Monday, September 29, 2008

primeras veces

Hey there, I've missed you! I guess it's only been 2 days since I last posted but I have a lot to catch you up on so it feels like longer :). Hope you all had a great weekend! I've had a couple of new foods and experiences with a handful of old favorites so I know I've got nothing to complain about. Plus the boyfriend is finally able to skype again! Yes, I'm a very happy girl right now, and on that note, let's go...
After lunch on Friday I got to try my first durazno of the season. Not only are peaches one of my all-time favorite fruits but this one was perfectly ripe, and sweet, and such a delicious juicy mess of an afternoon dessert. I can't wait for more warm weather fruits!

That night I had salmon and salad that I really just through together last minute and decided wasn't photo-worthy. Haha, it was very good though and I know I'm totally getting spoiled having fresh wild fish at my disposal all the time. This lovely spread was Saturday's lunch.

To start we had Tortilla de Col Rizada with rice. This dish is interesting because I have always known tortillas in the Mexican sense, a thin, unleavened flat bread, made from finely ground corn or wheat flour. Here, however, in other South American countries, and in Spain, a tortilla is a thick, round, layered, oven-baked omelette. This one was packed with vitamin K, A, and C, in the form of yummy kale :).
As per usual, we ended the meal with ensaladas, this time with one of Cabbage & Radishes and another of Celery. Both were flavored with lemon and a pinch of salt. Oh and just to back track a bit because I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it, my "mom" always makes rice with shredded carrots and the occasional shredded green bean. I love never having to worry about getting enough veggies!

On the beautiful spring day that we were having on Saturday I met my friend, Genevieve, first to explore the Museo Chileno del Art PreColombino. It's an amazing art museum (I'm such a sucker for museums) that featured the works of the ancient civilizations of Latin America. I obviously loved it ;). Afterwards we sat in Plaza de Armas enjoying our cortados (strong coffee with steamed milk, and topped with foam), catching up, and people watching. It was the perfect time of day to do the latter too, there were artists and performers and lots of people looking for entertainment. I had such a nice time!
My host parents and I got back around the same time (they had been at the grocery store) and nothing was prepared for dinner yet. Neither my mom nor I was too hungry for dinner so since they had just bought fresh bread, an Once meal it was. This time they purchased Pan Colizas, which seems like the usual bread but along with being square-shaped rather than round it also had a slightly different flavor and thus, name. I'm a fan though! I don't think I've ever not liked the bread here, or anywhere else for that matter, unless it's low quality. I'd probably completely suck on a low-carb diet and be miserable ;).
We had the usual ham and/or cheese fillers. According to my mom this was the "best" ham but seeing as jamón is just not my thing, never has been and probably never will be, I went with the cheese as usual. By the way, although I didn't eat the ham, I've dropped the vegetarian label. I still firmly believe that living a lifestyle void of animal products is better for the environment, body, and the poor animals, of course, but I think I have to be a little selfish and not so rigid while integrating myself into an omni-society. Please don't hate me :(.
Among options of butter, marmalade, and palta, I obviously chose this one, haha, no contest. It's definitely the most filling spread of the three and, well to be quite frank, I just love it. Scrumptious mashed avocado with a little salt and pepper is so where it's at :P.
Oh man, then came the real fun! Genevieve, who I had been with earlier, called me to invite me out. Her two Chilean guy friends invited her and whoever she'd like to bring to Blondie. What an awesome time we had! First off, Blondie is a gay discoteca, so we were able to dance to our little heart's desires without having to worry about sketchy men with wandering hands. Secondly, the music was a great combination of songs you can sing along to so we were able to belt out lyrics while we moved. Thirdly I was at a good, happy drunk state, after a buzz but before that point that leads to a hung-over Danielle the next day. And finally :) we bumped into about 6 more friends, by chance, and had a fabulously long night with a big group of fun people. I quietly walked into my house at 5 am this morning and went straight to bed. I nearly burned 1200 calories last night, nightlife here is intense, haha :). Haha, wow. I love dancing but I could definitely not be a club-hopper every weekend... I woke up at noon and still exhausted! I was also really hungry so I had a small bowl of cereal, with flax, banana, and milk and a large glass of water. Three hours later, I was showered, my room was clean, and lunch was ready. I had one of the best Empanadas de Pino yet! Oh my goodness, I don't know what it was, maybe the fact that we haven't bought them in a while, but I enjoyed this sooo much! Eating for pleasure (and health) is the only way to be.
I then had some lettuce and tomatoes and was left sufficiently satisfied and happy as I mentioned before :D. Now that I'm done with yet another marathon post (lol, I'm sorry this always happens, I hope you guys don't mind!) and drinking a large Café con Leche, it's time to get some quality homework done. I was even thinking of running later... not because I have to, but because I want to... love it! Take care, hope you're having a relaxing Sunday, and I'll "see" you all again soon!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

high school musical

Anyone? No? Haha, yesterday my friend Kristen played in the University Olympics and I felt like I was swept back to the quintessential high school tournament. It was a beautiful day and everywhere I looked there was a different sports game going on. On my way to the courts, I passed by a field hockey team and got so incredibly nostalgic! My gosh, I haven't played in so long but, at that moment, what I would have done to put on a kilt and run out to the field with stick in hand. Those were some good years :). I must stop aging myself though, haha, I still have so much to look forward too! Don't know if my younger self could've handled a year living in 2 different countries ;).

Sopa de Verduras, today's lunch...

...and last night's dinner both times with a mixed salad of lettuce, cucumbers, beets, and onions.

The all-star, #14 :)

I love these action shots! I felt like a proud parent with my camera, lol.

Yesterday's lunch, Sopa de Lentejas y Ensalada de Apio y Lechuga.
Then, of course, there's my wonderful company. My "mom" and "Ita." Every meal takes such time to prepare and place that it makes the entire process of eating that much more enjoyable. I love sitting and savoring and conversing with these two. And, of course, I love that I'm even able to converse. I guess my Spanish has improved more than I realize! Alrighty then, now that I feel like I've sufficiently made myself feel vieja, I must leave for my final class of the week. If I'm lucky maybe it'll be followed by something young and fun like going out for a drink ;) I am only 20, after all. Chau, hope your week is wrapping up well!

Friday, September 26, 2008

choo choo...

My U.S. home is a few blocks from a train station so I'm used to hearing train whistles. Oh memories :) you're not what I'm referring to... I'm thinking about it a bit more figuratively. I've been feeling down lately, just little things adding up but sometimes I need an escape. That's what exercise has been for me, kind of. It's not that they go away, but that I'm able to find a sense of peace with them, "watch them go by" rather than try to keep up. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of one of my favorite books, Eat, Love, Pray, described her meditation in this way during an interview with Borders Book Club. She's really an incredible woman and I'm glad to have found a platform for my own trains of thought.
I especially needed today's run at the gym, it helped put me in a much better mood and was another great workout. I'm so glad I'm getting the hang of this! I had an apple as I walked home and then sat in the kitchen talking to my host-mom and -grandma while they finished up preparing lunch. On this dreary spring day soup was most definitely in order and this bowl of white bean, pasta, and pumpkin goodness and a salad definitely hit the spot! Another winner "Ita" :).
I woke up to a stuffy room this morning so I just opted for a simple bowl of cereal, flax, and banana but yesterday I had a banging (I don't even use that word but how else could I have described it? haha, oh god) oatmeal breakfast. A yummy mixture of creamy banana and apple with a side of nuts and a vitamin fueled me through one of my hardest Body Balance classes yet. She updated the routine and my muscles are completely feeling it. It's wonderful :). Oh and I also opted for a coffee on the side, I needed the extra caffeine as I still find myself having trouble going to sleep at night. Anyone have any tips or remedies?
This was the salad I had at yesterday's lunch alongside a left-over bowl of stew. Isn't it lovely? All I needed was some Vinagre Chileno (the best red wine vinegar variety I've ever had) and I was set! Okay so it's Friday, thank God it's Friday, and I have nothing to do. Since when does that happen? Haha, I think I might write a few friends e-mails and then see how mi amiga did at her first basketball game. The big highlight of my day has already passed, a phone call to my little brother... who is now 16 years old (which obviously means, oh my gosh, he's going to be driving when I get back, weird) ! ¡Feliz Cumpleaños Jorgito! He's the cutest, we message each other but don't often get a chance to talk on the phone since I usually speak to my parents while my siblings are at school... so this was a very special occasion :). He was so surprised and, aw, how I miss him so! If you have a brother or sister give them a hug for me, lol, I'm feeling sentimental. Alrighty then girlies, I will let you all get started on your weekends now. Hope it's a good one!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

it's a small world after all

I love Disney World :) always will, especially the Magic Kingdom. Gosh, I'm such a little kid :). Today I finally got to "see" my family using the glorious program that is Skype. I think I deserved a little keep in touch break after being such a diligent student this morning and early afternoon, don't you? Haha, well obviously I took one anyway and with their new computer we were able to chat face-to-face. Makes me not feel so far away. Sometimes I just love technology.
I would show you lunch but it's not worth it. I ate a tomato and avocado salad around 1 and then a piece of bread a few hours later. I don't know what was wrong with my stomach but it definitely was not in the mood to eat. So rare for me! Thank God I got my appetite back for dinner! We had lentil and rice soup and it was mmm, mmm, good! Lentils are probably just about my favoritest legume. Yes, I just said favoritest. Our comforting bowls of tasty goodness were followed by these salads. By the way, did I mention that today was unseasonably cold, rainy, dark and all around dreary? Well, that would be why we ate a winter soup in spring. My "mom" is so intuitive :) it's just what I wanted. I wasn't feeling the lettuce so I opted for a large serving of Ensalada de Apio. Crunchy. Now that I've been eating celery a lot more often than I used to I've found myself craving it. Couldn't have consciously come up with a better craving if I tried! It's super low in calories and super high in vitamin K and coumarins, compounds which "help prevent free radicals from damaging cells" and "enhance the activity of certain white blood cells." Hey, I'm all for strengthening my body's defense against cancer any day, especially if I get to enjoy it! While the powerful nutrients in that celery work their magic, I think it's time to catch up on this week's Gossip Girl. Have a great night ladies!

Monday, September 22, 2008

la primavera

HAPPY SPRING! or, excuse me, that would be autumn for all you northern hemisphere folk ;). I still can't get over the nice weather, I feel like I was jipped this past summer since I had to leave half-way through so I've got a whole new appreciation for sunshine and heat! Yay! Don't know if you noticed yet, but I'm in a much better mood than I was this morning, and a ton less stressed out too. I took a deep breath, made my token to-do list, checked off everything that had to be done today, and now am more than ready to accomplish the remainders tomorrow!
Lunch was a "vegetale verde" Fritatta and the usual rice mixed with carrots and green beans. I forgot to ask what vegetable was used, lol, so it's still a mystery but it was mighty tasty! I finished off my plate and still had room for some romaine lettuce salad. I had a hard slamming workout at the gym today so I needed to refuel and was more than happy to do so with such yummy food! View above photo with caution... ugly celery salad! On another topic, I had my Environmental Policy class after lunch and presented my research paper topic, organic farming in Chile. There's been a ton of discussion of the use of an unauthorized amount and/or type of pesticides in agriculture and the organic business is simultaneously developing a more significant role in mainstream grocery stores. I cannot wait to get started! Nerd alert :). The main dish was salmon patties (one more than pictured) and leftover lunch rice. I loved the fish but the rice, eh, boring. I had few bites and then loaded up on ensalada. I didn't think it were possible but ever since I bought that high quality, artisan, extra virgin olive oil (try that 5 times fast) I've been enjoying raw veggies that much more. And finally, here's the pretty tomato salad. I may seem superficial, but I can assure you that I filled up on both salads equally ;). Now the time has come for me to crash into my bed and drift far off into dreamland. Here's to a Happy temperate weather Tuesday for all! P.S. I apologize if this post was a bit too much for you, I get really funny (aka ridiculous) when I'm overtired...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

just checkin' in

The weekend is hardly over and I'm about to begin my final celebratory dieciocho day, it's been so fun, but I thought I'd check in to give an update on the eating front! Saturday's asado a la casa...


I just got back from the gym but everything was ready so I didn't have a chance to shower. Ew! Haha, I didn't drink the beer in the picture (it was my "dad's") but I did have a glass of Carmenere with my "mom."

It was a perfect pair with our steak. (Ah! The boyfriend will be pleased.)

Dried peaches in their own juice with mote that we bought from a fair.

Saturday's Once
I had one a half pieces of bread (still hot from the oven, mmm, the best) with cheese, crushed avocado, and marmalade... but not all together :). Hope everyone's having a wonderful weekend, be back tomorrow!

Friday, September 19, 2008

breathe in, breathe out...

I was repeating all kinds of motivational phrases in my head today as I was running. It started out super easy and I was considering that maybe the 10 days of unscheduled rest hadn't been such a big deal after all. Then, about half way through I realized how untrue that was. Haha, it was tough and I ran a little less than scheduled but I know I pushed myself and since I'm running tomorrow I figure I can make up for lost time. Okay, so those have been my morning thoughts so far :) my pre-run snack consisted of crackers and peanut butter and my post-run snack was 4 clementines. What happened to breakfast? Well, we're all out of food! Seriously, there's two apples way beyond ripe in the fruit basket, I'm running super low on PB, we don't have bread... I suppose I could whip up some eggs... eh no, (1) I may very well eat eggs later today as I return to my vegetarian eating habits and (2) I'm not in the mood at the moment. And once again, I use the blog to think insignificant things through. I apologize you poor readers! How about I make it up to you with a recount of my family Dieciocho celebration?Early yesterday morning we left the city for el campo and the adorable ranch that my host-mom's uncle owns. There's so much gorgeous land! In the summer I'm sure it would be great for a family reunion but on this dreary day a little get together worked just fine too!
After meet and greets, we went to the kitchen to make the Pebre, (if you're interested here's the recipe.) First my "mom" washed the vegetables and peeled them as Chileans do. To be quite honest, I still haven't figured out quite why, most of the vitamins are in the skin! I'm going to need to have a talk with the fam about this :).
During this time, I sat and the table picked cilantro leaves with La Carola. She would be Carol in English but I just wanted to point out the way we call her in Spanish so you could take note of the la before the name. It's so cute, it's like saying THE and then the name, makes them sound that much more important. I like being called "La Daniela."
While we were prepping the Pebre, "ita" (an affectionate abbreviation for abuelita) was prepping the salads, potatoes at the time of the shot. She's the cutest! After a few people had breakfast (not me, I already ate) and we went to walk around outside.
This is the view from the edge of the yard. Like I said before, the weather was sucky but I still couldn't get over how beautiful it was and I'm sure it would be an even better sight in the summer. I can't wait to go back! Okay, and now for the kicker. Not only did I step outside the vegetarian realm yesterday, but I'm pretty sure I fell right smack in the middle of carnivore land... and I'm not gonna lie, I enjoyed it...
We grilled everything by hot charcoal... first we had hot dogs served on pan amasado. I passed, meat-eater or not, I've never been a fan. Then sausages. I tried them but I'm not big on sausages either. Can you see why it was easy for me to go veg, lol? Next were chicken drumsticks, which I did eat and were absolutely delicious.
Afterward we feasted on the salads... celery salad, potato salad, corn salad, lettuce salad, olives and finally our pebre (center left, before mixing). Some were dressed in mayo (yuck, I avoided those) and others in simply EVOO and vinegar or lemon juice.
Following feelings of satisfaction and digestion we moved onto the real stuff, Argentine Beef. Oh my god. It was out of this world! It was juicy and not too tough while not being too firm, and bursting with flavor, and just for good measure, probably came from South American cows that had actually led happy pasture lives. I had a small piece.
Following our feast a neighbor stopped by with decorations. She was dressed in traditional female cueca wear. Cueca is their national dance and it was fun to see someone being so festive :).

Not to mention that she brought empanadas! Yum. There was no room left in my stomach so I didn't force it down but I heard they were great. She had the Pino version (my favorite) and a mushroom & cheese kind.

Later on, once we were all danced out my host-aunt, Marisol, broke out her Arroz con Leche. Alright, let's see, how can I put this... I hate rice pudding, everything about it, the taste, the way it looks, the texture... but I L-O-V-E-D this! There was a difference in everything although I can't figure out why because the ingredients are basically the same. Hm. No need to ask, I will have that recipe coming pronto ;).
And here's the wonderful family that made it all possible! There were obviously a bunch of kids, family friends, and I but these are the Espinosas. From top left: Fernando ("uncle"), "great-uncle," "great-aunt," "grandmother," to bottom: "mom" and Marisol ("aunt.")
I had the most wonderful day. I forget how nice it is to have a family holiday centered around delicious food. Okay, they weren't my own :) but they're all wonderful people that welcomed me into their lives with open arms so I'm grateful and that much more excited to have my parents visit! And just for good measure, I thought I'd put in Thursday's lunch and dinner (it looked exactly the same) because I enjoyed it so much. It wasn't especially special from the norm but still, delish. I'm off to meet up with my friend, stop by the gym (this place should pay me for all the great things I've been advertising, ha, 3rd person I got to sign up) and then go downtown for another day of festivities. TGIF!