Holiday Challenge: Shop ‘til you drop and give me 10

Holiday Challenge: Shop until you drop at MyBajaKitchen

 

I’m pretty relaxed about Christmas here in Baja. There isn’t much consumer frenzy, although we do have several street side “pop up” Christmas stores. I shop on line for my kids and ship directly to them since we don’t have reliable mail service.  I don’t really miss the shopping mall shuffle but if you’re in the midst of holiday shopping by all means make it an exercise opportunity. Continue reading “Holiday Challenge: Shop ‘til you drop and give me 10”

What’s For Dinner at My Baja Kitchen, Weekly Meal Plan

What’s For Dinner? At My Baja Kitchen

Weekly Meal Planning, A Healthy Solution 

What’s for dinner?

I can’t always get what I want in Baja so I shop for the freshest ingredients and then build my menu for the week. Having a written menu ensures that I eat the produce that I carefully select each week before it goes bad. I also know when to soak the beans or thaw out a meat or seafood.  I list everything I bought so I can find an easy vegetable or fruit side dish or make a healthy snack.

What’s For Dinner at My Baja Kitchen

Recipes you might like in my weekly menu.

Vegan Mushroom Chorizo, this week I roasted the mushrooms with onions and jalapeño slices and whirled them with walnuts and cumin. A slightly different twist for Vegan Chorizo. Drizzle with cashew cream or add cheese if you’re a vegetarian.

Carne Asada, I’m using this orange and lime marinade with arrachera flank steak instead of tri tip because flank steak is easy to find. Grill the meat on high heat for a scant few minutes.

Confetti Shrimp grilled with red peppers and onions.

BBQ green beans.

Squash and bacon.

You might like my Mexican Recipe Boards on Pinterest.



Holiday Cocktail Challenge: And a Recipe for Margarita Mocktail

Margarita Mocktail from MyBajaKitchen

Holiday Challenge: Make a Signature Margarita Mocktail

Everyone should know how to make a signature cocktail. Why not make your’s a signature mocktail?

Here’s what I’m drinking this season- Margarita Mocktail with homemade lime simple syrup.

Margarita Mocktail from MyBajaKitchen
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Mocktail Margarita: Alcohol Free

A delicious margarita without alcohol made with lime simple syrup and sparkling water. 

Course Drinks
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 1 Drink

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Cane sugar
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 4 Key or Mexican limes Juice and zest, divided

Margarita

  • 2 Tablespoons Lime simple syrup
  • 2 Juice of 2 Mexican limes
  • 8 Ounces Sparkling water
  • 1 Teaspoon Apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Make lime simple syrup. Mix water, sugar and 1 tablespoon of lime zest. heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add 1 tablespoon of lime juice, about two Mexican limes.  Let cool. Strain out solids. Refrigerate any remaining syrup up to 1 week. 


    2) Margarita Mocktail: Run cut lime over the rim of a margarita glass and roll the rim of your glass in course sugar. Combine 2 tablespoons of lime simple syrup, additional 1 tablespoon of lime juice, about two Mexican limes. Add a dash of apple cider vineger to taste. Trust me, a dash of vinegar replaces the alcohol flavor. Try a very small dash first and adjust to your tastes. Pour over ice and adjust sugar to desired level. Garnish with lime slices. 

    How to make killer salsas/MyBajakItchen.com

Drinking alcohol may not be your best choice when cutting calories.

Alcohol seems to flow freely during the Holiday party season. I like a cold glass of champagne as well as anyone but alcohol is not your friend if you are watching your waistline. Alcohol is fat-free and low in carbs although alcohols are worse nutrients than carbs. Alcohol is metabolized into fatty acids which cause fatty liver.

It’s  important to remember that calories count when it comes to weight management. Alcohol and dieting don’t mix well—your body processes alcohol first, leaving carbohydrates and fats to get stored as fat instead of getting used as fuel. There’s a reason that excess fat is called a beer belly in those who imbibe frequently.

Set a limit before you leave the house. 

If you plan to drink alcohol then set your limit before you start drinking because it is a fact that after you drink one or more adult beverages you lose your ability to make good choices about food and drinks.

Your best options, calorie wise,  are wine, champagne, and light beer, or hard liquor mixed with no calorie mixers i.e vodka and soda.

5 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of tequila or vodka, and 12 oz of light beer each have about 100 calories.
The worst calorie options include any drink in a tumbler made with sugar. If your drink is adorned with an umbrella or a sugared rim it is suspect. Unless it is my Margarita Mocktail which is calorie controlled.

Piña Coladas, Mojitos, Daiquiris and traditional Margaritas in an average serving (6-8 oz) will cost you between 500 and 1000 calories. Egg nog and brandy will set you back 300 calories for 1/2 cup. Yes, really. Mudslides? You don’t want to know. If you want a special cocktail, then plan for it and enjoy, but call it dessert and limit it to one.

Drink a glass of water after every alcoholic drink to stay hydrated and to sloooooow down your consumption. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Have a meal or a snack before you drink to slow down the absorption of the alcohol.
Don’t drink and drive, ever.

Women have a lower tolerance for alcohol than men and a large pour of wine could put you over your legal limit to drive.

Drink wisely or not at all.

Nothing says, “I won’t be home for Christmas”, like a DUI or being locked up in a Mexican jail. Always agree in advance on a designated driver or take a cab.
Worried about how much you drink? See my post about Wine and Women for help.

Margarita Mocktail from MyBajaKitchen

You might like my Pinterest Board, Mocktails



Holiday Challenge: Lame Excuses Not To Work Out

Lame Excuses Not To Work Out: Holiday Challenge

The holidays are hectic but that is no reason to make lame excuses not to work out. Exercise reduces stress and gives you a little more wiggle room for high calorie treats. It’s important not to get out of the habit of exercising. It’s always easier to stick with a plan than to build up your motivation and endurance again. You know I’m right. Continue reading “Holiday Challenge: Lame Excuses Not To Work Out”

Savory Low-fat Vegetarian Rosemary Cheddar Cheesecakes, #LowCarb

Savory Low-fat Vegetarian Rosemary Cheddra Cheesecakes, #LowCarb

Holiday Challenge Party Tip:

Bring your own appetizer or entree to the party. 

These savory low-fat vegetarian rosemary cheddar cheesecakes are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Feel free to substitute full fat cheeses if you can’t find reduced fat options.

Serving suggestion: As an entrée, plate 1-2 cheesecakes over arugula and thinly sliced red and green apples. Drizzle with a citrus or cranberry vinaigrette. These cakes would pair well with oranges, grapes, pears, spinach, kale, whole cranberry sauce or orange marmalade.

Serve them as a warm or room temperature appetizer or as the star of a fruit and cheese tray.

More appetizer ideas:

 Jalapeño poppers
Killer Salsa, bring with baked tortilla chips.
Easy Sushi Towers

Savory Low-fat Vegetarian Rosemary Cheddra Cheesecakes, #LowCarb
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Savory Low-fat Vegetarian Rosemary Cheesecakes

Savory cheddar and cream cheese cheesecakes for a vegetarian main meal or appetizer. Reduced fat makes them a healthy low carb choice for everyone. 

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 Cheesecakes
Author TraceyDelaplain

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Cup Toasted panko bread crumbs May substitute gluten free crumbs
  • 1/4 Cup Toasted walnuts
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil

Cheesecake filling

  • 8 Oz Reduced fat cream cheese
  • 4 Oz Reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese May substitute any sharp cheese
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh chopped rosemary 1 tsp dried
  • 1 Clove Minced garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

    Spray 12 muffin tin with olive oil mist and set aside.

    Lightly toast the walnuts and the bread crumbs separately in a sautéed pan. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Place the bread crumbs, walnuts and butter in a food processor and process until combined. Press crumb mixture into the bottoms of the muffin cups to make a crust. Bake 5 to 6 minutes. Let cool completely.

    Beat the cheddar and cream cheese in a food processor or with a mixer until smooth. Add the eggs , garlic, salt and pepper and mix until blended. Add the rosemary and combine. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake until set, golden and puffed, but not loose in the center, about 20 minutes.

    Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature. You can serve these chilled or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Omit bread crumbs and substitute coconut flour to make this a Keto diet recipe.

Pin this recipe for later. You might like my Pinterest Mexican Appetizer Board for more Ideas.

Savory Low-fat Vegetarian Rosemary Cheddar Cheesecakes, #LowCarb



What’s the Real Cost of Eating Out in Mexico? Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge

Holiday challenge/MyBajaKitchen.com

Let’s be honest about the real cost of eating out!

It is so inexpensive to not cook at home in Mexico but what’s the real cost of eating out? I cook at home every day because it helps me meet my personal fitness and nutrition goals.

The “holiday season” in the U.S. begins with Halloween candy and ends with champagne and regrets on New Years Day. For many it’s a downward spiral of poor eating and drinking choices that results in an average weight gain of seven pounds during the holidays.

7 Pounds! Let that sink in!

Continue reading “What’s the Real Cost of Eating Out in Mexico? Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge”

Holiday Wellness Challenge

Advice for Mexican Snowbirds/MyBajaKitchen.com

 

Uncover your eyes and

stop crying over holiday weight gain.

It is not inevitable.

Today’s Challenge:  Weigh yourself and find a wellness buddy and be accountable to each other.

Take the holiday wellness challenge with me. Commit to maintaining your weight and fitness level.  Stay tuned for posts with simple wellness ideas and affirmations that will help you stay on track.

My readers are a mixture of rural Mexican expats and North Americans living in more traditional cities so the advice might involve exercising while dodging the crowds at the mall or walking in solitude at the beach.  We all have the same goal in mind so if the shoe or flip flop fits, wear it.
Continue reading “Holiday Wellness Challenge”

Sticky Asian Lemon Cashew Cauliflower, Vegan

Sticky Asian Lemon Cashew Cauliflower, Vegan

Feeling stuffed after Thanksgiving weekend? Try this Sticky Asian Lemon Cashew Cauliflower, Vegan recipe for a healthy protein rich Chinese “take out” inspired #Meatless Monday meal to cleanse your palate.

My inspiration came from Chocolate Covered Katie’s Lemon Cauliflower. I added cashews, soy sauce and fresh ginger. Hang out awhile on Katie’s site and savor her healthy delicious recipes. She is truly inspirational.

Sticky Asian Lemon Cashew Cauliflower, Vegan

This delicious vegan meal gets high marks for the crispy texture of the cauliflower, a protein boost from cashews and the rich sweet and sour sticky lemon sauce.

Try this crispy roasted cauliflower with Italian spices and parmesan or spicy it up with cumin and cilantro and serve with poblano cream for a Mexican twist. The possibilities are endless now that you’ve found crispy cauliflower!

You’re welcome.

Watch for more crispy cauliflower recipes.

Sticky Asian Lemon Cashew Cauliflower, Vegan

Lemons are sometimes difficult to find in rural Mexico so substitute orange juice and reduce the syrup by half. You can be the first on the block to make Orange Sticky Cashew Cauliflower. Let me know how it turns out.

Sticky Asian Lemon Cashew Cauliflower, Vegan

Special diets:

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable full of anti-oxidants and vitamins C and K. Cashews are a good source of vegetarian protein, vitamins E, K, and B6, and provides minerals like copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, and selenium.

Vegans and vegetarians:

Enjoy this recipe was made for you and it is loaded with healthy fats and protein.

Paleo and gluten free diets:

Substitute almond or chic pea flour for the wheat flour and serve without rice. Reduce the baking time because almond flour will burn and leave an unpleasant bitter taste. I haven’t tried this with almond or chic pea flour.

Weight Watchers:

A small portion fits perfectly into a weight reduction plan and you’ll save calories by not stopping for “take out”. A small portion of brown rice or quinoa will give you a fiber boost.

Sticky Asian Lemon Cashew Cauliflower, Vegan
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Sticky Asian Lemon Cashew Cauliflower, Vegan

Roasted crispy cauliflower and cashews in a sweet sticky lemon sauce. Healthy, Asian style protein rich vegan main dish. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Chinese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Author TraceyDelaplain

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/3 cup almond, soy or coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs substitute any unflavored bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, divided save 2 tablespoons for corn starch
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice juice from about 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave syrup or honey for non-vegans
  • 1 tablespoon mined garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup whole cashews
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups cooked rice or quinoa

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash cauliflower and cup into 2 inch pieces. Mince garlic and ginger root. 

    Combine flour, oil and almond milk. Toss in cauliflower and dredge in bread crumbs. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 40 minutes until cauliflower is crispy and browned on the edges. 

    Make sauce while the cauliflower roasts. Salute garlic and ginger in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Add broth, syrup, lemon juice, soy sauce, vinegar and cashews, simmer on low heat. When cauliflower is ready, add corn starch to 2 tablespoons of broth. Slowly add corn starch to sauce. It will thicken fairly quickly. 

    Combine crispy cauliflower with the lemon cashew sauce. Serve immediately over rice or quinoa. 

Pin it for later
Sticky Asian Lemon Cashew Cauliflower, Easy Heathy Vegan

Check out my Best Vegetable Side Dishes Pinterest Board.



Advice for Mexican Snowbirds and Expats, Traveling With Your Pet to Mexico

Advice for Mexican Snowbirds and Expats, Traveling With Your Pets to Mexico

Traveling with your pet to Mexico requires advanced planning especially if you fly.  

All of the regulations apply to land and air entries but when you drive, often times there is no one around to check your pet’s papers. I’ll tell you why I comply anyway.

Pets, moscatos, for the purpose of this discussion includes cats and dogs.  You will have to research further for regulars on chickens, rodents, birds and etc. 

This is my beach dog, Biscuit.

We use the term beach dog loosely because he hates water, sand, sea creatures, especially crabs, birds, feathers, seashells, and getting his paws dirty. He refuses to kayak or paddle board. But you can see that he is a very enthusiastic packer.

Advice for Mexican Snowbirds and Expats, Traveling With Your Pet to Mexico /MyBajaKitchen.com

 

Biscuit rides down the Baja in an elevated and secure car seat. I wanted to comfortably protect him from injury in the event of sudden stops and potential rollovers while traveling. This seat helps prevent car sickness also because he can see out of the windows. I bought a soft harness and attached it to the lead that holds him in the seat. He weighs 25 pounds and this jumbo seat gives him just enough space to move around. A larger dog would not fit.
Here are affiliate links to Amazon. I can highly recommend this seat for long car trips.

 

Be prepared for traveling with your pet to Mexico

If you are not prepared, you could encounter delays at the border and even have to call a vet in Mexico to certify your pet’s health and the pet could be treated for external and internal parasites again if you can’t prove that your vet treated them. I have never had to show Biscuit’s papers at the Tecate crossing but one of my neighbors had to show his this year. Be prepared when taking your pet into Mexico, its your legal and moral obligation. In my opinion you should see your vet once a year anyway and make sure that your pet is safe to travel.

Here’s a link to Baja Bound Mexican Insurance which has done a good job of discussing traveling with your pet, under “before you go”. This is an affiliate link so feel free to look around and buy Mexican auto insurance for your road trip. I get a small commission if you buy insurance but it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

The benefit of complying with the regulations includes, avoiding delays and hassle but more importantly you have a chance to discuss your pet’s health with his personal vet, in English, before you leave the U.S.

Everyone has a story about how they never comply with the pet certificates when driving into Mexico but that doesn’t means it’s ethical or wise for your pet’s sack.

Comply with Mexican Law. You’re a visitor, as is your pet.

Important issues to discuss with your vet before traveling with your pet to Mexico

  1. Vaccinations for rabies and distemper must be up to date and be given at the latest 15 days before entering Mexico. There are special rules for puppies so read the guidelines. Consider waiting until your puppy can be vaccinated before they travel.
  2. Does your dog need to be tested for heart worm and started on heart worm prevention? Heart worm is carried by mosquitos and you may not need it in some northern locals in the U.S. and Canada but it is present in Mexico. You would treat your dog year round if you travel every year to endemic areas of heart worm.
  3. Ask about flea and tick protection. We give Biscuit prescription oral medication while we are in Mexico but there are topical preparations and collars that can be purchased over the counter. Ask you vet about the risks and benefits of treatment.
  4. Discuss your individual pet’s tolerance for travel and ask if there is anything you can do to help your pet travel stress free.
  5. Ask you vet to certify that your pet has been treated for external and internal parasites on official letter head with his name, signature, license number and details about vaccinations and parasite treatments. It should be specific and list the names of the drugs that were used to treat your pet. They must not use any abbreviations.
  6. The International Pet Passport or Health Certificate templates can be found online by you and/or your vet. Baja Bound has a link to the Health Certificate. Always verify resources for the most up to date information. This does not mean ask your friends or random strangers for legal advice on Facebook.

Translation directly from the Mexican government concerning transportation  of your pets to Mexico at  SAGARPA-SENASICA.

To import a pet you must have a certificate issued by an official veterinarian of the competent authority or if it is private, on letterhead, with the printed professional identification number or photocopy of it (or its equivalent). Name and address of the exporter (in the country of origin or origin) and the importer (address of destination in Mexico). Date of application of the vaccine against rabies and its validity (animals under 3 months of age are exempt). That in the pre-trip inspection, the animal or animals were clinically healthy. That the animal or animals have been internally and externally dewormed, within the previous six months
and are free of ectoparasites. If you do not comply with the above, you must contact a Veterinarian (of your choice and by your account
in Mexico), who will issue the health certificate and apply the corresponding treatment.

Specifics for flying your pet into Mexico

Inspection and handling your pets at the airport seems to be fairly consistent where as when driving, you literally can’t find the inspection office at many small border crossings and the border agents usually ignore your pets. But be prepared anyway when traveling with your pet in Mexico.

Your pet must enter in container (kennel), clean, without bedding, without implements or accessories (toys, treats, prizes or other objects, made with ingredients of ruminant origin), otherwise, they will be removed for destruction. The conveyor or container will receive preventive treatment by spraying by the official personnel of SAGARPA-SENASICA; you can enter with your necklace, strap, etc. You can enter the ration of the day of balanced food in bulk. We remind you that in Mexico there is a type of food that has the Registration and Authorization of SAGARPA-SENASICA. My understanding is that you can’t bring raw meat or large quantities of pet food into Mexico.

Upon returning with your pet to the U.S., the regulations are simpler. Your pet must appear to be in good health and not carrying any disease. You need proof that the rabies vaccination is current.

Pin this for later and find more Snowbird/Expat Advice on my Pinterest boards.

Advice for Mexican #Snowbirds and #Expats, Trvaeking with your pet to Mexico



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Advice For Mexican Snowbirds: Securing Your Home For Extended Travel

Securing Your Home for Extended Travel

Nothing ruins your beach day faster than a call from a neighbor in the north that you have water running our of your basement or there’s an unfamiliar moving van parked in your driveway.

Advice for Mexican Snowbirds/MyBajaKitchen.com
True story; my husband once received a call from his father’s neighbor  that there were icicles inside the house. A pipe had burst in the ceiling and it was so cold that icicles formed inside the house.
Burrrrr ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

Planning is everything!

You must make plans for securing your home for extended travel if you plan to keep a home in two countries. Many Mexican Snowbirds spend their summers in the north and their fall and winters in the south. Cold northern winters put your northern home at particularly risk for freezing pipes and other weather related damage.

Every unoccupied home is vulnerable to theft and vandalism. You can’t plan for every contingency but this list might help you avoid a disaster.

Securing your home for extended travel. Advice for Snowbirds and Expats.

Continue reading “Advice For Mexican Snowbirds: Securing Your Home For Extended Travel”