Barcelona Day 1… airplane trip, arrival, and walking Las Ramblas

Vacation planning… airplane trip, arrival in Barcelona and walking Las Ramblas!

Every time I travel I  like to visualize the voyage, the process of “getting there” and for me, this is even more important when you are traveling with family and friends.   We are traveling to Barcelona to take a 8-day Mediterranean Cruise with my kids and my parents (I know God Bless my husband). We are flying to Barcelona via Frankfurt and it will be FUN!.  Having been in long flights throughout my traveling time I am looking forward to “cross the pond” with my kids for the first time 😉)

TIP#1:  Book a transatlantic flight that flights through the night so you force yourself to sleep during the flight and helps you handle the jet lag a bit better

We are departing from Houston at 4:30 pm.  The kids will go to school as usual and we will go from their school to the airport.  I will give them a light snack at the airport and wait until dinner on the plane. The intention is for them to sleep as much as possible and “wake up” in Frankfurt. From Frankfurt, we take a 2-hour flight to Barcelona and arrive in Barcelona at 1:30 pm.

We meet my parents at the Hotel which is located by Plaza Catalunya and the Rambla.  We take some time to rest and we go for walk by the Ramblas. My intention is to walk hitting the following places:

Casa Batllo – 3-minute walk

Plaza Catalunya – 9-minute walk

Rambla del Raval – 15-minute walk

Palau Guell – 7-minute walk

Colon Monument – 7-minute walk

We will have dinner when hungry and I have spotted three different “Tapas” places along the way.  

We will walk back to the hotel while expressing our gratitude for been in Barcelona altogether and I hope we can spot a good place to have a dessert with coffee on our way back to the hotel.

TIP#2: When you are jet lag and its time to sleep take melatonin. It helps to regulate your new time zones.  Also if you can sleep with the curtains open so that the sunlight can help to wake you up and will be easier for your internal clock to self-regulate.

I will take note of the first day and see how close we are to the above itinerary. I am always curious to see how much of the planning becomes a reality and even more important how much it helps when we deviate from the plan itself.

And now lets get to Day#2

10 perfect gifts ideas for the special man in your life

It has always been very difficult to gift my husband, first because it really seems that he has everything he wants and deeds, and second because “I don’t want any gift” is his favorite phrase. So every Christmas, every anniversary, every birthday and every St Valentin represents a puzzle that I have to solve. Over the years I have scored as many goals as I have failed. But every time that special date approaches, I always start looking … hoping to narrow my search for something that “he will like even though he doesn’t need”, or that “he will use even though he doesn’t want”.

I would like to share the 10 gifts that after a long search is in my list to give to my husband, or (or my dad) and hopefully, they can serve as inspiration for that special gift for that even more special person and all thanks to Amazon.

YETI Rambler 14 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug with Lid$ 24.99

TRUNKCRATEPRO Collapsible Portable Multi Compartments Heavy Duty Non-Slip Cargo Trunk Organizer Storage, Blue – $39.98

Thoughtfully Gifts, The Good Hurt Fire: A Hot Sauce Gift Set for Hot Sauce Lover’s, Sampler Pack of 7 Different Hot Sauces Inspired by Exotic Flavors and Peppers from Around the World$ 34.99

Double Old Fashioned Whiskey Glass (Set of 4) with Granite Chilling Stones – 10 oz Heavy Base Rocks Barware Glasses for Scotch, Bourbon and Cocktail Drinks$ 23.86

Large Sphere Ice Mold Tray – Whiskey Ice Sphere Maker – Makes 2.5 Inch Ice Balls (Gray)$ 13.99

Linkvisions Sisal/Bristle Dartboard with Staple-Free Bullseye, 18g Steel Tip Darts Set, Mounting Kits Included$39.99

Kettle Gryp – Kettlebell Adjustable Portable Weight Grip Travel Workout Equipment Gear for Gym Bag, Crossfit WOD, Weightlifting, Bodybuilding, Lose Weight | Clamps to Dumbells | Made in U.S.A.$34.95

Storm Glass Weather Stations Water Drop Weather Predictor Creative Forecast Nordic style Decorative Weather Glass

Storm Glass Weather Stations Water Drop Weather Predictor Creative Forecast Nordic style Decorative Weather Glass – 28.99

SEALIGHT 9005/HB3 High Beam 9006/HB4 Low Beam LED Headlight Bulbs Combo Package CSP Chips 6000K

HOJ Co. CARRYALL Mens Leather Money Clip Wallet-Strong Magnetic Front Pocket Wallet-Exterior ID Window$35.00

All these products are found in Amazon and are budget-friendly and hope can provide you with more ideas on what you can get to that significant man in your life.

Ingredients to add to your Morning Breakfast Shake

For the past three years, our breakfast has been a Nutritious Shake, which we have reinvented more than 10 times thanks to our relentless search to find the best ingredients. After so many changes we have chosen the following ingredients for their nutritional value.

Bananas are a healthy source of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and various antioxidants and phytonutrients. 

Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C, and various antioxidants.

Blueberries are low in calories and fat yet provide decent amounts of healthy fiber and are a good source of manganese and vitamins C and K1. They also provide small amounts of copper, as well as vitamins E and B6.

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. They are also a good source of several B-vitamins, vitamin K and potassium

Beets are good sources of vitamins and minerals, such as folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.

Parsley contains several important nutrients, such as vitamins A, K, and C. It’s also a good source of the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Kale is very high in nutrients and has many powerful antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol, which have numerous beneficial effects on health.  Kale is also extremely high in vitamin C.

Ginger is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Ginger has so many health benefits, from helping with digestion to brain functions and properties that can help fight infection.

Turmeric has been in use since antiquity for its anti-inflammatory (painkiller), carminative, anti-flatulent and anti-microbial properties. 

In addition to the above, the following are also the other ingredients which contribute good fat content and probiotics:  peanut butter, plant-based protein, coconut oil, olive oil, kefir, cayenne pepper, and granola.

Romanticism when your Partner is not a romantic!

I am of the opinion that we all have something romantic inside us, romanticism may manifest itself in different ways from the most romantic (dinners with candles and rose petals in bed ), to the most subtle romantics (coffee made in the morning), we are all romantic, but we all are to different degrees.

When I met my husband right away I realized that he was one of those “most subtle romantics”, he grew up without really knowing what romanticism is, and over the years we have learned to, by my side lower expectations and by his, put a little more effort.

After 18 years together we know more or less how romantic days like Valentine’s Day, Anniversaries, and Birthdays will unfold, usually by me planning something romantic and he trying to support me. I know that waiting for him to plan it all is not a fair expectation, but it is only fair that he be enthusiastic if I am the one who is planning the occasion.

When our partners are less romantic than we are, we have to have patience and understand how their minds and emotions work and work with communication so that they can understand what that special planned moment means for us (the more romantic kind).

For example, I may receive flowers once a year (if any), but he writes and calls me during the day, every day. He makes coffee early on Sundays and take care of the children or household chores so that I have my free time and enjoy them as I please. Those are the details that I have learned to appreciate because they come from a genuine loving place in his heart, and all the little candles in the world melt when compared to his daily attention to me.

My advice to you in the event that your partner is not so romantic is not to press for romanticism, but learn to see romance on a day-to-day basis and if you want your movie night, or fancy dinner, or bathtub filled with rose petals, then plan it yourself together with your partner and enjoy every minute of it.

When a simple Thank You will do

Last Friday night we went to bed a bit late since we had friends over for dinner.  I cooked the appetizers, side dishes, and dessert, while our friends did the most tastefully, tender, and juicy Brisket ever.  We laughed, and talked, and laughed some more. As I and my husband went to bed, although we were tired, we both acknowledged how lucky and thankful we feel for having great friends in our lives.

Sunday was the Super Bowl and my family has been anticipated the big game and I knew it was a special moment for them, so although I had a gazillion things to cook and prep for the week, I made the effort to cook them Chicken Wings and Nachos which they devoured while watching the game. After we put the kids to bed and as I am in the kitchen finishing cleaning up, my younger son calls me in to tell me that he really appreciates all I do for them and that the wings were amazing and the Nachos were the best he ever had and that he is so thankful for having me as a mom… I smiled, kissed him and told him the lucky one was me.

When we give the best to our families, and to our loved ones, and to ourselves, we do reach a level of satisfaction in our lives. At the end of the day, comes the amazing feeling that you are doing your best to stir your family in a happy direction, and when that gets recognized, and you are thanked for it… well, we are closer to the destination.

Stir Fry Ramen with Pork

Today recipe is a special one.  I make this on Friday night when we as a family are craving something different.  We try our best to eat meatless as much as we can, which is why this dish is a splurge when it comes to food.  It is a Stir Fry Pork Ramen and it is delicious.

For a full video, you can watch it on my YouTube channel @ Marisabel Park and below is the full recipe with pictures.  I am trying to get better at this so hopefully after a while the process is more understandable. I do have plenty of recipes to share and I am hopeful that with the videos and this blog the intention of providing you good and yummy recipes catered for the busy wife, husband, dad or mother, or just the busy you.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp of avocado oil (or oil of your preference)
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • ¼ cup of rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp of sriracha
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil (and more to coat the ramen once cooked)
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of chili garlic sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 boneless pork cutlets (cubed)
  • 2 zucchini (cubed)
  • 1 medium onion (sliced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 3 bunches of green onions
  • ¼ cup of cilantro
  • 3 basil leaves
  • 1/2 ramen noodles

Hit your pan and add the oil, once its hot add the pork and cook for about 5 minutes until it is no pink anymore.  Add the onions and cook for about 4 minutes until it starts getting translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the zucchini and cook until tender (about 8 minutes).

Cook the ramen as per the package instructions and once is drained, coat with a teaspoon of sesame oil.  Set aside.

In a bowl add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, and sugar and mix well until all is well combined.

Add the sauce into the pork/veggie mixture together with cilantro and green onion.  Let the sauce get hot (2 minutes) and add the ramen noodles. Combine well and serve with a some green onions (the green part) on top.

Enjoy.  You are very welcome.

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Cloth + Cabin

Beef Stew (Instant Pot) version

recipe follows….

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Yesterday was one of those days in which we walk through the door we want to keep walking until we hit the cough (or bed). Yes, we all know those days in which last-minute errands, last-minute emergencies, school functions, and late work meetings can take a toll on us and yes, we do have a family to feed.  So what we do? We dust off the Instant Pot!. I am very particular towards what to cook in the Instant Pot and I stick to stews and soups most of the time (with very happy results). Below is our last-minute-thank-God-we-own-a-Instant-Pot beef stew.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs of stew meat (cut in equal cubes)
  • 2 tbsp of flour (to coat the meet)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of green beans
  • 1 1/2 cup of carrots
  • 1/4 cup of parsley and cilantro
  • 4 basil leaves (fresh)
  • 1 1.2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of red wine
  • 5 cups of beef stock
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp of rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp of thyme
  • salt and pepper

Put the Instant Pot in the sautee setting and add the olive oil.  Coat the meat with the flour and once the pot is hot add the meat and brown it on all sides.  Once it is browned (5 minutes), remove the meat and add ¼ cup of wine and about 1 tbsp of water in order to get the flavor of the drippings of the meat.  Add the onions and let them cook for 3 minutes, add the garlic and let it cook for 1 minute, add the carrots and let it cook for 3 minutes.

We now assemble the pot by adding the meat back into the pot, with the green beans, and all the spices and the herbs (parsley, basil, and cilantro).  Close the vent and let it cook in the stew/meat setting or pressure cooking setting for 25 minutes. After it is done, let the pressure self-relieve for 10 minutes and complete the process manually.

Serve over rice and enjoy.  The turmeric gives it that beautiful bright color and it is delicious! You are very much welcome.

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