mexican_chocolate_mousseMexican Chocolate Mousse With Ancho and Orange combines the luscious flavor of Mexican chocolate with Triple Sec and a hint of ancho chile powder in a fluffy, creamy mousse! A sweet treat that’s hard to beat, and not a lot of effort


• 7 ounces Mexican chocolate chopped (see notes)
• 1/4 cup whole milk
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
• 3/8 cup triple sec or other orange liqueur
• 2 cups whipping cream divided use
• zest of 1 orange divided use
• ancho chile powder to sprinkle


1.Heat the milk and salt with the chocolate over very low heat  until it is completely melted and incorporated. I heat my saucepan over medium high heat, add the milk and chocolate, and reduce to low. Stir frequently until combined.

2.Add the ancho, orange zest from 1/2 of the orange, and triple sec. Stir well, and cool the mixture completely.

3.Whip the cream until quite firm but not stiff. Set aside enough for a dollop on each (about 1/3-1/2 cup).

4.Gently fold in the chocolate mixture. Chill until ready to serve.

5.To serve: Divide mousse among desired number of servings. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, sprinkle with ancho powder and orange zest, and garnish with a slice of orange. (I used the orange I zested).

6.Enjoy it!

Recipe Notes

I use a microplane to zest the orange. Simply zest half of the orange into the chocolate mixture, and reserve the remainder. Use the microplane to garnish the mousse before serving.

Ancho chile powder is spicy. If you don’t enjoy the heat, reduce or omit it.

As I mentioned in the post, the mousse is awesome the next day.


Mexican_TrifleA hint of cinnamon and chipotle in a brownie provide the base for this indulgent Mexican Chocolate Trifle with Orange Curd and Pomegranate Pudding. The fresh orange curd gets a hint of cinnamon, and the pomegranate pudding with its pomegranate juice, pomegranate molasses, and pomegranate arils gets thickened with tapioca. The result is a festive, holiday trifle with vibrant and fresh Mexican flavor!


Brownie Layer
• 1 box brownie mix (see notes)
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons ancho or chipotle powder

Orange Cinnamon Curd Layer
• 2 oranges, zest completely removed avoid the white pith! (See notes)
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup fresh orange juice from zested oranges
• 1/4 cup butter softened
• 2 eggs at room temperature
• 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon optional

Pomegranate Pudding Layer
• 1 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
• 3 tablespoons small pearl tapioca (see notes)
• 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1/2 cup pomegranate arils

• whipped cream (see notes)
• chocolate bar shaved
• orange zested
• pomegranate arils
• cinnamon


Brownie Layer

1.Prepare brownie mix according to package instructions. If there is a "fudgy" as opposed to "caky", choose the "fudgy" option. Thoroughly mix in the cinnamon and chipotle powder.

2.Spread the brownie mixture in a pan larger than recommended. I use a half sheet pan to achieve a thickness of about 3/4 of an inch. Cook until set in the center (10-15 minutes with my mix and oven combination). Allow to cool completely.

3.I served the trifle in small glass trifle dishes, and used my large biscuit cutter. Cut the cooled brownies in a shape that will fit in your dishes.

Orange-Cinnamon Curd Layer

1.Add the orange zest and sugar to a food processor. Process until the zest resembles fine crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients, and process until very smooth.

2.Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened, (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The curd is ready when it coats a spoon, and registers about 175 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Be careful not to overcook, or it will curdle. Remove from the heat and let cool or refrigerate.

Pomegranate Pudding Layer

1.Add the tapioca to the pomegranate juice in a small saucepan, and allow the tapioca to soak (no heat) at least 30 minutes.

2.Slowly bring the saucepan to a simmer, stirring frequently. Add the pomegranate molasses, sugar, and salt. Simmer (uncovered) 10-15 minutes. Cool completely. Stir in the pomegranate arils. (Mixture thickens as it cools.)

To Serve

1.Start with a layer of the pomegranate pudding. Top with an appropriate sized piece of brownie. Add a layer of orange curd, and another piece of brownie. My trifle dishes allowed for a second layer of pomegranate pudding, and a final piece of brownie (for a total of 3 brownie layers). I then top the trifle with REAL whipped cream and garnish with grated orange zest, pomegranate arils, shaved chocolate. Cinnamon is another nice option!

Recipe Notes

I use Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies for a 13 x 9 pan, and cook it in a half sheet pan for 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully, and remove when set but still soft.

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Stifado (Braised Beef with Onions)

Posted: April 24, 2018 in Recipes

braisedbeefIf you cannot find pearl onions then use the smallest onions you can find to prepare this dish.

Difficulty: Medium
Hands-on: 20 minutes

Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves: 4


½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 lbs. stewing beef, cubed
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
16 pearl onions, peeled
6 garlic cloves, peeled
4 cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper


Step 1

Add olive oil to large pot. Heat to medium-high; add meat and brown well on all sides by stirring continuously so meat does not stick to bottom of pot.

Step 2

In a small bowl, combine tomato paste with 2 cups water. Add to pot with vinegar, onions, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, oregano, salt, and pepper; mix well and turn heat to high. Bring to boil.

Step 3

Cover and turn reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 1 hour.

Crustless Lemon Cheesecake

Posted: April 23, 2018 in Recipes
Tags: , ,

lemon_cheesecakeCheesecake bakes perfectly in the slow cooker. In this recipe, the slow cooker is lined with parchment paper, which makes for a very easy cleanup!

Difficulty: Easy

Hands-on: 10 minutes

Total: 7 hours 10 minutes

Serves: 8


16 oz. cream cheese, softened
⅔ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice


Step 1

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar together until smooth.

Step 2

Beat in eggs, and continue beating with a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes.

Step 3

Beat in remaining ingredients and continue beating for about 1 minute.

Step 4

Line a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with parchment paper. Pour batter onto the parchment paper.

Step 5

Cover and cook on high for 2½–3 hours or until cheesecake is set. Remove slow cooker insert and let it cool to room temperature. Then

spinhamswisThese little pies are perfect for a light lunch with a small salad or cup of soup. If you prefer, feel free to substitute broccoli for the spinach.

Difficulty: Medium
Hands-on: 25 minutes

Total: 2 hours 25 minutes
Serves: 4

4 oz. frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
8 oz. sliced ham, roughly chopped
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (4 oz.)
2 eggs, divided
¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 large egg, beaten
2½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. butter, cubed and chilled
¼ cup vegetable shortening, chilled


Step 1

In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, ham, cheese, 1 egg, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Step 2

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. With your fingers, rub the chilled butter and shortening into the flour mixture until 30 percent of the fat is between pea-sized and hazelnut-sized, while the rest is blended well. Add ¼ cup ice water and mix until the dough forms a ball. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed.

Step 3

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 even balls. Form each ball into a disc. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Step 4

Heat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly beat remaining egg in a small bowl.

Step 5

Remove dough from the refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll each disc of dough into an 8" round. Place about ⅓ cup filling onto the pastry slightly off center, brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg, and fold the dough over the filling. Pinch or crimp with a fork to seal. Place the pies on the prepared baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. With scissors or a sharp paring knife, cut vents in pastry so that steam can escape.

Step 6

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and juices are bubbling. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Raised Buttermilk Biscuits

Posted: April 20, 2018 in Recipes
Tags: ,


Difficulty: Easy

Hands-on: 15 minutes

Total: 50 minutes

Serves: 24




¾ cup cultured low fat buttermilk, warm
⅛ cup granulated sugar
2½ tsp. active dry yeast
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. low-salt baking powder
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetable shortening


Step 1

Put the buttermilk and sugar in a food processor and process until mixed. Sprinkle the yeast over the buttermilk sugar mixture and pulse once or twice to mix. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes or until the yeast begins to work and is bubbling. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and pulse until mixed, being careful not to over process the dough.

Step 2

Preheat oven to 400°. Drop by heaping teaspoon per biscuit onto a baking sheet treated with nonstick spray. Set the tray in a warm place and allow the biscuits to rise for about 15 minutes. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.