vero-vangie-yvette-for blog

We are the authors of the “Muy Bueno” cookbook — two sisters and a mother all born and raised in El Paso, Texas. We learned to cook from our grandmother and mother, Jesusita, whose hospitality and irresistible Mexican recipes were legendary among family and friends.

Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

Founder of muybuenocookbook.com and co-author of the cookbook, “Muy Bueno”

Yvette_Sillouette_rev2 small I’m a mother, wife, author, graphic designer, food blogger, and recipe developer in Denver, Colorado. I was raised in El Paso, Texas and draw culinary inspiration from my grandmother’s old-world northern Mexican recipes and my mother’s comforting south of the border home-style dishes.

In my family I was the one teased for not cooking Mexican meals for my husband. Luckily for me, I married a great cook who is no stranger to the kitchen. I reserved my Mexican culinary skills for the weekends and entertaining family and friends. Stumbling upon my grandmother’s rolling pin, years after her passing forever changed my perspective about cooking. It was that same rolling pin that was used for decades by my grandmother to make endless batches of homemade tortillas, empanadas, and other homemade treats. To all who entered her home, sons, daughters, grandchildren and friends, the shout from my grandmother’s kitchen was always the same. “Pásale, Pásale, vengan a comer.” (Come in, come in. Come in and eat.) My grandmother tirelessly worked between the hot stove and the table, rolling, stirring, flipping, and chopping. The loving memories and rolling pin have inspired me to celebrate my culture, my grandmother and my mother, by preserving the generations of traditions en la cocina. And so, I set forth to design a blog and now a beautifully colored cookbook with delicious recipes from my grandmother and mother to ensure these dishes are recorded for future generations to enjoy. These south-of-the-border dishes thrilled my imagination and I knew that I wanted to capture not only the recipes but also the cultural background and family memories that came along with them. Once I started compiling recipes and cooking them I realized these big flavorful dishes were easy-to-prepare. They encouraged me to come up with additional modern Latin-inspired recipes with my own special twist. This compilation has evolved into three-generations of recipes with authentic Mexican flavor.

In 2012, my proudest moment was when I participated in an intimate round-table discussion with First Lady Michelle Obama, to discuss some of the issues impacting Hispanic families across the nation. It was wonderful to connect with the First Lady as a mother. I’m so happy that we are both passionate about the health and future of our children.

I’m writing a new book “Latin Twist: Traditional and Modern Cocktails“. It will be published spring 2015.

You can find more of my recipes and stories on Parade Magazine, eHow, Betty CrockerClabber Girl, and KitchenAid. You can view the press page, and visit LinkedIn for a comprehensive summary of my professional experience in the food industry.

Evangelina Soza

Co-author of the cookbook, “Muy Bueno”

I was born in El Paso, Texas in the 1940’s. I am a homemaker and seamstress. I divorced young and was a single mother with a son and two daughters. As a single working mother, I worked several jobs trying to make ends meet. During the day I worked at a garment factory and worked nights at a hospital. As a means of making extra money, it was during these times that I made and sold homemade chile relleno burritos, during my lunch hour. I became quite popular for my burritos and I always sold out. When I saved enough money, I purchased my parent’s grocery store, Soza’s Grocery. I not only owned and managed the store; I prepared and sold more of my homemade favorites. This time I made tortas, shrimp cocktail, and menudo on Sundays. Neighbors would flock to Soza’s Grocery, with their pots in hand, to buy homemade menudo, a Mexican soup that is attempted by only the best cooks. I still live in El Paso and am now retired. I am always busy cooking, baking, crocheting, or crafting something for my grandchildren. I especially enjoy sharing my delicious treats with family and friends. Every year at Thanksgiving, I give away my homemade pumpkin pies and famous biscochos for Christmas. When I was teaching my daughters to cook, I had no idea that one-day it would lead to this heartfelt cookbook of family recipes capturing all that is muy bueno. This blog and our cookbook is a true cultural celebration for past, present, and future generations to enjoy, whether you are a novice cook or gourmet chef looking for your next culinary fix. It’s a collaboration that began as a tiny seed and has now blossomed into a reminder of all that is good. “Pásale, Pásale, vengan a comer.”

Veronica Gonzalez-Smith

Co-author of the cookbook, “Muy Bueno”

I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, where I attended the University of Texas at El Paso, UTEP, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. After graduation I taught in Colorado where my lust for travel began. Two years later I moved to Okinawa, where I continued to teach for six years. While living abroad I longed for my mom’s green enchiladas and my grandmother’s homemade tortillas. Every summer, while in El Paso, I’d practice making both my mother’s and grandmother’s recipes from scratch. I especially enjoyed cooking with fresh ingredients and herbs, both of which were quite expensive while living abroad. After the watchful eye and advice from my mother, I’d go next door to my grandmother’s house to watch her make tortillas. I convinced myself that if I watched her tortilla making technique I would miraculously learn how to make them as well as she did. I can still see her every move in my mind.

When grandma passed in 2004, the one and only thing I requested was one of her rolling pins. I knew in my heart of hearts, that if I had one of her rolling pins I would always have her nearby. Today I still have and use the same rolling pin when making tortillas and empanadas. While living abroad I began collecting my favorite recipes, simply to quench my cravings and entertain my friends and husband. Cooking some of the recipes from scratch I was able to convince my friends that Mexican food did not come from a can. I still have some of the original recipes my mother mailed to me, one dating as far back as December 1993. Over the years, I saved the recipes and promised myself to put them into a cookbook. As a wife and working mother of two children, my dream of completing my beloved cookbook took the back burner to life. My dream would have to wait.

In October 2012 I finally published our family’s cookbook with the help of my sister and mom. I now live in Germany and spend my time teaching Spanish and traveling.

133 Responses to “About”

  1. 51
    Xavier Flores — July 27, 2013 @ 3:55 am

    I’ll support local teacher, Texan, hispanic book writer! I’m from Corpus Christi, also teaching in KMC. I want to get back to cooking/eating foods I grew up with for my children.

  2. 52
    Eileen Thai — July 28, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

    I found you via Amy at uTry.it who won your Zoku Quick Pop Maker. I teach ESL and 50% of my students are Hispanics. Everytime we have a potluck party, they bring delicious food. Some of my favorites are sopes, tamale and ceviche. My project for the next term is gonna be a cookbook with recipes from them. Any tips for printing a simple cookbook easily?


    • Muy Bueno replied: — July 29th, 2013 @ 5:38 pm

      So happy you found us Eileen! Welcome! Sounds like a beautiful project you are planning for your students! I would suggest maybe Shutterfly.com. Best wishes and please keep me posted.

  3. 53
    Elizabeth Chagoyan — July 30, 2013 @ 12:00 am

    Wow. What an inspiration and what a beautiful way to showcase our heritage. I have recently had the privilege of meeting Ms. Evangelina Soza thru my mother as we have coincided in an acua-aerobics class. After reading Ms. Soza’s bio I have more respect and admiration for her. I am glad I checked it out. I will defenetly be attempting to recreate your recipies as they seem amazing.

    • Muy Bueno replied: — August 6th, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

      My Mom has told me about your Mom and Dad, beautiful people. You all attended one of my brothers home coming. I’m sorry to hear about your Dad’s passing.

      Thank you for your support and wonderful words. Hope you will keep looking us up, we love our readers. We will be in El Paso for a book sighing in Oct. or Nov. Hope to see you then. My mom will keep you updated.


  4. 54
    Vance Parten — September 30, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

    Hello Ladies,
    I ran across this site while on my search for taco meat seasonings(para carne molida). I was born and raised in Las Cruces just up from El Paso and I always loved the tacos around that area. I can make almost all the Mexican food but that one item Tacos, and make them taste just right and was wondering if you have the recipe in your book?
    I will gladly purchase it and will be forever grateful. My search has been a real lifetime experience because of my love for the flavor of them down in that area. In areas of El Paso and many more in Las Cruces has a certain flavor that I have never been able to duplicate. Many, many cookbooks from that area have taco seasoning but its not the same and I dont do packaged, and know that the seasoning is not a bunch of cumin, red chile powder, oregano (even Mexican), etc…I have even tasted that flavor in some of the salsas down in that area…thanks so much for any help and hoping the taco meat trick is in your book

    • Muy Bueno replied: — October 3rd, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

      Hi Vance! Welcome to Muy Bueno!

      YES, we have carne molida (picadillo) in our printed cookbook. We never use taco seasoning packages. We use fresh and simple veggies and spices. I have a feeling you will treasure and appreciate our printed cookbook.

      Our ground beef and potatoes recipe can be used to fill tacos, or to stuff bell peppers, and gorditas (corn flour pockets).

      Please keep in touch!

  5. 55
    Nancy H. — October 16, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

    Hello ladies,
    I stumbled onto your site while checking on my spelling of “olla.” This is a great find because I’m really a terrible cook but have a desire to improve. I’m from El Paso, once removed (dad), but still have cousins in El Paso and Las Cruces. I’m look forward to getting your book! Best wishes to you!

    • Muy Bueno replied: — October 16th, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

      Hi Nancy,

      So glad you found Muy Bueno! I have a feeling you will love our cookbook. Lots of great classics and modern recipes too. Please keep in touch!

  6. 56
    Chrystal Terhune — October 24, 2013 @ 10:39 am

    Congrats Yvette, this is great!

  7. 57
    Chrystal Terhune — October 24, 2013 @ 10:47 am

    Any good Mole recipes?

    • Muy Bueno replied: — October 28th, 2013 @ 9:21 am

      We sure do have an amazing mole recipe in our printed cookbook Chrystal! It’s simple and very flavorful. Hope you have the opportunity to try it out.

  8. 58
    Alana — October 24, 2013 @ 10:50 am

    Hello, Yvette!! I am so excited to find you busy and happy!

    Congratulations! I will make sure others see you here as well!

    Alana Olson Reception/ ARCADIS

    • Muy Bueno replied: — October 28th, 2013 @ 9:19 am

      Well hello Ms. Alana! So wonderful to hear from you! Yes, please share my blog and cookbook with amigos ;)

      Please keep in touch. Hope you are well!


  9. 59
    heidi — October 27, 2013 @ 12:01 am

    Glad I found you, lived in “West Texas” for ten years while attending Sul Ross and teaching in Presidio…I taught ESL my entire teaching career and miss the culture note that I live upnorth

    • Muy Bueno replied: — October 28th, 2013 @ 9:17 am

      So glad you found Muy Bueno too Heidi. We know Presidio very well! My grandma lived there before they moved to El Paso. All of my mothers siblings were born in Presidio — she was the only one born in El Paso. You would love our printed cookbook. It shares the entire journey and story ;)

  10. 60
    zee — October 30, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

    bought your cookbook Muy Bueno at Costco but they haven’t had any more. hoping to get some more to give my sons. The recipes are more like my Mom used to cook. hope to try some of them. I have a question on page 132 what spices are they? especially the black

  11. 61
    Muy Bueno — November 1, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    Hi Zee,

    Which Costco ran out? I’m sorry :( you can always try Amazon. And now it is reprinted in a hardcover with an added chapter sharing some of our favorite ingredients – Mexican Pantry.

    Thank you for your support.

    The spices on the albondigas recipe are safflower petals, coriander seeds, and black peppercorns.

  12. 62
    Monica Mata — November 20, 2013 @ 11:42 pm

    I stumbled across your website and could hardly believe it. I am still shocked because I live in Fresno CA and my mother was raised in Juarez and my abuelita is just like yours. I inherited the exact same palate. I mean the same thing I thought mine was unique, Your recipes and stories are so close to mine, now I know where it comes from. I still have ties in El Paso. Thank you so much for compiling our recipes. Yes, I consider them mine because the food is so similar and we have evolved the same.

    • Muy Bueno replied: — November 29th, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

      Hola Monica,

      I’m so glad you found Muy Bueno! So happy to inspire you to make tortillas — please keep in touch.

  13. 63
    Monica Mata — November 20, 2013 @ 11:46 pm

    Aiii. The spell check changed the Spanish word palote for palate, but come to think of it, our palates are the same too. You have inspired me to go in the kitchen and make some tortillas.

  14. 64
    Carolina Garcia-Johnson — December 18, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

    Your stories remind me of my own. I am from Arizona, but as a young girl, I used to go up North near Flagstaff and stay with my Abuelita for months. She was from Aguascalientes Mexico, and we made several dozen tortllas daily. We also made corn tortillas, orchata, enchiladas, etc…. She taught me how to cook, and I love cooking. I think I found your page on Facebook or I searched for latino/latina cooking. I will definitely go buy your book and can’t wait! Your mom seems like an amazing person. She worked so hard for you and your sister. You are a beautiful family. I have similar memories with my nana, from Phoenix, AZ. She taught me how to make bunuelos, tacos, atole, and so much more. I was so close to both my grandma and my nana, and they say I look like my abuelita, Guadalupe! Growing up I also learned a lot from my mother, and we still continue to cook together — almost daily! Thank you for your inspiration!!!! Besos.

    • Muy Bueno replied: — December 30th, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story Carolina! Thank you so much for leaving this wonderful comment. Please stay in touch and keep me posted once you read and/or cook from our cookbook. I have a feeling you will appreciate all the stories and recipes.

      Salud! Best wishes for 2014!

  15. 65
    Lupe — December 31, 2013 @ 9:47 pm

    Found your website while looking for buñuelo recipes…
    Your story reminded me of my mother-n-law who loved to cook for her 10 kids, latter daughers and son-n-laws and grandchildren….so many good memories of Christmas time and family gathered at her dinning table making tamales…I tell everyone I hate to cook…but in reality, I love to cook good Mexican food…something that you can’t find in any restaurant….I’m going to have find your cookbook…I’ve collected a few, Rick Bayless comes about as close to getting it right in interior Mexican food…and not too many good Tex. Mex cookbooks around…
    Years ago, one of my good friends Anna Otero from El Paso, would tell me of all the good food from El Paso….which is when I learned that not all Mexican food was the same…
    Thanks for sharing your recipes and your story….look forward to coming here for more
    good comida!!!!

    • Muy Bueno replied: — January 12th, 2014 @ 9:14 pm

      Hola Lupe,

      Thank you for your sweet comment. We’d be honored to share a space on your bookshelf with Rick Bayless! Our cookbook has plenty of stories and lots of family favorite recipes. I promise you will love it!

  16. 66
    Nena Pena — January 4, 2014 @ 8:56 am

    Wow I stumbled on to your blog looking for a recipe for empanadas made out of pumpkin. Imagine my surprise when I read that your from El Paso I felt like you would understand and know what I’m looking for. I hadn’t had a chance to really look your blog until this morning. I found another pleasant surprise when I started to read about your life. I know your mom Vangie and she is a great cook and a beautiful person! I’m making my family dinner today and I’m using some of your recipes. I’ll let you know how everything turns out. Saludos from El Paso, Nena.

    • Muy Bueno replied: — January 12th, 2014 @ 9:10 pm

      Hi Nena,

      Wow! So you know my mom? Where do you know her from? So happy you found this blog. Do you have our cookbook? As an El Pasoan you will love it! Please stay in touch!

  17. 67
    Niquie — January 6, 2014 @ 11:52 am

    Well, hasn’t this year started out swell for little ol’ half Mexican me! My mother and one aunt were born in El Paso; my grandparents, two uncles and five aunts were from Parral, Chihuahua.

    I went Googling for a capirotada recipe because my mother’s been recalling how fabulous this “cheesy bread pudding” was that her mother made during Lent. Sadly, she never knew how it was made. But I found your wonderful site and showed mama the photo that accompanied the recipe and she said “That’s it!” So, I shall be making this next month. Thank you! I shall be scouring your site further for other recipes.

    P.S.: I found this site and I feel like I found family.

    • Muy Bueno replied: — January 12th, 2014 @ 9:04 pm

      Welcome Niquie! So happy you found our delicious capirotada recipe. Please be sure to subscribe and keep in touch. Keep me posted on your capirotada adventure ;)

  18. 68
    Lisa Mooney — January 30, 2014 @ 12:16 pm


    Our family business, Mooney Farms, is the largest producer of sun dried tomatoes
    in the U.S. under the Bella Sun Luci label.

    I was wondering if you ever like to experiment in your home kitchen with delicious & healthy
    food products? If so I would love the opportunity to send you our media kit and product samples.

    If you end of loving them, maybe you could mention us on your blog for your viewers. I would also be happy to sponsor a giveaway for your viewers!

    I look forward to hearing back from you!

    Lisa Mooney

  19. 69
    Marie — March 3, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

    A fellow El Pasoan! Hey! Im from out there too, born and raised. I sent the capirotada recipe to my girlfriend. My mom makes it every year around this time. Hooray for traditions! Is there a version of Chicos Tacos here somewhere? haha. This blog is awesome by the way. Thank you for the wonderful recipes.

  20. 70
    Rita G — March 10, 2014 @ 11:13 pm

    We used to live in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico. A friend had a maid who made a pork roast with seasonings boiled on top of her stove, then pulled and shredded and eaten on Mexican bread rolls. It was very similar to pulled pork on a bun but without the bbq flavor. It was so juicy and delicious. Any idea what spices she may have used? It wasn’t spicy hot but it was red. Thx.

    • Muy Bueno replied: — March 11th, 2014 @ 7:46 am

      Hi Rita,

      Thanks for reaching out. Sounds to me like that might be red chile and pork — a popular filling that is used to make tamales. The recipe is in our published cookbook, but you will also find links in my article with the recipe over on the KitchenAid blog: http://www.muybuenocookbook.com/2014/01/tamalada-tamal-making-party/

      Would love to hear back from you. Hoping this is it.

  21. 71
    Linda Gomez — April 4, 2014 @ 1:37 am

    I can’t believe my luck!!! I was looking for a capirotada recipe because when I was young and my mom used to make it I didn’t like capirotada so I never learned how to make it. However I had some recollections of the ingredients that she put into it. I am from El Paso and was so pleased to find this site and even more pleased to find out that your recipe was almost like my mom’s except I remember that she put unsalted peanuts in hers.

    I immediately subscribed to your Muy Bueno blog and will be looking for your Muy Bueno cookbook as well. I live in California but I am about your mom’s age so I remember the El Paso she and I grew up in.

  22. 72
    Richard Audet — July 8, 2014 @ 8:51 pm

    What a wonderful surprise this has been- discovering this site and reading about a cuisine I have just started to appreciate in detail from absolutely remarkable people! I look forward to exploring the flavours of the New World.

    I myself am a Canadian married to an Australian wife. While growing up in Canada, Mexican never featured much in our family meals; it was always considered “spicy” or more frequently “too spicy”.

    For my Australian family I hope to change that perspective – now with you help!

    Thank you for this view on a magnificent cultural mosaic!


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  24. 73
    Sus an — September 12, 2014 @ 7:36 am

    So happy to have found your site! I’ve been living in El Paso since I got married 6 years ago, and have fallen in love with real Mexican food. I’ve been looking for a good Mexican cookbook, and it looks like yours is what I’ve been wanting. I’m glad you value your wonderful heritage.

  25. 74
    Lupe — October 26, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

    Thank you so much for your website! Born and raised in El Paso, TX I took for granted all the wonderful places to eat delicious Mexican food; I never bothered to learn how to make some of the classic Mexican dishes. Having just moved to Windsor CO, my family and I are starting to miss true Mexican (El Paso) food. With your help I can now step it up and create some wonderful meals for my family and friends! Se los agradezco mucho!!!

    • Muy Bueno replied: — October 29th, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

      Bienvenida Lupe! So happy you found Muy Bueno too! I live in Colorado now too. Please keep the Mexican food alive in your home no matter where you live. Salud!

  26. 75
    Martha Perez — December 16, 2014 @ 7:22 am

    Muy Bueno is a lovely book and I was excited to order the bilingual edition. I am disappointed that the only bilingual aspect is the titles of the recipes. I was looking forward to seeing them in Spanish as well.

  27. 76
    Tina — December 21, 2014 @ 7:20 am

    Hello! I was searching for a marranitos recipe and came upon your website. I, too, am from El Paso and live in Denver! My brother, sister-in-law, and I made the “piggies” yesterday and loved them! The memories of my childhood in El Paso came flooding back with every bite. I cannot wait to try your other recipes.

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