1.26.2017

Kiss My Apron: Bumpdate - 36 Weeks


Started off the new year in much better shape! My morning sickness has decreased from 7x a week to only 1x a week! At 35/36 weeks, I gained my first few pounds - finally! We have 4 short weeks to go until our due date, and I have already experienced contractions a couple of times. Other than getting sick once a week, I don't have many symptoms. All my tests have come back great, baby is measuring on track, and we are all ready for baby girl's arrival after the help from family and friends at our baby shower!


My baby shower was winter themed and it came out beautiful. It took a lot of hard work from my mom, aunt Tina, Kevin & I! We rented tables, chairs and linens, and I prepared all the activities myself. The shower was thrown at my parents house in Cutchogue, Long Island NY, and had about 40 people there. Here are some pics!







Head band making station


Elephant sign in guest painting





Time Capsule notes for Kora's Sweet 16                                             "Advice for the parents" cards
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Hanging clothes lines







"Guess how many kisses"                                                           The best cheesecake ever!


35 weeks pregnant


We also had a maternity shoot done by our friend, and neighbor, Ali O'Brien! She did a wonderful job, and I'm so thankful to have these belly memories. I had hired a photographer and scheduled a snow shoot, but it snowed a lot more than expected and the photographer was unable to make it! Our friend, Ali, filled in and was a real trooper standing out in the cold with us to get some shots! Kevin also took some of me at my parents house. Thanks, Ali!!










Skillet-Fried Chicken Breasts


This recipe is a quick, easy one that I got from my mama. I bought a pack of split chicken breasts with rib bones (it also had the skin on). Cut them in half to get four pieces total. After frying them in the skillet, the skin becomes crispy which helps hold in the moisture of the chicken. I like to serve this with rice and beans, and tostones (fried plantains).

Ingredients:

Split Chicken Breasts, cut in half (bone in, skin on)
Oil for frying
Salt, pepper and Adobo for seasoning

Directions: 

1.Fill a skillet with oil  for frying (enough to cover up to half of the chicken pieces) and heat on level 8 (medium-high).

2. Season chicken with salt, pepper and adobo.

3. Fry chicken for 2 minutes on each side. Lower heat to level 7 and continue frying chicken for another 8 minutes on each side, flipping occasionally.

4. Remove chicken from skillet and let drain/pat dry.

Ready to eat, and of course watch out for the bones! :)

12.21.2016

Kiss My Apron: Baby Girl Nursery


Being how long it took my husband and I to finally get pregnant, I took a lot of pride in doing the nursery (a little too early lol). Of course, my husband wasn't very into the decorating part, which was great for me because I got to choose everything I wanted! Yes, once in a while on something pricey, I would ask for his OK to purchase, but Kev is an easy guy like that - he's got the whole "yes, honey" down pat. Happy wife, happy life, right?

Since our unborn baby is a girl (9 more weeks!!), I wanted something elegant but with that pink flare to add something that shouted "girl." Below you will find pictures of baby Kora's nursery and links to where most of the items were purchased. I really do love the way this came out, but I still have some items in need such as pink curtains, the rocker which is on order, and a pouf or ottoman for our feet. I have been keeping my eyes open and look forward to updating this post once it is fully complete!

BEFORE: 
Our house, built in 1986, was owned by an older gentleman and his wife. Both had passed, and we bought the house from their four children. Not much updating was done, until we moved in. The doors and trims were all dark brown, and the entire house painted in a beige color.

INSPIRATION:
I would save random pics from the internet of the styles I liked, and tried to do my best to match them.

AFTER:
We started with painting the walls. The color was silver bullet by Behr. One of the biggest issues with the nursery was finding an actual gray color. Still not entirely satisfied, silver bullet has a bit of a purple undertone to it. The other colors we tried had blue undertones, which just wasn't right for a girl's room in our opinion! After finally giving up, we just stuck with the silver bullet.


One of my favorite parts of the nursery is the wallpaper. My husband probably hates me for wanting to do one wall with wallpaper (hey, better than wanting to do all four walls), but after putting it up, he agreed the sweat and hard work was worth it. It is not easy to match up the designs, paint the wall with glue, and the paper with glue before finally pressing it against the wall evenly and smoothly. I love how the paper is textured, which also helps to hide the seems. The wallpaper was 32$ a roll and I needed two rolls to do one wall, and the inside of the closet.


My next favorite item! My dream rocking chair (way over priced) from Pottery Barn. The Radcliffe rocker is so perfect for this nursery and it took me weeks of deciding to get it or not. Eventually (after my husband got a raise lol), we decided to splurge and ordered the chair which takes about 8-10 weeks to arrive (special order). It comes in so many different colors and has different wood options. *Note: Happy to say it arrived in only 6 weeks! It needs some breaking in, but is absolutely beautiful!  Radcliffe Rocking Chair from Pottery Barn

We get tons of compliments on this next piece. I hand painted the medallion on the ceiling, which was purchased from Etsy here for about 34$ plus shipping. Painted medallions get really pricey on there, so it is worth doing yourself. The actual chandelier is from Home Depot. It was perfect size and not cheap or gaudy looking. It is elegant and the lighting is perfect for a nursery - very soft and not too bright. It also adds the pop of pinks we were hoping for.



 We had quite a bit of space on this wall and I wanted to fill it with some shelving. My husband offered to build some for me, but I saw these two shelves on Pottery Barn Kids and hit a good sale around Black Friday. I am really happy with them!

 I found this book case on wayfair.com and already started filling it with my favorite childhood books! I cannot wait to read to baby Kora. Book cases are always a wonderful idea for the nursery if you are looking to fill some space on a wall.



 We built the closet ourselves, with shelving from Home Depot. If you can see, we took the door off and covered the back wall with the same wallpaper above (also from Home Depot). I bought storage containers from home goods to use for socks, head bands, shoes and other smaller items.

 The baby's dresser was a gift from my parents. It was apart of the Pottery Barn Blythe Collection. We had to get the smaller dresser to save some space, and we topped the dresser with a gray mirror from Home Goods. We will use the top of the dresser for a changing table.

The crib is also from Pottery Barn's Blythe Collection and was the first item we bought for the room. I saw it on Pinterest and knew it was a must have. We are still waiting for a mattress and the bedding (which we hopefully get for our baby shower in mid January)!
*Note: the baby chair and ottoman was purchased from Home Goods

I love this canopy from Pottery Barn Kids. It adds color and sparkle, and is light and easy to hang. We used a screw in hook on the ceiling. It is very princessy :) 


The rug was also purchased from Home Goods (clearance deal for 100$)! It is super soft and neutral in color to match the furniture. Adding pops of pink through the crib bedding, a canopy for over the crib, pillows for the rocker and pink curtains for the window. We hope you enjoyed our nursery progress and again, I look forward to updating the post when our rocker and other items arrive!

11.15.2016

Kiss My Apron: Bumpdate

I am 26 weeks pregnant this week! One week away from the third trimester which is so exciting! We will be meeting baby Kora in about 99 days! My cooking has still been slacking due to a great deal of morning sickness everyday. My doctors even give me the whole, "you're still sick?!" thing. Anti-nausea medication has helped a bit for the day time, but my morning sickness is literal - the morning!


I was in my first wedding ever this past weekend and that was not easy! I woke up very early (and very sick) but was able to make it to the hotel by 7am to get my hair and make up done! It was a very long day, so by the end of the night (close to 11pm) both of my calves were throbbing with charlie horses. But hey, I did it, and had a great time being in my best friend's wedding! The food was outstanding, as I enjoyed my filet mignon to the fullest!



My husband and I finished the nursery and we are just waiting for the last pieces of furniture to be delivered this weekend. To have baby girl's room done is such a relief, as I didn't want to be doing a lot when my belly is too big to move! We painted, put up one wall of wallpaper (never want to do that again lol), set up the crib and hung a few things. I also built baby girl's closet all by myself, and hung the many clothes I can't stop buying!



Last week I tried a new recipe, passed down from my grandma to my mom, and it was such a good dish! I love being half Puerto Rican and being able to celebrate my past family through food. I made arroz con pollo at my hubs request for his birthday, but I did cheat a little bit (hopefully my deceased grandma wasn't too upset with me)! Instead of using raw chicken, I bought an already cooked rotisserie chicken. It was perfect! The meat was so moist and tender because it didn't have to cook for long. I started out with homemade sofrito (there is a bunch of recipes online for this, but I can't give away my secret family recipe - sorry ;) ), a small can of tomato sauce, corn oil, salt & pepper, a packet of sazon by goya and about a cup of water. Once the Spanish mixture was melted, I shredded up the rotisserie chicken and boiled it for about 5 minutes, then removed the chicken. I added more water to the pot, and brought to a heavy boil. Once boiling, this is when we cook the white rice. The water will evaporate, and then the rice covered with foil, the heat lowered and the pot covered to finish cooking for about 40 minutes. By the end, I added the chicken back in. On the side, I had a small pot of pigeon peas cooking - my husband's new favorite! And how can you not add green olives? I can't wait to make this again!



I'm also very excited about my new long plates, which we served filet mignon topped with a cipollini onion, brussels sprouts and tortellini on! Thank you target :)

8.26.2016

Grandma's Homemade Mac and Cheese

Who doesn't love their grandma's recipes? I sure do! From gram's cakes, to her mac and cheese, to her delicious knot cookies every holiday, we sure are lucky to have a grandma like her! I am happy to share this delicious mac and cheese recipe with you.

*pics to come*

Serves: 10 (or lots of leftovers, yum!)
Cook prep time: 30-35 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hr, 5 min

What you will need:
1 box medium shell noodles (or elbow)
1 stick of salted butter
1/2 cup flour
6 to 7 cups of milk (the more milk, the creamier)
16 oz. cheese, shredded (mix it up, use yellow cheeses, or white cheese, or smelly cheeses lol whatever you like) 
1/2 tbs ground mustard (powder)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs


What to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook noodles per box while you work on the below -

1. In a large pot on medium heat, melt the butter then add the flour and stir until blended. This will create a rue which is a tan, creamy paste.

2. Slowly add milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, and stir constantly. (this step will take about 15-20 minutes, try not to rush it - keep the mixture on the thicker side)

3. Once all of the milk is added, lower heat. Add ground mustard, salt, paprika, and stir. Stir in cheese. Remove from heat and stir until cheese is melted in, creating a creamy cheese sauce.

4. Add noodles, then cheese sauce to a large casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs. 

5. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-7 minutes before serving.


With any leftover mac and cheese, be sure to check out my deep fried mac and cheese balls! Fried mac and cheese balls

It's a.....

GIRL!


I'm a little over 14 weeks today. We found out the gender of our baby thru a panorama test, which tests for down syndrome and chromosomal disorders, but also allows us to find out the gender. More importantly than finding out she is a girl, was the negative/super low risk for any chromosomal issues. We are very relieved for that!

I tried cooking for the first time last night - first time in a long time! It didn't go too well. :( We BBQ'd chicken cutlets, I made homemade mac and cheese and baked up some corn on the cob. I think the baby is not too fond of chicken because I haven't been able to look at it, and it hasn't sat well!

So far my pregnancy has been a really rough one. Lots of nausea & sickness, lots of weight loss, and lots of stress! I try my best to relax.  Even so, I am very thankful for this baby girl, after all the time spent trying to have a baby. I would go thru this sickness for her over and over, but I am wishing it lets up soon. 

Our next ultrasound is in less than 2 weeks, and mommy and daddy can't wait to see her again! And by her, I mean little miss * Kora Rose *