This is a sponsored post by Nestlé , however all opinions, typos and grammatical errors are my own.
My fondest memories from growing up in Colombia are all the holidays, especially Christmas, it was my favorite time of the year. I can close my eyes and smell the food, see the colorful decorations, listen to the sound of all the fireworks going off at midnight and even hear the Villancicos (Spanish Christmas Carols). There is nothing like celebrating La Nochebuena with the family. When you grow up in a Latino family, you learn early in your life that the holidays are a celebration of heritage, tradition and family.
Move the clock forward a couple of years and here I am, in another country, married to an American-born citizen and raising my child in a bicultural, bilingual home. Having multiple traditions is not easy, however the unique fusion of cultures is beyond compare.
Raising your family is all about the values you want to pass on to your children and what traditions we want to teach them. It is important to have them exposed to each of the cultures that make them who they are. It is all about finding the perfect mix. You might need to modify the traditions as a result of being a mixed family, but at least you are creating new traditions.
Our new tradition starts just after Thanksgiving with Christmas tree decorating and building the pesebre (nativity set). Then, once Christmas Eve arrives, we have a small Nochebuena celebration. We stay away until midnight and open presents (from Baby Jesus). Then we go to bed and wake up to the American version with presents from Santa and stockings by the chimney.
We have Colombian dishes, and the traditional American casseroles. There is ham and turkey. We have Villancicos and sing Christmas Carols. It is the best of both worlds. Although I still get nostalgic and miss my family back home, I would not change anything about how we celebrate our holiday.
Since food is an important part of the celebration, I love experimenting mixing flavors from both cultures. I adapted one of my grandma’s famous recipes: Arroz con leche. I added the traditional American eggnog to make it creamier. The result was amazing. I went to Walmart to start my Christmas shopping early and found all the ingredients I needed for the recipe at a great price. Here it is the recipe for your enjoyment.
Creamy Eggnog Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)
• 3 cups of milk
• 1 cup of eggnog
• 1 cup of water
• 1 -2 cinnamon sticks
• 2 teaspoon of lime zest
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 pinch of salt
• 1 cup rice
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
• ground cinnamon to serve
• 1 can of Nestlé La Lechera
1. In a medium-size saucepan, over medium heat mix water and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil. Cook for 10 min. Set aside. Remove the cinnamon sticks.
2. Mix the rice with the cinnamon water in another saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes.
3. Add the butter, salt, vanilla extract, 2 cups of milk, lemon zest and sugar. Stir the mix and cook uncovered for 15-18 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to medium low and add the remaining milk, eggnog and Nestlé La Lechera. Mix well and cook for around 1 hour until the rice pudding thickens and you get the desired consistency.
5. Serve hot, warm, or cold sprinkled with ground cinnamon to taste.
What are your holiday traditions?