Having grown up in Guatemala, my parents did not experience American cuisine until they moved to this country when they were in their mid-twenties. For most American dishes, my mother took the basic structure and idea of the meal, and made up what she believed was in it, or what she thought would make it taste right. Therefore, my own initial exposure to American food came in whatever form my mother adapted it. I generally don’t like traditional meatloaf because I have been spoiled by (and accustomed to) my mother’s meatloaf, filled with vegetables and flavor. I like to pair this version of meatloaf with even more vegetables on the side (here I roasted squash), but you can make mashed potatoes or rice if you’re looking for something different.
1 lb lean ground beef
3 cups collard greens (I also like to use spinach, kale, and chard)
1/2 cup diced white onion
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
Heat oven to 350F. In a saucepan, sauté onions and garlic with heated olive oil until onions are translucent. In a bowl mix salt, pepper, egg, and ground beef. Chop greens into small pieces and add to ground beef along with onions, garlic, bell pepper, and bread crumbs. Mix thoroughly.
Place mixture into a glass bread pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until meat is cooked through but still moist and juicy.
Let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with your favorite meatloaf side dish and enjoy.
Like many couples, James and I love taking weekend getaway trips. Living in Southern California means that most of the time these destinations are within a few hours’ drive. Here are some photos from a couple of our adventures in Southern California thus far.
We have been to San Diego twice now, which I suppose is a relatively small number considering how nearby it is. We most certainly intend to go many more times, as we thoroughly enjoyed our trips there. These memories are from our first trip to the city in 2012.
Our favorite part of our San Diego weekend was the grand and beautiful Balboa Park. We spent hours in the park, roaming past the edifices and gardens, taking in sunlight, and admiring everything it had to offer.
The park is filled with magnificent structures that were designed for the Panama-California Exposition in 1915.
We stayed at a lovely hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter, where we had rooftop access to admire the historic district from above.
The Gaslamp Quarter is densely packed with Victorian Era landmarks, and is such a pleasure to tour.
James had visited the San Diego Convention Center once before this trip, and was very glad to have this opportunity to see it without the Comic-Con crowds.
The next morning we headed to Petco Park before driving back to Los Angeles. It has become a tradition to visit the sports complexes of every city we visit, and we hope to see many more across the country on our travels.
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
On a different trip south of Los Angeles, we decided to stop by San Juan Capistrano. We did not stay for very long, but were glad to have the opportunity to visit the mission. This was the first time that we had toured the interior of any of the missions along El Camino Real.
The crumbling ruins of the mission are a sight to behold.
With wedding planning going on, it’s unlikely that we will be taking as many weekend getaways this year. Perhaps we will find time to explore a few new places in the upcoming months.
We invited a couple of friends over a few weeks ago and instead of going out for the evening we decided to stay in for a wine and cheese night. It’s turned into a fun evening of chatting away and trying new delectable combinations, and oh what a feast we had.
Personally, I am a red wine drinker, but we decided to stick to lighter wines this time around to experiment with flavors while keeping it cohesive. We wanted an array of textures when it came to the cheeses. We decided on gouda, sharp cheddar, brie, goat cheese, and burrata.
We put a lot of emphasis on the sides to accompany our wine and cheese. We had a lot of variety from pates, grilled vegetables, pickles, savory jams, and a selection of sliced deli meats. These are all especially important if any participants are lactose intolerant or sensitive. We used baguette slices and peppered crackers as the bases for all the fun combinations.
The best part for us as hosts was being able to just fill up and relax knowing that we wouldn’t have to drive home and find street parking at the end of the night.