My Goodreads Bookshelf!

This Is How You Lose Her
And the Mountains Echoed
Backseat Saints
The Valley of Amazement
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
How I Write: The Secret Lives of Authors
The Secret Miracle: The Novelist's Handbook
The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life
Julie of the Wolves
Signs & Wonders
From Clueless to Class Act: Manners for the Modern Woman
Kitchen Privileges: A Memoir
Teacher Man
The Bridges of Madison County
Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda
Shadow Tag
Paul Strand: Masters of Photography Series
Fat Chance
Giving up America
The Darwin Awards: Evolution in Action

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Archive for October, 2011

Oct 2011

Three Cookbooks

posted in: blogs, books, Uncategorized

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Yesterday, I saw Aaron Sanchez on the Today Show, making garlic-chipotle love sauce. Ok, anything named love sauce has got to taste damn good. So it got me thinking about cookbooks. Do you think of cookbooks when you think of writing? I do. To me, cooking is really important. I like to nourish my family and pass on my heritage through real food. Here’s three Latino cookbooks you might want to check out.


Sanchez’s cookbook is Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours (the book is written with JJ Goode). The term “Mexican-inspired” gives me pause because it makes me think of yucky Mexican restaurant food that caters to American tastes. I’m picky like that – nothing my family has ever served featured a giant helping of sliced black olives, okay? But Sanchez’ skills were passed on to him by his mother, also a chef, so I’m going to look this one over as soon as I get my hands on it. I’ll definitely be trying the love sauce.

Sanchez is a Food Network star and owns several restaurants in New York. His other cookbook is La Comida del Barrio.







I flipped through Eva Longoria’s book, Eva’s Kitchen, when I saw it on the store display a few weeks ago. I have to tell you, I was pretty skeptical. So I skipped over to the recipe for arroz rojo. (The ultimate test.) I don’t measure when I cook mine, but the recipe seemed right on. You also see a personal side of Longoria when she includes her disabled sister’s favorite recipe.

So then I looked at the recipe for red enchiladas. The recipe called for making the sauce from scratch. Who am I kidding? My sauce comes courtesy Las Palmas or El Pato. But if that recipe came out tasting like abuela’s I’d be over the moon. This one is going on my Christmas wish list.








Image: ericx!


The next cookbook hasn’t come out yet. But you can go to the blog the book came out of, Muy Bueno Cookbook! I saved the best for last because this blog rocks. This blog is a family affair and features authentic recipes and beautiful photos. My mouth waters every time I click over.

One day I decided that my mom needed one of her favorite comfort foods, so I set out to find a recipe for capirotada, which I’ve never made. I’m googling this over and over to try to find something authentic, and I found this website. I adapted their recipe for capirotada (it’s not easy to find piloncillo in Alabama, so I used brown sugar), and it was delicious.  If you don’t know what capirotada is, it’s a bread pudding that uses day-old bread, cheese, raisins, brown sugar/piloncillo, and other ingredients depending on your personal variation. It turns out sweet and salty and you have to try it even though it sounds weird.






Okay! I’m hungry now. Go forth and cook something good today!


Oct 2011

Book review: Becoming Americana

posted in: Authors, books

The last weekend roundup was really short. Don’t worry, I wasn’t being curt. I was getting ready to represent the Hispanic community with the group I volunteer with in a local parade! I wore a traditional dress and even dressed my daughter in her little Puerto Rican dress. (If you’re wondering why a Tejana puts her daughter in that dress, it’s because my daughter is Mexi-Rican, LOL).

Becoming Americana, by Lara Rios, is a 2006 book I rescued from the clearance bin at Books-A-Million. While researching the author, who is argentina, I found that she is now writing under the nom de plume Julia Amante. As Lara Rios, she wrote Becoming Americana and Becoming Latina in 10 Easy Steps, as a well as a blog that appears not to be updated anymore. As Amante she has scribed two more novels, Evenings at the Argentine Club and Say You’ll be Mine, and a blog.

Phew! Now that we’ve got that straightened out, let’s get back to the book. The book is about Lupe, a very feisty young woman that survived the hard streets of East L.A. and her even meaner cholo brother. But Lupe manages to turn her life around, attending college and finding a professional job, and crushing on her mentor, Nash. Who isn’t reciprocating. Oops! But no worries – now Will steps in as boyfriend (and a tug-of-war start in her heart). But Lupe, who at first wants to volunteer at the local center for at-risk teens and attend college, becomes distracted by the men in her life (including her pendejo brother) and the taste of a real job and real money. The overall theme of the book is the pull in both directions between Mexican heritage and American lifestyle – something I think all Chicanos know very well.

Some details of Lupe’s hardscrabble life are just gut-wrenching and hard to read. Nevertheless, there are still the elements of chica-lit which make this a light beach read. I could relate to the novel because I know how easy it is to become distracted from your education by life’s necessities, family, and love relationships. I think Rios’s ultimate message to women is that they should choose what’s best for themselves. In chapter 22, Rios writes, “Becoming Americana involves breaking the unwritten family code of ‘family first.’ The new mantra becomes ‘me first.'” As a Latina, that is something heartbreaking to realize. Read the book, and if you don’t relate already, you’ll understand the meaning.

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Oct 2011

Weekend roundup!

posted in: Miscellaneous, Weekend Roundup



Gloria Estefan Wepa! :: This song is great! Even my 9-month-old loves to dance to it!

Interview with Hector Tobar on new novel :: via KCRW – This is an interview on Tobar’s new novel, The Barbarian Nurseries.

Amazon Kindle Fire :: via Engadget – I haven’t been able to let go of physical books yet, but I’m tempted to with the Kindle Fire (although I wonder if the tablet would be just another device to feed my Facebook addiction?)

We the Animals review :: via the New York Times – NYT review on Justin Torres’s first novel. The plot seems very interesting.

Have a FABULOUS weekend!



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