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Culture/Cultura

My Abuela was the simplest of women and it was reflected in the dishes she prepared. Nothing complicated–most–well, really easy to make. Her dishes were that of a seasoned home cook. She used minimal ingredients due to the little resources she had and I imagine they just became part of her who she was. She also cooked with just a few spices to not take away from the natural flavor of her main ingredient–But just enough to enhance it. Although #SalAPunos (If you know you know!). It is possible that you ran across one of her videos an thought, “How can that even be good?”. Oh but it was because she used her special ingredient in all the dishes she prepares–amor.

Ingredients:

(Makes 18-20 sopes.)

•2 pounds of ground beef

•1 large potato (cut into small cubes)

•2 pounds of masa

•1 Lettuce head (chopped finely)

•1-2 tomatoes (sliced thinly)

•1 garlic clove

•Mexican sour cream

•Cotija cheese

• Salsa of choice (Abuela used Tapatio or a Valentina on her sopes.)

•Sal a puños

Instructions:

1. Place ground beef in a pan and add 1/2 a cup of water and salt to taste and a garlic clove.

2. Let it brown for a couple minutes and add potatoes that have been cut into small cubes.

3. Let the meat brown and potatoes soften, then remove from heat.

4. Make masa dough for the sopes. If you use Maseca, follow the instruction on the package. You can also buy already prepared masa for tortillas where available.

5. Heat up a pan to medium heat with lard or cooking oil. Enough to have a nice coat of lard in the pan.

6. Make a dough ball a little smaller than the size of your palm.

7. You can use a tortilla press to make the sope or you can use your hand by patting the masa between your hands, flipping back and forth and rotating the masa to form a circle. They can be about 2-3 inches wide.

8. Place you sope on your pan and fry until golden brown. Flip it and fry the other side until golden brown.

9. Remove from heat and let it cool down for a few minutes.

10. Once the sope has cooled, you are going to pinch the edges while pulling out at the same time to create the sope. You are creating the rim of the sope.

11. Add the meat and potatoes, lettuce, tomato slices, sour crema, salsa and Cotija cheese to the sope.

12. Enjoy.

Sopes YouTube vídeo

https://youtu.be/O0JzQRniO9M

At home, we always had rice, beans, salsa y un tipo de carnita.  With those key ingredients you were never short of a good meal.  Especially with frijoles in the house. One day you get ricos frijo, another day rico Litos and then the following ricos frijolitos! I know– bad joke.  Blame my dad, he’s told this joke since I can remember.

If you’re  from Michoacan, you’ve probably heard of  Morisqueta. It’s really just rice, beans and red chile. You can add meat if you want, which is really carne con chile.

Growing up I was never really asked what I wanted to eat. So I never knew this amazing combination had a name until Abuela said one day, “a que hacer morisqueta”.  I was so excited thinking I was going to try a new dish! Here I was … waiting for morisquetaaaaa!!!! Turns out, it was a dish I had been enjoying for years.

We got a good laugh that day. But enjoyed un platillo bien simple, Mexicano y delicioso.

Ingredients

  • refried Beans
  • steamed rice

Sauce

  • 2 chiles California 
  • 8-9 chiles Japoneses (Add more for spiciness.)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 a garlic clove (Abuela only uses ½.)
  • Cotija cheese (optional)

Instructions

  • If you have frijoles de la olla, heat up some lard and add 4 cups of beans, 1-2 cups of bean broth (or water), and salt to taste. Mash them to make refried beans.
  • Add 2 cups of washed rice in a pot, add 4 cups of water and salt to taste.
  • Place over medium-low heat and cook without uncovering rice until it is cooked through.
  • Roast the chiles.
  • Cook tomatoes in water until soft.
  • Blend chiles, tomatoes, garlic and salt to taste.
  • While the refried beans are still simmering, pour the chile sauce over the beans and mix well.
  • Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve rice along with the beans.
  • Sprinkle it with cotija cheese.

For a heartier meal, add meat of choice to your chile sauce to make carne con chile. Serve rice, beans and the carne con chile.

Usually, you place the rice on your plate first then add the beans or carne con chile over the rice.  But Abuela always loved to serve them side by side.

Link to original video.

It is said that your eyes show the strength of your soul.

And I could definitely see it in the eyes of my Abuela.

In  her 87 years, she saw generations being born…Deaths of those she loved.

She Experienced joys and heart aches… like many of us.

What a bitter sweet thing.

Yet, she continued…

Strong women aren’t born, they’re forged in the fires they’ve had to walk through… Paving the way for those who come after.

Abuela has passed down her mantel– her apron. And I carry her essence that comes forth when I need it… Maybe even when you need it.

INGREDIENTS

2 cauliflower heads

6 eggs

1/4 c of flour

3-4 tomatoes

1/4 of an onion

1 garlic clove

1 tsp of cumin

Cotija Cheese

Cooking oil or Lard

Water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse cauliflower.
  2. Boil cauliflower until soft then set aside to cool down.
  3. Cut into small pieces.

4. Make egg batter by mixing egg whites until nice and fluffy.

5. Add yolks, flour and salt to taste.

6. Dip each cauliflower pieces in egg batter and fry in lard or oil.

7. To make tomato sauce, blend tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt and water.

8. Heat up a pan and add 2 tbsp of lard or oil.

9. Add 2 tbsp of flour and mix quickly to make a roux.

10. After is it well blended, add tomato mix.

11. Add cumin and let it simmer for for 2-3 minutes.

12. Sprinkle in Cotija cheese to liking and check for salt.

13. Add cauliflower and simmer for 3-4 minute.

14. Add more Cotija cheese if you like.

Serve with rice and or beans.

Full Video.

Growing up in a home where we ate Chiles Rellenos once a year but never used the word LENT– I still looked forward to that season. Not because I was religious in any way, but because it would be those celebrated days like Christmas where I would try special dishes and gather around the table as a family. The word Lent didn’t become part of my vocabulary until we started making cooking videos and was forced to translate the recipes. Matter of fact, there were many words I wasn’t familiar with. For example, Sancochar. I thought to myself, “How on earth do you translate that?” I guess some words are meant to be translated are some aren’t. Nevertheless, here I am cooking a recipe my Abuela left me with, to now share with my little family and yours.

INGREDIENTS

10-12 Chiles Poblanos

7 Eggs

Cotija Cheese

Montrrey Jack Cheese

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

Salt

Oil or Lard

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Wash and dry the chiles
  2. Roast chiles on all sides on a comal or directly on the fire.
  3. After roasting them, place in a plastic bag or anything with a lid to steam them.
  4. Once skin begins to detach, peel the skin off.
  5. You can remove seeds and membranes but my abuela always left them. Just don’t eat them or se te va a la visicula. LOL
  6. Cut your cheese into small pieces and add 1-2 pieces of cotija cheese and Monterey cheese.
  7. Add egg whites to a bowl and mix until nice and fluffy.
  8. Mix in the egg yolks on a lower speed adding salt and flour.
  9. Add oil or lard to your cooking pan.
  10. Once it’s nice and hot, dip chile relleno into the egg batter and place into your pan with oil.
  11. Fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
  12. Place on a plate covered in paper towels.
  13. Serve with rice and beans.

POTATO PATTIES

If you have left over egg batter, you can enjoy some delicious potato patties by adding 2-3 cooked and mashed potatoes, salt and 1 cup of shredded cotija cheese.

Fry them on each side for 3 minutes or until golden brown.

*****Original Youtube recipe from 2012

Chiles rellenos en caldillo recipe:

From the time my children were babies, one of the most delightful things to watch were them running to the fireplace on a Christmas morning with eyes of anticipation and excitement. No matter how big they got, my heart was so full to see them wake each other up…and sprint to the living room to open their gifts on those crisp mornings. To this day, my children love the holidays—and I am so happy that this season of the year brings back memories of joy and peace for them.  I am thankful that as a mother, I have been able to nurture such pivotal moments for their lives and to provide an emotional reference for them, so that as adults, they would be drawn back by the gifts that could never ever be purchased, and those are LOVE, PEACE, and HAPPINESS. 

From my own childhood, I can remember the long drives to visit my Abuela, who at the time lived in Tijuana; the latenight smell of fire burning as we sat outside the starlit evenings, drinking Champurrado and eating homemade pan my Tio Jose would prepare. The aroma of fresh tamales as they cooked over the open flame, and the sound of laughter over the joyful rhythm of Los Tigres Del Norte.  It became the soundtrack for my personal holiday memory and it was what I feel in my heart as I prepare for the seasonal celebrations.

In reality, those memories are the things that light my way home for the holidays  Not literally, but figuratively speaking, home is the place in our hearts that remind us that LIFE is not just about things…but rather, they are the moments that we felt the safest, the most loved, and the most at peace.

So now, as we prepare for the holidays—we also prepare to the light the beacon of love, hope, and peace for our children and our family—to the moments that we can all be together, with hearts of gratitude—allowing all the unimportant things be forgotten momentarily—and just be a family.

This year, I’ve added these delicious “Spicy Salmon Avocado Toast Bites” to our holiday gathering, thanks to @kvaroyartic salmon. While my daughter loves all the authentic Mexican flavors, my son loves salmon–so I got creative just to keep everyone happy!  Food should bring us together; so be prepared to figuratively “Light a Way Home” for everyone this season…because nothing says home like food. 

Instagram Reel of the recipe.

This post is sponsored by Sabrosa Raspado. The opinions and text are all mine.

Growing up I always looked forward to our family trips to Mexico.  Interestingly, the days of driving became a part of our long vacation adventures on the road. I always knew that there would be many rest stops along the way, consisting of buying chucherias (or snacks) and antojitos.  I always kept my eyes open for things I enjoyed and cute little tienditas in hopes that my dad would pull over and let us shop around.  Believe it or not, one delicacy that we enjoyed in those days were bags of chips! My parents always had to control our portions or we would go crazy and devour an entire bag all by ourselves.  I knew that we would get the best tacos and Mexican bread when we stopped at the convenient stores along the sides of the road. Those stores were easy to spot for an eager kid like myself—looking for the next best treat!  You could never go wrong just grabbing a quick bite to eat. Food was always fresh to order, prepared right before your eyes.  Another “for sure stop”  was to purchase guamuchiles in Sinaloa. Guamuchiles is a food described best as an “acquired taste.”  

“Mira, mangos!”, my dad would shout as he abruptly veered onto a dirt road, with the load of passengers bouncing in our seats, as our old burgundy Dodge Caravan entered into a rural part of las calles de Nayarit to pick juicy mangos straight from roadside trees.  As we reached Guadalajara, Jalisco I could only think of one thing…”Las Jericallas” (My mouth is watering just thinking about them).  And don’t let me forget to mention the city of Guanajuato, known for the production of some of the best Cajeta in the world.  Streets filled with cajeta vendors pulling you in with offers to sample their recipes, with a small wooden spoon covered with cajeta.  As a child, I secretly accepted every little wooden spoon offered to me from each vendor.

Finally, we would reach our destination, a state called “Michoacán.” Michoacan was “donde tienen de todo.”  It is a place known for its ice cream, Chongos Zamoranos, Paletitas de Tamarindo, Nieves de Garrafa y Raspados de todos sabores!  It was much like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow–reaching the state known for its ice cream, after days of driving under the baking sun, was the reward!  In Mexico, snow cones are referred to as “raspados.”  Raspados are special not only for the flavor, but the process. The craft of making “raspados” can be described as a beautiful art.  Watching a Raspado vendor scrape a huge block of ice wrapped in plastic and cloth to keep it from melting is short of mesmerizing.  After the lightly packed ice is placed into a plastic cup, the vendor carefully drizzles it with the most flavorful homemade syrup!  Perfect for those warm Mexican summer days!  

Thus, the flavor of certain drinks and the aroma of special meals, always remind me of driving through Mexico with my family. Living in California, you can easily find Mexican food restaurants and a variety of dining options to satisfy one’s palette.  On the contrary, it is not easy to find delicious “raspados,” because to qualify as authentic snow cones requires rich flavors.  It was not until recently that we discovered Sabroso Raspados.  They have so many exciting flavors such as Fresas con Crema, Coco con Crema, Mango Chamoy, Pina Colada, Mango Chili Lime, and Tamarind Chamoy.  

Abuela especially enjoyed las Fresas con Crema flavor.  She said it was “very tasty” and “refreshing.”  Mom really loved the Tamarindo Chamoy.  It brought back memories of her childhood in Michoacan; she said the flavor was “pretty genuine” with just the right amount of chamoy.  My personal favorite was Mango Chili Lime, because of the rich mango flavor balanced with the tanginess of the chile. 

If you want to taste the authenticity for yourself, Sabrosa Raspado is available at your local Vallarta and Northgate Supermarkets.   I cannot wait to try out the other flavors and share them with Abuela, mom, and the rest of the family.  We had a great time talking about our old family trips, and reminiscing about the food and treats we ate along the way.  It is just a part of our culture:  Family, food, and fun!  

SAVE $2 on any one Sabrosa Raspado product. GetTheSavings.com/SabrosaRaspado.

Coupon valid July 7-31, 2021.

Sabrosa Raspado is now available at the following retailers: Vallarta, Cardenas, Northgate, Numero Uno, Jons, Big Saver, and Super A Foods. 

“This is a sponsored blog; while the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me by La Morena.”

If you are like me, I am always asking my family “what do you want for dinner?”  The typical response is “I don’t knooooow!” It’s a challenge to keep meals interesting, and at the same time, plan a meal that we can enjoy together. To make things easier, I have been taking simple family favorites and giving them a little upgrade.

So I gathered a few ingredients:  Chicken, Chipotle Peppers, Cheese, Tortillas, AND Chicken Tinga Quesadillas were born! The blend of spices and the “earthy” taste of the chipotle peppers was a hit!  My kids absolutely loved them, and I know your family will too!  

#VivaLaMorena #WeCanWithLaMorena 

Ingredients for Chicken Tinga Quesadillas 

4 lbs of chicken

1- 1 /2 onion

3 garlic cloves 

1 can of La Morena Chipotle Pepper

4 tomatoes

1 cup of water

1 tsp oregano

2 Bay leaves

Pepper

Salt

Flour Tortillas

Monterrey cheese or Mexican blend cheese

Ingredients for Chipotle Sauce

¾ cup of sour cream

¼ cup of mayonnaise 

1 tsp of lime juice

Salt to liking

3 tablespoons of La Morena Chipotle Sauce

Directions

  1.  In a large pot, cook chicken with ½ an onion, 1 garlic clove, and salt.
  2. Shred chicken one it has cooled down.
  3. Roast tomatoes and garlic cloves.
  4. Blend tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves, 2-3 chipotle peppers with 1 cup of water. (Add some of the chipotle adobo sauce.)
  5. Set sauce aside for later use.
  6. In a large pan, fry 1 medium onion.
  7. Add oregano and bay leaves and continue frying until the onion is translucent.
  8. Add shredded chicken.
  9. Add chile sauce.
  10. Add salt and pepper to your liking.
  11. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Directions for Chipotle Dressing

Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice and salt.

Chipotle Dressing

Assembling quesadillas

  1.  Preheat griddle or pan on medium low heat.
  2. Place the tortilla on the griddle and add 2 tablespoons of chicken and a handful of cheese over the tortillas.
  3. Place a second tortilla on top.
  4. Flip carefully with a spatula once the bottom tortilla is crispy and golden and repeat with the other side.
  5. Remove from the griddle and drizzle with chipotle sauce, cotija cheese.
  6. Serve with some pico de gallo and some lime slices.
  7. Enjoy

For video of our Tinga de res, click video below:

If there was such a thing as a “green thumb” in the kitchen, like in a garden, my mom would have it!  Growing up, my mom was able to make culinary masterpieces with just about anything she found in the kitchen.  In Spanish, we call that magic touch “Sazon.”  As a matter of fact, she still has it!  When I was younger, my mom owned a beauty salon.  Meal prepping was an essential skill when planning family dinners because her work hours were long.  Planning meals for a working mom requires quick thinking and creativity.  So many times, I would receive a call to “pull the chicken out of the fridge,” just in time for when she arrived home.  My mom would quickly transition, and assess what other groceries she had at her disposal.  Most Latino homes always seem to have the basic-traditional ethnic ingredients.  For my mom, that was enough para sacra la del apuro.   She would begin to bake the chicken and gather the assortment of pastas and veggies.  And as a final ingredient, like a runner racing to the finish line, with every ounce of commitment and dedication,  she would grab the McCormick mayonesa–and in her last strides—giving the meal what she always referred to as the perfect touch!  

Meals were always quick and easy!  Someone was always sure to ask her for her recipes.  She would verbally give them out often, but it was not until recently, that I’ve encouraged her to begin writing them down.  

She has never been secretive about the things that make her meals so delicious.  Now she enjoys sharing with others.  Perhaps it would have been a great idea for her to carry little cards with her recipes on it to hand out. LOL But hey, now we have YouTube. 🙂

Enjoy a family favorite.

Click on the link to watch our Youtube video on this recipe.   We share a very pretty way to serve this side dish.

Ingredients

2 bone-in chicken breast halves

2 large baking potatoes,peeled

12 oz bag of mixed veggies or 1 can

1/4 head of a lettuce, chopped

1 tbsp of salt (Personal preference)

1 teaspoon of pepper

1 tablespoon of paprika

2 cups of McCormick Mayonnaise with lime juice

Instructions

  1. Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper and paprika.  Bake for 1 hour at 365°F.  Shred chicken after it has cooled down.
  2. Boil potatoes until soft or cook in microwave for 5 minutes. 
  3. Cut potatoes into cubes.
  4. Cook veggies according to instructions on package.
  5. In a large bowl add the chicken, potatoes, veggies, lettuce and mix.
  6. Add McCormick Mayonnaise with lime juice and mix.

Serving

Layer over a bed of Romaine lettuce leaves, Sliced tomatoes and jalapenos.  Top with cilantro.

You might be thinking, what the heck are Empasosas?  It’s a term my daughter came up with by putting together Empanada and Samosas.  We all know what empanadas are but what about Samosas? They are a fried or baked pastry with a savoury filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, cheese, beef and other meats, or lentils. … a popular entrée, appetizer, or snack in the local cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. 

Below you can find my Empasosa recipe.

Enjoy!

Start by making the dough for the Empasosas because you will need it to rest for one hour.  The following dough recipe has been adapted from Sonia’s (La Pina En La Cocina’s ) recipe.

Ingredients For Dough

4 C of flour

1 ½ tsp salt

½ C unsalted butter (room temperature)

¼ C apple cider vinegar (You can use white vinegar.)

1 C room temperature water

Directions

  1. Combine dry ingredients.

  2. Cut in the butter until you have small crumbs.

  3. Mix in the vinegar.

  4. Gradually mix in ⅔ C of water.

  5. Only add more as needed.

  6. Knead dough on a flat surface for 5-6 minutes.

  7. Cover dough and let it rest for 1 hour.

While the dough rests, you can begin making the filling.

Ingredients For Filling

3 potatoes

1 tsp curry

¼ tsp cumin seed

¼ tsp coriander seed

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp chopped cilantro

4 tbsp flour

4 tbsp butter

Directions For Filling

  1. Peel and chop up potatoes into cubes.

  2. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a skillet and add the potatoes.

  3. Cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally.

  4. Set aside.

  5. Melt butter in a skillet (4 tbsp).

  6. Add flour (1 tbsp at a time) and mix thoroughly for 3 minutes or until you get a nutty aroma.

  7. Add salt and make sure it’s mixed well.

  8. Add cumin and coriander. Mix.

  9. Add curry and mix well.

  10. Mix in the potatoes until fully covered.

  11. Sprinkle cilantro and mix.

  12. Set aside.

Assembling the Empasosas

  1. Have a baking sheet ready.

  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  3. Divide your dough into equal portions (12-20 depending on the size you want them.).

  4. Roll them into balls.

  5. Using a rolling pin, roll out the balls to about 4 inches in diameter.

  6. Add the potato filling as desired down the center.

  7. Fold over and press the edges down with a fork.

  8. Place on your baking sheet.

  9. Brush with egg wash  before baking.

  10. Bake for 22-25 minutes.

  11. Cook on broiler just for a minute to brown further.

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Story time about Empasosas.

 

“This is a sponsored blog; while the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me by Juanita’s Foods.”

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Tamales season is definitely here.  It reminds me of the days where all of my Abuela’s children along with their families, would gather Christmas Eve at her house in Tijuana, B.C.  Everyone in the family, from the youngest to the oldest, was assigned a job in the kitchen as we prepared for the evening meal. Everyone awaited the nightfall, anticipating una alumbrada outside as the family gathered enjoying tamales, champurrado, buñuelos, and a warm ponche navideño.

 I was always tasked with spreading masa onto the corn husks.  Something about getting the texture of the masa all over my hands, arms, face, table, and the floor was frustrating; but this was the tradition.  I did not particularly enjoy the process of making tamales because it is a very involving recipe. We made enough for 5 or 6 families to eat all night long, including the extra tamales for el recalentado and some to take back home with us.  It felt like a never-ending job. Although I loved traveling to Tijuana, seeing all the family together, and opening up presents at 9 pm (because Latinos do not wait until midnight), I knew it came with a lot of work!  This is what Navidad is about in a Latino family–making tamales alongside the women in my family, listening to their stories, and getting to know them more in depth.  I never believed that a day would come when I would actually miss those moments. You never thought that those moments would one day be the memories we would talk about as an adult with my own children.  With a soft voice and nostalgia in my heart, now I share with my own children, “When I was a kid during Christmas…” stories.

 I am glad that I have these memories to share with my children and with a heavy heart, we attempt to recreate the holidays despite missing many loved ones who are no longer with us.  What does this teach us? It teaches us that time is of the essence.  Our moments with our family members are precious, and with the help of Juanita’s, we can cut down on the time it takes to prepare those meals. Incorporating Juanita’s allows me more time to spend talking about those wonderful moments and even showing my family all of the old home movies of our past holiday family gatherings.

 We know that Juanita’s makes the #1 bestselling Menudo and Pozole in the U.S.  They offer a selection of flavorful soups, sauces, and stews made with the best quality ingredients…ready to heat and serve so families can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying each other–when our time is limited due to external factors.  But did you know they also offer Pork Chile Verde? Perfect for TAMALES!!!  Here is a quick and easy tamales recipe we enjoyed preparing, as we are encouraged to savor every second together as a family laughing, chismiando, and just being together — saving us time on the daunting task of making tamales, up to our copetes in masa. LOL

 Here is the link for you to see what other products you can use to make life easier in those moments when time is essential.  http://bit.ly/37BvDb8  

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PREP TIME:  2 hours
COOK TIME: 1- 1:15 hours
SERVINGS:  36-40 tamales
 

INGREDIENTS

 9 pounds of masa for tamales

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

2 teaspoon of baking powder

1 cup of Juanita’s Foods Pork Chile sauce (You can also add beef broth.)

4 cans of Juanita’s Foods Pork Chile Verde

Corn Husks

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Soak corn husks in warm water to soften them.
  2. Simmer Juanita’s Pork Chile Verde for 5-10 minutes.  Medium heat. Set aside.
  3. Combine masa, baking soda, baking powder, pork chile sauce in a large bowl.
  4. Mix for 4 minutes or until smooth. (We mixed it in 2 batches.)
  5. Pat dry the corn husks.
  6. Take a corn husk on your hand with the wide side facing you.
  7. With a spoon, spread masa from the bottom up to the center of the husk.  About 3 tablespoons.
  8. Add 2-3 tablespoons of Juanita’s Pork Chile Verde to the center of the masa spread.
  9. Fold one side of the corn husk over the other.
  10. Fold the bottom of the corn husk up.
  11. Place another corn husk on the opposite side to prevent the masa from spilling. (Optional)
  12.  Fill a large steamer pot with water (¼ of the pot.)
  13. Once it has come to a boil, place tamales standing upward.
  14. Add corn husks on top of the tamales and place lid on the pot.
  15. Cook on medium heat for about 1 hour.
  16. If the corn husk can be peeled off easily, they are ready.

 

Juanita’s:   http://bit.ly/37BvDb8 

 
Short video of our process:  https://youtu.be/r6rNyNr3FD4