Spring is my all-time favorite season. The other day, I walked outside without my coat on and I could actually feel the sun on my skin. I'm so ready for the weather to get warmer and the flowers to bloom. So, of course, the best season of the year needs to have the best playlist of the year. This season is all about positivity and sunshine, so add these songs to your spring playlist to help the good vibes come your way.
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... in case you needed another excuse to eat empanadas and churros.
Like many of my wanderlust-ridden friends and family, I'll travel anywhere for the promise of good food. I once went to Thailand in pursuit of traditional massaman curry and Spain for authentic patatas bravas — neither of which let me down.
What usually ends up being the biggest letdown is coming home to miss the traditional, local cuisine. It may not have quite the same ambiance, but trying to cook authentic dishes at home can increase appreciation for the craft and culture behind them.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, making our favorite dishes from Hispanic countries has been top of mind — not to mention if you're anything like me, you've been looking for an excuse to eat more chilaquiles and arroz con maíz.
We could likely find hundreds of recipes online, but digging through the weeds to find one only to realize after you've bought the ingredients and cooked it to find out it's not turned well at all is one of the biggest culinary disappointments.
The recipes below are tried and true favorites from a blend of Hispanic countries, all paying homage to the culturally rich places they come from:
Naturally gluten-free, cheesy bread, think of it like Argentinian pizza.
The fried, stuffed, spicy dough can be easily adapted for vegan or vegetarian diets as a side or main dish with a variety of sauces.
Rice, fried plantain, and meat smothered in savory garlic and cumin.
Spicy beans stewed in a soothing blend of pumpkin, corn, and paprika make this the ultimate fall comfort food.
Cornflour-based pancakes fried and smothered in cheese make the perfect dinner party snack.
These buttery shortbread cookies with a tangy lime twist are begging to be dunked in some warm milk or tea.
Deep-fried carbs fit any mood, but these in particular pair idyllically with a garlic parsley dip or some seasoned rice.
The soul-soothing potato-based soup tastes so good, your guests will have no idea how easy it was to make.
The indulgent, creamy pancakes have a basis of crunchy potatoes blended with cheese, then fried and dunked in a savory peanut sauce.
This fluffy, bean-stuffed masa cake topped with fermented vegetables tastes so good, you won't believe it's actually super healthy, too.
These deep-fried sweet peppers stuffed with your choice of filling are made even more indulgent with the creamy tomato sauce you'll drizzle on top. Pair with some seasoned rice to make it a complete meal.
A fluffy, cookie-like pastry made from corn flour, rosquillas are a naturally gluten-free sweet-salty snack lover's dream.
These dough, fluffy balls are a coconut lover's dream
The beloved Mexican breakfast dish has been replicated many times over, but this recipe, in particular, is super authentic, right down to the seasonings and Mexican cream.
Creamy, tangy, and rich, this soup has an incredible depth of flavors with just a handful of ingredients you probably already have at home.
A traditional rice and beans dish eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Nicaragua, it's all about the seasonings with this one, often paired with eggs or steak and topped with cotija or a drizzle of tangy crema.
Soft potatoes smothered in a luxuriously creamy yet spicy cheese sauce, topped with an egg, you'd be crazy not to lick the plate — plus, you'll find yourself pairing the addictive sauce with nearly everything that comes out of your kitchen.
Probably everyone's go-to tapas dish at any Spanish restaurant or bar, this recipe, in particular, has a spicy brava sauce so good, you may want to double that part of the recipe.
The crispy, fried dough is so dangerously easy to whip in a couple of minutes, once you learn the recipe, you'll have to physically restrain yourself from making it all the time.
The preparation and ingredients of tamales vary in every region — Venezuelan hallacas are renowned for their tender filling, filled with a plethora of spices from cumin to cooking red wine served on fragrant plantain leaves.
Iranian women go hijab-less in public protests
Launched by Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad in 2014, My Stealthy Freedom is a commendable campaign that shows women going against the strict hijab restrictions in Iran. This movement has recently gained a lot of momentum on their Facebook page and is currently even gaining support from tourists in Iran. Ms. Alinejad shares photos of men in hijabs and women inside Iran who have taken part in a moment of 'stealthy freedom' by removing their hijabs to the outside world.
In regards to the men posting photos in hijabs to the campaign, she describes, “Most of these men are living inside Iran and they have witnessed how their female relatives have been suffering at the hands of the morality police and humiliation of enforced hijab." Men in Iran have uploaded photos on social media in hijab to fight against women being forced to cover their hair in public. Hijabs have been heavily enforced in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Women who choose to go without a headscarf, as well as women dressed 'bad hijab' by having hair show face punishments from the so-called 'morality police' ranging from fines to imprisonment.
Men and women are continuing to stand against regulations that impose women to wear hijab in the My Stealthy Freedom campaign.
This man [above] sent in a picture wearing his cousin's headscarf. In the caption, he writes, "I think that one should not talk about freedom if she/he supports the idea of restricting other people's freedom. If only hijab were the only problem in our country, as the authorities would like us to believe. It is as if they have hypnotised our brains with a black piece of cloth and they only want us to believe that hijab is the most important issue in our country." For millions of Iranian women, this compulsory hijab is an insult to their freedom of expression.
In the picture above, the caption wrote, "Does this photo shock you? A group of grown-up men wearing hijabs. Do you find it funny? Does it make any sense? To be frank, you might be tempted to think that it's strange, or even unnatural to see a man in hijab. However, for the past 38 years, women have been forced to wear compulsory hijab, without having a say. Some of these women find the veil on themselves to be unnatural as well as it does not represent their true selves." As an expression of faith, the point of the hijab is that it should be a choice for women to decide.
A compulsory hijab is an insult to both genders. This photo writes, "When the hijab is compulsory, it is not just an insult to women, it is also an insult to men too. Dear men: when the government decrees that the hijab should be mandatory, that automatically means that they see you as unclean, easily provoked and weak. They think that men must be really weak to get excited after seeing just a few strands of loose hair. If you remain silent when women are forced to wear the hijab or when they insult our freedom, then you allow yourselves to be insulted too. Many Iranian men are already supporting us and are fighting shoulder to shoulder with us for women's rights, but we definitely need more of you." Women can't do this alone. It is up to the men to the support women fighting against the practice of compulsory hijab. Hijab is punishing women for men's inability to control themselves, when really, men should just be held accountable for their actions - not women.
While the Iranian men and women involved in the My Stealthy Freedom campaign may seem radical to people in Iran, they are brave and also understand that women deserve to be seen and not hidden. They deserve to be able to dance, sing solo, hold hands with someone they love, and let their hair down, but millions of women in Iran are not free to do these things. Masih Alinejad says, "Women in Iran are breaking the law every day just to be ourselves." In this video, she describes the laws that women have to break just to live. Alinejad says, “I’m a master criminal because the government thinks I have too much hair, too much voice, and I am too much of a woman.” This is exactly the kind of attitude she is inspiring to women in Iran through her My Stealthy Freedom campaign. Removing compulsory hijabs is the first step towards reaching equality and ending the suffering that women have endured in Iran.
Be careful what you do and post
Going to Las Vegas for the weekend is practically a sacramental right of passage in college. It’s so crucial to our early adulthood development that Snapchat even made a filter that says “Vegas for the Weekend.” Damn Snapchat, you really do get it.
But a weekend in Vegas isn’t just about having a 200-second snapstory that annoys all the sober people who watch it. It’s also about other substantial endeavors, such as drinking a lot of expensive liquor, pretending to like EDM music, and pissing off old men.
The best part about Las Vegas is that the entire weekend is practically free, unless you’re a boy of course. For girls, all you have to do is alert somewhat creepy club promoters that your posse is in their city. When they tell you that they’ll get you on the VIP list and give your group free bottle service at their nightclub, they are actually not lying. The only catch is that they might not be in it for your personality. Happens.
Once you’ve lined up half a dozen club promoters to dote on your group all weekend, take in your surroundings. All the glitz and glam and tack and supersized-ness will make you feel like Barbie in her Dream Castle. Plus, open containers are legal, which basically lets you relive your semester abroad. If drinking a Bud Light Lime in front of the fake Eiffel Tower doesn’t get you cultured, I don’t know what will.
When the desert sun has fallen and the Strip is lit up like Scott Disick’s eyes when Kourtney is out of town, it’s time to hit the clubs. The promoters will probably say in order to get free bottle service you have to show up at 10. This is when the games begin. Text all the promoters the lie that “XS’s promoter is offering bottle service AND we don’t have to get to there until midnight.” Next minute, every single one of them will be offering you free late entry and an extra bottle of Patron.
Once you've got them all in the palm of your hands and pick the best deal out of your bargaining, the real Las Vegas will come to life. In reality, you don’t actually have the table the promoter promised you — you just have it until the actual reservation shows up, and you’ll probably feel like an objectified pump-up girl for the duration you’re at the table. Remind yourself that Grey Goose doesn’t see you that way.
You might get lucky and your table won’t get rented out at all, allowing you and your ladies to bring in the sunrise on top of it. However, if you’re sitting at the best spot in Hakkasan and Calvin Harris is performing, expect middle-aged business men to book it out around 1 a.m. Likely, they’ll be overjoyed that a bunch of college chicks are swarming it and invite you all to stay. As tempting as it may be to party with these losers all night, get the F out of there before some 45-year-old housewife starts harassing you on Facebook for being tagged in the same club photo as her dearly beloved.
These days, what happens in Vegas doesn't stay there; it gets posted on SpyOnVegas.com. Be warned.
National Coffee Day is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than to remember why it's so amazing?
National Coffee Day falls on September 29, a fact that I don't think I'll ever forget, even though I didn't even know it was a "holiday" until just recently. Maybe that's because my love for coffee is still a recent development, or maybe I just don't keep up enough with the times, but either way, I can't think of any better time to recount why we all probably love it so much.
1. It keeps you up when you're on the verge of falling asleep.Giphy
Tired? Grab yourself a nice cup of coffee to cure that ASAP. Lots of homework and not a lot of time to complete it in? Not anymore thanks to the greatest creation of all time.
2. It warms you up when it's cold.Giphy
When winter finally rolls around, and it's time to break out those comfy sweaters and warm clothes, it's also time for my transition from iced coffee to cold coffee. There's nothing quite like a nice and piping hot cup of coffee to warm you up and help you start you day off right.
3. It cools you off when it's hot.Giphy
Iced coffee is arguable my favorite kind of coffee, and there's nothing quite like grabbing one of on a nice (or unbearably hot) summer day when you're trying to stay awake without burning your mouth.
4. It serves as a nice midday pick-me-up.Giphy
If you need a little something to get you through the rest of your day, coffee is what you should get. Whether you're falling asleep in class or dozing off in the library, there's nothing quite like a nice cup of coffee to keep you on your toes.
5. It's a great way to kick-start your day.Giphy
There's nothing like a little coffee to wake you up on those mornings when you really don't feel like getting out of bed (so basically every morning). It's really just the best way to kick-start your day, and have you up and at 'em when all you really want to do is crawl back under the covers.
6. There are so many different ways to dress it up.Giphy
You can get it hot or iced. You can get different syrups and flavors (as in, pumpkin spice). You can get some cool latte art. The possibilities are endless, and it's so much fun to branch out and try them all.
7. There are so many different places to get it from.Giphy
The list goes on and on, from big businesses to local coffee houses. Trust me, I've been to more coffee shops than I would like to admit.
8. It leads to discovering new local businesses and homework spots.
There are so many small business that make a great cup of coffee and fun coffee treats, so trying out local coffee shops is a great way to discover new creations and support local businesses. It's also a great way to find new places to study and discover new homework spots.
9. It's a great conversation starter.
Meeting up with some old friends and don't know what to do? Get coffee. Trying to make a good impression on someone? Bring coffee. It's the best way to kick-start a conversation and get everyone on your good side.
10. It's amazing, plain and simple.Giphy
I think I might have a coffee problem, and I accept that. It's just too amazing.
Remember, it's National Coffee Day, so treat yourself! How do you plan on celebrating?
A lil history and a few thoughts.
Hispanic Heritage month is here, and we are ready to celebrate!
What is this “Hispanic Heritage Month” you have been hearing about these days? (and you will probably hear about for a while!)
It is a yearly tradition that was enacted into law on August 17th of 1988, it was worked on by Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan. It starts on September 15th all the way to October 15th and celebrates important anniversaries such as Mexico, Chile, Guatemala's among others, Independence days. But the entirety of the month is meant to celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from various regions of the Caribbean, Central and South America, Mexico, and Spain.
So, how am I celebrating this month?
Well, it is important to note that not only my ancestors come from Puerto Rico, a Caribbean Island which is a commonwealth of the United States and part of this important celebration (you might note many contributions made by Puertorricans throughout history), but I come from the Island as well. It was not until I turned 18 I had made the decision to move to the United States to pursue my higher education studies.
So back to the question, it isn't hard to note I celebrate my heritage all year round. It is one of the first things you get to know about me as I introduce myself. It is that constant piece of information that follows me into basically any conversation I have. In college, I have found an astounding number of people sincerely interested in my culture. Well, as I write this, I am blasting Marc Anthony songs so all my neighbors enjoy them with me, maybe a little against the will of some, (but it is not quiet hours yet).
During this month, the Latino Student Association at Ohio State has a calendar full of activities, which include movie showings, cookouts, and other informational sessions around campus. It is a month where you are able to listen to songs in Spanish in various parts of campus, and people dancing and singing them. It is truly a magical month that reminds me I am not alone, I am not the only one, and I am certainly reminded to be proud of my culture and history and celebrate it with others as well.
¡Feliz mes de la Herencia Hispana!
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign