Learning to Cook as a Latina & Fall Dishes

I started learning to cook early in my life, and then really cooking in each relationship I had. But it wasn't until I moved to NYC on my own, single in my mid 20's, before I actually fell in love with cooking and baking. This is the time when I started cooking more for just myself and I actually FELL IN LOVE with tinkling with recipes and flavors. I started collecting cookbooks and meal planning, loved going to the grocery store and farmers markets to pick out my ingredients and to a little spice shop in Hell's Kitchen to pick up all the different spices and legumes to play around with.

And as my Zoe learns the basics of cooking with her Mimi and me, I have gotten to watch her really enjoying it. I will say that it has triggered some feelings, and thoughts on why I pushed so hard on learning to cook traditional recipes with my mama who is such an incredible cook.

When it comes down to it, in the Latin culture (and many other cultures), a women learning to cook is, "Para que te puedas casar" or so that you can get married. I mean not only cooking, but same goes for cleaning, homemaking, taking care of myself was all so that I could make a great wife. Oh man the pressure!! Without even noticing this was a huge turn off for me. Luckily as I took time to find myself in NYC in my 20's, I also found my passion for cooking and baking. I find comfort in, the routine of a recipe, feeding others and the creativity that goes into creating a new recipe.

All this to say that sometimes we get the chance to reparent ourselves as we mother, and it's pretty magnificent.

As I ask my girls how something makes them feel, I get to remind myself that we should do the things that make me happy.

As I tell Zoe to look in the mirror when she asks me how something looks, and ask her, how do YOU think you look? I am reminded that I need to wear the clothes that make ME feel good, the outfits that make me happy or feel like myself.

As I include them in making dinner or baking every week, letting them taste, make a mess and create something, I watch them light up. We can learn fractions, we can practice spelling or reading but most of all I am watching them fall in LOVE with making all kinds of recipes because they love doing it with me. Together.

This is a reminder that we should ignore the noise and "do us" so that they witness and learn to find things that bring them joy.

And now as I meal plan before groceries, I thought I would share some Fall meals we are looking forward to making this season in my air fryer! (here is my air fryer post!)

Crispy Broccoli with a ton of red pepper flakes, maybe pair with this Air Fryer Salmon and white rice!

Wings are big in my house and I have tried them in my AF and they are yummy. These garlic parmesan, these bbq, these buffalo and these lemon pepper ones were so good.

Chicken Taco Soup is one of our favorite, insane how fast this one is! This can be preppeded ahead of time!

These paleo chicken nuggets are a great lunch alternative for the girls, I am going to try and make a bunch to freeze/easily defrost! You can make some homemade french fries to go with them.

These airfryer veggie dishes are all great options for sides. These zucchini curly fries are yummy.

My mom use to make a big turkey breast so we could easily make sandwiches or salads during the week! This one looks so good. Love this as a meal prep item, chicken also works!

Taquitos for Taco Tuesday, with this refried beans and cilantro rice. These sides can be all made in advance (even tacos can be rolled up and ready for dinner!).

I have made a version of this sausage and potatoes recipe, I like to load with peppers & onions for the last few minutes, and you can sub in squash instead of potatoes. So yummy and can be prepped ahead of time.

This chicken parm looks soooo good. And perfect for a cold Sunday!

Oh and I have never thought of making fried rice in the AF but omg I am so doing this! I love cold left over rice for this, you get the best fried rice.

This time of year I love making big batches of squash to add to salads or tacos or snack on alone, this acorn squash right here looks soooo good.

This recipe is for the instant pot but I am planning on picking up some corn and making a corn chowder this week, this one looks delicious. Or maybe this one.