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

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

Easiest Ever Avocado Vinaigrette

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Do you know how easy it is to make your own vinaigrette? Up until a year ago, I didn’t. The truth is I had never really tried. I was always happy just buying whatever I fancied from the store without thinking about it much. Man, was it boring!

Then my friend Alejandra of AlwaysOrderDessert.com told me the basic ratio for a simple vinaigrette, and I took off running. For me, part of eating healthy is eating unprocessed. In fact, I did my best to eat unprocessed in October as part of Eating Rules’ October Unprocessed 2013. That’s when I first came up with the idea of making an avocado vinaigrette for the salads I was frequently having that month.

The best part of this vinaigrette is that it instantly makes your salad much healthier than a Caesar dressing, since avocados have tons of potassium (more than a banana!), are one of the only high-protein fruits (4 grams per avocado) and also contain vitamins C, K, folate and B6, healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, and amino acids. Seriously, is there any better reason to make this avocado vinaigrette ASAP? Try it.

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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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