Ponche Navideño (Mexican Christmas Punch)

This time of year, I'm always craving a mug of something steamy and cozy. From rich hot chocolate to endless cups of tea, it's my favorite way to stay warm when it's freezing outside. I've recently fallen in love with Ponche Navideño--a Mexican-inspired Christmas punch that is made by simmering fresh fruit like apples, prunes, and guava with whole spices and tea.

For this version, I'm using Lipton Green Tea, which adds delicate flavor and combines beautifully with the fruit. I'm a big green tea fan. I rarely drink sweetened beverages in my daily life, so unsweetened green tea has long been one of my go-tos when I want a natural pick-me-up or a refreshing alternative to water. During the summer, I brew up a batch and keep it in my fridge to drink over ice with lemon, but in winter I prefer it warm.

Creamy Chestnut Soup

Last year, Eugene and I took a last-minute trip to Paris in December. This time of year in Paris is sort of equal parts magical and miserable. Magical because it's the holiday season so the entire city seems to be twinkling with fairy lights, festive store windows, and Christmas trees decorated with paper bows.

Oh, but the weather! December is the grayest month in Paris and the sky seems to blend into the zinc rooftops of the same color. It rains constantly, alternating between a chilly insipid mist and torrential downpour that switches to the other the second you get used to one.

Fortunately, there was soup! Thick, rich, creamy bowls of pureed chestnut soup, to be exact.

Blood Orange Negronis

There are a few cocktails I love to order over and over again, and Negronis are chief among them. I love sipping a pre-meal negroni while perusing a menu at dinner, or enjoying one at a bar by myself with a good book (bonus points if this bar is in an airport or a hotel or at a lovely restaurant where I've arrived early to wait for a friend).

7 Tips for First-Time Thanksgiving Hosts

Will this be your first year hosting Thanksgiving? (Or do you remember the first time you did?) I was in college the first time I hosted. My brother, who was in the Marines at the time, was unable to come home for the holiday so instead of celebrating without him at home, my parents came down to Washington, DC (where I went to school) for a low-key Thanksgiving in my tiny studio apartment.

I remember prepping for days and cooking WAY too much food for just three people.  (Seriously--I think I made a 22-pound turkey, which is way too much turkey.) It was all delicious, but I could definitely have used a bit more guidance to keep things streamlined and less stressful.

That's why I pulled together this post to help share hosting tips and advice for first-time Thanksgiving hosts (although these tips will work for everyone, too!).

Below are a few of the best tips I've learned over the years:

Vegan Coquito (Dairy-Free Coquito)

I've shared a few coquito recipes on this blog before, both for the classic coquito and fun variations like chocolate coquito and coffee coquito, but a request I get a lot is for a vegan or dairy-free coquito version so I finally got around to posting one for you!

If you've never tried it, Puerto Rican coquito is a holiday coconut and rum beverage that is often described as "Puerto Rican egg nog." It's a drink that my family has made and served during the holidays my entire life, and I love that the appeal and popularity of it has been able to reach and touch so many others. The idea of non-Puerto Rican families enjoying coquito during the holidays makes me so happy!

Preserved Lemon & Cranberry Loaf Cake

Before making this Preserved Lemon & Cranberry Loaf Cake, I'd only ever used preserved lemons in savory recipes. I love the bitter salty tang of them in lamb stews, mixed into pasta sauces, or as part of a garnish over roasted meats, but had never tried them in something sweet.

And oh man was I missing out!

It makes so much sense, if you think about it. Especially if you enjoy salty-sweet desserts.

Meghan Markle's Banana Bread Secret

Meghan Markle's banana bread recipe is one of the most searched for recipes in the world right now. Her homemade banana bread, which she brought as a hostess gift to one of the stops on her Australia tour this month, is said to contain ginger and chocolate chips, and was a hit with the guests who got to try it. She is reported to have baked the bread herself at night in the kitchen of the Admiralty House in Sydney, Australia. The Admiralty house is the official residence of the Governor-General of Australia, and is where Harry and Meghan stayed during the first stop of their trip.

The Duchess has not shared her exact recipe (yet!), but Inside Edition asked me to appear on the show yesterday to bake this very similar Ginger and Chocolate Chip Banana Bread so that the producers could taste the royal combination themselves.

Back to Top