First Time Apple Picking + Fall Sangria

Deamarest FarmsI grew up in a tropical island. The closest I had to apple picking was having a lime tree in my backyard or grabbing a fallen coconut from the beach. You got apples from the super market, that was it. The concept of making it a full day activity to go apple picking, riding on the back of a truck, wearing boots, eating apple cider doughnuts and drinking apple cider was totally foreign to me. To me, it was all fun because it was a new experience. To my friends, it’s a tradition and a moment to relive memories from growing up.

Demarest FarmsSummer is my favorite season but fall comes in second, bringing with it so much beauty… and apples!

I tried out this great sangria recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, it was delicious! I followed the recipe pretty closely, except I did not add the orange slices and I went easy on the club soda. It was a nice twist to my average sangria and it allowed me to use my freshly picked apples in a fun way. I also realized that nothing tastes bad with cinnamon.

This apple picking thing, it’s not bad at all. Next time though, I really need to get one of those famous apple cider doughnut.

Wine, Cheese & Friends (Pasta, Shrimp & Hot Dogs too)

What do I love more than wine and cheese? Having wine and cheese with friends, old and new.

As you may or may not know (everyone’s busy, I get it) I have a new camera and of course, I’m eager to explore all the possibilities. It’s not as easy as it looks, I’ve yet to find that perfect light but I’m enjoying the journey.

Back to the wine and cheese.

I love the Holidays. Considering the crappy weather, it’s a season full of color and life that allows us to reconnect with people and gives us an excuse to put pretty things together. Seriously, think of all the things you do in preparation for the Holidays! I love the hustle, from getting the perfect gifts to finding the perfect outfit for your company’s Holiday party (which is tomorrow and I do not have).

holiday dinner setup red candles

I may have a passion for capturing beautiful moments, but my friend and old coworker Citlalic has a passion for creating them. Her house is full of exquisite details that come together to build a lovely home. She has the perfect amount of patience to make sure that everything is perfect, which I love to capture!

salami cheese gouda guacamole olives nuts dinner setup

I must say I am very proud of my two cheese picks, Nettle Meadow Kunik and Aged Gouda from Murray Cheese Bar. Boy, were they good. My worst nightmare has a name and that is “lactose intolerant”.

pigs in a blanket homemade

We also made pigs in a blanket! Not my best assembly, but that doesn’t affect the taste! Who knew this was so easy? Just cut little hot dogs and roll them with Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.

shrimp alfredo pasta

I look at this picture and I am hungry all over again. Citlalic cooked this delicious creamy shrimp Alfredo pasta with homemade sauce, props to her because I’m usually lazy and just buy the sauce at the store. Check out the recipe here.

holiday dinner setup red

I look forward to the day that I have the capabilities to set up a table like that. I don’t even own a table cloth at the moment. I miss my mom’s kitchen where I could find napkins of every color and glasses for any occasion. One day, Cristina, one day.

Happy Holidays! 

Butternut Squash Ricotta Stuffed Shells

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Yes, this just happened today. I feel really proud of my solid chef attempt and I wanted to share the magic with all of you. There are leftovers I would love to share as well, but I guess some pictures and the original recipe will suffice.

My best friend Pinterest led me to discover an awesome recipe by Rachel Schultz. I honestly pin more than what I can handle, but today I was feeling adventurous and decided to try something new. After experiencing quite some confusion while cooking my first set of sausages as part of the recipe, I must say it was a success. My boyfriend and guinea pig can attest to it.

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Sometimes, I Bake

Last year, my friend Lindsay and I won our office holiday bake-off under the creativity category. Pretty sweet little reindeer cookies, if you ask me.

This is how the cookies looked at the recipe website…

 

This is how our cookies turned out. Not that bad, considering I owned an android camera at the time.

reindeer cookies

2012 Winners in the creative category – Cristina Nogueras ©

This year, when my office announced we would be having another bake-off to celebrate National Dessert Day (which by the way, it’s a thing) I knew I had to retain my title as the creative cook. My coworker Lina and I decided to team up and get creative.

Mind you, this comes from the girl that knows how to cook, however, limits herself to the same five basic recipes. I have big ideas in my head, but they always somehow end up as some variation of chicken, rice and beans.

I knew flavor was not going to be my strength, so we went for creativity. Thanks to the wonder that is Pinterest and the many amazing and creative human beings out  there, I found a twist-off to my favorite childhood dessert: Tierrita Dulce.

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Rest in Bliss Vanilla Pudding – Photo & Edits Cristina Nogueras ©

I took some creative license rights and decided to call our creation: Rest in Bliss. I know, I’m no artist, but I’m really humbly proud of the results.

Plus, guess what?

WE WON!

Yes, that’s right, this girl over here is the current two-strike undefeated baking champion! (May I say we did not even have to technically bake anything?)

What’s the recipe for success? We literally followed the instructions on the Jell-O vanilla pudding box and added food coloring. Then we crushed a bag of cream-less Oreos and added layers of Oreos to the bottom and top of the cups. I know, rocket science. We added gummy worms to give it the Halloween look and Lina went all out with the frosting drawings in the vanilla wafer cookies.

Besides bragging rights and high-fives (which are always welcomed), we also received a nice bottle of Aviation Gin! Thinking of going classy and trying out some nice cocktails soon.

Desserts & cocktails? Not bad, right?

aviation

Cristina Nogueras ©