I’ve been lessening breads and gluten from my diet for a while now, but after my recent labs … It’s a wake up call to hustle up more even more. My body just doesn’t respond well to certain foods and I need to step up my health game, pronto. One of my biggest weaknesses is bread. To redirect my cravings, I’ve been stocking my pantry and refrigerator with hearty replacements like sweet potato, squash and avocado to eat with a chicken or tuna salad. I mean, there’s nothing like a nice toasty piece of French bread but if you have to cut down, try adding more avocado to your diet to keep you full and, most of all, healthy! It’s the kind of fat you need and want in your life.
During the holidays it really hits me that my family is on the other side of the country. Although I’ve made a new life for myself in the many years I’ve lived in Los Angeles, the memories of my family will forever be with me, especially those of us gathered around the table.
There’s nothing like my uncle’s pernil, my cousin’s ham, my mother’s arroz con gandules, and my aunt’s macaroni salad. In fact, her salad became the staple for everyone’s holiday meal. It’s super easy to make, and oh so tasty.
I just worked on a social promotion collaboration with Hornitos Tequila, and felt that this lovely Hot Toddy should go up on the blog as well. I actually never had one until I moved to LA when my friend Nicole hosted a Christmas party with all types of ponche and toddy magic. Up until that point, I had only known the world of Coquito (a traditional Puerto Rican “spiked” eggnog drink) as the one and only holiday drink.
I used this recipe, and surprised my tequila-loving fiance with an evening drink for two. If you haven’t tried one yet or if you’re looking to serve up something different for the holidays, go the toddy route. You won’t be disappointed.
We get so caught up preparing Thanksgiving dinner, it’s easy to forget breakfast. Since you’re already going to indulge, why not start the day with something decadent. My guys love freshly baked banana bread. My son loves to have it warm with a tall glass of milk while my fiance takes his with black coffee. Bake it the night before (I used this recipe) and set your coffee pot. There’s nothing like the aroma of freshly brewed coffee on a day off from work, is there?
When my son was younger, he didn’t give me much trouble about eating his fruits and vegetables along with the things he enjoyed eating. He liked broccoli, raw carrots, apples, bananas, you name it. Once he entered middle school and gained a bit more independence, it was a bit of a battle. His palette just completely shifted to all things, carbs, cheese and chips. Greens? Yuck. He constantly teased me about my Kale eating habits, as if I was in some sort of a leafy cult.
I was born and raised in the Bronx, NY by my loving and amazing Puerto Rican family. Day of the Dead is not something we celebrated, as it is not part of our cultural traditions. In fact, I didn’t know anything about it until I moved here in 2004, and my son brought home sugar skulls from school. Eventually, I learned more about this tradition and fell in love with it (as you can see by all makeup tutorials).
Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated on November 1st and 2nd throughout Latin America, and is a day remember and honor our loved one who passed. Many celebrate by painting their faces (which I have done several times), creating altars and/or baking Pan de Muerto. I think it’s such a beautiful way to honor those who left earth but still live on.
I’m actually embarrassed to say how many of these jalapeño poppers I ate. I mean, you’re supposed to eat these fresh, right? There’s no waiting when it comes to poppers, as far as I’m concerned. You have to catch that cheese in all it’s oozing glory.
My son was a little concerned when he saw me making them. After all, they’re supposed to be breaded or wrapped in bacon, mom. They were way too green for his liking but I really didn’t want to make something so heavy. I followed this amazing recipe from Gimme Some Oven for healthier poppers. I promised him they would be just as delicious and decadent, and they did not disappoint. We turned on the TV (hello, Football season) and had ourselves a little popper party (the Eagles won) with a tall glass of milk. Yes, milk!
From my morning cafe con leche to our lunch and dinner, it’s no secret that we drink our fair share of milk in this house. But milk with peppers? Sure, why not? The Panko breadcrumbs and crispy bacon gave these poppers the perfect amount of crunch to go nicely with a cold glass of milk.
We were recently invited to indulge in all things honey by the National Honey Board and Chef Michell Sanchez of Latin House Grill. I seriously had no idea what I was in for. I use honey like most people – it goes in my tea. I also use it in my DIY beauty scrubs. But did you know that it tastes amazing a burger? Shrimp?
Don’t put that grill away just yet (or make sure you buy a stove stop one) because these recipes by Chef Sanchez are way too good to pass up. I’ll just cut to the chase by sharing a couple of recipes, and you decide!
My son, who loves himself a traditional American cheeseburger, really enjoyed this brie, almond and honey burger – three things he would not eat otherwise. However, this burger convinced him that there’s more to burger life than ketchup. In fact, he enjoyed it so much, he had seconds (so did I!).
Cerveza Montejo tailgate at Dodger Stadium
We recently had the absolute pleasure of working with Cerveza Montejo – the authentically Mexican beer. Through this program, we worked with so many talented recipe developers and content creators. It may go down as one of my favorite digital launches when it comes to the food and beverage world. I mean, the brand even set up a tailgate event for their LA based contributors, where we all got to drink micheladas, take a tour through Dodger Stadium, meet Manny Mota, try out our swings at the batting cage, hang out in the dugout and eat … a lot.
Sometimes I just get an insane craving for una ensalada de bacalao .. or guisado (with yucca!). It brings back so many memories of the holidays at my aunt’s house and the Caridad Restaurants that graced the neighborhoods near my home. Telling you, there was nothing like dining at a Caridad after a long day. It was like being home, except you’re not the one doing the cooking. The one I frequented often had a jukebox and served the most amazing garlic bread so it was like ‘aaaah, relax, music and good foooood’.
Every time I listen to bachata music, I’m suddenly overcome by the need to eat an extremely tasty plate of cod fish. It never fails. I was actually on my way home when Piensa en Mi came on the radio, and I turned right back around to the Latin food market to pick up some dry salted cod and yucca. When you miss a place, it’s fun to recreate the experience at home.
If you’d like to make this, here’s what you need (serves 2 – 4)
– 1.5-2 lbs of dry salted cod
– about 8 olives
– one 1/2 tomato
– one 1/2 avocado
– a teaspoon of chopped pimiento
– two eggs
– olive oil
– two large russet potatoes
– two large yucca
– one 1/2 white onion
Rinse your salted cod and let it sit in cold water for about 30 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When your water is ready, add the cod and let it boil for about 15 minutes or so (You will be boil them twice). In another pot, boil water and add your potatoes and yucca. While these ingredients are on the stove, dice your tomatoes, olives, pimientos and peppers and put them into a bowl. Set aside. Slice your onions and cook them in olive oil until they become translucent. When they’re done, set aside and let them cool. Noe that you have a burner free, boil two eggs. By now your cod should be on its second boil. When they’re done, drain and set aside. Dice your avocados and them to the olives, tomatoes and peppers stirring your ingredients gently. If you’re cod fish and onions have cooled, mix the onions (with the olive oil) with your cod fish in a bowl. Be sure to break up your cod fish into small pieces (shreds) before doing do. Slowly add in your tomatoes, olives, pimientos and peppers into the cod bowl and stir. Set aside. Get your serving plate ready by adding a bed of potatoes and yucca. With a spoon, add the cod salad on top. You can mix it all together but I like my potatoes bites to break up the flavors and consistency. Slice your hard boiled eggs and add as needed or wanted. Drizzle a bit of olive oil. Garnish with cilantro and done.
My Naturopath has been urging me to go gluten free for months. I minimized my gluten intake last year, and actually did start to feel a lot more energy. I also lost weight! So I totally get why she wants me to cut gluten out of my life. I haven’t been tested for gluten sensitivity but I think she is right in assuming that it may be a contributor to my TMJ problems, as it can lead to chronic inflammation. But I’m not going to lie. It hasn’t been that easy to cut this trouble making wheat from my diet. I need to ease my way into it by reinventing recipes slowly and giving myself enough time to make it my lifestyle. If I go all in, I will likely have a relapse (cue in 2am desperation with a giant bowl of pasta).
I’ve played around with recipes over the last year, and do have to say that this banana pancake recipe is pretty darn good. So I know that with a bit of effort there are plenty of delicious things I can eat. I’ve made them several times with agave syrup for my guys and they really enjoyed them. I really appreciate the effort they’ve made to try new things with me. So why not keep the de-glutenizing momentum going with a few other household favorites – like brownies!
My son came home from school one day and was elated to see that I was baking brownies. I warned him that they may not taste the way he likes – to which he replied “oh no, this isn’t another gluten free healthy recipe thing, is it?” I started to explain why I needed to cut back but about 5 seconds in I noticed he was licking the bowl and spoon clean. So. There was no need to say anymore. I’ve made them several times, and it’s been a win. I used this recipe but if you want to give this a try without starting from scratch, Trader Joe’s makes a delicious gluten free brownie mix.