I love spending my time in the kitchen, but during the holiday season I have a million things to do, so anyway I could take a short-cut I do. The other day I needed a festive cake for a party I was attending. I didn’t have time to bake a cake, so I bought a plain white cake from Walmart, and thought I would just decorate it myself to give it that special touch I was looking for. While I was there, I found some super cute little candy flowers, green candy balls, meringues, and some sugar cones. I knew once I found the sugar cones that I would be making them into trees. Holiday cake ideas are so easy to come up with, and adding that little special touch really goes a long way, even if it is store bought then decorated at home.
I made the afternoon into a project for me and my son. We made a big batch of royal icing, and colored it red and green. I took the sugar cones and smeared them in the green royal icing, then piped on the red royal icing, and decorated the trees in little candies. I topped the trees off with candy flowers and stuck them on with the green royal icing. These trees make incredible cake toppers. I lined the entire top of the cake in the green candy balls, and placed the meringues around the sides. I found an old fashioned Santa Claus cake decoration and stuck it right in the center. The cake was so adorbs…. it was almost too precious to cut. But then again nothing is to precious when it comes to a delicious cake. If you don’t have time this holiday season this is a great way to impress your guests and still have time to shop.
Holiday cake ideas:
- Start with plain white frosted cake.
- Make royal icing. Divide the icing into two parts. Dye one part green and the other part red.
- Spread the green royal icing onto a sugar cone to make trees, and allow to dry for 40 minutes.
- Pipe the red royal icing around the green cones to look like garland. Then decorate red lines with various candy sprinkles. Top the tree with a candy flower, by spreading a wad of green royal icing to the base of the decoration and pressing it into the point of the top. Allow to dry for an hour.
- Line the top and the bottom of the cake with green candy balls. Then place the meringues around the edge of the cake.
- Place the christmas trees on top of the cake.
- Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
Posted in Crafty Food, Holiday, Presley's Panaderia "Bakery", Recipes, Sweets, Walmart Recipes
Tagged green candy, holiday cake ideas, meringues, old fashioned santa, royal icing, sugar cone christmas trees, Walmart, WMTMoms
It seems more and more of my close friends are wanting to make homemade tamales this year, and have come to me to ask what exactly they need to make this serious labor of love happen. I start by asking them exactly how many dozens are they wanting to make? You see the preparation alone is labor intensive, you have to make the chile, and prepare the meat, soak the husks, and chop all the other ingredients. It’s a job not recommended for the weak or tired. If someone tells me 2 to 5 dozen …. I scoff and say “you’re better off buying them already made.” It’s only really worth it if you are going to make dozens in the double digits. This year I went light and only made 15 dozen, compared to my previous years of 27 to 30 dozen, but that’s a different story for another time. What I’m trying to say is if you’re going to commit yourself, you might as well go for the gusto.
Every year I like to make my life as simple as possible by choosing a few things to buy as gifts, and staying with that theme. One year all my friends got tea sets, and another year everyone got engraved stationary and ink/ feather pens…. not the same exact gift but variations to suite their personalities. I few weeks ago I went to Walmart to grab my tamale supplies, and a wall of tamale steamers caught my eye. I thought of my friends that are just starting to continue the tamale making tradition, and are not sure what they need. I decided that group of friends were all going to get the tamalada kit for Christmas this year, but I’d have to give it to them a little early. These are the very basics of what is needed to get started, and lucky for me… Walmart had it all. A few minutes later I was out of the store and had 5 people knocked off my list just like that.
The basics for a tamale making kit:
- tamale steamer: a large pot with and elevated plate inside that has holes.
- tea towels: tea towels are used to cover the tamales once they are steaming.
- strainer: is used to strain seeds out of chile, and to drain the corn husks after soaking.
- tongs: needed to remove tamales from steamer.
- corn husks: the wrapper to the tamale
- chile: the base of your flavor, it is used to both flavor the masa and spice the meat.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. My family and I were invited to the Disneyland Resort and given park hoppers and meal vouchers as an aid to write my post. Thank you Disneyland for a magical day!
I love the holiday traditions at Disneyland Park, including the popular a Christmas Fantasy Parade. It is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, making it one of the longest running parades at the Disneyland resort. To add to the festive celebration the parade is welcoming Anna and Elsa from “Frozen” into the cast. See my video below.
Of course all of my all time favorites characters (Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Santa) are still part of the holiday spectacular event. My favorite part is when Goofy and Pluto float by on their mobile gingerbread house and we get to witness them decorate it with candy and frosting. The theme of gingerbread seems to be spread throughout the park during this time, with dancing gingerbread men in the parade and gingerbread cookies (recipe below) for sale at various shops.
A couple of weeks ago I was at Disneyland with my goddaughter and she was just insanely happy to have the opportunity to not only see Anna and Elsa in the parade, but to be able to see them and take a photo with them as well. Okay, my 5 year old son was happy too. Anna and Elsa seem to be making lots of kids dreams come true this holiday season. Here’s our picture with the two!
A Recipe From Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Chef’s Note: You’ll find star anise in the ethnic aisle in your local grocery store. To get the best flavor, you need to grind the whole star anise pod.
Makes 3 dozen cookies
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 eggs
- 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground star anise
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup colored decorating sugar
- Combine butter and sugar in bowl of electric mixer and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs.
- Sift together flour, cinnamon, coriander, anise, baking powder, ground fennel, ground ginger, cloves, salt, and mace into a separate large bowl.
- With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture until dough holds together.
- Remove dough from bowl and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 to 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 2 cookie sheets.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and set aside at room temperature for about 10 minutes, until pliable. Divide dough in half; return one half to refrigerator. Place the other half on a floured work surface. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness, flouring the work surface and rolling pin as needed.
- Cut out cookies with cookie cutters (dip cutters in flour for neat edges). Transfer to baking sheets, 1 inch apart.
- Lightly brush cookies with milk and sprinkle with colored sugar.
- Bake until firm and edges begin to darken, 10 to 14 minutes. Allow cookies to slightly cool on cookie sheet, then transfer to wire racks to completely cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with the California Milk Processor Board and Latina Mom Bloggers. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
My dad comes from a long line of excellent cooks. Even he has the touch that makes food so dreamy. As a young girl I would watch the food preparation unfold in his house especially during the holidays. Lots of hands chopping, stirring, whipping, and mashing. My busy eyes would dart from on side of the room to the other. My Grandmother (my dad’s mom, who was born and raised in Tijuana) was the one mostly running the ship. Small and fragile, but tough as nails, and most certain of her role in the kitchen…. I could never take my eyes off of her. She was the queen of bringing things together in a flash. I often saw her drinking milk and knew that if I drank it too it would fuel me for a better future and maybe I would be a good cook like her one day.
During the holiday season my grandmother would prepare all the traditional foods of her culture, but she was married to my grandfather who happened to be Caucasian (hence my last name is Presley) so naturally she would also prepare either a turkey or ham to please him. All of this was ordinary, but what made the meal extraordinary was the Creamy Cheddar Chipotle Mashed Potatoes she would make on the side. Holy holy holy… They would melt in your mouth and ring in just the right amount of heat to tickle your tongue but balance that heat with the sharpness of cheddar. Yes, my kind of holiday magic would come in the form of a mashed potato. That is one of the dishes I learned from my Grandmother, and am proud that I come from a long line of cooks.
Ingredients for creamy cheddar chipotle mashed potatoes:
- 8 – russet potatoes (peeled and boiled)
- 1 – heaping tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 – cup whole milk
- 2 – tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 – tablespoons chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (minced)
- 1 – cup cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot over a medium flame filled halfway with water, bring to a boil.
- Boil potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes or until fork tender.
- Drain water from potatoes.
- With a potato smasher, mash potatoes.
- Add in garlic. Mix to combine.
- Add in milk, and butter. Mix to combine.
- Mix in chipotle pepper.
- Add in cheese and mix well until completely combined.
- Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste.
Also I will be taking part of a 10 day photo challenge starting tomorrow, Dec. 10th…. join in on the fun by following the hashtag #TomaLeche on Instagram, or do better get involved by posting your own photos! Here’s the schedule!
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Disneyland Resorts gave me park-hoppers and meal vouchers for my family and I to aid me with my post.
This is the scene of Viva Navidad 2014 at Disney California Adventure. It is the most festive little gem of the season. It has everyone on their feet dancing including Mickey and Minnie. This lively parade is inspired by the richness, warmth, and joyous spirit of my Latino culture. It takes place in the Paradise Garden section of DCA, and happens several times a day. The parade starts off with the Three Caballeros, and they are quickly joined by Mariachis, Folklórico dancers, and larger than life “mojiganga” puppets. It is such an amazing experience that Disney is gifting us again for the second year.
The magic of Viva Navidad 2014 doesn’t end there… The entire Paradise Garden is decorated with holly, banners and traditional “papel picado” hand-cut paper art decorations. The festivities really come to life when you get to my favorite subject: The Viva Navidad menu. You can expect an array of popular Mexican food options, such as house-made pozole, chicken mole, street-style tacos, sopes de Barbacoa, Champurrado, sweet tamales, torta al pastor, and cinnamon-dusted buñuelos with caramel sauce.
Viva Navidad is my kind of party, make your way over to Disney California Adventure and experience it for yourself….from now to Jan. 6, 2015, as the Happiest Place on Earth Just Gets Merrier. But before I forget, The grand finale of “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!” will be the special five-day celebration of Dia de los Reyes Jan. 2 through 6, 2015 in Paradise Garden. They will be serving the traditional Rosca de Reyes bread, hopefully you don’t get the baby. Happy Holidays! Feliz Navidad!
Ay! My Mom…. I can’t take her anywhere. It was 15 years ago, I was navigating my way through the food scene here in Los Angeles. Trying out all the newest hot spots with the most promising chefs hidden behind closed cooking quarters. Now I couldn’t go out to eat by myself, so a lot of times I would drag my best companion along with me, my Mom. Even though she would kick and scream the whole ride there complaining “It better not be fancy or pretentious, you know how much I hate that.” I would ignore her worries knowing we were in for a culinary treat, something that would expand our minds and our palates. The only snag with my Mom is that she is a vegetarian and was always concerned that they wouldn’t have anything she could order off the menu. I constantly reassured her that most places served pasta for sure.
As we became familiar with the food scene, we also became familiar with the most amazing mac and cheese. That became my Mother’s target dish, and she wanted to test them all to see who was the best in the city. Her scale was a bit askew because she didn’t really base her liking on the actual mac and cheese. As soon as she would order her dish, she would ask the waitress if they had salsa or chile in the back that she could eat with her mac and cheese. She wasn’t satisfied with hot sauce, she wanted the hot mixture of freshly mashed chiles that was reserved for the cooks or the chef him/herself. I would shake my head in slight embarrassment, thinking why does she need chile in it? That is how she decided who made the best mac and cheese, based on if the chile she mixed in brought the right about of heat.
That experiment of hers prompted me to make a spicy mac and cheese with the chile mixed in. Of course I turned to my favorite, trusted product, Barilla Elbows. Its superior quality provides a great platform to build my traditional Latina flavors upon. She absolutely loved it, and I have been making her poblano mac and cheese ever since. Happy Mom equals happy daughter.
Ingredients for poblano mushroom mac and cheese:
- 2 – Serrano chiles
- 2 – poblano chiles
- 3 – cups half and half
- 1 – pound Barilla elbows (cooked al dente)
- 1 – pound pepper jack cheese (cubed)
- 1 – cup Oaxaca cheese (grated)
- 1 – cup mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 – stick butter
- 1 – cup onion (chopped)
- 7 – stalks green onion (chopped)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 – cups Dubliner cheese (grated)
- 1 – cup bread shavings
- Place chiles on an open flame until skin is completely burned/charred.
- Place chiles in an airtight container to steam for at least 20 minutes.
- Remove chiles from container and under a slow stream of water peel off charred skin. Set to the side.
- In a blender, add in 1 cup of ½ and ½, and Serrano chiles (stems removed). Blend until smooth. Set to the side.
- In a large pot filled halfway with water. Bring to a boil. Add in Barilla elbows and cook for 7 minutes. Drain by removing from water and place elbows in a baking dish.
- Mix in pepper jack cheese cubes, Oaxaca cheese, and sliced mushrooms.
- Then slice up the poblano chiles and mix them into the elbow mixture along with the cheese and mushrooms. Set to the side.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a medium sauce pan over a medium flame, melt butter. Add in onion, and sauté for 5 minutes. Then add in green onion, mix to combine, and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Pour spicy cream from the blender into the butter mixture, and mix to combine. Then add in the remaining 2 cups of ½ and ½. Let the mixture heat for about 4 to 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the spicy butter cream over the elbow mixture.
- Top with grated Dubliner cheese, and bread shavings.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving.
Visit Barilla.com/EsPosible (in English or Spanish) from your computer and register for a chance to win $5,000 when you participate in the Es Posible con Barilla (It’s Possible with Barilla) Sweepstakes. See below for additional details:
- Visit www.Barilla.com/EsPosible to access the sweepstakes page and register to participate.
- Answer the question of the day—users can return every day until the last day of the sweepstakes to participate. Every answer/day is an entry.
- Limited to 1 entry per day/per email. One email per person.
- For detailed rules, please visit www.Barilla.com/EsPosible and click on the Tab Prize and Rules
- Sweepstakes ends Nov. 30, 2014
Awww the glitz and the glamour of the Latin Grammys were blinding. Yes, I was on the green carpet this year on behalf of Walmart, as the stars strolled down the walkway to head to the show. It was definitely one of those moments in life where I got a bird’s eye view of how the stars live, what they were wearing, and best of all I got to talk to them about what they will be eating this holiday season. Of course some of the stars were unable to stop and chat, but I did talk to Pepe Aguilar, Pablo Alboran, the guys from MAGIC, and somehow Flavor Flav was there too. Watch the video below to see what they had to say.
What I also observed about the Latin stars is their passion and flair for life. They do everything big and have such a different approach to everyday occurrences. Even the biggest stars carry a certain kindness in their greetings to each other and other people, even reporters were greeted with a friendly smile and a warm embrace. I am fortunate to have been exposed to the entertainment industry at an early age and continue to run in these circles, but this was the first time I was intimately involved in the Latin music scene, and it was so inviting and warm, not what I expected at all. The day before the actual show I sat in the audience and watched Pitbull and Santana rehearse their set. It was so refreshing to see two major stars treat everyone on the set with such high regard and in a friendly manner. Over all everyone was down to earth…. no divas anywhere.
Thank you Walmart for sending me on this awesome assignment. It was my privilege and pleasure to be able to represent you at a show that is rich with the people of my culture.
People assume if they walk into my house and smell something delicious that I must be baking. That wouldn’t be so far fetched I guess, since most of the time I am baking or cooking something sweet. The fragrant baking air finds it’s ways into our nostrils and surely makes us salivate.
Last week I received a box full of Airwick “Good To Be Home” collection, which is an exclusive line of candles sold at Walmart. The candles not only smell good, they come in a glass jar with a beautiful mirrored cap. The branded labels easily peel off to fit into any home’s decor. Additionally, they are super reasonable in price, only $4.98 each. The good folks over at Airwick also included a scented oils, freshmatic, and a box of cake mix. They wanted to make sure my house was smelling great.
I immediately put fire to the wick in the vanilla cupcake candle. A few hours later my Mom came over and the first thing she asked when she walked into the house was “Are you baking or did you make pancakes?” I giggled and said “No. Why?” She said “It sure smells like you did.” I showed her the Airwick candle, and I told her I had a box of vanilla cake mix if she wanted I could make her something with the mix. Her eyes showed a slight smile, telling me she liked the idea. Then I said “Or I can make you pancake made with cake mix since you mentioned that’s what the candle reminded you of.” She nodded and said “Get to it then.” As I was making the pancakes she asked that I make them with a pile of whipped cream on top just like the cupcake pictured on the candle. I told her that wouldn’t be a problem, then she said “Where can I get my own candle?” At WALMART of course!
Ingredients for festive pancake made with cake mix:
- 1 – box vanilla cake mix
- 2 – eggs
- 1/2 – cup flour
- 1/4 – flour
- 2 1/3 – cups whole milk
- 1/3 – vegetable oil
- 1 – cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 – cup sugar
- festive candy sprinkles
- In a mixer add cake mix, eggs, flour, milk, and vegetable oil. Mix until smooth. It’s okay of there are a few lumps in batter. Let rest for 5 minutes.
- Allow a frying pan lightly greased with butter over a medium flame to get hot. Pour 1/4 cup go batter into the center and cook until the top starts to bubble. About 3 to 4 minutes.
- Flip the pancake on the other side and cook until it is browned. About 3 minutes.
- Continue until all batter is gone.
- In a mixer attached with a whisk, add whipping cream and sugar. Whip for 5 minutes until cream is fluffy and thick.
- Add a heaping mound of whipped cream on top of pancakes. Sprinkle the top with candy sprinkles.