Learning to Breathe in the Pause

Life Around My Table

I have been on a bit of a break recently.

I tasked myself with putting Social Media and my Blog on pause while I have been gently recalibrating my priorities for going forward into 2021. There have been many reasons in my life for this. Let me say I am a believer that the best changes in life are to be had when accompanied by Grace. While not the perfect recipe for change, Grace can certainly ease the pressure and anxiety of letting go and redirecting one’s life.
After all, can we ever really know ourselves well enough without the challenge that change presents?

I am living a bit of a nomadic life these days. I have left the shores of the mighty Pacific for a stop over in Ohio with some pretty special family members. I have been fortunate to spend time with my mom, both in Ohio, and currently in Upstate New York.

My son is here with me and this has created a lot of Peace and Laughter all at the same time.

This means Mother’s Day in the most special of ways.

I have been spending time creating and learning a new craft.
I have started making Limited Edition Handbag Straps. The idea was born a few years ago when I saw all the top designer names creating their unique versions in this arena. I thought it would be a great idea to create a similar type of fashion accessory, but without the $1000 price tag.

The idea of the Zingara Strap was put on hold until this past winter when I was able to reconnect with my

Uncle Charlie.

At 92 years old, he is the one responsible for teaching me how to work the Tuscan leathers and solid brass cap rivets that have become integral components of my straps. As an Industrial Arts teacher early in his career, Charlie taught all kinds of hands on experiences for his students. From electrical wiring, woodworking and tooling leather to designing and building tables, lamps and benches, his approach has always been to learn as much as you can on the job. This worked well for me over the past few months. Originally, I had thought I knew what I was doing while I followed his instruction. I came to discover that there was so much more to experiment with and learn through his hands on approach.
Time and Patience, Patience and Time

I figure that Leo has made a couple of really great friends.

It is one thing to think about creating something beautiful and well made. It is a whole learning process to actually bring it to life. I have to admit these straps have gone through such a wonderful metamorphosis over the past five months. Today, I am truly pleased and proud of the product I am introducing to the world around me.

It is a reflection of my creativity and my passion for artistry and design.

These straps are handcrafted using beautiful and unique materials. All of the ribbons are specifically chosen to coordinate with Tuscan leathers and solid brass hardware.
They are made in limited editions and will soon become collectors’ items. I know many of us are ready for life’s adventures to begin anew. So, I ask you this…Where will your Zingara Strap carry you?

I hope you will take a moment to follow me on Instagram @la_zingara_designs

All of my straps are now available through Direct Message on Instagram and on the Shop La Zingara page here on my website.

As I continue to work diligently on my cooking skills and recipes,

I thought it would be interesting to explore the idea of

Fables and Folklore in Old Recipes.

In the fishing villages of Tuscany, along the coast of the Ligurian Sea, there you will find a comfort flan called Scarpaccia, which literally translates to “Old Shoe”. This dish is baked in the oven and becomes a thin pancake filled with delicate spring vegetables, hence its resemblance to the sole of an old shoe. Scarpaccia is a simple recipe reflecting the springtime bounty of baby zucchini, its blossoms (when available), fresh spinach and herbs. There are two versions of this dish. One is sweet, which comes from Viareggio, and the other savory, which hails from Camaiore.

Here I am making the savory version.

This is a recipe with Sole! (small pun intended)

Scarpaccia: Fabled Recipe with Sole


  • 3 small zucchini, cut lengthwise down the center, then sliced thin
  • 1 medium sized red onion, cut in half and slivered thin
  • 3 cups baby spinach, packed
  • 12 zucchini blossoms, torn (when in season)
  • handful of fresh basil, torn into small pieces 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt 
  • ½ cup unbleached flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup EVOO, plus more for drizzling when served 
  • 1 ⅓ cups milk or water
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup parmigiano, grated 
  • abundant freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • fresh oregano, sage, rosemary and thyme, chopped fine, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Prepare a large shallow baking tray (I used a 13” round pizza pan).  Line with a piece of parchment paper and coat with a drizzle of olive oil.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini slices, red onion slices, baby spinach, zucchini blossoms, and basil.  Toss with sea salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes. 
  4. In a separate small mixing bowl, add both unbleached and whole wheat flours, baking powder, olive oil, milk, and egg.  Whisk to combine thoroughly. 
  5. Stir in grated cheese, black pepper and fresh herbs to flour mixture.  This should resemble a thin batter.  Add a little extra water if it is too thick.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the large mixing bowl with the vegetables, thoroughly combining to evenly coat all vegetables.
  7. Pour entire mixture onto prepared pan, evening out with a spatula to create a uniform layer across the pan.
  8. Bake in a preheated 400F oven for about an hour, or until a deep golden color is achieved.  
  9. Remove the Scarpaccia from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.  Cut into squares and serve alongside a fresh green salad with a drizzle of good olive oil.  Buon Appetito 

I am beginning a new collaboration with @scrubandthrow on Instagram. This company offers a wonderful environmentally friendly one and done daily kitchen sponge.

Scrub and Throw Daily Sponges

I will be sharing super easy and smart cleaning tips that incorporate simple ingredients like lemons, vinegar and salt. If you are anything like me, you know that there is A LOT of bacteria in a regular kitchen sponge and keeping a kitchen bacteria free is so important these days. The idea of using a biodegradable sponge that can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way makes so much good sense.

Take a look.
The days of those terrible looking and smelling kitchen sponges are OVER!

Go outside as much as you can.
Look up at the Sky and take in the Real Beauty of the World which surrounds us all.

Give a smile.


Find me on: Web


  1. May 12, 2021 / 1:31 am05

    THAT RECIPES LOOKS DELICIOUS………….I will pass on to my sister in law in PRATO!
    I cannot eat for the GLUTEN but maybe I will make as a side dish for COMPANY when that starts happening again!
    I do not think I got the email notification……………for tis POST but I am behind and you did send a couple of days ago.Check with a few others!

    • 93zingara
      May 18, 2021 / 1:31 am05

      Good morning! I looked into the email connection and it all “seems” to be in working order. Who knows? I hope all is well with you and yours! You looked so HAPPY for Mother’s Day.

  2. June 1, 2021 / 1:31 pm06

    Hi Everyone! I just wanted to say hello and that I’m honored to be collaborating with the wonderful Diana! : ) She’s a friend and an old neighbor of mine. And, I’m one of the lucky ones who’s been able to taste her wonderful cooking first hand! I’m sharing Diana’s kitchen (and home) cleaning tips on my business Instagram account (@scrubandthrow).

    • 93zingara
      June 2, 2021 / 1:31 am06

      Thank you for stopping by to say hello. You have an amazing product and I am very excited to see your business grow.

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