Sunday, December 28, 2008

the spirit of giving

Wow. We've only got five more days until the new year and then I embark on my study abroad experience in Strasbourg, France three days after that! Has the holiday season really come and gone, just like that?! Time really is flying. I hope you've been having a fabulous time :). I've decided that this is going to be my last post before I leave so that I can completely enjoy the time I have left without the added responsibility of blogging. Not that you're all a burden, but you know how it is. Please don't take it personally! In my attempt to make up for it I'm making this post an extra long marathon one with a treat at the end. Ready?
As per usual, we went to my cousin's house on my dad's side for Christmas Eve. I was quite hungry when we got there so I filled up on Mexican BBQ chicken, ceviche, roasted red peppers, and grapes.
A little while after they broke out the tamales de carne, my mom and I split one. Woah, I haven't had one in so long, it was incredible!
Then we spent the next 4 hours socializing with the family. These are the kids in my generation... we needed all the time we had to catch up with everyone ;). And when the clock struck midnight we watched as the little ones opened up all their presents from aunts and uncles. The innocence is incredible, I loved watching them with their new gifts!

The next morning I got up around 8 with my little sister to see wake up my brother so we could go see what Santa brought us ;). We've been g-o-o-d this year, let me tell you! Afterwards, I enjoyed a bowl of traditional PB Banana Oatmeal, went to mass, and then got our house ready for my mom's family and our Christmas Day fiesta.
For appetizers we had a vegetable platter,

chips and salsa,
crackers with cheese and pepperoni,
baked potato skins,
with optional sour cream and/or chives, and crackers with hummus.
This was the first time I saw these aunts, uncle, and cousins since I left. Gosh I missed them! We were so busy enjoying ourselves, however, that we never took a group picture. Oh well, I've always got the memories :).
Then we were on to our late lunch/early dinner. At the beginning of the buffet was my aunt's famous salad. She mixes her secret dressing recipe with lettuce, tomato, and lettuces in this magic bowl... and each time we end up with an amazing salad that could never be replicated. I seriously look forward to this all year.
Chicken marsala,
Pasta with tomato sauce (for the picky children),
Mashed potatoes,
Roasted asparagus,
and, finally, Pork Roast in an orange, maple glaze. By the end of the leisurely holiday meal my tummy was very pleased...
And you know what that means... time for presents again! Here is a glimpse into our chaos. There was wrapping paper all over my house, and very happy and thankful guests.

Following our gift exchange break we moved onto desserts. We had assorted cheesecakes from Manhattan,

frosted cupcakes,

chocolate chip cookies, brownies, tea cookies,

and last but certainly not least, grapes and blueberries. I did reasonably well... I ate when hungry, stopped when full and, for the most part, had healthy and balanced meals... nonetheless I'm definitely going to be on a bit of a sugar detox the next few days... and it was totally worth it :).
The boy got me a new digital camera for Christmas. You like?

I know I certainly do, he's the best! And so was this breakfast- banana, pumpkin, blueberries, flax, yogurt, peanut butter, and oats. I have no doubt that I could eat this for the rest of my life and be very content.
Now I bid you all farewell! Once I make it across the pond on January 4th I'll begin my traveling seminar in Paris and make my way through Bruges, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Cologne, and Bonn before settling into Strasbourg, my temporary home, on January 14th. I'm sure I'll be meeting tons of interesting people, seeing so many beautiful places, and trying a bunch of new foods. Have any suggestions for must-see European destinations? I've got four months of traveling (and studying) ahead of me and need some sort of plan :). Can I hardly wait? To be honest, I'm not sure. I'm currently going through the same emotional roller coaster as before... excitement, fear, optimism, anxiety... a whole lot of general confusion. One week. A mere seven days. Somebody pinch me. Au revior mes chéries...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

i'm dreaming of a white christmas

Happy Christmas Eve blogland! I'm so excited to give my gifts to the very special people in my life and spend the next few days surrounded by them. And the baking, my gosh, I can't get enough! Isn't this just the most wonderful time of the year? But let's get down to business :)... it's been almost 12 hours since my last post. Definitely time to catch up!
My health-nut grandma and her favorite store on earth. We only got to catching up for only about an hour before we couldn't wait any longer ;) and headed down the street from her house to the health food store, Mrs. Greens.
I mean, do ya blame us?! Just look! They don't mess around.
After about an hour of browsing and purchasing some new products so that my grandmother could spoil her granddaughter a bit we made it back home to enjoy our take-out. She made her own meal from the salad bar, complete with greens, bean salad, shredded carrots taboulleh, rice, baked tofu, and a spring roll. They really have a great selection there.
I, on the other hand, went to the hot counter and ordered a Chicken Fajita wrap. Inside was organic white chicken, peppers, brown rice, salsa, and spicy monterey jack cheese. I also got some extra salsa for the side... which seeped into the picture and probably looks like oily fat, it's not ;). It had the perfect amount of kick and was oh so satisfying.
This morning I awoke bright and early and very ready to take on the 24th of December :). I ran downstairs to make a bowl of my PB Pumpkin Banana Oatmeal with my new steel-cut oats that my grandma bought for me yesterday. They were delicious, as expected, and eaten alongside the daily Green Tea. I took my time enjoying breakfast, checked my favorite blogs, and then got ready to go to my French tutor... ce que'est un bon matin, non?
Gosh, the French language is so beautiful, I cannot believe I'll be practicing it firsthand so soon! Anyway, I ran a few Xmas day errands after tutoring so by the time I got back I home I was s-t-a-r-v-ing. I quickly went into my pantry and pulled out one of my favorite Amy's soups, Lentil Vegetable. These are so convenient, so very delicious, and perfect for a complete lunch in just a few minutes!
Then, I proceeded to eat the contents of the entire can, hehe, and two clementines for dessert. Yum, yum, such a good lunch! I've got to go wrap my presents, I obviously like waiting until the last-minute like Sagan :), and then go to my cousins house for some celebrating and our midnight gift exchange. It's a Mexican tradition, and as far as I know, Latin American as well. I probably won't be blogging until tomorrow evening, after the Christmas party with my mom's family, so I'd like to wish everyone a very very happy holiday! I hope it's filled with good people, good conversation, and, as always, good food! ;) Love to all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

baby it's cold outside

Mornin' beautifuls! I meant to publish this last night, but my internet was being slow. Here it is, just as I wrote it: Oooh, drunk blogging. Sounds fun! I've never done it before :) so please bear with me. I'm sure I'll be embarrassed later.
We walked up fifth, through Rockefeller Center and straight to the tree. We're touristy non-tourists. Is it just me or does it seem smaller this year? We also stopped in the oldest bookstore in the are, Librarie De France, and probably the newest, Barnes & Nobles. Figures :).
Then we wandered until it was time for our reservation at Pomaire, aka my slice of Chile in my city, haha, kidding, kind of. It had gotten good reviews so I expected great food but I wasn't sure about the authenticity. Well... let me tell you, this place is the real deal... I would know ;).
La carta and the fabulous Chilean salsa, pebre, of which the boy was a big fan. They even had a copper-plated menu. Why is that awesome? A little fyi: copper is Chile's largest export.
We ate it with the pan amasado, served hot, straight outta the oven.
I ordered two appetizers that he just had to try: A true Empanadas de Pino with a delightful side salad, this was practically perfection,
and Camarones a Pil-Pil, or Spicy Shrimp with the special Chilean spice, Merquen. This was was very similar to the mariscos I ate with my parents when we were in Zapallar.

A Chilean Humita with the obligatory Ensalada Chilena. I haven't had one of these in forever! I would have simply ordered the salad bc I wasn't too hungry after appetizers, as I expected, but the waiter convinced me otherwise. He got a good tip :) and he deserved it.
Chilean Corvino Sea Bass with rice and roasted vegetables. This was the only real entrée we got and it was all for the boy... although I did steal a few bites and can attest to the fact that it was scrumptious.
During our meal we drank Sauvignon Blanc... also from Chile :). One for him and two for me. We've got reason to celebrate too, the boy got into medical school! Woohoo, go him! I'm so proud.
Then we continued the festivities at a bar. We were the youngest ones there... by at least 10 years. Haha. Cute atmosphere and not too far from the restaurant or the Starbucks where I got a Café Misto in between. It was frigid outside, people, bone-chilling cold!
We had tried to meet up with friends but it just ended up being the two of us, we had these plus a Long Island Iced Tea. A few hours of fun and then we were back to Grand Central to take the train and the quickest ride ever (we both fell fast asleep, lol).
Alright it's off to bed with me! I've got 4 hours to sleep this off and then my very last day of watching the kiddies with my mom. Happy day before Christmas Eve and very Happy Hannukah! ¡Buenas Noches!

Monday, December 22, 2008

lunch break

How's everyones Monday going so far? If you're home, hope you're enjoying it, if you're working, hope you're not suffering, and finally, if you're home and working, you're just like me :).

I had a hummus, walnut, and veggie sammie on whole-wheat,

with crunchy little baby carrots on the side.

Next up, a delectable D'Anjou pear for dessert. Such an American lunch, love it. How's that for a lunch break quickie? ;) Gotta run to catch the train... off to have some fun in NYC!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

rockin' around the christmas tree

at the Christmas party hop.
Mistletoe hung where you can see,
Ev'ry couple tries to stop!

I'm a wee bit excited for December 25th, plus, I'm going to the city today... finally. The boy and I are doing the touristy Xmas things: see the tree, possible ice skating, window shopping at Saks, etc :) and then we're headed over to Pomaire for an authentic Chilean dinner. I cannot wait for him to try! Above is my wintery reality by the way :).
I fell asleep very early last night, around 8, it's a bit embarassing, lol. Beforehand though I had dinner around 7 with the fam. I think the sleepiness interfered with hunger because I totally didn't want to eat, I half of the sweet potato, everything else pictures, and passed on the chicken breast. The veggies were really good and simple, cooked in a little EVOO, garlic, and spices. Yum yum yum!
About 12 hours later, I awoke and finally felt well-rested ;). I started my day with a bowl of Multibran Flakes with added flax, skim milk, and banana. I also had a clementine on the side and am sipping a mug of Green Tea as I type. It's one of my last days helping my mom so I've gotta work before heading into Manhattan. Happy Monday bloggies!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

y felicidad

I've had the song in my head all day :). Sooo I had a great night with my family, extended family, and muchisimo dancing!

Before we left my mom took full advantage of her dolled up children... we finally got the nearly perfect (my bro's jacket) Christmas card pic!
Following a cocktail hour we all took our places at our tables for the first plate. I ate the kiwi and the strawberry and gave the rest away. Then my cousins pulled me on the dance floor for an intermission. They know how to party ;) but I'm glad I made it back in time for the pasta course, Penne alla Vodka. I wish I could've had more than a few bites but the waitress was very eager and before I knew it... it was gone.
Fortunately she also brought the Ceasar salads out quickly. They were nice and light on the dressing, just the way I like it. And for the main dish, I had the Salmon in a lemon-dill sauce with steamed vegetables and roasted potatoes on the side. Very, very good. I apologize for the lack of pictures though, eating by candlelight is always nice but doesn't make for the best food pictures.
Next the moment we've all been waiting for, lol, the cake! It's funny how excited I was about it... I'm really not a fan of cake, there's been many a birthdays in which I was the only one who passed on my own birthday cake... I'm so weird. This one was classic and pretty and actually not that bad ;). Beautiful bride, huh?
What a night! I'm rather wiped out today because of it so I made sure to have a cup of coffee alongside today's breakfast. I LOVE GRAPEFRUIT. Whew, okay, I needed to get that out of my system. I've had such a good Sunday: breakfast alongside the boy, ridding sleds and making snowmen with the boy, watching Home Alone with the boy, more time with the boy. I was in very good company, lol. Now that he's home safe and sound I have to help my momma make some dinna para nosotros and go eat. Hope that you had a fabulous day, see you tonight!