Tossa de Mar, Spain Travel Guide

Tossa de Mar is a very popular beach town on the Costa Brava of Spain, famous for its medieval castle towering over the beautiful beach. Years ago, I saw a photo of this castle in a travel book, and vowed to someday visit. So when we planned our road trip through Spain, I made sure that Tossa was one of our stops.

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Sitges, SpainSitges is referred to as the Saint-Tropez of Spain, famous for its film festival, carnival, and nightlife. It is also home to 17 different beautiful beaches, a super cute old town, and countless unique shops and restaurants. The entire town is colored in white and brilliant cobalt blue, and is the kind of place that you fall in love with and never want to leave. The kind of place you dream of returning to year after year.

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Valencia Travel Guide - City of Arts and Sciences

The third largest city in Spain, Valencia has a little something for everyone. A beautiful historic city center, gorgeous sandy beaches, great food, warm weather, plenty of culture, and as much nightlife as you can handle. We took a road trip along the Eastern coast of Spain this summer, starting in Valencia, before heading north up the coast to Sitges and the Costa Brava.

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Kurbis Risotto Hokkaido Pumpkin Risotto

Happy First day of October!

When fall comes around, while everyone else is looking forward to pumpkin spice lattes and chunky sweaters, I am usually mourning the end of my beloved summer. But this year, I am actually pretty excited about the changing leaves and crisp weather. Maybe because we are living somewhere with 4 distinct seasons? Anyway, I’m completely embracing the fall and incorporating pumpkin and squash into everything I possibly can.

Starting with this delicious pumpkin risotto. Made with beautiful, organic Hokkaido pumpkin, deliciously fresh sage, crispy pancetta, toasted pine nuts, and freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese.

Hokkaido Pumpkin Risotto

Almost every local restaurant here in Austria has at least a few kurbis (pumpkin) specialties on the menu right now. This risotto is a combination of a few of my favorites.

It is the perfect dish to serve to company, because it looks like you spent hours in the kitchen. But in reality you can have it completely done in about 40 minutes. It is also a great meal for baby, just chop the pumpkin smaller and omit the pancetta and pine nuts.

ReisHunger Risotto Rice fresh sage and pinenuts

You will need:

  • 1 organic Hokkaido pumpkin
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • thinly sliced pancetta
  • 3 Tablespoons of pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Large bunch of fresh sage, chopped
  • freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese
  • chicken or vegetable broth
  • butter
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup good white wine, plus more to serve
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Thoroughly wash the pumpkin, then cut it in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. Chop the pumpkin, skin and all, into 1/2 inch chunks.
  2. Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy bottom pot. Add diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and pumkin, and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the arborio rice and sauté for a few minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine.
  4. Add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, to the risotto, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has been absorbed.
  5. In a separate pan, fry the thinly sliced pancetta until crispy. Remove pancetta from pan, but do not remove the fat. Fry the chopped fresh sage in the pancetta fat until crispy.
  6. Serve the risotto, topped with the crispy pancetta, sage, pine nuts, and freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano cheese.

Hokkaido Pumpkin

I love Hokkaido pumpkin because it is so easy! The hard exterior softens up beautifully after cooking, so you don’t have to remove anything but the stem and the seeds. The rest can be chopped up and cooked. It is delicious in risotto, but equally good roasted and served with chopped sage as a side dish.

Kurbis Risotto with pancetta, sage, pine nuts and parmesan

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On My Bookshelf- What I'm reading this month

On My Bookshelf for September:

(disclaimer: I don’t know how I have ended up reading so many disturbing books lately! These are not for the faint of heart.)

Dark Places  |  A 7 year old girl loses her mom and 2 older sisters in a brutal murder in her home, and her older brother is arrested for the crime. 25 years later, she meets a group obsessed with her story and forces her to revisit the events of that night so long ago. By the same author as Gone Girl, I knew this book would be both twisted and gripping. Which is exactly the kind of story I like for when I run long distances, so I listened to it while I ran the Wachau Half Marathon earlier this month. It did the trick, kept me enthralled in the story so I didn’t think about running!  |  “The truly frightening flaw in humanity is our capacity for cruelty – we all have it.”

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town  |  An in-depth (and very frightening) look at the rape crisis on college campuses by an incredible author. Although Krakauer focuses on the University of Montana, this is not a problem unique to Missoula. As he points out “rather than being the nation’s rape capital, Missoula had an incidence of sexual assault [in 2010] that was in fact slightly less than the national average. That’s the real scandal.” This should be required reading before graduating high school, for both boys and girls.

The Light Between Oceans  |  In the 1920’s, a young couple lives on a small secluded island off the coast of Australia. After suffering multiple miscarriages, they find a boat that has washed up on shore and inside is a tiny, healthy baby and a dead man. The following events show what happens when good people make bad decisions. A beautifully heartbreaking book.  |  “We live with the decisions we make. That’s what bravery is. Standing by the consequences of your mistakes.”

The Lost Girls  | The True Story of the Cleveland Abductions and the Incredible Rescue of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus. I enjoy true crime books, and although this was extremely well organized and written, I hated it. Not the writing, but the subject. The torture that these 3 girls endured is just unimaginable. Hands down, the most disturbing thing I have ever read.

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