Frrooozeeen Hot Chocolate!

I had to revisit this sensational beverage... I just had to.

(6) 1/2 oz types of your favorite chocolate (it's ok to mix and match)
2 tsp hot chocolate mix
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups of ice

Chop and melt chocolate until smooth. Add hot chocolate mix and sugar to melted chocolate, until blended. Pour 1/2 cup of milk into melted chocolate mixture.

To a blender add ice, remaining milk and chocolate mixture. Blend on high speed until thick and creamy (about 2-3 minutes). Makes approximately 2 drinks.

Sunset Mai Tai, to the rescue

Today was a pretty stressful day. I've been "disagreeing" with a family member on life decisions and all I wanted to do today was clean and be left alone. Of course with 3 kids, and an entire apartment building to run, that's NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

In addition to the normal day-to-day we had a leak in the p-trap under the kitchen sink. Nothing to stress about you say.... well, just keep trying to wash dishes while the water drains directly onto the floor. Just put a bowl/pot underneath to catch the water right? Yeah... right!


1 1/2 oz rum
1 oz grenadine
Mai Tai mix(pick your favorite brand... or just ask your local alcoholic which one to buy)

Fill a tall glass (or whatever glass you have) with ice.
Add rum, grenadine and fill up the rest of the glass with mai tai mix.
Garnish with pineapples, cherries, or other fruit (except banana.... ha!)


Rice Pudding made easy

So I've always loved rice pudding in a box. Call me crazy, but I was one of those kids that grew up on lots of "boxed food" and to this day I still crave certain foods (can anyone say Kraft Mac-n-Cheese?)

Since I've decided to continue to grow, culinary-wise, I decided that one of the first things I should start to learn is how to make the foods I love, from scratch. First up (well, I'm not sure if it's really the first thing, but, ummm, you know where I'm going with this).... RICE PUDDING!

You can find the followed recipe HERE... although I didn't follow it completely.

My alterations were:
1 - I hate raisins in rice pudding, so I did not use them,
2 - I (also) hate almonds in rice pudding,
3 - I didn't like the thought of the orange zest
4 - I used whole fennel seeds... I like the crunch.

Chocolate Pudding Cakes

a.k.a. Hot Lava cake.
My oldest son requested that mommy make these cakes after he saw a picture of one inside a magazine. Of course I couldn't deny a special request... especially one involving CHOCOLATE!


2 oz 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream

4 oz 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate
1 stick of butter
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup cake flour

Melt ingredients for filling in a double boiler. Refrigerate until firm (approximately 2 hrs). Roll into balls; set aside until ready to use.

Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler. In an electric mixer bowl, whisk together eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla on high speed for 5 minutes. Fold in flour and chocolate. Spoon mixture into 6 prepared ramekins (sprayed with non-stick spray).
Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Let stand for 5 minutes. Garnish with berries, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, etc.

You've been issued a challenge!

King Cake 2009

Come on... you know you want to!


The BIG BEAR trip that wasn't!

So we thought it would be a nice surprise to take the family (including Uncle Belvyn) up to the mountains the day after Christmas. We could get in some snow ball fights, watch the snow fall, and introduce Chris to the true meaning of "cold." Sounds great right?


First let's start by saying that the worse thing we could have done was PLAN the trip. We seem to be the TYPE that can "do" without planning. Every time we plan a trip (well not EVERY time) something goes wrong. When we don't plan we seem to LUCK out and get a great hotel room, buy a underpriced television, etc.

So we pick up keys for a family-member's cabin, change tires on the van so we could properly chain up the tires, and we packed up the car to head out for a winter trip to remember. Here's the list of mistakes:

1. We left the house at a little past 2 (we wanted to leave before 12),
2. We tried to go up to the mountains when everyone else wanted to go,
3. We sat in 3 hour (up the hill) traffic only to be turned away because we didn't purchase chains beforehand,
4. We purchased over-priced generic chains at the local gas station,
5. We purchased milk from the nearest Walmart with no place to keep it cold,
6. We tried to find a hill-side cabin, in the dark; in the snow; following the VERBAL directions of my 11 year old (completely going against the instructions of the cabin owner),
7. We tried to find a hotel room, in Big Bear, on a holiday weekend,
8. We had to sleep in the van (6 people) instead of driving back down the hill and look for another option,
9. We tried to open up the pipes, turn on the electricity and heat up a cabin that we've never been too; had dead rats under the porch where the water heater was, and frozen bathroom pipes that we could not open,
10. We let my 8 year old pack his own bag of clothes, gloves and ski pants which he ended up leaving at home (meaning no change of clothes after sleeping in a car).

On the up side we found some poor sucker to buy back our newly bought/used tire chains for $25 more than we paid for them.... HEY, HEY, HEY... don't feel sorry for him... what about us?!?!?!

So after not being able to stay in the cabin (which had a perfect view of the frozen Big Bear lake) we decided to TAKE OUR ASSES HOME!


Rounding out the rest of the holiday meal...

... was a spiral, glazed ham (store bought), a slow cooked ribeye and some mac-n-cheese.

I hope you all gained massive amounts of weight this holiday season. See you next year.

VIP Red Velvet (rope) Cake

So I was watching "Ultimate Throwdown with Bobby Flay" (at some point this month) and they had a show on red velvet cake. (The first mistake is calling this a "chocolate cake with red food coloring"... it's not!!!). Anyhoot, I decided to make this cake for the holidays. Enjoy.

RECIPE can be found here.
I didnt' use shortening... I never do. Other than that... I followed the directions completely. Not a bad cake.


Not Kellogg's Krispy Treats

So instead of making a bunch of fancy desserts, I decided to make something I knew the kids would like. Who knew that it would be the adults who mostly ate all of these treats.

Follow the recipe on the box of Kellogg's Rice Krispy Treats
bittersweet chocolate pieces, melted
white chocolate pieces, metled

Prepare the treats per the box instructions, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Melt chocolates in (2) different containers. Drizzle chocolate over top of treats. Allow to continue to cool completely.

YAM(s) on it!

So I learned this trick from Nana about slicing up yams before boiling (it allows them to cook quicker).

5-6 yams, sliced (1/4 thick)
1 stick butter
2 cups sugar, cubed

Cover sliced yams in a pot of water. Boil for 20 minutes, drain. Replace yams inside pot, fill 1/4 - 1/2 of the way full with new water. Place butter inside pot, and pour sugar over yams. Allow yams to carmelize in water/sugar mixture for approximately 30-40 minutes, uncovered.

Shut Yo Mouth Stuffin'

Mrs. Cubbins has the greatest "boxed" stuffing mix out there (I say). You can follow the box recipe to a "T" but I always just add some spicy Jimmy Dean sausage to add a little "kick!"

1 box Mrs. Cubbins stuffing mix
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 diced onion
1 diced bell pepper
2 stalks of celery
4 tbsp of butter
1 pkg Jimmy Dean spicy sausage

Saute veggies in butter; place in a small bowl. Cook sausage, be sure and break up large pieces of meat. Combine dressing and all other ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine everything. Bake, covered, in a large, greased pan on 325 for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 15 minutes to brown top.

Mean (Joe) Greens

This Christmas, Collards stole the show.

2 packages of Clean Cut Collard Greens
1 small sliced onion
2 tsp seasoning salt
4 squirts of hot sauce
1 tbsp of apple cidar vinegar

Thoroughly rinse package greens. Add greens to a large pot, cover 1/2 of greens with water. Add other ingredients, stir thoroughly to combine. Cook greens on med heat for approximately 4 - 4 1/2 hours.

The Sweet(est) Potato Pie

So, it all depends on how I'm feeling. Will I make the pie crust from scratch, or just buy one... this year, I just BOUGHT one.

4-5 large yams/sweet potatoes (I like yams for their color)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg, plus more for later
1/4 cup milk

Peal, slice and boil yams until fork tender (usually 30-45 minutes).
Mash potatoes and combine all other ingredients.
Cook pie dough according to package instructions.
Add mixture and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle extra nutmeg on top of (2) pies.


T'was the night before Christmas...

...and all through the house,
Not a creature was staring,
EXCEPT my 22 month old son who
wanted to watch Hi-5 before Santa makes his GRAND ENTRANCE.



Christmas shopping

Why is it that every year I think I am going to get shopping done early, and every year I either wait til the last minute to shop, or think of more things to purchase. The whole purpose of shopping early is so that you're not stuck out there with all of those CRAZY-ASSED-ED-ED people who are angry the entire day bbbeeeeee-caaaaausssse, they (along with the other 10 million people in LA county) decided to shop at the last minute. I mean, at least I don't have an attitude when:

1. I have to stand in long ass lines,
2. when my sizes aren't available,
3. the cash register "mysteriously" breaks down when it's my turn in line,
4. the mall doesn't seem to stay open as "late" as I seem to remember,
5. the store no longer has gift boxes for the clothes that I purchased,
6. all of the cool wrapping paper is gone and all that's left is weird "holiday" characters that seem to stare at you when you look at them;

...wow, I really didn't mean to go that far, but oh well. Happy shopping.


1st Qtr of school finals

So tonight I took the second part of a two-part final for my Intro to Baking class. Last night we had to bake 3 different items (brioche, soft rolls and blueberry muffins) of which we've baked before. We were graded on appearance, consistency and weight. 12 muffins, 12 rolls and 12 petite pain loafs were lined up, measured and weighed. They had to be within a certain range in order to fall into the "consistent" column.
I'm proud to say that I passed and my items were even used as examples for class.
(it sucks that some friends of mine had to work with a couple of students that honestly should not be in this class.... they could truly care less).

For tonight's final we had to first clean the entire kitchen. I mean REALLY CLEAN THE KITCHEN. We might as well have been on our hands and knees with a 2-bristle toothbrush cleaning a 600-700 sq ft kitchen. After the cleaning was done, we took a written exam which could have been a nightmare. Chef Charles was decent enough to ask questions that the entire class "should" have known the answer too, and that resulted in me knowing the answers to all of the questions. I did miss one, but it was because I truly thought it was a trick question and "over" answered the question. You know what I mean, right?

Oh well, one more final to go, that's in my online Safety and Sanitation class. Wish me luck.

No Thought Scampi

So last night I wanted to have some pasta for dinner. After watching Paula Deen talk about shrimp and crab au gratin, I also wanted some seafood. What's the easy seafood and pasta to make?.... shrimp and angel hair in a scampi sauce.
I even made it from scratch without using a recipe. I just used all the things that I "thought" would be in the sauce. It didn't turn out to bad.

Shrimp (hint: do not buy shrimp w/the shells still on - this was a pain in the ?)
Angel hair pasta
White wine (any white wine you drink is the best kind to use)
Grape tomatoes
Green onions

Prepare shrimp with seasoning - make sure they're all devaned, etc.
Cook pasta; drain and set aside.
Melt butter in pan. Add shallot until soften. Season with salt and pepper. Add white wine, cook for 5 minutes. Add shrimp to pan; cook 2 minutes. Add pasta and tomatoes to pan. Pasta will soak up all of the juices. Top with diced green onion. Add a glass of WINE and you're doing FINE!

Not your average salad

So one of my closest friends (Christi) debute a salad during her baby shower. It was a huge hit. I asked her for the recipe, and she gave it to me, but this was "some" years ago. We met up a few days ago for Sex in the Hood reunion, and I asked her again for the recipe (since we were talking foodnetwork lingo anyway) :)

Romaine lettuce
Black beans, drained
Pinto beans, drained
Catalina dressing
Corn chips
Chedder/Monterey Jack cheese

Add all ingredients, except corn chips to a large bowl. Drizzle dressing (enough to coat. Add chips. Toss and serve. Easy!


Merry Christmas from...

...our little (and big) Angels!

Our most PRIZED Christmas ornament

Have a "Happy" one....

Classwork assignments - revisited

So in a previous post I talked about some classwork assignments that we made in class (again, I'm in pastry chef school).

So here they are:
Milk Bread



Star Shaped puff pastry

Envelop puff pastry

Chocolate stuffed puff pastry

Marguette shaped bread

And here's what you're looking for...


Lemon Drop Martini

Newman's Virgin Lemonade (3 shots)
Baker's sugar (1 tsp)
Vodka (I like Skyy) (1 shot)
Lemon (1 tsp juice)
Ice (however much to fill up martini shaker)

Fill martini shaker with ice. Fill rest of ingredients. Shake, pour in a sugar lined martini glass. Enjoy!

Poor Short Ribs!

They get the raw end of the deal. Baby backs are all people talk about. They are the most craved for of the "ribs" and they do hold lots of flavor.
What I've always found weird was that beef ribs, with all their MEATY glory, almost have "too much" meat. Know what I mean? And poor 'short ribs' they're fat and short... what a bad break.

Oh well.

I happened to love them, and so... that's what we're having for dinner SHORT RIBS!

3-4 lbs of short ribs
4 cups beef broth
8 garlic cloves
1 small onion sliced
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp flour
garlic powder


browing of ribs

ready for the oven


close up

Lightly brown 3-4 garlic cloves in oil on med/high heat.
Generously coat ribs with seasonings. Lightly coat all sides of ribs with flour.
Brown on all sides. Add 3 cups water + 3 cups beef broth (split this in 2 parts if you do not have a big enough pot to hold all ingredients). Let mixture boil.
Transfer ribs into casserole pan; add remaining garlic, onions, salt, pepper and remaining 1 cup of beef broth. Roast for 2 hours in 350 degree oven... DELISH!