A Visit to Florence

Our girls have grown up so much since we moved to London that when we took a recent trip to Florence, Michelangelo’s David was like, “Wow, they’re big in person!” Tell me about it, you giant, beautiful slab of stone. Tell me about it. As they’ve grown, this whole casual travel around Europe thing has gotten easier and more fun. Even so, most of what’s fun is that we’ve abandoned all expectations and learned to show up, take in what we take in, and get out.

Florence was an important — if tricky — place to practice that style of visit. With six bajillion “must-see” museums, you could spend weeks chasing guidebook affirmation. Or you could cross the Arno river to the more relaxed left bank, hike up to the Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic city view that also allows for some major run-around time, and settle in at  Trattoria La Casalinga with a big, homey plate of spaghetti and totally decent house wine without the tourist prices. Just sayin’, it’s up to you.

Truth be told, we did our share of museum visits in Florence. Maybe more than our share, as evidenced by the girls’ casual observation on day four: “NO MORE MUSEUMS!” Yeah, we’re still tweaking the balance. I don’t know how I can have seen so many Caravaggio paintings and still know virtually nothing about him, but I shouldn’t be surprised. As well-traveled kids, my sister and I had a side business leading Non-Informational Tours. We couldn’t tell you anything you couldn’t have observed on your own, but we were damn fine at walking backwards with a closed Totes umbrella held above our heads. Plus ça change.

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  • Chuffed, eh? Your anglification proceeds apace.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon

    Brings back great memories of a similar trip for us. We were surprised by all the meat on the menus but also loved the daily gelato ritual. When we were there, they had a special “locals” weekend where they placed down sod on all the cobbled stones around the Duomo. Very surreal!ReplyCancel

Three Juices on Serious Eats

Asian Pear Juice with BasilHi folks, here’s me catching up on January juice month at Serious Eats, where I posted these three jewel-colored juices. Up top is Asian Pear Basil Juice, followed by Green Grapefruit Ginger Juice and Orange Sweet Potato Juice. Just click through on the photos to get to the Serious Eats posts and recipes. See you later in the week with some recommendations and a recap of our recent trip to Florence.

Green Grapefruit Ginger JuiceOrange Sweet Potato Juice

Carolyn xx



Buffalo Green Juice on Serious Eats

Buffalo Green Juice | Umami GirlHappy New Year! Early January is a satisfying time of year for me because for a solid 14 days, it feels like the whole world is perfectly aligned with my personal interests. The Williams Sonoma catalog has jewel-colored juices on the cover. People are Pinning yoga. Everyone’s searching like mad for vegan recipes. Life is good. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t afraid to let my absolute freak flag fly on Serious Eats this week with the Buffalo Green Juice. Not gonna lie, it’s both savory and spicy. And also? It’s my favorite. You can find the recipe here on Serious Eats.

Carolyn xx


Happy Holidays from Umami Girl + Homemade Edible Gifts 2013

Homemade Gifts 2013 | Umami GirlWe’re spending a few weeks “visiting home” on the East Coast, staying with family and friends, and making lots of merry for the holidays. There hasn’t been a lot of downtime, but I did manage to squeeze in a couple of homemade edible gifts. There’s herb salt with rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic, and lemon zest, repeated from last year based on popular demand. And there’s Umami Girl’s Banana Bread, with the dry ingredients turned into an easy-to-use mix. I’ll be putting up the recipes and some printable labels in plenty of time for next holiday season so anyone who wants to can get in on the action.

Homemade Gifts 2013 II | Umami Girl

Rosemary and Salt | Umami GirlView full post »

Farro with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Chestnuts on The Chalkboard Magazine

Farro with Leeks, Mushrooms, and Chestnuts | Umami GirlI’m a big fan of the website The Chalkboard Magazine, so when they asked me to contribute a holiday recipe, I wanted to give them something we really love. This indulgent-feeling but wholesome vegan farro with leeks, mushrooms, and chestnuts is the dish we’ve contributed to the family Christmas feast for the past few years. It doesn’t take long, and you can make it ahead, so it’s an easy addition to the table whether you’re hosting or visiting. Hope you’ll like it as much as we do. Happy holidays, all.

Carolyn xx



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