Bella Vida by Letty

puerto rican

One of My Secrets for Great Tasting Food: Basic Sofrito Recipe

Sofrito Recipe

Here’s my secret to great tasting food.  There’s nothing that will infuse your dish with flavors that will pop in your mouth more than freshly cut herbs and vegetables.  This is a traditional Puerto Rican recipe handed down in my family called sofrito.  I use this to season foods.  It is the base ingredient for many Puerto Rican dishes.  When I cook my meals are infused with loads of flavor, lots of nutrition and loving intentions.  This is my basic sofrito recipe.

What is Sofrito?

Sofrito is a mix of vegetables and herbs which is a seasoning used to give a certain flavor, aroma and taste.

What can I add sofrito to?

Just about anything:

– Chicken, meats and fish

– Seafood                                  -Pork

– Rice                                         – Beans

– Tortilla Espanola               – Frittata

– Stew                                         – Soups

– Eggs                                         – Tacos

This is my basic sofrito recipe.

1 large bunch of cilantro

3 leaves of culantro

1 clove garlic

1/2 a sweet onion

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Place the cilantro, culantro, onions and garlic in food processor and process until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the olive oil until smooth.

Super Easy Cooking Tip

If you roast the vegetables before chopping them, your sofrito will taste even better.

Super Easy Time Saving Tip

The sofrito will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  A super easy time saving tip is to freeze it for later use.  You can use an ice tray just remember to cover it so it doesn’t get yucky freezer burn.  Then you can pop them out and place them into a plastic zip lock bag.  So the next time you go to cook you have saved yourself the time of preparing these steps.

Like I said this is my own version of a basic sofrito mix and depending on what I’m using it for I will add more vegetables.  For more ideas here’s a list of fresh ingredients you can add to your sofrito:

  • Sweet peppers
  • Green Peppers
  • Red Peppers
  • Ajices Dulces these are a variety of sweet small perennial peppers found in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Tomatoes
  • Oregano
  • Coriander Seeds

Keep calm and just add sofrito

There are many varieties of sofrito.  Do you have a particular favorite?

Did you try the recipe? Tell me what you think.


“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” W.C. Fields

“Beauty fades, but cooking is eternal.” Cassandra Clare

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”  Julia Child

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Have you watched the documentary movie Lemon yet?

LEMON the Movie – Official Trailer

I really LOVEd this raw, honest and touching film. At times it made me cry but not without giving me optimism and hope. From the beginning of the movie I rooted for him to succeed for all the little boys and girls caught up in the cycle of our violent oppressive society, for those who never received the awareness, education, resources or tools to break free and the ones who died trying.

“Lemon Anderson is a Tony award winning playwright, performer and poet. The film is about Andersen’s struggle to free his family from poverty and pain as he exposes his most shocking secrets on the NY stage. It follows Lemon’s desperate battle to keep the past where it belongs and move into a brighter future. Redemption may lie within Lemon’s grasp when none other than Spike Lee steps in to produce his show. The stakes are high. With the power of a cliffhanger, asks the larger question: Can any of us really escape the past?”

Most beautiful Lesson from the movie:
will get you to where you want to be. 
Lemon Andersen- County of Kings

If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it and if you did I’d love to hear what you think.
Support your community by supporting these types of films and talent.  Be a part of this positive growth and watch if flourish into something even greater.

This is not a sponsored post.  I love movies. What should I watch next?

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1898 Puerto Rico in Photographs

1898 Puerto Rico in Photographs
Utuado Mountainside 1898 Puerto Rico two men ride horses on dirt road


When I think of Puerto Rico
in my minds eye

I feel a dance …
her sway
in the protective embrace
of the deepest blue ocean
and salty sapphire sea
gentle caresses
bubbling white foam
rhythmic waves
lapping at her edges
lush green mountains
wind caresses
upon every
peak, crest
and valley
island sounds
secret songs only parrots
and frogs know
of love
forever home
1898 Puerto Rico in Photographs
Central mountainous zone 1898 Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico stuck in the persistent state of 1898.  Unwilling to change.
A one hundred year old child.

1898 Puerto Rico in Photographs
Military Road Juana Diaz 1898 Puerto Rico Horse drawn carriage
1898 Puerto Rico in Photographs
Caguas, Puerto Rico 1898 village

Economically poor then and now.

1898 Puerto Rico in Photographs
San Juan Railroad 1898

Puerto Rico is 1898 encapsulated.

1898 Puerto Rico in Photographs
1898 Puerto Rico in Photographs



Puerto Rico refusing to change remains a commonwealth  suppressed. A prize of the Spanish American war.  An American possession needing protection since 1898.  Protection from what exactly, I cannot explain.  Culturally rich, with traces from every corner of the planet proudly waving two flags.  Bearing children with double identities.  Holding on tightly to illusions of self government.  Forever scrambling in frustration caused by this duality.

Puerto Rico, there is no denying your richness, beauty and my love for you.


Images from Puerto Rico: its conditions and possibilities

By William Dinwiddie

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Why I created the Petition to ask ABC to stop Perpetuating Toxic Stereotypes

Why I created the Petition to ask ABC to stop Perpetuating Toxic 
Stereotypes  against the Puerto Rican community
Puerto Rico has been part of US territory since 
 1898 – 2012 = 114 years ago
Puerto Ricans became US citizens in 
1917 – 2012 = 95 years ago

Puerto Ricans have contributed and helped build the United States of America we all enjoy today by serving in the military, as government officials, teachers, doctors, lawyers, artist and have even gone into space.

1. I don’t find it funny that the only portrayals of Puerto Ricans media chooses to broadcast across all of their platforms are negative stereotypes. 

When media abuses their power bombarding the entire world with negative stereotypes without any attempt at presenting positive images of the Puerto Rican community its NOT funny.
It IS irresponsible, racist and unacceptable.

Why hasn’t media (in this case ABC networks) present 100 positive images? 50? 20? or even 10?

2. It poisons the human collective consciousness.

As humans we need to feel heard and respected, like we have a voice and that our voice matters. In 1943 American professor of psychology, Abraham Maslow, listed the Basic Human Needs as: Physiological needs, Safety needs, Love and belonging, Esteem, Self-actualization and Self-transcendence.

The imbalanced views the media have created are abusive, toxic and destructive to us all.

What do you think happens when generations of children grow up without seeing their reflection in the world?  Do they grow up feeling like they are not good enough?  Do they feel like they should be hidden away in the same way they are kept out of history books and school books?
3. Responsibility.  As human citizens of this planet it is our responsibility to care for it and make it better for our children, our families, our communities and future generations.

If you do not feel comfortable taking action. Please support those that do.

It’s 2012. We know better. Let’s do better.  Be a catalyst for change.

Please sign and share this petition.


You do not need to be Puerto Rican to be offended by inequality and racism. People from Finland, Spain, Portugal, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Switzerland,Trinidad and Tobago, France and the Czech Republic have already signed.  Won’t you?

Notable People raising awareness on this issue:
US Rep. José Serrano, Rep. Nydia Velázquez, Assemblyman José Rivera, Resident Commissioner and a non-voting member of the US House of Representatives Pedro Pierluisi, Former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, Julio Pabon and Lucky Rivera creators of Boricuas for a Positive Image, Puerto Rican actor Darlene Vazquetelles, and director Carlos Jiménez, who recently formed the nonprofit Puerto Rican Alliance for Awareness (PRAA): Raul Colon creator of Papa Heroes and VegLatino, Julio Varela creator of Latino Rebels

Links & Resources for Puerto Rico and its History

To Puerto Rico. ORG

Virtual Field Trip

History of Puerto Rico on Sol Boricua

STOP Racism

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Purple is a range of hues of color occurring between red and blue. The color is associated with both nobility and spirituality.
Synonyms: amaranthine, amethyst, blue-violet, bluish red, color, heliotrope, lavender, lilac, magenta, mauve, mulberry, orchid, periwinkle, perse, plum, pomegranate, reddish blue, violaceous, violet, wine

Embroidery 1. The act or art of embroidering. 2. Ornamentation of fabric with needlework. 3. A piece of embroidered fabric. 4. Embellishment with fanciful details.

These photos feature a few hand embroidered handkerchiefs from my collection. My grandmother passed on her love and appreciation for the beauty and quality of hand made works to me like her grandmother before. She taught me to sew and embroider as a small child. I think we started when I was four or five. My Dad bought me a safe giant ugly green plastic needle kit which I hated because it wasn’t like grandmas. But when no one was looking Abuela let me use ‘real’ needle and thread. It makes me laugh to remember how she kept her colorful threads protected inside of an old cookie tin.

During World War I Puerto Rican embroidery became known worldwide for it’s quality. Production was performed by contracted women and children. Due to US influence Puerto Rico’s three largest exports during this era was tobacco, fruit and cotton goods. To prepare young girls for careers educational policy in the early 1900’s was modified to spend half the day on traditional subjects and the other half learning needlework.

Local contractors would distribute bundles of cut fabric ready to be sewn to women all across the island. The women would return the finished products with beautifully sewn and embroidered details done completely by hand.

“Needlepoint: the delicious art of filling in holes with wool.” Carole Berman

“Knitting is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while, then take up the sock again.” Dorothy Day

“I like making a piece of string into something I can wear.” Unknown

“Stitch your stress away.” Unknown

“Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness.” Unknown

“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to weave.” Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

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