We all watched the Disney classic “The Jungle Book” growing up, and sang the song “bare necessities” without ever realizing what we were even singing. Looking back at this great animated film and listening to the treasured soundtrack, I am excited for the Diamond Edition release of the film February 11th! For the first time ever on Blu-ray with glorious digital high definition, Disney’s Jumpin’ Jungle Classic has never looked so lush or sounded so good! Making it a must-have for the family classic collection!
I started to think about the #BareNecessities and wondered what my “bare necessities” are in the kitchen? Then I decided to give away a “Bare Necessities” Cooking Kit to coincide with the release of THE JUNGLE BOOK! One lucky winner will win all that is pictured below, along with a Diamond Edition of The Jungle Book! Enter for a chance to win below!
In just a couple more days the winter games will start in Sochi, Russia. I imagine if I was attending I would there in the middle of blistering cold weather mapping out where all the games would take place. I think maybe I would stumble into a small little restaurant on a side street somewhere hidden craving a traditional Russian dish, and there at the center table would be a team of athletes loading up on carbs. Taking off the many layers of warm clothing, I would walk over to the Olympians to wish them luck on their events, and snoop at what they eat. Of course I envision that they would be eating beef stroganoff, a classic Russian dish packed with pasta and creamy beef and mushroom sauce….
But since Eastern Europe isn’t a hop, skip, and a jump away from Eastern Los Angeles, I guess I’ll have to settle for sunny weather, a homemade bowl of beef stroganoff and the comfort of watching the games from my television set. I’ll make it even more enjoyable for myself…. and get everything I need for this dish at Walmart…. my one stop shop.
Ingredients for beef stroganoff:
4 – tablespoons butter
1 – pound rib-eye steak (cut into thin strips)
1/2 -teaspoon Lawry’s
1/2 – teaspoon black pepper
1 – onion (sliced)
9 – mushrooms (sliced big)
1/4 – teaspoon ground mustard
3 – tablespoons flour
1 – can beef broth
1/2 – cup sour cream
2 – cups egg noodles (cooked according to package)
Cut beef into thin slices. Season with Lawry’s and pepper.
In a large frying pan over a medium flame melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
Add the meat to the butter pan. Cook on both side till browned.
Add in onion. Mix to combine. Cook for 8 minutes or until on onions soften.
Add in mushrooms. Mix to combine. Cook for 5 minutes just to brown the mushrooms a bit.
Add in 2 more tablespoons of butter and mix until melted.
Add in ground mustard and flour. Mix to combine, and all flour is absorbed.
Add in beef broth and bring to a boil. Then once it starts to boil, lower flame to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to an hour.
Add in sour cream and mix to combine. Really stir in the sour cream.
I hold my love for Idaho Potatoes in a special place. I hold it there all year long and at certain times it needs to burst out of it’s cozy snuggly place in my heart and show it’s true colors. February is always a great time to let my potato affection reveal itself in the light of Potato Lover’s Month.
I have a growing boy in my house who requests potatoes with every meal. I usually make a batch of baked potatoes at the head of the week and as we get into the middle of it I find other ways to enjoy them. One of my favorite is the mojo potato. It puts the spunk back into my step and makes me fall in love.
Watch the video below to see how to make mojo’s out of leftover baked Idaho Potatoes:
Oh yeah… It’s almost time for the big game, just a few more days to be exact. This Sunday I’ll be sitting in a sea of people screaming and cheering for their teams, but I picture myself completely absorbed in my potato skins filled with rajas con crema, unaware of the chaos spewing around me or unable to pull my attention away to look up at the television . Sort-of like my own private Idaho….. Idaho Potatoes that is.
Check out my video on the unique combination of potato skins meets rajas con crema!
Ingredients for potato skins filled with rajas con crema:
10 – left over Idaho baked potatoes (better if they are cold out of the fridge)
2 – pasilla chiles (charred, peeled, and sliced)
1 – onion
1 – yellow bell pepper
1 – tablespoon chicken or vegetable bouillon
1/2 – teaspoon black pepper
2 – tablespoons water
1 1/2 – cups sour cream
1/2 – cup cotija cheese
Disclosure: A big thanks from the bottom of my heart to The Idaho Potato Commission for sponsoring this video. All opinions and the recipe are 100% my own.
Thank you Mando Lopez and Tony Molina for helping me make this video. You two work so hard and make the filming process fly by. Wish we could release all the impromptu rap songs we created this day or a photo of the three of us squeezed into the bathroom with all the equipment! Love you guys!
I’ve been thinking of different ways to celebrate Chinese New Year with my family. Usually we go to the parade in China Town in downtown Los Angeles and have a wonderful meal, and at the end of the evening we pass out little red envelopes filled with lucky 2 dollar bills and some coins. I decorate my patio in red lanterns and adorn the room with a big dragon and the animal of the year….. which is the horse for 2014.
This year since it falls on a Friday evening (January 31st) I decided to skip on the parade and have friends over for dinner instead. I wasn’t sure what to make for the celebration, so I pulled some inspiration from the ingredients I found while shopping at my local Walmart. I got noodles, ginger, boy choy and sausage. Then I got home and got to work. I always do a test run on the recipe I’ll serve to my friends…. this one was sensational! Happy Chinese New Year Everyone!
Ingredients for spicy sausage bok choy noodle soup:
Are you ready? The count down for the big game is upon us and everyone is buzzing about it. Who’s your team, Seattle or Denver? Or are you like me…. Who cares? What’s on the menu?! For me it’s a reason to get together with friends, eat good food, watch a bunch of awesome commercials and wait for the show in the middle of the game. I know my opinion isn’t the popular one in America but I bet there are a lot of closet, non-pigskin freaks that will be watching (unless we are talking about chicharrónes of course.) Let’s stay on the subject at hand. I will be joining in on the fun with the rest of America on Feb.2nd. My family has been invited to a friends house and I am in charge of bringing something savory that is cheer-worthy. It didn’t take me long to decide on individual mac and cheese servings packed with bacon, jalapeno, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and topped with potato chips. Like always I was able to find all my ingredients at my favorite one stop shop…. Walmart. (I got the cute football napkins there too. Extra point!)
GOOOOOOOOOOOOO CRUNCHY BACON JALAPENO MAC AND CHEESE!!!!!!!
Ingredients for crunchy bacon jalapeno mac and cheese:
4 – jalapenos (charred, peeled, and diced)
1 – pound bacon (cooked and crumbled)
2 – cups macaroni
3 – cup cheddar cheese (grated)
7 – stalks green onion (chopped)
2 – 8 ounce packages of Philadelphia cream cheese
1 – stick butter
1 – tablespoon of minced garlic
3 – cups half and half
1/2 – teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt
1/2 – teaspoon ground mustard
1 – bag of Lay’s potato chips (crushed down to crumbs)
Place jalapenos on an open flame and char/ burn the skin.
Place jalapenos in a ziplock for 30 minutes to steam. Set to the side.
In a large frying pan over a medium flame fry the bacon until it is fully cooked, then remove from oil and drain on a paper plate. Crumble and set to the side.
Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil. Add in macaroni and boil as directed on package. Drain and place in a bowl.
Add bacon, cheddar cheese, and green onion to macaroni, and mix to combine.
Cut 1 package of cream cheese into 1/2 inch cubes and add to macaroni mixture.
Peel and chop jalapenos into cubes (deseed and throw stems away).
Add jalapenos to macaroni mixture mix well.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
Butter 10 – ’3 inch’ ramekins.
Fill each ramekin with macaroni mixture. Set to the side.
In a large frying pan over a medium flame add butter and garlic. Melt.
Add in 1 package of cream cheese, mix to melt into butter. It will still be a bit chunky.
Add in half and half and continue stirring to melt in the cream cheese.
Add in Lawry’s and mustard to cream cheese/butter mixture. Mix to combine.
Slowly pour 1/3 cup of cream/butter mixture into each ramekin.
Recently I was out having a Chinese dinner with my family and at the end of the meal the waiter brought us a plate full of orange slices and fortune cookies. I quickly grabbed the cookie closest to me and busted it open to get my fortune. I could see the little piece of paper on the inside of the cookie sparked the interest of my four year old son who is obsessed with reading. I turn my attention to him and started explaining to him what a fortune cookie was. Then he asks me “Can we make some at home?” Before I could answer, my fiance says “No, you can’t make those kind of cookies at home, they only make them in a factory.” Then my son says “Why not? Do you have to cut them out with scissors?” I thought about it for a second trying to figure out what he meant by the scissors question , did he mean the shape? Then I realized what he meant and answered him “Yes, you have to cut the paper to go inside the cookie with the scissors, it’s a craft.”
A few days later I was at Walmart looking around in the craft section and came across the scissors. I thought I should buy my son some kid scissors so he could practice cutting paper (like he’s learning in school) at home. I ask him “Do you want some little scissors to cut paper?” Then his eyes lit up, and he says “To make fortune cookies?” I thought to my self this is going to be one crazy project / food craft, but why not? I looked into his eyes and said “Yes, let’s get all our supplies right now, and we will make them as soon as we get home!” That’s exactly what we did. Who needs a factory? Do It Yourself!
Ingredients for fortune cookies:
2 – egg whites
1/8 – teaspoon almond extract
1/8 – teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 – teaspoon salt
1/2 – cup flour
1/2 – cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
Place a baking mat on a cookie sheet and lightly spray with a non stick baking spray. Set to the side.
Write or print a few fortunes or messages on a piece of paper. Then cut them out and place them in a dish. Set to the side.
In a mixer add in egg whites and almond and vanilla extract. Mix on high until egg whites are stiff.
In a separate bowl sift the salt, flour, and sugar together. Mix well to combine.
Add the flour/sugar mixture to the egg whites. Mix well to combine.
Use a teaspoon, and pour it onto the baking sheet.
With the back of a spoon make it into a 3 to 4 inch circle. Make one cookie at a time to begin with because it is hard to get the timing right with more then two. You need to fold the cookies fast or they will break and not work. Start with one and see how many you can make.
Bake cookie for 5 minutes. The edge should be golden and the inside pale.
Take it out and quickly remove the cookie from the mat with a spatula.
Then place a fortune in the middle.
Next fold the cookie over so both ends meet.
Last fold the cookie over the rim of a mug.
Place the cookie down to cool completely.
Make the next one. This recipe made almost 2 dozens.
There is nothing worse then biting into a piece of fruit that has no flavor or is sour. I absolutely despise when that happens. I get so upset, because when you are at the market loading your fruit into the cart you imagine a great tasting piece of natures jewels…. I do at least. I fantasize about the sweetness and the just right texture. Well here’s some of the best news…. Walmart has this thing called 100% guarantee which means…. If you buy their produce that is labeled 100% guarantee, and you don’t absolutely love the fresh produce, all you have to do is bring your receipt back to the store for a full refund! How awesome is that? I love that they feel confident enough to offer that to the consumers. Plus it let’s me know it’s good, because they don’t want to lose money. It’s just a little insurance on my fruit. I decided to take them up on their pledge and bought some navel oranges…. WOW…. they were everything promised to be… sweet, tangy, juicy, and lovely. I wanted to have them first thing in the morning to start out my day, and that is exactly what I did.
Ingredients for honey orange bolillo french toast:
4 – bolillos (which they sell at Walmart in the bakery area)
4 – eggs
1/2 – cup milk
1 – tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 – teaspoon cinnamon
butter (for frying)
3 – navel oranges
honey butter spread
Cut bolillos down the middle length-wise.
In a bowl whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
Dip two slices of bolillo at a time into egg mixture.
Add a dab of butter to a large frying pan over a medium flame. Allow it to get hot then add in dipped bolillos.
Cook on each side 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove from pan and place on a plate. Continue until all bolillo slices are cooked.
Using a pairing knife, cut the peeling off the oranges, then slice into rounds.
Spread french toast with honey butter spread, and top with orange rounds. Finish by drizzling honey over the top and sprinkling with chopped candied pecans.
The winter weather here in southern California is either hit or miss. Sometimes you feel a chill coming and sometimes it feels like it might be a Summer day with cleaner air. I like winter to be on the cooler side. When the sun decides to take a break and let a little bit of the cold hit our coast, I instantly think of sopa de estrellas. Who can resist the savory star shaped pasta? I’ve been eating it since I was a kid. When I would get home from school on a cold day, I always knew there would be a small pot of sopa de estrellas or fideo waiting for me on the stovetop. Even though they are super similar I prefer the estrellas. As a kid it made me think of fantasy sci-fi or astrology, and it seemed to fit in with my cast of cute girly characters I wore in my hair or proudly displayed on my shirt. As an adult I love them just the same. I adore the fact that they are star shaped and a serious traditional dish my Grandpa made me growing up. They bring total nostalgia of a cold day from my childhood. I used to really be thrilled when he would let me watch over his shoulder as he made a fresh batch, he would tell me to make sure to burn the pasta good before adding anything else…. this would give the sopa good flavor. He was absolutely right about that. I add cubes of cheese to the top of the sopa when it’s done cooking and find myself happy and warm.
Here’s something I forgot to mention I found my estrellas at Walmart for .33cents a bag. Yes…. you read that right, I love it at Walmart. If you need to spend extra money on your gas bill this month due to the heater being on… This meal is inexpensive, and taste just right.
I am seriously freaked out about all the radiation spilling into the Pacific ocean from fukushima these days. I obsess over what scientist have to say about the levels of radiation hitting an all time high. I follow all the stories about the whales and sea lions coming to shore injured and bleeding, and wonder why we are not taking this matter way more seriously? You rarely hear about it on the news and Super Markets have not pulled their seafood off the shelves, but come on people…. we know better than that. Sea life out of the Pacific is not the way to go right now, and may not be ever again in my lifetime. It’s a crying shame, a real crying shame. Me and one of my girlfriends talk about it all the time. We practically sob at the idea that we can no longer dive into a citrus spiked bowl of ceviche, or enjoy a plate of camarones mojo de ajo, without knowing exactly where our seafood came from, and even then… how can you be certain?
Instead of drowning in my sorrows thinking of all the things I can no longer eat, I am thinking of all the wonderful things I can eat instead…. like these baja-style (beer battered) cauliflower tacos. I hate to say this…. but…. it kinda taste like a fish taco without the radiation. These tacos make me so happy, and I hope they will do the same for you. Sorry about the BUM-OUT talk, but I had to share a real moment and let you know where I am coming from.
Ingredients for baja-style cauliflower tacos:
1 – head of cauliflower
1 1/2 – cups flour
1 – teaspoon baking powder
1 – teaspoon Lawry’s seasoning salt
1 – teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 – teaspoon cumin
1 – egg
1 – bottle Mexican beer ( I used Modelo)
Vegetable oil (about 3 to 4 cups)
Ingredients for garnish:
cabbage (thinly sliced)
Ingredients for salsa chile de arbol:
5 – tomatoes
8 – chile de arbol
4 – cloves of garlic
1/2 – onion
Wash and cut cauliflower into bite size pieces by removing the leaves and stem. Then break off pieces.
In a large pot filled halfway with water over a high flame, bring water to a boil. Drop cauliflower pieces in hot boiling water and let par-boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from water and drain completely.
In a large bowl add in flour and baking powder. Then the lawry’s, garlic powder and cumin. Mix to combine. Pour in egg and beer. Whisk until batter is no longer clumpy. Set the batter to the side to rest for 10 minutes, then it’s ready.
Pour drained cauliflower pieces into beer batter. Mix to combine well.
In a pot add vegetable oil over a medium flame. Allow to get hot. Using thongs add in one piece of battered cauliflower at a time.
Deep fry for several minutes or until golden brown. Oil will bubble, and once it starts to calm down a little the piece is golden and crispy.
Place all crispy cauliflower pieces on a paper lined plate to drain.
Make the salsa: In a small pan filled with water halfway over a medium flame bring to a boil. Add in tomatoes and chile de arbol. Boil for 35 to 40 minutes.
In a small frying pan with a touch of vegetable oil over a medium flame, add in onion and garlic cloves. Fry until browned on the outside.
In a blender add in tomatoes, chile de arbol (stems removed), onion, garlic, salt, and 2 cups from the water the chiles boiled in. Blend until smooth about 5 minutes.
Heat the corn tortillas, fill with crispy cauliflower pieces, and garnish as you desire.