FORT WASHINGTON, Pa., Dec. 2 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — With the start of the holiday season, many Hispanic families are preparing to host traditional Posadas, Parrandas or Nochebuena. While central to Latino culture, these festivities can become overwhelming to plan and are often filled with extra calories from traditional dishes. Entertaining expert and co-author of “Latin Chic: Entertaining with Style and Sass” Carolina Buia offers some inventive tips and reduced calorie alternatives for these important cultural traditions.
“The celebration of Posadas, Parrandas and Nochebuena are cornerstones of the holidays for Latinos,” Buia says. “Yet for today’s Hispanic families, attempting to honor these traditions can take time and money and also cause worries about the effect of rich holiday foods on family health. Avoid this unnecessary stress by considering alternatives that put a contemporary twist on these treasured holiday pastimes. For example, you might cook traditional dishes such as coquito using SPLENDA(R) No Calorie Sweetener to save on calories while still delivering on taste.”
To make your celebration of Posadas, Parrandas and Nochebuena a success from start to finish, Buia offers the following tips:
— Use existing traditional plate ware. Rather than buying holiday serving ware that is used once a year, substitute pieces like a Mexican talavera, which adds a great touch to a celebration as serving dishes.
— Have festive background music playing. Many contemporary Latin artists have interpreted traditional Latino holiday music in various styles — salsa, merengue, ranchera, bolero, even pop/rock. Some songs include Peses en el Rio, Cascabel, Feliz Navidad, and El Burrito de Belen. Find an economical mix CD at your favorite music store, or downloadable online.
— Share cooking responsibilities by hosting a “potluck” among family members. Traditional dishes are central to the holiday celebrations, but can be overwhelming for one person to manage. Have each family member bring a special dish that is a reduced calorie version of the original — such as arroz con leche or tamales made with SPLENDA(R) No Calorie Sweetener. These can help reduce added sugar and calories in your favorite holiday dishes, without sacrificing taste.
— Incorporate decorative elements that tie back to the holiday. Save time and money by using existing holiday decorations in a new way. Make your nativity scenes (nacimiento) front and center by setting it on a special table at the entrance to your festivity.
— For Posadas, gather your guests for the re-enactment of the “Posada.” For a contemporary twist on Posada, provide guests with printouts of the carols (villancicos) outlining the parts for both the pilgrims and the innkeepers as well as “luces de bengala” (sparklers) for a final song outdoors. Set up a pinata filled with candy and peanuts — usually in the shape of a star — for kids to break at the end of the Posada re-enactment.
— For Parrandas, gather your guests and have them act as parranderos that arrive at your door singing carols (villancicos). If you have friends who are musicians, have them play live with their instruments or play some CDs. Give your guests print outs of the carols and have the kids use small tambourines, rattles and bells so that they can follow along in providing the music and sounds that accompany the carols (villancicos).
— For Nochebuena (Christmas Eve), either before or after Mass, and before the opening of the Christmas gifts, engage your family in an exchange of non-material gifts. Buy a box of Christmas cards (the day before Christmas you can find them on sale) and put each person’s name on the envelope. Then have everyone pick a card and write the non-material gift they wish for the person on the envelope. For example, “I wish the gift of health for you and your family.”
For reduced sugar recipes for traditional, “must-have” Latino holiday dishes that include SPLENDA(R) Sweetener Products, visit http://www.SplendaEnEspanol.com . Recipes include:
— Arroz con leche, or arroz con dulce
— Coconut Egg Nog
— Tamales — chocolate
— Tembleque Choco Coco
— Chocolate caliente mexicano
About Carolina Buia
Carolina Buia is the co-author with Isabel Gonzalez of Latin Chic: Entertaining with Style and Sass (Rayo), which captures the best pan-Latin flavors and the unique spirit of Latin entertaining. In Latin Chic, Buia, with Gonzalez, presents the perfect primer for entertaining with flair. They combine party tips, enticing recipes, and cultural history to create a guide that is stylishly practical and sassily informative. From decor and drinks to the most delectable and savory dishes, Latin Chic offers a one-of-a-kind guide to entertaining that will give food enthusiasts a Latin twist to their get-togethers the likes of which will leave them the envy of all of their friends.
About SPLENDA(R) Sweeteners
SPLENDA(R) No Calorie Sweetener is the nation’s #1 selling no calorie sweetener. It is a delicious alternative to sugar that can contribute to a healthier lifestyle by helping to reduce calories, added sugar and carbohydrates. SPLENDA(R) No Calorie Sweetener can be used almost anywhere sugar is used, including cooking and baking, and is suitable for the whole family.
SPLENDA(R) Sweeteners are marketed by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC. For more information on SPLENDA(R) Sweeteners or to obtain recipes and tips on cooking and baking with the brand, visit http://www.splenda.com or http://www.SplendaEnEspanol.com or call 1-800-7-SPLENDA (1-800-777-5363). Or, for a sweet shopping experience, visit http://www.Splendidlife.com .
About McNeil Nutritionals
McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, is a global marketer of innovative nutritional products. The company’s mission is to give people the ability to actively manage their own health. McNeil Nutritionals, LLC markets SPLENDA(R) Sweetener Products, VIACTIV(R) Dietary Supplements, LACTAID(R) Milk and Dietary Supplements and BENECOL(R) Products. McNeil Nutritionals, LLC is headquartered in Fort Washington, PA.
SOURCE McNeil Nutritionals, LLC