Un Poquito de Sazón

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Puerto Rican food is amazing.

I grew up eating rice and beans with almost every single meal. All my meals were full of flavor and color (although I probably did not add green into the mix until I was older). I grew up expecting some sort of plantain as a side and wondered how people could ever eat anything else. Nothing said comfort like the smell of delicious food coming from my kitchen, whether it was my mom’s doing, my grandma’s creation, or a whole family effort for a special occasion.

I love all sorts of food, serve me a plate of pasta and I’m sold. Put a sushi boat in front of me and watch it sink into my belly. Living in New York City, you get spoiled with food. You are able to tour the whole world, one plate at a time and that, my friends, is the dream.

Still, Puerto Rican food is at my core. It’s the bite that makes me feel at home even when I’m a thousand miles away, that’s where the inspiration for this piece came from. I have a brand new kitchen (which I’m loving, by the way) and I wanted to bring in a little bit of home into the mix. I looked at some cool prints from Etsy but then I realized I could easily do this myself. So I bought a frame, made a list, printed it out and done.

Here’s a little bit of background into what each of these mean…

Sofrito – This is the essence behind pretty much every single Puerto Rican plate. I’ve always thought about sofrito as that weird green paste that my grandma made. Mix some garlic, peppers, onnions and God knows what else and you get sofrito!

Adobo – People make fun of Puerto Ricans because apparently we use a lot of adobo (as seen on this Vine, which I actually love). But hey, adobo is awesome so no shame there. This special seasoning is used on anything from chicken to scrambled eggs. It’s better than your average salt and pepper, but that’s just my humble opinion.

Mamposteao – If rice and beans is not a wonder on its own, this takes it to the next level. Take your average rice and beans, mix it with your choice of anything from onions to sweet plantains, do some magic and you’ve got yourself a nice mix.

Pegao – Pegao is that crunchy, almost burned rice that’s stuck to the bottom of the pan when you’re making rice. Not exactly what the dentist ordered, but oh my, it’s good. Some people may see it as a mistake to burn the rice, but in my house people actually fight for that special bottom.

Sazón – What helps make yellow rice yellow? Sazón. This special seasoning brings a lot of flavor to the plate. It’s also used for non-food references when you want to state that something needs that extra little something, or sazón.

Bacalaito – Bacalaitos are hard to describe, my first attempt sounded too gross, but trust me, they are awesome. Thanks to Wikipedia, I can now better describe them as salt cod pancake like fritters. Think less pancake and more fried, way more fried. Still a little gross, but give it a try.

Pastelón – Imagine a lasagna but instead of pasta, you use sweet plantains and then you add all that ground beef in between (no salsa). This is, of course, served with rice and beans. Again, not so sexy when I write it, but so delicious.

So, one thing is clear. I’m definitely not fit for writing a Puerto Rican cuisine dictionary but I can attempt to make words look pretty in a piece of paper. To strangers, it looks exotic and that’s cool, right? To me, it looks like home and that’s all I need.

Holiday Wish List, Just Because

I like to eat, drink wine, travel and take pictures. Nowhere in my resume can you find fashion, but I do like pretty things and I like to go shopping.

The inspiration for this post came right after I was able to finish all of my Christmas shopping within 24 hours (Thank you, Cyber Monday). I thought I did this so well I should share some of my great finds! You see, the thing about creating a gift guide is that you may be giving away what you are getting some of your loved ones.

So to avoid any confusion or spoil any surprises, I’m going to be selfish and play around with a list of things I would love for myself. This way, I can still share a little inspiration and my holiday gift plans are not ruined.

Again, fashion is not my thing and I’m just playing around, so there’s that.

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1. This lovely bracelet has been on one of my Pinterest boards since forever ago, but I still like it and for some reason I’ve never bought it, go figure. * LINK *

2. I have no need for these Frends headphones, except that they are so cute! I personally would never spend that money on headphones that I can lose, break or God know what else, but they look pretty. * LINK *

3. If it were up to me, I would have a purse in every color possible. Since it’s up to my wallet, I stick to basics. I LOVE this bag and if any of you want to give it to me for Christmas, be my guest! * LINK *

4. I love scarves, can’t have enough (definitely have enough). *LINK*

5. Another high reach item. Here’s my train of thought is that if I pay all that money for boots, I want to use them every day… if I use them every day in New York City, they are going to die… if my boots die, I will be sad. * LINK *

6. Ugly sweater, you say? I think it’s awesome! I really think I can totally rock this sweater at my company’s Holiday party. I can’t think what’s cooler, the neck decor or Rudolph (Rudolph, duh). * LINK *

7. My coworker introduced me to Baublebar and I must say, I am obsessed. I ordered a few things from there during their Cyber Monday sale and I can’t wait to see them and try them on! * LINK *

8. Last but absolutely not least, these skates. How safe are they? I’m not sure, but I would love to rock ’em around and find out. When I first found them I must admit I was a little disappointed that they were from Urban Outfitters, but I can get over that. *LINK *

Enjoy!

Hello, April

 

 

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Another month I go over my budget… surprise, surprise!

I love Mint.com, it helps me stay grounded, but if I go over my personal budget even when I track it regularly, how do people live without a budget?! Oh yes, they must be rich.

I can be very good one week, bring my home cooked meal to work, deprive myself of shopping and only do happy hour specials… but then there’s one day that I feel like I can rule the world and I decide instant gratification is the way to go, so I indulge in tasty meals over $8 and splurge in this cute summer dress I can’t even wear because hey, it’s still winter. March didn’t get the memo, I hope April does.

So yeah, today I say hello to a new month, with a blank economic canvas waiting to be filled with overpriced purchases of everyday necessities… life in New York City.

Here’s to April, may it finally bring Spring to us!

 

* photo and image edit by Cristina Nogueras

Looking for Alaska

I love reading things that move me. Wether it is an article that makes me angry, a poem that makes me smile or in this case, a book that makes me cry and smile at the same time. Looking for Alaska is not my first read from John Green, his book The Fault In Our Stars left me weeping a few months ago.

After finishing Looking for Alaska, I felt refreshed. Like if I had understood a little bit of what we all go through in life and how terrible things can happen but that doesn’t make life stop. There’s something refreshing about cold hard truths that can become positive thoughts, a sort of freedom from knowing life is not all sweet and perfect but that it’s ok.

Here are my amateur designs sharing my favorite quotes from the book.

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