Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ixchel's Kitchen ~ Isla Mujeres Cookbook on CD

Over a hundred recipes from favorite Isla Mujeres establishments (Casa Sirena, La Bruja, Comono, Villa la Bella, Qubano, Olivia), residents of the island and fellow Islaholics. Recreate mouthwatering memories of your travels to Isla Mujeres, such as Cochinita Pibil, Ceviche, Chiles Rellenos, Tequila Shrimp, and Pepitos. Explore some new recipes, as well, such as Margarita Ice Cream, Mojito Body Scrub, and Cuban Picadillo.
The CD is available for $15, which includes shipping and handling (if you need to be handled) to US or Canada. Additional CDs (Christmas gifts!!) are an additional $10 when ordered at the same time. Delivery to Mexico can probably be arranged. Email me. Paypal is my favorite, and you can pay with Mastercard or Visa through paypal. If you would like to make arrangements to mail me a check, please email me at

Please remember, I'm a one woman show with a huge circus to run, so I will get these mailed out to you as quickly as is humanly possible. Thank you!


Plenty of delicious drink recipes are included and suggestions on how to throw a fabulous Isla Party (hey, you've got to do what you can when you can't get to the island, right?). Learn the difference between Tequila and Mezcal, perfect the art of creating beautiful Mexican paper flowers, become a salsa gourmet chef. With all of this newfound knowledge, you may well become the most interesting man (or woman) in the world

Fish Filet Veracruz, Yucatan Shrimp. Tortilla Soup, Swiss Enchiladas, Chilequiles, Tic n Xic


Drunken Beans, Divorced Eggs, Elote, Ceviche, Bimbo Dogs, Pepitas, Pickled Purple Onions, Chorizo Chipotle Dip


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Summer Strawberry Pie

Summer Strawberry Pie

This is a wonderfully fresh pie and the crust is rich and crumbly. Don't fear the crust. It's super easy to make and you don't even have to roll it out. It's like playing with Play Doh.

The crust recipe is from an ancient Church lady cookbook from Oklahoma so you know it's good. Some of the recipes are credited to women who go by 'Mrs.' and then their husband's name (like Mrs. Joe Smith) and some of the recipes call for 'oleo'. There are lots of jello salad recipes. Yuck.

Pie Crust:

1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 c oil

Combine flour, sugar and salt and mix with a fork. In a separate small bowl combine oil and milk and then add the liquid to the flour mixture and mix with a fork. Press into pie pan with your fingers as evenly as possible. This is kinda fun. Flute the edges and bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Take it out and cover the edges with foil and put back in oven for 5 more minutes. Let cool.
Pie Filling:

1 Qt strawberries, washed, hulled and cut in half if they are large (save one for garnish)
1 1/3 c water
1 c sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch

Combine 1 cup of the berries with the sugar and 1 cup of the water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes. Squish them a little while they're cooking.

Combine the other 1/3 cup of water with the cornstarch in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Add to berry mixture in saucepan and cook over low heat until it thickens and clears (about 5 minutes). If it doesn't get really clear, it will still be good, so get over it and move on with your life. Remove from heat and stir occasionally and let it cool for a few minutes.

Arrange fresh berries in pie shell so they are all standing up and pretty. Like this:

Pour berry mixture over the pretty berries and refrigerate until chilled. Add strawberry garnish and serve with fresh whipped cream.

Submitted by Mrs. Johnny Depp

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Isla Mujeres - February 2013 - Part One

This trip was all about celebrating my best friend's birthday and cramming as much fun as one possibly can into 6 days. I was up to the challenge.

Leaving me in charge of Happy Hour at the Sky Bar at Casa Sirena? Stellar idea!

Isla is fantastic in February. Don't get me wrong, I love it year round - even in the dead of summer when it's so hot you have to stay in or near the water, I don't care. February brings cooler temps, Carnivale, and Pam's birthday.

Miss Pamela -Photobombing the ocean

Sliders at Qubano....Oh, Baby. It's hard to decide what to eat here because all of the food is amazing and so is Vivian.

The Vivian Salad at Qubano. One of my favorites.

I could hang out here all

This guy had an interesting tat. Good people watching on the beach

Late lunch at Barlito...The 'One Eyed Cajun' panini in the foreground. WOW! Pulled pork, three kinds of cheese...and yes, I had beets because Tiffany said if I eat them all, my pee would be pink and that's called Princess Pee. Like I wouldn't go for that.

Enjoying lunch at Barlito. Love the sitting Brad and Tiffany. Total Love/Food Fest

We stayed at Casa Sirena the first few nights and room hopped between room 1 (my fave!) and room 5. Casa Sirena is so comfortable and makes me incredibly happy. Everything from the delicious breakfasts to the evening happy hours are the best. I always meet fun people while staying there. And of course...there's Steve. Steve is the magic behind the perfection.

Towel puppy at Casa Sirena

We were lucky enough to score an invite to Bruce and Kathryn's Anniversary party. It was so nice to see them and everyone else. Kathryn looked amazing, don't you think? 

Brian and Brenda - gorgeous as always

Lovely Ladies -Jackie, Ann and Maggie

The always handsome and charming Daniel and Manuel. The lady in the background was obviously swooning from being in the close proximity of these two. Who can blame her?

Here comes trouble...Carmita and Inge. Queens of Isla

The Couple of Honor, Kathryn and Bruce with the Carnival dancers.
Fantastic dinner at Olivia with Pam, Lolo, Steve, Dennis and the "Terrible Ten" from Florida. That's shy Chef Chris in the foreground. That's right....we had dinner with twelve men and Lolo. And one of the guys is a Food Network Chef. Yeah...I know.

We ditched the guys after dinner and went to La Terazzo with Lolo, where we met THE creepiest guy on earth, Chet. After we recovered from the skeeziness, we continued to laugh about him for the rest of the trip and now use the term 'Chetty' to describe something totally heinous and repulsive. Sample of conversations - he just walked up to the bar and started talking to us like this - this was not after an evening of hanging out. This was opening line (and it got worse) Chet: So, you having fun? Pam: Yep. Chet: You wanna make out? Pam: Uh...NO!. We also ran into the lovely and extremely unChetty Nicole, who was there classing up the place.

That was pretty much the first day or so...stay tuned for more adventures and the food...oh, we're going to get a little crazy with the food.

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Top 5 Parenting Tips

I thought parenting would be pretty easy. I'd seen it done on tv plenty of times. Oh, I had grandiose ideas of what I wouldn't do, but when it came right down to it, I had no idea the amount of energy and trickery this gig would take. I'm feeling generous today, so I thought I'd share with you my top five parenting tips.

1) This is the most important one. It is never referred to as 'The Ice Cream Truck', it is 'The Music Truck'. Yes, that's right...a truck that drives randomly around the neighborhood and plays music? Why, how lovely! This will work for approximately 4 - 5 years.

2) From a very young age, you must make your children believe that you have mystical powers. 'Hey, watch me blow on the red light and turn it green', 'Look at me - I can juggle two oranges!' The point here is to ingrain them with this, so later when they try to trick you, you just give them a look and say 'I know what you're up to'. Life is better when exhusbands and your children are just a tiny bit fearful of you, trust me on this one.

3) Put the kibash on teenage sex by showing them 80s horror movies and telling them that if they do have sex...they will obviously be the first one that Jason/Michael Myers/etc kills. It's a proven fact. Just watch the movies.

4) When they want you to take them a friend's the mall...just tell them you can't drive because you're a little tipsy. This gets you out of chauffering them around plus it models excellent 'do not drink and drive' behavior. And then you can have a little glass of wine and you won't really be stretching the truth.

5) And last, but not least, make up stories about their Grandparents. 'Well, you know that Grandma and Grandpa were circus performers and we traveled a lot when I was young.' 'Your father's father was in prison. In fact, I think he was cellmates with Johnny Cash'. Stuff like that. Always add 'They don't like to talk about it'. This serves twofold to a) Make them a little bit in awe of the Grandparental Units and b) leave you plenty of room to use your circus upbringing/dad in prison as a reason for your bad behavior. Unlike them, with their picture perfect childhood and Mom that can juggle and a music truck and all.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chocolate Strawberry Oasis Pie

Chocolate Strawberry Oasis Pie

From the movie 'Waitress'

“Just a pie?! It’s downright expert. A thing of each flavor opens itself, one by one, like a chapter in a book. First, the flavor of an exotic spice hits you...just a hint of it...and then you get flooded with chocolate, dark and bittersweet like an old love affair. And finally strawberry. The way strawberry was always supposed to taste, but never knew how.”

This isn't a difficult pie to create, but it's not quick, either. Prepare to make a mess, but's heavenly.


For Chocolate Silk Filling

¼ cup unsalted butter

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate

16 ounce package mini marshmallows

1/3 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons Chai Spice

To make Chai spice combine 2 tablespoons each of ginger, cloves, cinnamon and fennel and 1 tablespoon of cardamom in a small food processor or clean coffee grinder and grind smooth. Store in your spice pantry.

Strawberry Filling

2 cups strawberries, slightly crushed

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

4 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 ½ cups strawberries halved if small or diced if large


2 cups crushed chocolate graham crackers

¼ cup brown sugar

6 tablespoons butter

Whipped Cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sugar together. Slowly add graham cracker crumbs until combined and press into a pie plate. Use a spatula at first, but then you are going to need to get your hands down in there and get it packed in well. Bake for 10 minutes and then set aside to cool.

Chocolate filling:

In a saucepan over low heat, slowly melt the chocolate, chai spice and butter until smooth. Add vanilla and marshmallows a little at a time until they are all melted and the mixture is smooth. Add whipping cream. Refrigerate while making strawberry filling.

Strawberry filling:

Combine the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. In a medium saucepan, combine the crushed strawberries with the sugar until they start to get a little warm and juicy. Add cornstarch mixture and continue to cook over medium heat until it starts to thicken and bubble. Remove from heat and add vinegar. Cool for 15 minutes, then add the diced/halved strawberries. Cool to room temp.


Pour the chocolate filling into the crust and top with the strawberry filling. Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bad Baby Pie

'Bad Baby Pie'...also known as 'I Don't Want Earl's Baby Pie'. If you've never seen the movie Waitress, you should watch it. This recipe comes from the movie and it's one of my favorite films. Quirky and funny. And pie! In fact, go get the movie and make the pie for a lovely evening. I love dinner/movie combinations. Here are some ideas. Please feel free to add some.

Les Miserables- goes nicely with Coq au Vin and wine (everything goes nicely with wine!)
Mystic Pizza- Pizza. duh
Eat, Pray, Love - Spagetti, cannoli and some Indian take out. Go nuts. YOLO
Chocolat- Again, a no brainer. Lots of it. Chocolate cake, hot chocolate, fondue, etc
The Breakfast Club- bacon and eggs or waffles. Coffee with Bailey's
Steel Magnolias - Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes and Red Velvet Cake
Pretty In Pink - Go with an all pink buffet. Shrimp cocktail, pink cupcakes, watermelon, strawberries, pink lemonade, pink champagne. You can use food coloring to make pink hummus or mashed potatoes.
The Bucket List - French Fries topped with cheese, jalapenos, and gravy
Frida- Your favorite Mexican dish or 'make your own nachos bar'
Memoirs of a Geisha - Sushi
Unforgiven - Steak and potatoes You get the idea. And, although I stole this line from someone else's blog, it made me laugh, so I thought I'd share: “You know what they call The Hunger Games in France?” “BattleRoyale with cheese.”

Bad Baby Pie
Pie Crust (I use store sue me)
1 1/2 cups Smoked Virginia Ham (I bought 1/2 lb in the deli and had them cut it thick)-chopped
8 - 10 green onions- chopped
1 cup of brie cheese - cubed (I cut off the rind)
1 cup of Parmesan - shredded (real cheese, people. Buy a wedge and shred it yourself, I'm not playing around here)
2 Tbsp real butter
1 cup heavy cream
6 large eggs
1/4 tsp nutmeg fresh cracked black pepper

Bring refrigerated pie crust to room temperature (or make one from scratch. Showoff) and preheat oven to 400. Place crust in a pie plate and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven to 350.

Melt butter in a skillet and sauté the green onions until they are soft. Add chopped ham until it's slightly browned.

Whisk together eggs, cream and nutmeg.

Place onions and ham into crust. Follow with cubed brie cheese, then add the grated parmesan cheese. Pour the egg/cream mixture over evenly and finish with some fresh black pepper. I don't add salt to this and it didn't need any in my opinion. The ham adds plenty of salt. Place pie dish on a baking sheet and bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean and it's not wobbly in the middle.

I served this with a salad and I have to say, I think this is the best quiche I've ever had. It's so gooey and cheesy. More 'Waitress' pies to come!

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Some of these entries are vintage travel reports and have been restored from a lost blog. I hope you enjoy them.