Hello lovers. For the next 5 days I will be bringing you recipes to share at your holiday table that I haven’t posted on FGF yet! Sound fun? Duh it is. So for todays installment I introduce to you Roasted Serrano Vegetable Dip. It is easy as can be, delicious and a perfect appetizer for the big day or days depending on how you celebrate. This whole month is holiday for me, so for those of you like me – for your big month too!
So this dip. When I dip you dip we dip, because OMG this dip. Seriously people, you won’t get enough of this savory dip. Now I just got into dips recently. Dips, gnocchi and mac and cheese from scratch are all relatively new things for me though I have dabbled. This recipe is perfect for the dabbler or Top Chef within you, since it is a basic recipe that can be puffed up and strung out to your hearts content. Plus, it is perfect for getting rid of any extra veggies you have in the fridge. No shame in doing that, as long as it comes out as delicious as ever… which it most certainly does!
Now, my version has eggplant, red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, zucchini, serrano and garlic. Add some olive oil, lemon juice and cayenne, salt and black pepper in good measure and you’re talking a bang shabang delicious dip! What to pair with such a delicious dip? Pita chips, pita crackers or water crackers would be great. For the ultimate in flavor heaven pair this dip with a batch of Homemade Serrano Olive Oil Tortilla Chips! In 15 minutes you will have the creme de la creme of appetizers, all made by your hand so guests will drool and eat with merry cheer and give you amazing gifts because OMG delicious.
Go ahead, try to stop at just one chip. I dare you. Double dare. Triple dare. Face it, you can’t!
This past year has been a whirlwind. I have just over a year of freelance writing experience, I got married, I finished my first novel, it has really been a crazy year. At 27, I feel like I wish I did more (though I don’t know when I would have done it) but I also feel like I have so much time that I really shouldn’t worry about it. Right? Anyway, here is a list of the Top 5 Things I’ve Learned This Past Year.
This sounds silly but it is true. Since I was freelancing, I had more of an opportunity to take advantage of the little moments. Sure I had work to do, but I could do it whenever I wanted to. Which means I finished everything two weeks early to really enjoy my wedding and honeymoon, and have employed this tactic for holidays, birthdays and mental health days. Gorgeous day outside? Spent it outside with my pup. Sometimes I had my phone but most times I didn’t because Instagram has been a wonderful time suck I need to manage. I remember this year more than those of the past because I spent every day a new way, and it was simply magical.
Exercise and Take Care
There were days I got so caught up in writing By Time that I didn’t take the time out for myself. With the wedding, honeymoon and holidays back to back I gained some lbs and really just lost sight of myself. Stopped getting my nails done. Waxing? Who has the time? Hair looking like a mess = find a hat. It wasn’t until after L’s 30th birthday that I realized I needed to make a change. I got a pixie cut so doing my hair was more manageable, got a shellac kit for Christmas I started using to keep my hands pretty and myself pampered, started using all those bath salts I had taking room in my cupboards for Wind Down Wednesday bath time, I even bought a bath pillow!, and I started working out again regularly. By August I started doing Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide, which I am now doing for a second time. I started drinking tea every day and making sure I have had my fill of water aka hydrate hydrate hydrate! I feel better, I look better and I am more level headed. I don’t look like a super model or anything by any means, but I have improved and that is what matters. At least right now..
Take Your Time and Don’t Take it Personally
I was so excited to be working for myself. It took me a while but I finally finished my first novel By Time. It was everything I wanted it to be and I was just so ready to send it off that send it off I did. Though I have had plenty of emails with lovely words they all lead to rejection. I know that this is just part of the process, and luckily there were no harsh words directed at me or my work. For some reason or another, my work and the agents just didn’t click. It has got to be love at first read, I get it. In hindsight I could have taken more time to dig through my novel, which is something I am doing now. As a writer and a perfectionist, I know that nothing is ever going to be perfect. There are always changes that can be made, the hard part is realizing when enough is enough. I may have called that too soon, but it isn’t stopping me. With a few tweaks I will start sending it out again, and heads up I will be posting the first 10 pages on FGF for you guys to take a gander! So bottom line – don’t sweat it.
This has been a tough year for me money wise. I was used to paychecks coming steadily, knowing what day they would go into my checking account and knowing that I would have enough left over for some fun aka Cole Haan shoes, socks, bags and assorted accessories. This year, with debt from our wedding, credit cards getting maxed and some unforeseen emergency expenses, I realized that there is nothing like the peace of mind a steady job gives you when it comes to money. I followed my heart and I will continue to, but I realized that right now in my life having a greater and, this is key, STEADY income is more important. Am I still enjoying myself? Yes! Still having fun? Yes! Still eating like I may never eat again? Yes! But I have also become, as my friend puts it, financially prudent, which means I spend my money much more wisely now. I go with what I need (unless it is food related,) and skip anything that isn’t necessary. I have found that it is nice having less stuff, and when I start making more I will have a cushier savings account. Sounds good to me.
Also, if any magazines or publications are looking for a writer, editor or freelancer let me know! If you have steady pay I am yours, FYI.
Remember the Big Picture
It is easy to get hung up on the little things. I am going back to Numero Four by saying money, because at the end of the day money is a little thing because you can always find a way to came more. Focus on your health, your family, your friends and your well being because none of it can be bought and it can disappear in an instant. Cherish your life, be kind, be humble and be true to yourself. Whenever I am stressing about something, whether it is a loan or not getting a response on a job I really want or getting a rejection I remind myself my life is good, my family is healthy, I am in a happy marriage and life, besides this little thing, couldn’t be better. I remind myself that one day I will be a successful author, have my own magazine and will be living on my Portuguese estate with my husband, Napoleon and our children writing 2-3 hours per day and enjoying myself, my family and my life to the fullest. Don’t let go of your dreams, that Big Picture, and all will be well. Always keep it in sight because it doesn’t matter how you get there it only matters that you do.
So there are my Top 5 Things I Learned This Past Year. How about you? Have some rude awakenings or revelations you want to share about this past year? Share with me in your comments below, instagram or twitter.
Holla! – Caro
In the spirit of the holidays, I am going to share some recipes that I think fit best in Thanksgiving/Christmas/Everyday festivities. This is one of my favorites because it has all the flavor of a Pan de Jamón in a stuffing. You heard me. A stuffing. You’re welcome.
This stuffing came to me in a dream… just kidding. What happened is that I became vegetarian. Well, pseudo vegetarian because I still love smoked chorizo and bacon. Yeah. Drool. Unfortunately, ham is not one of my loves which means that Pan de Jamón is something I continue to make for the holidays but have stopped partaking in. I missing all the flavor, and realized that I could have it all without the meat. (Although, you could crisp up some bacon and fold it in for a meat lovers paradise – or a Carolyng paradise, who is only part meat lover).
Close up to the goodness.
This stuffing is 100 % delicious. The golden raisins and pimento olives are straight from the Pan de Jamón. For extra flavor, I added fresh parsley, vegetable broth, onion and black pepper. When all is said and done, and you have it all on a serving platter, drizzle it with agave for a sweet kick. Of course I feel like I should add that this stuffing would be great for actually stuffing a turkey, but for vegetarians sake, make it on the side for all to enjoy. Don’t forget bacon crumbles if you wanna add another layer of sweet and spice deliciousness!
Looking for more flavor and depth from your stuffing? Look no further than Sweet and Spicy Stuffing, full of golden raisins, stuffed olives, black pepper and a drizzle of agave for a sweet and tangy homemade side that can hold its own.
¼ stick unsalted butter
½ cup parsley
1 tbsp garlic, minced
¾ cup raisins
½ cup olives, diced
1 loaf day old bread, ½ - 1 inch dice
2 cups vegetable broth
½ onion, diced
2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
salt to taste
agave to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large sauté pan melt butter and add garlic and onions Cook until onions are translucent and garlic is crisp on edges.
Add raisins, olives, ½ of the bread and 1 cup vegetable broth. Stir and toss until bread softens. Add remaining bread and remaining broth. Stir until all ingredients are fully dispersed and bread has soaked all broth. Fold in parsley.
Transfer to an oven safe dish and bake for 20 minutes or until top the bread on top has browned and is crisp on the edges. Serve warm.
Hey guys. I know it’s been a while. I will be posting lots of food soon – especially for the holidays. For now, I thought I would do a Ruminations piece. I wrote an article not too long ago about what is has been like being married to my Southern husband. As a first generation lady, and a latina, culture is very important. This article is about how both of our backgrounds have melded together in this past year of marriage. The good, the bad, and the cattywompus!
Haha, ok, cattywompus actually doesn’t work like that, but it is too fun of a word to not throw it out everywhere I can. Anywho, read on below and let me know how your bicultural relationships work. Where are they strongest? Where do you want to improve? What is the best thing that has come out of it all? Let me know, I’d love to hear.
And without further ado – The Latina and the Don.
When I met my future husband I was a wee 18 year old, bright eyed and bushy tailed as he tells me, and he was the epitome of southern charm. That blonde hair, those blue eyes flecked with gray and gold, and that Southern accent, gosh, it made every girl swoon. Being a northern girl, yes I am a New Yorker, and a southern girl, being half Venezuelan, I thought I could resist. That didn’t last long.
Over the eight wonderful years we spent together before tying the knot, I was faced with many realities. Of course there was Southernese, a dialect I must confess I am still learning. Sure, I’ll pass you a pin for you to scrawl a note, say hey y’all with complete confidence, point out a coon to my pup and use cattywampus to describe my kitchen after Christmas. But when I first met my don, I would have sworn he was speaking a different language. He could have been from another planet, opening doors, pulling out chairs, walking me home (though I did live across the hall), he was just so alien.
We were from two different worlds, and the more I got to know him, the more that was apparent. He fit into this idea I had about the South and Southerners. He grew up playing tennis, going to country clubs and spending his holidays in South Carolina at the beach. Talk about culture shock. I didn’t know people actually lived like that. Up until that moment I thought such a life existed only for Hollywood darlings on the silver screen, not for actual normal people.
Before L, I hadn’t been around many Southerners. I had my first experience on my way to see him at the beach for Spring Break, waiting at the terminal for my delayed flight. Like any New Yorker, I was livid, speaking about how ridiculous it was we had to wait for a specific scheduled flight attendant when we were in an airport full of flight attendants! I tried to rally the other passengers, and was met with, “Darlin’, there’s no sense in fussin’. We’ll be outta here soon ‘nuff,” and “Punkin’ how ‘bout I getcha a hot chocolate, that always helps.”
My first instinct, in all honesty, was more fury. They were telling me to calm down and were trying to poison me with treats so I would shut up! Right after that thought, I found that I was the only Northerner boarding that plane, and the other passengers weren’t being condescending or trying to drug me, they were just nice Southern people, being sweet for no reason except that’s who they are. It was like I had made a discovery of a long lost race, except the only person it was lost to was me.
When I finally met L’s family I was presented with a cookie cutter TV version of what every little latino sees as the normal American family living the American dream. A mother and a father, a sister and a brother, all blonde, with eyes of bright shimmering blue, and the sweetest, warmest pearl smiles. With a permanent home in the mountains and a getaway by the beach, they were the stereotype of the typical gringo family and I was slowly becoming a part of it.
First I tried to assimilate. That’s the best way to learn anything right, immerse yourself in the culture, in the language, and just say yes to everything. That led me to my first and last tennis lesson, where I realized buying 3 complete tennis outfits didn’t make you any better, and that fried chicken and biscuits to them was like black beans and rice to me. I found myself saying “lordy,” “dangnabbit” and “fixins” as often as any other vizor wearing belle would.
When we were stuck in a line, with people chatting about their days and taking all the time in the world while there were people waiting behind them, I held my tongue. It wasn’t that they were slow, it’s that they weren’t pressed for time. What a wonderful concept! They enjoyed every moment without rushing to the next for fear of being late or missing out. Before long I found myself striking up conversations with complete strangers, genuinely smiling and laughing with them, sharing a piece of myself and my life with them, and it was… really nice.
And then things changed. As I became more Southern, L’s family became more latino. Seriously. They began immersing themselves in my culture. They downloaded app’s to learn Spanish, explored the world of latin food beyond Chipotle, started rolling most of their R’s and on my wedding day welcomed my South American family with the southern charm that made me fall in love with them in the first place.
I spent my first Thanksgiving as a married woman in the South. The table had pernil and biscuits, quinoa and collards, and though I went to the tennis courts I didn’t play. I could eat fried green tomatoes and okra until I turned green, and my husband could eat fried plantains and arepas until his stomach bursts. Being with L has made me more patient, definitely more punctual and has encouraged me to enjoy the moment.
Legally, I married a Southern gentleman. But above that, what I really married into, was the South. From the bourbon and the pecans to the ya’lls and the drawls, I’ve become a part of the South and it has become a part of me. Like a plantain stuffed biscuit, we were perfect for each other. It just took my don and his family to show me everyone’s got a little Southern charm in them, you’ve just got to find it. And find it I did.
Hello lovers. For the next 5 days I will be bringing you recipes to share at your holiday table that I haven’t posted on FGF yet! Sound fun? Duh it is. So for todays installment I introduce to you Roasted Serrano Vegetable Dip. It is easy as can be, delicious and a perfect appetizer for the big day or days depending on how you celebrate. This whole month is holiday for me, so for those of you like me – for your big month too! Read more…
This past year has been a whirlwind. I have just over a year of freelance writing experience, I got married, I finished my first novel, it has really been a crazy year. At 27, I feel like I wish I did more (though I don’t know when I would have done it) but I also feel like I have so much time that I really shouldn’t worry about it. Right? Anyway, here is a list of the Top 5 Things I’ve Learned This Past Year. Read more…
In the spirit of the holidays, I am going to share some recipes that I think fit best in Thanksgiving/Christmas/Everyday festivities. This is one of my favorites because it has all the flavor of a Pan de Jamón in a stuffing. You heard me. A stuffing. You’re welcome. Read more…