Archive | March, 2016

Mexico, Spring Breakers, and Faux Mojitos

21 Mar


With our hat vendor, Pepe

My sister Katie and I spent last week honeymooning beachside at the Park Royal in Cancun, Mexico. We enjoyed a string of lazy days sunbathing, getting our read on, and sipping gin and tonics. Despite being a relatively mellow trip, we feel resort life merits commenting on, especially the week of most colleges’ spring break So, we hope the following survival tips will come in handy if you’re an all-inclusive vacay newbie, or just happen to be over 25 amidst a throng of rowdy, skin-baring, Margarita-sloshing not-quite-adults:

Resist the deep, deep temptation to strangle a sorority girl on your flight who absolutely wants to get along with her roommate, if only she wasn’t so horrible. I mean, who does this roommate chick think she is, trying to be sorority lady’s best friend?! Unbelievable. As American Airlines Flight 2422 progressed, said-sorority chica and her two sorority sisters widened their circle of dislike to envelop pretty much everyone, frequently prefacing their statements with the disclaimer, “I’m not complaining, BUT…” whilst Katie and I coined a term in their honor, “I’m not complaining, but I hate you, and I’m going to kill you.”

Drink the questionably liquored mojitos. That Sprite-induced sugar buzz is merry and imagebright. The resort bartenders will run out of mint leaves come 3 pm, so do like an experienced frat boy and recycle yours.

There’s no such thing as a free dance party. The resort provided minimal nighttime entertainment, exempting one brief, pirate-themed  soirée, because they had relationships with local clubs. Fit a hip shake or toe tap in when you can, unless it’s worth $45 to be immobilized alongside 7,000 Mexicanos at La Ciudad. According to our sources (two Daytonian male college students), the human blockade surrounding your table is no biggie, as long as your bladder’s empty, you’re OK with sharing a bottle of wine, and DJ Marshmello is front and center. Ok, ok, we reluctantly admit that Deej Marsh sounds like the real deal – listen to his remix of ‘Where are U Now’ here – but as we all know I can’t be barred from bathroom access for more than twenty minutes.

Understand the nuances of ‘all-inclusive.’ It doesn’t necessarily mean ‘all good.’ The buffet gets old fast. Pack some nice and dry snack foods, such as pretzels and popcorn, to balance out the buffet’s wet food vibe. The exercise room was an additional $6 per day, but beach walks are still free. There’s cable, but the shows are dubbed in Spanish. Charlotte and Chloe on Geordie Shore taught me some new vocab, but it’s mostly no bueno. Incorporating ‘maldito!’ and ‘rayos!’ into my Spanglish may not prove feasible. We still aren’t sure what 11 am Insanity is all about, but according to the resort’s daily activities board, it’s a regular party:


I probably wouldn’t go back to the Park Royal, but I would go back on vacation with Katie in a heartbeat. Sister time is something beautiful.

Now that we are again stateside, it’s time to eliminate vacation chub-a-lub. Yesterday, my mom and I spent the afternoon cooking. I got to experiment with her gift to me, the Vegetti, to make my slightly modified version of Ambitious Kitchen’s Thai Chicken and Sweet Potato Noodle Stir Fry, found here. Sweet potato noodles are only 25 calories per ounce versus 100 calories per ounce in dry spaghetti. My version of the recipe is below. So that it could be eaten throughout the week, I only prepared the chicken, sauce, and noodles. I am going to add frozen vegetables (broccoli, mixed peppers, etc.) with each serving. Disfrutala!


(Servings: 4)


-2 to  3 small sweet potatoes (want 12 oz., after removing skin) image


-1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast

-Seasoning: salt, pepper, chili powder, red pepper flakes, cumin

-Squirt of lemon or lime juice


-2 Tbs. peanut butter

-2 Tbs. soy sauce

-1 Tbs. Sriracha sauce

-1/2 Tbs. honey

-1 tsp. crushed garlic

-1 Tbs. chopped ginger

– 1/2 cup 1% milk


1. Sweet potato noodles: Remove skins from sweet potatoes.. Blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes to soften. Use spiralizer to make noodles. Set aside for now.

2. Chicken: Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and cumin. Squirt with lemon juice to better coat chicken with seasonings. Spray cooking pan with PAM or lightly coat with olive oil. Cook chicken in pan until completely done. Remove from heat and place in bowl. Put sweet potato noodles into cooking pan, and cook on low heat for several minutes.

3. Sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients.

4. Compile: Add sauce to cooking pan. Cook noodles in sauce, on low heat, until soft, for about another five minutes. Next, add chicken. Remove from heat, and place into storage container for use throughout the week.

CALORIES per serving: 265