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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

10 Things to Do for a Better YOU in 2017


As 2016 comes to a close, I always use this time for reflection and for my immediate family. I think about the things I learned this year and the things that I've done. I think about where I was mentally and physically, and where I'd like to be this time next year. I haven't written in a while because of the lack of time and energy. As much as I wanted to keep writing and posting recipes I didn't prioritize it. My pregnancy has been the forefront of my attention along with indulging in whatever my heart desired. Last year I said that time is the most valuable thing. That was what I learned. This year I spent a lot of time celebrating and enjoying my life. It was my goal this year that I would spend more time on being in the moment. My reading goals were not too high this year so I didn't read many great books but I watched a lot of good shows and found happiness each day in the simple things and in doing so I gained a lot. I feel good about this year.
Something I think about all the time. Be present
and be happy. 

1) Prioritize your immediate family before anyone else. Sometimes you feel like you're obligated by the closeness you share with others because you want to be supportive and show how much you care, but everyone doesn't have the same heart as you and life is always changing so you can't expect people to stay the same either. 

2) Keep your distance from the bullshitters. It takes a lot of energy when you're trying to be positive, and do things that make you happy, then along comes someone who can't keep it real and makes excuses. Don't take time to confront fake people, simply ignore them. I knew I matured when I realized everything doesn't require my reaction. I don't have to call you back, I don't need to keep in touch, I don't have to respond if I don't feel like it, I don't have to spend time and energy to explain why I'm cool and distant. I'll be civil if necessary, but we don't need to have small talk. 

3) Stay on top of your nutrition and education on nutrition. I suffered from cystic acne suddenly and severely in the last 5 years on and off. Through this journey learning about nutrition, and fitness and how everything works in the body, I learned that while yes dairy is bad for you, and causes more acne, it's basic mineral deficits that I overlooked in all this time. I was scared to get pregnant thinking of what would happen to my acne and one day it was through learning via weekly baby development emails that I need 1200 mg of calcium a day, that I cured my acne issue since Sept. It's not 100% gone as there will continue to be breakouts from the hormones in pregnancy from time to time and in conjunction with what I eat but it is outstanding compared to what it used to be. I have seen the best results from simply adding 600mg of Calcium, 250 mg of magnesium added to my probiotic, fish oil, and prenatal vitamin. I have splurged a little and indulged in some dairy I've been missing for a while but I will keep it to a minimum. 

4) Always pray even when things are good, but especially when you're strength is being tested and you want to give up. I went through a really shitty situation last month where my identity was mistaken for someone else, and I was blacklisted from a network for healthcare. Yea let that sink in for a second. I couldn't eat, sleep, do simple things, be myself, or even get help until speaking with one of my best friends who works with attorneys. As much as I've been a strong advocate for fighting back against injustice, I had no strength left in me as a pregnant woman who just needed to get my appointments and move on. It lasted for about 2 weeks, on one of those dark days when I had no idea if I'd find a resolution, I went to my altar and just sat there and prayed my heart out, asking for guidance and direction. In one day, I had a game plan and was able to move forward. God knows what you're going through he just wants to see how long you will take to come to him. Even though I have found care elsewhere, it still haunts me knowing the cruel and corrupted world we live in. You don't know what injustice feels like until it's happening to you. 

5) Take inventory of your surroundings. Carefully assess who is who. You don't have to stop talking to these people as they are likely to be your family and supposed friends, but recognize who is who so you don't get bogged down by drama, and/or end up in your own feelings. Who cares if you're sad? Who motivates and inspires you? Who do you admire? Who tells you like it is? Who always gives you sound advice? Who comes just to see? Who can you be 100% real with? Who can you carry a deep conversation with? Who takes responsibility for their actions? Who is fun to be around? Who is constantly comparing themselves with you? Who is watching and copying your every move? Who doesn't have their own priorities in order? Who doesn't keep their word? Who has attention seeking behavior? Who's values don't line up with yours? 

6) Anybody can do anything. I don't care for politics but this election has been quite an eye opener and defiled most of my core beliefs: a) You don't have to be qualified apply to that job anyway. b) You don't have to be kind or even a decent person to get ahead in life.  c) Facts don't matter, emotions do. d) Money is the root of all problems and solutions but has all the power, so make as much money as possible. e) People don't have the capacity for love like they used to. f) Intelligence is at the lowest point despite being in the age of information. g) Humanity is remarkably deficient, the only hope we have is our children.
7) Invest in yourself. Do what makes you happy. It's not easier said than done. Ditch whatever is making you feel like crap. Put your foot down on bad habits or regular routines that don't make you feel your best. That's what I did this year. I let the chores pile up, I said okay to more take-out, I started early on events that I wanted to plan and focus on details. I treated myself to glam nails I could never do at home. I get dressed up as much as possible because that's who I am and what should I wait for? I filled my voids. I came up with some new ideas for the future. I took care of myself and ate well and loved myself. 

8) Invest in your relationship. Enjoy the hell out of your spouse! Write sweet things to each other, tag each other in memes, stay in on the weekends and hang out together. I have fallen in love with my husband over and over this year. We've spent a lot more time together, talking and being on the same page about everything, laughing, dancing, romancing, dreaming and building each other up this year. Work can be a pain in the ass, monopolizing a lot of our time as a family but the priority needs to be set for each other. Expecting another baby next year just adds to the excitement!

9) Knock off at least 1 bucket list item. I always wanted to see Beyonce live in concert and I did so earlier this year. It was a phenomenal experience and I was happy to have the chance to do that before starting this new chapter of having another baby.

10) Start a gratitude jar, or get a planner that helps you focus daily on your goals and new mindset. The one I love and use all year is this one because it's not too big and fits in my purse. It's great for staying on track with appts, dates, school activities, deadlines, grocery lists, food diary, notes to yourself, cataloging 5 ideas daily, or simply positive messages to yourself. There are bigger versions and other types where it's strictly a to-do list format. The prints are beautiful as well.
                                                                    

May you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Word "Settling" is Causing People to Miss Out

Hey guys, I know it's been a while. Life gets hectic and so much has transpired in terms of my life and the new direction it's taking. As a driven woman, focused on my life goals, I spent a better part of two years trying to figure myself out, and how to attain everything I wanted.

I wanted 30 to be the era to re-invent myself, in many vain and materialistic ways. I wanted to get to the very best I could be physically and start up a business for myself. Nothing is wrong with doing more for yourself but it can't be all you're about. At the same token you can't just sit idly doing nothing, aspiring to nothing. I took another chance and gave in to the person I love because that's what love is. It's messy, complicated, sacrifice and compromising. My husband wanted a baby and while I wanted it too, I didn't want to start all over again. I struggled with the decision because either way I didn't want there to be resentment. I tossed and turned with the idea but at the end of the day when we're old and gray we will look back on this time and the #1 thing old people have are regrets. I don't know who I will be when I'm 50-60 yrs old. I don't want to miss out on what could've been. Working moms envy stay at home moms, and stay at home moms envy working moms. Both sides always feel like they're getting the short end of the stick because we're bombarded everyday with messages about how much more we could have if x, if y, if z. Comparison is the thief of joy. However, I don't compare myself to anyone, I just had this picture perfect idea of who I wanted to be. The future me was my inspiration, because we live in a generation of go-getters, striving self-made people, where every article you're reading about is how to get to the next level of necessary comfort by creating a secure and stable financial future, and how to save for your children's college, and your retirement, and how to be smart enough to ride out the economic waves. The bottom-line is always "Don't Settle, Do More Do Better!". Some people are okay with mediocrity and that's fine, but a overly charged mind-set on "do more and do better" is damaging.

In the Kardashian age we live in of course everybody is
owed something, spoiled, entitled, non-accepting of their
own flaws, and expecting nothing but the best, despite not
actually being the best. Hence, the message prevails:
"DON'T SETTLE".
Last week was our 16th Anniversary since we became a couple and we reminisced a bit realizing the enormity of 16 straight years of being together and what it was like when we first met. It wasn't a love a first sight or anything. It was a conscious decision to give what you'd normally say no to a genuine chance. The chance most people take is to just talk but I was past talking I was ready to say here's all of me and my broken pieces and here's my naked soul. It was knowing there's so many options and choosing the person who had the most heart and potential. Settling is what most would call it when there was so much to choose from. Today's dating scene makes me all the more glad to have figured my shit out from a young age. It's a disaster out there! Both men and women are holding out for this cookie cutter idea of what they will accept instead of wearing their heart on their sleeve. They're refusing to acknowledge people outside of their material accomplishments, and status. I recently saw a number of people share the article "Getting Married is Not an Accomplishment" and I became outraged , not because I'm married but because since when did we become so blind to the fact that life is a circle. A circle that is composed of equally divided aspects that create balance. Social accomplishments are just as important as educational and career accomplishments. The problem is we're looking at people and measuring them in the light of what can they bring to the table.

Yes TRUE! We must have standards but don't take settling
to an extreme either. Know the difference between actually
settling and exploring potential. 

This past weekend, was my husband's 30th birthday. I wanted him to have a really special birthday. For the entire month I worked on little ideas here and there, special touches for his party and the girls and I said we'd do a "30 Reasons Why We Love You" board. Well you know kids, they came up with 6 items, 2 of which the little one repeated and I was left to do the board myself. At first I thought it was going to take long, but once I got started I realized the never ending reasons I could find to love this man. What got me to tears was the realization that despite all the options I thought I had back then, I was his only choice, the fact that he never left even when I had nothing to bring to the table. I mean literally nothing. I was in a dark place back then and it would've been much easier to leave me during a time when I didn't love myself and was so hard to love. If anything he was "settling" as hard as that is to admit, because I was no bed of roses.  If someone is interested in you, give them a chance to get to know them, regardless of race, religion, and social status. Education and looks might be a deal breaker but even those things can change. You should only question if you're settling if you stay in a relationship where the person doesn't love and value you, or treat you with respect. A relationship with serious problems like infidelity, or where there are more negatives than positives. Domestic violence and abusive situations is another commonplace occurrence where people settle for less than they deserve.

This past weekend was all I hoped for. It made me realize that I'm glad that I made the decision I did earlier this year for a man who never asks for anything and gives so much. That's growth. I'm pregnant and we're having our first boy after two girls. The happiness we felt and I saw in my husband's eyes up to our gender reveal makes my heart burst with joy. It's something we'll never forget. Does that mean that I give up on my goals? Absolutely not, I'm just taking the road less traveled. The scenic route. Slow and steady wins the race right?

When you're faced with an opportunity and feel like you're settling, realize that it's FEAR-based. There's no such thing as settling when you might miss out on true love or happiness. 


                                 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Honey-Glazed Spiced Pork Tenderloin

This summer I had re-gained quite a few lbs. so I decided to get back on My Fitness Pal to track my food and see where I was going wrong. After not being on the app for a while I realized how much more awesome they made it. The blog part of the app makes it even better with articles that keep you motivated and informed. My husband also started using it and found a pork tenderloin recipe he liked and so I made it and it was really good. Paired up with a baked potato with butter and a salad it was healthy and filling! We all know the worst part about dieting is feeling satisfied and full! Food prep is never fun either, and this was easy as hell!

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of any visible fat and connective tissue
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey 
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. Use a fork to mix the paprika, salt, black pepper, onion powder, chili powder and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. 
  3. Rub the tenderloin evenly with the olive oil. Then rub the spice mixture evenly over it until the tenderloin is thoroughly coated. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let stand for 15 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the honey and garlic in a small bowl. 
  5. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, lightly mist it with cooking spray. Cook the tenderloin for 1–2 minutes per side, or until just browned on all sides. 
  6. Place the tenderloin in a roasting pan or ovenproof skillet. (If one end of tenderloin is much thinner than the other, tuck it under to create a similar thickness throughout.) Use a pastry or basting brush to evenly coat the tenderloin with the honey mixture. Roast, uncovered, for 16–18 minutes, or until it is just barely pink inside and a meat thermometer inserted in the center reaches 155°F (the temperature will rise another 5°F while standing). 
  7. Remove from the oven, loosely cover the tenderloin (not the whole pan) with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes. Transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board. Holding your knife at a 45-degree angle, thinly slice the tenderloin. Serve immediately. 

Nutrition Information

Serves: 4 |  Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
Per serving: Calories: 209; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 84mg; Sodium: 362mg; Carbohydrate: 8g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 27g
Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 507mg; Iron: 11%; Vitamin A: 12%; Vitamin C: 2%; Calcium: 3% 















Attribution:
For the original recipe and to see more health related articles:
http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/honey-glazed-spiced-pork-tenderloin/

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Two Types of Love; Don't Let Go of the Magic!



 I was talking to this young girl a few weeks ago and she mentioned something about marriage plans and at that point I realized there's two kinds of romantic love. Later that night I saw someone else in a relationship just engulfed in their significant other. It was all in their eyes. The eyes are the window to the soul as they say, but I saw for myself that day the truth in that saying. Two types of love right in front of me both in the beginning stages less than 2 years.  The first kind is the head over heels, tumultuous, engrossing type that seizes your life, sets you on fire, crazy in love as Beyonce puts it, and it's the greatest love of your life, it's the love you feel like you might die without. It's the love that you know you'll never have again. The passion is like a  boiling pot overflowing on the stove, The second is a slow simmering, mutual soft adoration. It's not compelling like an addiction, its more like the comfortable spot on the sofa, it feels safe, it feels replaceable, it feels like you'll be okay if you don't see this person tomorrow. It doesn't suffocate your heart when you miss this person. This love doesn't take over your whole life by storm, it just grows quietly and steadily never quite reaching that peak as you'd see on a graph. That's why people always refer to "the one that got away". The likelihood of finding that kind of love again is slim.


Two weeks ago was our 8th wedding anniversary and while it wasn't spent celebrating in any extravagant way, it was exactly what we both needed. We met for lunch at our Thai spot, he went back to work and the kids and  I came home to prepare dinner. He came home with flowers and a cake and we spent the night watching a movie together. It was a very happy and grateful anniversary to me even though it was spent in the simplest way because I was in very sad mood after seeing some disturbing news about someone we knew. All the recent news has been on my mind and heart, the world is in chaos. We both acknowledge that life is short and live in gratitude for all we have. All that bad news just keeps us in a deep appreciation for each other that we strive to spend every chance we get being together, talking, laughing, tagging each other on things or sending each other memes, watching shows and basically celebrating our life together daily. In the last 3 weeks, time stood still. We played with our kids, went to the pool, danced at a party, gardened, sat outside watching the girls ride their bikes, watched our show, made love into the wee hours of the night, and woke up late enjoying the kids' newfound independence. The activities are the same but there's something new this year I can't put my finger on it. I haven't written on love in a while since I spoke about the white picket when things were tense from him overworking and my patience was wearing thin. We've always been "in" love and the best of friends but the downs don't extinguish that fire for us, it just intensifies it and after reaching what I would call a turning point last year I would say it feels like the next level almost like a second wave of falling in love.

At first I thought it was our brand new goals but it became apparent with random silent stares, eyes meeting across a room full of people communicating the same thoughts, a tenderness... I don't know how to quite explain it, this energy is different that I know for sure. We could argue fiercely and 5 mins later we're over it and back to  having our heads in the clouds. 

He's been quite burnt out from working a lot and I've been doing my best to be understanding, this time it's different it's like I'm seeing him with new eyes. I give him his space to work and to rest, I take care of whatever he needs. I take consideration not to overbook us, so we can spend the time doing the simple things that we love to do. He acknowledges what I do, and tries to help around the house however he can. We finally reached a place of balance I guess as all relationships evolve into roles of who does what and when. Sometimes I like to surprise him and take something upon myself to do it very well. Quite a few times I didn't do it well, but its the thought and effort that counts. 

So when you find that one, don't let them go. How do you know this person is the one? You know when being in love isn't a chore, it will just come naturally and consistently with you both.  You will laugh more than you cry, you will become symbiotic friends; like the hippo and the little bird that eats off it's back. It doesn't mean you won't ever want to call it quits at any point, but that when those hard times come, you will cling to one another, and find a way through those obstacles. You both will be each other's safe haven. Not only will there always be passion and electricity, but there will always be hope, and a childish blind faith that all you need is love. That's the love that will sustain you for the rest of your life.
Be self aware enough to keep
this in mind. I think this is important to know
what's important to him.

The summer has been jam packed with activities, and indulgences, learning,  growing, nurturing, and some new steadfast goals. I have some recipes to share that I will try to get up soon. I know I haven't been putting this blog at the top of my priorities this year, but to be honest, being in the moment is sometimes more important than the daily checklist. So before I head off to New York for one of my best friends bridal shower this weekend... I leave you with this: Don't be stupid, don't let go of what might be the most incredible thing that's ever or will ever happen to you. 

















Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pollo Guisado

Ingredients: 

8 pcs chicken thighs (washed and drained) 
3 large tomatoes (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
1 large onion, diced
1 packet Sazon seasoning with annatto
a few springs fresh thyme (2 tsp dried thyme is fine also) 
2 tsp cumin 
1 tsp black pepper 
1 tsp chilli pepper 
6 cloves garlic, minced 
1.5 tsp salt
3 cups water 
oil for browning
3 tbs recaito and/or sofrito (optional; for more stew and cilantro flavor if you're short on tomatoes, garlic, onions) 
1 medium bell pepper 
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped 

Instructions: 

  1. Put about 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan. On high heat, brown chicken on both sides evenly about 3 mins on each side. 
  2. Add onions, garlic, herbs, peppers, all the ingredients, except the bell pepper if you like your bell peppers whole and with some crunch left save it for the last 5 mins. 
  3. Let cook on medium heat for 25-30 mins, covered. 
  4. Add bell peppers if you saved them in the last 5 mins. Turn occasionally, add water if your stew is drying down too quickly. 
Puerto Rican bread, or rice is great with it. Prepare your rice and add beans to it to serve it with. An additional nice side to go with it is fried sweet plantains.




Monday, June 20, 2016

Roasted Leg of Lamb

I made this Roasted Leg of Lamb for Father's Day. It's my husband's favorite. The lamb in my picture was a big beast, so I doubled the ingredients. The herbs don't even need to be measured if you know how to just sprinkle it according to the size of your roast. I love the herbs, so I put extra. I marinaded my roast since Friday night, so it could have extra time to get soaked in. It was super savory. We like to have it with seasoned potatoes, sweet peas, and sauteed mushrooms. Red wine is usually our go to with this recipe, but this time we felt like having Pink Moscato. Wine is a must with this meal! 

Ingredients

4 pounds leg of lamb (washed/drained)

7 garlic cloves, minced

1 small-med onion chopped (1 extra large onion for 8 lbs and up)

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (I used fresh thyme, I love it)

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper + chilli+ cayenne

3 teaspoon olive oil


Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together aside from the lamb. 
  2. Place roast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Cut 12-14 slits 1/2 in. deep in roast or as I like to stab the roast and pour the marinade all over it. 
  3. Marinade overnight or longer if your roast is larger. 
  4. Bake, covered, at 325 degrees F for 2-3 hours or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a meat thermometer should read 145 degrees F; medium, 160 degrees F; well-done 170 degrees F;). Let stand 10-15 minutes before slicing. My roast was huge, about 9 lbs and I left that baby in the oven for 5 hours. We were getting hungry so we cut off a piece in slices and turned up the oven to 400 degrees for the last hour. 



Thursday, June 16, 2016

Banana Oat Pancakes

What I really love about these banana oat pancakes is that it makes me feel like I'm eating healthy even though I'm really not considering it's carbs. With the touch of oats you can get some whole grains and fiber in. It's dairy-free if you skip the butter and substitute it with coconut oil and the milk used is interchangeable. Warning: These pancakes are chewy and delicious. This is not your typical pancake, like Bisquick. If you want a light and fluffier texture you might want to switch to whole milk or buttermilk. 

Ingredients: 

2 Ripe Bananas mashed 
2 ripe eggs 
4 tbs salted butter (Kerrygold Grass-fed I live on) 
1/4-1/3 cup brown sugar 
3 cups flour
1 tbs baking powder
1 cup quick oats 
1 tsp nutmeg 
1.5 tsp cinnamon 
Approx 3-4 cups unsweetened vanilla coconut, almond, or cashew milk (add more to get your desired thinness). I personally love the Silk coconut milk best in this recipe followed by cashew milk.
Coconut oil to grease your pan. 

Note: I usually have large bananas for this recipe. If you have smaller ones, its fine just put less flour and milk, or do 3 bananas. If you want to do a thinner batter; almost crepe-like: add whole milk. It's awesome with Nutella =) The yield is about 10-12 pancakes. 

Instructions: 

  1. Combine all the ingredients and mix on high. Add milk/flour to get your desired thickness. 
  2. Cook like you would any pancake. I use a ladle to pour, and cook on medium low heat. 
  3. Serve with grass fed butter slathered on with maple syrup. 
  4. Enjoy! My kids love it, I'm sure yours will too! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

I love treats and unfortunately the last 6 weeks of overindulgence led me to a 5 lb weight gain =(. To "have my cake and eat it too"; I decided to make a healthy treat. Sweetened with honey and dairy-free I was excited that this was easy and simple at the same time: nutritious.



I used a large mason jar and just threw in my ingredients [28 oz glass tomato sauce jars work too if you save them]. 4 hours later I had pudding for both my husband and I for about 2-3 days. 

Ingredients: 

-3 cups Coconut milk (unsweetened, I used Silk brand) 
- 3/4 cup organic chia seeds (got mine from BJs for cheap) 
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg 
-1/2 tsp cinnamon 
-honey to drizzle on top 

Instructions: 

1. Pour coconut milk in your mason jar. Add cinnamon and nutmeg, this can be tweaked per your liking. Close jar and shake. 

2. Add chia seeds. Shake thoroughly. Use a spoon to make sure it's all mixed in properly. [If you want a smoother texture you would need to grind the chia seeds first.] 

3. Refrigerate for 4 hours, drizzle honey on top and serve.

Notes: 

This recipe is so versatile, you could add cacao powder, protein powder, add berries, switch the milk to the creamy cashew or almond, change the flavors, sweeten with sugar, stevia or even maple syrup into the milk. It's endless! I was thinking I can even add some oats in another batch for overnight oats and eat it for breakfast. Next time when I'm feeling naughty I think I might blend the milk with Nutella and sprinkle coconut flakes and see what happens. Do what you like to make it yours and enjoy! 

                      

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Peruvian Roasted Chicken & Green Sauce...Bonus: Rice & Peas for complete meal...


Hey guys I wanted to share this awesome recipe with you guys it's sooo fucking good, when you try it you will be like yes this is a "fucking good" chicken. THE BEST CHICKEN EVER! So good I don't mind eating this like 5 days in a row. Why? What's so goddamn special? The green sauce. That's the magic. Infused with the rice and peas on the side  with the chicken...it's to die for! I put this green sauce on everything. Sandwiches, vegetable dip, glazed over my sweet potatoes; you name it. Tonight I ate it for the third time with fresh spinach and arugula tossed into my rice and it was orgasmic. I feel like Ratatouille the way I mix bites of everything. One thing though, you must marinade this chicken overnight! Believe me it's worth the wait. 


Adapted from onceuponachef.com:  I stopped doing the whole chicken because everybody loves the dark meat chicken better so I opted for leg quarters. For the 10-12 leg quarters you will want to triple the recipe for the chicken and the green sauce. The rice is a very simple but flavorful rice that perfectly completes the meal. Tripling the chicken and sauce recipe will give you the amounts you see in the pic below. If you don't double or triple, you'll wish you did.

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice, from 2 limes
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped (I added about 5 extra, I know I'm a rebel =P )
1 tablespoon kosher salt (pink himalayan is best)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
4 pound whole chicken

For the Green Sauce:

3 jalapeƱo chili peppers, seeded if desired (I use about half the seeds for a medium-hot sauce), and roughly chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
For the Chicken:
Combine all of the ingredients except the chicken in a blender or mini food processor, and blend until smooth. Remove the giblets from the inside of the chicken and pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels; place in a bowl, breast side up with the legs facing you. Using the handle of a wooden spoon or your fingers, loosen the skin from the flesh over the breasts and legs, being careful not to tear the skin or push all the way through (you want the marinade to stay inside the bird). Spoon about 2/3 of the marinade evenly underneath the skin, and spread the remaining 1/3 evenly over the skin. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. Spray a rack (preferably a v-shape) with non-stick cooking spray and place the chicken on top. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Roast for 20 minutes, until the skin is golden. Turn the heat down to 375 degrees, and continue to roast for about an hour and ten minutes more, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. (Keep an eye on it -- if it's browning too quickly, cover it loosely with foil.) Tent the chicken with foil and let rest for about 20 minutes. Tilt the chicken over the roasting pan to release the juices, then transfer to a cutting board. Carve the chicken and serve with green sauce.
Notes: What I did differently was let it bake at 350 degrees covered until halfway, throw out some of the water and let it dry uncovered for the last 25 mins. If you like using chicken drippings in other recipes, this would be a great one to save. I like my meat juicy baked covered in the marinade. 

For the Green Sauce:
Combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend into a smooth sauce. With the motor running, open lid and slowly drizzle in olive oil. It will seem very runny at this point but, don't worry, it will thicken up as it sits. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Notes: What I did differently was added 2 more jalapenos and let all the seeds get grinded in because I love it spicy. I didn't use a measuring cup for the cilantro either, I used 2 big bunches. Approx 2-3 handfuls.



Rice & Peas 

Ingredients: 

3 tbs. olive oil
1.5 cups basmati or jasmine rice
1 medium onion diced
2 tbs. Mrs. Dash garlic & herb
1.5 tbs. badia complete seasoning
1 tbs. parsley
2 tsp. salt
1 can pigeon peas or gandules drained
Approx 4-6 cups water to cook in. 

Instructions:
  1. Fry diced onions for a few mins in the oil, add seasonings, salt, and rice. 
  2. Add water just to cover the rice, bring to a boil on high and lower heat to medium-low. 
  3. Cover the pan. 
  4. In about 5-7 mins check rice and if the rice looks dry, add more water to cover and turn the rice making sure it's not sticking to the pot. Cover and reduce heat if it's sticking. 
  5. Let it cook under the low heat for 15-20 mins. 
  6. Fluff the rice, make sure it's not sticking, check the grain if its fully cooked, add gandules.
  7. Cover and take off the stove. It will become loose when the rice cools down. 
Enjoy!!! Please let me know how it was in the comment box below!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How Are You Wasting Time?


I saw this on Facebook a few weeks ago and it really made me think. I spend a majority of my time wasted. I waste it overthinking, overindulging, overcompensating, overworking, oversleeping, over-socializing, over-isolating, and mostly over-planning. Quality over quantity has a always been my mantra but there is no balance. The more I seek it, the harder it is for me to find. I self destruct at every turn even though I know that time is the most valuable thing. I think time is the most important thing to me because there's no telling when the clock will run out; basically when happy hour will be over. When things are too good to be true, you feel anxious all the time, because you're worried that it might all fall apart. Or that it's in your power to keep it all together. Logically you know it's not but sometimes you want something so bad you lose objectivity. Most people think once they get/find {x,y,z} they'll be happy, but nobody talks about how you lose objectivity so bad when you finally get to that satisfied feeling in life, that this also still happens:
In the last three months, I worked hard towards my goals. Goals are the only thing that keep me in line. I finished off five major home projects, and my brother's wedding was successfully and beautifully accommodated for. I went to see Beyonce's concert and it was a phenomenal experience. I enjoyed my family and friends on a level that I haven't in over ten years. For the first time in over a year I feel like I am living. I've just been saying "Yes" to a whole range of things I wouldn't have before. Granted I have re-gained 5 lbs but I've been enjoying myself. Watching TV, hanging out, BBQing, napping, eating, listening to music, dancing, sitting outside, playing with the kids, making time to meet a friend, neglecting the housework, and spending time with my husband feels good. In these moments when I was fully in relax mode, I realized what I truly want next. I won't share before I jinx it by just talking about it but I am happy to say that I came a long way, and only hoping for much more added value with the time we have left.


Prior to this year I spent a long time saying "No", because that was necessary to get to this point where I know what I'm capable of and know exactly what I want in life. Exactly one year ago I was going through such a tough time, just being scared of how things would change with my husband's work, questioning if I had accomplished all I had set out to do before I turned 30 and ultimately deciding what would and should be next after the wedding was over. I look back and can't believe a year has passed since that rocky phase. Like life, things, people, money, memories, emotions, fears, goals, needs/desires are coming and going. I don't want to waste any more time worrying and overthinking. The things I want to do will always be there, but the time I wasted questioning what I'll do next makes me realize how much I really missed out on, how much fear I had and still have inside me and that I am enough, that it's okay to take a break from "the plan"; even to take a detour.  That's how you be a positive person. You go out there and live even when you're scared of what may happen. You follow your heart when it says Yes, even if your brain says No... This passage about the world is everything, it's all we need to know when thinking about how we waste time:


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Do You Have Willful Blindness?

Have you ever just sat bored flipping channels and you end up on a talk show like Oprah or Dr. Phil and you can't take your eyes off the screen or change the channel because you can't believe the fuckery you're hearing? A woman is on the show and she's there because her daughter is giving a full account of the sexual abuse she endured at the hands of a family member or step-dad(s). She's given details of the heinous things that happened to her, she has people giving their witness accounts, even documentation from medical records. She says she's upset at her mother because every time she tried to tell her mom, her mom didn't believe her. Her mom is crying swearing she didn't know. Her mother denies ever having any idea, and you're sitting there as parent yourself thinking; "What fucking bullshit! How the hell didn't she notice the changes in her kid? How didn't she see what was right in front of her eyes? This makes no sense, she's lying!".

Have you ever had a time your friend's boyfriend was cheating on her, and everyone knew, except her, and she didn't want to hear about it when people tried to tell her? How about when she catches him in awkward situations most of us would consider shady, but she blames the other party instead of admitting her man is an asshole? Yep.Willful Blindness at it's best.

Why even continue reading right? I'm just spewing bullshit; normal stuff we all see everyday but don't bother giving a second thought. Well, last week I saw someone else shared this post on dairy farming practices. It was video of actual footage of what happens in the dairy farms, and it's been on my mind for a while. Like this is something I feel so strongly about. In my next post I will share it, and talk about some alternatives and what you can do personally. It's right up my alley of informative choices we need to make in regards to our health, humanity, long term sustainability of our planet, and global warming. Anyway, this friend of mine shares the same video I did, and I happen to see someone commented that 90% of what was said is untrue. I think to myself; "what the fuck....you can do the research yourself, not to mention the countless documentaries available everywhere". I swear, I HATE when people who hear or begin to discuss something they spent literally no time researching, discredit facts. It's the worse thing that gets me infuriated and makes me ready to scratch your eyes out. All she said in the comment was basically: no these are lies. The End. Not even an explanation or further documentation of why. Like it's one thing to have an opinion, but in order to have an opinion you must have spent actual time gathering information to support your claims. If there's one strong thing about me, it's that I'm one consistent mothafucker. I consistently follow anything I'm committed to. I'm committed to results and truth. That's it, so I got really mad about that comment and commented saying yes it is true because xyz, etc., so that other dumb-asses would think critically before refuting claims based on facts. I do recognize that people aren't really dumb-asses most of the time in cases like this, but in the angry moment, it's like you must be a dumb-ass for choosing to ignore what you just SAW...not heard, or read which can arguably be misunderstood/misconstrued.

I had to dig deeper, because the more and more I talk to people about the world, the food industry, GMOs, farming, chemicals on a biological level, I fall upon deaf ears. I see eyes glaze over not from boredom but explicitly from a possible brain freeze, a lag in brain performance, or just an outdated processor. People just can't wrap their minds around things bigger than themselves and what's considered normal because this is the way it's always been even if it is wrong. Some people just feel helpless on a global scale with bills to pay, food to put on the table, and the daily grind, they can't even begin to consider that perhaps people being so busy was all apart of the "plan" for society. The busy bees work tirelessly to make honey while the 1%  lazily enjoys the fruits of the worker bee's labor. Bees work nonstop to produce honey as though there is never enough honey. This societal greed, where money is never enough trumps all facets of life. The day people started to care more about ratchet shit and made dumb people famous was the day when the 1% found a way to make us poorer and sickly. To pull the wool over our eyes and take advantage because money is the root of all evil.

*Do as you’re told: Are we all blind?

It’s easy to deride such beliefs and ideologies but most people, governments and organizations have them. As Greenspan testified, “ideology is the way people deal with reality. Everyone has one.” Whether it is the belief that military intervention saves lives, or big governments are bad or the only successful company is global, ideologies are what psychologist Anthony Greenwald called ‘totalitarian egos,’ locking up incompatible ideas, suppressing evidence and re-writing history.
Once enlisted, our totalitarian egos are strikingly submissive. Ever since Stanley Milgram’s 1961 experiments into obedience, we’ve known that, without reward for compliance or punishment for refusal, most people (around 65 percent) will commit unethical acts when asked to do so by someone in authority. Repeated around the world ever since with unchanging outcomes, the experiments showed, Milgram wrote,  “the capacity for man to abandon his humanity — indeed the inevitability that he does so — as he merges his unique personality into larger institutional structures. … It would not be true to say he loses his moral sense. Instead it acquires a radically different focus. His moral concern now shifts to how well he lives up to the expectation the authority has of him.” Authority is a capacity whose dangers few CEOs recognize. Ambitious employees will work hard to intuit what’s wanted, to infer what will make them successful in the eyes of the organization they have joined. And their moral focus will change.
Willful blindness spills into all areas of our life. Fear causes most of our willful blindness because we'd rather stay in our comfort zones than acknowledge painful truths and change however hard it may be. In this powerful and most thought-provoking video you will realize that we fought so hard for freedom and then we became slaves of a system. Caged by fear and willful blindness, distractions we call life, responsibilities, and obedience. People would rather not know what's going on because ignorance is bliss. Yet we look back on history and are told we need to learn about it so history doesn't repeat itself. Yet somehow history repeats itself so silently on the down-low while genocide is still happening on large scales so quietly. We don't have concentration camps anymore because that's too obvious.

You're so busy with all these distractions, you've gotten so used to being focused solely on entertainment when you're not working, always having to do things on the weekend, going places, going on vacations because you're living a life you need an escape from, this seems too serious, too dark, too boring, too annoying, yes we know the world is cruel, yea yea, there's nothing I can do you're probably thinking. Why should you even bother watching this video some are asking, or continue reading this post? Why?

Because you've got willful blindness.

"Freedom Doesn't Exist If You Don't Use It!"


Resources:

*Willful blindness: When a leader turns a blind eye

Why We Ignore the Obvious: The Psychology of Willful Blindness

Why Red Flags Can Go Unnoticed

Minding Their Own Beeswax:How busy are bees, really?
Don't understand the 1% ? Watch the movie: Margin Call. Research the Distribution of Wealth.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Box Full of Disagreements

Hey guys it's Monday =( This weekend was way too short!  =( 

I always identify with this show! One of my favorite classics. I'm Lucy and he's Ricky. I'm crazy, he's rational. I'm always doing something ridiculous, he's always serious, I always wanna go to the club, he's always saying no. I'm silly, dramatic and playful, he pretends not to like it. I'm bold and colorful, he's quietly grey. Yet together we make such an interesting sitcom. We're always driving each other mad!




I saw this and I thought "Yep that's pretty much all my relationships. When I don't care you can't even reach me, I'm just a wall. The point of disagreements is to reach a conclusion; an understanding. If we can't reach that understanding then I'm mentally done.You see when you care about someone, you try to understand them, and they try to understand you. The relationship can't work if it's one sided, and each individual's priority and level of caring isn't the same. You can agree to disagree but here's an example of what I'm saying:


Example:
Mary thinks her mom is too strict. She helps tremendously at home and pulls in good grades, she doesn't do drugs, or hang out with the wrong crowd but is tired of sneaking around. She has this discussion in a respectful way.

(Mary's mom is afraid of being disgraced by her daughter or being seen as she doesn't know how to control her own kid). This isn't explicitly communicated to Mary, but nonetheless fear based.

Mary tells her mom, this is who I am, I'm doing everything I'm supposed to and more but I need some freedom.

Mary's mom says no, this isn't how she was raised culturally. No is no that's the end of it.

Mary tells her mom, "Well then if it's lies you want then it's lies you'll get." Because if she would rather be comforted by a lie than told the truth, that's what's going to happen.

Conclusion: Mary's mother couldn't come up with any other supporting facts or statements that explained why she said no aside from her ulterior motive to keep Mary from bringing shame to her. Mary's mother decides that she'd rather know the truth because if she knows what her daughter is up to, she won't have to hear anybody outside of her home tell her, thus being disgraced. She will have less control doing so but be able to supervise and guide Mary's actions than trying to keep a bird caged.

*Critical Thinking:

  1. If Mary didn't stand up for herself and what she believed is it likely that she would turn inward and rebel, possibly start keeping more secrets because she felt her mom didn't care to understand her?
  2. Would she remain the happy Mary who was always cheerful and pleasant at home if the conclusion stayed at "no, end of discussion"?
  3. Does Mary's mom care more about  Mary or the outsiders; does she care more about what others will say?
  4. Does Mary's mom initially seek to control Mary's actions or guide them for Mary's best interest?
  5. Is it more respectful for Mary to shut her mouth and disrespect her mother behind her back by doing what she wants? When her mother finds out how will she feel then?
  6. Mary listens to her mother and stops any attempts for what she really wants because she knows her mother will be upset and not tolerate it. (Fear of disapproval) How well adjusted is Mary in the future; real world? How successful will Mary be in knowing who she is and what she wants? What's Mary's drive like? Does she go after what she wants? How likely is it that Mary stands up for herself?
The point of this example can be applied in any relationship where one person states a question or opinion, and the other person disagrees:

Disagreements are part of life. They shape who we are and who we become. Conflicts that remain unresolved just cause tension and distance to grow between individuals because two people couldn't find a way to agree. It's not about being right it's about finding that ultimate truth. What people call principles. Mary's principle was that she felt that she being punished rather than rewarded for all her good work. Motivation is the piece of the puzzle that drives our behaviors and actions to do keep doing good or do bad.

Sometimes you can agree to disagree but like the game of chess, you keep making moves until someone wins. Someone takes accountability if there's an injured party. You have to keep having that discussion until both people are on the same page or can see where each other stands and take it as valid. Two topics that people are told to not discuss are religion and politics solely because we can never sway someones' mind on something that affects them personally based on one's own life experience or something that is part of their identity, deeply rooted in their upbringing, culture, and belief system. I feel that agreeing to disagree on things that have nothing to do with religion or politics is a cop out. It's a pathetic way to say you know what I don't care to understand your viewpoint, I don't want any other perspective but my own because this is all that has been instilled in me and this is all I want to know.

So for the sake of argument why do we even bother fighting with that person that disagrees? On a human level, we need to connect with others, to be understood. I can't stress this enough because I have this with my husband, it's a mind, body, soul connection, and that energy is so amazing you want to have that with every soul you meet. We need validation from people we love to know that this person cares, this person wants to know me to my core. Otherwise we're left with a bunch of fake superficial relationships. Genuine people take the time to know you, to fall in love with your flaws and help you grow and blossom, to call you out on your bullshit and make you see the faults in your thought processes. To help you see a different way because your way isn't the only way. My way isn't the only way, but my mind is open to try to see outside of the box, because I realize there isn't a box. I will explain and explain to the ends of the earth because there's more to life than rigid rules society creates for us, there has to be more. Also what's more to note is just because we both get to the same place it doesn't mean one route wasn't easier, faster, and more efficient.



Well wait a sec I know some might be thinking, "Michelle, well you don't have the best relationships to speak of, in fact you had very volatile relationships growing  up..." Yes exactly, that should make me an expert in fact. I assert myself and remain civil; diplomatic even. I seriously took the time to examine this. Not because I don't have anything better to do, or I have too much "Free Time" but because I'm evolving, this is my job, to seek out the truth, and live those truths. To weed out who's good for me and who's bad. What I did uncover when I sat down and wrote the names of all the girls/women I knew my entire life who were in fact the example of Mary above, (myself included) not in exact scenarios but facing the same struggles with parental disagreements I counted 89. 89 solid names with stories and backgrounds that have brushed upon this double life. Many of whom as far as I still know and talk to, have tensed pasts but still have good relationships with their parents, but all on a superficial level based on continued obligation and fear of disapproval. Their mothers have no idea who they are genuinely, because their words, actions, tones, body language, and behavior are so different, almost night and day, all under the fake umbrella called "respect". Mothers and fathers do the same because a blind eye is turned on many things. [In my next post I'll explain this willful blindness concept.] What happened to these 89 girls/women now that they're grown ups or have been grown up for as long as I've known them? They still struggle! They continue hiding things! They hide important things, things that we should be able to discuss openly with our elders, trying to find that wisdom they supposedly have, they hide petty things, hide their boyfriends/love interests, they hide their sexuality, they don't know what they want in life, they're insecure, they tolerate a lot of crap from love interests, in some cases abuse, they don't ask for what they want and make sure they get it. Some who have come out and given up the double life are better for it, in some cases the relationship strain exists but mostly because mom and/or dad still disagrees with their daughters' choices. What's more interesting to note is, as I sat here writing down the names of every female I encountered and their stories, the vast majority have an Indian cultural background...Every well adjusted name that didn't make the list shares a much genuine deeper bond with their parents, mostly moms, rooted since childhood...

The only box there is, is the box of disagreements we all carry around. The box full of neatly packed disagreements that alienates individuals from the ones we love and the ones who love us, that stomps the love out, that breaks bonds, that doesn't help us grow, that create superficial relationships, that push out everything that makes people unique and become conformists because they're afraid to be disagreed with. This neatly packed box we all carry around are filled with emotions based on false information, assumptions, and ultimately affect the choices we make in life. It affects our belief systems that cause racism, that cause discrimination, that cause war. In the end it's those differences that will help you in life, to find the ones who will love you flaws and all. What's more important is how genuine they are.

Thought Provoking Reads: 

*Handling Disagreements: Avoiding Poison Patterns

A Thank You Letter to the Men Who Didn’t Have the Balls to Claim Me.


Caribbean Parents Need To Stop Beating Their Children!

Ad rem vs. ad hominem >
For any comments on the critical thinking section, please reference the question number. I look forward to hearing from you!