Wednesday, October 25

Stella's Video Recipe Debut

Hey friends, I haven't said anything about this, but I recently decided to send in an audition tape to the Food Network's America's Top Food Chef contest. It's an cooking-based "survival of the fittest" reality show. It turns out that three minutes ain't much time to show what you can do...and it's hard to figure out what you can actually cook in such a short time. It's also really strange to see yourself on camera.

There is so much I feel got left out but I had to call it quits and go with what I could do and just hope my application would speak to my intent. This isn't the final, final version, but close. (Hey Art H. from IOL, if you're watching, these savory pot-roast packets are an interpretation of the Wisconsin Pot Roast packets in Stella's Kitchen).

Thursday, September 28

Outdoor Fitness Bootcamp

My friend Bryan Schuler, owner of San Diego's popular outdoor fitness bootcamp program, has begun offering classes in even more locations. Head out to any location for a free session, and you'll see why these classes were featured in the San Diego Union Tribune. They are a fun, effective way to reshape your body!

Tuesday, July 4

A 4th of July Tribute

This is a tribute to those serving our country this 4th of July. Click the title of the post to view it (I'm still learning how to host video files...bear with me!)

Thursday, June 15

The Gift I Received Today

The Gift I Received Today

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
I have 24 hours to move forward, sit still, or take a step back.
I have one more time to rejoice in the divine opportunity to start over again.

I have one day to make a difference in the rest of my life,
impact the life of someone I love,
show genuine kindness to someone who will become a friend,
or anonymously provide to the person who will enjoy my fruits
without ever knowing my name.

I have enough time to make a positive decision, choice, or action
that will move me at least an inch closer in the right direction,
but not so much time that I don't have the grace to make a mistake.
I am human, I am not perfect,
I make errors in judgement and bad decisions.
Fortunately, this twenty-hours hours of time
doesn't have the power to crush my destiny.

There is no risk I can take in a single day,
no single mistake I can make,
that has the capability to destroy
the goodness God has purposed for my life before I even had a name.

I awoke with the gift of a new day in my hands.
With the next few hours, I can dream, hope, and imagine possibility,
and I can do something to make them real.
In the next few hours, I can embrace,
I can encourage, I can forgive,I can apologize,
I can love.

My life started all over when I woke up this morning,
and in my hands, I have the priceless gift of another chance.

- Stella Juarez, 6/2006

Saturday, April 8

The Little Things

I have been eagerly awaiting the Dave Matthews summer tour tix to go on sale. They went on sale this morning at 10 am and of course I was sitting there poised for it to turn 10 am with all kinds of computer windows open to see where I could get better tix....San Diego, Irvine, or Hollywood.

I am so amazed at how many THOUSANDS of seats are sold in mere SECONDS!! By just hitting keystrokes seconds apart in my little windows, I wound up with fairly crappy seats in Hollywood, okay third level ones in Irvine, but am now the proud purchaser of two center section, lower level, center of the row, unobstructed view seats for the San Diego show at the Coors Amphitheatre in Chula Vista (two tix were $146, though...remember when concerts were like $25 total?)!!!

I am taking my awesome son Isaiah, who is now old enough to really appreciate and remember the experience of listening great music under the stars. He was raised taking cheap road trips with just momma through the Grand Canyon, Utah, Arizona, Texas, Vegas, and yes, even to Mexico. We'd drive for hours on end and even when he was really little, his job was to "DJ" and change the CDs to what he thought matched the scenery or mood. If he got bored, he went in the cargo area of my SUV to play with a small toy from his self-packed little pack-pack (backpack) or read a book or nap or look at "moo cows". He knew it was hard for me to drive at night, so he'd try to stay up to change the CDs as long as he could. We would sleep in the cargo area at rest stops, truck stops, and sometimes on the side of the highway. If I seemed to sleep too long, he gently wake me "Mommy, it's time to get on the road again."

So odd, I never, ever, have to listen to Sesame Street tunes, Britney Spears or Barney crap in my car. I never heard "I'm bored!" "Are we there?" "Turn it down, mom!" or any of that busines. It would be just me and this little man, hitting the road for little cheap adventures when Momma needed to think and telling him if life ever got to him, to just get in the car and go for a long drive to listen to some good music and drive until he felt it was time to turn around and come back home...that if he needed money for gas, I'd give it to him. We'd be jammin' out to every kind of music you could think of, including Dave Matthews.

I hear good music and my heart sees these a good movie...and I hear the soundtrack of my life with this little kid who has shaped and re-defined the last 10 years of my life again and again. I can think of nobody I'd rather go to this concert with than this little boy of mine.

Sunday, March 5

New Recipe: Insalata Caprese

The kiddo is asleep and I'm up burning the midnight oil tonight. I WILL finish the vegetable chapter tonight. Anyhoo, here's a recipe that I just finished typing in, I thought you'd like a flavor of what's coming soon.

Insalata Caprese
2 Servings

This salad will remind you of a similar Italian antipasti dish but you'll get to eat more of it because this version is much lower in calories.


4 oz mozzarella cheese (made from skim), cut into small chunks
4 roma tomatoes, sliced (or 1 medium tomato, diced)
1 large head romaine lettuce, washed & torn
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Modifications: If you want to make this into a full meal, add a serving of sliced grilled chicken to the top of each salad.

Directions: Mix olive oil and balsamic vinegar together in small bowl and set aside. Arrange tomato slices across a bed of lettuce. Sprinkle basil and mozzarella over the top of the tomatoes. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

In Stella's Kitchen
Cooking with Fresh Herbs: Did you know fresh herbs release their flavors when they are cut? When using fresh herbs in a recipe, always cut them last and as close to serving time as possible.

Saturday, March 4

Treading My Field of Dreams

You know, I sometimes questions the amount of money, effort and time I have put into some things, but was thinking today how much I have never, ever, ever wished I'd done anything else from the years 1992-1997 than finish a BA. I wasn't born into a family that necessarily promoted or valued education, but something in me knew it must be pursued. Even when I was unwed and pregnant during my junior year at the University of Colorado and my family thought I should quit school for awhile. I'm so glad now I stuck it out.

I am not financially wealthy by any means, but I have a day job that I really love with great insurance and benefits and exciting people to work for that I couldn't have even applied for without a BA. I'm not always under the thumb of the boss because I am trusted to make decisions and take actions independently. I'll leave this job better connected than when I came to it and positioned for an even greater opportunity.

Am I any more intelligent than a person without an education? Not at all.
Someone once said "the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not." Maybe that's all I got out of it, not book knowledge, but the wisdom to research what needs to happen before I can get what I want and the disciplined tencity to hammer away at it a little bit every day.

My friend, dreams and goals are wonderful, but they mean nothing if your hands are in the clouds with your imagination. If you're treading a field of dreams, your eyes must be looking forward and your calloused hands must be on the plow.

If this practical understanding of how a harvest is yeilded is all I walked away with, then I am grateful for the doors that have been open to me and the freedom of choice that nobody can take away from me. I don't know what it is to have to depend on someone else to make sure I can take my kid to the orthodontist or buy good steak or brake pads. I've never had to stay with a man because I relied on his paycheck or health insurance. Oh, yes, it helps to get a little somethin' for child support, but if it never comes, I can still make it. I can quit a good job and move from Denver to California all by myself and have complete confidence that I'll get another good job when I get there. Getting some kind of higher educations doesn't make me any better, but it does make me free.

I did have to earn it, but my education is as much a part of my freedom in life as the gift of my faith. Education is your independence. Education gives you choices. And my sister, my brother, my friend, it's never too late to drop what you are doing and pursue your own freedom. For it is in that freedom that you are enable to pursue your personal greatness.

"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom." -- Albert Einstein