Tag Archives: food

Feel Good 5 Friday … On a Saturday

26 Sep

So after a week of heaviness and hopelessness of a good person’s death the sun still came out, and there were blessings out there for some people. But not everybody.

And it reminded me of that Jimmy Stewart Christmas movie, and it’s funny because I don’t like watching it. In fact it’s on every Christmas but I don’t watch it. I think I only watched it once and that was enough for me. In any case, this whole scenario reminded me of that Potter guy and what an ass he was and how many Potter guys we have out there.

Stewart came out all right in the end, realizing his worth and everyone in his circle showing him so much love he felt rich in that way.

But that’s not enough in this situation. Karma’s slow and I need her to hurry up a bit. Until I can be more patient and funnel all that energy in a more positive direction, distraction is a good thing. Something uplifting and hopeful makes the present bearable.

So I watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix. Not the most positive step forward. But it was enlightening and I was super grateful that I am probably one of the few parents on Earth that doesn’t let her kid have a phone. My answer is usually, you’re not a doctor or a plumber, you’re not on call. I’m your personal Lyft/Uber driver so you got no use for a phone and if there’s an emergency use the house phone. When school was still in session I informed him he could use the school phone and that shouldn’t be a problem. Phones were intended to call people, but instead they’re a distraction. Pictures and posting.

He was not too thrilled with my response but understood.

The notions that are revealed in this docudrama are something I’ve been aware of, so it didn’t really surprise me. I’m not on social media that much either, so not participating in things of that nature isn’t really difficult for me. But I found it interesting that the kids were so addicted to these devices. But maybe it makes sense, since they were born into it. I mean even adults, there’s not a lot of social interaction, there wasn’t even before coronavirus. Many people were on the Facebook or Instagram, communicating that way, which is why I enjoy team sports or The Outdoors. Connection, live connection, is important and a lot of people are realizing that now.

And even though it was a good film it wasn’t the pep-me-up I was looking for to help turn the corner. But I was able to do a couple things to shake off a little funk.

After weeks of being on the injured list, I finally ventured out on a run this week and I can say that although I wasn’t at 100 percent, it still helped boost the good mood levels. The fact that the air quality was good enough to go outside was a bonus. Wild fires ravaging my neck of the woods provided an apocalyptical environment. But they’re getting through bit by bit. So that was something positive.

I was also able to catch a couple episodes of shows that made me laugh, learn, and feel good this week. I mean other than baseball rocking this unpredictable season, these TV shows provided a silver lining and lightness during a heavy week. Sometimes you need to hear other people’s stories to help you with your own. Food’s got a lot of good stories, from it’s origin all the way to the table. I find the food journey fascinating and delicious. Plus I discovered two comedies I never watched when they originally aired. Finding hidden gems late at night when you can’t really call anybody helps provide smiles that you need for a good night’s sleep. Hope you can find some this week!

Buen Camino, my friends!

Down to Earth with Zac Efron

Club de Cuervos (The Ballad of Hugo Sanchez)

Taco Chronicles


The Chef Show




Finding The Moments While You’re Under Construction

11 Oct

Enjoy the lifelong project of building a self, because it is the prospect of a fulfilled self that brings satisfaction even in the face of resistance, obstacles and setbacks — Deepak Chopra


Dude I am so trying.

And I’ve realized during the process that I’ve had moments of happiness that sustained me through pretty crappy times. Granted most of those moments come from races, stay-cations, Bucket List items, Sandbox List Adventures with my kids, and flying my freak flag whenever possible. But I’ve learned that food and movies definitely play a special place in this lifelong project.

I love the feel-good or Holy Crap moments that stay with me during a movie or show. I like that they produce pockets of happiness in my life. Most recently I had one of these moments while watch Jon Favreau’s latest film Chef. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s about a guy’s journey to finding his happiness again after some crazy blowout with a food critic.

I mean … disaster strikes.

But he manages to find something small and then builds. Eventually his prospect of being fulfilled is realized, and I loved that fact that food was part of the journey. I mean when don’t I right.


They had some inspiring dishes that made me want to travel through the US on a culinary adventure. But that’s the good thing about food, you don’t even have to leave your kitchen to travel, you can do it through the amazing dishes you prepare.



If you’re a Favreau and Leguizamo fan then this is the movie for you. Robert Downey Jr. even makes a small appearance in it and he’s amazing. I liked almost everyone in the film, except the leading lady. I’m not a fan of Vergara at all and almost didn’t watch the movie because I realized she was in it, but my love for Favreau overpowered any dislike I could have for that woman.

And I was glad it did.

I was able to find a pocket of happiness toward the end of the movie when Favreau sees his son’s film project about their journey. It was a small and touching moment and sometimes that’s all you need … something small when your life is undergoing construction.



12 x 12 Chocolate Challenge: Celebrating Ellen With Espresso

16 May

“I went in like Clark Kent and came out like Superman … ”


That’s exactly how it went down.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean I knew I would have fun regardless, but didn’t realize crossing off these two items from my Bucket List would feel so amazingly good. Like chocolate good. Like espresso beans covered in chocolate good and I don’t even like coffee, but that’s some good stuff.


Bucket List Items #7 and #8 …





Go to the Ellen DeGeneres Show and dance in the aisles like the Dancer of the Day.


That was me … The Guat … getting down to Michael Jackson’s Beat It … Something I don’t think I’ve heard in a while, but I remembered my junior high school moves. I had the excitement of Bucket List Accomplishment in me and the fact that I won a little something special … dude … it was cartwheel worthy for sure.

So how else could I honor this moment other than with chocolate.

The Chocolate Espresso Layer Cake … that was the one. I was debating between German Chocolate and the espresso, but seeing how I’ve had German Chocolate Cake before I thought I’d give something else a try.

Let me tell you … if you’re a coffee drinker this is definitely for you.


I loved the chocolate part and for some reason any time I add coffee, the chocolate seems to intensify. Something I never knew before I started this whole 12 x 12 Challenge. I’ve never had espresso before, but I was definitely tasting it in the cake. I feel awake. Wide awake. It’s not really a night-time snack kind of cake, more of a daylight hours treat for coffee drinkers. Ellen drinks coffee … she would have enjoyed it.

But note to self … I now know what bakers mean by over-mixing your batter. I never paid too much attention to this piece of advice. I saw it in almost every recipe so far, but didn’t realize how important it was to the whole chemistry of a cake.


It matters.

Totally matters.

So if you want a nice, fluffy, chocolatey, cake with a crumbly crumb pay attention to the do not over-mix instructions. They actually know what they’re talking about. Those directions are there for a reason … the reason being making my cake even more fantabulous.

And the frosting?

Well according to the warning this is an advanced frosting, novices beware. Yeah she put out a beware sign in front of her recipe. Granted she was right, but there really wasn’t a need to underestimate me from the get-go. And even if my frosting didn’t quite look like the recipe’s picture, it still came out pretty tasty and my Bucket List Celebration continued, regardless of the toxicity surrounding my environment. It was a good night.



Recipe courtesy of SavorySimple.net

Recipe courtesy of SavorySimple.net






Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost In The Details

5 Mar


Lost in the details

Lost in the details


Details are important.

Where are the table cloths?

Did you bring the party favors?

Where are the napkins?

Do you have the oregano for the pozole?

Where’s the platter?

How do the decorations look?

Yes details are important, but sometimes you get so lost in the details that you forget to take a moment for yourself and enjoy.

Moms, dads, students, people with two jobs, stressed-out people, or brides to-be … don’t forget to take a moment among all the details.


The Pre-Tamale Feast

23 Dec

It happens every year … well at least for the past seven years. My people splurge on the Guat tamales every year. At least fifty tamales packed in our fridge for the holiday eating season. And believe me, they get eaten. So what happens before the Guat holiday feast? Before I’m bombarded for tamales for days?

The Pre-Christmas Eve Carne Asada BBQ.

The grills are unveiled and we get to work.

There’s nothing like good food to help you get through the family holiday dysfunction.

And so we begin ...

And so we begin with salsa … sometimes the master of heartburn, but we all love the spicy tomato dish that accompanies the bag of chips we’re scarfing down.


For my cousin ... the vegetarian.

For my cousin … the vegetarian, an aluminum envelope packed with seafood and with flavor.


For the carnivore in all of us. As you can probably tell ... there were no leftovers.

For the carnivore in all of us. As you can probably tell … there were no leftovers.


I'd like to thank Pappy's Seasoning for making this possible. Yeah none of these shishkabobs made it to the "save-it-for-lunch" container.

I’d like to thank Pappy’s Seasoning for making this possible. Yeah none of these Shish Kabobs made it to the “save-it-for-lunch” container.


A plate ready to be taken out to the table, with all the essential accessories. Apparently they decided on light beer ... because of the holidays. You know ... people tend to gain ten to fifteen pounds.

The last shrimp plate ready to be taken out to the table, with all the essential accessories. Apparently they decided on light beer … because of the holidays. You know … people tend to gain ten to fifteen pounds.


It was a great bounty of seafood and deliciously marinated flank steak, accompanied by cilantro-lime rice, beans, corn on the cob, tortillas, radishes, and big pants. I felt like I was surrounded by dishes from the Food Network All-Stars. I was pretty proud of my beginning culinary skills. But I wasn’t able to take pictures of the rest of the side dishes. I figured you knew what all that looked like … well in truth everyone attacked the kitchen at once and I couldn’t snap my shot fast enough.

But I did get a plate. Both shrimp and steak.

And for once … for once I didn’t have to wash the dishes after the meal. Thank God my brother-in-law was here. Taking one for the team.


Sometimes It’s Better When Someone Else Does It

28 Apr

So there I was … one-hundred and thirty-two hours later and a sandwich in my hand.

As a parent, the end of the week hits hard, and by dinner time on Saturday night I’m exhausted. People with two full-time jobs understand what I’m talking about. The week sucked up my patience and my awesome culinary skills. When I was single it was take-out night. Thai food. When I was in college it was Cup-O-Noodles night. But seeing how I have a three-year old Pad Prik King, Pad Thai, or Cup-O-Noodles may not be great ideas.

So it was pasta for my three-year old kid, sweet potatoes for the baby … and for me … well I had to wait until after their bed time to eat. At nine o’clock at night I didn’t much feel like cooking up a storm and leftovers, well I wasn’t feeling them. So I turned to my deli meats.

Club Sandwich @ The Sandwich Box

Club Sandwich (Photo credit: SocialMediarts.com)

I sat there on the couch eating a sandwich. I always pride myself in what ever I make. Even my sandwiches are pretty tasty. Got the turkey, mortadella, ham, havarti cheese, avocado, deli mustard, etc… But something was missing.

It looked good. It tasted good. But still something was missing … 

Someone else didn’t make it for me. 

I don’t know if it’s just me, but sandwiches always seem to taste better when someone else makes them for you. I don’t know if it’s because my dad was an awesome sandwich maker, or I enjoyed club sandwiches at delis, but something is always tastier when the sandwich is made for you.

Maybe it’s the way they spread the deli mustard, or cut the tomatoes. Maybe it’s the way they leave the french bread in the toaster oven five minutes instead of four. Maybe it’s the Vlasic pickles. Maybe it’s because it’s accompanied by those awesome deli potato chips — the Kettle Chips and not your kid’s Goldfish Crackers.

I don’t know what it is, but it happens. It’s tastier.

But I was hungry, so I had to make do with my pickle-less sandwich and Goldfish Crackers.  



This Meal Went Beyond Paper Plates … It Deserved Barcelona

25 Mar

With so many mouths to feed and the massive amounts of Dawn and Palmolive destroying my youthful hands, I gravitated toward using paper plates.



But after washing breakfast plates, pots and pans; followed by lunch plates, pots and pans; then dinner plates pots and pans, I’ve decided to take short cuts and help myself out a little bit. I didn’t even mention the bottles…don’t get me started on the Dr. Brown baby bottles and their million parts. Dude.

So I’ve become a Dixie chick. Not a country-singing-I’m-Not-Ready-To-Make-Nice Dixie chick, but the paper plate kind. They’re awesome. They save me at least twenty-to-thirty minutes a day. And in Guat time that is really important. But sometimes a meal comes along where I have to use the Barcelona Dinnerware. It’s just that good.

Tonight happen to be one of those nights. I actually took the night off from eating yesterday because of my incident on Friday night. But I felt better today and made my comeback in the kitchen.

What did I make?


Meatloaf Muffins. They’re so awesome I literally patted myself on the back. But these were not just any meatloaf muffins, they were Rachel Ray’s Meatloaf Muffin Recipe.

Now I know I complain about her recipes totally sucking the 30-minute mark. Most of her recipes are all pretty tasty, but there are no 30-minute meals at my house … more like an-hour-and-a-half meals. But regardless of the time on this particular recipe I always thoroughly enjoy a tasty, savory comfy cozy meal that makes me close my eyes when I take the first bite.

Do you know how good food has to be to make me close my eyes and shake my head?


My relationship with food goes up several notches with this dish. I don’t care about calories or portion size in general, and this meal… hijole! … just puts me over the edge. Claim-Jumper size portions. It had celery, peppers, onions, Uncle Dougies Barbecue Sauce and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. I don’t really impress myself much, but today … dude … I was so money. 

This meal deserved the Barcelona Dinnerware plate. The earthenware with the beautiful glazed finish that makes everything look better. It deserved to be laid out in total awesomeness. No Dixie plates on this one.

As the night came to an end after baths for the kids, stories for my son and bedtime for both of them, I walk down to see a sink full of dishes.


But this time I didn’t mind it too much. It was a well-deserved mess.


Apparently, There Was Room for Just One

14 Mar

It stands alone … king of the domain, towering at nine inches tall.  The behemoth. No one messes with this. No one tries to horn in on its territory, unless they want to feel the Wrath of Kahn. It’s a territorial thing, I guess.

I became aware of the King not too long ago, when we tried to replace it … well not even replace it, just add some variety, but we were dismissed with extreme prejudice. When it comes to chicks and their kitchen it’s all about control. Don’t get crazy with the suggestions.

Apparently, Mrs. Dash rules my mother’s pantry. Have you heard of Mrs. Dash? It’s  the only spice, other than salt, that you will ever need on Earth. Not the small four or six-ounce jar either, but the Costco-sized-gargantuan-nuclear-bomb-shelter-21-ounce container. The kind an army cook uses to feed a platoon.

It’s a seasoning blend that provides you with a smorgasbord of spices great for anything and everything that flies, swims, or hangs out on a farm. According to my mom, it’s all you need.

image courtesy of http://www.MrsDash.com

During my temporary stay at my mom’s house, in addition to being the maid, dog walker, laundromat, dishwasher, personal shopper, accountant, and Dona of the house, I’d become the cook as well.

But regardless of my temporary standing as interim chef, every chick or kitchen dude, feels their kitchen is their kitchen, regardless how little they use it. Don’t mess with the Feng Shui of their kitchen. Don’t put the pots in the pan drawer, don’t unplug the blender, don’t move the cans around in the pantry so that they are grouped by size and the labels face you, don’t move the magnets on the fridge, and most importantly don’t rearrange, remove or add to their spices. You will be schooled … I was.

As I prepared arroz con pollo, I looked for some cumin and pepper in the pantry but found the ginormous container with the yellow label staring at me.

You got any cumin?

Mrs. Dash has it.

You got any pepper?

Don’t need it, Mrs. Dash has it.

What about garlic? I didn’t see any cloves or garlic powder?

I’ll tell you in Spanish because you don’t seem to understand … Lo tiene Mrs. Dash.

How are you just going to cook with one spice? What is that?

What about cayenne pepper?

LO TIENE MRS. DASH! Your sister’s husband loved my roasted chicken and steak. All I used was Mrs. Dash. He always said how delicious it was and that he wanted to get the recipe. He likes it.

Calm down. I just like a little variety, some depth … a little less zest.

Apparently it was bad enough that I brought pepper into the house a few weeks prior, I didn’t need to get all “diva” and bring in other additions to the kitchen. They weren’t necessary. This was the most awesome creation ever and I was frowned upon for even thinking to add to the spice rack. There could be only one king of the pantry, but I added the little  four-ounce containers. They made guest appearances.

image courtesy of http://www.pappyschoice.com

 But when my dude brought in a 32 oz container of Pappy’s Choice Professional Pack  Seasoning … you know the one that says, “You’re not happy, until you’ve had Pappy’s.”

Yeah…I’d never heard of it either.

Apparently they were giving samples of its flavorful potential at Costco and he had to have it. So Pappy’s made an attempt to creep into the pantry.

However it was outed.

Ques esto! What is this?

It’s Pappy’s … don’t you know? You’re not happy until you’ve had Pappy’s. It’s got no MSG and you can use it in Bloody Mary’s, too.

I was given the dirty look, followed by the questionable eyebrow raise and the hmph.

No matter how many times we used it and put it in the pantry, it would resurface on the counter, next to the toaster oven. It was given dirty looks, dropped on the floor accidentally on purpose, and segregated from the salt and Mrs. Dash. I thought my dude kept forgetting to put it back in the pantry, but that was not the case.

One morning I put it in the pantry, label facing me, behind the Mrs. Dash of course. Then my mother saw it … it’s presence slapping her in the chef face. She grabbed the container, opened the pouring spout, sniffed it, and then closed it. She placed it behind to the toaster, label facing the wall, away from me.

Apparently there was room for just one.

Crazy moms.

My U2 Experience and Why I Won’t Eat at Jack-in-the-Box

11 Mar

There it was … the big red box with white letters, spinning flashing its sign. She wanted to go inside. There were no other fast food places around. I insisted that her GPS said there was an In-and-Out about seven blocks north, but apparently she was starving.

I’ll wait.

What’s the big deal?

Are you kidding me? What’s the big deal? Bono…The Edge?


In-and-Out it is.

Bono and The Edge of U2 at Gillette Stadium, F...

Image via Wikipedia

I had never been to a U2 concert. They said it was an experience. A must see. I thought I would surprise my boyfriend (at the time) with floor tickets.  He was a huge U2 fan. Apparently he’s known and loved them since Bono had a mullet. I wasn’t aware what floor seats were and whether they were any good, but when he opened the envelope I realized they were amazing seats and I was an amazing girlfriend.

The day of the concert was so rushed. We didn’t eat home-cooked meals, but thought we’d pick something up along the way. We saw a Jack-In-The-Box and McDonalds on our way to the arena. I wasn’t a big fan of either one. I told him maybe we should look around, I’m sure there’s something else. It’s this or eleven dollar hot dogs from the arena. Jack-In-The-Box it is I guess.

I got the basics: Burger, fries and a lemonade. But then I saw the sign and changed my mind. “We make are shakes fresh. We use real vanilla ice cream, Oreo cookie pieces, whipped topping and maraschino cherries.”

The chocolate lover in me said: dude how can you not order that, I mean really lemonade, or Oreo Cookies Milkshake? C’mon now.

Milkshake, please. Large.

After we ate, we made our way to the arena and something didn’t sit well with me. My stomach began swelling and I had that bloated feeling.  He asked whether I wanted a beer or wine cooler before going in to the stadium. I politely declined, said I wasn’t feeling too well, probably full from the meal. One won’t hurt, may settle your stomach. All right.

So I picked the strawberry kiwi fizzy wine cooler. Thought it’s carbonated, it may help.

Always listen to your gut. It’s trying to tell you something.

We entered the stadium, bought our souvenir t-shirts and made our way to the floor. The floor. It meant the floor next to the band. The floor, where I could see the microphone stand and wires and if I reached my hand up toward the stage, Bono would probably high-five me, well he’d probably high-five my dude. Sweet, I thought. These were good tickets. He was happy, I was happy.

The lights dimmed and the opening act, The Pretenders, took the stage. As I nodded my head to the tunes, I got a funny feeling in my stomach. It wasn’t the butterflies of a new romance. It wasn’t the boom-boom of my inner musical soul thriving. It was the disharmony of a Jack-In-The-Box. It was my gut, calling me a jackass. I had no Sal de Uvas Picot to save me. But I tried to shake it off. I tried to dance it off.

The set continued, the band rocked on, and the people continued trickling in, filling up the arena. It began getting crowded on the floor … and then that’s when it happened.

It just came out. I threw up. I couldn’t stop. I was like Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man. My dude turned and looked at me, then at the floor. A couple of fans witnessed the spectacle and then probably wished they hadn’t witnessed it at all.


Oreo Cookie Milkshake indeed.

I was mortified. I couldn’t stop. The band didn’t stop jamming. The other floor ticket holders didn’t stop rocking. They didn’t hear me or the Oreo Cookie splat. But I did hear massive profanity as a few fans accidentally stepped in something that shouldn’t have been there. I needed to evacuate.

I didn’t know what to do.

What do you do when you lose it on a date? But not only a date, a concert … a most awesome U2 concert? Probably get ready to take a cab home, who wants a throw-up chick in their car?

I was unsure of my standing with my date at the moment.

My dude looked at me, walked me up the stairs, found the nearest bathroom, handed me one of the U2 shirts, and nodded his head.

After twenty minutes I came out of the bathroom, a little more refreshed and unsure of what was to come. We’d probably need a different spot on the floor. We’d probably be in the back, not even close to the microphone stand. We’d probably be better off in seats. And there would probably be no good-night kiss … No … there was no probably about it. I was sure of it. No kiss. But I was O.K. with that.

He took my hand, led me back to the floor, found a different spot, and he continued to rock on. Just when I felt the need to say something, an apology, a this-doesn’t-usually-happen-to-me-speech, he said:

I guess next time we’ll eat tacos, no milkshakes. Just lemonade.

He smiled and rocked as Bono took the stage.

Regardless of his compassion for my Oreo Cookie Milkshake mishap, I have yet to eat at Jack-In-The-Box again.

Fresh milkshakes with real vanilla ice cream … yeah … I’m not sure about that.

The Tomato Dish I Can’t Pronounce

9 Mar

I keep telling people that I used to be a fat Italian lady in my previous life. I probably knew how to make sauce and lived in Sicily. Even though I don’t remember much, the one thing that transcended time and space was my love for Italian food, total pasta lover.

Although I’m not a chef, I pride myself in making a good pasta dish. But when I see something that instantly makes my mouth water, it’s on. I have to buy it, make it, or special order it. Today that happened to be a bruschetta recipe from a movie I saw on cable: Julie & Julia.

Julie & Julia

Image via Wikipedia

I had seen it on Netflix a long time ago and thought I love that tomato thing I have to make it. The dude in the movie was totally devouring it, but then I saw the chocolate cake and you know when it comes to me … chocolate rules. But then I saw the movie again and I had a craving for this tomato dish. I realized you don’t call it a tomato dish, it’s called bruschetta.

And even though I love Italian food, I probably still don’t know how to properly pronounce bruschetta. I hear that chick from the Food Network Giada Delaurentis and she seems to pronounce everything Italian in an Italian accent. I mean really, she can’t just say spaghetti. Spaghetti. I know she can say it the same way she says tuna sandwich, but she chooses to practice her Italian accent randomly on purpose. It drives me crazy, so I don’t watch her too much. Although I probably could have used her culinary skills today, but the meal was still tasty. It’ll be better next time.

The recipe requires yellow and red tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Cut and Mix. I was thinking this is a snap, dude. I don’t know why I thought it would be hard. But then came the mother multi-tasking incidents and the bread didn’t quite come out golden brown, as it was hanging out in the pan with olive oil and butter. It was mostly dark brown, but crunchy as ever, but at least the baby wasn’t crying anymore. Besides, some people like crunch.


Image courtesy of thummprints.net

Image courtesy of thummprints.net .

As I finished dark-browning my uneven and different-sized french bread pieces that were supposed to be slices, I brought them over to the bruschetta. I piled on the mixture and added some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or you could use Kraft, and place it at the center of the table

Wowwwwwwww! What’s that mom?


No, mom. It’s tomatoes. I don’t like tomatoes. Can I have some mac and cheese?

Bruschetta is for mom, spaghetti is for you.

It may not have looked like Julie & Julia’s recipe, but it sure did taste like it.  I basically looked like the dude in the film … thoroughly enjoying every tomato, every leafy basil, every grain of salt and pepper, every drip of olive oil.

Next time a little more golden and less dark, dark brown.