Category:

Latina

Growing up a bicultural first-generation Mexican American Latina, my viewpoint may be a little different than others. I think my unique perspective and exposure to the Latino culture and Southern American culture growing up let me look at the world with an open heart and open mind.

I grew up in a very culturally rich city, Chicago where it was normal to see people of all different races, religions and countries of origin. It was nothing exceptional to hear many different languages spoken at any given time. Even in my own home, Spanish and English were both spoken.  I thought this was completely normal and I wish it was.

When we traveled abroad, our parents demanded that we treated the people and country of others with reverence and respect. We were taught to immerse ourselves in the culture. When in Rome, live as the Romans was sort of my dad’s travel mantra. I’m so grateful he did this for us. I want to do the same for my girls.

I want them to embrace their Latina and their American cultures and I want them to respect the people and cultures of other people. We do this through exposure, travel and teaching patience and tolerance and immersion.

I think our cultures, our religions, our circumstances and experiences give us all our own very unique perspective of life and here I share mine.

Just Add Torani Best Iced Café Bombón Recipe Ever

Disclosure: This is a compensated partnership with Torani but all opinions and this iced Café Bombón recipe are my own.

Coffee is my jam. It’s something I’ve been drinking all of my adult life, and if we’re being quite honest, something I’ve been sipping from my parent’s coffee mugs since I was a child. There is something special about the creamy goodness of a good cup of coffee that reminds me of home. Nothing reminds me more of home than Café Bombón.

I remember my dad and uncles drinking Café Bombón at night after dinner at the dining room table while having late-night conversations filled with laughter and reminiscing. I have fond memories of my mom and aunts playing gin rummy and Yahtzee while sipping on Café Bombón and all of this makes my heart happy. Every time I take a drink of Café Bombón those memories are what flood my mind and fill my soul.

What is Café Bombón, you ask? It is literally, candy coffee.

What makes it different from your typical cup of coffee? That would be the sweetened condensed milk. What makes it extra delicious? That would be the Torani salted caramel syrup that I add to mine.

To be honest, I thought “Café Bombón” was how everyone drank coffee because it was the only way I ever saw it drank. The same way I thought everyone made their grilled cheese sandwiches sprinkled with a little sugar on the cheese (made with love as my mom used to tell us). Yep, apparently, my Latino dad and my southern mom made up their own rules along the way.

Typically, Café Bombón is made by simply using 1 ounce of espresso and 1 ounce of sweetened condensed milk. Simple. You can sip it or shoot it, depending on your caffeine needs that day. As I’ve gotten older, I need a little more caffeine to start my day so the 1 to 1 ratio needs to be upped for me in the morning and I like to put mine over ice in the warmer months for drinking convenience.

Café Bombón Recipe

Ingredients:

2 ounces of Espresso or strong coffee
2 ounces of sweetened condensed milk
2 ounces of Torani salted caramel syrup (if you prefer your Café Bombón less sweet, up the coffee ratio to 3 ounces.)
1 ounce of half and half
½ cup of ice

Instructions:

1. Pour sweetened condensed milk over ice.
2. Pour Torani salted caramel syrup over sweetened condensed milk.
3. Add espresso to top.
4. If you have a milk frother, froth 1 ounce of half and half.
5. Pour frothed milk over espresso.
6. You should see distinct layers of ingredients.
7. Enjoy with family and friends.
**I prefer to mix my Café Bombón all up and blend the flavors more evenly but it tastes delicious either way.

It’s that simple and even more delicious. By adding the Torani salted caramel syrup to the traditional Café Bombón, it completely elevates the flavor profile. The great thing about Torani is that is mixes well to bring out the best in your Café Bombón without overpowering everything else. Torani is made with real, simple ingredients that you can recognize.

To make this delicious and easy Café Bombón recipe find Torani at your local Kroger grocery store or online at Torani.com.

What is your favorite Torani flavored syrup for your coffee?

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What is a Quinceañera and How to Begin Planning Yours

Our oldest daughter, Bella, just turned 14-years-old which means next year is her quinceañera. That means this 1/2 first-generation Latina is planning my first ever quinceañera for my 1/4 Latina. I never got to celebrate my quinces and I regret that. The planning process is exciting and overwhelming but I love that my daughter and I get to do this together with a little help from our village. It’s bringing us closer in ways I hadn’t considered.

What is a quinceañera, you ask?

It is not the same as a sweet sixteen in American culture. Is it the same as a Bat Mitzvah? Closer, there is definitely a religious aspect to it. Because I didn’t get to celebrate the quinceañera tradition myself, I’ve always secretly hoped my girls would want one.

Most cultures celebrate a young girl coming of age, in the United States that’s usually done by throwing a big sweet sixteen party. For Latinas, ideally, we celebrate our becoming a woman when a girl turns 15-years-old, the age of maturity in the Catholic church. (Similar to a Jewish girl who celebrates her Bat Mitzvah at 12-years and one-day-old; the age of religious maturity in the Jewish religion). As Latinas, we celebrate this birthday with a mass followed by a huge celebration with family and friends. It’s a time-honored tradition and a big part of our culture.

READ ALSO: The Day My Teenager told me How She Really Felt

I didn’t have a quince because, quite frankly, my parents couldn’t afford it. It’s expensive for a birthday party. I always wanted one and I promised myself that if my girl wanted one, I’d find a way to make it happen. That’s what I’m doing. It’s a bit overwhelming since I’ve never planned one before. My mom is not Latina and I don’t live near any of my Latina friends or family so everything is a work in progress but 100% worth it to see the excitement in my daughter’s eyes.

It’s hard to explain the entire idea of a quinceañera to people who didn’t grow up around the culture. Basically, it’s celebrated like a wedding, often referred to as a mini boda, minus the groom and the honeymoon. If you’re not raised in the culture, from the outside looking it, it looks a lot like an extravagant party for a fifteenth birthday but it symbolizes so much more than that. It’s the celebration of a girl becoming a woman and I think that should be celebrated like this for every little girl.

What is a Quinceañera?

For Latina girls, the 15th birthday marks the most lavish celebration of their lives. Symbolizing a girl’s transition from childhood to womanhood, the quinceañera is a two-part celebration consisting of a religious celebration and a reception that traces back to both indigenous and European cultural traditions. Parents often spend more on their daughter’s quinceañera than their actual wedding. In fact, quinceañeras are often referred to as mini bodas, or miniature weddings. A low-key quinceañera in the United States can easily cost upwards of $3,000. The key is to set a budget and stick to it.

When you see the quince girl (nickname for the quinceañera honoree) on her special day, the high price tag makes sense. A prom-like gown (quinceañera dress) like the ones found at PromGirl.com is the central quinceañera tradition. They’re often made of satin with lace overlays and rhinestone accents, not unlike a wedding dress. Think Cinderella dressed for the fairytale ball. Traditionally white or pale pink floor-length gowns were worn, but in modern times dresses in all colors of the rainbow are acceptable. The quince girl wears a delicate tiara or crown (corona) and during the mass, she carries a Bible or book of prayer.

READ ALSO: Things to do in Chicago with Teens

The Quinceañera celebration traditionally begins with the religious ceremony. We’ve already booked our mass and priest for next year. Before anything else happens, the quince girl attends a special Mass in which she reaffirms her dedication to God and receives a blessing from the priest. The Quinceañera will also leave a bouquet of flowers at the altar of the Virgin Mary to symbolize her purity. As a symbol of her transition from childhood to becoming a woman, a quince girl gives away a porcelain doll (ultima muñeca) to a younger sister.

How to begin planning your quinceanera

A reception is held following the mass at home or a banquet hall. We reserved our hall in December, well over a year in advance. The celebration includes food, music, the quinceañera dress and most often, a choreographed waltz and baile sorpresa (surprise dance) performed by the Quinceañera and her Court de honor (honor court).

What is a quinceañera honor court?

Quinceañera custom calls for 14 damas, or maiden attendants, to accompany the quince girl and symbolize the past 14 years of her life. And a group of young ladies needs a corresponding group of escorts, which means the quince girl must also select 15 chambelans, or male attendants. Less formal quinceañera celebrations typically use 7 or 4 damas and chambelans.

At the reception is where the quince girl is officially presented to guests. She can pick a quinceañera theme of her choice. I’ve seen everything from Disney princesses to Great Gatsby. Similar to cotillion and debutante traditions, quinceañeras serve as a young Latina’s official entrance into society and womanhood and incorporate a host of unique elements and rituals that celebrate a young woman’s coming of age as well as her Latino heritage.

One of the final rituals of a quinceañera, and most sentimental, is the changing of the quince girl’s shoes. After the party is in full swing, the quince girl’s father will remove the flat-soled slippers his daughter wore to the party and replace them with a pair of heels. This symbolizes that the 15-year-old girl who arrived at the quinceañera will leave a young woman. This pays cultural homage to coming out ceremonies orchestrated by Aztec high priests in the early 1500s.

READ ALSO:  What Does Be “More Latina” mean?

Aztec Indians considered young girls marriage-ready at the age of 15. As a result, ceremonial rites of passage including parental speeches begging their daughters to become wise, upstanding women. When the Spanish invaded modern-day Mexico and overthrew the Aztecs in the 1520s, they brought their European influence to the indigenous people. The upper-class debutante aspects of quinceañera emerged as a result.

Today, there were certain privileges associated with the quinceañera. Being that it is a celebration of her transition into womanhood, the quinceañera might be allowed to attend adult parties, pluck her eyebrows and shave her legs, wear makeup, jewelry and high heels and maybe even start dating. Whoah! We will have to wait and see about this “dating” business. I mean, she’s still my baby.

Quinceañera Traditions

From surrendering the last doll (ultima muñeca) during the Catholic mass to the shoe ceremony before the final father-daughter dance afterward, the quinceañera is full of symbolic gestures and gifts. Unlike the ordinary birthday parties that the quince girl might’ve enjoyed for the first 14 years of her life, her quinceañera party officially marks her coming of age and therefore, requires appropriate gifts and apparel to carry her through that transition.

The quinceañera itself is the present for the birthday girl from her parents. Sometimes, parents may give their daughter a regálo sorpresa, or surprise gift. However, the emphasis of traditional quinceañera presents, including the prayer book, rosary and Bible needed for Mass, is on what the quince girl will wear and carry to her ceremony. These gifts may be given by a combination of grandparents (known as padrinos), other relatives and friends, and each of them carries a special meaning:

Traditional  Quinceañera Gifts

  • Quinceañera dresses represent femininity.

  • Quinceañera rings represent a girl’s bond to God, family and her community.

  • Quinceañera crowns and tiaras represent her superior morality.

  • Quinceañera cross necklaces emphasize a girl’s devotion to the Catholic Church.

Considering everything that goes into planning for your quinceañera, it’s understandable that they only happen once in a Latina girl’s lifetime. Though the rite of passage may vary slightly from country to country, the heart of the quinceañera remains constant. Whether it’s lavish or low-key, these extraordinary parties allow young girls to become fairytale princesses for one day on their way to becoming grown women and embracing all the responsibilities and duties that come with it.

We’ve just begun planning my daughter’s quinceañera but we’ll be sharing it all here and hope that you’ll join us on this exciting journey and celebration from little girl to young lady. We’ll be sharing everything we learn along the way and all things quinceañera.

 

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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.

Mama’s Every day Champurrado

Easy recipe for Mexican hot chocolate, Champurrado.
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Servings: 6 people
Author: Deborah Cruz

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.

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

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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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
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Simple, Easy and Delicious Avocado Toast Recipe

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.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican, vegetarian
Servings: 1
Author: Deborah Cruz

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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Aretha Franklin, Do Right Woman, Pancreatic Cancer, Grandma, Family relationships, Latina, Aretha Franklin Dead

The Queen of Soul has left this world. Aretha Franklin, the original Do Right Woman, has died from pancreatic cancer earlier this morning at 9:50 a.m.

Aretha Franklin, whose voice was sweeter than honey, was one of the most admired singers of all time. She died this morning at the age of 76 after battling advanced pancreatic cancer. She died loved and surrounded by family and friends in Detroit. The Queen of Soul, a woman’s voice who has been around for my entire life, is no longer on this earth and it’s hitting me in a way that I never expected.

Yes, I loved Aretha Franklin ‘s voice and I respected the fire in the belly of that fierce Feminist woman who commanded everyone’s attention and respect. She was a woman who fought for the betterment of other women. She believed in empowering her sisters. She was a big, beautiful force of nature in this world. She was goodness and light and it saddens me that she is gone.

But, I’m sitting here sobbing and I couldn’t figure out why a stranger’s death would have such a profound effect on me. Then I realized, my grandmother died from pancreatic cancer a few years ago on July 8, 2011. She was just a couple years older than Lady Aretha. I’m not crying for the reasons you might think.

READ ALSO: The END of the World as We Know It

I’ve never written about this before because my relationship with my paternal grandmother has always been very private and personal for me. It was strained when it existed. It was the sum product of the relationship she had with my father and the way she treated most of the people that she was supposed to love. I had the misfortune of being old enough to witness and understand too much.

I found out that my grandmother had pancreatic and stomach cancer by an out of the blue phone call one night from my aunt as I was putting my babies to bed. Begging and then demanding that I get on the phone and tell my grandmother that I loved her, that I let her know things were fine between us, and I do it all in Spanish. It was a call for forgiveness after a lifetime of not caring about the consequences of her actions.

I did as I was told. I told the frail voice on the other end, “Te amo, Abuelita.” But I didn’t feel it and if all she wanted was the words to be said, I had done my part but if she had wanted more, she was left wanting. I cried when I hung up because I never wanted her to be in such physical pain, no matter our differences. I cried because I knew this would crush my dad.

This was the first time I had heard from her since my baby shower in 2005 that she had unexpectedly shown up at. She hadn’t been invited because we had no contact. Previous to that, I saw her at my bridal shower that she crashed in 1999. Before that, I think it was when she lived with us in the mid 80’s. I was not a priority to her. Or maybe she didn’t know how to come back from the painful way she had behaved when I was a child. I think maybe she wanted to have a relationship in her old age but had no idea how to reach out in any meaningful way. I had already long given up hope for one.

I was a new mom with little girls. I had long moved on from caring whether or not she cared about me. I only met her a handful of times before she moved in with us when she left my grandfather behind in Mexico to come to live in the United States with her children. My father adored her no matter what she did. In his eyes, even when he knew she did wrong, he chose to look passed it.

READ ALSO: Sometimes the Most Important Things to be Said Don’t Require Words

She fought with my dad over everything. She never liked my mom and was unkind to her. She got mad at my dad if he couldn’t give her all of his attention immediately. She gave no consideration that he was a husband and father of 6 children. To her, he was her son first and foremost and anything he did, she took as a purposeful and personal affront to her. There was no way to win. He lost because he chose his family over her every beck and call.

One day when my 4-year-old brother ran to his grandmother screaming, “Grandma, Grandma” she stopped him cold and pushed him away saying, “I am not your grandma.” My little brother, the sweetest kid I’ve ever known, walked away deflated and crying. I witnessed the deflation and, at that moment, I saw the petty, coldness reveal itself. I was 11-years-old.

I realize you can’t judge someone on one terrible moment in time but that was just one of many moments like this. I don’t want to speak ill of my dead grandmother out of respect for my father. He loved and still loves her very much. He has seen all of her faults and she has done unspeakable hurts to him as a child but he has forgiven her and so have I. I have no room in my heart for hatred. I am thankful that she brought my father into this world and, for that, I will always be grateful and love her.

But when she was dying, she wanted to make an amends with everyone she had wronged. She wanted forgiveness at the very moment I was learning what it was like to be a mother. You see, by the time she called me, I had figured out that my children were the most important thing in the world to me and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. Nothing. I definitely would not have taken my 9 children and pushed them to be at odds with one another to prove their love for me.

I can’t explain the whole story of her lifetime, it’s so long. But from the beginning, she had a hard life. She was orphaned, raped by someone she knew, thrown out and living on the streets and a mother by the age of 13. The world made her hard from the very beginning but even when she met my grandfather and they got married and he took on the responsibility of her child and they went on to have 8 more children together, she had been hungry for too long. She had become feral and she never softened.  She stayed hungry and autonomous.

She pushed everyone who could ever love her away. Maybe she believed herself unlovable. If that is the case, I feel sorry for her. Her children loved her blindly and unconditionally and she never could reciprocate entirely. She was too guarded.

The thing is the weeks leading up to her death, everyone came from near and far to visit her, let her make amends, give their forgiveness and be there to support her in her final days. They congregated around her hospital bed in my aunt’s living room praying the rosary and crying, supporting one another; being there for one another like only family can. I’m sure the love was palpable but I wouldn’t go. I know that sounds cold and harsh.

I wasn’t trying to withhold anything but I couldn’t go there and pretend that I belonged. We never had a relationship. I told my father that if he needed me there for support, I would go for him. But, my going had nothing to do with her. I didn’t need to say goodbye because we had never really said hello. We never really got to know each other and that’s how she had wanted it my entire childhood. She had lived withholding love for so long that she had to think about it to remember to hug us so mostly she didn’t. My dad told me that he understood and it was fine if I didn’t go. So I didn’t.

She died. I never even cried. I remember the date she died because remember that little 4-year-old brother of mine who she told she was not his grandma? She died on his 32nd birthday. Neither of us cried. Neither of us went to say goodbye.

Over the years since, I have seen a few pictures of her smiling. She looked happy in her way. I only saw her smile once in my life, that was at my baby shower. I think she was excited, in her way, that her first granddaughter was going to have a daughter. I’ll always love her for loving the idea of my daughter and loving my father, even if she didn’t love me. Or maybe she did, in her way.

Aretha Franklin, Do Right Woman, Pancreatic Cancer, Grandma, Family relationships, Latina, Aretha Franklin Dead

Today, when I read about Aretha Franklin dying of pancreatic cancer, the painful, terrible disease that killed my last living grandparent, I cried for my grandma. It took me 7 years but today, it hurt remembering that she was gone. It hurt remembering that she is no longer here on this earth for her children. It pains me knowing that my father hurts every day missing his mother. It hurt knowing that there are no more chances for redemption for her.

Today the true forgiveness washed over me and I let the pain go. I wrote about it. “Te Amo, Abuelita.” Today, these words have weight. She never did get to meet my girls. But then again, she never asked to and maybe that was her gift to me. No words to hurt, no deeds to be undone just the fond, edited memories recounted by my father with love to his granddaughters.

As I sit here listening to Do Right Woman on a loop, I hope you rest in Peace Aretha Franklin and you too, abuela.

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Latinas in business, Fashion, jewelry, Touchstone Crystal, Swarovski, Head of Latina Development, Graciela Balmori

As a woman who loves fashion, one of my favorite things is jewelry. While clothes allow me to express my personality, beautiful accessories have always had a special place in my heart because no matter what my weight or circumstances, accessories always fit and make me feel beautiful.  Ladies, I know you get this.

I was introduced to Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski a few years ago and it quickly became one of my favorite everyday jewelry brands. I love versatile, high-quality pieces that I can wear on different occasions depending on my mood. I really appreciate that the pieces look beautiful and wear time and time again without losing their luster yet are affordable.

Fashion, jewelry, Touchstone Crystal, Swarovski, Head of Latina Development, Graciela Balmori

Disclosure: I was provided Touchstone Crystal products by Swarovski Crystal for review purposes but all opinions and love of the Touchstone Brand are my own.

READ ALSO: Every Woman Deserves Sparkle in Her Life

Some exciting things are happening over at Touchstone Crystal. Touchstone just named Graciela Balmori Head of Latina Development as part of an effort to more personally cater to it’s Latina customers. I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Balmori and getting the scoop on what her plans are for developing that initiative.

Fashion, jewelry, Touchstone Crystal, Swarovski, Head of Latina Development, Graciela Balmori

Q: As a Latina woman myself, I know we like our fashion and accessories, how will Touchstone market to Latinas differently than the general market? What steps will be taken to personalize the advertisement experience for the Latina market? Women of color models?

Answer:

Touchstone Crystal is part of the 120-year legendary, trusted Swarovski family of brands (www.touchstonecrystal.com).  Over the past seven years, TC has experienced fantastic success and growth so it’s very exciting for me to join the company right now.   In fact, we are the fastest growing division in Swarovski—over the last two years our sales have more than doubled! Swarovski has a rich heritage of craftsmanship, design and crystal innovation and the brand is a regular on the red carpet.  Swarovski also collaborates with the world’s most famous fashion houses and brands.

Through my role as Head of Latina Market Development at TCS I’m introducing the brand for the very first time to many Latinas and I know they will feel embraced by our thriving community of empowered women and our supportive team.  At Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski we have two offerings:   1) Our exclusively designed jewelry product line and 2) Our unique, rewarding (and proven) home-based business opportunity.

When I explored my new career opportunities with Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski, I instantly learned that TCS is built upon the same driving forces valued in the Latino sector:  1.  On-trend product   2.  Growth potential and 3. Entrepreneurial spirit.  The more I learned about how in line TCS is with Latinas, the more I felt like it was love at first sight! Our Integrated Marketing Strategy (an intentional decision not to run a separate Latina Division) has us all working in unison to support the success of every woman.

Debi, I’m glad you asked about advertising because TCS has already been featuring multicultural models in our catalogs and brand imagery.   After I joined the team, we discussed incorporating more family imagery: a daughter placing a Touchstone Crystal necklace on her mother for the first time or a young man buying jewelry for his grandmother, girlfriend, mom — or all three! We want our ads to resonate passionately with consumers because they portray the values of our Latina market while also strongly reflecting mainstream trends, too.

Q: How will you appeal to the Latino narrative?

Answer:

Latino business entrepreneurs tend to see their business as an extension of themselves. As you know Debi, as Latina women we care deeply about our families and our communities. I have met thousands of Latino entrepreneurs and read lots of research and what I have found is that there are common reasons for why Latinos start their own businesses such as the desire to provide a better future for their family, to purchase a home, to offer a better education to their children and to elevate their entire family’s financial status.

I feel very strongly about the Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski business opportunity because I know first-hand the impact it is having for real people – real women I have met or connected with online. We are already incorporating the personal success stories of Latina Consultants through our marketing materials and on social media. The real life narratives of our Latina Consultants are filled with success on so many levels for many reasons:  quality, price, ease of business, plus support and community.  Not to mention Latina women love our sparkle and style!

Fashion, jewelry, Touchstone Crystal, Swarovski, Head of Latina Development, Graciela Balmori

Here is a recent success story from one of our Latina Consultants:

“The best thing about this business is helping to empower women to have the confidence to pursue their dreams – big or small, whatever they may be– through my Touchstone Crystal business. I’ve rediscovered the leadership skills that I put aside while raising my family, plus my passion for helping other women and the confidence needed to run my own business.  My biggest joy is watching my two sisters, Laura and Imelda, grow in this business.  They both joined TCS a month after I did and I’ve seen wonderful changes in their incomes and their happiness! For us as sisters it’s been so much fun doing this business together. We talk on the phone every day, help each other set up events, and share business ideas.  Of course the ,icing on the cake is we get paid for sharing jewelry that we love! Touchstone Crystal truly supports us – and they are committed to our growth and success. I’m proud to share it with Latina women.”
– Martha, Touchstone Crystal Business Leader

 

Q: Will there be a new line or different pieces made to reflect the Latino spirit and the colorful culture?

Fashion, jewelry, Touchstone Crystal, Swarovski, Head of Latina Development, Graciela BalmoriAnswer:

Our jewelry designs are inspired by Swarovski’s trend experts.  They explore the globe for style trends regularly. Swarovski creates new crystal colors and innovations each season and Touchstone Crystal is lucky enough to have access to this world-class expertise.  We are always listening to product feedback from our customers and consultants and we continually launch new pieces year-round…so the answer is stay tuned!

Q: How will you cater to the Latino market? What will you do to make Touchstone the go-to product for Latinos?

 Answer: 

Our goal is to make TCS the go-to opportunity for Latina women looking to start a business because we offer a fantastic income opportunity, wonderful flexibility with a great line of quality jewelry, and a business strategy supporting expansion into the Latina market.  We are welcoming Latina women all over the US to the TCS team every day.  As they say, actions speak louder than words and TCS is committed and passionate about this!   Your readers can find out more on our website.  https://touchstonecrystal.com/regional/our-opportunity-rewards

You and I both know that with a purchasing power of about 2.13 Trillion, according to The Latino Donor Collaborative, if Latinos were categorized as a stand-alone country they would be the ranked as the 7th largest country in the world by GDP, making us even bigger than other countries like India and Brazil!  Wow, right?  And Touchstone Crystal wants to give pathways to success to our community.

The beauty of starting as a Touchstone Crystal Consultant is the simple business model, a minimal financial commitment of just $139, and the heritage and credibility come with being a Swarovski company.

Swarovski is also investing in new technology to make our entire business completely mobile in every respect. We know this is extremely important to our demographic – according to Nielsen, “nearly 3 out 4 Latinos own smartphones (72%), close to 10% higher than the average in the U.S.”

Owning your own time, having the freedom and flexibility to work around the things that matter the most to you like: family events, school activities, meal times, charities, vacation time, all while having a lucrative business is priceless.  This is why I joined TCS and why I know my Latina sisters will, too!

Fashion, jewelry, Touchstone Crystal, Swarovski, Head of Latina Development, Graciela Balmori

Q: What is your goal for Touchstone and the Latino market?

Answer: 

At Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski we believe all women deserve to shine every single day. Our goal is to share our beautiful, affordable jewelry and offer our proven business opportunity to the entire Latina Community in the US.  We feel confident that by making Latinas feel valued and supported we will help more women accomplish their personal and professional goals.

Currently, we’re expanding in all regions and offering new Consultants training and mentorship opportunities.

Since I was raised by a mother with a home-based business career, nothing makes me happier than to pay it forward via my new role at Touchstone Crystal and to help other women achieve their dreams with our unparalleled opportunity.  My mother came to this country from Mexico as a newlywed, pregnant with her first child, with nothing but a small suitcase in hand. She was offered the opportunity to own her own direct-sales business and it changed the course of our lives – affording college educations for all of her children, several homes, nice cars, and a very comfortable lifestyle.   As a result of my Mom’s perseverance, she taught me to dream big, too.

I feel so grateful that Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski is allowing me to offer women the same kind of opportunity so that I can help other women and their families– just like my Mother did.

As the daughter of an immigrant myself, I can relate to a lot of Ms. Balmori’s story. And as a mother who works from home, I know how important it is to have the option to be there for your children and help provide financially, as well. I was raised that where there was a will, there is always a way. Aside from just being a company that provides beautiful pieces for women, Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski is the way for many women to pursue their will regardless of race, religion or circumstances. Touchstone Crystal is giving all women an equal opportunity.

Fashion, jewelry, Touchstone Crystal, Swarovski, Head of Latina Development, Graciela Balmori

Thank you Graciela for sharing your story with us and I’m looking forward to seeing all the great things to come at Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski.

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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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immigrants, border immigrants, immigrant children, zero tolerance, immigration

Zero tolerance for humanity, this is the America our President wants us to live in. A world where we dehumanize entire races and refer to them as criminals and “vermin”. Spreading the gospel through fearmongering that these “vermin” will infest our country.

A world where we rip children from their parent’s arms and put them into “camps” where child migrant detention workers are told to stop frightened siblings from hugging, denying them even the simplest comfort through the trauma of being stolen as they watch their parents being arrested for trying to seek a better life. If nothing else has made the connection for you between Germany in the 40’s, the “camps” should make it crystal clear where this all is headed.

immigrants, border immigrants, immigrant children, zero tolerance, immigration

This could be me. This could be many of you. And don’t kid yourself, if it’s being done to immigrants at the border, it can be done to anyone. Just because you had the good luck of being born inside this country does not make you better, more deserving or immune from the wrath of zero tolerance. Because let’s be honest, the only thing that makes you any different than “them” is dumb luck. You are not better in any way than any other human being. A human is a human is a human. Tomorrow, zero tolerance could be pointed in your direction.

READ ALSO:  No Sanctuary for Children

What I find to be the most sickening thing about all of this (and the list is long) is that our current leader has asked himself, “What is the quickest way to get people to give up on their dreams? What is the quickest way to stop a strong-willed asylum seeker in their tracks?” Threaten to take their children away. This is America today.

Some people value being “right” over being moral. They value getting their way, over giving in to help others. They would rather die proving us wrong than relent to make things fair. Kindness, respect and human dignity are provisional and not extended to all people. To them, not all humans are created equally.

No one is safe; not even children. In fact, they are the targets. Anyone with a brain knows that the fastest way to stop anyone from doing anything, including fighting for their own life until the bitter end, is to threaten their child’s life. We lose the ability to live for ourselves the moment we become parents because we serve a higher purpose.

immigrants, border immigrants, immigrant children, zero tolerance, immigration

As parents, we would lay down and die for our children without hesitation. It’s not even something we rationalize or think about. It is instinct. I’m not even sure we can control it. If our child is in danger, we throw ourselves in harm’s way without a moment’s regret. It’s compulsory and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

READ ALSO: We the People

But as every parent knows, that kind of all-consuming, unconditional, miracle, life-affirming love has a price. The price is that we will do anything for them and would rather sacrifice everything, including any chance of happiness and safety and peace, to make sure that they are safe and have a better chance at life.

This is why so many immigrants come to our country from Central and South America (and around the world) seeking asylum; seeking shelter; seeking safety; seeking a better life for themselves and for their children. These are third world countries where the most valuable thing you have is family and we are taught from a very young age that family is everything. To deny them even that basic right is a cruelty beyond measure.

They do not come to steal your jobs. They do not come to rape you. They do not come to pillage your towns and destroy your lives. They do not come to flood your streets with drugs and murder your children. Most people seeking entry into the United States come for one thing and one thing only, a better life. It has absolutely nothing to do with you, least of all to harm you.

When I became a mom, my entire life changed. I was no longer who I was. I was a mom. My life was no longer my own and it never will be again because I relinquished that life for a bigger more intentional one. My purpose is to care for, love and raise good human beings. I am the keeper of the future, as are all mothers and fathers.

The people who want to build the wall know this but they don’t care when it applies to immigrants because they have dehumanized this group down so much that they no longer see them as human beings, and they never see them as equals. This is how they deny culpability. This is how they sleep at night. This is how and why they rip sobbing children from the arms of their desperate parents.

READ ALSO: If we Do Not Recognize, We Cannot Heal

The children being ripped from their parents’ arms are not collateral damage of immigrants coming to this country. No, the children are being used as pawns by our administration. Give us our wall, stay on your side and your children will be back in your arms. Until then, we will take them. Displace them. Make them disappear. You will never see them again. Our government is holding their children hostage. Our President is terrorizing families seeking shelter and asylum.

immigrants, border immigrants, immigrant children, zero tolerance, immigration

Imagine coming to a country, someplace you have always believed is better than where you come from; less dangerous, less volatile, less crooked and you find yourself being so cruelly refused.  Not only are we sending you back. We are sending you back with empty arms. We will eliminate the very reason you came seeking a better life. Go back to your dismal life with your empty arms and let this be a lesson to you, we don’t want you here and your children mean less to us than garbage.

The only way any of this changes is through Congressional legislation. Even though, please keep in mind, there is currently no law requiring that families be separated at the border that is a mandate of our President. This is your America.

It is up to you and me and every single person in the United States who respects and values human rights to experience a little discomfort, step up and speak out on behalf of the sobbing, frightened, motherless children in the camps. If we don’t help them, who will? You can stop this madness. Start small.

Contact your Congressional leaders, raise your voices to let them know this is not ok and we have zero tolerance for separating parents from their children.

Contact your congressional leaders. Find them here.

Here is what you can say:

“Hi, my name is _____ and I reside in ______. I’m urging Senator/Representative ______ to denounce Trump’s family separation policy and use all of Congress’ authority to stop it. I urge you to support of Senator Feinstein’s bill, the Keep Families Together Act, S. 3036, and insist that immediate attention be given to the atrocities occurring at our border.”

Sign the petition.

I signed a petition to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate, which says:

“Stop tearing children away from their parents. Families belong together.”

If you believe families belong together, please sign this petition? Click here 

Make your voices heard. This is our America.

 

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avocado, aguacates frescos, avocados, heart healthy fruit, american heart association

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Aguacates Frescos – Saborea Uno Hoy® but all opinions and love for the avocado are my own.

Have you ever eaten something and thought to yourself, this is amazing? This is how I have always felt about the avocado. I grew up with them in my kitchen constantly ripening, like most of you grew up with bananas. In a Mexican household, it is a staple.

I know the avocado fruit has gone mainstream lately with the rise in popularity of avocado toast and I get it.

I had never had avocado toast until the last couple of years. I’ve eaten it in guacamole, on tacos, out of the skin, in salads, with my eggs and on the side of just about everything but never on toast. Once I did, I questioned how I had gotten this far in life without putting my favorite fruit on sugar-free toast.  Who needs jam?

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

Did you know that while heart disease is the #1 killer for all Americans, Hispanics are typically at higher risk (according to the National Institutes of Health) because they are more likely to have risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking and diabetes.

But just because we are predisposed to some of these risk factors that doesn’t mean we are destined to that fate. It means that we need to consult our doctors and be more diligent and aware of what we put into our bodies. Our dietary choices (what we choose to serve our family for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day) can help manage blood pressure and blood cholesterol and prevent type 2 diabetes. And if we reduce these risk factors, we help reduce the chances of developing heart disease for ourselves and our family.

Many Americans struggle with being overweight. It’s just the super-sized portion society we live in. But as we are all learning, sometimes less is more. When it comes to tackling obesity; good sources of dietary fiber like fresh avocados add bulk to the diet and can help you feel fuller faster, which can increase satiety (satisfaction) and help manage weight, reducing the need to eat bigger portions to feel full.

When it comes to tackling high blood pressure: sodium can increase blood pressure and so it is recommended that we limit intake. Lucky for us, avocados are sodium free and can be paired with just about any other nutritious food.

READ ALSO: Best Tech to Help You Get Healthy in the New Year

Like many of you, I believed for a very long time that all fat was bad. I was guilty of eating all the fat-free food but I was misinformed. Let go of outdated thinking that all fat is bad for you. The truth is there are two types of fats: saturated and unsaturated. The saturated “bad” fats should be avoided because eating saturated foods can cause cardiovascular disease whereas unsaturated “good” fats can have heart-healthy benefits. Avocados contribute naturally good fats to our diet, are a great substitute for foods high in bad fats and do not raise cholesterol levels.

avocado, aguacates frescos, avocados, heart healthy fruit, american heart association

Visit the Saborea Uno Hoy website for more information about the heart health benefits of fresh avocados. Avocados are such a versatile fruit. There is surely a recipe for everyone. Plus, I recommend checking out R.D. and Saborea Uno Hoy spokesperson Sylvia Meléndez Klinger’s 4 tips that will help keep your heart healthy, click here to read more!

One of my favorite recipes from the Saborea Uno Hoy site is Heart-Healthy Frozen Avocado Banana Paletas. My girls love ice cream and this frozen avocado banana paleta is not only creamy and delicious, it’s very kid-friendly.  Adults love them too. I know I do. They’re so tasty and you can feel good about feeding them to your family.

avocado, aguacates frescos, avocados, heart healthy fruit, american heart association

What’s your favorite way to enjoy aguacates frescos / fresh avocado in your home?

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