marco’s 3rd birthday party: cars & trucks || fiesta de cumplea√Īos de marco: autos y camiones

L√ČELO EN ESPA√ĎOL

So my “baby” is 3 years old now!

Wow! I still feel that the 1st year went super slowly, from that moment to the 2nd birthday it went a little bit faster but let me tell you… From his 2nd to this 3rd birthday time flew!

We are still new to San Jose, CA so we didn’t throw a party this year but still we decorated the house and prepare a special cake for him.

The theme for this celebration was: Cars and Trucks.

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I prepared everything the night before so he could wake up and find the surprise (that’s why the picture has no natural light!).

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I designed some silly signs for the juices and the cars.

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In case you like this idea, I’m giving away¬†the free downloadable the Interstate 3 Sign¬†file¬†and also¬†the Yellow Sign¬†(this last one is in spanish).

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The wooden name-train from his 2nd birthday party¬†was still useful for the table but I didn’t¬†display the¬†main engine.

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This little guy was so surprised in the morning when he found his “birthday table”…! The picture¬†is terrible but that’s the best I could do at 6am!

The trucks candles from Wilton were great addition to the most amazing buttermilk “tire cake”.

 

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Happy birthday my sweet boy! <3


ESPA√ĎOL

¬°Mi “beb√©” tiene 3 a√Īos!

Yo a√ļn¬†siento que su primer a√Īo de vida fue s√ļper¬†despacio;¬†luego entre el primer a√Īo y los dos a√Īos fue un poquito m√°s r√°pido pero entre los dos y los tres… ¬°Guau! ¬°El tiempo pas√≥ volando!

Todav√≠a somos¬†nuevitos en San Jose, California como para hacer una fiesta de cumplea√Īos con invitados, as√≠ que decidimos celebrarlo entre nosotros solamente, decorar la casa y preparar una torta especial.

El tema de su cumplea√Īos fue: Autos y Camiones.

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Prepar√© toda la decoraci√≥n la noche anterior para que Marco despertara con una linda sorpresa de su “mesa de cumplea√Īos”.

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Dise√Ī√© estos cartelitos graciosos para pegarlos a los jugos y a los autos.

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Si les gust√≥ la idea, se los doy gratis para descargarlos e imprimirlos directamente. Los carteles amarillos en espa√Īol lo descargan en este link¬†Yellow Sign¬†y¬†los carteles de la Interestatal 3 gen√©ricos que cre√© lo descargan en este link¬†Interstate 3 Sign.

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El trencito de madera con su nombre de su fiesta de 2do cumplea√Īos¬†me sirvi√≥ tambi√©n para la mesa pero le quit√© la locomotora y el vag√≥n trasero.

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Mi peque√Īito estaba super feliz con su sorpresa! El cami√≥n de cart√≥n y los autos porta-cupcakes son de la colecci√≥n Construction Party¬†de Meri-Meri.

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Las velitas de camiones de Wilton fueron perfectas para la torta-cubierta ¬°m√°s deliciosa que jam√°s he hecho!

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¬°Feliz cumplea√Īos mi dulce y hermoso Tot√≥!

introducing: summer deliciousness

In the last weeks, I’ve been studying a little bit¬†about creating patterns and today¬†I want to share with you a new product that I have for sale: scarves! (a *must* for our Northern California weather!)

The illustration is a simple line drawing inspired in the summer deliciousness: cherries & strawberries.

It’s available for sale here.

Soon, it will also be available as a fabric, wall or gift paper here.

*I’d love to have your feedback on this! Feel free to leave your comment below!

Mother’s Day Giveaway!

Friends, I am very happy to host¬†a giveaway for Mother’s Day!

You can win this art print (my favorite one!)

8651490_8948600-prn01_lz“Mommy & Me – Whales.”¬†

To participate, just pick one or more of these:

You have time until May 4th, 2015 at 00.00 Pacific Time (yeah! May the force be with you all!). Valid for US residents only.

Specifications: Art print / Mini (10″ x 8″).¬†Gallery quality gicl√©e print on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson K3 archival inks. No exchanges. No valid for cash value.

israeli couscous recipe

I fell in love with this dish while I was¬†living¬†in Brooklyn, NY. So, if you’re ever in¬†Downtown Brooklyn, head to the Brooklyn Fare, they sell a delicious Israeli Couscous.

But, since I’ve moved from my beloved Brooklyn in 2013… I had to learn how to cook¬†it myself!

This is what you”ll need:

  • 1 3/4 cup israeli couscous (you’ll find a decent quality one at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 3/4 cup hot water
  • 2/3 cup¬†saut√©ed¬†fennel and/or¬†roasted brussels sprouts (Trader Joe’s sell some great ready-to-eat brussels sprouts)
  • 1/2 cup organic dried cranberries
  • 1/8 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • optional: ground black pepper

For the couscous:

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium-high heat.

Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Pour the hot water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the cooked couscous to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Add the sautéed fennel or roasted brussels (or both, why not?), the dried cranberries and the almonds.

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For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the organic apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper.    

Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and toss to coat evenly.

 

I usually¬†cook this couscous for Thanksgiving as well, since it’s a great side dish for the turkey roast!

20141128_Thanksgiving_byLorena_18Our 2014 Thanksgiving table photographed by the coolest Bay Area Photographer ByLorena

Happy cooking!

my favorite baby carrier ‚ÄĘ mi cargador de beb√© preferido

L√ČELO EN ESPA√ĎOL

Each time a friend of mine is expecting a baby, they would ask me about which baby carrier I recommend.

Without hesitation, my answer is: in my experience, Ergo Baby Performance.

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It’s so comfortable and adaptable for different stages. We used it since Marco was about 3 months, you can use it with the infant carrier for younger babies,¬†until Marco was 2 yrs old.

It was super comfortable for the baby and gentle, specially, with my lower back. I mostly used it on the front until Marco was a toddler when we use it as a backpack for some hiking days in the parks of our beloved Northern California.

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Ergo has different models, visit their website to check them!


ESPA√ĎOL

Cada vez que una amiga está esperando un bebé, me preguntan qué cargador (o mochila como le dicen en Argentina, entre otros nombres) recomiendo.

Sin duda mi respuesta es: en mi experiencia, Ergo Baby Performance.

IMG_3369¬°Bebito durmiendo!

Este cargador se¬†adapta a distintas etapas. Nosotros lo usamos desde que Marco ten√≠a como 3 meses,¬†pero¬†se puede usar desde reci√©n nacido con el soporte para infantes, hasta que Marco tuvo 2 a√Īos.

IMG_7545¬°Para bajar de las colinas de San Francisco era m√°s seguro usar el cargador que el cochecito!

Era¬†muy c√≥modo para Marco¬†y muy suave, especialmente, con mi espalda y cintura. Lo us√© principalmente de frente hasta que Marco tuvo m√°s de un a√Īo, momento en que empezamos a llevarlo montado en la espalda en algunas caminatas por parques de nuestra querida California del Norte.

Ergo tiene muchos modelos, si quieren conocer m√°s de sus productos, pueden chequear su sitio web.

creating a sleep routine ‚ÄĘ construyendo una rutina del sue√Īo

L√ČELO EN ESPA√ĎOL

I was about 17 years old when I read “The Nausea” by Jean Paul Sartre¬†and¬†who would have thought that I would find useful a phrase from that novel during my motherhood experience!

Those who know me, must have heard me saying it a lot of times. I always say it something like these: “Habits are like nurses, they wash me, dry me, dress me…” ¬†Read the complete quote here.

During Marco’s first 3 months, I was kind of a “hippie”,¬†I didn’t mind about schedules¬†but soon I found myself paying the consequences of not being creating the foundations of a routine.
It was about that time, when I started reading a lot about baby sleep and I found out that at 4 months Marco needed to sleep 2 or 3 naps during the day and not 10 naps of 5 to 10 minutes .
IMG_2265-3Marco in his bassinet
How did I start creating a daytime sleep routine? After learning how many hours of sleep he needed to sleep, I helped him to get to sleep when he had to. Remember, this was three times (3 naps) during the day.
Resources? Everything that could be useful: using the stroller; walking around the house with him in the ergo carrier; rocking him in the bouncer or my legs; white noise… Whatever helped him to get to sleep (and again if he woke up too soon).
IMG_3416Fussy, sleepy baby
So after about a week we had a consistent daytime routine and Marco started to be sleepy around the time I have been helping him to sleep.
Which is the secret? The same that you use anytime you want to create a habit: repetition and consistency.
And this is when Sartre’s quote comes to the scene, because as you will see, once the habit is created, it’s like a nurse that carries you to repeat that action.
IMG_2594Sweet dreams!


ESPA√ĎOL

Ten√≠a entonces, 17 a√Īos. Le√≠a, durante una adormecedora siesta posade√Īa, “La N√°usea” de Jean Paul Sartre.

¬°Qui√©n imaginar√≠a que en una frase de aquella novela existencialista encontrar√≠a una ense√Īanza que me servir√≠a para mi experiencia como mam√°!

¬†Aquellos que me conocen, la habr√°n escuchado hasta el hartazgo. Siempre viene algo as√≠ como¬†“Los h√°bitos con como nodrizas. Me ba√Īan, me visten me peinan…”¬†Pueden leer la frase exacta y¬†mucho m√°s detallada aqu√≠.
Durante los primeros 3 meses de Marco, puedo decir que fui muy “hippie”, no ten√≠a ni una rutina diaria, sobretodo en relaci√≥n al sue√Īo, pero pronto… me encontr√© pagando las consecuencias de no estar construyendo dicha¬†rutina.
Fue entonces cuando le√≠ acerca de la cantidad de horas estimadas de sue√Īo que los beb√©s necesitaban y me enter√© que a¬†los 4 meses mi beb√© necesitaba dormir¬†2 o 3 siestas durante el d√≠a… No como hasta entonces, 10 siestas de 5 a 10 minutos,¬†sino 2 o 3 siestas de un sue√Īo consistente.
¬ŅC√≥mo hice para crear una rutina del sue√Īo durante el d√≠a? Despu√©s de saber cu√°ntas horas de sue√Īo necesitaba, lo ayud√© a que se durmiera cuando le tocaba. En este caso, tres veces al d√≠a (y m√°s si despertaba luego¬†de dormir muy poquito).
¬ŅRecursos? Todos los necesarios: mecerlo en el coche, caminarlo¬†rapidito¬†en el cargador (en Argentina mis amigas le dicen “mochila”); mecerlo¬†en el bouncer (sillita que se mece para beb√©s); ruido blanco y mecerlo en mis piernas… Cuando se trataba de ayudarlo a que se duerma, me val√≠ de todo lo que ten√≠a.
IMG_4839A veces cuando no se dormía y ya no sabía qué hacer, salíamos en el coche. El frío ayuda a dormir.
As√≠ despu√©s de aproximadamente una semana, Marco empez√≥ a tener sue√Īo en los horarios en los que hab√≠a estado ayud√°ndolo a que se durmiera durante el d√≠a.
¬ŅCu√°l es el secreto? El mismo que el de la construcci√≥n de cualquier h√°bito: la repetici√≥n y la constancia.
Y es aquí donde toma protagonismo la frase de Sartre porque, una vez que el hábito está instalado, es como una nodriza que te ayuda a repetir aquella acción.
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¬°Dulces sue√Īos!

fabric and paper for sale + promo link!

Hello friends,

I’m very happy to tell you that some of my designs are now available for sale as gift wrapping paper, wallpapers and fabric! You can buy it here.

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Some of the designs are from the “cute animals: mommy and me” collection and there’s also the “milkshakes, sundaes and floats” design.

show_imageThe cute animals collection makes me think of a nursery, sewing baby/toddler bed sheets with those fabrics and¬†hang¬†an art-print frame with a similar theme illustration on the wall. What do you think? In case you’re interested, I leave you this link¬†so you can have¬†FREE Worldwide Shipping on art-prints and more.

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The sundaes, floats and milkshakes fabric inspire me to sew a blouse or a dress (this also reminds me that I need to improve my sewing skills! lol!).

I know that these are just the very few first steps, the¬†beginning in fabric and gift wrapping paper design but I’m enjoying it so much and I just LOVE the idea of ¬†wearing what I draw. So, I know ¬†that I will do some more designs. ¬†I’ll keep you posted when I upload the new ones!

Thanks friends for the encouragement and the support. I really appreciate it <3

Love,

andreacomenta

hallacas

Hallacas is¬†a traditional venezuelan meal¬†that is served during¬†Christmas holiday. It’s a recipe that gathers the family on its preparation and it also transmits the multicultural heritage of Venezuela since it needs¬†ingredients from different continents.

I’ve only tried this dish twice in my life before attempting¬†cook it. Both times the same presentation was the same¬†but the stew that was inside and also t he dough was different in taste.¬†That’s because it has a lot of variations and of course, each family has kind of their own way of doing it.

Nevertheless, I like challenges. So, I searched and found a recipe that could be adapted to the ingredients that I could find in America and guide me a little. I also watched some videos on Youtube and of course, I had the best guide: Victor, who ate Hallacas  a million times in his life so he was kind of my guide thru this almost impossible task.

I bought everything I needed in the 16th and Mission (latin neighborhood in San Francisco) and at Mexicana Produce in Downtown San Bruno. I needed 24 hours to do everything BUT if you have more time, it’s absolutely¬†better. All the flavors of the stew will arise with unless one more day.

I have to say that I’m very proud of myself on accomplishing this task and preparing a delicious¬†meal that can also transmit part of my husband’s family cultural heritage.

So,¬†today I’m proudly sharing with you the most difficult recipe that I’ve ever done: my own adapted recipe¬†of Hallacas.

You’ll need:

For the Stew

  • 1 hen (about 2.5 lbs)
  • 8¬†cups water (enough to cover chicken)
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1/2 cup scallions
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1‚ĀĄ2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs pork shoulder, with some fat remaining
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups white onion, diced (about 2 medium onions, I used the already sliced from Trader Joe‚Äôs)
  • 1 cup leeks, white and pale green portion only, thinly sliced (I used the frozen ones from Trader Joe‚Äôs)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups red bell, green and yellow peppers sliced (I used the frozen and sliced from Trader Joe‚Äôs)
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1‚ĀĄ4 cup capers, finely diced
  • 1‚ĀĄ2 cup pimiento-stuffed olives, sliced
  • 1‚ĀĄ2 cup muscatel (Muscat) wine
  • 1‚ĀĄ2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 cup organic raisins
  • 1 cup shredded papelon / piloncillo (sugar cane cones sold al Latin stores) dissolved in 1 cup water.
  • 1 tbs worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp salt

First, put the water and the hen in a large sauce pot. Bring it to a boil and add the celery, scallion and garlic salt. Cook for about 30 minutes at a medium heat.

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Transfer the hen to a plate and save stock. When the hen is at room temperature, pull the meat from the bones and shred it using your hands.

In a large sauce pot, heat oil and add the pork and ground beef to cook. Stir frequently until the has brown a little.

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 My nephew Washington stayed with us for the Holidays and he helped us with the stew preparation.

Reduce heat to medium-minimun and add more vegetable oil. Then, add the leeks, green onions, onions and garlic. Add 1 cup of the saved hen stock and stir frequently. Don’t let the vegetables go brown.

Add peppers, diced tomatoes and 1 more cup of the stock. Let it cook for 10 minutes at low heat.

Add the diced capers, olives, the papelon already dissolved in warm water, the organic raisins, sliced olives, muscat wine, worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, lime juice and one more cup of the stock.  Let it cook on low heat for 30 minutes stirring ocassionally.

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Finally add the shredded hen. Let it cook for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Remove from heat and let it covered until it’s cool. Refrigerate overnight until 2 hours before using it.

For the Dough:

  • 1 package of Harina PAN (pre-cooked white corn flour, available at Latin grocery stores).
  • 3 cups of hen stock
  • 4¬†sticks of unsalted butter
  • 3 tsp of achiote paste (available at Latin grocery stores)
  • 1 tbsp salt

Place the achiote paste with the butter in a pan and warm it until they dissolve and create a reddish liquid. Set aside.

Using a large bowl, mix the flour and the salt. Slowly add 1 cup of the melted reddish butter to the flour and start mixing it. Then, add 1 cup of hen stock and continue kneading the dough. Repeat the steps adding fat and then the stock until you get a soft but firm consistency. The dough should be a dark yellow/orange color, smooth with no lumps.

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Make medium balls of the dough using and your hands, set aside and cover with a humid cloth. By the way, your  hands should be very shiny from the fat used on the dough. If they are not, add more butter or shortening to the dough.

Wrapping:

  • 2 packages of frozen plantain leaves (available at Latin grocery stores).
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 piece of clean kitchen cloth or papel towels
  • cooking twine

The day before using the leaves, thraw the frozen package in the refrigerator overnight and leave it at room temperature 2 hours before cleaning them.

Use the the cloth or paper towel damped in the vinegar dissolved water to rapidly clean the leaves over the two sides. Set aside for the hallaca assembly.

Each hallaca uses 3 leaves. You should cut them prior to its use.

The first leaf -the base- should be about 10 x 14 inches. The second, also called the ‚Äúshirt‚ÄĚ, should be about 8 x 10 and the last one, called ‚Äúbelt‚ÄĚ, should be about 4 x 6 inches. I‚Äôm not completely sure about this meassures, but they can work as an approximetely. I suggest you watch some videos to learn how to properly wrap the hallaca since I‚Äôm not and expert AT ALL in that matter (Victor is!).

Cut about 1 yard of twine for each hallaca. For this recipe you’ll need about 20 yards.

Assembly 

You’ll need:

  • stew (room temperature)
  • 20 colored medium dough balls
  • plantain leaves already cut
  • 20 yards already cut cooking twine
  • 3/4 cup colored butter (made with achiote paste and regular organic butter, like the one for the dough)
  • garnish ingredients

Garnish Ingredients 

  • 1 cup roasted peppers (sold in jars at Trader Joe‚Äôs)
  • 2 medium sliced onions (in rings)
  • 1 cup sliced olives
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup organic raisins
  • 1/2 whole or sliced raw almonds
  • 1/4 cauliflower pickled style (this is optional, I just had this in my fridge and thought of adding it)

Prepare your mise en place -prepare and organize everything you’ll need- for the assembly.

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Arrange the base leaf and add 1/2 tsp of red-colored butter. Use your fingers or a cooking brush to spread it through the leaf.

Put a medium dough ball in the center of the leaf. Flatten the dough, we used a plastic cutting board for this process, covered with a piece of plastic bag so the dough doesn’t stick to the board.

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Add 1/4 cup of the stew in the middle of the dough. Add the garnish ingredients.

Fold over the plantain leaf carefully so it doesn’t break, first one side, then the opposite. Finally bring the ends of the leaf up covering the filling.

Place the hallaca over the second square of the plantain leaf and fold it again. Finally use the third leaf (belt) to hold the two pieces of leaf under it, wrapping the hallaca around with it.

Tie the hallaca using the cooking twine to keep it secure during the cooking process.

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Final process!

Bring water to a boil in large sauce pot. Place the hallacas in the pot, they must be covered by the water. Cook for 1.30h to low heat but keeping the water boiling, add more water if it needs it.

Remove it from the water and allow them to drain for 5 minutes standing on one of its sides over a plate.

IMG_1401Yay! We did it!

If you want to freeze them, only cook them for 1 hour and then remove them from the water and let them cool down to freeze them. When you’d like to eat the hallacas, you’ll just need to cook them (frozen) for 30 more minutes. You cannot reheat them in the microwave.

Serving

Use kitchen scissors to remove the twine and the plantain leaves, remove them carefully. Serve immediately.

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Our Christmas dinner: hallacas, pan de jamon (ham bread), and ensalada de gallina (hen salad).

Enjoy it!

venezuelan ham bread (pan de jamón)

Hello friends! I hope this new year find you well and with new hope for this 2015!

As many of you already know, we celebrate Christmas having a traditional¬†Venezuelan dinner so today I’m sharing one of those recipes: Ham Bread (Pan de Jam√≥n).

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It’s a semi-sweet bread stuffed¬†with ham, bacon, olives and raisins. Sounds delicious, right? It is.

Since I’m not Venezuelan, I had to do a little research and I found this great video that helped me a lot!

I did some changes to the recipe since I prefer butter over margarine, the taste is different and the nutritional facts are better for the butter (no trans fat, less chemical ingredients and sometimes even less saturated fat). I frequently use Kerrygold natural irish butter, made with milk from grass-fed cows.

This is what you’ll need for the dough:

  • 3¬†cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup organic warm whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted melted butter
  • 2 slightly beaten organic large eggs
  • 1/8 cup organic sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • optional: 1 organic egg white¬†

Start adding the flour, sugar, salt to a bowl and mix. Dissolve the yeast on the warm milk and add it to the bowl.

Then, add the slightly beaten eggs and the melted butter (be careful that the butter is at room temperature, not hot!) and start kneading until it become a sticky dough. Using the Kitchen-Aid, this process will take you 5 to 10 minutes.

When finished, cover the bowl with a cloth and let it rest for about 1 hour so the yeast works its magic.

After the dough has doubled in shape, place it on a slightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to stretch it. Fill the dough with the following ingredients:

  • 8 oz black forest ham
  • 4 slices of¬†bacon (smoked or uncured, previously cooked)
  • 1/2 cup olives
  • 1/8 cup raisins
  • 1 beaten egg

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Roll the dough and let it rest cover with a cloth for 40 minutes.

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Prick the bread lightly with a fork and¬†brush it -if you want to- with the optional beaten egg white.¬†Bake the roll in a preheated 350¬įF oven for 45¬†minutes¬†or¬†until it’s golden brown.

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Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool for 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

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Enjoy it!

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:

 

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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.

playing with acrylics

About 2 years ago,  Victor gave me a set of acrylics and brushes for my birthday. I never ever used them until yesterday. Procrastination, I guess.

Even-though my first time painting with acrylics was a great experience in my life, this new approach was by myself, with no teacher, and that was great as well.

I must admit that I felt a little lost, so I search the web and got to this tutorial for the painting that I wanted to try.

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I followed some steps from the tutorial but I didn’t use the charcoal so¬†after the first step, I kind of followed my own path. I felt that it was more fun for me to explore and experience by my own.

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Light didn’t help¬†in this picture, but anyway, it’s just to show you some of the process.

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Today was a foggy morning in San Bruno so I took a picture with natural light, now that the painting was finally dried.

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It was a nice practice¬†and I’ll try more often, I thought of¬†using the same “sketchbook” so it gets kind of an art-journaling sketchbook.

Have a great weekend, folks!

key lime pie recipe

Ok, finally I got to a GREAT recipe. This will be my Key Lime Pie recipe from here to the end of my days…!  

It’s a delicious and easy recipe… Yeap, the “healthy” word it’s out of the equation for this time!

You’ll need:

  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust (here’s a recipe for the crust or you can buy one ready from your local grocery market).
  • 1 can of organic sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup key lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest

As any other time that you’re going to prepare a dessert or a bakery specialty you need to have your oven ready, so preheat it to 350 degrees F. 

 In a bowl, stir the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice and lime zest until everythings it’s integrated. 

Pour mixture it into the graham cracker crust. 

Bake in preheated oven ONLY for 5 to 8 minutes, you’ll notice some tiny bubbles burst on the surface of pie. Beware of the time, you don’t want it to get brown.

 

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Take out the pie and let it rest for one hour.

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Put in the refrigerator and let it chill before serving, 12 to 24 hours it’s a good time.

Use heavy whipping cream ore meringue on top to decorate. 

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The pie shown here was made with twice all the ingredients because I didn’t want to use meringue or heavy cream on top of the pie. 

I have to tell you, this pie doesn’t need any cream or meringue because , it’s delicious as it. 

For this version, you’ll need:

  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust     
  • 2 cans of organic sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup key lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest

Follow the same directions as for half of ingredients. 

 
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Enjoy it!

DIY play kitchen

Today I want to share with you an idea of an easy, cheap and super fun project to do at home on a weekend: a DIY play kitchen.

We used cardboard boxes (free), non-toxic craft painting ($1 each at Michael’s), Silver Sharpie marker ($2.99), blue dot stickers, tons of moving tape ($2.99), and a piece of magnet (free) to keep the door of the oven and microwave¬†closed.

There are tons of tutorials online¬†but… I want to encourage you to¬†do it without the tutorial,¬†give it a try at home with your kid¬†and¬†let your imagination guide you. You’ll see that even it gets messy, it will be FUN and at the end, you will¬†feel great!

This was the way we did it.

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First, I made the oven and then the microwave using the cardboard boxes and a lot of tape.

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Then -this was the fun moment for Marco- we painted the oven and microwave and let them dry for about 30 minutes.

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Afterwards, I attached the microwave to the oven/stove part using a lot of tape and some staples (on the oven door bar).

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Finally,¬†I painted the details with a silver sharpie marker…¬†et¬†voil√°!

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DIY Play Kitchen Done!

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Try it at home and let me know how it went ūüôā

halloween home decor

Hello friends! Today¬†¬†I want to share with you our¬†“Halloween home decor”. First,¬†I used a fall¬†wreath and a stretchable spiderweb on our main door.

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I used the same stretchable spiderweb on a sculpture and on a bookshelf. Plus I added a big spider which Marco loved (I think it’s because his favorite book is “The Very Busy Spider” by Eric Carle).

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I¬†added¬†some crows to our living room to give a more “scary” feeling.

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One jar, a led candle and a chalkboard tag made a nice decoration of our coffee table.

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Marco was fascinated watching the led-candle.

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I also bought two small pumpkins for the coffee table.

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As you see, with a just a few details you can create a “Halloween atmosphere”¬†that can even last for a while with a toddler around the house.

Happy Halloween!

how to start a conversation with another mom/dad

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That’s my favorite¬†phrase to start a conversation with another adult while I’m with Marco at any playground in the US.

The other mom/dad¬†will answer and almost always ask you back¬†‚ÄĚhow old is yours?‚ÄĚ.

If both of the kids are around¬†the same age, you’ll have some things to talk about and if they aren’t, you still can talk about what’s coming or what is left behind.

Let’s make some new friends!