Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Writing this post makes me think of my friend Gene for a few reasons...he loves to cook just as much as I do (when I need a good recipe he scouts one out for me) and he's the one who sent me the song Colorful-The Verve Pipe a few years ago and it was the first thing I thought of as a title for this post, funny how it just fit so this one's for you Gene.
Bistek en Salsa - Pepper Steak in sauce
Traditionally, when cooking this dish you would usually use olive oil, red wine vinegar and seasonings but because so many people love this dish and ask my mom how to make it she made the recipe even simpler by just having people cook the meat in Italian dressing to tenderize and season it all in one step.
Cut up your peppers and onions and set them aside then slice up your steak into strips. Heat up the pan and add the steak and 1 cup of Italian dressing to it and cook until the dressing is mostly gone(this step tenderizes the meat).
Add the peppers and onions, one packet of Sazon and sprinkle on some Adobo (both these seasonings are made by Goya) and they are optional. You can always just add some salt and pepper to it if you don't want the traditional spanish flavor. Add two cans of tomato sauce and cover, let simmer for 20 minutes.
The wonderful smell fills the whole house as it's cooking.

This dish is served over a bed of white rice. It can also be served over maduros which is the way my son Josh loves it. Traditionally it's eaten with tostones.

It was delicious!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Is your Mama a llama?

My children attend a very unique magnet school here in Chicago, second through fifth grade they learn about a different civilization each year aside from the regular yearly projects for their curriculum.

Last year they studied the Tainos, I mentioned that to you guys before and how wonderful it was for the kids to visit a real Taino ceremonial center when we were in Puerto Rico last summer.

This year is the Incas and this is another one I'd love to be able to take the kids to go see for themselves, visiting Machu Picchu would be an amazing experience. Not sure when we'd be able to do that but it sure is on the list!

My Inca Warrior!

My little Inca princess showing us some of the things the Inca's liked to eat....look at that yummy papaya!
When the children have completed their course on the civilization they've studied they always do a wonderful presentation for the parents and students from other grades. There is also an Inca Market to raise money to buy llamas for needy families in Peru, last year they raised enough money to buy 3 llamas this year they hope to be able to raise enough for 5 through Heifer International. The kids always feel so accomplished when they're all done and are so excited about the market and raising money. I made fudge truffles for them to sell, they weren't perfectly round but they tasted darn good.
I look forward to the Mayans next year and the Aztecs the following year.

Let them eat cake....

John bought me a bread maker as a belated Valentine's day gift. I have been wanting one the last few weeks...with my herbs starting to grow I thought it would be nice to make fresh bread and use some of those wonderful smelling herbs that will be growing like weeds soon (one can be hopeful).

It's a very nice machine let me tell you, simple to use, touch screen with recipes already programmed in and it does absolutely everything for you....kneads the dough, allows it to rise and bakes it. All I have to do is turn it on, select the bread type and measure in the ingredients.

I wasn't expecting the first loaf to be as yummy as it was, we ate it with some home made bruschetta.....the whole loaf! I have to tell you guys how shocked I was to wake up on Saturday to find another loaf already made, who would have thought that John would like this thing almost as much as I do :P. Needless to say we've been making bread all weekend.

Next kitchen gadget I want is a pasta maker!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

If you don't have anything good to say don't say anything at all

....and that's my excuse for not posting in so long. It's been a whirlwind of one not so good thing after another.

The holiday season for my family was a rough one, with the loss of another one of my aunts and me being in the hospital (twice)....and despite my hope, the new year didn't change any of that around. I won't bore you with a list of things I can't change or do anything about right now but ya all know what they say "when it rains it pours" and I'm talking a hailstorm.

On to the something good, well good enough to get a post out of me anyway ;). We have secured the house for our trip to Florida in July. YAY! I'm not kidding when I say it's the only thing that is keeping me going right now...just knowing I get to run away, if only for a month puts a smile on my face. I'd be smiling a lot bigger if I was going to France with Monette and Chris :P but they'll eventually have to go back and maybe next time they'll take me with *big cheesy grin*.

So last week I tried a new spin on lasagna. It turned out excellent. Lasagna rolls...stuffed with ricotta and spinich sauteed in garlic and olive oil, topped with a hearty sauce made of tomatoes, green peppers, onion, garlic and bite size pieces of italian sausage simmered with herbs and spices for two hours and topped with mozzerella and parmasian cheeses then baked.

Oh....I'm starting a windowsill herb garden, I have never been good with keeping things alive but I'm going try my best. I planted a few...ones I love the smell of and use most: Rosemary, Cilantro, Sweet Basil, Green Onions and Oregano, if these survive I'll try a few more ;).