Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hey, remember me?


Happy New Year!

It's been a while since I last posted something new. It's not that we haven't done much, it's more like we've done a lot. In the past 3 months we've traveled to visit family, dealt with family health issues, been busy with volunteering at schools and getting to know more of the area we live in as well connecting with new friends. I have continued to be active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Hopefully you are following there me too, as I post several times a week on there. 

As the year began the area we live in was hit by several rainstorms caused by the "El Niño", which meant that in January I barely got to go out for my runs or take brisk walks. 

This month, began with sunny skies and we've even broken high temperature records something that has my allergies acting out. I am enjoying the sunny skies to take walks. When you stop running for over a week it's as if you lose your momentum and your speed and then again for someone as new to running as me you basically start building up to where were and that is what I've been doing since February 1. 

In fact, as of February 1st, I have set my first walking goal on Runkeeper and that is to reach 50 miles in February. It sounds easier said than done though, considering our area will have a week off from school and I don't usually take my runs/walks on weekends to enjoy my family to the fullest. I am optimistic that I will achieve it though.

Why did I chose 50 miles? For starters February has 29 days this year, so I figured if I were to run at least 1.72 miles per day all month long and of course being me that is not the case. Between volunteering at schools and other responsibilities there are days I don't make it to my run, so some days I'm reaching 3.5 miles others 2 and then there are days like last week when I reach almost 4 miles. 

I've chosen to reach 12.5 miles a week and last week I reached that goal. It was fantastic to do so, to share that feeling of accomplishment with my family and my body is feeling stronger with each walk. 

Playlist is key! Since I first began being active in 2012, I began creating my own playlists depending on what my mood could be. This year my playlists goes according to tempo and what I'm doing, for example when I run my playlist is mostly Calvin Harris with Ellie Goulding and faster music. For a brisk walk I sometime listen to some Spanish Urban music which is like Reggaeton or Bachata. For a slower paced walk I will listen to Reggae, Sade and Michael Bublé. 

Each person has a personal preference and for me these playlists have worked perfectly. There are times when during my walk I kind of want to just relax my mind and that is when I listen to instrumental music, to relax my mind and just breathe while enjoying the scenery. 

One more goal I set for myself, is that I want to try at least 2 new recipes each month. I have so many fantastic recipes on my pinterest board waiting to be made and slowly but surely I've been trying 2 -3 new recipes in January and again in February. Recently we tried a Rosemary, Butter, Garlic Steak that was simple to prepare and so delicious! 

Have you tried any new recipes you liked lately? I'm also planing our dinners for the week, this is great when you are shopping with a budget and also prevents the usual: "what should I make for dinner" dilema that I am very familiar with. This has also helped my not-anymore-picky eater be more open about what he eats. He's even eaten peas!!! I can't believe he is beginning to try new foods and is enjoying figuring out that when you try something new it can be a good thing. 

Well, I guess this update means I will be back to blogging... right? It's a start... Until next time have a great time enjoying what you do and being open to new adventures and connect with people in your life, because you never know what adventures your destiny holds for you. 



Thursday, October 1, 2015

Rajas con Crema {recipe}

One of our favorite Mexican recipes is called "rajas con crema" which is slices of pasilla {poblano} chile in a special cream based sauce. It is creamy and full of flavor, it is perfect as a main dish or as a side and it can also be a topping for meat or poultry. It will also work with fish. It is that delicious!



Served as a taco or added to your quesadilla mmm, so good! There are several ways to prepare them, some people add zucchini to them others add corn and hatch chiles... However you chose to serve them, I can guarantee you will love them as much as we do. Finding pasilla chiles in Costa Rica was always a challenge, we were only able to find them on 3 different occasions in 2 years. However, now that we are in California and can find any ingredient we need to prepare delicious home cooked meals we are enjoying them as much as we can. Here is how I prepare our rajas con crema, this week I served ours with a side of Mexican Rice, breaded chicken breast and beans

INGREDIENTS:

4 Pasilla Chiles {also called poblano peppers} 
1 Medium size yellow onion
1 Tsp Knorr Chicken Bouillon 
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Garlic clove minced OR 1 tbsp of minced garlic
1 Can of Nestlē's Media Crema aka table cream
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS: 


1.- Charr pasilla peppers, this can be done by placing them over a gas flame or underneath the broiler and cook until they are blackened on all sides or placing them on top of a non-stick griddle and blackened on all sides {this is how I usually charr peppers at home}. It will look like the skin is bubbling. Then enclose them in a plastic bag -any plastic bag will do and let stand for 8-12 minutes. The steam from the peppers will make them easier to peel.



2.- Peel the pasilla peppers, take the seeds out and slice them into long strands. Peel the onion and cut into half, then slice the onion. You want the onions to look like crescents. Place a large skillet on medium heat and add oil.



3.- When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and onions. Sauté for 3-5 minutes mixing constantly. Add the sliced pasilla peppers and mix all together. Add salt, pepper, Knorr seasoning and continue mixing. 



4.- Add Nestlē's table cream and combine all ingredients, continue mixing until all ingredients are combined. Cover the skillet and reduce heat to low-med heat, let cook for 5 minutes. Enjoy!



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

D.I.Y. Necklace Display

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Orchard Supply Hardware {OSH} they have provided me with gift cards to make an organizational project. However, all opinions and images are 100% my own.


Our family works hard on keeping our home organized, my grandfather used to say "cada cosa en su lugar" which translates to "each thing in its own place" it was his way of passing along his organizational skills. I can only hope to be as organized as he was though. 


Lately I had been having issues with my accessories, through the years I've accumulated quite a collection of necklaces and bracelets. My collection has grown out of the little trinket boxes I had them in for as long as I can remember. Not only that but moving around hasn't helped keep them at their best, some end up tangling so bad that as I work on getting them back to wearable condition they end up breaking. This time though, I wanted to create something to display my collection and  make it easier for me to find what I'd like to wear along with keeping them untangled. 

My mother has always had a beautiful necklace holder, but she has had it for as long as I can remember and I also wanted to have a place for my bracelets. Right before our daughter was born, my husband bought a lovely coat rack that had a shelve on the top and made it really functional for us, so I thought of creating something similar since I couldn't find a necklace rack with enough space for all my necklaces.


Lucky for me Orchard Supply Hardware {OSH} is just a quick 5 minute drive from our home and they have an amazing team that is ready to help make those ideas come to life. I explained to Flor {the Assistant Manager} what I was looking for and she along with Christina {she is an amazing woman that knows all about DIY and will show you how to get your project done} helped me figure out how to do my project, they took the time to show me where the ready made shelves were in the store. Which are a great idea, but I wanted to make my project a little more personal and be able to have the necklace display in a matching color to our bedroom's theme. Christina mentioned I could buy wood, OSH could cut it down to the size I wanted it at no extra cost. This was perfect, because I don't own an electric saw or any power tools. 

Here is what you'll need to make your own necklace display/holder:



Wood {mine measures 18" long x 3.5" wide, 1/2" thick}
Spray Paint Primer {This is to cover the woods imperfections}
Spray Paint {color of your choice}
Sanding material {there is sand paper, but we chose a sanding square it's easier on the hands}
Screws
Shelf brackets {for the size of shelve I made I used 3}
Cup hooks {one per necklace}
Tarp {to protect your project area from getting stained}
Gloves {to protect your hands from getting spray painted}
Face Mask {to protect from dust and paint chemicals}
Protective goggles
Nails
Hammer
Screw driver

Project Instructions:

1.- First things first: prepare the area you will be working at by covering it with the plastic tarp, it is best to work outdoors in the shade. We chose our backyard and since there was a bit of a breeze we help our tarp in place with large rocks, we protected our lawn from the spray paint. 

Then we placed all the items we would be working with on hand: sanding material, wood, spray paints. This made it easier for us to get what we needed without making a mess. 

Now onto safety, put your working gloves on as well as your safety goggles and face mask. *If you don't have safety goggles or they don't fit use sunglasses.



2.- Using the sanding material, sand all sides of the wood to make it smooth to touch. This will take roughly a minute per side. Don't forget to sand edges too, but not too much so the ends don't lose shape.



3.- Place wood on tarp on top of a rock or something to lift it up a bit and spray one side at a time allowing each side to dry for at least 15 minutes, covering it evenly and without spraying too much on it. When the shelf is fully painted, take to a dry indoor area {the garage works best} and allow it to dry for 24 hours.



After 24 hours of allowing paint to dry and set, follow these steps:

1.- Measure the shelf's length and mark where the brackets will be along with the brackets. I placed 2 brackets on each end and another in the center of my shelf for added support. I then counted how many cup hooks I'd need for all my necklaces and left 1" distance between hooks, but you can certainly place them closer. Mark where each hook will go.


2.- Hammer a nail for each screw and cup hook you'll be placing just 1/4 of each nail and pull out the nail immediately. This is to make space in the wood for the screws and cup hooks. Remember I said I didn't own any power tools, so this is how I was able to do my project by hand. If you own an electric drill then use it. 


3.- Place cup hooks using your hand, you just turn it clockwise and the cup hook should easily go into the wood. Now place each bracket into place on the shelf using the screws and screwdriver. Make sure all cup hooks and brackets are securely in place.



4.- Use a ruler to make a straight line as a guide to place shelf leveled on wall. Mark lightly with a pencil, mark with the pencil where each bracket will have a screw going into the wall. Using the bracket marks on the wall, hammer 1/4 of a nail into the wall to make space for the screws.



5.- Place shelf aligned with the line you made with the pencil on the wall, make sure it is leveled. Using the screwdriver, screw in each bracket. When done make sure the shelf is securely placed on the wall. Hang 1-2 necklaces per cup hook. For bracelets I chose small dipping bowls I had for them on my night stand and simply placed them on top of the shelf. 


And that is how you make your very own necklace organizer, for a more organized home. I have to admit this is my first DIY project that I did 90% on my own. My kids helped sand the wood and my husband helped me paint it the second time around. 



Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind, when doing this and other projects:



- It is best to follow the instructions on the can and to do this outdoors in a shady area when temperatures aren't above 90º weather. Let dry for the amount of time specific to your spray paint (it will say the suggested amount of time on the can). I read the instructions lightly, had my kids help me spray paint one side of my shelf and it was during the heat wave in California, under the sun. Of course my shelf's paint bubbled while drying due to the heat. 

- Make sure you wear the protective gear, I didn't put on gloves the first time around and accidentally spray painted my hands and it took 3 days to finally have it removed from my fingers and nails plus using nail polish remover. 

- I was able to screw in my necklace display to the wall because our walls are dry wall, if your walls are made of concrete or cinder block or solid wood then you will need a power tool. OSH has an electric drill kit for as low as $24.99 it comes with accessories and it is on my christmas list this year, because I know I will be doing more projects at home.

- Do you live in a rental? We do, so making holes on the wall can be a little unnerving considering rental agreements. Never fear, OSH has a spackle kit for as low as $8.99 with this kit you can repair and cover any wall. They will also show you step by step how to apply it. 

- One last tip, do not be afraid of giving this a try. If you don't want to paint your shelf you could always use decorative adhesive paper and cover the wood with it. ;-)

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Orchard Supply Hardware {OSH} they have provided me with gift cards so that I could make my project. However, all opinions, ideas and images are 100% my own.