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Since I'm Not Doing Any Shopping, I'm Giving 5 Major Fave Things Away This Christmas!

(photo used by Wikipedia  shots)

It’s Christmas Eve and I really want to be ice-skating right now.  I’m in DC with the familia, I’ve done NO shopping; NOT going to do any shopping, been eating like a gluton, looking for new Gwen Stefani L.A.M.B. pumps, missing a certain someone, considering chopping off all my hair and making plans to go to NYC on Friday.

Thus little time to sit down and write.

But I miss you all. 🙁 I haven’t even had much time to come to your place. Please accept my apology.

Not to mention the 2 hour gym sessions that have been kicking my behind. I’ve committed myself to these crazy workouts because of the obsessive manner in which I eat. Plus I want Beyonce’s ass. If I’m not doing a private in-home cooking lesson/dinner, then I’m eating out doing a resto review; and those dinners are sinful with EVERYTHING being available for me to order!

And if not eating out or cooking my specialties for splunk drunk clients, then I’m at home making things that are sexy, delish and hipspreading. LIKE CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO DRINKS! Yes Lord, I’ve have an addiction to chocolate since I was in my mom’s womb and espresso since my college days. It’s bad I tell ya. But this year I took it to another level when evil Starbux started offering their mint chocolate espresso latte. I did the anti and ordered this drink for 3 days straight. Then it occurred to me there was no reason why I should give them $4.37 every time I want to satiate a desire.

I went home and pulled out my own goodies.

Bustelo espresso (waaaaay better than their burnt crap), 2% milk (Mayfield brand is really good), Florida raw sugar cane and Chalmer’s mint chocolate ganache!

Topped with a few cocoa shavings from the ball I brought back from Trinidad, and I’m in heaven!

No more trips to Starbucks to order that latte. I now make mine at home thanks to that Chalm

er’s ganache! Have you ever even heard of it? Well last year, during my CreativeCause charity event, the decadent chocolatier sent me a box of 100 jars to give away in my VIP goody bags! I had 8 left over all of which made it straight to my pantry! It’s the sexiest, smoothest and calorie free chocolate you’ve ever had! I put it in my coffee, lace my vanilla ice cream with it, whisk it in my flan mixture, and my sis has recently made mini cupcakes out of it!


So without further adieu, I announce I’m hosting a give away of my must haves in my kitchen! My mother has always taught us to be grateful and generous. Often time visitors will leave our house with something in their hand! Naturally, I like to give things away, too! And because I’m honestly not doing any shopping this year I had to get my gift fix somehow. Christmas has totally lost its true meaning and I refuse to indulge the consumerism ploys. Plus I just really like you guys! Here are a few thingys that I can’t live without on a just about daily basis! They make my life better and I know you’ll your life will be enhanced!

So here we go!I’m giving away 2 large glass jars of Chalmer’s LUXE dark chocolate ganache (8.25 oz) and 2 small jars of the orgasmic ULTRA mint ganache! These will go to 4 different readers! Leave a comment and tell me your fave way to have chocolate!

That’s just one fave thingy of mine as of late. And you can pick one for their 3 flavors in select Whole Foods Markets! For you Atlians, check out any one of our WF for the goodness! Or you can visit their site here.

Tho nothing new in my world, I figured I’d have to give you some espresso in order to make that killer latte! I drink Bustelo every single day! About 8 shots to be exact, sometimes more. I need caffeine intervention. But I just can’t function without it! I blame no one but mami for this shameful addiction. Hers is worse than mine. She doesn’t leave the house without her overflowing thermos. I’m not that bad, but I do have to have my fix before I even get on the computer!

One of you will get 2 jars of Bustelo fine quality espresso. It’s the best stuff in the world! Your comment should tell me your favorite coffee brand!

I’m not so much a cookbook collector, but that changed for me this year, quite exponentially. I’ve been slammed with doing cookbook reviews this year and I’ve loooved it! I’ve received some of the coolest books! Amy over at We’re Never Full won the CIA’s French Bistro book earlier this year! This time, I’m giving away THE one and only CIA COOKBOOK. This is the book of all books in the culinary realm. Talk about learning new things you never knew existed. Just perusing through the book will have you massaging your fingers from so much flippin’! It’s 400 pages and full of trickery!

I’ve made a few dishes from it and I’ll say it’s worth all of the $40! So…. to ONE commentator that leaves a comment suggesting a cool cookbook, you’ll receive my 3lb. brand new extra copy!

It would totally be unbecoming if I didn’t offer up a toy that relates to my blogs namesake! So I make flan about 3 times a week! I have 20 different flavors and with that comes the need of having lots and lots and lots of flaneras, or flan pans. This little aluminum utensil is crucial to making the perfect flan. It’s hassle free, makes a perfect shape and keeps the flan in great form while its chilling. Another thing I must have in my kitchen. You can find them on amazon for about $10 but you can one here for free! Leave a comment telling me a flavor you’d be interested in me making and you’ll be entered!

AND THEN THERE IS THIS dot dot dot dot,

Most of you know my life is not complete without my pressure cookers! I do most of my cooking in them! My beans, steaks, custards, stews, and a rack of other culinary infatuations! Do I need to say more?! I have 6 pressure cookers: 5 vintage and one new modern. I cook with them at my monthly cooking classes in Atlanta, I trek with them every time I do an in-home event, and I guard them with my life. I mean, come on, they save me more than 50% of my precious time! Who wouldn’t want one of these bad mama’s!?!?

I’m giving ONE very lucky and dedicated reader, one brand new 4qt. PRESTO pressure cooker!! Stop the press! I’m so serious. I figured it was time to bless one of you with a gadget you’ll never regret owning. You’re cooking practices will change, I promise! I’ve convinced a few bloggers to go out and get one, including my friend Don over at Mr. Orph’s Kitchen. Don, can you tell my readers how awesome your experience has been!?!?

This one requires a bit more work tho. You must leave a comment in this post telling me anything pressure cooking even if you know nothing, tell a foodie friend about it by leaving a comment with a link back to this post on their blog and then come back and leave a 2nd comment saying “pressure cooking done”! Yeah it’s a bit more work but it’s more than worth it! I’ll even include 2 Cuban recipes that I make in the pressure cooker but have not posted on the blog! You can’t beat this for sure! (winner pays for shipping on this one)

Winners will be chosen through a random number generator. I will divide comments into the 5 different categories so that people leaving comments for only one giveaway, will all have a fair chance, and so on! Of course you can enter for each gift, but you must leave a comment for each gift saying the required statement, ie, if you want to be considered for all 5 you have to leave 5 comments! 🙂

(Grunts and sighs and rolling eyes must stop right now! LOL!)

**Winners will be announced on January 1st! Chop Chop!!!**

Because on January 1st, I will have been blogging for one year I am excited to share these goodies with you. I’ve made some incredibly awesome friends, done some wonderful reading and have learned quite a bit about beautiful cultures around the world. I’m simply here in blogosphere to see what the globe has to offer vis a vis talented men and women that take the time to share a bit of their life with the rest of us.

Thank you.

I wish you and your family a beautiful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or whatever holiday you are celebrating this year! Thanks for inviting me onto your screen and coming over to FlaNboyant Eats over the last 12 months. It’s been one of the best things that’s happened to me yet!

PS: looking for Adam… I need your addy. I owe you something that is so overdue, it’s sad, really! 🙂

Looking forward to seeing all comments!


A Lesson in Pressure Cooking

Carne con Papa

Mint Chocolate Ganache Flan @ The Dinner Party

I Love Bean. But Then There are Ranco Gordo Beans!

A Midnight Snack Better Than S.E….

FELIZ NAVIDAD and I’ll see you next week!!!

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

Follow the sexy & delicious fun on


follow Bren Herrera on Pinterest

Don't forget to check out my debut cookbook!

134 thoughts on “Since I'm Not Doing Any Shopping, I'm Giving 5 Major Fave Things Away This Christmas!

  1. Hi,
    My grandmother used to make about a million different things in her pressure cooker, I especially liked a chicken dish with olives and would love to have a pressure cooker so I can recreate it.

  2. Cookbook suggestion – Field Guide to Cookies by Anita Chu, who runs the blog Dessert First. I just got it and I love it!

  3. It’s too hard to choose a favorite cookbook, but the funniest is the Take Home Chef cookbook which has different ingredients featured in 3 different recipes, easy, medium, and hard. What makes it funny is that the easy ones are anything but, like the easy rhubarb is rhubarb jam. If you’ve ever made jam you know it is a labor intensive all day process, not easy.

  4. Try the Silver Spoon cookbook published by Phaidon Press, it’s the culinary bible of Italy. I love everything I’ve made from it.

  5. This is a great idea, the giveaway!  Mmmm chocolate!  MMmm flan.

    SO I ALSO am crossing my arms at the propaganda at what the Christmas holiday has become…UGH!  It was so not suppossed to mean go broke and be stressed damnit!  The part that still holds dear to my heart is the family and of course the food, YIPPIE! 

    2 hour work outs…girl!  WOW!  This week i’m a work-out SLACKER!

    Anyway let me know about those private cooking classes…could be fun maybe around the 2nd or 3rd month of the year.

    Oh i can’t believe we go to some of the same parties and miss each other…the heck is that about?

    Kisses and happy holiday cutie pie!  Safe travels luv!


    p.s. it’s nice to be missing a certain someone huh….heheeeeeee!!

  6. Bren, there aren’t many Michigan cookbooks out there that actually trump the food that’s available here. <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Fork-Road-Eric-Villegas-Emmy-winning/dp/1932399178″>Fork In The Road</a> from Eric Villegas is the best of the bunch, and very original.

  7. Hey Bren…felicidades!! My son made a killer pumpkin flan for our Christmas dinner with praline brittle. I’ll be posting about it over the next day or two. I’d love to win this flanera to give to him. 

  8. Just to let you know the posts are up (Christmas Recipes and A Christmas Story). I think you’ll find somethings you’ll like. feliz ano nuevo

  9. Girl… You know EXACTLY what I want!  I want the Bustelo grinds!  Mmmmmmmm… I’ve been wanting to try this ever since I MET you and heard you talking about it.  Pick me, pick me!
    Okay, my favorite coffee brand?  Thinking… thinking… I’m a simpleton.  I really like the World Market Roasts – the Island Blend is a favorite.  Mmmmmmmmmmmm…

  10. Oh, Bren, I see you are very alike me… I’m getting headache and feel dizzy without morning coffee…
    Happy New Year to you my friend!!!
    We are just seating home waiting for midnight with kids 🙂 Prepared some drinks with grapes… will blog about it tomorrow.

  11. Thanks to everyone for commenting. I was hoping a lot more would comment so I could pull from a large pool! Oh well, it’s the name of game! I’ll be pulling names soon! 🙂 Happy New Year! Much Love!

  12. Hey there!!

  13. This is so generous of you! I meant to leave a comment earlier– I hope I’m not too late! My favorite way to have chocolate in the winter is in a creamy cup of hot cocoa with cinnamon.

  14. My favorite kind of coffee is the Vanilla Almond from the West Side Market (a local store that makes many lovely kinds of coffee).

  15. I’d like to recommend the Tassajara Recipe Book. I use it all the time, and so far I’ve been very happy with every recipe I’ve tried.

  16. I think that you should make a banana flan! I love anything containing caramelized bananas, and I am always hiding them from my family so that they will ripen enough to use in my favorite recipes.

  17. I just learned about pressure cookers recently and I don’t know anything about them other than what you wrote in your earlier post about them, but having one would make life so much easier for me. I already have a long list of stews and bean dishes that I’d love to try with a pressure cooker.

  18. Lots of awesome prizes…I’m not sure which to pick, so I’ll jump in on the book. A recent gift (cookbook) I got for the holidays I’m excited about: Rick Bayless’ Mexican Kitchen. Maybe its because I know so little of true Mexican food, but this book gets me excited about experimenting with new things

  19. Bren,

    Since I have a second chance, here it is.  My fave way to have chocolate and coffee are in brownies.  The coffee is a blend of french and italian beans ground to espresso powder from Rostov’s on Main St. in Richmond.  It’s dark, almost black and gives my chocolate desserts that special little ooomph.

  20. Fave way to have chocolate, oh boy – Chocolate Mousse has been a long time fave since i was a child.  However – I do have to tell you if you can, pick up some of that Crate & Barrel Dark Chocolate Cherry Hazelnut Bark – DIVINE!
    RE: Cookbook – I’m such a cookbook-a-holic.  Oh my god, I’m bad.  So my three new fave cookbooks I just got are Nordstrom Flavors (the only thing I wanted for Xmas.  No shoes this time), Marc Vetri’s Il Viaggo del Vetri and Jose Garces’ Latin Evolution.  However – I’m still waiting for the masterpiece from one Ms. Chef B *cough cough*…
    RE: Flan – Pumpkin would be my flan of choice.  Tho you know I’d probably burn down the apt. with the pressure cooker… 

  21. Yikes, I’ve been so busy with friends and family that I haven’t had time to visit any of my fav blogs recently, can’t believe I almost missed this! I would love to try that luxe dark chocolate ganache! I’m sure the mint is good, but I’ll be eating the plain stuff right out of the jar!

  22. I’ve always wanted a pressure cooker, about as much as I’ve always wanted a slow cooker too. The first thing I would pressure cook would probably be a lentil soup. Lentil soup has been on my to-make list for years and I hear that they cook in like 7 minutes in a pressure cooker!

  23. Hey Bren, my favorite coffee is espresso, but wait, that’s not a brand is it? I am currently addicted to Starbucks so I’m going to have to say that right now Starbucks is my favorite coffee brand – so corporate and not glamorous, I know, but I’d love me some Cafe Bustelo!

  24. I love beans and rice. I love that dry black beans can be cooked in a pressure cooker in as little as 8 minutes! I love that rice can be cooked in a pressure cooker in as little as 5 minutes! That means beans and rice on my plate in as little as 13 minutes when using a pressure cooker! So you ask me why don’t I have one in my kitchen yet? Because I want to win one here!

  25. Here from Michelle’s blog – I would love the ganache. My favorite way to have chocolate? Well, I can’t think of a wrong way to have chocolate, but of late, I have been on a chocolate covered pretzel kick. Great idea with the contest! Thanks!

  26. My husband is a coffee nut, and his birthday is coming up. He would looove the espresso. Favorite coffee brand – Eh, we usually get Maxwell House. We’re thrifty. Maybe you’d get us hooked on the good stuff. 🙂

  27. Bren- my favorite is illy and the reason is I find it a bit less acidic (smoother).
    I too make my own cappuccino …I bought a frother and I go to town!

  28. My favorite chocolate is DARK and I could eat it any which way…dipping my finger into a jar even works and tastes sinful!

  29. Wow! I would love a pressure cooker…Ive always been afrais of them. My Mom has used them for years…she would make beans…cook tripe…everything was quick! I make a lot of beans these days so I would love to learn making them!

  30. Oh my God…the Flan pan is perfect- I never saw one with locks. I lived in Venezuela for 5 years and learned to love Quesillo…very similar to flan! I brought home a pan the they use and it is such and ordeal to make sure no water enters. I would love to taste a carmel/chocolate combo flan.Oh Heaven!

  31. My latest cookbook aquisition that I would share is Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  We always have dough on hand now and can have fresh baked bread anytime we want1  How cool is that? 

  32. May Canadians enter? One of my favourite ways to have chocolate is as (or with) ice cream.

  33. I’d like to recommend The Complete Harrowsmith Cookbook – it’s not fancy, but it’s the type of cookbook for which we usually have the ingredients on hand and most of the things we’ve tried have been good.

  34. I love chocolate in coffee, too, really the only way that i crave chocolate so your recipe sounds fantastic and I would love to try this chocolate!

  35. My cookbook suggestion is ALIENA which is quite possibly the most beautiful and interesting cookbook I have ever seen.  The recipes are broken down to components so you can use one (or more) component(s) in another recipe.

    My blog is different in that rather than post recipes it reviews other food related blogs and shopping sites.  Please visit.

    This blog will soon be reviewed.

  36. I have my eye on the cookbook! The cookbook I have out and mixing up a storm right now is – Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

  37. Hi all again! Thanks for the comments! Keep ’em coming!!
    So in answer to pressure cooker questions, they are the best thing anyone can have in the kitchen, I swear! Green, time efficient, saves all your flavor and just cooks great!!

    Bustelo is the best espresso, hands down! Looking forward to see who will win the 2 vacupacks! And feel free to go to the Espresso flan recipe post to hear more about it there.

    The flan pans are a must have if you make flan and similar custards. Keeps everything right where it’s supposed to be!

    And chocolate. Well we all know what chocolate does! Nuf said!

    2 more days left of the contest, so keep the comments coming! Make sure to leave your food blog site if you have one and feel free to share with others!


  38. All I really wanted for Xmas was a pressure cooker, but Santa must’ve lost it somewhere, LOL. My mom used hers for everything! She recently gave a recipe for suadero that sounds to die for, but I need a pressure cooker, HEHE. Congratulations for your first blogaversary. I know you will have many many more 🙂

  39. Pressure cooking done. I love making so many different kinds of flans. My favorites are coffe, chocolate, pumpkin and cajeta. I love my flans too 😉

  40. My favorite way to have chocolate is in fondue.  I love dipping fruit and masrshmallow in it.

  41. I am lucky with coffee.  I get mine straight from COsta RIca.  My aparents live there and they keep a steady flow coming to the US>

  42. My favorite cookbook is the Spice and Herb Bible.  It’s technically not a cookbook but it does tell you how to use the herbs and spices and I love it.

  43. Pressure cooking? NEVER had the pleasure, but I would love for my mom to have the pleasure (just so you know, if I happen to win anything I’ll save you some shipping and have stuff shipped to my mom in the States) 🙂

    OK off to do my commenting duty….

  44. The cookbook looks fantastic.  I hope one day to eat at the Culinary Institute, they have several fantastic restaurants that serve the food made at the Institute.  Sounds like a fun day.  Please enter me for the cookbook, I’ll read it like it’s a novel.   I love cookbooks.

  45. I’d love to win the Flan Pan.  We traveled to Tucson and had amazing Flan, I’d love to replicate that!

  46. I just subscribed!  Enter me for that Ganache too, it looks amazing.  A girl can never have too much Ganache.

  47. I really like pressure cookers too! I have quite a few in different sizes since I also home can.  Pressure cookers are awesome!

  48. I don’t have a flan pan like those; they look awesome would love to try one.
    Flans are sooo good!

  49. I have passed by the CIA grounds in my travels but have not had the time to stop and check them out. I have been reduced to drooling from afar. I would love to check out their cookbook, I’m going to add that to my wish list.

  50. Hi, not a cookbook but a cook’s book: I recommend “Barron’s Food Lover’s Companion”. It is a great find and a great read. Defines and explains terms you may come across or thought you knew.

  51. Pressure cookers. hmm.. used them a lot in my Biology lab. ANd my father-in-law used them to cook (& puree in 1 step) all vegetables together. Oh- Irish boiled (down ) dinners. Sorry…

  52. I know little about pressure cookers. I do know that the modern ones have some extra safety measures to prevent “problems”.

  53. I don’t know about cool, but warm and inviting and lovely – Lidia’s Italy.  I really enjoyed that one, and it was one of my first (in this, my first year of cooking!).  I’d love to have the CIA one!

  54. I’m loving all the flan suggestions! I’ve made 2 of them but the others sound so gooood! I’ll me make sure to test them out. Donna, you’re so right. The Food Lover’s Companion is such a great book. I’m now reading the Science of Good Food! Wow, a true must have for anyone that is deeply interested in the roots of food. And thanks to everyone for all the cookbook recommendations. I’ll be looking into all the suggested titles! I’m got just as much work to do as you all did in commenting! 

    Thanks and I’ll be drawing tonight at Midnight EST. Stay tuned!

  55. I would so love to have a pressure cooker. With 3 children and lots of running around to do and having to share a truck with my husband a pressure cooker would really be a help. Please enter me. Thanks!

  56. Hey girl, I wish you had an easier way for me to follow your blog, but I am caught up on the blogs now…I want to do a feature about you, and not like you don’t already have a long scroll down to make a comment, but you rock and I like what you do!

    Is that cool? elizabeth@cookappeal.com

  57. Hey, I’ve had a pressure cooker for many years. Greatest thing for cooking a lot of things. I’m really excited about trying the flan in a pressure cooker. It’s one of my favorite things but don’t get it often.

  58. I also collect cookbooks. Someday I plan on making something for each one. That should take be acouple of years.

  59. Rosa: we need to change that! Amazon has them, but I could always send you one! I have over 15 and have easy access to them… I need to start manufacturing my own, actually!

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