It Is Time For Comfort Food

Summer is gone and the winter months are fast approaching. The days are shorter, and with that, our appetite keeps growing.

Why is it that when it gets colder and darker, we feel like eating more? It is probably our body burning more calories to keep us warm. But I could be wrong.

Last week was one of the coldest weeks, at least for me. I felt like eating soup. A dark, rich and creamy liquid full of nutrition. I was following a recipe from my Culinary Arts class, and even though I did not have all the ingredients, I added some of my own. I was making Minestrone Soup.

Ingredients for the soup

Once I started making it, the soup turned into a red liquid and it surprised me. I have never seen or had this soup before, so I did not know what to expect. Later I realized that the color was from the tomato paste that was burning at the bottom of the pot. I added the vegetables and cooked them in the homemade chicken stock that I have made weeks before. I only had black beans at home, but I could not add them, I was afraid my soup was going to turn black. Instead, I added a shredded chicken breast that I had in my fridge.

After about 30 minutes, the soup was done and ready to be eaten. I waited for it to cool down before serving it and am glad I did. The flavors had come together, and I could taste every one of them. I served the soup with crumbled crackers, Asiago cheese and red pepper flakes.

The shredded chicken breast gave it a cream-like consistency while the red pepper flakes mixed smoothly with the sweetness of the tomatoes. The Asiago cheese highlighted the chicken flavor from the stock and the crackers combined with the vegetables made me feel like I was having al dente pasta with tomato sauce.

The warmth of the soup reminded me of home. It made me think about going to my grandmother’s house on Sundays and having soup for brunch. That night I had two bowls of soup. I was satisfied and was ready to lay down in front of the TV. This is how comfort food should make you feel.

Grateful For Pie

Just before I started baking, I was already salivating and tasting the cinnamon in the apple sauce. This was my first time in ten years making apple pie.

To be honest, I am more of an apple crumble person and not just because it is easier to make, but because I like the crunchiness of it all, versus apple pie where you just enjoy the filling and the sometimes soggy crust. The soggy crust is a memory from my last Thanksgiving.

Unlike last year, when I celebrated with my closest friends and my family in a big condo party hall, this year Thanksgiving Day was different. The people that were celebrating with me could all sit in an 6-seater dining table. It was a small group of people, easy to feed and to surprise with a homemade apple pie.

This was an experiment for me and not because of the apples, but because of the crust. I wanted to make an easy, yet savory crust that would leave my guests in awe and wanting more. It took me exactly two days until I found the easiest crust recipe. I made the crust the day before just in case something went wrong. Nothing happened, fortunately, and I did not even have to get my hands dirty. All I used to make the crust was a food processor, flour and butter. I got the recipe from this website.

I was nervous but excited, not just because of how it was going to taste, but I was afraid the crust would not cook and that would have been a disaster.

I peeled and prepped the apples for the filling using a recipe from the same website and everything was coming together perfectly. I was listening to a Disney baking playlist from Spotify and sipping some Sauv Blanc. It was truly a good day. I baked the pie for an hour, it cooked to perfection and the crust came out to be one of the best that I have done in my entire life.

I was desperate to taste it once it was ready. I think I burnt my finger trying to taste the apple sauce from the side of the baking dish. I brought it over to the house where I was having dinner, and everyone was excited to taste the pie.

After finishing with the turkey and the stuffing, the pie was brought the table to be enjoyed with a side of vanilla ice cream. It was succulent, and the crust was the protagonist that night. Everyone loved it and had seconds, just to enjoy the marvelous crust.  

So, if there is something that I am grateful for this year, is the people that got to share the pie with me, and of course grateful for the well-cooked and delicious pie.

Steak and Yucamole

The foggy mind, the crawling of my stomach and the faded voices coming from a conference call.

I kept thinking how lucky I am to have to ability to be working from home. But my stomach kept rumbling and that was distracting. I could not focus on my work. I was wondering what was on my fridge and what I could put together for a quick dinner.

The truth was I was craving guacamole, but I was also craving fried yuca. Luckily enough I had both.

I took a quick break and decided to start peeling the yuca so that it could cook while I was still working. Brought the water to boil, cut the yuca into small pieces and threw it in the boiling water. I then decided to start cutting the vegetables to put into the guacamole -onion, tomato, red pepper and garlic – thinly diced and put it in a bowl. The yuca was still cooking. It took more than forty-five minutes for the yuca to be ready. I was starving at this point. I threw the yuca, the vegetables and the avocado all together in a bowl. I called it Yucamole.

I started eating but still was not satisfied. I needed it protein.

I opened the fridge and found a thawed steak. I quickly heated a frying pan and cooked the steak. The sizzling coming from the pan made my eyes watered. Or maybe it was the onion from the yucamole that I was still tasting.

Once the steak was half-cooked, I cut it in small pieces and seasoned it with salt and pepper. I was too hungry to experiment this time. I let it cook for ten more minutes and that was enough. A pale brown color on the outside while pinkish on the inside. It was juicy, peppery and ready to be eaten.

I was eating too quickly standing up in the kitchen, so I decided to plate the pieces of steak and some yucamole and sit at the table to have a proper dinner. I was satisfied by the end of the meal. The plate was empty. The conference call had finished at this point, so I was ready to enjoy the rest of my evening.

The Golden Trio

The sizzling of the frying pan, the humming of the kitchen fan, the crispy yet sweet smell of bacon and cherry tomatoes cooking is freshening my apartment as I am typing this. The crawling of my stomach signing feed me now woman is what made me step away from the keys for a short period of time.

The cherry tomatoes cooking with the grease of bacon

Once I finished eating, I decided to get back to writing while sipping on a black cup of coffee that I brewed while I was still cooking. The coffee is strong, sour, foamy as I feel the warmth of it on my palate. This is now my second cup of the day.

Today’s breakfast, or I should say brunch, as it is now past noon was 2 eggs, 4 slices of bacon, 6 cherry tomatoes, half avocado and a couple of slices of Buffalo Gouda. Heavy, yet a satisfying meal that will keep my energy in check until at least dinner.

Avocado, eggs and bacon are to me the perfect way to start the day. The gouda and the cherry tomatoes add to the trio a touch of sweetness and springiness to it all. And here is why; the greasy and salty taste of bacon is balanced by the sweetness of the tomatoes. The tasteless and smoothness of the avocado hide the salt and highlight the crunchiness of the bacon. The eggs are just the perfect addition as with their pungent and earthy taste serve as a break to the other complicated mix of flavors. And cheese, well, who doesn’t love a piece of chewy and smelly gouda?

A Delish Fish Dish

On Saturday afternoon I decided to take a drive and ended up at La Bella Managua. This restaurant has one of the best fried fish in Toronto. Once I got a table, I immediately asked the waiter for the fish of the day. He said that it was Robalo. I did not think twice about it and told him that I was going to get it. The fried fish was served with a side of fried raw plantain, avocado salad and fried yuca for an extra cost.

The time went by so slow as I was sipping on my cold water while waiting for my fish.

As the waiter approached the table, my eyes opened as wide as my mouth when I noticed that the fish tail was almost hanging from the plate. The waiter smiled and said: –Here you go miss, enjoy! I smiled back and thanked him.

I took a deep breath as I was pleased by the look and smell of the fish that was put in front of me. I was already tasting the juiciness of the meat in my head as I was grabbing the fork. I used the fork to cut through the crispy skin to reach the white and smooth fish meat. I took the lemon wedge that was placed on my plate and squeezed the lemon juice out of it onto the fish. I blew a bit as the meat was still hot and took my first bite. The skin of the fish was salty and oily while the meat just dissolved in my mouth without much effort. I was delighted.

I started to devour the fish so quickly that I did not realize I was even eating the bones. The bones were so small and cooked so well that you could bite into them without realizing it. The saltiness of the skin mixed perfectly with the juices from the meat and the lemon juice resulted in a party of flavors in my mouth. I was in paradise. The fins and tale were cooked to perfection that I had to eat them as well. They were so crispy I almost felt like I was eating chips.

Once I was done with half the fish, I decided to then taste the avocado salad. The avocado was cut in small cubes and it was so smooth that I could smash it with my own fork. I could also taste the slipperiness of the oil that was added as dressing as well as the freshness of the thinly cut tomatoes. The salad was served in a bed of mixed greens that absorbed the juices from the vegetables. The greens were wet and chewy and no longer crispy when I got to them.

The raw fried plantains were a bit bland that I had to add salt to them after my first bite. They were chewy, soft and a bit on the sweet side, it almost felt like eating a salty marshmallow. The fried yuca next to the plantains was presented in small cubes and fried until reaching a golden color. To me, they were perfect. The soft and delicate taste of the yuca took me back to the plains of Venezuela. I envisioned my grandmother peeling the yuca and throwing it in a big cauldron that had boiling water in it, where the yuca was cooked slowly using wood. The intriguing thing about yuca is that the taste does not match its looks. A yuca looks rough and hard on the outside, however, it tastes is smooth, delicate and silky.

My plate was almost clean at this point. I was so focused on enjoying the different flavors I did not realize the fish was gone, all of it. I even poked the eyeballs out and ate them. They really do not taste like anything, but they are juicy and tough to chew. It feels just like eating a mint but with a fishy taste.

Friday Mood

Today is a good day. Friday is always a good day.

On Fridays I’m always listening to music and thinking what I’ll be ordering for dinner. I usually don’t cook on Friday night, specially now, during quarantine, since we cannot go out to eat or hang out with friends, I’ve figured out a way to have a good time at home.

Below is a list of songs that I have saved on a playlist for Fridays night at home and that put me in a good mood.

I have only chosen these 5 because they were under the “most played” on my Spotify. So I guess I listen to them even when is not Friday!

I could keep adding more, but I will do more of these posts in the future for sure.

Happy Friday everyone!

10 things about me

There is always a first time for everything. I have never been keen to sharing a lot about me other than expressing my feelings, really.

There is more to a person than just feelings or hobbies, which is why I decided to make this post about things that make me who I am as a person.

Here they are:

  1. My childhood nickname was Tote or Tete, which you can imagine where the name of my blog came from. It all comes down to a game of words because I could not pronounce my middle name properly when I was a kid. So that’s how my family would call me- Tote.
  2. My star sign is Sagittarius. According to astrology.com “Sagittarius women in love are passionate, energetic, and usually down for pretty much anything.” No need to say more, right?
  3. My favorite color is Purple. It always has been. I remember dressing up my barbies and dolls with purple or fuchsia dresses. I have a purple winter coat and a purple backpack. Sometimes I’ve dreamed about dying my hair purple. Crazy.
  4. My first thought when I wake up in the morning is I need coffee and what am I going to have for breakfast? After making my bed and leaving my room in the morning I go straight to the kitchen, have a glass of water and open the fridge to figure out what to make for breakfast. It honestly is like that everyday. Eggs is always the answer.
  5. My favorite meal/snack are nachos and pizza. I can definitely have nachos every day for lunch or dinner and I would not care. Pizza – I can eat one by myself. I wish I could do it everyday. Might just order one after writing this.
  6. Favorite type of food is breakfast food. It doesn’t matter what time it is I am eating breakfast food. Veggie Omelette, pancakes and Avocado Toast are my go-to options.
  7. My favorite ice cream flavor is either Vanilla or cookies & cream. I don’t have any other ice cream flavors. Even if there’s a thousand more I will always choose those. I know, pretty boring, right?
  8. I’m scared of thunder and snakes. I really am. Whenever there’s thunder I get really anxious and start praying to which ever God is up there. Snakes – I have nightmares with them and whenever that happens I wake up and feel tingles all over my body. THE WORST.
  9. I hate the smell of feet. I really can’t stand it on other people or even on myself.
  10. My favorite movie of all time is Harry Potter, always. All of them. I have seen all of them multiple times and will never get tired of them. I have to admit that I most likely know the dialog to all of or most of them.

Of course there is so much more to me than these 10 facts. But those will just give you an idea.

If you read this, comment with one thing you hate the most.

Tote.

Uncertainty, Frustration, Tiredness

Those words can just be a summary of my time at home. Don’t get me wrong, I like being at home and enjoy time on my own.

But anxiety has kicked in.

There’s only so many things I can do at home and the things that excited me at the beginning don’t seem to be helping me anymore. It really is a strange feeling.

You see, I love writing. I love taking the words out of my head and make them into paragraphs or stories. However, this is not what is happening anymore. The words are stuck in my head, and it’s heavy. Heavy full of words that are trying to make it into one of these paragraphs.

But you know what the good thing is about all this? Trying to stay positive and to come out stronger than before. I am acknowledging the issue and I am trying to overcome it on my own.

And what is the issue? You ask. Well, the issue is I am not writing. And not because I don’t have the time, because that’s not true, but because I have been procrastinating and to tell you the truth, I have been lazy. And no, it is not an excuse but just the fact that I acknowledge it is a start, don’t you think?

My mind is full of ideas and projects that I want to work on and I just don’t understand why none of them are happening. Maybe that’s where the issue starts? Trying to do multiple things at once and completing none of them? is that why I feel frustrated and tired? It is definitely something to think about.

Today is the day to start something. It is Monday, the beginning of a new month and the perfect time to start. And the only reason why I am writing this is to have it as a backup when I feel down again. I will remember that post I wrote on June 1st talking about new beginnings and this will be my go-to post when I am feeling lazy, tired or with a big head full of words.

May 13 – Unconditional love

I would like to believe that people who are close to me feel unconditional love towards me. Because I do. I do feel love for those who are close to me. And if you are reading this, then you are probably on that list.

Having the opportunity and blessing to be loved by somebody is very unique. Sometimes we don’t really appreciate the people that we surround ourselves with, however, if you are lucky enough to be texting/calling that specific person every day, let me tell you, my friend, you love them.

Like I mentioned, in my previous post, there are different kinds of love, and you can definitely love different people in different ways, but hey, at the end of the day is unconditional love. I don’t even know how to describe it. You just know when you love somebody.

Mothers love their kids, and fathers love their kids too. And I’m not just talking biologically. You can have a mother figure in your life who isn’t really your biological mother, and the same happens with father figures. This proves my point that loving someone doesn’t necessarily mean having a biological tight to them.

We have friends and coworkers who are considered family because of the fact that sometimes we spend long hours with them. Even though we still spend time with our biological family; parents, brothers/sisters, aunts/uncles, etc. As adults have the ability and the option to create and choose our own families and love them unconditionally.

 

 

May 11 – Love

I don’t think there’s a definition of love that fits everyone.

We have felt love and still feel love every day of our lives, however, that feeling for everyone is different. We love our friends, family, parents, pets, etc.. and every person’s love is and feels different. For example, you don’t love your pet the same way you love your parents, right?

I don’t think there isn’t just one type of love, but what I do believe is that as human beings we are very lucky to feel love, to be loved, and to love somebody or something. There are many definitions of Love in the dictionary. Try searching it up. Even I am having a hard time trying to figure out what to write about love.

Love is such a unique and personal feeling that even if I describe to you what I feel when I feel love, I’m sure it will be completely different than what you feel.

I love movies, writing, reading, playing, and listening to music, cooking, eating.

I love my family, friends, coworkers.

I love running distance…more like, jogging.

I think that what we love and how we love is what defines us as individuals.

What is love for you? What are the things that you love the most?

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My inspiration today comes from the WordPress.com writing prompts guide.
https://wordpress.com/dailypost/postaday/ebook-365-writing-prompts/