Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

Today’s high is predicted to match a record high temp of 87 degrees.

I no longer have any concept of winter.

There were a few weeks when we had cold temps in the 40’s and 50’s but it wasn’t too bad. And there were just a few days when temps just dipped below freezing. Unfortunately it wrecked some of our plants but overall our plants fared pretty well when some neighbors lost everything.

Besides that cold spell, things have been comfortable and enjoy able.

Recently, temps have gotten high enough again where we can use the splash pad without feeling too cold as the water dries off of us.

Today we are going to the pool. Woohoo!!!!!!!!

I no longer have a real concept of winter. I keep seeing people post pictures of snow, fires, talking about eating cozy foods like stew and soup so they can enjoy a warm, comforting meal after shoveling and I’m like “WHAT?!?! My windows are open now and I’m tempted to close them to put on the AC!”

So, this recipe is perfect for my cold weathered friends as it’s a hot chocolate base, but perfectly refreshing for us who are spending our days by the pool.


I love hot chocolate!

It’s indulgent and comforting. It feels like luxury in a mug.

I don’t do simple packets of hot chocolate mix, I make hot chocolate from scratch or I doctor up my favorite hot chocolate to make them extra sinful.

My favorite hot chocolate is the Mexican Hot Chocolate that you make with tablets. Sorta spicy, sorta smokey and extra delicious.

This ice cream is smooth, creamy, and really chocolaty with the nicest hint of spice and heat to it as you start making it with the hot chocolate tablets. You’ll never just want a regular bowl of chocolate ice cream again after this ice cream.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Ice Cream

Makes approximately 2 quarts


  • 2 Mexican Hot Chocolate Tablets, Abuelita Brand
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Cups heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


  1. In a medium sized saucepan, melt the hot chocolate tablets in the milk. Whisk until completely melted. Add the cocoa powder. Cook over medium heat until the cocoa powder is evenly mixed in. Add the heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
  2. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy in texture.
  3. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding 1/4 Cup amounts, until about 1/3 of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder of the mixture to the bowl. Mix well and then return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat.
  4. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, reaching 170 to 175 degrees F.
  5. Strain the mixture in a fine mesh sieve into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. Stir in the vanilla extract and pinch of salt.
  7. Place the uncovered mixture into the refrigerator. Once it is cool enough not to form condensation on a lid/plastic wrap, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40 degrees F or below.
  8. Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes.
  9. Remove the ice cream to a storage container. Freeze for another 3 to 4 hours to allow the ice cream to harden.

Valentine’s Day Candy Bark

Have you been watching the Winter Olympics?

I’m so hooked.

I honestly skipped watching the opening ceremony since I was so exhausted, that I crashed and went to bed. Seriously, I was in bed before 9pm on a Friday. So lame, but I was so tired!

Plus, I was kinda tipsy from a super strong mojito that I whipped up after a long week. I just had to make it! I had to make up for the fact that the one I was enjoying while we were in Key West 2 weeks ago was kicked over by my little miss Autumn. Kids really do make you drink!

Anyway, I have been watching the Winter Olympics when ever possible since then. They are so awesome. The half pipe runs, the luge, the group figure skating. OMG! It’s all so perfect.

Also, perfect, is this candy bark!

You know you wanna make a batch for your special someone for Valentine’s Day. It’s also great for sharing. Or eating in your PJ’s while you watch fit, trim athletes hurl themselves down an icy hill in freezing temps. Yeah…


My 2 tips for making awesome bark…

Do not make the base chocolate layer too thin. Keep it pretty thick, at least 1/4″. It does a better job of holding it’s shape and not getting bendy. It’s weird if you make it too thin. Learn from my mistakes!

And, if you share this with others, be sure to let them know of any potential allergens. I am really cautious about that, and so should you!

Other than that, super simple.

Valentine's Day Candy Bark_03

I dare ya that you can’t just have 1 piece of this candy bark. It’s so addicting.

Valentine's Day Candy Bark_04

Valentine’s Day Candy Bark

Makes 10 servings


  • 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 10 ounces candy bars/pieces
  • sprinkles
  • 3 oz of white chocolate, use a high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina)
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper
  2. Chop all candy pieces into irregular pieces, this is easiest with a serrated knife.
  3. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate over low heat. Once the chocolate starts to melt, continuously stir until just melted through.
  4. Pour the chocolate onto lined pan. Spread the chocolate evenly with a 1/4-inch thickness (about 12×10-inch rectangle). Sprinkle with the chopped candy pieces and sprinkles.
  5. Melt the white chocolate and drizzle over bark creating zig zag lines.
  6. Chill bark until firm, about 30 minutes. Remove foil from pan, peel off foil, and break/cut bark into irregular pieces.



Instant Pot Crack Chicken

We are going on our cruise tomorrow!!!!!!!

I am ridiculously excited. I’ve researched the ship and ports we are going to, I’ve joined FB groups to get get tips, and I’ve made lists, and I’ve packed and packed again. And I know I will still forget something! ha!

I think that is just the way it is when you are traveling, especially when you are traveling with kids. You can never pack enough when you have kids.


In order to help clear out our fridge before being gone for almost a week, I made Crack Chicken in our Instant Pot yesterday.

It lives up to it’s name. I’m addicted to to this dang chicken. I’ve made it far too often since getting the Instant Pot. I only “complain” about that as it’s not the lightest of dishes… hello cream cheese, cheddar cheese,  and bacon.

But it’s worth it. I swear.

You can easily double this recipe, which is great for when you need to feed a crowd. It’s great for a pot luck or for a party… think Super Bowl!!! (Fly Eagles Fly!!!)

Talk to ya when we’re back from the cruise. In the mean time, enjoy some addicting chicken!

Instant Pot Crack Chicken

Makes 6 Servings


  • 1/2 pound of bacon, cut into 1/4″ wide pieces
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning
  • 8 oz cream cheese, can use light cream cheese too
  • 2/3 Cup water
  • 1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper


  1. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate, set aside.
  2. In the pot of a pressure cooker, add the chicken, then cream cheese, and then  the packet of ranch seasoning over the top.
  3. Add the water.
  4. Place your Instant Pot on Manual high pressure for 15 minutes. Do a quick release. Turn to the keep warm setting.
  5. Shred the chicken in the pot using forks.
  6. Add the cheese and bacon, stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve as a sandwich, dip, over rice or noodles.


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Sweet and Sour Marmalade Glazed Oven Baked Chicken

Did you know that Florida produces more than 70 percent of the United States’ supply of citrus?  And, that it’s only 2nd in production to Brazil? That’s a lot of OJ!!!

So, obviously, I needed to get my hands on Orange Appeal by Jamie Schler. I am super excited about the fresh citrus that is in season now here. I can’t wait to go orange picking! So fun!!!!

I actually found Jamie’s blog Life’s a Feast years and years ago. Besides her incredible photography featuring food and flowers and life in France, I followed her Instagram because she had a Boston Terrier. Boston Terrier people are my kind of people. RIP Marty.

As well, I really enjoyed following along as she shares her life running a hotel in France. How fun is all of that. I always wanted a bed and breakfast, so following along her life allowed me to day cream about serving homemade scones and coffee to people while telling them about the area and the fun things they could do during the day.

Of course, nothing is all that easy or glamorous, but one can daydream of making jam for toast and filling vases of flowers.

Besides the hotel, Jamie has been busy with creating the wonderful Orange Appeal cookbook. It has everything that you can think of from salads, sauces, cakes, brownies, and cookies. You are covered for orange recipes from breakfast to dessert!

I zeroed in on the Sweet and Sour Marmalade Glazed Oven Baked Chicken because it sounded glorious with the different flavor profiles in the marinade- the sweet from the orange marmalade, the salty flavor from the sour, and the touch of sour from the vinegar.

The only thing that I changed for this recipe was the chicken that I used. The recipe calls for a whole chicken that is broken down into the various pieces or use chicken thighs. I would have used the whole chicken, as I don’t love chicken thighs, but when I was making this, bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts were on sale. So I just used them.

Besides the chicken, this would be great with pork or lamb. The flavors in the marinade pair wonderfully with those perfectly as well. Follow the recipe as directed, subbing in the different meats, just cook until appropriate temperatures.

Also, cook the marinade in a sauce pan… A POT! I honestly wasn’t paying attention when I started (#IHave2KidsAndNoBrain) and put it in the skillet and then had a doh! moment. I kept on going, but it would have been a whole hell of a lot easier in a pot, so do that!!

This Sweet and Sour Marmalade Glazed Oven Baked Chicken recipe was a winner in my family.

We were far from civilized once we dug in; picking up the chicken, and taking big bites, and then licking all that delicious sweet and sour glaze off our fingers. It was messy and glorious. But you just need to dive in like that when you have amazing food right in front of you.

Sweet and Sour Marmalade Glazed Oven Baked Chicken

Makes 4-6 servings


  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 Cup white wine vinegar
  • 2/3 Cup light soy sauce
  • 1 Cup (12 1/2 ounces/350 g) orange marmalade
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or thighs  or 1 whole chicken


  1. In a medium saucepan, cook the shallots in the oil over medium heat. Cook until sofa and golden, 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add the ginger and stir until dissolved. Then add the vinegar and oil vigorously until reduced by half 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the soy sauce, marmalade, salt, and pepper. Stir until smooth and the marmalade is dissolved. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Rinse and pat the chicken dry. Trim excess skin and fat, as needed.
  5. Place chicken in a large bowl or resealable bags, then pour 1/2 the marinade over the chicken. Rotate the chicken in the marinade to completely coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or seal the plastic bags. Let marinade for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  6. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  7. Line a pan with parchment or foil, the oil well. Arrange the chicken in 1 layer. Spoon marinade over the chicken.
  8. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees F. Keep an eye on the chicken at the end as the marinade can go from beautifully golden to burned quickly.
  9. While the chicken is cooking, place the rest of the marinade in a sauce pan and simmer until it is reduced to 1/2 to 2/3 Cup and thickened.
  10. Prior to serving, slather with the reduced marinade. Enjoy!


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Copy Cat Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites in the Instant Pot

Hi! I am a total “Pot Head”

You might be a “Pot Head” when you pack up your Instant Pot and take it with you while traveling. ha!

I did just that while I was staying with my mom last week while she recovered from a major foot surgery. Thankfully, the surgery went well and she was having a good recovery, but I learned that bunions are hereditary and I’ll prob need foot surgery one day. Thanks Mom… ugh!

That said, I helped out with cooking, walking the dog, cleaning up, going shopping, taking her to doctor appointments, telling her that someone’s face looked like a belly button. I take helping out and cracking jokes very seriously.

I also take making breakfast very seriously.

I tasked myself with making egg sandwiches, omelettes, and these sous vide egg bites while was there.

My favorite omelette is a Western omelette so I used those ingredients in these egg bites that I made in my 6 quart Instant Pot. You can easily swap out the peppers for mushrooms, the ham for bacon, and the cheddar for Swiss. Whatever!

Make these egg bites at home and save your money at Starbucks. Can’t beat a copy-cat recipe!

Copy Cat Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites

Makes 14 Egg Bites


  • 1/2 Cup finely diced onion (about 1/2 onion)
  • 1/2 Cup finely diced red bell pepper (about 1/2 bell pepper)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 2/3 cup diced ham steak
  • 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onion and bell pepper in the butter until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Take off the heat and let cool.
  2. In a large bowl or large measuring cup, beat the eggs with the milk.
  3. Add the ham, cooked onion and bell pepper, cheese, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  4. In 2 silicone egg bites molds, evenly pour/spoon the egg mixture in the cavities of the mold. Do not over fill – each cavity should have a 1/4″ clearance from the top.
  5. Pour 1 1/2 Cups water in the bottom of your Instant Pot (6 qt+) pot, add the trivet*, then put a mold on the trivet. Put the other mold on top of the first.
  6. Put the top of the Instant Pot on, seal and lock it. Press manual, and then set the timer to 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes are complete, let Natural Pressure Release (NPR) for 5 minutes before releasing the pressure. Carefully remove from molds the Instant Pot. Let the egg bites cool for 5 minutes before removing from the molds.

*I forgot my trivet at home while I was traveling and made these, I just took (2) 3″ wide pieces of aluminum foil, attach them end to end and loosely roll up, creating a 1/2″ wide log, twist to make a circle and pinch the ends together. Ta-da! Done!


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