brown twine covered wire (you can get at Michael’s)
tin snips (go look in your husbands tool box)
hot glue gun and glue sticks
fillers (greenery, leaves)
Step 1- Take the wire and loop it around your head, or whoever it is for. Double it so you have two loops. Have it so it isn’t too tight, but not too loose so that its falling in front of your eyes.
Step 2- Tape the two end together so that you have a circle with two circles of twine.
Step 3- Starting in the middle of the crown (like where the front of the crown will be on your head), begin adding your flowers through the gap between the two loops. I would only do 3 “feature” flowers, and the rest greenery with buds. But if you want a big and full crown, use more flowers.
Step 4- Once you are sure that is where you want the flowers, hot glue them down.
Step 5- Start filling it with greenery. Play around with it, add some, take some away, it takes awhile, but once you start playing it should come together.
Step 6- That’s basically it! Use your hot glue gun when you think you need it, use your floral tape when you think you need it. Just play with it and burn your fingers a bit!
– Use the most realistic looking flowers you can find
– Use more greenery than flowers (they make it look more realistic)
So my husband asked for rice pudding. I don’t LOVE rice pudding, but I’m such a great wife that I decided to try it out. Turns out, that when I make rice pudding…. I LOVE rice pudding. It’s creamy, fattening, not good for your butt, yumminess. Make it on a Sat morning, when you wanna look like a cute little housewife. Then take a really “pinterest worthy” picture and throw in a few filters, and there you have it, your next most liked photo of all time. #breakfastinbedwithmy #MCMeveryday You’re welcome.
Creamy Rice Pudding
3 cups cooked basmati rice
4 cups of whole milk, divided
2/3 cups of brown sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 large eggs, whisked
1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
2/3 cup of organic raisins (optional)
3 cinnamon sticks, or a sprinkle of ground cinnamon
shredded coconut for topping (optional)
In a large pot mix the cooked rice with 2 1/2 cups of the milk. Stir, add the sugar and your salt. Cook over low/medium heat until thick and creamy, about 25 mins. Once thick, add your whisked eggs, remaining milk, and your raisins. Continue to cook for about 2-3 minutes. Serve with coconut flakes on top, in a anthropology bowl, with a gold plated antique spoon. Or you know…. just in a normal bowl. Or better yet, straight out of the pot.
Chimol is El Salvador’s “fresh salsa.” Mexico’s “pico de gallo.” Chimol, fresh salsa, pico de gallo, whatever you wanna call it, it’s still amazing. Go ahead and make it, your friends and family will think you’re “oh so cultured” and well travelled. It’s perfect with everything… at least in my family we think it goes with everything. It’s what we eat our empanada’s with.
8 roma tomatoes
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch cilantro
salt to taste
Finely chop all the ingredients, mix in a large bowl, add the juice of lemons and salt to taste, and you’re all done.
There, you’ve travelled to El Salvador and made one of their staple foods. Congrats, you now have the approval of Salvadoreans, which is kind of big deal. There are some tips and tricks to ensuring that any Latina grandmother will approve though. I’ll tell let you in on them if you agree to at least try this. And don’t start with “can I leave out the cilantro?” The answer is NO. You may not.
Tip #1. Make sure you FINELY chop the tomatoes, green onions and cilantro. You don’t want big chunks of tomato or onion, that’s just unrefined, and “ain’t nobody got time for that!” (That still works, thank you Sweet Brown.)
Tip #2. I gave you a guesstimate of lemons…. you may need more, you may need less. It all depends on how juicy your lemons are.
Tip #3. Taste as you go. If you wanna be a legit Latina in the kitchen, add some salt, add some lemon juice, dance to some gypsy kings or Julio Iglesias and then taste it. Its better to start with not enough salt and lemon than to have too much, you can always add more, but it’s a lot harder to take some away. And by “a lot harder’ I mean nearly impossible.
I had to make a huge batch for when my grandma was up and we made empanada’s, so the pictures below show a heck of a lot more ingredients. I chopped 30 tomatoes that day, along with 4 bunches of green onions and cilantro. You can congratulate me later.
Please attempt this. Eat it with tortilla chips, eat it with your nachos. Or if you REALLY, really wanna impress us, make empanada’s along with this, eat one of the best meals you’ll ever eat made by your own two hands, and then take the next 3 months off, cuz you’ll be beat. Enjoy!
My grandma came to visit us a few weeks ago. We call her Nana, and she’s one of my favourite people. She doesn’t speak any english, she’s funnier than most people I know, and she means business. She’s tougher than most grandma’s too. She survived a war, she put her children through school, plus nieces and nephews, all as a single mom. I’ll tell you guys her story another time. Today it’s about Nana’s Empanada’s. She’s made these for us every time she has come to visit us for the last 15 years.
Empanada’s are a LOT of work. But they just might be one of the best things you put in your mouth…. EVER. I’m mostly writing this recipe out so I can have record of it, and when I’m feeling brave and have a lot of time to spare, I can make these again:)
For the filling:
28 chicken drumsticks
12-14 garlic cloves, divided
2 large onions, divided
6 celery sticks, diced
1 small bunch, cilantro, divided
2 green pepper, cut in small pieces
oil for lightly frying
In a large stock pot, add all of your drumsticks, 6 whole garlic cloves, celery, 1 roughly chopped onion in big pieces, and a few strands of cilantro (does not need to be chopped). Fill pot with water to cover everything. Cook on medium heat until chicken is cooked through.
Meanwhile, in another large pot, bring peeled potatoes to a boil until cooked. While potatoes are cooking, remove the chicken from the broth and set aside to cool slightly, making sure to KEEP the broth!! Once cooled, pull the chicken into small pieces, set aside. Finely chop the 6 garlic cloves, along with the other onion, green pepper, tomatoes, and the remaining cilantro. In a large pot heat the oil over medium low heat. Once hot, add your remaining finely chopped garlic, frying until fragrant. Then, add your green peppers, and next your onion, and stir together until well combined. Remove from heat and add your tomatoes, shredded chicken, and cilantro. Mix well, set aside. Mash your potatoes, but not smooth. Making sure there are still some lumps and chunks. add this to your chicken mixture, mix well making sure everything is evenly distributed.
Now comes the hard part. I say the hard part because this is where experience comes in, in just knowing the way the dough should feel. I still am not 100% sure, but just play around with it. I’ll try my best to explain how it should feel. Ready?
Ingredients for the dough:
Broth from chicken
3 tablespoons sugar
salt to taste
1 5lb bag of yellow cornmeal flour
oil for deep frying
On a clean surface, make a volcano with cornmeal. In the whole of the volcano slowly add some of the broth. With your hands, gently start to add the cornmeal to the centre, making sure not to have your volcano over flow. Keep adding broth until all your dough has been mixed well, you may need to add some water to the broth if you see you’re starting to run low. The texture should be that of almost play dough, just not as smooth. It should be soft and pliable, but not too sticky.
Once you have reached the desired texture, start making roughly 3″ balls, where you will squish down in the handy dandy little tool you see in the picture below (You can get it any Latin/Mexican store). Once you’ve squished a ball, fill it with the filling, fold in half like a perogy, and seal the edges. Deep fry for about 4-5 mins on medium heat, making sure the inside is cooking. Flip over half way through. Serve with chimol, also known as pico de gallo in Mexico, but you need to start calling it chimol to represent us Salvadoreans:) If you attempted these…. Pat yourself on the back and eat all of them to yourself, thats too much dang work to share!!
These mean a lot to me… it’s hard to explain. I feel that if I am able to make these on my own, I will in some way have a part of grandma with me always, and I can carry on her tradition. I’m Latina, and my grandmother doesn’t speak any english, and this, in some weird way brings me pride. She’s my little old lady who has my heart. Food somehow has a funny way of bringing people together, doesn’t it? She’s made these for so many friends of mine, and despite the language barrier, one thing has always been understood. Nana has the best empanada’s around, and that brings me joy. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
We sold our house, and with the money we made off of it, we decided the wisest thing probably to do was to put it towards our next home. Or buy silver. Or save it. So here we are in the Philippines 🙂 P.s- we ain’t the sharpest tools in the shed, but at least we’re tools in the Philippines!!
We flew into Manila, which took us almost 48 hours with layovers and all that lovely jazz. It’s a busy, loud, smelly, and overwhelming city that if you give it a chance, overlook the fact that it is dirty, and there is poverty, it’s quite a lovely place to find yourself in. There is culture everywhere, there are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet, along with some of the weirdest foods you might ever try….. if you’re brave enough. People told us before flying to Manila we would hate it. That it was too crowded, too much pollution, too busy. And it was. But the thing is, how can you complain when you’re travelling? Its something new, something you may never get to experience again, so just take it all in, enjoy it. You may never get to come back, and at the end of the day, you still get to go back to your home. I loved Manila. Is it my favourite city? Heck no! But I refuse to complain about being given the chance to experience it. Go do a market tour and see how the locals live, you may just find yourself kicking yourself for complaining. I did. Doesn’t stop me from complaining now… but it’s an eye opener. So go ahead, fly to Manila and have your eyes opened.
Boracay is lovely. It’s a long skinny island just off the mainland of Cataclan. It’s very touristy, with lots to see and eat, and lots to fall in love with. Like the kids selling mangos on white beach. If you go, try and find a kid named Toto. He’s a hustler, tell him I say “hey”. The mangos alone are worth going to Boracay for. Unless you hate mangos, then it wouldn’t be. Go to the Sunny Side Cafe and order the mango pancakes that are the size of your face. Eat all of it and don’t step on a scale for awhile. What else…. Cliff jump off Crystal Cove and swim like Nemo back to the ladder, waves are crazy. Watch the sunset. Every night. Oh! And eat lunch at the Lemon Grass Cafe and tell all the ladies there thank you again for keeping my phone for me when I left it there one night, my bad. Even if you stay at the crappiest hotel, eat the crappiest food, and meet the crappiest people (you won’t, but I’m just saying), you will be swimming in some of the warmest turquoise waters, with some of the whitest, softest sand your ugly toes may ever feel. I’m sorry if you have pretty toes.
Palawan. Another Island. Puerto Princessa is Palawans capitol, which is where we stayed for a few days. It wasn’t MY favourite, but Dane, my husband really enjoyed it. My favourite night was when we went to the boardwalk along the beach where there’s all these little shops and places to eat, kinda where all the locals go to chill. Anyways, we bought 5 dozen donuts and went to this boardwalk and started handing out donuts to all the locals. You know that saying “news spreads like wildfire?” (Is that how the saying goes?) Whatever, well news spread that this tall white guy with a short lady that could possibly be Filipino were handing out FREE DONUTS! So in just a short while we had a bunch of little kids following us around, and some adults too, cuz adults like donuts too ya know! The people’s grins were worth it, and I will always remember the night I shared donuts with Filipino locals instead of eating them all myself.
Maribel was a lady we met in Puerto Princessa. After knowing us for about 3 hours, and telling her we were on our way to El Nido, she offered us her home to stay in. Remember when I said you might meet me of the nicest people there? So off we went, she and her husband picked us up and drove us 3 hours to her home between Puerto Princessa and El Nido. We stayed in a really cool Tree house right by the ocean. Her family was also visiting, and her little 10 year old niece Precious, yes, that’s her name, and a bunch of other little kids, were who we spent most of the evening with. We met another little boy named Toto who stole our hearts. He was three and fearless. I hope that if I have a little boy one day, he’s just like him.
El Nido. I can’t say much about El Nido because we were only there for two nights. We missed the ball on booking a place to stay, so we ended up in a tiny room with no a/c, in +37 degree weather. So basically we slept in a greenhouse. I can say that it’s beautiful, small, and fairly quiet. Right now anyways, it’s on it’s way to becoming a hot spot for tourists. We did get to do a snorkelling/island hopping tour, where we got to see the REAL LIFE NEMO AND MARLIN!!!! It was a baby clown fish with it’s dad clownfish I’m assuming, because Pearl was eaten by a shark. That made the whole greenhouse fiasco worth it.
Philippines is beautiful. It’s vibrant and colourful, with sunshine and sand and lovely beaches with even lovelier people. #itsmorefuninthephilippines
This post is long, so I apologize. If you read it, I award you with a hero cookie. I don’t have one to give you at this exact moment, but maybe if I figure out this whole blogging thing I can post my recipe for my chocolate chip hero cookies! They’re pretty awesome. I know they are because I eat a lot of cookies. Talk so0n!!
Motorbike ride up a mountain Top of the mountain
Hike up to a natural spring Happiness Private Beach at Fairways resort, Boracay
Sunset at White Beach, Boracay Crystal Cove cliff jumping
Palawan rice paddies Smoky Tours Manila Market Manila Market