Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jamaican Jerk Burgers with Orange-Chipotle Mayo

I have made these burgers more times than I can remember and EVERYTIME they get a rave review. Seriously, they are mouth-watering, savory, delicious and sure to be a staple in your BBQ'ing routine.  Recipe is courtesy of epicurious.com

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Jamaican-Jerk-Burgers-with-Orange-Chipotle-Mayonnaise-107083



Jamaican Jerk Burgers with Orange-Chipotle Mayo
Yields 6 burgers

Ingredients

Orange-chipotle mayonnaise
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chilies*
Jerk sauce
  • 1 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 small habañero chili or 2 medium jalapeño chilies, seeded, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 pounds ground beef (15% or 20% fat)
  • 6 sesame-seed hamburger buns, toasted
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 6 romaine lettuce leaves

preparation

For orange-chipotle mayonnaise:
Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
(FYI- I usually cut this in half and it still makes plenty.)
For jerk sauce:
Finely chop first 4 ingredients in processor. Add sugar and next 3 ingredients; process until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Set aside 3/4 cup jerk sauce. Shape ground beef into six 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick patties; place in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour 1/2 cup jerk sauce over patties and turn to coat; let stand 20 minutes.
Sprinkle patties with salt and pepper. Grill to desired doneness, brushing occasionally with remaining jerk sauce, about 4 minutes per side for medium.
Spread mayonnaise over cut surfaces of buns. Place burgers on bottom halves of buns. Top with onion slices, tomato slices, lettuce, and bun tops. Serve, passing reserved 3/4 cup jerk sauce separately.
* Chipotle chilies canned in a spicy tomato sauce, sometimes called adobo, are available at Latin American markets, specialty foods stores, and some supermarkets.

Goes great with sweet potatoes, salad, beans, potato salad, etc on the side.


SERIOUSLY DIVINE!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

If by playing games you mean UNO, then yes, I play games.

I read articles. ALOT. Like, all the time. I love them, and equally such I love the comments- I enjoying reading how people re-acted to what they just read. One thing I read alot about is relationships and the other day an article struck me hard. It was all about how to play games, the right way, in order to keep a man with you. The advice was the typical: don't return a text for 5 hours and a phone call for 2 days, never let him see you without makeup, etc.

I don't get this.  I mean if you want a superficial, broken floorboard, Jenna and Tito type of relationship by all means! Return Tuesday's missed call on Thursday and never let him see you not looking like a fox. I am old-fashioned yes I admit but I do have modern flair, I've known this about me forever and it's not going anywhere so keep in mind that does play into my own article here.

When Adam and I first started dating it was an interesting process.  I never felt we were playing games with eachother, but we were independent people who needed a moment to make sure we were both making a good decision for ourselves. I didn't date other people while Adam and I dated, I think he saw a few casually. I never worried or resorted to taking 5 hours to return his texts because I knew that if he wanted to be with me, he would.  And I knew in my mind, what I wanted more than anything was to be with a man who truly wanted to be with me.  If that was him, score! If not, tears for days would have poured out of my eyes but I was willing to take that chance to find out if his intentions were true.  There were times.  Times he made me wonder--but I always had my feet planted firm.  When he made me question him I would say things like, "If you act like this I don't feel important to you and that hurts me." I didn't demand he apologize or cower to me, I just stated what I needed from him if he wanted to be with me.  To much my pleasure- he would respond with," If you let me see you again I will make it up to you" and other things of that nature.

BOTTOM LINE. I teased and enticed Adam but never played games with him to where he questioned ME: my integrity, my honesty, or my commitment to him.  I never invited him over and had another guy there, and played stupid that I double booked (yes I've known girls who have done that) and newsflash it just makes you look skanky, and like you have a bad memory!!! I just did what I had to do to kept him interested, like kissing him with intense passion before sending him home so that I could study. If I was ever unavailable to him, which I was, it was because of a school, work, friend or family function not because the club had a special on $2 shooters. I respect'd myself, and made sure he did too.

When we first met, I was 26 and Adam 29.  He is a successful, privatized individual and becoming a 'we' was not an overnight task.  I had to prove myself to him.  Prove that I was loyal, funny, sexy, caring, true and that I had his best interest at mind always.  Time has done that for us and our love now has taken me to new heights and taught me things I never knew were possible. He is my best friend and I adore him to the moon and back.

We are not married, but I hope someday that we are.  A love like ours deserves marriage, it screams it! So, I do not know that my way of doing things, aka not playing games works since we can not measure it by the marriage mark but if you consider a loving, respectable, fun, amazing relationship that is filled with great sex and laughs by the dozen a good test of measure, then yes, it works. So, my advice, just drop the games and be your sexy fun self, it's the best way to catch a genuine man. As for Adam and I, we will stick to playing Uno by the fire at night, now THAT is a game we enjoy.




Thursday, September 5, 2013

Shit just got REAL.

I am 28 years old.  According to History I was 18 when I graduated high school. According to Math 28-18=10.  So that means I have been out of high school for 10 years. Really?

My 10 year high school reunion is this weekend and you better believe I have been hit with a rush of emotions, thoughts, memories and more from those awkward teen years.

I had a weird experience in high school, just plain weird.  I can sum my problem up in one sentence but that would make for a pretty dull post.  I wasn't teased in high school, I wasn't out casted, in fact, most of my peers were really nice to me despite the fact I struggled inside, my issue was I just didn't love myself and in retrospect I can see people picked up on that.  IMHO, my problems stemmed from my struggles with religion and family.  I was raised Mormon and the issues that arose from that are a whole different post entirely.  My family had some issues, my parents were divorced and we were never taught to focus on loving ourselves. My mom was so unhappy she could only handle the basics, like making sure we had a healthy dinner on the table and our grades were up.  My Dad hurt my Mom alot and my Mom felt she did not have the emotional capacity to give me any emotional strength as she was struggling with the same issues herself. Instead, I was made to feel ashamed for all that I wanted and felt.  I was constantly beating myself up, wondering how I could be different? I found myself constantly rebelling and in trouble at home.  Looking back, it's no wonder I wasn't my Mother's favorite child, but according to my memories, instead of getting talked to and consoled I just got grounded, again probably because she had little available to give.

No shocker, the minute I hit 18, I moved out and never went back.  Completely un-grateful my struggling mother had raised me to the best of her abilities. Most people at this point would hit the pavement full speed, but no, not me, I just got a regular Accounting job and started working.  My self-worth was still not there.  I was still a scared little girl who had no faith in herself and wanted to be popular in high school and take 2 inches off her waist. What finally shook me from my shell, was dating someone who had zero self-worth.  It was so easy for me to see that he wasn't living his life.  He was coasting.  Scared to make decisions.  Scared to fail.  And then in true Rachel form, I had a moment.  An Oh My Gosh, stop pointing the finger moment. I realized everything that I found 'wrong' with him, was 'wrong' with me and that I was basically being a petty little baby. Talk about getting hung up on the little things.  Why didn't I love myself? Why didn't I think I was amazing? I felt like a burden to my parents. My smile isn't perfect.  And when I smile that not perfect smile one eye gets smaller than the other.  I've always had some pudge around my lower belly. Oh no my parents weren't perfect? My legs are short. My sense of fashion is always once accessory short.

Truth be told, alot of those issues were my parents, and the other ones are just trivial and lame, and every flaw I highlighted took away from a strength that I did have. I FINALLY woke up and learned to toss that shit to the side, like taking out the trash I let all that go. Maybe I went overboard, maybe not, but I ended that relationship with a quickness.  I found inspiring blogs like, www.tinybuddha.com that helped me a TON. I started dancing at concerts, I started doing my hair differently, I wore whatever I wanted, I embraced my body by walking around naked and loving the flaws, I exposed myself to strangers, I let my snort come through in my laugh and I just plain fell in love with myself.  Genuinely.  Lots of times I look in the mirror and look at my forehead wrinkle, or my teeth that Zoom! can't even whiten and I just smile.  I feel so complete (ok, most days!!!) and fulfilled, I just feel that I am who I am and now that I'm not comparing myself to others, I feel so much more uplifted.  I fail at times obviously, but I always try to make sure to rise again and make myself the best I can be. This is not something that I did overnight, and not something that is as easy as the fore-mentioned taking out the trash.  There were emotional conversations with my Mother, there were drunken nights I went too far, there were setbacks.  But ultimately I knew (and still know) that my relationship with myself is the most important one.  I know that if I don't take care of myself, I won't be the best partner I can be for my love now, and he deserves the best.

Life could be worse.  Life could be better. My favorite quote that I have lived by since I read it,"Personality starts where comparison ends." Life is not about comparison. We are all our own versions of awesome, and the best favor we can do ourselves and the world is to highlight the best things about ourselves and share them with the world while uplifting others to do the same.


 
PS- I'm not going to the reunion.  Although I am at terms with my high school years, I feel moving forward is the best way to...well....move forward. Going back seems completely un-necessary. And unlike my past years, I love my life, and myself now.
 
 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

This is not a parking game, so no, I will not validate you.

I have been thinking lately about validation and what it is all about.  When I think about my life I always try to think about what I can do to be more like the people I admire.  Selfless, happy, humble, non-judgemental, etc. are some of the random attributes I strive to work on.  But when is the last time we all tried to be good for the sake of being good to ourselves, not for external validation?  I want to point out, external and internal validation are two completly different things.  For instance a person who constantly strives to work on their outer appearance but never works on their character would be mostly concerned with external validation.  Someone who spent the majority of the time working on their psyche and thoughts vs physical looks would be more into internal validation, as a general statement. So it's no surprise many people are worried about what others think, who saw them do what they just did, and if nobody was around- why couldn't they be? How many times have we been caught in a situation where we didn't want anyone around (maybe in the bathroom!!) and thought man it would be nice to get some privacy right now! How many times have we done something really nice and looked around only to discover that privacy we so craved had been obtained but all at the wrong time.  Well, as fate would have it, we can not control who is around us at what times in all given situations. The truth of the matter is, whether positive or negative it doesn't matter who sees what we do because the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. We account to ourselves everyday, not our family or partners but just ourselves. The thought that plagues me is why more people don't do the right thing for the right reason; themselves. 

If this is an area that we are struggling in, here are some thoughts on how to progress with it.

When acting and making choices ask yourself....

-Am I being true to myself?
-Am I making daily choices that bring me happiness?
-Do I care what others think?
-If so, why?
-Would I admire my actions in another person?
-Is my motivation correct?

I am not claiming total innocence here, but I can say I have had it happen to me where I have had something nice done for me and I have expressed a simple thanks!  A heartfelt, but simple thanks! Only to receive a text message later saying that the person felt unappreciated and taken advantage of, etc.  We, as friends and family, should not do this to eachother.  We should give of our resources freely and not expect anything in return.

I have often heard people say that after they give selflessly of themselves they always feel better about themselves, which sometimes can lead to feelings of guilt.  I strongly encourage you to release that guilt.  Do you stop wearing makeup because it makes you feel prettier? No. So don't stop being the change you wish to see because you feel uplifted. This feeling is a natural by-product, that you deserve to relish in.

I challenge you all to consider a recent favor you have done for a friend and stop and think about why you did it..... did you do it because you wanted to feel good about doing it? Did you do it because you wanted the recognition from the friend?

I encourage us all to do the right thing for self-peace, self-love, internal radiation, and comfort of our souls.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

De-frosting a husband.....A response to a reader's letter

Hi Rachel,
I really like your blog and outlook, and was curious if you could help me with something. I feel like I need to de-frost my husband! By that I mean he is just cold to me, also quiet and distant. We've been married for 15 years and have 2 kids, ages 8 and 10. Any advice for me would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
The Lonely Wife




Hi Lonely Wife! First off, I want to clarify, I am not a therapist or even married, but have a passion for love and am more than willing to offer you my humble, novice advice. It's hard to offer advice when you don't personally know a couple but I can generalize, and will do so! I am curious to know how long it has been this way with you and your husband- weeks, months, years? 


In general I feel that husbands want to know why their wives are always angry with them and wives want to know why their husbands ignore them. There’s a simple answer to that. Over time, marriages fall out of their cycle. For example, the more she nags the more he blames her for whatever the issue might be. The more he blames her for the problem, the more she nags, criticizes and harasses. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle: nagging angry wives match up with cold, blaming, quiet and distant husbands. And so it goes. The connection that you founded your relationship on slowly dissipates.  Each blames the other for the pain and neither seems able to break the grid-lock in their relationship.


That part’s simple, describing the problem. What to do about it is another matter. Both men and women fail to understand how sensitive emotionally a man can be. Generally speaking men are not as developed emotionally as most women, so emotional matters can scare him, but only because he has not been given the skills or the practice of managing himself in intense emotional situations. While women were growing up they were learning emotional relationship skills, even mimicking relationships with dolls. Guys on the other hand were out exploring, doing muscular activities, burping, and solving practical problems in physical reality. Few men understand things you can’t see or touch, like emotion, Santa Clause, and their wives feelings. Truly, it can seem as though men and women grew up on different planets.

Something I have learned along my journey is that whatever it is you want more of, you need to give more of. Quite the lesson for me, and I'm still learning. As the baby of 7 kids (I am the only girl, and have 6 older brothers) I was well taken care of. If I wanted something, I asked, and I usually got it. I found quickly in my huge and loving family, if I asked and someone wouldn't do something for me, someone else would so I did not learn to support myself very well. Now as an adult I am learning to backtrack that upbringing, and am realizing I need to take more responsibility for my feeling and my actions, and if I want something I need to learn how to give in order to get it, not just ask, sit back, and expect it.
So, enough about me, here are some thoughts for your situation...

Stop complaining and plan instead.
Rather than complaining to your husband how you never do anything together, step up and schedule a babysitter or nanny and take your husband on a date.

Go to Him.
If you want to be with your husband, be with him where he is. IE: Don't attempt to re-kindle your romance by inviting him to the ballet: epic failure! If he’s watching TV on the couch, sit with him on the couch and watch whatever he’s watching. If he’s in the garage tinkering with his hobby, go to the garage and help tinker with his hobby. Attempt to bring along a little emotional sunshine too, guys dig that. This will show him that your priority is him, not the activity.

Take it slow.
If there’s something important you need to talk about with your hubby, do two things before you start talking: 1. Set a time and place with him to talk about your topic of concern and tell him what your concern is. It is important to tell your husband the topic you wish to discuss, if you leave it open-ended, their minds wander with possibilities and they generally end up flustered and overwhelmed by the time the conversation actually happens. 2. When you begin talking to him, start slowly and avoid his emotional shutdown with your full gunnysack of complaints. Here’s some insight: If your husband cares about you, he wants all your problems fixed. If you continue to complain, he feels inadequate because it means he has not fixed your problems. What he doesn’t understand is that women sometimes just need to talk and whine a bit in the presence of someone they feel safe with and get “it” off their chests. However, when she does that, the man often feels like he’s let her down, otherwise she would be happy and not so “emotional”. Once again, he’ll make an attempt to solve the “problem”, or give up and go cold and quiet because “She is hopeless. I can’t ever please her.” Alot of women just want to be heard, some do prefer the advice in return, the best advice I can give here is to know your partner and fine-tune your actions to their needs.

Reach out and touch him.
When you feel angry, contemptuous, misunderstood, or lonely reach out and touch your husband but say nothing. If he looks surprised as you stand there with your arms around him or your cheek next to his, stay quiet. If he demands to talk about this physical contact or he is worried that something’s up, reassure him by simply saying, “I miss you, just relax and enjoy it."
Remember, based on gender stereotypes (which I have to use since I don't personally know you or your hubby) you have superior emotional skills when compared to your husband. Therefore it’s your responsibility to be careful and gentle with him when in emotional interaction. He can’t take emotional heat like you can so matter of factly. With that in mind, here’s a final tip: nagging and criticizing your husband will almost always get you the opposite of what you want.  Touch is powerful. Remind him of your gentle side, not your angry side.

Side by side, or head outdoors.
I've heard it frequently said that men have a hard time communicating face-to-face. It has something to do with their innate sports ability, and when you think about it...at any sporting event, when two men are facing off, they are literally doing just that: facing off. They are staring at eachother square in the face, waiting to ball it out and compete. A discussion in a marriage should never feel like that. Instead we as women should strive to create a comfortable place for men to talk about their feelings: perhaps an outdoor deck, or on the couch. And instead of face-to-face try chatting side by side, it can be very beneficial and help men lower any communication walls they may have. Maybe even pour two glasses of wine, turn on some music, whatever it is that you as a couple enjoy, try and bring that to the table to comfort him. Remember, communicating is more than likely not as easy for him as it is for you. Another hint: alot of men prefer to walk and talk, so head outside, stroll to the park or to a local yogurt shop while you discuss whatever it is you need to.

So, lonely wife, I hope that helps. I hope that you are able to thaw out a cold and distant husband and maybe save a marriage! Love is worth fighting for, which you obviously know or you wouldn't have reached out. Best of luck to you and the husband!! Keep in touch.

Sincerely,
Rachel

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

We have a winner!!!

Ok so apparently May 7th was a few days ago!  Whoops.  Anyways, a winner has been selected by random drawing and the winner is.....NIKI!  Niki, I will be in touch to get your shipping information.  Thanks for checking out my blog and I hope you stay awhile!

XOXO
Rach

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Labor of Love.


Last night while Adam was studying I found myself with a little free time. Being as he works so hard and deserves nice little treats from time to time....I decided a foot massage would be really nice. So I set off to get my supplies. I gathered them up, sat in front of him and  began massaging his achy, tired feet.

Due to his moaning and groaning the entire 30 minutes I was doing this, I'd say I did a good thing. Afterwards he mentioned that he had never had anyone do something like that for him and how amazing it felt. Note to self/others: Do sweet stuff like this for your Man. Men notice love in actions as they are so physically orientated. Women tend to notice love in verbal forms but this is how love can be lost in translation. Learn to show your partner love in a way they can recognize it!!
I posted a small tutorial below so we can all spread the love!