¡Feliz Navidad!

Sending you warm wishes for a Feliz Navidad

from Las Bahías de Huatulco, Oaxaca, México

As my regalito to you, I bring you the sounds of the ocean

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Wordless Wednesday: Ingredients for La Navidad

I went to the supermercado with my suegra a few days ago and saw these three things next to each other in the produce section. Nothing says La Navidad like guayabas, tejocotes and caña in a little ponche navideño, ¿Verdad? And it’s perfect to keep you warm at any posada.

  • What do you see in the grocery store that makes your mouth water at Christmastime?

Las Posadas Navideñas

Las posadas navideñas are the nine days of annual Christmas celebrations that culminate with a big celebration on Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve, in Mexico. The nine days symbolize each of the months that Mary was pregnant, and that’s also why Christmas Eve is more celebrated in Mexico than Christmas Day like in many other countries.

The posadas often include traditional foods and drinks, especially things like tamales and ponche navideño. There are many different ways to make ponche, and each family does something different. Another holiday favorite of mine is rompope, an eggnog-like drink that comes from the famous nuns of Puebla,  located about two hours outside of Mexico City.

RELATED RECIPE: How to make ponche navideño

Watch this video to learn more about las posadas and how our family celebrates.

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Wordless Wednesday: Nochebuenas

This past weekend I saw the first Nochebuenas of the holiday season! Did you know that Poinsettia flowers originally came from Mexico? Just a few hours outside of Mexico City, the first poinsettias were discovered in the valleys of Taxco and Cuernavaca but it wasn’t until after the Spanish conquest that they were incorporated as a symbol of the Christmas season thanks to the Franciscan priests. The flower was popularized in the United States after it was brought here by Joel Poinsett, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico after the country won its independence from Spain.

  • Does your family use Nochebuenas to decorate during the holidays?
The photo in this post was taken with my iPhone 3Gs using the Polarize app by Christopher Comair.

SALSA DE ARÁNDANOS

As a little girl, I never liked whole cranberries and on Thanksgiving I always preferred the canned jellied cranberry sauce over the fresh cranberries my mom or my aunt made. Now that I’m a bit older and my palate is a little more refined, I prefer to make fresh cranberry sauce for my Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, it’s probably my favorite part! I’ve been known to make tortas de pavo topped with arándanos the whole week after Thanksgiving just to have an excuse to keep eating them.

This recipe has been passed on through two generations in my family, and now I’d like to share it with you. If you’ve ever been afraid that making cranberry sauce from scratch would be too difficult, you’re in good company. This recipe, though, is so easy that you won’t believe you didn’t try making your own with fresh, whole cranberries sooner. From start to finish, it takes about 15 minutes and it’s a perfect balance of spicy and sweet. These are great for Thanksgiving or La Navidad, too…. 

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PONCHE NAVIDEÑO

It’s not the holidays in Mexico without ponche navideño. This recipe for ponche navideño comes from José’s abuelita Elda, who passed away in 2006. This ponche is served during Las Posadas, Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) and at holiday parties, and is often spiked with brandy or rum.

ponche navideño

This recipe gives me such warm, fuzzy feelings and memories of being back in Mexico with our family for Christmas. Typically, this is a holiday punch, but in my house we sometimes drink it all winter long if we can find all the ingredients.

While I never met Abuelita Elda her, I’ve always felt like I had due to the abundance of stories I’ve heard about her and her cooking. My suegra taught me how to make her mom’s ponche recipe and someday I’ll teach my own children this holiday family favorite. I also learned that most families have their own recipe, so keep in mind this recipe isn’t the only way to make it. In fact, for a long time, nobody in our family knew that the secret ingredient in abuelita’s ponche navideño was Bonafina (a store-bought orange drink similar to Sunny Delight or Tampico Citrus Punch).

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