Monday, December 31, 2007


Fried diced potatoes tossed with some peppers, onions, garlic, salt, pepper and served with a fried egg.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas and New Years

Happy Holidays! I hope everyone is having a good time. Christmas came and went by in a flash. I got some really adorable gifts this year as you can see in the picture above. Click on it to see a list of what I got.

Christmas dinner was nothing new; some pasteles (which I already posted a picture of here), a ham, a pernil, some yellow rice, and a few different desserts. We kept it a bit low key and that's because I hosted Christmas without knowing. The plan was to go over to my aunt's house for Christmas Eve and that was canceled. Then, to my surprise, everyone dropped by my house Christmas Day. Whoops. Thank god I had some food ready.

Maple Ham


Arroz con Gandules

I unfortunately burned myself quite badly too. Ah well, I'm still tickin.

New Years is going to be lowkey as well. I don't think I'm going to cook anything special; maybe a few finger foods like pastelitos and alcapurrias. Mmmm. I will post pics of that next week.

Go check out Flickr for some new pictures!

Until next time,
<3 Jess

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Here We Go. Low-Fat, Whole Wheat Green Tea

This was my fortune when I opened a cookie. Does this mean I have to invent a whole wheat green tea to make a fortune? I don't know. I am looking forward for it to be a wonderful day, however. Even if I don't make a fortune out of tea.

Until next time
<3 Jess

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Pasteles Are Done!

Yucca (cassava) pasteles with a pork filling and hot sauce on top

This was an absolute treat. I am so happy I finally buckled down and made them. Maybe sometime I'll post the (long and somewhat complicated) recipe.

I'm very excited for Christmas! I already have the whole menu planned out:

Pernil Asado
Arroz con Gandules
Potato Salad
Arroz con Dulce
Dulce de Coco
and of course some Coquito.

Some of this will be started today. I do hope everyone is having a joyous Christmas Eve. Happy holidays from my family to yours.

Until next time!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Truffles (With Almonds)

Recipe coming soon. Just in case I don't post again...

Happy Holidays!

Until next time,
<3 Jess

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Eggs In a Hole and Lemon Pepper Chicken

Eggs in a Hole (Today's breakfast)

Lemon Pepper Chicken (last night's dinner)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The January Budget and Other Things

I spent the weekend not feeling so well so i took a break from blogging and cooking and laid low. Now that I'm feeling better, almost done with Christmas shopping, and about to get through the down and dirty parts of cooking, I'm thinking about January.

January is usually the most frugal month for my family; It's after Christmas and we've spent (too much) money on all the festivities and gifts. So I've devised a shopping list to keep us eating cheap. I think I'll track the experience on my blog by posting frugal recipes made with only the things on my shopping list. I don't know how well this will work but let's have fun with it, shall we?

My Shopping List:

Margarine $1.18
Eggs (36) $3.00
Milk (6 gallons) $23.89

Rice $14
Vienna sausages (4 cans) $2
Tuna (2 cans) $1

20lb chicken quarters $10
1lb chicken feet ($1.50 (to make broth)
Pork (one boneless roast) $8
Beef (6lbs) $9
Tilapia $5.50

Cream of wheat $1.50
Oatmeal 2.00

10 lbs beans ($10)
Lentils $0.69
Split peas $0.69
Egg noodles $1

Juices- OJ ($10)
Cranberry ($5)
Capri Sun (4 boxes of 12) $5

Yeast $1.12
Flour (10lbs) $2
Brown sugar $2
Sugar 10lbs $4.14
Coffee (4 packs) $10
Salt (3) $1
Pepper $1
Oregano $1.20
Basil $1.20
Adobo $1.12
Sazon (36) $4.10
Parsley $0.76
Cilantro $0.76
Chili powder $1.10
Cayenne pepper $.50

Garlic (2lbs) $2.40
Broccoli $5
Green beans $5
Carrots (2) - $1
Celery (2) $2
Lettuce $1.12

Tomato sauce (20 cans) $5.00
Tomatoes (3) $3.00
Mangoes (2) - $1
Oranges (free from tree)
Potatoes 20lbs - $6.00
Bell peppers (6) $3.00
Onions (5lbs) $2
Avocado $1
Pears (2lbs) - $2
Bananas (4lbs) $2
Apples (2lbs) $3
Plantains (9) $3
Unsweetened Apple Sauce (2) $2.50
Ham, (1lb) 3.38
American Cheese (16 slices) 1.98
Turkey, (1lb) 3.40
Provolone (1lb) 3.30


Until next time,
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hot Cocoa? No, it's...

Hot Co-Co-Cocoa

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups of 2% milk


Pinch of chili powder

In a medium sauce pan, pour in cocoa, sugar, salt, cinnamon sticks, and water. Mix well and bring to a boil. After the mixture has boiled for at least two minutes (it should thicken a bit), add four cups of milk and let simmer for ten minutes or until heated through. Stir in the vanilla and pinch of chili powder, if using.

Serve in mugs topped with marshmallows. Excellent with warm oatmeal cookies.

Or, if you feel so inclined, drop in a square of Green and Black organic dark chocolate (or any good chocolate).

Until next time,
<3 Jess

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pork Stir-Fry

Boneless pork chops sliced and stir-fried with broccoli, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and onion in a soy and plum sauce. It was served with short grain white rice and

Sorry this picture only shows the broccoli and pork. I went back to take a better shot and the whole pan was gone. I guess it was just that good.

Until next time,
<3 Jess

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Bistec Encebollado

Beef and Marinade:

1 1/2 lbs thinly sliced top round
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons adobo
1 teaspoon pepper

2 large onions, thinly sliced into rings and separated
1 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons vinegar

In a large bowl mix all the marinade ingredients minus the beef. Whisk until thoroughly mixed.

Add in the beef and stir until the beef is coated. Note: This is not a runny marinade. Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Heat a large skillet to medium. Add in the olive oil, vinegar, and onions. Sautee until onions become translucent, about 10 minutes. Add in the beef and cook until browned. Adjust seasonings if needed.

Serve with onions and sauce drizzled on top, accompanied with rice and beans, a baked potato, or other vegetable.

Until next time,

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Pork Chops with Mixed Vegetables and Red Beans and Rice

Red rice and beans cooked in the same pot with achiote, paprika and other spices served with an oregano and black pepper rubbed boneless pork chop. A serving of mixed vegetables (green beans, corn, potatoes and carrots) finishes the meal. The pork chop was very tender and moist; I think the picture makes it look otherwise. Note to self: take picture of cut pork chop next time.

Coconut ice was for dessert.

Tomorrow I will be cooking, and providing the recipe, for Bistec Encebollado (thin steaks smothered in onions and a vinaigrette, puerto rican style). Also next week I start making holiday treats so be prepared for posts about coconut candy, cookies, and homemade peanut butter cups as well as a frugal meals series.

Until next time,

Friday, December 07, 2007

It Was One Of Those Days

My cat got stuck in the Christmas tree.

I was woken up by my mother pounding on my door asking for help and screaming at my grandma. So I'm thinking there's a fire, grandpa's having a heartattack, the dog is foaming at the mouth...

Missy, the baby (3 months), climbed into the tree and promptly got the light cord wrapped around her leg, pinned to the trunk, and was screaming her head off. And of course anytime someone tried to get near her she would scratch and bite. Now, I got this tree last year because I hated the old one we got; it had individual branches you had to pop in and out. This one is just a big umbrella...

I would have killed to have that damn old one with the removable branches this morning. There was no way to get Missy free. Then my grandma (who kept making things worse) tried to get her free which I think only hurt her more. Lilly (who is the cat we got a few months ago) is protective of Missy so she was on top of the birdcage (next to the tree) trying to see what was going on. Which means the birds were squawking, the dogs were barking, and the grandparents were screaming. So then I reach in and at this point the poor thing is so terrified she lets out a howl. Then (oh, this is the good part) Lilly, apparently thought I was hurting her baby...

Lilly attacked me. So of course I'm now screaming, ornaments are flying, and the birdcage gets tipped over. I get Lilly off of me, return the birdcage to it's upright position, and lift Missy up to a higher branch so she can disentangle herself, which she does. My mom pulls her out of the tree, we check her leg, I give her a few kisses and cuddles, and she runs off to play with her scratching post. I've been keeping an eye on her and somehow she just doesn't seem that hurt. I think she was howling out of fear more than anything.

The damage; eight scratches, one bite (that did not break skin but hurts like a mofo), two tree branches bent beyond repair, 14 broken ornaments, one scared cat (Lilly, who after attacking me is hiding from me), one hungry kitty (Missy, who after all the commotion wants brunch), and one very jittery grandma I gave aspirin to.

After the adrenaline wore off, I had a pounding headache and went right back to bed until 1pm. I didn't even cook dinner tonight; we picked up a cooked chicken from the store. At least I'm almost done with the presents.


Until next time,
<3 Jess

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Yucca y Bacalao

Salted cod and cassava. A simple meal and one of the tastiest.

I'm as busy as Rudolph on Christmas Eve. I have a lot of these to get to and I have not forgotten anyone. Tomorrow is Friday so here's hoping I get to respond to all my emails, read blogs, and what-not.

Until next time,

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lasagna Lasagna Lasagna!

Mine, unfortunately, came out with a crispy top. It didn't taste off or anything but the top was...well, you can see in the picture. I think it's time I get myself a new baking dish. Mine is too dark and shiny and having to constantly adjust cooking times in a PITA. Still, this lasagna was delicious and my hungry eaters had nothing but good things to say about it. Seconds and even a third was dished. Goes to show that food doesn't have to be pretty to taste amazing. Still...


When I make another good batch and get good pics I'll post my recipe.

Two things coming up are a few posts on frugal eating and recipes and a post on holiday treats. It's the time of year where I start making cooking, cupcakes, and candies to give to neighbours and send to friends so my kitchen is going to be open for business in about a week. Just need to go get a few last ingredients. I might make a few test chocolates today. If I do, expect pictures!

Until next time,
<3 Jess

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Single Flower

Taken in my backyard

Monday, December 03, 2007

Roasted Cornish Hens

2 Cornish Hens (1.5lbs each)
2 lemons ( I quartered, 1 sliced)
12 cloves of garlic
3 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

Wash the hens well, pat dry and place in baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the salt, pepper, rosemary, and enough olive oil to make a thick paste (about a tablespoon). Rub over the hens. Stuff each cavity with two lemon wedges and two cloves of garlic. Place remaining garlic around the hens in baking dish (I like to tuck a clove under each wing and thigh joint). Place lemon slices on top of hens and bake for 1 hour or until juices run clear.

Remove hens from baking dish and place on serving platter. The garlic and juices will be left in the pan. Mash leftover garlic with some of the drippings (juices) and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle sauce over hen.

Serve with rice pilaf and vegetables.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Cupcakes and Movies

My family made other plans (again) so this is the second night without hens. That's okay; I'm taking the night off. I fixed myself a double chocolate cupcake sprinkled with sliced almonds and a bit of Dominican Cacao. So incredibly tasty! Now I'm going to sit back and watch Mambo Italiano.

I'll be back tomorrow with my regularly scheduled post, will answer correspondence, and, hopefully, cook a nice dinner.

Until next time,
<3 Jess

Sometimes Life Happens

Somewhere between my house and the library

Remember that amazing cornish hen meal I was going to make? Didn't happen. My mother decided to spend the weekend with her boyfriend, my grandparents went to bed early, and Kyle spent a good portion of the evening playing games and being a teenager. Since I had the night to myself, I ate dinner out of a container, wrapped a few presents, and looked through a few early pictures I took. The one in this post is my favourite.

I also paid a few bills tonight which gave me some indigestion. The current state of the economy worries me. My neighbours are moving and, though I don't know the reason, I feel for them somehow. For all I know they struck the lottery and are moving to mansion but something about the emptying of a house makes me sad. I cringe whenever I see a "For Sale" sign or another garage sale. I actually thought of having a garage sale myself when I realized no one had money to buy my items and I'd rather have them go down with the ship. On a more personal note, I do feel as if I'm about to lose my grasp on things. I have yet to make a late payment on anything or make just the bare minimums but we're getting there. We're a huge household currently living on just my grandparents' benefits (long story) which is not even enough for the mortgage. Thank goodness we had money saved up because it's what has kept us going this long.

I'm not complaining, just venting. Is there a difference? I think so. I don't feel unfortunate, cursed, angry, upset...I do feel stressed and letting it all out through this medium helps. I can say things here I can't say to anyone in person. The homemaker of the family always seems to be the rock. I'm the soother, the nurturer; I check for fevers and keep the creepy things in the dark at bay. because of that, I feel like I'm letting someone down when I myself feel a sense of fear. But we're fine. That's what I keep telling myself and right now it's still the truth.

We are better off than so many in the community, so many in the world, that my throat locks whenever I feel like whining. Sometimes I feel the sigh rise up in my lungs and it stops itself before it ever reaches my lips; I think of my grandparents. They didn't cross a sea with little but the clothing on their backs for me to weep. They didn't go hungry so I could snack on Doritos and whimper about how I have nothing. I didn't sleep on floors, get passed around from home to home, live with all of my belonging in a bag so years later my biggest concern would be the interest on a mortgage or whether Visa has been paid on time. I think of all this and pull myself up by my bootstraps, repeat my mantra ("If there's a roof over our head and food in our stomachs we're fine"), and go on with life. The desperation never reaches my lips.

I guess it reaches my fingertips sometimes. That's okay...

As long as it's only sometimes.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Gift Tags: A Story

I always forget to buy gift tags for my presents, even if I have them on my shopping list. It's not a big deal if I have enough time to make them but sometimes I forget to do that too. One memorable year I spent Christmas Eve trying to remember which package belonged to who and writing down the recipients' names with a Sharpie right onto the wrapping paper. Everyone got the wrong gifts. I even opened a gift I had wrapped (forgetting for a moment that I wouldn't have wrapped a present for myself, duh). The family had a great laugh.

It's the best Christmas I've ever had.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Knitting and Reptiles Go Together...

...I think. Perhaps not but they seemed to define my evening.

Upon my way home from food shopping I saw three reptiles around my bedroom window- two frogs, a baby and an adult, and one lizard. The baby frog hopped away before I could get a good picture but I did manage to get decent ones of the adults (see above pics).

After making some BLTs for dinner (which I didn't think were interesting enough for a post of their own) I settled down for a bit of knitting. I happen to knit with very little, if any, thought as to what it is I am making. I suppose right now I'm making a scarf. I want it to be a gift but the friend in mind works in a professional environment and I suspect she might find it childish. But everyone needs a fun fuzzy scarf, right?

ETA: I forgot to mention what kind of yarn this is. It's two yarns worked together, both Lion Brand: Incredible in "City Lights" and Fancy Fur in "Electric Slide". I'm using sz 10 needles.

Hmm. I'll finish the scarf and see what my family thinks. Worse case scenario I'd find use for it, I'm sure. If i make another scarf with the same yarn but in a different colour I could make a striped pillow or rug...See, ideas never stop. By the way, one side looks a bit wonky but there's nothing wrong with the knitting. I was just too lazy to take a good picture.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to wrap presents, drop by the bank, and do some majour cleaning in the kitchen. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's dinner quite a bit: Cornish hens stuffed with rosemary and lemon, served with a garlic sauce and a rice pilaf. Mango sorbet with lemon slices finishes off the meal.

I can't wait!

Until next time,
<3 Jess

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oxtail Stew (Minus the Stew)

Rabo guisado, arroz blanco, habichuelas rosadas

A lot of the oxtail (rabo) recipes I see are for a stew; something with a few veggies, a moderate amount of liquid, and meant to be eaten alone. While this tastes well I've never cooked oxtail this way. I like the sauce to be thick and a perfect accompaniment to white rice and red kidney beans. I've been cooking it this way for years and it's one of my mom's favourite dishes. She's sick today so I decided to spoil her. I also thought to take a few pictures of the process as well as the final product.

I used a pound and a half of oxtail. The first step was to mix about three cups of flour, five tablespoons of salt, and two tablespoons of pepper in a plastic container (one I never returned to the neighbours heh) and made sure the oxtail were well covered.

In the meantime I let two tablespoons of butter melt in my stock pot. Once the oxtail was covered I added them into the pot, a few pieces at a time, until browned on all sides. I set that aside.

Into the pot I added in chopped onions, peppers, and garlic and let that sautee until caramelized.

The oxtail went back into the post along with 8oz of tomato sauce, beef broth, oregano, cilantro, parsley, an adobo mix, and a tiny dash of Worcestershire sauce.

It look pretty watery and...well, empty in the above pic but it's not. I bring it up to a boil and then let it simmer for a wonderful three hours. In that time the liquid has reduced to a thick gravy. I adjust salt and pepper to taste and then serve with the rest of the meal.

My dinner plate (no presentation; I was hungry!!)

Mmm Mmm Mmmm. This is a perfect stick-to-the-ribs kind of meal. Add in a nice salad and a cold drink, and you're good to go. To really up the ante on this meal I followed it up with a nice Dulce de Leche ice cream. My waistline gave up the good fight.

Until next time,
<3 Jess

"A Material Reflection" or "OMG I WANT THIS!"

I love surfing the net on my free time and I especially love looking at handmade, personal wares that someone clearly put a lot of passion into. Although there's nothing wrong with getting all your gifts at Target or worshiping big name brands (I happen to worship Nintendo, fyi). Here's a bunch of items and stores I'm fond of drooling over. I'm not actually asking for these things but sometimes taking a moment (or half an hour) to think of things you'd like (and posting them to your wishlist) is healthy . Besides, they make great gifts for anyone so keep these awesome places and their items in mind.

I adore the little pendants at this shop. They are photos or paintings printed on plastic and sealed for truly unique necklaces. My favourite is Almost Night [pictured at left]. Gorgeous.


Cute crocheted stuffed toys! These toys are made with original patterns by Ana Paula herself. Her creations caught the eyes of amigurumi enthusiasts everywhere and now you can pre-order her book, Amigurumi World, at and Borders. It's high on my wishlist, for sure.

Belle and Boo

These prints are adorable and for some reason always remind me of my grandmother. I'd love one or two of these hanging in my kitchen or bedroom. This one is called "Under the Mistletoe" and it's one of my favourites.

Not so handmade: Items that are mass-produced (some more than others). I still think are cool enough to give someone for the holidays.

Fred Flare

I remember shopping at Fred Flare online when it was a small shop with only five categories. A few years later and this site has grown, big time. It's still my favourite place to score funky accessories and home decor, including some old things I thought I'd never see again. I had a snow cone machine just like this one when I was a kid.

Illustory Make Your Own Story Kit

Now this is exciting! I've gotten this kit for a few kids and never been disappointed. Children ages 5 to 8 create this own story on the pages of the kit; they can draw, paint, and write whatever their little hearts dreams up. Stick the pages into the pre-paid envelope provided, send it off, and in three weeks you'll get a professionally printed version of the book. You can only write twenty words per page and it's a short book but that's okay; the kids can write their 500pg thesis when they're older.

Kozik Anarchy Tofu Robot

Isn't he adorable? Animal friendly AND liberal, how can you get any better than this? I'm dying to have one of these little guys on my desk. He's made by Spicy Brown toys and is a limited edition. You can also buy him from My Plastic Heart.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

Every single person I know who owns this book raves about it. The recipes are tasty, easy to make, and look beautiful. But really, what more can I ask for from the people behind The Post Punk Kitchen?

And that's the list of really cool things I want. To see other cool items you can drop by Etsy which is essentially an internet shopping universe just for handmade, one of a kind items. Now that I'm done, it's your turn.

What would you like?

Until next time
<3 Jess

Monday, November 26, 2007

Being Organized for Everything Except Christmas

My planner open to this week

I pride myself on being a very organized person. As you can see from my agenda, I like to keep on top of everything whether it's sales, school activities, weekly menus, whatever. Embarrassingly enough I use a "Go Mom!" planner; aimed at the stay-at-home mother it has a daily planning section with a space to put meals on the bottom, to-do/to-call lists, medical, grocery, and school information sections, a place to put pets' vet records, a place to put household info (mortgage company, insurance company, etc), and a very large address book section for contacts.

To be honest, I was quite embarrassed when I first started using this type of planner two years ago. While I am essentially a "housewife", I have no children, I'm not married, and I'm in my early 20's*. Using this planner, even though I loved it, felt like I was one step away from spandex leggings and a teal minivan with too many bumper stickers on it. But I digress...

My point was that I love being organized to a point of embarrassment. By this time of year most of the presents have been bought, the last few are being made, many have been wrapped, and my neat little checklist dwindles down until the week before Christmas when I am done with everything and begin work on a menu fit for kings.

Not this year.

Yeah, that's right. I'm nowhere near done with gifts, I haven't even picked out what I want, nothing has been wrapped, and I haven't given a thought to Christmas menu other than the fact I'd like to cook pernil again. In fact, the most Christmas-y thing I've done is set up the tree and take the Christmas burro out of it's box.

Our Christmas Burro. Why do we have one? I have no idea.

At a time when Christmas is finally coming at me as fast as I can take it, I've slowed to a snail's pace and am taking it easy. I didn't even plan out Black Friday or stake out a shopping line spot for a sweet deal. Instead I wandered into Target at 5pm and walked out with Donnie Darko, Patch Adams, Say Anything's "In Defense of the Genre", Othello (boardgame) , two My Littlest Pet Shop toys, Baby Einstein toys, and a few other small goodies; in other words, pretty low-key stocking stuffers. Target was not as packed nor as chaotic as I thought it'd be but that's probably because I was there so late. The best part of the shopping trip was that the small cafe inside was completely empty; I bought myself a regular coffee and sipped away contemplating what to get the special people in my life before and then went back to ponder about NYC afterward. Christmas always makes me miss the city...but I digress.

I'd list everything I bought and who it's for but I think a few of my giftees read this blog (although they never comment...AHEM!) and I hate spoiling surprises.

I have a few ideas of what I would like for Christmas but everything I can think of, I find a reason I don't need it. I'm working on a blog post of gifts and stores I find cool but I don't think I'll ask for anything on that list. Times are a bit tough since no one is the household works* at the moment so I've taken to spoiling the kids. And let's face it, I'm not a kid anymore. My "Go Mommy" planner says so.

Until next time
<3 Jess

PS: *At some point I'll probably give a quick rundown about myself and where I come from, why I'm here, who I live with, what I do, etc etc. My insanely boring life story; coming soon to a blog near you!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

T'was the Day (Way) After Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving Table

Clockwise from top: Roasted Turkey with herb butter ( inside is a sausage, bread and picadillo stuffing). Yellow rice with pigeon peas. Sauteed green beans tossed with baked sweet potatoes, roasted garlic and balsamic vinaigrette. Gravy (in small individual ramekins). Herbed Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Cranberry and Orange Sauce (in red goblet). Coquito (in green pitcher). Brown Sugar and Honey Ham. Not shown: NY Style Cheesecake. Carrot Cupcakes. Bread. Cheese platter. Bruschetta.

Herb Roasted Turkey

I slow roasted my turkey from 6am 'til almost 6pm; close to twelve hours of slow heat and a lot of moisture. I had, seriously, one of the juiciest turkeys I've ever made. I couldn't even take it out of the rack because it started to fall apart when I tried to move it. I had to serve it on the rack! It ruined my table atmosphere and took up precious room but I'm not complaining.

Brown Sugar and Honey Ham

Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes

I ended up not serving all the food I thought I would which is good because no one showed up. Actually, my aunt, her husband, and her child did show up but they had already eaten at someone else's Thanksgiving dinner. No, I'm not bitter about that at all. This just means that A) I'm glad I didn't serve more food than I did and B) I'll have some leftovers (normally my leftovers only last me until the next morning). I was bitter that my aunt and uncle made terrible guests and really irritated my little brother who ended up leaving the dining room and spending the rest of the evening in bed. Ahh, family. Gotta love them, right?

I made up for the subpar Thanksgiving by making some killer sandwiches from the leftovers and my family (well, my household) fixed up the Christmas tree. I did indeed venture out on Black Friday but it was much later in the evening and I only picked up a few smaller items like DVDs and toys for the kids. The rest of the holiday weekend was spent lounging around and cleaning the house. Tomorrow I will begin decorating the outdoors for the holidays. Fun fun fun.

Now if only I could plan what to cook tomorrow. I'm thinking a fettuccine with marinara sauce, steamed lemon pepper broccoli and...and...aww bloody hell. I'm too tired to think of anything to cook. Oh...on second though I think I'll make oxtail soup. Yes. Oxtail soup. *licks lips* Picture and recipe tomorrow, perhaps.

Until next time
<3 Jess

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tropical Beef Stew (A Poor Man's Sancocho)

Tropical Beef Stew

Beef, plantains, yams, cassava, and spanish pumpkins simmered in a broth made from stock, sour orange juice and spices.

Although this is close as hell to a Dominican Sancocho (seven meat stew) it only has beef in it therefore I'm just calling it a beef stew. I don't have a recipe for this (I just threw all this stuff together randomly to fabulous results) but look I will post my sancocho recipe sometime next week. Enjoy.

T'was the Day Before Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving menu

Excuse my messy penmanship; I wrote the updated menu this morning at two in the morning just before falling asleep clutching a recipe for biscuits and dreaming of lumps of dough dancing to the nutcracker suite. Incidentally I just realized I left biscuits off this menu though I plan to make them..sneaky, yeasty bastards.

The checkmarks next to the dishes indicates I've made it already, the dash means I'm going to be preparing it completely or partially today and the x means it gets cooked completely tomorrow.

Thanksgiving is also our Christmas tree decorating party; after a good meal my whole family places ornaments on the tree in between playing board games, the wii, and watching family movies like "The Grinch" or "Nightmare Before Christmas". So that means I have to take down the tree and ornaments from the closet and sort through them. Actually, I think my mother and brother will be doing most of the household stuff on my to-do list, which I am grateful for. Truthfully I shouldn't be sitting on my ass and blogging when lots has to be done but every girl needs some downtime.

Today's To-Do List:


Place turkey in cold water to ensure it's fully thawed
Season turkey and let marinate in fridge overnight
Roast garlic for mashed potatoes
Prepare gravy (minus thickening agent)
Wrap sweet potatoes in foil to roast tomorrow
Mix glaze for ham
Infuse extra virgin olive oil with rosemary and thyme for bread dipping tomorrow
Prepare picadillo (seasoned ground beef)
Toast bread for stuffing
Thaw sausage for stuffing


Press table linens
Wash platters and serving ware
Set up Christmas tree
Bring down boxes of ornaments
Recharge camera batteries
Recharge wii remotes

My to-do list tomorrow is huge and organized by hour so I'm not even going to get into that. I'm also going to take a moment tonight to manicure my nails (which as a cook just means making sure they're clean, unpolished, and short), do my hair (neat bun), and go to sleep early!

Here's hoping tomorrow goes well.

Until next time,

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Tease

Coquito (tropical eggnog)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Buzz Lightyear is the Victor! (Coquito Helps)

Buzz Lightyear: Disney Sorry

Today was an eventful day. My cousin came over so i could watch her during the Thanksgiving day. We played plenty of Disney Sorry; i was both the blue AND red team and won. Thanks, Buzz!

Preparations for Thanksgiving are well under way. Today was spent making a thick turkey stock for gravy, cranberry sauce, two cheesecakes, and spice mixtures for the meat. I'm very excited about the menu I am serving on Thursday. Hopefully it all goes off without a hitch and everything comes out tasting fine.

I got a bit of a surprise today. A friend of M had a three month old kitten he couldn't keep due to his rental agreement. My mom took her in and brought her to me. I've named her Misfit (or Missy (Me-see) for short). She wasted no time climbing over everything and acquainting herself with my library.

Mmm, vegetarian cookbooks!

She has thankfully adjusted quite well to the other animals. Her favourite game so far seems to be "Grab Poco's tail and run." Very amusing for Missy, not that amusing for Poco. *raises glass of coquito*Here's to having eight furry babies keeping you warm.

Until next time,
<3 Jess