The Darkest Day

I’ve found that the best way to calm an overactive mind is distraction. So, without further ado, I present to you:

10 Steps to get over heartbreak: an interactive list. 

1. Listen to some crappy heartsick music:

2. Spend a lot of time with your lovely friends.

3. Cry… a lot.

CRY THIS MUCH
(also, as a side note, this is a photo from Iguazu!)

4. Listen to some awesome heartsick music and watch a silly music video:

5. RetailTherapy.

6. Read some inspirational words, and believe them.

7. Be active.

8. Cook some awesome meals.

Sausage-stuffed potatoes from Smitten Kitchen (click for recipe)

9. Take some deep breaths.

Or, alternatively, get out there with a camera.

10. Let go.


The Right Start to Summer

Hello, hello! I have been absent again for quite a while. Finals are done, friends have graduated, and I am officially a senior in college, hoping someone will find a way to stop time for a bit– I am not at all ready to leave this place, yet. But summer has started and it is going to be a challenging, rewarding, and hopefully relaxing few months.

I’m living at school this summer in an apartment and commuting to the city for work. I didn’t find out about my job until late so I couldn’t deal with housing until late, either, which means that I’m living in an apartment all by myself. It’s nice having so much space and I am definitely learning to be self-sufficient, but it’s gotten a bit lonely at points. I have lots of friends here over the summer, though, so I am not, by any means, alone.

Last night my friend Raymond came over for dinner and we made fajitas. Raymond says he can’t cook but did an excellent job of chopping everything (and an even more excellent job of doing the dishes… which was STELLAR). Before I talk about the food, though, I have to mention our cooking soundtrack: Onda Vaga. They’re an Argentine band that reminds me fully of summer and I would highly recommend getting their CDs, especially when it’s warm and happy out.

I was an idiot and forgot to take pictures of our fajitas (and the leftovers in my fridge don’t look nearly as pretty as my plate did), but the marinade on the chicken was delicious and I would most definitely use it again. You can find the basic recipe here, though I made some small changes. In the marinade, I used a bit more cumin than was called for and a lot more lime juice. The recipe also tells you to marinate the chicken already sliced, but I was worried that cooking it in slices would dry it out. Instead, I cut the breasts into thinner chunks– sort of like thin breast pieces (I  got about three out of each breast)– to cook in the pan, and sliced them afterwards.  We added some sauteed onions and peppers, homemade guacamole, and homemade pico de gallo to the mix and we were set. Yum!

We topped it all off with this lovely grapefruit, thyme, and gin soda (minus the gin because Raymond had to drive home afterwards). Shh, don’t tell anyone… but I cut a few corners and this beverage was super easy to pull together. Trader Joe’s has ruby red grapefruit juice without sugar added, so I used some of that instead of fresh grapefruit juice. I also am not too keen on juicing limes, so I used some of the bottled stuff from the supermarket. The thyme syrup is incredibly easy to make, though, and I am so happy that the recipe he provides for it makes much more than you need for this soda– I’m planning to use it in just about anything and everything. It is so tasty! The one thing I was disappointed about is that the club soda lost its carbonation almost immediately, but I also wasn’t storing it in an appropriate bottle and the drink was delicious un-carbonated, as well. Basically, I was so pleased with it that I am planning to make it all summer long! Maybe next time we’ll try it with the gin and report back.

I’m preparing now to head home for Memorial Day weekend. We’re supposed to have a doozy of a heatwave here at school this weekend, and nothing says Memorial Day like swimming in a nice, chilly pool. Have a wonderful holiday weekend, everyone! Catch you next week.

Holy Guacamole!

I don’t think I’ve written about it before, but my host mom Silvia loves guacamole. Seriously. She thinks it is dance-and- song worthy and has actually both sung and danced about it. During one of the first weeks of me being here, during a dinner when my family was both tired as anything and hitting the wine pretty hard, guacamole came up somehow in conversation and Silvia got up from the table. At first she just started shaking her hips and we were all pretty confused about what was going on, but soon after started  to sing-song chant “guacamole guacamole guacamole!” and dancing around the kitchen!

I sort of forgot about her obsession until we made Mexican food– when I told her the next day what we ended up making, her eyes lit up as soon as the first syllable of “guacamole” left my mouth. So today my first order of business was going down to the corner verdulería to buy the necessary vegetables so I could whip up a batch for the family. I ended up using 3 avocados– or paltas, as they’re called here, NOT aguacates like in Mexico– which yielded a fair amount of guacamole.

Silvia came home soon after I was done making it and was super excited when I told her what I’d made for her! She said she doesn’t normally eat lunch at midday, but we sat down and finished off a significant amount of it plus some tuna salad I put my extra avocado and a tomato into. It was a wonderful way to share lunch with her, and a great excuse to give her a break from working on things for her art exposition, which opens in only a month!

Much more delicious-looking than Paint art, no?

Guacamole is also spectacularly easy to make. Seriously. If you like it and haven’t tried it before, well… you should. And I’m posting my process below (plus some handy spanish vocab) so you have no excuse not to!

GUACAMOLE

For this batch, I used:

3 avocados (paltas)

1 medium tomato (tomate)

1 small onion (cebolla)

1 clove of garlie (ajo)

lemon and salt to taste, but you’re gonna want a good amount of lemon.

Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the meat with a spoon, removing the pit. My friend Rachel, the Guacamole Queen, likes to mash up her avocados first but I decided to chop them because I thought it was prettier. Throw them in a bowl, then chop the tomato and the onion and throw those in, as well. Crush the garlic with the flat of the knife and then mince it as finely as possible– it could probably use more garlic, in reality, so feel free to add some more. Then salt it and lemon it– I ended up using a white vinegar-lemon combo just because we ran out of lemon, but lemon by itself is definitely better.

Mix it all up (sort of gently so the avocado doesn’t turn into a squishy mess) and ta-da! Your very own guacamole! Whoo!

I also made a bit of a variation with my extra avocado, a tomato, an onion, and a can of tuna that also came out pretty well, but a shot of lemon would have made it even better.Corn chips don’t really exist in this country– the closest we could find last weekend was Doritos– so today we ate them with crackers. Though I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how to eat guacamole! Happy eating!