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

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

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

Mashed Boniato (Cuban Sweet Potato)

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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.

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Thai Soba Noodles with Cachucha Peppers

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I first learned about cachucha peppers when my mother started growing them in her garden. As her plant flourished, the native Cuban peppers (or aji cachucha as they’re known in Spanish) made their way into my kitchen.

The peppers are a variety of the South American sweet pepper, which make their way into dishes like Venezuelan Hallaca (a savory tamale-style dish) and Puerto Rican sofrito (a sauce with onions, peppers, garlic and tomatoes). With a similar look to the habanero, they range in color from pale green to bright red and orange, and are actually surprisingly mild. I love the smoky and sweet flavor that I’ve used in everything from roasted tomato salsa to a classic arroz con pollo. Although I often use it to make Latin dishes, I’ve started to learned just how versatile this little red pepper is. Continue reading

Pink Power Breakfast Smoothie

HealthyLatinFood_PinkPowerSmoothieAfter a couple weeks of having plain toast for breakfast or, even worse, not having breakfast at all because I was too busy running out of the house on time, I’ve decided it’s time to get back to my healthy habit of making smoothies.

Never one that was afraid of a challenge, and because I knew I’d be going back to the gym this week, I decided that there was no better place to start than a protein-packed smoothie thanks to Greek yogurt.

Of course, I’m also always a big fan of using what else I have around the house–this time it included dragon fruit and Meyer lemons that I recently received as a gift from my parents. Sure, it might sound like a weird combination but what I loved about this smoothie is that both raspberries (which I bought) and the dragon fruit have a ton of Vitamin C and antioxidants. Tell me, is there any better way to start the morning? Nope! Continue reading

Slow Cooker Ranchero Bean & Turkey Soup with Kale

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I don’t know about you, but I am totally one of those people that freezes turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving and tries to figure out what to do with them later in the year. When it came to using up the rest of what I had, I couldn’t think of anything better than a slow cooker soup. Here’s the truth: I am a bit addicted to my slow cooker. And I personally don’t think that’s an addiction that’s going to die down any time soon.

You remember my slow cooker turkey broth, right? Well, when I moved apartments a few weeks ago, I brought it all with me but now I have to figure out what to actually do with it. To be honest, I came up with this recipe pretty randomly. I had the turkey broth, the leftover turkey and then I saw the Ranchero beans in the store and couldn’t help myself. The topping on the cherry? Kale, obviously. Because that’s how I roll. Continue reading

Roasted Heirloom Tomato & Cachucha Peppers Salsa

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I’ve always been one of those people who loves her birthday, and celebrating turning 28 years old this past Saturday with some of my best friends was absolutely wonderful. But of course, it wouldn’t be my birthday if I didn’t have a special little treat for everyone.

This year I made a variation on my Spicy Cuban Cheese Ball, some pomegranate margaritas and a roasted heirloom tomato and cachucha peppers salsa. Well, to be honest, I’ve actually been making this one since my Christmas party–and it’s been a huge hit! Typically, I serve it with whole wheat tortilla chips but I’ve also tried it with celery and baby carrots and that’s been great, too.  Continue reading

Brazilian Garlicky Collard Greens (Couve a Mineira)

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One of my favorite parts of visiting my parents over the Holidays is coming back with goodies from my mom’s garden. It’s only been happening for the past couple of years, really, since they moved and she started growing all kinds of fruit and vegetables.

This year I brought back some collard greens, and I’m thrilled to share this delicious recipe with you. It’s actually become my go-to recipe for collards because of how easy it is and how great it tastes. After learning this traditional Brazilian recipe for collard greens, I started playing around with it by occasionally adding different spices or flavorings. The best I’ve had, though, is with some added lemon juice and zest. And that’s how I’m serving up these Brazilian garlicky collard greens (a.k.a. couve a mineira). Continue reading

Healthy Papaya Breakfast Smoothie

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One thing that I’ve definitely committed to doing more this year is having a healthy breakfast every day.

Years ago, I was never a breakfast person. As a teen, I got up too early to eat breakfast and would often have a very greasy school lunch (is it any wonder I was on the edge of being obese?). As a young adult, I would often sleep in and forget about breakfast all together, opting instead for an early lunch. But then when it came time to lose weight, I learned just how important breakfast really is.

Ever since then, I’ve been pretty good about breakfast–except that once in a while, I’ll seriously slip. And that’s what started happening a lot this past Fall. I got busy and started to forget to make breakfast. I’d run out of the house without anything, usually feeling okay at first. By 11 in the morning, though, I’d be ravenous. I would eat an early lunch, then be starving again by 4 p.m. A vicious cycle, isn’t it?

So this year I’m breaking that cycle and going back to my breakfast-loving ways. Of course, I started with a juicing 101 guide but then quickly moved on to my favorite new morning obsession: healthy Latin-inspired smoothies! The first was my avocado star breakfast smoothie, which was amazing. But now I’m sharing the next installment, which comes straight from my mami’s garden: the healthy breakfast papaya smoothie! Continue reading

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