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Mr. Dish and I have known each other for many years.  We met back in 2001 through his twin brother, who was a good friend of mine, and we easily became friends too.  Back in those days, we lived on opposite sides of the Mitten, so we didn’t often see each other.  Mostly, we were the kind of friends who talked online and on the phone, sharing little bits of our day-to-day lives and dating disasters.  He would come to visit me now and then, and I visited him a few times too.  Mostly we just hung out, or went to movies, concerts, dinner, sporting events, or parties.

After some time, we started to become friends with each others’ friends, and much like the split-screen effect you see in romantic comedies, those friends were all telling us to ditch our current partners and just date each other, forcryingoutloud.  It went on like this for years, until one day in 2006, after my latest dating adventure had gone horribly awry, my girlfriends planned a get-the-heck-outta-town weekend trip for the three of us.  A few days later, rather than celebrating Cinco de Mayo with our usual homemade enchiladas, we all piled into my roommate’s Saturn and headed to Toledo…naturally.

Of course, the girls had ulterior motives for this trip, and we had no sooner checked into our hotel room when Mr. Dish and his brother waltzed in with the evening’s itinerary in hand.  It was supposed to be fun, something to take my mind off of the drama of everyday life, but something in life’s timing changed for us both that day, and we’ve never looked back.

I don’t think it was entirely the tequila, or the romantic atmosphere at the Bier Stube, but something undefinable happened that night that turned a friend into a love.  So even though we had spent lots of time together in the past, Cinco de Mayo has always been the anniversary of our first “date”.

Our first date: It may not have been storybook, but it was "us".

Between then and now, we’ve made a few additions:  two relocations, a new apartment, new jobs, new cars, joint bank accounts, a cat, a dog, a nephew, an engagement, a wedding, another cat, a niece, another nephew, and a wedding anniversary.

Clearly I said yes.

Mr. Dish and Remy, July 2007

Olive, April 2009

Charlie, March 2010

Just Married, December 2008

I may not always understand it, but I love my life, the places it has taken me, and the people to which it has led me.  I couldn’t ask for more than I already have, but I hope that God blesses us with a lifetime full of the same happiness we’ve been lucky enough to experience so far.

Te amo, mi amor!

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If you’re like me (and most non-Hispanic Americans), then Cinco de Mayo is probably just an excuse to get out of the house, shake off the winter funk, drink some cervezas, and eat some Americanized Mexican food at your local “On The Border”.  Cinco de Mayo is a holiday celebrated primarily within Mexican-American communities, and while it is not Mexican Independence Day as many assume, it is still a day rich in meaning and tradition.

Sadly, Cinco de Mayo has become the Mexican St. Patrick’s Day here in many parts of the good ol’ USA.

I’m mostly Dutch and Swedish, so I really don’t have a generational reason to enjoy Cinco de Mayo… I just do.  It holds special meaning for Mr. Dish and me, and I quite enjoy good Mexican food.  And tequila.

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday for which I have no valid reason to celebrate, I give you the easiest enchilada recipe you’ve ever made.

Enchiladas Americana

6 twelve-inch flour tortillas (unless you can get your paws on some fresh corn tortillas, in which case, go for it!)

1 16oz package of shredded cheddar/monterey jack/mexican blend cheese

2 small cans of enchilada sauce

1 small can of refried beans

1 container of shredded taco-style chicken (I like the Chi-Chi’s brand in the bright yellow tub… But if you’re a glutton for punishment, 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked, shredded, and mixed with a packet of taco seasoning and a bit of water will do.)

sour cream, tomatoes and diced green onions to garnish

cooking spray

Spray a glass or ceramic (metal just won’t do for this recipe…it reacts poorly with tomato products) 9″x13″ casserole dish or lasagna pan with cooking spray.  Be sure to coat the corners and sides well.  Pour half of one can of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of the dish.  Preheat oven to 350°.

Place tortillas on a plate under a damp paper towel and heat in the microwave for 15 seconds or just until they’re flexible.  Lay them out on your prep surface and spread 2 tbsp refried beans onto each.  Top the beans with 3-4 tbsp of chicken mixture and a very generous pinch of cheese.

I like to fold the ends of my tortillas in burrito-style before rolling them up for a less-messy serving process, but it’s not a necessity.  Place the rolled enchilada in the casserole pan.  Repeat with the remaining 5 tortillas.  Pour the remaining can and a half of sauce on top of the enchiladas, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Cover with foil (tenting with toothpicks if necessary to keep the foil from sticking to the cheese), and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

*Tip:  spray the inside of the foil with a bit of cooking spray before the pan goes in the oven… Foil removal will be easier!

Remove enchiladas from oven and allow to stand at least 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with sour cream, green onions, or tomatoes, and serve with rice.

Enjoy!




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