Rockin Mama™ Motherhood, Giveaways and Product Reviews Sat, 16 Jan 2021 19:20:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rockin Mama™ 32 32 111966601 Sesame Street Parade of Lights Drive-Thru Experience at SeaWorld San Diego Sat, 16 Jan 2021 19:20:20 +0000 Last year, the re-emergence of the drive-thru took on creative iterations, with brands pivoting to provide meaningful experiences in the midst of a pandemic. Creativity abounded with Halloween and Christmas drive-thrus, drive-thru concerts and premieres, and educational drive-thru experiences. While SeaWorld is currently closed due to the latest Stay Home Order, the park just announced a brand new experience, Sesame Street Parade of Lights.

SeaWorld Sesame Street Parade of Lights

Post written in partnership with SeaWorld San Diego.

Sesame Street Parade of Lights Drive-Thru

We visited SeaWorld during the holidays, right before the latest shutdown (as in the DAY before the shutdown), a welcome reprieve from pandemic life and a semblance of normalcy. I didn’t realize how much I missed the park and the unique experiences we have shared together as a family.

Fortunately, the brand is constantly working on ways to keep families connected. SeaWorld just announced a brand-new drive thru experience inspired by Sesame Street. Families can experience a parade of lights with their favorite Sesame Street characters to the tune of a lively Sesame Street soundtrack all from the comfort and safety of their vehicle.

Sesame Street Parade of Lights Drive-Thru takes place inside the park, and as you pass through the entrance, your journey begins with thousands of dazzling lights lined with your favorite Sesame Street friends on parade floats. Continue your adventure under the illuminated SkyTower for a unique photo opp, drive through two tunnels of lights, and cruise through Sesame Street Village.

Sesame Street Parade of Lights

Know Before You Go

Safety is top priority, and face coverings are required at any point of contact with SeaWorld Ambassadors such as admission, merchandise, and food. Families must stay inside their vehicles throughout the experience.

Sesame Street Parade of Lights Drive-Thru Experience runs select nights January 15th through February 14th from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Price per vehicle starts at $49.99. SeaWorld Annual Pass Members save 50% on event admission. Pass Members also receive an additional discount on food, drink, and merchandise. Fun Card Holders save 25% on event admission. 

The drive-thru takes place at SeaWorld – San Diego, 500 SeaWorld Drive, San Diego, CA 92109.

Sesame Street Grover

Sesame Street Parade of Lights Add-Ons

Upgrade your experience with a Snack Pack add-on or purchase treats before your drive-thru including soft pretzels, cotton candy, and hot cocoa.

Sesame Street Parade of Lights: Snack Pack Add-On

The Drive-Thru Snack Pack Add-on includes two cups of Hot Chocolate, a Bubble Wand, a Cotton Candy Bag, a Souvenir Cup and a Souvenir Reusable bag! Paid Drive-Thru admission is required.

Sesame Street Parade of Lights: Deluxe Snack Pack Add-On

The Drive-Thru Deluxe Snack Pack Add-on includes two Hot Chocolates, a Cotton Candy Bag, one Small Plush, a Superhero Cape, a Bubble Wand, a Souvenir Cup and a Souvenir Reusable Bag. Paid Drive-Thru admission is required.

SeaWorld Park Map Drive Thru Parade of Lights
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Vegan Pozole Verde Sat, 02 Jan 2021 01:00:00 +0000 This is part of a sponsored collaboration with JCPenney and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

With all of the excitement and anticipation that precedes Christmas, I admittedly feel a bit wistful come New Year’s Day. I’ve been known to keep the Christmas tree up until the first week of the New Year, in part as a way of celebrating Three King’s Day.

In Puerto Rico, Three King’s Day is highly venerated and deemed one of the most important holidays celebrated. Tradition holds that children who have been “good” throughout the year will receive a gift under their bed once they have placed grass in a box for the camels of the Three Wise Men along with a small snack or gift. Celebrations include music and food with a heavy emphasis on the religious aspect of this holiday.

Posole Verde

Food is an integral part of our celebrations, and in honor of Three King’s Day, I whipped up a savory Vegan Pozole Verde. Pozole (Posole) is a celebratory dish which originated in Mexico. With hominy as its base, this soup can be made with or without meat and is often seasoned and garnished with chile peppers, salsa, and limes. There are actually 3 variations of pozole (posole), red, green, and white, and variations are typically regional.

Posole Ingredients

This pozole verde features white beans, white corn hominy, onion, garlic, tomatillos, cilantro and oregano and is then garnished with fresh avocado, scallions, cilantro, pepitas, and lime.


Vegan Pozole Verde


  • 1 cup dry white beans
  • 1 cup dry white hominy corn
  • 2 tsp . olive oil
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tomatillos
  • 1 handful of cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano

For the Garnish

  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Scallions
  • Pepitas
  • Lime


  • Soak beans and hominy corn overnight
  • Rinse and drain beans and hominy before cooking
  • In a food processor, process tomatillos and cilantro until smooth
  • Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan until soft (do not brown)
  • Add vegetable broth, tomatillo mixture, salt, pepper, and oregano and simmer approximately 1 hour
  • Serve with fresh avocado, cilantro, scallions, pepitas and a squeeze of lime
Cooked Hominy
Cooked Hominy

This soup can be made in a slow cooker, which would allow the flavors to meld slowly. If you are pressed on time, you can quick soak the dried beans and hominy by boiling each separately for 2 minutes, then allowing to soak for an hour. Drain your beans and hominy and use them in your soup.

Garnish for Posole

This soup is warm, savory and absolutely delicious. To showcase it’s beautiful heartiness, I decided to serve it in the Harmony Pfaltzgraff bowls I picked up while shopping at my local JCPenney. Much like Christmas, our Three King’s Day meal is special and I like to create a festive winter tablescape for the occasion. I used JCPenney Home’s Florence Damask Tablecloth as a backdrop for our meal. I also picked up a new flatware set for a casual, but elegant compliment to our dinnerware set.

Three King's Day Tablescape

It had been some time since I last visited the home section of my local JCPenney store, and I was quite impressed with the quality and selection of items I found. From prepping and cooking your meal, to serving and displaying your Three King’s Day dishes, JCPenney is your go-to this Three King’s Day. And, if you still need to pick up a gift, you’ll find an incredible selection of ideas for the whole family including toys for kids, apparel and shoes for teens and tweens, electronics for they man in your life, and jewelry for you, and home decor items to create an inviting space.

For more Three King’s Day tips and gift ideas, follow JCPenney on Facebook.

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Non-Alcoholic Coquito Recipe (Puerto Rican Eggnog) Thu, 31 Dec 2020 15:00:00 +0000 {Sponsored}

Last week I had my first glass of eggnog this season, and combined with the weather, the holiday decor in stores, and the overall sentiment in our home, it truly feels like Christmas. As my children get older, I’m striving to incorporate some of my own family’s cultural traditions and one of the easiest ways to do that is through food.  We love hosting people in our home, particularly around the holidays, so I thought I’d re-create one of my dad’s favorite Puerto Rican drink recipes which is our culture’s take on the traditional eggnog.

Coquito Recipe

Coquito incorporates some of the same spices you’ll find in traditional eggnog and mimics the seasonal favorite’s consistency but uses coconut milk/cream, and sweetened condensed milk in place of cream/milk.

Coquito Ingredients

Traditionally, Coquito is also made with rum, but since we don’t drink and we wanted our kids to enjoy it, we altered my father’s recipe and made it kid-friendly.  But don’t worry, it’s equally delicious!  Here is my Coquito Recipe:

Coquito Recipe

Coquito Recipe (Puerto Rican Eggnog)


  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1.5 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp . cinnamon
  • Coconut flakes


  • Mix all ingredients in the blender.
  • Pour into a serving carafe and refrigerate well (overnight is best).
  • Serve in small glassware, top with froth, and a dash of cloves and cinnamon stick for fragrance.
  • To adorn with coconut flakes, dry on a paper towel
  • Coat one side of the glassware with agave nectar and dip into the coconut flakes
  • Fill glass 3/4 full with Coquito.

In this recipe, I used heavy cream in place of sweet condensed milk so I could adjust the amount of sugar and omitted the egg yolk.  I still found the consistency to be smooth and creamy.  Depending on how spicy you like your beverages, you could adjust the amount of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to your palate.  You could also add vanilla or use cream of coconut for an even richer, creamier consistency.

Since this is also the season where many of us invite guests into our home for parties, get-togethers, and meals, this drink is an easy entertaining solution that looks gorgeous and festive and tastes delicious.  I chose to serve our Coquito in these Square Shot Glasses available at Walmart.

What are your favorite holiday recipes?  Do you incorporate your culture or traditions into the season?  I’d love to share your ideas below!

Walmart Moms Disclaimer 2013

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Spinach and Cheese Tamales Sun, 20 Dec 2020 19:00:00 +0000 {Post sponsored by Gigasavvy. All opinions are my own.}

Spinach and Cheese Tamales are a great twist on a classic favorite, especially during the Fall. The day that my kids go back to school signifies the unofficial start to the Fall season. I always find it interesting how the weather changes and the days get shorter right around the same time. There is no gentle ushering in of this new season. Rather, it really is as dramatic as being in the Caribbean one weekend and sipping pumpkin spice lattes the following week. This time of year is one of my favorites, but knowing how busy it will be, I’m already thinking about all of the holiday meals I want to create – like Spinach and Cheese Tamales!

Pasteles Recipe - Spinach and Cheese TamalesPasteles

Spinach and Cheese Tamales – A New Twist on an Old Favorite

As a child, my parents only made a handful of Puerto Rican dishes, but those recipes were esteemed in our family. A few years back, I re-created my dad’s Puerto Rican Tamale recipe with the help of my kids, and it is still a well-loved dish in our family. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I decided to take a meatless spin on another iconic Hispanic dish…tamales! These spinach and cheese tamales may be free of meat, but they’re full of flavor.

Spinach and Cheese Tamales

Traditionally, tamales originated in Mesoamerica, including regions of Mexico. They consist of masa, a corn-based dough, and any combination of meat, cheese, fruit, vegetables and/or chilies. The masa and fillings are wrapped in a corn husk and then steamed until firm. While the ingredients are simple and easy to find at your local Hispanic Market, the process can be lengthy, particularly if you plan to make the masa from scratch.
Spinach and Cheese Tamale Ingredients

I’m always looking for new meatless dishes to serve to my family, so I headed out to my local Northgate Market to shop for ingredients for my Spinach and Cheese Tamales. I immediately head over to the Tortilleria and was delighted to find masa, already prepared!  I also picked up corn husks, oaxaca cheese, organic spinach, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and a pasilla pepper.

Spinach and Cheese Tamale

Spinach and Cheese Tamales

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 3 dozen tamales


  • 3 dozen corn husks
  • 3 pounds of prepared Masa
  • 3 T olive oil divided
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 pasilla peppers
  • 5 ounces of fresh spinach
  • 2 tomatoes diced
  • 8 ounces oaxaca cheese shredded


  • Soak corn husks in water overnight to soften
  • Wilt spinach in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Roast pasilla peppers over medium-high heat until the skin is charred. You can roast the peppers in a dry skillet or directly over the flame.
  • Allow peppers to cool before handling
  • Remove the skin and pull out the seeds. Dice and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, sauté onion and garlic until soft. Do not brown.
  • Add in roasted peppers, spinach and tomatoes
  • Prepare steamer with water but do not heat to avoid getting burned while placing tamales inside pot.
  • To assemble tamales, spread 1/4 cup of prepared masa onto the smooth side of the corn husk.
  • Place 2 tablespoons of vegetable filling onto masa. Do not overfill.
  • Add cheese. The amount will depend on preference.
  • Roll tamales lengthwise towards the center, ensuring that the sides of the husk overlap. Fold over once and tie with a piece of corn husk to ensure filling does not leak out during steaming.
  • Place tamales open end up, into the steamer. Do not lay tamales flat.
  • Steam over low-medium heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  • Allow to cool slightly before removing corn husk.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Extra tamales can also be frozen before steaming.

*It should be noted that this is not a vegetarian dish as prepared masa contains lard, an animal fat. For vegetarian Spinach and Cheese Tamales, be sure to make the masa from scratch.

Corn Husks - Spinach and Cheese TamalesSoak corn husks overnight

Sauteed Spinach - Spinach and Cheese TamalesSauté spinach in olive oil

Roasted Pepper - Spinach and Cheese TamalesRoast pepper over flame until skin is charred

Sauteed Vegetables - Spinach and Cheese TamalesSauté vegetables in olive oil

While the tamale-making process is lengthy, it isn’t complicated, particularly once you’ve mastered the art of how to wrap tamales. Having the dough already prepared will save time. You can also spread the process out over 2 days if you plan to make the masa from scratch or are including meat in the tamales. My favorite way to make tamales is with a friend or family member, so my best tip for making tamales is to have a tamalada!

Spinach and Cheese Tamales

Best Tips for Making Tamales

  1. Plan to make a lot of tamales. My recipe makes 3 dozen which is ideal since you want to enjoy tamales throughout Hispanic Heritage Month.
  2. When spreading the masa onto the corn husk, leave a small margin so that they can easily be folded.
  3. Do not overfill your tamales. The masa will expand during steaming and spill over into the steamer.
  4. Overlap the edges of the corn husks to create a seal. I also like to tie a piece of corn husk around the tamale to ensure the filling does not spill out.
  5. Invest in a quality stockpot. The time and resources you will expend making tamales will be worth the investment to ensure your tamales cook perfectly. I use Princess House’s Classic 15-Qt. Stockpot & Steaming Rack.

Homemade Spinach and Cheese Tamales

Now that I’ve shown you how to make Spinach and Cheese Tamales, I hope you’ll be inspired to make some of your own during Hispanic Heritage Month. Remember that you can make sweet or savory tamales and alter them to include the meat, cheese, veggies and spices that your family enjoys.

Right now, Southern California Northgate Market stores are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month all month long with food-centric, cultural events. Experiences can include wine tasting, folkloric dance, arts and crafts and more and last through October 1st, 2016. You can find your nearest Northgate Market location here or visit my favorite stores below!

  • 2030 E. Lincoln Ave Anaheim, CA 92806
  • 6991 Lincoln Ave Buena Park, CA 90620
  • 5403 University Ave. San Diego, CA 92105
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Asopao de Gandules Recipe Tue, 15 Dec 2020 14:00:00 +0000 So much of what I remember about growing up in a Puerto Rican family involves the meals we shared together during holidays and get togethers, and the day-to-day infusion of culture into our immediate family’s evening meals.  My grandmother owned a restaurant in New York, which is where my father gleaned his cooking skills.  Arroz con pollo (and/or gandules), platanos, and mofongo were regular dishes in our home, often preceded by the savory smell of sofrito infiltrating our home.  It wasn’t Christmas if one of our family members failed to make pasteles, and coquito and arroz con dulce always satisfied my sweet tooth.

This month, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, a 30-day celebration that commemorates the history, culture, and contribution of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States.  The celebration begins September 15th, as this day holds special significance as the anniversary of independence for many Latin American countries including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Within this time period, there are a number of historic moments including the day Christopher Columbus arrived in America.

Asopao de Gandules Recipe

As a mom to 2 biracial children, I’m always thinking about how I can help them learn about and feel connected to their culture.  We often tell stories of their grandparents and extended family members but the primary way I’ve been able to share my Puerto Rican culture with my children has been through food. While we’re still experiencing a Fall heat wave, I thought this would be the perfect time to share my family’s Asopao de Gandules Recipe. My mother recalls eating this hearty soup during the bitter cold winter months in New York each year. Along with featuring Puerto Rican’s mainstay dishes of rice and beans (gandules or Pigeon Peas in this instance), this soup is flavored with sofrito and includes squash, frequently eaten during this time of year.

Puerto Rican Soup Ingredients

Despite the fact that the recipe calls for a number of Hispanic ingredients, I found an expansive selection in the Latin section at my local Walmart and everything, including the gandules, was purchased in-store. While Calabaza is the type of squash most traditionally used in this dish, it can be difficult to find outside of a specialty market.  Butternut or acorn squash can be substituted for calabaza in most recipes and we found that doing so did not significantly alter the authentic flavor of this dish. Before you gather your ingredients, be sure to have sofrito on-hand.  My father’s sofrito recipe can easily prepared with just a few ingredients and a food processor.

Here is our Asopao de Gandules Recipe:

Asopao de Gandules Recipe

Asopao de Gandules Recipe


  • 1 large green plantain
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 15- ounce can of gandules drained
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1-2 chicken breasts thawed and cubed
  • 1/4 cup sofrito
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice
  • 1 cup squash cubed
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste


  • Peel and shred plantain in a food processor
  • Add garlic and salt
  • Form dumplings, approximately 1/2 tablespoon in size
  • In a large stock pot, combine gandules and chicken stock and heat until boiling
  • In a skillet, heat olive oil and sauté chicken breast for 2-4 minutes
  • Add sofrito and continue to cook 2-4 minutes
  • Add tomato sauce and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes
  • Add chicken and sauce into the stock pot
  • Add dumplings, rice, squash, and salt into the stock pot
  • Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the soup has thickened

Vegetarian Option: Substitute vegetable broth for the chicken stock and omit the chicken

How to Peel a Green Plantain

Notes about Peeling and Using Green Plantains: Notorious for being difficult to peel and use, here is a quick visual demo that will teach you how to peel a green plantain correctly every single time!

1. Soak the plantains in hot water for 3-5 minutes, particularly if you have stored them in the fridge

2. Cut off both ends of the green plantain and discard

3. Using a sharp knife, slice the plantain lengthwise

4. The peel should begin to be easily removed from the plantain, often in sections

Making the dumplings: This is perhaps the most challenging part of making the soup. Green plantains, depending on their stage of ripeness, don’t have the same texture as conventional bananas.  They are traditionally used as a vegetable in Puerto Rican dishes as they are not sweet like bananas.  If you find you’re having difficulty forming the plantains into dumplings, you can add a few drops of olive oil (one at a time).  Set each dumpling into the soup and do not stir. As the plantain cooks it will retain its dumpling shape.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much my kids enjoyed this soup.  They have eaten arroz con pollo numerous times and they told me this soup reminded them of our traditional Puerto Rican dish. As we talked about the differences between green plantains and bananas during our meal, my kids began to get very excited about fried platanos which I suppose will be our next cultural meal! How do you celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?  I’d love to hear your traditions and recipes.

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