Strawberry and Champagne Jell-O (The perfect way to ring in the new year)

Happy New Years Eve!

Are you ready for the countdown?

I think my favorite part of New Years is the drinking. Or more specifically, Champagne.

Champagne is not only great on its own, but also in a plethora of cocktails. It makes any event elegant when used.

This time I made Jell-O out of it. Fancy Jell-O.

It’s a play on the strawberries and champagne that has become popular since the dawning of time.

champagne and strawberryjello

Champagne and Strawberries Jell-O

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin powder
2 cups cold water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups cold champagne
1 1/2 cups ginger ale
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

Directions

In a saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water.

Leave for two minutes before bringing water to boil and stirring until the gelatin has dissolved.

Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.

Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.

Stir in champagne and ginger ale.

Refrigerate for 90 minutes until Jell-O has thickened.

Fold strawberries in to Jell-O.

Place into molds.

Refrigerate until firm, roughly 6 hours.

Makes 24 muffin tin molds.

I didn’t have any molds, so I had to improvise.

Muffin tin pans are a great way to eat pretty much anything because of portion control. Add this awesome Jell-O concoction as an alternative to drinking champagne when the clock strikes midnight and you’re starting the new year in a fun bubbly way.

I love how the Jell-O sparkles like diamonds when you fold in the strawberries. It is such a beautiful dessert, the way the strawberries are suspended in air bringing hints of red. It’s fascinating and hypnotizing.

It’s an interesting bubbly taste. The ginger ale cuts the bite from the champagne calming down what could be a rather alcohol-y taste.

The strawberries are refreshing and pleasant at every bite.

All in all, this would be a fun little dessert on New Years Eve as a way to introduce the kids to alcohol.

So if you decide fancy Jell-O shots are not the way to ring in the new year, introduce it as a dessert.

Reindeer Chow (Peanut Butter and Nutella Muddy Buddies)

When I found this recipe last year, Family Christmas had already come and gone. Don’t get me wrong, the Hot Cocoa Ornaments were amazing and everyone loved them. But since two of Bryan’s siblings live 5 hours away, I really wanted to prepare a little snack for them for the ride home.

But that’s okay, because I didn’t know about the gift wrapped pringles can until this year.

Before I made these, Mumika told me something that boiled my blood for two days straight. I couldn’t focus on Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner, I was so pissed. I mean, who does that and I had showed her what I was making. But when the time came, it was no where to be found.

As it turned out, my mother in law was making a different chex mix for the kids to munch on. A more savory version and forgot to put it out. When she said she had added Worcestershire sauce to hers, I automatically knew which version she was making. Mumika must have misunderstood her or something.

By the time I had made these little mx of awesomeness, I didn’t care that much. Why? Because they came out awesome.

Originally I was going to make two completely different batches and mix them together before putting them in the canisters. But then I realized, that was too much of a hassle and ended up making something completely different.

I made peanut butter and nutella muddy buddies. It was pure and utter genius.

reindeer chow

Reindeer Chow(Peanut Butter and Nutella Muddy Buddies)

10 cups chex mix (corn or rice or a combo)
10 ounces of dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup peanut butter
5 tablespoons butter
12 ounces green and red M&Ms
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Melt the peanut butter, nutella, and butter in a microwave safe dish.

Microwave in 15 second intervals until butter is melted. Stir each time

Add the chocolate and continue 15 second intervals of microwaving until all is melted into the mix.

Continue stirring at each interval.

Add the vanilla and stir together.

In a large bowl add the cereal and pour chocolate peanut butter nutella mixture over it.

Mix with a spoon.

In a large paper bag, place the powdered sugar.

Pour the chex mixture into the paper bag.

Close the bag and shake it until the powdered sugar has coated the chex mix evenly.

Add the M&Ms and shake it..

Makes 20 servings. Or Four Canisters. Per serving/canister.

OMG, it tastes amazing. It’s really interesting because when you take your first bite, you taste the nutella and as you keep chewing the peanut butter comes out.

Also I reduced pretty much everything – the powdered sugar, the chex, the chocolate.

By keeping the peanut butter, you get some protein in there.

One of my sister in laws called it crack. Which it is. She would give one of her sons a few pieces as she ate the chex mix. When he popped the first square she gave him, his head moved back in pure euphoria and he said “mmmmm” and demanded more.

Adults and children alike will love this. Both kid and mom tested and approved.

My mother in law later told me everyone loved the gift, which made me happy. Bryan and I don’t have a lot of money to spend on our seven nephews, so I figured food would be the best bet. Just watching that one nephew’s reaction made me feel like I did enough even though he got a BB gun, toys, candy, books, and a skateboard from the rest of the family.

But then again, you’re talking to a girl that went all EEEE! when Mumika gave her a huge box of walker shortbread for Christmas one year.

It really is the little things.

Tembleque

This recipe called for a teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt. But I was busy making Bryan a drink at the same time and totally forgot it.

Did it need it? Fuck no!

It tasted OMG amazing.

How do I know? I was bad an pretty much licked not only the spoon but also the saucepan thinking the whole time, “Why didn’t Mumika make this when I was growing up?!?!” The woman pretty much denied me my delicious Puerto Rican heritage cuisine wise.

Tembleque, which I like to pronounce wrong, is typically made during Christmas time. There isn’t really much on the history of tembleque. However, is called tembleque because it “trembles” or jiggles. In reality, it is a hybrid of Jell-O and custard. It has the consistency of Jell-O but tastes more like a custard.

It’s pretty awesome.

tembleque

Tembleque

3 1/2 cups of coconut milk
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of coconut water
1/2 cup of cornstarch

Directions

Mix everything together on medium high heat .

Stir into you get a creamy consistency . It will also thicken a bit.

Pour into a glass mold.

Wait until it’s room temperature and refrigerate 6 to 24 hours.

Dust with cinnamon before serving.

Makes12.

This is amazing.

It’s like arroz con dulce but without the rice.

The texture might be weird for those with texture issues. Actually, they might not even touch it. It’s the whole jiggles like Jell-O but is actually custard thing.

Bryan was not happy about the texture.

It’s creamy, it’s coconut-y, it’s custardy. The perfect coconut custard.

Add the cinnamon on top and all the flavors elevate in Puerto Rican awesomeness creating a Christmas party with live music in my mouth. You know what I’m talking about – the three meal services, three bands and a DJ, and an open bar Christmas party in the mountains somewhere.

 

Ham and Swiss Cheese Croissant

ghMumika bought croissants before she left. Bryan looked at them and said, “These would taste really good with ham and swiss cheese”. Both of which, we had.

The man does not like ham. Don’t buy him ham to make sandwiches, he won’t use it. Yet, croissants are ok. I don’t get it.

Originally, I wanted to make those rolls with cheese and ham and that sauce that you either brush on the tops or put inside.

“Meh,” Bryan replied, “Just ham and swiss.”

Which I did.

The best thing about this is it is literally 3 ingredients. And you can make as many as you want.

hamandcheese

Ham and Swiss Cheese Croissant

4 regular croissant, sliced horizontally in half
16 slices of ham
8 slices of swiss cheese

Directions

Lay parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Place 4 slices of ham on the bottom half of the croissant.

Place 2 slices of Swiss cheese on top of the ham.

Place the top of the croissant on the cheese.

Bake at 350 for 10 minute or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Makes 8.

This is perfect for a brunch or a late breakfast. Paired with fruit. I might do a play on eggs benedict with this one day. Why didn’t I do that? Didn’t think of it until now. As usual.

Actually, this is perfect for any time of day, but that’s besides the point.

I used honey ham which I found complimented the swiss cheese quite well. Add the flaky butteryness of the croissant and you have something perfectly amazing.

If you cut it into bite size pieces, it would be a great appetizer for a bridal or baby shower. If you are making it for a baby shower, I would use baby swiss if you are having a baby tea time theme.

Why is Swiss cheese so amazing?!?! It’s definitely one of my favorite cheese. It’s up there with muenster and Havarti.

So yummy.

Bellini

Bellini’s were created around the 1940’s at Harry’s Bar in Venice.

Now you find them everywhere. Part of Brunch, a special cocktail at a party, New Year’s Eve, baby showers, everywhere.

Although many view this as a champagne cocktail, it’s actually a sparkling wine cocktail. Two completely different forms of alcohol. Yes, both have bubbles, but the type of grape used is different.

Bellini’s are typically made of pureed white peaches with prosecco wine. At least, in Italy, that is how they are made. Here in the states, any sort of peach and bubbly stuff = bellini. Got to love America, not only are we a cultural melting pot, but we like to bastardize every cuisine out there and make it our own.

I didn’t have peaches, or white peaches. I cheated. I used peach nectar. I still got that beautiful pinkish hue, Bellini’s are known for. Supposedly Bellini’s are named after some artist in Italy that painted with a very complex hue of pink.

Some places cheat even more with this hue adding some sort of juice to it. I did not do such a thing. Why? Because it wouldn’t be considered a Bellini! You want authenticity people!

bellini

Bellini

2 ounces peach nectar
5 ounces prosecco wine

Directions

In a champagne flute pour peach nectar.

Fill the rest of the flute with prosecco wine.

Top with a peach slice.

Makes 1.

Ummmm…..yeah. So not into this.

It’s super dry. Which makes sense since the sparkling wine literally can be translated to dry. Add the peach to it, and I still wasn’t thrilled with it.

I’ve come to the conclusion we are more of a mimosa family.

 

Brisket

If you ask Bryan, I forced him to make a brisket this year. And he didn’t want to do it. And I better stay up with him while he smokes it.

Which I did.

We went to bed at 4:30AM Christmas morning.

I asked my father in law for his recipe to marinade the brisket. My father in law cooks the most amazing BBQ ever created. If he had a BBQ place, he would be sold out every day. Every. Single. Day.

His ribs are my favorite though.

He gave me a not exact recipe because he eyeballs it. It was pretty close to a bulgogi recipe but without the meat tenderizer or the sesame oil. Seemed easy.

He also told me to start the marinade two days ahead and that the meat might turn black.

Don’t ask me how to smoke brisket. It took Bryan about 11 hours, constantly checking it. As long as it stayed around 250 the whole time, the brisket comes out juicy. We ended up using pecan wood chunks and pecan wood chips. Always use pecan when you can. If possible, use walnut.

Of course, this whole smoking brisket thing didn’t go as planned, and there was heated discussion about it. Add the fact that there was some confusion about what the brisket was for because family Christmas is two days after Christmas, it became more of a hassle. Which made the whole thing rather frustrating.

For some odd reason, I don’t know how and I don’t really care who decided it, the family was under the impression that the brisket Bryan was smoking was for family Christmas instead of our personal Christmas. I must admit, this misunderstanding was a rather frustrating one because no one called us to confirm what our brisket was being used for. So that when this mysterious fog cleared, confusion had slipped in. We never said we were bringing the protein to family Christmas. Hell, I didn’t even know it was going to be pretty much a potluck until Mumika came into town. But somehow, someone decided that was what was going to happen.

This assumption was not only improper but also impolite. Someone should have picked up a phone and talked to one of us. A five minute conversation of “Hey, is that brisket I know your making for us or for you?” Instead of a, “Well, I thought you were making that brisket for the family.”

I just don’t get it. I just don’t know. It feels like some sort of scheme. Like someone put it into someone else’s head and everyone just ran with it assuming we would bring some of the leftovers. I mean, it was an 11 pound brisket and other than Mumika, there is only two people eating it. Why would two people need an 11 pound brisket?

Well, I have plans for it. Brisket tamales, brisket enchiladas, brisket shepard’s pie. That’s at least 6 days of food I don’t really have to worry about. With a rather hectic schedule from school, internships, work, probably two jobs, and what have you, I need to be able to have meals in the freezer that only needs to be popped into the oven at whatever temp and baked for so long and *boom* dinner’s ready.

But I digress
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Brisket Marinade

3/4 cup sugar
1 onion sliced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
a few dashes of garlic power
some salt.

Directions

Get a huge sturdy plastic container that can fit the brisket.

Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl.

Salt the brisket.

Pour some of the marinade at the bottom of the plastic container.

Place the brisket into the plastic container.

Pour marinade over brisket.

Place lid on top and shake a little. Put in the fridge for up to two days. Shake the container every so often.

 

 

Merry Christmas and Pernil

Merry Christmas from the Diabetic Kitchen. I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family and ate amazing meals. The holidays are more about the food than the gifts, at least for me it is.

Pernil – the definition of pork yumminess that can only be called Puerto Rican.

A traditional Puerto Rican Christmas meal always has pernil at the table. Always. And you never mess with traditions. NEVER.

Growing up as a half breed, Mumika chose the English traditions over the Puerto RIcan ones. I have always understood her reasons behind this – Dad died, and she was making sure his traditions were a permanent part of my life. However, in the process, I didn’t know these yummy Puerto Rican traditions until I accepted myself as a Boriqua and researched.

Ironically, Mumika did try to make pernil once. It was 2011. The very pork that sent me to the hospital and nearly killed me. And here I am, making it myself, 3 years later.

The major different is, I got my pork shoulder butt at HEB where I know there meat are prime.

A few things about this Pernil:

I didn’t get the picnic pork shoulder because the HEB where I live didn’t have it. If I had waited until the next day, when I was at a different HEB, I would have found it. So essentially, any pork butt or shoulder or whatever, will do.

Because I didn’t get the picnic pork, there’s wasn’t any fat at the top that melts down into the meat itself creating a crispy skin. So if you don’t want that, don’t get the picnic cut. Some may say, “But you’re missing the best part.” You’re not.

I ended up wrapping the pork in plastic wrap after I put the marinade on there and let it sit in my fridge overnight. So do that. Let the flavors penetrate into the meat.

Also, don’t listen to your Mumika about how long to cook the pernil. She always ends up drying her meat out. As time progressed and we kept sampling the meat to see where we were at, she was adamant about the temp and time. Make sure you have a meat thermometer to poke the pernil with. When it gets to 180, it’s pretty much done.

One of the biggest things to keep in mind is that you are using a mortar and pestle to crush the garlic and combining it with the other ingredients to pretty much make a paste. If you don’t have it, just crush the garlic with the wide end of your knife until you hear a pop and chop it. I ended up crushing the garlic in the roast pan to make sure the garlic was at the bottom of the butt.
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Pernil


6 pounds Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt
6 Cloves of Garlic, pressed
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 1/4 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/4 tablespoon White Vinegar
4 teaspoon Salt

Combine garlic, pepper, oregano, olive oil, vinegar and salt.

Rub pork with garlic mixture all over pork.

Stab pork repeatedly (my favorite part, it lets me relieve any murderous ideas) and stuff the knife openings with the garlic.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

TO COOK:

Put pork into a roasting pan.

Preheat oven at 400 and cook to pork at 400 for about 50 minutes.

After that, lower the temperature to 300 for the rest of the time.

This is where research gets tricky. Some people say cook for 20 minutes per pound, others say it’s 35 minutes per pound.

I say, check with a meat thermometer and cut a piece off every time you check it until its where you want it. When it gets all cooked and crispy like, it’s pretty much done.

Makes a lot.

It came out amazing. Tasted just like Puerto Rico.

I was actually quite impressed with the results. And it was nice and moist, and happiness.

And I have all sorts of ideas for it – Cuban sandwiches, pernil empanadas, pork buns.

It’s going to be amazing.

This is definitely going to be a new tradition in this house.
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Pie Crust Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Christmas Eve!

So you’ve made all these pies for Christmas and there’s some crust dough left over. What do you do? Do you throw it out? Do you put it in the freeze for later use?

Or you could make cinnamon rolls out of it for Christmas breakfast.

Genius!

You only need four (4!) ingredients and I bet you have it already in your pantry just waiting to be used.

They are very simple and easy to make and will go in a flash.

I tried it out on Bryan a few weeks ago, but learned from my first mistake – melting the butter and brushing it on to the pie crust. So DON’T MELT THE BUTTER.

They came out okay, but could have been better.

Second time around, they came out way better.

piecrustcinnamonrolls

Pie Crust Cinnamon Rolls

pie crust
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sugar

Directions

Roll pie crust out into a square that is 1/4 inch tall.

Spread butter all over pie crust.

Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on butter.

Roll the pie crust tightly.

Cut into 12 slices.

Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Makes 12.

So the second thing I did wrong was not tightly roll the pie crust the first time. The tighter the roll, the more the cinnamon and sugar can bind to the layers.

To reiterate: DO NOTMELT THE BUTTER and ROLL TIGHT.

But most importantly enjoy.

You drizzle a wee bit of icing on them, but I thought they tasted perfectly without. The cinnamon definitely comes out and kicks you in the face.

An easy breakfast for the family on a crazy day of cooking. O you could snack on them as you go.

Let the Holiday Yummy Extravaganza Begin

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.

Today I start preparing for what will always be known from here on out as THE HOLIDAY YUMMY EXTRAVAGANZA.

All the ingredients have been bought. And stored correctly. The brisket has been marinating since yesterday and I marinated the pork shoulder tonight.

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This picture is a how you know or can tell you are an organized control freak deep down inside. Not only is the food organized by date they will be made but also includes what dishes, pans, pots and what have you will be used to make them. Then there is a complete list of all dishes needed to make everything along with the number of time it will be used.

Who the fuck does this?

Obviously I do.

Yeah. I have a problem. Sooner or later I will come out of denial and get the help I desperately need. Actually, scratch that, I will blissfully stay in denial.

On the brighter side, I found this while cleaning. Hopefully it will be a great guide for those that are baking with fruit.

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Gift Wrapped Holiday Cans

I really hate getting cookies and in the transport, they get all broken up.

Bags are soo overrated. And ruins all the hard work you did making these amazing cookies.

Bags are also overrated when it comes to gifting snack mixed. Sure its easy, dump and close with ribbon,  but presentation wise is sophomoric. Unless your child in the intermediate school age or younger. Then by all means bag it up and call it a night.

I just tend to overdo everything or as Bryan puts it, “Makes simple things complicated.” I just think presentation is the key to everything. I blame all those years writing papers, doing power point presentations, and making posters for college for this overachieving make everything look as pretty as can be mentality. College, it breaks you. It really does. And graduate school is full of high expectations where if you don’t meet these expectations you fail. Then you get a career in your field, and those damn expectations don’t actually go away. They become part of your life, your everyday life.

And guess what, there’s nothing wrong with that.

So put those cellophane or whatever Christmas bags you found at Walmart or Hobby Lobby up. And find some pringles cans.

I’m about to blow your mind.

Ok, maybe not. I’m sure you’ve seen this already on facebook. Wrapping up pringles cans so that they look like Christmas presents. Actually I know you have. I can feel it. And if you haven’t, well then consider you mind blown.

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Gift Wrapped Holiday Cans

Pringle can (pringles already eaten)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 10X10 inch square of wrapping paper
transparent tap
long ass piece of ribbon

Directions

After you have eaten the pringles (Bryan loves the salt and vingar obviously), put baking soda in the can. Shake it up and leave it for a week.

When you are ready to use the can, wash the inside of the can and dry it.

Take your 10X10 inch square and see where you need to cut to make it fit better. I line it up under the metal ring at the top, wrap the wrapping paper around the canister to make sure it overlaps. Then, using my thumbnail, I make an indent at the bottom ring of the canister so that I know where to cut.

Once you have trimmed the wrapping paper as needed and double checked that it fits accordingly, place tape vertically on where you want the wrapping paper to attach to the canister. Place a piece of tape at the bottom and at the top.

Wrap the wrapping paper around the canister, making sure that the wrapping paper is between the to metal rings.

Once the wrapping paper has overlapped, attach that side to the wrapping paper using a piece of tape. I use three pieces of tape, one at the top, middle, and bottom.

Flip the canister over and figure out where you want the ribbon to go. I put the ribbon where one side covers the overlap of the wrapping paper.

Make sure the ribbon is equal in length on both sides and attach it to the bottom of the canister with a piece of tape.

Run the ribbon up one side of the canister and attach it to the wrapping paper at the top of the can. Do the same to the other side. This way tying the ribbon into a bow at the top is easier. The ribbon won’t slide on you.

Fill the canister up with whatever yummy creation you have made to be gifted. Cover with lid and tie with a bow.

Makes 1 canister.

From the picture, the can on the left is the empty pringles can, the one in the middle is after what it looks like after the can has been wrapped and the can on the right is the finished product.

You can always stop at the wrapping and call it a day.

This can is great for gifting snacks, cookies, muffins and what have you.

I’m actually using them for the gifts I’m making the in laws.

One big thought – do not buy the smellier chips like onion, cheddar ones. The stinkier the chips, the longer it takes to get rig of the smell.

Other than that, wow everyone and save the cookies from being broken. And you could make them for pretty cheap and it comes with a snack.

$1.50 for the pringles can
$1 for tape
$0.50 for the wrapping paper – I got it from the dollar store on clearance.
$0.97 for the silver sparkly ribbon.

All of it for under 4. Hell, if you are a normal pringles eater or know someone who is, save the cans for future use.

And definitely buy the wrapping paper after Christmas.

It’s the cute little things that makes something mundane into something extraordinary.