448 days later I’m back!!

Hello everybody! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about posting again, the other day I was brave enough to open my WordPress account and I noticed I’m still getting some traffic, that really lifted up my blogging spirit and I decided it was time to start writing again. I’m a little scared though, it has been more than a year since my last post but I’ve always found a lot of support from the community here so I’ll take a chance.

First of all I had a baby!!! Emi is the best thing that has happened in my life, how could I know that I was capable of loving this much someone so tiny. Motherhood is such a blessing and I’m so grateful that God allowed me to experience it, but it is a lot harder than I expected.

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I’m doomed, she’s too cute, I can’t resist!!

I knew it was going to be hard but a part of me thought: “I got this”, “I’m prepared”, “I took all the classes” “look at those moms from the commercials, I can’t wait to give my baby a bath, have some quiet time and cuddle with her before she sleeps through the night” then reality hit me (damn you Johnson’s commercials!)

Let’s start from the beginning, first I got pregnant (that’s kind of obvious but just in case you missed health class or never had “the talk”) and I didn’t have that pregnancy glow everybody talked about, hell I’m still waiting for it to kick in. I was going for a Blake Lively pregnancy look, instead I looked like the Ghostbusters’ marshmallow man. Pregnancy was a little tough, I had a lot of morning sickness, afternoon sickness, night sickness, 3am sickness (see where I’m going) I even had and exorcist episode in the bathroom one day, not my proudest moment. When the “all-day” sickness finally got better I had a couple of good months but more on that later, I don’t plan to tell you about my whole pregnancy right now, there’s no time (I do have a baby remember). By the end of the pregnancy I was a sweating, hungry, swollen, breathing fire “lady” and I was more than ready for my baby to be born.

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Me at 9 months pregnant (check out my awesome photoshop skills)

After three false alarms the day finally arrived. It ONLY took me 23 hours to deliver my sweet baby girl (see what I did there? haha) kuddos to me! I did it! Now I can enjoy my beautiful baby… maybe not so fast. I had an assisted delivery with forceps which ended on a 3rd degree tear, but I’ll save that lovely story for another time, I just have so much to say about it and I’m trying to keep things “light” for this post (considering I started writing it a week ago, there’s so much one can do on nap time)

So far this blog has been mainly about cooking and sharing recipes, but I think it’s time to explore a new direction. I will still be posting recipes!! I love to cook and somehow I’ve managed to entertain my little one while I do it, so we are good. I feel as a first time mom I have so much to share and even though there are a million blogs about motherhood everybody has different experiences and I want to share mine in case someone out there is going through the same things I’ve been. I want to be able to help someone understand they’re not alone, it’s okay to feel they way you’re feeling.

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Just two BFF’s having a blast

That will be all for now, I just wanted to say hi, hopefully next post will be a recipe!

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Egg and Cucumber Sandwich

Hey everybody!! It’s been a while but I’m back and I brought this amazing Egg and Cucumber Sandwich recipe to share with you. It’s perfect to take to work for lunch, party snacks, kid’s lunch boxes, holiday appetizers; the sky is the limit with this recipe. Last weekend Rintaro and I drove to Milwaukee for a Yellowcard concert (best concert ever!!) so I made this sandwich for the road, we were on a budget (…and diet) so lunch had to be homemade, that way we could avoid the road trip temptations, or at least try. Making these sandwiches took me 15 minutes, but you can cut the cooking time by hard-boiling and peeling your eggs the night before.

Egg and Cucumber Sandwich is the perfect crunchy start for Spring!!

The recipe makes two regular size sandwiches. You’ll need 4 bread slices ( I like to cut the crust from mine but you can keep it, no problem), 1 medium cucumber, 4 eggs, 3 tbsp. Tobiko mayonnaise or low-fat mayonnaise, salt and pepper to taste.

Egg and Cucumber Sandwich is the perfect crunchy start for Spring!!

Slice your cucumber and cut the slices in quarts. Place them in a strainer, sprinkle with salt and let them drain over a plate. Cucumbers retain a lot of water and the last thing you want its saggy sandwiches.

Egg and Cucumber Sandwich is the perfect crunchy start for Spring!!

Meanwhile hard-boil 4 eggs. Once they are ready, peel and chop them.

Egg and Cucumber Sandwich is the perfect crunchy start for Spring!!

By now your cucumber must be drained, give it a good squeeze with your hands just in case (that picture is from another recipe but you get the idea). Mix the cucumber with the eggs, add 3 tablespoons of Tobiko mayonnaise or low-fat mayonnaise (for a lighter version you can use plain Greek yogurt!!) and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the egg mixture on your bread and voilà! We love this sandwich, the crunchiness from the cucumber with the softness of the egg… is perfection!! I know some people will say that an egg salad sandwich is not the healthiest lunch option but give me a break, it has cucumber, that counts as healthy right? Plus, eggs are a great source of protein… GO EGGS!!

Egg and Cucumber Sandwich is the perfect crunchy start for Spring!!

As I said before, the sky is the limit with this recipe, you can make bite size sandwiches and you’ll have an appetizer that everybody will love. For a kids party you can add food coloring to the egg mixture and cut the bread in shapes to make funny sandwiches (and the kids won’t even know they’re eating vegetables!!) but if you really want to take this recipe to the next level, you can add BACON bits to the mixture (insert drooling face here) you know you can’t go wrong with bacon.

Right now I’m eating one as I finish writing this post, because just writing about it made me crave for one, food blogger problems. Have a wonderful day!!! I’m going to watch The Chew, get some inspiration and dream about being best friends with Carla Hall and Clinton Kelly.

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Egg and Cucumber Sandwich

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 4 bread slices ( I like to cut the crust but you can keep it)
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. Tobiko mayonnaise or low-fat mayonnaise (Plain Greek yogurt will work too)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Slice your cucumber and cut the slices in quarts. Place them in a strainer, sprinkle with salt and let them drain over a plate.
  2. Hard-boil 4 eggs. Once they are ready, peel and chop them.
  3. By now your cucumber must be drained, give it a good squeeze with your hands just in case.
  4. Mix the cucumber with the eggs, add 3 tablespoons of Tobiko mayonnaise or low-fat mayonnaise (or plain Greek yogurt) and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Spread the egg mixture on your bread and enjoy!!

My monthly book review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And other concerns)

Gutten Morgen everybody!!! Today is my last chance to share with you the book I read this month: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And other concerns) by Mindy Kaling. Mindy is a comedian, actress, writer and producer, I can’t tell you how much I love her work. She plays Dr. Mindy Lahiri in the sitcom “The Mindy Project”, one of my favorite shows right now. She also worked at “The Office”, where she wrote, produced, directed and portrayed Kelly Kapoor, the customer service chatterbox, obsessed with pop culture, getting married and having babies. If you’re familiar with her work you know I’m not exaggerating when I say she is one of the best the business.

is everyone hanging out without me?

As soon as I found out Mindy had written a memoir I knew I had to read it. After last month’s romantic book, The Best of Me, I needed something funny and light. The book describes her life from childhood to adulthood, with lots of funny references and anecdotes in-between. Her writing is so fresh and honest, I felt I was chatting with my best friend the whole time I was reading it, maybe it’s because I dream of being BF’s with Mindy (girl crush alert).

I thought it would be nice to share some quotes from her book just so you get an idea of what to expect from it, I promise they are not spoilers:

*Warning: do not read the following quotes or the book while drinking liquids; you may end up spitting them from laughing so hard (personal experience)

“You should know I disagree with a lot of traditional advice. For instance, they say the best revenge is living well. I say it’s acid in the face—who will love them now?”

“It wasn’t even one of those stoic pimples that goes quietly when you pop it; this one was cystic and painful and had roots that seemed to extend into my brain.”…“So, with my zit throbbing like a nightclub, I went to the interview.”

“We clung to each other with blind loyalty, like Lord Voldemort and his snake, Nagini. I, of course, was Nagini. If you messed with one of us, you knew you messed with both of us, and Voldemort was going to cast a murder spell on you, or Nagini was going to chomp on your jugular.”

I loved this book as much as I love Nutella, and that is as serious as it gets. It’s important to read something light and funny every once in a while, it’s ok if you want to read “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” for leisure, but give yourself a break to have a laugh, your endorphins will thank you.

I hope you read this book, I absolutely recommend it!! Today my husband and I are going back to the gym and I’m mentally preparing for it (I’m not ready). Have a nice day my friends!!

Dreaming Birthday Girl

I hope you’re having a great week (even if snow refuses to leave us alone) I’m beyond excited because tomorrow is my birthday!!! Yayy!! I’m turning 26 and I feel so blessed for all the good things I have in my life: a loving husband, a wonferful family, great friends, and this blog. I’m happy that I started this journey a few months ago, I wasn’t sure if I could write a blog, and I was afraid that people wouldn’t like it, but I thought it was time to take a chance and do this for me and nobody else. I’m glad I did it, this blog has given me a voice and you seem to be enjoying my recipes and crazy thoughts, thanks for all your support!! Since it’s going to be my birthday I thought I could share with you some of the things I dream to have, who knows maybe I end up getting a couple of these!!

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KitchenAid 5-Qt. Artisan Series with Pouring Shield – Pink
I’m obsessed with having one of these in PINK!! (I have a hand mixer that works pretty okay) I haven’t bought one because they’re kind of expensive and a little big for my teeny-tiny kitchen, but dreaming is free and I like to think that one day I’ll have a normal kitchen with a pink KitchenAid stand mixer on the countertop #lifegoals

kitchenaid-stand-mixer-pinkVegetable Spiral Slicer
I’ve been using my vegetable peeler to make zucchini noodles but you don’t get a perfect noodle shape with it and I’m all about making my cooking easier and quicker. This little gadget seems to be easy to use and much quicker than the peeler; whoever invented this is a genius!

vegetable-slicerConverse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Ox
I’ve never had a pair of Converse (shame on me!!) and I’ve been considering getting a pair since Christmas, they look so cool and cute!! Maybe it’s time to make this dream come true (psst honey if you’re reading this you know my shoe size, love you!!)

converse-chuck-taylorTeChef – Art Pan 12″ Wok 
I don’t have a wok and I cook chinese food every other week, how crazy is that? When I make my Easy Fried Rice I have to be extra careful not to drop everything from the pan. I found this TeChef 12″ Wok on Amazon and it has amazing reviews but if you have a recommendation, please give it to me!! I want to equip my kitchen with the best stuff!!

TeChef-WokCollarless Quilted Moto Jacket from Forever 21
A few weeks ago I tried on this jacket while I was window shopping on Forever 21 and I fell in love with it!! I thought I wasn’t cool enought to wear one of these but since the moment I tried it on I couldn’t stop thinking of it. Why didn’t I buy it if I loved it so much? Spring was here was supposed to be here and I didn’t want to buy and store it right away, but I underestimated Wisconsin’s weather and now I don’t know what to do, what do you think?

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Instant Pot 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker
I’ve never had a crock pot, slow cooker or anything like it but I’ve read a lot about them and watched tons of infomercials to know that they are amazing and that I want one. So I did some research and found the Instant Pot 7-in-1 programmable pressure cooker, it’s a number #1 seller in Amazon and has great reviews. If you have a big family and not enough time to cook, you should consider getting one too!!

817Om0cdRLLLodge Cast-Iron 10″ skillet
I’ve wanted to get this for a long time, but I have no experience with cast iron and I was nervous that I would ruin my skillet the first time I use it. You must be thinking how I’ve been cooking this whole time since I don’t have some basic kitchen stuff?? It has been a struggle but I’ve managed; now I’m ready to take my cooking game to next level.

lodge-cast-iron-skylletOXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop
I love making cookies but between not having a stand mixer and a cookie scoop, it has been kind of tired. I’ve been using my ice cream scoop to make my cookies but they don’t turn out the same size or shape, which affects the cooking process and I’m a perfectionist, if I can do anything to make my cookies perfect, I will!!

OXO-cookie-scoopArtisan Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat
I bake a lot!!! From desserts to meat pies, and I use LOTS of parchment paper which it’s not so cheap. This baking mat is reusable and nonstick, a baker’s dream!! (and a wallet’s dream too)

artisan-baking-matDinair Personal Basic Airbrush makeup kit
Last but not least I have this airbrush kit from Dinair. Airbrushing sprays a fine mist so the makeup blends evenly on the skin, meaning flawless and long lasting make up. I don’t like to wear makeup but lately I’ve been having breakouts and I need to cover them. Airbrushing is hygienic which is a huge help when you suffer from acne. Dinair seems to be a great brand, affordable and with good reviews.

Dinair-Basic-setThese are a few of my favorite thiiiiiings!!! –> (for The Sound of Music fans) I’ve read tons of reviews to put this list together trying to find the best brands and maybe help my friends and family choose a birthday gift for me (wink, wink). Perhaps you’ll consider some of these items for you too. Have a wonderful weekend!!

Spring Kani Salad

Happy St. Patrick’s day!!! In Wisconsin we’re FINALLY getting a taste of Spring, the sun is shining, the snow is melting and the birds are singing. I love March, is my favorite month of the year, mostly because it’s my birthday!! March 28th, mark your calendars!! I’m turning 26, which sounded so old when I was 16, lol!! This year I plan to go out for dinner with my husband, maybe catch movie, get tons of presents (which I’ve picked myself) and eating cake without guilt (sorry Shaun T, no T25 on my birthday), those days of “let’s get drunk and party till sunrise” are over, I really believe my body will quit on me if I do it.

Enough about my birthday, today I want to share a delicious salad recipe with you. My husband is Japanese and even though he was raised in Ecuador, he loves Japanese cuisine and I try to do my best to learn new recipes to make him happy. When he told me about the Kani salad I just knew we had to do it. It sounded so good and easy, it even turn out to be cheaper than I thought. We added tamagoyaki, which is a Japanese omelet that it’s made by rolling several layers of cooked egg. This was my first time doing it, what do you think?? Be kind. (Ps. My husband helped me making this salad, you’ll see his hands and my hands on the pictures so don’t freak out)

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For the tamagoyaki you’ll need 3 eggs, 1 tbsp. white sugar, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp mirin (sweet cooking rice seasoning), a pinch of salt, a bamboo mat, chopsticks and a paper towel moistened with vegetable oil. If you can’t handle the chopsticks, you can use a spatula.

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Whisk 3 eggs and add 1 tbsp. white sugar, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp mirin (sweet cooking rice seasoning) and a pinch of salt. Pass the mixture through a strainer.

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Heat a pan (or a japanese omelet pan) over medium high heat; apply oil with a folded paper towel. Pour a thin layer of egg mixture in the pan, tilting to spread evenly (like you were doing a crepe) let it cook and poke the air bubbles. When the bottom is cooked and the top is still soft, start rolling from right to left. When you’re finish rolling, oil the right half of the pan with the moistened paper towel, move the omelet to the right and oil the rest of the pan. Pour another thin layer of egg, cover the bottom of the pan and lift a bit your omelet to get some liquid under it. Once the bottom is cooked, start rolling from right to left. Repeat the process until you’re done with the egg mixture.

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While still hot, place the omelet on a bamboo mat, wrap it and gently shape it with your hands. Once your tamagoyaki has a nice, tight shape, you can cut it in 1/2″ inch pieces. Set aside and let’s start with the eel sauce.

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You can make your own eel sauce or buy one from the market. If you decide you want to make your own you’ll need 1/3 cup mirin (sweet rice cooking seasoning), 1/3 cup soy sauce and 3 tbsp. white sugar. Mix all ingredients on a pan over medium high heat. Once it boils, turn your heat down and simmer for 15 minutes, until the sauce have a thickness similar to honey, once it cools down it will get thicker, so don’t get it too thick while cooking it. Pour the sauce on a bowl and let it cool.

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For the salad you’ll need 1 pack of imitation crab sticks (around 8 sticks), 1 carrot, 1 seedless cucumber, 1 sliced avocado, 1 cup seaweed and 2-3 tbsps. tobiko mayonnaise.

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Start by shredding the imitation crab sticks into thin strips. With a potato peeler, slice 1 carrot lengthwise (it will look like noodles) and cut 1 cucumber into thin sticks (around 3” height)

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Put the cucumber sticks on a strainer, sprinkle with salt and let them drain over a bowl. After 5 minutes, squeeze the cucumber with your hands to remove any liquid left.

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Mix the sliced carrots, shredded imitation crab and cucumber on a bowl with 2-3 tablespoons of tobiko mayonnaise. Taste and adjust mayonnaise if needed.

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It’s time to serve!! First put the carrot, crab, cucumber and tobiko mayonnaise mixture, add some slices of avocado and drizzle with eel sauce. Top with seaweed and tamagoyaki pieces and enjoy!! Taking these pictures was so difficult, the salad looked amazing and I just wanted to eat it, blogger problems!!

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I hope you enjoy this Kani salad as much as we did, I even had some for lunch the next day (picture below). It’s nice to try new recipes and shake up your routine, this week I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new!! Have a nice week my friends!!

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Tamagoyaki

Makes 1 roll

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 tsp mirin (sweet cooking rice seasoning)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Whisk 3 eggs and add 1 tbsp. white sugar, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp mirin (sweet cooking rice seasoning) and a pinch of salt. Pass the mixture through a strainer.
  2. Heat a pan (or a japanese omelet pan) over medium high heat and apply oil with a folded paper towel (moistened with vegetable oil)
  3. Pour a thin layer of egg mixture in the pan, tilting to spread evenly (like you were doing a crepe) let it cook and poke the air bubbles. When the bottom is cooked and the top is still soft, start rolling from right to left.
  4. When you’re finish rolling, oil the whole pan with the moistened paper towel and move the omelet to the right.
  5. Pour another thin layer of egg mixture, cover the bottom of the pan and lift a bit your omelet to get some liquid under it. Once the bottom is cooked, start rolling from right to left. Repeat the process until you’re done with the egg mixture.
  6. While still hot, place the omelet on a bamboo mat, wrap it and gently shape it with your hands. Once your tamagoyaki has a nice, tight shape, you can cut it in 1/2″ inch pieces.

 

Eel sauce

Makes approx. ¾ cup

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup mirin (sweet rice cooking seasoning)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. white sugar

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients on a pan over medium high heat.
  2. Once it boils, turn your heat down and simmer for 15 minutes, until the sauce have a thickness similar to honey, once it cools down it will get thicker, so don’t get it too thick while cooking it.
  3. Pour the sauce on a bowl and let it cool.

 

Kani Salad

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of imitation crab sticks (around 8 sticks)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 seedless cucumber
  • 1 sliced avocado
  • 1 cup seaweed
  • 2-3 tbsps. tobiko mayonnaise
  • Eel sauce for dressing
  • Tamagoyaki (optional)

Directions

  1. Start by shredding the imitation crab sticks into thin strips. With a potato peeler, slice 1 carrot lengthwise (like noodles)
  2. Cut 1 cucumber into thin sticks (around 3” height) and put them on a strainer. Sprinkle with salt and let them drain over a bowl. After 5 minutes, squeeze the cucumber with your hands to remove any liquid left.
  3. Mix the sliced carrots, shredded imitation crab and cucumber on a bowl with 2-3 tablespoons of tobiko mayonnaise. Taste and adjust mayonnaise if needed.
  4. It’s time to serve!! First put the carrot, crab, cucumber and tobiko mayonnaise mixture, add some slices of avocado and drizzle with eel sauce. Top with seaweed and tamagoyaki pieces.