Some Personal Questions Answered... and Some Really Good Granola
I was in the shower thinking about what to blog about and it sort of hit me: there’re a few questions from you guys that keep popping up over and over again on my social media… so I could just tackle them one by one (I also just asked you guys for more questions over on my Instagram so we might get a few new ones as well). I honestly don’t mind all the sharing. I truly feel, even with all that I share, that it’s only a very small tip of the iceberg that is LIFE here at Casa Marcela. I mean, life around here is pretty regular. I do have to say that, for Philip and myself (because we’ve both been through enough drama to last a lifetime), we prefer to keep our home drama-free. It’s a very conscious effort to keep a light and happy vibe around the kids and in our home. I grew up in somewhat of a stressful environment, so I tried to do a 180 on that. Philip is just naturally the most laid back person when it comes to our family life. Maybe not at work... no. Man gets stuff done. Deals made, movies produced. But at home, he just wants a good glass of wine, a roast chicken, and the 3 kids at the table. And I’ve learned to not seek drama and comply. So here goes... and please jump in and add more questions in the comments section if I can help you with anything else!
1. Why are we not married?
Honestly? We haven’t had time. Even more honestly? It’s not a priority. We’ve both been married. We’re in it for the long haul. We’ve known each other for almost 20 years. It’s a done deal. A piece of paper doesn’t secure much. Love ends if it ends and it persists if it persists. Marriage doesn’t guarantee anything. And also, to be completely honest (again), I’m just really looking forward to wearing matching Dolce and Gabbana dresses with Anna Carina and having all the boys in matching tuxedos and some really amazing family photos by Isabella. Priorities, huh? Anyway, we’re both divorced, and that part of our lives certainly wasn’t easy. I can truly say though that it isn’t the fear of going through that again that has stopped us. We just aren’t worried about it. Someday... maybe.
2. What hair gel do I use on the kids?
I don’t... I use oils. Yup. Super shiny stuff. I use organic black castor oil or coconut oil on the babies because they have fine hair and just need a drop, or sometimes I’ll use Honest's organic baby oil. We have a lot of mosquitos this year, so sometimes I’ll even use the Badger Anti-Bug wax stick on Anna’s hair. HA! She smells like citronella all day, but she won’t get attacked by mosquitos and her hair will be set the entire day. Sometimes I’ll do it with organic sunscreen, even. Two birds. Parenting is about how many birds you can get with that one stone, isn’t it? Fau uses Moco De Gorila.
3. Why is Fausto, my teen, never on my feed?
Because he doesn’t want to be, period... which I truly respect. When I think about it, I’d probably be MORTIFIED if, back when I was a teen, my mom walked around showing people my cute photos. I’d die. I get it. You all need to get it. This is where his life begins and he needs to go in the direction he chooses, not in a picture I’m trying to paint on social media. I will say this though: he’s the coolest, kindest, smartest, most handsome kid I’ve ever met. Sorry, Fau. Truth is truth.
4. How’d I meet Philip?
So this is how I remember it. He can blog about how he remembers it... only he doesn’t, and will never in his entire life blog... so you’re screwed and you get my side only. I was (underage and illegally) in a nightclub in LA, the Sky Bar, and was sitting at a table with all my Mexican friends, speaking Spanish. He walked into that bar/deck area and heard us. His mom is Mexican so he knew a good thing when he heard it. He said, "I wanna sit with those ladies." And he did. And then he actually blew me off for a few weeks. I was VERY offended. I was 19, and he was 26. I was a student in culinary school and he was just getting out of the mail room at The William Morris Agency, and between the both of us, we didn’t have 20 dollars in our bank accounts. Somehow, though, we always figured out a way to be at the best clubs with a table. I would eat saltines for weeks so I could afford nights out. I think he survived on tortillas. We partied like animals. He met all of my friends and family, as I did his. Then I had to go back to Mexico and we said goodbye. 15 years passed. A few years ago, when we were both divorced, we reconnected. Hung out for months just being each other’s therapists. Then, one day, we kissed. And now here we are with 3 kids and a dog.
5. Thyroid? (Disclaimer: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. I MAKE ENCHILADAS ON TV FOR A LIVING.)
UGH. UUGGGHHH. (VERY) long story short. I started HYPER, with Graves'. I was undiagnosed for months and maybe years and, by the time we figured it out, I needed an aggressive solution, so I took radioactive iodine to eradicate my thyroid. I can tell you, unequivocally, that it’s the biggest mistake I ever made. Please don’t give me the reasons that you believe I have no idea what I’m talking about. I do. It’s been 15 years of books and different kinds of doctors and treatments. It was a mistake. Conventional medicine has NO IDEA how to deal with causation. We’re a lazy society; we want symptoms eased quickly. My mom died and I was in the middle of a divorce when it got so bad that I needed radiation. If a disease is caused by emotion, I sincerely believe it can be cured the same way. For 10 years I dealt with conventional doctors (about 7 different ones), that not once addressed stress management, diet/lifestyle changes, exercise… anything. Just lab work and pills and go. Because most of my thyroid was eradicated, I am now Hypothyroid and on Synthroid. Paleo worked a little but, for me, it was truly an issue of digestion and nutrient absorption. Now I'm in week 3 of a plant-based diet while taking digestive enzymes and a few other supplements that my labs showed I needed. The idea is that, if I get back into shape, I should be able to eat the foods I love without my body going crazy every time I do. Inflammation is a big problem for me. We’re fixing it. I’ll write about it when I’m done.
6. Why the Spanish?
Because we’re SUPER proud of our heritage in this neck of the Chula Vista woods. Also, the effort is minimal. Our first language is Spanish. Philip has a little bit of an accent (which he’ll deny but I forgive because of his fluency in French and Italian) but he also spoke only Spanish at home. And I’ve said this many times, but it’s about the cultural immersion as well. It’s a very Hispanic community. It’s massive here - not only is the language very much alive, but the traditions and culture are as well. And I was fortunate! My parents taught us to be very proud of who we were, where we came from, and the language we spoke. We’re American-born, so we’re certainly just as proud about that half of our upbringing as well. The kids all learn English quickly at school. It’s never really been an issue here. The schools in the area, both public and private, are aware that a lot of the student body is bilingual, and no one gets picked on because of it. There’s too many of us. You know the saying... you mess with one of us and the whole burrito comes after you. Still rings true.
Whew. That was a lot. So now how about some granola and photos of me with the bangs only wore that one day? No, but seriously, it’s some really good granola.
Casa Marcela Granola
2 cups old-fashioned oats
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup raisins
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus 1/2 cup more for serving
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup honey, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Mix the oats, cranberries, raisins, almonds, hazelnuts, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.
Combine the butter, sugar and honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts and the mixture begins to boil. Add the vanilla and stir. Remove from heat.
Pour the butter over the oats, mixing until well coated. Transfer to the prepared pan and, using a spatula, press the oats evenly into the pan. Bake until the top is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool. Using the foil as aid, lift out of the pan and place on a work surface. Crumble into pieces.