Little Recap of what happened this last year..

So considering I have been absent for a whole 365 days, I decided to give you a little sneak peak of some little adventures that happened in my kitchen these last months.. enjoy!

Marquesa de Cholocate

Marquesa de Chocolate

 

Christmas sugar cookies with icing

Christmas sugar cookies with icing

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie (french style)

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie (french style)

Thanksgiving stuffing (french style)

Thanksgiving stuffing (french style)

Orange and vanilla roll up cake

Orange and vanilla roll up cake

Pretty orange and vanilla cake

Pretty orange and vanilla cake

the infamous fruit cheesecake!

the infamous fruit cheesecake!

Fruit yogurt parfaits

Fruit yogurt parfaits

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And so here we go again… Homemade Chicken tortilla Soup!

1 year.. 1 whole year has passed since the last time I posted anything on my blog! I know, I know, unacceptable! but hey, never too late to get back to business, and luckily for you… these 12 months gave me the chance to discover some pretty delicious cooking ideas that I’ll be sharing with you in the next couple of weeks. On a different non-cuisine note, it’s kinda crazy- and scary- to realize how fast time goes by.. and how quickly a full year can pass!

chicken soup

My first getting-to-business recipe will be a super delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup.. perfect comfort food for when it starts to freeze outside. Not sure if in your part of the world you’ll have that problem, but me personally… let’s just say I never really got used to the whole getting out of your house and having your hands/nose frozen kinda thing. So a homemade/warm/delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup its guaranteed to help!

Feel free to change the amount of chicken you add, depending on how many people you will be sharing it with, for example. Also, feel free to add more diced tomatoes if you want a heartier soup. Personally, I’d like my soup not so heavy and more of a broth type of soup but with enough flavor, spices and plenty of mouth watering other ingredients. Now let’s get to work!

     Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes (canned)
  • 1 full red onion diced
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup of black beans (canned ones, with all liquid removed)
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup of green bell peppers diced
  • 1/3 cup if red bell peppers diced
  • 2 tbs of tomato paste
  • a bit of cilantro (not really sure how to measure this one)
  • Spices: cumin, garlic powder, chili powder

   Instructions:

Preheat your oven (Yes, I do realize that 99% of the recipes I post here all start by this same very first phrase) to 350 degrees, and once its hot enough, bake your chicken breasts until they are tender enough that you can shred them with a fork. Add a touch of olive oil and salt to them once you have finished shredding them.

In the mean time, add some olive oil to a pot, and “fry” your green and red bell peppers all diced, your onion and your garlic cloves.. This will make for a pretty colorful mix! Cook them for 8-10 minutes, and once you see they start to become a bit brown around the edges, add all your spices: cumin, garlic and chili powder. Stir for another 2-3 minutes, then add the chicken breasts all shredded, the tomato paste and the canned diced tomatoes as well. Stir all that for about 5 minutes, making sure you don’t burn any of it.. otherwise what once was a pretty colorful mixture could easily and rapidly turn into a sad, dark one.

Next, Add your chicken broth and the black beans and… ready for it… let the soup cook on low heat for a good hour. Yes, I know.. it’s long.. and even longer if suddenly it smells delicious all around your kitchen and whole house (if you have a small apartment where you kitchen is right next to your bedroom, like me. Otherwise if your apartment is big, only in your kitchen) and you develop this urgent need to taste the soup and moreover, eat it all. But trust me, let it sit of a good hour while it cooks. It will allow for all the flavors to blend in and for the chicken breasts to absorb all these deliciousness that you will be tasting in about… 58 minutes. Cause yea, it has only been 2 minutes since you started cooking it!

Once the eternal 58 minutes have gone by and your soup has cooked on low heat for a full 60, serve on a bowl, add some more diced red onion on top, some cilantro and some shredded cheese on top… and voila!

Trust me, you’ll thank me later 🙂

Chez Moi!

Parq1First things first.. Before I can show you Paris and the beautiful things I’ve discovered, I thought I would share with you all my neighborhood. My beautiful little arrondissement, one I am very very happy to call home: Boulogne-Billancourt.

Located about 8km from the center of Paris, Boulogne-Billancourt is one of the most well-known suburbs of Paris. When walking around the other day, I found out that the original name of this neighborhood was “Boulogne-sur-seine” which literally means “Boulogne located upon the Seine” . However, later on the name was changed to “Boulogne-Billancourt” to conmemorate the industrial development of Billancourt , a small community located right next to Boulogne. The name Billancourt apparently means “state of friend”. Go figure!

Although Boulogne is not in the center center of Paris per say, there are metros and bus systems that allow me to get to Paris in less than 25 minutes. Also, I can jump in a bus right in front of my place and get off at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower in 15 minutes so.. not bad at all!

What I love the most about my neighborhood is its nature, all the vegetation around it. For starters, the famous park de Boulogne is located in Bolougne Billancourt (duh!) and so I can run there on the weekends and nights, it only takes me about 10 minutes (on a good running day that is!) to get there. There is a beautiful lake inside the Park, it really makes you feel like you aren’t in Paris anymore.. but you are. Also, the Roland Garros Tennis stadium is in Boulogne, I can get there in about 10 minutes walk. Boulogne is mostly composed of families and young-professionals (like me!) trying to get away a bit of the chaotic center of Paris. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to live in an apartment right next to the Louvre or by the Champs Elysees but hey… maybe some day! As for now, I am quite happy where I am, and I can honestly say it is the first time in my 3 years here I truly feel like at home. Here some pics of my latest walk around Boulogne-Billancourt:

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Introducing some new and exciting changes!

torreAfter giving it some thought, I have decided to change my blog around a bit. I realized last weekend, that I have been living in this beautiful amazing city for 3 years now! (had my 3 year anniversary last September 1st to be exact) and it’s about time I start recording my adventures and experiences here along with some photos of them. Yes, fully aware I should have started doing this a looong time ago, but oh well, better late than never. So from now on, yours truly, will be posting not only cooking recipes/ideas but also a bit of my very own Parisian adventure! and if you think about it, this actually falls at a very good time… just a few weeks before Christmas! Hoping for a white one in Paris this year 🙂

 

Spaghetti Squash with Pesto Sauce.

collage pesto

Have you ever had a huge craving to eat something really bad for you? Yea, I got one of those today. Perhaps it was the late rose wine last night, or the horrible cold I caught last week (yea, last night’s wine was definitely not my brightest idea) or simply the fact that it’s the weekend and I feel like eating bad! but I decided to satisfy my craving in the healthiest way possible.. so for the first time, I made some Spaghetti Squash from scratch. It ended up being quite a fun dish to cook!

I had actually been wanting to cook this for a while.. the idea of eating “pasta” for 40 calories a cup instead of your typical 200 seemed pretty amazing to me.. So today I went out in this beautiful parisian saturday hunting for “Courges” (Butternut Squash in French). I thought it would be difficult to find one, but it only took me two tries: I was able to find it in one of my local monoprix.  Also, It was surprisingly cheap (2.20EUR for a huge one!).

There are a few ways to cook the squash, and I happened to choose the easy way out of it: Microwave! As you know, my little petit oven that I hide in the closet of my little petit Parisian Apartment is, well.. not ideal, in other words, it sucks! hence I took the microwave option, and it was surprisingly easy!

Ingredients:

-1 Squash, washed in the outside and cut in half (see pics)

-3 garlic cloves

-1/4 cup of fresh basil

-1/4 cup of fresh parsley

-4 tablespoons of olive oil

-2 tablespoons of butter

-Salt and Pepper

Directions:

As pictures speak louder than words.. I’ll post here exactly what I did in photos!

I

Cut the squash in half, as seen here. Then, remove all seeds leaving it clean.

II

Once all seeds are removed, sprinkle your halves with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Place both halves facing down in a Microwave safe bowl and microwave for 16-18 minutes.

III

Set aside to cool down for a bit. Once its cold, start separating your spaghetti strands with a fork. Make sure you get all of it!

IV

If it looks like this, it means that you have successfully removed all spaghetti strands, good job!

V

Voila! your spaghetti is ready!

VI

I decided to go with a light pesto sauce, so I added the olive oil and butter, plus 3 cloves of garlic in the pan, along with basil and parsley all fresh.

VII

and there you go: Spaghetti Squash with pesto sauce. No better way to satisfy your pasta cravings!

 

 

Back to blogging business: Vegan Falafel!

familia

Summer is over. After 2 amazing weeks at home, it’s time to get back to business, aka work, work, work.. But I can’t really complain! For my summer plans this year, I decided to go home and surprise my family. Originally, I had told them I would take a girls trip to Greece, I even gave them a fake itinerary with a fake hotel address! So you can imagine my mom’s surprise when she saw me walking through our doors. Needless to say, we had an amazing time!

Best thing of spending two weeks at home? I got to eat absolutely every single Venezuelan food I had craved for the last year.. literally, all. Don’t think I said no once… So now, while stepping back into reality, I realize it’s time to take some action, rather sooner than later 🙂

I decided to go for something light, easy to pack and take to work, and so I mixed and matched different falafel recipes and came up with my very own vegan falafel recipe. I’d say it’s a pretty good way to step back, once again, into some healthy eating. Here it goes, hope you find it useful!

Falafel

Ingredients:

-1 full can of cooked chickpeas, or “garbanzo” beans, as we say.

-1 full grated carrot (large)

-3 tablespoons of quinoa flour

-1 teaspoon of sesame seeds

-4 garlic cloves minced

-1/2 cup of fresh parsley, cut into little pieces

-Salt and pepper to taste

-1 teaspoon of olive oil

-1 red onion chopped into little pieces

Instructions:

Remove the water from the chickpeas, and add them into your food processor. Mix for about 5 minutes, until they reach a soft consistency (do not make hummus! meaning do not over mix or they will turn out way too liquidy). Once they are mixed, add them into a bowl. Subsequently, add the grated carrot, the chopped onion, the minced garlic and mix well, until you reach a “dough” consistency.

After all your ingredients are mixed, add the quinoa flour and mix. If it becomes rather dry, feel free to increase the amount of olive oil from 1 teaspoon to 2.. But in any case, add some olive oil now. Finally, add you sesame seeds as the very last ingredient.

Add olive oil to your pan and spoon out your falafel, shaped into little falafel. I used about a spoonful of dough for each one. Very delicious and light snack/dinner idea!! Enjoy 🙂

PS. I’ll leave you with a little sneak peek of the most beautiful place on earth.. My country!