Cervical Cancer Awareness Month Meatless Monday: Grapefruit Spinach Salad Recipe

11,818 women in the United States were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2010. Fortunately, cervical cancer is the easiest gynecological cancer to prevent through regular screening and maintaining healthy habits, including eating nutritious foods. This Meatless Monday in January which is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, I'm sharing a delicious grapefruit and spinach salad recipe full of cancer-fighting nutrients.

Meatless_Monday_Cervical_Cancer_Awareness_Citrus_Grapefruit-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

Natalie's Grapefruit and Spinach Salad Recipe

Ingredientes

  • 1 medium pink grapefruit
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small jicama, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Instrucciones

  1. Cut grapefruit in half. With a sharp knife, cut around each section to loosen fruit, keeping some juice.
  2. In a salad bowl, toss the spinach, onion, grapefruit, and jicama.
  3. In a jar with a lid, combine the vinegar, oil, honey, mustard, remaining grapefruit juice, salt, and pepper and shake well. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.
  4. Garnish with almonds. Enjoy!

Meatless_Monday_Cervical_Cancer_Awareness_Citrus_Spinach_Grapefruit_Salad_Recipe-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

This spinach ensalada topped with grapefruit is an easy and delicious way to get plenty of cancer-fighting vitamin C. I also love the combination of flavors in this receta: the citrus intensifies the sabor while jicama and almonds add texture.

Spreading awareness of cervical cancer is particularly important in Hispanic communities. The incidence of death from cervical cancer for Latina women in the United States is almost twice as high as non-Hispanic white women. Why? Latinas are less likely to get screened. Encourage all of the mujeres in your life to take simple, preventative measures to reduce their risk.

4 Ways to Reduce your Risk of Cervical Cancer

  1. Get the HPV vaccination: Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can be transmitted during sex. While HPV usually goes away on its own, in rare cases it doesn't, possibly causing cervical cancer. Doctors recommend a vaccine for 11 and 12 year old girls as well as women under the age of 26 who were not vaccinated. Older women may benefit from the vaccine as well.
  2. Get screened regularly: Cervical cancer is highly curable when found and treated early. Pap smears can detect cervical pre-cancer before it turns into cancer. Women 21 to 29 should have a Pap smear every 3 years then beginning at age 30, combine the Pap test with an HPV test every 5 years.
  3. Nix the nicotine: Women who smoke are about twice as likely as non-smokers to get cervical cancer. Don't know how to kick this habit? Click here for tips.
  4. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables: Plants are loaded with minerals and antioxidants that can help your body fight off an HPV infection, and slow or stop the process that turns normal cervical cells into cancerous ones.

Committing to a healthy diet can improve your likelihood of remaining cancer-free. Make each meal count and choose foods with cancer-fighting properties, like those I share in Angelina Jolie Inspired Meatless Monday: 7 Cancer Fighting Foods. Be sure to pack your plate with vitamin C: this power vitamina may reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer.

Too many families have experienced the pain of losing a loved one to cancer. While all women are at risk for cervical cancer, we can take action to reduce our chances of developing the disease, beginning with what we eat.

 ¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What will you do to reduce your risk of cervical cancer?

Meatless Monday: Día de Reyes Rosca Recipe

The holiday season isn’t over yet--at least not for many in Spain, Latin America, and here in the U.S. celebrating Dia de los Reyes Magos or Three Kings’ Day. Also known as Three Wise Men Day or Epiphany, Día de Reyes in its abbreviated form is a Christian holiday celebrated 12 days after Christmas on January 6th when the Three Kings visited baby Jesus. Many cities host parades and festivals to celebrate. Families exchange gifts and savor a traditional  Rosca de Reyes or King’s Cake.

The rosca is a wreath-shaped sweet bread topped with candied fruit to symbolize a king’s jeweled crown. The metaphorical "jewel in the crown" is actually the small figurine representing the baby Jesus which is hidden inside. In Mexico, tradition follows that whoever gets the slice with the figurine will have good luck. But there's a party hook: the rosca good tidings come with an obligation to host a tamales party on February 2nd, Día de la Canderlaria or Candlemas Day.

A delicious rosca is not only easy to make but can be made healthier with a few recipe modifications.

Health Tip: I substitute whole-wheat flour and dried cranberries for white flour and candied cherries.

Meatless_Monday_Kings_Day_Rosca-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

Natalie's Healthy Rosca de Reyes Recipe

Ingredientes

Cake

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • ¼ cup milk, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups of candied or dried fruit (cherries, figs, pineapples, etc.)
  • ¼ pecans, chopped

Garnish

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • candied or dried cherries
  • candied orange peel

Instrucciones

  1. In a large bowl combine flour, dry yeast, salt, sugar and cinnamon.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine egg, butter, vanilla, and milk. Stir wet mixture and candied fruits into the dry ingredients. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  3. Knead the mixture by hand and form a large dough ball. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, set it in a warm place and let rise for approximately 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, form a ring by rolling dough into a long tube shape and connecting the ends. Place dough ring on a greased cooking sheet.
  6. Insert a glass or plastic baby figurine anywhere in the underside of the dough ring. No toy? I used one almond as a last-minute substitution.
  7. In a small bowl mix 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of water to make egg wash. Brush egg wash over dough.
  8. Decorate with fruit and citrus peels.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until dough is golden.

¡Qué rico! The "icing on the cake" is actually piping hot chocolate which I pair with this cake.

Holiday traditions are an important part of culture and are an opportunity to focus on what is most important—spending time with loved ones. Maximize the time and energy shared with familia and friends by taking care of your health.

Happy Día de los Reyes Magos!

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What is your favorite holiday dessert?

¡TWLC Wishes You a Happy New Year!

Whatever your tradition,

the close of the year

is an opportunity to renew

our Faith, nurtured by

gratitude for health, sustenance,

family, friends...

...and love.

TWLC_Wishes_You_Happy_New_Year-TheWiseLatinaClub

The Wise Latina Club is nearly three years old. We've changed and grown. We've tried new things. Sometimes we jumped and made it across the abyss. Other times, like Wile E. Coyote, we didn't. Always, you--our loyalists--have stood by our side, reading, engaging, sharing, and challenging us to be better as we work to bring you a current and fresh point of view on the issues that set our souls on fire.

From our families to yours, may your heart fill with inspiration during this season as we prepare to welcome like the Three Kings or Los Reyes Magos the possibilities and hope that come with new beginnings. Click here to read our holiday season newsletter with links to great posts on Viviana's media commentary, education, and vegetarian recipes.

Feliz Navidad, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and  to our champions for whom we are eternally grateful!

~ Viviana, Natalie, and Aundrea

What are you New Years resolutions?

New Year's Meatless Monday: Traditional New Year's Dishes and Healthy Resolutions

Start the new year right by serving traditional foods believed to bring luck and make healthy resolutions.

Growing up, I spent New Year’s Day with familia in Florida. My grandfather insisted we eat black-eyed peas to bring good luck.

Meatless_Monday_New_Year_Black_Eyed_Peas-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

Cultures across the globe practice variations of this New Year's custom. Whether or not you believe in the superstition, share the tradition with friends and family and serve these vegetarian New Year’s foods at your Nuevo Año gathering:

Vegetarian Traditional New Year's Foods

  • Black eyed peas and collard greens: A tradition which originated in the U.S. South, black-eyed peas bring luck and collard greens, whose green leaves symbolize money, represent good fortune to come. These foods are also a smart choice for your health, as both beans and greens are high in protein.
  • 12 Grapes: Eat a grape at each of the 12 strokes of midnight or one each minute for the last 12 minutes of the year. This tradition started in Spain and is practiced across Latin America. Keep this habit up all year: grapes are a healthy snack.
  • Lentils: These small beans look like coins and are eaten on January 1st in many cultures to bring prosperity. In Brazil, lentil soup and lentils with rice are New Year's favorites.
  • Buñuelos: In Mexico these crispy cinnamon sugar cookies are a popular Nuevo Año treat. Be sure to enjoy all desserts in moderation.
  • Ponche: If you are serving spirits, this hot tequila-infused fruit punch is a Mexican favorite.

Meatless_Monday_New_Years_Grapes-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

New Year's is not only a great occasion to celebrate with friends and family, it is a perfect time for personal reflection and setting goals for the upcoming year. Nothing is more important than your health. Set resolutions for 2014 to keep your body healthy.

I’m striving to stick to these healthy habits all year:

Natalie's 5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Eat leafy greens: Leafy green plants like spinach, lettuce, and kale are calorie for calorie, probably the most concentrated source of nutrients you can eat. I plan to eat a salad or green smoothie each day to increase my energy levels. Not sure how to prepare your greens? I’ve got you covered. I share recipes for salads in Meatless Monday: Massaged Kale Salad Recipe and Breast Cancer Awareness Month Meatless Monday: Cancer-Fighting Salad Recipe and green smoothies in Nutrition: ¡Go Green for your Health!.
  2. Drink more water: Drinking agua helps your body function and keeps you from overeating throughout the day. To reach my goal of 8 glasses a day, I plan to flavor my H20 with citrus or make agua de fruta, as I recommend in Nutrition: 5 Easy Ways to Add More Water to Your Diet.
  3. Make smart dessert choices: I have a sweet tooth and like to finish each meal with dessert. This year I will choose healthier desserts like fruit salads, make smart substitutions like eating frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, and eat unhealthy treats in moderation, as I recommend in Meatless Monday: Latino Holiday Desserts.
  4. Be aware of what you eat: The easiest way to consume too many calories is not paying attention to what and how much you consume. I will stick to easy habits like eating slowly and never eating in front of the TV or while on the go.
  5. Exercise regularly: Keeping your body healthy requires both a balanced diet and regular physical activity. I incorporate activities I love into my routine, like biking to work and taking salsa lessons. Working out doesn’t have to feel like work! Click here for more of my fitness suggestions.

This New Year’s week celebrate the good times you have had in 2013. But with both feet pointed ahead, plan to make 2014 a great year. With delicious foods fabled to bring luck and healthy resolutions that are easy to stick with, you are off to a great start!

Happy New Year!

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What are your resolutions to stay healthy in 2014?

Christmas Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Latino Holiday Dishes

Christmas Day traditions including what time dinner is served and the dishes on the table vary between the U.S. and Latin America. Celebrate this diversity of cultures and add vegetarian options from countries across the Americas to your Christmas meal.

When my husband and I spend Christmas with my family in Oklahoma, we start the festivities the morning of the 25th by opening presents from Santa Claus and the familia over coffee and later sit down to a Christmas lunch. When we spend Navidad in Mexico, the celebration takes place on Christmas Eve, known as Nochebuena. We gather in the early evening and spend hours chatting, watching fireworks, and enjoying waves of abundant appetizers followed by a Christmas meal which lasts until midnight when we hug and the niños open presents which magically appear at 12:00.

In both traditions, family and food are central to the celebration.

As a vegetarian, I never have to miss out on my favorite Christmas flavors in the U.S. or Mexico as many holiday classics are naturally meatless or can be made vegetarian by substituting ingredients.

Christmas_Meatless_Monday_Vegetarian_Latino_Tamales-TheWiseLatinoClub-NatalieFierro

Whenever and wherever you sit down to celebrate with your loved ones, add these vegetarian Latino classics:

A Vegetarian Latino Christmas Spread

  • Start with sopa: Colombians enjoy flavorful ajiaco soup during the holidays. Check out my meatless version of the receta in Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Colombian Ajiaco Soup Recipe. Starting with a vegetable-based soup is a nutritious choice which makes you feel full so you won't overeat later.
  • Tamales: My husband Roberto's abuela would spend an entire day making corn masa tamales in bulk for everyone to enjoy during the night and  for breakfast the next day. Serve meatless jalapeño and cheese tamales or vegan black bean tamales with fresh salsa. Did you know tamales can be sweet, too? Set aside some pineapple tamales for dessert.
  • Frijoles charros: This Mexican holiday favorite traditionally cooks beans with bacon, but this recipe achieves the smokey sabor using smoked onions and peppers.
  • Mashed potatoes with South American sabor: Mashed potatoes are always a Christmas staple in my casa. Add Latino flavor by using Andean ingredients purple potatoes or sweet potatoes instead of American Idahos. Get creative and replace the potatoes with mashed yucca which I write about in Bolivian Independence Day Meatless Monday: Garlic Mashed Yuca Recipe or vegetarian mofongo, a Puerto Rican mashed plantains dish.
  • Pigeon Pea Rice. Puerto Ricans, Panamanians, and Dominicans celebrate Navidad with arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) flavored with vegetables and onions. Make any rice dish more nutritious by using brown rice which has more fiber and minerals than white rice.
  • Finish with flan: This light and sweet postre is my favorite Latino holiday tradition. Try Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.'s pumpkin flan video recipe here. For more Latino dessert ideas, check out Meatless Monday: Latino Holiday Desserts.

The best family gatherings last longer than one meal, so plan to have healthy finger-foods around for your guests to enjoy for hours. I share 7 vegetarian appetizers in Meatless Monday: Holiday Party Vegetarian Appetizers.

Maintain a healthy weight this holiday season by choosing the healthiest options available and enjoying holiday foods in moderation. Skipping the meat is one choice which can reduce your fat and calorie intake. Plus, when you choose vegetable-based dishes, you get more of the important vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Not sure if healthy choices will be available? Plan to take a nutritious dish to share and help your loved ones make healthy choices, too!

Living a healthy lifestyle requires making smart food choices all of the time--even during the holidays. This Christmas serve meatless options at dinner for the vegetarians at your table and for your health. However you celebrate, your family will love trying new healthy Latino flavors.

Feliz Navidad and Happy Holidays!

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What are your favorite vegetarian holiday dishes?

Meatless Monday: Holiday Party Vegetarian Appetizers

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the frequent gatherings with friends and family over delicious food. Yet often when I attend receptions and parties, I am disappointed by how few vegetarian appetizers are available. Plan a delicious spread for everyone to enjoy at your next holiday fiesta and serve healthy vegetarian hors d'oeuvres.

Meatless finger-foods are not just for vegetarians. Reducing your meat intake cuts fat from your diet and can reduce your risk of diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Much of what makes meatless dishes sabroso are flavorful fruits and vegetables, which should make up at least ½ of what you eat.

Even non-vegetarians will want seconds of these healthy, meatless snacks:

Meatless_Monday_Vegetarian_Appetizers_Vegetable_Empanadas-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

Natalie’s Favorite Meatless Party Appetizers

  1. Salsa and guacamole with tortilla chips: Not only are these dips with sabor Latino delicious crowd-pleasers, they are made with fresh vegetables and are good for you! Avocados provide healthy fats your body needs while tomatoes, onions, garlic, and lime are full of vitamins. Check out my guacamole recipe in Labor Day Meatless Monday: Fresh Guacamole Recipe and my homemade salsa receta in Meatless Monday: My Suegra’s Homemade Summer Salsa. Keep this starter healthy by choosing baked chips without added salt.
  2. Colombian patacones with hagao sauce: These fried green plantains are sabroso and easy for guests to grab as I share in Meatless Monday: Colombian Independence Day Patacones with Hogao Sauce. Cook plantains in olive oil and go easy on the salt to keep this dish low in sodium and fat.
  3. Veggie empanadas: Savory pastries are fun to make and great to eat. Try the potato empanada recipe I share in Meatless Monday: Costa Rican Potato Empanadas, or experiment with other meatless fillings like cheese and mushrooms, black beans and rice, or corn and mixed veggies.
  4. Fresh fruit: Add natural sweetness to your spread with a platter of bite-sized mango, apples, grapes, strawberries, melon, and pineapple or any combination of your favorite frutas. For extra flavor, serve with sweet yogurt-based dip like this one.
  5. Vegetable tray: You can’t make a healthier choice than fresh, raw veggies! Chop tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, squash, and celery and serve with healthy homemade garlic or roasted red pepper hummus instead of high-fat dips like ranch and peanut butter.
  6. Bruschetta: A whole grain baguette drizzled with olive oil and topped with a tomato mixture is a fresh and nutritious appetizer. I love to serve the tomato basil bruschetta recipe I share in Meatless Monday: End-of-Summer Tomato and Basil Bruschetta Recipe.

Meatless_Monday_Vegetarian_Appetizers_Vegetables_Hummus-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro (1)

A table of flavorful appetizers is a great way to bring people together and can be a smart way to prevent overeating later at the dinner table. Make healthy choices to avoid holiday weight gain and steer clear of cheese platters, eggnog, and other dairy-based snacks that can be high in fat and calories.

Remember--even healthy foods should be enjoyed in moderation. It’s easy to overindulge when good food is abundant and conversation keeps you from paying attention to what you eat. Stand far from the food table and use small plates so you don’t pile on too many treats, as I suggest in Meatless Monday: Latino Holiday Desserts.

Everyone  loves mingling over good food. Make it easy for you and all of your guests to make smart choices this season and serve healthy vegetarian appetizers.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What are your favorite meatless appetizers?

Meatless Monday: Latino Holiday Desserts

This Meatless Monday, I’m focusing on the course that is always vegetarian--dessert. Nothing makes a holiday gathering like great food, especially post-dinner sweets. This year, add Latino sabor to your holiday fiestas with delicious desserts with an Hispanic flare.

Traditional holiday foods evoke memories of time spent with familia. My husband loves sweet Mexican cookies with hot chocolate in the winter, and an amiga from El Salvador insists on having arroz con leche at each family gathering.

Add these treats to your menu:

Natalie's Sabor Latino Holiday Dessert Ideas

  • Tres leches cake: This sweet sponge cake is made with three types of milk. Choose a recipe like this one that uses nonfat milk to cut calories. 
  • Pumpkin flan: A sweet flan is a perfect way to end any meal. The Wise Latina Club’s Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D. shares a delicious pumpkin flan recipe here.
  • Mexican sugar cookies: Also referred to as Mexican wedding cookies, these powdered-sugar covered polvorones are a popular holiday treat.
  • Arroz con leche: Creamy rice pudding flavored with cinnamon and raisins is one of my favorite desserts. This recipe uses brown rice and lowfat milk to make this classic dessert healthier.
  • Churros: Since first trying them in Spain, I have loved these doughy treats served with hot chocolate. Reduce the fat by choosing a baked churros recipe instead of a fried version.
  • Ponche: At family Christmases in Mexico, this hot spiced fruit punch keeps us warm as we talk and eat late into the night.

Meatless_Monday_Holiday_Desserts_Pumpkin_Flan-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

As a vegetarian, dessert is an easier course for me than others where meat reigns such as appetizers and the entrée. But festive gatherings mean consuming more food than normal and more tempting sweets that could lead to holiday weight gain. Although I have a sweet tooth, I have managed to find ways to satisfy it while maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.

Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too? It’s all about choices that cut back on sugar, fat, and calories!

3 Tips for Healthy Holiday Desserts

  1. Choose fruit-based treats: Raw fruit is your healthiest dessert option, but if you’re craving something a bit sweeter, try chocolate dipped strawberries or bananas, caramelized pears, or fruit salad.
  2. Bake with healthy ingredients: Making Christmas cookies? Substitute healthy alternatives for high-fat ingredients. Always use whole-wheat flour instead of white flour, replace butter with applesauce, choose nonfat or nondairy milk over whole milk, buttermilk, or cream, and choose light versions of sour cream and cheeses.
  3. Don’t overindulge: Even healthy desserts should be enjoyed in moderation. At home, store desserts in an out-of-sight location like on top of the fridge instead of out on the countertop. At parties, choose a smaller plate so you won't pile on too many sweets, and don’t stand next to the food table where you are more likely to grab seconds and thirds. Whenever possible, have healthy snacks such as fresh fruits or unsalted nuts available as an alternative to the chocolate layer cake.

Click here for 31 healthy dessert ideas. 

Making smart dietary choices is important to maintaining good health. Avoiding excess sugar can help prevent diet-related diseases like diabetes and obesity.

Celebrate the holidays with a new Latino dessert receta, and enjoy your favorite sweets in moderation all year long. The best gift you can give loved ones is your health.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What are your favorite holiday desserts?

Hanukkah Meatless Monday: Potato Latkes Recipe

Hanukkah falls this year November 27- December 5, and I’m celebrating the Jewish Festival of Lights this Meatless Monday by making sabroso potato latkes.

I learned how to make vegetarian latkes from Chef Barry Koslow of DGS Delicatessen in Washington, DC who volunteered to teach a cooking lesson in my classroom during Growing Healthy Schools Week. He shared that latkes are a part of his family's Jewish tradition and showed us how to make them from scratch.

Chef Koslow emphasized that cooking with fresh ingredients is always healthier than processed alternatives and encouraged eager estudiantes to pursue their interest in cooking. My students have not stopped talking about the experience a month later. This student buzz is no surprise. As The Wise Latina Club's Aundrea Gregg explains in Education Wednesday: A Lesson From Our Business Leaders, community leaders outside of education can have a profound impact on future generations.

Hanukkah_Meatless_Monday_Latkes-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

Hanukkah Potato Latkes Recipe

Ingredientes

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 eggs, beaten (Chef Koslow uses only egg yokes, which have more cholesterol but he prefers the taste)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional garnish: light sour cream and applesauce

Instrucciones

  1. Peel and grate potatoes and onion.
  2. Place shredded potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring out as much moisture as possible. (No cheesecloth? Use a coffee filter or clean, thin cloth like a pillowcase).
  3. In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour, and salt.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form 1/4 inch thick patties. Let cook for about one minute on each side, until brown.
  5. Remove from heat and set on paper towels to drain.
  6. Serve hot and garnish with light sour cream and homemade applesauce.

This recipe is fun to make and delicious! Make your latkes healthier by using egg whites and skipping the sour cream garnish to cut fat and calories. Vegan? Try this recipe.

Hanukkah is an important eight-day Jewish holiday which commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BC when a small group of Jews, the Maccabeans, revolted against Greek rulers who had forbidden Jewish religious practice. When they prevailed, the Maccabeans's first action was to re-light the menorah with a day's worth of oil they found in the temple, which miraculously lasted for eight days. Latkes are shared at Hannukah because as a food cooked in oil, they remind observers of this miracle.

Judaism and Latin America share a rich history, dating back to the Spanish Inquisition when many Jews settled in the Americas after being persecuted and exiled from Spain. Today, approximately 500,000 Latinos are Jewish and live across the region, with large communities in Argentina and Brazil. In the United States, Miami has a large concentration of Jewish Latinos who immigrated from Cuba in the 1960s.

Good food is my favorite way to celebrate culture. Serve latkes this Hanukkah week, and you will want these appetizers on your menu all year long!

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What festive foods will you be eating this holiday season?

Thanksgiving Meatless Monday: Masa Cornbread and Chili Pepper Stuffing Recipe

Living in a bi-cultural Mexican-American household, my Thanksgiving is full of Latino flavors. This masa cornbread and chili pepper stuffing recipe adds a spicy twist to a traditional favorite.

Although my  husband grew up in México, the influence of his American grandpa meant that his familia celebrated Thanksgiving south-of-the-border every year. They regularly integrate Hispanic flavors into the traditional meal by adapting American recetas and serving traditional Hispanic dishes alongside Thanksgiving classics. Now we continue the tradition in our home.

This recipe uses masa cornbread and spicy chilis for a healthy, meatless, Latino-style stuffing.

MeatlessMonday_Thanksgiving_Latino_Stuffing_Ingredients-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

Masa Cornbread and Chili Pepper Stuffing Recipe

Masa Cornbread Ingredientes

  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 2/3 cups milk or soy milk
  • 2 eggs (cooking vegan? substitute ½ cup applesauce and 2 teaspoons of baking powder)

Instucciones

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together masa, cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, milk, and eggs until smooth, then stir mixture into dry ingredients until evenly blended.
  4. Transfer batter to a 13 x 9 x 2-inch greased  pan.
  5. Bake cornbread for 15-20 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Stuffing Ingredientes

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 Anaheim chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 4 fresh poblano chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 4 large fresh jalapeño chiles, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 13 x 9-inch loaf masa cornbread , crumbled into small pieces
  • 1 ½  cup vegetable broth

Instrucciones

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add all chilis and saute 15 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin.
  3. Transfer vegetable mixture to a medium bowl and stir in fresh cilantro.
  4. Place cornbread pieces in very large bowl and gently fold in vegetable mixture. Pour broth over stuffing and toss gently. Transfer to greased 15 x 10 x 2- inch baking dish.
  5. Cover dish with foil and bake 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake 30 minutes longer. Let cool, serve, and enjoy!

MeatlessMonday_Thanksgiving_Latino_Stuffing-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

I love the spicy kick to this stuffing! Not only is this dish delicioso, it’s a healthy choice. Sweet and hot peppers are packed with vitamins and carotenoids which can help your body fight various forms of cancer. Using low fat milk or soy milk in the cornbread and sauteing veggies in olive oil instead of butter keeps this dish low in fat and calories. You’ll want seconds of this side!

Need more Latin flavor on your table? Try these great tips:

5 Ways to Add Latino Sabor to Thanksgiving

  1. Serve popular Latino sides rice, beans, and salsa: My good amiga from Nicaragua always serves rice on her Thanksgiving table and my husband’s familia includes frijoles charros, a Mexican holiday favorite. Salsa goes great with everything; I share my mother-in-law’s recipe in Meatless Monday: My Suegra’s Homemade Summer Salsa.
  2. Tamales are a must: Made with corn flour, filling and delicious tamales fit right in with fall flavors.
  3. Mash yuca instead of potatoes: Bring South America to the table with this root plant native to the Andes. I share a sabroso recipe in Bolivian Independence Day Meatless Monday: Garlic Mashed Yuca Recipe.
  4. Keep plenty of tortillas on hand: My esposo loves day-after-Thanksgiving turkey tacos.
  5. Flan for dessert: Replace the pumpkin pie with pumpkin flan--or serve both! The Wise Latina Club’s Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D. shares a delicious pumpkin flan recipe here

Hispanics make up 17% of the population in America, and that number is projected to increase to 31% by 2060. Experiment this year by inviting a "new guest" to your Thanksgiving meal--a Latino recipe to compliment your traditional dishes.

This Thanksgiving, be thankful for culture, traditions, and good food which bring families and friends together all year.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

Any Latino recipes at your Thanksgiving feast?

Meatless Monday: A Vegetarian Thanksgiving Spread

When I first gave up meat, my mother would panic when trying to plan holiday meals. What could a vegetarian possibly eat at Thanksgiving? My answer­: plenty!

Skipping the carne doesn't mean you can't enjoy Thanksgiving. I personally never feel like I miss out on my favorite holiday tastes because it's not the turkey alone but the combination of fall flavors and time spent around the table with familia that makes it feel like Thanksgiving.

While some vegetarians opt for a "tofurky" substitute, I add a meatless casserole or pasta for the main course or skip the entree all together and fill up on classic sides like sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.

Whether you have a vegetarian at the table this month or you are cutting back on the meat yourself, plan to serve a meatless option for every course.

Meatless_Monday_Vegan_Thanksgiving_Sides-TheWiseLatinaClub-NatalieFierro

Natalie's Meatless Thanksgiving Spread

Appetizers

  • Nuts: Set out unsalted almonds, cashews, and walnuts for a healthy protein-packed snack. Added bonus: nuts are filling so you are less likely to overeat later.
  • Raw vegetables and hummus: A classic veggie tray of colorful bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli never gets old. Not only will you save prep time with this simple no-cook starter,  many raw veggies have even more nutrients than their cooked counterparts, as I mention in Meatless Monday: A Day of Raw Food Recipes.
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds: Prepping for this simple recipe is a great task for kids who like to get their hands dirty!

Starters

Entrees

Sides

Desserts

  • Pumpkin pie: For the first time ever this year, I used this recipe to make pie from a real pumpkin.
  • Pecan pie: My abuela made pecan pie each Thanksgiving with pecans harvested from the trees in the front yard. Every bite brings back great family memories.

Even without the meat, you will still leave the table stuffed!

Choosing healthy vegetarian dishes can be a smart move for your health. Cutting back on your meat intake reduces your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer

The purpose of Thanksgiving is to spend time with loved ones and to give thanks--you can do that no matter what foods grace your feast. Let's be grateful for good health and add meatless dishes into your menu not just for the vegetarians in your family but for the extra time with them healthy living allows.

¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.

The Wise Latina Club's Natalie Wagner FierroA teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

What is your favorite meatless Thanksgiving dish?