I received probably the best compliment from my friend the other day. To be honest, I'm not sure this qualifies as a compliment, but it made me smile, so oh well. I, like most millennials, decided the world needed to know that I was on vacation. So, I posted to Snapchat. Not five minutes later my friend Morgan hit me with the reply, "do you travel for a living now?"
No, I don't travel for a living. However, I do put travel as a top priority in my life. I recognize that, thankfully, I am fortunate enough to do so. On top of that, I am surrounded by friends and family who all love to travel themselves and support the amount of adventures my travel-bug boyfriend and I try to create for ourselves. Whether it is a weekend getaway with friends, a week-long family trip, or an epic adventure, you can bet we're excited by it all.
Last week we spent 5 days on an island called Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is a small island in Mexico near Cozumel, off the coast of Cancun, but a little lesser-known by those who frequent the Mexican Caribbean. The island is full of character, extremely less "resort" like than most of the surrounding destinations; it is a bit more rugged and down-to-earth. We rented a house on the south point of the island, which is where a majority of the homes are, nestled further down from the bustling Playa Norte. The south point of the island is surrounded by beautiful vistas, outlined by cliffs that fall straight into the turquoise blue water (no beaches here)! Seriously, you guys, I've never seen water like this (I had never been to the Caribbean, so makes sense). We dubbed it "Gatorade Glacier Freeze" because it looked as if someone just emptied thousands of bottles of the stuff into the water.
What was most special about this trip is that it was with my family. Ricky and I are two people who like to keep busy, whether it's a trip we've been saving for or a quick weekend getaway, so it's nice to be able to get 6 busy schedules lined up to enjoy some much needed R&R. My mom, her husband Ric (we went as a celebration of this union :) ), my sister, her boyfriend Dale, myself, and Ricky made up the group for the week.
We spent the majority of the time chilling in the hammocks by the pool, swimming in the clear waters at Playa Norte, and eating and drinking our way around the island. Because we had rented a house, we were able to utilize some of our time cooking at home. One of my favorite things to do while traveling is spend some time in a local grocery store, peruse the isles, and pick out a few items to cook at home. We made homemade guacamole, shrimp and steak tacos, chilaquiles, chorizo and eggs, breakfast tacos, and Grandma's Salsa. Grandma's Salsa is something I've been eating for years, ever since Ric made it for the first time. Ric's family is originally from Jalisco, Mexico and this is his grandmother's salsa recipe. It is so simple to make, but somehow produces such a robust set of flavors. We made this multiple times (each batch makes 4 cups) because we truly couldn't stop eating it. With tortilla chips (or "totopos") while sitting by the pool, over scrambled eggs in the AM, or as the base for some awesome chilaquiles, we always had this ready to go.
6-8 medium/large tomatoes. I used 6 larger guys
3-4 large jalapeños. This is to taste, if you prefer less spicy stick to 2.
4-5 garlic cloves
1. Poke holes in the tomatoes and jalapeños (keep whole, you will remove stems after)
2. In a large stock pot add tomatoes, jalapeños, garlic and about a tsp of salt. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
3. Boil until tomatoes are mushy, roughly 20-30 minutes depending on how many tomatoes you have.
4. Using a slotted spoon, remove peppers and cut off stems.
5. Put tomatoes, garlic, and peppers in a blender or food processor, season with another tsp of salt and blend on high until smooth. Taste, and add more garlic and salt if needed. Hand mix in cilantro, and store in a sealed jar for up to 1 month*
*In order to make salsa last this long, you will need to keep any contaminations away...do not touch with any food while it is in the jar, and only use clean utensils when serving it from the container.