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How to Make a DIY Chambord Sangria Bar

August 17, 2017
A DIY Chambord Sangria Bar is where it's at this summer! You make the fruity sangria base with Chambord and nectarines and let your friends do the rest.

This post has been sponsored by Chambord. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Must be 21 or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

A DIY Chambord Sangria Bar is where it's at this summer! You make the fruity sangria base with Chambord and nectarines and let your friends do the rest.

How much time have you spent with your girlfriends this summer? If you have young kids home from school, the answer is probably none. We’ve been off traveling through Europe all summer long which was magical, amazing, memories I will cherish forever, and all that, but I really miss shooting the breeze with my ladies.

There is nothing like an out-and-out pow-wow with your girls. It is something I’m almost positive no mom does enough. So before summer is out I want to encourage you to call up a few friends, kick your adorable husband and children out the house, and have some serious girl time. It feels good to remind yourself every once in a while what life was like before your heart belonged to another.

When my pals at Chambord asked if I would come up with a summer drink recipe it seemed a perfect opportunity to offer up a fun idea for an easy Girls Night Out. These last days of summer always seem to be the hottest so ice-cold sangria is basically all I’m thinking about where entertaining is concerned. But instead of making one pitcher how about you let your friends make their own combinations by putting together a sangria bar?

Here’s the deal: You make a fruity nectar for the sangria by cooking down some fresh nectarines with a little sugar, water and lavender then blending the nectarine mixture with Chambord.

If you’ve never tried Chambord, girl it is time. Chambord is a black raspberry liqueur made with XO cognac. It has a dark berry flavor with hints of vanilla. Aside from making delicious sangria, you can also add a splash or two in a glass of sparkling wine to make one of my favorite Champagne cocktails.  

This nectarine-black raspberry puree will be the base from which everyone can add their preferred type of wine (red or white), their favorite sparkling juice or ginger beer, and their choice of fruits and herbs.

I went for stone fruits because my stone fruit guy was at the Farmer’s market and you’d have to be crazy to pass up his selection of black plums, nectarines, and peaches. But really whatever fruit looks good where you are is game. Other options would be berries of all sorts, watermelon, or really any kind of melon, you get the idea. As for the herbs I like to use fresh basil and mint. The Chambord sangria base has lavender in it, so you could pick up on those notes and have some fresh lavender flowers for adding to the drinks as well. I have lots of lavender growing in my yard, so I pick the flowers to use in my cooking all the time. You can buy lavender online or if you can’t find any, that’s okay, just leave it out.

Cut all the fruit in pieces small enough to fit in the glass and set it out on a table or bar along with the Chambord Sangria Base, washed and dried herb leaves, glasses, ice, open bottles of wine, and a nice selection of sparkling juices and/or ginger beer. The final touch is drink stirrers for combining the cocktail and a cute little recipe card to help everyone know what to add to mix the perfect drink!

Chambord Sangria Bar
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A DIY Chambord Sangria Bar is where it's at this summer! You make the fruity sangria base with Chambord and nectarines and let your friends do the rest.
Serves: 6 drinks
For the Chambord Sangria Base:
  • 3 ripe nectarines, pitted, peeled, and chopped
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 lavender buds
  • 1 cup Chambord
  • For the Bar:
  • 1 bottle chilled white wine
  • 1 bottle chilled red wine
  • 1-3 bottles chilled sparkling juice (get a couple of different kinds for variation. I got sparkling lemonade and sparkling berry lemonade)
  • 1-4 bottles chilled ginger beer
  • 3-4 different types of ripe fresh fruit, sliced
  • 1-2 types of fresh herb leaves (about 1 bunch each)
  1. To make the Chambord base, combine nectarines, water, sugar, and lavender in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook until fruit is soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Let cool then transfer mixture to a blender, add Chambord, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a serving pitcher, cover, and chill until cold. You can do this the day before if you’d like.
  3. Arrange all the elements on a table or bar for everyone to help themselves.
  4. To make a drink, add a few pieces of ice to a wine glass. Then add 1 part Chambord base with 1 part wine and 1 part sparkling juice or ginger beer. Add a few pieces of fruit and some herb leaves, stir and enjoy.





Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Mains, Popular, Recipes

Roasted Sweet Potato and Sprouted Lentil Tacos

April 18, 2017
Sweet potato and lentil tacos made with roasted sweet potatoes, DIY sprouted lentils, & jalapeño yogurt salsa wrapped in homemade sprouted lentil tortillas.

{This #SpringCleanse post is sponsored by}

If spring is all about renewal than spring cooking should reflect that in some ways too. There is a freshness and light in the air and that feeling has made its way into my kitchen.

sweet potato and lentil tacos recipe

I love lentils and traditionally have used them in heartier cooking—soups, stews, with sausage, and so forth but this time I wanted lentils to add lightness and a tender bite to what I was cooking. I’ve read a lot about making your own sprouts from beans and seeds and such but had never actually tried it at home. The added nutrient boost was reason enough to get me excited; lentils are naturally loaded with protein but sprouted lentils also have antioxidant benefits as well as being excellent for digestive health. But it really wasn’t until I realized how easy they are that I decided there was no excuse not to try.

How to Sprout Lentils

sweet potato and lentil tacos recipe

You can buy all sorts of fancy equipment to sprout with, which might be handy when sprouting smaller seeds, but sprouting lentils is so easy all I used was a colander. The lentils have to be soaked overnight then I strained them through a large colander, spreading the lentils out as much as possible and cover the colander with a kitchen towel. I left them on my counter and rinsed them a few times a day to keep them from drying out. After a couple of days, little sprouts emerged and they were tender enough to eat. You can keep going for up to five days to get the sprouts to grow bigger but I used mine after three. I’ve used the sprouted lentils in all kinds of things—tossed in salads, in sandwiches, I’ve even been topping my eggs in the morning with a handful of lentils. Their texture is just addictive and they have a subtle sweet, earthy flavor that is delicious with just about anything. It was these tacos though that got me really excited.

Sweet Potato and Lentil Tacos

sweet potato and lentil tacos recipe

Sweet potato and lentil tacos are one of my favorite veggie taco combinations. The lovely thing about these tacos however, are the sprouted lentils don’t need to be cooked, they add a wonderful crunch to the tender roasted sweet potatoes and soft tortilla. As for these homemade tortillas they really take the idea of spring cleanse to a whole other level. Corn tortillas are pretty good for you but a soft homemade corn tortilla spiced with turmeric and sprouted lentils are something you can feel good about eating two times over. I know homemade tortillas aren’t something you’re going to whip out after gymnastics practice on a Tuesday night but when you have the time, I encourage you to give them a try. Get the recipe and all the details on how to make them and just think about it.

Jalapeno Yogurt Salsa

sweet potato and lentil tacos recipe

This salsa is like a breath of fresh (if not pretty spicy) air. It pulls all the flavors of these tacos together; creamy but still very light, made with yogurt instead of the more traditional sour cream. With the leftovers I added a bit more olive oil and vinegar and made a fiery salad dressing that was great on a sprouted lentil, radish, apple, dried currant, and arugula salad—uses for these lentils are just sprouting up everywhere (pun fully intended)!

Let inspire you to clean up your act this spring and enter the #SpringCleanse Canadian Lentil Sweepstakes! Check out the details below.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Sprouted Lentil Tacos
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Sweet potato and lentil tacos made with roasted sweet potatoes, DIY sprouted lentils, & jalapeño yogurt salsa wrapped in homemade sprouted lentil turmeric tortillas.
Serves: 4-6 servings
For the sprouted lentils:
  • ½ cup whole dried lentils
For the sweet potatoes:
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground New Mexico chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the salsa:
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the tacos:
To sprout the lentils:
  1. Start at least 3 days in advance; cover lentils with about an inch of water and let sit overnight.
  2. The next day strain and spread lentils out in the strainer, giving them as much room as possible. Set the strainer over a plate and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Leave at room temperature.
  3. Rinse lentils at least 3 times a day for at least 2 days or until they start to sprout. Continue rinsing and leave them covered at room temperature for up to 5 days, depending on how large you'd like the sprouts to be.
  4. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate. Sprouted lentils will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
For the tacos:
  1. Heat oven to 425°F and arrange rack in the upper third.
  2. Combine sweet potatoes, olive oil, and spices in a large bowl. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast until just tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the salsa. Place jalapeños and unpeeled garlic cloves in a dry comal or skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until charred on all sides (garlic will take less time so remove that first).
  4. Remove garlic peel and the stems from the jalapeños. Cut jalapeños in half and remove seeds if you'd like it less spicy.
  5. Place charred vegetables in a blender with yogurt, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, and salt and blend on high until smooth. Taste and add more salt or vinegar as needed.
  6. To serve, toss sweet potatoes with cilantro and sliced spring onions then divide between the warm tortillas and top with sprouted lentils. Drizzle with salsa and enjoy!
Sprouting your own lentils is super easy but it does take some planning. The lentils take at least 3 days to sprout so plan ahead.

Serving these tacos in homemade tortillas make them extra special but store-bought corn tortillas also work here.


#SpringCleanse Canadian Lentils Sweepstakes

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it. Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too! This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The opinions and text are all mine.

Apps, Breakfast, Comida Latina, Condiments and Salsas, Dairy Free, Popular, Recipes, Snacks, Sweets

Apple Hot Pepper Jelly + Cheddar Pie Crust Crackers

October 1, 2014
Homemade Apple Hot Pepper Jelly makes the most delicious gifts not to mention it is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Try with cheddar pie crackers!

Hello friends! Welcome to my new blog: Apples Apples Apples. 

The over zealousness of my apple picking has prompted a name change and possible identity crisis. I’m pretty sure Hiro and I collected the entire contents of two trees and then started on a third before I ran out of Rubbermaid containers to put them in and/or room in my basement.

Last week I graced you with this over-the-top apple pie with a cheddar cheese crust and now I bring you a sweet, supple apple jelly flecked with fiery jalapeños and fresh cayenne chile slices. On Friday I will go back to being ¡Hola! Jalapeño and save you from the apple cider, caramel apple butter, apple whoopie pies, applesauce, apple-poppy seed slaw, and that other apple pie I made.

In a previous life I’m pretty sure I survived the Great Depression the way I like to hoard food. I can not under any circumstance turn down a grocery sack full of garden cucumbers, a jar of pickles, or in this case bucket after bucket of fresh picked apples no matter how much I really, really don’t need them. I have this inner urge to gather and store so either I lived through the Great Depression or I was  a squirrel.

I’m really leaning toward my Great Depression theory because not only do I accept any offering of food I also am an avid canner. This time of year my canning pot lives permanently on the stove and plans can change on a dime if say, I’ve finally gathered enough tomatoes to fill the quart jars and they need to be canned. Like Right Now!! (Sorry about that family……)

This is the first year I’ve attempted apple jelly and I don’t have any idea what has taken me so long. It is the most soft, luxurious jelly with that fresh-picked smell of crisp, raw apple. I added spicy jalapeños and fresh cayenne chiles to it because hot pepper jelly is one of my favorite afternoon indulgences. A thin shear of hot pepper jelly over some cream cheese on a seeded cracker satisfies my every mid-day desire.

Last week when I was testing the cheddar cheese crust for my apple pie I found myself shamelessly over-snacking on the scraps. Pie crust cookies are absolutely a thing, but have you ever had pie crust crackers? The salty cheese in the crust makes an amazing cracker, especially topped with crunchy, nutty sesame seeds.

Like we used to say back in the GD….. Never let a good thing go to waste!

Apple Hot Pepper Jelly + Cheddar Pie Crust Crackers
Adapted from Blue Ribbon Preserves by Linda J. Amendt If you want absolutely clear jelly you can go through another straining process after running the juice through the cheesecloth. Line a cone sieve with a paper coffee filter and strain the juice again. Cover the juice and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Ladle the juice into another container, being careful not to disturb any sediment at the bottom. Strain this juice through a new coffee filter 2 to 3 more times to catch any sediment.
Serves: Makes 8 to 9 Half-Pint Jars
For the Apple Juice:
  • 5 pounds fully ripe tart apples, cored and chopped
  • 4 cups water
For the Jelly:
  • 5 cups apple juice
  • 9 jalapeños, minced (seeds removed if you want it less spicy)
  • 4 fresh cayenne or thai bird chiles, thinly sliced (seeds removed if you want it less spicy)
  • 7 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 (3-ounce) pouch liquid pectin
For the Cheddar Pie Crust Crackers:
For the Apple Hot Pepper Jelly:
  1. To make the juice, combine apples and water in an 8-quart stock pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce the heat, cover and simmer until soft, about 20-30 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit 30 minutes.
  2. Place a fine mesh sieve over a large pan or bowl. Ladle the cooked apples in to the sieve and strain the juice from the pulp. Discard the pulp. Rinse the sieve thoroughly and line it with 3 to 4 layers of clean, damp cheesecloth.
  3. Strain the juice through the cheesecloth 2 times, rinsing the cheesecloth between each straining. Measure 5 cups of juice.
  4. To make the jelly, wash 9 to 10 half-pint jars, lids, and rings in hot soapy water; rinse. Fill a large stock pot (preferably a canning pot) with water. Attach a candy thermometer to the side and set over medium-high heat. Place clean jars and lids in the water to heat. Watch the thermometer and heat the water to 200°F. Once it reaches the correct temperature, make sure to raise or lower the heat to keep it there.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the juice in a separate 8-quart stock pot over medium heat until just warm. Add the sugar and chiles and heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and brin gthe mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  6. Stir the entire contents of the pectin pouch. Return the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove pot from the heat.
  7. Quickly skim off any foam and immediately ladle the hot jelly into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean, damp paper towel. Cover with hot lids and apply screw rings. Process half-pint jars in a 200°F water bath for 10 minutes, pint jars for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the jars from the water and set aside to cool. Once cool, check to see that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the middle of the lid, it should not pop back under your finger. If it hasn't sealed properly you can store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. The sealed jars will keep, unopened for 1 year.
For the Cheddar Pie Crust Crackers:
  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Roll out pie crust to ¼-inch thick and cut into strips or shapes. Lay crackers in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  3. Bake until crisp and golden, about 10-15 minutes.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

Apps, Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Popular, Recipes, Snacks

Chicharonnes de Harina {Fried Mexican Wheat Crisps with Chile and Lime}

May 21, 2014
Chicharrones de Harina Recipe
 Good God I can’t believe I’m saying this but…….SUMMER IS ALMOST HERE!!!!

Can you tell I’m excited?

Memorial Day is supposed to be the unofficial beginning of summer so I’m unofficially going to declare that we get this party started. I’ve got a looooooooong list of things I want to accomplish so I need to get going if I’m serious about making things happen. Want to join me?

Chicharrones de Harina Recipe

Here’s what we’re going to do:

1. Spend a lot, A LOT of time at the pool/beach (whatever water source you rely on for straight chillin’).

2. Make/eat more food on sticks. I’m thinking fruit, paletas, kebabs, corn, corn dogs, s’mores you name it….but no Twinkies people, please have some decency.

3. Two words: Water Guns.

4. Two more words: Tomato Sandwich.

5. Eat our weight in pie.

6. Play endless games of tag to burn off said pie.

7. Take down a margarita or two.

8. Outdoor movies are a must.

9. Sparklers…..sparklers are definitely in order.

10. And of course a ton of crispy snacks to keep us energized.

My new favorites are these addictive, crunchy wheat chips in the ever-adorable wheel shapes, doused in lime juice and generously sprinkled with tongue-tingling spice mix. They come in different shapes, the classic ones are rectangular and a dead-ringer for crispy, fried pork skins or chicharrones (hence the name).

Chicharrones de Harina

These fried wheat crisps are a popular street snack in Mexico. I found the dried wheels in the Mexican section of our local grocery store so I’m almost positive you can find them in yours. You want to fry them fresh, they are very airy and light and get soggy quickly.

Chicharrones de Harina Recipe

Big bowls of these are a must for any Memorial Day celebration but make a lot—they won’t last long.

Chicharonnes de Harina {Fried Mexican Wheat Crisps with Chile and Lime}
Cook time
Total time
How to make homemade chicharrones de harina or Mexican fried wheat crisps—the ultimate crunchy street food snack. These crispy wheels are totally addictive.
Serves: 6
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground arbol chile
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1½ cups dried chicharrones de harina
  • 1 lime
  1. Combine salt, cumin, chile, and cayenne in a small bowl.
  2. Heat about 3 inches of oil in a deep pot over medium heat to 350°F or until a piece of bread browns in 30 seconds. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set near the pot.
  3. Once oil is hot, carefully add the chicharrones a few at a time. Fry on one side until they poof open (about 30 seconds), flip and cook for another 30 seconds or until they have opened completely and are beginning to brown.
  4. Remove with a slotted spoon or a bamboo skimmer to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicharrones checking occasionally that the oil is maintaining a constant temperature.
  5. Squeeze the lime over the top and sprinkle with the spice mixture. Serve immediately.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!

Apps, Comida Latina, Mains, Popular, Recipes

Sweet Potato Nachos with Smoked Cheddar and Black Beans

May 14, 2014
Sweet Potato Nachos Recipe from @holajalapeno

Last weekend I ran in my first ever 5K. I know all you marathoners out there are thinking, big deal, but for me it was a big deal. It took me 36 years to train for this race and I ran my heart out. When it was over I had the biggest goofball smile on my face for at least a good hour or more (the Professor ran with me—isn’t he the cutest?!)

I’m the girl who in the sixth grade had a quasi panic attack when told I was going to have to run a mile for some presidential youth fitness challenge (thanks a lot George H.W. Bush). I don’t think I even went once around that track before I passed out. Let’s just say I’ve been calisthenically challenged my whole life. 

   It wasn’t until I had my second child and survived 18 hours of natural child birth that I realized I could actually push my body beyond its comfort zone and survive to tell the tale. Mainly I was scared but there’s nothing like pushing for 2 1/2 hours to get you over that (sorry TMI). Anyhoo, About 9 months after he was born I decided to hit the gym, it was a little pathetic at first, but once I became comfortable with being uncomfortable I actually started liking it, then loving it, and a few months after that, needing it.

I’m sure if you saw me running now you would see a very slow, middle-aged woman, sweat pouring down her bright-red face. But in my mind, with my Macklemore blasting, I feel badass, like the woman Beyonce wishes she was on a good day—amazing, sexy, powerful, unstoppable. For those 30 minutes, I am no one’s wife or mother or employee. I am just running.

Another (more obvious) reason I’ve gotten into running is it allows for a significantly less guilt-ridden carb load every now and again. One of my current favorites are these sweet potato nachos. Really, melty cheese on anything floats my boat, but caramelized roasted sweet potato fries topped with creamy black beans and smoked cheddar cheese is outta this world.

Sweet Potato Nachos Recipe


Sweet Potato Nachos with Smoked Cheddar and Black Beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The recipe below is a pretty pared-down version but you could top to your heart's content. Browned and crumbled chorizo, sliced jalapeños, or shredded chicken would all be delicious tucked in between the sweet potatoes. Or you could leave them as is and serve them with a plethora of toppings like guacamole, salsa, pickled jalapeños, or sour cream.
Serves: 6
  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (15.5 ounce can) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  1. Arrange racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into ½-inch thick sticks.
  2. Divide sweet potatoes evenly between two sheet pans and drizzle each pan with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Spread out the sweet potato sticks into a single layer and roast in the oven until tender, about 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.
  3. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and move the upper rack to the middle of the oven. Heat the broiler to high.
  4. Transfer one tray of sweet potatoes to an oven-safe platter and top with half the black beans and half the cheddar. Top with the other tray of sweet potatoes and layer the remaining black beans and cheddar over the top.
  5. Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

One More Thing

Did you love this post? I want to know! Leave me a comment and snap a photo for Instagram. Tag @holajalapeno so I can see your beautiful creation! Your feedback is super important to me. If you run into trouble shoot me a message on Instagram and I’ll walk you through it.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!