armadillas


Ahhhhhhh would be the appropriate response

There are many occasions in life that require a little comfort food. I mean, come on! Is there anything that comfort food can’t cheer away for a bit? I think not! It’s good for a rainy day, a sucky day, a remembering day- you get the picture. Comfort food is also AMAZING at calming nerves. It’s like going out for ice cream because you scraped your knee only ten times better.

Today I’m in need of something comforting in my belly because right now my belly is full of nerves. I’m so stressed and distraught, I keep pacing the house like a lunatic. In a minute I’ll be cleaning. That’s the kind of serious I’m feeling right about now. See, I’m quitting my job. Yup, saying good-bye to income. It’s only a little restaurant job that helped me get through college, but I’ve been there so long I feel like my soul is slowly being sucked out. In other words, I’m miserable. I’m beyond miserable. I’m so unhappy there, just thinking about going back in makes my stomach churn. Not exactly a good sign. When life puts you in a situation like this, the only thing to do is follow your gut and remove yourself from that situation. Your gut knows more than you would think.

So I’m taking the bulls by the horn, taking some risks, and am leaving. What’s my next move? TEACHING! I have a degree in Spanish Language and Literature. There is absolutely no reason for me to hold on to a job that is unappreciative. Life isn’t about holding on to safe fall-backs. It’s about challenging yourself, seeing what you can accomplish, and throwing safe out the window! It’s about living, and right now that is not what I’m doing. Today I submitted my application to two school districts. Tomorrow I might do a third as well. No more being afraid to take a chance and see what happens. Plus, I really do love Spanish (and really enjoy grammar)! Why not put my degree to use and share my knowledge. It makes total sense. Who would’ve thought…

Which brings us back to comfort food. What I’m doing right now is seriously risky for me. Between paying back my student loans and other life occurrences that pop up, I can’t afford to go without a job. But I’d rather bet all my ducks and be happy, then feel the way I have been feeling over the past month. It’s not worth it. Besides, I feel pretty confident about my applications. Stay positive! And that’s why I’m making rice and beans for dinner. I love rice. No matter what style, it’s at the top of my list of foods I wouldn’t want to live without. The first time I had rice and beans, I thought I was in heaven, which is rather appropriate since I was at a potluck at my dad’s church. There was definitely some divine intervention at play.

I’ve never made rice and beans before. And today I cheated by buying store bought sofrito (which inspired me to make rice and beans as my comfort food in the first place). I didn’t use beans either, but substituted frozen peas. Next time, I would also like to cook the rice with chicken broth/stock instead of water. I think it will give it a richer flavor. You know what? The dish I came ended up with probably should even be called rice and beans? But it wasn’t too bad. Room for improvement, but a keeper nonetheless. I really can’t wait to make it better though. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE rice and beans…

Ingredients:

1 cup rice
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sofrito
1 package sazon
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas

Spoon the sofrito into a sauce pan. I kept mine on medium heat. If a certain someone broke your measuring spoon the other day, just eyeball it with a regular spoon

Add the tomato sauce

And the sazon (perhaps some chicken bouillon would be good here too if you don’t have any broth on hand)

As the sauce begins to bubble, hurry up and toss in your peas. Give everything a good stir

Finally, mix in your rice and water (or chicken broth if you choose to follow my sound advice)

Wow, so easy! Bring your rice mixture to a boil. Then turn the heat down to low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID! There’s no need to stir. Just let everything cook together. Have some faith. When your boyfriend walks in and lift the lid quicker then you can shout STOP, hit him out of the kitchen with a wooden spoon. Amateurs…always needing to stir and shake things that don’t need shaking or stirring. Hmph!

After 20 minutes, your arroz con gandules will be nice and fluffy. Some of it might stick to the bottom a little bit. That’s okay. Give it a big turn with your wooden spoon and serve

I cooked up some chicken marinaded in mojo, too. And some corn on the cob. Mmmm. Have I told you the secret of boiled corn on the cob yet? Adding sugar to your water. Like my mama taught me, ha!

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Crazy curls

Guess who just went grocery shopping for only 80 bucks! Uh huh, that’s right! Way to shop on a budget.

Also, check out my mini harvest. My garden  may not be doing so hot this year, but it sure is exciting to go out there and pick a few things from the yard

Also, yesterday my dad took me to a Puerto Rican restaurant called La Palmera. Funny story is we’ve been meaning to go for nearly ten years now. Better late than never I guess.  We ordered the Pollo Frito, which came with rice and beans. Oh, how I love Puerto Rican rice and beans. My dad gave me a recipe sent from a friend of his and I’m determined to master it. I also tried their beef and cheese empanadas, which was pretty good. Dad order me a pastel to take home and try to. I can’t say I was the biggest fan of the pastel, but it wasn’t too bad.

I wasn’t expecting actual fried chicken when the menu said pollo frito, but I probably should have. It was still pretty good. The beans weren’t too shabby either

I think my dad said you could eat the banana leaf wrapping, buuuuut I didn’t really care for it. Anyway, now that there’s food in the house, I’m going to have to get creative with some recipes these next couple weeks. I bought mostly meat. I love my veggies, but I LOVE my meat. Maybe I’ll become a butcher one day. Could you imagine it? I’ll call my shop Hot Chops and paint the sign bright pink! I’m sure it would be a hit.Tonight my friends are coming over and cooking some curry. I think I might pull some fish out for tomorrow. It’s been awhile since I’ve tried my hand at fish. I wish I had some mussels! I just discovered not too long ago how much I like mussels. Clams not so much…