Category:

Food

Food is more than just something you put in your mouth to your fuel your body. Food is an adventure, a shared experience with someone you love, it’s traveling to a distant part of the world and it brings people together.

In our family are foodies. I come from a long line of foodies. We were taught to try everything and I’ve raised my daughters to try everything twice.

Here I will review different restaurants, share recipes and try foods that you may otherwise have never heard of or known about. My goal is to share all the good we discover and give my readers, and my family, exposure to different kinds of cuisines and tastes.

Food is something that connects all humans. We all need it. We all love it. The more we understand the foods of different cultures, the more we can understand it’s people and the world can always use a little more human understanding.

elote, elote recipe, esquites, Mexican food, corn casserole, elote casserole, elote casserole recipe

Have you ever tasted elote? I make lots of Mexican dishes and have lots of favorite Mexican food recipes, my enchilada recipe is to die for. Seriously, but I also have developed a new take on an old favorite, elote! You may know it as esquites. I am calling it elote casserole because it’s not quite esquites either.

Growing up, I remember getting elote, the amazing steamed corn from street vendors. It was always a treat that we kids looked forward to, maybe more so than paletas! Anyways, I don’t currently live any where that I can get access to elote and you what they say, necessity is the mother of invention. In this case, it was the mother of the invention of this recipe. The same way it inspired me to develop my mexican hot chocolate milkshake recipe. There was no way I could let me kids grow up without knowing what this amazing food tastes like.

What is elote? If you are not Mexican, you may be asking yourself this. Elote is basically corn on the cob, steamed or boiled in the husk. Then the husk is pulled back and the corn is dipped in mayonnaise, drizzled with limejuice, dusted with Parmesan cheese and then liberally covered in tajin. You can substitute limejuice for lemon pepper and tajin for chili powder, either way, it tastes like a taste explosion in your mouth.

The only problem is that it is a little messy to eat and, where I live, hard to find a street vendor who makes it so I created this recipe so that I can still have my elote without the mess.

Elote Casserole

Ingredients

1 can of corn
½ cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup of sour cream

¼ cup of Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons of Tajin
1 small lime

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Empty the can of corn into small casserole dish, spread evenly.
  3. In small bowl mix mayonnaise, sour cream, Parmesan cheese and juice from half of one lime. Blend well.
  4. Spread mayonnaise mixture over top of the corn.
  5. *If you’ve never had Tajin, I recommend that you taste it first. I love it on everything, oranges, apples and corn. You may not, so you may opt for less than the 2 full teaspoons or more.
  6. Sprinkle Tajin, to your desired liking, on top of the mayonnaise mixture.
  7. Place in oven and cook until top is starting to get golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with your favorite dish, mine is everything, especially my enchiladas but if you want to serve it at a cook out, it pairs awesomely with my recipe for Chorizo hamburgers with avocado cream sauce. What’s your favorite casserole recipe?

Have you ever had elote before?

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ballet camp, how to survive camp, ballet, sports, Starkist, Hershey's, S'mores, summer, family, traditions, fireflies, campfire
This is a compensated post for MarketVision and its advertiser Hershey’s. All opinions are mine alone.

Summer time is here, though you might not know that if you live in the Midwest. Our weather has been more unpredictable than Lady Gaga on stage. You just never know what’s going to happen. However, one thing we do from spring until autumn, whether it’s 50 degrees or 90 degrees, is stay up late, sit around a campfire roasting marshmallows under clear skies and talk about everything. Doesn’t everyone?

This is a tradition that my husband and I have done every year since becoming parents. It started out as a way to just relax after the babies went to sleep, when we first became parents because back then there wasn’t a lot of time for just us. It was a way to be home but enjoy some alone time (well, until the baby started crying and needed one of us, anyways).

Hershey's, S'mores, summer, family, traditions, fireflies, campfire

As the girls got a little older, they loved sitting around the campfire in their tiny kid’s chairs, in their pj’s as we roasted marshmallows for them and made s’mores. Sure, eating s’mores at bedtime is not the most responsible thing to do with toddlers but boy, did they love it. The night ended with two little ones, up way past their bedtime, passed out in our laps, smelling of campfire and tiny cheeks covered in bits of marshmallow and smears of chocolate. It may not have been the responsible thing to do but it was the right thing to do for making childhood memories.

It’s hard when your child’s bedtime is 7 p.m. but it doesn’t get dark until 9 p.m. We could never be the parents who made our kids miss out on catching lightening bugs. There’s just something intrinsically peaceful about sitting around a fire under the night sky, as children clamor about the backyard collecting fireflies as adults swap stories. A night filled with laughter is absolutely magical.

Hershey's, S'mores, summer, family, traditions, fireflies, campfire

These days the girls are a little older and bedtime in the summertime is whenever you fall asleep. We spend lots of time outside in our backyard under a blanket of stars. Most nights you will find us with the people we love the most sitting around a fire pit roasting marshmallows for s’mores as the smell of burning wood fills the air and the sound of a crackling fire serenades us. The girls aren’t sitting on our laps as much these days but they’re never far away, usually within a few feet, watching movies under the stars and giggling with their girlfriends over whatever PG movie is playing in the yard that night.

Hershey's, S'mores, summer, family, traditions, fireflies, campfire

Our girls are growing up fast. Life goes by too fast. But there is one thing we can always count on, summertime and time together in our backyard. Bonding over Hershey’s, graham crackers and marshmallows since 2005.

Hershey's, S'mores, summer, family, traditions, fireflies, campfireIf you love Hershey’s S’mores as much as we do, you can enter a Hershey’s S’mores Grilling Gift gift set here! So enter and start your summer tradition of Hershey’s s’mores which is sure to bring your family closer together.

 

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Even if you don’t win, everyone can use the above coupon to get $.50 off your next purchase.

Let Hershey’s be a part of your family traditions.

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buddig, monte cristo, monte cristo recipe, buddig taste challenge

You know how they say if you love something put a ring on it? Well, if you love a sandwich you should make a recipe and enter it into the Buddig taste Challenge.

Have you ever eaten something that from the first moment you put it into your mouth, you knew it would be an instant favorite? That is how I feel about the Monte Cristo sandwich. Have you ever had one? They are delicious.

I know it’s a weird combination to deep-fry a ham and turkey sandwich and then dip it in jam but it works and it better than works; it’s an amazing burst of warm, gooey, comforting goodness. It’s like a hug from your mother. In fact, the recipe that I came up with reminds me of my mother’s famous grilled cheese.

I don’t know how she does it or what makes it so good but it tastes better than any other grilled cheese I’ve ever had, ever. I think it has something with the love that is used when she makes it. At least that is what I am telling myself.

My favorite sandwich is the Monte Cristo. It was one of those sandwiches that I never would have thought to eat. In fact, until I saw it on a menu, I had never even heard of it.

Yes, deep-fried everything is awesome but there is something special about this sandwich and I loved it so much that I put my own spin on it and made it even better, I think. I kicked up the sweet and amplified the savory with robust cheeses and hearty Buddig meats.

This is the recipe for 1 sandwich but I quarter it and split with between my girls. It is definitely a 2-person sandwich.

Ingredients:

3 slices of sturdy white bread

3 slices of Buddig Smoked Ham

3 slices of Buddig Oven Roasted Turkey Breasts

1 Slice of thick sliced sharp cheddar cheese

1 slice of thick sliced Swiss cheese

Batter:

1 egg

1-cup whole milk

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 ¼ cup of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

Vegetable oil

Powdered Sugar

Raspberry Preserves, strawberry or red currant jam.

Instructions for prepping the Sandwich:

 

  1. Take one piece of bread, place turkey slices and Swiss cheese.
  2. Then add another piece of bread.
  3. Add ham and cheddar cheese.
  4. Add last piece of bread.
  5. Wrap tightly in saran wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Instructions to make batter:

  1. Beat egg in a bowl.
  2. Add milk and blend.
  3. Add salt, brown sugar, flour, nutmeg and baking powder.
  4. Blend all ingredients until completely smooth.

Instructions to complete Monte Cristo:

  • Heat vegetable oil in deep fryer or skillet until 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Gently remove sandwich from saran wrap.
  • Gingerly dip sandwich into the batter mixture being careful to cover all the sides and surface area of the sandwich but not over soaking it.
  • Gently battered sandwich into hot oil and fry until golden brown.
  • Remove from hot oil and place on a rack to cool for a couple minutes.
  • Quarter the sandwich and then dust with powdered sugar.
  • Serve with Raspberry preserves, Strawberry or red currant jam for dipping.

I think this sandwich is amazing and I hope you will give it a try and let me know what you think. I’m one of 8 bloggers entered in the Buddig Taste Challenge, I would love it if you liked the recipe if you would vote for me. Simply go here click through until you see Deborah Cruz and give me a vote, if you want. I’d appreciate it.

You can vote once per day through May 31st. The grand prize is a $1,000 Gift Card and a meet & greet with the Buddig Family. Every 25th voter will receive a Buddig $1.00 off coupon.

Disclosure: I was invited to enter the Buddig Taste challenge but the recipe and my love for the Monte Cristo is all my own.
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chicken enchiladas, recipe, Mexican food, casa noble tequila, Mexico the cookbook

As the year comes to an end this week, I’ve been taking stock of what my life has been up to this point and planning forward to where I want my life to go. I find myself thinking about where I come from and what that all means to me.

Being Latina is about more than the color of your skin or your surname. It’s about the rich culture, the music, the food and the people. It’s a pride that you feel in your heart. It’s not one thing at all; it’s everything.

When I think back to being a child, my mind instantly goes to the smells, flavors and sounds of my parents’ house; the place I grew up. I am grounded in my beginnings because they built the foundation of who I am today.

One thing that instantly transports me to my childhood and is at the core of who I am is food. For better or worse, food has always been a big part of life in our family. Celebrations, milestones and even moments of challenge are always met with the comfort of humble foods that burst with flavors and vibrant colors. Foods that warm your heart, fill your belly and nourish your soul. That is what Mexican food has always been to me.

Taco Bell was something I never even tasted until I was in college and for the record, in Mexico, I never, ever saw a “Mexican pizza” and certainly never ate a hard shelled taco. Well, maybe I did but it was flat and we called it a tostada. There is pride in the way we make our food and there is love in the entire process, that’s why food is such a big part of the Latino culture.

Recently, I was provided Margarita Carrillo Arronte’s new cookbook, Mexico the Cookbook to review. This book is the first truly comprehensive bible of authentic Mexican home cooking. There are over 700 authentic recipes that you can create at home. It will take you on a journey of discovery through the country’s culinary history, ingredients and flavors that have shaped traditional Mexican cuisine.

There are several recipes for enchiladas, one of my favorite Mexican dishes. So many great recipes inspired me to share my own recipe for Chicken enchiladas.

Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. shredded chicken breast ( boil chicken breasts for 45 minutes- 1 hour. Let cool slightly, shred)
  • Olive oil, enough to liberally coat a skillet
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • Minced onion
  • 2 lemons
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 small cans of enchilada sauce
  • Sour cream or crème fraîche (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a skillet, heat olive oil. Once oil is hot, carefully place diced onion in skillet. Sauté the onions until they become soft.
  3. Add chicken in skillet, salt and pepper to taste. Add the juice of 2 fresh lemons and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder to the skillet. Sauté until chicken is warm to the touch.
  4. Remove skillet from the heat. Place chicken in a bowl; toss chicken with 1-½ cups of cheese.

chicken enchiladas, recipe, Mexican food, casa noble tequila, Mexico the cookbook

5. Empty 1 can of enchilada sauce into a shallow bowl.

chicken enchiladas, recipe, Mexican food, casa noble tequila, Mexico the cookbook

6. Dip a tortilla in enchilada sauce. Coat both sides. Spoon fill tortilla with chicken and cheese mixture. Roll tortilla closed. Arrange enchiladas in coated casserole dish. Repeat 11 more times.

chicken enchiladas, recipe, Mexican food, casa noble tequila, Mexico the cookbook

7. Gently pour remaining can of enchilada sauce over enchiladas, top with remaining cheese evenly and bake until cheese has melted (about 10-15 minutes).

chicken enchiladas, recipe, Mexican food, casa noble tequila, Mexico the cookbook

8. Garnish with sour cream, jalapeño slices and guacamole if desired.

Can easily be made into a meal by pairing with black beans, Mexican rice and elote corn casserole ( recipe coming soon).

If you are over 21, I found pairing my enchiladas with a Casa Noble Tequila Cocktail like the Noble Smash can take dinner to the next level. It’s simple to make:

2 oz. Casa Noble Reposado Tequila

2 oz. Fresh Pineapple juice

2 oz. Cranberry Juice

Serve on the rocks with a lemon twist garnish.

This dish is rich and bursting with flavor. It’s more than just a main course; it is a layering of flavors that feels like a hug from your mama. There is comfort in good food eaten and enjoyed with those you love. Here’s to good food, family togetherness, deep love and abounding success in 2015 and for the rest of your life.

I will be giving away one copy of Mexico the Cookbook to one lucky reader. If you live in the United States and would love access to over 700 recipes for authentic Mexican cuisine, enter below. Giveaway ends 1/08/15!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided compensation/ product for this post but all opinions and thoughts are my own.

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white hot chocolate, INternational delight, recipes

Can you believe it? Christmas is only 3 days away. Unfortunately, I’m totally not feeling it. It’s weird, between Halloween and Thanksgiving I was in the Christmas mood. In fact, I was a bit annoyed with myself for being one of those obnoxious people who skipped holidays. But then Thanksgiving came and we were all consumed with the Nutcracker for 3 weeks and now I feel like I am over it and we still have 3 full days of Christmas celebrations to endure enjoy.

I’ve been trying to rekindle my Christmas fire. Warm the cockles of my holiday spirit but nothing seems to be working. I finally decorated my tree last weekend and all the Nutcrackers are standing at attention on my kitchen counter, just waiting to be put in their positions.

All the presents are wrapped, all the elves have arrived and even the Christmas cookies have been iced. But still, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me. Not even the new Pentatonix Christmas CD is working. Sure their rendition of Hark the Herald Angels Sing has me and the girls on our feet singing and clapping like we’re in a gospel choir but I’m still not ready for the fat Guy in the red suit. Maybe it’s the lack of snow on the ground.

I’ve watched National Lampoons Christmas vacation, The Sound of Music, White Christmas, Rudolph, Christmas in Connecticut, The Bells of Saint Mary, Scrooged, Fred Claus, Elf and every ABC family Christmas movie that I can find on Netflix. They have a mad selection this season. I need the Polar Express and Yes Virginia, STAT!

My next stop is It’s a Wonderful Life while sipping Christmas in a cup…White Christmas Hot Chocolate. I think it will pair nicely with the homemade Sugar cookies that the girls made with Grandma. If this doesn’t work, nothing will.

white hot chocolate, INternational delight, recipes

White Christmas Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

2.5 cups of milk (whole or 2%)

1 tsp. of cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup International Delight White Chocolate Mocha Creamer

4 oz. premium white chocolate

Caramel sauce to drizzle on

Whipped cream

white hot chocolate, INternational delight, recipes

Instructions

  • Bring milk, creamer and cinnamon to a slow boil over medium heat, stir constantly.
  • Once at a gentle rolling boil, add in premium white chocolate and vanilla.
  • Stir until all ingredients are melted, minding the heat so that it doesn’t scorch.
  • Pour into your favorite mug; add whipped cream and caramel drizzle.
  • Sit by the fire; enjoy it by the fireplace with your favorite people.

white hot chocolate, INternational delight, recipes

Update: I made it. Drank it while watching Nativity 2: Danger in a Manger, with my family and now, I’m feeling pretty Christmasy. It’s kind of hard not to when your belly is full of white chocolate goodness and I’m surrounded by the people I love the most in my life. Life is good. Merry Christmas!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

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avgolemono, greek lemon rice soup, lemons, soup, minute rice, how to make avgolemono greek lemon rice soup, avgolemono, greek lemon rice soup, lemons, soup, minute rice

I have partnered with Minute® Rice to share with you the recipe of one of my family’s favorite cold weather, holiday hectic comfort foods; Avgolemono Greek Lemon Chicken soup.

Have you ever had a food, scent or object that reminded you of home so much that if you were around it, it took you right back to that place? I do, it’s Greek Lemon Chicken soup. It’s chocked full of healthy, comfort foods like fresh chicken, Minute® Rice, a creamy sauce and loads of hearty veggies. It’s even better than it sounds, especially on cold, long winter days.

There used to be a little café back home run by a little, old Greek couple. I’d gone there since I was in high school with my best friend on Saturday afternoons to talk over our lives and sip on that amazing Greek Lemon Chicken Soup. This continued through our 20’s. If I was home from school, even in the summer time, that Greek Lemon Chicken soup was always a staple. Somehow, it made everything seem possible.

READ ALSO: Homemade Cranberry Orange Sauce

Growing up in a Latina home, I’d never had Greek Lemon Chicken Soup before that café and as I got older and moved away, I missed that soup. It always reminded me of home and a time when anything was possible. It was like a giant hug from the inside out. I took my husband there while we were dating. It was like sharing a wonderful secret.

That little café closed a few years ago but I refused to imagine a world where possibilities weren’t endless and I wanted to share it with my own girls someday. I was really upset at the thought of never getting to have girl talks and share secrets over soup with my daughters as they grew into women.

I did what any sane, determined mom on a mission would do I came up with a recipe that tastes just as good as the Greek Lemon Chicken Soup and I’ve shared it on several occasions with my girls. We sit around our dinner table and share our days and it is wonderful. The best part is that it makes a huge batch and heats up just as deliciously as it tasted on day one. During the frenzy of the holiday season, this soup is a life saver for the busy family. There is nothing quite so comforting as coming in from sledding to eat a hot bowl of Greek Lemon Chicken Soup and with Minute® Rice it’s done that much sooner.

READ ALSO: How to Roast the Perfect Turkey

Here is my recipe for the best Greek Lemon Chicken Soup I’ve ever tasted. I will warn you. It is a labor of love. It takes a little prep time but I’ve found some shortcuts and in the end, the soup is so worth it. The flavor is out of this world and your family will feel the love in each bite.

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Ingredients for Greek Lemon Chicken Soup:

8 cups of  chicken broth, bought or homemade chicken broth
2/3 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup of shredded carrots
2/3 cup of chopped onion
1 cup of chopped celery
6 tablespoons of chicken bouillon
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup of butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup of cooked white Minute® Rice (you can also use Minute 100% whole grain brown rice, it just take a few more minutes to cook.) Minute® Rice is my favorite because it cooks quickly and is always fluffy.
3 shredded chicken breasts (I boil the chicken for 1 hour before shredding)
8 egg yolks

avgolemono, greek lemon rice soup, lemons, soup, minute rice

Directions:

1. In a large pot combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, shredded carrots, onions, celery, chicken bouillon and white pepper.
2. Bring to a boil on high and let simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Blend melted butter and flour together. Then, carefully add it to the soup mixture. Simmer for 10 more minutes.
4. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks until light in color.
5. Add some of the hot soup to the egg yolks, stirring constantly.
6. Return egg mix to soup pot and heat through. Add rich and chicken.
7. Ladle hot soup into bowls.
8. Enjoy with those you love.

I guarantee that your family will love this soup and adore you for making it. It quickly became a favorite of our girls. Bonus: it is so hearty that you can make an entire meal of it, no sides needed. Many nights we have enjoyed a bowl of Greek Lemon Chicken soup in front of the fireplace while watching a movie together as a family.

It also pairs great with your favorite Panini, grilled cheese or a small salad for lunch or dinner. We’ve drawn this soup out to dinner for at least 3 days.

READ ALSO: How to make Sweet Potato Casserole

What is your favorite comfort food that reminds you of home?

avgolemono, greek lemon rice soup, lemons, soup, minute rice, how to make avgolemono greek lemon rice soup

For more great recipe ideas and information about all the new Minute rice products visit www. Minuterice.com

 

Photo

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Minute® Rice

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Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Dinner,thanksgiving recipe, recipes, turkey, cranberry sauce

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of family and food. It’s my favorite holiday of the year and I always dreamt that one day we would host Thanksgiving dinner at our home. This year will be our 11th year hosting dinner for both sides of our families.

You can imagine that when hosting a dinner party for 20-30 people, you need a system in place that works. It took a couple years but we finally perfected the perfect traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu.

Here is the menu our family loves every year;

The perfect Thanksgiving turkey

Sweet Potato Casserole

 Ingredients – Casserole

3 cups sweet potatoes, baked and mashed

1/2-teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted

1-cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1/2-cup milk

Ingredients – Topping

1-cup brown sugar

1/2-cup flour

1/2-cup butter

1 cup chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl, beat together first 6 ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch or two 9 x 9-inch baking pans. In a processor fitted with steel knife, combine ingredients for topping until crumbly or use a pastry blender to cut butter into brown sugar and flour until crumbly. Mix in nuts. Sprinkle topping mixture over sweet potatoes. At this point, dish can be refrigerated (covered). Bake uncovered in preheated 350-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes until browned and bubbly.

 

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries

1 whole orange including peel/rind, seeds removed

1-cup sugar

Chop all ingredients in a food processor or a food grinder and stir to mix. Refrigerate until ready to use. Be sure to let it drain a while to remove the excess liquid before mixing it with Jello.

2 (3 oz.) pkgs. raspberry Jello

2 1/2 c. boiling water

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 cup crushed pineapple with juice

I cup of finely Chopped Walnuts or pecans

 

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in Cranberry Orange Sauce, pineapple and chopped walnuts. Pour into mold. Refrigerate until firm.

 

The Pioneer Woman’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes

 

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • ¾ cups Butter
  • 1 package (8 Oz.) Cream Cheese, Softened
  • ½ cups (to 3/4 Cups) Half-and-Half
  • ½ teaspoons (to 1 Teaspoon) Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • ½ teaspoons (to 1 Teaspoon) Black Pepper

 

Preparation Instructions

Peel and cut the potatoes into pieces that are generally the same size. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 35 minutes. When they’re cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost, but not totally, fall apart.

Drain the potatoes in a large colander. When the potatoes have finished draining, place them back into the dry pot and put the pot on the stove. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients.

Turn off the stove and add 1 ½ sticks of butter, an 8-ounce package of cream cheese and about ½ cup of half-and-half (Or heavy cream). Mash, mash, mash! Next, add about ½ teaspoon of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt (or roasted garlic cloves) and ½ a teaspoon of black pepper.

Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish. Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350-degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.

Note: When making this dish a day or two in advance, take it out of the fridge about 2 to 3 hours before serving time. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until warmed through.

 

Cornbread Stuffing with Apples and Sausage

 

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped coarsely
  • 1 teaspoon freshly minced thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 1/4 pounds cubed and dried cornbread stuffing, store-bought
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 cups turkey or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in 12-inch skillet.

Cook sausage for 5 to 7 minutes until browned. Add onions and celery and sauté until softened. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Mix in apples, thyme and sage and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add bourbon. *Cook’s Note: When adding alcohol, take pan off flame. Allow to simmer until bourbon is almost evaporated; 1 to 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, add cornbread stuffing, parsley, chicken stock, eggs and pecans. Mix well. Mix in vegetable mixture to bowl. Combine and stir well together. Add to a large casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes.

 

Creamy Turkey Gravy

 

Ingredients

 

Turkey pan juices, about 4 cups of hot turkey stock.

Unsalted butter, if necessary

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4-cup heavy cream

1-teaspoon kosher salt

1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dry white wine (optional)

Directions

  1. Pour the pan juices from roasting the turkey through a fine-mesh strainer into large heat-safe measuring cup, and skim off the fat and reserve (or use a fat separator).
  2. Place the roasting pan over two burners, and warm over medium-high heat. Add 1-1/2 cups water to deglaze the pan, scraping up the brown bits with a flat-sided wooden spoon. Once all the fond has dissolved, pour it through the fine mesh strainer into the same heat-safe measuring cup.
  3. Add enough turkey stock to the juices to bring the total to 5 cups.

Add 5 tablespoons of the reserved turkey fat to the pan (making up any difference with butter), and whisk in flour. Cook for 3-4 minutes, whisking frequently to get rid of the raw flour flavor.

  1. Drizzle the drippings mixture into the pan, whisking constantly. Add the cream, salt, pepper, and wine (if using).
  2. Bring to a boil, and whisk constantly until the gravy has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  3. Serve with turkey.

Makes 5 cups gravy.

Spiced Apple Cider

Ingredients

Makes 2 quarts

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2-teaspoon whole allspice

1-teaspoon whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1/4-teaspoon salt

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 large orange, quartered with peel

2 quarts apple cider

 

Directions

  1. Place filter in coffee basket, and fill with brown sugar, allspice, cloves, cinnamon stick, salt, nutmeg, and orange wedges. Pour apple cider into coffee pot where the water usually goes. Brew, and serve hot.

Looking at this list, it may look like a lot of work and it is BUT it is totally worth it. Each year, we spend the week of Thanksgiving cleaning our home, prepping for visitors and cooking. It’s a hectic week to say the least but I wouldn’t trade a second of all the love and laughter that will be filling our home this weekend. I love giving my daughters these memories to cherish.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?

 

 

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Christmas morning, International Delight, Holidays, better than Christmas Morning cake

Is there anything better than Christmas morning? Thanksgiving is next week but I am seeing Christmas everywhere, now! It seems the entire world needs a little Christmas now because all of my neighbors have their holiday decorations up.

My mind has been on all things delicious and Christmas. I’m a hair away from putting up twinkling lights in my kitchen to give the holiday music playing just a little umph. I’m so in the holiday mood, that I’m planning Christmas cards and THIS year, I’m getting them ordered before the week of Christmas. Heck, I’ve even ordered and received our matching Christmas morning pajamas.

Obviously with all of this holiday spirit going on in my head and my heart, I had to make something to share with the people I love, especially the little ones. I don’t know about you but there is not much that my little girls love at the holidays more than chocolates and peppermint, so I made a recipe to provide sheer happiness to my girls.

I call it the Better than Christmas Morning Cake because…it just might be!

Christmas morning, International Delight, Holidays, better than Christmas Morning cake

Ingredients

½ cup boiling water

4 ounces German Chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa

1-teaspoon baking soda

1-teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 large eggs, separated

1-teaspoon vanilla

1-cup buttermilk

½ can sweetened condensed milk

7 ounces Peppermint International Delight

1 jar chocolate fudge

8 ounces heavy whipping cream

¼ cup sugar

1 box of Andes thin mints

Christmas morning, International Delight, Holidays, better than Christmas Morning cake

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray. Dust with flour and tap out any excess. Set aside.

2. In a medium heat-proof bowl, pour boiling water over German chocolate. Stir until smooth and set aside.

3. In another medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

4. In large mixing bowl, use mixer on high to beat sugar and butter for 2 minutes.

5. Add egg yolks, one at a time, until well incorporated.

6. Reduce mixer speed to low and add chocolate mixture and vanilla.

7. Add flour mixture by thirds, alternating with buttermilk and ending with dry ingredients.

8. With clean mixer beaters, in a medium bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir a half-cup beaten whites into batter.

9. Fold remaining whites into batter.

10. Divide batter into two pans. Bake on center rack for 35 minutes. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

11. Poke top of warm cake every 1/2 inch with handle end of wooden spoon. Drizzle condensed milk mixed with peppermint creamer evenly over top of cake; let stand until milk has been absorbed into cake. Drizzle with fudge topping. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled.

12. Spread whipped topping over top of cake. Sprinkle with Andes bits. Store covered in refrigerator.

13. Serve it to the ones you love, while listening to Christmas music under twinkling lights. Bonus points if you’re wearing matching pajamas!

Christmas morning, International Delight, Holidays, better than Christmas Morning cake

What’s your favorite holiday recipe to make for your loved ones?

For more awesome recipes and ways to use your International Delight creamers, check out their Facebook and Pinterest page.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

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National Geographic, Kids Cookbook, cooking with kids

It’s Sunday, which in our house means brunch, and a day spent relaxing in our comfy clothes. We look forward to Sunday’s every week because it’s the day we do what we want to do. It’s the one day of the week based solely on our own happiness and not obligations.

The girls have really been into cooking lately, especially my 9-year-old. She loves to help the Big Guy cook anytime he’s in the kitchen. I bake but the Big Guy is a real gourmet. The kid is smart she wants to learn from the best.

Lately, she’s been asking for cookbooks for Christmas and birthdays and any other occasion that will allow her to get into the kitchen. Part of me wants to yell, no, you don’t have to cook just because you are a woman but then I realized, her role model in the kitchen is her dad and honestly, if I’m being a true feminist it’s her choice if she wants to cook or not cook so we’ve been building a small collection of kids cookbooks.

One of our latest cookbook acquisitions has been National Geographic Kids Cook-Book A Year-Round FUN Food Adventure. It is packed full of 12 months of fun recipes for every holiday, occasion and month of the year.

National Geographic, Kids Cookbook, cooking with kids, #NGKInsider

Bella has been begging to cook something out of the book since receiving it, so this morning we let her help with brunch. It was a simple recipe for Sunny-Side up eggs, one of the simplest but for someone who’d never cooked it before, it was a big deal and she cooked it perfectly.

Cooking eggs is something as grown ups that we take for granted because it’s something we feel like we’ve always known how to do, like making toast or boiling tea but it’s not. We had to learn, someone had to show us, at least once. There are lots of things we forget that you have to learn before you know.

So, this morning as my husband made the gravy and biscuits, the girls helped. I watched. Brunch is mostly a Big Guy thing. Then when it was time to make the eggs, I watched as Bella pulled out her National Geographic Kids Cook Book and proudly asked her daddy to teach her and he did what any good daddy could, he taught her how to cook her first ever Sunny-Side up eggs and she was proud as could be with her results. I don’t know if it was the circumstances or the cook, but those were the best damn eggs I’ve ever eaten.

National Geographic, Kids Cookbook, cooking with kids, #NGKInsider

Do your children like to cook?

Well, if they do, I am giving away one copy of the National Geographic Kids Cookbook A Year-Round FUN Food Adventure to one lucky reader. Contest open to readers in the U.S. and ends on November 23 at midnight, EST. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me your favorite thing to cook with your kids.

Disclosure: I am a National Geographic Kids Insider and the book was provided to me free of charge for review purposes. However, all opinions are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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calavera, beauty, day of the dead, make up tutorial, dia de los muertos, day of the dead

Next weekend is for celebrating at our house; Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos.

My girls are so excited that next week is Halloween. It’s their favorite holiday. It’s the magical time of year when the air is crisp, the leaves are changing colors and the world has suddenly become a more beautiful place of crimson, caramels and golden yellows and we all get to be anyone or thing we want to be for one day, the only limitation is our imagination. I think I’d like to be a unicorn!

As a Latina, it also means it’s time to start preparing for Dia de Los Muertos. Thanks to the new movie Book of Life, I’ve decided that this is the perfect year to teach my girls about Dia de Los Muertos. It’s part of our Mexican heritage. They’ve seen the sugar skulls but I’ve never explained the celebration because death is such a touchy subject for children. This is the year I tell them all about it so that they can celebrate too.

Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that lasts for 2 days, November 1-November 2, November 1st is Dia de los Inocentes, honoring children who have died. In preparation of the holiday, the graves are cleaned and those of the children are decorated with white orchids and baby’s breath. November 2nd is Dia de los Muertos, honoring adults, their graves are decorated with bright orange marigolds. On Dia de los Muertos we honor our dead with festivals and celebrations; it’s a marriage of indigenous Aztec ritual and Catholicism.

We believe that our dead loved ones would be insulted by mourning or sadness, so on Dia de los Muertos we celebrate the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties and activities that they dead enjoyed in their life.

I like that Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with loved ones. It’s a very healthy way to look at death and takes away some of the fear of the unknown.

The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos are the calacas and Calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, as parade masks and even as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations.

In addition to celebrations, the dead are honored on Dia de los Muertos with ofrendas—small, personal altars honoring one person. Ofrendas often have flowers, candles, food, drinks, photos, and personal mementos of the person being remembered. For example, if I were to make an alter for my Uncle Ramon it would include lots of sweets and Rompope ( Mexican eggnog) because I remember when we were little he had a sweet tooth and always had candy on him and if he came during the holidays, he always brought Rompope.

Here is a recipe for Dia de los Muertos Cheesecake

international delight, eggnog, cheesecake recipe, sponsored post, dia de los muertos

Crust

 

    • 16 graham crackers, finely ground (2 cups)

 

    • 3 tablespoons sugar

 

    • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

 

    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 

    • 1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg

international delight, eggnog, cheesecake recipe, sponsored post, dia de los muertos

 

Filling

 

    • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature

 

    • 2 large eggs

 

    • 3/4 cup International Delight eggnog

 

    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

 

    • 2 tablespoons brandy

 

    • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

 

    • 1/4 teaspoon salt

 

    • Cinnamon for dusting

 

 

DIRECTIONS

 

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. Stir together graham crackers, sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg and melted butter. Press into bottom and up sides of pan using a fork. Bake until crust is just brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
    2. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add the remaining sugar, eggs, yolk, eggnog, flour, brandy, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt; beat until smooth. Pour filling over crust. Set pan on a cookie sheet. Bake just until set, 45 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes. Refrigerate overnight.
    3. Slice into 8 slices.
    4. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.
    5. Lightly dust top with cinnamon just before serving.
    6. Enjoy with those you love.

 

dia de los muertos, international delight, eggnog, cheesecake recipe, sponsored post

 

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

For more awesome recipes and ways to use your International Delight creamers, check out their Facebook and Pinterest page.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine. Later this week, I will be posting a tutorial on how to do the day of the dead make-up my brother and I are wearing in the photo above.

What’s your favorite Halloween/ Dia de Los Muertos tradition?

 

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