In the age of social media, we are constantly being reminded to “Live Your Best Life!”  

IMG_6646In fact, I think we are more conscientious about what is happening around us from day to day, whether it is in the news, or on a social media feed.  With one click, we can learn what is happening all the way in China, and we also know what our best friend is eating for breakfast. How amazing is it to be flooded with information at the tips of our fingers and be able develop such an awareness of how we live our lives!  But have you ever thought how that pace of processing information can potentially cause us to miss out on some of the most important things? I have to really sift through what I consume daily because I am trying to do my best to live with intention and create thoughtful memories with my family. I think I developed that quality from my Dad—who was a constant storyteller.  He loved to travel with us as a family and sharing his perspectives allowed me to see life through a different lense. He loved talking about art, history, religion and even politics. So you can say that over time, I sort of inherited the ability to record what I feel in my heart and capture vivid pictures in my mind—with the ability to share those experiences with the most careful detail.  

Because Living Your Best Life to me means that you are challenged to extract the lessons that life is teaching you–through each experience, both good and bad–and some sad.  A few years ago, my sister and lifelong companion—passed away.  Her passing was sudden—and it has been difficult to process.  On an occasion, I experience a deep sadness merely at the thought of her.  Fortunately, as the days pass, I have learned to cope with her loss by remembering.  We had the most amazing memories because I grew up sharing a room with her, laughing into the night talking and sharing stories.  We often recorded improvised soap operas with my father’s large VHS camera.  I can still hear her random laughs of joy when she would see something funny!  Those memories make me happy!

For Mexicans/Latinos—I think part of coping with death culturally and historically, has been through the practice of remembering our loved ones through a season called Dia de los Muertos

For many families, it is an important season to remember those who have passed from this life.  Traditionally, families set up a beautiful altar in dedication to those loved ones with Mexican Marigolds placed throughout, including some personal possessions or items that they loved while they were alive.  The most significant tradition is the preparation of a special meal that they once enjoyed. What a beautiful way to honor those who are no longer with us. It not only provides us with peace, but also gives us a sense of connection to those who impacted our lives so deeply.

I know that death is a part of life, but I have often asked myself–why do we wait to honor our loved ones in death–when we can so in life!   For that reason, I have made an explicit effort to enjoy each moment I have with my mom and my Abuela.  I love seeing her water her plants in her garden, or spending time cooking and eating together. I have been truly gifted with the opportunity to learn from her, and laugh together–and to share those experiences with everyone. 

IMG_6473One of her favorite things to do is grocery shop! I am not sure why, but I think it is just one of those funny and unique things that make her so special. Recently, we went to Vallarta Supermarkets, to walk the aisles and shop as she prepares for Dia de Los Muertos.  My Abuela is like a kid in a candy store–her eyes brighten as she walks through the aisles. My Abuela loves the fresh selection of Pan de Muerto from the Panaderia section. She particularly enjoys the fresh fruit and vegetables from the produce section. She carefully picks through the ears of corn, looking for just the perfect piece for my Abuelo.  As she passes la Floreria, she stops and gazes as theIMG_6509 selection of flowers, and leans forward and picks the perfect bouquet of Marigolds to add the final touch. She is preparing a small altar at her home, as she does every year in dedication to his life and the years they spent together.  Perhaps, it is her way of coping with the loss of Abuelo since his passing almost 17 years ago.  

Later, we will arrive home, unpack the bags of groceries from the car, and settle in.  With no words, and only a deep determination in her eyes, my Abuela pulls out that special elote and bright marigolds that she found at Vallarta Supermarkets, and slowly walks to the living room.  With a steady pace, she moves towards the corner of the living room where she has placed a framed picture of my Abuelo–and with the most delicate movement, care and consideration, she gently places the plate with the single ear of corn before the framed picture.IMG_6564  

There are some things that my Abuela has taught me with words, and other things, that she has taught me with her actions.  It does not matter how elaborate the altar, or how simple the gesture in one’s celebration–but rather, it is at the core—about keeping someone alive in our hearts.  I know that deep down, My Abuela does miss my Abuelo. And in the season of remembrance, such as Dia de Los Muertos, the altar represents resilience to live with purpose, even despite the loss of those we have loved, because it is a part of life.  She has taught me that to live–is to honor those who are no longer with us–by truly Living our best life!

Today, as I think about those special people we have lost in our lives, I personally celebrate my sister.  I know that one day we will meet again.  My heart tells me that one day I will be able to hug her again and tell her how much I have missed her.  Until then, I will continue to live with the intent to honor her with my life and to place upon the altar of my heart–Everything I do…in dedication to her.

We remember you today Eli.
We remember you today Tio Jose.
We remember you today Abuelo. 

Thank you Vallarta Supermarkets for sponsoring this conversation–and for accommodating us culturally and as a community–by having everything we need to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos!  

https://vallartasupermarkets.com
https://www.instagram.com/vallarta.supermarkets/

This post is sponsored by La Banderita Tortillas.  All opinions are my own.

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I love the transition from Summer to Fall.  Outside the leaves are changing colors, evenings are cooler, and the sunsets arrive earlier.  It means that the holidays are upon us, Christmas and Thanksgiving just around the corner. It marks the season of family, culture, and time to remember.   Dia de los Muertos is especially enjoyable because every year, as we place beautiful candles, set pictures of our loved ones, and delicately place beautiful cempasuchil flowers around, it signifies our appreciation for precious memories of people of significance in our family. As we gather around the kitchen to prepare Nopales Guisados con Carne Ranchera, we are always reminded of the stories of my Abuela’s grandparents.

Growing up in a small pueblo in Mexico, there is a fair expectation that even the children helped in the cultivation of the family farm.  Abuela was in her early teens, approximately 14 years old when she became a significant help to her parents at home.  Abuela’s labor included clearing the tierra from weeds, tilling the soil by hand, and planting seeds each season.  During those particular times, it was an all day event that involved the entire family;  so with the anticipation of laboring under the heat of the open air, her mother would wake up en la madrugada to prepare for the day by packing essentials for lunch.  In those times, all they could afford were tortillas and chiles.  On special occasions, they would be able to purchase some fresh meat from their local carniceria, but those moments were rare.  With their almuerzo packed, and after a brief morning cafecito, as a family they would begin their long journey up to el cerro.

From dusk until approximately midday, when the sun hung mightily over the open blue sky,  Abuela’s father would signal everyone that it was time to rest.  It was their reward for laboring so intensely in the tropical heat, as the clouds from the Michoacan skies began to roll in for the typical afternoon drizzle.  Everyone would take cover under the large trees and tejaban, which became their temporary refuge for their lunchtime rest.  They would make a fire between a couple rocks and place a metal pan over it.  The crackling from the fire and the smell of freshly burnt wood filled the air.  As they cleaned the prickly thorns from the cactus they had cut from just a few feet away, the pan sizzled with the meat as it seared.  The sounds and smells became like a virtual melody.  

Did anyone bring las tortillas?  

Of course someone packed them en el moralito (satchel).   Everyone would gather around the wood burning stove to enjoy the Nopales con Carne that was thoughtfully prepared.  After they were finished, they rested.  Resting after a good meal was required because it allowed for a moment to replenish the strength needed to continue working until the setting sun. As the sun slowly rested its face upon the distant horizon, the family packs up as it was time to end their work day. As they made their way back down from el cerro, dinner was already on their mind.  

Things have not changed very much for hard working families.  The days come and go quickly, and seasons pass steadily; those moments as families become more distant as we work to get through life daily.  When it comes to those whose heritage is characterized by meals shared with the people that make up your familia–mealtimes become a significant part of life.  In my house, I can feel the warmth of family as everyone eats, randomly different people reaching for a freshly warmed tortilla, combined with the low murmur of how everyone’s day was is shared.  It is the balance of appreciation for unity as well as the gratitude for the labor of preparation, that solidifies what it means to enjoy a delicious meal together. Personally, the times spent with my family is never wasted.  I especially enjoy when my mom and Abuela share stories of their youth during a meal, because it is in those moments, history comes alive–and old forgotten recipes are remembered. Somehow, our meals keep us connected to our memories of family–and those memories keep us connected to who we are.

Below you will find a simple, yet delicious variation of the meal my Abuela shared with her parents in the days of her working their Ranchito.  Today, and especially in this season, we enjoy making this dish in remembrance of my great grandparents.  Sitting around, telling their stories gives us a glimpse of who they were–and that is what is special about Dia de Los Muertos. While Dia de Los Muertos is a time to create altars and remember our antepasados, we find that the true altars are the ones we have placed upon our hearts, as we remember the beautiful memories of those who have passed on from this life–by enjoying the foods that remind us most about them. 

We hope you enjoy this very special dish!

Saquen las tortillas!

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PREP TIME:  30 Minutes

COOK TIME:  30 MINUTES

SERVES: 5-6

INGREDIENTS:

2 Pounds Flank Steak
10 Nopales Cactus
1 Medium Onion
1 Cup Cilantro
4-7 Arbol Chiles
2 Tablespoons of Chicken Flavored Bouillon
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
La Banderita Tortillas (Corn or Flour)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1.  Brown meat with salt and pepper to liking.
  2. Once meat has browned to your liking, cut into strips. 
  3. Cut 10 noplaes into stips (Cleaned nopales).
  4. Boil nopales in water for about 5 minutes.
  5. Strain nopales and rinse.
  6. Cut onion into slices.
  7. Fry onion in oil until translucent.
  8. Add arbol chiles and cook together for about 1-2 minutes
  9. Add nopales to the onion and chile.  Cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  10.   Add meat strips.
  11.   Add chicken flavor bouillon.
  12.  Mix well.

You can serve as is or serve as tacos.

 

Taco assembling:

  1. Heat La Banderita tortillas (Cors or flour) on griddle.
  2. On top of the tortillas add 2-3 tablespoons of carne con nopales.
  3. Top with Cilantro and beans.

 

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#TortillasLaBanderita

#OleMexicanFood

#DiadelosMuertos

“We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted.  Each of us contains within this inheritance of soul.  We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise.”
– Edward Sellner

We have inherited so much from our ancestors, from simple salutations, our clothing and attire, or the way we celebrate holidays and special occasions.  We naturally tend to forget the impact and influence our ancestral origins have on our daily lives.  As time passes, there is a gradual move and a growing distance from our roots of origin in the evolution as a culture with each generation.  That is the reason why it is so important to continue to share family stories, recipes, and traditions to our family and extended family members.  I have heard it said that if we know where we come from, we may better know where to go.  To take it a step further, if we know who we came from, we may better understand who we are.  It is so crucial to our success as a culture, to identify the efforts to preserve the characteristics that bridge us to our ancestral roots, because it keeps us connected as a community.  We are thankful to Rumba Meats for sponsoring this recipe post and in helping us ensure that future generations not only benefit from preserving beautiful family recipes, but also for investing in the developmental of our community by partnering up with United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) to award 25 $1,000 scholarships this year (Rumba Meats Scholarship).  If you have a child going to college soon, it is never too early to start thinking about scholarships.

Remembering my personal college experience, I can honestly say that the demand of academics allowed me virtually no opportunity to socialize with my family, let alone sharing time in the kitchen learning how to make a family recipe.  Not only was I a full time student, but I was working two jobs in order to pay my tuition.  Regrettably, I look back and acknowledge that a part of me missed out on valuable family events.  While the idea of going to school and working is part of life, we also find ourselves placing family time on the altar of sacrifice.  Now that I am older, I am able to reflect upon those missed opportunities with a gratitude for the time that I am able to spend with my mom and Abuela now.  My hope is that in the midst of carrying on our daily life responsibilities, that I can now provide my daughter, Jezreel, the loving nudge to remember the importance of heritage, as she begins her first year of college.  Like many parents, they are able to look into the eyes of their children, and see a subtle reflection of themselves.  In that reflection, there also lies the lessons and hardships experienced in dismissing heritage and culture as unimportant.  I hope that through my experience I can help her see the value of family and culture–even in the times where she may feel overwhelmed with subsequent responsibilities or life pressures.  There is always time!

So in an effort to infuse the recognition of culture and heritage into her daily life, we have helped her find a work life balance that also enables her to spend time with us occasionally.  It remains our goal, to embellish her life with these sort of sprinkles of reminders, so that one day she will have her own beautiful stories about cooking with her mother and Abuela.

This particular blog is our first intentional recipe that we created just to spend time with my daughter, Jezreel.  The recipe is Burritos De Pancita De Res En Salsa Pasilla.

My hope is that by reading this, you are encouraged to celebrate your heritage AND at the same time, embrace the inevitable changes in our lives knowing that the fingerprint of our love, family, and culture remains embedded into the experiences we share at home and in the kitchen.

Con Cariño,

Silvia

Abuela’s Kitchen

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BURRITO DE PANCITA DE RES EN SALSA PASILLA
PREP TIME:  30 Minutes
COOK TIME:  2 Hours
SERVES: 5-6

INGREDIENTS:

3 Pounds of Rumba Meats Honeycomb Tripe
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup of vinegar
salt (personal preference)
4 tomatoes
5 pasilla chiles
1 ancho chiles
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons of chicken flavor bouillon
1 cup of toasted almonds and pealed

Instructions for prepping the tripe:

  1.  Remove the tripe from the package.
  2. Add vinegar to the tripe and set aside for 5 minutes.  Rinse.
  3. Place tripe, 1/2 an onion and 2 garlic cloves in a large pot with 8-10 cups of water or until the trip is covered.
  4. Cook tripe for 2 hours and drain.

Instructions for making the chile sauce:

  1.  Boil the tomatoes, chiles (deseeded and deveined) until soft.
  2. Place almonds in hot water for about 15 minutes and peel.
  3.  Blend tomatoes and chiles.
  4. Strain the Chile sauce.
  5. Place Chile sauce back in the blender and add the almonds.  Blend.
  6. In a hot pan add 1 tablespoon on lard or cooking oil.
  7. Add Chile sauce and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Add honey comb  and chicken flavor bouillon.
  9. Simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat.
  10. Stir every so often.

Assembling of the burrito:

  1.  Heat up a flour tortilla on a skillet.
  2. Add beans, rice, tripe and lettuce.
  3. Fold the shorter sides of the tortilla inward then fold the longer sides towards the middle.

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No one is given a manual on how to raise a child.  And even when one has gone on to higher education and picked up a few pointers on child development and child rearing from psychology class, it’s not enough to prepare you for what lies ahead. The moment you are finally able to stare into the eyes of your first born child, you know that things are not going to be the same and a task has been given to you… a gift.  For some, that might not have been the initial sentiment but regardless, that child–that life, is still a gift.

 

DSC_6883My first born, Jezreel graduates from high school today.  So many feelings and flashes of moment come in and out. And as those feelings go from happiness to sadness and then to feeling orgullosa, I can’t help to think how blessed I have been to have been granted the ability to work from home and be able to be part of every stage of both of my children’s lives.

 

I am so grateful to God for giving me the privilege to raise 2 beautiful children.  Yes they have their moments and quirks but it has been such an honor to watch them grow.  I can’t say I was the perfect mother, or that we are the perfect family, but God is perfect and chose me to be their mother.  

 

Whatever phase you are in as a parent and at whatever age you became a parent, that was the perfect timing for you.  And if it came too early, you have an amazing opportunity to use your experience to help your children through their journey.

 

I do have one point I would like to share as a mom which I came to understand and still trying to really adapt to my life with my son, it is to feed your kids’ passion, guide them with the experience you have gained along the way while they explore and pursue their passion into life.  Don’t guide them to feed the “parental ego” or because we want to compete with the Jones’. Guide them to be the best version of themselves.

 

DSC_5961Parenting is not an easy task and as you have heard, it takes a village…and it doesn’t end at High School graduation.  That is actually the beginning of a whole new set of life challenges. Thank you to all who have help me, Jezreel and the rest of my little family along the way.

 

Congrats Jezreel!

I love you.

 

Keep seeking God.

Keep coming to us and

Keep on shining.

 

You have one life.  

Enjoy it and live with integrity.

 

Adelante mija.

 

 

 

 

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • 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

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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.
https://threesweetchicks.com

Cookie stamps and cutters from Bread Stamps
Coupon code for 20% off MASMASA
https://artisanbreadandmore.com/shop/

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***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.

DI NO AL PINOLE! JK LOL

Atrancate!

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:

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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:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DDWBS3F/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=abuelaskitchen-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07DDWBS3F&linkId=0af014ba11467c29a57b24c544ba9a8c

Amazon Link For Rumba:

https://www.amazon.com/stores/page/9C034950-7219-4A2E-B28B-704AD4D9A4E5?&_encoding=UTF8&tag=abuelaskitchen-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=7b03c9c4b6a3e94a945c21afe9f0c002&camp=1789&creative=9325

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PREP TIME: 20+ Minutes
COOK TIME: 2 Hour 30 Minutes
SERVES: 4-5

INGREDIENTS:

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

INSTRUCTIONS:

  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.)

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For more recipes and additional videos, check out:
http://www.abuelaskitchenofficial.com

Don’t forget to add me on Instagram:
http://www.instagram.com/abuelaskitchen
http://www.instagram.com/_masmasa

Amor y paz,

Silvia

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.

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PREP TIME: 20+ Minutes
COOK TIME: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
SERVES: 4-5

INGREDIENTS:

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
pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  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:  https://www.amazon.com/stores/page/9C034950-7219-4A2E-B28B-704AD4D9A4E5?&_encoding=UTF8&tag=abuelaskitchen-20&linkCode=ur2&linkId=7b03c9c4b6a3e94a945c21afe9f0c002&camp=1789&creative=9325

Link to the cheek meat: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DDWBS3F/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=abuelaskitchen-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&crea

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.