Around the world in 10 bites

All around the world, people are coming together to celebrate another year around the dishes of their people. This holiday break, instead of hopping on a hot air balloon to travel the world, why not try traveling through food? Ladies and gentleman, I present to you 10 traditional holiday meals and their recipes to give you a taste of the world through the kitchens of other cultures.

Israel: Potato Latkes with a side of applesauce

A favorite treat for the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, Latkes are essentially potatoes fried until crisp in pots of oil. The oil fried foods are a representation for the Jewish community of the miracle candle which was lit for 8 nights by one night’s candle.

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 Try out this recipe for fun

France: Buche De Noel

This delightful cream filled, chestnut flavored pastry is served traditionally after the Christmas eve midnight mass. With the appearance of a rolled log and often decorated with mushrooms, Buche de Noel suits its translated name, Branch of Christmas.

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 Make room for another Christmas tree this year

Mexico: Tamales

As a person who was raised in a traditional Mexican home, I can attest to the fact that from December to January, there will be tamales at every family get together. Masa (a corn-based dough) is steam cooked in a corn husk and often filled with savory pork or sweetened with strawberry or pineapple. There are many traditional varieties that I can not even begin to describe.

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Here’s the place to go for traditional pork tamales

China: Tangyuan

During the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese new year or during the winter solstice, tangyuan is often served. These boiled spheres of rice can be made solid or more commonly filled with sweetened black sesame or red bean paste.The water they were boiled in can be flavored with ginger and used for serving the tangyuan.

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Want to give these colorful rice balls a chance?

Norway: Lutefisk

One of Norway’s common holiday meals is dried or salted whitefish, like cod, that is treated with lye. A soulution of lye and water breaks down proteins within the fish creating it’s gummy texture. After preperation, simply cook it with salt like any other fish.


This isn’t just a basic fish. Give it a shot here

Greece: Melomakarona

If you enjoy the sweet taste of honey then this dessert may be for you. Eaten on Christmas, after the traditional Greek Orthodox fast has been broken; Melomakarona is an especially delightful cookie that is soaked in honey and coated with crunchy walnuts.


This will satisfy that sweet tooth

England: Mincemeat Pie

Mincemeat is an eight century year old dessert and so one can only imagine how much it has been perfected over such a long period of time. Tart cherries combined with spices such as nutmeg and ginger accompany a tender steak in a softly browned pie crust. If you have yet to try this sweet dessert, let this year be the one that makes history.

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Click here and be that much closer to an ancient delight

Poland: Pierogi

12 meat-free dishes, representative of the biblical 12 apostles, are traditionally served for dinner on Christmas Eve. Pierogi is commonly seen at the Christmas Eve table. It is a  unique type of dumpling that is filled with sauerkraut and potato.


Check out these daring dumplings

South Africa: Malva Pudding

Here is yet another sweet and spongy dessert for the holiday break. This pudding is well sought out for its bounce and burst of sugar. Though this is more commonly made than the previous entries, it is still seen as a traditionall holiday treat.

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A click away from a warm and soft treat

Germany: Stollen

As strange as this may sound, some people look forward to Christmas fruitcake and this is especially true in Germany, where fruitcake has been around for centuries. Stollen is a type of fruitcake with sweetened and dried fruits, crunchy nuts, seasoned with jolly spices and sprinkled with confectioners sugar.

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Stollen recipe…please don’t call the cops on me

During this holiday break, enjoy your time with your families and stuff yourselves with joy and wonderful food from different parts of the word. Remember that food is more than just calories or a means of sustenance; it is culture, it is comfort, it is how we as human beings display our love for one another. If you have a traditional holiday meal you would like to share or if you were able to experience making any of the dishes listed above, please do comment. Happy Holidays!


Revolinski, K. (2016). 10 Holiday Food Traditions from Around the World. Reader’s Digest. Retrieved from

The Daily Meal. (2016). Retrieved from






Fried Brown Rice with Baby Kale, Chard, and Spinach

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As a student that commutes to school, I’m always looking for quick recipes to make for dinner and to pack for my school lunch. This brown rice fix is filling and is one that I turn to regularly.

2 cups brown rice
4 cups water
2 tbsp oil
3 oz. baby kale
3 oz. chard
3 oz. spinach
1.5 tsp powdered garlic
2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp soy sauce
As much Sriracha as you wish

1. It’s recommended that you start with a day-old cooked brown rice. Starting with fresh rice would be fine, but the grains are more likely to stick together and would give the final product a more clumpy texture.
2. If you have not, fully cook your brown rice. I cooked mine through a rice cooker, but you are more than free to cook it via any other method, such as stove-top.
3. Wash your baby kale, chard, and spinach. Shake any remaining water droplets on it. Rip into reasonable pieces.
4. Get a wok and add the oil. Make sure the pan is on medium to high heat.
5. Add the vegetables and stir occasionally up to 2 minutes.
6. Add the rice to the wok and mix the rice and vegeatables up to 2 minutes.
7. Add the garlic, pepper, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Stir frequently between each addition.
8. Remove from heat once rice is a uniform color.

Yields 5 servings
Calories 199.4, Calories from Fat 126, Total Fat 14.0 g, Saturated Fat 2.2 g, Cholesterol 0.0 mg, Sodium 848.8 mg, Total Carbohydrate 14.8 g, Dietary Fiber 2.5 g, Sugars 3.0 g, 
Protein 4.7 g

Baked Stuffed Apples

Excess oatmeal not pictured.
Excess oatmeal not pictured.

The air is certainly a lot crisper and cool – even in California – and this weather is still putting me in the mood for all the delicious baked goods of the holiday season, including apple pie. Actually, apple pie is incredible any time of the year (and with vanilla ice cream), but there’s a guilt-free way to satisfy this craving without compromising taste.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients: 2 cups almond milk
3/4 cup steel cut oats
1 tbsp brown sugar
0.5 tsp vanilla
0.5 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup craisins
2 large apples

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 375F.
  2. Wash and core your apples.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Mix in the wet ingredients.
  5. Stuff your apples with the oatmeal mix.
  6. Place the apples in a baking dish. Fill the bottom with the remainder of your oatmeal mix.
  7. Bake for 35-50 minutes. You will know when your apples are done, when you are able to easily pierce one of your apples with a knife.
  8. Enjoy by itself or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This recipe was a modification from and

Nutrition Facts: Calories: 337, Calories from Fat 48, Total Fat 5.3 g, Saturated Fat 2.6 g, Cholesterol 10.0 mg, Sodium 34.9 mg, Total Carbohydrate 89.8 g, Dietary Fiber 6.0 g, Sugars 69.5 g, Protein 4.0 g

Recipe: Gollai Hågun Suni (Vegan-Friendly)

What in the world is gollai hågun suni?!

Well, it is a local dish that comes from the island of Guam – a tiny US territory located in the vast Pacific Ocean. Quick history: the indigenous people (“Chamorros”) inhabited the island for over a thousand years before Ferdinaarticle-1192257-054D7684000005DC-364_468x365nd Magellan landed on the island and declared it a Spanish colony in 1521. The inhabitants of the island generally relied fish and farm for food because livestock animals were not introduced until after the Spanish colonization.

Back to the dish at hand. Traditionally, gollai hågun suni is prepared with nutritious taro leaves stewed in freshly squeezed coconut milk, but let’s face it: not everyone has time to squeeze the living daylight out of freshly grated coconut. Canned coconut milk does well in this recipe and you can choose the lighter options if watching calorie intake. In addition, fresh or frozen spinach is a great substitute when taro leaves are not available.

From the nutritional perspective, taro leaves are a good source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, A, C, phosphorus, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, and fiber. In addition, the medium-chain saturated fats in coconut milk help to make the dish more filling – which was beneficial for the active lifestyle of the typical islander back in the day.

What you will need:image44
(makes ~5 servings)

4 cups water
2 pounds of taro leaves (can substitute fresh or frozen spinach)
1 ten ounce can of coconut milk
2 pieces of ginger (each about 1 inch long)
1 onion
½ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper

What you gotta do:

  1. Boil the water in a pan that can hold about four quarts. Save time by chopping the taro leaves, grating the ginger, and dicing the onion while waiting for the water to boil.
  2. One the water is boiling, add the leaves, ginger, onion, salt, and black pepper. Cook for about five minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk and let simmer uncovered for three to five minutes (depending on how “soupy” you like it).

Tips: If you like it spicy, feel free to add in some hot peppers! Also, many people enjoy adding a squeeze of lemon or sprinkle of lemon powder into the stew.

I hope you enjoy a little taste of the tropics! :)

Nutrition Facts
Per serving: 231kcal, 17g carbohydrates, 16g fat, 9g protein, 260g salt, 8g sugar

Recipe: Chicken Tinola

Ah, the holidays. Isn’t it the perfect time for comfort foods? Scratch that, any time is good for comfort foods.

Anyway, chicken tinola is a dish near and dear to my heart. It was what my grandmother would make for me when I was sick, when it rained, or every other Tuesday during Miller night (AKA, dinner at Grandma’s night).

Tinolang manok is the Filipino phrase for chicken tinola. The dish is a simple chicken soup with a light broth and steamy savory vegetables lightly accented with ginger. It’s great for a rainy day… or any day.tinola_featured

Here is what you will need:

  •    2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  •    2 teaspoons of peeled ginger
  •    1 clove garlic
  •    1 medium sized onion, sliced
  •    2 cups chicken pieces
  •    2 tablespoons fish sauce (most likely found in your local Asian grocery store)
  •    5 cups water
  •    2 cups pared unripe papaya sliced (or Chayote)

Here is what you have to do:

  1. Prep vegetables: peel and julienne ginger, peel and crush garlic, slice onion, and pare and slice papaya or chayote.
  2. Heat oil in a medium pot. Add ginger, garlic, and onions. Cook for one minute.
  3. Add chicken pieces and cook until chicken color becomes less translucent. Season and mix with fish sauce and salt.
  4. Add water and simmer for ~30 minutes or until the chicken is heated to an internal temperature of 165°F.
  5. Add papaya and cook for ~5 minutes more or until papaya is tender. Cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Tips: Add ground pepper for a little kick and serve the tinola in a bowl over steamed rice. Bump up the nutrient density with bok choy or spinach.

Nutrition facts:
dcreeoXoi4 servings total, nutrition facts per serving (does not include rice)

  • Calories = 163kcal
  • Fat = 11g
    • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Cholesterol 27mg
  • Sodium 731mg
  • Potassium 139mg
  • Carbohydrates 6g
    • Dietary Fiber 1g
    • Sugars 2g
  • Protein 10g

Double Stacked Chicken Enchiladas

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A spin on the traditional Enchilada but with veggies!  While Enchiladas are amazingly delicious, making them “stacked” or in casserole form allows you to add vegetables, making it a more balanced, stand alone dish. The recipe is easy to adjust to make it vegan or vegetarian friendly, and very customizable- add as many different veggies as you want!

yield: approx. 8 servings


  • 3 Cups Red Enchilada Sauce (I used Las Palmas Medium canned sauce)
  • 13 Corn Tortillas (halved)
  • 1 Can Black Beans (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 Cup Whole kernel corn (frozen or canned)
  • 1/2 Cup Diced white onion
  • 2 1/4 Cup Reduced Fat Mexican Blend Cheese
  • 2 Cups Chicken Breast (cooked & shredded)
  • 1/2 Cup Loosely-packed fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • 2/3 Cup Bell pepper (diced)


1) Preheat oven to 375 F, get a large glass baking dish (around 9 x 13 inch) and spray bottom and sizes with cooking spray.

2) Pour 3/4 cup of enchilada sauce into bottom of dish and spread to coat the entire bottom. Place around 8 tortilla halves to cover the bottom of the dish.

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3) Evenly add half the can of black beans, 1/2 cup corn, and 1/4 onion. Then add 1 cup of shredded chicken and 3/4 cup of cheese.

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4) Add another layer of tortillas, sauce, beans, corn, onion and 2/3 cup of bell peppers.

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5) Cover second layer with tortilla halves, make sure that the tortilla completely covers the layers. Add the rest of the sauce and spread it over the tortillas throughly. Set aside 3/4 cup of cheese to add later.

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6) Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove pan and aluminum foil and sprinkle the 3/4 cup of cheese evenly on top of the tortilla layer. Put the pan (uncovered) back into the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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7) Remove pan, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve. Buen Provecho! ;)



This recipe was adapted from one found on I highly recommend using this as a basic template recipe and encourage you to get creative and add different veggies and other ingredients to customize it to your liking. I also think that substituting green enchilada sauce would taste great as well. Hope you all enjoy making these stacked chicken enchiladas! If you have any suggestions, please share them in the comments.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 362; Fat: 9 g; Total Carbohydrates:50 g; Protein: 26 g

Strawberry, Raspberry, & Banana Popsicles

Strawberry Raspberry Banana Popsicles


If you’re looking for a delicious snack to cool you down as the temperature outside rises then try out these delicious popsicles.

That classic paring of strawberries and raspberries is combined with a dash of bananas.

Strawberry Raspberry Banana Popsicles

Yield: 6 popsicles


  • 1 medium banana (sliced in rounds)
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk
  • 3oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups fresh cut strawverries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 ounce honey

What you need:

Popsicle mold, popsicle sticks, blender


Add the sliced strawberries and fresh raspberries into the blender along with plain Greek yogurt, 1% milk and honey. Blend until the mixture  is lump free. Into each popsicle mold add several banana slices for a sweet surprise. Spoon the mixture over the sliced bananas into each mold and cap each mold with the lid. Place into the freezer for 3-4 hours and then enjoy.


Nutrition Facts

64 kcals, 14g CHO, 2g dietary fiber, 0g total fat, 42mg calcium, 3g protein

Homemade Berry and Peach Pie Popsicles

Relax this summer to a refreshing batch of homemade popsicles. Don’t have popsicle molds? Not a problem! Dixie cups and popsicle sticks can also do the trick! Get creative and modify the recipes to any fruit of your choice. Add vanilla extract, cinnamon, or mint to enhance the flavor without packing on the excess sugar and calories. Want to take it up a notch? Take a look at these poptail (popsicles + cocktails) recipes…who said popsicles are only for kids?

Yields 6 Popsicles

Berry Pops

Ingredients popsicles1

1 cup of frozen berries

1 cup of vanilla or plain Greek yogurt

1 frozen banana

Agave nectar (optional)


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1. Combine berries and 1/2 cup of the yogurt in a blender

2. Pour half of the mixture in the bottom of the popscile molds;  set the rest of the mixture aside

3. Rinse the blender and repeat, blending the banana and 1/2 cup of yogurt

4. Fill the molds 2/3 of the way

5. Top the molds with the remaining of the berry mixture

6. Place in freezer until frozen

7. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Per Popsicle

Calories: 64; Fat: 0 g; Total Carbohydrates: 13 g; Protein: 3 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g


Peach Pie Popsicles



1 Cup almond milk

1 Frozen banana, peeled chopped

2 Large peaches, seeded and dices

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of cinnamon


1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

2. Place mixture in popsicle molds and freeze

3. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Per Popsicle

Calories: 57; Fat: 1 g; Total Carbohydrates: 11 g; Protein: 1 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g


Grilled Turkey, Apple and Pepper Jack Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Turkey, Apple and Pepper jack Cheese Sandwich


Grilled cheese sandwiches are a classic favorite, try out this delicious spin on a grilled cheese sandwich for a tasty change to an old favorite.

Grilled Turkey, Apple and Pepper Jack Cheese Sandwich

Serves 1


  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 slice pepper jack cheese
  • 4 thinly cut Granny Smith apple slices, skin on
  • 3 slices low sodium deli turkey breast
  • 1/2 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon margarine

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  • Wash the granny smith apple and cut out four thin slices, keeping the skin on.
  • Evenly spread the margarine on each slice of whole wheat bread.
  • On the opposite side of the bread with the margarine, spread the low fat mayonnaise on the bread.
  • Preheat a nonstick skillet to medium heat.
  • Assemble the sandwich by placing one slice of whole wheat bread on the skillet and then layering a slice of pepper jack cheese and then topping that with the apple slices. Next top the apple slices with the sliced turkey breast and top off with the second slice of whole wheat bread.
  • Place in the preheated nonstick skillet and cook on each side until the bread is crispy and golden brown.

Nutritional Info

Calories: 402; protein: 34g; carbohydrate: 34g; total fat: 15g; dietary fiber: 6g

Bacon, Spinach, and Feta Stuffed Mushrooms

Mushrooms are an excellent way to enhance the taste and nutritional value of your meal. They provide a generous source of potassium, selenium, copper, and B vitamins (specifically pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and niacin). Additionally, they have a rich umami taste, the fifth basic taste after sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. Personally, I find mushrooms to be one of the most unique and versatile vegetable- what other vegetable delivers such a rich, savory, and meaty sensation?! Try and find out!

Yield: 16 mushrooms


  • 8 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 6 cups baby spinach, raw
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp almond flour
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 16 portabella mushroom caps, brushed of any debris



  1. In a medium pan, cook the bacon until crisp
  2. Add butter and onions, cooking until softened (3-5 minutes)
  3. Add the spinach and cook for about 2 minutes, or until wilted
  4. Remove the pan from the head, and add the nutmeg, almond flour, and feta cheese
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  6. Stuff filling into mushroom caps and place on a cookie sheet
  7. Bake for 15 minutes at 375º F, or until mushrooms are tender
  • Alternatively, grill the mushrooms for about 6-8 minutes over medium heat


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Nutrition Facts

Per mushroom

Calories: 54 ; Fat: 4 g; Total Carbohydrates: 1 g; Protein: 3 g

Vitamin A: 10% DV; Vitamin C: 200% DV; Calcium: 20% DV; Iron: 15% DV