Monthly Archives: December 2014

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Today is December 31st and I am getting ready to celebrate New Year’s Eve Spanish and Cuban style.  Our Spanish tradition calls for eating 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of the year.  We call this “las uvas de la suerte” or the “lucky 12 grapes”. 


The countdown starts at 11:59:48 pm ( usually with the TV or radio in the background).  As we gather together around the table, everyone picks up a batch of 12 grapes. With each of the 12 stroke of midnight, everyone has to eat one grape. By the last stroke, all 12 grapes must be in your mouth or in your belly. As you can imagine, everyone is looking at each other, laughing, while consuming the grapes  and struggling to finish up on time to avoid  back luck in the upcoming year. This is a fun tradition  that is followed by 47 million Spaniards and dates back to the 19th century!

The other thing we do in our family on December 31st is to prepare a Cuban feast including Cuban frijoles ( black beans), lechon ( pork), tostones ( green plantains), yucca and sometimes quimbobo ( Cuban Okra). Of course, I skip the piggy part as I am 100% plant-based.

Cuban Frijoles

Cubans also start the year by throwing a bucket full of water out into the street. This helps getting rid of “bad waters” or any  negativism and welcome all positive things for the new year. How do you celebrate New Year’s Eve?  What’s your family tradition?

Have a Healthy Happy New Year, everyone! This is my wish for you:

“Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, love to complete your life.” ~ Anonymous

Graduated from Rouxbe Cooking School

Congratulate me, please! On November 13th, I received my Professional Plant-Based Certification from Rouxbe Cooking School! My final grade: 100%.

Rouxbe Graduation

In order to graduate, I had to pass a written exam ( 200 questions in 2 1/2 hours) and a practical. This consisted in holding a shindig party with a minimal of 5 small plant-based plates. This was Rouxbe’s criteria:

“You’ll need to take 5 photos. These photos need to demonstrate each small bite that you decided to prepare (e.g. shooter, canapé, skewer or small handheld recipe that you wanted to share at your party). Each photo must creatively capture Rouxbe’s website or logo in the background. Creativity, presentation and level of effort put into this activity does count here so have fun with it”

My shindig  party theme was Latin Fusion. This is what I ended up serving for a total of 21 guests ( including 15 adults, 5 kids and 1 baby).  

(Raw) Spanish Cucumber & Watermelon Gazpacho  


(Raw) Mexican “Tacos” with Cilantro Aioli


Cuban Papas Rellenas ( Stuffed Potatoes) With Meatless “Picadillo”

Papas Rellenas
Tostones Rellenos (Stuffed Green Plantains) With Jackfruit Carnitas

Tostones Rellenos
(Raw) Mojito Cheesecake With Chocolate Ganache Torte


This was my last assignment for Rouxbe Cooking school! I want to thank my mom,  the best cook I’ve ever known. I miss spending entire weekends with her in the kitchen! I want to thank my husband, Jason DG, for holding the fort at home throughout the course and for  all of the quality control testing ;-p

 I also want to send a BIG thanks to everyone that has inspired me on this wonderful plant-based cooking journey including Chad Sarno, Ken Rubin, Dawn Thomas and all of my Rouxbe classmates!! I am feeling grateful!

I promise to share recipes for all these dishes and more in 2015!