Holiday Survival Smoothie

Holiday Survival SmoothieWhen it comes to the holidays, most of us throw our diets out the window and plan to worry about it on Jan. 1. But I have another trick up my sleeve.

Instead of pretending like winter weight gain doesn’t exist until the new year, I plan ahead and stay (relatively) healthy throughout the holidays with a very special holiday survival smoothie recipe. In fact, this year I’m even going to send the recipe with my holiday cards so all my friends and family can share in it too.

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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

Spicy Cuban Cheese Ball

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For my annual Holiday party this year, I made a spicy cuban cheese ball inspired by Michelle Buffardi’s wonderful cookbook GREAT BALLS OF CHEESE. I’ve been dying to share it with you guys ever since, but the Holidays were busy and I just didn’t get the chance. But now I’m finally sharing–just in time for the Super Bowl!

It’s really hard to resist this one. My friend Justin of JustCookNYC first introduced me to the beauty of cheese balls, and they’ve officially become my favorite party food. In fact, I couldn’t wait to try making my own version for my party in December and you can bet that I’ll be making this again at a Super Bowl Party in a few weeks. I highly recommend you take my advice and try this one, too.  Continue reading

10 Ways to Not Gain Weight During the Holidays

SaladDecember has been, as always, a pretty crazy busy month for me. It’s been a lot of work (which I love) and a lot of Holiday parties.

With Christmas just around the corner, and New Year’s just after that, I’m definitely not having the easiest time keeping track of my healthy goals. That’s not even to mention all of the Holiday parties that are now mostly behind me. But since they’re not, there’s still something to be said for trying to keep track and make sure that you don’t gain weight this time of year.

After my healthier eating for Thanksgiving, I knew that I could tackle this one, too. That’s not to say that it was easy. Work parties, friend parties, family parties… it can all add up really quickly. Check out my tips on how to keep healthy this time of year!
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Slow Cooker Sofrito Turkey Broth from Thanksgiving Leftovers

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Please tell me you’ve saved your turkey bones from Thanksgiving. Seriously. Please pretty please tell me you haven’t thrown them away yet.

I know my pleading may be a little odd, but trust me when I say you’re going to want to make this latest recipe of mine. You see, I made the turkey for Thanksgiving this year and decided, after planning to but ultimately never getting to it last year, making a slow cooker turkey broth out of the leftover turkey bones. And of course, I just had to add some Latin-inspired spice to it, which is why I cooked it with the makings of the traditional Cuban sofrito: onion, bell pepper and garlic. Continue reading

10 Ways to Cut Calories This Thanksgiving

HealthyLatinFood_ThanksgivingDietTipsToday I am patiently waiting for my turkey to defrost. You know what I’m waiting for.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, a day when some of us will be excitedly cooking, some of us will be watching football or the parade, some of us will be anxiously awaiting the food or shopping on Black Friday, and some of us will be stressing out about all of the calories we’re likely to consume.

I read recently that the average Thanksgiving meal is 2300 calories per person. That’s right, 2300 calories! That is basically the daily amount for the average person. Daily amount, not calories-per-meal. It’s no wonder gaining weight over the holidays is almost a given!

To help combat some of this, for both myself and others, I wrote a story for Latina.com today on how to cut calories without suffering. Trust me, it’s easier than it sounds! And, as I say in the piece, there is always another holiday to overindulge–you don’t have to do it on Thanksgiving simply because it comes around once a year. Instead, I prefer having my pumpkin pie and eating it, too–without gaining a single pound. Continue reading

How I Got Inspired at NYCWFF’s Tacos & Tequila Party

In case you weren’t aware, last week was New York City Wine & Food Fest. I was a pretty busy bee for work and, I admit, not really eating as healthy as I could be. It all culminated in one of the best nights of my life–the Olmeca Altos Tequila Tacos & Tequila Party hosted by Bobby Flay. And, surprisingly enough, I came away inspired!

I was at the party representing Latina magazine and The Latin Kitchen, of course, and was madly instagramming from both accounts the entire time. I also brought my friend Justin Schwartz, a fantastic cookbook editor and blogger behind JustCookNYC. Together, we went around with my very determined mission to try EVERY SINGLE TACO.

We succeeded (mostly) and I was honestly surprised by the sheer amount of variety that we found at this party. Maybe I shouldn’t have been, since the chefs were all pretty amazing, but trying all of the crazy, typical, fusion (and more!) varieties left me completely in awe–and even more inspired to create new recipes than I could have imagined.

In the meantime, as I work to get back to the kitchen after an utterly exhausting and wonderful week, here’s a recap of what happened (and what went in my belly!) at the Tacos & Tequila party. Trust me, it was all GOOD.

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Salvation Taco: Headcheese Tostada with Local Vegetables en Escabeche. This was the first one we approached, and I was immediately drawn to how pretty these jars are. Doesn’t it just make you want to start pickling something? Continue reading

My Healthy Taco Party for Hispanic Heritage Month

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If there’s one thing I can’t imagine my life without these days, it’s the joy of throwing a really good dinner party. I’ve always been a social person and, in fact, I remember putting together many themed get-togethers when I was in high school.

Back then, it was getting everyone to dress up in pirate costumes just for fun to celebrate the return of school. These days, with me weighing almost 100 pounds less than I did back then, I count down the days until I can invite my friends over again for a different kind of get together–this time it’s a themed dinner party.

Ever since I started cooking healthy, I’ve yearned to have others taste my dishes. It started slowly at first, sure, but now I have friends asking me when the next dinner is or even coming up with the themes for me to execute. And I love it!

There’s something about the combination of cooking for those I love, feeding them delicious and good-for-them meals, and just spending some quality time together that fills my heart with more joy than I can describe. Nothing motivates me to cook like making food for these special people, which is why I happily took on the challenge of making a healthy DIY taco bar dinner party in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

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