Month: November 2012

Gingerbread Cream Cheese Pumpkin Empanadas

Gingerbread Cream Cheese Pumpkin Empanadas

These are my Grandfather’s favorite.  They bring him back to the days when his Mom use to make them for him as a child.  He loves the cinnamon ginger taste of the gingerbread coupled with pumpkin.  I live to see the smile on his face so I make sure to have a batch on my holiday table or just anytime I want to make his day a little brighter.  They are not too sweet but make the perfect pair with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  Try them as an alternative to pumpkin pie and your guests will be delighted to eat a hand held mini pie.

Makes 18 empanadas

Ingredients for Gingerbread Cream Cheese Pumpkin Empanadas:

For the dough:

  • 3 – cups flour
  • 3 – teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 – teaspoon baking powder
  • 3- teaspoons ground ginger
  • 5 – tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 – teaspoon salt
  • 14 – tablespoons butter
  • 2 – large eggs
  • 4 – tablespoons dark molasses

For the egg wash:

  • 1 – egg
  • 1 – tablespoon water

For the pumpkin filling:

  • 3/4 – cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 – tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 – teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 – tablespoon dark brown sugar

For cream cheese filling:

  • 4 – oz room temperature cream cheese
  • 4 – tablespoons confectioners sugar


  1. Make the dough, by adding flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, ground ginger, brown sugar, and salt to a food processor. Pulse to mix completely.
  2. Add butter, eggs, and molasses to flour mixture. Pulse to bring dough completely together.
  3. Remove mixture from food processor and knead with hands to fully incorporate your dough. Divide dough into 4 quarters and flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Make the pumpkin filling, buy mixing all ingredients together with a mixer until mixture comes together. Remove from mixer and place in the fridge to set while you get the other ingredients together.
  6. Make the cream cheese filling my mixing cream cheese and confectioners sugar in a mixer for 2 to 3 minutes. Set to the side.
  7. On a clean surface roll out gingerbread dough to a 1/16 inch thickness. Then with a 3 inch circle cookie cutter cut out as many circles as possible. Divide the circles in half. You will need two circles for each empanada.
  8. Place 1/2 of the gingerbread circles on a baking mat lined cookie sheet.
  9. Make the egg wash, by mixing egg and water together.
  10. Now place 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese filling in the center of each gingerbread circle. Then spread it just in the middle.
  11. Top with 1 teaspoon of pumpkin.
  12. With your finger brush the outside rim of gingerbread circle with egg wash. Then top with a gingerbread circle. Press down all along the edges with a fork to enclose the empanada. Then poke the fork on the top of the empanada and brush the entire top of the empanada with the egg wash. Repeat until all empanadas are done.
  13. Bake for 30 minutes

Morning Dessert- Oatmeal with Stewed Fruit, Granola and Milk

Morning Dessert- Oatmeal with Stewed Fruit, Granola and Milk

I’m the wide-eyed bushy tail type who enjoys feeling happy.  I usually wake up in a pretty good mood and full of energy.  Then there are those mornings when I need just a little something to set my “perk-me-up” meter to high and I call it Morning Dessert.  You see, I have run around my whole life telling people “I detest oatmeal, it’s slimey and has what I imagine would be the consistency of eating….” I won’t even finish what I have said, just know it’s not good.  When I experimented with Oatmeal and discovered that it is actually amazing if cooked right, I realized I may have to EAT MY WORDS (something I don’t like to do).  What if I just call it my Morning Dessert, instead of Oatmeal?  It’s sweet and creamy milky and full of fruit… just like many of the desserts I enjoy.  That’s it!  Then I never have to think of that old slime again, I can imagine something decadent and rustic in it’s place.

All this creamy milky dessert talk made me think of my old friend, El Maestro.  He has some exciting stuff going on right now with a new web series called “El Vaso Medio Lleno.”  I seem to be on the same wavelength with El Maestro del Vaso Medio Lleno on several levels these days.

  1. We both are always looking for the positive side of life
  2. We both have a webisode series, except his is new and is airing from now to January 6th. Click here to see his.
  3. We both love desserts made with milk.
  4. We both want you to subscribe to our You Tube Channels.  Click here to subscribe to his.  Click here to subscribe to mine. PLEASE. 🙂

Here’s a little treat,  El Maestro’s first video.  Lucky for him he was able to land an  interview and learn how to make flan from the owner’s daughter of the well respected bakery PORTOS in Los Angeles.  Have you tried their Tres Leches with fresh fruit on top?  Its the best but that’s a creamy milky dessert of a different story.  Watch the video you’ll learn to make their flan too!

In the meantime here’s what you need to make my morning dessert. 

Ingredients for Morning Dessert:

A bowl of hot oatmeal

sweet stewed apples

a hearty granola filled with pepitas, raisins, dried cranberries, and almonds

2 – tablespoons dark brown sugar

1/2 – cup of milk

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy the best morning dessert. 🙂 It’s full of fiber too. Wink. Wink.

 Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored campaign with the California Milk Processor Board and Latina Mom Blogger. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Spicy Chorizo Pistachio Pear Stuffing

Spicy Chorizo Pistachio Pear Stuffing

If you’re anything like me then you need some spice to bring the Thanksgiving table to life. This stuffing will do that and then some. The chorizo works well with the pistachios and pears, adding a subtle taste of sweet to the potent taste of spice. It’s seriously perfect for turkey and will be a real treat if sitting next to a batch of sweet potatoes or cranberry sauce. I posted my recipe over on the Babble site, click here for the recipe. You’ll be happy you did.

Frijoles de la Olla Recipe

Frijoles de la Olla Recipe

I made Beans for Babble…. and I did it on a video, my very first video for them…. Click here to see the video. If you like it, please share with your social media channels. 🙂

Ingredients for Frijoles de la Olla:

  • 2 – pounds raw pinto beans (cleaned of any rocks or dirt)
  • 18 – cups water
  • 1 – whole onion
  • 5 – cloves of garlic
  • 1 – jalapeno
  • 2 – bay leaves
  • 1 – teaspoon oregano
  • 1 – shot-glass full of olive oil
  • 2 – tablespoons salt


  1. Sort and clean beans
  2. Soak beans overnight in a bowl of water
  3. Drain beans
  4. In a 8 quart pot over a medium high flame add water and bring to a boil.
  5. Then add in onion, garlic cloves, jalapeno, bay leaves, oregano, olive oil and beans.
  6. Bring water to a boil again , then cover pot with lid and lower flame to low.
  7. Boil for an hour, then add in salt.
  8. Boil for an additional 1/2 hour.
  9. Serve beans warm in a bowl for a delicious treat.
Easy to make Apple Pecan Cinnamon Buns with a Cream Cheese Frosting. Plus a recap from My Melissa’s Produce Apple Tour

Easy to make Apple Pecan Cinnamon Buns with a Cream Cheese Frosting. Plus a recap from My Melissa’s Produce Apple Tour

With very little reception on my phone I found myself completely disconnected from the outside world and in the midst of a Melissa’s Produce Apple Tour.  I reveled in the thought of pretending to be Snow White lost in the apple forest.  I wondered what it would be like at night if I snuck out there in the middle of nowhere or as they call it, Cuyama Orchard’s – Organic Apple Farm,  located near Ojai just on the other side of the Santa Barbara Mountains.  A place where the golf-ball sized sweet Crimson Gold is grown on dwarf trees to ensure all the apples get plenty of sun.  We learned directly from the farmers about the measurement of sugar through brix and how they pick the apples.  Did you know when an apple is ready to be picked it will come off the apple tree with very little pull?

It was a great day of apple adventures and we got to bring a bounty of apples home with us to make apple recipes galore.  At first I made an Oatmeal Crumble Apple Crisp, and now I made Apple Pecan Cinnamon Buns (Recipe to listed below).  Enjoy a few photos from my day on the farm and then bake some buns.



Ingredients for Apple Pecan Cinnamon Buns:

  • 1 – 17.03 oz box puff pastry (2 sheets)
  • 1/2 – stick room temperature butter (plus a little more to grease pan with)
  • 1/2 – cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 – teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 – teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 – cup chopped pecans
  • 1 – cup Melissa’s Produce Crimson Gold Apples or Gala Apples (peeled, and chopped into 1/2 an inch bite size pieces)
  • 1 – egg
  • 1 – tablespoon water

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 – stick butter (room temperature)
  • 4 – oz cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 3/4 – cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 – teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 – tablespoons whole milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit

Lightly grease an 8-inch cake pan with butter or a non-stick cooking spray. Set to the side.

On a clean surface, unfold both sheets of puff pastry and spread with 2 tablespoons of butter each. Set to the side

In a little bowl mix sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together until well combined. Then divide it evenly among the two butter lined puff pastry sheets, and spread it even.

Then top both with a 1/2 cup of diced apples each.

Carefully roll puff pastry into a tight neat roll. With a fork press down all along the seam of the roll.

In a small bowl mix egg and water to make an egg wash. Then brush apple cinnamon roll with egg wash along the fork impressed seam.

Next, with a sharp knife cut roll into 1 1/2 inch pieces and place in the greased 8-inch cake pan. Both rolls will fit into 1 pan. Leave a little room between each roll, as they will expand during baking.

Then sprinkle top with pecans.

Bake for 30 minutes on middle rack.

You could eat them like this or you could make the frosting for the top.

For the frosting, combine all ingredients in a mixer and beat for 5 minutes. Dollop over the top of your buns! Enjoy!

Zapien’s Salsa Grill

Zapien’s Salsa Grill

I crave Mexican food on the daily.  I usually prepare it at home to ensure I get something authentic.  I know you’re probably thinking  “you live in Los Angeles where Mexican food practically grows on trees”, with a Mexican restaurant or taco hole in the wall every 200 feet.  You’d be surprised how many of those places are just down right BUNK.  Then you have the over the top fancy pants places that take Mexican food to a new level and charge a shiny pretty penny to eat there.  But what if you just want real authentic Mexican food that tastes like your Mexican Tia made it who is considered the best cook in the family?  If that’s the case I have the place for you.  Zapien’s Salsa Grill in Pico Rivera.  Ayyyyyyy, so good.  Just real food that I am always craving.  Carnitas and Chicharrónes done right.  I fell head over heels in love with the mole, just tasting it on a chip was enough for me to know it was the best.  Did I mention they put bacon in the guacamole and chorizo in the refried beans?  Yes they do.  There are many gems on the menu,  including a beautiful assortment dessert plate with a sample of bread pudding, arroz con leche, flan and a pink velvet cheesecake.  No wonder they have won Best Mexican restaurant 4 times on LA hotlist since 2007.

Here is a small photo diary of the few dishes I enjoyed:



Let’s help Zapien’s Salsa Grill become the winner for the 5th time by clicking here. Voting ends Nov. 9th

A Dia De Los Muertos Bloggers Event at Presley’s Pantry

A Dia De Los Muertos Bloggers Event at Presley’s Pantry

I had a group of blogger friends at my house a few weeks ago for a Dia de Los Muertos gathering, I should actually call it a potluck.  Everyone brought over a dish made with Mazola Corn Oil, it had to be something that reminded them of a loved one lost.  We feasted on all the delicious food and drank hot chocolate and orange juice while a backdrop of a loud “Buena Vista Social Club” and “Linda Ronstadt- Canciones de mi padre” soundtrack played.  Memories of the departed were alive and filled us with joy. Feliz Dia de Los Muertos. Here are some photos from that day!



Here is a list of all the yummy dishes my blogger friends brought:

 Ingredients for Sugar Cookies:

  • 1 1/2 – sticks of butter (salted)
  • 1 – cup sugar
  • 1- cup powdered sugar
  • 1 – cup Mazola Corn Oil
  • 2 – eggs
  • 1 1/2 – teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 – cups flour
  • 1 -teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 – teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large mixer add butter and sugars.  Beat until creamy.
  3. Then add in Mazola Corn Oil, eggs and vanilla extract.  Mix well to combine.
  4. In a large bowl sift flour, baking soda, and salt together.
  5. Then add flour mixture to sugar corn oil mixture.  Mix to combine.  Do not over mix.
  6. Remove from mixer and divide into 4 parts.  Flatten each part into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  7. Roll dough out to a 1/4 inch thickness and cut with skull cookie cutter.
  8. Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges.
  9. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely before decorating.

Ingredients for Royal Icing:

  • 1 – pound powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
  • 3 – tablesppons meringue powder
  • 8 – tablespoons warm water
  1. Beat all ingredients (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).
  2.  For stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.
  3. When using large countertop mixer or for stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.
  4. Thin Royal Icing: To thin for pouring, add 1 teaspoon water per cup of royal icing. Add 1/2 teaspoon water at a time until you reach the consistency that is right for you. 
     Mazola® invites you to experience the delicious authentic taste of Mazola® Corn Oil when preparing your favorite family recipe for friends, or feel free to cook one of the many delicious recipes found online at the new Spanish-language Facebook page from Mazola®:
    Here’s a link to the brand’s website:
    This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Mazola®.  However, all opinions expressed are our own.