Sunday, January 26, 2014

For Every Solution, A Problem

For Every Solution, a Problem is a book by Kerstin Gier. This a very entertaining book. The protagonist is Gerri, a 30+ single, German girl who writes trashy-romance novels. Her family, specially her mother has no respect for her career choice, and cannot deal with the fact that she is single.

Gerri is depressed, and decides to commit suicide. As a going away present she writes each one of her relatives a letter stating what she really thinks of each one of them... Gerri mails those letters, prepares her night to go ahead with her plans, goes to bed and... The following morning she is not dead. She is alive, and her family members are getting ready to read all the letters.  

I read this book in one afternoon. The writing is extremely humorous, entertaining and witty. The situations real and very funny. I would never think that addressing the issue of committing suicide could be achieved in such a talented way. The idea of writing the letters was absolutely superb, the honestly of the letters totally refreshing.  I love the fact that it has a happy ending. It is a must in The Happy and Enjoyable Collection in my Kindle.



Saturday, January 25, 2014

E-Book vs Traditional Books

I am an avid reader. I love books, I enjoy going to book-stores, and go through the aisles to discover new intriguing stories.  Why do I love to read? It is all about the imagination...

"Good books... They are like the world's most engaging people, all lined up to meet us... to tell us their stories, explain things we want to know, describe places we want to go." 

When the e-books came out, I wasn't a fan of them... to me there was no comparison. The beauty of a book is touching the pages, getting its scent, the aging process...this is all part of the reading experience. Truth to be told, being an avid reader is expensive, books are not cheap. There is also the issue of where to put all the books, space becomes challenging. 

Kindle or no Kindle? So I decided to compromise... I own a kindle where the majority of my books are, and I still buy books. Depending on the book... I might buy it at the store or getting it through Kindle, which is a very personal decision depending on taste. Most of the books I have in my library are from before I bought the Kindle. 

The way I label them here will be the same way I have my collections in my Kindle, and right now this is what I have so far:

Anything Basque - books from where I am from, The Basque Country.
Business Oriented 
Class & Elegance - In this section I put things about etiquette, protocol, skin care, fashion etc.
Happy and Enjoyable - Funny and entertaining books that leave you with a good feeling.
Life class - What I consider "Great Teachings".
A little bit of Romance 
Silly Purchases - is it really worth it? - Once I put a book in this category I tend to forget the book is there...

Enjoy your reading!!!


Monday, January 20, 2014

California State Capitol

 I live in a city where it has a lot of interesting corners; one of them is the California State Capitol.

Yesterday we decided to visit the grounds, the day was absolutely amazing for being the middle of Winter. We decided to take a tour (they are free), to know about the history of the building. The architecture is magnificent, and the little details that surrounds the building as well. They really did a great job in the remodeling process bringing back the history of the building, and adding modern features.

There was also a celebration going on when we visited, the birthday of the last Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. Anyone can use the grounds of the Capitol for celebrations, or not celebrations, as long as the participants have a permit.

It is definitely a must see when coming to Sacramento.

Some facts about the construction:
Groundbreaking for the Capitol occurred December 4, 1860, but construction was not accomplished quickly. It took nearly 14 years and several administrations to complete the effort.
The Capitol was completed in 1874 with the cost of the construction totaling $2.5 million.
Restoration of the Capitol began in 1975 and took a total of six years to complete. The final cost of the restoration was over $68 million.

For more information I am attaching the link.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Running with Support

The greatest thing about the virtual world is how fast I know about events in stores I shop at. Thanks to Facebook and instant booking, I found out about the "Bra Fit Test" in Fleet Feet - Sacramento. Having friends to run with is as important in the support department as having a well fitted sports bra.

It was my lucky afternoon because I found 3 great sports bras and... My French teacher who is taking running as well, and was doing some shopping on her own. Every Thursday we will be running together.

Life is beautiful!   La vie est belle!!

♥ Natalia ♥

Saturday, January 11, 2014

French Onion Soup for the Newlyweds


Today I had schedule a class at "The Cordon Bleu" called "Knives Skills", super excited about taking that specific class, and start learning the different cuts and techniques without losing any part of my skin and/or fingers. Unfortunately the class never took place because it got cancelled.  

I was lucky enough to have an Open House the same day, and the Lead Admissions Representative after apologizing, he invited us to join them. I am not the type to miss an opportunity so I stayed. I got a tour of the whole school which is expanding, really soon it will have two floors, and a 45 minute demonstration by one of the Chef's at the school. The Chef prepared: French Onion Soup.

I was a little bit hesitant about asking the Chef if I could take pictures. I brazed myself for the "no" however I got... a "yes. I took as many as I could without losing the explanation, techniques and bits and pieces of food history, which is the best part of taking cooking classes. The "Tricks of the Trade" are not explained in a recipe but in a class.

I didn't know....

Kosher salt is less concentrated than table salt, and that's why on the cooking programs Chefs use more salt.
Putting baking soda with the onions breaks the onion bonds and makes a paste. 
The longer the soup sets in the stove boiling, the more flavors it will have.
Broth vs. Stock, broth has salt added to it, while stock does not.
Red onions are sweeter than yellow and white onion.

By tradition French Onion Soup is served in their wedding night in France. The Chef also told us that if the wedding night is successful the groom will order French Onion Soup in the morning, so don't be surprised if you get a smile or two when ordering French Onion Soup in the morning.

This soup was exquisite, and very easy to prepare. I selected the recipe from Ina Garten, from her book "The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook" because not only she is very scientific in her measurements but her recipes are very easy to follow. My cooking is lighter so instead of using butter I use olive oil, and the amount of salt and pepper depends on personal taste.



2 1/2 pounds of yellow onions, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick (8cups)
1/4 pound unsalted butter - for a lighter dish I use olive oil (quantity depends on individual taste)
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup of brandy or Cognac
8 cups beef stock - If I don't have any in the fridge, I buy low sodium stock from the store
1 tbsp kosher salt (more or less quantity depending on taste)
1/2 tablespoon freshly grounded white pepper (more or less quantity depending on taste)
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese (more or less depending on individual taste)

In a large stockpot on medium-high heat, sauté the onions with the butter (I use olive oil) and bay leaf for 20 minutes, until the onions turn a rich golden brown color. Deglaze the pan with the brandy or Cognac and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Add the beef stock plus salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, taste for salt and pepper, and serve hot with grated Parmesan cheese.

© The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Running season has arrived

I am back to being a novice runner. Last year I run the first half of The San Francisco Marathon, and the experience changed me. Since then, I have been running on and off, but now it is time to seriously tie my running shoes once again, and taste the pavement (not literally, of course). 

My race schedule is ready to go:

5k  - Sunday 9 Feb 2014 - Davis Stampede
7miles  - Saturday 8 Mar 2014 - The Lucky Run
10k - Sunday 30 Mar 2014 - Girls on the Go
10 miles - Sunday 27 April 2014 - Capital City Classic
13.1 miles - Sunday 8 June 2012 - Women's Fitness Festival

It is time to log my miles, improve my PR and do something exhilarating.

Motivation is what gets you started Habit is what keeps you going


©2014 The Pink Macaroon. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Keep Calm & Carry on!!!

Bonne Année!!!  Welcome 2014!!!

Every day when I go to work, I see my paper weight with the words "Keep Calm and Carry on". It is a great reminder that no matter how the day goes, if I keep calm, not only I can accomplish what I want to achieve, but my heart will thank me one day for it.

I have written my New Year's Resolutions, and I will achieve them little by little during this coming up year, having fun and enjoying them. 2014 is going to be a fantastic year.


©2013 The Pink Macaroon. All rights reserved.