Catching Up

Hopefully I’ll have a recipe today — probably something from the agave nectar page mentioned earlier.

So far, all I baked was a batch of Milk’s Chocolate Cookies (full batch) and Peanut Butter Cookies for Teacher Appreciation. I spent the rest of the morning running errands and checking out sales at Macy’s. If you’re trying to decided whether or not it’s worth going to the mall, Macy’s is having a huge sale….at least in Austin.

The other news I wanted to share is that I’ve booked a trip to Italy. We’re going because rates are pretty low and because all of your comments and tips on the Aliseo Blood Orange Juice Giveaway page were so convincing. I’ll try not to talk about it too much in the coming weeks, but I am unbelievably happy about this. We’re going to Rome and Florence. I plan to write a more detailed trip report which I hope will be helpful to some of you who go in the future.

In my trip planning of late, I’ve learned a few things. First off, there’s a site called that like Sidestep, pulls up travel rates from all over the internet and puts them side by side and in grid form. I am in love Kayak, however, I had the best luck going directly to the airline site and finding what flights were available from the nearest hub. As much as I like Internet travel sites, it’s always a good idea to go straight to the airline sites and see what they have to offer. As for hotels, I had the best luck with Expedia. I always check with the hotel and book directly with them if they are offering promotions or discounts, but right now Expedia has some amazing rates. Hotwire seemed to have a lot of good things as well.

That’s my news for now.

And finally, does anyone have a good recipe for Amaretti?

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  1. cookienurse says

    Oh Anna, I’m excited and happy you’re going to Italy! It’s a foodie’s dream vacation, at least it was for me!!
    As for recipes using amaretti cookies, I did make Giada De Laurentiis’ Chocolate Amaretti Cake a few years ago and liked it very much. It was simple to put together and had an impressive taste, IMHO. I found the recipe on Food Network… ciao!

  2. Janice says

    LOL…I was thinking about you as I checked Kayak this morning;-)
    Congratulations on the upcoming trip.

  3. Louise says

    That’s great news and I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time. I’m not enough of an amaretti fan to make them, but the Dean & Deluca recipe for Tuscan rabbit sauce is great. We had that for the first time in Florence. And in the butcher shops saw cured wild boar, I think a leg, with fur. 🙂

  4. says

    Yeah for you. Jealous. jk
    I’m sure you’ll have fun with all your planning and even more fun THERE!
    I used one of the agave recipes from that site yesterday and switched it up a bunch a made a pretty good cookie using Barney Butter. Will probably post it on my blog.

  5. says offers some of the best travel experiences to Italy — customized tours that are off-the-beaten track and provide authentic Italian experiences.

    If you’re looking for a unique Italian experience — from beautiful hotel stays, great food and wine, and incredible itineraries — all at reasonable prices — you’ll want to check them out!

    They also offer corporate travel and concierge services.

  6. Rina says

    Yay!! I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to hear your perspective on Rome and Florence. The big question is whether your hotels will have internet access…j/k =). Ciao bella!

  7. says

    Rina, Todd doesn’t want me to bring the laptop. He says I have to take a spiral notebook and that’s it. No Internet.

  8. says

    Italia! I spent my time abroad split between those two cities – Florence and Rome… and basically all we did there the whole time was eat: I feel I need to tell you my top THREE favorite eats in those two cities, you can ignore my italy-sick ramblings if you want 🙂
    Hands down best gelato in Rome(maybe even italy): GIOLITTI. — My last week there, me and a few girls went there twice daily because we were so upset we’d have to go home to Gli Stati Uniti and not have any.
    In Florence, make sure you get some Schiacciata. It’s just a type of bread, but we tried to eat it every morning for breakfast because it was THAT delicious. I got mine from a bakery called “Forno” (basically the italian word for bakery.. not so creative) behind the Mercato di San Lorenzo in the Piazza Mercato Centrale. This Forno very very near my favorite eatery in Florence: Fiaschetteria-Trattoria Mario – open for lunch only, and its smalllllll and so popular, that they let people in only as they fit – so you often share tables with strangers! But the food is soo worth it. They are located: Via Rosina, 2R, also behind Mercato di San Lorenzo in the Piazza Mercato Centrale. OK, I’m doing being that crazy person!! I’m sure no matter what you do you’ll have the time of la tua vita!

  9. Louise says

    Todd’s being mean for not wanting you to take your laptop. You might need to check the weather or make online reservations. I’ve had an MSI Netbook for 3 months and it’s great. Took it to Norway and above the Arctic Circle. It’s less than 2.5 lbs. and not much bigger than a spiral notebook. Much better than when I’ve taken the laptop. And internet cafes are pretty much history.

  10. says

    simply recipes has a great recipe for amaretti, I’ve made them tons because they are so simple and delicious and fairly healthy if you ignore all the sugar!!

  11. Therese B. says


    Todd is mean. Just kidding Todd. Take ME to Italy instead. I have always wanted to go!!! Okay…the winter snow IS pristine in Wisconsin..but truly…Italy…are you kidding me? Please take your laptop and let us live the experience with you. Or…just go and give us a recap when you get home. Maybe Todd is right….so just go and enjoy…Just enjoy. You need a break from all of us cookie peeps!

    Let’s us give Thanks to Anna for enduring us!!
    You go and have fun! Relax with the fam.
    TRULY that is what you should do!

  12. Rina says

    I’m actually going to have to agree with Todd on the laptop issue. I took a travel journal with me when I went to Italy and it was perfect because I could keep it in my daypack and jot down names/places without lugging around a laptop (lower risk of theft as well). There’s also the issue of schlepping extra luggage if you plan to take any trains to neighboring towns. Selfishly, it would be great to read about your adventures in real-time, but only if it is convenient for you! Either way, you’ll have a blast.

  13. Annie says

    I also agree on the no Laptop, if you haven’t been to Rome it is a place where most people get robbed. But still a WONDERFUL place to visit.

  14. Jenny says

    Hi Anna – My husband and I went to Florence two years ago and had a wonderful time. You MUST go to a restaurant called La Giostra:

    It was the most incredible meal we have ever had. The restaurant is a hidden gem and has a very romantic atmosphere with lots of candlelight. They serve complimentary proseco and a huge antipasti (also complimentary) for the table. The family who runs the restaurant has a very interesting story which you can read on the website. It is not to be missed!

  15. Deanna says

    I do have a good amaretti recipe I make every Christmas for my Italian in-laws, they love them. They’re pretty easy to make and fun too! Once they are on the cookie sheets, they are dusted with powdered sugar and left to set up for 2 hours, then baked. I do not have it with me today but I will send it along.

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