Friday, October 14, 2011

Rainbow Cookies

Hi There! 
So uh, how long has it been since I've posted? Almost 3 months??? Yikes, sorry! Starting fourth year of college doesn't exactly entail too much free time to bake or blog, ya know? 
It's usually more like this: drink drink drink class sleep drink eat sleep class drink drink drink sleep drink drink eat... Catch my drift? I also live in a house of 10 girls. Ten. Two (and a half) bathrooms. That just screeeams drama. and dirtiness. (Is that a word?)  We even have a cleaning lady that comes every two weeks and it's still disgusting. At the beginning of the year, we had this really bad gnat problem, where like a bijillion of them would hover around the kitchen and trash can. You basically had to plug your mouth and nose when you walked into the kitchen unless you wanted extra protein that day. Did I mention my room is right across from the kitchen? Ummmmmmm, ya. You're probs really grossed out right now.

So with aforementioned situation, you can imagine how much baking/cooking I've done since school started. 
[0] <-- this much. Actually, I lie. I DID bake one time, when we were sequestered to our house all day thanks to hurricane Irene. We drank about 12938 bottles of wine, oodles of cheese and crackers, and then....I made cookies. Keep in mind I'm in unfamiliar territory over here! The stove is electric (I think?). It has creepy coils that heat up. And the oven has this little light that turns on when you set the oven temperature and then the light turns off when it reaches that temp. At least, I know that's how it works now. At the time, I thought the oven kept shutting off every time the light went off so I kept cranking up the temperature so the light would turn back on. #fail. The cookies were fat but crispy. Weird texture. At least now I know how the oven works.

Anyway, I probably sadly won't have too many recipes to share until I go home for Christmas break, BUT I did go home last weekend for our Fall Break. What a treat! It's starting to get chilly up in here in VA, so I was definitely looking forward to laying out and getting tan. And eating delicious foods. And baking! I told my sister that it was vital to my being that we bake. 
I didn't have too much time at home so despite the hundreds of recipes I have bookmarked, I went straight to my most-trusted blogger, Jessica, for a fool-proof yummy recipe. These bad boys have been calling my name ever since she made them back in July. I love that they're colorful They're just so happy! And you will definitely be happy after eating them. They're gooey and chewy and right out of the oven, melt in your mouth. Aaand they stay soft. Don't you hate when cookies get hard and stale the very next day? Like sorry, I can't eat 18 cookies in one sitting. I mean...I could, but then I might feel sick after. Maybe.

Jessica made these cookies gigantic and baked them a funny way [she rolled a big dough ball, ripped it in half, and placed them on top of each other]. I did some of mine like this and others just regular but either way, they still taste fantastic! 

Rainbow Cookies
Recipe from How Sweet Eats
Makes 18-20 cookies, depending on size

2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) of salted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup m&m’s (or something else that you love)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Mix the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the butter and sugars until they are combined (and look like the first picture above). Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Gradually add flour and mix until a dough forms – it will look crumbly at first, but it will come together. I even used my hands to help at one point. Fold in the m&m’s.
Divide the dough how you choose. Shape each portion into a ball with your hands then pull each ball into two equal pieces. Turn each half so that the rough side of the half (what used to be the inside of the ball) faces upwards and then squish both halves together. Place the dough rough-side up on a baking sheets. If you’re doing large cookies, I’d leave about 2 inches in between each.
Bake for 12-15 minutes (large cookies) or 8-12 minutes (small cookies) or until the edges are slightly brown. The centers should be soft and puffy. Do not over bake. 
Let cool completely then dig in!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cheesy Basil Pizza & Easy Homemade Pizza Dough

I have a confession to make.


I used to hate pizza.

I know, it's weird, right? Like what kid doesn't like pizza?

The pasta-obsessed child that's who. Aka me.

It wasn't that I didn't like cheese or bread because c'mon those are like the holy grail of the food groups. It was just that I didn't like.......tomato sauce.

When I would come home from school as a kid, I would make a snack. Either a box of mac n cheese or a box of pasta with butter and cheese. Yes I said a box. I ate the whole thing. Yes it was a snack. What can I say... I like my pasta.

One time when I was seven years old my uncle bet me $100 that I couldn't finish this gigantic plate of pasta that probably weighed more than my seven-year-old-being. You bet your bottom-dollar I finished the whole thing! True story.

Anyway back to the pizza. Apparently every seven years your taste buds change (or so my wiser, older sister tells me) and I have now grown to love things I once hated: sushi, eggplants, tomato sauce, and pizza. Moral of the story: keep trying new foods!

Don't get me wrong I still really don't like take-out pizza. That stuff is so oily the grease drips off each slice. Nasty. This pizza is definitely not take-out (or DiGiorno's). The crust is crunchy and whatever toppings you put on it instantly make it "gourmet" haha or so I tell myself. I usually throw on every vegetable I have in the fridge but this time around I really needed to go grocery shopping so I just caramelized some onions (YUMM) and threw some fresh basil on top with the cheese. 

And don't be nervous about using yeast! I didn't even know people were scared of it and I used it and had no problemo. Like I tell my kids at the tutoring center, it's easy peasy!

Cheesy Basil Pizza 
Recipe from The Savvy Kitchen
Makes enough dough for one, 16" large pizza

1 cup warm water 
1 package dry yeast (2.25 tsp.) 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. sugar 
2 tsp. olive oil 
3 cups flour, divided

Put cup of warm water in bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Stir in salt, sugar and olive oil. Stir in 2 cups of the flour to combine and then add another 1/2 cup of flour until the dough comes together and becomes elastic. Put the other 1/4 cup of flour on a board and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it becomes smooth.

Put the ball of dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

When the dough has doubled, punch it down and knead it lightly on a surface covered in the remaining flour. Roll or stretch the dough to fit a pizza pan or baking stone.

If the dough is too elastic to cover the pan and it keeps springing back, stretch it out and let it rest. Keep stretching it and letting it rest until it relaxes enough to cover the pan.

Top with desired toppings. I like to put tomato sauce, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, caramelized onions, sliced tomatoes, and fresh basil. This would also be delicious as a white pizza though with no sauce! Cook in a preheated 450 degrees F oven for 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lemon Garlic Tuna Burgers

Amazing things can happen to your food when you have fresh herbs.

Like...delicious, amazing things. Remember those Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers? Crunchy perfection. Along with the rosemary in the backyard is cilantro, parsley, and basil (hellOoO caprese pesto pizza??). While the cilantro is slightly suffering and the basil is sparse (from pesto we made the other night), the parsley is overflowing. I really wanted to make something with it. Ergo, these Lemon Garlic Tuna Burgers.

They're so easy. I just chop and drop everything in the bowl and then moosh it together with your hands into patties. Kinda fun actually.

These are also a really college-friendly meal. Tuna = super cheap. And you probs already have everything else in your fridge right now. Cept maybe the parsley. But that's easy to find (I think?). Nevertheless, I'm sure I'll be making a lot of these babies at school. I love the crunchy texture from baking them (no greasy frying yayy) but the tuna inside melts in your mouth. The lemon and parsley make them really light and fresh. Perfect for a hot, sunny summer day.

I know normally burgers call for...buns (duh) but I really don't like eating buns with non-meat burgers. To be honest, I just don't really see the point of all that bread hogging all the flavor when the meatless burger is so good by itself! So my tuna burgers are nakey. Feel free to add buns.

Since I was the only one eating this tonight, I made all four patties and then froze the other three patties for a quick meal. Then I took one of those Brown Sugar Blueberry Cookies I stashed in the fridge and threw it into the oven because I was seriously craving a cookie. Nothin' like a fresh baked cookie - can I get an Amen?!

Lemon Garlic Tuna Burgers
Recipe adapted from Can You Stay For Dinner?
Makes 4 burgers 

2, 6 oz cans tuna fish, drained and flaked
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs 
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3 tbsp minced fresh parsley 
1 clove garlic, minced 
1/4 tsp each, salt and pepper  
juice of half a lemon 
2 tbsp sour cream (or you could use Greek yogurt or mayo or all mustard)
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1/4 tsp of some spices (I used Paprika and Cumin) - you don't have to use spices if you don't want/have
1 egg  

Preheat oven to 400 degress F.

Combine tuna, bread crumbs, red onion, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon, sour cream, mustard, spices, and egg, and mix well with your hands. Form into 4 patties (they will be wet). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes. Serve with a toasted bun, lettuce, tomato, onions, and whatever else your heart desires.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers

The other day, I went a little crazy.

Not like...the I'm-a-crazy-girlfriend-don't-go-near-my-boyfriend crazy. Mainly because I've a) been there, done that but also because I b) don't even have a boyfriend! So that takes care of that problem.
No the other day I went crazy - as in, I-have-to-bake-something-right-this-minute crazy. I didn't know what though. Did I want something sweet? Did I want something salty? So to remedy this problem, I had three recipes simultaneously going in the kitchen. I was like a mad scientist. No joke, this is what it looked like..........

I ended up making Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers, Chewy Fruit Granola Bars, and a new Banana Bread recipe. I normally make this amaaaazing Banana Bread that is my favorite of allllll time (I'll share it soon!) but I decided to venture out. It was a bad decision. On top of it being not tasty, my simultaneous recipe concocting got the best of me and I forgot to add in the sugar after I put it in the oven! I ripped the pan out and threw/mixed in the sugar but it still obviously was gross. That recipe won't be shared but look at this banana bread. I pathetic. Poor thing didn't even rise.

Back to the crackers.

So remember how I've been watering the plants everyday during my very busy days here in NJ? Well one of those plants is fresh rosemary and it smells sOoOoo good. At Wegman's they have these Rosemary dinner rolls that are to diiiie for so these crackers were inspired by those. The recipe I got was in the metric system so I had to do some conversions here. The crackers basically taste like those Carr's water crackers. Really delish with hummus or spin dip. mMm. These didn't even last a day in our house.

Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers
Recipe adapted from The Purple Foodie
Makes a whole bunch!

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp chopped rosemary (fresh or dried)
Sea salt to taste
Ground pepper to taste
Olive oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, water, olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes until it comes together - It will be a hard dough! Now you can either make walnut-sized balls and roll the crackers out individually (I used the side of a mug to roll them out) or you can roll the whole dough out on a cookie sheet and cut it into crackers before you bake.
With either method, place the rolled out crackers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle Sea salt and ground pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, or until crackers are golden brown. Make sure to watch them because they can burn quick! Serve alongside your favorite dip :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!!


I hope you all celebrated today with lots of yummy foods and drinks! :)

Thank you to all who have served and our serving right now!

God Bless America

Very proud to be an American! :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Cheddar Broccoli Bites

I don't know about you, but my family always had a Sunday tradition.


We'd go to church where my sisters and I would play tic-tac-toe on the Sermon note papers.
Then we'd go to Bennigan's. Do you remember that restaurant? It's basically like T.G.I.Friday's but it was where everyone went before Friday's got cool. And they definitely started the buttons on suspenders look.

Anyway, this was back when I ate meat so I'd ALWAYS get the chicken fingers w/ honey must(ard). It was delicious. Tangy, but a little bit sweet, with crunchy mustard seeds. I never could figure out how they made it taste so good but I wanted to drink it. Luckily my fam always wanted to start w/ appetizers so we'd share 2 or 3 orders of Broccoli Bites and that infamous honey must. Broccoli Bites are just fried balls of broccoli, cheesy, oniony goodness. We'd usually ask the waiter to bring 2 more orders to bring home with us. They were THAT good.

Then, when I was in middle school, Bennigan's went bankrupt (dagnabbit Friday's!). I was deeeeevastated. What would I do without Broccoli Bites and that honey must?! It only took 8 years for my sister and I to realize that we could...Google. Wow. That took 2 seconds.


Make these tonight. You won't be sorry!!

Broccoli Bites 
Makes 15-20 balls

1 16 oz. package of frozen broccoli, thawed, dried, & chopped small (or use 2 cups chopped fresh broccoli)
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 16 oz. block of white Cheddar cheese, shredded (or 1 package of shredded) - Use any melty cheese you like!)
3 eggs
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
Italian bread crumbs, as needed
3 cups Canola oil, for frying

Place first five ingredients in a large mixing bowl and incorporate all of them together well. Refrigerate the mixture for an hour.

In a heavy skillet with walls, heat about 3 cups of canola oil over medium heat. Place a paper towel sheet on a plate and set next to stove. In a shallow plate, set out some Italian bread crumbs. Using your hands, form small balls of the mixture and roll in the bread crumbs until coated. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. In small batches, fry the balls until golden, only about 2 minutes. Make sure to flip them halfway so they get browned on all sides. After they are fried, place them on the plate lined with paper towel to absorb the excess oil. 
Serve with honey mustard!

Bennigan's Honey Mustard
Makes about 1 cup

3/4 cup sour cream (I used Greek yogurt because I didn't have sour cream nor do I like it)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup honey
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
In a mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard. Blend thoroughly using a wire whisk.
Slowly pour in the honey and lemon juice. Continue mixing ingredients until dressing is smooth and well combined. 

Serve with chicken fingers, Broccoli Bites, or as a salad dressing!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce

Remember back in the day when you (or your mom) packed your lunch for school?

There was the kids with the prepackaged Lunchables... I strangely was always really jealous of these kids even though thinking back on those circular hams make me gag. Maybe it was because they always had a piece of candy.

There were the kids with the healthnut parents that gave them turkey and cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread with the crusts cut off. They always got carrot sticks as a side. Snoozefest.

Then there were the kids who got leftover dinner foods. This was me. If you've ever eaten at my household, you know that an Argentenian (Argentine?) dad and Italian mom makes for interesting dinner combos. Sometimes I'd get Spanish tortilla or Milanesas (breaded and fried beef). I mean I'm not complaining - I thought it was divine - but the other kids thought it was a little weird. 

I did, however, get a wee bit jealous when I saw the other kids with the Mott's applesauces. I mean what a perfect little dessert. There was always that circular spot in the lunchbox that it seemed to fit well in. 

Anyways as an ode to Mott's, I decided to make my own applesauce because I'm really skeezed (?) out by all the ingredients on the back of packaged applesauces. Those things have a pretty long shelf life so let's be honest here, they can't be too good for you with all those chemicals. Not to mention that weirdish taste...

The best thing about it is you can totally do it how you like. Don't like the skin? Peel it off! Like it totally mashed into smitherenes? Mash away. I prefer mine chunky. Like my peanut butter. And my men, remember?

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce
Serves 2-3

2-3 apples, chopped (I used Pink Lady but Fuji or Braeburn would be great too)
1/2 water (it seems like a lot but it boils away!)
1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp maple syrup

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to boil. Let mixture boil until apples are completely soft (You might need to add more water, depending if your apples are still hard), about 10 minutes. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the apples to desired consistency.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Brown Sugar Blueberry Cookies

Listen, people. Things have been really busy around here.

I get up around 11, I think about what I want for breakfast for about 30 minutes...the Great Debate ya know? Do I wanna go the savory route and eat eggs (omelet?) and toast? Or do I wanna do sweet, and have pancakes or cereal & berries? These are the kind of monumental issues I'm facing this summer.
Anyways so after breakfast, I water the plants. I might go to the gym. Yesterday I did a boxing class. I thought it was gonna be like kickboxing...ya know some kicks here and there...a couple jabs...standard run of the mill aerobic stuff. I was really surprised when I walked in and the (kinda hot, also jacked) instructor handed me boxing gloves. And then taught me how to hit him. I highly suggest taking these types of classes if you were just broken up with. Or have a lot unsolved issues. Preeeetty good.

And since I torched all those cals, I figured I would reward myself with a hearty serving of these brown sugar blueberry cookies that I saw on this blog a couple days ago. If you like food even with a little inkling of your being, you need to check her blog out. The stuff she makes is absolutely deliiiicious and her pictures make you want to pick the food out of the screen.

That batter up there? Yeah it tastes like a blueberry muffin. After I took this pic, I ate that spoon (sorry Chrstner). Don't judge me - you know you want to eat it too. They puff up after they bake and they're just so fluffy! They get super big and thick. Just how I like my cookies. And some people would say my men too.

Brown Sugar Blueberry Cookies 
from Jessica at How Sweet It Is
makes 12-15+ cookies

1 stick butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk (I used Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
3/4 cup fresh blueberries (or you could use frozen too if you don't have fresh)
If you want to add chocolate chips, we can be best friends.

Preheat oven to 375.
Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well until combine, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon with the mixer on low speed. Mix until dough comes together. Add in milk. If dough is still crumbly, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Fold in blueberries gently with a spatula – it is okay if they break a bit. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove dough from fridge and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls or scoop out with an ice cream scooper. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Devour.  

These also freeze really well! So, if you're unlike me and can't finish the whole batch, pop them in the freezer and then when you want them, BAM! Fresh blueberry cookies. In your belly. Yum.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Strawberry/Banana/Choco Chip Pancakes

Well hello there again!

I know it's been awhile since I last posted...I've been back in the good ole U S of A for about a month now and things got a little hectic between my sister's grad school graduation (congrats Aleesh!), summer plan detours, and weekend travels. 

As I write this post I am sitting in my aunt's beach house in Ocean Grove, NJ. Population 40. The town reminds me of one of those old Mary Kate & Ashley movies when they're like 13 and get exiled to a small town for the summer only to discover there also happens to be extremely good-looking twin brothers living there coaching a swim team for the summer (hence also their amazing physique). I don't know if fate has the same fortunate plans for me while I live here this summer but a girl can dream right?
Anyways yeah. I was supposed to be taking summer classes in Florida but those didn't end up working out. So here I am. Alone. In this house. And really bored. So bored in fact that I might actually pick up my GRE book and start reading it. Before you say I'm lazy let me say that I do have a job! A good one actually, at this tutoring company that specializes in Math (right up my alley) but the guy said I'll be coming in in July.

Since i have all this down time now I'm free to go to the beach everyday (...which I do...), watch TV, relax, oh and go to NYC to visit some friends. Not a bad gig ya know. This past weekend I went into the city and got to see lots of my gfriends which I was really happy about. also because nyc has the yuuuummiest restaurants/cafe's in life (not an exaggeration). On Saturday morning, Elizabeth, Mick, and I wanted to try the infamous pancakes at Clinton St. Baking Company but when we got there there was an hour wait and our stomachs were already eating themselves. Instead we went a few blocks down to a cute brunch place called 7A. I got banana pancakes that came with this strawberry butter that had me swooooooning the entire meal. eliz and mick got rum butter with their breakfasts which also tasted like liquid candy. 
Anyways so i got back from nyc yesterday and I still couldn't stop thinking about those pancakes. It was like having cake for breakfast. My sister told me last night she had all these strawberries so i could noooot be happier when i woke up this morning. a quick Google search to check proportions and I whipped up some fluffy pancakes in 15 minutes. I just made the batter and separated it in different bowls to mix different fruits in them. Some were banana, some strawberry, some blueberry and some variations of those included chocolate chips. Every flavor was delicious, sweet from the fruit but didn't give you the instant feeling of cavities. And they were so fluffy! Stack up a couple of these bad boys with some frosting in between and you really could call it a cake...
Make them!
You will have a smile on your face for the rest of the day :)

By the way don't judge the pancakes by their not-so-pretty appearance. I don't have one of those fancy shmancy cameras so the pics don't do them justice. You're gonna have to trust me on this one.

If you live near a Trader Joe's, run immediately there and get that honey apple butter. You'll die.
Pancakes adapted from allrecipes
(with any add-ins) ex. mashed bananas, strawberries, blueberries, choco chips, etc
serves 2-4 people

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (if cinnamon isn't your thang, you can leave it out)
1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk (I used Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, & cinnamon. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, butter, & vanilla extract. Mix until smooth (a few lumps is fine). Stir in whatever mix-ins you like!

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour about a 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Flip after bubbles appear on the sides and top, about 3 minutes, and brown on other side. Serve hot with maple syrup, apple butter, and anything else you like. Try to refrain from licking your plate. Or don't.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

tooooomorrrrowwwwwww! (cue Annie song)

i have an important announcement.


i'm so excited!

I love Valencia (especially now that it's finally warm!)
I love the peeps in my program
I love how I was basically on vacation this whole semester (casual weekend trips to Paris anyone?)
I love the muffin children i tutor
I love that café is in abundance here and it's really delicious
I love city life (most of the time anyway) and being able to walk everywhere
I love Spanish food (not my madre's........) but paella & tortilla will always have my heart
I love learning a language & picking up on cultural sayings without even realizing it
I love sharing a room with Srams & having our intellectual/deep talks about random topics
I haved loved my experience here but I'm so ready to go homeee, see my fam (happy graduation aleesh!), eat cakes and cookies and pancakes whenever i want, sit on my couch w/ my sisters and leave only to go to the kitchen, see all my amigas, go to the playa, read a book because i feel like it, catch up on tv shows, oh and i guess take some math classes on the side.
so there it is, good bye valencia! until neeeext timeeee!!!

on another note though, we had our last dinner w/ madre tonight. the majority of the conversation was madre talking about nude people on the beaches. typical. today srams and i got madre flowers as a good-bye because she's been dropping hints at us ever since we got here. when we gave them to her, she basically started bawling (sp?) and kissed me i think seven hundred times. it was cute. whatta 180 since my first post huh? i hope she doesn't remember that srams and i stole her toast. oopsies.

anyways then we forced her to take a picture with us.

can i get a drum roll please?????

is that how you pictured her? 
for our last meal, she made us tortilla which is what she made us on the first night here. how nostalgic. 

i also went to tutoring for the last time today (sad) but i snagged a shot with the adorable little six year old girl. she made me a butterfly picture. it was the sweetest.

how cute is she?!!!!!

we went to the beach on sunday, had our last exams on monday and a closing program that night where one of the professors gave a 45-minute lecture on superheros. weird

then we celebrated our last night out in valencia at polo55 (basically the only place open to fiesta on a monday night) which was a good timeee! we celebrated w/ agua de valencias which is really just a mimosa but the valencianos think they invented it

anyways im off to finish packing

¡Hasta luego in AMERICAAAA!!! :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011



sorry it's been awhile.

i went on a 2 week vacay w/ my mama and aunt and instead of hashing out every step of the journey, i'm going to show highlights from the trip w/ some pics!!

the hot spots we visited: Prague, Czech Republic
                                       Budapest, Hungary
                                       Dubrovnik, Croatia
                                       Venice, Italy
                                       Florence, Italy
Enjoy! (only 4 more days until I go homeee!)

traditional czech meal right when we and (no) meat

Prague, on the Charles bridge

stopping for lunch in Budapest, Hungary

Overlooking the Adriatic Sea in Croatia

St Mark's Square, Venice!

Had to get a bag of souvenir many pretty colors & fun shapes!

Day trip to the island of Murano where they blow glass! (and make cool Pandora charms)

Figline Valdarno (small town right outside of Florence). this is the view from the Chef's house!

me and Chef Claudio workin on some homemade gnocchi's yum!

choppin parsley & garlic for calamari & mussel broth

me and the Chef! sweetest Italian muffin man -- we made 6 courses!! including an eggplant appetizer, risotto, 2 types of pastas, seafood dish, and dessert!

Last day in Florence & of the trip :(

Monday, April 18, 2011

me & mama in madrid!

since my mama arrived in madrid on thursday, i thought id take a weekend hiatus to visit her this weekend & we had sooo much fun! :)

at first i was a little nervous because she just told me to stay in the bus station & she'd "find me" which, after waiting for 30 mins in the bus station, started to get me a wee bit nervous cuz i was still alone in a crowded bus station. but anyone who knows a rabadan knows we're always late but más vale tarde que nunca! (better late, than never!)

for lunch we stopped at a really authentic hole-in-the-wall type spanish restaurant where we both got the menu del día (salads, fish w/ 'salsa verde' & dessert!) mama got this ice cream roll thing but i opted for the chocolate cake w/ dulce de leche. yummmmmmmy it was delish!

then we went over to the palacio real, took some extremely corny pictures, and wandered around the parque de retiro for a little while because it was soo beautiful outside. on our way out of the palacio real we had a really creepy man walk up to us and say an obscene thing that i will not restate on here but basically it was disgusting and my mama was not a happy lady so we went and told the policia about it who then proceeded to run the guy outta the plaza. nice.

we had to grab a quick dinner because we were going to a flamenco show that night so we stopped at a place by our hotel. my mom loves these peppers that they only have in spain (i think?) called 'pimientos de padrón' so she ordered a big plate of those. they basically look like little jalapeño peppers but they're not spicy...well most of them aren't. ya see it's always a toss-up with these little guys cuz u think you're gonna bite into a salty, (temperature) hot yummy pepper, and most of the time you do. BUT sometimes u bite into one that makes smoke come out of your ears and sends you shoveling bread down your throat. that happened.

anyways after we burned our throats enough we ran over to the flamenco place (because obvi we were late....and lost) and grabbed our seats just in time! it was three ladies dancing that we're amazzzzingggg. flamenco is such a cool dance because it has gypsy origins so everytime i watch i feel like im back in the olden days sitting around a campfire and watching the gypsies dance (complete with whiny, guitar-strumming singers too). i tried to take a vid but i got yelled at (sorry guys) haha. the finale was a guy. picture this: 40-year old, slightly-over weight, dressed in a thick, vomit-colored (sorry but its the only way to describe the color) suit. hair is very thin, down to the shoulders, but balding on the head. he has a stache. and tight pants. very tight pants on. i thought he was gonna dance with a lady but he busted out in a solo and basically was going nuts. i mean he was good but i felt bad for the poor guy sweating through his suit and frantically trying to swipe his sweat in between moves. my mama was officially grossed out hahah. wish i got a pic of this dude! 

the show ended at 12:30 and by the time we got back to our hotel and showered, i conked out.

the next morning we arose bright and early, headed out for a quick breakfast and then spent the entire day at the prado. literally, the entire day. it was my dream come true!!!! my must-go-to activity before i left europe was to go to madrid and see las meninas (by velazquez) because i loove this painting. sidenote: my mama always said when i was a little girl i was obsessed with the Goya painting "el gitasol". she said i would cry and insist that we see it everytime we went. i really dont remember this! weird. but back to meninas. so despite having been previously obsessed with goya, i now have been obsessed w/ meninas. and really anything/everything velazquez. we went around to literally every room and saw every painting which was really neat after having a semester of spanish arte class! i knew so much info to tell my mom i felt really cool. eliz would be proud of my art history skills!! 

after our long day at the museo, we were pooped (why is it that museos do that to you!?) so we stopped for some early dins at another really authentic spanish place called "la zapatería" and it had shoes everywhere (very fitting for me, i suppose ;) ). having been famished my mama's eyes were bulging out of her head when she saw all the spanish food and literally wanted to order everything on the menu! haha but since it was just us two, we settled on splitting garlic shrimps (a rabadan fave), more pimientos de padrón, paella, and a salad. as always, it was delicious

after dinner i really was craving something sweet (weird huh) so i made my mama walk around with me until we found a bakery. i thought the plaza mayor was destined to have some bakeries open then but after walking through every side street going off it and not finding one (what the heck?!) we settled on the place next door to our hotel for a late-night sweet. we split this lemony, creamy pastry topped with lots of whip cream and toasted sliced almonds. it was divine even though i don't normally go for lemony desserts.

my train left madrid on sunday at 12 so we woke up early to grab some cafe con leche and tostada con mermelada but had trouble getting prompt service because there was a marathon in the middle of the streets and a billion ppl outside. later on i found out it was actually the largest marathon in spain that morning and there are approximately 35000 runners that particpate. fancy that! luckily i made it to the bus station amidst the craziness and made it home to mi falsa madre safe & sound.

the pictures are being finicky on the site so ill try posting them later. also apparently were having senior skip day with our program on wednesday hahaha and on thursday i meet up with my mama and tia linda for spring break!!!! we have an amazing line up of places and activities so stay tuned! :)

also side note, in case i dont update before then, this Friday April 22nd is Earth Day and in honor of it, starbucks is giving away FREEEEEE coffee or tea if you bring in ur reuseable mug!! (plus 20% off their mugs!) so go and get some free coffee with that reusable mug and conserve some energy while you're at it (aka unplug appliances). thats my starbucks plug for the day! i'm outtie

OH and the next day April 23rd is HANNAH SHATZEN'S 21ST BIRTHDAY !!!!!!!! so happy birthday hannie!!!!!!!!!!! make sure if you see her you give her a big hug and kiss from me because i wish i could be celebrating with her on her big day!!! and please, somebody look out for her ;)

¡hasta luego!