Saturday, March 31, 2012

DIY: Rolled Magazine Pages Part 2

So here's what I have promised.

I'm really excited to share this because I reeeeeaaaallllly loved the output. As an introduction, I like to show this picture:

Pay attention to the spice rack on the sides of the microwave. Yes, that black poor little square thing in the middle is a microwave oven.  The books on top are small recipe books.  Placed in there to also fill in the space.

When we moved in to our own place, this area of the kitchen is empty.  Microwave oven is not included in the kitchen when it was turned over to us.  Our old microwave is too small for the this particular spot and thus, it looked awful.  Hubby told me we'll have to buy a new one.  I gasped and huffed and puffed and eyes wide open (wider than they are already are), I gave him a big resonating NOOOO! There is no way we are changing a fully functioning microwave oven just because it doesn't look good (read: too small) in its space.

I told him I'll do something to fill in those gaps.  So long story short, I made those spice racks that are custom-fit on the sides of the microwave to fill in the space.  They are just made out of hard cardboard recycled from boxes I took from the street along my walks (like a crazy lady).  Then the outside is covered with cork (the one basically used for corkboards) and the sides are decorated by none other than pasta! They are chipping away now by the way so it's actually time to replenish or change them :)

While I can say it can pass as a clever idea, it's not all good because since the spice rack is directly above the oven, sometimes the heat can go up and harm the spices.  Not all of them are affected though but once, I had a cheese powder tucked in one of the holes of this spice rack (the one that is nearest the oven I suppose) and over time, it has hardened and became unusable.  Plus, the hole for each spice is customed according to the bottle so when I had to replenish the spice, sometimes I'd get a different brand and thus, different bottle size - result: the hole that was created for the old spice may become too small or too big for the new one.  Lastly, the number of spices it can hold is just not enough.

This introduction is getting longer than I have planned.... ok... so comes in this problem.  We love spices and we have a good number of them which obviously, do not fit these two spice racks.  So they are practically all over my kitchen. And everytime I need to use one of them... ahh, it's a jungle out there.

Then I got inspired by Stay at Home-ista.  She's very clever on home organization and I am just the complete opposite.  For a whole day, I drooled over her spice drawer:

This picture is taken straight from her blog with her permission of course!
 
and I wondered how it was done.  I can see through the spaces in between that those elevated whatchamacallit is made of wood.  I am no carpenter and definitely haven't tried my skill on cutting wood... so I just let out an exasperation.  There is no way,  I can do this!  Then I had the light bulb moment!

Rolled magazine pages! It may work... so I started rolling magazine pages once again and with much patience, the whole plan started to materialize.

These are the magazine papers rolled into strips.

Applying the same concept I did for the garbage bin and magazine rack, I came up with this:

They are like elevated slanted platforms piled on top of each other by their foot.
It fit nicely on the kitchen drawer I chose to dedicate for spices.
It wasn't a one sitting or an overnight thing though. It required patience, waiting and finger-cramp-provoking activity but ALL is worth it.  The result is really beautiful (according to my beauty catergory).

So, behold!

I even got an extra space for some of my baking thingies.
I would love to share the how-to of this project but that should be on a different post as it may be a really long post.  I might also need to put short videos of the step as they are kind of difficult to describe just by words. I'm not making it sound complicated it's just that sometimes my english words are not enough to express my thoughts  ;-)

Anyone who is interested to learn on how to do this, just holler!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Fun Food: Scones


Might I invite you for a tea and some scones? (imagine a very strong english accent)
Some weeks ago, bloggy fried Kristeta twitted about her having some coffee and scones.  I thought scones! very english :)  I may have not mentioned this before but I love many things about UK.  I love their tea, I love their accent. I love many of their city structures and most of all, I love the accent (although I do love australian accent more than english heh). Don't you love the way they say something like "noi" whenever they say no or know? .. anyways.... I wanted to talk about scones and not the english accent... so moving on...
Could there be anything more english than scones?  As I was saying, bloggy friend Kristeta twitted about coffee and scones... and then on the same day while browsing a Thermomix magazine, I saw a recipe for scones.  I doin't knoi about you-i but for mey, It's definitley a soign that I muhst maike myself sum skohns! (Excuse me for trying hard on my english accent).

I got super busy these days but finally, I got the chance of making sum skohns! (and this is like a couple of weeks ago and only got the time to blog about it.. uhm now)  An I haf just got to shaire it with youi! ;-) 

I did this using Thermomix.  I am pretty sure that this can be done with something like Kitchen Aid or a hand mixer. 

The ingredients are the following:


flour

sugar

cold milk

cold butter cut into cubes

chemical yeast

salt

 
Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 200ºC
2. Put in the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and butter in the mixing bowl
3. Mix for 5 seconds/speed 5 on thermomix.  If using Kitchen Aid or hand mixer, use medium-high speed but do not over mix.  The consistency we are looking for is like a sticky breadcrumbs.
4. Add milk and mix for 20 seconds/speed 6 on thermomix.  For Kitchen or hand mixer, use medium speed until the dough comes together.
5. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl. Do not knead.  Using a rolling pin, carefully and slowly flatten it out up to 3cm thick.  Tip: I put baking sheet on the table to lessen the mess and then lightly floured the baking sheet.


6. Using  a round cutter, gently press it on the dough to cut out the scones.  Tip:  Dip the cutter on the flour each time to prevent the scones from sticking to the cutter.



7.  The left over dough can be pressed together again and make another batch.  The result will not be the same though but still good enough.  Every time the left over dough is pressed together, the sponginess of the dough lessens.


8. Place the cut out scones on a baking pan covered with baking sheet.  Bake for about 12-15minutes at 200ºC


9.  Be patient and wait.  Prepare some nice tea to accompany your about to be ready scones.


10.  Scones should be done when it's light golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on top (in Tagalog, kapag pinitik sa ibabaw :-D )


11. Serve with your favorite jam and/or cream cheese or whatever suits your fancy!






Thursday, March 29, 2012

DIY: Rolled Magazine Pages Part 1

Warning:  This post is picture heavy!!

I love crafting and I love recycling.  I think I've mentioned this many a times already but I just don't have much time and resources (and sometimes creativity) to do much work on crafting AND recycling or repurposing.  There are times though that I get really inspired and be happy with my creation. 

One of the things I have done which I will basically discuss here is the use of rolled magazine pages.  I really am happy with the result and the usability of what I have done with an added bonus of being able to recycle, so I am definitely sharing this to all of you.

Back in 2008, I created a garbage bin out of rolled magazine paper.  Sick of too many magazines at home, but didn't really want to throw them all at once (out of concern for Mother Earth), I tried to think of what use I can make of them.  I came up with these:










The first two are being used now as garbage can  - one is in one of our bathrooms and the other (brown) is used to contain all old bulbs and/or used batteries that will be thrown in the proper place once the bin is already full.  Important note:  we do really need to mind throwing these things in the proper place and not together with the biodegradable wastes as these things can be toxic to the environment.  The last one (white) is as you can see being used as magazine rack.  Magazine for magazine rack - ain't that cool?

I've also done this out of the same materials:

Drawer space separator (is that even called that way? I am thinking I just invented this term) for utensils. I emptied one of the section/basket to show how it looks like.

A closer look.  It is made by weaving the rolled magazine pages.  Much like a basket.

I loved the idea because 1. I am recycling (I know I am being too repetitive about this) and 2. I can customize it and fit it according to the sections and sizes I need for my drawer. 

Then there's the latest project I just made that  I am extremely happy about - which I will be posting soon.  Hint:  It includes spices!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Fun Food: Lumpia Wrapper

ok, not so fun.... as every try is a fail!

I really NEED to be able to learn how to do this lumpia wrapper because one, ready-made lumpia wrapper (also known as spring roll wrapper) and two, 'd love to prepare cheese-sticks on the up coming second birthday celebration we are planning for Little Spanish Pinay.

So far, I've tried two different recipes:  from Panlasang Pinoy and the other one is from Casa Veneracion.  Both turned out to be quite thick and it breaks open while the cheese sticks are being fried.  The one from Panlasang Pinoy is actually used for making fresh lumpia we normally used the same for making cheese sticks.

This is the kind of dough I need to be able to do to make the right spring roll wrapper.  But I am not buying the book just for this.  I tried to research for the recipe but no avail :(

So far, this is the best I got:


 
It seems a good candidate but the wrapper is thicker than it should be and when I fried them, the inside is not crispy even though the outside is already golden brown.  A little bit more time on the frying pan will already burn it.... so this last attempt is also a fail.  HELP.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

5th, 6th and 7th Blog Awards

Vivian, the lovely lady behind Positive Parental Participation blog has given me not one but 2 blog awards!  Vivan is a great inspiration by many parents like me. Go ahead and read one of her articles and you'll easily get emerged on reading some more and more.  I love the way her parenting style is centered into positive disciplining and just showering children with love and more love.   Helping children develop Positive self-image is one of her missions and I definitely support that.

Another blogger that has expressed her appreciation is Angela of First Comes Baby.  She has given me the Liebster Award. 
Just like these blog awards, it helps each blogger to develop positive self-image by recieving postive appreciation by other bloggers. And  it doesn't stop there because it gets epidemic as each awardee gets to pay it forward! And that's exactly I am going to do now. I have a different list for each blog as this way, I can award them to more bloggers! But first, I gotta say something about myself which I find a little bit difficult.  I got stuck on this for quite a while. 

1.  My favorite city in the US is Chicago. I've worked there for 11 months in total and it has been really a nice experience.  I've gained precious friends for keeps in here and most especially, this is where I met the man that God has chosen and prepared for me.

2.  I've been living here in Spain for almost 6 yrs now and I still do not think that I have already mastered the language.  Sure, I can communicate well and express myself but many times, I still get frustrated especially when I get confused on the different verb conjugation.   I didn't go to a formal Spanish class except for the first level class (too basic) I had in the Philippines before I finally moved in here.  It did help - a super tiny bit!  I learned training one's ears on understanding the language is as important as learning the grammar rule. 

3.  I'm generally a shy person.  I am really bad handling compliments and attention.  But in front of really close friends and family, I am a big clown. I like to make them laugh and make fun of them :-D.  I love a good boisterous laugh.  I shriek and shake my eardrum away when I watch horror or suspense movies.  I shriek when I get really excited about anything.  I get emotional easily.  I cry easily.  It's easy to make me laugh.  But that doesn't mean I'm an easy girl ;-)  I like to think that I am really easy to get along well as I know well how to adapt with different situations and different people except with people who are snotty :-S

Whew... I think that's enough details about me.  Let's move on to actually passing on these awards to lovely ladies!

The Sunshine Award
 This award is given to bloggers who positively and creatively inspire other bloggers in the blogosphere.



4. Michi from Michi Photostory
6. Barbara from Spanish4Kiddos


The Kreativ Blogger Award
Given to bloggers whow are kreativ in their endeavors to be the best bloggers in the world of blogging
1. Anne from Green Eggs and Moms
2. Angela from First Comes Baby
3. Dianne from Dianne Creates
4. Anney from Blog ni Ako
5. Steph from Pendant's by Steph
6. Patsy from Heartworks


The Liebster Blog
This award is given to bloggers who has less than 200 followers so that others can help spread the word about blogs that they enjoy and help gain more followers.

1. Pepper from The Pepperrific Life
2. Joy from Joy's Notepad
3. Marge from Coffeehan
4. Monica from F.L.A.G
 6. Sey of 14th Street
8. Kim from Coffee with Kim

 The rules that comes with receiving this award is to talk something about yourself  - usually around 7 - 10 things about you.  Pass it on to other well deserving bloggers and then let them know that you have an award for them.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Settle down

There's a saying in Spain that is "En Martes, no te cases ni te embarques". In english, it means "On Tuesdays, don't get married nor get on board (the ship)". Well, today is Tuesday and no one's getting married (that I know of...) but Daisy has just got married(not on Tuesday) AND while she's on honeymoon, I'm guest posting on her blog!

So what else is more appropriate to talk about on my guest post for a girl that just got married? GETTING MARRIED!

Please go ahead (pretty please? :-D) and get on board Daisy's blog and read my article there and let me know what you think about settling down or getting married :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Fun Food: Creamy Broccoli and Cauliflower Crumble


Vegetarians, this is for you! Meat lovers who also love veggies, this one is also for you!  I swear, with this recipe, you wouldn't miss not having meat to accompany these veggies!

I love veggies but I normally would want it accompanied by even just a little meat. But when I tried this recipe, it didn't matter that it has zero meat in it. It was DELISH! It's all veggies but doesn't mean low in calories though... It has bechamel sooooo I need not say more.

Since I was really surprised of how it turned and hubby and I reaaally loved it, I decided to do it again and this time, I'd like to share it.  The recipe I used is for Thermomix but I believe it can be done perfectly without it.  A food processor or grinder can help though.

So, here we go.

Ingredients:
     For the crumble:
          30g Cashew
          Fresh parsley
          50g grated cheddar cheese  (I used matured cheddar cheese but any type should be ok)
          50g oatmeal (I used quick cooking but I believe it doesn't matter)

     Veggies:
          Water
          350g cauliflower
          350g Broccoli
          Salt

     For the bechamel
          30g olive oil extra virgin
          50g butter
          60g flour
          500g milk
         100g grated cheddar cheese
         1 tsp of Dijon mustard
         1/2 tsp of salt
         Pinch of freshly ground pepper
         Pinch of nutmeg

Instructions:

1. Prepare the crumble. Using food processor or grinder, process/grind the cashew until it becomes into small tidbits. You'd want to have nice little chunks and not a fine powdered cashew. No food processor? nor grinder?  Do it tradditional way. Use mortar and pestle or put the cashew inside a bag and pound it using rolling pin or even a strong glass bottle.

2. Chop the parsley and mix it with ground cashew. Mix in the oatmeal and the grated cheddar cheese. Mix well then set aside.


The crumble

3. Wash and cut the broccoli and cauliflower and steam for about 20mins.  You can also boil it if preferred but steaming is a healthier option.


4. Make the bechamel: Pour the olive oil in a heated sauce pan and add the butter. Stir until the butter is all melted. Put in the flour little by little and stir continuously until the mixture becomes homogenous. 

5. Slowly pour in milk while stirring (Bechamel is a lot of stirring so have patience. But it's all worth it I promise). You might need to try and press the lumps of flour to help blend it in well. Then pour in the rest of the ingredients: cheese, nutmeg, dijon mustard, ground black pepper and salt. Keep stirring until the whole mixture becomes thick and perfectly homogenous.   This is nice workout for your arm ;-)   See, this ingredient is really healhty.

Thermomix can really come in handy on this part as it will do the stirring for me. You get a perfect bechamel.

6. Put the broccoli and cauliflower in a glass baking pan, season it with salt according to your taste.


7.  Pour in bechamel on top of the brocolli and cauliflower



8.  Sprinkle the crumble on top.



9. Put the whole thing inside a pre-heated oven to 180 degrees celsius and bake for 20mins

Beautiful!
The result is this! And did I say it's delish?

It is good as appetizer if you will be serving more than 4 people but it can also be served perfectly as main dish.  The recipe says this is good for 6 servings - I say it can be galped down by 4 people easily :-D

Ok wait, I gotta tell a secret. The pictures of the recipe here is from the second time I did the recipe and I was out of cashew... the other choices I have in my kitchen were peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, macadamia nut and in the end, I chose pistachios but left out the parsley. I thought pistachios already have a distinct taste so parsley might not be a good match for it. The result? Superb!

So you can even change what the crumble contains but I must say the oatmeal is a must and a very healthy option :) 

Enjoy and happy almost-weekend!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Worldless Wednesday: Chic Pirate!

She found her tourband or headband (how do you call this thing these days again?) tried to put it on as she said she wanted to look pretty but she couldn't quite get it on correctly. It finally ended up like this on her and she suddenly said: "Mami, LSP pirata!" (Mami, LSP is a pirate!).  She cracks me up.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Our Little Sevillana

Little Spanish Pinay is a fusion of different cultures.  Being Spanish, she's half Galician and half Andalucian.  Hubby's mom is from Galicia (where we currently live now - north of Spain) while hubby's dad is from Andalucia which is in the south of Spain.   Andalucia is divided into 8 provinces: Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaen, Malaga and Sevilla.  Sevillana is how women from Sevilla are called as well as a typical dance that is similar to Flamenco.

Having said all these, our Little Spanish Pinay seems to have inherited a good amount of Sevillan blood from her abuelo.  Look at her moves below:

Check out up to 05 seconds.  After that, I just ruined her concentration so you can stop the video :-D .  I was so ecstatic about how she danced that I couldn't help but yelled in excitement.  Obviously, she thought mami is crazy and lost her concentration so she started doing something else.  All my pleading for her to dance again were in vain!  I really can't get enough of this vidceo and can just play it all day long. Yeah, call that pride of a doting mami.


She got the modern moves too - which is how she dances most of the times.  Check out her video below:

this always cracks me up everytime I watch this video

Both videos were taken when LSP was just a bit more than 1 yr old.  I was trying to clean up some files on my mobile phone and saw these videos.


Weekend was quiet for us except for me working a little bit on some database maintenance.  LSP was also a little bit sick so we missed the swimmming lesson.  But we all got a nice rest so, yay! :)


How did weekend treat you?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Homemade Fiber-packed Yummy Crackers - what else can you ask for?

This is what I love about blogging.  One can get inspired in so many ways and learn about so many things.  It's like travelling the world!

A long time friend has started blogging, yay! as I visited her blog, I came across one Mia who posted a recipe inspired by another blogger, Faith.  The wonderful recipe is for making a homemade rosemary crackers.  Ah, I love crackers.  In the Philippines, we have a lot of different crackers with different flavors and I love of them.  As I stumble upon this post I immediately said I must do this.

For one, it is healthy, easy to make and the ingredients are all available in my kitchen.  Plus, I was hoping the little one who needs a lot of fiber would love this.  Then I know I can play with the ingredients using different flavor, etc.  But for the first time trying this, I followed the original recipe.  I was too excited, I did this the following day after I read the blog :-D

So, below is how I followed Faith's recipe :)

Ingredients:


  • 1/2 cup of oats





  • 1/2 cup of almond meal*





  • ~tablespoon of rosemary (dried or fresh)





  • 1/4 teaspoon salt





  • 3 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese





  • 1-2 tablespoons water (I ended up using 3 tablespooons water)




  • I used toasted almonds because it's what I have in my kitcchen.  The recipe calls for 1/2 cup almonds meal so I just put the peeled almonds in my measuring cup.. I let it overflow and then processed it.

    Until it looks like this.  Maybe a few more seconds of processing wouldn't hurt.

    Then the oatmeal. I used the traditional one.  Processed it until there's no more whole grain.

    I used matured cheese. If you live in a country like I do that uses grams instead of ounces, 3 ounces is about 85 grams. I used about 95 grams of cheese. I love cheese! I grated these babies and mixed put together with the rest of the ingredients.

    Then I just mixed all the other ingredients minus the water.


    I slowly added the water while the blades are spinning.  I ended up using 3 tablespoon of water.  I think the consistency was just right.

    Sorry I didn't have a photo of the dough after it was processed but it's very similar to what Faith has:

    Only that mine looks finer. I think I processed the oats and the almonds too finely.
    Then I put it on a baking sheet ocvered with parchment paper.  I flattened it a little bit with my palm and then covered it with another parchment paper then proceeded to flatten it even more with a rolling pin. My rolling was too big though for my baking sheet and it's just couldn't roll on all sides so I ditched the rolling pin and took a round glass and used it instead.  After working on it for some minutes, I think it turned out fine.

    It is important to make sure that dough is evened out well otherwise, it will not get cooked evenly. Like what happened to mine.  Part of it got burned more than the other parts.  See, I was to in a hurry to get it done... patience is a virtue I must remind myself a little more often.


    Put it in the oven preheated to 350ºF or 180ºC and cook for about 15-20 mins.  15mins is too short for me.  The dough was still soft to touch so, I added 2mins then added another 4 minutes which I think is too much.  It does seem like my crackers were cooked more than it should but they're still good anyways.  Next time I do this,  I'll probably let it sit in the oven for 18mins tops.  Then let it cool and see if it will harden more.

    The output!!

    Sorry I don't have a nice presentation like Faith and Mia does as I am kind of multitasking when I was doing this yummy crackers.  But I swear on my long beautiful legs (I kid!) that they are really good!

    They also taste really nice with cream cheese, marmalade, peanut butter!
    Experiment with them! Experiment with the ingredients!  You can use other herbs, lemon zest, maybe other dried fruit similar to almonds?  Use your favorite cheese! Doesn't have to be only cheddar.  Next time I will try to use local cured or semi-cured local cheese here.  Spain has a lot of yummy type of cheese :)



     Go ahead, try this - there'll be no regrets. 
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