Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

Yvette Marquez Muy Bueno pan dulce

Muy Bueno is Spanish for very good. My grandma would always invite family and friends to her table with the same words: “Siéntate a comer, esta muy bueno” (Sit down and eat, it’s very good). And she lingered on the “muuuuy bueno” with a smile, raised eyebrows, and a twinkle in her eyes as if to let her guests know they were in for a treat. Those two words—and the memory of grandma and her legendary meals—never fail to bring a smile to my face.

grama kitchen

I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and learned to cook from my mother, Vangie and grandma, Jesusita. Although I knew how to cook, I actually didn’t like to. It was not a passion of mine like it is today. It was until my grandma passed away in 2004 at the age of 98 years old that I had an “aha moment.” I realized that if I didn’t cook the recipes I grew up enjoying and celebrating the traditional Mexican holidays of my culture, my children would not appreciate where they came from.

children and empanadas valentines day

My daughter helps me in the kitchen when I cook, and she loves hearing stories of my childhood. One day as we were eating dinner, she asked me if I plan to have all our recipes written down for her so that she can make them after she leaves for college. She was only 8 years old when she said this. I turned to my mother and said, “Mom, let’s write a cookbook!” And that’s how it all started.

assembling tamales

I created this blog to document the journey of writing a cookbook and it evolved into a place where I celebrate my culture, my grandma, and my mother, by preserving the generations of traditions en la cocina. My mother Vangie and sister Veronica co-wrote Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor with me, which was a great opportunity to share our heartwarming family stories and flavorful Mexican recipes.

vero-vangie-yvette-for blog

Initially we were going to self-publish the cookbook as a keepsake for our own children. But once the blog gained a following, we were inspired to share our book with the world. Muy Bueno offers traditional old-world northern Mexican recipes from my grandma; comforting south of the border home-style dishes from my mom; and innovative Latin fusion recipes from my sister and myself. You can watch a trailer for the book here.

Yvette Vianney Latin Twist

Publishing Muy Bueno inspired me to continue developing modern, easy to prepare, Latin-inspired recipes with my own special twist.

Speaking of twist, I co-wrote a new book, Latin Twist: Traditional & Modern Cocktails with a fellow Latina food blogging amiga, Vianney. Latin Twist is the first book to celebrate the signature cocktails of 18 Latin American countries and Spain in one volume. It explores the history of each country’s special ingredients and liquors and includes 97 recipes for classic drinks and original creations.

I hope you take pleasure in making my recipes as much as I delight in sharing them. As my grandma used to say, “Panza llena, corazón contento” (Full stomach, happy heart).

Though I primarily write about my culinary adventures here you can also find me cooking on YouTube. I live in Colorado with my husband and two children.

Be sure to say hola on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

yvette latin twist author

Salud, amigos!


  1. 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. Hello,
    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?


    • 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. Elizabeth Chagoyan Reply

    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.

    • 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. 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

    • 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. 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!

    • 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. Congrats Yvette, this is great!

  7. Any good Mole recipes?

    • 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. 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

    • 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. 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

    • 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. 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. 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. 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.

  13. 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. Carolina Garcia-Johnson Reply

    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.

    • 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. 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!!!!

    • 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. 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.

    • 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. 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.

    • 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. Hello,

    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. 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. 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.

  21. 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. G’day!
    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. 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. 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!!!

    • 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. 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. 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.

  28. I just stumbled across your website looking for Capirotada recipes. I am originally from El Paso, but have been transplanted in Arizona. The food around here is nothing compared to the food we have back home. My family cooks food Chihuahuan style and I learned as much as I could from my grandmother who passed away almost 3 years ago. I have now tried to incorporate most of her foods during the holidays and in our daily meals but sometimes it’s hard b/c looking back she didn’t teach me to cook with measurements and sometimes my meals vary from the last time I cooked it. My mother (also named Evangelina) and I are working hard to always cook food the way we learned from my grandmother. I will be purchasing your book and hope to follow your blog religiously. Your “About Me” section brought me to tears b/c I see a lot of my family in yours. Thank you.

  29. Rebecca Beeson (Portillo) Reply

    So glad to find your site! I see one of my Las Crucens Vance Patten has visited your site! I came looking for those little shrimp sopas or fritters covered with red chile my mother used to make at Lent.

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  31. Hi! I am a fellow El Pasoan and am thrilled to have found your site and cannot wait to get your cookbook. Congratulations on your success and keep up the good work!

  32. Frances Samaniego Reply

    Hi, I too lived in El Paso until I moved to Seattle, WA, 29 years ago. I was 29 when I moved away. When I moved up here, I didn’t know how to make tamales but since no one I knew made them, I decided to learn. Now each year we have an annual tamale cooking party around the holidays and all our friends and family love it. We make tamales, pozole, Spanish rice, black beans, pinto beans, and red and green salsa.

    The last three years I have been donating a homemade Mexican dinner for 8 to the Swedish Hospital Brain Cancer Foundation. I make enchiladas, flautas, chile rellenos, beans and rice, and homemade salsas. I love cooking and it is very rewarding to share the food I grew up eating with others. I have also given cooking lessons to help raise money for non-profit organizations as well.

    I am going to try your recipe for Capirotada at my next dinner. I remember my Aunt making it and I really miss it. Glad I found your site.

  33. Hi YVette,
    I’m so excited I came across ur blog! I’m from las cruces and moved away 5 years ago! Just reading ur introduction literally brought tears to my eyes. My grandmother passed away 2 years ago and I regretted not paying attention in the kitchen like I should have been. Her food and recipes were the stitch that brought the family together! Now that I’m away from home I found it difficult to have that close knit of food -history and stories that the El Paso and las cruces community carries! Looking forward to following ur recipes and reading ur family traditions!

  34. My mother was from Spain. She use to cook Garbanzo and fideos with bread done in egg and garlic. All of my Spanish relatives have passed. If you know of this recipe, I would appreciate getting it.

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