Month: August 2011

I “Got Milk” for my friend Caffeine. Easy Cafe de Olla recipe!

I “Got Milk” for my friend Caffeine. Easy Cafe de Olla recipe!


Who doesn’t need a “pick me up” in the morning?  I know I sure do, sometimes I need one mid-day too!  I attended a Got Milk event not too long ago and learned all these fancy ways of combining coffee in appetizing drinks by none other then Heather Perry the two time national champion barista.  She got me thinking about my coffee and how I choose to enjoy it every morning.  This is what I call “a morning pick me up” here in my house, we love it and insist on having it.  Coffee brewed with cinnamon tea, a touch of Ibarra chocolate, a big wet kiss of piloncillo, and a lovely splash of creamy milk.  Cheers to you and your loved ones….  Now go out with a bounce in your step and face a brand new day!

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for easy cafe de olla:

16 – ounces of water

1 – cinnamon stick

2 – tablespoons coffee

1 – tablespoon crushed mexican chocolate (I use Ibarra)

1 – teaspoon crushed piloncillo

a splash of milk


In a small saucepan over a medium flame add water and cinnamon stick. Let it come to a boil.

In a 16 ounce french press add 2 tablespoons of coffee.

Then add mexican crushed chocolate

Then pour hot cinnamon tea into french press and let brew for 5 to 10 minutes.

While waiting for coffee to brew, grab your favorite mug and add piloncillo.

Then pour brewed cinnamon coffee into cup.

Then swirl in a splash of milk. Enjoy anytime of the day!

Can’t wait for tomorrow morning to do it all over again.

Hatch Chile Corn Bread Strata…Can you say DROOL?

Hatch Chile Corn Bread Strata…Can you say DROOL?

I get home Tuesday night to a big Fed-Ex box waiting at my doorstep.  Immediately I act like it’s Christmas, I tell Mando “Grab some scissors so I could pop this box open.”   I spy to see the return address is Melissa’s Produce, this sets excitement to my creative mood.  Pulling the flap up to the box  a crowd of HATCH CHILES reveal themselves.  I see the chiles have decided to group into cliques labeled “HOT” and “MILD”…. Who do I want to enjoy first?  I know,  I will test the waters with the mild chiles initially and work my tolerance up to the hot…. Sounds like a plan.  Here’s what happened next:  Brainstorming, market run, roasting chiles over an open flame, and peeling all the charred skin away. Corn bread strata is what I came up with for the mild hatch chiles, wait a couple of days and I’ll deliver what kind of dance the hot hatch chiles did for me! Thank you again Melissa’s Produce!

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for hatch chile corn bread:

3/4 – cup milk

1 – cup grilled corn

1/2 -cup melted butter

2 – beaten eggs

3/4 – cup mild hatch chile (roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped) (about 3 chiles)

1 1/2 – cups yellow cornmeal plus 1/4 cup

1/4 – cup flour

1 – teaspoon baking powder

1/2 – teaspoon baking soda

1 – teaspoon sugar

1 -teaspoon salt

1 – cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

First start by roasting hatch chiles over an open flame. Then once skin is charred place in a ziplock bag and let steam for an hour. Remove from bag, and peel off charred skin under a slow stream of water. Then remove stem and seeds from chile. Lastly cut into long strips then chop into small pieces.

Next take your grilled corn on the cob and remove kernels.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Then take a 9×13 metal cake pan and grease with butter and shake with 1/4 cup of cornmeal. This will ensure your corn bread does not stick.

In a mixing bowl add milk, grilled corn, butter, eggs, and mild hatch chiles. Mix well.

In a large mixing bowl add cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Whisk together. Then add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix until combined.

Pour into prepared metal cake pan, and spread evenly. Then top with 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes.  Corn bread is done!

Ingredients for strata:

1 – pan of hatch chile corn bread

1 – cup grilled corn

4 – mild hatch chiles (roasted, peeled, seeded, and butterflied)

5 – ounces artichoke hearts (chopped)

1/2 – cup pepitas

2 – cups grated jack cheese

1/2 – cup chopped green onion

1/2 – tablespoon dried chili flakes

1 – teaspoon black pepper

1 – teaspoon Lawry’s

2 – cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 – tablespoon spicy brown mustard

8 – eggs

1 – cup milk

1 – cup 1/2 & 1/2

Butter a 9×13 glass baking dish. Then take corn bread and cut into small pieces. Then line glass baking dish with corn bread pieces. Make sure to leave 1/8 of corn bread behind for a later use.

Then sprinkle with grilled corn.

Then add butterflied mild hatch chiles to the next layer.

Now add the artichoke hearts and pepitas.

Now for the jack cheese, chopped green onion, dried chili flakes, black pepper, and Lawry’s.

Now take the remaining cornbread (that 1/8 you saved), and break it up over the top.

Let’s be fair and sprinkle in some sharp cheddar cheese to the top.

In a bowl beat mustard, eggs, milk, and 1/2 & 1/2.  Then pour mixture over the top of the strata.  It should look like this from the side.

Now cover the strata and place in the refrigerator for 12 hours or over night. This is the hard part. Waiting.

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.  Bake strata for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean!

Enjoy!  Serve for breakfast with some sausage on the side or with a side of black beans and sour cream.  I’ll take both. 🙂

No compensation was received for this post. I was provided with a sample of  Melissa’s Produce hatch chiles to aid this recipe. The recipe and opinions are my own.

The happy snacks of Disneyland.

The happy snacks of Disneyland.

Did I ever mention that I LOVE Disneyland?  It’s true.  When I was younger I would go several times a year, but now I get out there on special occasions which usually fall under the guidelines of my birthday, my fiance’s birthday, and now my son’s birthday too!  Of course I get uber excited knowing I’ll hop on all my favorite classic rides…. The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, and Peter Pan.  What really makes the thrill of visiting the happiest place on earth worthwhile are all the snacks.  I live to nosh and drink my way through the day.  Stopping along the way from each ride to the next to see what I could get my grubby little hands on. Today was no different then any of my other Disneyland visits, I had my fair share of all snacks Disney has to offer! Thank you for another beautiful memory!

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley and Mando Lopez

What we snacked on: Mickey Mouse Pretzel, Mint Julep,  Fresh Strawberries, Frozen Lemonade, Disney Lollipops,  Mickey Mouse Rice Krispy Treat Pop, Peanut Brittle,  and Ice Cream in a Waffle Cone.

No compensation was received for this post. Just a wonderful day spent celebrating my son’s birthday. These are my personal opinions and views of Disneyland.

Swap it out with Yoplait Light! Apple Turn-Over Smoothie!

Swap it out with Yoplait Light! Apple Turn-Over Smoothie!

I recently went to a Yoplait Light event, and it couldn’t have happened to me at a better time.  You see, I’m about to film my first webisode for this blog and to be quite honest I am beyond busy with everything.  When I find my time is limited I also find that I grab whatever is available to me and gobble it down quickly, so this was a great refresher course on how to stay on track and make smarter healthier choices for my body.  Yoplait Light is launching a new campaign asking people to swap out an unhealthy snack for a yogurt instead and see the difference.  Yoplait made this idea seem like a no brainer when a delicious Apple Turn-Over Smoothie was served to me in a martini glass, because not only was it refreshing and tasty….. It’s good for me too.  Plus I liked the fact that they used apple in a smoothie, what a clever move.  Next time you are about to reach for a big greasy sloppy snack think LIGHT and shave those unwanted calories away.

Apple Turnover Smoothies

Prep Time: 10 Min

Start to Finish: 10 Min


  • 2 containers (6 oz each) Yoplait® Light Fat Free apple turnover yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup chopped apple
  • Apple pie spice
  • Apple slices


1. In blender, place yogurt, applesauce and chopped apple. Cover; blend on medium speed until smooth.

2. Pour into 2 glasses; top with apple pie spice and apple slice.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

No compensation was received for this post.

Rockin Salted Pistachio Toffee Smothered in Chocolate

Rockin Salted Pistachio Toffee Smothered in Chocolate

In the words of Annabella from Bow Wow Wow…. “I Want Candy!” Aside from wanting candy all the time, I also want my favorite nut, pistachios. Why not combine the two for a perfect pairing and take my sweet nutty cravings to a new level of BIG LOVE.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley and Mando Lopez

Ingredients for pistachio toffee:

1 – cup butter (melted)

1 1/3 – cups sugar

1 – tablespoon corn syrup

2 – tablespoons cold water

1/2 – teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 – cup salted Wonderful Pistachios

12 – ounces chocolate chips (melted)


First line a cookie sheet with a non- stick baking mat or wax paper. I use both, but I’m a freak… One method is good enough.

Then take your bag of Wonderful Pistachios, cut it open and GET CRACKIN! I like to shuck my pistachios before I start making the toffee.  Once done removing shells place 1 cup of pistachios to the side, and with the remaining 1/4 cup coarsely chop.

Let’s get the toffee rockin and rollin…. In a big pot over a medium flame with a candy thermometer attached to the side, drop in butter and allow to melt. Mix with rubber spatula.

Then add in sugar, and mix in completely before adding in corn syrup and water. From this point forward you will be mixing constantly.

Keep stirring your buttery sugar mixture until your candy thermometer reads 300 degrees fahrenheit.  This will take about 15 to 20 minutes and your mixture will go from pale brown to deep golden brown. Then remove from flame and add vanilla. Your mixture will bubble and pop. This is good news!

Add 1 cup of Wonderful Pistachios, and mix well.

Then pour onto prepared cookie sheet and top with melted chocolate.

Spread chocolate carefully over top of toffee to coat it!

Then if your anything like me…. you’ll run off and hide somewhere and eat the chocolate off the spatula.






Okay back to work…. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup pistachios on top of chocolate, and place in the fridge overnight or for at least an hour.

When ready to eat. Break it into pieces or eat the whole slab! Enjoy!

No compensation was received for this post. I was provided with a sample of  Wonderful Pistachios to aid this recipe. The recipe and opinions are my own.

Makes my mouth water.

Seafood Sustainability at BlueWater Grill

Seafood Sustainability at BlueWater Grill

I was recently invited to come and learn about seafood sustainability at BlueWater Grill in Redondo Beach. It was a lot of information to take in, but here are some of the highlights/tips I managed to bring home with me.

BlueWater Grill is one of the FEW restaurants in California that offers menu compliance. Meaning every shellfish and seafood dish on their menu meets at least one of the following criteria:  Marine Stewardship Council certificationMonterey Bay Aquarium “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative”Santa Monica Seafood “Blue” as approved by MBAAquarium of the Pacific “Seafood for the Future” certified, or Certification by a scientific body as a “Best Practices” aquaculture producer.

– Most reliable places to buy fish: Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, and Santa Monica Seafood.

– Things to look for when purchasing fish: a translucent sheen, bounce to flesh, clear eyes, and a red bloodline.

– Wild vs. Farm Raised: If you can, eat WILD fish. If not, know exactly what farm you are eating out of and eat out of United States farms. We have very strict policies in place. As a side note we tried 4 different types of Salmon side by side and the farm raised paled in comparison to the wild.

Chilean Sea Bass is the poor man’s lobster, or just a delicious buttery fish!

– Last but not least…. BlueWater Grill has an amazing Bloody Mary Bar!

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

BlueWater Grill:Redondo Beach

665 North Harbor Drive
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Phone 310 318 3474


Salad Series: HOT OFF THE PRESS-Gorgeous Green Salad and Sliced Almonds Accents are officially a couple.

Salad Series: HOT OFF THE PRESS-Gorgeous Green Salad and Sliced Almonds Accents are officially a couple.

Before my blog I had my finger on the pulse of celebrity gossip.  Well to be quite honest with you, these days I have NO IDEA who’s dating who and the newest baby name trend. I’m out of the loop.  The only pairings I do know about are  the couples that have
fallen in love in my kitchen.  Their have been a few lately.  Plus I’ve always enjoyed playing matchmaker, and don’t ever mind making the initial introduction.  Recently I was snacking on a handful of All Natural Almond Accents happily lost in their crunch and freshness, then all of a sudden a light bulb in my head went on…..  They would couple well with Gorgeous Green Salad.  The rest is history.  I hear they’re living in a big beautiful bowl somewhere.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for Gorgeous Green Salad:

4 – cups mixed greens lettuce

1 – cup thinly sliced red cabbage

1 – cup thinly sliced cucumber

1/2 – cup chopped red onion

1 – small orange bell pepper (sliced)

5 – mushrooms (sliced)

1/2 – cup dried cranberries

4 – sliced radishes (about 2/3 cup)

1- cup cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)

1/2 – cup carrot shavings

1 – large avocado (sliced)

6 – ounces crumbled feta cheese

1 – green apple (cored and sliced)

3/4 – cup Almond Accents

Top with favorite dressing


crumbled bacon

parmesan toast

Add mixed green lettuce to a BIG salad bowl. This will serve as your base.

Then add red cabbage and cucumber. I like to lay all ingredients out nicely.

Next layer in red onion, orange bell pepper and mushrooms…. it’s starting to look pretty.

Now for the dried cranberries, and radish. Once you’ve got that done…. add the cherry tomatoes and take a peeler and shave your carrot.

Add avocado and crumbled feta cheese.

Last but not least add green apple slices and introduce Almond Accents to Gorgeous Green Salad.

I like to top with an Italian salad dressing, crumbled bacon, and a piece of parmesan toast.

No compensation was received for this post. I was provided with a sample of  Almond Accents to aid this recipe. The recipe and opinions are my own.