Abuelita Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

Abuelita Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

Growing up in the Los Angeles area, you find that the Mexican culture is woven into every culture. Mexican food, festivals and friends influence the way we eat, drink and speak. One of the things I missed most when I lived in Brooklyn was being able to stop at the local taco truck for carnitas, carne asada or chicken tacos.  Freshly made, palm sized bundles of charred meat, an assortment of salsas, pickled jalapenos and other condiments ready to be added to the taco.

This post has absolutely nothing to do with tacos, I just went on a tangent, which I am known for doing. So, let me bring this back to the subject: Abuelita Mexican Hot Chocolate. I would grate the solid discs of spiced chocolate into a pot of hot milk, whisking to dissolve and froth the drink. Sometimes I like to add a shot of coffee liqueur or rum, just because I am an adult and I can. And it tastes good.

I was invited to a Dia de los Muertos celebration at Nestle USA’s offices in Southern California. I love the folk art and decorations for Dia de Los Muertos, and believe honoring and remembering your ancestors is important. The celebration was fun and informative and a wonderful was to start my day, as they served delicious pan dulce, Nescafe and Abuelita hot chocolate, of course. They even offered face painting, which after a little hesitation, I did it.


Dia de los Muertos Me!

I went to the grocery store with my face paint, and picked my kid up from school too! I must do face paint more often!

One of the goodies we were offered were Abuelita Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, which were sweet, salty, crunchy and fun. The recipe, created by the Nestle USA test kitchen is easy, and makes a great after school snack.

This recipe uses granulated Abuelita, an instant form of the hot chocolate. No grating necessary.



Seedles in the Little Organic Garden

Package of Seedles

Thyme Bombs! Get it? T-I-M-E bombs?

Alright, I may be the only one who enjoys a good pun. Me and the people who make Seedles, a really cool and easy way to garden. Seedles are composed of little colorful balls of compost, seeds and clay. You just throw them down, water them and let nature do its thing. Actually, you can just throw them and grow them, as nature will provide the water when it rains. (unless, like me you live in California, where we are experiencing a record drought) The wildflower seeds are all native, non-GMO certified seeds.

But even more important, the mission of Seedles is as follows:


We aim to inspire kids to grow one billion wildflowers to bring back the bees and ensure a sustainable food system for their future.


Although I am writing about the Thyme Bombs, Seedles also sell Wildflower Seedles and California Poppy Seedles.

Cece in the Little Organic Garden

Occasionally I post about my little organic garden, usually through photographs. The picture above shows my garden today, and is a combination of a summer garden and winter garden. We’ll call it a transitional garden. There are collard greens, Tuscan kale, boysenberries, lemongrass, kabocha squash, arugula, cucumbers, tarragon, shishito peppers, habanero peppers, jalapeno peppers, sorrel, garlic chives and rosemary. Some plants grow really well. Some plants I kill.

I learn as I go. . . or grow, should I say.


In another planting bed where I grow a few herbs I have a large bare spot of dirt. At one time there were a couple of kinds of basil there, but I killed it. What better place for me to spread the Thyme Bombs?


I placed those little colorful balls on the dirt, amongst a bunch of oak leaves from my tree. I watered the area, and will wait and see what happens.

Within moments the Seedles had a new fan in the garden. And the roly poly liked them too.

Seedles with a Roly Poly Hitchhiker



I may receive compensation in either monetary or product form for my work. I take pride in working with products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers.  All opinions are my own.

Back to School Time

Back to School Time

It’s that time again. Back to school time. Time for parents and guardians everywhere to start packing lunches. Time to plan easy dinners because homework will take up a good chunk of evening time. Not to mention hungry  children arriving home from school declaring they are starving.

Over at Mom.me I have compiled some fantastic back to school recipes and ideas, to help ease this transition along smoothly. Please click the links below to read the articles.

A few tips, tricks and recipe hacks for making those back-to-school lunches easier.

Back to School Lunch Box Hacks

School is back in session and the kids come home hungry! Here’s how to feed them a healthier snack to keep their energy and spirits up.

Easy After School Snacks

When they kids bring home hours of homework, these fast and easy dinners will free you up to help out rather than get stuck in the kitchen.

“Too Much Homework” Dinners

Fabulous Brunch Recipes

We are heading into brunch season, a season of gatherings and parties, weddings and graduations. A season of eating a lot of food, both good and bad!

I’ve compiled a few recipes that I think are very appropriate for a weekend brunch, in other words, very good food. Some sweet, some savory and some liquid! All absolutely fabulous brunch recipes!


Bacon Shrimp Avocado Dip


Bacon Shrimp Avocado Dip



Baked Cinnamon Pecan French Toast | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Baked Cinnamon Pecan French Toast Casserole



Three Cheese Italian Style Sausage and Penne Frittata | Black Girl Chefs Whites


Chicken Sausage and Penne Frittata



Greens N Grits


Greens ‘n’ Grits



Caramelized Red Onion and Bacon Quiche


Caramelized Red Onion and Bacon Quiche



Chicken-Apple Sausage and Red Chard Frittata


Chicken-Apple Sausage and Chard Frittata



Mustard Green and Smoky Chickpea Strudel


Mustard Green and Smoky Chickpea Strudel



Slow Cooker Savory Andouille French Toast | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Slow Cooker Savory Andouille French Toast



S'Mores Martini | Black Girl Chef's Whites


S’Mores Martini



lemony crisket-cu


Lemon Verbena-Limoncello Cocktail



Blue Spice Basil and Key Lime Mojito | Black Girl Chef's Whites


Blue Spice Basil and Key Lime Mojito






Learn to Cook with Chef Cheryl

Cheryl D Lee


I’m launching a new endeavor soon and wanted to share it here first. What is it?

Cooking Classes!

If you’ve read my bio on the Who is the Black Girl page you know that I am a former Chef Instructor at the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena.  I consider my blog to be an extension of my teaching career, a way to share my love of food and teaching with anyone who cares to learn.

And now, I am going to return to hands on cooking lessons for individuals, small groups and team building.

If you are in the greater Los Angeles area, and would be interested in learning more, please send me an email at cheryllee {at} culinoir {dot} com.

In the subject line please write Cooking Class.

Hope to hear from you!