Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's New Year's Eve!!

It snowed today. I'm so glad that we didn't have any plans to go out today...especially with 2 babies. My father, stepmother and younger sister are supposed to be coming over. This time I am not going to cook. I think that we will be ordering food from the Brazilian place and if I have my way we will be eating off of paper plates and plastic utensils.

I haven't cooked anything new lately but have some things in mind like the crock pot lentil soup and some chicken dish that I saw on Rachael Ray. I also really need to start taking pictures of the food that I make like I see other blogs.

As far as crocheting goes I am working on a few hats and scarves for my friend and her daughter. Once those are complete I will post pics and patterns.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful time tonight and if you are going out please be careful. Here's to a fabulous 2010!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Holidays!!

I hope that everyone enjoyed their holidays. I know that we did. It was very low key but that's how I like it. I cooked dinner and spent Christmas Eve with Alberto, Stephanie, Eva, my father, my sister Kristina, my stepmother, my brother Fran and Alberto's daughter Julieta. This year Alex spent Christmas Eve with her father and I picked her up in the morning.

For dinner I made pernil (roasted pork shoulder) and arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) and for dessert we had dulce de leche cheesecake. YUM!!!

The links above will bring you to the actual recipes I used. What I posted below reflect any changes that I made to any of the recipes.

Roast Pork Shoulder (Pernil al Horno)


1 bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder (mine was 7 1/2 lbs)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp. minced garlic, or 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tsp. adobo with pepper

2 tsp. lemon juice

2 packets Sazon with coriander and annatto

1 tsp. oregano

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. salt


1. In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, adobo, lemon juice, sazon, oregano and black pepper; set aside.

2. Using a small, sharp knife, make a cut on the side of the roast where the skin meats the flesh. Continue cutting, separating the skin from the flesh, leaving one end of the skin attached. Using the knife, make ½” deep incisions in the flesh, under the skin. Place the pork on a tray. Using your hands, rub spice mixture over flesh, pushing some of the mixture into the cuts. Place the skin on top of meat; wipe the skin clean. Rub skin with salt. Cover tray with plastic wrap; transfer to refrigerator to marinate at least 4 hours, or overnight.

3. Heat oven to 350°F. Transfer pork, skin side-up, to roasting pan; bring to room temperature, about 1 hour. Pat skin dry. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. Cook pork until meat is fork-tender and internal temperature registers 145°F, about 2 1/2 hours; discard foil. Increase oven to 450°F. Cook pork, uncovered, adding water in ¼ cup measures if pan becomes dry, until skin is brown and crisp, 20 - 35 minutes, checking pan every 10 minutes.

4. Transfer pork to cutting board; let rest 20 minutes. Remove skin and cut into pieces.

Crispy, Crunchy Chicharrón After cutting the skin off the pork, if you find the skin isn’t as crispy as you’d like, simply transfer it to a foil-lined baking sheet, increase the oven temperature to broil, and cook, rotating the pan once, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Then, discard foil and oil.

My verdict:
So freaking good!! Next time I will take more time in making slits in the meat and shoving more of the marinade inside and instead of marinading overnight I will do it for 2 nights.

Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas)


  • 6 tbsp Goya Sofrito
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 packets of Sazon with coriander & annatto
  • 3 cups uncooked rice
  • 1 (15 ounce) cans pigeon peas, drained
  • 5 cups boiling water


  1. Place 3 tablespoons olive oil and 6 tablespoons sofrito in an 8 quart saucepan. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes to release oils.
  2. Pour one can of tomato sauce and the Spanish seasoning packet into the saucepan, mix well. Add 3 cups rice to the mixture and stir until the rice is coated.
  3. Stir pigeon peas into the mixture and add boiling water. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and a pot lid. Reduce heat to simmer and cook about 25 - 35 minutes or until rice is tender.
My verdict: It was good but a little bland. I think that next time I will season it with some Adobo. The original recipe called for 15 oz of tomato sauce but upon reading some reviews I decided to use 8 oz and I'm glad that I did. I also only used 1 can of pigeon peas because I only bought 1 can. I think it was fine. Also keep an eye on the rice. The original recipe says to cook for 45 minutes so I left the kitchen to put on my make up and the rice started to burn. Thankfully only the bottom was burned and it didn't affect the taste of the rest of the rice. Turn off the flame even if you still see a bit of liquid. Keep the lid on for a bit and it will absorb into the rice.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake


1 pkg. (7 oz) Goya Maria cookies

1/2 cup butter, melted

4 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

1 can (14 oz.) 50% less sugar sweetened condensed milk

4 eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 bottle (14 oz. – 15.8 oz.) dulce de leche, divided


1. Heat oven to 325ºF. Place cookies in bowl of food processor. Pulse 30 seconds, or until finely ground. (Or, place cookies in zip-top bag and using the bottom of a heavy skillet, pound cookies until finely crushed); transfer cookie crumbs to bowl (there should be about 2 cups). Add butter, stirring until combined. Transfer cookie mixture to 9” spring form pan. Using your fingers, press cookie crumbs evenly onto bottom and sides of pan. Bake until firm and fragrant, 7 – 10 minutes; cool.
2. In bowl of electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add condensed milk; beat until smooth, 1 minute. Beat in eggs, vanilla and 3 tbsp. dulce de leche until combined, 3 minutes. Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake until golden brown and set, but still wiggly in the middle, 45 – 55 minutes. Turn off oven; partially open oven door. Let cake sit in oven until room temperature, about 1 hour. Transfer cake to refrigerator; cool completely at least 4 hours.
3. Remove cheesecake from pan. Place remaining dulce de leche in zip-top bag. Using scissors, snip small hole in corner of bag. Applying even pressure on “pastry bag,” make swirly designs on top of cake; slice and serve.

My verdict: YUM, YUM YUM!! The only thing I did differently was to not add the dulce de leche on top. I cut the hole too big on the bag so I ended up just squirting some on the plate.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

First snow storm = Pasta Fagioli

We're supposed to be getting a ton of snow today. As I type it still hasn't started but I already started cooking dinner. I thought that soup would be perfect on a day like today. I'd been eying a recipe for Crock pot Pasta Fagioli soup from Crockpot Tuesdays. I love being able to throw everything into a crock pot for a few hours and have a yummy meal without being cooped up in a kitchen all day. An active toddler and newborn make it very difficult to get dinner on the table sometimes.

I bought all of the ingredients and started assembling the soup and then....DAMN!! It doesn't fit into my crock pot. I poured the soup into a pot and its now simmering away on the stove top. I'm sure that it will taste the same but now I have to actually check on the soup and stir it ;-)

Pasta Fagioli


1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups beef broth
1 jar (16.5 oz) pasta sauce
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup dry pasta (to add at end)


Brown the meat and drain well. Let cool a bit.

Chop up the carrots, onion, and celery. Add it to the crockpot. Drain and rinse the beans, and add them. Add the whole cans of tomatoes, and the pasta sauce. Add the beef broth. Add the salt, pepper and oregano. Stir in the meat.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. At end of cook time, stir in 1/2 cup pasta. Cover and cook for another hour on low.

Serve with parmesan cheese if you’d like. Enjoy! This recipe makes about 8 generous servings.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Toddler Hoodie Sweater

This is the very first (and so far the only) sweater I have ever crocheted. What a pain in the butt! I usually crochet hats, blankets and scarves so having to shape armholes was a bit of a challenge for me since I'd never done it before. It would have been a lot easier if I had someone I could ask for help. All in all it came out pretty darn cute if I do say so myself. I bought the buttons in Michael's. I wanted something fun and not just plain old buttons.

I'm not actively searching for more sweater patterns to crochet. I proved to myself that I could do it after wanting to quit and make something else. But I think that I'll stick to what (I think) I do best and actually enjoy making. My only regret is not making it bigger so that Stephanie could get more use out of it. I'll just have to wait until Eva can fit into it.

For you more adventurous and skilled crocheters, here is the link to the pattern.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Roasted chicken leg quarters

Tonight I'm making one of my favorite and easiest dinners: roasted chicken leg quarters and buttered bow tie pasta (farfalle).

This isn't a real recipe so I don't have any measurements and it's really very easy to use different seasonings. First I coat the bottom of the roasting pan with olive oil and then I add the chicken leg quarters. I choose to leave the skin on to cook but you can remove it if you want. Second I season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano and paprika for color and about 1/2 cup of chicken broth. I've used water when I'm out of broth and it comes out fine. Bake it for about an hour at 400* and don't forget to baste the chicken a couple of times while cooking.

I'm making pasta tonight but if you'd like you can also quarter some potatoes and add them to the baking dish along with the chicken and squeezing the juice of a lemon over the chicken also adds great flavor. Play around with your favorite seasonings. You really can't go wrong!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's a rainy snowy day

It's a rainy snowy mess outside. Eva and Stephanie had well visits today but I decided to cancel since it's so yucky out and Alex woke up with a fever so she stayed home to rest. She's supposed to go see The Radio City Christmas show tonight with her grandmother, aunt and cousin tonight so I told her to rest up and hopefully she will be well enough to go.

I haven't made any new recipes to post on here. I've been using my crockpot quite a bit lately. I love throwing thing in it and a few hours later a lovely meal is ready. Must.find.more.recipes.

In the crocheting world I'm still trying to figure out how to make a brimmed cap. I found several patterns but so far I am not happy with any of them. After trying to combine a few of them together I think that I may have it figured out. I don't know why I spend so much time making hats for Stephanie. The scooch refuses to wear hats. Eva still can't complain and pull the hats off and Alex will only wear plain hats. Sigh...at least my friends daughters like my hats :-)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Baby Bubbles Afghan

I love this baby afghan. I made it when I was pregnant with my second daughter, Stephanie. It is very pretty but a lot of work. I used it in all of Stephanie's monthly pictures. I originally got the pattern from The Rag Shop website several years ago and when I wanted to make the blanket the pattern was no longer available since The Rag Shop closed. Thankfully I found a copy that I had printed out and I typed up the pattern and saved it to my computer.

Baby Bubbles Afghan

Materials: Caron Simply Soft: 18 oz. White (Color A), 6 oz. each Soft Pink (Color B), Soft Blue (Color C), Soft Yellow (Color D), and Soft Green (Color E).

PLEASE NOTE: Yarn usage may vary depending on your particular yarn techniques.

Needles: Size H crochet hook or size to reach gauge below.

Gauge: 3 clusters and 4 sc = 2”

Finished Measurements: approximately 35” x 42”

Sts Used:

Cluster (cl) ~ * yarn over, insert hook in stitch, yarn over, pull up a loop, yarn over, draw thru 2 loops on the hook, repeat 3 more times, yarn over, draw thru 5 loops on hook.

Color Sequence: *2 rows Color A, 2 rows Color B, 2 rows Color A, 2 rows Color C, 2 rows Color A, 2 rows Color D, 2 rows Color A, 2 rows Color E, repeat from * for sequence. Color A can be carried up the length of the afghan.

To begin chain 104, with Color A (white).

Row 1: Single Crochet in 2nd chain from the hook and in each chain across, chain 1 and turn.

Row 2: Right side: single crochet in first stitch, * work cluster (cl) in next single crochet, single crochet in next 2 single crochet, rep from * across, chain 1, turn.

Row 3: Single crochet in each stitch across.

Row 4: Single crochet in first 2 single crochet, work cluster in next single crochet, * single crochet in the next 2 single crochet, cluster in next single crochet, rep from * across to last single crochet, single crochet in last stitch, chain 1 and turn.

Row 5: single crochet in each single crochet across.

Repeat color sequence 7 times, ending 2 rows A, 2 rows B, 2 rows A. Finish off. Weave in ends.

Row 1: Attach Color A in top right corner, work (single crochet, chain 1, single crochet) 3 times, * skip 1 stitch, single crochet, chain 1, single crochet, in next stitch, repeat from * to the corner, work (single crochet, chain 1, single crochet) 3 times in corner, skip the first row, single crochet, chain 1, single crochet in the second row, repeat from * to the corner. Work the other 2 sides to correspond.

Row 2: Work single crochet, chain 1, single crochet in each chain 1 stitch space. Finish off.

I have two words for you...projectile vomit

I love my daughters. I really do but I can't help but be grossed out by the smell or worse...feeling the warm gooeyness running down my arm. Blech! But last night I couldn't help but be amused by it since I was not the victim.

I was in the kitchen and Alberto was in the bedroom with Eva trying to calm her down. Every night at about 9:30 Eva starts crying with gas pains. Since I'm SAHM I happily handed her off to her father to get a bit of break so that I cold iron his work clothes and Alex's uniform for the next day. I suddenly hear, "Vero!!!!!" and I run to the bedroom to see vomit shooting out of my 8 week old's mouth a la The Exorcist and a look of sheer panic in Alberto's face. I don't think that he's ever had the pleasure of being vomitted on. I quickly got her out of her pajamas and cleaned up and let her Papi clean up the mess. Now if only I could arrange for a poop up the back episode when I'm not home....(insert evil laugh)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My very first post

Wow...my first ever blog entry. I'm not even sure if this is something that I will do on a regular basis or if anyone will ever read this. I do know that I took quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to make this look pretty so I'm going to give it a shot.

I would like this blog to be a place to share some of my thoughts, new recipes and crochet patterns. I'm not a very good cook or crocheter and I sometimes question my abilities as mother but I'm trying and doing the best that I can.