Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone's having a great day.

<3 Jess

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Serefina's Shawl - Hibernation

This project has officially been hibernated. I used to hate the way it was coming out and put it away for quite some time. I recently came across it again and fell in love with it. Unfortunately I just don't have the time to finish it .

Seraphina Stitching Detail

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What I Have Done

Borrowed from Maria @ The Pied-A-Terre

The bolded are things I have done.

Swam with wild dolphin
Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
Been inside a Pyramid
Held a tarantula
Taken a candle lit bath
Said I love you and meant it
Hugged a Tree
Bungee jumped
Visited Paris
Watched a lightening storm at sea
Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
Seen the Northern Lights
Gone to a huge sports game
Walked the stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
Grown and eaten your own vegetables
Touched an iceberg
Slept under the stars
Changed a baby’s diaper
Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
Watched a meteor shower
Gotten drunk on champagne
Given more than you can afford to charity
Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
Had a food fight
Bet on a winning horse
Asked out a stranger
Had a snowball fight
Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
Held a lamb
Seen a total eclipse
Ridden a rollercoaster
Hit a home run
Danced like a fool, not caring who watched
Adopted an accent for an entire day
Actually felt happy about your life, even for a moment
Had two hard drives for your computer
Visited all 50 states
Taken care of someone who was too drunk
Had amazing Friends
Danced with a Stranger in a foreign country
Watched wild whales
Stolen a sign
Hitchhiked in Europe
Taken a road-trip
Gone rock climbing
Midnight walk on the beach
Gone sky diving
Visited Ireland
Been heartbroken longer than you were in love
In a restaurant sat at a stranger’s table and ate with them
Milked a cow
Alphabetized your CDs
Pretended to be a superhero
Sung karaoke
Lounged around in bed all day
Posed nude in front of strangers
Gone scuba diving
Kissed in the rain
Played in the mud
Played in the rain
Gone to a drive-in theater
Visited the Great Wall of China
Started a business
Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
Toured ancient sites
Taken a martial arts class
Played a computer game for more than 6 hours straight
Gotten married
Been in a movie
Crashed a party
Gotten divorced
Gone without food for 5 days
Made cookies from scratch
Won first prize in a costume contest
Ridden a gondola in Venice
Gotten a tattoo
Rafted the Snake River
Been on television news program as an “expert”
Got flowers for no reason
Performed on a stage
Been to Las Vegas
Recorded Music
Eaten shark
Had a one-night stand
Gone to Thailand
Bought a house
Been in a combat zone
Buried one/both of your parents
Been on a cruise ship
Spoken more than one language fluently
Performed in Rocky Horror
Raised children
Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
Picked up and moved to another city
Walked on the Golden Gate Bridge
Sang loudly in the car and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
Had plastic surgery
Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have
Wrote articles for a large publicatio
Lost over 100 lbs
Held someone while they were having a flashback
Piloted an airplane
Petted a stingray
Broken someone’s heart
Helped an animal give birth
Won money on a TV game show
Broken a bone
Gone on an African safari
Had a body part below the neck pierced
Fired a rifle, shotgun or pistol
Eaten mushrooms gathered in the wild
Ridden a horse
Had major surgery
Had a snake as a pet
Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
Slept for more than 30 hours over 48 consecutive hours
Visited more foreign countries than US States
Visited all 7 continents
Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
Eaten Kangaroo meat
Eaten sushi
Had your picture in the paper
Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
Gone back to school
Petted a cockroach
Eaten fried green tomatoes
Read the Illiad
Selected one important author who you missed in school to read
Killed and prepared an animal for eating
Skipped all of your school reunions
Communicated with someone without sharing a common language
Been elected to public office
Written your own computer language
Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
Had to put someone you love in hospice care
Build your own PC from parts
Sold your own artwork to someone that didn’t know it was yours
Had a booth in a street fair
Dyed your hair
Been a DJ
Shaved your head
Caused a car accident
Saved someone’s life

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Was Swell!

We didn't make a big production of it this year so I, unfortunately, don't have many pictures. I was just too laid back to focus on anything other than cooking and eating. Here are the ones I manage to get:

Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Sauce


Herbed Turkey
Herbed Turkey

The tree is up, the Christmas plans are underway, and now I need to finish up the presents. I'm making most of them (as of right now anyway). Hopefully I won't find myself freaking out mid December about not having anything done.

<3 Jess

Mei Ling Wanted Colour

Mr. Moogie and the Pretty Puff Slouchy Hat

Mr. Moogie and His Hat 2

Mr. Moogie is a friend; I'm sending him to a family that needs him more than I do. He hasn't chosen a face yet and he's missing some legs but he has damn good taste in hats, don't you think?

Monday, November 17, 2008

The View From The Patio


This was the view from the patio at a house I stayed in last week. Gorgeous, no?

I'm Going to Party Like It's 1999

The holiday feeling in my household is almost palpable. The air's a bit cooler but there's a warmth. The lights are a bit dimmer but it's comforting. The tablecloth gets pressed. The good plates get taken out of the buffet. The menu gets done over and over. Everyone talks excitedly about whether we want to add a new dish to this year's rotation. I just really enjoy the holidays with my family. I can't imagine what I'll do if I ever move away. Will there ever be a year I don't cook for 10+ people? Geez, I hope not. Speaking of cooking...

Thanksgiving Menu

Cheese and Olive Platter
Herb Roasted Turkey
Brown Sugar and Honey Glazed Ham
Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Garlic and Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Turkey Gravy
Green Bean Salad with Almonds
Spinach Salad with Feta
Apple Pie
NY Style Cheesecake (with chocolate sauce)

I'm horribly excited.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I'm extremely proud of Mr. Obama tonight and I'm proud to be an American.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Visions of Sugar-plums Dance in my Head

That's right, it's that time of year again. I am preparing for the winter holidays! No no, don't stop reading; I'm not throwing the Christmas tree up anytime soon. I'm just planning presents and menus, I swear. Our Halloween is going to be pretty low-key. My Ursula costume was scrapped and I think I will dress up as a witch and hand out candy from the lawn. That out to be fun. It's funny because Halloween used to be my favourite holiday and now Thanksgiving and Christmas has kicked it down on the list. The joy of consumerism, you say? Nope. The joy of cooking!

Working Out the T-Day Menu

That's part of my menu up there, written on a piece of scrap paper. It's not done and things cycle frequently but I'm still excited as heck. Everyone in my family has their own wish and I think giving each member a favourite is an easy way to plan. Then again, I somehow still found myself with thirteen dishes on my list but only six people in the household. Hmmm. In case you missed my post last year, I always have a nice spread. So much for trying to make it smaller this year!

As for gifts, everyone's getting something homemade. I've been crocheting my grandparents a lapghan for a week or two now. Eighteen squares done, thirty to go. All the other females are getting jewelry, handmade by moi. The boys...well, I'm not sure what the boys will get. I'll work on that.

Ah, even as I'm sitting here waiting for the plumber I'm getting into the Christmas spirit. Three cheers for the holiday season.


Homemade Burgers

These babies came out LARGE but oh so good. I really should make burgers more often. My family liked these better than Five Guys.

Friday, October 17, 2008


An expletive! A sweet, short, unmistakable response to life at the moment. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!

Surely I'm not alone in this; many American families are treading water, waiting for the one big emergency to derail their dream, to cut their lifeline, to pull them into the dark depth or the real estate market, bankruptcy, homelessness. I felt a shudder when we paid $900 in vet bills. I felt a chill up my spine when our car insurance went up. I even teared up when our energy bill was $422. But those were apparently a warm up for the real catastrophe.

A pipe. Yes, our real emergency is a pipe. I guess the sound of water was so low we didn't notice it at first. By the time we did, it sounded like a woosh, like air traveling through the walls. "It's just the water heater pulling water," my mother said. I'm sure, I'm sure. I was sure. At least until early this week when I went into the bathroom, stood still, and realized our little woosh had turned into a running faucet. And that's when it came. "Fuck."

So the good news we're not getting a leak inside the house. That's also slightly bad news since we have no water to show us where the leak is. What that means is our trusty plumber is going to have to do some exploratory plumbing. If we find the right pipe on the first try, not too bad. If not, it's going to run up until we do. We're talking $2000+. Now, there's another long term solution. Repipe the house. That's going to run us $6000 but it'll be guaranteed by our plumber and, of course, all new pipes (and new hose outlets, etc) means they shouldn't break down for the next twenty years. The problem with either option is also the living arrangements. We'd seriously have to be in a hotel for a week. It's not looking good.

We can't even afford the first option. So now we're going to have to sit down and figure out how we're going to do this. Hopefully the house won't float away while we reach a decision.

Sigh. Dammit. Shit.


Edit on 10/25/2008: We went with repiping the house and the whole process starts on Monday the 27th. I feel much better about it than I did when I typed this, thankfully.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Steak, Salmon, and Salad Dinner

Steak, Salmon, Spinach with Feta

Ribeye with sauteed mushrooms and onions, Atlantic salmon baked in a lemon pepper rub, and baby spinach tossed with deta cheese and honey dijon vinaigrette.

This was really good.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Walmart Receipt

Edit: I fixed the format of the blog. Thanks for the heads up, J.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wave to the Economy

Are things as fucked as they seem? Because every time I turn on the television I feel as if, beneath their shiny appearance, anchors are ready to dive under their desks and kiss their pensions goodbye. And how about that economic bailout? Makes me want to start knitting sweaters and keep canned food on hand for the impending depression. Too bad I never could knit a sweater...

Speaking of crafts, I have been beading. I'm hoping for Bits of Maybe to go live in October. I'll keep this space posted. Here is some jewelry I worked on recently.

Meredith bracelet

Pippa ring

Junebug necklace

Okay, and now this is the part where I would share some food pictures...if I had any. Those haven't been transferred from my camera yet, unfortunately. Truthfully I haven't cooked anything new in a while. I'm going to flip through some cookbooks and see if I can't get inspired before my grocery run tomorrow.

I think that's all I have to fill you up on. I'll try posting more often now that things are back to normal.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gizmo Has Been Sick

My Pomeranian has an auto-immune disease. He's a member of the family so we spared no expense and are now $775 poorer than we were a few days ago. That's absolutely fine...although it certainly presents a challenge for me at the supermarket. So I'm going to be stringent about our budget and posting my totals and receipts here. Let's hope I can keep it up.

The good news is, of course, that Gizmo is doing much much better and we're hoping he pulls through this a happy pup. Send good vibes.

<3 Jess

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Two Meals (I'm Late!)

Beef Stirfry

Beef Stir Fry

Chili (and puzzles)

Black bean Chili with Cheddar Cheese and Garlic Biscuit

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fay's On Her Way

Despite my feeling like a Floridian this will be my first hurricane experience here. The last two years have been quite mellow on the West coast which worries me that we're due for something a rough. But we've got the plywood and emergency bags ready, we have money and quarters, we have a cooler full of ice, we have food...I think we're prepared. Hopefully it's not too bad.

I'm having, dare I say, a fine time with the arrangements. I cooked up five pounds of chicken breast (one of those magical foods that taste good hot and cold) and some salad veggies for chicken Caesar salad. I also bought bread and cold cuts for sandwiches. I figure most of the storm will be sitting and waiting so all the board games are out and ready for playing.

I'll take picture if anything exciting happens.

Best of luck to my fellow FL bloggers.

<3 Jess

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Not Dead...

Just awfully silent.

<3 Jess

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008


WalMart Receipt

And all I could do was sign and sigh.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Udon Soup

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

To the men and women of the US Armed Forces that risk their lives to protect this country, I thank you.

<3 Jess

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Soup and Salad

There's been a lot of cooking but not a lot of plating or preparing for pictures. What that means is that everytime I turn around to take a picture, the food is already gone or (if I manage to take a pic) the plating looks horrible. So much is going on at home I've been lacking. But I'm getting back into the groove. Here are two chicken meals I served recently:

Chicken soup with udon (Japanese wheat noodles)

Romaine, grape tomatoes, croutons and chicken breast with homemade dressing.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Buying Our First Car

In case you've never lived in NYC, let me explain something: New Yorkers don't drive. There are no need for cars in a city that's built around public transportation. Hell, I could take the express train and get to most destinations faster than a car could. So it's understandable that my mother, grandparents, and I never learned how to get behind the wheel. It just wasn't necessary.

In case you've never lived in Florida, let me explain something: Floridians drive everywhere. From the corner store to the amusement park, there is no other way. We have an express bus that takes 45 minutes to get me to Walmart, an unbelievable amount of time when you consider it takes three minutes by car. To call public transport in Florida just "bad" would be like me saying the Titanic was a rowboat...

So it was only a matter of time before my mom buckled down and decided we needed a car. A few driving lessons and DMV visits later and we're ready. All we need is a car...

Easier said than done.

Right now I've got my eye on a 1997 Mercury Tracer Trio. It's midsize, no accident reports, only one owner (Thanks, Carfax!), and not too bad on the eyes either. So, here's hoping it'll be there on Tuesday. If it is...congratulate me! It's our first car!

<3 Jess

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ChocaNana Bread

I should market the word ChocaNana. I think it could be the new big thing; last year it was cupcakes, this year it's ChocaNana! Actually I think this is the year blondies are big. Seriously. Look for my Blondie Madness Week coming soon.

But back to the topic at hand...I'm convinced one of the loveliest aromas in the world is the smell of my Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Bread. Something about it just makes everything in the world seems okay. It's thick, dense, not too chewy, not too melty, and has a rich taste of bananas, just like a good nana bread should.

Too bad the loaf I baked today is gone already. Sigh. I should have made several loaves.

You can mash the bananas with a fork (my preferred method) or process very lightly in the food processor. I think you'll find the fork method much better though. I like leaving a few chunks but you're welcome to mash into more of a pudding texture. Also feel free to add more chocolate chips and nuts if you wish. Just remember this is a very thick, heavy bread.

You'll need a loaf pan (9x5), lightly greased, and a few bowls.

ChocoNana Bread

6-7 overripe bananas, mashed (you want about 2 cups)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 brown sugar
2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, add in flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In another bowl, add the brown sugar and butter and mix together until just incorporated. Add in the eggs and whisk together until they are beaten and everything is creamy. Add in the mashed bananas, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Stir a few times.

Add the banana mixture to the flour and stir until everything is well moistened; you want to make sure there are no "pockets" of flour.

Add the mix into the loaf pan and bake for one hour. let the loaf cool in pan for fifteen minutes, then turn out into cooling rack. Serve warm or cold.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Tuna Salad (Sandwich)

I don't normally like tuna salad: Most times I taste it, it's made with bad tuna, too much mayonnaise, and not much else. I made some today, on a whim, to have on a sandwich. Paired with romaine lettuce, fresh tomato, and lightly toasted whole-grain bread, this makes a great lunch.

Feel free to add in more mayonnaise and a tablespoon of sweet relish if you want. You can also add in grape tomatoes and chopped lettuce to make it more of a salad.

Tuna Salad (makes four sandwiches or 2 servings of salad)

12 oz water packed solid white albacore

2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp onion, minced
1/4 cup celery, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
1/4 tsp brown mustard
1 tbsp parsley, minced

In a colander, drain the can of tuna. (I know you're all tempted to use the lid, but this makes for mushy salad). Lightly break up the mass of tuna, and put it in a medium bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until incorporated. Season to taste.

Notes: This kept overnight fine in an airtight container. You may wish to leave the mayonnaise out until the next day if you make it ahead of time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Massive Tomato

The garden is underway!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I've Got...

A stomach virus or something like it. This is why I have not cooked recently or uploaded many pictures (or posted period). Meh. But if you check my flickr, there should be some stuff there to tide you over.

My mom has a job interview today so if anyone reading this could take a moment to send some good vibes, I appreciate it. She needs the job.

I think that is all from me right now.

<3 Jess

Tuesday, May 06, 2008



Scrambled eggs with cheese on half a whole wheat bagel. Served with turkey sausage and grape tomatoes.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Dinner Gone Wrong

Ribs broiled with sweet and sour sauce served with broccoli and white rice.

I didn't like this meal at all. My family did though so I suppose that's alright.
Back to the drawing board.

Friday, May 02, 2008

We're Going to Play A Game Called "Catch-up"

Boy, it feels like forever since I've posted here. What's that? It's only been a couple of days? Oh...I see. Well, on to the food then!

Kyle requested chili a few days ago and since he made Dean's List, how could I say no to him?

This is Red & Black Bean Beef Chili. Wow, that's a mouthful, ain't it? I sprinkled a bit of parmesan cheese on top and served with crackers. It was the right amount of spicy for the family (of course it was too mild for me but what I consider mild, some people consider deadly). Some day I'll post the recipe here. I just need to tweak it a bit more.

I finally booked my tickets to NYC! I will be arriving at my lovely hometown June 24th and will be staying until the 17th of July. I'm going to be staying with my father, mostly, but have every intention of crashing on random couches throughout my stay. So if you're a friend, get that sleeping bag ready for me.

In other news, I went food shopping today. I'll post my receipt/total tomorrow (like I have done in the past) but I have to admit, I went over budget on this one. Way WAY over budget. I'm almost embarrassed. Ah, well. The food will be tasty, that's for sure.

Also, I decided to post pictures of what my fridge and pantry look like. It was very spontaneous so do excuse the messes.

Tomorrow's dinner will be BBQ ribs with a side of cornbread and coleslaw or some other cabbage dish.

Until next time,
<3 Jess

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fried Rice for Two

Pork Fried Rice

My family wanted fried pork chop and I didn't so I whipped this up for myself. Here's a recipe. Essentially most of my fried rices are made by throwing meat, veggies, rice, an egg, and soy sauce in a skillet. Follow that basic pattern and you're bound to come up with something tasty.

In my version I fried a center cut pork chop separately and then pulled the meat off the bone. The version below is easier (and made in one pot).

I'm also doing the low-carb thing; you can add in more rice and pork to make it family sized. Just adjust the seasonings (soy sauce, hoisin sauce, etc) to taste.

Fried Rice for Two

6oz pork chop, boneless and cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 shelled edamame
1 clove of garlic, minced

1 cup cold rice (white or brown)
1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Salt and pepper to taste.

1 tbsp oil

In large skillet or wok, heat oil. Add in the pork and cook until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Add in celery, carrots, onions, garlic and edamame. Saute until onions become translucent.

Add in rice and stir to mix thoroughly. While stirring, pour in egg. The constant mixing ensures it coats the rice and pork; you want it to hold everything together, not become scrambled eggs with rice.

Add in soy sauce, hoisin, ginger, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve hot.

PS: This tastes really good with Sriracha too (is there anything that doesn't??)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chorizo, Pepperjack, and Spinach Omelet

1/2 cup ground chorizo
1 cup baby spinach
1oz pepper jack cheese
2 eggs, beaten

In large skillet brown chorizo. Add in cup of spinach and saute until wilted. Put spinach/chorizo aside.

In small frying/omelet pan, pour in beaten eggs. Turn over when bottom side is fully cooked (about one minute). Place pepper jack cheese and chorizo/spinach mixture onto half of egg. Fold over and serve while hot.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Beef Stew

Beef Stew
Kidney beans, beef, celery, carrots, garlic, spinach, and a few egg noodles in one delicious stew

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Low Carb? Aw Geez...

Yes, it's true. I'm doing the low carb thing. Not as extreme as most people, I might add. I recognize that carbohydrates are a very important part of any diet. I've just been eating the wrong kind and for someone who is insulin resistant, the wrong kind could make me sick. So, today was my first real foray into the low carb world.

It was tougher than I thought. On Sunday (yesterday) I decided to have a last meal of sorts. I baked my usual lasagna recipe and it was fantastic (see picture above). Too bad it had enough calories to sustain three small children.

Dinner tonight was a bit better, calorie and carbohydrate wise. I made chicken according to my empanada recipe except I added in two (2) cups of chicken broth, four (4) cut carrots, and two (2) cups of egg noodles. The green beans I steamed separately. The meal wasn't soupy at all, it was just a good, tender meal. I call it "Sticky Chicken and Pasta".

It was the best new meal I've made in a while. I can't wait to make it again.

Until next time,
<3 Jess

Monday, April 14, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Empanadas de Pollo (Con Huevo)

Empanadas (link to recipe)

Quite some time ago a friend told me about these empanadas she had been craving. They were made by a Chilean woman and were filled with chicken, hard-boiled eggs, raisins, and olives. The combination sounded intriguing and I went about finding and altering empanadas to come close to what my friend used to have. I am not sure if these are The Ones, but they sure are tasty!

These take quite a bit of work so I recommend that you break the job into two days. Make the filling on the first, then make the dough, assemble, and cook the empanadas on the second day. The secret in this empanada is to stew chicken thighs and drumsticks whole and then strip the meat off the bone. The filling is made in one pot (convenience!). I also took pictures of many steps: Click on the links throughout the recipe to see what the steps looked like.

Chicken Empanadas
Makes 12-18


3 chicken quarters, thighs and drumsticks
1 tablespoon of oil
2 large onions, cut in half lengthwise then cut in strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup olives, chopped
1/2 cup water
4 hardboiled eggs
1/4 cup of raisins

4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 cup of butter, or two sticks, chopped. (You may substitute margarine, just divide into two portions to ease mixing)
3/4 cup of ice water

Eggwash: Not to be made until empanadas are sealed.
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp water

To make the filling:

Heat tablespoon of oil in large pot. Pat chicken dry, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then brown in oil about 3 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Add onions and garlic to pot and saute until translucent. Add salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, bay leaves, chopped olives, and water. Stir then bring to a boil. Add chicken back into pot and cover. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Turn chicken over. Simmer another 15 minutes or until tender.

Once tender, transfer chicken onto plate and let cool. Using hands or fork, discard skin and bones. Chop or shred the meat. Add back into pot. Add in chopped egg and raisins. Carefully stir. Discard bay leaves and season filling with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let filling cool for about 30 minutes (or overnight if you are doing this in parts). The filling is done.


In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Using your hands, begin to mix the butter in. You should have a coarse, crumbly mix with little pea-sized bumps of butter. Add in the water and begin to knead in bowl until it comes together. Turn out onto floured surface and knead for about three minutes. The dough should resemble pie crust dough.

Form dough into log and chill in plastic wrap
, in the fridge, for about an hour. This give the dough time to cool and you time to clean up a little bit.

Assembling the empanadas:

Preheat oven to 400F. Make sure you have a rack set in the middle of the oven.

Lightly grease a baking sheet or cover with parchment.

Bring dough out from refrigerator and unwrap. Cut log into 18 equal pieces (12 if you want them to be a bit larger) and form into balls. After lightly flour your rolling pin, roll each ball into a circle about 1/8 of an inch thick. (It's okay if they're not perfect circles).

Place about two tablespoons of filling into center and fold dough over. Lightly flour a fork and press it down along the edge to seal the empanada.

Repeat above steps until you have finished your all filling and dough. You should have about 18 medium empanadas or 12 large ones. Place finished empanadas in baking pan.

Make an eggwash (one large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water) and lightly brush onto empanadas.

Place empanadas into oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until empanadas are golden. Let cool for five minutes.

Serve alone or with rice and beans.

Variation Station:

If you don't want to use such a complicated cooking method for the chicken, here's a tip: Any cut of chicken will work fine. Use boneless chicken breast instead of thighs and drumsticks; it'll be easier to shred.

If you want even more ease, buy already cooked chicken from your market's deli. Shred it, add it to the filling ingredients (minus the eggs and raisins), and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the eggs and raisins at the last minute. Continue with recipe as written.

You can easily omit the raisins, hard-boiled eggs, or olives.

If you have any filling leftover, add it to a dish of rice and beans. The filling is fully cooked before being added into the empanada!

If you have any dough left over, freeze it for your next empanada adventure. You can also bake or fry rounds of dough without any filling. It makes a tasty bread!

Until next time,
<3 Jess

Monday, April 07, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

Frito Pie

Also known as "Walking Taco" and "Pepper Bellies", Frito Pie is basically a bunch of Fritos with chili poured on the top and garnished with cheese, jalepeños, and anything else you want. Beware: this meal screams "unhealthy". It's not something I plan on cooking often but, man, is it tasty! I tried to take a better picture but everyone was hungry and the food went before I could set up a shot.

Black Bean Chili (serves 8-10)

1 1/2lbs ground beef
24oz cans of tomato sauce
14.5oz can of diced tomatoes, chili style
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
2 cans black beans

In a large stock pot, brown ground beef until browned. Drain fat.

Add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low-medium and simmer for an hour. Stir occasionally so that chili doesn't stick to pot.

I love this chili and we have been known to eat it sprinkled with cheddar cheese. To assemble this into a Frito Pie:

1 15oz bag of Fritos
4 cups of chili
1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
2 jalapeños, finely sliced (or diced)

Place Frito corn chips on the bottom of a large casserole pan. Pour hot chili over. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and jalapeños on top. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Until next time,
<3 Jess

Grocery Shopping - 04/03/2008

Meats and Fish – $44.77

Chicken Leg Quarters (20lbs) - $9.56

Ground Beef, Lean (3lb) – $5.24

Salted Cod (1lb) - $2.76

Boneless Pork Chops – $6.25

Wild Salmon, 2.5lbs – $6.98

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (6lbs) – $13.98

Deli and Bakery – $26.59

Provolone (1lb) - $3.44

Swiss (1lb) - $2.28

Oven Roasted Turkey (1/2 lb) - $2.98

Smoked Turkey (1lb) - $2.98

Beef Salami (1lb) – $3.63

American Cheese (1lb) - $2.34

Shredded Cheddar (1lb) - $3.98

Sourdough Loaf - $2.78

Cuban Loaf - $1.00

Bagels (6) - $1.18

Dairy and Eggs – $7.64

Milk, 2% (1 gallon) - $3.68

Cream Cheese (1lb) - $1.18

Eggs (18) - $2.78

Produce - $18.41

Tomatoes (3) - $1.00

Garlic (4 heads) - $1.19

Oranges (8lbs) - $6.78

Lemons (3) – $1.74

Express Bake Potatoes (4) – $3.12

Cucumber (1) $0.50

Bananas (3 ½ lbs) - $2.17

Hass Avocado - $0.78

Cilantro – $0.76

Jalapenos (1/4 lb) $0.37

Rice, Grains, Dry Goods – $26.42

Rice, long grain (20lbs) - $8.56

Rice, short grain (3lbs) - $2.24

Spaghetti (3lb) - $1.74

Cereal - $2.82

Sugar (5lbs) - $2.06

Coffee (10 oz) - $3.12

Pancake mix – $2.04

Lipton Noodle Soup (3 boxes) - $3.84

Canned Goods – $11.34

Tomato sauce (4 cans) - $1.00

Black beans (4 cans) - $1.96

Pinto beans (2 cans) - $0.98

Dark kidney beans (4 cans) - $2.00

Canned Salmon (2) - $4.28

Tuna, in water (2 cans) - $1.12

Frozen – $33.68

Sancocho Vegetables (3lbs) - $2.28

Tostones (3lbs) - $4.48

Sofrito (1lb) $3.15

Yucca (10 lbs) - $5.91

Edy’s Coconut Bars (6) - $2.98

Minute Maid Orange Juice Concentrate (6) – $14.88

Oils and Condiments – $7.90

Chicken bouillon - $0.68

Garlic Powder - $1.18

Salt - $0.33

Pesto - $2.14

Mayonnaise - $3.57

Soda, Chips Etc - $18

Aquafina 24 bottles – $4.98

Capri Sun (24 pouches) - $3.14

Tostitos – $2.50

Fritos - $2.50

SoBe Green Tea (4) - $4.00

Kool Aid (5 packets) - $0.88

Household -$16.73

Flowers (3 bouquets) - $13.76

Fabuloso All Purpose Cleaner - $2.97

Total – $211.28

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I'm Engaged!!

It's true! My darling friend of a few months decided we're spending our lives together. She proposed, I accepted, and our pets are going to be part of the ceremony. Everyone should be getting their invitation via owl. Please RSVP by next week. Sorry for the short notice but we're hoping to file "Married Filing Jointly" for our taxes and get back a sweet economic rebate.

I'm so excited!

<3 Jess

PS: Happy April Fool's Day.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Have A Problem.

There comes a time in some people's lives where they have to address their vices, their addictions, and their demons. It is time for me to do the same. Hello, my name is Jessica and I'm addicted to Sriracha.

If you don't know what this is, it's a very spicy, very delicious, chili sauce that can be used on anything. I don't think anyone uses it as much as I do. I add it to eggs, I eat it with rice, I drizzle it on tacos, I spice up my soups...My family is begging for freedom from this spicy madness.

If you haven't tried it, go out and find a bottle!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Jonah Passed Away


My cat, Jonah, passed away. He was eighteen (18) years old.

Monday, March 24, 2008

No Good, Very Tiring Day

It feels as if I haven't been around for a while. I'm here, I swear, just exhausted. I think my body is still recovering from a month ago; all I want to do is sleep and drink a ton of water. Perhaps I'm fighting off a cold or a virus.

I went to Macy*s this past weekend. Sure, the economy sucks but that means the stores were throwing massive sales to get people to shop. Sure I don't have any money but I have something better than cash: A Macy*s Premier Gold Card. I rationalized that if I could pay off whatever I bought in two months, it was okay. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was handing over my card and a sales assistant was handing me a Nine West bag in Java.

Isn't it lovely? Even better, it only cost $35. This is my first Grown-Up Bag and I'm excited to have something I can feel sophisticated wearing. I'll probably always use Spongebob wallets and Hello Kitty makeup cases but at least I have something in my closet I can go to a serious function with. Effin' A.

I have a turkey in the oven. Gravy, green beans, and mashed potatoes will be the sides. I'm sure the leftover turkey will appear for dinner tomorrow as well. Mmm turkey soup.

Until next time,

Friday, March 21, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Mofongo is a fried plantain dish that is usually served with fried chicharron (pork crackling) or any other fried pieces of meat.

Yes, the ingredients alone make most people clutch their chests. I admit it's not for the calorie-conscious but it is one of Puerto Rico's most treasured meals and deserves a try. (Actually, there's been a debate for years whether it originates from the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. I'm both Dominican and Puerto Rican so I can claim it either way. :) )

There are so many variations of the meal I'm going to link to one of my favourites: This recipe from Dominican cooking is wonderful. At some point I'll probably add my own recipe to the site but for now, definitely try this one.

Buen provecho! <3


Grocery Shopping - 03/13/2008

Meats and Fish - $66.27

Tilapia (3lbs) $5.82

Top round, thin sliced (forgot the weight) $13.75

Pork Shoulder (8lbs) 10.25

Whole Turkey (12lbs) $14.17

Sliced chicken breast filets (3 lb) $6.00

Chicken leg quarters (10lbs) $4.78

Ground chuck (3lbs) $5.98

Salted Cod, (2lb) $5.52

Deli and Bakery - $22.35

Baby Swiss (deli, ½ lb) $4.58

Smoked Turkey Breast (deli, 1.2 lbs) $6.34

Honey Maple Ham (deli, 1lb) $6.86

Provolone Cheese (deli, 1/2lb) $3.24

Bread $1.33

Dairy and Eggs - $8.44

18 Large Eggs $2.78

Milk 2% (gallon) $3.68

Shredded Mozzarella (1lb) $1.98

Produce - $19.39

Extra firm tofu (1lb) $1.78

Won Ton wrappers $1.97

Edamame, 1lb $1.88

Nori (20 sheets, for sushi) $1.98

Mixed organic salad, $3.38

Nectarines (4) $1.38

Green plantains (6) $2.28

Organic baby spinach $3.38

Mango $1.36

Grains, Beans, Dry Goods - $27.71

Long Grain White rice, 20lbs $7.98 (ouch)

Pancake mix $2.04

Cake mix (yellow cake) $ .88

Cake mix (carrot) $ .88

Brown Sugar oatmeal $2.98

Hot cereal (farina, 1lb) $3.13

Dry chickpeas $.98

Dry lentils $1.16

Cereal $2.92

Rotini (1lb) $1.04

Sugar (5lbs) $3.72

Canned Goods - $10.39

Tomato sauce (4 8oz cans) $1.00

Tomato paste (2 cans) $.66

Diced tomatoes (28 oz) $0.97

Marinara sauce $2.00

Tuna, in water (2 cans) $1.12

Dark kidney beans (2 cans) $1.00

Black beans (2 cans) $1.00

Pinto beans (2 cans) $1.00

Salmon (1lb) $1.64

Frozen - $23.45

Green Beans (2 bags) $2.00

Broccoli (2 bags) $2.00

Mixed Vegetables (1 bag) $1.00

Stir-fry (1 bag) $1.44

Coconut Fruit Bars (6) $2.98

Tamarind pulp (makes 1 gallon of juice) $1.88

Orange Juice Concentrate (makes 5 gallons) $12.15

Oils and Condiments - $15.29

Vegetable oil, gallon $5.88

Pancake syrup $2.38

Honey mustard $2.33

Salsa $1.86

Cake frosting (2 containers) $2.84

Soda, Chips, Etc - $5.00

Pepsi (24 cans) $5.00

Household - $9.04

Paper towels (3 rolls) $1.68

Fabuloso All Purpose Cleaner $1.97

Pledge Wipes $2.92

Dawn Dishwashing Liquid $2.47

Pet Goods - $20.63

Tidy Cat Cat Litter $5.36

Whiskers Cat Treats $1.07

Fancy Feast Cat Food (24 cans) $10.88

Cat Pan Liners, (10) $3.32

Total - 227.96

That list, plus a few things I already have in stock, will cover two weeks worth of food for six people, three times a day (and three cats, of course). The dogs are all stocked up on food and treats and we have enough toilet paper to cover a mansion. Plus I already had a few things in the pantry and enough spices to buy a small country. Since those items aren't on this list, it's not a complete look at what we go through. I estimate the household runs efficiently on about $500 a month (that means grocery, household items, pet food, pet supplies, toiletries, etc). I don't think that's too bad but don't have too much to compare it to.

I actually bought a few splurge items during this shopping trip. My mom was craving soda (which I usually do NOT buy) and cake. I'm too tired to make a cake from scratch so I bought her two cake mixes and their respective frostings. The pancake mix, syrup, and cold cuts were also a request from Kyle and I've been spoiling the brat lately.

So there you have it: What I spend, more or less, to keep my house going.

Until next time,
<3 Jess

When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Hard Lemonade

Yesterday I said I was going to post pictures and a recipe. Remember that? It didn't work out that way.

My kitchen faucet broke. Not only that, but the kitchen sink cracked. Not only that, but the dishwasher backed up. It was as if the Kitchen God looked down upon me and said "No more!" Sigh. The good thing is these are all things that I knew had to be replaced someday and I suppose it's nice to finally have them out of the way and have shiny new objects. Of course, I really didn't have the $700 it took to fix it all. have I mentioned my mom is *still* unemployed?

I think I'll take that drink now.

Until next time,

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A $20 Vegetable

A $20 Vegetable

At least, that's what my list seems to say. I did end up going food shopping and bought much more than this. I don't understand why I try to write my list down by hand. Ultimately I end up with a long printed one that is still short 5-10 items. I almost wish I could run to the store to pick up one or two things like most but one usually turns into ten. The plight of having a huge household, I suppose. I'm exhausted though; three hours in Walmart will drive anyone insane. So I'm off to bed with promise of pictures and a recipe tomorrow.

Until next time,
<3 Jess

Monday, March 10, 2008

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Meet Fraffy

Frafavelle, Fraffy for short, is a six year old girl who loves Popsicles more than any other food in the world. She also likes daisies, dresses, and is eagerly awaiting for her grown-up teeth to grow in. She's also excited to be the new face of my etsy shop, Popsicles For Dinner. There's nothing in the store yet but I'll update when there is.

Edited 12/10/08: Changed my store to Wrapped in Fiber. It fits better.