Breakfast Empanadas

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Empanadas are one of my favorite foods. Empanadas are somewhat like colachis or pierogis – but basically dough stuffed with yummy savory ingredients. Usually meat, meat/cheese just cheese, veggie, etc. I have enjoyed empanadas in Spain – and when I traveled to Argentina years ago on a work assignment and empanadas are EVERYWHERE down there. All kinds. They are delivered to you like pizzas are in the US, boxes of them! Delicious stuffed doughy goodness. What I loved about the deliveries in Argentina is each empanada has a different crust pattern to signify what’s inside (like a rolled crust = pork, while a crust w/ fork marks = beef/onion, and so on.).

I live in Kansas City and we have a lot of Mexican restaurants but not really many Spanish or South American places, so good empanadas are hard to find. They are best if you make your own dough, which I’ve done before, but I’m a working mom with a toddler and another baby on the way – so, this mom aint’ got time for that. I use pre-made dough and it works JUST fine.

I also love breakfast tacos so one day I thought, why not make breakfast empanadas! Ta-da! Brilliance was born. I used more Mexican spices in mine b/c I know Mexican food  & spices better than Spanish or South American. These are great to feed a crowd, kids love them, they are SO EASY to make, make ahead of time, can pop leftovers into the oven or toaster oven  – super yum and convenient. Hope you give this recipe a shot!

*I used bacon in this round, but I’ve used breakfast sausage before. If you want to do this sub 1 cup cooked sausage for the bacon. Or you can toss in veggies vs. meat if you wish. 1 cup should do the trick.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package grands biscuit dough – just buy the regular biscuit dough, nothing fancy
  • 5 eggs
  • 5 strips of bacon – cooked and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup shredded cheese – I use cheddar or monterey jack
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp water
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees (follow package directions for dough)
  2. Place biscuit dough on flat cold surface, no flour!
  3. Pat down biscuits until flat
  4. Use rolling pin to further flatten dough to about 5 inches across – not too thin
  5. Heat pan over medium heat
  6. Whisk 5 eggs with 2 tbsp water. Add pinch of salt and pepper.
  7. Heat 1 tbsp EVOO in 10 inch sauté pan over med heat
  8. Add onions, garlic, red pepper, oregano, cumin, paprika, chili powder, 1 pinch of salt and 1 pinch of pepper to the pan. Cook until veggies are soft and cooked down – about 5 min.
  9. Add eggs to pan. Turn heat to med/low
  10. Let eggs sit for about 30 seconds. Then start to scrape pan and make scrambled eggs. Continue to scrape cooked eggs off bottom of pan and mix in with uncooked eggs. Continue this for about 2 -3 min. When eggs are firming up but still look wet, meaning they have lots of moisture. Remove from heat.
  11. Add shredded cheese and bacon.
  12. Mix well until cheese is melted
  13. In center of each circle of dough, place about 1/2 cup of egg mixture
  14. Fold the dough over the mixture to make a closed half circle, with the mixture inside
  15. Pat down the edges and then use a fork to seal the edges
  16. Place empanada on greased baking sheet
  17. Repeat until all empanadas are complete
  18. Bake according to dough directions, usually about 13 minutes or so
  19. Check to see if dough is golden brown and firm, but do not overcook!
  20. Remove from oven. Let cool and serve.
  21. I often serve w/ salsa and sour cream, sometimes chopped avocado.
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dough disks on counter

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flattened with rolling pin

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ready for filling!

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onion, red pepper, garlic, spices cooking in EVOO

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adding eggs to veggie mix

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scrambling eggs – removing from heat

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adding bacon and cheese

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adding filing to empanada dough

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rolling dough over to make half circle

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empanadas done cooking!

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finished empanada 

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cut in half

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mmmm – yum! breakfast empanada

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Mexican Street Corn Soup

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I’m back! Having a kid = no time to cook, let alone time to blog if I happen to actually cook something. For you ladies who somehow make the whole full-time job, blog, kid or even MULTIPLE kid thing happen successfully – hats off to you. Cocktails on me. If you follow me or know me, I have not been focused on the blog for a while but going to try to get back into it in 2017.

I feel so much better when I cook for either myself, my family or my friends. I like to turn on the tunes, grab a glass of wine and just chop and simmer. Breathe and chill. My hope for 2017 is to do Sunday meal prepping so I’m cooking and then I’ll also have quicker ‘heat up’ meals since we try to be around the dinner table at 5:30 or so. Wish me luck.

Without further adieu – here is the recipe for Mexican Street Corn Soup – a few variations included. Apologies here for limited pictures. Not fully back on my blog/capture images game. Get more wine and use your imagination – or message me. 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oiil
  • 6 ears of corn – with the corn cut off the cob
    • I couldn’t find much fresh corn in the winter so I did 3 cobs and 2 cans of corn OR you could do 4 entire cans of corn if you can’t find fresh corn
    • If you use canned corn, drain WELL and pat dry with paper towel. Or you can do this earlier in the day and leave the corn out on paper towels for a couple of hours to dry out a bit.
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery rib peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 chopped yellow or white onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder + 1 tsp for garnish (can add more as you wish)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro – divided
  • 1 avocado chopped (optional)
  • 1 immersion blender or food processor
  • 1 fine mesh sieve or strainer

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in non-stick stock pot over medium to medium-high heat
  2. Add in onion, celery, carrot and corn kernels (cut from cob or from can), chili powder, cumin, salt & pepper (I did about 3 pinches of salt and 1 pinch of black pepper)
  3. Saute until onions begin to look translucent and the corn begins to stick to the pan and get brown in spots. Took me about 10-13 or so minutes
  4. Add garlic and cook about 2 more minutes
  5. Remove 1 cup of corn mixture and set aside
  6. Add chicken broth and corn cobs (no more than 6 cobs) to the pot.
  7. Simmer 30 minutes on low
  8. With tongs remove the corn cobs and throw away
  9. Add in cup of sour cream and 3/4 cup of queso fresco. Stir well to combine.
  10. In batches (I had to do 2 batches), blend the soup with your food processor or blender.
    • After processing, I ran/pushed half of the blended soup through a sieve. I don’t like super thick soups and the corn kernel skins were getting stuck in my teeth when I tasted so I strained it to ensure it wasn’t too gunky.
  11. Put all soup back into the pot and heat to medium
  12. Add corn mixture from earlier when you removed it prior to adding chicken broth (step 5)
  13. Add in 1 tbsp (half) of the cilantro and lime juice – stir well
  14. Pour soup into bowls
  15. Garnish with lime zest, cilantro, queso fresco, chili powder.
  16. Add avocado if you wish.
  17. ENJOY!
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Step 6 – adding broth & cobs to then simmer

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Queso fresco, chopped cilantro & lime

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Finished soup bowls – ready for my belly!

Sour Cream & Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

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Mmmmm cheesy chicken gooeyness

Chicken Enchiladas are my jam. Yes, I am 34, hip and so cool that I can use phrases like ‘my jam’.These enchiladas are SO good. Honestly, the best part about chicken enchiladas is how they taste on DAY #2! Wait for it…they get better. So if you aren’t a leftover person, you are missing out my friends. I have been making these for a very long time, but just changed up my approach to the chicken and it is so much better!

Now, I wouldn’t lie to ya’ – these should not be filed in the ‘healthy’ recipe section. I’ve just gotten back into my major gym routine and I barely eat all day due to my crazy work routine, so my dinners can be calorie bombs and I deserve it! 🙂  By making these choices you can decrease the fat/calorie content: use corn tortillas, not flour. use low fat cheese and reduce the overall quantity of cheese. You can remove the cheese within the tortillas and it won’t taste that much different. Use light sour cream (never use fat free, that tastes like children’s craft paste). User buttermilk instead of heavy whipping cream.

This recipe makes 10 large enchiladas. I usually make one pan to serve that night, then I freeze a batch for later. If you do freeze a batch, you shouldn’t cook them first, just wrap tightly, freeze, thaw and THEN bake. Keeps them from getting mushy.

I have two options for how to cook your chicken so be sure to read through the instructions first to see how you want to attack the chicken. So, now that I’ve built this up…vamos! Lets make enchiladas!

INGREDIENTS

    • 4 medium sized chicken breasts
    • 1.5 cup chicken broth
    • 10  tortillas – small
    • 1 large onion diced
    • 4 small cans green chiles – chopped
    • 1 whole jalapeño – remove seeds and finely chop
    • 4 gloves of garlic finely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
    • 3 tbsp butter
    • 3 tbsp flour
    • 1 1/4 cup light sour cream
    • 1 cup Monterey jack cheese
    • 1 cup pepper jack cheese
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Your favorite salsa (optional garnish/side)
    • chopped cilantro for garnish (about 3 tbsp)

Marinade for chicken breasts

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Grated zest from 2 limes
  • Juice from 2 limes, about 1/3 cup
  • 1 cup of your favorite salsa
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix marinade ingredients
  2. Poke fork holes in the chicken breasts
  3. Place chicken breasts and marinade in Ziploc bag or container with tight fitting lid.
  4. Turn/toss bag to coat chicken and let marinate for at least 3 hours, no more than 24 hours. If you don’t have time, just start marinading when you start cooking and that will just have to do.
  5. Heat grill to medium heat.
  6. Cook chicken until heated 165 degrees through. Takes about 7-10 minutes. Ensure its cooked through but not dry. Check often to ensure its not overcooked!
  7. Another option for cooking chicken if you don’t grill:
    • Simmer the non-marinated (plain) breasts in hot water on the stove-top. Pull from hot water when cooked. (You can pull the breasts out and cut them to see if they are done cooking, if not just toss back in the water until cooked – aka: no pink).
  8. Pull from grill (or hot water) and immediately shred. Using two dinner forks, pull and shred apart the chicken discarding any cartilage or fatty parts. (If you did the boil method, add in all the marinade ingredients to the shredded chicken). Set the shredded chicken aside.
  9. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat
  10. Toss the onions, garlic and jalapeño and 2 cans of chiles in the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes until onions and jalapeños are soft. Don’t burn the garlic!
  11. Remove 1/2 of the vegetables and place in a small bowl. You will use these in step 16.
  12. Add in chicken into the pan with the remaining 1/2 of veggies, and toss until all is mixed well. About 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside in another bowl.
  13. In same pan, melt the butter (medium heat). Sprinkle in flour and whisk until smooth.
  14. Slowly add in heavy cream, then 1 cup chicken broth and 1/2 tsp paprika.
  15. Add in the other 2 cans of green chiles and the rest of the paprika (1/2 tsp)
  16. Add in the cooked vegetables from step 12.
  17. Add in sour cream
  18. Add in 1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese
  19. If the sauce is too thick, pour in the remaining chicken broth and continue to stir until the sauce is a thick consistency.
  20. Stir until thick, melted and slightly bubbly.
  21. Toss in about 2 pinches of salt and about 1-2 tsp of pepper. (this is how I like it so you can add s&p for yourself and adjust as needed)
  22. Turn off heat and stir occasionally to prevent ‘milk film’ on top and to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  23. Stack the 10 tortillas, wrap in damp paper towels and microwave for 30-45 seconds until heated through. Leave in microwave.

Assembly & baking of the enchiladas:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Lightly oil the bottom of two baking pans, I used 9×13 glass
  3. Pull the tortillas from the microwave
  4. in the center of the tortilla place a small amount of cheese
  5. Top with the shredded chicken mixture
  6. Roll tightly and place seam side down in the baking dish
  7. Continue until all enchiladas are rolled
  8. Pour sauce over the enchiladas – be sure to slowly drizzle to cover all areas. You may have to lift one end of the pan and then the other to spread sauce around evenly if you missed a spot.
  9. Top each pan with the remaining cheese and place in oven
  10. Cook for 30 minutes
  11. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes
  12. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over enchiladas
  13. Serve with your favorite salsa on top!
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Grilling the chicken!

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Shredding the chicken

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Shredded chicken

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Cooking onion, jalapeño, and garlic

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Adding chicken and green chiles to the pan

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All chicken mix ingredients

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Cooking the sauce – butter and flour mix

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Adding chiles and paprika to the sauce

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Cheese on tortilla

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Adding chicken mix on top of cheese

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Enchiladas rolled, cheese covered, and baking

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Final product w/ cilantro on top!

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Final produce with a fresh grilled veggie salad

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Leftovers on Day #2. Reheated enchiladas with a fresh tomato on top!

Steak & Chicken Fajitas

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Fajitas = deliciousness. When I visit Mexican restaurants, 90% of the time I order fajitas. It may not be the most complicated of dishes, but I love being able to create my own combination with as much meat, guacamole, peppers, cheese, rice, beans, and salsa as I want. I will tell you this though, when you get crappy fajitas, its the worst. Its important to marinade the meat, grill it well, and cut it against the grain.  Most importantly you must have fresh, quality ingredients to maximize your fajita flavors.

Its April here in KC, and spring is in the air. We are still dealing with ridiculous swings in temperatures, but this Friday evening its 78 degrees, sunny, our friends are coming over with their dogs, and we are ready to fire up the grill and eat FAJITAS!

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Sun, friends, hoops, and grilling out!

 

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Our next door neighbor Paige giving us a wave

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LuLu loving her stick and the warm weather

Tips:

  1. Be sure to marinate your protein for at least 24 hours before grilling.
  2. Make the guacamole, and rice/beans just before you eat.
  3. Pay attention to how you grill and cut the meat.

All details are listed below, the portions enough for about 6 adults.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lb flank steak
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts – place between plastic wrap and pound until chicken is even in thickness. Should take a few quick wacks.
  • 1 small white onion – sliced into rings
  • 1 bell pepper – slides into strips
  • 1 lime juiced
  • corn or flour tortillas
  • 2.5 tbsp cumin
  • 2.5 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 jalapeño – finely diced
  • 1 small shallot – finely diced
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 box of Mexican rice (Rice a Roni or Knorr sides)
  • 1.5 cusp shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups guacamole – recipe here
  • salsa
  • light sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

  1.  Marinate the steak: place steak into long shallow container with a tight-fitting lid. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over the top and bottom of the flank steak. Mix 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp cumin, 3 tbsp cilantro, lime juice, and 2 tbsp garlic and pour over the steak. Attach lid and shake gently for about 15 seconds. Place in fridge for at least 24 hours.
  2. Marinate the chicken: place chicken into small container with a tight-fitting lid. Lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over the top and bottom of the chicken breasts. Mix 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder, and onion powder. Pour over the chicken. Attach lid and shake gently for about 15 seconds. Place in fridge for at least 24 hours.
  3. Cook rice according to package directions. Keep an eye on it and ensure you turn to low heat when rice is done.
  4. Heat half tbsp olive oil, half tbsp garlic, diced shallot, and diced jalapeño in small saucepan for about 4-5 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  5. Pour in contents of can of black beans, half tbsp of cumin, and 1 tbsp of chili powder into pan.
  6. Bring beans to high simmer, then cover and simmer on low.
  7. Heat grill to medium high heat.
  8. Lightly toss onion slices and peppers in half tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place into foil packet. Place on grill and cook until soft.
  9. Place chicken grill for about 4-5 minutes each side, until internal temperature reads 155 degrees. Be sure to rest chicken for at least 5-7 minutes to ensure it finishes cooking all the way through when resting.
  10. Place steak on grill, and with flank steak, you need to cook it quick and over high heat. Low and slow will turn this into RUBBER! Cook 5 minutes on one side, flip, cook for another 5 minutes and then pull of grill to rest for about 5-7 minutes. Temperature should be between 135 and 140 degrees when you pull it off the grill (medium rare to medium). Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
  11. Turn heat off under beans and strain off liquid from beans/veggies.
  12. Mix beans/veggies/rice together in pan, sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheese, cover and set aside.
  13. Warm tortillas in the oven or microwave.
  14. Set out all fajita fixins: guacamole, salsa, sour cream, remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese, tortillas, and rice/beans.
  15. Slice meat against the grain – check out this link.
  16. Set out the meat and build your fajitas!!
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Steak marinade

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Chicken marinade

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Chicken, steak, onions & peppers on the grill (along w/ pork chops to be eaten later in the week) 🙂

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Beans, jalapeño, shallot, cumin, chili powder, garlic

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Me – cutting the meat against the grain

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Rice/beans with shredded cheese on top

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Delicious final fajita deliciousness!

Oh Holy Guacamole

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Guacamole’s prime ingredient is…wait for it……..AVOCADOS! If you hadn’t already realized by the name of my blog, I love avocados. Right now I am eating about 1 avocado a day. In salads, on sandwiches, in soup, they make every meal better. They are high in calories, but its the good fat – so remember that they are not only delicious, but very good for you.

Guacamole is obviously perfect with Mexican food – so I make it often with fajitas (recipe here). The problem with guacamole (and avocados, apples, pears and potatoes) – is that they oxidize quickly. What works well to keep from oxidization is water! You can keep slices of these fruits & veggies submerged in water. For guacamole – pour a tiny layer of water on top of the guacamole and set in the fridge. Before eating, pour off water and stir.

INGREDIENTS (makes about 3 cups of guacamole):

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 3 tomatoes on the vine
  • 1/2 large lime juiced (or 1 small lime juiced)
  • 1/2 small white onion – diced
  • 1 jalapeño – finely diced
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Halve the avocados, remove pit, and chop into 1 inch chunks. Place into medium mixing bowl.
  2. Finely dice the tomatoes – removing seeds (see this video – start at :54). Add to the bowl.
  3. Add onion, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt & pepper to the bowl.
  4. With large fork, gently mash the ingredients together, breaking down the large chunks of avocado into small chunks.
  5. Taste and add salt or more lime juice if needed.
  6. If not eating immediately, cover with water to prevent oxidation, and place in fridge until its time to eat.
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Avocado ingredients!

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Cutting the avocados!

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Mixing all ingredients

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Guac, salsa, and wine on the patio