Monday, 20 February 2012

Colorful low-fat muffins! (Why not baking them to celebrate Carnival?)

Tomorrow it's carnival! We normally don't do much on carnival, we don't disguise ourselves except our kid who goes to school in costume. We also brought him to see some funny parades; however we've never been to a famous one like the Venetian one yet. I just learnt that the word "carnevale" means "farewell to meat". Some years I helped my mom-in-law making the classical carnival fried pastry called "Frittelle" or "Chiacchiere" or "Bugie".

Two days ago, I baked some of my-styled muffins. Then I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea proposing them in the occasion of the carnival celebration too. My muffins are not the same muffins you know because I replaced butter with low-fat white yogurt for the reason that all my family members could have them without worring much about their health and weight! They came out to be very light and not less yummy than those made of butter. I decided to make some with cocoa powder and the few with matcha green-tea powder. I love every food with green-tea flavour such as spaghetti, ice-cream and cakes. How I adore its scent and taste!

This's my recipe. 
(I measured everything by the cup of yogurt)
1 cup of low-fat white yogurt
3 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3 eggs
1 cup of vegetable oil
4 tea spoons of baking powder
1 1/2 table spoons of matche (green-tea) powder
2 table spoons of cocoa powder
sugar grains and tails for topping decorations

Before baking

1. I used 2 large bowls where I put half of sifted flour and baking powder.
2. I added the cocoa powder into one bowl and the matcha powder into another bowl. I mixed the ingredients well.
3. In a large bowl I whisked the yogurt with sugar, then I added eggs and vegetable oil and I mixed them well.
4. I united half of the well-mixed wet ingredients to the bowl with cocoa powder and then I mixed them very well until it became smooth. As well I poured another half of wet mixture into the bowl with matcha powder and mixed well.
5. I filled the mixture into muffin-sized containers for oven. At last, I put the sugar grains and tails on top.
6. I baked them for about 18 min. at 180°c.

The final result!
Have a great time on Carnival!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Friendship between the lines - Part II

In my life, I've had many great experiences towards people through letters. I can say that I've met extraordinary people by correspondence. This might not convince all of you, but as my first-handed experience, I found that through letters I've learnt to know each person deeply and sincerely. Something is difficult to say directly in person but when you put it on a sheet of paper, you feel you can express it more fluently and openly. I've got that sensation; that you feel less fear or less embarrassment to show who you are, what you like, what you think, etc.

After many years of correspondences, I began to lose contact with some of them while others have strengthened a beautiful friendship. For the latter, we talked about our life, our plans, and sometimes we asked for a piece of advice. They've been just like close friends. By the way, as we became older, each of us have lots to do in life, so we're not writing that much but we never forget to send a greeting card on holidays. Occasionally we up-date our news such as sending a wedding photo!

One of my great experience was meeting a penpal by person after so many letters! She lives near Venice. After my marriage with my Italian boyfriend and my moving to live in Italy, I visited her very soon. Thinking back now, many funny things came up in my mind. She's become one best friend of mine. We visited each other when it was possible. The last time we spent a little bit of time together was last summer.

Another extraordinary penpal I've ever got is my very first Finnish penfriend. We knew each other when we both were two girls. After 20 years we're still keeping in touch, even if we don't write often as before but we're still thinking of each other. This's one of the simple little things that is special to me.

My destiny must have wanted me to know great people from the distance. I felt I was always lucky in having nice correspondences, but that was not enough! One day I got contact from one person, we began to write to each other, we kept learning each other...until one day we decided to marry each other. I support the saying that "we can meet people everywhere and by any method".

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Friendship between the lines - Part I

When I was around 13-14 years old, my English teacher suggested one way to practise writing and comprehension skills to the class; that was finding international penpals. The idea interested me since then! I suddenly subscribed to the postal database for penpals. Nowadays, you certainly don't have to move yourself anywhere, you should find so many on-line services for the same purpose. Twenty years ago you had to register your info filling out a paper form. However, it had its fascination. When you get something too quickly and too easily, you might not enjoy it enough. You lose some feeling but sometimes you don't even realise you've missed it. Anyway, the new generations may not feel any pity missing that kind of feeling...simply because they've never known it.

I was so enthusiastic that I picked up 3 or 4 penpals at one time, each from different countires. I wrote my first letters introducing myself, telling my physical aspect, my interests, my favorite songs and movies, etc. After mailing them, I waited each day a reply. I knew it took time...but it seemed too much time. Finally one day after school my mom showed me an envelop with foreign was such an exciting thing for me at that time! The first girl who sent me the reply was from Finland. She told her name, her date of birth and she talked about her school and her living place. I still remember her first letter and her handwriting. I didn't wait too much to write her the 2nd letter and then we began to exchange our photos.

A little bit later, I got the reply from another girl. She was German. I remember her first letter and her handwriting too. Slowly the number of my penpals increased. I began to receive new contacts, we swapped small friendship books; kind of sheets strappled together which one began to sign and send to another and after a long trip around the world the last person signing on them sent them back to the initiators...aftera long time they get back to the owners. For years I've had totally 10 penpals to whom I kept writing and tightening the friendship. I spent my weekly wages from my parents on stamps!

Monday, 6 February 2012

And the real winter began!

Since the past week we began to have a real sense of winter here in Italy, or at least in my living zone. We didn't have any snow during Christmas holidays and some of us already thought we were safe from a hard work of ploughing They were wrong, snow didn't visit us before but it only got some delay. And since a couple of days ago, we realised that we weren't safe from a real winter at all as the temperature began to go down and down. Finally we're living a freezing week of -10°c and even below!! I sincerely don't love cold weather even a bit but when it's's time! this the beginning of the famous 2012 profecy?? Let's cross the fingers ;)

This morning when my boy went to school, I saw a very lovely scene and I couldn't help catching a picutre. Don't you think it's a perfect one for the month of "love"?

                                                ♥ Happy Valentine's Day in advance