Healthy Twist to Classic Dishes

dsc049361024x9331379667129290Does your mouth water every time you think of your mamá’s home cooked meals? Let me give you a second to reminisce on all the glorious meals and food comas you’ve survived thus far. Unfortunately, the ugly truth is that a lot of those delicious home cooked meals are filled with sodium and fats that are harmful to your growing body. Don’t fret just yet, chica! This doesn’t mean you need to say goodbye to all your favorite meals. It just means that now is the perfect time to add a healthy twist to classic dishes that will transform them and your taste buds for the better.

Let’s start with the appetizer!

Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 2 Avocados
  • 1/2 Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Roma Tomato, diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Tsp of Salt

Directions:

1.     Peel the avocados and lightly mash and mix them with a fork. (It’s okay if there are small chunks, they taste great!)

2.     Add and mix the onion, garlic, lime juice and salt.

3.     Lastly, add the diced tomatoes and stir a few times. (Adding these ensures that your guacamole doesn’t come out mushy.)

Ready for the main course? This burrito bowl has everything you crave in a burrito.

Burrito Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz. Black Beans
  • 15.25 oz. Corn, whole kernel
  • Lime Juice
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes
  • 3 Cups Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Cup of Rice
  • Low Fat Sour Cream

Directions:

  1. Cook rice according to package instructions, and set aside until cool.
  2. Add rice to serving bowl.
  3. Top with lettuce, corn, black beans, tomatoes.
  4. Add sour cream and lime juice for extra taste. (optional)

Compliment this bowl with the delicious guacamole you just made!

Chalupas

 Ingredients:

  • 2 Corn Tostadas
  • Low Fat Refried Beans
  • Shredded Cheese (The Weight Watchers brand is really good)
  • 1 Roma Tomato
  • Shredded Lettuce

Directions:

  1. Heat refried beans according to the directions on the can.
  2. Spread the beans on the tostadas.
  3. Add the diced tomato and shredded lettuce.
  4. Sprinkle shredded cheese.

 Now for some yummy dessert!

Grapefruit Paletas

Ingredients:

  • Popsicle mold tray (found at your local Wal-Mart or Target!)
  • Tropicana Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

Directions:

1.     Pour your juice into the tray.

2.     Place the tray in the freezer and let it freeze for at least 3 hours.

*This recipe can easily be substituted with any flavor of juice, just make sure to read the nutritional facts. Some juices are packed with too much sugar!

All these recipes are simple and healthy alternatives to your traditional Mexican recipes. Feel free to substitute any ingredients to your preference. Now, dig in!

DIY Last Minute Holiday Gifts

christmas-gift1The happiest time of the year is right around the corner, and you’re eager to see your family and friends. For those looking for last minute DIY gifts, these gifts are quick and easy to make.

4 in 1 Mix and Match

For this project you will need:

  • A Wooden box (without a top and big enough to fit 4 jars)
  • 4 Jars (they can be different sizes, according to the size of your box)
  • Spray paint (preferably in a metallic color; look for one that is appropriate for wood or metal)
  • 1 Brush
  • Newspaper (to put on the floor, so you don’t stain anything)
  • Color ribbons different sizes

Instructions:

  1. Wash the jars with soap and water.
  2. Then, leave the jars in hot water so it’s easier for you to take the labels off.
  3. Air-dry the jars;  while you’re waiting put the newspaper on the floor.
  4. Go to where you placed the newspaper. Then, paint the lids of the jars and let them dry.
  5. Take the labels off the jars.
  6. Fill the jars with candies, a scarf, small candles, nail polish, or the ingredients of a cookie recipe.
  7. Place everything in the jars and put small ribbons around each one.
  8. Gift wrap the jars or give as is!

Chalk Mug

For this project you will need:

  • An entirely white mug
  • Masking tape
  • Blackboard paint
  • Chalk
  • 1 Brush

Instructions:

  1. Start by sticking tape on the top and bottom borders of the mug. This will allow the paint to only stay in the middle of the cup.
  2. With the brush, paint the cup using the blackboard paint.
  3. Let the cup dry; once it is dried, take off the tape.
    * If there are any mistakes, correct them with nail polish remover and cotton.
  4. Add drawings to the cup with chalk.
  5. Fill the cup with candy!

Wooden Heart
For this project you will need:

  • Yarn of your favorite color.
  • Wooden board (Width 1.5 – 2 inches)
  • Slim little Nails
  • Hammer
  • 1 paper sheet

Instructions:

  1. On a paper sheet, draw a mold of what you want to form with the yarn.
    For example: Draw a heart and cut it so you can use it as a mold.
  2. Draw points to use as a guide  on the borders of the heart with a separation of .7 inches.
  3. Once the mold it’s all marked, place it on the wooden board and draw aligned points to the ones in the heart.
  4. Nail down the mark points with the hammer.
  5. Knot the worsted yarn around one nail and start to zig-zag it around all the nails, do it again from the other side and keep passing it through all the nails.
  6. Push down the yarn to fill all the heart (This way the nails won’t show as much).
  7. Once you’re finished, make another knot in a nail and cut off the rest.

Eternal Flowers

For this project you will need:

  • Big Styrofoam ball.
  • Synthetic flowers
  • Strong White glue or Silicone Adhesive.
  • 1 Ribbon
  • A flower vase with a small top

Instructions:

  1. Cut the stem of the flowers, leaving a little part of the stem.
  2. Plug the leftover of the stem in the Styrofoam ball with glue.
  3. Repeat the steps for the rest of the flowers until you cover the ball.
  4. Make sure you don’t leave any white space, except for the spot where you’re going to paste the ball to the vase.
  5. Paste the ball to the vase with abundant glue.
  6. Make a bow with the ribbon around the vase.

Pistachio Necklace

For this project you will need:

  • A bunch of pistachio shells
  • Paint (preferably matching colors like red, pink and purple)
  • 1 paperboard sheet
  • Silicone adhesive
  • A chain (it can be from an old necklace that you don’t use anymore)
  • Necklace connector rings
  • Small Pliers

Instructions:

  1. Start by cutting the sheet in a half- moon shape.
  2. Make two little holes in the corners of the sheet.
  3. Embed 2 connectors into the holes, 1 in each one.
  4. Insert the chain into those holes with help of the pliers.
  5. Place the pistachio shells onto the sheet, to see how many you will need.
  6. Set them apart and start painting as much as you need for each section of the necklace.
    *For ex: Paint 25 red, 20 pink and 15 purple.
  1. Once the shells are painted, let them dry.
  2. Glue the dry painted shells onto the paperboard sheet.
  3. Put one layer over the another, until you fill the sheet
  4. If you have leftover space, just cut it.

Poem: Room

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Written by Stephanie Hernandez
It’s just an empty room
A naked window and wooden floors
Beige walls and red doors
The shadows of falling leafs reflect on the window
While the sun rays leak through
With golden light that sways with winter scents
Their smells are lingering content
The wind whispers stories in the walls
Of romantic downfalls
When seasons can’t help but change
Your desires become strange.
For you rather be the scar
Than admit who you are
Now my heart is breaking
For what has been forsaking
Let us breathe through the seas
Of shuttered memories
And watch us fall like the yellow leaf
That covers the concrete of gray disbelief
With the wrong steps, we’ve lost our chances
Missed words and lost romances
That sunk through the wood of our floor
The mistakes that paint our red door
Was I a fool to assume?
That after all we’ve been through;
We’d be more than an empty room

Poem: I Am A Puerto Rican Woman

Flag_of_Puerto_Rico.svgby Sandra Diaz

I Am A Puerto Rican Woman
And You Will Not Experiment On Me.

Gone are the days of eradicating our babies
Sterilization of our population
No consent castration
Making us an empty shell of our former self

Maria’s and Jose’s…
Vanished from Our wombs
Brown Castano skin
Pupils of wonder,
Innocence ripped from within
Our rights strip away with wire hanger abortions
Performed with Pulled the life from us operations

A Boriquen Women
Concentration Elimination
Tidal wave to exterminate the unfortunate subjects
Transplanting Cancer cells on Our Men is no exception
Abuse and torture poison radiation
Social worker house to house
Face to face Discrimination

Thousands of Sisters and Mothers
Told and convinced
That they should no longer conceive
Threatening,
Scaring and Scarring the life out of me

Silent about the Experimental Birth control test trial
Birth place Induced abuse
Couldn’t stop me from coming
My spirit just wouldn’t be stopped
I’m here to speak
Yeah
Now what.
Back to Back Fertility control
Racist attitude Policy must go
In a Civilized Society this should never take place
Contraception Mis-information
Nevermore will be accepted
By the Beautiful Taino Race

Misleading propaganda was taught in schools
White Picket Fence Promises
Builds mistrust, Are we alliances?

“La Operacion”

Had naive daughters fooled
100 percent; Child bearing age
Two doctors to check if tubes were tied
They’re natural born experts on deceit and lies

Irreversible mistakes
Fifty a Day.
Does not a good decision make
National Intended Genocide
Cannot bring the unborn back

Curvy, intelligent, Feministas
Will not permit; anyone instill
That educated decisions are too complicated
That we don’t have…. Free will does not exist
To just take the Magic Pill

Were here to stay
Our Cultura is Strong
We’ve come a long way
Women of Color, Coming together
We carry on
Where there’s courage, we cant go wrong
We’ve progress with Pride intact
We’ve been quiet for far too long

Too many side effects to be acceptable
So with a shout and a heart felt scream
Were taking Authority on our God Given Dream.
Compliance is not our Grandmothers Option
The unwilling Pioneer found A Solution
Our Resolute is our Revolution

A Puerto Rican Female
Who Believes In
YES WE CAN!
And like I said
You Will Never Experiment On Us
Again!

Poetry: Drifting Thoughts

Photo Credit: Scubaexplorer.net

Photo Credit: Scubaexplorer.net

Drifting Thoughts  by Andrea Barreto

I keep my heart where blue kisses gold,
near sand that sparkles like the facets of a diamond.
Sunlight beats down, reflecting off the constant waves.
These waves gleam golden for the day, then fade to an incandescent glow in the silver light of night.
With every splash against the shore, another doubt slips away.

The night brings darkness, a comforting shadow over droning worries made harsh by the day.
Bright moon and faint light soothe lingering thoughts of uncertainty and self-doubt.
In the dark my senses are heightened,
each grain of sand delightfully coarse against my skin,
and each wave lapping gently against my feet as they wash away the troubles of my soul and mend the wounds in my heart.
The sun will return as night gives way to day, but in this moment I am alone in the dark,
and, with the moon, my uneasiness wanes away.

Early College Program: Worth It?

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Written by Joella Methola

 My experience with the early college life is remarkable. I attend the El Paso Community College (EPCC) as an early college student. As an early college student, this means that I go to both high school and college. It is a unique campus environment where I earn college credits, a high school diploma and an associate’s degree upon graduation. It is a great educational program, plus it is free.

Enrolling in an Early College Program
Applying for an early college program takes a lot of work and effort. Applicants need to have one available in their city, complete an application (submit by the priority deadline), write an essay (why you want to go an early college), meet the compliance with state attendance policy, have an GPA of 90 in core subjects during the student’s 8th grade year, submit 7th grade STARR scores, and, finally, submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher.

Benefits of Being an Early College Student
The transition from middle school to an early college is not that easy and it took me a while to get used to it. After all, going to an early college after middle school is a great jump but a grand opportunity. Being enrolled in an early college program has helped me grow academically and personally. For example, I have learned how to manage my time, how to use and improve my strengths, open my mind to new ideas, and how to be aware of my surroundings.

It is rewarding process because you learn to be a more mature, responsible and successful college student. I personally believe the hard work is worth it because you have the opportunity to learn in a college setting with other EPCC students. This type of environment helps you decide which route to take when you  continue your education to earn your bachelor’s degree.

Myth VS Reality: Is It Worth It?

The early college is not all work though. There are a lot of rumors saying that when you attend an early college you miss out on a high school experience; however, you do not. There are clubs and activities you can participate in. For example: Mock Trial, Science Bowl, High Q, Piano, Moot Court, Fashion Club, Community Service, Business Professionals of America, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Spanish Club, and more! Plus, we have scrimmages against each other on sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer. One other cool thing is that all students (freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) can go to prom and homecoming! We also have a lot of school spirit.

Being in an early college has been the best choice I have made so far. I believe that others should follow the same path. It is very fun but also challenging, which is a good thing. It challenges you to be a better student.

Beat the Heat: Summer Recipes

Photo Credit: luxuryhousingtrends.com

Photo Credit: luxuryhousingtrends.com

Summer vacation is the perfect time to try out new cool recipes in order to beat the heat. Since we don’t want to turn on our ovens for that, here are some cool recipes to try that can help you beat the heat, not turn it up.

Mango Lassi

This is a type of smoothie recommended by Buzzfeed.com! This delicious smoothie can be made at any time of day. The ingredients consist of 1 mango, 3/4 cups of cold milk, 3 tablespoons of cold plain yogurt, 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 pinch of salt, 1 handful of crushed ice and 1 sprig of fresh mint.

Step 1: Take the mango and peel it. Try to get all the skin off of the mango. If you can’t, then it’s fine.

Step 2: Put all the other ingredients (including the mango) into the blender and turn on the blender for 20-30 seconds.

Step 3: Enjoy. If it is still too thick, feel free to add more milk. You can also add honey or yogurt if you feel it’s necessary, you can use your own judgment here.

 Ceviche

Here is an interesting take on ceviche, from Fod52.com, in more ways than one. Not only does it not require an oven, but it also includes watermelon as one of the ingredients. That’s right, watermelon. While it may seem strange, watermelon actually goes quite well with this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds fresh mild fish, such as striped bass, swordfish, or halibut
  • limes (just under 1 cup of juice)
  • 1/4 cup purple onion (or vidalia), chopped
  • jalapeño pepper, chopped finely (more or less to taste)
  • 1.5 cups of fresh tomato, chopped into cubes about 1/4″ or a bit bigger
  • 1.5 cups cucumber, chopped into cubes about 1/4″ or a bit bigger
  • cup watermelon, chopped into cubes about 1/4″ or a bit bigger
  • tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Step 1: Cut the fish into cubes that are about 3/4 of an inch on each side. Then, mix them into a bowl with the lime juice, onion, pepper and salt. Then, put the mixture into the refrigerator for 15 minutes to cure, stirring every five minutes.

Step 2: During cure time, take another bowl and mix the cucumber, watermelon, cilantro, oil, salt and pepper. Mix gently but mix well.

Step 3: Once the fish is cured (the fish should look “cooked”), pour the lime/fish mixture into a final serving bowl. You may “hold back” some of the lime juice if the amount is excessive. You can cure the fish for longer than the 15 minutes if you feel it is necessary.

Step 4: Lastly, pour the tomato mixture over the fish and mix well. Serve immediately.

Honeydew and Peppedew Gazpacho

Put some of that produce to good use and make Gazpacho for friends and family. Serves 4-6 and this recipe is done with a food processor.

Ingredients: 

  • large English cucumber, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • red bell peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • peppadew peppers, drained
  • large tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/3 of a large honeydew melon, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 46-oz bottle of low-sodium vegetable juice
  • Several tea spoons of olive oil
  • Several glugs of sherry vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Step 1: Take each type of produce and put them in your food processor separately — this step is important, as they won’t come out the same if they’re in together– until the pieces are very fine.

Step 2: Once you have processed each one, put everything into the largest bowl you can find. If you have not added the garlic, you should do so at this point.

Step 3: Stir the mixture together thoroughly, cover with plastic and let sit in the fridge. Stirring occasionally. The gazpacho is best after it has sat in the fridge for a very long amount of time  – so the longer the time in the fridge, the better. Which makes it great if you won’t have time in the evening to prepare dinner.

Popsicles

 Last but not least, is everyone’s favorite summer treat, popsicles! This is a pretty traditional recipe that never gets old and has lots of room for creativity.

Step 1: fill ice trays or popsicle trays with juice (for something really experimental, add gummy bears to the juice) and stick trays in the freezer

Step 2: Let sit until frozen solid.

Step 3: Enjoy your summer popsicles!

Whether you’re looking for a snack or an idea for dinner, these summer recipes are bound to make your tastebuds dance with delight.

Poetry: The Beautiful Truth

Polet Espinoza

Polet Espinoza, author

Turn the page, perfect symmetrical body

Wearing the clothes you wish you have

With their glowing colored eyes and skin.

Turn the page, expensive make-up ads,

Make your eye lashes look longer than your hair,

Make your flawed skin look flawless

And your lips look bigger than your face.

Turn the page, tips on boys,

They tell you how to act around them

And try to convince you to be something you’re not.

Turn the page, you start feeling neglected

You feel the urge to look like them,

You feel the need to buy their products to look better

And you feel imperfect because they’re in magazines and you’re not.

But no one said there was only one type of girl,

With only one type of perfect

And only one type of beautiful.

And then you notice;

Those girls aren’t real,

They were altered and created with technology;

They’re an image from someone else’s imagination.

But you are real,

Don’t let anyone alter or create your true self;

You’re not an image from someone else’s imagination.

Turn the page, you’re perfect.

DIY Graduation Gifts

Graduation season is here! While you are searching for that “unforgettable gift,” you will find the typical stuffed animal with a cap and a diploma, candy, flowers, and gift cards card. If you are looking for something really special to get the graduate instead of the boring gift cards, why don’t you get creative and make a gift from your heart? Do it yourself, it can have more meaning, and it really can be an unforgettable gift. Here are some ideas on what you can make that gives a gift card a new twist.

Lei Money Tree:

Every graduate needs money for their next step in life. Get family members to contribute  a dollar each, make a hole through each dollar, pinch them like a bow, and put a long string through them to make a lei, or a “Hawaiian necklace,” full of money! Your graduate will love your gift.

Going Away Box:

If the graduate is going far away to school and you want them to have the essentials, buy a medium box to decorate with college sayings or pictures that you know will brighten his/her day and anything essential you want him/her to have. For example: Flip flops for the shower, a notebook, some pens/pencils, air freshener, toothpaste, socks, etc. Then, write write a little side note for them to read on each item.  For example, for the flip flops “I knew you were going to need them…” something humorous for him/her to smile to and not feel so lonely by themselves.

Survival Guide:

Your graduate might be going away without his/her parents for the first time, and he/she might not know exactly how to cook, clean, or do laundry. Write him/her a neat survival guide, it is better if you write them on a thick poster board with a fine point sharpie so that it will last longer. Write instructions on how to clean, how to do laundry, recipes for fast meals, etc. On every tip you give the graduate, tape a dollar to it and write a little side note that will brighten his/her day or make him/her smile.

The next one is a little time consuming, but it is worth it!

Day of the Week:

Choose any day of the week, like Monday because no one really likes those. Make a small envelope of any color, put a little goodie like a chocolate or candy or a granola bar and write a note, or a letter. Do every Monday until you will see him/her again with the date on them. For example, if the person leaves in August and you won’t see him/her until December, give them the amount of Mondays there are when you won’t see him/her. Up for a DIY challenge? Do every day of the week! It’s more time consuming, but it will be totally worth it.

Emergency Glass:

There might be some stressful situations the graduate might need money for something and they don’t want to call home or take out a loan, so why not give them an emergency cash box? Buy a long picture frame with more than one spot for pictures, and, instead of putting pictures in the frames, put large dollar bills, a $20 or $50 if you want more, and in the top write “In case of an emergency, Break glass” like the fire extinguishers say.

Gift cards are plain and boring, so if you are looking to give your graduate some extra cash then these DIY gifts are perfect for you.

 

DIY Easter Decorations

Easter season and the Easter bunny is hopping right around the corner! Add a little extra oomf to your Easter weekend by making your own decorations. You can make these decorations at home for yourself, friends or family. Some are simple, so even the not-so-crafty can join in on the fun. Here are some fun and easy ideas to try:

The Powderpuff Bunnies

These are bunnies made out of white powdered donuts! This DIY is inspired by Jeanscraftycorner.blogspot.com. Simply take a clear, 4-pack of powdered doughnuts, tape a bunny head/face to the top, a cotton ball to the back, little white ovals for feet, and you have… the powderpuff bunnies!

Step 1: Buy however many 4-packs of doughnuts (1 pack per bunny) and make sure the packaging around the doughnuts is clear.

Step 2: Find an image of the bunny face you would like to use for your powderpuff bunnies (feel free to get creative and use a different face for each one). Then tape or hot glue the face to the front of the package. Then take a cotton ball and glue it to the back for the tail!

Step 3: Cut little ovals from white construction paper, and draw on them to create the paws! You just draw lines for the toes, or maybe draw on some sandals for your bunnies. Then glue or tape them to the front.

White powdered donut packages dressed up like bunnies

Photo Credit: jeanscraftycorner

 

 

Easter Egg Tumble(r)

Plastic Tumbler "Easter Basket" ~ Plastic Tumbler, Embellishments (Ribbon, Vinyl, Rhinestones, Stickers, etc.)... Decorate the tumbler as you wish then fill it with goodies! This idea is very simple, for those not so into crafting, but can also be very elaborate for those who are. A great idea for anyone wanting to give out something cool for Easter that may not have the time, or for the person looking for a fun, creative project! The “wiggle room” involved makes it fun for everyone. Benfranklincrafts.blogpost.com inspired these cute Easter Egg Tumblers. Here’s how you can create your very own:

Step 1: Purchase a tumbler or mason jar of your choice at a local craft store. These can also be found pretty much anywhere (CVS,Wal-Mart, grocery stores, etc.). Gather all the materials you’re going to use to decorate your jar (gel marker, ribbons, rhinestones, etc.) and begin decorating the outside of your jar.

Step 2: Take whatever goodies you want to give and put them inside the tumbler. You can get creative and layer the candies by color, use fake grass, or just fill the tumbler with things you like.

Step 3: Give out to friends, family or just keep it for yourself!

Easter Egg Garland

Photo Credit: Honeyandfitz.com

It’s that time of year again where we take out our massively accumulating collection of WAY to many plastic easter eggs and have a massive egg hunt. If only there were some other way to use the eggs so they will not go to waste with only one use! Well, Honeyandfitz.com  found a way to make cute decorations for your home.

Step 1: Gather your materials: plastic eggs with holes in the top and bottom, 3/4 inch ribbon, sturdy thread, and a needle. Next, take your ribbon and thread it through the holes in your egg. This can be tricky, so use something small and pointy like a toothpick. Repeat this step 2 more times for different color ribbon.

Step 2: Use your needle to thread the string through the first egg. Once you have done this successfully, you can begin sliding more of your eggs onto the string.

Step 3: Cut the string after you’ve done your last egg and hang the garland in your lovely home!  This person (see right) used it as a drapery over their door, but you can also lay your garland around a table, or even hang it straight from the ceiling to create a “garland curtain.”

 

Have your own DIY ideas to share? Send an e-mail to editor@latinitasmagazine.og. 

 

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