Thursday, August 24, 2017

Poblano Potato Salad

This is my FAVORITE potato salad EVA!!! I've made it several times for guests and inevitably, they always rave about it and ask "what's in this"?

I know I've shared the makings of ir or a photo on my Facebook and Instagram pages, but I just can't believe I've never shared the recipe here.

This is actually Chef Marcela's recipe, and I believe it was in her Mexican Made Easy cookbook. If you like the taste of roasted poblano peppers, you are going to fall in love with this salad.


2 pounds baby red or new potatoes, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces


Friday, July 28, 2017

Mexican Meatloaf

Recently I had some Herdez Guacamole Salsa at my mom's as a dip with potato chips....and I was hooked. I just couldn't stopped eating it. So when I saw a Herdez Instagram picture/recipe for a Mexican Meatloaf I knew I had to make it.

But once I read the recipe, it left me wanting to add a few flavors. So I made some amendments by adding veggies and roasted poblano peppers, since I have so many growing in my garden. It was a hit! The flavors work so well together.

The directions call for a 9" x 13" Baking Dish. But I personally like to use mini loaf pans, and I double the recipe, cause I have 3 teenage boys at home on summer vacation, a hungry boyfriend and I work from home, and always looking for yummy left overs for lunch.

INGREDIENTS (serves 8)

2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 poblano peppers, roasted and diced
1 1/2 lbs grounded turkey
1/4 cup cooked white rice
1/2 cup Mexican style cheese blend, shredded
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
olive oil
Refried beans, for serving
Queso fresco, for serving


Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery and onion. Cook until veggies are tender. Set aside.

Combine grounded turkey and rice in large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups Herdez guacamole salsa, jalapenos, cheese, egg, poblano pepper, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Form mixture into loaf and place in lightly greased 9" x 13" Baking Dish; cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for additional 15-20 minutes or until loaf is cooked through.

Pour remaining Herdez guacamole salsa on top before serving. Serve with refried beans and queso fresco.

Please share your pictures with us on our Instagram! Let me know what you think.

What you'll need:

Herdez Guacamole Salsa Med - 15.7 Oz

Chicago Metallic Commercial II Non-Stick Mini Loaf Pans, Set of 4

Pyrex Basics 3 Quart Glass Oblong Baking Dish with Red Plastic Lid - 9 inch x 13 Inch by Pyrex

And of course I enjoyed my almond champagne mimosa while my Mexican Meatloaves cook.

#nofilter #colorfulapron

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Coke Braised Pork Tacos

I tried yet another recipe from Casa Marcela Cookbook and this is another winner. The pork falls apart at the touch! Just shred it apart and place it on a taco bar with warm tortillas, and all the servings like green salsa, guacamole, sour cream, chopped onions, lime wedges, cilantro and sliced radishes.

Serves 2 to 4

1 1/2 pounds fatty pork shoulder, cut into 4 pieces
1 tbsp. garlic powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup water
2 dried bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 spring fresh tarragon
warmed corn tortillas, for serving
1/2 cup chopped onion, for serving
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
1/4 cup thinly slice radishes, for serving
lime wedges, for serving
salsa verde, for serving
guacamole, for serving

Season the pork heavily on both sides with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Transfer the seasoned pork to a heavy Dutch oven, making sure the pan is small, so the pork fits snugly, which will prevent the meat from drying out when it cooks. Add the Coca-Cola and water. Bring to a boil and decrease the heat to maintain a simmer. Add the bay leaves, thyme, and tarragon. Cover and simmer until the pork is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. The Coca Cola will caramelize and the liquid will evaporate when finished. Transfer the cooked pork to a cutting board, and using two forks, shred the meat into 2 inch long pieces. I shredded mine right in the Dutch oven...if I don't have to dirty more dishes, better!

Serve with the warmed corn tortillas, chopped onion, chopped cilantro, sliced radishes, lime wedges, guacamole and salsa. And in our home, not much escapes the sour cream, so have some of that if your tummy so desires.

I also doubled this recipe on my first try to make sure I have enough food in the fridge for these hungry boys. It is summer vacation after all and they're spending much more time at home throughout the day. And it worked out perfect!

And check out my patriotic table setting in anticipation of 4th of July!

What you'll need for this recipe:

Dutch of French Oven

If you're enjoying the recipes and pictures I'm sharing from Casa Marcela have got to get it! I will never get around to making all recipes and sharing them. She has more than just Mexican food. It's a great combination of family recipes for everyone.

Casa Marcela Cookbook

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Agua de Jamaica | Hibiscus Tea

Summer is here and we're all craving an ice cold "agua fresca", which is flavored water. We grew up drinking Agua de Jamaica / Iced Hibiscus Tea at home and it's just what will quench our thirst. So I made a trip to the grocery store, picked up a large back of dry hibiscus flowers and of course, called mom to ask how in the world do I make it. It took me two tries to get it, but I did and it was delicious.


1 cup dry hibiscus flowers
3 cups of water
sugar to taste



Place the water in a bowl and add the dry hibiscus flowers to it. Let it soak overnight. Mom said it's better to soak for hours so the hibiscus releases it's flavor, rather than boiling it.

Strain the hibiscus water and discard the flowers.

Add the hibiscus water to a pitcher and add water enough so that it doesn't get too light. I know, I'm not exactly being helpful by not providing specific directions, but those are the instructions we get from mom.

Then add 1/2 cup of sugar at a time and stir. Taste, and if it tastes delicious, it's ready. You may need to add more until it's just right for you.

Chill in the fridge and serve over ice. Enjoy this refreshing agua de Jamaica, poolside on a hot summer day.

Download printable recipe here.

Items you'll need:


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Mexican Mule

I tried a Moscow Mule a couple of years ago on a super hot day in a hip little restaurant in Monrovia called Sena, which by the way has some A-MA-ZING street tacos and lobster grilled cheese, and salads....well everything is delicious.

So the Moscow Mule is super refreshing, but I have now found an excellent replacement. The Mexican Mule from Casa Marcela Cookbook. I've made it several times, in the short month that I've owned the cookbook and will now become a staple for entertaining in my home.

For those days when this super cute hat makes it out of my closet, a Mexican Mule is the perfect solution.

So here is Chef Marcela's recipe:

Serves 4 (but in my home it serves 2)

1/2 fresh serrano chile, stemmed (I used jalapeno)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup tequila blanco
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 (12 ounce) bottle ginger beer, chilled

Combine the chile, sugar, water and mint in a small, heavy pot. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Once the simple syrup is cooled, discard the serrano.

In a large pitcher, combine the tequila, lime juice, and cooled simple syrup. Stir to combine.

The recipes says to fill four glasses with ice cubes. But honestly, I can only get two of the mule copper cups filled with these measurements. Divide tequila mixture among them. Top with the ginger beer and garnish with the mint leaves. Serve immediately.

You'll need to make sure you serve them in copper mugs as they will keep your drink cold longer.

For more delicious Chef Marcela recipes, checkout her new cookbook:

Casa Marcela

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