The Constant Journey

It has been a few weeks since my last entry, however, rest assured I have still been maintaining my workouts and my good habits. I even started to incorporate green powder shakes and protein smoothies in my routine. I also added a chewy multivitamin and vitamin D3 to help with my immune system and better my health overall. Last Thursday, I went to donate blood and I can confirm that my body is doing very well. My hemoglobin was at great level and my blood pressure was 118 over 75, which is amazing because it used to be 135 over 86. It’s all paying off and its made me never want to stop. I’ve bumped up my lifting sessions to six days a week and I also do cardio six times a week. It sounds a little over board, but I can honestly say I crave working out and I feel incomplete without it. I’ve increased the number of reps of each of my lifting exercises and I have also increased the weight by at least 50%. The only thing that has been a negative is that my weight is still right around 255 pounds, however, I think its more due heavy lifting and drinking protein smoothies (at least that’s what I tell myself). If you are looking for an amazing smoothie I would recommend Nutrition 402 on 120th and L. They don’t taste like protein or chalky and its fantastic after a long workout.

So this is a food blog so let’s get right to the food/recipes. I don’t actually have a recipe to share per se, but I do have some great meal prep ideas and suggestions to get you started on your healthy lunches and dinners. Not only will it save a bunch of time but you won’t need to buy so many ingredients and seasonings to make these delicious dishes. I plan it by selecting my protein, carb, and veggie for each of my meals. For my protein I tend to get chicken, fish, turkey burgers, or pork loin. For my carb I lean towards sweet potatoes and cauliflower mash (great recipe to follow). Finally, for greens, I usually do either a mushroom, asparagus, or squash. Really anything that you love you can incorporate into your cooking. I tend to use meats that you can easily grill because then you can knock out a lot of cooking without having to dirty a lot of pots and pans. Usually for the seasonings I keep it really simple. I always use salt and pepper (of course) then some garlic powder, chili powder, or lemon pepper seasoning. When I make fish I use Tony’s cajun seasoning. It does wonders. For the sweet potatoes and the cauliflower I usually just roast them in the oven at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes (prior to baking the s. p. I slice them in 1in rounds for quicker cooking). Then I toss all my veggies in olive oil and throw it all on the grill (once it reaches 450 degrees) with my proteins. Quick and easy.

If its your first time using the grill, just make sure that you have a meat thermometer so that you cook all the proteins evenly (which you can look up on the USDAs website). Once all your food medley is cooked; I just toss in a carb, a veggie, and a protein in some glassware (you can also use plastic Tupperware too). Now for the cauliflower mash recipe. After the cauliflower is done roasting in the oven, throw it in a mixing bowl and squish it with a cup or something handy you have. I then throw in some butter while its still hot, and then some heavy cream, and lastly some Parmesan cheese (you can also add in some garlic). Then mix, and viola you have a beautiful cauliflower mash for your dishes.

The key to meal prepping is to ensure that you make dishes that you will actually enjoy eating. If sweet potatoes or asparagus isn’t really you’re thing, then change it up to incorporate a veggie you love. That’s the best part about this, you can make anything you want as long as it easy and quick. The last thing you want to do is make dishes that are going to take longer to make than actually cooking each day, or making something gross you won’t actually eat. The other thing I would really suggest is to get little sides or things to spice up your dishes. Usually I get some green tomatillo salsa from Trader Joe’s, or I get those Wholey Guacamole cups to mix in with my meal. Lastly, your meals are a huge part of you eating healthy, but at first I had a lot trouble making it to meal time without feeling like I was starving. So make sure you have lots of healthy filling snacks to keep you full. For example, I usually buy almonds, walnuts, beef jerky, blue berries, carrots and hummus, or celery with almond butter. These snacks will be your lifesavers.

Even though you’ll make a variety of entrees, its always good to change things up and make sure that you are still treating yourself. In my case, I have really missed my sushi, so instead my fiancé and I have been buying some fresh salmon from Costco and making our own sashimi at home! We make some sticky rice, and then we bought all the gimmicks for it (like soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger). You might be thinking wow that sounds risky, but after doing a lot of research it turns out that its actually pretty safe if you get the Atlantic farmed salmon. In order to make it 100% safe, we will freeze the salmon once we get home and then use it the next day or whenever you want. For the sticky rice, we just get sushi rice from our local asian food market and then make it in the rice maker. Once its done cooking, we mix in rice wine, sugar, and sesame oil. We’ve found that the best way to make your nigiri is using Saran Wrap . You put your little bit of rice, add a little tiny bit of wasabi, and then your piece of fish. Then you wrap the saran wrap around it and tighten it, then you’ll have a great piece of nigiri, and then dip in soy sauce, hoison, or sriracha! If you want you can also make this nigiri recipe with tuna , scallops, or shrimp and its actually less risky than salmon (salmon tends to be the riskiest of the fish).

Also don’t be afraid to still have a cheat day and enjoy a donut here and there. It’s all about moderation with this. If you go cold turkey and you never have any of the good ole bad stuff you used to indulge in you’ll see that you will break easier than if you treat yourself here and there. Just make sure that you keep the workout routine and you will be golden. Lastly, if your state is open for take out or dine in please make sure that you are supporting local business or black owned businesses . It’s a pretty crazy time in our country, and now more than ever we need to have each others back.

COVID-19 Catch Up

I hope everyone is staying safe and sane during these crazy times. It’s almost been two months that I’ve been working from home. I am one of the fortune ones that still have one. There are so many Americans that have been furloughed or lost their job, so I am very thankful. I really hope this all ends soon, but I know from all the current reports it probably won’t happen till after the summer. However, instead of just sitting on the couch and not being productive I have used this time to get back into gear. I have lost another 10 pounds and I am now at 258 (my end goal is 220). I have also participated in some new activities like golf and which has been a lot of fun.

I have even started to drink wine, which is weird, because I never enjoyed it. It was always too bitter for my liking but I guess my palette has changed during COVID. While being home it has been great to catch up on my reading, because I started slacking off in February. I am almost halfway through Uncle Tom’s Cabin which has been really great read. Another nice thing about staying home is that at least it’s spring so you can get your glass of wine, sit outside, and grill!

Now that I have been on this health kick for about 6 months, its been much easier to make the right choices and eat healthy meals. I have even started taking some multivitamins and taking collagen for good skin. I also started running again which has been amazing to shed the weight. At first I started with a half mile, then a mile, then 2, and then 3. However, last week my Achilles started hurting so I decided to take a week off to let it rest and its finally starting to feel better enough to run on it again. I restarted light with a mile and then walked another 2 miles to get my legs back into shape. However, it’s been rough, I was doing so well and then all of sudden I had to stop. .

The other item that’s helping me is that my portion sizes are going down while also analyzing my meals. Don’t get me wrong; I still have a cheat meal here and there! Now that’s its pretty much summer I have also been grilling a lot and it makes it very easy to cook a bunch of meat and veggies. The Weber grill was definitely worth the investment, and I hope to maybe get a smoker this summer so that I can start to learn how to smoke meats. Also helping with my consumption is meal prepping.

Last week we started to prep out all our meals for the week and that’s been going well. We cook items that we actually like and a variety of items so that we don’t get bored of it. For example, this week we made pork loin with sweet potatoes and mushrooms and we also made another option which was salmon with asparagus and brussel sprouts. Any time its meal time I really look forward to eating my prepped food!

At the end of the day you have to do what works with you. Whether that’s selecting your work out type, level, and length or deciding what you are going to eat. If it’s not something you can be consistent with it’s not going to work or last over the long run. I always say its better to start with small steps and then work yourself into it. One good decision leads to another. I first just started going to the gym and just doing 10 mins of cardio and trying to eat one healthy meal a week. Now I crave healthy food and a good method of working out. Try out Yoga, try walking, or try that healthy appetizer you never ordered and you’ll see that over time it gets easier, just like quarantining at home with COVID-19.

Hot and Spicy Love

Well folks Valentines Day just passed, and I really hope you enjoyed it. Whether that meant hanging out with your best friends for an anti-valentine celebration or a planned a steamy date with your loved one. Usually on this special day I order some flowers for my fiancee, get us a nice bottle of wine, and then make a delicious dinner. Don’t get me wrong you could go out and have some delicious food and a great time, but for me it seems like the crowds are larger, the service is a little flustered, and the worst part all your favorite items are gone and a new tier of pricing gets introduced. So for the last couple of years, I decided it would probably be better if I just cooked some yummy food at home.

This year I came up with the great idea of making some bang bang shrimp tacos. Both Lauren and I love getting the bang bang shrimp when we go to Bone Fish, so I thought it would be a great dish to incorporate with some tacos. At first, I thought that it was going to be very difficult and that it wasn’t going to turn out as I planned, but it actually was pretty spot on. Apparently corn starch and butter milk are the secret to the batter, and for the thick sauce its just mayo, Thai sweet chili, and sricha. If you have all that then you’re in business. To top of the tacos I made an asian slaw that just used multi colored cabbage slaw, sesame oil, soy sauce, and then lemon juice. If I were you Id make the slaw first and then let it marinate for a couple hours in the fridge. I also cut up some avocado and brought out more sriracha sauce to add some garnish.

To make the shrimp, you first peel them and then devein the shrimp. You then soak them in butter milk (I only did this for 30 minutes) then you drain off the excess butter milk and then coat them in the cornstarch. After battering the shrimp, you ready a hot pan of oil (for this I used vegetable oil, but you can use really anything you want). After the oil gets hot, you drop in the shrimp and let them cook for 5 minutes until they turn golden brown (make sure you flip them but don’t stir them so the battering doesn’t fall apart). I guess I should also tell you that I used raw shrimp and not precooked shrimp, because I am assuming it would take a littler longer than precooked to fry them. Once the shrimp were fried, I had a bowl ready with some paper towels at the bottom in order to drain the excess oil. In a separate bowl, I mixed up the mayo, sriracha, and the sweet Thai chili sauce. It was 1 cup of mayo, 1 tablespoon of sriracha, and then 1/4 of sweet thai chili sauce.

Once your shrimp and sauce are ready to go, then you can start to heat up your tortillas in the oven or if you are trying to be healthy you can make romaine lettuce tacos. And Viola, you add your shrimp to your tortilla, top it off with some of the special sauce, and then add the slaw and the avocado.

They turned out really delicious. The only recommendation I would give is to not add any seasoning to the cornstarch mixture. When I was preparing it, I thought to myself that it would be a good idea to add some Old Bay seasoning, but I think it make the batter kind of break up so some of the crunchy batter was falling off as I flipped the shrimp. Overall the shrimp tacos turned out amazing, and I would definitely make them again! My fiancee really loved them as well, and it goes to show that making this dish will show youre significant other that you really love them. Plus you can save money on going out to Bone Fish and instead make your own bang bang shrimp. Next valentines day instead of going out and spending $100 and waiting a couple hours for a table, I hope that instead you make yourself some bang bang shrimp tacos at home!

With much love,

your favorite blogger

The Trip Down South

So a few weeks ago, my fiancee and I decided that it was time for little vacation out of Nebraska. We usually love to do little weekend trips just because its convenient, you don’t need a vacation after the vacation, and it seems like two to three days is the perfect amount of time to be away from home. Sometimes we go to Denver, Chicago, or Kansas City since its just a short drive away, but this time we thought that it would be a wonderful idea to go to Dallas.

Downtown view of Dallas

Dallas has always been a city that I could see myself living in one day. It has nice weather, there’s plenty of activities to do, and of course all the delicious food. It also worked out well that my fiancee’s aunt lives in Dallas, so we didn’t even need to book a hotel …(thanks Barbara!!!). It also had been a while since I have been to Dallas (or should I say drove by it). Usually as a kid we just drove through Dallas since it was on our way to our hometown in Mexico (which was a 32 hour drive). We flew in on Friday and luckily Barbara’s boyfriend was able to pick us up at the airport. It was kind of a gloomy day, which we didn’t expect at all, but it was way better than the negative 15 degree weather that Omaha was experiencing.

The first night we mostly settled in , but we did go to this fantastic restaurant called the Smokey Rose and I would highly recommend to anyone that loves BBQ food. To start off we ordered some appetizers; we got deviled eggs, some char buffed wings, and then some delicious brisket queso that was out of this world. The wings came with their homemade sauce, and let me tell you there was a really good mustard sauce that I kept dousing my wings in. They had a lot of different main dishes, but they also had an option where you could select a meat pairing and a side. I ordered the smoked turkey and the brisket of course (which was phenomenal). It came with a side of pickles, and for my side I chose collard greens. For some reason after dinner I thought about my friend from Texas who had always told me that if I ever went to Texas I needed to try Blue Bell ice cream, so headed to a nearby store and got a pint. Needless to say that ice cream was one of the best I’ve ever had.

The next day I got up early and did a quick work out; once everyone else woke up and got ready we went out for lunch. This time we hit an all time favorite classic Pappadeux. Let me tell you, if you haven’t been to Pappadeux, Papacitos, or any of their chains you’re missing out. I couldn’t decide between the Caesar Salmon salad, the Gruper, or the Red Fish dish they had. In the end I decided to go with the Gruper and let me tell you, it was one of the best seafood dishes I had ever had. It came with some gumbo crab meat and then this delicious buttery sauce. The side was sautéed spinach and that was also so scrumptious. However, what I think really made that dish was the spicy little seasoning it had on it. Also when you squished the lemon on top of the fish, it was like heaven.

After the amazing seafood at Pappadeux, we had to take a break and relax for a bit. We were a little exhausted but knew that we had to take advantage of the day otherwise we wouldn’t get to do to the things on our list. So after our little break/siesta, we all packed the car and headed to downtown Dallas. We parked and strolled around the streets to see what we could find in order to kill some time in-between the JFK museum reservation we made. We headed down a few blocks and checked out the area where the president was assassinated back in the 1960’s. I had seen so many documentaries and read multiple books about the event, but it felt so different actually being there. I pictured the president’s motorcade heading down the interstate and couldn’t imagine being in the crowd and seeing a president get killed in plain sight. Afterwards we checked out the JFK museum which was pretty great and then we all had dinner at the Blue Goose. The fun part of the evening was checking out an improv show that was held at an old remodeled church (talk about an awesome creative venue).

The next morning (after sleeping in) we headed to the art district. We checked out this restaurant called the Le Bouleviardier, which was fantastic. They had so many great options and they also had the best drinks. I ordered the Bouleviardier burger, and the rest of the group ordered the hash, the duck and eggs, and also the mushroom toast. As for drinks the group ordered bloody Mary’s. I would highly reccomend it if you ever go to Dallas. After checking out the restaurant, we walked around the Art district and caught a part of the Chief’s football game at a local bar. It was a lot of fun, and there was even live music all around the street. Later in the afternoon, we checked out a spiritual/mindfulness shop that had so many cool stones and knick-nacks. At the end of the night, we headed to a really yummy Mexican restaurant where I ordered the mixed fajitas. The beans were so good I had to order another little side of them.

Overall the trip was amazing. I had a great time and even got the chance to try the best ice cream in Texas. I had always thought about potentially moving to Dallas, but I know now that if the opportunity ever came up I would definitely do it. Barbara and Bob showed us the best hospitality while there, and I really hope that we can visit soon. Dallas had amazing restaurants and it had a lot of fun activities to do. It was a great trip and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for some great grub (don’t forget they have Whataburger!).

1.2.3… Reset

Oatmeal, almonds, chia seeds, granola, honey, and mixed berry bowl

First off I wanted to apologize for how long it has taken me to get back online and type out a post. Its been a crazy busy last four months and I have been super duper focused on trying to get back in shape and bettering my life. I have started to work out five times a week, I now eat 5 healthy meals through out the day, and I also limit my drinking to once a month (not because I had an issue with drinking, but I thought if I really wanted to get get in shape I needed to get rid of all those empty calories). I also even started to attend mass, which I have not done in the last six months; usually my parents had to drag me out of bed and yell at me a couple times so I could go. However, lately with all the positivity in my life and all great things I have been doing I thought that it would make feel a little bit more complete. So far, it’s all been great. It almost feels like a complete reset of my life and I am starting to define who I really am in this big world. Don’t get me wrong, deep inside I was always kind of the same person, but now I have so much more motivation and drive to accomplish my dreams. For example, when I was back in school (middle/high school) I was reading a book a month, and it wasn’t just any small book it was books like War and Peace by Charles Dickens or Les Miserables. Somewhere in Senior year it all seemed to stop. So I decided it was time to dig back into it and I started with small readings like the newspaper and now I’m back to reading a book a month. It all seems like life is just flowing and I am vibing with it. As they say, whatever you put into the universe is what you get out of it and let’s just say the universe is loving me right now.

Scrambled eggs with arugula and tomatoes (hot sauce topping) and a side of buttered Shiitake mushrooms

So how did this all get started. One night I was just laying in bed and I started to think about all the things I wanted to do, and then I thought about how when I was younger I planned on having all these goals accomplished when I was 25. I figured I graduated college, I have an amazing job, and I have a wonderful fiancee…seems like a good life, but deep inside I still felt like my aspirations to be very successful and healthy were somewhere along the way put off to the side. I always wanted to be in great shape and wear fashionable clothes that all the hip millennials were rocking, but it didn’t really seem to matter to me at the time and I started to think why it was like this. I was usually a very motivated and a driven individual, so what was the issue…. At that point I didn’t really have an answer, but I thought heck if I don’t try to fix something its never going to happen. So I decided I would start working out at least three times a week, even if It was 10 mins of cardio for now. I also promised myself that I would start reading again (even if it was just 10 pages a week). Month 1 was very hard. I would get my gym bag ready the night before so that when I was off of work I would have no excuses to go work out. It started out great, I had forgotten that I loved to do cardio. After a few months, I was back to doing 30 minutes of either elliptical, stairs, or biking. The food part was the hardest issue. Usually I had large portions anytime I ate, I wouldn’t eat the best/healthiest food, and then I would sometimes have a second dinner after my normal dinner because I would get hungry. So I motivated myself to eat healthy by first buying the healthiest ingredients. It was a little more expensive, but I thought hey this is going to be worth it and I am going to thank myself later. Also instead of eating out so much, I (or my fiancee) started to cook for ever meal. Not only did we eat healthy, but we stopped eating out so much. As the months went by, instead of grabbing some chips for a snack I would go for the veggies and hummus or instead go for the fruit and then all of a sudden, me having a second dinner vanished. At this point, I was really like wow this was a great choice, and a few months ago I hit my goal of losing at least 25 pounds.

Oat-Protein Pancakes with a side of mixed berries (straight from a box from Trader Joes!)

All of this just gave me even more motivation to keep going. Now I was going to the gym five times a week and I had pushed up my cardio to 45 minutes and then added heavy lifting as well. Thanks to my co worker Jay, I learned to properly lift and make sure that I kept my breathing in check, so lifting became even more fun. Eating healthy was now a normal habit and I even made it a goal to not eat carbs with my dinner. I would eat all my carbs in the morning and then a light salad for dinner or a veggie and protein dish. My fiancee has been so supportive through all of this and I really want to thank her for always pushing me to be better. At this point, I am now down 50 lbs from 316/317 to 268. Which is almost unbelievable. A little side story, I actually weighed 300 lbs before, and then in HS I lost over 100 pounds (I did this by eating really healthy and played soccer). I guess I never learned my lesson and college wasn’t good to me with all the drinking and all the late night Taco Bell.

All these lifestyle changes, motivated me to do even more with my life; starting with more reading and then focusing on being the best employee possible. I bought three books and one of the books (which I always had on my top reading list) was Think & Grow Rich. Let’s just say that book forever changed me. All in all it taught me that first you need to build a master mind group by surrounding yourself with other smart/hard-working/successful people in order to grow into a successful person just like Thomas Edison or Henry Ford did when they built their business empires. Secondly it taught you that you must have a burning desire/intention to accomplish something or be someone you want to be. Lastly, it taught that you need to have perseverance and always be the best person possible. You might think these are all things that you already knew, but when you read it and you actually apply it to your life its a game changer. At work, I always used to pay attention to all the details and I had a very good work ethic but after reading that book I really focused on being the best accountant possible. I learned all my processes like I was an expert in them and I even reached out to all the folks that I worked with in order to understand how they prepare their reports (that they eventually pass on to me) to create the journal entries. I also cleaned up all the weird variances in my accounts, and I offered my help to the boss for any other projects or helping cover my team if they were ever out. While on the topic of volunteering, that’s another big thing that I have decided to do. Back when I was in school I volunteered and I was heavily involved in many organizations, even in college, but again somewhere along the way it stopped and I think I got annoyed of all commitments I had. However, this time I am more careful with the organizations I am committing my time to and I am also looking at making sure that not only does the organization benefit off of my involvement, but that I get something as well (whether that be professionally or personally). I am going to be volunteering for junior achievement, the Knights of Columbus, and also ALPFA or the association of Latino Professionals.

Eggs over-easy with a side of black beans and sliced tomatoes (seasoned w/ salt)

Overall its been a great reset and I am very excited to see what happens in the next six months. I know that I didn’t talk a lot about new recipes, but I provided you with some great pictures of dishes that I made to help me start my day off right (plus you can whip them up real quick by just mixing ingredients). Starting your day off right is one the key things in order to keep the success train going. You might think that doesn’t affect anything, but one good act inspires another one. You start with working out , then you start to eat healthy, then you start to get back into your faith, and finally you start to volunteer in your community. It might not be the cycle that everyone expierences but it was for me. I’m just thankful that I have wonderful folks to keep me motivated and challenged. Everyones always watching so make sure that you are always doing your best and I promise you that the universe will always reward you.

Peace, love, and well wishes!

French Cooking and Groceries

Its Tuesday and I already want it to be Friday. However, it’s been a productive week so far; I went grocery shopping, I visited my parents over the weekend, and I also completed my homework and a projects for class. The best part of my weekend was my adventure at sur la table. For my birthday my fiancee purchased us a French dinner cooking class. When I found out about the gift I was super excited as I have never taken a cooking class. Most of my skills and passion for cooking actually came from watching countless hours of the food network channel. I would make the same Bam Bam noise that Emeril did, I would try new experiments like Alton Brown did on Good Eats, and I would also try to recreate iron chef with my family members; that’s how obsessed I was. Cooking has always been a passion of mine, but it has always been more of a creative outlet for me because I suck at painting, drawing, or anything art related.

On Saturday we headed to Sur la Table in Regency. It was a cool store that had a lot of awesome knick knacks for your kitchen. They had any thing from espresso makers to marble display dishes. A lady came over to tell us that they were ready. We then walked towards the back of the store where they had a commercial kitchen set up with a bunch of ingredients already laid out. Geoffrey, the chef that was going to teach our class, introduced himself and told us that we were the only ones for the later class. Which to our delight sounded great because we were going to be doing all the cooking steps and also enabled us to ask more questions as we watched.

This class really met my expectations as I learned a lot of new techniques and tips. For example I learned how to use a garlic roller that easily peels the skin for huge time savings. In addition I learned to how fold in a proper soufflé so that it rises high as it bakes. Finally I also learned how to make a delicious tarragon mustard sauce for some chicken thighs. The chef was actually a food scientist and was very knowledgable in his techniques and in his explanations as to why things worked the way they did. Overall I would recommend this class to anyone that is trying to do something fun with a significant other, or if you want to learn a new recipe, or if you’re just bored and want to shop at the store and meet new people. Also if you have never cooked, don’t worry about it they will walk through everything. Just enjoy yourself and try to learn a new thing or two.

As the week starts back up, I went grocery shopping so that I can continue to create some new dishes. I am not sure if I have brought it up before or not, but I love to go to Trader Joes. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to go to my local Bakers for any other items that I couldn’t find at TJ’s. However, I really like going there because they have some amazing ingredients and they are more affordable than most places. Regardless of where you go just make sure they have fresh produce, variety of new items, and good cuts of meat. The best way to make sure you’re food tastes amazing is that you use the best ingredients. You also want to make sure you spice things up and use different ingredients. How else are you going to feel more comfortable than cooking something you never used? You’ll be surprised how much you might like something that you never tried. By buying your groceries you’re empowering yourself to make healthier choices, save money, and expand your taste.

As your assignment I will ask you to visit your favorite grocery store and buy an ingredient you have always been curious about cooking and try to incorporate it or cook a whole new dish so that you can test it out. If you have any great stories always remember to reach out to my email! This week I got stem Brussel sprouts and roasted cauliflower ravioli; I will let you know how it goes!

A Hot Stew For a Cold Day

When I left for college in 2011, I was so excited to get out of the house , make new friends, and have new experiences. However, the one thing I didn’t think about was how much I was going to miss my mother’s cooking. Every day after school there usually was a big pan of delicious food. Sometimes it was carne con chile, sopes, or when you got really lucky it was a hot pot of espinazo. So what is it? Well its basically a Mexican stew with pork, vegetables, and a delicious broth. Growing up it was rare that my mom made this stew because living in a small town of Crete NE. The Mexican grocery store options were limited. Normally only Mexican stores have this cut of meat. The piece is basically the spine of the pig, and then they cut it up in pieces that are about 2 inches thick. You could use another cut of meat, but it wouldn’t taste the same.

Every time you have this stew it warms you right up. Its healthy and its so flavorful. The trick to making this stew is making you sure you add plenty of bay leaves and the best cut of meat at your local butcher.


Sometimes you get some pieces that don’t have a lot of meat, but the best is when it has a lot of meat on the bone. Another important thing is to sauté the guajillo chiles with the tomato and other spices. That will give the broth the most flavor and a smokiness to it that will make you want to make it again.

Having stew is great by itself, but we always tend to add some additional side items to compliment the stew. For example, we always heat up tortillas in order to wrap them up and eat them with the stew or taking the meat off the bone to make tacos. Usually, my mom cuts up some onion, avocado, limes, and hot peppers to add to the tacos or your stew. Its simple things but it really turns up the dish into something remarkable. Any time that I know that I am going to Crete I drop by my favorite Mexican store in Omaha and get three pounds of espinaso so that my mom and I can make it. It helps us spend some one on one time together since its rare that I get that with her or my dad as we’re both very busy.

If you want to challenge yourself and you’re feeling an authentic Mexican stew get yourself some espinazo and warm your tummy up by making this wonderful dish. I promise you that you won’t regret it and that you might instantly love this new cut of meat. I wonder if you could make some other yummy dishes using it… but that might have to be another time on a different blog post. Hope you enjoyed reading this post! Have a happy Sunday!

The Rustic Tomato Sauce

Well I am finally back. Its been a while since I last made a blog post, but trust me it will be worth it. I have been incredibly busy the last month with classes, month-end at work, and then working out. I can barely handle my responsibilities, and then I think about parents that are doing what I do plus managing their kids; I think I would go crazy. So what else have I been up to since September? I have attended a few of my friends birthdays, I won a chili cooking contest at work, I completed two classes with 2 A’s, and lastly I finally threw away all the tree limbs that my friend and I cut down a year ago when my tree split in half. Things at home have also been great. My fiancee and I also selected a location for our wedding (which will be in May 2021). Our dogs continue to be living their best lives and still getting into trouble.

So before we get into the actual cooking and recipe for this blog post, let’s talk about what rustic means. A lot of people usually think that rustic only refers to decor or architecture, but it can apply to many things. In this case it’s food. All it means is that the food is simple, undressed, and familiar. For my dish I called it rustic because it’s a very simple tomato sauce that can be added to any type of pasta wether it’s spaghetti, tortellini, or ravioli. I came up with this recipe after making so many different sauces over time. After a while, you’ll notice it gets easier to mix and match ingredients to make a new sauce or dish. I wanted to keep it simple so I just made it with shiitake mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, and garlic. For the ravioli I just went to my nearest Trader Joes and bought ready stuffed ravioli. However, I’m sure you could get them anywhere.

When I first tasted the sauce I thought it was delicious. It’s a little chunky because of the mushrooms in the sauce, but it was the perfect combination. In addition since I usually just boil my stuffed pasta in salt, the sauce adds a lot of flavor and complexity to the dish without over powering the ravioli. Also on the side I made an arugula caesar salad which gave us a really fresh and crisp addition to the dish. After making this recipe, it will definitely be on the biweekly menu at our household.

Eating this dish just reminds me of all the amazing Italian food I have had from New York and Chicago and the wonderful experiences I have had. Sometimes its nice to just sit back at home, enjoy a home made dish, and remember some of your wonderful memories. Days, months, and years feel like they go by so quick now, that sometimes you have to take a step back and enjoy the present moment. At that time get yourself these ingredients and whip yourself up a great little rustic tomato sauce and enjoy this great dish with your loved ones at home. I truly hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

Recipe

  • 2 16 oz cans of stewed tomatoes
  • 2 table spoons of chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 container of TJ’s stuffed ravioli
  • 1/4 lb of shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 table spoons of chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 small bunch of basil
  • 1 bag of arugula
  • 1 half cup of preferred dressing
  • 1 small container of parmesan regiano cheese

If you want to reach out always feel free to at our email. local.provision@gmail.com
PS Directions to cooking this dish coming soon 11/10

A Juicy Lemon

Ugh its finally Friday tomorrow. It’s been a couple crazy weeks. I started taking classes at UNO and I already took a test for my economics class. My car’s check engine light came on so I took it to the dealership. However, I wasn’t planning on having my car in the shop for 4 days. They had to replace some parts and take care of some recalls that had been issued. Luckily the extended warranty took care of all the cost and covered a rental car for the time my car was in the shop (and they actually gave me a nice Infinity SUV). So after going through that I was just happy to get my car back…but I spoke too soon. When I was at a full stop and accelerated my car there was this very strange cranking noise. I booked another appointment yesterday and took the car this morning. It actually went very well. We took the car for a spin and the mechanic kind of knew exactly what it was. They apparently needed to tighten up some bolts on the engine frame or something like. Sounds scary, but after they fixed it my car was finally good.

For those out there that need to hear it, I want to let you know that life can put you in some unfortunate situations, but just know it does get better. It can be hard to think positive, especially when you just focus on the negatives, but just remember it can affect the rest of your everyday interactions, moments, and people you are around. Be patient and just do the best you can at that moment. Life can be sour like a lemon, but you can always make a lemon creme butter sauce with it instead and enjoy the ride called life.

Which brings me to the dish of today. Pan crusted chicken breast with a lemon creme butter sauce. This dish was so yummy we thought of making it a weekly thing. It was super easy to prepare and did not take a lot of ingredients. Now, what made me decide to make this dish? Well I love a good pan crusted meat, but I wanted to change it up a bit and make it a little more saucy. So why not make a yummy creme sauce. Now you might be thinking woah woah this is already a little too complicated for me. Just be patient, any beginner cook can whip this up real quick. Serve it up to impress anyone you want. Your mother-in-law, that cousin you haven’t talked to in a while, or your barber.

The biggest trick to the creme sauce is butter, flour, and heavy cream. You always want to heat 3 tbsp butter on medium high heat and then add in your flavoring, I used about a tbsp of garlic and a dash of pepper, then let that get nice and golden brown (about 1 minute). After that, you throw in the tbsp of flour from the 2 cups and stir it up really well (essentially you want the clumps to be gone). After about a minute or a minute and half you can then throw in the heavy cream. Let it simmer for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and then take off the sauce pan off the heat. Finally throw in your lemon juice (I squeezed 1 one whole lemon and used the rest for garnish) and any herbs you want to add , then mix and viola.

The pan crusted chicken is even easier. Grab three bowls and put three eggs in one of the bowls, in the next bowl add flour with your seasonings, finally in the last bowl add the panko crumbs. For this dish I used chicken breasts but you can also use tenders or thighs. Depending on your choice of cut adjust your cook time accordingly so you cook the chicken evenly. I cut my chicken breast in half (butterfly style but cut through), wrapped them in plastic and smashed them with a mallet so that they will thin out for easier and faster cooking. Next you take each of your pieces of chicken and you dredge it in flour for a minute or two . Then you drop each of the pieces in the egg bowl and then after you quickly dip each piece in the panko crumbs. Then set them out to rest on a sheet or a plate while you let the butter melt on a large skillet. Once your skillet is nice and hot lay each piece of chicken on the pan and spread them out so that they all cook evenly. Let each side cook for about 2-4 minutes on med-high heat and once your chicken is golden brown, flip it, and let another 2-3 minutes go by. Finally take your sizzling pan crusted chicken off the pan and serve on a plate.

To accompany the main component of the dish I made some butter peppered asparagus and an arugula salad with garden cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, and Cesar dressing. However, you can make whatever you prefer. You can always steam some broccoli, fry some sweet potatoes fries, smash some potatoes, or for a more healthier option roasted cauliflower. Truly the options are endless. Once you make this dish I really hope you were as satisfied as I was, because I thought it turned out great but it is a little biased coming from me. My favorite part about this dish was the sauce over the crusted chicken. It just makes it so perfect. Also just don’t forget to squeeze some of that fresh lemon juice on top of the chicken before you serve.

If you have any other questions or if you just want to share some pictures of your dish please reach out. Id be more than happy to review. If you want to change up the recipe do it! Im always about being creative, just let me know what you did and how it turned out. Hope you enjoyed this week’s dish and get ready for many more delicious recipes.

Want to make this dish please refer to the recipe main page for ingredient details.

The Beginning

Well finally after googling a bunch of videos and articles on wordpress, I was able to set up my food blog. It actually wasn’t that bad now that I look back at the process. However, rest assured you’re still going to see a lot of updates coming through and more content being posted online with more frequency. Speaking of frequency let’s just lay that out there; while I would love to post one recipe/adventure every other day the expectation to do that would make me start hating this new hobby. I will at least try my very best to post at least once a week as it does take time to take pictures, edit them, write, edit that, and publish each item.

So what got me interested in starting a food blog? I would say the basic answer is having fun adventures with friends and eating delicious food. I currently work full time as an accountant, but I wanted to explore a new hobby with cooking. For a long time I wanted to open a restaurant, but at I realized it costs a lot of money, most fail, and you would be glued to the place 24/7. Im sure that you could make it, but to me I thought the best way to dip my toes in the water was to start a food blog about my adventures and recipes that I try. I will also spotlight other awesome blogs/chefs that have a fantastic dish. By starting a food blog on the side ,I can still have my awesome job and dabble in my favorite past time. Which I hope also motivates you to try something that you have always been telling yourself to try but you haven’t. Life is Short!

Now the main point to this whole post…. what do I plan to accomplish with this blog and what its purpose is. Complex question, but it’s very simple I wanted to create a forum in which anyone can feel comfortable trying a new recipe or feel as if you’re on a food excursion. Im not too extravagant or anything, but I want it to be fun and welcoming. I will try my best to help you get to know your ingredients, oils, and spices better so that when your family is over you can impress them with a great recipe. It’ll be all about the learning experience and trying new tips and tricks to enhance the culinary experience.

Finally there’s a little more you need to learn about me to really understand this blog. First off I tend to be a very happy person and I love my life right now. Its busy, but its great because it keeps me productive and feel like I accomplish something each night (which is very key to happiness in my opinion). I have a lot of great friends and I couldn’t tell how many memories have been shared. Im engaged to a beautiful lady who is just spectacular. Being surrounded with good group of people makes it easier when you’re going through tough times, and even better when you’re all having fun.

One interesting fact is that I was born in Guanajuato Mexico. Which really influences my cooking and my palate. For most people the hottest salsa is too much, but I might just drink it. I love spicy foods and I love homemade food. Growing up I was blessed to have my mother alway whip something amazing after she got home from work (even though she was exhausted). My parents have always been hard workers who sacrificed so much for myself and my sisters. I learned everything I could from them before I moved to Omaha for college. There I met some amazing friends and my fiancée. Since then everything has been great. As for some hobbies, I love to travel, watch movies, and of course yummy food.

My Amazing Parents