meatless monday: hummus

I like Hummus so much that I wanted to try to do it at home.

After reading a lot of recipes on the internet, I made some changes and this is the Hummus recipe that I created.

Let me know if you try it!

You’ll need:

1 can garbanzo beans

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup tahini

1 tablespoon lime juice

salt

crushed red pepper (optional)

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Using a manual blender or food processor, blend until smooth the garbanzo beans, the garlic clove without the sprout, the tahini sauce, the lime juice, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the salt.

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Place the mixture on a bowl and pour the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the mixture and add some chilli flakes to give a spicy flavor to some areas.

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You can serve it right away or refrigerate until you’re going to use it!

Enjoy it! 

meatless monday: pizza dough recipe

On this #meatlessmonday I’m sharing my favorite, super easy, quick and pretty healthy pizza dough recipe.

You’ll need:

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  • 2 cups of all purpose flour (you can mix 1 cup all purpose and 3/4¬†cup whole grain, so the¬†dough will have more fiber).
  • 2 teaspoons dried instant yeast.
  • 1 cup of warm water.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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Dissolve the instant yeast in the warm water and then put it with the rest of the ingredients in your mixer and knead it for about 8 minutes. Marco is a great little helper with this recipe!

Note: You can also just add all the ingredients to your mixing bowl and let it knead until it integrates. This recipe is for a super-busy cook¬†ūüôā¬†

Once it looks like an integrated dough, let it rest cover with a kitchen cloth for a minimum of 30 minutes.

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In the meantime, we can prepare the sauce. You’ll need one can of organic diced tomatoes and one clove of garlic.

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Blend the tomatoes and put the tomato purée, the garlic (cut it in half and remove the sprout, first), salt and a pinch of sugar in a sauce-pan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to minimum and let it cook for 5 minutes.

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Turn the oven to 350F. Prepare a non-stick cookie pan.

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I don’t use oil on the pan because it’s non-stick, but if you need you can spray some oil on it to prevent the dough to adhere to the pan. If you don’t have a rolling pin, try to flat the dough with your hands, use extra flour if you need (but not much!)

I like thicker pizzas and my husband likes thiner pizzas. We vary from time to time so everyone gets what we want.

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Extend the dough thru the cookie pan and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

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The pizza dough is now ready.¬†At this point you can also let it cool and freeze it if you’d like to. This dough lasts 3 months in your freezer.

Add the sauce, organic mozzarella cheese and everything you’d like on top of it.¬†I made mine with just plain organic mozzarella and other with asparagus and some brie cheese.

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Bake the pizza for 6 more minutes.

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You can also bake it a little longer (8-10 minutes) and broil it for 2 -4 minutes for an extra golden look.

IMG_5383Thin Pizza РPortuguese Sausage Version (Linguiça, for other recipes with linguiça click here)

For extra flavor: in a small bowl mixed 1 tbsp or dried oregano, 1/2 cup olive oil and 1 crushed garlic. Add drops of these flavored oil all around your pizza 3 minutes before taking it our of the oven… No one will resist!

IMG_1676I bought a new round pizza bakeware! Pepperoni and Tomato & Mozzarella

Enjoy!

meatless monday: spinach knödel

I was born and raised in Argentina.

That means, that I used to get my proteins from meat mostly everyday of the week. Specially, beef. Why? Because Argentina is a country where grass-fed cows was one of its mains commodities (unfortunately, feed-lots are now also being used but not as much as in the US; also MGO grains like soya is one of the main products that Argentina is producing).

But nutrition was not a issue that worried me while I was a young adult, until I got to a class of Neurophysiology during my psychology studies in the early 2000s.

You might be wondering: what has Neurophysiology to do with Nutrition? Well, on that class, the¬†professor was talking about a particular process that takes place in the brain when suddenly he said: “(…) then a Calcium molecull has to access¬†the¬†cell in order so this can¬†happen (…)”

And that was when the lighting hit me.

Calcium? Calcium… and how does that Calcium gets in there? And¬†in any case, how¬†does everything that we need come from? Of what we eat, of course!
Since that moment on, my life changed.

I started reading more about nutrition, I’ve started also to read nutritional labels and ingredients, I’ve even begin¬†to learn how to cook better.

On that path, I’ve discovered that it wasn’t only cooking, but what comes first… I had to learn how, where and when to buy. I’ve learnt why eating local and seasonly is important.

I also did some courses.¬†One of them was Child Nutrition and Cooking by ¬†Dr.¬†Maya Adam from¬†Stanford¬†University, it’s free and online and¬†I deeply recommend it. Not only if you have kids or live in the US, because the food industry is becoming global and the same process is¬†also taking place in¬†in other countries.

So, as part of this path that I’ve started so many years ago, I’ve been trying¬†to eat less meat¬†by trying a #meatlesssmonday at home.

That’s why I’m sharing with you a recipe for this very special monday. It’s a family recipe from my german great-grandmother, on my mother side. So, it’s a very special one as well ūüôā

Spinat Knödel (feeds 4)

You’ll need:

  • 6oz organic spinach (1 package of Trader Joe’s baby spinach is about 6 oz).
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 15 tablespoons of all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup organic milk
  • salt

Combine the spinach, egg, olive oil, milk and salt in a bowl and using a blender integrate all the ingredients together. Once that it started to mix, add the flour.

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Mix it until you a get a batter with a similar consistency to the one of the pancakes, but more dense.

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Bring water to a boil on a pan. Prepare two spoons.

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Use the spoons to grab the batter and put it on the boiling water. Do it carefully but as quick as you can so all the dumplings will cook at the same time.

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Let it boil for 6 minutes.

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Drain and serve with butter and parmesan cheese or the sauce that you prefer.

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This recipe was one of my favorites as a kid and now my toddler also loves it ūüôā

Enjoy!

PS: If you want to know more about the #meatlessmonday movement, click here.

written in dreams

This year I’ve started to practice meditation.

I admit¬†that, in the beginning, I used to feel¬†kind of silly just being¬†“aware of my¬†breathing” but I found some guided meditations on YouTube that helped me to focus and concentrate on my meditation.

Since it’s guided, it’s easier for me to follow and not get distracted with “all the things that I should be doing instead of laying down for 20 minutes“.

Anyway. Long story short. Last week, as I was finishing my meditation, a phrase comes to my mind.

Just as I was getting out of that dream-style phase -as Freud would refer when talking about the Schreber case- that moment that is neither the dream nor the vigil, just in that passage, in the middle.

Well, as I was transiting that very moment, a phrase came to my mind,it  arose like a brilliant idea and it sticked to me.

The words were in spanish, my native language, and it said exactly this:

 

2014-12-04 no falta mucho

 

The phrase transmits that whatever is going to happen -assuming you’re waiting for something special to take place- it won’t pass¬†much time until it happens¬†but it’s not going to occur¬†soon neither. It’s a messy phrase but still, it suggests that it’s going to happen.

Like the last 10 miles of a Marathon. Don’t loose your faith, it’s going to happen. But keep up the work so you’ll make it happen!

PS: Have you ever remember a catchy phrase from a dream?

christmas in a jar

Maybe I went too far using the same¬†jars for decorations in my home this year but I just can’t get enough of how lovely they look!

You’ve already seen how I used it for Halloween and for Thanksgiving… But this time, I decided to try using the jar in¬†a craft¬†project with Marco.

We used, of course… a jar, sea salt, a small ¬†plastic pine branch that I cut it from our plastic christmas tree with some play dough on the base,¬†a snowman candle that I had from previous years and one of the chalkboard tags with a new message: Be Merry! * (This time I used a white Sakura Gelly Roll to write the message).

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This jar project was fun, cute and easy to do. You just put all the elements inside and close the lid.

The only issue is that I don’t know how much time it will last on our coffee table since this little toddler grabs it anytime he goes by the table and start shaking it constantly! Anyway, it was fun!

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PS: I’d love to know about your¬†DIY christmas decorations! The season is just starting!

thanksgiving 2014

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, friends!

Since my kid (and husband) are Americans, we’ve decided to celebrate this holiday preparing a traditional American meal. Then on Christmas, we can cook some delicious and traditional¬†Venezuelan recipes and on New Year’s eve we can prepare some traditional Argentinian dishes. In that way, the culinary cultural heritage of each member of this family can be¬†present on¬†a special holiday.

It was fun to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and one of our dear friends, Lorena. She also happens to be a great Bay Area photographer, you can see more of her work at ByLorena Photography. In fact, all the pictures featured on this post were taken by Lorena so I also want to say a big thank you to my friend who kindly shared with us these beautiful pics!

Now, let’s talk about recipes.

Deviled Eggs. For this appetizer I used one recipe that I’ve found at¬†HelloTruelove, Katie’s cute, lovely and inspiring blog about city life, travel and cooking.¬†¬†The recipe is¬†delicious as it but I added a little bit of Valentina sauce, just to make it spicy and hot, so this is¬†optional ūüėČ

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I used this recipe for the sweet dinner rolls but since I don’t have a bread machine I just kneaded all the ingredients¬†together using my Kitchen Aid. Once the dough doubled in size,¬†I shaped them as buns and left¬†them cover on a non-stick cookie pan for another 30 minutes. Then, I¬†baked the buns for 30′ at 350F.

In fact, they were so good that I used the leftovers buns the day after for some Benedict Eggs that I made for breakfast (I threw them in the toaster for a few seconds just before serving).

20141128_Thanksgiving_byLorena_13 Specially delicious if you serve them warm.

Being honest,¬†I didn’t want to risk too much with the main dish¬†so I bought an already Stuffed Turkey Breast from Trader Joe’s. I just baked it and it turn out fine. I added a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of maple syrup on¬†the last 5 minutes of oven to get a nice golden color and taste.

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Israeli Couscous. Ok, this side dish has nothing of traditional on this day but it still was a great¬†one. I cooked¬†the couscous¬†as directed on the package (I got it at TJs) then,¬†I mixed it with roasted¬†brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, braised¬†fennel and onions. I made a vinaigrette using apple vinegar, olive oil, salt pepper and a little bit of honey… It was delicious!

20141128_Thanksgiving_byLorena_6Hey you! On the right bottom corner… You’re not traditional! What are you doing here, Israeli Couscous? ūüėõ

Now,¬†I have to tell you something about the¬†Pumpkin Pie. I’ve never ever tasted a Pumpkin Pie before in my life but anyway I tried to make one.

I headed to AllRecipes and looked for the recipe with most reviews… and¬†I made a few changes. I used organic sweet condensed milk (available at Trader Joe’s) and a¬†frozen crust¬†that I got at the same grocery store and that I baked for 8 minutes before filling it.

I didn’t use cream to garnish it because, as you now may already know, I am not a fan of heavy cream but anyway, the pie turned out quite good.

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Do you remember the jars that I used on Halloween on my coffee table? Well, they found a new role on my dining table. This time, I¬†used some (popcorn) corn that I had, a candle and a new message on the chalkboard tags: “Give Thanks” and “With a Grateful Heart“.

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We haven’t bought new glass cups after moving from¬†Brooklyn, so we¬†used¬†plastic ones. Marco enjoyed so much using the same cup that we did that I think this issue turned out great! (Of course, as the¬†neurotic mom I am,¬†I still kept the sippy cup on the table “just in case” he made a mess!)

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I’m so grateful for my family, I’m the happiest person I’ve ever been. I love Victor with all my heart. I love being a mom and I love my son so much that words are not enough!

I’m grateful for my friends. Moving to the other side of the country and already have some friends there, makes¬†the new life much easier and comforting.

Even-though this is a non-religious holiday, as a person of faith, I cannot pass it without feeling and saying thanks to God for everything in my life.

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Our plates and hearts full. Give Thanks… With a Grateful Heart.

PS: You can also follow Lorena on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.