Friday, September 30, 2011

What I Ate [Friday]

I thought it might be fun to join in on the "What I Ate Wednesday" blog-world event where every Wednesday bloggers share their eats of the day. In my WIAW edition, I'd share my Spanish eats and kitchen creations from the week.  I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, so this this week I'm sharing my creations from the kitchen! These creations aren't fancy, time-consuming recipes but rather creative spins on classic meal options that are satisfying and nutritious. (Note: I'll normally do these on Wednesdays, but today we'll start with Friday)

 Veggie filled salad with lots of chickpeas, my favorite!
 Brown rice cooked in chicken stock with sauteed red peppers, onions, and fresh tomato. Topped with hummus and goat cheese.
I'm really proud of this one! I know it looks a little funny, but it's a quick dinner and fulfills all of the important food groups: vegetable, carbohydrate, protein, and fat: Two eggs steamed in the microwave with curry powder, sauteed onions and bell peppers, 2 pieces of toast topped with goat cheese and homemade hummus.
Not great picture quality here, sorry, but I've become a master at making paninis. It's another great way to make a quick and healthy meal. Here I've got two pieces of multi-grain toast with a spread of jelly (this is key--sweet and savory is the best!), roasted red peppers, deli turkey, sliced cheese, hummus, and cucumbers. And a side of roasted broccoli and onions.
 I told you I love paninis. I just can't get enough! This one is very similar to the last but I also added some fresh tomato slices.

This was another good one--especially since I utilized some left over chicken I cooked up the night before. Roasted broccoli, chicken, onions, and tomato atop a toasted WW pita pocket with hummus and goat cheese. Yes, I'm on a hummus and goat cheese kick--I'm officially an addict.

Now that I'm on a relatively normal schedule here with school and daily activities, I've had more time to devote to making my own meals, which I love to do. Of course I go out and enjoy the occasional Spanish menú del día, but the kitchen always calls to me after a weekend of eating out. 

I anticipate some great eats this weekend since my friend Vivian is coming to visit me! Obviously I have to introduce her to the wonderful Spanish cuisine! Sangria Paella anyone?
Be back soon with a post on my hiking adventure from a few weeks ago. The pictures will blow your mind.

Of Possible Interest: I recently read this article, "Nut Butter Gets Better" on Rachel Ray's website. I love peanut butter, but my favorite type of nut butter is sunflower seed butter. It's nice to see the nutritional benefits of the different kinds of nut butters. I can't wait to try walnut butter! Go out and buy yourself a jar of your favorite nut butter, or *gasp* if you don't like nut butters, you can buy me one! ;)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

3 Weeks

Sorry for my brief hiatus. I really don't have an excuse, other than I've been living and loving my life here in Spain. I've only been here for three weeks but it feels like forever :)
Salamanca, Spain
Boating in Retiro Park (Central Park of Madrid)
Hiking outside of Spain
Tapas bar hopping! Trying to find the best tinto de verano (typical Spanish drink of Red Wine, Seltzer/Sprite)!
What have I been up to for the past two weeks? Well, classes started on the 5th and it's been non-stop ever since! Classes are great--albeit super challenging, but in the best way possible. I'm talking all of my classes this semester in Spanish in an attempt to master the language and leave (tear...) this country fluent. 

I'm not quite there yet, but each day I feel myself getting a little bit better, whether it's learning new vocabulary, picking up on colloquial phrases, or being able to understand an entire conversation (eavesdropping) about "dinner last night" on the metro.

I really wish that these pictures could dispense all 5 senses, but since they can't, try to use all of your senses to enjoy these pictures.
Can you taste these churros? The rich pure chocolate?
Oldest University in Spain and 3rd in Europe: University of Salamanca (1134)
It's Sunday today, which means two things. First: homework day. Second: Bull Fights. Yep, we're going to a bull fight tonight. I've been warned many times that the bull fight can be quite scary, but I'm in Madrid and it's a must-do! I'll let you know how it goes! Perhaps in words, pictures might be a bit emotionally scaring...?

Until then!
Tengan un buen domingo! (Have a great Sunday!)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Segovia, Spain

If you ever get the chance to visit Spain, you need to add Segovia to your list of must sees.  Rich with Spanish history, Segovia was named a World Heritage site in 1985 by UNESCO.

We spent the day touring the city top to bottom. Here's what we saw,

Alcazar of Segovia
The oldest testimony of the Alcázar is a document dating from the early days of the 12th century (1122). The fortress was said to have existed since the Roman occupation and was a key fortress for the control of Castile. Later, the Alcázar was used as a state prison, and in 1762 Carlos III installed the Royal School of Artillery which, remained until 1862.
The Alcázar is also said to have been the inspiration for Walt Disney's castle, can't you see it? :)

Next we walked to the Cathedral of Segovia, actually built to replace an earlier Romanesque one which had been located near the Alcázar and was destroyed during the revolt of the Comuneros against Charles V.  Work on the cathedral started in 1525, so the style is extremely late Gothic.

The final stop was at the Roman Aqueduct of Segovia. Despite being 2,000 years old, the aqueduct still delivers potable water to Segovia! This Roman masterpiece was built with 20,400 stone blocks perfectly constructed (without mortar or concrete!) to resist passing storms and earthquakes.

What a morning! We walked and walked and walked! I love walking, but this is serious business! We definitely worked up an appetite for none other than a menú del día, what else? :)
 Paella mixta
Unfortunately, this menú del día just didn't cut it. I ordered the paella as my first course and it was very good, but my entree is not even worth talking about (nor worth taking a picture of). The flan was pretty good--I'm looking forward to trying better though!

Classes started today! I've already changed my classes around a bit and added some new ones! I'm really looking forward to getting into an actual routine--I need routine in my life to function well!

It's siesta time right now in Spain so I'm working on organizing my schedule and preparing for a full day of classes tomorrow!

Stay tuned for a post about our day trip to Salamanca!

Hasta luego!