Wok Veggies

There’s a major trend right now in Buenos Aires, and sometimes I find myself doubting the Italian heritage here because it seems like everyone is on a WOK craze. But, I’m guilty, too. It’s hard to get veggies in my diet here since it’s all pasta-meat-pasta-breaded chicken-pizza-pizza-pizza for dinner. I tried something new this time and created an easy version of Wok (mind you, in a saucepan, not in a traditional Wok.)

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Wok Veggies

3 servings
30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

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Directions:

1. Chop all of the crunchier veggies and let them boil a little in a pot of a cup of water to soften them up a bit.
2. Add pasta (or butter noodles, rice, etc.) to a pot of boiling water.
3. Chop the rest of the veggies. Drain the water and mix all veggies with all the liquids. Add seasonings.
4. Cook until all the veggies are soft and well-cooked. Serve with brown rice, pasta, or whatever you may choose and enjoy!!

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Map Boxes: Origami Decor

I have had a bunch of 60- and 70-year-old maps sitting in a pile on my nightstand for a couple months now, ever since I found them in a trash pile, and I’ve been waiting for the perfect craft to come along so I can use them. (Yes, I have my mother’s hoarding gene, but how could you throw something like that away?!)

Luckily, Fran and I needed something to put change in and I had pinned something about map crafts a while back. They were very easy to make, once you get the hang of the final step. It’s a lot of paper folding, too, so make sure your maps aren’t super flimsy, as some of mine were. (Find the instructions here!)

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Hope you enjoy this easy and useful craft! 🙂

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Designing Dreams

Introducing, the new and improved New Hampshire Nonconformist!

It’s only appropriate to continue the trend: new year, new job, new flat, new country… new blog design! Hope you enjoy it. 🙂

More importantly, Fran and I have a lot of upgrading to do in our new flat. I hope to post these upgrades, before and after. The flat isn’t huge – far from it! But it has a lot of potential and I can’t wait to make it our own. For now, blank walls and boring blue linens it is.

If you’re looking for a preview of what’s to come, check out the Dream board on my Pinterest. I’ve been adding more and more things ever since we paid our first month’s rent.

Now, first question: What should we do with this??

dining before

Please share your ideas in a comment… We could use all the help we can get!

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New Years in Argentina

Welcome, welcome 2015!

One of the great things about New Years is that almost every culture celebrates it at some point, in some way or another. I had the great pleasure of ringing in my second “año nuevo” with my Argentine family, and will share with you some of the different foods and traditions they have here in Buenos Aires.

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A relative makes these beautiful cakes which are always the grand finale of the feast, but we began with the picado, or little hors d’oeuvres, of chorizo (sausage), cherry tomatoes, cubed Gouda cheese (Fran’s favorite), and peanuts.

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Since dinner starts late here, around 9 or 10, the picado started around 8:30 and we gathered around the table near the parrilla, or grill. I could be satisfied from the picada alone. But who can resist what came next… The asado! Many are familiar with Argentina’s famous barbecue of grass-fed beef and juicy grilled chicken, and if you’re not I suggest you plan a night out to the nearest Argentine specialty restaurant and try for yourself (although I doubt it’s nothing like the real thing). We accompanied the asado with huevos rellenos (deviled eggs) and potato salad, and leftover picada.

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But my favorite part (since Argentina has brainwashed me into a die-hard postre-lover) was the dessert! A chocolate mousse and lemon meringue pie to die for.

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But what topped the New Years was being so close to the sea. I could live like this…

Chapadmalal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Chapadmalal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I hope you decide to add a little bit of Argentine flare to your New Years celebrations in the future (can you believe next year will be 2016?!)

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NHN Holiday Gift Guide: Honorable Mentions

I don’t advise any of you to waste your money on these “gift ideas” unless you truly think it’ll bring a smile to your loved ones’ faces. I came across these items while searching for gift ideas, and couldn’t let them pass without sharing them.

While looking for pet gifts:

  • Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat – I found this baby searching for gifts for my sister… The name pretty much speaks for itself. And yes, this is a legitimate book… there’s actually multiple books about “cat hair crafts.” Take a look inside and you’ll find that Project 4 is a Tote Bag which allows you to “carry your cat all around town.” SERIOUSLY??

    crafting cat hari

    amazon.com

*Note: These crafts are not recommended for those with cat allergies.

  • I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats – This actually might be the exception to the rule. I think some cat lovers would really enjoy this book, and it is out of stock on Amazon so a lot of people must buy it.

    amazon.com

    amazon.com

Speaking of cats…

This will probably also drive your cat insane:

  • Yodeling Pickle – Why. $15 of whys.

    amazon.com

    amazon.com

  • Annoying Orange – We won a dozen of these this past summer at a fair, and “annoying” just does not quite cut it. If you really need to get back at someone, give their child an Annoying Orange.

    amazon.com

    amazon.com

Furthermore…

amazon.com

amazon.com

Again, these are merely to give you a laugh… please don’t take them seriously!

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Empanadas, an Argentine Delicacy

I don’t know where they came from, but if there’s one country that does empanadas right, it’s Argentina. I have attempted to recreate these lovely yummies from scratch without success, because the dough is VERY difficult to make. You can probably find empanada tapas (translated to empanada pastries, although they look more like mini pie crusts) in international markets and specialty stores if you’re not brave enough to attempt the homemade version. Fran and I opted for store-bought dough, since it is very common and plentiful here in Argentina. In that way, we didn’t have to use a recipe, just basic cooking skills and some experience on Fran’s part. If you’re brave enough to attempt to make empanadas, I recommend looking up some Youtube videos of techniques, since words don’t really do the whole process justice. Here I have provided you with a very simple (yet somewhat time-consuming) recipe:

Empanadas – Jamon y queso/Cebolla y queso (Ham and cheese/Onion and Cheese)

Servings: 40 empanadas
Time: ~1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 packs of tapas para empanadas (puff pastries)
  • 1 block (20 oz.) of mozzerella cheese (queso cremoso if you’re in Argentina), chopped into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound deli ham, sliced into 1-inch squares
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 4 eggs
  • butter or cooking spray

Directions:

  • Butter or grease two large cookie sheets (preferably with a rim, because your empanadas are likely to leak and create a mess), and preheat your oven to 375 degrees, or medium heat.
  • Prepare the fillings by mixing the onion and half the cheese in one bowl, and the rest of the cheese with the ham in another bowl. Mix in one egg per bowl. Add salt if you would like, however it’s not very necessary.
  • Lay the tapa on the counter, dip your finger in water and wet the outer circle (about 1 cm wide) of the tapa.
  • Take a spoonful of the mixture (you’ll be making 20 ham and cheese, and 20 onion and cheese) and place it in the middle of the tapa.
  • Fold the tapa in half to create the half-moon shape of the empanada. Squeeze the edges to seal the empanada. The water should help to seal it.
  • Next you should fold the edges in a special pattern called “repulgue.” This video shows the basic method, although there’s a ton of different ways to make them more pretty!
  • Place the empanadas on the cookie sheet once you have done the repulgue, but they’re not done yet!
  • Once all of the empanadas are made, dip each one in a bowl of 2 eggs, and coat it well. Replace the empanadas on the cookie sheets.

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  • Use a fork to put small holes in the empanadas, so they don’t explode in the oven! Two or three pokes should do it.
  • Cook for about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown. The rims of the empanadas should be flaky, like a pastry.

They should look like this, más o menos!

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NHN Holiday Gift Guide: The Gift for Everyone

For those of you who don’t get their Christmas shopping done until Christmas Eve, I have one more gift guide to share with you. If the words “Secret Santa,” “Yankee Swap” or “amigo invisible” make you want to fall to your knees and sob like a baby, then this Gift Guide is for you. Sometimes it’s hard to think of a gift that everyone would like, and you wind up buying a bottle of wine for a 15 year old, or a makeup set for a 40-year-old man. But, I have a solution! Below I have listed some of my favorite gifts that EVERYONE would enjoy. If you have another gift that you fall back on for gift swaps, comment below!

For Nobody in Particular:

  • Humans of New York (HONY) Book – I have followed the HONY photoblog for years on Facebook and Brandon recently made a book of some of his best works. It’s on the NY Times Bestsellers list and has obviously been super successfully in the past few months. This gift is great for everyone because every story is extremely real and interesting and intriguing, and makes for a great coffee table book.

    hony

    humansofnewyork.com

  • Phase 10 – I’ve been in love with this game for years. It’s simple, quick, and very malleable… Fran and I have adjusted the rules numerous times and each time it gets more fun! It’s also really cheap, which is why it’s a great option for those Yankee Swaps.

    phase 10

    amazon.com

  • Hot Cocoa Mix Ornaments – For the creatively gifted bunch that are reading this post, this is a cheap and (very) easy gift for anyone. If you’re on a tight budget especially, these ornaments can be mass distributed to all your loved ones at a very low cost. (Found on Pinterest!)

    craftriver.com

    craftriver.com

  • Throw Blankets – My mom has always made fun of me for my obsession with blankets. I used to sleep with ten of them on my bed when I was younger. But really, who doesn’t like blankets? That’s why a cozy throw blanket is perfect for a gift swap. You don’t see it often, but when you do you know that person really hit the jackpot with their gift.

    target.com (UM YES PLEASE!)

    target.com (UM YES PLEASE!)

  • Portable Speakers – One Christmas I won a portable speaker set by iHome that, to this day, I use more than I ever thought I would with a swap gift. They’re reliable, very portable, and the charges last forever, as the efficiency of portable speakers nowadays has improved tremendously. My fave store Francesca’s has a super cool looking Bluetooth speaker that I will recommend to you, and it comes at a mere price of $26.
francescas.com

francescas.com

I hope NHN’s Holiday Gift Guides have helped you finish your shopping in some way or another, and may you and your loved ones be merry and full of joy on Christmas Day.

Stay tuned for a special Honorable Mentions edition of the NHN Holiday Gift Guide!

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NHN Holiday Gift Guide: For the Girls

Happy Hannukah to all my Jewish homies out there! The days until Christmas are quickly dwindling, and I hope a lot of you are well into your gift shopping. In case you aren’t, here’s a little help for all those lovely gals in your life! (Fran, take note!)

For the Girls:

  • Pura Vida Bracelets – These are a great choice because the prices range from little to nothing to a well-spent gift. They’re handmade, and most of them support a charity of your choice (so it’s also like a little gift to yourself!) I miss the days of wearing friendship bracelets all summer long, but who ever said we had to stop??

    puravidabracelets.com

    puravidabracelets.com

  • Tay Swift Ked’s – If you know your best girl’s shoe size, consider Taylor Swift’s line of Ked’s. Ked’s are a timeless favorite of mine, although mine are usually knockoffs. They’re a little bit on the expensive side but worth it for the amount of times they’ll be worn! And who doesn’t love Taylor Swift? (Especially her awesome sense of style!)
keds.com

keds.com

  • Birch Box – Just like Bark Box, this is perfect for the beauty queens in your life. You can purchase multiple months or one single month, all for a great low price.
birchbox.com

birchbox.com

  • Rifle Paper Co. – I also found RPC on Instagram and always get inspo from their beautiful creations. They sell amazing stationary and calendars, and honestly make for a great gift for anyone.

    riflepaperco.com

    riflepaperco.com

  • Bip and Bop jewelry – I found this company on Instagram some time ago and fell in love with their creative designs. However, this is only an option if you can wait until after Christmas, since their store is closed to catch up on holiday orders. Check it out either way!

I hope you all find something for those lovely ladies in your life — after all, they probably have the BEST gift picked out for you!

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NHN Holiday Gift Guide: For the Family

If your family is anything like mine, most of your get-togethers are spent playing board games (on the Wetzel side, at least!) It’s my favorite tradition, and I wouldn’t trade the world for it. So if you’re wondering what to get your cousins this holiday season, consider entering the realm of Game-Land and try out some of my favorites! These gifts are a good idea for a group of people since they can be a little pricey for just one person. If you have any board game favorites, please comment and let me know because we’re always looking to test out new games! (These are the ones that have established themselves in our tradition, tried and true!)

jumanji

FOR THE FAMILY/FOR A GROUP:

  • Seven Wonders – This one is my all-time favorite, because every game is different but it only takes 30 or 40 minutes to play. After the first or second game, you get the hang of strategies and then it transforms into a real competition. 🙂

    Amazon.com

    Amazon.com

  • Settlers of Catan – This one is an old favorite of the Wetzels. It’s pretty popular and you might have already heard of it. It’s not too difficult to learn and just like Seven Wonders, it’s different every game because the board changes. “I don’t give two sheeps about your wheat!”

    Amazon.com

    Amazon.com

  • Don Quixote de la Mancha – This is a newer favorite… Similar to Settlers but a different story. A lot easier than most board games. (Rumor is, now there’s an Android app!)

    Amazon.com

    Amazon.com

  • Wizard – This is a spin-off of a lot different card games, one being Trump. I’ve introduced it here in Argentina and they like it just as much! We like to play this a lot on my mom’s side. Depending on how many players you have, this game can take up to an hour and a half, so prepare yourselves for a long one. Barnes and Noble might have the cheapest at only $8.

    Barnesandnoble.com

    Barnesandnoble.com

Honorable Mentions:

  • Pandemic – If you know any extreme hard-core super duper gamers out there, Pandemic is the perfect gift. My sister’s fiancee (woah it’s weird calling him that now!) is obsessed with this one, and it is pretty entertaining, but when we play he usually takes the rein, since it’s a cooperative game. He would definitely give it two thumbs up. 🙂
  • Ticket to Ride – This one is a classic. It’s definitely not my favorite but it’s mindless entertainment. Great for the younger ones! They have multiple expansion packs for different parts of the world, if you already have the original.
  • Bananagrams – Another mindless hit, BG is great for kids learning to spell, and I have a feeling it would make for an awesome game to play while throwing back a couple glasses of wine. Again, Barnes & Noble has it for cheap!

I hope my game selections create a smile on your loved ones’ faces this holiday season. Now that we’re all absorbed by technology, it’s nice to have good old-fashioned fun with a board game or two!

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