fullsizeoutput_1159Both my mom and Abuela have crazy stories about how they were named.  I had always heard everyone call my Abuela Eva, even my Abuelo.  It wasn’t until she was trying to get her residency that she found out that Eva wasn’t her real name.  A prerequisite to obtain her residency was to provide a birth certificate however, she did not have one.   So she went to La Presidencia of her town to request it.  After a lengthy search for this crucial document, they were unable find her birth certificate.  She went home frustrated and told everyone what had happened when suddenly her father disclosed that he never registered her as Eva. Her father stated that despite her mother wanting to name her Eva, he defiantly registered her as Maria.   According to the story, my Abuela’s father wanted a daughter named EVA.  AY DIO MIO!  She went back to La Presidencia, and processed a new request with the name MARIA and successfully obtained her birth certificate.  To this day, everyone close to her knows her as Eva.  Joking she claims that she was never married to my Abuelo because the marriage certificate says Eva–and her real name is Maria. LOL

Ironically, when my mother was born, everyone went crazy with joy.  She was the first baby in a long time.  So everyone wanted to contribute to the selection of her name–and like most Mexican families, everyone did. LOL Her uncles, aunts, padrinos, dad and mom all wanted a piece of her name so they named her Maria Estela del Rosario.  Maybe to some that might seem crazy but it was considered a privilege to carry names of those who have passed on.

Some of you may or may not know, but I have a niece on the way; the baby happens to be  my brother’s first born.  I’m so excited.  In fact, my brother and his wife, had a gender reveal party and on that day, revealed the name that they had chosen.  The beautiful baby girl who is expected later this month, will carry my sister’s name.  This is significant to me and my family, because my sister passed approximately 4 years ago.

Names can be a very important part of who you are.  Names can be a place value that represents a significance to life, history, and the future.

Today, I made a few cookies in preparation for the arrival of my brother’s baby.  We will distribute them as we celebrate our new family member and the blessing, that is life–so that maybe one day, she will share the story behind her name.

I can’t wait to meet Baby Ellie.

***I will leave the recipe below along with links to a couple of items that helped me create these beautifully personalized cookies.

Sugar Cookies Recipe


  • 8 oz of butter (Room temp.)
  • 7 oz of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 pound of All Purpose Flour (Sift with baking powder.)
  • 1 teaspoon of of baking powder


  • Combine sugar and butter.  Beat for 4 minutes.
  • Add egg, salt and vanilla to butter and sugar mix.  Beat for 1 minute.
  • Add flour to the wet ingredients a little at a time while mixing on slow setting.
  • When you see flour has blended in, stop mixer and add the next batch of flour.
  • Don’t mix too much.
  • Take dough out of bow and knead.  DON’T OVER KNEAD.
  • Wrap in clear wrap and let rest in fridge for 4 hours or over night.

Rolling Out Dough

  • Take a portion out and put the rest back in fridge.
  • Roll out 1/4″ thick, cut and transfer onto baking sheet.
  • Place baking sheet in fridge for 15-30 minutes before taking.  This cooling is important when you want the cookies to keep its shape and nice edges.
  • Bake at 370F 8-9 minutes.

I was going to make my own marshmallow fondant but got lazy.  Thanks to Wilton Cakes for the ready made fondant, it was easy to just roll it out and cut the pieces I needed for my stamps.  Just make sure to slightly wet the cookie’s edges before placing the fondant over the cookies so it sticks.  Here is a little video I watched to get a better idea on how to work the fondant.  I’m not a baker and these cookies were super easy to make but I’m not going to lie…It was work. LOL



I used food coloring gels to color the fondant.

Cookie Dough board from Three Sweet Chicks
Great board for your cookies and fondant to have same thickness.

Cookie stamps and cutters from Bread Stamps
Coupon code for 20% off MASMASA


***Cookie recipe by Artisan Bread and More.

IMG_5743All of my trips to Mexico consisted on how many things we could bring back to the states.  Todos tenian encargos and we all wanted a nice stash of goods that would last us for a few months.  We always brought back items we couldn’t easily get here.  Whatever it took to bring candy, chips, pottery, home decor and even chorizo hidden in our shoes (true story).  I know weird and gross, right?  Don’t try to act like you didn’t hide a parrot or two under your armpit when crossing the border by car. LOL  Anyway, Pinole was another thing we always brought back.  “Pinole” is maiz that is toasted and ground very finely with cinnamon and some sugar.

One of my mom’s friends recently returned from Mexico and brought her back Pinole from Michoacan ( I don’t even want to think about where she put it to carry it back into the states. LOL jk ). We decided to use it as an opportunity to record a recipe of Atole de Pinole for our channel.  It was soooo tasty but it brought back a memory I had forgotten about, and probably on purpose because it traumatized me.  Believe it or not, Pinole can be deadly!!!!!  OK OK I’m exaggerating.IMG_5741

My parents didn’t allow my siblings and I to eat too many sweets, so we never had any at home.  I even had to secretly add sugar to my cereal because my mother only purchased the most healthy, need I say, flavorless cereals on earth!  One day I was craving something sweet so bad, I was tempted to shove a spoonful of sugar down my throat.  So, in my search for sweets, I opened up the pantry, and I noticed a little bag of Pinole. It appeared like an imajen from the heavens, shoved way in the back behind the can of Juanita Menudo.  With a mischievious grin, I reached far back, pulled out the bag, and began to open it.  I could hardly wait to eat it.  Quickly, I began pouring the Pinole into my mouth from the bag.  I did it quickly to conceal any evidence from my brother and my dad.   I scurried to put the bag back and walked away to inconspicuously enjoy the mouthful of delicious Pinole in my backyard.  The sweetness of the Pinole was heavenly.  But I did not know that the consistency of the Pinole combined with moisture, was the equivalence of trying to whistle while eating a cracker multiplied by 100!!!  All that goodness immediately turned into a nightmare. Why did I run off like a wild child with dry Pinole in my mouth?  What was I thinking?  It was unimaginable!  I started to choke on the small granules of the pinole.  I couldn’t breath and I wasn’t about to run to my dad to get a whooping!  I would rather die a slow pinole death.  The white light was quickly approaching… I think it was Je-sus (en español).  I don’t think I was ready for heaven, because I miraculously scrambled for anything to cleanse my palette.  Fortunately, I was standing by my mangera.  I desperately grabbed la mangera, turned on the water, and hosed down my entire mouth and face.  I was relieved as the pinole dissolved just in time to catch my breath.  El Pinole casi me mato!  I have never told anyone about what had happened that day, and since then, I have not tried Pinole in anyway.  I have some that my mom left on my kitchen counter.  Every time I pass by it, I’m temped to try eating it dry but then the memory of my near death experience stops me.



I’ve partnered with ALDI USA.  All opinions are my own.

Experience is everything.  Whether it is growing up, being around family, at work, in school, or special occasions, experience define one’s choices and feelings.

Think about it. Have you ever returned to a restaurant when the food has been horrible? Not me.

Experience is crucial—even when you’re GROCERY SHOPPING!

IMG_4429_Facetune_05-11-2018-11-08-20My mother and Abuela have been raving about their experience at ALDI USA for some time now.  They have a weekly ritual of stopping at their local ALDI after picking up my Uncle Art from work every Saturday.  Now I know why!  This past Saturday, my mom, Abuela, and I headed out with excitement to Upland, California to meet Hilda Gabriela, Lifestyle Expert, who was going to show me the “ins and outs” of ALDI USA.  I thought to myself, “I never learn. I should have just taken my mom and Abuela’s word for it.”  Every week they tell me about their trips to ALDI, and how the quality of the food is great and how low the prices are.  My Abuela always talks about the “blanquillos.”  In Spanish, that means “eggs.” All Latinos love a good sale, and even better when you do not need a coupon.  When markets offer a good price, there are usually limits to how many items you can buy.  My Abuela says that at ALDI there are no limits as to how many egg cartons you can purchase.

IMG_4448Needless to say, my expectations were pretty high.  So upon our arrival, I looked around and made some initial observations. The first thing I noticed when I walked into the store were the employees working on the floor.  They were very professional and friendly.  It seemed that they were always on the move making sure everything was in order and the store shelves were fully stocked.  My mom headed straight for the fresh produce because she was anxious to share her own preferences regarding the wide selections of fresh fruits and vegetables.  She was telling me that she loves that ALDI USA carries so many organic products and that they do not carry produce that contain artificial colors, MSG’s, or trans-fats.  When Hilda Gabriela arrived, I was already full of enthusiasm to know more!  I cannot believe the large selection at such low prices.  For example, the mangos were priced .39 cents that day and they did not even have a limit on the amount you could purchase!!!  Hilda Gabriela shared that it is made possible because ALDI USA works together with local growers and suppliers in order to provide the freshest and highest quality products with the lowest prices.

IMG_4445With the holidays quickly approaching, as well as the anticipation of having large family gatherings, I am always contemplating the need to buy large amounts of food. I just kept thinking about how as Latinos we prepare for the holiday season by cooking seasonal recipes such as tamales.  Finding fresh ingredients is an essential part of that preparation.  It was great to stroll through the aisles to find a wide variety of dried chiles.  As if that was not enough, they had las ollas to cook the tamales in the Home Goods section of the store!  Y despues de cocinar esos ricos tamales, we know the dreaded task of cleaning has to take place.  It is a good thing ALDI carries our favorite cleaning items–everything from Fabuloso to earth friendly cleaning products.

We had so much fun on our tour of the store and all I can say is, “WOW!  I AM A BELIEVER!”  We laughed and joked, but most importantly, we learned that my mom and Abuela were right!   They are now unofficial ALDI supermarket experts!  Now we are excited to shop at ALDI first for the upcoming Holiday Season.  Who does not want extra money para los regalitos esta Navidad?  We can tell ALDI wants us to save the most during this holiday season.  That is why they are opening a few more stores in Southern California to ensure that more families have access to the best quality foods at the lowest possible prices.  On this shopping day, I bought turkey meat, a chuck roast and some marinated flap meat along with all the trimmings, to prepare 3 meals for only $28.67.

You heard me right, 3 MEALS!!!  You cannot beat that!

Thank you ALDI USA!

Here is the link to our Facebook Live so you can get the full live experience:






#PrimeroALDI #ALDI

#ad #sponsored





I have always loved to be creative in the kitchen but didn’t always have the time.  I loved to bake with my mom as a kid and did a lot of it as a teen.  After high school, I went straight into college and did not really have the free time to be in the kitchen.  When I got married, I was working on my masters degree and held 2 jobs–which led to less time to cook.

Funny how I did not know I missed cooking until I had children, and chose to become a “stay at home mom.” I found myself cooking and experimenting more in the kitchen.  For added value, I have taken the opportunity to spend more time with my Abuela and my mom, learning to cook more authentic/traditional Mexican recipes.  Aside from spending time with them, it has been great returning to a place of sharing ideas in the kitchen with my  mom just like when I was a kid.

Here is a recipe we worked on together! I must admit that is it pretty darn good.  Thanks to the fresh Cheek Meat from Rumba Meats, I was able to create beef cheek patties in a deliciously mild chile sauce with and a hint of sweetness from the banana chiles.  PARA CHUPARSE LOS DEDOS!

Rumba Meats is now on AMAZON and they have given us a 25% off if you order 8/13 through  8/19.  Use coupon code 25ABUELA !

Link for cheek meat:

Amazon Link For Rumba:


PREP TIME: 20+ Minutes
COOK TIME: 2 Hour 30 Minutes


2-3 pounds of Cheek Meat (Rumba Meats)
3 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
10 pepper corns
5 tomatoes
1 onion
1-2 Banana peppers
3 eggs
3 tablespoons of flour
3 tablespoons of bread crumbs


  1.   Combine cheek meat, salt, garlic and 1/2 an onion in a large pot with enough water to cover the meat.
  2.  Cook for about 2-3 hours or until tender.
  3. Remove from pot and let it cool down enough to remove fat.
  4. Shred meat and remove fat.
  5. Roast the tomatoes, chiles, 1 garlic clove and 1/4 an onion.
  6. Bled tomatoes, chiles, 1 garlic clove, 1/4 onion.
  7. Mix egg whites until fluffy.
  8. Add egg yolks, one at a time and mix.
  9. Fold in shredded meat, flour, and bread crumbs.
  10. Heat a pan with lard or cooking oil.
  11. Scoop up a spoon full of the mix and drop into the pan flipping each patty until cooked.
  12. Once done, in the same pan, fry the sauce adding 1 1/2 cup of water and salt to your preference.
  13. Let it come to a simmer.
  14. Add patties to the sauce and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  15. Sprinkle cilantro over the patties once they are served.

Serve with white rice and some salad.

(See below for pictures of the step-by-step instructions.)



For more recipes and additional videos, check out:

Don’t forget to add me on Instagram:

Amor y paz,


Unboxing Video:

When I need a delicious and traditional recipe, I always ask my mom and Abuela. They have never given me a bad recipe. Two days ago, while I was hanging out with my mom and Abuela, I was telling them how I had ordered cheek meat from Rumba Meats on Amazon and I needed a good recipe to prepare. Before even thinking about the recipe, Abuela stopped me in my tracks and said, “Como que la ordenaste??” “What do you mean you ordered it?” I had to explain how times are changing and we can do online shopping even for our groceries. She shook her head in disbelief and two seconds later, she was asking me to order her some.  We really do enjoy Rumba Meats because of the quality and freshness of the product.

Abuela began to share her Beef Cheek Meat in Chile Colorado recipe and I immediately began to salivate. Abuela and my mom kept going back and forth- as they usually do, giving their mutual input about the recipe. I just sat and listened to their platica, their conversation in a quick tempo style argument. Well, they weren’t really arguing; it is just how they think through a recipe. You know us Latinos–for no reason, we get loud. LOL

My mom said, “add chickpeas!” Both Abuela and I looked at each other perplexed. But then Abuela said, “buena idea” –it was a good idea. I’m not a big fan of chickpeas.  I refused to add it to the recipe but they convinced me that the chickpeas would add an appropriate balance; so I folded to their advice as usual.

After preparing the recipe, I must admit that using the chickpeas, added to the authenticity of this traditional Mexican dish. I’m so glad I listened to them. It would have been silly to leave out something that they both agreed would be a good idea.  Abuela and Mom know best.


PREP TIME: 20+ Minutes
COOK TIME: 1 Hour 30 Minutes


2-3 pounds of Cheek Meat (Rumba Meats)
3 Ancho Chiles
6-8 garlic cloves
½ white onion
1 Serrano Chile
2 tomatoes
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
1 ½ cups of chickpeas
sea salt


  1.   Combine cheek meat, salt, garlic and onion in a large pot with enough water to cover the meat.
  2.   Cook for about 1-2 hours or until tender.
  3.   Remove from pot and cut into chunks.
  4.   Roast the chiles and tomatoes. Blend with sugar, salt, pepper and beef broth.
  5.   Heat cooking oil in a large saucepan.
  6.   Add the chile sauce (strained) and 1 1/2 cups of beef broth.
  7.   Let it simmer for about 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  8.   Add meat and garbanzos and stir well.
  9.   Cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes on medium heat.
  10.   Add some water if the meat dries up a bit.
  11.   Add salt if needed.

Can be served rice and flour tortillas.

For a limited time and while supplies last, use our promo code 75ABUELA when purchasing Rumba Meats on Amazon for 75% off!  Don’t sleep on this coupon!

Link to Rumba Store on Amazon:

Link to the cheek meat:

Fall always reminds me of a few things.  One, It reminds me that soon we will be eating delicious food (Tamales, Pozole, Champurrado, etc.) all the way up until January.  Two, it reminds me of my college years because that’s when I met my husband.  Third, my Abuelo.  Although he passed away 15 years ago this November, we were able to create so many memories.

He was a funny man and a prankster (As I have mentioned before.).  The mischievous DNA strand that I have, caused me to prank him back.  I know we should have respect for our grandparents, but it’s not my fault because both Abuela and my Abuelo were so fun! LOL

When I would spend the night at their house, in the middle of the night while everyone was sleeping, I would randomly make my hair really crazy (which wasn’t hard to do given I have naturally big, crazy, wild, curly hair).  Strategically, I would sit on the top frame of the couch for an unsuspecting victim (insert evil laugh). With the quiet, stillness of the night, and a small glimmer of light peering in through the window, creating almost a haunting silhouette on my face—I waited.   My intention was for my Abuelo to see me and get startled; so I would make some soft rustling sounds to try and wake him up.  Frozen like an little, evil-smiling troll, I would sit there waiting patiently.  (Waiting patiently is the secret to a good prank.) Suddenly, he would wake up and he would get so startled.  It always worked and it would take us a while to go back to bed with so much laughter.

Interestingly, there is so much scary folklore in the Mexican culture.  We hear family talk about La Llorona, La Mano Peluda, El Chubacabras and so much more that going to bed sometimes becomes a process for kids and sometimes even adults.  One day, instead of doing the usual evil troll bit, I decided I would do something a bit more scary and intense.  Everyone had gone to bed.  I always slept in the same room as my Abuelos, so pulling off this one prank was going to be the easiest thing on earth!  I got up, walked over to where my Abuelo was sleeping, I pulled his legs hard and ran back to where I was sleeping.  I don’t know how I held my laughter in, but he got up saying, “Me jalaron las patas!”  He got so scared that he talked about it all night until the next day.  My Abuela knew what I had done but we kept silent.   We finally decided to tell him that it was me.  The torture was too much but we all got a good laugh.  Till this day my Abuela will mention it from time to time–because in those moments, we remember the joy of life.  Although, there were always difficult moments, there were laughs, jokes and pranks–that we remember as family–even when loved ones have long since passed.

ScanEvery Autumn, my Abuelo would pull out a heavy brown jacket.  It seemed like each year, he had a different heavy jacket.   I have no idea where he would get them, but I thought they were so cool.  He was so original in his attire (OG) that when he would wake up, he would walk outside on those brisk fall mornings with coffee in hand and his brown coat pulled over his shoulders.  He would look at me, nod a good morning, and walked away to begin his day.

Feliz Otoño Abuelo. 

Fifteen years ago today, I remember sitting at the doctor’s office early in the morning waiting my turn to been seen.  I was 6 months pregnant and was having complications.  A month prior I was put on bed rest because I started having contractions.  Already had been through 6 miscarriages, the risks were high.

FullSizeRenderI remember watching the t.v. in the waiting room and the program stopped for breaking news.  Couldn’t really hear what was going on but I could see that it wasn’t good and it was scary.  All of sudden, a plane hits and a building goes down soon after.  Every one in the waiting room gasped for air.  Couldn’t figure out what was happening or where it was.  But we had witnessed the inexpressible, the incomprehensible and the unthinkable.  I got called in for my appointment, and walked away in confusion.

I got home, turned on the t.v. and could not believe what was going on.  So many lives were lost.  So much fear hovered over the country and the people.

So many say that 9/11 was a conspiracy but I also here those who are sensitive to what happened on 9/11/01.  I believe this is more of a heart issue because countless lives were lost and many risked their own lives to save others.  Loved ones are gone and their family still hurt to this day.  So many are still risking their lives for all of us who reside here in the U.S. so we can feel safe to drive down our streets.  Yes, there are still threats, violence and drugs but try living in a 3rd world country where people have to be inside their homes by sundown.  Try living in a country where cartels controls the streets.  Try living in a country where you have to kill to survive.  Yes our Latino population has struggles here in the U.S., but struggles for survival are everywhere.  We have been able to over come time and time again.  We are fighters, survivors- Y luchamos porque esta en nuestra sangre. 

Let’s stop the hate, and be proactive instead.  Step up to the plate and show in deeds what we are capable of doing.  We are intelligent, skilled, talented and clever enough to make a positive impact in this country.  It’s time we put the “blame card” away and work with what we have and make it happen.  Our children are watching, and our country is at stake.  Why do I say our country?  Because I live here and was born here like many of you.  Don’t get it twisted, I love my Mexican culture and I’m pretty sure it’s obvious by now.  But I also have to think about where I live and the future of my children, whom I’m pretty sure will also continue to live in the U.S. in the years to come.


Much love,



img_1649.jpgOh, and that little girl I was making sure was ok on September 11, 2001, is growing to be one of the most talented, beautiful young lady I have ever known. (I can say that because she is my little miracle baby.)

IMG_7645Traveling is a passion of mine. I’ve done it since I was a little kid. I believe that is why I love summer so much… it was our family traveling season. The first adventure as a married woman was to venture with my newly wed husband on a trip to Michoacan, Mexico. He had never been out of the country at that point in his life and I wanted him to experience it for himself. He was a little skeptical about it but I think he was reassured by my past travel to Michoacan. We were 21 and we hit the road by bus, and taxi all over southern Mexico. We have been traveling together ever since.

When I had my first child, Jezreel, we decided to take our first road trip when she was 6 months old. I was still nursing but I wanted travel to be a natural part of her life… so we ventured on a 6 hour drive to San Francisco. Her natural curious and adventurous personality made the trip easy. She loved sitting up and looking around at everything as we drove. Her little smiley head bobbled around with a curiosity that couldn’t catch up to her physical skills (I think she defied Piaget’s stages of development on this trip. LOL)

I’m not one to leave both my children behind on my travel. They have been on 98 percent of my trips and the one’s I didn’t take them on was because they were too small to do the work I was going to be doing, missions in India and Russia. They love the adventure, excitement and thrill of travel and I love seeing them experience the world and make the connection to their school books. My daughter has become an awesome history geek and my son an archeological buff.IMG_7644

I have plans to blog more about my travel, even if it’s local because it needs to be seen as something attainable and not just for the sake of saying, “I’ve been there!”, but to show that traveling is an eye-opener,  a self-esteem builder,  and that it also keeps us humble as we see how others live. It makes us realize how small we are; but that even as small as we are, we can make a difference in this world. I’m passionate about my culture, my people, travel, and experiences but also about staying grounded and connected to myself and to those around me.

Before I began to take what I considered my “big trips”, it was only a dream to me to travel abroad. But I was able to live vicariously through pictures in books and magazines. Soon enough, my friends would tell me that they were living “vicariously” through me as the social media platforms began to emerge… we became globally connected. It was such a good feeling.

Personally, I get great joy seeing those around me travel. When I see them travel to places I have already been, I immediately reminisce of my own personal experiences. When they return from their trips, we have more to talk about because we have something else in common than stuffing our faces at dinner (Although I enjoy that too.)

IMG_7647As I write this blog, I occasionally look over my computer on this rainy day in Greece and can only feel gratitude in my heart to be here with my little family.  Soon enough my children will be grown and making their own memories like I did as a child.  But for now, I get to be part of theirs.



-Màs Masa

I grew up in a very strict home.  Asking  to go to a friend’s house or school dance was out of the question.  In my group of friends, I was always left out because I never got to hang out outside of the school setting.  As a result, I never really made long lasting friendships.  From 3rd to 6th grade, I had a Filipino friend named Sheila Sia.  We became really good friends because she also had strict parents.  But the moment we hit middle school, things changed.  She rebelled and started to hang out with other friends who were more involved in school activities.  Soon after, I made new friends.  One was Lourdes Chavez.  She was a daring girl with caramel colored skin and curly hair.  There was also Veronica Zavala a very boisterous and uncensored girl.  We loved to play softball and loved watching baseball.  She was fair skinned with a sun kiss glow and blond hair like the pelos de elote from always playing outdoors.

My dad’s company moved from El Segundo, CA to Rialto, CA.  After a year of him commuting back and forth, he decided to move us to Rialto.  I hated the move and I hated Rialto.  Subsequently, I lost all the friends that I worked so hard to keep.  Because I was  very shy and introverted, I  didn’t allow many people into my life.  Naturally, I didn’t really make many friends.  I bounced around back and forth from groups of school kids until 10th or 11th grade when I met Delila Tamayo and Margarita Yanez in high school.

When I was 15 1/2, I got my driving permit.  It was so exciting!  I new soon enough I would be able to drive on my own.  My Abuelo and Abuela had been visiting us from Tijuana for a few days.  It was a summer morning when they were heading back to Tijuana.  I wanted to go with them so bad.  I asked if I could go knowing I would be rejected.  My dad said no so my Abuelo asked again.  For some miraculous reason, my dad actually said yes.  I quickly gathered a few items and we were on our way.   It was just Abuelo, Abuela, myself and a car packed to the ceiling with all kinds of things they were taking back.

IMG_6817We stopped to get gas before getting on the freeway.  With an evil grin I thought to myself, “I want to drive into Tijuana and IN Tijuana!  There is no way they can say no!”  I quickly recalled a story my Abuela had told countless number of times of my Tio Jose driving to Tijuana, BACKWARDS!  Not sure how much truth there is to that, but if he could drive backwards, there was no way I wasn’t going to take this opportunity to make it my first drive into Tijuana. I knew better than to ask Abuela.  She would say no porque era muy nerviosa (Still is.)  Instinctively, I asked Abuelo.  He was always ready to take risks.  Abuelo and Abuela exchanged some words and minutes later Abuelo said, “Pues a manejar!”  and I quickly sat on the drivers side and adjusted my mirrors (Evil laugh.).

My Abuelo had Abuela sit in the passenger side.  She was a nervous wreck.  But we laughed the entire ride to Tijuana occasionally taking my hands of the steering wheel for a second and saying, “Mira, sin manos!” My abuela would yell at me, “Ay muchacha!”  When I would pretend to fall asleep on the wheel, my Abuela would start trying to wake me up.  I could see my Abuelo through the rear view mirror just laughing and having a good ol’ time with a caguama wrapped in a paper bag in hand.

After 2 1/2 hours, (World record according to Abuela. Insinuating I was driving too fast. lol), we were finally about to cross into Tijuana.  Seeing my dad and mom drive into Tijuana dozens of times had mentally prepped me for this moment.  It was time to shift gears.  I propped myself up and got ready for battle.  This was it… the ultimate driving test. I was like a bull in the rink waiting for the red flag to be waved in my face. I got the hand wave from los federales and  I crept forward and I saw my Abuela with my peripheral vision doing the sign of the cross.  Not sure if she was asking God to take care of us or thanking Him for not letting the federales stop us from all the junk we were carrying in the car.  I knew the road very well to their house.  I rode through those streets like I had been living in Tijuana my whole life (Does weekends count?)

I got us all to their house safe and sound.  For that week, I forgot about how much I hated our move to Rialto.  From that day on, I drove my family to Tijuana countless number of times and there were even times when I drove by myself (Back when it was a little safer.)  Being able to take these weekend trips to Tijuana, got me through a lot of hard times in my life that I had no control off … and I am thankful for them.


I was going through my Instagram feed and saw Sonia from La Piña En La Cocina post a picture of some delicious bolillos she had just made.  I could practically smell them through my phone screen (we need smell-a-phones!).  Immediately I was taken back to my childhood in Lennox, CA.

Growing up a block away from la panaderia, was the best thing that could have happened to me.  I could have fresh pan any time I wanted.  My favorite days to walk to Arreola’s Bakery  was on Sunday mornings.  I loved all the sweet bread but there was something about the bolillos that always appealed to me.  I would always get an extra bolillo so I could eat it as I walked back home.  All I wanted to do was to take the inside of the bolillo out and put it in my mouth.  My teeth would sink into the soft and airy inside of the bolillo …mmmm.  By the time I would get home, I had eaten the shell too and was ready to eat my pan dulce with some milk as if it was my first piece of bread of the day.  😉

I wanted to experience fresh, warm bolillos so I asked Sonia for her recipe.  It was very easy to follow.  I probably need more practice in the shaping of them but that doesn’t matter because they still taste delicious– just like they did on my walks home from la panaderia.


Fresh out of the oven!



And yes, I did take out the inside of the bolillo and ate it first. 😉


Of course I took it out!

Here is the link to Sonia’s recipe.  Tell her I sent you. 🙂


Con Cariño,