Family & Food


Nana Ernie’s Bizcocho Cookies

There was a “Chill” in the air when I awoke this morning.

This is something that doesn’t happen too often here in Southern California. However because of this “Chill” my thoughts went to baking.

I wanted to bake something nostalgic today, so then my mind went straight to Nana Ernie (One of my food hero’s). She was always busy in the kitchen year round feeding everyone she loved. She was extra busy this time of year making what I think are some of her signature dishes , Tamales, Beans and the ever memorable Bizcocho Cookies.


  • My Fabulous Nana in her kitchen making Tamales.
  • There was never a hair out of place and her lipstick was always on, she was the most gorgeous woman in the kitchen……………Love You Nana……….xoxo

Okay let me be up front with you. The key ingredient in these cookies is the good old Manteca (aka Lard) yes it even makes me cringe a bit too. But I promise it is what make these beautiful little cookies so luxurious and smooth. The only thing you will need to compliment this confectionary masterpiece is a simple cup of coffee.


Nana Ernie's Bizcocho Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 3 Dozen
  • 1 LB Powderd Sugar (Sifted)
  • 1 LB Manteca (Cut of ½ inch on the end)
  • 4 Cups Flour (Sifted)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • Optional: ½ finely diced walnuts
  • Powered Sugar Coating:
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 4 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat the lard until creamy.
  3. Mix in the Sifted Flour, Powdered Sugar, Cinnamon, Vanilla and salt.
  4. With a small ice cream scooper -scoop out little balls of batter and line up on a cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet).
  5. Bake 11 minutes; checking often to prevent burning.
  6. Mix the remaining 1 cup of sugar and 4 teaspoons cinnamon; dredge cookies in the cinnamon sugar mixture while still warm.



All Things Golden


You are given one set of parents in life. But sometimes you get blessed with a second set.

My second set comes in the form of two very special individuals by the names of Jim & Lena Stuber. They came into my life when my brother (Steve) started dating a cute gal named Kimberly Stuber back in the mid 80’s.

Before Steve and Kim ever got married I had established a close friendship with Roxanne, Leslie and lil Heidi (Kim’s younger sisters). I was able to spend many fun summer’s at the Stuber home. We would play at the beach by day and watch the movies Airplane & The Best of Eddie Murphy SNL (all on VHS I might add) over and over by night. There was constant laughter that lived in their house (there still is). It didn’t take long to fall in love with the whole family especially Jim & Lena.

Since those days our lives have been intertwined in a very special way for the last 30 years. They have been there for many of my special moments and now I had the privilege to be involved in a very important milestone that was about to occur in their family.

The Celebration of their 50th Wedding Anniversary.


  • October 17, 1964

Dad_MamaChapelYes it’s been Fifty years of a love that’s produced 6 children,10 grandchildren, invited lots of cats & dogs into their sweet home on Euclid Ct, a love that has brewed hundreds of thousand gallons of coffee. It’s a love that has survived cancer and an unexpected heart attack.

It’s the union of two unselfish individuals who have always been willing to help out the single mother, that divorced father, the sick, the elderly widow. They are the ones who have always had open arms to help nurture all those children who had no love to be found in their own home. It’s a love that has experienced much laughter, tears and growth through out the years, and it’s all wrapped up in one amazing couple.

For me they have been one of the best examples of what it means to genuinely love others from the heart.


  •  The Stuber Children- (From Left) Leslie, Kim, Tim , Angie, Heidi & Roxanne.



  • The Palm Springs Weekend Begins


The plan was to have a relaxed weekend of family, fun and food. The festivities of the weekend kicked off at the beautiful El Cielo Estate located in the Movie Colony district of Sunny Palm Springs, California.  We began with a decorated welcome table that included a photograph of Jim & Lena on their wedding day along with childhood pictures of all 6 children.






Then it was time to add a few small touches to the Master Bedroom, including a crate filled with many of their favorite things to snack on and a few items for “Happy Hour”- For Lena (Wine) for Jim (Whiskey)


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  • The little ones in the family wasted no time in getting this party started with a dip in the pool. Little Nanners and Dude……. Don’t you just want to pinch them? They are cuteness to the max……….


Yes, it was definitely time to celebrate and get busy creating some new memories!

On Saturday morning we got the coffee pots started early and began to prepare the Anniversary Brunch. Here is a sampling of some of the items that where on the menu.


  • Greek Yogurt Parfaits with Homemade Granola


Greek Yogurt Parfaits
Recipe type: Brunch
  • One 17½-ounce container plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Assorted berries (we used Blueberries & Raspberries)
  1. First, pour the yogurt into a bowl. Then add the cream and vanilla. With a whisk, carefully stir until combined. It should be nice and thick.
  2. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the top of the yogurt mixture. Do not stir the mixture. Cover the bowl with foil or plastic wrap and tightly seal the edges. Place in the refrigerator for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. When you are ready to serve, place a small handful of berries (or other fruit) into a bowl or cup. Without stirring the mixture, spoon the yogurt over the berries. There will be creamy areas and brown sugar areas. Repeat the layers once, ending with berries on top. Garnish with Granola for some extra crunch!

The recipe for the homemade granola that I made to garnish these cuties can be found by clicking here Eleven Park Madison Granola


  • Assortment of Mini Fritatta’s
  • We feasted on combinations of
  • (Pancetta/Carmelized Onion  – Tomato/Basil – and Spinach/Crimini Mushroom)



  • Loaded Breakfast Potatoes – An exquisite blend of Red Potatoes, Sautéed Sweet Peppers, Onions and Garlic combined with butter & olive oil
  • and roasted to perfection.


Loaded Breakfast Potatoes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Brunch
Serves: 12
  • 1 bag (5 Pounds) Red Potatoes, Cut Into Chunks
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Onion, Peeled And Roughly Chopped
  • 2 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Roughly Chopped
  • 2 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Roughly Chopped
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • ½ stick Butter, Melted
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Kosher Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, garlic, onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, olive oil, butter, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper and some kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Pour potatoes onto two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, shaking the pan twice.
  4. Raise the heat to 500 degrees and bake until crisp and brown, 15 to 20 minutes, tossing twice.
  5. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper before serving.


  •  Pumpkin French Toast Bake


Pumpkin French Toast Bake
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Brunch
Serves: 16
  • 1 loaf French Bread
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Streusel Topping:
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  1. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Tear French bread into chunks, or cut into cubes, and evenly place in the pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour evenly over bread. Cover pan with saran wrap and store in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter pieces and cut into the dry mixture using a fork or your hands. Combine until the mixture resembles sand with a few pea sized chunks. Cover and store mixture in the refrigerator.
  4. When you’re ready to bake the French toast, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove French toast from refrigerator and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the French toast is set and golden brown.
  5. Serve warm with syrup & Garnish with toasted pecans.



  •  Nutella Croissant French Toast

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  • Oh Mr. Hubs you are so cute!





  • The Grandchildren


So here is the order in which these kiddos where born:

  1. Steven – The Oldest
  2. Chelsea- The Smart One
  3. Kiley- Pretty Blue Eyes
  4. Kara- The Brat
  5. Matthew – The Athlete
  6. Emma – The Hilarious One
  7. Isabel-  The Sweet Princess
  8. Aleena- Princess Leah
  9. Cyrus – The Dancer
  10. Talulah- The Love Bug
  • The Dudes



  • The Gals








The Grand Finale of the weekend was celebrated at world famous Melvyn’s Restaurant located in the beautiful Ingleside Inn right here is Palm Spring , Ca.


What makes Melvyn’s so special is it can best be described as a nice throw-back to a bygone era. With little touches of old Hollywood ambiance and nightly live entertainment that fills the air with songs of all “The Greats”. Be it Frank Sinatra ,Tony Bennett, Dean Martin to name a few.

While sitting at the dinner table I looked around at all the beautiful faces of those whom I have so much love and affection for. I listened to all the laughter, the little whispers of the night and In this moment I was reminded that this room became filled with all these special family members, because to two people fell in love 50 years ago.


We love you Jim & Lena – May your love continue to bloom and grow for all eternity.




















What Brings Us Together

My family and the food we make and share together is what makes life-


The family meal is the subject of much debate, with studies showing families who eat dinner together are healthier, the children do better in school and adolescents suffer less depression and feel more supported by their families. It’s where we teach our children the manners they need to get along in society. We teach them how to share. To take turns. To argue without fighting and insulting other people. They learn the art of adult conversation. The family meal is the nursery of things that spell love, comfort, security and joy.

I’d like to introduce you to some special people in my family. Let’s start with the youngest Mr. Ian.




  • Bubby -My adorable, sweet little nephew who we all call “Bubby” he’s a powerhouse energy infused 2 year old who fancies our favorite family restaurant (Ciros). Bubby loves pizza can you tell?


  • Then theres Papa Carlos- Let’s just put it this way the man has always had a HUGE Sweet tooth and yes and I unfortunately inherited it from him. Papa’s favorites are anything Chocolate and Pineapple Upside Down Cake.


  • Papa Carlos





  • Ms. Kara – My Youngest Niece and Fellow Foodie – When she was a little girl she had big plans to be be a Cab Driver and Chef. I think she has since changed her mind, but either way she does well in making her way around the kitchen. She is a huge fan of chicken strips and can eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.






  • Niece Kiley – We share a love of food and “Dining out” If something sits well with her taste buds she will coin it as “Amazing”. She recently turned 21 this past year and it’s been grand getting to share “Happy Hour” together. She has some of the prettiest blue eyes in the family – we are all so jelly of that.





  • Kim- (My Sister n Law) – Aka the “Queen of Poultry” – I have learned a lot from her over the years. There is not one Chicken dish that Kim couldn’t master. Some of her specialty dishes are- Chicken Piccata, Chicken Parmesan, Buttermilk Chicken and her ever famous Bow Tie Pasta with Artichokes and Olives (Her Kids Favorite). She’s not only an incredible cook but a very wonderful wife and mother. I love her mucho!




“Our Dining table”




Our dining room
Is more than just a room?
Where we gather around to sit
And presence to submit
Our dining table round
Makes us more and more bound
Where each has his own seat
While we sit for meals to eat
We all wait one another
Respect and care for one another
It’s more than a table we use to dine
Or to share toasts and sip some wine
Around the table we gather face to face
A family joined with love so grace
Our eyes hug and embrace
And all our worries there we place there
we discuss and tell
No one goes to impel
We just throw out what’s in our deep
And then off the table we sweep
With lavish dinner and scrumptious dessert
Relief waits for the dining table asserts
Where we come for a gathering
Where onward our problems we bring
With the touch of mother’s magical hands
And sweet parents that understand

Our dining table is more than a table made of wood
Where we sit around to share some food

But a table where we sit to enjoy -The love of a family bonded with joy