Tag Archives: homemade

Hearty Soup

INGREDIENTS:  1 onion, 1 leek, 2 tbs. olive oil, 1 lb. organic chicken (optional), 2 tbs sofrito, 1 medium turnip, 4 medium carrots, 1/2 celery root, 2-3 cloves garlic, 1-2 cups pearled barley, 1 head escarole, 12+ cups of water or stock

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  • On high heat, saute diced onions and leeks in heavy stock pot with olive oil.
  • Add chicken and sofrito (you can substitute with adobo or granulated garlic for flavor).
  • Reduce heat and cook until browned (10 minutes).  Stir the ingredients occasionally.
  • Add chopped turnips and carrots.  Keep stirring so ingredients don’t stick.
  • Add 8 cups of water.
  • Add slices of celery root, two whole cloves of garlic and 4 more cups of water.
  • On high heat, bring soup to a boil.
  • Add pearled barley. (If you want a really thick soup use 2 cups barley).
  • Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  • Check soup and that barley is fully cooked. Add up to two more cups of water, if needed.
  • Add 1 tsp sea salt or adobo (not both– most adobo blends have a high salt content)
  • Add chopped escarole and turn off heat. Greens will wilt in the hot soup– no need to overcook.


xo Eloiza


Apple Crisp

honey and maple syrup

Shh, don’t tell anyone it’s made without any sugar!  This yummy recipe is made with maple syrup and honey instead.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Start  with 7 – 10 apples (I substituted two Bosc pears for two apples).

apples and bosc pears

Chop into bite-sized pieces and layer in a 9×13 casserole dish.

chopped applesSprinkle 1/2 tsp ground ginger,  1/2 tsp cinammon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg plus 1/4 – 1/2 cup maple syrup (use at least 1/2 cup of liquid, add water if you use less maple syrup). Mix well and set aside.

coconut oil and almond butter

Melt 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/4 cup almond butter in small saucepan.

oatmeal and flour mixture

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix 1 cup flour and 1 1/2 cups rolled oats.  Add 1/2 tsp ground ginger,  1/2 tsp cinammon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg to dry mixture.

apple crisp- uncooked

Pour melted ingredients over the dry ones and add 1 tbs vanilla and 1/2 cup honey. Mix well.

just out of oven- apple crisp

Evenly spread oatmeal mixture on top of apples.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Enjoy!

Bowl of apple crisp

Green Party a Success!

This is a follow up to 5 Ways to Transform Your House Party into a Green Party

To put it short, the party was a blast!

One friend had this to say after reading the original post:

I felt all warm inside reading this.  I just had the chance to AFTER attending this party and can only say that what this woman is talking about it the real.

The party was fantastic.  We were there for 5 HOURS!  Me and my husband -oh yea- and the kids, haha, had a blast.  The food was amazing.  There was a little dance party with dress-up dresses and an audience, there was lot of great conversation and connecting with adults and kiddies. And I am pretty sure Elo had a small amount [of garbage] to throw away.

A party to remember forever and ever,  Amen!

Photo Credit: All photos shot by Rebecca Willett.

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This is what I wrote to our guests afterwards:

Dear loves,

We want to thank you for making [our daughter’s] day so special.  This was her first “real” birthday party and your kindness and generosity made it memorable for our entire family.

We are grateful, first, for you just being there with your smiles and hugs.  The adults were so helpful in keeping the children occupied (and safe). And it warmed my heart to see so many of you engaged in (what looked like) deep conversation! The children got along so nicely and it looked like they had a blast!

We are also grateful for the food you brought to share:  fruit, desserts, birthday cake, bread, salads…  And, although we didn’t expect any gifts, she received some really thoughtful ones: cute clothes, two great books, a pair of sneakers, a pair of earrings, some puppets, a toy.

Last but not least, the party would not have been the same without the princess dress up clothes– they were a hit!

So thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing with us.  It was beautiful to celebrate with you, our loved ones.

Much love,


5 Ways to Transform Your House Party into a Green Party

Birthday Girl
Birthday Girl

It was my daughter’s 3rd birthday last week and we are planning a Green Birthday Party this weekend.

Five Ways to Make Your Party Green(er):

1.  Make PEOPLE the Center of the Celebration. This is the number one rule for good reason.  Bringing this goal into your awareness should make the gathering more enjoyable all the way around.  Plus, it lets you off the hook when you feel the pressure to plan an elaborate theme or go all out for your guests.  It seems like common sense but, for example, we’ve all been to kid’s parties when the adults don’t get to enjoy or interact.  When the guests sit around watching the birthday kid open gift after gift.  Or when the hosts are so frazzled about the theme or activities that you wonder, I thought parties were supposed to be fun!

Although the guest of honor is my three year old, I am considering the adults’ experience as well.  We have a train set, puzzles and other games that the kids can play with and I’m keeping in mind the parents’ enjoyment too!

2.  Consider a Gift-Less Party or Shower. Welcome gently used hand-me-down games, books or clothing.  It’s amazing what great stuff you can find and it is cost-effective too.  Some guests  are really uncomfortable with the idea of attending a party and coming empty handed.  I usually suggest that they bring a dish to share or something my child really needs like a pair of sturdy shoes for school.  For a baby shower you could suggest starting  a fund to help the mom hire a birth or postpartum doula. Or maybe pay towards a housecleaning service for the first months after the baby arrives.

My parents have offered to buy my daughter what she needs for nursery school.  My sister is agreeing to bring a  dish.  My friend is planning to bring some fun fairy dress up clothes for the kids to play with.

3.  Make your party memorable by having yummy homemade food and even better music! These Malcolm in Party Bagtwo party ingredients will take you a loooong way.  If cooking all that food seems daunting then, by all means, make it a potluck!  And when I say potluck I mean just have guests bring a favorite dish without worrying too much about who is bringing what- you’d be surprised how well it turns out!  Having homemade food is healthier and requires less wasteful packaging than buying processed store-bought foods and sweets (think about all those candy wrappers and plastic containers).

I am planning on providing homemade rice and beans, hummus, guacamole, fruit salad and brownies.  Guests can bring a side dish or juice.  My mom is baking the birthday cake!

4.  Use real dishes, silverware and cloth napkins OR buy biodegradable plates, cups and cutlery. Nowadays it is pretty easy to find paper plates and napkins made of 100% post-consumer products.  There are compostable plates and cutlery made out of renewable sources including corn, sugar and bamboo.  Click here for an online search for Biodegradable Disposable Plates.

I plan to have the adults eat from the “real” plates and have the kids eat from the recyclable and biodegradable paper products I buy.  I don’t plan to buy juice boxes either. I’ll offer the kids small cups of juice diluted with water and pray that we don’t have too many spills!

5.  Rethink or nix the party favors all together! Guests rarely truly appreciate these tokens of appreciation and most folks certainly do not expect anything when they go to a party (except maybe to be fed and have some fun).  A memento can be nice- consider printing a card on recycled paper or a gift like a small bottle of an essential oil or lavender sachet…

I know that those plastic little toys my kids get at parties are lost or broken before we even make it home from a kid’s party.  And it is such a relief to me not to have to worry about buying one-more-thing.

** To make your gathering even more significant and  memorable consider consciously created rituals or a ceremony to mark the milestone you are celebrating.  Bringing your attention back to why you’re celebrating in the first place adds meaning and beauty to the festivities.  I am still high from a attending a Mother Blessing this past weekend– look for a new post on ritual design coming soon!

Recipes Using Sofrito

Here are links to the variety of recipes on this blog that use sofrito.  These can be made without this convenient mixture of cilantro, peppers, garlic and onion- using sofrito just make the recipes easier and more delicious.  I recommend you make a batch and reserve in separate containers- you can keep one in the back of your fridge for when you need and the others in the freezer.  The more recipes you discover and invent that use sofrito the more often you’ll need to make it!

Enjoy! And please share YOUR recipes…

Creamy Coconut Kale with Noodles

Hearty Soup

Bacalaitos (Cod Fish Fritters)

Black Bean Recipe

Vegan Feast

Pinto Beans

Thai Cole Slaw

Garbanzos and Brown Rice

Thai Gumbo

Homemade Guacamole

Middle Eastern Moussaka (eggplant based “cooked salad”)

Vegan Feast

I love it when I get the urge to try something new in the kitchen (especially when it works).  I started to get bored with rice and beans e-v-e-r-y week and did NOT want to resort to ordering out- too costly and unhealthy.  This is a new favorite meal for my family.  Enjoy! Please share your cooking creations too!

Garbanzo Stew

3 cups cooked garbanzo (or 2 cans)

1 chopped onion

3-4 cloves crushed garlic

3-4 medium diced potatoes

4-5 diced carrots

1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (or 1 can)

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger root

3 tablespoons sofrito (or add 1/2 bunch chopped cilantro)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup of water or veggie stock

1 teaspoon sea salt

Sautee the onion in olive oil in a large pot.  Add crushed garlic and stir, being careful not to scorch it.  Once onions start to become translucent, add the chopped potatoes and carrots and stir.  Add tomatoes, sofrito and ginger and stir.  Let the mixture simmer on high heat for 5-7 minutes (adding a little water if it starts to stick).  Next, add the beans, stock and salt.  Reduce heat to low and let cook for 15-20 more minutes (stirring occasionally).

Serve with Curry Quinoa (as an alternative to couscous or brown rice).

Bring two cups of quinoa, four cups of water (or stock) and 1/2 teaspoon of curry spice to a boil.

Reduce heat and cover.  Let cook for 15 minutes, fluff and serve.

Kale with Coconut Milk

2 bunches lacinato kale

3-4 cloves crushed garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup light coconut milk (organic & unsweetened)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Juice from 1/2 lime

Using a large, sharp knife cut kale crosswise v-e-r-y thinly.   On medium heat, sautee garlic in olive oil.  After 4-5 minutes (being careful that garlic doesn’t burn) add rinsed, chopped kale.  Stir so the kale is coated with the garlic oil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add coconut milk.  Cook for 5-10 minutes until greens are soft.  Last, add salt and lime juice.

** Thanks to Mary M. and Bonu for the inspiration!

Fabulous Apple Cake

fairy helper
Fairy Helper

My family has been making this recipe for years and it never fails to please our guests.  We make it often around this time– apple varieties are plentiful where we live and we  love to give small loaves or muffins as gifts.

I’ve experimented with making this a no-sugar recipe (using agave nectar instead) and non-wheat (almond meal) but I’ll share the standard recipe  here.  I baked vegan muffins for a friend recently so I’m posting that option and new secret ingredient that makes the cake even more smooth and tasty.

  • 1  cup canola oil
  • 2 cups turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup of fresh or canned pumpkin (secret & optional)
  • 3 large eggsapples

vegan option:  in place of eggs 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed whisked together with 4 tablespoons water

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 to 4  apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups) (no need to peel apples and any kind will do!)
  • 1 cup chopped assorted nuts  walnuts (optional and recommended :))
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a Bundt pan with cooking spray; set aside OR Use muffin pan with cupcake liners (24 muffins
  2. Sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, and salt in large bowl and set aside
  3. In a separate bowl,  combine  oil, sugar,  eggs (or flax seed and water mixture) and pumpkin until smooth
  4. Gradually add in flour mixture.  The batter will be thick and gooey.
  5. Add apples and  nuts and mix to combine.  Add vanilla.
  6. Pour batter into pan, and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 75 to 90 minutes (less for muffins).