MV Obsession 2023-03-25 15:47:31

Thursday Trios #71…

Whatsoever is lovely #11…

Taken at the Elms mansion in Newport, Rhode Island


It's a FLAN CLUB Recipe Post!

Today, I'm sharing with you my most tropical flan recipe: GUAVA FLAN.

It’s a very Caribbean-flavored flan featuring guava paste which is tangy and sweet. When combined with the custardy flan, the resulting texture is a little bit like a ripe pear custard. It’s a really yummy, and complex flavor. Let me know if you try making it! Take pictures and send them to me!

Flan Ingredients:

  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
  • ½ can (7 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 7 oz. of a guava paste brick (roughly half)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt

Caramel Ingredients (wet method):
1 cup of white granulated sugar
½ cup of water

Leaf shaped slices of guava paste


  • 1 circular baking form
  • 1 Bain Marie (baño de Maria)


Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
Make the caramel first to coat the baking form. Heat the sugar and water over high heat until boiling. Stir once and reduce to a simmer at medium-low heat until amber. Pour caramel to cover bottom of the baking form. Set aside.

Blend the evaporated milk, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Add the guava paste in little pieces. Blend until smooth. Pour the flan batter into the baking form and cover it tightly with foil. Place  the foiled-covered form in the baño de Maria with water at about 1/3 to 1/4 way up the form. Place baño with flan form in the oven.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hr, 15 min (depends on your baking form shape/size) or until toothpick comes out clean. If you tap the side of the baking form peeking under the foil, the batter should not be watery, just slightly jiggly. Let rest for 20 min. Chill in the fridge for 3+ hours or overnight.

Ready to serve? Flip that flan onto a bigger plate.

Spoon caramel on top.

Decorate. Enjoy! Send me photos!

 Want the recipe card? Check it out from my site HERE

Picture Book Abuelita y yo hacemos un flan cover image

Abuelita y yo hacemos un flan comes out on June 13, 2023! Have you preordered? Pre-order anywhere books are sold!

Part 2, Sketch to Final: Abuelita and I Make Flan

 from sketch to final for abuelita and i make flan book

Back in 2017, when I started writing ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN my story looked like a list of ingredients (literally) and a recipe. I took this to my first writing critique group (!!Qué pena!! but you have to start somewhere). I had a hazy vision in my head for a story about a grandchild and grandparent making flan together.

The story changed shape many times between 2017 and it's publication in 2022.

Abuelita and I Make Flan early draft


In between, I realized the story was missing 'the heart'. So I combined a memory of baking with my own Abuelita with that feeling where you think everything's going wrong, but you're still safe and loved and accepted as an imperfect child deserving of love. This was a big step in learning to write for kids. There needs to be some kind of heart or hook or something for kids to relate to.


thumbnail dummies for abuelita and i make flan children's book
Next, I did a sketch dummy from Debbie Ohi's site: I played with different thumbnail illustrations until the story made sense to me (and my agent!). Then I enlarged it to a full size dummy, refined the illos, and began the back and forth of editing and revising.


I needed to add more tension! Here are some of the people who saw it and offered editing thoughts: critique partners, mentors, teachers from various courses and organizations, professional/industry critiquers, peers, and my mother*. And this jogged a memory of me breaking my mom's wedding plate while we were moving back in with my grandparents.

*For my second and third books, I did not have to take it so far and wide for editing. It took a lot for me to grow confident in my writing abilities! Also, sometimes your family doesn't know what makes a good children's book!

And that was the key! Once I added that broken plate, it all came together and we sold the manuscript to Charlesbridge in 2020, and it finally came out in August of 2022.

These days, my process for writing is more like a yes/no flowchart: outline or list, then a test draft in prose (does it work? yes/no), if no, a draft in lyrical language. When I think something's working, I'll exchange with a critique group (love/hate/boring?)... rinse repeat until it's feeling ready-ish enough to submit to my agent.


Lens-Artists Challenge #235 – Monochrome Shadows & Reflections…

MV Obsession 2023-01-28 00:07:16

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – Bend…

Bends in roads and stairs…

We used to have miniature dachshunds so I couldn’t resist this sculpture by folk artist Stephen Huneck…

From Sketch to Final Art: ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN

page from ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN by Adriana Hernandez Bergstrom

The story of ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN is a combination of several real-life events. I was inspired to capture a moment in time where it felt like everything was going wrong as a kid, but still able to find safety and love from my grandparents who accepted me as an imperfect child deserving of love. Anita, the main character, is a blend of real life people in my own family including myself. The Abuelita character was drawn from a combination of several real-life people including my great aunt, both my grandmas and their friends. 

What’s real-life inspiration and what’s not? I really did break a wedding dish, but it belonged to my mother, not my abuelita. The truth is my family did not bring much more than their suitcases with them from Cuba. I really did - and still do! - make a LOT of flan, but I helped my great-aunt, Marta, who had severe arthritis doing all the things Anita does in the book. In real life, I did more crafts like sewing, crochet, and cake decorating with my grandma. I chose flan because it’s delicious and it reminds me of our big family get-togethers which I miss very much.

I started work on ABUELITA AND I MAKE FLAN back in 2017. It was in large part thanks to SCBWI which connected me to a critique group which then led to a mentorship program at WNDB, critiques at SCBWI conferences, Highlights Foundation courses, Storyteller Academy and other educational resources and eventually my agent! Community has been pivotal for growth and feedback in the publishing world, and the success of this title making it to bookshelves everywhere.

Wordless Wednesday : Jetty…


Top row: rainy waterfront – car wash

Bottom row: carousel – Christmas lights – Lincoln tunnel from NJ to NY

Tumbling into A New Year – 2022 Wrap Up


Happy New Year!

The last few weeks of any year for me are typically about reflecting, month by month on the year that just finished. I snatch any quiet moment I can during the holiday rush to write down my thoughts on what went well and what didn’t professionally and personally.


Then the first few weeks of the year are a mirror of those last two weeks, and I take time to think about what I want my year to look like. I ask myself questions like: How can I participate in successful, fulfilling activities that re-energize or inspire me? What are some activities that drain me?

What elements of my life need to be edited out? I make a deliberate effort to imagine where I want to be at the end of the year, to imagine what success feels like, and then I write it down. This is how I set my intentions for the year. 


So it’s gone for six years now. 2022 brought to fruition a lot of seeds planted years ago doing these kinds of reflection and intention exercises. The path of my life has finally brought me here, to reflect upon the publishing of my first book as an author and illustrator.

This is no accident! It’s the course I set for myself, and worked toward year after year. It’s the learning and revising, and reflection all adding up. You too can set the course of your creative year, and I encourage you to take the time to reflect and set intentions for 2023.


Wishing you a super 2023!


Some favorite success-building creative activities:

  • Reflection journaling or sketching like The Year Compass ( - it's a free journaling tool).

  • Setting intentions and creating a plan for success

  • Choosing a word of the year for motivation or focus

  • Idea generation community activities like Tara Lazar’s Storystorm (

  • Editing workshops or critique group meet-ups
  • Accountability communities like 12x12 or Storyteller Academy or your local SCBWI conferences