kruizing with kikukat

Monday, May 5, 2014


Happy Cinqo de Mayo!

How are YOU celebrating?

My family is definitely not big on Mexican food, so there will be no trip to the taqueria.  Tequila and I don't really get along either, thanks to a bad experience in Salem, OR, of all places.  One weekend, I took the Amtrak and went to Salem to visit my then-bf.  My then-bf and his friends decided to drink before going to the movies.  I wasn't planning to drink, but it was cold, and I thought that a tequila sunrise would surely make me feel warmer.  It did that and more!  It sent me to the Devil's abode and I ended up praying to the porcelain god for the rest of the evening.  I never made it to the movies, and I'm sure my gut was on fire all weekend.  Euwwww.

Shortly after the tequila sunrise disaster, I moved off-campus to a new apartment complex on Ninth Avenue NE.  As luck would have it, my apartment was located across the street from a Mexican restaurant, Aurora's.  While I frequented the restaurant for snacks and meals (the chilaquiles were the best), I steered clear of any margarita or Jose Cuervo shot special.  Living across the street from a Mexican restaurant made for easy Cinqo de Mayo celebrations.  Most people spent a long time jousting for parking, but all I had to do was walk across the street (and it was a one-way street too!).  And like all other Mexican restaurants, Aurora's provided tortilla chips and salsa for munching while waiting for your food order. 

I think the "starving college student" image lends itself well to the typical dorm room snack, tortilla chips and salsa.  A jar of salsa and a bag of chips are easy to bring to parties, although I really wasn't a huge fan of salsa while in college.  Aurora's indulgences notwithstanding, I seldom ate chips and salsa when left to fend for myself.  Salsa just didn't taste right.

I converted years later when I attended a work meeting in Honolulu.  A coworker brought a tub of salsa to the meeting, and nobody could get enough.  It was so good.  It was nothing like the stuff in the jar!  She was more than willing to share the recipe, and with that good will, I've been sharing it ever since.  Every time I've brought the salsa to an event, someone has requested the recipe. . .it never fails.  I have seen variations of the recipe in cookbooks, but I always stick to the original recipe.

click on recipe title for printable recipa

     2 cans (14-15 oz each) stewed tomatoes*
     1 can chopped olives
     8 oz fat-free Italian dressing
     1 onion, chopped
     1 bell pepper, chopped
     1/2 bunch cilantro, minced
     few sprigs of green onion, chopped
     dash of sugar
     dash of oregano, crumbled
     dash of garlic salt

Drain stewed tomatoes.  Chop and place in a medium non-reactive bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Chill at least 2 hours before serving.

*One of the cans can be Italian style, but do not use Italian style stewed tomatoes for both cans. 

If you have any salsa leftover (all you need is a cup), consider making this soup.  Fellow blogger Karen Loase's recipe for Black Bean Soup is a winner! Go to the second helpings blog and make the soup.

On Friday, our school made the local news.  Unfortunately it was due to a large "affray" which occurred just after school ended.   I did not witness any part of it, although D1 and my cousin both shared bits and pieces of what they had witnessed.  When I went to the office, an hour after the melee, there were police, students, and school personnel congregating in the area of the administration office.  I never saw anything like this in all my years as a teacher, so this was a first!  According to the anecdotes shared with me, police, school security, administrators and custodians all had to work to restore order and control the fighters.  Some adults were thrown to the ground.  This entire episode saddens me, as our school has always had a reputation of being accepting and tolerant of differences. 

It was a year ago when I was given the wonderful opportunity to return, to do a better job than I did the first time around.  I still feel this school is the best place to work and to learn, no matter what any stinking state audit says.  Even in the wake of Friday's fracas, I have no regrets in coming back.  I am  grateful to those who made it happen, and I know we will bounce back.
It may not look like much, but it IS home.  Hooray for second chances!

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