Paleo Stuffed Avocados with Cilantro Cream Sauce

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Healthy Paleo-Diet Keeps Hall Director Motivated
Story and Photos by Paige Gandara-Valderas

As a full-time hall director in Founders Hall, Samantha Garcia enjoys cooking when she can.

Garcia, a San Antonio native, received her undergraduate degree in leadership and development from Texas A&M and a graduate degree in Seattle. She enjoys that St. Mary’s has a nice family feel to it and that everyone supports
one another.

“We all have each others backs. It’s an ‘I’ll scratch your back and you scratch mine… and if you can’t scratch it back just yet, don’t worry about it’,” Garcia says.

Growing up in San Antonio, Garcia’s favorite foods are primarily Mexican. Her favorite ingredient is avocado. She uses avocados in just about anything she eats.

“You can put avocados in any dish and it goes great with Mexican food!” Garcia says. “I love avocados even in my smoothies.”

The dish that Garcia prepares is Paleo Stuffed Avocados with Cilantro Cream Sauce, a recipe from her sister.

Cassy Joy Garcia, Garcia’s sister, is a food blogger and soon-to-be published author. She runs her own website at

The significance of  the dish was to showcase a  healthy option and also because it is one of her sister’s first dishes. Garcia’s tip on preparing the dish is to not overcook the avocados in the oven because they can burn easily and ruin the flavor.

Garcia also enjoys her yoga workouts. Yoga, for Garcia, is a great exercise.

Garcia likes to promote mental, emotional and physical health. Garcia has also done a podcast series with her sister called “Fed and Fit Podcast: College Student Series,” which is five episodes long.

“I’ve been in college for a really long time and I am able to give a lot of insight about that. Especially since I work with college students on a daily basis,” Garcia says.

There should always be that leeway according to Garcia. It’s important for her to live in a balanced lifestyle.

“It’s all about that 80-20 balance. Eighty percent should be a really healthy portion, but 20 percent is whatever you want,” Garcia says.



  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 5 avocados
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 4 limes for lime juice



Sautee 4 cloves of garlic with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil for flavor.Then, wash, dry and season the chicken tenders with a pinch of kosher salt, then sautee in extra-virgin olive oil. After that, simmer the chicken tenders in broth for about 20 minutes, then shred immideately after. Add the cumin, chili powder, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and the black pepper to the shredded chicken to taste.Halve and de-seed five avocados and lay them out on the baking sheet to bake at 400 F for 5 minutes. For the cream sauce, stir one can of full-fat coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro. After the avocados are baked, pull out of the oven and drizzle with the cream sauce to serve.


End of Class Note

Media production (EA 3360) has helped widen my knowledge of communication in a number of ways. From the projects conducted in this class, I’ve learned that effective communication is concise, interesting and something worth viewing or listening to. Though building a good story can be a difficult task, the art of forming good questions is important. If you don’t have good questions, then there’s not going to be a good story.

Technologically speaking, I have learned to use programs such as Final Cut Pro, Garage Band, Switch, and Soundslides. I’ve also learned effective ways of photojournalism and radio broadcasting. Some other things I’ve learned is how to keep an up-to-date website through WordPress and using a lavalier mic to conduct interviews. Keeping an up-to-date website is something I plan on doing in order to have a web-based portfolio. So even after this class I still plan on creating projects.

I remember going into class and being introduced to a professional program like Final Cut Pro. I was intimidated with it at first simply because I’ve never worked with video editing, but now I am very comfortable. I am comfortable enough to apply my knowledge to other video editing programs.

Visually speaking, I see things in a different way. When I go watch a movie, I imagine the video editing process. I also think to myself, “It took me more than 20 hours to complete a 2 minute video. I can only imagine how long it took to create a 2 hour movie.” I also look at other people’s work and can critique their work based on the things I’ve learned in class. After each of my own projects, I look at what I could have done better. For instance my Soundslide-Day in the Life project, I could have made my pictures run a little slower and not too fast. Also, on my Video 2 project, Scene on Campus: Cross Painting, I could have added better natural sounds. I think I’ve built up a good self-critiquing and I think it will come in handy later when I am creating projects that require visually appealing components.

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken

Mozzarella stuffed chicken by Grant Batchelder
Videography and production by Paige Gandara-Valderas

Grant Batchelder, temporary Treadaway Hall director, works part time at St. Mary’s and enjoys cooking for his wife in his spare time. However, being a vegetarian sometimes limits what he can taste while cooking a meal. Batchelder talks about his specialty mozzarella stuffed chicken dish and his love for cooking.


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cup panko and bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoon garlic
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • parsley
  • 1 stick of mozzarella
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • olive oil
  • toothpicks


First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating up, take a bowl and mix flour, panko, salt, garlic, paprika and parsley. In another bowl, whisk eggs and milk till smooth.

Take defrosted chicken breasts, pound with hands till it’s flat (if the chicken breasts are already flattened, then disregard). Take half of mozzarella stick and put in the center of breast. Using toothpicks, pin the chicken breast together wrapping it around the cheese. Take wrapped chicken and roll it in the egg then batter it in the panko mixture.

Place the chicken breasts in a safe container and put it in the oven. Set the timer for three 10-minute increments, cooking it in the oven for a total of 30 minutes. After every 10 minutes, take the mozzarella stuffed chicken out of the oven, occasionally basting the chicken with olive oil to cook thoroughly. Finally, remove from the oven, let it cool and enjoy the dish!

Week after week changing young lives!

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Image 01: Brianna Minjarez, left, explains to Ashley Thomas and her mentee, right, the activity objective for Friday Sept. 25 at Roy Cisneros Elementary School during their weekly mentoring program with St. Mary’s University.

Image 02: Students of Roy Cisneros Elementary School gather around to glue their balloons to a house representing their personalities Friday Sept. 25 as part of their activity.

Image 03: A mentee of Roy Cisneros Elementary School pastes his balloon to contribute to the activity Friday, Sept. 25 through the school’s mentoring program.

Image 04: Samantha Shelton, a mentor of Roy Cisneros Elementary School, debriefs with her mentee after the group activity on Friday, Sept. 25.

Image 05: Cindy Devine, a mentor of Roy Cisneros Elementary School, brainstorms new ideas Friday Sept. 25 for next week’s activities.