Playlist: Paz

During the month of December, blogueras Romina of Mamá XXI and Laura of Mamá Especial Cuenta Conmigo are posting messages of peace on their blogs and social media channels as part of the #MamisPorLaPAZ initiative they created.

You can read more about it here but I decided to contribute at least one post to the cause by creating this playlist for peace.

What song or video that fits the theme of “paz” would you add to this list? Share in comments! (And feel free to join initiative on your own blogs and social media channels.)

Juanes – Odio Por Amor

Natalia LaFourcade – Un Derecho de Nacimiento

UNFPA El Salvador – Yo Decido Vivir en Paz

Espinoza Paz – Si Amas a Dios

Señor Tenga – Mensaje de Paz

Playing for Change – United

Julieta Venegas – Un Poco De Paz

Juanes – Paz, Paz, Paz

A few videos (not songs) worth watching:

Naciones Unidas El Salvador – También soy persona

Unsung Hero – TVC Thai Life Insurance

The Most Astounding Fact – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Conversations at Casa López – Part 8


Here we go – my family’s most recent “bilingual moments” and funny conversations. (Be sure to share your recent funny conversations in comments!)

Tracy: Police officers in England don’t use firearms and you never hear about mass murders there, do you?

Carlos: What about Jack the Stripper?

Tracy: [picks up a ghost-shaped Halloween cookie] Booooooooo!

Carlos: [picks up a pumpkin-shaped cookie] Booooooo!

Tracy: Um, no.

Tracy: He wants K.D.’s for his birthday.

Carlos: What?

Tracy: K.D.’s, it’s a type of fancy Nike shoe named after the basketball player Kevin Durant.

Carlos: Kevin Duran? Is he Latino?

Carlos: I have sarpullido.

Tracy: What’s that?

Carlos: That’s how you call rash in El Salvador – sarpullido.

Tracy: Oh, that’s so cute. Sapollido because when a person is rashy they get bumpy like a sapo!

“You’re lucky I’m phone-lingual.”

– My 17 year old son [who owns an iPhone] after I asked him to figure out something on my Android

Spanish “Netspeak”

woman texting by Jose Antonio Sánchez

Image source: Jose Antonio Sánchez

Learning a second language in the days before the internet was probably more straightforward. You learned how to speak, understand, read, and write it. Aside from the standard vocabulary, you may also have learned some slang. However in the age of chat, text, and social media you must also learn the “netspeak” or “chat language” of your second language.

After I recently looked up a word in Spanish netspeak which I couldn’t figure out, I decided to pass on some of the basics I’ve learned as a resource to those who might need it. Although I don’t recommend using it excessively yourself as it can form bad habits and encourage incorrect spelling (for example, substituting “k” for “q” in words like “quiero”), it’s good to know it if you need to decipher text messages, tweets, etc.

x = por
pq, xq = porque, por que
q, ke, k = que
kien = quien
cmo = cómo
xf = por favor
kiero = quiero
tqm = te quiero mucho
d = de
s = es
l = el
stas = estás, estas
bn = bien
toy = estoy
grax, gx = gracias
tmbn, tb = también
no c = no sé
qtl, ktl = que tal
qtpsa, ktpsa = que te pasa
= = igual
+ = mas, más
– = menos
aki = aquí
ak = acá
tranki = tranquilo
muak = besos

Want to learn more?

Lenguaje Chat on Wikipedia
20 Words and Phrases to Get Started Texting in Spanish – on Matador Network

Día de Los Muertos – book giveaway!

Dia de los Muertos book

It’s Día de Los Muertos, the sun’s coming round,
as niños prepare in each pueblo and town.
For today we will honor our dearly departed
with celebraciones – it’s time to get started!

So begins the fun, rhyming picture book, DIA DE LOS MUERTOS by Roseanne Greenfield Thong illustrated by Carles Ballesteros. I loved everything about this book, from the way it’s written in Spanglish which helps teach vocabulary related to the holiday, (a glossary is included) – to the colorful illustrations.

I think you guys will love this book too, so I’m excited to be able to offer one for giveaway. See details to enter below!


Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a copy of the book DIA DE LOS MUERTOS by Roseanne Greenfield Thong illustrated by Carles Ballesteros.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below telling me what you’re favorite part of Día de los Muertos is! (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the person responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between October 28, 2015 through November 2nd, 2015. Entries received after November 2nd, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Pan de Muerto

pan de muerto

Día de los Muertos is only days away. Where did the month of October go? I haven’t done half of the things I love to do this time of year, but I have gotten my altar set up. I just have a few more things I need to add to the ofrenda to make it complete. Have you started setting up yours? Do you usually include a pan de muerto? I’ve actually never made pan de muerto but NESTLÉ® contacted me with this recipe this week so I think I might give it a go. Here it is if you decide to make one too!

La Lechera Day of the Dead Bread (Pan de Muerto)



4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon salt
2 packets (1/4 oz. each) rapid-rising dry yeast
2/3 cup (5 fl. oz. can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs, slightly beaten


1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
Granulated or coarse ground sugar

Directions for bread:

1. COMBINE 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, anise seeds, salt and yeast in large mixer bowl.

2. HEAT evaporated milk, water and butter over low heat in medium saucepan until mixture reaches 115 to 120 F. and butter is melted. (If too hot, let it cool a bit before adding to dry ingredients.)

3. MAKE a well in the center of the flour mixture; pour in milk mixture. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until blended.

4. ADD eggs and 1 1/2 cups flour; mix well. Gradually add remaining 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups flour (1/2 cup at a time) mixing well after each addition until dough is smooth but not sticky (You may not need all the flour).

5. PLACE dough on lightly floured surface; knead 10 to 15 minutes or until dough is moderately stiff, smooth and elastic. Additional flour may be needed to help prevent sticking.

6. PLACE dough in large greased bowl; turn over. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature for 60 to 75 minutes or until doubled in size.

7. PUNCH dough down.

8. CUT dough into 4 equal portions to make 3 “loaves” and 1 for decorations.

9. SHAPE 3 of the portions into round loaves on lightly floured surface, kneading as necessary. Place on greased baking sheet(s). Keep all dough portions covered with greased plastic wrap to prevent drying of dough.

10. SHAPE remaining dough portion into 3 small balls, tears, braids and/or bones.

11. TO DECORATE, place 1 small ball on top of round loaf, surrounding each ball with the remaining decorations. To adhere shapes to dough, gently score decorations, as well as areas on each loaf that decorations will be attached to. Adhere with dabs of water.

12. LOOSELY COVER with greased plastic wrap. Allow to rise at room temperature for another 30 minutes or until nearly doubled.

13. PREHEAT oven to 350 F. BAKE loaves for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare glaze.

Directions for glaze:

1. COMBINE 1/2 cup sugar and orange juice in small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until syrup is formed, about 5 minutes. (Mixture may bubble up; remove from heat if it does, stir and then return to heat.) Remove from heat.

Final touches:

1. BRUSH loaves with syrup.

2. SPRINKLE with sugar; return to oven. Continue baking for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

3. TIP: Sprinkle colored sugar on loaves.

This recipe has been published here with permission from NESTLÉ®. This is not a sponsored post. No compensation was received for sharing this recipe. Recipe and photo property of NESTLÉ®.


tartaleta salvadorena

There are precious few TV shows Carlos and I can agree on, but lately we’ve been able to add one more to our “watch together” list. I was the first to start watching The Great British Baking Show on PBS, but one day Carlos sat down next to me and started watching too. The Great British Baking Show is a reality show competition, but unlike similar American programs, the contestants are utterly charming and supportive of each other, which is something both Carlos and I love about it.

One episode we watched together involved the contestants making tarts. I don’t know much about tarts, British, or otherwise, but Carlos became nostalgic.

“I love tarts,” he said.
“When have you ever had a tart?” I asked, because I’d never seen him eat one our entire marriage.

That’s when he told me that in El Salvador, Pollo Campero, (the popular fried chicken restaurant), had “tartaletas” – specifically, tartaletas de fresa, or strawberry tarts. I asked him as many questions as I could about what they were like and decided to try to make them. After some trial and error, I ended up with the recipe below.

Since I’ve never had a tartaleta from Pollo Campero, I can’t tell you if these taste the same, and Carlos hasn’t had one for over 20 years, so all he could tell me was that he loved how these turned out. That’s good enough for me. If you want to give them a try, let me know what you think!

Vanilla Custard (for tartaleta filling)


6 rounded tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups 2% milk
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1. In a blender add milk, sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch. Blend for 15 to 30 seconds until well combined.

2. Pour the mixture into a large pot over medium heat. Add vanilla extract.

3. Stir regularly until the mixture thickens. Don’t be too quick to remove it from the stove. You want it to be the texture of pudding. After 5 minutes, if it isn’t thickening, turn the heat up a little and stir a little less regularly, but be careful not to let it cook to the bottom of the pot or you’ll have lumps in the custard.

4. Remove from heat. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to assemble the tarts.

Note: This recipe makes far more custard than you’ll need for the tarts. Feel free to eat the leftovers served up in bowls plain or with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Alternatively, you could halve the custard recipe so you don’t have so much left over.

Dessert Tart Crust


8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar, (plus a few pinches)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups pre-sifted all purpose flour


1. Heat oven to 350 F.

2. Mix butter, 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, and vanilla extract until well combined.

3. Mix in flour just until dough comes together.

4. Divide dough into four equal portions. Place each portion in a 4-inch round tart pan. Use fingers dipped in flour to press the dough evenly onto bottom and up sides of the tart pans. Don’t handle the dough any more than necessary.

Tip: I purchased Wilson Advance 4-inch tart and quiche pans and really love them. If you don’t own a set, I highly recommend these.

5. Place each tart pan in its own sandwich-size plastic zipper bag, and place them into the freezer for 10 minutes to chill.

6. Remove each tart from the plastic bags. Place the tarts on a baking sheet and then place them in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 10 minutes.

Tip: Use the back of a spoon to carefully deflate any bubbles that pop up during baking.

7. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar on each tart crust and bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until edges start to turn golden brown.

8. Remove from oven and cool completely.

9. Don’t assemble the tartaletas until ready to serve, (or if you assemble them and put them in the fridge, plan to serve them soon.) When ready to serve the tartaletas, assemble like so:

Carefully remove each tart crust from its pan, and place onto a small plate. Spoon an even layer of custard filling onto each tart crust. Top with sliced strawberries, or other fruit of your choosing. (Other suggestions: raspberries, blackberries, peaches, blueberries, and/or kiwi.)

Makes four 4-inch round tarts.

Tart crust recipe adapted from

tartaleta de fresa

Hispanic Heritage Month 2015 Round-up

Photographer: Jorge Quinteros

Photographer: Jorge Quinteros

As most of you are aware, September 15th to October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month, and that means plenty of great new content to check out around the internet related to latinidad, Latin American culture, Latino history and heroes, and the Latino experience here in the United States. Here I’m going to share links to some of my favorite Hispanic Heritage Month content. Feel free to check back as I may update it within the next week or two.

● The “Our Latino Heritage” series on NBC News Latino.

● The “Habla” series on HBO. (Some of the videos available on YouTube too.)

● “The Latino Americans” series (as well as other great documentaries) on PBS.

● Instagram And Voto Latino’s #HispanicHeritageHero Celebrates Latino Leaders on BuzzFeed.

● Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month series and giveaway – (Tons of great links there.)

● Test Yourself! Take Our First 2015 Hispanic Heritage Month Quiz via NBC Latino.

When Hispanic Heritage Month Is a Time to Grieve via HuffPost Latino Voices.

Kids activities, printables, and links for Hispanic Heritage Month from Modern Mami.

Archive of Hispanic literature on tape via The Library of Congress.

Hispanic Heritage virtual tour via The Smithsonian.

How do you feel about Hispanic Heritage Month? on NPR’s Latino USA.

● Hispanic News Online’s Hispanic Heritage Month podcast series featuring a different Latino/a each day.

How to Celebrate Hispandering Heritage Month via Latino Rebels.

5 Must-Listen Podcasts for Latinos via

Donate to an organization that benefits Latinos and/or Latin Americans.