Follow Your Heart

The problem with humanity nowadays is that people think they can be happy by observing what makes other people happy. They think they can be spiritual by observing how other people be spiritual. They think they can fall in love by observing how other relationships work. They think they can be successful watching how other people rise to success.

This is all wrong. There is no universal set of rules that we all have to follow. There is nothing, as a human race, we know for sure. All we can really know for sure is what we feel inside of us. We are all different and we all work in different ways! If you want to be happy, spiritual, in love, successful, you can't go chasing it. Everything lies inside of you. We are all on individual paths; and what lies inside the person next to you is completely unique, and different from what lies inside of you.

The reason I am saying such a thing is simply because I'm in a transition part of my life. People are saying "Well you will do this, and that. And this is how things are, etc." They act like some things are inevitable, and because they experience something in life - it's bound to happen to me. I don't believe in that. I don't believe in following trends. Follow your heart, right?

I am spiritual, I am religious. Why? I believe in God. I have faith. But if a preacher, a book, a poet, yahoo answers, a friend, or whoever else tells me something about their spiritual beliefs, what am I supposed to do? Believe in it because they do? No. Our realities are all different. Everyone of all humanity is our brothers and sisters yet everyone is unique and has a different purpose. Not one fingerprint is alike. Not one soul is alike.

Just make sure you follow your heart. Because that is truly God's will.


Speeding Cars

I know they don't see it. Very few people do I guess. Not all things can be seen...but they can be felt. And I feel it. Slowly winding down for years...but staying strong. Proud. Waiting...waiting...waiting. Numb to rejection, confident enough to still believe. Wondering...wondering...wondering. What do I do wrong? Is it me or is it them? Or is it just fate? Perhaps it's one of those "never give up" situations. But until then I keep waiting...waiting...waiting.

Working...waiting...wondering...

Someday it will be me and I am not in a rush. Spirit is patient. I am grateful, yet I WILL NEVER REST.

The paper cuts, the cheating lovers, the coffee's never strong enough. I know you think it's more than just bad luck. There, there, baby, it's just textbook stuff. It's in the ABCs of growing up. I've watched you slowly winding down for years, you can't keep on like this... -Speeding Cars, Imogen Heap

Buffalo Quinoa Bites

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 can chickpeas 
1/4 cup of buffalo/hot sauce
1 egg or egg substitute
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (spicy or regular)
salt and pepper
vegetable olive (for frying)

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups of quinoa. At the same time in another saucepan, cook 1 can chickpeas with juice. They should be done at about the same time.
  2. Add the chickpeas in a large bowl, and smash them with a spoon so you have a nice, thick consistency. Add quinoa.
  3. Now you can add the bread crumbs. I used a mixture of spicy and regular bread crumbs, but it is entirely up to you. Add a dash of salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of buffalo sauce or hot sauce. Add egg and mix all together.
  4. Now, with you hands, pick the mixture up and make it into small patties. I will tell you right now they won't hold together perfectly but it will work enough to make patties. 
  5. Heat oil over medium heat. Add 2-4 patties at a time. Use tongs to flip them to the other side. These are small and cook really fast so make sure you check each side to make sure you're not burning them.
  6. Set on paper towels to drain, and repeat until all patties are gone. You now have buffalo quinoa bites! 

Vegan "Chick-fil-a" Sandwiches!

When people find out I'm a vegetarian, they tend to ask me, "don't you miss chicken?" Quite honestly, I don't. But I do miss chick-fil-a. So why not make vegan chick-fil-a sandwiches? My whole family loved them! Heres what you'll need:

4 vegan chicken cutlets (try gardein chick'n scallopini, can find it at giant eagle or whole foods)
3/4 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
1/4 cup pickle juice
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dry mustard
2 tbsp powdered sugar
3 cups vegetable oil (for frying)
4 buns
pickle chips

  1. Defrost chicken cutlets.
  2. Get two bowls, one small and one medium sized. In the small bowl combine the milk and pickle juice. Set aside.
  3. In the large bowl combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, dry mustard, and powdered sugar. Set aside.
  4. Warm oil in a frying pan on medium heat.
  5. Dip chicken cutlet in the milk/pickle juice combination and make sure you coat all sides.
  6. Then, dip the chicken cutlet in the flour mixture. Generously coat.
  7. Place chicken cutlet in the frying pan using a pair of tongs, cooking time varies. Took me eight minutes per cutlet, wait until golden brown.
  8. Place on paper towel to drain.
  9. Place on a bun, add pickles, and enjoy!

Holidays

I've been thinking about the holidays lately - with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all within one month of each other and Valentines Day and Easter around the corner, why not?

I LOVE the holidays. I am that one person who bakes like crazy, wears a festive outfit, sings songs, and makes crafts for every holiday. I am also that one person who walks into Target and has a panic attack looking at holiday themed trinkets. I think the holidays are a perfect time to remind us to celebrate life and stop and smell the roses. It reminds us to spend time with the people we love. It reminds us of what REALLY matters in life.

So here I am, thinking about the symbolic meanings of each holiday and they are all quite similar: praise God, be thankful, love the ones around you, take pride in your people and your country, and so on. But then a metaphorical bell rang above my head. The symbolic meanings behind holidays should be apart of us everyday.

If you are apart of a religion, you should praise God daily! God should be apart of your daily life. That doesn't mean living at church, praying five times a day and memorizing the bible but that means keeping God in mind at all times. Thanksgiving gives us an excuse to gain five pounds and take a few extra days off work, but we should be thankful for what we have all the time! I've learned it is very important to be grateful for what you have because the best things in life aren't things. And Valentines Day is the perfect day to give your significant other flowers and chocolates, but you shouldn't love someone just a few days of the year.

Valentines day is coming up, and I noticed that when I walked into Target and there was heart shaped candies, and cute crafty tupperware all around the store. I like festive decorations and gifts, so naturally, I was excited. My boyfriend Andrew was laughing because I literally was freaking out at the sight of V-day baking materials, and a super cute "I love you a latte!" coffee mug. We both love Valentines Day because we are always enthusiastic about every single holiday but then we realized it. Everyday is valentines day. I always surprise him with coffee and he surprises me with soup. We always spend time together, compliments and sweet talk is apart of normal conversation and romance is apart of every single day. Valentines Day just gives humanity a wake up call, just as every holiday does!

This past Christmas I didn't tell anyone what I wanted because I think there's no element of surprise or thought into it then. It's all about I WANT, money, and tradition. I wanted my mom to go shopping and think, "Aw, Maria would want this because she's always liked ____." I wanted people to see things and think, "This reminds me of Maria! I must get this." Instead of: "Maria put this on her shopping list. Let me search every store in town for it." When I opened my presents from family and friends, I loved every single one because it came from the heart. They actually put thought into it and that meant a whole lot to me. And out of all the presents my family got me, I only returned one! (they were generic Ugg boots, haha.)

I realize we are all human and we can't always be thankful, always please our loved ones, and always be a saint.

But, we can try.

Happy holidays to you all, and have a great 2014.

Love, Maria Elena