Big news: I got engaged and my fiancé can cook!

Apologies for taking (yikes!) a month away from writing, but I promise I have a good excuse.

As the title of this post entails, I have some VERY exciting news to share with all of you: my boyfriend of 5 years proposed! Feel free to scroll down if you do not want the engagement details, but if you wanna know how he did it, please read on.

My fiancé has been telling me for the past couple of months that he wanted to do a carriage ride through Central Park before we move out of NYC and move in together. He told me that afterward we could go have a nice dinner in one of the Central Park restaurants. I happen to love dressing up and going out for a nice, long dinner, so I took very little convincing. In fact, I think I jumped up and down with excitement because the plan sounded so romantic. I had no idea that was just the beginning. While on our carriage ride, my fiancé asked if we could stop by Bethesda Fountain (in the middle of Central Park). Still oblivious to what was going on, I happily jumped out of the carriage and strolled towards the fountain. Upon arriving at the fountain, my fiancé gave me a penny and told me to close my eyes and make a wish. I was happy to oblige, and still had no idea what was going on…until I opened my eyes. There, on one knee, was my now-fiancé holding a ring box, asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. There was no hesitation; with tears of joy pouring down my face, I said yes (I don’t even remember if I let him finish his proposal!).


Here I am, still oblivious to what’s going on


The proposal

The area surrounding the fountain exploded with applause and cheering. I felt like I had won the Super Bowl! It was then that I realized that there was someone snapping photos of us, and that a guitarist sitting at the fountain’s edge was playing a familiar song…a song that my fiancé and I consider our song. I was such a magical moment, better than any fairy tale or movie scene, and I will cherish that moment for the rest of my life. The next week was a whirlwind of celebration and moving in together, and after weeks of eating out for every single meal we finally got to make dinner at our new place. As if my fiancé weren’t amazing enough, he showed that he can cook too! In all of our years of dating, we have cooked together only a handful of times, and I had never really let him take the reins and cook something all by himself. Well, let me tell you, that is going to change!

Start reading here if you wanna go straight to the food-talk…IMG_4843 For the first dinner in our new place, my fiancé made Chipotle Shrimp Tacos. I love this dish for many reasons: (1) I think soft tacos are one of the best foods in the world, (2) seafood (shrimp especially) is delicious, and (3) you can add heaping mounds of avocado or guacamole to it. Not only is the dish crazy-delicious and flavorful, it is packed with wholesome ingredients (the only things not made from scratch are the chipotle sauce and the tortillas). Shrimp is also a good source of lean protein, and the avocado salsa contributes all sorts of health benefits. This is a dish you can feel good about eating. So go ahead and showcase your culinary skills! And fair warning: you will definitely be asked to make this again.

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos  (Serves 2) Ingredients

  • IMG_484625 shrimp, fresh or thawed, deveined
  • Chipotle sauce (or seasoning)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 4-6 flour or corn tortillas


  1. In a bowl, mix shrimp with the Chipotle sauce, set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, add the diced avocado, diced tomatoes, diced onion, lime, cilantro, and minced garlic. Fold ingredients together to avoid mushing up the avocado too much. Add salt and pepper to taste, set aside.
  3. Warm a skillet and add olive oil. Cook shrimp for 2 minutes on each side, then remove from heat.
  4. For perfect tortillas: stack tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and drape a damp paper towel over them. Microwave for 30 seconds, or until warm,
  5. On your now perfectly warmed tortilla, layer avocado salsa and shrimp. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top. Serve with beans and rice for a complete meal.

Cinco de Mayo Salsa

Cinco de Mayo got me in a salsa kind of mood.


There is something so incredibly delicious about homemade salsa. The freshness of the ingredients cannot be beat, and the way the flavors meld together is absolutely delectable.


I am such a sucker for vibrant colors. Looks good and tastes even better!

Typical fresh salsa (what most people think of as call pico de gallo) includes tomatoes (great source of lycopene for antioxidants), onions (full of nutrients for heart health and insulin resistance), and jalapeños (its spice factor, capsaicin, is currently being studied for its effect on decreasing inflammation and contributing to weight loss). Homemade salsa with this list of nutritional ingredients is pretty darn good for you!

Now, do what I have done and add mango and avocado.


I just took salsa to a whole new level.

The combination of spicy jalapeño and sweet mango is addicting, and the avocado just brings it all together. I have eaten this salsa with chips, on top of salads, and by the spoonful. It would also be incredibly tasty atop a filet of fish. Who knew salsa could be so versatile!


Today, my salsa went perfectly atop some mixed greens, making the perfect side dish to my New York Strip steak!

Mango & Avocado Salsa


  • 1 medium mango, chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 large jalapeño, diced
  • 2 fresh limes
  • Cilantro, to taste
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Garlic clove, crushed (optional)


If you pre-chop all the ingredients the recipe comes together super fast. Place all the ingredients into a bowl, squeeze the juice of two limes on top. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and fold the ingredients together. Easy as that!

Fresh Chopped Avocado Salad

This salad definitely goes into the healthy category.


Full of fresh vegetables, protein-packed legumes, and the healthy fats of avocado, this chopped salad is everything I need to feel good about my eating habits. It tastes great over some mixed greens, cooked quinoa, or completely on its own! The zesty lime flavor keeps it fresh, and you avoid the fat-laden salad dressings being sold on the market today. Plus, there’s avocado and that alone is enough to make it perfect in my book!

Fresh Chopped Salad


  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 2 cups chopped jicama
  • 1 handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Optional: red pepper flakes


Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Squeeze lime juice over the ingredients, and add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (optional). Mix with a spoon and serve!

Smoky Avocado Dip

I am about to share with you a coveted family recipe. A “secret ingredient” sort of recipe. You might not know this, but I am obsessed with avocados. They are just so good! And good for you. You should try this recipe for that reason alone if the whole “exposing a secret” thing isn’t enough for you.

IMG_2547 IMG_2546


Our family’s lucky Buddha, dressed up and ready for the game.

I went home for the weekend and lucky for me the whole family got together. My extended family is pretty close, and we all had that chance to catch up (which was really fun) and cheer for the SF Niners in the playoffs (they won convincingly).

With any family gathering comes an abundance of food and our favorite new addition to the family feast: smoky avocado dip. My mom created this recipe a couple of years ago to reinvent guacamole, and ever since she has not been able to host a family event without receiving a request to make Smoky Avocado Dip.


The secret ingredient: Liquid Smoke. This Tabasco-sized bottle of goodness delivers maximum smoky flavor in just a few drops. And it takes your basic dip to a whole different level. Look for it in your local grocery store.


Now that it’s NFL Playoff season, I hope when you are planning your Super Bowl menus you think to try this recipe. It’s fresh, it’s festive, and it’s smoky.

 Smoky Avocado Dip


  • 5 firm avocados, cubed
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 small or ½ medium-sized red onion
  • Drops of Liquid Smoke, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • ½ lemon and ½ lime


After prepping all of the ingredients, it’s as easy as adding them all to a bowl, squeezing in some lemon and lime juice, and mixing carefully until the ingredients are just incorporated. You do not want to over-mix because then the avocado will start to get too mushy. Also, when adding the Liquid Smoke, add a little bit at a time because the flavor is very strong and you don’t want to spoil a delicious bowl of fresh avocados with too much smoke. Then again, you can always add more avocados.