Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Top 5 Spring Favorites from Sur La Table

If you've been following my blog for at least a year, you'll know I'm a big fan of Sur La Table. I did a blog post last fall of my favorite fall items from their catalog, and I can't help but bookmark my favorite spring items. I know, I know...I'm lagging. Spring started two months ago. Anyhow, here are my favorites.

And lucky for us, Sur la Table is running their Spring Entertaining Sale right now...up to 65% OFF!

1. Bird Wreath- How beautiful is this wreath! Not overly cutesy at all. I'm loving green wreaths lately and I do have a magnolia leaf wreath hanging from my door right now. This would make a perfect addition to my wreath...collection. I guess you can say I've got a collection of wreaths going now. I know I have one for each season and holiday, but I just can't help looking at all the new wreaths lining the stores every season. And I have now found new spots in my home to place them aside from my front door. I've got one hanging from my kitchen hood and I'll even place them over large mirrors. They are difficult to store though, and keep in good condition. I haven't quite found a wreath storage box large enough for some of them. So if you have wreath storage hacks, please do share!

2. Cast Iron Skillet = game changer. I recently acquired a cast iron skillet and it has changed my cooking life. I don't know quite what it is but it gives food a different flavor, distributes heat evenly throughout, super easy clean up, excellent for melting cheese and it makes me feel like such the chef when I'm using mine. And it's oven safe!

3. Schott Zwiesel Forte Light-Bodied Red Wine Glass- I've had these glasses for about a year and absolutely love their, classic, traditional shape. They look elegant, and hold a good amount of my favorite wines. Heck, I like these so much, you will often find me drinking champagne and mimosas out of holds more than champagne glasses ;-) And not only are the beautiful, they are made of patented Tritan crystal which retains its clarity and luster for the life of the glass and resists chipping, scratching, and breakage....much needed feature in my home.

4. Spiralizer- I received my spiralizer for my birthday last year, and it's still a favorite item of mine. I used it all summer for my homegrown zucchinis, and I can't wait for this year's summer crops to be ready for harvest. Read more about my culinary garden from last year here and here. I've got zucchini and summer squash growing this year, but you can use it for carrots, radishes, cucumbers, onions, apples, and all your favorite veggies. It comes with 4 blades that will let you select from ribbon, fettucine, linguine and spaghetti noodles.

5. Water Hyacinth Tote Bag- I'm swooning over this one. Here in SoCal we are no longer getting plastic bags for free with our groceries, so we either pay 10 cents for a thick plastic bag, or we take in our own reusable bags. I've got a trunk full of my reusable totes...becoming a bag lady over here. But take a look at this water hyacinth tote cute is it??!! Nice for a trip on a warm evening to the farmers market for some fresh produce and flowers.

And there you have it. My favorite items from Sur La Table's Spring Catalog.

Check out Sur la Table's Spring Entertainment Sale going on right now...up to 65% off!!

What Sur La Table items are your favorites?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Casa Marcela Cookbook

I've been watching Chef Marcela Valladolid work on this cookbook for the last year as I admire her talent and beautiful, growing family on Instagram. And it's finally ready and delivered! Thank you Sandy :-)  It' is so colorful, beautiful, and full of culture. I can't get enough of it and I take it to bed with me every night. Mind you, I'm usually exhausted at this point and am only able to read a page at a time before I fall asleep with the book on my lap.

I'd like to say I will make every recipe in this book and create a "Julie and Julia" type blog experience, where I post my daily creation to share with you....but, I don't have that kind of time, nor am I a fan of certain foods like that won't be happening. But I do intend to make most of them and I'll be sure to share with you.

She is a big source of inspiration for me, as a creative, talented, Latina and as a business woman. I constantly refer back to her Instagram page for ideas on setting my table, or for quick easy recipes she posts on her feed. Check her out on her Instagram and take a look at her book when you get a chance. It's beautiful even as a coffee table book.

Oh, she also inspired me to grow a home vegetable garden. More on that on an upcoming post.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Volcanes | Crispy Cheesy Tortillas

On our recent trip to Mexico City, my Tia Aurora made us the most simple and delicious breakfast which she calls volcanes. It's a flour tortilla with manchego cheese melted until crispy, served with salsa and sometimes refried beans smeared over them. It was the perfect morning breakfast before heading out into the city to visit the pyramids, myriad of museums, and culture.

Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan
This picture of the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan was taken on Monday March 20th, 2017, a day before the first day of Spring. It is customary that many gather at the pyramid of the Sun on May 21st to welcome spring and receive the energy of the sun, with open arms toward the sun, while dressed in white...from the top of the pyramid. I have climbed this pyramid several times in my lifetime and it is a surreal experience. You can see the number of people climbing the right side of the pyramid on this particular day.

Here is her very simple recipe:

All you need is flour tortillas and gouda or manchego cheese.

Place the flour tortilla to warm on a hot skillet or comal. Turn it over and place your choice of gouda or manchego cheese over it. Once the cheese is melted, turn the tortilla over so the cheese is on the skillet. Warm until the cheese is crispy and no longer sticking to the skillet.

Serve with refried beans, salsa, guacamole and / or some crema. You can obviously serve this as your main dish, or as a side with eggs, or as a snack. Your call.

Buen provecho!


What you'll need for this recipe:

Wood Handle Turner

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Stuffed Bell Peppers

I've been making these for a few months now and they are a total hit in our house of boys. I usually make 6, but I may have to start doubling this recipe as everyone seems to want the leftovers the next day. It's super simple, quick and delicious.


1lbs. ground turkey (or beef)
1 zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup cooked white rice
6 red bell peppers (or any color you'd like)
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. ground chile ancho (or any ground chile)
1/2 tbsp. ground oregano
2 cups shredded mozzarella or monterrey jack cheese (I like a lot of it!)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. coconut oil (or olive oil)

Heat pan over medium heat and add coconut oil. Once heated add zucchini and cook until tender. Add ground turkey, cumin, chile, oregano, salt and pepper, and mix with zucchini. Brown until turkey is cooked through. Turn heat off. Add rice and mix well with meat.


Heat over to 250 degrees.
Cut the tops off the red bell peppers. I also trim off the veins inside. Place bell peppers on a baking sheet. Stuff with stuffing mixture to the top. Top with cheese. Bake until cheese is completely melted.

Serve as is or with some extra rice. Garnish with cilantro.

You can certainly replace zucchini with an other squash, omit the rice, use peas, whatever your stomach fancies!

Now. I realize none of my pictures here have cheese on them. This particular day I was keeping my fat intake low and made mine without the cheese.


What you'll need:
Cheese Grater

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hello Fresh Review: Chipotle Rubbed Chicken, Roasted Pork with Fig Sauce and Caramelized Pineapple Burgers

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you'll know that I recently place my first order from Hello Fresh. Hello Fresh is a service that offers chef curated recipes based on seasonal farm fresh ingredients delivered every week to your doorstep.

And I have loved, loved, loved it!!! For the convenience of having something ready to cook, fresh ingredients and deliciousness!!

Now, I obviously enjoy cooking and love cooking from scratch. However, as most of you, I too get busy with life, work and teenagers. So the idea of having fresh ingredients and a recipe waiting for me in the fridge, with a 10 minute prep time and 30 minute cook time, is pretty darn attractive.

So I placed my first order with them a few weeks back, received my first box and have cooked all my meals. So here's how it works and my review of my first Hello Fresh Order.

I went to the website using my special link in order to receive a $50 discount off my first two orders. If you're interested in the same discount, use this link:

Special Offer! $50 Discount on your First two Boxes! Code HELLO50FRESH. Valid for new customers only. Classic, Veggie or Family Box. Ends 1/1/17. Eat fresh & healthy - Shop Now
I then selected the type of box I want. You can choose from:

- Classic Plan- This plan has a large variety of meals including fresh produce, meats, fish and grains. You can feed 2 or 4 adults, and you can pick 3, 4 or 5 meals per week.

- Veggie Plan- This plan includes seasonal vegetables, grains and animal free proteins. You can feed 2 or 4 adults, and you can select 3, 4 or 5 meals per week.

- Family Plan- This plan includes a large variety of meals to feed 2 adults and 2 children. You can select 2 or 4 meals per week.

I selected the Classic Plan for 4 people for 3 meals per week. My total came out to about $120 for the 3 meals per week, received my $25 discount with the link above, and shipping was FREE. I paid a total of $95, which I think is a steal. It always helps to get introduced to a new product or service with a discount. Special Offer! $50 Discount on your First two Boxes! Code HELLO50FRESH. Valid for new customers only. Classic, Veggie or Family Box. Ends 1/1/17. Eat fresh & healthy - Shop Now
A week before my scheduled delivery, I received an email with a meal swap option. I left my order as is and did not choose to swap any meals.

The order arrived at my door in this huge box. I wasn't home that afternoon, so I made sure to have my son periodically check the door for a delivery and had him bring the box inside the house as soon as possible. Items are perishable and need to be refrigerated.

I broke into my box and the three meals are all in their separate boxes. Each box with all the ingredients needed to make each meal. Perfectly organized for my OCD tendencies.

Under the boxes are ice packs holding all my meats, keeping the nice and cold. I simply placed the three individual boxes of fresh ingredients in the fridge, and the proteins in the freezer.

Also in the box are 6"X8" recipe cards for each recipe, with instructions, ingredients it comes with, prep and cook times, the tools you'll need, nutritional information and even allergens.

I have now cooked all 3 meals that arrived in my box and we were absolutely amazed at the deliciousness. And for me, the cook, I am just thrilled with the ease of picking a meal, having all the ingredients waiting in the fridge, easy to follow color instructions and the wonderful aroma.

In my first Hello Fresh box I received: the following meals:

Chipotle-Rubbed Chicken Salad with Pico de Gallo and Avocado. This was one hearty salad! Even my BF was full with one serving. It contained chipotle, lime, scallions romaine lettuce, oregano, red onion, jalapeno, grape tomatoes, black beans, avocado and chicken.
Seriously?? As soon as I started chopping and putting the salad together, it started to smell delicious. The chicken marinated in the adobo sauce and it was perfectly juicy and delicious. A definite win!

Then I cooked the Caramelized-Pineapple Burgers with Monterey Jack Cheese and Red Cabbage Slaw. The ingredients in this one were ground beef, brioche buns, pineapple, Monterey jack cheese, red onion, red cabbage, carrot, mayo, white wine vinegar and chives. Again...another big score! Teenage boy approved!! Double points...

And finally, Roasted Pork with Balsamic Fig Sauce, Green Beans and Rosemary Potatoes. I almost didn't want to share this with the boys cause I didn't think they'd appreciate it. This one contained pork loin, Yukon potatoes, green beans, shallots, balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, fig jam and rosemary. Again, two thumbs up.

I felt like quite the gourmet cook these delicious meals, and look forward to making more. And perfect, timing because I just received my next box!

Hello Fresh is setup to be a weekly meal delivery. But I didn't know how fast we'd go through them and wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it, so I paused the following 3 weeks, and it automatically sends the next one. You can also see what the meals are for the upcoming weeks, to either pick your meals, or decide if you want to put it on pause for the week and skip until the next one. I personally would like it if I can just order when I want to rather than having to pause it. But other than that, I really enjoyed the service, quality, convenience and ease.

If you're ready to try out Hello Fresh, Special Offer! $50 Discount on your First two Boxes! Code HELLO50FRESH. Valid for new customers only. Classic, Veggie or Family Box. Ends 1/1/17. Eat fresh & healthy - Shop Now
Have you used Hello Fresh yet? Would love to see your meals. Share on our Facebook or Instagram!