Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chocolate Rum Cake

How can you go wrong with a description like that?! I keep this dessert in my back pocket when I need to make something quick and impressive. It's perfect for a potluck and the ingredients are easy to keep on hand. This cake is very moist, and tastes great for several days.


  • 1 box dark chocolate cake mix
  • 1 box instant chocolate pudding mix (3.4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup canned cherries (optional)


  1. Mix cake mix, pudding mix, water, 1/2 cup rum, vegetable oil and eggs, in an electric mixer. Grease and flour bundt cake pan. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake at 325° F for 50-60 minutes until cake tester comes out clean.
  2. While cake is baking, place sugar, butter, 1/4 cup rum into a sauce pan and bring to a boil for 2-4 minutes (until sugar isn’t grainy). Add cherries, if desired.
  3. Remove cake from pan and place on a cooling rack, pour glaze very slowly pour glaze over the cake.
  4. Store covered at room temperature for several days.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This past weekend we had a little tortilla soup party for a family gathering. It's a simple dish to prepare for a casual get together and would be great for a winter open house. The soup can be prepared in advance and allowed to simmer until serving time. Guests get to customize their soup by selecting their own toppings.



  • 3 cups roasted chicken, shredded (cheat by buying a pre-roasted chicken at the grocery store)
  • 3 cups peeled and diced tomatoes (canned)
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Anaheim chilies, seeded and diced
  • 1 Jalepeno, seeded and diced (optional to add heat)
  • 9 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2" strips
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • Sea salt


  • Queso fresco cheese
  • Lime wedges
  • Diced avocado
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Tortilla chips (recipe below)


  1. In a large stockpot over medium heat, warm olive oil. Sauté onion, garlic and jalapeño in oil until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken broth, increase heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and add chicken. Salt to taste. Simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small stockpot, pour in vegetable oil to a depth of 1/2” inch and heat to 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Working in batches, drop in the tortilla strips and fry until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried tortilla strips to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls. Serve with garnishes. 

Garnishes ready for the guests!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tomato Avocado Salad

It may be the middle of winter, but I've been craving fresh summer salads. This simple tomato salad is one we've been making lately. Try also tossing in some cucumbers for a little crunch!
  • 8 vine ripened tomatoes
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/8 red onion
  • 2-3 tablespoons feta cheese
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
Slice tomatoes into wedges. Cut avocados into chunks. Thinly slice red onion. In a serving bowl, toss tomatoes, avocados and onion with vinegar and oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with crumbled feta. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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