Browsing Tag

DIY

Comida Latina

How To Make Marigold Smudge Sticks for Day of the Dead

October 3, 2017
How to make marigold smudge sticks to cleanse your environment and prepare your home to welcome loved ones for Day of the Dead celebrations.

It’s October! The season of welcoming guests into our homes is soon upon us, so before things get way to hectic let’s take some time to prepare.

Many of us have pre-holiday tidying rituals like getting the carpets cleaned or refreshing the linens but cleansing the spirit of your home and filling your space with positive, loving energy is another way to reset and start the holiday season off right.

Traditionally in Native American cultures, smudge sticks were used to correct the energy in the home. The smoke from the smoldering herbs will attach itself to the bad aura in the room and removes it as the smoke dissipates.

During Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead the smudge stick has a couple of other purposes. Lighting a smudge stick a day or two before the holiday will clear the air for loved ones so they may feel safe to return home from the land of the dead. During the actual Day of the Dead celebrations, smudge sticks can be used to perfume the air and guide our deceased loved ones back to us as well as speak to those who have passed through the sense of smell, giving us an herbal connection to those who have gone before us.

Mexican sage and sweet grass are most commonly used in traditional smudge sticks. The sage is used to clear the space of negativity and illness and the sweet grass fills it up again with tranquil positive energy. To my smudge sticks I have also added marigold flowers. Marigolds are the symbolic flower of Dia de los Muertos and are known to lead the dead back to us with their bright color and rich, intense aroma. Many people also believe their delicate petals represent the fragility of life.

Here’s What You Need To Make the Marigold Smudge Sticks

How to Make the  Marigold Smudge Sticks

Cut your sweet grass braid the length you’d like your stick then starting from the blossom, trim several marigolds the same length. Wrap the marigold stems around the sweet grass and twist the twine around to secure the blossoms to the sweet grass. The blossoms will shrink as they dry so make sure you wrap the twine around tightly.

Once you reach one end, repeat and go back down again until the bundle feels secure. Cut the twine, leaving a couple of inches at the bottom and tie it tightly to the bundle. Trim any excess string.

Let the sticks dry at least 2 weeks in a cool, dry place before burning. Smudge sticks will last up to a year.

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!

Mains, Recipes

Friends Who Fete: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

February 9, 2017
Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Sometime between the holiday’s fading glow and spring’s first warm breezes lies a long, frigid stretch of nights when we huddled in our homes, hunker down from the cold and wind, and heat up leftovers for dinner. There is no better time than now to gather some friends together and throw a party full of cozy comfort food, delicious cocktails, and loads of laughter—An Italian Polenta Party!

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

When Aida of Salt & Wind suggested the idea to myself and Meg from This Mess Is Ours we answered with an enthusiastic, YES! I mean, I am never one to turn down an opportunity to cook and gather together with my friends, especially over creamy mountains of soft polenta and Aida’s sensational creamy pesto.

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Throwing an Italian Polenta Party is a really fun way to entertain. All you have to do is invite some fun-loving friends, make a few appetizers, a simple cocktail, and then pour out the polenta onto a board in the middle of the table and let everyone dig in!

Here’s All You Need To Know To Throw Your Own Polenta Party

Fiesta: How to Throw An Italian Polenta Party

We all gathered on a late Saturday afternoon and Meg mixed up some sparkling Apple Basil and Prosecco Spritzer cocktails while Meredith finished her sweet herb and floral wreaths to line every plate. Aida arranged Fontina and Prosciutto Puff Pastry Squares and Mushroom Ragout Agrodolce Bites on a marbled wood board along with balsamic roasted apples, several types of cheese, and charcuterie. It was all just the beginning to the main event about to come: The Polenta!!

Italian Polenta Party Menu

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Here is the rundown of the entire menu. We did one meat topping and one vegetarian topping to go with the polenta but you could always just pick one. It is all the little extras however that make it super fun, so try to have at least three or four different sauces or garnishes that your friends can add to their polenta. Included are the recipes to make these but you could easily make one or two and buy a couple more high-quality versions from the store. Or make the sauces and have toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan or Pecorino on hand for generous sprinkling.

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Drinks

Apple Basil and Prosecco Spritzer cocktails | This Mess Is Ours

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Appetizers

Fontina and Prosciutto Puff Pastry Squares | Salt & Wind

Mushroom Ragout Agrodolce Bites | Salt & Wind

Nuts, Cheese, Sliced Charcuterie, Balsamic Roasted Apples, Crackers, and Fruit

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

The Polenta Board + A Salad

Escarole, Charred Mandarins, Toasted Almond Salad with Rosemary Balsamic Vinaigrette | Salt & Wind

Basic Creamy Polenta | Salt & Wind

Beer Braised Beef Barbacoa| ¡Hola! Jalapeño

Braised Chickpeas with Porcini and Tuscan Kale | This Mess Is Ours

Creamy Basil Pesto | Salt & Wind

Slow-Roasted Tomatoes | Salt & Wind

Red Pepper Romesco Sauce | Salt & Wind

Blood Orange Tart with Vanilla Mascarpone Recipe

Something Sweet

Blood Orange Tart with Vanilla Mascarpone | ¡Hola! Jalapeño

Serving the Polenta

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

For our party of 8 people Aida quadrupled this recipe and we had plenty of leftovers to take home (gratefully). The polenta is really nice because you can start it and then let it basically cook on its own, giving it a stir every now and again until it is ready.

To serve the polenta you’ll need a very large food-safe board. Meg had a gorgeous reclaimed wood board that ran the length of the table from Pasadenaville which worked perfectly as everyone had some polenta right in front of them at the table. A large wood cutting board or tray would also work. Just find your biggest food-safe board and pour the polenta out onto the it. Top half of the polenta with the barbacoa and half with the braised chickpeas and place it in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves. Serve all the sauces and garnishes in small dishes scattered about the table so your friends can add what they please. Aida also made a dairy-free version of the polenta with chicken broth and olive oil instead of the butter, milk, and cheese.

The Place Settings

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Our very talented friend Meredith created delicate mini wreaths made from fresh (and totally edible) herbs, olive leaves, and straw flowers. They look rustic and pretty on the plates and Louisa turned them into a darling little tiara after the party was over. Get all the details on how to make them here.

Shop The Party

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

Here are a few party essentials we can’t live without:

W/R/F Lab ceramics

Pasadenaville Polenta Board

Pink Shibori Napkins

Linen Napkins

Vintage Roly Poly Cocktail Glasses

Cheese Knives

Denim Cloth Table Covering

All Produce: Melissa’s Produce

Fiesta: How To Throw An Italian Polenta Party

A humongous thanks goes to Salt & Wind and This Mess Is Ours for all the photos.

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!

 

Uncategorized

Tiny House Solutions: Mud Room

September 8, 2014
Last Thursday we got up, made scrambled eggs, sent the kids off to school, and bought a house. 

It’s nothing fancy, pretty small, tiny in fact, not even 900 square feet, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in character. Built 100 years ago it has the original hardwood floors, plaster walls, high ceilings, and woodwork. It has a great front porch where the kids can play even when it gets too cold to be outside and a nice size yard to fulfill my gardening needs. We didn’t just buy any house, we bought our house. The same one we’ve been renting for the last five years.

A tiny house has its benefits; less to clean, easier to eavesdrop on your kids, less area to navigate when someone is crying in the middle of the night. It also has its disadvantages; less privacy, a little more chaotic, and a lot more clutter. In anticipation of the big purchase we’ve spent the last couple weekends clearing out all—okay, some—of the crap we’ve been accumulating for the last five years and tried to get more organized.

I thought I’d share with you our renovations as we started on this path of home ownership and offer any tips we stumble upon on how to make our tiny home more livable. I don’t fancy myself a design blogger by any means but I’m always on the lookout for ideas so I’d love to hear your solutions too. Promise?

One area that gets massively messy is our back porch, aka mud room, aka dirty shoe and junk area. We used to have this janky table in there and some random chairs and everyone would just kick their shoes off into a sand and mud infused pile. The Professor (genius that he is) made this super simple shoe cubby system and placed a nice piece of reclaimed wood on top.

Now everything is so organized and neat and beautiful I want to squeal it makes me so happy when I walk in there. We also hung some low hooks so the kids will have no excuses when I yell, I mean ask them politely, to hang up their crap.

It’s wonderful and I love it. One tiny house solution accomplished 23,573,947 to go!

Check out my Tiny House board on Pinterest for hundreds of more great ideas and don’t forget to share your ideas—you promised!

Want more comida for your vida? Follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, or Bloglovin. If you have a cooking question (or any other kind of question) leave me a comment below, they kind of make my day (insert smiley face here). ¡Gracias!