Bored out of my kitchen

July 29, 2011 § 22 Comments

What is this recipe week!?

Trust me, I am not a food blogger.

For while I love food… cooking, baking and creating… I eat the same exact things day in and day out.

Same breakfast. Same lunch. Same dinner. For weeks.

On one hand I love this. We are all creatures of habit.

On the other hand I am SO BORED with food right now!

So when dinner last night left me full AND satisfied I nearly cried a tear of joy.

[Another tear will be shed when I fly to the U.S. and eat Mexican… and coconut ice cream… and oh so much more!]


  • Spinach and Mixed Greens, Tomato and Goji berries
  • Dressing: Tahini, Nutritional Yeast, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder & Salt – thinned with water

  • Spinach
  • Topped with Roasted Butternut Squash, Red Pepper, Zucchini, Onion & Garlic
  • Tossed with Quinoa
  • Flavored with a generous amount of Smoked Paprika <— this made the dish!
  • Drizzle warmed Peanut Butter on top!

So there you go… now you know what I am eating for the next month. I kid. Maybe.

Do you get in food ruts? What do you eat when you are SO BORED with food?


The Spaniard’s Secret Summer Sangria

July 28, 2011 § 27 Comments

If there’s one post I have to write this summer I suppose it’s this one!

This recipe has been tested – approved by the masses – and requested at subsequent parties!

Once upon a time I lived in the U.S. and the Spaniard flew to my home.

He was introduced to “Kristen in America.”

We've know each other all of 2 weeks at this point.

Part of his introduction was a party at mi casa! I invited all of my closest friend to meet the man I fell in love with in Spain. Read: bombard the Spaniard with as many Americans as I could at one time to see if he could handle it!

Note the beverage. Note the smiles.

Note the beverage. Note the fun!

Obviously things went well!

I’d be lying by omission if I didn’t disclose the Spaniard’s famous Sangria recipe. It was the perfect party beverage and it’s the perfect summer drink.

Brace yourself for the what you are about to see. I couldn’t contain my laughter when he initially told me the ingredients.

Your eyes do not deceive you.

Sangria in Spain is basically a house party drink or a tourist drink. No one – i.e. no Spaniard – actually orders this at a restaurant.

But trust me when I say you WANT to make this at home. Since that first party it has been requests more than once.

Not naming names.

The Spaniard’s Secret Sangria

2 Parts Cheap Red Wine

2 Parts Cheap White Wine

1 Part Orange Fanta [or any orange soda – I have used Zevia and love it!]

1 Part Lime Fanta [Lime Fanta not exist in the States – use Sprite – or Zevia]

Apples, Oranges & Peaches – Diced! [no slices – a small chewable dice!]


Mix all liquids – Add fruit – sprinkle with a generous amount of cinnamon – place in frig to marry flavors – at least 4 hours, overnight is better!

Actually good wine. Use cheap stuff!

Apples - Oranges - Peach/Nectarine/Plum Hybrid - It'll do!

Cinnamon. This is clutch!

My party pics should be enough to convince you that this should be served at your next dinner party, house party, or really any party.

More evidence.

Now who wants to come to Spain so I can make a few pitchers and we can sit on my roof and drink them!?

Not my roof - this is Toledo - but I promise something pretty!

Not From My Spanish Kitchen: Grandma’s Red Beans and Rice

July 26, 2011 § 20 Comments

I love to cook and I love to bake. I like to think I inherited this trait from my paternal Grandmother. But it wasn’t until later in life that I really settled into the kitchen.

There was a battle.

But now I dig right in!

The grocery store used to give me such anxiety. I would stand in the produce section, “5 or 6 apples? 2 or 3 avocados??” Decisions, decisions.

Thank God I have grown and now my grocery store adventures are a pleasure. Apple and avocado agony is over.

Most of my cooking these days is done done in the United States (note – mother’s kitchen above) for reasons I have already shared.

A. Carrying groceries home really sucks the experimentation spirit right out of me.
B. I don’t trust my microwave / broiler / convection / spinning oven thing– not one bit!

But I have made cookies.

And muffins.

[When you visit you will get one of the two.]

The lovely Heather who writes Heather Eats Almond Butter and I have been email pals for a few years. Far before I had a Spanish kitchen or this little blog.

A few months ago Heather blogged about her new affinity for red beans and rice. I knew I would be doing her a disservice if I didn’t share my Grandma’s recipe. My Grandma from New Orleans, my Grandma who brought the best cajun food to Florida, my Grandma who always burnt the bread!

Heather loved the dish and has made it at least twice. Get excited because I am going to share it here as well.

Behold The Recipe: Straight from my mother – straight from my Grandma – straight from some kitchen in New Orleans yeeeears ago!

You are only 3 days away from perfection. [I never said it was a 30 minute meal. Good things come to those who wait!]

Grandma’s Red Beans and Rice

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs light red beans
  • 1 med – large onion
  • 5 large bay leaves
  • 1teaspoon garlic powder
  • ham hock (if desired)
  • 2 packages smoked sausage

Day 1:

2 lbs light red beans (.9 kilograms)

  • soak beans overnight with at least 3 inches extra water above the beans

Day 2:

Drain water off the beans and rinse. Place beans in large pot and fill again with fresh water, covering the beans by  3 inches. Heat beans to a gentle bubble.

Do this when you have at least 6 hours to be home, let cook, and stir often. [OR I have done this in a crock pot on high for 6 hours. If you have a big crock pot all should fit in.]

After the beans have cooked:

Chop 1 med-large onion and add to pot, add 5 large bay leaves along with 1 teaspoon garlic powder. If desired add one ham hock or any small amount of meat you would like to flavor the beans.  You can easily leave this out completely.

This needs to cook for about 6 hours at a gentle rolling boil and must be stirred often, at least every 15-30 minutes. As the beans cook down and water evaporates make sure you add more water if needed… but the final product should be thick not thin. (Before serving you can take some of the beans out and mash them to thicken the mixture.)

Once the beans have been cooked completely and are soft add 2 packages of smoked sausage. I use a smoked sausage made with pork, beef and turkey. Cut into small pieces.  Cook this for at lease half an hour.

At this point your dish is done. But if you have the time the best thing is cool and put in fridge for tomorrow…

Day 3:

Heat up and serve! (But is still delicious on Day 2!)

Serve with white rice, chopped scallions and hot sauce.

“Eat up and love it!!!!” <– orders from Mom.

Photo Credit for Red Beans: Heather

Sadly, I have not made this for the Spaniard yet. I know, don’t throw anything at me, hear me out…

It is summer time and there is no air conditioner in the kitchen. I will not be found sweating and stirring a pot for 6 hours.

Call me crazy, but you need an air conditioner to make this meal. Like I said, good things come to those who wait… Thank God he’s a patient man.

But for all of you air conditioned guys and gals, crank down the AC and start stirring! You won’t be sorry!

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