Saturday, March 31, 2012

"I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL".


Nothing fancy today, guys.

I didn't even bust out the DSLR!  This is a photobooth video still from a little crazy thing we did today.  I had a "quiet as it gets" morning with a cup of tea, some yoga, and a failed attempt at homemade flatbread pizza.  This was a bit of an irregular Saturday with no husband around, so I've been distracting myself with what I do best: amateur home hair-cuts.  (Don't worry, it's still growing out.... just did a little bang trim. Hah.)  It's funny, ever since Abby posted about blogging being a peek into someone's life, like you're inviting them over for breakfast... I've thought a bit about that lately and have decided to let you in on our not-so-perfect, kinda crazy things we don't really talk about!

A lot of you probably haven't heard me talk in "real life", and my older readers definitely haven't since my pregnancy updates a year or so ago.  I don't know if this is even supposed to be instructional, I think I was just intrigued by letting my guard down and showing a real piece of De La Rosa history that doesn't involve brunch or pretty parks.  Plus, Sofia makes a cameo appearance multiple times if you watch through four minutes in or so.  I'm off to work again tomorrow, but I hope the rest of you weekend-ers are enjoying your time off.  Live a little, get out there and enjoy your loved ones for me!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

FEAST -- WE LIKE IT RAW. MEYER LEMON BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE (AND OTHER STORIES ON HEALTH)


Okay-- so I know I said health posts were coming... and hopefully you didn't think I'd go all salad and quinoa on you right away!  To start, I should clue you all in that I can't really "bake" anything, so I figured I'd throw together a raw desert where the only thing I had left to do was freeze it!  Easy as cake! So, as you may have guessed I'm not really making any bold moves here, this is a very simple recipe to make as long as you have a good (enough) blender.  

Why I've been considering more "raw" options as well as easing into a grain-free diet isn't a fad or a plan to lose weight.  Last November after having Sofia, I was rushed to the ER one night for excruciating abdominal pain.  We didn't know if it was appendicitis, an ovarian cyst, an ulcer... there were so many possibilities.  You name it.  After a long eight hours and a rude staff to boot, I was sent home with some Maylox, Vicodin, and an unclear diagnosis.  The only thing they thought might be causing all this pain was gastritis, or more easily described as, an inflamed stomach lining.

For months, I did nothing.

I ate the same way I always ate, yet still expected to just miraculously feel better one day.  I knew I had to eventually put an end to all the pain I was in.  I did a little research on eating less grains, less sugar, and basically a lot less crappy stuff and more delicious, whole foods.

It's definitely still an ongoing processes, but I can honestly say that this time I'm dedicated to making a change, and have blocked off the entire month of April to ease into this new diet.  To further my seriousness this time around, I've even hired a certified holistic health coach through April to make sure I stick to it.  Mmm-hmm.  Big changes are coming.


It just so happened we were walking around in Whole Foods yesterday when, *GASP!*  to my surprise, I had finally found some Meyer lemons!  I've been searching high and low for what seems like forever for these little guys and I knew I had to incorporate them into my cooking over the course of the week.  I had big plans for some lemon curd, too... but... I used them all.  Oops.

It's honestly really hard to mess up this recipe.  Honestly though I almost messed it up until I texted Abby to see how the hell I was going to get... the cheesecake... out of the pan.  Seriously who has a springform pan just laying around?  Good news is -- you can totally skate by with your regular 9 inch round pan, you just need a little finesse and a few silent prayers before you invert your dreamcake onto a plate.


MEYER LEMON BLUEBERRY RAW CHEESECAKE:
(adapted from this recipe and this one and also Coco's.)


FOR THE CRUST:
• 2 cups of raw almonds (soaked overnight)
• 1 cup of walnuts (soaked overnight)
• 1/2 cup of dates or dried cranberries
• 1/4 cup of dry, unsweetened coconut flakes


FOR THE FILLING:
• one bag of Whole Foods 365 brand raw cashews (soaked overnight)
• 1/2 cup of Meyer lemon juice
• 3/4 cup of raw honey
• 1 cup of raw coconut oil
• 1 cup of frozen or fresh blueberries
• 1 vanilla bean, pod split lengthwise and seeds scraped (or 1tsp. vanilla)
• 1 tsp. himalayan pink sea salt

FOR THE TOPPING:
• 2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
• 1/4 cup of raw honey
• dash of cinnamon
• zest of one Meyer lemon



PART ONE:
For your crust, you'll want to have prepped all of your nuts (soaked) the night before.  This makes it a LOT easier on your blender.  "Trust me," says the girl who doesn't have enough money to own a Vitamix.  Place all crust ingredients except for the coconut into your blender or food processor and blend to a consistency you'd like.  I prefer the crust a little on the chunkier side, but I'm sure a finer crust would work just as well!  Now, this is where I messed up-- I do not own a springform cake pan, so I used a regular 9 inch round pan... just make sure you place a plastic wrap lining prior to molding your crust.  (Otherwise you'll have to find a way to macgyver your cheesecake onto a platter!) Take those coconut flakes we left out and scatter them on the bottom of your cake pan to prevent the crust from sticking to the pan, then carefully mold in your crust mixture.

PART TWO:
For the filling, go ahead and load up your blender that you just cleaned back out with your juiced Meyer lemons, honey, vanilla beans, salt and coconut oil.  You'll want to heat up your coconut oil in the microwave for around 2 minutes prior to tossing it into your blender due to its solid-ness while being stored.  Once your liquids are mixed, you'll slowly want to begin adding in your cashews -- wait a minute now, don't get too jumpy!  If you put too many in at once they'll just get stuck, and your blender... well... it will fight you.  You need to outsmart your blender. ;)  The "cheese" filling is done when it tastes great and is a creamy, smooth consistency.

Pour about half to three-quarters of your filling on top of your crust, then take what's left of your "cheese" mixture and add those blueberries and back to the blender it goes.  After the final round with your mixer, spread the blueberry filling on top and put in your freezer until ready to use.  To serve this raw cheesecake, leave it thaw on the counter until it's soft enough to run a serrated knife through.

PART THREE:
This cake is so delicious even by itself (I was scooping out the filling from my blender with a spoon...) but it also tastes great with some form of a topping if you're into that sort of thing.  I simply heated some blueberries, honey, zest, and cinnamon on the stove for a few minutes until little bubbles formed around the edges.  Let cool, then top that cake up!

Enjoy this deliciously good-for-you, gluten/dairy/egg/grain free raw dessert!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

FAMILY DAY -- LA GRANGE, IL


And almost as if on cue, our chilly, wet weekend opened up with warm rays of sun.

Most days we don't know whether or not to bring our jackets, but today they were off and it sure felt wonderful!!  Erick, Sofia and I spent our Wednesday together downtown in La Grange, IL to walk around outside, grocery shop, and grab a bite to eat.  And really... who are we kidding, of course we got frozen yogurt.  If you're ever in the area, this is by far -- the best frozen yogurt I've ever had.

I sincerely hope all of you are enjoying your week!

I really hope to post some yummy recipes up on the blog as long as my novice-ability doesn't get the best of me! ;) I feel like I have a lot to say in the realm of food and health lately, but really haven't had the time to just sit and hash out how I want to say it.  The ideas, though, they're there, and they're flowing... you better believe it!  It's invigorating. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

CRASHING TO A HALT


Last week, I was driving home from work and my thoughts were racing a million miles a minute.  Every once and a while it seems like everything in my life-- whether it be responsibilities that need to be tended to, a marriage that needs more nurturing, a future that still has so many unanswered questions, or just a blog post that's been lacking my voice-- all seems to creep up on me at once.

This was one of those weeks.

While amongst it all, I find myself in more control by losing control; meaning, I let the storm run its course.  Sitting here at my desk tonight, I'm greeted by the familiar smell of my caribbean scented candle and I feel like the cyclone of negative thinking has lifted and come crashing to a halt.  There are so many great things happening lately, but I haven't taken a breath to notice.

Mindful breathing.

I know I forget often that a slow and steady pace always gets you to your destination,  you just have to have a little faith that you'll make it there.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

EIGHTY-ONE YEARS


Happy eighty first birthday to the healthiest, funniest, and most lovely Grandfather in the world.  We are so glad we were able to spend the day with you, and are grateful you've touched our lives for so many years.

Here's to many more.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

FAMILY DAY: FRIEND EDITION














The sun was warm and the breeze, cool.  A perfect, eighty degree second day of spring was our time to meet up with friends, catch up, and enjoy the weather.  For as many times as we all tried to get together, we've had quite a few flops -- so we made sure to do as much as we could this past Wednesday.

We started early, around 11AM to head over for lattes at Metropolis, then walked to the nearest beach to stick our toes in the water.  We refueled with frozen yogurt up on Belmont, then trekked to eat one of the best hot dogs you'll have in Chicago.  

To note, Sofia loves pickles.  And Abby.

You can find Abby's perspective on the day here.  
Any photos that you can see me in were taken by him.

SOMEONE HAD A GOOD DAY YESTERDAY


That look on her face, the windswept hair, those rosy cheeks...

Sofia had more fun yesterday with all of her friends than I think I've ever seen her have.  We took another trip to the beach and I can't wait to share the rest of the photos with you.  It really was an amazing day.

Check back sometime this afternoon to see a follow up post.

(photo by Erick)

SOFIE SHORTS: 9 MONTHS


I know a lot of you have been wondering where the videos went, and I'm happy to say that they're back.  
It truly is so wonderful to be able to have these memories, as simple as they are, to look back on and treasure forever.

We are so lucky.

Of course this was shot, edited and color corrected by Erick, whose vimeo profile you can view here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

DEAR SOFIA: OUR TOOTHY BRIGHT EYED BEAUTY


Sofia, your two bottom teeth finally came through-- madness, I tell you!  Besides drooling and shoving whatever you could into your tiny baby mouth, you barely made a peep regarding your newly cut gums.  You look magical!  Papa says that your "baby teeth better grow in straight," and I think that means he doesn't want to pay for your braces.  It's okay.  You'll have a few awkward years and we'll love you just the same.

Today we had another historical moment-- your first ride in a swing!  The weather has been beautiful around here lately and you've loved taking walks with me in our ergo carrier.  You really are the perfect companion:  you smile and wave at passerby's at Target, we pick out soaps together at Lush, and if we could only get your dad to get over that one tank top we bought that apparently shows "too much of your baby boobies".  We'll work on it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

MUST VISIT CHICAGO: LA COLOMBE








La  Colombe Torrefaction

955 W Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60607
West Loop Neighborhood

Erick, Hector, Sofia and I all took a quick trip for some lattes on Saturday morning, and stumbled upon a new gem hidden in the city's West Loop neighborhood.  The West Loop has so many amazing little shops and restaurants that I don't think I've ever seen before, a lot of them opening up for the first time so we'll definitely be making a trip back.  It's so nice to have family in town visiting, we always wish they could stay longer (or live closer!)

why you should visit
• beautiful interior
• fresh milk straight from the farm
• full size, in house coffee roaster
• awesome mugs and saucers
• complimentary sparkling water

good to know
• no wifi
• no menu (traditional espresso drinks only)
• no fancy flavors

what to order
• latte
• mocha
• bottled iced coffee


Saturday, March 17, 2012

JUST SAYING HELLO


There's nothing I love more than spending time with these two important people in my life.  This weekend we're recovering from 12 hour work days and crazy retail madness, but are trying to take the time for outdoor cups of coffee, midday afternoons still in pajamas, and of course -- each other.  I hope to have some new recipes this week and more progress on my website.  Hope you are all having a great Saturday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

FAMILY DAY: PICNIC AT THE PARK




Every Wednesday is our Family Day.  It has been for as long as I can remember.  Even when Erick and I were only first dating, we had our Wednesdays off from work together and we would always wake up late in the afternoon for brunch and spend the day exploring different parts of the city or sometimes -- just lazing around the house making sure to take as many naps as we could.

Now with our daughter, we've made it a point to make sure we get out of the house almost every Wednesday to show her something new and make new memories together as a family.  Yesterday we went back to Oak Park which honestly feels more and more like home each time we go.  Erick shot some video of our day and I can't wait to show it to you!  I miss posting the videos on my blog, and it's something Erick really enjoys putting together.

Things have been really great lately.  I love this little family of mine more than I love anything else in the world.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

FEAST / PARMESAN BAKED EGGS



This is the first post in my food series - hurray!  Now I already know I am really, really terrible at baking, but for some reason I fare better in the breakfast department.  I found it only fitting to start this off with a favorite fancy breakfast of mine:  baked eggs.

This recipe is based off of this one I found and tried a while back, but the great thing about eggs are they're so versatile and can be customized basically any way your palate desires!  Here's how I made mine:

-     -     -     -     -

INGREDIENTS:
1-3 organic cage-free eggs
3 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
4 strips of bacon (or any cured meat -- pancetta might be nice!)
grated parmesan or romano cheese
coarse ground salt
freshly ground pepper

STEPS:
• preheat oven to 400ยบ
• place one tablespoon of butter on the bottom of each ramekin you'll be using for your eggs
• pour a little of the heavy cream to coat the bottom of your dish
• chop cooked bacon and add to dish (you can also add some spinach or sun dried tomatoes for a twist!)
• carefully crack your desired amount of eggs on top of your mixture
liberally sprinkle salt and ground pepper over your eggs
• add parmesan or romano cheese
• bake for 12-14 minutes depending on the consistency you like your eggs.
* note: because of the cream, your eggs might look a little runny still -- this is perfectly normal!


That's it!  Easy-peasy right?

I hope you guys have fun with this one.  If you're a feta type of person, I imagine it might be good with that too but I despise feta cheese!  The great thing about this recipe is it can honestly go several different ways and still tastes just as delicious.  Happy breakfasting.





Monday, March 12, 2012

THE "DIAPERS" AND THE "SKINNY JEANS"



There aren't a ton of photos of Sofia and I together.  Finding moments like these on the memory card are always a great surprise.

Thanks, Erick.