This Christmas celebration has been a little bit of a combination of different things. I love this month so much because it is all about family time, cooking and celebrating what is most important to us.
I am sharing with you our Xmas family photos that we took at JC Penney at Wheaton Mall. I have to say I was not such a fan of the service they provided and the session was really short, but I am happy with the final result and being able to save these memories of this happy moment in our life. However, I will recommend going to a different location or hiring a personal photographer to give you a more personal touch and better service.
Time for Leisure and Relaxation
Also, during this time of the year, I like to enjoy myself and I love playing games to relax and work my brain in a fun way besides watching Netflix. I found this site call https://plays.org/colorush/ and it has thousands of games for you to choose and play. I love the Colorus: Color Shooting Logic Puzzle Game. It really makes you think and create an strategy. Morever over, there are different types of puzzles you can use and play with plays.org
Christmas Experience All The Way
This time is an opportunity to spend time with my son and enjoy the Xmas season, so we have a lot of interactions that are fun and educational for him. He loves singing, so we play xmas songs on youtube and also I read to him his favorite Xmas books. This quality time allows us to bond together but also to learn more about this season while Carlitos expand his vocabulary and appreciate Santa bringing him gifts and all the family gathering it comes with celebrating Xmas.
Cooking Time Tradition
I also appreciate how being a mom has changed me, and what I eel it is so important to create family memories that Carlitos can grow up with. I decided to start cooking again. I used to bake brownies when in high school and sell them to my classmates. I remembered everyone loved them so much because they tasted so good. I made me realized how good I am cooking, so I decided to start making family recipes to honor my cooking skills. I have made arepas so far and tamales, and I am sharing the recipe, so you can do it too.
- 3chicken thighs, skin removed and cut in half lengthwise with equal portions of meat
- 6pork ribs (spareribs)
- 3bunches green onions (scallions)
- 6garlic cloves
- 1tablespoon ground cumin
- 2teaspoons sazon goya (2 packets)
- 2large tomatoes, chopped
- 1⁄4cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1⁄8cup sugar
- 1⁄2cup white vinegar
- 1tablespoon olive oil
- 1⁄4cup fresh lemon juice
- 3cups masa harina, prepared with chicken broth instead of water and a little salt
- 2large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1⁄2cup frozen green pea
- 2large red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into sticks like French fries
- 3hard-boiled eggs, sliced (optional)
- banana leaf, cut into 12 inch square pieces, rinsed in very hot tap water
- kitchen string
- aluminum foil
- Prepare the marinade the night before you plan to make the tamales. Chop one bunch of green onions. Mince 2 garlic cloves. Combine, then add 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 packet of sazon. Rub mixture all over both chicken and ribs. Place meat in separate plastic baggies to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
- Next make the “hogao,” a kind of sofrito. Combine chopped tomatoes, 1 bunch of chopped green onions, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 packet of sazon, 1/6 cup of chopped cilantro, olive oil and salt to taste in a skillet and saute until everything is soft and tender, kind of like a mush. Cool and refrigerate until ready to assemble tamales.
- Now you can make the “pique” sauce. Combine 1 bunch chopped green onions, 3 cloves minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, remaining chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, sugar, vinegar and salt to taste. Make this at least 2 hours before serving so flavors develop.
- Prepare masa harina according to package directions except use chicken broth in place of water and salt to taste. This mixture should have flavor unlike an arepa which is more bland (my husband says the masa is the best part). It should be fairly moist, but still stay together like a dough when pressed. If it is too wet you can still use it, it is just more messy.
- Now the hardest part is assembling them. Place about 1/4 cup of dough in the center of a banana leaf and spread it out. Put one rib and one chicken thigh piece on top. Place about 3 slices of the carrots, 6 potato sticks and 3 slices egg on top of the meat. Sprinkle with peas. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the “hogao” (sofrito) over all, then top with another 1/2 cup of spread out masa. This does not have to be uniform or even neat.
- Next pull up the sides of the banana leaf to form a packet. Tie with kitchen string, but do not let any of the filling seep out (I told you it was hard). If the leaves break just reinforce with extra banana leaves. Wrap packet in aluminum foil. Repeat 5 times.
- They are now ready to steam. Use a large Dutch oven with a steamer insert so the tamales do not touch the water in the bottom of the Dutch oven. These need to cook about 3 hours. You probably will have to replenish the water during the cooking process. Stack the tamales all the way to the top in the steamer pot and turn up the heat to high. If your pot does not hold all of them, just refrigerate or freeze the rest until you can steam them later. When you hear the water boiling furiously, turn the heat down to medium.
- Serve the tamales on a section of banana leaf. With the “pique” sauce on the side to be drizzled on bites of the tamale.
Hope you enjoy this special blog post of our Christmas 2021! Wishing you a wonderful time with your family and loved ones! We continue conquering our dreams One Heel At A Time!
Los y las amo! Xoxo,
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored and I may received a compensation for this mention