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September 17, 2012

Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is right around the corner! It occurs annually from September 15th to October 15th. During this time many people come together to celebrate the history, culture and ancestors who have made contributions to the United States.

September 15th is important to many cultures as it is Independence Day for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. September 16th and September 18th are Independence Days for Mexico and Chile.  According to the 2010 Census, there are approximately 52 million Hispanics living in the United States, which makes the Hispanic population the largest ethic group in the United States. Therefore, it’s important that we understand their history, the contributions made by Hispanic or Latino Americans and experience their flavorful food culture!

One’s cultural background is often defined by different recipes, techniques and the way food is served. During Hispanic Heritage Month, popular dishes such as moles, tamales, ceviche, empanadas, tortas and lechon asado will be celebrated.

In honor of this month and the children and adults whom Food & Friends serves, here is a healthy, traditional recipe you can prepare and share with your family and friends.

Island Red Beans (Habichuelas Coloradas Grandes)

Ingredients (Makes 2 Cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup tomato sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 Poblano Chile peppers, diced
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cups cilantro, chopped
1-3 cups water
4 15 ounce cans of kidney beans
1 cup of rice, cooked

Instructions:
Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic, Chile peppers, onion, and cilantro. Cook until the onion is softened, 3-4 minutes.

Add beans, tomato sauce, oregano, pepper and stir in 1-3 cups of water. Bring to a boil; turn down the heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with rice and sprinkle cilantro for garnish.


You can find some great activities celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in Washington, DC by visiting hispanicheritagemonth.gov/about. Enjoy the music, arts and crafts, food and much more!


Mavis Ren is a University of Maryland, College Park dietetic intern. She is originally from New York City and spent a few weeks at Food & Friends learning about the important role of the dietitians play in ensuring the continued health of our clients.



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