Wednesday, May 30, 2012


One of the things that I will never get use to seeing is castles. They are everywhere. We have 3 (that I know of) within 25 minutes of our house. They aren't all huge, but a castle is a castle, right?! We had never seen a castle until we moved to Italy. They're all different and all beautiful. I'm not sure I could have survived back then, but when you stand inside the castle walls you can't help but imagine yourself in that time. When Kelly's parents come to visit and we tell his Dad we're visiting a castle he always says, "We're going on a J.A.C tour today." He had to explain it to me the first time. He said, "You know just another castle." It still makes me laugh when I think about it and I know that he will say it every time. We don't take anything for granted. We absolutely love seeing the castles and it will never get old. 

Sirmione, Italy - This was our very first castle and it will probably always be our favorite. This is one of the cutest towns in Italy. It is on Lake Garda, Italy's largest lake. You have to walk through the castle to get to the town. So cool!

Marostica, Italy - This castle is about 15 minutes from our house. It is absolutely beautiful. The castle walls go all the way up the side of the mountain. In the city square there is a chess board and every two years they have a chess game with living pieces. They have horses and everyone wears costumes. How awesome is that! We plan on going in September so stay tuned!

Still in Marostica - This is the view from on top of the mountain. You can see a little bit of the chess board in this picture.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tomato Soup Recipe

I'm craving Tomato Soup! Too bad I don't have crushed tomatoes. Here's my tomato soup story! I am super picky and I've never liked tomato soup. My friend invited us over about a year ago for lunch. She said we were having tomato soup and grilled cheese. I think to myself... at least I won't starve! I just figured I'd suffer through the tomato soup and leave the bowl half full. We get to her house and the whole house smells wonderful! Can you believe I remember all this?! This is why I'm writing about it because it left a lasting impression! Ha! I LOVE TOMATO SOUP! On with the story. We get our bowls, fill them with the red stuff and sit down. My husband and I tried the soup before anything else because we just knew we wouldn't like it. To our surprise it was some of the best soup we'd ever had. Kelly doesn't eat tomatoes, but both of our bowls were empty before we finished our grilled cheese. I have made this soup several times over the past year and it is delicious every time.

This isn't the best picture but you get the idea!

Here's what you need:

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (11.5 ounce) can tomato-vegetable juice cocktail
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
20 fresh basil leave, cut into thin strips - dried basil works too
1 cup heavy cream - I've also used whole milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine


In a large saucepan, combine the tomatoes, vegetable juice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basil. At this point, you may puree the soup if you wish. Add the cream and butter; return to medium-low heat and stir until butter is melted. Serve immediately. 

Its called Rachel's Tomato Basil Soup. Too bad there isn't an extra 'a' in the name! 

Rachel's Tomato Basil Soup from 

Our First Italian Experience

Our first Italian city to visit was Vicenza. Its only a few minutes from where we live and work. It's such a cute little city. I absolutely love this park. It is still one of my favorites. Right outside the gates is a busy street and its very loud, but once you're inside the park its nothing but peace and quite. 

This is right in the middle of downtown. Vicenza has a huge market on Thursdays. Of course we would choose market day to visit, but it was so neat seeing a market like that. Being from Texas we'd never seen anything like it. They have everything from pots and pans to underwear. Yes, the Italians buy their undies at the market!

Kelly and I had to try the gelato. It is delicious! I had chocolate and he had coffee. When visiting any Italian town gelato is a must! Before breakfast, after breakfast, as a snack... its good any time! 

A Little More About Me

For starters, my husband and I have been married for 11 years. We met at Dairy Queen in a small town in Texas. Classy I know! We have two boys ages 9 & 10. We weren't blessed with a daughter so we bought a dog! She's the cutest yorkie we know! Three years ago my husband, Kelly, applied for a job in Italy. It was a dream job that we never thought we'd get. We fantasied about moving to Italy but we knew it would never happen. After talking about it we decided if Kelly was offered the job we'd pack our stuff and move. No questions asked! Three months later Kelly called and said sell the house, we're moving to Italy. I thought he was joking! It must have been in God's plan because we sold the house in just a few weeks, the truck was gone in less than 2 and we sold almost everything we owned. It has been a dream since we got here. We still can't believe that we're actually living in Italy. I'm excited to share our experiences and some recipes I've picked up along the way.