Tag Archives: sangria

Fitting It All In

I’ve heard nothing but, “Man, the holidays are going by so fast!” and “Can’t believe Christmas is only 2 weeks away!” lately.

So far all my planning ahead has helped a little, but I am still scrambling, stressing and scurrying, however at the same time, trying to enjoy the season. Fortunately all events that are near and dear to us fell on different days so we’re able to attend everything, but it does make for one crazy month.

I wanted to have our neighbor friends over for a simple, little dinner to celebrate Jay’s birthday and the only option was to do it on Friday. Since I was in the midst of getting the Christmas cards out and afternoon dance class last Friday, I needed to have a menu that I could make ahead of time and be ready for entertaining when we got home close to 7:oopm.

I chose to do something in the crock pot so that could be simmering all afternoon and make a dessert ahead of time that was fancy enough for guests, but easy!

I took my chances with two new recipes and they both worked like charms.

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

{I followed the recipe, but used more like 3 pounds stew meat and added one small carton fresh mushrooms to the mix ~ a must for beef stroganoff as far as I’m concerned and served over [No Yolks] egg noddles}

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

{Used low fat evaporated milk and the 4 eggs not the egg substitute}

The most difficult part about this recipe is the water bath and not splashing it into the ramekins! Please don’t be afraid of creme brûlée if you love it…you can make it at home easily. We have a kitchen torch to do the brûlée, but if you don’t, there are broiler instructions at the bottom of the recipe.

I decided to make up a {Wintery White Wine Sangria} which was just two bottles Chardonnay, 1 liter ginger ale, 1/2 cup triple sec, some orange slices and some fresh cranberries.

{I threw the ingredients into this glass canister in the morning and let the flavors marry all day in the ‘fridge. The cranberries floated in the glasses and looked very festive!}

If you’re doing some entertaining this holiday and have a busy schedule as well {who doesn’t?} this is the perfect type of menu that will leave you able to sit and visit with your guests and not be slaving over a hot stove or pulling things out of the oven as they arrive. All I had to do was boil some water for the noodles after the guests arrived and we sipped sangria & Blue Moons and visited until the noodles were ready. See, I was so busy mingling that I was too busy to snap a photo of the stroganoff so I have nothing to show for it other than echoing praises from all who consumed it. The meat was super tender {I cooked on low for about 8 hours…added the cream cheese in at about hour six. Next time I may substitute sour cream for the cream cheese, but it was excellent this way}.


So, keep it simple and don’t stress. Put your crock pot to work, bake up a dessert ahead of time and have pre-mixed drinks ready to go at your next get-together.


{Simply Citrus} Sangria

We had one of those ginormous 1.5L bottles of cabernet sauvignon leftover literally from Christmas. I was going to cook with it, but then yesterday afternoon as we were sitting out in the front watching the kiddos play while our power was out, I got the idea to turn it into sangria. It was a gorgeous mid-70s Saturday in JANUARY on a 3-day weekend…so why not?


I just threw the following into a pitcher:

1 navel orange, thinly sliced

1 lemon, thinly sliced

1 lime, thinly sliced

3/4 of a 1.5L bottle of cab {or any red wine…but you could use the whole bottle obviously}

1/2 cup triple sec

Half a 2-liter bottle of lemon-lime soda {I used diet}

Stir and let marinate for at least an hour.

It was gone in a jiffy so I didn’t have time to snap a pic. But I think this is the recipe I’ll be using from now on.

Light and refreshing.

And so easy!


Quarenta y Uno Años

One of our favorite San Diego restaurants is Café Sevilla down in The Gaslamp. We loved going there for tapas and sangria.

This year for Jay’s birthday I wanted to put together a small Spanish inspired celebration.

On the menu:


Manchego with Brown Butter & Honey


Café con Leche Flan

When it comes to sangria, I think less is more {not drinking less, but less ingredients!}. There are some complex recipes out there, but in my opinion the simpler ones are just as delish.

{Thanks, Hollie for supplying last night’s beverage!}

I wanted a quick and easy tapas style appetizer and came across the manchego recipe from Ty Flo {Tyler Florence}.

Soooo good!

I made paella on Valentine’s Day almost 5 years ago and Jay’s been asking me to make it ever since.

So glad I found this recipe because I will make it more often now. You can also add mussels or clams…I just used chicken breasts, pork chorizo and shrimp.

Last year when we were celebrating Jay’s 40th in Vegas, we went to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill and had the café con leche flan for dessert. It was out of this world! Mine was obviously not as good, but not a total failure….I cooked the caramel a little too long in the beginning, but the custard part was fine. I also used a square pan rather than the standard round cake pan {because seriously, how does the flan know if it’s round or square?}

It was a little ghetto-tastic, but I look forward to perfecting my skills down the road…

And it’s not a party until someone dresses up as “Santa Tiana”…


I hope you enjoyed your Spanish feast, Babe!

May all your hopes and dreams come true on your way to 42.