Monday, April 30, 2012

Mangos and Other Miscellany

I've been feeling sentimental today, and I just realized why. Mangos. Or mangoes, if you prefer. (Don't worry, I consulted Google and either spelling is acceptable.) They are on sale at both Publix and Kroger this week, which means two things - they must be in season somewhere, and I stocked up.

Some background information - My dad is from Mexico City. He moved to the U.S. to attend grad school at Penn State, where he met my mom, got married, and settled in to a new life filled with gringos and snow. Oh, and two adorable children, of course. Growing up, this meant many trips to Mexico to visit my dad's family. Being a notoriously picky eater as a child, I spent many of these visits to the motherland sustaining myself on only mangos and a delicious salted beef called cecina. (The story has a happy ending. I later came to my senses and now joyfully indulge in all food. All of it.)

Never heard of cecina? Understandable. It is most likely illegal to sell in the United States since preparing it involves laying the thinly sliced and heavily salted meat out in the sun for hours. If you want to learn more - and who wouldn't - check out the webpage I published about cecina for a project in college. That's right. A webpage about beef. You're welcome.

Anyway, since mangos were pretty much the only thing I would eat, my grandparents were kind enough to prepare them for me often. One of my favorite childhood memories is eating breakfast with my grandfather (who my brother and I called "Guty") in the backyard of their home in Cocoyoc, my bare feet tapping on the red tiles of the patio, sweet mango juice dripping down my arms, while we sat peacefully and listened to the crows of the rooster in a neighboring yard.

I have many wonderful memories of summers spent in Mexico with my family - not all of them involving mangos - but the fact is, after all these years, the taste and smell of a mango takes me right back to those times.

In the spirit of this mango love, I decided to share a recipe we made tonight from the bounty I purchased yesterday.

Mango Glazed Pork Chops

  • 4 center cut pork rib chops
  • 2 mangos
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Cut, then puree mangos
  2. Mix mango puree, honey, lime juice, cayenne pepper and salt
  3. Pour half of mixture over pork chops and marinate for at least 30 minutes
  4. Sear pork chops for 1 minute on each side over high heat
  5. Grill at medium high heat for 5 to 7 minutes on each side
  6. Top with remaining glaze
Serves 4

In honor of the true randomness of these thoughts tonight, I am linking up with Carissa at Lowercase Letters. Yes, this is my first link up. Yes, I am quite excited about it.

  miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Alright y'all... Have a happy Monday. And go eat some mangos.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Love Notes (But Not the Kind You Pass in Math Class)

Some people express their love by showering their significant other with expensive gifts. I express mine with scrapbook paper and a hot glue gun. In true form, I made this frame to give to Joey on Valentine's Day. And with that, we've started a new tradition.

On this frame, we use a dry erase marker to leave loooove notes for each other. Sometimes sweet. Sometimes funny. Sometimes sentimental. Sometimes to say, "I'm sorry". I love the excitement of wondering when the message on the frame will change. I love learning what Joey appreciates about me. And I love encouraging my hubs with kind words. All in all, it's been fun to come up with new ways to recognize each other for our daily awesomeness.

But some days, its tough to come up with something new - because frankly, sometimes (Can I be honest?) I get annoyed with my dear, sweet husband. (And can I be even more honest??? I know I am way more annoying than he ever is.) Sometimes our expectations don't line up perfectly. Sometimes we ::gasp:: argue about things. Such are the realities of marriage, I'm coming to learn.

I'm realizing that marriage is more than just romance. From Gary Thomas' book, Sacred Marriage:
"Romantic love has no elasticity to it. It can never be stretched; it simply shatters. Mature love, the kind demanded of a good marriage, must stretch, as the sinful human condition is such that all of us bear conflicting emotions... This is the reality of the human heart, the inevitability of two sinful people pledging to live together, with all their faults, for the rest of their lives."
So as we work to build that mature love that can stretch through all the twists and turns life will throw at us, I appreciate this daily tradition. Those days when I'm frustrated, annoyed, and feeling less than lovey-dovey towards this man I married... those are the days that I most need to pause and remember what an incredible man my husband is, how blessed I am to have him, and the countless ways he makes my life better.

What about you? How do you take time to remember what it is you love about the ones you love? I'm always up to hearing new ideas. Especially if it involves a DIY project.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happiness in a Muffin Tin

I am currently the poster child of senioritis. The symptoms of this debilitating disease consist of wearing pajamas for hours on end, eating Cheetos while laying on the couch, and asking illogical questions such as, "Can't this paper write itself?" You might think that being a mere two papers away from graduation would mean I would be eager to make my fingers do a little tap dance across the keyboard to finish them up and turn them in. But no, I've been frozen in a state of uselessness in which I dream about what it would feel like to be done with this work, without ever actually making any progress towards finishing the papers. So, just two papers to go - What's the most logical thing to do? Bake. Obviously.

Not that I have any sort of baking skills. Out of pure desperation and boredom during the snowstorm (aka three inches of snow) that completely shut down the city of Atlanta for a full week (the upstate New Yorker in me laughs heartily at this.), I tried to bake a cake from scratch. What could go wrong? Especially since Joey will devour anything that is sweet edible. Yet, somehow, I managed to make a cake that even my garbage disposal husband wouldn't eat.

But I digress. This time, I decided to bake something that even I couldn't ruin. I stumbled across it on Pinterest a few weeks ago and have been hungrily eying the recipe ever since. It came without a name, but now that I have created this masterpiece, I have dubbed this treat, "Happiness in a Muffin Tin". It's very, very complicated to make...

  • Break and bake cookies
  • Brownie batter (Not from scratch, silly. From a box.)
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  1. Leave half written paper up on the computer screen so you can still feign productivity.
  2. Shove a break and bake cookie into the bottom of each muffin tin
  3. Open the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Eat a few.
  4. Take what's left and set one on top of each cookie smoosh
  5. Whip up that brownie batter
  6. Top off each muffin tin with brownie batter until it is about 3/4 full
  7. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes
  8. Eat two before they cool, then share
Behold... the results:

Anything that leaves a grease smear of that caliber must be pure deliciousness. I should probably catch senioritis more often.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Greetings and Salutations

My first entry on a brand new blog! Let me start with an introduction. First - There's something you need to know about me. I get bored very easily, which means I tend to have my hands in everything and I always have some sort of project going on. I've been that way since I was a wee one. I moved from drama club to cello lessons to flute lessons to trying my hand (mouth?) at harmonica to choir to cross-stitch sewing club (No really, it existed. And I joined.) to Student Council to class treasurer and on and on and on. So, you can see that since the beginning, I've always been a nerd very involved. In everything.

Now, at my ripe old age of 26, I am about to finish graduate school (11 days 'til I walk across the stage. Not that I'm counting). For the last year and a half, my days have been filled with paper writing and research reading. We have already established that I am a nerd through and through, so I actually have enjoyed ::almost:: every minute of the process. But, I am most definitely ready for a new project.

Which brings me to my next important point. I married my wonderful husband, Joey, on July 3rd, 2011. This first year of marriage has been busy, but incredible. I'm excited to start this next phase of our life - a phase I like to call "finally enjoying newly-wedded bliss, sans grad school".

Shortly after Joey and I tied the knot, we read a book called The Most Important Year of a Woman's Life/The Most Important Year of a Man's Life. Sounds like an awkward title, but its because half of the book is written for the wifey, and then when you flip the book upside down and turn it over, the other half is written for hubs. Fancy, I know. But that's not the important part. There's a quote from the book has stuck with me ever since we read it...
“The early investment in building an exceptional marriage costs a fraction of what it will take to keep a lousy one on life support... There is—and should be—something undeniably different about the first year of marriage.”
Granted, we are nearing the end of our first year of marriage, but now is the time to seize the day (Newsies, anyone?)... My new project is to focus on investing in us and the life we are building together. And I am so excited for the adventures we have in store! (Cue the triumphant sound of blaring trumpets.)

I started this blog to document our life with this focus - building an exceptional marriage. I imagine this blog will be filled with anything and everything - the food we eat, the books we read, the movies we watch, the trips we take, the lessons we learn, the ins, the outs, the ups, the downs - the variety of it all. Lots of pictures, plenty of sarcasm, and maybe, just maybe, something worth reading from time to time. Because after all, variety is the spice of life.