Thursday, March 29, 2012

When Visiting Crappy Coffee Central...

Be sure you equip yourself with a Starbucks Via.

These magical pouches of instant coffee are essential when we drive through or visit parts of the United States that enjoy very mild roasts, or what my mom has dubbed "agua de calcetín mugroso," loosely translated, dirty sock water.

And it's not even that we're coffee snobs, we just enjoy bolder brews, something they just don't serve at your local McDonald's or Cracker Barrel, or small town gas station coffee bar. They aren't even an option.

I order or serve myself coffee and then dump a Starbucks Via to the coffee, instantly transported to coffee heaven and well on my way to actual brain function.

We're currently in James' hometown saying our goodbyes to a close family friend that's losing her battle with cancer. We left Tampa at 8:30pm, arrived at 2am, and Paloma was up by 7:30am.

It is definitely a Via morning. I recommend buying a pack and stashing it your car for emergencies. You will thank me later.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Skinny Burger with Cebollitas

It's only a skinny burger because I used the last deli flat for the ham sandwich I made Izzy for lunch.  Last night's burgers were such a hit (Isabella even wanted a second one later that evening,) I decided it was safe to use the second pound of ground chicken for exactly the same meal tonight, except I had a burger left over and thus decided it would be my lunch.  And since onions have great health benefits and are acne-friendly (as in, they don't promote flare-ups,) I'm grilling the green onions I bought yesterday as my side.

Cebollitas (grilled green onions) are a favorite side of mine, yet I always seem to forget about them.  I get caught up in my cooking bubble and my perspective shrinks.  A lot like my vocabulary as of late.  There seem to be a lot of instances in which I over-explained something when a simple vocabulary word would have done the trick, and not even a hard one.  I think it was the word "scarce", but instead I was like, you know when you don't have a lot of something or it's hard to get or find, then my friend said scarce, and I thought, why is my vocabulary shrinking? 

Oh, it's because I never have to speak beyond the first grade level.  Awesome.

Anyway, back to the food...

One of the great bonuses of Paloma now being old enough to somewhat entertain herself is that I can actually hold her off enough to make myself something to eat in the afternoons and sometimes even prep dinner.  Chicken mixture for the burgers is already chilling in the fridge, I cut up potatoes for baked french fries I'm making to accompany the burgers, and after this I can breath easy.

Like a good Mexican, I sprinkled the cebollitas with some salt and lots of lime.  Lime is also really good for you.  I forget why, but if you want to find out I suggest reading Feed Your Face by Dr. Jessica Wu.  I will reference this book a lot in the future.  It's changed my life, not because it's taught me how to eat healthier, but because the focus is on eating to clear your face from acne and fight wrinkles naturally, with what you ingest.  I'm not interested in eating clean to cleanse my system.  I enjoy some junkfood.  I'm not dead.  But adjusting my diet to clear acne and fight sun damage?  Sign me up!  I'm not one that wants to fight the natural aging process, but I don't think there's anything wrong with healthy maintenance, and you can file Botox under my "healthy maintenance" files.

And, once I figure out how food Web sites get there food to look like supermodels, I will model my dishes accordingly.  I do think I over-grilled the onions, but they were still really tasty.  All of it was.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Green Chicken Burger

Ever since I sampled a delish chicken burger the butcher at Whole Foods made I've been determined to make them.  So today after I dropped Izzy off at school, I swung by the store and bought some ground chicken and green onions.  I had a loose recipe for the burgers upon reading Bon Appetit's current issue, which included a recipe for chicken meatball minestrone.  The meatballs have chives in them (hence the green onion I bought,) but I knew the fam wouldn't be to keen on a soup dinner since it's already pretty warm down here.  So I Google "chicken burger" and up popped (shocker, no, not really,) a Giada De Laurentiis recipe for chicken burgers with garlic and rosemary mayonnaise.  I'm not huge on mayonnaise, and I didn't have fresh rosemary, but I did have cilantro and green onions so I decided to make chicken burgers with green onion and cilantro mayonnaise instead.

I mixed the cilantro and chopped green onions in only half of the required amount of mayonnaise, which was a whopping full cup.  Bleh!  And the mayonnaise I used was Kraft mayo with olive oil, a much healthier alternative and Feed Your Face approved by Dr. Jessica Wu.  And since I had made salsa verde for the chicken tacos I had for lunch, I just topped the burgers with the salsa instead of ketchup, which is loaded with sugar. 

And just FYI, for the salsa verde I grabbed tomatillos I had sitting in my fridge, threw them, two jalapenos, cilantro, salt and a splash of water in the blender, pureed it, then chopped some onion, added it and half an avocado to what was already pureed.

The result is a deliciously moist and flavorful burger.  So you see, they're green burgers because, um, almost everything in it and the chicken is green.  And also the chicken is organic, as is most of the produce I used to make the salsa.  Duh.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Ultimate Cracker Jack Prize, In a Bowl of Tortilla Chips

I misplace things a lot. Some are expensive, some are menial; I don't discriminate.

Once I lost my iPhone and couldn't for the life of me remember where I put it. I used the Find My iPhone app on my iPad to locate said phone and followed the sonar beep to the refrigerator, where, quite confused, I opened the door and followed the sound to a paper bag on the top shelf. I looked in the bag, and there, next to the beautiful grass fed beef I had just purchased at Whole Foods, my phone lay signaling its whereabouts.

Similar scenes are commonplace in our household. I've misplaced my wedding set so often that usually don't even worry when I can't find it. It always turns up, and never when I'm looking for it, and always (always) in a very random place.

When I misplaced my engagement ring a couple weeks ago I wasn't even worried at first when I couldn't find it. But something was different this time.
I couldn't remember anything about when I last had the ring on my finger that morning. I thought for sure it was while I was in the kitchen. Then I thought, no, maybe I left it on the bed after I took it off to apply sunblock on Paloma (since I'm a little OCD about keeping it clean.)

When Izzy got home I asked if she had seen it around the apartment, to which she replied, "Have you looked in the freezer?"

If it was any other day, I would have laughed and brushed it off. She knows me so well. Once I lost my engagement ring for a week, only to find it in the back pocket of a pair of jeans. I'm sure I shoved it in there before handling raw meat and then forgot about it. But this day I was seriously freaking out.

I played my day around the apartment in my head over and over, so often that I couldn't trust my own memories. I didn't know what I may have made up in my mind in an attempt to calm myself down. I was desperate, telling myself I hadn't accidentally thrown it away while cleaning up the kitchen counter. I was hoping I hadn't put it down somewhere Paloma could reach it, but I checked all her favorite pacifier hiding places just in case and my ring wasn't in Barbie's mini cooper or the pink convertible. I knew I wasn't going to find it, but I looked everywhere anyway. I don't know what it was about this time around, but I was scared. I was having flashbacks of the time I left my two carat diamond promise ring James had given me when we were dating at the rest stop on my way to Tennessee. I didn't want to tell James I had lost another diamond ring. We never even insured it!! If it was gone, it was gone. At least if it was lost and insured we may have a chance of recovering some of the cost and instead of buying another one (which I don't think I'd get anyway), we could put a down payment on a house, or pay off some school loans!

But I did tell him, and he helped me look for it. He even looked for it on his own on nights he'd come home when I was already in bed. We rented a steam cleaner to give our carpet a facelift and were both bummed that even after moving everything around and thoroughly cleaning our home, it still didn't turn up.

Almost two weeks later we sat in church on another Sunday, on another day I hadn't found my ring. I was praying about it, again, almost in tears. I loved my ring. I loved what it meant. Whenever I looked down at it I was reminded of God's hand in our relationship. How it started out so backwards and how only after committing ourselves to Him, our relationship fell in its proper place, and thrived. But I was resigned to it being gone, knowing that after all, it was only a ring. I was ready to accept that I may have accidentally thrown it away.

That evening I made some fresh corn tortilla chips to add to our dwindling supply. I picked out some I overcooked a few days before and replenished the bowl so our neighbors would have enough to snack on with the salsa verde I had planned to bring for our Sunday night potlucks.

Dinner was lovely as usual. We're so very blessed to have amazing neighbors. They chat with us and the girls and we try each other's food. It's a cultural experience as much as it is a bonding one.

As I chatted away with those around me I felt a tap on my arm, which threw me off to begin with because we aren't "tappers", if you will. I turned, and there staring back at me was the greasiest most beautiful ring ever. Our host, who was a big fan of my chips the week before, had eaten his way to the bottom of the chip bowl, and there, found my ring.

It's all still so bizarre. I can only guess that on a day I had Paloma seated on the counter with me so she would let me cook, she picked up the ring I had placed to a side so it wouldn't get dirty, and thought it would do well in the chip bowl.

That, or I placed it on a paper towel and in turn put the paper towel in the chip bowl to absorb the oil from fresh fried tortilla wedges. Both are entirely possible.

Now to fish my wedding ring out of the dashboard defroster vents. I took it off at a red light to sunscreen my hands (sunspots are totally avoidable), you know, so the ring wouldn't get dirty, and then the light turned green before I finished properly applying and I had to make a sharp right turn into the gas station, because I was empTY, and upon making said sharp turn, down went my ring into the abyss of whatever lies be beneath the dashboard.


Still not properly cleaned, but who cares.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Mighty Key Lime

Over the last two years it has become increasingly difficult for me to stay properly hydrated.  I went on Adderall to help my ADD brain focus more, since after I had Paloma I had to track two kids, a dog and maintain a home (etc., etc., etc.)  But the catch with the meds, which did tremendously help, is that they severely dehydrated me and cut my appetite.  I've been off them now for about three months, but when I was on them I dropped to a ghastly 108 pounds, and at 5'6, that just looks gross.  It isn't healthy, period.  My skin had no color and my acne flared up because of the inconsistency in my eating habits, or lack thereof.  I was focusing and getting more done throughout the day, but my body was suffering.  I couldn't run because my I was hardly ever taking in enough calories or properly hydrated.

This coming from a girl that loves, loves, loves to go on early morning runs with her dog.  There's nothing quite like just you and the sound of your breath following the rhythm of your feet as they hit the grass (I want to preserve my knees, so I run on the grass, never on the paved trail).  I used to enjoy, almost need, music to run, but now it's just a distraction that keeps me from just blanking out and enjoying God's perfect work in nature.

Now that I've been off my meds I have to learn how to juggle everything AND drink water in order to run again without feeling like I'm doing it with cinder blocks tied to my legs.  I want to drink coffee more than anything, though, because I'm always tired.  Or at least it feels that way. So since I'm now off my meds, I'm a lot spacier, so I forget and lose things a lot more.  It is entirely too much of a task for me to recycle since we live in a highrise, where you have to take all your stuff and drop it in once specific place.  Don't judge.  If you don't have ADD, you have no idea what a daunting task that is for me and my kind!!!  So I don't want to use bottled water because I don't recycle the bottles, and I'm trying to still be a responsible citizen, which leaves me with my 1.5 liter Camelbak that is incredibly heavy, but hey, I'm trying to stay hydrated so I lug it around.  The problem is that I'm sick of plain water.

And they tell you, oh, flavor your water with lime.!  "Yes!" I think to myself, why don't I ever remember to buy limes and put slices in my water?  Well, it's because after I cut a lime and insert said wedges, I put the lime away, and then it gets lost in the fridge, and then it gets old and moldy, and then I don't have limes for my water, and then I don't drink water, and then I don't buy more limes at the store because I don't want to deal with moldy limes I keep forgetting about.

ADD is exhausting.

But I found key limes!  They're so small and cute, and they remind me of Mexico.  I cut one in half, squeeze the entire lime juice in my bottle and throw it away.  Boom!  Done.  I've had about 7 liters of water in the last 36 hours.  No limes to track and my water is flavored, and it tastes like Mexico in the summer, too.  But that's a whole other story.  You have to be Mexican, or have traveled there, to appreciate our fascination and love of the mighty lime.  You can read more about them here and here

Key limes are the perfect little size, see?  They're like disposable dishes!  Best idea EVER!  And if you ever want to make key lime pie, you'll never have to worry about missing the key ingredient!  (I couldn't help myself.)  I love key lime pie! 

Wow, I am really excited about my discovery, as told by my many uses of the excalamation point today.  But shouldn't we all be excited about getting healthy?