Category: Food

Cooking with Kids DIY Spice Seasonings

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There’s one thing that I really enjoy doing with my son, and it’s cooking!  We recently made a batch of spice seasonings to gift.  Nothing like homemade spices instead of the store bought ones.  You also save a ton of money, too!
We gathered our materials measuring cups, spoons, mason jars and the seasonings.  Then we got started!  Just an FYI it will get very messy!   I also had raffia to decorate and labels for each jar.  We made taco, ranch, Italian, chili and adobo seasonings.

Read More…

Categories: Cooking with Kids, Food

Coquito for Kids Recipe and Free Printable (Puerto Rican Eggnog)

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It’s Christmas, and I am full-Christmas spirit! I planned a Latin flair Christmas party for the kids (post coming soon)!  For the drinks besides  fruit punch, and strawberry lemonade I served coquito for kids.

Coquito is like a Puerto Rican Eggnog and of course, it has liquor in it. It is a creamy coconut-based drink that has rum in it.   But for the kids I’ll be making it “sin” which means “without” the liquor!
Coquito is a very popular drink during Christmas time in Puerto Rico. It takes me back to my isla bonita during the most festive time of the year.
To make this kid-friendly version of coquito I used the following ingredients:

1 packet of pure creamed coconut 7 oz.  (this has no sugar)

1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
2 cans of coconut milk
1/2 cup of sugar*
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Cinnamon sticks
Mix all of the ingredients together and pour in a glass jar.   *Since the creamed coconut has no sugar you can actually adjust the sweetness of your coquito. You can use the 1/2 cup or less if you’d like.

Chill, shake and serve.

Will you be making your own coquito for kids?

I have a free printable for you. It’s actually a jpeg file, that you can print in whatever size you may need. I would suggest to save and upload to a Microsoft Word doc, and adjust the size of the image for your label.

Or you can right click on the image below, and save as. 

¡Buen provecho and Feliz Navidad!

Wrapped Up! Pasteles, Tamales, Humitas and More…

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As a Puerto Rican, pasteles are ingrained in my heart! Then I was introduced to the tamales… 

…Mexican tamales to be exact, and I was hooked!  This opened a door of wrapped up Latino deliciousness that only comes around during the holidays.   Meaning that you will see pasteles, tamales, humitas and hallacas appear mostly during the holidays. Making them takes a lot of work, and time. No wonder they appear once a year.  
What are pasteles? Pasteles are made with a masa that consists of typically grated green banana, green plantain, and other tubers (root vegetables) such as, yautía, potatoes, and pumpkins. The masa is placed on a plantain leaf, and filled with seasoned meat then wrapped up!  Pasteles with similar ingredients to Puerto Rican pasteles are also known in Dominican Republic, and Hawaii. However, in  Trinidad and Tobago it’s called pastelle, and El Salvador pasteles have similar names but the ingredients are like tamales. 

What are tamales? They are a traditional Mexican dish of seasoned meat wrapped in cornmeal dough and steamed or baked in corn husks. You’ll find tamales in Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Peru

What are humitas?  Humitas consists of masa harina and corn, slowly steamed or boiled in a pot of water. They are also very popular in Argentina, Chile, Peru, Cuba and Bolivia.


What are hallacas? Hallaca is a version of the corn tamal stuffed with a stew of beef, pork, and chicken, fish or other seafood.  

It is said that the tamal comes from the indigenous natives of Mexico, and that the recipe has evolved as it has made it’s way through different countries, and regions.  You can see lots of similarity in all of these recipes, and each one represents its unique culture, and ingredients. 

Whether you claim the pasteles, tamales, humitas or hallacas … one thing will ring true, it is comfort food at its best! 
Want to get your kids excited about pasteles or tamales. Take a look at the books below: 

¡Yo Quiero Pasteles!/I Want Pasteles! (Bilingual-Dual Language) (English Edition) (Spanish Edition)

Categories: Food

Discovering Ecuador with Kids: Espumillas Ecuadorian Street Food

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Every country has it’s own traditional sweet treat, and Ecuador has espumillas!  Espumilla is a guava meringue cream and a very popular Ecuadorian street food.  
Little one had a few friends over, and together we learned about Ecuador’s delicious espumilla. We watched a video in Spanish on how a local lady makes her espumilla for a living.  She does the whole process by hand!!!  Amazing!!

Of course, we used a blender.  

The original recipe calls for pureed guavas, sugar, and egg whites. For our version, we didn’t have fresh guavas. So I improvised and used guava paste.  Since the guava paste is already sweetened I cut back on the sugar used for this recipe.  

The kids really enjoyed making their very own espumilla!  They took turns mixing, and using the blender. LOL 
They loved adding sprinkles on it, and of course there were mixed reviews on how it  tasted.  I think when you put something on a cone you’re thinking “cold” ice cream.  However, espumilla is not ice cream, and it is not cold.  One of the girls loved hers, the others including my son not so much.  I enjoyed it! It’s a yummy sticky treat! 😉 

While some of the kiddos savored the espumillas they learned some fun facts from Ecuador: 
  • Ecuador is named after the equator which runs through the country. 
  • Ecuador is the only country in South America that does not share a border with Brazil. 
  • Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas. 
  • Ecuador’s currency is the U.S. dollar. 
  • Ecuador’s official language but there are also 13 other languages! 
This post is part of Multicultural Kid Blogs monthly Global Learning for Kids series featuring Ecuador.  

Still fascinated by Ecuador?  
Make migajones from Ecuador by Kid World Citizen. If you’re planning to visit Ecuador read Hispanic Mama’s 12 places In Ecuador that you should visit or drool with another of her posts on Ecuadorian candy
Last but not least, read  about Ladydeelg’s train ride in Ecuador: From Quito to Machachi, and her post on 10 Fun Things to do with Kids in Ecuador
For more facts about Ecuador read National Geographic for Kids.
¡Hasta la próxima! 

Homemade Corn Tortillas Cooking with Kids

My child came home one day, super excited about a story he read at school! He pulls out his school book from his backpack, and shows me the page of the recipe.  
He says, “¡Mamá let’s make tortillas!” It’s a short story from his school text book, and I can’t remember the story line but it surely made an impression on him.  
Of course, I’ve never made homemade corn tortillas. So this was going to be a challenge especially since I didn’t have a tortilla press.  So I improvised with two plates, and some saran wrap (plastic wrap).  My sweet mom later on sent me a two tortilla press that I now use instead of the plates. 🙂 
Here’s the tortilla recipe: 
  • 2 cups masa harina (traditional corn flour) 
  • 1 tsp. sea salt 
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda 
  • 2 cups very warm water 
  • 1 tsp. oil 
In a large bowl, mix corn flour, salt, baking soda, warm water and oil. Stir until dough stays together and does not break apart. Knead until dough forms a large ball. It should be soft and not sticky. Cover and let stand for two minutes. Pull off balls of dough, and roll each one into a small ball circle. Flatten with the press or (like we did with two plates).  Heat a heavy iron pan (or an electric skillet).   Cook the tortillas until both sides are golden brown.  
Makes 12 tortillas. 
I have to admit these came out yummy although the texture was just missing something…. but I’ll figure it out. Practice makes perfect, no? 
This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs Global Learning for Kids Series. This month featuring Mexico. Do you have a post on Mexico? Be sure to link-up below!

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Global Sweets {Candy Swap}

Sweet tooth anyone? Perhaps, sweets from Europe? Yes, please!

A few weeks ago we participated in a global candy swap, and we were thrilled to explore Germany’s and France’s sweet treats!

What made this candy swap much more fun was that I was paired with my good friend Annabelle from The Piri-Piri Lexicon!   She mailed us a wonderful packet with sweet treats from France and Germany to indulge in! This is a note from her with an explanation of the sweets:

Here is a sweet little package for you all to discover Germany and France. We hope you have a sweet tooth.
From Germany: Gummi Bears: these can be find in many countries but they are a real classic in Germany. People give them to kids all the time (usually in small packets). Many people use them as part of a cute wrapping when giving a gift to a child too.
Ritter chocolate: A typical and very popular German chocolate. It comes in many varieties and flavors. Hope you like that one.
Toffifee: Also a very typical and traditional German chocolate treat with caramel inside. These remind me of my first encounter with real German culture as my flat mate (who became one of my best friends) used to get them in her care packages from home when we lived together in the UK.
Hanuta: Germans are big on chocolate and nuts. This is one way of eating both together. My kids love those in their snack boxes.


From France: Pâtes de fruit (in different colored wrappings) These are a very traditional candy in France. My mum even makes her own. It is like a jelly fruit gum but extremely sweet. I love them.
Carambar: A school playground classic. The caramel version brings back so many childhood memories. There are jokes inside the wrapping. Watch your teeth!
Nougat: Who doesn’t know Nougat. As far as I can tell this one is quite soft compared to some others you find.
We in return sent her some Puerto Rican and Mexican candy.  Of course, when we received her yummy package hubby wasted no time in opening the bag of gummy bears. Both him and little one love gummies! 
I saved the candy to have a “taste testing” with little one and his friend, and to explore and learn about both France and Germany.  I set-up an area in the house with a table, and the sweets. I also pulled out our culture boxes, and found items for France: a hat, an Eiffel Tower trinket box, a small plastic camera with images from France (from Little Passports); and from Germany I had a Christmas ornament that Annabelle sent during this past holiday.

We also read the book If You Were Me and Lived In… France… by Carole P. Roman.   This children’s book gives us a glimpse of life in France from a child’s perspective.  It shows France in the map, and what names are popular as well as landmarks, holidays, and sports. I love how this book introduces the children to France in a simple, and meaningful way.  It was a perfect way to get our French candy taste testing started.

For Germany, sadly no children’s book but we did read some interesting and fun facts print-out that I had in hand (perhaps Annabelle sent it to me? Can’t recall).

Now for the “candy taste test”, I printed a one-page France and Germany booklet from Activity Village’s website.  They were perfect for the kids to write what they thought of the candy. As you can see in the picture below they even had a cup of water to “cleanse their palate.”  Their reaction was hilarious! Read below what there thoughts were.

My son and his friend on Germany’s candy: 
  • The gummy bear tastes the same. 
  • The Ritter taste like ice cream. 
  • The Toffifee like what (Nutella hazelnut cream he didn’t write it) 
  • The Hanuta taste like a dry wafer. 

  • The gummy bear taste different. 
  • The Ritter taste sour. 
  • The Toffifee taste good. 
  • The Hanuta taste great. 

My son and his friend on France’s candy:
  • The  Pâtes de fruit  taste sweet. 
  • The Carambar taste a little hard. 
  • The nougat taste horrible! 

  • The  Pâtes de fruit taste a little sweet. 
  • The Carambar taste good. 
  • The nougat didn’t taste good. 

All in all they had a great time taste testing the candy! It was fun, and we tasted some of the sweets too. My favorite the nougat and Toffifee! 
What are your favorite global sweets?? 

Kid-Made Strawberry Banana Nutella Cake

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My 8 yr. old loves watching The Food Network Channel. His favorite show is Cake Wars. He was excited with the “Sea World theme” from one of the episodes.  Hence, his request to make a strawberry banana Nutella cake with crushed walnuts that looked like a shark!  Say what?? My head was spinning! Ha! 
Sadly, I had to burst his bubble. The shark part was a no-go, but I could help him bake the cake he asked for. 
I’m not a baker so this had to be easy peasy!  Plus, I wanted this be an easy-to-bake cake for my 8 yr. old.  
I ran to the grocery store, and wouldn’t you know they don’t sell banana cake mixes! Banana bread mix yes, banana cake mix no. {Sigh} So I figured if I can buy banana extract I can make something happen, right? So I Google on my phone easy banana recipe with extract, and bingo! I found an easy cake recipe that my son could surely follow! Original recipe can be found here.  
I grabbed the strawberries, bananas, walnuts, and the rest of the ingredients for the banana mix.  
Once home, my child was thrilled to see all of the ingredients for his cake, and we quickly got to work.  He mixed the cake ingredients, while I sliced the strawberries. I still wasn’t sure how he wanted to make his cake.  As soon as he poured the cake batter into the cake pan, he started licking the bowl. That’s the best part right? Ha!
Then I placed the cake pan in the oven, and put the Nutella jar in a bowl of hot water to soften it. When the cake was cooling,  I suggested we decorate the cake with Nutella, strawberries, and the crushed walnut. He was all for it! 
I cut the cake in two, and helped him place it on a pizza sheet with aluminum foil. He took care of the rest. I must admit this was the tastiest, and yummiest cake ever!!! He was so proud of his creation, and then asked me when would he be able to bake again. 
I am so happy to help my son explore his different interests.  He came up with this flavor combination all by himself. I initially wanted a chocolate cake (mixes are easy to find!) but he insisted on it being banana.  
What are your favorite cake flavors?? I’m thinking of piña colada cake next, but not sure he’ll like it. 😉 
Categories: Cooking with Kids, Food

Easy Guava Cheesecake Recipe

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Nothing screams more to me “Puerto Rico” than taking a bite of this creamy and oh so delicious guava cheesecake! 

Savoring a bite of guava cheesecake reminds me of my days working in a restaurant that sold the famous “cheesecakes de guayaba.” Such fond memories!  I’m trying to get my little one to enjoy the guava cheesecake as much as I do, but he doesn’t really like anything with “cheese” in it, and he’s a die-hard chocolate fan!!!! So what’s a mamá to do?? I make it, and cut  a slice for me; and freeze the rest. This guava cheesecake freezes well. 

Here’s the recipe for you.

  • 2 packs of 8 oz. softened cream cheese (for a lighter version I used Neufchâtel cheese) 
  • 1/2 cup of guava paste 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 ready-made pie crust 
  • 4 tablespoons of guava jam 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix cream cheese, guava paste, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed.  Add the eggs, and mix together.  Pour mixture into the ready-made pie crust.  Bake for 40 minutes or until the center of guava cheesecake is firm. Chill for 3 hours or overnight spread guava jam over it, and then serve.

¡Buen provecho!

What is your favorite dessert?

Categories: Food, Puerto Rico Food

Polvorones con Guayaba (Puerto Rican Shortbread Cookies with Guava)

Polvorones con Guayaba  (Puerto Rico Shortbread Cookies with Guava)

During our holiday vacation to Puerto Rico one of the things that I wanted I really wanted to eat was polvorones,  a crumbly and yummy shortbread cookie.  I attempted to make some a while back with no luck.  Luckily, for me my Dad came to the rescue! He had a no fail recipe for polvorones. Yay me! I came home to try it, and was very happy with the result. Now, if only I can get little one to enjoy them as much as I do.  

2 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour 

1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of shortening (Crisco)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon of almond or vanilla extract 
Sprinkles or guava 
Pre-heat oven to 350º F

  1. Mix together softened butter, shortening, extract and sugar 
  2. Mix until it’s creamy 
  3. Add flour slowly 
  4. You will have a firm but crumbly looking dough 
  5. With a scooper (or your hands)  form a ball approximately 1 inch 
  6. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet and place balls of cookies with 1″ space between each cookie  
  7. Push gently in the middle and sprinkle the sprinkles or place a small piece of guava 
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until it has a golden color 

Enjoy! Do you have a favorite recipe cookie?  Please share!

Welcome to our Olympics for Kids series! The Olympics are a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about the world and explore cultures together. Today, you can find more about other recipes from various countries thanks to our participating bloggers:

5 French Recipes to Cook with Kids – Multicultural Kid Blogs 
A Taste of South Africa – Globe Trottin’ Kids 
Cooking Hoosier Style (Indiana, USA) – using resources wisely 
Chilean Sopaipillas – La Clase de Sra. DuFault 
5 Dutch Foods You Need to Try – Expat Life with a Double Buggy 
My Favorite Latvian Childhood Dessert – Let the Journey Begin 
Puerto Rican Shortbread Cookies with Guava – Discovering the World Through My Son’s EyesBrigadeiros – the piri-piri lexicon

Don’t forget that you can also download our Summer Games Unit activity pack to learn more about the world and have fun during the Olympics.


Categories: Food, Puerto Rico Food