Easy Vegan Guava & Cheese Pastries | Pastelitos de Guayaba y Queso

Hello everyone and FELIZ AÑO NUEVO!

I’m so excited to take on 2018 and show you guys the content I’ve been coming up with! Get ready for a year full of outfit guides, beauty tips and make up looks that’ll keep you glowing harding than Cardi B in 2017!

All of this finessing makes me super hungry and I’ve been missing Miami like crazy lately. Mainly because NYC has been colder than a freezer and I…just…can’t.

I was inspired to whip up my favorite Cuban treat, pastelitos de guayaba y queso (guava and cheese pastries) and after perusing Pinterest I discovered Jamie from A Sassy Spoon! She’s a food blogger from Miami with Cuban roots and delicious Latino inspired recipes that I’m dying to try out! Her Pastelito de Guayaba + Queso recipe was really simple to follow, and she linked a video of another amazing Cubana blogger Marta Darby  demonstrating the process. There was no reason not to do it at this point!

Vegan Pastelitos de Guayaba y Queso | Vegan Guava & Cheese Pastries

I figured I could change a few things to make this treat vegan. Yup, that’s right, I’m trying to do the vegan thing. I’m lactose intolerant and all the Netflix food documentaries I’ve seen about the American meat industry has made me say “Why not?”. I don’t think I’ll be missing out on much since most of my friends are already vegan and they seem to be making things work. Like mi amiga Colombiana Jessica who runs Vegan Turned On, a food blog that shows how easy it is to veganize typical Latino dishes, like this Arroz con Pollo recipe that i’m definitely trying out this week 😋

Vegan Pastelitos de Guayaba y Queso | Vegan Guava & Cheese Pastries

Substituting the cream cheese and egg wash for “cream cheese” style spread and maple syrup was a crazy experiment, but the end result was AMAZING! The puff pastry was chewy rather than flaky on top and the vegan cream cheese was the perfect replacement. Next time, I would add a thinner wash of maple syrup and stuff more “cream cheese”!

Ingredients:

Guava Paste cut into 18 thin rectangular slices

Daiya Vegan Cream Cheese Style Spread

Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry (CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS IS VEGAN?!)

Maple Syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. After thawing the puff pastry for 40 minutes, fold out one of the sheets on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  3. You’re going to be making 9 pastries in total, so place 2 slices of guava paste for each 1/3 of a 1/3 fold. If you’re confused by this, check out Marta Darby’s video on how to assemble Here.
  4. Put a spoonful of “cream cheese” on top of the guava paste.
  5. Place the other pastry sheet on top and cut into 9 squares. Cut 3 small lines into each square.
  6. Wash a thin layer of maple syrup on top.
  7. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes and then buen provecho! You just got breakfast, snacks and dessert all in one recipe!

If you try out the recipe, don’t forget to tag me @TheMelDez so I can check out your creations!

Also, don’t forget to follow these Jefa’s in action ! They’ll give you mega food FOMO 😉

https://veganturnedon.com/

https://www.instagram.com/veganturnedon/

https://asassyspoon.com/

https://www.instagram.com/asassyspoon/

https://www.mybigfatcubanfamily.com/

https://www.instagram.com/mybigfatcubanfamily/

Advertisements

3 Simple Tips To Make Traveling Not So Stressful

The idea of traveling sounds romantic but that’s because most people are only thinking about the destination and not the 3 hour drive or 18 hour flight to get there. Not to mention the crowded airports, traffic jams and instances of plain old bad luck like losing your luggage or missing a flight connection. But wherever the road takes you this holiday, use these 3 tips to actually enjoy getting there. After all, the journey is part of the adventure!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Shop The Look: Sweater  Jeans Boots
  1. Bring Snacks | Traveling can be really expensive even before stepping foot anywhere, so lighten up the load by bringing some pre-made snacks like PB & J sammies, empanadas, and fruit to munch on. If you’re flying, bring a reusable water bottle to fill up on the way. If you’re driving, make sure to bring a gallon of water and a thermos of coffee.
  2. Listen To A Podcast | Listening to the same songs on your playlist can get boring, so why not listen to some meaningful conversation, witty chatter, or learn something new on a podcast? Lately I’ve been listening to the Girl Boss podcast by Sophia Amoruso and it’s awesome! Sophia brings lots of business women from all walks of life on the show and they really dig deep into how they went from working as cashiers and waitresses to being the CEO of their own company. On my radar to listen to next is A Piece of Work with Abbi Jacobson and the Influencer Podcast with Julie Solomon.
  3. Bring A Notebook | Some people like sleeping on the plane, others like to watch movies. I, on the other hand, HATE sleeping on planes and my seats’ tv screen never seems to work so I opt to ditch the technology once I’m done listening to my saved podcasts and bring out my notebook. I like to create lists of activities I want to do once I get to my destination or plan my work schedule for the weeks ahead. You can write down your thoughts or draw and just the feeling of using a pen and paper makes the process so much more relaxing and organic than doing it on an iPad or phone.

I hope these tips are helpful for all of you traveling to see loved ones during this time of year!

Bendiciones y Feliz Navidad!

Melanie.

 

I’ll Drink To That: Coquito For The Holidays

My holiday parties are never complete without a cup of chilled coquito in everyone’s hand. For those of you who don’t know, coquito (meaning Little Coconut) is a Puerto Rican alcoholic beverage that mainly consists of coconut milk, spices and rum. It is THE holiday cocktail that you will see at every Puerto Rican party, and it’s popularity reaches new heights each year.

img_9779

This year, it seemed that the holiday parties started the day after Halloween and pictures of coquito were flying around Instagram with some vendors making multiple flavor variations such as pistachio, nutella, and strawberry!

Everyone has their own unique coquito recipe handed down by their Abuelos or Padres. I personally received mine from my mother and it has been a crowd pleaser since 2015! My boyfriend and his Ecuadorian family never tried coquito before, and once they took a sip of mine they have called me Coquito ever since and they go CRAZY when I mention that I’m bringing a bottle to the party. Nuera of the year, or what? 😉

img_9791

Without any further ado, here is my coquito recipe! Make it the night before a party, let it chill in the freezer overnight and enjoy it with some cinnamon sprinked on top.

Ingrdients:

1 can Condensed Milk

1 can Evaporated Milk

1 can Coconut Milk

1 can Coconut Cream

1 cup of Spiced Water (Water infused with Cloves, Cinnamon, and Allspice)

1 cup of Rum (Or more, it’s up to you and your preferences 😉 )

The best part about this creamy, rum infused cocktail is the memories you’ll make drinking it with loved ones durante la navidad.

If you try out my coquito recipe let me know what you think!

Bendiciones y mucho amor,

Melanie.

Sundays in Brooklyn

After a full weeks worth of work and then a nights worth of drinking the stress away, Sunday is when I go into full on hibernation mode. Typically I sleep in, cuddle with my fur baby, and lock myself in the apartment all day. On the occasion that I actually want to do something other than be a potato my boyfriend and I have a traditional outing planned in Brooklyn that never disappoints. Check out my guide to a day filled with eating, drinking and exploring in Brooklyn, New York!

img_7881
Coat:Fashion Nova, Shirt:Forever 21, Pants:Gap, Boots:Target

Eat: The first thing on the list is brunch at Harefield Road. This full time bar, part time brunch spot offers the best deal in the city that not only satisfies your poached eggs fascination but your wallet as well. Their $14 brunch includes a coffee or tea and a Mimosa or Bloody Mary and let me tell you I have tried almost everything on the menu and never have I encountered a miss. Everything is delicious and fresh, and they’re happy to customize plates so vegans are welcome!I take everyone I know here for brunch, it just can’t be beat.

img_7795img_7809

Drink: Walk off that big brunch and enjoy the graffiti art that’s quintessential Williamsburg. When you start feeling thirsty, head over to Barcade. This mecca is where childhood dreams and adult fun combine to create a memorable experience…until you had one too many beers and forgot where you left your phone! Play old school games like Pac Man and Donkey Kong while sipping on a smooth one. Come for the games, stay for the local beers on tap.

Do: Head south to Dumbo and stroll through the Brooklyn Flea. Local food joints and vintage connoisseurs gather to offer the community an eclectic market of goods. Here is where I’ve found vintage art pieces and old Playboys that have made my house their home. The day is not complete until I’ve had a Cafe au Lait donut from the Dough stand. They are pillowy mounds of sweetness in your mouth, you shall not be disappointed!

img_7838img_7842img_7832

After all the eating, drinking and walking around I love to spend the rest of my Sunday at home watching movies and eating popcorn before a new week of possibilities begins. 

I’d love to try out some new places, so let me know your favorite spots around Brooklyn! 

PS. I have a 25% off discount code for you from Fashion Nova! Yaaaas girl, go get you some new threads for the winter, gogogo!  https://share.fashionnova.com/x/g41mTi 

Hasta Luego,

Melanie.

Statement Jewelry: What To Own & How To Wear It

Hola Chicas,

Ever since I can remember the women in my family have always worn the same pieces of jewelry, no matter the occasion! Through casual dinners, weddings and family portraits I’ve seen the same gold hoops and name plate necklaces pop up everywhere. The tradition has stayed with me as even I wear the same earrings and necklaces everywhere I go because I feel naked without them. I can leave the house with no makeup, hair up in a bun and still feel dressed up with just my jewels on.

img_7678

Some of my pieces are sentimental hand me downs, gifts I’ve received or one’s that I’ve bought myself. It’s taken me time to curate, but I’ve finally reached a level of satisfaction where I want to share with you the top pieces that I think everyone should own. Follow my tips below and start creating a signature look with your jewelry!

First Things First: Gold or Silver? The general rule of thumb is that warmer undertones such as peach, olive or yellow should stick to gold jewelry. Cooler undertones such as pink or blue should stick to silver, and there are the lucky neutrals who look good in both. In my opinion, it’s all up to how you look and feel with the jewelry on. Do your eyes pop with silver studs or does your skin glow when you have a gold necklace on? Choose a shade that makes it look like you’re wearing the jewelry, not that the jewelry is wearing you.

Jewelry everyone should own
Earrings: Gift, Rose Gold Watch: Guess, Silver Watch: Gift, Bracelet: Gift, M Necklace: Delicate Raymond, Cross Necklace: Bali Catina, ME Necklace: Hand Me Down

Necklaces: I have a variety of necklaces from short to long to choker length and I can wear each one on their own or layer them up. Every necklace have a different meaning and reflects my personality more so than any of my other pieces. My M necklace has become like my name tag, my cross with the roses spiraling around it symbolizes my grandmother, and the ME necklace was a hand me down from my dad who received it from my great grandfather.

Jewelry everyone should own
Bracelet: Gift, M necklace: Delicate Raymond, Rose Cross Necklace:Bali Catina , ME Necklace: Hand Me Down

Earrings: Without a pair of earrings, I look like a man so I keep my choices limited to feminine studs and hoops. You can’t go wrong with the classics!

Jewelry everyone should own
Hoop Earrings: I bought on a trip to Ecuador, Gold Necklace: Gift, ME Necklace: Hand Me Down, Black Choker: Burlington Coat Factory.

Rings, Bracelets and Watches: You give hand shakes, write emails and tell stories with your hands so they are the most visible and interactive part of your body. I like to keep my rings, bracelets and watches feminine, sharp and professional because thats what I want my hands to reflect about me.

Jewelry everyone should own
Earrings: Gift, Watch: Gift, Necklace: Street Fair in Tribeca

I hope you’ve found this helpful and let me know what’s you’re favorite piece of jewelry! Is it sentimental, expensive or just a great find?

Hasta Luego,

Melanie.

Welcoming Fall in Middlefield, Connecticut

It’s officially Fall! But the jacket, thigh highs and chunky sweaters are on hold in the Northeast until the weather stops feeling like it’s the middle of July. Even so, the warmth is a blessing in disguise because I was able to spend all day outside last Sunday in Middlefield and Middletown, Connecticut. My boyfriend and I decided to go pumpkin picking and grabbed a few peaches for a tart I’d like to make (If all goes well I’ll have it up on the blog!). We then went to a nearby waterfall which was like something out of a story book! Our romantic Sunday out ended with a scary movie at the cinema. I definitely recommend going to Connecticut because it’s the perfect place to see the foliage change while enjoying what nature has to offer.

Lyman OrchardLyman Orchard

Do: Start your day early and head over to Lyman Orchards. They have an array of crops you can pick on your own like apples, peaches, pears and during this time of year PUMPKINS! The views from the hill tops are amazing and the rows of crops were so cool to take pictures in. I even saw a couple taking their maternity portraits in the pumpkin patch! Not to mention, the best part is eating and picking your fruit at the same damn time. #YAS.

Lyman Orchard

 

After being out in the fields all day, take some time to relax at Wadsworth Falls State Park. Dip your feet by the waterfall, take a deep breathe and listen as the water crashes down. This is such a gorgeous place to cool down and destress.

Wadsworth Falls State Parkimg_7656Wadsworth Falls State Park

Eat: Unfortunately I didn’t try out any restaurants in the area. However, if you are heading to Wadsworth Falls then grab some food from the supermarket and have a picnic! I personally have a friend who lives near by so my boyfriend and I headed to their place for a BBQ. Twas delicious and the perfect way to end the day.

Pues chicos, that’s all I have for you today. Let me know where your favorite outdoor spot to go during Fall is, I’d love to check it out!

Muchos besos,

Melanie.

Cook With Me: Tostones con Salsa

Hola mis amores! Ever since I was a little girl, my family always had tostones on the dinner table. There were some variables, like my Dad’s would be saltier and my Mom’s would be crunchier. After I moved to New York, I had no one to make these for me so I was left without tostones for years ! Imaginate una vida sin tostones, it was crazy!

img_7085

Recently, I had a craving for them so I scoured the internet and made phone calls back home to find the perfect recipe. Mi gente, what I bring you today is the BEST way to make flavorful tostones that are both chewy and crunchy. And while these bad boys are delicious by themselves I’m also going to be sharing 2 easy salsas that you can make to accompany them. So preparate, because your family and friends are going to ask you for more once they’ve had the first batch!

img_7137

What you’ll need/Lo que necesitas

Tostones

  • 2 Green Plantains
  • Corn Oil or Grapeseed Oil to fry the plantains
  • Water
  • Salt

Salsa Rosada

  • Ketchup
  • Mayo
  • Lemon

Garlic & Oil Sauce

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Peel the skin off of the plantain.
  2. Cut it in half, then cut those halves in half. For smaller, bite sized tostones you can cut the halves in half once more.
  3. Soak the plantains in salty water for 20 minutes. Your water should taste like the sea. This is not only going to give them flavor, but also make tostones come out juicier.
  4. Start heating up the oil. Pour enough oil in a deep pot to cover the plantains. I don’t like to use a skillet because the oil IS going to pop at you and that WILL hurt. I learned from experience…
  5. Once the plantains are done soaking, dry them up with a paper towel and place them in the hot oil. Once they start turning golden, take them out to flatten with a pilon (or if you don’t have one, then use anything with a flat surface like the bottom of a cup or a plate.)
  6. Return the flattened plantains to the hot oil and fry till they turn a golden brown. Don’t leave them in for too long or they’ll end up being super dry and crunchy.
  7. Place them on top of a paper napkin to absorb all the excess oil. And VOILA! Your tostones are ready 🙂
img_7124
Love…
img_7126
At first bite!

The accompanying sauces are very easy to make.

Salsa Rosada:

  1. Mix equal parts Mayo and Ketchup
  2. Add a squirt of lemon juice.
  3. Mix it up and dip your tostones for a sweet and tangy kick.

Garlic & Oil Sauce:

  1. Dice up the cloves into chiquitito pieces.
  2. Place it in 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Add a squirt of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
  4. VOILA ONCE MORE! You have a sophisticated sauce to pour on top of your tostones that will impress your guests and their tastebuds.

img_7122

I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as my boyfriend and I have. I made tostones 3 nights in a row because he was addicted and couldn’t get enough! That’s what you get when you introduce some Puerto Rican spice to an Ecuadorian 😉

Hasta luego mi gente!

OOTD: Summer Nights in the City

Hola mis amores!

I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer thus far. The chilly nights and brisk mornings are starting to return to the city and I can’t wait for Fall! But before we give up our sleeveless shirts for some sweater dresses and tights, I’d like to share with you some outfit ideas that’ll be sure to impress while keeping you cool and collected this Summer.

1 PM at The Highline Park:

A Summer Date in Chelsea
Walking along the Highline Park.
A Summer Date in Chelsea
Don’t forget your sunglasses!
A Summer Date in Chelsea
A light and breezy outfit for a hot and humid day.

When I go out with my boyfriend Eddie for a day of exploring and bar hopping in Chelsea, I like to be cute and comfortable. I paired peach shorts with a detailed white crochet bodysuit from Express and to keep the look a bit modest (because even if I try, these girls can’t be tamed 😉 I added an old denim tie-front crop top to layer on top of the bodysuit. And obviously, chanclas are my go to shoe choice in the Summer.

The exact outfit I wore has pieces that I bought YEARS ago, but I found similar pieces for you to try out: Peach Shorts , White Bodysuit, Denim tie-front crop top.

 

7PM at Studio Square:

A Summer Date in Chelsea
A seat at the Highline Park.
A Summer Date in Chelsea
Exploring the old cobblestone roads and new storefronts in the Meatpacking District.

As the sun sets and the night cools down, Eddie and I like to go back home to Queens and hit up Studio Square in Astoria. I went for a classy yet sexy vibe with a white sleeveless peplum top and classic dark blue jeans. The red velvet heels matched my mani/pedi, which pushed the outfit to another level!

Here are some similar pieces you can use to recreate this look: White Peplum Top, Dark Blue Gap Denim, Red Velvet Heels .

Make sure to check out my Instagram @TheMelDez to see daily outfit posts and new content by me 🙂

Hasta luego mis amores!

 

Sunday at City Island, New York

Do you ever get tired of the typical Eggs Benny with a Mimosa for brunch? Are you tired of your go-to restaurant being the same back drop to your Instagram pictures every weekend? Ladies and Gents, I FEEL YOU! Which is why I have chosen to travel the boroughs in search of new swoon-worthy spots to enjoy, and first on the list is City Island, New York.

¿Alguna vez te cansas de los típicos platos y bebidas del brunch? ¿Estás cansada de que tu restaurante favorite sea el mismo fondo de tus fotos de Instagram cada fin de semana? Señoras y caballeros, ¡TE Siento! Es por eso que he elegido viajar por los barrios en busca de nuevos lugares para beber,comer y disfrutar. El primero en la lista es City Island, Nueva York.

 

Johnnys City Island piña colada
This fishing village located in the Bronx is the perfect near-by escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Once you take the exit heading towards Orchard Beach, you become surrounded by an endless forest. The trees then give way to a narrow bridge, overlooking a liter of boats in the water. The island is so small that there’s only one main road that takes you past cute nautical themed shops and seafood specialty restaurants.

Este pueblito esta situado en el Bronx y es perfecto para escapar el alboroto de la ciudad. Cuando tomas la salida de Orchard Beach, te encuentras rodeado por un bosque sin fin. Los árboles luego dan paso a un puente, con vistas de barcos en el agua. La isla es tan pequeña que sólo hay una carretera principal que te lleva pasando por tiendas náuticas y restaurantes de mariscos.

Johnnys reef food optionsEat & Drink: I’ve taken trips to City Island since I was little, and the ONLY place I go to eat is Johnny’s Reef Restaurant that’s located all the way at the end of the island. Grab yourself a tray of fried shrimp, a frozen piña colada, and take a seat outside to enjoy the view of the Long Island Sound.

Comer Y Beber: Yo he tomado viajes a City Island desde que era pequeña, y el único lugar que voy a comer es Johnny’s Reef Restaurant que está ubicado al final de la isla. Coge una bandeja de camarones fritos, una piña colada congelada, y toma asiento afuera para disfrutar de la vista del Long Island Sound.

Johnnys patioDo: Not only is City Island rich with seafood, but it’s got a colorful history that you can check out at the City Island Museum. If you want to take a stroll after a loaded lunch, then head over to Orchard Beach next door and walk along the shoreline. Or, if you’re looking for some fun, then play a round of mini golf at Turtle Cove Golf Center that’s just down the road from the Island.

Que hay de hacer?: City Island no sólo es rico en mariscos, pero tiene una historia interesante que puedes averiguar en el City Island Museum. Si desea dar un paseo después de un almuerzo cargado, luego diríjase a Orchard Beach a caminar a lo largo de la costa. O, si usted está buscando algo de diversión, vete a jugar una ronda de mini golf en Turtle Cove Golf Center que queda cerca de la isla.

I definitely recommend that you go and enjoy this escape before Summer is over!

Sin duda recomiendo que vayas a disfrutar de esta escapada antes que termina el verano!

Have A Drink: Peachy Rosé Sangria

IMG_5290

The BBQ grills are firing up, parks are being filled with hammocks and tents, and the sound of reggae hits are filling the air. Summer has arrived and we are more than eager to fulfill our Vitamin D deficit by soaking up all that the warm weather has to offer.

I think the most important things we need to remember to bring with us on hot sunny days are:

  1. Sunscreen
  2. A cold drink

Los parques están llenos de hamacas y parrillas de barbacoa, y el sonido de los éxitos de reggae están llenando el aire. El verano ha llegado y estamos más que dispuestos a cumplir con nuestro déficit de vitamina D absorbiendo todo lo que el Verano tiene para ofrecer.

Creo que las cosas más importantes que necesitamos recordar para los días calurosos son:

  1. Protector solar
  2. Una bebida fría

IMG_5320

A week before the Fourth of July, I had just bought my first Rosé of the season when I passed by my local fruit and vegetable store. Looking at the beautiful rainbow of ripe fruit, just waiting for me to take them home, an idea crossed my mind to create a sangria. And not just any sangria, but a Rosé sangria! I felt so fancy with just the thought of it, so I grabbed a few juicy selections and went off to concoct what happened to be the most delicious and prettiest sangria this side of the Hudson.

The super simple recipe is:

1 cup of diced peaches

1/2 cup of diced strawberries

1/2 of diced raspberries

1/2 cup of sugar

1 bottle of Rosé (I recommend to use a dry variety)

Dice up the fruit and mix the strawberries with the sugar in a large container. Leave the syrupy mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then add the peaches, raspberries and wine. Leave in fridge for 3 hours. What comes out will be a deliciously sweet sangria, and you can enjoy the fruit as an alcoholic fruit salad 😉

Una semana antes del 4 de julio, acababa de comprar mi primer Rosé de la temporada cuando pasé por mi tienda local de frutas y verduras. Mirando el hermoso arco iris de frutas maduras, esperando que me las llevara a casa, una idea cruzó mi mente para crear una sangría. Y no sólo cualquier sangría, sino una sangría con vino Rosé! Me sentí tan elegante con sólo pensar en ello, así que cogí unas selecciones jugosas y invente la sangría más deliciosa y más bonita este lado del Hudson.

La receta súper simple es:

1 taza de duraznos cortados en cuadritos

1/2 taza de fresas en cubitos

1/2 de frambuesas en cubitos

1/2 taza de azúcar

1 botella de vino Rosé (recomiendo usar una variedad seca)

Corte la fruta y mezcle las fresas con el azúcar en un recipiente grande. Deja la mezcla melosa en la nevera para 30 minutos. A continuación, añadir los duraznos, frambuesas y el vino. Deja en la nevera para 3 horas. Lo que sale será una sangría deliciosamente dulce, y se puede disfrutar de la fruta como una ensalada de frutas alcohólicas;) 

IMG_5330

Let me know if you tried this out and how you liked it, and don’t forget to take pics and tag me on Instagram @themeldez !

Déjame saber si has probado esto y cómo te ha gustado, y no te olvides de tomar fotos y me etiqueta en Instagram @themeldez!