Thursday, September 30, 2010

When one is young

"When one is young it's easy to think that all kinds of things about the world are fixed, that they have always been there. With adulthood, though, comes the realization that very little is fixed, that things change all the time..."- -excerpt from "Another Fool in the Balkans" by Tony White.

Qué tan ciertas son estas palabras! Siento una cierta melancolía al recordar mi infancia. Cuando vivíamos en México, mis hermanas y yo pasamos todos los veranos en el rancho de nuestros abuelos, pero un día eso cambió cuando nos mudamos a los Estados Unidos. A la edad de 8 años me di cuenta de que mi mundo no era fijó y me enfrente con cambio a mi alrededor. Ahora que vivo en Croacia tengo la oportunidad de revivir esos recuerdos a través de mi hija.Sus bisabuelos tienen un pequeno rancho con gallinas y muchos árboles frutales. Me siento como en casa y cuánto desearía que Beli recuerde estos momentos cuando sea mayor. Supongo que estoy haciendo mi parte atraves de fotografías que tomo cada vez que visitamos el rancho.
How true these words are. I feel nostalgic when I remember my childhood. When we lived in Mexico my sisters and I spent every summer at my grandparents farm, but one day that changed when we moved to America. I was eight years old when I realized that the world was not fixed and I was faced with change all around me. Now living in Croatia I have the opportunity to relive those memories through my daughter.

Beli's great grandparents have a farm with chickens and plenty of fruit trees. I feel right at home and I hope that she will have the same sweet childhood memories that I had when I spent my summers at my grandparents farm.
I guess you can say I'm doing my part by taking plenty of photographs! Now what to do with all these grapes?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's a culture thing

Photo by: MARINNYC

Weather permitting, every day (from 10am-1pm), you will find cafes busy with Mommies and their toddlers as they gather for a fun date with their friends. So after Beli had her breakfast, I packed a few snacks and headed to the nearest cafe to meet my friend and her daughter.
Like the locals I have perfected the art of taking a coffee, as it is called, often making a single cup of coffee last for hours.
It was a nice morning almost like a summer day. A few people were sun tanning and I even saw a man swimming! Brrrrrr...
You see, in Croatia all sorts of meetings from casual conversations to business discussions, take place over cups of coffee, never on the run. The concept of coffee to-go is not very common, which I believe was the main reason Starbucks reconsidered and indefinitely postponed opening its first store in the capital city of Zagreb (which was planned to open in October). And I was even planning a special trip, driving 4 hours, to have a venti white chocolate mocha. Yes, the things a dedicated coffee enthusiast will do! But for now I'll continue and be like the locals, sitting at a cafe and passing the time with a cup of coffee, it's a culture thing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

From my window

A sailboat in the distance caught my eye as I looked out the balcony window.

These flowers are continuing to thrive after a few days of rain.

Rosemary, which I use on a daily basis.

What view do you have from your window?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Reflections

"You need variety in life, so why not break out and attempt something quite new and different, not because you're bored with what you're doing or because you want to run away from it, but because you realize you need a change? Never be afraid to step out into the unknown, into the new.------Eileen Caddy

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm having house guests

My good friend and her husband are traveling from Colorado and will be arriving today in Split. Hubby will be picking them up at the port as they are arriving via ferry from Dubrovnik. I'm beyond ecstatic to see them! Everything on my checklist is marked off: windows cleaned... check, bed linens washed... check, stock the pantry..check, prepare dinner...check! Am I forgetting anything? oh yes and we will be having a glass of wine out in the balcony enjoying the Adriatic sunset! Tomorrow a walk around the city to visit the Diocletian palace. Yes it will be a fun weekend.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Castle along the way

How magical is this castle? We were driving to the northern region of Croatia for a business meeting a few weeks ago when I noticed the castle in the distance. We thought that we would stop to get a closer look but we couldn't find the road leading to it plus we were on a schedule so we promised to return another day. For now, I have this photo to remind us that we must come back to learn about this castle that seems to be crumbling away.
This photo courtesy of **maurice**.

How about this castle in Slovenia that sits on Lake Bled , jaw dropping right? Now I'm dreaming of castles.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tuscan Minestrone Soup

Whenever I travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa my older sister and I have a tradition of going to Olive garden for lunch. It all started when we were college students and she would treat me to the -all you can eat soup and salad- lunch special. She had a job and I didn't, so like any big sister she looked out for me, thanks Sis! My favorite was the minestrone soup with warm bread sticks. If you ever wondered like me whether they really have an Olive Garden Cooking school in Italy, well to my surprise the answer is yes, they do. It's located in Castellina in Chianti, Italy which is not very far from where I photographed this lovely Tuscan countryside when hubby and I traveled to visit some friends earlier this year.
Inspired by nostalgia ,both for my sister and for Italy, here is my own version of minestrone soup.

These are the main ingredients and like me, feel free to be creative with spices and with vegetables that are in season. I chose to prepare a vegetarian soup but you can certainly add meat to your recipe.

1 can of kidney beans, drained
1-2 cans of vegetable broth
1 can of diced tomatoes
2 carrots, diced
2 bell peppers,chopped
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic , chopped
1-2 cups of pasta (cooked according to directions on box)
1 tsp of dried celery (you can use fresh)
1 tsp oregano
1 or 2 bay leaves
1/2 cup of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
basil for garnish you can also use parsley or cilantro


saute onions,garlic, bell peppers and carrots for about 5-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Then add beans, tomatoes, broth and spices. Simmer for about 30-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. It's best to cook at medium heat. Add cooked pasta and simmer for 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

The texture was a bit chunky so next time I think I would add more vegetable broth, I guess the beans absorb a lot of the liquid while cooking, but nevertheless it was very flavorful due to the oregano and bay leaves. After reserving a small portion for Beli I added crushed red pepper, just enough to make it spicy!

There is nothing like a warm and flavorful Italian version
of comfort food to brighten your day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Reflections

"Once the chick has emerged from its shell or a butterfly from its chrysalis, there is no going back, but there is a continuous unfolding into the new. Let the action of unfolding be a day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute process. Find that rhythm in life and flow with it, not against it, so you will find peace of heart and mind."-----Eileen Caddy

See you Monday with a recipe I prepared on this rainy and gray day. For now, I will return to my cup of tea and my current book, Another fool in the Balkans by Tony White.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Love...

I love how kids can't fake joy, sadness or anger, their emotions are real and vibrant.

I love how Beli is absolutely delighted to hug and kiss.
And I love that I can't help but smile when I take walks along the beach, it's difficult to foster a bad mood in her presence.

Have a wonderful weekend. We are preparing our home to welcome our friends who are visiting from Denver, Colorado this upcoming week. What are your plans?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Let's GO to the playground y la playa tambien

I was pleasantly surprised that it was sunny enough to go to the beach. I received an invitation to join my friend and her daughter at the playground near Znjan (a new addition thanks to the arrival of a new hotel). Our daughters, both 2 years old, get along quite well. The sea was too cold for swimming but we enjoyed a small dose of sunshine. On another subject: Tomorrow is September 16 or Diez y seis de Septiembre, Mexico's Independence Day. I'm not sure why May 5th or Cinco de Mayo is more widely celebrated in the States, because in Mexico it's rarely celebrated other than in the state of Puebla. I have one theory: it's easier to pronounce? What's your theory?
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