Nov 18

The Perfect Tender Roast of the Season

Milk-Braised Pork Shoulder

Looking for a tender and juicy roast recipe to serve? Look no further than this milk-braised pork shoulder recipe. It includes dry vermouth which is also referred to as “white” or “French” vermouth. If you can’t find it, opt for a dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Milk-Braised Pork Shoulder

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Serves: 8


  • 15 pearl onions, root ends trimmed
  • 1 (2.2 lb/1 kg) boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed and tied at 1-inch intervals
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp pure first-pressed canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 2 cups homogenized milk
  • 1 tbsp PC Dijon prepared mustard
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley


1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Bring small saucepan of water to a boil. Add pearl onions; return to a boil. Cook 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer with slotted spoon to bowl of ice water to chill. Drain and peel off skins. Set pearl onions aside.

2. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pork and cook turning often until browned all over; about 10 minutes. Transfer to large plate. Set aside.

3. Heat same Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pearl onions and cook, stirring occasionally until golden; about 5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to small bowl. Set aside.

4. Smash garlic with flat side of chef’s knife. Heat same Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, bay leaves, thyme and sliced onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add vermouth and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from bottom, until liquid is reduced by half; about 3 minutes.

5. Return pork to Dutch oven. Add milk; bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and transfer to oven. Bake, flipping pork once, until instant-read thermometer inserted in centre of pork reads 160°F (71°C); about 40 to 45 minutes.

6. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Transfer pork to cutting board; cover loosely with foil. Let rest 15 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, transfer milk mixture to blender and add mustard. Remove plastic stopper from blender lid; cover lid with kitchen towel. Purée until smooth. Return to Dutch oven and stir in pearl onions. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to coat back of spoon; about 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.

8. Thinly slice pork and arrange on large serving platter. Spoon milk mixture over top. Sprinkle with parsley.

PC Dutch Oven available at

Nov 20

5 Coloring Pages to Add Some Fun to Your Kids’ Thanksgiving Break

Add some fun to this year’s Thanksgiving break with these fun & festive coloring pages.

1. Happy Thanksgiving


2. Native Americans


3. Fall Garden


4. Pumpkin Pattern


5. Turkey



Nov 13

Thanksgiving Cardboard Craft Project

cardboard-craftThis cute craft project is fun to make and only requires a few inexpensive supplies.  The kids will love making these adorable decorations for Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Cardboard Craft Project – Native American and Pilgrim Decorations

What you’ll need:

  • 2 empty toilet paper rolls
  • Construction paper in different colors, including, black, white, yellow, tan/skin colored, and peach
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • A black marker for drawing in faces and decorations

How to make:

  1. Cut out two strips of skin colored paper that will cover at least the top 1/2 of each roll and will wrap all the way around.
  2. Glue the skin colored strips to the tops of the rolls.
  3. Use a marker to draw in the faces to your liking.
  4. Cut out a strip of peach construction paper with a length that will wrap all the way around the roll, and a height of about 2/3 of the roll for the Native American.
  5. Cut out a strip of black construction paper the exact same size as above for the pilgrim.
  6. Glue each of the strips onto the rolls, starting at the bottom, leaving about 1/3 of the roll exposed at the top, which should now be skin colored.
  7. Cut out a strip of black and a strip of yellow for the hair.  Each strip should leave room for the hair to be a little bit longer than the top 1/3, as pictured, and should wrap around just enough to leave room for the faces.
  8. Once the strips have been cut, go around each strip and cut little strips, but do not cut all the way through, leave a bit of space at the top to glue the hair strips on.
  9. Glue on the hair strips.
  10. Cut out yellow feathers and glue them on the girl.
  11. Cut out a peach band that will wrap all the way around and glue it to the top of the Native American girl.
  12. Cut out a white decorative piece as pictured for the pilgrim’s shirt and glue it on.
  13. Cut out a black circle that is wider than the roll, and glue it to the top of the pilgrim’s roll.
  14. Cut out a black strip for the hat, wrap it into a cylinder, and glue together.
  15. Glue the hat top onto the hat.
  16. Cut out a white strip for the band of the hat and glue it onto the hat.
  17. Cut out a yellow buckle for the hat and glue it on.
  18. Use the market to add decorative touches to the outfits.

Now that you have created these, feel free to use your creativity to make more Thanksgiving dolls for you decor!


Nov 08

Top Five Reasons to Visit Estes Park for Thanksgiving

Elks grazing on grass in Estes Park in Colorado

Elks grazing on grass in Estes Park in Colorado

Thanksgiving Day became a national holiday in 1863 when Civil War President Abraham Lincoln tried to unite the nation by proclaiming it as such. It is now officially celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving is a time to be with family, remember what the important things in life are, show gratitude for what you have, and of course eat great food. In Estes Park it’s also enjoying a unique, striking town during a special time of the year. Estes Park is returning from the devastating flood that occurred in September, 2013. If you have not made your Thanksgiving plans yet, below are the top five reasons to consider visiting Estes Park:

Welcome to Estes Park

Welcome to Estes Park

One: U.S. Highway 36 re-opened connecting Lyons to Estes Park on November fourth making a great reason in itself for a Thanksgiving celebration. No longer must circuitous routes be taken for the tourist flying in to Denver, renting a car and then making their way to the gorgeous town surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

Rocky Mountain National Park in the Fall

Rocky Mountain National Park in the Fall

Two: Adjacent Rocky Mountain National Park is less crowded this time of year and a stunningly beautiful place to visit with the snow on the higher elevations. (Even if it does snow in Estes Park itself, it usually disappears rather quickly this time of year and the town has excellent snow removal systems in place.)

An autumn afternoon at Downtown Estes Park, with The Stanley Hotel and Rocky Mountains in  the background.

An autumn afternoon at Downtown Estes Park, with The Stanley Hotel and Rocky Mountains in the background.

Three: Enjoy a wonderful hometown parade the day after Thanksgiving that makes you feel like you’re in a charming small town. This parade is a big deal for the locals and it is understandable why. The floats are creative and fun and the townfolk mingle with the tourists in a friendly atmosphere.

Park Bridge Christmas Lights, Estes Park, Colorado.

Park Bridge Christmas Lights, Estes Park, Colorado.

Four: View the hundreds of lights and Christmas decorations downtown while finding unique Christmas gifts on sale. And if you rent a cabin where you plan to make your own Thanksgiving meal, you will find the groceries stores stocked with everything you would want for your special recipe or if not, that they will try to order it in for you if you request it ahead of time. If not, you will find a choice of restaurants open for Thanksgiving.

Nearby Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Nearby Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Five: Enjoy discount pricing on hotel rooms but book early enough because though the town is not as crowded as the summer season, once a person has experienced Thanksgiving at Estes Park they are often return tourists subsequent years.

(Five and a half: But finally, if you were as lucky as I was in 2012, it means a spectacular fireworks display the day after Thanksgiving.)

Now what do you plan to do this Thanksgiving?


My name is Kari August. I am an author currently working on an historical fiction novel based on the life of a trapper who lived in Colorado in 1873. My blog is What To Do In Estes Park where I give tips on shops, restaurants, and attractions in Estes Park which is the town adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park. The address for my blog is

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Nov 05

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade – Charter To NYC’s Biggest Event

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade November 25, 2010 in Manhattan

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has been a staple each year since 1924. Although it started as a way to get people excited about the store and the first parade was actually at Christmas rather than Thanksgiving, whatever they did worked as today over 3.5 million attend annually and another 50 million watch from the comfort of their living rooms.

86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 22, 2012 in New York City

86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 22, 2012 in New York City

Over the years some things about the parade have changed; the route, the participants and of course the balloons. Back in 1927 Felix the Cat became the first balloon ever to be part of the fun. The following year they decided to fill it with helium but didn’t have a way to deflate it, so they just let it go. It popped. In subsequent years they let balloons go as well, still having no way to deflate them. They addressed them all and if you found one you could take it back to Macy’s for a prize, not that many people did however.

86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The parade has always been very well attended. The first one ever had 250,000 people lining the six mile route that took the store employees from Herald Square to Harlem. It has been something Americans look forward to each year, and of course over the years it has grown. There were only a few years where there was no Macy’s Thanksgiving parade and that was while World War II was being fought and the rubber used to make the balloons was instead donated to the war effort. By 1945 however, there were two million people who lined the route, thankful the war was over and things could get back to normal.

Today some eight thousand people walk the route and it takes another four thousand people to volunteer to get the route, the floats and the balloons organized.

89th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

89th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

If you have never been to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day festivities why not go but do it in style by chartering a jet? You won’t have to battle the crowds at a commercial airport or suffer through the long lines at security checkpoints. You will have plenty of leg, head and shoulder room and best of all you can choose when and what time to fly. Your schedule, not theirs!

If you choose to charter you can land at an airport closer to the action, and get where you are going a heck of a lot quicker than you can flying commercial, and you may even get to watch the balloons being inflated, which happens the night before the big day.


AMG Jets provides professional aircraft management, private jet and aircraft charter services. They offer first class service worldwide. For more information and to see their fleet of charter jets please visit

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Photos: 1 gary718 / 2 lev radin / 3 lev radin / 4 a katz /

Nov 05

The First Thanksgiving in Cape Cod – A Bit of Thanksgiving History

Cape Cod

Cape Cod

A Cape Cod Thanksgiving brings about a certain nostalgia.

As you and your family get ready to feast on turkey and more, take a moment to think back on what the first Thanksgiving might have been like. On Cape Cod, the first Thanksgiving feast could have happened mere miles away, right in Plymouth, MA.

Facts About Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving, 1621, oil painting by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris, 1932.

The first Thanksgiving, 1621, oil painting by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris, 1932.

Many historians have stated that the Wampanoag Indians and Plymouth colonists shared a fall harvest feast together, back in 1621. This became a symbol of the interaction and cooperation between the Native Americans and English colonists.

Many folks believe that particular feast to be the very first Thanksgiving celebration. But the truth is, it was really maintaining a long tradition of celebrating the giving thanks and harvest for successful bounties of crops.

Historians have also researched other acts of thanks among European settlers in North America. This has even included British colonists at the Virginia Berkeley Planation. It was there that some British settlers had kneeled, prayed and pledged Thanksgiving to God. They gave thanks for arriving safely after the great travel across the Atlantic. Now some scholars actually acknowledge this event as marking the first official Thanksgiving throughout European settlers on record.

Thanksgiving celebrations, especially Thanksgiving feasts, symbolize important meaning over time – regardless if at the Berkeley Plantation or Plymouth.

What Was On The Menu?

Plimoth Plantation at Plymouth, MA

Plimoth Plantation at Plymouth, MA

It is fairly safe to say that pilgrims back then were not eating buttery mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie! But on the other hand, historians are not entirely sure about what items were included on a full Thanksgiving feast.

In 1621 Edward Winslow, in “A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth”, gave a very detailed description of the “First Thanksgiving”:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

Historian Richard Pickering is the deputy director of Massachusetts’ Plimoth Plantation. According to him, the colonists’ feasts could have also included mussels, lobster, fish, eel, turnips, radishes, Indian corn, and spinach. Wow that really is a great feast!

And Pickering adds, “Oh, and there wasn’t a Thanksgiving pilgrim buckle in sight,”.

Traditional Turkey

A fruity, glazed, roasted turkey makes for a beautiful Thanksgiving feast.

A fruity, glazed, roasted turkey makes for a beautiful Thanksgiving feast.

In modern day Thanksgiving celebrations, why are items such as pumpkin pies, stuffing and turkeys such necessities?

Pickering comments on this, “The Thanksgiving we practice today has more to do with myth than reality”. In the 1860s President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday. The food we eat now at Thanksgiving is more in line to the cooking from the 1860s, surprisingly enough.


Make reservations for a spectacular Thanksgiving dinner at the best Cape Cod hotel – and take advantage of a holiday package being offered by many hotels on Cape Cod.

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Nov 02

Let’s Talk Turkey

lets-talk-turkeyRoasting the perfect holiday bird isn’t always as easy as we’d like. Fortunately, with the right tools and pro tips, you’ll be well on your way to seasoning and stuffing a turkey worthy of showing off on social media. Here, Chef Shahir Massoud, spokesperson for Butterball and Kimberly Mann, national training manager at GE Appliances, talk turkey and reveal their top tips.

1. Chill out.

If you’re cooking a frozen turkey, thaw the bird in the fridge, not the counter as the room temperature can promote bacterial growth. Plan one day of thawing for every four pounds of turkey. In a rush? Chef Shahir suggests submerging a fully wrapped turkey, breast down, in cold water. You’ll need about 30 minutes per pound for the whole turkey to thaw with this method.

2. Don’t fear convection.

“Convection cooking is the perfect way to roast a turkey because the circulating air helps seal in juices and browns the skin to perfection,” explains Mann. Although the convection feature on your oven can seem daunting, she suggests cooking the turkey at a slightly lower temperature than normal and checking it more frequently as it will cook a bit faster on a convection setting. Some of GE’s ranges even feature automatic convection conversion, making all these adjustments automatically.

3. Always use a meat thermometer.

Overdone, dry turkey is the worst. To make sure you don’t overcook your bird, always use a meat thermometer. Make sure the thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and isn’t touching the bone.

When the thigh temperature reaches 180°F, you’re done. Note: If your turkey is stuffed, the temperature must reach a minimum 165°F deep in the stuffing.

4. It’s not all about that baste.

Despite the longstanding tradition of turkey basting, Chef Shahir says you may be surprised to learn that it’s actually not doing much for your turkey. Every time you open the oven door, heat and moisture escape. This means it will take longer for your turkey to cook and you could end up with a drier bird. Plus, the drippings you’re using to baste are a mixture of fat and liquid that can actually make the skin soggy and dry out the meat.

5. Give it a rest.

Before carving up your turkey, let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes by loosely covering it with foil. This will help the turkey to retain its moisture, making it extra juicy.

For any questions or concerns about your Thanksgiving turkey, the Butterball Turkey TalkLine staff are available to take your call at 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372). Find more information online at

Nov 02

Pear and Cranberry Tart

Sweet treats to finish the feast

Pear and Cranberry Tart

Serves 8


• 2 tbsp dried cranberries

• 1 tbsp butter

• 3 firm but ripe pears (such as Anjou), unpeeled, cored, and sliced into very thin wedges

• 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided

• 1 piece frozen puff pastry, thawed

• 1 egg


1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cover cranberries with very hot water and let stand 10 minutes. Drain.

3. Melt butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add pears and 1 tbsp sugar, cooking 2 to 4 minutes or until softened but not falling apart. Reserve.

4. On a floured counter using a floured rolling pin, roll pastry into an approximately10 x 10-inch square. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Prick all over with a fork. Place pears in the centre of pastry and flatten them out into an even layer, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle with cranberries. Fold pastry edges up over the edge of pears. Brush edges of pastry with beaten egg, then sprinkle sugar over pastry and pears. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F (175°C) and bake another 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are puffed and golden.

5. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Find more Thanksgiving recipe ideas at

Nov 01

Thanksgiving Isn’t Complete Without a Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Canadians love their pumpkin pie. In fact, more than half feel a Thanksgiving meal isn’t complete until pumpkin pie is on the table. In addition, more than three quarters of those who think they won’t enjoy a slice say they’d re-try it if a friend made it for them. These facts combined make it clear that Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to bake and serve this Turkey Day staple.

If you’re looking for the perfect pumpkin pie to impress family and friends, try this rich and creamy recipe.

Carnation Classic Pumpkin Pie

Makes: 8 servings


• 1 can (354 mL) Carnation regular or 2% evaporated milk

• 1 pastry for 10-inch (25 cm) single-crust pie

• 1 3/4 cups (425 mL) pumpkin pureé

• 1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar

• 2 eggs

• 2 tbsp (30 mL) Robin Hood original all-purpose flour

• 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon

• 1/2 tsp (2mL) ground ginger

• 1/2 tsp (2mL) ground nutmeg

• 1/4 (1 mL) ground cloves

• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). On floured surface, roll out pastry to 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness.

2. Fit pastry into 10-inch (25 cm) pie plate; press into bottom and up sides of plate. Trim overhang and flute edges.

3. Whisk together pumpkin purée, sugar, eggs, flour, spices, and salt in large bowl until smooth and well combined; gradually whisk in evaporated milk. Fill pie shell with evaporated milk mixture. Bake in bottom third of oven for 60 to 70 minutes or until set. Let cool completely on rack.

Tip: Pies can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month.

Find more great recipes at

Nov 01

How to Make a Traditional Puerto Rican Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Garnished Roasted Turkey

Garnished Roasted Turkey

Even though Thanksgiving was not always a traditional holiday on the island, many Puerto Rican families calling the States home began celebrating it by adding a touch of Sabor Latino. A traditional Puerto Rican Thanksgiving menu will likely consist of Pavochon, Mofongo stuffing, Arroz con Gandules (rice with pigeon peas), Tostones, and Tembleque or dulce de leche. I serve a green bean casserole with my meal and for an appetizer I fry up some Platanos versus the Tostones. I season mine with garlic, black pepper and salt and serve them with Mojo Criollo.

I’m usually cooking enough food to feed at least five Marines so I get a 12-15 lb turkey and call it a day. My mom always taught me to begin prepping my turkey the day before Thanksgiving so my seasonings have time to soak into that bird.

Two Days or One Day Before:
To thaw your bird slow you can stick it in the refrigerator two days before or for fast thawing submerge it in it’s wrapping (DO NOT take wrapping off) in your tub or a deep sink in cold water. Make sure the entire bird is submerged. The bigger the bird the longer it’ll take to thaw. A big turkey like the ones I cook usually take 2 days to thaw out in the refrigerator.

The Day Before:
Season your bird with Adobo, inside and out. Be generous. Your guests will appreciate it. No one wants a bland turkey. Gather your black pepper, garlic salt, oregano and paprika and rub them all over the bird. Poke holes in your bird with a fork so that the seasonings will soak into its skin. Set the bird back in the fridge.

I usually begin cooking my bird around 4 a.m., which only leaves me room to do other things like pull out my tree and decorations and set up other dishes. Begin by preparing your mofongo stuffing.

Mofongo with Rice

Mofongo with Rice

Mofongo Stuffing

You’ll need:

  • 6 large green plantanos
  • 1/3 C of chicken broth
  • 4 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 lb bacon chopped into small pieces and cooked. Throw away fat.
  • 3 sweet chili peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Mix bacon, garlic, peppers, and olive oil. Mash the platanos and olive oil mixture in your pilon. Repeat until all ingredients are gone. Mix mofongo and broth and if mofongo isn’t moist enough, add more broth. Stuff the bird with the mofongo and cook. and follow instructions that came with your bird.


  1. Heat your oven to 375º.
  2. Rinse your turkey well. Rinse the inside once you remove the bag from the turkey’s cavity. Be sure to pull out the bag from your turkey BEFORE you begin cooking it!!! Muy Importante!
  3. Put the bird in a deep and sturdy aluminum or tin foiled roaster. LINE it with aluminum foil first.
  4. Place chunks of butter on top of and all around the turkey. Place an entire stick of butter inside of the turkey’s cavity. Be generous. You’ll have a juicy turkey in the end.
  5. Now begin stuffing your turkey with the mofongo. If you’re a newbie cook, forget the mofongo and just whip out the Stove Top Stuffing and follow directions on the box. It’s okay. We’re all beginners at one time.
  6. Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and put it in the oven.


  • 4 to 6 pound turkey = 3 to 3 ¾ hours.
  • 6 to 8 pound turkey = 3 ¾ to 4 ½ hours.
  • 8 to 12 pound turkey = 4 to 5 hours.
  • 12 pound and beyond = 5½ to 6 hours.

Always be sure to read the side of the turkey wrapping for exact cooking time. Better to be safe than undercooked. Yuck! About 45 minutes before your bird is done, remove the foil on top and continue to cook uncovered until the bird is crispy on top.

  • 12 Lb. turkey
  • Lots of Adobo
  • Paprika
  • 2 tsp. of Black pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic (mash in a pilón)
  • 2 tsp. of oregano (Leaf)
  • 4 sticks of Butter
Arroz con Gandules

Arroz con Gandules

To begin preparing your Arroz con Gandules:

You’ll Need:

  • 2 packs of Sazón
  • 3 cans of Gandules
  • 6 cups of water
  • 4 cups of rice
  • 2 cups chopped bacon, cooked
  • 2 cups of Sofrito
  • 2 Tablespoon of Goya Olive oil


  1. Heat olive oil in a large caldero or pot.
  2. Drain and rinse the cans of Gandules
  3. Sauté the sofrito and chopped ham for about a minute and a half
  4. Add rice, water, gandules and Sazón
  5. Once it begins to boil, let it continue for about 3 minutes
  6. Cover the pot tight and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let it cook for 35 to 40 minutes.

***DO NOT use a lid with those vent holes and DO NOT lift the lid to check the rice!

When it’s done stir the rice once or twice before serving and serve HOT.


  • 2 pound green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 3 tablespoon chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ packet of Sazón and ham seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

Slice green beans in halves. Heat oil and butter in a skillet. Add Sazón and ham seasoning then sauté both with onion and garlic until soft. Remove garlic then add green beans, salt, pepper, and boiling water. Cover and cook for 25 minutes over medium heat until tender. You can add a little more water, if needed.

Fried Plantains

Fried Plantains


I like to wait until my platanos are yellow with a few black spots. To me, they taste better…sweeter. No Puerto Rican dish (to me) is complete without rice, gandules, habichuelas and platanos! To begin preparing the platanos. Use 4 platanos to make enough to serve several people and get a bottle of mojo criolla for sauce.

Cut off about one inch from each end of the platano using a sharp knife.

Slice them down the middle then horizontal to fry them like chips except make them a little bit thicker.

Place the sliced pieces in very hot water and let soak a few minutes.
Take your knife and place it under the skin of the sliced piece and begin removing the skin. Kind of like you’re peeling the skin off of a potato. Sometimes I just use a potato peeler.

Drain them on a paper towel then sprinkle the slices with black pepper, a dash of salt or garlic then fry each slice in the mixture of olive & vegetable oil over medium heat until tender and golden brown. Turn them one time only.


And for the coupe de gras: DESSERT

We have Tembleque! This is a traditional Puerto Rican dessert for the holidays.

You’ll Need:

  • 4 cups coconut milk and ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup of cornstarch and ½ tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • A medium sauce pan, serving dish and square pan.


  1. Dissolve cornstarch in a saucepan with 1/4 cup of the coconut milk.
  2. Once it’s dissolved add the rest of the coconut milk followed by the sugar, and salt.
  3. Cook at med-high heat and stir continuously!
  4. As the mixture gets thick, lower heat until it boils.
  5. Immediately pour into your pan.
  6. Let it cool then cover and place in fridge for at least 2 hours.
  7. Carefully separate the tembleque from the mold using a knife.
  8. Turn it over unto a serving dish then sprinkle with the cinnamon.
  9. I serve this with café con leche or the men usually just want another beer.
  10. VOILA! You have just made your first Puerto Rican Thanksgiving meal! Enjoy!


Now if you dare…go a step further and add Coquito to the menu. This is a Puerto Rican favorite mostly popular during Christmas and New Years. Nobody makes Coquito like my Abuela!

You’ll Need:

  • 40 ounces coconut milk
  • 14 ounces evaporated (condensed) milk
  • 1½ cup water
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cup Bacardi rum
  • Salt to taste


  1. Mix all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Taste and add more rum if you like it stronger.
  3. You need to add the water because it will get thick once you refrigerate it.
  4. Pour into a bottle and refrigerate well.
  5. Collect pint size bottles to pour Coquito in for guests to take home as a party favor.


Alicia Cruz is a native Nuyorican raised in the South Bronx. She is a published journalist and has worked for several newspapers and Emagazines throughout her career. She is currently a Senior writer for and resides in Eastern North Carolina. She can be reached at or

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