Happy National Pet’s Day Snickers!

In honor of National Pet’s Day today, I thought I’d share the story of how Snickers and I became a family.

I never had a cat for a pet growing up — growing up in a superstitious household, cats were always viewed as sneaky creatures that could bring bad luck. We always had dogs. I never had a chance to really get to know a cat growing up, so never really thought too much about them.

In 2005, my grandmother died. She was more than a grandma, she was my mom — my primary parent for pretty much all of my childhood. When she passed, I felt incredibly lonely. I hadn’t realized until after she passed away that I relied on her so much as a confidant, a beacon, a counselor… It was scary not being able to find comfort in anything. That’s when one of my coworkers (Ranika – if you’re out there, I can’t say thank you enough) told me about a nonprofit for homeless pets that she was supporting by fostering cats.

At first, I was like, “Cats? Ugh! No way”. But she convinced me to go with her to visit the animals and reserve judgment until I spent some time with the kitties. So I went and that’s where I met Snickers. At the time, he was a wee kitten and still needed a bottle to eat. He was in a bag with three others and as soon as he saw me, he jumped right on to my shoulders. It was love at first sight.

Through the years, Snicky Snack has brought love and comfort to both me and my close family members that were equally suffering from the loss of my grandmother. All of the superstitious, anti-cat mantras completely vanished the moment everyone met him (even my uncle who is a sworn dog person loved to wrestle with Snicks and let him bite his callous hands). I don’t know if Snickers saved us from our grief, perhaps we saved ourselves. But what I do know is he reminded us about the importance of life moving on and when it feels like life can’t go on, it’s okay to snuggle with a cute cat until those feelings pass.

Thanks Snickers, Snicks, Snicky Snack, The Pie for being the most adorable, moody, hungry, impatient, talkative, nonchalant, did I mention adorable (??) cat a girl could ask for. I love you.

Antigua

I know I’ve been away for a while now folks. But, let me rub it in a bit — Antigua was fantastic. A much needed break from the madness that is NYC dwelling. Great times with new friends and relaxation by the bucket full.

Some things that came to me during my time in Antigua:

  1. Life is too short not to enjoy sunshine
  2. There is nothing that a few rum punches and a game of f- the dealer can’t cure
  3. The ocean is massive and will kill you
  4. There is beauty unlike any other in the ocean
  5. It’s okay to eat mac&cheese and rice&peas in the same meal, stop counting carbs
  6. Everyone should own a large soaking tub, there should be a law for this
  7. Re-applying sunscreen after snorkeling is critical
  8. Reading all 3 books in the Hunger Games Trilogy back-to-back can be done in less time then you think. Always have a back-up magazine
  9. Pack bug spray
  10. Being happy is worth it. Find out what will bring contentment and joy and just go for it – professionally and personally

Wishing you all a little bit of Antigua today and always.

Oscars Past

Oh yes girls, tonight is finally here! I am already watching the Countdown to the Red Carpet on E! because I just cannot wait.

In homage to this historic night of all things glamorous, I wanted to share some of the dresses I rank as BEST OF ALL TIME. Gorgeous, timeless, chic — just marvelous.

More to come after the show! Happy Oscars All!

¡GUACAMOLE!… PART II

For my first guacamole, I used an adapted recipe from the huffpost that I actually first found out about on Twitter (the site I would like to crown the most useful social media platform in the game right now — and to think, I wasn’t sold on it at first and was so completely late to the game).

Start to finish: 10 minutes

Servings: 8

1 small yellow or white onion, finely diced not with a molcajete! Just chopped.

Chopped fresh cilantro, to taste

Serrano chilies, to taste

4 avocados, pitted and cut into cubes not with a molcajete! Just cut in half.

1 to 2 medium tomatoes, chopped

Hot sauce, to taste

Salt

On a cutting board, mound together three-quarters of the diced onion and a bit each of the cilantro and chilies. Start with about 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro and 1 chili. You can add more later. Use a large knife to repeatedly chop the mixture further. Aim to reduce the mixture to as close to a pulp as possible.

Turn the knife on its side and, applying firm pressure to the side of the blade, use it to smash the ingredients. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl (molcajete!).

Gently mix (with a tejolote!) the avocado into the onion mixture. Add the remaining diced onion, another tablespoon or 2 of cilantro and the chopped tomatoes. Stir gently, then taste and season with salt. Add hot sauce, as well as additional finely chopped chilies, to adjust the heat as desired.

(Recipe adapted from Demian Bichir)

Here is a photo of my very first authentic attempt at the famous, yummy, fresh, healthy (hey, it’s the good fat), and best reminder of home for any Western woman trapped in an Eastern woman’s life.

¡guacamole!… Part I

I’m from California — Los Angeles to be exact, but went to college in the bay area. That said, it should come as no surprise that I LOVE guacamole.

I’ve managed to actually find some restaurants here in the NYC that offer a decent (fresh) guac — so no complaints there. It’s just that I find myself wanting it all the time and at 15-20 bucks a pop, it can get out of hand… fast.

So with that in mind, I purchased my very own molcajete and tejolote, which is Spanish for mortar and pestle. Carved from volcanic rock, the molcajete and tejolote are some of the world’s oldest kitchen tools, used by the Aztecs in Mexico for grinding corn into flour. I needed to make my guacamole official ya’ll!

Here is some pics of me properly prepping my molcajete.

Directions:

Step 1: Initial Cure

  • Place the molcajete and tejolote in a sink and rinse thoroughly
  • Put a few handfuls of raw white rice into the molcajete, add some cold water and grind the rice using the tejolote
  • Repeat several times, making sure you have ground the entire interior surface of the bowl. Rotate the tejolote as you grind, so its surface is cleaned also
  • The molcajete is cured when no loose bits of stone or grit are present in the rice and the water runs clear

Step 2: Seasoning

  • With the tejolote, create a paste in the molcajete with one chopped onion, the cloves from one head of garlic and 3-4 tbsp. cooking oil
  • Spread the paste over the inside of the bowl, making sure to cover all the pores
  • Bake in an 300°F oven for 30 minutes
  • Let cool then rinse with water