Thursday, December 30, 2010

ringing in the new year and the art of making bread












2010 was the year that I found BALANCE,
from trying to eat more seasonally and locally,
adding running and yoga into my daily routine,
baking and dabbling with new recipes to keep me content,
and finding time to cherish in the little things
like
...
a conversation with my grandma,
breakfast with my dad,
a walk with my mom,
coffee with my sister
and
dinners at home with Marc.
This blog too gives me balance
...
your comments,
your blogs,
and
the dialogue that evolves through blogging
is something I cherish.
So,
rather than list off all the things I have done in 2011
I would simply like to say thank you to each and every one of you!
...
You have brightened my mornings, afternoons and evenings,
and with that
helped me find balance.
It is quite fitting for me to end 2010 by making bread.
In January 2010 making bread would have seemed daunting
and
I would have been discouraged.
....
However,
what I have learned is that
...
The art of bread making is a metaphor for my year
...
one must be patient while making bread,
bread making shouldn't be rushed,
just like life.
So,
may 2011 bring you patience,
happiness
and
a book full of recipes that you are waiting to create!!
Bonne Année!
Bisous.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

tamales and traditions

my mom's signature heart ornaments
admiring
sparkles
green peppers and butternut squash
the husks
the masa
learning from the best (my grandma)
she learned at seven years old
filling in the tops
a holiday tradition
family

Highlights from Christmas
Making tamales with my grandma ... she told me stories from her childhood in Mexico as she taught me how to make tamales. I made vegetarian tamales that were filled with green peppers, butternut squash, gruyere and monterey jack cheese. They were incredible.
Spending time at my mom's ... she decorates every corner of her house
A Christmas Eve Run
Watching Elf with my family
Making Arroz con Leche - a traditional sweet rice dish. I substituted the milk and used
coconut milk ... mmm delicious
Seeing all of my family
Enjoying fresh cups of coffee with bourbon whipped cream ... my cousin Ashley never ceases to surprise me with her love for good food
A late night sleepover at my aunt and uncle's ... I stayed up with family watching Iron Chef till 2am
Spending time with family
The holidays left me inspired, thankful and blessed!!
Tonight,
Marc and I enjoyed some quiet time at home
where we enjoyed sage cheddar crostinis, chilled white wine, scallops in a dijon mustard sauce over
a bed of wild rice,
roasted carrots and parsnips
and
for dessert
carob dipped figs with sea salt and pistachios alongside cups of a tropical green tea
....
my heart is filled to the brim with love.
How was your holiday? And, how are you?
Bisous!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

boxes of goodness

peanut butter balls
dipped in chocolate
peppermint bark
and toffee bark
dark chocolate ganache for truffles
dark chocolate truffles
dinner while baking: french onion soup made by Marc
caramel apple cider
chocolate decadence
my all time favorite cookie
making meringues
before the oven
three hours later
Bon Appetit
boxes of goodness
Happy Holidays

So,
this year I decided to make boxes of goodness for friends and family.
And,
on Sunday I was up till 3am baking away
....
HEAVEN!
This year,
with the help of my friend Lacey and my sister
we made
...
Chocolate Decadence Peppermint Patty Cookies,
meringues,
dark chocolate peanut butter balls,
peppermint bark and toffee bark,
and
last but not least,
dark chocolate truffles.
I adorned my smaller boxes with a Bon Appetit ribbon
and
for the larger boxes
I filled each one with parchment paper
and
tied red and white baker's twine around the boxes.
...
I love paying attention to details.
I will have to proudly say
I was able to control myself while baking and only enjoyed a small tasting of each sweet.
But,
last night was a different story.
I had some of my friends over for spiced ciders and we gladly indulged in each and every sweet!
Good thing for Bikram tonight.
Balance.
I wish I could ship all of you a box of goodness
but for now
...
I hope these pictures will due.
Happy Holidays!!
Bisous!

Friday, December 17, 2010

triple citrus marmalade

triple citrus marmalade
the secret weapon
this was key
jamming
filling our jars
marmalade
a little mishap
science
putting the tops on
Melissa and I

So,
I thought I would share a little recipe with you for the weekend.
While on our trip to Michigan
I had the chance to bake to my heart's content with this lovely lady,
...
She happens to be family
and
let me tell you
she
never ceases to amaze me!!
A mother of three young boys,
creative,
smart,
a goddess in the kitchen,
and all together hilarious,
and
I am lucky to call her my friend.
If you have the chance check out her etsy shop
...
...
you will love EVERYTHING.
My personal favorite are the aprons,
or coming in a close second,
her signature superhero capes.
While visiting,
Melissa and I gabbed away,
laughed,
shared stories and baked,
jammed and cooked till the wee hours each night.
I learned so much from her,
like
how to multi task and cook with three little ones running around the kitchen,
to not be afraid of yeast
...
I will let you in on a little secret,
making bread up until recently
TERRIFIED ME.
I guess baking one rock hard loaf will do it to you.
But,
I am happy to say I am over that fear.
I would definitely have to say that I learned the most
when we made a triple citrus marmalade
from the blog food in jars
...
one of my new must read blogs.
While making our marmalade
we had a couple of mishaps,
but all in all it was a success.
I just love the color of the marmalade
and the taste is incredible.
Do you know that orange and lemon peels have natural pectin in them?
...
Sure,
this may be common sense to some of you but for me,
a newbie to jamming,
it simply amazed me.
I knew there was a reason why I put lemon juice in my strawberry jam recipe.
Ahhh the things you learn while jamming.
The last couple of mornings
I have heaped spoonfuls of triple citrus marmalade on my sourdough toast
and it literally whisks me straight back to Michigan.
Don't you love how a certain meal,
jam,
or
smell can do that!
...
Christmas is around the corner and I am busily wrapping away
and
prepping for a full day of baking this Sunday.
Cheers to that! Bisous!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

it's the little pleasures

Bellinis
Buca!
?
Gotcha!
making a toast
flying to Michigan
enjoying the window seat
Welcome to Michigan!
comfort food: curried lentil soup
the boys candy that Marc and I ate ... oops
picking the boys up from school
homemade cinnamon bread
mornings in Michigan

I am back!
Our trip to Michigan started off with an evening of celebrating.
Before we left,
Marc and I went to Buca di Bepo with family for
Bellinis, pizza and pasta.
Buca has by far the best Bellini
...
if you don't believe me,
well,
go see for yourself.
We toasted to the quarter,
exchanged our gifts early,
and planned our menu for our cookie bake off.
Marc and I scored a wonder pot
or also known as a slow cooker
...
I've been wanting one so I can make apple butter
without hovering over my stove.
Later that evening,
we quickly packed,
went to bed and left for Michigan the very next morning.
Our trip was filled with
cold weather,
tons of snow,
Christmas music,
foodie adventures,
baking bread,
more food,
a chilly workout,
and
our surprise to Meme was better than we had expected.
The next few posts will be a recap,
something
I am sure you won't want to miss.
I must say it was the little pleasures that made our trip special
...
we loved
waking up to a house of giggling little boys who ran around in superhero capes and would wake up early solely to look for the elf on the shelf aka kiki pizza.
Each morning we enjoyed fresh cinnamon bread with a sweet cream cheese frosting
and
lazily sipped homemade lattes.
And,
just being able to chat with our family four hours on end was what we enjoyed most!
What do you enjoy when you visit family?
Stay tuned for
some holiday recipes,
a foodie adventure,
Meme's surprise,
an evening of cooking,
a day of jamming
and
a trip to a Winter Farmers' Market.
Bisous!