Friday, December 31, 2010

Too Many Tamales

Although you probably won't believe it, I am 1/4 Mexican. Every year my entire family comes together to make dozens of tamales. The process takes an entire day. It is a tradition that has occurred since my mom and aunts and uncle were little kids. Thankfully they have chosen to keep the tradition alive, teaching us the "secret" family tamale recipe!

As little kids, we would gather around and read the story "Too Many Tamales" before helping our parents make them (although we probably got in the way more than we helped). Now that all of us cousins are older, we can truly enjoy the experience and begin learning the recipe so that we too can continue the tradition with our own children one day. With that said, I obviously can't release the secret to you pictures will have to do for this post.

We had plenty of snacks to keep up full and energized while cooking all day!

We quickly got to work. First, take the seeds out of the pasilla (which are used to spice the pork meat). Also boil the tomatillos (which are used to spice the chicken meat).

My Aunt Sandy is the queen of tamale making, and holds the family's secret recipe. She got right to work making the masa and also giving the rest of us important jobs!

My cousin Kara and I worked on drying the corn husks after they soaked so they could be filled with the masa and meet. Here we are with my beautiful Grandmother!

We each took turns kneading the dough.

Once the meat was done, it was time to get serious and start stuffing...

We had some of us spreading the masa onto the corn husks and some of us filling them with the meat. This is definitely a team effort! Here's my team :)

The original team: The Campos Girls.

After filling the tamales, you seal them and place them in a large pot to simmer over the stove for about 45 minutes.

Once again, we all had a great time together making our favorite holiday recipe. And while you may not understand why we make these "things" since many people do not like them, we could not have Christmas without them! Its an acquired taste that is in our blood, and always will be :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper & Pine Nut Hummus

Today was the first time I used my new Christmas present, my food processor! I have been wanting to make my own hummus for a while, but our blender was too big to chop up all of the small ingredients. So of course, this was the first thing I chose to make! And I must say, it turned out great. I was a little skeptical since a lot of the ingredients I had never used before, but I will definitely be using this recipe again.

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 4 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 red pepper (roasted)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (roasted)
  • pepper to taste

First, chop up your red pepper. Place the red pepper and pine nuts on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Stir/move around occasionally.

While the peppers & pine nuts are roasting, you can begin processing the other ingredients. First process the garlic. Then, add the can of chickpeas with about 1/2 of the water from the can as well for about 3 minutes or until blended well.

Next, add the red peppers to the processor and blend for another 2 minutes. After the chickpeas turn to a beautiful red color, add the tahini, lemon juice, salt and a few pinches of pepper. Blend well. Once everything is processed, add some peppers and pine nuts to the top of the hummus as garnish. Also drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the bowl you will serve the hummus in. Eat with pita, chips or veggies :)

My friend Rach was over while I was making this...she approved.

I served mine with pita at a party we had at my parent's house later that night!

After hummus making, we took a trip to our favorite restaurant while in college (and still today)...CHIPOTLE! I love love love Chipotle and if I had to pick 1 restaurant to eat at for the rest of my life, it would be it.

The burritos are HUGE. My personal choice is the burrito bowl. I always order the same thing: rice, peppers & onions, chicken, black beans, mild salsa and cheese. I always have enough for 2 meals!

After a fun-filled day at Chipotle and getting my hairs cut, we came home to a house full of people we love :) My family is very close with 3 other families: the Hunts, Clarks, and VerSteegs. We all grew up in the same church together and have remained friends even though all of the "kids" are grown and married now. Home is not home without these people.

We played the game "Taboo." Boys (or men) vs. girls (or women) of course!

We also ate lots of yummy food. My dad made open face tacos with chicken, pork and some beans. We topped them off with cheese, salsa and sour cream.

The night was full of fun appetizers. One of my favorites was tomato, mozzarella and olives in cute miniature martini glasses my mom bought at Crate & Barrel.

Everyone had a great time, even the pups!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas in NJ

Today we traveled to NJ to celebrate Christmas with my Dad's side of the family! Our plan was to go on Sunday, but due to them receiving 30 inches of snow...our plans changed a bit. Thankfully the roads were cleared enough for us to make it there and celebrate with our Mom-Mom and other family members.

We got a little bored waiting for the rest of the family to arrive, so I tried out Kody & Klaire's (my parent's dogs) "condo." This isn't just any dog crate, people. This is a condo! Big enough for a small person (myself) to fit in when bored.

Meet Cousin Steph. She is hilarious.

We ate lots of great food! Baked Ziti made by my Aunt Nettie and lots of desserts. I tried my hardest to stay away, but had to taste a few things. I mean, it's still the holidays...right?

Can the holidays please be over so I can stop using the excuse that "its the holidays" to eat too many cookies, cakes and brownies?

My cousin's Meg and Kim have always loved my Dad. This year they bought him a very special gift:

Yes, you read correctly. They ordered him Poop Soap HA. Thankfully, it only looked like poop. It really just smelled like nasty chocolate.

I got a chocolate gingerbread man instead of poop :) Thanks Aunt Beth! I also got lots of cooking supplies-a roasting pan that I have wanted for a while and a pizza kit (with fresh oregano from Italy) from one of my aunts. So excited to use my new toys!

Meet Jemma and Van. They are adorable twins, my second cousins and my new friends!

Laughing is good for the soul.

A final MERRY CHRISTMAS from the Jensens to you! We hope you enjoyed your holiday as much as we did ours.

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