Author Archives: Virginia

Spicy Burger & Oven Fries

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Maybe, I really miss American food.

Maybe, I just want a burger with my coke tonight.

Or maybe, just maybe, I’ve been binge-watching the Gilmore Girls too much.

Anyway, since I’m out of sugary treats (‘Thank God‘ – my teeth and thighs are thinking), I have to turn to savory. Hence, my need for a dinner slightly fattier than usual. I’d even dare to make a Santa Burger, if the weather wasn’t this hot and summery. So, I’ve decided that tonight calls for a spicy burger. However, since the spicy sauce is store-bought, the whole dinner will take about 15 minutes to make, from start to finish.

I used Italian bread – quite literally, since I live in Italy, –  and small tomatoes – because they were the only ones I had handy.

The spicy sauce I chose for tonight burger is called Hot Chicken Salsa (Calvé), which is basically a cayenne pepper sauce.

You can use a sauce of your choosing or mayo and ketchup.

The recipe is for two burgers (multiply accordingly).

Here goes:


Spicy burger & oven fries


2 bread rolls

2 hamburger patties

2 cheese slices

2 small tomatoes, or 1 big

Lettuce (optional)

Spicy sauce


2 average potatoes



Olive Oil



Preheat the oven to 390 degrees (200ºC).

Gather your ingredients.


Slice your potatoes into either fries or potato chips (for the fries, I use the KitchenAid). Line a pan with parchment paper, put the potatoes on it, drizzle some olive oil on top, add a dash of salt and some rosemary. Put them in the oven for 10 minutes!


In the meantime, cook the patties on the grill pan on low heat.

Slice the tomatoes and have the cheese slices ready.

If the buns are hard or gummy, that is if they are not fresh, put them in the oven with the potatoes for just 3/4 minutes.

Remember to turn the patties and, when they are almost ready (I like them well-done), ease the two slices of cheese on top of each.


Take the bread rolls out of the oven and have them ready on the dinner plates.

Put the patties with the melted cheese on the bottom half of the bread rolls.

Top with tomato slices, lettuce, and spicy sauce.

Take the fries or potato chips out of the oven, divide them equally on the two dinner plates.


And ‘tada!’

Accompany with cold soda or beer.



Enjoy your dinner!!!

Heartwarming Lemonade

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Christmas holidays are well over, but, baby, it’s cold outside!

It is true, there are many ways to stay warm:

a crackling fire would be at the top of my list, if I had a fireplace,

a hot chocolate is another of my favorite go to, but it usually comes with a strong sense of guilt,

a cup of tea is always a good idea…

However, there’s another underestimated drink that helps make everything better: some hot lemonade.

Max always makes me a mug of hot lemonade when I’m upset or when I’ve had a particularly bad day, and it’s soothing effect is undeniable. Plus, it’s rich in vitamin C and works wonders with stomach aches.

It’s a sweet and sunny beverage, perfect to cuddle with, especially on rainy days, with a book or a cookie.

Thirsty yet? Go put the kettle on!

Here’s Max’s best concoction:

2 cups of hot water

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice

et voilà,

easy peasy lemon squeezy!


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 Stay warm!!!

The Toughest Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, especially to those among you who find it hard to feel grateful this year.

Being Italian, I never get to celebrate this day, and it is so inherently North American that it would be even silly to do it.

However, just like every other year, this holiday got me thinking.

What would I say thanks for right now, if I were asked around a table? What can you be thankful for when you have gone through something terrible?

I am not at all thankful for this past year, because even though it had some good things in it, the pain I went through goes far beyond all the good that happened.

I would gladly give back every accomplishment, every good moment and trade it for what could or should have been.

But as much as I would love to, I cannot unlive what happened.

The only way to go forward, the only way to find a hint of gratefulness for what has been, is to gain the most from what the experience you went through left you. Let your new scars become your new strengths.

All this grief has taught me something. Thanks to it, I have learned to drastically re-evaluate my priorities. I have learned to let go of petty things and to love the little things just that bit more. I have learned that destiny has its way no matter what you do, and for this reason, it is better to live more and think less.

For these lessons, I am thankful.

And I’m also grateful I still have hope.



A Big Day for Nashville: CMA Awards kicked off by Country star Luke Bryan

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Wednesday 11/6 at 6 am: the intersection at Broadway and 5th is closed to traffic and in the middle of the Bridgestone arena plaza there’s a stage all lit up. The CMA Awards are tonight, and the town is already in a “country” mood.


In about half an hour Robin Roberts, from Good Morning America, and Country music star Luke Bryan, with the help of a good number of party crashers, are going to wake up Broadway. Not that this street needs it, the neon signs are always on.


6.30 – 8 am: Luke Bryan performs three and a half songs over about an hour and a half. The fans don’t like the intervals, but wait patiently, ‘cause when Luke Bryan starts singing you feel like part of something special. And it is! It’s going on right here, in this relatively small plaza, but it’s being broadcast on national television. I mean, that’s cool, right?


As for me, I grab the opportunity to see how this kind of show works. The waiting when the cameras are off air and the cheering when they are on is like being behind the scene and in front of it all at the same time!

But what about Luke Bryan? He warmed the audience with a few seconds of ‘Country Girl (Shake It For Me)’ (he definitely shook it for the ladies!), then went on to sing ‘Crash My Party,’ ‘I Don’t Want This Night To End,’ and ‘That’s My Kind Of Night.’

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I’ve gotta say, “Pretty nice way to get my day started!!!”


Robin Roberts announced ‘Highway Don’t Care‘ by Tim McGraw, featuring Keith Urban and Taylor Swift, has won the CMA Award for the Musical Event of The Year & Video of The Year. I was quite disappointed, because I don’t think it’s that great of a video. What do ya think?

The CMA Awards will be broadcasted tonight on ABC at 8/7c, and I’ll be live-tweeting!

Follow us @lifelemonsblog

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Goldbergs & Trophy Wife: a critic look at ABC’s Tuesday lineup

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One of the many things I like about fall is the period of TV series premieres: new shows fresh out writers room, struggling to gain the trust of their public. My opinion on many of these shows was already made up at the end of their pilots, but I’ve decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what else they had up their sleeves.

Being a TV series lover, however, it is necessary for me to choose what deserve to be followed and what’s not worth the same privilege. So, as E!online likes to put it, save it or sink it? In this post I’m going to review one of ABC’s newest lineup.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is, without a doubt, a powerful kickoff. This show is all-action and pure entertainment. Phil Coulson, portrayed by American actor Clark Gregg, is magnetic and has this kind of contagious smirk you can’t help but fall in love with. The rest of the cast is pretty good too, but the show is not really my genre. Sometimes it’s like watching a mix between Fringe and Heroes, with an dash of Homeland and C.S.I. Plus, the final scene of the pilot reminded me a lot of Back to the Future. Its best asset is undoubtedly all the fictional crossovers of Marvel Cinematic Universe.

All in all, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has quite a specific target audience: we’ll see if this turns out to be its strength or its weakness.


The Goldbergs is probably the most disappointing series of this fall.
Althought in theory it seemed like a good idea, in fact The Goldbergs is but another family comedy. And a pretty mediocre one, I dare say: a rowdy father and an overbearing mother with a silly teenage daughter and a moronic son. Neither one of the other two characters, the youngest son and Pop, are really original. The show is but a déjà-vu only with brighter colors and an 80s vibe.
It definitely doesn’t hold a candle to a Modern Family and it does not use the anachronistic factor to its advantage, like That ‘70s Show did.
So… why bother?


It would probably be the only reason to keep my tv set tuned on ABC during The Goldbergs: Trophy Wife isn’t the best around but it sure makes you laugh. Despite the scripts being still far from a Modern Family level (my Emmy Award and Golden Globe winning standard for American sitcoms), the main characters are well-rounded.
I found the first episode fun to watch, but the second hooked me: little Bert with his This Little Piggy was incredibly cute, and I loved the shower police scene.
I just don’t like Bailee Madison’s (over-)acting (already seen in the role of young Snow White in Once Upon a Time), I really don’t see all this talent in her.
On the other hand, Malin Åkerman is simply STUNNING!!!
One last thing: don’t let the title put you off. As executive producer Lee Eisenberg explained, “The title we always meant to be ironic”.


What about Lucky 7? I guess there’s no point in talking about it now. It was one of the first show to be axed. Rightly so, I think: the characters were flat, with no appeal whatsoever. But it didn’t take me long to understand the real problem: Lucky 7 was based on a British series.
Now, one of the sacred rule of television is: if a TV show is originally British, then it deserves to be watched in its original version. I guarantee you, you won’t be able to watch the remake after that. The U.S. version rarely survives. Lucky 7 proves my point.

Hart of Dixie 3×01 – Who Says You Can’t Go Home

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‘I brought bagels!’

This show is amazing: warm, joyful, sunny and with a Southern accent. What’s not to love?

I enjoyed every minute of the first series, but the second one was quite disappointing: Zoe and George became idiotic and the love triangle cliché lost all its effect on me. But all the other elements were still there and so I kept on watching. Plus, Annabeth Nass was a nice addition and Lemon Breeland completely won me over: she had such a positive development that she soon became one of my favorite TV characters of all time.

Spoiler alert!

Since TV premieres set the tone for the whole season that follows, I put a lot of hope into HD 3×01. And I was right. Well, at first I was taken aback by the new guy Joel, played by Josh Cooke. I’m sorry to say this but he totally creeps me out, probably because I’ve seen him in Dexter, and I really don’t like this New Yorkese hint in the middle of my Alabama daydream. I was also in a bit of a panic not seeing Kaitlyn Black, aka Annabeth, but I sighed with relief when I discovered she has been promoted to series regular for Season 3.

I’m still not sure what to expect from Zoe or George and I hope this time Tansy stays out of the way. As for my Jaime King, I think she will still be given a lot of space and, fingers crossed, that great part of it will be shared with Wade.
Who doesn’t like some Lemonade in this summery weather?

‘Lemon Breeland, you are certifiably insane. You need a 12-step program for shenanigans addicts. But I appreciate the thought, all right?’