Category:

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.

Cotton Candy Cosmopolitan Recipe, cotton candy martini, cotton candy alcoholic drink recipes, cotton candy, cosmopolitan, recipe, cotton candy cosmopolitan recipe, cocktails, sponsored

Cotton Candy Cosmopolitan Recipe, cotton candy martini, cotton candy alcoholic drink recipes, cotton candy, cosmopolitan, recipe, cotton candy cosmopolitan recipe, cocktails, sponsored

You know how they say that necessity is the mother of invention, well, I just created a cotton candy cosmopolitan recipe. I’ve always associated the sticky sweet loveliness that is cotton candy with the carnivals of my youth but now, I associate it with my daughters’ adorable little faces happily enjoying the days of summer. Something so simple has given me an authentic appreciation for the sugary sweet air.

Cotton Candy is not longer about whether or not I love the sugary sweet delight but it’s about how it reminds me of my children and unadulterated happiness of youth. Cotton candy is like an old friend that takes my hand and comforts me. Cotton candy fills the room with melodious laughter and gargantuan sticky sweet smiles.

READ ALSO: Delicious  Summer Rum Chata Cocktail Recipe

I got myself a cotton candy machine so that we could have the happiness cotton candy brings any time of the year. Then I realized that I could make the sweet confection in just about any flavor I’d like simply by using common candies around the house; gummi bears, peppermints and my favorite, jolly ranchers.

On some days, I just need an adult version of that happiness that cotton candy brings so I thought why not make an adult beverage that incorporates that same sticky happiness.  Why not a cotton candy alcoholic drink recipe?

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Here’s the Cotton Candy Cosmopolitan Recipe:

Ingredients

2 ounces of Reyka vodka

2 ounces of cranberry juice

1 ounce of pineapple juice

Cotton Candy (I made cherry jolly rancher flavor or you can make bubblegum flavor by using flossugar)

A Martini Glass

Cotton Candy Cosmopolitan Recipe, cotton candy martini, cotton candy alcoholic drink recipes, cotton candy, cosmopolitan, recipe, cotton candy cosmopolitan recipe, cocktails, sponsored

READ ALSO: Pina Colada Cupcake Recipe

Directions

  • Combine the vodka and juices over crushed ice in a Martini shaker. Shake vigorously for a slow count to 10, until well mixed and chilled.
  • Then take a heaping handful of cotton candy and place in martini glass. I used a margarita glass because I wanted to use a lot of cotton candy.
  • Slowly pour mixture directly over cotton candy.
  • The cotton candy will disappear and crystallize at the bottom of the martini glass.
  • Enjoy!

 Cotton Candy Cosmopolitan Recipe, cotton candy martini, cotton candy alcoholic drink recipes, cotton candy, cosmopolitan, recipe, cotton candy cosmopolitan recipe, cocktails, sponsored

This Cotton Candy Cosmopolitan Recipe is the perfect cocktail to enjoy on a warm spring evening while the kids chase fireflies.

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Dia del Nino, Nabisco, Recipe for plantain quesadillas, Chips Ahoy, Latino recipes, dessert recipes

This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Nabisco and Latina Bloggers Connect in celebration of El Dia Del Nino .

In the Mexican culture, family is everything. We are taught this from very early on, as children. We are taught to respect our elders as part of our history and to adore our children because they are our future. In life’s fickleness, we know that there is only one thing that we can truly count on and that is family.

We’ve all heard of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and even Grandparent’s day. They are big deals in our house. We earned it. I mean, 10 and 13 hours of labor, one open-wide Pitocin inducement and an unmedicated labor, definitely earned me one-day off a year. I look forward to it every single year. The Big Guy handles all the “mom” duties and nary an argument between children do I have to endure. I simply walk away and let daddy handle it. It is glorious.

On Father’s Day, the same goes for him. He gets to sleep in and I field all bickering children. We’ve got a good system and it truly is the one thing we want more than anything; peace and quiet.

April 30th is a Mexican holiday called El Día Del Niño (children’s day). Children are a very important part of our culture and society so the day focuses on the importance of loving, accepting and appreciating children.

To celebrate, there are many things you can do. Basically, we make it a day about our girls so that they know they are loved (so pretty much like every other day but we do all the things they like to do). It’s more about celebrating having them in our lives. Letting them know they are blessings to our family and us. It’s a day of crafts, play and treats of their choice.

In Mexico, special events with clowns, magicians, music, shows and balloons take place. Amusement parks as well as zoos and children’s museums usually offer discounts or special deals for children on this day. It’s the perfect day to take the kids to see one of their favorite movies in the theater, go on a family picnic in the park or just unplug for the day and give your little ones your full-undivided attention.

This unique celebration is full of laughter and play, when adults are reminded of the importance of childhood and children teach us how joyful and simple life can be.

For our snack this year, I’m making this fun and delicious Latino-Inspired treat Chips Ahoy! Plantain Quesadillas. It’s a sweet new twist on a family standby.

Chips Ahoy! Sweet Plantain Quesadillas.

 

Dia del Nino, Nabisco, Recipe for plantain quesadillas, Chips Ahoy, Latino recipes, dessert recipes

  • 10 min prep
  • 20 min total
  • Makes 8 servings, 1 wedge each.

 

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. brick cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 flour tortillas (8 inch)
  • CHIPS AHOY! Cookies, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 lb. frozen ripe plantains, cooked, cut into 16 slices
  • 1/3 cup thawed frozen whipped topping
  • 6 strawberries, each cut into 6 slices

Dia del Nino, Nabisco, Recipe for plantain quesadillas, Chips Ahoy, Latino recipes, dessert recipes

Instructions

  • Mix first 3 ingredients until blended; spread onto tortillas to within 1/2 inch of edges.
  • Reserve 2 Tbsp. cookies. Top half of each tortilla with remaining cookies and plantains; fold in half.
  • Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat on medium heat. Cook each quesadilla 1-1/2 min. on each side or until heated through and lightly browned on both sides.
  • Cut each quesadilla into 3 wedges. Serve topped with whipped topping, strawberries and reserved chopped cookies.

I’ve made this for my family before and they loved it. It’s a very decadent and rich dessert so we only have it on special occasions and only one serving. I know your family will love it as much as my family did.

You can find other great recipe spins on traditional favorites on the Nabisco Pinterest page. If you’d like to try this recipe, here’s a coupon for $1.00 off your favorite Nabisco products.

What’s your favorite treat to make for your children on special occasions like Dia Del Nino?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nabisco. The opinions and text about El Dia Del Nino are all mine.

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Jimmy dean, wholesome breakfast, on the go

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Jimmy Dean through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Jimmy Dean Delights, all opinions are my own.

I’ve been working hard this year to get my family and myself in good health. I’ve started working out (as someone still recovering from a broken leg, that in itself has been no small feat) and watching what I eat and being mindful of the portion sizes that I am consuming. I’m changing my life, one day at a time. It’s not been easy, as anyone who has ever tried to lose weight and get in shape after the age of 30 can attest to. Progress has been slow but steady.

The hardest part has been relearning what to eat and being mindful of labels. Suddenly, my philosophy of eat whatever I want and work it off later isn’t working like it used to. Now, I realize that things like cholesterol, fat, sugar and protein all factor in to how healthy my food is and in turn, I am. It’s no longer simply about a number on a scale. It’s about feeling beautiful, comfortable and strong in my own body. That’s what I want.

I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes, altering old ones and trying to find an exercise that I actually enjoy doing because I’ve realized that if it’s too much trouble or too hard, I simply don’t have time to fit it into my hectic schedule. I have kids, a husband, a job and a million and one other things to do every single day. You know how it goes.

My hardest transitions so far have been to stop eating late at night and remembering to eat breakfast. Being an insomniac means that I’m up later than most people and that means I get hungry and eat later. Suddenly, that whole “fourth meal” concept makes sense to me. It’s completely counterproductive to getting in my best shape.

The other bad habit I had to break was not eating breakfast. I used to just sip on coffee until I remembered to eat lunch, which meant eating something last minute or on the go and is almost never good for me. I learned the hard way that juicing makes me fidgety. I’m sure it’s great for some people but fresh fruit juice simply makes me manic. Smoothies are fantastic and I’ve gotten them down to a 3-minute breakfast but sometimes you need something more.

Jimmy dean, wholesome breakfast, on the go

Sometimes I crave carbs and a big breakfast but I don’t want all the calories and I don’t have all that extra time. Then I discovered Jimmy Dean Delights Turkey Sausage, Egg White & Cheese croissant. It’s a wholesome breakfast with real ingredients that satisfies my craving and gives me the energy to power through my morning routine. It’s only 290 calories and tastes amazing.

They taste so good that now my only breakfast dilemma is keeping enough in the house. My girls love them and many a morning I’ve gone to the freezer only to find that none were left. I’m okay with it though because I feel better knowing that they are eating a healthy breakfast instead of something sugary.

Jimmy Dean Delights are made with real ingredients like whole eggs, lean meat and real vegetables that provide my family with a delicious, wholesome breakfast option that I can feel good about us eating. It’s an excellent source of protein and it makes it possible for my family to enjoy that decadent Sunday brunch type of breakfast any day of the week in just two minutes. The best part is if we are running late, as we often are, we can eat these Jimmy Dean Delights on the go.

Jimmy dean, wholesome breakfast, on the go

I asked my girls, 11 and 8 years old, to describe the Jimmy Dean Delights Turkey Sausage, Egg White & Cheese Croissant and here’s what they had to say: “ Tasty,” “Delicious,” and my personal favorite, “It’s like sunshine in my mouth, mommy!” Now, that’s something I can feel good about.

Check out the Morning Swap videos and watch as a busy working mom learns where the real ingredients like those in Jimmy Dean Delights come from!

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Taking Care of Me is Taking Care of My Family

Do you find it hard to make time for taking care of yourself? Lately, I’ve resolved to get my health back on track, which means working out, portion control and making healthier choices in the foods I eat. Sounds easy, right? It’s harder than you think, especially for a busy mom of two little girls on the go.

It’s been going pretty well. Like anything in life, it’s hard to break bad habits like mindless eating and not moving. I’ve had to make conscious decisions to get up and work out and to measure out my portions but it’s getting easier. I’ve done this by finding a workout that I love because it’s dancing and using containers and a scale to measure my foods before I portion them.

The one thing I am having trouble with is eating when I am hungry. I get so busy that I either forget to eat until I need to be someplace or I simply don’t have the time to find something nutritious so I grab whatever happens to be in front of me and honestly, it’s not usually anything that I should be putting in my mouth at such a quantity of with such fervor. So, I’ve decided to start keeping fresh fruits (washed, dried and ready to eat), fresh veggies (washed, cut up and in baggies) and high protein bars at my disposal.

The thing that is proving the hardest is satisfying my sweet tooth because even though my mind knows that’s a slippery slope, my cravings still crave it. It’s getting easier and I’m not shoveling all the carbs into my mouth without consideration like I was before but I still have those times of the month when I just need something sweet or people could get hurt. You know what I mean.

I’ve found two ways to satisfy these cravings that is a much healthier choice than reaching for a brownie or cookies. I’ve started making smoothies using fresh or frozen fruits and vanilla almond milk with protein powder. My favorite is 1 banana, ½ cup of mixed frozen berries, ½ cup of vanilla almond milk and about 3 oz. of vanilla protein powder. I throw it all in my individual smoothie blender and satisfy my sweet tooth guilt free.

Now, that’s taking care of yourself!

FIber One, health, healthy snacks on the go, taking care of yourself

My other favorite treat is Fiber One’s new Cheesecake bars. My family has always been a fan of the Fiber One bars. The girls love the brownies and I love the lemon bars but I have a new favorite, the new Fiber One Cheesecake bar in Salted Caramel. My little one prefers the Fiber One Cheesecake bar in strawberry. Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong.

The best part is aside from grabbing them on the go for myself, I can give them to my girls with a piece of fresh fruit and a glass of milk for a fast, healthy breakfast. It’s perfect on those days when we are running late for school, as a light afternoon snack between cheer and ballet or gymnastics or even for dessert, when you just need a little something sweet.

It works for me. It’s made changing my eating habits and developing a healthier lifestyle a lot easier because I don’t feel deprived. I don’t feel like I’m being punished. I feel like I’m just learning to making better choices and in the long run, I think that will mean the difference between succeeding at getting healthy and failure. When it comes to my health, failure just isn’t an option anymore.

FIber One, health, healthy snacks on the go, taking care of yourself

What’s your favorite healthy snack you eat when taking care of yourself?

 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Fiber One through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Fiber One’s Cheesecake Bars, all opinions about taking care of yourself  and Fiber One’s Cheesecake Bars are my own.

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pina colada cupcake recipe.pina colada, pina colada cupcake, recipe, cocktail to cupcake

CocktailtoCupcake

 

If you like Pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, my pina colada cupcake recipe is going to make your mouth happy. When I think of Pina Coladas, I think of lying on a beach somewhere like Hawaii relaxing in the sun as the surf hits the shore. This is my happy place and I can’t think of anywhere else more perfect to spend an afternoon, unless it was on that same beach in a hammock lying in the arms of the Big Guy.

I don’t have Pina Coladas often but when I do, I’m in my happy place. I’ve even shared the virgin kind with my girls. There is just something about all that pineapple, coconut goodness that makes it impossible to be in a bad mood.

So when I was asked to make a cupcake inspired by my favorite cocktail, a Pina Colada cupcake recipe was the first thing that came to mind. I actually came up with this recipe last year for my daughter’s Luau themed golden birthday party.

pina colada, pina colada cupcake, recipe, cocktail to cupcake, pina colada cupcake recipe

Ingredients for Pina Colada Cupcake Recipe:

½ c. butter, melted

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

1 cup of brown sugar

½ cup pineapple juice, from crushed pineapple

1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained (Save juice)

½ cup whole milk

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of coconut extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 2/3 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line muffin cups with paper liners.

Combine all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pineapple juice and salt in a large mixing bowl; mix with hand mixer on Low until combined, about 3 minutes; add butter and mix.

Beat 1 egg into the flour mixture at a time, assuring each is integrated fully before introducing the next; beat until the mixture forms a cake batter.

Slowly add milk, vanilla extract and coconut extract to the batter, beating and intermittently scraping down the sides of the bowl as you mix, until fully integrated. Fold in crushed pineapple.

Spoon batter into paper liners to about 2/3 full.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

Cool completely for 30 minutes before icing.

pina colada, pina colada cupcake, recipe, cocktail to cupcake, pina colada cupcake recipe

Cream Cheese frosting

Ingredients

3 cups powdered sugar

½ cup butter, room temperature

8 oz. package of cream cheese

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon of coconut extract

1 cup of toasted coconut flakes

Maraschino cherries

Directions

To prepare the frosting, use the paddle attachment on your mixer and cream the butter, vanilla extract, and coconut extract for 2 minutes until fluffy and light. On low speed add powdered sugar. Beat until it forms a ball. Add cream cheese and mix on lowest speed for 1 minute.

Place in refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes.

Frost cupcakes, sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes and top with maraschino cherry. For extra fun, we placed cocktail umbrellas on some of the pina colada cupcakes. My girls loved it.

pina colada, pina colada cupcake, recipe, cocktail to cupcake, pina colada cupcake recipe

 

If you could turn any cocktail into a cupcake recipe what would it be? If you already have, please share a link in the comments. I’d love to give it a try.

Hope your family enjoys my pina colada cupcake recipe as much as we did.

 

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Pillsbury Grands, food, love

When I think of food, I think of love. Not like, my food loves me but I associate food with the feelings of being cared about by someone who loves you; like my mother making me a grilled cheese after school on a cold winter day when I was a small child or how she made me that same favorite grilled cheese when I was overcome with morning sickness when I was pregnant with my first child. There is something comforting and beautiful about a food made with such love and caring as a mother providing food for her child.

I think most people think of food in this way. That’s probably why we have that old saying, “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Maybe there is something to it. Most people celebrate the big occasions in life with food because it’s a way to share a special moment with family and friends, punctuated by the warm, permeating smells of something delicious baking in the oven.

image3

I think I probably learned this as a small child watching my mom cook for my father and the six of us children. Some of my fondest memories as a child are centered on our kitchen table as we all shared a meal. I want that for my children. The meal is about more than just the food, it’s about gathering together and talking about your day. It’s about listening and caring. In a word, it’s about love.

This is why my family has dinner together every night and on weekends, all meals are eaten gathered around our dining table after we spend the prep time in the kitchen together. Those cooking stand at the stove while those not sit at the island, watching and learning. We’ve done this with our girls since they were very small.

They’ve always had an interest in cooking and want to learn the recipes we’ve had handed down from our mothers and grandmothers. I always get a warm fuzzy feeling when they ask, “Mommy, when I grow up, will you teach me how to make your enchiladas/ secret recipe meatloaf/lemon Greek soup?” My standard answer is, “Yes, of course,” then I whisper, “ It’s all on the blog.”

Pillsbury Grands, food, love

Of course like most kids, they love anything I cook or bake even more so if they have a hand in it and I think it’s important to encourage them to experiment. I want it to be a fun experience not something I take so seriously that I yell at every imperfection. I just breathe and remind myself that there is a special beauty in the imperfections and these precious moments are few and fleeting the older they get. Pretty soon, I am sure they will both be better cooks than I am.

Pillsbury Grands, food, love

There is one thing that they love to bake together as often as possible, Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls. Maybe, like my mom’s grilled cheese does for me, it holds some special part in their heart. All I know is that if they see them in the refrigerator, they always get a little sparkle in their eye because they know that we will be together in the kitchen baking them.

Pillsbury Grands, food, love

There is just something special about biting into that first bite of a warm, gooey cinnamon roll especially when someone you love made it. For Valentine’s Day, I thought a fun way to surprise the girls was with a batch of Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls. Each bite reminding them of how much their mom loves them. This is so simple but something they will remember forever and might someday do for their own children. It’s quick, it’s easy and what’s more special than waking up to the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls on a cold Midwestern morning?

Pillsbury Grands, food, love

 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by General Mills through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Pillsbury™ Grands! Cinnamon Rolls, all opinions are my own.

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holiday recipes, healthy, fuel up to play 60

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with National Dairy Council Fuel Up To Play 60 en español and Latina Bloggers Connect but all opinions on healthy holiday recipes are my own.

The holidays are here and everyone knows that the time between Halloween and New Year’s day is all about celebrating, which means it’s all about eating and drinking. We look forward to traditional family favorites like candy at Halloween, turkey at Thanksgiving, Tamales, Bunuelos and Rompope at Christmas and, of course, all the decadence and cocktails that New Year’s Eve brings with it. It’s the most delicious time of the year and also can be unhealthy but it doesn’t have to be if you make those holiday recipes healthy.

My theory is everything in moderation. If you are craving something and you completely ignore your body’s craving, you will be left feeling unsatisfied and frustrated. But what if your body is craving 7 cocktails, a heaping helping of pumpkin pie with more than a dollop of whipping cream and tamales x4? Then what?

Firstly portion control is a big part of staying healthy during the holidays. So why not use some of the tools provided by Fuel Up to Play 60 like Supertracker, which allows you to track your food and physical activity while setting goals and having access to the nutritional values of the food as well as target portion sizes.

There is also the option of taking your favorite holiday dishes and drinks and making them healthier by swapping out less healthy ingredients for healthier options. For example, swapping out full fat cheeses for low fat cheeses, swapping out red meat for chicken or pork or instead of drinking 3 glasses of eggnog, limit yourself to one.

Fuel Up to Play 60 and their new website (FuelUpToPlay60.com) is designed to help Latino students and their families to be active and make healthier dietary choices by providing relevant resources.

It will help you make your holiday recipes more healthy.

Fuel Up to Play 60 en Español aims to help Spanish-speaking students (and their families) create positive changes that increase opportunities for more active lifestyles. Parental diets and family physical activity habits often have an impact on children’s lifestyles. Through take-home materials and opportunities for family involvement, Fuel Up to Play 60 goes beyond the classroom and into the community and homes of students to achieve the most effective results.

If you’re looking for a great holiday gift for the foodie with a nutritional conscience in your life, The Dairy Good Cookbook is a great option. It’s full of delicious recipes and beautiful photography.

Milk, cheese and yogurt not only taste great, but also are nutrient-rich, affordable, readily available and versatile; making dairy foods realistic options to help people build healthier meal plans.

The book features more than 100 recipes that showcase the unique tastes and versatility of dairy – from cheese and yogurt to milk and butter. The book celebrates the nation’s more than 47,000 dairy farm families and their commitment to their land, animals, commitment to community and their love of family.

The Dairy Good Cookbook is available wherever books and ebooks are sold and retails for $25.00.

How do you keep your holiday recipes healthy?

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Thanksgiving recipes, perfect thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, family, Angel Soft, recipes, recipe perfect thanksgiving

A perfect Thanksgiving is just around the corner. In all honesty, it’s my favorite holiday, not because of the perfect turkey recipe, all of the scrumptious side recipes  or even the unbelievably good tasting sweet potato casserole that I make every year but because it’s the one time of year, I know that my entire family will be gathered together in one space; breathing the same air. I am so grateful for this one-day and these people who I hold so dear to my heart. These are the people who cause me to be soft and to be strong.

We don’t live that far apart, only a few hours really. But as many of you can relate, life gets in the way of the best intentions. We never get to see one another as much as we would like. But birthdays, weddings, religious celebrations and Thanksgiving, those are the days we show up for without fail.

Once the Big Guy and I were married, we knew that we wanted Thanksgiving to be our holiday because we wanted to unite both families. My husband is from a small family. He only has one brother, three uncles and two aunts. I can count all of his cousins on one hand. This was weird for me at first because this was completely different from what I was used to.

I grew up in a big Latino family with 60 first cousins and several Aunts and Uncles. My parents have six children and we were raised to believe that family is the most important thing, right after God. Being together with family means everything to us. In fact, we were raised that the moment you marry your spouse his family is your family. Even if you barely know them or don’t like them, you love them because they are family.

That’s the true recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving.

We may not have had much in the way of money or possessions growing up, our fortune was meager but we were rich in family and wealthy beyond our wildest imagination in love. We want this for my children. This is why we decided to host Thanksgiving, to bring both sides of the family together and blend them into one great big beautiful village for our children. For us, Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate all the blessings we have by being part of that amazing group of people.

Since I was a small child, Thanksgiving has always been about our family being together celebrating. In Mexico, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving because it’s an American holiday but in our house, it’s always been a day to be thankful for the life we have and the people we get to share it with. This is a beautiful thing to celebrate.

We might be Mexican but our Thanksgiving doesn’t look much different than yours. There are only a few subtle differences. For example, at some point during the day Banda music will probably be playing because I like to dance while I cook. There will always be hot sauce on the table because my dad puts it on every thing he eats, including turkey legs.

Sure there is football on the television, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a 30-pound turkey but depending on who’s showing up there might be tamales and there is usually a pretty intense game of lotteria played by all the children. In the end, it’s all about the family and taking the day to be thankful for those people whom you get to love.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Georgia Pacific. The opinions and text about Thanksgiving are all mine.

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Pillsbury, cinnamon rolls, family, breakfast

In our house, weekends equal sleeping in, relaxing and indulgent brunching. All week long, we are always in such a rush to get to all the places that we need to be that we seldom have time for anything more than toast or cold cereal. There is no time to linger and have long conversations over hot breakfasts and warm coffee. This alone makes us look forward to Sunday mornings.

 

As our daughters get older, life goes by faster. I know it sounds crazy because time never actually speeds up. But I swear it seems like just yesterday my girls were being born and that first year seemed like an eternity but now, they are 8 and 10 years old and the days, months and years are flying by. Sometimes, I just want to hit pause and Sunday brunch is our way of doing that.

 

We know that Sunday mornings are the one day a week that we can all sleep in until the girls jump in bed and wake us to butterfly kisses and tiny giggles. Then we come downstairs in our pajamas with no place to be and as a family, we make brunch.

Pillsbury, cinnamon rolls, family, breakfast

Usually the Big Guy or myself make the meal but the girls are always close underfoot to help set the table, clean the fruit, squeeze juice or at the very least chat us up about the weeks happenings at school, ballet and tumbling. This is when we really talk about everything and nothing. In order for us to parent effectively, we have to listen and engage in these fleeting moments.

 

Brunch usually includes music playing in the kitchen as we have impromptu morning dance parties while the smell of bacon and something scrumptious in the oven wafts through the air. This weekend it was ooey, gooey Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls. There is just something so comforting about biting into a warm, freshly baked pastry dripping with icing. It’s like a warm hug.

Pillsbury, cinnamon rolls, family, breakfast

Honestly, the only thing better than the smell of bacon and cinnamon rolls wafting through the house is the sound of little girls giggling and mommies and daddies sharing inside jokes, winks and stolen glances as they take it all in. They don’t call it Sunday Funday for nothing.

Pillsbury, cinnamon rolls, family, breakfast

In my book, it doesn’t get much better than sleep in your eyes, random hugs and cuddles and food that makes your soul dance. What’s your favorite Sunday morning family ritual?

Pillsbury, cinnamon rolls, family, breakfast

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Pillsbury through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, all opinions are my own.

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Nesquik, ballet,restore, youth soccer

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Nesquik and Latina Bloggers Connect but all opinions are my own.

Weekdays are crazy at our house; absolutely chaotic in the best possible way. This is what being a family and having children is all about. I remember as a child myself, there were six of us on top of each other in a tiny house. My childhood was loud, crazy and busy but it was filled with love because we had each other. Family can make everything better because no matter what’s going wrong in the world, you have those people who know you best and at your worst who still love you as if you were pure perfection. That is priceless.

This is how I raise our girls. They know that even when life is absolutely crazy and they have 15 different things on their plate; places to be, homework to be done and people to see, they know that they’ve got someone to lean on. I’ve always tried to teach them that it’s not about what you have in this world but about whom you share your life with, your family and your friends.

Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to really remember what that means. After breaking my leg a few weeks ago, I’ve had to come to a full stop, which was absolutely terrifying for me. I don’t do “full stop”. I’m more of a rolling stop, carry on kind of gal. But life has seen to it that I slow down completely. Life has taken control out of my hands and forced me to relinquish my obligations and let others help me. That is something that is very hard for me. I’m a doer. I always have been so waiting for others and depending on others is a difficult thing for me to do, maybe one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

The thing is that it’s not just about me. I have the Big Guy and my girls to consider. They have so many activities that they participate in. When the school year started, I knew that we had a full schedule. Everyone told me that we were overextending ourselves but I knew I could handle it. The problem is now, I can’t do any of it and everyone else is pitching in to help get my girls where they need to go.

The hardest part is knowing what needs to be done, being 100% willing to help and 0% able to get my girls to ballet, gymnastics, cheer, violin, choir, robotics or even just an impromptu soccer game or birthday party. I have to depend on someone else to do all of these things because I can’t drive with my broken leg.

But there are some things I can still do like show them how much I love them by doing little things like brushing their hair before bed, reading them bedtime stories or making them a quick, nutritious and fuel-charging snack like homemade granola bars with an ice cold glass of Nesquik. Sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most in the midst of all the chaos.

Protein is essential for a healthy and active lifestyle. Nesquik provides kids with 40% Daily Value for calcium and 8 grams of protein in every serving compared to zero grams in the leading sports and juice drinks. Nesquik chocolate milk is available in pre-made 8 oz. serving bottles full of all the same nutritional benefits plus the great taste kids love. Its convenient size makes it portable and a great option when packing lunches and nutritious snacks for after school activities.

Aside from homemade granola and Nesquik, a few other tasty, healthy, fuel-charging and healthy snacks that I give my girls that I feel good about are:

  1. Celery with peanut butter and raisins
  2. Apple slices with peanut butter
  3. Cheese and Fruit Kabobs
  4. Cottage Cheese with fresh fruit
  5. Strawberries, Nutella and a whole-wheat crepe
  6. Homemade yogurt and fruit Popsicle

These are all quick, easy and nutritious; the perfect after school or before a game restoring pick-me up. After a tough practice or game, studies suggest that low fat chocolate milk, like Nesquik, may contain the ideal 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates ­to ­protein that can help restore muscles. This right balance provides your athlete with the nourishment they need after a hard game.

Nesquik, restore, youth soccer

This is a sponsored campaign in collaboration with Nesquik and Latina Bloggers Connect, all opinions and text are all mine.

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