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Culture/Cultura

I grew up in a very strict home.  Asking  to go to a friend’s house or school dance was out of the question.  In my group of friends, I was always left out because I never got to hang out outside of the school setting.  As a result, I never really made long lasting friendships.  From 3rd to 6th grade, I had a Filipino friend named Sheila Sia.  We became really good friends because she also had strict parents.  But the moment we hit middle school, things changed.  She rebelled and started to hang out with other friends who were more involved in school activities.  Soon after, I made new friends.  One was Lourdes Chavez.  She was a daring girl with caramel colored skin and curly hair.  There was also Veronica Zavala a very boisterous and uncensored girl.  We loved to play softball and loved watching baseball.  She was fair skinned with a sun kiss glow and blond hair like the pelos de elote from always playing outdoors.

My dad’s company moved from El Segundo, CA to Rialto, CA.  After a year of him commuting back and forth, he decided to move us to Rialto.  I hated the move and I hated Rialto.  Subsequently, I lost all the friends that I worked so hard to keep.  Because I was  very shy and introverted, I  didn’t allow many people into my life.  Naturally, I didn’t really make many friends.  I bounced around back and forth from groups of school kids until 10th or 11th grade when I met Delila Tamayo and Margarita Yanez in high school.

When I was 15 1/2, I got my driving permit.  It was so exciting!  I new soon enough I would be able to drive on my own.  My Abuelo and Abuela had been visiting us from Tijuana for a few days.  It was a summer morning when they were heading back to Tijuana.  I wanted to go with them so bad.  I asked if I could go knowing I would be rejected.  My dad said no so my Abuelo asked again.  For some miraculous reason, my dad actually said yes.  I quickly gathered a few items and we were on our way.   It was just Abuelo, Abuela, myself and a car packed to the ceiling with all kinds of things they were taking back.

IMG_6817We stopped to get gas before getting on the freeway.  With an evil grin I thought to myself, “I want to drive into Tijuana and IN Tijuana!  There is no way they can say no!”  I quickly recalled a story my Abuela had told countless number of times of my Tio Jose driving to Tijuana, BACKWARDS!  Not sure how much truth there is to that, but if he could drive backwards, there was no way I wasn’t going to take this opportunity to make it my first drive into Tijuana. I knew better than to ask Abuela.  She would say no porque era muy nerviosa (Still is.)  Instinctively, I asked Abuelo.  He was always ready to take risks.  Abuelo and Abuela exchanged some words and minutes later Abuelo said, “Pues a manejar!”  and I quickly sat on the drivers side and adjusted my mirrors (Evil laugh.).

My Abuelo had Abuela sit in the passenger side.  She was a nervous wreck.  But we laughed the entire ride to Tijuana occasionally taking my hands of the steering wheel for a second and saying, “Mira, sin manos!” My abuela would yell at me, “Ay muchacha!”  When I would pretend to fall asleep on the wheel, my Abuela would start trying to wake me up.  I could see my Abuelo through the rear view mirror just laughing and having a good ol’ time with a caguama wrapped in a paper bag in hand.

After 2 1/2 hours, (World record according to Abuela. Insinuating I was driving too fast. lol), we were finally about to cross into Tijuana.  Seeing my dad and mom drive into Tijuana dozens of times had mentally prepped me for this moment.  It was time to shift gears.  I propped myself up and got ready for battle.  This was it… the ultimate driving test. I was like a bull in the rink waiting for the red flag to be waved in my face. I got the hand wave from los federales and  I crept forward and I saw my Abuela with my peripheral vision doing the sign of the cross.  Not sure if she was asking God to take care of us or thanking Him for not letting the federales stop us from all the junk we were carrying in the car.  I knew the road very well to their house.  I rode through those streets like I had been living in Tijuana my whole life (Does weekends count?)

I got us all to their house safe and sound.  For that week, I forgot about how much I hated our move to Rialto.  From that day on, I drove my family to Tijuana countless number of times and there were even times when I drove by myself (Back when it was a little safer.)  Being able to take these weekend trips to Tijuana, got me through a lot of hard times in my life that I had no control off … and I am thankful for them.

#masmasa

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I was going through my Instagram feed and saw Sonia from La Piña En La Cocina post a picture of some delicious bolillos she had just made.  I could practically smell them through my phone screen (we need smell-a-phones!).  Immediately I was taken back to my childhood in Lennox, CA.

Growing up a block away from la panaderia, was the best thing that could have happened to me.  I could have fresh pan any time I wanted.  My favorite days to walk to Arreola’s Bakery  was on Sunday mornings.  I loved all the sweet bread but there was something about the bolillos that always appealed to me.  I would always get an extra bolillo so I could eat it as I walked back home.  All I wanted to do was to take the inside of the bolillo out and put it in my mouth.  My teeth would sink into the soft and airy inside of the bolillo …mmmm.  By the time I would get home, I had eaten the shell too and was ready to eat my pan dulce with some milk as if it was my first piece of bread of the day.  😉

I wanted to experience fresh, warm bolillos so I asked Sonia for her recipe.  It was very easy to follow.  I probably need more practice in the shaping of them but that doesn’t matter because they still taste delicious– just like they did on my walks home from la panaderia.

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Fresh out of the oven!

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Soft!

And yes, I did take out the inside of the bolillo and ate it first. 😉

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Of course I took it out!

Here is the link to Sonia’s recipe.  Tell her I sent you. 🙂

http://pinaenlacocina.com/2017/05/16/mexican-bollilos-in-my-kitchen-aide/

 

Con Cariño,

Silvia

 

 

I’m on a chipotle trip right now and want to add it to everything.  With Cinco De Mayo and the Canelo VS. Chavez Jr. (Who are you rooting for???) fight around the corner, I wanted to create something that was Mexican inspired.  I want to keep my guests entertained and make sure their bellies are satisfied!

Here is the “HOW TO” instructions for the dip and I’ll leave the link below of my Tortillas TRICOLOR video I made to go along with this delicious dip!
https://youtu.be/9Mwr1HfqQac

Ingredients:

  • Cream Cheese  (8 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons of Sour Cream
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of the chile chipotle suace.

 

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Directions

  1. Mix room temperature cream cheese with sour cream and hipotle sauce.

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Yes, it’s that easy! 😉

Enjoy!

xoxoxoxo

With summer quickly approaching, I am reminded of those warm evenings I enjoy at my dad’s house so much.  I love going to my father’s “Rancho” style home on summer afternoons because of the countless hours I have spent swinging on his tree-shaded hammock.  Imagine melting into the fabric of the hammock, laying lazily while listening to the sounds of his animals and hearing the occasional whistling of a soft summer afternoon wind.  As I’m swinging, I can look up to the sky and catch a ray of sun peeking through the trees.  If the peacocks get comfortable enough with me around, I might be fortunate to see one open up it’s feathers and catch a glimpse of it’s colorful splendor.

Above all, what I am most fascinated with are the array of cactus that he has around his house.  I especially enjoy taking pictures of the nopales at dusk, when the golden rays of the sunset outline its silhouette.  On some random, yet very special occasions, I might find a beautiful cactus flower bloom.

Interestingly, my dad has always had nopales around his house.  With the drought conditions in California the past few years, people began to let their grass die, and have found new ways to make their yards look nice and alive without having to use too much water.  Nopales and succulents have become a bit trendy because they can beautify a landscape without the use of excessive irrigation.  Cactus are native to North America and can survive by adapting quickly to their environment.  They can survive in dry, dead, lifeless deserts with little water.  Not only will they survive, but they can bring forth beautiful cactus flowers and sometimes even fruit.

The CACTUS FLOWER reminds me a lot of myself. Maybe you are that woman too, or know someone who has overcome adversity, just to get to where they are today.  There are also those women who have pushed through seemingly impossible life obstacles just to survive.  Maybe at one time in their life, they felt like they were walking through a desert, alone, defeated to the point of giving up on life or a difficult circumstance.   Finally, the hour comes, when all the hurt, pain, and struggle has been left in the distance behind her; that feeling of rising above her circumstances, that moment of awakening she has longed for. At last she is able to lift herself up, hold her face to the heavens and achieve her blossom. Despite the circumstances, La Mujer is finally free and able to blossom with confidence into the beautiful CACTUS FLOWER she was meant to be.

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Maybe you feel like you are in a desert at this time in your life.  I want you to know that if you press on, you will be able to see that unique and rare flower bloom– a CACTUS FLOWER– the one who thrives against all odds… La que lucha to leave a beautiful, positive impression of perseverance and endurance.  This is not to say that we won’t face hard times in the future, but we can survive, bloom and thrive.

“The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”

(Isaiah 35:1)

Cactus Flower 1

Check our tiendita to purchase the CACTUS FLOWER t-shirt.

My father didn’t have the opportunity to have an extensive education.  According to the stories that he has told me, he always excelled in school and loved to learn.  Like most Mexicanos, he had to stop going to school at a very young age.  Money was scarce and he had to work to help out at home.

Ever since I can remember, my dad was always reading.  He would read anything he could get his hands on.  His reading wasn’t for leisure.  It was for educational purposes and it was enjoyable.  He thought everyone should find the same pleasure in reading and learning.  Unfortunately, my brother and I would rather play with the neighborhood kids than read and learn more than what was the school’s expectation.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved learning new things and reading.  But I enjoyed reading Judy Blume– not reading about the Cold War at the age of 10! WTH!?   Homework–I was cool with doing the minimal.   But on top of our school homework, my dad would give my brother and I extra work.  When we finished our homework we had to move on to more learning activities that he would leave for us to do.  Ay Dio Mio!  I just wanted to watch T.V. or play dress up with my aunt and rock out to some old school Spanish Jams like “Rock Del Angelito” by Los Rebeldes del Rock or “Billie Jean”  by Michael Jackson.

My dad would buy a Spanish news paper and make me read it for 30 minutes a day and it’s probably one of the reasons why I can speak Spanish (Can’t say the same for writing in Spanish but I get by.)  By the age of 6/7 I had all the times tables memorized and when I got to 3rd grade I was on top of the game.  When I was about 9/10 I had all of the Central American and South American countries and capitols memorized (Please don’t ask me to recite them.  I don’t remember them.).  At around the age of 10/11  he told me to learn about radius, diameter and circumference.  I had to practice it until I mastered it.  Unfortunately, when it was time to use those math formulas, I had forgotten them.  I think I placed them in my short term memory.  He even made me remember, “Los tres agravantes de la ley:  premeditacion, alevocia, y ventaja (The three aggravating factors of the law: premeditation, treachery, and advantage.).  At the time I didn’t even know what the heck I was saying.  But if he asked me, “Que son los tres agravantes de la ley?”,  I would answer as if it were part of my daily life.

One of the things that I think I will never forget is that 3.14=pi.  Matter of fact, he took it a step further and made me recognize it as tres punto catorce dieciséis.  I memorized it in Spanish so every time I would hear the word pi, I would automatically recall it in Spanish and would have to translate it in my head before answering my teachers or anywhere it came up (Still do.).  It wasn’t until I had to use it at school that I learned that I could stop at 3.14 and not have to continue to work out the problem with 3.1416 .

So we celebrate pi, 3.14 (March 14) in honor of my childhood trauma (LOL) and in honor of a father who pushed his kids to excel beyond their years.IMG_4760

 

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My kids don’t really care for any type of pie so I had to make a pumpkin dump cake recipe into a pie because the only pie they like is pumpkin pie. LOL

1 can (29 0z) of pumpkin filling

1 can evaporated milk

4 eggs

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cloves

1 cup of sugar

1 stick of butter

1 box of yellow cake mix

1/2 cup of walnuts or pecans

 

 

Mix pumpkin filling and milk.  Add 2 eggs at a time and mix.  Add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and sugar. Mix well.  Pour mix into a cake pan.  Evenly spread cake mix over the pumpkin mix.  Chop up 1/2 cup of pecans or walnuts and spread evenly over cake mix.  Melt butter and spread evenly over mix.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.  Let cool.

 

 

 

 

 

Last year around this time I kept coming across Instagram posts about the #weallgrow Summit.  It intrigued me and I began to follow the weekend unfold wishing I was there “liking” every picture. I saw bonds, sisterhood, motivation and so much more–and they were all Latinas!   I told myself that I needed to be there at the next summit.  When I saw the “early bird” registration, I wanted to sign up but I was very apprehensive about it because I had no one in my immediate circle who might want to attend- nothing wrong with that and it’s understandable.  It’s not everyone’s thing.  My insecurities began to speak to me, “You shouldn’t go because you are going to look like a moron walking around all alone at this huge event full of amazing women who are conquering the world.”.  But something in me made me register any way.  I bought a single ticket.  Felt so weird…I was going ALONE-gulp!  I was scared but so excited at the same time.  The year couldn’t come fast enough.

I can’t believe the summit has come and gone already.  I had such an amazing time.  I learned so much and was empowered to do great things!  The energy was incredible!!  Imagine a room full of Latinas who want to make a difference.  We were all feeding each other ideas.   Motivating, stirring one another and bringing out our best-and it had been in us all along.  No idea was too far fetched or weird.  Every idea I have had and finally got to share with my new friends was made to feel within my reach and all I had to do was-DO IT!

Those ideas are now on paper and I will eventually make them happen.  And if they don’t happen, then I’ll move on to the next idea.  I have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.  So get ready because you will be hearing this Mexican American’s name more often.

I want to thank all the amazing ladies whom I met this past weekend.  You have given me the courage and drive to keep dreaming BIG and to act on my dreams.  I am grateful for that!  So now I want to encourage you all (my readers) to also dream big.  Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.  Do what you love and be true to yourself.  Take up the call.  But don’t forget who you are and know where you are going.

To help you dream big, I’m giving away a goodie bag filled with Elena of Avalor cuteness.  All you have to do is post a picture of yourself on Instagram with the hashtags #DreamBigPrincess and #dreamingwithabuelaskitchen and tell me what your BIG DREAM is and what you are going to do about it!  OR you can tell me below.

*****CLOSES MARCH 14, 2017 @ 9PM PST.

Good luck and keep dreaming!

Con Cariño,

Silvia

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Elena of Avalor goodie bag includes:

*Elena Doll

*Elena of Avalor Original Soundtrack

*Elena Movie

*Elena Wall of Dreams

*Disney Princess Comic

*Merida Little Golden Book

*Aurora Disney Princess Little Kingdom

*#DreamBigPrincess bracelet

 

Didn’t take too many pictures because I was living the moment.  Here are a few:

 

 

Lately, there has been an over flow of political jargon.  It’s hard not to get fired up with the over flow of information.  We are definitely living in historical times.  Not really sure how it will all end up, so I put my trust in God first of all.  But there is one thing that I can’t deny– that I am a daughter of immigrants.  Immigrants-human beings, who heard that there was a possibility of  a better life.  They left the familiar with only HOPEHope of opportunity- Hope of a better life-in hopes of a good job.  And this job they were looking for wasn’t to gain riches for personal indulgement.  It was a job for survival.  Not just their survival, but that of their families.

I am proud to say that my parents worked very hard, like a lot of immigrants.  My dad was always an exemplary employee, foreman and business man and my mom a proud owner of her own thriving beauty salon.  The day they became citizens of the United States of America, my dad shed a tear during the National Anthem (A man I have never seen cry.).  He had always been a proud Mexican, but that day I believe he was thankful for the flag that had given him the opportunity to help his family when he first left his beloved country and now was allowing his children to do even greater things than he had been able to.

scan-29My mom was never scared to work-whether it was in the fields or in a high-class beauty salon.  Today, I am grateful for her sacrifice, hard work, endurance and her life.

Mom, know that what you did in this life for others and myself have not gone unnoticed.  And even if those efforts appear to have been forgotten, I am living proof and a walking testament of all  your sacrifice and all you went through so that your children could have a future with hope and endless possibilities.  You are a true example of strength, endurance and perseverance.

May health, laughter, joy and family be multiplied in this year. Feliz Cumpleaños.  Que te la pases muy de pelicula!

Silvia