Posts Written On November 19, 2018

Celebrity Chef Ingrid Hoffmann in NYC–Gives Latin Comfort Foods a (Healthy) Makeover

Whether you’re Latino or not, chances are you have a special place in your heart (and stomach!) for the delicious foods of the culture. From hearty stews, to savory rice-and-beans dishes, to creamy guacamole, these familiar flavors signify comfort, tradition, and time shared with loved ones. But if you have diabetes or other health issues, you may think you have to avoid these traditional comfort foods. Not true, says celebrity chef Ingrid Hoffmann—and to prove it, she has partnered with the American Diabetes Association to write a new cookbook full of healthier (and deliciously simple) versions of beloved Latin dishes.

“Traditionally prepared Latin foods tend to be carb heavy, deep fried, and full of salt and fat,” says Hoffmann, cooking personality and author of Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy: More Than 100 Diabetes-Friendly Latin Favorites (American Diabetes Association, October 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40681-9, $21.95). “This is a major concern for people with diabetes or prediabetes. But you don’t have to say goodbye to your favorite flavors and cherished dishes. Just try their lighter, healthier, and easy-to-prepare versions instead!”

Diabetes is an urgent problem in the Hispanic/Latin communities. In fact, 12.8 percent of Hispanic/Latino adults in the United States live with diabetes. That’s why the Latina Telemundo and Cooking Channel star is so excited to participate in this project. With a focus on pure and clean ingredients and staying within the guidelines of the ADA, Hoffmann has transformed traditional Latin favorites into nutritious, diabetes-friendly meals that feature protein, whole grains, and fresh vegetables.

“The best part is, you get to enjoy the foods you crave without having to spend all day in the kitchen preparing them,” adds Hoffmann.

Not only has Hoffmann developed healthful and delicious versions of traditional Latin comfort foods, she really practices what she preaches. A self-described “lupus warrior,” Hoffmann has experienced firsthand the healing power of food. Her research led her to embrace an alkaline diet that allowed her to get off her medications and live a happy, active, and delicioso life. The recipes in Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy demonstrate Hoffmann’s philosophy of easy, simple recipes with a healthy twist.

In the book, you’ll find a variety of popular Latin dishes, including:

  • Energizing breakfasts like oatmeal arepas breakfast bread, a tropical punch breakfast smoothie, and salsa verde-drowned eggs
  • Exciting appetizers such as corn and cheese phyllo empanadas, cucumber guacamole, and yucca buns
  • Filling soups including Colombian chicken ajiaco, green chile pork posole, and beef sancocho
  • Hearty entrees like Latin zucchini lasagna, chicken tinga poblana, and carnitas baked chimichangas
  • Seafood favorites like quinoa seafood paella, chipotle fish tacos, and cod cakes with black bean and papaya salsa
  • Savory side dishes such as veggie-stuffed poblanos, healthy refried beans, and oven-baked maduros
  • Sweet treats like Mexican chocolate cookies, mojito crema, and cinnamon flan
  • and much, much more!

The book also contains nutritional guidance, cultural tidbits about the recipes, and Hoffmann’s signature “Chica Tips” that offer tricks of the trade to help you learn multiple uses for an ingredient, storage ideas, or how to get more out of one recipe.

At a time when people are becoming much more “food aware,” Hoffmann’s message about the healing power of food is more relevant than ever. But keep in mind that Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy is not a diet book. It’s a tool to teach you to “eat yourself healthy” without sacrificing flavor or taking the fun out of the kitchen. (NOTE: Please see attached sidebar for two quick and easy sample recipes from the book.)

“It’s important to enjoy the comfort foods that Latinos were raised with and continue to crave,” concludes Hoffmann. “And now with a few tricks and tips, you can enjoy simple-to-prepare versions of these traditional dishes in less time and with healthier ingredients. Soon you will learn just how healing food can be! Life should be fun and joyful, and cooking and eating delicioso foods is a big part of making it that way.”

Two Recipes from Chef Ingrid Hoffmann’s

New Diabetes-Friendly Cookbook, Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy

Excerpted from Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy:

More Than 100 Diabetes-Friendly Latin Favorites

(American Diabetes Association, October 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40681-9, $21.95)

Quinoa Seafood Paella

My apologies to Spain, but I love this version of paella more than the original; the quinoa seems to soak up the flavor more than the rice or arroz bomba that is used in this classic Spanish dish. I find paella to be such an easy and beautiful dish to present when serving multiple people. One key ingredient is saffron. I use Persian (Iranian) saffron, which I buy online, because I prefer it to the commercial versions you find at the supermarket. It has so much flavor, so a little goes a long way. I store it powdered in my fridge and use it in stews, soups, rice, veggies, etc.

Serves: 8
Serving size: 1 cup
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 33 minutes
Total time: 53 minutes

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp Spanish saffron threads
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups unsalted chicken broth
1 (10-oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 lb wild, never frozen, large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 30 shrimp)
1 lb calamari rings
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet or paella pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and saffron to the skillet, stirring until well mixed. Add the quinoa, broth, tomatoes, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.

Tuck the shrimp and calamari into the quinoa mixture. Cover and cook until the shrimp and calamari are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; sprinkle with parsley and garnish with lemon wedges.

Chica Tip
Washing your quinoa thoroughly before cooking is a very important step. The quinoa grain is covered with saponin, which gives it a bitter taste.

1 Starch, 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable, 2 Lean Protein

Basic Nutritional Values
Calories from Fat 35
Total Fat 4.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 195 mg
Sodium 260 mg
Potassium 590 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Sugars 5 g
Protein 21 g
Phosphorus 335 mg

Fennel, Radish, and Orange Salad

I have two favorite salads in my universe that I will never, ever tire of eating. This is one of the two. I make it for every single dinner party and take it to friends’ homes for potlucks, because even the pickiest salad eater will fall in love. The colors and presentation really are beautiful. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Serves: 6
Serving size: 1 cup
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: none
Total time: 15 minutes

2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 navel oranges, peeled and cut into sections (1-1/2 lb total)
1 fennel bulb, halved, cored, and thinly sliced (1 lb)
6 radishes, thinly sliced (1 cup/4 oz)
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 (5-oz) container baby arugula (about 6 cups)

Whisk together the vinegar, oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the oranges, fennel, radishes, and mint; toss until well mixed.

Serve over a bed of arugula.

Chica Tip
I like serving my salads on platters by layering the ingredients, instead of in bowls. Not only does this make for a pretty presentation, but it also keeps the salad toppings from ending up at the bottom of the bowl.

1/2 Fruit, 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable, 1 Fat

Basic Nutritional Values
Calories 110
Calories from Fat 45
Total Fat 5.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 240 mg
Potassium 520 mg
Total Carbohydrate 16 g
Dietary Fiber 5 g
Sugars 11 g
Protein 2 g
Phosphorus 55 mg

About the Author: 
Ingrid Hoffmann is the author of Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy: More Than 100 Diabetes-Friendly Latin Favorites (American Diabetes Association, October 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40681-9, $21.95). She is a professional eater, author, and host of Top Chef Estrellas (Telemundo, NBC), Simply Delicioso (Cooking Channel), and Delicioso(Univision). Ingrid is passionate about cooking, entertaining, and helping her fans lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Via her cookbooks, “chica tips,” and social media platforms, Ingrid spreads the word about “better for you” ingredients, implementing cooking habits, and thinking of food as medicine. With this in mind, Ingrid has launched her very own food brand, Cocina by Ingrid Hoffmann, which focuses on easy, delicious, and healthy meal solutions for the family. She is excited to partner with the American Diabetes Association to publish her new cookbook and help those with diabetes eat the foods they love. For more information, please visit

About the Book:
Latin Comfort Foods Made Healthy: More Than 100 Diabetes-Friendly Latin Favorites (American Diabetes Association, October 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40681-9, $21.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers.



The best thing ever is you can share a book with your kid together. But I know you don’t love those childish stories only about rabbits and mermaids, you want to share something more fun and cooler with your kids. Here is a book I highly recommend which can bring a different experience!

The Darkness in Lee’s Closet and the Others Waiting There is a middle grade fantasy novel.

A macabre adventure set in the world of the dead, it’s a thrill ride full of frights and frolics that can only be overcome with the strength of family, friendship, and faith in oneself.

A loving homage to classic children’s literature, from Gulliver’s Travels to Oliver Twist to Alice in Wonderland to The Wizard of Oz, the book is peppered with literary allusions, historical references and other “Easter eggs.”

The cast of characters is a diverse motley crew from different countries and points in history, like sassy Spanish skeleton Óseo, French Revolution royal Madame Couronne, and Percy, the Victorian adventurer with an apt Shakespeare quote always at the ready.

Sometimes scary, sometimes funny, and always exciting, The Darkness in Lee’s Closet and the Others Waiting There is a story for children of all ages.


Lee just wants her dad back. But the land of the dead is a dangerous place.

When her father dies, Lee’s life is torn apart. The only comfort she finds is in the complete darkness of her closet, where she sleeps at night.

When she discovers the darkness leads to the afterlife, she hatches a plan—to find her dad and bring him back home.

With the help of four very talkative, very dead companions she finds trapped in the darkness, she sets off on a quest through the afterworlds.

But a little live girl does not belong there. Lee will have to face frightening dangers and use all her courage and cunning if she wishes to save her father, her friends, and herself.

Publisher: Aelurus Publishing (

Book length: 56,000 words/250 pgs.

Formats: paperback RRP $11.99, Kindle $4.99. Standard terms.

About the author

Roy Schwartz has written for newspapers, magazines, websites, academic organizations, tech companies, toy companies, and production studios. The Darkness in Lee’s Closet and the Others Waiting There is his debut novel.

He graduated magna cum laude from The New School University with a BA in English, majoring in creative writing, and cum laude from NYU with an interdisciplinary MA in English and social thought. He has taught English and freshman seminars at CUNY, the City University of New York, and is a writer-in-residence at the New York Public Library. When not writing, he is the director of communications of a regional law firm.

He can be found at as well as on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as RealRoySchwartz.


Walk Off The Earth releases new original single, “Fifth Avenue”

Walk Off The Earth release new original single, “Fifth Avenue,”
inspired by New York City, via a premiere on Billboard
“The optimistic track shows off the band’s undeniable chemistry. Individual vocal stylings mesh seamlessly with elaborated harmonies and epic melodic arrangements.”
– Billboard
Listen here:
Walk Off The Earth’s version of “Girls Like You” nominated for “Best Cover” by
The Streamy Awards. Watch here:

“The group showcases a keen gift for consuming vast swaths of pop music, digesting them simultaneously, and synthesizing them into a grandiose sound that’s so broadly appealing, it seems to contain everything that’s ever made anyone turn up a radio.”
Walk Off The Earth, the indie-pop band known for their chart topping originals and unique covers of current hits, have released the new single, “Fifth Avenue,” in anticipation of their US tour happening in November. “Exploring the wonders and challenges of living in the concrete jungle, the upbeat, New York-inspired tune narrates both the coming of age and the constant epiphanies brought by the chaotic — but endlessly inspiring — life in the city.” (Billboard) As percussionist Joel Cassady explains, “New York has been the source of many important milestones for us on our journey as a band, and it felt like the right time to create a song honoring this amazing city that for us and so many others has helped turn dreams into reality.” It’s only fitting that the band will perform the single on Good Day New York, the morning of October 2nd.
Comprised of five multi instrumentalists (Sarah Blackwood, Gianni Luminati, Marshall, Joel Cassady, Beard Guy), Walk Off The Earth originally gained massive public attention when their interpretation of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” went viral on YouTube, garnering over 180 million views. Since then, the band has released a string of successful original songs including “Red Hands” (#1 at AAA), “Fire In My Soul” and “Rule The World” (both of which went platinum in Canada); sold out venues across the globe and collaborated with some of the biggest artists in the world (Keith Urban, Snoop Dogg & Steve Aoki). In addition, they’ve won a “Group Of The Year” Juno Award and appeared on television shows such as Good Morning America and Ellen.

Recently, Walk Off The Earth’s cover of Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You” was nominated for “Best Cover” by The Streamy Awards, which honor the best in online video and the creators behind it.  The annual event brings together the biggest names in YouTube and online video for a night of celebration, discovery, and meaningful recognition. This is the band’s second consecutive nomination in the category, having previously been nominated in 2017 for their cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” After a summer spent on the festival circuit in their native Canada, as well as Europe, Walk Off The Earth return to the US in November 2018.
Nov. 1 – Orlando, FL – House of Blues
Nov. 2 – Charleston, SC – Music Farm
Nov. 3 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
Nov. 4 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works
Nov. 6 – Charlotte, NC – Fillmore
Nov. 7 – Raleigh, NC – The Ritz
Nov. 10 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
Nov. 11 – Indianapolis, IN – Egyptian Room
Nov. 13 – Austin, TX – Stubbs
Nov. 14 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues
Nov. 16 – Houston, TX – House of Blues