Monday, October 31, 2011

Roasted pumpkin seeds

Here is what to do with the pumpkin seeds after you carved your pumpkins... You roast them. It is so easy...

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups pumpkin seeds, cleaned and rinsed
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the pumpkin seeds with the garlic powder, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper on prepared baking sheet and toss to combine.
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until seeds are crispy and light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to release any seeds that have stuck to the baking sheet, and cool completely before serving.

Roasted seeds will keep in an airtight storage container for up to 1 week.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Menu for the week

Grilled cheese sandwiches/Gazpacho/Freezer cucumber
Ribolita/Salad
Grilled Chicken/Quinoa with sundried tomatoes, fresh herbs and pine nuts/carrots and peas
Rigatoni alla Sorrentina/Salad

Breakdown:

Aldi $25
Kroger $30
Costco $12

This halloween weekend in filled with a double date, parties, pumpkin carving, cookie making and so much more. I am looking forward to it...

Have a good weekend everybody!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lost in Iceland

Have you heard of the coffee table book "Lost in Iceland" by Sigurgeir Sigurjonsson? It is the most stunning collection of pictures from Iceland. Seeing this book got me inspired to create my very own version of it given that I have {lots}of pictures from our trip to Iceland. This is not intended to be a collection of family pictures from our vacation (I am working on my scrapbook for that) but a compilation of images of the scenery we got to appreciate while we were there... Just my humble version of the original book...
Want to take a peak inside?


I collected all the pictures I wanted in my book and submitted them at the Costco website. A book like this runs for about $45 plus shipping. There are a lot of options out there for you to choose from if you want to make your own book of pictures-  just pick the one that suits you and go for it...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The breakfast project

Crispy pancetta waffles (serves 6 people):

1 1/3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 3/4 cups milk
Ten slices of (thick cut) pancetta, cubed

Directions:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
  2. Separate the eggs, adding the yolks to the dry ingredient mixture, and placing the whites in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Beat whites until moderately stiff; set aside.
  4. Add milk and melted butter to dry ingredient mixture and blend.
  5. Fold stiff egg whites into mixture.
  6. Cube pancetta and crips up. Drain and add to the waffle mixture.
  7. Ladle mixture into hot waffle iron and bake.
  8. Serve with a drizzle of  pure maple syrup. 

This is what I'm doing next time I make this: I will double the recipe, cook it all up and eat the following mornings with an egg sandwiched in between. Mcgriddle style, are you with me?

Basic waffle recipe from here

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Atlanta Street Food Coalition

Do you know we have food trucks here in the ATL? I am so excited that they are becoming so popular around here. Not only the big towns like Washington DC, Los Angeles and such get to enjoy some food truck goodness. One of our friends is the proud owner of one of those said food trucks. It is called S&J Woodfired Pizza, and can I tell you... Their pizzas are amazing!

Here are some pictures I took of them in action:






The other food trucks are great too. I love the Korean tacos... And the ice cream trucks (Yes! there are more than just one)... They are to die for... If you want to check where they will be next, go here for a complete calendar.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pictures from the weekend

Lots of fun this weekend with family in town

lots of fall colors



a {stellar}date night thanks to big bro and sis-in-law

and on Sunday, pesto making frenzy with all the overgrown basil that is in its last days due to frost (yes! frost) threats... Happy to oblige...

Happy Monday everybody!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Menu for the week

Rigatoni with pancetta, kale and ricotta/Salad
Home made whole wheat pizzas/Salad
Black bean soup/Corn bread
Chicken with morels/Mashed potatoes and rutabaga/Salad. I have been dying to eat chicken with morels for a while now...  Morels mushrooms are expensive but a little goes a long way. I tried this recipe for the first time last year when we were in France at this restaurant:
I will be trying this recipe(go here) and using morels I got in NYC reasonably priced.

Breakdown:

Aldi $25
Kroger $30
Costco $4

In my quest to continue eating more vegetables and save some money I have gather a list of veggies that you can buy for really cheap:

$1 Diet Find: Rutabaga

Health benefits include: high fiber, vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium. Try replacing your favorite high-carb potato dish, (like mashed potatoes, potato hash, over fries) with rutabagas. The bottom line: Rutabagas are versatile, healthy and cost just $.37 per serving.

$1 Diet Find: Kale

Health benefits include: calcium, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and K, manganese, fiber, folate, iron and potassium. Kale costs just $.75 per serving – it’s even cheaper if you plant it yourself. Kale is resistant to frost and thrives from summer through late autumn, practically growing itself. Click here for a kale chip recipe - My kids cannot get enough of them!

$1 Diet Find: Butternut Squash

Health benefits include: vitamins A, B1, B3, B6, C and E, folate, calcium, potassium and fiber. Butternut squash can be purchased for as little as $.39 per serving, and can be roasted as a delicious autumnal side dish or pureed into soup. Click here for my cream of butternut squash recipe.

Go here for more information about eating healthy on a budget

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sweater weather

Yeah, we are getting the beginnings of sweater weater in the South... About time!!! I came across some pictures and I wanted to share them with you:


I love everything about these pictures. I especially love that they where shot in Iceland. Icelanders are crazy about their sweaters. I've heard that they wear them from ice climbing to partying around town. How could you not? They are so warm and pretty with a signature look...
You can even find yarn to make the Icelandic signature sweaters at their supermarkets. Seriously! Of course, I did not leave Iceland without my very own sweater. I just couldn't resist so much sweater prettiness. Want to see mine?

(You got to love the man that makes you laugh like this... Just don't ask what he did...)

Here is how to take care of your handmade 100% wool sweater:
  • The shedding will go away after a few wears
  • Hand wash with mild detergent, reshape and lay flat to dry
  • Avoid excessive cleaning
  • Avoid hanging
  • One more tip I learned from the lady I bought the sweater from: once the sweater had been washed apply a very small amount of hair conditioner and spread on the sweater. It will make it nice and soft.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scenes from Atlanta

I had fun capturing some of the sights of Atlanta when I was doing the 2 day walk for Breast Cancer.






I felt like rediscovering the city I have been living in for the past 12 years... Why is that? Why do we stay in our little comfort zone of the suburbs and don't go out to rediscover some of the gems around us? I am determined to do that going forward.

More pictures from Atlanta coming soon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vanilla Sugar

So, do you remember how I used a vanilla pod when I make the Icelandic Skyr cake? And do you remember you how I told you I like to save the pod for a later use? Well, here is what I do with it: I add the pod
to about a cup of sugar to turn it into vanilla sugar...

Vanilla sugar is great to add a little hint of vanilla to anything from: coffee in the mornings, Rugelach recipe and to macerate strawberries.
The sky is the limit as to how to use the vanilla sugar. Can you think of more ways to use it?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Menu for the week

Chupe/Salad
Roasted chichen/Black bean and rice/Plantains
German Frankfuters/Warm potato salad/Tomato and green pepper salad (still coming strong from our garden)
Three bean chilli/Corn bread

Breakdown:

Aldi $30
Kroger $19
Costco $14

What are you up to this weekend? I'll be hanging out with friends all day Saturday (yay for me) while daddy is on kid duty - I highly recommend doing this!

I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Icelandic Skyr cake

Skyr (pronounced skeer) is a remarkable dairy product unique to Iceland. It is a cultured dairy product, similar to strained yogurt. Skyr was originally discovered by accident. The story goes like this: a group of farmers in the early settlement days poured skim milk over barrels of meat to attempt to preserve the meat throughout a long and harsh winter. During this same winter, the farmers became hungry and ate the fermented by-product which formed on the sides of the barrels. This was the first known culture of Skyr. The method of making Skyr has changed but the quality remains the same...

Skyr is used in a variety of recipes... Here is a good one...

Ingredients:

18 oz. plain skyr (I used Siggi's - Icelandic style Skyr - You can find it at Whole Foods)
3 oz. sugar
200 ml / 7 oz. cream
1 envelop of gelatin
1 vanilla pod
50 ml / 2 oz. cream
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons of cinnamon
7 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:
  1. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Reserve the seeds (save the pod for something else, I'll show what to do with it on a later post).
  2. Lightly whip the large portion of cream.
  3. Mix together the skyr, sugar and vanilla seeds.
  4. Heat the small portion of cream, and cool slightly. Dissolve the gelatin in the heated cream. 
  5. Mix carefully into the skyr mixture and then fold in the whipped cream. Set aside.
  6. In a medium size bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the cinnamon and butter. Mix well and place in the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform cake pan. Make sure to press against the sides and bottom of the pan.
  7. Place into a 350 degrees oven and bake for 8 minutes. Let cool
  8. Pour the mouse on the graham cracker crust and refrigerate. Serve with fresh fruit or fruit sauce.
We had this delicious dessert in a little restaurant in Reykjavik, whose specialty was Icelandic food. We did not eat out a lot while in Iceland. Restaurants can be very pricey. But we could not go to Iceland and not indulge at least a little bit in the local fair, right? Icelandic food is simple, portions are small and although some things may not seem appealing some are really delicious... We ate Skyr everyday so it was only logical that we tried a cheesecake-like cake. This dessert will not disappoint. I hope you give it a try...


It's good enough to share...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lengthening a skirt


How cute are these skirts?... I wanted to add a little something to one of my existing skirts, you know, to make it like the one above so I went through my closet and found a skirt I could change. I decided to increase the length by adding some fabric at the bottom... Let's start with the before picture, shall we?

Nothing wrong with it, really cute, actually. I wanted to change it just a bit so here is what I did:

Cut complementing fabric to your desired length.
Turn skirt up side down,  unravel the hem and also unravel about 3 inches on the sides
Using the seam from the skirt I pin and then sew the new piece of fabric. Iron
Then I sew the sides
Now you are ready to sew the new hem
That's it... Ready to wear it...

A whole new look, right?... Perfect for the fall I think... It beats any of those skirts from Antropologie, right?

Have you been to your local goodwill lately? If refashioning clothes is your thing, you may want to go to goodwill and pick up a couple of items for really cheap. The point is that if you mess up your item, at least you won't feel so bad about it (since you only paid few dollars for it). You will be surprised of the cute things you can find there... My local goodwill is always packed with people... I think a lot more people are on the look out for great deals as of late... Good for them...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The breakfast project

After the 2 Day Walk for Breast Cancer the organizers were ready to trash boxes and boxes of bananas... Really people, trash food? Our friends and us took some of the boxes home... There is no way we would allow perfectly good food to go in the trash.

Once at home we cut and froze some (for future use), drank many banana milkshakes and made today's recipe:

Banana nut pancakes


Ingredients:


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of buckwheat flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 smashed bananas
1/4 cup of crushed walnuts
Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Directions:

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmed and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth. Lastly, add the smashed bananas.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

So, how do you eat a perfectly delicious and healthy banana nut pancake?
You guessed it, with Nutella...
It was so good friends (chocolate + banana, yum!) but not exactly healthy...
Miss V loves to set the table like a restaurant (remember doing that when you were a kid? I do!). She takes our order and brings the food to us. Really cute!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Faces hidden in the mountains

Iceland is a very mystic place. Before getting there I read a lot of stories about mystic creatures and Saga adventures passed from generation to generation. You cannot avoid thinking of this once you are there. The landscape is surreal.We enjoyed plenty of sunshine, but some days were a little foggy with a little chill in the air that added so much more to the mystical feel of it all.

We also heard about elves' houses - the legend goes like this: landowners reserve a small potion of their land for "hidden people" to inhabit. If the don't do so, inexplicable things start to happen. It is fascinating stuff. You can read an article about it here if you are interested in learning more about Iceland and their hidden folks.

I'm not saying this is an elf house but it sure looks suspicious... Don't you think?


With all that in mind we could not help to be on the look out for the hidden people... We did not see any, don't worry but we certaintly noticed some interesting things... Call me crazy but don't you see faces in these mountains staring back at you? Because we certainly thought so... You decide...




Look to the right of the first picture, do you see an old man with a big nose staring back at you? The second one looks like a pug, no?