Sparkling Mangonada Margarita


Sparkling Mangonada Margarita

ice, fill your blender pitcher halfway,
2 cups mango puree,
bottle of chamoy,
tamarindo straws,
3.5 ounces tequila (I use blanco)
1/2 can of lime DASANI Sparkling Water
lime slices for garnish

This #SparklingHolidays post is sponsored by Acorn Influence. All thoughts are my own.

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Easy Coconut Rice Pudding


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I live for the holidays. Not for the gifts but for the parties! It’s when I get to catch up with friends and celebrate the year. It’s sometimes when I get free time from the family and get inspired by other bloggers. I couldn’t say yes fast enough when the invite came in for the Minute® Rice Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. I knew there would be good food and laughs. The day did not disappoint, we know how to have a good time + maybe ugly sweaters are just magic.

Banana Bread. This smelled so good when it was finishing up in the oven. And then our host Cheryl said one of the ingredients is rice!

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Tastes Of The Holidays At Denny’s


Disclosure: I’m a proud Denny’s Ambassador. When you support my blog, you are supporting our familia! Don’t be a hater.

It is no secret the October-December holidays are my favorite. Favorite flavors, favorite weather! There is only a small window of time in Southern California where I can bust out my boots and I want to be out + about getting my frozen fashion on when this happens, not holed up at home in a hot kitchen! Lucky for me and the family, there’s always Denny’s and the seasonal Tastes of the Holidays menu. Check it out:

  • NEW! Pumpkin Pecan Pie Pancake Breakfast
  • NEW! Holiday Harvest Skillet
  • NEW! Rudolph™ Pancake Breakfast
  • NEW! Santa’s Milk & Cookies Shake
  • Holiday Turkey & Dressing Dinner
  • Build Your Own Holiday Slam® (Seasonal flavors: Gouda-Apple Chicken Sausage, Pumpkin Pancakes)
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pecan Pie
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Northgate Market – Norwalk, CA


This is a sponsored post by Northgate Market and Society Culinaria. All opinions are my own.

Four times in 8 days. That’s exactly how many times I’ve been to the newly reopened, reimagined Northgate Market in Norwalk. I’m lucky I live 10 minutes away cause this is my new grocery store. It is a unique and fresh experience, it is everything. I’m not just saying that either. The Mercado Project debuting at #NorthgateNorwalk takes your favorite local Latino/Hispanic grocery store to the next level. The traditional, old school mercado gets a modern transformation from the Gonzalez family’s younger generation while staying true to the culture and history. The family is true architects of community. This is the future and I’m here for it.

If there’s one thing I hate, it is going shopping at 3-5 different stores to get my grocery shopping done. Not anymore! Authentic foods to go: hot food bar serving up chorizo mac ‘n cheese, rajas con queso, arroz… soup bar, salad bar, salsa bar and a tamale bar! The tamale bar had the usual suspects + some I haven’t seen before: bean & cheese, turkey, pumpkin and jalapeno & cream cheese.#northgatenorwalk

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Jalapeño Cornbread Dressing


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #VivaLaMorena #CollectiveBias

This is where I confess I’ve never made tamales in my life. There is not one tamale making bone in my body. Maybe that’s being a little too dramatic. Not that I haven’t wanted to learn how to make tamales cause I love tamales. It goes back to my attempt at making homemade tortillas for my husband when we first moved in together. Oh the pressure of cooking Mexican food to his mama’s standards, so intimidating! I never aced tortilla making but my son says I make a mean quesadilla, I can throw down on enchiladas too. But the one thing I got on my suegra is my jalapeño cornbread dressing. I make it twice a year, for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. This year is special because my mother-in-law is here from Texas for turkey day!

Inspired by Maseca Corn Flour and La Morena Jalapeños

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Biscuit Du Jour At Bella Julia Cafe


I’m no Jonathan Gold or Anthony Bourdain but I know food. I never get invites to check out new restaurants where the chef is actually there. That might sound intimidating to some but it is what dreams are made of for me. Like any proper foodie, I read up on Bella Julia Cafe and checked out the menu before our brunch date. Reading is one thing, some things look better in black + white but actual first impressions are everything. We arrived early and found a spot in front of the restaurant. Cause in LA you are either the one that beats traffic or the one stuck in traffic. We waited in the truck for the restaurant to open cause the morning after Halloween was made for prime people watching. #SundayFunday activated.

Here’s where I get to the part about first impressions that last a lifetime. Chef Chaza came out to greet us just as we were about to be seated, she held out her hand to my toddler (he’s quite the foodie) and he went in for a hug. It was the absolute cutest thing he’s done in awhile. Somehow that made us family. Chef Chaza has the gift of making anyone feel at home in her restaurant. That doesn’t come easy but chef nails it.

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Denny’s Is My BFF

Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

A big shout out to Denny’s for sponsoring this Life is Beautiful post!

You know when the familia and I went to Vegas for Life is Beautiful Festival (my 9 year old wrote that piece #proudmamamoment) we had to check out the Denny’s on Fremont Street. I heard about it on my internet travels and had to investigate for myself. Full bar, happy hour and wedding chapel, you say? Maybe we could get a drink before the festival or on the way back to the hotel. I was totally up for any of that. We might can see a wedding? Yes please. The powers that be (me) couldn’t have planned our hotel situation more perfect. The restaurant was right between the hotel and the festival venue. It was about to be on!

This is where I admit to having Denny’s TWICE. No shame. No guilt. The day we got in, Chris and the boys were still feeling a little sick so we placed a to-go order after scoping out Fremont Street. The biggest reason: you can always count on Denny’s. Like your BFF; quality, there 24/7 and good to you. Life is beautiful like that. It was so good that we decided to eat there for lunch the day of the festival. While we were waiting, a couple and their newborn walked in and the staff went crazy for them. That right there is a good sign. If I’m assuming correctly, she is part of the staff there. If you love your job that much to bring your new baby in to see them, that’s a place I want to spend my money. These are the things that matter to me. Life is beautiful like that.

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Surprise Backyard Movie Night Mini Party


This post is sponsored by Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn.

I can now add a big red check next to “first outdoor movie” on my family’s list of things to do in the summer. That adventure opened a whole new world for my sons. Never in their dreams did they think that watching a movie in the backyard was an option. Kids are easy when it comes to planning a movie night party: get them comfy and just add popcorn. I make my popcorn in the microwave cause, hello, it’s super easy to make and saves on time. Now that I’m working from home, I’m always looking for ways to save me time. You can’t buy or borrow time! The plan was to surprise them.

Here’s how I did our movies-in the-backyard mini party:

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The Great American Milk Drive

#CAmilkdrive raisedbyculture.comThis post is sponsored by Real California Milk.

My home runs on milk. We only function with the important ingredients in life, you know… cheese, ice cream, milk, butter. My toddler can’t even get through the morning without a cup of milk. I just can’t picture life without dairy so imagine how shocked I was to find out that it is considered a luxury for some. I had to join California Dairy Families and the Great American Milk Drive to help those in need. In fact, to help those who need nutritious California milk, California’s more than 1,400 dairy farm families have pledged $100,000 in matching milk donations to the Great American Milk Drive – equal to 20,000 gallons or 320,000 servings of milk – through the end of the year. People can donate one gallon of milk for just $5 at $100,000 of total California milk donations made by the end of the year will be matched by California Dairy Families. Enter your zip code and donations will help your local California food bank.

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The 7-Day Switch Up

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Viva® Vantage®.
#7DaySwitchUp raisedbyculture.comI do not love my kitchen in hot weather. The desire to cook is completely gone and returns when the temps start dipping in the low 70s. I’m over the kitchen and I see all my friends saying the same. But invite me to someone else’s kitchen, out of my routine and I’m there. You ever wonder what happens when you introduce a group of bloggers to Viva® Vantage® paper towels over brunch? Clever ideas for entertaining, cleaning and all kinds of kitchen switches! Easy switches too. Our host, Stephanie of shared 7-Day Switch Up tips and basically proved the stretchy-strength of Viva® Vantage® paper towels works!
#7DaySwitchUp raisedbyculture.comPoppin’ bottles! Mimosas on deck. Inspired by this entertaining switch – wrap a damp paper towel around a bottle of white wine and put it in the freezer to chill rapidly!
#7DaySwitchUp raisedbyculture.comForget your colander and bust out the paper towels. Place veggies or fruit on a sheet of Viva® Vantage® paper towels under a running faucet to function as a strainer! Keep your lettuce fresh longer by wrapping a head of lettuce to soak up extra moisture. My favorite switch is using the great scrubbing power to clean mushrooms, potatoes, etc.
#7DaySwitchUp raisedbyculture.comCatch sauces and dresses when you wrap the bottle with paper towels.
#7DaySwitchUp raisedbyculture.comAre you ready to do the 7-Day Switch Up? Get a $1 off Viva® Vantage® coupon to purchase and try the product yourself! After you experience the stretchy-strength and great scrubbing power of Viva® Vantage® go back to the website to dish on your switch and enter for a chance to instantly win a $100 gift card!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Viva® Vantage®.

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Denny’s + No Kid Hungry


No Kid Hungry is always a hard topic to write about but every September, expect to see it here like clockwork. No one wants to talk about child hunger but knowing there are children in America without food is incredibly worse. 1 in 5 children in our country struggles with hunger. Yes in 2015. Yes in the US. Let that settle for a minute. That fact hits hard as I look at my own children. Child hunger is simply a subject that we can’t ignore. My family is going on 3 years of supporting No Kid Hungry thanks to my amazing partnership with Denny’s.

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5 for $5.95 At Wienerschnitzel


Chili Dogs! Corn Dogs! Get your chili dogs and corn dogs here! I only eat chili dogs from Wienerschnitzel (actual facts right there) so when I got the invite to come to East LA to get our grub on with local radio station personality Evelyn Sicairos, I was there. My love for California is strong as evidenced all over my social networks and here, Wienerschnitzel being a true native of my state, started here in 1961. The world’s largest hot dog chain has been family owned since day one! I make note of little details like that, it’s good to know. You have to love the original A-frame style roofs of its older restaurants and the bold yellow and red colors but what you are really there for are the chili dogs. My absolute favorite.

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