Second Chances Girl - a Miami family and lifestyle blog!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Easy Patriotic Salad: Watermelon & Blueberry Salad

This post was sponsored by Fresh from Florida as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

Summer is here and it's grilling season! We grill year-round here in South Florida and it's honestly, one of my favorite ways to make my dinner. With the 4th of July around the corner, I have been busy planning our grilling menu. I usually grill before we go watch fireworks so I need to pre-plan my meal. We have friends over and it's always so fun.

Growing up in Florida, I have a love for fresh fruits. We have so many mango and avocado trees everywhere that it's so easy to just pick one and eat. Along with tropical fruits, did you know that you can also grow watermelon, blueberries, tomatoes and sweet corn in Florida? I didn't, until recently and now I am obsessed! I love buying local and these are readily available in our farmer's markets! 

My kids love the fresh fruits too. It's super hot outside and it's always nice to cool down with some fresh fruit!


Recently, I needed a fun side to a grilled meal. I went on the Fresh From Florida recipe site and looked through so many amazing recipes and found the perfect side:  Watermelon and Blueberry Salad!

I mean, how did I now think of this pairing before? These two fruits are at their peak during the summer and together are super great! All you do is cut your watermelon into cubs and add blueberries! DONE! I served it as a salad/dessert and felt no guilt at gobbling it up. Besides, it's fresh and the blueberries were cold and on a 90 degree night, biting into a cold blueberry was heavenly! This salad takes 5 minutes to put together and less than 5 minutes to eat up!

I love simple, fresh food and this salad/dessert is a winner! We have it at least once a week now!

What's your favorite side salad or dessert for a grilled meal?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sometimes Family Doesn't Understand

I have really hesitated on writing this post but after a comment from a sibling today, I am over it. Sometimes family just doesn't understand. Think I'm being obnoxious? Just read through these various statements I hear on a day to day basis:

"Not your kids, not your problem"

"Do you realize you are just helping people who are never going to appreciate what you are doing?"

"Let their mother figure out what to do with them"

"Your kid comes first"

"You are never going to get ahead in life if you continue in this relationship"

"Just leave them all and come live with me"

I'm sure there is more but these are the constants. Being in a blended family/step-family, whatever you want to call it, is difficult enough without unnecessary comments. I mean, we are 2 adults and 3 children trying to make something work that has a 60% failure rate. You would think that my family members would be supportive but nope, not them. Sometimes, I think back to see if there was something I said that bothered someone along the way but I didn't. I made a choice, a choice I am happy with. I've actually made many choices I am happy with. Our family life isn't always rainbows and sunshine but I am happy. I am happy as a mom of three (every child is the same to me). I am happy getting to spend summer vacation with all three. I am happy that we talk and laugh and love fiercely.

My choice of partner is widely criticized. Here is a man who has overcome many obstacles in life to be a college graduate, great father, loyal partner and incredible step-father. Above anything else, the incredible step-father part should be immensely appreciated by my family. Adrian is tough, extremely jealous and stubborn and JC has stepped up to the plate and parented him just like he does his biological children. He has been Adrian's father for the past five years. Has my family even whispered a thank you? Nope!

Nine years ago, I made the decision to become a single mother. It wasn't the smartest decision on my part but it was a decision I made. Five years ago, I decided to take a leap into a relationship with a man who had two small children. I have no regrets about this decision. I love my family. Sure we don't look alike or share the same genes but that doesn't make us any less of a family. We are a tight unit. I love each and everyone of them and I do this for me. It brings me great joy to be able to raise a family with JC and I know people will always criticize. I just wish it wouldn't be my family.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Baked Tostones (Green Plantains)

Tostones are a staple in Cuban culture. My mom would make them at least once a week. Only thing is, she fried them, which makes them insanely delicious, but as I get older, I try to avoid fried foods so I don't make them. On Sunday, I was craving tostones, so I decided to try a baked version and they came out great! These baked tostones will now be a staple in my family's dinners!

Baked tostones (green plantains)

Tostones are made from green plantains. Plantains are bananas but not as sweet, especially when they are still green. Like I mentioned before, the traditional way to make tostones is to fry them but not only fry them once, they are fried twice. I wanted a traditional but lighter version, so baked it is.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the ends off the plantains. In the twice-fried method, you peel and cut the plantains into 1/2 pieces, fry them, mash them and then fry them again. In order to bake them, I would need a 2 step method as well so I decided to microwave my plantains. After trimming the plantains, slice them length-wise with the tip of a sharp knife. Make sure to only slice the peel. 

Each plantain needs to be microwaved on high for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes or until the center is soft. The skins will turn black.

After microwaving, peel the skins and cut the plantain into 1/2 inch pieces. 

I don't have a tostonera (press) that is typically used to mash the plantains, so I just used the bottom of a mason jar. 

Spray the bottom of your baking sheet and place the smashed plantains on top. Then spray your plantains with more oil and season with salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes on this side and then turn the plaintains over, spray with oil again and bake for another 10-12 minutes. 

My baked tostones came out super yummy. They were crispy and just as good as the fried version!


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