Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Mad Dash and A Half Assed Tamale Tutorial

Well folks, we are in the last few days before Christmas and this house is filled with the smell of freshly made tamales! I honestly and truly want to share a detailed recipe/assembly/quirky anecdote with you but I can barely even sit up I am so exhausted! Would you settle for a short picture tutorial?? Yes? You're the best, I don't care what anyone says about you.

 Mike and I have been just go go going for a few the last two weeks.

Finals, cookie orders, short camping trip in between visiting friends and family in SoCal. It's just been insane. So I will keep this short before I head on off to bed. What I really wanted to take the time to say is this: THANK YOU

Thank you so much to our wonderful, amazing, patient, loving, hilarious, beautiful friends. The friends who keep our spirits up when we are feeling, "eh". The friends who drop everything to go on a last minute camping trip in the pouring (freezing) rain. Friends who have come through our home this holiday season to share delicious meals with us, bearing thoughtful gifts and giant radiating smiles.

You are the reason this has been such a blessed year. We adore you all and we feel so very very lucky to have each of you as a friend!

Mike and I have most certainly had our best year as a couple in 2011. We made huge strides in our relationship with each other but also in our individual lives. He is pursuing some very promising avenues as far as his career is concerned. And I finally followed my gut and enrolled in culinary school (the best choice I made for myself in a long time).

We feel like God has blessed us this year. Giving us the guidance we needed to make big steps towards being happy individuals and even happier as a married couple. I hope you also take a moment to reflect back on the triumphs you've experienced in 2011.

I also hope that you enjoy this tutorial. It is SO simple and makes a lot of food. If you're not a meat eater, simply swap the meat out with shredded cheese, roasted veggies or wilted greens! Also, you will need a very large pot for this recipe. 4 pts at the smallest. You could also totally use your slow cooker, just put a steamer basket in the bottom and check back often to make sure your pot doesn't go dry. Enjoy!!

See you all in the new year!


1 bag of Tamale Masa Dough
Lard or Shortening
Chicken or Veggie Broth
Salt & Pepper
1 Can Red or Green Enchilada Sauce
2 lb Shredded Meat (Beef, Pork or Chicken)
1 Package of Corn Husks (found in the Hispanic foods aisle)

                                              Tamale Picture (Sort of Super Lazy) Tutorial

Buy, or make masa dough (using directions on back of bag)

Add 1 can of enchilada sauce to 2lbs shredded pork, beef or chicken

Spread masa over softened corn husks like so, and top with shredded meat, tuck in the bottom and wrap like a burrito

Place folded side down, into a steamer and steam for about an hour until tamale dough is soft set (they'll finish cooking as they cool) 

We enjoy our tamales with black beans and Spanish rice. Optional toppings are endless, but include salsa, sour cream, cheese, enchilada sauce (red or green) and cilantro! 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Because Weekends Were...

...made for FUN!

Holy Moly have we been having an amazing month so far. Yes, I realize we are only a few days in but it has been an amazing few days. More specifically the last two days.

With Mikes work schedule we rarely get to spend an entire weekend together, but it just so happens that this weekend we really got out moneys worth.

He got in from work Saturday morning and as usual he hit the Cider Creek Bakery car show before coming home. Here in Paso Robles we have many wonderful places to choose from for breakfast, but Cider Creek has everything we want/need for our Saturday mornings. Mike goes early to see all the classic cars pull in then he buys us a mocha latte, some muffins and a cheese danish. It's our little tradition. We've been doing it since we moved here and their little bakery has really become a crucial part of our Saturday mornings!

Mike likes to wake me up with his Cider Creek goodies and I am always more than happy to hop out of bed for them. After our coffee and baked goods, we caught up on our weeks. Me at school, and Mike at work. We'd missed a lot this week so we sat and talked for hours actually. It's so good to have a husband who after 6 years is still just every bit my best friend as the day we met.

Around noon I headed out with our dear friend Jessica who owns Paso Robles Sommelier to Farm Stand 46 and Oso Libre Winery for a day of wine tasting and a phenomenal lunch. We browsed their market looking over all the salads, cheeses, wines, meats and pickled veggies. It was a smorgasbord of fine fresh foods. We were in foodie heaven.

Aside from the food I mostly enjoyed our lunch because it gave us an opportunity to catch up a little. As busy as we've both been we just haven't made the time to sit and lunch like that in a long time. It was such a gorgeous day for sitting and munching and carrying on. I think it should be a new mandatory rule: Nurture your friendships weekly, and over an amazing plate of food!

At Oso Libre we just made a quick stop, tried some of the new Primoroso (which was included in my new wine club shipment!) and did a little tasting/window shopping for Christmas.

Later that night Mike and I picked up our Christmas tree, played some holiday tunes and drank warm cider. It sounds so cheesy and like it must be out of some movie about a more fortunate woman's life... but it's not. To make the night even more complete we watched It's A Wonderful Life, which I had not seen before. Mike couldn't believe I hadn't seen it before...I know because he wouldn't stop saying it. "What did your family even watch during the holidays?" Football, Mike...we watched FOOTBALL...

Today we spent the morning and afternoon cleaning, hanging lights and cooking up a storm. We hosted some of my classmates from the PCA (Paso Robles Culinary Academy) for dinner tonight and it was a definite success. I know, I took a vote and it was unanimous.

Holiday Party Spread: Turkey Roulades with Mushroom Stuffing. Ham with Dried Fruit and Pineapples
Green Bean Casserole. Oh! And Pumpkin Liquor for our Coffee!! Yum 

I have to say that I was very hesitant to give up full time work to go to culinary school, but I am SO glad we did. And moreover I am SO grateful to my husband that he works so hard to allow me to follow my dreams. I remember taking virtual tours of culinary schools when I was a preteen. Wishing, dreaming, that someday I would be in the up delicious new recipes everyday.

After dinner and dessert and caroling...we decorated mason jars and made some pretty spectacular Christmas themed bark. white and dark chocolate peppermint bark!
Meeting these women at the PCA has been one of the most wonderful things that could happen to me. It's only been a few months and yet I am certain these are friends I will have for the rest of my life. We are kindred spirits really. And we love the same things: Food, Laughing Hysterically and... Crafting!

Crafting table, overflowing with holiday crafts and snacks to keep us energized. We made delicious Christmas bark and decorated mason jars to package it all.