Life Tastes So Good

Exploring life one taste at a time.

Mexican Pozole.

“The best seasoning to food is the love you put in it.”

~ Unknown

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mexicanposole

For years I’ve always harassed my mom when I wanted to eat pozole. I would tell her that I didn’t know how to make it and that only she can make it right. I finally fessed up and tried to make pozole on my own. My first attempt came out okay but the last batch came out great! My mom even called me the next day to tell me that I have graduated to the next level, according to her. Ha. This recipe was hard to actually write out since my mom does not write recipes and does everything by a pinch, a spoon full of the “spoon with flowers” and so forth.  There was a lot of measuring, double checking and taste testing to get this down as close as possible to what my mom has been making for years. Other than the measurements the actual cooking process is very simple and produces something so dynamic in taste you would think it was much more difficult. Serve this on a cool autumn night and it will warm you all over.

For the Meat and Stock:

A large stock pot

4 quarts of water

2 pounds cubed pork shoulder

1 pound pork spare ribs or baby back ribs

3 cans (15 ounces each) hominy, drained

1/2 of a med sized white onion, finely chopped

8 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon dry Mexican oregano

Salt to taste

What you need for the Pepper Sauce:

12 Ancho peppers cleaned, seeded

One large bowl

3 – 4 cups of hot water

For the Garnish:

1 Head of cabbage finely shredded

1/2 of a med sized white onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cup of radishes sliced

Limes, cut in wedges

Tostadas, deep fried corn tortillas

In a large bowl, place all 12 seeded ancho peppers and add very hot water until all the pepper are submerged. Set aside.

In a large stock pot start to boil the 4 quarts, add to the water the first 1/2 of chopped white onion, add the 8 minces garlic cloves (to speed this part up I just used the blender to “mince”) and add the 1 teaspoon of dry Mexican oregano. Salt water to liking. Allow water, onion, garlic, and oregano to boil roughly 5 minutes then add in meat and lower heat to a simmer. Simmer meat stirring occasionally for an hour and a half.

At this point you can check on the ancho peppers. Once they feel soft and rehydrated, blend the pepper in a blender until it becomes a paste like mixture. Using water from the stock pot, add 1/2 cup to blender. Blend again. Pour ancho pepper “sauce” into stock pot with meat. Lastly add the 3 drained cans hominy to the stock pot continue to simmer for another half an hour or until hominy is tender to bite.

Reduce heat, serve in large bowls and garnish with chopped onions, sliced radishes, shredded cabbage, and fresh squeezed lime juice. If desired enjoy with tostadas on the side.

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Apple Dump Cake.

octobers

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AppleDumpCake

Oh how I can’t wait for cooler weather! I was talking with one of my co-workers and I realized I had never made a snowman. No really. Never. I mean I’ve lived in Texas (Houston area) my whole life, we don’t get much snow here y’all. This makes me sad. I’ve never been on a sled, never made a real snow angel, once I did make a “snow” (more like Ice) ball. Once. I need to find somewhere to travel this winter or perhaps next winter that snows. Just to visit ya know. Can’t handle it too much. Total southern gal here can’t help it.

On another note, I love easy yummy recipes (even more they are a family recipe)! This Apple Dump Cake was a recipe my mother in law shared with me and it is about the easiest recipe ever and taste so great. Hope you enjoy the family recipe.

What You Will Need:

2 Cans of Apple Pie Filling

1 Box of Yellow Cake Mix (I used Pillsbury, Traditional Yellow Cake)

Vanilla Ice Cream (I used Blue Bell, Homemade Vanilla)

2 Sticks of Butter

Cinnamon

13 X 9 Inch Glass Pan

Here are photo by photo directions.

step one

“Dump” the apples into an ungreased pan and spread.

step two

Lightly Coat the top of the apples with ground cinnamon.

There is no right or wrong amount.

step three

Cut the sticks of butter in to “squares” as pictured above.

“Dump” cake mix and spread over the top of the apples (pictured as well).

step four

Equally space each square of butter across the top of the

cake mix. Bake in a middle level rack for 45 minutes or until all

the butter has melted and the cake mix has become golden brown,

much like a crust.  Cool and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Typically

leave the cake a tad warm so that the ice cream melts a little and

that way you have warm and cold sensation when you eat.

Enjoy!

** This post was not sponsored by Pillsbury or Blue Bell **
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Breaking Bad Cupcakes.

“I am the one who knocks.”

Breaking Bad, Walter White, Season 4, Episode 6

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BreakingBadCupcakes
It’s no secret, it really isn’t, I love TV shows. I am absolutely terribly immensely distraught that Breaking Bad is ending. In honor of the end of Breaking Bad I made mini cupcakes. The actual cake is just a normal white box cake but I made coconut frosting and a dyed flavored sugar. (Nut = Jesse, White cake = Walter, get it? GET IT? Ha.) To make the cupcakes make box cake as directed and cool. I also hollowed the center and added the colored sugar to the middle of each cupcake. The frosting was intentionally made messy, just like Jesse would have done it.

For the frosting you will need:

1½ cups granulated sugar
6 egg whites
1½ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
⅔ cup coconut milk

 For directions please visit the original post here.

coloed sugar

For the sugar:

1/2 Cup of Sparkling Sugar

 1/4 tsp. of Cornstarch

Food coloring or Food gel

Zip-lock bag – try to make sure it is thick, or double bag the sugar before mixing.

What To Do:

Pour sugar into zip-lock bag add a few drops of food coloring or gel color. Depending on the color you need add a little at a time. You can mix food coloring to make colors as well, and shake, shake, shake! Make sure you press out with your fingers any clumps that may happen. If you want to flavor the sugar you can add 1/2 tsp. of extract of vanilla, coconut, mint, etc. and continue to shake and press out clumps.  Add the 1/4 tsp. of cornstarch to keep sugar from feeling “sticky”, if you added extract you may need 1/4 tsp. more of cornstarch.

PS – Like my football nails? Super easy to do, just saying.
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Perfectly Pumpkin Cookies.

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
― George Eliot

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As fall quickly approaches so does my desperate need for pumpkin.

I love everything about fall. The weather, the scent of fall, colors, and most of all the food!

 I was trying really hard not to do any pumpkin recipes until after September but I couldn’t hold it in anymore! These cookies have been requested by a few of my co-workers for their birthdays and they never let down. My kids love them just as much as the grown-ups do. Real crowd pleaser, these cookies. So, bake up a batch for your fall pot-lucks for the season of eating is about to be upon us.

Yum.

Perfectly Pumpkin Cookies

Perfectly Pumpkin Cookies

What You Will Need:

2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

For the Frosting:

1/4 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions for Frosting:

Mix together on med speed, butter and softened cream cheese until well incorporated then Add vanilla.

Gradually add the 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar, adding roughly 1/2 cup at a time to avoid having the sugar “fly” everywhere.

Continue to mix on Med speed until frosting stiffens.

Directions for Cookies:

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and sugars until fluffy.

Add large egg and vanilla. Add pumpkin; mix well.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a small bowl; gradually add dry ingredients to
creamed mixture and mix well.

Using a cookie scoop (or a regular dinner spoon) drop cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart onto greased baking
sheets.

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly
browned and cookie retains shape when touched.

Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Once cooled apply frosting as desired to each cookie and lightly dust with ground cinnamon on top if desired.

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Italian Style Roll Ups.

motherhood

You know when you have one of those weeks where nothing goes right? Well, I’ve had that over an month now.

Okay now that I’m done with the pity party….let’s talk food. As a busy mommy sometimes I have to take short cuts and not make things from scratch. I know how dare I! Anyways,….sometimes the pre-made items aren’t all that bad. Here is a step by step and recipe on how to make the roll-ups.

all rolled up title

What you will need:

8 Ounces of Cream Cheese Room Temperature

1 Container of Italian “tomato sauce”, I used Classico

1 Pound of Ground Beef

Italian Seasonings

Garlic Powder

Shredded Mozzarella Cheese  (One bag)

Olive Oil

** Make it vegetarian by eliminating the ground beef or using imitation crumble beef**

Sauce

Kroger had Classico sauces on sale last week so I picked up a few containers of sauce and was surprised by how much I enjoyed them. The flavor I used in this recipe (and enjoyed the most) was the Florentine spinach and cheese. To make these roll ups first get some regular lasagna noodles and cook them al dente. Once pasta is cooked drain and cool. Lay pasta out length wise and cut all the pasta in half, just as pictured above.

Next, in a bowl mix a 8 ounce block of cream cheese with 3 teaspoons of pre-mixed Italian seasons (can be purchased at any grocery store where all the regular seasonings are) and 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.  Set mixture aside.

In a medium sized pan cook ground beef, drain excess oil.

In the pan mix tomato sauce and meat. Warm sauce and meat on low.

Pre-heat over at 350*

Next create roll-ups! Just like pictured below.

USE roll

You can use whatever pan you have, square, rectangle, circle they all work. Fill it with roll-ups. Once it is full of roll-ups spoon the meat and sauce over the roll-ups.  Make sure to cover all the roll-ups. Sprinkle cheese on top of entire pan, on this part you can put as much or as little as you wish.

all rolled up

Bake in the oven until all the cheese is melted, mine took roughly about 30 minutes.

Cool, serve and enjoy!

PS – My family ate these before I could get a final picture, mommy wasn’t a happy camper but they enjoyed the meal.

** Classico did not sponsor nor pay me to use their products all my opinions on the products are my own and in no way were influenced by the company**
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Agua de Horchata.

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
―     Ernest Hemingway

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I have been so tired the last two weeks. Seriously falling asleep at work tired. My car was out of commission and therefore to get to work I had to get up at four-thirty AM to head out with the kiddos and husband with one car. I know I am going to sound spoiled when I say this but I hate having one car. We live in an area where there is no public transportation and getting around basically requires a car. It stinks when moments like this happen. Anyways off my soap box, I’ve been extra lazy luckily this cool summer drink does not involve much of any work other than waiting. My husband loves this drink and so do my step kiddos, they call it cinnamon milk. It’s a traditional Mexican drink that I enjoy from time to time and it’s a bonus that my kiddo and husband like it so it never lasts.

Horchata

Agua de Horchata

1 3-inch cinnamon stick
4 cups hot water (Bring to a boil on the stove and remove from heat)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 can (12 fl. oz.) Sweetened Condense Milk
Ice cubes
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (Optional)

What To Do:

 In a large bowl mix up rice, cinnamon stick and water;

Cool it down, and Cover; Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Strain the mixture over a pitcher, reserve the liquid. Remove Cinnamon sticks. Place rice in blender. Add a ground cinnamon (optional, for a stronger cinnamon taste.)

 Cover; blend on High for 3 to 4 minutes until mixture is as smooth as possible. Add the reserved soaking water and Sweetened condensed milk; blend for an additional 2 minutes. Pour entire mixture into pitcher.

Serve over ice or blend with ice in the blender for a “shake” texture.

Enjoy!

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Caramel Turtle Cookies.

Sometimes I think that the one thing I love most about being an adult is the right to buy candy whenever and wherever I want.

Ryan Gosling

(PS- Not only a looker but a lover of candy? Watch out husband he’s giving you a run for your money!)

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There isn’t much going on in the crazy world of Diana these few week. I did get exciting news that I got offered a secure position at my job, full of benefits and vacation time. Real grown up talk. Boring! Let’s talk candy! YUM! When I was pregnant with my littlest, Emily, I loved me some candy! Top of the list? Chocolate. Dark. Milk. Chocolate covered anything. It was chocolate. It was mine. Point. Period. End of story. At that point of my life I was working at a pharmacy and they carried large boxes of the caramel turtles. Oh my! All of my favorite things in one bite! I mean who wouldn’t love it? Unless you don’t like chocolate, in that case I’m not really sure if we can be friends. Hate to break it to ya.

This past week I realized its been ages since I’ve made cookies or had turtles and then the wheels started turning. Combine these amazing items into one. Needless to say I did to a little happy dance in the store and people were staring but who cares my house was about to smell amazing. The cookies didn’t last through one pot of coffee another favorite of mine. What is your favorite candy? Have you tried using it to cook or bake? I am going to experiment with a few more the next coming weeks. I am excited to see what we can come up with.

caramel Turtle cookies

Caramel Turtle Cookies

What You Will Need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

30 caramels

What to Do:

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat to cool.

In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Chop about 10 caramels to in small  “chunks”, and set aside. In another bowl, beat together melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Beat in egg and vanilla. Slow your mixer to the slowest setting and gradually add in the flour mixture.

Stir in, using a spoon or spatula, the chocolate chips, pecans and chunks of caramel.

Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (skipping this step will make your cookies too thin)

Heat oven to 350°F

Roll dough into balls or use a cookie scoop and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake 8 minutes or until set and light golden. Cool on wire racks. Melt caramel in the microwave and drizzle over cooled cookies.

*Note: these cookies are a tad sticky so if you are transporting them it may be best to wait to put the caramel topping on at location.

And of course, enjoy.

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Ratatouille.

You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work,

and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from.

Your only limit is your soul. What I say is true – anyone can cook…

but only the fearless can be great. – Ratatouille, Disney Movie

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titilerata

rata

This week had been a gloomy rainy week here in Texas. We stayed inside all weekend and watched wonderful Disney movies including Ratatouille. If you have never seen the movie Ratatouille I seriously recommend it! It has a wonderful message for kiddos and grown ups alike. This film inspired my next recipe and I hope you get to watch the movie perhaps while making this meal.

Enjoy!

 

 

precooked

 

 

Ratatouille recipe

½ Of a medium sized yellow onion (diced)
1 eggplant
2 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 Yellow squash (2 if they are on the smaller side)
4 tomatoes (If you can find large ones use 2)
1 can of tomato puree
2 garlic cloves (I put mine in a garlic press, but you can finely chop them as well)
Herbes de Provence
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil

Pre-heat oven at 375°F

Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, or round, whatever you have will work, you just might end up with extra. Also add 2 table spoons of olive oil to the tomato puree, add garlic stir until it is all incorporated together.

Carefully slice all the veggies into very thin slices, “rings” per say.
On top of the tomato sauce, at a slight angle start stacking veggies in dish. (as pictured above.)
Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them. Lightly coat top of veggies with herbes de Provence, salt and pepper.
Cover dish with a piece of parchment, try to cut it as close as the shape of the dish.

Bake for approximately 45 to a hour, until veggies are tender. Take caution not to over cook or plating will be difficult.

(For vegan/vegetarian version just disregard the next recipe.)

Meat Sauce Topping

½ Tsp Sea Salt
½ Cup cubed Egg Plant
¼ Cup Diced yellow onion
3 Tbs. of Herbs De Providence
½ Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Can (10.75 oz) Tomato Puree
1 Lb of Ground beef met

In a medium sized pot, cook meant on med-high until well done, Drain excess oil.
Return ground meat to pot and add onion and egg plant, garlic, herbs, and salt allow to cook for another 10 minutes or until onions are tender stirring occasionally.

Lower the heat to a simmer (you can typically use the lowest heat setting for this) and add in the tomato puree to meat. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes and a very low heat setting.

Remove from heat, and spoon desired portion on to Ratatouille (or pasta).

Top dish with shredded mozzerella and enjoy!

 

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Asian Glazed Drumsticks

“We  keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re  curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
~ Walt  Disney

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I started blogging to push me out of my comfort zone with cooking. I needed to try new things, explore and fail some. However, I haven’t tried anything too adventurous just yet. I decided to make something I normally wouldn’t make for dinner. I stink at making Asian food. I’ve tried and failed. Over and over. When I saw this recipe on Skinny Taste it seemed simple enough. I actually pulled this one off! Ha! I added broccoli and shredded carrots to it as well. Modifications have been made to the recipe. I hope y’all enjoy as much as we did.

ASIANGLAZEDDRUMSTICKS

Ingredients:

8 medium chicken drumsticks (No Skin)

Olive Oil

1 cup water

1 tbsp. Sriracha hot sauce, or more, some like it hot!

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp sugar

3 cloves garlic (crushed)

1 tsp. grated ginger

2 tbsp chopped chives

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 cup of Broccoli florets

1/2 cup shredded carrots

What To Do:

In a large sauce pan heat up a enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of pan. Brown chicken for about 5 minutes about half cooked. Stir in all the ingredients excluding the broccoli and carrots . Allow it to simmer for about 20 minutes on low. Once the 20 minutes has passed add in the broccoli and carrots and turn the heat up to high and allow the sauce to reduce for about 8-10 minutes , until it becomes thick. Watch out not to burn the glaze, stir often. Once it’s thick enough for your liking Serve over a bed of white jasmine rice for a full meal.

Print the Recipe Here

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Fire Cracker Eggs.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

― Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

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Happy Fourth of July here are some random facts about me:

1.  I’ve been to more countries than I have been in states of the US.

2. I sang in choir for years and years, and to this day enjoy singing when stressed.

3. Today is my wedding anniversary. Married my best friend 4 years ago. Before I got married I had never made a meatloaf, pot roast, chicken ‘n dumplings or deviled eggs. No really. I never had.

4. I have a pit bull named Karma. She thinks she’s a lap dog. She’s so scary my two year old tries to ride her like a horse. Ha.

5. I’ve lived on 3 sides of the same main street. Sheesh I really need to explore more.

6. I love cheese. I get made fun of all the time because I like it so much.

7. The main issue about number 6 is that I am also Lactose Intolerant. Boooo.

8. I have two kids. Alex, and Emily and two step kids Ryan and Hannah. I had Alex with an epidural and Emily all natural. Go with the epidural.

9. In high school I got made fun of for not understanding the phrase “your tires are going bald”. I’ve never had to talk about tires in English before so I had no idea what they were talking about.

10. I have a nail polish addiction. I just woke up from having a nail polish dream. Yes I have an issue but it’s cheaper than getting my nails done every week or few days since that’s how often I change my polish.

PS – I hope you enjoy these eggs. It goes with number 3. You can dye the eggs for any holiday. Just use colors that fit the occasion.

fire cracker eggs

Fire Cracker (deviled) Eggs

What you will need:

Eggs, I used only 3 but you can double or triple the recipe if needed.

1 Tsp. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (it’s what I used)

 Pickled Jalapeños

2 1/2 Tsp. Greek Yogurt OR Mayo

Cayenne powder and black pepper

What to do:

Let’s not over complicate this y’all.

Make hard boiled eggs. Cool for about 15 minutes. Crack ’em, peel ’em. Slice each egg in half (as pictured). Scoop out “yolks” into a bowl. Wash off the “whites” to remove any yolk stuck to them. Place each egg white into bowls with water and food coloring, the more food coloring and the longer you let them sit the better and darker the colors will look. (Mine sat for 30-40 minutes.)  It’s a matter of preference when it comes to how light or dark to color the eggs. Don’t worry it doesn’t make the eggs taste funny.

While the whites are dying, we can make the filling. Cut up a jalapeño into small tiny cubes. You can add more than one if you want more spice. Add jalapeños into the bowl with the yolks. Now add the mayo and hot sauce and mash with a fork until smooth.  You can add more hot sauce but take caution to reduce mayo accordingly so your filling isn’t too thin.

Once the whites are to desired color let them “drain” on a paper towel for a few moments  remove any access water.

Once dry scoop filling into each hole in each white. Sprinkle lightly with Cayenne powder and black pepper. Serve.

Enjoy!

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