take your power bowls and salads to the next level
Cebollas Rojas Encurtidas.
One of my fondest memories growing up in Honduras was spending time cooking with my aunt. She cooked outside on a mud stove that she herself remuded and took care of every day. She always had a pot of beans on the stove and mounds of tortillas handmade everyday. All of her delicious food was garnished with one kind or another with encurtido. On my travels to the Caribbean I rediscovered this childhood favorite and vowed to figure out how to make it at home! I asked my mom to give me her recipe because in Texas we kept a Texas-sized jar of vegetable encurtido on the kitchen counter too! Sabroso! As I’ve played around with my mom’s recipe my favorite encurtido to make is an easy pickled red onion recipe.
The total time for this recipe from prep to table is 20 minutes to 1 hour depending how long you want to let it marinade before you use it. I make small batches so I use either a half of a large red onion or a small red onion and that makes about 8 servings. Each serving is about 1/2 a table spoon.
1 medium sized glass jar or food storage container 1 small red onion (or a half of a large red onion) 1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1/4 tsp oregano 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt 1/4 tsp cumin 1/4 tsp ground black pepper + 6 or so whole kernels of peppers 1 bay leaf
Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space
Thinly slice the red onion and put them aside
take the glass jar and and mix together the remaining ingredients
add the onions and stir well. If you are using a jar you can give it a little shake
Listo! let it sit for at least 10 minutes before you use it.
Now garnish any meal especially a breakfast with a sunny side up egg!
*Making this recipe should feel very comfortable and organic for you. Do not hesitate to add more of any of the ingredients to make it to your taste. *Sometimes my slicing is not equal and uniform and that’s ok! The sharper your knife the better your slicing technique will be. *When I don’t have oregano I substitute Herbs de Provence instead-you will love this herb blend! *if you would like to submerge your onions completely you can add a bit more of vinegar or even olive oil.
Make this recipe and make your life deliciously simple.
These crispy carnitas will not only become your favorite meal but they will also make your life easier! You can make a double batch and they will help meal planning for the week easy peasy. You’re welcome!
1 table spoon of dried oregano
2 tsp of ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground chipotle (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 table spoon of Olive Oil, Avocado oil, or ghee
Crockpot or Dutch oven of pork shoulder:
about 3 lbs of pork shoulder, butt, or tenderloin
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1 onion chopped
2 bay leaves
about 5 peppercorns
Juice of one orange
juice of one lime
1 table spoon of Olive Oil, Avocado oil, or ghee
pickled red onion
a greens blend
Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space and prepping the vegetables. Prepare the meat by cutting it into about 4 in cubes and pat dry with a paper towel and place in crock pot or dutch oven.
Combine rub ingredients and rub all over the meat.
Prepare the Vegetables.
With your hands add rub to the meat covering the cubes on all sides. Then top with the prepared vegetables and remaining ingredients . Make sure to include the juiced orange and lime rinds . Cover, cook on high for four-6 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. When done you will find the meat separates very easily with two forks and will be very tender.
Once Cooked remove the meat from the crock pot place it a bow allow the meat to rest about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and rinds. Use two forks to pull the meat apart. Do not discard juices.
For Dutch Oven
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and place the oven rack in lower middle position.
Prepare the vegetables.
Once you’ve added rub to the meat top with prepared vegetables the remaining ingredients. Make sure to include the the juiced orange and lime rinds. Cover and cook.
At 1 hour check the meat to ensure you have enough juices rendering if you find that its gotten dry you can add a 1/2 cup of broth.
Cook for another hour to 2 hours until meat is tender and falls apart easily or internal temperature is at least 150 degrees.
Remove from oven and allow the meat to rest about 10 minutes in Dutch Oven, remove bay leaves and rinds. Use two forks to pull the meat apart. Do not discard juices.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil ( or preferred oil) in a medium skillet. Without overcrowding the meat cover the surface of the skillet and add a little of the carnitas’ juice. Brown just until the juice has almost evaporated and then flip them and cook a bit more. Make sure to not let them get too dry.
You can store the remaining meat in an air tight container and repeat these browning instructions when ready to use the left overs.
Use any of the sides or toppings listed above to serve. Enjoy!
Whole 30 approved casava tortillas
Omit rice and cheese if whole 30
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5 Easy ways to learn together during National Black History Month
February is one of my favorite months! Not only because it’s my birthday month, although that plays a big part in it being my favorite, of course but also because I feel hopeful in this month. There’s a hope found in February that I don’t see in any other month, its almost like it marks a crossroads for the rest of the year. It is as if the hope of Spring and the Winter unseen growth seem to collide full force into February creating a catalyst for love to win over apathy.
This year, we don’t want to pass up the opportunity to grasp all the hope available in February when it comes to Black History Month. We want to gather cozy and use our family time to also include learning together. I’m excited to share with you five cozy ways to do this as a family while using your senses to enjoy it all. Will you join us in celebrating Black History Month in a new way?
Netflix is offering these beautiful read aloud read by influential black people who continue to use their voice with courage and give us opportunity to listen to black voices that lead us well. Here‘s the trailer. Your kiddos will enjoy it alongside you and one will not be enough! I especially love this series because it highlights the talent and skill of Black writers reminding us that we don’t only have to learn about their history through books about civil rights but we can also see into their souls as they write about the experiences they have had in their own skin. This is not the only thing you can watch, there are so many good movies and documentaries to prick from as well.
Another good one for your kiddos to watch alongside you is found on Prime Video. Or just to watch on your own and put yourself in the shoes of a Black child in the time around the Civil Rights Movement and gain more insight for how Black children today are asked to take on life so differently then most of us have to. An American Girl Story-Melody 1963: Love Has to Win. They do a beautiful job of depicting
Music is an easy way to enjoy the amazing talent of Black musicians. Through their words, rhythm, and powerful compositions we can learn more about how they have been shaped by their own history and see how important it is for us to know that history in general has been shaped by them as well. Here are a few of our favorite play lists from different places on the inter webs. Check out this playlist on Prime. Here’s our new favorite one on Apple Music.
This is one of my favorite ways to learn and also enjoy the Black culture so close to us and so available to us we just need to make time to immerse ourselves in it. The kids and I are reading Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. This is a beautiful book, a memoir written in poetry form.
We are also reading through our Bravery Magazines, we are reading about Maya Angelo and working through the activities in the magazine. We are learning about poetry, caring for each other, and how two creatively connect with others realizing we all have more in common than we think. The kids then sent their friends electronically their about me questionnaire and asked their friends to fill out a blank one and send it back to them to see how much they have in common.
Of course we needed to include food, because well I love food. Celebrating Black History Month requires food indeed. I want to share with you a recipe that I want to try and one we already love and how food connects us through even when we live across the world from each other.
I can not wait to try this Peanut Stew. My friend from Central African Republic makes a delicious meat dish with peanut butter, this recipe reminds me his dish.
As I wrote this article I learned about the “after-chop” dessert course of Western Africa high lighting the fruit salad. Giselle loves making fruit salads and I am so excited to try a African fruit salad with her. One of the most interesting things about this fruit salad is that they add avocado to it. I found this list of ingredients, on kidactivities.net “A fruit salad can be made from just three or four of the ingredients listed below. .Any of the following (fresh or canned): avocado, banana, grapefruit, guava, mango, melon, orange, papaya, peach, pear, pineapple, tangerine, juice of one lemon, crushed mint leaves, grated coconut, or chopped roasted peanuts, sugar or honey.”
I have been meditating on this verse recently, especially when it comes to how and where I spend my money.
‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
So, as a family we want to make a more conscious effort to support local businesses especially those owned by people of color. I especially want to take great care to not always lean to convenience but to choose a small business over next day shipping. One of the places I want to support more this year are the small black owned book stores. I love books and this year I want to support small book stores over the convenience of Amazon.
What about you? In what ways are you celebrating Black History Month? What ides from the five listed above will you implement?
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Do you have a soup on your thanksgiving menu? If you don’t, I think this soup will change that real fast. This soup will make you feel cozy and thankful with its sweet notes that are enhanced by savory spices.
Here in Ohio, I savor watching summers fade into fall with annual anticipation. This is the golden time of year for me. Each dreamy fall day has marked my soul with their invitation to relish the beauty, to remember cycles and traditions, to let some things go. So, this Thanksgiving week as we let go of discontentment make this soup to nurture your soul. Wether it makes it on your Thanksgiving meal or for an easy meal after the celebration, I promise you will be glad you did. I invite you to set your table, light a candle, and let your tables nurture your health and open your heart to give thanks as you break bread together.
2 strips of bacon* 1-2 tbsp of olive oil or ghee* 1/2 of a shallot, chopped 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped 5 carrots, peeled and cubed 1 green apple, cubed 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed 1/2 tsp oregano 1/2 tsp of smoked paprika 1/4 tsp cumin 1/2 tsp fennel seeds 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt 1/2 tsp ground black pepper 1 bay leaf 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes 1 can of Whole fat unsweetened Coconut milk 2 cups of chicken broth 1/2 cup of boiling water
Shaved parmesan, manchego, or your favorite aged cheese Pumpkin seeds Crusty bread and a favorite salted butter
Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space and prepping the vegetables.
Even as your are chopping and prepping, heat a large pot on medium heat and cook the two slices of bacon. Let the bacon get crispy but be careful it doesn’t burn. When the bacon is cooked to your liking remove it and set it aside, it will crisp up even more as it cools.
Add the tablespoon of olive oil or ghee to the pot. Then add your shallot and onion and let it cook, about 5 minutes, until it becomes translucent and smells divine.
Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Do not let the garlic brown too much or it may turn bitter.
Add the cubed vegetables, carrots, squash, and apple. At this point you may need to add more olive oil or ghee* depending on how big your butternut squash is. As they sauté add the spices and let it all sauté for 15 minutes.
When the vegetables start to soften add the can of fire roasted tomatoes. Pour the half cup of boiling water in the empty tomato can to get all the sauce out, then pour it into the pot. Add the bayleaf and the two cups of chicken broth and let it simmer on medium for 20-25 minutes until all the vegetables are soft. Do not let all of the water boil down. It should have lots of broth.
Heat up the oven and prepare the bread you want to serve. Cut up the crispy bacon and put in a bowl, set out a bowl of the cheese, and a bowl pumpkin seeds.
When the vegetables are very tender, taste it, you may need to add more salt and pepper. Add the can of coconut milk and let it simmer for a few more minutes maybe 4 or 5. Remove the bayleaf and transfer the soup to the blender, blend it until smooth. You can also use an immersion blener for this step.Serve immediately with warm crusty bread topping the soup with bacon, cheese, and pumpkin seeds.
Making this recipe should feel very comfortable and organic. Do not hesitate to add more of any of the spices to make it to your taste. *Ghee is a clarified butter that you can find almost in any store now. I love to sauté and roast with it but you can also substitute butter or olive oil. *When I don’t have oregano I substitute Herbs de Provence instead – you will love this herb blend! *You don’t have to use bacon if you want to keep this recipe vegetarian. *This soup tastes even better when shared with friends.
Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner and although this year may look different around the table we still need to cultivate a thankful heart. I am once again pausing with the liturgy of the year, this holiday marking a moment for me to be still. To open our hearts can be difficult but one of the ways I find this practice easier is through music. Music is a beautiful usher, it leads my soul to deeper communion with my Creator. I have done the hard work for you and curated a play list that will usher your heart to open up in with thanksgiving!
I invite you to join me to listen to play list below exhale the tension out and inhale in hope. Be blessed.
A Psalm for giving Thanks.
I created a beautiful booklet for you and one for your kiddos so that together you can take some time to slow the hustle and rest together. This booklet will walk you through Psalm 100, gives space for coloring and doodling as well. While you read it and memorize together you will have the opportunity to add color and even write a thanksgiving prayer. You can find more information here on how to get it delivered straight to your inbox.
I had the privilege of writing a piece for my friend Gwendolyn, over at the Wandering Hearth. It’s a piece that serves as an invitation to use the the rhythms of our home to store the word of God in our hearts. I invite you to join us there and help set your heart on the path for gratefulness all season long.
The kitchen provides for the table to be bountiful and it is there that provisions come from. Could we create space in the kitchen to post the psalm we are memorizing to remind ourselves that we don’t live by bread alone?
Because this year we all need a little extra help
Gwendolyn released the Thanksgiving in a Difficult Year Planner. It’s a printable guide that helps you get ready for the holiday as well as planning the Thanksgiving meal. This resource is chock full of great tips, ideas, and practical ways to make your thanksgiving a breeze. It will not only help you with a guest list planner, meal scheduler, and shopping lists. But it will also help you set your mind on practicing authentic gratitude, having meaningful conversations around the table, and encourage you to invite others along to giving back to those in need. She has thought of it all don’t miss it! Go check it out here.
We are entering soup season, am I right? Soups evoke the beauty of family, cozy togetherness, and comfort in a bowl. I see soups as a sign of love to our families and friends as we invite them to the table.
You may or may not know that I was born in Honduras. These crisp fall evenings cozy with fog and blistering winds was not something I knew there. But soups I did know. They were our Sunday lunches, a special treat normally made by my dad. Oh they filled my tummy but mainly they nourished my soul. They also made me sweat buckets, you see in Honduras soups are not a cozy fall dish, they are an all year round all weather staple.
This Zuppa Toscana will add cozy and light to any fall evening, winter night, spring day, or even summer get together. But for us here in the Northern hemisphere, I invite you to set your table, light a candle, and let your tables nurture your health and open your heart to others as you break bread together.
4 strips of bacon 2 lbs of mild Italian pork sausage* 2 lbs red potatoes or 6 large red potatoes* 1 yellow onion 3 garlic cloves or 1/4 tsp garlic powder 1/4 crushed red pepper 1 tsp of oregano 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 1/2 tsp fennel seed 2 bay leaves 1/2 tsp of salt, plus salt and pepper to taste before serving 6 cups of broth 1 bunch of kale* 1-2 13.0z cans of coconut milk full fat
Shaved parmesan, Manchego, or your favorite aged cheese Crusty bread and a favorite salted butter
Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space and prepping the vegetables. Dice the onion, chop the potatoes into larger chunks, remove the kale leaves from the stems – discard the stems and coarsely chop the kales leaves.
As your are chopping and prepping, heat a large pot on medium heat and cook the two slices of bacon. Let the bacon get crispy but be careful it doesn’t burn. When the bacon is cooked to your liking remove it and set it aside, it will crisp up even more as it cools. (If you don’t eat bacon you can add a table spoon of olive oil to the pot to complete step 3.)
Add the onion to the same pot, about 5 minutes, until it becomes translucent and smells amazing. Add the sausage and brown in until it renders excess oil, drain the oil but leave some for taste.
After you drain the oil add the garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano, smoked paprika, and fennel seed. Cook them together for about 3 minutes so the flavors penetrate the meat.
Add the potatoes, the bay leaves, and broth. If need be, add a bit more broth until it covers most of the ingredients. Bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Let the soup simmer for 10- 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Add the cans of coconut milk and bring the heat down to low for about 5 minutes. Right before serving, add the kale and cook until the kale is bright green and has softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with grated cheese and warm crusty bread for added coziness. (Unless you are doing Whole 30 then skip the cheese and bread.)
*This soup tastes even better when shared with friends, this is why I give you the doubled portions to make a large pot of soup. *You don’t have to use bacon for this recipe. *You can use Italian chicken sausage for this recipe. You can also use just sausage without any flavor – but play around with the salt and pepper because plain sausage can be bland. *This recipe is Whole 30 compliant if you use Whole 30 compliant bacon and sausage. (I find both of these at Whole Foods) Also, leave the cheese off and skip the bread to be Whole 30 compliant.
“We seldom notice how each day is a holy place Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens, Transforming our broken fragments Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.”
*John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Invocations and Blessings
I know that in the middle of a pandemic when uncertainty swirls wild and boredom creeps in tight, the last thing you think is about the holiness of this day. Yet each day holds so many promises, so many blessings that gently stir our affections for love.
A time for reflection is needed every now and then, especially at the brink of a “new normal.” The stirrings of new winds bid us slow down and dream. I have just the right tonic to accompany the slowness of an examen.
This golden milk is soothing, comforting, and immune boosting. It comes together quickly and without fanfare. But when you sip it you feel nourished, calmed, and all that this day holds becomes holy.
Ingredients + instructions
1 +1/4 cup of milk (or any plant based milk) 1 cup of water or more milk for extra creaminess. 1 small cinnamon stick + a dash of cinnamon for serving 3 pepper corns 1 tsp tumeric +1/2 tsp. 1/4 tsp ginger a dash of cardamom 2 tsp of raw honey or pure maple syrup
Over medium heat bring milk to a boil add all the spices and whisk, until well mixed. let it simmer for 5 minutes or so.
Serve in your favorite mug and breath deeply and sip it while still warm
Because community starts within your home I have created some conversation cards to encourage a richer time around the table with your family. A simple but very intentional way to be fully present right now. Find how you can join me monthly for tea here and get access to this download.
One of the bravest things I’ve done is set the table.
Arriving at that moment came after a lonely path of yearning and longing. Here we are in the midst of a pandemic and setting the table for company seems to be out of reach doesn’t it? We find ourselves yearning and longing for time together, but mostly to know and be known.
I moved across the country a starry-eyed newlywed filled with dreams and the excitement of discovery. There was little room to think about the fact that I didn’t know anyone and I was blinded to the loneliness lurking in the midst of so much joy. The endless introductions that ended with promises to see each other soon left me disheartened as the promises remained unfulfilled. People have always been a source of joy and energy for me and suddenly, I found myself surrounded by them but lonely. Yet, I could feel the Lord’s constant reminder, “I am your friend and your greatest reward – remain in me.” So, today I will share with you three times I bravely set the table and how the Lord met me there.
I’ve had the honor of writing about this brave practice on Becky Beresford’sBrave Women Series. Please go there and finish reading and get to know how community is really not complicated but it takes courage to engage.
Being part of the Hopewriters Community has encouraged me to connect with other writers like Becky and I couldn’t be more excited for this community!
This shortbread brings with it nostalgic memories of travel to Spain, these alfajores are a great blend of sugar and spice. Chai tea has always been a favorite, and when paired with dulce de leche the buttery shortbread takes on new life. Enjoy making this shortbread and always make enough to share. In this time of quarantine living, these treats are the best for porch drop offs, they will make the giver and the receiver feel close and loved with each bite!
Ingredients for the shortbread
2 cups of all-purpose flour* 1/4 tsp of sea salt 1/2 cup of powdered sugar 2 tea bags of Spiced Chai Tea 1 cup of salted butter (2 butter sticks) at room temperature 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract 2 sheets of parchment paper 1 cookie cutter*
Ingredients for the the dulce de leche
1 can of sweetened condensed milk 1 16oz canning jar with lid 1 crockpot
Instructions for the dulce de leche*
Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space
Prepare the dulce de leche first. You will need to prepare it the night before or first thing in the morning.
Pour the condensed milk into the glass jar, leave a little space in the top of the jar. Seal the jar and place it in the crockpot, fill the crockpot with water just below the rim of the jar. Cook the jar of condensed milk on low for at least 8 hours. The clear glass jar makes it easy to see how much the milk has caramelized.
After 8 hours take the milk out of the crockpot and let it cool before using it. In the sealed jar the dulce de leche can last up to a week when refrigerated.
Instructions for the shortbread
Begin by gathering all the ingredients to your work space. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a bowl combine the flour and salt.
Cut the open the tea bags and add them to the flour and salt mixture. Whisk until well combined.
In a mixer, cream the butter until you see little peaks (about 1 minute). Then add powdered sugar to the creamed butter and mix for about 2 minutes and then add the vanilla as you finish creaming the butter.
Lower the mixer speed to stir and slowly mix in the flour until the dough is mixed well and turns crumbly.
Put the dough between the two sheets of parchment paper and roll it out a bit thick. Put the flattened dough on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
Take the dough out the freezer and cut out the shortbread, because the shortbread is a bit frozen when baked it will retain its shape better.
Bake the shortbread for about 10-12 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheet to let them brown without getting over cooked.
After your shortbread has cooled spread dulce de leche thickly on a piece and then adding another on top to create a sandwich or alfajores as known in Spain and Latin America.
Sharing the alfajores with friends over tea or coffee makes them immensely satisfying.
*if pressed for time you can buy a jar of dulce de leche. I enjoy the one from Trader Joe’s . *use your favorite cookie cutter, I prefer one with scalloped edges *Gluten free all-purpose flour can be used but take care to cut the shortbread a bit thicker because they tend to break easier.