Photos from the past… time to remember

The other day my cousin sent me a photo unexpectedly. I kept looking at the picture for a while, trying hard to recognize the place. I was so surprised when I finally recognized it! It was the beach house we use to go when we were younger when we were kids, it was our vacation spot, it was our Adventureland. What I could have remembered as a beautiful place, with very comfortable beach chalets, and a gigantic pool was nothing more than small cabins with a grill and plastic chairs in the front porch, and a small pool that certainly had to be overcrowded when we would swim and play in it. 

In those little cabins, I had created memories that are surrounded by happiness and pure joy,  encapsulating that moment in time when fun was the main driving force of my days. I could clearly remember the happiness of my parents. The happiness of my cousins ​​and friends. The happiness of freedom. The happiness of not knowing that life hits hard and takes away your loved ones. The happiness that only the innocence of youth can make us feel.

Now, seeing that picture, trying to piece together the puzzle  of my broken memory I realize that it is impossible. That beautiful beach, with its very comfortable chalets and its gigantic swimming pool, will be forever engraved on me, and cannot be reconciled with the photos of reality. 

Speaking with my cousin of those times, almost 27 years ago, we felt nostalgic for the innocence we lost over the years, we felt sad when we remember the people we lost since then.  It was painful to realize that so much time has passed. That we grew old.

I have always believed that the purpose of remembering is to relive again. And when talking to my cousin about those years, we felt the urgency to recognize that our children now have the opportunity to experience the happiness of innocence. That it is not the beauty of the place, nor the spectacular hotel, nor the giant pool what will remain in their memories … but our company, our laughter, the moments with their friends, the talks in the sand next to a campfire … those will be their memories and no picture will match it and the time will not corrupt it either.

Baked Crispy Eggplant

This weekend I cooked my baked crispy eggplant and again it was a hit with the family. It all started when my youngest one said “I don’s like eggplants” and to which I replied “Yes, you do!”, and yes, after eating this baked crispy eggplant he couldn’t deny that they were delicious.

You can eat them with a yogurt dipping sauce or with a good marinara sauce, or just by itself… Ingredients:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Eggplant
  • ½  cup of Panko
  • ½  cup of Bread Crumbs
  • ¼  cup of parmesan cheese
  • ½  tsp garlic powder
  • ¼  cup of parmesan cheese
  • ½  tsp garlic powder
  • 1  tsp dry oregano
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 eggs

Step 1:

Set your oven to 400º.  Cut the eggplant in 1-inch rounds and sprinkle with a little bit of salt. Let it sit for about 10 minutes until you can see the water that forms on top of the eggplant, pat dry and do the same with the other side.

Step 2

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.

Step 3

Dip the eggplant round in the eggs and then in the bread crumbs/panko bowl until it is totally covered.  Put them in a lightly greased baking sheet.

Step 4

Bake for 15-minutes and flip them and continue to bake for another 15-minutes. Voila. You are done. Enjoy.

Book List: February 2020

What are you reading this month? Today I wanted to show you the books on my bedside table. It’s normal for me to have more than four books at any given time … What can I do?, reading is my entertainment every night and where I give myself permission to splurge.

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama: I’m going halfway through the book and I’m totally at awe with this book. I have always felt a lot of admiration for Mrs. Michelle Obama, and this book just gave me the motivation to continue to grow my love for the Obama Family and legacy. This book is motivating, hopeful, full of nobility, love, and loyalty to this country.
  2. The New Writer’s Handbook: This is a library book. I am trying to improve my way of writing and expressing myself, additionally, I do try to get at least one book from my local library.
  3. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert:  I am really very happy with this book because it tells us about the power of being creative, letting creativity take the wheel and letting go of the fear to the unknown, it is so important to me to believe that we have the power to create beautiful things.
  4. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: I have already read this book in Spanish, now I am reading it in English. With our scheduled trip to Barcelona in three weeks, ​​this book is once again making me want to make time go faster so that I can finally make it to Barcelona.
  5. The Power of Self-Coaching by Joseph J. Luciani: This book changes lives, we should all read it. I am a Life Coach and for me, this book has to be read in order to understand the true power that we all carry inside and the ability that we have to change our lives and achieve our goals.
  6. 1000 Books to Read before you Die: My Christmas gift from Barnes and Noble, gives me a guide to the books I want to read and I am putting them on a list … the first two I have already bought and will be on my March list.

What are you reading? How many books at a time? What is your favorite subject? Your favorite Author? Do you also read many books at the same time or one by one?

How can we be a better friend?

We are all unique in our essence, in our abilities and in our personal qualities that allow us to contribute positively to the lives of the people we love most and the people around us.  Many times, although we are aware of these wonderful people who are part of our lives, we tend to spend our time being able to fulfill our responsibilities and obligations and we do not do enough to show our love and our appreciation to these people.

I have been very lucky to have seen friendships that lasts a lifetime and through my own experiences, I have been a witness of the importance that a solid friendship can have in our lives.  After thinking for a while, I have come up with a list of the actions we can do for our friends. These actions do not have to be large or elaborated, but they have to be initiated by the love and gratitude we feel.

  • If you know of someone close to you who is recovering from an illness or struggling with a disease, make a casserole or lasagna and take them home, without asking if they want it or not, just knock on the door and hand them the plate so they have a meal (or two).
  • If you know of someone close to you who is recovering from an illness or struggling with a disease, make a casserole or lasagna and take them home, without asking if they want it or not, just knock on the door and hand them the plate so they have a meal (or two).
  • Participate in those activities that your friends are coordinating and need help or participants.
  • Go to the soccer, baseball, or dance recital of one of your nephews, especially if it is an important championship. Your friends will appreciate your sharing such a special moment in their lives with them.
  • Help a friend who has just started working on a new job, either with new unknown software, or by offering advice on his / her new line of work.
  •  If your friends are trying to make a change in their health and are taking actions to be healthier, support them and encourage them.
  • If your friends are asking for volunteers to help them in moving to a new house or painting their house or setting up a new office and you can, sign up and help them.
  •  Give a compliment if they got a new haircut or are trying to eat healthier.
  • Give thanks for something they have done for you, no matter if time has passed, take the time to say thank you and express appreciation

We all have high expectations of our friends, but at times is good to ask ourselves, are we doing all we can to make sure our friends feel loved and appreciated by us.  Next time you have the opportunity to show it, take it. You are cultivating a lifetime of great moments and experiences shared.

Barcelona Day 1… airplane trip, arrival, and walking Las Ramblas

Vacation planning… airplane trip, arrival in Barcelona and walking Las Ramblas!

Every time I travel I  like to visualize the voyage, the process of “getting there” and for me, this is even more important when you are traveling with family and friends.   We are traveling to Barcelona to take a 8-day Mediterranean Cruise with my kids and my parents (I know God Bless my husband). We are flying to Barcelona via Frankfurt and it will be FUN!.  Having been in long flights throughout my traveling time I am looking forward to “cross the pond” with my kids for the first time 😉)

TIP#1:  Book a transatlantic flight that flights through the night so you force yourself to sleep during the flight and helps you handle the jet lag a bit better

We are departing from Houston at 4:30 pm.  The kids will go to school as usual and we will go from their school to the airport.  I will give them a light snack at the airport and wait until dinner on the plane. The intention is for them to sleep as much as possible and “wake up” in Frankfurt. From Frankfurt, we take a 2-hour flight to Barcelona and arrive in Barcelona at 1:30 pm.

We meet my parents at the Hotel which is located by Plaza Catalunya and the Rambla.  We take some time to rest and we go for walk by the Ramblas. My intention is to walk hitting the following places:

Casa Batllo – 3-minute walk

Plaza Catalunya – 9-minute walk

Rambla del Raval – 15-minute walk

Palau Guell – 7-minute walk

Colon Monument – 7-minute walk

We will have dinner when hungry and I have spotted three different “Tapas” places along the way.  

We will walk back to the hotel while expressing our gratitude for been in Barcelona altogether and I hope we can spot a good place to have a dessert with coffee on our way back to the hotel.

TIP#2: When you are jet lag and its time to sleep take melatonin. It helps to regulate your new time zones.  Also if you can sleep with the curtains open so that the sunlight can help to wake you up and will be easier for your internal clock to self-regulate.

I will take note of the first day and see how close we are to the above itinerary. I am always curious to see how much of the planning becomes a reality and even more important how much it helps when we deviate from the plan itself.

And now lets get to Day#2

10 perfect gifts ideas for the special man in your life

It has always been very difficult to gift my husband, first because it really seems that he has everything he wants and deeds, and second because “I don’t want any gift” is his favorite phrase. So every Christmas, every anniversary, every birthday and every St Valentin represents a puzzle that I have to solve. Over the years I have scored as many goals as I have failed. But every time that special date approaches, I always start looking … hoping to narrow my search for something that “he will like even though he doesn’t need”, or that “he will use even though he doesn’t want”.

I would like to share the 10 gifts that after a long search is in my list to give to my husband, or (or my dad) and hopefully, they can serve as inspiration for that special gift for that even more special person and all thanks to Amazon.

YETI Rambler 14 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug with Lid$ 24.99

TRUNKCRATEPRO Collapsible Portable Multi Compartments Heavy Duty Non-Slip Cargo Trunk Organizer Storage, Blue – $39.98

Thoughtfully Gifts, The Good Hurt Fire: A Hot Sauce Gift Set for Hot Sauce Lover’s, Sampler Pack of 7 Different Hot Sauces Inspired by Exotic Flavors and Peppers from Around the World$ 34.99

Double Old Fashioned Whiskey Glass (Set of 4) with Granite Chilling Stones – 10 oz Heavy Base Rocks Barware Glasses for Scotch, Bourbon and Cocktail Drinks$ 23.86

Large Sphere Ice Mold Tray – Whiskey Ice Sphere Maker – Makes 2.5 Inch Ice Balls (Gray)$ 13.99

Linkvisions Sisal/Bristle Dartboard with Staple-Free Bullseye, 18g Steel Tip Darts Set, Mounting Kits Included$39.99

Kettle Gryp – Kettlebell Adjustable Portable Weight Grip Travel Workout Equipment Gear for Gym Bag, Crossfit WOD, Weightlifting, Bodybuilding, Lose Weight | Clamps to Dumbells | Made in U.S.A.$34.95

Storm Glass Weather Stations Water Drop Weather Predictor Creative Forecast Nordic style Decorative Weather Glass

Storm Glass Weather Stations Water Drop Weather Predictor Creative Forecast Nordic style Decorative Weather Glass – 28.99

SEALIGHT 9005/HB3 High Beam 9006/HB4 Low Beam LED Headlight Bulbs Combo Package CSP Chips 6000K

HOJ Co. CARRYALL Mens Leather Money Clip Wallet-Strong Magnetic Front Pocket Wallet-Exterior ID Window$35.00

All these products are found in Amazon and are budget-friendly and hope can provide you with more ideas on what you can get to that significant man in your life.

Ingredients to add to your Morning Breakfast Shake

For the past three years, our breakfast has been a Nutritious Shake, which we have reinvented more than 10 times thanks to our relentless search to find the best ingredients. After so many changes we have chosen the following ingredients for their nutritional value.

Bananas are a healthy source of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and various antioxidants and phytonutrients. 

Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C, and various antioxidants.

Blueberries are low in calories and fat yet provide decent amounts of healthy fiber and are a good source of manganese and vitamins C and K1. They also provide small amounts of copper, as well as vitamins E and B6.

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. They are also a good source of several B-vitamins, vitamin K and potassium

Beets are good sources of vitamins and minerals, such as folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.

Parsley contains several important nutrients, such as vitamins A, K, and C. It’s also a good source of the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.

Kale is very high in nutrients and has many powerful antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol, which have numerous beneficial effects on health.  Kale is also extremely high in vitamin C.

Ginger is high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Ginger has so many health benefits, from helping with digestion to brain functions and properties that can help fight infection.

Turmeric has been in use since antiquity for its anti-inflammatory (painkiller), carminative, anti-flatulent and anti-microbial properties. 

In addition to the above, the following are also the other ingredients which contribute good fat content and probiotics:  peanut butter, plant-based protein, coconut oil, olive oil, kefir, cayenne pepper, and granola.

Romanticism when your Partner is not a romantic!

I am of the opinion that we all have something romantic inside us, romanticism may manifest itself in different ways from the most romantic (dinners with candles and rose petals in bed ), to the most subtle romantics (coffee made in the morning), we are all romantic, but we all are to different degrees.

When I met my husband right away I realized that he was one of those “most subtle romantics”, he grew up without really knowing what romanticism is, and over the years we have learned to, by my side lower expectations and by his, put a little more effort.

After 18 years together we know more or less how romantic days like Valentine’s Day, Anniversaries, and Birthdays will unfold, usually by me planning something romantic and he trying to support me. I know that waiting for him to plan it all is not a fair expectation, but it is only fair that he be enthusiastic if I am the one who is planning the occasion.

When our partners are less romantic than we are, we have to have patience and understand how their minds and emotions work and work with communication so that they can understand what that special planned moment means for us (the more romantic kind).

For example, I may receive flowers once a year (if any), but he writes and calls me during the day, every day. He makes coffee early on Sundays and take care of the children or household chores so that I have my free time and enjoy them as I please. Those are the details that I have learned to appreciate because they come from a genuine loving place in his heart, and all the little candles in the world melt when compared to his daily attention to me.

My advice to you in the event that your partner is not so romantic is not to press for romanticism, but learn to see romance on a day-to-day basis and if you want your movie night, or fancy dinner, or bathtub filled with rose petals, then plan it yourself together with your partner and enjoy every minute of it.

When a simple Thank You will do

Last Friday night we went to bed a bit late since we had friends over for dinner.  I cooked the appetizers, side dishes, and dessert, while our friends did the most tastefully, tender, and juicy Brisket ever.  We laughed, and talked, and laughed some more. As I and my husband went to bed, although we were tired, we both acknowledged how lucky and thankful we feel for having great friends in our lives.

Sunday was the Super Bowl and my family has been anticipated the big game and I knew it was a special moment for them, so although I had a gazillion things to cook and prep for the week, I made the effort to cook them Chicken Wings and Nachos which they devoured while watching the game. After we put the kids to bed and as I am in the kitchen finishing cleaning up, my younger son calls me in to tell me that he really appreciates all I do for them and that the wings were amazing and the Nachos were the best he ever had and that he is so thankful for having me as a mom… I smiled, kissed him and told him the lucky one was me.

When we give the best to our families, and to our loved ones, and to ourselves, we do reach a level of satisfaction in our lives. At the end of the day, comes the amazing feeling that you are doing your best to stir your family in a happy direction, and when that gets recognized, and you are thanked for it… well, we are closer to the destination.

Stir Fry Ramen with Pork

Today recipe is a special one.  I make this on Friday night when we as a family are craving something different.  We try our best to eat meatless as much as we can, which is why this dish is a splurge when it comes to food.  It is a Stir Fry Pork Ramen and it is delicious.

For a full video, you can watch it on my YouTube channel @ Marisabel Park and below is the full recipe with pictures.  I am trying to get better at this so hopefully after a while the process is more understandable. I do have plenty of recipes to share and I am hopeful that with the videos and this blog the intention of providing you good and yummy recipes catered for the busy wife, husband, dad or mother, or just the busy you.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp of avocado oil (or oil of your preference)
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • ¼ cup of rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp of sriracha
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil (and more to coat the ramen once cooked)
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of chili garlic sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 boneless pork cutlets (cubed)
  • 2 zucchini (cubed)
  • 1 medium onion (sliced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 3 bunches of green onions
  • ¼ cup of cilantro
  • 3 basil leaves
  • 1/2 ramen noodles

Hit your pan and add the oil, once its hot add the pork and cook for about 5 minutes until it is no pink anymore.  Add the onions and cook for about 4 minutes until it starts getting translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the zucchini and cook until tender (about 8 minutes).

Cook the ramen as per the package instructions and once is drained, coat with a teaspoon of sesame oil.  Set aside.

In a bowl add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, and sugar and mix well until all is well combined.

Add the sauce into the pork/veggie mixture together with cilantro and green onion.  Let the sauce get hot (2 minutes) and add the ramen noodles. Combine well and serve with a some green onions (the green part) on top.

Enjoy.  You are very welcome.

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