Showing posts with label dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dessert. Show all posts

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Naples - St. Gennaro Festival, San Gregorio Armano and Shopping Galore

When we were in Rome, we heard that we should be very careful when visiting Naples (the next stop on our destination) because it had a reputation for being dangerous.  We were even told we probably wouldn't like it there.  In actuality, Naples ended up being one of our favorite stops on the trip.

We stayed at a hotel called Hotel Maison Degas in the historic district of Naples.  First, the location is ideal as you are walking distance from many of the sites and shopping areas there.  Second, the owners of the hotel - Francesco and Emmaneula - are absolutely wonderful.  They were very friendly and accommodating to us during our stay.  We felt as though we were visiting with friends when we stayed at their establishment.  I highly recommend them if you ever visit Naples.  You will not be disappointed.

The view of the piazza from our hotel room - Hotel Maison Degas.

Naples has some wonderful shopping.  There are lots of little winding streets filled with shops and vendors; more than you can possibly visit in a short stay.  There are also several street vendors selling their wares.  You can bargain with the vendors and walk away with some great deals. 

Anthony and Brianna checking out produce in Naples.

A butcher shop in Naples.  Yum!

One of my favorite places to shop in Naples is on San Gregorio Armeno.  There are hundreds of shops on this little street.  This neighborhood is known for their nativity sets (known as "presepe" in Italian.)  There are many variations of handmade presepes here, in many different sizes.  This is also a good location to find handmade Italian souvenirs. For doll makers, there is a shop that sells various clay and ceramic body parts if you want to make your own creations. During my visit to this area, I watched a shop owner meticulously paint nativity figures.  I also found some gorgeous mini Virgin Mary statues which I purchased and will eventually use in 3-D jewelry creations. 

The shops on San Gregorio Armeno are packed to the gills with goodies for purchase.

Hand painting nativity sets - one by one.
Doll making parts are available by the thousands.

One of the biggest celebrations in Naples occurs on San Gennaro's feast day.  San Gennaro is the patron saint of Naples.  Most of the shops and businesses are closed that day; most of the city participates in the all-day celebration.  Thousands of people crowd into the Duomo Naples Cathedral to watch for the liquefaction of the saint's blood - a tradition which dates back to the 1300's.  From there, the crowds filter into the church to view the vial of blood and light candles while praying for the saint's intercession.  I was thrilled to be able to participate in this celebration.  It was quite beautiful and awe-inspiring to see so many people come together in peace and reverence.

The faithful line up to see San Gennaro's relic.

A side view in the Duomo of San Gennaro.

The faithful light candles asking for the saint's intercession.

Naples is known for it's delicious food and handmade, brick oven baked pizza.  I have to tell you - we ate pizza many times during our stay here.  It was fantastic.  Of course, it didn't hurt that a pizza establishment was located right across the street from our hotel. :)  In addition, there is some wonderful street food that is too good to pass up.  We had some tasty potato croquettes and arancini (fried rice and meat balls) made by Pizzeria Giuliano.  They were out of this world!  Last, but certainly not least, we also indulged in some handmade pastries that you really can find only in Italy.

Handmade brick-oven baked pizza!

Delicious pastries.

In my opinion - Naples is a "must see" kind of place.  I look forward to visiting again in the (hopefully) near future.  Next - a final highlight of the last stops on our trip and then back to the arts and crafts where this blog is concerned. :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Apple Upside Down Cake Recipe

This weekend, my daughter and I found apples on sale for $1.00 a pound at the local grocery store. I couldn't resist; I ended up buying a bag of these little beauties. Now that we finally are experiencing our beautiful autumn weather, I've been itching to make something with apples. There's nothing quite like the scent of baked apple desserts wafting through the entire house. It's the perfect complement to a chilly autumn day.

This recipe - which is a breeze to make - uses a packaged cake mix that is doctored to taste homemade. My family loved this. And, don't forget to serve it with vanilla ice cream for a really yummy treat.

Apple Upside Down Cake Recipe


6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into wedges. (I used a combination of 3 Granny Smith apples and 3 McIntosh apples.)
1 stick butter, salted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small package vanilla pudding mix (3.4 ounces)
3 eggs
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pan, melt one stick of butter with the brown sugar. Once it is melted, stir in the vanilla extract and apple slices. Cook over medium heat until apples have softened and released their juices (about 15 minutes) stirring occasionally.

While the apple mixture is cooking, begin working on the cake base. In a large bowl, combine all of the cake ingredients. Mix with blender for 2 minutes. The batter will be thick in consistency.

Pour apple mixture into a 13 x 9 inch pan.  Spread the mixture evenly so it covers the entire bottom of the pan.   Spoon the cake batter over the top of the apples.  As the batter is quite thick, it may be necessary to use a spatula to bring the batter to the edges of the pan. 

Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Take the cake out of oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Fun Recipe - Homemade Ice Cream from Snow!

I can't take credit for this recipe idea as I found it on the internet, but I did change it a little to meet my own personal taste (and my love of all things vanilla.)  This is a really cool way to make homemade ice cream from fresh snow.  Plus, if you have younger kids, this is a great way to make a new memory with them.

Snow Ice Cream

One gallon (or a huge bowlful) of fresh snow
1 cup white sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla ( or, if you are like me, 2-3 tablespoons.  ;)  )

Gather snow in a large, clean bowl.  Add sugar, vanilla and evaporated milk.  Stir with large spoon.  The snow will thicken up quickly and have the consistency of soft ice cream.

Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Easy Apple Pie Tarts - Perfect for Thanksgiving (or Anytime)

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love to make extra special baked treats for the ones I love on the holidays.  However, I'm not one to make pie crusts or dough from scratch.  I admit it - I just don't have the patience to do it.  Instead, I like to come up with recipes that taste like they are made from scratch, but involve less hassle.

For breakfast this morning, I made Apple Pie Tarts and Cherry Tarts for my family.  The great thing about this recipe is you can use whatever pie filling you'd like.  These are also really good served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel ice cream topping.  I hope you enjoy making - and sharing - these tarts as much as I do.



1 can apple pie filling
2 cans biscuits (I use Pillsbury Grands, but anything will work)
1 stick melted, salted butter
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon


Sprinkle a pinch of sugar-cinnamon mixture onto the work surface.  Place one biscuit onto the mixture and roll it out with a rolling pin.  Place one tablespoon of pie filling onto the center of the biscuit.

Fold the left side of the biscuit over to the right side so edges meet and filling is covered.  Crimp edges with a fork.

Brush melted butter over both sides of the biscuit; roll entire biscuit into cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool on pan for a couple of minutes and place on serving plate.  Enjoy!

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