultural and linguistic notes to help with the language learning experience.     

6 ~ PENpal Audio Recorder Pen - This award-winning language learning tool allows children an alternative "reading" method, by enabling them to listen to content in a variety of languages by simply touching the pen to the book or other language learning resource.  What's more, there are numerous free audio files available, allowing for a multitude of continued learning!  Plus, the recordable feature allows learners to record their language learning and listen to their progress.


Monday, 16 October 2017

MUSIC MONDAYS ~ N.11

Music Monday is back!  If you were wondering where the music was last week, it was intentionally skipped, as this has now become a bi-weekly feature on Viva la Dolce (*the weekly feature edition will resume in the summer*).

Who do we have this week?  It is Giusy Ferreri with her latest hit, "L'amore Mi Perseguita" ("Love Haunts Me"). Ferreri gained her stardom, after coming in second on the first season of Italy's version of the talent show, "X Factor."  Before that, the singer's musical career consisted of experiences with various bands, as well as a solo career attempt.  Ferreri, who is visibly pregnant in this song's video, welcomed a daughter to the world this past September.

The song features another Italian artist as well, Federico Zampaglione.  Zampaglione, leader of music group Tiromancino, directed the official video for this song.




Saturday, 14 October 2017

FALL ROUND-UP: THE VERY BEST IN FOOD, FASHION & FUN!

Fall is such a great time of year for many things, including food, fashion and outdoor activities!  I've gotten together with some of favourite bloggers to put together the ultimate list of fall fun!  Make sure to check out all of the awesome posts below to get inspired this fall!

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Fall Fun for Little Ones 

Fall is such a great time of year to go on family adventures with your little ones.  Here are some of our favourite fall time activities to help you get the most out of the season!



Easy and Fun Fall Leaf Tree Craft for Toddlers 

Fall is such an exciting time, and Pinterest is overflowing with cute toddler crafts.  Here is a fun fall, tree leaf craft you can create with your toddler using leaves you can collect together on a nature walk through your backyard.



Eight Things to do Outside This Fall
Blog: Mamablabs

Looking for new ideas on how to get the kids outside this fall?  Read on for eight fun things to do outdoors as a family, that everyone will love!



Fall Bucket Lists (for moms and toddlers)

It's finally fall!  That means tons of fall themed activities for you and your little one(s).  Check out these bucket lists for toddlers and moms!



DIY Pumpkin Playdough 

Who doesn't love an easy DIY project to do with the kids?  This homemade pumpkin playdough has the sweet smell of the fall season.



Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites (Great for Breastfeeding Moms)

It's officially Fall, which means - you guessed it - Pumpkin Spice Everything!  These Pumpkin Pie Energy Bites are delicious, and the oats and flax seed make them great for breastfeeding moms.  You can even add a little bit of brewer's yeast for an extra boost in your milk supply! Breastfeeding or not, these are delicious, super easy to make and will surely get you in the Fall mood.



Warm up to a Hearty Harvest Stew 

One of my favourite things about fall is the abundance of fresh harvest vegetables that are now in prime season.  With the cooler weather, it is time for me to break out the crockpot and make this delicious hearty Harvest Stew.  So easy to make, and perfect to come home to after a long day.



Fendi Inspired Fall Fashion 

Want to look like you just stepped off the runway?  Check out these Fendi inspired fall fashion pieces!

Friday, 13 October 2017

PUMPKIN INSPIRED ITALIAN RECIPES

As we decorate for the fall season, and upcoming Halloween holiday, there is no doubt an excess of pumpkins lying around!  While there are multiple ways to use pumpkins for decor purposes, there are also plenty of ways to use them in the kitchen!

I've rounded up five great delicious pumpkin inspired, Italian recipes that will not only delight your tastebuds, but be the perfect comforting dish on these cooler fall days! 


Buon Appetito!



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Italian Winter Squash Stew with Tomato, Dry-Cured Olives and Garlic



This recipe was found in an article for Zester Daily on Huffington Post, and is written by Julia Della Croce.  Della Croce is the author of "Veneto: Authenic Recipes from Venice and the Italian Northeast;"  Therefore, it is fitting that she provides a delightful history of the "Zucca" (or pumpkin) and it's uses in Northern Italy throughout her article.  It's a very interesting read before diving into the recipe!


Zucca alla scapece - Roman-style marinated pumpkin and 
Zucca in agrodolce - Sicilian-style sweet-and-sour pumpkin


Rachel Roddy writes a wonderful article in The Guardian, where she describes two wonderful recipes from Central and Southern Italy. Before explaining the recipes, Roddy, who lives in Italy, provides great detail of the wonderful scenes in Testaccio, Italy during the fall season.  She also provides a brief description of the types of pumpkin found in the Roman markets during this time of year!


Penne with Pumpkin, Bacon and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena



This scrumptious recipe was found on the website of Academia Barilla, a corporation which actively supports, promotes and develops Italian DOP-certified products.  What's more, they strongly support youth initiatives in the culinary field, as they hope to promote and spread authentic Italian Gastronomic Culture for the future.  Aside from a mouthwatering recipe, you will also find Chef's Tips and some Food History regarding pumpkin, on their website.


Pumpkin Ravoli (Cappellacci)



Another great recipe found on the Academia Barilla website; this one was just too good to pass up!  Although it's "difficulty rating is at a level two (as opposed to the level 1 for the recipe noted above), don't let that intimidate you!  Roll up those sleeves and try this special dish!


Pumpkin Risotto



I just couldn't leave out one of my favourite dishes - risotto!  Although there are a variety of versions to choose from, this recipe hails from the website of celebrity chef, Rachel Ray.  The seasonings of nutmeg and sage in this dish, add the perfect notes to the flavourful, hearty pumpkin. Yum!  

Friday, 6 October 2017

OCTOBER DOLCE TO-DO-LIST!


Fall is the a great time to celebrate some of life's dolce (pleasures)! For starters, there is plenty to enjoy outdoors, such as the gorgeous colours of nature and the refreshing crisp air.  Furthermore, the thanksgiving holiday celebrated during this time of year, reminds us to reflect upon our lives and truly appreciate all that we have. This calls for more time spent with family and friends, and more time focusing on taking care of our bodies and minds. Lastly, let's not forget some of the ultimate fall pleasures -  cozy sweaters and pumpkin spiced treats!  To help you enjoy some dolce this season, I've compiled a list of 10 ideas below:

1. Go outside and enjoy the beautiful fall colours ~ Check out the local trails in your neighbourhood!  Bring along the family and let the kids explore their new surroundings.  Create a fun nature walk activity by making a list of things to look out for and then collect them along the way!

2. Do some yardwork ~ Another great way to get outdoors is by tending to your yard.  Rake some leaves and refresh your landscaping!  Not only will this lead you to a great looking yard, but you also get the added benefit of vitamin D and a workout! 

3.  Go apple picking or visit a pumkin patch - or do both! ~ Research some great farms in your area where you can enjoy some fun apple picking and/or some great pumpkin selections.  Usually these locations also offer other family friendly activities such as petting zoos, hay rides and more!  Let the fun continue at home by baking some goodies with your freshly picked apples and pumpkins, or by carving out a fun design on your personally selected pumpkin!

4. Reduce time spent on technology and social media ~ When you find yourself with some down-time, fight the urge to jump on social media.  Instead, call up a friend and go for a walk; take your child to the park; engage in a creative activity like painting or colouring; or try meditating.

5. Take a nap! ~ Listen to your body, and rest when you feel tired.  Often times, we push ourselves to the limit.  Next time you find yourself yawning and rubbing your eyes, instead of grabbing a cup of coffee, try laying down instead.  Even if you don't fall asleep, just kicking up your feet and relaxing for a short while will help your body to recharge.

6. Try a new soup recipe ~ With the chilly weather upon us, a warm bowl of soup can really do wonders for the soul.  Research a new recipe to excite your palette with new flavours.  If it's a hit, keep it on the dinner rotation for the rest of the season!

7. Spend a night with the girls ~ Whether it's out for a drink, dinner and dancing, or chatting all night on the couch, make sure to book in some quality time with your besties!

8. Refresh your look ~ New sweater?  Maybe a new lipstick?  Whatever you choose, treat yourself to a special treat from the season's hottest trends!

9. Donate ~ You can choose to donate your time at a place in need, or perhaps some items that you no longer use.  Either way, giving back to your community is always a wonderful gesture and a great way to spread some positive energy!  Don't forget about the food banks at this time of year, which especially need help during the Thanksgiving season!

10. Sign up for a new class ~ It's important to keep expanding your mind and to keep learning new things throughout life.  Explore a subject that you've always been interested in, or dedicate some time to master a skill you've always enjoyed.  Even though your schedule may be overwhelmed, carve out some "me-time" and explore!

Monday, 2 October 2017

MUSIC MONDAY ~ 10

In wake of the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, I'd like to dedicate this week's music selection to all of the victims involved in this horrible event, as well as their loved ones. 

This song is also dedicated to all those who continue to suffer in Puerto Rico, as well as the many other areas of the world where tragedy has recently hit.  The world is hurting right now.  There is much need for love and understanding.  It is a time to set aside differences, and help our neighbour.   As the Dalai Lama once said, 


"Love and Compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them, humanity cannot survive."

The song below is by singer, songwriter and producer, Elisa.  The song also features guest vocals by Giuliano Sangiorgi, lead singer of, Negramaro.  As indicated by the song title, "Ti Vorrei Sollevare," which means, "I want to comfort you," the song discusses the desire to comfort and console someone who is hurting.  It discusses the need to hold onto love, and the need to hold on to one another in this world. 

To all those suffering and hurting right now: "Ti vorrei sollevare, ti vorrei consolare" ("I want to comfort you, I want to console you").  My heart goes out to you all.





 

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