Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chile Independence

Every September 18 in Chile they celebrate their Independence or Chile’s Fiestas Patrias.  In Chile they have a 3 to 10 day party.  Store and offices close on the Friday at 1pm and don't open up till Tuesday.  It's a huge celebration that I've always wanted to be in Chile for.  My dad always told that I should witness it once in my life because it is impressive and you get eat a lot!!  Great food is everywhere and lots of red wine for drinking, "fondas" they are like fairs, fireworks, musics, parades.  People are everywhere happy, dancing the Queca and in festive spirits.

Here in Kitchener we have a good size of Chilean population.  The neighborhood I grew up in was a Latino filled complex and this day they always have a dinner with music dancing and Empanadas!!  Yummy, yummy Empanadas.  A traditional meal that you wash down with a Pisco Sour.

Picture taken from Cachando Chile

So this event got me thinking about making Empanadas again.  We make them twice a year, usually at the request of a family member.   We make about a 100 or more so everyone has some to take home.  It takes about 2 days to make, quite a bit of work and a couple of oven going at the same time.  But it is all worth it.

Last time we made them was this past February

The challenge this time around is that I want to make the Empanadas healthier.  In the past 2 weeks I have done a lot of research and test making of different types of food, version of thing I eat but without out dairy, gluten and any process types of ingredients.  I learned quite a bit and was disgusted by some of the things that we consider "food".  One of the ingredients that is used to make the dough of the Empanada is shortening.  Shortening is so unhealthy for you, it is basically rotten vegetable oil that has deodorants and dyes, it also contains trans fats.  My alternatives are using coconut oil or ghee.
Ghee is also known as clarified butter.  It is butter with the milk proteins are removed, which makes it more digestible for the lactose intolerant than butter.
 Step one in making my healthier Empanadas is picking up some ghee from the Indian Grocery store.
As part of my goals in life, to be self reliant I choose to make my own ghee.  There was a brick of unsalted butter in the fridge just waiting to be use for something.

So here is how you make Ghee:
You will need : 1 lb of organic, unsalted butter (1/2 kg will do)

My method:
1. Heat the butter on medium-high heat, in a medium size sauce pot, until it melts.
2. Turn the heat down and let the butter boil for about 15-20 minutes. It will start to foam like crazy to the top of the pot.  Remove the foam with a spoon so you can see inside the pot.  You will hear the butter crackle and pop, that is the water evaporating so do not cover.
The milk solids will start to separate and settle on the bottom.  The ghee will be the golden liquid that floats on the top.  Your ghee will be ready when the noises stop and your can see little brown flecks at the bottom.  You want your milk solids to be toasty brown but not burnt, because if they are burnt so is your ghee.
3. Strain the ghee through cheese cloth or a fine sieve, I had neither so I used a coffee filter which works as good.  Store in a an air tight glass jar at room temperature.  Once it cools and solidifies it will be a creamy light yellow.

Ghee is a saturated fat as it comes from animal fat, ghee has no hydrogenated fat if made from pure butter, which is considered healthier for that reason, if eaten in moderation.

When using it in cooking you do not need to use as much when a recipes ask for butter or shortening.  Ghee goes a long way.  One teaspoon of ghee would give you the same amount of flavor as a couple of tablespoons of butter or oil, roughly speaking.

So know that I have my ghee, I can start by trying some different dough recipes.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

First let me thank Stephanie from the lovely blog Bassability for nominating me for this award.  It was truly kind of her. Her blog is a wonderful mix full of honesty, homemade chemical free DIY and positivity. Her blog is one of my daily reads that I really enjoy.  Thank you Stephanie! 

 P.S.  I have been working on the post for over a week, writing a bit everyday, been really busy.  But I'm happy I finished it.

Here are the rules for accepting the award:
  1. Thank the Blogger who nominated you.
  2. Include a link to their site. 
  3. Include the award image in your post. 
  4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 15 other Bloggers for the award.
  6. When nominating, include a link to their site.
  7. Let other Bloggers know they have been nominated.

Here are my Random Facts:

1. As a child I had a big fear of Sasquatches( i blame my father) I kind of still do.

2. One of my goals in life is to be self-reliant, grow my own food, make my own clothes(or at least learn how to make textile), on many fronts including health.  Not having to be dependent on the mass market of unhealthy products.

3. I love the feeling of being in a Casino, I'm not gambler, or a senior citizen...but something about hanging inside a casino I like.

4. When I was young, one of my dreams was to be one of the Golden Girls( the 80's t.v. show).  I wanted to be Blanche, the slutty one.  I want to be full of life when I get older just like them.

5. I don't like anyone touching my hair.  I have not had a haircut at a salon for at least 5 years.  They always the opposite of what I want.  So I cut, dye and style my own head.

6. I have a weakness for Joe Louis and Cheetos.

7.  I want to take singing lessons.  I had a bad experience in grade 7 when I was part of the choir, my teacher asked me to stop singing during a practice.  I was so embarrassed and hurt that I never sang in public ever again.  I hate that teacher.

My nominees for The Versatile Award:

1. Sarah from Fabulously Asian - Her blog is a positive place were she shares her journey to a healthier self.

2. Messy Carla of A Fashion Blog In A Size 16 - I love Carla fashion style.  She is a cutie.

3. Ms. Patricia of Red Writing Hood - Wow, what an honest and emotional provoking blog.  Anything I ever read that Patricia has posted, I have walked away with a strong emotional response.  She makes me feel and think.  Thank you.  One piece of advice I have taken away from her blog is from a post were she encourages bloggers to "Share You".  Share things about you that is more than surface deep.

4. Jess Rollar of Milky Robot - Jess is an artist and a crafter, I love her work and seeing her ruff sketches turn into awesome figures.

5. Kate of Good Night Prudence - A lovely blog.  Fuels my desire to visit Britain.

6. Lisa of My Pretty Baby Cried She Was A Bird - I enjoy following Lisa in her thrifting adventure and getting excited by her finds.

7. Rajeev of Rajeev's World -I enjoy reading his blog about his travels inside and out of India.

8. Nita of Pashteit - Love this style dairy from Nita.  Sometimes it nice to look at beautiful outfits.

9. Andes Donde Andes y Mas Cosas.  This blog is form of many members who post about Andes and other world music.  I love this one because I am a big lover of Spanish folklore music.

10. Morgan of The Dainty Dinosaur - I love the fact that she is a young lady who loves to blog.

I chose 10 instead of 15.  I do love and enjoy reading all the blogs I mention above and hope you do too.

Thanks again Stephanie!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Niagara Roller Girls

Two Saturdays ago Tamara and I ventured to the Niagara Region.  This was the last long distant trip Tamara will be taking for a awhile.  I feel privileged that she chose to spend it with me. We also wanted to go see my nephew's girlfriend Roller Derby team play in St.Cathrine. The bout did not start till 5:30 so hung out in Niagara, mostly at the Casino.  Tamara is over 8 months pregnant and walking around outside, sweating did not appeal to her.  We got to play a bit of the slots and have the buffet for dinner.  It was a good time.

Here is my Outfit of the Day!

My new red belt from Talize for 4 bucks, makes me feel like a Super Hero.
And I have to be honest, I love my Cork wedge heel red shoes but they hurt my feet like a bitch, so I quickly traded them in for flats.

Roller Derby
So this was my first time at a live roller derby bout.  I have to say that I loved it and I am so damn interest in learning more and possibly joining a local team.
What I love was that the teams were made up of girls of all different sizes, big, small, tall, short.  They are all needed in a team.  My sis  and I were blown away by one girl, DEVO from the Vineyard Vixens.  She is a heavier girl and one of the best "Jammers" that night.  What a "jammer" job is to skate through the pack and scores points by passing their opponents in bounds, while trying to obtain lead "jammer".  Needless to say you have to have speed and endurance, which Devo had but she also was gracefully and would just glide pass the pack with ease. She rocked!!

Devo in the white shirt, green helmet
Dalhousie Destroyers Team
 Man, after the games I felt so inspired and motivated to learn how to roller skate.  All the girls from the all the team were encouraging each other and cheering for one another.  Great bunch of gals!
Plus on the ride home we were coming up with cool names for ourselves, Chile con Carnage, The Cas-trator, Llama 2 Shots, Machu Punch You, and a couple more which I can't remember.  Which name do you like?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Board Games: Scat Cat

This week we picked up a new board game: Scat Cat.  Ever heard of it?  I never seen this game before but we couldn't resits the cats on the cover.
It's a Tomy/Parker bros. game, no date on it.

What a cool cover!  The game looks really simple to play. For ages 5 and up.

The instruction are easy to follow and are written on the bottom of the box.  "Players choose a crazy little cat, place it at the base of the slide.  Someone says "go", and the action begins.  Each player hits his lever and tries to make his cat scat to the top before anyone else.  Be careful though, if you hit the lever too hard and your cat falls off or goes right over the top, you must start again from the bottom.  The cats keep scatting while the little mice keep score.  First one to reach the top 4 times wins!"

Sounds fun!  Can't wait to play.

Favorite cat on the cover, "the gangster".
Have a great weekend everyone!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

No Rhyme or Reason

Sometime I feel as if my blog has no rhyme or reason to it.  There is no specific topic I write about, no reoccurring post.  I would like it look a little more polish, and structure.  But then I realize my blog is a great reflection of my life.

The only real structure I have in my life is going to work.  I don't love my job but I need it to pay the bills and have to be there 5 days a week. These 5 days change every week(that is retail for ya), so it's not really that structured.

Me at age 5, hating the structure of kindergarten(plus I hated all the kids too.)

I live my life to the beat of my own drum, my own path.  If I don't feel like doing something, I don't do.    I never go to bed at the same time ever, or watch same movie twice(except for Brigadoon or Breakfast at Tiffanys).  Never follow a recipe the way it is written, let alone measure anything.
I have been at my job since September 2011 and have not wore the same outfit twice.  I have quite a bit of clothes, and a great selection of accessories.

We don't eat the same meal often since I do most of the cooking and like changing things up all the time.  I just have these memories of my mother being bored everyday cooking the same meal for my dad every night - fast fry beef w/ garlic, white rice, tomato and onion salad with a glass of coke.  Don't get me wrong I love that meal, it's a typical Chilean dish, very delicious, but it`s not what fantasize about eating everyday.

I find that I enjoy doing too many things.  I have too many interest and hobbies, but I like it.  Always having something different to do is great.

Bob & I a couple years back

I know my life would be very different if we had kids or a business outside of our home.  No one really depends on us for very much, at least not anymore since my dad passed.

My dad singing tango songs while driving* miss that.

I like my life, I don`t know what brought this on,..I think a comment I got at work, that I did not care much for.  Hmmm.. this post has turned into something totally different then what I was planning on writing about today. I was gonna upload pictures of the Chilean concert my sis and I went to a couple months back, but this is still good so i`ll go with it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day Trippin' - Woodstock

I can't believe it's Friday already!  This week has gone by too fast.  I guess it always does when your on holidays.  Bob and I took the week off just to hang out, clean and unpack.  Also to go on day trips.  Monday we drove to Woodstock(Ontario).  Why Woodstock?  Well we have been there a couple of times for The Nostalgia shows.  We always drove by a bunch of thrift stores and second hand shop.  Plus last year they opens an antique shop call "One of a Kind" which was still so new when we went that it looked like a big mess.

Our first stops were some of the shop on the downtown strip, which included a consignment store, a comic shop, a bookstore and a gaming store.  Bob found a few things, me - nothing.

Then we hit the Bible for Missions.  What a plethora of stuffs.  We must of spent at least 3 hours in there.  So much good stuff.  I love sewing supplies and patterns and found some nice vintage fabrics and patterns.  We picked up 2 framed embroidery art pieces that were so pretty.   Lots of books and albums, scarfs, vintage yellow dresses, purses and books.  I think we went a little wild in there.
Then off to One of Kind Antiques.

We spent so much time at the Mission that we only had 40 mins to look around.  This place is big, and to our surprise clean and organize.  We found a few things like old matchbooks, and some ephemera.
I saw some stuff I liked but felt too rushed, so I didn't pick up anything.  But if these guys are there on Sunday(we might head back), I might take these salt n' pepper shaker home with me.

I don't know why but I love fruits and veggies with faces.  They really appeal to me.  And I love when they are a little worn, it just shows that they were loved and use, and it makes me appreciate them a little more.
After the antique place we grab some dinner and then a walk on the Grand River.  It was a pretty day.

Hope everyone enjoyed the hot week.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day Trippin - St. Jacob

On this fine(hot) day I decided to spend a lovely Saturday afternoon with my sis.
Our destination: St. Jacob Country.

St. Jacob is one of Ontario's favorite rural destination. Home to old order Mennonites who farm the surrounding countryside.

In the town of St.Jacob you get to see all kinds of artistry in many studios, galleries, shops and theatres.
One of them is "The Mill & Silos".

Here you can find some amazing quilt shops.  I have never try quilting, but every time I come to this town, that is what I want to do.  You can learn something new at historic and cultural exhibits.

One of our favorite stores there is "Traces of Heaven"  Love, love this store.  I can not walk out of there with out buying some thing.  Especially because every where you look, you see sparkles and shiny things.  I like shiny things!  This is one of the last places we when went with my mom before she passed.  She treated us to something pretty, because she believe that a woman should not deny themselves from having something that makes them swoon.
Honestly this is the first time my sister and I came back here to shop.  So we treated each other to something lovely.  Hair Clips!!

So pretty...purrr..purrrr...

Oh those earrings, she got those there too.

And my pink new shoes, great walking flats.
Hope your having a great weekend.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Heat, heat heat

Today has been the hottest day this year.  I feel so bad for my sister, she is due in 6 weeks and the humidity is just awful.  So today we decide to go out for desserts in an air condition place. We picked "Williams" for some waffles and ice cream. 

My sister Tamara

I am usually not a big fan of using the air conditioner, but today was so bad we had to.  The day before was pretty hot too, that parts of Toronto were experiencing black outs.   I find that a bit scarey.   The amount of electricity that is being use is excessive.  I know it's hot but there are a lot of other ways to cool down your home in the summer.  Keeping your thermostat at the same temp helps.
Also using "white out" curtains.  They help keep your place cool and reduce your consumption of heat in the winter.  Another way is to plant some shade trees.  Trees on your property that can provide shade in the summer to cool your house down and protection from cold winds in the winter is a smart thing to invest in.  Plus it looks pretty too. 
Keeping your windows close during the peak heat part of the day helps keep out hot air and helps your cool air from escaping. Not using your air conditioning on peak hours helps reduce your city chances of having a  black outs too.


I'm not an expert on electricity usage, but these are things we find helps our pocket book and our environment.  Hope it helps.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Movies: Moonrise Kingdom

To top of this long weekend Bob and I decided to go on a date and see a movie at the Princess Twin Cinema.  We were looking forward to seeing Wes Anderson latest "Moonrise Kingdom" since we love his other films like The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore and my favorite The Life Aquatics with Steve Zissou. 

The feel of the film was a sweet and heartwarming.  A visual delight.  I loved it!!  I totally recommend.  If you like Wes Anderson film style you won't be disappointed.
In our home we have a Aqua inspired wall, mainly with Aquaman figures and art of squids and Kraken, basically anything we find that we love that is sea faring. including a print of  "The Life Aquatics with Steve Zissou" which i love.  Here is a piece that Lucky Jackson made. I kick myself for not buying it, I really love it.

365 Lucky Jackson
I love all of her work, I drool over it.
Here is some other piece I found on the net that I love.

Did you like the film as much as me?  Your thoughts.
Hope your having a good Tuesday!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Day Trippin - St.Jacob Farmers' Market

Every other Saturday(work permitting) Bob and I go to St. Jacob's market to do 98% of our grocery shopping.  The other 2% of our groceries is almond milk, which no one sells at the market.  Bob and I decided two years ago that when we started living together we would buy our food as much as we can locally.  In the KW area there are about 4 different market to buy our veggies and fruits.  The Cambridge Farmer's Market in Galt every Wednesday & Saturday, the Preston Towne Market every Thursday,   Kitchener Farmers' Market every Saturday & St. Jacobs Farmers' Market every Thursday & Saturday, and now Tuesday for the rest of the summer.

Local nursery vendor at St.Jacobs.
We are usually in and out at the market, just cause it is really packed.  But this Saturday we decided to enjoy the the day and take our time, have a coffee, and watch some buskers.  It was such a hot day and there so many people every where cause of the long holiday weekend.

Some of our favorite vendors are Hilltop Acres Poultry.  A family owned and operated business were we get our free range eggs and turkey meat.  The crowd the surrounds this place is insane.  A mob every Saturday wanting to buy there goods.  I have been shoved by lots of old ladies wanting to buy their turkey casaba.

The next place we go is the Pepper Shack.  "Two for Five" that's all you hear from the young ladies that tend there.  They have a wild assortment of sweet and hot peppers.

I'm a big meat eater, but I will not go and spent money on cheap meat, from a farm that I won't know how the animals are treated.  I prefer to meet the people who care for the animals and prepare them for consumption.  I don't care if "Food Basics" has a sale on ground beef or chicken breast.  I'm sorry but it is probably crap, and the animals where also treated like crap.  We started buying our beef and pork from D.J's Farm Fresh Meat Shop.  They are from Elora and have by far the best tasting stuff.  It cost a bit more but I know that the meat has no preservatives of antibiotics or dyes. Plus they encourage people to come by there farm to see how well all the animals are treated.

Here are a couple of other vendors we frequent.

After the market we crossed the road to spend the afternoon indoors at the St.Jacob Antique Market. I'll post some pictures of thing I loved by where too pricey.

Hope everyone is enjoying there long weekend.