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recipes

pina colada cupcake recipe.pina colada, pina colada cupcake, recipe, cocktail to cupcake

CocktailtoCupcake

 

If you like Pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, my pina colada cupcake recipe is going to make your mouth happy. When I think of Pina Coladas, I think of lying on a beach somewhere like Hawaii relaxing in the sun as the surf hits the shore. This is my happy place and I can’t think of anywhere else more perfect to spend an afternoon, unless it was on that same beach in a hammock lying in the arms of the Big Guy.

I don’t have Pina Coladas often but when I do, I’m in my happy place. I’ve even shared the virgin kind with my girls. There is just something about all that pineapple, coconut goodness that makes it impossible to be in a bad mood.

So when I was asked to make a cupcake inspired by my favorite cocktail, a Pina Colada cupcake recipe was the first thing that came to mind. I actually came up with this recipe last year for my daughter’s Luau themed golden birthday party.

pina colada, pina colada cupcake, recipe, cocktail to cupcake, pina colada cupcake recipe

Ingredients for Pina Colada Cupcake Recipe:

½ c. butter, melted

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

1 cup of brown sugar

½ cup pineapple juice, from crushed pineapple

1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained (Save juice)

½ cup whole milk

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of coconut extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 2/3 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line muffin cups with paper liners.

Combine all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pineapple juice and salt in a large mixing bowl; mix with hand mixer on Low until combined, about 3 minutes; add butter and mix.

Beat 1 egg into the flour mixture at a time, assuring each is integrated fully before introducing the next; beat until the mixture forms a cake batter.

Slowly add milk, vanilla extract and coconut extract to the batter, beating and intermittently scraping down the sides of the bowl as you mix, until fully integrated. Fold in crushed pineapple.

Spoon batter into paper liners to about 2/3 full.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.

Cool completely for 30 minutes before icing.

pina colada, pina colada cupcake, recipe, cocktail to cupcake, pina colada cupcake recipe

Cream Cheese frosting

Ingredients

3 cups powdered sugar

½ cup butter, room temperature

8 oz. package of cream cheese

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon of coconut extract

1 cup of toasted coconut flakes

Maraschino cherries

Directions

To prepare the frosting, use the paddle attachment on your mixer and cream the butter, vanilla extract, and coconut extract for 2 minutes until fluffy and light. On low speed add powdered sugar. Beat until it forms a ball. Add cream cheese and mix on lowest speed for 1 minute.

Place in refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes.

Frost cupcakes, sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes and top with maraschino cherry. For extra fun, we placed cocktail umbrellas on some of the pina colada cupcakes. My girls loved it.

pina colada, pina colada cupcake, recipe, cocktail to cupcake, pina colada cupcake recipe

 

If you could turn any cocktail into a cupcake recipe what would it be? If you already have, please share a link in the comments. I’d love to give it a try.

Hope your family enjoys my pina colada cupcake recipe as much as we did.

 

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holiday recipes, healthy, fuel up to play 60

Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with National Dairy Council Fuel Up To Play 60 en español and Latina Bloggers Connect but all opinions on healthy holiday recipes are my own.

The holidays are here and everyone knows that the time between Halloween and New Year’s day is all about celebrating, which means it’s all about eating and drinking. We look forward to traditional family favorites like candy at Halloween, turkey at Thanksgiving, Tamales, Bunuelos and Rompope at Christmas and, of course, all the decadence and cocktails that New Year’s Eve brings with it. It’s the most delicious time of the year and also can be unhealthy but it doesn’t have to be if you make those holiday recipes healthy.

My theory is everything in moderation. If you are craving something and you completely ignore your body’s craving, you will be left feeling unsatisfied and frustrated. But what if your body is craving 7 cocktails, a heaping helping of pumpkin pie with more than a dollop of whipping cream and tamales x4? Then what?

Firstly portion control is a big part of staying healthy during the holidays. So why not use some of the tools provided by Fuel Up to Play 60 like Supertracker, which allows you to track your food and physical activity while setting goals and having access to the nutritional values of the food as well as target portion sizes.

There is also the option of taking your favorite holiday dishes and drinks and making them healthier by swapping out less healthy ingredients for healthier options. For example, swapping out full fat cheeses for low fat cheeses, swapping out red meat for chicken or pork or instead of drinking 3 glasses of eggnog, limit yourself to one.

Fuel Up to Play 60 and their new website (FuelUpToPlay60.com) is designed to help Latino students and their families to be active and make healthier dietary choices by providing relevant resources.

It will help you make your holiday recipes more healthy.

Fuel Up to Play 60 en Español aims to help Spanish-speaking students (and their families) create positive changes that increase opportunities for more active lifestyles. Parental diets and family physical activity habits often have an impact on children’s lifestyles. Through take-home materials and opportunities for family involvement, Fuel Up to Play 60 goes beyond the classroom and into the community and homes of students to achieve the most effective results.

If you’re looking for a great holiday gift for the foodie with a nutritional conscience in your life, The Dairy Good Cookbook is a great option. It’s full of delicious recipes and beautiful photography.

Milk, cheese and yogurt not only taste great, but also are nutrient-rich, affordable, readily available and versatile; making dairy foods realistic options to help people build healthier meal plans.

The book features more than 100 recipes that showcase the unique tastes and versatility of dairy – from cheese and yogurt to milk and butter. The book celebrates the nation’s more than 47,000 dairy farm families and their commitment to their land, animals, commitment to community and their love of family.

The Dairy Good Cookbook is available wherever books and ebooks are sold and retails for $25.00.

How do you keep your holiday recipes healthy?

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Thanksgiving recipes, perfect thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, family, Angel Soft, recipes, recipe perfect thanksgiving

A perfect Thanksgiving is just around the corner. In all honesty, it’s my favorite holiday, not because of the perfect turkey recipe, all of the scrumptious side recipes  or even the unbelievably good tasting sweet potato casserole that I make every year but because it’s the one time of year, I know that my entire family will be gathered together in one space; breathing the same air. I am so grateful for this one-day and these people who I hold so dear to my heart. These are the people who cause me to be soft and to be strong.

We don’t live that far apart, only a few hours really. But as many of you can relate, life gets in the way of the best intentions. We never get to see one another as much as we would like. But birthdays, weddings, religious celebrations and Thanksgiving, those are the days we show up for without fail.

Once the Big Guy and I were married, we knew that we wanted Thanksgiving to be our holiday because we wanted to unite both families. My husband is from a small family. He only has one brother, three uncles and two aunts. I can count all of his cousins on one hand. This was weird for me at first because this was completely different from what I was used to.

I grew up in a big Latino family with 60 first cousins and several Aunts and Uncles. My parents have six children and we were raised to believe that family is the most important thing, right after God. Being together with family means everything to us. In fact, we were raised that the moment you marry your spouse his family is your family. Even if you barely know them or don’t like them, you love them because they are family.

That’s the true recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving.

We may not have had much in the way of money or possessions growing up, our fortune was meager but we were rich in family and wealthy beyond our wildest imagination in love. We want this for my children. This is why we decided to host Thanksgiving, to bring both sides of the family together and blend them into one great big beautiful village for our children. For us, Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate all the blessings we have by being part of that amazing group of people.

Since I was a small child, Thanksgiving has always been about our family being together celebrating. In Mexico, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving because it’s an American holiday but in our house, it’s always been a day to be thankful for the life we have and the people we get to share it with. This is a beautiful thing to celebrate.

We might be Mexican but our Thanksgiving doesn’t look much different than yours. There are only a few subtle differences. For example, at some point during the day Banda music will probably be playing because I like to dance while I cook. There will always be hot sauce on the table because my dad puts it on every thing he eats, including turkey legs.

Sure there is football on the television, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a 30-pound turkey but depending on who’s showing up there might be tamales and there is usually a pretty intense game of lotteria played by all the children. In the end, it’s all about the family and taking the day to be thankful for those people whom you get to love.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Georgia Pacific. The opinions and text about Thanksgiving are all mine.

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general Mills, How to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, home, celebrating, dia de los muertos, day of the dead

Disclosure: This post about Dia de Los Muertos is part of a sponsored campaign with General Mills. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

When someone we love dies, it can be crippling. The hardest part of living after losing someone is surviving without them. It doesn’t matter if it’s an elderly grandparent or a new baby that you never got to meet; it hurts in a primal way that makes you want to crawl inside of yourself and die. Having experienced this pain, I can truly say that I look forward to celebrating Dia de Los Muertos with my family.

I know it sounds macabre, especially if you don’t know what it’s all about. Firstly, it’s not Halloween. That’s the holiday where little kids dress up like monsters and get free candy from their neighbors. Actually, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays but it is nothing like Dia de Los Muertos.

As a Latina, fall season means Dia de Los Muertos is right around the corner. Last year, we watched the movie Book of Life, with our girls, to start the dialogue. It’s a big part of our Mexican heritage. They’d seen sugar skulls but didn’t fully understand what the celebration of Dia los Muertos was about.

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. I love this part.

The cemeteries in Mexico that are normally grey and melancholy, like any other cemetery, suddenly are bursting with color and life. You can’t believe the vibrant colors of beautiful sugar skulls and marigolds that fill the cemetery. My father celebrates this every year by going to Mexico and decorating the tombs of my Tio Narciso, my Abuela Bertha and my Abuelito Manuel. I know this is hard for him but it is also cathartic to celebrate their lives, rather than just be sad they are gone.

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 the dead enjoyed while they were alive. For my Abuelito that would mean leche con pan (he was a simple man with simple tastes), for my Tio Narci that would definitely mean a Big Mac (he loved the United States, especially Big Macs and Ronald Regan) and for my Abuela it would mean as many beautiful marigolds as you could fit at her burial site.
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, on Pan de Muerto, on parade masks and even as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations because it’s a celebration of life.

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 altar for my Abuelito Manuel it would include lots of sweets and breads like Pan de Muerto.

Pan de Muerto (Spanish for “bread of the dead”) is a big part of the Dia de los Muertos traditional celebration. Pan de Muerto is sweetened soft bread shaped like a bun and decorated with bone-shaped pieces. The living eat the bread along with our departed loved one’s other favorite foods in their honor. No Dia de los Muertos celebration would be complete without Pan de Muerto.

Bonus: You can save $3.00 when you buy 3 Big G cereals and “Pan de Muerto” bread to celebrate Dia de los muertos.

 

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Glucerna, diabetes, carbsteady, healthy snacks, diabetic dessert, dessert

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Glucerna. All opinions are mine alone. #GlucernaContigo #CollectiveBias

 

Did you know that 6 million(23%) Hispanics in the United States have diabetes compared to 20 million of non-Hispanic whites. In addition to that an estimated that 57 million people in the United States have pre-diabetes, and 35% are estimated to be Hispanic. This is a terrifying statistic, especially for the Latino community.

 

At my last check up my doctor told me that my sugar was higher than she would like. I was not diabetic but she wanted my numbers to go down or one day, I will be diabetic. That really scared me because I have lost people in my family that I love to diabetes. I don’t want to be another statistic and I certainly don’t want to die because of bad eating habits.

 

That’s the thing about diabetes, it is a scary and terrible disease but it can be prevented if you are willing to do the work; move more and eat less of the foods that are bad for you. I know it’s hard because we develop these habits and our bodies crave sweets.

 

It’s not easy but isn’t your life worth the sacrifice? Isn’t being around to see your children and your grandchildren grow up worth it? Do it for your spouse who loves you and doesn’t want to live without you. Do it for you because you deserve to live a long and happy life and no amount of sweets is worth giving up all of that living you still have to do.

 

One way to avoid becoming another statistic is to start by changing some of your favorite recipes and making them healthier. You could be surprised at how a few tweaks can change your life for the better.

 

One of my favorite treats has always been ice cream. I love ice cream but I know too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing so I’ve changed up one of my favorite recipes the banana split.

 

Banana Split Parfait

 

Ingredients

Glucerna, diabetes, carbsteady, healthy snacks, diabetic dessert, dessert

½ banana

½ cup of strawberries

¾ cup of organic French vanilla yogurt

½ Glucerna Crispy Delight Nutrition Bar in Chocolate Chip ( which can easily be found at your local Wal-Mart.)

Glucerna, diabetes, carbsteady, healthy snacks, diabetic dessert, dessert

Glucerna products have CARBSTEADY, which includes slowly digestible carbohydrates designed to help minimize blood sugar spikes.

 Glucerna, diabetes, carbsteady, healthy snacks, diabetic dessert, dessert

Directions

Using a small parfait glass, layer half of the bananas sliced on the bottom of the cup.

Then layer one third of the French vanilla yogurt.

Top that with ¼ cup fresh, sliced strawberries

Add another layer of bananas

Add another layer of yogurt

Add a layer of strawberries

Add final layer of remaining French vanilla yogurt

Top with crumbled up ½ of Glucerna Chocolate chip Crispy delight Nutrition bar to give the parfait a little extra crunch and nutrition.

Enjoy in good conscious.

Glucerna, diabetes, carbsteady, healthy snacks, diabetic dessert, dessert

This treat is tasty, healthy and you won’t feel like you are being punished. It’ll fulfill your sweet tooth but its completely healthy.

 

Bonus: You can click here for $1 off coupon on any 1 Glucerna product.

Glucerna – Steady Ahead from Kevin Egan on Vimeo.

Be sure to check out more information about Glucerna, great meal plans and the amazing array of shakes and nutritional bar options at Glucerna.com

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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.

 

Hersheys S'mores-Digital Coupon[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=

 

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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