Month: October 2013

Spooky Apples!

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Thanks to my kids, we spent last Saturday with some Spooky Apples! 🙂

This week many K-8 schools are all about “Fall Parties”, “Trick or Treat Day” and “Costume Parades.” Kids will be wearing their costumes and will enjoy fun crafts and activities. In anticipation of all the excitement, my kids organized an “Apples Costume Parade” at home. We started with a couple of store-bought apples, pumpkin and spider web candy apples. After completing the inventory of needed ingredients my kids set out to dress their small apples in Zombie, Frankenstein and Spider costumes.

As I share this, I will include some tips, in case you want to try this at home.

Tip: Use small apples. When the product is finished, it’s easier to eat. Leaving a half eaten apple will not be too appealing as its color will start to turn brown quickly.

1. Wash well

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2. Have an adult help by cutting both ends of the apple removing the seed end sections as best as possible.

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3. Cut the bottom part, as it will help to keep the the dressed apple standing.

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4. Insert skewers on one of the ends of the apple.

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5. Dip the apple in (store bought or home made) caramel. Continue spreading the caramel around with a spoon.

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6. Costume time.

Frankenstein: Here below my kids are putting on sprinkles, gummy worms and black and orange decorating gel for the Frankenstein costume.

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Zombie: Chocolate sprinkles, black and red decorating gel for the Zombie costume..

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Spider: Black decorating gel and many gummy worms for the Spider costume.

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They’re really not that scary, just a lot of fun…

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Healthy Easy Comfort Food at Home

 

 

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Night fall temperatures are starting to drop this time of year. Yummy comfort food recipes start to make their way back into our dinner menus. What could be best at the end of a long school or work day (and possibly long commute) than a delicious pasta dish?  While most of us are huge fans of pasta, it is normally hard to stay away from the worries of health and calorie counting. This is when I come up with my own recipes, by adding tweaks here and there, to continue enjoying wonderful pasta recipes without the extra calories or “the guilt.” Here is a family favorite. It is vegetarian, healthy, easy and it can be ready in just 15 to 20 minutes.

Boil Campanelle pasta “al dente” following package instructions. You can use other pasta options but this recipe uses Campanelle as it will absorb the sauce very nicely.

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Saute mushrooms and onions with a little bit of canola oil until mushrooms and onion pieces start to turn brown.

 

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Add 1 cup of  (no msg)  100% natural chicken stock, 1/2 can of mushroom cream, and 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream. Mix and let it simmer for 5-6 minutes.

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Once the campanelle pasta is done, strain and add to the sauce pan.

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You may optionally top this pasta with grated Parmesan cheese. (You can also have  black pepper handy at the table, for those craving a spicy but still light finish.)

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Enjoy!

Take me home, fall flavors, take me home..

My Food Stories

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Pumpkin spice drinks, warm -out of the oven- home-made bread, comfort foods all over again. Pumpkin patch, corn maze, everything says harvest. After over a decade in Colorado, this October was our first time at the Botanic Garden Chatfield Fall Festival. Rows of distant fall color changing trees stood around us in the open field. The Rocky Mountains watched from afar. Our kids went around in such excitement that our youngest got off his pony ride with his right foot landing in a water bucket.  In an adventurous move, he simply smiled as he shook the water off his shoe. Next minute, I’m being pulled into a line of food trucks and stands full of funnel cakes and pretzels…

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.. Sweet corn, chicken on a stick, turkey legs, kettle popcorn and more. Undoubtedly, we tried many of these. A fall feast!

Inspired by the whole experience, I got back home…

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Take me home, fall flavors, take me home..

IMG_4271

IMG-20131013-00100

IMG_4289

Pumpkin spice drinks, warm -out of the oven- home-made bread, comfort foods all over again. Pumpkin patch, corn maze, everything says harvest. After over a decade in Colorado, this October was our first time at the Botanic Garden Chatfield Fall Festival. Rows of distant fall color changing trees stood around us in the open field. The Rocky Mountains watched from afar. Our kids went around in such excitement that our youngest got off his pony ride with his right foot landing in a water bucket.  In an adventurous move, he simply smiled as he shook the water off his shoe. Next minute, I’m being pulled into a line of food trucks and stands full of funnel cakes and pretzels…

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.. Sweet corn, chicken on a stick, turkey legs, kettle popcorn and more. Undoubtedly, we tried many of these. A fall feast!

Inspired by the whole experience, I got back home to mix Fall ingredients and spices ending with this delicious Pumpkin Squash Spice Soup!

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My recipe:

Saute bacon pieces on the bottom of the pan where you will make the soup. When the bacon has cooked, remove it from the pan and leave some of the drippings.

Dice a medium size squash into chunks, and add to the pan. Add salt, pepper and crushed red peppers.

Add 2 peeled apples, cut into chunks and without any seeds. Let it saute until the squash starts to brown.

Drizzle the juice of a clementine.

Add ginger, Allspice, ground cinnamon and let it absorb the seasoning (1 more minute.) Add water and mix.

Add 1 can of pumpkin and mix.

Let it cook on medium low for 1 hour approximately mixing occasionally. Adjust salt to taste.

You may blend the soup and strain it for a silky fine texture or you may mash the undissolved peaces before finishing. Serve with heavy whipping cream, bacon bits and sprinkle crushed red peppers. Add croutons ( optional .)

From Political Science to Executive Chef. A career change success story!

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Located in Barranquilla, Colombia, Shakira’s home town, and just two blocks away from the Buena Vista Mall, is Peru Caribe. Owned by Rosario Yacaman, this is a fusion-less Peruvian restaurant. Rosario graduated in Political Science, and performed top-level executive roles at prestigious private and public institutions throughout her successful career. Her Colombian/Middle Eastern roots inspired her ongoing passion for food. Her daughters were fortunate to have Rosario providing them comfort, love and support through food as they faced challenging events. Today, years after Rosario’s career change, a new reality embraces them in this Peruvian restaurant. Rosario’s clients are proud to enjoy the fruits of talent and entrepreneurship this bold, courageous Chef brings to Barranquilla. The restaurant was originally opened by Raul Vega, native Peruvian. Raul met Rosario and followed her to Barranquilla. He fell in love with her beauty, charm and wit. They worked together to build Peru Caribe. Their relationship ended but Rosario valiantly moved forward and continued to trademark her soul into Peru Caribe while continuing with her commitment to deliver a fusion-less menu. Watching Rosario at her restaurant, she welcomes guests herself and she explains how each dish unveils magnificent layers of flavors. The Peruvian cuisine owes its uniqueness to five major influences: Colonial Spain, Japanese, Chinese, African and native Peruvian, including Inca, cultures. Peruvian staples have been in our markets for a long time: Corn, wheat, rice, potatoes, etc. Other Peruvian cuisine key ingredients remain unfashionable and inaccessible. For this reason, Rosario travels to Peru to stay true to its roots and ingredients. Among many options you can choose: “Chicha Morada” (refreshing corn-based drink), “Arroz Chaufa” (inspired in the worldly recognized Asian fried rice) or “Ceviche” (raw fish marinated in citrus juices). The pictures above: Ceviche, Pulpo al Olivo  and Picante de Mariscos are courtesy of Peru Caribe.  Vivi, Rosario and Cami (in the picture above) are the welcoming faces of Peru Caribe, a true Peruvian experience in Barranquilla.