Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday full of love, festive cheer, and food! Last night we went out to church in the late afternoon and in the evening prepared & ate an exorbitant amount of appetizers. Here are some photos from our holiday so far:

Handmade stocking from Etsy, of course.

I made Lemon Ricotta Cookies and Coconut Cinnamon Cookies.
You'll find at least one of these recipes on the blog soon!

Another GORGEOUS sunset

"What'd you forget?"
"Got a light?"
"...Would you light my candle??"
(Anyone get that musical reference?)

A little blurry, but a good effort.

Prep time!

Gregory & Carolyn


Now time for some presents, breakfast, and a refreshing morning walk through the neighborhood! Christmas Besos!!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Supermarket Parking Lot Sunset

Well, we've been in Arizona for a couple of days now and I'm trying to remember to take as many photos as possible. So far most of my photos have been sunsets and Christmas cookies. I can't get enough of these Arizona sunsets.

No need to go to a special lookout point to appreciate this beautiful sight. It's just what we were greeted with as we left the supermarket yesterday evening...

And if you were wondering, I have not altered these photos in the slightest! Those vibrant colors are 100% from Mother Nature!!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Recipe :: Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas

The first time I ever made this recipe was last Valentine's Day. I had a three course dinner planned for Tomas (one of the courses was homemade brownies, so I'm not sure if that really counts as "three course") and I opened the meal with Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas (courtesy of Barefoot Contessa) served with toasted country bread. It was love at first taste. I've been eating it ever since. This is Hummus' cooler sister (...or brother? Although, isn't food generally referred to in a feminine sense?) This dip is great as an appetizer, a snack, or if you love it as much as I do, a dinner. Yes, the last time I made this I ate it for dinner with pita bread, and when the pita bread ran out, I ate it by the spoonful.

Did I mention that this is so easy to make? (If you haven't noticed yet, I only cook simple recipes. Don't want to stress myself out and ruin the joy of cooking forever). You can also make this ahead of time, which comes in handy if you are entertaining and don't have the time to prepare all your dishes on the spot.

Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas 
recipe from Barefoot Contessa FOOLPROOF: Recipes You Can Trust 
by Ina Garten
(my notes in red)

2 (15.5 ounce) cans chickpeas (The cans I use are little smaller, about 12 ounces each).
1/2 cup chicken stock (I use just a tad more chicken stock, about 2/3 cup, so the dip isn't too dry).
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 ripe medium-sized tomatoes, seeded and small-diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I don't really measure the grated Parmesan, I tend to use cheese pretty generously).
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
grilled country bread, for serving

How many people will this feed? The cookbook says 6-8, but I 
think it's closer to 4, possibly 6.

Pour the chickpeas into a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Drain well. Place the chickpeas in a the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. (I use an electric hand mixer with steel blade). Add the chicken stock and pulse until the chickpeas are coarsely chopped, but not pureed.

In a medium (10-inch) saute pan, heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until the tomatoes are softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the chickpeas, stirring to combine with the tomatoes and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Turn off the heat, stir in Parmesan, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper.(Barefoot Contessa suggests 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, but I find that to be WAY too much salt. I use 1/2 teaspoon salt since the chicken stock and Parmesan already have salt).

Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and serve warm or at room temperature with pieces of grilled (or toasted, if you don't have a gas stove) country bread(also delicious with pita bread).If you would like to make this in advance, place in the refrigerator, and take out about a half hour before serving. I like to add just a tad more grated Parmesan on top too.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sábado al sol

Tanning, fashion mags, new music and of course, lots of water!!!

Tanning w/ Hawaiian Tropic shimmer effect
Reading: Elle Argentina and Vanidades
Listening to: MANA Amar es Combatir

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday Travel Shot

Desert sunset...

See you in 10 days...                                                                                        North Scottsdale, Arizona.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mystic Blue

One of the most beautiful nail colors I've tried to date: L'oreal Paris Colour Riche in Mystic Blue. A deep shimmering blue with a touch of violet which goes on smooth and dries shiny. GORGEOUS. I'm very happy with the quality of this polish as it is "user friendly" (goes on smooth & easy, not gloppy or streaky like some polishes) and it took several days before my nails started to chip (usually mine will chip within one day).

The polishes come in smaller, 5ml bottles. The shape of the bottle and the gold caps make them look sophisticated and expensive, which display beautifully on a dresser or shelf. I had never seen these polishes back in the United States, so this was my first introduction to L'oreal Paris Colour Riche. More recently, these polishes were featured on essie-button, beauty blog, which is based in the United Kingdom. Has anyone in the United States seen these beauties before?

I think L'oreal hit the nail on the head with the polish name, Mystic Blue. This shade is indeed mystical, magical & enchanting! I could not recommend this color more, in addition to the rest of the line. I also own Metropolitan (a light stone grey), Rive Gauche Green (an opaque army green), and French Riviera (the lightest shimmering blue). All in all, I give this polish two thumbs up and I have to say...... I think I like L'oreal Paris Colour Riche more than Essie, and it gives OPI a run for its money.*

From left to right: Metropolitan, French Riviera, Mystic Blue, Rive Gauche Green

 *A note about my feelings on Essie and OPI: I tend to buy more Essie polishes than OPI lacquers because I prefer the colors that Essie makes. But, in terms of quality I believe that OPI lacquers have better quality: they paint on smoother and last longer. I would rank L'oreal Paris Colour Riche on par with OPI in terms of quality. They are both of excellent quality. I really need to explore the color collection of L'oreal Paris Colour Riche, but so far I like what I see.

One last thing!

Source: InStyle Beauty-Special Issue-Fall 2013

You learn something new everyday!

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Refreshing New Way to "Take" Your Coffee

First things first: I have to give credit to Tomas for introducing me to this concoction (which I am drinking as I write this post).

I honestly can't believe I've been living my life without knowing the secret to the most refreshing & enjoyable coffee. With temperatures climbing day by day in Buenos Aires, I constantly feel the need for a cold drink, but also one that's going to give me energy. Are you guys dying to know what drink I'm referring to?


Yes, that's right. LEMON. Adding lemon to an iced tea is usually a no-brainer for people, but many (including myself) would never think twice about adding lemon to their iced coffee. Well, think twice, and start making yourself iced coffees with lemon.

What you'll need:
-Freshly brewed (more or less) coffee. I always brew extra coffee every morning so that there will be leftover to use for my afternoon iced coffee.
-Lemon: one slice of lemon rind & a pinch of lemon zest

It's as simple as that!

I'm curious to know, has anyone heard of this/tried this before?

PS- Happy Birthday shout-out to Heather today!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"El pasaje"

The alleyway located in front of our apartment building, Pasaje Dellepiane, is home to some of the coolest street art in Buenos Aires. Sometimes on the weekends you will see tourists wandering through our not-so-touristy neighborhood specifically to snap some shots of the unique street art that covers most of the building facades on the block.

See for yourself!

(Note about the street art in these photos: Some of these artworks have been there for years, while others have changed recently. For example, some of the designs that were there 3 years ago when I visited Buenos Aires have either been changed to different designs or removed all together. The photos pictured here represent the artwork that is there now: November 2013).