Archive for the ‘ethnic’ Category

Independent Film, Coyote, is a suspenseful and heart-wrenching story about two Americans, Steve (Brian Peterson, director and writer) and J. (Brett Spackman, writer) from Arizona, and the obstacles and dangers they face as owners of a ‘Kinder, Gentler People Smugglers’ coyote business.

After forming their company, they begin to find success and a nice profit, as they become known as coyotes, who care about about the safety of the immigrants they are transporting.   Later,  J. is arrested at the border and  their business is continued by crossing the Sonoran desert. While crossing the desert, J.’s runs into a coyote, who threatens him with harm for being on his territory. Soon, Steve’s and J.’s morals and values are put to the test as greed begins to cloud their judgments as they decide which is more important – money or life.

I would definitely recommend watching Coyote because it is a great story of the realities immigrants face each day while crossing the U.S. border. The acting is so superb, that when Steve and J. feared for their life, I also felt fear for them as well. What I really enjoy about this movie is that you watch the characters begin to change their moral and values for money. The movie also ends with a shocking end that the viewer does not expect.   3.5 of 5 stars

‘Coyote’ is available for rent or purchase at major retailers

Running Time: 95 minutes

Language: English

MPAA Rating: NR


St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef with vegetables

In honor of one of my many heritages, I prepare corned beef each year for St. Patrick’s Day. This year I decided to try a new recipe, which includes turnips. The recipe has quite a few spices and the corn beef needs to sit in a brine for up to two weeks. This recipe makes 4 servings.

Corned Beef and Veggies

To create the brine:

  • 1 qt water
  • 1/2 c. sea salt or pink curing salt
  • 1 tb table salt
  • 1/3 sugar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp crushed mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 crushed cinnamon stick
  • 2 crushed dried bay leaves
  • 4 whole cloves

Preparation of corned beef

  • 2.5-3 lbs. flat-cut beef brisket
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped in half
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped in half
  • 1/2 lb turnips, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 1/2 lb of carrots, peeled and cut in quarters
  • 1/2 lb red potatoes cut in quarters
  • horseradish sauce, spicy mustard or Dijon mustard
  1. To create the brine, boil water in a large pot. After boiling, add spices listed under for the brine list and remove pot from heat. Stir until salt and sugar dissolved. Allow the brine to cool.
  2. To prepare the corned beef:  Put the brisket in glass container and pour cooled brine over it. Place weight on the brisket by using small plates, to keep the brisket submerged.  Cover and refrigerate brisket for up to 2 weeks.
  3. After the desired time period, remove brisket from the container and rinse. Discard the brine. Place the brisket in a large pot of water until the brisket is covered by two inches. Add halved onion, celery and carrot and bring water to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours until very tender.
  4. After about 45 minutes into cooking, steam turnips separately for about 10 minutes and transfer to a bowl. Steam carrots for about 12 minutes and set aside.
  5. After the corned beef is ready, remove the beef from pot and cover with a foil, to rest for 30 minutes
  6. From the large pot, discard the halved onion, carrot and celery from the broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and simmer until tender for 25 minutes. Add turnips and carrots and cook until warm.
  7. Trim excess fat from the beef and slice thinly against its grain. After transferring to plate, add vegetable and add some broth.
  8. Serve with condiments.

After tasting the corned beef, I found that this corned beef has a wonderful spice flavor to it. To get the best flavor, leave the meat in the brine covered for 14 days. The meat does not have to be turned at any time. Surprisingly, the broth gives the vegetables a wonderful buttery flavor. This is a perfect slow-cooking weekend meal. How did you celebrate your St. Patty’s day?

Bon Appetit


A very special thank you to Tracy Renee Jones for giving me a shout out! Tracy Renee Jones, a juggler of 3 blogs and a co-host of a weekly online radio show, recently had an interview with In this informative interview, she explains her reasons for blogging and provides the reader with inspiration to start their own blog.  Click on the link to read the interview.

U.S. Census Bureau

I just received the short 2010 Census form which has only 10 questions to complete.  The form has a Hispanic origin section, which is broken down to Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and other Hispanic/Latino or Spanish Origin. This section also includes a fill-in section, where you can give your Latino country a shout out!

About 20 years ago, a census taker asked my sister and I,  what race/ethnicity did we consider ourselves? At that time, we did not understand the differences between Spanish, Latino or Hispanic, so we called ourselves Spanish-American.  Growing up, my family never addressed themselves as Latinos or Hispanics. We actually referred to ourselves as Spanish, because that is what my family saw themselves as when they were living in Latin America.

To my surprised, the term Negro was listed in the survey alongside Black and African-American. The term Negro is still used in the Spanish and Portuguese language since it means the color black and a person who is black. At one time the terms were also commonly used in the U.S. until the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950-1960’s. During that period, African-American leaders no longer wanted this word used because of its association with slavery, segregation and discrimination.  This term is still used for some older organizations such as the United Negro College Fund.

The Census Bureau reported that Negro was added to the surveys because the older generation still identify themselves with that word.

However, if the survey takers were in their 20’s during that time period (like my American grandparents were), they would be at least 70 + years old now. I have never heard my grandparents or other people of that age group use that term.

Dear Census Bureau,

In case you didn’t receive the memo, negro is no longer used in this country. Your agency should have been on top of their game, especially after spending billions of taxpayer dollars to create the surveys. So your statement is weak. How about next time adding gringo alongside white?



P.S. What do you think of the Census’ decision to use Negro?

“What are you?” “Where are you from?” “Your Latina? You can’t be Latina (or  Spanish) because you are too white!”

By this time, I am usually frowning because I have heard this numerous times by a Latino person (well…mostly from the Latinas ). In an attempt to defend my skin color, I would explain that my “whiteness” was given to me genetically by my white American dad (even though my skin color is darker than my dad). Sometimes I would be looked at disapprovingly and told that I could not be a Latino because: I do not speak fluent Spanish/am too white/hair not black/fill in the blank.  I would try to explain as calmly as I could, that I grew up around the Latino culture. I grew up spending lots of time with my abuelita (Spanish for Grandma), who would make me homemade tortillas and sway her hips to the  sound of Latino music. As I child I would drink Columbian coffee with a homemade cupcake and I would scoop up my frijoles  (beans) with a piece of tortilla. I loved eating my tamales with Coca-Cola while I watched my American shows.  I had an interesting childhood growing up with an American and Latino culture.

Culture is the most important word to understand  here because Latinos and Hispanics (not Spanish because then we would be from Spain,which I am not, though our ancestors were) is not a race but a culture/ethnicity. When we call ourselves Americans, we are saying we are not only from the “Americas” but we are of that culture. Being an American is not a race, just like Japanese is not a race.  Japanese people obviously are considered to be of the Asian race.

Many American-born Latinos don’t speak Spanish, and can be of white, black, American-Indian (mestizo) and even of Asian race. There is a stereotype of what a Latino should look like: Ricky Martin or Jennifer Lopez, with dark hair, dark eyes and tan or olive skin. However, we all come in different colors, like Latina beauty Zoe Saldana.

Latina Zoe Saldana - Star Trek's Uhura

I will keep on educating those, who believe that a Latina should have a certain look. Even though some feel that they are more Latina than I am, there are many more Latinos that accept me as just as I am.  I am proud to be a Latina.