What Led to My Dream Job as Food Editor

Someone told me recently that they reach for the same dreams that they had as a child because that’s when we have the courage to dream the biggest. I don’t know if I completely agree with that, but dreaming big has always been very important in my life.

As a kid, I remember loving to draw and paint, weaving broad strokes in all kinds or crazy colors. I remember baking with my Russian great grandmother in her tiny house, forever since associating the smell of cinnamon with memories of her. I remember my love of art transforming into a love of the written word, as I read and wrote more in my teens.

Eventually, this all led to a love of magazines, a college major and finally a career in journalism. But it was my personal journey of weight loss, and subsequent learning to cook in a healthy way, that led to my passions for the written word, my visual creativity and my love of cooking to marry in onto an integral part of who I am today. It’s why I started this blog, it’s why I’ve spent the last few years writing and it’s why today I have started my dream job as Food Editor at SheKnows.com.

I loved working at Latina magazine and our sister site, The Latin Kitchen, for the past year and a half. But I knew deep down that what I wanted was to work full-time in food editorial. And I can’t believe that my dream has actually come true.

Now, I don’t want to downplay this. I’ve spent my post-college years working my butt off, learning as much as I could from great bosses, taking recreational classes, and reading as much as I could about the things I was passionate about. But what started as a somewhat casual interest grew into who I am today.

“Kids, when you reach your late 20s, you might be
surprised 
that you still don’t have life figured out.” 

When I first heard that quote from How I Met Your Mother‘s Ted Mosby, I was struck by how true it was. I’m halfway through the year 28 and, in a lot of ways, I know I don’t have life figured out. But today I also know one thing for sure: everything I’ve worked for up until this point has finally come together into one amazing package–and I couldn’t be more thrilled to get started.

I hope you’ll stay tuned here at Healthy Latin Food as I continue to share personal stories and favorite recipes with plenty of sabor. And please do come check out SheKnows’ Food & Recipes channel. There’s some exciting stuff to come.

Besos,
Irina

Avocado Apple Breakfast Smoothie

HealthyLatinFood_AvocadoAppleSmoothieOkay, clearly I’ve been on a serious smoothie-making kick lately. It started with the Kale Avocado Smoothie and proceeded with the Chayote Kale Smoothie.

But it turns out I’m not done yet, and I just can’t get enough.

To be honest, it started with me trying to lose some weight and continued because I found that making smoothies to have for breakfast during the work week was just the easiest way to start my mornings.

This time I decided to go back to my first all-star ingredient, the avocado, and add my all-time favorite apple, the Granny Smith. And since I am now officially addicted to making breakfast smoothies with Greek yogurt (seriously, it’s the best!), some of that, too. And that’s how my latest, the Avocado Apple Smoothie, was born.  Continue reading

Mexican Bean, Corn & Kale Salsa with Chorizo

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A few weeks ago, one of my very best friends moved in with a wonderful man–and I couldn’t be happier for them. In fact, when it came time for their housewarming, I wanted to make something really special to bring to the party.

Now, I’m Cuban but Jesse and  I (the friend in question) have an ongoing joke about me being Mexican thanks to a drunken comment made by him years ago. It’s too hard to explain, but suffice it to say that I knew making a Mexican-inspired dish was the way to go. And with it being a party, I wanted something that would be easy for people to munch on–and somehow came up with this Mexican Bean, Corn & Kale Salsa with ChorizoContinue reading

Chayote Kale Breakfast Smoothie

HealthyLatinFood_KaleChayoteSmoothieRemember when, last week, I discovered the “Latin” produce section at my local grocery store and went gaga over the jicama? Yes, I’m sure you do–my Mexican Cole Slaw was the oh-so-yummy result.

Well, this week is a very similar story. Only this time my love affair started with chayote.

Chayote, which originated in Mexico but has since spread all over Latin America, is a member of the gourd family along with melons, cucumbers and squash. However, I find that its texture and flavor is a little similar to pears–and that’s why I decided to make a smoothie out of it.

After the delicious success of my Kale Avocado Smoothie, I knew I wanted to try another one with kale, too. I have to say, I love the extra bit of sweetness that the chayote brought to this breakfast smoothie. I would definitely try this one again, and maybe even with a bit more chayote than the first time.  Continue reading

Mexican Cole Slaw with Avocado Verde Dressing

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I was walking through my local grocery store a couple days ago, when I came across a little corner of the produce aisle that I more-or-less can call the “Latin” section. It had yellow and green plantains, boniato (a.k.a. Cuban white sweet potato, one of my favorites for mashing) and–gasp!–jicama, something I’ve only seen in restaurants until now.

In case you didn’t know, jicama is an edible root vegetable similar to a turnip. It originates in Mexico, and is often known as a Mexican turnip or Mexican yam. And although it looks like a yam, its texture is crunchy and sweet–just like a turnip. Immediately, I had the idea to take this crunchy veggie and incorporate it into a Mexican-style cole slawContinue reading

Kale Avocado Breakfast Smoothie

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I’ve loved a lot of smoothies in the past, and I am sure that I will love many more in my future. But no smoothie will speak to my heart quite as much as this incredible Kale Avocado Breakfast Smoothie.

Here’s a little confession first: my mom has gotten into the habit lately of sending me kale in the mail. It sounds a bit nuts, I know, but in the past two years she has really grown her green thumb and started planting all kids of vegetables and fruit.

Over Christmas, I came back with citrus from home–which I used to make some of my other favorite breakfast smoothies earlier this year. With the latest gift from mom’s garden, I decided to go back to making healthy breakfast smoothies–this time with kale! Continue reading

10 Ways You’re Making Your Kids Fat

photo-1I love my family. We all do. But I also know that, when it comes to any family, there are some habits that we have that just aren’t really the best.

You know what I mean–from keeping chips in the house to boring old cereal for breakfast to always making your kids clear the plate, there’s definitely a few habits that we all have that we should quit.

Trust me, I know, because although I don’t have kids, these are all the things I had to start telling myself in order to lose weight. Read on for what I mean in the 10 Ways You’re Making Your Kids Fat. Continue reading

Cuban-Style Shepherd’s Pie

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Lately I’ve had the craving for the weirdest thing: Shepherd’s Pie.

You see, I studied abroad in London during college and, although it’s rare, once in a while I will crave something from those days. Typically it’s something more like fish & chips (fried fish with french fries) or occasionally Indian food (chicken tikka masala is said to actually come from the UK, not India). But this time it was the simple Shepherd’s Pie–a dish made with beef typically cooked with peas and carrots, then topped by mashed potatoes and baked. But this time I wanted to make it myself and I wanted to add a lot of the Cuban flavors that I grew up with. So, voila, my Cuban-style Shepher’s Pie was born! Continue reading

5 Things Friday (Exercise and Caffeine, Best Restaurants & More)

IMUSAMcCorcmickI would say that May is off to a good start, don’t you think? The weather here in New York is vastly improving and between me exercising more these days and eating vegetarian at least a few days a week, I am feeling pretty great.

I did have a big scare with my weight last weekend, though. I hadn’t stepped on a scale since early April and the number I saw was completely unacceptable. Although I am still within my normal range, I am starting to get to a number I really do not like. It’s what I think everyone who has lost a significant amount of weight would say is their “scary number”, the number where everything starts to really go south. But instead of completely freaking out, I am doing something about it this week. And all of that includes having more Latin superfoods, easy lunches, drinking my greens and more. Check out what I’m reading in this week’s 5 Things Friday–and what you can be doing, too!  Continue reading

Mashed Boniato (Cuban Sweet Potato)

HealthyLatinFood_MashedBoniato

Sweet potatoes come in all shapes and sizes and, being Cuban, the one I grew up with is the one that you will most commonly find there: the boniato.

Boniato is know as the Cuban sweet potato with its dry, white flesh and skin that ranges in color from pink to purple. Although also commonly referred to as a Florida yam, it is indeed a sweet potato that is often used in Cuban cuisine. I love them because they are an excellent source of Vitamin C and fiber. But, I have to admit, I never tried making mashed potatoes with boniato until this past Christmas.

Continue reading

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