Guacamole, A Family Affair

There is nothing more delicious than freshly made guacamole and it’s so easy to prepare. Our family loves cooking together and we often make guacamole. Recently, my son, Connor, who loves to help in the kitchen with anything that involves chopping, helped prepare the onion and smashed the guacamole. My husband, Curt, and daughter, Clara, the family photographers, helped stage the photo shoot.

And well, Maya of course helped by making sure that the floors remained free of any food particles.

Vacuum Cleaner Extraordinaire

Our Family Guacamole Recipe

Ingredients

– 2 Hass avocados: cut, peeled, and smashed 

– ¼ to ½ of a medium onion depending on how much onion flavor you like (I use yellow or red onion): finely chopped

– ½ to  cup of fresh cilantro: chopped 

– 1 to 2 limes depending on their size: squeezed 

– ¼ to ½ of a jalapeño pepper or hot red pepper (depending on how hot you want your guacamole): finely chopped. If you don’t have fresh peppers then use a couple of dashes of Tabasco sauce.

– Salt to taste: Be generous
Note: There is no mayonnaise or sour cream added to an authentic guacamole recipe.

Preparation and Tips

I like to buy avocados that can be ripened at home. They start out feeling hard to the touch and are a very dark green color. Over a few days they will ripen, feel softer to the touch, and the skin will turn dark brown. If I feel the avocados are ripened but I am not ready to use them then I store them in the refrigerator for later use.

First I cut the avocados in half lengthwise…

Then I quarter them…

Then I peel the skin off. When an avocado is perfectly ripened the skin should peel off easily.

 Then I cut the avocado quarters, place the pieces in a bowl, and smash.

I add the rest of the ingredients, the chopped onion, cilantro, hot pepper, lime juice, and salt to taste.

I mix well. I am very generous with the salt.

I plate the guacamole…

 And serve.

Fresh Guacamole

The Mexican Molcajete

In our US home, I mix the ingredients in our “molcajete”, a Mexican mortar and pestle made from lava rock. You can also prepare salsas or grind spices in them. It is said that molcajetes impart a special flavor to the food prepared in it. We hand carried our very large and heavy molcajete back from Mexico eleven years ago and only spent ten dollars on it. I have seen them available on Amazon.com ranging in price from $18 – $60 depending on the size. It’s a great way to prepare and serve guacamole.

A Mexican Molcajete
A mortar and pestle carved out of lava rock
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How to Snorkel Without Getting Your Hair Wet

First, let me begin by saying that when you have a daughter who enjoys photography, the chances of you being photographed in a non-flattering way are extremely high. As they say, we all have to laugh at ourselves once in while, so when our family saw this picture we all laughed out loud. And so I share the following picture taken during our holiday in the Maldives, as I snorkeled without getting my hair wet in complete oblivion to my daughter sneaking a photo-op. What was I doing? What was I thinking?

Snorkeling without getting your hair wet goes hand in hand with the famous swimming without getting your hair wet technique. Go back in time to the New York City beaches of the 1960’s. It was then that as a child I met my first role models of swimming without getting your hair wet. These glamorous gals all with their beehive hairdos, which absolutely could not be submerged, cigarettes in hand, would stand in a foot of ocean water talking with their girlfriends.

I too have mastered the art of swimming without getting my hair wet from years of experience. As my children know, the pool water has to be 85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for me to plunge in completely. I promise you that the water temperature in the picture was at least this and that I did officially and very professionally snorkel during our week visit in the Maldives. However, on this particular afternoon, after having spent most of the day in the water, I was by then dried off, and the intention was just to walk in the water behind our villa. The temptation was too high to see something that triggered my curiosity in the water. And so my friends, I share this Kodak moment.

Somehow I don’t look as glamorous as those 1960’s gals I remembered. Perhaps it’s the hairdo!

Spring Break in the Maldives

…I am walking towards my villa which sits over the water. I am surrounded by turquoise and blue colored waters with white sandy bottoms. In some areas the sand banks appear glittery white like sugar sprinkles. Off the back of my villa I descend down the steps and I find myself in two feet of water with colorful fish swimming around my legs. The blue hues of the sky blend into those of the water. The warm weather permeates my being. I don’t want to wake up from this dream…”

Before we moved to London we had no idea what the Maldives were. We had heard of Mauritius and Seychelles but the Maldives? After getting a very positive recommendation from a friend we decided to visit.

Interesting Facts

Male, Maldives

Sea plane view of some of the atolls.

The Republic of the Maldives is an island nation located in the Indian ocean southwest of India and Sri Lanka. It is a 10 hour flight from London to the capital of Male. It is made up of 1,192 coral islands forming a double chain of atolls. Atolls are coral reef islands surrounding lagoons.

Only 185 of these islands are inhabited. The Maldives has the lowest average altitude on the planet, of about 1.5 meters (3-4 ft). Scientists fear that Global Warming will lead to the disappearance of the country by 2050. The government of the Maldives has started buying land in Australia with the eventual plan of a massive migration when needed.

Getting There and Where to Stay

There are approximately 100 resorts. Most resorts occupy their own island. With a variety of resort options there is something for everyone. Once you arrive in Male you take either a car, boat or seaplane transfer to your resort.

Boarding the Sea Plane

In our case, we boarded a sea plane and flew 30 minutes to the Lux Resort on the island Dhidhoofinolhu in the South Ari Atoll. We worked closely with a travel agent and did a lot of research on-line before making our choice of lodging.

We stayed in one of only three family villas over the water in the resort and selected the all-inclusive package. Beach bungalows, B&B, and half-board were also available.

The Front of the Family Villa

The family villa consisted of 2 interconnecting villas over the water, one with an American size king bed and the other with 2 single beds. In addition, each room had its own bathroom and an additional day bed/sofa. Our deck had a table and lounge chairs, an outdoor shower, and steps descending into the water.

The Back Deck

I highly recommend the all-inclusive package. Menu choices for food and drink were very good and it’s probably the best way to go since you are a captured audience on the island. The resort offered 2 buffet restaurants open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, 3 a la carte dinner restaurants, and 3 snack/ bar restaurants open all day long. There was also a a very popular ice-cream stand. At first we thought we would be bored staying in the confines of the island for a whole week. But instead we found ourselves very busy swimming, snorkeling, diving, riding bicycles, jet-skiing, kayaking, working out, and visiting the spa. The resort provided snorkeling equipment free of charge and operated complimentary daily boat trips to the coral reefs in the vicinity. Available also free of charge were kayaks and paddle boats. They also operated a PADI Dive center. In addition to the pristine white beaches the resort had two infinity swimming pools and children’s and teen’s clubs. And the piece de resistance was complimentary Wi-Fi in the rooms and premises for those of us who need to be connected.

A View from the Front of Our Villa

You always know you’ve had a wonderful vacation when you are sad to leave and you start planning the return trip. This vacation was enjoyed by all of our family members and received the Official Teen-Approval of my children.

Sunset Over the Indian Ocean