milk and honey

milk and honey by rupi kaur

This is one of those books that everyone has heard about even if they haven’t read it yet. It looks like a book but it is a collection of poems and prose’ and actually became a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

Without giving so many details away, the book is about hurt, love, loss, and healing. It discusses personal experiences and emotions that each and every one of us can relate to. Whether it is abuse, neglect, pain, heartache, betrayal, happiness, confidence, femininity, adornment, it is something I would highly recommend everyone to read at least once in their life.

It may make you cry, it may make you take a few moments to meditate on and it may make you blush but if you are open minded to reading a real and raw type of book, this book is for you.

If you have Amazon Prime, you may be able to download it free of charge and if you are like me and need the physical book, you can get a copy here.

Here is one of my favorite excerpts from milk and honey:

With love,

-R. Vargas

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan has always been my favorite go to at an Italian restaurant. I’ve always wanted to make it on my own but it’s one of those recipes that has always intimidated me. Recently I found this recipe of Martha Stewart’s online and decided to try it on my own with a little twist. I couldn’t believe how easy it was and how amazing it turned out!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can of Tomatoes, lightly pulse in a blender or food processor
  • 2 teaspoons of Salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Garlic Salt
  • 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (split down the middle) or chicken tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup of plain Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 pounds of fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

Directions:

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, the garlic, the crushed red pepper flakes and stir for about 30 seconds.

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Add the tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

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Lay the chicken breasts or tenderloins (I used tenderloins) on parchment paper or plastic wrap and season with some black pepper and a little garlic salt.
In a large prep pan, combine the breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Spread out to cover the whole bottom of the pan.

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Lay down as many chicken breasts or tenderloins as you can that will fit evenly. Make sure you season each side of the chicken and turn over completely coating both sides.

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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle 2 tablespoons of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and butter to coat the skillet.
Add some of the chicken and cook until golden.

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Remove and repeat process for the remaining chicken, adding a little oil and butter to the skillet as needed.
While the chicken is cooling, preheat your oven to 400°F and spoon some of your tomato sauce into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Layer the pieces of chicken and top with your sliced Mozzarella. Spoon over 1 1/4 cups of the tomato sauce and then sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.

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Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

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I also boiled spaghetti pasta to serve on the side with the remainder of my tomato sauce. So easy and delicious!

From my kitchen to yours,

-R. Vargas

#26

4/19/18

11:00 am
Helser’s on Alberta

Each trip I take, I think to myself, “Will this be my last?”
If so, I’m grateful for my years of freedom, for exploring, for my health and financial stability to allow me to come and go on this specific trip. Someday it will all be gone and even more sudden, it could all be taken away.

Today I turn 26 and as I sit here in a cafe waiting for the special I ordered and listening to The Supremes come in through the speakers, I thank God for my 26 years of life and the privilege of being a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, and the most rewarding of them all, being an aunt.

I’m a few months away from taking on a new role as a wife and my life and my freedom as a single woman will change. Everything will change.
Maybe this will be my last trip as a single woman but maybe not my last trip period.

– Rocio A. Vargas

Four Generations

The engagement ring that I now wear has been passed down from generation to generation in my family.
It belonged to my great grandmother and a few months before Javier and I got engaged, the ring was passed down to me.

This ring is from the early 1940’s so when it was given to me, it was not in the best condition. It needed to be repaired and adjusted in more than one way but to know that I was trusted with this ring meant everything to me.
A ring is just a ring but to know that the generation of women who wore it before me stayed with their husbands until death, it’s very heavy.

When I received this ring, I knew this was the ring I wanted to wear throughout my marriage.
Prior to the engagement, Javier had the engagement ring and wedding band repaired, resized, added diamonds, polished and cleaned for the proposal.
I had only saw the rings in the original state so when Javier proposed, I was mesmerized at how beautiful the rings turned out to be.

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I look down at my ring and think of the dedication and hard work the women who wore it before me put into their marriage and how their examples have shown me the  capable wife I can and will become.

“Who can find a capable wife?
Her value is far more than that of corals.
Her husband trusts her from his heart,
And
he lacks nothing of value.
She rewards him with good, not bad,
All the days of her life.”

– Proverbs 31:10-12

With love,

– R. Vargas

Our One Year Anniversary

Earlier this month, Javier and I celebrated our one year anniversary and it was the most thoughtful and considerate date Javier has ever planned for us.

Once I walked inside his house, he had me close my eyes and led me outside where a candlelit table was waiting for us.

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Once I sat down, Javier served me steak and asparagus that he cooked specifically for this occasion.

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We talked and enjoyed each others company and ate our delicious meal and then Javier excused himself to go to the bathroom.
When he came back he brought out a card and told me that what it contained came from a letter he wrote three years ago but was not able to share it with me at the time because the time was not right. (I will continue this story in another post.)

I reached out for the card to read but he told me he would like to read it to me. It was the loveliest card he had ever wrote to me and even though I would like to keep what it said private, the words were strong enough to make someone cry.

When he was finished reading, I stood up to give him a hug and as we embraced I felt Javier shift and reach in his pocket and watched as he kneeled down and said, “Rocio, will you marry me?”

I smiled but was in shock as I looked at the ring in the box. When he stood up to place the ring on my finger, I said very loudly, “FINALLY!”
It has taken so long to get to this point in our lives but we are here.
We are engaged!

As we embraced, we heard loud screaming from behind the fence that startled us both and all at once we saw someone fall over the fence and two others walk through the gate. Once they got closer to the light, I realized it was Javier’s brother and two best friends.

Apparently Javier had planned for our best friends to celebrate with us after he proposed. He made a huge dinner and invited them over to sneak in the house while him and I had dinner in his backyard. His best friends apparently couldn’t wait and snuck outside behind the fence and recorded Javier reading that card to me and proposing.
After we all went inside, I was greeted by my best friends with balloons, cake, bottles, gifts and bouquets.

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We all celebrated together before we made our announcement public and it was very nice to live in the moment and be surrounded by our loving and supportive best friends.
We received so much love and kind words after we finally announced our engagement and Javier and I are both so very fortunate and thankful for everyone who has taken time to congratulate us.

While I am a very private person, I will share a few posts in the next few weeks about our relationship and how far we have come together, how special my ring is, our wedding plan and how my life will be changing as I prepare to become a wife.

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We are beyond thankful for all the family, friends and even strangers that have been so kind and supportive of us as we plan for our future together.

Thank you for reading,

R. Vargas

Blueberry Loaf

love blueberries in my baked goods and I am so excited to share this recipe with you all.
Not only is it easy to prep and bake but it is delicious!

Instructions:

  • 1/2 cup of butter or margarine (softened)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 3/4 of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries

Note: Blueberries can be substituted for raspberries as well. If using frozen fruit, use without fully thawing to avoid discoloration of the batter. 

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar.
  2. Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine salt, flour and baking powder. Once combined, mix into creamed mixture.
  4. Gently fold in blueberries.
  5. Pour batter into 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and bake at 350 for 50 to 55 minutes.

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Enjoy and let me know if you try this recipe!

With love,

– R. Vargas

 

Homemade Pesto

If you’re anything like me, you love Pesto but have always been afraid to make it on your own.
I used store bought for years and finally caved and bought a basil plant a few weeks ago in an attempt to keep it growing and finally make Pesto from scratch.

It is incredibly easy and cheaper than store bought and you can even substitute the pine nuts for chopped walnuts since pine nuts aren’t very easy to find.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves (No stems)
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts or chopped walnuts
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese in a food processor or food chopper.

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Once everything is blended and combined, add salt & pepper to your liking.

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Store in jars and seal tight and keep in the fridge if you are storing for later or use as sauce for pastas, flatbreads, pizza, or toss in pasta!

With love,

-R. Vargas