Month: November 2011

Banana WACKY: a not so fancy name for Licuado!

Banana WACKY: a not so fancy name for Licuado!

I get it now…..  I know why my family took every approach to getting me to eat better when I was a young kid.  I was such a picky eater in those early years.  Anything that was offered was typically met with “I don’t like that” or my favorite “yuck.”  I lived with a house full of adults, I was an only child with a circus of elders trying to please my every food whim.  It came as no surprise when the doctor said I was lacking protein and potassium.  Dr. KnowItAll also mentioned the best remedy for this was milk* and maybe a banana for some extra potassium.  My Mom came home and told my Grandfather, my Uncle Luke (my Mom’s twin), and Uncle Robert what was now the focus of my diet.  Their wheels started turning…. How in the world were they going to get me (the picky eater) to drink more milk or eat a banana?  My Uncle Luke  who use to take me to my ballet lessons on the back of his Harley Davidson represented fun and adventure in my life at that time.  He had wild long hair and a pretty tough looking exterior but treated me with kid gloves and was the most gentle giant I had ever met.  He came up with a fun drink called “Banana Wacky.”  I walked into the kitchen and there he was putting all the ingredients in the blender… I asked what he was making, when he told me the name, I was intrigued.  It worked, and from that point on I opened up my mouth more often to foods I use to think were yucky.

All photos taken by: Mando Lopez

Please let the Master of the Glass Half Full know about my Uncle Luke’s Banana Wacky on his FaceBook page by clicking here. Or Tweet him on Twitter by clicking here! I heart the Master of The Glass Half Full…. He’s as dreamy as a glass of Banana Wacky! 🙂

*Milk Benefits: Filled with nine essential nutrients
1. Calcium – For a pretty smile and STRONG bones!
2. Protein – A great energy source, and repairs/builds muscle tissue.
3. Potassium – Keeps your blood pressure in check. 
4. Phosphorus – Strengthen bones.
5. Vitamin D – Maintenance of bones. 
6. Vitamin B12 – For healthy red blood cells! 
7. Vitamin A – good for vision and skin.
8. Riboflavin (B2) – transforms food into energy
9. Niacin – Takes fatty acid and sugar and works it into your metabolism.

Ingredients for banana wacky:

1 – banana

1 – tablespoon sliced almonds

2 – tablespoons Ovaltine

1 – cup whole milk

1 – cup ice cubes

a small pinch of cinnamon


Add all ingredients to a blender and power it up on high. Blend till all ingredients combine.  Pour into a tall glass and have a WACKY time!

*Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor’s Board and Latina Mom Bloggers. Recipe, story, and opinions are my own!

Go Away Friggin’ Cold!  My Tortilla Soup to the Rescue!

Go Away Friggin’ Cold! My Tortilla Soup to the Rescue!

For those of you who visit my blog often, let me apologize for my absence.  You see, everyone in my household has caught a nasty bug that has us all sniffling, sneezing and now coughing.  I was the first one to bring the germs in the house.  Yikes!  Then while my Mom was visiting she caught it, next Mando got slammed by it, and lastly my little angel Maxie joined the ranks of the sickos.  It truly is a sorry sight…. I’ve never seen so many moco filled tissue papers stacked in the bin.  In short…. I’ve been ill and couldn’t muster up the energy to blog.  Sorry.  Tonight I decided I am DONE being sick and I’m gonna make sure my family gets better as well.  To ensure this happens, I made a pot of spicy tortilla soup to knock it right out of us!  We are all feeling better already….. seriously.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for tortilla soup:

1 1/2 – tablespoons olive oil

3 – small carrots (peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces)

1 – large onion (thinly sliced)

1 – stalk of celery (cut into tiny pieces)

2 to 3 – chipotle chiles in adobo sauce ( cut into thin slices)

9 – cups of chicken broth

1 – teaspoon black pepper

1 – teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt

3 – Idaho potatoes (peeled, and sliced into 1 inch pieces)

2 – large zucchini (cut into 1 inch pieces)

1 – cup corn kernels

3 – cups chopped turkey (cooked)

2 – cups black beans (cooked and rinsed well)




queso fesco


tortilla chips or strips

In a large pot over a medium high flame, add olive oil and allow to get hot.  Add carrots and saute in oil for 5 minutes, mixing every so often.


Add onions to carrots and continue to saute for 4 to 6 minutes, then add in celery and chipotle. Mix well and saute for another 3 minutes or until onion is limp and chipotle chile is completely mixed into veggie mixture.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Once broth is boiling add in potatoes and cover pot with lid.  Let potatoes boil for 5 minutes, then add in the zucchini to the soup and let boil for 10 minutes, don’t forget to cover the pot with the lid.  Lastly add in corn, turkey, and black beans allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Place soup in a bowl and garnish with fresh lime juice, cilantro, a few chunks of queso fresco, avocado and broken corn tortilla chips. ENJOY!!!!!

 *Remember this soup can be enjoyed any time, it is not only a cold chaser  🙂

Yukon Potato Gratin with Parmesan-Rosemary Bechamel

Yukon Potato Gratin with Parmesan-Rosemary Bechamel

I got invited to a Thanksgiving cooking class over at the Simple Gourmet in Redondo Beach a few weeks ago, and even though I consider myself a Thanksgiving pro….  I figured “Why not? I might learn a thing or two!”  Guess what, I did.  These ladies cooked traditional dishes with a splash of pizazz.  Here is one of dishes that I couldn’t get enough of….. literally the whole room was fighting for them.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for Yukon Potato Gratin with Parmesan-Rosemary Bechamel:

5 to 6 – lbs. yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/2 -inch thick (with skins still on)

3 – tablespoons butter

3 – tablespoons flour

3 – cups whole milk

1 -tablespoon chopped rosemary

1 – garlic clove, grated

1/2 – cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for sprinkling on top)

salt and pepper as needed

Place the cut potatoes in a large pot of cold water over high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Drain immediately and place in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat sauce over medium heat. Add butter. When melted, add the flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly. Whisk in milk and rosemary.  Cook, whisking often, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a couple minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in parmesan.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Toss the potatoes with the sauce and dump into a 9×13 inch casserole dish.

Sprinkle with a little more parmesan cheese and place into the oven.

 Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.  Remove and let rest 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are my own. Recipe by Simple Gourmet.


Does your boss have you working on BLACK FRIDAY? Want a pick me up? Seattle’s Best Coffee to the rescue!

Does your boss have you working on BLACK FRIDAY? Want a pick me up? Seattle’s Best Coffee to the rescue!


If you are one of the hard working people of the black friday frenzy who will be behind a counter or opening the doors to a retail conglomerate, and think you may need an extra boost of energy…. then Seattle’s Best Coffee will be your new BFF.  *All you have to do is go to the Seattle’s Best Coffee facebook page and like it.  Then fill out your name and address and wait for your coffee sample to arrive at your doorstep. This offer ends Nov.27th! Yay, FREE COFFEE!!!!!

* The first 100,000 people to participate will receive a free coffee sample that brews a 10 cup pot of coffee. Samples will be available starting now through Nov.27th, 2011 at 11:59p.m. Pacific Time.
Disclosure: This is not a compensated post. I did receive a complimentary sample of coffee. Regardless, these are my own opinions.
Mexican Hot Chocolate and A Rainy Day…..

Mexican Hot Chocolate and A Rainy Day…..

It shatters my heart when my little boy puts my hand on the door knob to signal that he wants to head outside on a wet day.  I’m stumped because there is only so long that T.V. and toys will keep him occupied inside before he longs for the fresh air on his face and a few laps around the front yard.  I say “Sorry sweetie, you can’t go outside today, it’s raining and it’s super cold out.”

Now mind you, he’s only two years old, and doesn’t see my reasoning clearly.  I think to myself  “I’ll whip up a nice batch of hot chocolate for us to enjoy while we play with another puzzle or read a book, just like my Mom use to do with me.”  Not only will it make up for the fact that he can’t have his day in the sun, but it’s a positive experience for me and my boy.  Rain gifts us another opportunity to bond on many levels.  Milk makes our delicious hot chocolate the best thing to drink on a cold day.  For these two things…..  I am a thankful Momma.

The Master Of The Glass Half Full will surely love this rainy day custom I have passed down to my son.  I think I’ll share it with him over on his facebook page or tweet him a message so he could know all the wonderful memories milk is bringing me and my family.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley and Mando Lopez

Ingredients for Mexican hot chocolate:

3 – cups water

1 – stick of cinnamon

2 – disks of mexican chocolate ( I use Ibarra)

2 – cups milk

1/4 – cup mini marshmallows (optional)

In a sauce pan add water and cinnamon over a medium flame.

Bring to a boil. Then add chocolate disks and allow to melt in water.

Stir to assure all chocolate dissolves.  This will take a few minutes. Once chocolate is completely dissolved, remove cinnamon stick from water chocolate mixture.

Lastly add in  milk and give a good stir.


Serve hot in a cup and top with marshmallows. Enjoy the cold day with your delicious hot chocolate!

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor’s Board and Latina Mom Bloggers.

Me and Szechuan Style Green Beans have a thing going on!

Me and Szechuan Style Green Beans have a thing going on!

This recipe is my stand-by dish that I make every Thanksgiving.  I first brought it to the table many years back to add a hint of shock to our feast, but instead it was so well received that it became a beloved favorite.  I’m not sure that was the response I was looking for but that’s how things unraveled.  My szechuan style green beans have been the most requested dish ever since and have caused havoc many times.  With dinner guests requesting any glimpse of leftovers and people hiding them wherever they could, inside purses or at the back of the refrigerator in a non-see through container.  Try them at your dinner table this year and watch your loved ones react.

All photos taken by: Luz Gallardo

Ingredients for Szechuan style green beans:

2 – pounds green beans (cleaned and tips trimmed)

4 – tablespoons butter

1/2 – teaspoon chili flakes

1/2 – teaspoon chili oil

1/2 – teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt

1/2 – teaspoon black pepper

6 – tablespoons sauvignon blanc

1 – tablespoon minced garlic

4 – teaspoons soy sauce

2 – teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1/4 – cup chopped green onion

Clean and trim green beans, by snipping off ends and running under cold water. Set to the side to dry.

In a large frying pan or wok over a medium flame, add butter and allow to melt and get hot, don’t let it burn though. Then add green beans and mix to coat.  Once all beans are coated in butter add chili flakes and chili oil.

And saute for 5 minutes or so then add Lawry’s and black pepper.

Continue to saute for another 5 to 8 minutes. You’ll want some of the green beans to start to brown, and look like this.

Now is the time to add the sauvignon blanc. Your pan will steam up… this is great. Mix well and  continue the saute for another 5 to 8 minutes. Then add garlic and soy sauce.

Mix well and saute for another minute or so. Lastly sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion. Serve on a plate and watch them disappear!

 感恩节快乐   (Happy Thanksgiving)

The Joy of being a Blog Amiga. Long Live Maseca!

The Joy of being a Blog Amiga. Long Live Maseca!


As the holidays circle around us and I start to organize my schedule counting down the days till the next celebration, the one prominent thing I have on my mind is making tamales with my family.  It’s a tradition that goes hand in hand with the holiday season.  There’s something about making the chile, preparing the meat, the smell of Maseca masa as you spread it on the husk, and the feeling of unity as my family and friends gather for this ritual.  My tribe flocks together every year at my Tia Rosie’s house to embark on 35 dozen or so tamales.  We set up an assembly line and everyone is responsible for a different task.  Red chile with beef, Green chile with pork, vegetarian, and sweet tamales for all to enjoy come Christmas eve.  We make them fresh, package them neatly, freeze them and steam them once Dec. 24th rolls around.  This is the opening of my holiday season, and I consider it one of the best gifts.  There is one difference I must share this year… I am delighted to announce I am part of a campaign for Maseca called Blog Amigas.  Can you imagine the joy it brought me to be involved with a product I whole heartedly celebrate along with my family every year already?  Now it will be something I’ll share with you too.  Hopefully you feel the same warmth it brings me.

Let me invite you over to the New Mi Maseca website. You can find all types of recipes there from tamales to tortillas and some healthy recipes for you and your family to enjoy. Click here to look around.  Or you can play “Raspa y Gana” sweepstakes for a chance to win free groceries!  Sweepstakes ends Dec. 12th so you better hurry.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored campaign between Maseca and Latina Bloggers Connect.