Mama Cruz’s Famous Guacamole

I had lived 23 years before discovering my intense love affair with avocados. It all began the first Sunday brunch I attended at my husband’s (then boyfriend’s) parent’s house. It was their Sunday tradition—menudo with cilantro and onions, carnitas, salsa roja, limes, tortillas, and a tiny bowl of green, mushy stuff—exotic food that I was tasting for the first time. My mother never made guacamole, never bought avocados. It just wasn’t on our menu. Mix in my amateur high school Spanish and I was in unchartered waters. His mom, who we lovingly refer to as Mama Cruz, must have mixed in magic potion because, after one first hesitant bite, I was under its spell.

Surprised by how much I enjoyed the flavor and blend of texture—crunchy and smooth, spicy and sweet—I have never looked back. Perhaps it even played a small role in falling in love with my husband! I raved to my family and friends about guacamole and how much I loved it and needed to order it every time we went out to eat. The menudo, unfortunately, did not have the same effect on my taste buds. To this day, I go to Sunday brunch mostly for the guac!



A Pirate’s Life for Me

At the Blue Casa, our kitchen counter sometimes transforms into an art workshop. And often times a recipe begins with a blueprint. The ingredients are paper, glue, and paint instead of food. Each year our Halloween family tradition has been to build Max a boxtume – a costume out of boxes.  Since we live in an Amazon world of SO many boxes, it’s nice to recycle and it’s a fun way to “cook” up the creativity.

This year Max decided to be a pirate ship. So together with my swashbuckler, we set out on a pirate adventure! Our voyage began with a sketch and some box fittings for the body. Once we selected a box, I cut off the flaps and used this as the foundation. Diaper boxes work great for younger kids. I cut out two identical side shapes to wrap around the box and slowy began adding the structure, supports, and details along the way. I repurposed an old suitcase strap for the ship straps that hold it up on his shoulders. Max learned how to turn a sketch into a 3-dimensional object, learned how to take measurements, and helped paint all of the pieces. The finishing touch was adding his pirate ship name to the sail – The Flying Seahorse.

Captain Max was now ready to sail the Trick-or-Treat sea and collect his tasty treasure.

The neighborhood crew


Foam lettering


Spray paint




Our recycled pile
The lineup of boxtumes for last 3 years