Author: Shirley Shivhon

Midsummer Zucchini Pancakes

Summer is in full swing now in Tuscany and our orto (vegetable garden) is overflowing with ripe summer zucchini. Each fruit and vegetable clearly  has a prime time when it’s at its seasonal best. Some are great for over half of the year; others only hit their peak for a month. To me eating from …

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panzanella

I always forget just how amazing panzanella is, but last week while on retreat in Tuscany our amazing chef prepared it for lunch and I was reminded just how much I love this dish. Panzanella is a traditional Tuscan salad made with chopped salad vegetables, anchovies, and day old bread soaked in a simple dressing. …

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Do Less, Accomplish More

The yogis say, do less and accomplish more. I’ve heard this repeated frequently over the past few years but I don’t think I really understood what it meant until very recently. There is an old story of a man riding very fast on a horse. As he rides past a friend who is standing on …

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parli Italiano?

The buddha said, “Don’t believe anything second hand.” And I couldn’t agree more. Don’t believe anything because its written in ink in an ancient book. Don’t believe anything because everyone knows it’s true. Don’t believe anything because of habit. Don’t believe anything arising in your own mind mistaking your imagination for truth. Don’t believe anything …

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finocchio arrosto

As a general rule, Americans love Italian food, or at least they think they do. But what I’ve discovered by living in Tuscany is that most Americans have no clue what real Italian or Tuscan food is. Most American tourists come here, over indulge on pasta, pizza, bread, wine, etc.. and then lament the fact …

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just say No

When used mindfully and with compassion, No is a powerful instrument of integrity and a way to create healthy boundaries. It often takes a lot of courage to say. It is hard to receive. But setting limits ultimately sets us free. There will come a moment when you say, “No” without any justification or excuses …

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insalata viola

Yesterday as I was walking through the olive grove I couldn’t help but notice all the new purple wildflowers that have popped this week. It seems that every few days a new color seems to dominate the land and I’ve been memorized by the sheer beauty and saturation all around me. Spring is such a …

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