Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Anniversary Dulce de Leche Bars

I will start by saying that if you don't like cooking or baking or you think you can't bake or cook, it doesn't matter. This recipe will make everybody think that you are one AWESOME cook! 

Dulce de leche is so good! It is the Latin-American version of caramel and it is so much better; but then again I am biassed because I love my hispanic flavors. Dulce de leche is made with sweetened milk, hence the name; on the other hand, caramel is made from sugar. It is great on toast, waffles, pancakes, crepes, or just as a midnight snack replacing peanut butter (just not as healthy :)

This bars came together in no time. Mix store bought sugar cookie dough, oatmeal, brown sugar, and vanilla. Bake once. Spread dulce de leche from a can (or something fresh from the store if you are in Latin-America). Cover with second half of sugar cookie dough, oatmeal, brown sugar, and vanilla. Bake again. Cool down. Refrigerate (the longest part of the process!) EAT!!!!! 

Happy 2 year anniversary to my lovely husband and Happy birthday to my friend Valerie! 

Dulce de Leche Bars


2 rolls of refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 1/2 cup quick oats or old fashioned oats
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 cans dulce de leche*
9x13 baking pan


1. Heat oven 350 degrees. Grease baking pan.
2. Stir or knead 1 roll of sugar cookie dough, 1/2 cup of sugar, 3/4 cups oats, 1 tsp vanilla. Press mixture evenly on the baking pan until you have an even crust. Bake for 14 min. (The crust will continue to bake on the step 4).
3. While crust is in the oven, soften dulce de leche in a small saucepan until it is soft enough to spread easily on crust. Spread on crust that you baked on step 2.
4. Stir or knead the rest of the cookie ingredients: 1 roll sugar cookie dough, 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 cups oats, 1 tsp vanilla. Crumble this mixture evenly over the dulce de leche. Bake for 20-25 min or until somewhat golden brown. Bars will continue to cook once you take them out of the oven.
5. Let them cool for 30 min. Then refrigerate for 1 hour. 
6. Cut in squares of your desired size and ENJOY! 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Quinoa (the name comes from the Spanish spelling of the Quechua name kinwa) originated in the Andes region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. It has been around for over 3,000 years, but most of us didn't know about it until it recently became a superfood. It contains essential amino acids and good quantities of calcium, phosphate, manganese, folate and protein.

Quinoa is generally cooked the same way as rice, except it has a much faster cooking time, and it can be used in many dishes. You can use it in salads, casseroles, hot breakfast cereal, stir fries, or just eat it instead of rice in any meal. Don't let the name discourage you or intimidate you. Give this salad a try and you will realize how easy to make quinoa is :)

Quinoa Black Bean Salad
Adapted from EatLiveRun

Serves 6-8



1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
2 ears fresh corn, kernels chopped off (no cooking) or 1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, diced
cilantro to taste, I used half a bunch


Juice of 1-2 limes
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp cumin or to taste
salt to taste


First cook quinoa: rinse 1/2 cup quinoa. Bring quinoa to a boil with the broth or water (I like broth because it makes a tastier quinoa). Reduce heat and simmer for 13-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Place all the other ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss to combine. If you are not eating all of it right away, I suggest you leave out the avocado and add it before eating.

In a small bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients. Add quinoa to salad, then pour the dressing over the mix. Toss well and enjoy! 

Salad keeps for up to 5 days refrigerated in a sealed container. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Black Bean Burgers

Beans are among my favorite things to eat. I probably make black bean something once every week- black bean enchiladas, black bean chicken casserole, black beans and rice, a salad with black beans. What can I say, I absolutely love black beans! 

It has not been that way forever. I used to think beans were boring. Back in Honduras, the staple everyday meal consists of beans, rice, and chicken and for most families homemade corn tortillas. Most people eat that or something like that every single day. Rice is cheap, beans are (or more like used to) cheap (they aren't so cheap anymore, sadly), chicken is just our poultry of prefernce, and tortillas are our version of bread. Anyway, this plain way of serving beans made me like them not so much, until I discovered cuban style black beans :) Then I realized you could make awesome things with black beans! Throw some salsa in, some rice and chicken, hot sauce and you have an awesome simple meal. 

Now, black bean burgers probably sound like something that is just taking black beans a little to far, but trust me, if you like beans you will like black bean burgers! They are easy to make, easy to freeze, easy to throw together on a busy weeknight, and they are one tasty mess (or at least mine are). 

Black Bean Burger
Adapted from EatLiveRun
Makes around 6 patties (eat what you want, and freeze the rest of the patties!)

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed 
1 cup corn, drained and rinsed (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced (can be left out)
1/2 cup of breadcrumbs or panko
1 egg white
3 tbsp ketchup or tomato paste
2 tbsp salsa (only if you have it)
2-3 tsp cumin (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce to taste


1. Mash 3/4 of the black beans and garlic with a fork ( if you own a food processor that works even better). When beans look smooth and resemble black bean dip add the jalapeno, spices, panko or breadcrumbs, salsa, and ketchup or tomato paste. Stir well. At this point, try the mash and adjust the seasonings to taste. Add the corn and the left over black beans into the mix and stir until combined. Finally, add the egg white and mix everything until smooth. 

2. Form black bean mixture into patties, and set in a cookie sheet. If ready to eat them, heat a little oil in a skillet and fry each patty for 3-4 min on each side, until crispy and golden. If freezing, set the patties in a baking sheet and place them in the freezer. When firm enough, store them in an airtight freezer bag. When ready to eat heat some oil and fry. No need to thaw!

3. Serve on a hamburger buns, with lettuce, tomato, avocado, ketchup and extra hot sauce!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chinese Dumplings

Chinese Dumplings

Dumplings, potstickers, gyoza- whatever name you know them by we can all agree they are delicious!
I was first introduced to dumplings back in Honduras by my friend Pauline  when we went out for dinner to a chinese restaurant with her family. Pauline talked to  the chef about what our group would want to eat, and they made it for us to order! The things she ordered where not even on the menu (and that is because in Honduras all chinese restaurants offer is fried rice and lo mien) She is that cool! 

Now don't be discouraged, this are very easy to make. You can fold like a half moon or with pleats. Its a great activity for bonding!

Special thanks to my friend Tyra for taking some awesome pictures and sharing a lovely afternoon with me :)

Chinese Dumplings
Recipe by Pauline 
Tutorial pictures from Steamy Kitchen

Makes approx. 50 dumplings


1 package of round dumpling wrappers
2 lbs ground pork
1 nappa cabbage or regular cabbage (chopped, blanched and squeezed) 
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1tbsp sesame oil


1. Mix the pork, cabbage, green onions, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a bowl. If not ready to use right away refrigerate for up to 1 day.

2. Prepare your work area: put water in a little bowl (this will be the "glue"), have a baking sheet ready to place the dumplings, cut a piece of plastic wrap that is big enough to cover the baking sheet.

3. Take one dumpling wrapper, spoon about 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture onto the middle of the wrapper. Dip one finger into the water and “paint” the edges of the dumpling wrapper. Bring up the bottom side of the wrapper, fold up and press to shape into a half-moon shape or make pleats, encasing all of the filling. Place on baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and repeat with rest of dumplings. Make sure that the dumplings do not touch each other on the sheet.

4. When all your dumplings are ready you can do two things: cook them, or freeze them for a later use. If cooking, heat a large nonstick pan with 1 tablespoon of cooking oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the dumplings, flat side down, not touching, to the pan. Let fry for 1 minute until the bottoms are light golden brown. Pour 1/4 cup of water into the pan and immediately cover with a tight fitting lid. Turn heat to medium and let the dumplings steam for 3 minutes. Open lid and let the remaining liquid cook off about 1 minute.

5. If freezing, place the dumplings in the freezer for 1 hour. Store them in ziplock bags. When ready to eat follow step #4, no need to thaw them.

Serve with soy sauce, gyoza dipping sauce, or mix 3 tbsp. soy sauce, 3 tbsp, of rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp. sesame oil.