Thursday, March 31, 2011

We love because He first loved us.

1 John 4:19- We love because He first loved us.

We had the great privilege tonight of going to a private screening of Watermark Films' first movie, Seasons of Gray.

My husband, Hector, was the Key set PA for this film. He worked long and hard on it last summer. It was 6, rigorous weeks of filming all day and some nights. He was the man on set.

We got all fancied up and went to the Magnolia Theater in Dallas. We got a sitter for our baby boy. (Thanks Uncle Josh!)

I was able to go on set a few times last summer... you know, to see how it's all done. It was so neat to see the scenes I watched as they were filmed actually turned into a movie. I met a lot of the crew and cast during those few on set occasions and tonight we got to reunite with them. It was mainly Hector hugging and high-fiving everyone there, but I got to say "hi" and give baby updates to several people who remembered me, or people who spoke to me because they know I'm Hector's wife and they regard him so highly. :)

I have never been as proud as I was tonight, when I saw Hector's name scroll up the screen during credits. Tears sprang to my eyes and I clasped his hand. You have no idea how dedicated to this movie he was. It consumed him last summer. And now I see why. It was quite the production.

Want to see something cool? Click here. And tell me what the first thing you see is. :) You will not be sorry. And hopefully, if you know Hector, you too can feel a small sense of the pride I felt tonight.

I really harp on Hector in this post, but really.. To God be the Glory! We saw numerous times last summer when this movie only moved forward due to the hand of God. Seeing that it is actually a movie now, is nothing short of... how did Paul Stehlik, Jr. (director) put it? Ahh yes, a miracle. I am so thankful for the faith of those involved in this movie. Without it, there probably wouldn't be a movie! 

I can't wait to see the movie again, partly because after the screening, Paul came up and said to Hector, "Did ya see your head??" YUP, that's right. Hector made it into the movie! Apparently in one of the office scenes, Hector's head is visible in a cubicle.  

My cup runneth over. :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Camarones al mojo de ajo (Garlic Shrimp) & Cheesecake

Hector likes to recreate dishes that he remembers from when he was a child in Mexico. He'll usually look them up, to see all the ingredients, but then make them from memory. He's very talented in this way.

We've had a bag of shrimp in the freezer for, oh.. about a month now. You see, I don't like shrimp. So, I never made any effort to cook with it. Finally, Hector did one of his searches and came up with "Camarones al mojo de ajo," or garlic shrimp. I watched him, while I watched Cohen.

It was basically a reduction sauce made up of butter, lime juice, 1/2 cup of chopped garlic (yes, HALF a cup..) and EVOO (Rachel Ray's coined term for extra virgin olive oil). Then he added some sliced chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. He threw in the shrimp and let them simmer.

I tasted this dish and it tasted great, except that I don't care for the crunchy/chewy texture of shrimp. But he said it turned out exactly (if not better) than he'd planned. :)
sauteing a ton of garlic ;)
Finished dish. Looks yummy, right??

Great job, honey! I married a winner. :)

We've wanted to  make a cheesecake for a while now. Not sure which foodnetwork chef set us off, but we've really felt a need to try it. Or maybe we do (see below). Now I'm not talking Jello brand, just add milk and you're set.. No, no. From scratch. 

I searched for a good-looking cheesecake recipe. I was pretty certain I'd choose a Barefoot Contessa recipe, since she's my favorite. But then I ran across Anne Burrell's Goat Cheese Cheesecake. And it clicked! We'd seen her make this on her show Secrets of a Restaurant Chef! And I could trace our desire to make cheesecake back to the day we'd seen this episode. 

2 Cups gingersnap crumbs (we used graham cracker crumbs)
1/4 Cup sugar
6 Tablespoons melted butter, and a little extra
Pinch of salt

2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (12 oz.) log of goat cheese
12 oz. creme fraiche or sour cream
4 eggs
1 Cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Special equipment:
9 in. spring form pan

Mix crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter together in a bowl. Rub the extra butter on pan. Press crust mixture onto bottom and about half way up the sides of the pan. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream the goat and cream cheeses together until light and fluffy. Then add the creme fraiche until well combined. Next, add the eggs, one at a time until well combined. Now add the sugar and vanilla until just combined. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. 

Pour filling into the crust and bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes. Set the spring form pan on a baking sheet before putting it in the oven. Halfway through, open oven and rotate 180 degrees. If you notice the top of the cake beginning to color, tent the pan with aluminum foil. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Preferably, refrigerate overnight before serving. Enjoy!

We did end up putting the foil over ours, because, as you can see, the edges started browning. And just a side note, the middle will still look runny-ish when you pull it out, but don't worry. It will set completely once you refrigerate it. It looks amazing! But we refrained from eating it, and are letting it cool in the refrigerator overnight. Perhaps our lucky foundation group will get to sample it tomorrow night? ;)

Can I just say that this would not have been possible without my stand mixer? It is my dream tool, and it is QUITE living up to all it's hype. 

I can't wait to let you know how this, our first ever Cheesecake, turns out. I'll report on it tomorrow sometime. Cheesecake is Hector's all-time favorite dessert, so we're super excited to see if this is a good recipe or not. If the filling that we licked off the paddle is any indication, I think we're set! :)

Play time

Some sweet pictures of our lovely little boy playing.

This is his "business" position.. kid you not, as Hector snapped this pic, he let loose. ;)

Why, yes.. He is grabbing that link!! We're making progress!

Just a few fun-sie pictures for your viewing pleasure. :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cooking venture

I always have these visions of grandeur when I set out to cook something new. Like, Hector will take one bite, look at me with wide eyes and say, "Em, this is the greatest thing you've ever made. Ever." It will come from the stove, pot, or oven and be piping hot, golden brown perfection and smelling divine. Am I the only person that this rarely happens to? I mean, the food I make usually tastes OK, but not delicious. And I like to try new dishes.. You think I like making hamburger helper, hot dogs, spaghetti and baked chicken on a regular, rotating schedule? I don't. I love cook books! I just hardly ever get them out and find something new to try. I think of my Mom here. She seems to always be trying new recipes. She uses Pampered Chef recipes mostly, I think. She used to be a consultant. So she has all the tools, and knows all the techniques asked for by these recipes. I dream of the day when I can have a nice kitchen with nice appliances (I know.. I already have a fantastic mixer..) and nice cabinets and counter tops that aren't warped and stained. Pretty much, any kitchen that isn't a part of an apartment. :) Someday.

Anyways, last night I decided to try and make something delectable for dinner, keyword here being try. I had no ideas and didn't even really know what we had.

Cue my friend Jackie's inspiring blog post from a few days ago... This is an ingenious website that has the potential to transform dinners everywhere. You make a list (on the site) of ingredients you have on hand and it instantly brings up hundreds of recipes that you have all the components for. And if you don't know what you have, you can put in one item, like ground beef and it will ask you: "Do you have tomatoes? black pepper? bread crumbs? etc." And you click on the items you have and it will add them to your list, while still giving you recipes that you are capable of making.

I put in chicken. Then from it's list of questionable items, I selected: Parmesan cheese, sour cream, milk, vegetable oil, paprika, garlic powder, butter, flour, salt, pepper, eggs, bread, and a few other things. I figured, certainly there's a usable recipe on here by now. :) It lists the recipes off to the side, complete with pictures. I picked one called.. Baked Paprika-Parmesan Chicken courtesy of

Mix 1/4 C all-purpose flour, 1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese, 2 t Paprika, 1/2 t salt and 1/2 t black pepper together in a bowl. In another bowl beat one egg with 2 T milk. Using 4 chicken breast halves, dredge through the egg, then cover in flour mixture. Place in a greased baking dish. Pour over 1/4 C melted butter and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until juices run clear and cheese is browned.

This part was MESSY... take your rings off!

Well, I've never heard of baking chicken breasts for an hour and 15 minutes.. these came out after about 35 minutes. We paired it with random things we had on hand: ranch style beans and steamed broccoli. So, the chicken. It tasted alright.. just didn't have a lot of flavor. Does chicken really have to sit in a marinade for hours on end to adopt any sort of flavor?? I'm beginning to think it must. Anyways, Hector still told me it tasted good. :) He's too sweet.

Then I decided to have another go at making whipped cream.

1 Cup of cream, 1 1/2 T granulated sugar and 1 T vanilla extract

I watched it very carefully this time, never turning my back. I did not chill my bowl this time, I think I wish I had. 
Much better!!!

My dessert: chocolate molten cake with whipped cream.

Hector's dessert: vanilla flan with whipped cream.

This whipped cream was a better consistency, although, it could have probably gone a few more seconds. But I was scared of making it chunky again. 

So, it was a good go, I suppose. I just don't know why cooking doesn't come really naturally for me, considering my Mom is such a good cook. 

Better luck next time!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Growin' Cohen

I forgot that I said I'd update on Cohen's growth after his doctor's appointment last week.

He loves his Mommy :)

I like this one.. we're waiting for the doctor to come in.

Playing on the table, or kicking Daddy

Looking at that cute baby in the mirror!

He knew he was about to get FIVE shots! :( :( :(

He had a good report. We had a whole list of questions to ask..and we did! :) I bet the doctor was like, " really brought a list.. and you're actually checking things off of it.." Nah.. she was very nice. Our pediatrician was out of town (it was spring break..) so we saw the doctor who shares her patients. And we liked her. We're kind of torn as to who to go back to. Because the second doctor seemed more thorough and interested. 

Weight: 12# 11.5oz (75%)
Length: 23 1/4 inches (70%)
Head: 15.5 inches (30%)

I guess he has extra brains. :)

Cohen's friend McKensley (Ok...My friend Sara's baby, McKensley) got a new seat the other day and put a picture of it on Facebook. And it looked like just what we needed. Cohen just falls out of his Bumbo seat, and this one had straps and a fun tray that circles it to keep him up. Plus, we're trying to facilitate more opportunities for him to grab things and use his hands. Until now, he has been utterly disinterested in his toys. Take a look at this.
He still needs a little support on his back.

Checking out that rattle ball!

LOVE this one! He was repeatedly batting at it and making it spin and rattle!

Too much of a good thing is a ... bad thing? :)

We Love our new seat. And it was on sale at Babies 'R Us.. Score! This is the first stop on the way to his bouncy seat that Granna and Pop bought him in Paris, that he was a wee bit too little for. Thanks, McKensley, for showing us how fun the Summer Infant Super Seat could be!

Coco's baby guayabera shirt! (Thank you Once Upon A Child!!)

I have exactly 10 days until I go back to work.. and I am NOT excited. :( I don't want to leave my baby boy. He's changing so much all the time and I don't want to miss a single thing. 

When in Paris, Cohen was sleeping 5 hours at night before waking up. We got back home and he slept for 3 hour intervals. Whhyyyy??? Then last night he slept for 5 hours again! I want to eliminate the night-time feeding altogether, but he doesn't seem ready. I fed him more often yesterday, like every 2-2.5 hours, so maybe that helped him sleep longer? I am drinking Milkmaid Tea and taking Fenugreek to help increase my milk supply. I'm proud to say Cohen hasn't had any supplemental formula since Wednesday evening! I want to be able to feed him all he needs. We plan to breastfeed for 6 months, if not longer. So, I need to make sure I'm making plenty of milk. And we don't want to be buying formula all the time. We have quite a stockpile of it right now, and we want to use that after we're done nursing. AND, I hate washing bottles! :) So that's a perk to straight breastfeeding!

So that's where he is! 10 weeks, 2 days old!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Now I can be a foodie...

If you check my facebook, then you already know that my husband Hector surprised me with a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer this past weekend. :) It's just beautiful! It's purple! or Plum? Whatever the technical name is, it's gorgeous!

Am I right?

It was such a surprise, y'all! Hector saved his own money and ordered it behind my back. Then I took a nap with Cohen on Sunday and when I came downstairs it was on the counter with a big bow on top! 

I was pretty excited to jump right in and make something, but of course had NO idea what to make. We were making spaghetti with meatballs (meatballs that we MADE, mind you..) and so I grabbed some strawberries and some heavy whipping cream. That's right, I'd decided to make whipped cream on this, my mixer's maiden voyage. 

First, let me tell you about these amazing meatballs we made! I got the recipe from and it was from Bobby Flay. 
-ground pork
-ground beef
-bread crumbs
-diced garlic, sauteed
-grated Parmesan cheese
-Italian parsley
-olive oil
-salt & pepper 
It may, or may not, have called for onions which WE chose to leave out. :)

What a tasty meal! And something we'd never tried to make before. That's homemade garlic and Parmesan bread there, too. :)

So, then I hopped back into the kitchen to prepare our dessert!

I pulled my mixer bowl and whisk attachment out of the freezer where I'd been chilling them and attached them to the stand. 1 Cup of heavy whipping cream went into the bowl.
(it's spinning there, can you tell??)
After that mixed on low for about a minute, I think, I added a Tablespoon of vanilla extract and a Tablespoon of powdered sugar and gradually worked to mixer up to about 6.

And here's where it can go from perfect to butter in seconds... It was looking amazing, I turned to put away the vanilla and sugar and turned back to find this:
Is that all I did wrong? A few too many seconds? Or was the speed up to high?

Besides texture, it tasted soooo good! We put it on some strawberries we had sliced, sprinkled with sugar and refrigerated a few hours earlier. So yummy! 

I'm so excited to make some cupcakes, cake, cake balls, biscuits, or SOMETHING, sometime soon. Any suggestions? I have my eye on a few cookbooks at that are specifically for stand mixers. I'm not the type of person who can just think up a recipe (that actually tastes good), it has to be written out for me. 

This is the first of many posts you'll find of me featuring my Mixer. I probably need to name her. :)

In other news, how cute is Cohen here, while out shopping with my Mom and me in Paris??
He gets all the girls' attention with that face :)

Oh, that face.. [sigh....]

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