Cooking with Chef Virginio at Osteria Da Gustin

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Unbelievable beauty and complete serenity.  There is really no other way to describe the little Osteria tucked away in the Marche hills of Urbino. John and I literally had to pinch ourselves when we stepped out of the car, and as we looked around I was quite certain that I could simply live here, disappear here, and just settle in and live…  After meeting Chef Virginio, owner and resident of Osteria Da Gustin, I understood his passion immediately. His passion for his work is intimately intertwined with his own desire to live the best life possible with his wife and children, surrounded by fertile land and folks who care deeply for the “little things” in life like staying close to their roots and knowing exactly where their food comes from. Chef Virginio’s message is simple. He chose to leave a high powered position at a busy 5 star restaurant back in the states in exchange for a slower paced life in which he could spend his time with his loved ones, running the family business, and supporting his local community by only providing food to his guests from suppliers that literally live down the street.

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Video Tour of Osteria Del Parco with Chef Samuele

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I’m truly glad to be back home, but a rather large part of my heart will always remain in Italy. I still have SO much to share with all of you so please hang in there with me while we continue to sort through photos and edit video and I’ll continue to post stories and videos of our amazing journey.  I’m also starting work on my next cookbook which will be the first of many for an international paleo cookbook series! The first book will of course be all about Italy with accompanying recipes; all paleo but as authentic as possible!!!  I’m so excited to expand our paleo lifestyle into international travel and cuisine – we are learning about life from others who truly know how to live it and now we can share it with you and my heart is truly bursting with joy, excitement and anticipation…  Our lives are forever changed, we’ve had to make huge changes on the home front in order to make this all happen, but life is so darn short, and it’s worth the risk, worth the fear, worth the craziness with kids and family, worth putting it “all on hold” in order to dive head first into really living…

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An Intro to the Beautiful Marche!!

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As many of you know, my family and I are traveling through Italy, soaking up the culture and cooking our way through several different regions of this spectacular country.  We started our journey first in Bologna and moved on from there to Pesaro. All last week we were staying near the Adriatic Sea, in the region known as Le Marche.  Il Pignocco was our home base; a magical, fairytale location perched on top of a hill overlooking Pesaro.  The charming Il Pignocco is an old Italian farmhouse dating back to the 18th century that has been restored into a beautiful holiday house that is perfectly located – hidden away – and a beautiful place that we would have been happy to stay forever.  Everyday if I could, you would find me resting under the ancient olive trees and listening to the birds sing, but as always, real life intercepts my fantasies…

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Everyday Paleo Around the World!!

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We have started a new chapter to our lives.  An adventure. A Change. I am already changed.  It’s that feeling you get when you look around you and you know that things are different. Life is different. The very blood that flows through my veins has new life, new passion, a new vibrancy.  I can’t quite explain it exactly but my perspective is already shifting and I’m not sure how I’ll be at the end of this journey, how my kids will be, how my relationship with John will be; but all will be good.  That I know for sure…

John and I have had a dream for quite sometime to travel the world while our kids are still young.  To learn, explore, eat, share, grow, dream, marvel, cry, laugh, and love without abandon and yet with a purpose!  This is a big big world that we live in and we want to see it.  We have had to give up a lot to make this dream a reality but it’s happening, and we want to bring you along for the ride.  Our first stop is Italy.  We have been here now for almost 3 days and I’m just coherent enough to write my first blog post.  Rowan was still up in the night from around 2:30 – 6:00am.  His little body slowly adjusting to a 9 hour time difference.  The first night we were here he fell asleep around 2:00am eating beef jerky, snuggled in my arms, soft little hair tickling my face, far from home but yet in a warm familiar place.  My kids are troopers, travelers adjusting well and they have pilgram hearts like we do and are as eager as we are to experience our adventures.  They have zero inhibitions and I’m learning from them to be brave and look around with eyes wide open and experience it all. Jaden’s first bite of real authentic Italian food made him beam and grin from ear to ear – with sounds of amazement – that the sausage is delicious and the seafood arrives with shrimp heads still attached and olive oil that is green with goodness…

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Easy Eggplant Bolognese

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There’s a restaurant in Chico called Crush that makes a rockin’ Bolognese sauce; thick, rich, and meaty.  When we visit this restaurant they are happy to serve their scrumptious sauce over veggies rather than the standard pasta and it’s mouthwatering good.  In an attempt to recreate this yummy dish and with the abundance of eggplant that I have thanks to my awesome CSA, I decided to make a fast and easy version of this meal!

My easy Bolognese turned out way yummier than expected for the little amount of work that went into the actual preparation and my family is already requesting that I make it again – like NOW!!  I hope you all enjoy!

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Italian Eggs

Italian Eggs

On Wednesday I mentioned on my Facebook page that I have family here visiting from the east coast and as I type I’m looking out over the St. Helena mountains from Calistoga. Chico has been a heat and smoke basin, thanks to the multiple fires that have been burning in northern CA so to get some reprieve from the nastiness, we snuck off to wine country for the weekend.

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