Month: April 2012

Strawberry Lemonade…. My Sandwich Companion

Strawberry Lemonade…. My Sandwich Companion

My grandfather is a sandwich lover.  He always eats a sandwich on days where the temperature tips the thermometer anywhere over 83 degrees.  I have so many childhood memories of my grandfather’s crumbs left on an empty plate… evidence a  sandwich was there.  By nature I am my grandfather’s granddaughter and enjoy a sandwich every chance I get.

I am also a strawberry lemonade devotee.  I crave the type you can buy at the country fair or at some farmer’s markets.  Lucky for me I have a big lemon tree in my back yard and take full advantage of it on a warm day.  I make a big pitcher of strawberry lemonade and a mouthwatering sandwich to go with it, then for the rest of the afternoon I’ve got it made in the shade!

Ingredients for strawberry lemonade:

1 1/3 – cups sugar

2 – cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

16 – ounces fresh strawberries (stems removed)

10 – cups water

In a sauce pan over medium heat add sugar and 1 cup of water.  Stir till sugar dissolves completely…. making a simple syrup. Remove from heat and set to the side.

Then pour lemon juice in pitcher.  Set to the side.


In a bowl add strawberries and smash with a masher…. or muddle to break up.  Then add to the lemon juice pitcher.



Next pour in simple syrup, and 9 cups of water.

Mix well and you got STRAWBERRY LEMONADE! Chill overnight in the fridge or serve on the rocks!


All photos by: Mando Lopez and Nicole Presley
Coachella: A Festival for The Senses

Coachella: A Festival for The Senses

Nothing could prepare me for the 103 degree heat that slathered my skin as I got out of the air conditioned car to head into the Coachella Festival 2012.  But once my eyes feasted on my surroundings, the colorful people, the lights, the crazieness of it all… it was like an eye massage.  The heat soon dissipated to an afterthought.

Coachella truly is a festival for the senses.  You have good food, fashion, art and music all in one location.  A candy store of sorts for adults.  Even though Mazzy Star was the draw for me, everything else made the experience that much more spectacular.

Here’s a tiny photo recap of my time at Coachella:






 FYI: The Pizza was the BOMB!

Photos by Mando Lopez
Camp Blogaway!  My interview with curator Patti Londre

Camp Blogaway! My interview with curator Patti Londre

With Camp Blogaway just around the corner, my anticipation grows with excitement. Camp Blogaway is one of the most exclusive conferences a food blogger can attend. Only 100 lucky attendees will join the group for a weekend up in the San Bernardino Mountains for 3 days of learning how to take our blogs to the next level.  Friendships will be made and some will be solidified in stone around the campfire. The curator behind this special event is Patti Londre and she will best explain what it all entails. This is my interview with the lovely Patti….

Me: Why did you start Camp Blogaway?

Patti:  FIRST, let me tell “how” I started it…  since 2005, I have owned another camp business called Camp GetAway for Mothers & Others, putting on retreats up in the local mountains.  This was a fun side business for me, as I also had a food PR agency, working for some of the nation’s largest food brands.  In April 2009, I decided to launch my own blog, called  Worth The Whisk. And around September of that year is when it struck me… food bloggers would LOVE a full weekend learning how to better our craft.  I know, I know, there are other “blogger conferences,” but my idea was CAMP.  Totally different – peaceful, serene, a place to slow down and think.  Cabins, roaring fireplace, big lodge.  I knew how to run a camp, so the business model just clicked.  Priced right, lodging included, just get yourself here.

The answer to WHY I started it is, I felt there was a real need for this specific type of learning atmosphere, and from my PR experience, consciously connecting brands with bloggers would make big things happen for our attendees.  Other conferences, that isn’t the focus.  It is here.

Me:  Since Camp Blogaway sold out so quickly this year, are you looking to expand capacity in the year to come?

Patti:  Nope, not my vision.  There are enough conferences out there to choose from, this one sold out is because people like it the way that it is… around 100 people, mountain venue, great speaker lineup, awesome sponsors, excellent value.  If they missed out  this year, they will plan earlier next year.

Me:  In addition to the bounty of information the sessions offer, what are some of the take aways you hope your campers will leave home with?

 Patti:  Relationships with fellow bloggers, and relationships with sponsors.  A better understanding of how bloggers can work with corporations and public relations representatives.  And a clearer vision of where their own blogs can take them.

Me:  Can you tell us some success stories that have transpired from previous camps?

Patti:  Several campers have told me about personal relationships they forged with our sponsors since they attended Camp.  And those produced working gigs for them.   If you look at the Idaho Potato Commission website and blog, you will see exactly what I mean, so many of those bloggers are our campers!

Me:  What has been your favorite moment from camp?

Patti:  There is no one favorite moment, there are hundreds.  I love it when the itinerary comes off like clockwork.  I love seeing speakers engaged in conversations with campers, and sponsors getting to know bloggers personally.  I personally love our facility, and every camp I make time to sit in the hot tub and stargaze, chatting with some blogger friends.  Slowing down is very important.

Me:  Since most conferences are intent on amplifying their message….Why have you made it a point to have everyone disconnect from the internet during camp?

Patti:  Because we are already there.  Marketing (including social media) needs to take place far enough in advance to actually impact attendance.  Other conference organizers feel that on-site blogging and tweeting and Facebook uploads benefit the conference, but that doesn’t click with me.  People NOT at camp either (a) don’t want to come, (b) didn’t make the effort to attend or (c) couldn’t come for some other reason.  My mission is not to promote Camp Blogaway.  My mission is to deliver a full itinerary of valuable education to the bloggers while simultaneously delivering a campful of potential blogger relationships to the sponsors.  Remember, they have a mission being there, too, which is to get to know how bloggers tick.  One last point, to a speaker, looking out at laptops is annoying (“are they listening?” “are they emailing their kids?”).  Unplug, be present, listen, learn, ask questions, absorb.  You can tweet and Facebook upload at the breaks.

Me:  Smores or Hot Dogs?

Patti:  Hot dogs.  With mustard.  Considering how many camps I have produced, I’ve had my fill of smores.

Chocolate Banana COOL WHIP Cake!

Chocolate Banana COOL WHIP Cake!

Thank you COOL WHIP for sponsoring this post. Join us on Facebook for inspiration and recipes for everyday treats. What you add makes it. #coolwhipmoms

Some folks go to culinary school, some folks have a momma, dad or grandma who was a master in the kitchen, or some folks were just born with it…. where you pick up your baking chops depends on the individual and their journey into the kitchen oven.  For me, I think the baking gene was instilled deep in my DNA.  It was just a question of time when I would discover it.

It was summer of 1992, my aunt had just moved into a cute condo in Los Feliz, CA and I took it upon myself to make her kitchen my second home and really practice my baking.  At the time I didn’t have much experience to fall back on other than a few tips from my 10th grade home economics class and knew I had to take baby steps into honing my skills.  This was going to take lots of trail and error. There was no cooking shows of any kind at that time to refer to other than the occasional Julia Childs re-run on PBS…. basically I was on my own.

I was dreaming of chocolate cake with bananas and a light icing, like the cakes from the Asian bakeries that I had tasted so many times growing up.  I wanted it to be fluffy and full of flavor but not overpowering.  I grabbed a box of Devil’s Food cake mix and followed the instructions on the back of the box then I sliced up three ripe bananas placed them in the middle of my freshly baked cakes and topped the whole thing with COOL WHIP.  Voilá!  My first attempt at baking came to life and it was beyond delicious. I must have baked that same exact cake 100 times that year.  Everybody I knew got some and loved it.  Soon it was being requested for every occasion and for no reason at all.  This was the cake that allowed me to take my baking training wheels off and ride free into the world of cake making.  I love this cake, it’s so simple and yet unforgettable.  Fast forward 20 years, my son Max is a big fan as well.  No matter how much I’ve grown in the baking arena, I will always revert back to where I started, by baking this special treat…. Chocolate Banana COOL WHIP Cake…. this is where my roots are at.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for Chocolate Banana COOL WHIP Cake:

1 – box of devil’s food chocolate cake mix (bake 2- round 8″ inch cakes according to package)

3 – ripe bananas

2 – 8 oz. containers COOL WHIP


Take one round cake and place on a cake stand. Then take half of one COOL WHIP container and spread it on cake.


Then slice the bananas and place on top of frosted cake. It’s okay to pile some on top of each other.


Now place your second cake on top of banana layer.

Now for the COOL WHIP…. Take the other half of the first container of COOL WHIP and frost the sides.

Then take the other container and frost the entire cake! Sprinkle with little candy sprinkles on top and make this everyday dessert part of your family happiness.

My boy is thinking “Is this your piece, because the rest of the cake is mine!” #FMcoolwhipmoms

Disclosure: Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich ala Manchego, Fig Jam and Prosciutto

Grilled Cheese Sandwich ala Manchego, Fig Jam and Prosciutto

Seeing how April is national Grilled Cheese month, I couldn’t let another day slip by without saluting one of my favorite things in the whole world…. the Grilled Cheese Sandwich.  I usually whip up a grilled cheese sandwich when I want something super fast to eat that will whole heartedly satisfy my soul.  This recipe here happens to be the one my man most enjoys. Heck, who am I kidding, I love it too!

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for grilled cheese:

French bread loaf

butter (room temperature)

fig jam

manchego cheese


It’s very simple.  Start with two slices of french bread. Spread a 1/2 teaspoon of butter on one side of each slice of bread.  Then on the opposite side spread with fig jam.


Next take a few thin slices of manchego and place atop fig jam side.  I use a cheese slicer to attain the perfect thin-ness.

Now add a slice or two of prosciutto to the manchego and bring the two slice of bread together to make your sandwich.  Butter sides should be on the outside.


In a non-stick pan over a medium high flame add sandwich and allow to crisp on each side for 4 to 5 minutes or until perfectly golden brown!

 HAppy GrillEd ChEEsY MoNth! 

Webisode 3: Capirotada

Webisode 3: Capirotada

Number 3! Capirotada. Do you know capirotada? Delicious Mexican bread pudding is having a celebration in this webisode with the help of the MAGICAL COMIDA GENIE.  Is she a friend or foe? It’s yet to be seen. Click above to watch it all unfold.

For the printed recipe…. click here.

A very warm and grateful THANK YOU to my AMAZING crew! I sincerely heart you guys!

Directors:  Mando Lopez and James Ford
Director of Photography:  Tony Molina
Producer:  Lacey Reilly
 Editor:  James Ford
Set Design:  Mando Lopez
Still photos and camera assistant :  Luz Gallardo
Genie costume and Flavio: Kristen Warren
Sound:  Bo Chung
Equipment: Paul Hopkins
Music: Anger Bros
Make- up/Genie: Janine Presley


In memory of Neil Polidori, may he rest in peace.

Ambrosia Salad

Ambrosia Salad

Easter just wouldn’t be complete without the presence of an ambrosia salad.  I love this colorful, sweet and creamy salad. Some people make it with fruit cocktail, but my family prepares this little gem of a salad with mostly fresh fruit.  Take sweet fruit and add nuts, marshmallows and cream to the bowl for a super yummy bunny treat. Even the Easter Rabbit will not be able to refuse.  Adults and children alike scramble for the last bite. If ambrosia salad is not an Easter staple for you and yours,  you’re surely missing out.

All photos taken by: Nicole Presley

Ingredients for ambrosia salad:

3/4 – cup pineapple chunks (sliced in half)

1 – cup maraschino cherries (cut in half)

1 – cup green seedless grapes (cut in half)

1 – cup seedless tangerines (peeled, and chopped into cubes)

1 – basket strawberries (sliced)

1 1/2 – cups shredded sweetened coconut

1 – cup pear (cored and sliced)

1 – cup fuji apple (cored and sliced)

2 – bananas (sliced)

3/4 – cup almonds (chopped)

3/4 – cup pecans (chopped)

1 – cup sugar

1/2 – teaspoon  vanilla extract

2 – cups sour cream

1 – cup mini marshmallows

In a big bowl combine all chopped fruit. Then add chopped nuts and mix to combine. Set to the side.


In a bowl add sugar, vanilla and sour cream and mix well. Then pour the sweet cream mixture over the fruit. Mix well.

Then add marshmallows to fruit and cream mixture. Mix well and serve!