Monday, January 9, 2012

Owl Invitations for Abby

3 of the 15 various designs. The body was cut freehand and the pieces were punched out. The party info is on the back on white cardstock. Simple and effective, and VERY last minute. ;-)

My lovely daughter is going to turn 15 this weekend. 15!!! WOW! Cannot believe it. Some of the traits she inherited from me are her procrastination tendencies and her fickle mind-changing ability. You see, she wasn't going to have a party. She just wanted to get sushi with me and have Starbucks at some point during the day. Yay! I thought it was time for grown up celebrations! I was a little sad but secretly relieved. Until... she came to me this past week and proclaimed this: "You know Mom, I think I would like a party after all. Can "we" make invitations and start the planning soon?" Now, me being the Mom that I am, I want to swoop in and save the day. I went into party panic mode, planning as much as possible around her owl theme. I ordered fancy cookies, planned some game-ish type activities, designed decorations, you know, the usual. Then she gently (and smartly) reminded me that she was not 8 any more and that the fancy stuff wasn't necessary anymore. She "reminded" me that she needed only food and a cake and some goodies to give out as they leave and, she said, she could figure out the rest. OK! ok. o.k. I am officially off the party planning hook, other than to clean the house, provide the food and cake and make arrangements for her siblings to be on temporary hiatus (thank you Auntie Em...) She did leave me with the one fun little task of making some cutesy invitations. Owls and pink, are what she requested. Ahhhh. I am blessed that she still has a sweet side. I hope that never changes, (pretty sure it won't.) She likes what she likes and isn't afraid to express her tastes. I LOVE THAT ABOUT HER!! I say, keep being you, my sweet 15 year old daughter. You rock.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ranchero Sauce Recipe

Tonight we had our beloved chili rellanos. I love those things! One of the things that makes them so tasty is the sauce that we smother all over them. I posted the recipe earlier here if you are interested in making them yourself. Of course, if you decide to make the rellanos, you will need some sauce to go with them. Kind of like the mouse and the cookie story. (All you mother's of preschoolers will get the joke. I expect to hear a snicker... lol.) So I thought I would post it on here as well. This recipe's flavors are developed as they simmer, so, feel free to clean the kitchen or do laundry (or practice your golf swing or change a tire) ;-) while it is on the stove. Just be sure to come back and check it frequently and give it a little stir to be sure it won't burn. I always adjust the seasonings depending on my current palate. Some days I am all spicy-loving and some days I need more bland. You get the idea. Have fun and make it the way you like it. Here is the basic recipe:

Ranchero Sauce
Makes a bunch, like, 6 cups or so. (I never measured the final amount.)

2 medium white or yellow onions, diced finely
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced finely
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 whole jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. mild chili powder, such as New Mexico or California
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp. chicken bouillon powder (caldo de pollo)
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with chili peppers
1 small can tomato sauce

Dice the onions and saute them in vegetable oil on medium heat until they soften and begin to turn golden. Add the canned tomatoes and sauce, bell pepper, garlic, and seasonings. Allow to come to a simmer. Add garlic and jalapenos and stir. Allow to simmer for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. (I usually end up adding more chocolate and caldo de pollo at this point and often another teaspoon or so of sugar. Something bizarre happens as it simmers and it doesn't really taste sweet with the sugar and chocolate. So don't let that freak you out. It just perks up the tomato and chili flavors but tones down the spiciness, if that is an issue.) Let the whole thing simmer for about another half an hour or so and allow to cool a bit before you serve it. We like it best just a little bit warmer than room temperature. Enjoy! Oh... get this... the flavor changes as it is refrigerated, so, be sure to taste it the next day and see what new adventure you can go on with it. ;-) It is like, 2 sauces in one! Ok, maybe not that dramatic, but I feel like enticing you to see what the heck I am talking about by making some for yourself. Yes, I am a sauce pusher. Guilty...

Homemade Chili Rellanos

My favorite type of food in the whole world is Mexican food. I could eat it every day in some form. A while back I ran across a really good and fairly easy recipe for chilis rellanos and a cooked salsa/sauce to go over them. Those recipes became "special dinner night" staples in the Avila house, and so we try to find every reason we can to figure out a reason to have a "special dinner" so we can eat the rellanos. Well, it just so happens that tonight is the last night of winter break and the kids go back to school tomorrow. Tada! Special dinner night. (Good enough reason anyway.) I thought I would do a mini-tutorial and post the recipe in case you wanted to give it a try. I hope you do! They are so yummy! Though, be prepared to do some cleaning afterwards. Kind of a messy/greasy project, for sure. Good luck!

Chili Rellanos
12 servings

3/4 1b. Monterey Jack cheese, cut into strips
8 tbsp. flour, plus 2 tbsp. for dusting
1/2 tsp. salt
8 lg. eggs, separated
1 can Whole Green Chilis, drained and dried off thoroughly (or you can use fresh, grilled and peeled Anaheims or Poblanos, depending on preference, if you know how and have time. I cheat nearly every time and use the canned ones. They are just as yummy to us done this way.) (P.S. I never use the whole can full of peppers but we use them in white bean chicken chili soup or mexican eggs. Expect about 5-6 extra)
Oil for frying

Whip the egg whites with the salt, until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Mix the egg yolks with the 8 tbsp. flour and stir until combined.

Gently fold the yolk mixture into the whites. Set aside.
Next, begin to heat oil in large frying pan. (I use a 14" skillet so I have plenty of room to flip them. I DEFINITELY recommend using the biggest you have. Bad things happen when they don't have breathing room. Trust me.)


Stuff the peppers with the cheese strips, and dredge them in the flour. Tap off excess and set aside. Prepare 3-4 at a time.

When the oil is ready, place a large spoonful of the egg mixture in the pan. Gently lay the pepper on it and cover it with another spoon of the egg mixture. Repeat until the pan is full and there is room to turn them over. Cook them on one side until they are golden brown and flip them over carefully.

 Let them cook on the other side until they are just as beautiful and golden brown as the other side. Meanwhile, prepare the next batch of peppers for the oil. Then, remove the golden peppers from the pan and allow them to drain on a rack (or a plate with a paper towel.) Repeat as necessary. Serve them with the salsa or sauce of your choice.

That is it! Not a big deal at all! We serve them with our favorite Ranchero Sauce. My husband uses the leftover sauce to eat on toast or eggs for breakfast the following days. You would think he had died and gone to Heaven. ;-) I will be blogging that next so stay tuned!

**I have since posted the sauce recipe! You can find it here!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cute Little Gift Box

      My oldest daughter got invited to a Birthday party and needed a gift. Of course, she forgot to remind me until LITERALLY one hour before she had to be there. Grrrrrr... teenagers. ;-) So her Dad ran her to Starbucks to buy a gift card, (What 15 year old doesn't love a Frappucino??) and while she was gone, I assembled a cute little tag and recycled a gable box I had saved from a gift I had been given recently.
     I have been using my new tag punch a lot and seem to be stuck on the same layout for the tag design. No matter though! It is ok to go with what works, right? Hopefully I get a little more of a reminder next time...
    Also, sorry about the photo "ambiance." I didn't have time to fuss over it. Unfortunately, you can see the upside down build-a-bear love coupon in the bill holder on our table and the messed up curtains in the background. Just ignore those. We just "live" here is all. ;-)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Valentine's Chalkboard Candy Holder Pot

Time for another gift! I will keep this post short and sweet. Not a difficult craft- almost doesn't need an explanation. I really am happy with the way it turned out!

All it took was a small terra cotta pot, a saucer to match, a small wooden knob, e6000 adhesive, ribbons, various paints, chalkboard paint, and candy. Pretty straight forward, paint the pot rim, saucer and knob. Follow the directions on the chalkboard paint and allow the pot to dry completely. Attach the knob to the dry saucer with the e6000 glue.

Tie the bows to the top, around the knob. Insert a bag of candy or any other goodies inside and then package it up all cutely.

That is it! Hoping my friend will like it too! I am DEFINITELY going to have to make one for myself.

**No, you are not seeing things. One of the pots has polka dots and one of them does not. I decided at the last minute to add them. I like the way the ribbon ties in a little better with the polka dots in place.

Powered by Blogger.