La Merienda and Mexico’s Abuelita

“La merienda” is a traditional Latin American snack break which can be taken between breakfast and lunch, or between lunch and dinner. It’s different from most American snack or coffee breaks because la merienda isn’t something you would scarf down behind the wheel of your car, buy from a vending machine, or mindlessly munch while checking E-mail. It’s a moment each day, often shared with others, where you sit down at the table and savor what is more like a miniature meal. This tradition is about taking a moment to relax and truly appreciate comida, familia and amigos, which creates a thankful spirit.

Nestlé Abuelita sent me some of their products to enjoy during our daily merienda and although I wish you could have been sitting at the table with me, I took some photos so you can share in the experience.

I usually use the Abuelita "tableta" to make hot chocolate, and I love to add cinnamon.

Nestlé Abuelita sent me the granulated form and instant hot chocolate mix packets which make it easier for the boys to make their own.

Using hot milk instead of water provides calcium and a creamier drink.

Merienda time with a cup of hot chocolate and a tamal de elote.

History & Culture

Coincidentally this past weekend, while watching a Pedro Infante film, (Los tres García) with Carlos, I said, “That old lady looks familiar,” – referring to one of the actresses on screen. Carlos laughed, “That’s abuelita!”

“I know that’s the abuelita,” I said, for she was the grandmother of the three main characters in the movie, “I mean I’ve seen her somewhere else.”

“Yes, she’s the abuelita on the hot chocolate!” Carlos said.

I thought he was joking, but it’s true. After a little research I discovered that the woman on packages of Abuelita is Mexican actress Sara García – She so often played the part of the “abuela” in films during the 1940’s-1950’s that she became known as “Mexican Cinema’s Grandmother.”

Are you ready for your merienda?

Below, find out how to win a Nestlé Abuelita Prize Pack. Also know that sometime on or around March 7th, you can visit and RSVP to join a special event where you’ll have another chance to win a merienda prize pack from Nestlé Abuelita.



Prize: The Nestlé Abuelita Prize Pack for ONE lucky winner which values at $50 will include:

• Nestlé Abuelita Instant and Nestlé Abuelita Granulado product
• Two coffee/hot chocolate mugs and saucers
• One hot chocolate spoon
• A set of recipe cards to provide some ideas for enjoying your Nestlé Abuelita products
• Nestle note cards
• Disposable digital camera

How to Enter:

In the comments section, tell us if you currently partake in a daily afternoon snack break or “merienda.”

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 company in charge of prize fulfillment. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid E-mail address in the E-mail address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 48 hours to respond. After 48 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between February 20th, 2012 through February 25th, 2012. Entries received after February 25th, 2012 at 11:59 PM, 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.

Disclosure: I received products from Nestlé to facilitate the review and writing of this post. All opinions are my own.

El Perro y El Gato {giveaway}

I don’t do giveaways often but when I do, I make sure it’s something I know my readers will really love. I’ve been a longtime fan of the bilingual animated series El Perro y El Gato on HBO Latino & HBO Family, so when they asked me if I wanted to giveaway their new DVDs, it was a definite “¡Sí, señor! … (actually, it was a woman who contacted me… but nevermind.)

As for the DVDs – I really can’t tell you how much the kids and I love these, (and at almost 13 and 10 years old, they are definitely not pre-schoolers, so I can only imagine how much even younger kids adore these characters.) My younger son watched one of the DVDs with his visiting nephew yesterday and they both laughed and repeated things in Spanish every few minutes.

If you haven’t seen the show before, here’s one of the episodes that has aired on TV:

Here’s some more information from the press release:

El Perro Y El Gato…offer valuable lessons from a lovable, overexcited orange dog (El Perro) and his laid-back, always hungry pal, a purple cat (El Gato). The specials help children to learn a new language in a playfully quirky, humorous, and engaging way. The El Perro Y El Gato titles will be available on August 9, 2011 for the suggested retail price of $9.95 each.

As a cat and dog, El Perro Y El Gato may have different worldviews, but they are still best buds – and totally bilingual. Featuring lots of vibrant colors, catchy music and plenty of attitude, the specials show the friends in their daily routines as they tackle problems and mount wonderful adventures that create non-stop fun and laughter – all the while teaching kids how to speak in English and in Spanish. New episodes of El Perro y El Gato returns to HBO Latino on September 15th at 7am and on HBO Family September 18th at 6:30pm.

Now for the chance to win your own set of the new El Perro y El Gato DVDs!

I will be selecting -THREE- (Sí, ¡tres!) random winners. EACH winner will receive the entire set of 4 DVDs which includes:

El Perro y El Gato: La Aventura Comienza/The Adventure Begins
El Perro y El Gato: Sin Correa/Unleashed
El Perro y El Gato: Juntos Otra Vez/Together Again
El Perro y El Gato: De Aquí Para Allá/From Here to There

For a chance to win watch the video [above] and then leave a comment telling me which character is your favorite – El Perro, or El Gato, and why. Make sure you use a valid E-mail address so that if you win, I will be able to contact you. If you’re a winner, you must be able to provide a shipping address in the U.S.

Buena suerte/Good luck!

Giveaway comment entries will be accepted until: 11:59 pm EST on Thursday, August 11th, 2011. Winner to be announced here and contacted via E-mail on Friday, August 12th, 2011.


The winners are:


Latino Books Month (Giveaway!)


Congratulations, Benita!

The winner was selected using

Hachette Book Group is always so generous with these giveaways that they allow me to host. I usually do them on my book review blog, but I thought my readers here at Latina-ish would especially enjoy this one.

In honor of Latino Books Month, Hachette will allow one winner to choose ANY THREE of the books below:

Try to Remember By Iris Gomez
Hot (broke) Messes By Nancy Trejos
Waking Up in the Land of Glitter By Kathy Cano-Murillo
Little Nuggets of Wisdom By Chuy Bravo, Tom Brunelle
Lone Star Legend By Gwendolyn Zepeda
Into the Beautiful North By Luis Alberto Urrea
Amigoland By Oscar Casares

I’ve personally read a few of these and they’re great! (Into the Beautiful North is one of my all time favorites.)

Here’s how to win:

1. Leave a comment on this blog post telling me which 3 books you would choose from the above selections if you win.

2. Make sure you leave a valid E-mail address in the E-mail address field so you can be contacted if you’re the winner.

3. Contest closes May 28th at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be chosen randomly using The winner will then be announced here and contacted via E-mail on May 29th.

4. When contacted, please provide your shipping information so Hachette can send your prize. U.S. and Canada only. No PO Boxes, please.

¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)

Disclosure: Just in case you’re wondering, no compensation, monetary or otherwise, was received in return for this post.