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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spanish lesson

We just got back from the condo gym (basically a place to get out of our unit and the kids can run around, no one is ever in there and the kids LOVE the space to run). We have been working on Spanish since we've been here and Elle is learning quite a few words. Watching Dora the Explorer has been a great way of learning some words as well. At the gym Elle was pretending to be Dora and she had Christian being Boots (Dora's little monkey friend). She kept saying I was "gorilla"... I couldn't recall any episode with a gorilla... but I went along with it... She was pretending to take care of me because I was "sick" and was bringing me "soup" (in the form of a large exercise ball) she kept calling me "gorilla" I then recalled the episode where Dora takes her grandma soup because she is sick. And then it hit me... Abuela is the Spanish word for "grandma"!! HA! Abuela sounds like "gorilla"! Love it! Maybe we are not making as much progress as I thought... =)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Homemade Bagels

I finally was able to find the needed spices to make these bagels. I had hoped to make them a while ago but Allspice and and ground cloves were next to impossible to find here in Miami... Here is the magazine I got the recipe from...

I totally messed up the recipe. Elle was helping me and I didn't notice that I had her put in a cup and 2/3 water, when I only needed 2/3's of a Cup! I was so lost as to why I kept needin to add a bunch more flour than the recipe called for...and they were still so sticky.... But all that being said, they turned out tasteing really good and if nothing else, they made our condo smell DELICIOUS! =) So I still thought I'd share the recipe because it is great to know how to make your own bagels and they are sort of festive.

Let's just notice... these are mine finished....
 Let's see that photo again...
Here is what they are suppose to look like....

Mine are deflated bagel pancakes! =) But YUMMY nonetheless... =)

Here's the recipe... The magazine had it for a bread machine or not and canned pumpkin, but I will show how to do it without a bread machine and I used fresh pumpkin... which I have never done before... Baked pumkin seeds are really good!


2/3 Cup water (110-115 degrees for the yeast)- This is where I went wrong!
3/4 Cup fresh pumpkin, or 1/2 Cup canned pumpkin
1/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
3 Cups Bread Flour
1 Package active dry yeast
1 egg white
1 Tbsp. Cornmeal (I didn't have this-therefore, didn't use it...)

1. In a large bowl dissolve yeast in 2/3 Cup water.
2. Add the pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Mix well.
3. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough.
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
5. Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
6. Punch dough down and shape into balls with a whole in the middle- see photo above with the flour on the counter... mine were so sticky, this was tough to make "pretty".
7. Bring water to boiling in a large pot (about 3-4 inches of water in there). Place 2 bagels at a time in the boiling water for 45 seconds and then turn them over and leave for another 45 seconds.
8. Remove the bagels from the water and allow to dry on a paper towel.
9. Wisk egg white and brush over the bagels. Coat cooking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal (I didn't do that). Place bagels 2 inches appart and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

The smell alone is worth it.... mmmmmmmmmm

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our "back yard"

Elle hardley ever takes naps anymore, but today, she wanted to take one in "our back yard". She hauled the blankets out onto the veranda (is that what this is called?) and cozied down.

I am just trying to ignore the fact that we can't even walk out on this "veranda" barefoot without coming in with black feet from all the soot and dirt that blows up from the street and parking area. Those blankets needed to be washed anyway... I am considering that both kids are napping AT THE SAME TIME a complete victory! =)

Forgotten Dream Cookies

These are my favorite cookies. They were a recipe of my grandma's that I remember helping my mom make as a child.

They are super SWEET...which is of course why they are my favorite...
Here's the recipe:

2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 oz. chocolate chips (I use a bit more)

With beater, beat egg whites until foamy. Add salt and cream of tarter. Beat until whites form stiff peaks. (make sure to really beat them..don't rush this phase) Add sugar gradually while beating. Beat in vanilla. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Put in preheated 350 degree oven. Turn oven OFF and leave them in there for at least 3 hours or overnight.
They should be crunchy and airy. If they are too sticky or gooey, then you may not have beat the whites long enough.

Mattheson Hammock Park

Michael has been here nearly two months and this last Sunday was the first time he's gone to the beach! Poor guy... every Sunday (his only day off) the weather isn't very good or we have something else going on. But it was beautiful this weekend. Mattheson Hammock Park is suppose to be one of the best beach parks for families in Miami. They made this little lagoon so it offer wave free swimming for the kids. They love it! It is such a gradual slope that the kids can play and we can relax.

Oh and they have these great things someone called "membrane sacks"... I don't really know what they are or what they're from, but Elle loves to play with them... they are slimmy, gooey and all over the place. This is a tiny one...most are much larger.

Christian was making it "snow" sand... that's always fun...


Open your eyes

Elle wanted me to take her picture. I was trying to get Elle to smile without squinting her eyes... all the pictures of her smiling always have little slits for her eyes... Here is her first attempt...

Here is the second... oh dear...