Monthly Archives: April 2013

Tres Leches

For some reason, Chip really likes tres leches. It’s a little random, I know, but he’s quite the snob for this Hispanic dessert. We’ve tried it a few different restaurants, but I had yet to try it myself until this past Saturday. We were meeting some new friends from church (Grahm and Jena) for dinner and were then coming back to our house for dessert and a game of  Settlers of Catan. I had been planning on making some brownies, but Chip was dropping some heavy hints that he would love it if I tried making tres leches. Pretty sure he called it my destiny at one point. Not desperate at all, right?

So I decided to give it a shot. Naturally, I did some recipe searching on Pinterest and eventually came across this one. I liked this one best because 1-it required fewer steps than other recipes and 2-recommended keeping the dish in the refrigerator over night. If you’ve had tres leches, you know it’s best served chilled, so I figured this recipe must have been posted by an expert since they recommended having it chill over night. Might not seem super logical, but it made sense in my head. Anyway, it was a lot easier to make than I had expected and whoa, was it sweet.

Here’s the link to the original recipe, but below are a couple of tweaks I made. Warning: this dessert is as unhealthy as you can get. That’s why we serve it with strawberries so we feel better about ourselves. Does that count as a balanced diet? ;)

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 teaspoons lime juice
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup milk

Tres leches for soaking/drizzling:

  • 14 oz. condensed milk
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 2 small cartons whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Separate egg yolks from egg whites and keep both in separate bowls. Be careful not to break the yolks during the separation process. With a standing or hand mixer, beat the egg whites with salt until it starts to firm (use medium speed for a few minutes).
  • Slowly add the sugar, beating well after each small addition. Add the egg yolks one by one, beating the mixture after each addition. Add the lime zest, lime juice and baking powder.  Beat well. Lower the speed on your mixer and add the flour and milk, alternating between the two.  Start and end with the flour.
  • Butter a large baking dish (no smaller than 9” x 12”, but preferably a tad bigger) and pour the batter into the pyrex. Bake for 35 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake) and remove from the oven. Let the cake cool slightly.  While it’s still warm, cut the cake into even squares (as small or as little as you want). Keep in mind this is an incredibly sweet dessert, so large squares may be a bit too much to handle for the ordinary palate.

  • Beat the three milks (whipping cream, condensed milk and evaporated milk) with vanilla extract. Slowly pour half over the cake and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Serve each square on a plate and drizzle spoonfuls of the three milks over the top. Serve with strawberries for garnish.

Dove – “You’re More Beautiful Than You Think”

Like most women, when I look in the mirror I am very quick to focus on the areas I’d like to “fix.” Like my height. And curves that can be a little too much for my petite frame. Or my thick eyebrows that require daily tweezing. Even on my best days, I always feel like I could look better. This is a shame and all too common among females of all ages. Yesterday, I saw this video from Dove and was blown away. I work in the advertising industry and know that a lot of ads out there aren’t based on true insights. This video, however, is legit. It’s incredibly real and a real eye-opener to how we often view ourselves. I’ve seen it three times now and get teary eyed each time.

Girls, we are so beautifully and wonderfully made. This video was such a reminder that when I critique the way I look, I’m discrediting God’s creation. This is the way God has created me and who am I to think it could be “better.” So today, I’m making (or trying to) the change the mindset I have on my beauty. Yes, I’m not tall, but that means I can wear cute wedge platforms in the spring and summer. I’m Hispanic, these curves aren’t going anywhere. And my eyebrows frame my face better than I realize. I’m grateful for the way God created me and made me His own.

 

Hello, Spring

Hello, spring

Hello, spring

The weather may have changed more in the past three weeks than the wardrobe of an Oscar’s host, but spring is in full swing here in San Antonio. Two clear ways to tell despite the changes from cool afternoons to warm mornings to rainstorms: 1. The bluebonnets have been blooming along the side of the highway and 2.I’ve been sneezing everyday for the past month (thanks a lot, oak count).

Love those blue bonnets

Love those bluebonnets

Despite the sneezes that continue to interrupt my days, I love this time of year in Texas. This is some of the best weather to go for a walk with Wrigley, eat outside, try to get rid of my sock tan from our day at Enchanted Rock with the youth group, and do yard work. We’ve been trying to spend as much time outside as possible lately since we know that the 90 degree weather is inevitable and will be driving us back indoors (I don’t get along with humidity).

To get ready for spring, Chip spent some time working on the lawn. It had gotten a little dry and light in color during the winter, so he spent a few weekends fertilizing the front and backyard. Let me just say that I now want us to fertilize once a month (even though I know that’s completely not possible). It turned our lawn so green and helped the grass really spread in the front yard. Chip also used some beneficial nematodes based on a recommendation from a church friend. I’m still not exactly sure what they are or what they do, but it really helped some of the brown patches we had in the back so those little nematodes are welcome whenever :) Great work, Chip!

Stalking Chip from the kitchen while he fertilized the yard. I was probably cooking or doing dishes like a good wife.

Stalking Chip from the kitchen while he fertilized the yard. I was probably cooking or doing dishes like a good wife.

Hooray for green grass! PS Wrigley is special

Hooray for green grass! PS Wrigley is special

We’ve also spent a couple of weekends working on the garden. We had done some initial work a while ago to clean out the dead plants and get some of the really rocky dirt out, but (according to Chip) we still had more work to do before planting new stuff. What was this work? Oh, just back-breaking shoveling. Alright, that’s an exaggeration, but it does not discredit how sore my back was the next two days. We shoveled out about a four-inch layer of dirt on the veggie side of the garden and then replaced it with some organic soil from Garden-Ville (I shopped for plants while Chip took care of loading up the dirt in his truck). With that, I was finally able to plant – new tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, basil, cilantro, mint, cantaloupe (which will need to be replaced since Chessie accidentally destroyed them), and strawberries. Not going to lie, I’m really excited about those strawberries! We also got some new flowers to plant, but overall the soil on that side of the garden was fairly decent so we left it as-is (and I really just didn’t want to use a shovel any longer).

At the start of the day

At the start of the day

Shoveling out some of the old dirt

Shoveling out some of the old dirt

Wrigley did a little digging to help

Wrigley did a little digging to help

Ready for new dirt

Ready for new dirt

Organic dirt: check!

Organic dirt: check!

New plants: check!

New plants: check!

Left side of the garden

Left side of the garden

Flowers on the right side of the garden

Flowers on the right side of the garden

Trying out some new plants this year

Trying out some new plants this year

So far, everything seems to be growing alright. We’re already seeing some little tomatoes and strawberries, so I’m trying really hard not to get overly excited and over-water everything like I typically do. I love my plants and tend to drown them. Oops.

Gerber daisies

Gerber daisies

Little strawberries

Little strawberries

I see some baby tomatoes

I see some baby tomatoes

My geraniums are doing so much better in this pot instead of the hanging baskets (good call, mom)

My geraniums are doing so much better in this pot instead of the hanging baskets (good call, mom)

We still have lots of work we want to do in the backyard, like take care of the patio floor, get a new table out there, finally do the garden path, get some cute outdoor lighting and plant along the back fence line of our yard. We’ll see how much we actually get done this spring ;)

A week with Chessie

Last Wednesday, I picked up Chessie on my way home from work. Today, I dropped her off to a fellow care volunteer who would be driving her to Austin to meet her new family. Yep, Chessie found herself a home in just one week! As cheesy as it sounds, we’re really excited for her and the new life she has ahead.

It was a fun week with Chessie. For being significantly underweight and most likely a stray at some point in her life, she had little to no fear, something that I wasn’t expecting. Our first foster Duke was scared of everything (especially men) for the first couple months but Chessie showed nothing but curiosity and playfulness while she was here. I found it almost humorous how uninhibited she was and how she could make everything a game, even swatting at my hand whenever I would point to the floor and tell her “down!” to get off the couch. She spent most of her week in our house emptying the toy bin every morning and evening and wrestling with Wrigley, which was pretty fun (and at times chaotic) to watch. She’s also really smart. It took her less then 24 hours to figure out the doggie door. She even managed to bring in one of Wrigley’s favorite branches in through it with her. To confirm, this doggie door is technically a cat door, so it’s pretty small. I have no idea how she accomplished this.

All in all, she was an easy foster for us. We had no troubles at all with her, except for yesterday morning when she figured out how to somehow jump our garden fence and not so kindly dug up my freshly planted cantaloupe (she also left us a little organic fertilizer… how thoughtful). But otherwise, she was a goofy addition to our home for the time she as here.

Now that we’re back to a one-dog household, I’m sure Wrigley will be sleeping a lot over the next few days. Such heavy playtime wears the pup out! (I know, his life is really hard)

Picking up Chessie one week ago

Picking up Chessie one week ago

Chessie and Wrigley waiting for some homemade treats last weekend

Chessie and Wrigley waiting for some homemade treats last weekend

Lots of playtime = naptime

Lots of playtime = naptime

It's hard to tell, but they were playing tug of war with a branch last night. Fools.

It’s hard to tell, but they were playing tug of war with a branch last night. Fools.

Dropping Chessie off today

Dropping Chessie off today

 

March Madness

Every year, my family gets into March Madness. Back when my brother and I were still in Tucson, we would all fill out our brackets one evening and leave them out in the kitchen for the duration of the tournament. Alex was usually the scorekeeper, highlighting our brackets whenever we called a game correctly. Now that we’re a bit more spread out, we rely on the wonders of email to keep this tradition going. And in true Lopez form, any competition wouldn’t be the same without a healthy dose of trash-talk, which kicked off nice and early. Between my dad and Chip, these emails would always make me laugh.

This year, March Madness was out of control. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Cinderella story, but good grief. How many upsets were there?? Totes lost count. By the time the Sweet 16 round came along, I wasn’t even checking my bracket anymore considering my entire Western division was in shambles. Don’t even get me started on how many teams I actually had in the Elite Eight and Final Four. It was slightly embarrassing.

Now for the results… For the first time in three years, my dad was dethroned as champion. So no matter who else won, I’m sure the rest of us were pretty happy; my dad’s not exactly the most humble winner (it’s what makes him such a Lopez, am I right?). With Louisville winning the championship last night, we got to the final rankings below:

1st place: Alex. Nicely done, bro.

2nd place: ME. Guess picking certain teams based on uniform colors and mascots pays off every now and then.

3rd place: Chip (am I terrible wife for loving to beat Chip at any type of game?)

4th place: Mom

5th place: Dad. That’s right. Not only did my dad lose, he came in last place. Ouch.

As my mom put it, my brother was named king and I the bracket princess. Everyone else… peasants. ;) Here’s to March Madness 2014!

Bossypants

I had always viewed Bossypants as a “cool” book before I ever purchased it. I mean come on, it’s Tina Fey. And with the way everyone was raving about it, I knew this was a book I would have to read. It took me a bit longer to finally come to this book than I would have expected, but we finally found each other in a quaint little bookstore (okay, it wasn’t quaint, it was in the Minneapolis airport after a long day of presentations).

Bossypants

Bossypants

One thing I really admired about this book was how much the voice truly felt like Tina Fey. No one else could have said these stories the same way she did. Heck, I read most of the book imaging her talking to me in this outfit and pose from Mean Girls. The stories in her book are great and will have you laughing along. Tina Fey is a comedic genius and it felt like a curtain was lifted to reveal on the entertainment industry, from growing up in Pennsylvania, to working on SNL with her Sarah Palin impressions, to launching her show 30 Rock. And let me tell you, working on SNL is hard core. No wonder only the best are a part of that show (and yes, that includes the different time Justin Timberlake has co-hosted).

Now, this may come as a shocker, but given the choice between this book and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, I’d pick Mindy’s. In the end, I felt like I related more to Mindy’s stories, or at least the childhood part. Also, the super goody two-shoes side of me was slightly surprised by the amount of cursing in Tina Fey’s book. I know. I’m 25 going on 9. However, both of these women will make you laugh, guaranteed, so if you can’t decide between these books just go ahead and read both.

Meet Chessie

Today, we picked up our new foster dog, Chessie. It’s been a bit of a hiatus since our last foster Target in September. After Target, we had our trip to Colorado, then came the holiday season, I can’t remember what January looked like, February followed with retreats and events just about every weekend, and I’m still trying to figure out where March went (whoa, we’re in April?). Now that things are kind of slowing down (mmm, yeah right), we thought it was a good time to bring another foster home. I had been keeping on eye on care’s Facebook page since we fostered Duke and Target through them, but they’ve been pulling a lot of puppies from the shelter (don’t even get me started on how someone could abandon a litter of puppies). We love puppies, but we honestly wouldn’t be able to give them the attention and training they need with our schedules. So we decided to wait a little more.

Yesterday, my coworker Annaliz (she’s on care’s board of directors) asked if we would consider fostering Chessie. I had somehow missed her post on the Facebook page amongst all the puppy posts (if you’re looking for a puppy, please look at all these cute pups in need of homes!). After some quick texting with Chip, we decided we would go ahead and foster Chessie. She was actually in boarding since Peggy, the founder of care, didn’t want her to be put down at the pound (most dogs only have about 72 hours to get out of there), so I picked her up from a local vet where she had been staying for a couple days after work today.

Chessie chilling in my car

Chessie chilling in my car

Chessie is a three year old German Shepherd mix. She’s been nothing but sweet and extremely playful this evening. I’m convinced she’s been a pet to someone before. She had no hesitation following me out of the vet today or hopping into my car to go home. She’s shown no fear to either Chip or myself and has made herself comfortable jumping on the furniture (we’re already trying to break that habit, we just need her to learn “down” or “no” as soon as possible haha). She had fun running around in the backyard a bit trying to play with Wrigley (he’s still trying to figure her out) and has been content to nap in the living room while we eat dinner. She’s significantly underweight, so we’ll be giving her lots of food to get her to the size she’s supposed to be. I’m sure her coat will also get better when she puts on weight, Duke was the same way when we brought him home last year.

We’ll be taking her to a care pet adoption event this Saturday; here’s to hoping she finds her forever family soon!