Monthly Archives: July 2015

I wonder Wednesday…

Yes, I know it’s Thursday but I’ve had this idea popping in and out of my head and I figure if I don’t get it out there before too long my mommy-brain will eventually forgot about it. Is anyone else still suffering from mommy (or daddy) brain? I was really hoping I’d get my marbles together eventually but *damn* if I’m still not all with it. I really am a smart person, I promise. ☺️

Dinner??

Ugh. So it’s Sunday afternoon. I’m chilling in the hammock.  With a very bad, bad pedicure (read: it’s been WEEKS since I did my nails) and I haven’t cooked since Thursday! GASP!

 
I don’t know what it is. We did the shrimps on the beach on Thursday and then fended for ourselves for dinner.  And then Friday was (awesome) sandwiches from a local place. And it just went downhill from there. 

Yesterday we roadtripped to the south end of the island to check out a sunflower farm and got some awesome pics of Gabriela. Albeit I have a defunct camera lens right now. Gggrrrr. We had lunch out there so by the time we got back home, fed Gabi, put her down for a nap, we were all wiped out so again, it was a fend for yourself night. 

   
 We started Sunday off with a (late) 6 mile bike ride, which knocked out the little one after we got home. My dad and I lounged watching the final stage of Le Tour De France (yea Froome!!) while the little one and the husband snoozed. 

And then it hit me: I haven’t thought of dinner for tonight! And what’s worse: I’m so not in the mood to do ANYTHING! So, while I lay in my hammock, I’m sorta kicking myself because I haven’t cooked a meal this. Whole. Weekend. Double ugh. 

And yet, that’s ok. As awful as I think I feel I have a great husband and dad (who lives with us) who really don’t expect much. And that’s not a dig. These are ‘I’ll have eggs or a PB&J’ bunch of guys so a home cooked meal is golden to them. I just get down on myself, which I’m sure is not a good thing. 

Gabriela still has her home cooked meals and us adults (over)indulge in other delights. Everyone needs a weekend off right , right? Right?? 

I’ll be back at it tomorrow so stay tuned for some actual food on the blog! In the meantime, this was our awesome lunch from Carlito’s yesterday in Guanica: camarones al ajillo and carne frito. YUM! And some more Gabi pics! Happy Sunday!

 

the husband is a tostones guy while I’m an amarillos gal ( savory vs sweet)

 
   
   
   

and someone came to join me in the hammock! ❤️

 

Beach Thursday Series

#3

What a difference a week makes! The winds are calm and the beach is CROWDED! Thankfully we get here early enough to 1. Avoid the bad sun time and 2. Snag the prime spot under the palms. 

 

daydreaming…

 
Gabi is FINALLY snoozing away after being awake and cooperative for the last 4 hours. I think she’s finally getting the whole ‘I really can play by myself without having a breakdown ‘ thing. It is very much appreciated. 

So what’s cooking, you may ask? Today we are doing shrimps! Unbelievably it’s very hard to find not only fresh shrimp (or certain seafood) it’s usually pretty expensive. We do go to the local fish guy to get whole snapper and lobster when we feel like indulging but it’s not the same as the markets in the upper 50. When we find frozen shrimps on sale we stock up. Then go back for more. Right now I have about 9 bags of shrimp in the freezer chest. Score! 

I can’t just do regular grilled shrimp; I need to step it up a notch so I recently came across this recipe from Andrew Zimmern and I just had to try it. 

Here in PR there’s a special local cheese that is fried and served with a guava-style dip, which is amazing. I found some guava paste the other day so I thought this would be a perfect accompaniment . The recipe calls for a jelly but the paste actually worked pretty well and it thickened up just fine. 

 

can anything be better?

  

finished pinchos de camarones

 
Today was absolutely perfect. The weather and wind were cooperative; people loved smiling and cooing with Gabriela; Gabi had an amazing time floating in the ‘ocean’; our pinchos turned out great. Can anything be better? Life. Is. Good! 

 

gabriela in her ocean a few months ago. such a water baby!


Ps- I’ll be adding a ‘Beach Fare’ page to showcase all the yummy recipes I have used during our beach outings. Stay tuned! 
(Please excuse my fuzzy pics. I’ll be slowly making my way into taking much more professional pics since 99% of mine are from my iPhone. )

Baby bites and a road to Tuscany

hello. My name is Jennefer and I’m addicted to the food network. And the cooking channel. And cookbooks. Lots of cookbooks. And really big, complicated, intricate, long cooking meals (hello, Julia Child). While this addiction results in some really, REALLY good food, I do get overwhelmed with ‘what’s for dinner?’  

In an attempt to organize and declutter my kitchen world, I’ve gone back to meal planning and the weekends are normally when I try to get lots of cooking done and my week in line (this is also when I do bulk batches of things like the husbands burritos that I freeze). My wonderful husband takes on baby Gabi (wait- can I still call her ‘baby’ now that she’s a year old??) so I have hours of cooking time. Yes, I get excited! I also get a chance to strap on my rain boots and work on the garden as well. Thank you husband!

 

how i roll. yep. no shame. 😉

 
So this past weekend I went to town. We had Gabi’s one year appt and she’s a little under weight so I’ve been looking into recipes to help bulk her up. I whipped up these  Tuna and sweet potato bites, which Gabi loved loved loved. Score! And to help give her more veggies, and use up the leftover sweet potato, I made these Zucchini bites. I didn’t add the onion, though, and I added some fresh thyme to this and thyme and dill to the tuna bites. Yum-o! Sorry- no pics. 😦

But the piece de résistance of the weekend had to be the porchetta I roasted on Sunday. As the opening of this post states, I love cooking shows and I recently have become obsessed with a fan of the show _Extra Virgin_ on the cooking channel. Their food always looks amazing and everything is so fresh and local. Check it out! It follows the couple from their homes in Brooklyn, LA, and beautiful Tuscany. I think I just live vicariously through them! 

The other day Gabriele made this Porchetta Sandwich and I knew I had to try it. I used an 8 pound picnic roast that is used for a classic pernil dish so I actually had to cut the bone out. This was a first and I think I did a pretty good at not mangling the meat too much! Although rolling it back up took a little creativity on how I tied it.  

mmmmm pork!


The house smelled AMAZING for the 5 hours that it roasted, low and slow. I also detached the thick fat cap, roasted it separately, and made a little chicharrón for my dad. He was in heaven. 

 

crispy chicharrón

 
The sandwiches turned out great and it was a perfect dinner to end the weekend (with lots of leftovers for carnitas, burritos, and perhaps some posole??). Total win!

 

the finished beauty

  

puerto rican bread, porchetta, cheese, with carmelized onions and green peppers

  

PS- did I mention that I just HAD to buy their cookbook?? Sssshhhh…don’t tell the husband. But I bought it for my Kindle, which he’s been bugging me to start using, so that’s perfectly acceptable, right? At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! 😉

PSS- you can now follow me on Facebook! Click the link on the right to like My Kitchen Musings! Bon appetit ! 

Beach Thursday deux 

it’s Thursday so that means…. BEACH THURSDAY! I wish I could come up with something more catchy but that’s all I got. 

 

our ‘SPOT’. gabi digs the view.


Once again we’re alone on the beach, which is a pretty good thing in our book, but I think it’s because the locals are staying inside because of some crazy weather this morning. In the span of about 40 minutes it went from a relatively calm, sunny day to cloudy with some rain sprinkles then back to sunny with winds at least 20 mph. I’m currently crunchy sand between my teeth. 
 

wind whipping her hair around

 

We’re still in the ‘hold me while I nap’ phase so that’s not the best pic of her with her squishy face and all. But you can clearly see the wind in the hair and the sand stuck to her face. I had to turn my back to the wind and put a towel behind me to block out the sand gusts. How can this child sleep through ALL this and still not be able to nap by herself. Wonders never cease. 

If you just joined the blog my father and I have just started experimenting bring a little propane hibachi/camping grill with us to whip up some pinchos (or kebobs). Last week was chicken. This week…BEEF! Churrasco, actually, which is pretty much skirt steak (but much cheaper island side). I’m thinking though that it may be a challenge grilling today!

I used this recipe from Marcela Valladolid, with, of course, some modifications. I didn’t use any orange slices but instead used lime zest and fresh squeezed lime juice. I also chunked the red onion rather than slicing so I could use them in the pincho. And of course I added cilantro and a bit of olive oil. I am intrigued how the beer will work in this though. 

before grilling

Well, I’m sorry to say that the wind won out and we abandoned our beach day around 11-ish. But that wasn’t going to stop our grilling adventure! My father set up the grill on our patio and we went to town! That marinade ROCKED! And it was so much easier grilling when the wind wasn’t gusting all around! 

La nena was coming close to a nap so I strapped her in and grilling ensued. It’s amazing how quick the strips cooked and the smell was amazing. The chicken was yummy but so far churrasco is leading the pinchos battle!

i never think she’s in the carrrier correctly but she started dozing off.

  

any tips to make her look more comfy??


 

my pinchos with habichuelos from a local carcineria

  

Ps- that’s a Don Q and coke. 

oh mama, really, gotta take a pic of my crazy hair?!?

    Chicken croquettes

    As you may have noticed, this blog is about food. And the beach. And Gabi. And our day to day. A smorgasbord of you will. So this post will be about two things near and dear to me: food and Gabi!

    From before she was born I had already decided that I was going to be making a majority of her food. I wish I could go 100% homemade but realistically I don’t think it’s feasible. For me at least. And since she was around 7 months I’ve been pureeing, roasting, and preparing  her ‘meals’. 

    I’m a little fanatical scouring pinterest and Instagram for new and exciting recipes and also seeing what momma’s and daddy’s are feeding their lil munchkins. And can I just say http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Toddler-On-Go-Cookbook/dp/1616284994WOW– this is going to be a generation of foodies! And can I also mention the fun gadgets/plates/mats/etc that are out there??!!?? 

    So I’ve been using this cookbook now that she’s older for more substantial meals and also foods that are more portable. It’s pretty good and so far the food has been yummy and Gabi seems excited about all the new flavors. (I must note that she sometimes eats what I make for the whole family, too.) 

    For some reason I’ve had croquettes on the brain and I’m sad to say that 1. I’ve never made them and 2. My toddler cookbook didn’t have a recipe for one. What? So off to the Internet I went. I didn’t use one specific recipe but rather a combo of a few with some modifications on my end. 

     

    not the most photogenic of foods


    I try to add in as much flavor as possible while trying to utilize as little salt as possible. For these I added in fresh thyme and tarragon from our garden. I also added some potatoes to give them more bulk. The next batch I’ll definitely substitute a sweet potato and maybe add in some shredded veggies such as zucchini or squash. To make them more healthful I baked them rather than frying them. 

     

    pre-baked goodness


    After forming the croquettes I refrigerated them for about 30 minutes to hold their shape better. I popped them in the oven for 45 minutes and then flipped on the broiler to give them a golden color. And they passed the Gabi (and my father’s) taste test! Success!
     

    post-baked yumminess!


    This definitely is going into our dinner rotation with new modifications!
    Nothing gives me more pleasure than watching Gabriela eat yummy and healthy meals that I make for her. Happiness really can come from feeding people. 

    Bon appetit! 

    1st birthday chalkboard pics…sneakpeek.

    Thursday beach day!

    we try to get out to the beach at least once a week and then again on the weekend with husband. Unfortunately the weekends haven’t quite worked out: it’s the summer so kids are off school and the beaches fill up fast. We’re the kinda the less the merrier kinda folk so we normally go early and head out before the crowds swell the beach. 

    We’ve been out of our routine the last month or so this is the first Thursday that we headed to ‘our’ beach: playa sardinera. It’s about 10 mins from our house abd there’s a little protected pool that we take Gabi into. Normally it’s pretty secluded but it’s filling up pretty quickly (I’m writing this beachside while la nena takes a snooze. The beach certainly wears out a chica)!

    We’ve got a pretty good location under two Palm trees that give a lot a shade but there’s still a spot of sunshine to layout and get some sun. Weekdays normally consist of my dad, la nena, and myself along with lots of gear: blankets, towels, portable playpen, toys, and libations. 

     

    gabriela’s portable pen with a perfect view!

     
    And we’ve since added to our list. If you saw my previous post, we were trying out our camping grill at the house the other day because my father got the grand idea of grilling on the beach. So the idea of having ‘pinchos’ was born. 

    Pinchos are the Puerto Rican version of kebobs. They’re sold on the sides of the road around town and at little guaguitas (food carts/trucks) around the more popular beaches. Grilling? Beachside? I’m all in!

    Living in Dothan, alabama for about 3 years, my husband and I made lots of trips to the Forgotten Coast in Florida but we’d normally only pack easy snacks and fresh made sandwiches. Now when we would primitive camp with Linger Longer I got more daring with our fare since we were pretty much on our own food wise. 

    linger longer at sunset

    nice little camp set up

      

    our primative camp site – st. george island, fl

     

    Today will be the first time trying out the grill, beachside, with 20mph gusts of wind. Good thing it’s propane so we don’t have to worry about any charcoal bits floating around causing problems. I’m doing pinchos de pollo (chicken) and I adapted this Recipe. I just focused on the marinade and also added fresh oregano from the garden. 

     

    our set-up

     
     

    this is how we roll


    All in all it turned out pretty yummy. Gabriela even enjoyed a few pieces. I need to make a few tweaks and also have to figure out how to contend the wind but it was a great first excursion. Can’t wait till next week!

    all smiles!

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