Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Swiss-American Thanksgiving recipes

This week is Thanksgiving and although I have lived thousands of miles away from the United States most of my life, rarely have I missed Thanksgiving. When I was a little girl the main reason for loving this special American holiday was that I was granted special permission to take the afternoon off from school. 

Today, I am cooking the meal for my family. Days spent in the kitchen are worth all the work when you finally sit down with a good glass of wine at hand and can enjoy your oeuvre d'art, because that is what is!

I have celebrated Thanksgiving in Zurich, Geneva, Washington D.C., Milano, Madrid and Lugano. This year we celebrate Thanksgiving in Paris as a family of 4 due to COVID restrictions!

Over the years the following recipes have proven to be my absolute favourite. Go ahead and experiment yourself!

Maple-Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter


  • 1 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 bunch fresh sage, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 to 14-pound) fresh turkey, giblets, neck, and liver discarded
  • 8 strips bacon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons hot water or bouillon


Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F and remove the top rack of the oven.

  1. Put the butter and sage in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork or spoon until the sage is well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Rinse the bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cavity and skin liberally with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the turkey breast and slip the remaining seasoned butter under, massaging the breast meat as you go. Truss the bird by crossing the legs over one another and tying with a piece of kitchen twine. 
  3. Shingle the bacon strips over the breast so it's totally covered. 
  4. Put the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan, cover the turkey with aluminium foil, and place in the oven.
  5. In a small bowl, stir the maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of hot water to thin. 
  6. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, basting with the maple glaze every 30 minutes. 
  7. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F. The thigh juices will run clear when pricked with a knife, about 4 hours total (20 minutes per pound). 
  8. About 1/2 hour before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil so that it can brown. 
  9. When done take the turkey out of the oven and put the roasting pan on the stovetop. Transfer the turkey to a serving tray to rest at least 20 minutes before carving. Serve with Turkey Gravy.

Roasted Turkey Gravy


  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large, smoked turkey wing or 2 small ones
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, split through the equator
  • 4 stems fresh sage
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 parsley stems
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. 
  3. Add the wing, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs, and cook for 5 minutes. 
  4. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. 
  5. Remove from the oven and place over medium heat. 
  6. Remove the wing and set aside. 
  7. Add the flour and let cook for about 1 minute. 
  8. Add the stock and simmer until it has reduced by about 1/4, about 15 minutes. 
  9. Strain the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Cranberry Sauce


  • 1 pound fresh cranberries, approximately 4 cups
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup 100 percent cranberry juice, not cocktail
  • 1 cup honey


  1. Wash the cranberries and discard any that are soft or wrinkled.
  2. Combine the orange juice, cranberry juice and honey in a 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cranberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes as the pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Carefully spoon the cranberry sauce into a 3 cup mold. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
  5. To unmold and serve, immerse bottom of mold in hot water for 10 to 15 seconds and turn upside down on plate or serving dish. If necessary, carefully run a warm knife around the edge of the mold.

Please check out my recipe book where you'll find more Thanksgiving recipes. Just click on tab below and go directly to:


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Christmas tree has landed in Lugano

It might not be the most eco-friendly gesture but it is has been a tradition for years... when the city's Christmas tree arrives by helicopter much to the spectators' delight.

This morning the tree flew over the Lugano lake before being carefully set in the center of Piazza della Riforma.

With the coronavirus, it will be a different Christmas than usual. However, there will be no shortage of Christmas trees and the many onlookers - big and small - could savour a first taste of Christmas 2020 today.

Lugano's iconic Christmas tree will now be decorated for the official illuminating ceremony on December 1st when the city centre will once again be transformed into a bright village, filling the festive period with cheer for both locals and tourists alike, in full compliance with the safety regulations in force. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Digital Global snapshot

More than 4 billion people around the world now use social media each month, and an average of nearly 2 million new users are joining them every day.

The world is spending more time on social media too, with the typical user now spending roughly 15 percent of their waking life using social platforms.

However, social media isn’t the only aspect of digital that’s delivering impressive numbers. This digital 2020 October Global Statshot Report – produced in partnership with Hootsuite and We Are Social – shows that connected tech continues to play an ever more important role in various aspects of people’s everyday lives.

To put these numbers in perspective, more than two-thirds of the world now uses a mobile phone (67 percent), while almost 60 percent of all the people on Earth now use the internet.
More than 9 in 10 internet users around the world connect via mobile devices, but two-thirds still connect via computers too.

Social media adoption has jumped by more than 12 percent in the past 12 months.
Social media accounts for more than one-third of our connected time, with people now spending an average of almost 2½ hours per day on social platforms.
Added together, this means that the world now spends more than 10 billion hours per day using social media, which equates to more than 1 million years of human existence.

Instagram continues to enjoy strong growth, but it’s not alone.
Much of this quarter’s growth in social media use is the direct result of the new habits that people adopted during COVID-19 lockdowns.

The time we spend using connected devices continues to rise. GlobalWebIndex’s latest data reveal that the world’s internet users now spend an average of 1½ hours per day watching platforms like Netflix and Disney+, compared to the 2 hours per day that they spend watching broadcast and cable channels.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

A Swiss escape experience

Searching for some inspiration? Ready for a break in your routine? Need something to look forward to? How about taking a trip through Switzerland's cultural heritage with magnificasa? Don't get discouraged by the website's language barrier... this is so worth exploring!

The foundation "Ferien im Baudenkmal" was founded in 2005 with the aim to take over endangered monuments by renovating and turning them into holiday homes.

In Switzerland, the most varied architectural monuments can be found in the smallest of spaces: from traditional farmhouses to town houses. Many buildings are witnesses of industrialization or a record of the beginnings of tourism, renovated they are outstanding examples of modern Swiss architecture.

These monuments - witnesses of a moving past and important components of our townscapes and landscapes - are often demolished because they no longer meet today's usage requirements. The foundation "Ferien im Baudenkmal" commits itself to the preservation of valuable historic buildings throughout Switzerland.

The best part is that the carefully restored objects are made available to the public by renting the houses for vacations at reasonable prices. Many of the monuments are in remote regions. In addition to the idea of ​​saving cultural heritage, holidays in these historic monuments create a basis for sustainable tourism and, in the long term, add value to these regions, which are often at risk of emigration.

Clicking through the history of their portfolio is like undertaking a voyage through Switzerland's diverse cultural history: My personal favourite is this little jewel in Bondo deep in the Grison valley:

Go ahead, give it a try.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Need a break? Holiday architecture is the answer.

Need a break of daily routine? Looking to experience the extraordinary – or you want to share something extraordinary with the world - Holiday architecture is the answer. These architecturally innovative holiday homes are a world unto themselves.

URLAUBSARCHITEKTUR – is Europe’s leading online portal for architecturally outstanding holiday homes. In other words, they bring architecture-lovers and proud holiday home owners together. And while they consciously don’t offer a booking service, they offer a point of contact between hosts and their prospective guests. Their website acts as a gallery where they post beautiful, exciting and exemplary accommodations in a showcase for you.

You can narrow down the number of listed houses by specifying the number of people, the region and many other criteria.

Here is the latest addition: The village of Guarda appears as if taken right from the pages of a storybook. Situated on a sunny south-facing terrace high above the River Inn in the Canton of Grisons (the home of the Swiss children’s book classic Schellen-Ursli) it is famous for its historical village centre. The winding alleys are lined with well-preserved 17th century Engadine farmhouses. One of these houses on the outskirts of the village is Chasa Padrun, in a very scenic location with a beautiful view of the valley and mountains from the garden.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

MUN - Model United Nations comes to Lugano

Model United Nations conferences are student activities, generally organized over 2-3 days or at regular intervals during a school semester. During the meeting and session the students simulate the work of the United Nations.

Each MUN participant assumes the role of delegate of a member country of the UN or of a non-governmental organization, and is called to represent its positions in a committee or a body of the United Nations. During the meetings, particularly in formal moments, rules of procedures are in place that follow the actual procedures adopted by the international organization. The ultimate goal is to create a multilateral agreement through one or more resolutions on the topics discussed, which will then be adopted by the committee in its final meeting.

Thanks to this modus operandi, participants approach an in-depth analysis of the issues that most strongly mark the present, but also a better understanding of the dynamics that lead nations to adopt particular choices and develops an awareness of the difficulties that international diplomacy must face. 

The TI-MUN project aims to offer young people in the upper middle and professional schools of the Canton Ticino the opportunity to learn about the UN and participate in the Model United Nations project.

This weekend the second TI-MUN will be held at the Liceo Cantonale 2 in Savosa. Over the next few years, the association expects to regularly host a TI-MUN Conference in the fall semester and becoming an active pole in promoting the project in the Ticino institutes (high schools, professional schools, USI and SUPSI) by maintaining contacts between the delegates of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

09:00 - 09:15 Opening Ceremony
09:15 - 12:00 Committee Meeting
13:30 - 16:30 Committee Meeting
16:30 - 17:30 Guest of Honor Conference
17:30 - 18:00 Web-apéro

09:00 - 12:00 Dibattiti nei Comitati
13:30 - 15:00 Dibattiti nei Comitati
15:00 - 15:30 Closing Ceremony

Saturday, November 14, 2020

World Diabetes Day

November 14 was chosen as World Diabetes Day because it is the birthdate of Dr. Frederick Banting, co-discoverer of insulin, who is generally hailed as a diabetes hero.

Following the 2006 UN resolution recognizing WDD, the Blue Circle came to be the international symbol for diabetes. The colour choice was in part because blue is the official colour of the UN flags and logos, and partly because it’s the colour of the sky that vaults all national borders... a way of saying diabetes affects us all.

Last year, there were 1,400 events in 120 countries to mark WDD, many of them convening crowds. This year, one of the main events will be a TV news-style program commissioned by the IDF (International Diabetes Federation) called Diabetes Matters, which will air throughout Europe and beyond starting on November 14, 2020.

This year’s theme is "Nurses Make the Difference" and will focus on the vital need for education and funding for these frontline healthcare professionals.

To mark World Diabetes Day 2020, a new online course in the IDF School of Diabetes on the role of the diabetes educator is available free for a limited period:

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Joseph's Machines

Joseph Herscher, inventor of comical chain-reaction machines, has clearly had some time on his hands. 

Joseph made his first machine when he was five years old, the Lolly Machine. This childhood passion was rediscovered in his early twenties when he built a contraption that spanned his entire apartment in a three minute obstacle course culminating in a hammer smashing an egg.

"Creme that Egg" racked up three million views online, encouraging him to build more and more elaborate machines. Soon came the workshops with kids, participation in the Venice Biennial and a feature in the New York Times.

Many of Herscher’s devices are referred to as Rube Goldberg Machines. The name comes from the famous American cartoonist who drew complex gadgets that performed simple tasks in indirect and convoluted ways.

His Rube Goldberg machine to streamline dinnertime lets him keep eating with no break before cake. It's his most complex yet and took three months to make so please sit back and enjoy it! The creativity is brilliant!

This should put a smile o your face today. Happy Weekend everyone. Greeting from Expat with Kids in confinement... 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Today's inspiration

Monday, November 2, 2020

Maple-Pumpkin Creme Brulée

So now that Halloween is over, what to do with all the pumkins? Enjoy pumpkin in a whole new way. Canned or fresh pumpkin, maple syrup, and whipping cream serve as the base of this creamy, dreamy fall creme brulée.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep 25 mins
Bake 350°F 40 mins to 45 mins
Chill 4 hrs to 8 hrs
Stand 20 mins

8 egg yolks
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup granulated sugar

1.) Preheat oven to 180ºC. 

2.) In a large bowl combine egg yolks, cream, pumpkin, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whisk until smooth. Spoon pumpkin mixture evenly into eight 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups.

3.) Place ramekins in a large roasting pan. Place roasting pan on oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

4.) Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until edges are set (centers will shake slightly). Carefully remove ramekins from water; cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 4 to 8 hours.

5.) Before serving, let ramekins stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium heavy skillet heat granulated sugar over medium-high heat until sugar begins to melt, shaking skillet occasionally to heat sugar evenly. Do not stir. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low and cook about 5 minutes or until all sugar melts and is golden, stirring as needed with a wooden spoon. Quickly drizzle the caramelized sugar over custards. (If sugar hardens in the skillet, return to heat; stir until melted.) Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Marameo publishing house

Marameo is the first Ticino publisher specialising in children's literature. It was set up to promote picture books for the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland that are popular in Switzerland but have been overlooked by Italian publishers.

Marameo! The word is an interjection of a mockery, yet playful and light, like such of a child. A marameo with which - drawing on a good dose of recklessness and defying any business plan - the courageous bookseller, Francesca Martella, appeared on the publishing scene, giving life to the first publishing house of literature for young people. 

It took courage because if the other linguistic regions of Switzerland can count on a wider audience potential, and therefore boast publishing houses and long-running catalogs, the inhabitants of Italian-speaking Switzerland are very few compared to the public of Italy, a nation that also counts numerous highly successful and extremely competitive publishing houses for children. 

Yet Marameo in little more than a year of launching has already made itself noticed inside and outside of our borders, thanks to both an editorial line conducted with a decisive attitude, relying on the names of prestigious authors and illustrators, and by winning the precious international “ProLitteris” award.

In times of lockdown, why not read the alphabet in 26 nursery rhymes by Roberto Piumini with illustrations by Paloma Canonica to your children? 

Or download some free samples here:

A come... Grande alfabeto illustrato

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