Wednesday, November 26, 2008

quinoa w/ soy-glazed veggies & goat cheese.

i'm a huge fan of quinoa. i love the way it tastes a little nutty, i love the way it looks with those curly little grainy ends, and i love the way you could pretty much use it in any combination of things...even stuffed in sweet pears! yeah, i know. that's next on my list! quinoa is an excellent source of protein to boot (along with countless other nutritional benefits)! (1 cup = about 50% of your daily value!) this is great news for the vegetarian/nutrition conscious me. and also, that doesn't leave my tall baller much room to complain that he's not getting enough protein in our frequently veggie friendly meals :) where there's a will, there's a way.

last night, like most nights, i was in the mood for this delicious culinary friend of mine. i had several carrots in the fridge that definitely had been ignored for about a week or so now. so i peeled and sliced about 5 carrots and steamed them in hot water for a few minutes, just until al dente. i drained the water and set them aside. meanwhile, i chopped 1 red bell pepper and 1 red onion (tear!) and sauteed them in a few tablespoons of olive oil. when they were somewhat softened, i added the carrots to cook for a few minutes more. then came the mushrooms (about 20 mushrooms, quartered). as the mushrooms were absorbing a lot of the juice from the other veggies, i added a few generous shakes of soy sauce. i kept all of this going on medium-low heat while the quinoa was doing it's thing. another great thing about quinoa is that it only takes about 20 minutes to cook; just enough time to get the veggies in and out at the same time. i topped it all off with a handful or so of goat cheese cubes (the goat cheese here in la palma is a different consistency, though delicious! they are known for it, along with the mojo of the canarias!) as the veggies and quinoa were all mixed together, the goat cheese softened amidst the heat and was a perfect compliment to the soy and nutty quinoa.

to read up more on quinoa, go here: (my blog is weird and won't let me attach the 'clickable' link, so just copy and paste if you want to visit the site)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

feliz navidad.

12€ is all it took to fabricate this little spanish christmas gem. here's the run down:

4.50 - 2 foot fraudulent christmas tree
2.75 - silver & red bulbs & star for the tippy top
4.75 - strand of 50 mini white lights

and the happiness it brings to our little casa - priceless.

funny how the most joy often comes out of the simplest of pleasures. life is surprising, indeed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

carried away.

my sweetest momma sent me a crafty package a few weeks ago chock-full of yarn in 3 shades, knitting and crocheting needles, needlepoint thread and needles, buttons, a canvas tote bag...and even small cinnamon pine cones to make our apartment smell delicious! to top it all off, she even included 2 packages of nestle's hot cocoa (with mellows!) and a little bag of reeses pieces for fred and i to share. talk about the most wonderful momma...i tell ya...that woman is something else!

today's been sort of a rainy outside/stay inside kind of day. after i caught up on a few emails and tended to the laundry, i was feeling a bit crafty. i've also been feeling like i could use a new purse/bag on my pretty little shoulder ;) so...i decided i'd get out my needle and thread and go to town on my new tote bag! i set out with just the heart in mind and then got a little carried away with love... we so often do <3

Friday, November 21, 2008

this is my brother & i miss him.

"Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet." -Vietnamese Proverb

"There's no other love like the love for a brother. There's no other love like the love from a brother." -Astrid Alauda

"God has blessed me again and again...Always a sister, always a friend." -Author Unknowm

"A brother is a friend God gave you; A friend is a brother your heart chose." -Proverb

"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." -Proverbs 18:24

love you scotty.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to. -j.r.r. tolkien

man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. -andre gide

we should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character. -henry david thoreau

yesterday john and i decided to take advantage of the sunshine and good weather and try our hand at paragliding. fred was our photographer extraordinaire :) we flew out at a point looking over the beach in puerto naos, on the other side of the island from where we live in los cancajos. the experience was incredible and the view was breathtaking.

BBQ update.

this past week/weekend, our friend john was visiting from sweden. we had such a great time together and after a few cloudy and rainy days, the sun finally returned on john's last day in la palma. what luck! so last night we made sure to try out the grill again...and lo' and behold, the boys got the fire started! dinner was on it's way...accompanied by many glasses of sangria to top off a perfect november day in the company of a good friend.


i just finished a great book called letters to my son, by kent nerburn. lately, i've been hopping from one book to another and i feel so blessed to have read so many good ones these past few months...and to have the time to do so. i found myself turning down corner and after corner on pages that i wanted to refer back to later. this book was full of inspiring words. though it was written from the author to his son, it is indeed a book that carries a timeless message(s) for all.

here is a quote that made me think of where i am and what i do, that being 'travel'...

"this is the magic of travel. any travel. you leave your home secure in your own knowledge and identity. but as you travel, the world in all its richness intervenes. you meet people you could not invent; you see scenes you could not imagine. your own world, which was so large as to consume your whole life, becomes smaller and smaller until it is only one tiny dot in time and space.
you return a different person.
all you need to do is give yourself over to the unknown. it doesn't have to be on a vast, dreamlike artic plain. it can be on a gentle stroll through a Wisconsin forest or on a street corner in Nairobi. what matters is that you have left the comfort of the familiar and opened yourself to a world that is totally apart from your own. be a real traveler you must be willing to give yourself over to the moment and take yourself out of the center of your universe. you must believe totally in the lives of the people and the places where you find yourself, even if it causes you to lose faith in the life you left behind.
you need to share with them, participate with them. sit at their tables, go to their streets. struggle with their language. tell them stories of your life and hear the stories of theirs. watch how they love each other, how they fight each other. see what they value and what they fear. feel the spaces they keep in their lives.
become part of the fabric of their everyday lives and you will get a sense of what it means to live in their world. give yourself over to them - embrace them rather than judge them - and you will find that the beauty in their lives and their world will become part of yours.
when you move on, you will have grown. you will realize that the possibilities of life in this world are endless, and that beneath our differences of language and culture we all share the dream of loving and being loved, of having a life with more joy than sorrow."

i want to be a traveler, not a tourist. i want to leave my world least for a moment...long enough to experience the lives and places of someone and somewhere new. i want to return a different person.

green-olive bulgur w/ grilled zucchini & mint.

i made this dish last week when i was rummaging through some old recipes i had clipped, saved and brought from home. this was one i found in rachael ray's 'everyday' magazine. her original recipe was titled 'green-olive chicken and couscous', but i didn't have any chicken at home (not that i eat it anyway) and to be perfectly honest, i didn't really want to make the 3 minute walk to the store at 7pm. so! i made a few adjustments of my own. i replaced the chicken with tuna and the couscous with bulgur. i had everything else here at home. i could eat squash every day, so naturally this dish appealed to me. i also loved the combination of lemon zest, cinnamon and fresh mint. all of those flavors came through in the end result. the semi-sweetness of the grilled zucchini and onions balanced out the tartness of the green olives. the garlic and cayenne pepper played their part too and gave the dish a little zip. so many flavors and so much fun!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


when fred and i first decided that we were moving to our apartment here in los cancajos, one of the main events we were looking forward to was bbq-ing on our new balcony. the incredible ocean view, the pool and garden below, the plastic table and chairs that were provided...we visualized it all. sitting there, sunset ahead, with our red rioja wine in hand, fred digging away at his grilled solomillo steak with gorgonzola sauce...and me and my grilled veggies and salmon filet...that dream alone was enough to get us to sign the papers the day we met apartment numero 36.

fast forward 3 weeks. our sweet little fire-engine red bbq stands solemnly in the corner of our balcony. we attempted to give it a trial run a week ago, but to no avail. the fire would just not light! fred was out there giving it his all, and no hope was in sight. he had the same report from a fellow teammate and discovered that the missing link was some sort of special lighter sticks. go spain. so after a week of rain, we bought them today when we were out and fred was determined to master the grill before the night was over! again, no success. this darn fire is bound to light at some point! apparently, just not on our watch. huge bummer. the skewers were ready to go and that juicy solomillo was quivering on the plate, waiting to meet (no pun intended) those toasty coals. only one thing: those coals were not so toasty.

we shrugged our shoulders, whined a little, and brought everything inside. i got the skillet(s) warmed up and things were up and running. we will not go to bed hungry, but we will go to bed with 'fire' in our hearts for the next time around! fred had his solomillo steak with gorgonzola, we both had these delicious vegetable skewers (marinated in a little bit o' soy sauce), and we enjoyed our rioja wine...but that dream will come true...sooner than later, we hope. oh little spanish grill, we have faith in you :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

r & r.

fred and i have both been dying to visit one of the most talked about hotels here in la palma. when fred is home on the weekends, saturday is usually our only full day to venture out and this saturday was a perfect day to pay a little visit to 'la palma princess hotel.' we started the morning off at home with coffee and a fresh bowl of chopped pears, persimons, cactus fruit and bananas (probably la palma's second largest source of income...there are banana trees EVERYWHERE!). then we began our 30 minute drive south at around noon. we arrived, checked in, wandered around a bit by the pool(s) and ate lunch at a waterfront/island pizzeria in the middle of all the pools. the view was spectaular and the food just the same. we shared a pizza (naturally) and a tropical salad. fred had a cold beer and i had a nice glass of white wine. this was the perfect way to get in the mood for our massage that was scheduled about an hour later! we arrived at the spa, spent a few minutes in the sauna and then each had a full-body massage. let me tell you, if massages were free, i would get one (or two) every day. they might be one of the best investments a person can make. of course, i'm being 100% superficial right now and at this moment i'm not even taking myself seriously, but was nice! afterwards, we did 'the circuit' in the pool (ice bath, jacuzzi, high-pressured showers, etc.) and spent the last few minutes in the turkish bath and sauna. i think i speak for the both of us when i say that i felt like JELL-O when we walked out of that place. absolutely heavenly. we went back to our room, changed clothes and made our way to the lounge for a few drinks before dinner. dinner was a complimentary buffet in the dining hall and we both went bananas. the food was delicious! and of course, as most people do at a buffet, we ate far too much. and we did the same thing this morning at breakfast before we left. we laid out at the pool for a little while before it was time to check out, but a ginormous rain cloud took our sunshine away, so our hour of pool time was cut short. we packed our bag, checked out and made our way home. we took a new route through fuencaliente and enjoyed the plethera of lava rock and farming fields along the way. though the roads are windy here in little la palma, the view is always surprising and always breathtaking. a full day of r & r was just what we needed. now the diet begins!