September 28, 2010

Over the Weekend: Date With Dad

I'm a bit of a Daddy's girl. Hmmm...that's such a lie. I'm a big time Daddy's girl lol. Saturday, a good friend of his gave him some tickets to a play he would not be able to attend. He also had dinner reservations for a restaurant in Westwood where the play would be. So we gladly accepted it all. So Saturday night I went out with Papa Bear aka Dad aka Daddy when we need him to do something for us :)

Dinner was at a small Italian restaurant called Mio Babbo's.

Yeah, that's Papa Bear. And right in front is my yuummy Salmon!! This place was such a wonderful surprise. It has the feel of a home kitchen, right from the entrance. It gets a full house for dinner and is a good mix of a young and older crowd. We both had a fish dish so I'm not sure how their classic dishes are but I would like to go again and find out! I loved the black leather seating and checkered pattern design. It has a little of a Godfather feel to it.

Since the play didn't start for another hour we walked around a bit. We made our way to a Coffee Bean. Dad was needing his coffee he's a true caffeine addict and admits that he does not want the "help" with his problem. He has limited himself to only spending $20 a week at Starbucks. That is major control for him!

The Play was called Ruined. It was showing at the Geffen Play House right near UCLA. It's a small theater but very nice.

Now, about the play, Ruined. It's a serious and heart aching play yet there is some humor to lighten up the dark. The story takes place in a bar/whore house in the Republic of Congo with the civil war raging in the background. The leading Lady in the play, Mama, runs a tight business where she doesn't take sides nor orders from any one but herself. Her girls are not whores, they are wives, chiefs daughters, students, women that were abused by the evil of the war they are living in. They were kidnapped and beaten and raped. Over and over. Some to the point where they have become "ruined" and are seen as bad luck, a disgrace and an embarrassment to their families and whole village. They live with mama as whores because its a guaranteed shelter, food, and protection from the horrors they would face outside, even if they are still being used. As the story progresses we see how Mama struggles to keep her business running but as much as she tries the war creeps closer and has devastating results in the lives of the women in this story. There were moments where I just could not hold back the tears in my eyes. Or the ache I felt in my heart. Mostly because these stories are real. They are not the imagination of a great writer but the experiences of strong, brave, resilient women that did not deserve it. In the end there is some hope as Mama gives in and accepts her own heart ache to find the strength to move on. Awesome Play!!!

September 21, 2010

Family Recipe - Guatemalan Chuchitos

My Grandma cooks the best, best food, therefore my Mother makes the best food. I'm lucky that I barely cook any food. A while back I was having thoughts about death, not sure why...could have been the fact that I was watching Steel Magnolias. For some reason I thought if my Grams and my Mom passed I would never eat Chuchiots. I don't know how to make them. Then I thought same goes for tamales, Pollo en Crema, Hilachas, Carne Gizada...a bunch of other yummy dishes I grew up eating that I would never taste again. Hmm maybe I should worry that I lost my Grams and Mom and I think about food!

Sure I could probably google the recipe, but it would never be the same. I only want one way. The way my Mom, Grandma and the women before them made it. I want to make it the family way. So I contacted my cousins and asked if they would be interested in learning how to make all this stuff. They were very interested. Mom looked at me kinda weid but smiled and said OK. She probably is wondering what took so long for me to be interested.

Since it was the Chuchitos that started it all, that would be the first item we would learn to make. So what exactly is a Chuchito? Well, it's like a Mexican tamale really. Guatemalans have our own tamale that is larger and softer. Chuchitos are harder and small. They are usually wrapped in a way that resembles a big candy.

So over Labor Day weekend the learning/cooking would took place. My cousin Yuzema came over Sunday night and we were of to the grocery store with our ingredients list.
(lol my eyes were bloodshot in this pic so I attempeted to fix with photoshop...i look like i have neon white eyes!!)
Only problem was there were a few ingredients we could not find! So 1 1/2 hours, 3 calls home and 2 stores later we finally made it home with all the things we needed. The next morning it was time to prep and cook.

Yuzema came over again and we got to work. My Mom found it funny that we were having such a hard time with what just came natural and easy to her. To make things worse we realized that there was no actual "recipe". Almost everything was measured based on how it tasted or looked or felt. So we had to learn those "measurements" by heart.  First you make the maza.'s no joke. We really had to put in some shoulder work on this one. Work it Yuz! We labored over Labor Day... lol... alright so I was the only one that found that funny...
After we "tasted" and "felt" the consistency of the maza to our liking, it was done!

Tada! Now on to the sauce! Mom litterlary told me a different number of tomatoes like 3 times...
We had some technical difficulties with the blender but we got it to work

My cousin Doris came over right in time to learn how to assemble them. Now they usually are wrapped a little differently, remember, like the candy look. But since we were making so many it was just easier to wrap them like tamales. Doris and her belly --> aka Isabella, joined in on the assembly line.
We were very proud of ourselves when we finally figured out how to wrap them. Look at the concentration level needed here. The degree of techinicallity difficulty and the...ok so it's not the Olympics but this is major for us.

Finally we were done wrapping and they were ready to be cooked. High fives were spread all over the kitchen, hugs and tears of joy were shed...ok so only in my head but the high fives were real.
I was then left alone in the house and instructed to turn off the fire after two hours. Two hours later while inspecting one of the Chuchitos, it looked very slimy to me. Like that maza was not done cooking. So I decided to let them cook a little longer...The one part where there were specific instructions and I decide I know better.

Turns out they are so hot that even after you turn of the fire they are still cooking and once they cool the maza hardens. So our batch turned out a little overcooked but just slightly. They were still really, really good!! My mouth is drooling over this...
I think we made Mom and Grandma proud with these. We ended up making like 50 and they were gone in like 2 days. We definitely learned that most of the recipes we will attempt to learn we will have to perfect with time and practice as there are no measurements involved. It's like an art. I wont post the "recipe" here because well, it's a FAMILY recipe. You don't give the secrets away. But I have decided to put them all in a book and give them to my cousins so we can make them for our children and one day our grandchildren will say...Man Grandma makes the best, best food!

Love Always,
the Sea & Sol

September 18, 2010

I'm Going Going Back Back to Blogging Blogging...

I've been MIA for some time now for a few reasons. First, I actually needed to take a breather from the writing because I was starting to feel dry. Like I was writing to just write and not because I really wanted to express or share. After the "3 week experiment" it just seemed like the blog was lost . No focus or direction. What was the point? Also, there were some major changes in the Marisol Universe...Marisol World...Mari's World. Note to self: Come up with better saying.

One major change was...drum roll please...I got a new job! More about that in a complete post. So that means I was in some major transitions. I figured this would be a good time to break and then re-assess once I felt settled. I spent some time really trying to see if I wanted to do this. What would I write? Who would I share it with? So on. While those questions swirled la cabesa, I decided to spruce it up a bit here on Life As I (You)...Oh wait!! Yeah that's right I changed the name. The Sea & Sol is the new name.

Life As I (you) Know It! seemed too impersonal to me. So I did a little play on my name. If ya don't speak Spanish let me explain. My name is MARISOL...brake that up and you get MAR I SOL... Mar=Sea and Sol = Sun. So I kept the Sol and changed the Sea. Why? because through this blog you will Sea right to my Sol. (See right through my soul...for those scratching your heads and giving me the "you are crazy" look). I also changed from WordPress to Blogger as the host. Easier for me to manipulate.

While giving the blog a makeover I also looked for inspiration from blogs that I enjoy reading. There are a few that I look at. I guess what I love most about those blogs is they all share about their life while sharing what they know. All I know is my life and what I try to do! So that is what I will write about. With a sprinkle of inspiration from others and of course my friends.  Being the nerd that I am sometimes, I sat down and wrote an outline of the blog. No, seriously like the kind teachers made you do when you had to write a paper. I loved making those! I copied it down below so you can marvel at my genius...or laugh, whateves!
  1. Over the Weekend
    1. Monday or Tuesday
    2. Events, Parties, Trips, Holidays, or anything relevant to this category.
  2. Guest Post
    1. Once a month – Wednesdays?
    2.  A friend/family member, no specific topic but keep it with the tone of my blog
  3. Project
    1. As they happen
    2. DIY, Renovations, How To’s, Research an anything fitting the category.
  4. Life
    1. As it happens 1 or 2 times a week.
    2.  Personal stories, family stories
    3.  Style files, movie reviews, show recaps etc.
So that is what the blog will consist of and how often I hope to do so. The blog will probably change with time and some of the above will and will not work.  I also hope to hear from you my friends and family. After all, I do this for me as a creative outlet but what's the point if you don't have an audience to encourage you? I expect my readership to remain small and limited to friends and fam, this blog is dedicated to you. But feel free to share this blog if you want to.


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