My Uncle Carlos

My Uncle Carlos.

I could go into his whole life of how he came to be, but I can already hear my Uncle cursing at me, so I won’t. But what I will tell you is who he was. For those who didn’t get the pleasure of meeting my Uncle Carlos, he was a bit of a Superman, Jack of All Trades kind of guy.Coming from a large family (and when I say large I mean 20 plus brother and sisters) he had to help the family. From working in factories, picking fruit, to some odd jobs he may have forgotten to mention, my Uncle learned from an early age how to work hard and educate himself. Although he never bragged about his intelligence or had degrees hanging on the wall, my Uncle was one of the brightest and smartest men I had ever known.

His tax return may have said one thing, but he could do anything. He was an Engineer, Carpenter, Therapist, Surgeon, just to name a few. But the titles I believed he held closet to his heart was Husband and Family Man. He was always there for our family. He raised his own two sons plus children that weren’t his own. On the surface, you wouldn’t call my Uncle the tradition nurturing type, but he always told you want you needed to hear, not what you wanted. He stepped up when necessary. He provided for his family beyond monetary value. He taught lessons far from the classroom, and put his life and soul on the line for his family. He lived by example.

And there was his wife, Norma. My Uncle acted like a hard ass, but he truly was a teddy bear, especially when it came to my Aunt. It was simply the way he looked at her that spoke volumes of love, passion, and admiration he had for her. Married 40 plus years, Carlos may have acted like a tough guy, never showing too much emotions, but he had a soft spot for Norma. Holding her hand, cuddling with her, even if acted too macho for it, and being a devoted husband. Even in his last days when he couldn’t do much, he would pucker up his lips to kiss his wife. That he knew.

On Friday, August 12 2011,after a hard fought battle with Prostate Cancer, Carlos became Chief Engineer for God. St.Peters most likely asked him to fixed his gate, and then had a beer with him. It is still surreal that I will never see my Uncle again, but I know he is not hurting anymore, and probably running the show with God.

If you didn’t get to meet Carlos, you missed out. But if you want to see his impact, look at his wife, his sons, his family, and his community.We live knowing the man whose hands showed the best of his hard work. We live with him by our side, watching, and probably saying “sal-es” and laughing with a slight smile. Carlos was truly a good person, not because he pretended to be, but because his soul was. When I leave this earth, if I am half as good of person as my Uncle was, I would be content.

I love you and thank you Carlos.

Carlos

Carlos

Week 13: From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

The family that cooks together…

Like many families, food is a centralized part of my family. We eat when we are happy, sad, because it is Tuesday; we love food. And this week is no different. My cousin Mike has been trying to make many of his mom’s recipes for the last couple of weeks including salsa, carne asada, and other fine recipes. For this week’s blog Mikey talks about cooking his mom’s chile verde in the video and pictures below. We don’t have a recipe because most of this was done through hear say like “a pinch of this” and you make this with your hand, but if you really want to make it, you can google your own.

Chile Verde

Chile Verde

Just so you know, I decided to end this portion of the blog. If I find recipes I like, I will still post them, but not every week. I will still keep up my blog, but not just with cooking. Thank you to those that followed and sent recipes. I really enjoyed learning to cook, and have found a new love for it. It has helped me during a crazy semester, and couple months.So thank you for reading, enjoying, and whatever else.

Week 6:From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

Family is all around, even across the country

If you have been around me for at least a day, you know I am a huge sports nut. You can probably blame that on my dad sitting my brother and I in front of the television during major holidays like Super Bowl Sunday, Start of March Madness, End of March Madness, when the Suns play the Lakers…you know the big ones, and being so passionate about the game. From his loud roars on a huge three pointer to yelling at the television (side note: my dad, to my knowledge, has never cursed. One time he yelled at my brother and I for saying suck in a non-sport related context. I am not sure where he went wrong with my sailor mouth), my dad’s love for sports laid the ground work for my love of sports.

Which brings us to this week’s recipe for the big game: Chicago Chili. No that the Bears were not in the Super Bowl this week, a hurtful fact my brother is still mad about, however can you really go wrong with anything Chicago food related? Hotdogs, pizza, and anything with that Chicago twist is amazing plus it is where some of my family is from. Ironically, actually not,  I got this recipe from my Chicago Native cousin Lindsey. While I was cooking this, other members of the family across the country were making their own Chili. It was kind of like a large family dinner we all ate together. You got to love it.

Chicago Chili

Chicago Chili

Writing Note: words that look like this are Lindsey’s commentary and words that look like this are mine

Chicago Chili (feeds 6-ish)

Need:
Large skillet
Large pot (6 quarts at least or 8 quarts if you can, otherwise things can get messy)
Cutting board
Knife
Large sturdy spoon

Ingredients:
1 pound ground turkey or beef (if use beef go for lean (less fat))
1 can black beans (16oz)
1 can chili beans (16oz) *if you can’t find chili beans sub in kidney
1 can diced tomatoes (16oz)
1 packet chili seasoning *it’s like the packets for taco seasoning, but for chili
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon italian seasoning (if you don’t have use equal parts dry basil and oregano…its basically the same thing)(I can’t find seem to remember to buy Italian seasoning to save my life, but luckily I had basil and oregano)
2 tablespoons chili powder (maybe, depending how spicy you’re going for)(put in like 3 to give it some more flavor)
1 medium onion
1 medium tomato(another fun, well not really, fact about me is I hate tomatoes. Lindsey quickly sent me back and an email telling me it is alright for me to avoid this, and as you should too)
1 large green pepper
1/2 pound mushrooms
1 jalapeño
3 cloves fresh garlic
oil
shredded cheese (optional topping)(cheese is always a must in my opinion)
diced onion (optional topping) (of you want, buy a large onion and use most for the chili but keep some for the topping)
sour cream (optional topping)
crackers/ sliced french bread (optional accompaniment)(I bought some, but didn’t end up using it)

Prep:

  • In large skillet place turkey (or beef), sprinkle with garlic powder and italian seasoning, brown.
  • While meat is browning (though remember to check on it so as not to burn):

o   Chop onion and green pepper into large chunks

o   Mince garlic.

o   Heat oil on medium in bottom of large pot; add garlic. Let cook 2 min.

o   Add onion and green pepper

o   Chop tomatoes, and mushrooms into chunks

o   Slice jalapeño into thick pieces (so people can see them if they don’t want to eat them)

  • When meat is browned add 2 tablespoons of water and packet of chili seasoning, stir well.
(TIP: put contents of seasoning in a small bowl and add boiling water, mix until dissolved then add to meat. its easy to make sure that the seasoning is dissolved and completely mixed into the meat) ( I read this after the fact, but still tasted good)
  • Add meat to large pot, stir.
  • Add all beans and diced tomatoes, stir. Add jalapeño, mushrooms, and tomatoes, stir.
  • Let cook on medium heat for at least 30 minutes, and up to an hour.
  • Taste. If you would like it spicier add chili powder, add slowly and taste often. You can add more, but you can’t remove it.(Beyond the three I did, I added another three every ten minutes, and I didn’t think it was too spicy)

I still had some leftover, but still good after a day. And hey had a little taste of Chicago. The video review is a quick one from Drew and Little Biggie, well a sleeping Biggie.  Thank you, and keep sending recipes!

Faith

………………………………………………….

I have literally sat in front of my computer screen trying my hardest to write this. To write something witty, charming, or some other rhyming words to get my thoughts , and feelings across. My ultimate goal and theme of this blog post was to talk about Cancer, how it has affected my life and family, and talk about what my cousins are doing to help raise money.That was the ultimate goal, but as I sit here, and try to find the right words, my computer screen remains blank. All I can think about is the following:

Cancer sucks.

Well that’s obvious says my mind. That Journalism and Communication background really has helped. And while I can write 20 page papers in my sleep, to write 500 words about Cancer has become the hardest thing to write about. I have so many thoughts, feelings, and emtions that I want to say, but with every time I backspace it to try to write beyond:

Cancer Sucks.

How does one tell a story without the right words? How can you deal and handle someone with Cancer when you can barely deal with them having it? Doesn’t this all sound selfish? Can I just scream in a paper bag?

There are no right answers to these questions or right ways to react. It is bloody cancer. It affects millions of people, and their families, yet nobody knows. If there were right answers and reactions, people would have solved it by now or at least know how to handle it the right way. But because there isn’t one true way, we handle it in diferent ways. Some become really involved, others avoid.Some go to Fiji to live out in paradise.

While different, each path has the ultimate faith that tomorrow my love one will be cancer free.It doesn’t matter the statics or the success rate; they are low. Faith, above all else, is the strongest static. It is what gets people out of bed that their love one will get better. It makes people walk 3 days to find a cure. It will make people believe the fight it not over. It may not cure the cancer, but it gives me the belief, and almost anyone, that it can cure it. Without it, what else is there?

My main goal of this blog post is to help raise money for a cancer walk my cousin and cousin-in-law are doing. The money raised will help go to cancer research so maybe people won’t have to live on faith alone. For more information or if you would like to donate, click here

I may not have right words to express how I feel about Cancer beyond that it sucks, but maybe a bunch of jumble words will help.

It still sucks.

Week 1: From Broke College Student To Chef

Background

Kitchen Did Not Burn Down

Week One: Steak and Arugula

So week one sort of went off without a hitch. I did almost forget, and my motivation lapse to post this due to nap time, but here we are. My first week, and who better to be a tester than my baby brother Nathan. I offered it to other people, but for some reason they were all busy, or had already ate. I found my recipe in the latest People Magazine. Who knew my obsession for trashy magazines would benefit in the end? The recipe goes as follows:

Steak and Arugula

Rumor has it that this is suppose to serve four people. Orginial chef clearly not from a Mexican family.

What you need:

1 12oz boneless sirloin steak
2 (1/2) tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. coarsely ground salt (hell if I know what this is. It tasted great regardless. If you know, I guess more power to you)
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
4 cups arugula
1/4 cup of Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese.any cheese would work if you have no idea what any of these cheeses are. I used feta)
Balsamic vinegar to taste(remember to check to see if your roommate used it all up before you are done preparing the meal. Sad face. Italian dressing works just the same)

What you do next

1) Preheat Oven to 400
2) Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil and garlic in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat(Be sure to pay attention to the pan because you may burn the garlic. This may or may not have happened)
3) Coat the meat with about 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Season both sides of meat with salt and pepper.
4) Sear meat in hot skillet 3 minutes per side, moving as little as possible.
5) Using an oven mitt (a towel will work just as well)transfer meat to the oven and cook until medium rare, no more than 3 minutes
6) Remove meat from oven, let rest 3 to 4 minutes and slice against the grain (shout out to those who listen to Dan Patrick) into 1/2 in. thick pieces.( you can also do it before you cook. I wouldn’t recommend it. Actually don’t do this, and follow directions. Cutting raw meat is gross. Learned this the hard way)
7) Divide arugula among four plates and top each with 4 to 5 slices of steak
8 ) Top each plate with 2 or 3 cheese shavings and drizzle (love this word)with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste

And there you go. My first meal went off without blowing up my kitchen. I did burn a few things, and my brother hated the salad, but at least he is still alive as of yesterday. He gives his review below, and remember I am still looking for recipes.



From Broke College Student To Chef

9)Learn to Cook

So here’s the thing: I am not a good cook.

It’s not because I am truly bad at it like say my driving, I just never found it fun or interesting, and I truly never really had to learn. I can read directions, depend on the kindness of others, or I am fabulous talking on the phone.

So far in life, it has feed me pretty well. Have you seen my butt? I could continue on with this, but  while making my list of 25 things I want to do before I turn 25 it hit me, I don’t know how to truly cook, and while I can depend on others, what if I move away from my family and friends? Who is going to cook for me then? And even then, most people won’t think the broke adult thing is as cute as the broke college thing, therefore lack of food.

So what is a girl to do while trying to complete her list and become adult? Well I decide to turn to social media. Being a former reporter and current student, I am really good at deadlines, therefore if I give myself a deadline then I will more likely follow it.

So here it is, every week starting with the first full week in January, I will post what I learned to cook that week with recipe, review, comments from the peanut gallery what have you. I will do this probably until I turn 25 on November 18, maybe longer. Maybe fun, may get food poisoning.

But I need recipes. They can range from starters to main meals to desserts, whatever you can think of. You can post the recipes here, email, Facebook,Twitter, or whatever.

So please send me what you got, and I will do my best not to burn down my kitchen. Thank You and Happy Holidays.

2 Months to go

Everyone makes lists whether it be a top ten, bucket, or grocery. The list making process is what we do either to be organized or make it appear so. About 10 months ago, I contributed to the list making world by putting together 23 things I want to do before I turn 24.  In about 61 days(but really who is counting) I will be turning that awkward age, and while I have thought about the list, it took a few of my friends to make me actually go back and look at the list. So here is my update. And here is to hoping I can accomplish this all:

1) Spend more time with family and friends that have your back. Do not waste time with people because you feel bad when they wouldn’t do the same.

My family has definitely changed this year. With good, bad, and ugly news, however we are still a family. I love them more than they will ever know, but I do express it to them as much as I can.

As for friends, in the past year,my circle of friends have become smaller. This is not bad thing, but instead of spending time with people who I truly can’t stand sober, I spend it with people who truly matter to me and I to them. I can obviously work on this more, but as is life.

I say accomplished

2) Donate my hair to locks of love

Ummm…yea has not happened. Not going to lie, I love my long hair, and it is really hard for me to part ways with it. This is a we will see if it will be done in the next 61 days. If not, going on the list next year.

3) Be more direct, not passive aggressive. I sometimes don’t say things to make sure people don’t get mad at me. However somethings need to be said.

Still a work in progress, at least to myself. Some would argue that I have accomplished this, but there is always room for improvement. I will say accomplished, but always can do more.

4) Go Zip Lining

My good friends Carissa and Jen looked this up, and did you know there are no zip lining places in Arizona that are for individuals, only groups. So if anyone knows of any, maybe even ones I can drive to out of state, please let me know ASAP

5) Loose ** lbs and change my eating habits

Done and done. This last year I have lost a good amount of weight. I am not going to post how much, but let us just say that it more than my age, less than 100. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud and feel accomplished, but let’s move on.

6) Learn the secret to my nana’s chocolate chip cookies…

Yes I did. And no I am not telling you.

7) Write a funny story about my Grandpa

Let me start by saying, this hasn’t been done. With a subject like my grandpa, I have tried hundreds of times to do this, and I feel a constant brick wall in my way. I am not sure why,but it seems that way. Of all the things I need to accomplish, I hope this is one of them.

8 ) See the Suns win a championship…*cross fingers*( might change this before I die)

Every year, I think this is the year. This is the year the Suns are going to win it all And every year I am more disappointed than the last. And every year I think, why am I do this to myself? But then every year I am excited to watch them kick some butt and try to win it all. It is a cycle, a bad cycle. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Actually I would like them to win.

Oh yea, almost forgot. Spurs suck it!

9) Kiss in the Rain

It doesn’t rain a lot here, but I sure as hell got that kiss. And it was worth it.

10) Start my applied project for grad school

It has been started. I can’t talk too much about it, but I am uber excited for it.

11) Travel to a new state or country

I will like to welcome the sort of great state of Maryland to place I have been.

12) Buy a lottery ticket when the jackpot is 100 million

To be honest, I am not sure why I put this on my list. But it is something easy to do. This will surely get done. And when I win, I’m going to Disneyland.

13) Maybe update my blog more…maybe

Guess what I am doing right now? *Evil laugh*

14) Clean my closet out of clothes I never wear. Also clean out things I don’t need. Donate both.

For those who don’t know, my friends and I go shopping in my closet. It is true, I have a habit of buying clothes, and seeing them months later, forgetting I bought them. I do have a problem. I get it.

However, I did accomplish this goal. I cleaned out 3 bagfuls of clothes, had friends take them, and donate them. My closet looked rather bare for like a week, and it looked good for a week. But soon it was filled again. You can’t hate on a girl and her clothes

15) Take an unplanned trip for a couple days.

I have an issue with lack of time, and planning things. Most would not see a problem in this, but it would not hurt just to take off somewhere on a whim. I will keep everyone posted.

16) Eat something new that I have never ate before. Deer Maybe?

Alright so it wasn’t deer, however I did eat some amazing Maryland Crab. It is so good, I may have to update the sort of great state to the great state of Maryland. It will have to go through committee first.

17) Redesign my bedroom

Has it been redone in the last year? Yes. Has it been finished? Not really. A work in progress, but I say accomplished nevertheless.

18) Ask a guy out on a date

According to the boy, yes this has been done. He says because I plan everything out, this counts.

19) Learn to ride a bike

Same boy says he will teach me this before my birthday. While I believe he will try, I am not sure if after 23 years I will be able to. Keep your fingers crossed that I am able to do this and not hurt myself too bad.

20) Having an amazing St.Patty’s to make up for the lack of one when I was 22

I had a blast this last St.Patty’s day thanks to my loves. No I didn’t get to consume any of the Irish kinds, but dancing my butt off was good enough.

21) Go to a Cardinals game in their new stadium

I have not done this, but if anyone has extra tickets, I am more than willing to fill that seat.

22) Let people know I love and appreciate them. I would not be who I am without any of them

I do try to do this all the time, and I will continue.

23) Make 23 better than 22. Do not be depress about it. Wait until you are dead.

It has been an amazing year, and with still two months to go, it can only get better.