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Fall is here! Clean out that fridge and freezer!

Well. Just six weeks ago my husband and I moved from one side of the country (east) to the southwest again. Now that the move is over fro...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tools of the trade - Tamale Husks, Fresh Pintos and Serrano Chicken

I have my corn husks for tamale making!
Got a bag of Maseca Corn Masa Mix to make the Tamales.

I am going to make fresh pintos tomorrow. The beans will be for the 3 doz Bean and Cheese Tamales and I shall also make 3 doz Serrano Green Chile Chicken tamales for New Years Eve along with the traditional Cinnamon Sugar Bunuelos which I learned to make from my grandmother/mother.

Here is the basic recipe for fresh PINTOS:

1 lb beans, cleaned
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 t. crushed black pepper
4 oz. tomato sauce
2 strips bacon, chopped coarsely
baking soda
1/4 cup cilantro, fresh torn
4 quarts of water + 1 beer

Clean beans, add a good handful of baking soda and cover overnight in a non-aluminum bowl with water to cover the beans. The next morning, rinse the beans three times, discarding water each time.

Add garlic, pepper, tomato sauce, bacon, and water + beer as well as cilantro. Cook for 6 hours or until the beans are tender and the bean skin curl when you pull them out of the water. Add cilantro -- if you have not doe so already. Add 1 t. sea salt AFTER the beans are cooked as it will cause the beans to burst when you add salt while they are cooking.

Use immediately!

Great with a big hunk of buttered cornbread!

Amount Per Serving
Serving Size 545g
Recipe makes 8 servings
Calories 260
Calories from Fat 10340%
Total Fat 12.29g15%
Saturated Fat 1.78g7%
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 95mg 4%
Potassium 826mg 24%
Total Carbs 19.5g 5%
Dietary Fiber 4.9g16%
Sugars 0.61g0%
Protein 22.67g36%

Serrano Green Chile Chicken:
1/4 Onion sliced thinly
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/4 t. Cayenne
1/4 c. Cilantro, chopped
2 cups fresh Green Chile sauce (buy my cookbook for the recipe) or use Hatch GREEN Chile Sauce
2 - 4 Serranos, minced
2 T Olive Oil
1/2 t Sea Salt
1/2 t  Pepper, ground

Add oil to a hot pan, add onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent. Add Chicken and Serrano's saute until just browned and turn. Add Cayenne, Green Chile Sauce, salt and pepper and simmer covered until the sauce thickens and chicken is no longer pink. Take chicken out. Shred it with two forks and return back to the pan, thicken sauce as needed. Correct seasoning and reserve for chicken tamales.

 Soaking Tamale husks in preparation of spreading corn masa and filling them before steaming the tamales.

 Here is a photo of the finished product, without the tamale husk, a Bean Tamale -- steamed and ready to be consumed with a little sprinkle of sea salt.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Holidays are about here so - it's time to think "Tamales"

The closer it gets to Christmas, the more those of us who make tamales start to think about what types we will make for the Holidays to share with family. While I have never sold them, I do give them away! Here is a "FAST AND DIRTY" recipe for pumpkin tamales - one of the many sweet varieties you will find.

makes 3 dozen

40 or 80 corn husks, cleaned and soaked
7 c MASECA (this is corn flour used to make the tamales)
2 c brown sugar
2 t cinnamon
2 t sea salt
2 t ginger
1 t cloves
1 t nutmeg
2- 28 oz cans pumpkin
4 sticks butter, melted
2 c warm water, add more as needed
2 c pecans, toasted (or walnuts)
2 c raisins, soaked in alcohol

Soak the corn husks in water in a large pot - make sure to add a small plate on top to weigh them down. Soak for 3 hours. 

Add MASECA to another large bowl, add water (you may add 1/4 c. corn oil to soften the consistency and bring out the corn flour taste) and then add the rest of the ingredients plus more water as needed to get the dough to a thick consistency of VERY THICK oatmeal.

Drain the husks, re-use the pot to fill with tamales to be steamed for 1 1/2 hours.

Spread 1/2 c over the middle lower third of the tamale husk. Fold one side of the husk over to the other side, do the same with the other side, fold in half and place tamale standing up (add more tamales filling in all spaced) in pan with extra corn husks or use crushed foil so the tamales do not touch the bottom of the large pan.

Place water or a mixture of cinnamon sticks/water (for sweet tamales) in approximately 1/3 of the pot and bring to a boil, lower temp and simmer until the tamales are done - you may need to add more water to keep the tamales from burning due to the steam created.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Luscious Home Made Caramel Rolls

Came across this recipe which I had to share.

As many of you know I recently moved to Alabama and have been shopping for furniture lately, well let me tell you --  there are some mighty fine, interesting little eateries stuck in the middle of these furniture show rooms. Not to mention cafe's which sit along along side of the big showrooms. Found a few mom and pop shops mainly.

Today I noticed this one little place, stuck in the middle of the Ashley Showroom furniture store in Hoover. One thing which stuck out in my mind is that the sales people kept disappearing off the floor to go hit this little cafe in the middle off the showroom, people were walking in for the single purpose of finding this little cafe to get food there. I told my husband let's go check this out. They had some wonderful great fresh made burgers (Stephen loved them), a wonderful greek salad with fresh feta (my choice).

Home-made sweet rolls, delicious pastries and so I had to go talk to them and ask about their cafe. Turns out is was a family run business which recently had a write-up in the local newspaper! So, here  one of those recipes -- try and make it for yourself at home (I love sweets) - enjoy!

A great simple single rise method of making sweet rolls.

Single-Rise Home Made Caramel Rolls:

• 1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1⁄2 cup butter or margarine, softened
• 1⁄3 cup light corn syrup
• 1⁄4 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
• 3⁄4 cup pecan halves, toast lightly
• 11⁄2 cups good whole wheat flour
• 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
• 1 t salt
• 2 pkgs regular active dry yeast
• 1 cup water
• 1⁄4 cup butter or margarine
• 1 egg
• 2 to 21⁄4 cups all-purpose flour

• 2 T butter or margarine, softened
• 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
• 1 t ground cinnamon

Grease 13x9-inch pan with shortening or spray generously with non-stick spray.
In small bowl, mix all topping ingredients except pecans until well blended;
spread evenly in pan. Sprinkle pecans evenly in pan.

In large bowl, mix whole wheat flour, 1⁄4 cup granulated
sugar, the salt and yeast. In 1-quart saucepan, heat water
and 1⁄4 cup butter until very warm (120°F to 130°F). Add
warm liquid and egg to flour mixture; beat with electric mixer
on low speed until moistened, scraping bowl frequently. Beat
on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in
enough all-purpose flour until dough pulls cleanly away from
side of bowl.

Cast flour on a smooth surface, knead dough for 3 minutes. 
Roll the dough away from you, grab it and slap it back towards you, 
pinching the dough lightly where it hits the floured surface creating 
a side seam. Next, with a rolling pin, roll dough to 15x7-inch rectangle. 

Spread ~2 tablespoons butter over dough. In small bowl,
mix 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar and the cinnamon; sprinkle
evenly over butter.

Starting with 15-inch side, roll up dough tightly; pinch
edge of dough into roll to seal. Cut into 12 slices; place cut
side down in pan over topping. Cover loosely with plastic
wrap; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 45

Heat oven to 350°F. Uncover dough; bake 30 to 35
minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan 1 minute. Place
heatproof serving platter or tray upside down onto pan;
immediately turn platter and pan over. Remove pan.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Bake 35 to 40 minutes.

1 Roll: Calories 420 (Calories from Fat 180); Total Fat 20g (Saturated Fat 10g); 
Cholesterol 60mg; Sodium 310mg; Potassium 180mg; Total Carbohydrate 53g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 6g

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Southern Cuisine

I moved this month to Alabama and have been partaking of the southern foods around the area which I am not familiar with at all.  The favored meat is slow roasted pork served with a thin vinegar based bar-b-q sauce. Also, popular around the south is Fried Chicken served with Waffles, below is the recipe for cornmeal waffles. Try these for breakfast with fruit and crispy bacon.

2 cups Yellow Plain Corn Meal
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
3 t fine sugar or Honey
1 t pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs - separated and at room temperature
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup shortening - melted or Butter, melted
1 1/2 t vanilla extract

In a large bowl, sift together Yellow Plain Corn Meal, baking powder, salt, sugar or honey
and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks; whisk in milk and melted
shortening or butter. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry; fold into yolk mixture.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients; whisk to combine completely and eliminate lumps. Add vanilla extract. Pour batter into a well-greased, preheated waffle iron. Cook for 5 minutes, or till no steam escapes. Great as breakfast item, but fabulous with Fried Chicken!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Recipe Books

I have begun to start the final editions on my Cupcakery Cookbook. That is my second Cookbook!

My dear Friend Virginia (bless her heart) gave me my edited copy of Abuelita's Kitchen -- Thanks Virginia! This is for the revision of my first cook book!

I also started a cookbook (first 8 recipes are in) for the cookbook I began for the Woman's Federated Club Cookbook!

So, my writing projects have begun - but they will surely be interupted by settling into Alabama!

I have set up Flickr.com with a group for my pictures as I travel though the states on my way to my new home...More about my travels as they happen...

Gluten Free Raisin Cinnamon Rolls or Bread

Adapted recipe!!

Cinnamon Raisin Toasting Bread or Rolls
3/4 cup raisins (soak in 1 cup water for 1 hour)
Make the sponge:
3/4  c. almond milk (or evaporated milk)
1 T. palm sugar (or blue agave sweetener)
1 1/2 t. dry active yeast
Dry Ingredients:
3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. gluten-free oats (not quick cooking nor rolled)
1/2 c. sorghum flour
1/2 c. tapioca flour
1/4 c. white rice flour
2 T. potato starch
2 1/2 T. palm sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. xanthan gum
Wet Ingedients:
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 c. canola oil
3 T Grade "B"  maple syrup (must be grade B which imparts maple flavor but not as much sugar)
Coat a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  Turn your oven on the "Bread  Proofing" setting or find a warm place to set your bread (cover it) while it proofs.
Put the raisins in a bowl and cover them with warm water.  Set aside.  If your eggs are cold, put them in a measuring cup or glass and cover with warm tap water or let them come to room temp. 
The sponge:
Heat the milk in the microwave for 20 – 30 seconds to remove the chill or until it’s between 100F – 110F.  It should feel warm but not hot when you dip your finger in the milk.  If in doubt use a thermometer -- make sure your thermometer is calibrated to ensure accurate readings. Add 1 T of palm sugar & yeast, stir, cover with plastic wrap and set aside -- it should become foamy (if is does not become foamy your yeast too old or the water too warm or cold).
In a large bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, oatmeal, sorghum flour, tapioca flour, white rice flour, potato starch, 2 1/2 T. palm sugar, cinnamon, salt, and xanthan gum.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, and maple syrup.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Then, add the yeast sponge and stir until smooth.  Drain the raisins, reserving soaking water for another use (use in brown rice cereal or with Quinoa), **and add plumped raisins to dough and mix in.  Turn batter into prepared pan and proof in the oven or in a warm spot for an hour.
** To make cinnamon rolls - roll into a rectangle between two sheets of cling wrap to 1/2" thickness, brush rectangle with oil and sprinkle raisins and 2 Tsp cinnamon evenly over it all and wrap tightly (use a little water to make the dough edge stick together) and cut into 1/2 inch rolls with a sharp knife. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, bake until golden brown (about 20 - 30 minutes) @ 350 degrees, turning the pan around once to brown all the rolls evenly.  You may brush the rolls with Blue Agave Sweetener - if you so desire.
To make a loaf of toasting bread - Place bread loaf in cold oven, or if you’ve been proofing in your oven -- then turn it on to 350F.  No need to preheat Bake for 30 minutes, then cover with foil to keep from getting too brown on top.  Bake for another 15 – 20 minutes until loaf is set and firm in the center and sounds hollow when you tap it.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn on it’s side to let it cool the rest of the way.  Keep in an airtight container.  Serve toasted with no-salt butter or with your own fresh fruit/jam.

November 2010

Lots to discuss...

The move to Alabama.

Stephen decided to go back to work, so we are winterizing our mountain home in preparation for our departure.  I have been trying a few recipes from each of my cookbooks in my library trying to narrow down the cookbooks I will take with me. I must say this is hard to do.  So, that being said. I have decided to take my most NEEDED recipe books with me, hoping that I can come back sometime this winter to gather a few more armfuls of books. I re-packed my kitchen boxes today, decided I need to take my tortilla press and leave all my dishes behind!  After all, necessities are necessities!

I am taking the extra Southwestern spices I have (after all -- will I be able to find them in ALABAMA???), am currently baking a batch of Pumpkin Empanadas in the oven right now using the anise I cannot seem to fit into a spice jar of some type and allowing me to use the extra pumpkin I have. Now on to my list of "essential things to take" ...

The fact that I have a bad case of Rosacea and am learning to eat to avoid my triggers...

Toying with more Gluten free baking....

More info for you all later!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Banana Bread

Well, I had opted to try my hand at several bread recipes but got stuck on this one as it is delicious.

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup butter
3 oz. cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar (reduce to 2/3 cup at high altitudes)
2 ripe bananas
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup flour (plus 1 T at High  Altitudes)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (I like to use bittersweet chocolate chips if you can find them)

Heat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a loaf pan and dust with flour.
Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until light in color and fluffy.  Add the bananas, egg and sour cream and mix until smooth.  Add dry ingredients.  Stir in chips.  Pour into prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 60 – 75  minutes, until golden and not doughy in the middle.

High Altitude directions: Add flour, decrease sugar and add an additonal 1 - 2 T. milk.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Sometimes, I wonder why the thoughts of baking are at times more attractive to me than others. Not sure why, but finding a new recipe is somewhat of an exhilarating moment.

Somehow, I seem to always do save a few recipes to try when my husband has to go out of town for one reason or another. I pull out my recipes and viola! I have a new "project". Smile.

I have been reading up on methods of kneading, and intend to try the "slapping method" to see what comes of the bread quality - supposed to put air into the bread and give it a really light soft center. Let's see what happens...

First batch was a bust...did not account for the amount of liquid needed in the recipe which was for "winter bread" using cornmeal, bread flour and all purpose flour. Another try tomorrow...try, try again! :-/

Remember to cast the flour when kneading as it makes all the difference in the end product.

Also, a donut type of recipe is next...I'm starting to test bread recipes for the Veg cookbook!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bummer - My Greek Cookbooks are missing!

Must from that last move from TX to NM.

Not to worry - this only gives me license to search/cook recipes and create recipes to add to my third cookbook Vegetarian Fusion.  I think I will start with Spanikokpita first. Now to find out how to make Phyllo or a good puff pastry (perhaps now I have to look at those French cooking class materials to get a good recipe else go find some store bought Phyllo).

See you all soon with recipes!

August, Green Chile and Greek Foods

Summer is nipping at our heels, as the cooler weather will be soon.

The kids have gone back to school (or are about to go back to school). We are ALL getting back into the groove of life's End of Summer and into the Fall routine, and it's time to go purchase pounds and pounds of the Green Chile harvest and fill up our freezers with the green stuff.  I've been told that after Labor day has come and gone is the best time to get your Green Chile, so this year I will try to do so and see what delicious Green Chile has to offer my taste buds after Labor Day.  I have also heard that Green Chile gets hotter with each year that passes as it sits in the dark icy chamber waiting for us to pop it out of it's deep freeze -- the jury is still out on that one as I have never been able to keep it more than a year!

Now then, the approach of Fall also spells the beginning of Festivals and the Greek Food Festivals are delectable Festivals -- a slam to your taste buds with the delicious deserts such as Baklava, Koulourakia, Loukoumathes, Galaktoboureko, and Kourambiethes not to mention savory dishes such as Pastitso, Spanikopita, Souvlakia, O Sabouras in Naphilon and of course Greek salads w lots of fresh Feta and Hummus.  So, I will be checking out a few Greek dishes on this cooking site....too!  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Marinated Tofu w/Marsala Sauce **RECIPE**

Was watching an episode of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" and Duff mentioned the Farm House Cafe in Portland Oregon.

Here is my rendition of a great Tofu dish...a take on their Herb Crusted Tofu with Marsala...

1 C Marsala Wine
1 C Water
1 1/2 cups Low Sodium Soy Sauce

Press the water out of the tofu by placing it between 2 plates (weighht the top plate down) and let it sit for 20 minutes. Pour off the water, cut into 4 pieces, turn on it's side and cut diagonally through the entire thing and put in fridge for 1 hour in the mixture above.

Meanwhile get either Panko breadcrumbs or whole wheat bread crumbs and season with salt/pepper. Take the Tofu out and lightly press into the breadcurmbs on all sides. Put the coated tofu in a heated pan with canola or olive oil and saute till browned on both sides. Remove to paper toweling and let tofu drain.

1/2 Cup Marsala Wine
1 sliced onion
1 t salt
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
Silk creamer (or cream)
2 pinches each of Thyme, Savory, Basil, Fennel, Majoram
1 T cornstarch dissolved in 4 T Water
Canola or olive oil

Brown onions until carmelized, sprinkle sea salt over them, add mushrooms, herbs and mix well. Deglaze pan with Marsala wine
making sure to scrape up all the bits on the bottom of the pan. Allow the alcohol to cook off until almost completely gone, add a little more wine (up to another 1/2 cup), add cornstarch and silk creamer (or cream).

Serve over fresh mashed potatoes made with butter and cream with 1 clove fresh crushed garlic and 2 pinches of Thyme. Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Dunno about all of y'all out there, but it sure seems like summer is whizing by! Thought I'd write one more short post for the month of June as July is just around the corner (literally).

I always seem to be looking for substitutes and found this site online -- thought I would share. I love my JOY OF COOKING cookbook substitution pages as well, use them often, between the two (link and cookbook)seem to be able to find what I need (most times)....that is when I need to do any substitutions in recipes.

Here's the URL:


happy substituting and have wonderful 4th of July!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

No trans fats - High Ratio, palm oil, Crisco or Butter?

This brings up another question -- what does high ratio shortening do that good old Crisco or butter can not do? What about palm oil shortening?

For those who have never used hi-ratio shortening, consider the store bought cakes which have a light fluffy frosting. Most likey that shortening is high ratio shortening (with emulsifiers which will not crust up as quickly as Crisco does -- which is a problem for high altitudes/dry climates anyway as it crusts way too fast so work FAST) great for cake decorators. Another type which pastry chefs use is palm oil shortening. Finally, there is the old favorite of butter, much controversy over trans fats, saturated fats (wathc the butter here) but in the end with butter you are not able to achieve a really WHITE icing, so you must settle for ivory colored icing or mellow yellow icing.

What a choice?

I tend to use the ingredients which lend themselves to what type of icing I'm making. If it's chocolate butter cream -- butter works fine as does shortening, palm oil shortening, hi-ratio shortening or even crisco. We are not even touching on the issue of temps and how much butter (if any to use) as well as cream cheese or the FAUX icings made with Dreamwhip or coolwhip folded into buttercream (then there is the italian buttercream, american buttercream, swiss butter cream, I can go on and on). But if it is a WHITE buttercream -- all bets are off!

Heating Core or not?

Hi all,

June 2010, makes me wonder what the hell it is that makes time go more quickly? Is it just now that I am older each year goes by faster? Well, I for one have been baking up a storm. Took a quick trip to DFW area over the Memorial Day weekend for my niece's wedding (THE YOUNGEST OF ALL THE NIECES I MIGHT ADD), which was very nice (Bridlewood Country Club) and got to see lots of family including my older sister. Kristen had a fabulous square wedding cake too!

Which brings me to my next question -- what is your favorite method to cook large cakes and what works for you? Heating cores anyone????

I have tried using the good old flower nail in cakes larger than 10" and compared them against the heating core. I must admit I think they both serve a purpose, in reality when you are making a solid cake -- the flower nail works beautifully but then I can say the same for using a heating core. BUT, using a core in swirled, checkered or marble caked leaves a funny looking center -- try baking a large two toned cake or a marblized cake with a core. Really strange coloring is left -- you can't swirl through the cake center!

Check it out for yourselves!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cakes, Cupcakes, Cakes and more Cakes!

This month has been a crazy month for cakes. I am working on graduation cakes right now with diploma decorations, graduation hats and graduation themed cupcakes -- a novel item for a small village but best to make the graduates parties a fun thing which can bring lasting memories. I also have settled on making specialty cakes, since my forte is in fondant, buttercream icings and I also bake my own cakes.

Sugarccraft.com, wilton.com and the bakerskitchen.net are some good sites to find tools of the baker's trade that come to mind as well as Amazon.com!

But there are definitely trials and tribulations of living in a small town. Grease resistant cake boards have been difficult to find as have cake boxes, so I have been forced to go online to order them as I have had to do with the specialty cake pans -- as there is not a good baking supply store in a town of 11K people. I know, I know it IS a travesty to not have adequate supplies! So, I must say that I am making do with what I can find and an occasional trip down to the nearest big city always leads me to look for baking supplies as well as ingredients for my Vegetarian Cookbook testing.

But enough of my digressing, I am in search of more "trinkets" to place on my cupcakes, and CAKE BOXES before Saturday!!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May weather is fickle

This is a very strange year as far the weather is concerned. I think I am amazed at how we go from 60 degree weather one day. To the next day -- a mix of rain, sleet and snow all in the same day. The temps today are supposed to hit 32 and as I look out now, I see icy accumulations and wonder once it goes below the temp it is now 39 how long will it take to actually stick?

Brings me to the thought of what I just picked at the local grocery store, and what I will be making for dinner tonight. I have found TVP (texured vegetable protein) and trying to find out how to use the stuff...more research for my vegetarian cookbook recipes. Also, I am wondering where in the world can I find SOYRIZO (a vegetarian version of Soy and the spices that go into chorizo which allows for all the benefits of using chorizo but in a vegetarian form.

More on this later as well as how my carrot cake turns out.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May is here, spring has sprung but it has yet to really take hold in the mountains :(

I can hardly believe SPRING is here. Dust storms have been raging for most of the week. Now the temps are back down to 40's - 50's during the day and appears to be a dusting on the mountain now (probably tonight too).

As for the writing of cookbooks, been busy painting with acrylics, writing short stories, taking pictures of scenery and food photos and finally got my laptop set up (came with a Memory card slot). I went to the State convention for the Federated Woman's Club last week to which I belong and had a good time. Working on english to Spanish translations for a couple of folks, and working on the pics of the penne dish I published in this blog a month ago and have been working on pulling together some cake recipes and helping a follower with her frosting skills. Nice when you can share your knowledge with others.

A photo of the latest cake I made for my daughter's birthday. Devils food 3 layer cake with white chocolate frosting.

This picture below was taken while on a walk with the dogs about  1/2 a block from home.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April is here!

My refurbished Dell latitude hard drive on my D610 laptop crashed and burned. I have been able to revive it enough to copy most of the files off my hard drive. What a drag!

Bummer but well this too shall pass.

I have been getting back in the grove of things, volunteering, reading, catching up on laundry while I get the house back in order and catch up on daily chores. I have been cooking up a storm while my daughter was in New Mexico to hit the slopes with her friend Jeanette who left a couple of days ago. I have been sinking my teeth into getting the books for the local Auxiliary in order having taking over for another who moved onto another job. All caught up and learned a new software tool to boot (Quickbooks which I do not like).

Back to cooking. I am going to move forward with the vegetarian cookbook. Decided I will post more photos and am toying with the possibility of new machine. Taxes are donw and yes it was brutal, but tried some Australian shortbread and muffin recipes from Bill Granger's cookbook - fresh foods and lovely recipes. I highly recommend the cookbook "Sydney Food".

Have been toying with Penne dishes and came up with a Penne with vegetables dish.
Great for a crowd:

Penne with vegetables

1 lb Whole Wheat Penne
1 red pepper, sliced
1 zucchini, shredded
1 red onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1 T olive oil
1/4 cup wine

Cook Penne according to package directions. In another pan, add olive oil, garlic and onions, cook till onions are starting to turn translucent. Add remainder of vegetables and cook for 10 mins more. Add wine, and simmer a minute more.

Drain pasta, add to large serving bowl. Using a ladle spoon 1 ladle of sauce over all, toss. Then add rest of sauce, toss, top with mozzarella cheese and parmesan and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

March and status on books

Been felled by a vicious stomach bug which I passed off to my husband. I go for days without eating and lose 5 lbs he goes for 2 days with nothing and loses 10 lbs. Life is not fair. But then, I've ALWAY kind of known that. HA HA.

I've been playing around with the thought lately of writing a third cookbook. The creative juices are stirring and while I am compiling a list of Breads recipes, continue the writing of my Cupcake cookbook (about 50 pages through first draft), am putting an outline together for a VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK, am also working on a "limited edition" of my "Abuelita's Kitchen" Cookbook with color photos.

Leads me to my next question. What else do I need to finish? The breads recipes for this blog, the sewing of a few drapes, a carrot cake (unless she changes her mind)for my daughter's 25th birthday this week, finish a painting of a YUCCA Flowers, finish up a 500 page historical novel, read about 4 books and lastly complete the copper consignment designs I need to finish (only 4 rings, and a couple of leather necklaces to go).

Brings me back to the thoughts about a Vegetarian cookbook. I would like to delve into this possibility a little further, add more cuisines from around the world, means doing some research too, and see what "audience" I will be catering to should I decide to move on this thought...which I may...

"Is she crazy?", you may ask. Possibily. But you know the old adage. If you don't try you won't succeed. Or something like that...

Monday, March 15, 2010

March is here, Spring is around the corner (I HOPE)

Hi all,

I've been playing around with breads lately. I have resurected my bread machine, using it to make bread from start to finish and using it to make dough which I am baking in the oven.

I have some interesting tips which may help you with baking.

1. Don't use IODIZED salt, I use sea salt (no IODIDE). It interferes with the yeast reaction, your bread will NOT rise as high as it should.
2. Use a teaspoon of vital gluten when baking whole grain breads. It helps with volume.
3. Test your yeast to make sure it is still ALIVE! Add water 115 to 120 degrees and the yeast and watch to make sure it foams. Add a little sugar to feed the yeast and wait about 7 minutes before you add it to the flour.
4. Check your dough, if it is not a fully formed ball add a tablespoon of flour at a time. If it is hard to knead, add a tablespoon of water and knead it in.
5. Oil your surface rather than using flour as it will keep the consistancy of the dough and you won't come out with tough over worked and over floured dough.
6. Let the dough rest between risings.
7. Use a cooked cornstarch glaze to coat the top of the bread. Microwave the solution till it just starts to boil, apply a thin (1 to 10 parts)glaze on your bread.

I'll be back with some bread recipes as soon as I've experimented with some more of them!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

February and back from the Gem and Mineral Society Show

Hi all,

I've arrived from the the Gem and Mineral Society show to find a home full of 24, 25 and 26 year olds. Namely my daughter and her friends came to visit and go skiing. Having a household of hungry young skiers who had never been to the area of New Mexico was great indeed! We took them to the Inn of Mountain of Gods, we gambled and yes I won a small bit of cash using my trusty Casino Apache card. I made some of the recipes from my "Abuelita's Kitchen" cookbook.

Then came all the questions: "How long did it take you to write it?", "How did you decide to sell it?", "How much are you making off it?", "What prompted you to write it?", and of course the proverbial "How many copies have you sold?" and "Why did you decide to write it?" "Are you going to write more books?"

Well, I gave them my stock answers: Let me think?! It took 2 years to write it from start to finish. I queried agents, publishers and looked into self-publishing. I am making about 30% royalty of each copy which sells off the amazon.com site and less when I sell them myself as I discount them. I have sold under 500 copies at this time. I wrote it to document the recipes for my family members and it grew from there. I feel as if this is my practice book and yes, I will write more. In fact, I am writing three other books at this time. I just need some time away from volunteering to actually take the to write (which I enjoy doing).

Now, my dauther and the others are back at their jobs toiling away at their respective jobs and here I sit writing a note to my blog.

One small note. While in Tuscon, AZ my husband Steve took me to a restaurant his parents used to take he and his brother when they lived there. It was a quaint little restaurant, he ordered his favorite appetiser a gigantic flour tortilla topped with cheese. I am not kidding this tortilla was the size of a pizza, in a pizza pan and came topped with a oozing mess of melted cheddar cheese. It was wonderful and almost took too much of my appetite away so that I could barely finish my Carne Seca dish. We of course took the rest of what remained of the giant cheese "pizza" back to our hotel room and never looked at it again (it was a congealed mess of cheese). Yes, we did take our finds from the Tuscon Gem and Mineral Society's show and spread them out on our bed and reveled in our great buys. I wish I'd had more time to peruse about the displays of precious gems, fossils and the winding aisles of the Gem show.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Perfect Roasted Chicken Recipe - January

As I look over the month's accomplishments, I am a bit tickled at the fact that I seem to be running in place ever so slowly. I have not kept to my physical cardio workout regime (but have kept up my yoga practice thankfully) and the "other" Sharon has appeared from time to time. So in the month of Feburary I must re-establish that cardio regime!

I have been suffering allergies (dreaded juniper) and started cooking up a storm lately. Now that I am home, I have been working on a perfected chicken recipe which I will share with you now as I have made this recipe over many times playing with the herbs, but I always come back to this one mixture of herbs.

Perfectly Roasted Chicken:
1 roasting hen
1 large onion, sliced
1 T good olive oil
2 springs of fresh Sage
1 T fresh cracked black pepper
1 t sea salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 - 3 minced garlic cloves
a handful of fresh thyme, chopped
a handful of fresh flat leaf italian parsley
a lemon, juiced

Crank the oven to 400 degrees.

Butter a baking dish, slice the onion and lay down a bed of finely sliced onions in the baking dish. Sprinkle the onions with salt and pepper.

Wash and dry the chicken, season it with salt and pepper completely. Lay it down on the bed of onions. Add 1 spring of washed sage to the cavity of the chicken.

Chop the other spring of sage and add it to the softened butter, add thyme, parsley, garlic and salt, pepper and finally add the juice of the lemon to the mixture and gently mix. Spread the skin with your fingers and rub the mixture under the skin of the chicken legs, breasts and thighs. Drizzle olive oil over the skin of the chicken and rub into the skin. Add the lemon skins to the chicken cavity.

Put the chicken in the oven and turn heat down after 15 minutes to 325 degrees and bake it for 1 hour and 30 minutes total (up to - 2 hours depending on the size of the chicken). Use a temperature gauge to ensure the chicken temperature reaches 160 - 170 degrees. Remove from oven, tent it and and allow the juices to re-distribute - wait for 15 minutes before cutting. Then slice and serve with fresh mixed greens, whole grain fresh baked bread and cheese with broccoli.

Serves 4 people.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lily the Rescued Rat Terrier!

My husband and I rescued a rat terrier dog this month.

We are in the process of nursing her back to health and giving her a life.

I have seen, read and heard so many senseless ways people rid themselves of dogs. I learned this all while looking for a dog to give a good home. When we drove to pick up Lily, we found a dog who was neglected. She had been crated for too long (we think), she was wheezing, dirty, smelly, living in a crate in the shelter and was trembling. She was afraid of the other dogs in the shelter. We decided we wanted her before we met her, so we also brought "Rocky" our min. Rat Terrier to meet her and they hit it, or so it seemed.  As we were leaving the shelter, in a room on the right, we saw a bundle of fur, several newborn puppies bundled in a basket, all sleeping piled over each other sleeping in a warm room. The owner of the shelter told us they found the puppies the night before, the pups had been left out in the cold. They had been in water and it was cold outside, time would tell if they were to survive. They were bundles of fur. How could someone do that to puppies? Too bad we could only take one dog (Lily) home.

The shelter had Lily checked out once we contacted them via email that we wanted her, we paid Lily's fees, picked up her antibiotics, and we took Lily and immediately. We bought her food, water, a sweater, a harness and let her sleep for awhile in our hotel room. We began the process of (my husband and I) trying to get her to bond with us. I gave her a bath later that night, fed her. Lily is now resting in bed with my husband. Rocky is sitting with me as I update the blog.

Lily is a cute 9 lb rat terrier dog who seriously should weigh a bit more. Thin, long in body, she is timid with strangers. She is learning to get along with this family, she is a gentle dog, sweet and lacking the nurturing which she deserves.

Lily will be "spoiled" rotten, something which is within not only mine but also in my husbands power.
I will post photos of the dog Lily once I have some!

Let's hope our dog Rocky will also really "bond" with her. He is a bit jealous now that she is with us!
Slow introductions help, no forcing of those bonds or they will not hold.


Folks I've had a few things happen in the past few days and am on hiatus for a couple of weeks while we sort things out on the family front. My godmother (bless her soul) passed away this past w/e. Aunt Alice taught me to eat healthy.  She was a nurse who worked in the school district of Houston, TX.

 While at the time she was influencing me in the ways of eating healthy (this was the 1960's) I was not amused by her throwing a slice of cantalope on my plate as a child. I did not like it, but I learned to recognize in time that the stage was set for healthy eating behaviours. Aunt Alice was one of the influencing factors in my life , she helped me to develop healthy eating habits.

RIP Aunt Alice!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Creation of Brands

Well, it has been over a month (barely) since I wrote and published the first cookbook entitled "Exploring Mexican Cusine: Abuelita's Kitchen. I have been working on that seems like forever.  I have begun the daunting task of marketing the book. In one months time I have sold over 60 copies. I am aiming to sell at least 500 copies this year and I know next to nothing about Advertising/Marketing a book.

So, here I beging the process of writing a Press Kit for submittals.

Sharon de los Santos announces the release and availability of her debut non-fiction cookbook, "Exploring Mexican Cuisine: Abuelita’s Kitchen" on December 10, 2009. It is available for sale at the local 102 Center retail store located in Ruidoso, NM, on her website identified below and on the Amazon website. The cost for a copy of the 8 x 10 paperback book is $11.95.

“Exploring Mexican Cuisine: Abuelita’s Kitchen”, is a cookbook based on one hundred year old family recipes from Mexico. She modified many recipes to be healthier, yet accessible for the modern American kitchen. This book includes "traditional Mexican dishes" as well as updated southwestern and Yucatan dishes like "Green Chile Chicken Tamales", "Pescado Vera Cruz" (Fish Vera Cruz style), and comfort food like "Arroz con Pollo" (Chicken and Rice), as well as traditional cookies "Polvorones".

From an early age, she loved cooking and realized that we all celebrate many important milestones in life in the kitchen of family and friends. She discovered as a teenager that she could write and her teachers and professors suggested she continue to write, from this point forward her love of writing blossomed along with her cooking skills.

Copyright 2009

All rights reserved.

Publication Date: Dec 05 2009

ISBN/EAN13: 1442113936 / 9781442113930

Page Count: 142

Categories: Cooking / Regional & Ethnic / Mexican

Author: Sharon de los Santos

Website: http://www.abuelitaskitchen.com

Available @ Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Mexican-Cuisine-Sharon-Santos/dp/1442113936/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1261854964&sr=8-1


I submitted for a copyright for the book, requested an LCN for libraries and bookstores and hope I crossed all the T's and dotted the "i"'s!
One more thing. When I was at my last Writers Meeting two weeks ago I was ripped open by a fellow member (who I might mention does not write) who laid into me for a "WRITING CHALLENGE" that is writing at too high of a level. If I do use 50 cent words it is simply because I write as I would speak. Please know, I am not not being a high falutin (is that a word??) ass-wipe.   I obviously tried to edit as I went from paragraph to paragragh and lost my focus...ugh.....

Also, I know now that I should not edit any of my writing until I have finished it!  Write first, edit later!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Facebook page and website are now linked to this blog!

A little techinical magic has been done in the background. I've linked the feed for this blog to my web page located at http://www.abuelitaskitchen.com/ and my facebook page for ABUELITA's Kitchen.

I am compiling recipes for the second volume of Abuelitas Kitchen as well!  Any suggestions are appreciated and welcomed.