Easy and unique summer recipe: Zucchini Mint Pesto

Prepara questa ricetta per un sugo estivo buonissimo in pochissimo tempo: Pesto di zucchine e menta con mandorle ed aglio! Perfetto per pasta o bruschette! #zucchine #ricettaestiva

Sick of the usual pasta? It’s super fast and easy to make a yummy new sauce: zucchini mint pesto with almonds and garlic! This recipe is delicious for the entire family! #zucchinirecipe #summerrecipe

Everyone knows and loves eating fragrant basil pesto in the summer (and you can find my foolproof recipe for it here), but today I want to show you a variation on this classic recipe that my entire family LOVES eating: zucchini mint pesto.

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Sick of the usual pasta? It’s super fast and easy to make a yummy new sauce: zucchini mint pesto with almonds and garlic! This recipe is delicious for the entire family!

We usually put it in pasta, but we also use it frequently on bruschette, crusty and crunchy grilled bread slices with flavorful toppings. My daughter loves it so much that she eats bowls of it plain with a spoon!

Do you have some garden-fresh zucchini that you want to try this recipe with? Well, let’s get started!

Read moreEasy and unique summer recipe: Zucchini Mint Pesto

Crochet Reusable Water Balloons – Summer Fun with No Mess!

Have summer water battles without having to pick up bits of broken latex with these awesome homemade crochet reusable water balloons! Fun to use in the yard or at a pool or lake, and perfect at a summer birthday party as a game, gift or party favor!
Have summer water battles without having to pick up bits of broken latex with these awesome homemade crochet reusable water balloons! Fun to use in the yard or at a pool or lake, and perfect at a summer birthday party as a game, gift or party favor!

Earlier this year, I saw the coolest thing on Pinterest. I wanted so badly to try it out. I was so curious and I knew my kids would love it. Because who in the world wouldn’t want to try their hand at DIY crochet reusable water balloons?!

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Only thing was, it was the very beginning of January, and was probably the coldest day of the year. We were doing everything possible to stay warm.

Have summer water battles without having to pick up bits of broken latex with these awesome homemade crochet reusable water balloons! Fun to use in the yard or at a pool or lake, and perfect at a summer birthday party as a game, gift or party favor!

Flash forward six or seven months to the summer. One of the absolute worst Italy has seen in a long time. Months straight of heat and humidity with virtually no rain. So, we were doing the exact opposite, doing everything possible to stay cool.

At this point, crochet water balloons were sounding even more amazing.

Have summer water battles without having to pick up bits of broken latex with these awesome homemade crochet reusable water balloons! Fun to use in the yard or at a pool or lake, and perfect at a summer birthday party as a game, gift or party favor!

Because everyone loves a good water balloon fight, right? But nobody likes having to go around picking up all the bits of rubber from the broken balloons. And think of all that non-recyclable waste! It drives me nuts!

Have summer water battles without having to pick up bits of broken latex with these awesome homemade crochet reusable water balloons! Fun to use in the yard or at a pool or lake, and perfect at a summer birthday party as a game, gift or party favor!

That’s the genius in this crochet water balloon design by Left in Knots! They avoid all that! You don’t actually fill them up as you would with a classic balloon. You just put them all in a bucket of water and the yarn fibers soak up the water. Throw them at your opponents, then pop them back in the water when they need another soak, and throw them again!

You use the same balloons over and over again, so no waste and no broken pieces of latex to clean up!

Have summer water battles without having to pick up bits of broken latex with these awesome homemade crochet reusable water balloons! Fun to use in the yard or at a pool or lake, and perfect at a summer birthday party as a game, gift or party favor!

When you’re done, just give the balloons a rinse off and air dry them. You can also machine wash and dry them! They flatten out nicely so they don’t take up too much storage space, either.

Let me tell you a little more about my experience making these crochet reusable water balloons.

Read moreCrochet Reusable Water Balloons – Summer Fun with No Mess!

Homemade wild fennel liqueur recipe (finocchietto digestif)

End your meal with delicious Italian finocchetto digestif! This homemade wild fennel liqueur recipe will make your stomach and your mouth happy! Great gift!
End your meal with delicious Italian finocchetto digestif! This homemade wild fennel liqueur recipe will make your stomach and your mouth happy! Great gift!

As my readers know, I was born and raised in the United States, but moved to Italy years ago and married into a Neapolitan family. Which means that I’ve learned a lot of my husband’s family’s culinary recipes and secrets, lucky me! It would be really hard to choose one favorite hand-me-down recipe, but the wild fennel liqueur recipe definitely ranks way up there!

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One of the culinary treats that is most famous from the area where we live is limoncello, a lemon liqueur, but what many people not from this area don’t realize is that there is a plethora of different types of liquers that you can find, and most families have their own traditional versions to make them at home. And my absolute favorite of these is finocchietto, wild fennel liqueur.

End your meal with delicious Italian finocchetto digestif! This homemade wild fennel liqueur recipe will make your stomach and your mouth happy! Great gift!

Wild fennel grows all over the place in certain areas near us, such as in the Cilento, where we go on vacation frequently. Here is a random finocchietto plant growing on the side of a country road in Pollica, in the heart of the Cilento. They have strong woody stalks with umbrella-shaped groups of yellow flowers, sort of similar to the Queen Anne’s Lace flower.

If you get them at the right time, they also have tender wispy greens that are absolutely delicious with fish and vegetables. The greens and the flowers have a wonderful anise-like taste that I love, but another great thing about them is their digestive properties. Whenever I have problems digesting something, I make myself an infusion of fennel seeds, and it always does the trick.

So a classic in Italian homes is to take the bottle of finocchietto liqueur out after a big meal and have a little glass of it to help digestion.

End your meal with delicious Italian finocchetto digestif! This homemade wild fennel liqueur recipe will make your stomach and your mouth happy! Great gift!

In June and July, these “umbrellas” look like little hard seeds, though I suppose they’re actually flower buds. Most people pick these seed umbrellas to make their finocchietto fennel liqueur.

End your meal with delicious Italian finocchetto digestif! This homemade wild fennel liqueur recipe will make your stomach and your mouth happy! Great gift!

But I prefer to pick the flowers themselves (which are also delicious for seasoning and garnishing food) in August/September to make my finocchietto. I’ve always gotten a lot of compliments on how it comes out, so perhaps there is indeed something special about the flavor of the flowers as opposed to the seeds.

This obviously comes out the best when using just-picked flowers or seeds, but if that’s not possible for you, you can always use store-bought dried fennel seeds. I usually pick a ton of flowers in the summer and make a bunch at a time because I like to bring it when we are guests for dinner or for a night away. A bottle of finocchietto is always well-received, so it’s a really great gift!

So what do you say? Do you want to know my beloved wild fennel liqueur recipe? Let’s get started!

Read moreHomemade wild fennel liqueur recipe (finocchietto digestif)

Tutorial: Handmade felt cactus party favor with cards & box

Celebrate your important milestones with these handmade felt cactus party favors with an incorporated box and free printable thank you cards! Adorable and easy to make with very basic skills!
Celebrate your important milestones with these handmade felt cactus party favors with an incorporated box and free printable thank you cards! Adorable and easy to make with very basic skills!

Whenever there is a special event in your life, it’s natural to want to celebrate it with the people who matter the most to you. And this is why we have party favors, to thank the people who celebrated with you and to give them something to remember the day by.

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As there are so many events to celebrate, the four other bloggers with whom I worked on the “Fioriscono le Idee” initiative (which you can read more about here, as well as download the free template for this project) and I decided to propose projects to make DIY cactus party favors, each from a different material in order to create a different effect. And I chose to create a handmade felt cactus party favor, felt being one of the most versatile and easy fabrics to work with.

Celebrate your important milestones with these handmade felt cactus party favors with an incorporated box and free printable thank you cards! Adorable and easy to make with very basic skills!

All of the projects are created from one common template for a pot-shaped base which opens up to hold sugar-coated almonds, which are used in Italian party favors. However you can just as well put any other candy, card or trinket inside, too!

Celebrate your important milestones with these handmade felt cactus party favors with an incorporated box and free printable thank you cards! Adorable and easy to make with very basic skills!

And there’s more! Each of our downloadable templates has thank you notes to use as a seat card and as a little tag to attach to the favor. Print them all out for a varied, yet coordinated, look that will add color to your celebration! My downloadable also includes an English version of my smaller tag!

Celebrate your important milestones with these handmade felt cactus party favors with an incorporated box and free printable thank you cards! Adorable and easy to make with very basic skills!

You can read all about the initiative in our joint blog post on the blog Kreattiva, where we talk about the reasons why we made these decisions and why each chosen material is interesting in a different way.

Celebrate your important milestones with these handmade felt cactus party favors with an incorporated box and free printable thank you cards! Adorable and easy to make with very basic skills!

So, do you have an important event to celebrate soon? Everyone loves cacti, and felt makes them soft instead of prickly, so everyone can enjoy them. Keep on reading to find out how to make a handmade felt cactus party favor for all your friends and family at your party!

Read moreTutorial: Handmade felt cactus party favor with cards & box

Five DIY cactus party favors: free templates and printables!

Five fantastic tutorials for DIY cactus party favors with five different materials! Free downloadable templates and printable thank you cards for celebrating all your important milestones with those you love!
Five fantastic tutorials for DIY cactus party favors with five different materials! Free downloadable templates and printable thank you cards for celebrating all your important milestones with those you love!

There are so many reasons to celebrate life’s milestones with the people that we love the most. And this is why party favors are so important, to help remember those important moments spent with important people.

Today I’m sharing a special project that I participated in with other four Italian creative bloggers as part of a larger initiative, “Fioriscono le idee,” ideas that bloom or flower. This is a time of year that there are a lot of events to celebrate, such as weddings, graduations, births, and so on, and so the groups participating in this project are sharing handmade party favor tutorials with a common theme.

My group loves succulents, which can also be considered a symbol of life, so we decided to share five variations of DIY cactus party favors, each of which is made with a different material.

Five fantastic tutorials for DIY cactus party favors with five different materials! Free downloadable templates and printable thank you cards for celebrating all your important milestones with those you love!

Each of us chose a different material to use with a common template in the shape of a pot, which is also a little container to put sugar covered almonds (traditionally a must in Italian celebrations) or other surprises inside. You can read more about why we chose cacti and how we chose our materials here on Kreattiva, where you can also find the rest of the creative projects taking part in this initiative.

In addition to that common template, each of us created another template for her own cactus-shaped project, and we each have a thank you note in two formats: small to attach to the favor itself, and larger to use as a place card at the table. Each of these cards has a different message and picture, so it would be super cute to download them all to use for your party!

Five fantastic tutorials for DIY cactus party favors with five different materials! Free downloadable templates and printable thank you cards for celebrating all your important milestones with those you love!

With my love for sewing and fabric, I chose to use felt, one of the easiest and most versatile fabrics to work with. I decided to play with the softness of the fabric and the prickliness of the cactus, and I created soft spines with pinking shears! (In case you are not a sewing pro, those are zig zag scissors for use with fabric!) The colorful flower on top also adds a lovely happy touch!

5 tutorial fantastici per fare una tua bomboniera cactus handmade con materiali diversi! Template e biglietti scaricabili per festeggiare tutti i tuoi eventi più importanti!

You can download the free PDF file with the template for the pot container, felt cactus and flower, and thank you notes in both English and Italian here on my Free Downloads page! Update: Read the full tutorial for my DIY felt cactus party favor here!

The other creative bloggers in my group are really talented and full of great ideas, so let me show you what they created… and what you can create too with their tutorials!

Read moreFive DIY cactus party favors: free templates and printables!

Foolproof Basil Pesto Recipe and 15 Ways to Use it!

Make delicious homemade basil pesto with this foolproof recipe and then find 15 mouthwatering ways to use it for your family’s meals! Sooo good!
Make delicious homemade basil pesto with this foolproof recipe and then find 15 mouthwatering ways to use it for your family’s meals! Sooo good!

I live in southern Italy, aka the capital of Basil-land. Nearly every home has at least one basil plant and those plants can easily grow into thick masses of fragrant green leaves. I am no exception to the rule. Every year I have two or three pots with forests of basil and over the years I have come up with my own foolproof basil pesto recipe!

Basil is one of the most beloved herbs and is even better when fresh picked. Learn how to grow basil year after year for FREE with the help of an easy trick!

If you follow my tips on how to grow a flourishing basil plant, you too will soon have lots of this herb to use in all sorts of ways. And sooner or later, you will want to make pesto, one of the most delicious sauces ever created. It’s one of the few healthy green things that kids almost unanimously like to eat.

So I’ve decided not only to share my pesto recipe, but also to share 15 absolutely delicious ways you can use it for meals that the entire family will love!

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Ready to get picking, mixing and cooking? Let’s start!

Read moreFoolproof Basil Pesto Recipe and 15 Ways to Use it!