New workshop date!

Last weekend I had a new round of marvelous students attending my workshop at A Work Of Heart Studio in San Jose, CA.

The new location of A Work of Heart is just so good, it provides us with plenty of natural light, a big studio space where we can be comfortable while enjoying a time of making art together (while indulging with some fresh donuts!)

You already know that I like to prepare each workshop goodies and decor with a different “theme”. I kept the “kraft” color for this one since it’s the color of fall, which is in my favorite season.

I added those little pen boxes that were just too cute!

I always bring extra goodies; assorted samples of paper in different colors and sizes, tags, envelopes, you’ll always find something cool in those if you’re a paper nerd like me!)

Student at work!

For this occasion, I gave ¬†to my students this hand-lettered tote bag with “autumn/fall” messages. Made by me of course, and I think they loved them!

Here’s a look at some of them…

This Thankful tote might be my favorite one…!
I love the Letter “F” in this one!
Ok, that grateful is also very pretty!
Do you want to try Modern Calligraphy?

The good news is that I’ve added a new date for November! Do you want to join us? I’m still working on the new decor so… surprise surprise!

You can register online here and I hope to see you at A Work Of Heart on November 12th!

Baby announcement!

After a long time wishing for this baby to come, he/she will be finally coming to our lives April 1st, 2018!

We’re so happy and tremendously thankful for this blessing!

Or course, being a lettering nerd I wanted to incorporate something of my art to make his announcement and since it is Fall, the best way to do for me was lettering on pumpkins!

For this project I bought real pumpkins at my local grocery store, wipe them clean with a wet cloth and then I dried them with a paper towel.

I tried lettering first with my favorite Molotow marker but the texture didn’t make it very opaque. Same thing happened with the Sharpies Acrylic Water based.. They just didn’t stick plus they created like a rough coat in some patches (you can still see those in the “beb√©” littlest pumpkin).

So at the end, the best marker for this project for me was the Chalk Ink Chalk Marker. It sticked, it was opaque and it didn’t create layers of ink leaving a rough look. So, Chalk Ink Marker… Approved!

Also, little detail but the chisel tip is always great to create the thin and thick lines and give it more of a faux calligraphy look.

Enjoy the fall season friends!

I love you more than milkshakes

Today I want to share something a lot more personal ūüôā

For those of you who have followed me for the last 10 years or more on my blog (I’ve started blogging in 2005!) you might already know how deeply my life has changed since I became a mom.

Not only because of the obvious… Became a mom, but also, I quit my job, moved countries and 2 years later also moved coasts (from NY to SF) and in the middle of that whirlpool, I had to learn and apply a lot of strategies during the first months and I didn’t have a lot of help considering we had no family around or many friends and besides all of that I went through postpartum depression.

Oh boy, it wasn’t easy but I had an amazing support from my husband which helped infinitely. And I’ll continue to go on because in my present life, there are much more wonderful moments that fill my life with purpose and happiness than there are times of sadness.

This June, Marco turned 5 years old and I feel like he’s, of course, a big boy now. And before he starts Kindergarten this year and suddenly goes to college a few moments later (the days are long but the years go fast you know haha) so before all of that happens…¬†I want to have something to remember this time in my life forever.

I always have in my mind this quote from Mary Poppins¬†“a piece of beauty is a joy forever” and that’s how I thought that having some great photos would be an amazing way to capture these memories.

So I reached out to my favorite South Bay Photographer Quianna Marie Photography¬†and I told her this idea that I wanted to have this photo shoot in an old fashioned diner that I’ve seen in Los Gatos, CA.¬†

For those who know me, the fact that I LOVE diners AND also milkshakes is not a surprise ūüėÄ

So today I want to share some of those pictures with you, my friends who have been always coming back to my blog to read some of my ideas; with those of you who have also shared with me the last 6 years of this crazy ride!

 

Marco, 5 years old

When you’re mom is a hand-lettering artist… She brings a prop

We were so lucky we found an old pick up truck just a block from the Diner! A great detail for this photo shoot!

Marco, My piece of beauty, my joy forever

<3

My 3 favorite projects for beginners

Let’s be honest. Being a beginner is tough and frustrating a lot of times¬†and¬†this is specially true if you’ve decided to give Modern Calligraphy a try.

During my first year with this beautiful but difficult art I struggle A LOT.

First, it was just trying to get that balance of thin and thick lines. Like, what’s happening? Why does it seem¬†so simple when others do it but so difficult for me? Is it the pen, the nib, the pressure?Argh. This¬†endeavor¬†was hard.

After several hours of practice, it seemed that the weekly practice paid off helping my brain to connect to the dots between what I wanted to do and what my arm and my hand were actually doing.

And that’s when I had to face all the rest of the battles: creating a decent shape for each letter (OMG that was hard!); dealing with the ink bleeding¬†on the¬†paper (and then having to learn about paper and ink quality) to¬†finally¬†keeping kind of a straight line and attempt¬†to create something of a¬†composition.

For a moment, I felt like I was in the middle of The Two Towers in LOTR battling¬†hordes and hordes of orcs¬†(yes, I’m a little bit of a nerd… if¬†you didn’t yet notice it!)

And then, when I somehow managed to¬†have¬†all of the above working… A huge blob of ink would ruin my project!

I tell you friends, the struggle is real!

But there was something that helped me to feel less frustrated. And that was being able to create some projects that were pretty enough for the level I was at that time, a beginner.

That’s why I want to share today 3 ideas of projects that you can create and who knows? They might also help you,¬†as they helped me, to feel more encouraged about my art and not quitting at it.

1. Re-Use those sheets of PRACTICE!

After hours or practice you start to have several sheets of paper with alphabet samples, numbers or maybe calligraphy exercises.

They might not look pretty at all when you see them. For instance, take a look at this one:

After 1 month into Calligraphy

But what happens when you re-use it as a wrapping paper? Add a nice ribbon and, voilà! Something not pretty turned into something cute!

¬†Ohhh… What a little ribbon can do!

2. Create a simple quote for a wall decor

In this case I would say: keep it simple, keep it short and if you aim for a baby nursery or kids bedroom then it might be even better, since cute and imperfect sometimes is just what we are looking for in this kind of projects!

Quote for a baby nursery

Additional points: Frame it. Even with an IKEA frame. You’ll see how much of a difference¬†it makes after it’s framed!

OHHH… WHAT An IKEA Frame CAN DO!

 

3. UPGRADE YOUR SNAIL MAIL ENVELOPES

It might seem simple but hey…! Who doesn’t love to receive some snail mail love?! I can assure you that not everyone knows how to write how you’re learning to so, feel confident enough to try it! Specially if it’s for a good friend who will appreciate your efforts to send something a little bit more special ūüôā

Snail mail day is always a happy day for me!

 

Okay friends, I hope these ideas are as useful to you as they were to me! Keep on practicing and most important… enjoying that calligraphy practice because we all know: it’s all about the journey!

***

Ps: Want to join in this Modern Calligraphy adventure?

Sign up for my next Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Workshop in San Jose, CA. Register here. Beginner kit, refreshments and treats included. Hope to see you there!

about handmade paper and a lesson learnt

Yesterday I was struggling to create a wedding invitation in a stunning handmade paper.

It had to be kind of an elegant/dreamy/romantic theme for the invite so I started sketching first.

When I had something that I was ok with, I started the inking process and following suggestions of other colleagues I attempted to use the Brause Rose Nib. And then, the struggle began.

It wasn’t that I was catching fibers of the paper¬†or anything like that. It was just that I felt that it was too hideous¬†to do it and it took me forever and even waste 2 pieces of that luxurious paper.

Anyhow, I did it. I created the wedding invitation and the RSVP.

Today, the final part came.

I had to finish the suite with a hand-drawn map. So I chose to go, for this project, with one of my favorites nibs: a Nikko G.

First I did my practicing sketch on pencil and just a regular US letter paper and then I started the inking process on the handmade paper.

I drew it all at once and in only 15 minutes. I was so surprised.

And then it hit me as a thunder. First, I was doing something that was totally out of my comfort zone (I was even trying a different lettering style, not one of my own) and that was what made it so uncomfortable and difficult.

But folks, we don’t need to stay¬†in that uncomfortable place forever! Otherwise, life would suck!

I think that just trying new things, getting out of that safe place for a little while, leaves marks that will help create a bigger, richer, even more complex reality.

As in life we need time to be awake and time to rest, we also need to explore out of our comfort zone but then go back to our safe place in order to create with a wider vision after that experience.

But then of course, creative life doesn’t work this way but all together, like on a M√∂ebius strip!

Now, a quick video from this morning sharing all of this on social media.

 

about last year and this week

Hi folks, weekly post here and today with more good news!

Last year I had the amazing opportunity to create some beautiful calligraphy pieces for the Styled Pop Up Series Workshop; by the way,¬†if¬†you’re a beginner lifestyle photographer or are curious about lifestyle photography, you need to check it out!

Welcome sign that I created for the workshop

 

Now this week, I have the joy to tell you that the Styled Pop Up Series has been PUBLISHED by Borrowed & Blue!

What an amazing opportunity that was!

modern calligraphy wedding invitation suite

 

I’m so happy that this¬†Romantic Winery Styled Shoot‚Äôs wedding will be featured front and center¬†on their¬†San Francisco home page!

In love with this beautiful state that I call now home: California

 

Click in the image below to see all the pictures from this Styled Series Pop Up with an amazing winery theme wedding inspiration!

See you next week, friends!

– – – – – –

List of Vendors:
Photography: www.quiannamarie.com
Wedding Planner: www.theblubookevents.com
Bride’s Gown:¬†www.bonny.com
Bridesmaid Dresses: www.trudysbrides.com
Bridal Garter: www.thegartergirl.com
Furniture Rentals: www.viewpointevents.com
Floral Design: www.bonjourbloom.com
Catering: www.organicopia.com

what are you doing in may?

Folks, I have a new date available for my Introduction to Modern Calligraphy Workshop!

It will be on Sunday May 21st from 3-5pm. Be sure to register here.

Now, some pictures of the last one on April 13th.

Each one of my workshops have different colors, this one was holographic, a very trendy theme at the moment.

morning workshop with fresh donuts from my favorite spot in willow glen, san jose

 

nibs and ink JARs

 

silver, white and HOLOGRAPHIC everything AND OMG THAT FOLDER ENVELOPE IS SO HYPNOTIC!

 

There’s still one more workshop in April but that one is already sold out.

But don’t forget you have another chance in May!

See you soon!

<3

 

some tips about printable files III

Hi there, today I have a new post with a new idea for the printable files that you can get at my etsy shop.

Sometimes a simple printable file for a greeting card can be use in multiple ways, for instance as gift tags!

Or some other times we want to use the same file to create several mini greeting cards. For those times, this idea will be super useful!

HOW TO CREATE MULTIPLE TAGS FROM ONE FILE

On your printing options, choose to print i.e. 16 copies per page. Print them, trim them and you’ll have 16 adorable¬†tags to add to your gifts.

I did this for last Valentine’s Day treats for my son’s school and they were the cutest and¬†one of a kind¬†treats’ tags!

Have a great week folks!

some tips about printable files II

Hi folks!

A new tip to get a better quality print of the digital files that you can buy on my etsy shop.

Choosing the right option

When you’re about to print your digital file, choose “photo” despite of using a photo paper; choose the “photo” option¬†even if you’re using a plain paper.

By choosing this option, you’ll get a brighter print with a better quality.

Here’s a short video guide on how I do it.

See you soon with more ideas! Have a great week!

some tips about printable files

Printable files are an affordable, super fast way to get some art for your wedding, birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, holidays and also art that you can print at home, frame and hang it as decor on your walls.

These days you can buy online and print at home a greeting card, a dessert table sign or even an alternative guestbook for your special celebration avoiding the shipping fees or the wait!

Sounds great, right? But printing at home is not always easy… I get that. So, today I want to share a¬†quick tip¬†to¬†help you get¬†a better quality print for the printables that you can get at my etsy shop.

-One of the things that makes the most professional look on an art-print is to having the design to reach to the edges of the paper, leaving no white margins.

How to achieve this?

When you’re going to print, choose the option “Scale to fit” and then “Fill the Entire Paper“.

Following this simple step will make the whole design to occupy the entire page and there will be no white edges to trim later!

Isn’t that cool?!

Now, be sure to stay tuned, I’ll be posting more useful tips like this to bring the best out of your home printer soon!

Happy week everyone!

modern calligraphy workshop recap

Hi there!

Today I wanted to share some pics of the Modern Calligraphy workshop that I offered at A Work Of Heart Studio in the charming Willow Glen neighborhood in San Jose, CA.

For this opportunity, Bonjour Bloom prepared a beautiful flower arrangement for the chalkboard sign that I did and another one for the table.

The workshop lasted 2 hours and it included a Beginner Calligraphy Kit and some extra goodies.

The beginner calligraphy kit includes 2 (two) different kind of nibs, a straight pen holder, 2 (two) jars of professional white and black calligraphy inks and -most important- a lesson handout with useful information about how to prepare your nibs, hold your penholder, clean and maintain your tools, alphabet and numbers sample and more!

I also added a list of my favorite tools like brands of papers, nibs, inks in the handout, something that’s so useful to continue the practice on your own calligraphy journey.

In this opportunity, I gave the students some personalized notebooks that I prepared with their names. I love to be in those little details!

The students and I had a lot of fun!

I’ve added a new date for the workshop!

So come join the fun and learn the beautiful art of Modern Calligraphy on April 2nd or April 30th at A Work Of Heart in San Jose, CA.

I hope to see you there!

inspiration for winery weddings: styled pop up series 2016

Hi folks,

Quick post here just to share with you the video from last year’s¬†Styled Pop Up Series¬†for which¬†I did some of my favorite calligraphy pieces from 2016!

Gorgeous inspiration for winery weddings!

Event: www.styledpopupseries.com
Venue: www.guglielmowinery.com
Wedding Planner: www.theblubookevents.com
Make Up: www.TheIsabelJackson.com
Hair: www.oneofakindbeauty.com
Bride’s Gown:¬†www.bonny.com
Bridesmaid Dresses: www.trudysbrides.com
Bridal Garter: www.thegartergirl.com
Furniture Rentals: www.viewpointevents.com
Floral Design: www.bonjourbloom.com
Catering: www.organicopia.com
Cake: www.pamscustomcakes.blogspot.com
Calligraphy: www.andreacomenta.etsy.com
Jewelry: www.goldstarjewelers.net
Bride’s Shoes:¬†www.badgleymischka.com
Videography: www.marioandfranproductions.com
Host: www.quiannamarie.com

introduction to modern calligraphy workshop

Hi friends!

I’m so happy to share the news that I have two upcoming dates for my Introduction to Modern Calligraphy workshop.

It’s a 2-hour program in which we’re going to¬†learn:

-How to assemble your pen, inking up you pen, proper holding and basic strokes.
-Practicing exercises
-Uppercase letters
-Lowercase letters
-How to clean and maintain your nibs.
-Tips on paper, ink, brands.

A beginner calligraphy kit it’s included and it brings some great tools to start practicing calligraphy:

-1 Straight Pen Holder
-Starter nib
-2 small jars of ink
-Different papers (grid for practice, white and black 4×6 for projects)
-Alphabet Sample

Join me on Wednesday 8th or Sunday 12th at A Work Of Heart Studio in the charming neighborhood of Willow Glen to learn the beautiful art of modern calligraphy. Register here.

See you there!

I’m back! are you still there?

Hi friends!

It’s been a while, I know. So many things happened since I’ve last wrote on this blog.

And everyday that goes by makes it¬†a little bit more difficult to write again because… it¬†feels that it’s been decades¬†since I last posted something on the blog!

Anyway, in order to put an end to this “never-ending blog neurosis”,¬†¬†I decided to just start by saying:

Hey, I’m back! Are you still there?

If so, I’m so happy that you’re reading this!

Also, since Valentine’s it’s just around the corner, I have a little something¬†for you <3

A free Happy Galentine’s printable card.

Download it here and send it to your bestie! Because we all need those girl-friends that make our life much better!

Have a lovely week everyone!

 

calligraphy || mother’s day giveaway

Since November last year, I’ve been practicing calligraphy, reading about it, doing some online courses (here¬†and here) and I also attended a short workshop with Bay Area calligrapher¬†Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls

It’s been an interesting journey to use other media to express myself.

I specially like Modern Calligraphy since it gives me the freedom to develop my own style. I feel that it’s like¬†drawing, but drawing letters ūüôā

This year I decided to use this technique plus some watercolors to¬†create a free downloadable¬†art for Mother’s Day.

Motherhood is an amazing journey. It’s a rollercoaster, it has the scariest moments and the most fun moments all-together.

Sometimes it seems that a day lasts forever; just like when you’re going up in your cart and it seems it¬†will never end climbing and then, suddenly, it goes so fast that you still feel like it was just a moment¬†ago when everything started.

Hemingway wrote¬†one of my favorites quotes and, now that I think about it, it can¬†also be used to express how¬†kids grow up: “Gradually, then suddenly“.

Motherhood is an amazing journey. You can do it alone, but it will take part of your sanity on the journey so it’s just much better if¬†you have other(s) around to help.

For some moms, the help comes from their partners, for other it comes from amazing¬†parents or in-laws, for others great relatives, good friends or even a kind neighbor or from the¬†community close to you.¬†And even when none of those exist or we don’t feel their help, God is always there, in our hardest moments when we don’t even think he could possibly be there with us and in the easiest silliest ones: always. ¬†

Motherhood is an amazing journey. So, take this gift and send it to a mom you know because we are all in this together and feeling ¬†that we’re not alone in this is… Oh boy, such a relief!

We’re all in this together. We’re changing our world raising the human beings of¬†the future.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Love <3

-Andrea

Mother's Day

 

 

 

 

idea for ben & jerry

Hi Ben & Jerry!

I have the name of the next Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Chips flavor¬†that you need to create in the next 7 days: “PMS”

It was either that name¬†or “I’m filing for Divorce” because if B&J creates that flavor, then my husband better not even dare to touch it during my PMS days… Otherwise, he can consider himself served! ūüėõ

IMG_0032

 

varenyky recipe

The first time that I tried this meal I think it was at my beloved grandma’s. But also¬†one of my¬†sisters in law, Neny, -from Ukrainian ancestry- prepares this deliciousness every now and then and whenever I’m visiting her in Argentina, I asked her to prepare varenyky for me. They are amazing!

I grew up in Posadas, the capital of Misiones. This state was home to¬†a lot of immigrants from different places of the world. In fact,¬†each year Misiones¬†celebrate the National Immigrant Festival where different communities sell their traditional food/drinks while offering live music or dances from their country.¬†It’s a very important festival during the year and it’s a great moment¬†to visit if you’re ever visiting Argentina¬†ūüôā

Back to the varenyky recipe.¬†I had to do my research and experiment with different recipes because the family one that¬†I had wasn’t working here¬†since the flour is different.

So, after my experiments I got to this one that’s pretty, pretty… amazing!

You’ll need:

  • 2 1/4 cups organic all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon canola¬†oil
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 1 organic egg yolk
  • 1 organic egg
  • 1 cup organic sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • extra: ¬†1/8 cup organic all purpose flour

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour and salt.

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In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted grass-fed butter (it doesn’t have to be hot!), organic sour cream, organic eggs, yolk and canola oil.

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Add the wet ingredients into the flour and stir until blended. Cover the bowl with a cloth, and let it rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

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Transfer dough to a floured surface¬†and use a rolling pin to make it thinner. Add the 1/8 cup¬†extra flour if you need to, so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin.

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Use a cookie cutter to make¬†the¬†circles. You can also use a regular mug or glass if you don’t have a cookie cutter; just¬†add¬†a little bit of flour to¬†the borders so it doesn’t stick to the dough.

IMG_5435

Add a spoon of the filling to each circle of dough and use your fingers to fold them over into half-circles and press to seal the edges. If you find it difficult to seal them, you can use just some drops of water to the edge to help you to seal the dough.

*I used a ricotta filling made with this ricotta, salt and pepper.

Place varenyky¬†on a cookie sheet, and freeze. Once they’re frozen, you can transfer them to freezer bags.

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Whenever you want to cook the varenyky, just bring a large pot of¬†water to a boil and cook them until they float to the top. It’s about 3-5 minutes (depending on the size).¬†

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Remove the varenyky with a slotted spoon and serve immediately.

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You can add some warm heavy cream and/or tomato sauce.

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They are a delicious winter meal.

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Enjoy!

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sweet meringue cookies

I love having some homemade cookies that last a week or so that we can enjoy as a sweet treat in the afternoon with an espresso.

IMG_7724

Here goes my recipe for these meringue cookies. You’ll need:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup organic sugar

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Prepare non-stick cookie sheet.

Start mixing the egg whites (speed 4 for 2 minutes then 6) and add the sugar slowly.

IMG_7687

Mix until the meringue is stiff.

IMG_7693

Add the meringue to a pastry bag or a ziploc one if you don’t have a more professional pastry bag ūüėõ

IMG_7697

IMG_7694It’s always nice to have some extra help ūüôā

Place small drops of the meringue on the cookie sheets.

IMG_7698

Bake at 250 degrees F for 1:15 h or until they start to get a golden color. Remove the tray from the oven. Let the cookies cool before putting them in a cookie container.

IMG_7714

Enjoy!

mbeju recipe

Hi folks, I decided to start this new week sharing a new South American recipe on the blog: Mbeju.

Let’s say that it’s great for breakfast, dinner or as a snack. You’ll feel satisfied and won’t get hungry for several hours after eating this cheesy, gluten-free tortilla-like.

Actually it’s a recipe from Paraguay, but you guys now that I was born in Misiones, just a river separates us from our brothers in Paraguay. In both sides, we grow tapioca¬†(mandioca) and its flour it’s a fundamental ingredient in the diet of these regions… or was ūüėõ

More about this food here.

For one mbej√ļ, you’ll need (did I mention that it’s actually shareable?)

  • 1 cup tapioca flour (available in Whole Foods, Latin Grocery Markets and guess what? Some Asian markets also carry tapioca starch or flour and it’s super cheap, something like $0.79 per pound).
  • 1/2 cup gouda cheese (curds or grated)
  • 1/8 cup organic milk
  • 1/8 cup water (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Begin by combining the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the melted butter.

IMG_2007

When it has a crumble consistency, add the milk, cheese and then the water. Use your hands to integrate them after each addition.

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It will have this crumble look. Don’t worry, it’s going to become something in a few minutes.

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Add a little butter to a large pan and set it to medium heat.

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Add the mixture to the pan and set it to a lower heat.

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Use a spoon to give a more flatten look to this crumble mixture.

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When the cheese starts melting it might be the moment to turn it over. You’ll see that’s¬†it’s easy to unstick it from the pan using a spatula when it’s done.

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Usually, I slide the mbeju to a dish using a spatula and then flip it with the help of another dish.

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Use what’s easier for you to flip the mbeju and cook it on the other side for another 3-5 minutes. Serve warm.

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All those golden-brown pieces of deliciousness…

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Serve warm.

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Enjoy it with a cup of mate cocido!

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Yum! 

¬°mi primer ebook!

¬°Hola a todos!

Hoy estoy muy feliz  de compartir con ustedes ¡mi primer e-book!

Se trata de una Gu√≠a R√°pida para Expatriados en Estados Unidos completamente en espa√Īol.

Esta gu√≠a naci√≥ de las preguntas que me han hecho tantas veces amigos y¬†conocidos que estaban en proceso de mudanza a Estados Unidos y la idea de Victor¬†-¬°gracias Apito√ļ por todo el incentivo y hasta la ayuda con el dise√Īo!-¬†que me impuls√≥ a crearla como un libro electr√≥nico y as√≠ ayudar a mucha m√°s gente en el proceso de mudanza a un nuevo pa√≠s.

En la misma van a encontrar temas desde cómo saber en qué vecindario vivir hasta cómo hacer amigos en la nueva ciudad a la que te mudes. Contiene todos los enlaces (links) necesarios para conocer en profundidad cada tema.

Espero pueda ayudar a muchos más con esta guía completa y sencilla, como dice mi querida Aldana a quien también agradezco mucho por toda la ayuda con la edición y el prólogo tan bonito que escribió.

Amigos, por este mes celebrando y agradeciendo por este lindo proyecto, podrán descargar gratuitamente la guía aquí:

Guia Rapida Para Expatriados - Andrea Casa - Andrea Casals

 

Guía Rápida Para Expatriados РAndrea Casals

 

Enjoy it!

stuffed spaghetti squash

Since I moved to the USA, I had to learn how to cook with local ingredients.

We’re subscribed to our CSA monthly box¬†of local and organic fruits and veggies, so now that it’s -finally- fall in San Jose, CA we’ve received something I never saw before when I was living in Argentina. It’s spaghetti squash and it’s great.

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I thought of preparing it stuffed with a meat-tomato sauce, as they do it in Argentina with other kind of pumpkins. For the stuffing, I’ve changed the beef for pork ground (which I also received monthly from a local ranch) and I also added some lingui√ßa (portuguese pork sausage) for more flavor. This is a great¬†recipe¬†for autumn/wintery days. I hope you enjoy it!

You’ll need:

  • 1¬†medium spaghetti squash
  • 2¬†tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 link of lingui√ßa
  • 1 lb ¬†ground¬†pork
  • 1 small organic onion, diced
  • 1/2¬†small organic red pepper, diced
  • 1¬†organic¬†garlic clove,¬†without the sprout
  • 1 tbsp green onions
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (easy, non-fat, homemade recipe here)
  • 1 slice of¬†fresh¬†mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp organic ricotta (I used the same than I did with this other recipe)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

Now, let’s do this.

First, cut the squash in half and brush the inner flesh of the spaghetti squash with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

Bake it, skin side up, in a preheated 375F oven until tender, about 30-45 minutes.

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Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a large pan and add the diced onions and the garlic. Cook about 3-4 minutes and then add the peppers.

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Cook about 2-3 minutes more and add the ground pork and the sausage (linguiça). Let it cook thoroughly stirring it from time to time with a wooden spoon.

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Add the tomato sauce, dried oregano, basil, salt and pepper and a bay leaf. Let it cook for 10 minutes at low heat.

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When the meat is totally cooked, turn off the stove and let it rest at room temperature until you’re going to use it.

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When the squash is done, remove it from the oven.

 

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Use a fork to fluff up some of the inside flesh of each half to form the spaghetti.

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Add some of the ground pork linguiça tomato sauce, the ricotta and the mozzarella pieces over the spaghetti in each half.

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Broil  until the cheese has melted and turned a light golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

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Serve and enjoy!

IMG_1712Wait… what? Is this pasta?

 

 

cute animals: baby elephant

Hi friends,

I’ve been absent from this blog since I was in Argentina. I went for my brother’s wedding and stayed for a few more days to visit some friends and family. It was fun but I came back totally exhausted!¬†Now, I’m glad to be back at home and returning to my routine.

Today I want to share one illustration I made for a friend of mine who lives in Brooklyn, NY.

This baby elephant, who is now part of my cute animals collection, will be adding its cuteness to a baby girl nursery.

2015-09 Elephans Michelle Brooklyn

View available products: baby elephant

homemade bagels

One of the things that one can surely miss from living in New York is, definitely, a fresh bagel.

Last¬†Sunday, I woke up at 6am (that’s the latest that we get up ever since Marco was born hehe!) and started preparing the dough for the bagels. By 9¬†am we were enjoying some great bagels!

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 2¬†cups organic unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1¬†tbsp organic sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup¬†warm water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1¬†tablespoon water

In a large mixing bowl add the sugar, salt, undissolved yeast and 1 cup of flour. Stir gently.

Attach the kneading hook to your kitchen aid and slowly add 1/2 cup of the warm water into the bowl while mixing on medium speed.

Add the rest of the flour and the rest of the water gradually. Scrape the bowl if necessary. Knead for about 10 minutes.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a dry kitchen cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes. This dough will rise but it won’t double in bulk.

After that resting time, transfer the dough to a floured surface. Cut small balls of the dough and make the bagel shape by creating the whole in the middle of the ball using your thumb.

Place the bagels over a baking sheet using parchment paper below.

Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 more minutes.

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After the resting time, bring water to a boil in a big sauce pan. Simmer bagels for 3 minutes on each side and remove them.

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Place them on the parchment paper covered baking sheets. Let it cool for 5 minutes. If your want, this is the moment when you can sprinkle some sesame or poppy seeds to the bagels.

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Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Remove them and brush them with the slightly beaten egg white with the tablespoon of cold water. Return bagels to the oven and bake for 12-15 more minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool.

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Enjoy with some cream cheese and scallions!

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Or…¬†Maybe some homemade organic jam ¬†or, like Marco in the picture… with salted butter!

IMG_8044 Yum!

argentinian sweet aniseed breadsticks

These sweet aniseed breadsticks were one of my favorites back in my childhood.

If I’m right, they are actually Spanish but, as so many other things, we adopted it from our Spanish immigrants and make this sweet bread a classic at any bakery (specially in the Northeast of Argentina).

For this recipe, you’ll need:

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp dry yeast
1/3 cup organic sugar
2 tsp aniseed
3/4 cup water
4 tbsp unsalted butter (I use Kerrygold, made from grass-fed cows, the most similar to the Argentinian butter)
1/4 tsp salt
1 large organic egg

In a small sauce pan bring to a low heat the water with the aniseed. Don’t let it boil, it has to be just a little bit warm.

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In a mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, sugar,  dry yeast. Stir Gently.

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Attach the mixing hook to your kitchen-aid and pour the warm water with the aniseed slowly into the bowl with the dry ingredients.

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Add the egg and the butter. Feel free to add a little bit more of flour if the dough needs it (in this case I added about 1/8 cup more). Once the dough is sticky but uniform, cover it with plastic wrap or a kitchen cloth and let it rest for 1 hour.

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After its resting time, put the dough over a floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes.

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Cut pieces of the dough and shape them into little sticks. if you turn them two or three times, you’ll get the shape of traditional breadsticks.

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Put them on a non-stick cookie pan or use parchment paper below. As you see in the picture, I used both methods. I prefer the parchment paper because it’s less messy afterwards.

 

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Cover them with plastic wrap and let it rest for unless 30 minutes.

 

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Take out the plastic wrap and bake them at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

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Optional and delicious: You can glaze them with a light syrup made with 3 tbsp of sugar for 1/2 cup water and 1 tsp of aniseed.

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Let it cool for 15 minutes before serving these sweet breadsticks.

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They go perfect with a latte or capuccino!

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Enjoy!