Come Along with me to Culinary School in Bologna!

Meet Simone Guerra, one of the fantastic people I met during my stay in Italy for “Project Healthy in Italy”. (Read about it here). I was introduced to Simone, the founder of the culinary school Otto in Cucina in Bologna by Valeria Moschet, the women behind the succesessful blog My Lovely Bologna 

If you are travelling to Bologna I really recommend stopping by her site and Instagram account with the same name for some great tips!

Below the pictures you will learn more about how Simone founded one of Bolognas most modern culinary schools…

The Pasta Warrior

Simone Guerra is the founder of the culinary school “Otto in Cucina”. Her last name is “Guerra” which means warrior in Italian. Considering what she embarked upon a year ago when building her culinary school form the ground up, the meaning of her last name is very appropriate! You can see the video from her journey here

The moment I entered the school I could sense the passion and labour that went into building the beautiful, brand new culinary school full of modern equipment and design, which is branded with Simones staple color; hot pink.

Here is also a video from the lovely herb garden at the school! 

“Otto in Cucina” means “eight in the kitchen”, referring to the Italian school grade system where grade 10 is the best. Simone is not a chef with a formal education therfore she found herself more comfortable with telling her students that if you can acheive culinary results worth the grade 8 and not always 10, that still means you can make som amazing food! Food should be about pleasure, fun, joy and nutrition and not about perfection.

Becoming a Master of Pasta, Sfolia

I love the fresh egg pasta which is typical of Bologna and the Emilia- Romagna area and Simone taught me how to make the classic tagliatelle pasta which are the flat pasta that are suppose to be 1 m.m. x 6 m.m. in size. I can assure you this will take practice to acheive…

Simone learned the art of cooking  from her grandmother who was a “sfoglina”, female pastamaker, but the art of making fresh pasta she actually learned from the mother of one of her sons friends.

For years she had been intimidated by the art of pasta, thinking it would be to difficult to learn. But her friend told her otherwise. She was a professional “sfoglina” by trade and meant that anyone could learn and become good at making “sfoglia”  with a little love, passion and practice.

The two became both good friends and cooking buddies, talking eagerly about pasta making in the school halls. Eventually some of the fathers at the school overheared the conversations and wanted to learn more about pasta as more and more Italian men are getting into the kitchen. So the journey begins…

From Hobby to Career

Do to the demand of several fathers wanting to learn how to make pasta, Simone and her friend- the professional pasta maker, started pasta and cooking courses in Simones house in 2012. By 2013 they held about 150 courses in all kinds of cuisines and simply outgrew her house.

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Simone is a great teacher!

In 2017 Simone and her husband decided to invest in a property that today is the culinary school Otto in Cucina where Simone and her staff share their passion and knowledge about Italian food as well as other cuisines for both private persons and companies.

I highly recommend booking a class if you ever are in the area!  Visit her school here

Here are the dishes we made that evening; fresh egg tagliatelle, pesto, agrugula pesto with pistachios, cherry tomatoes and burrata cheese. 

Having great fun while learning about Italian cooking and being inspired by these talented women! Simone, Valeria and Stefania. ( http://www.mylovelybologna.com and http://www.mymodenadiary.com. More to come later).


Do You Dare to Follow Your Dreams and Your Passion?

I am sorry it has been a while since you have heard from me, but wow what a ride these past months have been!

Perhaps you have been following me and “Project Healthy in Italy” and also my trip this summer to exciting Bangkok in Thailand via my blog, Instagram and other social media?

I have been using these past months to learn, explore, grow and to lay the next path for my career and future, and I am really excited about welcoming fall and new opportunities, and I will definitely be revealing more when everything is ready.

In the mean time I want to share the inspiring stories of some really strong and talented Italian women I met this summer in Italy and who all contributed to my project and helped make my stay in Italy so memorable and amazing.

They have all followed their dreams and are working with their true passions  and run their own businesses.

Next week I will be introducing you to Simona Guerra from Otto in Cucina Culinary School, Valeria Moschet and Stefania Fregni – who are both social media experts and the women behind the brands and blogs “My Lovely Bologna” and “My Modena Diary”.

I find their stories, knowledgde, kindness and passion to be really inspiring and I hope you will to! So make sure to check my blog og subscribe for updates.

Until then I would love to hear from you in the comment section below; are you an aspiring business owner? Do you have a dream or a passion you would love to make your full time job?


Orsi San Vito Wine – Made with Passion, Love and the Way Nature Intended

The focus on what we eat and how our food is produced is thankfully becoming more and more important. We are asking questions about our food. We want to know what’s in it and how it is produced. Is it natural, organic and are we actually getting what we are paying for? Because of these questions the food industry is forced to become more and more transparent.

But do you ask the same questions when it comes to the wine you drink? If not then come along with me to Orsi Vigneto San Vito  winery in the magestic hillside of Bologna and learn more!

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I was lucky that Alessandro Martini from Italian Days Food & Wine Tours was able to take me to meet Federico and his beautiful organic and biodynamic winery!

Natural wines are becoming more and more popular as we also understand that it is not only our foods that are being tampered with, but our wines as well. There is also a clear trend in going back to old, traditional methods of producing  and conserving foods and drinks for the sake of our health, to enhance flavour, and also to work more in tune with nature.

Federico and his wine production is a very good example of this philosophy in practice. He is extremly knowledagble and passionate about his wine, and ensures quality and respect for both the ingredients, the environment and takes great care in every single step of the process.

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Federico explains the natural fermentaion process of his wines. The famous Pignoletto Frizzante. Sparkling white wine from the region.

Italian Wine Culture

It was also important for me to get a better understanding of the Italian wine and drinking culture related to “Project Healthy in Italy” ( Read about it here ) as I know it is a part of the big picture as to why Italians are rated as being the healthiest country in Europe and second in the world.

As Federico tells me, “Drinking wine in Italy is about the social aspect as well as the enjoyment of something delicious, made with care and love. Also, we never drink on an empty stomach without food”.

Hense the Italian tradition of “Aperitivo”, a pre-dinner drink always accompanied with snacks or tapas style food.

Organic vs. Biodinamic Wine Production

To produce organic does not mean to produce biodynamic, but biodynamic produced food and wine is always organic. As a biodynamic wine producer there is a holistic approach to everything.

Federico shares, “To produce true wines of this terroir, we practice an agriculture which is capable of revitalizing the soil, stimulating plants and producing fruits with a strong bond with the territory. We don’t use chemicals and we work with nature to ensure the best possible conditions for our vines.

If the vines are under-performing and need nitrogen we plant beans or other pulses, leaving the cut plants to nourish the land. If on the other hand the vines are over-active we’ll plant grasses.”

Biodynamic wines are wines made employing biodynamic methods both to grow the fruit and during the post-harvest processing. Biodynamic wine production uses organic farming methods (e.g. employing compost as fertilizer and avoiding pesticides) while also employing soil supplements prepared according to Rudolf Steiner’s formulas, following a planting calendar that depends upon astronomical configurations, and treating the earth as “a living and receptive organism. Wikepedia

The fermentations are spontaneous without the use of selected yeasts, and there is no clarification or filtration on the wines. Federico is passionate about producing distinct wines with character and a non-standardized personality.

The farm also breeds free range Mora Romagnola pigs  and makes its own mortadella (famous from the area) using the best quality meat and spices.

San Vito has been producing wine for fifty years but since being awarded DOCG certification (controlled and guaranteed designation of origin) the popularity of Pignoletto has grown and wine buffs and entusiasts are starting to take notice.

Federico produces about 60 000 bottles a year and exports about 60 %. Both the USA and Nordic countries are buyers and recently the famous chef Gaggan Anad is on the list to buy the latest vintage for his famous restaurant in Bangkok.

Federicos also produces biodinamic vegetables and here we are inspecting the last of the farms artichokes. San Orsi also supplies the Michelain restaurant Amerigo with vegetables. I am visiting them next Friday! 🙂

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After roaming the vinyards, tasting mulberries straight from the tree, visiting the pigs and the spelt fields (!) it was finally time to taste the famous housemade mortadella and wine.

I love the dry, fresh tast of the natural fermentation process! There is also a low sugar content in Federicos wines, which gives them an extra star in my book. They have a very differant taste and mouth-feel than other wines I have tasted and go perfect together with the local charcuterie which is famous in the region. They taste natural, fresh, (even healthy) and are made with passion, love and the way that nature intended…

And finally the weekend sets in and we may enjoy the wine, eachothers company and shameless self- promation of our books, wine, mortadella and food and wine tours.

Learn more about Orsi San Vito Winery here

Book a food & wine tour with Alessandro and Italian Days here


Healthy Habits, Healthy Lifestyle. How to Change Your Diet and Lifestyle with David Mariani

Eat simple food, move with nature and make time for your spirit, is Italian health guru David Marianis philosophy on how to live a long, healthy and happy life.

 

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Changing ones lifestyle, getting into better shape and perhaps also losing weight is something both I and many of you are familiar with. I have been doing this on a personal level for years and also helping others do the same.

Therfore it was very exciting to meet Italys’ health guru and best-selling author, David Mariani in Montecatini for “Project Healthy in Italy”. (Read more about it here)

The passionate and humble David invited me to his wellness resort where he has been helping people change their lifestyles and health for over 40 years. He works with doctors, psychologists and nutritionists. But perhaps the best secrets and advice on the subject are those found in the answers from his many interviews with  Itailian nonnas (grandmas). These women are all well over 85 and still thriving! Their knowledge has become part of his teachings.

 

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David has recently turned his many years of research into a best-selling book “Reborn in 21 Days”, where he shares his knowledge on how important movement is for the body, mind and spirit. The book sold over 35 000 copies in Italy in its first week of release. Due to the success the book is also in the process of being translated into 21 Spanish speaking countries. Hopefully the best-selling book will also be translated into English soon!

David works both one- on- one with clients, loves to give speeches to larger audiences and is also passionate about sharing his “Healthy Habits” with companies as well.  His goal is to use his methodology to help prevent and cure, both short term and long term disease and illnesses that are due to a seditary and “modern day” lifestyle.  According to David’s research there are over 3, 5000, 000 premature deaths related to the lack of physical activity.  Luckily there are people like David wanting to help change our unhealthy habits and turn them into healthy habits one step at a time…

 

Read on for Davids best tips on how you can change your habits today!

 

 

 

Change Your Lifestyle the “Healthy Habit” Way- David’s Best Tips

1.Focus on what you are gaining. To permanatly change your habits and therefore lifestyle, focus on the positiv as you are actually adding value to you life and not taking something away. This is key.

2. Find you “inner spark”. Identify your inner motivation and use that as your motivator and you will acheive longlasting results. A typical inner motivtaion factor is wanting to have the health to see your children og grandchildren grow up.

3. Learn to listen to your body. Stop looking for answers outside and turn the focus inward.

4. Forget the words “have to”! Davids daughter, who has lost 26 kg in a year using Davids methods tells us wisley, “To lose weight, don’t think about losing weight!”. You don’t have to do anything, you want to do something.

5. Slow and steady wins the race. Change one small thing every day, every week and make sure to implement it everyday and soon it will be a habit. As David says, “It takes 9 months to be born so it will at least take 9 months to change.

To learn more about David and Healthy Habits visit here

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Sharing our books and knowledge with eachother:)

 

 

 

 

 


Drink Yourself Healthy Just Like the Ancient Romans- Project Healthy in Italy

Drink the healing water of Montecatini just like the ancient Romans and Verdi did, and perhaps you too will be able to compose music of the Gods!

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Just one of the beautiful scenes of Therme di Montecatini

Nestled in the hills of Tuscany in Italia lies the small town of Montecatini. Little did I know that this town once was the destination for the rich and famous who were seeking a “healing vacation” and to rejuvinate from lifes demands.

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Thermal baths in the early days.

Audrey Hepburn, Madam Curie and Guiseppe Verdi are just some of the famous names of people who have stayed in this charming town because of the healing thermal waters.

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Can you imagine the time when horsecarriages dropped off health seeking people at the main entrance?

I was invited to visit this place for “Project Healthy in Italy” (read about my project here) as it is definitely something to explore in seeking the answers as to why Italy is the healthiest country in Europe and the world.

Montecatini is also the birthplace of the Italian health expert David Mariani (More on this later), who I visited with the same day, and was gracious enough to arrange everything for me.

The history of the city and the baths date all the way back to Roman times ( read about the exciting history here) and were a common part of their way of life.

They knew what we have lost along the way to what we call a “modern and progressive” life: The knowledge of how nature heals, and posesses the power to help us maintain and achieve, optimal health and a disease free body. Drinking and bathing in the mineral-rich thermal waters of Montecatini may well be one of the answers.

The time has finally come to go back to what once was lost and to rediscover old traditions and remedies for how to heal the body.  The time has come to rediscover the healing powers of the thermal waters of Montecatini…

Have a look at the video below to learn more abot the secrets behind this healing water!

To learn more about the Montacatini thermal spas visit the website here


Tasty Secrets That May Prevent Prostate Cancer- Project Healthy in Italy

I am all about food that nourishes us as a whole; body, mind and spirit. I love making and eating food, but I am equally into, or even more into, the way certian foods make my body and mind feel.

The “right things”, being food that encourages a healthy internal enviorment and therefore reducing the risk of disease as well.

tomater prostate cancer

Unfortunatly there are too many choices being made in our modern society that encourages the growth of disease and prostate cancer being one of them. It is one of the most common cancers among men and in the world.

Some of the greatest risk factors for developing this disease are being overweight, eating dairy, cured and prosessed meats, high alcohol and sugar consumption, and not eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables.

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Have you ever juiced tomatoes? It s a yummy and easy way to enrich your diet with natures’ best medicine. Remember to add healthy fats like olive oil to ensure that the cancer- fighting lycopen is absorbed. 

 

My country of Norway, is unfortunately in second place as the country in the world with the highest rate of prostate cancer. We eat and drink tremendous amounts of dairy, bread, cured, prosessed meats and have a low intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Italy on the other hand is a country with significant lower prostate cancer rates , bringing the country all the way down to the 124. place on the list. There are also findings that show Italian men living in the south of the country have lower cancer rates compared to those living in the North. This is probably due to the diet being very rich in tomatoes in Southern Italy. Tomatoes are a great source of the powerful antioxidant- lycopen and is crucial in preventing the disease.

 

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This is one of the reasons why Italy is the healthiest country in the Europe and second/first in the world, and also why I am looking into the case and exploring more. Read more about Project healthy in Italy here

It is quite easy to make changes that can impact your health in a positive way. What you eat plays a huge part.

Tasty ways that may prevent prostate cancer: 

  • Eat lots of tomatoes both fresh, juiced or in home made dishes. Not ketchup and prosessd foods! Also make sure to not buy canned tomatoes due to the aluminium content. Go for glass or paper packaging. You can get my favorite tomato based recipes here and here
  • Eat lots of vegetables and focus on cruciferous vegetables like onions, garlic, broccoli, kale and cauliflower. Get my dairy free califlower soup recipe here
  • Get juicing! Juicing is a fantastic way to add more vegetables, especially inflammation reducing ginger and leafy greens, to your diet. Get my green juice recipe here
  • Add and use healthy fats, the right flours and spices when cooking. Read more about my basic healthy kitchen “rules” here.
  • And also, last but not least, drinking espresso the Italian way may be a great way to prevent prostate cancer! Of course without dairy or sugar. Read more here.

 

 

 

Here are some resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573712/

 


5 Tips for a Healthier Kitchen and Tastier Food.

I am all about eating clean, fresh and unprosessed food no matter what your dietary goals are. I believe that if we eat food that is as close to its natural state as possible, and drink enough fresh water every day, we would all be well on our way to a healthier state of  both body and mind.

Welcome to my healthy kitchen!

This is one of the things that the Italians have understood and is part of why the country is the healthiest in Europe and first/second in the world. Read more about Project Healthy in Italy here.

My hope is that I can inspire and help you to make healthier choices every day that will result in you being a happier, healthier, and perhaps also a leaner version of yourself.

I have also made all the changes  through my own lifestyle journey so I also “walk the walk”, and not just “talk the talk”! You can read more about my story here 

Here are my 5 best tips for you to start your own kitchen makeover and to help you on your way to acheiving better, healthier and tastier cooking results!

5 Tips for a Healthier Kitchen and Tastier Food.

  1. Throw out the refined, bleached table salt and get cooking with Himalaya salt and sea salt! This is so important. We need salt in our diets and I could simply never do without, but the kind of salt you choose makes a huge impact on both your body and cooking results. I have not had refined table salt in my kitchen for years and I find the taste to be horrible compared to healthy, natural choices as stated above. You get more minerals, and the taste is more rounded (natural) and stronger, so beware; you need less. Also a good reason to change the salt you cook with.

IMG_8050saltoghvitløk italy logo2. Trade in wheat for spelt flour. For all cooking and baking where wheat is needed I use spelt flour. It is an ancient grain that has really gained popularity the past years, especially in Scandinavia. It has a differant type of gluten than regular wheat and therfore more people, including myself, tolerate it. It has almost the same cooking and baking qualities as wheat does, and a nuttier, more exciting taste.

3. Use the right kind of fats. We need fat as well as salt, but make sure you use the right kind. (Fat is a huge subject so I will write a blog post in the future soley on this). But to break it down, extra virgin coconut oil for all things raw and not being heated (or where you don’t mind a coconut flavour), refined coconut oil without flavor for stabile frying and such, or extra virgin olive oil. If you eat dairy, butter is a good choice as the fatty acids are stabile due to the high content of saturated fats. I personally prefer olive oil.

4. Use lots of fresh herbs and garlic! The past months I have really gotten into using fresh herbs in my cooking. Fresh garlic is also a staple. They are so healthy and packed with flavour. Mint is great for the digestion and is surprisingly delicious in salads and savory dishes. I also use coriander and basil all the time.

5. Add fresh citrus juice for flavour. I have also been using a lot of fresh citrus juice for my cooking and flavoring. A crucial part of flavour balancing is actually acidity. Acids can also replace the need for salt and really make a dish “pop”. Acids also help aid in digestion and help balance your blood sugar. I use lime, lemon and sometimes orange juice if I need a sweeter, more round acidic flavour. My favorite marinade is fresh orange and lime juice, olive oil, dried oregano, dried chili flakes, salt and garlic.

Happy cooking! I would love to hear from you what you think!


Will I Get Healthy in Italy or Heavy in Italy?

The struggle and fear is real… 

Living in the land of carbs, and white carbs at that, is a scary thought for me.

(Don’t know what I am talking about? Read about Project Healthy in Italy here)

As a previously overweight child and adult strugglig to keep a balanced weight and mind, carbohydrates and especially pizza and pasta, are my absolute drugs! The more I eat, the more I crave. Do you know the feeling? Also the more I eat, the more fat I gain, especially around my stomach. The more depressed I get as well. It’s a vicious cycle.

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I can eat pizza ( regular wheat based) or pasta ( regular white, wheat pasta) as a serving once in a while, but if I eat more than one meal consisting of this during a day or a week, my mind and body says, “stop!”.

I feel tired, depressed, bloated, and have a really cloudy mind. My body aches more as well and I just don’t feel inspired to really do anything.

So how am I going to cope for 1 month in Bologna, Italy where the temptations and carbs are literally at every corner? And how can it really be that the Italians can stay healthy, slim(?) and be the healthiest country in Europe and the world when this kind of diet makes me fat and a generally unhappy person?

Follow my journey and find out how my Project Healthy in Italy goes here on my blog and through my social media accounts Instagram here , Facebook here and YouTube here

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Juice Arugula for a Better Digestion.

Do you sometimes feel a little sluggish and bloated? Sometimes our bodies need a little aid in the complex process of digesting our foods and one of the best things you can do is add the leafy, peppery arugula to your diet.

It is fantastic and even better for your digestion when juiced! Give this recipe a go.

 

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Bitter greens like arugula/rocket are great for digestion!

 

Let’s Rocket 

Arugula, also known as rocket salad, is a leafy green from the cruciferous family. It has an aromatic peppery taste and is perfect for a healthy, green super juice! It is rich in bitters which help our digestion function better. Arugula also has four times the amount of iron compared to the more commonly used ice berg salad – so use it in your salad as well as your juice!

1 hand full arugula
1 apple (preferably a sweet tasting one)
1/3 lemon
1/5 zucchini
1/5 cucumber

Juicy goodness: The bitters in arugula kick start the digestion juices in your stomach helping your body better digest and absorb nutrients. It also triggers the releases of bile into the small intestine. The leafy green is also rich in vitamin B, zinc, copper, vitamin A and C, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Juicy tip! Arugula is low in oxalic acid, an acid which can hinder the body’s ability to absorb calcium. This makes arugula a perfect substitute for spinach which is high in oxalic acid and is an important factor to remove from the diet for people suffering from osteoporosis (brittle bones).

 


Waistline Friendly and Yummy Lentil Soup!

I love soup or stews this time of year and they are easy to make – all in one pot!

My red lentil soup (or stew) is really delicious, and filling, but still low calorie, fiber-rich and blood sugar friendly, making it good for your waistline as well.

Recipe below…

 

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Lentils are a great plant based protein and is blood sugar friendly.

 

 

Carina’s Red Lentil Soup ( 4 portions)

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2- 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 carrots (peel)
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 chili
  • 500 grams ( 2 cans) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 liter ( 3 1/2 cups) vegetable stock
  • 2 dl. ( 1 cup) dry red lentils

How to: Finely chop the onion, carrots, celery, chili and garlic. Sautee in olive oil until soft. Add the crushed tomatoes, stock and lentils. Cook until tender adding more water if needed. Season to taste. The lentils need at least 30 min. to cook. You do not have to pre-soak them. Enjoy!

Tip! This soup/stew tastes really great the next day so you can make a large batch if you like. It is also great to freeze so you have a healthy meal ready in no time:)