Friday, December 31, 2010

Menu for the week

Green lentils/Salad
Italian wedding soup/Salad
Grilled shrimp with vegetable couscous
Orecchiette with sausage, spinach and broccoli/Salad

Breakdown:

Aldi/Kroger $29
Walmart $17

Checking out for the year... Next post will be in 2011... Can you believe it? We are receiving the new year low key, still recovering from the Christmas festivities and getting some things clean and organized (you know, starting the new year on the right foot). Of course, we will be splurging with a great breakfast on New year's day and other mandatory new year meals like lentils. And speaking of food, do you know what makes a quintessential Venezuelan Christmas?
No Venezuelan Christmas is complete without Turron and Panettone. So delicious! Come back next week, I will be sharing a recipe with leftover Panettone... So Yummy!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Books, magazines and vintage posters

Something that fascinates me about walking in Paris is the abundance of stalls that sell used books, magazines and vintage posters... These little stalls are everywhere along the Siene. Of course, I had to photograph. Here is a good collection of them:




Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pictures from the weekend - Part II

A white Christmas indeed... Especially exciting since my parents and cousins have never seen snow...






What's next? Tackling the clean up and getting the house in order. I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend already... Anyway, I hope you had a good Christmas too.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pictures from the weekend

Happy belated Christmas! I am still so exhausted from all the festivities.... Take a peak into our Christmas:
Lots of baking and decorating


And the food friends... So, so good. Pernil, roasted chicken, hallacas, chicken salad and so much more...
Lots and lots of presents

My favorite present: Great grandma's recipe book with all kinds of clippings she has collected over the years. A very special present for sure. I am honored to have received it!
Second favorite present: A recipe collecting book - I am getting the grandmas to hand write all those favorite recipes to be passed to the kids. Great present big bro!
And of course, some more food. Breakfast with leftovers (and a little bit of Cava too!)
Tomorrow, a very white Christmas... Especially exciting since my family has never seen snow...

Monday, December 27, 2010

More roofs

Sorry for the long silence. I'm currently working on my pictures from the weekend. Come back later to check them out. For now, I leave you with few more shots of rooftops... I find them so fascinating and beautiful. See the first set here.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pretty gift tags

I have talked about this before but I just wanted to share the new set of gift cards I made with leftover photographs from my latest scrapbooking albums

French Edition:
 English Edition:
Perfect for those beautiful Christmas packages wrapped with brown paper, no? Or, you can always recycle your old Christmas cards. See previous post about gift tags here and here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Palmiers

Or Palmeritas the way they call them in Venezuela, are so good and so easy to make...Check out Ina Garten's recipe:

Ingredients:
2 cups granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
 2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the sugar and kosher salt. Pour 1 cup of the sugar/salt mixture on a flat surface such as wooden board or marble. Unfold each sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar and pour 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry. This is not about sprinkling, it's about an even covering of sugar. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it's 13 by 13-inches square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom. Fold the sides of the square towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half as though closing a book. You will have 6 layers. Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices and place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place the second sheet of pastry on the sugared board, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar mixture, and continue as above. (There will be quite a bit of sugar left over on the board.) Slice and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment.
Bake the cookies for 6 minutes until caramelized and brown on the bottom, then turn with a spatula and bake another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.
You are welcome!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pictures from the weekend

We had a lot of fun this weekend. It started with a little mother-daughter night out which was, by far, the highlight of the weekend. We had a little dinner and headed out to see the Nutcracker. What  a beautiful show! Nothing gets you in the mood for Christmas like the Nutcracker. Next year we are graduating to the Atlanta Ballet at the fabulous Fox Theater.

They had the most beautiful spread after the show - Even these gorgeous cookies. I had to bring one to my little man too.
 Other pictures from the weekend:
The kids received their letters back from Santa... So cute. And my Christmas cactus is finally flowering, just in time for Christmas...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Menu for the week

Meat lasagna/salad
Pabellon criollo (shredded beef, rice, black beans and fried pantains)
Arepas with leftover toppings (beef, black beans, plantains, cheese, avocado wedges)
Cream of butternut squash/salad

Breakdown:
Aldi/Kroger $44
Costco $47
Super H $7

Ok friends, I am taking a week break from the "menu for the week" postings since I am having lots of family in town and staying on a budget is going to be almost impossible (see proof above...). There is going to be lots of baking, cooking and drinking with family, all Venezuelan style, Yey!!!!
Hopefully I won't get caught up in all the excitement and forget to document it all. If I do, expect some postings about it soon.

Picture credit here

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Biscotti


According to my husband I don't make biscotti nearly as often as I should. So I have decided to oblige to his request but this time I am trying something a little different. I am giving a regular chocolate/hazelnut biscotti a twist, by adding orange zest... What a difference a little orange zest gives it... The combination is just spectacular! If you want to give it a try, this is what you need to do.

Gather your ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup hazelnuts, chopped
2 tsp of orange zest

Here is what you do:

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper (or silpat) and set aside. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter for 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add 2 eggs, one at a time and beat until incorporated. Add flour mixture gradually and mix until combined. Add the chopped hazelnuts and orange zest and mix with a wooden spoon. Flour your hands (the dough is quite sticky) and turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cut in half and shape each piece into a 12 inch log (make sure there is plenty of space between the logs). Place them onto the baking trays and flatten them slightly. Bake the logs, rotating trays half way through for 25 minutes. Transfer the logs onto a cutting board and let cool for 20-30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 F. Cut the logs crosswise to half an inch thick slices. Place on a wire rack and bake for 30 minutes.

You will have the most delicious accompaniment to your cup of coffee or tea. Don't forget to dunk!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ornaments

I try, (god only knows I try) to get a special Christmas ornament every year. Whether its an ornament we purchased on a trip or something the kiddos made in school we try to add a new one every year. Here is a little run down of the ones from Christmas past.




This year I added a couple more. On a quick stop at Target the kids got distracted looking at the Christmas ornaments. When I asked which ones they liked, they picked ones that fit their personalities perfectly. So, I went back later on and got them for them to be opened on Christmas day... A little something to remind us of what they were into at that point in time. More on those later on.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I made this

Shhhh... I'm going to give you a sneak peak into my homemade Christmas presents to the little girlies in my life
I hope they like them.

See previous post here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pictures from the weekend

A relaxing weekend... Well, when you consider getting the kids out of the house early to get pictures with Santa, breakfast and grocery shopping with kids in tow, getting them distracted while mom and dad go Christmas shopping and dinner out... It was a relaxing Saturday.
Patiently waiting for their turn

On Sunday, we stayed home. I guess you can say it was due to this...
Great weekend. Ready for a busy week...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Technical difficulties


If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you have probably noticed issues with my postings, especially my pictures. I had problems with Blogger which meant I had to repost some (ok, a lot) of my previous posts. If you use "Reader" to read my posts you will see a considerable amount of old postings showing there. My apologies to you for that. I wish there was a way to work around it. Thanks for following along...