Dia de la Bandera

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Today is the day that we Mexicans commemorate our flag. Each component has a very significant meaning. In the center there is the National Emblem, which refers to the story of the Aztec Indians traveling for many many years looking for what their gods had told them to found their city: an eagle standing on a nopal devouring a serpent. The color meanings have changed over the years. Originally, the white represented religion, (Catholics political dominant in those days). Green, freedom (Independence obtain from the rising Mexican people). Red, union (as Americans and Europeans united building a new population).

Now, as the church was separated from the political state, the green means hope, the white unity and the red the blood of the national heroes.

So, based on this colors, I decided to prepare a dish with this beautiful bright colors. This is easy, and flavorful. All the ingredients make this dish spectacular and delicious it just draws your attention.

Bandera-de-México1

GINGER ASPARAGUS WITH BELL PEPPERS

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Meatless Friday for Lent

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This is a great idea for a meatless day, specially for those of us who are following Lenten Season.

Although, Pope Francis have asked us tu reconsider the heart of this activity. On his Lenten message he wrote: “whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.” He continues that, “We end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.”

I would like to interpret this as noticing the people around me, not just the poor, take the time to listen, to help and show my compassion, my support, feel their pain, be there for them and let them know that I am there.

Still I also will have meatless fridays.

MARINATED PORTOBELLO

Makes 2 Portobello

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Avocado Salsa

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Let’s face it I’m Mexican and we ALL Mexicans love salsa. We pour salsa over everything we eat. We always have any kind of salsa stored in our refrigerators. We like to add the spiciness and another layer of flavor to our meals.

You are going to love this salsa, you’re going to want to pour this creamy salsa over everything! Do not mistake it for guacamole, this is salsa, thinner.

We all know avocados are loaded with healthy fats, fiber and various important nutrients. So let’s add some healthy spice to our meals!

AVOCADO SALSA

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Root Vegetables

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This time I prepared some roasted root vegetables. Turns out, they are very good for you! Don’t just pay attention to the starch content. Most of them contain folate, manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, B6, and iron. Maybe because they are submerged in soil that they absorb all this nutrients straight next to them in the ground.

I choose: red potatoes (maintain bone health), carrots (good for your eye vision), parsnips (regulate immune response), sweet potatoes (contain twice as much fiber than regular potatoes and this gives them a slow burning quality) and beets,(have a lot of nitrates which brings oxygen to your muscles. This is huge for athletes because it helps exercise longer. I would love their pigment would travel all the way to my cheeks!!). Of course this is just an example of all the health benefits of including root vegetables to your diet.

Lets not forget about the rosemary, it stimulates the immune system, contains anti-inflammatory compounds and improves your concentration by increasing the blood flow to your brain.

Have them for breakfast with a poached egg or for dinner with a nice steak, as a side on your next meal, or as a compliment of a green salad.

ROASTED ROSEMARY ROOT VEGETABLES

Serves 4

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Bright Haricot Bean Salad

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Bright colors in my food makes me happy. Even more, when they a natural vibrant full of flavor. When I look at a plate with different bright colors it feels to me so inviting. Roasted bell peppers are my favorite, they add son much flavor and color, that I just incorporate them in food when ever I have them around.

I roast the bell peper on the comal (an iron cast skillet). It takes them about one hour to an hour and twenty minutes to be dancing on the comal, switching sides, turning around, until they are all browned on every side. I know it is a long time, but precisely this slow roast cooking is what gives them such wonderful flavor.

Beans are so good companions because they absorb all flavors, this is why I say they go with everything, love them.

HAIRCOT BELL PEPER SALAD

Serves 4

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Chocolate

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I have a friend who is an Amuzgo indian and speak the Amuzgo dialect. She speaks spanish too (thankfully). She is very dear to me and my family. She is from the south of Mexico, from the State of Guerrero.

Every time she goes and visit her family, she brings us something. Once she brought lemon grass which I planted in my garden. Other time she brought a kind of green beans that are very big (gigantic), I also planted them in my garden. Last time she visited her family she brought us homemade chocolate. I mean real homemade chocolate made from scratch, from picking up the cacao from the cacao tree! At the ranch, her family have several different plants and trees. Among them Cacao and sugar cane. Continue reading

Healthy?

Healthy

What does a healthy diet mean?

Let me remind you that I’m not a physician, dietitian nor nutritionist. I am just a woman who observes, thinks and reflects.

I think, that for a person with diabetes, healthy diet might means not eating sugar. A person with heart problems, might follow a diet low in salt and low in fat. For a person who has gout, a healthy diet might mean not eating red meat. For a celiac person, a healthy diet means refraining from gluten. A lactose intolerant person does no eat dairy products. And there are as many diseases and conditions as different healthy diets. Lets keep in mind that not only people with health issues need special dietary needs. These also vary according to your lifestyle. Different kind of athets, babies, childen, teenagers and old people, they all have different dietry needs.

What I do find in common in all different diets is vegetables, so I think we should eat a big variety of fresh vegetables and we should include them in every meal. As for the rest, what I try to do is learn to listen to my body. To me, this is a ongoing process. I pay attention to what I eat and pay attention to how I feel. This way, I find out what is good for me. I try to live a balanced lifestyle, meaning eating, doing, exercising and enjoying a little bit of everything that life has to offer. Trying not to fall in any kind of excess. And just like my son once shared:

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist”

Friedrich Nietzsche

So, what does eating healthy mean to you?

Soaked Oats

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I’ve been working at home cleaning and getting rid of many things in my closets. Oh! It is unbelievable how such a small space can storage so many things! So it has been almost like a work out! climbing up and down the ladder, reaching up and down for boxes and suitcases. Carrying things from one place to another and still I have to put everything back in place. So last night I was thinking I needed a special kind of breakfast so I could have a boost in my energy and don’t give up on this command that I decided to undertake. Go for oats! I thought.

Oats are very healthy and they are even more heathy when raw. Cooking alters the structure of the food we eat and most of the time reduce its nutritious value. Raw oats gives you almost 5 times more energy, protein, fiber, minerals (such as calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium) and vitamins. Isn’t it incredible how much is lost in the cooking process? Besides, I think they are better raw than cooked, I like more their consistency when soaked. So simple and easy, just throw everything in a container, and put it in the fridge the night before.

SOAKED OATS WITH DATES AND FIGS

Serves 1

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Simply Beans

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Beans and corn tortillas, the base in almost every Mexican family diet. Proteins are built by amino acids. Animal proteins are considered good sources of complete protein. Vegetable proteins are considered incomplete proteins because they are missing, or do not have enough of, one or more of the essential amino acids. But, when we combine in this case, pinto beans and corn tortillas we complete a protein, because what beans are missing, the corn provides. It amaze me that before the Spanish came to Mexico to conquer the Aztec Indians, they had the diet figured out. Mainly they ate fruits, vegetables, beans and corn. To the corn the indians did a special procedure called “Nixtamalizacion” which consist in cooking the corn in water with lime (cal in spanish). With this process they prepared the “nixtamal” (the dough to make tortillas). This way the corn becomes easy to digest and adds calcium to it. Sadly some mexicans have been switching the corn tortillas for bread and does not provide de same nutritious effect.

Beans are very easy to cook, consider cooking them instead of buying a can, You don’t want all the sodium in those. I cook them in the slow cooker, I remember my mother when I was growing up, cooking them over the stove in a clay pot. I don’t think she owns that pot anymore!  I cook a load, then divide them in 1 or 2 serving size portion plastic bags and freeze them.

So here in honor of the Aztec Indians, I cook beans for you!

PINTO BEANS

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Tomato soup

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Soups are my favorite during the winter. I like having something comforting, hot to warm my body. Since I love tomatoes, this is the way to go. Very easy, just 4 ingredients, light and healthy. I know you’re going to like it as much as I do and you will become a fan of it!

So let’s get started!

EASY TOMATO SOUP

Serves 2

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