Yesterday afternoon, my family had a mini celebration for my arrival one month ago with delicious homemade empanadas and strong Chilean vino! Now I know why people say that one semester abroad is too short. The weeks fly by, especially without classes on Friday, and there is so much that I still want to explore in this beautiful country…

My latest obsession: empanadas. Being from Wisconsin, my love for cheese runs deep. I have been missing the savory cheddar that Wisconsin has to offer because here cheese with any sort of orange hue does not exist. When we do eat cheese, it is white or cream colored and not exactly swiss, but similar tasting. So, the closest I have come to encountering cheese curds here are empanadas. They are basically like a huge deep fried pastry with an optional inside. The most common choices are ham and cheese or de pino (onion and ground beef). But, at this great little restaurant in Con Con called Deliciosa, you can get mostly any kind of seafood filling and most importantly…CHEESE. I went there with my host family, and again with my friends Mela and Whitney. And let me tell you, they don’t hold back on the cheese. Bye bye completos, hello empanadas!

My Chilean host mom Isabel is an amazing cook, which has been extremely dangerous considering my love for food. She serves BIG portions, and I learned to clean my plate at an early age (thanks mom and dad), which creates an unfortunate situation for my waist and poto (butt). Today, she showed me how she makes homemade empanadas. Her version is different with some random but wonderful ingredients! Onion, hard-boiled egg, beef, raisins, olives. Interesting…and really yummy! Check out the process, but promise that you won’t steal Isabel’s secrets : )