Meet Baby Italicana

Meet Baby Italicana

Let me introduce you to Baby Italicana: ❤ Pepper Gail Lorenzini ❤ .

Meet-Baby-ItalicanaForgive me for the delayed announcement…but since she was born it’s hard to do anything but stare at her…regardless if I’m sleep deprived and it’s 3a.m. in the morning. ❤  I can’t take my eyes off her. I’m mesmerized by her rosy cheeks, long eyelashes, tiny ears, slender fingers and heart shaped mouth.

Mr. Italicano and I are so in love. ❤

Baby Details


Due Date: December 14, 2017
Born: December 18, 2017 {full birth story to come}
Born In: Carpi, Italy
Height: 20.5 inches (52 cm)
Weight: 6 lbs 11 oz (3040 g)

First Encounter

Meet-Baby-ItalicanaIt’s hard to believe that almost 2 weeks have passed since I held our baby girl for the first time. We were in a room called Orchid. Outside it was dark and the room was lit by a large floor light with a sheet covering it to create a candlelight ambience. It was almost 6 p.m.  when Pepper arrived. I heard her cries before the OB put her on my chest – skin to skin. I joined her cries as I held her in my arms. After 66 hours since my first contraction, we finally had done it. It was a long, tough, labor but it was worth every second of pain after holding her close to me.  

I think my heart melted in that moment.

I had never imagined a rush of love so quick and fierce as what overcame me with her tiny body pressed against mine.

That love. ❤

I think the amount of love that was flowing through me could rival the strongest ocean wave. Insurmountable and forever to be flowing through my veins.

Dissipating Fears

Meet-Baby-ItalicanaYou know that post I wrote about Fears of Being a Mother?   Well, surprisingly many of my insecurities faded away the instant Pepper was in my arms. It’s not a lie when people say that your maternal instincts will kick in.  It’s true. You go from being insecure to feeling like a pro. You know how to hold your baby to soothe her to sleep and to read her signs to feed her before she starts to cry. You trust your instincts, and they lead you on the right path.

Mr. Italicano and I also have been employing some great tactics of communication to help us work together as a team of three. I read in Janet Lansbury’s book, “Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting” to treat babies like someone who is physically paralyzed.  Just because that person may not be able to respond to you, they can understand you. Respect them and treat them as a person.  Lansbury recommends to talk to your baby and to explain to him/her what you are going to do before you do it. So, from the moment she was born (and even all during the time she was in my womb), we talked to her.

At the hospital, the nurses nicknamed me as, “the mom who talked to her baby.”  While they would whip through her exams, often in rushed, brisk movements Pepper would start to fuss, and at times even wail (which she never did in the room with me). The first time I watched and didn’t say anything while my heart broke seeing her in distress. The second time and there onward, I stepped in, quietly explaining to Pepper what the nurse was doing. It calmed her, soothed her and kept her from crying. ❤ Although she is little, she can already do big things like listen attentively.

Coming Home



December 21st, 2017

It was a blue bird warm sunny winter day when we brought Pepper home. When we arrived, we put her in her blue stroller all bundled up in a white snowsuit type of coat and Mr. Italicano and I took her for a stroll in the backyard.  

Meet-Baby-ItalicanaWe wanted her to feel the sunshine on her face and the wind on her cheeks, and hear the sounds of the wheels crunching over the grass and leaves.  



Endless possibilities.

The Best Present Ever


Meet-Baby-ItalicanaThe best Christmas present, and arguably the best present ever, is Pepper. ❤ Christmas this year was more magical with her here: the Christmas tree lights shown more brightly, the songs on the radio were sung more merrily and the food on the table was more delicious. She made everything more vibrant. It was also a special Christmas to have my parents with us (they came over for a month) and Michele’s family close by.

Our families have gotten bigger.

And, we now have a family of our own.   ❤

Meet-Baby-ItalicanaHoping you all had a magical Christmas as well, and that your New Years is filled with love, happiness and always some adventure.

Much love,

❤  Italicana, Mr. Italicano & Baby Italicana ❤



Christmas Crostata & 40 Weeks Pregnant

Christmas Crostata & 40 Weeks Pregnant

Christmas-Crostata-40-Weeks-PregnantChristmas time is a magical period, and this year is particularly special for Mr. Italicano and I as we wait for Baby Italicana to arrive. Pepper’s official due date is today, December 14th!  

It feels like just yesterday I was rolling out farro ravioli to make our baby announcement

Christmas-Crostata-40-Weeks-PregnantAnd now, the 14th of December has arrived. And, with it delicious holiday baked goods, like this Christmas farro crostata made with organic bitter orange marmalade.

Time has flown by, yet I’ve also been mindful of taking moments each day in the past 9 months to celebrate this new life. It’s the most natural process in the world, yet, it is truly spectacular if I stop to think about it. I mean, I’m growing a little human being inside of me–how miraculous is that?

Christmas-Crostata-40-Weeks-Pregnant*Baby Bump — 32 Weeks*

Every time I feel Pepper hiccup or move I am reminded of this marvel. My hands go to my stomach to feel her, and my heart swells with joy–my little girl, my daughter is saying hello.

I still tear up thinking about the first time I felt her tap me, letting me know she was there all snug inside. I was 5 months pregnant and had just arrived in the U.S. for part vacation part cooking show tour. It was dinner time and I had finished off a big plate of Phad Thai (my go-to dish as soon as I arrive in America as it’s quite impossible to find where I live in Italy). I was curled up in an oversized chair flipping through the TV channels when all of a sudden I felt a poke. A tiny little hand (or foot, or elbow–not really sure) had just tapped me. Hello, she was saying. I am here.

It was one of the most sensational feelings in the world. I was not alone.

And, here I am at 40 weeks pregnant soon to be alone.  

To be honest, I am going to deeply miss carrying Pepper inside me. She has made me become a better person. My main goal the past 9 months has been taking care of her and by default, I’ve learned to responsibly take even better care of myself: monitoring what I eat, what I drink, how much I exercise, how long I work, how I talk and how I feel–all of which has an effect on the wellbeing of Baby Italicana.  I want to give her the best.

Some days I fail: I work too late, become stressed or don’t get in exercise. These “failed” days push me to consciously do better the next day–for Pepper.

Before my pregnancy I wouldn’t hold this commitment to myself. There was a lot of “I shoulds” going on in my mind,  but it was hard to maintain accountability with myself and so growth and improvement was always slow. Yet, knowing that I have a commitment to Baby Italicana makes me more responsible. I mindfully focus on ensuring that the following day’s activities and emotions are more balanced. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t strive for perfection. That is not my goal. I just need to be the best that I can be. For Pepper and for myself. Each day I’m mindful about what I want to achieve. Thank you, little one. Already you are teaching me so many things.

Christmas-Crostata-40-Weeks-Pregnant*Baby Bump — 40 Weeks*

So here we are sweet girl, your due date has arrived. Your Italian and American families are here waiting to meet you, and the house is nice and cozy for your arrival. The tree is up, decorations are hung, the presents are wrapped and the smell of fresh baked Christmas treats fill the air.  

Yet, the best part of this holiday season is you.

Christmas-Crostata-40-Weeks-PregnantWe love you, Pepper. We can’t wait to look into your eyes, snuggle your small body, gaze at you while you sleep, smile at your little sounds, kiss your soft cheeks and spend our first Christmas together–as a family.

Christmas Crostata & 40 Weeks Pregnant
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup cold butter, cut into cubes
  • Zest from 1 organic lemon
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ cups whole grain farro flour (or all purpose)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 jar of jam or marmalade, flavor of choice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment, add the sugar, butter and lemon zest. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Now add the flour, baking powder and salt; mix until combined.
  3. Remove the dough and place it on a floured work surface. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Flour a work space. Butter and flour a 6 inch pie plate or line it with parchment paper. Roll out the dough to 1/16 of an inch (5mm). Fit the rolled out dough in the pie plate and with kitchen scissors cut off the overhanging dough. Pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork many times then evenly distribute the jam or marmalade. Refrigerate.
  5. Roll out the extra dough again and cut into traditional stripes to create a criss-cross crust pattern or use cookie cutters. Keep rolling out the dough and cutting with cookie cutters until all the dough has been utilized.
  6. Take the pie plate out of the refrigerator and arrange the strips or cookie cutter shapes on top. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cut into slices and serve for breakfast or dessert. Buon appetito!


Fears of Being a Mother

Fears of Being a Mother

Photo Credit: Michelle Aschbacher Photography 

Pepper’s due date is in two weeks. TWO WEEKS! Soon Mr. Italicano and I will meet our daughter. As the days to her arrival become closer, I’ve been reflecting a lot on what this transition means for me and trying to understand my emotions. On one hand I am overjoyed to the point of tears, on the other hand I am filled with fear about this new journey of parenthood.




I remember a friend telling me in college that she didn’t want children. I thought that was strange. There was never a question about whether I would have children. I always knew I would. Then in my late 20’s these thoughts changed. I started to notice this shift when I hung out with my nephews/nieces and my friend’s children. I loved the company of the kids, but was always secretly relieved when I closed the door to their house and went back to mine alone. Although Mr. Italicano and I made a mindful decision to start a family, I know losing my freedom will be a hard adjustment.

I love the silence.

I get overwhelmed with screaming, loud kids. I often see mother’s carry on a conversation while their child is tugging at their arm sleeve or raising havoc in another room. I can’t concentrate; I feel on edge. I want to leave.

Will I become like other mothers and get use to the chaos? Or will I always feel the urge to run and escape it?

I love me time. I love Mr. Italicano time.

I like being able to focus on my passions of writing, reading, cooking, sports and traveling. I love Mr. Italicano’s undivided attention. I adore that we are free to be spontaneous and do what we want, when we want.

This will all change with Baby Italicana. Will I be resentful for not having personal time for myself, having to share Mr. Italicano’s attention and being tied down?

I love my work.

Since starting my business four years ago my work has taken precedent over every aspect of my life. I know it’s not right; I even wrote about finding a balance in my 2016/2017 New Years Reflections to spend more time with friends, family and Mr. Italicano.  Yet, when Mr. Italicano started to work with me, he too threw himself into the entrepreneurial mindset and we often work happily late into the night.

Will I be able to find a healthy balance between growing our business and raising our daughter?


I still feel as though I am struggling to figure out life and how to be an adult that can take care of herself, let alone another human being.

I’ve killed some of our house plants because I’ve forgotten to water them.

Will I be able to take care of my daughter and all of her needs?

I’ve frozen in emergency medical situations because I didn’t know what to do.

Will I be able to react immediately to save my daughter from an emergency like an allergic reaction or her choking?

I consult Google constantly to learn how to do simple tasks.

What can I teach my daughter if I am still learning the basics myself?

These questions and more have been running through my mind as Pepper’s due date draws near. I suppose that many of these feelings are normal (I hope) and that many of my questions will be answered naturally as we adjust to life with Baby Italicana.  I’m sure there will be ups and downs that come along with every new change. Mr. Italicano and I will navigate the unchartered waters figuring things out as we go, trying our best, failing miserably and learning from our mistakes so we can do better the next time around.

Photo Credit: Michelle Aschbacher Photography 

I foresee countless sacrifices and hardships but also so much love and worth to raising a family. The trick will be to not suppress emotions (that is a catalyst for unhappiness) but to confront them in order to find a solution that works for our family.

Photo Credit: Michelle Aschbacher Photography 

I am confident that my self doubts will fade as I become more experienced in motherhood and in life, and my quest for freedom will need to be balanced with mindfulness in order for me to continue my personal pursuit of passions and goals, as well as dedicate myself to raising a daughter that is curious, compassionate and courageous.  

If you are a parent, I would love to hear your thoughts about your feelings before and after having kids. What were some of your challenges or fears to overcome and what are some of the immense joys that being a parent has brought you?

A special thanks to the talented photographer Michelle Aschbacher for these beautiful photos taken during my pregnancy. Michelle lives in Rome and I highly recommend contacting her if you want to capture the special moments of your life.

Maple Farro Porridge with Pears, Cinnamon and Raisins

Maple Farro Porridge with Pears, Cinnamon and Raisins

Pre-pregnancy I was a sporadic breakfast eater. I would savor two cups of dark roast coffee when I woke up and eat my first meal of the day when I felt hungry—sometimes around 10am, other times at noon. That meant that lunch was sometimes at noon other times at 3pm. And, dinner? Well, in Italy we typically eat around 8pm so that at least was pretty routine. And, has to be. Mr. Italicano gets super hangry if he doesn’t get fed within a certain hour. 🙂

With Pepper growing inside of me, my first priority is ensuring she eats on a regular schedule with nutritious food that will help her mind and body grow. Hello, maple farro porridge with pears, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts. You are a winner. I don’t need any coaxing to eat this breakfast dish early in the morning. It’s warm and cozy, sweet and comforting…it’s composed of simple nutritious ingredients and easy to make. Just check out this video recipe that Mr. Italicano and I made for Poggio del Farro.


Farro High in fiber and a good source of protein, antioxidants and iron (great for those who eat a plant-based diet) 
Pears – high source of vitamin C and antioxidants
Walnuts – rich in omega-3 fatty acids and important for brain development and memory

Pepper is already learning from me about good nutrition, and she too is teaching me to be more mindful of my eating behaviors. I have always paid attention to what I eat but now specifically to when I eat, the quantity and variety. It’s made quite a difference already. At the beginning of my pregnancy I had low amounts of iron, but thanks to my mindful eating, my OB pointed out that my test results have drastically improved. She was impressed, as many women who are pregnant have a higher risk of developing anemia during pregnancy. 

Baby Italicana is not even born (only 3 weeks to go!); yet she is helping me to be more mindful in my everyday life. Thank you little one. Your mom and dad can’t wait to meet you. ❤

What about you? Are there any nutritious breakfast dishes you love or loved during your pregnancy to start your day?

Maple Farro Porridge with Pears, Cinnamon and Raisins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • ¼ cup (50 g) 10-Minute Farro*
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1.5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ pear, stems and seeds removed, diced
  • 1 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoons roughly chopped walnuts
  • Ground cinnamon
  1. In a small pot add the farro, water, cinnamon stick and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower to a simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes or until the farro is tender but still slightly chewy. Discard the cinnamon stick and drain any remaining liquid.
  2. Add the whole milk, maple syrup, pear and raisins. Warm over medium-low heat until the milk thickens slightly; 2-3 minutes. Divide among two bowls, top with walnuts, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. Buon appetito!
  3. *Any farro grain can be substituted for this recipe. In this case, just follow the cooking time on the package.

Mr. Italicano and I made this recipe for Poggio del Farro. Although we often collaborate with this company, this specific post is not sponsored by them.


Babymoon in Florence

Babymoon in Florence

Babymoons are an ever growing travel trend: one last getaway for parents-to-be before the little one arrives. While most couples take this trip together to get in some alone time, Mr. Italicano and I decided to take ours separately with friends. Since we work together we have the advantage of spending a lot of time together (sometimes even too much time together. 🙂  Friends are important and pursuing our personal passions and interests are as well. So, Mr. Italicano headed to Sicily for a sailing weekend, while I headed to Florence with 2 of my girlfriends. It was bliss.

Since Mr. Italicano isn’t toting Baby Italicana around, he of course could go off on a carefree adventuresome weekend virtually anywhere. My weekend, however, took some planning.


At first, I had wanted to go to the Italian seaside in Liguria. I imagined walking and chatting on the beach with my girlfriends, exploring coastal towns and overeating large amounts of focaccia and pasta with pesto genovese. Then, of course, I remembered that it was October! It would probably be windy and chilly for walks on the beach and many of the coastal towns in Liguria are extremely hilly. At 31 weeks pregnant, I could hardly go up a flight of stairs without becoming winded–umm, no thanks. Also, besides eating delicious Ligurian food (which was a major plus), what could a prego like me do? No  aperitivos drinking fancy cocktails or spas while relaxing in a hot tub or sauna (us moms-to-be need to keep our body temperatures regulated).

At this point, choosing the perfect destination came down to two main criteria: the season and activities for expecting moms. For an autumn babymoon, I highly recommend a large dynamic city. In October it’s typically still nice temps to walk and explore, and there are numerous non-alcoholic activities that a large city offers: art museums, restaurants, coffee shops, live music, food & art classes, shopping and of course prenatal massages, just to name a few.


My city of choice: Florence! High speed trains in Italy are amazing. From Reggio Emilia, the nearby train station, it took just 2 hours for my friends Monica, Silvia and I to get to our destination for the weekend. And, of course, when you’re chatting and hanging out with your girlfriends time flies at lightening speed. We spent two days exploring the streets of Florence, indulging in delicious food, visiting historic museums,  shopping, and chatting every moment we got.  In a flash, our weekend was over but what memories we created together that I will remember forever.  It was a weekend of fun, discovery, a lot of laughter and relax. All much needed before the challenges of becoming a new parent. Here were some of my favorite spots while we were in Florence. A big thanks to Georgette Jupe Pradier who has a very informative blog called A Girl in Florence . As a 10-year American-Florence local, she gave us many top referrals! 


La Ménagére

Great for breakfast, coffee, lunch, dinner and drinks

Via de’ Ginori, 8/R, 50123 Firenze FI

Telephone: 055 075 0600

Open Monday-Sunday 7:30am-2am

Hands down my new favorite spot in Florence. Sorry Uffizi and Galleria dell’Accademia. I surely appreciate you, but when you have a coffee shop/restaurant/jazz lounge/flower shop/kitchen store all in one cool setting, a pregnant food blogger like myself is in sweet sweet heaven.

Big kudos to the chef and his team for the exceptional food.

We had an incredible lunch trying out:ravioli filled with Romana salad and served with San Marzano confit and poppy seeds; homemade spaghetti with cuttlefish ink, clams, anchovy colatura and pea powder; roasted gnocchi, cacio, pepper, green apple and fried couscous.  I’m finding it quite torturous to write about these delicious pasta dishes…I need to go back for more. Like now.


Great for lunch, best to reserve ahead

Via dei Vagellai, 18/R, 50122 Firenze FI

Telephone 055 094 4877

Open Monday-Saturday 12pm-4pm, 7pm-12am and Sunday 6pm-12am

Just a few blocks away from the Uffizi, you’ll find this vegetarian restaurant hidden on a vacant side street and may even pass it if you’re not looking carefully. From the outside it looks like a bookshop, but when you step inside you find yourself in a little coffee shop that opens to a creative garden space and finally a glass window room lined with book shelves.

This is the second time I’ve been here and absolutely love their innovative vegetarian cuisine and the cozy atmosphere–the perfect spot to spend Sunday lunch with my girls. 🙂


Great for a morning or afternoon tea break

Via di Santo Spirito, 11, 50125 Firenze FI

Telephone: 055 280749

Open Monday 3:30pm-8pm and Tuesday-Sunday 11am-8pm

The amount of tea to choose from is impressive. Since I don’t know much about teas, I chose one based on the mood I was going for: relax. It was just the right mix of fruits and spice, with strong hints of cardamon.

Although the tea was superb the waitress was stiff and unfriendly (I say this comment hesitantly because you may go back and have an excellent waitress). She sat us at a small table with uncomfortable looking chairs when a vacant booth was free. After being on our feet all day sight seeing and exploring a nearby market, of course we wanted a comfy spot to relax. Especially me. When I asked if we could move to the booth, the gal said no….wwwhhhat? She had some courage to decline a simple request by a pregnant woman. I was quite shocked, especially since the entire room at the moment was empty. Luckily, my friend Monica had my back. When the waitress left, Monica coaxed me to sit and rest in the booth. She simply told the waitress as a matter of fact that we were sitting there–her friend is pregnant and she needed to be comfortable. Period. The waitress didn’t say a word, but took our orders. I love my girlfriends. ❤



Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, 12, 50121 Firenze FI

Telephone: 055 20371

Open Monday-Saturday: 7am-8pm

The Ospedale degli Innocenti was founded in the first half of the 15th century. There was a wheel where a baby could be dropped off without the parent being seen, which later was built into a window known as the “grated window” because it was large enough for only newborn babies to be passed through. Inside this historic building you’ll find a newly opened and informative museum. This institute is still active today and provides welfare services for children and mothers.


Via della Scala, 16, 50123 Firenze FI

Telephone: 055 216276

Open Monday-Sunday: 9am-8pm

This is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. Created in the 13th century by friars, it wasn’t open to the public until the 17th century. It quickly gained notoriety around the world for its medicinal herbs, balms, pomades and later perfumes, natural essences and other products. Touring this little gem was like taking a step back in time. It’s both a free museum as well as a store. And, oh the smells. ❤



The city center of Florence is actually quite small. Of course we had google maps to take us to the main piazzas, but I think that the best part of sightseeing Italian cities and towns is to simply get lost in its streets. You discover so many little markets, restaurants and artisan shops this way.


Mr. Italicano would have killed me had I dragged him into various shops to find the perfect outfit for our upcoming pregnancy photos (coming soon!). Monica and Silvia, on the other hand, were rockstars. We had gone into a store with 3 floors of clothing where I had found a sweater that I thought would be perfect–the only problem was my size was missing. The salesperson checked the stock and there was 1 size small somewhere in the store. Without hesitation Silvia went on a hunt to every floor looking in all of the dressing rooms. Only girlfriends are that patient. ❤


Golden Tower Hotel & Spa

Piazza degli Strozzi, 11r, 50123 Firenze FI

Telephone: 055 287860

After a weekend of walking around, this was the cherry on the cake. I treated myself to a prenatal massage at the Golden Tower Hotel & Spa 5 star hotel. I know fancy, huh. Surprisingly, the cost to get a prenatal massage here (90euro) was less than other spas (running around 120euro) in the area. Hands down this was probably one of the best massages I’ve ever had. The masseuse was phenomenal and used organic coconut oil and  natural essences. It was just what I needed to end a phenomenal weekend.

Actually, to end our weekend we celebrated with gelato before boarding the train home. Gelato during a babymoon is essential. ❤

Bye Florence. We’ll see you again soon. . ❤