Monthly Archives: October 2013

Happy Halloween!

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Hola!

Happy Halloween! I don’t post too many pictures of myself because I am not photogenic at all. But today, since it’s Halloween I will make an exception.

This picture will either make you laugh or send you screaming…

 

Can you tell I work at a school?

Happy Halloween!

Besos,

Flor

Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake

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Yay! I made it!

We started pumpkin picking and going to Boo at the Zoo when my two oldest were very young. We continued to go until last year. This year I thought I was going to die! I could not let go of those traditions just because my children have grown up…but I had to! Julian and Julissa are always busy on the weekends  and Julieta says she is too old for that (she will be 13 in a few days!) so there was no way we were all going to go. I have struggled so much with my children growing up, with the changes that it brings on. It seems so much easier for men! UGH! But I am proud to say that this fall season has come upon us and I have not fallen apart!  Maybe one day soon we can make new and different traditions that work for all of us again!

I remember a couple of times going to visit with my sister when she has gone to different cities for work. I loved doing that! It was always a girls trip with me, my sister and two best friends. We haven’t gone on a “mini vacation” in a long time. I remember for breakfast during those trips having a leisurely breakfast at Starbucks with a nice coffee and delicious pastry or piece of bread. Aahhhh How I miss that!  I saw a recipe for some Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake and I had to try it!

Just look at it…so inviting and moist; telling me to jump on a plane and go on a mini vacation! Promising me a great start to a super fun day…but then I remember that I am at home and not in New Orleans, Las Vegas, or Los Angeles. Good times, people, good times!

Starbucks Pumpkin Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c. All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 c. Sugar
  • 1/2 c. Fat Free VanillaYogurt
  • 3 Egg Whites
  • 1 c. Canned Pumpkin

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a loaf pan, set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, and nutmeg, into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, yogurt, and egg whites. Whisk thoroughly until blended. Stir in the pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Stir until completely incorporated.
  4. Pour into pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  5. Let cool on a wire rack. Makes 8 serving.
  6. Add a powdered sugar glaze or cream cheese frosting if desired.

This  pound cake was so moist and flavorful. I am using up the last of my homemade pumpkin puree that I had frozen last year. I guess from this year on I will be using canned pumpkin. Not that I’m knocking canned pumpkin but I loved picking my own pumpkin then tearing it apart to puree it for delicious homemade goodies. Now all I need to do is open a can! It’s just another downside of not going pumpkin picking! Waaahhh! But life has its changes and I guess we just have to go with the flow of it!

Happy Day!

Besos,

Flor

Recipe source somethingswanky

 

 

Cajun Shrimp and Rice Casserole and Weekend Wanderings

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Hola!

This weekend was pure perfection. The fall weather was lovely and we had a wonderful time!

Saturday we went to a Halloween party. We had a great time with family and friends. Here’s a quick picture of my girls. Julieta made a cute bunny and Julissa was an awesome Day of the Dead girl.

On Sunday we headed out to Chinatown to enjoy some food and a little shopping. I love going to Chinatown. We were able to walk around a bit, check out some of the stores and buy a few things. I offered to buy my husband this great tea.

We figured the tea probably didn’t work or there wouldn’t be so many bald or hair challenged men around.

The best part of course is the food!

The We had General Tso’s Shrimp, Chicken and BBQ Pork Steamed Buns, Three Happiness Soup and some Beef Fried Rice. We just all shared so that we wouldn’t eat too much!

We drove to China Town so we were able to enjoy the view our our fabulous city.

I haven’t really ridden too much public transportation since I was in high school. But I have made one or two trips on the “L” train. I had to take a picture of that “L” sign because my brother always makes fun of my being a non public transportation kind of person. It’s not that I have anything against public transportation it’s just that…I’m ashamed to say it…don’t now how to really use it! I am afraid to get lost! OK, I said it!

How does everyone feel about shrimp? I love shrimp. The only way I don’t like it is when I have to peel it. It’s just too much work. I like it to be nice and ready to eat! This awesome casserole was amazing. Look at all that yummy goodness.

I wish I didn’t have to share this…

Cajun Shrimp and Rice Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled (I used medium shrimp)
  • 3 cups cooked long-grain rice
  • 2 cups stock of your choice
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups bell pepper, roughly diced (colors of your choice)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen okra, sliced
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of shrimp soup (or any cream of soup of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (water may be substituted)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) cayenne pepper
  • 1 (8 ounce) package mushrooms of your choice, sliced
  • 1 cup white cheddar, grated (optional)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated

Directions

  1. Cook rice according to package directions omitting water for 2 cups of stock.
  2. Sauté onion and bell pepper in butter until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook another 3-4 minutes.
  4. Stir in okra, lemon juice, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp and cook for approximately 3 minutes until shrimp turn pink. Do not overcook.
  6. Add soup, wine and soy sauce along with rice and stir until blended completely.
  7. Stir in white cheddar.
  8. Pour into a greased casserole dish (I used a 9 x 13 dish)
  9. Bake 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole bubbles on the side.

This dish is actually pretty healthy I think. You can make it healthier by using brown rice instead of white rice. You can also use reduced fat cheese and probably add a few more vegetables than what is actually called for in the recipe.

Enjoy!

Besos,

Flor

Recipe source myinvisiblecrown

Jalapeño Popper Quiche and a Reading Adventure

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Longest week ever! Working two evenings in a week is horrendous! I don’t know how people do it on a regular basis. Well, the good thing is that that is over until next spring!

When my kids were a lot younger we used to have”Friday Night Dance Parties”. We would picnic on  a blanket on the floor in the living room or basement and our dinner would be different kinds of appetizers. After eating dinner we would dance and joke around. I miss those Friday nights.  Jalapeño poppers would usually make it as part of our dinner on those nights. This quiche recipe reminds me of those fabulous Friday nights.

This quiche was really good and super easy.

Jalapeño Popper Quiche

Ingredients

1 9 inch pre-baked pie crust
1/2 cup cream cheese at room temperature
2 jalapenos, diced
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeno, sliced
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, or more to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spread softened cream cheese over the bottom of the pie crust and then sprinkle diced jalapenos over the cream cheese.
  3. In a saucepan, heat cream and milk over medium heat for about 5 minutes, never letting it come to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Let cook slightly.
  4. Add lightly beaten eggs to cream mixture slowly, whisking constantly.
  5. Add paprika and salt.
  6. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle on cheese and then arrange sliced jalapenos on top of cheese.
  8. Bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and beginning to turn golden brown. The quiche will be set and no longer jiggly when it’s done.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve warm.

How about a good read for after the dance party?

This book wasn’t bad. It wasn’t the kind that you hate to put down but I really had to finish it to find out what happened. It’s about two people who each lose a child and that is what brings them together despite them having so many differences. It’s not a bad book but also not the kind that I have to hurry up and finish quickly.

Now that my kids are older they don’t like to have these Friday Night Dance Parties…well, at least not at home with their Mom and Dad!

Besos,

Flor

Recipe source kidsinthesink

Candy Smoothies

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Hola!

What a long week! This week I am having to work two evenings so I am totally going to be exhausted!

I am in the process of figuring out what I want to do for Halloween. I usually go Trick or Treating with some friends and family. Dinner on Halloween is usually a takeout pizza or something super simple like hot dogs. This year maybe I will plan on a big pot of chili and some hot dogs for the kids. I don’t usually make dessert on Halloween because of all the treats the kids get. But this recipe for these candies is super simple and could be made in advance.

These “smoothies” were so good. They are perfect to add to a party dessert table. You can change the decorations and the muffin cups to match any season or occasion.

Smoothies

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 11 ounces butterscotch chips
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (not the type requiring refrigeration)
  • paper cups (mini muffin or smaller)
  • sprinkles (optional decorations)
  • squeeze bottle (optional)

Directions

Line a mini muffin pan with paper cups. Put both types of chips and the peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, then stir.  Microwave again for about 30 seconds, stir. Repeat if necessary. For this next step a squeeze bottle could be helpful.  Pour the melted mixture into a large squeeze bottle and fill up the paper cup.Tap the pan on the counter to flatten out the tops I added Halloween sprinkles to the tops of each smoothie. Place in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to harden up.This recipe makes about 40 mini muffin size cups.  Use smaller cups to get more!

These would be adorable packaged up in food safe boxes or bags to gift to someone.

Happy Hump Day!

Besos,

Flor

Recipe source sweetsimplestuff

 

Candy Apples

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Hola!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Mine was just great! Saturday Julieta, my bestie and I went to the Chocolate and Fine Dessert Show at Navy Pier. It was awesome! I had never tasted or seen such delicious sweets in my life!  Here are just a few of the samples we had.

There were tons of chocolate and toffee samples. We had so many we didn’t even need lunch!

The chefs and pastry chefs that create these masterpieces are artists! They were amazing!

When I was young and we would go to Mexico there were these awesome sweet apples that could have pulled out our teeth or fillings. But we didn’t care. We ate them anyways. They were so good that it was worth the risk. We were lucky enough that after licking and finally eating the entire apple our teeth and fillings were still intact. I had such a taste for these apples that I had to find a recipe for them. In Spanish we call these “amieladas”. I had no idea what the name in English was but I just searched for whatever I could think of that they might be called in English and I found them…Candy or Candied Apples! I was so excited!

I had never in my life used a candy thermometer so I was really scared. It was super neat just watching the temperature raise on the thermometer. I was so relieved when the thermometer didn’t break and shards of glass (or whatever it’s made of) went into my eye. That would definitely have been like a Halloween trick!

Candy Apples

Ingredients

  • 12 small red or green apples, any variety
  • 12 lollipop or popsicle sticks
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon red food coloring

Equipment: candy thermometer

Directions

Wash and thoroughly dry the apples as good as possible to get the waxy film off of them. Insert the lollipop sticks or popsicle sticks so that they are firmly positioned in the apples. Set the apples aside on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and coated with cooking spray.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and cook the mixture until a candy thermometer reaches 300ºF (the hard crack stage).

Remove the candy mixture from the heat and carefully stir in the red food coloring (it may splash, so be very careful). You may have to add more than the designated ½ teaspoon, depending on the quality and strength of your food coloring.

One by one, carefully dip the apples into the candy mixture, swirling to coat them thoroughly and allowing any excess to drip back into the pan. Transfer the coated apples to the prepared cookie sheet and allow them to cool until the candy has fully hardened.

If the candy mixture gets too hard during the dipping process, simply re-heat it over medium heat and continue coating the apples.

You want to work kind of fast because the candy gets hard quickly. I wanted a heavy coat of candy on my apples so I dipped each apple twice. I should have let more candy excess come off the apples but I was so scared to make them that I just wanted to do it!  Needless to say that candy excess did not go to waste…we ate it.

These apples were so delicious and brought back so many memories!

Besos,

Flor

Recipe source justataste

Apple Cider Pancakes with Apple Cider Syrup

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Hey!

On my las post I forgot to mention a movie my husband and I went to see on Tuesday. We received free tickets to see a screening of the movie “About Time” that will be in theatres on November 1st  or 8th. It was such an excellent movie! It stars  Rachel McAdams and male actor but unfortunately I don’t know his name. It was a comedic love story. It was very funny but also had some very emotional scenes. I had to catch myself from crying during the movie. If you get a chance to see it please do!

Now that the cooler fall weather is here it is perfect for long lingering breakfasts on the weekends. Take advantage of making these while it is apple cider time!

Make sure these are nice and warm when you eat them. So good…so good that my husband ate this whole stack plus eggs all by himself!

The recipe for the syrup makes quite a bit I think so make sure to refrigerate the left overs and save to serve with other pancakes, waffles or french toast.

Apple Cider Pancakes

This recipe makes a large batch. If you are making these for 2 or 3 people, just save the extra dry mix as in an airtight container until ready to use. 

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (or white flour)
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Pancake Ingredients

  • 1 cups dry pancake mix
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 cup apple cider (or apple juice if you can’t find cider)
  • Unsalted Butter (both for cooking the pancakes and topping them when they are finished)

Pancake Directions

Place the 1 cup of dry mix in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white, buttermilk, yogurt, honey and cider. In another small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and olive oil. Whisk the wet ingredients in one bowl until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry mix and stir until just combined. It’s Ok if there are some lumps.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter or vegetable oil in a medium pan. Measure 1/3 cup of the batter and pour into the pan. When you start to see small bubbles on the top of the pancakes and the edges are beginning to cook, flip the pancake. Be sure to add more butter or oil as needed so the pancakes don’t stick.

Apple Cider Syrup

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup apple cider or juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick (1-1/2 inches)
  • Dash ground nutmeg

Directions

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and cider until smooth; add cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Discard cinnamon stick. Stir nutmeg into syrup. Pour into a bottle with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator for up to two months.

While the pancakes are still warm, top with some butter and allow it to melt over the top of the pancakes. Pour syrup over pancakes and devour!

I am not the kind of person to be in my pj’s all day at all. I need to shower as soon as I get up and get ready for the day. But the fall and winter weather I think I do tend to stay in my pj’s just a bit longer…especially if I get to make and eat a warm and comforting breakfast like this one!

Enjoy!

Besos,

Flor

Recipes adapted from tokyoterrace and thecomfortofcooking