DIY PSL

DSCF1209

The surest thing that let you know fall has arrived, needs no introduction.

For you, my pumpkin spice latte recipe!

::PSL::

2 1/4 cups organic soy milk

1/4 cup espresso

2 1/2 tablespoons organic pumpkin puree

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon vanilla

Combine the pumpkin puree, vanilla and spices in a small saucepan. Whisk in the milk and espresso and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Pour into two mugs and top with more nutmeg.

Sugar and whipped cream are optional.

Is a very good drink to accompany with Almond Cantuccini.

Chocolate Massage Butter

chocolate ice cub

Sweet-aholics, rejoice! Chocolate is proven to boost your beauty.

Eating for beauty doesn’t mean a lifetime sentence of salad (although leafy greens do wonders for your looks!). Indulge in the ultimate treat—chocolate—and reap some pretty major beauty and health rewards while you’re at it.

The good news is some chocolate can have significant beauty benefits. The not terribly bad news is, the only chocolate that can deliver these benefits is dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa content—which doesn’t apply to most treats found in the candy aisle at the grocery store, so choose wisely.

Cocoa contains naturally occurring plant substances called flavonoids that help keep platelets less sticky, decreasing your risk for heart attack or stroke from a clot.

Dark chocolate relaxes blood vessels, which in turn reduces blood pressure. Several studies suggest that it may also be a feel-good treat that increases production of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters.

Dark chocolate also helps combat beauty’s public enemy number one: Stress. Cocoa helps reduce stress hormones, which means less collagen breakdown in the skin and fewer wrinkles.

Flavonols (the type of flavonoid found in chocolate) help your skin look its best. Flavonols are antioxidants that help your skin protect itself from UV damage (hello, fewer wrinkles) fight free radicals (so long, sun spots) and increase blood flow.

In one study, flavonols in dark chocolate even improved skin hydration and thickness—both mega important for young-looking skin.

This rich body butter has the yummy scent of chocolate without any of the calories. It can be use as a moisturizer as well as a massage oil. Just rub some in your hands to warm it up and you’ll have a massage oil and a chocolaty snack for the senses, all in one.

Make-Chocolate-Ice-Cubes-Step-1

chocolateicecubes

::Chocolate Massage Butter::

1/4 grated cocoa butter

1 tablespoons grated dark chocolate

2 tablespoons light sesame oil

1 tablespoon light olive oil

1 tablespoon grated beeswax

Place all the ingredients in a double boiler, stir frequently and remove from the heat as soon as the ingredients are melted. Pour the hot liquid into a clean container, or for more fun, into an ice cube tray or silicone molds and let it cool completely.

chocolate_ice_cubes

To use, either rub the entire massage butter bar over your skin or warm it up rubbing between your hands and massage it into clean skin.

Chocolate Chamomile Lip Gloss

chocolate-lip-balm-

Have you ever noticed that on all those makeover shows they always focus on the person’s mouth? Your mouth is a focal point of your face.

The lips are one of the most sensitive areas of the body. They also get a lot of exposure to harsh weather conditions, such as sun, wind, and excessive cold, so it’s important to protect them with lip balms and conditioners. I like to use simple natural oils yet rich in vegetable fats, such as coconut oil, shea butter or cocoa butter. It’s also a good idea to gently exfoliate your lips with a soft toothbrush or cotton washcloth from time to time.

This lip gloss is great because it smells just like brownies and have kind of the same taste, but without the calories. It’s extremely moisturizing and will keep your lips soft and kissable!

::Chocolate Chamomile Lip Gloss::

1 tablespoon grated cocoa butter

1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons grated beeswax

1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil (to preserve)

10 to 15 drops organic chamomile essential oil

1 1/2 teaspoons of chopped chocolate

Combine all of the ingredients in a double boiler. Stir until all the ingredients are well mixed, then pour into small, clean containers. Allow the lip gloss to cool before using.

To use, rub into your lips and enjoy the flavor!

Christmas Ornaments…

With pasta…

DSCF1382

So, in this season, in which we all seek spend and spend, I was looking green ornaments for the holiday decor of my house. None of what I saw I liked. So I decided to make my own trees and some stars.

And why not share with you?

You will only need some good adhesive (like DEVCON Home), Rotelle pasta and water colors or glitter glue. Paint them as you please, there is no good or bad way, as long as you do it from the heart.

DSCF1377  DSCF1383

So, with all my affection, my trees.

DSCF1433 DSCF1432 DSCF1427

Gelato alla Crema con Nocciole e Cannella

DSCF1489

“… everyone knows that ice cream is worth the trouble of being cold. Like all things virtuous, you have to suffer to gain the reward.”
Brandon SandersonThe Rithmatist

As you probably know by now, I don’t have any diet related dogmas (except avoiding industrial chemicals, pesticides, toxins and other additives in food), and I do follow my body’s intuition and listen to it very closely when deciding what to eat. I have noticed not eating dairy products on a daily basis bring me near to death and I do not believe that a low amount of dairy products in my diet improved the way my body looks and feels.

DSCF1466
I used to be one of those kids that SWORE by cocoa krispies and milk for breakfast time… and now I just keep doing it.
My skin is still bright, my stomach still is flat and my general energy haven’t change at all.

DSCF1485
But, if there’s one thing that gets me off my routine – it’s ice cream! I love it! And that’s why I’m always looking for ways to enjoy “poison” free desserts and it’s why I created this recipe so I can enjoy ice cream all the time without sacrificing anything.

DSCF1486

This recipe is for homemade whole milk-based ice cream made just like your old time favorites. Yesterday, I made Hazelnut, one of my favorite flavors, of course free from all the crazy artificial colors and additives… Soon, my husband’s favorites – Pistachio and Mint Chocolate Chip. They sound both SO GOOD! (Well, Mint Chocolate Chip not so much to me…)

DSCF1492

::Gelato alla Crema con Nocciole e Cannella::

Basic mixture:

4 egg yolks

1 cup (200 gr.) beet sugar

2 cups (500 ml) whole milk

1 cup (250 ml) cream

For flavor:

1 1/2 cups (192 gr.) chopped hazelnuts

1 tablespoon cinnamon powder

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Lots, lots of love!

Mix egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Bring the milk and cream to a boil, add the cinnamon powder and vanilla; then set aside and cool for ten minutes. Pour the milk and cream into the egg mixture, cook on the top of a double boiler, adding the chopped hazelnuts, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, making sure it never comes to a boil. Remove from heat, and leave it cool completely. Transfer the cooled mixture to a big bowl and place in the freezer. After 3 hours, whisk the mixture to make sure it is freezing evenly. Return to the freezer for 3 hours, then whisk again. Whisk one last time after 3 more hours. Place some hazelnuts and cinnamon sticks on top and chill the dish/bowl before serving, at least 30 minutes, that way your ice cream stay frozen longer.

Note: If you have an ice-cream machine, transfer the mixture to it, and follow the instructions to finish.

Happy Thanksgiving!

DSCF1418

Since I met Paul, my husband, we have had many first times, including thanksgiving day.

In Cartagena, Colombia, where am from, after our anniversary of independence, which is celebrated for nearly a week each November, the next holiday is Christmas. So this turkey thing is still new to me.

The previous two years, in the “Thanksgiving Dinner” with Paul’s family, ruined me, I think, definitely for the sweet potato and achieving almost the same with the turkey (the water had more flavor than the whole display of food).

IMG_0960  DSCF1419

So, for the first time, I’ll bake a turkey for thanksgiving day.

::ROAST TURKEY WITH PISTACHIO STUFFING::

Stuffing

60 gr. (1 1/2 oz) shelled pistachio nuts

100 gr. (3 1/2 oz) prosciutto finely chopped

225 gr. (8 oz) ground chicken or pork

1 egg

80 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream

150 gr. chestnut puree

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven 325 o F (170 o C). Spray the pistachios on a baking tray and toast for 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl with the rest of the stuffing ingredients, season well and mix together thoroughly.

For the rest

6 – 10 lb turkey

300 gr. (10 1/2 oz) butter, softened

2 onions, cut into rings

Fresh rosemary, lots of it

1 celery stalk, cut into 2-3 pieces

2 carrots, cut into 3-4 pieces each

250 ml (1 cup) white wine

125 ml (1/2 cup) marsala wine

Fill the turkey cavity with the stuffing and sew up the opening with kitchen string. Cross the legs and tie them together, and tuck the wings behind the body. Rub the skin with 100 gr. (3 1/2 oz) of the butter. Put the onions in the center of a roasting tin and place the turkey on top, breast up. Add another 100 gr. of butter to the tin with the rosemary, celery and carrots. Pour the white wine and marsala over the top. Roast for 3-3 1/2 hours, basting several times. Cover when the skin becomes golden brown.

Transfer the turkey to a plate and leave rest in a warm spot. Put the vegetables from the pan into a food processor and blend. Add the pan juices and scrapings from the bottom of the tin and blend until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan, add remaining butter and bring to boil. Season well and cook until thickened to a good gravy consistency. Transfer to a gravy boat.

You can You can accompany with any vegetable of your choice. In my case, broccoli. I love it.

Buon Appetito!

Caribbean Coconut Flan

DSCF1398

Birthdays are complicated when you reach a certain age. Oh, don’t get me wrong. You’re grateful for another year. I mean. You’re still alive and kicking, right? Waking up to a fresh start. Starting a spanking new year on the planet with one more inch in your waist. A number that grants you a whisker more authority in the world. A tad more wisdom.

If you’ve been paying attention to the lessons life likes to offer up as experience, and not sleepwalking, that is. Not acquiescing to the expectations of others. Or choosing safety over the challenge of the new. Or worse- finding yourself somewhere, in some situation, or relationship, strictly for the sake of momentum, chafing inside a role you don’t remember signing up for.

Birthdays can be markers like that.

Defining where we’ve been. And how far we’ve come. Or not.

Wow! That sounds deep…way too serious…not too much like me…Who are you? And more important, where is the real me?

Every year, for my B-Day, my Mom used to ask me what I wanted for lunch. That’s one of the many ways she makes me feel very special on that day. And my answer was always the same:

Almond rice. Chicken with Mushrooms and Mustard sauce. And the salad, well, I always let my mom decided.

But my favorite part was dessert. The best, because as the rest of the food, is always the same: Coconut Flan!

DSCF1404

I know, many women out there are worry about counting calories, fat, trying to get the “Miley Cyrus look”, right? I’ll just say I stick with those one that, thank God, still think that women like Ann Margret and Marilyn Monroe are example of the definition of beauty.

Anyway, I usually bake during the week, that way we can have dessert after dinner. But not this week. No dessert, and I was going crazy (and better not to mention Paul…he was driving me crazy!)

So, this is something fast and I always enjoy while I’m preparing it. You know: the anticipation, the wait for something you know is going to be delicious, mouth-watering.

I also know perfectly well that Paul and I are going to devour this flan in less than a eye blink.

 CaramelFlan

Is a pleasure for me, to introduce you, my favorite recipe:

:: CARIBBEAN COCONUT FLAN::

1 cup (200 gr.) beet sugar

Boiling  water

425 ml coconut milk ( I love AROY-D, does not contains nothing but coconut extract and water)*

425 ml regular milk

390 ml homemade sweetened condensed milk

6 eggs

1 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup coconut flakes, toasted, for garnish

Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 35o degrees F.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the sugar until it melts. Add 11 tablespoons of hot water and mix well, until caramelizes. Remember to be careful while preparing it and try, if possible, to use only wooden spoons. Pour it into a flan dish, pie plate or round souffle baking dish with shallow sides, swirling it around to coat the bottom and add little less of half of the shredded coconut on top. Place in freezer while preparing the mixture.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until foamy with a wire whisk. Beat in the condensed milk, coconut milk, regular milk, and shredded coconut. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. It will need to bake in a water-bath in the oven. Set the dish into a large baking pan with sides and carefully pour the boiling water around the flan to come 2/3 the way up the sides. Carefully transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for about 1 hour, until the flan is set and the center only jiggles a little bit, like a cheesecake would. Remove from the oven and water-bath and allow to cool completely. Turn the flan out onto a flat serving platter. Cut into slices for serving. Garnish with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

* That brand of coconut milk can be found in asian markets. They have coconut milk for dessert and another one for cooking. Love them both!

Chocolate Chunks Granola

So, here I am, hungry, no granola in my pantry… so sad… I’m going to check what I have and… THANK GOD!… Am going to survive tonight! I’ll have breakfast for dinner.

Before I start, I’m going to set the table for breakfast at 6:48 pm, is perfect that am already wearing my pj’s and some reggaeton in the background. Good!

(The black coffee is just for the pic, I never take a huge amount like that …)

Gran5

So I have oats, wheat germ, shredded coconut, sliced almond, pistachios, hazelnuts and honey. Wait, I forget something very important. Of course, chocolate chunks… Now I just need some milk ummm or maybe greek yogurt? Anyway, all ready to eat!

Gran3

Don’t forget to check out my article about wheat germ, quite interesting.

Mushroom Polenta Lasagna

DSCF1348
 
 
“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
 
Julia Child

Wasn’t she great? I mean, Julia…Anyway, let’s start with today’s recipe.

DSCF1353

It’s rainy and cold outside and I’ve come to realize that I’m nearly insufferable when it comes to weather that isn’t sunshine and warmth. There’s a certain amount of comfort in this all -the -time- grey… and the way it transforms into a deep and bright black. I ‘m falling sleep around 4:30 pm everyday now… so I wake up in the middle of the night thinking is already next morning and… OOOHH… I see is still dark outside, Paul hasn’t even come back home yet from work… UPPS! Time for dinner, I guess.

Raise your hands those who simply love Italian food? That’s me!!!

Italian food is great, nothing compares to the taste, the texture, even the combination of ingredients.

DSCF1339

Well, less talk and more action. I found this recipe in one of my favorite magazines and decided to try (with some changes of my part), so here it is.

From Food Network Magazine and Me, of course.

::Mushroom Polenta Lasagna::

For the sauce*

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered

1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps quartered

Kosher salt

1 onion, chopped

3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 15-ounce can Muir Glen Organic whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for topping

Heat 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add half of the button and shiitake mushrooms and cook, undisturbed, until slightly browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring, until soft, 2 to 3 more minutes; transfer to a bowl. Repeat with another 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil and the remaining button and shiitake mushrooms. Transfer to the bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil to the skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring until darkened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, button and shiitake mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley; season with salt.

For the lasagna

2 1/2 cups polenta

Kosher salt

1 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Bring 7 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan; transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Meanwhile, bring 3 cups water to a boil in a separate large saucepan. Gradually whisk the polenta and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt into the bowl of hot water. Cover the bowl tightly with foil and set over the saucepan of boiling water. Reduce the heat so the water is simmering; cook the polenta until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover and vigorously whisk in the parmesan, eggs and nutmeg.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Use a 3-quart baking dish. Spread one-third of the polenta in the dish and top with half of the mushroom sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat the layers (polenta, sauce, mozzarella), then top with the remaining polenta. (If the polenta gets too thick, whisk in a little hot water.)

Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake until bubbly,no more than 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover the lasagna and top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella; leave it in the oven until the cheese melts, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

*Tip: If you feel more in the carnivore side, you can add to the sauce, ground beef or diced chicken breast.

 

Vanilla Custard

vanilla

Custard cream:

1 –  1/4 cups of milk

3 egg yolks

1/4 cup of beet sugar

2 teaspoons of Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons of cornstarch

1/3 tablespoon of brandy

1½ teaspoons of vanilla extract

In a small bowl add the eggs, 1/4-cup milk, flour, cornstarch and sugar.  Mix well and set aside. Heat the rest of the milk & brandy in a saucepan and bring to a boil, reducing the heat once the milk boiled. At a medium heat and the milk mixture to the boil milk and stir until it thicken adding the vanilla. When it starts to thicken remove from heat.