Monthly Archives: February 2012

recetas nuevas

In replacement of the old link, I have given my recipes a page all to themselves! It’s much easier to find the recipe you’re looking for by category and name, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Just click on “RECETAS” next to ¿WHO IS LA RUBIA? above!  Buen provecho, amores:)

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el finde en lyon


View from the top of Fourviére Hill

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!  Mine was full of fun, but very relaxing at the same time.  It was so nice to catch up with Lauriane and to explore the city of Lyon with a friend as my local guide!

I arrived on Thursday during the middle of the afternoon.  Lauriane met me at the train station about an hour after my flight had landed.  Even though I don’t speak a word of French it was very easy to navigate my way there.  We then relaxed, caught up and had some tea before taking a walk around the central part of the city.  Lyon is divided by two rivers, Le Rhône and Le Saône, with the central part of the city lying between the two.  This is where Lauriane lives, so we walked around this central, busy part of the city for a few hours  and saw City Hall and the Opera House, as well as the largest plaza in all of Europe!  We stopped at Lauriane’s favorite bakery in the entire world to pick up croissants and bread for the next morning as well as little rum and honey cake treats to enjoy during our walk, which were so yummy.  That night we actually went out with Lauriane’s roommate to a Spanish/French fusion tapas restaurant!!  Everything was delicious and even better than the tapas in Madrid, since most of them are just covered in olive oil.  The French cream of mushroom soup was definitely my favorite!  Afterwards we went to a bar that serves all different varieties of Belgian beers; I tried a cherry one!

On Friday we wanted to sleep in after waking up early for school, so we had croissants around 11am.  Afterwards we went the pharmacy, stopped at the grocery store and walked around the shopping district for a little bit.  Everything was so cute, especially since they already have the new Spring Collections out!  Unfortunately, I only brought a carry-on bag, so I had absolutely no room for anything!  I’m definitely going to bring a checked luggage when I go to Paris in two weeks though so there’s plenty of room for new purchases.  We made pumpkin souffle for lunch and served it with another delicious French baguette and a mixed green salad.  After that we headed off for a grand adventure, all of the way up the hill to the Basilica Notre Dame de Fourviére, stopping along the way to take in the marvelous views of the city.  Even though it was overcast and a bit cloudy it was still fun.  On the way down we stopped for a typical Lyonnaise praline pastry to enjoy while seeing the Roman amphitheater, a few different beautiful churches, Lauriane’s favorite ice cream shop (though it was closed), and the famous traboules.  The traboules are old passageways connecting buildings and streets through out the old section of the city.  They were used by royals to make secret visits and more recently during World War II.  This part of the city was so fun, but after walking around for three hours we decided it was time to head home.


We headed over to a friend’s party afterwards, and it was really cool to get to know some of Lauriane’s friends there.  Afterwards we hung out at a different friend’s house listening to great American and French 80’s music!  Then randomly someone put on a song by the band Vampire Weekend, which I could not believe!  It was so funny to listed to a song with lyrics referencing the Mystic Seaport while in Lyon!

Saturday we woke up later than expected since Lauriane had accidentally thrown her phone under the bed during her sleep, haha. We had a small breakfast and looked through pictures of her trip to Boston a few years ago.  It was so funny to see all of the familiar places I haven’t been to in so long; it made me feel so far from home for a second!  When Lauriane’s boyfriend Tomas arrived back from skiing in the Alps he prepared the lunch we had planned out the day before!  Salmon with a cream sauce and cherry tomatoes baked inside of a pastry dough!  It was so delicious and gave us plenty of energy to bike along the river over to the park.  Thanks to the wonderful French government there is a free, state-funded zoo inside of the park!  We watched the flamingoes, lemurs, giraffes, black bears and porcupines for quite a long time which was so fun and unexpected!  Also, I learned that cotton candy is called daddy’s beard in French, haha!!  After strolling through more of the park we picked up the bikes again and road back through the city to Lauriane’s neighborhood.  We left the bikes there and climbed up the other hill, Croix – Rousse or Redheaded Cross, to watch the sunset over the Basilica and Fourviére Hill.


We went to a going away party for Lauriane’s friend who just got a full-time job in Paris and is moving this week!!  These types of parties are called CDI parties in France, with CDI standing for the French translation of unlimited duration contracts.  Everyone brings an appetizer or dessert that begins with C, D or I, so it got pretty creative!  We made our friend Lucia’s always popular Italian “chocolate sausage,” which was a huge hit.  I learned that the city where Lauriane’s parents live is responsible for the production of nearly 25% of French cheese, but unfortunately she’s allergic.  The party was a lot of fun, so with only a few hours of sleep, I woke up around 7am to catch my flight back to Madrid!

All in all it was an absolutely great getaway weekend.  Thank you so much for everything, Lauriane!  You’re welcome to stay with me in Madrid anytime!  Ya te echo de menos, amiga!

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haciendo la maleta

Tomorrow I’m off to Lyon, France to visit my friend, Lauriane.  We met last semester when she was in Madrid for the semester on Erasmus (and was actually one of my boyfriend’s roommates).  We used to see each other quite a lot, so I’m so happy to be staying with her this weekend.  I’ll be sure to update you on all of our adventures when I get back to Madrid on Sunday.

I’m a notorious over-packer but never seem to pack things that I’ll actually end up wearing – which leads to shopping and over-weight baggage on the way home.  I’ve seen quite a few packing guides on Pinterest lately and plan on sticking to this one below this time around!  Hopefully I’ll be a pro-packer after taking trips three out of the next four weekends … but more on those as they come along.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your week and have a great weekend!  Enjoy yourselves as I dive head first into the gastronomical capital of France.  Au revoir, amores:)

{Via a pair & a spare}


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cena casera


Last night, Dan and I enjoyed the delicious homemade dinner that we wished we had had time for on Valentine’s Day.  It was so fun to cook a great meal together; back in Boston this was at the very least, a weekly occurrence.  Cooking is something that we both really enjoy, so it has always been fun for us to try out new recipes together.

Last night was no exception!  We tackled a recipe I’ve been dying to try for a while and one of my favorite foods.  We started off with cocktail shrimp and an arugula spinach salad with oranges & a citrus vinaigrette.  The inspiration came from this recipe, which I definitely plan on making this summer.  That was followed by the star of the show, Baked Lobster Mac and Cheese.  I chose this recipe because it’s Ina Garten’s recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, just adapted for two people instead of six.  Even after cutting the recipe size significantly it was still a ton of food, but leftovers are always welcome on Sundays here in Spain (since NO grocery stores are open).  Of course, we had to have dessert, so we finished with Strawberry Shortcake.  I made the shortcake using this recipe and tossed the heart-shaped strawberries in balsamic vinegar to give it an added flavor.  I know what you’re thinking, no chocolate?  But between the Valentine’s Day packages from Rina and my mom and the Cadbury chocolate that Mikey brought us back from London, I’m all chocolate-ed out… if you can believe that!

We spent the night drinking white wine, watching another Woody Allen movie and enjoying this delicious meal.  I guess I can stop celebrating Valentine’s Day now, but I’m still planning on making heart-shaped sugar cookies this week thanks to some of the American Valentine’s things Rina sent me:)

Hope you all had a great weekend!  We’re off for a run to work off the pounds of macaroni and cheese we ate for dinner!  Ciao, amores:)

P.S. Dan putting the lobster in the boiling water!!!

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progreso con el entrenamiento

Remember that 10K I signed up for a few weeks ago?  It’s okay, I nearly forgot about it too.  I’ve been doing 20 minute yoga Podcasts a few times per week since this mini-semester started, but I haven’t had too much time to make it over to the track in the past few weeks.  You know when you’re running and your Apple iPod headphones are constantly falling out of your ears?  Yeah, I was terribly sick of dealing with that as well, which didn’t add to my running motivation either.  And, it’s been really cold out! Okay, now it just sounds like I’m making excuses!!

Anyway, the point is that after buying a new pair of headphones last weekend, I was very eager to try them out! I went for two great 35 minute runs this week that were made even better by these babies: Philips ActionFit Earhook Sports Headset.  Best headphones I’ve ever owned, and I highly suggest them to anyone that uses their headphones while working out.

Other than that exciting news there isn’t too much going on here in Madrid.  I’m looking forward to a relaxing next few days while many of my friends are in Prague for the weekend.  I’m so jealous of them since we had such a wonderful time in Prague for Christmas but am anxious to hear all of their thoughts and stories from the beautiful small city!

Hope you all have a relaxing weekend, as well!  XOXO:)

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¡feliz día de san valentín!

Happy Valentines Day, loves!  If I was home I would make you all beautiful, sparkly valentines, but this year… these cute valentines from Martha Stewart will just have to do.

Tonight, Dan and I are ordering sushi, watching a Woody Allen film (we’ve been on a serious Woody Allen kick for the greater part of 2012) and studying for our Financial Markets exam, which is at 8am on Thursday morning.  This weekend we’re going to relax and make a delicious dinner in honor of the wonderful Corte Ingles holiday though, so I will be sure to share our recipes!

Distfrutados, amores!:)

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hoy: la cena

I just had to share with you what I had for dinner tonight!  After a long day of classes, a co-op interview and running around in the freezing cold, I was in the mood for something warm and delicious, but not very labor-intensive or time-consuming.  Here I present to you, my new favorite (as of 30 minutes ago) go-to super fast and healthy pasta dish: Creamy Avocado Pasta <– click for recipe!

The water boiling and pasta cooking lasted more time than needed to prepare the sauce.  I also just smashed the avocados with a fork and then whisked it all together instead of using a food processor (mostly because I don’t have one), but it was really so easy anyway.  Also, I added some fresh cherry tomatoes, and would maybe add parmesan cheese, grilled chicken, etc. to it in the future or if I wanted to add some depth to the dish for a dinner party.

Do you have any go-to quick but delicious recipes you’d like to share?  Hope you try this one out and enjoy it just as much as I did!  Buen provecho, amores:)

My photo via Instagram.

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superbowl snapshots

{superbowl XLVI hummus}

Just because we weren’t in American to watch the Superbowl, doesn’t mean we weren’t just as excited as we would have normally been.  I actually think I may have personally been more excited than usual, since it was a great opportunity to make all sorts of American Superbowl foods that I haven’t had since I moved to Spain!


We enjoyed so many delicious things, and I was absolutely stuffed for the remainder of the night!  Everyone contributed one or two dishes, so we wound up with a wide variety:  spinach artichoke dip bread, homemade hummus, guacamole, buffalo chicken dip (my favorite!), nachos with all of the fixings, Spanish ham & chorizos, salad, vegetable crudité, turkey chili, and cornbread.


Since the game started around 1:00am in Spain we were up until after 4:00am!  But, for the once a year greatness of the Superbowl foods, commercials and the game itself, it was definitely worth it!

{my first box pool - no skill required}

How was your Superbowl Sunday?  Did you win any money?  I lost 3 euro in our box pool, but lucky Trent and Gabby won 20 and 30 euro, respectively!  Any delicious favorites you ate over the weekend or in front of the TV?  Hope you all had a great weekend!  Ciao, amores:)

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¡te echamos de menos, bruna!

{Empanada de atún para decir adios}

My roommate Bruna was only here for the fall semester and January exams, so on Saturday she went home to Brazil!  Even though she was busy with her parents being here for the past month, we still managed to get some time in to have dinner with all four of the roommates in my apartment.  That being said, it was actually our first and last dinner all together.  It made the dinner even more fun I think, that we knew we weren’t going to be all together for a long time, or maybe even ever again!

{la mesa, llena de comida}

We enjoyed a tuna empanada made by Bea; macaroni & cheese (me); ham, crackers & pâte from Eva; and Brazilian cheese breads from Bruna.  Bruna also made little mini chocolate for dessert which we enjoyed with a bottle of Cava that her parents bought us!  All of this, we accompanied with lots of laughs and great stories late into the night, despite work and 8am classes the next morning.  I hope we’ll be able to make time to do these dinners more often, even though Bruna is already back in sunny, warm Brazil!

I hope you enjoyed your semester in Madrid, Bruna and that this was a great send-off dinner!  Thanks for all of the great times over the past five months, and hopefully we’ll see you soon… in Brazil!

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celebraciones para mi cumpleaños

I’m here to finish the story of my birthday weekend.  I know, I left you guys hanging by saying there was more to come, and then never updating you, but the thing is, with 30+ hours of class this week, I just couldn’t quite find the time!  Anyway, back to the birthday!

Friday night after being in Segovia for the afternoon, I had plenty of time to relax, eat dinner and get ready before heading over to Kathryn’s house.  A few friends came over, and we sat around drinking champagne and playing my favorite drinking game. We then went to a really fun club called Coco right near Puerta del Sol for the rest of the night.  A few other friends met us there, and it was a really fun time.  Dan, Gabby and I even got Churros at San Gines when we left the club, and they were so amazing.  I don’t think I even looked up from the churros & chocolate until I had finished all of mine!

Saturday afternoon, I had an amazingly delicious brunch at VIPS with Gabby, Lauren and Kathryn.  We were all so hungry (despite the late night churros), and I was so happy that we were all awake and awake enough to make it over to VIPS together.  I relaxed for the rest of the day, watching movies and lazing around at Dan’s.

Kathryn and I made a delicious Earl Grey birthday cake (click for recipe) before I headed back to Dan’s for absolutely delicious fish francaise, homemade rice pilaf, and my favorite broccoli.  The rice pilaf was so easy to make – and who knew that classic rice pilaf flavor came from buttery-toasted spaghetti?

Kathryn and Gabby came over for champagne at midnight when I officially turned 22, but I actually popped the bottle 1 minute early, hehe.  Some other friends came over, and we just hung out and talked until it was too late for us to leave to go out.  It was a really relaxing night though and was perfect, especially after the long night we had the night before.

Sunday afternoon Dan took me out for a surprise birthday lunch to a great sushi place right around the corner from both of us.  We haven’t had sushi since we got to Spain, and I have been craving it so much lately.  We got a few different rolls and another crazy concoction of salmon filled with avocado and cream cheese and then tempura fried (read: absolutely amazing!).

Everyone came over for a little party afterwards to enjoy all sorts of cakes and sweets.  We had the Earl Grey birthday cake, cupcakes with Nutella buttercream (made by my roommate, Bea), bizcocho (made by my roommate, Eva), banana bread (made by Kathryn), and an assortment of different cake slices from Corte Ingles (thanks to Gabby and Lauren).  The birthday cake was sweet with just a touch of Early Grey flavor in every bite.  I think next time I would follow the Earl Grey method but use on of my favorite vanilla cake recipes instead though.  The bizcocho was definitely my favorite though; I’ll have to get the recipe from Eva!


All in all, it was an absolutely perfect birthday weekend.  There was a great balance between crazy and relaxing times, perfect for celebrating my birthday and taking advantage of the break between final exams and the new semester.  I’m so happy I got to spend time with all of my friends here for my birthday, and I even skyped with my parents and a few friends back in the US too. Thank you all so much for everything!  It was absolutely fabulous to spend my birthday weekend with you, and I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did.  Gracias, amores:)

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