Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Salsamole Recipe (Guacamole + Salsa)



I wanted to take a moment here on my little corner of the internet to share one of my favourite recipes with you. I call it Salsamole.

Salsamole came about by accident one day when I was planning on making guacamole but didn't mash the avocado before adding in the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and jalapeño pepper. The result was unmashed avocado pieces with finely diced pieces of everything else. And it was fantastic. I still haven't made my regular guacamole recipe since (which is pretty fantastic already, if I do say so myself).

This could really be done with any guacamole recipe that calls for pieces of other produce, but my recipe is actually from a random man in the international foods aisle at the Atlantic Superstore on Barrington in Halifax during the summer that I lived there. I was grocery shopping for my house with one of my housemates and we were searching for a guacamole powder that one girl told us existed and she wanted for the night that it was her turn to make supper. We were having absolutely no luck. Neither of us had ever heard of a guacamole powder before and the idea wasn't appetizing, but we searched nonetheless. In our third or fourth turn about the aisle, a man overhead us and cut in saying, "Oh no! You cannot make guacamole from powder, even if you do find it!" He then proceeded to tell us that he owns a Mexican restaurant and gave us the recipe that they use daily. I've tweaked it since then, but his simple instructions have always stuck with me: 3-4 avocados, one tomato, half a red onion, a small jalapeño pepper (insides scraped out), salt, and cilantro. That's it. And it was delicious.

My guacamole has since changed to include garlic (I love it, I do), pepper, cayenne pepper when I do not have a jalapeño pepper, a lime to keep the avocado green, and I scrape the insides of the tomato out too, so that it doesn't get so juicy. Keep on reading so you too can make yourself some Salsamole or guacamole - Sweet Spontaneity style.


Ingredients

  • 3-4 avocados, ripe, insides cut into cubes(ish)
  • 2 tomatoes, insides scraped, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, insides scraped, diced OR light sprinkling of cayenne pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled, finely diced OR garlic powder to taste
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp. cilantro
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Cut your avocado lengthwise, all the way around, twist to pull apart. If your avocado is perfectly ripe, the pit might fall right out, if not, remove the pit. Cut into the avocado lengthwise and widthwise to make a grid. Hold the avocado over the bowl, flesh side down, and push it out of the skin, into the bowl. You may require the use of a spoon to get it all out. Repeat until all avocados are used. **If you are making guacamole, this is where you should mash your avocado, or else you just might rediscover Salsamole yourself :)
  2. Cut your tomatoes in half, remove juices and seeds, then dice them. When I am making guacamole I like to dice everything super fine, but any size will do for Salsamole. The chunkier the better, at times. Add to bowl.
  3. Dice your red onion. The amount of onion can definitely be altered. I used to only use about 1/4 of an onion, and it was still super delicious. It's really all about personal preference here. My above comment about dicing still applies here, but sometimes it's nicer to keep onion pieces smaller, especially since it's raw. Add to bowl.
  4. Cut your lime in half and squeeze the juice from both sides into the bowl. 
  5. Add your form of garlic.
  6. Add your jalapeño pepper (insides removed and diced) OR cayenne pepper. You definitely do not need both. 
  7. Add cilantro, salt, and pepper. I skipped the salt last time and didn't notice, but some people swear by it.
  8. Mix it up and serve with your choice of chips, crackers, or bread. I typically use pita chips or corn chips.
I really like bringing this dish to get-togethers or to share at work. I also like using it as an appetizer while cooking supper with my roommate so we don't get too hungry on the nights we have to wait until later to start cooking. This would also be great to serve as a side dish for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or any other Mexican-inspired dishes.

Please let me know if you give this recipe a try! What is one of your favourite recipes to serve as an appetizer or snack?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Road Trip Recap: Edmonton, AB - October 3 - 5, 2014

A little while back I spent the weekend in Edmonton for a weekend-long bachelorette party. The bride had originally wanted a trip to Vegas, but since she went with Edmonton instead more of us were able to make it for the weekend. We rented a 15-seater van and made our way to Edmonton, where we had rented a little house not far from the West Edmonton Mall.

We planned a pretty chill first night, after 5+ hours of driving. We had about an hour to get ready after arriving and then we headed to the Red Piano at the West Edmonton Mall for dinner and an evening of entertainment. The Red Piano is a duelling piano bar where there are 5 hours straight of live musical entertainment, fuelled by song requests from the audience. While we were being thoroughly entertained by the musicians, whose pianos were located right in front of our table, the bride decided she wanted to ride the roller coaster at the mall in the morning - something she had never done before, because she is terrified of roller coasters.



The next day we got up and went straight to the West Edmonton Mall. Before splitting up to shop the day away, our whole group headed to the Galaxyland Amusement Park to ride the rollercoaster, complete with three loop-the-loops. We had a blast and after almost backing out, the bride did too.

To be honest, the timing of this trip wasn't the greatest for me in terms of finances, so I didn't get to go as crazy with the shopping as I would have hoped. I found a few things at H&M as well as Dynamite, but I didn't really let myself wander into too many other stores because I needed to practice restraint and I knew it would be about 100 times more difficult if I were to actually go into the stores. So, instead of wandering around this huge mall with no purpose, I went to the Cinzeo stand and got myself a delicious cinnamon bun and sat by the pirate ship to enjoy it while reading some of my current book, Beautiful Ruins, before joining one of my girlfriends while she continued to shop.



After shopping we all piled back into the van and headed to a group fitness class and then went back to the house to get ready for our night out. We did some of the very typical bachelorette party games and shared stories about the bride before our limo showed up to take us for a drive around Edmonton and then drop us off at the club for the night. We had a good group of girls and the entire night (and weekend) was a blast!

The next day we got up and ready to leave and were on the road again by 11:00. We stopped off in Lloydminster for lunch and then we were home. This was by far one of the best bachelorette parties that I have participated in, even though they're always fun in their own way. What kinds of bachelorette/stagette parties have you been a part of that you really enjoyed?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Finding the Bliss Amongst the Stress



The past couple of weeks have been extremely stressful for me. It just seemed like one thing after another came up on the heels of the last one and it didn't seem to be ending anytime soon. I'm not one to aim to avoid stress, it can actually be a very good thing for me, but it was just building up so much that I was definitely wishing it away.

I was downtown yesterday afternoon for an interview and afterwards I got myself a cup of coffee and let myself just enjoy the extremely beautiful fall (but more like summer) weather that Saskatoon has been experiencing lately. I wandered down to the river and sat down on a bench, taking in the sunshine mixed with the crunchy yellow and red leaves. I breathed in, I breathed out. I remembered just how blessed I am to live in such a beautiful city, and to have the opportunities I have. Maybe I have been stressed, but everything was still working out. The interview I had just been at went really well, I had the afternoon to do as I pleased, I ran into an old colleague on my way to the river, and I knew exactly what I needed to do to make a stressful situation a whole lot better very soon. I left the river feeling so much better, and ready to jump right back in to everything going on in my life right now. Sometimes you simply need to change your perspective and everything will turn out just fine.

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