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Makeup Tools & Accessories Gift Guide for MUAs

MUA gift guide

Makeup Tools & Accessories Gift Guide For MUAs.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase or subscribe using these links, I may be compensated a small percent, at no extra cost to you.  I only link to products I love.

Today we have a gift-guide post from women's lifestyle website, The Makeup Equation.  If you have not yet checked out this website, I invite you to do so! I have a variety of articles of all kinds relating to topics of blogging, beauty, motherhood, saving money, shopping, product reviews, and more.

Is your girlfriend or wife a makeup artist (MUA) or just really into makeup?  Are you unsure about what to get her as a gift because you don't know a lot about makeup yourself?  If this is the case, this post is for you!

I am a hardcore makeup lover and I know what us makeup mamas would love to get as a gift.  Makeup artists and makeup lovers generally like to pick out their own makeup and are very particular when it comes to buying makeup, so it can be hard to buy them a gift they won't return.

The very best thing to buy an MUA is makeup tools and accessories.  MUAs are always in need of more makeup tools and accessories to help them get the job done right and slay in their makeup. Whether they don't have the tool, or they need a new one, all of us makeup lovers appreciate new tools and accessories for our craft.

I have compiled a gift guide for some products that MUAs everywhere would be thrilled to get.  If you get her anything on this list, you will score some serious brownie points with her, and you can bet on that.


Hippie Boho Chic Gift Ideas

Gift Guide Ideas for the Hippie Boho Chic Women in Your Life.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase or subscribe using these links, I may be compensated a small percent, at no extra cost to you.  I only link to products I love.


This post comes from the women's lifestyle website, The Makeup Equation.  If you are interested in women's issues, parenting, beauty, saving money, and blogging, I invite you to check out this website!

Do you have a hippie boho chic woman in your life?  Wondering what types of gifts she would like for a special occasion or holiday?  Here is a simply gift guide I created based only on products that I have ordered, own, use, and love.  And yes, I may be a little hippie myself, but hey, that's not a bad thing!


Review of the EACHINE E010 Mini UFO Quadcopter Drone


My Review of the EACHINE E010 Mini UFO Quadcopter Drone.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase or subscribe using these links, I may be compensated a small percent, at no extra cost to you.  I only link to products I use and love.

Here is a product review post brought to you by The Makeup Equation.  If you haven't checked out this women's lifestyle website, I invite you to do so!  I have a variety of articles of all kinds on topics such as blogging, beauty, gift guides, motherhood, saving money, shopping, product reviews, and much more.

Christmas is just around the corner parents, and if you are like me, you may be scratching your head and wondering what on earth to get your kids this year without breaking the budget.  With drones being all the rage right now, your kids may even have a drone on their wish list.  But where can you find a drone that is suitable for kids and also won't break the bank?   Enter the EACHINE E010 Mini UFO Quadcopter Drone.


How To Do An Olaplex Treatment At Home

How to Apply Olaplex at Home For a Stand Alone Treatment.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase or subscribe using these links, I will be compensated a small percent, at no extra cost to you. 


Here is another post from my women's lifestyle website, The Makeup Equation.  If you like the stuff you see here, I invite you to check out my website and find more articles you may love!

If you read The Makeup Equation, you know that my hair is very damaged and over -processed due to being a die-hard color chameleon.

After stripping very fresh bright red magenta hair color - see my post How To Dye Damaged Hair Bright Magenta Red DIY -about how I turned my hair red - my originally bleach blonde ends were on their last days of life and had zero curl or strength to them.  Since I'm a natural curly haired girl, I knew it was bad if my hair could no longer muster a single curl.

This is why I turned to Olaplex. I manged to find a great seller on ebay that is selling authentic Olaplex, all three parts.  My hair is proof that this sellers stuff is authentic! I would not have the curls you see in the picture above if it were not for Olaplex.


Unique, Girly, Cute, Funny Silicone iphone Cases: A Gift Guide

Gift Guide for Unique, Girly, Cute, & Funny Iphone Cases.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase or subscribe using these links, I may be compensated a small percent, at no extra cost to you.  I only write about products I love!

Today we have a product review post from women's lifestyle website, The Makeup Equation.  Enjoy! 

As I mentioned in my posts on The Makeup Equation, the post where to buy silicone soap molds for cheap,  and the post on my review of buying a big bounce house off Ebay - I love to buy directly from the supplier.  Ebay is an amazing site that allows you to do just that.  All you need to buy off of Ebay is a Paypal account, which is completely free to set up and just guarantees your buyers that they will be paid if you don't have the funds.

Today I want to talk to you about a super awesome seller that I have bought some amazing iphone cases from.


Review of Big Kids Bounce House Purchased Off Ebay For Cheap

My Review of A Big Bounce House I Bought Off Ebay.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase or subscribe using these links, I will be compensated a small percent, at no extra cost to you.

Here is Christmas post brought to you by The Makeup Equation, my women's lifestyle website.

Want to get the kids something great this Christmas that will be a big hit and also a total surprise?  What child doesn't love a bounce house?  You can use your bounce house for birthday parties and cold long days indoors.  Also great to put on the yard during the spring and summer.

But isn't buying a big bounce house super expensive?  This is exactly what I thought when I first started looking at buying my kids one.  If you look at any of the major retailers, you will see that most big sized bounce houses will cost around $500.

Well guess what, here's a secret -I got a big bounce house for my kids and I only paid under $200 dollars.  Want to know how I did it?? Read on!


Top Unique Gifts Women Want

The Top Most Wanted Unique Gifts Women Want.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase or subscribe using these links, I will be compensated a small percent, at no extra cost to you.

Today we have a gift-guide post from women's lifestyle website, The Makeup Equation.

Another year has flown by.  How it goes from the beginning of summer to almost Christmas time I truly have no idea. 

Urban Decay
Below I have listed six unique gifts that every woman, including myself, would LOVE to get.  This list applies to you if you have a wife, sister, adult or teenage daughter, sister-in-law, and more in your life.


Top Most Wanted Toys for 4-Year-Old Girls


Top Most Wanted Toys For 4-Year-Old Girls.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase or subscribe using these links, I may be compensated a small percent, at no extra cost to you.  I only link to products I love!

Today we have a Christmas gift-guide post from The Makeup Equation, my women's lifestyle website.  If you have not checked out this website yet, I invite you to do so!

Do you have a four-year-old princess at home?? Or a little girl close to this age range?  Are you wondering what to get her for Christmas and also hoping you don't break your budget??  If this is you mamas then you have come to the right place!

Below I list the top toys that every four year old girl wishes they had.  I review where you can buy them, what they cost, why they are most wanted, and how you can get them for less.


Yellow Rice With Beans and Salchicha

Yellow Rice with Beans and Sausage Recipe.

This is a great dish to make if you have leftovers of any kind that you don't want to throw away.  You can put pretty much any type of leftover into Spanish rice and it will come out tasting delicious.

Yesterday my husband, Mr. Cipote, ate bean soup made out of black beans and Kielbasa Polish sausage.  Today I looked at the leftover soup in the bowl and thought, I do not want to eat these cold mushy leftover beans and sausage.  But I knew what to do with it! Throw it into rice! Soup base is full of flavor and makes a great base to cook rice in.

Here's my recipe for Yellow Rice with Beans and Sausage.  The sassafras in the Goya seasoning is what turns the rice yellow.


Carne Guisada Recipe

Easy Recipe for Authentic Carne Guisada.

Carne Guisada is one of my favorite things to eat and is a great dish for fall when the weather starts to turn cold. This dish has recently been on my mind since I went to my sister-in-law's house a few weeks ago.  My sister-in-law Marilyn is a fantastic cook and everything she makes tastes delicious.  

I was recently at her house for a birthday party and she made carne guisada for the guests.  The meat was super tender and the potatoes were so flavorful.  I thought to myself, I need to make this stuff at my house more often!  I made it a few days later but my meat was not as tender as hers was.  I asked her about it and she told me I was using the wrong type meat.  After learning her secret meat, I knew I had to share it with you guys and do a post.


National Hispanic Heritage Month September 15 -October 15


National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Did you guys know that September is my favorite month of the year?? It's my favorite month for two main reasons.

First, because September is the start of fall, and I love everything about fall.  I love the cooler weather, I love the fun activities - such as fall harvests and pumpkin picking, and I love making fall scented soaps and candles.  You can view my post on how to make fall scented soap on my beauty blog here: Easy DIY Fall Soap Recipe, and how to make homemade candles here: Homemade DIY Scented Candle Gift

I also love to wear fall themed makeup - you can view my post on my favorite Colourpop eyeshadows here: 6 Must Have ColourPop Eyeshadows

Second, September is my favorite month because it is National Hispanic Heritage month - Mes de la Herencia Hispana!!

I did a post on Hispanic Heritage Month a few years back - you can view it here: 15 de Septiembre, Dia de la Independencia El Salvador , but I think it's definitely time for a new post since it's been a while.



Spanish Rice


Recipe for Authentic Spanish Rice.

Do you know that I just realized that I do not have a recipe for standard Spanish rice??!  I don't know how this happened since rice is such a staple of all Latin food and definitely comida tipica from El Salvador.  Rice is almost always served with lunch or dinner and most mommy's have a pot of cooked rice in their kitchen on a daily basis just in case somebody gets hungry and wants some.  Traditional "Spanish Rice" is honestly  really easy to make.  You just need to know a few secrets that will make it taste authentic just like abuelita's.  Once you know the secrets, making Spanish rice will take you no time at all.


Elotes Locos

What Elotes Locos Are.

Hey everyone! Hope you guys are all staying cool during this heat wave ! We've been in triple digits for about a week now, it has been very hot!  What has everyone been doing to stay cool?  We've been in the pool almost everyday even thought it pretty much feels like bath water now.

Over the weekend my father gave us a bunch of fresh sweet corn from a neighbors farm.  The heat was going to ruin the corn so the neighbor had too much left over and needed people to come pick it.  So naturally we had to make elotes locos, translated as crazy corn in English, out of them.  There is a picture of the elotes locos we made up at the top (pardon my kids pirate Legos in the picture!).  And here is a picture of my son eating the corn down below.


The Secret Seasoning

Find Out What The Secret Spanish Seasoning Is.

It's funny how your thoughts change as your circumstances change.  

I have known Mr. Cipote for a looong time.  I wish I had known him for longer actually, but that was impossible I guess because when we were kids we were thousands of miles apart in different countries.  He came to the United States when he was a teenager.  He lived in a neighboring state, so I didn't get the pleasure of going to the same school as him, though he is four years older than me, so we probably wouldn't have gone to the same school anyway.  I finally met my future husband when I was 19.  He was working for a company that sent him to my state, and I just so happened to be working for the exact same company and at the exact same location he was sent to.  Trouble was brewing...


Summer of 2016




Summer of 2016.

Well heyyy!! How is everybody's summer going?? 

We've done lots of eating out when we got the craving for some authentic comida Salvadorena. And the good news is that we have found some amazing restaurants What types of foods have you been eating in the hot weather?  We have made a few trips to the ocean and some lakes and been enjoying a lot of pescado frito.  There is nothing I enjoy more than taking in the ocean breeze and watching the waves crash while eating some fresh fish.  What is it about the ocean that is just so relaxing?  


FROM BLONDE TO RED, WHICH RED HAIR COLOR FOR BLONDE HAIR

How To Dye Blonde Hair Red Yourself.

Have you been thinking about going red but aren't sure where to start? Want to also do it yourself and not pay a fortune at the salon?  If this is you, then you need this post!  And if you like what you see here, please check out my beauty and cosmetics website for all my hair color and makeup tutorials and tips: The Makeup Equation.


Bistec Salvadoreno


Mother's Day is Sunday, May 12th this year.  In honor of all the extremely hardworking mamas out there, I'm going to cook an easy and favorite dish of many a mama - Bistec Salvadoreno.  Anytime I've had a hard day, my husband knows he better walk through the door with a plate full of Bistec Salvadoreno and some Arroz Negrito.  Bistec simply means "steak" in Spanish.  Usually the word "bistec" is paired with the word, "encebollado".  Bistec encebollado basically means "steak and onion stew".  The onions are sauteed and placed on top of or near the steak.  I'm not a huge fan of onions, so I just make bistec. 

Although bistec means steak, this type of "steak" is much thinner than a real piece of steak meat.  In fact, bistec is very similar to another popular meat, fajita, in that they are both very thin cooked meats.    The only difference is that  fajita is generally grilled and not cooked in oil.  Scrambled eggs are also frequently served with bistec salvadoreno at the end of the cooking process.


Tamales Pisques


Recipe for Tamales Pisques.

Tamales pisques are quick and easy tamale that pack a hearty flavor punch and fill you up quick!  Their name "pisque" indicates that they are tamales made with a bean filling.  Tamales pisques are generally a little drier and saltier than traditional Salvadoran chicken tamales.  The drier masa is simply achieved by using less water in the masa, the quantity of seasoning remains the same as for other tamales.  



Pollo Guisado con Papas Al Estilo Salvadoreno


Easy Recipe For Pollo Guisado Con Papas - Stew Chicken- Salvadoran Style.

I have had a lot of requests to do more meat and chicken dishes so today I am going to do a recipe for a delicious pollo guisado.  Pollo guisado is essentially just stewed chicken.  Many different countries have their own variation of pollo guisado.  The primary hallmark of Salvadoran pollo guisado is that the chicken is cooked in a tomato-based broth.  Not too many other countries add tomatoes to the their meat broths, but Salvadorans almost always cook chicken or steak in, or with, tomatoes.  Another thing that characterizes Salvadoran pollo guisado is  the large amount of papas, or potatoes, that are served with the chicken.  The papas, potatoes, are added to the pot towards the end of the cooking process and come out with a fantastic "stew-y" flavor.  


Pupusas Revueltas

Easy Recipe for Pupusas Revueltas.

There is nothing more Salvadoran than pupusas.  

Pupusas = El Salvador and El Salvador = Pupusas.  

And that's it. 

I don't think I have ever met anyone that doesn't like pupusas, whether you have Salvadoran blood in you or not.  If you take a good look around your city, you are bound to find a few tiendas selling pupusas, no matter what city you live in.  Pupusas are quickly becoming as popular as the now heavily commercialized churro which you see in all the fast food chains nowadays.

Let me start off this post by dispelling a few myths about pupusas that are floating around out there:
Firstly, "pupusa" is not a dirty word!  This word comes from the native Pupil (Aztec Indian) language and is a combination of two pupil words:  "Pupu",  which means "scrambled", and "Tsa" which means "swelling".  In Spanish, the word litterally translates to mean "swelling relleno" or "swelling stuffed".  This meaning makes a lot of sense if you think about it because pupusas are literally tortillas that are stuffed and swelling with gooey and delicious hot filling.

The second myth out there is that pupusas are native only to El Salvador.  While it is true that the pupusas that we know here in the United States did originate in El Salvador, many other Latin countries have a food that resemble the pupusa very closely with only minor differences.  For example, Venezuela's version of the pupusa is the arepa, and Mexico's version of the pupusa is the gordita.  If you get a chance to eat either of these two foods, you'll notice a striking similarity to the pupusa in both appearance and taste.  

The last pupusa myth that I want to dispel here is that pupusas are a complicated food that only abuelita can make.  Although pupusas can be time consuming to cook if you are cooking a bunch of them, there is not really anything "complicated" or hard about making them that restricts this food to the domain of your grandmother or mother.

In my opinion, the hardest thing about making pupusas is getting the fillings and the tortilla masa just right.  If you know how to do these two things, making pupusas will be a breeze.  One pupusas bought at a tienda will generally run you anywhere from $2-4 dollars.  If you know how to make pupusas yourself however, you can make about forty of them with about $12 dolalrs worth of ingredients.  I don't know about you, but I find option number two much more appealing.  If your with me on this one, lets get down to learning how to make these tasty little things.

A complete Salvadoran pupusas has many components.
1 - Filling - Fillings will vary based on your taste but the two most popular fillings are pupusas de queso, pupusas made of cheese only, or pupusas revueltas, pupusas made of a few different fillings.  The most common revueltas are made of beans and cheese or chicharron and cheese - see my post on making chicharrones to make this one.  My personal favorite is pupusas de queso con loroco, which are pupusas filled with cheese and a type of edible green flower called loroco that is quite similar to asparagus in both look and taste.
2.  Masa dough - This is the standard dough used to make corn tortillas - see my recipe for tortillas de maiz here.

3 - Curtido - A mix of fermented cabage with a little bit of onion, shaved carrot, and hot chile peppers mixed in.  Curtido is either served on the side or put on top of the pupusa to be eaten together in same bite.


4 - Salsa Rojaa, or "Red Sauce", served on the side or poured over the curtido and pupusa to be eaten together in same bite.

Now for the secrets to making authentic Salvadoran pupusas! Are you ready?  Sshhh!  Don't tell anyone!!
  • Make your own refried beans.  Handmade refried beans carry much more flavor and are less greasy and watery than the canned refried beans you can buy at the store.  To make your own refried beans, simply prepare small Central American red beans the way you would to make arroz curtido.  When the beans are done cooking, blend some of them up in a blender and cook them in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of oil over low heat for about 30-40 minutes.   
  • Add butter or margarine to your Mozzarella cheese.  When you pour out the amount of mozzarella you will use, add a few scoops of cold butter or margarine to it.  The butter/margarine makes the flavor pop and will prevent you from needing to grease the pupusas with oil when you cook them.  I personally use margarine because the extra oils in it create a better pupusa than butter will.
  • Only use Mozarella cheese for your cheese filling!!  This is a very important secret.  Some international stores sell what they call "queso para pupusas", or "pupusas cheese".  This cheese is an imposter!  A fake I tell you, run as fast as you can from it!  This cheese looks like Mozarella cheese but tastes terrible and if you read the ingredients you will find that it doesn't even contain any milk at all.  This cheese is made out of nothing but hydrogenated oils and trans fats.  This cheese is cheaper than buying real Mozarella cheese but  it destroys the taste and also destroys your health.  I have also seen a lot of videos on the web that add all sorts of other dairy products to their mozarrella filling - crema, hard cheese, and panella cheese are just a few I have seen.  While these videos say they are making authentic Salvadoran pupusas, I can assure you that this is not an authentic pupusa and will surely not taste like one either.
  • Cook your pupusas over a gas stove or skillet, not on an electric one.  The reason for this is that gas stoves and skillets can get much hotter than electric ones.  When the heat is too low, you will get cracks on the outter tortilla skin of your pupusa.  You want to cook each side of the pupusa for about 30 seconds, and flip on each side about three times.  Once the pupusa starts to puff up and fillings begins to ooze out of, they are done cooking.
  • Pupusa Revuelta Ingredients:
Now lets get cooking!  This recipe makes about 30 pupusas revueltas.

Pupusas Revueltas Ingredients:

- 3-4 cups of instant corn masa flour mixed with about 5 cups of water - See my recipe for making tortilla dough
-Approximately 6 cups of refried red beans  (handmade preferrable)
-Approximately 6 cups of Mozarella cheese  (You want to have equal part of bean and cheese so if you add more bean you need to add more cheese)
-5-7 tbsp. of cold butter, depending on taste
-Red Sauce  - See ingredients below
-Curtido
-Small bowl of tap water to dip your hands into between making each pupusa

Salsa Roja Ingredients:

-8 small,  red tomoatoes
-1 can of peeled, whole tomatoes
-1/4 white onion
-1/4 green bell pepper
-Few sprigs of cilantro
-2 teaspoons of salt
-2-3 tablespoons of "Caldo de Pollo" seasoning (this is chicken buillon seasoning, can find it in most grocery stores)
-2 tablespoons of oil

Curtido Ingredients:

Some people make their own ingredients but because the process of fermenting takes a while, I generally buy pre-made curtido at the store and then dilute it with a small head of cabbage, cut up into slithers, along with some shavings of purple onion and  carrot.

Directions:

-Prepare the re-fried beans the day before by boiling Central American small red beans until soft, (takes about three hours, see my post for Arroz Curtido for exact directions)
- Blend about half of the soft red beans in a blender and cook this puree in a skillet on low heat for 30-40 minutes.
-The day you make the pupusas, mix all ingredients for red sauce in blender and blend until pureed.  
 -Pour red sauce into a small skillet covered with a tablespoon of oil and heat on medium-high until boiling. 
-Once sauce boils, turn off heat but leave pot on burner so sauce will be remain warm when you serve the pupusas.
-Prepare the tortilla dough in a bowl using directions found on my tortillas de maiz post.
-Place Mozzarella, butter, and refried beans into a bowl and mix with hands until well mixed.
-Turn your gas skillet to medium-high, (high if have to use an electric stove), and place a pancake skillet (we are pretending this is our comal) on top of the gas burners so it can start to get hot.
-Wet your hands in the small bowl of water you have near you and then grab a ball of tortilla dough in your hand
-Flatten the dough into a flat circle using your hands and then put about 2 small spoonfuls of the bean/cheese mix in the middle
-Once you have placed filling in center of dough, close the dough back up using your hands to form a ball again that surrounds and covers your filling. 
-While reforming the ball, pinch off any extra dough at the top to prevent an over-sized pupusa.  You want just enough dough to completely surround your filling and no more.
-Place ball of dough with filling inside between two plastic baggies, flatten with a plate or your hands, and then peel off flattened pupusa and place onto the hot skillet.
-Cook each side of the pupusa for about 30 seconds each, flipping total about six times so that each side gets the heat about three times.
-Once the pupusa begins to puff up or fillings begin to ooze out of it and burn on surface, remove the pupusa from the heat and place onto a big piece of aluminum foil.
-Repeat process until you have used up all your dough and filling.  If you run out of either, just make more.
-Serve the pupusas with curtido and red sauce.

Buen Provecho!

Below are a few pictures of the pupusa making process:






























































































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Tamales de Elote

Easy Recipe for Sweet Corn Tamales - Tamales de Elote.

I have had a lot of requests for a post on tamales de elote, also known as sweet corn tamales.  As it is already mid August and corn will be out of season soon, I knew I was running out of time.  When I saw that my local Walmart had white corn yesterday, I realized there was no better time to do this post than now.  So, due to popular demand, here is the post I know you have all been waiting for - my recipe for making delicious tamales de elote!  This recipe was taught to me by a very sweet and godly woman named Senora Doris.  Thank you, Doris!  You have been a blessing to me!
 
I must admit that this is truly one of my favorite Salvadoran eats, maybe because I love corn, or maybe because I love sweets even more.  Although the name sounds daunting, once you make it, you'll see that tamales de elote are really pretty simple to make.  In fact, I always feel that the most time consuming part of this recipe is really just picking out the corn. 

When you pick your corn for tamales de elote, there are a few things you want to remember:


Arroz Curtido

Easy Recipe for Purple Rice.  Arroz Curtido Receta.

It doesn't get more Salvadoran than this dish right here!  Arroz curtido, also called "purple rice", refers to a rice that has been cooked in water used to cook red beans.  Not just any red beans are used.  Only "frijoles rojo Salvadorenos", or small, red Salvadoran beans, are used for this dish.


Tamales Salvadorenos

Easy Recipe for Making Tamales Salvadorenos - Chicken Tamales.

New Year's Eve is upon us, and in Latin households, that means it's time for tamales!!  Tamales are a special treat generally reserved for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, (which is Christmas for Latin families), or New Year's Eve.   If you have ever eaten a tamale, you probably thought two things:  One, they are delicious, and two, you would never be able to make them!  

Immediately upon meeting my husband, I was introduced to the wonderful world of tamales.  It was definitely a "love at first bite" type of experience, (love at first sight too of course, love you sweetie).  Whether they were chicken tamales, tamales pisques, or sweet corn tamales, I loved them all.  I soon began trying to make tamales myself, and it took four years to get the "stamp of approval" from my picky husband.

Here are some things you should know about a tamale before attempting to make one for yourself.  First, every Latin country has their own twist on the tamale.  Second, different people have different methods of making tamales that are unrelated to where they may be from.  For example, some people prefer to use corn husks to wrap a tamale, while other people prefer to use banana leaves and/or aluminum foil.  Some people prefer pork fillings, while others prefer to put entire parts of chicken, including the bone, inside of them.  Some people like to make the tamale masa, or dough, thicker and more grainy, similar to corn grits, while others prefer the taste of very moist and saturated masa.   I have eaten most of the varieties I listed above and I honestly think that all these varieties are yummy.  However, because my husband is from El Salvador, the tamales that I have been taught to make are very characteristic of tamales that one would find in El Salvador.  

So what are the characteristics of a Salvadoran tamale?  Chicken!  Tamales Salvadorenos is synonymous with chicken tamales.  Generally shredded chicken is used, not chicken with the bone on it.  Salvadorenas like to put chickpea beans, (also called garbanzo beans), pieces of  hard boiled egg, sauteed green beans, and/or olives  and capers in their chicken tamales also.

Another characteristic of a Salvadoran chicken tamale is that it has very moist masa dough.  The highly saturated dough is achieved by using tortilla flour ("Harina de Maiz"), not tamale flour ("Masa Instantainea de Maiz para Hacer Tamales"), and by adding lots of chicken broth, or water if you don't have it, to saturate the flour.

Salvadoran chicken tamales are also wrapped in banana leaves, not dry corn husks, and then covered with aluminum foil.  The banana leaves add to the moistness of a Salvadoran tamale.  Tamales pisques are also wrapped in banana leaves and are made with masa that has re-fried beans in the center.   These tamales are generally drier, saltier, and thicker than meat tamales.  Salvadoran sweet corn tamales are wrapped in fresh green corn husks and covered in foil and made out of ground up white corn kernels and corn meal flour.

Today I made the Salvadoran chicken tamale.  To ensure your tamales come out perfectly, try to follow the directions exactly as stated below. 

This recipe will makes about 12-18 tamales.

Chicken Tamales, El Salvador Syle:

Ingredients & Supplies:
To Make the Masa:
  • 2 cups of tortilla flour, harina de maiz - I like the "masa-brosa" brand
  • 7 cups of chicken broth (or cold water if you don't have it)
  • 1/2 cup of corn oil
  • 2 Maggi chicken flavor bouillon tablets ("caldo a pollo", see picture on right)
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube, by "Herb ox" (see picture on right) 
  • 2 Tbsp. of cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. of black pepper

To Make the Chicken Filling:
  • 2 chicken breasts with bone, skin and all
To Make the Salsa Roja:
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 2-3 red tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 dried red chile
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 2 bay leafs
  • cilantro
Other Supplies and Fillings:
  • Large roll of aluminum foil
  • Pack of banana leaves
  • Tamale steamer or pasta pot
  • 2 cups of green beans, boiled and then sauteed
  • 4-5 eggs, hard boiled and sliced into chunks like you would for egg salad
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained.

Directions:
-Boil the 2 chicken breasts in salted water for half an hour.
-When time is up, place chicken breasts in a new clean bowl and save the broth they were cooked in.
-Now make the red sauce by combining all ingredients listed for sauce in a blender.
-Pour red sauce in a saucepan and heat on medium-low, stirring occasionally until it becomes thick, then turn on.
-Place the boiled chicken breasts in sauce to marinate and soak up flavor and leave the pot on the turned off burner to continue to marinate.
-Now begin making the masa dough.
-Mix masa and water well, using your hands to break up any clumps in the flour.
-Once completely mixed, add in corn oil, Maggi chicken seasoning cubes, and all spices.
-Turn heat to medium-low and begin stirring mixture with a large wooden spoon.
-Try to stir the mixture every few seconds in the beginning, and then every few minutes once its hot, as the masa can start to clump up easily on the bottom of the pot.
-Continue heating and stirring masa mixture for about 15-20 minutes.  You want to see mixture begin to thicken and coat the back of the spoon.
-Once mixture begins to look thick enough to stay in one place when placed on a banana leaf, turn off heat and let pot sit on burner to continue to thicken and cook.
-Now remove the chicken from the red sauce and shred it, removing all bones, and place in a new bowl.
-Fill up your pasta pot or tamale steamer with hot water and placed it on high heat so that water will be boiling and filling the pot with steam by the time you are finished assembling your tamales
-Now begin to assemble your banana leaves. 
To assemble the tamales:
  • First cut all your banana leaves into small squares - see pictures below to get better ideas of size, its about 5 inches by 5 inches.  Banana leaves come very big and you do not need such large leaves to wrap your tamale dough.
  • Now tear off about 15-20 medium sized aluminum foil squares.
  • Next, take two small banana leaf squares, place both of them onto an aluminum foil square, and lay the edge of one banana leaf slightly over the other one so that they overlap.  To speed things up, I actually only use one big leaf.
  • Now take two large wooden spoonfuls of masa, (probably about 4-5 regular sized spoonfuls) and place it into the center of the leaves right where they overlap each other.
  • Next add one spoonful of red sauce to the masa dough.
  • Place a few pieces of shredded chicken into the sauce.
  • Now add any other extra fillings you would like such as egg, green beans, olives, etc.
  • Now take one side of the leaf and roll it over the masa dough, and continue rolling so that the mix is completely covered by the leaf.
  • Now take one side of the aluminum foil and roll it over the banana leaf.
  • Continue rolling the aluminum foil completely over the banana leaf all the way until it reaches the other side of the aluminum foil, and make sure to hold it tightly by its edges as you roll it up so that your tamale will be wrapped tightly inside.
  • Now fold the edges of the foil on both ends to act as a seal, and place the tamale inside of the tamale steamer or pasta pot so that it is lying against the wall of the pot - see pictures below to see what I mean.
  • Continue to repeat these steps until you have used up all your tamale masa.
Cooking & Cooling the Tamales:
  • Place lid on the pot and cook the tamales on medium-high for about 45 minutes, making sure to add more water to bottom of pot if needed as it cooks.  After 45 minutes, turn off heat and leave tamales inside to continue cooking in the steam for about another half hour.  
  • After a half an hour, remove the tamales and place on a plate and stick in the fridge.  They will need to cool completely to room temperature before eating them so that they can harden.  If you try to eat them right after taking them out of the pot, they will look runny like they have not cooked.  This is normal, they will harden correctly as they cool.
Buen Provecho! 
Here are some pictures of the tamale making process:


































































    by


    Tortillas de Maiz

    Easy Recipe for Tortillas de Maiz - Homemade Corn Tortillas, From Masa Flour.

    The process of making tortillas de maiz is a subject dear to my heart because although tortillas appear to very easy to make, they are actually very difficult for anyone that did not grow up making them.  And if you are married to a Latin man and did not grow up making these, you have probably endured tons of jokes and snide comments about not being able to make them.  Because, after all, he will callously remark, tortillas are just "so easy"!  Why, "how can anyone not know how to make them?!"  If it were only that easy!
    The above dialogue used to be very common in my household.  I loved eating my mother-in-laws tortillas.  Salvadoran tortillas are also known as corn tortillas or "Mexican" tortillas to distinguish them from being Spanish tortillas because in Spain, a tortilla can also mean an omelet.  I tried desperately to make tortillas myself but even though I watched my suegra make them countless times, my tortillas never seemed to turn out quite right.  My husband would remark that they were "too dry", "too flat", "too small", or plain, just "wrong"!  As upsetting as it was, deep down I knew he was right, my tortillas were definitely not what tortillas de miaz were supposed to be like. 

    So what was I doing wrong?  Well, first off, this is definitely one of those foods that is perfected by making it many, many times.  But it definitely helps to have a recipe to go by too, and that was something I didn't have.  Through enough trial and error, I eventually figured out the "secret" recipe for perfect tasting, and looking, tortillas.  The secret lies in getting the right proportion of water to corn flour, and also in adding a little baking powder to help the tortillas puff up when they are heated.  The ultimate goal is to get the masa, or dough made of corn flour and water, as saturated and moist as possible, but not so moist that the dough will crumble when you try to shape it into balls or peel it off of plastic baggies after flattening them.


    Although I no longer need to measure the flour, water, and baking soda anymore, it's important for beginners to have a recipe that lays out the correct proportions of these ingredients.  This will allow one to get a feel for what correct masa dough is supposed to look like, feel like, and even taste like.  Once you understand what a tortilla masa should be like, you will be able to stop measuring things out and simply add enough of everything until you know it's "right".  But be patient, it will probably take at least 5-10 tries before you can make them without following this recipe.


    Now lets talk about what you need to make these things:  If you travel to any Latin country, you will likely see women cooking tortillas on a comal, or large flat iron skillet that looks similar to a pizza pan, but without any edges - see the picture below.


    The comal is heated up by placing it over a fire or a very large grill.  Since I have no way to heat a comal in my modernized house, and because I am not too fond of making large fires either, I simply use three regular nonstick skillets - (I use three of them to speed up the process of making many tortillas).  You can also use an outdoor grill or griddle if you have one. The advantage of cooking tortillas outdoors is that it reduces the smell.  If you have ever smelled cooking corn, you will know that it's not the most pleasant thing to smell in the world.  If you are going to cook them inside on a stove, make sure to crack open an window to help with the smoke and smell of the corn. 

    A tortilla press flattens the balls of tortilla masa into their characteristic thin, flat, "little cake" shapes.  It is much quicker than using baggies and plates, which is what was done before tortilla press machines were around.  You can purchase a great one for cheap here:  Norpro 6-Inch Tortilla Press, Cast Aluminum

    Here is my recipe for the perfect tortilla.  This recipe makes about 20-30 tortillas and can be doubled or halved if you desire to make more or less.  Although tortillas are usually eaten with other food, such as meat, rice, or vegetables, they are just as good eaten by themselves as well!

    Ingredients:

    -3 cups of Instant Corn Flour treated with lime, (this flour is known in Spanish as "harina de maiz". I use the "Masa Brosa" brand)
    -5 cups of lukewarm tap water (agua tibia)
    -Small bowl of tap water

    Directions:

    -In a large bowl, measure out the 3 cups of corn flour
    -Add 4 1/2 cups of water and mix together with your hands until combined.
    -Add final 1/2 cup of water slowly, mixing thoroughly with hands until fully incorporated.
    -Pre-heat three or more nonstick skillets on high/medium high.  If you have a griddle or comal, use it instead. 
    -Begin to form medium-sized balls out of the masa with your hands.
    -Before you pick up a new ball of dough to mold, wet your hands in the bowl of water.  This keeps dough moist and prevents cracking when cooked.

    -Place each ball of masa dough between a tortilla presss. If you don't have one, you will need to use two plastic baggies and flatten the ball by pressing down with a clear glass plate.  You want to use a glass plate so you can see through it and keep an eye on how flat you are making your dough. 
    -Remove flattened dough from tortilla press, or baggies, and place onto hot skillet.
    -Repeat process until all dough balls have been cooked - about 1-2 minutes on each side.
    -Place cooked tortillas on metal wrack to cool or eat them hot. 

    Buen Provecho!

    Here are some pictures of the tortilla-making process:


















    My little helper usually doesn't have the patience to wait until I have finished cooking all the tortillas before he gets to eat his. 













    Here is my little helper after eating some of his tortilla.  Tortillas are definitely yummy for the tummy, just look at that smile!


    by


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