Tuesday, May 27, 2014

tan lines...

tan lines are earned not bought...flip flop tan in may!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

roasted garbanzo beans...

these roasted garbanzo beans are easy and addicting, and even depending on your spice blend they kinda taste like corn nuts (but healthier!).

2 cans garbanzo beans (rinsed and dried)
2 T olive oil
1 t of each seasoning: cumin, ginger, chili, paprika, tumeric
salt and pepper to taste

how to:

rinse and dry your garbanzo beans.  i found it easiest to lay them out on paper towels on a cookie sheet.

in a bowl combine all of your spices and oil and mix well until garbanzo beans are thoroughly coated.  back on cookie sheet in single layer at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until crispy and browned.

Friday, May 23, 2014

holiday road...

camper is packed and we are ready to enjoy this beautiful holiday weekend in santa cruz!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

T minus 24 hours...

we are a day away from leaving on our memorial day roadtrip weekend in the teardrop camper!  w are so excited for our weekend in santa cruz!  it will be filled with bike riding, nature, naps in the pod, good food and most of all enjoying one another !!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

dad's helper...

jarad was working on the camper before work this morning and he had a little helper...i think wilfred is excited for his first road trip...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014



there are a few recipes that i have mastered...and this is one of them!  my grandfather is cuban and his favorite dessert is his mother's flan.  it was probably over 10 years ago i made a mission to find the best flan recipe.  this is a dessert that can be intimidating, but i guarentee you i have the most simple and delicious flan recipe!

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 can sweetened and condensed milk

how to:

step one - carmelize sugar.  put your one cup of sugar in a non-stick sauce pan until it is all melted and a rich amber color.  it is VERY hot, so very carefully pour the sugar into a pie tin and coat the whole thing.

step two - get a baking dish that is larger than your pie tin, a 9 x 13 pan is usually good.  and pour an inch of water in.  we are getting the water bath ready (this will help the flan to cook evenly and get the right consistency).  put the water bath in a 350 degree oven.

step three- in a blender, pour in your can of sweetened and condensed milk, water and 4 eggs, and blend away until combined and smooth!

step four - pour your mixture into your pie tin that will cook inside of the water bath.

step five- be patient...it can take approximately 40 minutes to cook or until the mixture is firm and not jiggly.

step six - remove pie tin from water and allow to cool in fridge overnight.

when ready to serve, run a butter knife around the edge of the pie tin and flip onto a platter.

this is my most prized recipe, because it is the easiest flan recipe you will come across and it is by far the best!  my grandfather will be the first to tell you it is better than his own mothers, and my husband who does not like flan, gets excited for this each time i make it.  i tried a whole lot of flan recipes before i got to this one and i know consider myself to be a flan expert. hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

Monday, May 19, 2014

one year ago today...

one year ago today our little family changed forever...we became pet parents.  im sorry i know this is corny, but i have to wish my puppy wilfred a happy first official birthday.  we think he is now around 1 1/2 years old and in the time we have had him, he has turned into a confident, smart, funny and loving companion.  he brings us so much joy, fun and laughter and it is hard to imagine our lives without him. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

reunited and it feels so good...

the highlight of my week was a phone call from my dear friend dee who lives in the bay area, he told me he was making a last minute trip to los angles for the weekend.  we started to make some plans and i was so excited to catch up with one of my closest friends that i haven't seen since my wedding.  we ended up meeting up for dinner and drinks and was lucky enough to even have jarad join us for dinner before he had to take off for his camping trip. 

with summer on its way, it is the start to graduation season and we know a few grads this year...jarad reminded me this morning on our way back from the gym that 10 years ago he graduated from college and that since i graduated a year prior, that would make it 11 years for me...wow!  when did fly by so quickly???  then at dinner i was reminded by dee that it was ten years ago that he graduated which would make it 11 for me (this was feeling like deja vu), but he ended with "which would make it 15 years of friendship"

so cheers to our friends, who make us who we are and to many many many more long years of friendship!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

vietnamese coffee...

jarad and i have a favorite spot to get vietnamese pho soup, and not only do they have the best pho in town but they also have great vietnamese coffee!  it is strong, creamy and delicious!  jarad looked online to find out the secret and its all in the coffee bean.  they use cafe du monde coffee grounds.  having family in new orleans, i was very familiar with this brand.  it is a famous spot in the french quarter that serves the best coffee and beignets (french donuts).  what makes this coffee different from what we find in the grocery store is the blend of coffee and chicory.  if you are like myself and wondering what chicory is, you can check it out here

so the secret to the pefect iced vietnamese is cafe du monde coffee grounds and sweetened and condensed milk.

i brewed a pot of coffee as usual and poured it over plenty of ice.  then i added a heaping tablespoon of sweetened and condensed milk.  unfortunately i was out of half and half, but i think a splash of cream would have made this drink just as good as our favorite restaurant. and although everyone should experience having new orleans style coffee and beignets in the french quarter at the famous cafe du monde, the coffee grounds are also available on amazon.com

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

favorite kitchen appliance...

i am loving these kitchen challenges that nani and i have been posting about lately!  we started with our favorite kitchen gadgets, and now this post is about my favorite kitchen appliance.  although this one seemed quite easy at the time, i had a hard time deciding which one was my favorite, so i am posting my 2 must have kitchen appliances.

on the left is my kitchen aid hand held mixer, the perfect mixer for small kitchens!  i have the heavy duty kitchen aid mixer that i got for a wedding gift at my bridal shower, but because i dont have a lot of counter space and it is heavy, i have not used it in over 1 year!!!  so that is why i love my hand held mixer, it is powerful and compact!

on the right is my crock pot (this was my close second).  this gets used much more frequently when the weather is cold, as it is perfect for soups, stews, roasts and hearty meals.  i love the convenience and versatility of it so much that i have even tried to use it for breakfast and desserts. i have many blog posts about some of my favorite crock pot meal ideas. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

the love shack...

when we built the teardrop camper almost 2 years ago, we ran out of time to paint it.  i had bought the paint, but unfortunately we never got around to it.  now that things are slowing down and we have a trip planned for memorial day weekend to santa cruz in the camper, i was feeling inspired to spruce it up!  i found the old paint but didn't like the color.  i wanted an "apple green" color, and the paint was looking like a fluorescent highlighter.  i took the paint to the hardware store and asked them to re-tint it for me.  they can usually do this if the color is in the same shade and you want to go darker.  so they added more green and a bit of blue to get the color you see now.  i truly had a custom paint color made just for me, and it only cost $4 to re-tint the paint.  now we are ready for our trip in a couple of weeks!

Friday, May 9, 2014

deconstructed caprese salad...

i owe this recipe to my sister, who recently made this at wine night.  since then i have made it several times and it is the perfect summer salad and a great spin on the caprese salad. 


heirloom tomatoes
marinated mozzarella balls
fresh basil
balsamic vinegar
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

how to:

cut tomatoes in half, add mozzerlla (i get the marinated mozzarella from trader joes and it is packed in herbed olive oil, perfect to save for salad dressings), rip basil and dress with olive oil, balsamic and salt and pepper to taste.  this is perfect for a summer side dish and is fresh and simple!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

kitchen gadgets...

this post is dedicated to my dear friend nani, who also shares my passion for cooking and fun kitchen gadgets.  she challenged me to find my favorite kitchen gadget, and by the looks of my kitchen drawer you can tell it is a hard task.

after looking through it many times, i came up with my top four must have kitchen gadgets.

 from left to right we have:

1 - the microplane:  pefect for zesting citrus, parmesan cheese, ginger, garlic and onion,
2 - salad fingers - these bamboo salad fingers fit your hands perfectly for mixing and serving salads.
3 - wine aerator -  put this in your wine bottle as you would a cork and let it pour the perfect glass of wine for you.  it allows air to get it and let your wine breathe.
4 - scrapper/cutter - i am not sure the proper name for this tool, but i love it to transfer food from the cutting board to the pan or to cut doughs.

those are my top 4 favorite kitchen gadgets, but this has got me thinking about my other favorite kitchen must haves.  i am excited to see what nani has in her kitchen and feedback on what you use!?!?!?