Posts tagged Mexican
Strainer Things

You know what's more bone-chilling than the upside down? The magical world of online dating. My partner and I met in the fall of 2015 when I was weirdly optimistic about signing up for bad dates again. I was in a...uh...transitional time in my life and dating apps were a distraction from the reconstruction of my life. I didn't think much when I swiped away, but Ryan was my very first match of my very first dating app, and the rest is pretty much history.

But this post isn't about the love that eventually blossomed from that day. It's about the people who have enriched my life by the way they surround themselves with love and authenticity. This post is about Ryan's parents, Pam and David Strain.

I remember the first night that Ryan told me his mother wanted to meet me. I nearly had a panic attack. I was rebuilding my life and felt mostly like a failure. I was fresh out of a horrific relationship and lacked confidence in general. My mental health was all over the place and I was not sure I'd be able to make a good impression. However, Pam and David were very welcoming and truly charming.

I could go on and on about Pam's boisterous laugh and the joy she gets when she is surrounded by family. She has the brightest smile, coolest glasses, and checks in with all of us to make sure we're staying politically aware. WOKE AF! She got us Beto for Texas signs for Christmas for crying out loud! YES! She is smart and opinionated and crafty. And she is an organizing badass. She makes sure every birthday dinner and family trip cultivates joy in everybody. Plus...she makes sure I have vegan dessert when we gather. VEGAN. DESSERT.

David is just as inspiring. He lives for authenticity. He wants to know the story behind everything. I could listen to him talk for hours about the origins of a certain wine or the way a spice is harvested. He loves his granddaughters so much and shows them how to be fearless, inquisitive, and self reliant. He raised his children to be accepting, genuine, independent, and imaginative. Plus, he truly gives the greatest hugs.

Tonight's dinner is all about them. Pam recently told us that her perfect meal was a bowl of pinto beans with fresh pico de gallo and a slice of cornbread. Well, if that simplicity isn't the most satisfying meal, I don't know what is. And, because, David expects nothing less than the ultimate flavor, I made sure to pack the spice. I used his three favorite peppers throughout the meal. Jalapenos, serranos, and habaneros. Let's go!

Spicy pinto beans with avocado and pico de gallo; jalapeno cheddar cornbread

Spicy pinto beans with avocado and pico de gallo; jalapeno cheddar cornbread

I don't have a recipe for the pinto beans. They were pretty much borracho beans, though. I started with a large yellow onion sauteed in vegetable oil with garlic, 2 sliced serranos, and 2 habaneros that have been poked to let the spice seep through . Add salt to draw the water out of the onions. Cook until translucent and some bits are brown. Add rinsed and picked over pinto beans and 6ish cups of water. Add some oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Bring to a boil before lowering to a simmer. Simmer for about an hour or until the water is about 1/4 inch above the beans. Add a scoop of Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base, a tall can of beer (if ya like), and some salt. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.


I decided to add even more spice and did some jalapeno cheddar cornbread. It's just a modification of my own cornbread recipe. Fair warning: I prefer cakey, sweet cornbread. For the cheese, I went with So Delicious cheddar shreds.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Serves 9

Prep Time: 5 minutes    Bake Time: 45-50 minutes


  • 1 ½ cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 Tbsp pickled jalapeno juice
  • ½ cup non-dairy yogurt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp chopped pickled jalapenos
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy cheddar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 9 pickled jalapeno slices

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x9 inch  cake pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl combine the milk and jalapeno juice.  Whisk in the yogurt, oil, and sugar until combined. Sift in the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.  Stir until just combined. Fold in the chopped jalapeno and cheese. Pour the mixture into the cake pan. Sprinkle with more cheese and evenly place jalapeno slices on top of batter

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top looks dry and golden brown.

Jalapeno cheddar cornbread

Jalapeno cheddar cornbread

This was seriously the best meal I've had all week. It was filling, non fussy, and warming to the belly. It made me feel satisfied. So good!

Finally, I just want to thank Pam and David for the family they have created. I've learned so much from everybody in the past 3 years. I'm thankful that David got me to be more mindful of living in experiences and seeking out knowledge. Whether it's unexpected shots of tequila w/ habanero juice on a chilly Colorado night or learning all the secrets of green lacewings being unleashed upon a garden. And I'm so thankful that Pam taught me that it's okay to break the rules every once in the while. It's okay to play in the dirt and laugh with your whole body and be unashamed.

Thank you for everything.

And, thank YOU for reading another inspiration week post. Stay tuned for tomorrow's culmination of the week of love. Happy blogging!

Solid as a Rock

How I met Michele is as magical as our friendship. I had been living in the Coachella Valley for a couple of years and had not made a single friend since moving from Texas. At the time, it was just painfully awkward for me to create friendships. I never felt cool enough and was suffering from a lot of social anxiety, which made personal interaction seem like an obstacle too hard to conquer.

One semester, I decided to take a geology class at a local community college. In walks this cool looking woman who sat in the back row with me. I might have muttered a passing "Hi" but I almost immediately knew I wanted to be friends. It took several weeks for me to attempt a conversation, but I thought Michele was pretty cool. Always talking to other classmates about her love of science and she was really great at geology.

Michele once packed me fruit cups with a bag of Tajin for my road trip back home to Texas. She's basically the best. Here's to Michele and salty, spicy, fruity good ness!

Michele once packed me fruit cups with a bag of Tajin for my road trip back home to Texas. She's basically the best. Here's to Michele and salty, spicy, fruity good ness!

The first time I talked to Michele was when I saw her wearing a vegetable shirt and I asked if she was a vegetarian. When she told me yes, I got super animated, and that's when the friendship began. When the semester was nearly over, I nervously invited her to a Festivus party and was delighted when she showed up. We've been great friends ever since.

From rainy mornings on San Diego beaches to Whedon Wednesdays to grocery trips when I was rocking a back brace, we have had some magnificent adventures together. Michele has seen me at my best and worst, and loved me no matter what. She is the type of friend I turn to when I want a real answer with no filter. I trust her entirely and she has made me a better intellect, a better feminist, and a better friend. I love her with my whole heart.

Today's MoFo is inspired by Michele's love of spice. She loves adding hot sauce to things, putting Tajin on fruit and adding a bit of chile to her esquites. Here in San Antonio, we just call 'em corn cups, and they are mighty delicious bowls of creamy, spicy goodness. And a friggin' food cart institution. Let's DO THIS!


Serves 2-4

Prep Time: 5 Minutes  Cook Time: 5-7 minutes

  • 4 ears corn, shucked
  • 4 Tbsp non-dairy margarine
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan
  • ¼ cup non-dairy mayo
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, optional
  • 1 tsp lime zest, optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • Chipotle chile powder
  • Hot sauce, optional

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the corn and boil for around 5 minutes, until tender. Corn should give a bit but still have that fresh, crunchy pop.

While corn is boiling, prepare dressing ingredients. In a large bowl, add the margarine, parmesan, mayo, nutritional yeast, and lime zest together. When the corn is ready, cut the kernels off of the cob and into the large bowl.

Stir everything together until thoroughly mixed. Portion off (2 servings as a main, 4 portions as a side). Serve with lime wedge, chile, and hot sauce to taste.

Sexy chipotle powdered dusted atop a cup made of corn and mayo and love

Sexy chipotle powdered dusted atop a cup made of corn and mayo and love

Straight up, lime zest isn't a thing in most corn cups. However, I really love lime with chipotle and it does brighten up the citrus a tiny bit. For the parm, I used Violife, but there are so many brands out on the market now. Plus, tons of recipes for you to use. I also like nooch in mine because I'm weirdly obsessed with it and it adds to the flavor. Super easy and delicious snack for when you want to pretend like you're hunting down deals at the Poteet flea market on Sunday. Don't forget to grab an agua de jamaica on the way home!

That's all for now! Happy MoFoing!