Friday, January 29, 2010

mi cocina {egg drop bake}

Who needs another super simple way to cook eggs? Me!

This recipe is so easy and takes barely any time. We made two adjustments: we added mushrooms and cooked it in a larger dish because we didn't have ramekins.

So, we just covered the bottom of the 7ishX9ish shallow oval casserole dish with onions, tomatoes and mushrooms then added enough shredded cheese to cover them. We dropped about 7 eggs spread out evenly and popped it in the oven. It did take longer to cook - I'm guessing because it was bigger. We probably left it in a little over 25 minutes. didn't try it reheated as leftovers but John did and he said it was good.

We did this for dinner, but I am going to try it next week for breakfast. I do have ramekins now so I am going to put in the veggies and cheese the night before then drop the egg and cook it in the morning. Should be super simple and fast.

Maybe I will add spinach? Maybe zucchini? Yummm...


If this video doesn't bring a smile to your face...then I just don't know. These kids are so fun to watch!

That's why we need music and the arts in public schools.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I'm a fan of the Penguin Classics cloth bound books. I could buy them all today. But I won't.

I got Great Expectations for Christmas and I am going to make myself finish it before I buy another. What a great way to read the classics!

I think I will go for The Picture of Dorian Gray next.

Then Wuthering Heights.

Now where to find the time...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

we saved the princess

It was a great weekend! I spent lots of quality time with the husband and we got lots done! Some was work, some was fun, but it was all great.

I got done...
{one coat of kitchen paint, played with the dog, halfway cleaned my bedroom, saved the princess, taught Sunday school, slept late, watched God Grew Tired of Us (more to come on that later), caught up on Tivo, finished the tote project (more to come), hung out with John}

I was lacking in these areas...
{reading, watching Big Love, grocery shopping, going to the gym, other kitchen projects, and another recipe for this week}

However, as you will see, the list of things I did is much longer than what I didn't do!

I forget sometimes how nice it is to just be with John. We have a pretty good time together. And even though he gets a little made at me when I mess up in Super Mario, or I get frustrated that he kills me by going to fast through a world...we make a pretty good princess saving team!

And the kitchen...the verdict is not yet in. It's pretty bright for now, but hopefully a second coat will calm that down.

Unfortunately, the paint was not restricted to the wall...Juneau ended up with a big green dot on her back. Oh well.

Friday, January 22, 2010

production junction

This weekend will be productive.

I am expecting a lot out of the next two days. They will be filled with fun, work and rejuvenation. This is what I will do:

{paint my kitchen}

{play with the dog}

{clean my bedroom}

{save the princess}

{go to the grocery}


{teach Sunday school}

{sleep late}

{watch God Grew Tired of Us}

{catch up on tivo}

{finally put away all of our stuff from Christmas}

{finish a DIY tote project}

{start some DIY kitchen projects}

{pick out a new recipe for next week}

{hang out with John}

{watch some Big Love}

{go to the gym}

{get ready for another week}

That's a lot! I'll report back with some results on Monday!

mi cocina {sausage and sweet potato soup}

You may be thinking what I thought the first time I saw this. And what John thought when I asked him if I could try it. And what everyone else has thought when I have mentioned doesn't sound good.


don't be deceived. It may not sound good, but I promise, it is delicious.


Buying the right kind of sausage=fail
Everything else=success!

You can find the recipe here. Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite recipe blogs. She is so descriptive - and pretty funny too!

After some difficulty finding Chorizo in our area, John finally found it at Fresh Market. I wasn't sure if it was the right kind, but we figured we would go for it. Well, apparently, it was smoked, and apparently, we shouldn't have put it in a pot with oil. Because our house looked like it was on fire there was so much smoke. And when I took it out of the pot it was hard as a rock. So, we threw that away. But, we had a little leftover we hadn't put in the oil so we just saved that and threw it in at the end and it was fine.

Other than the sausage debacle, the soup was super easy. I didn't chop anything ahead of time and it still took less than an hour start to finish. John is not a huge sweet potato fan but he loved it. He's also not a huge spinach fan so I didn't put in the full 9 ounces. However, next time if I chop it smaller I will add even more than it calls for. We did add one can of white beans and will probably add two next time.

In summary, it was really good. You should make it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

away we go

I am really loving my netflix subscription. We've only gotten a few dvds so far, but I've enjoyed catching up on Big Love. And Away We Go was fantastic.

If you haven't seen this movie, you are missing out. I love the stroller scene. Laugh out loud.

The soundtrack is great as well. I am definitely a new fan of Alexi Murdoch and really enjoy George Harrison's What is Life.

I watched the movie a couple of weeks ago and have thought a lot about it since. It was so quiet and unassuming. Different people flowed in and out of Burt and Verona's life as they searched for their place and what they needed out of life.

It was a great lesson in making purposeful decisions about the kind of life you lead. Nothing is predetermined. Your decisions are your own.

In the end, all they needed was each other and a stronghold on a piece of the past that was lost.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

frozen yogurt

A few months ago Cambridge Coffee in Auburn closed. It was a sad day.

I heard rumor someone was opening a hot dog shop. Yeah. Hot dogs. Another sad day.

But today was not sad.

I drove past the old Cambridge Coffee location today and saw this sign:

As I sped past trying to get a spot in the semi-close parking lot, my optimistic mind thought I read the words frozen yogurt...

When I got to work I hopefully googled and learned that yes! This is a frozen yogurt chain...with an original tart recipe...and lots of yummy toppings.

I'm sooo excited about Tutti Frutti! The website says the Auburn location is coming soon.

Way better than a hot dog shop.

Friday, January 15, 2010

mi cocina {sloppy joes}

I know....sloppy joes?

I asked John what he wanted that we never have and that's what he said. Then I asked him how to make them. He said meat and manwich.


So I googled and came across this Sloppy Joe recipe from Martha. It's a little healthier - using turkey instead of beef and adding carrots. Plus - I control what goes in it.

Full disclosure: I don't know that I would classify this as a sloppy joe. More sloppy joe-esque. But it was really good. I added a tad bit more Worcestershire and a little spicy brown mustard.

I think this would go well with rice. But I said that a couple of times and John didn't who knows.

I think he's partial to the manwich...

Thursday, January 14, 2010


"I seem to annoy them. I get on their nerves. I don't know why."

Love this commercial.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


how I've missed you

In honor of spring (which feels too far away) here are some clothes I am dreaming of...

I wanted to put a sweater with it...but I am no good at pairing dresses and sweaters!
Anthropologie dress; A Little Hamster earrings and necklace; Anthropologie coin purse; Kelsi Dagger sandals

Anthropologie dress, earrings, necklace and clutch; J.Crew heels

Anthropologie dress; Stella Bella necklace; Anthropologie bag, flats and heels ( I couldn't decide!)

I guess this is still a little winterish; but you need a transition right?
Anthropologie jacket and shirt; Maya Brenner necklace; Anthopologie bag, pants and boots

I have to say, picking this stuff out is just as good as buying it, wearing it and loving it forever. Right??

Monday, January 11, 2010


One of my goals for this year the rest of my life is to cut out some tv. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I probably watch a bit too much.

Why, you might ask, do I feel the need to cut it out? It's not really because tv rots your brain (although it probably does). It's also not because I am not entertained by the current offerings of the magical box (because, unfortunately, I am). It's not even because I don't have time (let's be real - you can make time to do the things you love). It's simply because there are other things I want and need to be doing.

For some reason, tv has a supernatural hold on me. It sucks me in and makes me keep watching - even when it's terrible! I plop on the couch to watch one thing and 3 hours later I realize it's time to get in bed if I want to wake up even remotely close to the correct time. So, sorry television, you've got to go. Don't get too sad - I'm not cutting you out completely - just using you in moderation. That's the way to go I hear. However, you do deserve a proper goodbye.

Here are some of the programs that will no longer be graced by my viewing:

The Bachelor
I know - how could I give this up when by all accounts this is the cheesiest and most dramatic season yet? Alas, it has to be done.

Not even the first week of a handful of shirtless, pretty men can keep me (I say first week because after that they start to look sickly).

Secret Life of the American Teenager & Make It or Break It
Oh ABC Family, how you suck me in. But I rebuke your acting-challenged actors and melodramatic storylines for good!

ABC, while I will be eternally grateful for your rescue of one of my favorite shows ever and for providing a proper send-off for the main characters, I must bid adieu to the new class. References to relationships aren't enough to keep me. I miss Janitor. And I miss Ted. And quite frankly, the new ones just aren't funny enough.

90210 & Melrose Place
We broke up in September, but I wanted to air our dirty laundry. We've been on-again-off-again from the beginning. It's time for me to respect myself and move on!

Chris Harrison and Jeff Probst, I'll miss you the most!

What will I be doing with my newly discovered time? Fulfill my commitment of nightly workouts, broaden my cooking and crafting horizons, enjoy working through my netflix que, and spend time with the hubby and dog. And further my obsession and hone my skills on Wii fit and Super Mario Brothers Wii!

Friday, January 8, 2010

mi cocina {macarons}

photo from Mad Baker's flikr stream

So I've talked about these delicious meringue sandwich (so much more than) cookies before and have been wanting to make them for quite some time. But every time I searched for a recipe I got intimidated by the whole process. There are entire blogs dedicated to making the perfect macarons! Every recipe or description I read told me to do something different. It was too much!

But when I finally got to taste the little suckers in San Francisco (and not just imagine that they were the most delicious things ever) my fate was sealed.

I chose to make my first attempt in Tennessee and enlisted my mom and aunt (and her stand mixer) to help since they are experienced bakers. After looking at dozens of recipes, I decided to go with the simplest to understand, which ended up being Martha's. I went with a simple chocolate ganache filling from Serious Eats.

The Macaron Cookies

There were a few things I decided not/forgot to do so my execution differed slightly than the recipe and everything I have read about cooking macarons. For example, almost all of the detailed instructions for cooking macarons stress the importance for aging the egg whites. Which just means leaving them out on the counter in a bowl for 24-48 hours. I forgot about that so ours only aged about 2 hours.

We also didn't blanch the almonds. I probably will next time, but they were really fine they way they were. They tasted nuttier and weren't as smooth as the others I have tried, but it worked fine. My aunt beat the eggs (which is what I was probably what I was most nervous about). The batter was supposed to "flow like magma" when we piped it out and it didn't quite do that. The eggs may have been a bit over done - or maybe it was the lack of aging.

All in all the cookies turned out pretty good. Martha's directions say to let the batter stand after you've piped it until the surface is dry and dull, about 15 minutes. It took much longer than 15 minutes for us. More like 2 hours. Also, she says to cook on 350 for 15 minutes which is higher and longer than other recipes I have read. Luckily I had three sheets of batter piped so I could experiment with time and temp. The first sheet we did exactly like the recipe said and they were a little over done; crunchier and toastier than they should have been. The second we did at the same temp for more like 12 minutes. They were a little better but not quite what I was looking for. The third batch was great....but by accident. My dad thought we were done and turned the oven off. So, they baked for about 12 minutes at some temperature less than 350. All three pans
of macarons developed the coveted "feet" though not as pronounced as they probably should have been.

The Chocolate Ganache

I did the ganache pretty much exactly like the recipe said. The only change was because my mom misunderstood the amount of chocolate she was supposed to get (and it wasn't Valrhona Guanaja...whatever that is). We ended up using 4 oz of chopped Ghirardelli and approximately 4 oz of chopped-ish Hershey's chocolate chips. It was delicious!! I could probably make this again just to eat with a spoon! We let it sit for probably an hour and a half and it was the perfect consistency. We did also leave it out on the counter in a ziploc bag overnight and it was just a perfect squeezed into my mouth!

In Summary

For both of our piping needs we skipped pastry bags and tips and used ziploc bags with the corners cut off. It worked fine but I will probably eventually get real bags and tips. We ate some right out of the oven, tried a few more an hour or so later, and refigerated the rest and ate them over the next couple of days. The refrigerated were by far the best but I will never be able to resist them right out of the oven!

I was pretty happy with my first try at macarons. None of the tragic stuff happened that I read about and they were quite good. I am looking forward to my next attempt, which may come next weekend! I will be branching out next and trying some new flavors. I may stick with the basic cookie recipe but with a new filling and maybe they will even be colorful!....oooohhh...

Here are my options for the next try:

Blackberry & Raspberry with Ginger Lime Buttercream via Mowielicious

Chestnut Macarons with Pink Champagne via Mowielicious

Macarons with Salted Almond Butter Filling via AlpineBerry

Lavender & Rose Macarons via Pease Pudding

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

mi cocina

I tease my mom about never teaching me to cook. She replies that I never stayed home long enough. She's probably right.

I'm not a bad cook, just not terribly creative or confidant. I stick to the same old stuff, over-complicate things when they are simple, and scare easily when they are the least bit involved. I think my biggest fault is my lack of familiarity with ingredients, processes and equipment. However, I'm starting to understand that the more I do it, the better I will get!

So I'm starting something new in an effort to force myself to try new things in the world of cooking. Each Friday I'm going post a new recipe I have tried and how it turned out for me. Hopefully they will all be amazing - but I am expecting some failures!

I am calling each cooking installment mi cocina for one of two reasons: a) my rich Hispanic heritage or b) I once ate at a restaurant called mi cocina in the West Village in Dallas and it was amazing (especially the sangria frozen margarita...yum) plus marked one of my favorite sight-seeing days at any NODA conference where we stumbled upon a large community fall festival complete with pumpking carving and a great band that I just reminded myself of!

If you answered B you not only made it through that run-on sentence, but you are right! For some reason that meal has stuck with me and I like the thought of this being about my kitchen and what I learn to do with it.

So, check in tomorrow for my first installment!

favorite gifts

As I mentioned in the previous post, John and I enjoyed some wonderful moments in Tennessee with our families. And obviously the time and memories are irreplaceable and unforgettable; in addition to the Christmas messages of peace, hope, grace and love. I think I did well in my desire to "take time to be holy" and succeeded in enjoying the moments.

However, and also just as obvious, I am somewhat more materialistic than I would like to be. I wish it weren't so, but there it is. So I can't not tell you about some of the great gifts I got!

{behold my new Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, which I have already used several times for several recipes, not the least of which is this frozen yogurt recipe from Oh Joy! via Design*Sponge}

{some great new jewelry including, but not limited to, these lovelies, which will aid in my mid-year's resolution to add accessories}

{Beauty and the Beast on DVD which I have strongly desired since my Pandora broadway station played some selections months ago and which my super husband found for me on ebay}

{some delicious homebaked bread from my sis-in-law that has inspired me to be more bold with my baking; which I will achieve through the help of some super useful cookbooks from another sis-in-law and mom}

{some hammered copper doors my little brother finished for a cabinet- I've been waiting for them for a while!}

{a lottery ticket! from which I won another ticket! from which I won $5!}

I absolutely loved everything I got - even/especially the little stuff. But honestly, the best gift was spending time with family and friends that I don't get to see nearly enough.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

favorite moments

Moments I enjoyed the most on my break...

{the birth of my 4th niece or nephew (I mean, I know he's a nephew, I just don't know how to say that I now have 4 there a non-gender specific word for this??)}

{spending quality time with my other new nephew and his cute parents}

{spending time with my high school best friends (even though I didn't get to see one of them - next trip Clarissa!)}

{finding surprising gems in John's hometown-ish (including some faux Wayfarers for $2.99!)}

{baking with my mom and aunt - more on that later}

{spending loads of quality time with the original nephew - Tucker Brown - and seeing how grown up he is becoming and hanging out with the lone niece and listening to all of her words and enjoying her hugs and kisses}

{J&G shish-ka-bob}

{rum balls and apricot squares}

{watergate salad, smoked turkey, and confirming my feelings toward pea salad}

{NYE with my best framily (get it...friends+family...the whole family are our best friends)}

{sleeping in}

{watching Up; maybe one of my favorite movies ever}

{a trip to Starbucks with Nana}

{my favorite meal of the year - hog jowl, blackeyed peas, cabbage, corn bread and fruit salad - yum!}

{dirty santa with John's family where I came away with twenty bucks and where John gave this gem framed and labeled with "The Original Dirty Santa"}

{many many more}

Moments I wish I had...

{time with my mother's family; Denton, Trent, Papa and B-Bo at Nana's; Hunan's; more time off work to spend in our home; even more time with family; real snow}

Happy 2010!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

back at it

Hello 2010 - I think I like you!

I am hopeful that this year will be a great one and bring lots of blessings to me and the folks that I adore. For the past few weeks I've been trying to nail down some goals for the coming year, but haven't really perfected my list yet. So, I thought I would start with a few that are randomly generated.

{find the time}

{go sailing}


{high five the person sitting next to me}

{jump rope}

{donate my time}

{stop. collaborate. (and listen.)}

{bring a reusable bag to the grocery store}

{try harder}

I will continue to work on my own list I suppose, but I think these will work for now!

Hope 2010 has started wonderfully for you all.