Thursday, September 29, 2011

Art and Crafts Weekend Blog Hop (Bilingual)






Please leave a comment and follow this blog if you like what you see!

Happy Hopping!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

And the winner is.... Little Pim DVD giveaway

And the winner of the Little PIM DVD is entry #7! Oriana from mommyhood's diary!

Congratulations Oriana!


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Mofongo!



Guest post by Jeannette Quiñones-Cantore 

When we think of Puerto Rico we usually think of beautiful sandy beaches, amazing sunsets, fabulous piñas coladas, and Caribbean cuisine, of which mofongo is sometimes considered the star attraction.


Mofongo is a typical dish from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic made from green (not ripe) plantains that are fried and mashed. When mashing the plantains, pork rinds (or crisp bacon), garlic, salt and olive oil are added. The consistency should be such that it allows for the mofongo to be shaped like a half sphere as a vessel to be filled with pork, seafood or chicken. Mofongo is usually served at restaurants and fast food eateries. The Dominican mangú is similar to the Puerto Rican mofongo, but the plantains are boiled instead of fried, so the consistency is softer, much like a purée, to which onions are then added.

Mofongo

Ingredients

3 green plantains

1/2 lb. fried pork rinds (chicharrones) or crisp bacon

3 cloves garlic (minced)

Salt to taste (about one pinch)

1 cup canola or other vegetable oil for frying the plantains



Preparation

Peel the plantains and slice into 2” rounds. Heat the canola or other vegetable oil in a frying pan at medium-low heat—oil should be hot, but not sizzling. The plantains should be cooked through, but not browned.

A large wooden mortar and pestle is the preferred utensil for mashing the plantains with the other ingredients, but a glass bowl and potato masher may be used instead.

Once all the ingredients are combined, the resulting mofongo is shaped into balls, or molded into half spheres, according to the mortar or bowl, to be stuffed with your favorite meat or seafood.



The latest gastronomic explosion has upgraded and diversified the mofongo, and it is not unusual to find this dish made with yucca (cassava) or breadfruit instead of plantains.

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Sazón Boricua is a collection of my favorite recipes. I'm a lover of food especially in the kitchen of my beautiful island. I am passionate about cooking from my land but I had the opportunity also to experience other cultures and each of them I've learned.

Jeannette Quiñones-Cantore editor

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gardening 101: Planting Cold Crops in the Fall

New Bed: Lettuce, Arugula and Spinach just in!
 If you want to eat fresh salad in the fall now is your time to get planting. End of Summer is normally the ideal time, however, this summer was a little hot so I waited a little to plant my cold crops again. I finished the first bed last weekend and this weekend I am planting some more.

I planted some Arugula, Lettuce and Spinach, but you can certainly plant all sort of cold crops (Broccoli, peas, etc.). I used the seeds I collected from the Spring crop (here is how to collect seeds)

Remember to keep the beds moist and see those yummy plants sprout!

Fall planting is no different from Spring planting. I normally clear the beds from any weeds or old vegetables from the Spring crop, add a little more vermicompost and compost, and plant my seeds.

New bed of cold crops just planted!

Happy Fall planting!

See also:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Art and Crafts Weekend Blog Hop (Bilingual)





Please leave a comment and follow this blog if you like what you see!

Happy Hopping!

Fused Glass Garden Sign - A quick view of how I made it!




One of my favorite things to do in Door County is to go to the Hands on Art Studio and do a Fused Glass piece. I have made 3 pieces during the last 3 years.

For this trip I decided to do a sign for my garden. I wanted something colorful that I could put on my front garden to welcome my friends.



Fused glass is so fun, you literally put a whole bunch of colored glass on top of each other and then you put in a very hot oven! the glass melts and fuses with each other, creating a wonderful smooth piece of art!

To start this piece I chose lots of colored glass.




I worked on a 2X24 inches clear glass and placed small squares of 2X2 inches in different colors on top of it. These squares will be the base of the letters in the piece.




To cut the pieces, you score the glass in the shape you want, then you use the cutting tool and the glass just breaks in two!





I wanted to write "The Garden"  so I got one square for the "The" and then one square each for the letters of the word "Garden".



To do the letters, I used small pieces of glass, the idea here is to have fun with the shapes and the colors.





When you are done having fun, you carefully put it in the oven!



Once the glass have been put in the oven and fused, it was mounted on a metal bar so it can be staked on the ground.

I had so much fun doing this piece, I can't wait for next year so I can do another glass piece!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesdays: Co-pilot moo moo










Easy Zucchini and Carrot Souffle or Pie?


A lot of people are scared of souffles. They have a reputation of being temperamental! However, this is an easy one - it is not required to puff too much, so it is more like a pie hence my name Souffle Pie.

My mother used to make this dish a lot when I was at college. Some of my friends used to beg her to do it when they came over to study!

I am lucky that I have lots of fresh zucchinis and  carrots from my garden, so this was the dish to make today.

Ingredients:




3 cups of grated zucchinis
2 cups of grated carrots
3 eggs
2 tbs chopped fresh oregano
1 tbs butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tbsp chicken stock powder
2tbsp grated Parmesan cheese


Pre heat oven at 350F.

In a pan, sauteed the onions and spring onions with the butter and some PAM cooking spray.





When the onions are translucent, add the grated zucchinis and carrots and cook. As it cooks, the zucchinis will turn watery, at that time, add the chopped oregano and the chicken stock powder.



Keep cooking until all the water evaporates. Add salt and pepper to taste (I normally do not add salt as I think it is nice just as it is).



Once the water evaporates, turn it off and let it cool down.

Coat an oven safe dish with PAM, set aside.

Separate the whites of the eggs and put on a bowl. Keep the yellows - we will use them later.



Fluff the whites with 1 tbsp of water, you can use a kitchen assistant, a hand mixer or hand whisk them! Once they are stiff, blend the yellows into the whites (they will deflate a little).



Blend the zucchini and carrot mixture into the eggs, mix gently not to deflate the eggs too much. Poor over your oven safe dish, sprinkle Parmesan cheese over it.



Put in the oven for approximately 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown on top.



You can eat this dish hot with a dollop of sour cream, or you can eat cold. It is nice in sandwich too.



Enjoy!

Dukan Diet Tip: If you are following the Dukan Diet, make sure you do not use butter and that the sour cream is fat free. Remember to eat carrots only if you have been losing weight steadily. If you have reached a plateau you should not eat carrots.

Monday, September 19, 2011

How to harvest potatoes from tires?


My first set of potato tires is ready - The Russet ones! I put a screen over the tires a couple of weeks ago as some little animal was eating the potatoes! I wished I had looked earlier as they manage to eat all the potatoes from the second and third tire ....I hope they enjoyed them....

Any how, here is how to harvest potatoes from their tire container! (click here if you want to know more about planting potatoes on tires)
You know when your potatoes are ready when their foliage dies. Cut the dead foliage and leave the tires alone for about a week to 10 days. Then you are ready to unearth your potatoes. As my potatoes are in tires, it is relatively easy to harvest them, no need to dig in and risk bruising the potatoes.



The only thing you need to do is to put a plastic tarp around your tires. With your hands, dig on the top tire and remove all the potatoes from that layer.  Put them aside, then pull the tire into the plastic tarp, remove all the dirt from it and roll it to wherever you will store it until next season. Repeat with all tires and you are done!



I only had potatoes in the bottom tire and I got about 3.5 pounds of it (I could have had 3 times that quantity if I had covered them...). Once you have all the potatoes, you can wash them, let then dry and store in a dry location.

I still have the red potatoes to harvest, but as you can see they are not ready as there is still foliage there. I covered them too, but the animal also ate them.



I got a potato that look like Piglet in Winnie the Pooh, don't you think?


Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Honor System still works!!! Yeahh!

 
 
 


During my recent vacation to Door County I was so happy to see that the honor system is still used and is working in the US. We found a small fresh produce farm stall in the road, we pulled over as I was looking for some "just harvested" corn for our dinner and I was so amazed with what I saw.


There was nobody manning the shop, just a small box with a sign to instruct people to leave the money there. Next to the box there was a small dish with about $8 in change, so people could actually take their change!

They had all sort of vegetables in season, clearly marked with their prices! Three big fridges with more delicate produce. It even have fresh cut flowers!

I was so happy! I got my corn and a few more things, I put the money in the box, got my change and left happy that we are still able to trust people in this world!











Friday, September 16, 2011

Art and Crafts Weekend Blog Hop (Bilingual)





Please leave a comment and enjoy!! Por favor deja un comentario y disfruten!

The blog hop will be open the whole weekend.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Readers Poll: Shall I change the name of the blog?

P-ART-Y or not....

I have been thinking about the blog and how it has changed and evolved during the last 6 months. I started writing about my cakes and the ART of doing cakes and sugar crafts for parties, hence the name P-ART-Y. Now I enjoy writing about all my hobbies: gardening, cooking, crafts, cakes and raising my 2 kids as bilingual and bicultural as I can (challenging...... and a half). So the name does not seem to be that related to the content anymore.

What do you all think? shall I change it? I would love your opinion, I do value your feedback.

Additionally, I think typing P-ART-Y is a bit cumbersome, so something simpler will make life easier for everybody.

I would also love to hear suggestions as to what name do you think will suit my blog. I have been thinking about it and nothing comes to mind.... (I am quite attached to the whole P-ART-Y and to Party Artist)

Thanks for sharing your feedback with me!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hopefully Trilingual!!

Guest Post by Helena from PinkGuayoyo

I am from Venezuela and my husband is Mexican. We live in Miami. We speak, think, and live in Spanish; so when my son was born I didn’t even think about what language we would speak to him. It was obvious that his first language would be Spanish. My Mom was able to take care of him for six months while I worked but after that we had to find a daycare or a nanny.


We were extremely lucky to find Nanana, who quickly became his Grandmother and part of our family. Her daughters adore him. He loves all of them. Nanana is from Pakistan and started speaking to our son in Urdu. As he kept on growing up most books and television programs were in English, my conversations with Nanana were in English and the little he said was in English.

When he turned two and half he started Speech Therapy which, is in English as that’s what he seemed to speak more and it went downhill from there. I started speaking in English to him. So did my husband and my sister. And yes, when we are outside and I speak to him in English I get a lot of looks. You know, the ones that ask “How come you are not speaking in Spanish to your son?” I am even embarrassed to speak in English to him in front of some of friends because I know how important it is for him to speak Spanish and all it means.

So, we have started to speak more in Spanish (my husband more than me) and in his new school his teachers are Cuban and speak to him in Spanish. We are happy that he understands all three – Nanana still speaks to him in Urdu as we’ve requested.

And so he asks for cosquillas - tickles in Spanish , for duhduh – milk in Urdu and laughs and says “Come on guys” clearly in English. We look forward to the day where he speaks all three of them clearly and fluently.


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Meet Helena:
Helena Osorio-Zavala lives in sunny Miami, Florida with her three year old son, her husband and her bulldog. She is a Broadcast Producer for a national advertising agency and is pursuing a Certificate in Creative Writing from UCLA Extension. When she is not at work or being a mom she enjoys reading, writing and traveling. She is obsessed with relationships and parenting. You can read more by Helena at pinkguayoyo.com



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesdays: My latest disguise!

Back to Language School: A new class level for my boy!

So finally Language Stars started his classes again. I really do not like it when the kids are not at their Spanish classes, so I have been looking to this week for the whole summer.

As excited as I was, my son was not! you see he really fights the whole "learning a new language" thing. Since the last few weeks of last term he kept going on and on about not going to Language Stars, how he did not like it etc. As you know by now, not learning Spanish is not an option (I will write a post on the why soon!), so I spoke to the teachers at Language Star to find out what was going on and how can we get him to be more enthusiastic about Spanish.

You have to love the teachers and the staff at Language Stars, really. They were so nice! they told me my boy does enjoy the class (once he is there!! - he used to do the same to me with Gymnastics - complained and cried the whole way there only to do the whole class with a huge smile in his face!!) However, they say, he may be getting bored as he is 7.5 years old and he is attending the 5-8 class, which is more geared to younger children with songs, and games for small kids. He was also attending the same class as my daughter (who is 5) and the whole siblings dynamic was not working there (for neither of them).

So here was their suggestions: keep kids is separate classes and try your boy out on the 8-10 years old class, if he likes it we will move him.

So I did, and oh my! what a difference! I on purpose stayed the whole class so I could see his reaction to it. Here is how it went:

The class started with the teacher introducing the new set up to the kids (only 3 kids hurray!!!) as they are all new to the 8-10 year old group. The first thing she said was " you are now big kids so no more singing silly songs for you". You should have seen these kids, they all clapped and shouted yuppy!!! She told them they will do more reading and writing in this class - to which my son frowned and I smiled with happiness!

They quickly went on to do a couple of tongue twisters (Trabalenguas). To my amazement, my son could read Spanish!! Who new that? it was such a joy for me to hear him reading the words and getting his tongue all twisted. The kids enjoyed asking me to say them as fast as I could..... it was so fun.

After that, they sat down and did lesson 1 on their book. All about introductions, hello, how are you?, my name is, etc. however, even though it sounds basic, what was cool is that they were not only saying these things (which they all knew) but they were writing!! yes writing in Spanish!!! My son did his work, but I could see his "not another school like homework, really?" face.

Soon they were on the floor again, this time to play. This was by far my son's favorite part. He had soooo much fun!!1 They first did Simon says, then they said the days of the weeks passing a ball from child to child as they shouted the day, whomever did not catch the ball or said the wrong day went to the middle.

And finally, my favorite game, the teacher read 2 long paragraphs about 2 kids explaining what their names were, how old they were, their names of their parents, their favorite color, their favorite sport and the city they live in. All 3 kids were sitting in chairs equidistant to a bell. The teacher then proceeded to ask a question like "what was Carlos' favorite color?" if the kids knew the answer, they had to run to the bell and ring it first, then say the answer correctly. Very competitive (which my son LOVES).

All in all I think we found the right class for my boy. He did like this class and told me so and I liked it too, so there it is, a win-win change for this year's language school!!

Disclosure: I will receive discounted tuition from Language Stars as compensation for this post. However, all facts and opinions expressed in this post are true and my own. Language Stars have not asked me to write about anything in particular, only my true and honest opinion about my experience with their program.  This post have not been edited by a third person.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!!

Happy Labor Day everyone!! I hope you are all enjoying the day off.

And do you know why you are having a day off? how and when did all these celebrations started?

Here are some quick points:
  • First labor day was celebrated on September 5th, 1882
  • It was officially pronounced a holiday on 1894 after the death of some workers by US Marshalls during the Pullman Strike.  
  • The first  labor day proposal asked for it to be: A street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations," followed by a festival for the workers and their families.
  • Today it is celebrated across the whole of the US.
And other ones more interesting:
  • For many it represents the end of the summer (hard to believe when it is still 96F outside!!)
  • It is the last day in where it is fashionable for a woman to wear white!
  • It marks my wedding anniversary celebration week ( Yes a week!! we know....)
My husband and I have celebrated many Labor Day weeks together (15 to be exact) and we used to take the whole week off and do something adventurous! We used this week to go to Alaska, white water rafting, the amazons and these sort of things. Then kids came and the adventure, well had to wait. We still celebrate the week but now we go to tamer destinations like Cape Cod and Door County. It has truly become a family tradition.

What do you do on Labor Day?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gardening 101: How to collect seeds from Arugula and Lettuce

One of the best ways to make sure that you enjoy your vegetables for years to come is collecting and saving the seeds from your own garden. It is also cheaper too!!

I tried to collect the seeds from every one of my vegetables - I always wait until it is almost the end of the season for a particular plant to take the seeds, as many plants will stop bearing fruits if you let them go to seed.

In this post I will show you how to collect the seeds from arugula and lettuces as they are done for their first season (I am planting a second crop for the fall!)

The first thing to do is to choose a couple of plants to be your seed's bearer. You will let these plants go to flower (or bolt) in mid season. You can continue to harvest arugula and lettuce leaves from the other ones.

One they flower, you will keep monitoring it until the flowers dry and little pods from on each one.

Arugula:

Arugula flowers are small and white, and when they dry they  turn into a pod. Wait until the pods are dry (at this stage the whole plant will be pretty dry too!). Carefully, cut the pods and put them in a container. I recommend you use scissors, that way you will not lose any seeds as the pods are fragile and will open if you manipulate them too hard.


Take your pods indoors and put them on top of a white piece of paper. Open the dry pods,one by one and you will see how the seeds fall into the paper - Arugula seeds are small, round and brown. If you have any pods that are not dry yet (they will be green and pliable). Set them aside on a sunny place for a few days until they dry.

Lettuce:



Lettuce flowers are small and yellow, and when they die they turn into green "thistle" with a white fuzz (similar to dandelions - every seed will have a white little feather like fuzz to help it fly!). Wait until these are dry (they turn brown). Carefully, cut the thistles and put them in a container. I recommend you use scissors, that way you will not lose any seeds as the thistles will open if you manipulate them too hard and the seeds will fly in the wind!



Take your thistles indoors and put them on top of a white piece of paper. One by one, hold to the white fuzz with one hand and the thistle body with the other and pull. You will see how the seeds will come out of the thistle and stay attached to the fuzz.




Remove the fuzz and let the seeds fall into the paper - Lettuce seeds are small, oval and grayish. If you have any thistles that are not dry yet (they will be green and pliable). Set them aside on a sunny place for a few days until they dry.

Put your seeds in an paper envelope and label them with the name of the plant and the year - if you keep them in a dry and ventilated place, they should last you about 3 years. Feel free to share your seeds with your friends! I have certainly do so.
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