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.