Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix–DIY Hot Chocolate Mix

DIY Hot Chocolate Mix-How to make Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

DIY Hot Chocolate Mix-How to make Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

 

I have been so busy these past few weeks, too busy to even think about putting up a blog.  That is not to say that I have not been thinking about you guys. I have so many great recipes that I want to share with you, but they will have to wait until the new year.  I wanted to share a few Holiday recipes with you as I prepare them for my family and friends.  This recipe for hot chocolate is one such recipe.  It makes a great gift and it’s not overly complicated to make.  I added the mix to some mason jars and purchased some white tops  to replace the metal lids to give them a more elegant look.  Add a ribbon, and you’ve got a perfect food gift for a loved one, not to mention some fantastic hot chocolate mix for yourself!

 

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Ingredients

8 oz semi-sweet organic chocolate  bar ( 70%-100%)

1 cup of unsweetened baking chocolate powder

1 cup of  organic sugar can sub with maple sugar

2 tablespoons of cornstarch

 

Directions: Place the chocolate bar into the freezer so that it’s frozen solid before you process this mix.  It Should not take longer than 10 minutes for it to freeze.  Roughly chop the frozen chocolate bar,

Place it and all of the other ingredients into a food processor,

Blend until the ingredients are completely powdered–about 2 minutes.

Once powdered, transfer to an air tight container.

When ready to use, add 2-3 tablespoons of the hot chocolate mix to 1 cup of milk– You can use any kind of milk you like, you can also use water.  Bring the milk/water and hot chocolate mix to a boil in a sauce pan.

Top hot chocolate with marshmallows–get my recipe here-– and enjoy! So easy, and so delicious!  Page is in love with hot chocolate now thanks to this recipe!  Happy Holiday’s everyone!!!

 

Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Garlic

Lazy Girl Dinners

Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken

I love to roast chicken whole. It is the epitomy of lazy cooking in my opinion, however, the payoff is amazing! You marinate the chicken, stick it in the oven for an hour, and you’re done. I’ve mastered the art of roast chicken. My roast chicken is famous among my friends and family. Brining is the secret to perfectly roasted chicken, but I’ll save that for a another post. For now I’ll just give you a recipe for perfectly roasted chicken.

Here’s what you need:
Ingredients
1 Whole Organic non-GMO Chicken
4 cloves of garlic, pasted
The juice of 1 lemon
The zest of 1 lemon
Sea salt
Black pepper
2 Tablespoons of olive oil

Servings: 4-6

Directions:
In a small bowl add the pasted garlic, lemon zest and oil.

Rub the the olive oil mixture all over the Chicken, and season it generously with…

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Popcorn Balls with Peanut butter and Marshmallows

Popcorn Balls with Peanut butter and Marshmallows

Popcorn Balls with Peanut butter and Marshmallows

Now that Page is in school–two schools if we’re being technical–there are always opportunities for me to cook, or prepare treats for her classes.  This week has been particularly hectic because both schools are doing fundraising drives, and if you’re a parent then you know the schools require a lot of participation from parents in the form of raising money and volunteering to bring food and elbow grease.  Luckily for me none of the kids in Page’s class have food allergies, so I decided to make these popcorn balls.  Popcorn balls have always been one of my favorite Halloween treats.  They contain popcorn and marshmallows, really what’s not to love? These popcorn balls also have a yummy touch of peanut butter, you can omit it, or sub with sun butter or almond butter if you have a little one with allergies. If not–live a little–tis the season! You can make your own marshmallows here’s how, or you can buy a store brand.  I got a gluten free version from Whole Foods.

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Makes 12 medium popcorn balls

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

6 cups of organic Non-GMO popcorn (equal to 1/4 cup of unpopped popcorn)

3 cups of marshmallows

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1 tablespoon of organic peanut butter

Directions: Pop 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels then set aside in a large bowl.

To a sauce pan add the butter,

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let it melt then add the peanut butter, marshmallows,

Stir until melted,

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Working quickly pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn.

With a spatula work quickly to coat the popcorn in the marshmallow mixture.  Once all the popcorn has been coated, work quickly to form the popcorn into balls.

The mixture will still be quite warm so be careful and try not to burn your hands.  Once all the balls have been formed serve and enjoy!

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If you like this you’ll probably love my Caramel popcorn with Almonds and coconut recipe, it’s crunchy and oh so delicious!

How to make Maple Caramels

Maple Cream Caramels

Maple Cream Caramels

 

These caramels have been on my ever expanding list of things I’d like to make for a while now.  I decided that since Halloween is just within our grasp, why not make these as a special Halloween treat.   One of my all time favorite Halloween treats are caramel apples. My mom always bought a package of caramels and on Halloween night we would melt them and make caramel apples.  If you have never made caramel before there can be some pitfalls.  You’ll need a thermometer that can read temps above 250F.  This caramel needs to be heated to 248F.  While cooking, it took a considerable amount of time for my caramel to go from 228F to 248F.  This happens quite often when making candies of this type.  The first time that I made caramel I thought that my thermometer was broken, but it was not. My thermometer just would not go past 230F.  I turned my thermometer off and on, recalibrated it, and yet when I placed it in my caramel it would not budge beyond 230F.  My caramel had reached a plateau. When making candy it takes a considerable amount of energy to burn off enough water to reach a higher temperature.  This plateau  typically occurs at temps between 230-240F.  Simply put, do not be surprised or thrown off if you put your thermometer in your caramel and the temperature stalls at 230F and does not rise for 10 minutes.  It’s completely normal, and once the water cooks out the temperature will rise.  Give it time.  If you don’t the caramel will not set–great if you just want to use this to coat apples, but bad if you want to have them set as a candy.

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Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

1 cup of organic sugar

1 cup of  organic heavy cream

1/2 cup maple syrup

4 tablespoons of butter

1/2 teaspoon maple extract

1/4 cup of water

3 tablespoons of organic corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Directions:

Line a 9 by 11-inch pan with parchment paper spray lightly with oil and set aside. Heat the cream, butter, salt, and maple extract in a sauce pan, once butter melts, remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan add the remaining ingredients:

Bring to a boil over medium heat without stirring,

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Once the sugar completely dissolves, slowly add the cream mixture, be careful the mixture will boil violently:

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Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the temperature reaches 248F.  Remember, going from 230F to 248F could take some time, but keep an eye on it, do not walk away.  The mixture will become less watery and more thick and candy-like as it nears 248F:

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When it reaches 248F it will be very thick:

 

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Thick enough to coat a spatula:

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Pour it into the parchment lined pan and let cool for 2 hours.

 

Once cool cut into bite size pieces and enjoy!

 

 

 

Avocado and Cilantro Crema

Avocado and Cilantro Crema

Avocado and Cilantro Crema

 

We have a black bean tostada night once every 2 weeks.  It’s simple, and definitely a lazy girl dinner, because I open a can of black refined beans heat them then add them to a piping hot and crisp tortilla. I top the tortilla with cheese, sliced tomatoes, cilantro, and either a fresh guacamole or this Avocado Crema.  The result is a delicious and lazy dinner! Simple ingredients, but oh so good. My husband raves about this dinner every time we have it. The best thing about this is that you throw everything into a blender and a minute later the sauce is done. If you want to make this vegan, paleo or Whole 30 approved just omit the yogurt and replace with 1/4 cup of water.

 

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Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

1 large ripe avocado

3 tablespoons of yogurt–can sub sour cream

1/4 cup of cilantro

juice of 1/2 lime==more if you like

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

Sea salt to taste

Directions:  Add all the ingredients to a blender.

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Blend on high until smooth and lump free.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Peruvian Chicken

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I love California, as a matter of fact I’d be hard pressed to name a state within this union that I’d consider leaving California for.  One of the many great things about living here, besides the diversity here, is the weather.  On a great day, the temperature ranges between 78F and 82F.  Since we live by the beach, there is seldom a day without a cool ocean breeze.  Lately however, the temperatures have been 10-20F degrees above normal, and for the last two weeks temps have settled in around 89-98F—HOT!!!!!!  So hot that the last thing I want to do is to turn on the stove.  So we’ve adapted, I’ve been marinating meat in the morning for my husband to grill in the evening when things start to cool down a bit.  This marinade is super simple, and if you’ve ever had grilled Peruvian chicken you know how yummy and it can be.  The vinegar in this really gives this chicken a yummy tang and kick.  I’ve tried this with Rice vinegar and white wine, both are yummy, but plain white distilled vinegar is just as yummy.

 

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Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

1 lb of boneless skinless organic chicken thighs

1 tablespoon cumin powder

1 tablespoon of smoked paprika

3 cloves of garlic grated

1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar–can sub with white vinegar or rice vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil–can sub with oil of your choice

sea salt to taste

Directions: Generously season the chicken with sea salt and set aside.  Add the cumin powder, paprika, garlic, oil, and vinegar to a pan or a bowl big enough to marinate you chicken in.

Mix well,

Then add chicken,

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Toss to coat the chicken in the marinade.

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Cover with foil, refrigerate until you’re ready to grill.  Cook chicken on a hot grill for 15-20 minutes, or in an oven set on 425F  15-20 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!  I served this with a delicious Avocado and cilantro crema,  I’ll post the recipe for that soon–sooo yummy!  This chicken also makes for great chicken taco’s!

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How to Make Queso Fresco Cheese

How to maker Queso Cheese

How to make Queso Fresco Cheese

This week I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen making things that I had on my “list of things I want to make”–yes I actually have a list. This cheese has been on that list for quite some time.  It’s so unbelievably easy to make that now I am left to wonder why it took me so long to try it.  It’s also a great way to use milk that would not get used otherwise. This cheese was a great addition to  my Peruvian Chicken taco’s that recipe will be on the blog tomorrow.

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients

1 quart of whole organic milk

2 -3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice–can sub with vinegar

Sea salt to taste

Equipment:

cheesecloth

Sieve

Directions: Add the milk to a saucepan,

Heat the milk to 180F whisking to prevent the milk from scorching.

Once the milk reaches 180F remove from heat.

Add the lemon juice or vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring gently until the curds separate from the whey. This happens almost immediately.

Allow the curds to continue to separate, let the mixture sit in the pot uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

 

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From here you can decide to just strain the mixture in a cheesecloth lined sieve, add salt to taste and be done–you’ll have a perfectly soft crumble cheese.

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Or you can strain, then squeeze out excess whey, add salt, form into a ball, and press into a firmer queso,

I placed my queso into a circular cookie/biscuit cutter, which I wrapped in my cheesecloth, and then placed a sealed water-filled 4-ounce mason jar on top for 5-10 minutes to squeeze out excess whey.  I placed these items over a sieve with a bowl underneath to collect the whey.

For a firmer paneer type cheese extend the time that the cheese is pressed from 10 to 20 minutes. Refrigerate if you don’t plan on using the cheese right away.  It will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

 

 

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