Secret Recipe Club: Pisto Manchego

A vibrant mix of bacon, onion, tomato, zucchini, and colorful bell peppers, Pisto Manchego is often referred to as Spanish ratatouille.

Pisto Manchego with Zucchini -

It's because of recipes like this Pisto Manchego that I love being part of the Secret Recipe Club, because every month I get the chance to discover new-to-me blogs full of swoon-worthy recipes from all over the world. My assignment this month is Things I Made Today written by Vicky Cassidy, a wife and mom who loves to cook, bake, blog and photograph everything around her. Vicky's blog is so beautiful and elegant, it's like looking through the pages of a gourmet food magazine like Saveur or Food & Wine. It's no surprise that her recipes have been featured on Apartment Therapy, Buzzfeed, The Kitchn, and Food52. But what I liked most about Vicky's blog is that it features simple, easy-to-follow recipes made with fresh ingredients.

Fresh Strawberry Margarita {She Made/Ella Hace}

My good friend girlichef and I are in the cocina once again for She Made/Ella Hace. This month it's all about strawberries. Heather (girlichef) is serving up not one, but TWO sweet strawberry recipes: Strawberry Atole + Strawberry Atole Paletas. (Be sure to head on over to Heather's blog to check out her mouth watering recipes.) And I whipped up these delightful Strawberry Margaritas, because who doesn't love a good margarita? These Strawberry Margaritas are sweet, refreshing and taste like summer in a glass.

Fresh Strawberry Margaritas -

Almíbar de Mango (Mango Syrup for Shaved Ice)

Homemade snow cone (shaved ice) syrup made with fresh mango and a hint of cinnamon.
The temps are heating up here in Mexico, so it's time to keep cool with one of our favorite summer treats... Nieves Raspadas (aka raspados/raspas/snow cones)! Making your own snow cones at home is a fun summer activity for kids of all ages. And since mangos are one of our favorite summer fruits, I decided to combine the two for a sweet and delicious frozen treat. I like to add a dash of ground cinnamon to my mango syrup to enhance the flavor of the mango, but if cinnamon isn't your thing you can leave it out and still have a delicious raspado de mango. And if like me (Hubby & our kiddies) you like to spice things up a bit, sprinkle a little Tajin (dried chile & lime fruit seasoning) on top for an extra kick.

What's your favorite raspado (snow cone) flavor?

Nieve Raspada de Mango (Mango Shaved Ice) -

Shredded Chicken Tacos de Mole

Tender pieces of chicken in a rich, chocolate mole sauce wrapped in warm corn tortillas.

Tacos de Mole -

These shredded chicken tacos are a cinch to make especially with the help of an old family friend, Doña Maria. Doña Maria is a brand of mole paste and it's the only kind of mole I ate growing up with my Mexican grandparents. Over the years I've learned to make various mole sauces from scratch, but every once in a while I crave the mole that my grandparents made.

Agua de Lima (Sweet Lime Agua Fresca)

Agua de Lima is a light and refreshing agua fresca made with sweet limes (citrus limetta).

Agua de Lima (Sweet Lime Agua Fresca) -

Since moving to Mexico 15 years ago I have discovered (and fallen in love with) many new-to-me fruits native to Mexico like ciruelas amarillas (yellow plums), pitayas (fruit of the pipe organ cactus), and limas. Limas  are by far my favorite. Here in Mexico limas are a variety of citrus limetta (AKA sweet lemon/lime). Sweet limes have the distinct flavor and aroma of a citrus fruit, but without the acidity and tartness. In it's place is a subtle sweetness, hence the name "sweet lime". Although their flavor is subtle at first, it lingers on your tastebuds and in the back of your throat leaving you with a sweet and refreshing taste in your mouth.

Secret Recipe Club: Banana Butterscotch Bars

It's the first Monday of the month, which means it's time for another installment of The Secret Recipe Club. This month my assignment is the family friendly blog Hun... What's for Dinner? written by Cindy, a Canadian blogger who is also stay-at-home mom of two adorable little kiddies. Cindy lives in Canada and loves recipe contests. With good reason too. Her recipes have won several awards, including the Rising Star Award in the first season of the Real Women of Philadelphia Canada AND she's had several recipes published in Gooseberry Patch cookbooks. (Something we have in common!) And did I mention that her hubby is a chef?!

Banana Butterscotch Bars -

I had a hard time deciding which of Cindy's mouth-watering recipes to make. A few recipes that caught my attention were Cindy's Lemon Cracker Cake, Chicken Club Pasta Salad, Zucchini con Queso, Strawberry Cake, and Jalapeño Popper Cheeseburgers. But then I spotted something that reminded me of my childhood... Banana Butterscotch Blondies!