Beet Hummus Recipe + 17 Week Pregnancy Update

Beet Hummus Recipe + 17 Week Pregnancy Update

Beet HummusHey friends! Thank you so much for your comments, emails and messages to my and Mr. Italicano’s baby announcement last week! We are over the moon about becoming parents and starting this new beautiful, challenging and rewarding adventure. First let’s talk about this amazing beet hummus recipe that has been rocking my world lately, and for those of you who aren’t interested in all the intimate pregnancy details you can then skip to the written recipe below {I definitely don’t want to bore you!} For all of you who want the in’s and out’s about my growing belly and Baby Italicano/a’s first sailing adventure last weekend, you’ll find that in the second part of the post.

Video Recipe

This video was made in collaboration with Smeg. I created the recipe, photos and video—which you can also find on their website along with many other delicious homemade recipes. The writing and opinions are my own.

3 Things I Love About Beet Hummus

1. I can easily add a delicious beet flavor and pink color to my original hummus recipe.

2. I’m able to benefit from all the health benefits of beets like cancer fighting antioxidants, anti-aging properties and boosting my stamina (which is great because I find with the summer heat and being pregnant even climbing stairs make me tired!)

3. I can whip up a vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan-friendly, dairy-free appetizer in a matter of minutes to serve at dinner parties and please a large group of friends who have different eating restrictions. Plus, appetizer boards are one of the prettiest things ever! Just be sure if you have gluten free friends, divide the hummus into two bowls and keep one for the veggies and on another board put the bread/crackers to avoid someone dipping their cracker inside and contaminating the spread. Little chalkboard signs are also a good idea as a little reminder.

Ready to try this delicious beet hummus? Scroll down to the recipe.

Now onto baby news…. 

17 Week Pregnancy Update

17 Weeks Pregnant

How Big is Baby Italicano/a?

Baby Italicano/a is the size of a pomegranate!

It seems so surreal to have a baby this size in my belly. I still can’t feel this little pomegranate, but I had a doctor’s visit and my obstetrician said I would start to feel baby’s first movements in about three weeks. I can’t wait! Although, if he/she is anything like me when I was little, my tummy is going to get some wild kicks. When I was a kid none of my friends wanted to sleep in the same bed as me, I was an active sleeper and usually kicked them before the night was through. Luckily for Mr. Italicano, I’ve become a calmer sleeper and he doesn’t get any rude awakenings (unless constantly stealing the covers and hogging the entire bed count? Oh, how he supports me. )

How Big is Mamma?

So, I was really quite lazy the first 4 months about taking photos. I only took one about a month after I found out I was pregnant. Here it is:

Now that I’m seeing differences weekly, I want to document my expanding belly! Here’s me at 16 weeks.

And, yesterday, at the start of 17 weeks.

This is the last week of 4 months and next week I’m be officially starting five months! Nine months is a long time, but man is it flying by!!

Baby Italicano/a’s First Sailing Adventure

Every since Mr. Italicano got his sailing license two years ago, we’ve been taking every chance we can get to explore the Mediterranean Sea. We’ve been to Greek Islands and various coastal ports, towns and islands in Italy. This past weekend we went sailing around Elba Island where we recently unplugged for a truly relaxing weekend.

So, you would think that I would be ecstatic about this weekend sailing getaway! I mean, if there is some kind of outdoor activity and new location involved, I am in heaven. I consider myself an adventure-seeking soul and love exploring new places and countries. In 2008, I even took a 10 month around-the-world trip, backpacking to over 13 countries while sharing my journey and experiences on a travel blog. From riding elephants in the jungles in Asia to hiking the Himalayas in India, I pushed myself to live life at full momentum and without fear.

Yet, as I stood on the dock looking at the passerella, or gangplank, that separated myself from the boat and solid land, a million fears popped in my head as I watched a friend cross the wobbly wooden board in front of me. What if I lose my balance and fall in the water? Or worse, what if I slip and fall on the slippery boat floor when we start to sail and…*gulp*… I lose my baby? 


Lot’s of it.

Rushed through every cell in my body.

I’ve already taken on the responsibilities of becoming a mom in the past 4 months as I’ve made many sacrifices for my sweet pea on what I eat and drink. I’m extremely, and at times excessively, strict. Yet, this is the first time I’ve ever felt the panic-mode that I’m sure most parents experience when they realize how many dangers there are in the world and all they want to do is keep their child safe.

As I watched others climb aboard, I took a deep breath and let logic take over. Nothing in this world is ever “safe”, the worst can always happen. On the contrary, the “best” can happen too, like enjoying a relaxing weekend with friends, cuddling with Mr. Italicano under the stars, feeling the wind on my face, letting Baby Italicano/a be kissed by the sun and cooled by the salty sea.

I don’t want to miss out on life’s beautiful moments because I’m afraid something bad will happen, yet, I can’t be reckless either. There is a little human growing in my body that I need to take care of and protect. So I gave my self some rules.

How to Sail Safely in Your Second Trimester

1. Let people help. Instead of being the independent-do-it-all that I normally am. Before I walked across that wobbly wooden plank, I passed my heavy bags to my friend Sara, and then took her hand as she helped me across. I felt like a little old lady, but that’s fine. 🙂

2. Minimize movements around the boat. I would find myself a comfy spot and stay there, especially when the boat was in movement. If I absolutely had to move around I made sure that I always had a tight grip on something in case the boat jerked unexpectedly.

3. Act like a pregnant lady. Use your get-out-of-work pregnancy card. At first, I felt guilty not being the proactive helper on the boat when there was something to do. It’s not that I didn’t do anything, but I limited activities when the boat was anchored or when we were in port, like cooking or washing dishes. As for helping with setting sail and mooring I simply let others do it so I wouldn’t risk rushing up and down the boat and potentially falling.

In the end, pushing the fear aside and taking extra precautions allowed mamma and Baby Italicano/a to have a good time.    Oh, and my favorite part? The hammock on the sail boat! What a genius idea. 

Where is Baby Italicano/a off to next? Today we’ll leave again for Tuscany, but this time for the hillsides where we’ll meet our client Poggio del Farro to have him taste some products I’m developing for his company that will appear soon on supermarket shelves (umm, how exciting!!) and to see the farro harvest firsthand. I’ll be posting videos and photos on Facebook and Instagram or you can check back next Thursday here for the highlights on the blog.

Hope you all are enjoying your summer. Hugs from Mrs. Italicana, Mr. Italicano and Baby Italicano/a!

Beet Hummus Recipe + 17 Week Pregnancy Update
Prep time
Total time
This beet hummus is the perfect vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan-friendly, dairy-free appetizer that you can whip up in a matter of minutes to serve at dinner parties and please a large group of friends who have different eating restrictions. Put a spin on the classic hummus dish by adding color, flavor and healthy beet nutrients.
Serves: 6-8
  • For the hummus:
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small cooked beet (100g)
  • 1½ cups (260g) cooked chickpeas
  • For the toppings:
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Poppy seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Thyme
  • Bread and/or Crackers
  • Raw vegetables
  1. Put all ingredients for the hummus in the blender in the order given. Blend until smooth, adding more water or lemon juice if needed to arrive at your desired consistency.
  2. Scrape the hummus into a bowl, use a spoon to make a swirl on top and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and thyme. Serve with toasted bread, crackers and/or raw vegetables. Enjoy!
If you have gluten free friends, divide the hummus into two bowls and keep one for the veggies and on another board put the bread/crackers to avoid someone dipping their cracker inside and contaminating the spread. Little chalkboard signs are a good idea as a little reminder.

2 Tips for the Perfect Blender Hummus 

2 Tips for the Perfect Blender Hummus 

I absolutely adore hummus. It’s one of my favorite go-to recipes when I entertain guests as it’s the perfect appetizer for everyone: vegans, vegetarians, non vegetarians, lactose intolerant, gluten-free.

2-tips-for-the-perfect-blender-hummus-3  I also love having it in my fridge for a healthy snack or to garnish my dishes to instantly add a good source of vegetable protein :: proteina vegetale and fiber. In short, hummus rocks.

2-tips-for-the-perfect-blender-hummus-4The word hummus is an Arabic word meaning “chickpea.” Do you know how to pronounce “chickpea” in Italian?  Test your knowlege or learn a new word by watching this short video:  CONTINUATE A LEGGERE

Homemade Pesto alla Genovese 

Homemade Pesto alla Genovese 

Being that Mr. Italicano and I spent the weekend with friends on a sailboat in the Italian region of Liguria, it was only fitting that I posted this delicious recipe for homemade pesto alla genovese since it is a typical Ligurian delicacy, by now known and celebrated throughout the world.

pesto-alla-genovese-2If you are planning a trip to Italy and are thinking about making your way to Liguria to check out the Cinque Terre, I highly recommend taking another few days to do these following three things:  CONTINUE READING

How to Make Homemade Almond Butter 

How to Make Homemade Almond Butter 

I love eating raw almonds by the handful, they are one of my favorite snacks. But, sometimes raw almonds aren’t satisfying enough. Sometimes I want something creamy and smooth, like almond butter, to spread on toast, mix into a delicious smoothie bowl or eat by the spoonful.

Recipe-How-to-Make-Homemade-Almond-ButterPeanut butter is finally found in most normal grocery stores in Italy (hurray!), but it’s hard to find other nut butters. Almond butter has a more delicate taste in respect to peanut butter and has more Omega 3 fatty acids that are important for a healthy heart. It is also high in vitamin E and magnesium. The only place that may have almond butter was a little organic store on the other side of town. So, I got on my bike and headed on a bumpy ride through the cobble stone streets. When I saw the little glass jar my eyes lit up, I grabbed it off the shelf and caught a glimpse at the price: 10euros! What? The jar was tiny. Miniscule. I checked out the ingredient label: almonds and cane sugar. Sugar…sugar…sugar….Ugh. Enough with putting sugar in everything! It was settled. I would make it myself.

Recipe-How-to-Make-Homemade-Almond-ButterAlthough the bag of organic raw almonds still cost me CONTINUE READING

Fava Pesto: One Spring Sauce You Must Try  

Fava Pesto: One Spring Sauce You Must Try  

After a two month cooking class tour in the USA, I’m back in Italy! Needless to say, Mr. Italicano and I are quite happy to be together again. One of the first things I eagerly did upon my return was head to my beloved weekly market in Correggio, the small town where we live in the region of Emilia-Romagna. I walked my bike through the crowded cobblestone street while letting the melodic shouts of bargaining waft past me just like the smell of the freshly baked bread from the nearby forno :: bakery.

Fava-Bean-Pesto-2I made my usual rounds: first to my favorite fishmonger :: pescivendolo, because if you arrive later than 9a.m. their selection of seafood is usually cleaned out. Two handfuls of fresh anchovies and a perch fillet later, I set off to CONTINUE READING

Red Cabbage Pesto

Red Cabbage Pesto

Red-Cabbage-Pesto When you’re shopping for produce, red cabbage is often a vegetable that gets overlooked. Besides the famous coleslaw and some stir fry recipes what can you do with this large slightly bitter ball? Make pesto!

Red-Cabbage-PestoWith a combination of tart and sweet notes, this creamy red cabbage pesto is the perfect compliment to a variety of dishes. Add it to grains, legumes and pasta to give the dish a bright vibrant color and kick of flavor. Use it as a sauce for this quinoa flatbread or homemade pizza. Or, eat is as a dip with vegetables, pita chips or whole wheat crackers and bread.

Red-Cabbage-PestoPestos are easy to prepare by scratch and you can use them throughout a few days with different dishes. There is no reason to buy store bought sauces and dips that are often filled with yucky preservatives and chemicals when you can easily make your own. Here are some other yummy options:

Roasted Beet Sauce


Kale Pesto

Kale Pesto

Red Cabbage Pesto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Skip the store bought pestos and sauces filled with preservatives and easily make your own! With a combination of tart and sweet notes, this creamy red cabbage pesto is the perfect compliment to a variety of dishes.
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ red cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons apple vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup (50g) gorgonzola
  1. In a large skillet, add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and chopped garlic. Sauté for one minute over medium heat, then add the red cabbage and cook for another 12 minutes.
  2. Pour the red cabbage into a food processor and add the apple vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and gorgonzola. Blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust the consistency to your desire by adding more extra virgin olive oil or water. Conserve the pesto in a covered container in the refrigerator until it’s served.