Cinco de Mayo: Healthy & Fun

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Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Each May, many Americans enjoy this delightful, festive spring observance. Cinco de Mayo actually pays tribute to the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. On June 7, 2005 the U.S. Congress asked the President to issue a proclamation calling upon Americans to observe Cinco de Mayo with appropriate ceremonies and activities. This date is now best recognized as an opportunity to honor the traditions and culture of Mexican Americans.

Cinco de Mayo has become an occasion for lively celebrations nationwide featuring Mexican food, drinks, music and more. If you’d like to host a party, all you need is some good food and drinkmariachis and piñatas optional. Mexican cuisine is packed with flavor, but can also be fat-laden. If you’d like to offer a healthy twist on the theme, here are some delicious ideas:

Enchiladas Suizas. This spicy, low-fat take on the classic chicken enchilada will surely win raves: http://www.self.com/fooddiet/recipes/2006/04/enchiladas-suizas

The Burrito Buffet: Once you set it up, your guests will do the rest. Virtually all ingredients can be purchased ahead and assembled with minimal prep. Here’s a great guide to help you:

http://www.sunset.com/food-wine/entertaining/buy-serve-burrito-party-00400000016461/

Create-your-own Margarita Bar: Simply designate a counter area for a blender, ice bucket, and glasses. Set up a pitcher of basic margarita by mixing 3 parts tequila, 2 parts Triple Sec and 1 part fresh lime juice. Additions could include orange juice, pineapple or pomegranate juices, sliced strawberries, mango, etc. Guests can blend in fruit and/or juice for a special customized concoction. Limeade, organic juices, and natural sodas are great alcohol-free options.

Mexican-Chocolate Pops: This simple, luscious, make-ahead dessert is a hit with young and old: http://www.self.com/fooddiet/recipes/2008/08/mexican-chocolate-pops

Array of high-quality, organic frozen burritos: If you want to keep things simple, this is a great strategy. Add some Mexican beer and limes, invite a few amigos, and you’re set.

If you prefer larger celebrations, you’ll be glad to know that exciting, festive events take place nationwide each year. To find them, visit:  http://honeymoons.about.com/od/exploremexico/a/cincodemayo.htm

Clearly, options abound. Whatever you do, have fun. Ole!

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