My next door neighbor is from Mexico and gave me a new (new to me anyway) way to make enchiladas. I have to say they are some of the best enchiladas I’ve made. I don’t think I’m going back to my old ways.

Here’s the recipe:

5 dried guajillo chiles (here are some for sale on Amazon: Don Enrique Guajillo Dried Chiles, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4))

1 or 2 cloves of garlic

A dash of salt

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

1 – 2 tablespoons of sour cream (or more if you like your enchilada sauce creamier)

Your favorite enchilada meat filling

Your favorite cheese (my neighbor recommended cojito or queso fresco)

Your favorite tortillas


  1. Take the stems off the chiles and empty out the seeds
  2. Place the dried chiles in a pot of boiling water and let them boil for about 10 minutes until they are soft
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  4. While the chiles are boiling cook your favorite meat (I found some pork that was pre-marinated with taco seasonings).
  5. When the chiles are soft, place them in a blender or food processor with about a cup of the water you used to boil the chiles in. More water = thinner sauce, so if you like your enchilada sauce thicker don’t put as much water. Blend for about 5 minute or until smooth. Add sugar and sour cream and blend for about 30 seconds
  6. If you have a mesh strainer or a colander I would try to strain the sauce as much as possible. I didn’t do this and it still turned out just fine, but the sauce wasn’t as smooth as and had some pieces of the chile skin.
  7. Now comes the messy part! Put a couple of tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and let it heat up. Then dip your tortilla in the enchilada sauce and place it in the hot frying pan. Once it looks like the tortilla is bubbling up, flip it over and let it sit in the pan until the other side starts bubbling up.
  8. Put some meat and cheese in the enchilada and roll it up.
  9. Place it in a baking dish. Once your baking dish is full of yummy enchiladas place it in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling.

The sauce I made was only enough for about 4 or 5 enchiladas using pretty small tortillas, so if you want to make more sauce, thin it out with more water or use more chiles. My neighbor also recommended frying the tortillas first and then dipping them. She says she’s done it both ways. Either way I’m sure its delicious.



Luke is here!

The story of Luke’s birth begins at about the point when I was 35 weeks along. The night before 35 week appointment I had some pretty regular and painful contractions and it felt like he had “dropped”. I told my doctor and she checked to see how far along I was. I was dilated to 1 cm, which didn’t mean much — either he could come the next day or it could be a few more weeks! At every check up after 35 weeks I was dilating more and more but he was pretty comfy inside me until his due date! I had an appointment on my actual due date (March 20th) and I was 3 cm dilated. That night I started having contractions that were really painful and they just kept coming. I was timing them with an app on my phone and they were getting closer together. They started at about 11pm that night and finally at 2:30am I couldn’t take it any more and told David through clenched teeth and a few “damn its” that we needed to go to the hospital. Luckily Max was spending the night at my parents house that night so I didn’t wake him up with my yelling, otherwise he probably would have been really freaked out.

We got to the hospital and after filling out what seemed like way too many forms and listening to a nurse ramble on about random stuff I don’t remember we finally got settled in my room. I had a nurse named Ute who was from Germany and was awesome. She was really positive (who is positive at 3 in the morning? Not me.) and encouraging. I avoided getting an epidural as long as possible and I didn’t feel any pressure from anyone about getting one. I did get some Fentanyl which helped me get through the contractions, but didn’t restrict me to lying on my bed. At around 5:30am the nurse checked me and I was 7cm dilated. They started prepping the room for delivery at that point and called my doctor to come to the hospital. I thought for sure this little guy was going to come in the next few hours but for some reason I got stuck at 8cm for 2 hours! Finally, my doctor didn’t want to wait any longer and wanted to get things moving along so she suggested giving me pitocin. Based on my experience with Max, I didn’t want to deal with that without an epidural, so I requested one and they scrambled around looking for the anesthesiologist who could give me one and after getting the epidural they gave me some pitocin. The nurses switched at 7:30 and my new nurse was more direct and more of a “let’s get down to business” type of nurse. She seemed bugged that I hadn’t wanted to get an epidural sooner.

Finally somewhere between 9:30 and 10 I was ready to push. Even though I had an epidural I was still able to feel the pressure from the contractions and push. On March 21st at 10:25am Luke arrived! My parents and Max arrived in the afternoon to meet the little guy. Max was really sweet with him and wanted to hold him. Max has been a great big brother the past few weeks. He is very gentle with Luke and always wants to hold him.

A few days after Luke was born both Max and David came down with a cold and a cough. Perfect timing, right? One night I was up with Luke changing his diaper (which while I was in the process of doing he peed all over me — awesome) and Max came in our room crying and coughing and having trouble breathing. David woke up of course and Max just kept wheezing. He took Max into the bathroom and turned on the shower to get some steam going hoping to open up Max’s airways. Max eventually calmed down, but it took him awhile before he could breathe normally again. I took Luke and Max to the doctor’s office the next day and told the pediatrician that it sounded to my like Max had croup. She prescribed some steroids for him to take that night and I borrowed a humidifier. He was fine that night and eventually got better. Needless to say it wasn’t the easiest start to having a new little one in our lives!

Since Max was sick the first little while the Luke was here I had Max use some hand sanitizer before he held Luke. He called it “hanitizer”. Such a funny kid!

Luke so far has been an awesome little guy. He just eats and sleeps and when he’s awake he’s a pretty calm. If he’s upset the pacifier usually does the trick to calm him down. I sure hope he stays this way! I now can see why some people love newborns and this phase of life. I just love snuggling with this guy. We are so happy to have him in our family and I am SO happy to not be pregnant anymore.

Welcome little Luke!

The (almost) new kid on the block

Well, Max will officially be a big brother here in a little over 6 weeks, (less than that if I’m lucky!). So far this pregnancy has been similar, but not exactly the same as with Max.

Things that are different:

1. This kid kicks me like crazy. I remember Max moving, but not like this. It feels like he is constantly moving around.

2. I’ve felt contractions a lot earlier. In the middle of January it seemed like they were happening every day. They were pretty uncomfortable. I noticed they were worse on the days that Max and I just couldn’t get along.

3. I’ve definitely had a shorter temper with Max lately — which I feel bad about. The poor guy probably doesn’t know whats coming. We try to talk to him about how a new baby is going to come live with us. Who knows how much of it is actually sinking in though — he claims he’s going to change diapers!

4. I’ve been less concerned about the foods I’m not supposed to eat (soft cheeses, pretty sure I’ve had a lick or two of raw cookie dough, we got sushi one night!). Meh — that’s what happens with the second kid right?

5. The first trimester I felt a lot sicker. I’m sure part of it has to do with the fact that I had a little toddler jumping on me all the time. I ate some bad Thai food one night and almost passed out the next morning. Not good.

6. This time around I haven’t missed sleeping on my stomach as much as the first time.

Things I’m going to differently with this little guy:

1. Sidecar our crib I’m hoping this will work out. We’ll see. With Max, we had a bassinet which worked fine, but I had to bend down and pull him out of the bassinet, which doesn’t sound like a lot of work, but when it’s 3am and you’re exhausted, reducing any and all effort to nurse/change diapers/whatever else happens with newborns at 3am makes a difference.

2. A better bed time routine earlier on. With Max we were pretty easy-going with his schedule — he didn’t have a regular bedtime for a long time. I think he might have slept better if we had gotten a routine down with him earlier. Since Max already has a bedtime routine, hopefully having a routine for this kid will be easier.

I’m excited to meet this little guy and excited to be able to bend down and put my shoes on again!

Max is 3!

Ok, well I lied. It hasn’t been quite six months since my last post but close enough.

Some fun things about Max at age 3:

1. He still loves his airplanes and has amassed quite a collection of them. He never seems to tire of playing with them either. He loves pretending to make them fly to far off places. Sometimes they just fly to San Francisco though.

2. He has quite the vocabulary. Sometimes he says things that I know I didn’t teach him — where does he come up with this stuff? The other day he said the phrase “What a piece of junk!” Which leads me to my next point…

3. He is obsessed with Star Wars right now (which I think is where he learned the phrase mentioned in the previous point). He asks to watch it every day and loves to play with his “light sabers” (also known as glow stick bracelets).

4. He is generally a good kid, but now that he has a bigger vocabulary I think he’s realized he doesn’t always have to do what I ask him to do. That makes life difficult. In his defense, though, we have another kid on the way, so I think that has thrown a wrench into his lifestyle whether he realizes it or not.

5. Hallelujah he is potty trained (mostly, we still have accidents every now and then). We tried potty training during the summer for a week and it wasn’t going so well. Then morning sickness hit me and I decided I didn’t want to be cleaning up poop and pee and on the verge of barfing at the same time so we took a break. Towards the end of September he decided one day that he wanted to wear big boy underwear and this time around things went a lot easier. Let’s hope things don’t change too much when this next baby comes! I’m preparing myself for the worst — I’ve heard lots of kids regress when a new baby comes along.

6. My sister had a baby in October and Max is really sweet with Henry his new cousin. He gets really worried when Henry starts crying and wants to help him be happy. I hope he’s like that with his brother (oh yeah, we are having another boy, woo hoo!).

7. He is a great little helper. If he sees me in the kitchen doing dishes or sweeping the floor he always asks to help. Sometimes he wants things cleaner than I do!

We love Max! He is generally the sweetest little boy and gives the best hugs and kisses.

Well, this is embarassing!

How has it been 6+ months since my last post? I guess I haven’t had much to say lately. Remember this post? If you don’t, just scroll down two posts and you’ll find it. Yes, apparently I don’t post very regularly. I really want to go back to Europe. I can’t believe that was a year ago. I just wish it wasn’t so dang expensive and didn’t take so long to get there!

That is all. You probably won’t see (read?) me again for another 6+ months.

Max is 2 (plus a couple of months)!

Well, this post is long overdue, but seeing how I hardly ever update my blog, I’m not surprised it’s taken me this long to write it.

Some cute things about Max at age 2(+2 months)

  • He loves to read books — a few times I’ve caught him in his room sitting on his “pouf” (a lovesac/beanbag chair) “reading” books. His favorite books right now are the ones he can “read” or the ones he basically has memorized. The Gruffalo, My Truck is Stuck, Planes are a few of his favorites
  • Along with reading books, Max is obsessed with a few of the Disney movies. The Toy Story movies were his favorite for a long time. We took him to Disneyland at the height of his Buzz Lightyear obsession a few months ago and it was so fun! I think he was a little shell-shocked on most of the rides but he had a good time. He’s now moved on to the most recent Winnie the Pooh movie and asks to watch it every day. If I say no to watching Winnie the Pooh, he asks if he can watch Woody Buzz  which means he wants to watch a Toy Story movie. Lately he’s taken a liking to The Lion King as well. He calls Mufasa, “Musasa” and Scar, “Scarf”. It’s pretty hilarious. And he loves to make lion sounds
  • He loves all things airplanes — he loves making airplane sounds, looking for airplanes in the sky, watching the airplanes take off at the airport and going to the airplane museum.
  • We put up our Christmas tree a few weeks before Christmas and Max LOVED it. He was so excited and asked me many times to turn on the Christmas lights on the tree because he loved them so much.
  • One night Max was jumping on the couch and I said “Max, you’re driving me crazy!”. He immediately stopped, came over, said “Mommy hugs”, and gave me a hug. It was super cute.

Overall, Max is a pretty mellow, easy-going kid. He has his “terrible two” moments, but more often than not he’s an obedient kid and loves his airplanes. We love Max!

Why America has an obesity problem (or what I learned from my European vacation)

I just returned from a 2 week vacation to Italy, Switzerland and France, as in, I’m still experiencing jet-lag and don’t know if I’ll make it through this post without falling asleep a few times. My husband and I took off without our little Maximizer (our almost 2 year old son) and spent an amazing time touring museums, relaxing  at lakes and exploring the best of what Europe has to offer. Jealous yet? If you have the time, money and babysitting available, which probably requires nothing short of a miracle, then you should take a vacation like this at least once in your life. It was awesome.

Aside from all the touristy, fun stuff, we of course sampled all the delicious food in each of the respective countries. And it was delicious — think of the best Italian (or French) restaurant you’ve ever been to and multiple that by 10. Not every place we went to was spectacular, but thanks to tripadvisor.com, more often than not we were able to find some really good places to eat. As we ate our way through the various countries, I came to the realization that Americans do not know how to eat! I mean, physically of course they do, but Americans (myself included) have got it all wrong when it comes to preparing, eating and enjoying food.

In every country we went to, we had to make sure we ate at the right time, otherwise we might end up being hungry until the next meal. One time we showed up at restaurant at 2:30 pm and they turned us away because they were closed for lunch. We showed up at another restaurant at 7pm and we were the only ones there. The restaurant didn’t start getting full until we were about to leave at 8:15pm! We went to another restaurant at 6pm, waited around until about 7pm (we were tired and needed to give our feet a rest!) and ending up leaving because we had no idea when it was supposed to open. I realize a lot of restaurants in America are like this too, (except for maybe the later dinner time) but usually if I need to eat something at an odd time I can just go find the nearest McDonalds/Wendy’s/In-n-Out and satisfy my hunger. In some of the places we stayed the nearest McDonalds was the next town over (shocking, I know) and on top of that, we weren’t going to waste a precious European meal on the same junk food we can get in America. And honestly, if I was Italian, Swiss or French I don’t think I’d want to waste my money on such junky food anyway!

In every restaurant we went to, free refills were non-existent. If we wanted more to drink, we had to pay for another can of soda or a bottle of water. I found myself choosing to drink more water , mostly because it was the cheaper option. You could get a liter of mineral water for the same price as a 200 or 300ml can of soda. I’d rather have enough water to last me the whole meal than only enough soda to get me through the appetizers!

Another thing I loved about the restaurants we went to was that the waiter/waitress didn’t bring the bill unless we asked for it. We could sit and digest our meal for as long as we wanted without being shoved out the door or feeling rushed to leave. Instead of shoveling food into our mouths and rushing onto the next thing, we found ourselves lingering a little longer at the table and finishing our conversation or just people watching. I felt more relaxed (I’m sure part of that was due to the fact that I didn’t have our little guy making demands every five minutes!).

In Paris, they have bike stations all over the city. For 1,70€ you could get a 24-hour pass and have access to any one of the hundreds of bikes in these stations across the city. You couldn’t go a few blocks without finding one of these bike stations. On our last day in Paris, we bought a couple of the passes and had a blast weaving our way through the traffic and getting an amazing view of the city that you couldn’t get in a car or on the metro.

So what does this have to do with obesity in America? Well, Italy, Switzerland and France have an obesity rate of 10.3%, 8.1% and 11.2% respectively. The obesity rate in America is a whopping 33.8%. I think we have a lot to learn from how the Italians, Swiss and French eat.

For one, eating meals at regular times helps keep your metabolism stable, which prevents overeating. Based on my experience in Europe, to prevent being starving at 3 in the afternoon we had to make sure we ate at regular times.

Drinking soda is bad for you. The fact that we had to pay for every can of soda limited the amount of soda we consumed. Free refills is probably one of the worst inventions in the restaurant industry.

Exercise is good for you. The day we decided to use the bikes in Paris instead of the metro was so much fun! We rode our bikes to the Louvre first thing in the morning and after our bike ride I felt energized and excited to see all the amazing artwork, instead of groggy and still sleepy (our bed wasn’t that great in Paris). I love that the city of Paris has found a simple and great way to promote exercise!

Our trip was amazing. If you’ve never been to Europe before, GO! You will not regret it.

Paella in Paris