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Tomato Soup #SundaySupper

8386507597 11017bb3e2 o Tomato Soup #SundaySupperA few weeks ago, the Sunday Supper team celebrated National Grilled Cheese Month by sharing their favorite grilled cheese recipes. The list of recipes was simply mouth-watering and oozing with yummy, gooey cheesiness.  Of course, I pinned a few. If you missed it, go skim the recipe roundup here.

I’m a huge fan of cheese but melted cheese takes any dish to another whole delicious level. When it comes to a grilled cheese sandwich, I love the classics. Whether it’s mozzarella or yellow American cheese sandwiched between two slices of hearty grain bread or cheddar pressed between Cuban bread, the bread should always be crisp and stacked with enough cheese to drip over the edges.

Though the bread that embraces the cheese or even the cheese may change, my grilled cheese sandwich is always served with warm bowl of Tomato Soup.

TomatoSoup2 pin 717x1024 Tomato Soup #SundaySupper

Melted cheese and a warm bowl of creamy tomato soup is more than a pairing; it’s a partnership like bread and butter. Something about the combination of the two says comfort and love like a mother’s hug.

Once you realize how easy it is to make this soup, you will never buy canned tomato soup again. In less than 30 minutes, you can have a healthy bowl of tomato soup rich with lycopene and Vitamin C.  With only three ingredients (two if you count two 28 oz canned tomatoes as one) and only three steps to make it, you will love the simplicity and the rich, bright, full flavor. Plus you will wow everyone who tastes it.

 Tomato Soup #SundaySupper

In a nutshell, you sauté’ chopped onions in olive oil until soft, add chopped tomatoes and then puree the soup. That’s it. Although you can use fresh ripe tomatoes, canned chopped tomatoes works just as well and saves you a bit of time.

 Tomato Soup #SundaySupper

While the soup simmers, prepare a grilled cheese sandwich to accompany it. Everyone needs a buddy and tomato soup and a grilled cheese are the perfect friendship.

 Tomato Soup #SundaySupper

Tomato Soup #SundaySupper
5.0 from 3 reviews
Recipe type: Easy
Cuisine: Soup, Appetizer
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Classic, simple and creamy tomato soup
  • Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 – 28 oz cans diced or chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  1. Heat olive on a medium-low heat; add onions and sauté’ until soft and translucent. Do not brown.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Using a handheld blender, puree tomatoes and until creamy and smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

For more Five Ingredients or Less #Sunday Supper recipes, visit all the #SundaySupper selections listed here. Thanks to Alice of Hip Foodie Mom for hosting this week’s #SundaySupper!

5ingredientsorless logo v02 trans 1024x662 Tomato Soup #SundaySupper

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Main Dishes


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8386507597 11017bb3e2 o Tomato Soup #SundaySupperJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Portobello Burgers

HorrorFFF Portobello BurgersI’ve been failing on my Friday Food Fight posts because it’s been a while since I shared a recipe. I wish I had something green to share for St. Patrick’s Day, but I’m not that lucky.

If you’ve followed my blog for some time, then you know I’ve been sharing weekly dinner menus every Sunday in my Pinning and Planning feature. Well, almost every Sunday because I didn’t share one last week. I seem to be a bit of a slacker mother runner blogger these days. Don’t judge.

Anyway, in my almost weekly Sunday Pinning and Planning feature, I share our menu for the week which always includes a Meatless Monday dish. As much as I would love to be vegetarian again, I crave meat too often to give up meat completely. By committing to at least one day a week (Monday) to go meatless, I can strive towards a vegetarian lifestyle again. Until I crave some Buffalo chicken wings after a triathlon.

Speaking of cravings, my oldest daughter has been craving mushrooms which may be a sign of a lack of potassium, iron, selenium or Vitamin D. So to appease her mushroom-mineral-vitamin deficiencies, I served some Portobello Burgers.  The thick, chewy texture of the portobello mushroom fools my family’s brains into think they are eating meat. It’s very bizarre. Sometimes I’ll serve these Portobello Burgers without a bun but over a bed of mashed cauliflower instead, which really pulls one over on my brain! Bun or no bun, this Portobello Burger is so filling and delicious and will satisfy the most carnivorous meateaters in your house. Bring some portobello mushrooms to your next potluck cook-out for a meatless grilled option.

 Portobello Burgers

To prepare the portobellos, I start by brushing a grill pan with olive oil.  Then, I lightly drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the caps. I season the mushrooms with some sea salt, fresh ground pepper and a pinch of thyme. After lightly seasoning the caps, I roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes and that’s it. A rich, healthy meatless dish that is so simple and tasty! They even look meaty!

 Portobello Burgers

Since I bought Publix Greenwise organic portobello mushrooms to create this meal, I suppose that means I did offer something green for St. Patrick’s Day.  A vegetarian meal option for St. Patrick’s Day? Now that’s lucky! For a Meatless Monday meal for this coming St. Patrick’s Day, serve these Portobello Burgers with a side of vegan roasted cabbage and a helping of red potatoes for a vegetarian option.

 Portobello Burgers

Portobello Burgers
Recipe type: Easy
Cuisine: Vegetarian, Vegan
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
A rich, healthy meatless dish that is so simple and tasty!
  • 4-6 large portobello mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • Aged balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Thyme (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet or a grill pan by brushing the pan with olive oil.
  2. Rinse and remove any dirt from the mushrooms; gently pat dry and remove the stems. Place the mushrooms on the grill plan cap side down (ridges up) and drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of thyme.
  3. Place in oven and roast for about 10 minutes. Then, flip mushrooms and roast for another 10 minutes. Portobello mushrooms will reduce in size.
  4. Serve on a roll with your favorite toppings.


Healthy Baked Plantains

It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month!

To honor the occasion, the Tampa Bay Bloggers will be co-hosting a Twitter Party with author Organic Melinda on Tuesday, October 15 at 9:00 pm EST.

LIVETwitterParty2 Healthy Baked Plantains

Since we will be discussing ways to make Latin healthy during the Twitter party, it prompted me to share my Healthy Baked Plantains recipe.

 Healthy Baked Plantains

In any Cuban restaurant, plantains are THE side dish, however, plantains prepared in shortening or deep fried in lard would never be considered a healthy food.

 Healthy Baked Plantains

 Healthy Baked Plantains

Take them out of the deep fryer and like their bananas cousins, plantains are high in fiber and rich in potassium.  Plantains are also a great source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, Vitamin B6 and calcium.  Plus when you prepare plantains with coconut oil instead of shortening, you add immune boosting properties and cholesterol lowering agents to this already good for you food.

When talking healthy food, plantains the superfood should be served as a side dish to every dinner.  Wait. Forget side dish!  This superfood should be the main course!

Serve them with a high-protein, high fiber food such as black beans and you have a plate full of superfood goodness.

 Healthy Baked Plantains

Healthy Baked Plantains
4.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Easy
Cuisine: Vegan, Healthy, Side Dish
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
A healthy alternative to a traditional Cuban comfort food side dish.
  • 2 Tbsp Puritan’s Pride Coconut Oil
  • 2 ripe plantains
  • Kosher salt (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet by brushing a light layer of coconut oil onto sheet.
  3. Peel and slice plantains into ¼ slices. Lay each slice onto greased baking sheet about a half inch apart. Lightly bush tops of plantains with additional coconut oil.
  4. Bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Using a spatula, gently remove plantains from baking sheet. Sprinkle with Kosher salt, if desired.


HorrorFFF Healthy Baked Plantains

Thanks for joining our weekly Friday Food Fight! Can’t wait to see what everyone is flinging this week! 


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Friday Food Fight – L.I.V².E Review and Recipe:Tofu Frito

HorrorFFF Friday Food Fight   L.I.V².E Review and Recipe:Tofu FritoSomething changes in us when we become parents.  We aim to provide the best for our children.  We want to offer our children comfort and shelter and nourish their bodies with good foods.

Like many of us, Melinda wanted to fill her daughter’s body with fresh fruits and vegetables without worrying about pesticides or GMOs.  As a vegan, Melinda fills her family’s plate with lots of organic fruits and vegetables to avoid undoing her healthy lifestyle with harmful chemicals.

Melinda’s book L.I.V².E. (Latin-Inspired Vegan and Vegetarian Eats) outlines why GMO foods should be avoided and explains the importance of shopping farmers markets for local grown organic foods to bring farm fresh to your kitchen table.  In L.I.V².E., she offers weekly meal plans and exercise plans to guide her readers towards a healthier lifestyle.  With meal plans and Latin-inspired recipes, she demonstrates how to adapt and prepare our favorite Latin comfort foods using vegan methods.

As an anthropologist and an artist, Melinda visited many countries to understand ways to make healthy ingredients accessible and affordable.  In L.I.V².E., she lists ingredients that every pantry should store and the health benefits for each one.

Melinda strives to make L.I.V².E. possible for everyone.  To purchase L.I.V².E., visit

LIV2E cover Friday Food Fight   L.I.V².E Review and Recipe:Tofu Frito

I had the opportunity to review an abridged version of L.I.V².E and test out a few recipes.  Today, I share my spin on her vegan Quezo Frito (found on page 24).  I liked the recipe but I wanted to make it less savory and bit sweeter so my children (and Iron Chef Allan) would eat it.  We love Latin foods but tofu for breakfast would be a hard sell.

 Friday Food Fight   L.I.V².E Review and Recipe:Tofu Frito Friday Food Fight   L.I.V².E Review and Recipe:Tofu Frito

I decided to omit the garlic powder and added a half teaspoon of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.

 Friday Food Fight   L.I.V².E Review and Recipe:Tofu Frito

I sliced the extra firm tofu into ¼ slices and then sautéed tofu in coconut oil on my electric skillet until golden brown.  (I love the aroma of heated coconut oil filling my home!)  As the tofu sautéed, I sprinkled it with the cinnamon, sugar, salt and a pinch of cayenne.

 Friday Food Fight   L.I.V².E Review and Recipe:Tofu Frito

Then, I flipped the tofu and seasoned the other side.  Once a crusty golden color appeared, I served the dish to Little Lion Man with a side of maple syrup to dip the tofu in it.  He loved it!

 Friday Food Fight   L.I.V².E Review and Recipe:Tofu Frito

A Latin-inspired sweetened Tofu Frito that tastes like French Toast!

Tofu Frito
Recipe type: easy
Cuisine: Breakfast, Vegan
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
A Latin-inspired sweetened version of a classic Dominican breakfast dish that tastes like French Toast.
  • 2 Tbsp Puritan’s Pride Coconut Oil
  • Extra Firm Tofu
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • A pinch of cayenne powder
  • Maple syrup
  1. Preheat an electric griddle to 300 degrees.
  2. Remove and drain tofu. Pat tofu dry with paper towels to remove excess liquid. Slice tofu into ¼ inch slices.
  3. Prepare electric griddle with coconut oil. Using a basting brush, grease the electric griddle with approximately 2 Tbsp of coconut oil.
  4. Lay slices of tofu on warmed griddle. Combine spices in a small bowl; sprinkle tops of tofu with spices. Sautee tofu for about 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Flip, season and sautee until both sides are golden brown in color.
  5. Serve with a side of maple syrup.

LIV2E TwitterParty Friday Food Fight   L.I.V².E Review and Recipe:Tofu Frito

On October 15, join Melidna, the Tampa Bay Bloggers and me for a L.I.V².E. Twitter party at 9:00 pm EST.  Follow @OrganicMelinda, @denisermt , @TBbloggers and #healthyLatin for a conversation about a healthy, vegetarian and organic lifestyle and prizes!

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Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip-Potato Crust

HorrorFFF 1 Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip Potato CrustAs you know, I’ve been on the hunt for new Meatless Monday dishes.  I’m also trying to eat less carbs.  With my pasta and a love for all things potato, that is really hard to do.  I’ve managed to give up bread and have been two weeks pasta free, but I can’t seem to give up potatoes (or pizza) yet.

I know I should make a transition from starchy white potatoes to healthy, rich in vitamins sweet potatoes, but it hasn’t happened yet.  I’ll get there and I’ll make my family hop on board the sweet potato bandwagon eventually. In the meantime, in my hunt for Meatless Monday dishes, I found this yummy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Rustic Parsnip Crust from Forks Over Knives.

Now, my husband, having grown up in Northern Yorkshire, ate more of his share of shepherd’s pie and he is not a fan of the “mushy tasteless mess” as he calls it.  However, in my Hispanic-Italian family, we never ate Shepherd’s Pie.  We grew up on pasta, which may explain my adoration for pasta.  So, when I tasted Shepherd’s Pie for the first time, I loved it.

Though I’m not sure if my kids would eat a traditional meaty mushy mess of Shepherd’s Pie, I knew they would love this meatless version.  We often eat lentils and like me, my children love every variety of potato.

Iron Chef Iron and I tweeked the original recipe a bit to produce our version of a Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip-Potato Crust, because that’s what we do.  If you’ve followed my Friday Food Fight for a while, you know that crushed red pepper flakes are a staple ingredient in most of our dishes. We also thought that the dish needed a bit more acid such as balsamic vinegar (or like a good Brit, HP Sauce or Worcestershire sauce) for a more robust flavor.

If you’re trying to give up potatoes, you could easily substitute the parsnips and potatoes with sweet potatoes.   And if you’re on a gluten-free diet, our Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip-Potato Crust passes the test.

 Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip Potato Crust

 Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip Potato Crust

Iron Chef Allan and I really enjoyed our version of a Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip-Potato Crust.  Even the kids loved it!  So, we have another crowd pleasing Meatless Monday dish in the rotation!  However, if you don’t have a crowd, the leftovers freeze and reheat nicely.

 Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip Potato Crust

Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip-Potato Crust
Recipe type: Easy
Cuisine: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
Meatless version of Shepherd's Pie made with lentils and a parsnip-potato topping.
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig rosemary, chopped
  • 1½ cup lentils, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (or HP Sauce or Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 medium red-skin potatoes, quartered (peeled optional)
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  1. Heat a 5-quart stock pot over a medium heat; add EVOO.
  2. Add onions and cook until soften and caramelized. Add carrot and celery and sauté with onions until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Stir in the rosemary, lentils, bay leaf and add 6 cups water. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Monitor and add additional water, if needed. (Lentils should have the consistency of stew.) Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  5. Add the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar; cook for another 15 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat; discard the bay leaf and pour the lentils into an 8x8 inch baking dish.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the potato-parsnip topping while the lentils cook. Add the potatoes and parsnips to a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and cook uncovered until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the potatoes and parsnips from the heat and drain. Mash the parsnip-potato mixture with a handheld masher (or ricer if peeled) until smooth and creamy. Season with additional salt and pepper; then spread the mixture evenly over lentils.
  8. Bake the casserole for 25 minutes, or until bubbly. For a browned crust, closely monitor casserole under a broil setting for a few minutes.
  9. Let dish stand for 10 minutes before serving.


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Pinning and Planning – April 7

PinningPlanning RunDMT Pinning and Planning   April 7The first week back into routine after Spring Break seemed to go well.  The candy is mostly all gone, except for the nest of chocolate bunnies camping out in my pantry.

Hubby travels again this week , so there’s more simple, easy cook-ahead meals on the menu this week.  Plus, I have the Iron Girl Half Marathon this Sunday, therefore I’ll be eating a bit more protein this week in preparation for the race.

S – Garden Minestrone Soup

M – Black Bean Quinoa Mango Medley

T – Pork Chile Verde with Cilantro Rice ( Still refining this tasty recipe! Use juice of 3 limes and no zest!)

W – Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry with Brown Rice

Th – Chicken-Mushroom {and Spinach} Quesadillas

F – Leftovers

S- Pasta

Are planning meals packed with protein too this week?  What’s on your dinner menu?

Roasted Veggies

I’ve shared my roasted veggies before, but I’ve never shared them like this.

 Roasted Veggies

I began making these veggies about fifteen years ago when I was a vegetarian and I still enjoy these veggies as a main dish, served on a bed couscous or sandwiched between crunchy Cuban bread with a shmear of goat cheese.

Although there are so many variations to how you can do this dish, I stick with the simple squash varieties that my family likes.  For additional greens, toss in some asparagus tips or add some sliced fennel for a more complex, rich fall flavor.

No matter what you toss in, these roasted veggies are a wonderful side dish for Thanksgiving and the leftovers make the best veggie omelets.

 Roasted Veggies

Roasted Veggies
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves minced
½ red onion, chopped
1 pint white or Baby Bella mushrooms
1 eggplant
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.
Cut the eggplant lengthwise twice to quarter the eggplant.  Then, slice the eggplant into 2-inch chunks.  Toss into bowl with lemon juice marinade.

Slice the zucchini and yellow squash into 1-inch slices and toss in bowl.

Add chopped onions and mushrooms to bowl.  (Depending on the size of the mushrooms, cut into halves or leave whole.)  Toss all veggies until well covered in lemon juice marinade.

Prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Arrange veggies evenly on baking sheet.  Bake for about 20-30 minutes.  For more charred veggies, bake longer or broil veggies for one minute.

Thanks for joining our weekly Friday Food Fight! Can’t wait to see what everyone is flinging this week! Remember to visit our Thanksgiving food blog hop too!

 Roasted Veggies

HorrorFFF 1 Roasted Veggies

 Roasted Veggies

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Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Sesame Noodles for Chinese New Year

HorrorFFF 1 Sesame Noodles for Chinese New YearGung Hay Fat Choy!

It’s Chinese New Year!  The year of the Dragon!

We started our Chinese New Year festivities with a potluck play date at the park with our friends.  Everyone brought a Chinese entrée to share and everything so delicious.  We had dumplings, doughnuts, a variety of noodles, fried rice, orange chicken and of course fortune cookies.

 Sesame Noodles for Chinese New Year

Emmalynn insisted on wearing her Mulan costume for the occasion.

 Sesame Noodles for Chinese New Year

The kids decorated dragon masks and made lanterns, which Allana loved almost as much as the dumplings.

 Sesame Noodles for Chinese New Year

For the potluck portion of the program, I brought Sesame Noodles to share.  This dish is so simple and tasty served either warm or cold as a side dish or a main entrée.

 Sesame Noodles for Chinese New Year

The Rachel Ray recipe I use calls for angel hair pasta but I prefer spaghetti for this dish, so I sent hubby to the store to buy the ingredients for me.  He returned with spaghetti rigataUm…ok! At least it wasn’t linguini!  Actually, hubby’s mistake worked perfectly because spaghetti rigata noodles are square and resemble lo mein noodles.  (This is where Iron Chef Allan would chime in to tell me that was his intention all along.)

  Sesame Noodles for Chinese New Year

Sesame Noodles

(Adapted from Classic Rachel Ray 30-Minute Meals)


1 pound capellini (angle hair) or spaghetti rigatta

¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp tahini

2 Tbsp toasted sesame seed oil

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch gingerroot, peeled and grated or ½ tsp ground ginger

3 scallions, chopped

1 large carrot, grated

Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Crushed red pepper flakes for garnish (optional)


Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a rolling boil and then add pasta.  Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine soy sauce, tahini, sesame oil, cayenne, garlic and ginger.  Whisk until smooth.

Drain pasta and immediately chill in a large bowl of ice water to blanch pasta and prevent further cooking.

Drain and dump chilled pasta into bowl with sauce and combine until noodles are evenly coated.  Add veggies and toss to combine.

Serve in soup bowls garnished with some extra sliced greens of scallions, sesame seeds and a little crushed red pepper.

Thanks for joining our weekly Friday Food Fight.  Link up and see what everyone else is flinging this week.  

 Sesame Noodles for Chinese New Year

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