Month: December 2011

A little something for Santa Claus…. Cranberry Corn Scones and Milk!

A little something for Santa Claus…. Cranberry Corn Scones and Milk!

My Mom took me over the Atlantic when I was a wee little one for a family adventure.  My 6 year old eyes explored Europe and my tongue was tickled with new flavors and foods.  I tried many things for the first time during that trip, but one of the foods that planted it’s memory deep within the walls of my cerebrum was the scone.

My first trip back to Great Britain  as an adult took a very different stance on eating and exploring.  I was there with the intention of picking up any and all tips on things I loved and how to re-create them back home.  The scone was my first attempt of bringing the United Kingdom tips I had learned to life.  I made them for the women in my family, they LOVED them with such insane enthusiasm, I started to experiment with the basic scone recipe and finally tried this Cranberry Corn version on my clan.  In short, this is the recipe they request over and over.  I only bring it out during the holidays as a little gift.  I make a big batch Christmas Eve to make sure I have something to leave out for Ol’ Saint Nick.  Pair it with a glass of cold or warm milk and fall in love.  This is the ultimate Santa treat and if you have any left over, enjoy them Christmas morning with a tall swig of milk while you open your gifts!

Since I’m on the topic of happiness and gift giving…. I would like to thank the MASTER OF THE GLASS HALF FULL for giving me one of the best gifts ever…. The words of positivity.  I’m going to jump over to his Facebook page and tell him how much I’ve appreciated all his optimistic expression.  Then I’m going to tweet him with mucho #postivismo and let him know I will carry positivity in my smile for the rest of my life and promise to always drink milk!

Ingredients for cranberry corn scones:

1 – cup flour

3/4 – cup medium grind yellow cornmeal

1/2 – tablespoon baking powder

1/4 – teaspoon baking soda

1/4 – teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 – cup sugar

1 – stick butter (cold, cut into 1 inch pieces)

1/2 – cup dried sweet cranberries

1/2 – cup buttermilk

Topping:

1/4 – cup sugar

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set to the side.

In a food processor combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.  Pulse till all dry ingredients are mixed well.

Then add in butter and give a few good pulses till butter looks like small peas.

         

Then transfer butter flour mixture into a large mixing bowl.  With a wooden spoon mix in cranberries.  Make a well in the center of mixture and pour in buttermilk.  Mix to combine.  There will be a little flour at the bottom of the bowl, the rest of the dough will be a little sticky.  Not to worry.  Let dough sit for 10 minutes.

Gently form dough into 2 inches in thickness balls by rolling in hand.  On wax paper lined cookie sheet drop dough balls two inches apart.   Then sprinkle each ball with 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Place in the oven and immediately lower temperature to 375.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden.  Let cool and enjoy!

*Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor’s Board and Latina Mom Bloggers. Story and opinions are my own.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

 

Winter Wonderland Cake (can be substituted as a Birthday Cake)

Winter Wonderland Cake (can be substituted as a Birthday Cake)

 What do I do when my guy asks for a coconut birthday cake?  I think winter wonderland. It’s not my fault his birthday falls in December.  I got to making his cake and instead of going with a traditional decoration I went the holiday route.  In the end I put some birthday candles so he’d have something to blow out…. He didn’t mind, as long as he got his cake!

Ingredients for coconut almond cake:

2 1/3 – cups flour

1/2 – cup sliced almonds (coarsely chopped)

1 – teaspoon baking soda

1/2 – teaspoon salt

1 – cup buttermilk

3 – eggs

1 – cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 – teaspoons almond extract

1 1/2 – teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/3 sugar

2 – cups sweetened shredded coconut

Ingredients for the frosting:

16 – ounces cream cheese (room temperature)

1 – cup butter (room temperature)

1 1/2 – teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3 – cups coconut

1/2 – cup strawberry preserves

Optional decoration:

Holiday cookies

red candies

dried cherries or cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit.

Spray edges of (2) 8-inch round cake pans and place a round piece of wax paper at the bottom of pan for easy removal.  Set to the side.

In a small bowl add flour, almonds, baking soda, and salt.  Mix with a fork and set to the side.

In a mixing bowl add buttermilk, eggs, vegetable oil, almond extract, vanilla extract, and sugar.  Mix on low speed to combine for about 2 to 3 minutes.  Then slowly add in flour mixture till combined.  Fold in coconut.

Fill both prepared pans with cake batter, make sure to give each pan the same amount.

   

Bake for 30 to 32 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow cakes to cool completely.  Then remove from pans and remove wax paper bottom.

Let’s make frosting: In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese and butter till smooth for about 2 minutes on a medium high speed.  Then add in vanilla and mix for an additional minute.  Next add in the powdered sugar a little at a time mixing until completely combined and fluffy.

   

Place one cake upside down on a cake plate and frost with cream cheese frosting, then spread strawberry preserves in the inside leaving a half inch away from the edge.  Then top with the other cake.  Fill with frosting all around the edges in the open space between both cakes.

   

   

Then frost entire cake.  Once completely frosted place coconut on entire cake.  If you wish place holiday cookies around the edge of cake and make a border with red candies and dried cranberries or cherries.  Happy Holidays!  Or in my man’s case, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

                                                 All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

 

Kale Salad and the Kids of East Los Angeles!

Kale Salad and the Kids of East Los Angeles!

 LA CAUSA is a local non-profit organization in ELA that works to re-empower youth that have been pushed out of the traditional educational system and provides them with knowledge, training, and hands on preparation in becoming agents of change in their community!  LA CAUSA has now opened a sub-division called “PALOMA” – (People’s Affordable Local Organic Market Alterations)….

It’s a great program that is reaching out to local corner markets to increase the percentage of healthy food/produce  available in stock and by doing so decreasing the amount of junk food in store.  They are transforming the East Los Angeles Food Desert into a Food Oasis one store at a time.

The first store to under-go the make-over is Edith’s Market located at 498 South Ford Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90022, which is positioned directly across the street from Humphreys Elementary School.  

Since this store is central for many kids in the community, LA CAUSA/PALOMA thought it would be clever to teach the children at the elementary school how to incorporate some of the new produce available to them into their diets.  This is where I come in…. it was my pleasure to take part in this program and give the children a salad making demonstration along with samples.  KALE SALAD that is.  I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction I received from the majority (95%) of the schoolchildren.  They asked for second and third servings of kale salad!  SCHOOL AGED KIDS EATING KALE!  Some of their parents were on hand to witness the demo and were shocked by their kids reactions, which prompted them to find out more about the leafy green.  Here are a few pictures from the event along with the kale salad recipe!  Try it on your kid today, there’s a huge chance he or she will love it. 

Ingredients for kale salad:

1 – medium sized bundle of Kale (chopped)

1 – red onion (thinly sliced)

1 – cup sliced almonds

1 – cup dried cranberries

Ingredients for salad dressing:

2 – medium sized lemons (Juiced)

1 1/2 – tablespoons honey

1 – teaspoon minced garlic

2 – tablespoons olive oil

1 – tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 – teaspoon soy sauce

In a large mixing bowl add chopped kale.  Set to the side. In a medium sized bowl add all ingredients for salad dressing and mix well. Then pour salad dressing on top of kale and allow it to sit in dressing for an hour to two hours. Then add in onion, almonds, and cranberries. Mix well and serve! Enjoy!

   

   

Here are some wretched facts about the ELA community and why these programs are important: 

  • – In East Los Angeles you are more likely to find  a fast food chain than a market with fresh produce.
  • – There’s 3.6 markets per 100,000 residents in East Los Angeles compared to 12.5 markets in West Los Angeles.
  • – The diabetes rate in our community is skyrocketing and with a teenage obesity rate in East Los Angeles being 19.6% it’s only going to become an epidemic.
Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. This is my way of taking pride in my community and it’s fantastic progress! The recipe and opinions are my own. 🙂                  
All photos taken by: Mando Lopez

 

Just in time for the Holidays! My lovely Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies!

Just in time for the Holidays! My lovely Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies!

 

Ingredients for peanut butter and jam cookies:

1 1/2 – cups creamy peanut butter

1/2 – cup butter (room temperature)

1 1/2 – cups sugar

1/2 – cup dark brown sugar (packed)

2 – eggs

1 – cup flour

1/4 – cup almond meal

1 – teaspoon baking powder

1/2 – cup jam (I use strawberry or fig….use the flavor of your choice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit

In a mixer bowl add peanut butter and butter and mix to completely combine. Then add sugar and dark brown sugar and mix on medium speed for 4 to 6 minutes or until smooth.  Add in one egg at a time till incorporated.

In a small bowl add flour, almond meal, and baking powder. Give it a good stir to ensure all powders are combined.

Add flour mixture  to butter mixture and mix just till combined.

Line cookie sheet with baking mat or wax paper.

   

Using a tablespoon measure out a dough and drop into your hand an d roll each piece into a ball. Place each ball at least two inches apart.

   

Then gently press your thumb into the center of each cookie ball to create your dent to fill with jam.

   

Fill each cookie with 1/2 teaspoon of jam. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes or until golden.  Let cool on cookie sheet for 8 minutes, then remove and place on rack for extra cooling. Makes 50 cookies.  Happy Holidays!