Disney Recipe: Mousse au Chocolat

I have to say, mousse is one of those basically easy desserts that becomes your spectacular finale to dinner. I made this last week with the assistance of my MyCook Robot and we enjoyed it enor-mousse-ly. It made three cups of mousse so we are still working our way through it, but this would probably serve four at dinner, and look super cute in individual ramekins.

Mousse au Chocolat

Boulangerie Patisserie Les Halles, Epcot

Yield: Approximately 3 cups

Ingredients:
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar

Instructions:
1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over warm water. Remove from heat.

2. Combine egg yolks and cream and gradually add chocolate, stirring rapidly. Add vanilla extract.

3. Beat egg whites with sugar until stiff peaks form (this for me is the hardest part, and this is where my MyCook came in and saved me. My egg whites looked like shaving cream here, super poofy and stiff! I had to use a paddle attachment though…)

4. GENTLY fold egg whites into chocolate mixture (I think this is the tricky part, make sure no chocolate has stuck to the bottom of your bowl because this can make your complete combination of the ingredients difficult). Spoon mousse into a decorative mold or individual serving glasses and chill until firm (about 2 hours).

Top with strawberries, or any other fruit that pairs with chocolate. You won’t be disappointed! Also consider using it as filling for eclairs or cake! Yum!

Disney Recipe: Mousse au Chocolat

Recipe: Black Bean Soup with Roasted Poblano Chiles

I had to share this recipe right away because it WAS SOOOO GOOD. Me and my sweety LOVED IT. It took me about 30 minutes to make, using both my MyCook Cooking Robot and my soup pot. I would call it slighly labor intensive, but easy overall to make. You can find the link here:
http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/black-bean-soup-with-roasted-poblano-chiles
Seriously, it is all fruits, veggies, and chicken stock. So healthy and tasty. It is really filling, and packs a lot of punch without being over the top spicy. It is more flavorful than hot! It is a great starter or entree🙂 My sweety said it would be great with chicarron, queso cotija or queso fresco, and maybe even sour cream/avocado. You can keep it vegan by adding vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. For Weight Watchers folks out there, half cup is 1pp, a full cup is 3pp. I hope you like it!

Recipe: Black Bean Soup with Roasted Poblano Chiles

The Dog Debate: Ruff Decision

So my and my sweety are deciding about getting a dog or not. The breed that we have decided on is a cocker spaniel, but really, the decision is a tough one. Dogs bring joy and love to any house, but also complicate your life. It is like having a baby that will never grow up, that will never be able to talk to you or take over his own maintenance/feeding/entertainment/health. But let’s discuss the pros and cons to dog ownership, before we really make a decision:

Pros:
1. Love love love. Both me and my sweety grew up with dogs, and we love them. We love how they make us feel, we love their friendship, we love everything about dogs.
2. Happiness. Companies like Google allow people to bring dogs to work because they know that dogs increase productivity, health, and happiness. I love seeing my puppy Jakie every time that I go to San Diego, he puts a smile on my face no matter what. You also feel inspired to do things that make him happy, because making him happy makes you happy!
3. Companionship. They are always there! No matter what you are doing: chopping veggies, gardening, cleaning, having dinner, they always want to be around their families. I love the idea of a furry companion in the house.
4. A Family. He is like your son and brother wrapped into one. You are Mommy/Daddy, and he loves you.

Cons:
1. Expenses. WOW this is a big con. Food, veterinarian expenses, dog sitters/walkers, toys, repairs for things that they chew up/break/pee on, the list is endless.
2. The worrying. What if he’s bored? What if he is lonely? What if somebody stole him? What if he ate something he shouldn’t have? What if he escapes? What if he is too hot? What if he is hungry? OMG. Luckily my schedule is pretty much the same every day, and my sweety has a different schedule everyday. Maybe this doesn’t give him a solid routine as far as Daddy is concerned, but Mommy will always leave early and come home early, and that makes me feel a little bit better.
3. The poop. It’s not my biggest complaint, but I feel for our property it could be tricky to make it so puppy has a place to go-go without bothering the neighbors (or you).
4. Complications to your schedule. What if you want to go on vacation, what do you do with your puppy? What about taking him to the bathroom, or on a walk after work? What if I have to go give my English classes, can I take him with me to a pet-friendly place? It is a lot to think about.
5. Giving your puppy the attention he needs. Sometimes you are tired. Sometimes you want to go to the gym. Sometimes you just want to enjoy a Corona and football game. What if puppy wants to play? What if he needs to go for a walk, or play fetch? Without exercise and stimuli dogs become disruptive and depressed. Poor things.
6. Giving your puppy the space that he needs. Where do we put him when we aren’t home? It needs to be a place where he has shade, fresh air, toys, a place to potty, and ultimately safe. No wires, no scary spiders, nothing that could potentially hurt your puppy.

In my opinion, dogs make your life better. Like anything or anyone, dog ownership takes work. It is a big responsibility, it is never-ending, and is tiring. But guess what? It makes you happy, it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and it is great to make your little buddy so happy. That makes me happy. They love you and you love them. Nothing is better than that!

The Dog Debate: Ruff Decision

Teachers: Their Joy is their Sweet, Sweet Sorrow

In the beginning, I struggled a lot with teaching (for the reasons that I will elaborate below). Now that I have been focusing way more on my job and responsibilities, I find that I have been enjoying it more. Now I haven’t been teaching for that long (I just passed my four month mark), but I want to share a few challenges that people probably don’t think about when they consider a teaching career….

1. Illnesses. Constant illness.
I have literally been sick since the first day that I started teaching. Little kids don’t always cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing, and they are very good at sharing…germs. I have fourteen 3 and 4 year olds, plus 2 other teachers in the classroom with me. Usually if somebody is sick, everybody catches it, but unfortunately I can’t stay home from school every time I have a sniffle. I end up at school, boiling water in my boss’ office, gulping down abnormal amounts of tea trying to keep my body functional.

2. The Kids.
They are not YOUR kids, and you can’t necessary problem-solve with them the way that you would with your own children. You have to be a role model, constantly, even when lecturing them and setting limits with them. Sometimes they don’t pay attention, or they have tantrums out of nowhere, sometimes they have emotional/psychological conditions, sometimes they have learning disabilities, you have to be prepared for anything. And at the end of the day, you are responsible for their pass/fail. Good luck.

3. The Parents.
They are a bigger challenge than the children, in most cases. I know that children don’t come with a manual of any kind, but I feel that there are some basics that we should all know, a few being: know how to set limits, how to pack a couple different lunches a week (not the same for a year), how to take pacifiers away from children after the age of two, how to bathe children and brush their teeth, and most importantly how to support your child while they are on their educational journey. Don’t refuse to help your child do home projects because you aren’t “good with numbers” (0-10), especially if they are behind. Don’t let your child walk all over you, they are a child, not a bengal tiger. Don’t send them to school in dirty clothes, unbathed, with unwashed faces and unbrushed teeth. This makes even the kindest teacher crazy.

4. The Schedule.
Training. Class. Afterschool programs. Weekend and evening events. “Homework.” The time commitment that you make when you decide to be a teacher is enormous, and it never stops. In Mexico, all schools–private and public–are required to have Professional Development days at the end of each month. Also, depending on your training, you might be at school until 7 o’clock in the evening, after a day of teaching. And sometimes, because you make an effort to plan great things for your students, you take home work with you. You also take home the frustration, anger, stress and anxiety from teaching.

5. The Work.
You plan, you execute, you revise your plan. As a teacher you are constantly planning for your lessons, your meetings with parents, your units that you are covering. Plan plan plan. But, plan for your more advanced students, plan for your not-so-advanced students. Plan extra activities for students that need extra help. Oh, and if someone is sick, you might need to cover for them (which is what happened today). I may teach preschool, but today I covered for a kindergarten class. Crazy. Sometimes you explain things 4 or 5 times, and the eyes still stare at you blankly. Sometimes if you speak to your students in English, they ignore you and hold out for you to translate into Spanish.

6. The Fellow Teachers.
You love them, you understand them, and they still make you crazy. Enough said.

7. Your Pay.
It is modest, and not commensurate to the amount of work you do each day, or to the amount of thought you put into your work, nor the amount of concern that you feel for the children under your care.

In the end, you don’t teach for money, for the vacation schedule, for the discounts in school. You suffer, you work hard everyday, you deal with the unexpected all the time. You teach because you care about the children, because you love children, and because you want to help raise people that will make the world a better place.

Teachers: Their Joy is their Sweet, Sweet Sorrow

Pinterest and Wedding Planning....WOW

So, wedding planning. The beast in a big, fluffy, white gown. Lots of details to forget or remember, lots of big things to potentially screw up. First off, my work friend Vivi pointed out the three things I need to nail down first before planning anything else, they are:

1. Location location location
2. The Date
3. The amount of guests that will attend

Right now I have number three figured out (110 after children), I have an idea of which date I want, and the place is up in the air at the moment. We have a few ideas, and we are looking into one of the locations this week! Fingers crossed!

So I’ve gotten a million ideas for my wedding from Pinterest, and I can’t overstate how helpful it’s been! You can type in “wedding dress” or “wedding tent” or “wedding invitations,” etc, and get a million things! The boards help me keep everything organized (or secret, if need be). Right now, I’m focusing on ideas for my dress, sweets table, and invitations. Also, if I have it my way, I will have “So This Is Love” from Cinderella (my one and only Disney detail) play as our first song. Lyrics below:

So This is Love
Cinderella, 1950, Walt Disney Studios

So this is love, Mmmmmm
So this is love
So this is what makes life divine
I’m all aglow, Mmmmmm
And now I know
The key to all heaven is mine
My heart has wings, Mmmmmm
And I can fly
I’ll touch ev’ry star in the sky
So this is the miracle that I’ve been dreaming of
Mmmmmm
Mmmmmm
So this is love

Pinterest and Wedding Planning….WOW

I made these potatoes this week and my friends and Guero were crazy for them! These potatoes are sliced thin and baked in herbs with heavy cream, topped with parmesan cheese. I have made these both in a large dish for a crowd, and it ramekins for individual dishes of potatoes au gratin! Delish!

Original Recipe, by Chef Moises Carranza at the Disneyland Resort’s “Blue Bayou” Restaurant

Ingredients
1 Brown Onion–Julienne (or slice 1/16″ thin with your mandolin slicer)
1 teaspoon of butter
3 lbs Peeled and Thin Sliced Potatoes (slice 1/16″ thin with your mandolin slicer, highly recommend since you are dealing with three pounds of potatoes)
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Tsp Salt
1/8 T Fresh Ground White Pepper
¼ T Fresh Thyme Leaves
2 T Garlic Finely Chopped
1/8 cup Jalepeno Pepper (canned) (optional, I’ve only made the potatoes without this, and they come out glorious.
1/8 tsp Chicken Base (chicken bouillon cubes) I substitute with 1 ounce of Knorr Suiza chicken bouillon powder
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Instructions (for large serving dish):
1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. slice onions and potatoes, keep separated
3. Saute onions with butter until caramelized.
4. Mix sliced potatoes, and caramelized onions and put in a buttered baking dish.
5. Mix cream, garlic, salt, white pepper, jalapenos, chicken base and thyme leaves and blend until smooth.
6. Pour blended mixture over potatoes and onions, mix and cover.
7. Bake for 2 hours or until potatoes are tender.
8. Remove potatoes from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. You can also put them back in the oven, uncovered, so the cheese browns slightly. It is a matter of preference. If you choose to put these guys back in the oven, carefully watch the cheese!

Instructions with ramekins (4 individual ramekins with about a 2 cup capacity)
Ingredients:
1 tbsp butter
use 3 large potatoes
a 1/2 to 1/4 of an onion
1 cup of cream.
herbs are all the same quantities
halve the amount of cheese and jalepenos if using

1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. slice onions and potatoes, keep separated
3. Saute onions with butter until caramelized.
4. Mix sliced potatoes, and caramelized onions together, layer them in each individual ramekin until you reach the top of the dish. make sure the bottom of the ramekin is covered. The more evenly and carefully you will your ramekins, the more tender potatoes you will have.
5. Mix cream, garlic, salt, white pepper, jalapenos, chicken base and thyme leaves and blend until smooth.
6. Pour blended mixture over potatoes and onions and cover.
7. Bake for 45 minutes or until top potatoes are tender.
8. Remove potatoes from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. You can also put them back in the oven, uncovered, so the cheese browns slightly. It is a matter of preference. If you choose to put these guys back in the oven, carefully watch the cheese!

Please enjoy!

Recipe: Disney “Blue Bayou” Restaurant Potatoes Au Gratin

The Proposal

So, what he said was (in English):

“Guera, I love you. I am the luckiest man in the world. Will you marry me?”

I was in shock, and lost for words. I could only nod my head and smile! He said afterwards he was really nervous, and I guess I could tell a little bit because he tried to put the ring on the wrong hand! Whoops!

I couldn’t have asked for a better proposal from a better man. He could have done it any way, and I would have said yes, and I would have loved it. I love you my sweet.

The Proposal