Sunday, December 4, 2011

In Loving Memory of Jesse Bush

Just a few days have passed and my heart still swells
As my aching soul refuses to stop gathering the bountiful harvest of every day;
Oh my child, how short was your stay with us
Yet, how long and plentiful the legacy you left;
All I have is a few memories with you to recount
Nonetheless, they were planted deep into my spirit, deep into my faith;
They are growing like giant mulberry trees
Reaching high, reaching deep
Reminding me of the most important tie I will ever have
The tie between heaven and me.

 
My dear child how small you were
Thus, I am still at awe at the size of your soul,
A soul divinely handcrafted to bless and to hold
To gaze with my heart as I imagine you grow,
Grow as my big tree with branches reaching wide
Bearing emotions, thoughts and lessons galore,
Because your littleness stroke the chord of time
That one that makes my mind apprehend
That my days are just a mere handbreadth
Regardless if you make it to ninety days, years or until the very end.
I can only be grateful to the One who decides
How many they will be,
Because He spared you the sufferings of this world
And though we still grieve your departure from us
It is ever comforting to know
That He holds you close by His very hand
On this very moment, on your very sight.


My precious child I want you to know
That the freshness of your passing has been surrounded with the smell
Of the advent of our Savior who was once another Babe;
He is my Lord and I know yours too,
I know He created you, and loves you more than I do;
He is the one that planted you into my body,
Into my heart,
And made it possible by His death on a tree
For us to hope for the day
The future glorious day
Where our eyes will see Him,
And then we will see you again.
We will embrace, and will laugh and will both radiate
His light shining into our own very faces;
We will reminisce the days of our waiting here
And how only His strength and hope for that moment
Made us see the value and beauty of each today
Helping us appreciate life here on earth
As a very blurry reflection of our future home
We will understand then, though it will matter no more
Because you will be there too
Hearing His voice filling everything
While He embraces me, and tells me:  Well done.
In Jesus, in Jesus, It was done!


My beloved, my little one
I am very grateful that you are part of my life
You were asked for and you were indeed given,
You were, and for many special reasons
Many I still don’t know;
But one I certainly do
Because the name we chose for you
Was “Jesse”, my little child,
A name that stands for “God exists”
For this hope for heaven
That you stirred and fanned into flame
Is the assurance that He indeed does;
And because of that
You do too,
And we can say boldly as His word says:
To forget what lies behind
And strain toward what is ahead,
Knowing that one of those wonderful
Wonderful, precious and marvelous things
Is you my dear one,
You.

Mom.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Quest of a Stress Free, Heart & Soul-Fulfilling Parenting

“Every mother must have a subscription to “Parents Magazine”. Really?  I’m pretty sure that the fellow mommy that I once heard saying this had the best intentions at heart.  And to be honest with you I kind of thought about jotting it on my “to do” list for a while.  Then I forgot.  Then my mothering days taught me differently.  I thank God, I learned this early! So, that's why I want to talk about all these “things” that sometimes are sold as must haves in the parenting journey, but along the way become more of a burden than a joy.

Mom, are you sure I don't look too old fashioned? =P


Let me then, for purposes of illustrating my point, elaborate on my magazine example.  I know a magazine may look very inoffensive, and can sometimes even provide leisure or some tips to ease up certain house chores, problems or what not. However, I don’t know if I am the only one that, on top of finding difficult to have the time to make it from cover to cover, also finds it difficult to find the memory or energy to keep up with all the good ideas and new products available.  I know most of you know that the marketing people just want to make us believe that there’s a problem where we haven’t seen it, and then, there is a product or idea that perfectly solves it.  But of course the money-time transaction has to happen, if you really want to fix that problem.  Then we’re supposed to feel like better parents, keeping up with the times and the new developments - NOT.

So mom, are you sure you took your class on how to teach me to eat my eggs?

You will probably laugh at the bottles that I use with Garrick. After falling into the trap of getting the best, more techy bottle available, he rejected one after the other, and ended up sticking with the most simple and inexpensive type, -Of course the bottle was always in second place after mommy’s milk with its built- in bottle =) ..Til today, when we’re working on weaning him from it.
For sure mom, I read in a mag that I'm ready to get my driver license!

And even though my example refers to a specific product; this type of “keeping in step with the latest” mentality naturally permeates other parenting areas like views on education, discipline, playtime, etc.  I think that today’s culture, aided by the media, is trying to impose the idea that parenthood is a more complicated thing than it really is.  I am not saying that parenting is a simple thing.  Nor am I saying that parenting education shouldn’t be important for a successful and fruitful upbringing.  Like any other occupation, we parents have lots to learn.  But my concern is with the myriad of products and ideas that are just unnecessary to raise our children to the vision we have for them.
Daddy, are you sure you're certified to teach me to float?..I don't think children in generations before swam..

A perfect example of this is shown in “Nursery University” , recommended by my friends from A couple of dreamers blog.  This is a documentary showing how couples in Manhattan go thru a very dramatic and sometimes even uncivilized odyssey to get their children into preschools that promise to be the right start to ensure top college acceptance. Yes, you read right, from preschool to college!  Of course we are talking about $20K+ for tuition at these exclusive preschools.  As extravagant as it may sound, this seems to be the reality of that city, and I am pretty sure that many other parents try to push all sort of programs, products and ideas into their children lives so that they can later perform to the expectations of our present culture.  But is this what we really should want? I personally think not.  
See, I have my very own "Abuelita" working on my very first haircut..I don't think any amount of Disney can't make it any more special!..Not matter what the magazine says!

I don’t think parenthood should be an endeavor to become a super-parent raising a super-child, which would be the expected result of always taking the “right decisions” and “having the right information”.  I’ve actually learned in my short mothering experience, that parenthood actually takes continuous adjustment.  Becoming a good parent, actually takes making some mistakes, learning from them and “growing forward”. Any other pretense, would actually makes us feel short of our ideal view of us as parents and, as a result, would create a self-fulfilling prophecy that would make us insecure and maybe more prone to making wrong parenting decisions.
Mind you momma, I need my driver license..

Now I am not saying that we are going to use our children as lab rats and do all kind of uninformed experiments with them being oblivious to any repercussions.  Of course not.  But what I mean, is that having the best intentions at heart for our children and genuinely trying to learn and be wise about what we do and teach our children, should naturally lead us to be good parents.  A good combination of genuine concern, good counsel and parental instinct, all under God’s grace, should suffice to make the parenting experience a positive one not only for the child but also for the parent.  
Daddy I don't think you went to your parenting class yesterday..I'm not ready to ride on my own yet..

The researchers from Freakeconomics , An interesting book/documentary, put it this way: “It’s not the 10 books on parenting that are going to make your child any better, but the fact that you’re the kind of parent that would go and get 10 books to learn”.  What they meant is that an inquiring mind crossed with genuine good intentions should be enough to be a good parent, and you shouldn’t freak out about not having all the knowledge there is about parenting.  They also made an interesting comment, saying that you can teach a child way more by just visiting the grocery store than what you can teach him by taking him to visit 10 museums!  So true.  I know it’s difficult to be able to discern these realities when the present culture has an eager devotion to the worldly idea of success.  But the bible actually calls us in the book of Romans to “not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed according to the renewing of our mind”.
C'mon old man, you can go faster!..research says...=P

In closing, I also like to remind myself, that this life and all we do with it including parenting has a real chance of heart-and-soul fulfilling success only if lived under God’s grace.  He’s the one that can make something beautiful out of our own mistakes, amaze us with the accomplishments of our shortcomings, and give meaning to it all.  So I must say, if there’s any subscription we must have to become a successful parent, that should be a subscription to His word…Which is always free, but seriously invaluable…And does not expire!

In my quest for living out a joyful a grace-full parenting,

Paola

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Bitter-Sweet Goodbye

Today I stored away my brest-friend. I had hoped that this day wouldn’t have come so soon, but that was not the case. My romance with breastfeeding actually has not always been a story of enchantment, tender love and bonding between my beloved baby and I. Actually, it started with much pain and tears as I previously shared with you. Thus, initially I really wanted the breastfeeding season with my son, if not BEING, to at least FEELING as short as possible. It was just so plain painful.  I am glad that I am telling you boldly and clear, because no one told me, therefore I wasn’t prepared. However, as many told me after the fact, and in the middle of my pain, it DID get better shortly after we got started. I must say though, that the breastfeeding experience varies from person to person. While for some women the cruising starts from the first day, for some others like me, you kind of go thru a shipwreck first, but then the cruising, and all the gratifying moments that go along with it.  So if you’re a future breastfeeding mommy, take hope, you can do it. You will never regret it regardless of whether you get an easy or harsh start. =)


Here, so you can see how big my little one is now..

This was at his big "1" birthday party

Some of you may be wondering what a brest-friend (BF) is right? My husband chuckles.  Well, it’s a sort of pillow that you strap around your wrist so that your baby can lay on it while he nurses and you love on each other. Other women use a “Boppy” which is very similar. I like the BF because of the back support feature. Whoever came up with the idea is a genius. And a good friend of mommies. Such a wonderful device! So many  tender memories laid on it! I remember Garrick’s face every time that he saw me taking hold of it. His face lit up, his eyes widened and his mouth would pour huge smiles. As he got bigger, he started lifting and shaking up his arms and legs, then sitting up and then rapidly standing up to the edge of the crib in anticipation. He knew it was that special time when he and mommy would nourish each other not only with milk, but with touch, song, hugs, books, beholding and many more wordless ways to let our loving bond strengthen and flourish.


Is that what you do with the piƱata Papi?

I say, this is what you do..like anything else, it's food!

One of my favorite memories, was when he would tell me “mommy, I’m satisfied” by his falling sleep on my bosom. How much I will cherish those moments! Of course you kind of have to fight to keep them awake at the beginning, so they take the calories they need. But once they learn to regulate their intake, you can relax and fully enjoy these moments. I remember that along with the struggle of getting my milk down, I had to decide the nursing style I would use. So many ideas out there, so many variables to take into account. Among the many feeding styles out there, the two most popular I learned about were the attachment parenting and the Parent directed feeding. I remember going nuts about all the technicalities of it. I was so afraid of doing it wrong! Until, I remembered that mothers thousands of years ago didn’t have any instruction manuals.  So I just gave in.  And, it wasn’t until then that I determined that a hybrid of the two, customized to our own needs, put together by my mothering instinct and wrapped up by my love was the best fit for us. How wonderful when I got to that point. I should confess though that I didn’t do it alone, the help of my husband and family was crucial. So was the support of my local breastfeeding club, including a lactation consultant and other mommies. I should also give credit to Jen from chronicling her nursing journey on her blog. As well as to Kelly mom, as reference site. So helpful! This was the process that took me to my cruising experience.


With Mami and Titi!
With my friends..easier to organize a herd of monkeys!

 That is why closing this chapter is such a bitter-sweet experience. As I said, I thought Garrick would breast feed for much longer. But he taught me- because sometimes our children are one of our best teachers in life- that it was not a decision that only mommy makes, but we make together. He just decided that one full year was enough, and it was time for him to stop. Just like that.  I don’t want to get into how much he enjoys eating “adult” food. Sometimes I wonder if he has a second stomach hidden somewhere. I even think that he would not shy away even from jalapenos!  =0O

Wordless..priceless..
Uhmm..more food..let's do it quick now that nobody is looking! =P

To be honest with you my heart was a little wrinkled by this sudden change. However, after a few days of meditating on it, I realize that this is the natural process of getting to know my beloved Garrick Jeremiah. One of my prime goals as mother is to help him discover his beautiful and unique design and how it works. He was preciously made, and maybe this change was part of his makeup.  Through this I have also been reminded that as many as the years ahead may still be, as countless memories our hearts expect to hold, and as much togetherness we expect our family to achieve; one day we will have to walk the hard road up to the top.  I will have to get my bow ready and shoot that arrow away into the horizon. I know it will be very difficult to see him fly away from the nest. But I am an archer apprentice after all.  What a privilege!


My Mami and I..
Look mami I can stand all on my own!
Mami, now I know my a,b,c's..now why don't you sing with me!

I know some of you may be saying “But it’s too early to think about that”. I say it is not. Because if I realize this early on, I would focus even more eagerly on enjoying my every moment with him and on equipping him as best as I can for that first flight.

So that’s why I want to bitter-sweetly celebrate this first step of my son towards independence with a very short poem I wrote for him. I hope you enjoy:


To my son Garrick Jeremiah,


 A Bitter Sweet Goodbye to Breastfeeding

The quiet embrace of your eyes drawing you in my heart,
You didn’t say a word, yet said it all.
You trusted me; you loved me by just laying your needs before me,
And nourished me, as the bee nourishes the flower.
Together we walked, and we danced thru a forest,
Echoing nocturne songs and the morning dew;
All while just sitting together,
Beholding each other.
How much I will treasure your gifts,
My dear, sweet babe,
Gratefulness is just not enough!
How much I like to call you mine,
Yet I know you are no so.
Indeed you are my sweet babe,
But above that, my Heavenly Father’s man,
And wholeheartedly we daily pray
One day soon, His son.







Thursday, July 7, 2011

On How I Became a Home Sculptor

The day I decided to leave behind my finance career and pursue homemaking full-time as the occupation through which I would invest all my time, gifts, passions and energy, I couldn’t avoid having a bit of fear parked in a corner of my mind. As romantic as it sounds, at that time for me homemaking dragged along a baggage of stereotypes that in some way had infested my heart.  I was afraid of completely letting go of any hopes of what I thought was a healthy dose of self reliance.  I also secretly feared the imminent “marked down tag” that in my mind came along with the profession of housewifery. For those dearly loved stay home wives whom I now highly admired, please do not let this part of my confession stop you from reading.  I promise that in just a bit you’ll get to the redeeming part of my story where I get over my foolishness.

Here it goes, I'll help you forget about my foolishness with our pics from our visit to our family in Ohio..

Yes I know Garrick, Momma would love to have this much land to homestead! =)
So I was depressed. I had worked so hard to get a professional degree in a foreign country and to work my way up in the corporate world pursuing financial stability and a sense of self-actualization, that this decision looked very much like a bungee jumping type of experience for me. I knew however, that behind all the foggy fears and uncertainties, that’s what I really ought and also, very deep in my heart wished to do. That was the best for our sprouting family.  I remember the long talks to my husband trying to explain all this. How difficult it was. I knew this was a decision that would deeply affect our life style and would give a completely different color and shape to the days ahead. I remember the streams of grace he poured over me as he reassured me of his support whichever direction I wanted to take.  Furthermore, sometimes he would even say jokingly that we would not mind staying home with our children while I go out to bring the bacon! Yep, that’s my husband. (He now says that actually it was not a joke!) =p

Garrick having a great time with his cousins
Meeting the family..so many that we have never seen before!

And here there is mostly everybody!
So here I am, hundreds of laundry loads and cooked meals later...and another thousand hugs and kisses too. And as unappealing as at first this may sound, I am finding more and more romance in every one of our home-full days, in spite of the messes and stresses than I could have ever imagined.  I definitely don’t judge all those mommas that decide to split or better I should say, multiply their passions with the workplace, either because they would go ballistic if staying at home, or because of finances or any other personal reason. But I do want to share with those occasional friends that here and there ask me about the transition and wonder why we decided to become an OIH (One-income household) while getting the bonus of obtaining a full time domestic engineer, AKA homemaker.

C'mon momma, I like to swing even on the top of this mountain!

Everybody played!

Even the adults!

The decision of going thru this metamorphosis was not easy, but definitely worth it.  One of the remarkable things of it all is going thru the experience of rediscovering and making peace with my femininity. And in so many different ways! I’ll mention just a couple to keep this post short. (Ha!)  First, I think that embracing my calling as a full time stay home wife and mother has allowed me to fully experience being a suitable helper for my husband.  You see,  I didn’t have the opportunity to grow up with my father, so I never had the experience of feeling the protection of a male figure.  Because of that, I think following the matriarchal pattern that by necessity was established at home was my default setting regarding the ways of women and homemaking. Don’t get me wrong, I will always be grateful for my mother’s arduous job in getting me and my siblings ahead in life.  She certainly did it and against all odds!  However, though this part of my heritage prodded me towards a sense of courage, it also crippled my ability to rely on somebody else, and therefore to trust.

The three generations..

My husband's father and his lovely wife Alice..so difficult to catch without the camera!


Now, among the myriad of things I’ve learned from my short 4 years of marriage, is that trust must be one of the most important foundations to build a stable marriage.  I think taking the step of getting rid of my self-reliant tendencies, has not only liberated me from my trust issues (which by the way, was not only a problem limited to our home walls, but further to all my relational spectrum, including God), but has also allowed my husband to grow in many ways as he took a firm grip of his manly calling as the provider of our home. I can’t put in words what a delight to my soul it is to know that I can safely tend and nourish our love nest, resting my mind and heart under his mantle.  Nor can I put into words how grateful and proud I am to have a husband that courageously responded to this call.  I do not want by any means to undermine any families or men that for any circumstantial reasons need to stick to a double income family. I am just very grateful for my husband for not shying away from the prospect of hard work coupled with a frugal lifestyle in exchange for the richness of a housewife. Wow, I said it! =)
Garrick on his very first boat ride!

My hubby and Ky-Ky wrestling in the waters of Lake Seneca

Garrick very tired after having so much fun!
Now, the harvest from our planting myself at home does not end there. I actually have discovered a world of potential and beauty that had never imagined being there. Like the masterpiece of art that the sculptor is able to visualize into a raw chunk of stone. Kind of the way Michelangelo did when envisioning his famous David, when most everybody doubted he could, out of that very imperfect piece of marble.  Not that it’s easy. Actually getting that smooth breathtaking sculpture does take lots of time, sweat, blows and laboring with the chisel. However, embracing my calling to stay home and dedicate my time and energy fully to sculpt my home and all contained in it has given me a complete new ownership of the project. From the prospect of having all the time and energy to nourish, be the primary teacher and the one who celebrates all the milestones of my children while I see them grow, to carving our love nest out of the boulder of dailyness and the ordinary. From exploring and lovingly writing the volumes of our family cookbook and kitchen stories (and I confess, sometimes they will be about failures and exhaustion) to carefully knitting and nurturing the relationships that God intentionally brings to our family life.  From having the energy and time to learn and practice the ways of homemaking and even a bit of homesteading! To setting our own home pattern and rhythms, and to learn to respect and love my husband the way God designed it to be.  To learn working together as a God appointed team to serve Him and our generation and leave a legacy that is worth passing on.  Isn’t this a super awesome assignment? Isn’t it a blessing to be able to use the power of focus of my time and energy to achieve it?  I think it is. And for that I am not tired of saying: I am grateful.  I can’t say I know with all certainty that I know how things will look like in 5, 10 or 20 years from now. I know we have some plans, but the Lord can change them at any time. However, I know with certainty that we are striving to make the most with what we have been given today, and that includes my time, my energy, and our home.

 “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us. Yes, establish the work of our hands.”-Psalm 90:17

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hmm Smells like Home…It Really Does!

I am not sure if I should either be proud or embarrassed to say it. Ok, Ok, I will say it. Despite of my late initiation, I am too happy to not share my joy:  “I made “Sancocho de Gallina!”  =) =)  Well, you’re probably wondering what the big deal is right? What is that anyway?   Ha, ha.  Let me explain.  This delicious “Hen Stew/Soup” is one, if not the most typical dish served in the region I am from in Colombia: Valle del Cauca.  Actually, this is a very popular dish whose aroma often fills many kitchens and hearts across Central, South-America and the Caribbean.  However, the recipe varies according to the country.  In Colombia specifically, the recipe varies depending on the region as well.  It can be done with different meats, beef, fish, etc.  But in Valle del Cauca, Sancocho is made with hen, thus the name.  




Our first "Sancochito" ..Mind you, portions are served normally 3 times this size in Colombia. We just left it up to our guests if they wanted seconds. So Yummy! =)


Of course the most common question I get when I say this is:  so “What’s the difference between a hen and chicken?  I actually had to look it up, as I really didn’t think about it as they always looked different when I saw mom cooking it at home.  Basically, a hen is an older female chicken old enough to lay eggs.  Hens are normally fed differently from chickens as they’re not raised to be sold massively like chickens.  That’s the reason they’re bigger, their meat tastes different and has a different texture.




"Hogao"






The rest of the goodies. Sancochos are normally served with rice, aji and patacon pisao. I made small tostadas and served ropa vieja, frijoles and maduritos instead. YUMMO!

So, if you ever are a tourist in the South west region of Colombia make sure that you try this soup.  Actually the most popular small town in the area to try the best “Sancocho” is Ginebra, Valle del Cauca. -Try the link to get a taste of some of its looks and idiosyncrasies and how Colombia folk music sounds like.  ;)  If you ever go, promise you’ll have a blast seeing this picturesque destination with its dozens of restaurants decorated in all the colors and styles that you can imagine.  From modern to deeply traditional they all try to talk your emotional language to lure you in and try their Sancocho.  One good thing, you can’t go wrong. They’re all good!  I know this is already on my destination list next time we visit home with my new family. Hopefully soon! =)


The men couldn't wait to jump to the feast! ..Specially Garrick! =)


Yummy mommie, do they have Sancocho Yogurt? =)


Now, you probably also wondered why would I be embarrassed right?  Well, because this is actually the first time that I made it, and coming from a home where cooking was such a big deal, I kind of had a late initiation on the cooking trade.  I know it took me longer than usual to actually get the baton.  I’m pretty sure most Colombian females get the first Sancocho under their belt waaay before I did (Not guessing of my age here ok!).  =P Actually I think that making Sancocho, is one of those rituals that families pass from one generation to another.  I really don’t know why that transition was not completed in my family earlier.  Maybe I had a hidden trauma from the first time I saw mom in action making one?  And I mean cooking, including the very beginning which includes the chasing, killing and feather plucking of the animal! -That’s how it’s done in the country areas of Colombia. =o0 Anyway, now I laugh about it, but at that time I was terrified!  But I have to admit that I really don’t think that is what held me from doing it.  Actually now I wish my HOA would let me have some chickens.  Sancochos made with free range hens are actually the best.  It’s said that they’re fed specially to give their meat a special flavor.  Even though I don’t think I would ever get the same flavor Colombian free range hens, aka, “Gallinas Criollas” have. Even if I get it to be bilingual!  I would never be able to feed them with the foods they can get in Colombia. Neither will I be able to surround them with the views and aromas that they can only enjoy while being in the small towns that blossom like flowers all over the Andes.


Going thru the dishes and explaining what was what..


Making tostadas...pictures are courtesy of my friend Katie from "A Couple of dreamers"..isn't she good? You should check her blog out! it's really good! =)

You can also get Sancocho de Gallina in the cities, but the experience will probably be, I guess, more sophisticated. Nonetheless, if you don’t ever get to go, don’t fret.  If you keep in touch and are good to us, you can always get it at our house.. We love having friends over!  There are a lot of beautiful stories that make up the collage of memories surrounding the cooking of this soup among Hispanic households and gatherings:  From mischievous children giving grandpa a hard time while “mama” cooks, to little kids helping mom to peel the garlic cloves, from making the cooking a whole family affair by the side of the river on an improvised "Fogon" or cooking bon-fire made with rocks and coals, to the grandma that would not allow anybody else in the kitchen..(Chuckles..)  So many fragrant memories! Even though it took me a while to actually try the recipe on my own, I was delighted by not only reminiscing my own family collage, but also by putting the first picture in the one we are currently working on. I hope well get to impregnate many of those pictures with the smell of home.
.the one that resides overseas, but in our heart from the past and the one that we are building now.

Now, if you read my story all the way to here, let me tell you that I like you very much. So as a token of my appreciation I am going to share the recipe with you. It’s really not difficult. So, if you ever want to bring the Colombian gastronomy to your kitchen and family memories, give it a try.  Let me know how it goes.  Enjoy!

(From the Bushes Kitchen and my mom’s heart)

Ingredients:

12 cups of water
1 fresh big Hen (Easier to get on Hispanic Markets. You may have to skin it and cut it in pieces at home)
2 cubes of chicken stock or replace 4 cups of water with chicken broth
2 big green plantains, peeled and cut into .3 to 2 inch pieces . (The thicker their skin the better, I like to cut them into .3 inch pieces)
1 fresh peeled yucca, cut in 2 inch pieces
3 ears fresh corn cut into 3 pieces
6 medium size potatoes (peeled and cut in thirds)
½ cup of fresh coarsely chopped cilantro
1 bunch of culantro
1 bunch of green onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Hogao or sofrito with no tomato, achiote, tumeric or saffron (See recipe below)

Directions:

1.      In a large pot, place the hen, with 2 green onion sticks. Add water and salt and cook on low-    med heat until water is about to start boiling (Approx 40 min)
2.      Add plantains and let cook for 10 minutes
3.      Add potatoes, yucca, corn and culantro and let it cook for another 30 minutes (I tie a bit    of  thread to the culantro to get it out of the soup when it’s done)
4.      Add Hogao, lower heat and let it simmer for another 30 min.
5.      Taste and adjust the seasoning
6.      Add the cilantro 5 minutes before serving
7.      Add slices of avocado and serve with white rice as a side.
8.      Sancochos are normally served with “Aji” which is a type of Colombian chili. I truly love it!




Ingredients:

Hogao is a basic Colombian condiment and it varies from home to home. You can experiment with the quantities and adding or leaving off ingredients until you make it your own. I normally use saffron or turmeric but some people substitute with Sazon Goya. I don’t as I try to avoid additives. However, I don’t use any of the three for Sancocho as I like to keep the color more greenish than reddish. So for Sancocho,  in lieu of those I add 2 finely chopped sticks of green onion. Ok here it goes:

2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper (about 1/3 cup finely chopped)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tbs of Cumin
1 tbs azafran, turmeric or Achiote (saffron)
Salt and pepper to taste

Just heat the oil on a medium size skillet. Add all the ingredients and cook over medium heat until all the ingredients are soft and fragrant. Some people add chopped cilantro and pepper, but I don’t. Remove from heat and let cool. Hogao can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.