Friday, February 28, 2014

General Tso's Chicken & Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad

I just realized that I never told you guys how my homemade Valentine's dinner went, so I'll share with you now!


General Tso's Chicken has always been my go-to at any Chinese restaurant. It's the perfect balance of sweet & spicy and just so addicting! I noticed that when I came to Argentina, I didn't see General Tso's on any of the menus at Chinese restaurants that we've been to, or at least I have yet to discover it in the (almost) 3 years that I've been here.

While checking my daily blog updates back in January, I saw that Cooking Classy (an amazing food blog, with daily drool-worthy recipes) posted a homemade recipe for General Tso's Chicken. I immediately pinned it, thinking that it was a recipe that I needed to have in my collection, but also knew that finding the ingredients here would be quite difficult, if not impossible.

Well, right before Valentine's Day, I decided to revisit this recipe and see what exactly I was going to need to make it. I knew that I could find most of the ingredients, even though that would include several different supermarket trips. The one ingredient that had me a bit worried, since it was probably the most important ingredient, was the hoisin sauce (a Chinese barbecue type sauce). I threw caution to the wind and hopped on the subway to Barrio Chino. Upon arriving at my favorite supermarket there, I searched high and low for this hoisin sauce, and could not find it on the shelves anywhere! I figured that if I didn't see it, it wasn't there, but there was still hope inside of me, so I asked one of the supermarket staff. When I asked about "salsa de hoisin" she looked at me confused, so I showed it to her written down on paper. She disappeared for a moment and then came back and said, "Ahh, HIGH-SHEEN" (written phonetically, from memory). Of course, I was pronouncing it very wrong, which is why I was so thankful to have the printed recipe with me. She led me to the sauce, and the angels sang down from the heavens.

Now, I only had one more obstacle to overcome---actually making the somewhat complicated recipe. Well, not so much that it was complicated, but the preparation was quite lengthy and forced me to use lots of kitchenware, which lead to a sink full of dirty dishes. BUT BOY WAS IT WORTH IT.



The recipe made enough that Tomas and I enjoyed it for dinner that night AND for dinner the next night as well! I just had to make some more white rice for the second night. And might I venture to say that the chicken was even better on the second night? That might just be one of the facts of life: Chinese food is even better in leftover form.


Let me talk a little bit about the salad now, so it doesn't feel like an afterthought in this post. I wanted an appetizer or salad to go with the General Tso's Chicken. I wanted something that was Asian inspired, but also fresh, so as to balance out the General Tso's. Enter in Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad from The Food Charlatan. So simple to make & so delicious! This would be a great summer salad to bring to a picnic or a party! Everyone will be raving about how good it is, and will have no idea how simple it was for you to make. We also enjoyed this salad on the second night and it was just as good as the first. I love having leftovers because then it really feels like all of my slaving over a hot stove was worth it.



So when will I make these recipes next? I have to say that I am already thinking about having that chicken again (writing this post doesn't help)....

I highly recommend this recipe, and if you've got a Sunday afternoon free, I can think of no better way to spend it: cooking for quite some time and then enjoying one of the best, exotic, homemade meals.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! xoxo

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

CONS


I had my eye on these babies for a couple of weeks, and last Friday after a hard week's work, I decided to reward myself. Ever since moving to Argentina, my style has changed quite a bit and I am much more casual now. In general, people dress more casually here and the old-fashioned, broken sidewalks make it difficult to wear anything else but sneakers, boots or flats. Women do still wear wedges & those terrible platform heels (PLEASE STOP WITH THE PLATFORM HEELS!!! I'm tired of seeing the same shoe styles year after year after year!), but I'd rather spare myself the sprained ankle.  Instead, I wear sneakers or boots with EVERYTHING. Pants, dresses, skirts, shorts...you name it... I'm pairing them with some comfy sneaks or some rugged boots.

While it's unfortunate that sneakers are becoming so "cool" now, it does make it easier to find some pretty neat styles, like these!




Converse-Pro Blaze Hi-white/royal

I think I'm going to get some good use out of these. The only challenge will be keeping them white!

How about you guys, are you sneaker fans? Have any favorite brands? I love my Converse & my Vans!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Recipe :: Banana "Pup"cakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting


If you happened to catch my post yesterday, you already know that we celebrated Willy's birthday this weekend with party hats and pupcakes. I found this recipe for pupcakes a few years ago, and actually made them for Agatha's first "birthday." For some reason, I had forgotten about the recipe for a while, and just remembered it existed the other day. I knew Willy had to experience these and I knew Agatha was ready for round two.

This recipe is super simple. It only takes a few short minutes to whip up, plus baking time. The only downside of this recipe (that I forgot from making it the first time) is that is makes SO MANY PUPCAKES. There's no way your dogs will ever eat them all, unless you have a party of about 20 dogs over to your house. I ended up baking 24 mini pupcakes with leftover batter that probably would have made another 24. But what am I going to do with 48 mini pupcakes? Pretty unnessecary. Next time, I have to remember to downsize the recipe. I guess you could use a regular size cupcake pan and bake fewer, larger cakes. I just like the idea of minis.


There's Willy, waiting patiently below me.
Once again, sorry for my chipped nails.
It's really impossible to make a recipe, wash the dishes, and still have your nails intact.


Here, I'm sharing with you the original recipe, but I will get back to you with the downsized version the next time I make these.
_____________________________________________________

Banana Pupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting
YIELD: A LOT
RECIPE FROM ALL ABOUT CUPCAKES

FOR THE PUPCAKES:
- 2 OVERRIPE BANANAS
- 2 CUPS WATER
- 3 CUPS FLOUR
- 1 TBSP. BAKING POWDER
- 1 EGG
- 1 TSP. VANILLA EXTRACT
- 3 TBSP. HONEY

FOR THE FROSTING:
- 6 OZ. CREAM CHEESE
- 2 TBSP. PLAIN YOGURT
- 2 TBSP. HONEY
- FLOUR

METHOD:

-HEAT OVEN TO 350*F OR 180*C. (I COOKED MINE AT 260*C, BUT THEN AGAIN I'M NOT SURE HOW ACCURATE THE TEMPERATURE ON MY OVEN IS TO BEGIN WITH).

-MASH YOUR BANANAS IN A LARGE BOWL. THEN ADD IN YOUR WATER, FLOUR, BAKING POWDER, EGG, VANILLA EXTRACT AND HONEY. MIX TOGETHER.

-SPOON INTO CUPCAKE MOLDS.YOU CAN USE REGULAR SIZE OR MINI. I PREFER THE MINI SIZE. THE RECIPE SAYS TO LINE YOUR CUPCAKE MOLDS WITH PAPERS, BUT I JUST POURED MY BATTER DIRECTLY INTO THE PAN. IF YOU DO THIS, MAKE SURE YOU USE NONSTICK SPRAY OR BUTTER FIRST.

-BAKE FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES OR UNTIL A TOOTHPICK INSERTED IN THE CENTERS OF THE CAKES COMES OUT CLEAN. (I HAD TO BAKE MINE FOR 30 MINUTES).

-WHILE CAKES ARE BAKING, YOU CAN PREPARE YOUR ICING. BEAT TOGETHER CREAM CHEESE, YOGURT AND HONEY UNTIL SMOOTH. IF ICING SEEMS TO BE RUNNY, ADD A LITTE FLOUR TO THICKEN IT UP. (I ADDED JUST A LITTLE SPRINKLE OF FLOUR. I THEN PLACED ICING IN THE FRIDGE UNTIL PUPCAKES WERE OUT OF THE OVEN AND COOL.)

-ONCE YOUR CAKES ARE COOL, YOU CAN THEN FROST & SERVE!


HAPPY PUPPY TIME :)


One-bite-wonder!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Celebrating One Year with Willy



Today marks the one year anniversary since we picked up Willy at the animal shelter, Proyecto 4 Patas.  He's come so far in one year, both in his health and his personal development, it's hard to believe he's the same dog! Tomas and I feel blessed to have two amazing dogs who, despite their pasts, are so sweet and lovable.

Since we don't know either Agatha or Willy's birthdate, we celebrate each "birthday" on the day we adopted them, and Willy's day was today! We spent the morning in the park, and in the afternoon it was time for birthday hats & pupcakes.

Yes, I am that person who's obsessed with their dogs. And no, I don't care if people think that's lame or weird. It's something only a dog-owner would understand, because believe me, I did not understand it before I had dogs of my own.

Not surprisingly, they hated their party hats, but it was all worth it for them in the end when they got to devour mini banana pupcakes w/ cream cheese frosting. Agatha stole two pupcakes off the plate in the blink of an eye, and Willy ended up licking a fallen frosting blob off of my leg. There's no shame in their game when pupcakes are involved.

Hope you enjoy the pics! There's also a video, but we're just gonna keep that one in the fam ;)

Morning at the park...














Party time....
You know you're having a productive day when you already have party hats made by 9am.
Somebody was being a party pooper...


Willy was a little bit of a better sport about it...




Not my best look, but seeing their reactions to their hats made me die of laughter.

The perfect party hat model



I'm usually not one to say this, but I know what Willy was thinking: YOLO.


This is where things took a turn, and they just started snatching what they wanted off the plate.
Fortunately, I was able to remove the candle just in time!

It was a lovely day for all of us, and luckily for Willy & Agatha, there are leftover pupcakes for tomorrow :-) .

Friday, February 21, 2014

Overalls

Lately, I've been finding myself drawn to overalls. I've always loved them, especially in 4th grade when I owned a pastel blue pair and a mint green pair from Gap Kids which I wore constantly. I revisited the overall look in college when I picked up a shorts pair at Walmart. It was one of those purchases that's half joke/half serious, much like my Spongebob Squarepants extra long t-shirt from Salvation Army which turned into my go-to sleep shirt every night. Don't worry guys, I finally ended up tossing that one.

Anywho, I've been seeing some super cute overalls around the web these days. Many of them are overpriced, and for a piece that's so trendy I don't think it's worth the splurge. But, if it's the right price, I am TOTALLY on that.

MY WEB FINDS

CLASSIC BLACK
Dress it up, dress it down. Night or day, these overalls are very transitional.

Black Shoulder Strap Metal Clasp Jumpsuit
$33.77
SheInside

Finders Keepers "Beautiful Mind" Romper
$158
Nasty Gal

"Push It" Overalls
$98
Nasty Gal


DENIM
The original overall.

Washed Denim Overall in Brady Wash
$98
Free People
Railroad Printed Overall
$148
Free People



Somedays Lovin "Casablanca" Denim Overall Dress
$125
Revolve



LIGHTWEIGHT & CASUAL
The perfect lounge piece.

Wilfred Free "Valletta" Overalls
$145
Aritzia



PATTERNED & PRINTED
The fun & flirty overall update.

Zimmermann French Garden Overalls
Originally $415
On Sale  $299.95
Free People

Midnight Light Romper
$128
Free People

Lucca Couture Plaid Overalls in Navy
(I'm really loving gingham for this coming season, but these would be even better in black!)
$74
Revolve

Motel Edie Overalls
Originally $120
ON SALE $36! 

(This was the right price I was talking about).
Nasty Gal

ASOS Overall in Floral
Originally $84.69
ON SALE $33.87!

ASOS

Is this a trend you would ever wear? If so, which overalls are your favorite?

I personally love the Wilfred Free "Valletta" Overalls from Artizia, but since they are pretty pricey, I may have to go for my second choice, the Motel Edie Overalls from Nasty Gal!

Wishing you a fabulous weekend! xoxo