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Food

Food is more than just something you put in your mouth to your fuel your body. Food is an adventure, a shared experience with someone you love, it’s traveling to a distant part of the world and it brings people together.

In our family are foodies. I come from a long line of foodies. We were taught to try everything and I’ve raised my daughters to try everything twice.

Here I will review different restaurants, share recipes and try foods that you may otherwise have never heard of or known about. My goal is to share all the good we discover and give my readers, and my family, exposure to different kinds of cuisines and tastes.

Food is something that connects all humans. We all need it. We all love it. The more we understand the foods of different cultures, the more we can understand it’s people and the world can always use a little more human understanding.

Champurrado, Mexican hot chocolate, Chocolate atole, Easy delicious and decadent champurrado recipe, recipes

Have you ever had a taste or a smell that reminds you of home? For me, that would be Champurrado and Suavitel. The smell of Champurrado wafting from the kitchen and the fragrance of Suavitel coming off the freshly washed linens. All I know is one sip and I’m a little girl again, home with my parents and my brothers and sisters sitting around the breakfast table eating pan dulce.

The champurrado was ( and if we’re being honest, still is) always perfect. I have no idea how my mom gets it so perfectly smooth (it’s like her secret for having the worlds softest towels. How does she do it?) it’s just one of those “mom things.” The pan dulce is always warm and the laughter is always intoxicating. It’s home and everything that I want my daughters’ to think of when they think of home. That warm nostalgic feeling of belonging and being loved.

READ ALSO: The Most Important things to be said Don’t Always Require Words

So what is this magical drink of my childhood that some of you have never heard of? It’s called champurrado or chocolate but it’s not like Swiss Miss. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Swiss Miss with marshmallows too. This just isn’t it. This is something more substantial.

What is Champurrado?

Champurrado is Mexican hot chocolate or chocolate atole.

Atole or Spanish, from Nahuatl ātōlli, also known as atol and atol de elote, is a traditional hot corn- and masa-based beverage of Mesoamerican origin. Chocolate atole is known as champurrado or atole. It is typically accompanied with tamales, and very popular during the Christmas holiday season. Maybe? But in our house, it was just called breakfast.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Atole Champurrado is deliciously spiced drinking chocolate that is sometimes so thick and rich you’ll need a spoon! That’s the champurrado that you’ll drink on Christmas morning. It’s flavored with cinnamon, star anise, and Mexican chocolate, but gets its velvety pudding-like consistency from masa harina. That is delicious, but that is not what we had for breakfast every day or we really would have all been diabetic. We drank a slightly lighter version.

READ ALSO: Delicious Summer Rum Cocktail Recipe

If you ever do find yourself in Mexico or a really good Mexican restaurant and they offer Mexican Hot Chocolate Atole Champurrado, get yourself some. It is delicious.

If you want to try it for yourself at home, my mama’s easy delicious and decadent Champurrado Recipe is perfect.

Champurrado, Mexican hot chocolate, Chocolate atole, Easy delicious and decadent champurrado recipe, recipes

Mama’s Every day Champurrado

Deborah Cruz
Easy recipe for Mexican hot chocolate, Champurrado.
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 disk Mexican chocolate, chopped Abuelita or Ibarra
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour)
  • 4 cups Vitamin-D Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup piloncillo/ or brown sugar Piloncillo is raw form of pure cane sugar that is commonly used in Mexican cooking. Unlike brown sugar, which is made by coating refined white sugar with molasses, piloncillo is pure sugar with no additives.)

Instructions
 

  • In a large saucepan boil water with the two cinnamon sticks.
  • Remove from the heat, cover and let the cinnamon sticks steep for 30-45 minutes (depending on how cinnamony you like your Champurrado.) 
  • Remove the cinnamon sticks from the water, return to a slow boil and add the chocolate. Bring to boil while constantly stirring the chocolate as it melts. 
  • Add the brown sugar or piloncillo. Whisk until well blended.
  • Slowly add the masa harina to the warm water, whisking until combined. 
  • Add milk and whisk until smooth and well blended.
  • Warm over medium heat just until boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until chocolate is completely melted and sugar is dissolved, whisking occasionally. 
  • Serve immediately.
  • If the champurrado is too hot, pour it back and forth between two cups to cool it off. That’s what my mama did. 
  • Optional: Top with whipped cream. This is my daughters' preferred way to drink it. 

This champurrado recipe is perfect for cold mornings before school and work, long Sunday afternoons by the fireplace or for sipping just because around the dining room table playing board games with your family; filling the house with laughter and your hearts with love.

That’s what this Easy Delicious and Decadent Champurrado Recipe is to me.

It’s family.

What is a favorite food or recipe that reminds you of home?

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recipe, Mexican food, easy recipes, chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, elote casserole, Hass avocados, type 2 diabetes

This recipe for chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce is part of a sponsored campaign with DiMe Media and Hass Avocado Board. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Did you know that in the United States, Latinos are twice as likely as non-Latino people to develop type 2 diabetes? That’s a scary statistic that I’ve been acutely aware of for a very long time. I lost someone very important to me, my favorite Great Uncle, to type 2 diabetes when I was 15-years-old and it was horrible. The worst part is that it could have been prevented with a few simple changes in his diet and a little education about eating healthy.

Cardiometabolic abnormalities, a cluster of risk factors for both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes such as abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides and high blood glucose levels are higher in the Latino population overall than among non-Hispanic whites.

We can help prevent ourselves from developing type 2 diabetes. One of the most important and effective things we can do to lower our risk for type 2 diabetes is to eat well to maintain a healthy weight. This can be done in many ways and one of the easier ways is to take some of our favorite Latino recipes and reconfigure them to be healthier.

One of our favorite recipes in my house is beef tacos. We love tacos. We can eat them every day of the week. Literally. We could eat anything in a tortilla but tortillas are not the best things for us to eat, especially since our favorite is flour tortillas filled with sour cream, cheese and ground beef. But with a few simple tweaks we can make tacos less hazardous to our health.

Here is my recipe for Chicken Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce:

Ingredients

Tortillas (or you can go the healthier route and eat as a bowl on a bed of lettuce)

Olive Oil

Taco Meat

3 Chicken Breasts

1 Garlic Clove, diced

3 lemons juiced

1 onion, diced

Salt/ Pepper to taste

 Directions:

 

  1. Boil the 3 chicken breasts for 45 minutes to an hour.
  2. Shred chicken.
  3. Heat a frying pan on medium heat until water sizzles when splashed on pan.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  5. Add onion and garlic to hot oil, sauté until golden brown.
  6. Add shredded chicken, stirring thoroughly until slightly golden.
  7. Add lemon from three lemons.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste.
  9. When thoroughly heated, turn heat down and start working on Avocado cream sauce.

Avocado Cream Sauce

recipe, Mexican food, easy recipes, chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, elote casserole, Hass avocados, type 2 diabetes

Ingredients

2 Hass avocados
1 lemon, juiced
1 large clove garlic, pasted or grated
A small handful fresh cilantro leaves, optional
About 1/3 cup light sour cream

Directions
Place the Hass avocados in a food processor. Add the lemon juice, garlic, cilantro, if desired, and sour cream and process until very smooth and mayo-like in consistency.

recipe, Mexican food, easy recipes, chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, elote casserole, Hass avocados, type 2 diabetes

Avocados are virtually the only fruit that contains monounsaturated fat, and they are sodium, cholesterol and trans-fat free. How can something that tastes so good be so good for you?

Toppings

Salsa

Shredded Quesadilla Cheese

Refried beans with Sazon seasoning

Tomato, diced

Shredded Lettuce

Next, heat your tortillas up on a comal (ten seconds, flip, five seconds, flip, five more seconds and then remove) or in the microwave, 35 seconds for a pack of ten. I’ll be honest they taste better heated up on the comal (griddle) and if you want to go healthier eat on a bed of lettuce.

Then spread your warm refried beans with Sazon seasoning (about 1 tablespoon), next add your quesadilla cheese (about ½ a teaspoon), top with sautéed chicken breasts.

Top your chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, salsa and diced tomatoes. For extra crunch, shredded lettuce will do the job.

If you really want an authentic meal, make elote casserole or Mexican rice (recipe coming soon) to accompany the meal.

recipe, Mexican food, easy recipes, chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, elote casserole, Hass avocados, type 2 diabetes

Enjoy this easy recipe for chicken tacos and avocado cream sauce with your family knowing you are serving them a meal that you made with love and is good for them.

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For more information about type 2 diabetes visit saboreaunohoy.com/aguacatesydiabetes. Share your favorite avocado recipe and follow the #SaboreaUnoHoy 10-day photo challenge for a chance to win prizes.

My favorite recipe for Hass Avocados is Chicken tacos with avocado cream sauce, what’s yours?

 

 

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air fryer, air fryer recipes, best air fryer, how does an air fryer work

Are you looking for a way to improve your health? Was one of your New Year’s resolutions a new you? Want to lose weight but don’t want to give up some of your favorite foods? Ever considered buying an air fryer? Then wonder to yourself, how does an air fryer work? What’s the best air fryer? Looking for all the best air fryer recipes? Well, you are not alone sister.

I’d been on the fence about getting one for a long time. I had no idea how it worked or which one was the best? BTW, how the heck do you fry with air? Is that even possible? More importantly, why would you want to? What kind of witchery is an air fryer?

Then one day on a complete impulse buy between drop off and pick up at ballet, I found myself looking squarely in the direction of an air fryer and something compelled me to buy the dang thing. With no idea what to do with it and absolutely void of any Pinterest research on air fryer recipes, I did it. I bought the damn thing.

In my gut, I assumed it would end up in the back cabinet with all my other expensive cooking impulse buys; the pasta maker, the ice cream makers and the panini press keeping the Belgian waffle maker company. But, we all know how much I love French fries. For me the worst part about fried foods (aside from the health risks) is the guilt so why not go the healthy route, especially if the air fryer recipes make the food tastes as good as their fried counterpart and, as hard to believe as it is, they do!

READ ALSO: Avgolemono Greek Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe

An air fryer is a game changer! For most of my adult life I’ve been teetering between baking everything and totally chucking my diet and eating all the McDonald’s French fries. But then we got the air fryer and we’ve made things like French fries, onion rings, fish fillets, chicken tenders and French toast sticks and it tastes great, crispy and has that crunch that I’ve been missing in my life all these years. Hard to believe, right?

Why Invest in an Air Fryer?

Well, you know the difference between frozen waffles and homemade ones or a cold cut sandwich and one on the panini press? That’s the difference. Who would believe that such a subtle difference can have such a flavorful impact? Who’d think that something as simple as a golden brown crunch can make all the difference?

Compared with deep-frying, air frying significantly reduces calorie intake. It can help reduce caloric intake by up to 70-80 percent.

Air fryers are time-efficient. You can actually bake a chicken breast faster in an air fryer than you can in the oven. Just imagine crispy fried chicken without all the grease. If you have picky eaters, you can make crispy veggies as snacks.

READ ALSO: Simple, Easy and Delicious Avocado Toast Recipe

One perk for me, because I hate the smell of fried foods in my house, air frying eliminates that odor.

Just because you are not using oil, you can still burn your food. The air fryer heats up really fast and it’s easy to burn yourself and char your food, so pay attention to time, as charred food is carcinogenic.

Bonus: Easy Clean Up

How does an Air Fryer work?

It uses hot-air circulation. The air fryer cooks your ingredients from all angles- with no oil needed. Compared to deep-frying, using an air fryer can reduce the amount of fat, calories and potentially harmful compounds in your food

air fryer, air fryer recipes, best air fryer, how does an air fryer work

Air Fryer Sriracha-Honey Chicken Wings via Karenskitchenstories.com

Best Air Fryer Recipes?

Any foods that are good when fried like potatoes and chicken cook amazingly in the air fryer. Sweet potato fries are a favorite of ours. Also, fish and chips come out lovely and delicious in the air fryer.

Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp and Apricot Sauce

Avocado Fries

Copy Cat Chik Fil A Sandwich

Mexican Street Corn/ Elote

 Air Fryer Donuts

 Air Fryer Sriracha-Honey Chicken Wings

 Air Fryer Fried Nashville Chicken

Easy Air Fryer Crispy French Fries

The possibilities are endless. Are you considering buying one now? Understand how the air fryer works? Have you tried a few of the best AF recipes out there?

I’m addicted to our Air Fryer and everything I can make with it.

I’m doing this new year, new me thing slowly. This is one of my favorite things to help make healthier foods crispier. This is NOT a paid campaign. I am just really addicted to my air fryer and moms of little kids or kids on the go who need snacks after school, chicken tenders, sweet potato fries, even crispy Brussels sprouts, and grilled cheese sandwiches can be made deliciously and with less fat in a matter of minutes.

I’m looking for new things to cook in my air fryer. What’s your favorite air fryer recipe? Please share a link in the comments.

 

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Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home

Today, A Dog’s Way Home is opening in theaters everywhere and to celebrate, the girls and I are making our Lola some homemade peanut butter and banana dog treats. Or as my Mother-in-law calls them, cookies.

Only, this time instead of the dog treats being some kind of preservative filled meat by-product treat, it will really be a cookie. In fact, it will have some of Lola’s favorite things in it. Our dog is crazy for peanut butter and bananas, the only thing that could make it better in her eyes is if I could sneak some chicken, bacon and watermelon in it.

Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home

Lola’s peanut butter and banana dog treats are going to be homemade goodness. Honestly, I think I might have a hard time keeping the girls out of these dog treats because om gong to infuse them with cbd since I red at Pet Life Today that it has many benefits for them.

READ ALSO: Is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up Marie Kondo Method for You? 

You all know I am in the middle of KonMari-ing my house so I don’t have lots of time to spend on baking projects. Also, did I mention that our dishwasher bit the dust this week? Oh my, it did and I’ve realized that all of those dish nights I had as a child have made me truly hate hand washing dishes. So obviously, I am trying to dirty the least amount of dishes possible but Lola is a great pup and she deserves a yummy, homemade treat. Doesn’t your pup?

This is s very simple and easy recipe. Easy enough to let the kids help and you only need to dirty one bowl, a mixing utensil and one cookie sheet. Easy Peasy. Even the littlest kids can help.

Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home

 

Lola’s Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats Recipe

Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home

Lola's Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats Recipe

Deborah Cruz
Easy, delicious homemade dog treat for your furry friend. Lola's Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treat Recipe. So easy to make even the kids can help.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine dog treat, vegetarian
Servings 15

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup banana mashed
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Whisk together the flour, eggs, oatmeal, peanut butter, salt, and banana in a bowl.
  • Add water as needed to help make the dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff. 
  • Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick roll. Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut out shapes.
  • Bake in preheated oven until crisp and golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Keyword Dog treat recipe

READ ALSO: A Puppy Saves Christmas

We’d love to hear if your dog loved these dog treats as much as our Lola! #LolaApproved!

Lola, dog, pets, dog mom, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats, homemade dog treats, peanut butter and banana dog treats recipe, easy dog treat recipe, A Dog's Way Home 

If you give Lola’s Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Treats Recipe a try, let us know in the comments.

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Avocado Toast Recipe, avocado recipes, how to make avocado toast, avocado recipe

Have you been wondering how to make avocado toast but just don’t know where to start? A healthy avocado toast recipe is super easy to make and we live in a time where avocado recipes are everywhere. It’s the new “wonder food” plus it makes the perfect breakfast ( especially if you add an egg) or really the perfect anytime meal or snack.

For many, the idea of avocado toast is a fairly new one but not for me. I’ve been eating avocados since I could chew. I’m not even sure I needed teeth because they are so smooth and creamy. I’ve been feeding my own daughters avocado since they were allowed to eat solids. Avocados are healthy and delicious, why wouldn’t I?

READ ALSO: Elote Casserole Recipe

If we’re being honest, my family grows avocados in Mexico. We had to, we eat too many of them not to grow our own. Of course, that doesn’t help me at all here in the Midwest but it gives me something to look forward to when I take my family to visit the place I spent my summers as a child.

 Avocado toast has become my new addiction.

It’s healthy, simple, and delicious. The  best part of all, it’s super easy to make and ready in like 3 minutes minutes. I’m pretty sure that it takes me longer to eat it than it does to make it. This avocado toast recipe is so simple and easy that it’s hardly a recipe at all. But sometimes the simplest pleasures are overlooked and I didn’t want you to miss out on how to make avocado toast.

 This avocado toast recipe isn’t one of those fancy, complicated avocado recipes. Some things are just better simple, like butter tortillas. Butter + a warm flour tortilla = crazy delicious.

This avocado recipe is simple but the possibilities are endless. You can make it into avocado toast or if you’re trying to keep it more keto-friendly, eat it straight out of the bowl. If you want to serve it without the bread to guests, you can present it on a crisp, clean piece of iceberg lettuce.

READ ALSO: Chicken Enchilada Recipe

Sometimes zest up our avocado toast and top it with jalapeños, siracha, tomatoes, bacon, beans, spinach, salsa macho or pretty much anything your avocado toast loving heart desires.

To begin, toast your bread. I like mine nice and golden. You can use any kind of toast or sliced bread you have but I like to use hearty whole grain or sourdough toast. 

Next, mash an avocado in a small bowl with a fork. Add cilantro, lime, diced tomato and salt + pepper. Then, spread the creamy, smooth mixture on the toasted slice of bread. For me, 1 whole avocado makes 2 pieces of toast. Sprinkle with pepper flakes, if you like, and serve!

 If you want a little extra protein, top the avocado with an egg cooked any way you like. We like it over easy and runny but sunny side up, scrambled, poached or sliced hard-boiled works too.

READ ALSO: Easy Recipe for Chicken Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce

Avocado Toast Recipe, avocado recipes, how to make avocado toast, avocado recipe

Simple, Easy and Delicious Avocado Toast Recipe

Deborah Cruz
If you love avocado recipes and want a simple, easy and delicious avocado toast recipe this is the one you want. Even a child can make it. I know because my girls make it. And it only takes 5 minutes with vegetarian ingredients. It's a healthy, delicious and amazing avocado toast recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Mexican, vegetarian
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium avocado peeled with seed removed
  • 1/2 small tomato
  • 1/4 wedge lime
  • 1 tbsp cilantro to taste
  • olive oil drizzle
  • 1-2 slices whole grain ( or whatever you prefer) bread toasted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 eggs (optional) cooked to preference

Instructions
 

  • 1. Toast 2 slices of whole grain bread ( or whatever kind you prefer) in a toaster until golden brown and crispy.
    2. In a small bowl mash the avocado then combine cilantro, lime, tomato and salt + pepper to taste. Spread half of the mixture on each slice of toast. Drizzle with olive oil. Optional, top with fried, scrambled, or poached egg if desired.
    3. Serve with love! 
    4. Enjoy.
    Avocado Toast Recipe, avocado recipes, how to make avocado toast, avocado recipe

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Thanksgiving recipes, How to make sweet potato casserole, sweet potato casserole, sweet potatoes, Holiday recipes, turkey recipes, Thanksgiving

Of all the Thanksgiving Recipes I use how to make Sweet Potato Casserole is the one I’m asked for the most often. As Thanksgiving recipes go, this one is a favorite in our house. I found the sweet potato casserole recipe online some years ago. It has been made famous by the Grandview Lodge in North Carolina. This particular sweet potato casserole recipe has become synonymous with autumn in our house.

As far as Thanksgiving recipes go, this is the one must have ( aside from my Thanksgiving turkey recipe) that our family always wants me to bake. It also happens to be one of the side dish casseroles that people will ask me to bring to their assorted holiday functions. It is truly that good. I’ve even had family tell me that they would forgo the mashed potato recipes and Thanksgiving gravy for this sweet potato casserole.  It’s truly a Thanksgiving recipe favorite that your family will be asking for for years to come.

READ ALSO: Thanksgiving Recipes for the Perfect Holiday 

This is a bit of a Thanksgiving recipe secret so shhhh! It’s simple and delicious and people will think you were working in a hot kitchen all day. If you’re like me, you can even put it all together the night before ( to reduce the amount of kitchen time on Thanksgiving Day) and then just pop it in the oven for the last 45 minutes of your turkey baking time.

Best Thanksgiving Recipes : Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients –   How to make Sweet Potato Casserole

  • 3 cups sweet potatoes, baked and mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk

Ingredients – Topping

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the first 6 ingredients.

Pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch or two 9 x 9-inch baking pans.

In a food processor fitted with a steel knife, combine ingredients for topping until crumbly or use a pastry blender to cut butter into brown sugar and flour until crumbly.

Mix in the chopped pecans.

Sprinkle topping mixture over the sweet potatoes.

At this point, the sweet potato casserole dish can be refrigerated (covered).

Thanksgiving recipes, How to make sweet potato casserole, sweet potato casserole, sweet potatoes, Holiday recipes, turkey recipes, Thanksgiving                                Photo: Pinch of  Yum

Bake uncovered in preheated 350-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes until browned and bubbly.

READ ALSO: How to Make an Easy, Elegant Thanksgiving Tablescape

Let cool slightly before serving.

Enjoy with your other favorite Thanksgiving Recipes. This sweet potato casserole recipe will surely be a Thanksgiving recipe that you will come back to year after year.

Thanksgiving Recipes are the best. What’s your favorite sweet potato casserole recipe?

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Things to do in New Orleans to get pregnant, international house hotel, new orleans, travel new orleans, one time in new orleans, #OneTimeInNOLA, Jean Lafitte, Old Absinthe House, Bourbon Street, French Quarter, Garden District

I never thought of New Orleans as a romantic getaway but here I am writing this post Ten Things to Do in New Orleans to get Pregnant. After a well-timed road trip to Louisana, we got pregnant. I’m not saying New Orleans is the best travel destination to get pregnant but I’m not saying it’s not.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, before children, the Big Guy and I went away for a long weekend to celebrate our 5th year wedding anniversary and we came back pregnant with our first child. Now, it wasn’t a babymoon. We weren’t trying to conceive but we weren’t not trying to conceive either. We were in the planning to plan to conceive phase of marriage.

READ ALSO: Life is what happens when You are Busy Making Plans

On that trip, we fell in love with New Orleans and even more in love with each other. New Orleans, literally, changed our lives forever. New Orleans made us parents so it is our top best travel destination to get pregnant.

Ten Things to Do in New Orleans to get Pregnant

Things to do in New Orleans to get pregnant, international house hotel, new orleans, travel new orleans, one time in new orleans, #OneTimeInNOLA

Stay at a sexy boutique hotel complete with rose petal baths and fertility blessings

We stayed at the International House Hotel to celebrate our 5th Wedding anniversary and it was amazing. Anthony Bourdain said, “The International House sets the standard for modern hotels with its creative design and meticulous attention to detail. ” And the Big Guy and I agree. It’s beautiful, sexy and mysterious and it makes you feel all those things when you are there. They say 1 in 8 New Orleaneans practice voodoo. All I know is that magic happens at the International House Hotel.

Things to do in New Orleans to get pregnant, international house hotel, new orleans, travel new orleans, one time in new orleans, #OneTimeInNOLA, cafe du monde, beignets

Indulge in Beignets

Warm, powdered sugar pastries are always delicious but the beignets at Cafe du Monde in New Orleans melt in your mouth. They taste heavenly and nothing will start your day off in a better mood than having one after sleeping in with your beloved.

Seriously, indulge in everything.

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Get a drink to go and wander the streets

Yes, you can do this is New Orleans because they operate under Napoleanic law and you can carry open containers as long as the container is plastic and the legal drinking age is 18-years-old. Go crazy, head to Pat O’Brien’s and get yourself a giant Hurricane and hit the streets.

Eat and drink your way through St. Claude Avenue

So much food and so little time. New Orleans has some of the best food you will ever eat and such a variety. You can stroll the city and taste your way around the world.

Things to do in New Orleans to get pregnant, international house hotel, new orleans, travel new orleans, one time in new orleans, #OneTimeInNOLA, Jean Lafitte, Old Absinthe House, Bourbon Street, French Quarter

Get a drink at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop or the Old Absinthe House

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is the oldest bar in NOLA and was once the workshop of the famed pirate, Jean Lafitte. Another favorite of ours was the Old Absinthe House. If you’re in the French Quarter, you must stop. The history is palpable.

Jazz do it!

Take a jazz cruise on the Steamboat Natchez .If you like jazz, there is really nothing more romantic than taking a leisurely, night river cruise on the Mississippi. I can still remember the sound of the water beneath us as the jazz band plays in the background. The boat swaying, as you dance with your partner under the moonlight, may just be the most romantic thing you never knew that you were always missing.

Speaking of jazz, listen to live jazz music in Jackson Square. Maybe a little spontaneous dancing will happen. Expect the unexpected in NOLA. I never knew before this trip just how much jazz is baby making music.

While you’re at Jackson Square be sure to stop by St. Louis Cathedral. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and if the fertility statue you got from the voodoo priestess isn’t doing the trick, light a few candles in the Cathedral just for good measure.

 

Stroll through Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District

I know it doesn’t sound romantic but strolling someplace so quiet and introspective, holding hands with your favorite person is so romantic. The Big Guy and I could have strolled that cemetery all day long.

Things to do in New Orleans to get pregnant, international house hotel, new orleans, travel new orleans, one time in new orleans, #OneTimeInNOLA, Jean Lafitte, Old Absinthe House, Bourbon Street, French Quarter, Garden District

Go on the garden district tour

The garden district is gorgeous and on a sunny day in May, it might just be the most beautiful place in the world. It kind of felt like walking around our own private island enveloped in flowers and trees as the sun peaked through overgrown willows and it’s shadows played upon our faces. I could feel myself falling deeper and deeper in love with the Big Guy.

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Go to Bourbon street and get lit AF and let go of all of your inhibitions.

We hit the 5 for 1 beer at what used to be the red rhino. Then we stood on the balcony throwing beads to hotties. We got hit on by a couple of swingers, which only fueled our lust.  We refused their offer, drank some more and headed back to the hotel.

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Eat the pizza.

Yep, Dominos pizza was being sold on the street by a vendor somewhere between Bourbon street and our hotel. We were ravenous. We bought a $5 pizza and ate a piece before a night that I can only call a blur of lovemaking and gymnastics from which I still daydream about 14 years later. Needless to say,  I now refer to Dominos as pregnancy pizza. I’m not saying the pizza had anything to do with the fact that we got pregnant but I’m not saying it didn’t either.

READ ALSO: What a Difference a Decade Makes

This is by no means a comprehensive list of things to do in New Orleans to get you pregnant or otherwise engaged, but it is my tongue in cheek list. Look, I know nothing can guarantee getting pregnant. My point is that we relaxed, stopped thinking about it and that’s when it happened. Infertility is not as easy as that but, for us, New Orleans changed our entire lives because we came back from that trip pregnant and, to us, New Orleans will always be the city of love and hope.

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I can’t wait to take our girls there someday so they see and experience the amazing, beautiful city that is New Orleans.

 

 

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Kitchen appliances you need, 5 Kitchen Appliances You Need to Get Healthy, tips to live longer, tips to get healthy

I’ve made a list of  5 kitchen appliances you need to get healthy. I am, once again, trying to get my groove back. Well, not so much my groove, per se, but I am trying to see my feet again. Not that I’m walking around waiting for my spot on My 600-lb to air or anything. No one is coming anytime soon to airlift me out of my house with the jaws of life (knock on wood) but I could definitely be in better shape.

Yes, I’ve been here before. My never-ending quest for perfection. But this time, it really is different. This has nothing to do with perfection and everything to do with just wanting to look and feel good. It really isn’t so much vanity as just wanting to buy off the rack and have things fit correctly.  And if I could get rid of this Mother’s apron belly and my bat wings, even better. Okay, maybe I am a little vain.

READ ALSO: The Weight of my World is a Number on the Scale

The thing is this time, I really don’t care what other people think. The Big Guy is finally on board with trying to lose some weight himself. Like, it was his idea and he’s committed to it. I’m not embarrassed by my body. I love it. It’s a little broken but mostly, it is really strong. What I do want is to feel comfortable in my own skin, to be healthy and to not have to consider whether or not my body will be a hindrance to me in certain activities. For example, I just decided to skip an activity in Cozumel that would include me wearing a wetsuit in public.

To make it easier to get healthy, I wanted some appliances that could contribute to a healthier way of eating. Appliances that make eating healthy less cumbersome. I also wanted to be able to eat things that were recognizable to me and tasted good, just healthier versions.

This is my list of 5 kitchen appliances you need to get healthy

Hamilton Beach Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker, 5 kitchen appliances you need to get healthy, kitchen appliances you need

Hamilton Beach Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker

I don’t know how it does it but this magical appliance cooks rice (yes, even brown rice and whole grains) and steams vegetables perfectly simultaneously.  I’m telling you, it is magic. I can do pretty well with white rice and Spanish rice on my own but brown rice and whole grain perfection has alluded me.

It’s also pretty fantastic at making overnight oatmeal for a healthy breakfast in the morning for the entire family. It’s about to get really cold here in the Midwest and there is nothing that beats hot cereal for breakfast. Plus, why not eliminate some of the hassles of trying to do all the things, plus wrangle children in the morning? Did I mention cooks rice perfectly?

Disclosure: I was provided a Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker by Hamilton Beach for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

Juicer

I have a Breville but there are many options out there. This just happens to be the one I have and I love it. I like to juice for breakfast. It fills me up and gives me an energy boost. You may be asking, why not just drink coffee? While coffee is delicious, it is acidic and I’m pretty sure that the last time I was in the ER with my gallbladder attack, they told me that I had an ulcer. I’m 100% certain in this statement, as I could not hear over my own sobbing and vomiting of all the bile. Either way, I drink coffee in small quantities.

Too much caffeine makes this insomniac manic. Which reminds me, I don’t recommend a juice fast and the reason I only do breakfast juicing is that when I’ve done a juice fast, I became extremely manic. It takes a lot of fruit and veggies to make a glass of juice. Fruit has a lot of natural sugars. For me, sugar is sugar. My mania knows no difference. But still, for a healthy and delicious morning pick me up, juice.

Ninja Smart Screen Kitchen System with FreshVac Technology

One smart base, three high-performance appliances: the 72 oz. FreshVac Pitcher
(64 oz. max liquid capacity), 20 oz. Single Serve FreshVac Cup, and 40 oz. Precision Processor. It makes getting your daily smoothies in easy and quick. Kids come home from school hangry, smoothies in minutes. This is one of my favorite appliance buys. It does so much.

Airfryer

The Big Guy has gone on the Mediterranean diet so we are trying to reduce frying and incorporate a healthier option. Whatever you can deep fry, you can air fry, it is safer and healthier like having a portable convection-type oven at your fingertips. The Bella Air Fryer is a multi-functional unit with traditional fryer functions can air fry French fries, onion rings and chicken nuggets. PLUS, apparently, you can also bake small cakes, cook small chickens and meat roasts and even bread. Really simple and convenient to use you can cook a 1/2 bag of frozen French fries in 15 minutes using no oil at all.

Food scale

I have the EatSmart Digital Nutrition Scale. It’s a Professional Food and Nutrient Calculator that Calculate calories, carbs, fiber, sodium, fats, vitamin k and six other nutrients from thousands of packaged and 999 whole foods. It’s lightweight and stores easily under my counter.

Weighs in grams (to nearest whole gram) and ounces (to nearest .1 ounce); Max weight 11 pounds. It’s so simple but so important. Once you get those portions under control, you’ll be amazed at how your weight begins to level off.

READ ALSO: Fat Girl Walking

These are my 5 kitchen appliances you need to get healthy. What can you not live without in your kitchen? Do you think that the appliances you have in your kitchen are as important as the food you eat?

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Milk Life, Milk, leche, breakfast, family

Disclosure: This moment of nostalgia sponsored by Milk Life Lo Que Nos Hace Fuertes. All memories and opinions of my grandfather/ abuelito are my own.

Growing up in a Latino family, you learn 2 things very early on; 1) family is everything and 2) food and drink are the ways you show love to your family. I love milk. My girls do too. It’s nutritious and delicious and something I feel good about serving them. We go through at least 3 gallons a week at my house. It’s sad to think that many kids don’t even get the recommended servings of milk especially since milk is such an integral part of a balanced nutritious meal plan to help children grow up strong. The taste of milk reminds me of home but my love of milk originates back to my childhood and fond memories of my abuelito (grandpa) Manuel in Mexico.

My abuelito, known fondly in his village as Don Manuel, was a humble, quiet man with a wisdom and kindness that exuded from his smile and his eyes. He was a hard worker all of his life. He ran our family ranch until he was in his 80’s when he was thrown from a wild stallion and broke his hip. That was my abuelito.

READ ALSO: My Father the Immigrant

He was someone you looked up to because he always did the right thing, even if the right thing was reading and taking time out of your busy day to respond to your young granddaughter’s letters. Even if those letters were her practicing her terrible Spanglish on you by hand writing you the most heinously, grammatically incorrect letters ever. He had patience and always made time to write me back, even when free-time was non-existent in his day.

I remember spending our summers in Etucuaro, the small village in Mexico that my father is from. My abuelito would be up and off to work the ranch and milk the cows before any of us were even awake. He’d be home with a jug full of fresh milk and eating his breakfast by the time I’d stumble into the kitchen and see him hunched over exhausted quietly eating his leche con pan.

Milk Life, Milk, leche, breakfast, family

What is leche con pan, you ask? It’s exactly what it sounds like bread with milk. It was a foreign concept to me. I was raised in Chicago, not on a farm. I was a kid, he was a very old man, even the first time I met him. Our worlds were very different. He had actually lived in Chicago and spoke English in the 1920’s. Our frames of reference were 60 years apart, but I knew if he liked it, it must have been good.

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” -Cesar Chavez

As a kid, I was all about milk and I loved pan dulce but what he was eating looked like bread rolls and milk. I wasn’t exactly begging him for a bite of his breakfast. Every morning, that I ever saw him, he would eat the same thing. No cereal. No oatmeal. No eggs and sausage. No breakfast burritos. Just kidding, I never saw a breakfast burrito ever in Mexico, unless you count chorizo and eggs on tortillas but no one calls them breakfast burritos. My point is that I thought maybe it was some kind of “old person” thing. I was a kid.

He’d offer me a bite and every day, I’d politely decline; walking away thinking he was really cheating himself and I knew better. Then one day, almost as a dare to myself, I said yes. His eyes lit up and he smiled at me approvingly. He took his spoon and lovingly scooped me out a bite of his breakfast.

READ ALSO: A Girl and her Grandpa

I opened my little kid mouth and happily accepted. I was expecting to be underwhelmed or maybe even want to spit it out. I mean, it was just bread and milk. But it wasn’t. It was a delicately, sweet warm roll (torn up into pieces) covered in sweet, thick fresh milk and it tasted like a hug from my abuelito. If the warmth of his eyes when he smiled at me had a flavor, it would have been leche con pan and ever since milk has been my most favorite thing to drink.

“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” -Alan D. Wolfelt

Sadly, my abuelito passed away when I was in college but all I need to do is close my eyes and I’m a little girl again; right back at his kitchen table in Mexico and he’s smiling at me with those gentle, kind eyes of his (the same ones my father has). Sharing his breakfast with me. He’s tanned from years of working the ranch in the hot sun. He’s smaller than he once was and he’s tired from decades of early mornings of milking cows to care for his family. But his heart is full of love for his little granddaughter who writes him those silly letters and he gives her the last bite if she wants it. This is love, this is family and, for me, this is milk.

Milk Life, Milk, leche, breakfast, family

I don’t make leche con pan for my girls because that was ours, his and mine. Honestly, I’ve never tried to replicate it but my girls are known to enjoy their own version of leche con pan with their own Grandpa Manny (my dad). I’ve loved watching them sit at the kitchen table where I grew up, drinking homemade champurrado (Mexican hot chocolate) and eating pan dulce with my own dad. Yes, sometimes, they even dunk their pan dulce in their champurrado. Seeing them there with my father always reminds me of those mornings in Mexico with my abuelito.

 


For more content and recipes with milk visit https://fuertesconleche.com/nutricion/dales-mas-leche and follow Siempre Leche on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

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cooking with kids, french cuisine, brunch, homemade crepes, crepe recipe, breakfast recipe, dessert recipe

What reminds you of summer? For me, it’s togetherness, traveling, late nights under the stars, laughing until my heart felt like it would burst, bonfires, homemade ice cream, watermelon and barbecues. Sleepovers, the beach and homemade crepes. The crepe recipe reminds me of my inbetween years.

Every summer, I try to slow down and unplug. This is a conscious choice I made a few years ago when I felt everything start to spin out of control. The girls started school and pretty soon extracurriculars that were once a week for half an hour were every day for an hour, then two and now, time together is extracurricular.

What I mean is life started running us and I just wasn’t ready for that to happen yet. Something had to be done. I want to be present for these fleeting summers we have left with our children. They really do grow up so fast. One day, you are praying to God that they will be able to crawl and the next day, you are teaching them about how to put on make-up and listening to them tell you who they think is cute at school. Before I know it, they will be off to college, moving away and getting married. I need more hours, more days, more weeks…more moments together.

READ ALSO: Pret A Manger Grilled Ham and Cheese Recipe

So when summer comes along, I am ecstatic. My family loves to travel together. We love to eat together. Love going for bike rides and night swims.  Rushing into the surf and baking in the sun, we’ll take it. Connecting freckles and impromptu dance parties? We’ll take those too. We love bonfires and singing Cardi B songs at the top of our lungs while laughing so hard that our bellies hurt. I want more of all of that.

I don’t care how anybody else does their summers. I just hope they are happy doing it. For us, summer is when we slow down and just be. I confiscate the electronics. We stay up late. We sleep in. We visit family. We watch movies outside and count the stars. We celebrate the time to slow down and enjoy the journey. And we cook. As a Latina foodie mom, food is one of my love languages. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve food.

This summer the girls are a little older so I have been teaching them to cook some of their favorites. One thing we all love is crepes. I learned to make them when I was in 7th grade in home economics class. Remember that class? Anyways, they don’t offer anything like that in our school so I am taking it upon myself to teach the girls how to sew on buttons, cook some basics and favorites and the fine art of separating, folding and putting away laundry.

READ ALSO: The World’s Awesomest Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

One of the first things we cooked together this summer was crepes because, as you know, there is nothing better than homemade crepes for breakfast.

Recipe for homemade crepes

Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 5 mins Total Time: 15 mins Makes about 15 crepes

This is a simple, easy recipe for crepes with strawberry and cream filling. We also make other variations with Nutella and bananas and lemon crepes with fresh blueberry filling, my husband’s favorite. I will share those recipes in the upcoming weeks.

Ingredients

Crepes:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoon raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil

For the filling:

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Instructions

cooking with kids, french cuisine, brunch, homemade crepes, crepe recipe, breakfast recipe, dessert recipe

Crepes:

  1. Add eggs, milk, flour, salt, sugar, vanilla and oil to a bowl and mix on medium until smooth. The mixture will be runny.
  2. Refrigerate batter for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium heat. When skillet is hot, lightly grease it with butter.
  4. Hold the handle of the skillet and as you pour a few tablespoons of batter in, tilt the skillet around in a circular motion to allow the batter to evenly coat the bottom of the pan, in a thin layer.
  5. Cook for 30 seconds-1 minute until the edges of the crepe curls slightly and the bottom of the crepe is light golden brown. Flip to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds.
  6. (Adjust your heat between medium-medium high until your crepes are cooking in about 30 seconds on each side. Re-grease your pan every few crepes, as needed.
  7. Remove crepe to a plate. Add more crepes to the plate as you cook them, and cover the plate with tinfoil to keep them warm.

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Filling:

  1. In a small bowl mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  2. In another mixing bowl, beat the cream and powdered sugar on high speed until stiff peaks.
  3. Spoon most of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and fold in until smooth. Save a little bit of whipped cream for topping on the crepes.
  4. Spoon a thin layer of the filling into on a crepe. Add some fresh strawberries on top and then roll it up.
  5. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar, extra strawberries and whipped cream, if desired.

cooking with kids, french cuisine, brunch, homemade crepes, crepe recipe, breakfast recipe, dessert recipe

Just a warning the filling is so good, you will want to eat it by itself. Try to resist the urge to do so because believe me, it is even more delicious inside of these homemade crepes!

Maybe it’s not a crepe recipe that reminds you of your childhood summers but what does?

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