About Me

My photo
I was motivated to start a blog by reading all the wonderful talented individual's who have blogs out there. So, I want to make this blog about everyone who reads it. My family and God always comes first in my life. I want to share my experiences and in turn, hope to get feedback and ideas from you. I love unique things, I adore anything that sparkles (not over the top though) I love decorating, cooking, gardening, photography and shopping. My number one passion is photography! To me it becomes more than a picture, it can become a piece of art, or a beautiful memory. Decorating, though I am not a professional, and don't claim to be, has been a part of my life since I was very young, and just love searching and shopping for new ideas and incorporate the old, such as Mid-Century Modern and Hollywood Regency with contemporary. Living close to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, and being of Hispanic heritage, I love cooking Mexican food, and love to share my authentic recipes. Though I live in Florida, my heart is in the desert southwest, and hope that my family and I will return there very soon…keep your fingers crossed that my prayers are answered SOON!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo Celebration...

Because of my Mexican heritage,  I am very excited to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  I love to plan family parties, and this is ONE of my favorites.  I like to keep it simple, beautifully decorated, great drinks, and most of all, attention to the food being served and focus on the great flavors.  Since I usually serve a variety of foods, I don't always over spice or season, but keep it whereas all my guest can enjoy it...some don't like it as spicy and hot as my family, so I have to be a little more "gentle" with the HEAT, while ensuring the flavor is "Mexican".

For the dishes, I will use Fiestaware in a variety of colors.  Keep it simple, with the bright colors, makes it feel "festive".  The flatware used has real bamboo handles...gives it a little more texture.  Fresh cut bright colored tropical flowers, some from my own yard  along with palm and ginger leaves, just placed loosely in plain clear glass cylinders (HomeGoods).   And in between them a few more of the smaller glass cylinders with sand on the bottom, teal glass stones (because I already had that color) and white plumeria floating candles and laid upon round mirror disks - which only adds the extra sparkle.  I got that idea from a family member's wedding on the beach last year and changed it up a little.  Once the  food is complete, I will use  larger palm fronds  and tropical leaves from my yard, washed in dish detergent and dried well to lay the serving dishes on. That's it for the decorating, as I said I like to keep it simple with the emphasis on the food and drinks.



My menu for Cinco De Mayo is of course to start out  with "Margaritas", but I am making them with pineapple juice and instead of salt as a rimmer, I am using lime green colored sugar, bought from my favorite store...HomeGoods.   I do use Patron for the tequila but love Jose Cuervo's margarita mix.  So, one part tequila, one part mix, one part pineapple juice and one part ice, poured in to the glass and stirred gently.  I collect all kinds of cocktail glasses, instead of matching all the margarita glasses, and I having a variety of different styles and colors.  And for those who don't want a margarita, I will still serve pineapple agua fresca in margarita glasses, along with a pineapple wedge.


A package of fresh corn tortillas, cut in half, then in thirds to make small triangle shapes...deep fry until crunchy, but watch and turn, they can burn easily.  Drain well on paper towels, sprinkle lightly with sea salt....add shredded Monterey Jack and mild Colby cheese (I pile it on).  Take a fresh jalapeno, one poblano, and two serrano chiles -  broil under the broiler until the skin is charred (I place them in a plastic bag and seal, the steam helps loosen the skins)  When cooled enough to handle, remove skin...dice small.  Place over the top of the cheese and place in microwave until cheese is melted.  These are very simple basic, but totally delicious...not over the top.  I will have sides of guacamole, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and a variety of salsas.


For the chicken, bake in oven with New Mexico green chile powder, Lawry's Season Salt, Adobo, cumin, and fresh ground pepper - all to taste.  For tonight, I will bake extra chicken, and set aside in a separate bowl for tacos...Bake until tender, set aside to cool.

Dice chicken into small pieces, place in bowl with some just a few teaspoons of the chicken stock, to keep chicken nice and moist, and add  Mexican white cheese of your choice, I use Oaxaca, but Monterey is good as well.  About 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh diced garlic.  Mix well, and set aside in refrigerator until ready to wrap in tortillas.

For the beef, one medium to large size chuck roast, seasoned like the chicken and bake on 375 degrees for 3 hours, or until tender and fall apart with fork. Set aside to cool.  Once the shredded beef has cool, add 2 -3 tablespoons of fresh salsa and mix thoroughly. 

Now take one package of fresh corn tortillas, and place them in a moist kitchen towel and heat in the microwave until all tortillas are soften.  I usually do about 6-8 at a time.  Take one out at a time and at one end, place about 2 teaspoon full of the chicken and roll tightly unto a "flute" type shape, the tighter you can make them the better they will cook properly, the ends will be open., do not fold in the ends as you would a burrito.  Then do the same with the shredded beef.  Since I don't like to mix the chicken and beef together while cooking.  I will have a skillet for both, and place about a 1/2 to 2/3 inch of cooking oil.  Heat on medium high, and depending upon your stove, you may have to adjust the temperature.  Just as the nachos, the tortillas can burn easily, so be sure to take your tongs and once the oil is at the desired temperature, place them in the oil, being ready to turn-over within just a few seconds.  Once they are crunchy all around, remove and place on paper towels to drain the grease.

Taquitos are not the same without fresh homemade guacamole - it's a must for my family.  I will also serve them with fresh grated cheeses, a variety of salsas and Crema or Sour Cream sprinkled with chili powder.


Take the same diced chicken, but add tomotillo and chile sauce (below) and allow the chicken to absorb the sauce before serving. 

Tomatillo and chili sauce

8 tomatillos
3 serrano chiles
1 jalapeno - seeds and veins removed
1/2 sweet vidalia onion
1 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic
3 TBS of fresh cilantro, chopped medium
1 teaspoon New Mexico Green chile powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil the tomatillos until tender - don't cook them.   Once cooled, remove the husks, and place them with all other ingredients in food processor and mix together well.  Pour over chicken for at least one hour.  Heat again in microwave until ready to serve, or place in oven on low to keep warm but not allowing it to dry out.

Again, one package of fresh corn tortillas...and place in a moist kitchen towel in the microwave as above for the taquitos.  Lay one tortillas over the other, fill with seasoned chicken - here you can have your guest fill their taco's with any of the sides they wish...I always serve a wedge of lime with my tacos...got that from one of my first Mexican restaurants I ate at when I was only 16...adds that extra fresh and bright flavor.


Such a cute idea to add diced chiles, onions and tomatoes in my Molcajete..all in the colors of "Mexico"


These are so easy, but with a fabulous authentic flavor. 

1 large can black beans
2 cups chicken stock
1 medium vidalia onion - diced small
1 TBS cumin powder
1 jalapeno - seeds and veins removed and diced small (I will sometimes add a second jalapeno)
3 TBS fresh diced cilantro
1 tsp Adobo
dash of salt
fresh ground multi colored pepper corns

Place all ingredients in sauce pan and simmer on low for one hour until the beans have absorbed all the flavors.  Can told with a few sprigs of fresh cilantro.


4 large sweet tomatoes
1 medium vidilia onion - chopped fine
1 raw jalepeno, remove seeds and veins - diced small
3 TBS fresh diced cilantro
1 tsp. fresh diced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste.


  • 1 cup and 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 large
  • 1 14oz can
  • 2 13 oz cans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

You will need 6 ramekins or other specialty flan cook ware and a large baking pan to put them in.  I made the one below in a large glass pie pan, and one in a square baking dish, used a palm tree cookie cutter and added it to the top of the Flan.

Pour 1 cup sugar in warm pan over medium heat.
Constantly stir sugar until is browns and becomes caramel.
Quickly pour approximately 2-3 tablespoons of caramel in each ramekin, tilting it to swirl the caramel around the sides.
Reheat caramel if it starts to harden.
In a mixer or with a whisk, blend the eggs together.
Mix in the milks then slowly mix in the 1/2 cup of sugar, then the vanilla.
Blend smooth after each ingredient is added.
Pour custard into caramel lined ramekins.
Place ramekins in a large glass or ceramic baking dish and fill with about 1-2 inches of hot water.
Bake for 45 minutes in the water bath and check with a knife just to the side of the center.
If knife comes out clean, it's ready.
Remove and let cool.
Let each ramekin cool in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Invert each ramekin onto a small plate, the caramel sauce will flow over the custard.

Here are some other fun ideas, I might just throw in tonight.  I got all these great recipes online from a variety of sources.

Margarita Fruit Dip

•1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
•1/3 cup frozen (thawed) margarita drink mix (from 10-ounce can)
•2 Tbsp orange juice
•1 teaspoons grated lime peel
•1/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream
•Whole strawberries or your favorite fruit 
1. Beat cream cheese, margarita mix, orange juice and lime peel in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed until smooth.
2. Beat whipping cream in chilled small bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Fold into cream cheese mixture. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
3. Serve dip with strawberries or a fruit of your choice


•No recipe, just an easy entertaining idea that requires some Dixie cups, popsicles sticks and Mike’s Hard Lemonade Strawberry Margarita. As a side note, the traditional margarita made with Tequila needs a much colder temperature to freeze than the traditional home unit allows, so that’s why something like these Mike’s Hard Lemonade is better suited for making these Popsicles.
•To assemble: Pour and freeze the Strawberry Margarita for two hours then insert the popsicle sticks in the middle. Freeze for another two hours or until the Strawberry Margarita Popsicles solidify. Garnish with a lime and serve.
•Small note, do not rim with salt until serving time as the salt will melt the pops. Alternatively, you can rim the Strawberry Margarita Pops with chunky crystal sugar for an aesthetic effect without worrying about the melting factor.
•To keep popsicles chilled as long as possible, place the serving tray in the freezer and then top the tray with a layer of crushed iced.


Raspberries fill with milk and white chocolate chips - plain, simple and delicious!!!


Now of course, there will be soft Mexican guitar music playing in the background just to ensure the mood is right.

The photos on this page, other than the Flan, are not mine, retrieved from numerous sites on Google, for an example of what the dish should look like.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Joni, Oh my word. I want to come to your party! :))) So many of the restaurants around here have huge celebrations for Cinco De Mayo. What a delicious spread of food. I love it all I think! I am going to do that with the raspberries. What a fantastic, simple and delicious idea. I could eat tacos every day, all day long. I have been craving some black beans lately too!

    I have Fiesta Ware also, and I love it so much. We received a large set of 4 different colors when we got married, almost 10 years ago. We always joke that we still haven't broken one piece of it. I know we should stop saying that! haha.

    Happy Mother's Day to you! Enjoy your weekend.