All Posts by Laura Fuentes

steak tacos

Steak Tacos with Cilantro Chimichurri

Say hello to these amazing, let me repeat AMAZING, steak tacos! Juicy, flavorful beef with tangy chimichurri and a little heat from homemade pickled jalapenos, hold on to your socks because they’re about to get knocked off!

The day is finally here! I get to share my favorite beef tacos with the whole world and of course, YOU! Catch the action in this video then come back and let’s talk tacos. I’ll be right here.

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3 zucchini bread bars

Delicious Carrot and Zucchini Bars

These Carrot Zucchini Bars are super moist, fluffy, and a genius way to enjoy a tasty treat AND eat your vegetables.

I’ve had this recipe tucked away for a while and after a few weeks of making it on repeat for the family, but after recently coming across it I decided it was time to share it with you guys:

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13 easy parmesan zucchini veggie waffles

Easy Zucchini & Parmesan Savory Waffle Recipe

In the summertime, when zucchinis are plentiful, I try to find creative ways to feed my family zucchini. I’ve found everybody loves a good waffle, and these savory waffles are the perfect way to veggie-up everyone’s favorite meal. Zucchini waffles are cheesy and delicious, and your family will hardly notice that they are filled with veggies!

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How to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

It’s a fact; we moms are always looking for ways to better ourselves and live a healthy lifestyle. For you, this could mean eating better, getting more sleep, exercise, stressing less or all of the above!

Whichever category you fall into, living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to mean drastic changes, taking small steps can make the biggest impacts. To get you started, I’m sharing tips that I practised to help me eat right, move more, and enjoy time with my family.

mom serving son dinner
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How I Keep My Winter Skin Looking Great

This post is sponsored by Galderma and SHE Media. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of Galderma.

I remember looking at my face in the mirror one day and thinking to myself, how could I be getting acne breakouts at 32? My teenage years were way behind me and now that I had two kids under five, my skin was acting up.

I spent years trying all sorts of over-the-counter products for what I thought were dry patches of skin and acne, which I ended up throwing away because they just didn’t help relieve my symptoms. I kept blaming the ingredients and my sensitive skin, when I should’ve gone to talk to my dermatologist.

The truth is that I was embarrassed. I’m what you call a no-make-up junkie. I love to wash my face, moisturize with SPF in the morning, and apply a thick night cream in the evening. Putting on make-up was one more thing to add to my daily routine, which I didn’t have time for with two kids under five.

Now, years later, I know that I was experiencing the classic symptoms of rosacea: blushing, acne-like breakouts, visible blood vessels, and sensitive skin with itching and stinging.[1] What I didn’t have was prominent facial redness, so rosacea never entered my mind.[2]

Instead, I just blamed it on hormones from having babies. But when I checked my hormones, I was fine. Go figure.

Finally, I decided to visit my dermatologist and in that very first visit, she confirmed that I had the same condition that more than 16 million Americans have, rosacea, and that the symptoms were a sign of the chronic inflammatory skin condition.[1],[2]

It all made sense. I already had chronic inflammation issues elsewhere, so the fact that it manifested on my skin during the winter months really explained things. Note: rosacea manifests differently for people.[2] It tends to appear after the age of 30 and it can be one symptom or a combination with flare-ups either regularly or occasionally.[2]

Because we’re all so different, it’s always best to let a dermatologist check out your skin if you’re concerned.[2]I know that I was embarrassed for quite a while about my skin and within a couple of weeks of treatment, my symptoms began to get better.

While my primary triggers tend to occur in the cold winter months, a lot of people suffer more during the hot months.[3],[4] Certain weather conditions, spicy foods, and/or alcohol can cause flare-ups (for instance, I flare with red wine that contains sulfates).[4]

What has helped the most when it comes to keeping my flare-ups at bay? Consistency of treatment, establishing a facial care routine, and doing my best to avoid my triggers.

If you guys follow me on Instagram, you know that I take a lot of selfies – most without make-up. I’m generally a very happy person and for me, having clearer skin is everything!

This is me, a couple of weeks ago after yoga walking back to my car in 17F weather! Clearer, happy, refreshed… I can’t ask for more.

In my stories, you also see me work out with my friend Christel. She also happens to be my dermatologist. Now, I bring up any skin concern because nothing is too insignificant to talk to her about! Helping me have bright and clearer skin is what she’s passionate about.

Interestingly enough, my skin is something people comment about a lot, usually when I’m not wearing any make-up. Healthy skin that’s treated from within with nourishing foods and on the outside with products that work is important.

If you’re struggling with keeping your skin clear and think you might have rosacea, it’s a good idea to talk to your dermatologist and see if Soolantra® (ivermectin) Cream, 1% is right for you.[2],[5] It is proven to effectively treat bumps and blemishes of rosacea in as little as two weeks.[5], [6]

For more information about rosacea triggers and causes, skincare tips, treatment options and how to find a dermatologist near you, visit Soolantra.com.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Indication: SOOLANTRA® (ivermectin) Cream, 1% is indicated for the treatment of inflammatory lesions of rosacea. Not for oral, ophthalmic or intravaginal use. Adverse Events: In clinical trials with SOOLANTRA Cream, the most common adverse reactions (incidence ≤1%) included skin burning sensation and skin irritation.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


[1] National Rosacea Society. What Is Rosacea? https://www.rosacea.org/. Accessed on April 17, 2019.

[2] National Rosacea Society. All About Rosacea. https://www.rosacea.org/patients/allaboutrosacea.php. Accessed on April 17, 2019.

[3] National Rosacea Society. Rosacea Sufferers Can Enjoy Summer Without Rise in Flare-ups. https://www.rosacea.org/rosacea-review/2001/summer/rosacea-sufferers-can-enjoy-summer-without-rise-in-flare-ups. Access on April 17, 2019.

[4] National Rosacea Society. Rosacea Triggers Survey. https://www.rosacea.org/patients/materials/triggersgraph.php. Accessed on April 17, 2019.

[5] Soolantra® (ivermectin) cream, 1%, for topical use, Prescribing Information. 2014.

[6] Stein, L., et.al., Efficacy and safety of ivermectin 1% cream in treatment of papulopustular rosacea: results of two randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled pivotal studies. Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD, 2014. 13(3), pp.316-323.

Pantry Organization Ideas & How to Build a Pantry Snack Station

This blog post is brought to you in partnership with Brandless. The opinions in this post are my own.

Keeping a well-stocked pantry is one thing, but organized? That’s a whole different ball game at my house. With three kids coming in and out of the kitchen and their friends coming over to play nearly every afternoon -having a variety of snacks on hand are a must!

well stocked pantry with woman eating snacks in front
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6

How to Can Salsa the Easy Way

This post is sponsored by Ball® Home Canning. All opinions in the post are my own.

Having salsa in your pantry at all time can be a huge lifesaver when it comes to mealtimes. You know there’s nothing like a fresh batch of salsa and today, I’m sharing how to can salsa the easy way so you can keep it year-round for all those tortilla chips, Taco Tuesdays, and burrito bowls!

This recipe originated from my friends at Ball® Home Canning, my go-to resource on all things preserving. With a lot of experience and expertise, it’s not hard to see why Ball® jars are the #1 consumer choice in mason jars.

They’re the go-to containers for canning, and their classic look makes them useful as drinking glasses, storage for pantry goods, decor, and homemade gifts.

In the past, I’ve only canned strawberry jelly during the late spring because we live near strawberry fields and they are abundant between April and June. When you have more strawberries than you can eat, making jelly and canning it is the way to go!

And right when the strawberry abundance phases out in my area, my parents’ garden yields more tomatoes than we can humanly consume. They show up with a few pounds of them every other day; and since you can’t freeze tomatoes, preserving them in salsa is the way to go.

I wouldn’t consider myself a canning expert –not even an aficionado- I just know the basics for some of my favorite things to eat; and you know how I feel about salsa given all the taco recipes on this website.

To make many easy meals possible, not just dipping chips, today I’m going to show you how to can salsa. You’ll find that the process is simple and it’s easy to get started with minimal tools required –I mean, I just headed to Target and grabbed a Starter Kit and a case of jars and you can too!

What Do You Need to Start Canning

When it comes to canning, acquiring the right materials is where most beginners get overwhelmed. Thankfully the Ball® Home Preserving Starter Kit comes with everything you need to can your first batch of salsa, jelly- you fill in the blank! Here’s where you might need a notebook and pencil –or simply print the recipe below. The steps aren’t complicated, but all of them are equally important.

The kit includes:

  • A preserving rack
  • 3 16-ounce jars
  • Basic Preserving Utensils
  • Home Preserving Guide & Recipe Booklet

Along with the basics, you’ll also need a canner, which is a large pot big enough to fill with water and jars. I used my stock pot, the same one I use to make stock or boil spaghetti –yes, that one.

Is Canning Easy

Whether it’s pickling vegetables, making jam with berries, or sauces and salsa with tomatoes canning is a smart way to save money and enjoy our favorite foods year-round.  

The process is simple, although it does take some time, and there are several steps which need to be followed to a T, or you might end up with a bad batch, and that’s no bueno!

Easy Recipe for Salsa

This salsa recipe is similar to how I make my fresh salsa, and with the addition of vinegar and proper processing time inside Ball® Jars, we have a deliciously preserved fresh salsa for months to come!

How to Remove the Skins from Tomatoes for Salsa

Unlike my traditional, make-and-eat salsa recipe, this version calls for peeled tomatoes –all canned salsa recipes do.

You didn’t think I was going to peel fresh tomatoes with a vegetable peeler, did you? Hah, please! That’d be a mess and nearly impossible. There are two ways to peel tomatoes; boiling them and roasting them.

In my experience, roasting the tomatoes is the easiest way to remove those skins.

First, you can boil the tomatoes until the skin becomes tender enough. You remove them from the pot, set them aside until they cool down enough to handle, and remove the skins.

Roasting them practically self-removes the skin in the process and they peel back super easy

How to Roast Tomatoes for Salsa

If roasting tomatoes seems like something your grandmother would do, it’s because she probably did! I know my grandmother roasted tomatoes to make all sorts of recipes and I remember the process being easy –and it is!

By simply placing all the tomatoes on a baking sheet and roasting them, you’ll get the skins off easily. You are going to roast them in the oven until the charred skins begin to peel themselves back.

At that point, you’ll remove the sheet pan from the oven, let the tomatoes cool down to room temperature and then, they peel back like magic! Roasting tomatoes also brings out the natural sweetness on tomatoes and gives them a deep caramelized flavor we love.

Which Tomatoes are best for salsa?

The best tomatoes for salsa are the ones that are abundant, ripe, and have more meat on them. The easiest to find are Roma tomatoes; although some people use San Marzano tomatoes.

In the end, whatever is in season will make prime salsa and sauces. They also cost less so buying them in bulk at your local farmer’s market or grocery store and canning them is a smart way to enjoy summer tomatoes year-round.

The key to fresh salsa is using a tomato with few seeds such as Romas, but I’ve found that removing the seeds and core with a spoon does the trick.

How to Can Salsa

Here’s where you might need a notebook and pencil –or simply print the recipe below. The steps aren’t complicated, but all of them are equally important.

Here is how to can salsa:

1. Preheat the Jars

First things first, place the jars in a large pot of simmering (180F) water. This will prevent them from bursting when filled with hot food.

2. Prepare the recipe

Once the tomatoes are roasted, remove the skins and give them a rough chop.

Add them to a large pot along with the other ingredients, making sure to add them in as written in the recipe, stir and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat once cooked down.

3. Fill Jars with Salsa

Carefully, remove the jars from the simmering water with the Jar Lifter and set onto a flat surface. Fill each jar with the hot salsa.

4. Remove Air Bubbles

Gently tap the bottom of the jar on a flat surface to remove any air bubbles; this will keep the salsa from spoiling due to trapped air.

Leave 1/2 inch of space between lid and salsa.

5. Wipe the Rim

Using a clean, damp cloth remove any residue or food from the tip of the jar. Top it with a lid and apply the band until it’s fingertip tight.

6. Place the Jars in the Canner.

Make sure the water covers each jar by 1 to 2 inches and bring it to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.

7. Process

Process the jars in the boiling water for the time directed. When complete, turn off the heat and allow jars to sit in hot water for 5 minutes.

8. Rest

Not you, the jars. Once you’ve removed them from the water with the tongues and set aside onto a flat surface. Leave the jars undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours.

9. Inspect

Time to apply the flex test! Apply pressure to the center of the lid with your fingertip, if it bends, it’s a bad egg. Second, remove the bands and try to lift the top with your fingers. Properly sealed lids with remain attached, otherwise, toss it!

Best Jars for Canning

It helps that Ball® jars have been around for 135 years and are top quality for all things canning.

And since 2012, both Ball® and Kerr brands, which Ball® acquired in 1996 are entirely BPA free since 2012 making them a safe choice for food and beverages.

Water Bath Canning

There are two approaches to safe canning: water bath and pressure canning. For this recipe, I’m using the water bath; it’s the simplest and beginner friendly method.

Water bath canning is best for high acid foods and recipes that include the right amount of acid. The combination of time and temperature destroys bacteria while the heat creates a vacuum seal. Items such as fruit, jams, jellies, salsa, tomatoes, pickles, sauces, pie fillings, and condiments use this method.

Pressure Canning Salsa

This form of canning uses high temperature to safely preserve foods that are low in acid such as meat, poultry, vegetables, chili, and seafood.

Once again, the combination of time and temperature destroy bacteria and create a tight vacuum seal, so food stays fresh longer.

How Long Does Canned Salsa Last?

Regular fresh salsa keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days, but now we have it in a jar which lasts up to 2 weeks once opened and refrigerated.

I’d also like to add, this doesn’t taste like your grocery store jarred salsa, but FRESH! The tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic really come through, it’ll make you want to keep tortilla chips all year round.

Best Tacos to go with this salsa recipe

So, what does one do with homemade salsa? Tacos! At this rate, your canned salsa won’t last a month, but tacos are worth it. Here are 3 of my favorites:

The real question is, do you can? If so, what are your favorite recipes? For more fresh ideas, go check out what they are making at Ball® Jars Fresh Preserving.

How to Can Salsa the Easy Way

A fresh batch of salsa is possible when you learn how to can salsa the easy way!

  • Author: Laura Fuentes
  • Yield: 416 ounce jars salsa 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs Roma tomatoes
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4  Ball® (16 oz) pint or 8 Ball® (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Place the tomatoes onto the baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes until the tomatoes are charred and the skins peel back. Remove from oven and allow to cool down to room temperature.
  3. Fill the canner with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the empty Ball® jars to the water and simmer on medium-low heat until ready for use, making sure the water does not boil.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the green onions, jalapeno peppers, and garlic.
  5. Remove the skin from the tomatoes and cut each in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard. Dice the tomatoes and transfer to a large saucepan.
  6. To the tomatoes add the green onions, garlic, jalapenos, vinegar, lime juice, hot sauce, cilantro, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  7. Once the salsa has cooked down, remove the jars from the water and fill each with salsa, 1/2 inch from the rim.
  8. Lightly tap each jar on a cutting board to remove air bubbles. Wipe the rim with a clean cloth and place the lid over the mouth of each jar. Apply the band and seal until fingertip tight.
  9. Place the jars back onto the rack and lower into the canner full of water, making sure the water covers the jars by 1 to 2 inches.
  10. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit in hot water for 5 minutes.
  11. Remove from water and allow to rest for 12 to 24 hours before applying the flex test. Using your finger tip, apply pressure to the center of the lid, if it bends it didn’t seal correctly.
  12. Store all safely preserved jars for up to 12 to 18 months.
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Philly Cheesesteak Tacos

Delicious skirt steak tacos with seared peppers, onions, mushrooms, and melted cheese. If you’re a Philly cheesesteak fan this taco is for you.

When my husband asked why his favorite sandwich was being served in a crispy taco shell, my answer- “because everything is better inside a taco, “. To this day, I haven’t backed down on my stance and I never will because, tender steak, veggies, and melted American cheese inside a crispy taco! Get outta here!

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8

On the Hunt for the Best Gluten-free Pizza

This post is sponsored by Freschetta. All opinions are my own.

With so many gluten-free pizza options at the store nowadays, buying a tasty gluten-free frozen pizza can feel like a hit or miss. If you follow a gluten-free diet, you’ve had your share of taste fails.

Freschetta, Udi’s, Caulipower? All these are gluten-free pizza options but which one has the best gluten-free pizza crust? After a lot of pizza baking, sampling, and of course, eating, I’ve got the results from my family to yours.

woman enjoying gluten free pizza
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