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Abuelo is missed today

Papi has been gone almost 6 years and this is his fifth Fathers Day from heaven.  However, this year his absence is greated than ever as he should be enjoying his first Fathers day as an Abuelo and disfrutando his nieta.…and she him.

Papi, happy Fathers Day Abuelo.  It is because of you that we have our miracle. Gracias Papi.

Well, hard to believe I’ve been off the blog for so long!!!! After that marmalade post I was able to complete more jams and two pies that I had all intention of posting, but that last month of the pregnancy was very busy getting everything in order.

So for those of you wondering, it was a GIRL! A beautiful healthy baby girl that we will call Baby H on the blog.

Well Baby H just turned 6 months and she is a joy to have around. We are now getting into a schedule so I will be able to blog more and finally posts about those pies, baby H’s birth, as well as living with baby and making Cuban baby food.

Yup. CUBAN BABY FOOD.

Homemade Marmalade

We belong to a CSA for the summer. For those of you not familiar with what a CSA is, basically its a program where you pay into, and they give you weekly rations of fruits, vegetables, bread and even eggs that are locally and organically grown. I opted to buy it this summer for two reasons: one I wanted to challenge my cooking creativity (I’ve now become acquainted with three types of chard and have discovered garlic scapes) and two, I wouldn’t buy vegetables even if you paid me. So this was a nice way to incorporate some green.

To make it less boring for me (Alan loves anything green), I also bought the fruit, egg and bread share. I love fruit, and usually love to make smoothies, but this summer I had a mission – I wanted to bake my first pie. But wait, doesn’t the title say mermelada? Yes it does, I haven’t gotten enough fruit to make the pie yet.

Last week we got blueberries and raspberries. I stared at them for a while, and looked at Alan and said “How about we make some mermelada?” His eyes lit up like a kid. Bam! Mermelada it is I told myself. I know mermelada takes fruit and sugar, so I set around the Internet to find a recipe for Blueberry-Raspberry Marmalade (or Jam as everyone wants to call it). During my search I learned about the process of canning, sterilizing, and this thing called pectin.

“Pecto-what?” said Alan. P-E-C-T-I-N.

Went to Wegman’s for my jars and the Pectin. No luck. No jars; no pectin. Really? Isn’t the summer when everybody makes and can jams? Hello? Middle of fruit season?

On a whim decided to go to Target. SUCCESS! Jars in all sizes, and some sort of Pectin that I wasn’t sure about.
Alan stared at me and said “That pectin thing is a gringada. In Chile we use just the fruit and the sugar”. And really I thought, people have been making jams since before this pectin probably existed. So, no pectin it is! Now to find a damn recipe (for the rations) that uses no pectin. Alas! within five minutes I had one. Today, I’m taking the day off my research duties and decided Today was THE day I was going to make marmalade.

So here goes my foray into the American (and probably other countries) tradition of making your own marmalade. Since we had small amount of fruit there is no canning involved. I guarantee you this will last us only a couple of days.

What you will need:

  • 1.5 Cups Fresh Blueberries
  • 1.5 Cups Fresh Red Raspberries
  • 2 Cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 small or one large Ball Jar
  • 2 decent size saucepan
  • 1 very good spoon
  • Pair of tongs

Place your jars and lids (yes I know I placed the bands instead; amateur I am) on a saucepan with enough water and simmer on medium for the duration of the process.

Sterilizing Jars

Rinse the blueberries (I opted not to rinse the raspberries as they were very soft). Place blueberries and raspberries in a large enough saucepan. So it doesn’t boil over, rub butter on the top inside of the saucepan.

Berries ready for sugar!

Add the 2 cups of sugar and mix well. Set the temperature of the stove for medium low for the first 5 minutes and stir a couple of times. Then set to medium, where you will stir occasionally until you bring to a boil.

Berries with Sugar

Once you bring to a boil, keep at medium heat, and stir CONSTANTLY for about ten minutes making sure nothing is sticking at the bottom. The idea is to prevent any foaming while it boils; otherwise you will need to skim the foam at the end. The mixture will turn from its initial reddish to a more deeper magenta color. I also crushed with the stirring spoon some of the blueberries.

Almost there!

After the 10 minutes, turn heat up to medium-high, and keep stirring CONSTANTLY. This will help accelerate the “jellying” process so you don’t have to stand there for a long time. Keep stirring for about 5-7 minutes and then turn the heat off. Keep stirring until it no longer boils. If you want to make sure the marmalade is at the jellying state you prefer, spoon out a bit to a plate and leave it at room temp (you can also pop in the fridge for a minute or so). However it sets, is how it will set after you jar it.

Boiling Berries!

With tongs pick out the jars from the saucepan and drain. Pick out the lids too. Set aside. If there is any water left in the jar, turn it upside down with the tongs so it drains. Because the jars are hot, I placed them on a folded kitchen towel. Grab your marmalade mix and pour it into the jar (or jars) making sure you are scraping every little last bit. Once done wipe outside of jar with paper towel.

Done!

Once you’ve poured the mermelada in the jars, leave about a quarter inch to the top, lid and band them. Let them cool outside, until they are room temperature. Then you can store in the fridge if like me you like the mermelada cold and set. Then go to the supermarket and get some bread and follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Open the Jar

Step 2: Spread

Enjoy!

Almost there :)

It’s been quite the quiet pregnancy, cannot complain. We are getting closer to our due date of August 25th, but both Alan and I, and my Mom, think I will be early – just not clear on how early. Were you early or late on your first pregnancy?

As you know, we have no clue as to the sex of our baby – we really want it to be a surprise. But my Mom, since she has some special circumstances that warranted her to know – well SHE KNOWS! We had the ultrasound tech write it down on a paper and put it in an envelope that we mailed to her. So she just sent us a box with gender specific clothing labeled DO NOT OPEN. See?

Do Not Open Box

I know, I know. Most of you are wondering how we can even have that box in the house and not rip it apart. To be honest, it is not that difficult. Since we always knew we wanted to wait, we are at peace with not knowing. Our friends and family have been taking bets. So far only three votes for a boy, and an overwhelming majority believe its a girl. Us? we just want a healthy baby! And DONT GET ANY IDEAS ABOUT ASKING MOM!!!! She is NOT telling!!

Obviously not knowing the sex of the baby slows down your gender specific preparations. For example, we don’t yet have a crib, as I like different colors for girl or boy. So we will have baby Lambie in a bassinet for the first three months. We have neutral clothing for about the first week, and we are having a baby shower this coming weekend so we’ll see what we get there. Once baby is born, then we will go on a shopping spree! (great reason don’t you think?)

I always wanted to do a pregnancy shoot – ever since Demi’s infamous yet beautiful Vanity Fair cover. We just believe that a pregnancy belly is beautiful and is to be embraced and not hidden. So we found a great photographer and we had our shoot. I don’t have the proofs yet, but she did post one picture in Facebook for us to share. I have to admit, I never thought they would look THAT GOOD. We are so happy with the one picture, and CANNOT wait for the rest of the proofs. I think we will have more than enough to work with, what do you think?

Alan & Adriana - 33 Weeks

One more thing to accomplish is a Baby Scrapbook – have any of you ever done one? I wanted to do a photobook scrapbook for our baby, but find that all the pages offered are, you guessed it! Gender Specific…..so that makes it hard. And I really don’t want to wait until baby Lambie is born…we will not have much time then. So if anyone knows a way around this, I’m all for suggestions.

So now we sit here at 34 weeks, counting down the days……we really are so excited and cannot wait for this baby to arrive. We are following as natural a birth as possible at the hospital. We have taken our laboring and hipnobirthing classes in an effort to avoid interventions and pain medications, and to keep me calm and relaxed. What’s that? Did I pack a bag? Not yet, but we have all the elements ready and bought.

Just 6 more weeks until we meet our son or daughter, six more weeks. Seems like such a short time!

I’ve been quiet for a while and there has been a reason.  Well, there have actually been may reasons but mostly I really haven’t been cooking much and I’ve been keeping a secret.  And the secret I’ve been keeping is the main reason why I really haven’t been cooking that much; that together with my work, and Alan finishing up school – he graduates in May yay!!!!

So what is this secret I’ve been keeping? 

 Pregnancy Ticker

Trust me this has been a hard to keep secret.  We’ve wanted kids for a loooooooong time, but we were a bit on the paranoid side and just kept waiting and waiting until we felt we had surpassed most of the risks so that we could share these wonderful news with the rest of you!

What? the sex of the baby? No clue.  We are not finding out, it will be a surprise for ALL of us.  Do you know how hard it is to buy stuff for a baby you have no clue what the gender is?  The baby marketing industry is either team pink or team blue.  There is no neutral anymore – and what you do find is yellow or green.

Names?  Well if it is a girl it will be Hannah Isabel Lambie, if it is a boy it will be Davi Samuel Lambie.

So as of right now we are 21 weeks pregnant and our next u/s will be on the 28th.  We are VERY excited with our pregnancy and really cannot wait to see our baby again (even if it is on a screen).  We hope that you share our joy!

Seven Wonderful Years

On a day like today, I was at the salon having come from the banquet hall, getting my hair done for my wedding.  I have no idea what Alan was doing.

I woke up on Friday December 5th, 2003 with a lot to do and very little time to do it.  First off, I needed to pick up one of my friends Ana Maria del Pino, who was staying at a hotel.  With her and my maiden of honor, Marisol, in tow, we drove to the banquet hall to place the almendritas and the chocolate takeaways we had prepared the night before.  Mami did the almendritas (I wish I had a picture of them in this computer, she did a great job!), and I did the chocolate wrappers.  Mami was already at the peluqueria while we were on this errand.  We also dropped of the cake topper and the toast flutes.

When we walked it I was shocked.  It all looked so beautiful, and we were running late.  So we worked really fast and sped to the peluqueria.  There Mami – figuring I hadn’t eaten – was waiting for me with a cortadito and a palmera.  And my stylist got to work.  Once done I drove us all home, while wearing the crown and veil mind you, and everything else kept falling into place.  We had a beautiful wedding!

December 5, 2003

It’s been 7 years since that date. SEVEN. YEARS.  We an hardly believe it; for us it feels like it was yesterday.  These 7 years have been busy for us.  In 2004 we moved to Rhode Island where we spent the next 5 years while I worked on my Ph.D. degree.  Alan started working towards his degree as well.  We went to see the Red Sox, visited Boston often, and made many good and wonderful friends.  In 2009 we moved to Rochester, where we started a new life with me finally an Assistant Professor, and Alan able to give himself 100% to his studies.  We’ve gone to Chile twice, to Puerto Rico and Miami more than that, we’ve had dark moments and beautiful moments, and somehow it all has been great.  I really could not ask for a better husband or marriage, warts and all.  I definitely married a life partner.

Here is this year’s picture, taking in August when we went to New England and visited Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.  If you ever have the chance to go, do it.  You will not regret it.

Alan & Adriana 2010

So today, December 5, 201o, we raise our glasses with you so that we may share with you seven more years!

Happy Anniversary to us!!!!

Christmas is Coming!

My favorite season is here, Christmas!!!!!  And as such we have started up our decorations.  It usually takes us a while to get everything up but that’s just because we have SO MUCH to decorate and with our schedule (school and Alan’s studying) we usually have a limited amount of time.

One of the things I love about living in the Northeast is that you can find many things that are community made and local, cheap and very fresh.  For example our door wreath was just $15.00!  and with fresh pine an benefiting a local community group.  You can’t beat that!

Christmas Wreath

And so it was time to look for our Christmas tree.  I’ve always had a knack for buying 5 footers that get pudgier every year, always sending me to the store to get more lights.  Funny think is that every year I tried to buy a skinnier or at lest less frondoso tree.  Alas, every year I ended up with a fatter tree.  When we moved north our first tree in Rhode Island we got from a cut your own tree farm.  It was a great experience; you pick out the tree you like, and the guy hands you a saw and you get your tree.  From 2005 on, we bought our trees at the same farmstand, paying about $50 bucks for my fat 5 footers.

This year I put my foot down.  I was determined to get the damn tree I had envisioned.  I new it was a Fir, I just didn’t know what kind.  About a mile from our house there is a Christmas Tree farm, so we went there on Tuesday.  And the first tree I see is the Fir I’ve always dreamed about.  Except that think is huge!  It’s 10 feet tall!  But its got such a beautiful color of green and such a nice shape!  But we keep looking.  Finally Alan asks if there was a tree I liked.  I said yes but that I thought it was too big, and showed him the tree.  He said, “It will fit”.  I said “It’s 10 feet tall!”.  He reassured me “It will fit”.  So we bought a 10 footer for $47 bucks!  Can you believe that?  And low and behold, IT DID FIT! Now on to decorating, at least this year, I won’t run out of lights. I think.

Adriana's 10 Foot Christmas Tree

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