Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chicharrones por aquí, Chicharrones por allá...

Chicharrones have a dedicated following among many of us with Mexican heritage. I can remember my ‘buelita buying bag after bag for a snack treat when I was little.

So for all of you who can’t resist the taste of these crunchy snacks, Rudolph Foods, the world’s largest producer of pork rinds, has launched a recipe contest, ¿Qué hay de cena?, or "What’s for Dinner?", in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage month, September 15 – October 15.

Here’s your chance to share original and creative Hispanic-inspired recipes using chicharrones. But you must use Rudolph Foods® or Pepe’s® brand pork rinds to be entered into the contest. One grand prize winner will receive free product for a year in additional to a cash prize of $300.

"Through this contest, we’re looking forward to celebrating the strong heritage that exists within Hispanic kitchens, and to hearing about the many ways that our chicharrones bring families together," says Mark Singleton, VP of Marketing and Sales for Rudolph Foods.

You can enter a recipe via the company’s web site at www.RudolphFoods.com or simply send a 3" x 5" index-sized card, complete with your name, address, telephone and email contact, along with your original recipe, to ¿Qué hay de cena? Recipe Contest, c/o 6116 Cleveland Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43231.

Categories include appetizers, entrées and even desserts. A panel of judges, comprised of Rudolph Foods executives and cooks, will judge submitted recipes based on authenticity, creativity and flavor.

To submit your recipe on their web site, click here.

¡Y buenas suerte a todos!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beauty Tips for Latina Moms

Last month, research on Latinas’ attitude towards beauty was released by Univision Communications. It came as no real surprise that beauty is extremely importance to Latinas because of the way it "instills confidence, makes us feel younger and improves our self-esteem." And many Latinas felt that outward beauty reflects inner beauty. In fact, 69 percent of Latinas (vs. 46 percent of non-Latinas) agree that "It's very important to wear makeup and look good."

Mamás play a major role in their daughter’s perception of beauty. They are the ones on the "frontlines" so to speak, encouraging their children to take good care of their appearance. According to the study, a whopping 73 percent of Latina moms (vs. 57 percent of non-Latinas) agreed that "I influence my children to take care of their skin, hair, appearance" and 67 percent of Latinas (vs. 50 percent of non-Latinas) agreed that their mothers had a significant impact on their hygiene practices.

So naturally, beauty brands like Avon, Caress, Cover Girl, Dove, Garnier, L'Oreal, Mary Kay, Maybelline, Olay and Pantene have been focusing their marketing funds on Spanish-language media. And new beauty product lines specifically for Latinas, like La Matadora and Latin Girl Cosmetics, are popping up with relative success.

As a Latina mom, I am often torn between the desperate need for speed and/or comfort and the desire to be feminine, beautiful, and, yes, maybe just a teensy bit sexy. I have found a most helpful little widget which I have added to my sidebar. The Beauty Tip of the Day widget is designed to give daily beauty tips from some of the Unilever brands that I use, like Vaseline, Q-tips, Pond's and Dove. Just click on the picture to get today's beauty hint. I hope you, dear readers, find it as useful as I do!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Latino Arts & Crafts for Children

"Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."
~ Pablo Picasso

I’ve been cruising through the web for a while trying to find Latino-inspired art projects for children to brighten up a rainy day. Let me tell you…it’s hard! The hardest part was trying to find projects that represent the variety of Latino cultures found throughout the world. Most of the activities seem to be centered around Mexican traditions (which is great and I’ve included them below) but I also wanted to find projects that reflect the diversity of our cultures.
So here for your creative pleasure, I’ve listed the art projects that I have found so far. I would REALLY welcome comments or links directing me to more so that we can somehow combine them all in one easy-to-find location. And to all you mamis out there…happy crafting!

SPAIN, MEXICO: TeachKidsArt.blogspot.com has some wonderful, fantastic art projects for children and their families. The whole blog is a mother’s delight if she is trying to nurture her child’s creative spirit. She also has some great posts dedicated to the artist, Pablo Picasso.

I was amazed to find out that as a teenager, he had mastered the ability to paint realistically like Renaissance painter Raphael. Can you believe he painted the top picture on the right? It is his mother, Maria Picasso Lopez. Hard to imagine, I know, considering what he is best known for is this abstract style picture on the bottom, Dora Maar Au Chat - which, incidentally, sold recently for over $95 million! ¡Que locura! I mean - Why?!?

In addition to interesting tidbits about his life, you’ll also find a few art projects to teach your children about this complex master artist.

You’ll also find a project based on Mexican Painter, Frida Kahlo.

And you should also check out this Mexican Bark Painting project that is perfect for children of any age.

PANAMA: From the islands of Panama comes the inspiration for this project: Mola Art.
KidsArt.com hasn’t posted many projects recently, but if you dig through their entries you’ll find some other fun stuff, too.
You can find another project and some great lesson plans for more Mola art here.

GUATEMALA, MEXICO: How cute is this Quetzal bird crafted from a toilet paper tube? This a great opportunity to talk about how the Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala and though it is found in many countries throughout North (if you include Mexico), Central and South America, it’s numbers are dwindling. You can find out more information about this fascinating bird here. animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/quetzal.html

PUERTO RICO: Here are a bunch of crafts related to Puerto Rico, including a section on el coquí with froggy crafts for the kids to make. Lots of different frog projects that don’t seem very Latino-oriented per se, but the key is tying in the legend of el coquí.

URUGUAY, MEXICO, BRAZIL: I was totally delighted to stumble upon Ms. Evard’s Art Portal. She’s a teacher in Albany and let me tell you…I would have LOVED to have had her for an art teacher when I was a kid! She REALLY loves art – it is obvious by the way she introduces her students to art from all over the world. Such fantastic ideas! I really encourage you to look through her site. You’ll be inspired! Specifically, check out her second grade projects which include Joaquín Torres García Self-Portraits, Round Weaving, Mexican Talavera Suns, and Rodrigo Godá Good Bugs.

MEXICO: Without a doubt my favorite site is ArtistsHelpingChildren.org which lists a ton of projects for making not only piñatas and papel picado, but a whole section on Cinco de Mayo crafts that includes alebrijes, bark paintings, cascarones, banderas, guitarras, tissue paper flowers, castanets, lucha masks, maracas, mosaics, ponchos, rebozos, milagros and much, much more. And this is just the Latino section! The site is huge and goes on and on with activities and projects for kids. I give it 5 estrellitas.

KinderArt has this really neat project for making Aztec Tiles. This project is for older kids who will learn about Pre-Columbian art as they discover the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas. They also include links for suggested reading.

Unfortunately, there are very few books dedicated to Latino inspired art and crafts. However, the Latin Baby Book Club has a small section of books about Latino arts and crafts and they are always adding more...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dr. Pepper Lovers: Your Familia Could Win the Ultimate Family Fiesta!

I don't know about you, but in mi casa, Dr. Pepper reigns supremo! So imagine my joy to find out that Dr Pepper is awarding the ultimate family fiesta to families who live life to the fullest through its Familia23 contest. The contest is part of the Dr Pepper year-long celebration of living "Vida a la 23" -- a flavorful, bicultural life to the "23rd power."

Fans can enter by submitting stories about how they celebrate life as a family along with a photograph of their familias enjoying Dr Pepper. The hottest club on wheels, Club23, will arrive locally and host the ultimate family fiesta. The fully catered affair will be complete with free food, Dr Pepper, games and music entertainment. DJ Nino will spin tunes as the winning family enjoys a lifetime experience to the "23rd power."

"We're offering families an opportunity to celebrate the love they have for each other and show how, even during tough times, they enjoy the good things in life," said Monica Morales, Dr Pepper brand manager, Hispanic market. "Just like the unique 23 flavors of Dr Pepper, our Vida23 program is designed to give consumers more out of every day."

The heart of the Dr Pepper Familia23 campaign taps into the general sense of optimism Latinos have for the future despite a down economy. Research from Experian Simmons and Univision showed that Latinos are more positive about the future of the economy and are shopping more often than the general market. In fact, 29% of Hispanics are more positive about the U.S. economy in the coming 12 months vs. 21% of non-Hispanics.

Visit www.Vida23.com for official rules and learn how your family could win. The contest runs from Sept. 1, 2009 through Oct. 18, 2009. A total of seven families will be awarded the ultimate fiesta in the following cities: LosAngeles, San Antonio, Dallas, Bakersfield, Sacramento, Fresno and Phoenix. The winners will be notified in October, and the ultimate family fiesta will take place in November, 2009.

Dr Pepper's Vida23 embodies the bicultural lifestyle through its Club23 mobile gaming arcade and dance club. As one of the hottest clubs on wheels, consumers can relax by playing games, dancing and sampling different Dr Pepper products. Stop by a Club23 event near you to live life to the "23rd power."

A key component of the Dr Pepper Vida23 program is bicultural music. It launched this year with the introduction of "LA LA LA Life/Vida23," a new song written and performed by Cucu Diamantes and Grammy Award winner Andres Levin, founder of the band Yerba Buena. The song, which can be heard in advertising spots and on the airwaves, is part of the "rock alternative" move. It is a multicultural fusion of reggae, hip-hop, rock and salsa, sprinkled with global beats. Consumers can download the song and ring tones and create a customized re-mix of the song by visiting www.Vida23.com.
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