Category Archives: General

Classic Cuban Flan

If you thought I was going to let Hispanic Heritage Month pass without posting something, well you might have been right, but I couldn’t let it pass completely without resharing my flan recipe. Last year I started the tradition of making it during HHM. This year it lined up perfectly with our homeschool en español.

I’ve started homeschooling Cupcake for preschool – full immersion Spanish. We are focusing on letter recognition, and with that I’m including tons of vocabulary & culture. Every week we do a new letter, with a review week every 4 weeks. Each week we eat foods that start with that week’s letter. For example, the week we learned the letter F we ate fresas, frijoles, & flan.

Below is my classic flan recipe, made just how my mami taught me. One day I’ll teach my children.

Mrs. Dessert Monster

Deciding what recipe to share with you this week for Hispanic Heritage Month inspired me to make something that I have not made in ages: flan.

classic Cuban flan pressure cooker flanera Mrs. Dessert Monster

What is flan? Flan is a delicious cooked custard. There really is nothing like it in my opinion. It can be very hard to describe. When done correctly, the texture is light and dense at the same time while being totally smooth; truly one of a kind. The caramel on top is just as important as the custard. Flan can be many different flavors. This here is the OG flan.

Every Latin country has their own flan recipe. Actually, it probably even varies family to family! This is my family’s recipe.

classic Cuban flan pressure cooker flanera Mrs. Dessert Monster

I made my family’s classic Cuban flan the old fashioned way – in the pressure cooker.

classic Cuban flan pressure cooker flanera Mrs. Dessert Monster Hisssssssss

We’ve never made it any other way. There are other recipes out there for making it…

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Anthony’s Famous 1,000 Island Salad

Pulled out an old favorite for dinner tonight! It’s actually healthier than I made it seem in my original post. If you stick to 4 tbsp of dressing, each serving is about 450 calories with 15g of protein & 3-4 grams of fiber!

Mrs. Dessert Monster

I’m 15 weeks along with my little baby & finally feeling more energetic! Blogging will probably be more sporadic going forward – I don’t foresee myself blogging a ton with a newborn next year! But writing & sharing recipes is really important to me.


 My husband introduced me to a wonderful salad combination. So wonderful that whenever one of us says, “Do you want salad for dinner?”, this is the one we are talking about.

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As far as salads go, this one isn’t very fancy. But all the flavors work together beautifully. Tangy olives, crispy bacon, sharp red onion, & buttery croutons! Throw in some shredded cheese & top it off with 1,000 island dressing – that’ it. That’s the recipe. Well, with lettuce, of course.

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We used pre-bagged salad mixes, usually ones with carrots for extra vegetables. We always make our own croutons – toast some sliced bread with butter…

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Cheeseburger Lasagna Rolls

Apparently when I make lasagna, I always have 4 noodles left. I made these for dinner last night after staring at this mostly empty box of lasagna noodles taking up space in my pantry. Subbed jalapeños for pickles – it was awesome!

Mrs. Dessert Monster

Everyone has to play ‘Pantry Roulette’ with dinner every now and then. Whether it’s a budget thing, an expiration date thing, or a grocery shopping thing. This recipe was born from the last.

We needed something for dinner, but I would not be able to go grocery shopping for a few more days. I didn’t want to just serve grilled cheese sandwiches – I wanted something with at least some semblance of vegetables! So I put my thinking cap on to see what I could come up with.

The only green thing I had in the fridge was pickles. I know pickles don’t really count as a vegetable, but I decided to roll with it (no pun intended!). I also had half a block of cream cheese I needed to use up. And then I remembered that in the pantry I had a few lasagna noodles left. Hmm…

I wrote…

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Blueberry & White Chocolate Chip Cream Scones

Do you find that you go through baking “seasons” where you make something often & then just kind of…forget about it? That’s how I feel about these scones. I made these this morning for the first time in almost 2 years – almost since I originally posted it! Since it seems like the world is still currently baking all the things, I figured this recipe was worth a re-post.

Mrs. Dessert Monster

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day & what do all mothers love? Brunch!

That’s what we’re doing at my house, anyway. Brunch with the extended family. And these scones are on the menu!

Blueberry & White Chocolate Chip Cream Scones - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I got this scone recipe from my dear friend Beth, who gives me so many great recipes, who got it from the book Ten Dollar Dinners. However, I have adapted it some. I never have buttermilk powder on hand & have not come across another recipe that calls for it yet. Therefore I just always use lemon juice. I also in general almost always use salted butter for everything, so that’s what I use in this recipe, too. With a few other twists & tweaks, I bring you this recipe.

I’ve never made scones any other way, so this cream method is all I know. I hear it is much easier than another method which requires cutting butter…

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4 Years Blogging – Where Do We Go From Here?

Can I be super lame & say ‘time flies when you’re having fun’? Because it sure does. I can clearly remember when I first started this blog as a newlywed on 01/01/2015. 4 years, 4 homes, 2 states, & 2 kids later – here we are.

Did I say 2 kids?

Yes! Baby #2 is cooking as we speak.

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When I first started this blog I thought I was going to be a virtual open book. But when it actually comes to sharing details about my family life – I’m not that comfortable with it.

I never shared most of our home improvement projects in our South Florida house – just one or two of the major ones. I purposely didn’t share my daughter’s straight out of Pinterest 1st birthday party. I liked the idea of sharing my art, but then have actually turned out to be pretty private about it here.

If I had to chose a word for 2019 (even though it’s March), it would be private. It’s funny because my word for 2018 was openness, though I don’t think I did a great job at that last year. I have come to realize that when it comes to my virtual footprint, I want to be a little more private.

Private

What does this mean for Mrs. Dessert Monster? In reality, I don’t think anyone is going to feel a difference reading this blog. If I had gone forward without writing this post, I doubt anyone would have noticed much. But I want to use this opportunity as a type of ‘clean slate’.

Going forward, I will still be sharing recipes, crafts, and some religious or pro-life posts. What I won’t be posting: pregnancy updates, details about Cupcake or the new baby’s lives, or posts written for the sake of posting. I’ve never been super regular at writing, and it’s probably going to be even more sporadic going forward.

That being said, I am still an avid blog reader & thoroughly enjoy reading what you guys share!

I guess all this to say: I’m still here, just a little quieter.

30!

Happy 30th birthday to ME!

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I’ve pretty much been celebrating all month long. You only turn 30 once!

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My golden year was pretty amazing. My husband & I did something we’ve been talking about pretty much since we got married (almost 4 years ago, can you believe it?!?). We moved out of South Florida. It happened super fast, too. It was like “Hey, we’re thinking about moving. Hey, we’re gonna move. Hey, we moved.” It was about 2 months from our scouting trip to our move in date. We had been praying about the decision for months & when it was finally go time it was GO GO GO! Only God could have orchestrated such a smooth move for us. My husband is thriving in his new job & we are getting settled nicely.

There were other changes that occurred between last September & this one, but in all of that here’s how I did with my goals:

  1. Read the Bible regularly. – Ok, this one never gets crossed off. I have been doing better & it’s only made me want to do it more. 1) I completed my first year of BSF with the study of Romans & now I am hooked. Cupcake loves the kids’ program, too! Transferring to a BSF group in Georgia was the first thing I did after we secured an apartment. It’s been a great way to get plugged in & meet some people, too! 2) the YouVersion Bible app is amazing. I have done several of their reading plans & turned on notifications for the verse of the day. My favorite feature is the ‘compare’ feature: you can see the same verses in different bible translations, even different languages! 3) I am slowly doing the Becoming MomStrong Bible study. (It was supposed to be an over the summer thing, but, you know. Life.)
  2. Volunteer. – Habitat For Humanity Project June 16!1536245758545.jpg
  3. Lose weight. – Goes hand in hand with #4
  4. Get more serious about fitness. – In June I finally started eating better & exercising 3-5x a week. Instead of going hard & getting quickly burnt out, I aimed to break a sweat for at least 10 minutes a day & focus on strength training for muscles instead of calorie burning cardio. I took a pause from working out while we were moving, but after settling a bit I got back on the wagon & I am happy to report that I have lost 15 lbs! I did this totally at home with no gym membership or equipment using a combination of My Fitness Pal for calorie counting & Fitness Blender for workout videos! (not a sponsored post – I just really enjoy their website!)
  5. Make Spanish more of a priority at home. – This one is also a permanent goal. My husband has been such a great supporter of this. His Spanish is improving as he tries to speak mostly Spanish to Cupcake. It warms my corazon ❤
  6. Throw a fancy dinner party.
  7. Go to a gun range. – I didn’t go to a range, but I did get to shoot guns at a family member’s hunting camp in Alabama over Labor Day Weekend. Half credit?
  8. Go to local high school football games.
  9. Read more books. – Read: Talking As Fast As I Can , Out Of The Silent Planet, Perelandra. In progress: IT, That Hideous Strength, Becoming MomStrong, Dad Is Fat.
  10. Learn a (simple) new make up look.
  11. Get more serious about my book business.
  12. Paint more.  – Some of these watercolors also turned into #28: a letter to a friend! I have enjoyed getting in to watercolors & doing some of the challenges on Instagram. It has really stretched me as an artist!  

  13. Build something with my hands.
  14. Donate blood.  Feb 19 – After the shooting at MSD in Parkland. 1536245942479.jpg
  15. Grow my hair long (& healthy) to donate. 12 inchesJune 14th!  

  16. Visit a new city in Florida. – I did TWO! Dec 19: Anniversary trip to Mt. Dora, FL. Jun 29: visited friends near Amelia Island, FL.
  17. Fast.
  18. Pay for someone else’s coffee.
  19. Send a care package to a soldier.
  20. Bake a soufflé. – First I think I should EAT a souffle to see what it’s all about!
  21. Be more intentional about making new friends. – Having just moved to a completely new area, I am definitely focusing on this one now!
  22. Hand make (most) Christmas presents this year. Check!
  23. Pay off debt. – This is the first thing we will do once the sale of our house closes.
  24. Go on a painting/cooking/activity date with my husband. Check!
  25. Go see more local shows/events.
  26. Go to one of the Orlando theme parks. – April 21 – we went to Universal Studios with our moms! Despite the look on her face in this picture, my niece had a great time. 10 minutes after this picture was taken she yelled “THAT WAS AWESOME!”1536247053431.jpg
  27. Work on knife & butchery skills.
  28. Write more letters to friends. – Could have been better, but I’ve sent friends a few cards that I watercolor!
  29. Grow in my relationship with God. – Another one that never gets crossed off. I am excited to go into my 30’s as a dedicated Christ follower. I am working hard to choose joy & be the light. I complain too much and my tongue gets away from me way too often. But I can feel the Father, Son, & Spirit working on me!


I really enjoyed having these goals for the past year. Sometime along the way I also made a vision board for our family. I’m looking forward to setting more personal & family goals for 2019.

Bring it on 30’s!

PS: I made that cute belly badge I’m wearing in the first pictures with my awesome new Cricut! My husband totally surprised me with it. I’m already starting to work on Christmas crafts!!!!

Toddler Cards For Any Occasion

Cupcake’s birthday is in January, so last year she got to enjoy all of her first holidays in order. This means that I got to do all of the fun handprint/footprint crafts for with her.

Footprint Valentines day heart? check. Footprint Father’s day craft? check. Handprint turkey for Thanksgiving? check. Handprint AND footprint clay ornaments for Christmas? check.

Now that she’s no longer an infant, I just don’t find it as cute. Let’s face it – the gift recipients know who really made those things. ME. Don’t get me wrong, there are some really cute ideas on Pinterest. But most of them are just work for mom.

Cupcake is 17 months old – old enough to want to do things on her own, but not old enough to really understand that we are making a gift for someone else. So even if I wanted to, it’d be pretty challenging to get her to give me a handprint or a footprint this year. So strong willed, & she’s not even 2! Say a prayer for me.

For Father’s day I searched for ideas of something she could make her daddy that was minimal work for me while being a little more thoughtful than just her scribbling on a piece of paper. I didn’t really come across any ideas I liked, but inspiration came from Cupcake herself. She likes to color & paint all by herself (heavily supervised, of course!) & her absolute favorite thing in the world right now is stickers. That gave me an idea.

It sounded too simple, but what if Cupcake really could make a card for daddy by herself with minimal guidance from me?

Toddler Cards for Any Occasion Made By Toddlers - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Sometimes, the K.I.S.S. principle really is the best. Keep it simple, silly!

Cupcake had a lot of fun painting this card for daddy.Toddler Cards for Any Occasion Made By Toddlers - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Once the paint was dry, we added stickers. I let her add as many hearts as she wanted before giving her the sticker letters, one at a time in order, to spell DADA. That’s really all of the involvement I had, minus making sure she didn’t get paint everywhere! Oh, and writing her name & the date on the back!

This craft is so easily adaptable for any occasion! Use different colored paper, paint, or markers depending on your target audience & time of year! It’s infinitely customizable. You can let your toddler add as much or as little embellishment as you wish. The only ‘must’ is sticker letters. As long as your toddler has the motor skills to put stickers on a paper, they can do this craft!

Toddler Cards for Any Occasion Made By Toddlers - Mrs. Dessert Monster

My hubby really loved receiving this card from our sweet daughter. She handed it to him herself! It might sound silly, but the fact that he can tell she really made it (as opposed to mommy) makes it more special!

Toddler Cards For Any Occasion

  • card stock – any color!
  • paint, crayons, and/or markers
  • sticker letters
  • optional: more stickers, glitter, paper scraps, or any other embellishment you can trust your toddler with, plus glue if necessary!
  1. Have your toddler paint or color on the piece of card stock. If you use paint, you will have to factor in drying time. (I used paint & had it be a 2-day project. Twice the fun!)
  2. Have your toddler stick on any other embellishments. I gave Cupcake heart stickers, since this was a Father’s Day card & she ‘hearts’ her daddy. Use holiday themed stickers to be extra festive!
  3. The last step is to give your toddler sticker letters one at a time & in order of whatever word(s) you are trying to get them to spell. I minimally guided Cupcake on putting the DADA stickers next to each other. I suspect that in another month or two, I wouldn’t even have to do that! Then, write your toddler’s name & the date on the back.
  4. Have your toddler give the card to loved ones & watch their heart melt!

 

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

This morning hubby & I made these leftover mashed potato pancakes for brunch – with a twist!

Just follow the recipe below, but instead of serving with sour cream & bacon, serve them each with a fried egg. We made 4 big pancakes (instead of 6) with this recipe.

Delicious!

Mrs. Dessert Monster

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was wonderful!

My husband & I hosted for the very first time, & thankfully everything went off without a hitch! The food was delicious & the company was awesome.

One of the best parts about hosting is that we have all the leftovers!

We had all of the traditional sides; stuffing, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes ,etc. I used this recipe for Crockpot Mashed Potatoes & they came out amazing! Everybody loved them, but there’s only so much mashed potato you can eat in one sitting. Especially when there are so many other yummy foods! Needless to say we have a considerable amount of mashed potatoes left.

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When I was younger my dad used to make potato pancakes with the leftover mashed potatoes from big family dinners. This morning I introduced my husband to this novel idea.

It’s very simple – mix in some cheese to your…

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Hello 2018, The Year Of Openness!

Happy New Year to all!

And Happy Blogaversary to me! 3 years! It has been a great 3 years indeed.

If you’re a fan of The Middle on ABC, you’ll remember that Sue Heck always themes her years. As does Crystal from Money Saving Mom! I’ve never tried it before, but looking back on 2017 one word definitely comes to mind:

Change.

A LOT changed in 2017 for me. Here’s a list:

It might not seem like a whole lot written out, but it sure feels like a lot.

I’m not complaining! 2017 was a great year. But my ‘year of change’ was not intentional.

Neither was my coming up with a theme for 2018. I didn’t set out to do it – it just happened! Divine intervention, as I say.

My theme for 2018 is openness.

OPENNESS

I want to make a conscious effort to be more open. I want to raise my arms in worship without hesitating. I want to talk to strangers & make new friends without holding back. And most of all, I want to be open to childlike joy. I want to be open to making messes. I want to be open to new ways of doing things.

I want to be open to being led by the Spirit of God.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Romans 8:14

God has done great things for my family in 2017. He can do even more in my life, and yours, in 2018 as long as we cling to Him.

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Cowboy/Western Trunk or Treat

This year my church did a big Fall Festival. It was awesome! There was a bounce house, hay rides, a bake sale & contest, food, games, & trunk or treat.

Along with contributing to the bake sale, we decorated our car for trunk or treat.

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We dressed Cupcake as a cow for her first Halloween! I bought her pants online, her daddy made the onesie with some iron-on paper, & I made her headband from a dog costume. Semi-homemade Halloween costumes for the win!

Naturally, we had to be a cowgirl & cowboy to accompany Cupcake.1509387295928.jpg

The trunk decoration was fairly simple.

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A big toy horse, cardboard ‘fence’, some rope, & a blue sheet as the backdrop.

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Cupcake was really the star of the show. Everyone got a kick out of the baby cow in the (play)pen! We had other toy farm animals in there, too.

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For a little bit she was even in the trunk, too! It was a windy day, but there was not a cloud in sight & the sun was beating down. How crazy is it that Tropical Storm Felipe had passed really close to us just the night before?

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I hand painted this ring toss game to go along with our trunk, but it was too windy to play. Also, I think my pegs were too short, which made the game super hard. Lesson learned!

We all had fun passing out candy & checking out everyone’s costumes. Cupcake loved all of the attention she was getting. Once the trunk or treat portion of the festival was over, we checked out the rest. It was an amazing production! Over 1,000 people attended throughout the day.

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I’m very proud to say that the pumpkin chocolate swirl cake with pumpkin spice buttercream I entered into the baking contest won 3rd place!

It was a great day!