Wednesday, February 26, 2014

10 months





Dear Gabrielito,

Happy 10 months baby boy! I cannot believe that you are now in double-digits. You still manage to amaze me with all of your growth. This past month you started walking! We were somewhat expecting it to happen soon, because you were taking one or two steps at a time. However, it was still very shocking to see you walk more than ten steps, and so steadily. You are truly a force of nature, and are so strong. Your Papi and me often ask each other what life was like before you were born, because we cannot imagine it without you!

Your personality is definitely unfolding, and your sense of humor makes me laugh. You also put everything in your mouth! We went to the Children's Museum and your favorite spot is the "flower garden". I think it's because the stones are bite size ;) 

You also really enjoy  it when I read to you. Now you lift up the books and show them  to me, and that is my clue that you want me to read. You will sit so patiently with your hands folded on your lap. A lot of time you will reach out and try to turn the page. It is so great to see you interested in books in this way! You also chew on the binding, so I have to keep them in a safe place! 

Now you know when Papi heads off to work/school. You get so sad and hang outside of the front door. But when he gets home, you light up! You love playing with Papi, and your favorite is when you are playing "arriba y abajo."

We are so excited to see more of your growth as a another month goes by. We love you so much!

Abrazos y besitos,
Mami


Monday, February 24, 2014

metallics

I don't consider my self a huge trend follower, but when I saw these pants I fell in love with the color. Plus, who says a momma can't have a little pizazz in her wardrobe?! When it comes to  metallic pants, both muted accessories and tops are a must. The pants are literally the focal point of the look. My husband was concerned that we would get glare off the pants in the pictures! Haha! He is such a teaser!

I've linked up a few tuxedo tops and metallic pants links. I love how fun these pants are! They really are perfect for a night out.

Abrazos,
Keila








Metallic Pants Express | Similar Metallic pants | Tuxedo top old | Similar | Color- Block Flats | Marshalls | Similar




Friday, February 21, 2014

Peppery Tuscan Beef

This recipe was fantastic! Some how all of the pepper (and red wine) really mellows the heaviness of the beef. My husband could not get enough of it! It was also fun to use new ingredients like pancetta,and expand my Italian cuisine repertoire. As a heads-up you need at least 8-12 hours to marinate the meat. I found this out half way through! I also did not realize how sage is so hard to come by in this area or that pancetta is a specialty item. Call your grocery ahead of time to double check that they carry it, and save yourself the extra trip. But every extra hour is worth.the.wait. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! 

Serves 6 Very important to not skip any steps on this one!

Ingredients

5-6 sage sprigs 
2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup olive oil
3 lb beef stew meat
4.5 oz  pancetta cubed
1 large onion, diced
6 garlic cloves
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
2 Bay leaves 
1 cup beef stock or more as needed
2 cups red wine (use a full-bodied one like Chianti)
Salt
Large loaf crusty Italian peasant-style bread

Prepare the Sage oil AND marinate the meat

1. Chop the leaves from 2 of the sage sprigs, and put them in a small bowl. Don't be tempted to add more sage, as it is a strong flavor and easily overpower a dish. In a large bowl, combine half the black pepper with all but 3 tbsp of the oil. Ladle one- quarter of this into the bowl with the chopped sage, and set it aside for the fettunta. This dish contains an awful lot of black pepper, but it is all necessary for this recipe. So don't be too timid and add less pepper, you will find it mellows and lends an incredible depth of flavor to the beef once marinated and braised. 

2. Add the beef to the bowl with the black pepper and oil mixture. Stir until every piece of the beef is well coated, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate, stirring occasionally to redistribute the marinade, for 8-12 hours. Do not skip this step. It will help to tenderize the meat and absorb all of the pepper. 

Cook the Stew

3. Chop the remaining sage leaves. Remove the meat from the marinade with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Pat dry. Heat half the remaining oil in a large pan over high heat, add half the meat, and brown well on all sides for 3-5 minutes. 

4. Transfer the meat to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the remaining oil to the pan, and brown the rest of the beef in the same way. Reduce the heat to medium, add the pancetta, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, until the fat has rendered.

5. Add the onion and cook, stirring for 3-5 minutes longer, until softened. Return the beef with 5 of the garlic cloves, finely chopped, the tomatoes, bay leaves, sage, remaining black pepper, stock and wine. Bring to a boil, stirring. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 3/4- 2 hours, until very tender stirring occasionally. 

6. During the cooking, add more stock or water if the stew seems dry ( it wasn't the case for me). The beef is ready when it is tender enough to crush with your fingers. Discard the bay leaves and taste for seasoning. Of the sauce is thin, increase the heat and boil uncovered, until it has reduced and concentrated. 

Make the Sage Fettunta (do this close to serving)

7. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375 F. Cut the bread fairly even ( I bought it pre-cut in the bakery section). Brush generously on both sides, with the sage-flavored oil, then sprinkle the sides evenly with salt.

8. Bake the bread in the oven until toasted; it should take about 8- 10 minutes. Turn it once during this time, so both sides become evenly golden brown. Cut the reserved garlic clove, and transfer to a wire rack. Ypu will find the toasted surface of the bread acts like a "grater" for the garlic, and that almost all of the clove disappears on the bread. Spoon the beef into a warm serving dish. Serve the delicious crispy fettunta alongside. 








Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Winter Whites


I love the winter white trend, because it is very easy to transition some of your lighter neutrals to winter. I found these gorgeous white skinnies at Marshalls, and paired it with this off white knitted open cardigan from Target (clearance now!). I've had this blush top for some time, and I love how it warms and pulls the outfit together. The peachy bauble statement necklace has got to be my favorite part of this look! I got it for a steal at Glamour Girl (I linked it up for you!) If you are in the area I hope you're enjoying the heat wave! 
Abrazos, Keila



                       





White skinny jeans | Marshalls | Similar | Bauble Necklace | Glamour Girl | Off white Sweater | Target

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Circle Skirts

I've been in search for a flower, mid-length circle skirt for quite some time! And you can only imagine my surprise when I found exactly what I was looking for in a tiny little boutique on ... Instagram! Yes, you read that correctly: Instagram. So I am never really up on too many of the new apps etc. but when I decided to start my blog, my sister-in-law suggested that I join Instagram for my blog as well. During this process I have found a huge community of bloggers, boutiques, and shops all over. As with any online shop there are risks, but I have only had wonderful experiences. It's much like buying on Ebay but with better filters ;) Just make sure to shop from reputable sources (look at followers and their past experiences). Although this skirt is from Express it is from a prior season, but no worries I linked up a great site that gives you plenty of flower circle skirt options! :) 

Abrazos, 
Keila








Flower Circle Skirt Express via Liyas Labels | Similar Skirts  Red Blouse Banana Republic | Similar | Platform Heels Gift | Similar

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chicken Pot Pie with Herb Crust

I am having so much fun with this cooking through my cook book challenge :) ! I decided to try a twist on an original comfort food recipe of mine: chicken pot pie. I was excited to see that this version had some fun new ingredients I never thought of! And because it was Valentine's Day I decided to use a heart-shaped cookie cutter, instead of a round one! It was fantastic- definitely a HIT recipe!

4-6 servings

Ingredients: For the Chicken Filling

3 1/2 cups chicken stock ( I used organic Swanson's) 
3 carrots sliced
1 lb 10 oz Potatoes ( I used organic Yukon golden)
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
6 oz peas
1 lb 2 oz skinless, boneless chicken
4 tbsp butter 
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup heavy cream
ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
leaves from 1 small bunch parsley chopped
1 egg

For the scone topping:

leaves from 1 small bunch thyme
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter (since I used salted butter I omitted the salt)
1/2 cup milk (more if needed)

MAKE the filling

1. Heat the stock to boiling in a large saucepan. Add the carrots potatoes, and celery and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the peas and simmer for about 5 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. 

2. Drain the vegetables in a colander, reserving the stock. Cut the chicken into slivers and put in bowl. Add the vegetables.

3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-5 minutes, until softened but not browned. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. 

4. Stir in 2 cups of stock and heat, whisking until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Simmer for 2 minutes, then add the cream and a pinch of nutmeg and taste for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, add the parsley, and mix gently. 

5. Sift the flour into a large bowl with the baking powder and salt and make a well in the center. Add the butter, cut into small pieces with two knives.

6. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until it forms fine crumbs, lifting a d crumbling to aerate it. Add the thyme, make a well in the center, add the milk and cut in quickly with a knife to form coarse crumbs. Add a little more milk if it seems dry.

7. Mix the dough with your fingers just until in comes together. Turn on to a floured surface and knead tightly for a few seconds until smooth. Pat the dough out to 1/2 in thick. Cut out rounds or hearts ;) with a 3 1/2 in round cookie cutter or glass. Pat out the trimmings and cut additional rounds for a total of about 8.

ASSEMBLE and BAKE the pie 

8. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spoon the filling into a medium baking dish, or a shallow pie dish, depending on preference.

9. Arrange the cut-out rounds evenly over the filling, then glaze the scones and bake the pie, allowing 15 minutes at 425 degrees then 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. The filling shoud be bubbling hot and give off delicious aromas. :)


ENJOY! Buen Provecho! I hope you can continue to join me on my cooking journey :D









Thursday, February 13, 2014

giving back

Although being sick is absolutely no fun,  I have been able to slow down and take some time to think about concepts my MOPS mommy group discussed a few weeks ago. We talked about family values, and if we have any set of values that we follow. I thought this was a great question! Aside from the usual golden rule, thou shall not steal, and so on and so forth, what values do I want to share with Gabriel as he gets older? What do I want him to remember and emulate? And how in the world do I even go about doing it?


Both my husband and I have had numerous discussions throughout the years about what we value most. As a part of discovering more of our values, I looked back at the last year to highlight some experiences that demonstrated a value of ours in action. After spotting a few examples, I quickly realized there was a theme unfolding! I thought about some events I was a part of during my pregnancy with Gabriel. I found an example of something that I really enjoyed doing, and I wanted to share it with you, and hope that it inspires you to give back. 

Every other weekend, I volunteered at the local assisted living facility and painted the residents nails. It wasn't much, but I was able to share a little bit of what I know how to do well. I have never had any of what most people would consider huge talent. When I was younger I played violin for a little while, but hardly good enough to write home about! I dabble in art from time to time, but again I'm no Picasso. I may not have those very amazing talents, but I still have something to offer and that is: service. Let me tell you the light in those ladies eyes when they told me to go bold with color was priceless. And I still remember the little old lady that told me she felt so very special, as I was the first person to ever paint her nails! 

I know that service is a family value that I want Gabriel to hold on to as he grows. And even though he is still too small for me to take him everywhere to volunteer, I can teach him these values at home. It can also be difficult to make things happen at home while all of this winter weather keeps us copped up inside. However, we can still give back as a family with the items that we purchase from home. I've found several brands that we support as a family that give part of their proceeds to charity. This has become a great way for our family to give back while he is still small. As we shop even for his baby shoes, we are helping another family out! 

I encourage you to check out these links, and take some time to discuss with your family about what you value. I also encourage you to find any other local, or international brands that give back to the community. I am a strong believer in being cognizant of how families can be involved in serving others. As parents we have an amazing opportunity to teach our children to be engaged citizens in their community. We can teach them the value of giving back in both service and time. 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cooking through my cookbook!


I've been in a bit of a food rut lately and have been running out of ideas for dinner etc. So I decided that I would be cooking through this cookbook! I am excited, because there are 300 recipes in here. I also really like that it has step-by-step pictures that I can look at! I also know there are quite a few foods that I have never tried. I already warned my honey bun this would be happening! And he is up to being the guinea pig for me. I also encourage any of you to join me on this adventure : D
You can get the book: here. Also, I'll probably jump around with the recipes, and I only have one rule: I have to try each recipe at least once. It'll be both a recipe review and step-by-step guide. So I will be sure to let you know if the recipe is a hit or miss.

Here's to some yummy recipes! I can't wait to share them with you :) 

Abrazos,
Keila

Friday, February 07, 2014

Petite styling

It's been pretty quiet around here these past few days, because we have all been oh so sick! But I am happy to announce, we are doing much better. Especially, little man! 

This post is geared towards all of the petite momma's and ladies out there. Although I hope anyone can take away some fun fashion tips from any of my fashion posts :) I am not the tallest person (5'2.5) And I often have trouble trying to find the perfect pair of pants that fit. I am also not a huge fan of just buying petites. In part, because the selection is usually limited, and hard to find! 

One thing that has helped me immensely is learning how to hem. I found these pants on sale (they are still available at Banana Republic! I linked them), and they fit perfectly but were at least two inches too long. Of course, I couldn't let a good deal go by ;) So I bought them and hemmed them myself! Whenever I hem a straighter legged pant, I like to make sure they hit me right at the ankle, like these do. I think they end up looking so chic, and they show off the shoes so well.

If you've read most of my fashion posts, I love a great deal and I also am a believer of buying quality items even if they are more expensive. My reasoning, is because these items will stand the test of time. Additionally, well-made items are a great addition to your closet! Usually, these pants are pricier but they are worth every penny if you buy them full-price! You can always save on more trendy items, like this necklace that I got for $10!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Abrazos,
Keila









Blazer and Blouse old | Marshalls | Necklace | Glamour Girl | Pumps | Nine West: Similar | Trousers | Banana Republic | Lips | L'oreal True Red