Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Hardest Thanksgiving

Growing up, some of my Mexican friends would tell me about how they didn't celebrate Thanksgiving because it wasn't a Mexican holiday.

My mom grew up in the states being naturalized in her pre-teens and attending schools in National City, California where my aunts and family settled. For us, Thanksgiving was part of our traditions. A part of our assimilated ways. Some very American turkey was always at our table, but my Mom's very Mexican stuffing also make it to the table as well. I still can't forget my Tia Gloria's salsa and my Tio Cuate's famous Ham. I swear that ham's glaze was to die for!

Over the years, things have changed, the dynamic of the family has changed, and some people have come and gone. People have moved away, but what always stands when my Mom and me come to the table in prayer, we always prayed for all those near or far, close or forever gone. Always wishing them a blessed Holiday no matter where they are.

This year, on paper I had two huge opportunities come up that would mean I would not be here for Thanksgiving. I specifically say on paper because as per usual... things always look good on paper.

When I mentioned these opportunities my awesome Mother turned to me and said, "These are amazing opportunities you can't turn them down! Go! Do it! You don't know if you will have this opportunity again." She is right...as per usual.

It is the day before Thanksgiving at 4pm and in less than 24 hours I will be traveling to Mexico City for the IV Foro Mundial de la Gastronomia Mexicana... that pretty much translates to the Fourth WorldWide Forum on Mexican Gastronomy. It is the who's who of Mexican Cooking and products, and I am excited to be there. This will be my first visit to Mexico City and being thrilled is an understatement.

What I didn't mention before is that Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE Holiday. I prefer it over Christmas.

Why?

For me, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to share with everyone you love, your close friends, your family, your acquaintances, with God and even yourself, how Thankful you are for everything you have been given this year. Some years, are harder than others, but every Thanksgiving, we are reminded to be grateful and take note of each blessing we have been given throughout the year.

This is by far the Hardest Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for. I have had one of the best years of my life. This last year has afforded me opportunities beyond my wildest dreams! I have met incredible people from all walks of life, in all kinds of businesses, and from all over the world. I have traveled, shown my daughter places I have only dreamed of, and visited paradises I only wished to see in pictures. I have paid off my debt, both school and personal, I have established a home, furnished, it, and somehow, still have my bedrock of die hard friends and family who never leave my side, keep me grounded, fight with me, cry with me, work with me, and continue to push me to say... you can fucken move mountains if you set your mind to it.

I am working so hard to continue to achieve long term success, to prove to my munchkin that nothing that is valuable will ever be given to you, you must bust your ass and work HARD for it.

On this Hardest Thanksgiving while I am flying to Mexico City, I want you to to remember all of the people who have to work on this day. Who have to spend time away from their families. Who want to be there but can't. Who wish they could hug their family member because they are serving over seas, or are stationed far from home. Who wear a badge or scrubs and have to work 12 hour days to make sure sick people get treated, our streets are safe, and any turkey fires get put out. I want you to hug your families tighter and remember that we are all SO blessed to have each other. To be alive.

May god bless you and your families on this Hardest Thanksgiving no matter where you are in the world.

Provecho Familia~ SLM


Monday, June 6, 2016

Updating the Bucket List!

Woah has this been quite a year!

2016 is well underway and I realized today when Mr. Brewer mentioned that he wasn't feeling creative, that I myself, had stepped away from some of my more creative endeavors. 

Things, like this very blog have just been low-lying on the totem pole. What with interviews, appearances, events, dinner services, being a daughter, owning a business (WOOHOO), missing my family, and trying above nothing more to treasure every moment with Munchkin. 

The journey has been longer, more arduous, and less glamorous than most would think, but I am thankful for everything that I have been given. Even the not so glamorous. 

One thing I got to thinking about was figuring out what things on my bucket list I had crossed off. Over the last couple of months, if not the last year, I know there have to be a couple, and I wanted to do an update so here we go~! 

*Find joy in life again *************DONE

* Learn how to swim (So afraid of the water!)

* Swim with Dolphins

* Take a cruise *************(Planned for November 2016)

* Learn how to scuba dive (Doing this on the Cruise)

* Visit a white sand beach *************DONE -Okinawa, Japan

* Fly on an airplane (so afraid of heights) *************DONE

* Stay at a job for more than 5 years *************DONE

* See Mariah Carey in concert again

* Get married at a church (since I never did)

* Write a book (or finish one for that matter) *************DONE! Published 5/10/16

* Visit Greece! (Ahhhh to walk where Socrates once roamed!)

* Visit the Vatican and Coliseum in Rome

* Visit France (ahh...To visit the land of love…)

* Visit Italy (eat the food, and gelato… mmmmh)

* Earn more than $70,000 per year *************DONE

* Own my own business (Preferably a Restaurant) *************DONE

* Have GREAT credit

* Ice Skate

* Have another child (as I always intended it)

* Go camping again

* Visit the Grand Canyon

* Visit the Museum of Modern Art in New York

* Run a full marathon (26 miles)

* Buy myself a Louis Vuitton Bag

* Have a Mercedes (a NEW one)

* Have one full week of worry free vacation *************DONE

* Have lobster in Puerto Nuevo again (mmmm) *************DONE

What about you? What would be on your Bucket List? Have one?

If you dont, Make one! Its a great way to track your progress and make sure you are taking EVERYTHING you want from your life and creating the experiences you want from it! ;)

-Cheers~ SLM

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Adventures in Fair Food

By now we all know I am a foodie at heart. There really is nothing out there I won't try at least once. 

Whether its Uni (Sea Urchin) or Escaramoles (Ant Eggs), the sky is the limit and nothing culinary scares me.

So when my friend Wendy brought me along as her plus one to the San Diego County Fair Media Party... I was ready to take on even the most adventurous of fair food.  

Fair goers have been introduced to things like fried frog legs, and chocolate covered bacon year after year. However, rumors were circling about a special pickle that is an absolute must have.  Also getting buzz around town, were the likeness of deep fried starbucks, sriracha dogs, and shark tacos. I couldn't wait. 

So here is what my perspective is of these... interesting bites. 


Shark Tacos

We all know I loveeeee me some fish tacos! After all, I live and breathe Mexican food... 
But these tacos had soooo much breading on them, I literally couldn't tell what type of fish I was eating. I kept thinking to myself, are you sure you gave me a SHARK Taco? I decided to move on, and explored the next thing that sounded good... 


Parmesan Garlic Fries

C'mon can you ever go wrong with parmesan and garlic? I thought no, I was wrong. The "fries," were more like chips. Warm, but fried to a dehydrated crisp. They had been robbed of all their potato flavor and it took away from what should have been a delicious garlic parmesan sprinkle. Sad day. Sad potato day indeed. 


Deep Fried Starbucks

Ok. Ok. I will admit.. I am quite the Starbucks afficionado..BUT... these little balls of delight really delivered. They were dusted with cinnamon and sugar and then topped with whipped cream and served in, you guessed it, a Starbucks cup. 

These little balls of heaven resembled Starbucks so much, I wanted to just keep eating. Hands down... they are delicious. They are not what you expect, because I mean... what can you expect deep fried Starbucks to look like? But they managed to merge two of my favorite things. Churros and Starbucks... So I am a fan.

At the same location I also picked up something that jumped out at me right away...


Chocolate Covered Chicharron (Pork Rind)


Yup... you read that right. 
Skeptics, I am here to tell you... you will eat your words.
This chocolate covered crisp was so well balanced and so unorthodox that it quickly became my favorite of the night. 

No, I am not kidding. 

I don't even like chocolate! Yet, I was seriously thrilled that this made the menu. The salty crispiness of the chicharron reminded me of a rice chocolate bar but with a bigger depth of flavor. Trust me on this, you should at least try it! 


Sriracha Corn Dog

We all know Sriracha is as common now as Chipotle was in the 90's... so why not have a Sriracha dog right? I was curious to see how this would be executed and so, I ordered one up with zero apprehension, after all, I love me some spicy food. 

Firstly... the look of it is not that appealing. You are essentially getting a corn dog with Sriracha drizzled on top... Is this really it? Wendy and I kept asking ourselves. While this dog proved that you really can put Sriracha on ANYTHING... the surprise came as I was about 3 bites in and realized that the dog inside, was not just a regular dog but a hot link! ALERT! Someone Hurry! Get me a Margarita! 


Sweet Corn Ice Cream

This is one of those things that can either go really wrong, or really well. Corn when done right can really deliver in the flavor department and can truly be both sweet or savory. 

Although, I wish I could rally behind this idea, seeing as it is imported from Jalisco, Mexico, and the fact that corn is such a huge staple of my cooking and heritage... this ice cream really didn't represent corn the way it should. There was so much cream and sugar, that the actual corn taste was lacking. In fact, it was nearly unrecognizable. 

While this is a great idea, the flavor balance was off for me... but hey, try it, maybe your serving will be better than mine. 




The Pig Trough

I know, I know... it sounds gross.. but trust me.. I was convinced first bite in! Seriously! Crispy Pork Chicharron topped with delicious BBQ Pulled Pork and finished off with Cole Slaw! Man that is good. 

While truthfully, it begs for a bit more presentation the almost nacho like idea of the chicharron made my down-home Mexican self very happy! 




Peanut Butter Deep Fried Pickle

During the process of waiting in an extensive line for the most talked about item this fair season... I saw my great friend, and Discover SD writer, Leslie Hackett. She had just purchased her pickle and was preparing to take her first bite. I was scared. Scared for her. Scared for her taste buds. 

Her first bite was met with a gushing mixture of salty pickle juice and melted peanut butter. Her face was indescribable and before she could be asked any questions by the group around her, she bravely took a second bite noting that she didn't get enough peanut butter in that first bite. 

And there it was... the face of utter dissatisfaction. 

It wasn't what she expected and quickly offered me a bite. For the sake of this blog and my curios palette, I decided to just take a bite. I mean, its a pickle and peanut butter, two flavors I know and love...and YUCK. 

Exactly what you are imagining, is EXACTLY what it tastes like. Two flavors that should NEVER be mixed. Pickle juice, melted peanut butter, crispy batter, what is happening in my mouth right now? Ugh. 



So there you have it... I am sure there are other things I didn't capture, but fortunately the San Diego County Fair will be opening this coming Friday, June 5th and will remain open until the 4th of July. Go to SDFair.com for details or discount tickets, and special events... oh and don't forget the free concerts! 

Have a wonderful rest of your week and please, get out there and start an adventure! 

~Cheers - SLM



Friday, May 29, 2015

Cynicism and Hope

There are times, where I wonder to myself if I can ever become cynical about dating, and love.  I have friends who deem me “stupid” or “naïve” because I still believe in true love. You know, that ideal that you grow up with as a young girl? That hope, that someday, some man, with his charming smile, humor, and deep rich eyes, will make the butterflies swirl in your insides, and your feet light and flirty?
You know exactly what I’m talking about, that “AHHHHHHHHHHH he is sooooo Amazing” feeling!?
Well call me dumb, naïve, or even crazy and unrealistic, but this Single Latina Mama, believe it or not, still has hope.  

Perhaps it’s the fact that not enough time or dates have come and gone that I’m so bitter that the cynicism has set in.
Regardless of what you feel love should be or is, for me, Love is simply just that, Love.
I sometimes like to believe that if everyone thought the way I did, always choosing to see the beauty in people instead of what is wrong and flawed, our world would be a MUCH better place.
I know I’m getting sappy on you! If you need a shot of 5 hour Energy, I totally understand!!  
What I’m trying to say is, well gosh darn it, having hope doesn’t mean I’m dumb! It just means I believe when you have chosen to lose hope.  
Why be so damn cynical anyway?
Don’t you think that if you might have given somebody just a little more credit, or just a little more love they might have perhaps responded differently?
I mean just think about it, what if someone had been more loving to you? Or rather, what if they had given YOU more credit or appreciation? Would you have responded differently?
Cynicism isn’t about them, and their issues, its about you, and your perception of them.
I am rough around the edges, we all are, there is no mistaking that, but through the rough patches in life we face, like any coarse wood being sanded down against its own grain, we are slowly smoothing ourselves out!
–Cheers! ~SLM

Let's Get Cooking!

Awwww man... do I have a story for you... 

My last installment to you, my amazing followers, was quite some time ago... and boy have I been busy! 

You see at the end of Summer 2014, I decided to audition for a show that I have been quite a fan of! well... more like my favorite show on air for the past 5 years... MASTER CHEF!!!

My co-admin for Instagramers San Diego Lauren, told me all about it and so I decided, why not? What do I have to lose? I have a deep-rooted passion for cooking, learning, and life... I can do this! 

I showed up to the casting call in Downtown San Diego, bright eyed and rocking typical latina curls.

I was told to check in and tell them about a specific email I had received, and BOOM! I got VIP'd (whatever that means). 

Within 7 minutes I was told I was part of the next group up and suddenly... that positive demeanor turned to nerves! OMG! Oh my god...  

HERE...WE... GO...

To audition, I had whipped up an amazing Three Cheese Tortellini in an Asiago Cream Sauce with Crimini Mushrooms and Pancetta. It's the dish my Dad asks for on birthdays and father's day... so I figured, I can't go wrong. 

I walked in to a large conference room and began my audition process... 

I can't share any more details because well... the audition process itself is confidential... but what you must know is... 

I DID IT! I made it on the show! 

I was scheduled to leave to Los Angeles in early January and I had NO IDEA if I could even do it or more importantly, manage it financially. 

So with the encouragement of my good friend Ilo, I set up a vague crowd-funding account. I only noted that I was given an amazing opportunity that has the potential to change munchkin and my life! Remarkably, donation after donation, I was reminded how truly blessed I am. Family, Friends, Co-Workers, and yes, even special blog followers donated helping me to raise over $3,000 dollars! 

NO I AM NOT KIDDING! People believe in me! They want me to go after my dreams, even if I couldn't share any of the details! 

I left to Los Angeles on a very early morning, leaving my daughter in tears. I cried myself to the train station and just kept repeating, no pain, no gain. No risk, No reward. 

My heart was broken. I had never spent more than 3 nights away from munchkin... can I even do this? 

I was walking away form my life, my daughter, my apartment, my job, EVERYTHING... all for this amazing opportunity. Was I being selfish? Was I wrong? What am I doing? 

Well... I made it. I did it. I got that apron.... and joined the biggest cooking competition in the Country! I beat out 40,000 + chefs who auditioned for the show and can wear that proudly no matter what... 

To this day, I can't wrap my head around how unbelievable this is. I am soooo glad to FINALLY be able to share why I was gone so long, what I was so busy with, and what my dream was! 

I had the opportunity to cook for Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, and new Chef Christina Tosi, three of thee most renowned chefs in this country. 

Guys... MIND BLOWN... seriously. 

I hope you will watch me battle it out in the Master Chef kitchen this upcoming Wednesday! The show airs on FOX primetime at 8:00pm ET/PT ... yes I said PRIME. TIME. 

Is this real life? Someone pinch me please! 

You can also watch on Hulu, as we are already three shows in! (Sorry late in the blogging game)... I have also created a new website for myself... click here to visit. 

One last thing... I need to extend a HUGE THANK YOU, to YOU, my followers who donated and who believed in me and continue to support this Single Latina Mama through all of my adventures. 

It is clear that there are oh so many more delicious adventures to come for this Single Latina Mama! 

Cheers~ SLM

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hi, I am Mrs. Undateable

With life swirling in more ways than your local froyo spot, I somehow lost sight of me again.
I tucked my head down, swept through what seems like the better part of 2014. And now, as I turn to look up, and look at the world around me I start to wonder how I let this happen again?


I was on the grind... you know... grinding. Hard. Focused. Determined. Unaccountable.


That same head, usually full of smiles, has just managed to tucker down and push through and past the summer.


I can only count the memorable experiences on one hand. There was no summer love, or fling, or crush for that matter. Welp THAT was lame.


What have I been doing?


Not so long ago I rekindled a flame with the unnamed Mister from last fall and this fall started off on a good note, or so I thought...


Flames fizzle just as they start up. Silly rabbit... where is my brain?


And then BOOM! News of a Mister getting married.


And then BAM! News of another having a baby.


I am officially the pre-amazing relationship girl. I am Mrs. Undateable, Un..marryable (is that even a word?), Un... you get it... whatever.


Why is that? I started to wonder.


As usual, introspection is where I usually go. Analyzing until it simply can't be analyzed any more.


In fact, isn't that the premise of all of these silly blogs? An insight into the thoughts of this always Single Latina Mama?


I will tell you why... it is not my time and they were not "My guy".


I mean, you wouldn't keep looking for your keys after you have found them... so why would I keep looking if I had found him. 
The same is true for them. I simply wasn't "their girl".

I wasn't their best friend.
The person they could count on.
The person they felt 100% comfortable with.
I wasn't physically what they wanted, or too outspoken for their liking.
I was simply for whatever many reasons... not....their girl.


And that is fine by me.


I rather be the girl that no one wants to marry, than be the one that someone settles for.
I want someone to actually SEE me when they look at me.
Someone that knows what I am thinking when I start my sentence.
Someone who feels warm when they hear my voice.
Someone that wants to want to move and inspire me to do more or better.
Someone who will simply KNOW... that I am their girl.


There would be no doubt, no question, no one thing that could stop that from being.

Because the truth is, that without passion and respect, there is nothing.
Without admiration and unconditional caring, you will never be happy.
And I want to be happy. And my guy does too.

Together we will conquer the world. ;)

-Cheers! ~SLM

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Answer to my Equation

I am literally in physical pain right now. My hip feels disjointed. My body feels worthy of an 80 year old's weathered physique and I, am grateful for the pain. 

While it may seem idiotic... it's 100% true. 

You see this pain I feel is due to hours of joyful dancing. This weekend was a fun filled one and for someone who works this hard, you better believe I will play hard just as well. 

SLM and My Pops
I misbehaved, drank in excess, danced till my legs couldn't any more and stayed up till the sun rose... and I don't regret one bit of it.

You see, as reckless as that all may seem, this weekend was exactly what I needed. The ability to disconnect from my daily stressors and the ability to fully unwind and enjoy my friends and family. 

My Parents
Lately it seems, family is my escape. It is usually the other way around... you get closer to your friends, but for me, my liberty has come by way of being around my family. 

You see, in my case I know there were many things I needed to forgive myself for. Things that I said and did to my parents that hurt them. In order to move forward, I needed to prove to myself that I had forgiven myself. The only way to solve this problem was to prove it to myself. 

My way of doing that was to find my inner peace. 

Last year, I was given a very humbling diagnosis just before thanksgiving. It was another reminder that life, is not guaranteed. It was yet another moment in life that made me accountable for all my actions. 

I remember crying for nights on end attempting to face my fate. 

Since then, the only thing that changed though as I reflect has been my perspective. Like a course right out of my recent History of Philosophy class, I was given a first hand lesson in perspective and objective reasoning. 

You see when you are handed something so humbling, so absolutely mind blowing, you realize how the simplest things are amazing. 

Feeling the sun's warmth, a hug from you daughter, a moment around the bonfire with your parents, a hug, a kiss, and yes even sex. All of it. It all changes. 

So I made the conscious decision to focus on the one thing I've known I have wanted to do with my life. Leave a legacy. 

So I got to work, hard work. Putting forward hours and more hours, effort and passion, all of me drowned into what I want to build. Even if I am not granted the time to achieve it. I will be dammed if I don't try, if I don't work my heart out to get what I want. 

Since then, things have started to look up for this Single Latina Mama. With it, my spirits, finances, and self esteem have also grown. I have known that I will forever grow and change, but 2014 has been a year of demonstrable growth. 

I have made changes that even I can't believe I could make. I have finally truly taken on the perspective that no one that doesn't care about me matters, and that to make something of this borrowed time, I must charge forward unfailingly and without remorse. 

It is not the end of the year, but as I chronicle my half way point through the year.... strength, purpose, and willpower have all been the way through it, and the way upward. 

Here is to living without regrets. - 
Cheers~ SLM