Friday, February 26, 2010

Menu for the week

Chicken Schnitzel/Frankfurters/warm potato salad/Linzer torte
French lentil soup/salad
Spinach and mushroom quesadillas/salad
chicken lasagna/salad

Breakdown:

Aldi/Kroger $25
Costco $25
Super H $5

Our friends, Lisa and Davin are going to Southern Germany and Austria for vacation. Since we have been there a few times before they have asked us for some help planning their trip. We decided to have them over for dinner. To make it even more fun, I am cooking a German meal (my way, of course). We will be eating chicken schnitzel (instead of the more popular Wiener schnitzel), Frankfurters from my trip to here, warm potato salad and a green salad. For desert, I could have baked a black forest cake but it is not my favorite of the German deserts. Instead, I am making a Linzer Torte. Once again, a huge thanks to our friends Markus and Ilona for teaching me how to make this delicious torte...We always come up with excuses to make it... Can you tell?
Does it not look delicious?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mistery reader

I was invited by my little boy's teacher to be the mystery reader. I had to complete a form listing 3 things about me. Then the teacher read the list to the class and the children had to guess whose parent it was. I listed:

I speak Spanish, I like to take pictures and I am from Venezuela.

My little man guessed right away...It was so fun to read for his little friends. I even got a picture of the whole class. We read two of M's favorites: "Diego and the Sea Turtle Adventure" and "I'm Not Scared!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Breakfast of champions

Here are some awesome ideas for breakfast that are so good for you...Going back to work means not more time to waste in the morning...trying to get kids ready and fed in the morning and still make in time for the bus can be a challenge. Check out some of my favorite breakfast:

Whole wheat pancakes: I use this recipe and made some changes (are you noticing a pattern here? I don't follow recipes to the T) I substituted apples for frozen blueberries and chopped walnuts and I did not add a topping.

Mix berry smoothy, From my friend Tara: in a blended add mixed frozen berries, non fat plain yogurt, grounded flax seed, honey, banana, a splash of juice (orange, cranberry of whatever you have). Blend until smooth.

Mix veggie omelette: My favorite combinations are tomato, motzarella and basil or spinach and feta cheese. Tip for busy schedules, mix your choice of veggies and eggs and pour on a muffin tin and bake until done...Awesome and very filling.

So there you have it. Great filling breakfast to help you start your day on the right foot. Feel free to share some of your own.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sprouting



Check this out. I read somewhere (Sorry for not linking...I just can't remember where I read it) that if you cut green onions 2 or 3 inches from the root and put them in water they will sprout again. Well, I did it and it worked...I have a second round of green onions...I just thought I'd pass this little tip on to you.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm in the mood for... France

I have treated myself with a small dose of France indulgence. I just finished watching Amelie and Priceless...(not at the same time but nevertheless... There is only so much you can fit in during nap time) Those two movies are just adorable. And Audrey...She is just too cute. Here is my lame attempt to get Miss V's hair to look like Miss A's...Not quite, but she looked cute anyway.

For a sneak peak at both of these movies check these out:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Menu for the week

Pesto, roasted red pepper and brie pannini/salad
Minestrone - recipe from here/salad
Grilled chicken parmesan/Mashed potatoes/roasted broccoli
Gemilli with roasted red pepper sauce - recipe from here/Salad

Breakdown:

Aldi/Kroger $27
Costco $14

I know what you're thinking...Seriously? $41 for groceries for a week? Well, truth be told, I have a lot of leftover vegetables from last week's trip to the farmer's market. I bought celery, carrots and savoy cabbage that we did not entirely use on last week's meal...Therefore they are going on this week's minestrone (I only needed to buy some short pasta and some canellini beans for protein). I do not buy pesto since I make my own (remember this post?) I still have a couple of bags in the freezer from last fall. I do the same with the red peppers after I roast them...But I ran out of those... The jar ones work very well. I bought chicken breast on the bone on sale so I stocked up. I am accounting for it in this week budget. I make it go further by deboning, butterflying and pounding the meat. You can get a lot of miles out of 3 chicken breasts. And yes, Mark and I bring our lunch to work everyday...With the leftover chicken Parm I will be making sandwiches.

Share tips if you have any... And have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter beauty

Check out some of these pretty things you can find in nature...even in the middle of winter!




Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snacks that are so good

I am back at work on a temporary basis and I am trying my best to keep the same habits I have while staying home. I like to have my snacks in between meals so here are some ideas for snacks that the kids and I are taking to school/work.

Granola bars
1/3 c. oil
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 T. honey
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. oats
2 c. rice krispies
1 c. of dark chocolate (I use 60% cacao)

In large bowl, combine oil, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, and egg. Add flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. mix well. Stir in oats, cereal, and raisins. Grease 9x13 inch pan. Press mixture into pan. For chewy bars bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. for crunchier bars, bake 25 minutes. Slice into 16 bars.

So yummy, give it a try

Roasted carrot dip (from here)

4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2-1 cup non-fat Greek-style yogurt, depending on how creamy you want it
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Assorted veggies for dipping, such as celery, bell pepper and zucchini spears

Preparation
Pre-heat oven to 425ºF. Toss carrots and olive oil together on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer carrots to a food processor and process until puréed and smooth. Add yogurt, lemon zest and juice, some salt and pepper to the processor and continue mixing until smooth and combined. Chill dip and serve cold with veggies alongside for dipping.

Mixed nuts
My favorite mix is (all low salt): Almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios and for added spice, wasabi peas

No salt, no-sugar-added rice cake with a tablespoon of almond butter (a new fave!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I want to live there


Gothenburg, Sweden

I have never been to Scandinavia (it is on my list... soon, I hope), but there is something about it that wants me to leave my beloved home and move there. It did not help that Oprah had a show featuring Denmark as the happiest place on earth. I love everything about it: the simplicity of life, the beautiful surroundings, their friendliness toward the environment...I could go on and on. I have been smitten with several blogs coming from Scandinavia...This picture comes from photographer Sandra Juto in Sweden.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's day

Dinner, Martinis and Imax was postponed due to a winter storm in the area... Instead, we had dinner by the fire at a local eatery we enjoy very much (if you are in our area check them out).
I hope yours was good too!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Menu for the week

Pork tenderloin stuffed with scallions/Israeli couscous/broccoli
Black bean tostada/salad
Pasta with savoy cabbage - Recipe from here/salad
Vegetable Enchilada/salad

Breakdown:
Aldi/Kroger $29
Costco $12
Dekalb Farmers Market $10

Friends, I have finally seen the movie Food Inc. and to say that it has changed the way I see food consumpsion is an understatement. As you can see from the meals I prepare for my family I have always been very careful on the amount of money I spend on food but I never sacrifice on quality. It is amazing that we really don't know how the food gets to our stores. Thanks to this documentary I have gained the knowledge and with it the power to change things, at least in our house. One of the ways I am trying to make a difference is by using less meat in our meals - I guess you can start calling us flexitarian. We will not completely stop eating meat, but we are making changes that will positively affect our health and in a small way the planet. We will also be planting our own garden. This is the year! No more excuses. Stay tuned for the posting about gardening and composting. Now, I am running to the library to get "Food Rules" and "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan. I owe it all to you Bill...Check him out

Thursday, February 11, 2010

You know you still got it

... When you go the store and the man at the register offers you a recyclable bag for $1 and even though you said no he gives it to you anyway :)

It feels especially good after having a birthday... just a little self esteem buster, I take it where I can get it!

Self defense seminar + Haiti fundraising

For all you peeps here in the Alpharetta/Roswell area; the Karate club that my husband belongs to is offering a self defense seminar...If you are interested, the class will be held at the Roswell Recreation Center in Roswell on Saturday Feb 13th at 11:00 AM. The price for the class is $10 half of which will go to the Red Cross to help with the relief efforts from the earthquake devastation in Haiti (help continues...So much more to be done). I hope to see you there.

Speaking of karate we did a little photo shoot last weekend.




Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What makes you happy?

Today is my birthday, so I thought I would make a post about what makes ME happy right now: A certain little boy wanting to hold hands when he goes to the bathroom. The perserverance of a little girl that does not want to give up something until she has mastered it and the husband that lets me stay in bed a little longer on the weekends... Let us not forget about food! and right now it is all about cheese... The same old ones and new ones to discover. It might be all that longing for France!

Yes, that is me in case you were wondering. I look pretty happy don't you think?

Monday, February 8, 2010

slow food


The French and the Italians got it right...Take your time to enjoy your meal with family and friends. By savoring every bite you not only will enjoy your meal but also help you consume less of what you would otherwise. I could never forget one time in Florence we were in a farmers market eating a "quick breakfast" to continue our day of exploring when the guy at the market signed us to sit down and said "mangiare, mangiare". We understood it: take it easy, enjoy your food, don't be in such a rush. I am a fast eater, I admit it, but I am making every effort to embrace that philosophy. I saw a piece in 60 minutes where Leslie Stalh interviewed Alice Waters a big advocate for slow food movement. I was fascinated by her. She talked about the pleasures of going to a farmers market, picking up your foods and preparing meals at home...the way my parents did it when I was growing up. I do a lot of that already (substitute farmers market with super market). I just need to practice more about eating it slowly...and enjoying the process. It should be easy, right?
PS. This picture is from the market in Florence. Did you check out the size of those porcinis and portobellos? What about the cute little bags where the put the food in... Ahhhh, Italia

Friday, February 5, 2010

Menu for the week

Ancho chicken tortilla soup - Recipe from here/Salad
Eggplant Parmesan/salad
Hot dogs with Frankfurters from this store. A huge thanks to our friends Markus and Ilona for introducing this little Bohemian heaven to us.../roasted potatoes
Ravioli with roasted broccoli, cherry tomatoes and herb/salad

Breakdown:
Aldi/Kroger $ 38
Costco $8
Super H $5
Trader Joe's $6

We have babysitting duty this weekend. Two of my friends and I are babysitting for each other's kids. We are saving some serious cash. How smart is that! It is working out great as we are getting some fun/quality time with the husbands. I will be making a super easy chocolate cake and ice cream to go with the hot dogs... The kids are going to love it. Next weekend is our turn to go out...How appropriate (as it coincides with my birthday and Valentine's day) Yay for like-minded friends you can always count on!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Atlanta at night

Photoshoot at night, I always wanted to try it but I had a hard time getting somebody to go with me. I got invited to go for a night shoot by a club I recently joined and I could not pass up the opportunity to go...Night shooting it is not as easy as you may think. Check out Atlanta from 3 different points of view.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Citizen Scholar




I came accross this series from Citizen Scholar named "things you've been meaning to do". It is just adorable...I want them all...See the whole series here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roasted chicken 101

It is not news that I take great pride in feeding my family delicious and nutritious foods. Also, I am very conscious of what I spend for my meals.... I love the challenge of being a foodie and spending as little as I can for high quality foods. Based on that (and on the request of my friends to share ways to make food out of leftovers) I give you: Roasted chicken 4 ways. I bought a whole chicken, I seasoned it and roasted it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. That is your first meal. The next day I deboned the chicken and separated the meat in two piles. One for Paninis, salads or quesadillas and the other pile for chillies, spaghetti sauces or stews. I also made a stock out of the bones and freezed it for soups and consommes to be consumed later on. So there you have it, four delicious ways to eat chicken out of a very reasonable priced purchase.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Score at the consigment store




Who would have thought? You can get further discounts at the consigment store. I scored this beautiful blouse for Miss V for $1. I only had to do minor adjusments to it (it had a little hole and I also had to shorten the sleeves since the size was a lot bigger) but I really like it. It looks like a little dress...and she loves that look. I also scored 3 pants (2 of them brand new from Gymboree and children's place) and a skirt. All for $20. Hurray for consigment shopping!