"Sometimes adventure calls and we ignore it. We miss the opportunity for a lifetime of memories. Go ahead, be adventurous" ~Maria Villanueva

May 24, 2010

Cake: Tres Leche "Three Milk"

Satruday I was grocery shopping at Walmart and I ran into this Tres Leche "Three Milk" cake mix from Duncan Hines.  I couldn't believe my eyes!! I was sooo excited to try it out.  Everyone I know LOVES tres leche and we always buy it at a local bakery.  I could not wait to get home to make it and let me tell you, it was just as delicious as the local bakery's.  I decided to share my first one with my mother in law.
Here's the box: all you'll need to add is water, eggs and whole milk, that's it!
Once you bake the cake, according to the box's instructions in a 13"by9" pan, you'll be asked to pour a measured amount of milk previously mixed with their enclosed powder.
It will look like this:

talk about moist!

Put it in the fridge for at least two hours.  I left it over night. When you bring it out of the fridge, it will look like this.  The cake should absorb the milk.

At this point, you can add whipped cream on top or decorate with fruit.  I decided to skip the whipped cream add some strawberries.  It was too moist for frosting so I didn't even try that.  I'll have to think of ways to decorate it, I like using fruit as decoration, but once you taste it, I don't think you'll care how it looks.

I'm definitely adding this cake mix to my pantry.  It will have it's own permanent spot so I'll never run out.  It's moist, it's sweet, it's creamy, it's delicious! and by the way, I took my mother in law her half and she loved it.

here's a link to their recipe:

May 23, 2010

Cake Plate and Fork Holder

I took a trip down to a brand new dollar tree store near where I live.  I found the cutest summer bandanas.  They are pretty large at 20" by 19" and the colors just scream summer.  I walked over to the glass section and picked up a clear glass plate and a small glass candle holder and went home to work some magic. 

You'll need your handy dandy Mod Podge for this project: glass candle holder (not pictured below), glass plate, scissors, brush, fabric.

The first thing you'll need to do is cut the fabric around the plate.  Place fabric under the plate and pull lightly with one hand and cut with the other hand.

as you can see below, I have a fabric cut in a circle, it doesn't have to be perfect, imperfections makes home made things look even more special.  Although, I would iron the fabric before you place it on top of the Mod Podge, I forgot to do this step and the line that runs across the blue flower below, showed up after my project was completed.
Make a little stand to place your plate on top, it will be easier to work with the plate if it's elevated.
I made mine with a jar and I placed a kitchen towel on top so keep the plate from sliding.
  Next, place your plate on top of your stand face down.  Add the Modge Podge all over the back side of the plate, try not to add too much because then it will goop out when you press the fabric to get rid of bubbles.

Place the fabric on top and brush on Modge Podge on top of the fabric.  Using your fingers, gently smooth out the fabric so that you can get rid of any air bubbles.  Let this dry over night.
Once the Mod Podge is dry, you can cut any extra fabric around the plate.

For this cake plate, I want to add a stand.  I got the stand at the dollar tree store too.  Use Gorilla glue (good for glass).  You only need very little glue all around the rim, this glue expands as it dries.  It dries within half hour so be sure your plate is dry and ready from the Mod Podge. 
Find the center of the plate and place your stand on top with the glue.  Let this dry for half an hour.
Below is a picture of the plate already dry but the edge did not get any Mod Podge.  It's not too late to add more Mod Podge to repair this edge.  You want to make sure that your edges are sealed with Mod Podge so that no water enters in when you hand wash this plate.  Obviously, you can't put this in the dishwasher, but you can hand wash and dry immediately. Place it face down for a couple of hours so it will completely dry.
This is the finished plate, now I'm going to make a tres leche cake to place on top and gift it to my mother in law, she loves tres leches cakes.

After the cake plate was done, I wanted to make a fork holder to match.  I cut out some flowers from the fabric and found a gravy jar, washed it and dried it clean.  Used Mod Podge to attach the flowers and let dry over night.

I then found some matching ribbon and used a glue gun to attach the ribbon to the jar:

This is the final cake plate and matching fork holder:

Isn't it pretty? I can't wait to go visit my mother in law in a couple of hours and give this to her.  She's such a sweet and fun lady, spending just five minutes with her you'll want to add her to your best friends list. 

Here's a picture of her and me at a party, sometimes I forget to smile : )

May 22, 2010


Here's a delicious and easy Mexican recipe, Sopes (rhymes with Lopez).  The picture below shows the product you will need for this recipe.  Although there are many companies that make these Sopes, I like Cacique the best.  The Sopes are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside once you fry them.  They are soooo delicious! you have GOT to trust me on this recipe, it can't get better than this.

This is what you'll need:
a can of smashed pinto beans
2 cups of cooked shredded chicken
chopped onion (you can leave this out)
cilantro (you can leave this out)
diced avocado (you can leave this out)
diced tomatoe (you can leave this out)
sour cream
salsa (you can leave this out)
1 cup vegetable oil
Shredded cheese or Mexican Queso

Warm the beans in a pan and the shredded chicken in a separate pan or in a dish on the microwave.  Set aside.

Take the Sopes and add them to hot vegetable oil in a wok, or a fryer or a pan. Fry in the hot oil medium high for about 3-4 minutes total
When your done frying them, they will look like this:  this is a picture to show you the difference between a fried one on the right and one that has not been placed in the hot oil yet, on the left.

Once they are fried, spoon on some warm beans, then some warm shredded chicken, salt to taste, sour cream, shredded cheese or Queso (white Mexican cheese also by Casique), cilantro, onions, diced avocado, diced tomatoes and salsa on top.  Instead of salsa, I served mine with a green chile on the side, my husband loves these chiles.  Prepare about two per person.

Tortilla Soup

Here's a delicious soup you can make at home that is so easy to make.   

I promise you, if you make it, you're gonna love it!

Boil Chicken:
In a large pot, add a whole chicken, an entire peeled and halved white onion and four garlic cloves.  Boil the chicken in medium heat.

What you need to make the soup:
2 cups of shredded chicken (from boiled chicken above)
6 cups of chicken broth (from boiled chicken above)
two flour tortillas cut into thin strips 
two medium tomatoes, diced
2 lemons
Sour cream
2 diced avocados

Cooked onion (from boiled chicken above) diced
1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a large pot, combine broth, chicken, diced onion, diced tomatoes, salt to taste.  Bring to a simmer and let it get hot.

Cut tortilla in small thin strips like this:

While the soup is getting hot, in a separate non stick frying pan, brown tortilla strips to a crisp in vegetable oil.

When soup is hot, add to four bowls for serving.  Add diced avocado to taste, cilantro to taste, sour cream to taste and lemon to taste.  Add the crispy tortilla strips and stir.  Here it is served with a green chile and a radish.

May 15, 2010

Woo Hoo! go Maria go Maria go Maria..... tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999......why am I celebrating??? because I just got the most sweetest award from my blog friend Jeannette at Counting Our Blessings .  This is my very first blog award and I would love to forward it to a few of my blog friends who have been so supportive during my blogging endeavours....but that post will come at a later date because, although I am celebrating, I'm in the middle of a baaad cold.  For now, I just wanted to pass on the great news......martini anyone? or um, tylenol anyone? ....oh my throbbing  head....which at the moment, because of the award, is twice it's size! Thanks Jeannette, you're an awesome girl!

May 03, 2010

Gift Bag and Pretty Flower Holder

It's getting late and it's almost time for us to go to bed when I realize that we have only purchased gifts for the teachers and not the teacher's assistants....oh my! and it's teacher appreciation day!!!but never fear, crafty mom is here!

For the first project, a flower stand, this is what you'll need: some decorative party napkins, styrofoam balls, scissors, bread knife and Mod Podge

Take the napkin and separate the layers, normally there is only two layers but this one had three.

Cut small squares, sorry, I switched napkins.  The size of the squares can be about 1" by 1" but they don't have to be exact measurements

Take your Mod Podge and place some in a small container, you don't want to end up with styrofoam in your Mod Podge container! Work one square at a time covering your styrofoam ball.  

Also remember to dab Mod Podge on top of the squares as well

When you are done, it will look like this:
Place it on top of wax paper and let it dry a couple of hours before you go to the next step.  This was the hardest part for me as I am very impatient!

Once they dry, they will look like the one below, sorry, I didn't have the black and white one ready for the picture, but you get the idea.

Once they are fully dried, cut through the middle with a bread knife.  It should be pretty easy to cut through.

Add some silk flowers for Spring and Wah-lah! Pretty flowers for a teacher assistant's desk.  Since there are four assistants in total, they each get one plus a gift card from Office Depot for school supplies.

This is a close up

My next dilemma is that you can't wrap these flowers and all I have is wrapping paper....oh my! but never fear, the crafty mom is here!.  Can you believe it, I got this gift wrapping paper at the dollar tree store and it's very thick paper and has a shine to it.  I'm going back tomorrow to get some more rolls.

These are the supplies you'll need, you can munch on the crackers as you work.  The zots are not really necessary so don't worry if you don't have any on hand but the double stick tape would be nice, otherwise, you can use regular scotch tape too.

You will also need some card board and a hole punch.  Any kind of cardboard will do, it's time to recycle those cookie, cereal and cracker boxes you have. 
Wrap your box as if it was a gift on all sides and bottom, leave the top opened.  But, don't tape the paper to the actual box because you will be sliding the box out later.

Once you finish wrapping it, it will look like this

See this corner, that's why I wanted to use the Zots, but you can use tape.

Once all sides are taped down, slide the box out.

Measure a small strip of carboard (from a cereal box or any other box you want to recycle) the size of the bottom of the bag.  This will go inside for support.

Cover your strip of cardboard with the paper

This is what it will look like once covered

And this is the back.  Add some more tape so it can be taped to the inside bottom of the bag for support.

And this is what it will look like:

Next, cut out two more strips for the side supports

Place them inside the bag and carefully fold the bag and cardboard over once

It will look like this:

Punch some holes for the string/ribbon

Do the same for the other side.  Pull some string, rope or ribbon through to make handles.  This is the finished gift bag......super easy, don't you think?

And here is the bag embellished. Very pretty either way.  I think the teacher's assistants will like it along with the Office Depot gift card for school supplies.

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