Bone Broth – Benefits & How to Make it!


A good friend of mine started talking about how he sips on bone broth in between meals and during long lectures at school. He started talking about how good it makes him feel and about all the nutrients it has. So I looked into it 🧐

It turns out that a lot of people drink bone broth like coffee as part of a healthy diet.  I saw bone broth being promoted on news segments, Dr. Oz, articles by nutritionists, at Whole Foods, and celebrities like Salma Hayek, Shailene Woodely, and Gweneth Paltrow crediting bone marrow for their youthful skin, while athletes like Kobe Bryant claims a boost in energy and less inflammation from his bone broth intake.

So what is some of the good stuff?

Collagen- this promotes healthy skin and decreases wrinkle lines and cellulite! Collagen also helps obtain healthy gut lining which lets the gut absorb nutrients.  This all results in a healthier digestive system, that is also known to help reduce food allergies for those who are sensitive to gluten or cow’s milk.  Collagen is also known to be amazing for the joints and bones.  Surgeons have recommended patients to sip on bone broth as part of a post-surgery diet for a faster recovery in healing their bones 💪🏼

Adiponectin- A hormone that comes from the bone marrow fat that can help reduce the risk of diabetes and help the cardiovascular system 💗

Fatty Acids- Omega 3 goodness that contributes to healthy functioning of the brain 🧠

alkylglycerols (AKGs)- Known to regulate the production of white blood cells which helps fight diseases like cancer.  A Swedish oncologist did a study in the 1950s that involved giving bone marrow to leukemia striken children to help restore their health after radiation therapy, and many were recorded to have immediate improvements in their body 🙏🏼

Lots of Minerals- Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus, Magnesium which contributes to healthy bones, good renal system, increasing hormonal secretion, improving your moods, boosting immune system.  These minerals help the prevention of anemia, chronic fatigue, heart disease, and much more 🤩

MY EXPERIENCE? Without reading all the benefits beforehand, so as to not fall to the placebo effect, I started buying the frozen bone broth from Whole Foods and drank a cup each day for two weeks.  While I can’t say how much good it did to my organs, I can say that i noticed an energy boost, softer skin on my face, and my nails were at its longest without a single crack.  I have been healthier in general with my diet, so it could very well be the combination of eating less junk food and consuming healthier foods including the broth.


You can buy it frozen, bottled, or boxed at grocery stores and vitamin shoppes.  I found a good variety at Whole Foods, where I chose frozen bone broth by Bonafide, that is until I started making my own bone broth.



It’s written that if you want the full health benefits, it’s crucial to make sure you get your bones from grass-fed healthy cows.  This is why health-consciuos stores like Whole Foods are great.  I walked in and what do you know….


They provide packaged bones along with a bone broth recipe!

The added step I did was that I roasted the bones first, some recommend this for a tastier flavor.

Here we go…



2-2.5 lbs of Chicken, beef, lamb, or fish bones    Ingredients_web

1 onion chopped

3-4 carrots chopped

2 celery stalks

1 tablespoon of Salt

1/4 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar

Peppercorn (I added a handful because I like the kick).

✔️ Roast Bones for 15 minutes (optional). I also took advantage of treating myself to some bone marrow before using it for the broth 🙂


✔️Place bones and onion, carrots, celery, salt, and peppercorns in stock pot


✔️Pour enough water to cover ingredients

✔️Add vinegar and let stand for 30-40 minutes

✔️Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for the recommended time

*Chicken- 8-24 hours

*Fish 6-24 hours

*Beef 8-72 hours

✔️Look for any foamy/scum that rises to the top and remove with a spoon.  The cleaner the animal, the less of this foam you will see.

Note: I start my bone broth in the morning when I know I can be home all day, then right before I go to bed, I turn off the stove and leave the stock pot covered overnight, and then fire it up the next morning again for a couple more hours. I try to shoot for at least 12 hours of simmering.  I did read that as long as I leave it covered, it should be fine sitting out overnight.

✔️Strain and discard everything in the strainer


✔️When it’s first refrigerated, let the fat layer thicken, so you can spoon it out.

✔️Refrigerate up to 5 days, or freeze up to 3 months.

〰️Thaw and heat on stove or microwave for a cup of goodness while you relax or on the go.


Guacamole Time

Looking back at this shot I took of ingredients that I was preparing for some amazing guacamole, has me back on the goal of growing all the ingredients I need to make my awesome guac.

Pasta Night with Trader Joe’s ingredients



















Usually I go to my Italian market for pasta night, but I decided to try getting all my major ingredients at Trader Joe’s.

TJ Ingredients: Egg Pappardelle Pasta, Arrabiata Sauce, Seafood Blend (shrimp, calamari, bay scallops).

Other ingredients: Red chili pepper flakes, olive oil, garlic, herbs, salt & pepper

Added red chili pepper flakes and garlic to the pasta sauce and let it simmer while my water boiled for the pasta. Boiled the pasta for a few minutes while adding the seafood to a hot pan of olive oil.

When pasta was ready, mixed in pasta sauce. When seafood was thoroughly cooked, added that to the mix. Salt and peppered pasta. Chopped up some herbs and sprinkled on top… voila!










Great with red wine 🙂

Strawberry French Macarons

I never saw myself as a baker. The most interested I’ve ever been in baking was pouring a pre-made brownie mix or spoonfuls of ready made cookie dough onto a pan.  However, I found myself with free time and trying to come up with special treats for my godson’s baptism.  French macarons came to mind!

This was quite the jump from a box of brownie mix to home made French macarons, but in order for me to want to put the time into making something, I have to be highly interested in it.  French macarons happen to be one of the few sweets that intrigued me.  I have always loved the look of  a French macaron, and the variety of flavors and colors they come in.

What’s great, is that there aren’t a lot of steps and they are all easy.  What’s not so great, is that doing any of theses steps slightly off, will mess up your chances of making the perfect macaron.

I found a great youtube video on making French macarons, and then tweaked a few things to get my successful batches of macarons.

The video is Beth’s Foolproof French Macaron Recipe –

Her ingredients:

3 Egg Whites
¼ cup white sugar (50 g)
2 cups confectioners sugar (200 g)
1 cup almond flour (120 g) (SEE NOTE BELOW)
pinch of salt
¼ tsp cream of tartar (2 ml)  * You can omit if needed, just may take a bit longer to reach stiff peaks but the recipe will still work)

NOTE: If you cannot find almond flour where you live, check out this great video from my new friend Dzung at Honeysuckle Catering and she’ll show you a great easy way to make it yourself!

1/4 cup salted butter (60g)
3/4 cup powdered sugar (75 g)
1 cup (150 g) fresh raspberries, worked through a sieve to extract 3 tbsp of juice


For my fist attempt, I did a light blue coloring on my shells and buttercream since blue was the color theme for the party, with earl grey tea powder as the flavoring in the shells.


1st Batch- I followed the steps to the best of my ability, and the two problems I encountered were very hollow and tall shells, and then the shells stuck to the pan after the suggested time.  I began to look at the comments below the video for people who had complained about similar outcomes and did what  Ms. Beth suggested.

French Macarons Blue
My 1st attempt with the issue of hollow shells and raw bottoms

2nd Batch- Beth said a hollow shell means the temperature is too hot, so I lowered my oven temperature. BETTER SHELLS! STILL STICKY BOTTOMS!

3rd Batch- I then read to place the pan on a lower rack…still sticky.  I had to spray water underneath the parchment paper to get the macarons to peel off the sheet.

4th Batch- I left the macarons in the oven longer so the bottoms can cook more…yellowish burnt tops.

5th Batch-I raised the temperature back up and baked for less time…sticky bottoms.

5th Batch- I heard to prop the oven door open so the tops won’t brown as you extend the baking time for the bottoms to cook more…still sticky and my kitchen was uncomfortably hot.



A few weeks later, the baptism was two days away and it was time to try again.

2nd Attempt

1st Batch- I heard about leaving the macarons out longer before popping them into the oven.  I waited an hour.  Success!!  However, the tops didn’t smooth out, and I realized I under mixed my batter.  If the tops don’t smooth out within 10 seconds of piping, it needs a few more folds.

2nd Batch- I DON’T KNOW WHAT IN GOD’S NAME I DID WRONG.  After piping, they never felt like they were drying, even after an hour!  Usually, the tops start to dry out after 20 minutes.  I popped them in anyway and they just came out like cookies.  No “feet,” no smooth tops, no sense of accomplishment.

3rd Batch- Did everything the same and they came out like the first batch.  There were still a bit of a swirly top on the macarons, but decent.

People were actually really pleased with them and they were gone by the end of the night. My cousin was left wanting more, so I told him I would make more later on in the week. Tired of making blue macarons, I wanted to do a completely different color and flavor.  I had leftover strawberries from the baptism party, and I thought I could replace the raspberry in Beth’s recipe with strawberry juice.  Now, I don’t know if it’s the practice or lack of pressure, but WOW!!

3rd Attempt

This is what I did…

From 3 room temperature eggs, I separated the egg whites, and mixed until they were foamy.

Added my cream of tartar, salt, and sugar

Pouring Egg Whites

































While the my egg whites were mixing, I sifted my almond meal into my powdered sugar.

Sifting Almond Meal/Flour into the Powdered Sugar
Sifting Almond Meal/Flour into the Powdered Sugar



































When my egg whites were starting to thicken, I added my food coloring (4 drops of red for the strawberry theme)

Food Coloring for the French Macarons

































Mixed until the peak of my egg whites stood up



































Poured the Almond/Sugar Mix into the Egg WhitesFlour Pour into Egg Mix







Folded until the “lava flow”

French Macaron Mix


































Placed the mix into a pastry bag…

French Macaron Pastry Bag


































Piped out the desired shape of the French macarons and banged the pan 4 good times to let the air bubbles out.

I left them to dry out for 45 minutes, when the tops felt completely dry.

Macaron Mold


































Popped them into the oven at 285 degrees for 15 minutes on the lower rack

Strawberry Macaron Shells

These shells easily popped off the sheet…

Macaron Shell Bottoms

You could see that the bottoms fully cooked 🙂  However, browning was starting to occur, so I will bake it for 12 minutes next time.

While I let these macarons cool and placed my second pan of macarons in the oven, I began the buttercream.

I mixed up the butter until it was pale and fluffy.  Then came the strawberries!

I took my sieve and pressed out the juice of strawberries with a spoon.  I am guessing I made about 3 tablespoons of juice.  Then I mixed again!

Strawberry Puree


































Started getting that nice pink color from the strawberries
Started getting that nice pink color from the strawberries



































Placed it in a pastry bag and started filling the macaron shells.  To achieve a smoother look, I’m going to mix longer and with fewer juice next time.

However, the strawberry buttercream tastes amazing! Lots of strawberry flavor meshed with the sweetness of the sugar and creaminess of butter.

Strawvberry Buttercream Filling


































Strawberry Macarons Dish




Strawberry French Macarons





































National Ceviche Day! Perfect snack for the World Cup games!



Ceviche has to be one of my favorite dishes to eat and make.  It’s a good way for me to consume some veggies and cool the mouth on a hot day. There are many variations on ceviche.  It typically consists of raw shrimp or a type of shredded fish as the main protein marinated in lime or lemon, mixed with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and chilis.  As long as the raw seafood is fresh, this is a pretty healthy recipe that can be filling and fun to eat while watching a soccer game or hanging in the backyard with some saltine crackers or tostadas.

There are some different stories of where the ceviche dish originated from.  Many say Peru is credited for the birth of the dish while others say it was the Spanish who introduced ceviche to Peru from Granada.  The Spanish have also been credited for bringing over citrus trees that included limes, a main ingredient for the dish. Central America has been argued to be responsible for the origin.  The Polynesians have  been known to make a dish very similar to ceviche.  There is evidence that ceviche has been around for over 2,000 years.  This is now very popular in most coastal regions around the world.  Mexico, the United States, and the Caribbean Islands are now places where ceviche is easily found and becoming more popular.  What’s great about so many parts of the world making this dish, is that you will see interesting takes such as using conch or mackerel as the seafood or adding olives and corn.  Some other variations from places like Mexico, include having a mixed seafood of chopped fish, crab, shrimp, and cooked octopus.  Their toppings have included cooked cactus and coriander, or have orange juice as part of the marinade.

Typically you use raw shrimp or fish that then gets cured sitting in citrus juices.  It is not technically cooked, so there is always the risk of not killing the bacteria that can cause illness.  It is advised to use the freshest seafood you can for this dish for this reason (it also tastes better).  You can also just throw in pre-cooked seafood that has been chilled.  The acidity breaks down the protein of the shrimp and that’s when you start seeing the color change to a cooked color.


So, in honor of the Central and South America teams playing today in the World Cup, ceviche will be served!

Ingredients for the ceviche I make:

2 lbs. Raw Shrimp

3 Tomatoes

1/2 White Onion

1 jalapeno (de-seed half for spicy, de-seed completely for mild)

1/2 bunch of Cilantro

6 Limes

2 Avocados


Box of Saltine Cracker, Tortilla Chips, or Tostadas



Wash your veggies










Peel shrimp and chop:


Get seafood at its freshest for Ceviche
Get seafood at its freshest for Ceviche










Chop Shrimp
Chop Shrimp










At this point, you can choose to soak shrimp in lime juice or any other citrus juice of your choosing.  I just marinate for the time it takes me to prepare the other ingredients, you of course, can marinade longer to ensure more curing.  I also sometimes let it cure at the end with all the ingredients so that the onion has time to “cook” down as well.


Chop Tomatoes and pour into mixing bowl:









Chop Cilantro and pile into bowl:










Chop Onions and Jalapenos.  With Jalapenos, de-seed according to your heat tolerance.  I actually like it spicy, so I keep the majority of seeds











I save the avocado until the end because they tend to brown quickly.  Lemon or lime juice can actually help prevent the browning, so I add it right before I add the lime juice to the bowl.

I do criss cross slices on the halves of avocados, then scoop it out with a spoon
I do criss cross slices on the halves of avocados, then scoop it out with a spoon




You can also scoop out the avocado halves first, then chop the avocado up.









Next, squeeze 3 limes or more if you like over the ingredients in the bowl












Add your shrimp wether it has been curing or not, and MIX gently until the lime juice coats it all.  Season with Salt & Pepper.










Set your Crackers or Tostadas out and place some Lime wedges and Salt with the plates.













Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas!
Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas!


Quick meal plan

Ran out of time for dinner, so I used the cooked shrimp that was left over from last night’s dinner, put it aside while I cooked pasta in one pot, cooked bacon in a pan, and sautéed chopped garlic and red crushed pepper flakes in another pan of olive oil. Once the garlic was translucent, I poured in the shrimp, added salt and pepper, chopped up bacon and placed that in, and mixed over low heat. Mixed in spaghetti and voila!


Shrinking Avocados!!

My poor avocado tree has been growing tremendously well, however, it has not produced any avocados 😦 I have had many bees hanging around and  have fertilized it well, but no cigar.  I also have noticed different proportioned avocados in the market, and then this article caught me eye…


Incredibly Shrinking Avocados: Why This Year’s Fruit Are So Tiny


August 19, 2013 3:43 PM
We found lots of avocados being sold six or 10 to a $1 bag in the San Francisco area. Some weighed less than 3 ounces.

We found lots of avocados being sold six or 10 to a $1 bag in the San Francisco area. Some weighed less than 3 ounces.

Alastair Bland for NPR

What’s thick-skinned and leathery, about the size of an egg, essential for guacamole and sold eight for a dollar?

No, not limes. Hass avocados. This year, anyway. These pear-sized fruits usually weigh half a pound or more. In the summer of 2013, though, hundreds of thousands of trees in Southern California are sagging with the tiniest Hass avocados in local memory — some just the size of a golf ball.

The main reason for the lemon-sized fruits, sources say, is a very unusual growing year that consisted of low winter rainfall in early 2012 (avocados spend more than a full year developing on the tree), erratic bee activity during the late spring bloom period, and lots of unseasonably cool and cloudy weather in the year since.

“I can’t ever remember a season when all the avocados were this small, and that’s over 30 years in the business,” says Charley Wolk, a farmer with orchards in San Diego and Riverside counties. He cites a lack of rain and late pollination back in the spring of 2012 as main factors in the little avocados.

By most accounts, the fruits are about 30 percent smaller than usual. “That means less per pound wholesale,” Wolk says.

Avocados larger or smaller than what is considered normal are generally less attractive to consumers, he says, and, therefore, command less money per pound. He says about 8 ounces is the optimal — and average — weight of a California Hass. A 25-pound case of such fruits usually draws $1.20 per pound, according to Wolk. With each ounce less in average fruit size, the per-pound rate can drop by 30 cents, he says.

But the positive trade-off is that this year’s crop consists of more individual fruits than usual and, in fact, will probably weigh in at more than usual. Wolk says a half-billion pounds of fruit are expected by the end of October. Most years, the California avocado harvest — 95 percent of which is of the Hass variety — tips the scales at around 400 million pounds.

Gary Bender, a University of California avocado specialist and farm adviser in San Diego County, says that most years, several months after pollination, high July temperatures cause many fruits to drop off the branches. That didn’t occur in the summer of 2012. The resulting abundance of individual fruits on each tree, combined with low rainfall, cool temperatures and sluggish photosynthesizing, has likely caused the stunting. Bender says that in 29 years on the job he has not seen such tiny avocados as those being picked this year.

Several growers told The Salt that 2013’s avocados are weighing mostly 5 to 6 ounces — but that could be a generous overestimate. We collected avocados at several randomly selected grocery stores in San Francisco, and at each location — all independent, Asian-American owned shops — we found numerous avocados, being sold six or 10 to a $1 bag, that weighed in at less than 3 ounces, and several less than 2.

“That’s just ridiculous,” Bender notes.

This season's avocados are the smallest in memory. We found some that were as tiny as 47 grams.

This season’s avocados are the smallest in memory. We found some that were as tiny as 47 grams.

Alastair Bland/for NPR

Jim Donovan, with the Mission Produce Company, a fruit wholesaler in Oxnard, says that harvesting 2-ounce fruits is likeliest to occur toward the end of the picking season, which wraps up in the fall.

Some growers, he explains, may selectively harvest bigger avocados all season and meanwhile wait for the smaller ones to grow larger. Avocados, unlike other fruits, can continue to gain size for months until they are picked.

“But eventually the farmer can’t wait any longer because the tree will drop the fruit, so they do what we call a ‘strip-pick,’ and take every avocado left hanging,” Donovan says. These tiny fruits may draw less than half the wholesale price of normal-sized avocados. Cases of exceptionally large avocados — sometimes 14 or 16 ounces each — can also draw less per pound, he says.

Elisabeth Silva, San Diego County’s agricultural crime prosecutor who deals every year in a number of avocado theft cases, says there could be foul play behind the sudden flood of tiny avos. She describes a sly method of insider theft by which harvesting crews sometimes receive orders to pick only fruits larger than a certain size.

“So, sometimes they’ll put those bigger fruits in the bins and they’ll skim off the undersized fruits for themselves and sell them on the side,” Silva says. These, she adds, can get “laundered into legitimate commerce.” She says that while tiny avocados, sold in unmarked bags, could very well be stolen, grocers generally have no role in, or knowledge of, such illicit activity.

Farmers and other fans of bigger avocados may get relief next year when industry experts expect this spring’s relatively low number of newly set fruits to result in fewer but larger avocados. Meanwhile, the little avocados of 2013 won’t hurt you a bit. Donovan at Mission Produce points out that size and price may be down, but that quality is just fine.

“If you’re willing to cut 10 pieces instead of two to make your guacamole, then you’ve got a bargain,” he says.


Mom teaches me to cook Pollo in Tomatillo Sauce with Spanish Rice!


Happy Mother’s Day Mom!  Thank you for all the wonderful dinners you have made over the years.  Thank you for starting to pass on the recipes on some of my favorite dishes growing up.


One of my favorite dishes that my mom cooks is pollo in tomatillo sauce, paired with Spanish rice. I LOVE the tart and juicy taste of tomatillos.  It is a popular ingredient that originated in Mexico and is also used in other latin countries.  You can boil, steam, or fry them.  Blended or ground in a molcajete, they can also make great salsas as well as sauces for entrees.  In this dish, one of the best parts is mixing some of the tomatillos juices up with the rice as you go through this dish.  The juice makes the rice taste creamy and brothy.



Tomatillos- About 20-25

Onion- a quarter sliced

Garlic- 2 cloves

Thyme- 5-6 sprigs

Jalapeno or Serrano pepper- 1

Bay Leaves- 3-4

One whole chicken



First we  gather a lot of tomatillos and break them free out of their husks…

Ripe green tomatillos




For the green tomatillos, which is the more commonly seen, a bright green color and firm texture indicates ripeness.








In a deep pot, cover the base with  a thin layer of vegetable oil over low-medium heat.

Add the white onion and the 2 cloves of garlic.  Gently saute.

Sauteing onions











If you buy a whole chicken, go ahead and cut your sections up.  For a safer and convenient way, feel free to buy your chicken already divided.  My mom is just used to do doing the work and likes saving by buying the chicken whole.  Make sure to pat down chicken with a paper towel to remove excess water if you rinsed the chicken.

Cutting up chicken


There is a whole debate wether it’s better to rinse your chicken or not.  Many argue that rinsing chicken makes it more probable that you will splash bacteria onto the counter and any little flying micro bugs will just jump ship and onto you.  No matter what you do, the most important thing is to cook the chicken thoroughly and wipe down your work area to help reduce the risk of illness.  Amen.

Let’s get back to business.







Start laying out the chicken pieces in the pot.  Raise heat to medium-high.  Use your judgement to determine if it needs to be turned down or higher.  It should sizzle, but not to the point where it starts to burn.  A little oil spitting as you place them in is normal.  This is why my mom lays down the foil paper to limit the amount of oil she has to clean up later.

Saute the Chicken Pieces











While the chicken cooks, go back to your washed tomatillos and start chopping all of them!

Chopped tomatillos











Going back to the pot of chicken, add a sliced up jalapeno or serrano chili.


Prepping the chicken for tomatillo sauce












Add the chopped tomatillos and bay leaves.  Lower heat.  Add salt.  Mix gently.

Chicken and tomatillos cooking











Add the sprigs of thyme.  My mom grows some of her own, so I ran out back and harvested 🙂

Thyme in the garden












Add the thyme and raise heat until it comes to a light bubble.  Notice the beautiful greenery that’s coming more vibrant as it start heat up.  Green is probably my favorite color on a dish, just looks earthy.

Cover and let simmer.

Chicken cooking in tomatillo






In a few minutes, add sugar and gently mix.


Also, as you start to get the juices coming out of the tomatillos, taste to see if you need to add more salt.

Continue to cook, gently mixing occasionally, being careful not to start shredding the chicken as it starts to soften.

For Spanish Rice:


White Rice

Onion – A couple outer layers of your quartered onion

Jalapeno – 1

Garlic- 2 cloves

Cilantro- a few strands

Plain smooth tomato sauce- one regular can

Chicken broth- 2 cubes

Vegetable Oil- About 2 tablespoons


First, in a deep sauce pan, cover the base with a then layer of oil over low-medium heat.

Place a few outer layers of the remaining onion, a jalapeno, and garlic into the pan.  Cook until translucent.

prepping for spanish rice











While that is cooking, start rinsing your white rice in a colander.

Rinsing Rice













Take out the jalapeno.  Pour rice into the pan.  Raise heat to medium.  Stir and cook uncovered until the rice is slightly toasted and has absorbed the oil.

Cooking rice












Add 2 cubes of chicken broth or the equivalent in liquid broth.

Pour the can of tomato sauce and stir.

Add 4 cups of water and bring to a simmer.

This is where we add a jalapeno and cilantro to start cooking with the rice, it will excrete a very subtle flavor into the rice.

Cover and let cook until rice is tender.



You should now have a soupy look to your pot.  You can keep simmering as long as your chicken isn’t falling apart.  If you are not going to eat this right away, you can just let this cool and store it in the refrigerator until ready to warm up.

Chicken cooking in tomatillo












Spoon the chicken onto a plate, and ladle the tomatillo sauce over the chicken.  In this picture, I dumped the jalapeno onto the plate just because I like some spice to smoosh into my rice.  I barely started pouring the sauce over my chicken, so the chicken might look bare, but up close you’ll see a light glaze from the juices.  It’s probably good that you don’t have too much tomatillo sauce sticking to the chicken as too much tomatillo can cause a lot of puckering.  Once you bite into the chicken, you will taste the tomatillos and herbs that have been absorbed.


Chicken in Tomatillo w/ Spanish Rice











The Spanish rice helps absorb the leftover tomatillo sauce and add some more flavor to the rice.  It reminds me when I used to eat spanish rice out of my chicken soup growing up.