Archive | family

family recipes: mexican hot chocolate

i’m kinda cheating with this latest post in my family recipe series because even though we grew up drinking mexican hot chocolate, we never actually made it from scratch. our real “recipe” would normally consist of buying up a box of abuelita from the grocery store, chopping up a few cubes, and whisking it into some warm milk in a saucepan. there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing just that, but over the weekend, my sister and i decided to try out our own “healthy” rendition of this childhood favorite.

“healthy” mexican hot chocolate

2 cups milk or milk-alternative of your choice
2 – 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder*
2 – 3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of sea salt

simply pour all of the ingredients into a saucepan on medium heat and whisk until warm! for this recipe, i really like using an almond/coconut milk blend, but if you wanted something really rich and creamy, then go for whole milk. we also tried adding various other spices beyond just cinnamon, but found that if you start adding things like nutmeg and cloves, it really starts to taste more like pumpkin spice. that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but after tinkering with the recipe quite a bit, i personally prefer to keep it simple.

*a note about the cacao: we tried this with unsweetened bakers cocoa and it just did not taste like the mexican hot chocolate we grew up drinking. i think that using real, raw cacao powder (or nibs that have been ground to a powder in a food processor) is the most important element of this recipe. it’s what will give you that strong, slightly bitter flavor that is associated with the drink.

oh, and i think i may have cancelled out the healthy part of this recipe but adding a big dollop of homemade whipped cream. you gotta live a little, right?

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a scene from last week

i caught a few snapshots of adam with his great-grandparents when they came over for albondigas last week! it is such a special treat to be able to watch him interact with them, he really does have a special bond with them.


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family recipes: albondigas soup

it’s the time of year to celebrate family, so i’ve decided to share some of my favorite family recipes for the month of december. i grew up on mexican food, with all of the recipes being handed down from generation to generation on my mother’s side. and as soon as the weather gets chilly, we all start craving a pot of caldo (soup) to warm our bones. albondigas (meatball) soup is one of my ultimate comfort foods. in fact, after adam was born earlier this year, i asked my mom make a giant pot for me, and it was literally the only thing i ate for at least a week after i got home from the hospital. i just didn’t have the stomach for anything else. she would serve me a warm bowl of soup with a rolled up tortilla, and i would be in heaven.

last week was grey and rainy, so it was the perfect time for us to practice our family recipe. my sister and i made a big pot of soup under my grandmother’s supervision so that we could share the recipe with you. mind you, this is a recipe that we’ve all committed to memory, we eyeball the measurements for all the ingredients, and each of us tweaks the recipe to our own personal taste. there really are no rules, especially when it comes to making soup! i’m offering you the base for how we make it in our family, but feel free to add or subtract whatever ingredients you prefer.

albondigas soup

for the meatballs

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup brown rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped mint
garlic salt, pepper, and cumin to taste

for the soup

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup rice
1 tbsp crushed garlic
cumin to taste
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cups of water
1 small can of tomato sauce
2 cups cubed red or yellow potatoes
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
green beans or any other vegetable you prefer!

garnish (to taste)

cilantro
green onions, chopped
oregano

after prepping all of your veggies and meatballs, coat the bottom of a large pot with a thin layer of olive oil. saute onions until translucent, then add crushed garlic and saute for another minute before adding the cumin. finishe sauteing for another minute, then add the vegetable stock, water, and tomato sauce, and bring to a boil.

once the soup is boiling, carefully drop in the meatballs. let boil for about a minute before adding in the vegetables. reduce heat and allow the soup to simmer until all of the ingredients are tender, about 30 minutes.

serve with cilantro, green onions, and oregano to taste. then warm a tortilla and enjoy!






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at the apple orchard

we’re spending time with family for the holiday, so i thought it would be fitting to leave these here. some photos from a recent trip we took to the apple orchards in oak glen. adam’s great-grandpa proudly held him in his arms and showed him around. we ate apple cider donuts and drank warm apple cider, and got to watch adam as he squealed in delight over the animals at the petting zoo. and funnily enough, we didn’t get any pictures of apples!

adam is wearing: hat handmade by niko’s naptime, american apparel baseball tee, gap sweatpants, old navy sneakers


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adam’s apple

as much fun as i’ve had keeping a record of weekly adam photos, i think i’ve finally decided to move on from the rigid structure of it. especially now that the holidays are here and we’ve been documenting all of our activities with so much fervor! so from now on, i’ll just be posting without the constraints of a week-by-week numerical structure, and will just be sharing some of my favorite photos as we go along. i’ve never been good about following “the rules,” even when i set them for myself!

so here’s the latest photo of my little guy at 9 months. i can’t even keep track of how many weeks old he is anymore! on this particular day, we took a quick drive up to snow line orchard in oak glen to enjoy some fall weather and bundle up in sweaters. adam isn’t quite old enough to go apple picking, but he did get a kick out of his teeny tiny apple!

wearing: unisex bandit in hazel grey courtesy of petite soul, hello onesie courtesy of hello apparel, weathered brown handmade moccs courtesy of freshly picked.

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adam: 33 weeks

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i usually post my photos of adam over the weekend, but i was so busy the past couple of days that i wasn’t able to get to the computer! so here is a belated photo of my little dude at 33 weeks, decked out in autumnal hues in celebration of the season. it’s still too warm for all this layering, but we usually go out on early morning walks, so i take advantage of the opportunity to bundle him up before the chill burns off. that’s just what we do in california, we wear sweaters purely for the novelty of it!

he’s also sporting a silly little face courtesy of all those new teeth he’s been growing. he’s always chewing on his lip or making some other silly contortion as he gets used to his new chompers.

wearing: pact organic cotton trail stripe bodysuit and pants with matching trail stripe socks courtesy of pact, and a gap cardigan and knit beanie.

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adam: 31 weeks

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here’s my little guy at 31 weeks. the week prior, we discovered that he could pull himself up into the standing position on his own! if you ask me, it’s a little soon for all that business, but this boy really wants to walk! he’s hated tummy time since he was born, but give him a chance to hold onto the edge of something or assist him with a few steps, and he’s all smiles.

wearing: gap cable knit beanie, smock shirt courtesy of willaby, koala baby pants, handmade moccs courtesy of freshly picked.

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we woke up like this


ok, i know full well that i’m reaching maximum baby capacity on the blog lately. but it was a long weekend and when you wake up in bed with a happy lil bebe like this, sometimes you’d rather just stay in your pajamas all day. so i decided to skip the outfit post for today in favor or showing off our preferred sleepwear of choice. i’m wearing my favorite set of j.crew pajamas and adam is wearing a set of eric carle pajamas that we received as a gift from gymboree. i don’t think there is any better way to start off the day than with your little one smiling in your face when you first open your eyes. and i’m glad that we pulled out the camera to capture this moment, because boy, is it fleeting. looking at these pictures, i can’t believe how big he’s gotten already! i can’t help but sort of wish that he would stay little forever!




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calivintage + target: what’s in my diaper bag?

This post is sponsored by Target.

since becoming a mama earlier this year, i now have a new accessory to add to my repertoire: the diaper bag. before adam was born, i somehow managed to forget about this very essential item. the one i carry now is actually a weekender bag by kate spade saturday that i packed for the hospital. when we got home, it sorta just morphed into the diaper bag after i discovered that i could no longer leave the house without an array of very essential baby things. and now, several months later, what was once merely an afterthought is now one of my most crucial necessities. i’ve even begun to take great pride in how quickly and efficiently i can pack this bag, like a doomsday prepper anticipating a really major diaper blowout. or, you know, like a mom who might be excessively worried about somehow managing to lock herself out of the house (am i the only one who worries about that kind of thing?) or who has one of those rare babies who can’t stand to be in a carseat for more than five minutes.

all kidding aside, the diaper bag really is my lifeline. i pack it every day and never leave the house without it. i keep it in the stroller on our morning walks around town, and i toss it into the car when we head out on afternoon excursions to the park (or to go thrifting!). if we visit friends or family, it’s always nearby, filled with all of the essentials to help adam feel right at home. so of course, i was thrilled when target asked me if i’d be interested in sharing a peek at my tried-and-true baby essentials:

diapers
my selection of diapers is mostly based on whatever eco-friendly option is available. we’ve had about the same success rate with every brand we’ve tried. i’ve found that they key is to make sure they fit! we’re currently going through a big case by seventh generation, but i’ve also been happy with earth’s best and babyganics.

baby wipes
these are not only great for their intended use, but are also very practical for wiping dirty hands, toys, and various spills. they’re so useful, i actually don’t know how i lived without them before i had a baby. we’re been using seventh generation, but just about any brand will do.

toys
the toys may come and go and change over time, but don’t get between a baby and his favorite toys. at this stage, his favorites are usually little teethers that are easy for him to clutch in his little hands. like every baby on the planet, he loves his sophie and we never leave the house without her. he also really enjoys chewing on this silly little baby banana teething toothbrush, and lately he’s been really into his ladybug rattle and bumblebee beeper by plan toys. it’s not currently his favorite, but for months we couldn’t go anywhere without his rainforest tails book by jellycat.

clothes
another pretty self-explanatory essential. it’s always good to have a fresh set of clothes on hand in the event that baby decides to make a mess of some sort. in fact, i sometimes even stash a second set of clothes for myself in the trunk of my car. you never know!

snacks
like toys, little finger foods can be a really great distraction when adam isn’t so keen on sitting in his car seat. they can be a bit messy, but it’s totally worth it. i simply put him in a bib and let him go to town. his current favorites are these little baby cookies by ella’s kitchen. note: this is also one of the reasons i recently invested in a dirt devil to keep in the backseat of the car!

toiletries
like many babies, adam has a tendency to get a little bit of baby eczema on his chin from all of that teething and drooling! it’s par for the course, but i’ve found that reapplying a little bit of lotion every now and then really helps to keep his skin free of irritation. i’m personally a big fan of california baby and use their everyday lotionshampoo and body wash, diaper rash cream, and bubble bath. another little trick if you’re in a bind: a stick of unscented lip balm. got that tip from another mom in the pediatrician’s waiting room!

baby food (optional)
when i can, i let adam try a bit of whatever food i’m eating, but i always keep a stash of baby food in the cupboard. they’re especially handy to have on hand when we go for a long visit with family since he tends to enjoy sitting at the table when everyone else is eating and he can’t always partake in what we’re having. earth’s best is my go-to because they’re organic and free of preservatives or other additives.

but here’s the real beauty behind my well-stocked arsenal of baby supplies: subscriptions. before adam was born, i’d only really dabbled in subscription services. i often subscribe to a weekly csa share for fresh fruits and veggies. and i’ve gotten a few beauty boxes here and there. but nowadays, it’s really important that i always have plenty of baby essentials on hand. at target, you can pick from an array of subscription items, from baby supplies to vitamins to pet food or ink cartridges, then you simply set the frequency of your shipment and you’re good to go. i have my schedule set for monthly shipments, then i just wait for an email notification letting me know when my next shipment is up, and i alter my order based on my needs. this way, i’m never caught without diapers or wipes when adam wakes up crying in the middle of the night. and when i get up in the morning, i know i have everything i need all neatly packed up in my diaper bag, so we can head out on our baby adventures!

all of the target products in this post were purchased by me, and are all items we use daily. thank you so much to target for sponsoring this post. it’s because of opportunities like this that i am able to earn an income and work from home to take care of adam in his first years!

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