Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Feliz Navidad...again

Well, I suppose that Christmas is here again. That year went by quickly. Too quickly. But at least I squeezed in some time for Christmas treats. This year, I added more cookies, chocolate dipped pretzels and pumpkin bread to my holiday repertoire.

The pretzels are half dipped because I didn't want to make a complete mess and they turned out great! I melted about 30 grams of chocolate in the microwave-stirring every 10 seconds until smooth (I melted both semi sweet and white chocolate separately). That was enough to cover 15-20 pretzels each. Then I had a blast with the toppings. After dipping (5 pretzels at a time) and carefully placing on a baking sheet covered with wax paper, I added sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, or a drizzle of melted chocolate. Then let set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Mom's Pumpkin Bread

I know this recipe as Mom's Pumpkin Bread, but it may be from a can so please don't sue me if you own it.

My family brought down the bag of pretzels but you can also find them in the international aisle at Jumbo. Mom also brought a can of pumpkin but it's probably easier to make your own puree if your can opener looks like this:

I made a few changes to her recipe - using chai tea in place of water and substituting 1 t. of baking powder for one of baking soda. I also didn't fill up the whole cup of oil and added a little vanilla. Next time I'll toss in a cup of nuts. Here's the resulting recipe:
  • 3 1/3 c. flour (I used mostly sifted wheat flour - but the wheat flour at Coto is nearly like white flour instead of true wheat flour)
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. nutmeg
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
  • A bit shy of 1 cup oil (I used sunflower)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 c. chai tea
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
Mix all dry ingredients except sugar and set aside. Mix sugar, eggs, and oil in a super large bowl (see how mine nearly overflowed). Add tea and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture - add pumpkin last. Mix well. Split batter between 3* floured bread (budin) pans filled 2/3 full. Bake 40 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool slightly (15 minutes) and flip out of pan while warm.

*I couldn't fit 3 pans nicely in my tiny oven so I baked in 2 (one was rather large) pans for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Most deliciously served with cream cheese :)

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I've been in a whirlwind since the wedding. The day after, we took my family back to the Buenos Aires airport and then made the trip back home--arriving after midnight. Gui took an exam the next morning while I packed for our quick version of a honeymoon.

We spent 3 nights in Villa General Belgrano in Cordoba at Altos Belgrano (hotel & spa) taking advantage of a low season, slow time of the week promotion that included some spa freebies. It was so lovely to leave the city and smell fresh air again. Here's a nice view of the golf course from our room...

And, being that I was free from worrying about fitting into my wedding dress, I was finally able to enjoy beer again. Luckily, this was exactly the place to be with an assortment of local brews--we tried them all! Yeah, minimoon.

We also took a short day-trip to La Cumbrecita...a tiny little village with hiking trails and streams and ponds to explore.

Scenes from the long and winding road home...

Now to begin planning a more elaborate honeymoon to take place during the European spring. No official plans yet except for a stop in the Canary Islands - suggestions welcome!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

iPhoto's enhance button... amazing! Just look at the difference that it made in this can see each grain of rice as it flies into my meticulously planned up-do.

Of course, it didn't perfect every picture - it often overexposed a pic, leaving it too grainy, and I had to turn the shadows down - but for quick DIY photo editing, it's your best friend. All of the amazing wedding blogs that I followed made me drool over processed RAW photography, but it was impossible to find photographers experienced in that type of method here. This, however, saved me a lot of money and I'm totally happy with the results :)

Making a Memory

One of my mother's famous catch phrases is 'We're making a memory' and while I rolled my eyes each time that she said it while I was in high school, I increasingly realize the significance of trying desperately to remember a moment in time. I've got a terrible memory though, so the photos of the wedding will be an important reminder to me in the years ahead.

To make them a little more special than sifting through iPhoto (who knows what will exist by our 50th anniversary), I was inspired by 2000DollarWedding to create a book using blurb. So that's what I'm doing with any snippets of free time that I find - putting together a book of our wedding photography. The software is easy enough to use but the time it takes to create it will depend upon how picky I'm going to be about layouts and backgrounds, etc., and how much creative control I'll try to wrest from my new husband ;) Here are just a few of the pre-ceremony photos that I'm including:

All photos were taken by Luis Vignoli. :)

Friday, December 4, 2009