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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Getting Your Body in Shape for Summer

Hello my Dear Readers, 
 As this semester flies by I have come to realize that my dear and beloved friend Summer is right around the corner (thank goodness!). With it comes family vacations, walks on the beach (or lake), swimming, and cute clothes, of course. Now, don't freak about whether or not you will be able to wear that cute swimsuit in a couple months or simply just look fit and toned in it. I want to share with you, my darlings, a great, fun, and FREE way to get where you want to get to without starving or straining your body too far. I personally used it last year and I plan on making sometime between exams and labs and starting up on it once more. Whether you want to loose a couple pounds or simple just get fit and toned here is a little something I hope you enjoy: Body by GLAMOUR

P.S. Now remember, my fellow girls, embrace your natural womanly curves... they are quite beautiful and deep inside no one wants to look like that scary-thin model. 

P.S.S. Check out this other amazing article by Glamour.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Craving Chocolate? Check out this DELISH recipe...

Hello darlings, check out this absolutely mouth-watering recipe that I found on Delish.com. Enjoy!
Ingredients





Pie Dough
  • 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon(s) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 3 tablespoon(s) cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 12 tablespoon(s) (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract (optional)
Pie Filling
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) half-and-half
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup(s) dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon(s) cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 4 ounce(s) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup(s) heavy cream
  • 5 teaspoon(s) pistachio paste (available at kingarthurflour.com)
  • 2 teaspoon(s) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) pistachios, finely chopped
  • Chocolate shavings, for garnish (optional)

Directions
  1. To Make Pie Dough: Stir together flour, sugar, salt, and cocoa in a large bowl.
  2. Use a pastry blender or a fork to cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter throughout. (Or combine dry ingredients in a food processor, then pulse in butter.)
  3. Drizzle in 1 to 2 tablespoons of ice water at a time (up to 6 tablespoons total), tossing after each addition, and using only enough water to make dough clump together when squeezed. Add vanilla (if using).
  4. Pat dough into a 4-inch circle, tightly cover with plastic wrap or parchment, and chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days (or freeze for up to 3 months).
  5. To Make Pie: Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut cold dough into 4 pieces and grate into a 9-inch pie plate using large holes of a box grater; work quickly to keep dough cold. Press dough into bottom, sides, and along the rim of pan to uniform thickness. Trim excess dough; crimp edges. Chill 20 minutes.
  6. Line shell with parchment paper and fill with rice or pie weights. Bake 10 to 12 minutes; remove rice and paper and bake until crust is cooked through, 8 to 10 more minutes. Cool on a rack.
  7. Whisk half-and-half, yolks, brown sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and bubbles. Cook 1 minute more; remove from heat. Stir in bittersweet chocolate, butter, and vanilla. Pour into pie shell; cool completely. Transfer to refrigerator to set, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  8. When serving, make a topping by beating heavy cream, pistachio paste, and sugar (if using) in a cold bowl to soft peaks. Sprinkle pie with pistachios and chocolate shavings (if using); add a dollop of pistachio cream to each slice.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Let Me Show You... CULEBRA, PUERTO RICO

Hello My Darlings, 
Let me show you a beautiful little place that I hold very close to my heart. I was born and raised in the gorgeous island of Puerto Rico and every summer we would pack up our things and spend almost two weeks in a small little island off the east coast of the main land. That little island holds countless memories for me and my sisters and i would love to share bit and pieces of that beautiful place with you. 
To get to Culebra you must take the ferry from Fajardo, Puerto Rico and in about an hour you will find yourself surrounded by the crystal clear water of Culebra. This island has a cute little town with a couple small hotels, restaurants and cafes, a small market, and cute little gifts shops. After arriving we would usually then drive towards the camping area (the other side of the island) which is located right by one of its prettiest beaches and enjoy the next two weeks in paradise.
 
My mommy, sister, and I (in the light blue shirt) on the Ferry during one of our many trips there.
My favorite place on earth... 
With my sister and cousin... our parents would always have a really hard time getting us out of the water 
With my darling sister
gorgeous huh?
  
A couple summer ago swimming off the ferry dock... it must have been a little over 20 ft deep, yet notice how clear it is
Took this picture while walking through town
A tank by the beach (the island used to be a US Army base a couple decades ago)
Look at that water!
 As I look through these old pictures and reminisce, I have reached a sure conclusion... 
I definitely want to move back to my beautiful island some day.  

Photos by Alberto Torres (my daddy) and Mariel T. (Me!) 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Let Me Tell You About... My Valentine's Day Weekend

Hello My Darlings,
Let me tell you about the best Valentine's Day weekend of my life. It all started on Friday when Sean drove a couple hundred miles to surprise me (we hadn't seen each other in almost two months since I go to school on one state and he works at another). The next day I got the pleasant surprise of having my parents drive up to spend the long weekend with me and my sister (who also happens to be my wonderful roommate). That Saturday Sean, my parents, and I went on a double date to see an ice sculpture festival and to watch the sunset over Lake Michigan. We ended up spending almost half the time inside a chocolate cafe warming up with hot cocoa and live romantic music. Sunday came around bringing a cozy brunch at a riverside cafe with my love and then some fun times with the family. Before we said goodbye Sean handed me a very heavy and big gift box. Inside was the most wonderful gift... well, to me anyways :). Since July of last year I had been looking everywhere for the perfect picnic basket. After a couple months of searching I somewhat gave up, I though I would never find it. Seven months later I now own the perfect picnic basket.
  Inside was a beautiful letter and enough chocolate to last me a lifetime (well, knowing me... probably a week).
My love at the riverside cafe
Sean and I at the ice sculpture festival


 Now tell me, my darlings, how did you spend Valentine's day?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It Begins Here...

Hello My Darlings, 
I need your help for a project I am putting together and I would love for you, my dear readers, to help me each and every step of the way. The first step.... Help me find the perfect cookbook.
I have already started my research and this is what I have collected so far. Let me know which one you would prefer and if not in the list feel free to tell me about your favorite cookbook.

1. Everyday Italian: 125 Simple And Delicious Recipes (By Giada De Laurentiis)

 

2. Mastering the Art of French Cooking (By Julia Child) 
3. Barefoot Contessa at Home (By Ina Garten)   
 4. Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes (By Elizabeth Bard)
 
5. La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy (By Italian Academy of Cuisine)
  6. Nigella Express: Good Food Fast (By Nigella Lawson)
7. BON APPETIT Cookbook (By Barbara Fairchild)
  8. Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less (By Mark Bittman) 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Let Me Show You... LERICI, ITALY

My dear readers, 

Let me tell you about a lively little town in northern Italy called Lerici.  It is full of beautifully colored inns, cafes, and restaurants that adorn the waterfront in a pleasant cluster around the small harbor. One of its main sight is the notorious castle, Castello San Giorgio,  which controls the entrance of the Gulf of La Spezia (seen in the last picture below).  Semplicemente bello! 

Now tell me my darlings, from a scale of 1-5, how much would you love to visit Lerici? 

Photo by: Alessandro Bruno

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cutest Superbowl Commercial...Ever

This commercial has the be one of the cutest commercials I have ever seen...

Now tell me, my dear readers, how would your love story via Google search look like?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Make This Valentine's Day a Truly Memorable Day (5 Unique Date Ideas)

Tired of the stereotypical dinner-and-a-movie V-Day evening dates? Here are five creative date ideas to try out this year. Enjoy my darlings!
  1. Hot-Air Balloon Ride- A perfect idea for those of you who can't get enough of breathtaking experiences. Enjoy the spectacular view as you hold each other close as the sun sets on the horizon. This creative idea is my personal favorite... I can not wait to one day do this with my love. (http://www.hotairballooning.com/balloon-rides)
  2. A trip to your City's Planetarium- Look for your nearest planetarium and get swept up together in the beauty of a starry sky. This creative idea will set the mood for a romantic evening and, who knows, you might learn something too!
  3. A Bus Sightseeing Tour- Take your other half on a sightseeing tour of your town/city... via bus! 
  4. A Surprise Getaway- Exhausted from your daily routines? Grab you love and go somewhere where the two of you have never gone before (Remember, you don't have to buy a plane ticket to live an adventure... By train, bus, or car will do just fine).      
  5. Romantic Scavenger Hunt- Place clues and surprises at various locations around your town, home, or park. Begin with a sexy letter that includes the first clue. Each item your lover collects is a clue to the next one and it will get them closer to the final surprise (...what's the final surprise? That is completely up to you).

    Photo by: Rod Graves

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Moved To The Point of Tears... By a Song?

My dear readers, 
Have you ever been moved by a song to the point of tears?
A song with lyrics so beautiful you find yourself smiling at the loveliness of it as your eyes well-up with tears.
Well, that is exactly what happened to me today as I was listening to my university's gospel choir perform Lord, You're Holy. At that moment I felt so close to God... I could feel Him there.  It was an overwhelming but wonderfully breath-taking feeling. So much so my eyes welled-up with tears.

Now tell me my dears, which song has moved you to the point of tears?