Our New Family Christmas Tradition, Our Christmas Cards

This was the first year that the Hubs and I were able to get Christmas cards sent out to our family and friends. I had been planning on sending cards out the last two years, but things always came up hindering our chances to get them out on time. Whether it was our super busy schedules due to work, or other obligations that tied up our weekends, we were never able to get out to get a photo shoot done in time for the cards. Plus, by the time card making came around our budget had been spent in other areas of every day life. Mainly shopping for Christmas itself and our daily run of the mill, maintaining the household type of stuff. As much as we would like them to bills definitely don’t stop for Christmas. As reluctant as I was to make the hard choice, the thing that always made the chopping block was our Christmas cards.

Not this year. This year I was determined to get them done and sent out in time for Christmas.

The first weekend in December the Hubs and I decided we would get our photo shoot done for the cards. It was the best time to do it. Right before the craziness of trying to fit in all the fun holiday events and must see things that Portland has to offer for the holiday season. It was perfect. Plus, the weather was going to be great all day. Bonus.

The night before the Hubs and I planned out what we were going to wear for the photo shoot. So that way in the morning all we had to do was get dressed, eat breakfast, and head out. He wore a button-up black shirt and a pair of jeans, while I put on a navy skirt with red flowers all over it, and a cute cream colored sweater. We then put on our coats and were out the door.


Instead of shooting the pictures at our usual favorite spot, The Hoyt Arboretum, we decided to make the drive to Mt. Hood to the Timbeline Lodge to have a winter wonderland photo shoot in the snow. We loved Mt. Hood and thought it would be perfect for our Christmas cards.

On the way to Mt. Hood we stopped for some hot chocolate at a cute little spot that we like to stop at any time we are near the area. I wish for the life of me that I can remember the name of it, because their hot chocolate is so delicious and everyone who works in the shop is so incredibly friendly and nice. Next time we head that way I am getting one of their cards to put into my organizer, that way I will remember their name. Lol.






The Look of Fall

It’s that time of year again, when we say good bye to our shorts and tanks, see you again next spring. And hello to our sweaters and tights. That’s right it is fall. I happen to love fall. It is truly one of my favorite of the four seasons. There is just something magically appealing to me seeing the leaves on the trees change into red and golden hues, feeling the crisp morning air breeze across my face, and getting to bundle my chicken legs into cozy soft tights. I love fall.

This year for fall I have decided that I want to fill my closet with warm and comfy wool skirts. The kind of skirts from the bygone era of the 50’s. You know, the ones that you might have seen in any vintage shop, generally in the plaid variety. These happen to be my favorite type of skirts. And not just because they give off the impression that I just step out of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, ok maybe that might have a little to do with it.

To put it rather plainly, they are just classy. I love the way that they make me feel. I have the effortless look of really being pulled together, when I know it only took me ten minutes or so to get ready.

Here are a few looks for fall that I hope to cultivate for my closet.

2c55eae5f1b87156400ced1d5132d79aOne of my favorite go to colors is blue. It’s such a versatile color and happens to compliment my skin tone rather nicely. At least that is what I have been told any time I have worn the color. I honestly can’t help but be smitten with this skirt. The rich colors of the different shades of blue and brown go so well together. It definitely has fall written all over it. Pairing the skirt with a scoop neck basic top just adds to it’s simple but sophisticated vibe. Going along with the simple but classy vibe I paired the skirt top duo with a sweet pair of two tone brown oxford wedges. Then topping it off with my love of all things time and space. That’s right there was a Dr. Who reference there. This necklace written in the Gallifreyan language is such a cute homage to my love for the Doctor.

6f1262e6015735b5e4c6df3f5fb8c5d4Here is another in the blue plaid variety. I like this one because of the checkerboard print being a bit bigger. Mixing the skirt with a crop long sleeved top gives  the look a bit of edge without it being too over the top. And who doesn’t love a pair of royal blue boot wedgies. I know I do.

638f1b75f40d9547d227ee9f8722d789This darling skirt has the look of fall with it’s gold and crimson tones. It’s cheerful without it standing out too much. Pairing it with a gold scoop neck top and cardigan just adds to it’s fall cred. Nothing says fall to me like the color gold. I paired it with the whimsical bronze tone Peter Pan quote earrings and compass necklace, for a touch of playful glamour.

fc91bcd99a25080833b3cb5dd52eca91Last but not least is this lovely crimson, grey, and black plaid skirt. I happen to adore this skirt. So simple and cozy looking. Gives off the feeling that I should be curled upon a windowsill somewhere reading a book while listening to the rain drizzle down the window. Adding to the warmth feeling is the crimson crochet infinity scarf. I am such a sucker for an infinity scarf. Some day I will have infinity scarves for all the colors in the rainbow.

I hope you enjoyed these. What is in your fall closet rotation?

You can find these looks and a few more of my inspirations at :


Card Wars, an Adventure Time Game

Now the Hubs has been a fan of the show Adventure Time ever since he first moved to Oregon four months before our wedding. He watched it a lot and expressed his love for the show countless times to me during our phone conversations. There was just something magical and innocent that brought out the kid in him each time he watched it. The way he explained it to me was,  Adventure Time was a show of imagination that dealt with humor, emotion, and even philosophy in a real way. It was much more than a kid show in that adults could really connect with it, but it still retained it’s silliness and innocence which kids can connect with. It was a best of both worlds type of show. Both imaginative and fun, silly and sad.

So naturally when I  moved up one of the first things we did together was watch Adventure Time after he got off work. So I made us dinner and then we sat down together on the couch, kicked our feet up, and tuned into Adventure Time. The colors of it were so vivid and multicolored it felt as if the game Candy-Land had came to life on screen. Which to me was an obvious nod to childhood nostalgia. I was definitely fascinated with it right away. There is just something about a boy, his magical talking dog, and a post-apocalyptic world that gets me every time.

For those who have never seen the show, Adventure Time is the story of Finn the human boy, and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake the dog, who has magical powers that allows him to change shape, grow, and shrink at will. Finn and Jake live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo, where they have many adventures in their quest to be heroes. Along the way they encounter many friends and even a few enemies, who become regular players in their adventures in Ooo. There is Princess Bubblegum basically the ruler of the Candy kingdom, Marceline the Vampire Queen a thousand-year old half-demon rock music goddess, LSP: Lumpy Space Princess a valley girl type gal, Peppermint Butler, BMO the Robot, and the Ice King a misunderstood wizard with a princess hang up.

On one of the episodes the Finn and Jake play this card game called, Card Wars. The Hubs and I had wondered if they would eventually make the game for actual play, and guess what they did. We couldn’t be more than excited. We asked some of our card playing pals that we use to play Magic the Gathering with if they had got the chance to play it and if so what did they think of it as far as it being a fun game to play. One of our pals got back to us and said that he bought it to play with his daughters and they absolutely love it. So the Hubs and I decided to go out and purchase one set of our own.

Fotor0101204930After we got all the sleeves off the deck of old Magic the Gathering cards that we were no longer using we quickly put them on the Card Wars land and creature cards for both decks. We happened to purchase the starter decks for Jake vs. Finn. There are other set decks for the game like, BMO vs. Lady Ranicorn, and Bubblegum Princess vs. Lumpy Space Princess, which we eventually plan on buying in the months ahead.


I poured us both a glass of wine, and we immediately started going over the rules of the game. The rules of the game are this, when the game starts each player gets approximately 10-20 cards. Okay, simple enough.


Each deck has a specific playing field like, for instance Finn’ deck is Blue Plains, where as Jake’s deck is Corn.


There are two stages, a floop stage and a battle stage. During the floop stage a player can take any building card and floop it, meaning to turn it to the left, so that it appears onto the board. If you have played Magic the Gathering like we have you get that to floop a card would be basically be to tap a card. The principal is basically the same. Each building card has a special effect that can help the player.


There are only two known elements of the game, which are corn and learning. Corn cards happen to be powered by corn fields, which are given to the player at the start of the game. Learning cards are powered by intelligence, so a player could send someone to learn, and in turn, that person will receive power.

Each turn you can either attack the creature that is in your lane or you attack the player with any card that is not flooped. Once you  deal 25 damage to a player the game is over.

This is such a fun game, the Hubs and I really enjoyed it and have played it multiple times now. We can’t wait to get the other expansions to play.

My Version of Korean Tacos

There has been such a great resurgence in food culture, especially in the food truck arena. And this gal happens to be a big supporter. Some of my fondest memories from early adulthood is standing in line at a food truck waiting for a plate with five to six small tacos loaded with carne asada, onions, and piling on salsa. Chatting with my fellow foodies while we waited eagerly for our food.

In my home town we were limited to only food trucks that served Mexican food, the common stuff like, burritos, quesadillas, tostadas, tortas, and my beloved tacos. But when I moved to the LA area for a bit, I was pleasantly exposed to food trucks of all varieties. One of these trucks was Roy Choi’s famous Kogi Korean BBQ truck. Never having Korean food before I was definitely curious as to what it was like. Being a bit adventurous the Hubs and I decided why not try them and we got a few of his spicy pork tacos. Sweet baby cheebus. I was hooked. They were just so good. The sweetness from the pork and the spicy kick from the chile paste marinade blended into a liquid wave fusion on my tongue. I am a sucker for sweet and spicy. His truck combined foods from both Mexican and Korean decent and meld them into one  mutation of amazing mouthwatering goodness.

Since that day I have been wanting to try and recreate my own version of Korean tacos. After scouring the web and discovering a few recipes off Food Network, I decided to take what I found and adapted it to my own style of cooking. Because I am all about adapting and recreating it to my own palette. So here is my version of Korean Tacos.

For the Tacos You Will Need:

  • 1  cup soy sauce (we like the low sodium variety the best)
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1  tbsp ginger
  • 1  tbsp garlic powder
  • 6  scallions
  • 1/4 cup Datu Puti White Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1-3 lbs of ground beef


In a bowl or big measuring cup you are going to put the soy sauce, mirin, galic powder, ginger, sesame oil, brown sugar, siraccha, and Datu Puti vinegar. Make sure to mix these ingredients well and put to the side.


Next dice the scallions into small pieces and place into the bowl with the liquid mix. Stir mixture once again to get the scallions evenly coated.


Then place the ground beef into the bowl and mix it into the vinegar-scallion mixture. Let it sit and marinate for 20 to 30 minutes. That way all the flavors of your ingredients soak into each other.


Now it’s time to cook. Take your bowl of beef and sauce mixture and place into a pan. I like to cook in our cast iron for recipes like these. Cook the beef on a medium heat until it is cooked through and browned evenly. Then once it is browned reduce your heat to low and let it simmer.

Now time for the Korean Style Slaw.


For the Slaw You Will Need:

  • 3 cups of roughly chopped napa cabbage
  • 1 large carrot cut into matchstick slices
  • 1 half small red onion cut into thin slices
  • 1 to 2 apples cut into matchstick slices (we used Golden Delicious variety from our local farmer’s market)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 jicama cut into matchstick slices
  • 3 tbsp cilantro roughly chopped



Cut all your ingredients according to specifications. Once cut place them all in a bowl and toss together making sure they are evenly mixed.


Now you are ready for the final step, the Soy Lime Dressing for the slaw.

For the Dressing You Will Need:

  • 2 limes, squeezed of all juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tsp honey (we like fireweed honey which we get from our local farmer’s market)

In a cup mix all ingredients together, stirring it so it’s well blended. Then pour over slaw mixture. Once it’s all poured over slaw, mix slaw to make sure that it is evenly coated with the dressing. Place in refrigerator while you heat corn tortillas. Once tortillas are heated on both sides you are ready to construct your tacos and eat.

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The Hubs and I put slices of avocado and grated cheddar cheese on our tacos. These are very addicting and light. Hope you enjoyed my recipe.

A Few Quirky Shows to Binge Watch

Have you had this happen, your talking with a friend or in a group and someone says, “You have to watch this show I started watching, it’s so amazing.” Well here is me now saying it to you. You absolutely have to watch these shows, you will definitely love them.

I come across so many television shows in my time here on earth and I have always been drawn to ones that are quirky, fun, sentimental, and engaging. Shows that can make you laugh but can make you pull out the tissue box all within a moments passing. These two shows definitely have that going on.


Pushing Daises

What’s it about:

Ned as a child discovers that he has the power to resurrect the dead after he brings back his dog who was hit by a truck. With his new power he brings back his mother who suddenly dies of an aneurysm, but when he does this he accidentally causes the death of his childhood best friend’s dad. This unfortunately is the downside of his gift, someone has to die in the place of anyone he brings back. And to make matters even worse, when his mother kisses him goodnight she falls dead permanently. The second downside to his extraordinary gift. That’s when he realizes that he could never touch anyone that he brings back for a second time. With his Mother gone, Ned is sent to a boarding school where he discovers his knack for making pies. Meanwhile Chuck is sent to live with her eccentric Aunts, The Darling Mermaid Darlings.

As an adult Ned opens up a shop called The Pie Hole. With the help of waitress Olive Snook played by Kristen Chenoweth who is such a lovable force on screen. When regular customer and private investigator Emerson Cod played in grumpy gumshoe fashion by Chi McBride accidentally discovers Ned’s gift he offers him a proposal to help him with his financial woes. All Ned has to do is temporary bring the murder victims back to life so Emerson can ask them questions about how they died, that way he can solve their case and split the reward money. Ned reluctantly agrees.

Ned and Emerson’s new business venture leads Ned to a familiar friend from childhood, Chuck his childhood best friend and girl of his dreams. When Ned brings her back to solve her own death, he decides he can’t touch her a second time because he couldn’t bare to be without her again and instead brings Chuck back to his home under the condition they could never touch no matter what. Emerson gets wind of it and is reluctant to allow Chuck be a part of their investigation team to solve her own death. Eventually he is forced into giving in and the darling grumpy and awkward duo become a trio. The three continue to conduct their investigating business all while Chuck is getting use to her new life.Fotor1106145013

My take on it:

I want to take this time to say I absolutely love this show! I actually had never heard of Pushing Daises. Nor watched it when it was on the air. Then my Hubs who was my boyfriend at the time expressed to me that he wanted to share one of his favorite shows with me. Insert Pushing Daises here. I was ecstatic. I love sharing in all aspects of my Hubs. So we bought a bunch of snacks and marathon the first season during one of our lazy Saturday hangouts.

I was immediately drawn in. One of the things that pulled me in the most about the show was how heartwarming it was. Though Ned and Chuck could never physically touch each other without some sort of creative barrier, that doesn’t stop them from having an incredible life together expressing their love for each other. The sublime optimism of Ned and Chuck  resonated with me full heartily. I felt a kinship of sorts to both Ned and Chuck.

The bonus was that it was such an amazing show. Truly. From the quirky story line written beautifully by creators Bryan Fuller and Barry Sonnenfeld, to it’s stunning cinematography, Pushing Daisies is simply beautiful to look at it. It’s whimsical, clever, and so much fun. The costuming alone should be one aspect to draw you into the show.


What’s it about:




My take on it:



Cook Book Review: Food in Jars, Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round

For as long as I could remember growing up as a kid my folks would plant a garden in our back yard. There wasn’t a day that went by during the summer that we weren’t running out to the garden to pull off a fresh tomato or cucumber from the vine. Sometimes even pulling the tomatoes while they were still green to make one of my favorite dishes, fried green tomatoes, which I always pestered my Mom into making. We always had an abundance of tomatoes, zucchinis, squashes, cucumbers, bell peppers, eggplant, and chilies sprouting from the vines. My Mom had a green thumb when it came to gardening, which unfortunately I have not quite inherited. I can’t even keep a simple houseplant alive.

We always had more vegetables than we always knew what to do with. Which wasn’t a bad thing, it just meant that instead of letting them go to waste, because there are only so many tomatoes you can eat in a day, my Mom canned them. She would take big bowls out and we’d pick tomatoes and chilies, onions and bell peppers, then we would bring them into the kitchen, wash them up and she would get to work chopping away turning the tomatoes, chilies, onions, and bell peppers into homemade salsa. There is no store bought salsa that can ever remotely touch my Mom’s. Just saying. I loved watching her make it and her spaghetti sauce, which I would sneak a spoon into every so often to taste it. You know, to make sure that it was still good.

My Mom was a wiz at canning, and at making jam from the many different fruit trees in our back yard. My parents had over ten different fruit trees in their back yard, and still do to this day. So the amount of fruit we got, especially during the summer was an extensive amount. One of her specialties was apricot jam, which I still love to this day. Though she has not made it in a long time. There is nothing in the world better than homemade jam.

I was lucky enough to marry someone who’s Mother and Grandmothers also canned and made jams. And let me tell you, their jam is pretty amazing stuff too. I love my Mother In-law’s olallieberry jam. If you haven’t had or don’t know what an olallieberry is, it is a berry that is a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry. It’s darn good stuff I can tell you. And I was even luckier to have her and Grammy show me how to make it when we made it for wedding favors at my and the Hubs wedding nearly two and a half years ago. Time sure flies by fast doesn’t it. I truly treasured having them, a few of my bridesmaids, my awesome new Aunt Jeanne Marie, cousin Brielle, and my wonderful Mom spend the day laughing, talking, and making jam. Though me and Grammy sneaked in a bit more butter in the jam mix when everyone was talking and not looking.


But since that day I have been wanting to try my hand at making jam on my own. Especially now that I live in another state and don’t have them to walk me through the process. So naturally I went out on the hunt for a book to guide me into the canning process. That’s when I picked up Marisa McClellan’s book, Food in Jars; Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round at our local Powell’s Book Store.

After getting it home I sat down with the Hubs and went through the book putting yellow sticky notes on the recipes that I immediately wanted to try making right away. We had success at our first attempt at canning our own pickles from a recipe we found via the internet, and thought to ourselves if we can do that and they turned out great, we should have no problem with this book.

And besides I was intent on filling our cupboards with jars of glorious fruits and veggies that we get from our local farmer’s market in town that we attend every Saturday like clockwork. That way during the winter months we can still have our summer veggies we love.

McClellan breaks the book into 14 chapters; jams, fruit butters, jellies, marmalades, curds and conserves, chutneys and condiments, pickles, salsas and relishes, tomatoes, syrups, whole fruit, granola in jars, nut butters, and other foods in jars. Each chapter is clear and each recipe is easy to follow. No difficult explanations to attempt to decipher.


She gives clear instructions that will get you set up correctly and safely with hot water bath canning, the most basic canning process. So all my novice friends who are wanting to try your hand at making jams or canning in general this book is for you.

And since her focus is on putting up small batches, it’s a good way to dip your toe in without having to worry about finding yourself overwhelmed, which is great for novices like myself who aren’t as confident with the canning process yet. The thing I love about the book is that you can make everything into small batches, which suits the Hubs and I just perfectly. We love being able to get a basket of veggies and fruits from the farmer’s market and bringing them home to turn them into jars of canned goodness. And because the recipes are geared towards creating small batches we have the opportunity to make lots of small jars of a variety of items. Rhubarb, pears, peaches, I am looking into your direction next farmer’s market.

Accompanying her recipes are these incredibly shot photos of the recipes themselves. Although I would have personally liked to see a photo with every recipe, which is just me being a little picky, she adds enough photos to get the inspiration going.

An added bonus about the book is that I, we, actually got to meet  Marisa McClellan at our farmer’s market in Beaverton. She was there signing her second book, Preserving By the Pint.


Here she is. She was incredibly nice and very approachable. I talked with her for a bit of time, until the Hubs had to drag me away to finish our market shopping.


Now one of my favorite things in the world is a pickled carrot, especially those of the spicy variety. There is just something about the taste of tang and spicy that gets my taste bud motors running. So naturally I was deeply enticed by McClellan’s recipe for Pickled Carrots and Radish Coins, when I came across it in the book. Though her recipe didn’t have as much spice as I personally would like, it still had enough spice to satisfy my craving. The thing I was most surprised about was how clean and refreshing they were, which I feel was because of the ginger and star anise that was mixed into the brine. Especially when I added them on to something as simple as grilled chicken tacos or a torta. For those who aren’t in the know a torta is a steak sandwich with refried beans and veggies on a hoagie roll. Simply delicious. You can definitely add the carrots to anything really, sandwich, taco, wraps, or just snack on them by themselves. It is all up to you.

I for one can’t wait to whip up a few more jars now that we have went through our first batch of them rather quickly. Yes, I couldn’t help myself from taking the jar and snacking on it while watching the latest season of Call the Midwife.


Ever since I had the pleasure of having pickled beets for the first time from a small little shawarma shop in LA with the MESA club nearly eight or nine years ago I became hooked on pickled beets. They were seriously that ridiculously good. And since then I have been on the hunt for the purple goodness at nearly every restaurant that happens to sell shawarmas that I stop for a bite in. But to no avail I haven’t came across them again, no place I have frequent tends to offer them, input my sad face here.

So when I came across McClellan’s recipe Gingery Pickled Beets, I knew that I would definitely be making them. How could I not. Although her recipe differs from my beloved shawarma’s shop beets, hers are definitely good. I think the biggest difference I found between the two styles of beets were that McClellan added cinnamon into her brine, where as the other were more tangy. I happen to be a big fan of cinnamon and love to add it in as much recipes as I can, so her recipe was definitely right up my alley.

This is another good one to add on wraps, tacos, sandwiches, or just snack on them. I tend to snack on them as a side dish when I am having a chicken wrap. They are just that good.


I have always been a big fan of lime. Can’t get enough of it. Ask my Hubs he will tell you. One of the biggest ingredient staples in our home are limes. When I came across this recipe for Zesty Lime Curd, after flipping through the book I definitely took a moment to scan the whole recipe. It seemed simple enough and I had all the ingredients in the house, why not try my hand at making a batch. Especially after reading McClellan state that it would be a perfect topping on a baked tart shell. Yum, lime tarts.

I was very recently introduced to the wonderful world of curd spreads, thanks to my lovely friend Lahryssa who put a bit of lemon curd she picked up from our favorite grocery store New Seasons on a piece of toast. I was a bit ill that day and wasn’t able to really hold anything down. So she spread a bit of curd on a nice slice of wheat toast and handed it to me to try and eat. Being a bit skeptical at first once I  bite into the lemon and tasted the tangy sweetness I couldn’t help but hoover the rest of the slice up. Then I gave her the whole Oliver, ‘may I have some more’ bit in my best attempt at a British accent. After hoovering my second slice of toast with lemon curd I knew that I was a goner and would keep one jar of the stuff at all times in the refrigerator. You know for the late night toast and curd sessions.

That’s why I couldn’t wait to attempt making McClellan’s recipe. Especially since I am a bit more partial to limes than lemons. Let me tell you this, I absolutely love this stuff after I made it. So incredibly refreshing and surprisingly light. I even tweaked my curd by adding a few key limes into the curd mixture. If your a fan of lime you will definitely love this recipe. I put my curd on shortbread cookies, and even on grilled chicken for a bit of dinner time flare. And yes, putting it on a baked tart shell with a few rings of candied limes and lemons was absolutely heavenly.


Now For My Review:

Marisa McClellan’s book, Food in Jars, is a wonderful book for anyone who is interested in canning and preserving. Both non-experience and experienced a like will take something away from the book. I know that I have.  The instructions are clear and to the point. Which for any beginner, like myself, can appreciate. I am so pleased with how each recipe’s accuracy and consistency is spot on, and even when it isn’t McClellan gives you a basis to make it so.

Not only does it give super easy directions on canning and trouble shooting, but it gives some really unique takes on canning recipes, like Cantaloupe  jam with vanilla. I would have never thought to make that into a jam. But it is examples like this and countless others in Food in Jars that truly open up the reader to new possibilities to get creative with your ingredients. I know that I have.

This book is a great companion to her blog, http://foodinjars.com/

Definitely take a look for more recipes and inspirations. I can’t recommend it enough.

Cook Book Review: Ceviche, Peruvian Kitchen by Martin Morales

When I first received Morales’s book, Ceviche I could not be more than excited. My husband and I have been collecting cook books for quite some time now and have been eager to add more books from around the world to our ever growing collection. So when I opened the box, which might I add took me longer than I had hoped, darn that packing tape, lol, I couldn’t be more than happy. Right away I noticed the texture of the cover. The attention to it’s detail was stylized perfectly to evoke the look reminiscent to the cevichería restaurants of Peru, leaving an immediate impression with me. What furthered my connection to it’s cover was that it had the look of the beloved talevera tiles that I love and want to one day fill my kitchen’s home with, which if you have seen my kitchen at all would know that this book would fit in perfectly with the rest of the decor. Bonus. Great eye candy for my cook book shelf.


I knew that if I was this drawn in by it’s cover, I would be in store for an even bigger treat once I opened the book. And indeed I was. When I opened the book I was greeted with a photograph of strings of gorgeous chilies, onions, garlic, and multi-colored ears of corn, strung next to bins of multi-colored vegetables piled high. I couldn’t help but compare the photograph in the book to one that I took at our local farmer’s market the weekend prior. And it was at this point that I showed my Hubs, saying ‘see my market photos look just like this one’ as I beamed from ear to ear. He simply smiled at me and then turned back to what he was watching on the telly. Men, lol.

The cookbook is laid out in nine chapters, it’s first chapter being ceviches, hence the title. Giving a bit of history Morales introduces the reader to the world of ceviche in it’s relationship to Peru. Little tidbit from the book, did you know that ceviche is the national dish of Peru, and that it is being made very similar to the way it was first introduced by the Spanish from thousands of years ago. I for one was not aware.

Each chapter in the book gives tidbits of history as it relates to it’s chapter topic. These chapter topics range from; street food, meat, vegetarian, salads, desserts, and drinks, giving a connection to the love and care behind each dish and the people behind each dish.

And if that wasn’t enough Morales interjects his own personal stories throughout the book. I for one am a sucker for cook books that have family stories peppered into them, it reminds me of being in the kitchen as a kid with my parents eagerly watching them cook and being mesmerized by seeing the creations go from ingredients to pot to table. It truly does give me the warm fuzzies in the pit of my belly.

Along with the personal stories, and the history of the food in the different chapters, you as a reader also are tuned into a brief history of Peruvian politics and immigration. So all you history buffs out there, this is the book for you.


One of the first recipes that I cooked from the book was Morales’s Arroz Con Pato, but instead of using the key ingredient of duck, which is a bit harder to find at the market I used chicken. My family has been cooking a similar version of this particular recipe for as long as I can remember minus the duck of course. It is a big staple in Mexican communities and in our family home. I was greatly surprised at the different intricacies between Morales’s recipe and my family recipe. The subtle spicy of the ancho chile with the sweetness of the juice from the orange was such a delectable flavor on the tongue. Both the Hubs and I are keen on having spice and sweetness in our dishes. Paired with the richness of a great stout into the mix of the sauce, which in Portland we have many great stouts, made the dish even more heavenly. Definitely a keeper in our rotation of recipes for the Hubs and I.

IMG_2693The next recipe that the Hubs and I tried out was Morales’s Huancaina Macaroni. Being a fan of homemade macaroni and cheese, none of the boxed premix stuff for this family, we were immediately drawn to this recipe. Especially my Hubs. He is the maker of classic styled macaroni and cheese in our household from a recipe that he has collected from his mother. Who, might I add is a pretty amazing cook. So once I showed him this recipe in the book he immediately wanted to make it. Now I am a glutton for cheese and boy did this recipe have it. We both loved the combination of the feta cheese, and aged cheddar cheese with the added spice of the amarillo chile paste. The chile paste truly made it stand out from other recipes that we have tried. Something about adding a bit of spice to any dish really knocks one out of the park for the Hubs and I. This is another recipe that we can’t wait to make for both a crowd of friends or just the two of us cozy-ed up next to each other on the couch on a brisk evening.


The next recipe from the book that we tried recreating is the Pavo Navideno, or Christmas Turkey as it is translated into English. This was another recipe that we adapted to what we had, which was chicken. We sure eat a lot of chicken, but I digress. I must say that the basting sauce for this was so enticing that I couldn’t help but constantly taste it as I was basting it, thank goodness for an abundance amount of tasting spoons I pulled out from one of my kitchen drawers. The bird itself was so tender and moist from the constant basting that it practically melted in your mouth. This recipe will be one I will definitely be using at Thanksgiving for our turkey.


Now on to My Review:

Ceviche by Martin Morales, was much more than just a simple cook book to me, it is a testament to Morales’s love for his homeland and it’s cuisine. Each recipe in the book has a story about family life in Peru bringing forth a real sense of history and insight to not only the Peruvian culture, but all the other cultures that have migrated into Peru. Much like what makes America such a great nation of foodies due to our melting pot of cultures, Morales gives great depth to the correlation between the migrations of these cultures and how they have influenced Peruvian cooking, representing not only the traditional recipes but many fusion recipes that he himself has created and has been influenced by.

In addition to Ceviche giving a great depiction of Peruvian cooking both tradition and fusion, the book itself was beautifully produced. There were so many beautifully shot photographs of the recipes that I couldn’t help but salivate over them. Almost every recipe in the book had a stunning depiction lush in color counterpart, which isn’t always true of many cook books that are on the current market. I know, I have scanned many in my hunt for cook books to add to our collection.

For Morales the book represents a celebration of the more than 500 years of fusion that have made Peruvian cuisine what it is today: Andean specialties made by indigenous people; street foods made popular by Afro-Peruvians and Criollos; wok-cooked meals prepared in Lima’ schifas (Chinese-Peruvian restaurants); European influences incorporated into Peruvian tradition; and of course, ceviches ranging from classic to Japanese-inspired.

There’s a real energy to the recipes in the book; the ingredients are tasty, vibrantly colorful and the recipes can be easily achieved in any home kitchen. The 100 recipes in the book are easily explained giving you the reader a chance for a truly fuss-free cooking experience. Morales’s compilation of dishes and drinks can be prepared by anyone and look as if they’ve been served by a professional. They’re both impressive and practical. No way out ingredients or endless hours of preparation so it’s the type of book which should happily grace the shelf of anyone with even a remote interest in cooking. And if that wasn’t enough the recipes can be easily adapted to what type of livestock your local market carries. So it gives you the reader the freedom to play around in the kitchen with what you are comfortable working with. In my case I used chicken as the main ingredient for many of the dishes simply because that was the easiest to obtain via our local market.

The book has something for everything and is filled with a sense of zest for life and vibrancy that not only tempt, they inspire. This is one cook book that has totally blown me away from cover to cover. It’s given me such a great read and experience recreating the recipes with my husband that I would highly recommend it to anyone. I loved it and it’s one my Hubs and I will be working with for a long time to come.


Disclaimer : “I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”