I’m back.Print Recipe Print Recipe

Back. Photo // With Style and Grace

 

It’s kind of like the first day back to school. Feeling like the new girl again, but without a cool haircut and new pair of shoes. But the motions are beginning to feel somewhat familiar. Probably because it took me 20 minutes to write this.

Okay, moving on.

I’m slowly finding my balance in this crazy life. I didn’t think it would be this hard. Juggling (somedays, literally) two kids, a full time job, navigating our new normal without mom – which required some therapy hours, and the basics like keeping everyone clean, fed and well loved.

One word, COFFEE. and a lot of it.

I have not mastered any of it, not even close, but I’ve had this craving to start writing again. I want to share my food and my stories with people. I want to reconnect with this community that has been so unbelievably supportive throughout all my adventure. ps. That’s what I call my life, an adventure. Feels more positive. I don’t even care if no one reads this anymore. I mean, I’m FANTASTIC at talking to myself on snapchat. Same thing.

But really why I’m back, or I guess the tipping point for me, was this.

It was mom’s birthday on Monday. She would have been 62. My sister and dad came over and we decided to make her favorite, lemon pasta. So, what do we do, but look up her recipe on the blog. POSTED IN 2012!! The whole time I kept thinking, THANK GOD I wrote this down. and not on paper where I probably would have lost it by now. Seriously, I can’t imagine not having her recipes.

Seriously. I just re-read this out loud. Of course my mom inspired me to get back into blogging. She was my biggest fan.

 

Well, on that note. I’m happy to be back.

 

 

 

Red Leaf Cilantro Salad with Lime ChickenPrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

Well, summer has been much kinder to us. The boys are slowly building up their immune systems. Gray got his ear tubes in June and has been a whole new child since. Seriously, life changing.

Speaking of life changing. Sorry to jump subjects. Have you read the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Literally life changing. I’ve never felt better about throwing or giving away stuff. Okay, I know she says to do it all at once, but let’s be real. Two kids, a full time job and a house to keep up, it’s looking to be over the course of a month. When I first got started, I had 15 garbage bags loaded up for Good Will! And I didn’t think I had “stuff”.  Not only does my closet make me so happy, its changed the way I shop or even make decisions, just by asking, “does this spark joy?”. I can’t do the book justice, so I’m just going to recommend you read it. And this is not sponsored. I just got distracted talking about life changing things.

 

 

Okay, let’s talk salads. If you follow me on instagram, you know I love them. It’s probably the number one meal I post.

I’m always inspired to make salads that aren’t boring, but yet simple. My mom hated a boring salad. If she was over it, she’d always say, “I’m bored, but I picked out the good stuff”. I hear her in my head

Thank you mom for inspiring yet another non-boring salad.

This salad is simple and adaptable. It’s also great with a little avocado or black beans. I’m always adding herbs to my salad so thought a nice handful of cilantro would make it refreshing. It’s light, but the addition of the chicken makes it a little more heartier. It has quickly become a summer favorite!

 

 

Red Leaf Cilantro Salad with Lime Chicken.

Serves about 2

Ingredients

chicken

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

salad

  • 1/2 head of red leaf lettuce, washed and torn
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoon salted pepitas*

dressing

  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (extra virgin works too)

*I buy the salted pepitas from Trader Joes. I put them on almost every salad! 

Directions

To prepare the chicken – place lime juice, olive oil, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and chicken in a plastic bag or large bowl. Let marinate for about 30 minutes. You can barbecue or bake. If you bake, preheat oven 350 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick. Bake chicken for 25-30 minutes until cooked through. Set aside.

To prepare the dressing – whisk together white wine vinegar, fresh lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and agave. Add cilantro. As you whisk, slowly add the olive oil. Set aside.

To prepare the salad – in a large salad bowl, add lettuce, cilantro, and radishes. Add dressing, a little at a time. Top with chicken, pepitas and feta. If you’d like, you can add a little more dressing.

Serve and enjoy!

 

brothers.Print Recipe Print Recipe

 

I cried when we found out we were having another boy.

In my head, I thought having a girl was the only thing that made sense while we were in the middle of caring for our mom. Everyone thought it was a girl.

Except mom. She didn’t even hesitate when she said it either. It was like, obviously, why would you think it was a girl?? But I brushed it off. With the brain tumor affecting her the way it had, there was no way she could be right.

She passed away a few weeks after that.

The day of mom’s celebration of life, we had our 22 week ultrasound and found out we were having another boy.

Of course mom was right. And having him here, I’m happy that she was right.

 

 

These two are inseparable.

Every morning they have to be together. Or more Mason needing to snuggle up to Gray. I don’t set any of this up – it’s all them. I set a blanket down on Mason’s floor and the two just giggle, babble and get as close to each other as they can. I’ll usually change Mason first, and then Gray. They’re a great distraction for each other and less of a fight for me.

 

 

Getting through our first year without mom has been really hard, but these boys have brought more joy than I could have ever imagined.

I mean, look at those faces.

 

 

I’m pretty sure Mace can do no wrong in Gray’s eyes. Although, every time mace does something he’s not suppose to, I give gray a look like, “don’t even think about it… ”

I’m so excited to watch these two grow up together.

I know they aren’t perfect and they’ll give me grey hair, but they have such a sweetness about them. I feel so lucky to be their mama.

 

 

Sometimes I joke that I’m no longer needed.

Mason will help feed him the bottle, run and grab burp rags, throw diapers away, and the best, make Gray stop crying.

I’ve over heard him whispering in Gray’s ear, “gaaay, i missed you. ” or “gaaay, you okaay? ummmm, lemme get your bottle.”

I die, every time.

 

 

Now, if only they weren’t so wonderful, I’d stop wanting a third.

I’m 70% certain we’re done…. The problem is, I would even care if I had another boy.

But I’m done.

I think.

*all images are from my iPhone / instagram 

I can only hope this bond takes them to great places. I hope they respect each other. Listen. Be that person when they need bailing out. And of course, always love their mama.

ps. I promise, there will be food again! It’s hard when I only have the weekends to photograph, but I do have a few recipes that I’m excited to share in the next few weeks.

 

 

Kale Salad with Peanuts & Queso FrescoPrint Recipe Print Recipe

 

It’s like I just invited my favorite friend over & she made us all lunch.

I’m so excited to have Kate from ¡Hola! Jalapeño over, sharing this delicious kale salad. Some of my favorite recipes are made by her! Everything she makes is simple, fresh, and Latin inspired. She never disappoints!

And after I make this, I plan to maker her mango-lime agua fresca and Soy (but gf) Sriracha Chicken Fajitas.

 

 

Hello friends! I’m so excited to be here today at With Style and Grace. Lisa and I are part of this world of generous souls called food bloggers and Lisa is right at the top of that list so I’m totally thrilled and ever so grateful that she’s allowed me to spread some of my Latin charm on her site.

My blog, ¡Hola! Jalapeño, is full of Latin-inspired recipes. It is a place where vibrant, healthy, and sometimes indulgent combine and I wanted to share one of my favorite salads that combines a little bit of all that here with you today.

I love a good Tuscan kale salad, sliced into little slivers or torn into chunks and rubbed with lemon but my favorite way to enjoy this super-food is in baby form. The miniature leaves are so tender and luscious but packed with all the nutrients of the big stuff. You can buy baby kale leaves all washed and ready to go which makes it even easier to get your greens.

This dressing is eye-popping bright, which is helpful this time of year when my energy level is at about zero. It is loaded with fresh herbs like mint and cilantro, there’s a little lime zest involved, then the whole thing is topped off with apple cider vinegar and some roasted peanut oil. You might have a little left over, so keep it covered in the fridge for perking up some grilled chicken or a piece of fish.

After the dressing is made, the rest is easy street; toast some peanuts (or buy them roasted), sprinkle on some buttery queso fresco and grab a fork. It’s not rocket science, but it sure will make you feel good.

 

Kale Salad with Peanuts, Queso Fresco, and Mint-Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Makes 4-6

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped mint
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup roasted peanut oil

For the salad:

  • ½ cup raw peanuts
  • 6 cups baby kale
  • ½ cup crumbled queso fresco

Directions

To make the vinaigrette, combine shallot, mint, cilantro, lime zest, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add vinegar and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking constantly until all has been incorporated.  Set aside or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

To make the salad, heat oven to 375°F.  Place peanuts in a single layer on an oven-safe frying pan. Toast in the oven until golden and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Check frequently to make sure they don’t burn. Let cool slightly, then coarsely chop.

Place baby kale leaves in a large bowl; pour half the dressing over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss kale in the dressing to coat; drizzle with a little more if needed. Sprinkle peanuts and queso over the top and serve immediately.

 

*gluten-free